At the same time, Apple hasn't figured out many new things to do with the iPad to bring back the old excitement. During the October keynote to launch the latest model, Apple executives gushed and gushed and gushed about how *thin* the new iPad was. And it is! The iPad Air 2 is thin, elegant, and so light it just might float right off your lap. But the drama is gone.
The iPad is nice. You might still hang out together sometimes on the couch. But when you're done, you probably just put it down on the pile with all the magazines and mail and other stuff stacking up on the coffee table. It's just another way to waste a little time.
Even with dropping iPad sales, it's still a massive business that rakes in huge amounts of money. With the amounts of money Apple rakes in, it's easy to lose perspective.
That being said, the upgrade cycle for tablets appears to be a lot longer than for phones, which is why Apple isn't concerned about the iPhone 6(+) cannibalising iPad sales: iPhones are not only more expensive, they are also on a two year upgrade cycle and appear to be "free". As long as any drop in iPad sales is more than made up for in increasing iPhone sales, Apple is getting more money, not less.
The Surface line has officially crossed the billion dollar mark for revenue demonstrating a 24% growth from the previous quarter. In other words, the big holiday season looks to have been successful in pushing the Surface Pro 3, which drove the growth, into more hands than ever.
The Surface Pro is an amazingly well-built product. I'm glad it's finding modest success.
Apple CEO Tim Cook just announced that the Apple Watch will begin shipping in April. Cook revealed the shipping timeframe during Apple's quarterly earnings call with investors; the company enjoyed a blockbuster quarter backed by massive iPhone sales and huge growth in China. Now it will look to carry that success forward with the launch of Apple Watch, its first major new product since the debut of iPad in 2010. "We’re making great progress in the development of it," Cook said. He also revealed that Apple is encouraged by the response from developers and app makers so far, saying "We’re seeing some incredible innovation."
The Apple Watch could be a crappy product, but with these kinds of iPhone sales numbers, even a dud would be a huge success. These numbers are beyond my comprehension.
Four years ago, we wrote about YouTube's early support for the HTML5 video tag and how it performed compared to Flash. At the time, there were limitations that held it back from becoming our preferred platform for video delivery. Most critically, HTML5 lacked support for Adaptive Bitrate (ABR) that lets us show you more videos with less buffering.
Over the last four years, we've worked with browser vendors and the broader community to close those gaps, and now, YouTube uses HTML5 video by default in Chrome, IE 11, Safari 8 and in beta versions of Firefox.
It seems like only yesterday that Flash was required for everything.
The co-founder and former CEO of Opera, Jon von Tetzchner, has released a new browser called Vivaldi.
The new browser, which is available for Windows, Mac and Linux, is still in its early days, but offers a number of features that loyal Opera users may remember. It sports mouse gestures for browsing and the familiar "speed dial" interface that shows your favorite tabs on the new tab page.
groups Meet Vivaldi, a new browser from the former CEO of OperaVivaldi also has some new tricks up its sleeves. Multiple tabs can be combined into one for easy browsing of related sites. For example, if you were doing research online you could group all the tabs on that topic into one to save space.
The browser is available as a pre-release version right now, and like Opera, it doesn't actually have its own, unique rendering engine - it's built on top of Chrome's Blink. The idea here appears to be to return at least some of the unique Opera features to the browser space, something a number of you may be interested in.
Apple has updated both of its operating systems today.
Apple has released OS X Yosemite 10.10.2 to the public. This update is meant to fix a number of issues in Yosemite, including an issue that caused Wi-Fi to disconnect.
And iOS wasn't far behind:
Apple has just released iOS 8.1.3 for iPhone and iPad devices. The over-the-air update has a number of fixes and improvements, including one that should cut down on the amount of storage needed for future software updates.
The PaperLike uses a 13.3-inch E Ink Fina screen that has a resolution of 1600 x 1200 (150 ppi). Fina is E Ink's glass-based display and is different from what's on the 13.3" Sony DPT-S1 PDF Reader, which has a flexible plastic-based screen.
