Launched Podcast by Charlie Chapman

Back in the summer of 2019, I helped Beta test Dark Noise – a White noise app by first-time iOS indie developer Charlie Chapman. I witnessed the incredible development of Dark Noise during the beta stages through to launch, and the deserving attention it garnered as the best of its kind on the iOS App Store.

Charlie unselfishly and openly shared his journey on his blog about the launch and promotion of Dark Noise, including stats after a month in the App Store. Not only content with sharing his journey following his experiences of creating and launching an app, but Charlie has also now started a podcast called Launched:

Launched is a fortnightly show where I interview app developers and other creators about their experiences releasing their creation out into the world.

Being a huge fan of iOS, I have always had a high level of intrigue into what it takes to develop, launch and market an iOS app. Launched, is here to guide you into that world, thanks to the willing participation of developers and creators sharing their stories. Learning about these stories behind the creations as a user gives me a much better perspective and bolster the respect I have for app developers. As for Charlie’s fellow developers and creators, I have no doubt they’ll pick up some tips that could help them in current and future projects.

Launched has kicked off with great on-point conversations that keep you paying attention to the discussion and if like me, you’re always interested in learning the journeys of iOS app development, launch, promotion and any other associated tidbits, then go forth and subscribe.

Project Connected Home over IP (CHoIP)

Amazon, Apple, Google, Zigbee Alliance and board members form working group to develop open standard for smart home devices.

The goal of the Connected Home over IP project is to simplify development for manufacturers and increase compatibility for consumers. The project is built around a shared belief that smart home devices should be secure, reliable, and seamless to use. By building upon Internet Protocol (IP), the project aims to enable communication across smart home devices, mobile apps, and cloud services and to define a specific set of IP-based networking technologies for device certification.

The project aims to make it easier for device manufacturers to build devices that are compatible with smart home and voice services such as Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant, and others. The planned protocol will complement existing technologies, and working group members encourage device manufacturers to continue innovating using technologies available today.

When companies take a step back from their efforts to cement their different standards and protocols as the best in-class and work together for the greater good to provide a universal standard, then consumers reap the benefits. This project undoubtedly will help the growth and stability of home automation and eradicate the current levels of shoehorning solutions to make platforms compatible, which is a massive deterrent for many potential adopters.

I hope to see more of these kinds of collaborations from tech giants going forward. It’s a win for everyone.

Blockbuster new product expectations from Apple

MOSSBERG: TIM COOK’S APPLE HAD A GREAT DECADE BUT NO NEW BLOCKBUSTERS.

The pressure was on for Cook’s Apple to bring out the next beautiful, premium, innovative product to maintain Apple’s streak, its margins, and its growing ecosystem of devoted users.

Cook’s first big all-new product was the Apple Watch, which was released in 2015. But it took until the third generation of the Watch in 2017 for Apple to find the right hardware, software, and functionality. It was essentially a reboot.

The other major hardware success under the Cook regime has been AirPods, the wireless earbuds released in 2016 that seem to be everywhere, looking like white plastic earrings.

Respect to Mossberg. A calculated fair assessment from a seasoned veteran with a solid understanding of the consumer tech industry.

One can argue the AirPods and Apple Watch could’ve been the blockbuster new products of the past decade considering how they’ve dominated their respective categories. What they lacked, perhaps, is Steve Jobs’ mind-blowing marketing gasconade that would’ve elevated them beyond their current status. Tim, isn’t a product guy, as Uncle Walt describes him. Jobs, as he was known, was an astute salesman. And perhaps that’s one of the missing puzzle pieces why none of the new product categories released in the past decade had the same blockbuster effect as say, the iPhone.

I’m not the least worried about Apples ability to produce another blockbuster product in the coming decade. What I’d rather see first and foremost as we enter that period, is stability across the board; from company culture to products and services.

Bill Atkinson on joining Apple Computer 40 Years ago

There’s a lot of fine nerdery in this story reflecting on his 12 years spent at Apple Computer ‘making tools to empower creative people’. The story started with the recruitment process:

Toward the end of the day, Steve took me aside and told me that any hot new technology I read about was actually two years old. “There is a lag time between when someting is invented, and when it is available to the public. If you want to make a difference in the world, you have to be ahead of that lag time. Come to Apple where you can invent the future and change millions of people’s lives.”

