Six Colors
Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Jason Snell

Using gestures inside the Dynamic Island

The Dynamic Island has nuances. As prompted by Jordan Krahn, I’ve been tapping and swiping on it to figure out some of the subtler gestures it accepts.

And then Ryan Jones came along and made a video:

Swiping toward the center of the Island does seem to “minimize” it, though that behavior seems to vary. When I tried it while on a phone call, it made the time and voice waveform disappear, but the phone icon—to indicate that there’s an active phone call—remained. Doing it with playing music caused the music widget to vanish entirely. Swiping back out from the center restored it.

Things get a little more complicated when two items are in the Dynamic Island. Swiping in from the right, over the second, smaller item, caused it to disappear, giving all the space to the main item. Swiping back out brought it back.

Swiping in from the far edges, on the other hand, made the main item disappear and brought the smaller item to the front. Swiping out on the right side of the Dynamic Island, as if trying to send the second item back into its little side bubble, does just that.

By Jason Snell for Macworld

Stage Manager on the iPad is too important to get this wrong

With iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura threatening to arrive later this month, we’re on the precipice of the arrival of one of the biggest new features added to the iPad and Mac in recent years: Stage Manager.

For Mac users, Stage Manager is an optional feature that might or might not improve productivity and organization. No big deal! Use it, or don’t. Meanwhile, for the iPad, the feature is practically an existential crisis.

Put simply, Stage Manager is a big deal for the iPad because it gives it windows for the first time, while the Mac has been a window-based computing device since Steve Jobs first took it out of that bag in early 1984. And that contrast gets to the core of why putting Stage Manager on the iPad is a much bigger job than adding it to the Mac.

Continue reading on Macworld ↦

‘A scarce and unusual image’

So my friend John Siracusa sends me a tweet that took me down a rabbit hole ending in something I worked on 26 years ago:

The link in this tweet goes to a page on Boston Rare Maps highlighting this:

A 1996 “road map” using a cartographic metaphor to explain content available on the Internet, provided as a bonus for purchasers of MacUser magazine and with a decided emphasis on the Apple ecosystem…. In all, a scarce and unusual image of the internet in its early days of development.

Yes, this is MacUser’s Internet Road Map project, an extra (I can’t remember if it was only in newsstand editions or if subscribers got it, or if it was an inducement to subscribe?) that I worked on with my fellow MacUser editor (and current podcast compatriot) Shelly Brisbin back in the mid-90s.

The entry on Boston Rare Maps also highlights Geoff Duncan as our “Net surfer[!]” — their brackets and exclamation. To explain: We wanted every link on the Internet Road Map to be real, representing an actual hyperlink on the Internet from one page to another. To find those, Geoff Duncan wrote (in HyperCard, if I recall correctly) a web crawler that would follow links and mark interconnections. It allowed Shelly and me to find ways to get our favorite pages onto the map without breaking the rules. (We ended up with lots of Yahoo directory pages on the map simply because were the best way to connect a bunch of disparate websites.)

We did a second one of these maps a year later. (Geez, I wonder what it sold for?) It did not follow the same strict rules as the original and was more of a poster than a “real” map of the Internet.

Anyway, Boston Rare Maps is selling this subscriber giveaway for $1750 in “about excellent” condition, which is making me regret not saving more of them. Though I have at least one, and maybe more, tucked away in a box somewhere.

—Linked by Jason Snell

Scott doesn’t like the Kobo Sage

I’m a big fan of the Kobo e-reader line, but it’s only fair that I post a link to a negative review of the Kobo Sage by my pal Scott McNulty:

If you’re looking for a premium ereader get a Kindle Oasis. The Kobo Sage feels cheap (things that cost $300 should never produce that “creaky plastic” sound under normal use) and worst of all: the page turn buttons sometimes just don’t work. Given the whole point of the device is to turn pages, that’s a dealbreaker. Don’t get this thing.

Furthermore, the official case, which can be used as a stand whilst reading, is an abomination that Kobo should just stop selling.

I will say, however, that it charges via USB-C which is nice and I look forward to getting a Kindle that does the same (I’m not getting another Kobo, you see).

Some quick responses:

  • Yes, the Sage’s case not having a power button cut-out is a real head-scratcher.
  • Scott’s right that the Kobo hardware is a cut below Amazon’s in terms of fit and finish. The Kindle Oasis, while smaller than the Sage, has a metal back and doesn’t do the creaky-plastic thing.

