Tim Cook: “Users don’t want iOS to merge with MacOS”

Tim Cook:

“We don’t believe in sort of watering down one for the other. Both [The Mac and iPad] are incredible. One of the reasons that both of them are incredible is because we pushed them to do what they do well. And if you begin to merge the two … you begin to make trade offs and compromises.

“So maybe the company would be more efficient at the end of the day. But that’s not what it’s about. You know it’s about giving people things that they can then use to help them change the world or express their passion or express their creativity. So this merger thing that some folks are fixated on, I don’t think that’s what users want.”

Jeff Bezos reveals Amazon has 100 million Prime members

CNBC:

In the letter, Bezos stressed the importance of having high standards in running a business. By setting high standards, companies are able to live up to “ever-rising customer expectations,” he said.

Bezos also disclosed for the first time that Prime now exceeds 100 million members worldwide. In 2017 alone, Amazon shipped over five billion items through its Prime service worldwide.

You can also read the SEC filing here, which has some interesting snippets such as:

13 years post-launch, we have exceeded 100 million paid Prime members globally. In 2017 Amazon shipped more than five billion items with Prime worldwide, and more new members joined Prime than in any previous year — both worldwide and in the U.S. Members in the U.S. now receive unlimited free two-day shipping on over 100 million different items.

Serenity Caldwell’s 9.7-inch iPad Review

Serenity Caldwell, writing at iMore:

For about a year, I worked exclusively on an iPad Pro. During that time I learned a lot about the highs (and massive lows) of iPad productivity, fell in love with the Apple Pencil, and discovered how best to balance my iPad and Mac lifestyle.

It’s no secret to say that the iPad has changed how I work and think on my devices. I use it for work, roller derby, casual sketching and idea generation, watching movies, and so much more. And it’s why I’ve continually been bullish on the device, even when sales lagged and great multitasking was but a rumor on the road map.

To me, the 2018 base-model 9.7-inch iPad is a special beast: It hits a line drive right through the company’s fabled intersection of technology and liberal arts — and at the right price point. The iPad Pro did it first, but at a cost unattainable for all but the tinkerers and serious artists, and without iOS 11’s crucial multitasking features. At $329, the iPad offers a low-end tablet experience unlike any other on the market. Add an extra $99 for Apple Pencil, and Apple has created the best device for all-purpose education, period.

But it’s easy to make that claim, and a whole other thing to explain why I believe it so whole-heartedly. As a result, I decided to try and prove it: Starting with a blank page in Procreate, I created an entire iPad review video by just using my 2018 iPad, Apple Pencil, and third-party apps. My Mac came into play only once — when I uploaded my video to YouTube.

The majority of her review is done as a video, created using the iPad she’s reviewing:

 

 

Study finds over 3,300 Android apps improperly tracking kids

Jon Fingas, writing for Engadget:

There’s little doubt that mobile apps sometimes overstep their bounds by collecting more data from kids than the law allows. But how often does that happen? It might be more than you think. Researchers using an automated testing process have discovered that 3,337 family- and child-oriented Android apps on Google Play were improperly collecting kids’ data, potentially putting them in violation of the US’ COPPA law (which limits data collection for kids under 13). Only a small number were particularly glaring violations, but many apps exhibited behavior that could easily be seen as questionable.

Of the 5,855 total apps included in the study, 281 of them collected contact or location data without asking for a parent’s permission. Needless to say, those are red flags for any app targeted at kids. A further 1,100 shared persistent identifying info with third parties for restricted purposes, while 2,281 of them seemed to violate Google terms of service forbidding apps from sharing those identifiers to the same destination as the Android Advertising ID (which gives you control over tracking). About 40 percent of apps transmitted info without using “reasonable security measures,” and nearly all (92 percent) of the 1,280 apps with Facebook tie-ins weren’t properly using the social network’s code flags to limit under-13 use (though they may not have realized they were using this info for law-breaking purposes).

The researchers are adamant that they’re not showing “definitive legal liability.” These apps may be running afoul of the law, but it’s up to regulators at the FTC to decide if they are. Without iOS data, it’s also unclear how common this problem is across platforms. We’ve asked Google for comment on the findings as well.

Apple Sued an Independent iPhone Repair Shop Owner and Lost

Jason Koebler:

Last year, Apple’s lawyers sent Henrik Huseby, the owner of a small electronics repair shop in Norway, a letter demanding that he immediately stop using aftermarket iPhone screens at his repair business and that he pay the company a settlement.

Norway’s customs officials had seized a shipment of 63 iPhone 6 and 6S replacement screens on their way to Henrik’s shop from Asia and alerted Apple; the company said they were counterfeit.

In order to avoid being sued, Apple asked Huseby for “copies of invoices, product lists, order forms, payment information, prints from the internet and other relevant material regarding the purchase [of screens], including copies of any correspondence with the supplier … we reserve the right to request further documentation at a later date.”

The letter, sent by Frank Jorgensen, an attorney at the Njord law firm on behalf of Apple, included a settlement agreement that also notified him the screens would be destroyed. The settlement agreement said that Huseby agrees “not to manufacture, import, sell, market, or otherwise deal with any products that infringe Apple’s trademarks,” and asked required him to pay 27,700 Norwegian Krone ($3,566) to make the problem go away without a trial.

“Intellectual Property Law is a specialized area of law, and seeking legal advice is in many instances recommended,” Jorgensen wrote in the letter accompanying the settlement agreement. “However, we can inform you that further proceedings and costs can be avoided by settling the case.”

Huseby decided to fight the case.