The part I also find fascinating is Steve Jobs’ ability to cap off a lengthy recruitment day with a visual analogy in helping persuade him. Bill flipped from his initial staunch desire to finish off his PhD in neuroscience, to dropping ten years of college education and joining Apple Computer:

Then he gave me a visual: “Think how fun it is to surf on the front edge of a wave, and how not-fun to dog paddle on the tail edge of the same wave.” That image persuaded me, and within two weeks I had quit my graduate program, moved to Silicon Valley, and was working at Apple Computer.

Very reminiscent to the more commonly known story about recruiting John Sculley. Steve, also painted a visualisation that made Sculley take a more in-depth look into the level of fulfilment his current job offered him: “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?”

Steve’s ability to tactfully deliver soul searching closing questions and remarks during the recruitment process was admirable.

I love reading these types of stories.

Source: Michael Tsai.

New home for Chambyte

Given the direction iPadOS is headed, I am happily living life with the iPad as my primary desktop computing device.

With that said, I appreciate the flexibility of platform websites and their accompanying apps optimised to work well on the iPad. The Squarespace platform on which Chambyte was hosted has an excellent app to manage blog content and publishing, to a certain level. Still, accessing the website on desktop-class Safari on the iPad has never been fully optimised – the CMS was unusable for me. I didn’t particularly appreciate being restricted to just using the app to edit and publish.

The more extensive the range to which I can access the site and perform the tasks they’re built for, the better. Due to the limitations, I have switched the hosting platform to WordPress, which allows access from multiple outlets1 to manage and publish content amongst other advantages. I enjoy having this level of flexibility.

Thanks to all that have subscribed to the previous RSS feed. If it’s not too much trouble, please subscribe to the new feed here: www.chambyte.net/feed.

Please do let me know of any abnormalities with the site as I continue to make refinements on performance and accessibility – working on Dark Mode option.

Your continued support is appreciated.


  1. The WordPress iOS apps, Safari on iOS, writing and text editors like iAWriter, Ulysses. ↩︎

Switching default Safari Search Engine on iOS

DuckDuckGo iOS

DuckDuckGo has been one of the default Safari search engines since iOS 8. I tried keeping an eye out on its progress as an alternative search engine to Google Search because of their Policy advocating on protecting user privacy. It wasn’t until late 2018 when a tweet from Walt Mossberg triggered me to revisit and review the progress. I switched my iPhone default search engine from Google to DuckDuckGo and initially thought I wouldn’t stick with it.

I thought Google will always be better at delivering the most relevant and correct results. I was wrong. I found DuckDuckGo equally useful to the point I switched to it on all of my iOS devices as the default search engine in Safari. It’s been a year since I made the switch and DuckDuckGo never faltered, to the point, throughout the year, I never thought about going back to using Google Search. Such is the way the mind works when you see no faults in whatever defaults you use as your go-to tool.

Upgrading to the AirPods Pro

Left: AirPods Pro. Right: AirPods 2.0

I heavily rely on the comforts of music. I am not often without a pair of headphones on my person wherever I am and was happily using the Apple EarPods for quite a long time. Despite their sound quality inferiority, when compared to other garden variety headphones supplied with new phones, the EarPods did an excellent job for what they are. It was time, however, for me to explore the world of wireless headphones, and being in the Apple ecosystem, where better to start than with the AirPods.

I bought my first pair of AirPods in March this year when Apple released the second-gen AirPods, and they’ve delighted me in all the ways I hoped they would; from convenience, to comfort, and improved sound quality over the EarPods. I was instantaneously a convert and a big fan of them, which led me to learn more about the true wireless earbuds evolution and started looking forward to what’s next with AirPods.

The iPhone 11 Pro Smart Battery Case

Image Credit: Apple Store

The original Mophie Juice Pack and the Juice Pack Air were the last battery cases I owned and used on the iPhone. They did a pretty great job, and I appreciated being able to keep my iPhone juiced up in situations where I am away from a charging outlet on my photo walks.

Talking of photo walks, considering I have plans to restart the hobby, I already planned on getting a battery bank, but it now makes sense to look into Apples Smart Battery Case for the iPhone 11 Pro instead. The dedicated camera button on the case to quickly launch the camera whether the iPhone screen is locked or unlocked is a bonus and the deciding factor in getting the Smart Battery Case instead of a battery bank. It will no doubt prove to be incredibly useful.

