Apple Announces the Transition to ARM Apple Silicon for Mac

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During WWDC 2020, Apple officially (and finally) announced the transition of Mac hardware to their own developed chips. The ARM transition is officially called Apple Silicon.

All of the features are still rolling in, but the next era in Mac hardware and software is here. Apple says that the first consumer Mac with Apple Silicon will be released by the end of this year and expect the transition to take two years. Both Microsoft and Adobe already are working on bringing Office and the Creative Cloud to Apple Silicon. Apple also already has built Final Cut Pro X for Apple Silicon.

To help with the transition, Rosetta returns with Rosetta 2 to help convert and emulate software to run on the new chipset. There will also be virtualization support.

For developers, there is a Developer Transition Kit that is a Mac Mini outfitted with an A12Z Bionic chip, which currently resides inside the 2020 iPad Pro. The kit costs developers $500 and they start shipping out next week. The developer must return the computer at some point in the future as well. This will help them develop their software for Apple silicon before the first consumer Mac with these chips are released this year.

Comparing and Contrasting Podcast Apps

As I prepared to publish Chasing the Stick, one factor I dug into was audio distribution for the audiobook version. Since I wanted to release everything for free and wanted it to be accessible, I chose the route of releasing it as a podcast. Free, open format with ease of access and plenty of choice for the end user.

Due to this wide variety of access, I wanted to make sure that Chasing the Stick appeared on multiple podcast apps / platforms. So I downloaded six podcasting apps that I felt covered the bases. Three are exclusively iOS apps and three are multiplatform: I chose Overcast, Apple Podcasts, Castro, Pocket Casts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts.

While the primary focus of distributing the audiobook version is allowing listeners to actually listen, I noticed a wide range of differences in how each app presented the episode’s show notes and description. This made me want to take a look at these differences and compare these apps.

Overcast

First and foremost, I personally use Overcast. I am also a Premium subscriber for an ad free interface, some other cosmetic options, and the ability to upload personal files. You do not need to be a subscriber to have the same user experience though.

The top of the episode information page contains the details of the episode including the name of both the show and episode, the episode length, podcast art, and the release date. Beneath that is the content of the post in the RSS feed properly displayed. No formatting snafus. It is the same as what you’d see on my site.

The play controls being at the top keep the content clear. The whole page is readable and intuitive. It just works. The app does not get in the way of the podcast.

Apple Podcast

So Apple appears to just be taking the text and slapping it in a “Episode Notes” field. You have to swipe up from the bottom of the episode page itself to find these notes. It’s essentially hidden from the listener. Sure makes my work look pretty rough, especially after trying to make it look great on my site.

Thankfully the app doesn’t block the podcast itself though. It just puts a pane of smudgy glass in between the user and the content.

Spotify

Spotify is doing its own thing. My episode description does not exist. Maybe this is because I marked the episode as the podcast’s trailer? Who knows? At least the page looks decent.

Castro

Welcome to rounded corner design! What is going on down on the bottom of the app? There are three different sized series of buttons all segmented. Granted, the bottom is for the currently played podcast (I was testing with ATP). I’m not too keen on the buttons obscuring the show notes with a bit of transparency. Although, it does immediately go away if you begin to scroll.

In the end, Castro does accurately display the show notes, which is more than i can say for Apple and Spotify. It even recognizes the .mp3 URL scheme and removes it (just like Overcast), giving the layout a clean and clear look. Castro’s design ultimately is dependent on the user’s taste. It’s not my flavor of podcast player.

Pocket Casts

I used to be a Pocket Casts user. This is, by far, the closest experience to Overcast. Displays the episode title, publication date, and run time near the top. The description is properly formatted, but the .mp3 URL is shown. While technically an accurate display of the page’s information, it makes the information look disjointed.

Google Podcasts

Maybe it’s better on Android? I don’t know. The “continue reading” section in the description is not a button. There’s no way I could find to expand the information. Google trends appear at the bottom. The title is in some sort of black box. Not a good appearance at all.

Conclusion

This exploration has been fun for me. It’s fun to look at an app’s UI, especially when that UI is for supporting features. The number one focus of a podcast player should be playing and providing access to podcasts that the user wants to listen to. This experiment has reenforced a few things to me.

