Complaints About The Apple Office

Posted by Kirhat | Friday, August 18, 2017 | | 0 comments »

Apple Office
After several years of planning and conceptualizing, Apple recently started moving into its gargantuan US$ 5 billion spaceship campus. An imposing and impressive structure to say the least, the outside of the building is comprised of more than 3,000 curved panels of glass which had to be custom-made and specifically engineered for the building.

The hi-tech structure is designed to run on 100 percent renewable energy, Apple's massive new headquarters features a number of interesting architectural quirks that will ostensibly make the 12,000 employees that work there more productive and more likely to collaborate with colleagues.

With an abundance of open areas on the outside and free-flowing workspaces on the inside, Jony Ive told Wired earlier this year that the building's crowning achievement is that it’s a place where "many people can connect and collaborate and walk and talk."

Now that all sounds well and good, but there are rumblings that not everyone within Apple is thrilled with the new work environment. Specifically, open workspaces as opposed to smaller work areas and individual offices appear to be the cause of most of the discontent.

To this point, John Gruber during a recent episode of the The Talk Show podcast relayed an interesting bit of information about how some Apple employees took to the new digs.

"Here's the story I heard that I cannot confirm because it was third-hand. So I cannot confirm it. It could be totally false, but it sounds true to me. And I think it could be easily checked, because if it’s true, people will know about this.

But I heard that when floor plans were announced, that there was some, I don’t know, whether it was a meeting or however it was announced, that Johny Srouji’s team. He’s in charge of Apple’s silicon, the A10, the A11, all of their custom silicon. Obviously a very successful group at Apple and a large and growing one with a lot on their shoulders.

When he was shown the floor plans, he was more or less just 'f*** that, f*** you, f*** this, this is bulls***.' And they built his team their own building off to the side on the campus. So they're not even in — not only are they not going along with the open floor plans, but Srouji's team is in their own building. And maybe internally they're saying it’s for security or that's there’s a logical reason for it, but my understanding is that that building was built because Srouji was like, 'f*** this, my team isn’t working like this.'"
Notably, this isn't the first time everyone have seen reports regarding Apple engineers voicing concern regarding Apple's shift to a more free-flowing work environment. A WSJ article from a few days ago added that "coders and programmers are concerned that their work surroundings will be too noisy and distracting."

All in all, this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. There have long been competing schools of thought as to what type of work environment allows employees to be more productive, and anytime engineers are forced into a new working environment, controversy is to be expected.

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Loyal Tesla Customers Will Get A Gift

Posted by Kirhat | Tuesday, August 15, 2017 | | 0 comments »

Elon Musk
Elon Musk is going to reward loyal customers. The Tesla CEO confirmed last 6 August that the company still plans to give "something special" to those that reserved their Tesla Model 3 on the first day orders were open, back in 31 March 2016. The US$ 35,000 car, which started shipping last month, is a pivotal moment for the company, as it seeks to attract a far wider base of consumers to its electric vehicle offerings.

The announcement follows on from the Model 3 launch event on 28 July, where the first 30 customers received their vehicles at a special handover event. The recipients were all employees of Tesla, and as production has yet to hit peak capacity, only the long-range model with the premium enhancements package was available for the taking.

Fans who have placed their US$ 1,000 deposit hope to be among the first to receive a Model 3, but some have a long wait on their hands. The base model, capable of running for 220 miles per charge as opposed to the 310 miles of the long-range model, will start shipping later this year.

Customers in right-hand drive markets will have to wait until 2019 to receive their orders, meaning some day one reservation holders will have waited for three years to get their car.

In many ways it's par for the course for Musk, as he uses his Twitter account to reach out to followers directly and establish a connection. He can be seen regularly dropping sci-fi recommendations and making big company announcements.

It's not the first time Musk has mentioned something special for those early reservation holders, alluding to a gift back in November. In May, he again reassured fans that there would be "something cool for sure."

Fans have been speculating about what the "special something" could be. Guesses include a t-shirt, a signature color exclusive to day one reservation holders, or even a complementary Ludicrous upgrade for a special high-performance mode. With Musk's announcement of a high-performance Model 3 to hit the roads summer next year, though, a Ludicrous mode as a special treat seems unlikely.

"I would like to see the over-the-air upgrade charge waived for options that aren't available when we take delivery," said Tesla forum user VintageDude in a June thread. "For example, if advanced autopilot software isn't available for early deliveries, then make the after-delivery cost be the same as if it was bought at delivery."

