10.5″ iPad Pro Entering Limited Production, But Launch Remains Unclear →

March 28, 2017 · 11:36

Joe Rossignol:

At this point, however, it remains unclear whether the 10.5-inch iPad Pro will be announced later this spring, at WWDC 2017 in June, or in the fall or later, as rumors are lacking consensus.

If the 10.5″ iPad is going to showcase a new iPad design language, perhaps akin to the new iPhones, then I would assume it will debut in Autumn, along with or after the iPhones.

UK Government Renews Calls for WhatsApp Backdoor After London Attack →

March 27, 2017 · 12:13

James Vincent:

Following last week’s terrorist attack in London, the UK government has renewed a familiar campaign against digital encryption. Echoing criticisms made in 2015 by then prime minister David Cameron after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, UK home secretary Amber Rudd this weekend described the government’s inability to read messages on end-to-end encrypted messaging apps as “completely unacceptable.”

And so it begins… again. (Sigh.)

Dear B&O, I’m Still Waiting for a Pair of Wireless H6s →

March 27, 2017 · 11:46

Vlad Savov, writing for The Verge:

Speaking with B&O Tonmeister Geoff Martin (who’s responsible for tuning everything right up to the company’s $80-something-thousand BeoLab 90 speakers) this week, I asked directly if the company could produce a wireless H6. And he answered, just as directly: “yes.” The actual reason for why B&O Play doesn’t offer a wireless headphone tuned like the H6 is that its sound signature is too light on bass to be used in the noisy environments of an underground commute or a long flight. That’s why the wireless models that B&O Play does offer — the H7, H8, and H9 — have an extra slice of low-end rumble, with the intention being that they’ll sound their best when circumstances around the listener are less than ideal.

Dear B&O,

I have a pair of H6s, which I absolutely love1. I will continue waiting for a wireless version, despite your hesitation. Also, I don’t much care for the touch-controls on the current wireless line-up. Please make this happen.

Sincerely,

Many people

  1. Which I will upgrade to the 2nd Edition sooner or later.

Apple Has Acquired Workflow, a Powerful Automation Tool for iPad and iPhone →

March 23, 2017 · 08:54

Matthew Panzarino:

This is not a ‘pure acquihire’ in that Workflow — not just the talent — is being purchased in this deal. This makes sense and I’m glad to see it because Workflow itself was a prime meat example of how to find a need in the iOS ecosystem, tackle it in an interesting way and execute it with cleverness and attention to honoring the platform. Simply put it’s super smart, really well designed and works very well.

Wow! This is something I did not expect.

I use Workflow every single day and I just hope it won’t go away and will continue to be updated. I actually just used it to create this post.

Etihad Publishes Approved Onboard Item Rules for Flights to US

March 22, 2017 · 18:32

In an email, sent to their clients, Etihad informs:

Following a directive from US authorities, we have been advised that guests travelling to the United States from Abu Dhabi International Airport are not permitted to carry electronic devices larger than a cell phone or smart phone on board.

Mobile phones and medical devices are permitted but larger items including laptops, tablets, cameras and e-readers will need to be placed into baggage that is checked in. This must be done at the start of your journey. The ban does not affect flights leaving from the US towards Abu Dhabi and beyond.

These new rules come into effect for flights to the US via Abu Dhabi, starting 25 March.

Any guests travelling to the UK via Abu Dhabi are not affected by the directive from the UK authorities.

More Details on the Aeroplane Laptop Travel Ban →

March 21, 2017 · 21:38

BBC UK:

The United States and United Kingdom have announced that laptops, e-readers and almost any other electronic device that is not a phone will be banned from cabin luggage on some flights.

The US rule only applies to 10 airports, but one of those is the world’s busiest international airport – Dubai International.

For more details, including a full list of countries and airports, see the original piece on BBC’s site.

US Forbids Any Device Larger Than Cellphone on Flights From 13 Countries →

March 20, 2017 · 22:00

Sam Thielman:

US authorities have required airlines from 13 nations to forbid passengers from carrying any electronic or electrical device larger than a cellphone.

The new edict was distributed in an email described as “confidential” from the US transportation safety administration (TSA) on Monday.

The requirement forbids passengers from bringing laptops, iPads, Kindles and even cameras larger than mobile phones into the cabin. All such devices must be checked.

Devices with lithium-ion batteries aren’t allowed in checked baggage as far as I know. So this is basically a ban on close to everything apart from cellphones. I know I won’t be visiting the US anytime soon, even though the ban will most probably not include my home country — I can’t bring myself to condone this sort of behaviour.

