Results tagged “Apple” from Bill's Words

Seriously, the hype is so ridiculous these days that it’s just better to remember that AAPL is, just like every stock on the market, gambling.

Hmm. NFC, after all.

(Sorry for the bombastic headline.)

I’m surprised that Googling the new Apple store in South Windsor, CT, hasn’t turned up any pictures. So, here’s one photo I took.

It’s a bad photo.

2014-08-15 20.01.41.jpg

But it’s pretty clearly an Apple Store. Kinda’ hard to mistake that characteristic, no matter how bad the picture.

Note how Apple got its trade dress on the façade of the store, even though this is Evergreen Walk (said with very distinct, highfalutin’ accent, of course).

Xserve is long dead.

Mac OS X Server is an app, not a standalone product anymore, and is a shadow of its former self.

So it would not surprise me if this announcement is the first step towards a partnership which could supply both iOS and Mac OS-friendly “big iron” server technologies for enterprise, an area which Apple clearly has no interest in pursuing.

Apple WWDC 2014: 9+1=Yosemite


And with one fell swoop, we know that Mac OS X 10.9’s successor is not Mac OS X 10.something, but is Mac OS X Yosemite.

(Or so I think. Other websites are reporting it as 10.10, though I haven’t heard that mentioned yet.)

OK, I’m wrong. 10.10 is mentioned in this press release, in a footnote.

Two iOS 7 Observations


I’m sort of surprised nobody has made these observations (that I can find, anyway).

First, did you notice that all of the so-called “flat” interface elements are ridiculously easy to draw with vector graphics? As I’ve stated before, the various flavors of Apple OS are going to be resolution independent someday. The departure from textures and bitmapped elements will make this transition much easier, and the sweeping hands on the iOS Clock app icon is a pretty good example of a traditionally-bitmapped element which has become all or nearly all vector graphics.

Second, when you’re composing an E-mail, Mail app on iOS 7 does a pretty good job at guessing which account the message should be sent from. Let’s say you have two E-mail accounts, “” and “” and that your default “from” address is “”. When you start writing a message, the “from” field will show “”, as it should. But then when you put in a recipient, such as “”, iOS 7 will change the “from” account to the “” address. This feature would have saved me and my co-workers much confusion as I have been known to send them E-mails from my personal account when I meant to send them from my work account.

That’s all for now.

Why the 5c? I Think I Know...


Some blogs are asking, “Why is Apple making the iPhone 5c? Who’s the target audience?”

Remember this headline from a year ago?

Foxconn Exec Says iPhone 5 Is the ‘Most Difficult Device’ It Ever Made

And remember this headline from the not-too-distant past?

iPhone sales up, but Apple profit margin falls

Still wondering why the 5c exists and the 5 has been canned? If so, I’ll connect the dots for you.

How many assembly workers did you see in the manufacturing video for the 5c? Hint: None. That’s because robots—which don’t require food, rest, or suicide prevention nets—are doing more of the 5c assembly process than was possible for the 5. They’re faster, they’re more precise, and they make the 5c much less expensive to manufacture than the 5.

The net result? Higher margins on what is, essentially, an identical product to the outgoing 5. The colorful cases and shells are just the excuse to make the new product.

So, let’s answer the first question: who is Apple targeting with the 5c?


[As of noon today, Apple stock is down 5% meaning that investors don’t feel all that targeted.]

Ω A Reminder Bug in iOS 6.x...?


iOS 6 added a Reminders app, and I use it in spite of the awful interface. (The “on/off” switches for “Remind Me On a Day” and “Remind Me At a Place” are particularly awkward, and why doesn’t checking off a task make it go away?)

I have a daily reminder at 7:30pm to remind me about a task. Sometimes I do it early and check it off as being done. (Yay, me!) Strangely, reminders then reminds me at 7:30 that same night to do the task… and shows it as needing to be done at 7:30 tomorrow. It also shows up in the Reminders list as needing to be done at 7:30pm tomorrow, though it just reminded me about it at 7:30pm today.

Yes, a bug. An annoying bug.

Update: I can’t reproduce the bug. So I’ll delete my event and hopefully that’ll solve the problem.

In a fascinating excerpt from his book, frog design’s Hartmut Esslinger recounts his days at Apple. The most interesting quote, to me, is this one which cautions against everything which happened at Apple between 1986 and 1996, and against analysts’ “visions” for Apple in the coming years:

Most importantly, I explained, Apple needed one design team that directly reported to him, and that design had to be involved far ahead of any actual product development in Apple’s strategic planning. This system would enable Apple to project new technologies and consumer interactions for years ahead, which would avoid shortsighted ad-hoc developments.

