iPhone 8 with Iris Scanner? →

Seeing sketchy rumors that iPhone 8 may have an iris scanner like the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. I'm still having a hard time seeing how that it better than a fingerprint scanner under the touch screen.

But to Samsung's credit, the most interesting part of having both a fingerprint scanner and an iris scanner is the software aspect — two tiers of security and authentication. Works great for parents who need to protect access to certain data while giving their kids freedom to play games.

A more Apple solution would be to simply let different fingerprints unlock different things instead.

2007: "The iPod Killer" →

Jason Kottke, just after the original iPhone was announced in January 2007:

I guess we know why iPod development has seemed a little sluggish lately. When the Zune came out two months ago, it was thought that maybe Apple was falling behind, coasting on the fumes of an aging product line, and not innovating in the portable music player space anymore. I think the iPhone puts this discussion on the back burner for now. And the Zune? The supposed iPod-killer’s bullet ricocheted off of the iPhone’s smooth buttonless interface and is heading back in the wrong direction.

Sounds just like today, critics preaching a similar narrative: "The iPhone is boring, Apple can't innovate anymore."

Apple Mini Computers →

Sam Gerstenzang talks about Apple's underrated release of mini computers, like the Pencil, AirPods, Apple Watch, and Touch Bar:

Apple is quietly getting very good at shipping very small computers that charge very rapidly, and thus can be unanchored ––unlike Google Home or Amazon Echo. Over time, as power and size requirements decrease, a direct internet connection might add value. But for now, Bluetooth allows a connection to your phone (which is still quite obviously and self-consciously a computer) and that’s enough. […]

Apple is unleashing its fourth revolution in typical Apple fashion but it is atypically quiet about it. Like with the Apple I, the Mac, and the iPhone, Apple has started with shipping a great product by creating technological innovation in service of a better product, and an entire industry learns.

Apple’s very small computers will unlock a supply chain revolution that will enable a whole wave of others to create their own very small computers, too. It won’t be called the Internet of Things. Just very small computers making very great Things.

Because Apple owns all of the important technologies in its products, Apple has a huge advantage over its competitors when it comes to the miniaturization of computers.

Apple Should Buy Netflix →

My favorite analysts are split on the idea of Apple buying Netflix. Here is one compelling case by Ben Thompson why Apple should pull the trigger:

The problem Apple has in premium video — and given that the company has been trying and failing to secure video content on its terms for years now, it definitely has a problem — is that its executives seem to have forgotten just how important the piracy leverage was to the iTunes Music Store’s success. This Wall Street Journal story from this past summer is one of many similar stories over the years detailing Apple’s take-it-or-leave-it approach to premium video content:

[Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services Eddy] Cue is also known for a hard-nosed negotiating style. One cable-industry executive sums up Mr. Cue’s strategy as saying: “We’re Apple”…TV-channel owners “kept looking at the Apple guys like: ‘Do you have any idea how this industry works?’” one former Time Warner Cable executive says…Mr. Cue has said the TV industry overly complicated talks. “Time is on my side,” he has told some media executives.

Time may be on Apple’s side, but the bigger issue for Cue and Apple is that leverage is not; that belongs to the company that is actually threatening premium content makers: Netflix. Netflix is the “piracy” of video content, but unfortunately for Apple they are a real company capable of using the leverage they have acquired.

Ben's argument is all about leverage:

[…] Apple’s desire to be “the one place to access all of your television” implies the disintermediation of Netflix to just another content provider, right alongside its rival HBO and the far more desperate networks who lack any sort of customer relationship at all. It is directly counter to the strategy that has gotten Netflix this far — owning the customer relationship by delivering a superior customer experience — and while Apple may wish to pursue the same strategy, the company has no leverage to do so. Not only is the Apple TV just another black box that connects to your TV (that is also the most expensive), it also, conveniently for Netflix, has a (relatively) open app platform: Netflix can deliver their content on their terms on Apple’s hardware, and there isn’t much Apple can do about it.

The truth is that Apple’s executives seem stuck in the iPod/iTunes era, where selling 70% of all music players led to leverage over the music labels; with streaming content is available on any device at any time, which means that selling hardware isn’t a point of leverage. If Apple wants its usual ownership of end users it needs to buy its way in, and that means buying Netflix.

Since the iPod/iTunes era, Apple has always been about hardware-software-content to out-integrate its competitors. Netflix has always become a dominant player in video streaming and with Amazon touting its own hardware and streaming video content, Apple now has serious threats to its TV ambitions with no leverage.

As Ben argues, the only way Apple can compete is to buy leverage. And that means buying Netflix.

"Apple is No Longer Innovating" →

I think this DJPlayz' opinions are superficial and short-sighted. The whole reason why he argues Apple isn't innovating is because he's focused too narrowly on the iPhone.

First thing's first: how do you define "innovation"? Is innovation about ideas that are cool and exciting? Is it about shipping to market first? Is it about one-upping the competition with better specs each year? Is it about pushing the status quo forward?

I'd argue that innovation is about completely challenging the status quo.