[…]

The specifics of Huseby’s legal case apply only in Norway, of course, but his case speaks to a problem faced by independent iPhone repair shops around the world. Apple’s use of the legal system and trademark law turns average repair professionals into criminals and helps the company corner the repair market for Apple products.

In the United States, Apple has worked with the Department of Homeland Security and ICE to seize counterfeit parts in the United States and to raid the shops of independent iPhone repair professionals. ICE’s National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center rejected a Freedom of Information Act request I filed in 2016 regarding Apple’s involvement in its “Operation Chain Reaction” anti counterfeiting team, citing that doing so “could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings.”

“In this case, Apple indirectly proves what they really want,” Par Harald Gjerstad, Huseby’s lawyer, told me in an email. “They want monopoly on repairs so they can keep high prices. And they therefore do not want to sell spare parts to anyone other than ‘to themselves.’”

[…]

The legal status of many of these parts remains an unanswered question around the world, but the general consensus seems to be that a part is “counterfeit” if it is masquerading as an original manufacturer part rather than an aftermarket one. Counterfeit parts are “tangible goods that infringe trademarks,” the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a partnership between 35 countries and a United Nations observer, wrote in a report last year.

Reasons for HomePod optimism despite reports of disappointing sales

Ben Lovejoy, writing for 9to5 Mac:

Bloomberg report suggests that Apple has lowered sales forecasts and reduced orders for the HomePod. The report was based on data from Slice Intelligence indicating that sales were strong at launch but rapidly tailed off.

The headline number in the report did seem to support the contention that the HomePod is selling poorly.

Three weeks after the launch, weekly HomePod sales slipped to about 4 percent of the smart speaker category on average.

But that gives a rather misleading impression, for six reasons …

 

HomePod Sales lower than Apple expected

Mark Gurman, writing for Bloomberg:

When Apple Inc.’s HomePod smart speaker went on sale in January, it entered a market pioneered and dominated by Amazon’s Echo lineup of Alexa-powered devices. Apple has been touting the HomePod’s superior sound quality but so far hasn’t enticed many consumers to part with $349.

By late March, Apple had lowered sales forecasts and cut some orders with Inventec Corp., one of the manufacturers that builds the HomePod for Apple, according to a person familiar with the matter.

At first, it looked like the HomePod might be a hit. Pre-orders were strong, and in the last week of January the device grabbed about a third of the U.S. smart speaker market in unit sales, according to data provided to Bloomberg by Slice Intelligence. But by the time HomePods arrived in stores, sales were tanking, says Slice principal analyst Ken Cassar. “Even when people had the ability to hear these things,” he says, “it still didn’t give Apple another spike.”

During the HomePod’s first 10 weeks of sales, it eked out 10 percent of the smart speaker market, compared with 73 percent for Amazon’s Echo devices and 14 percent for the Google Home, according to Slice Intelligence. Three weeks after the launch, weekly HomePod sales slipped to about 4 percent of the smart speaker category on average, the market research firm says. Inventory is piling up, according to Apple store workers, who say some locations are selling fewer than 10 HomePods a day. Apple declined to comment. The shares gained 1.4 percent to $174.89 at 3:36 p.m. in New York.

macOS 10.13.4 to Warn About 32-bit Apps Starting April 12

To ensure that the apps you purchase are as advanced as the Mac you run them on, all future Mac software will eventually be required to be 64-bit.

Apple began the transition to 64-bit hardware and software technology for Mac over a decade ago, and is working with developers to transition their apps to 64-bit. At our Worldwide Developers Conference in 2017, Apple informed developers that macOS High Sierra would be the last version of macOS to run 32-bit apps without compromise.

While developers optimize their apps for 64-bit compatibility, Apple is notifying customers when they are using an app based on 32-bit technology. This is done via a one-time alert that appears when you launch a 32-bit app.

11 Tips for Working on the iPad

Federico Viticci:

In a recent episode of Connected, we rounded up some of our favorite “iOS little wonders” and Myke was surprised by one of my picks: the ability to launch individual notes on iOS through shared links. The ensuing discussion inspired me to assemble a list of tips and tricks to improve how you can work on an iPad with iOS 11.

Even though I covered or mentioned some of these suggestions in my iOS 11 review or podcast segments before, I realized that it would useful to explain them in detail again for those who missed them. From keyboard recommendations and shortcuts to gestures and Siri, I’ve tried to remember all the little tricks I use to get work done on my iPad Pro on a daily basis.

After several years of being iPad-only for the majority of my work, I often take some of these features for granted. And admittedly, Apple doesn’t always do a great job at teaching users about these lesser known details, which have become especially important after the productivity-focused iPad update in iOS 11. I hope this collection can be useful for those who haven’t yet explored the fascinating world of iPad productivity.

Let’s dig in.

Credit card signatures are about to become extinct in the U.S.

Stacy Cowley, New York Times:

Credit card networks are finally ready to concede what has been obvious to shoppers and merchants for years: Signatures are not a useful way to prove someone’s identity. Later this month, four of the largest networks — American Express, Discover, Mastercard and Visa — will stop requiring them to complete card transactions.

The signature, a centuries-old way of verifying identity, is rapidly going extinct. Personal checks are anachronisms. Pen-and-ink letters are scarce. When credit card signatures disappear, handwritten authentications will be relegated to a few special circumstances: sealing a giant transaction like a house purchase, or getting a celebrity to autograph a piece of memorabilia — and even that is being supplanted by the cellphone selfie.

Card signatures won’t vanish overnight. The change is optional, leaving retailers to decide whether they want to stop collecting signatures.

About time.