15th March 2019
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So, Apple have now posted their response to Spotifys long list of complaints against them.

It’s pretty huge, and they go against nearly every point they made. I’m hugely biased as I’m an Apple fan, but to me, everything they said makes a lot of sense.

Here are some of the sections that I found the most interesting:

What Spotify is demanding is something very different. After using the App Store for years to dramatically grow their business, Spotify seeks to keep all the benefits of the App Store ecosystem — including the substantial revenue that they draw from the App Store’s customers — without making any contributions to that marketplace. At the same time, they distribute the music you love while making ever-smaller contributions to the artists, musicians and songwriters who create it — even going so far as to take these creators to court.

That’s a dig at Spotify already, and they also go a bit further than their complaints, by mentioning their relationship with artists.

One thing that surprised me, was their response to Spotifys claims about Apple restricting them from platforms such as the HomePod or Apple Watch:

  • When we reached out to Spotify about Siri and AirPlay 2 support on several occasions, they’ve told us they’re working on it, and we stand ready to help them where we can.
  • Spotify is deeply integrated into platforms like CarPlay, and they have access to the same app development tools and resources that any other developer has.
  • We found Spotify’s claims about Apple Watch especially surprising. When Spotify submitted their Apple Watch app in September 2018, we reviewed and approved it with the same process and speed with which we would any other app. In fact, the Spotify Watch app is currently the No. 1 app in the Watch Music category.

That all sounds like Spotify have actually been working with Apple successfully already.

They then went into detail on the number of free apps in the App Store, how different apps make money while Apple not taking a cut (free, ad-supported, external subscriptions, and physical good sales). They turned this at Spotify by stating that only a small fraction of their subscriptions are going through their payment platform, and that their target is to reduce that to zero. So in effect, reducing their contribution to the platform to zero.

They end with a statement about what it means to music, and also how Apple’s approach is to help grow opportunities for artists, businesses, and every person with a big idea:

We share Spotify’s love of music and their vision of sharing it with the world. Where we differ is how you achieve that goal. Underneath the rhetoric, Spotify’s aim is to make more money off others’ work. And it’s not just the App Store that they’re trying to squeeze — it’s also artists, musicians and songwriters.

Just this week, Spotify sued music creators after a decision by the US Copyright Royalty Board required Spotify to increase its royalty payments. This isn’t just wrong, it represents a real, meaningful and damaging step backwards for the music industry.

Apple’s approach has always been to grow the pie. By creating new marketplaces, we can create more opportunities not just for our business, but for artists, creators, entrepreneurs and every “crazy one” with a big idea. That’s in our DNA, it’s the right model to grow the next big app ideas and, ultimately, it’s better for customers.

We’re proud of the work we’ve done to help Spotify build a successful business reaching hundreds of millions of music lovers, and we wish them continued success — after all, that was the whole point of creating the App Store in the first place.

This is going to be really interesting to watch play out. Especially the EU court case.

There is one thing that I agree with Spotify on, and that’s the 30% cut Apple take. But I wouldn’t class that as being anti-competitive, as it’s a rule for the entire App Store. I just want it to be lower.

In general, I’m against Spotify on this one. I was unsure on a few things after the complaint was published, on things like the App Store rejections, their claim that Apple dismissed their Apple Watch app proposals, and Apple apparently not letting them on the HomePod. Apple cleared a lot of this up. And while both sides of the argument will include biases, I feel that Apple have quashed a lot of Spotifys claims.

24th October 2018

I just received some good news in an email from Apple. They’re finally reopening their Covent Garden store on the 26th October.

Come and see our brand-new space. Explore a wide range of inspiring Today at Apple sessions taking place every day. And learn new skills in everything from photography to design, music and more.

Join us to see just how far your creativity can take you.

They’ve got some interesting events already lined up:

  • Photo Walk: Capturing Covent Garden
  • Performance: Joncan Kavlakoglu
  • Kids Hour: Draw Along with the Moomins
  • Business Exclusive: Perfect Your Creative Pitch with Hubbub

Maybe I’ll have to start looking at going to some of them. I haven’t been to any events at an Apple store yet.

Apple – Covent Garden Creative Series

30th August 2018

As usual, Apple can’t seem to keep things secret anymore. Leaks are now emerging of the new iPhone XS that will be announced at the event on the 12th September.

I have completely mixed feeling about it this time. It’s a real shame that some of the surprise from the event has been somewhat spoiled. I don’t mind a few bits of information being leaked, but when it’s marketing images of a new product, it feels like someone has really screwed up.

Some people will surely point the blame at the people like 9To5Mac that make these things public, but that’s their job, to release interesting news. And it will certainly interest a lot of people.

I’ve read one article from 9To5Mac which includes an image of the iPhone XS, with new sizes and colour, and I’ve seen a few photos of a new Watch face, but I’m going to try and stay away from anything else. It will be pretty hard, seeing as I follow a lot of blogs that will cover it, and it will be all over Twitter, but I’ll manage.

