⌘ October 31, 2021

7 Things This Week [#33]

🎃👻💀 Happy Halloween! 💀👻🎃

A weekly list of things I found interesting, posted on Sundays. Sometimes themed, often not.

1️⃣ Comment: iPad mini 6 is great, but it needs software optimizations | 9to5Mac

To ensure that the same widgets will be displayed in both orientations, Apple has made some changes to the iPadOS 15 home screen. The icons are now smaller with a different grid, which results in more empty space on the sides. On the iPad mini 6, the icons are not only tiny, but the empty area looks even worse.

Maybe now we know why widgets didn’t come to the iPadOS Home Screen along with iOS last year. Turns out there’s a lot to consider for an OS that spans many screen sizes, pixel densities, screen orientations, and aspect ratios.

Speaking of aspect ratios, the only thing about the new iPad mini that I don’t love is that it’s aspect ratio has changed. It’s followed in the steps of the 11-inch iPad Pro and gotten taller, but less wide. Maybe it’s just me, but I thought Apple nailed the screen ratio with the original iPad at 3:4, and wish that it kept that ratio despite any actual size adjustments. 3:4 just says iPad to me, and the taller ratio makes it seem more like an Android tablet instead.

2️⃣ Wiggle Regatta | Do By Friday

Merlin and Alex had what I thought was a really great discussion on how social media and the internet at large are affecting us. Merlin also let loose on how he feels that YouTube is both a miracle and a monstrosity. Conversational gems like this are pretty common on Do By Friday, which is why I happily support the show as a Cox’s Cuck on Patreon. They unlocked this episode’s After Show because they went deeper on the social media conversation, so if you want to get a feel for what the extra content is like, I suggest you try this one out!

3️⃣ Apple Announces M1 Pro & M1 Max: Giant New Arm SoCs with All-Out Performance | Anandtech

Both the M1 Pro and M1 Max look like incredibly differentiated designs, much different than anything we’ve ever seen in the laptop space. If the M1 was any indication of Apple’s success in their silicon endeavors, then the two new chips should also have no issues in laying incredible foundations for Apple’s Mac products, going far beyond what we’ve seen from any competitor.

While much of the technical details go over my head,I always look forward to the Anandtech analysis of computer performance. They typically give it to us straight. That’s why I’m now doubly excited by the new M1 Pro and M1 Max based on Anandtechs enthusiasm for them.

4️⃣ A Short Love Letter to the Magic Mouse | The Newsprint

Through thick and thin, the Apple Magic Mouse has been by my side. Competitors will always tempt me, but that trusty Magic Mouse may well be the best Apple money I’ve ever spent.

I, too, love the Magic Mouse. I’d still be using the original if it was fully compatible with iPadOS’s pointer features. But it isn’t, so I picked up a Space Grey Magic Mouse 2 last year, and anticipate using it for years and years to come. The ergonomics have always been good for me.

5️⃣ The New AirPods | Initial Charge

I might use AirPods more often than any other individual Apple device I own. I wear them throughout the work day for Zoom calls, listening to music, and podcasts. I also use them each night with the Apple TV to watch quietly while while Josh is heading to bed and use them to listen to podcasts before I go to sleep.

I cosign basically everything here in Mike’s first impressions of the 3rd generation AirPods.

I, too, insta-bought a pair after the keynote since my 2nd generation AirPods are having some microphone issues and the batteries are slowly dying. And while I love the sound (much improved) and the button (squeeze controls are way better than tap controls), and appreciated the improved water resistance (which I think is what damaged my 2nd-gen pair), I ultimately had to return them because the right one wouldn’t stay in my ear.

I hope Apple keeps iterating on the design, or offers multiple shapes with the updated features in the future. In the meantime, I’ll keep rocking my 2nd-gen pair (still for sale, btw).

6️⃣ Why the Dutch Wait Less at Traffic Lights | Not Just Bikes — YouTube

Hate waiting at traffic lights? Yeah, me too. Good thing the Netherlands has smarter traffic lights to make sure that happens as little as possible. It’s amazing what you can do when you design to move as many people as possible, instead of as many cars as possible.

This video was fascinating and also frustrating now that I know that North American traffic lights are so much dumber than they could be. Seems like with an impending overhaul to electric vehicles, it would be a prime time to rethink the way our roads work in order to move more people rather than more cars.

7️⃣ On the Present — and Possible Future — of the MacBook Air | 512 Pixels

I would like to see Apple replace that 13-inch MacBook Pro with a larger MacBook Air. I could see the lineup looking something like this:

  • 13-inch MacBook Air from $999
  • 15-inch MacBook Air from $1299
  • 14-inch MacBook Pro from $1999
  • 16-inch MacBook Pro from $2499

This would give people who want a larger screen but don’t need the power — or the expense — of the MacBook Pro a new option.

Stephen Hackett lays out a good argument for adding a new model to the MacBook Air lineup. I’ve imagined a similar lineup for a while, but in my ideal future the 12-inch MacBook is revived with a 14-inch bigger sibling. Apple tried and failed to retire the MacBook Air name in the past, but the Apple Silicon transition gives them another shot to simplify their notebook naming to MacBook’ and MacBook Pro’.

Thanks for reading 7 Things! If you enjoyed these links, or have something else neat to share, please drop me a line on Twitter or shoot me an email!

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7 Things (Which Are My All-Time Most Played Songs) This Week [#34] November 7, 2021