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by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Jason Snell

Notes from a road trip

Lake Tahoe

I’m seven days into a 11-day family road trip. While this has been mostly a work-free vacation—as you might have noticed from the lack of posts on the site this week!—there were a few experiences that I’ve had this week that I thought were worth sharing.

Travel prep. I didn’t need to buy much new technology for this trip, but earlier this year I bought every member of my family a six-foot-long USB-to-Lightning cable on Amazon. At home, that extra length leads to less tugging on the end of the cables, which (theoretically) reduces the strain on the cables and should increase their lifespan. On the trip, this lets the kids in the back seat plug their devices in to the dual USB adapter that’s in the front dash. I also bought a high-capacity battery just in case we’re in a situation where our devices are running down and we don’t have power available.

Surprise! You need a cable. My son’s birthday falls during this trip, and several months ago I bought a Nintendo Switch with the intent of giving it to him on this trip, a couple of days before his birthday when we were making a very long drive. The surprise was excellent and my kids got to play Mario Kart in the back of our car while we drove across the entire state of Nevada. There was just one catch: I didn’t think about the fact that the Switch comes with a hardwired power plug, rather than the more commonly seen power block with detachable USB cable that most devices seem to come with these days. Oh, Nintendo, don’t ever change.

Since the Switch’s plug is a USB-C connector, we didn’t have any way of keeping the device charged in the car after the battery ran down. It turns out, however, that in 2017 you can stop for gas at a truck stop in the middle of nowhere and find a wall of charging cables and adapters in the adjoining convenience store. The wall was dominated by Lightning cables—wow, the iPhone is a popular product—but I was able to find a USB-A to USB-C cable and pay for it (with Apple Pay, no less). We pulled out of the truck stop and back to the road, and my kids were able to play on the Switch until they were absolutely sick of it.

Reliable internet, or not. Two of the three places we’ve stayed on this trip have been rentals, rather than hotels. (They’re mostly ski condos repurposed for the summer months.) Both of them advertised Wi-Fi as a feature, but that’s an incredibly vague concept that can encompass a lot of different experiences. The first place was connected to the Internet via DSL, which is quite slow, and the connection was unreliable on top of it. The second place offered cable internet, at pretty fast speeds, but once again the Internet seems to keep dropping and then resuming. The Wi-Fi at the hotel was fast and reliable, which isn’t a given.

In the meantime we’ve blown through a giant chunk of our cellular data allotment for the month. Oh well. Life on the road.

Family photos. On this trip we reprised our Hawaii photo decision—namely to bring along an iPhone 5 waterproof case with wrist strap—and used it for various adventures. The phone was in Airplane Mode the entire time, but once we were all done, I was able to get it on the hotel Wi-Fi and plug it in and in a few hours it had synced all of its photos with my iCloud Photo Library, at which point we could view and share those photos freely.

This vacation we’ve also spent a lot of time using AirDrop to get photos between different family devices. Given our sketchy connectivity situation, it’s refreshing to be able to do fast device-to-device transfers of photos and videos.

Tech I didn’t bring. No Mac on this trip at all. Just my iPad Pro and, in case I needed to type anything (like this story!) its accompanying Smart Cover. (Yeah, I went with the Smart Cover this time because it’s incredibly compact.) I edited all my podcasts before I left home, and don’t plan to record any new podcasts (bar one, see below) in the meantime. So it’s all iPad all the time.

Camp night, eclipse day. I’m not much of a camper1, but we’re camping one night on this trip, at a campsite within the zone of the total eclipse on Monday. That big battery should come in handy, and I bought a nifty LED camping lantern that I’ll put to use. For the day of the eclipse, assuming no clouds get in our way, I’m planning on enjoying the two minutes of totality without much in the way of technology. Afterward, we’ll get in our car for the very long drive home, and I’ll record a special episode of Liftoff with Stephen Hackett.

As the post card would say, “Having a great time—wish you were here.”


  1. I grew up in a place where city people went to camp… which has suppressed my enthusiasm for camping ever since. ↩


Podcast

Clockwise #202: Explode a Knee

Clockwise

This week, on the 30-minute show that sometimes doesn’t even run that long, Dan and Mikah are joined by Casey Liss and Kathy Campbell to discuss the messaging apps we use, rumors of an LTE Apple Watch, where we get our news, and the oddest apps that we use.


