The Fairly-Accurate Edition Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Apple's ResearchKit Generates Reliable Health Data — At Least For Asthma Patients, by Angela Chen, The Verge

Health data collected entirely from smartphones can be reliable, research from Mount Sinai Hospital claims. The researchers involved found that Apple’s ResearchKit platform and an app for asthma were fairly accurate when compared to existing patient studies.

Apple News Is A Traffic And Subscription Driver For The Telegraph, by Lucinda Southern, Digiday

A key benefit of Apple News is that it pushes readers to The Telegraph’s app through ads. The Telegraph’s own app became free to download last October, but only since last week were app users able to subscribe to its premium content through the app. Bridge wouldn’t share how well the app has been in converting casual readers to subscribers, but early signs are encouraging, he said. Interestingly, the publisher said 65 percent of those who have been driven into The Telegraph app from Apple News are its most engaged app users, returning to the app more than five times in a month. They also index higher on other engagement metrics it measures, like dwell time and number of articles read.

Homing In On HomeKit

Apple’s Website Now Has A Useful List Of Smart Home Gadgets That Work With HomeKit, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

Apple’s list of HomeKit-compatible devices just got a whole lot better. While Apple has offered a list on its website that tracked which devices work with HomeKit, the new version is far more useful. It now sorts products by category instead of brand, and notes whether or not the devices are actually available for purchase or not (along with links to purchase those that are).

Apple Snubs Nokia's Withings On New HomeKit Accessories Webpage, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

It seems Apple is carrying forward a no-Withings policy to its new HomeKit accessories webpage, as Home Plus is nowhere to be found. Only two devices, the D-Link Omna 180 CAM HD and Kidde RemoteLync Camera with RemoteLync bridge, are listed in the "cameras" category.

Withings once enjoyed happy retail alliance with Apple for more than two years, even after Nokia purchased the French accessories firm for $192 million last April. The partnership quickly soured when Nokia filed suit against the iPhone maker for allegedly violating 32 patents. Apple released its own legal hounds and lodged a lawsuit against nine patent holdings firms and Nokia itself, claiming the entities are participating in a licensing conspiracy.

More Musical Buffet

Pandora Premium: The Original Music Streaming Giant Is Ready For Prime Time, by Micah Singleton, The Verge

Just over 15 months after Pandora acquired key assets from Rdio, and three months after it announced its plans, the company is ready to launch its full-fledged on-demand music service, Pandora Premium.

For the most part, Pandora Premium is exactly what you would expect it to be: a $10-a-month service with millions of songs that you can listen to at will and save offline whenever you want. There are workout and driving mixes and — of course — a radio feature. But Pandora has worked to separate itself from the rapidly growing pack of streaming services with a slew of personalization features and the least complicated music app to date. The goal is to make a music streaming experience more approachable for many who may not have given Apple Music or Spotify a try.

Pandora Premium Launches Today, But It Doesn’t Offer Anything New, by David Pierce, Wired

Pandora bought Rdio in November of 2015, and it was late to the on-demand party even then. The new app looks lovely, and it’ll certainly suit some of Pandora’s existing users. But as industry analyst Bob Lefsetz recently pointed out, “having Pandora and iHeart in the on demand streaming market will increase the overall pool, it will get newbies to dip their toes. But they’re gonna go where everybody else does, Spotify or Apple.” The streaming wars might be over, and Pandora might have missed them.


Apple Releases New Ad With Real-life iMessage Stickers, by Romain Dillet, TechCrunch

It’s a cheerful ad filled with teenagers running around and slapping stickers on people, food and objects. It is turning a boring messaging app into a pop culture symbol — are you team blue bubbles or team green bubbles?


Why Employees At Apple And Google Are More Productive, by Stephanie Vozza, Fast Company

The average company follows a method of unintentional egalitarianism, spreading star talent across all of the roles, says Mankins. Companies like Google and Apple, however, follow an intentionally nonegalitarian method. “They select a handful of roles that are business critical, affecting the success of the company’s strategy and execution, and they fill 95% of these roles with A-level quality,” says Mankins. “The rest of the roles have fewer star players.”

Any Vs AnyObject Vs NSObject In Swift 3, by Craig Grummitt

What is the difference between these three enigmatic types? A sometimes confusing topic, and to confuse things further Swift 3 has shaken it up by removing implicit bridging between Foundation and native data types. Aagh!


It’s Possible To Hack A Phone With Sound Waves, Researchers Show, by John Markoff, New York Times

A hacking that would allow someone to add extra steps to the counter on your Fitbit monitor might seem harmless. But researchers say it points to the broader risks that come with technology’s embedding into the nooks of our lives.

On Tuesday, a group of computer security researchers at the University of Michigan and the University of South Carolina will demonstrate that they have found a vulnerability that allows them to take control of or surreptitiously influence devices through the tiny accelerometers that are standard components in consumer products like smartphones, fitness monitors and even automobiles.

Silicon Valley Is Having A Meltdown Because It Can't Use Uber And Lyft At SXSW, by Henry Grabar, Slate

The outrage is dumb: Cities don’t function so differently now, by any metric, than they did before the ride-hailing apps debuted five years ago.

But it's also pernicious. It also illustrates how a happy reliance on Uber has blinded a whole group of influential Americans to a real mobility crisis in the U.S. that is getting worse, not better.

Most Americans Are Too Afraid To Ride In Self-Driving Cars, by Pete Bigelow, Popular Mechanics

Although it's not specified in the AAA research report, those fears may be rooted in a loss of control. The 1012 adults surveyed aren't keen on self-driving cars, but they change their tune when it comes to automated features that assist human drivers and represent the building blocks of autonomous technology.

Boaty McBoatface Gets Set For Its First Antarctic Expedition, by George Dvorsky, Gizmodo

Later this week, an Antarctic expedition will set off to map the undersea currents that play a critical role in regulating our planet’s climate. To assist them, the scientists will use an autonomous submarine that was famously named Boaty McBoatface by the collective genius of the internet.

Can You Solve It? Pi Day Puzzles That Will Leave You Pie-eyed, by Alex Bellos, The Guardian

In recent years Pi Day has gone from a geeky American eccentricity to a global celebration of maths, and I’m getting my r’s in a day early with two puzzles from the brilliant minds at (That’s r for radius, obvs.)

Bottom of the Page

Stephen Fry has started reading (almost) all of the Sherlock Holmes stories to me. In my ears. For the next 62 hours of happy happy commute.


Thanks for reading.