apple · apple store · el capitan · imac · mac · mac os x · macbook pro

My New Apple iMac 27-inch with 5K Retina Display

Today, I purchased a new Apple iMac 27-inch with 5K Retina display!  This is my first new Mac since I purchased my beloved Apple MacBook Pro 17-inch.

My daughter Kaitlyn and my Dad where with me at the Trumbull, Connecticut Apple Store for the big day.  Thanks, guys!  (Katie also picked up three new iPhone 6/6s cases too.  Thanks, Daddy!)

The following pictures are of my unboxing and initial setup.  I hope you enjoy them.

I love that years later, Apple is still printing “Macintosh Think Different” on their boxes.  “Think Different” was the slogan from their iconic ad campaign from the 1990s.  Today’s Macs don’t look anything like their beige box siblings, and are insanely more powerful, but “Think Different” still inspires me to always do my best.

I will be upgrading my new iMac to 32GB of RAM from the stock 8GB as soon as all of the software setup and Time Machine restores are done.

Waiting is the hardest part of setting up a new Mac.

While I wait, I decided to try and figure out which keyboard I wanted to use with my new iMac.  From top to bottom, the Apple Magic Keyboard (2015), Apple Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard (2005) and the Apple Extended Keyboard II (1990).  Yes, that last one uses Apple Desktop Bus (ADB) connectors.  You can still find ADB-to-USB adapters on eBay.
My MacBook Pro 17-inch – still working hard while my 27-inch iMac is still goofing off while it’s Time Machine restore continues to run while I write this blog post.
Thanks Steve.
apple · apple store · imac · macbook pro

Apple 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina Display

Today is both a sad day and an exciting day.  I’m a little bit sad, because my favorite Mac to date, the Apple MacBook Pro 17-inch is entering retirement after having been my Mac of choice since 2009.

Today is also an exciting day, because in a few short minutes, I’m rounding up the family, Dad and Katie, and we are heading down to the Trumbull Apple Store to purchase my new Mac – the 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display!  I can’t wait!  Now to get my Apple Trumbull t-shirt and hit the road!

apple · apple tv · tvos

Apple TV 4th Edition Receives tvOS Update

Earlier this week, during the Apple In the Loop event, the forth generation Apple TV received a tvOS update.

Siri integration continues to grow for voice searches of video content.  Dictation, Siri for App Store, iCloud Photo Library, Live Photos, support for Bluetooth Apple Wireless Keyboards and Folders headline the new features for Apple TV.

I am really excited that the Dictation feature can now be used to speak email address and passwords.  It is a big improvement over having to use the horizontally oriented keyboard for text entry.

The tvOS update is free and available now via the Software Update feature in tvOS.

apple · apple tv · apple watch · ios · ipad · ipad mini · iphone · iphone se · tvos · watchos

Notes and Impressions from Apple’s "In the Loop" Spring Event

Opening Remarks by Tim Cook

Apple turns 40 on April 1, 2016.  I hope they continue to “Stay hungry.  Stay foolish.” for the next 40 years.  Many new Apple products were introduced in the Apple Town Hall auditorium, including the iPod and the iPhone 4S.  This will be the last time an event will be held in Apple Town Hall before moving into the new Campus 2 headquarters.

Tim Cook’s executive team

There are now more than 1B Apple devices in use around the world.

Tim used this opportunity to make the case for strong encryption and personal privacy.  It was clear to me, that Tim Cook is very much displeased about this case and how the FBI/U.S. Government is handling it.  Apple will not “shy away” from protecting our data and our privacy.

Environmental and Sustainability

Lisa Jackson, Vice President, Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, has come up to talk about Apple’s environmental program.  Apple has been working hard towards their aggressive environmental innovation and renewable energy initiatives.  Apple is working toward a 100% renewable energy footprint.  Currently, 93% of Apple facilities worldwide and 100% in the US and China are using renewable energy with a 0% carbon emissions over-all rating.

Apple is working on an automated process that will deconstruct an iPhone so that all of it’s parts can be recycled and reused.  Liam is Apple’s new prototype robot that can deconstruct and iPhone that all of an iPhone’s parts can be recycled and reused.  This is pretty amazing stuff!  You can watch the short video clip that introduces Liam if you haven’t seen it yet.  For more information, see apple.com/recycle.

Was Apple trolling their fans and the tech press?  In the opening few seconds of the Liam video, an iPhone is riding down a conveyor belt.  The iPhone does not have a model identifier on it’s back and it can be clearly seen that the camera lens is completely flush with the back casing just like the iPhone 5s. Below is a screen grab from the video.

Is this the new iPhone 7?

ResearchKit and CareKit

Jeff Williams, Chief Operating Officer, has come up to talk about Apple Health initiatives, particularly around ResearchKit.  ResearchKit has become very popular for hospitals an health research organizations as a tool to help conduct medial research.  Tools for research are becoming new tools for providing health care.  The new CareKit framework is all about building apps to help empower people to improve their health.  Apple sees these tools as a way for customers to help manage their health care.  All data is opt-in and kept confidentially.  Customers choose who has access to their health data.