The interesting thing about the PaperLike is that it uses so little energy that it doesn't even need to be plugged into its own power source. It connects to a laptop or desktop computer simply with a USB cable, and it gets enough power through the USB to refresh the screen.
This looks quite interesting in a cool-to-have sort of way. Too bad the price isn't exactly in the cool-to-have category.
This release brings improvements in performance and hardware support from the FreeBSD 10.1 base, as well as enhancements we've added such as AES-GCM with AES-NI acceleration, among a number of other new features and bug fixes. Jim Thompson posted an overview of the significant changes previously.
CyanogenMod CEO McMaster said some interesting things recently.
To remove all doubts right from the get go, here's how McMaster introduced himself: "I'm the CEO of Cyanogen. We're attempting to take Android away from Google." Asked to detail his vision, McMaster explained that Cyanogen wants to provide a version of Android that is open down to its core, that partners can use to build highly integrated services, in a way that is not possible right now with Google’s Android.
Well, either McMaster has no idea what he's talking about, or he's purposefully being disingenuous. It's most likely the latter, since he's got something to sell.
Of course, all the things McMaster claims his company will make possible with Android are already possible today, have been possible for years, and are actually actively being done all over the world. There are dozens of millions - possibly hundreds of millions - of users using Google-less Android all over the world; in China, Russia, the US, and beyond. Android's openness makes it possible to replace all of Google's applications and services with those from another company, vendor, or provider. Even you can do it! Just download Yandex.Kit, for instance.
The confusion seems to stem from people conflating Google Apps/Play Services with Android. This is an easy mistake to make for those not familiar with Android. Android itself (AOSP) is completely open source, and freely available to everyone to use as a base for a competing platform. Countless of Chinese companies, Russia's Yandex, Nokia, Amazon, and others have attracted millions and millions of users this way.
In contrast, Google has a lot of control over Google Apps/Play Services and keeps them (mostly) proprietary. However, despite a lot of rattling of chains from Apple bloggers and Ars Technica, Google Apps and Play Services are by no means a crucial, unmissable part of Android, and they, by no means, make Android "unforkable". In fact, if you look at the APIs currently part os Play Services, they are all strictly related to Google Services (as the name implies), and not Android itself (e.g. they don't deal with things like hardware access).
On top of that, despite Google Apps/Play Services being proprietary, they are "freely" available; Google basically employs a gedoogbeleid concerning their availability, and allows users of custom ROMs and non-Google Android to download them. My Jolla phone, which doesn't even run Android in the first place, has Google Apps/Play Services installed.
I am not happy with the fact that the Google Apps are proprietary, mostly because I see no need for them to be as such. Google could win a lot of goodwill by opening them up again, but Google being a company, it's unlikely they will ever do so. Play Services are a bit of a different story; while I would certainly love for them to be open as well, I understand (though not necessarily agree) Google wants to maintain control over the access to their very servers.
The article makes another common mistake: it claims that Android manufacturers are not allowed to release Android forks. This is based on leaked 2011 licensing terms covering the Google Apps/Play Services. However, despite these leaked terms, there are several manufacturers who release Android devices both with and without Google services; Huawei and Explay are good examples of that (they both sell regular Android phones with Google services, but also devices in Russia that use Yandex.Kit). This means that either the licensing terms from 2011 are outdated, or (more likely) they are custom, and do not apply to every manufacturer. In any case, the blanket statement that all manufacturers must choose between nothing but Android with Google services, or no Android services at all is clearly not true.
In any case, I'm sure McMaster knows all this just fine - you can't be the CEO of CyanogenMod without said understanding - which makes these comments all the more paper-thin. Then again, after the scummy way CyanogenMod treated OnePlus, I'm not exactly surprised.
Consider the humble video game cartridge. It's a small, durable plastic box that imparts the most immediate, user-friendly software experience ever created. Just plug it in, and you're playing a game in seconds.
