While I travel, one of the biggest pains in the ass that I fret over is the possibility of having to get my hardware repaired. This past winter, the closest Apple-certified repair depot to where my wife and I set up camp (the work laptop supplied to me is a MacBook Pro,) was three hours away. Just taking my laptop in to drop it off is a six-hour round trip. I could have it shipped off, but that takes an ass load of time as well. According to The Verge, this pain-in-the-ass could very well be demoted to a simple pain-in-the-neck: Moving forward, 1,000 Best Buy stores across the United States will be able to fix all of the Apple-branded shit that I can't.
From The Verge:
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Best Buy has offered Apple repairs at many locations for some time now, but the completed expansion brings that number up to nearly 1,000 stores. “Best Buy’s Geek Squad has nearly 7,600 newly Apple-certified technicians ready to make same-day iPhone repairs or to service other Apple products,” Apple said in a press release. There are Best Buy stores in neighborhoods that might not have an Apple presence, so this is a nice option to have at the ready. Most Best Buy locations have Apple showcase sections with the company’s iOS devices, MacBooks, HomePod, and other products.
At its own stores, Apple has recently been pushing to speed up keyboard repairs for its MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro laptops, promising a next-day turnaround in many cases.
Rumor has it that Apple is testing a triple camera system for iPhones in 2019, plus other improvements including 'dark mode.' Less expensive iPads and an updated iPhone XR are also said to be in development. Read the rest
It hasn't been a good year for Apple. The company's had to confirm that they've been throttling speeds of older iPhones to maintain battery efficiency. They were caught throttling their latest MacBook Pros to well below their advertised base processor speeds in order to deal with the thermal demands of the chipset inside of them. iOS 11 was buggy as all get out. Worst of all, the keyboards that are baked into almost all of the laptop computers sold by Apple over the past few years are so delicate that dust or a crumb getting beneath a key cap could be cause for costly repair.
The problem was such that a class action lawsuit over it was launched and Apple, caught up in a PR nightmare, was forced to start offering free repairs for their faulty input devices to all comers. The release of the company's latest crop of iPad Pro tablets, unfortunately, seems to have fallen into line with this new quality control status quo.
A few days ago, The Verge contacted Apple over the online rumors, later reinforced with hands-on demonstrations, that the new iPad Pro was so thin that it proved hilariously easy to bend. Some owners of the tablet also complained that the tablet came to them ever-so-slightly warped, right out of the box. The Verge's Chris Welch was among the victims of the industrial design tomfoolery. He reported that he could personally vouch for the issue:
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...my 11-inch iPad Pro showed a bit of a curve after two weeks.
Almost immediately after buying my first iPhone in 2009, I became hooked on jailbreaking. Despite the fact that my iPhone 3GS met all of my mobile computing needs, I couldn't resist the temptation to tweak my user experience: tethering my computer on the go, messing with the color and style of my onscreen keyboard--you name it. If it was available for download via Cydia app, I gave it a spin. Some apps and hacks were worth paying for. Many weren't. I never dabbled in pirated apps, but I could have! That's what was so wonderful about Cydia: it offered the possibility of wandering off the path of what was normally a walled garden.
Sadly, after years of service to the homebrew and jailbreaking community, Cydia is shuttering its store.
Service creator Jay Freeman (aka Saurik) has shut down the Cydia Store citing a combination of costs and security issues. It "loses [him] money" and, when there were multiple staffers, cost him a significant chunk of his "sanity." And while Freeman had already planned to close the store by the end of 2018, he bumped it up a week after learning of a security hole that let let someone buy apps through your account if you were logged in and browsing untrusted app repositories.
