Pokemon Go Drives Nintendo’s Shares up

Pavel Alpeyev and Yuji Nakamura, reporting for Bloomberg:

The company has added more than $7 billion in market value since last week’s debut of a new smartphone app for its Pokemon fantasy monster character franchise. The game, which lets users track down virtual monsters in their vicinity, has topped the free-to-download app charts for Apple in the U.S. and Australia since its release on July 7, according to market researcher App Annie.

Nintendo’s shares responded with their biggest intraday jump since at least 1983, when the stock started trading in Tokyo, climbing as much as 25 percent on Monday. Investors are taking Pokemon’s early success as a sign of things to come for a company that has yet to commit the most popular characters from its Mario or Zelda franchises to mobile gaming apps.

Top-grossing app in the App Store, and the topic of the week (lighthearted topic, at least) on social media.

This is a nice step towards Nintendo finally moving into the mobile game market and away from their own hardware, hopefully we’ll see other games moving towards this as well.

Consumer Reports: Samsung Galaxy S7 Active not actually water-resistant

Samsung told The Associated Press that while the Active is meant to be one of the most rugged phones out there, “there may be an off-chance that a defective device is not as watertight as it should be.”

Consumer Reports bought two and they both failed.

And those rappers looked so convincing in that commercial where they throw their phones into a fish tank and poured champagne all over the phones too.

Comparing iPad Pros

I remember being a kid when our family got a new kitten. We had two other cats at the time and this kitten made those full grown cats look like giants. That feeling came right back when I picked up the iPad Pro 12.9″ when it was launched. There were moments when I would pick up my new iPad Pro and just start laughing to myself at the sheer size of the thing.

It was so big in comparison to my iPad Air. The entire thing felt absurd — it’s even bigger than my MacBook. But unlike with my cats, the smaller iPad never grew larger to normalize things. Instead I just got rid of the iPad Air and my 12.9″ iPad felt normal after a bit.

But then I decided to add the 9.7″ iPad Pro to the mix, just what everyone needs. Who needs two iPads?

When I picked up the iPad Pro 9.7″ the other day I was taken right back to those kitten moments and when I first got my larger iPad Pro. The 9.7″ model just feels so tiny now. At one point I thought I was holding our old iPad mini and not the new iPad Pro — the size difference is one I am still trying to get used to.

It’s all relative, but make no mistake about it: these two devices have massively different size implications.

I’ll be posting about these two devices more, but this post serves to answer the question I am most often asked: which iPad Pro should I get? I’ve been hesitant to weigh in on this, but now having used both enough, I have some thoughts to relay.

For me which iPad depends on just one thing: do you want the iPad Pro to be your only, or main, computer? If your answer to that is yes, then you need the 12.9″ and not the smaller sibling.

The two reasons for this are: screen size and keyboard size. Both are bigger and easier to use with the larger iPad Pro. I personally cannot imagine trying to use the 9.7″ iPad Pro as my only machine, it can be done, but no thanks.

However, if you don’t want the iPad Pro to be your main computer, but perhaps just a backup to your current computers, then the 9.7″ iPad Pro seems like it would be a fantastic fit there. It’s like the 11″ MacBook Air: sure some people use it as their only computer, but it makes for a far better second computer.

I stuck to the iPad Air 2 for my regular size iPad, and have the 12.9 iPad Pro as my primary portable workstation actually.

That said, it’s nice to see a good side-by-side comparison of the two iPad Pros, and there’s a lot to be said for the larger screen on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, especially if you’re a creative professional. I think it comes down to how you are going to use the devices.

How AWS came to be

Ron Miller:

What you may not know is that the roots for the idea of AWS go back to the 2000 timeframe when Amazon was a far different company than it is today — simply an e-commerce company struggling with scale problems. Those issues forced the company to build some solid internal systems to deal with the hyper growth it was experiencing — and that laid the foundation for what would become AWS.

Speaking recently at an event in Washington, DC, AWS CEO Andy Jassy, who has been there from the beginning, explained how these core systems developed out of need over a three-year period beginning in 2000, and, before they knew it, without any real planning, they had the makings of a business that would become AWS.

I use AWS daily so it’s interesting to read things like this.

Changes to Evernote’s Pricing Plans

Evernote’s Chris O’Neill has published a blog post explaining price increases coming to the platform. Plus and Premium are now $3.99 and $7.99 a month, respectively, with discounts for annual buyers. For those customers, Plus is now $10 more a year, while Premium has gone up $20.