"Well if I can't get free, or upgraded charge hours how about mustache emblem on front?" said user hapstr. "I’m not a fan of signature color."

Whatever it is, many are hopeful it doesn’t take too long to ship.

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What Is Expected From iPhone 8?

Posted by Kirhat | Friday, August 11, 2017 | | 0 comments »

Apple iPhone 8
Apple's 10th anniversary iPhone is already one of the most important products in the company’s history, and it is still a number of weeks away from its expected September launch.

As usual, the tech giant isn't keen on dropping any hints about unreleased products, but a recent leak has given us a decent idea of what we can expect from the smartphone.

So what kind of features will everyone likely to see in the next iPhone? Well, how about an edge-to-edge display, improved camera and ... (drum roll please) ... no more Home button?

First thing’s first, nobody knows what the next iPhone will actually be called. The going theory is that Apple will call it the iPhone 8, but there have been reports that it could be named the iPhone X, since this will mark the 10th anniversary of the company's first handset.

So what to expect from Apple's next smartphone? Plenty, according to the endless flow of leaks coming from Apple’s supply chain and a recent firmware update for the company’s HomePod.

That update, which was for a device that isn't even on the market, revealed a number of big features everyone might see in the iPhone 8. When developers including Guilherme Rambo and Steven Troughton-Smith mined the firmware update, they uncovered a number of files that seem to back up prior reports that the iPhone 8 will include some kind of facial recognition technology.

That feature may end up replacing the iPhone's popular fingerprint reader. According to a slew of rumors, Apple's iconic Home button will be removed from the iPhone 8 in order for the company to equip the handset with an edge-to-edge-style display. That would seem to kill the phone's fingerprint sensor, though, there is a chance Apple could instead place that under the handset's display.

Part of the HomePod's firmware seemed to back up the idea of an edge-to-edge panel, as it included what looks like a phone with such a display, The Guardian reports.

As far as the iPhone 8's actual screen technology goes, Apple has long been rumored to have landed on using an OLED, or organic light emitting diodes, panel, rather than the traditional LED screens used in past iPhones.

The reason for the upgrade is that OLED displays offer far richer colors and deeper blacks than LED screens, which should mean a better overall viewing experience. Unfortunately, they also tend to wash out in direct sunlight. Knowing Apple, though, the company likely has a solution to that issue in mind already.

The iPhone 8 should also get a new, improved rear camera, with some renders showing a dual-lens setup in a vertical orientation rather than the iPhone 7 Plus' current horizontal orientation.

With Apple's huge push into augmented reality at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), everyone can expect some optical improvements to the iPhone 8's camera as well.

The iPhone 8 might not be the only smartphone Apple debuts in September, though. As Bloomberg previously pointed out, the Cupertino, California-based company could roll out two additional handsets. According to CNET, those devices, dubbed the 7s and 7s Plus, will likely be upgraded versions of the existing 7 and 7 Plus.

And while they won’t get the same amount of improvements as the iPhone 8, the 7s and 7s Plus could offer improved performance, as well as better water proofing and perhaps even wireless charging.

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Will The Next-Gen Apple TV Support 4k Streaming?

Posted by Kirhat | Thursday, August 10, 2017 | | 0 comments »

Next-Gen Apple TV
The recently unearthed data strings from Apple's HomePod firmware may have provided some insight into what changes might be coming to an updated version of the venerable Apple TV. Originally spotted by developer Guilherme Rambo, the next iteration of the Apple TV will include support for streaming 4K content along with support for HDR10 and Dolby Vision.

All told, the fifth-gen Apple TV will finally enable users to enjoy 4K content with incredibly vivid colors and much improved contrast and color accuracy. Notably, this is not the first indication pointing to Apple finally hopping aboard the 4K bandwagon. Just a few weeks back, some iTunes users observed that references to 4K and HDR content curiously began showing up in their purchase history.

What's more, a Bloomberg report from earlier in the year claimed that Apple was already busy testing a 4K Apple TV in order to better compete with set-top boxes from the likes of Amazon and Roku.

At this time, it is hard to deny that the current fourth-gen version of the Apple TV is somewhat over priced when stacked up against competing devices. Specifically, the entry-level Apple TV will cost consumers a hefty US$ 149. In contrast, Amazon's Fire TV only costs US$ 89.99 while the Roku Premiere can be had for as little as US$ 69.99.

