The Sydney Morning Herald has taken an in-depth look at how Apple News is developing. Australia is one of only three countries in which the service is available, the others being the US and UK. The piece outlines the radically different approach Apple has taken to news compared to other tech giants. Its focus is on using human journalists, not algorithms, to curate news, not algorithms, in a bid to improve accuracy. That approach was summed up in a quote from Apple News Editor-in-Chief Lauren Kern:
“Misinformation can come out so quickly and spread so rapidly and that’s something that we take pride in not allowing to happen” says Lauren Kern, the platform’s editor in chief, who is a former executive editor of New York magazine. “Our mantra is that it’s better to be accurate than first.”
It’s not Black Friday yet, but RSS reading app Feedly has launched its Black Friday offer already. For the next few hours, existing free users can get 30% off an annual pro plan. For $45 users can have unlimited sources, Google keyword alerts and integration with apps such as Evernote, Pocket, and OneNote.
Behaviourism, the psychology theory that the behaviour of human beings is best understood as responding incentives and rewards, has been around since the 1930s. It was overtaken in scholarly thought in the 1950s, but it’s a big deal in Silicon Valley today. Behaviourism helps us understand why games are so addictive. Why Apple is obsessed with making the unboxing experience as pleasurable as possible. A fascinating feature in 1843 Magazinegives an in-depth explanation of how it all works and who the scientists are that make it all happen.
The more immediate and intense a rush of emotion a person feels the first time they use something, the more likely they are to make it an automatic choice. It’s why airlines bring you a glass of champagne the moment you sink into a business-class seat, and why Apple takes enormous care to ensure that a customer’s first encounter with a new phone feels magical.
Apple has received an A+ rating by the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families organization for its efforts to reduce its use of toxic chemicals. AppleInsider reported that despite being found to have some room for improvement, Apple was the only firm given the top rating this year. It builds on last year when it received an A rating from the same organization. Retailer Target was the only firm to receive an A rating this year. Best Buy and Amazon were only awarded a C rating.
Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families is a body comprised of 450 businesses which has been issuing annual report cards called Mind the Store for three years. Each report awards a point score as well as an overall grade and this year Apple earned 106.25 out of a possible 135 points. Part of that point score was 15 out of 15 for what Mind the Store calls continuous improvement in a steadily expanding safer chemicals policy. It also scored 9 out of 15 for public disclosure and transparency. Other scores included 7.5/7.5 for establishing management responsibilities and 10/10 for supply chain accountability.
Evernote has launched a new dark mode for its popular note-taking application. Mac and iOS users can now switch between the standard UI (“Light”) and a new, darker Note UI (“Dark Mode”). The idea is to help users in a variety of circumstances, whether they who work late, suffer from migraines or benefit from a darker screen for other accessibility reasons.
LastPass has revealed it’s Christmas naughty and nice list, with Apple top of the pile. They took the top retail sites and saw who was best at protecting personal information…and who was not. In particular, they looked at “key password requirements and other account security features to develop a ranking of the five most and least secure retail sites, based on whether and how well they met a set of criteria”. Apple was deemed the most secure e-retailer, followed by Best Buy and Home Depot. Wayfair was left propping up the naughty list.
Apple is “aggressively” recruiting engineers to develop chip components in San Diego, according to Bloomberg. The move indicates that Apple may be adding San Diego to the locations in which it designs chips. A number of job listings have appeared for the city, which just happens to be the home of chipmaker Qualcomm. Here’s a snippet:
This month, Apple published 10 job listings on its website for chip design-related positions located in the city, marking the first time the Cupertino, California-based technology giant has publicly recruited for such roles in the Southern California hotbed for chip design. Apple is advertising for engineers to work on multiple types of chip components, including engineers to work on the company’s Neural Engine artificial intelligence processor and wireless chips.
Teaching children how the value of money and budgets is hard. It is arguably getting even more difficult in our nearly cashless world. It can also be difficult for parents when their kids want some pocket money, but they do not have any cash on them. The AP had a good feature on this issue on Monday. It listed a variety of pre-paid debit cars and apps that can be downloaded and used as a virtual piggy bank. They include apps such as gohenry, Nimbl and Osper in the UK, and Famzoo and Greenlight, which also works with Apple Pay, in the US. The aim is to offer both flexibility to kids and control for parents.
The pre-Black Friday deals keep appearing. Today, Thursday 15 November, the Anker 30W 6-Port USB Charger PowerPort is available on Amazon for $15.99. This is a nice saving on its normal $20 price point. The Anker PowerPort can be used to charge a variety of Apple devices and, frankly, when do you ever have enough USB ports?
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has revealed that he does not follow how Apple shares are performing in the stock market. Speaking to CNBC’s Scott Wapner on Tuesday, he said, “I do not watch it at all. Period. I’ve never used Apple’s stock app once…I don’t care. You know what? I never did anything for the value of stock and the value of a company and the value of money. I did it create great computers for the world.” Mr Wozniak famously gave away $10 million of his own stock to early Apple employees. Watch the exchange below.
On Tuesday, Amazon announced that Crystal City in Virginia and New York City will house its second headquarters. You might imagine that the people in those areas would be excited by the prospect of new jobs and investment, not least the political leaders. Some, such as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo are. However, some serious concerns have been raised, not least Queens, where the New York City set up will be. The Financial Times took a look at what is causing this rather cold welcome for Amazon.
Yet while Andrew Cuomo, New York governor, and Mayor Bill de Blasio were toasting their success on Tuesday at luring the online retailer to the Long Island City section of Queens, Mr Gianaris could hardly have been less pleased. Along with a local member of the City Council, he issued a blistering statement accusing Amazon of “running a cynical game” in which it “duped” New York into offering $3bn in tax incentives and subsidies to woo one of the wealthiest companies on earth.
Space Gray 15-inch MacBook Pros with a Radeon Vega graphics are now available to purchase on the Apple Store. Users can choose from Radeon Pro 560x, Radeon Pro Vega 16 and Radeon Pro Vega 20 options. The Pro Vega 16 will add $250 to the cost of the machine, while the Pro Vega 20 options will add $350. Apple announced the introduction of the Radeon graphics following its October 30th ‘There’s More in the Making’ event.