Apple Financial Results — FY Q4 2016 →

October 26, 2016 · 08:53

Apple PR:

Apple® today announced financial results for its fiscal 2016 fourth quarter ended September 24, 2016. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $46.9 billion and quarterly net income of $9 billion, or $1.67 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $51.5 billion and net income of $11.1 billion, or $1.96 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 38 percent compared to 39.9 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 62 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

Apple sold:

  • 45.5 million iPhones (48.05 million in FY Q4 2015)
  • 9.2 million iPads (9.88 million in FY Q4 2015)
  • 4.8 million Macs (5.71 million in FY Q4 2015)

The New York Times Is Buying the Wirecutter for More Than $30 Million →

October 25, 2016 · 08:32

Peter Kafka:

The New York Times is buying The Wirecutter, a five-year-old online consumer guide.

The Times will pay more than $30 million, including retention bonuses and other payouts, for the startup, according to people familiar with the transaction.

Brian Lam, a former editor at Gawker Media’s Gizmodo, founded The Wirecutter in 2011, and has self-funded the company’s growth.

Congratulations Brian. Well deserved.

Here’s What You Can Buy at Apple’s Special Campus Store in Cupertino →

October 25, 2016 · 08:31

Zac Hall:

And even though it may be about to be replaced with something bigger and better, 1 Infinite Loop does have something fairly new of its own: a dedicated Apple Store that reopened last fall. Apple’s campus store has always sold exclusive collectables like T-shirts and pens, and the Jony Ive-designed retail store adds Apple products just like traditional Apple Stores.

The shirt styles and souvenirs offered change regularly, but head below to see what you can expect to find at the 1 Infinite Loop Apple Store that’s not sold anywhere else if you visit.

I know I’d buy way too much stuff there.

Sweden Bans Flying Camera Drones in Public Places →

October 25, 2016 · 08:29

Michael Zhang:

The Supreme Administrative Court of Sweden ruled yesterday that cameras mounted on drones require a permit under camera surveillance laws. At the same time, the justices decided that dash cams or cameras mounted on bicycle handlebars are not surveillance cameras (because they’re operated in the owner’s immediate vicinity) so they won’t require a permit.

If you wish to use a camera drone in a public place now, you’ll need to pay a hefty fee to apply for a permit. County administrators will then decide whether your use of the “surveillance camera” provides a legitimate benefit that outweighs public privacy. If not, your request to fly will be shot down.

Basically, aerial photographers will now need to go through the same process as someone wishing to set up a surveillance camera in a public location.

This sucks.

‘I Just Moved From iPhone to Samsung and It Has Been a Horrible Experience’ →

October 18, 2016 · 13:16

Rhett Jones quoting James’ email about his Note 7 experiences:

I have been in Asia for a few weeks and head back to the US early tomorrow. I called AT&T and Samsung (on several occasions) inquiring about what to do with my phone now that there is a ban.

Yesterday [10/16/16] when I called, AT&T sent me over to Samsung (and after a long hold time) I was told by a rep that I could smuggle the phone back in a sock!

When I suggested that wasn’t a good idea and that I wouldn’t do that, he said someone from management would contact me. It’s been more than 24 hours and I haven’t heard from them.

I just spent another exasperating hour on the phone with Samsung and was told someone would get in touch—but he didn’t even get my phone number correct.

I would be more than happy to have Samsung dispatch a courier to pick up my phone from my hotel in Bangkok—but that idea has fallen on deaf ears.

I am at my wit’s end. I have considered asking if the hotel would keep it, but I am not sure if they would be willing to suggest a request. It’s extremely frustrating. I just moved from iPhone to Samsung and this has been a horrible experience.

You can find more stories on Gizmodo.

Why Your Next iPhone Won’t Be Ceramic →

October 14, 2016 · 07:34

Greg Koenig:

All of this circles us back to that little booklet that shipped with the ceramic Watch Edition. I think it is a safe bet to say that if Apple was about to leverage a whole new process for the efficient manufacturing of precision ceramics for next year’s iPhone, this new Watch model would be a test balloon for at least some of those techniques. Now, it is important to note that Apple has always skillfully knife edged their marketing discussion about manufacturing by being both hyper honest in their descriptions, while being quite vague about the nitty gritty details. So if we can all agree their materials are honest, let me be very plain – there is nothing revolutionary or new about how Apple is making the ceramic Edition watch.

