Archive for September 12, 2018

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

September 2018 Apple Event

Apple Watch Series 4 looks like a great upgrade: larger screen, faster, less chunky. I didn’t like the previous Apple Watch hardware, but I think this is something I would actually wear. I think the hardware has finally crossed a threshold. I’m impressed by so many of the details, but I just can’t figure out what I would use it for. The base model costs more than the iPhone SE did.

Names aside, the new iPhones look good. I’m very excited about Smart HDR and the speed of the A12. I want to see how changing the depth of field works for those of us who use Image Capture. I don’t want to have to review all my photos on device, nor use Photos.

I think the iPhone X’s OLED display is overrated and want a thicker phone to hold, so I find the iPhone XR very interesting. It’s quite a bit wider and taller than the iPhone X, so I’m not sure yet how it will feel in the hand and pocket. I don’t quite what Haptic Touch is, but with cursor functionality coming to the keyboard I don’t think I would miss 3D Touch. I’m not sure it has much of a future, anyway.

The pricing of the iPhone XR is not as aggressive as I’d hoped, but I think it will be very successful. It’s not going to be like the iPhone 5c or even the iPhone 8. I don’t think most customers will care about the lower-resolution LCD display, and it may actually be easier to read than the iPhone X’s because it’s larger. Almost all the other specs are uncompromised.

I like the idea of colors but am not crazy about these particular ones except perhaps the red. I wish they were darker and more saturated. I would prefer a screen that scratches less since I’ve never broken any of mine.

I’m sorry to see the iPhone SE go and have little hope that Apple will make another small phone. AirPower’s status remains a mystery.

Update (2018-09-13): Andre Plaut:

If you, like me, are struggling to figure out the differences in Apple Watch Series 4 sizes, hopefully this helps.

Kate Matthews:

This year’s quick iPhone comparison sketch

John Gruber:

AirPower must be well and truly fucked. No one at Apple will say a word about it, even off the record. And as a result they didn’t even mention inductive charging during the event, even though the XS and XR both charge faster than the X.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

Apple’s intro video yesterday showcased the second-generation AirPods with ‘Hey Siri’, but they weren’t announced as a product; must be coming in hot? AirPods are personal and wearable, so fit this event’s theme perfectly

Edward Sanchez:

This is about the route that girl took on the intro video. She must be new at Apple Park - I probably took similar routes in my first week here.

Ryan Jones:

This is some Samsung bullshit, comparing the battery life to different phones. (red arrows)🙄

Ben Thompson (Hacker News):

Second, the iPhone XR is big — bigger than the XS (and smaller than the XS Max, and yes, that is its real name). This matters less for 2018 and more for 2020 and beyond: presuming Apple follows its trickle-down strategy for serving more price-sensitive markets, that means in two years its lowest-end offering will not be a small phone that the vast majority of the market rejected years ago, particularly customers for whom their phone is their only computing device, but one that is far more attractive and useful for far more people.

Third, that 2020 iPhone XR is going to be remarkably well-specced. Indeed, probably the biggest surprise from these announcements (well, other than the name “XS Max”) is just how good of a smartphone the XR is.


To put it another way, to the extent the XR cannibalizes the XS, it cannibalizes them with an average selling price equal to Apple’s top-of-the-line iPhone from two years ago; the iPhone 8 is $50 higher than the former $550 price point as well.

Nick Heer:

For a start, it’s confusing: there are maybe eight people on Earth who can adequately articulate the differences between Haptic Touch, 3D Touch, and Force Touch, which is still what Apple calls the display on the Apple Watch. In the keynote presentation, Phil Schiller compared it to the trackpad in the MacBook Pro, but that’s marketed as a Force Touch thing. I might be an idiot, but this is unfathomable.

Second, it’s conceptually muddy. There seemed to be specific rules Apple was adhering to with their use of 3D Touch on past iPhones — it opens app menus on the home screen, for instance, or allows you to preview something in a list before opening it. But this indicates that there’s either no difference between a long press and a Force/3D/Haptic Touch press, or there’s no consistency in Apple’s application of it. If Apple doesn’t know what the standards should be, users can’t even begin to understand what they should be doing. I like 3D Touch a lot, but if Apple continues to be confused by their own technology after it has been on the market for three years, I don’t think they should keep it around.


There’s always a catch — in this case, there are three. This iPhone lineup no longer includes the headphone jack adaptor; all iPhones still come with a five-watt charger; and all iPhones still ship with only a USB-A cable instead of a USB-C cable. I don’t get it.

ᴺᴼᵀ Jony Ive:

It Just Works.™

Michael Love:

Apple prices 5W and 12W adapters the same on their store. This isn’t being cheap, it’s giving users (most of whom charge overnight) something small and sleek to go with their small and sleek new phone.

Owen Williams:

Wait so the dual-SIM iPhones launch without software support for it.... and some vague restrictions in place? Oh hell no.

Chris Espinosa:

For copy and pasting, it’s the iPhone X 🅂 and X 🅂 MAX

Steve Troughton-Smith:

The real winner this year is gonna be iPhone’s ASP The flagship iPhone line now is entirely above $999, and there’s only one consumer model, at 6.1". Will there ever be an SE 2 with the X-style design and Face ID? I do hope so

Horace Dediu:

New iPhone price graph. (The stairway to heaven.) Use this to estimate where ASP is going.

Mitchel Broussard:

Commenting on this price range in an interview with Nikkei today, Apple CEO Tim Cook said, “We want to serve everyone.”

Ruffin Bailey:

I think we add one more point to this list…

  • Apple was surprised by SE sales, and wishes they’d charged more.

