Apple released iOS 14.7 and tvOS 14.7 on Tuesday (Monday US time) and on Thursday (Wednesday US time) for macOS 11.5 and iPad 14.7 – a last minute bug found in the macOS 11.5 release candidate necessitated a fix followed by a new build being made available to ensure that there were no regressions. Both bring a lot of bug fixes as well as security fixes (link) but keeping in mind that when Apple list bug fixes the list isn’t always exhaustive given that you can find many of the improvements are also listed in the Webkit blog, LLVM project website and others. Long story short, when you see the changes you’re seeing ‘these are the most visible ones’ – as noted at the last update of macOS included big improvements from the Webkit project which addressed the issue I was having with the videos not playing properly (skipping, video pausing but the audio playing and vice versa).
macOS 11.5 has upgraded the system firmware to 418.104.22.168.0 from 422.214.171.124.0 and on iOS 14.7 it upgraded the modem firmware from 1.71.01 to 1.80.2 – I haven’t noticed any difference but I have a feeling the improvements bought about by the modem firmware will be relating to 5G since it is still very much a technology that yet to mature so there is a lot of room for optimisations to make it as efficient as prior generation technologies. Keeping in mind that the system firmware also includes microcode updates – I wouldn’t be surprised if it included the June 2021 microcode update.
The next version of macOS, iOS, tvOS etc. are being developed however there are no firm dates on the release – when it comes to macOS the release date could be anywhere from a week after the release of iOS all the way to mid November (macOS 11 was released 12 November 2020) so as much as I’d like to get a week off work and have fun I have to wait it out until there a formal release date. I’m still deciding whether I want to make the switch on day one or whether I should hold out until the first update is released – I guess it is something that will need to be made based on how the beta testing goes and whether, by the time it becomes ‘golden master’, that the general mood from those who participated in beta testing give it a thumbs up.
Some good news coming out regarding Microsoft’s Duo 2 – there are leaked photos of the Duo 2 with system specifications (link) and thank goodness they’ve finally added not only NFC but also a decent SoC as well (Qualcomm 888 w/ 5G). IMHO What I’d love to see is an even closer relationship between Samsung and Microsoft, merging Microsoft Pay and Samsung Pay then work to it adopted by as many banks as possible so then at least consumers can have an alternative to the Google hegemony today. I also say that regarding the Galaxy store – Samsung has an opportunity to hitch their wagon and work with Microsoft to provide an integrated alternative to the Google ecosystem – maybe create a Samsung exclusive Office 365 ecosystem where, if you have a Samsung device, you can register for a @mysamsung.com email address, access to 1TB storage, Office along with lots of other services thus growing both Samsung and Microsoft.
Tomorrow I might write something about the recent moves the United States regarding the ‘right to repair’ movement and those in power signally that their willingness to take on the challenge. I’ll cover that along with the general trend within the technology sector to push trends that don’t benefit customers – wireless mice and keyboard on a desktop computer when a wired one would be perfectly fine or this resent obsession over wireless earbuds resulting in a tonne of batteries being wasted – again, what is wrong with a wire? Anyway, I’m starting to rant already – I’ll leave that for the next blog entry.
There is a great discussion on ‘The WAN Show’ regarding the 36 states in the United States that are suing Google in regards to their Play Store and anti-trust violations.
If you’re more inclined to read an article then here is one from Bloomberg (link). Some of the biggest complaints that were made regarding the Google Play store can also be applied to the Apple AppStore as well – these include:
The inability to use a third party payment provider – either exclusively by the developer or simply as an option along side the one that Apple or Google provided. What makes the situation even worse is lets assume that the company says, “ok, we’ll only allow it through our websites so then our application is only to logon to existing accounts” then provide information in an FAQ, “to change payment methods you need to log in through the website” then you wouldn’t be allowed to do that either.
Google requires, as part of being able to get the Play Store preinstalled on your phone and many of them cannot be uninstalled by the customer along with Google applications take prominent on the Home Screen of the phone.
Trying to strong arm Samsung into ditching its own store and instead ship a rebrand Play Store but with the Galaxy branding.
