Archive for March 27, 2018

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Apple’s Lane Tech Education Event


Apple is not providing a live video stream of today’s event, but will post the video on its website and the Apple Events app on Apple TV following the event. We will be updating this article with live blog coverage—no need to refresh—and issuing Twitter updates through our @MacRumorsLive account as the keynote unfolds.

Tom Warren (Hacker News, MacRumors):

Apple previously lowered the price of its 9.7-inch iPad last year, with a base model starting at $329, but today it’s going a step further for students. Apple is offering the new iPad to schools priced at $299 and to consumers for $329. The optional Apple Pencil will be priced at $89 for schools and the regular $99 price for consumers. This is obviously not the $259 budget iPad pricing that was rumored, but it does make it a little more affordable to students and teachers.

Federico Viticci (article):

The new 9.7” iPad does NOT have:

  • ProMotion
  • Wide color P3 display
  • True Tone
  • Smart Connector
  • OIS
  • 4K video
  • Second-gen Touch ID

Tim Hardwick:

Apple and Logitech today announced Crayon, a more affordable stylus for the iPad, at its education-themed event in Chicago. The device will cost $49, roughly half the price of the Apple Pencil.

Benjamin Mayo:

The Crayon has the same stylus technology as Pencil (but no pressure sensitivity) with a completely different external design. Plug in a normal Lightning cable to charge, and it has a power status LED.

The Crayon basically has all the ‘ugly’ features that Jony Ive would never approve.

Matt Bonney:

Also important to note that the Crayon only works with the iPad announced today. Doesn’t even support iPad Pro.

Tim Hardwick:

Integrated Apple Pencil support in the new upcoming versions of Pages and Keynote will enable users to add drawings directly to reports and take advantage of smart annotation features, while students in particular will benefit from using the input device in Numbers to add to their “lab reports”, said Apple.

Tory Foulk:

In addition, the Pages update is bringing digital book creation to the iPad. That essentially means no more iBooks Author, as it’s being integrated directly into Pages.

Dan Masters:

Who wants to bet the caveat is that it’s way less powerful than iBooks Author?

Riccardo Mori:

Pages and iBooks Author had the potential to become two great apps. Now that they’re one single app, I hope it’s not going to be a worst-of-both-world kind of software.

When it comes to first-party software, my impression is that Apple has become somewhat lazier in these past years. The move Pages = iBooks Author + Pages reminds me of Photos = Aperture + iPhoto.

Juli Clover:

Instead of providing each student and teacher with the standard 5GB of free storage, Apple is now offering 200GB of storage at no additional cost.

So, after you graduate, you lose all your work if you don’t pay up?

Tim Schmitz:

Good for students, but I take this as a sign that Apple doesn’t plan to increase free storage for other users. I’m just baffled by the 5 GB limit. I guess it’s a play to increase “services” revenue?

David Sparks:

I think Apple still has a pricing problem. Chromebooks are in the low $200 range. The new iPad is $300, but when you add a case/keyboard $100 and an Apple Pencil ($100), a fully rigged iPad becomes nearly 2.5 times the cost of a Chromebook. When schools need to buy them by the hundreds (or thousands), that extra $300 is going to matter.

Walt Mossberg:

I’m a big iPad fan. And the new iPad education software Apple showed off today looked great. But the school discounts for the new iPad and the pencil seem way too paltry.

Casey Liss:

Schools only compete on price. So if Apple won’t, then they will never be a big deal in education. It’s a waste of time.

Josh Centers:

A lot of people mistakenly believe that schools choose Google for price. No, it’s a superior product that just happens to also be the cheapest option. (At what cost, though?)


They should’ve bundled the keyboard for students. I’m honestly disappointed about that

Adam C. Engst:

Notably missing from the sixth-generation iPad’s specs is the Smart Connector, necessary for Apple’s Smart Keyboard. Apple likely felt that adding such support would cannibalize sales of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, and it’s also possible that it would have forced a price increase. Nonetheless, it’s unfortunate, because it forces schools that adopt the sixth-generation iPad to come up with some Bluetooth keyboard solution for older students who need to, you know, actually write. And frankly, any iPad in an education setting needs a ruggedized case anyway.