The process they describe is meticulously executed, and because of the nature of the design – wherein ceramics are mimicking the engineering layout of far more easily produced materials – probably the most laboriously produced ceramic watch on the market. In fact, if we scale the numbers used in the booklet up to iPhone size devices and cycle times, Apple would need 2 football field’s worth of kiln space for each ceramic iPhone to sinter for the requisite 36 hours. For the 2 hours of hard ceramic machining to finish the case details, Apple would need to go from 20,000 CNC machines, to 250,000. They would need another 200,000 employees to perform the 2 hours of hand polishing to “bring out the strength and luster.”

I personally want a highly polished, ‘Stormtrooper’ white iPhone. Greg basically says that’s not possible at the moment or for the foreseeable future, unless Apple built a huge factory nobody knows about. There is still hope though, using an alternate solution.

The Tesla Model S Is Not Comparable to an Audi A8, BMW 7-Series, or Mercedes S-Class →

October 14, 2016 · 07:30

Fred Lambert:

Tesla shocked the industry earlier this year when it confirmed having delivered 25,202 Model S sedans in the U.S. in 2015, which gave the company a 25% market share in the premium sedan market. For the first time, Tesla had surpassed market leaders like BMW and Mercedes. Furthermore, every single other large luxury sedan has seen its sales decrease during the same period.

Now the electric automaker is increasing its lead on the US luxury sedan market to such a point that the Model S is now twice as popular as the Mercedes S-Class or the BMW 7-Series. Tesla is literally selling more all-electric sedans in the US than Mercedes and BMW are selling S-Class and 7-Series combined.

The Model S Tesla is not an Audi A8, BMW 7-series, nor Mercedes S-class competitor. It’s on par with the A6, 5-series, and E-class. I still don’t understand why it’s being compared to the luxury segment, especially since it’s nowhere near any of the cars listed above in terms of build quality.

A Transcript of Bogdan Popescu’s Phone Call With Apple

October 12, 2016 · 08:42

I’ve followed the Dash vs. Apple kerfuffle for the past few days and have a slightly different take on the subject than anyone else I’ve seen — think ‘lost in translation’ with a dash of pride1, and a pinch of exasperation. Anyway, while writing about the whole thing I made a transcript of the phone call published by Bogdan, which you can listen to on his blog.

Continue reading →

  1. Pun not intended.

App Store Deals — 12/10/2016

October 12, 2016 · 08:33

There are a few apps you might want to take a look at today. Forklift is currently free — it’s one of the better FTP clients out there, although I personally use Transmit from Panic [App Store] — and so are a few great games. Machinarium is definitely worth taking a look at, and so is the fantastic Monument Valley. I also have a thing for Lara Croft GO…

Update — Added Alto’s Adventure, another great game which I love playing.

Alto’s Adventure – iOS – Games – €3.99 > €1.99
BADLAND 2 – iOS – Games – €3.99 > €1.99
beQUIET – Mac – News – €5.99 > €0.00
Disk Keep – Mac – Utilities – €3.99 > €0.00
Forecast Bar – Weather, Radar, and Alerts – iOS – Weather – €3.99 > €0.00
ForkLift – File Manager and FTP client – Mac – Utilities – €19.99 > €0.00
IMPOSSIBLE ROAD – iOS – Games – €2.99 > €0.00
Infographics – Mac – Graphics & Design – €19.99 > €1.99
Lara Croft GO – iOS – Games – €2.99 > €0.99
Le Havre: The Inland Port – iOS – Games – €4.99 > €1.99
Locko – password manager – Mac – Productivity – €19.99 > €0.00
Lumino City – iOS – Games – €4.99 > €1.99
Machinarium – iOS – Games – €4.99 > €1.99
Magic Launcher Pro – iOS – Productivity – €2.99 > €0.99
MixSuite – Mac – Music – €0.99 > €0.00
Monument Valley – iOS – Games – €3.99 > €1.99
Patchwork The Game – iOS – Games – €2.99 > €0.99
Polarr Photo Editor – Mac – Photography – €19.99 > €1.99
PriceRadar – Price Tracker for Amazon – iPhone – Finance – €0.99 > €0.00
Rapid Note – Mac – Productivity – €0.99 > €0.00
SayHi Translate – iOS – Business – €4.99 > €0.00
Shadow Bug – iOS – Games – €3.99 > €0.00
Splashtop 2 Remote Desktop – iPad – Business – €4.99 > €0.00
Starfall Learn to Read – iOS – Education – €2.99 > €0.00
Sticklings – iOS – Games – €0.99 > €0.00
TableTop Translator – iPad – Business – €9.99 > €0.00
Tiny Plane – iOS – Games – €0.99 > €0.00
Video Plus – Powerful Movie Editor – Mac – Video – €4.99 > €0.00
VPN Server Agent – Mac – Business – €2.99 > €0.00
Widget Calendar – iOS – Lifestyle – €0.99 > €0.00