Swatch Developing Own Watch Operating System To Compete with Android Wear and watchOS →

March 16, 2017 · 17:54

Corinne Gretler:

Swatch Group AG said it’s developing an alternative to the iOS and Android operating systems for smartwatches as Switzerland’s largest maker of timepieces vies with Silicon Valley for control of consumers’ wrists.

The company’s Tissot brand will introduce a model around the end of 2018 that uses the Swiss-made system, which will also be able to connect small objects and wearables, Swatch Chief Executive Officer Nick Hayek said in an interview Thursday. The technology will need less battery power and it will protect data better, he said later at a press conference.

The problem with Swatch’s OS will be the same thing that limits Android Wear on iOS — no meaningful possibility to integrate with the iPhone. Android users could potentially benefit more from this, but I don’t see Swatch making any serious dent in the market in the near future.

Jonathan Zdziarski Is Joining Apple’s Security Team →

March 14, 2017 · 17:48

Jonathan Zdziarski:

I’m pleased to announce that I’ve accepted a position with Apple’s Security Engineering and Architecture team, and am very excited to be working with a group of like minded individuals so passionate about protecting the security and privacy of others.

Congratulations! I do hope that he'll still be around on Twitter and keep on posting.

10.5-inch iPad to be Announced at Apple Event in Early April →

March 14, 2017 · 14:19

Benjamin Mayo:

Following leaks about as-yet-unannounced iPad device identifiers, Digitimes is today reporting that Apple has moved up production plans for a new 10.5 inch iPad to this month, and will unveil the new iPad at a product event in ‘early April’.

I seriously doubt Digitimes has a single source inside Apple, which is where event decisions are made. The supply chain has nothing to do with them. I’m willing to bet it’s speculation, perhaps based on Apple’s orders, and it might turn out to be true, but it’s speculation nonetheless.

The Girl in the Spider’s Web Without Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig →

March 14, 2017 · 13:44

Brian Truitt:

Lisbeth Salander, the punk hacker anti-heroine from the late Stieg Larsson’s Millennium book series, is returning to the big screen in The Girl in the Spider’s Web, scheduled to hit cinemas October 5, 2018. But Dragon Tattoo stars Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig won’t be returning as Salander and journalist Mikael Blomkvist. A new cast is being picked for the adaptation directed by Fede Alvarez (…)

“Lisbeth Salander is the kind of character any director dreams of bringing to life,” the filmmaker said. “We’ve got a great script and now comes the most fun part – finding our Lisbeth.”

I was skeptical of the movies with Mara and Craig after reading the books. But I watched them. They weren’t as good, but the casting was near perfect, especially Rooney Mara, playing Lisbeth. I’m sure Fede Alvarez will have a lot of fun looking for a new Lisbeth, but I won’t be enjoying his final work, unfortunately — don’t want to spoil the previous films.

iPad Pro 10.5″ Reported to Have 2224×1668 Resolution Screen →

February 27, 2017 · 22:25

Mike Wehner, writing for BGR:

Apple’s long-rumored 10.5-inch iPad Pro is expected to fill in the gap between Apple’s 9.7- and 12.9-inch top-of-the-line tablets, but until now the mythical slate’s display have been a subject of debate. Now, thanks to Rhoda Alexander, IHS Markit’s Director of Tablets and PCs, we might have an answer. Speaking with Forbes, Alexander claims that the new tablet with have a resolution of 2,224-by-1,668, which will allow the 10.5-inch Pro to maintain the exact same PPI ratio as the two existing iPad Pro models.

At that claimed resolution, the new tablet’s pixel density comes in at 264 pixels-per-inch. That matches the 9.7-inch iPad Pro (2,048-by-1,536) and the 12.9-inch version (2,732-by-2,048) in terms of sharpness. That makes a lot of sense for a tablet that is aimed at creative types, and will essentially remove one technical factor from the decision process of anyone shopping Apple’s tablet lineup.

While this theoretically makes sense, I do not believe this will be the case. Adding a 2224×1668 px screen would force developers to adopt yet another resolution, bringing the total up to three (the others are 2048×1536 and 2732×2048). This would complicate many things unnecessarily, including the keyboard, new UI layouts, etc.

I already made this case last year, doing the maths behind the 10.5″ screen. Adopting the 2732×2048 resolution from the iPad Pro 12.9″ makes much more sense. First of all, no major changes to the UI, keyboard, and software would be needed — everything would look exactly like on the 12.9″ model, but smaller. That new 10.5″ screen would have 326 ppi, which is on par with the iPad mini and iPhone 7. Secondly, Apple would retain just two resolutions in the iPad line-up (not counting the non-Retina 1024×768 of course).

