Sling TV holding prices while YouTube TV raises prices

Yesterday I was reading M.G. Siegler’s article about YouTube TV’s June 30th, 2020 30% price increase. He also speaks to how streaming tv is becoming bundled just like cable tv.

Coincidentally, that same day I got an email from Sling TV telling its users that our price is not going up and that our current price is guaranteed for the next 12 months. After reading Siegler’s article that was good news because I figured Sling might follow in the footsteps of YouTube TV.

If you’re not happy with YouTube TV’s price increase you might want to take a look at Sling. They’re offering:

Year Price Guarantee for all new and existing customers. For customers who sign up for SLING TV or who have an existing account by August, 1, 2020 SLING TV will automatically guarantee their current price on any SLING TV service through August 1, 2021 (that’s just $30 per month for SLING Orange or SLING Blue).

No charging brick? You’ve got to be kidding!

There’s a rumor going around that Apple won’t be including a charging brick with the new iPhone 12. That means when I buy a new iPhone I’m going to have to buy a charger as an add-on purchase to be able to use it. I don’t know about you but this is just wrong and it feels like Apple nickel-and-diming us to improve their margins. The thought of this just pisses me off. Apple this is stupid!

You have to ask yourself why would Apple do this? M.G. Siegler wrote about this subject over on his blog 500ish.com.

None of those points are false, but let’s be honest here, that’s not why Apple is doing this. Here’s the breakdown in terms of order of importance as I see it:

1) Margins. The next iPhone’s margins are going to be under assault due to the ‘5G’ components, amongst other new technology. And COVID has altered the supply chain immensely. The charger may not seem like a huge margin savings, but it adds up in aggregate. Also, there’s up-sell opportunities galore with the new faster charging bricks — or, even better, Apple’s inevitably still-forthcoming wireless charging solution.

2) Shipping. You know what else adds up in aggregate? Shipping these units from China. If Apple can make these boxes more svelte, they’ll pack more in. This helps the environment, in a way, but it helps the bottom line even more.

3) Transitions. The next iPhone — the one after this one — is already rumored to forgo wired charging entirely. If that’s the case, it may make some sense to move people beyond the notion of including a wired charger in the iPhone box now. Force more customers to get ready for the wireless charging revolution.

4) Environment. This is on the list. But it’s the last item on the list. Not the first item on the list.

I know that all sounds cynical, but come on, that is clearly what is happening here. It’s not all point number one, but it’s a combination of all four points with the first one being the most important in terms of deciding what to do here. They could have made this change at any point over the past few years with the same rationale. Yet they’re doing it this year.

Again, I’m sitting here shitting on a decision that is a rumor. But the source (which is a second source, no less) would seem to be credible enough that this is likely going to happen. And so maybe there’s still a chance to affect the outcome. Not within the boxes themselves — that ship has undoubtedly already sailed, even if the shipping containers haven’t yet — but perhaps there’s an opportunity to offer a power brick as a free add-on for those who want/need one at the time of an iPhone purchase.

Again this is just stupid to sell a product without being able to fully use it out of the box. And that’s exactly what Apple appears to be doing if the rumor is true.

Three finger swipe to undo

I had been writing an article in Ulysses for the last couple of days and was just about done with it. Last evening while lying in bed I was reviewing it on my iPhone and I noticed something that I wanted to change. So I selected the change and deleted it. Unknowingly I had somehow selected the text of the entire article and everything I had written was gone. Ah Shit!

I couldn’t figure out a way to get what I’d written back. I checked for a Ulysses backup but to my surprise, Ulysses doesn’t backup external files and folders and the article was in a Dropbox folder. Next, I tried a google search for a Ulysses undo action and again no luck. So at this point, everything that I’d written was gone.

This morning I was listening to an episode of Accidental Tech Podcast and Casey Liss happened to mention three-finger swipe for undo. I don’t remember in what context he mentioned it but it sure got my attention. I immediately thought I wish I had known this yesterday. It would have saved my ass.