(emphasis mine)

Click over to Fast Company and read the rest.

I’ve been reading The Motley Fool since Apple’s remarkable tanking two weeks ago. So far, Fool has been consistent in its observations regarding the irrational behavior of the market—namely, that what happened was nuts.

Here’s the money quote from today’s article:

There is only one basic truth why the market suddenly fell out of love with Apple, and that is exuberant expectations. The market expected Apple to grow at a double digit rate, each and every year. This, of course, is unsustainable. Because fear and greed are such dominant emotions in the market, a little sense of disappointment quickly turned into aggressive selling. It has nothing to do with the business or spirit of the company; it has everything to do with the minds and emotions of investors.

Keywords to note: fear, greed, emotions. If you have no stomach for these, you have no business investing in the stock market.

Ω Why AAPL is a Bad Stock to Trade


Because Apple is notoriously secret.

Because Wall Street and the mainstream media will believe and regurgitate nearly anything the rumor mill produces.

Because the stock’s value is not tied to reality.1

Because Wall Street AAPL analysts are used to asking for a Red Ryder BB gun and getting a pony instead.

Because Wall Street AAPL analysts are disappointed when they ask for a Red Ryder BB gun and get a Red Ryder BB gun (with a compass in the stock) instead.2

Because Apple hasn’t dominated the China market yet.

Because it might never go back up to $700 per share.

Because Steve Jobs died and Tim Cook is obviously failing.

Because Apple has only had several record-breaking quarters in a row.

Because Windows Phone will surely dominate the market.

Because the iPhone 5 hasn’t been replaced by a bigger iPhone yet.

Because Apple is only selling more phones in a day than Google sells in two months, because Android is taking over the world, and because nobody makes money from it.

Because the Apple HDTV hasn’t started shipping yet.

1 None are, really, but AAPL less so than most.

2 Christmas morning at their houses must be interesting.

And Apple shares tumble 5% in after-hours trading… because Wall Street traders are idiots.

Apple beat their estimates. iPhone 5 sales beat the low end of their estimates. Earnings were “flat” even though they increased.


Ω Eccles Rates AAPL a "Buy a lot!"


Citing nothing more than a seat-of-the-pants hunch, Eccles Chief Analyst and Bottlewasher Bill Eccles upgraded his rating of Apple Incorporated from “Wow!” to “Buy a lot!” In keeping with the Wall Street Analyst Code of Conduct, though, he cited meaningless statistics and rumor to validate his change in rating.

Eccles said, “I see about half of Wall Street saying it’s a ‘hold’ (Wall Street lingo for ‘Run for the exits!’) and the other half of Wall Street saying ‘buy’ (Wall Street lingo for ‘Buy’). With this kind of volatility, I’ve got to cover my shorts and longs and encourage people to buy the stock. You know, because I have some skin in this game, too.” He further cited the incredibly strong sales of iPhones of all models, which are meaningless unless you look at the profit they generate for Apple (which has not commented and will not comment until later today), as further evidence that Apple is doing just, as he put it, “hunky dory.”

Discounting the naysayers who clearly don’t have a clue and are debunked thoroughly about Apple’s product cycles, he added, “Look, it’s all about consumer sentiment. iPhones are still the hottest product out there and they have nothing but room to grow. While Samsung is making inroads into the market, the average consumer doesn’t see this as a zero-sum game, as ‘If Samsung wins, Apple loses’. No, this is more about an ever-expanding market for smartphones in which both Samsung and Apple can win.”

When asked about Microsoft’s phones, he replied, “Microsoft? They make a phone?”

He went on to say that the iPad mini’s dominance in the marketplace has not undercut iPad sales, either. “You buy the one you want.” Citing as evidence he stated, “My mom just got an iPad 4. (Hi, Mom!) With 64GB of storage, too. I mean, she could have bought a mini, but she went all out and bought the full pull. In a family of cutting-edge technologists, this is clearly evidence that the iPad is alive and well.”

When it was pointed out that he has a hand-me-down iPad 2, “which is nothing to sneeze at,” he replied that “I am my own prediction’s fulfillment. APPL has nothing but upside.”

