The Staircase-With-Widening-Price-Range Edition Tuesday, August 1, 2017

How Much Will The New iPhone Cost?, by Horace Dediu, Asymco

The graph shows a high degree of consistency of pattern: Every year a new iPhone is launched which replaces the one launched the year before. The older product is still offered at a reduced price. Price brackets are very firm and set at fixed intervals about $100 apart.


The overall pattern looks like a staircase with a widening price range where the lowest price remains constant and the upper price rises every three years by $100.

The Physics Behind The Magical Parallax Effect Running Your AR Apps, by Rhett Allain, Wired

Let's start with a super simple demo to demonstrate the effect. Here's what you do: Take your arm and hold it out in front of you with your thumb sticking up. Now close your left eye and look at your thumb. In particular, look at some object that is past your thumb (something in the room or something outside—it doesn't matter). Now open your left eye and close your right eye. Notice the apparent motion of your thumb with respect to background objects. It looks as though your thumb is moving. Now switch your viewing eye back and forth—left, right, left, right. Cool winky face, dude.

The moving thumb is an example of parallax. It's the apparent motion of an object with respect to background objects when the viewing point moves. The closer the object is to an eye (or a camera), the more it appears to move. In the case of your eyes, it's as though your view moves from the left to the right eye. You could also do this with an actual camera.

But here is the cool and useful part. If you know the actual distance between two viewing points and the angular change in position of an object, you can calculate the distance to the object. Parallax isn't just a cool party trick, it can also be used to find real stuff.

Apple Versus The Trademark Sleuths, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

In recent years, Apple-obsessed sleuths have managed to ferret out the names and details of the company's products by searching trademark offices around the world. But their challenge has become exponentially harder thanks to a well-timed rule change at Jamaica's trademark office and some clever maneuvering in Liechtenstein.

Apple, Google Drop Trading Apps After Australian Intervention, by Emily Cadman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. and Google have removed over 300 so-called binary trading applications from their online stores after intervention by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission, according to an ASIC statement on Tuesday.

The country’s securities regulator said it made the request to Apple and Google after numerous cases of fraud involving unlicensed operators of the apps, which encourage consumers to make bets on whether instruments like shares or currencies will rise or fall. While some are legitimate operations, there has been an explosion in unlicensed products operating across borders and beyond the reach of regulators in recent years.


Carpool Karaoke: The Series Launches August 8th, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Apple announced today that its next original TV series, Carpool Karaoke: The Series, will premiere on August 8th and air new episodes every Tuesday from that point on.

Apple Launches Limited-time Discount On Select Beats Products, But We’ve Seen Better Deals, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple today has launched a limited-time discount on select Beats products, offering slightly lower prices on the Beats EP headphones, the Beats Pill + speaker, and the urBeats earbuds.

I Mocked The Apple Pencil. Now My iPad Productivity Depends On It, by Matthew Miller, ZDNet

Many websites and advertisements show some pretty amazing Apple Pencil creations, primarily from artists who have talent and skill. I am a professional engineer, not an artist, and I struggle to draw stick people. I was hesitant to purchase an Apple Pencil because I couldn't see how I would use it.

Thankfully, there is much more you can do with an Apple Pencil than draw pictures, create cartoons, and develop electronic masterpieces.

Gboard Update Brings YouTube And Maps Integrations, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

When using Gboard, tapping the G button will now present YouTube and Maps tabs alongside the standard Search option. Both new options present an assortment of suggestions when you first open them, along with the expected search function.

Flume 2.7 Adds Carousel Uploads, Saved Collections And 2FA Settings, by Preshit Deorukhkar, Beautiful Pixels

Flume 2.7 adds full support for carousel/multi-image uploads. Instagram added this feature back in February and Flume has supported browsing, viewing and editing them since Flume 2.5 which was released in March.

Spotify Is Coming After Apple With A New Podcast Initiative, by Lucas Shaw, Bloomberg

Spotify is testing whether to devote more resources to areas other than music. Podcasts are a fast-growing field currently dominated by Apple Inc. By increasing the revenue it gets from other media, Spotify could reduce the huge share of sales that goes to record labels.


Apple Expands The Tester Limits In TestFlight, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

Developers can now invite up to 10,000 users to beta test their apps before they’re released on the App Store.

Developing For iPhone Pro, by Allen Pike

Instead of the Back button being located in literally the least convenient place on the screen, imagine it right under your thumb, nestled right beside our old friend the Home button. Maybe they’ll even let Jony put a little clock face in there. It’s going to be wild, people.


Apple's Sustainable Forestry Strategy Branches Out, by Joel Makower, GreenBiz

The tech giant has just announced the latest expansion of its sustainable forestry strategy, aimed at protecting or creating enough responsibly managed forests to offset its packaging footprint. Late last week, it said that the Forest Stewardship Council had certified 320,000 acres of working forest that the company supports in China, enough to cover all its product packaging.


"We found that the Chinese were willing to be wonderful partners, both on the private- and public-sector side because they have a real appreciation for the forest resource," Lisa Jackson, VP of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, told me.

A Farewell To Screen Savers, The Imagined Dreams Of Our Machines, by Jacob Brogan, Slate

Maybe the change was inevitable. Screen savers were always disappearing; that was the point. Move your mouse, hit a key, and they vanish. Though their animations were often hallucinatory, it was that insubstantial quality that made them truly phantasmagoric. They operated at the outer limits of attention, engagement, and interaction. Screen savers belonged to a world we could only ever observe, a world of dreaming machines.

On Apple Removing VPN Apps From The App Store In China, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

If Apple tugged on the “We refuse to remove these VPN apps from the App Store” thread, it would inextricably lead to their leaving the entire Chinese market. It’s easy to say “Apple shouldn’t have removed these apps.” It’s not so easy to say “Apple should pull out of China.”


If you really think VPN apps in the App Store is the sword Apple should die on in China, I get it. But I do not agree.

Bottom of the Page

Now that Apple has stopped selling iPod nano and shuffle, how long more before iTunes (the app) stops supporting the must-sync-via-USB iPods? Because, this may well be the moment Apple rewrites the iTunes app to make it simplier and more focused.

Apple may get rid of contacts and calendar syncing from iTunes, and have everything goes through iCloud. Similiarily, photo albums can be downloaded and sync-ed across Wi-Fi. And, finally, all those code dealing with moving music and podcasts and movies and other media between the computer and iPods can be thrown away. Oh, and no more purchasing of iOS apps on the Mac, nor can you rearrange the icons on your iPhone while you are in iTunes.

What emerges may well be a simplier and more focused iTunes that we hopefully will enjoy using.

(Given that Apple just recently announced it is bringing the iTunes app into Windows store, I am not expecting iTunes app to be broken up into little pieces of little apps, like how it is being done on iOS. I am expecting feature-and-user-interface parity between iTunes on the two platforms.)


Thanks for reading.