There are other complaints but these are the main ones that come to my attention at the moment. I have to prefix this by saying that not all monopolies are bad – for example, we have electricity and telephone line monopolies because of the impracticality of duplicating infrastructure due to the high capital costs and how having two competitors each with their own infrastructure results in higher prices because there are fewer people in which those costs can be recuperated from due to the fragmenting of the marketplace – or what they say in the world of economics, ‘natural monopolies’. As a result of that, there can be a legitimate reason for maintaining a monopoly but that ability to continue existing in the current always comes with restrictions/regulations to ensure that said monopoly position isn’t abused.
I’m sure there legitimate reasons one could possibly come up with regarding why the Apple AppStore and Play Store have monopolies on their said platform – security knowing that what you’re buying is ‘the real deal’, consumer trust knowing their payment is being handled securely and so on. If they are going to make that argument than fair enough but at the same time that will open themselves up to be regulated like a monopoly – and what will require both sides disclosing the cost of delivering services so then a ‘fair return’ can be calculated by what ever the equivalent is of the Competition Commission.
If the companies don’t like that then there is an alternative model which is the one that Microsoft is advancing at the moment which will offer the payment and content distribution services that Microsoft can provide but equally if a vendor, such as Adobe, prefers to use their own content delivery network and payment solution then they can use that to (personally I think Microsoft should have an option for a customer to pay to unlock their Xbox (the amount the device is subsidised by) so then they can install games from Steam etc maybe include an option to install ‘desktop mode’ and turn an Xbox into desktop computer so then you can install Microsoft Office).
When these issues are bought up (along with many others) the usual refrain is “if you don’t like it, just buy something else” but the problem is that firstly we’re in a duopoly (it would have been nice for Windows 10 Mobile to be successful but alas here we are) but the best argument against that would be what took place during the DOJ vs Microsoft trial when Microsoft tried to make the same argument when claiming that they had competition in the PC operating system market and then pointed to macOS but like the situation (which was raised by the DOJ) with smartphones, it requires having to invest into a whole new device not to mention if it is moving from android to iOS (or vice versa) requires the repurchasing of software (assuming it is available) not to mention dealing with a subpar integrated experience (Android not supporting iCloud’s CardDAV, CalDAV etc). Such obstacles do not making moving between platforms frictionless – the longer one has been investigated into a given ecosystem the more difficult it is to move out of it and with the role of cloud computing and the integration of the device into the cloud then it makes it all the more difficult to move (I’m trying to move my password saved in Keychain over to Chrome – over 40 passwords, think of the average person, I doubt they have the patience I do).
Part of me wished an investigation was also done between Google and its used of it’s services as leverage to maintain Android’s monopoly on ‘generic’ smart phones through their refusal to provide their applications for the Windows Phone/Windows Mobile – Imagine if application vendors were more forth coming with providing their software on the platform then consumers would have a viable third option. Imagine if it were take step further, you buy an Android but change your mind so instead you hook it up to a computer via a USB cable, download an application from your handset vendor then within an hour you have Windows 11 Mobile on your phone ready to be used. Sigh, yeah, I rage about the application vendors not supporting the platform but it wasn’t helped when Microsoft reset the platform multiple times till eventually even Microsoft were confused as to the direction they wanted to take it in.
On a side note, there is an interesting article on Computerworld regarding the death of Software as a Service. commonly known as SaaS, where the author talks about the launch of Windows 11 and the return to yearly updates signing off on the fail ‘release early, release often’ approach that Microsoft took with Windows 10 (link) which has left a bitter taste in many users mouths. I think the idea in principle sounds good when applied to applications but operating systems aren’t applications – if you screw up something in an application it is a pain in the backside but generally everything else keeps on working. When it comes to an operating system, not only are you ensuring that the operating system is internally robust but also robust when it comes to third parties such as driver vendors, application and game developers etc. the impact of a small mistake has massive consequences where as with an application the impact is limited. The focus, from what it appears, is that Microsoft will release a feature update every 12 months and each month customers will receive the usual security updates.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the developer builds turn into a rolling release where new features are pushed out to, receive feedback in terms of bug reports and where things need to improve, then when they’re considered ‘ready’ they’re included in the next feature update of Windows. I think the move back to more of a traditional model is going to help them in the long run – provide a stable foundation and keep things moving forward in a coordinated fashion.