Guilherme Rambo‏, the main investigator of Apple related leaks nowadays, said that a lot of information is coming from some test streams that Apple clearly didn’t think people were watching:

Apple just can’t seem to keep it in their pants anymore.


I would like to note that I won’t be writing about these leaks, or sharing other links to anything else that may come out. I don’t hold anything against anyone that reads, shares, or does anything with the information. I’ll just try and wait until the official announcement.

13th August 2018

I started a note a while ago to list out the things I want in the next iPhone, but there’s honestly not much that I can think of. I may really want these things, but there’s not many of them.

Just for some perspective, I’m currently using an iPhone 7 Plus, and I’m still really happy with the device. But I got it on release day, so after two years I think I’m due an upgrade. However, taking into consideration the improvements made in the iPhone X, there are just a few things I’d like the next model (whatever it’s going to be called) to improve upon.

The first has to be the battery. I don’t really ever get a full days use out of a single charge, but I do understand that I am a bit of an edge case. I use my phone a lot, whether it’s at work when I’m using it as a test device, or when I’m travelling and I’m constantly taking photos. I would like the battery life to be great for all types of users, not just when it’s new, or for someone who uses it less than me.

Following on the photography side of my iPhone use, I wouldn’t mind the camera getting a bit better. It’s a pretty good camera, and I get some good shots, but I don’t think there has been any major leaps in a while. I know this isn’t a great metric to use as a comparison, but the iPhone 6 had a 12MP camera, and so does the iPhone X. Sure, quite a lot of other things have changed, and the lens makes a lot of difference on it’s own. But I would like to see an aperture lower than f/1.8, improvements to macro photography, and general improvements to sharpness.

One thing that I expect to see, and I kind of really need in my next device, is the ability to use Face ID in any orientation. I’m still unsure about facial recognition, seeing as how reliable and fast Touch ID is, and the fact the iPhone X has to be in portrait for it to be unlocked would be pretty annoying. But with the rumours of this coming to the iPad, I don’t see why the next iPhone wouldn’t also receive it. Maybe even the iPhone X could retroactively gain support for this as well.

My next wish is something I’ve been wanting for a long time now, and it’s a reason why I’ve been tempted to buy a Google Pixel before, colourful hardware. In the past, Apple have offered multiple colour options for quite a lot of their products, the early iMacs, iPods, the iPhone 5C, and of course the Apple Watch straps. I really want a phone that isn’t just a boring slab of monochrome, (I don’t accept the gold options, and the RED edition takes ages to be launched). Why not something with a bit of character? What about adding a few accents to the side buttons like the Pixel, or going for whole colour changes, like the rumoured orange version (😍). And I don’t want any interesting options to be relegated to the cheaper models. I remember when I purchased a 5S, I really wanted the design of the 5C so I could get a bright colour for once, but I wasn’t going to buy one with old hardware. With a $1 trillion market cap, you’d think there’d be room for some more colour options for arguably their main product.

To round up my wishes, there’s just one more thing (yeah, I wrote that) I want Apple to include. Nothing big or extravagant, just a USB C to Lightning cable in the box as standard. The USB C market clearly isn’t as big as Apple predicted it would be by now, and I’ve written about how the iPad could improve this, but another push would be if the iPhone connected via USB C.

Anyway, I’ll sit back with everyone else, and await what device we’re all going to be purchasing.

2nd August 2018
Permalink

If you were upset about Apple’s photo printing service no longer being available from the Photos app, you’ll be glad to know that the partner they used, Mimeo, now offer these identical services themselves.

“This is a real opportunity for us to expand our successes as a prominent Apple Photos extension since the beginning,” said John Delbridge, CEO, Mimeo. “We are really excited to see an increase in demand from countries like Australia and Japan in addition to our strong US customer base.”

It’s no longer integrated into the Photos app by default, but there is now the Mimeo Photos app, that will make the service available from Apple’s Photos app.

12th July 2018

With all the nostalgia of the early App Store and iOS SDK days, Frederik Riedel tweeted about his experience developing iRedstone:

After he tweeted that, other developers started quoting it, and sharing their experiences. Frederik has compiled a great collection of them over on his blog.

