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.

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.

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.

Inside Liam, Apple’s super-secret, 29-armed recycling robot

Samantha Murphy Kelly, writing for Mashable:

Liam completes an iPhone disassembly process every 11 seconds, with dozens running through the system at all times. About 350 units are turned around each hour, equivalent to 1.2 million iPhones each year.

Apple wouldn’t say when Liam started its work, but emphasized the project is still in the research and development stages.

You can see Liam at work in the youtube video at the top of this post.

How One Developer Broke Node, Babel, and Thousands of Projects

Chris Williams:

A couple of hours ago, Azer Koçulu unpublished more than 250 of his modules from NPM, which is a popular package manager used by JavaScript projects to install dependencies.

Koçulu yanked his source code because, we’re told, one of the modules was called Kik and that apparently attracted the attention of lawyers representing the instant-messaging app of the same name.

[…]

Unfortunately, one of those dependencies was left-pad. The code is below. It pads out the lefthand-side of strings with zeroes or spaces. And thousands of projects including Node and Babel relied on it.

Azer Koçulu ( via Erik Aybar ):

When I started coding Kik, didn’t know there is a company with same name. And I didn’t want to let a company force me to change the name of it. After I refused them, they reached NPM’s support emphasizing their lawyer power in every single e-mail CC’ing me.

[…]

I’m apologize from you if your stuff just got broken due to this. You can either point your dependency to repo directly (azer/dependency) or if you volunteer to take ownership of any module in my Github, I’ll happily transfer the ownership

Code 8 – a film from Robbie & Stephen Amell launches on Indiegogo

Acting cousins Stephen (from Arrow) & Robbie (Flash, Tomorrow People, X-files) Amell just launched their 10 minute short film titled Code 8 and they also launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds to make it into a feature film.

The movie puts us in a near future that has 4% of the population endowed with powers of some sort. Due to this and the skewed poverty line, the police have militarized, equipping robots and drones to help them keep the peace. The short film is fantastic and definitely worth a look.

They’ve got an interesting line up between the two of them, Sung Kang (Fast & Furious movies), Aaron Abrams (Hannibal, Blindspot), Chad Donella (Scandal), and Alfred Rubin Thompson (Club Dead).

I really liked the 10 minute short film, and am rooting for the feature film to get made.

Apple And The FBI: The Latest Development And What It Means

Alina Selyukh, writing for NPR, lays out a series of questions about the latest development in Apple vs FBI.

The FBI may have found a new way to crack into the locked iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters — a method that doesn’t require Apple’s help.

This is a major new development in the increasingly heated debate between the tech giant and the government, which has argued that Apple should be compelled to write new special software that would override some security features.

That was the only way, investigators previously had said, that they could crack the phone’s passcode without jeopardizing its contents.

Tim Cook: FBI fight is about a responsibility to help you protect your data

Tim Cook took today’s Apple event as a chance to strike back at government demands that the company break security measures on a phone used in the San Bernardino attack. “We built the iPhone for you, our customers,” Cook told the crowd. “We need to decide, as a nation, how much power the government should have over our data and our privacy.”

“We did not expect to be in this position, at odds with our own government,” he continued, “but we believe strongly that we have a responsibility to help you protect your data and your privacy.”

iPhone SE announced: iPhone 6S specs, iPhone 5S size

Apple has just announced the iPhone SE, a new 4-inch smartphone that offers a smaller and cheaper option to the company’s flagship iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. It’s like a mix between the iPhone 5 and iPhone 6 generations of devices, taking the size and design of one and the latest specs and capabilities of the other. Apple calls the iPhone SE “the most powerful 4-inch smartphone ever.”

At the heart of the iPhone SE is the 64-bit Apple A9 processor together with the embedded M9 motion co-processor, the same as the iPhone 6S. That means it can play games just as brilliantly as Apple’s current flagship, plus it supports hands-free “Hey Siri” prompting. The camera is also carried over from the 6S, it’s the same 12-megapixel iSight camera with a dual-tone flash and the ability to shoot Live Photos and 4K video.

New iPad Pro announced: $599, 9.7-inch display, weighs less than one pound

Apple has just announced a new iPad Pro, a smaller version of its iPad Pro tablet released last year. The new iPad Pro has a 9.7-inch display and weighs less than one pound. The new Pro is the same size as the iPad Air 2, which Apple says is the most popular size of iPad use.

The display on the new iPad Pro is said to be 25 percent brighter and 40 percent less reflective than the iPad Air 2’s screen, and Apple claims that it has the lowest reflectivity of any tablet screen. Apple also claims that the 9.7-inch display is the brightest tablet screen on the market. It also features a new technology called “True Tone Display”, which measures the color temperature of ambient light and adjusts the display to match. The Pro also takes advantage of iOS 9.3’s new blue-light reduction feature for late-night use.

Aside from the display, the new iPad Pro is very similar to the larger model: it’s powered by the A9X processor and has a similar four-speaker system. Apple says it’s twice as loud as the Air 2. Apple is selling a smaller version of the Smart Keyboard for the down-sized Pro, and the new tablet is compatible with the Pencil stylus introduced last year. Other accessories include a new Lightning-powered SD card reader and USB camera adapter.

An interesting replacement for the iPad Air 2…