Wow, it has been ages since I posted something on my blog – so many things occurring at work as well as home such as getting myself better organised to cook meals at home, taking public transport rather than my scooter because the weather is absolutely atrocious or just plain cold (most nights getting down to 2-3 degrees celsius) along with buying my groceries online once a fortnight which funny enough, even if you include the cost of delivery works out cheaper (since I am not tempted to purchase things I don’t need – I go to the website, create a list, buy it and that’s that).
Lots of rumours are starting regarding Pixel 6 and the rumoured of a return of the XL model along side the smaller non-XL version. The other question is whether they’re going to start offering it in more countries – it is rather befuddling that a great product is deliberately undermined by, what appears to be, a management team at Google who haven’t seemed to grasp that there is a world outside of the United States (not to mention realising there is a country outside the borders of California).
There is the, pretty much all but officially confirmed, next version of Samsung Galaxy S series will include an AMD GPU with the early benchmarks demonstrating that the CPU on the SoC keep up with Qualcomm quite nicely and trounce the Andreno GPU in benchmarks. I wouldn’t be surprised if, with the sunsetting of CDMA2000 networks in the US and else where (the markets they use the Qualcomm SoC) that Samsung eventually standardise on shipping their Exynos based phones everywhere.
The other big win has been the consolidation of Wear OS an Tizen and quite frankly it had to happen. The idea of having multiple OS vendors in the wearable space is pretty much a nonstarter and even at this stage Apple struggles to get software vendors to write applications so getting developers to write for two other wearable OSs is pretty much out of the question. It makes little sense creating fragmentation so hopefully the Wear based devices from Samsung with the One UI 4.0 to give it a unique Samsung look and feel while being able to leverage the Wear ecosystem and integration into the Google cloud services.
There are rumours regarding the net refresh of Apple’s ARM chip being the M1X which will result in a refresh of the 13.3″ notebook into a 14″ one (13.3inch chassis but having the screen take up more space so that it is almost bezel-less) – I wouldn’t get to excited since it’ll be a incremental improvement over the M1. For me, I am waiting for the next refresh which will upgrade the processor to ARMv9 which will include SVE2 – the bigger winners I believe will be the 27inch iMac and Mac Pro users who want the extra grunt that SVE2 will bring for those work flows that were dependent on taking advantage of SSE/AVX technologies present on Intel based processors.
At this stage I am pretty agnostic regarding what my next computer will be – but my focus on this year is getting all the other parts of my life in order, lets hope that I have better success this year than I did last year.
I have to prefix this post with an apology – my aim was to get it up last week but I ended up losing track of time, lots of stuff happening at work, wanting to get into a good routine by going to bed early – I find that with the earlier starts due to taking public transport rather than using my 50cc scooter I have to get up earlier but funny enough if I were to start work at 11:30 am (getting out of bed at 10:00 am) then I’m fine with 8 hours sleep but if I start at 9:30 am (getting out of bed at 8:00 am) with the same amount of sleep then I am even more tired. I have to admit, I’m more of a night owl – in my previous life working in hospitality I worked the night shifts such as 4:00 pm to 1:00 am meaning I wouldn’t get home until maybe 2:00 am so my body was used to such a schedule. Ideally I’d love to go back to at least to being able to get up at 10:00 am but oh well, at least I have a job which is the important thing.
The much proposed reaction to the launch of Windows 11 – both the mainstream ‘livestream’ followed by the more developer centric live stream (the Microsoft equivalent of the WWDC keynote followed by the platform state of the union) – although they had problems streaming it (according to one of Brad Sams recent videos on YouTube the streaming platform crashed), the event eventually got off the ground and the public was rewarded with an optimistic vision of the future being offered by Microsoft while still remaining familiar.
There was a strong emphasis by Panos Panay (chief product officer) of moving the platform forward while still keeping it familiar. The emphasis being made to arrest concerns that this was going to bet a disruptive change, that there were going to be changes to the UI that would anger long time users, that compatibility will be broken etc. After Windows 8 I get the feeling that Microsoft want to reassure its user base, particularly the enthusiast community who are very much influencers (of friends and family) where they’re commonly referred to as ‘the one whose good with computers’) who can have an impact on whether there is wide spread adoption – fail to win them over and feel the consequences (see Windows Vista and Windows 8).
