¶ iPhone Batteries and Performance

A little over a week ago Apple addressed the perception some users had about their iPhones running slower. Apple’s statement then:

Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices. Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components.

Last year we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions. We’ve now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future.

Put simply, Apple stated (admitted?) that they began limiting the power draw on the battery during peak performance in January 2017 on iPhones with aged batteries that couldn’t handle the load.

I believe Apple in that the goal of this software feature was to prevent unexpected shutdowns, thus extending the useful life of an older iPhone, even if that meant it wasn’t as performant as it was when brand new.

The rest of the Internet seemed to disagree, and took this as proof of the age-old conspiracy theory that Apple intentionally plans the obsolescence of iPhones to drive sales of newer models.

That idea is folly, and ridiculous. Full stop.

This evidence is in the history. Apple offers software and hardware support for older models of phones far longer than anyone else in the industry. They also sell older models brand new at more affordable prices to make sure there is an iPhone model for almost anyone.

It simply does not make any sense that Apple would plan to slow down a brand new older model to push someone to buy a newer, more expensive model. That works directly against Apple’s best interests for itself and its customers.

That said, the perception that Apple intentionally hobbles devices out of greed is one that is rampant, and has been for years. I have family who outright believe it. And Apple’s lack of communication and clarity at the outset of rolling out this feature only helped to sow more distrust.

This afternoon, Apple blinked. They issued an open letter apologizing for their lack of clarity.

We’ve been hearing feedback from our customers about the way we handle performance for iPhones with older batteries and how we have communicated that process. We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize. There’s been a lot of misunderstanding about this issue, so we would like to clarify and let you know about some changes we’re making.

First and foremost, we have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades. Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.

I very much believe Apple in that second paragraph. It fits in line with the history of their actions. To drive the point home further, Apple concludes with action.

We’ve always wanted our customers to be able to use their iPhones as long as possible. We’re proud that Apple products are known for their durability, and for holding their value longer than our competitors’ devices.

To address our customers’ concerns, to recognize their loyalty and to regain the trust of anyone who may have doubted Apple’s intentions, we’ve decided to take the following steps:

  • Apple is reducing the price of an out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacement by $50 — from $79 to $29 — for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later whose battery needs to be replaced, available worldwide through December 2018. Details will be provided soon on apple.com.
  • Early in 2018, we will issue an iOS software update with new features that give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery, so they can see for themselves if its condition is affecting performance.
  • As always, our team is working on ways to make the user experience even better, including improving how we manage performance and avoid unexpected shutdowns as batteries age.

At Apple, our customers’ trust means everything to us. We will never stop working to earn and maintain it. We are able to do the work we love only because of your faith and support — and we will never forget that or take it for granted.

Apple is making the right moves here. They are carving themselves off a giant piece of humble pie. The forthcoming update to iOS with greater transparency for battery health is how this feature should have been introduced. The $29 battery replacement fee should probably be permanent instead of just for 2018. We’ll see what happens there.

I can’t sum up my thoughts about Apple’s misstep with communication better than John Gruber did earlier today:

The funny thing about Apple is that their communication problems tend to happen only when they don’t communicate at all. This whole iPhone battery controversy erupted only because Apple had never explained what was going on, which opened them up to accusations of nefarious intent. When they do communicate, they do so with clarity, plain language, and honesty. And, when called for — as in this case — humility.

Twitterrific for macOS: A Phoenix from the Ashes

For me, Twitterrific has always been synonymous with using Twitter. I used it first on the Mac in March 2008. I even downloaded the app first, then signed up for Twitter to use it! And Twitterrific was the first app I installed from the App Store on iOS when it launched in July 2008. I tried a couple other clients when they came around, namely Tweetie and Tweetbot, but Twitterrific’s unified timeline always brought me back to the nest.

For the past several years, the Mac version has fallen by the wayside, and I got used to only using Twitterrific on iOS. Then, earlier this year, the Iconfactory set up a Kickstarter to resurrect Twitterrific for Mac as a fresh, modern client. I couldn’t sign up fast enough. The campaign was successful, and all summer I have been enjoying the weekly beta releases as the new Twitterrific took shape.

Twitterrific_macOS_logo.png

Today, Twitterrific 5.0 for macOS is available for everyone on the Mac App Store. It packs a ton of features into the new app, stays in sync with the iOS versions using iCloud, has fantastic keyboard and accessibility support, delightful sounds, and a few nostalgic Easter eggs from past incarnations.

Beyond any feature, though, is the care that the folks at the Iconfactory put into Twitterrific. It is clearly a labor of love, and the people behind it are genuinely fantastic. I suggest you follow a few of them on Twitter, and say hi. The best part about the Apple community isn’t just the apps we use to change our life and work, it’s the people and friendships made along the way.

In a sea of one-off money-grab apps, there are a precious few with a human story behind them. Twitterrific is one of them. And that’s why it is well worth supporting the team by purchasing Twitterrific for macOS.

Squarespace's New Apps

When I launched techese, I had been yearning to get away from the likes of WordPress. I had settled on Squarespace back then and have been with it ever since. I still wholeheartedly recommend Squarespace to folks who ask me what they should use to create a site.

