Opinion ▪ June 23

App Store Confederate Flag

Apple’s App Store should join Amazon, eBay, Walmart and others in boycotting the Confederate Flag

[Update 6/25/15: Apple has begun removing apps that “use the Confederate flag in offensive or mean-spirited ways” without removing apps with “educational or historical uses”.]

Apple’s Tim Cook added his voice to the chorus of CEOs speaking against displaying the Confederate Flag on Sunday, indirectly referencing it as a symbol for racism. In a tweet, Cook called to honor the lives of the victims in last week’s tragic South Carolina shooting by “eradicating racism & removing the symbols & words that feed it.” An Alabama native like myself, Cook has been a strong proponent for equality during his tenure as CEO, often speaking out against the South’s tarnished history and the changes we still need to address.

With major physical and online retailers including Walmart, Target, Sears, Amazon, eBay, and Etsy now publicly supporting the boycott against the Confederate flag by removing merchandise that displays it, I believe it’s time for Tim Cook’s Apple to join the campaign by removing digital goods that display the Confederate flag on the App Store. expand full story

At this year’s WWDC, Apple devoted a lot of onstage attention to a revamp of the Notes app in both iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan. One of my favorite additions is inline web link previews. Just paste a URL, and Notes will turn the link into a preview bubble with a thumbnail for the page, as well as a title and description.

This got me thinking about the possibility of applying the same functionality to other apps. The most obvious place to start, in my opinion, is Messages. I’m constantly sending and receiving links through iMessage throughout the day, whether it’s to a web page, an image, or even just a tweet. Having to flip back and forth between Safari and Messages just to see what the link I’ve been sent is removes me from the conversation and slows down my workflow.

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Opinion ▪ June 22

Pop star Taylor Swift dominated the headlines yesterday after publishing an open letter to Apple in which she wrote that it was “shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company” to not pay artists during Apple Music’s free trial. By the end of the day, the whole episode had an almost storybook perfect ending with Apple’s Eddy Cue announcing that the company decided it will compensate artists during the free period. Reactions today have been all over the place, but for Apple Music, the upcoming streaming music service, is the Taylor Swift episode a PR nightmare or a publicity dream? expand full story

I first speculated that Apple might one day become a bank almost a year before the launch of Apple Pay. What triggered that thought was the use of Touch ID for iTunes purchases and the depth of security involved in the secure enclave used by Apple’s fingerprint system. It was clear even then that Apple had big ambitions in the mobile payment field.

Now that Apple Pay has launched, and already proven a big success, I think the argument for Apple to make the move are even stronger. So here are seven reasons I think Apple may become a bank within the next five years …  expand full story

Opinion ▪ June 12

Spotify is almost synonymous with streaming music. It may not quite have managed the Google trick of becoming a verb, but it’s pretty much the default way to stream music.

Spotify has 75M active users and, despite doubts in many quarters about its ability to convert free users to paid subscribers, it has succeeded there too. The company announced this week that it now has more than 20M paid subscribers, half of them added in the past 12 months, at a rate of one every three seconds.

It seems hard to imagine that any new entrant into the market, even one with Apple’s clout, could steal its crown. And yet early market leaders often look unassailable – until they are left behind. Look at Nokia or BlackBerry. I wondered back in February whether Apple could decimate the competition, and now the company has thrown the wraps off Apple Music, I think it’s time to revisit the question …

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Opinion ▪ June 10

I described my own journey with the Apple Watch, from smartwatch skeptic to daily user, in a four-part diary (parts one, two, three and four). My uncertainty was less to do with the specifics of the Apple Watch and more to do with whether there was a role in my life for any kind of smartwatch.

But there are those who have been holding off for another reason: they steer clear of first-generation Apple products of all kinds. Their thinking is that the 1st-gen model tends to have a bunch of glitches, with the 2nd-gen product not just getting those worked out but also adding significantly to the functionality too.

This is a perfectly reasonable viewpoint, with significant historical evidence behind it – from the original Macintosh onward (one could even say from the Apple I). But with Apple having added a whole bunch of functionality to the existing Watch via watchOS 2, has the company managed to give the first-gen refuseniks enough reason to reconsider … ?  expand full story

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