Apple Watch

Tim Cook has declared that Apple Watch has become the #1 selling smartwatch in the industry.  One-third of Apple Watch owners change bands frequently.  (I have five bands, of which, the Midnight Blue Leather Loop band is my favorite.)  Apple has introduced their line of Woven Nylon Bands, new colors in the Sport Band family, and a new Space Black Milanese Loop band.  (Oooh, that one looks really nice.  I may have to break down and get it.)  Finally, Cook announced that Apple Watch Sport Edition will now start at $299, a $50 price reduction. 

Apple TV

The new Apple TV (aka Forth Generation) now has 5,000 apps available for it on the App Store.  Siri integration continues to grow for voice searches of video content.  tvOS new features include: Dictation, Siri for App Store, iCloud Photo Library, Live Photos, support for Bluetooth Apple Wireless Keyboards and Folders.  Dictation for speaking user names and passwords is a big win for anyone who has ever entered an email address or strong password on Apple TV.  I’m really happy about that feature being included.  The tvOS update is free and available now.

iPhone SE

Greg Joswiak, Vice President, iOS, iPad and iPhone Product Marketing, comes up to talk about iPhone.  In 2015, Apple sold 30M 4-inch iPhones.  (That would be the iPhones 5S and 5C.)  Apple has decided that they will continue to sell a 4-inch iPhone, and that will be the new iPhone SE.  (Insert obligatory Mac SE and/or Mac SE/30 joke here.)

Did I mention that the iPhone SE comes in the same colors as the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus?  The iPhone SE looks very similar to the iPhone 5S that came before it.  As Apple pushes for very thinner iPhone designs, I actually prefer the squared off sides of the iPhone 5/5S/SE models.  Just not enough to give up my iPhone 6s Plus.  Why can’t we have a 4.7-inch or 5.5-inch iPhone with squared off edges?

The new iPhone SE includes the same A9 CPU and M9 co-processor as the iPhone 6s.  The best way to think of the iPhone SE is to think of it as an iPhone 6s stuffed inside the iPhone 5s case.  Just without 3D Touch.

iPhone SE pricing: 16GB at $399 (free with two-year contract or $17/mo on an installment plan), 64GB at $499.  iPhone SE pre-orders start on Thursday, March 24.  iPhone SE goes on sale starting Thursday, March 31.

For the Spring 2016 event, the corny jokes delivery role when to Jos, but it looks like Craig Federighi, who normally gets all the good “Dad jokes”, approves.

iOS 9.3

New in iOS 9.3 are the Night Shift feature, Notes can now be password protected with a PIN passcode, or a finger print using Touch ID.  You can now also get App Suggestions from inside the Health app.  The News app gains the Top Stories feature.  And, if you are lucky enough to have a new car with built in support for CarPlay,  there are some nice enhancements headed your way.  I really wish my 2015 Honda Accord EX had this feature.  Also new in iOS 9.3 is the Education app for iPad.  It is designed to be used by students, teachers, and school administrators.  Of all of the new features, this is the one I know the least about.  It is probably the one feature that I have gotten the most question about deploying at work, which, has nothing to do with education.

iOS 9.3 is available now and will run on any device that is capable of running iOS 9.0.

iPad Pro (9.7-inch)

Phil Schiller, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Marketing, has come up to talk about what’s new with the iPad and introduce the new iPad Pro.  The second iPad Pro is based on the 9.7-inch display form factor and weighs less than 1.0lbs.  The big narrative here is “Why a smaller iPad Pro?”  According to Apple, there are two reasons.  The first is that 9.7-inches is the original display form factor.  You know, the one that Steve Jobs preferred over the mini form factor.  Secondly, it is designed to attract Windows PC users/switchers.  The iPad Pro 9.7-inch is intended to target the 200M 9.7-inch iPad and iPad Air owners with “The ultimate upgrade”.  Personally, I think the Windows PC switcher angle is bit of a long shot.  Owners of 9.7-inch iPads still using the iPad 2 or 3 will want to upgrade.  The iPad Air and iPad Air 2 are still very good iPads, and I think it’s a harder sell to get those people to upgrade to the new iPad Pro.  (I still use my iPad Air every day, more often, even, than my 12.9-inch iPad Pro.)

The new iPad Pro has an A9X CPU and M9 co-processor.  The 9.7-inch iPad Pro also has a custom display timing chip that drives the display and four speakers.  The 9.7-inch model only has 2GB of RAM compared with the 4GB that is used in the 12.9-inch model.  A new feature that is currently only available on this new iPad is called True Tone Display.  With True Tone Display, the iPad will adjust temperature of the display to match the ambient light in the room where it is being used.

iPad Pro Accessories include: a new, smaller Smart Keyboard, Apple Pencil, Lightning USB Camera Adapter and SD Card Reader, and the USB Camera Adapter.  Interestingly, Phil called out the fact that the Apple Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter allows podcasters to connect a USB mic to the iPad Pro.

iPad Pro will be available in the same four colors as the iPhone: silver, space grey, gold, rose gold.  Pricing start at $599 for the 32GB model and $749 for the 128GB model.  For the first time, both iPad Pro models will be available in 256GB configurations, the 9.7-inch model starting at $899.  There was no mention of cellular options on stage, however, the Apple online store is showing that the 9.7-inch iPad Pro will be available with cellular radios for the same $129 premium over the Wi-Fi only models just like all other iPad configurations. The iPad Air 2 will hang around at the $399 price point, while the iPad mini will hold the $269 introductory price point.

iPad Pro pre-orders start on March 24, and go on sale starting on March 31.

