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The Talk Show with Apple’s Lisa Jackson

Special guest Lisa Jackson — Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives — joins the show for an Earth Day discussion of the state of Apple’s environmental efforts: climate change, renewable energy, responsible packaging, and Apple’s new goal to create a “closed-loop supply chain”, wherein the company’s products would be manufactured entirely from recycled materials.

I enjoyed John Gruber's interview with Apple's Lisa Jackson on the company's approach to various environmental initiatives. It's a fascinating, eye-opening discussion. Take an hour of your time to listen to it. It's obvious that some incredibly smart and talented people are working on these issues at Apple.

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Live Photos Can Now Be Embedded on the Web

Apple's developer site details a new API that makes it possible to embed Live Photos on the web:

This new JavaScript-based API makes it easy to embed Live Photos on your websites. In addition to enabling Live Photos on iOS and macOS, you can now let users display their Live Photos on the web.

Live Photos were first introduced in September 2015 alongside the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. Since then, their adoption across major social media platforms and other parts of the web has been slow.

Today's news is welcome, as it will hopefully help expand the reach of Live Photos beyond the sandbox of photo apps on iOS.

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Apple Sets Goal of Making Products Without Mining the Earth

Arielle Duhaime-Ross writes for VICE News about an ambitious new goal for Apple:

Apple has one of the most aggressive sustainability and recycling programs in tech, but it still pulls plenty of metals and toxic rare-earth materials out of the ground to make iPhones, iPads, Macbooks and other products.

That’s about to change. The company is set to announce a new, unprecedented goal for the tech industry, “to stop mining the earth altogether.”

The announcement, part of Apple’s 2017 Environment Responsibility Report released Wednesday, will commit the company to making devices entirely from recycled materials such as aluminum, copper, tin, and tungsten. But there’s one hiccup: Apple doesn’t know exactly how it’s going to make that happen.

Setting ambitious goals seems to be part of Apple's culture, but speaking about such goals publicly before the team has reached them – or before they even know how to reach them – is very different from the company's norm.

VICE's photo of AirPods and Apple Watch cases in artificial sweat.

VICE's photo of AirPods and Apple Watch cases in artificial sweat.

Aside from this announcement, the piece also features interesting details about some of Apple's other environmental efforts. One of the stranger tidbits is that Apple soaks certain products in synthetic human sweat to test their durability over time – a fact also highlighted in the company's new environmental videos.

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Apple Improves Maps in Europe with EV Charging and Bicycle Rental Data

Nate Lanxon reports for Bloomberg on some welcome updates to Apple Maps in Europe:

Apple Inc. is expanding the capabilities of its Maps app in Europe to help users charge their electric vehicles or find bike rental hubs.

The company has added the locations of the U.K.’s electric vehicle charging stations by incorporating data from Munich-based Cirrantic’s Moovility service, which lists re-juicing points for cars made by Tesla and Nissan, among others.

It has also added public bicycle rental and drop-off points to maps of London, New York and Paris in a catch-up to long-time mobile navigation leader Google, which has listed such stations in multiple countries for some time.

Last December Apple added ChargePoint integration to Maps to help users in the U.S. find electric vehicle chargers, so it's nice to see something similar come to Europe.

The bicycle rental information is also welcome as Apple Maps continues branching out from simply providing directions to now being a central hub for various modes of transportation, such as ride sharing and now bicycling.

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Connected, Episode 138: Modern Day Moses

Myke is back. Gurman is back. iPhone rumors and iPad wish lists are back.

On this week's episode of Connected, we covered the latest "iPhone 8" rumors and started discussing what we would like to see in the next generation of iPad software and hardware. You can listen here.

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iWork, GarageBand, and iMovie Apps Now Free for All Users

Juli Clover of MacRumors reports on an update to the pricing of several Apple apps:

iMovie, Numbers, Keynote, Pages, and GarageBand for both Mac and iOS devices have been updated and are now listed in the App Store for free.

Previously, all of these apps were provided for free to customers who purchased a new Mac or iOS device, but now that purchase is not required to get the software. Many Apple customers were already likely eligible to download the software at no cost if they had made a device purchase in the last few years.

All of these apps have been available free to anyone purchasing a new iOS device since September 2013 – or 2014 in GarageBand's case – so today's updated pricing should come as no surprise. Likely the majority of devices in the world today that are modern enough to run the latest versions of these apps will have already enjoyed the privilege of free downloads. Today's change will be a welcome one to everyone with an older device though.

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How One Rising Musician Works from an iPhone

David Pierce has a fascinating piece for WIRED on a hip-hop producer and artist, Steve Lacy, who makes music start to finish on his iPhone.

Lacy’s smartphone has been his personal studio since he first started making music. Even now, with all the equipment and access he could want, he still feels indelibly connected to something about making songs piece by piece on his phone. He’s also working this way to prove a point: that tools don’t really matter...If you want to make something, Lacy tells me, grab whatever you have and just make it.

Pierce describes a recording session he observed where Lacy used GarageBand, an iRig, and the iPhone's built-in microphone to create music.

He paged through the drum presets in GarageBand for a while before picking a messy-sounding kit. With two thumbs, he tapped out a simple beat, maybe 30 seconds long. Then he went back to the Rickenbacker. He played a riff he’d stumbled on while tuning, recording it on a separate GarageBand track over top of the drums. Without even playing it back, Lacy then reached down and deleted it. It took three taps: stop, delete, back to the beginning. He played the riff again, subtly differently. Deleted it again. For the next half hour, that’s all Lacy did: play, tap-tap-tap, play again. He experimented wildly for a while, then settled on a loose structure and began subtly tweaking it. Eventually satisfied with that bit, he plugged in his Fender bass and starts improvising a bassline. A few hours later, he began laying vocals, a breathy, wordless melody he sang directly into the iPhone’s microphone. He didn’t know quite what he was making, but he was feeling it.

Lacy's recording method is clearly an atypical one in the music industry, but it serves as a great testament to the power of iOS and the iPhone.

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