The good news is that you’ll still be able to gain access to apps previously purchased in the Cydia store – at least for the time being. As sad as it is to see Cydia winding down, this isn’t the end of the road for jailbreaking. Read the rest
Apple is holding a launch event on Tuesday, October 30, and the image shown on invitations is above. Here's what the smart guesses are on what they're going to announce. Read the rest
Apple will be plopping out new hardware at their second fall event, come the end of the month. Those that spend their days puzzling out what trillion dollar companies will aspire to sell us next think that there's a good chance that we'll see a refresh of the iPad Pro (possibly with a USB-C port baked into them) and refreshed MacBooks. Good stuff, all around, especially if they can figure out how to fix the hot mess that Apple currently has the nerve to call a keyboard.
But what's down the road? Ming-Chi Kuo thinks he knows. Kuo is a supply chain analyst for IT International Securities. It's part of Kuo's gig to try and figure out what products a company plans on making, based on the components that they order. According to Kuo, a new iPad Mini is a-coming.
From The Verge:
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Kuo says that the new iPad Mini will get “an upgraded processor and a lower-cost panel,” which would seem to position it as a smaller option for those considering Apple’s entry-level iPad model rather than a miniature version of the iPad Pro. An iPad Mini update has been a long time coming — Apple last updated the device with the iPad Mini 4 back in 2015.
Kuo also says that Apple is still looking at either late 2018 or early 2019 for the AirPower charging mat along with the rumored AirPod update that would add a Qi-compatible case. It’s still not clear whether those will be showing up at next week’s event, or if Apple will even mention the still missing charging pad at all.
Apple invited consumer technology reporters to an event scheduled for next Tuesday, October 30, at New York's Brooklyn Academy of Music, Howard Gilman Opera House. The late-October event will presumably feature something different from the September iPhone-centered event. Read the rest
Apple has always talked a good game where recycling and environmentalism are concerned. They're quick to point out that they recycle what they can and are always on the hunt for new, sustainable manufacturing practices to adopt. They've got robots named Liam that take old stuff apart to make new stuff! While the company's PR machine is spinning that it's Apple's dream to one day make all of their products out of completely recycled materials, they're presently shitting the bed on the most basic of sustainability practices.
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Apple rejects current industry best practices by forcing the recyclers it works with to shred iPhones and MacBooks so they cannot be repaired or reused—instead, they are turned into tiny shards of metal and glass.
"Materials are manually and mechanically disassembled and shredded into commodity-sized fractions of metals, plastics, and glass," John Yeider, Apple's recycling program manager, wrote under a heading called "Takeback Program Report" in a 2013 report to Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. "All hard drives are shredded in confetti-sized pieces. The pieces are then sorted into commodities grade materials. After sorting, the materials are sold and used for production stock in new products. No reuse. No parts harvesting. No resale."
...A document submitted to North Carolina's Department of Environment Quality in September 2016 shows that Apple's must-shred policy hasn't changed in recent years, even as it continues to position itself as a green company: "All of the equipment collected for recycling is manual and mechanically disassembled and shredded.
Apple doesn't give a shit about your child's education. But then, neither does any other tech company: they only care about what they can sell to schools and parents.
This likely isn't news to anyone reading this, but I feel like it needs to be said.
This morning Apple held an education-centric event at a high school in Chicago. They released a new iPad. With the exception of a processor bump and the fact that it supports Apple Pencil, it's very much like the last iteration of the iPad. They're selling it for $329 or, if you're a student or educator, it can be had for $299. Need an Apple Pencil? That'll be an additional $99. Let me reframe this for you: One of the most lucrative companies in the world thinks it's a grand gesture to knock $30 off the price of their hardware for anyone involved in book learnin'. But, if they want to make full use of the iPad's capabilities, it'll cost them another $99 to do so.
This, at a time when when parents are running crowdsourcing campaigns for classroom supplies and to keep schools heated during the cold months of the year.
