Wednesday Morning News

Remember the Samsung vs Apple court case that raged on for weeks and months, years ago? The legal battle, which started over five years ago, has finally had some “results”, if you can call them that: Ars Technica says that one month from now, Samsung will be banned from selling certain smartphones in the US for infringing on Apple’s patents. But here’s the thing: the newest device involved in the case is now so old it’s irrelevant and already no longer sold, meaning the actual impact from thousands of man hours is a more of a moral victory, rather than anything else. Feel free to draw your own conclusions about the patent and legal system.

Apple’s diversity report for 2015 tells us how many non-male, non-white people they’ve hired in the last twelve months. Their mini-site publishes the numbers by gender and race, breaking down the numbers depending on position held within Apple.

Apple has also published a list of Apple TV content providers, which mostly serves as an easy reference for technical supporting if stuff doesn’t work the way you think it should. Some content providers are available outside of the US, but there are plenty that aren’t, too, suggesting there’s still work to be done to make content available worldwide.

Apple has released iOS 9.2.1, a bug fix and security update that mostly focuses on under-the-hood changes. Along the same lines, Apple has also released OS X El Capitan 10.11.3, which is a similar bug fix and security update release. Both are available via the respective update mechanisms for iOS and OS X.

9to5Mac reports one of Apple’s battery suppliers uses child labour to mine cobalt, with the process going through multiple manufacturers before reaching an Apple (or Samsung, or Microsoft) device. Apple says they’re investigating the allegations, reiterating that they have a zero-tolerance policy for child labour.

Over at MacStories, Fraser Speirs tells us about the education improvements in iOS 9.3 and the potential real-world ramifications the changes are likely to have. Speirs’ reasoning for why these features are being released now instead of with iOS 10 later this year is also pretty compelling, saying it’s possible Apple are feeling pressure from cheaper Chromebooks in the education space.

Speaking of iOS 10, Ars Technica knows what they want for the next version of one of the world’s most popular mobile platforms. IOS 9 may have started the multi-tasking revolution by introducing desktop-like features to the touchscreen tablets and phones, but it’s entirely likely iOS 10 will build on those foundations, making the iPad more like a Mac, without making it less like an iPad.

For everyone that’s loving their iPad Pro, there’s someone else who’s equally enamoured with their Mac. Jim Dalrymple prefers his MacBook above all others, although he admits it may not be for everyone.

Stephen Hackett writes about the history of the iPad nano, putting together a collection of images and summaries of the nano generations so far. Of all the iPod nanos, I think I like widescreen square versions the best.

Yesterday marked the 30th birthday of the Mac Plus, and Apple employee number eight tells the story of the first Mac Plus that was ever sold.

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I like gen 4 the best. I never did buy one though.

I liked the 5th gen. I still have my green one.

Yeah, I never owned an iPod fatty either. The only one our family had was a second-gen, bought for my mother one time.

I think we’ve still got it, somewhere…

I’ve only had the 2nd gen iPod Nanos, which I still have (plugged in permanently in our cars), and the iPod Touch (as a decoy for the kids).

I think that Jim Dalrymple has maybe drunk a little much of the coolaid.

I accept that a low powered device is all most people need and it’s sexy and light and beautiful. The new keyboard is a personal preference, battery life is probably long enough for most people too (although I’m sure it comes waaaay down if you stress the device at all).

But Jim hints at it here:

I no longer needed to plug in my iPhone “AS MUCH”… so you still do? And you carry a wall charger instead? Or have one on your desk? Even then is it because you don’t have a port available on your laptop??

He talks about how he used to carry a bag full of stuff, the MacBook doesn’t do any of the things he was talking about, it’s his requirements which have evolved ti include no memory card or memory stick either… although I note these are now a thing:

Speaking of extra things, even if you choose to use wireless external preipherals you need to make sure they are charged or take a spare charger for those too (although now that they all charge via lightning it’s probably a little easier). It really is a shame Apple couple put a couple of USB C ports into the new Macbook.

On a side note, I’ll point out that the charger for the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 I have has a USB charger BUILT IN to the power adaptor! Such a small thing means you can get away with one less adaptor/charger in your travel bag.

Powerful? Really? Powerful enough for most needs sure… but then so is the sub $300 HP Netstream 11" I bought my daughter (which is surprisingly good for what it is, quiet with a long battery life too :P).

So yeah I get it’s not for everyone and I appreciate it’s a very impressive piece of kit, but these sort or articles seem like they are written by the marketting department… glossing over all the compromise and highlighting the new hat.

On the iPod
We had a 3rd gen Nano and since I don’t recall selling it I wonder if it’s still in a box somewhere… maybe I gave it to a family member to use in their car… For me these days it’s music from the iPhone with the iPod Classics that live in each of our cars never getting a look in… hell I don’t recall the last time I even synced the one in my car.
One day I’ll pull those out and sell them… or maybe just keep then until they are real collectors items (although they sold about a bazillion of them right?).

That is a matter of personal taste. I find the gold and space grey colours unattractive on a laptop and the ratio of palm rest to keyboard out of kilter - it’s unbalanced looking. To me it’s the ugliest laptop Apple have ever released. I am superficial when it comes to spending good money on things I have to live with for years, so it lost me on the design before I even got to considering its lack of ports or internal cooling.

I loved the 1st gen iPod nano. It was so light and thin; such an amazing product for its time. It was light enough to always jump out of my satchel when I ran for the bus, but too light to detach from my headphones and fall to the ground. Something that you could never say about the 5th gen iPod classic.

I later had the square model, which was perfect for listening to music in my workplace at the time (an immigration detention centre - security meant that you couldn’t have anything with a camera). The faux-iOS design was neat, and I liked the VoiceOver function that told you what you were listening to if you held down the headphone remote button. I really wish that had been carried over to iOS without having to get Siri involved.