Posts Tagged Apple

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Mashable’s Katie Dupere wrote an invigorating profile about Jordyn Castor, a software engineer at Apple who happens to be blind. She currently works on enhancing VoiceOver for blind users.

At that job fair in 2015, Castor’s passion for accessibility and Apple was evident. She was soon hired as an intern focusing on VoiceOver accessibility.

As her internship came to a close, Castor’s skills as an engineer and advocate for tech accessibility were too commanding to let go. She was hired full-time as an engineer on the accessibility design and quality team — a group of people Castor describes as “passionate” and “dedicated.”

“I’m directly impacting the lives of the blind community,” she says of her work. “It’s incredible.”

For all Apple claims to be changing the world, it’s nice to see hard-hitting proof of the commitment of Apple employees to impact the lives of their customers. It’s long been evident that Apple has been influential in making their products accessible for others, to a degree much effective than any other large company in the valley.

It’s important to remember that diversity goes far, far beyond race, gender, and sexuality, and includes people with a variety of experiences. These people’s individuality (in this case Jordyn Castor) brings novel and newfound solutions to problems. Castor’s insight of what it’s like living as a blind person lends Apple’s a lifetime’s worth of unique experiences to be able to put forth into designing great software for some of their most ardent consumers.

Preliminary Thoughts on the iPad Pro: A High School Student’s Perspective

Thursday, 12 November 2015

The reviews are out, and the iPad Pro is now shipping. We’ve seen the 6,000-word long review from MacStories (as we’ve come to expect, really). We’ve seen interviews with Apple executives about the new device. We’ve also seen PC enthusiasts scoff at the idea of a tablet (however powerful) replacing the long-beloved laptop. It’s clear that the iPad Pro is a controversial device. To many, it’s Apple simply making a bigger iPad. To others, it shows a clear path of where mobile computing is gravitating toward. In many ways, the expansion of mobile computing is now headed straight at two key markets: enterprise, and creatives.

Apple is branching out into business. Last year, they partnered with IBM in an interesting partnership that saw Apple become much more relevant in the enterprise sector. With the iPad Pro, Apple is taking full aim at business professionals. When the iPad first came out, many tried it out as their only computing device. That was a failed experience for these people. Apple’s software wasn’t developed enough to take advantage of the extra screen real estate. The technology and the interface wasn’t yet there to introduce new ways of interacting with mobile devices. Now, with the release of iOS 9 this fall (the most important update to iOS for the iPad since its invention), combined with the power and size of the iPad Pro, Apple is reintroducing the tablet as a PC alternative. And a very strong one, at that. With more power than ever, bundled with the world’s most advanced operating system, it’s easy to see why.

Apple also made a big deal to attract creatives too. Even their marketing strategy seems to point toward artists and designers. Their main iPad Pro page calls the device a “canvas”. Apps shown off include GarageBand, iMovie, UMake, and the many Adobe apps that now support iPad Pro. The Pencil is shown on their website exclusively for sketching and other artistic indulges, even neglecting PDF annotations that business professionals might use it for. The 12.9” screen is absolutely gorgeous and I’d love to doodle on that thing. I’m not so sure about whether I’d like to create UI design mockups or do WordPress development in Coda yet, but I’m sure there’s some friction to overcome to fully transition over from a desktop environment over to this lovely aluminum slab.

There is, I think, another category of potential customers Apple should be targeting (but haven’t), and that’s education. I study in a relatively high-end high school for international students in Hong Kong, and in place currently exists a 1:1 personal laptop deployment program. The first three years of high school education focuses on a core curriculum which doesn’t involve a lot of high tech. Most of my pre-GCSE days were spent in apps that exist on iOS today: Google Drive, Microsoft’s Office Suite and a web browser made up 90% of our technology usage in class. Once you go up a few years, classes become more specialized, as electives such as Media Studies (which involves a practical film-making aspect) and Textiles are thrown in the mix. These classes, as you can imagine, involves the usage of more sophisticated programs, but for the majority of students, a powerful tablet like the iPad Pro is sufficient for the demands of a rigorous high school curriculum1. Features such as Slide Over and Split View bring basic window management that existed on OS X and other desktop operating systems to iOS, which is the highest level of complexity in an operating system most students require to be comfortable. Since the majority of classes in the higher years only require a web browser and an office productivity suite2, the iPad Pro looks like a promising candidate for the future of classroom computing.