Brian X. Chen:

Not only is $500 ($300 for iPad, $100 for Pencil, $100 for keyboard) too expensive to compete with cheap ChromeBooks in education, but the iPad keyboards (first- and third-party) just aren’t good enough to replace a laptop keyboard.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

So was that really worth having an Apple Event for? What did you think?

Michael Gartenberg:

Net net. Solid offering from Apple. I don’t see it making a dent against Google in the near future.

Noah Kravitz:

The hardware cost is important, but far secondary to the cost of administration. Chromebooks are so popular in schools bc they’re so cheap and easy to deploy and administer. iOS was not made for network admins.

Carolina Milanesi (tweet):

When the iPad was first brought into the classroom it was done in schools where, by and large, budget was not an issue and teachers were empowered to invest time in finding the best way to use technology to reinvent and energize teaching. It was really about rethinking how to teach and connect with students. As technology became more pervasive, schools discovered that it was not just about teaching but it was also about managing the classroom. This is what Google was able to capitalize on. Yes, schools turn to Chromebooks because the hardware is cheaper but also because the total cost of ownership when it comes to deployment, management, and teacher’s involvement is much lower.

Jason Smith:

I work in the 11th largest school district with 190k students. All Google here.

I imagine a large number of these kids will always use docs and never even look at Word.

Eric Young:

The lack of an identity management platform - which allowed for Apple to so very quickly get replaced in the education market

Poses the same risk for them in the corporate enterprise market as well


There was no lock in identity platform for even iPad 1:1 schools so now you see them using iPads running G Suite.

I just sat in a K-12 iOS user group meeting where one district said “Why do we even bother with Apple ID’s anymore? We use G Suite.”

Stefan Constantine:

Apple: Buy an iPad for your kid so they can learn how to code.

Kid: I learned how to code! How do I make an app?

Apple: Buy a laptop.

Mom and dad: Wait, I thought the iPad was a computer replacement?

Kid: What’s a computer?

Previously: Apple Losing Education Share, iBooks Author Conference Highlights Ecosystem Worries.

Update (2018-03-27): Dieter Bohn:

Logitech’s Rugged Combo 2 keyboard case for the iPad is not likely to be something you’ll want to buy. It’s just too big for most. It’s very, very rugged, surrounding the device in a huge plastic block that feels like it could protect the glass inside from nearly anything.


But I am here to tell you that it is fascinating. The spill-proof keyboard doesn’t connect via Bluetooth, but instead via a custom smart connector Logitech developed, which passes through to the Lightning port inside the case. The keyboard is therefore removable (it attaches by a strong magnet) and can be replaced with a simple cover.

The thing stands up via a kickstand on the back. That means, when the keyboard is attached, it basically looks like a big, blocky Surface Pro.

Ryan Christoffel:

The special iWork-optimized flavor of Markup included here has marker, pencil, crayon, and shape tools, along with an eraser. If you tap one of the tools when it’s already selected, it will reveal more options to modify the tool’s size and opacity. To get started with Markup, you simply tap your Pencil to the screen and hold, and the Markup tools will appear. If you want to add a sketch without your Pencil in hand, you can do that by hitting the app’s + button, then selecting the Drawing option.

One special Pencil feature Pages receives is something Apple calls Smart Annotation. Launching in beta with today’s update, Smart Annotation enables making comments and proof marks on written work that will then remain dynamically attached to the annotated text, so your Pencil markings will remain with the right words even if changes are later made within the document.

Helge Heß:

Classroom for Mac is the first Marzipan app they show in public. I guess.

Stephen Hackett:

It cannot open my iBooks Author file for my book on the iMac G3 and history of Mac OS X. I’m not super surprised by that, but as the future of iBooks Author is unknown, I’d like a way to know I can edit this file using Pages in the future.

Serenity Caldwell (article):

iBooks Author is NOT being sunset. It’s continuing development. This Pages update is not a replacement.