Podcast

Upgrade #154: Masters of Automation

Upgrade

From Automator to Workflow, automation can make regular users (who are definitely not programmers) more productive. This week on Upgrade Jason talks to Myke about why he cares about automation, and then we’ve got a special automation panel discussion featuring a bunch of special guests. Plus, the Upgrade Summer of Fun begins!


Linked by Jason Snell

Favicons in Safari tabs

A Safari mock-up featuring Pinned Tabs icons (top) and Chrome today.

John Gruber wrote about supporting favicons in Safari tabs the other day, and he makes some good points. I am not a tab-oriented person—it’s rare I have more than a handful of tabs open at once, especially on macOS. But I can see how, with large number of tabs, Chrome keeps scannability by including a site’s favicon on each tab.

If I had to guess why Safari doesn’t support favicons in tabs, I’d say that Apple’s designers probably think most favicons are ugly and contribute to visual clutter. It’s probably why Apple came up with its own SVG-based spec for the Pinned Tabs feature it added to Safari in 2015. Every site has favicons, but Apple chose not to use them—and instead had web developers generate new vector-based site logos for use with this single Safari feature.

(I like Pinned Tabs, and use them all the time, but isn’t it strange that Apple never implemented them on iOS? I have duplicates of several toolbar bookmarks because on iOS, it’s like the Pinned Tabs I have on my Mac simply don’t exist.)

Anyway. this makes me wonder why Apple hasn’t used that new vector icon anywhere but in Pinned Tabs1. Tabs adorned with vector silhouettes would seem to be much less cluttery than a tab bar full of square icons of various colors and qualities. And it would be a very Apple-like move to introduce “icons in tabs”—only to use a format it defined2 rather than the one that pretty much every site has used forever.

If you’re wondering what that might look like, look at the top of this story. It doesn’t look half bad—and fits a bit better with Apple’s design approach.

(Update: John Gruber says no!)


  1. They do appear… in the Touch Bar, tied to Toolbar Favorites. Which is weird. ↩

  2. If a site doesn’t have a Pinned Tabs icon, Safari displays a rounded rectangle containing the first letter of the site, and (when active) uses the dominant color on the site as an accent color.  ↩


By Jason Snell

My iOS writing app of the moment is Editorial

Editorial offers Markdown styling, foldable sections, and custom keyboard shortcuts for Workflows.

When I mention that I write a lot on the iPad these days, I’m often asked what iOS apps I’m using to write. The truth is, the story keeps shifting—I’ve never really settled on a single app, because none of them give me everything that I want.

These days I’m using Editorial most of the time. It’s got full Markdown support and syncs with Dropbox1, but those features have basically become table stakes for iOS text editors. What has put Editorial over the top for me, at least for the moment, is its powerful set of user-creatable and shareable workflows. These powerful features can be assigned to keyboard shortcuts, which is huge for me since I write articles on my iPad Pro while attached to an external keyboard.

If there’s anything that frustrates me about Editorial—and this is true to a degree with almost every iOS writing tool I’ve used—is that it all still feels a little scattershot. There’s an Editorial workflow directory with a few dozen add-ons, but some of them might be better served to be built right into the app itself. And every so often, I find myself wanting to do something that BBEdit does on the Mac, and realize that I can’t do it. (Other times, I happily discover that someone else has already written a workflow for that feature, and that’s great.)

Until recently I was using 1Writer on iOS. It’s similar to Editorial in a lot of ways, but so far as I can tell, I can’t bind keystrokes to any installed custom actions, so I have to reach up and tap the screen a couple of times in order to execute them. 1Writer, like many apps, provides a custom row at the top of the software keyboard where you can attach actions. That row still appears at the bottom of the screen even when a hardware keyboard is attached, and it’s better than nothing, but it’s not as good as a keyboard shortcut!

For longform writing I’m still using Scrivener, which is my go-to tool for novels and anything else that I want to break up into sections. Since Editorial supports collapsible sections—just tap on the disclosure triangle next to a Markdown header and it’ll hide all the text below that header—I may actually just try writing long stories in Editorial and see how it goes. On macOS, I appreciate the organizational tools that Scrivener provides, but they just don’t seem to work as well for me on iOS.

Though people have raved to me about Bear, I don’t think it’s for me. I can configure it to be a usable text editor, but it really wants me to use its internal tagging and linking system, and that’s not how I want to work. It doesn’t sync with Dropbox and makes some styling choices (like hiding the content of Markdown links2) that I don’t really appreciate. In short, Bear looks like a thoughtful notebook-style writing app, but it doesn’t really fit with how I work today.

