Horace Dediu on the New iPad Mini


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Horace Dediu:
Fundamentally explaining mini is pointless. Mini is something that is felt more than it is perceived. You can see the attraction of a tiny product only when you come face-to-face with it. In a picture it’s hard to get it — there is no frame of reference. What draws me to a MacBook or to a mini or a Watch is when it’s touched and held and carried or worn.

Facebook Stored Hundreds of Millions of User Passwords in Plain Text for Years


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Brian Krebs:
The Facebook source said the investigation so far indicates between 200 million and 600 million Facebook users may have had their account passwords stored in plain text and searchable by more than 20,000 Facebook employees. The source said Facebook is still trying to determine how many passwords were exposed and for how long, but so far the inquiry has uncovered archives with plain text user passwords dating back to 2012.
Always bet the Over when Facebook announces something like this. They’ll admit it’s 750 million or more soon.

Google Hit by Another E.U. Fine; Investors Don’t Bat an Eye


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Sara Salinas, reporting for CNBC:
Google was hit with another fine from EU antitrust regulators Wednesday, and investors didn’t bat an eye. The stock rose 2 percent by the end of trading, outpacing Apple and Microsoft for the day and adding nearly $17 billion to the company’s market value. Google was fined about one-tenth of that amount by the European Commission on Competition early Wednesday.
Investors don’t care about cash, they only care about future growth. Fines like this just don’t matter to Google or Facebook. Write a check, stay the course.

Some Jet Black Claim Chowder


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MacRumors, a month ago: “Apple to Release AirPods With New Coating and Black Color in the Spring”:
Apple is planning to release AirPods that feature a new surface coating, wireless charging, and a black color option, according to a report from Taiwanese Economic Daily News.
There are no black AirPods, and there is no new coating or texture. MacRumors is a great publication, but I don’t get why they run headlines that report rumors as facts.

Apple Announces New AirPods Via Press Release


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Apple Newsroom:
The new Apple-designed H1 chip features custom audio architecture to create a revolutionary audio experience and improved synchronization. H1 allows AirPods to deliver up to 50 percent more talk time compared to first generation AirPods. Switching between devices while listening to music on iPhone, Apple Watch or iPad is more seamless than ever with two times faster connect times. For the first time, AirPods now feature the convenience of “Hey Siri” making it easier to change songs, make a call, adjust the volume or get directions simply by saying, “Hey Siri.”
Curious why it’s the H1 and not a new W-series chip. Update: Apple Watch is still using W-series chips (W3 in Series 4 watches, W2 in Series 3). The H1 is a new chip series specifically for headphones. Makes sense. The new AirPods are $160 with a Lightning case, and $200 with a case that Continue reading "Apple Announces New AirPods Via Press Release"

Google Announces Stadia, Streaming Video Game Service


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Phil Harrison, vice president and GM of Google Stadia:
Using our globally connected network of Google data centers, Stadia will free players from the limitations of traditional consoles and PCs. When players use Stadia, they’ll be able to access their games at all times, and on virtually any screen. And developers will have access to nearly unlimited resources to create the games they’ve always dreamed of. It’s a powerful hardware stack combining server class GPU, CPU, memory and storage, and with the power of Google’s data center infrastructure, Stadia can evolve as quickly as the imagination of game creators.
They have a custom game controller too, which from the outside looks a lot like a Sony Dualshock. The innovation is that the controller isn’t a peripheral to a local device — it connects by Wi-Fi to the Stadia cloud. Streaming high-performance games over the internet sounds like something that could Continue reading "Google Announces Stadia, Streaming Video Game Service"

Jason Snell on the Updated iMac Lineup


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Jason Snell, writing at Six Colors:
What this means is that these new iMacs have closed a bit of the gap between the highest-end iMac and the lowest-end iMac Pro. You’ll need to pay extra in configurable options, but the highest-end eight-core iMac should creep close to iMac Pro territory in terms of processor and graphics performance.