But, the big change is this:

Beginning today, the prices for our Plus and Premium tiers will change for new subscriptions, and access from Evernote Basic accounts will be limited to two devices. Current subscribers and Basic users who are using more than two devices will have some time to adjust before the changes take effect. If you are impacted, look for a message from us in the coming days.

Basically, if you use an iPhone, iPad and a Mac (or if you have an iPad and an iPad Mini for example), you will now need to pay for Evernote.

I was an avid Evernote user, but with the changes to the Notes.app last year, I’ve moved almost entirely to Notes and just use Evernote to go back to old notes mostly.

What Apple’s Forthcoming APFS File System Means to You

Michael Cohen, writing for TidBITS:

Among the tidbits Apple revealed to its developer audience at the recently completed Worldwide Developers Conference was a new file system for the whole range of its products.

Dubbed “APFS” (an acronym that Apple doesn’t completely spell out even in its developer documentation), the file system is meant to replace HFS+, the file system that in turn replaced 1985’s HFS (Hierarchical File System) in 1998.

Important change coming with APFS in macOS Sierra.

How Thin Does Your Laptop Really Need to Be?

How do I put this nicely? Your laptop could stand to lose a few… ounces.

It’s the truth: Compared with the new wave of insanely thin laptops, even your once-svelte MacBook Air or Dell XPS 13 looks like Garfield after a lasagna lunch. Apologies if this causes them any self-esteem issues.

Earlier this month, HP began selling the Spectre, “the world’s thinnest laptop,” according to the company. At 0.41 inch thin, it’s as flat as a single breakfast pancake—bananas not included. More impressive, it doesn’t skimp on processing power, like Apple’s new MacBook does.

Nicely written laptop review from the wall street journal.

Requiem for a Headphone Jack

M.G. Siegler:

The latest bit of antiquated technology Apple is going to kill. Thank god.

I tweeted that last November in response to a rumor that Apple would remove the 3.5mm headphone jack in the next iPhone. Yesterday, the rumor re-surfaced, this time in a report about this fall’s forthcoming iPhone by The Wall Street Journal. This is happening, people.

And sure enough, right on cue, Nilay Patel over at The Verge got pissed off. Taking the headphone jack off phones is user-hostile and stupid, was his headline yesterday. At first, I thought the post may have just been a clever excuse to use the phrase “jack off” in a headline. But reading it, he does seem to be legitimately mad about this forthcoming maneuver by Apple.

John Gruber calmly retorted some of Patel’s fears, and poked fun at others. To which Patel snarked:

Was counting on @gruber for the best argument possible for removing the headphone jack, and it’s “Apple knows best”

But here’s the thing about that notion: it’s said every single time Apple does something like this The removal of the floppy drive on the Mac. The lack of a physical keyboard on the iPhone. The removal of the optical drive on MacBooks. The end of the mouse. The removal of USB ports. Etc. Etc. Etc.

The outrage is as palpable as it is comical. Then everyone calms down. The news cycle moves on. People buy the new Apple device anyway. Life continues. All competitors copy Apple’s once-controversial move. And technology ends up in a better place as a result.

Because, ultimately, this isn’t about “Apple knows best,” it’s about progress. You cannot move forward if you don’t sever the ties to the past at some point. As Gruber points out, Apple seems to be particularly astute with its timing in this regard, but I’d argue these changes would ultimately happen regardless. They’d just happen a lot more slowly.

This isn’t rocket science, it’s simply sensing trends that are going to happen. Sometimes Apple may push the envelope a bit early (the one USB-C port on the MacBook is mildly annoying), but pushing that envelope is the lifeblood of innovative companies. If Apple wasn’t making a move like removing the headphone jack, I’d be worried. The plug is essentially 19th century technology, for Chrissake.

I actually welcome the move to no headphone jacks. I’m an avid user of bluetooth as well as the one pair of ear buds I have that are lightning.

Apple discontinues Thunderbolt Display

Jim Dalrymple:

Apple on Thursday told The Loop that it is discontinuing the Thunderbolt Display.

“We’re discontinuing the Apple Thunderbolt Display, said an Apple spokesperson. “It will be available through Apple.com, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers while supplies last. There are a number of great third-party options available for Mac users.”

That last statement makes it sound like Apple does not plan to replace the display in the near future either.