I keep Pages and Word around just for compatibility reasons, but to be honest, I almost never write anything that requires them. I guess that’s life when you write for the web instead of writing documents destined to be printed out (or turned into a PDF).

Now, I’ve shifted tools so many times that I fully expect that iOS 11 will change the terrain again. Will the existence of the Files app affect my workflow? Will one app better support iOS 11 features like drag-and-drop? Oh, probably. But in the meantime, I’ll be spending most of my iOS writing time in Editorial.


  1. I try to save all my work into a single Dropbox folder called Stories, and then point my various Mac and iOS apps at that folder. It’s easier that way. ↩

  2. I’ve got the same criticism of Ulysses, for what it’s worth. ↩


Linked by Jason Snell

David Letterman Returning to TV With Netflix Talk Show

Dave’s back. The Hollywood Reporter’s ace TV writer Lesley Goldberg has the details:

Two years after signing off CBS’ The Late Show, David Letterman is returning to the small screen. The longest-serving host in U.S. late-night TV history is set to topline a new talk show for Netflix. The untitled six-episode series will premiere in 2018.

“Here’s what I have learned, if you retire to spend more time with your family, check with your family first,” Letterman said.

Since Letterman retired from Late Night, I’ve suspected that—unlike his idol Johnny Carson—he would find a way to return. His recent interview with Norm MacDonald only reinforced that belief.

I kept thinking that we’d see him do something on the Internet, something like Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” that indulged his own interests and gave him the flexibility to do as much as he wanted and no more. Six one-hour episodes on Netflix certainly fits that description.


Linked by Jason Snell

New iOS 11 developer beta out; Messages in iCloud delayed?

The latest developer beta of iOS 11 is out, and in an interesting twist, the Messages in iCloud feature (that syncs all of your messages on every device into a single backed-up store via iCloud) has been removed:

The “Messages in iCloud” feature has been removed in iOS 11 beta 5 and will ship in a future software update to iOS 11. Users can continue to receive and store messages on each device, and they can continue to backup and restore messages using iCloud Backup.

That wording suggests this feature won’t ship with iOS 11.0, but a subsequent update. It suggests that the feature’s not quite stable enough for Apple to migrate all iOS users to it just yet, and so it’s being removed as the company moves closer to shipping iOS 11. (Presumably we’re six or seven weeks away?) But the feature’s not gone—presumably an update in October or November will turn it on, after Apple’s had more time to perfect it.


Linked by Jason Snell

Bloomberg: Cellular Apple Watch coming

Mark Gurman and compatriots at Bloomberg report that this fall will see a new Apple Watch with cellular networking:

Apple Inc. is planning to release a version of its smartwatch later this year that can connect directly to cellular networks, a move designed to reduce the device’s reliance on the iPhone, people familiar with the matter said…. Intel Corp. will supply the LTE modems for the new Watch, according to another person familiar with the situation.

It’s funny—we talked about this possibility last week on Upgrade. I have felt for a long time that cellular capability is the next big feature for the Apple Watch—watchOS apps can act on their own and the Series 2 model offers GPS, but you still need to take your phone with you in case of emergency. With a cellular connection, you could still take calls, send and receive texts, and even stream audio without bringing your phone along. I always bring my iPhone with me when I exercise for that very reason.

I’m a little surprised that it’s happening this quickly, since Series 2 only arrived last year. But if Apple can get it out the door this quickly, that’s excellent. Being data independent is the Apple Watch’s future—and the sooner it can get there, the better.

John Gruber says that he’s heard there’s an “all-new form factor… for this year’s new watches.” It would be interesting indeed if Apple refreshed the look of the Apple Watch. To be fair, it’s been three years since the original model was unveiled. Still, I’d expected the basic look of the watch to remain unchanged a little while longer.


Linked by Jason Snell

AirDrop at 36,000 feet?

A pilot takes a picture of a nearby jet, 1,000 feet above, and then uses AirDrop to send the photo to the pilot of the other jet.

(It’s a cool idea, but I’m not sure it’s real… can AirDrop really reach that far? Bluetooth certainly can’t. Can Wi-Fi point-to-point reach that far? What’s the radio environment like up there? Is it clearer or full of interference? Why was the photo taken “Yesterday”?)