Jared Willis:

I am a full time college student and a full time creative professional. The iPad Pro is... Not good for creative work. Just buy a Dell XPS 15 and move on with your life.

OTOH, the iPad Pro has been a absolutely essential to me in school.

It does what literally no other device can do, which is flawlessly bridge the gap between digital and paper.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

Of course annotations should export! Sadly they don’t even print (to PDF) properly — drawings and highlights don’t stay in the right place when printing even though they’re included

You can definitely draw on the page, but only in defined rectangles that you have to rearrange afterwards. Not like writing on paper

Bob Burrough:

Why shouldn’t Apple sell an iPad + Apple Pencil for $149 to any student who wants one?

Dieter Bohn:

Both accessories are specifically designed to sell to the education market and will not hit general retail.

Let’s start with the Crayon because it’s fascinating. It’s half the price of the Apple Pencil and works a little bit differently. It does not need to be paired via Bluetooth. Instead, any Crayon can work with any [6th generation] iPad. Apple says that’s so a teacher can walk around with it and use it with student devices. Since it doesn’t pair via Bluetooth, it can’t do pressure sensitivity.

Update (2018-03-28): Shira Ovide:

Chromebooks accounted for 60 percent of laptops, tablet and other mobile computers shipped to U.S. K-12 schools in the third quarter of 2017, according to FutureSource Consulting. Apple’s iPads accounted for 12 percent of those school devices, less than half of its market share in 2014.

Zac Cichy:

Announced today:

  • Same iPad now with Pencil support. Discounted just slightly for edu. (Was already going to happen)
  • iWork with Pencil support. (Was already going to happen)
  • Improvements to its general education efforts. (Was already going to happen)

Justifies this? [Apple + Education: Ignite the creativity in every student.]

Matt Birchler:

Her opinion is that the tablet form factor is problematic, mainly because students can barely be trusted to not lose a laptop, let alone a tablet, a case, and a stylus. Also, look at the profile view of an iPad in the new keyboard case Apple showed on stage[…]

The iPad requires a decent amount of space behind the keyboard to stand up. When kids are using these on small desks, this can be a problem and makes a laptop form facto more appealing.

Dan Benjamin:

My review of the Logitech Rugged Combo 2 keyboard case for the iPad:

Just get a laptop.

Matt Birchler:

The iPad mini has the same A8 chip that was in the iPhone 6 and iPad Air 2. At $329 for an A10 iPad, it’s hard to see what the market is for the $399 mini with an A8

Matt Birchler:

I get it, iCloud storage is a pain for a lot of people. As I’ve written before, iCloud’s paid tiers are very competitively priced. Here’s who much you need to pay get get different amounts of data on the major cloud storage platforms[…]

Carolina Milanesi:

I came into this event hoping to see three things: hardware pricing, an improved productivity and collaboration suite and a bigger focus on managing the classroom. Apple addressed my three points but in true Apple fashion it did so in a way that was not obvious to me.


While I am not sure yet if these changes are enough for a consumer to switch from Microsoft Office or G-suite, I think they are welcome additions in education.


[Classroom management] was for me the most important part of the day and what really shows that Apple now as a full solution rather than a series of features.

Bob Burrough:

The slide presented by Steve Jobs showed two street signs representing “the intersection of liberal arts and technology.” As shown today, they are drawn as wayposts, meaning “liberal arts is that way, and technology is in the other direction.”

Nick Lockwood:

The implication is that new Apple misunderstands the meaning of the phrase, but the reality is far worse: they just don’t put enough attention into anything they do to notice that these are different, or to consider that it might matter to anyone.

John Voorhees:

The podcast version of today’s education event is now out

Update (2018-03-29): Josh Calvetti:

re: what happens when students graduate with that 200gb of iCloud- it’s tied to managed Apple IDs, so they can’t even take that ID with them once they leave. So it’s less about the content getting deleted and more about what to do with the entire account.

