The Really-Cool Edition Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Apple Reports Record First Quarter Results, by Apple

Apple® today announced financial results for its fiscal 2016 first quarter ended December 26, 2015. The Company posted record quarterly revenue of $75.9 billion and record quarterly net income of $18.4 billion, or $3.28 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $74.6 billion and net income of $18 billion, or $3.06 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 40.1 percent compared to 39.9 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 66 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

Apple Q1 2016 Results: $75.9 Billion Revenue, 74.8 Million iPhones, 16.1 Million iPads Sold, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

Apple Reports 1 Billion “Active” Devices, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunc

Apple says now its “active” install base has reached 1 billion devices. (Actually, it has surpassed it, says CEO Tim Cook.) That figure includes iPhone, iPad, Mac, iPod touch, Apple TV and Apple Watch devices that have been engaged with Apple’s services over the past 90 days, the company explains.

Apple Sold A Record Number Of iPhones—But Just Barely, by Davey Alba, Wired

Compared to the same time last year, iPhone sales saw their slowest growth—0.4 percent—since the product was launched in 2007.

Apple Chief Tim Cook: We’re Seeing Extreme Conditions Everywhere We Look, by Mark DeCambre, MarketWatch

Apple pointed to troubles from the greenback and weakness in currencies in Brazil, China and Russia as a headwind for the company that has drawn two-thirds of its revenues from overseas.

Apple Still Didn’t Say How Many Watches It Sold, by Davey Alba, Wired

This marks the third consecutive quarter Apple has kept silent on the figure.

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook Thinks Virtual Reality Is “Really Cool”, by Tyler Lee, Ubergizmo

According to Cook, who responded to the question on whether he thinks virtual reality is considered niche, he claims that virtual reality technology is not a niche field and that it is “really cool”. He also notes that the technology could have some interesting applications, although he did not provide any specifics.

Maybe Apple Really Does Need To Make A Smaller iPhone, by Kirk McElhearn

60% of people are using an iPhone prior to the iPhone 6. In other words, 60% of people are using smaller iPhones.

This Is Tim: Apple's CEO On Q1 2016, by Serenity Caldwell, Jason Snell, iMore

Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke with analysts during the company's Q1 2016 earnings call. Here's our ongoing live transcript of his remarks.

Today's How Tos

How To Learn To Code When You Have No Idea Where To Start, by Serenity Caldwell, iMore

It would likely take you millions of years to consume all the content available on our computers, phones, and tablets — there's so much out there on the Internet and App Store, and more coming every day. But what if you want to make your own content? That world can be a lot darker and scarier if you're not sure where to start.

There's a ton of great content on website-building, ebook creation, writing automated workflows for productivity, and even putting together your own apps. But when you're starting from step zero, where do you go? Who do you talk to?

How To Give Up Your Phone For A Week, According To A 16-year-old, by Leslie Landis, Washington Post

My parents tease me about how much I use my phone. It’s always in my hand at home. Even at the dinner table, my phone is right next to me. My parents always say I can’t go without my phone and I always answer back with yes I can. One day I thought to myself, can I?

For a whole week, I, a 16-year-old girl living in New York City, gave up my iPhone. I use a laptop at home, so I could check the news and do my homework. I wasn’t giving up communication, I was giving up instant communication. I wanted to see if our phones really were our lifeline.

How To Fix Your Own Headphones, by April Glaser, Wired

Just because something is broken doesn’t mean it can’t be fixed—especially if that something is a nice pair of headphones you’ve invested in. Headphones break relatively easily because we use them so frequently and treat them harshly. They’re subjected to rain, sun, airplane seat-backs, and the bottom of your backpack.

So don’t ditch your favorite pair just because they break. See if you can fix them first.

How To Get A Mac Laptop's Headphone Jack To Work Reliably, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

There can be several causes to this problem, but you can isolate the easy one first: Get a can of compressed air or an air compressor designed for use with computers. Put the laptop on a level surface, and briefly spray air into the headphone jack. (Never spray canned compressed air except with the can perfectly level; otherwise, it can leak compressed liquid and damage.)

How To Get Five Planets Into A Single Photograph, by Nicholas St. Fleur, New York Times

One of the trickiest aspects of getting the shot is simply knowing where to look for the headliners amid the countless bright orbs above. Before his trip, Mr. Hogan used a software program called Stellarium to help him pinpoint the planets’ locations. When he got to the park he used a mobile app called Sky Guide to home in on Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

More Reasons For Safari To Crash

Safari Is Crashing On iPhone And Mac Because Apple’s Search Suggestions Are Down, by Owen Williams, The Next Web

If you can’t open Safari on your Mac or iPhone today, you’re not alone. A bug that appears to be related to Apple’s search suggestions within both Safari on iOS and OS X is causing the browser to crash or lock up.


The 5K iMac, by Casey Liss

What with each of my virtual desktops on the iMac having around three times as many pixels as my MacBook Pro’s, I don’t need virtual desktops near as much.

The Best PDF App For Mac: PDFpen, by Mike Schmitz, The Sweet Setup

If you’re looking to edit PDFs on your Mac, quality options are hard to come by, and PDFpen is the cream of the (very limited) crop. PDFpen offers enough features to complete just about any standard PDF editing task quickly and easily, and offers a Pro version for those who need the extra features.

