Apple Explains Why iMessage Hasn’t Expanded to Android

This shouldn’t be all that surprising really, but I think that some people were disappointed iMessage didn’t come to Android this week. I think we might see iMessage on Android in the future, but right now, Apple sees it as an advantage to the iPhone platform on the whole, and that is still king at Apple.


Continue readingApple Explains Why iMessage Hasn’t Expanded to Android
Posted inLinks

Samsung to Buy Joyent

Jonathan Cheng, reporting for the WSJ:

Samsung’s acquisition of San Francisco-based Joyent signals the South Korean technology giant’s burgeoning interest in “big data,” part of a broader effort to use powerful remote computers to bolster its data analysis and the computing capabilities of its devices.

Samsung said in a statement it will integrate Joyent into its mobile division, though the 11-year-old company will retain both the Joyent name and its top management, and operate at an arm’s length from its new parent company


Continue readingSamsung to Buy Joyent
Posted inLinks

The end of ThinkUp

Anil Dash:

We have some tough news: We’re going to be shutting down the ThinkUp service on July 18 and issuing a refund then for the balance of all member subscriptions. There have been significant changes from Instagram, Twitter and Facebook that make it too hard for us to keep the service running, especially since we’ve been struggling as a business. We’re sorry, and we’re going to try to handle this shutdown the right way.

That’s too bad that they’re shutting down, I really liked ThinkUp, I used to use their original open source solution and it worked nicely, But with all the changes coming to the APIs, I can certainly understand the decision.


Continue readingThe end of ThinkUp
Posted inLinks

With watchOS 3, Apple Watch gets a do-over

I wear an Apple Watch every day and I can’t tell you how excited I am at the prospect of using watchOS 3. It’s truly Apple’s second take on how the Apple Watch should work, based on a year of real-world use by millions of people.

It’s tough to admit that you were wrong. With watchOS 3, that’s what Apple is doing on numerous fronts. I get why someone might have thought that using the watch’s side button as a gateway to a miniature contacts list was a good idea, but in practice it was readily apparent to be a misguided use of one of the device’s only physical controls. watchOS 3 admits the mistake and re-tasks that button for something far better: a dock of important apps, already loaded and ready to run.

Sometimes you’re wrong because you have an idea that you think will work, but it just doesn’t come together or mesh with the way people want to use your product. I think that’s what happened with the Friends button. Reality collided with that vision, and reality has won. (Full credit to Apple here: I thought it was distinctly possible that they’d double down and try to tweak the Friends view rather than kill it.)

But sometimes you make what is (in hindsight) the wrong move, not out of a creative vision that was lacking, but out of fear and a lack of information. That’s part of the explanation of what happened to the Apple Watch. As Apple’s Craig Federighi admitted on stage at John Gruber’s live edition of The Talk Show on Tuesday night, Apple was deeply concerned (almost to the level of panic) about running out of battery life on the watch.

You may not remember this, but before the Apple Watch came out, there were many rumors that it wasn’t able to get through a day without a charge. It’s clear that Apple made battery life a top priority, perhaps even the top priority: This thing better last all day. And so everyone was incredibly conservative with power and memory.

It’s interesting seeing the commentary on the latest version of the watchOS. Everyone seems to agree it’s going in a better direction. The question I have is will it be enough to get more people to actually buy an Apple Watch?

I’m looking forward to watchOS 3 myself, the changes being made make sense.


Continue readingWith watchOS 3, Apple Watch gets a do-over
Posted inLinks

These are Apple’s big announcements from WWDC 2016

These are Apple's big announcements from WWDC 2016


Apple made several interesting announcements today during its WWDC 2016 keynote. Here are the major announcements from the event.

The Apple WWDC keynote has just wrapped up. If you missed the video, Apple will have it available on iTunes and the Apple TV in a few hours. Until then, this article has a nice wrap-up of the things Apple announced this morning.