Bradley Chambers:

The key thing Apple talked about then was the goal of reinventing the textbook. Apple announced iBooks 2 which introduced interactive books. Did they succeed in changing the world of textbooks? Hardly. In fact, no one has. […] The iBooks Author strategy was failed from the beginning.


iTunes U is an iPad-only application, with a grade book that doesn’t connect to a student information system or a major learning management system. […] So here’s something to consider: how much from Apple’s 2012 education keynote has made a difference in the years since? I’d argue nearly nothing.


As I rewatched the 2012 keynote and pondered the 2018 keynote, I realized that Apple is yet again trying to craft a future for education that I am not sure fits with reality.


Education didn’t need a faster iPad. Education didn’t need Apple Pencil support. Those are great features for a consumer-friendly iPad, but education needed a clearer signal from Apple that they understand how school districts actually operate around the country and around the globe.

Matt Birchler:

The more people I talk to and read about this stuff seem to have few concerns with Apple’s hardware offerings. $299 for an iPad is pretty good and the flexibility a tablet gets you is really convenient, but Apple needs to own more of the software stack if they want to move the needle in this market.

Paul Miller:

I probably wouldn’t recommend a kid learn Swift as their first programming language, not because it’s not a great and interesting language, but because the barrier to distribution and the creation of useful software is so high. The Xcode cliff is a steep one.

 Observer:

Apple should do education keynote every year. And show how their score card is evolving. That would be a sign that they do really care about education.

Colin Cornaby:

I know a lot has been said about Apple and education, but it speaks VOLUMES about today’s Apple that they refused to release any accessories for students themselves and pawned it off to Logitech because they didn’t want to “degrade the brand.”

10 or 20 years ago Apple selling accessories and even education specific computers was a badge of honor and something they were happy to do. Now they’re worried that it might detract from selling fashion items.

Julio Ojeda-Zapata:

Schoolwork is being positioned as a direct competitor to a Google service called Classroom that lets educators create curricula, distribute student assignments, communicate with students and their guardians, incorporate apps into classroom programs, and more.

The cloud-based nature of Apple’s Schoolwork is key here since Google’s Classroom is — like almost everything Google does — a Web-based service.

Schoolwork is due in June 2018.

Jim Dalrymple:

In its 40 years of being in the education market, Apple has never been the cheapest product—they never will be. I don’t know why people expect Apple to all of a sudden just give away iPads to schools or even compete against a product like a cheap Chromebook on price.

Apple doesn’t make cheap products. Ever. They also don’t make shitty products. You can expect the iPad to last for years without breaking or becoming obsolete. I expect the return on investment for schools to be quite high when purchasing iPads for the classroom.


Apple screwed up a few years ago by not having the software and administration abilities on the iPad available for school districts. There is no question about that. But they have those features available now.

Jono Hayes:

I wrote some notes after my first shared iPad deployment (180 students, 60 iPads) March 2017... Nothing has changed in a year within ASM and management.

Update (2018-03-30): Nicole Nguyen:

this guy just said welcome to your first day of school

Benjamin Mayo:

At the event this week, Apple heavily pushed this as the iPad for education. If you escape Apple’s carefully crafted PR bubble, though, I don’t think the statement holds its weight. This is the iPad that education will lean towards buying en masse, but it’s not really designed for education use.

Shannon Liao:

But Holloway says that while she’s been able to use her iPad in the classroom to engage students in material they otherwise wouldn’t pay enough attention to, it can be a double-edged sword. “Once they’re used to using the iPad, the excitement of 2D and even manipulative materials pales in comparison, and it’s more difficult to engage them in activities that don’t include a digital component,” she says.


Teachers like Chen do not believe the focus should be put on the competition between iPads and Chromebooks, nor an obsession with what shiny new device a school should purchase. “For an educator, the question shouldn’t be which device, but which learning objective should we be aiming for?” she says. “I don’t think we can clearly say one device can be better than the other.”

Rene Ritchie (via Phil Schiller):

That resulted in the, just as usual, expectational debt: The angst and anger over what the event wasn’t and was never going to be, rather than what it was — Apple celebrating 40 years in education with a love note passed in class to the teachers and students in attendance, the rest of us watching on.