By Jason Snell

iPhone and Apple Pencil: Will they ever be friends?

This week on the Download podcast, both Michael Gartenberg and Florence Ion expressed their love of Samsung’s S Pen, a stylus (much like the Apple Pencil) that works not just with Samsung’s tablets, but also the large phones in the Galaxy Note series.

On the podcast, Gartenberg professed his hope that perhaps Apple would find a way to bring the Apple Pencil, or something like it, to a future model of the iPhone Plus or perhaps even the new rumored high-end iPhone.

It’s an interesting idea. It’s been a year and a half since Apple introduced the Pencil, exclusively for use with the iPad Pro. By all accounts it’s been a success, but the iPad sells in tiny numbers compared to the iPhone. To open even certain iPhone models to the Apple Pencil would give the Pencil a chance to impact many more people than it ever could as an iPad-only accessory.

There are roadblocks, of course. First is the size of the current Pencil, which is just enormous—the size of a new, fresh-out-of-the-box Ticonderoga. An iPhone-friendly pencil would need to be shorter. It also seems highly unlikely to me that Apple would include a slot into which you’d slide the pencil, like Samsung does on the Galaxy Note—but that doesn’t mean that cases and clever magnetic attachments couldn’t be offered, either by Apple or third parties.

Second is the size of the screen—this is one reason why Samsung doesn’t support the S Pen on the standard Galaxy phone. But on larger screens like the iPhone Plus, there’s probably enough room to make a quick sketch or jot down a note, like you’re writing something down in a Moleskine or Field Notes notebook.

Like AirPods, the Apple Pencil has the feel of a product that has been tightly engineered and is difficult to make—so it’s an open question if, after a couple of years, Apple might be able to make a variation that’s smaller and more pocketable for iPhone users.

Up until now I’ve been skeptical of the possibility of Apple opening up support for the Pencil (and smaller Pencil cousins) on the iPhone, but I’m warming up to it now—thanks not just to the attitudes of people like Gartenberg and Ion, but to one of the new features of iOS 11. In iOS 11, there’s a feature called Instant Notes that allows you to automatically switch into a note when you put the Apple Pencil onto the screen… even if the iPad is locked. This make the iPad infinitely more Pencil friendly than when it requires you to unlock the device and and launch an app before you can start writing.

Sometimes new iOS features are all they appear to be—and sometimes they’re more, suggesting future hardware directions that are not entirely visible. I’m not entirely convinced that Instant Notes is anything more than what it seems: a nice iPad feature that makes the Pencil easier to use. But if Apple were considering the addition of Pencil support to an upcoming iPhone model, this is just the sort of feature I’d expect to be prioritized.

It could lead to people pulling out their iPhones and pencils and jotting something down for later, no notebook required… or it could lead nowhere. It all depends on if Apple thinks larger iPhones could be enhanced by the Apple Pencil… or thinks that writing on the screen should remain the province of the iPad Pro.


Podcast

Download #15: Taken Behind the Shed

Download

It’s a really great episode of Download this week, as I’m joined by Michael Gartenberg and Florence Ion to talk about phones, including the spilled beans about the next iPhone and the return from the dead of the Samsung Galaxy Note. Plus, Gartenberg muses about what happened to the person who screwed up the HomePod firmware release—think Tony Soprano. And we cover the surprising growth of iPad sales.


Podcast

The Rebound 148: Gary the Photo Intern

The Rebound

This week on the tech show that’s so irreverent as to be inane, Dan, John, and Lex talk about the leaks that came out of the new HomePod firmware, try to figure out which apps shipped with the original iPhone, and then put their heads together to solve the “problem” of cloud storage. Don’t worry, it’s funnier than it sounds. It would kind of have to be.


By Jason Snell

A bumpy road to the Apple conference call transcript

So yesterday I generated an enormous transcript of Apple’s conference call with analysts. While I can type fast, I have to admit that fast typing is not what allowed me to generate this transcript—it was magic, resilience, and panic.

Three months ago I wrote about how I experimented with the Trint transcription service, which uses computerized speech-to-text algorithms to generate a transcript that I can then correct on the fly with a convenient browser-based text editor that connects with the underlying audio.

Trint did a great job last time, so I set up my workflow Tuesday to take full advantage. I set Audio Hijack to record the call and split those recordings into new chunks every 10 minutes, and hooked up Trint’s integration with Dropbox so that I could upload files to Trint just by copying them to the right folder. The plan was to listen to the first five or six minutes of the call, upload a first file to Trint, and then just keep working a little bit behind the live call. It was a foolproof way to generate an almost-live call transcript.

