Apple and Worker Visas, HomeKit Falls Behind in the Smarthome Game - TMO Daily Observations 2017-01-31

· Jeff Gamet · The Mac Observer's Daily Observations Podcast

TMO Daily Observations Podcast Logo

Work Visas for the tech industry may be changing thanks to an executive order that’s said to be coming from the White House. Bryan Chaffin and John Martellaro join Jeff Gamet to look at the draft order and the impact it could have on Apple and other Silicon Valley companies. They also have some thoughts on the rapidly changing smart home market and Apple’s apparent lagging position.

Starbucks App Lets You Order with Your Voice

· Jeff Gamet · Cool Stuff Found

Starbucks just added a new feature to its iPhone app that lets you speak your order instead of tapping through the on screen menu. The feature, called My Starbucks barista, works sort of like a text chat where you say what you want—like, medium soy chai—and the app places the order at your local Starbucks. The app can handle L.A. Story-quality orders, too, like double upside down macchiato half decaf with room and splash of cream in a grande cup. The good news is the feature is part of yesterday’s Starbucks app update, and the bad news is that it’s beta right now and available to only 1,000 customers. For the rest of us, we’ll have to make due with the new Starbucks Alexa skill that lets you reorder your last drink. Seriously. You can do that now.

Starbucks App Lets You Order with Your Voice

Plugies Magnetic Lightning Charging Cables: $27.99

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

Plugies Magnetic Charging Cables

Check out the Plugies Magnetic Charging Cables, Lightning charging cables with a magnetic connector. They’re designed to work like Apple’s on-the-way-out MagSafe, but for your iPhone. It has two pieces, one a Lightning plug that sits in your iPhone. The other is a cable that connects to that plug with a magnet. They’re $27.99 through our deal. There are also versions with Micro-USB and one with both Micro-USB and Lightning. Check out the details on the deal listing.

Trump Reportedly Drafts Executive Order Targeting Visas Used by Apple and Other Techs

· Bryan Chaffin · Analysis

Macro of a U.S. Visa in a passport

The White House has reportedly drafted an executive order that would target visas used by Apple and other tech companies. According to Bloomberg, the Trump administration wants to change the rules for temporary worker visas known as H-1B, L-1, E-2 and B1. Those rules changes would affect the ways several American companies recruit skilled workers overseas.

Apple's Tortoise Races Amazon's Hare for Home Automation Dominance

· John Martellaro · Link

Home automation

Apple has chosen to take a steady, if slow, approach to home automation focusing on licensing, security, and no high-profile, fixed device like Amazon’s Echo & Dot. As a result, Reuters author Stephen Nellis observes: “Still, it’s not clear whether Apple’s elaborate but slow-to-develop system will have enough advantages to overcome Amazon’s widening lead.” The discussion starts on page 2 of Friday’s Particle Debris.

Black AirPods Exist Thanks To BlackPods

· Andrew Orr · Product News

Matte Black AirPods

A company called BlackPods is offering custom painted AirPods, but as the name suggests they only offer them in black. Matte black, to be specific. You can buy a pair directly from the company, or send in your own pair and pay to have them coated using a custom process.

TMO Background Mode: Interview with Science Journalist and Author Maryn McKenna

· John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Maryn McKenna is a science journalist and author. Her undergraduate degree was in 16th century theater and 20th century poetry. That led to a small theater company, but after a few years, she realized that a paying job would be a very good idea. When Maryn realized she really wanted to be a writer, she was off to graduate school and journalism. After graduation, she discovered that the only jobs in journalism were business related. That led to a career in investigative journalism and eventually, she landed with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution covering the CDC. In time, Maryn became an expert on bioterrorism, the over use of antibiotics with both humans and animals, superbugs, food policy and the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service. (Yes, that’s real.) Her stories, at times, were scary, so brace yourself.

Sorry, Apple Didn't Patent a Vape Pen

· Jeff Gamet · News

Apple patent is about vaporizing metals, not weed

We have the iPhone, the iPad, and the iPod, and based on a recently published patent, some are saying the iVape is coming next. Apple’s patent describes something that sounds a lot like the vaping pens you use when you’re sitting on the couch getting baked while watching Scooby-Doo, except that using this design would probably kill you.

Goodbye iPhone Activation Lock Checker, Presidential Immigration Ban and Apple - TMO Daily Observations 2017-01-30

· Jeff Gamet · The Mac Observer's Daily Observations Podcast

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Apple shut down its iPhone Activation Lock Status checker without any explanation, which raises a few questions. Bryan Chaffin and Dave Hamilton join Jeff Gamet to look at what may be behind Apple’s decision, plus they look at what impact the presidentail executive order banning immigration from certain countries could have on Silicon Valley companies such as Apple.

