GoPro hires Apple designer Daniel Coster; shares jump

Fred Imbert, CNBC:

GoPro is having a good day. The wearable camera maker’s stock surged more than 19 percent Wednesday and the company announced it hired Daniel Coster away from Apple as vice president of design.

Coster was a core member of Apple’s industrial design team for more than 20 years and is credited with contributing to devices such as iPhone 4 and iPad wireless keyboard, the company said in a statement.

It’s interesting that hiring a single designer could have this type of effect, even if it is just a temporary stock price spike.

But, Coster does has his work cut out for him.

I’ve had GoPro cameras, and they are sorely disappointing.

Jason Snell’s 9.7-inch iPad Pro Review

Jason Snell, writing for Six Colors:

As a laptop user I’ve always found myself a bit outside the mainstream. I opted for the MacBook Air over the Retina MacBook Pro, and even within the Air line, I opted for the 11-inch model over the 13-inch. What I’m saying is, I appreciate that my choice isn’t just between chocolate and vanilla.

These past few years Apple has been diversifying its mobile product lines, expanding beyond a single, mainstream product to include variations that appeal to customers who want something a bit different. The iPhone 6 Plus gave people who wanted more battery and screen space the ability to get it; the iPhone 5S (and now the iPhone SE) serve people who want a smaller and cheaper model. The iPad mini was a nice shrunken-down variation on the classic iPad; the 12.9-inch iPad Pro offered a much larger, richer iPad experience.

Now here’s the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, but this isn’t Apple adding another device that’s nibbling at the edges. This is the flagship of the iPad line, undoubtedly the best-selling iPad model for the next year, full of impressive features (as well as a few curious omissions) and in a size that’s exactly what people expect from an iPad.

Make sure to read the rest of the article, Jason’s thoughts on Apple’s product naming is especially interesting.

Macminicolo merges with macstadium

Big news from Brian Stucki, founder of Macminicolo:

In short, I’ve decided to sell ownership of Macminicolo and merge it with another company. I will stay on as President of Macminicolo and also serve as a Vice President of the parent company, MacStadium.

Now, I could just announce this with no explanation and be done with it. I could also write one of those generic acquisition posts focused on sunsets and brands and blah. Instead, I’ll be forthright and real like I’ve always tried to be with customers.

The Loop Magazine app is dead

Jim Dalrymple:

It is with tremendous sadness that I write this post today. I have tried to figure out a way for The Loop Magazine app to work on the App Store, for the last few months. It turns out, it just won’t. This morning, I removed the app from the App Store.

[…]

My struggles are no different from any other developer on the App Store. If you have a game or social media app, you’re golden in Apple’s eyes. Anything else, forget it. (Unless you’re a big publisher, then you’re golden too).

I was an early subscriber of the Loop Magazine when it first came out, the articles were refreshing and interesting. In my case, I stopped being a subscriber only due to lack of time to properly enjoy the issues.

I agree with Jim on the struggles of apps in the App Store as well.

Google’s Nest closing smart-home company Revolv, bricking devices

Rob Price, Business Insider:

Just over a month ago, Revolv updated its website to announce that it is closing down completely, pulling the plug on its existing products in May. “We’re pouring all our energy into Works with Nest and are incredibly excited about what we’re making,” wrote Revolv founders Tim Enwall and Mike Soucie. “Unfortunately, that means we can’t allocate resources to Revolv anymore and we have to shut down the service.”

Shutting down Revolv does not mean that Nest is ceasing to support its products, leaving them vulnerable to bugs and other unpatched issues. It means that the $300 devices and accompanying apps will stop working completely.

This seems like a really good way to create angry former customers.

Siri security flaw on iPhone 6s and 6s Plus grants access to Contacts and Photos without passcode

A newly discovered Siri search handling bug allows nefarious users to bypass passcode protected lock screens on iPhone 6s and 6s Plus handsets, granting easy access to Contacts and Photos data. The vulnerability is likely applicable only to a subset of devices, however.

