OS X El Capitan doesn’t deserve this long review. It’s not worthy.

Apple brings refinement and under-the-hood changes to Yosemite’s new design.

Ars Technica has been publishing the best, more detailed and more complete reviews of OS X since its first version 14 years ago. John Siracusa became a legend in this scenario, and he decided to stop reviewing it last April:

There is no single, dramatic reason behind this. It’s an accumulation of small things—the time investment, the (admittedly, self-imposed) mental anguish, the pressure to meet my own expectations and those of my readers year after year—but it all boils down to a simple, pervasive feeling that this is the time to stop. I’ve done this. It is done.

I’d say there is more than that. I’d say that Siracusa was just tired of reviewing new versions with so little to review. OS X El Capitan is a good example of that, but even realizing that reality, Ars Technica has again published a pretty long review that shouldn’t have been that long. The conclusions make this clear:

After Apple’s WWDC keynote, a friend texted me to tell me she couldn’t figure out what was supposed to be so great about El Capitan. It’s an understandable question to ask, especially after Yosemite’s big, immediately obvious changes (and an admittedly grandiose new name).

And the reason is simple. There’s not much to talk about, and Apple doesn’t deserve that kind of review when the changes to OS X have been stingy in the last few years. OS X 10.11 isn’t worthy of this.

Now go and read it. It’s not a bad review at all.

Source: OS X 10.11 El Capitan: The Ars Technica Review

Fairphone and the story of the smartphone that wanted to be different

fairphone-2-repair

The original Fairphone was really a fair phone, but this second generation model goes even further. This is a phone that defies Project Ara and other modular concepts.

Owners can replace the screen, the microphone, the speaker, the camera, and the main circuit board using nothing more complicated than a screwdriver, with all the replacement parts available directly from Fairphone

You can get not only replacement parts, but upgrades such as a better camera. I wonder, though, if the logistic platform from this company can really meet the expectations of its user base.

Not bad for a phone that is not really cheap from its looks (525 €) but that is definitely a bargain for what it offers. Smartphones can really be different.

Source: Fairphone wants you to take apart your smartphone | The Verge

iPhone 6S and 6S Plus sales: the unfair but inevitable comparison

Two reasons why Apple can talk about a new record:

  1. The new iPhones were available in China from day one
  2. Two weeks for preorders this year instead of the classical one week.

That could be good arguments, but comparisons are useless and unfair, as almost anytime one tries to do them. The 13 million of iPhones sold during their first weekend (10 million for the iPhone 6/Plus last year) is an astounding number.

I wonder how many of those were rose gold.

Volkswagen, proprietary software, heroes and villains

Xeni Jardin on BoingBoing quotes Eben Moglen, a long-time Open Source supporter:

Proprietary software is an unsafe building material. You can’t inspect it

That’s true, and I’d like every company to open source their software, but this is an utopia. In the end more than the difference between proprietary software and Open Source / Free Software goes beyond the development and sharing philosophy. Why?

Because you can use both to do more harm than good.

Software is a tool.  Even licenses are. True, proprietary licenses prevent software from being ‘inspectable’ like Moglen says, but software has to be good (and harmless) in the first place.

Source: In Volkswagen emissions fraud scandal, proprietary software is the real villain / Boing Boing

Do you trust Apple News praise from Wired?

Same old hardware, refreshing news twist.

I don’t buy the article at Wired. The author talks us about how ‘articles from these publishers remain distinctly, recognizably theirs’, but I see this not as revolutionary, but mandatory for publishers, who want the experience they give unchanged.

I don’t see the real difference with Flipboard -I must try both on an iPad- so I can’t speak yet about the quality of the experience, but I can’t trust an article that gives that publicity to the Apple News application when they are partners at the app launch.

In fact, they were one of the first media assets to publish something that could be only read on the Apple News app.

I do believe Apple News can be an interesting way to distribute news and content. I just think Wired doesn’t need to do this and do without even a disclaimer.

Source: Apple News Is the Best New Thing About the iPad | WIRED

Design, not tech, is what matters in smartwatches

ArsTechnica’s review of the new Moto 360 confirms what we already new. There’s not much new tech on the new smartwatches.

What matters is design, and that defies the real value of this devices. If you want design over functionality, just get a nice watch. You’ll have plenty of options, and battery will last far more than a day.

