apple · apple tv · apple watch · ios 10 · ipad · iphone · mac · mac os x · macbook pro

Apple Software Update Monday [Updated]

Update: iTunes 12.5.5 was also released today.

Apple gave us four updates for our iDevices and Macs today.

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Earlier this afternoon, MacOS Sierra 10.12.3 arrived offering graphics improvements for the October 2016 edition MacBook Pros.  The Sierra 10.12.3 update closed up a hole in Preview that was mucking with searching scanned PDF files.

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iTunes 12.5.5 was also released for MacOS (and Windows PC) adding “minor app and performance improvements”.

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Also arriving today was 10.2.1, a minor security and bug fix update for iPhone and iPad.  watchOS 3.1.3 tagged along to give Apple Watch owners a small tune up also.

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And, last, but not least, Apple TV got a minor bump up to tvOS 10.1.1 from 10.1.

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All of today’s updates are minor security and bug fixes, with no major features or new functionality added.

Look for the iOS 10.3 beta releases to start arriving any day now.

 

apple //e · apple //gs · apple tv · apple watch · imac · iphone · ipod · ipod touch · mac · mac pro · power mac · powerbook

Happy 40th Birthday, Apple! Stay Foolish!

Apple – 40 Years in 40 Seconds video originally show during Apple’s Spring 2016 event

In honor of Apple’s 40th birthday today, I decided to help celebrate by listing out all of the Apple gear that I have either owned (my own personal hardware) or I have used at work (which was a big Mac shop until the mid-2000’s).

Items that I owned have a picture and the approximate year in which I started using it. All of the hardware listed below has been listed in chronological order by the year Apple released it.

Apple //e, Apple

ImageWriter II (1986)

Apple IIgs (1988)

Macintosh SE/30 (1995)

Macintosh Classic (1990)
Macintosh IIci (1996)

Macintosh LC (1992)

Macintosh IIsi (1995)

Macintosh PowerBook 100 (1992)

Macintosh PowerBook Duo 230 and DuoDock (1993)
Apple QuickTake 100 camera (1995)

Power Macintosh 7100/66av (1995)

Macintosh PowerBook Duo 2300c/100 and DuoDock (1996)
Macintosh PowerBook 5300ce (1996)
Apple StyleWriter 1200 (1996)

Apple Newton MessagePad 2000 (1998)
Power Macintosh 7600 (1997)

Macintosh PowerBook G3 “Wall Street” (1998)
Power Macintosh G3 Blue and White (1999)
Power Mac G4 Cube with Apple 17-inch Cinema Display and Apple Pro Speakers (2001)

iMac 17-inch Flat Panel (2002)
PowerBook G4 DVI (2002)
Power Mac G4 Mirrored Drive Doors (2002)
Power Mac G4 QuickSilver with Apple 20-inch Cinema Display (2003)
Apple iPod with Dock Connector (2003)
Power Mac G5 (2004)

PowerBook G4 (2004)

Xserve and Xserve RAID (2004)
Apple iPod 5th Generation (2005)
MacBook 13-inch (2006)
Mac Pro with 23-inch Cinema Display (2006)

iPhone 2G (2010)

iPod Touch (2008)
Apple TV 1st Generation (2009)
MacBook Pro 17-inch (2010)
iPad with Wi-Fi (2010)

iPhone 4s Sprint (2011)
iPad 3rd Generation with Wi-Fi (2012)
iPad mini 1st Generation with Wi-Fi (2013)
Apple TV 3rd Generation (2013)
iPad Air (2013)
iPhone 5s Sprint (2013)
iPhone 6 Sprint (2014)

Apple Watch Sport (2015)

iPhone 6s Plus Sprint (2015)
iPad Pro 12.9-inch with Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard (2015)

iMac Retina 5k, 27-inch (2016)

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 tv · iphone

What I’m Hoping for From Apple’s Sept. 9 Event


In just about nine days from now, Apple will be holding their September media event.  Scheduled for Wednesday, September 9 at 1:00pm eastern (10:00am pacific), Apple will be introducing what it has in store of us in the run up to this year’s holiday shopping season.