Part of what has been shown off is the new UI language which is very much inline with where I think Microsoft is wanting to take WinUi 3.0 (Project Reunion being the large project which WinUI 3.0 fits under) in the future. It still very much has the legacy UI visible given that the transition from Control Panel to Settings is still very much underway, the gradual componentisation of the Windows Shell (the Windows start menu is in its own process which has improved performance) so we could eventually see (based on the promotional material) a new shell using WinUI 3.0 but in the mean time Microsoft is wanting to make the UI a lot more visually pleasing.
The system specifications have increased since Windows 10, WDDM 2.0 is the minimum required thus making DirectX 12 the minimum supported, TPM 2.0, a relatively modern 64bit CPU etc. is an indicator to me that Windows 11 is a starting point by Microsoft to start pushing Windows 11 in a direction where future releases will take advantage of those higher specifications (Microsoft also have probably modelled future sales on Windows 11 being primarily through it being distributed through OEM channel as people upgrade their computers with a small number upgrading their their existing devices). For example, if you have a look at project unity, the work that was taking place with Windows 10X, I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up seeing win32 support pushed into a virtual machine (hence needing CPUs that support virtualisation) and the new native API becomes not necessarily a ground up clean room replacement to win32 but rather, taking the various components to give Microsoft developers the freedom to break compatibility in the process of modernise the frameworks so then eventually Project Reunion comes a modern framework that can span various version of Windows as well as various devices (see Xbox).
What I am happy to see is Microsoft’s willingness to get rid of complexity and features from the operating system such as removing Cortana, simplifying search so it is no longer the glorified mess where even the most basic searches turn into a disaster (see the many years of complaints regarding search in Windows 10) – I hope that it is a trend in the long run to eventually strip non-core features out of the system, push them into the store and upgrade them gradually over to a modern look and feel (with he benefit of users saving storage space by not having to install features they don’t need).
The developer preview that Microsoft has made available is still missing features such as Android application support along with Teams integration plus a few other features but there has been a cleaned up Explorer which I love:
Improvements like this along with rumours regarding the Pixel 6 and Android 12 make the idea of ‘jumping ship’ a lot more tempting given that the gap between Windows and macOS are closing the combine that with the great hardware being put out by Microsoft (the surface range of devices) along with the improved integration between Windows and Android devices via the Phone Companion application which enable one to send/receive text messages as well as make/answer phone calls in much the same way that one can do on macOS with an iOS device. There is a great video from Zac Bowden from Windows Central where he goes into detail showing off the visual changes.
To get a good incite into where Windows 11 is heading then check out ‘Windows App SDK’ over on github (link) where you’ll find a lot of the future development taking place when it comes to the frameworks Microsoft is working on for app developers. There is also plenty of discussion over on the Chromium developer mailing lists as well as the checking out the ‘What’s next with Microsoft Edge’ page (link) which covers Microsoft only features that Microsoft is working on, when they’ll come available – many of the features linking back to the Microsoft cloud or what they’re working on which will require new hardware such as ‘Control-flow Enforcement Technology (CET)’ which is an important feature for Windows 11 which is why the minimum specifications have been increased.
There has been some backlash regarding the increase in minimum specifications but in my not so humble opinion I think that Microsoft just needs to weather the storm and ignroe the noisy ‘enthusuasts’ – if Windows was designed by the incoherent demands of enthusiasts it would en up resembling something like the car Homer designed when he bet his long lost half brother. When you have a look at the security reasoning (link) along with reports of up to a 40% performance hit if you enable said features in Windows 10 on devices that don’t support said features in hardware mode then you quickly that Microsoft is doing it for the good of the customer as to avoid a fiasco like Vista again where those who had ‘Vista Basic’ badged devices had a horrible experience.
It’ll be interesting to see how the two competing platforms perform because at the moment I can’t help but find that the whole WWDC 21 this year was pretty depressing – and this is coming from a long time Mac user (20+ years) with a modest set of things that I would have loved to see Apple deliver on but haven’t done so for many years. For me what I would have loved to see is Apple implement the Webextension API so that at the very least it has feature parity and compatibility with Firefox (which would open up a huge market for developers to target Safari), to improve HTML5 compatibility so the I can use Amazon Connect (Amazon’s cloud based PBX solution) if I have to work from home because right now I have to go out of my way to install Chrome when ordinarily I prefer using Safari due to it being light weight.