Flux 6 Lifetime License: $49.99

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

Flux 6 Screenshots

We have a deal for you on Flux 6, a WYSIWYG HTML and CSS design tool. It features the ability to write and edit code, or use drag and drop controls. Our deal is for lifetime access and future updates on one computer for $49.99, 83% off retail.

Speed Test Shows iOS 10.3 Starts 6 Seconds Faster on iPhone 5s

· Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

iAppleBytes did some speed tests comparing iOS 10.2.1 and iOS 10.3—with its new file system. In the video below, they show startup times on an iPhone 5 and an iPhone 5s. The device on the left of each pair is running iOS 10.2.1, the current shipping version of iOS. The devices on the right of each pair are running iOS 10.3, which includes Apple File System (APFS). This is a brand new file system years in the making, and it will change of underlying structural aspects of iOS. This demonstration shows one of those things is startup times. The iPhone 5s running iOS 10.3 started up 5.88 seconds faster than its cousin running 10.2.1. That’s 19.7% faster! The iPhone 5 running iOS 10.3 started up 7.57 seconds faster (18.7% faster). This is just one metric, mind you, and it’s important to remember this version of iOS 10.3 is the first developer preview. Newer iPhone and iPads with newer processors will likely show a smaller delta in absolute terms, but the whole point is that things are going to be happening faster. Squuuueeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Apple CEO Tim Cook Says Trump's Muslim Ban 'Is Not a Policy We Support'

· Bryan Chaffin · Editorial

Tim Cook from Washington Post Interview

Apple CEO Tim Cook told employees Saturday that President Trump’s Muslim ban, “is not a policy we support.” Echoing his many previous comments on diversity, Mr. Cook said, “Apple would not exist without immigration.”

Safari Passwords, Shopping Lists, and Synology RT2600ac Router – Mac Geek Gab 642

· John F. Braun & Dave Hamilton · Mac Geek Gab Podcast

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Have a website with multiple passwords and Safari always chooses the wrong one? Want a shopping list app to manage as a family? Photos showing greyed-out people? That’s just how this week’s Mac Geek Gab starts, folks. Then it’s on to Dave’s review of the new Synology RT2600ac standalone router, plus some related router questions for good measure. That’s not where it ends, though, because there are more questions and tips answered in here, as well. You’ll just have to listen to find out everything. After all, you must learn at least four new things each week, right? We’re here to help you do just that!

How Can We Tell if Our Love for Apple is Logical or Biased?

· John Martellaro · Particle Debris

Apple is our most favored company for perfectly good reasons. Or so we think. And yet there are people who despise the company. How can both attitudes be right?  The reason for this duality may depend on a particular kind of thinking called cognitive bias. John Martellaro explains. Or, at least, he thinks he’s explaining.

Meet Alo, A Phone Concept From The Future

· Andrew Orr · Editorial

Have you ever wondered about a “post-iPhone” future? Well, French designers Jerome Olivet and Philippe Starck have one possible answer. It involves a metal and resin device they call Alo, and it’s meant to be a voice-only smartphone with built-in artificial intelligence.

Dropcam Founder Greg Duffy Joining Apple Could be a Smart Home Boost

· Jeff Gamet · News

Dropcam founder Greg Duffy now works for Apple

Dropcam founder and Next executive Greg Duffy has a new gig at Apple, but no one is saying what he’s doing. Considering his inner drive to create cool new things, it’s a safe bet Apple brought him on board for a very interesting project, like the rumored Echo competitor.

Twelve South's SurfacePad Leather Case Comes to iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus

· Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

Twelve South announced Friday that its SurfacePad leather wrap case is now available for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. I like minimalist leather cases for my iPhones and iPads and I’ve long thought the SurfacePad line is good looking. The back attaches to your iPhone, and the inside of the front cover is lined with microfiber. It has two slots for cards on the inside, too, if that’s your thing. It’s available in Jet Black, Camel and Midnight Blue, for $39.95, and it’s shipping now.

Twelve South’s SurfacePad Leather Case Comes to iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus

Apple's December Earnings Report Set for January 31st

· Bryan Chaffin · News

$AAPL Logo

Apple announced Friday that it will announce earnings for the December quarter—the company’s first fiscal quarter of 2017—on Tuesday, January 31st. Apple’s quarterly conference call with analysts will start at 2:00 PM PST/5:00 EST.