If you’ve ever used one, you have two men to thank: Wallace Kirschner and Lawrence Haskel, who invented the game cartridge 40 years ago while working at an obscure company and rebounding from a business failure. Once the pair's programmable system had been streamlined and turned into a commercial product - the Channel F console - by a team at pioneering electronics company Fairchild, it changed the fundamental business model of home video games forever. By injecting flexibility into a new technology, it paved the way for massive industry growth and the birth of a new creative medium.
Ah, gaming with effectively no loading times. Those were the days.
Just to provide an example for this post, I put together a trivial drawing app called BitPaint. It isn't very interesting, but it should illustrate a few things:
- What's involved in bringing a trivial classic Mac app to Carbon
- How the Classic Mac OS build process works
- How much source compatibility exists between 1984's Toolbox and Carbon today
The answer to the third question is surprising: a lot. In fact, Steven managed to build an application that runs on every version of Mac OS/OS X, all the way from System 1.0 to today's OS X 10.10 Yosemite. I've been following Steven's progress (and by following I mean 'looked at pretty screenshots' because I don't understand the developer stuff), and it's quite incredible to see a single codebase run on such a long string of Mac OS/OS X releases.
A crucial aspect in this whole endeavour has been mpw, "an m68k binary translator/emulator whose sole purpose is to try and emulate enough of Classic Mac OS to run MPW's [note the caps!] own tools directly on OS X".
I am incredibly psyched about mpw. Its developer, ksherlock, has been very responsive to everything I've come up against as I stress test it against various tools and projects.
Right now it's a fully usable tool that makes Classic Mac OS compilation possible and easy to do on modern versions of OS X, without requiring emulators or ancient IDEs or the like. To my knowledge, this is the first time this has been possible (excluding legacy versions of CodeWarrior).
This entire post is a must-read.
"We have bigger hopes, higher aspirations for Windows," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said on Wednesday, standing on a stage above a secret room filled with crazy holographic technology. "We want to move from people needing Windows to choosing Windows, to loving Windows. That is our bold goal." He's right: love is a problem that Microsoft needs to solve.
I use Windows because out of the options, it's the one that bugs me the least. Now, I have a tendency to dislike all software - it's crazy how many faults and problems we accept in software - so it's unlikely they'll ever get me to 'love' anything, but I still get the general idea: without dominance, mobile users need to choose Windows willingly. This is new ground for Microsoft.
Don't look now, but Google's Project Zero vulnerability research program may have dropped more zero-day vulnerabilities - this time on Apple's OS X platform.
In the past two days, Project Zero has disclosed OS X vulnerabilities here, here, and here. At first glance, none of them appear to be highly critical, since all three appear to require the attacker to already have some access to a targeted machine. What's more, the first vulnerability, the one involving the "networkd 'effective_audit_token' XPC," may already have been mitigated in OS X Yosemite, but if so the Google advisory doesn't make this explicit and Apple doesn't publicly discuss security matters with reporters.
You'd think a writer at Ars Technica was aware of what a zero-day is. These are 90-days, meaning Google is giving - int his case - Apple two to three times as long as industry sort-of standard (which is 30-45 days). Of course, Google dropping zero-days on Apple will draw a lot more clicks, but that doesn't make it any less bullshit. Then again, it isn't like this is the first time this particular author sensationalises to the point of ridiculousness.
The other points from before, of course, still stand. In addition, it'd be great if other companies started combing through Google's stuff too.
Some of the new features that Joe demoed on Wednesday will be available for our Windows Insiders starting today with our newest build - 9926. However, not everything you saw on Wednesday is included in this new build. Much is still in-progress and we’re getting it out to you as fast as we can - so you can try it out and give us feedback. Over the course of the next few builds, you will see us refine Windows 10 and continue to improve the experiences as well as quality and stability.