When I mean depressing, what I saw was time and energy being spent on what I’d consider gimmicky features given that there are a laundry list of issues that Apple should be focusing on. I’ll give you that they have finally bought custom domain support as part of their Cloud+ platform which is good because truth be known I was expecting Apple implementing the Webextension API to feature parity with Firefox before they would ever get interested in adding more sophisticated features to their iCloud service (given that no one is directly paying for it I was never expecting it to get to the level of sophistication as what Microsoft or Google provides) but I tolerated it because it was ‘good enough’ to get the job done.
As for my hardware, at the moment I think I can squeeze another 2-3 years out of it which would make them 5-6 years old by the time I get around to replacing them and when I do it’ll be interesting to see but assuming that Microsoft use Windows 11 as a springboard to advance Windows forward and AMD/Intel keep fighting the good fight on improving their product line (and Microsoft making great Surface) it appears that Apple has some much needed competition. Oh, and Samsung offering 4 years of long term support for their Galaxy S line? *chief’s kiss* particularly when you consider that next year the next Galaxy will use an SoC which makes use of an AMD GPU. I have to admit – I’d be tempted to build my own rig but for a laptop I’d go with Surface.
But that being said, Apple has joined a consortium called ‘Webextensions Community Group’ (link) that will hopefully move the API set forward resulting in Apple a set of APIs that all the in-dusty agree with which will ensure that developers can ‘write once, deploy everywhere’ rather than the current situation of having to deal with browser quirks and API differences – this matrix is a good way to keep track of those differences (link) which can range from something that is implemented but differently all the way through to a feature not being implanted at all with no intention by the browser vendor of ever implementing it.
Well, I’m giving Safari Technology Preview release 126 a try while working on a post I’ll be putting out on Monday regarding the Windows 11 launch and how Microsoft’s vision compares to what Apple put out there on WWDC 2021 – let’s put this way, WWDC 21 was a let down when compared to the optimistic forward looking vision that Microsoft put there. I am a simple man and don’t expect much – if Apple came out and made Safari implemented Webextensions API fully so it is compatible with Firefox and implement HTML5 consistently with the rest of the features being under the hood changes and fixes then I’d still be a happy man but alas here we are.
With all that has happened I find it refreshing that Google is taking a step back when it comes to FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts) where although ‘The Verge’ (link) claimed it was due to regulatory pressure, I think it had more to do with the backlash from third parties such as browser vendors and website developers along with consumer advocacy groups. At the end of the day for the industry to move off third parties it’ll require that all the big players are on the same page so I’m not surprised that they’ve pushed it back to 2022-2023. Firefox developers have been productive in terms of going beyond just “it’s a bad idea” and laid out some of the issues that exist with the idea (link) which gives the impression that if those short comings were addressed then there is potential for Firefox to also adopt it as well.
Chilling out at home on my day off updating my computers etc. and I notice that Ad Guard had released 1.9.19, I don’t know what they’ve done behind the scenes but the quality of the ad blocking has improved immensely. I’m looking forward to Safari 15 and improvements that are made not only in terms of performance, stability, security and optimisation but also compliance with open standards. At the moment the latest Safari Technology Preview is only available for macOS 12.0 which is currently in beta testing but from the screenshots I’ve seen, I’m happy with the changes. The UI changes with Safari 15 have been pretty controversial but this will be a situation of a lot of noise made by a small number of technology commentators on YouTube, Facebook/Instagram and Twitter when in reality most people will probably find that the improvement is well worth it particular with those who have small screen laptops where the efficient use of space will allow greater enjoyment of being able to view more of the content.
The big feature I am really excited about is the custom domain hosting for Cloud Plus (link):
Which is the feature that has been absent which keeps pulling me back to Google Workspace (and in turn dragging me back into the Android ecosystem due to Android providing the best possible experience due to its tight integration with Google services). The other benefit has been the “Improved Safari Web Extensions. Try out the support for declarativeNetRequest, which expanded to 150K content blocking rules and non-persistent background pages for improved performance.” which will help those who have extensions that haven’t adopted a separate extension for each filter category (like what Ad Guard has done to get around the 50K limit that existed back when Safari 9 was launched.