[…]

In the example provided, a user — or nefarious agent — invokes Siri via a long home button press, or iPhone’s “Hey Siri” function, and asks the virtual assistant to conduct a Twitter search. If the search results contain actionable Contacts data, like an email address, a 3D Touch gesture can be used to call up a contextual menu with options to send mail and add or modify contact information.

From the 3D Touch Quick Actions menu, tapping on “Add to Existing Contact” opens an iPhone’s Contacts list, which can then be used to access device Photos, if so configured.

[…]

Those concerned about potential intrusions can disable Siri’s Twitter integration by navigating to Settings > Twitter and switching off Siri. Doing the same in Settings > Privacy > Photos cuts Siri access to an iPhone’s photo library. Alternatively, Siri itself can be completely disabled.

The workaround is active in Apple’s latest iOS 9.3.1 update.

That is really not good. As it happens, I limit what Siri can access already, but this is not a good bug to find.

Even Microsoft has given up on Windows Phone

Sitting through all the keynotes at Microsoft’s Build, there’s one giant gaping hole in the coverage: Windows Phone was barely mentioned. In fact, it seems like the keynote speakers were actively avoiding the platform in most of the sessions, showing that Microsoft has basically thrown in the towel altogether.

In one presentation about how Visual Studio development, for example, the presenter received some enormous applause about the announcement that Xamarin was going free, and then went on to talk about how fantastically exciting it is that the platform covered all the platforms!

“We don’t care if it’s Android or iOS, we have you covered,” the presenter said, and continued onto the rest of his presentation.

Spot any platforms missing from that two-bulletpoint-list?

Spoiler alert: He didn’t mention BlackBerry, Symbian OS, Tizen, Sailfish, Palm OS … or Windows Phone.

Microsoft did the same thing when they slowly killed the Surface RTs, they just snubbed them and later announced it had died.

About time too, the Windows phone never really lived anywhere near it’s promise.

Apple greenlights original TV series about Apps

Emily Steel, writing for the New York Times:

Apple announced on Thursday that it was working with the entertainer Will.i.am and two veteran TV executives, Ben Silverman and Howard T. Owens, on a new show that will spotlight the app economy.

“One of the things with the app store that was always great about it was the great ideas that people had to build things and create things,” Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet software and services, said in an interview.

Details about the production are scant, and it was unclear how directly the show would promote or refer to Apple’s own app store. Executives declined to discuss specifics, such as financing, title, timeline, storylines, episode length or how people will watch the show.

FBI vs. Apple: Where is this Going?

Some really good perspective on where Apple / FBI go from here from David Sparks, who is a lawyer:

Several times over the course of my legal career, I’ve either had cause to delay a hearing on motion or had opposing counsel do the same. While nothing I have ever worked on has the sex appeal of the FBI vs. Apple, I can tell you that sometimes the reason for the delay is because one party thinks they’re losing and want some time to either get additional evidence or find some other way out.

With the FBI vs. Apple matter, the stakes are very high in terms of public relations and important but probably not as high in terms of legal precedent. A federal magistrate judge is a pretty important person but also at the bottom of the federal precedent pecking order. I’ve had a lot of people write me asking if they think this delay was the result of reconsideration at the FBI and my answer would be, “quite possibly”.

I don’t talk about it at MacSparky much but I served as a judicial extern for a federal judge a long time ago and spent some time in the trenches. That got me thinking about where this is all heading.

One point I think is generally missed by the tech press is that no matter what happens with the magistrate judge or, for that matter, the next judge on the next case, this issue will not get resolved for some time. An issue this big is going to work its way up through the Court of Appeals. Both Apple and the government know that and I suspect everybody is in it for the long haul.

Some really good perspective on where Apple / FBI go from here from David Sparks, who is a lawyer so he knows his stuff on this..

[…]

Ultimately, I believe this question as to whether or not the government can force access into our mobile devices has to be decided by the Supreme Court. Until then, a great cloud will hang over this entire issue and for the next few years I’m guessing we will see lots of ink spilled on this issue. Put simply, even if the FBI backs down on the San Bernardino case, this issue is hardly over for any of us, including Apple.