Apple TV Apps Are About to get More Compelling Thanks to Less Restrictive File Sizes

Mac Observer:

Apple just raised the cap on Apple TV app sizes from 200 MB up to 4 GB, bringing them in line with iPhone and iPad apps. Apple told developers the change lets them give users a better overall experience.

For end users, that means more immersive apps and potentially a step towards a 4K Apple TV.


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Why would Apple release a 10.5 inch iPad?

Dan Provost:

The math works out perfectly. This new 10.5” iPad would have the exact same resolution as the 12.9” iPad Pro (2732 × 2048), but the same pixel density of the iPad mini (326 ppi instead of 264 ppi). Crunch the numbers, do a little Pythagorean Theorem, and you end up with a screen 10.5” diagonal (10.47” to be precise, but none of Apple’s stated screen sizes are exact). In terms of physical dimensions, the width of this 10.5” screen would be exactly the same as the height of the iPad mini screen.


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Spotify Job Opening: President of Playlists

What you’ll do:

Provide world-class leadership to our playlist editors and supporting staff.

Identify and substantiate new playlist ideas, e.g. from a playlist for shooting hoops with your friends, to the perfect warm up playlist for addressing the nation about health care legislation that bears your name.

Who you are:

Have at least eight years experience running a highly-regarded nation.

Familiar with the Spotify platform, with experience in programming playlists at a federal level. Anything from an eclectic summer playlist, to a celebratory, “I just found my birth certificate” playlist.

Can speak passionately about playlists at press events. Let us be clear, you should be nothing short of one of the greatest speakers of all time.

Someone with good team spirit, excellent work ethic, a friendly and warm attitude, and a Nobel Peace Prize.


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Nick Offerman takes on the nonsense gadgets of CES 2017

CES is as much about the future as it about the junk that gets left behind. Here in the cavernous halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center and the suites of the city’s most opulent hotels and casinos, we see a lot of gadgets that spring up out of nowhere as fast as they fade into obscurity.

As part of a promotional campaign for his American Greetings brand of greeting cards, Parks and Recreations star Nick Offerman came to Vegas to opine about the pitfalls of modern technology. As part of the campaign, the gruff and deadpan lover of whiskey and woodworking toured some of the show’s lovably weird nonsense with The Verge’s own Casey Newton this afternoon.


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Alexa: Amazon’s Operating System

Ben Thompson on how Amazon is building an operating system for the home with Alexa:

Amazon seized the opportunity: first, Alexa was remarkably proficient from day one, particularly in terms of speed and accuracy (two factors that are far more important in encouraging regular use than the ability to answer trivia questions). Then, the company moved quickly to build out its ecosystem in two directions:

  • First, the company created a simple “Skills” framework that allowed smart devices to connect to Alexa and be controlled through a relatively strict verbal framework; in a vacuum it was less elegant than, say, Siri’s attempt to interpret natural language, but it was far simpler to implement. The payoff was already obvious at last year’s CES: Alexa support was everywhere.

  • Secondly, “Alexa” and “Echo” are different names because they are different products: Alexa is the voice assistant, and much like AWS and, Echo is Alexa’s first customer, but hardly its only one. This year CES announcements are dominated by products that run Alexa, including direct Echo competitors, lamps, set-top boxes, TVs, and more.

I’ve been using Homekit / Siri myself at home for some tasks as Alexa isn’t widely available here in Canada, but it’s still interesting to see how Alexa is growing as it gets added to more and more systems.


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Apple sued over fatal ‘FaceTime crash’

BBC News:

An American couple, whose daughter was killed by a driver allegedly using FaceTime on his iPhone, have launched a lawsuit against Apple.

The lawsuit alleges that the firm should have introduced a feature that disabled use of the video-chat application while driving.

It points to a patent for such a feature for drivers filed by Apple in 2008.


The driver involved in the crash – Garrett Wilhelm – drove his SUV into the back of the Modisette family’s vehicle while travelling at high speeds.

The lawsuit documents state that he told police he was using FaceTime at the time of the crash and that the application was still active when police found his phone at the scene.

Mr Wilhelm is facing a jury trial on manslaughter charges in February.

So a driver was distracted due to using FaceTime while driving his car, which is illegal, and the family is holding Apple responsible? I’ve always said there should be an alert with FaceTime that says “you are going X mph, it is illegal to drive a car and FaceTime, hit OK if you are the driver” and Pokemon GO has actually added an alert like that as well.

But come on, the responsible party is the driver who was dumb enough to actually FaceTime and drive. At the least he could have been using audio mode.

At the same time, this is also tricky legal area, as the patent mentioned may make this case into more than the standard driving when texting accident and may set a precedent that triggers a wave of similar lawsuits? Does owning a patent on something bring with it responsibility to implement?


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Finding an Alternative to Mac OS X

Wesley Moore:

I deeply value the consistency, versatility, reliability and integration of Mac OS X and the excellent quality hardware it runs on. However the current state of the Mac has me considering whether it’s still the right platform for me.


Running each one I was looking for these attributes:

  • An integrated, consistent experience
  • Opinions and thoughtfulness:
    • One tool for each job.
    • A sensible/minimal selection of pre-installed applications.
  • Design:
    • Simple, easy to use/understand interface
    • Visually appealing and consistent
    • HiDPI support
  • Timely updates

I’ve looked at doing this a few times, I go between working with a MacBook, iPad, iPhone or a Chromebook Flip and work with Linux all day on servers, if I was moving away from MacOS, I’d probably just go with Linux Mint or similar Ubuntu based systems.

Wesley’s favorite was Elementary, which, at a glance, does seem to be the open source OS that most values good design. And that OS does look good, so I may have to try it out sometime for myself.

Honestly though, I don’t see moving away from MacOS as my primary operating system anytime soon. It’s taken years for Apple to get this OS to where it is right now.


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