Podcasts have been, are, and should remain to be an open standard through RSS. It gives creators and users choice and control over what they want to produce and listen to. Spotify is clearing trying to circumvent that.

Good show notes are nice to have. I appreciate the podcasts I listen to that take full advantage of the medium. They are also hard to produce when the results of their presentation varying wildly among platforms.

The more support for industry standard features, the better the app can be for the user. Great design doesn’t get in the way of the listening experience. It makes it better.

Overcast is my favorite podcast player. No way you could change my mind now.

How Apple reinvented the cursor for iPad – TechCrunch

How Apple reinvented the cursor for iPad by Matthew Panzarino for Techcrunch

In order to dive a bit deeper on the brand new cursor and its interaction models, I spoke to Apple SVP Craig Federighi about its development and some of the choices by the teams at Apple that made it. First, let’s talk about some of the things that make the cursor so different from what came before…and yet strangely familiar.

Great read about the development and design behind the new iPad cursor with an interview with Craig Federighi. Apple TV seems to be more important to other platforms than one may assume.

Joining the Butterfly Keyboard Club

My dad called me and said “Hey, I got a question for you. My MacBook keyboard…”

I interrupted him with a knowing “Yep!”

I already knew what was happening. My MacBook Pro joined the “small percentage” of defective butterfly keyboards a few weeks prior when my right-hand Shift key stopped working. The left-hand Command key seems to be joining the club too.

It is good to see Apple rolling out the Magic Keyboard on the 16” MacBook Pro and the newly revised MacBook Air. Hopefully, it will be across the entire product line by the end of the year.

Once the stores open, I will try to make an appointment to have it repaired. Apple will do this for free, even for out of warranty machines like mine. Hopefully while I’m there, I can address other issues my MacBook has been having.

Or maybe it is time to make the switch to that iPad Pro lifestyle

‘In praise of the iPadOS 13.4 cursor’ – Six Colors

In praise of the iPadOS 13.4 cursor – Six Colors by Jason Snell at Six Colors

It’s delightful. It’s like a little cartoon character, the plucky dot who is up to any challenge, even if it means contorting itself into whatever form is required.

I don’t have an iPad, but the all-new addition of cursor support on the iPad seems amazing. It’s been fun to listen to the Apple community ask for it, get it as an accessibility feature in iPadOS 13, and then receive full-blown support in a mid-OS update. Apple seems to have crushed it with making a cursor uniquely iPad-focused. Just take a look at it in action in Jason’s article.

Daring Fireball: ‘How to Correctly Use a Computer’

Daring Fireball: ‘How to Correctly Use a Computer’ by John Gruber

Earlier this week, Apple revealed a new iPad Pro, alongside other hardware updates. Since getting into weekly Apple coverage and discussion last year, I have been seriously into the idea of swapping my laptop for a desktop and getting an iPad for my mobile computing. The new iPad Pro with the Magic Keyboard looks like a dream.

John talks about one of the new fun ads for the iPad Pro and rather than share my two cents, I like how John put it.

Apple TV+ – One in Thirty-Three Million

Why is nobody talking about #LittleAmerica? Oh yeah, it’s on AppleTV+.

I gotta say, out of the four shows I’ve watched on AppleTV+, so far I’m loving three of them (Little America, For All Mankind, & Morning Show). What other network or streaming service has that track record?

– Peter Sciretta via Twitter

Peter’s thoughts echo my feelings about Apple TV+ and the shows that Abby and I have been watching on the service – The Morning Show, For All Mankind, See, and Servant. We just wrapped up For All Mankind not long ago (holy cow, that finale) and devoured Servant week-by-week. We are near the end of The Morning Show and have half of See left. The two of us are shocked how much of a banger we think each of these shows are.

Granted, like Peter says in a follow-up tweet, there are plenty of shows on Apple TV+ that I haven’t watched, either because I am not interested in them (Dickinson and Helpsters for example) or I just haven’t made time due to the flood of new TV shows/rewatching Better Call Saul (Truth Be Told and Little America fit this mold). They can’t all be slam dunks either, right? Although, the press seems to be digging Little America quite a bit.