  • As Scott writes, the gap between Kindle and Kobo software has closed substantially. Kobo had a huge lead over Kindle, but Amazon has closed the gap quite a bit. And while I enjoy the fact that the Kobo software is better integrated with Overdrive for library books, I do most of my library searching and checking out on an iOS device with the Libby app, making Kobo’s advantage less relevant.

  • I’m mystified at Scott’s story about the Sage’s buttons not working. I’ve never had an issue with nonworking buttons on any of my Kobos and if I were Scott, I’d probably send the Sage back and get a refund or a replacement.

Anyway, my preferred e-reader of the moment is still the Kobo Libra 2, which is $120 less than the Kindle Oasis, but is the same size and also offers physical page-turn buttons. The Oasis is much nicer hardware—the Libra 2 is all plastic and has a recessed screen—but it’s also $120 cheaper, so…

—Linked by Jason Snell

Relay FM Campaign for St. Jude

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month, and once again, my friends at Relay FM are raising money for St. Jude. A lot of money. Members of our community have already given more than half a million dollars this month, and more than two million dollars since Relay began doing this four years ago.

My friend James Thomson has made a completely bananas macOS screensaver for this campaign, and everyone who donates $60 or more will get it. It is… extra. And then there’s extra on top of that. And when you think there’s nothing extra left, there’s extra.

I strongly suggest you donate if you can.

—Linked by Jason Snell

Angel Island. (A crop of a 48MP image from an iPhone 14 Pro.)

By Jason Snell

iPhone 14 Pro Review: No phone is an island

Since the near-simultaneous arrival of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X in 2017, Apple has been on a mission to split the iPhone product line into two distinct sets of models: a more expensive set that incorporates all the cutting-edge features Apple can dream up, and a set that trades some of that high-tech flash for affordability.

This year’s iPhone 14 and 14 Pro feel like the final resolution of that mission. The iPhone 14 is a very mildly updated version of the iPhone 13, down to it being powered by last year’s A15 processor. But while the iPhone 14 has stood (almost) still, the iPhone 14 Pro has rocketed further ahead. The result is that Apple’s new iPhones for the fall of 2022 are more distinct from one another than ever before.

That’s a good thing for Apple, because the more that users are tempted to spend bigger on the extra features, the more money for Apple. But I’d argue that it’s good for potential buyers too, in the sense that if they’re choosing to spend money on the more expensive phone, they’d want to know what they’re getting for their money. And if those features don’t impress, you can save your money.

Continue reading “iPhone 14 Pro Review: No phone is an island”…

Remembering the Spoiler-Free Opinion Summary

Josh Renaud notes the 30th anniversary of a fixture in the pre-Web Internet:

Each newsgroup was like a messageboard dedicated to a topic: fans of Atari’s 16-bit ST computers would post messages in If you were a Star Trek fan, you might hang out in rec.arts.startrek.current. It likely will not surprise you to learn I frequented both those newsgroups.

Like me, Joe Reiss was a Trek fan, and in the fall of 1992, he decided to solve a problem at the intersection of syndicated television and Usenet.

As a dedicated participant in rec.arts.startrek.current in college and grad school1, I was honored to be quoted in Josh’s piece along with the dean of Star Trek episode reviewers, Tim Lynch.

Almost every feature of the Web was prefigured in the pre-Web Internet. We didn’t have the right tools quite yet, but the desire and enthusiasm was there. (And, of course, most of the people who built the early Web were also participants in Usenet and other pre-Web communities.)

  1. Nerds! I know. But Star Trek TNG was very much the Show of the Moment when I was in college. Everyone, and I mean everyone, watched it and talked about it. 
—Linked by Jason Snell

By Jason Snell for Macworld

Apple’s next victim: the SIM card

Call it the Godzilla Problem. Apple is so big and influential that any move it makes will have enormous consequences for someone, somewhere. If Godzilla takes a walk, he leaves enormous footprints (and, let’s be honest, a bunch of crushed stuff) behind him.

And like any large corporation (or nuclear Kaiju), Apple knows when it’s time to tread lightly and when it’s time to throw its weight around. Any choice it makes-especially where the iPhone is concerned-can move markets, make or break suppliers, and distort the trajectory of the tech industry.

When Apple announced the iPhone, it broke the control that wireless carriers had over our phones. Apple would bring the iPhone to the company that agreed to keep its paws off the phone’s Apple-built interface, AT&T (then Cingular) agreed, and the rest is history.

Now Apple’s up to it again.

