Inside Apple - August 23rd, 2019

Inside Apple (Aug 23rd, 2019)

Apple Card has highest interchange fee / #FollowFriday: @kthomas901 / Apple Music gets first daily playlist

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$AAPL (11:48 AM EDT August 23): $204.33 (-3.83%) // More info

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Inside Apple readers had strong reactions to yesterday’s question about “green bubble people in Messages. “The green bubble drives me insane,” Auxbox wrote. “It’s so insecure!”

Paul L. didn’t think Android users’ privacy choices are any of our business: “I can’t think of any sensible reason why someone should get upset about the color of their message bubbles,” he wrote.

Others pointed to specific features they’re sometimes unable to use because friends or relatives aren’t on iOS. “[W]hen I want to share photos with my Apple kin and my step-nephew, I can’t use Apple’s sharing system, so have to use the least common denominator, which is usually Google photos or (shudder) FB,” Arthur J. wrote.

It’s too bad competition between iOS and Android drags the experience of both platforms down, rather than driving each to be better! Here’s hoping cross-platform communication gets better over time.

— Jon

1. As iPhone season looms, the average time people are keeping their phones has lengthened to 33 months. The average iPhone has been active for 18 months, longer than Samsung phones, which average 16.5 months. Despite keen interest in 5G — which is a 2020 thing for iPhone customers — phone price seems to be a big barrier to upgrading. Just 7 percent of those surveyed plan to spend over $1,000 on their next phone. Perhaps that’s why the iPhone XR is doing so well. — STRATEGY ANALYTICS

2. Apple Card is a “World Elite” Mastercard, which carries a 3.25-percent plus 10 cents interchange fee for all merchants. That’s the highest fee on the market — something to keep in mind when using Apple Card at small businesses. Apple Card is now available in the U.S., and Apple is flogging it hard. Rather than this actually interesting “World Elite” story, everyone’s obsessed with this support document warning people that leather and denim could tarnish the card’s pristine appearance. Will this meme turn out to be a silly overreaction or a hilarious Apple design failure? Time will tell. — @JGORDONSHARE

3. #FollowFriday: @kthomas901

Kaya Thomas is an Oakland, California-based iOS developer on popular meditation app Calm (Disclosure: Inside CEO Jason Calacanis is an investor in Calm, which I did not know when I followed Kaya Thomas on Twitter. — Jon). Before Calm, Thomas worked at Slack — like, at the actual company that makes Slack, not the way we all go to work on Slack now. Thomas is also a speaker and writer exploring technical topics as well as life in the tech industry.

Kaya earned a spot on the @insideAAPL Top 100 this week for a refreshing tweet about SwiftUI. As people get their hands dirty with the next-generation UI frameworks Apple announced in June, there’s been a steady increase in griping about its difficulties and shortcomings. Thomas isn’t having it. Though she acknowledges the frustrations, she says playing with SwiftUI “has given me a lot fo joy & reminds me of the excitement I had when I first started doing iOS programming 5 (!) years ago.”

4. Apple’s new WebKit tracking prevention policy scores high marks from privacy advocates at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. While WebKit already offered various privacy protection features, the new policy adds clear — and strict — definitions of who is considered a tracker and what behavior indicates tracking of a user’s web browsing activity. Apple’s strongest stance in the policy is treating attempts to circumvent tracking to be just as bad as tracking itself, with the same consequences. — ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION

5. Apple has lost its bid to dismiss a lawsuit by a former employee who was not included on patents for services he helped invent, powering apps like Find My iPhone and Passbook. Darren Eastman was personally hired by Steve Jobs in 2006 and worked at Apple for over 10 years. He is credited on one Apple patent, but he claims Apple left him off the list of inventors for five other patents. The dispute boiled over in 2014, when Apple fired Eastman for what it called unprofessional and inappropriate communication, which he says was an attempt to get a manager to fix a bug in a core Mac application before it shipped to the public. Eastman is also suing Apple for unlawful termination, but that case is on hold until the patent dispute is resolved. — THE REGISTER

6. Apple is developing rooftop solar power arrays on a 50,000-square-meter facility for a Taiwanese soy sauce company. Apple reached a landmark of powering all of its facilities worldwide with 100-percent clean energy in 2018, and this year it said 44 suppliers have committed to manufacturing products for Apple with 100-percent clean energy as well. Apple has developed some expertise in this area that it can now sell to other companies. — BLOOMBERG

7. Apple Music has launched “New Music Daily,” its first playlist that editors will update every day. The playlist focuses on popular new releases. It replaces “Best of the Week,” which was updated every Friday. — 9TO5MAC

8. Apple is rolling out redesigned web services for people using the beta OSes. Aside from a visual refresh that better matches the native apps, the big benefits are for iPhone users; Photos and Notes now work in the browser on iPhone. — MACSTORIES

9. An Apple patent application published yesterday describes a full-fledged head-mounted mixed reality display, more robust than a pair of glasses. The artwork shows a big visor that can be used for immersive VR as well as a mixed augmented reality interface. — PATENTLY APPLE

10. Tim Cook tweeted about the loss of his friend Giovanni Buttarelli, one of the creators of Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), one of the world’s most strict digital privacy laws. Cook said Buttarelli “advanced the cause of privacy in Europe and around the world.” — @TIM_COOK

Jon Mitchell has been a tech journalist since 2010. He covered Apple, Google, and the societal effects of social media for the storied blog ReadWriteWeb (now ReadWrite). He co-hosts Internet Friends, a podcast about life online with occasional lengthy digressions into Apple news. He’s the author of In Real Life: Searching for Connection in High-Tech Times from Parallax Press. He has recently, reticently returned to Twitter at @ablaze.

Editor: Bobby Cherry (senior editor at Inside, who’s always on social media).

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