Except… during the call, Trint (or, apparently, the third-party speech-to-text engine Trint is based on) crashed and burned. I managed to get two transcripts returned to me, but none of the rest of my files were processed.

What saved my bacon was that a while ago, I set up an experimental feature of the Auphonic podcast postproduction service, which routes audio through Google’s speech-to-text engine and automatically generates a podcast transcript. Like the other machine-generated transcripts I wrote about earlier this year, the results aren’t readable by human beings without a pass by a human editor.

Anyway, what I ended up doing was uploading my audio files of the call to Auphonic, as if they were podcasts, and had the service process them and run them through Google’s service. I opened the resulting file in BBEdit and played back the call audio in iTunes, correcting as I go. (I use SizzlingKeys by Yellow Mug Software to add keyboard shortcuts to make iTunes jump back a few seconds, which is a huge help in editing a transcript.)

The result is a transcript that’s pretty accurate and was generated far faster than I could’ve typed it, though I definitely would have preferred to use the audio-linked text editor offered by Trint.

Here’s an original chunk from yesterday’s call, as heard by Google:

Mike that is a great question. Since we I and I could not be more excited about a are and what we’re seeing what they are kid in the early going in to answer question about what category it starts in, just take a look at what’s already on the on the web on terms of what people are doing and it is all over the place.

And here’s the cleaned-up version:

Mike, that is a great question. And I could not be more excited about AR and what we’re seeing with ARKit in the early going. And to answer your question about what category it starts in, just take a look at what’s already on the web in terms of what people are doing and it is all over the place.

(I have to say, I was really impressed with the quality of Google’s transcript. It made a lot of dumb mistakes, but it also correctly interpreted stuff that I would have never believed a computer could understand.)

If Trint had been working, I really do think I could’ve had the entire transcript up within 10 minutes of the call ending. Maybe next time.


Podcast

Clockwise #200: Inbox Infinite

Clockwise

This week, on the show that’s been around since we were talking about iPhone 5s rumors, Dan is joined by special co-host Jason to celebrate our 200th episode. Mikah Sargent and Aleen Simms round out the crew as we check out some throwback topics to episode number one, discuss rumors of the iPhone 8 via HomePod firmware, and talk about our productivity systems.


Jason Snell for Macworld

7 highlights of Tim Cook’s Q3 2017 financial call with analysts ↦

Every 90 days there’s a new Apple financial quarter, a new raft of federally-mandated financial disclosures, and another hour-long conference call that lets us hear Tim Cook (and Apple CFO Luca Maestri) take questions from inquisitive Wall Street analysts. On Tuesday, Apple announced its quarterly earnings and followed it up with that exciting phone call. (If you’d like to read a complete transcript, I made one.) Here’s are seven highlights that I gleaned from Apple’s quarterly exercise in extremely limited disclosure…

Continue reading on Macworld ↦


By Jason Snell

Did the iPad turn the corner this quarter?

So this quarter was the one where the iPad news finally wasn’t terrible. It took a while. Seriously, it’s been more than three years since Apple posted year-over-year growth in iPad revenue. That’s a really long time—and a long slide downward on just about every iPad chart you can think of.

Yeah… that’s the one. A long, slow slide from more than 18 million units per quarter down to a little more than 10 million. It’s been a rough adolescence for the iPad. And all the while, those of us who are cheering for the iPad have been waiting for the moment when the iPad finally bottoms out and starts recovering. Where it finds its level. Where it plays within itself. Pick any metaphor you like—after 13 straight quarters of revenue regression, I’ve pretty much used them all.

This quarter on his call with analysts, Tim Cook didn’t even need to give one of his patented iPad pep talks. At the start, analysts would ask about the iPad sales drop-offs and he’d reply that he was “bullish on the iPad.” By the end, analysts wouldn’t even bother asking—and Cook would still go out of his way to mention that he felt the iPad was an important product with a bright future ahead of it.

That’s because this year was that quarter. The one where the iPad numbers no longer looked terrible. Now, one quarter doesn’t make a turnaround—but when you consider the contraction of the iPad business for the past 13 quarters, a 15 percent year-over-year growth spurt sticks out like a sore thumb.