Even though I continue to experience and enjoy the vastly improved battery life on my iPhone 11 Pro Max, having a back-up in case a short photo walk turns into a lengthy all-day affair makes sense. I plan not only resurrecting my photography hobby but also journey into the world of videography as well, given how good the iPhone 11 Pro shoots video now. For that, I will take all the extra juice I can get.

WWDC app renamed Apple Developer app

Starting today, the WWDC app is now the Apple Developer app and delivers in-depth information from Apple experts all year round. Stay up to date with the latest developer news, informative videos, WWDC content, and more.

I subscribed via RSS to the Apple developer news feed where I keep up to date with news and other relevant information about iOS development. I appreciate, however, the promise of more content from the developer news feed with year-round in-depth information sharing from “Apple experts via the newly rebranded Apple Developer app.

What used to be – for me, and I’m sure for many – a yearly install of the WWDC app for the week-long WWDC event looks set to now claim a permanent home on my iOS devices. Being able to receive timely push notification updates whenever new content is published is a big plus. I dig the new icon, too.

Source.

Upgrading to the iPhone 11 Pro Max

 iPhone 11 Pro Max
iPhone 11 Pro Max

Leading to the September 10 Apple Keynote Event announcing the next generation of iPhones, I had little intention of upgrading for the simple fact that I purchased the 512GB iPhone XS Max six months earlier. I planned on using the XS Max and wait for the 2020 iPhone. However, I had a reservation that, based on enhancements, i.e. the camera, battery life, I will make considerations on whether to upgrade.

The iPhone 11 Pro Camera

Camera improvements on the iPhone have always been a focal point, and this year is no different. To date, the camera enhancements on the iPhone 11 Pro is the best I’ve seen on an iPhone. I’ve always been a fan of the iPhone camera and the plethora of photo taking and editing apps. Photography apps dominate my App Store library by a considerable margin.

When Instagram exclusively launched on iOS in 2010, as a photo-sharing platform, which helped fuel the rise of iPhone photography, commonly known as iPhoneography, I was intensely active with photo walks.

Although my photo walk activities and sharing snaps online waned over the years, I continued to use the iPhone camera to snap unmissable photo opportunities actively. The new camera enhancements on the iPhone 11 Pro have whetted my appetite to start photo walks again. With that in my mind, I went out on a short photo walk to see how well the new ultra-wide camera lens handles and captures vast areas. I was not disappointed. I, later on, went out for another walk to capture the night scene with the new Night Mode, I was in awe.

In a strongly contested world of mobile photography, the iPhone camera has once again positioned itself to be the undisputed champion of mobile photography.

Enjoy.

Night Mode


Telephoto, Wide, Ultra Wide.

Apple Music Beta Comes to the Web

Apple Music is continuing its expansion to reach a broader audience in its pursuit of Spotify with the launch of Apple Music Beta on web browsers

The Verge reports:

The beta site will be missing some features, including the flagship Beats 1 live broadcast, some of Apple’s original music video content, and smart playlists. But Apple says it’ll continue to build out the website over time. Additionally, you’ll eventually be able to sign up for Apple Music directly from the web, although that won’t be available in this version of the beta.

Apple Music subscribers can now access and stream the entire Apple Music catalogue including their personalised libraries from their preferred web browsers on mobile and desktop, including iOS 13 desktop-class Safari on the iPad.

Apple to Expand Authorised Repair Service Network

Genius
Image Credit: Apple Support

Apple today announced a new repair program, offering customers additional options for the most common out-of-warranty iPhone repairs. Apple will provide more independent repair businesses — large or small — with the same genuine parts, tools, training, repair manuals and diagnostics as its Apple Authorised Service Providers (AASPs). The program is launching in the US with plans to expand to other countries.

Upcoming Changes to Siri Privacy Protection

We know that customers have been concerned by recent reports of people listening to audio Siri recordings as part of our Siri quality evaluation process — which we call grading. We heard their concerns, immediately suspended human grading of Siri requests and began a thorough review of our practices and policies. We’ve decided to make some changes to Siri as a result.

Following the suspension of using human contractors to listen to Siri audio snippets for its Siri grading program to improve Siri’s effectiveness in providing accurate responses to queries, Apple have now temporarily terminated the program and offered its apologies for failing to live up to their high ideals and upholding the level of privacy its users are accustom to.

