Luminary Blur

Ben Hinc

Services Enhance Apple’s Ecosystem — December 14, 2018

Services Enhance Apple’s Ecosystem

Many Apple pundits and analysts point to its services business as the future of the company and a major source of future revenue. I don’t deny that services revenue is steadily going up while hardware revenue is heading in the opposite direction.

Yet, I still see Apple as primarily, fundamentally and foundationally a hardware company. Its services exist to sell more hardware. When Apple makes money on services — sometimes, a lot of money — it only adds to the bottom line.

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Chromium’s Gain Is the Web’s Loss — December 10, 2018

Chromium’s Gain Is the Web’s Loss

John Gruber, writing at Daring Fireball:

This difference in priorities is why Google forked Chrome’s rendering engine from WebKit in 2013. Which, in turn, makes me wonder what the endgame will look like with Microsoft adopting Chrome. Is Microsoft really going to stick with Chrome, under Google’s ultimate control, or will they fork it, the way Google forked WebKit?

Gruber’s question is the wrong one. The concern isn’t that Microsoft might fork Blink — the rendering engine that underlies not just Chrome but the Chromium open-source base upon which Chrome is built — but that its choice of Google’s project over another puts more control of the internet under Google’s purview.

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‘No Better Than a Chromebook’ — February 21, 2018

‘No Better Than a Chromebook’

Brian Fagioli, writing at BetaNews:

When I first began using the Mac, I downloaded a bunch of software I thought I would enjoy. As a big Twitter user, I obviously installed the official app for that social network. You know what? It sucked. I tried to make it work, but ultimately, using a web browser was just a much better experience. On any desktop operating system, users are wise to use a browser. Let’s be honest — Twitter apps are best saved for smartphones and tablets. Twitter the company apparently agrees, as today, it officially kills the Mac app.

Later, he makes this profound observation:

Look, macOS is great for many things, but for accessing the web — including social media — it is no better than a Chromebook. Heck, from a security perspective, Google’s desktop operating system is arguably superior to macOS when surfing the web. And yeah, a computer running it can be had for $200. So?

Despite many routes I could take to assail Fagioli’s argument, I’ll begin with viewing social media as merely a web-based phenomenon. Is the Instagram experience better on the web? How about Snapchat? It’s true — both services started as apps. Twitter began as a bare-bones web service designed around the limitations of SMS messaging. In fact, I’m quite certain my first Twitter post was sent via SMS.

Should Twitter shutter its “much better experience” on the web to revert back to an SMS-focused model? Surely not, because how things begin isn’t necessarily how they should remain.

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Messages in a Web Browser — February 2, 2018

Messages in a Web Browser

Juli Clover, writing for Mac Rumors:

As of iOS 11.3, Messages in iCloud is back and is available for “testing and evaluation purposes,” marking the official return of the feature. According to Apple’s release notes, once iOS 11.3 beta 1 is installed, Messages will prompt users to turn on Messages in the Cloud when it is first launched.

Messages in the Cloud is automatically enabled for users who have two-factor authentication and iCloud Backup enabled, says Apple.

The new Messages in iCloud feature will be a welcome change for iPhone, iPad, and Mac users who prefer not to delete their messages. Over the course of several years, Messages can take up a lot of space. That space can now be freed up with the bulk of older messages stored directly in iCloud rather than on-device.

As a paid developer, I’ve been testing iOS 11.3 since its beta release. Quick, reliable and trouble-free message syncing between devices is a feature I’ve longed for and — at least between the iPhone X and current-generation iPad that have the beta installed — it’s finally here.

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