One thing I have always had issue with was their iOS app. It wasn't all that good back on Squarespace 5, and since Squarespace 6, it has been a bag of hurt.

Thankfully, Squarespace has released two new apps to handle the crowded functions of the previous app.

Blog handles the writing and posting part while Metrics handles all your stats. Both apps are gorgeous and work really well. These were worth the wait. I'm really happy that Markdown is a first-class citizen in the Blog app.

I have two issues which will hopefully be taken care of in updates. The first is that the Blog app is missing the social sharing toggles of the web interface. If it had those, I could truly do everything I wanted with posting from iOS, which would rock.

The second issue is that Metrics doesn't have an iPad UI, so it scales up in the ugly 2x mode.

Beyond those two omissions, the apps work great, are fast, and chock full of the feature set you would expect. I hope Squarespace treats these apps as first class, iterating often, instead of letting them languish as the previous app did for so long.

Twitterrific 5.2 Gets Pushy

Ever since Iconfactory released a long awaited rewrite to Twitterrific last year, they have been hard at work on bringing the classiest Twitter app out there to being extremely powerful.

Their previous update, 5.1, added Muffling, which is muting for users, hashtags, and links done with a spin that only Iconfactory could come up with. And when 5.1 was released, the release notes subtly teased the next update with an auspicious phrase:

Ollie will return in…OCTOPUSHY

Today’s 5.2 update to Twitterrific features Push Notifications. You can receive notifications for Direct Mentions, Replies, Mentions, Favorites, Retweets, and Follows. They even have fantastic little color symbols that show in the notification itself, which I have found handy to know the type of message at a glance.

Right now Iconfactory is launching Push as a beta, with only the first 1000 accounts gaining access today, though they will be rolling out availability over the next couple weeks. This is being done to ensure their servers are able to handle the load. If you weren’t able to activate push yet, try again the next day to see if you can. Once your account is enabled, it can be enabled on any other number of devices.

There are all sorts of other updates in 5.2. A couple other new features are profiles now show Twitter’s banner images (and look great!) and discussions can be shared via email or Storify.

Some of the improvements are that the timeline can now show 600 tweets at a time up from 400, improvements to username autocomplete, and the load more button now animates as loads, along with a laundry list of other improvements and fixes.

If you are looking for the friendliest Twitter client out there, you need Twitterrific. Everyone’s favorite blue bird costs just $2.99 in the App Store.

Watch Apple's October Event Live Today

A couple years ago Apple live-streamed a couple of their events, which was amazingly awesome. Then they stopped — until now.

Today at 10:00 am PDT, you can watch the Apple Event live from an iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, or a web browser or you can watch on a special Apple Event channel that appeared on Apple TVs all over this morning. (You may need to reboot the Apple TV to see the channel appear).

I’m glad to see the return of live-streaming, and I’m pretty thankful to be a remote worker from home.

Twitterrific Rises

Gedeon Maheux for The Iconfactory, responding to Twitter’s new guidelines for third-party developers:

For the past several months, we’ve been working on a major update to Twitterrific that we’re very excited about. There were concerns that this new version might end up on the cutting room floor prior to Twitter’s announcement, but after reviewing the new restrictions and speaking with the team at Twitter, we’re pleased to report that our development plans remain unchanged.

We’re re-doubling our efforts to bring you an all-new version of Twitterrific: one that complies with Twitter’s new guidelines and makes reading and posting to Twitter even easier and more fun.

I have been using Twitterrific since my first day on Twitter. I’ve tried other clients at times, such as Tweetie and Tweetbot, but I’ve always come back to Twitterrific.

For me, the reasons I have always preferred Twitterrific are its ease of use, unified timeline, unified feel across Mac & iOS, and chiefly, its beauty.

I can’t wait to see the next take on the first and best Twitter client I’ve known.

Also, let’s not forget how important third-party clients have been to Twitter, and how many things Twitterrific did first.

Starbucks Signs Up with Square

I am a huge fan of Square. I use it to accept payments. My wife uses it to accept payments. I use their amazing Pay with Square app to buy coffee at my favroite coffee shop.

Even though I have become a bit snobbish about my coffee in the past year, Starbucks helped me to have an interest in the caffeinated beverage. And I still like Starbucks every now and then, because they were integral into kicking off this little area of my life that I take a little pride in. I still like to go and sit at a Starbucks every now and then, and when I am on the road, I know I can get a fairly decent brew there.

Today, Square and Starbucks have teamed up. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Square:

It’s amazing to think that Starbucks began as a single coffee shop in Seattle. The concept of taking a good idea and helping it grow is not foreign to them, and Starbucks doesn’t just view Square as the simplest way to accept payments. They see an opportunity to extend and accelerate a model they grew up with: the idea that business is local and that community plays a vital role in job creation and economic vitality. When Starbucks builds the Square Directory into their apps and in-store Digital Network, it gives Square new visibility, driving more customers to opt-in to Square. And with nearly 7,000 Starbucks stores soon accepting Square, these new payers will be able to find your business (including coffeehouses) and pay with their name, building community and creating value.

This is huge and exciting. I think this is going to be a fantastic partnership for both companies, and I hope more people and businesses sign up for Square.

Onward.