This is the simpler and more logical solution, especially since so many people appreciate the additional space and more advanced layout of the 12.9″ UI, including space for two portraits apps side by side, the full keyboard, and more.

Announcing the First SHA1 Collision →

February 23, 2017 · 20:22

Google Security Blog:

Today, 10 years after of SHA-1 was first introduced, we are announcing the first practical technique for generating a collision. This represents the culmination of two years of research that sprung from a collaboration between the CWI Institute in Amsterdam and Google. We’ve summarized how we went about generating a collision below. As a proof of the attack, we are releasing two PDFs that have identical SHA-1 hashes but different content.

NASA Telescope Reveals Largest Batch of Earth-Size, Habitable-Zone Planets Around Single Star →

February 23, 2017 · 09:15

NASA:

NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water.

The discovery sets a new record for greatest number of habitable-zone planets found around a single star outside our solar system. All of these seven planets could have liquid water – key to life as we know it – under the right atmospheric conditions, but the chances are highest with the three in the habitable zone.

“This discovery could be a significant piece in the puzzle of finding habitable environments, places that are conducive to life,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “Answering the question ‘are we alone’ is a top science priority and finding so many planets like these for the first time in the habitable zone is a remarkable step forward toward that goal.”

I would love to live in an age, where space travel and the Millennium Falcon are the norm.

The Nvidia GTX 1080 — the Nail in the Coffin for the Mac Pro →

February 23, 2017 · 09:08

Marco Solorio, writing on the OneRiver Media Blog:

But as good as that juiced up Mac Pro Tower is today, I know at some point, the time will have to come to an end, simply because Apple hasn’t built a PCIe-based system in many years now.

The Nvidia GTX 1080 might be the final nail in the coffin. I can guarantee at this point, we will have to move to a Windows-based workstation for our main edit suite and one that supports multiple PCIe slots specifically for the GTX 1080 (I’ll most likely get two 1080s that that new price-point).

With all that said, I see (and have already seen) a huge migration of longtime Apple users (such as me) going to Windows systems for their main workstation needs. The sheer power and lower cost is just too huge at this point. The Nvidia GTX 1080 just compounded that point exponentially stronger.

The only way out that I can see, is building a Hackintosh, but that’s just not possible for pros who need to rely on their hardware and software every hour of every day.

I am personally starting to consider that I will have to go Windows at some point in the future, just on my desktop and just for my video and photography needs.

Reverse halo effect, anyone?

The Men at Uber Are Pigs →

February 22, 2017 · 12:28

Susan J. Fowler:

After the first couple of weeks of training, I chose to join the team that worked on my area of expertise, and this is where things started getting weird. On my first official day rotating on the team, my new manager sent me a string of messages over company chat. He was in an open relationship, he said, and his girlfriend was having an easy time finding new partners but he wasn’t. He was trying to stay out of trouble at work, he said, but he couldn’t help getting in trouble, because he was looking for women to have sex with. It was clear that he was trying to get me to have sex with him, and it was so clearly out of line that I immediately took screenshots of these chat messages and reported him to HR.

I cannot imagine anyone I know behaving in the fashion described by Susan. I don’t know her, I do believe her words, yet I cannot fathom how something like this could happen. I have long since stopped using their service and this piece just reaffirms my decision to do so was correct.

9 Reasons Why You’ll Want to Ditch Your Mac and Take a Serious Look at the Surface Book →

February 22, 2017 · 12:23

A post on Photography Talk:

Here’s nine reasons why I think you’ll be ditching your Mac soon in favor of the Surface Book.

I can list ten things I love about these types of posts1.

Sure, the Surface Book outweighs the latest 13-inch MacBook Pro by nearly 300 grams. Of course, that’s due in part to the innovative design of the Surface Book that makes it a laptop and a tablet in one.

So, the extra weight and thickness of the Surface Book aren’t all bad because the Surface Book is just simply more versatile than the MacBook.

I’m willing to bet that if the Surface Book was lighter than the MacBook Pro, it wouldn’t be listed under cons.

But in this case, it’s not just the larger size but also the number of pixels. The Surface Book i7 sports 3000×2000 resolution compared to the MacBook’s 2560×1600 resolution.

This is valid — the new 2016 MacBook Pros should have a 2800×1800 px panel, to support the new default resolution of 1400×900 pt.

