The Change-The-World-With-Products Edition Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Apple's Tim Cook On Environment, Education And Health Care, by Adam Lashinsky, Fortune

Ultimately, Cook sees Apple’s greatest societal contribution coming through the 2 million U.S. jobs it believes it creates through its “app economy” as well as the “many millions” more it supports in the rest of the world. For Apple, everything comes back to its products, about a billion of which are denting the universe at this very moment.

TIM COOK: Yes, I think in numerous ways. I think the No. 1 way Apple changes the world is through our products. We make products for people that are tools to enable them to do things that they couldn’t otherwise do—to enable them to create or learn or teach or play. Or do something really wonderful.

So that’s the primary way we change the world. We also try to change the world by the way we run the company. And whether that’s being very focused on the environment and making sure that we have a no-carbon footprint, essentially, or running our company on 100% renewable energy.

Shadows and Fog

How I Survived And Thrived In Apple's Legendary Environment Of Super-secrecy, by Matt MacInnis, Recode

This environment of secrecy produces an unwritten hierarchy of “haves” and “have-nots” within the company. For the “haves,” the hierarchy of disclosure is a way to exert influence and demonstrate power beyond one’s role or title. For “have-nots,” it’s a subtle but constant reminder of your rank.

To be sure, this culture of secrecy generates billions of dollars in real value for Apple’s shareholders. There’s no denying its merit and its reflection of the man who created the culture.

But values drive priorities, and no value can be reflected in a company’s culture without making trade-offs. Apple is no exception. Its legendary secrecy led to information silos, discouraged cross-functional knowledge sharing and created a rigid definition of roles that discouraged individuals from expanding their professional horizons.

Apple’s Needless Cult Of Secrecy, by William Turton, The Outline

While it’s understandable that Apple wants to control the information around its product releases, maybe it’s time to stop subjecting its employees to an unhealthy culture of secrecy that has proven to be ineffective.

Upcoming From Apple

Apple Is About To Win Its War On Buttons With The New iPhone, by Alyssa Bereznak, The Ringer

“The joke back in the day was that the reason Jobs wore turtlenecks was because he hated buttons,” said Jason Snell, who was a lead editor at Macworld for more than a decade and a member of the audience that day. “It’s stupid. But I think there’s truth to it, because Apple believes very strongly from its design standpoint that buttons are clutter, that there can only be as many controls that are necessary, and no more.”

Jobs is no longer around to take aim at his competitors’ unsavory design decisions, but a decade after that presentation, his company continues to honor his stance. At Apple’s keynote event on Tuesday, for instance, the brand is expected to do away with the Home button.

It’s About To Get Tougher For Cops, Border Agents To Get At Your iPhone’s Data, by Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica

Prior to this latest version of the firmware, in order for an iOS device to be "trusted" by a computer that it was physically connected to, that device had to be unlocked first via Touch ID or passcode. Next, the device would prompt the user: "Trust This Computer?" Only then could the entire device’s data could be extracted and imaged. Under iOS 11, this sequence has changed to also specifically require the passcode on the device after the "Trust This Computer?" prompt.

While the change may seem minor, the fact that the passcode will be specifically required as the final step before any data can be pulled off the phone means that law enforcement and border agents won’t have as much routine access to fully image a seized device.

Apple Park's New $108M Visitor Center Spares No Expense To Dazzle Guests, by Daniel Eran Dilger, AppleInsider

As it puts the finishing touches on Apple Park the company is also getting ready to open its first major welcome center for tourists, featuring a retail store, a cafe and rooftop deck providing a view of overlooking the Apple Park Spaceship across the street.

iPhone Event: The Set List Isn't The Performance, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Stories are compelling. The famed Steve Jobs Reality Distortion Field wasn’t about blazing specs, it was about telling a story that put you and a new Apple product in the center of a miraculous future that had just arrived in the present.

Even if you roll your eyes at that, consider this: The way Apple describes its new products says something about how Apple views those products itself. Which features is it emphasizing? Who is being targeted? When Apple announced the HomePod in June, one of the most notable things about the roll-out was that the company pushed audio quality hard while spending almost no time on Siri. That was notable.