When asked about Microsoft’s tablet, he replied, “Microsoft? They make a tablet, too? Sheesh, the things you learn…”

This statement may contain forward-looking statements derived from Magic 8-Ball or other sources and should not be construed as investment advice.

In today’s USA TODAY, journalist Matt “I’ve seen an iPhone” Krantz says:

Apple’s latest technology defeat at the hands of Google, most recently in the area of maps, is underscoring how the two tech titans are going head-to-head in a tech battle where the stakes loom large.

Unfortunately, he’s unaware that Google and Apple aren’t competing with each other in some “head-to-head tech battle,” and that all of the financial comparisons he then proceeds to make are pointless. Yes, Google seems to think that Apple is battling teh Goog, perhaps because of the patent wars where there is a true battle, but it’s quite clear that the two companies’ focuses are completely different.

Apple sells Hardware, and it makes nearly all of its profit on its hardware. It makes software to sell its hardware. Though Google makes hardware too, it’s not a huge profit center for Google. No, Google makes hardware—and the software it gives away to other hardware manufacturers—to get the Google Information Collecting Machine (my term) into every pair of hands that it can. That’s because Google sells Search.

Similarly, Amazon makes the Kindle and Barnes and Noble has its Nook, but both companies’ main product is Content.

Google sells Search. Apple sells Hardware. There is no competition.

So why can’t journalists and analysts get this through their heads?

Beats me. Perhaps I’ll Google for an answer on my iPhone…

I asked “Why not in the US?” regarding iPhone assembly two years ago. Tim Cook has answered (not directly to me, of course) with the best news out of Apple in decades:

Apple CEO Tim Cook has said “we will do one of our existing Mac lines in the United States,” vaguely confirming that production of either iMacs, Mac Minis or Mac Laptops will make a wholesale move to the US in 2013.

I’m going to guess that it’ll be either iMacs of Mac Pros because neither ships particularly well from China (lots of air in their boxes), and doing customization locally would be a lot easier that way, too.

We can hope this turns out to be a good more for Apple, but more especially so for the U.S. Apple is demonstrating a confidence in and optimism for the U.S. which we desperately need more of, especially right now. I’m also hopeful that other companies will follow suit and reverse the trend of offshoring jobs of the past decade.

Do I care if the factory is stocked with robots? Of course not. Somebody still has to build and maintain the facility. Somebody still has to build and program the robots. Truckers still have to haul material in and out. Managers still have to manage. And those are high- and low-tech jobs which would otherwise not exist at all in the U.S.

Bravo, Tim. Bravo.

via Engadget

The Background

Our family shares an iMac and an iTunes library using one family user account. We use this account to sync all of our iDevices with music, apps and photos. Members of the family have individual accounts, and none of these accounts has access to the shared iTunes library, and that’s the way we want it.

I wanted each user to be able to access and edit the Aperture 3 library so that we each could drop E-mailed pictures into it (directly from Mail), edit pictures and share photos via E-mail (directly from Aperture). The “obvious” (but incomplete) solution is to move the family’s Aperture library from our shared account to the /Users/Shared folder and hold down option while launching Aperture to point to the Aperture library in the Shared folder.

Aperture gripes about the relocated library because the library has the file permissions (owner, etc.) of the shared account, and each user can’t do anything to it. Solutions tried by others include using Finder to add permissions for each user (via Get Info), changing group permissions (also via Get Info), and various command line incantations, none of which purport to be 100% successful, and none of which worked for me. The only solution which works, according to a long search of the Intarwebs, is to attach a second drive (or create a partition) and tell the Mac OS to ignore permissions on that drive. Without a second drive and without enough room to create a large enough partition, this option was out for me. Only in one place did I find somebody who claimed to have performed some command line fu which did the equivalent of ignoring permissions.

But that was enough for me to venture down into the depths of ACLs (Access Control Lists) to make this work.

The Warnings

Note that although I have tested the solution on my own Mac, I do not guarantee that it will work for you. You should… no, that’s not strong enough. You must backup your Aperture library before trying any of these instructions.

Even though the result of these instructions should be a shared Aperture library, only one user may access the library at a time, and Aperture 3 will gripe if more than one user tries to access it simultaneously.

Finally, if any of this makes you uncomfortable and you are uncomfortable with the steps below, don’t try them and just live with an unshared library. Hopefully, Apple will do something about library sharing in the future, and you probably can deal with the inconvenience until then.

The Solution

Step 1: Close Aperture.