I personally define innovation as: altering the behavior of hundreds of millions of consumers and/or disrupting the way existing companies do business.

With that definition, I'd argue Apple is innovating. A lot. They just do it quietly, either behind-the-scenes, or in such small, incremental steps that the mainstream consumer doesn't pick up on it. Here are a bunch of examples:

  • iPhone 7 Plus dual camera — Apple's first public steps into 3D mapping for Augmented Reality and self-driving cars.
  • iOS Widgets — With iOS 10, we see Apple breaking down traditional apps into small actionable widgets to not only make interactions with the phone quicker, but make more things possible on a watch. (Yes, Android came out with "widgets" first...but Android Wear has so far failed to get mainstream traction.)
  • AirPod's new W1 chip — building on bluetooth technology for longer battery life, quicker connections, improved reliability, and adding the ability to connect one accessory (e.g. AirPods) to multiple devices at the same time.
  • AirPods + Siri — laying down the groundwork for a mobile world that doesn't require smartphones. The vision is, someday, people may walk around with a smartwatch & wireless ear buds, and only pull out their smartphones when they really need a screen.
  • iOS Health app — In Steve Jobs' final years, he realized how inefficient the health industry is, especially at moving medical records between doctors and facilities. Since he passed away, Apple has hired a team of health industry experts to standardize medical data and transform the whole process.
  • Apple Watch — Apple is adding more health sensors to eventually track body vitals 24/7, which is a lot more insightful to doctors than measuring vitals that one day of the year you go in for your check-up. Apple's under-appreciated innovation here is their wide variety of stylish watch straps. When it comes to wearing stuff on the body, real people don't care about tech specs, they care about how it compliments their personal style. It's no coincidence that Android Wear has struggled with female consumers while Fitbit and Apple Watch are succeeding.
  • A-series Computer Chips — Apple's most underrated department. Because Apple has full control its own hardware, software, and silicon — in contrast to Android vendors using the same off-the-shelf parts — Apple is in much better position to pack more power into smaller devices. There's a reason why the Apple Watch is the only full-featured smartwatch competing in the 38-millimeter class.
  • Apple Watch Edition in ceramic white — Smartphones these days are either made of glass or aluminum casing. Apple is heavily investing in ceramics and material science to make something lighter yet stronger than steel, more radio-friendly, and more luxurious. The new Apple Watch Edition is their first product to use ceramic, which they will use as a learning experience to possibly build hundreds of millions of ceramic-cased iPhones.
  • Gold, Rose Gold, Jet Black — Apple is pushing the consumer electronics industry to be more fashionable. Sounds superficial, but there was a time when automobiles all looked like horse carriages. At some point they became personal fashion statements and status symbols. Try picturing the target demographic for people who drive a BMW vs. Cadillac vs. Porsche vs. Prius. We're at that point where consumer electronics is a fashionable expression of how we see ourselves, and I'd argue it's Apple leading that trend.

All of these things are innovations Apple has currently in development. Augmented reality, self-driving cars, revamping the health industry, fashion-forward electronics, building a post-smartphone world…all of these are world-changing ideas that will change the way people live and disrupt the way companies do business.

But these things take time.

So when people say "Apple isn't innovating anymore," I'd argue they're simply focusing too closely on the wrong details, not seeing the big picture, and have the unrealistic expectation that world-changing revolutions happen every 12 months.

How iPhone 7's Dual Cameras Work →

Matthew Panzarino:

Every time you take a picture with the iPhone 7, both the wide angle and telephoto fire off. Yes, two 12 megapixel pictures for every shot. This could be a prime driver behind the increase of the iPhone 7 Plus’ memory to 3GB.

Both images are needed due to an Apple technique it is calling “fusion” internally. Fusion takes data from both sensors and merges them into the best possible picture for every condition. If, for instance, there is a low-light scene that has some dark areas, the image-processing chip could choose to pick up some image data (pixels or other stuff like luminance) from the brighter f1.8 wide angle and mix it in with the data from the f2.8 telephoto, creating a composite image on the fly without any input from the user. This fusion technique is available to every shot coming from the camera, which means that the iPhone 7 Plus is mixing and matching data every time that trigger is tapped.

This technique is made possible because the optics, coatings, sensors, perspectives and color balances of the two cameras are perfectly matched.

