Archive for April 12, 2018

Thursday, April 12, 2018 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Eliminating iTunes Store Music Downloads in March 2019

Paul Resnikoff (via Dan Masters):

Apple is now experiencing meteoric growth on its streaming music platform, Apple Music. But that growth is directly impacting Apple’s old-line downloads store, for obvious reasons. And, ultimately hastening its demise.

Just last week, Apple executive Jimmy Iovine pointed to a shutdown when ‘people stop buying’. Now, sources inside the company are pointing to a firm date for a planned shutdown of the iTunes music download store. Earlier, these same sources pointed to an ‘early 2019’ shutdown, though internal roadmaps now include a March 31st, 2019 phase-out of the service.

Apple has denied that it plans to get rid of downloads, but the rumors persist.

I, for one, like downloads and have no interest in subscribing to a streaming service. If Apple eliminated downloads, I would probably start buying downloads from Amazon. I had been preferring the iTunes Store because of the integration with Apple’s devices.

If streaming becomes the only way to get new music, that would significantly reduce the value of existing collections of purchased music. Either your collection stays frozen in time or you have to subscribe to get new music, making the already purchased songs (at least those that the streaming service offers) redundant.

Also, I would expect the user experience for downloaded music to get worse, as has already been happening since the introduction of Apple Music.

Marco Arment:

Maybe it’s the end of certain distribution contracts, and they’re not worth renewing under worse terms.

Paul Frazier:

Problem with that is you can't use Apple Music songs in iMovie, so they'd need a fix for that.

Previously: Eliminating iTunes Store Music Downloads, Streaming Your Own Music.

macOS 10.13.4 to Warn About 32-bit Apps Starting April 12

Apple (via Apple News and Updates):

To ensure that the apps you purchase are as advanced as the Mac you run them on, all future Mac software will eventually be required to be 64-bit.

Apple began the transition to 64-bit hardware and software technology for Mac over a decade ago, and is working with developers to transition their apps to 64-bit. At our Worldwide Developers Conference in 2017, Apple informed developers that macOS High Sierra would be the last version of macOS to run 32-bit apps without compromise.

While developers optimize their apps for 64-bit compatibility, Apple is notifying customers when they are using an app based on 32-bit technology. This is done via a one-time alert that appears when you launch a 32-bit app.

Jason Snell:

Apple’s long transition away from 32-bit software takes another step beginning April 12.

Marc Edwards:

In celebration of today being 32bit-app-warning-day for macOS, I thought I’d check if I have any 32bit apps installed… The apps in blue are all from one company.

Plus DVD Player.

And the Spotlight importer that Apple ships for Microsoft Office.

Previously: macOS 10.13.4, macOS 10.13 High Sierra Released.

Update (2018-04-13): Accidental Tech Podcast discusses the wording of the warning dialog.

Jason Snell:

RIP good QuickTime Player

* QT Player 7 contains a lot of features QT X has never offered, so people keep using it

* 32 bit apps are going away

* I cheekily filed a radar suggesting Apple should update QTP 7 to 64-bit

* Apple closed my bug

Rob Griffiths:

Part of why we sent our movie mgr/viewer Usher into hibernation is that it relies heavily on QuickTime 7 for much of what it does.

Apple has no replacement for QT7, so with 32bit dying, Usher had to go, too.

It boggles my mind that they never replaced this tech.

Colin Cornaby:

QuickTime doesn’t really exist on 64 bit at all. The 64 bit QuickTime Player is not actually QuickTime. Only parts having anything to do with QuickTime left is QuickTime file support in AVFoundation.

[…]

Can’t port the classic QuickTime Player if there is no QuickTime on 64 bit.

Daniel Jalkut:

Thanks to the 32-bit warning in macOS 10.13.4, I learned that my Fujitsu scanner software is from 2011.

Previously: ScanSnap and Sierra Update.

Dan Moren:

The biggest reason that people are up in arms about the death of QuickTime 7 Pro is that its successor, QuickTime Player X, never quite filled its shoes when it came to features.