Dashlane 4 Review: Easy And Convenient Password Management For Your Mac, by Marco Tabini, Macworld

Ultimately, Dashlane is a great digital vault, particularly for users that need a little help navigating the sometimes complex world of security. It integrates well with all the apps you’re likely to use every day, offers a compelling sync offering, and automates many drudging tasks that, while crucial to good password hygiene, are often overlooked because of their menial nature.

Backblaze, The Cloud Backup Service, Will Now Loan You A Hard Drive Full Of Your Data, by Chris Welch, The Verge

Backblaze, my preferred cloud backup service for a few years now, is today making it a bit easier and cheaper to restore all of your data if your computer should ever crash or get lost / stolen. The company has always let subscribers ($5 per month) pay $189 to receive an external hard drive with a full copy of their backup. But maybe you don't need yet another external drive that'll just end up sitting around collecting dust. So now Backblaze is giving customers another option: send it back within 30 days for a full refund.

Matias Tactile Pro Keyboard Is A Step Back In Time That Moves Serious Typists Forward, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

A serious typist will find the Tactile Pro quite a bargain when they factor in the increased productivity and decreased fatigue this outstanding keyboard provides. I can't believe I lived without this keyboard for so long.

Microsoft's News Pro App Combines Bing News And Social Media To Serve Up Your Headlines, by Dan Thorp-Lancaster, iMore

Microsoft has released a new app for iPhone that seeks to aggregate all of the news you're interested in under one roof. Called News Pro, the app is powered by Bing News and uses your interests as a guide to pick and choose stories from around the web for you to read. The app itself is somewhat similar in nature to Apple's own News app that launched with iOS 9. However, Microsoft's take is a bit different in that it pulls your interests in from social media accounts.

Go Live: You Can Now Broadcast On Periscope Using Your GoPro, by Aldrin Calimlim, AppAdvice

To enjoy Periscope’s GoPro integration, you’ll need an iPhone 5s or newer, running iOS 8.2 or later, and a GoPro Hero 4.


Welcoming Our New Swift 2.2 Overlords, by Erica Sadun

All hail Xcode Beta 7.3 and Swift 2.2. It’s here and there’s so much in there. Here’s a first take at some of the major 2.2 features.


Singalong To Siri, by BBC

"Siri, what is one trillion to the tenth power?"

On the face of things it's not immediately obvious how this mindboggling mathematics question could inspire sweet music.

Apple Update Now Available For Download, by Greg Tannen, New Yorker

Congratulations! You have chosen to update to the new Apple Operating System, Haleakalā.

No, don’t bother trying to spell it. It took us three tries, and we made the damn thing. Anyway, Haleakalā National Park is in Hawaii, which we thought was cool, and we’re doing this whole national-parks name thing . . . so, well, there you go. Haleakalā!

Will Today’s Kids Be Stumped By The Technology Of The Future?, by Kaveh Waddell, The Atlantic

We’ve become very good at using devices that we don’t understand. Today’s gadgets—smartphones, tablets, and everyday objects that are connected to the Internet—are inscrutable. They work, they’re slow, or they crash, but all the while, the average user has no idea what’s going on beneath the layers of glass, plastic, and metal. But that doesn’t seem to bother users, who are happy and confident as long as they can get the devices to do what they want.

“Being in the company of machines that are mysterious: That’s a new thing,” says Lucas. “And making peace with that mystery might be a fundamentally new part of the human experience.”

Proposed State Bans On Phone Encryption Make Zero Sense, by Andy Greenberg, Wired

They say, the most likely result of any state banning the sale of encrypted smartphones would be to make the devices of law-abiding residents’ more vulnerable, while still letting criminals obtain an encrypted phone with a quick trip across the state border or even a trivial software update.

Rumor Of The Day

Apple Plans To Offer Subscription Content Through News App, by Jessica Toonkel and Julia Love, Reuters

Apple Inc is working to make subscription content available through its News app, giving publishers with paywalls a new way to control who sees their articles, two sources familiar with the matter said. [...] By making paid content available through its News app, Apple would give publishers a way to maintain relationships with readers and perhaps attract new subscribers.

Bottom of the Page

If the two-year replacement-cycle still continues for me, seeing that the Singapore telco hasn't given up the two-year-contract-and-we-pretend-your-phone-is-very-cheap idea yet, the next iPhone will be the one I'm upgrading to.

Here's my wishlist:

1) Water-proofing the iPhone will be a welcoming feature. In particular, if Apple can make Touch ID to work even with wet fingers, I will be extremely happy. If the price to pay is the loss of the headphone jack, then so be it.

2) So long as there are no significant price increase: a pair of wireless earpods, please. Especially if the earpods have whole-day battery life, and, like the Apple Pencil, the earpods can be charged quickly by plugging into the lightning port for one or two minute for another few hours of battery life. (Okay, this may be asking too much.)

3) Instead of a pair of volume buttons, change it to a set of volume-up + play/pause + volume-down buttons. Just like the iPod nano. I may be among the minority, but I often listen to music and podcasts without headphones. A physical play/pause button on the phone itself will be useful for me. (Of course, given Apple's general direction of buttons-removal, this wishlist is unlikely to be fulfilled.)


Thanks for reading.