Apple Explains How It’s Making Siri Smart Without Endangering User Privacy, by Mark Sullivan, Fast Company

“I think it is a false narrative,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s VP of product marketing. “It’s true that we like to keep the data as optimized as possible, that’s certainly something that I think a lot of users have come to expect, and they know that we’re treating their privacy maybe different than some others are.”

Joswiak argues that Siri can be every bit as helpful as other assistants without accumulating a lot of personal user data in the cloud, as companies like Facebook and Google are accustomed to doing. “We’re able to deliver a very personalized experience . . . without treating you as a product that keeps your information and sells it to the highest bidder. That’s just not the way we operate.”

Apple Is Working With Stanford And American Well To Test If Apple Watch Can Detect Heart Problems, by Christina Farr, CNBC

The company is partnering up with a group of clinicians at Stanford, as well as telemedicine vendor American Well, to test whether Apple Watch's heart rate sensor can detect abnormal heart rhythms in a cohort of patients, according to two people familiar.

Arrhythmias, or abnormal heart rhythms, aren't always problematic. But in some people, a condition known as atrial fibrillation can show no external symptoms while carrying a risk of blood clots, strokes and other complications.

Internet-Connected Security

A Prairie HomeKit Companion: HomeKit Security Provides Peace Of Mind, by Julio Ojeda-Zapata, TidBITS

So before a recent trip, I took a major precautionary measure to assuage my simmering insecurities. I set up Internet-connected video cameras, motion sensors, and smart outlets so I could control and monitor my home from afar.

This was an opportunity to play with Apple’s HomeKit technology, which lets iOS devices manage a variety of home-automation products from other companies. [...]

Unable to achieve all my monitoring goals with the HomeKit devices available to me, though, I searched farther afield for other home-security gear that also works with Apple devices – albeit outside the HomeKit ecosystem.


Apple Adds Mail-in Option For iPhone Upgrade Program Customers Ahead Of iPhone X, Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

Ahead of the expected launch of Apple's hotly anticipated iPhone X, the company recently updated its iPhone Upgrade Program to include a new trade-in feature that allows customers to mail their old handset instead of visiting an Apple store.

Safari Extensions Are Now Available In The Mac App Store, by iMore

Safari Extensions are tools that you can add to the menu bar in your Safari browser that gives you quick access to features offered by developers.

Making Better Use Of The Touch Bar, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

Many users of Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X were quick to point out how useful the Touch Bar is for editing media. [...] However, for the rest of us, I found or was alerted to a couple of built-in functions that are genuinely useful.

How Apps Can Make Your Vacation Better, by Shivani Vora, New York Times

Forget just taking pictures with your phone’s camera — there are far more creative ways for travelers to use technology to capture memories from their trips, says Dennis Crowley, the co-founder and executive chairman of Foursquare, a company behind two location apps that have 50 million global users a month. “Between various apps and social media platforms, you can preserve experiences of your travels beyond the sights you see,” he said.

Here, his tips on how.


Writer's Block, Or The Wantrepreneur Blues, by Tommy Walsh, Indiehackers

I think this is why most self-help/entrepreneur books will tell you to find a partner to work with. Not only can a partner help with skills that you don't have, they can also provide you with motivation, and give the third leg to the Energy/Direction/Time stool when you don't have it by yourself.

Why Must You Pay Sales People Commissions?, by Ben Horowitz, Andreessen Horowitz

Speaking of culture, why should the sales culture be different from the engineering culture? To understand that, ask yourself the following: Do your engineers like programming? Might they even do a little programming on the side sometimes for fun? Great. I guarantee your sales people never sell enterprise software for fun.

Bottom of the Page

As usual, Apple's keynote is going on while I am sleeping on the other side of the globe. So, today's edition does not include whatever Tim Cook and his colleagues are revealing at Apple Park today. For that, either you'll have to wait for tomorrow's edition, or you can just go to any technology web site or section of a web site, and you'll be sure to get all the latest news. (Apple is no longer a niche computer maker since a long long time ago.)

Or you can watch it live on Apple's website.


Has any one asked Siri how to pronounce the X in iPhone X?


Thanks for reading.