The Pro features of QuickTime 7 include making simple edits by cutting and pasting sections of tracks, the ability to export specific tracks from a multi-track file (such as podcasters get if they use a recording utility like Ecamm’s Call Recorder), creating and viewing chapter marks within a file, and more. Most of those fell by the wayside in the far more basic QuickTime X, which is focused much more on media playback than on any editing features. (And there are those, like our friend John Siracusa, who simply want a media player where the controls don’t appear on top of the video.)

Update (2018-04-14): Jeff Johnson:

I created a new user account on 10.13.4. I got 32-bit warnings for 3rd party apps but not Apple apps (such as DVD Player). They’re definitely whitelisting.

[…]

  1. Create a new Mac app in Xcode with i386 arch. Run it. See warning.
  2. Create a new Mac app in Xcode with i386 arch and bundle id beginning with “com.apple”. Run it. Don’t see warning.

The Kindle app is also 32-bit.

Update (2018-04-15): Jeff Johnson:

People are saying that Apple’s Compressor is still 32-bit, which is interesting.

Update (2018-04-17): Erica Sadun:

This makes me immensely sad as I regularly use QTPro to perform video edits from trimming and masking to watermarking and generating image sequences. I do not know of any replacement and would love recommendations.

Microsoft Office 2008 will soon be dead as well. It’s a powerful suite of tools, especially Excel, and I will be bitterly missing its functionality. Numbers and Pages just do not compare to the publishing-standard features offered in the hideously ugly but tremendously functional suite. I do not intend to sign up for a yearly subscription. I may do something with Open Office but I’ll probably stick to Apple and hate doing so.

Howard Oakley:

My own tool 32-bitCheck, available from Downloads above, goes deeper than Apple’s app check, and checks all software bundles. In doing so, it reveals that many of the components included in High Sierra 10.13.4 are still not 64-bit. This could, of course, simply be that Apple hasn’t got round to updating its own products yet. But remaining 32-bit bundles form quite a distinctive pattern, or some extraordinary coincidence.

Update (2018-04-18): John Gruber:

I still use QuickTime 7 Pro, too — I have it set as my default app to open any video file. When I checked my list of installed apps looking for any remaining 32-bit hold-outs, none of the apps I use regularly are 32-bit. But I spotted several irregularly used apps that are.

[…]

What makes QuickTime 7 Pro particularly irksome, as Moren points out, is that it’s Apple’s own software and Apple has resolutely refused to address QuickTime X’s deficiencies for over a decade, so nobody expects to ever see a full replacement for QuickTime Pro.

Update (2018-04-20): Other 32-bit apps that I have installed: GyazMail, Mailsmith, Myth II, PowerMail, ProfitTrain.

Update (2018-05-01): Rob Griffiths:

Of more interest to me are those 12 games that haven’t been updated in at least four years. In particular, eight of those 12 are still 32-bit apps, which is a big cause for concern for a couple of reasons.

Behind-the-Scenes Improvements in Swift 4.1

Slava Pestov:

The bridging peephole recognizes such situations and cancels out the two complementary bridging operations; the cast now has the effect of eliminating the bridging performed by default, returning the underlying NSArray as a result. The peephole is implemented in the SILGen phase of the pipeline so you get the benefit even at -Onone, and the implementation also introduced some cleanups to how various value conversions and transformations are modeled in the AST and SILGen.

[…]

Now in Swift 4.1, type metadata for nested generic types no longer points at the parent type, and instead includes all generic parameters for all outer scopes. The main user-visible benefit here is that a certain class of runtime deadlocks with circular type metadata is now fixed. A complete solution for the general runtime deadlock issue with circular type metadata is not part of Swift 4.1, but is being developed on the master branch.

[…]

This is why Swift 4.0 did not allow the default implementation of a protocol method returning Self to be used on a class. In Swift 4.1, this problem is solved by having protocol witness thunks for classes preserve the metadata for Self they received from the caller, instead of always taking it apart, and pass it on if the protocol requirement is satisfied by a default implementation.