Microsoft’s offering also achieved a better Adobe RGB score in testing, as well as a higher contrast ratio. That means you get a higher quality picture with the Surface Book i7 than you do with the MacBook Pro because it’s 67 percent brighter with 25 percent more colors.

No it hasn’t. It covers 100% of sRGB, but still has a way to go to cover Display P3.

Put simply, the Surface Book shines when it comes to storage space.

Ooh, does Microsoft now offer 2 TB of storage?!

The i7 models range from 256GB to 1TB, giving you plenty of options for your storage needs. If you opt for the less expensive i5 version, you can choose between 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB.

Hmm, no.

But on the 13-inch MacBook Pro, your only options are 256GB or 512GB. Even an upgrade to the 17-inch model still only gets you 256GB or 512GB. To get the same 1TB of storage offered by the Surface Book, you have to order the machine straight from Apple.

So… both offer a max of 1 TB, but since Apple’s MacBook comes from Apple it’s worse than Microsoft Surface Book which comes from Microsoft? I see no logic in this statement. None at all. And the 17-inch model (which doesn’t exist; I assume the author is referring to the 15-incher) goes up to 2 TB.

(…) the Surface Book wins in the battery life department.

The new MacBook can last about eight hours unplugged. The Surface Book offers about the same amount of time.

The Surface Book wins because it gets the same 8 hours as the MacBook Pro? Gotcha!

The fact that Apple removed the SD card slot won’t be a big deal for some people, but for a lot of photographers, it could be a deal breaker.

I do miss my SD card slot, but it’s not a deal breaker in real life. It’s not even a hassle.

Where the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro runs $1,499, the entry-level Surface Book is a mere $1,299.

First of all, the Surface Book is currently on sale. Its regular price is $1499. For that money, you get a 128 GB SSD, while the MacBook Pro has a 256 GB of flash storage. The i5 Surface Book with 256 GB of storage comes in at $1699.

A bump up to the entry-level Surface Book i7 will set you back $2,099. To get similar processing speed and storage capacity, you have to upgrade to the entry-level MacBook Pro, which runs a cool $2,399.

The i7 Surface Book is indeed $2099 and it includes a 256 GB SSD and 8 GB of RAM. For $1999 you can get a MacBook Pro with a Core i7, a 256 GB SSD, and 16 GB of RAM. So the Surface Book is more expensive in all regards, with the top model maxing out at $3199 (1 TB SSD, 16 GB of RAM, dGPU). The MacBook Pro (13” with Touch Bar) maxes out at $2899 with the same specs, although I have to note that it does not include discrete graphics. You could just get a 15” model for almost the same money. It comes in at $3199 for the Core i7 2.7 GHz (which is a quad-core CPU!), 1 TB of storage, a dGPU, and 16 GB of RAM.


I’m sure that the Surface Book is a great machine, but the author’s arguments unfortunately aren’t.

  1. That’s sarcasm, yes.

Quincy Larson: “I’ll Never Bring My Phone on an International Flight Again” →

February 18, 2017 · 14:33

Quincy Larson:

It’s only a matter of time before downloading the contents of people’s phones becomes a standard procedure for entering every country. This already happens in Canada. And you can bet that countries like China and Russia aren’t far behind (…)

When you travel internationally, you should leave your mobile phone and laptop at home (…)

Is all this inconvenient? Absolutely. But it’s the only sane course of action when you consider the gravity of your data falling into the wrong hands.

If you bother locking your doors at night, you should bother securing your phone’s data during international travel.

At this point in our history, seeing what’s happening in the US, I would definitely not bring my iPhone with me. A cheap, secondary smartphone, which I can configure with what I need after I’ve been let in, would be more than sufficient.

Phil Schiller: ”It Feels Like WWDC is Going Home“ →

February 16, 2017 · 21:33

John Gruber:

Apple doesn’t like to explain itself. I don’t know why Apple moved WWDC to San Francisco in 2003. But my guess is that they sought more media attention. Apple went to where the attention was. Today, the attention comes to Apple. They could hold WWDC in the middle of a desert and it would still sell out in an instant and there’d be the same convoy of media trucks outside the hall the morning of the keynote. If a large corporation can be described as a homebody, Apple is it. And San Francisco is not Apple’s home turf.

Schiller has been at Apple (and on stage at WWDC) throughout this entire run, and he seems ready to go back. “It feels like WWDC is going home,” he told me.

It’s still one of my dreams to go to WWDC, but since I’m not a developer, it wouldn’t feel right taking part in the lottery. The costs are an issue too, of course, but the former is a primary deterrent for me.