It’s a pretty safe bet to expect the new iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus to be introduced at this event.  The same goes for iOS 9.  I expect both of the iPhones and iOS 9 to arrive in our hands no later than Sept. 25.  (Betting money is by Sept. 18.)

I like to have a little bit of delighted surprise when I watch the Apple keynote addresses so I really try to avoid all of the leaks in the month running up to the event.  So without getting into any leak rumors, here’s what I’m hoping to see on Sept. 9.

iPhone 6 Remixed

It’s virtually impossible to open a browser to a tech blog and not be assaulted by the screaming “The Latest Leaked iPhone 6S Thingamabob Will…” headlines, but I do think the next iPhone will have a Force Touch display.  The new MacBooks and MacBook Pros have Force Touch track pads.  The Apple Watch has a Force Touch display.  It’s only natural to assume that it will be in the next flagship iPhone.  I’d take this upgrade even if the phone will get slightly thicker.

I would also like to see an upgrade to the camera.  With the iPhone being such a popular point-and-shoot camera, it’s time to upgrade that 8MP iSight camera.

Make it thicker.  If the iPhone camera lens protrudes, now is the time to add thickness and level everything out on the back again.  If the phone gets thicker from the inclusion of a Force Touch screen, then there should be space for the entire camera assembly to be contained inside the case.  Oh, and make the battery slightly thicker.

I also expect the A9 processor to be a thing, but since this is an “S” year, I think the processor, camera and display to be the hardware upgrades.

iOS 9

The public betas being what they are, available to the public, they really aren’t too ultra-secret any more.  I expect ad blockers to be big.  I’m hoping to just have more control over what ad networks are able to glean about me from scanning my device after running some sketchy ad code when I visit my favorite blogs and websites.  Many people will likely go with a default option and just block all ads entirely.

I’m also looking forward to the end of Newsstand to make it’s exit with iOS 9.  It was a great idea back in the spring of 2010 when the band new iPad first appeared with the $1.00/wk The Daily newspaper.  But now, with apps getting all the love, Newsstand seems almost forgotten. On my iPad, you will find three lonely icons for the Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker and Forbes.  I’d love to have those apps in a standard app folder on my iPad.

Lastly, I’m hoping for some more control over music with explicit lyrics to be added either to the Music app or to the iTunes control panel.  If these options exist today, I sure has heck can’t find them.

And speaking of searching, being able to search for preferences in the Settings application is a big win in my book.

Apple TV

There’s been a lot to do about Apple TV rumors this past weekend of which I won’t get into here.  For me, I’m looking to upgrade my two third generation Apple TVs to a new version that has some kind of wireless headphone support.

I’d also like to see some improvements to HomeKit that will get me excited enough to go out and buy some “smart plugs” for my “dumb” lamps around the house.  I really see a refreshed Apple TV being the hub for all of my in-home Internet of Things (IoT) gadgets.  And I want to play with some new toys this winter.

watchOS 2

I was lucky enough to get my Apple Watch on launch day.  I’ve worn it every day since then.  Now that all my debit and credit cards now fully support Apple Pay. it’s super easy to buy things with my Watch.  I’m looking forward to seeing the loyalty card support found in iOS 9 make the jump to watchOS 2.

I’m also looking forward to the new apps that developers will cook up for us with the new version of WarchKit.  I think with native apps running on the Watch, some of the lag-tastic delays we’ve seen with the “projected” Watch apps will go away.

So this is what I’m hoping for come Sept. 9.  I think that the release of Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan and any new iPad devices will be held of an October event.  This September will be all about the iPhone, iOS and Watch OS.

[Apple Sept. 9 invitation art via VersedTech.com…]

apple tv · editorial · google chromecast · streaming

On Apple TV Losing Ground to Other Media "Pucks"

Analyst firm Parks Associates has released a new report (available for purchase) titled “The Streaming Media Device Landscape”.  According to the paper’s abstract, the Apple TV has now slipped down to 17% behind the Roku, and Google’s Chromcast.

This really shouldn’t come to a surprise to anyone.  The Apple TV 3 was introduced in March 2012 and has remained essentially unchanged aside from a minor specs bump to add support for 1080p video in March 2013.

