The Chopping Block - Week of April 11th

Every week I run out of time to post some fantastic links, and I’ve decided to do something about it. 

The Chopping Block is my way to ensure these links don’t go unread.

Check back every Saturday for a new collection of things to read. Enjoy!


On The Chopping Block

Buying and trying on an Apple WatchSix Colors

Kanye West Says He Passed On Deal with Apple – The Verge

Limited Supply, Unknown Demand – M.G. Siegler

True Detective’s Second Season Trailer – The Verge

Apple Macbook Review – WSJ

Photos for OS X Review – TechCrunch

The Apple Watch – Daring Fireball

The Invisible Design Behind The Apple Watch’s Many Faces – Wired


iPhone and Aperture Removed From Mac App Store

With the release of OS X 10.10.3, Apple’s new Photos app — designed to replace both iPhoto and Aperture for managing photos and videos on the Mac — became available to all Yosemite users.

We all knew the time would come, and Apple already gave Aperture users fair warning. As first spied by Apple Insider, both apps, though they remain functional as installed, will no longer be available for any Mac that does not already have them.

End of an era I suppose.

Apple Watch Sold Out In Less Than 6 Hours

It’s hard to say whether this is due to demand, lack of inventory or most likely, a little bit of both.

Regardless, it took me less than 5 minutes to pre-order two Apple Watch’s through the Apple Store app. Couldn’t have been more simple.

☆ Thoughts On Apple Watch Leading Up To Pre-Orders

Yesterday, as all of you likely know, the embargo was lifted on Apple Watch reviews. By the end of the day, I accumulated 50+ articles in my Pocket queue related to Apple’s newest product.

After reading (almost) all of those articles, the question I need to answer is: has my opinion of the Apple Watch changed?

It hasn’t.

I’ve been closely following the Apple Watch since it was announced (and even prior to that), and I’ve built a fairly strong opinion on why I think it will be a hit. In previous articles, I’ve stated the Apple Watch will make notifications more convenient, it will help our iPhone batteries last longer and wearables are an important category moving forward.

I still believe that’s all true.

Among all the complaints I’ve read regarding Apple Watch thus far, two stand out.

First, a lot of reviewers said the Apple Watch made them more distracted by their digital life and less connected to the person standing in front of them. I can’t say I was surprised to hear this because if you are already distracted by technology, how could another piece of technology distract you less? It just doesn’t add up.

For people who struggle to disconnect themselves from their iPhones, the Apple Watch will not help. In fact, it will probably make them more distracted. However, for people who have already trimmed their push notifications down to the absolute essential (as I have), I think the Apple Watch will make responding to these alerts easier, and thus, save time.

Secondly, a lot of reviews have talked about the speed of the Apple Watch (or lack there of). I have to say I’m disappointed to hear this news, but again, I’m not surprised. The Apple Watch is an extremely forward-thinking device, more so than any other product from Apple’s recent history, and it makes sense that it may stretch a little too far. 

Once again, this does not change my opinion of the Apple Watch. Why? Because I don’t see myself using many apps on the Apple Watch. I think Apple’s created a strong enough value-sell with the included applications for it to warrant a spot on my wrist. Would I love to browse Twitter efficiently on my wrist? Sure – but it’s never going to be as good as my iPhone 6 Plus – so why bother?

As I write this, we are hours away from the start of pre-orders for the Apple Watch. 

If you’re still wondering whether I am planning to buy one, I’ll be picking up the 42mm Apple Watch with a black sport band. I don’t buy into the ‘buy the cheapest model since it will be outdated in a year anyways’ schtick. I’ll be wearing this watch every hour of every day, and hell if I’m going to wear something I find to be unattractive. Go big or go home.

For everyone reading this who remains undecided on the Apple Watch, I’m not trying to push you one way or another because – heck – I haven’t even seen one yet. 

Is the Apple Watch a must-have gadget? I don’t think so.

Is a smartwatch necessary? Probably not.

We are at another technological crossroad with wearables. Whether the world will adopt the idea of strapping a computer to our bodies remains to be seen, but nonetheless, I’m excited to find out for myself.

Two things are for sure right now: 

1.) It’s an exciting time to be an Apple fan.

2.) I’ll be sending heartbeats to everyone I know who does buy one. Everyone.



Google Close To Making Android Wear Work On iPhone

Google is working on getting its Android Wear smartwatch platform to work with the iPhone, and it is close to finishing the final technical details, according to a source close to the development team. If Google released it and if Apple allowed it on its platform, it would put Android Wear smartwatches directly in competition with the soon-to-be-released Apple Watch for the first time.

The timing of this report couldn’t be better for Google.

Popcorn Time Launches on iOS

While Popcorn Time has been available on Android for some time, it’s now arrived on iOS with an installer that can put the app on non-jailbroken devices. It’s likely that it uses a test key from an enterprise device to achieve that.

It worries me that an app such as this can be installed without jailbreaking your device. I definitely won’t be installing it, even for testing purposes.

Photos for OS X: The Ultimate Guide

Yesterday Apple released a new update to OS X that included the long-awaited iPhoto replacement, Photos for Mac.

I’ve been using Photos for Mac for a few weeks now and find it a fully capable photo client, although it won’t be replacing Aperture right away.

If you need help getting started, check out iMore’s comprehensive guide to using Photos for Mac.

Facebook Launches Messenger for Web Browsers

Facebook is bringing Messenger, its standalone messaging tool, to the Web.

The social network unveiled a Web version of Messenger on Wednesday, a way to chat from a browser tab on a desktop computer as you would using the Messenger app. The product is accessible at Messenger.com and resides outside of Facebook, where users can already chat with their Facebook friends from a Web browser. (It still requires a Facebook account, of course.)

Messenger is really the only reason I still went on Facebook. Now I don’t have to.