One thing to keep in mind that Apple does on occasion holding features back for their September iPhone launch which may double up as a Mac product launch as well, there is also a possibility that there are more details regarding the new iCloud features. The reason I say that is because the WWDC is primarily focused on developers so anything announced there is primarily going to be focused on features that will impact developers so it is possible that feature or features are held back given that they don’t pose an issue with developers in regards to compatibility or any other consideration.
Windows 11 autopsy is still continuing as various YouTube commentators are going it the once over and trying to be optimistic that maybe what they saw was an inside incomplete version or that Microsoft are going to show off a more bleeding edge built or maybe even talk about the fact that the focus of Windows 11 going forward will be to focus on delivering UI consistency which will not be delivered when Windows 11 but an on going focus that will extend beyond the launch of the stable version.
I want to be optimistic about Windows 11 because when Microsoft has its act together it provides competition to Apple to lift their game which in turn forces Microsoft to lift their own game but the question is whether Microsoft can see it through. I say that because Microsoft has proven, with their Surface and Xbox range, that when they are focused they can deliver great products but in the case of the PC world it is undermined by almost a ‘if it compiles ship it’ where little to no focus is on the fit and finish other than whether it is functional rather than whether the product is enjoyable to use and compels the customer to not only invest in the ecosystem but remain for the long term.
That being said, the future of many businesses is about the cloud – the platform is becoming less relevant when it comes to growth so even if Apple gains a sizeable chunk of the computer market, Microsoft is still very much the ‘top dog’ when it comes to productivity in government and enterprise organisations so for Microsoft – if you’re using their cloud services such as Office 365, Azure, their developer tools, languages etc. then they’re not too fussed whether you’re using Windows in the long run (IMHO Microsoft would be better off rebranding ChromeOS to EdgeOS in much the same way that Microsoft embraced Chromium so then they would have a platform that could compete head to head with Google – then build a Microsoft App Store that builds on their existing store then Microsoft would benefit from the mindshare without having to make a huge investment).
Not going back to work tomorrow – unfortunately I did the dumb thing of eating some corn chowder thinking it was ok but, um, how do I put it, I was hugging the porcelain throne later that night which was not enjoyable. In future, when it doubt chuck it out even if on the pack it says that it is well within the expiry date. I think in future I’m going to play it safe an stick to tomato and pumpkin soups – they’re a known quantity and I’ve never gotten sick from eating either of them.
Leaks of Windows 11 are making the round before the big announcement on 24 June (25 June NZ Time):
They’re some of the high profile sites that have been reporting on it. The one thing to keep in mind that this might possibly be an older build or a build where features have been disabled so it is important not to get too dead set on the idea that this is the final appear or get sucked into the nonsense that this is the final product. What I think is a pretty good indication that this is ‘work in progress’ has been the fact that users won’t be forced to upgrade to Windows 11 – Microsoft will continue to provide updates to Windows 10 and when people feel comfortable they can switch over.
The part that I think gets lost in the discussion is how Windows 11 fits in when one considers the Windows 10X cancellation and how the new UI appears to be the porting of Windows 10X UI changes over to Windows 11. For those wanting a background to Windows 10X – Windows 10X was designed to be a cut down legacy free version of Windows 10X for low cost devices and then Win32 support was to be added back (and expanded to more devices) in by using a transparent container/virtualisation technology which would keep win32 applications self contained and keep the operating system squeaky clean.
I can’t help but get a feeling that although Microsoft saisd they cancelled it, I thinkt he biggest factor was OEM feedback and given how some of them were stung in the past with Windows RT I think there wasn’t the appetite for dealing with all that is involved with providing support for a new operating system not to mention customers ringing up, after buying such a device, complaining that their win32 application isn’t working. For me, Windows 11 is an evolution of the Windows 10X project – the big question is whether they’re going to be doing something with win32 applications so that they’re segregated from the system, whether we’re going to see the UI developed further – keeping the underlying code that works but replacing UI components.
I am hoping that a lot of this changes will occur as we see Project Reunion make their way into Windows (along with all the frameworks that make up ‘Project Reunion’ (link)) with it forming the basis of Windows 11 going forward where parts are pulled out and replaced with parts based on ‘Project Reunion’ and ‘Project Reunion’ expanding gradually to include more frameworks so eventually there is something as comprehensive as win32 on offer along with the great work also being done on .NET with the word done on being able to use WinUI as well.