Here’s how it works. Swipe left with three fingers on the active app to undo your last actions. To redo your last action, swipe right with three fingers. This works on iOS and iPadOS.

The Sweet Setup has a good article on text formatting gestures that you can find it here.

Hey controversy from a user perspective

As you have probably seen this past week, there has been a lot of controversy over the Hey.com email app being rejected from the Apple App Store.

Here’s some background on what the brew haha is about.

The Verge

Apple is threatening to remove Hey.com from the App Store if the ambitious new email service doesn’t begin offering an in-app subscription and sharing a cut of its revenue, according to an executive at Basecamp, which makes Hey.

David Heinemeier Hansson, the CTO of Basecamp, said that Apple is acting like “gangsters,” rejecting a bug fix update and asking the company in a phone call to commit to adding an in-app subscription to prevent it from being removed. “I was taken aback by how brazen that threat was,” Heinemeier Hansson told The Verge. “I thought you were supposed to wrap the threats in euphemisms or something. But it was pretty clear.”

In an email to The Verge, Apple said that it requires all developers to follow strict guidelines around business models. The company declined to comment specifically on Hey, but said that App Store review guidelines require an in-app purchase option if an app wants to offer access to content purchased on another platform. Apple suggested the call to Hey’s team was not out of the ordinary, saying it always works with developers to bring them into compliance. Apple also told Protocol that the app shouldn’t have been approved in the first place.

The developer community has been very vocal in siding with the app’s developer. But there’s another side to this story. I view this situation from a user perspective rather than a developer. So the question is how does Apple’s operation of the App Store affect me?

Ben Brooks wrote a piece about the controversy which I was intrigued by. It sums up how I as a user feel about the situation.

Hey, Controversy – The Brooks Review

FOCUS ON USERS

Apple employs an extremely simple, but effective business strategy: focus on making the best experience for users, and you will make loads of money. Amazon, Google, Uber, and many others copy this. But Apple is king of this strategy.

If Hey.com, or any other developer, wants an exception to the rule, then you need to prove that the best thing for the user is to grant that exception. Allow me to explain in two cases.

NETFLIX

You cannot sign up for Netflix in the Netflix app, and Apple allows this and they say the do because it is a content consumption app. Which is likely a good cover-your-ass statement. The real reason: not having Netflix on the App Store would be objectively worse for users than Apple bending the IAP subscription rule.

Or put another way: if Android has a Netflix app, and iOS does not, then iOS is likely to lose more iOS users and thus profit than they would if they just waived rule and allowed the app. So even though the Netflix app is not an ideal user experience, it is the best Apple can do and Apple clearly feels not having Netflix on the iPhone is worse for the user than bending the IAP rules.

HEY.COM

Now what Hey.com is saying: users have to subscribe on our website. What Apple is saying: that’s a worse user experience.

Stop there, because I know a ton of you agree with Hey.com, but I need you to be realistic as an iOS user. Is your argument that, as a user, the best experience is to use Safari to sign up and pay for Hey.com, and then further to always have to go to their website to manage that auto-recurring subscription? Is that really the argument? I think not.

Because that’s the worst user experience. The best is to have the App Store manage it, it makes signing up easier, safer, and faster. It makes management way easier.

So Apple, in looking at this says: it is objectively worse for users to bend the IAP rule, and by blocking Hey.com we are not likely to lose any meaningful amount of users. There are plenty of other options, so no, we will not make the experience worse for users.

Hey did not prove their case, and Apple sided with the users. You are also a user. Do you really want all these subscription based apps to start punting you to a website to sign up? Or do you actually find IAPs the best way to pay for subscriptions?

Yeah… Apple clearly agrees with you, that IAP subscriptions are way better than web subscriptions. And that’s why Hey.com got rejected, and frankly was always rolling the dice.