The real reason that they've shaved a sliver of fat off their pricing is because they're getting bled to death in the education sector by companies churning out less expensive Chrome OS hardware. Google's Chrome OS might not be able to boast the wide assortment of quality apps that an iOS device does, but the operating system doesn't need high-end specs to run on. Read the rest
Parents who load their tablets and smartphones up with fun educational apps for their kids to play with may actually be doing them more harm than good. According to The Guardian, spending too much time tapping and swiping away at touchscreens is leaving the muscles in many children's hands too weak to hold a pencil.
In the article, Sally Payne, a pediatric occupational therapist, explains that the nature of play has changed over the past decade. Instead of giving kids things to play with that build up their hand muscles, such as building blocks, or toys that need to be pushed or pulled along, parents have been handing them tablets and smartphones. Because of this, by the time they're old enough to go to school, many children lack the hand strength and fine motor control required to correctly hold a pencil and write. In order to correct the problem, some parents are going so far as to send their kids to pediatric occupational therapists, like Payne:
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Six-year-old Patrick has been having weekly sessions with an occupational therapist for six months to help him develop the necessary strength in his index finger to hold a pencil in the correct, tripod grip.
His mother, Laura, blames herself: “In retrospect, I see that I gave Patrick technology to play with, to the virtual exclusion of the more traditional toys. When he got to school, they contacted me with their concerns: he was gripping his pencil like cavemen held sticks. He just couldn’t hold it in any other way and so couldn’t learn to write because he couldn’t move the pencil with any accuracy.
Apple's been in the headlines over the past few months, for all of the wrong reasons. According to TechCrunch, their PR losing streak isn't going to stop any time soon.
TechCrunch reports that an IOS software development house has discovered that two unicode symbols, when inputted into a number of popular iOS apps, will cause the apps to crash. In many instances, once the apps crash, it's impossible to open them again. TechCrunch was able to recreate these crashes on a number of pieces of hardware running iOS and a Mac running the latest version of MacOS:
The bug crashes apps including Mail, Twitter, Messages, Slack, Instagram and Facebook. From our testing, it also crashed Jumpcut, a copy and paste plugin for Mac. While it initially appeared that the Chrome browser for Mac was unaffected and could safely display the symbol, it later crashed Chrome and the software would not reopen without crashing until uninstalled and reinstalled.
This isn't the first 'text bomb' issue that Apple's been confronted with. In January, it was discovered that it allowed a specific web address to crash any iPhone it was texted to.
Given that this bug effects so many different devices (all of which I use) I'm hoping that it gets sorted out fast.
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Calligraphers continue to explore the possibilities of portable tablets for enhancing their craft, and few are doing more than Ian Barnard. Here's his latest tutorial, turning handwritten script into a neon-like gradient.
Bonus video: just look at this hand-lettered banana:
• How to do gradient & shadowed lettering in Procreate on the iPad Pro (YouTube / Ian Barnard) Read the rest
In addition to making amazing pen-and-ink calligraphy, Ian Barnard is great with an iPad and Apple Pencil. And the latter allows for do-overs if you make a mistake halfway (or more typically, on the final letter or stroke). Read the rest
It's low-key; solving one hundred of these feels like an attainable goal. I mean, probably. Try it.
Taiwanese med-tech firm Admits hopes to get FDA approval to bring its iPad-based livestock sperm analyzer to the US for at-home human fertility testing. Read the rest
After over a month of pre-sales and online-only availability, the Apple Watch will finally be on the shelves in Apple stores later this month. Consumers will be able to touch and try on the watch and then actually take it home the same day. Not that selling exclusively online has hurt the product: Apple has had an estimated 7-million Apple Watch orders since its launch and expects to deliver 5-million watches by the end of the first quarter, which is double what analysts had expected. And Apple has by far outsold what the iPod, iPhone and iPad took in during their first quarter. Yet another win for Apple! Read the rest
Justin Beiber, one-time YouTube star, then chart-topping heart throb, then TMZ regular. Justin Beiber, recently roasted by the cool kids of Comedy Central. And now Justin Beiber, blasted out of space, over and over and over. Read the rest