Although I sound a lot more excited about the Windows 11 news, it is primarily because Microsoft has so much more than needs to be done to their platform than in the case of Apple. For me, if Apple bought Safari up to the HTML5 compliance equal to that of Chrome, implemented the Webextensions api in Safari so that it was compatible with Firefox’s implementation along with custom domain hosting (which is being launched with iCloud Plus) then I would be a very happy lad. In the case of Windows 11 – it is a lot of catch up and although the progress is exciting lets also remember Microsoft’s propensity to lose interest in something then leave it in a half completed state (see prior version of Windows introducing a new UI design language but Microsoft spending zero effort to bring all the applications and operating systems they ship with Windows to bring it up to date to use the new design language).
Another great video by Rene Richie regarding the rage whining by techno elite reviewers on YouTube regarding the iPads 15.0 about how it isn’t making the iPad more like a ‘normal laptop’ with all the power and flexibility that macOS has.
The whole rage and whine parade from the techno elite is funny because for such self described technically inclined people they’re unable to grasp the basic concept of the audience the iPad is catering for, which is, those who want a device that is like an appliance – turn it on, watch some videos, surf the net, send a few emails and then turn it off. The self appointed techno elite on YouTube have convinced themselves that what the world needs is a laptop running macOS that has a touch screen – all the telemetry data from Microsoft shows that end users barely use their touch screen long term beyond the honeymoon phase of having a new device. Ever wonder why the big focus of touch screens by Microsoft is all about the use of the pen on the screen so that it is a giant tablet? because that is where the usefulness exists which could be done quite easily (if Apple wanted) by modifying the touch pad to be able to use an Apple Pencil on which would give users all the same benefits of a touch screen but without needing to butcher the whole operating system to make it compatible.
This is yet another example of techno elite on YouTube believing they speak for the average person in much the same way that they got all hyped up about excited about ‘small phones’ – always whining about how the phones these days are too big and there needs to be a smaller mini version. The net result? it was a total sales flop (link), ordinary people want screen sizes that doesn’t require that they squint really hard just to seen the finer details on a small screen. For many, their phone is their computer and no one in their right mind is going to spend hours squinting at a barely readable screen all for the sake of ‘oooh, it’s so small and cute’ which the techno elite seem to be enamoured with.
This is what happens when people confuse the reverberations off the wall as the voices of people also interested in said product when in reality it is just their own voice that they’re hearing as an echo. There are far too many echo chambers online that lack the self awareness to differentiate between what they want as a techno elite on YouTube vs. what the average person wants. There was the same issue with ‘Red Peak’ (flag design during the referendum on a new flag for New Zealand) and ‘TOP’ (The Opportunities Party – during the election back in 2017) where the self appointed techno elite on the New Zealand subreddit convinced themselves that ‘Red Peak’ was more popular that it really was and that because all their friends were supporting TOP it must mean that its of New Zealanders were supporting them as well (which they didn’t – 2.44% of the party vote). All they ended up doing is syphoning off votes from the Green Party resulting in Labour having to form a coalition government with NZ First where as had those votes gone to Greens it would have been a Labour-Greens government and a light rail to the airport but alas here we are 4 years later and still no light rail.
This is what happens when people believe that what happens on the internet reflects the real world. Anyone remember the election in 2020 in the United States and all the noise that KHIVE made on Twitter? funny how that never translated into the real world because noise on twitter doesn’t reflect the real world – in the real world people have lives to live, bills to pay, jobs to go to, kids to take care of, no one cares about online drama apart from a minority of a minority of a minority that confuse noise for crowd size.
Getting back to the original discussion, the benefit of Apple keeping the iPad the simple easy to use device is that it allows the Mac to shine – it doesn’t have to dumb things down, Apple can focus the Mac for the power users who want maximum flexibility and performance where as the iPad is for someone who wants a device that is like an appliance. By Apple not having to worry about trying to be everything to everyone they can gear the iPad for one section of the market and the Mac for a different section of the market thus not requiring the sort of compromise that Microsoft gets stuck in when trying to be everything to everyone but no one ends up being happy in the end.