Previously: Swift 4.1, Swift 4: Bridging Peephole for “as” Casts.

Initial HomePod Sales

Mark Gurman (Hacker News):

By late March, Apple had lowered sales forecasts and cut some orders with Inventec Corp., one of the manufacturers that builds the HomePod for Apple, according to a person familiar with the matter.

At first, it looked like the HomePod might be a hit. Pre-orders were strong, and in the last week of January the device grabbed about a third of the U.S. smart speaker market in unit sales, according to data provided to Bloomberg by Slice Intelligence. But by the time HomePods arrived in stores, sales were tanking, says Slice principal analyst Ken Cassar. “Even when people had the ability to hear these things,” he says, “it still didn’t give Apple another spike.”

During the HomePod’s first 10 weeks of sales, it eked out 10 percent of the smart speaker market, compared with 73 percent for Amazon’s Echo devices and 14 percent for the Google Home, according to Slice Intelligence. Three weeks after the launch, weekly HomePod sales slipped to about 4 percent of the smart speaker category on average, the market research firm says. Inventory is piling up, according to Apple store workers, who say some locations are selling fewer than 10 HomePods a day.

Mike Dudas:

The HomePod is a bomb. Siri is atrocious, so it’s no surprise. I have had an iPhone at my side for nearly every moment of the last 4 years and have still made more overall queries to the Alexa I have had at home for a little over one year.

M.G. Siegler:

Shocki... nope, not shocking. Apple bungled this. And while they’ll undoubted talk up the long game (and WWDC), the problems here run deep. Unlike say, Apple Watch, this is a lethal mixture of bad strategy and formidable competitors (who have the right strategy).

Michael Sagmeister:

I tried HomePod — twice (bought & returned it 2x — don’t ask). In the end I thought it sounded great — but it couldn’t replace my Echo (because Siri), and couldn’t replace my Sonos system either (b/c lack of multi-room support). Software is holding back a great piece of hardware.

Colin Cornaby:

The thing about HomePod is it’s fixable. Apple just shipped a device that’s not workable in most homes.

Rene Ritchie:

Home assistants were priced as commodities almost at launch.

Apple tends to avoid commodities.

HomePod takes aim at a (potentially) premium segment.

Whether Apple can iterate/evangelize fast/well enough on the value prop to get consumer buy-in will be interesting to see.

Update (2018-05-18): Juli Clover:

Apple sold an estimated 600,000 HomePod speakers during the first quarter of 2018, according to new estimates shared this morning by Strategy Analytics. Apple’s sales allowed it to capture just 6 percent of the global smart speaker market, coming in well behind Amazon and Google.

Update (2018-06-15): Benjamin Mayo:

Apple recently updated the HomePod site, seemingly to remove a lot of the superlatives in the copy.

Update (2018-08-15): Joe Rossignol:

Strategy Analytics previously estimated HomePod shipments totaled 600,000 units in the first quarter of 2018, suggesting that worldwide shipments have reached 1.3 million units since the speaker became available to order in the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom in late January.

Via Michael Love:

Seems increasingly clear that this is not an important category, though. No doubt HomePod project started before that was clear, but now that it is I think they’ll either a) let it die quietly or b) release the cheap model they were already working on and then let it die quietly.

Update (2018-09-19): Joe Rossignol:

While the HomePod did not rank among the top five smart speakers in worldwide shipments last quarter, it is dominating the premium end of the market, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.

The Looptail Lowercase G

Lauren Sigfusson:

But researchers from Johns Hopkins University discovered that many people don’t know what the most common lowercase print version of the seventh letter of the alphabet really is. Heck, some didn’t even know there were two types.

Via John Gruber:

I got this correct, but if I had been asked to draw a looptail ‘G’ from memory I’d have failed. It is a really weird letter shape when you stare at it.

Previously: Logo Recognition Quiz.