If you want to watch, or rewatch the Spring 2016 In the Loop keynote presentation, you can do so via the Apple.com website, the Apple YouTube channel, or from the Apple TV and iTunes Special Events app/postcast feed.

apple · apple watch · ios 9 · ipad air · ipad mini · iphone 6s · iphone 6s plus · watchos 2

Apple Releases iOS 9.3, watchOS 2.2 Updates

As part of yesterday’s media event to introduce the new iPhone SE and iPad Pro, Apple released iOS 9.3 and watchOS 2.2.

iOS 9.3 Update

iOS 9.3 add new features to your iOS device and is not just a run-of-the-mill maintenance update.  New in iOS 9.3 is the ability to password protect individual Notes and Night Shift.

Password protection of the Notes app is nice feature especially if you often keep private thoughts mixed in with notes about buying eggs, milk, and bread at the grocery store.  Personally, I don’t often use the Notes app other than to jot down information quickly that I’ll come back to later on and organize.  Still, it is a nice feature to have available.

  
Night Shift is a very nice enhancement because it can use either the schedule you set or the sun down and sun rise information based on where you are in the world, to adjust the colors of your screen.  Under normal conditions, your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch display emits a more harsh blue hue light.  During the day, this does not create any problems.  At night, however, exposing yourself to harsh blue light can make it harder for your to fall asleep if you use your iDevice just before bed.  Night Shift will shift the color tones from the “cold” blue light to “warmer” yellow/orange light that is less likely to disrupt your body’s natural processes for falling asleep.  As you can see below, I have configured my iPhone 6s Plus to activate Night Shift based on the time of day.  Night Shift, however, will only work on the iPhone 5s and later, iPad Pro, iPad Air and later, the iPad mini 2 and later, and the most recent iPod touch.
iOS 9.3 is available now for any iOS device that is capable of running iOS 9, which is pretty much any iOS device that has been released since 2011.  The software and be installed from a Mac or Windows PC, or over the air using Settings > General > Software Update.
For more information on the new features of iOS 9, including those added with the iOS 9.3 update, visit the iOS 9.3 update website.
watchOS 2.2 Update
watchOS 2.2 is primarily as maintenance release for Apple’s iPhone accessory.  I’m not sure who needs to be able to pair more than one Watch with an iPhone, aside from app developers maybe, so I’m having a hard time coming up with who else might need this feature.  (Are day and night watches really a thing?)  I’m all for updates to the Maps app.  The data behind Maps has gotten pretty good and any improvement that keeps from having to pull out my iPhone while trying to walk around Manhattan is a welcomed update for me.
To update to watchOS 2.2, launch the Watch app on your iPhone and goto General > Software Update.  Before you can apply the update, your Apple Watch will need to be charged up to at least 50% and be in range of your iPhone, which, will wireless deploy the update to your Watch.
apple · el capitan · itunes · mac · mac os x · mac os x server

Apple Releases Mac OS X 10.11.4 Update, Other OS X Software Updates

Following today’s “In the Loop” event, Apple has released a number of software updates for Mac OS X, including the El Capitan 10.11.4 Update, iTunes 12.3.3, OS X Server 5.1 and Apple Configurator 2.2.

Mac OS X El Capitan Update 10.11.4

New in “El Cap” is the ability to passcode protect notes stored in the Apple Notes app.  This feature addition is in-line with today’s iOS 9.3 system update which brings the same feature to iOS devices.  The Notes app also gained new sorting capabilities too.  If you are an Evernote user, or more correctly, an Evernote user looking to escape, Notes can now import Evernote files.  Evernote importing is a feature that Microsoft recently released for the PC version of OneNote with the help of an optional Microsoft OneNote plug-in.

Also of note for Mac users is the addition of Live Photos being shared between OS X and iOS in the Messages app and AirDrop.  iBooks also received an enhancement that allows iBooks to write PDF files into your iCloud account – making the PDF files available to all of your iCloud connected OS X and iOS devices.

iTunes 12.3.3

iTunes 12.3.3 is a minor update that adds support for the new iPhone SE and the iPad Pro, the 9-inch flavor, to iTunes.  iTunes is the only cross-platform software update that is also available on Windows 7/8.x/10 PCs.

OS X Server 5.1 and Apple Configurator 2.2

Both, OS X Server 5.1 and Configurator 2.2 received updates that add new features to support the new Profile Manager and iPads with shared configurations.