The Audiophile-Grade Edition Monday, February 12, 2018

Apple HomePod - The Audiophile Perspective + Measurements!, by WinterCharm, Reddit

I am speechless. The HomePod actually sounds better than the KEF X300A. If you’re new to the Audiophile world, KEF is a very well respected and much loved speaker company. I actually deleted my very first measurements and re-checked everything because they were so good, I thought I’d made an error. Apple has managed to extract peak performance from a pint sized speaker, a feat that deserves a standing ovation. The HomePod is 100% an Audiophile grade Speaker.

How To Use HomePod With Apple TV … It Mostly Works But There Are Some Drawbacks, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Any app that uses native media players (like iTunes Movies, Plex and many more) the onscreen video was synced up to the audio almost exactly. tvOS delays the video frames to account for the 2-second delay in sending the audio. When pausing and skipping between points in the video, the UI freezes whilst it waits for the HomePod to be in sync again.

When using custom apps like games that require continuous interaction, the lag is unavoidable.

I Went To Pick Up My Apple HomePod And Got A Dire Warning, by Chris Matyszczyk, CNET

The math is painful. The HomePod costs $350. Repairing it costs $279, as revealed by Apple support -- and my Apple store salesman -- on Friday.

As for AppleCare+ for HomePod, which extends your coverage to two years, that's $39.

The Apple store employee admitted that he was duty-bound to lay out his fears for my gadget-caring inadequacies.

The Three Factors That May Be Behind The HomePod’s Semi-removable Cable, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

So if it’s removable, why not make it a user-replaceable part? I think this is an electrical safety issue. As we’ve seen in Jeff’s video, removing it means pulling on the cable itself – normally an absolute no-no where power cables are concerned – and yanking really hard. It then has to be pushed back into place onto two rather delicate-looking prongs.

HomePod Teardown Reveals Durable But Densely-packed Speaker Internals, LED Array And More, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

iFixit has now posted its teardown of the HomePod, shining light on exactly what is beneath the seamless fabric mesh. The company says that the HomePod is built like a tank, so whilst it only scores 1/10 on the repairability scale it is made to last. It was apparently one of the hardest ever projects, with iFixit even resorting to a hacksaw at one stage.

Focus on Quality

How Apple Plans To Root Out Bugs, Revamp iPhone Software, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Software chief Craig Federighi laid out the new strategy to his army of engineers last month, according to a person familiar with the discussion. His team will have more time to work on new features and focus on under-the-hood refinements without being tied to a list of new features annually simply so the company can tout a massive year-over-year leap, people familiar with the situation say. The renewed focus on quality is designed to make sure the company can fulfill promises made each summer at the annual developers conference and that new features work reliably and as advertised.

“This change is Apple beginning to realize that schedules are not being hit, stuff is being released with bugs – which previously would not have happened,” when Apple was a smaller company with fewer engineers, customers and devices to manage, says one person familiar with the company. Apple declined to comment.


Can The Crisis Of Food Waste Be Solved With An iPhone App - Or Is Too Good To Go Too Good To Be True?, by Sasha Dovzhyk, Ecologist

This app allows you to buy some of the tasty, precious, surplus food that accumulates at local stores and restaurants at the shift’s end. Your smartphone tells you when, where and how many perfectly good meals are ready for pick-up.

Too Good To Go has already saved 120,000 meals in the UK since launch, with a projected total of 500,000 meals expected to be reached by the end of 2018.

Consider also the decrease in CO2 emissions related to food waste. Fully aware that this sounds too good to be true, I decided to record my interactions with the app for one week.

Niantic’s Harry Potter Game Will Be A Defining Moment For AR, by Yariv Levski, The Next Web

This announcement is a clear indication that AR is an industry gathering pace, but where does it leave the major players? Are they ready to sprinkle a little bit of their own magic on proceedings, or will they be left looking like muggles?

Well, I think we’re witnessing a defining moment for both AR and the wider IT consumer market. And just as so many were bewitched by the battle of Hogwarts, I’m captivated by another fascinating clash: Virtual vs Augmented Reality.

iPad App Gives Nonverbal Nepali Students A Voice, by Aakankshya Shrestha, TechLekh

“Some of the kids that were totally nonverbal kept pushing the button for, like, ‘orange,’ ‘hello,’ ‘goodbye,’ and they started to repeat the word,” Rose said. “I’m curious to know if kids are going to start to learn how to talk, specifically, from this, which wasn’t one of the features in the program when I went on the website to see how kids were using it.”


Ten Years Of Monday Notes, by Jean-Louis Gassée, Monday Note

In my case, I view the Monday Note as a way to find out what I really think. I have what Buddhists call “Monkey Brains”. Picture a cage filled with monkeys shrieking and jumping from bar to bar. I don’t put much trust in what I think I think. In the shower, all ideas look good. But the trouble starts when you attempt to couch them on paper. (I would continue, but the French extension of this feeble joke isn’t suitable for a family publication.)

In writing, I find constants and surprises. The persistent part is the need for an emotion without which my pen won’t work. No obligatory writing. Surprises are the good component. As I attempt to string together a coherent set of thoughts, links appear that take me in unexpected directions, or that give rise to emotions I didn’t know were lying close to the surface.

Inside Facebook's Two Years Of Hell, by Nicholas Thompson, Wired

The stories varied, but most people told the same basic tale: of a company, and a CEO, whose techno-optimism has been crushed as they’ve learned the myriad ways their platform can be used for ill. Of an election that shocked Facebook, even as its fallout put the company under siege. Of a series of external threats, defensive internal calculations, and false starts that delayed Facebook’s reckoning with its impact on global affairs and its users’ minds. And—in the tale’s final chapters—of the company’s earnest attempt to redeem itself.

In that saga, Fearnow plays one of those obscure but crucial roles that history occasionally hands out. He’s the Franz Ferdinand of Facebook—or maybe he’s more like the archduke’s hapless young assassin. Either way, in the rolling disaster that has enveloped Facebook since early 2016, Fearnow’s leaks probably ought to go down as the screenshots heard round the world.

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I've turned on the camera on my iPhone X while the phone was in my pocket. I've also turned on the torchlight while the phone was in my pocket. The phone has also butt-dialed other people too.

As far as I know, the phone hasn't called emergency service on my behalf, yet.

Currently, all of the items but one in the 'Allow Access When Locked' list are switched of. (The only one allowed is "Recent Notifications.") I've also turned off calling emergency service with side button, as well as "Auto Call". I don't think one can turn off the access to the camera and flashlight while the phone is locked. Maybe Apple should add that option.

Or maybe when the camera or the flashlight are being turned on in my pocket, the phone should sense that it is inside a pocket (it's dark in there -- even with the flashlight turned on), and switch off the camera and flashlight.


I think my next iPhone X case should be a hard-cased coffin-like box.


Is it time to scrap WWDC?

When the iPhone X was released, I remembered there was a few videos added to the WWDC app for developers who were "optimizing for iPhone X." If new technologies and features are going to be rolled out only when they are ready, maybe Apple need not wait until WWDC to teach developers how to use them. Instead, host some lectures at Apple Park (or some other conferences, like what they are doing at some game development conference), live stream the lectures, and perhaps do some interactive Q&As too.

Time to dust off that iTunes U app and give it some ooomph.


Apple can also do Labs at Apple Park. Think of this as Genius Bar (Groove?) for developers. Just book a time, and come on down to Cupertino.

(Well, maybe rotate through different technology groups throughout the year though. The Geninuses do need time to work.)


Thanks for reading.