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Steven Levy On The New MacBook Pro And The ‘Thought On Dongles’ →

NOVEMBER 22, 2016

Steven Levy got a chance to talk to Phil Schiller about the new MacBook Pro:

For a number of years, Schiller says, engineers at Apple have been figuring out how to colonize that function row territory with touch technology. It was a way to make Mac a touch experience without toppling the Grand Unified Theory. “This notebook design has been with us for 25 years and that fills a need for many people,” he says. “Having an interactive place where your hands are down on the keyboard is celebrating what makes a notebook a great notebook.”

I read many other reviews already before Levy’s, and people have different take on the Touch Bar. But most of the reviews I read, there was one issue where all people seem to agree on, and that is: dongles suck. Here’s one straightforward complaint from Wired’s David Pierce:

But the ports. Apple. WTF? I can conclusively say The Dongle Life sucks. It’s great that my laptop is smaller and lighter, but hunting through my bag for the tiny adapter to plug in my hard drive, which is different from the one I need for my monitor, which won’t work to plug in my phone, is infuriating exercise. Lots of people don’t connect things to their laptops, but those people aren’t the people who need a MacBook Pro. Pro users need RAID arrays, and second displays, and Ethernet connections.

I think you can’t blame Pro users’ complaint about this. They clearly have a point. Pierce explained it well there. Apple though, not being insensitive to the issue, recently cuts USB-C adapter prices on its stores. Not to mention one of Apple’s mantra: “We always want to make our users happy.

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Tesla Autopilot v8: Human Collision Test →

NOVEMBER 16, 2016

Electrek:

Back in September, Tesla pushed the v8.0 software update to its fleet of vehicles and it enabled some significant updates to the vehicles equipped with Autopilot hardware. A series of new tests show that the pedestrian detection under v8.0 is significantly better and now Tesla even renders humans in front of the car on the instrument cluster.

The video above was a work collaboration between KmanAuto and Mike Anthony. This test was their second attempt with the same Model S vehicle equipped with first generation1 Autopilot hardware (but now on v8 firmware). You can watch their previous test conducted last June here. Both tests were nerve-wracking (something I don’t recommend doing of course). But all in all, this recent one was impressive.

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Video: Jony Ive on ‘Designed by Apple in California’ Photo Book →

NOVEMBER 15, 2016

Benjamin Mayo at 9to5Mac:

In an exclusive interview with a Japanese design website, Jony Ive discusses the motivation behind making the book. He says the book highlights how ideas are unpredictable and the photos captures points in time of “incredible transitions and shocking change”. Ive says that designers live in the future and they are so consumed with what we haven’t done yet, the book is a rare celebration of past work.

Apple says that the book was 8 years in the making, that means Jobs was still around during the inception and the earlier years of the project.

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Apple Releases ‘Designed by Apple in California’, a Book About Apple Product Design, Dedicated to Steve Jobs →

NOVEMBER 15, 2016

designed-by-apple-in-california-3Apple Newsroom:

Apple today announced the release of a new hardbound book chronicling 20 years of Apple’s design, expressed through 450 photographs of past and current Apple products. “Designed by Apple in California,” which covers products from 1998’s iMac to 2015’s Apple Pencil, also documents the materials and techniques used by Apple’s design team over two decades of innovation.

The book is dedicated to the memory of Steve Jobs.

[…]

In the book’s foreword, Ive explains:

While this is a design book, it is not about the design team, the creative process or product development. It is an objective representation of our work that, ironically, describes who we are. It describes how we work, our values, our preoccupations and our goals. We have always hoped to be defined by what we do rather than by what we say.

We strive, with varying degrees of success, to define objects that appear effortless. Objects that appear so simple, coherent and inevitable that there could be no rational alternative.

The book comes in two sizes, $199 (small) and $299 (large). It will be available beginning tomorrow, November 16, exclusively from Apple.com in Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, the UK and the US, and select Apple Stores.

In case you find the book too pricey for you, no worries, it will be on display at the Apple Stores where it is sold.

I want one definitely.1

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Tim Cook’s Letter to Apple Employees after the U.S. Presidential Election →

NOVEMBER 10, 2016

In a copy of the memo, obtained by BuzzFeed, Cook sent out the email below to all Apple employees last night:

Team,

I’ve heard from many of you today about the presidential election. In a political contest where the candidates were so different and each received a similar number of popular votes, it’s inevitable that the aftermath leaves many of you with strong feelings.

We have a very diverse team of employees, including supporters of each of the candidates. Regardless of which candidate each of us supported as individuals, the only way to move forward is to move forward together. I recall something Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said 50 years ago: “If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” This advice is timeless, and a reminder that we only do great work and improve the world by moving forward.