This new build contains the first set of features unveiled earlier this week. Neowin has a bunch of screenshots.
100Gb network adapters are coming, said Jesper Brouer in his talk at the LCA 2015 kernel miniconference. Driving such adapters at their full wire speed is going to be a significant challenge for the Linux kernel; meeting that challenge is the subject of his current and future work. The good news is that Linux networking has gotten quite a bit faster as a result - even if there are still problems to be solved.
That day has already come and passed; dubbed "KDE Frameworks 5" for the technology, and "Plasma 5" for the environment/applications, these technologies have been in circulation as technical demonstrations and alternatives for some months now. A combination of nervous anticipation and memories of being burned by the 4.0 releases lead all but the bravest to venture early and discover nothing nearly as painful as the transition between KDE 3 and Plasma. With KDE Plasma 5.2 being formally announced as the default environment of Kubuntu 15.04 due only months away, Frameworks 5 and Plasma have been recognised as maturing usable products - which means it's time to take a serious look at what to expect when you turn it on for the first time.
I am extremely impressed with the progress the KDE team has been making with 5.0. I can't wait until the 5.2 release hits. In any case, this is a very in-depth look at what the current state of KDE 5.x offers - grab a cup of coffee and enjoy.
Microsoft unveiled its plans for a free copy of Windows 10 for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users yesterday, but it looks like Windows RT is being left out in the cold. In a statement provided to The Verge, Microsoft confirms the Surface Pro 3 and "entire Surface Pro lineup" will get the update to Windows 10, but Windows RT won't get the full OS. "We are working on an update for Surface, which will have some of the functionality of Windows 10. More information to come," says a Microsoft spokesperson. This means tablets like the Surface RT and Surface 2 won't get Windows 10.
Windows RT is dead.
BlackBerry CEO John Chen has published an open letter to US president Obama on net neutrality. Interestingly enough, he conflates net neutrality with what he calls "content/application neutrality". At the beginning of the letter it's a bit unclear what he means by this, but later one, all pieces of his puzzle fall into place.
Unfortunately, not all content and applications providers have embraced openness and neutrality. Unlike BlackBerry, which allows iPhone users to download and use our BBM service, Apple does not allow BlackBerry or Android users to download Apple’s iMessage messaging service. Netflix, which has forcefully advocated for carrier neutrality, has discriminated against BlackBerry customers by refusing to make its streaming movie service available to them. Many other applications providers similarly offer service only to iPhone and Android users. This dynamic has created a two-tiered wireless broadband ecosystem, in which iPhone and Android users are able to access far more content and applications than customers using devices running other operating systems. These are precisely the sort of discriminatory practices that neutrality advocates have criticized at the carrier level.
Therefore, neutrality must be mandated at the application and content layer if we truly want a free, open and non-discriminatory internet. All wireless broadband customers must have the ability to access any lawful applications and content they choose, and applications/content providers must be prohibited from discriminating based on the customer's mobile operating system.
I'm not entirely sure what to say about this. While I would personally welcome a world where companies are multi-platform by nature, it is completely preposterous to legally force them to do so. I could somewhat understand (but still oppose) a call for using open standards so third parties could e.g. create their own Hangouts, WhatsApp, iMessage, or Skype clients, but legally forcing companies to create applications for competing platforms? That's insane.
Except for those with an agenda, we would all love to live in a world where companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft use nothing but open standards and protocols, creating a level playing field for newcomers and small players. However, unless the closed nature of a protocol harms consumers, companies should be free to be as closed as they very well please.
Google is preparing to sell mobile phone plans directly to customers and manage their calls and mobile data over a cellular network, according to three people with knowledge of the plans.
The new service is expected run on Sprint and T-Mobile's networks, two people familiar with the product say. Google is expected to reach deals to buy wholesale access to those carriers' mobile voice and data networks, making it a mobile virtual network operator, or MVNO, they say.
This could be huge (The Verge verifies it). Of course, this is US-only.