Nice (Non-Pro) iMac Speed Bumps


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Nothing radical here — no T2 chip* or anything that makes them look new. Just faster CPUs from Intel and faster GPUs (including Vega options) from Radeon. This is an industrial design that deserves to last years. It still doesn’t seem possible to get displays of this caliber at these prices in the PC world — or at any price for 5K in an all-in-one. These speed bumps are just what the doctor ordered. * If there’s one disappointment for me with these updated iMacs, it’s that the low-end configurations still ship with spinning hard drives — either as the sole storage device or as part of a Fusion drive. I get it — SSDs cost a lot more than hard drives. But SSDs are just so much better in every regard other than price. I think this decision goes hand-in-hand with the lack of a T2 subsystem, though Continue reading "Nice (Non-Pro) iMac Speed Bumps"

Seattle Times: ‘Flawed Analysis, Failed Oversight: How Boeing, FAA Certified the Suspect 737 Max Flight Control System’


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Dominic Gates, reporting for The Seattle Times:
As Boeing hustled in 2015 to catch up to Airbus and certify its new 737 MAX, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) managers pushed the agency’s safety engineers to delegate safety assessments to Boeing itself, and to speedily approve the resulting analysis. But the original safety analysis that Boeing delivered to the FAA for a new flight control system on the MAX — a report used to certify the plane as safe to fly — had several crucial flaws.
Absolutely scathing. The Seattle Times contacted both the FAA and Boeing with details of its reporting four days before the crash in Ethiopia. It now seems clear this plane should not have been certified, for exactly the reasons that led to both crashes.

Jamf Now


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My thanks to Jamf for sponsoring this week at DF. For many people, IT is a task and not a career. It’s time to get your nights and weekends back. Jamf Now is a simple, cloud-based solution designed to help anyone set up, manage, and protect Apple devices at work. Easily configure company email and Wi-Fi networks, distribute apps to your team, and protect sensitive data without locking down devices. Daring Fireball readers can create an account and manage three devices for free — no credit card required. Each additional device starts at just $2 per month. Two bucks! Create your free account today.

The Talk Show: ‘Loan It to Nien Nunb’


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Matthew “Hondo” Panzarino returns to the show. Topics include WWDC 2019, the 30th anniversary of the World Wide Web, Apple and privacy, the Boeing 737 Max, and Disney’s upcoming Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge theme park lands. Brought to you by these fine sponsors:
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Security Researchers Claim Two-Thirds of All Android Antivirus Apps Are Frauds


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Catalin Cimpanu, writing for ZDNet’s Zero Day:
An organization specialized in testing antivirus products concluded in a report published this week that roughly two-thirds of all Android antivirus apps are a sham and don’t work as advertised. The report, published by Austrian antivirus testing outfit AV-Comparatives, was the result of a grueling testing process that took place in January this year and during which the organization’s staff looked at 250 Android antivirus apps available on the official Google Play Store.
How many do-nothing “antivirus” apps are in the iOS (and Mac) App Store though? Seriously — search for “antivirus” in the iOS App Store and look at the results. All sorts of “cleaners” and “security” apps that are placebos at best, and who knows what (especially if they offer VPNs) at worst. Some of them actually claim to be “antivirus” — especially on the Mac App Store. How would that Continue reading "Security Researchers Claim Two-Thirds of All Android Antivirus Apps Are Frauds"

★ On Spotify’s Complaints About the App Store


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From Spotify’s 5-point “Time to Play Fair” complaint against Apple:
Apple requires that certain apps pay a 30% fee for use of their in-app purchase system (IAP) — as is their prerogative. However, the reality is that the rules are not applied evenly across the board. Does Uber pay it? No. Deliveroo? No. Does Apple Music pay it? No. So Apple gives the advantage to its own services.
I think Spotify (along with any other company selling digital content or subscriptions) has a case. But they’re being disingenuous comparing themselves to Uber and Deliveroo. If it’s a physical product or service, there’s never been a requirement to use Apple’s IAP. Amazon’s app sells physical goods without paying a penny to Apple, but they don’t sell e-books or music or movies because those purchases would be subject to Apple’s “use our IAP and pay us 30 percent” rule. Apple hasn’t Continue reading "★ On Spotify’s Complaints About the App Store"

American Leadership on Air Safety Under Question Across the Globe


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Anthony Faiola, writing for The Washington Post:
Around the globe, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration for decades represented the gold standard for air safety — a regulator whose decisions, particularly on American-made aircraft, boosted the confidence of plane travelers in New York, Miami and Los Angeles, as well as London, Rio de Janeiro and Beijing. Yet since Sunday’s Ethiopian Airlines crash shortly after takeoff — the second 737 Max to go down in less than five months — foreign observers have watched Washington’s handling of the crisis with mounting alarm. Critics at home and abroad are blaming, at best, erratic decision-making and, at worst, domestic commercial interests, for what many of them decry as a flawed U.S. reaction. […] The outcome, critics say, has undermined American credibility as the pacesetter for global aircraft standards, while potentially ushering in an era in which international regulators — particularly those in Continue reading "American Leadership on Air Safety Under Question Across the Globe"