Scotland Yard Accuses Man of Terrorism; One Count for Using HTTPS on His Blog →

October 10, 2016 · 18:25

Metropolitan Police:

Count 3: Preparation for terrorism. Between 31 December 2015 and 22 September 2016 Samata Ullah, with the intention of assisting another or others to commit acts of terrorism, engaged in conduct in preparation for giving effect to his intention namely, by researching an encryption programme, developing an encrypted version of his blog site and publishing the instructions around the use of programme on his blog site. Contrary to section 5 Terrorism Act 2006.

I can understand the other charges, but how is using HTTPS a criminal offence?

Rick Falkvinge has a few interesting comments on the subject:

(…) four years ago, I predicted that the UK won’t just jail you for encryption, but for carrying astronomical noise, too. It’s already a crime to not give up keys to an encrypted document in the UK (effectively making encryption illegal), but it’s worse than that – it’s a five-years-in-prison offense to not give up the keys to something that appears encrypted to law enforcement, but may not actually be. In other words, carrying astronomical noise is a jailable offense, because it is indistinguishable from something encrypted, unless you can pull the documents the police claim are hidden in the radio noise from a magic hat. This case takes the UK significantly closer to such a reality, with charging a person for terrorism (!) merely for following privacy best practices.

Don’t Buy a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 →

October 9, 2016 · 22:13

Andrew Martonik:

Now, multiple reports of fires involving replacement Note 7s from the U.S., Taiwan and Korea suggest the high probability of a continuing battery safety issue with the phone. We’re no longer looking at a single incident on an airplane. The volume and similarity of these reports means Samsung has likely failed to address an underlying cause of the fires.

That’s why today we’re withdrawing our recommendation to buy the Galaxy Note 7, adding a disclaimer to our review to reflect this. We’re also retracting our Choice Award, and will be removing it from our Smartphone Buyer’s Guide over the coming days. As it stands, you should not buy this phone.

Replacement Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Phone Catches Fire on Southwest Plane →

October 7, 2016 · 09:08

Jordan Golson:

Samsung is likely in full-fledged crisis mode at this point, as a replacement phone catching fire would be truly disastrous for the company’s image and finances. The Verge has been in contact with Samsung, which issued a statement that is questionable at best given our findings:

Until we are able to retrieve the device, we cannot confirm that this incident involves the new Note7. We are working with the authorities and Southwest now to recover the device and confirm the cause. Once we have examined the device we will have more information to share.

Green’s Note 7 is in the hands of the Louisville Fire Department’s arson unit for investigation. He has already replaced it with an iPhone 7.

Samsung should have recall all Note 7s and removed them from the market as soon as possible. It’s a miracle no one has died yet. Now imagine if that aeroplane was in the air and the fire it started spread. What if it brought down a whole plane full of people?

If you own a Note 7 then get rid of it. Replace it with something else — Green went for an iPhone, which in this case is a much safer choice. If you don’t care for your own safety, then don’t put others in danger unnecessarily.

Yahoo Said to Have Aided U.S. Email Surveillance by Adapting Spam Filter →

October 7, 2016 · 09:00

Charlie Savage and Nicole Perlroth:

A system intended to scan emails for child pornography and spam helped Yahoo satisfy a secret court order requiring it to search for messages containing a computer “signature” tied to the communications of a state-sponsored terrorist organization, several people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

Two government officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the Justice Department obtained an individualized order from a judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court last year. Yahoo was barred from disclosing the matter.

To comply, Yahoo customized an existing scanning system for all incoming email traffic, which also looks for malware, according to one of the officials and to a third person familiar with Yahoo’s response, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity.