Disappointing.

Source: The gen-two Moto 360—a beautiful, compact design without much new tech

Pebble Time Round: now we need an elegant design for Pebble OS too

Make it yours.

It’s nice to have a round version of the Pebble Time. The first, square version looks to me a little too much like a toy, but this definitely looks different, more serious.

The interface is the problem there. Once you look at it, it seems you’re playing a game. That’s not bad in itself, but it’s a little conflicting. I’d expect a future version with a new, more elegant visual appeareance as well.

The screen size is a little dissapointing too. Pebble Time uses a 1.25 inches (vs 1.37” – 1.56” Moto 360 2 depending of the version, or vs 1.2” Samsung Gear S2). Pebble hasn’t published specs for the new screen size on the Pebble Time Round, but it seems smaller than 1.25”, and there’s another problem: that big bezels. Too thick, with 5 possible designs (with and without numbering).

Mpf.

Source: Pebble introduces its first round smartwatch | The Verge

Why Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P could matter

It’s a little less than a week until Google reveals its new Nexus devices in San Francisco, but as seems to happen every year, we know pretty much every detail beforehand.

So we’ve got both leaked images and specs (Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P), and the big story here won’t be their performance, or the new USB-C port, or the fingerprint scanner, or even the cameras -though these ones will be very relevant.

No. What matters here is if these will be a continuation of the new philosophy applied on the Nexus 6 -which by all accounts has been a little sales disaster, with price slashes around-. Google can’t compete with Apple on this area. Or with Samsung. They can’t pursuit big profit margins with exclusive hardware/software products: that could annoy their partners.

They should follow what they did with the Nexus 4 and the Nexus 5. Great products at affordable prices that allow us to enjoy the latest Android versions.

The Nexus family hasn’t to be a big seller: it has to be a promise of what others can accomplish with Android.

Source: [Exclusive] Leaked Images Of The New Nexus Phone Retail Boxes Confirm ‘Nexus 5X’ And ‘Nexus 6P’ Model Names

iPhone 6s reviews: size matters. More than anything else.

The reviews are coming. Nilay Patel calls the iPhone 6S Plus the best phone in the market –he’s not alone– , but he adds: “Note that I said the 6S Plus, not the 6S.

The main camera is “not so much intensely better than you’ll notice a difference if you’re just sharing them on Facebook“, and the front camera that matters more according to him (excuse me?).

On 3D Touch, “there aren’t a ton of rules for how anyone should use it outside of the peek and pop and quick action APIs” so he expect developers get the real sense of it.

I’m not sold to 3D Touch -let’s see if it really saves times and makes everything more convenient as it seems- and the camera isn’t that gorgeous (it was already great  anyway), so as Patel says, don’t upgrade from the iPhone 6/Plus.

If you’ve got an older model, though, the update makes sense for iOS lovers. But not for the camera or the 3D Touch technology.

It’s because the size. 

That’s the only compelling reason to jump to the new iPhones. It was the reason too for the previous models, so no big news here.

Update: Take a look at John Gruber’s review of the iPhone 6s. It’s really good. Honest, consistent.

Source: iPhone 6S review | The Verge

The Apple Car is real: WSJ

Apple is accelerating efforts to build its first electric car, designating it internally as a “committed project” and setting a target date for 2019 to finalize the product, people familiar with the matter said.

It has happened with other markets before, and it will keep happening. ‘What if Apple entered the X business?‘ That question usually sparks excitement among users, and fear among industry incumbents.

The Apple Car is one of these projects that seemed inevitable for the Cupertino-based company, and after several rumors the latest information published on The Wall Street Journal makes that project even more real.

Apple usually arrives to markets with solutions that are better in design and execution than the traditional leaders. The car industry is far more advanced and mature than any other of the markets Apple has ever entered, and we’ve got Tesla as the clear innovator on that front. We’ll see if Apple can improve what Tesla has accomplished.

Frankly, after seeing their latest products, I’m not that excited.

I wonder what Musk will think after reading the news. He will probably smile after discovering that Tesla will at last have a promising rival. Let’s see what the auto industry thinks too. They have room to prepare themselves.

Source: Apple Speeds Up Electric-Car Work