That it took until almost two years after Pencil launched for iWork to gain that compatibility is a devastating critique of Apple’s ability to keep all the balls it’s currently juggling in there air. As much as hardware like Mac mini suffers from neglect, so does software, and it’s something that Apple can’t ignore away.


Whether it became apparent early on iBA wasn’t the right solution but there was no timeline on a better replacement or not, I’ll echo what I said previously about Apple not showing it can effectively juggle all the balls it has in motion. As a single provider, that’s bad for everyone. It makes it difficult to trust at any time that an Apple device or service critical to you will be treated as such by the only company in control of its destiny. It’s something Apple will have to reckon with — sticking to its “thousand nos for every yes”, and making firm choices about all the “ah… dunnos?” that are piling up.


In terms of education specifically, it really did feel like a love note, but one passed in school. One that’s full of romance but short on details. Run away with me — I’ll figure out getting a car and where we’re going later! It’s fantastic that Apple has this vision, but it’s going to be the consistency and expansion of that vision that’s key.

Update (2018-04-01): See also: Accidental Tech Podcast, Core Intuition, The Talk Show, Upgrade.

Update (2018-04-02): Chuq Von Rospach:

One of the things Apple brings to all of us, beyond its products, is that it continues to show us how things could and should be, and it forces the other companies to chase their innovations and aspirations and that makes things better for everyone over time. We need that, because if Apple stops doing that, who will?

So this educational event was all about Apple doing what Apple does best, and that’s a good thing. This doesn’t mean Apple doesn’t have things it can (and should!) do, such as better ID management, but much of the griping about the event boiled down to two big themes:

  • Apple has to do netbooks or it’s in big trouble! (Remember that? It’s back!)
  • Apple has lots of money; it should give it to education, and then we’ll like them.

Andy Ihnatko:

Before I explain why I was in such a good mood, let’s deal with the sour stuff. If you were hoping that Apple would unveil new hardware, software, and strategy that would allow iPads to compete with Chromebooks toe-to-toe for classroom market share … well, that did not happen. It seems like an unrealistic goal to begin with. The market for classroom computers, software, and services is unique and somewhat bizarre, and Apple is uniquely ill-suited to compete in terms of raw market share.


Despite all these ugly realities, Apple used its Tuesday event to clearly explain a comprehensive and well-considered plan for the value that iPads and Apple software could add to education. There was none of the (dare I say) jaunty 1800s missionary “meet your new god” swagger that I sensed in the earlier “iPads for schools” push. Apple certainly didn’t say “Chromebooks are a huge success in education because they’re practically perfect for that world,” but it seemed to acknowledge that reality.

Apple’s new stance seems to be that kids can interact with iPads in ways that are unique. iPads have a point of view on education. And while not every school–or even most of them–can choose the iPad as its classroom computer, Apple is motivated to remove every obstacle that it can, making the experience as valuable as possible for the kids who use them and the educators who help the kids.

Update (2018-04-03): See also: this iOS 11.3 MDM bug.

Update (2018-04-04): Stefan Constantine:

Does Apple care about education?

You tell me.

Google just announced it’s going to make some school buses in rural America WiFi enabled and give out free Chromebooks.

Update (2018-04-05): Scott Yoshinaga:

The big difference is that unlike a regular Apple ID, Managed Apple ID has no option to purchase any additional storage. Neither the school that owns the account nor a parent with a credit card can purchase more storage on behalf of the student. Once a student exceeds the 5GB iCloud limit they are forced to either delete content to free up space, move the content to a competing cloud service or export it off the device by connecting it to a computer. A huge pain for students and quite an oversight on Apple’s behalf.


A good relationship requires communication; a lasting one requires commitment. It often feels like Apple’s not interested in either. It can feel like being in a relationship where your partner tells you they’re all-in with you but is constantly distracted or even ignores you. Mixed signals can cause doubt and frustration in any relationship and this event reminded me of that.