12th July 2018

Well this is unexpected, Apple have updated some of their Macs:

Cupertino, California — Apple today updated MacBook Pro with faster performance and new pro features, making it the most advanced Mac notebook ever. The new MacBook Pro models with Touch Bar feature 8th-generation Intel Core processors, with 6-core on the 15-inch model for up to 70 percent faster performance and quad-core on the 13-inch model for up to two times faster performance — ideal for manipulating large data sets, performing complex simulations, creating multi-track audio projects or doing advanced image processing or film editing. – Apple Newsroom

The improvements are to the 13” and 15” models of the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, and there are also a few extra bits of news. I thought I’d try and extract the key improvements:

MacBook Pros

 Hardware

  • Faster CPUs – Now using 8th generation chips:
    • Quad-core Intel i5 and i7 processors up to 2.7GHz (Turbo Boost to 4.5GHz) for the 13”
    • Hexa-core Intel i7 and i9 processors up to 2.9GHz (Turbo Boost to 4.8GHz) for the 15”
  • Up to 32GB of DDR4 memory in the 15”
  • New HDD options – 2TB for the 13” ad 4TB for the 15”
  • New Apple T2 Chip
  • True Tone
  • Upgraded graphics chips:
    • Intel Iris Plus 655 for the 13”
    • Radeon Pro chips with 4GB of video memory for the 15”
  • The 13” model now ships with 4 USB C ports
  • The keyboard has been replaced with a new 3rd generation butterfly keyboard, which is quieter, and maybe more reliable.
  • Battery capacities have been slightly increased to cope with the newer specs. However, Brian Heater at TechCrunch says that no mechanical changes have been made.

Software

  • “Hey Siri” comes to the MacBook Pro because of the new T2 chip.
  • Also, enhanced security with secure booting, and on-the-fly storage encryption because of the T2.

 Extras

  • There are new colour options for the MacBook Leather Sleeve (13” and 15”) – Saddle Brown, Midnight Blue, and Black.
  • These MacBook Pro’s are also part of the Back to Schoo program, where students can receive a free pair of Beats headphones with eligible Macs.

28th March 2018

Yesterday, I was getting pretty excited about the “new” iPad:

That’s why this iPad seems absolutely perfect. I get to use one of the most exciting accessories for the iPad, it won’t cost me a huge amount of money to do it, and there are a ton of extra upgrades that I’ll be getting in the mean time. For example, I’ll use this upgrade to move from 64GB to 128GB, the A8X will be replaced with the A10 Fusion chip (currently used in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus), an ever so slight improvement to the camera (it can take Live Photos), and around a 19% increase in battery capacity. Along with some more improvements that will probably cause additional delight.

Since then, I’ve discovered one tiny spec of information that completely flipped this article on its head. As much as the new iPad was an upgrade to my Air 2, the display is actually a downgrade. Specifically, it is not a laminated screen like the Air 2, and more recent models. So the screen is actually clearly behind the glass.

I can’t buy a product like the iPad, knowing I’m going backwards in regards to the display. Because that’s 90% of the iPad experience!

I think my only solution is to get an iPad Pro if I want the Pencil support. I didn’t want to do that though, so I’ll have to have a think.

27th March 2018

Apple have just announced their newest iteration of the iPad, at their education focussed event. They also announced a lot of other school related software, and integrations, but I’m not interested in that at all really.

However, I am very interested in the new iPad. Even if it is geared towards the educational market. And that’s mainly down to two factors: the low price, and the Apple Pencil support.

I should probably interject here with more details on my current iPad situation. I have an iPad Air 2 WiFi, with 64GB of storage. It is actually only my second iPad, after the iPad 2, and I think it’s quite near as perfect as it can be for what I use it for. I watch videos, read blogs, write for my blog, listen to music, play games, etc.

Basically all the usual stuff. Apart from working. But I’m an iOS developer, so it’s not as easy to switch as some other professions. Anyway, I’m completely happy with my Touch Bar MacBook Pro.

Back to the iPad. One of the few features that has made me super jealous of iPad Pro users, is the Apple Pencil. Because it’s such an obvious extension to the iPad, and I can see myself using it for a wide range of tasks. Like taking notes, sketching (of course), mapping out ideas, and maybe I’ll even find a way to write for my blog by handwriting. I would probably prefer it.

With all of that said, it’s probably surprising why I haven’t already just purchased an iPad Pro. I have been very close to making the leap, but the one blocker has always been the price, compared to the added value it would give me. Sure it’s powerful enough to warrant that price. But it’s not worth it for me.

That’s why this iPad seems absolutely perfect. I get to use one of the most exciting accessories for the iPad, it won’t cost me a huge amount of money to do it, and there are a ton of extra upgrades that I’ll be getting in the mean time. For example, I’ll use this upgrade to move from 64GB to 128GB, the A8X will be replaced with the A10 Fusion chip (currently used in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus), an ever so slight improvement to the camera (it can take Live Photos), and around a 19% increase in battery capacity. Along with some more improvements that will probably cause additional delight.

Maybe I’m biased in my opinion here, and I’m 90% certain’t I am. But, I think that this could be the iPad model that pushes a lot of other “normals” to upgrade. Seeing as it doesn’t require any extra use of the device to warrant the price. It’s a super reasonable price, and it could potentially be a decent upgrade for someone on an Air 2 like me or earlier. It would certainly push up numbers for iOS 11 adoption, and from the user’s pont of view, it would give them another few years with a solid device.

I’m very much looking forward to using this device. And it’s been quite a while since I’ve felt like that about a new Apple product. Minus the AirPods.