Step 2: Move the shared Aperture library to the /Users/Shared folder, as you might expect. Any of the users can provide the source library as far as I am aware.

Step 3: Open Terminal and change directories to /Users/Shared.

Step 4: Execute the following command line fu for each user who is to share the Aperture library.

sudo chmod -R +a "user:username* allow list,add_file,search,add_subdirectory,delete_child,readattr,writeattr,readextattr,writeextattr,readsecurity,file_inherit,directory_inherit" Aperture\ Library.aplibrary

substituting the appropriate short username in for username above, and of course it’s all one line. (Spaces are not allowed in the ACL either, by the way.)

Step 5: Test the installation by opening the library (hold down option when you start Aperture to select the newly-shared library) in each user’s account. I tested the installation by adding a photo from each user’s account, making sure all other users could see and edit the photo, and ensuring that all other users could see the resulting changes.

Step 6: Put an alias to the shared library into each user’s Pictures folder so that iTunes will know where to look for the shared library. iTunes seems to be able to follow the alias nicely.

That worked for me and, as the saying goes, your mileage may vary, so please let me know if you have anything to add or encounter problems. Please don’t hesitate to contact me using the contact E-mail address buried over there under “Who is this Bill guy, anyway?”

Yes! My favorite clock face gets to stick around.

via arstechnica

In this article on TUAW, Kelly Hodgkins says of the Apple-authenticated Lightning cable for the iPhone 5:

This is convenient for users, but it could prove costly over the along [sic] run. Third-party cables offer a less expansive [sic] alternative to Apple’s pricey cables, but these 8-pin cables could be rendered useless if they lack the necessary authentication chip.

People griped about the cost of Apple power adapters because of the patented MagSafe connector. Now people are going to gripe about the cost of an official Apple cable, which remains unchanged at $19 whether it’s for a 30-pin dock connector or for a Lightning connector, in spite of the fact that a lot of the cheaper cables are (to put it bluntly) crap.

My MacBook has been saved numerous times by the MagSafe connector. And in the few days that I’ve had an iPhone 5, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed putting the connector in the correct way every single time.

So the next time you curse the dock connector for its asymmetry, compare the short-term expenditure of a few bucks versus the long-term convenience of the no-fumble, no-cursing cable. I’m willing to bet you’ll decide that Hodgkins has it backwards.

Ω A Few Days With an iPhone 5


I had very high hopes for the iPhone 5. Having had an iPhone 4 for the last two years, I noticed that new versions of iOS were beginning to make my phone feel sluggish. My wife’s 4S still feels acceptably fast, so when the nature of the processors in the iPhone 5 was announced, I knew only good things were coming.

I got my iPhone 5 via Verizon on Friday having placed my order late enough that if I’d ordered through Apple, I wouldn’t have received my iPhone until later this week. The packaging is as beautiful as always, and this time the headphones—the “EarPods”—come in a nice little difficult-to-open plastic box. Other than that, the packaging is only remarkable, as one would expect, because it’s so damned nice. Otherwise, it does its job and gets out of the way.

Setup turned out to be nontrivial because I started the job over at my wife’s office and tried to finish the job at home. I ended up goofing up the process and needed to start from scratch. After a while, it was all done and I was off and using the phone.

Other reviews have a lot of detail in them about the iPhone 5—more than I can possibly ever achieve. So let me tell you what I’ve found so far:

Field Test Mode is sticky.

If you put your previous iPhone into field test mode and backed it up with the signal strength indicator showing instead of bars (as outlined here), the signal strength indicator “preference” will carry forward to the new iPhone. This is good news because it makes figuring out what’s going on with my next point all that easier.

If you live in an LTE fringe area, your battery life will suck.

We live in the edge of an LTE area as evidenced by the aforementioned signal strength numbers. With LTE on, I see -111dBm to -117dBm consistently. Turning off LTE, which reverts the phone back to Verizon’s version of 3G, I see -80dBm or thereabouts. If I leave LTE on, my battery is depleted—<10%—by the end of the day, or about 16 hours after unplugging in the morning.

My assumption here is that the phone is doing the same thing the 3G phones do when in a 3G fringe area, namely “searching” by pinging the tower with a full boat of transmit power. It bounces between 3G and LTE, resulting in a much-decreased battery life. I’ve got anecdotal evidence of this gained by listening to my clock radio last night which is next to the charging iPhone 5. Every so often, the radio would buzz and hum (a very different buzz and hum from the 3G buzz and hum we’ve all heard on telecons). Turning off LTE made this pattern disappear.