Continue readingThese are Apple’s big announcements from WWDC 2016
Posted inLinks

Glenn Fleishman: App Store subscriptions don’t solve problems for most developers

Glenn Fleishman, again at Macworld:

We’ve confirmed with Apple that Schiller’s expansive vision is an accurate one: any developer can submit an app that relies entirely on a subscription to perform a task. It can be effectively a login screen, like with Netflix and Hulu, rather than conform to the broader policy Apple has enforced on most apps that weren’t periodicals and streaming media libraries to date. Schiller’s examples included enterprise apps, which are effectively in continuous development. In fact, many enterprise apps are already sold on a subscription basis, but typically couldn’t charge a subscription fee directly within iOS.

But Apple also stressed that not just every business model will pass its muster. Unlike with periodicals and streaming media apps, which are allowed to have no content or use without a subscription, apps in other categories will need to “make sense.” As Apple notes on the What’s New page, “the experience must provide ongoing value worth the recurring payment for an auto-renewable subscription to make sense.”

We don’t yet know precisely how Apple will evaluate that, and uncertainty is bad for developers. Schiller also promised much faster app review turnaround for developers, but speed doesn’t matter if an app doesn’t meet Apple’s test, and Apple doesn’t yet offer formal advance review of app features or business model. (We have heard of developers discussing features more broadly, but informally, with developer relations staff.)

And the rebuttal from John Gruber:

What I was told from people at Apple today is that “Content” and “Service” are merely examples of the type of apps that qualify for subscription pricing, and they are willing to accept “all categories and apps that make sense as subscriptions”.

They are very much open to feedback from developers on this; will be listening to developers on this next week at WWDC; will have more information about this during WWDC sessions on the new subscription features; and, most importantly, Apple will be providing more details on subscriptions, including a detailed FAQ and updated guidelines, after WWDC.

In short, we don’t have all the answers we need yet. But Apple is aware of the questions.


Continue readingGlenn Fleishman: App Store subscriptions don’t solve problems for most developers
Posted inLinks

Gawker files for bankruptcy and says it will sell the company to Ziff Davis or someone else

Peter Thiel is getting closer to his goal: Gawker Media has filed for bankruptcy protection and says it eventually plans to find a new owner for the company.

Gawker and owner Nick Denton are making the Chapter 11 filing today, in order to avoid paying Thiel and Hulk Hogan the $140 million judgment they won in Hogan’s privacy trial earlier this year.

Gawker has told it employees it still plans to fight the Thiel/Hogan case and to operate its publishing business while it does so. But it is also now formally entertaining offers to buy the company and says it has a firm bid from publisher Ziff Davis to buy the entire operation for less than $100 million.

Gawker and its banker Mark Patricof assume that the company will eventually see higher bids while it is in bankruptcy protection. Last year, in advance of the Hogan trial, Denton figured his company was worth something in the $250 million to $300 million range.

But in any case the company won’t trade hands until Gawker either beats back Thiel and Hogan or it finishes a court-approved restructuring. Because no one wants to buy an ongoing lawsuit from Peter Thiel.


Continue readingGawker files for bankruptcy and says it will sell the company to Ziff Davis or someone else
Posted inLinks

Mr Hockey Gordie Howe dies at 88

Mr Hockey Gordie Howe dies at 88

Mr Hockey Gordie Howe dies at 88

Gordie Howe, the rough-and-tumble Canadian farm boy whose boundless blend of talent and toughness made him the NHL’s quintessential star during a career that lasted into his 50s, has died. The man forever known as “Mr. Hockey” was 88.

Son Murray Howe confirmed the death Friday, texting to The Associated Press: “Mr Hockey left peacefully, beautifully, and w no regrets.”

Howe shattered records, threw elbows and helped the Detroit Red Wings win four Stanley Cups, becoming an idol to Wayne Gretzky and countless other Canadians while also helping the sport attract American fans.

