What I Learned from Watching My iPad’s Slow Death

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My old iPad just turned five, and it’s starting to die…

I’ve lost plenty of devices before, but this death feels different. When my old iPad is powered down, it seems practically new; when I turn it on, it feels instantly old. Tap the familiar YouTube app, and I am met with a pregnant pause: one, two, three, app. Ditto for the App Store, Podcasts, Netflix and e-books. Newer games are often out of the question, which wouldn’t bother me much if Safari, the web browser, wasn’t constantly overwhelmed by complicated pages. My attempt to install an alternative browser ended with this message: Firefox requires iOS 10.3 or later. My old iPad stopped getting updates in the 9s. I wouldn’t say my old electronics always aged gracefully, but their obsolescence wasn’t a death sentence. My old digital camera doesn’t do what some new cameras do — but it’s still a camera. My iPad, by contrast, feels as though it has been abandoned from on high, cut loose from the cloud on which it depends.

It hasn’t been used up; it’s just too old. A pristine iPad from the same era, forgotten in a storeroom and never touched, would be equally useless. The moment it came online, it would demand to be updated; as soon as it was, it would find itself in the same grim predicament as my device, which has been at work for half a decade.

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Apple’s Don’t Disturb While Driving Mode Is a Blunt Answer to a Nuanced Problem

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Apple announced a bunch of whizz-bang thingamabobs at its Worldwide Developers Conference this week—a new iPad, the Homepod, smart security upgrades. But it’s a little fanfared feature that might save the most lives: Do Not Disturb While Driving mode extends the company’s existing Do Not Disturb mode to the car. The original is great for meetings and naps; the newcomer might prevent you from killing yourself and others.

Apple Shifts From Genius Bars to Genius Groves, Hoping Patrons Linger

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Goodbye, Apple Genius Bar. You are being replaced by a tree-filled Genius Grove, which will have more room to sit and more Apple customer service specialists to troubleshoot devices.

“We didn’t want it to feel like a store. We wanted it to feel like a town square — very open, and everyone invited,” Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president of retail and online stores, told reporters invited to Thursday’s preview.

The idea, Ms. Ahrendts said, is to make the Apple store a destination, not just a place to shop.

“We want people to say, ‘Meet me at Apple,’” she said. With more open space and places to sit, including wooden cubes and large leather medicine balls, customers will be able to linger.

Siri, Cortana, And Why Our Smartphone Assistants Have Such Weird Names

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Tech companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft are making calculated bets that intelligent personal assistants are the future… The most obvious similarity among many digital personal assistants is that they sound like women, even though our robot friends are decidedly gender neutral… Many of these helper bots also have distinctly feminine voices to go along with their girly names.

Obviously, these companies want us to think of our disembodied servant companions as women. Since most of these programs end up doing what amounts to secretarial work, that fits into cultural stereotypes of who should be doing that kind of work…

Former retail chief: Only 1 in 100 Apple store visitors actually buys

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In an interview at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, former Apple retail chief Ron Johnson explained that physical retail was so much more about an experience than a crude sales channel.

 “The Apple store’s a place to be,” Johnson said. Not a place to shop, a place to be.

He also offered one bracing statistic (around the 38-minute mark): “Only 1 out of the 100 who visit the store every day buy anything.”

He then put forward this conundrum: “But it’s the busiest store in the mall.”

What are the other 99 doing? Bathing in the connection between themselves and the brand. In the future, he said, stores will be forced to create more intimacy through their physical stores.

The ubiquity of technology has meant that people feel more connected to each other — although one can debate how real these connections are.