The fusion technique also comes in handy when using the new zoom functions of the iPhone 7 Plus.

iOS 10: The Little Things

My Favorite Details & Refinements

  • You can now delete all those useless stock apps!
  • Raise-to-wake! Simply raise up your iPhone (6S or newer) and the screen will turn on. Another one of those features that'll shave a half-second every time you pick up your phone. Really handy for playing/pausing music while driving.
  • LOVE the new keyboard sounds.
  • Super quick access to the camera! Just raise-to-wake and swipe left.
  • In the Camera app, the selfie toggle button is now conveniently located on the bottom-right (previously located on the top-right).
  • In iMessage, you can now like and add reactions ("Tapbacks") to specific messages.
  • In iMessage, invisible ink and full screen effects are so fun! Simply 3D Touch or Long Press on the Send button.
  • In iMessage, links and videos are automatically loaded with thumbnail previews. (You can add invisible ink and other effects to these too!)
  • In iMessage, you can drag stickers onto specific messages.
  • In iMessage, you can now draw on photos and screenshots. Before sending a picture, tap the thumbnail, tap Markup, doodle as much as you want, hit Save, and send.
  • In iMessage, you can enable Read Receipts for specific convos and disable them for all your side bitches.
  • In iMessage, you can turn your phone to landscape and the text field will turn into a giant sketch pad.
  • On an iMessage notification, you can now 3D Touch to peek into the entire conversation.
  • The keyboard will suggest emojis while typing.
  • If you have a Mac with macOS Sierra, iCloud Desktop actually comes in pretty handy.
  • If you activate “Hey Siri” with your voice, it will respond back to you with voice. If you activate Siri by holding the Home button, Siri will respond only on screen.
  • When you pause/play music, Album art will subtly change size.
  • If your iPhone is almost full and you try to upgrade to iOS 10, it’ll offer to temporarily delete apps, proceed with the upgrade, and then restore the apps when it's done.
  • In Apple Maps, destination suggestions will include locations previously viewed in the Yelp app.
  • Apple Maps will remember where you parked!


  • The new Raise-to-Wake and Push-Home-to-Open took a week to get used to. (To unlock without having to push the Home button: go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Home Button > Rest Finger to Open)
  • The new iMessage apps will totally overshadow the Android-style third-party keyboards.
  • The new iMessage will make you hate that one stubborn green bubble person in all your group chats.
  • If you send a Tapback or full screen effect to an iOS 9 user, they will receive plain text that says something like, "(Sent with Confetti effect)" or "Mel loved your message 'Lemme touch your butt'".
  • If you really dislike someone who has epilepsy, you can send them into a seizure by sending them the lasers full screen effect. (Full screen effects can be disabled under Settings > General > Accessibility > Reduce Motion)


  • The new Lock sound is gross. You can disable it under Settings > Sounds > Lock Sound.
  • Gestures for notifications & widgets get a little confusing because they look the same. Do you tap it, 3D Touch it, or swipe right on it?
  • Switching between a lot of iMessage apps feels a little clunky.
  • When you 3D Touch on an iMessage notification to peek into a conversation, it will mark the convo as read (i.e. send out Read Receipts).


The revamped iMessage is a HUGE part of iOS 10. And the best part of it is, everyone will use it, simply because it's there. No app installation needed. No registration required. It'll just work, even for your parents.

iOS 10 also hints at the future — Apple is slowly transitioning us away from the traditional idea of "apps".

Instead of constantly jumping around between apps, we will use extensions and widgets. We will slowly do more and more things from within notifications, iMessage, Siri, Apple Maps, etc.

By breaking traditional apps down into their simplest, smallest actions, not only will this make interactions quicker on the phone…

It will also make more things possible on a watch.

Apple Watch Edition Ceramic White

Theory: Apple Shifting to Super Durable, Elegant Zirconian Ceramics →

It's been rumored for a while that the 2017 iPhone will be an "all-glass" enclosure with AMOLED screen.

Apple just recently unveiled the new Apple Watch Edition in white ceramic:

Uniquely elegant. Brilliantly scratch-resistant. Sleek, light, and extremely durable, ceramic is more than four times as hard as stainless steel — with a pearly, lustrous finish that won’t scratch or tarnish.

The craftsmanship behind the case. The process of creating the Apple Watch Edition case begins with a high-strength zirconia powder that’s combined with alumina to achieve its rich, white color. Each case is then compression molded, sintered, and polished using a diamond slurry, which results in a remarkably smooth surface and an exquisite shine. With this precise level of workmanship, every Apple Watch Edition case takes days to make.

Active Quora user, Brian Roemmele, theorizes Apple has pushed Aluminum to its limits and is now looking to master Zirconian Ceramics at scale:

Why is Apple moving to Zirconia Ceramics?

  1. Strength
  2. Radio Transparency
  3. Heat Dissipation
  4. Scratch resistance
  5. Ease of manufacturing

With that said, here is his theory:

In September 2017, Apple will be releasing the 10th Anniversary iPhone 8. It is my view Apple will use this moment to present a completely new iPhone design that will be revolutionary in many ways. I assert the design language will be based on a more organic shape and design. There will be ergonomic curves that will mold into the new AMOLED display being driven by video chips that simply could not have thermally operated in such a small space [without] heat efficiency of Zirconia ceramics. The iPhone 8 will not just be water resistant but water proof and dust proof to a level never seen before on a smartphone. The lightning port will look more like the Mag-Safe system used on the MacBook Pro devices and mostly use inductive charging. Of course there will be no 3.5mm audio jack.

While critics will be too busy shouting, "Android's had AMOLED and wireless charging for years!" Apple will be putting their industry-leading customized chips into devices that are stronger, lighter, and more durable than everyone else's glass and aluminum-based devices.