WWDC 2017 Will Be Held in in San Jose on June 5-9, 2017 →

February 16, 2017 · 16:50

Apple PR:

Apple® today announced its 28th annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) — hosting the world’s most talented developer community — will be held at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose. The conference, kicking off June 5, will inspire developers from all walks of life to turn their passions into the next great innovations and apps that customers use every day across iPhone®, iPad®, Apple Watch®, Apple TV® and Mac®.

Mark your calendars.

Confide: A Quick Look →

February 16, 2017 · 13:05

Jonathan Zdziarski:

My inbox has been lighting up with questions about Confide, after it was allegedly found to have been used by staffers at the White House. I wish I had all of the free time that reporters think I have (I’d be so happy, living life as a broke beach bum). I did spend a little bit of time, however reverse engineering the binary and doing a simple forensic examination of it. Here’s my “literature in a rush” version.

Making More Outside The App Store →

February 11, 2017 · 13:48

Paul Kafasis, on Rogue Amoeba’s blog:

I certainly won’t state that every developer will have this same success if they remove a product from the Mac App Store and distribute it exclusively through their own site. Your mileage will undoubtedly vary.

In our case, however, it’s clear that we were serving Apple, rather than Apple serving us. By removing Piezo from the Mac App Store, we stopped paying a commission to Apple for the many customers who had found Rogue Amoeba on their own. Better still, we were able to improve the quality of the product while simplifying our work considerably. Ultimately, that alone was enough to convince us that leaving the Mac App Store was the right move. The subsequent revenue increase we’ve seen is merely a nice bonus.

Paul’s whole analysis is worth taking a look at — the results surprised me. Personally, I theoretically prefer purchasing through the Mac App Store, mostly due to the fact, that if I ever need to reinstall or re-download a program, I just pull up the Mac App Store list and click one button. No need to register, no need to find my registration details. Having said that, I actually purchase software directly from developers if possible, because I know that they earn more this way, at no any real cost to me, and I also usually get more timely updates.

Most of the new software that is submitted to the Mac App Store is garbage — I don’t remember when I last found something of true value from an unknown developer that I don’t follow. I can’t help but wonder when it will be forsaken by developers completely.

Magic Variables in Workflow 1.7 Are Magic →

February 10, 2017 · 11:54

Federico Viticci:

Magic Variables mostly remove the need to manually save variables. They leverage Workflow’s Content Graph engine to automatically keep track of variables in the background, allowing you to access them at any time with the ability to change their type (format). It’s a novel idea, and it’ll take a few minutes to fully grasp, but it’s drastically superior to Workflow’s old variables. Magic Variables will change how you build workflows.

I started using the new Magic Variables this morning, trying to rework one of my older workflows. The one which I am in fact using to create this post. Thanks to the new system, I’m down to 6 steps instead of close to 20. There are two huge benefits: quicker workflow creation and much more readable workflows.

Awesome work!

Counter-Forensics: Pair-Lock Your Device with Apple’s Configurator →

February 10, 2017 · 11:39

Jonathan Zdziarski:

(…) This article is a brief how-to on using Apple’s Configurator utility to lock your device down so that no other devices can pair with it, even if you leave your device unlocked, or are compelled into unlocking it yourself with a passcode or a fingerprint. By pair-locking your device, you’re effectively disabling every logical forensics tool on the market by preventing it from talking to your iOS device, at least without first being able to undo this lock with pairing records from your desktop machine. This is a great technique for protecting your device from nosy coworkers, or cops in some states that have started grabbing your call history at traffic stops.

Apple Hires Amazon’s Fire TV Head to Run Apple TV Business →

February 8, 2017 · 10:34

Mark Gurman:

Apple Inc. has hired Timothy D. Twerdahl, the former head of Amazon.com Inc.’s Fire TV unit, as a vice president in charge of Apple TV product marketing and shifted the executive who previously held the job to a spot negotiating media content deals.

The moves suggest a renewed focus on the Apple TV and on providing more content for the device, an effort that has been stalled in the past by failed negotiations.

I use my Apple TV 4 every single day. It has potential, which is currently wasted by inadequate software, bugs, and missing apps. I truly hope this means that Apple is taking strides to make this the best platform possible.

A Useless Analysis of macOS (OS X) Release Dates →

February 8, 2017 · 09:40

Rob Griffiths:

Below the break is a table showing all major releases of macOS (previously Mac OS X) from the public beta through the latest public version, which is macOS 10.12.3, as of January 23, 2017.

Interesting. Not useless. If you like geeking out over such things.