However, the practice will resume in-house when upcoming software updates are released, and a few evaluation process changes have been made:

First, by default, we will no longer retain audio recordings of Siri interactions. We will continue to use computer-generated transcripts to help Siri improve.

Second, users will be able to opt in to help Siri improve by learning from the audio samples of their requests. We hope that many people will choose to help Siri get better, knowing that Apple respects their data and has strong privacy controls in place. Those who choose to participate will be able to opt out at any time.

Third, when customers opt in, only Apple employees will be allowed to listen to audio samples of the Siri interactions. Our team will work to delete any recording which is determined to be an inadvertent trigger of Siri.

I’m glad to see Apple continue to take ownership of its responsibilities in addressing the situation, offering its apologies, and putting forth changes that align with their strong privacy stance and the respect it has for its users. I will be sure to opt-in to help with improving Siri.

Source: Apple Newsroom.

Dark Noise: A Refined White Noise App with a Liquid Smooth Design

Dark Noise Press Kit
Dark Noise for iPad and iPhone

I am new to the world of utilising White noise as a medium to emulate specific types of background noise to help sleep, relax or focus when writing even though I am aware of its existence. Music is the only tried and trusted medium I have used up until now. I had the chance to help Beta test the development of Dark Noise by iOS developer Charlie Chapman, which also prompted me to further look into the whole world of using White noise for relaxation and focus as an alternative to listening to music. I can safely say Dark Noise has introduced an incredibly reliable tool that reenacts the effects of noise to enter a calm, relaxed or focused state.

iPadOS Reignites My Love for iPad

 Apple 12.9” iPad Pro running iPadOS 13 Beta.
Apple 12.9” iPad Pro running iPadOS 13 Beta.

In January 2010, Steve Jobs revealed to the world the iPad, the device Apple believed to be the answer to fill the gap between the smartphone and a laptop. Having converted to using an iPhone two years earlier in 2008, I was definitely in that camp; the need for real screen estate portable touch device that allows me to perform the majority of basic tasks I used a laptop and desktop computer for at the time, such as; web browsing, email, reading and media consumption etc. Nothing trivial.

Apple Suspends Siri Data Analysis by Contractors

In a statement to TechCrunch:

“We are committed to delivering a great Siri experience while protecting user privacy. While we conduct a thorough review, we are suspending Siri grading globally. Additionally, as part of a future software update, users will have the ability to choose to participate in grading.”

Despite the delayed response to the criticisms of potential privacy concerns surrounding the use of contractors to analyse and grade Siri search query data – a concern made more prominent by The Guardian’s reporting of the situation – am glad to see Apple take action nonetheless.

Albeit, only a suspension of the program worldwide and not a total cancellation, probably due to needing time to assess better operable options in how to continually process such data without the need of contracted human helpers.

It is great to see Apple take ownership of its responsibilities and holding themselves accountable.

Siri Data Analsysis by Humans

“Often masqueraded under the thin veil of ‘anonymous data collection to improve your experience’, every tech company is susceptible to using data in ways users might not be fully aware of, we are, after all, in a digital age of ubiquitous data harvesting. Whether users tolerate the unethical amassing of data to be sold off without consent is a decision a user should regularly review.”

– Excerpt from a post on Privacy published on Chambyte on 22 July 2019.

A week or so after publishing a post about Apples Privacy Stance in which I stated the reason why I trust the tech giant in defending our right to privacy, UK publication The Guardian published an article about how Apple contractors ‘regularly hear confidential details’ on Siri recordings.

Apple Acquiring Intels Smartphone Modem Business

Acquiring majority of Intels Smartphone modem business is a massive step towards the goal of owning and controlling the primary technologies that are core to the operation of its product lineup that utilises modems, even more so for future products.

“We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products that we make.”

Tim Cook

During the 2009 Earnings call to investors, Tim Cook reiterates Apples long term goal of being the sole proprietor of primary technologies that are the heart and soul of its products:

Apples Privacy Stance

“I want to be absolutely clear that we have never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services. We have also never allowed access to our servers. And we never will. Our commitment to protecting your privacy comes from a deep respect for our customers. We know that your trust doesn’t come easy. That’s why we have and always will work as hard as we can to earn and keep it.”

Tim Cook