I certainly hear the praises for some of these shows online and on podcasts, like Upgrade. The echo chamber of Twitter is ringing with endorsements, but I don’t know anyone personally that has even seen these shows. Abby and I have done our due diligence as avid TV watchers. Particularly with For All Mankind, we have bugged my dad quite a bit about checking it out, knowing it would be right up his alley. I’ve told my space-loving friend about it too, but once he heard it is on Apple TV+, he seemed to check out.

I’m not sure if it is bias against Apple and its products (he is a ride-or-die PC and Android user) or just a lack of signing up for yet another streaming service, even as a trial. There is also the hurdle of actually using the service. Without owning an Apple device, users will either watch online or through the app on one of the listed devices/TVs. More platforms are coming soon according to Apple, but it clearly is not as wide spread as streaming titans like Netflix or Hulu. Apple TV+ is just not as convenient.

A major convenience is there for anyone who has bought a new Apple product since September 10, 2019 with Apple offering a free year of Apple TV+. If you don’t buy a new Apple device, the low entry fee of $5 a month is enticing when compared to the $15 or so for Netflix. This is certainly working too with reports of a 33.6 million customer base in the US during Q4 2019. That is over half of Netflix’s 61.3 million reported in that same quarter.

Maybe the odds are not in my favor and I just do not have personal friends within that 33.6 million. I do wonder though that if these shows were on HBO or Netflix, if I’d have an easier time getting friends to give them a shot or even sign up for a service.

As a platform (the Apple TV app) and as a service (Apple TV+), I am slightly reminded of iTunes. Before its death in late 2019, iTunes was a behemoth. It was even a huge deal when Apple brought it to Windows. The Apple TV app and its “+” service are in relative infancy if it is to grow into the platform Apple surely hopes to make it.

The streaming wars are full-steam ahead. While Apple has had a strong start, I wonder if they can keep their user base going after these free trials expire. I wonder if the quality of the content will continue to surpass my expectations (or just be consistent with the bar they’ve set so far, that’d be great too). I wonder what the introduction of even more services will do. I am excited to keep on watching though: Both the shows and the service as they develop.

Apple’s Ad-entity – Go Left Gaming

Apple’s Ad-entity – Go Left Gaming:

This was the first article I wrote about Apple. I’d like to do more writing about Apple outside of Twitter, so I figured I would repost it here.

Almost 10 years later, the entire landscape of the company has changed. The iPhone was only one year old at the time of the “New Soul” ad. At the beginning of 2017, the iPhone made up 69.5% of Apple’s revenue and having sold 1.2 billion units in its lifetime. The iPad wouldn’t be out for another two years. Needless to say, the face of Apple has changed over the last decade: and lately, I’ve begun to notice a shift.

It is funny to see most of Apple’s official videos that I linked to in the original post be removed from their YouTube page. I’m curious if they can be found on their official press site or if Apple actively wipes old product ads away from their media facing history.

Apple’s Ad-entity

I was recently remenicing my eariler days with Apple. I just upgraded to a 2017 MacBook Pro and this new laptop signaled the final days of my first personal computer. My little 11″ MacBook Air had entered retirement after 4 short human years and (what feels like) 500 long computer years.

The Air line of MacBooks always struck me as significant. They are undoubtedly “Apple”—slick, modern, and suave. These little computers did quite a bit and said even more.

Which brings me to my remenicing…

Continue reading “Apple’s Ad-entity”

Guest Hosting on The Notepad Podcast

Hey guys! Just thought I’d share some pretty cool and exciting news. Yesterday I was honored to be a guest on the Notepad Podcast, hosted by Mitchell Morgan, Dominic Fleshmen, and Cory Simmer.

The Notepad

Episode 13 features all of us discussing our E3 and WWDC predictions for next week. The episode is just over an hour long. Go give it a listen! It is available on iTunes here or over on Lybsin here. After listening to that, check out previous episodes. The guys have done a really outstanding job. If you like tech, nerd culture, gaming, and some classic humor this podcast is just for you! Hope you enjoy it!