Cold Takes: Kabuki Theatrics

It's iPhone Review Day -- meaning, the day when the embargo lifts for the publications that got revie
M.G. Siegler
Cold Takes: Kabuki Theatrics
By M.G. Siegler • Issue #6
It’s iPhone Review Day – meaning, the day when the embargo lifts for the publications that got review units to post their thoughts. This is probably the part of my old job I miss the most – being able to get an early look at something and knowing my thoughts on the matter would have some impact on people’s decisions. Great power. Great responsibility. 
Of course, I get to get those early looks into many different companies and products now. And that’s a trade I’d make a hundred out of a hundred times. Plus, I no longer have to do things such as respect an embargo or live-blog stuff ;)
Anyway, the consensus seems to be that the new iPhones are solid upgrades, but won’t blow you away. This is hardly surprising as this has been the press line for months as each and every aspect of the devices leaked out. Of course, sales seem to be very strong so far. And the fact that I was blocked out of a Jet Black iPhone 7 Plus just five minutes after pre-orders began backs this up anecdotally. (I opted to try a “regular” Black iPhone 7 while I wait.) Now if you want one, you have to wait until November. Cue up Wyclef Jean’s “Gone Til November”.
It would seem that Apple Watch Series 2 is still under embargo (until early AM, I hear). But, interestingly, the AirPods are not – even though those won’t be on sale until October. Given my excitement about vocal/audible computing, this is probably the products I’m most excited for. 

5ish Links
I’m not sure which is crazier: how much space Gruber devotes to the home button change, or that it would seem a huge part of the reason for the change is because users in other countries (mainly in Asia) refuse to use the home button because they’re worried it will break and thus, ruin the re-sale value of their phones. This is bonkers. And yet, by all accounts, absolutely a real thing.
Great review by Matthew Panzarino which includes words and phrases such as: “tragus and concha,” “Ceti eel,” “motto voce,” and, of course, “the baroque drama that is most Bluetooth pairing sessions.”
One other tidbit:
“Taking a single bud out of your ear will pause your audio and re-inserting it will start the audio again. You can just insert one and use that like a phone headset — they work independently of one another.”
I love this. First and foremost because I often take one earphone out to indicate I’m ready to listen to someone even though I’ve almost always paused whatever I’m listening to before I do such a gesture. Now I can cut out the kabuki theatrics. 
I stole Techmeme’s headline here, because it’s much better than the actual one. 
Newsflash: the music business is hard. Which is a nice way of saying it sucks. But what I found galling about this attempt was that it sure felt like Jay-Z and company saw the massive Beats deal Dr. Dre and company got and  so they decided to try to do the same thing (that is, bolster the brand than flip it for billions). I don’t know this, of course. But it sure feels that way.
Very interesting and details thoughts by Brian Roemmele on Quora as to why he thinks the next iPhone could be made of ceramic, not aluminum. 
Of note, the material is light, more than four times as hard as stainless steel and won’t scratch or tarnish – unlike, say, that polished Jet Black iPhone 7… No one has done this yet presumably because it’s not that easy to do. Of course, Apple just so happens to be perfecting the production of a ceramic Apple Watch as we speak. Might it be a test run for something bigger? Could be…
(Thanks Steve)
From June, but still fascinating. Scientists – including, notably, Stephen Hawking – think they’ve figured out a way that matter/information can enter a black hole but not be fully destroyed (or, at the very least, recoverable). I’d have a hard time explaining this, so I’ll let NYT:
“When a particle falls into a black hole, it slides the straws of light back and forth, a process called a supertranslation.
That leaves a telltale pattern on the horizon, the invisible boundary that is the point of no return of a black hole — a halo of “soft hair,” as Dr. Strominger and his colleagues put it. That pattern, like the pixels on your iPhone or the wavy grooves in a vinyl record, contains information about what has passed through the horizon and disappeared.”
500ish Words
Reminder: Words Matter
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M.G. Siegler
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