  1. Not for me, though. For my needs, which involve use of professional video-editing software (no, iMovie does not cut it), I still need a professional laptop. I write this on a top-of-the-line 15” MacBook Pro that often runs the Adobe CC suite and Xcode. 
  2. With the exception of the occasional launch of iMovie. 

Tuesday, 6 October 2015


Today marks four years since Steve passed away. On that day, the world lost a visionary. We at Apple lost a leader, a mentor, and many of us lost a dear friend.

Steve was a brilliant person, and his priorities were very simple. He loved his family above all, he loved Apple, and he loved the people with whom he worked so closely and achieved so much.

Each year since his passing, I have reminded everyone in the Apple community that we share the privilege and responsibility of continuing the work Steve loved so much.

What is his legacy? I see it all around us: An incredible team that embodies his spirit of innovation and creativity. The greatest products on earth, beloved by customers and empowering hundreds of millions of people around the world. Soaring achievements in technology and architecture. Experiences of surprise and delight. A company that only he could have built. A company with an intense determination to change the world for the better.

And, of course, the joy he brought his loved ones.

He told me several times in his final years that he hoped to live long enough to see some of the milestones in his children’s lives. I was in his office over the summer with Laurene and their youngest daughter. Messages and drawings from his kids to their father are still there on Steve’s whiteboard.

If you never knew Steve, you probably work with someone who did or who was here when he led Apple. Please stop one of us today and ask what he was really like. Several of us have posted our personal remembrances on AppleWeb, and I encourage you to read them.
Thank you for honoring Steve by continuing the work he started, and for remembering both who he was and what he stood for.


Great message.

Monday, 28 September 2015

“Sales for iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus have been phenomenal, blowing past any previous first weekend sales results in Apple’s history,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Customers’ feedback is incredible and they are loving 3D Touch and Live Photos, and we can’t wait to bring iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus to customers in even more countries on October 9.”

As John Gruber notes, they sold 10 million in the same time last year, so, yeah, this is great.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Apple Inc is stepping up aid to the thousands of migrants that are streaming into Europe from war-torn countries, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook told employees in an internal message on Friday.

Cook wrote in a message on the company’s intranet site that the Macbook and iPhone maker will make a “substantial donation” to relief agencies supporting the migrants and will match employee donations to the cause by 2-to-1.

Really like how Apple is taking a public stand for human rights.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Walt Mossberg published his opinions on this week’s Apple event on The Verge, as part of a new monthly column by Mossberg called simply, “Mossberg”.

While the piece is very interesting, what this means for Mossberg and The Verge is also interesting: The Verge pulls in a lot more traffic compared to Recode, Mossberg’s own tech site. Having his own column on The Verge introduced readers to Recode, while The Verge gets a star writer for their site. It’s a win-win situation.

iOS 9 & watchOS 2 Launch on September 16

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Apple has announced the final release date for iOS 9 and watchOS 2 in today’s Apple event in San Francisco — Wednesday, September 16.

The update will be available for iPhone 4s and up, iPad 2/mini and above, and iPod touch 5th-generation and up.

The update includes iPad multi-tasking features, proactive assistant and intelligence, as well as improvements to built-in apps.

The Golden Master seed has also been uploaded to the Developer portal.

‘Hey Siri’: My Thoughts on Today’s Jam-Packed Apple Event

Today’s Apple event will probably be the busiest of any of the past few Apple events, including June’s 160-minute presentation at WWDC.

What does everyone expect Apple will talk about?

At this moment, we’ve got:

  1. iPhone 6s and 6s Plus — there doesn’t seem to be any news regarding the 6c.
  2. A completely reinvented Apple TV. Featuring a new UI, new hardware, and a better remote, and most importantly, a whole new platform.
  3. Apple Watch. I expect that, since iOS 9 (and its GM) will be demoed today with the iPhones, there’s no reason not to expect the same to happen with the Apple Watch, especially since, as Gruber points out, it’s heading into its first holiday quarter.
  4. iPad Pro. We’ve gotten really chock-full already. I’m standing by two events this fall.