My suggestion to Apple, if it’s not already covered by somebody’s patent, is to ignore LTE when I’ve got a WiFi signal or when I have a decent 3G signal and I’m not “doing” anything. When I start “doing” something which requires data, look for LTE; otherwise, preserve my battery life. Until LTE blankets the country, there are going to be a lot of phones out there in fringe areas hoping for an LTE signal they’re not likely to get.

4" is a smidgen too big.

I have big hands, and you know what they say about men with big hands, don’t you?

Yes, we wear big gloves.

All joking aside, I can span an octave and a fourth on a piano (if I stretch, an octave and a fifth), and yet I find that locating the “back” button so typical in iOS navigation at the upper left-hand corner of the screen puts it just a bit too far out of comfortable reach. Getting to it requires me to curl my pinky, ring and middle fingers of my right hand just a touch closer than is comfortable in order for me to get my right thumb over to that corner.

I keep a firm grip on my phone with those three fingers and my palm. This maneuver makes that grip just a bit more tenuous than I prefer.

As an iOS app developer (OK, an aspiring iOS app developer), I’m now rethinking the navigation of the app I’m working on. I think Apple should, too.

This phone is amazingly fast.

Again, I’m jumping two generations here, but as I demonstrated over the weekend with this little video demonstration, even the simplest of tasks, such as launching The Weather Channel app, happens so much faster, it’s like… like having a newer, faster phone. This phone came out only two years after the 4, only a year after the 4S, and yet it’s a leap forward in speed. Touch is significantly more responsive than my 4. Safari page load times are noticeably faster. It’s just better.

One Lightning cord is not enough.

I didn’t realize just how dependent I’ve become on having multiple cords hanging around the house to plug into. Well, two anyway, one on the iMac, and one at my bedside. I can see that the online store is backordered, so a trip to the local Apple store is called for. $20 isn’t too unreasonable, given that it’s more than just a piece of wire with some connectors on the end. And I’ve bought my fair share of non-Apple cables and they are hit or miss. I’d like a 100% hit rate, so it’s off to the Apple store I go.

The EarPods ain’t half bad.

I don’t claim to have a golden ear. In fact, one of my ears wouldn’t qualify for bronze. But these things are comfortable and don’t fall out when I’m folding laundry. (Sigh. Yes, I do the laundry.) And they have a good design for the button pod, too, which beats the design I have on my Klipsch earbuds hands down. (The Klipsch buttons are all round and almost identically-sized which means it takes me a moment to figure out which button I have my thumb on by comparing it to one of the other two.)

But it feels like the control pod’s position on the right ear cord has changed. (Rummage, rummage, compare, compare…) Turns out, I’m right, but it’s only about 1/2" higher, and yet I somehow keep missing it, even though it’s larger, too.

4" is just right.

OK, in direct contradiction to what I said above, I have to admit that the extra row of icons and the larger viewing are for comics and other things is wonderful. Now I can get all of the things I most frequently use onto my first page of icons (with one spot left over, even), and I can read Zits no matter how small the Sunday strip writing is.

Siri is cool.

No, really, I had a great time the other night posting a status to Facebook, unedited, 100% accurately. I even guessed the proper commands for open parenthesis (“open parenthesis”) and close parenthesis (“close parenthesis”—we’re not talking rocket science, here) and other punctuation. I spoke at a reasonable pace, and it got it all. Super nifty.

And, damn! it’s thin.

Maybe it won’t leave wear lines in my jeans quite as much as the 4 did.

It’s the little things. They add up to a big thing.

Sometimes, it’s the little things in life which make the biggest differences. Though Apple’s tagline for the iPhone 5 is “The biggest thing to happen to iPhone since iPhone,” I think it’s all the little things which make this so big. No one feature is enough to sell me on the phone. But anybody considering the outlay of $200 vs. your two-year contract costs and thinking “I don’t have that much” really ought to reconsider, save up for a few months, and get a 5 instead of a 4S or 4.

It’s just worth it.

At some point, the ability to load remote images manually while viewing a message got removed. (iOS 4, maybe.)

It’s back with iOS 6, though not in the top of the message—it’s in the bottom where the “Load remaining…” message shows up. Like this:


This is a pretty big deal to me, and I’m glad it’s back.