Apple's TV efforts in recent years have been lackluster at best, and embarrassing at worst. While there have been some improvements in recent years, it seems that the Apple TV is always trailing behind the competition, both in terms of affordability and features. The Siri remote that shipped with the 4th gen Apple TV, for example, was lambasted by many users for being incredibly difficult to use.

To this point, Ken Segall noted a few months back:

"The Siri Remote is a gorgeously designed object — it's just a terribly designed remote.

It's a thin slab that feels like, well, a thin slab. Its shape doesn't contribute one iota to ease of use. There are a number of remotes out there that fit the human hand nicely, and put the most-used buttons at one’s fingertips.

Lapses of this type make it difficult to defend Apple when it is accused of favoring design over function. It’s hard to think of the Siri Remote as anything but design run amok. It’s beautifully annoying."
With word that the next-gen Apple TV will finally offer some long overdue improvements when it comes to picture quality, we can only hope that some Siri remote and UI improvements will be introduced as well. One thing's for sure, though, the Apple TV at this point has nowhere to go but up.

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The Movement To Boycott Dunking Donuts Is Growing

Posted by Kirhat | Wednesday, August 09, 2017 | | 0 comments »

Dunkin Donuts
It all started when two New York police officers were reportedly refused service by Dunkin' Donuts. After that, the call to avoid buying from the Donuts store grew exponentially.

According to the New York Post sources, a cashier ignored two officers attempting to order at a Dunkin' Donuts in Brooklyn a few days ago. The Dunkin' Donuts employee reportedly told another customer "I don’t serve cops."

After the news broke, the New York City Detectives' Endowment Association, a local police union, encouraged members to boycott the coffee-and-donut chain.

Dunkin' Donuts employees said that the issue was simply a mix-up as to where to order. Additionally, the company apologized for the incident — but it seems as though the damage is done.

The Post reported that a police office refused to give directions to a Dunkin' Donuts, and that police unions have called Dunkin's explanation "an insult."

"No D&D in the 7-3," said a sergeant carrying a tray of generic, non-Dunkin' Donuts coffee into the 73rd Precinct station house, according to the Post.

Boycott threats have also continued to swirl online and everywhere in the world.

"Dunkin' Donuts sincerely regrets this situation, and we apologize to the two police officers who were left unattended in the store," the company responded to one Facebook comment.

"We have a long history of supporting the NYPD and we take great pride in the number of officers our restaurants serve every day," Dunkin' Donuts' comment continued. "We continue to have conversations with the parties involved and we are hopeful for a satisfactory conclusion."

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China Clamps Down on Personal VPN

Posted by Kirhat | Tuesday, August 08, 2017 | | 0 comments »

Apple VPN
The Government of China is claiming that they are not cracking down on personal VPNs. According to Apple, that's not true at all.

ExpressVPN, Star VPN and other developers report that Apple has pulled their apps from the App Store in China for allegedly including "content that is illegal" in the country. Some clients are still on other platforms (including ExpressVPN, for now) while others remain, so it's not a uniform cull at this point.

However, this is still a big blow to attempts to circumvent China's mounting internet censorship through encrypted communication -- not to mention companies that may have been depending on those apps for remote work connections.

Apple has declined to comment, although users have noticed that they can still use affected VPN apps if software came from another country's App Store. This isn't a wholesale block, then.

The move isn't coming out of the blue: China is holding its once-every-5-years Communist Party congress in the fall, and it tends to ramp up online censorship ahead of those gatherings to silence dissent. The government also made Apple pull the New York Times app at the start of 2017. Even so, it emphasizes how easily China can hold the tech industry over a barrel. China knows Apple and others need Chinese customers to thrive, and that means they have to remove apps even when they help protect freedom of speech.

The clampdown also illustrates the pitfalls of disallowing apps from unofficial sources. The iOS App Store is theoretically more secure, since you're less likely to run across rogue apps hosted on sketchy websites and less-than-vigilant stores. However, it also leaves you with few practical alternatives if censors demand that an app vanishes. You still have options on Android or desktops, even if it involves a lot of effort to track down just the right program.

Update: Apple has issued a statement noting that it pulled the apps in response to Chinese rules requiring that VPN developers obtain a government license. The full statement is below:

"Earlier this year China's MIIT announced that all developers offering VPNs must obtain a license from the government. We have been required to remove some VPN apps in China that do not meet the new regulations. These apps remain available in all other markets where they do business."

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