News from Six Colors

The latest in the world of Apple

Six Colors Apple, technology, and other stuff by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

  • Apple’s invisible breakthroughs are just as beautiful as the ones you can see (Macworld/Dan Moren)
    by Dan Moren on May 29, 2024 at 11:55 am

    Technology improvements are a bit like going to a movie or a magic show: you want to be wowed, but it works best when you don’t see what’s going on behind the scenes. You don’t want to know about the trapdoor, or the strings holding people up as they soar through the air—even if it gives some appreciation for the difficulty of the production, it robs it of some of its power and awe.

    Apple ends up having to ride this line a lot. At the root of its ethos has been the desire to provide technology that feels magical and amazing to its customers. With every year that goes by, every new device that comes out, Apple wants to boast about its impressive new functionality, but some of its biggest technological breakthroughs happen at a level that is totally invisible to its users.

    It’s cases like that where the company has the difficult task of impressing how advanced some of these technologies are without belaboring the point. And with the onslaught of artificial intelligence features, it also means that the company has its work cut out for it if it wants to continue being the best example of magical, invisible technology.

    Continue reading on Macworld ↦

  • (Podcast) Upgrade 514: European Beard
    by Six Colors Staff on May 27, 2024 at 8:28 pm

    It’s time for a Vision Pro check-in. How are we using it, and how should Apple sell it? Also, some EU app marketplace developers just want to go home.

    Go to the podcast page.

  • (Sponsor) Struggling to Afford Cybersecurity Insurance? Here’s Why.
    by Six Colors Staff on May 27, 2024 at 4:00 pm

    When MGM Resorts suffered a $100 million hack in September, CEO Bill Hornbuckle wasn’t too worried about the lost revenue, because cyber insurance would cover the tab. “I can only imagine what next year’s bill will be,” he joked.

    Weeks later, on a call with analysts, Hornbuckle complained about the “staggering” rise of insurance costs in the past few years.

    This story neatly illustrates the crisis in cyber liability coverage. For years, companies have invested more in security insurance than in actual security. The result has been a tidal wave of data breaches that have driven up the cost of premiums to the point that they are rapidly becoming unaffordable.

    Some large enterprises are responding to the increased costs by creating their own “captive carriers,” insurance providers that exist only to serve them. But that’s clearly not an option for small businesses, which are more likely to go without insurance altogether.

    According to Andrew Bucci, VP of Sales at Amplified Insurance Partners, “It’s going to come to a point where some people may have to self-insure, which means that they don’t take a cyber policy out and they just cross their fingers they don’t have some sort of breach.” That’s a huge gamble for SMBs, since they could be driven to bankruptcy by a single security incident.

    At Kolide, we’ve seen our cyber insurance premiums go up by 40% in just the last two years, and we got curious about:

    • What’s driving the increases?
    • Who really needs cybersecurity insurance?
    • How can the average company reduce their premiums?

    What we found was that insurance companies themselves can help get us out of this crisis, by mandating some (pretty basic) security requirements for their customers–things like MFA, endpoint security, and retiring end-of-life software. 

    Read the full blog to learn more about […]

  • Kobo Libra Colour Review: Color, but at what cost?
    by Jason Snell on May 24, 2024 at 9:57 pm

    Kobo Libra Colour

    All my computing devices, save one, have color displays. The last time I regularly used a computer without a color display was probably in the mid-1990s. The only exception is my e-reader, which—since the very first Kindle I bought—has been a black-and-white E Ink screen that excelled at the boring job of displaying text. But… what if an e-reader added color?

    We’ve reached the point where E Ink technology—which is unlike normal display technology found in our phones and computers, but allows low-power reflective displays that work more like actual ink on paper—can actually display color decently and affordably. And so now I’ve spend the last few weeks with my first color e-reader, the $219 Kobo Libra Colour.

    In theory, color adds a new dimension to the e-reader. Highlights can be color coded, and book covers finally appear in full color. This is especially fun when I turn off the reader and a boldly colored book cover, designed for maximum marketing appeal, appears on the device’s screen. Unfortunately, a moment later the device’s backlight turns off and the colors become muted unless the screen is in bright light.

    I love e-readers, and for the last few years my e-reader of choice has been the Kobo Libra 2. It’s a small (7-inch diagonal) device that’s easy to hold, with physical page turn buttons. It’s a winner. And now, there’s one in color!

    But the truth is, most of what I use an e-reader for is text on a page. Color isn’t really part of the equation. I spent some time reading a color comic book using the Libra Colour, and it worked—but it wasn’t fun. The screen is just too small to read comfortably, and the colors were muted, feeling more like I was reading on newsprint (or a very old comic book) than on a bright, modern iPad display.

    You can read comics on the Kobo Libra Colour, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

    And the ugly truth is that as miraculous as it is that E Ink displays can do color, the Libra Colour’s screen is actually inferior to the screen on the Libra 2. Up close, it’s clear that there’s some sort of visible background texture on the Libra Colour (sort of a yellowish-gray wash) that reduces contrast. And when I cranked the brightness up to 100% to read in bright sunlight, it was clear that the Libra 2 was brighter […]

  • (Sponsor) Kolide
    by Jason Snell on May 24, 2024 at 4:00 pm

    My thanks to Kolide for sponsoring Six Colors this week.

    None of us are as good at clocking deepfakes as we think we are. Even your mom, or your boss, or anyone in your IT department might not be able to tell the difference. We all think we’re clever enough to spot a fake, but in real life, people only catch voice clones about 50% of the time.

    That makes us all extremely vulnerable to attacks. They might be seeking an immediate payout or working a more sophisticated social engineering attack. A friend of a friend was almost convinced her son had been arrested and was in jail before they realized that it didn’t add up.

    But the good news is that we can be trained to look past our vulnerabilities and recognize a suspicious phone call, even if the voice sounds just like someone we trust. Kolide has a blog post all about it. It’s a frank and thorough exploration of what we should be worried about when it comes to audio deepfakes.