Weekly Digest - 2021.23


WWDC 2021

This week Apple held a virtual WWDC conference, and here is what was announced:

iOS 15

  • FaceTime got a grid view, blurred backgrounds, and weblink to schedule a FaceTime call that  will work on PC or Android,
  • SharePlay allows to play videos, movies, TV shows,  music, and screen sharing during FaceTime calls,
  • Spatial audio is now supported thought the system,
  • Focus will manage notifications based on their importance and what we are doing at the moment,
  • Live Text allows to search and copy a text from photos,
  • Wallet will support virtual keys allowing opening cars or hotel room from the phone, also it will support virtual personal IDs and driving licenses,
  • Weather app has been rewritten and now has deeper integration with Dark Sky service,
  • Apple Maps got a new design with more detailed information about the roads, for example you can see the road signs, cross walks, and even 3d version od bridges and overpasses,
  • Safari has been redesigned, but most importantly it supports 3rd party extensions,
  • Siri can now work on the device, without internet connection and it's faster than ever.

iPadOS 15

  • New Home screen is now working like on iOS - widgets are now always visible, we can hide apps or even entire pages, and there is App Library
  • Multitasking got easier with new controls,
  • Notes now has a system wide feature called Quick Note that allows to create a quick note from any place in the iOS or iPadOS. Also the collaboration features has been added to notes, including mentions and activity view,
  • Translate support language auto detection and support handwriting.

watchOS 8

  • Mindfulness - the Breathing app has been extended with meditation features,
  • Sleep can track the respiratory rate and show the results in the Health app,
  • Workout app now supports Pilates and Tai Chi,
  • Photos got new tools to make a watch face with a photo look even better,
  • Home app has been completely redesigned,
  • Apps can now take an advantage from Always-On display.

macOS Montgomery

  • Universal control allows to use the same keyboard and mouse to control multiple macs or iPad,
  • Shortcuts from iOS have finally arrived on macOS,
  • FaceTime, Safari, Photos got similar updates to iOS versions.

Image credits: Apple

Weekly Digest - 2021.22


Stack Overflow sold

Stack Overflow has been sold for $1.8 billion to the tech investor Prosus. Stack Overflow is the most popular website for developer in the world. Its resources are invaluable and available to everyone for free. Hopefully with new investor nothing will change in that matter

Apple's unrealized plans

The trial battle between Apple and Epic gave us insight into the inner-workings of the Apple. One of the sources of information are internal emails. One email in particular is very interesting because it's an agenda for a Steve Jobs' meeting from August 2007. Back the Apple was working on some unreleased products:

  • 15-inch MacBook Air,
  • Mac tablet,
  • new iPod shuffle.

The 15-inch version of the MacBook Air has never been released or even rumored. The Mac Tablet is probably the iPad, which was released 3 years later. And the last, the iPod shuffle has never actually got an update.

Windows 11 is coming?

It looks like a new version of Windows is on the way. Microsoft announced a Windows event for June 24th. Software giant has been teasing this for a while, and it looks like it will be the biggest update in a decade. Recently Microsoft has been added  small, but cool features to the Windows, so hopefully the new version will follow this pattern.

Weekly Digest - 2021.21


Twitter Blue confirmed

A couple of weeks ago we had rumors about Twitter subscription service called Blue. This week we got confirmation that the rumors were true. For $2.99/month we will get:

  • Undo tweet,
  • Reader mode,
  • Collections,
  • Different theme colors,
  • custom App Icons.  

Mac mini Pro?

It looks like we will get a high end version of the Mac mini. According to rumors, new version will have:

  • new and smaller design, with Plexiglass top,
  • magnetic power connector like in new iMacs,
  • port will be the same as in the current Mac mini,
  • the new Apple M1X chip that will be introduced later this year.

Weekly Digest - 2021.18


Starship has landed

SpaceX successfully landed a Starship prototype for the first time. Well, technically it's not the first one, but it's the first that survive the test. The Starship SN15 did the same test as previous prototypes. It launched itself achieving high altitude, and started free-falling. Then, just above the ground, prototype reoriented itself and softly landed on the landing pad.

This is a huge success for the SpaceX. If everything goes as planned, NASA might use Starships for the first two missions to the Moon by around 2024.

Apple vs Epic Games

This week we had the first round of hearings. Here are the takeaways:

  • Apple consider changing the 70/30 split back in 2011. They considered to change it to 75/25 or even 80/20 when the pressure from competitors would be high enough,
  • Apple tried to stop Netflix from abandoning in-app purchases,
  • Tim Sweeney contacted Tim Cook about opening the AppStore in 2015,
  • Epic would have taken a special deal from Apple,
  • Epic is losing hundreds of millions on Epic Store,
  • Fortnite made $9 billion in two years,
  • Epic wanted Fortnite's multiplayer to be free on Xbox.

Image credits: SpaceX

Weekly Digest - 2021.17


Basecamp's controversy

Earlier this week, the Basecamp CEO posted a blog post announcing big changes inside the company. The new philosophy prohibited, among other things,  the “ No more societal and political discussions” on internal forums.  

After public backlash, CEO offered generous severance packages to any employee who disagreed with the changes.

On Friday,  about a third of 58 Basecamp employees took his offer and accepted buyouts. Later that day, 18 people had confirmed they left the company.  

While the CEOs argued that they were trying to get employees focused on work, the way it was done raises many questions. The most popular theory right now is that CEOs just wanted to easily get rid of employees that might disagree with their specific vision. Well, probably we will never know the truth. But what we know is that this will be difficult time for Basecamp.

Apple accused of antitrust violations

The European Commission issued antitrust charges against Apple over concerns about the company’s App Store practices. The Commission found that Apple has broken EU competition rules with its App Store policies. The Commission sent Apple a list of violated competition rules. Now, Apple has 12 weeks to respond.  

This specific case is only about Apple’s practices for music streaming. If Apple is found guilty, they will have to pay $27 billion fine for this case alone.

The EU is also investigating  other cases of  competition rules violation within App Store, so the total fine might be much bigger.

SpaceX's Crew-1 is back

The SpaceX and NASA finally completed the their first operational crew mission. It all started in November last year, with launch of 4 astronauts into the International Space Station. The crew spent 166 days onboard the station. On the 167th day, the capsule brought astronauts back to the Earth, splashing down in Gulf of Mexico. What's interesting, this was the first night splashdown for NASA since Apollo 8 in 1968.

So far, the Crew Program is a huge success for SpaceX. Both Demo and Crew-1 missions finished without any issues, and the third mission - Crew-2 - has successfully docked to the ISS.