His final NHL season came at age 52 when Gretzky was a rookie – a fitting symmetry since Howe was the league’s most prolific scorer until the “Great One” broke his career marks for goals and points.

With finesse and a heavy dose of grit, the Hockey Hall of Famer set NHL marks with 801 goals and 1,850 points – mostly with the Red Wings – that held up until Gretzky came along. Howe was also so famously fierce that a “Gordie Howe Hat Trick” became synonymous with the combination of having a goal, an assist and a fight in one game.

Arguably one of the two greatest hockey players to ever strap on the skates. Damn.

I actually met Gordie back in high school in Newfoundland where I grew up. My family and I used to go camping on the west coast which is also a well known salmon fishing area and he was there with others to catch some salmon. It was a meeting I’ve never forgotten.


Continue readingMr Hockey Gordie Howe dies at 88
Posted inLinks

Gruber on The New App Store – Subscription Pricing, Faster Approvals, and Search Ads

John Gruber:

“We’re doing something a little different this year. We’ve got a bunch of App Store/developer-related announcements for WWDC next week, but frankly, we’ve got a busy enough keynote that we decided we’re not going to cover those in the keynote. And rather, just cover them in the afternoon and throughout the week. We’re talking to people today for news tomorrow about those things, in advance of WWDC, and then developers can come and be ready for sessions about these things, with knowledge about them before the conference. We haven’t done this before, but we figured, what the heck, let’s give it a try.”

So started my phone call with Phil Schiller yesterday. Doing something a little different, indeed.

These changes and improvements to the App Store — or App Stores, if you prefer, because they all apply to iOS (and thus WatchOS), Mac OS X, and tvOS — are no little things. These changes fundamentally change the App Store, for users and especially for developers.

A quick summary:

App Store review times are now much shorter. These changes are already in place, and have been widely noted in recent weeks. Apple is today confirming they’re not a fluke — they’re the result of systemic changes to how App Store review works.

Subscription-based pricing was heretofore limited to specific app categories. Now, subscription-based pricing will be an option for any sort of app, including productivity apps and games. This is an entirely new business model for app developers — one that I think will make indie app development far more sustainable.

Changes to app discovery, including a smarter “Featured” tab, the return of the “Categories” tab, and, yes, as rumored, paid search ads.

Looks like there are some interesting app stores changes coming up shortly… The subscription-based pricing is especially interesting.


Continue readingGruber on The New App Store – Subscription Pricing, Faster Approvals, and Search Ads
Posted inLinks

Nest’s time at Alphabet: A virtually unlimited budget with no results

Ron Amadeo, writing for Ars Technica:

It’s hard to argue with the decision to “transition” Fadell away from Nest. When Google bought Nest in January 2014, the expectation was that a big infusion of Google’s resources and money would supercharge Nest. Nest grew from 280 employees around the time of the Google acquisition to 1200 employees today. In Nest’s first year as “a Google company,” it used Google’s resources to acquire webcam maker Dropcam for $555 million, and it paid an unknown amount for the smart home hub company Revolv. Duffy said Nest was given a “virtually unlimited budget” inside Alphabet. Nest eventually transitioned to an Alphabet company, just like Google.

In return for all this investment, Nest delivered very little. The Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Protect smoke detector both existed before the Google acquisition, and both received minor upgrades under Google’s (and later Alphabet’s) wing. A year after buying Dropcam, Nest released the Nest Cam, which was basically a rebranded Dropcam. Two-and-a-half years under Google/Alphabet, a quadrupling of the employee headcount, and half-a-billion dollars in acquisitions yielded minor yearly updates and a rebranded device. That’s all.

Say what you will about Tony Fadell’s leadership style, I don’t see how anyone could deny that Nest has nothing to show for its time as an Alphabet subsidiary.

Nest is still the same thermostat / smoke detector company they were before Google bought them, and they still have the same products they had before their purchase, and nothing new to show for it since then.


Continue readingNest’s time at Alphabet: A virtually unlimited budget with no results
Posted inLinks