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Saturday, February 10, 2018

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for Thursday 2-8-2018

Apple says a failed component on the logic board of some iPhone 7 devices caused a 'No Service' problem even when cell service was available
iPhone users suffering from a curious "Airplane Mode" glitch that surfaced more than a year ago received a measure of vindication on Friday after Apple acknowledged the problem and to repair the problem for free.
In addition to offering free repairs for iPhone 7s with the Airplane Mode problem, Apple said on Friday that it will reimburse any iPhone 7 owner who already paid to have this problem fixed.
Apple's making more money off the iPhone — even as it sold fewer of them
That's because even though it sold fewer phones, it made a lot more money off them.

Boosted by sales of the company's new flagship, the iPhone X, which starts at $1,000, the average price consumers paid for Apple's smartphones jumped through the roof.
A four-sentence HomePod review (with appendices)
Apple’s HomePod is easily the best sounding mainstream smart speaker ever.
There’s a reason my review is only four sentences: if you don’t like Apple Music, don’t buy a HomePod.
But if you’re an Apple Music subscriber, do buy a HomePod and don’t even consider buying anything else.
Should I buy an Apple HomePod?
Excellent chart to help you decide.
Apple’s HomePod speakers will be the best-sounding ones you’ve ever owned
Comparing the HomePod to my Sonos Play One and my Amazon Echo — what hit me was that once you hear the HomePod, it is hard to unhear it. Once you listen to it and experience it for yourself, there is no going back. My Sonos, as great as it sounds, and my Echos just didn’t sound the same after listening to the same songs on the HomePod. You can’t unhear the quality of the HomePod, and it will change your opinion of many others speakers you may own. There was no going back.
Apple’s engineers designed HomePod to sound the best no matter where you are in the room.  I tried to prove them wrong, and failed.  HomePod truly did sound great from any place in the room.

The other thing that really impressed me about HomePod was how great it sounded at nearly every volume level. If you have any experience with speakers, you know that there is also a sweet spot for volume.
Overall, what stood out to me in my experience was the deeper you are in Apple’s ecosystem, the more value you will find from HomePod.
s HomePod worth the premium over a product like the Sonos One, which is $199 and has Amazon’s Alexa? I’d say absolutely, if you truly care and are picky about sound quality and/or you are deeply embedded in Apple’s ecosystem.
Apple finally lists all the ways you can play audio on HomePod, and Bluetooth isn’t one
Onboard Bluetooth 5.0 can't be used to stream audio
The HomePod is not going to be appealing to many people who aren’t all-in on Apple’s hardware and services ecosystem.
Apple HomePod Review
The HomePod sounds incredible — it sounds far better than any other speaker in its price range — it also demands that you live entirely inside Apple’s ecosystem in a way that even Apple’s other products do not.
You need to place the HomePod on a hard, flat surface: most of its speakers fire down, and it sounds pretty bad if you set it on something uneven or soft. But most of the time, it sounds excellent.
The HomePod isn’t just one speaker, it’s actually eight of them, all controlled by Apple’s own A8 processor and tons of custom software. There are seven tweeters that fire down and out from the bottom, and a single four-inch woofer pointing out of the top for low frequencies. There is also a total of seven microphones: six around the middle for Siri, and a seventh inside that measures the location of that woofer so Apple can precisely control the bass.

What’s important to understand is that all of these speakers and software aren’t trying to add anything to music. Apple’s goal is to eliminate unwanted extra sounds you might get from reflections in the room the HomePod is sitting in. It’s then trying to tune to the speaker to sound as neutral as possible in that room, and this process is very, very involved.
… it’s just trying to get as much from the audio you’re playing as possible, while eliminating the effects of the room you’re in.
HomePod sounds noticeably richer and fuller than almost every other speaker we’ve tested. You get a surprisingly impressive amount of bass out of it, but you can still hear all of the details in the midrange and the bass never overwhelms the music.
However, Siri has some catching up to do before it will be as good as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
The Bose Wave Radio was the original HomePod
The HomePod is basically a Bose Wave Radio for our times.
Apple often describes its products as “magical” or a “breakthrough.” But sometimes, they’re just old ideas wrapped in nicer marketing.
Friends discover they can BOTH unlock the same iPhone X using Face ID, beating Apple's million-to-one odds
Joe Clayton, 23, was shocked when best pal Brad Butcher, 22, unlocked Apple's most expensive phone just by looking at it.
The new iMac Pro is actually cheaper than the original Mac
First, let's do the basic math. The original Mac was priced at $2,495 in 1984 dollars. Thirty four years later, that would be $5,919 in present day dollars, accounting for inflation.