With some modifications, the system stored and made available to the Federal Bureau of Investigation a copy of any messages it found that contained the digital signature. The collection is no longer taking place, those two people said.

So Yahoo seems to be the first to willingly give in to the government. I’d delete my email account there immediately, if I had one.

Samsung Acquires Viv, a Next-Gen AI Assistant Built by Creators of Apple’s Siri →

October 7, 2016 · 08:57

Matthew Panzarino:

Samsung has agreed to acquire Viv, an AI and assistant system co-founded by Dag Kittlaus, Adam Cheyer and Chris Brigham — who created Siri, which was acquired by Apple in 2010. The three left Apple in the years after the acquisition and founded Viv in 2012. Pricing information was not available, but we’ll check around.

Viv has been billed as a more extensible, powerful version of Siri.

Viv will continue to operate as an independent company that will provide services to Samsung and its platforms.

I don’t think Apple should have let them go, but then again, acquiring the same team for the second time seems ethically wrong.

NSA Contractor Arrested in Possible New Theft of Secrets →

October 6, 2016 · 10:49

Jo Becker, Adam Goldman, Michael S. Schmidt and Matt Apuzzo:

The F.B.I. secretly arrested a National Security Agency contractor in recent weeks and is investigating whether he stole and disclosed highly classified computer code developed to hack into the networks of foreign governments, according to several senior law enforcement and intelligence officials.

The theft raises the embarrassing prospect that for the second time in three years, an insider has managed to steal highly damaging secret information from the N.S.A. In 2013, Edward J. Snowden, who was also a contractor for the agency, took a vast trove of documents that were later passed to journalists, exposing N.S.A. surveillance programs in the United States and abroad.

What if Harold T. Martin III had also stolen the ‘golden keys’ to backdoors of various tech companies infrastructures? How long would it take for anyone and everyone in the world to get a peek into the lives of people using those services?

‘I Think We Can Work Our Way Through This’ →

October 6, 2016 · 10:46

Andrea Peterson for The Washington Post reporting on Stamos’ (Yahoo’s Chief Information Security Officer) and Rogers’ (director of the National Security Agency) debate:

“If we’re going to build defects/backdoors or golden master keys for the U.S. government, do you believe we should do so — we have about 1.3 billion users around the world — should we do for the Chinese government, the Russian government, the Saudi Arabian government, the Israeli government, the French government?” Stamos asked.

“So, I’m not gonna… I mean, the way you framed the question isn’t designed to elicit a response,” Rogers replied.

“Well, do you believe we should build backdoors for other countries?” Stamos asked again.

“My position is — hey look, I think that we’re lying that this isn’t technically feasible. Now, it needs to be done within a framework. I’m the first to acknowledge that. You don’t want the FBI and you don’t want the NSA unilaterally deciding, so, what are we going to access and what are we not going to access? That shouldn’t be for us. I just believe that this is achievable. We’ll have to work our way through it. And I’m the first to acknowledge there are international implications. I think we can work our way through this,” Rogers answered.

“So you do believe then, that we should build those for other countries if they pass laws?” Stamos asked a third time.

“I think we can work our way through this,” Rogers replied.

“I’m sure the Chinese and Russians are going to have the same opinion,” Stamos said.

I truly wonder what Rogers would think if he wasn’t the director of the NSA. Would he agree to all the snooping, reduced security, and compromised privacy, if he were just a civilian?

Yahoo Secretly Scanned Customer Emails for U.S. Intelligence →

October 6, 2016 · 10:40

Joseph Menn:

Yahoo Inc last year secretly built a custom software program to search all of its customers’ incoming emails for specific information provided by U.S. intelligence officials, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company complied with a classified U.S. government demand, scanning hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts at the behest of the National Security Agency or FBI, said three former employees and a fourth person apprised of the events.

Some surveillance experts said this represents the first case to surface of a U.S. Internet company agreeing to an intelligence agency’s request by searching all arriving messages, as opposed to examining stored messages or scanning a small number of accounts in real time.

