Well, there hasn't been a week of Apple news this laser-focused since the weeks surrounding the Apple Watch launch a couple months ago. All week there's been gallons of digital ink being spilled discussing Apple Music and how it has or hasn't met expectations for people across the web. I've already started to tire of the various editorial pieces from one side or the other of opinion, and I'd rather hunker down and get to use the service for a solid chunk of time before passing any in-depth judgement.
I haven't personally gotten a chance to try out all of Apple's new service proper due to it not being fully implemented in the beta build of iOS 9 that I'm running on my daily devices, but I have enjoyed the chance to sit down and have a couple hour-or-two listening sessions with Apple's new online radio station: Beats 1.
I do recognize the silliness that comes along with Apple pioneering a product in a category that has been trending downwards and having people react excitedly, but with the wealth of talent and content lined up for the station as it is currently, it's hard not to be excited about. I'm enjoying seeing people from all around the internet discussing the current host, interview, or track playing. And that sort of collective online experience is something that I appreciate in a world where listening to music has become a very solo experience much of the time.
Other than Apple Music this week has been a bit of a bust news-wise for me. I did visit the Apple Store several times this week though on account of some issues with my Apple Watch. My watch's touchscreen had stopped responding to touches and was registering false input all around the screen, so I took it to the Genius Bar and after sending it out to be examined for a couple days they replaced it with a brand new model for me. It was a pretty smooth process all around, and Apple's support was stellar as always both on the phone and in the store.
While I was there I picked up a Blue Leather Loop band to go along with my new watch. I'd been considering buying one of the more premium bands for awhile and my local Apple Store had just recently started stocking them more consistently. So far the band seems pretty comfortable and I really do enjoy the modern look of the magnet-filled-band. It's a modern concept with the classy touch of leather and a quality build, which in my eyes makes it quintessentially Apple. Expensive, and probably not entirely worth it, but I enjoy the band all the same.
Now, on to the links from this weeks:
Zane Lowe, the D.J. Scratching Out Beats 1 for Apple - The New York Times - With this week's launch I was interested in pretty much all aspects of Apple Music leading up to it's debut, but the Beats 1 radio station in particular had me the most curious. The New Yorker's profile on Beats 1's star dj Zane Lowe was close to exactly what I was looking for as far as learning more about the personality that Zane is on the radio. Like the piece says, Lowe isn't big here in the States, so it was interesting for me to get a little more background information on the popular music figure. Apple Music ought to be interesting, and as I'm writing this on Monday I'm looking forward to tomorrow's launch.
First Look: Apple Music - The Loop - Well, it's Tuesday now and as I write this I'm listening to Beats 1 and Zane Lowe broadcast some of the first songs ever played on Apple's new worldwide station. It's a little surreal. But anyways, it's been a good day to read some of the press takes on Apple Music who got access a little early, and from the circle I pull from Jim Dalrymple has a nice concise take on the service. I'm currently running the beta builds of iOS 9 which as of Tuesday don't have the full streaming service built into them, but Beats 1 works just fine. It'll hold me over to the next beta build at least. ;)
The Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen — Tools and Toys - Josh Ginter broke new ground for Tools and Toys this week with their first pen review; the Lamy 2000. Josh has written several pen reviews for his personal blog; The Newsprint, but this is the first time Tools and Toys has ever covered an analog writing utensil, and I'd call Josh's piece well worth the wait. Great detail, beautiful photographs, and some interesting history on what I've learned today is a classic pen. I've been quite happy with my Lamy Safari and Kaweco Lilliput, but pieces like Josh's make me think hard about what could be my next pen buy down the line. My plan for a couple months now has been to set aside some money for a Kaweco Gold Nib, but this piece puts thoughts of classic pens in my head. Someday I might be hard-pressed to resist them.
The App Cleanse — 500ish Words — Medium - A quick post on Medium that made the rounds this week talking about how it's a good practice to start over fresh on your devices every once in awhile. I feel like more people used to do this more often, but the ease of restoring backups and backing up in the first place has gotten so much more prominent that all of us end up accumulating a lot of digital baggage over time. I've been planning on wiping and starting fresh on my iOS devices this fall when iOS 9 hits, but I suspect I might get cold feet if I don't feel a ton of pressure to go through with it. I hope I do, it's been awhile since I cleaned out the dust bunnies from my iPhone's storage.
Design of a Site Meant to Be Read: Part Two — The Brooks Review - An excellent concise piece by Ben Brooks this week on how he sees best to design one's site with readability as the focus. I'm considering making some changes to my site this summer, so this piece was quite topical for me and inspired me to look more into some design options that I'm working on. Ben's site is a great example of the kind of readable design he's talking about here, and if you haven't given it a look before then head over and give his piece a read in proper context.
Great Font Combinations You Need to Try - Designmodo - Despite it feeling a little wrong to link to anything with an obvious clickbait title and from a site with the "modo" suffix, this piece actually does have some nice looking typography to display. I'm not sure that any of these looks specifically would work well for the kind of changes I might be making to the site here, but I think it's nice to see some of the more modern looking combinations out there on the web. Worth a look.