The current-day iMac Pro starts at $4,999.
First 18-Core iMac benchmarks showcase obvious multi-core benefits
For apps like Final Cut Pro X and ScreenFlow 7, the multi-core performance shines.
The 10-core iMac Pro is the best bang for the buck as far as performance goes.
Comparing the 18-core iMac Pro to the 10-core model
Geekbench tests show the 18-core machine score 48,831 on the multi-core and 5,322 on the single core.

Comparatively, the 10-core at 31,361 and 5,084 respectively.
We will continue to update this post as more reviews come out.
Apple iMac Pro 18-Core Vs. 8-Core and 10-Core: Which Is the Best Configuration for Video Editing?
A comparison video that puts the iMac Pro 18-core ($13,199) up against a 10-core ($9,599) and the base configuration 8-core ($4,999) variation to see how they handle under some 3D rendering and 4K video work.
Opinion: Apple’s Product Line is Complex. And it’s Perfect
All models of iMac Pro shipping to customers, 14-core models now arriving
What I Learned from Watching My iPad’s Slow Death
My old iPad just turned five, and it’s starting to die.
Fifteen years ago, before I would replace a desktop computer or a laptop, it would have quite conspicuously broken down, its fans getting louder, its spinning hard drive grinding to a halt. When I would replace it with something newer or faster or more capable, it would enter a promising second life: it could be repurposed as a spare, a computer for a friend, a terminal for playing old games or for doing undistracted work. It could be given to someone who could make use of it.
Today, my old iPad just turned five, and it’s starting to die.
What I find most frustrating of all is the gradual disappearance of all options other than buying a new iPad. I understand the reasons for this. I understand the concept of “planned obsolescence” less as a conspiracy than as the unfortunate but universal prerogative of dominant, profit-driven companies that make their money from selling hardware.
How to use an iPad
We explain how to use an iPad, in our comprehensive guide to the basics of iPad ownership
5 Reasons to Wait for iPad Pro 2018 & 2 Reasons Not To
Wait if You Want the Best Software Support
Wait If You Want Even Better Performance
Wait for Face ID
Wait for Better iPad Pro Deals
Don't Wait for an OLED Display
What’s Wrong With The Apple iPhone X? Steve Wozniak Explains
Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak was very outspoken about the iPhone X from the beginning: he didn't like it that much. It's a great phone, sure — but how much greater than Apple's other iPhone models from last year, and the year before that?

While Wozniak's observations were debatable, he actually had a point. Smartphone design and innovation has come to a standstill not because companies have run out of ideas but that there's simply not that much room for improvement left.
He also says that using the iPhone X is too complicated.
Best virtual machine software for Mac
Our expert buying guide rounds up the best virtualisation and virtual machine software packages to help you run Windows apps and games on your Mac
Apple's solution to the Windows-compatibility conundrum is called Boot Camp.
Boot Camp will allow you to run Windows and Windows apps at full speed, using all the processor power and memory that are built into your Mac. That's the best solution for running games or professional graphics apps that need a lot of power.
The disadvantage of Boot Camp is that you lose access to the Mac side of things while Windows is running.
But there's another option available, called 'virtualisation', that allows you to run Windows, and Windows apps, from right within the macOS itself. In effect, this means that you're running both operating systems at the same time, and can run your Windows apps on the Mac desktop right alongside all your normal Mac apps.

Programs such as Parallels Desktop, VMWare Fusion, and VirtualBox allow you to create a 'virtual machine' (VM), that runs on your Mac just like any other Mac app.
However, virtualisation does have some drawbacks.