While Apple, Google, and others want to fight these types of government demands, Yahoo rolls over and helps them out. Completely unacceptable.

iPhone 7 Plus Depth Effect Is Legit →

October 6, 2016 · 10:37

Stu Maschwitz:

When I first started testing Portrait Mode, I was alone in my backyard, with only inanimate props. I took some shots where the Depth Effect shined, and some where it flopped…

This stands to reason. The depth map is very likely computed at a reduced resolution, and I bet it’s noisy. Any smoothing is going to also eliminate certain edge details, and Apple’s engineers have, I’m surmising, estimated that eating into the edges a bit overall is better than seeing a halo of crisp background between the foreground subject and the blurred background.

The next night, my family came over for a cookout. As we ate and drank into the evening, reveling in global warming, I remembered that I had a new toy to play with. I pulled out my phone, toggled over to Portrait Mode, and snapped a few shots of my brother-in-law and his adorable son.

This is the photo that convinced me that Portrait Mode is a real thing. Here it captured a fast-moving, uncooperative subject, at ISO 500 lighting, and produced results that are not just good, but actually a photo I cherish.

I already have a few shots of my wife which I will love for years to come — I didn’t have my ‘big’ camera with me at the time. They would not have worked without Portrait Mode, which isolated her from the background.

App Store Deals — 6/10/2016

October 6, 2016 · 10:32

There quite a few price drops of decent apps today. If you own an Apple Watch, you might want to check out Activity++, while Affinity Designer is great for those working with vectors. And then there’s the whole GTA franchise…

ACDSee Camera Pro – iPhone – Photography – €4.99 > €0.00
10K Runner: 0 to 5K to 10K – iOS – Healthcare & Fitness – €3.99 > €0.00
Activity++ – iPhone – Healthcare & Fitness – €2.99 > €0.99
AdBlock – iOS – Utilities – €1.99 > €0.00
Affinity Designer – Mac – Graphics & Design – €49.99 > €39.99
Crooked Path – iOS – Games – €0.99 > €0.00
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars – iOS – Games – €4.99 > €1.99
Grand Theft Auto III – iOS – Games – €4.99 > €1.99
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories – iOS – Games – €6.99 > €1.99
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas – iOS – Games – €6.99 > €2.99
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City – iOS – Games – €4.99 > €1.99
iClock – A real time keeper – Mac – Entertainment – €0.99 > €0.00
IMPOSSIBLE ROAD – iOS – Games – €2.99 > €0.00
Legend of the Skyfish – iOS – Games – €3.99 > €2.99
Magic Launcher Pro – iOS – Productivity – €2.99 > €0.00
The Mystery of the Crystal Portal HD (Full) – iPad – Games – €4.99 > €0.00
The Mystery of the Crystal Portal – Mac – Games – €4.99 > €0.00
Polarr Photo Editor – Mac – Photography – €19.99 > €1.99
Starfall Learn to Read – iOS – Education – €2.99 > €0.00
Toca Life: School – iOS – Education – €2.99 > €0.00
VOX: Music Player & SoundCloud Streamer – Mac – Music – €9.99 > €0.00

Is the Apple Watch Killing the Swiss Watch Industry After All? →

October 3, 2016 · 22:08

Chris Hall for SalonQP:

But forgetting personal objections, it’s staggering – even by Apple’s standards – how quickly Apple Watch has moved the smartwatch story on. Since Apple Watch’s launch, the real watch industry (sorry Apple, no matter where or how Vontobel ranks you, you aren’t a watch brand) has started falling apart. Global exports of Swiss watches have dropped off a cliff. The numbers are horrible – we’re looking at annual decline of around 10 per cent this year. Oof.

I treat my mechanical watches and my Apple Watch differently — the latter is a small computer, while the former are small, precise works of art. But since I only use one wrist, they do compete for the same space.

Now, if you’re like me and you get a kick out of looking at why this is, you’ll recognise the slowdown of the Chinese economy, Xi Jingping’s anti-corruption campaign, falling oil prices, wild currency fluctuations, a super-strong franc, terrorism, sanctions on Russia and even Brexit as factors for this. And you’d be right to think that way.

But I can’t help thinking that smartwatches, still largely dismissed by the Swiss watch industry, are a big part of the story, too. And perhaps a bigger part than anyone’s yet cared to admit. Yes, of course, comparing an Apple Watch with a Patek is like comparing oranges with apples. And yes, no one seems to be buying a Samsung Gear instead of a Rolex.

I’m curious as to how smartwatches1 will evolve in the following years, and if they’ll truly take off.

  1. Truth be told, they’re not very smart at the moment.