What needs to happen to charge more for a cheaper version of the same internals? Well, first, you can’t pitch it as a spiritual remake of a four year-old design. You have to pitch it as a new phone.


PSA: Apple removing the iPhone SE from sale does not mean you can stop designing for its resolution soon. Non-Plus iPhones can be used in zoomed mode, which means they’ll have the same logical resolution as an SE.

And you’ll have to support the iPhone 8 for about a half-decade

zeynep tufekci:

“Welcome to the big screens” says Apple and women like me with small hands who need the most secure phone for safety reasons are stuck with something they can’t hold and constantly risk dropping. Company that designs $5 billion headquarters without a childcare center for the win.

Matt Birchler:

As I’ve done in 2016 and 2017, I have collected all of the rumors from MacRumors’ main feed in 2018 about the new iPhone lineup and have judged them based on how accurate they ended up being.

Nick Lockwood:

This is what, the 3rd (4th?) consecutive keynote in which Apple has shown us a generic shooty ARKit game on a table that would clearly work much better without ARKit or the table? Stop trying to make AR games happen .

Nick Lockwood:

Interesting... It looks like the iPhone XR has the same virtual resolution (414x896@2x) as the XS Max (414x896@3x) even though the physical size and resolution are lower.

(For comparison, the iPhone X/XS has 375x812@3x, which is more pixels but less usable real-estate).

That means the XR counts as a “plus” size device (that means it supports split view in Mail, etc) even though it’s not much larger physically than the iPhone X/XS.

Michael Love:

First few GeekBench reports for the iPhone XS/XR seem to be up. Looks like roughly a 10% single-core and 6% multi-core increase over the 8/X.


I expect the AI/Graphics speed bumps to be much more impactful, but it seems like for general-purpose computing, phones are going to max out at about the same plateau as PCs.


But certainly CPU-benchmark-wise this is the least impressive ‘s’ update ever; the 3gs (not-just-a-DVD-player-chip), 4s (dual-core), 5s (64-bit) and 6s (> 50% faster) all offered enough extra performance to justify an upgrade on that basis alone for heavy users at least.

See also:

Update (2018-09-14): Chuck Reynolds:

I’m not saying this was on purpose... but the image they chose for the screens is positioned so eloquently so that it just hides the ‘notch’ on the good phones but shows it on the lower-priced model... coincidence?

Harry McCracken:

Apple, I have a question:

Is it iPhone XS or Xs?

Ben Bajarin:

This [iPhone pricing] is achievable because for many this their primary computer. People used to pay $800-1500 for a computer/PC because they saw the value.

Smartphones are arguably more valuable than laptops for the masses.

Update (2018-09-20): See also:

Ben Bajarin:

Continuing my thread of subscribing to iCloud and saving money on higher memory iPhones.. I did the math on my girls and wife needing a new phone this year.

Subscribing to the $120 2TB iCloud service will save us $600 in hardware costs. Minus $120 is $480 in total savings.


“3D Touch is only useful because Apple made certain features hard to use without it.”

— the clearest way i’ve ever heard it explained, and it came from not-a-tech-nerd

Joe Rossignol:

iPhone names solved!

I’ve received official confirmation that it is iPhone XS / iPhone XS Max / iPhone XR, capitalized, unless Small Caps are available, in which case it is iPhone Xs / iPhone Xs Max / iPhone Xʀ.

Apple even updated its iOS 12 press release with caps XS and XR.

Update (2018-09-26): Ken Segall:

So whew, yes, I’m elated with this rebirth of the iPhone product line. But Apple’s return to sanity is not complete. Inexplicably, the company continues to struggle with four naming problems of its own making.

Feedbin Private by Default

Ben Ubois:

Feedbin previously whitelisted a number of iFrame sources like YouTube and Vimeo so you could see embedded content. iFrames embed full web-pages from a 3rd-party source. They’re usually resource intensive to load and they enable cross-site tracking.

Feedbin now replaces all iFrames with a custom new module. The new module still includes the poster frame from videos (where available) and will fetch the title and other metadata.


I thought about replacing Google Analytics with Matomo, but I came to the same conclusion that it didn’t provide anything I need in order to run Feedbin. Better to not collect that data at all.


However there is an alternative. Both Twitter and Instagram offer public oEmbed endpoints. oEmbed can give you much of the data needed to properly render this content. Feedbin takes this a step further by making the oEmbed requests from the server. If your browser made the requests client-side, this would give the publishers the opportunity to read and set tracking cookies. The end result is that you see pretty much the same content as you did before.

Writing Hexadecimal Numbers

Pamela Fox:

TIL: we didn’t always use “A-F” to represent 10-15 in hexadecimal numbers.

Update (2018-09-14): Pamela Fox:

What are some interesting uses of hexadecimal numbers that you’ve run into? (I’m making content on hexadecimal right now, looking for inspiration)

Backup on Connect, launchd, and ThrottleInterval

Dave Nanian (tweet):

But that wasn’t the problem. The problem is what the man page isn’t saying, but is implied in the last part: “jobs should linger around just in case they are needed again” is the key.

Basically, the job must run for at least as long as the ThrottleInterval is set to (default = 10 seconds). If it doesn’t run for that long, it respawns the job, adjusted by a certain amount of time, even when the condition isn’t triggered again.

So, in our case, we’d do our thing quickly and quit. But we didn’t run for the minimum amount of time, and that caused the logging. launchd would then respawn us. We wouldn’t have anything to do, so we’d quit quickly again, repeating the cycle.