Your virtual machine is running a full version of the Windows operating system on top of the main macOS on your Mac, so your Mac is going to need plenty of memory and processor power in order to provide decent performance for the virtual machine. 
Even then, your virtual machine won't be as fast as an actual physical PC.
After the general discussion, this article goes into details for five options to choose from.
The iPad Lost Years for Apple's Media Partners
Eight years ago, Steve Jobs was a true believer that the iPad would be an amazing opportunity for books, newspapers and magazines to reimagine their products, capture readers and patch up their ailing business models.
To book publishers, the iBooks store was his pitch to companies eager for an alternative to Amazon, which then (and now) was a powerful gatekeeper for both print and electronic titles.

The missed opportunity was for Apple's business partners, particularly newspaper and magazine companies, which Apple persuaded to turn themselves inside out to take advantage of the iPad. It turned out that Apple was leading those partners to a dead end.
Open Source Software Turns 20-Something
No single event takes the prize for starting the technology revolution. However, Feb. 3, 1998, is one of the more significant dates.

On that day, Christine Peterson, a futurist and lecturer in the field of nanotechnology, coined the "open source" term at a strategy session in Palo Alto, California, shortly after the release of the Netscape browser source code.
Later that month, Eric Raymond and Bruce Perens formed the Open Source Initiative.
Today, free open source software (FOSS) is almost everywhere. The GNU/Linux operating system (or a variant) powers all supercomputers.
Many people have forgotten or do not realize that 20 years ago the software industry was a world of walled gardens, remarked Owen Garrett, head of product at Nginx. You picked your allegiance -- Sun, IBM, SCO, HP, Windows. That choice defined the tools you used and even the types of applications you built.

"Twenty years ago, it was unthinkable that an enterprise organization would build business-critical services on anything other than a commercial, closed-source Unix vendor's platform," Garrett told LinuxInsider. "Twenty years forward, the complete opposite is the case."
Private texts show FBI agents thought Tim Cook was a 'hypocrite' in the San Bernardino iPhone encryption fight
In February 2016, as Apple and the FBI were quietly sparring over how to unlock an iPhone owned by one of the perpetrators of the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, two FBI officials unrelated to the case back in Washington DC were privately discussing their distaste for Apple CEO Tim Cook.

"And what makes me really angry about that Apple thing? The fact that Tim Cook plays such the privacy advocate," Peter Strzok, an FBI counterintelligence agent, wrote on February 9, 2016. "Yeah, jerky, your entire OS is designed to track me without me even knowing it."

"I know. Hypocrite," Lisa Page, a lawyer for the bureau, replied minutes later. 

A week after that exchange, the strained relationship between Apple and the nation's top law enforcement agency became international news when Cook wrote an open letter explaining why Apple would not create special software to unlock the shooter's iPhone, defying a request to do so by the FBI.  The FBI eventually dropped the request because it found a third-party vendor who was able to extract data from the iPhone 5C without Apple's help.
Tackling the Internet’s Central Villain: The Advertising Business
Ads are the lifeblood of the internet, the source of funding for just about everything you read, watch and hear online. The digital ad business is in many ways a miracle machine — it corrals and transforms latent attention into real money that pays for many truly useful inventions, from search to instant translation to video hosting to global mapping.

But the online ad machine is also a vast, opaque and dizzyingly complex contraption with underappreciated capacity for misuse — one that collects and constantly profiles data about our behavior, creates incentives to monetize our most private desires and frequently unleashes loopholes that the shadiest of people are only too happy to exploit.

And for all its power, the digital ad business has long been under-regulated and under-policed, both by the companies that run it and by the world’s governments.
In 2015, Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, warned about the dangers of the online ad business, especially its inherent threat to privacy.
Twitter Followers Vanish Amid Inquiries Into Fake Accounts
Numerous websites sell fake followers or engagement on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram and other social media platforms.
A company called Devumi promises customers “100 Percent Active, English Followers,” but virtually all of the followers and retweets the company provides are fake, The Times found. Twitter prohibits buying followers of any kind.
More than a million followers have disappeared from the accounts of dozens of prominent Twitter users in recent days as the company faces growing criticism over the proliferation of fake accounts and scrutiny from federal and state inquiries into the shadowy firms that sell fake followers.

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