Apple AirPods: First Impressions

Having no wires at all is as amazing as I thought it would be.

The sound they make when connecting is really satisfying.

I changed the double tap gesture from activating Siri to "play/pause" and don’t think I’ll ever go back.

So far I don't miss not having volume controls.

People say they look like earrings (which I assume they mean as a pejorative?), but I think they look really stylish.

Switching between different devices playing through the AirPods is a breeze. I was going between 2 laptops and an iPhone all day with no issue.

The range is excellent. I’ve been able to walk 20 feet away from my computer/phone before the signal dropped. 

Initial pairing to devices wasn't super obvious. I spent a while opening the Tic Tac container and holding it up to my laptop before I figured out I had to use the Bluetooth menu.

They haven't fallen out of my ears once.

I have no plans to take them running. I have some $20 over ear wireless headphones for that.

Quality and latency fall off a cliff when using them for for video conferencing. Which makes sense, I suppose, but is still disappointing.


The first iOS 10 keyboard app I got to try out is my one favorite by a mile. It's called Cloaked and was written by my good friend Adam Johnson. Cloaked lets you send encrypted images and text between parties. Once an image or message is cloaked, either the sender and receiver need to authenticate with Touch ID or a passcode in order to view the content.


Cloaked is an essential app if you're the type of person who likes sharing, um, "sensitive" images and messages. But even if that's not your thing, Cloaked is a really fun way of exchanging even the most mundane of messages.

Cloaked is free on the Messages App Store for a limited time.

Techdown #72: An Idealized Ear Canal

Apple announcements are always the great. But this one's particularly satisfying because everyone's been losing their shit ever since. Plus it felt good to start taking about the removal of the iPhone's 7 headphone jack with some certainty.

Aaron and I have the 411.


Those of us who follow this sort of thing learned early on that the iPhone 7 would not have a headphone jack. Which began the season of speculation about what Apple's justification would be for the making change. Jason Snell was especially vocal about this:

To me, that’s the single most interesting bit of stagecraft and script that I’m expecting Wednesday. Not the removal of the headphone jack itself, but how Apple spins the benefit to users who will have to deal with adapters and short-term incompatibilities if they buy a new iPhone. We can endlessly argue about why Apple should keep or remove the headphone jack; what I’m interested in is which argument Apple chooses to make.

As was Marco Arment:

There are clear benefits to Apple — minor savings in parts and internal complexity, some profit from adapters and Lightning licensing, and driving a big Beats upgrade cycle — but nobody has come up with any compelling benefits for customers that require removing the headphone jack and can’t already be done in today’s iPhones.

Now that we are living post-headphone-removal-Apple-Event, discussions have turned to whether or not Apple has successfully justified their decision. Some have been satisfied with Apple's given reasons, others have not. (And others are  just feigning outrage at Phil Schiller's "Courage" comment.)

But I offer that there is another way to look at this: Apple doesn't have to come up with any reason to justify removing the headphone jack at all.

They have to justify keeping the headphone jack.

iPhones fit in your pocket, are getting more powerful and gaining more functionality every year, and are getting thinner every couple of years. Every last feature of that device device needs a very good reason for being there, otherwise it should be gone. 

And between being able to play audio through the lightning connector, Apple's goal to make the iPhone more water-resistant, and their belief that wireless headphones like AirPods provide a superior experience, the reasons for keeping the jack around just weren't there any more.

Kitchen Sync v1.1

An update to Kitchen Sync! Get it while the getting's good.

Version 1.0 of Kitchen Sync had this pull to clear feature that I was actually pretty proud of. It allowed users to use the app entirely with one hand, which is helpful when you're in a grocery store pulling items off of shelves and pushing a cart around.


But by the most common feedback that I got from users was that they hated the pull to clear. Not only were they accidentally clearing their grocery lists, but it also wasn't immediately obvious that their list was up to date.

Version 1.1 fixes both these issues by adding pull to refresh, and moving the clear button to the upper right corner of the app. Done and done.


What can I say. I tried something new and it didn't work out.

Binge v1.4

Binge v1.4 is now live! Get it while it's hot.

This is probably the most significant update that I've made while developing Binge. There's a bunch of bug fixes and usability tweaks, but the feature that people are going to care about the most is support for shared libraries.

Combined, Shared Library Support

Now you can see movies and TV shows that other Plex users have shared with you. But unlike other Plex apps where you can only view one library at a time, Binge lets you see your friends' content right mixed in with your own.

Selecting the libraries that you'd like to see is easy to toggle, and can be found in the sort panel (now located by swiping to the left side of the screen).

Movies that are from a shared library have an icon next to their name in the list, making it clear that they're from a library other than your own.

I haven't seen combined shared library support done in this way in ANY other Plex app, and I'm really excited about it.

Understanding Tesla Autopilot

Marco Arment has written up a very good overview of the autonomous features implemented by current Tesla cars.

While I like using Autosteer on long highway trips, frankly, I’m amazed that it’s legal. I don’t think it’s a big enough advance over adaptive cruise control to be worth the risks in its current implementation. I’m scared for what will happen to Tesla and the progress of autonomous driving as more people use Autosteer in situations it’s not good at, or as a complete replacement for paying attention.


Plans are nothing; planning is everything.
— Dwight D. Eisenhower

The Open World of Swift 3

Absolutely wonderful rundown of the most important changes coming to Swift 3 by none other than Daniel Steinberg.

Even though developers aren't required to code in Swift 3 syntax yet, I've found myself adopting many of the changes that are going to be introduced already. Which should really help to ease the transition later this year.

A Tragic Loss

It was bound to happen eventually, but for the first time someone has died while using Tesla's Autopilot feature:

This is the first known fatality in just over 130 million miles where Autopilot was activated. Among all vehicles in the US, there is a fatality every 94 million miles.

It's indeed a tragic incident, but hopefully this doesn't have a long term negative effect on the wide scale implementation of autonomous driving.

Of note is that the man who died, Joshua Brown, has a YouTube channel filled with videos of him showing off how Autopilot works in a Tesla. One video in particular features a close call where a truck driver nearly merges into Joshua's Tesla and the Autopilot swerves to save them both.