Continue reading on Macworld ↦

By Jason Snell

iPhone 14 hands on (YouTube stream)

Dan and I showed off the new iPhone 14, 14 Pro, and 14 Pro Max in advance of their arrival tomorrow. We tried to answer a bunch of questions. Check it out on YouTube.

Obviously much more to come on this front as we settle in with the new iPhones!

‘The Follower’

Dries Depoorter built a project that captures the moment that an Instagram photo was taken and posts the results:

How does this work?

  1. Recorded a selection of open cameras for weeks.
  2. Scraped all Instagram photos tagged with the locations of the open cameras.
  3. Software compares the Instagram with the recorded footage.

Brilliant, fascinating, and creepy all at once. Which is, I think, what Depoorter was going for.

—Linked by Jason Snell

By Jason Snell for Macworld

New products expose Apple’s surprising silicon struggles

There was a time when so much of the progress that came with a new iPhone could be encapsulated in its revolutionary new A-series processor, which added CPU cores, GPUs, or special processing engines to enable the model to be so much faster than its predecessor.

But a week after Apple’s 2022 iPhone launch event, I’m struck by how much the company has had to shift gears due to the slowing pace of chip development.

Continue reading on Macworld ↦

We discuss the Dynamic Island and the new iPhones, the new Apple Watch, the Apple event, iOS 16, and more.

Live, on tape, at Apple Park

Products on display in the hands-on area at the Steve Jobs Theater.

John Gruber wrote a bit today about Apple’s in-person event presentation:

Media reaction to this was, at least from the peers I spoke with, mostly positive. A few people had an “If they’re just going to show us the same movie they’re streaming to everyone, why are we even here?” take, but it’s obvious that the real value of being invited to attend live has always been about what happens after the keynotes, not seeing them on stage live. The hands-on areas after keynotes are useful not just for seeing and touching the products — colors, in particular, demand being seen in person — but for impromptu off-the-record conversions with Apple folks and other invited guests…. Interesting things happen when interesting people are in the same place. Interesting things don’t happen over WebEx group meetings.

To prove this point, I talked to John about this for a while after the event, in the café of the Apple Store across the street from Apple Park. As he rightly points out, you don’t go to an in-person Apple event to see the show that everyone else in the world is also seeing. You go to it because when the show is over, there’s a hands-on area outside where you can get access to the new products more than a week before anyone else will lay hands or eyes on them. And you get to reconnect with your colleagues and see Apple people you know. (Some people also got called behind the curtain to get in-person product briefings with Apple execs. That’s priceless.)

Just last week I chatted with a friend’s brother who I had never met, ran into an old colleague of mine from Macworld who works in the group that generates all those speed comparison tests Apple uses in its marketing, overheard Jeff Williams tell Dierdre O’Brien how happy he was that in-person events were back, and met a longtime reader and Six Colors member in person for the first time. And yes, I got to see what the Deep Purple on the iPhone 14 Pro looks like. (Gray. It looks gray.)

And let’s be clear: It’s not like the old live “stage show” presentation was interactive. They never stopped the show to ask Nilay Patel and Carolina Milanesi and Matthew Panzarino how it was going. So going to a pre-taped presentation really didn’t change anything, from our perspective.

What Apple loses in going entirely pre-taped is that frisson of excitement that comes from knowing that something could go wrong because it’s all happening live. It also loses the live-show dynamic of a bunch of Apple employees and invited guests applauding and cheering in the front rows of the theater, making the show seem a little more important, sort of like filming a sitcom in front of a live studio audience in order to import in some laughter and applause.

But what Apple gains in having complete control over its presentation—or, as Tim Cook referred to it again last week, its “film”—is more than it’s losing. Especially since, as was made quite clear last week, it can even draw a crowd to watch a pre-recorded event presentation.

—Linked by Jason Snell

By Jason Snell for Macworld

Apple will save your life

Steve Jobs famously induced John Sculley to quit his job at Pepsi and become the CEO of Apple by asking him if he wanted to keep selling sugar water or if he wanted to change the world.

Apple is undoubtedly a company that’s committed to changing the world through its products, and that’s a spirit that was instilled into Apple’s corporate culture by Jobs himself. But it’s a two-edged sword: Selling sugar water is comfortably profitable and not especially controversial. Changing the world, while potentially quite profitable, can be a lot more complicated.

At least, that’s what I thought when I saw the kid trapped in the cabin with the bear.

Continue reading on Macworld ↦

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