While there is discussion today about uncertainties ahead, you can be confident that Apple’s North Star hasn’t changed. Our products connect people everywhere, and they provide the tools for our customers to do great things to improve their lives and the world at large. Our company is open to all, and we celebrate the diversity of our team here in the United States and around the world — regardless of what they look like, where they come from, how they worship or who they love.

I’ve always looked at Apple as one big family and I encourage you to reach out to your co-workers if they are feeling anxious.

Let’s move forward — together!

Best,

Tim

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Tesla: The Future We Want →

NOVEMBER 6, 2016

teslasolar

Last week, Tesla unveiled two new products: solar roof and Powerwall 2. ElectrekCo’s Fred Lambert had a closer look:

On solar roof:

The company surprised everyone with not only one solar roof, but several new solar roof options, including designs that look like Textured Glass Tile, Slate Glass Tile, Tuscan Glass Tile, and Smooth Glass Tile.

Tesla’s description about the solar roof system:

“The solar roof consists of uniquely designed glass tiles that complement the aesthetics of any home, embedded with the highest efficiency photovoltaic cells. It is infinitely customizable for a variety of different home styles, each uniquely engineered so that the photovoltaic cells are invisible. Customers can choose which sections of their roof will contain the hidden solar technology while still having the entire roof look the same. These new roofs will seamlessly and beautifully supply renewable energy to homes, battery storage systems and back into the grid creating savings for owners. When combined with Tesla Powerwall, the solar roof can power an entire home with 100% renewable energy. “

On Powerwall 2:

The Powerwall 2.0 also got a significant update with now twice the energy capacity:14 kWh. It got a little more expensive though at $5,500, but that’s nothing when you consider that the inverter is integrated. That’s right. A 14 kWh battery pack with an integrated inverter for $5,500.

If you’re not familiar on what a Powerwall is, here’s Tesla’s definition:

Powerwall 2 is a battery for homes and small businesses that stores the sun’s energy and delivers clean, reliable electricity when the sun isn’t shining.

I suggest to check also Fred Lambert’s detailed look at each solar roof option here. And If you want to watch Tesla’s product launch video, click here.

The issues and statistics on climate change are terrifying. It’s getting worse faster than our scientists had predicted. Kudos to Tesla’s mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.

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macOS Sierra 10.12.1 Confirmed the New MacBook Pro with Magic Toolbar →

OCTOBER 26, 2016

Following the news leak and the path where the images of the redesigned MacBook Pro are hiding, here’s one of the photos downloaded from my Mac’s file system running 10.12.1:

 

ApplePaySplashSA@2x.png

So it’s confirmed. We should see this on tomorrow’s Mac event.

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iPod’s 15th Birthday →

OCTOBER 26, 2016

ipod_first_gen-0Three days ago, the iPod turned 15. Chaim Gartenberg of The Verge looked back at some highlights in the history of the iconic MP3 player:

Fifteen years ago today, on October 23rd, 2001, Steve Jobs stood up on stage and announced the original iPod. Since that day, the iPod has changed the way people buy and listen to music, sold millions of devices, and laid the foundation for the powerhouses that Apple has had with the iPhone and iPad.

And while the classic iPod design was finally retired two years ago, and the remaining members of the iPod line are less important to Apple’s strategy today than they were years ago, it’s still an integral part of history, both for the company and the larger tech industry.

Mine is a black iPod nano 5th generation. Although it’s now kept inside my cabinet, I have to admit, I’m still thrilled whenever I touch and play music with it. And yes, I still check and use it once in a while. With care.

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Tesla’s New Product: Full Self-Driving Hardware →

OCTOBER 20, 2016

After moving the event’s schedule, Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk finally unveiled yesterday the company’s mystery announcement:

We are excited to announce that, as of today, all Tesla vehicles produced in our factory – including Model 3 – will have the hardware needed for full self-driving capability at a safety level substantially greater than that of a human driver. Eight surround cameras provide 360 degree visibility around the car at up to 250 meters of range. Twelve updated ultrasonic sensors complement this vision, allowing for detection of both hard and soft objects at nearly twice the distance of the prior system. A forward-facing radar with enhanced processing provides additional data about the world on a redundant wavelength, capable of seeing through heavy rain, fog, dust and even the car ahead.

Later evening after the event, Musk tweeted:

Then:

Here’s the video:

Holy crap.

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Tesla Joins Top 100 List of Best Global Brands →

OCTOBER 13, 2016

Dale Buss writing for Forbes:

“Tesla has proven that you can break in to build a car brand from scratch — no one has done that” in the modern era, Daniel Binns, a managing director of Interbrand and an automotive-sector expert, told me. “Only niche brands have been able to do that because it’s a hard industry to break into. No major outside force has been able to do it the way Tesla has. Some others are threatening, such as Google and Apple.”

I recently wrote some ‘unfavorable’ thoughts on Tesla. You can read it here.

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