Since then, there really hasn’t been a compelling reasons to purchase one over the Ruko or the wickedly inexpensive Google Chromecast stick.  To be honest, I really like the Ruko feature that allows you to listen to your video over the wireless remote with a pair of headphones.  I almost purchased one for my bedroom over the Apple TV just so I don’t wake my sleeping wife.  In the end, the stickiness of Apple’s ecosystem won out as I have tons of content that I’ve purchased from the iTunes Store since it’s launch back in the early 2000’s.

Home automation with HomeKit, apps, games, or whatever Apple has planned for the rumored refresh coming this fall will be a welcomed update by many Apple fans.  My kids can’t wait for the new Apple TV to drop just so they can get my two Apple TV 3 boxes.  For me, I’d just love to have the ability to stream the audio over Bluetooth to my wireless Beats earbuds.

You can read the full Parks Associates abstract on their website.

apple · apple tv · apple watch · ios 8 · macbook

Apple Spring Forward Notes and First Impressions

Apple held their Spring Forward event to showcase HBO Now, the all-new MacBook, and Apple Watch.  If you haven’t yet watched today’s event, you can stream it from Apple’s website or watch it on Apple TV.

The following are my notes and first impressions from today’s event.

Apple TV + HBO Now

Apple TV gets a price cut to $69.  This says to me that the hardware refresh I’ve been waiting for is either late or under resourced.

HBO Now will be available by April 12 for $14.99/mo.  This will get cord cutters excited and I think will help drive Apple TV sales.  I’ve never been an HBO subscriber but with a month-to-month subscription, I’d jump on to watch shows that I’ve not been able to watch before and jump out while the show is on break.

Apple Pay

Apple Pay now accepted at 49,000 Coca-Cola vending machines.  I can totally get behind that!

iPhone + Heath Apps

Health + iPhone & Research Kit look really intriguing and can become a powerful diagnostic tool for doctors and patients.

Apple is backing up their commitments to privacy by putting data sharing controls into the hands of patients. Apple does not see the data. Ever.

Google and Android are going to have a difficult time of tying to copy or buy their way into this segment.

Apple MacBook

Holy crap! This redesigned MacBook is beyond thin!

Can you name one company that spends R&D dollars on new keyboard technology?

Force Click will make the right-click obsolete on the Mac.

Next up on Apple’s hit list: vents and fans. Gone!

The new MacBook is powered by the new Intel Core M processor. It runs silently.

New battery technology will give you all-day battery life on a single charge.

802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.

USB-C connector replaces all of the “old” cables and connectors. Plus it’s reversible.

Will ship in silver, space grey and gold.

Prices start at $1299 and $1599

Minor spec bumps for the MacBook Air and the 13” MacBook Pro

Apple Watch

Tim shows off my Apple Watch…sorta

Digital Touch is cool if not a bit gimmicky. I’d love to use the tap-tap feature with my wife. Alas, she couldn’t care less about Apple Watch.

The Activity tracking feature is all of the same stuff that other fitness bands can do, but done in a way that’s light years ahead of my Nike+ FuelBand or Jawbone UP.

I also like the “you’ve been sitting still too long” prompt.

The new feature in most excited about for the Apple Watch? Maximizing my couch potato time controlling Apple TV without having to use the IR remote.

iOS notifications coming into iPhone can be sent to Apple Watch. Looking for granular control here.  Don’t want my wrist buzzing all day with spam email.

Sports teams, Facebook, and news updates. Twitter. Instagram. American Airlines.

Apple Pay with Apple Watch looks like a killer feature.

Phone calls go between iPhone and Apple Watch over Bluetooth when you’re out or on Wi-Fi when you’re at home.

Watch works with iPhone.  Only.   Apple Watch iPhone app is where you go to browse, buy and download apps for Apple Watch.

iOS 8.2 features the iPhone Apple Watch app. Available for download today. (3/9/15)

Apple Watch will have all-day battery life. 18 hours of varying uses

Watch Sport starts at $349

Watch Stainless Steel starts at $549

Watch Edition starts at $10,000

Pre-orders and in-store try outs start 4/10; Apple Watch goes on sale 4/24

Launches in US, UK, China, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hing Kong, Japan