Now, the nature and tone of the past few events — starting with last year’s September event, with so much to talk about, events have become more and more rushed — remember when Tim Cook used to give you an update on Apple Retail, sales, App Store revenue, etc.? Well, all that’s gone, saved most likely for press releases and the stock earnings calls they hold separately.

Here’s what I expect, in terms of timing.

Within ten minutes of the event starting, we’ll get introduced to the iPhones 6s and 6s Plus. Tim Cook will introduce the event, and start off with iPhone — he’ll most likely play an introductory video, then hand it off to Phil Schiller to explain the new features/improvements/enhancements. Something I definitely expect will be a Force Touch demonstration with an app — maybe it’s a graphics app like Pixelmator or perhaps a game, but I think the game aspect will be reserved for the Apple TV. I expect the iPhone segment of the keynote to last around half an hour to forty-five minutes, including demonstrations. We’ll also definitely see it make an appearance during the demos for other products — most likely to show off the integration between the Apple Watch (with watchOS 2).

Apple Event, Act II: Apple Watch. Other than the purported new bands, I don’t expect Apple to add anything new on the accessories/hardware side, but I expect a full-blown demonstration involving iPhone 6s, Apple Watch, and watchOS 2 — this segment of the keynote will perhaps last about twenty to thirty minutes, since there’s not that much material to go through. One thing to expect: showing off third-party complications, perhaps with HomeKit integration. I don’t think a third-party developer will present it though.

‘One more thing’, part one: iPad Pro. An Apple Watch-esque presentation for today. That means an introduction, with a quick demo involving Apple Pen, the Force Touch display, and third-party apps that suit the Pro. Perhaps half an hour, but I don’t expect it to be thorough in the least. I think an October event is still in the running, where the Pro will be explained in depth, like the March event was for the Apple Watch. The October event will probably also have updates to OS X and Macs, and regular normal-sized iPad refreshes. As for today: I think the iPad Pro will be introduced, demoed for a while, but nothing that’s too in-depth. I could be wrong.

‘One more thing’, part two: Apple TV. I expect a normal, complete presentation. That means the initial introduction, perhaps in video form, presented by Tim Cook, with cameos from industry executives — perhaps from HBO or some other media company, as well as game developers that the Apple TV will have some ties to. This part of the presentation will take at least an hour, with the product introduction to, well, everything, as well as demonstrations from Apple about the UI and experience, gaming from leading game developers, apparently Periscope, as well as ‘Hollywood people’. I expect this to be the main segment of the entire event.

Looking at this summary, the whole event looks to exceed two and a half hours at most, so I doubt there’s enough time for anything beyond that that isn’t a must. An October event must happen.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

John Gruber weighs in on tomorrow Apple events. The most interesting part is that Gruber does not think everything will be announced tomorrow, and for the most part, I agree with him:

Not only does the two-event scenario seem more likely to me, I’d go so far as to call the one-event scenario inexplicable. Possible, sure. But not logical.

Same — with just the iPhones, Apple Watch updates, and Apple TV, we’re looking at a 2-hour event here. With another ‘flagship’ product tomorrow, we’re definitely going to exceed that by at least another hour, which even new Apple wouldn’t dare exceed — WWDC got pretty boring around the Apple Music part.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Mark Gurman has been breaking some awesome Apple rumors this month, and while they may be spoiler-y for some, he’s doing a great job. He’s written a roundup of what’s making the keynote cut on Wednesday:

Apple’s Wednesday, September 9th event is shaping up to be one of the largest in the company’s history. The Cupertino-based company is planning to unveil several major new products on stage, including a pair of new iPhones with revamped internals, a sequel to the Apple TV, a larger version of the iPad Air, a refreshed iPad mini, and new Apple Watch accessories. The company is also likely to discuss at least two of its latest software platforms: iOS 9 and watchOS 2. We’ve reported the lion’s share of what is to come at next week’s event, so this article outlines everything we’re expecting and adds some new details…

Keep this tab open during the keynote.

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