Ben’s article is well written and worth reading in full. You can find it here.

Apple Watch calls 911 after man fainted

This is one of the reasons I wear an Apple Watch. According to a report by Phoenix, Arizona news outlet KATR an Apple Watch user fainted and collapsed, and the fall detection feature called 911.

On April 23, the Chandler Police Department’s Communications Center received a 911 call from a computer-enhanced voice indicating an Apple Watch user had fallen and was not responding.

The voice provided near-exact latitude and longitude coordinates of the man’s location to first responders.

Patrol officers and the Chandler Fire Department were dispatched to the location. They found the man wearing the Apple Watch had fainted and collapsed.

“He would never have been able to provide us his location or any information on what was going on,” said dispatch supervisor Adriana Cacciola. “He wasn’t even aware that any help was coming until we were already there.”

I have fallen a few times and Fall Detection has worked for me each time. Luckily my falls haven’t required emergency services. If you have an Apple Watch you might want to make sure Fall Detection is on. It could save your life.

Security Update 2020-003 for Mojave brings back the Catalina update reminder

This morning I ran Mojave Security Update 2020-03 released yesterday on my MacBook Pro. After updating to my surprise the Catalina update was back.

This pissed me off because I never planned on upgrading to Catalina. That’s why I had previously hidden it using the terminal command (sudo softwareupdate –ignore “macOS Catalina”).

Now in 10.14, you can no longer use softwareupdate —ignore to hide/block a major Update like macOS Catalina after installing the 2020-003 Security Update. I tried and this is what I got:

“Ignored updates:
(
“macOS Catalina”
)

Ignoring software updates is deprecated.
The ability to ignore individual updates will be removed in a future release of macOS.”

Users Beware! This feels like Apple trying to trick/force us on to Catalina.

I found this Mr. Macintosh article that explains what’s happening in more detail.

Weight management

Over the last few months, I’ve put on a few extra pounds. I’m not happy about that so last Wednesday I decided to do something about it.

Back in the day when I was racing bicycles competitively I always paid very close attention to my weight so that I would be at my optimum race weight. So to get my weight under control now I’m going to use the same strategy that I used when I was racing.

Weight management is calories in and calories out. Eat more calories than you burn and you gain weight. Burn more calories than you eat and you lose weight.

I only want to lose 5 pounds. You might say that’s hardly worth worrying about. For most people that might be true. But for me that 5 pounds makes a difference in how my clothes fit and hence how I feel.

To get started I calculated my BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) and RDI (Recommended Daily Intake) so that I have my baseline calorie requirements. To manage my calorie intake I’m using the iOS app Fat Secret and for calorie burn, I’m using the Apple Watch and the Activity app.

I’ve lost 2 pounds so far so I know my strategy is working.

Going iPad first

For the past few weeks, I’ve been using my iPad as my main computing device. This has been possible thanks to iPadOS 13.4 advanced mouse and trackpad support. I’m using my 9.7” 5th generation iPad, Magic Trackpad 2, and Logi Slim Folio keyboard. For the most part, this setup has worked out great.

I like the way M.G. Siegler wrote about using the iPad in a recent post on 500ish. It describes exactly how I’m feeling about the iPad now.

For some people, depending on their workflows, they will absolutely need a desktop OS to be as productive as possible. I am not one of those people. For me, it’s more just getting used to doing everything that I used to do on macOS on iOS. And with the new keyboard + trackpad, I think I can now get there. Again, it will just take some time and retraining my brain on certain things. If I can do that, I actually think the iPad will be far preferable for me to do everything I do right now on a Mac.

With that in mind, I’m looking forward to getting a new iPad. Interestingly, a few days ago, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported that Apple will introduce a new cheaper iPad at the end of the year with a 10.8-inch screen, larger than the 10.2-inch iPad and 10.5-inch iPad Air we know today. I’m guessing that this iPad would work out nicely for me.