Watching some of the session videos from Wednesday – Apple has added support for the declarativeNetRequest being called by Webextensions API which provides very rudimentary content blocking but I doubt it is sufficiently flexible enough to bring over the heavy hitters such as uBlock Origin (which has a sizeable following) – Google also seem to be hell bent on undermining its user base with the development of Manifest v3 resulting in a crippled web extensions development which will limit the ability for many extensions to work properly. But with that being said there are still good things making their way into Safari 15 (link) particularly when it comes to WebAssembly, WebM support for Opus (for some reason if you play back a video on tvOS via the YouTube app that the video is streaming in vp9 and opus but on my Mac it streams it in vp9 and m4a.
As for the release date, given that Apple has their annual iPhone refresh in around September the release date of iOS 15 will probably a week later (it’ll be GM before the event) but as for macOS 12, that depends on how the development cycle goes but based on past experiences it could be anywhere from September all the way through to November (Big Sur was released 12 November 2020). With that being said last year was COVID-19 year, it was the first time doing things remotely so the late delivery might have been a once off and given the fact that there aren’t huge user visible changes (this feels more like a Snow Leopard release of refining) it could be possible that we’ll see a September-October release but this is speculation based on past years – we’re still dealing with COVID-19 so anything is possible.
I think I’ve now sorted out the issue I had with the iCloud Mail (which funny enough wasn’t impacting my ability to send emails from my iPhone) – it appears that there is an issue with the keychain stored on my computer so what I did is I signed out of iCloud on both my iMac and MacBook Pro, deleted the local keychains (including invisible ones, rebooted into recovery and cleaned off all the temporary files and cache files etc. then rebooted back to the main desktop. It appears that everything is working for now and the old xtra.co.nz smtp settings are no longer saved in the cloud which is a big improvement.
I’ve emailed off to my local MP and the minister for transportation regarding the recent licence changes (well, they date back to the prior government) which will mean that if you have a learners or a restricted drivers or motorcycle licence then you’ll be required to advance to a full licence or the next level of the licence up from the one you’re on now. So rather than yelling into the wilderness I voiced my opinion – will it get heard? not too sure but I’ve got nothing to lose my making my opinion heard on the matter. What I suggested was the following:
If you are taking onboard suggestions then may I suggest that you introduce a new licence class – a moped licence which has a engine limit of 50cc and can be obtained by attending a weekend class of basic scooter handling. It would provide many people, who are only interested in a scooter, in having a licence that can be kept long term while ensuring that those who obtain it have the basic skills required to drive a scooter.
For me, I ride everywhere on my 50cc scooter and if I need to travel longer than say 100km then I’ll get a bus, train or a aeroplane. Governance and regulation isn’t just about ‘ruling’ but it is about balancing the carrot and stick approach – to provide people with avenues to be able to acquire the skills required to use private transportation while also ensuring that the balance between the transportation device vs. the amount of training require is balanced up. Hopefully it’ll be taken onboard but if it isn’t then at least I can say that I tried.
Anyway, for dinner I’m going to have some fish, wedges and a ginger beer – I ordered it on Delivery Easy since they do a pretty good job when treat local businesses well when compared to some of the big players out there.
Well, the first day of WWDC 2021 was interesting (in terms of the absence of major user visible features) – watching both the keynote and platform state of the union was a lot more subdued than when compared to last year but I think that has less to do with ‘we’re doing less with the platforms’ and more to do with much of what they’re working on aren’t exactly things that’ll get you show off on stage or get excited about (although I did love the Cloud+ Service which will offer customer domain support).
The best way to find out the under the hood changes is to check out the developer documentation and seeing the difference between Xcode 12.5 and Xcode 13.0 beta (link). There are a lot of ‘under the hood changes’ particularly in the area of frameworks to replace the kernel mode drivers, a big focus on concurrency because of large multi-core SoC’s becoming the norm not to mention the big push around Swift and SwiftUI. As I’ve speculated in the past, I can’t help but get the feeling that long term what Apple went to do is have SwiftUI as a replacement for AppKit, UIKit and Catalyst which probably explains why they put so much focus on it over the last few years (beyond just wanting to get developers interested in it).
For me the biggest thing that captured my attention was iCloud+, custom domain email addresses and iCloud private relay. It appears that Apple is finally making some big investments into their cloud service – moving it beyond just the basic of email, calendaring, notes etc. to also include services that average users and power users also want. For me the custom domain email will enable me to utilise the domain that I have but I’ve avoided using for custom email hosting due to the integration between the Apple ecosystem and the Google Workspace being pretty average.