As much as I’d like to ascribe the iPad’s turnaround to those awesome new iPad Pro models, I can’t. As the astute John Gruber and Dr. Drang have already noted, the average sales price for an iPad actually decreased slightly this quarter, to $435—and overall iPad revenues were only up slightly over last year.

What this means it that boosted iPad sales are likely being driven by the $329 fifth-generation iPad. At this point, I’m happy to take the win if I’m an iPad fan, even if the growth is coming from the lower-end model.

In the analyst call, Cook highlighted improved sales to the U.S. education market and said that in China and Japan, more than half of iPad sales were to people who had never bought an iPad before. iPad sales also grew across all of Apple’s geographic segments—so this wasn’t a change caused by an aberration in one part of the world.

The story of the iPad isn’t over. It’s a real question about how it grows, and what size of a business it becomes for Apple in the long term. Will sales flatten or start to grow slowly? Is the iPad truly going to get enough of Apple’s attention to potentially evolve into a fitting next-generation replacement for the Mac? Or will it remain in its current form as a “tweener” of a product, neither Mac nor iPhone. (I will remind you that despite all this talk about the iPad’s troubles, it still generated $5 billion in revenue last quarter—only slightly less than the Mac’s 5.6 billion.)

A lot of questions, and no good answers. But for now, at least we can say that the iPad has broken the streak. And when iOS 11 arrives this fall, the iPad Pro experience is about to become a lot better. Perhaps that will put some more wind into the iPad’s sails—and sales.


By Jason Snell

Transcript: Tim Cook and the Apple Analyst Call (Q3 2017 edition)

Here’s a full transcript of today’s Apple conference call with analysts.

Tim Cook opening statement

Today we’re proud to announce very strong results for our fiscal third quarter, with unit and revenue growth in all of our product categories. We’ll review our financial performance in detail, and I’d also like to talk about some of the major announcements we made in June at our worldwide developers conference. It was our biggest and best WWDC ever, and the advances we introduced across hardware, software and services will help us delight our customers and extend our competitive lead this fall and well into the future.

For the quarter, total revenue was at the high end of our guidance range at 45.4 billion. That’s an increase of 7 percent over last year, so our growth rate has accelerated in three successive quarters this fiscal year. Gross margin was also at the high end of our guidance, and we generated a 17 percent increase in earnings per share.

iPhone results were impressive, with especially strong demand at the high end of our lineup. iPhone 7 was our most popular iPhone, and sales of iPhone 7 Plus were up dramatically compared to 6S Plus in the June quarter last year. The combined iPhone 7 and 7 Plus family was up strong double digits year over year. One decade after the initial iPhone launch, we have now surpassed 1.2 billion cumulative iPhones sold.

Services revenue hit an all-time quarterly record of 7.3 billion dollars, representing 22 percent growth over last year. We continue to see great performance all around the world, with double-digit growth in each of our geographic segments.

Continue Reading "Transcript: Tim Cook and the Apple Analyst Call (Q3 2017 edition)"


By Jason Snell

Apple’s Q3 FY17 financial results

q317-pie

Apple announced its third-quarter financial results for fiscal 2017 today. In the most recent quarter, the company earned $45.4 billion in revenue, up from $42.4 billion in the year-ago quarter. Check out our transcript of the analyst call here for all the details. This post has charts. Lots of charts.

Continue Reading "Apple's Q3 FY17 financial results"


Podcast

Upgrade #152: August State of Mind

Upgrade

This week on Upgrade: A HomePod firmware leak may have given us our best look yet at the features of the next iPhone, including face detection. Photos of Apple Park’s aggressively open-plan workspaces lead us to the most spirited discussion of space planning you may ever hear. Plus: The iPod dies, the Apple Watch might get an update, and Jason gets over his Game of Thrones hangover.


Linked by Jason Snell

Apple firmware release may reveal iPhone plans

Nobody digs into Apple software releases like Steve Troughton-Smith. And this is a big one. Apparently Apple released a firmware download for the HomePod (not due until the end of the year!) on its servers, and inside that firmware there’s information about future iPhone hardware and support for an infrared face unlock feature code-named Pearl ID:

Somewhere, Mark Gurman of Bloomberg nods his head. No, wait, not somewhere—just on Twitter:

In addition, outline icons that appear to show the shape of the new iPhone are present:

And if you’re interested in HomePod skinny, it looks like the HomePod’s screen is an LED matrix that could possibly display simple symbols: