The Vulnerable-To-Cracks Edition Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Aberystwyth Man Wins Apple Watch Warranty Court Battle, by BBC

The technology giant said work to fix the watch was not covered by warranty, despite its official claim it was scratch-resistant.

Mr Cross won a case against the company for breach of the Sale of Goods Act. Apple has been asked to comment.

Apple Removes ‘Impact Resistant’ Claim From Apple Watch After Losing Court Case Over Cracked Screen, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Torture tests demonstrated that the Watch is pretty tough, but not immune to damage. The sapphire screens used on the more expensive stainless steel and Edition models is far more scratch-resistant than the Sport model, but just as vulnerable to cracks.

Art Of Communication

On Your Cute Release Notes, by Ben Brooks, The Brooks Review

You release notes are not a blog post, or a press release. They are a matter of fact conveyance of information to your dedicated users.

I don’t want marketing, I want information.

'How Dashlane Compromised My Privacy On Twitter', by David Bisson, Graham Cluley

I am disappointed that Dashlane exposed my email address on Twitter and took so long to fix the problem, but that's the full extent of it. I intend to keep using Dashlane, and in the worst case, I'll probably just need to keep an eye peeled for spam messages.

I only hope that this serves as a lesson to support representatives everywhere to take extra caution when handling customers' information. Email addresses might be easily tracked online, but at the end of the day, companies like Dashlane still have a responsibility to respect users' privacy and strive to keep them confidential.

Fast Read

Facebook And Twitter: Users Process Mobile Content Faster, by Jeffrey Graham, Fidji Simo, AdvertisingAge

Twitter eye-tracking research has found that across all demographics, people consume content faster on mobile devices than on desktop computers. Facebook testing confirmed this finding: On average, people consume mobile content on Facebook faster than on a desktop (1.7 seconds vs. 2.5 seconds).


Belkin’s Smart Switch Lets You Use Your Phone To Control Dumb Appliances, by Michael McCole, Wired

Belkin’s Wemo Switch is a simple product: any device you plug into it can be turned on or off from your Android or iOS device, no matter where you are. In your home, outside on the lawn, across town, or across the world. [...] Once you look beyond the obvious lighting applications, WeMo gets even more interesting.

You'll No Longer Be In The Dark With ProCamera's New Low-light Photography Mode, by Aldrin Calimlim, AppAdvice

LowLight Plus is a sort of super-powered successor to the old Night mode that’s well-suited to capturing photos in low-light conditions, whether outdoors or indoors. “In addition to a dedicated tripod mode, it also gives users the power to reduce noise in their photos with hand-held photography,” Cocologics explains. “By automatically combining multiple photos, it surmounts both hardware and software limitations to create superior low-light photos.”

Parallels Brings Server-based Desktop Apps To iPhone And Android In First Big Update Since Company Split, by James Risley, Geekwire

No one wants to work on their phone, but sometimes you just have to get something done while on the go. And the latest version of Parallels Remote Application Server allows for just that, running desktop applications on virtual machines and beaming those down to your phone or tablet.

Instagram Update Gives Older iPhones 3D Touch-like Functionality, by Rob Attrell, Mobilesyrup

Today, the iOS Instagram app was updated to give older iPhone users something they have been sorely missing since September, the ability to emulate 3D Touch gestures with a long press.

AirMood For iOS – A Minimalistic Breathing Tool To Help Relieve Stress, by MacTrast

AirMood is designed to guide users through various breathing techniques that can help them become more mindful, relaxed or energized and powerful. The app also includes an Apple Watch app for quick breathing sessions, and it also supplies reminders to help users stay on track with their breathing goals.

Amazon Updates Its Kindle App With Interactive Magazines For iPad, Support For iPad Pro, by iClarified


Activist Engineering, by Matthew Bischoff

We’re better than this. As software engineers and designers, we’re in the room when decisions are shaped, and the only ones who have the power to actually execute them. It’s our responsibility not to forsake the people who trust the apps we make with our silence. To stand up and refuse to implement unethical systems and dark patterns. And even more, to educate stakeholders on the real human costs of their business decisions: the time, attention, money, and trust of their customers.

Apple Releases Xcode 7.2.1 With Bug Fixes And Performance Improvements, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac


Apple's €850 Million Irish Data Centre Is On Hold After Locals Said It Will Threaten Bats And Badgers, by Sam Shead, Business Insider

A local planning group is reviewing complaints about the data centre which has pushed back Apple's schedule for the site.

Apple Acquired Firmware Security Company LegbaCore Last November, by Husain Sumra, MacRumors

While LegbaCore is a security consultancy firm that doesn't own any specific technology, it's likely Apple will use Kovah and Kallenberg's talent and knowledge to help improve firmware and software security in future iterations of Apple's various hardware and software products.

Zagg To Buy iPhone Battery Case Maker Mophie For $100 Million, by Ina Fried, Re/code

Mophie, the accessory maker best known for its iPhone battery cases, is being bought for at least $100 million by rival Zagg.

Microsoft Steps Up AI Push With Swiftkey Deal, by Tim Bradshaw and Murad Ahmed, Financial Times

Swiftkey soared to the top of the app store charts a few years ago due to its uncannily accurate predictive technology, which uses artificial intelligence to suggest the next word a user is about to type based on analysis of their writing style. Alongside “autocorrect that actually works”, Swiftkey says that its technology learns slang, nicknames and even which emojis its users prefer.

Last-gasp Safe Harbor “Political Deal” Struck Between Europe And US, by Kelly Fiveash, Ars Technica

An eleventh-hour data transfer "political agreement" has been reached between US and European Union officials, just as privacy watchdogs in the 28-member-state bloc were circling tech giants with the threat of enforcement action.

Coffee Break

The Science Behind A Good Cup Of Coffee, by Beth Mole, Ars Technica

So far, there’s little to no data on the health impact of drinking one type of coffee over another. In studies linking coffee to lowered risks of disease and death, researchers mostly clumped all coffee types together, even decaffeinated coffee, in some cases. But, there is a fair amount of data on individual components of coffee that are flavorful and beneficial—and how to squeeze as much them as possible into your mug. Here’s what the science says.

Taste Coffee Like A Pro With This Gorgeous Flavor Wheel, by Margaret Rhodes, Wired

Coffee, like wine, can be hard to characterize. Sure, it’s easy enough to identify bitter, or sweet, or even herbal flavors—but professionals in the coffee biz rely on a more nuanced lexicon to classify beans. It’s not enough to characterize a coffee’s taste as “green”; terms like “peapod,” “hay-like,” and “fresh” are all preferred descriptors. And to further complicate the already complicated task of classifying taste, those professionals all need to agree on what each word in that lexicon means, palate-wise.

Rumor Of The Day

Apple To Debut New iPad, Smaller iPhone At March 15 Event, by John Paczkowski, BuzzFeed

Sources in position to know tell BuzzFeed News the company has chosen March 15 as the date it will show off a handful of new products.

Among the devices Apple plans to unveil are the next generation version of the iPad Air and a new smaller iPhone. Approximately the same size as the iPhone 5s, this smaller iPhone will feature a 4-inch display and a faster chip. Also on board: Support for Apple Pay, the company’s mobile payment service. A selection of new Apple Watch bands is also expected.

Apple, Don’t Make The Smaller iPhone A Second-class Device, by Kirk McElhearn, Macworld

Please, Apple, let us have more choice and pick a smaller iPhone if we prefer that size. As Tim Cook said, “We put a lot of thinking into screen size and believe we’ve picked the right one.” I think he was right.

Bottom of the Page

Will we also see a price drop for Apple Watches? Will we see lower-priced iPhones? The economy is probably going south again, so perhaps it's time for Apple to invest in a larger market share?


Thanks for reading.