The reality is that Apple has software that is rarely updated and minimal services that don’t get much attention either. It feel like their solution is for IT administrators to fill that void with third-party applications, tools and services that it doesn’t provide.

NSDoubleLocalizedStrings and Friends

The NSDoubleLocalizedStrings user default is a reasonably well-known and officially documented localization debugging aide. It repeats the text of each localized string, making it double-length so that you can test whether your layout still works.

Another longstanding one is NSShowNonLocalizedStrings, which logs to Console when a string can’t be found.

Interface Builder also lets you preview views using an “Accented Pseudolanguage” and a “Bounded String Pseudolanguage.” These correspond to the NSAccentuateLocalizedStrings and NSSurroundLocalizedStrings user defaults.

Finally, there are NSForceRightToLeftLocalizedStrings and AppleTextDirection to enable the “Right to Left Pseudolanguage.” This lets you use test right-to-left layout (e.g. for Arabic) using strings from your development language.

Solving Problems With iCloud Drive

Howard Oakley:

Yesterday I was a bit scathing over published solutions for problems with iCloud, specifically the common problem of protracted or failed synchronisation of iCloud Drive. You dragged some files to iCloud Drive five or more minutes ago, and they still haven’t been synced to it.


in spite of trying these, sometimes it takes up to 72 hours for iCloud to propagate new files/folders.


I have been unable to discover any suggestions based on insights into how iCloud works, methods for establishing where the failure is or its cause (even a cryptic error number), nor more specific remedies which can be attempted. All recommendations treat iCloud and iCloud Drive as an impenetrable Black Box.

This just happened to me. I mostly use Dropbox, but I’ve been trying out iCloud Drive in a limited fashion to move PDFs from the Mac with the scanner to my iMac. It’s normally reasonably fast (though not as fast as Dropbox), but every once in a while there’s a long delay, with no obvious cause or remedy.

See also: Inside iCloud Drive: In the log in Sierra and High Sierra.

Update (2018-03-27): Brad Dougherty:

I’ve found that going to the iCloud preference pane triggers things to update sometimes.

Update (2018-03-31): Howard Oakley:

There is a clue suggested by Apple, one of the very few non-generic fixes available for such problems: “create a new document and save it [to iCloud] to see if it uploads to iCloud. If it does, see if other documents start uploading”. at Twenty

Speaking of long-running Web sites, recently celebrated its 20th birthday (Hacker News).

But had I not written all those posts, good and bad, I wouldn’t be who I am today, which, hopefully, is a somewhat wiser person vectoring towards a better version of himself. What the site has become in its best moments — a slightly highfalutin description from the about page: “[] covers the essential people, inventions, performances, and ideas that increase the collective adjacent possible of humanity” — has given me a chance to “try on” hundreds of thousands of ideas, put myself into the shoes of all kinds of different thinkers & creators, meet some wonderful people (some of whom I’m lucky enough to call my friends), and engage with some of the best readers on the web (that’s you!), who regularly challenge me on and improve my understanding of countless topics and viewpoints.

I also enjoyed Jason Kottke’s interview with John Gruber on The Talk Show (tweet).

MacInTouch Note to Readers

Ric Ford:

The revenue that used to sustain MacInTouch has dropped below a viable business minimum, while a plethora of other websites, operating under different business and security models, produces constant Apple news, reviews and commentary.

The MacInTouch Discussions forum is unique, as far as I know, but it’s also unsustainably labor-intensive, and there’s no way around that in its current incarnation.

At this point, my plan is to continue running MacInTouch Discussions and home/news pages at a reduced intensity for a little longer. But, before long, it will be time for a change - a sabbatical, a new blog, research, development, or something else – I’m not quite sure what yet, but I expect to continue in some form.

John Gordon:

Ric passed on RSS and blogs and feeds and permalinks. For a year or two he tried to get permalinks working — which made Macintouch potentially tweetable. Recently those went away, so I wasn’t surprised by today’s announcement …

The site has often been frustrating for technical reasons like this, but it’s long been a unique and valuable resource. My thanks to Ford for all of his work, and I hope that he’s able to find a way to continue.