apple · apple store · apple tv · apple watch · appletv · ios11 · iphone 8 · iphone 8 plus · iphone x

First Impressions from the Apple Special Event (September 2017)

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CEO Tim Cook had said that Apple was “doubling down” on security to clamp down on leaks coming out of the company. While visions of the then unreleased iPhone 4 danced in my head, Apple suffered two massive leaks in the run up to today’s fall event. The accidental leaking of the HomePod firmware few weeks ago and the golden master iOS 11 build this past weekend really spilled the beans on many of the surprises that Apple had in store of us. While I am saddened that a lot of surprises were spoiled, I’m hoping for some truly delightful hardware and software announcements.

What follows are my first impressions about the new products and software Apple announced today.

Welcome to Apple Park

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The September 2017 event is the first public event to be held at the new Apple Park campus, and the first time products are being unveiled in the new Steve Jobs Theater. From everything I’ve seen so far of Apple Park, the place looks amazing. (But, I’m not sure I would want to work in those wide open spaces.)

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It’s a fitting tribute to Steve that “All You Need is Love” by The Beatles is playing while we get some really impressive shots of the new theater. While the facility is impressive, I find it hard to ignore some of the yellow caution tape and orange cones still visible outside.

As the presentation gets underway, we hear Steve Jobs talking about Apple.

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Tim opens up the event by saying: “I love hearing his voice. And this inspiring message.”

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Damn. I really miss that guy.

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One of the things that I really do appreciate about Tim Cook’s Apple is that even on important days like today, he takes time out to call attention to the people who have been impacted by the devastating storms in recent days. In addition to Apple’s corporate donation to bring people relief, Apple is promoting it’s customers — you and me — to make our own contributions via iTunes. If you haven’t already made your contribution, please, do so now.

Just in case you were wondering, and, let’s face it, I was, Apple Park will have a vistor’s center, opening later this year, with a new retail store. I really, I mean, really need to make a trip to One Infinite Loop and now Apple Park also. This new campus really does look impressive.

Retail Update

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It has been a long time since we last received a retail update. This is also the first time that we have seen Angela Ahrendts on stage. A lot of folks, myself included, have been wondering when we might see her speaking at an Apple event like this.

Ok…uh, I’m not sure I’m “California” enough to call my local Apple retail establishment a “Town Square”. To me, it’s still the Apple Store. Just for the record, I still prefer MacOS, too. Old habits die hard. All of that said, the designs of the new marque stores and even the remodeled shopping mall locations, like the one I visited not that long ago, are really cool places to shop and play with all of the new toys.

One of these days, I should drop in and stick around for a Today at Apple session. They seem cool and a fun way to learn a new trick about using my Apple gear.

And, I’m happy to hear that the Apple 5th Ave location will get it’s gigantic glass cube back once the space has been fully renovated!

It is just me, or do you thing Apple should do a new coffee table book and wallpaper set of glam shots of their marque stores? I’d love to have these shots on my 5K iMac and MacBook Pro.  Ok, I’ll stop now, but I still think that a new coffee table book talking about the history of these places and wallpapers are free ideas for Apple.

Apple Watch Update

Tim’s claim that Apple Watch grew 50% YoY without sales numbers to back it up feels a lot like looking at a Jeff Bezos Amazon Kindle or Alexa growth chart.

Did Tim just say, “This is blow away”? Does Scott Forstall get a royalty for that? Come to think of it, I miss that guy too.

Hey! The Woz is in the building! (Watch the audience pan immediately following the Apple Watch feel good video.)

Jeff Williams takes the stage to give us an update about what’s new in watchOS 4

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I’m glad to see the new features of the Apple Watch Heart Rate app. The new elevated heart rate warning feature looks like it is the only reason you need to go out and get a new Watch. With the weather getting colder now, I’m not sure how much more walking I’m going to be doing at night, but come this spring, I might have to retire my original Watch and get a new Series 3 Watch.

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Apple watchOS 4 is a free update for all Apple Watch customers on September 19.

So, now Apple Watch Series 3 has cellular service built-in. I’m sure that there are a lot of people who are excited about this. Me? Not so much so. Call me cheap, but I don’t want to give the carriers a dime more than I absolutely have to. My previous Watch Series 3 comment aside, when I do finally get around to upgrading my Watch, I plan on getting a model without cellular.

It is pretty cool that Apple has apparently worked out a deal with the carriers so that your iPhone and Watch share the same phone number. That should make things easier on the reduced UI of the Watch (compared to that of the iPhone UI). It’s also pretty cool that when your Watch is out of range of your iPhone, the Find My Friends location switches from the phone to the watch.

I’m not a subscriber to Apple Music, or any other streaming service, so the Apple Watch + Cellular + Music Streaming thing is completely lost on me. Might be great for you, and that’s totally fine, but I’m giving it a “m’eh”.

Ok, now we’re getting to the fun stuff. All the new tech that’s crammed inside Watch Series 3. I like the fact that Siri can talk now on Series 3. It’s one of the things I miss about using Siri on my Watch verses all of my other Apple devices with Siri.

Well, hello there, W2 chip! And, using the display as the antenna for the wireless radios seems like a cool idea…as long as Apple does’t end up telling us that we’re wearing it wrong.

I’m also glad to hear that Series 2 and Series 3 cases are the same size. That means my collection of bands from my original Watch should still be compatible.

Orders for Apple Watch Series 3 will start on September 15 and goes on sale on September 22.

Apple TV Update

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Tim talks a little bit about the major milestones in TV technology. Apple TV 4K is the next obvious step. I don’t watch all that much TV and I don’t have a 4K TV. So, while this is a cool announcement, like Apple Watch + cellular + Music, it’s hard for me to get really excited about this.

Eddie Cue comes out to talk about the specifics of the new Apple TV 4K. Coming from a guy who wears Hawaiian shirts to work on Friday, I’m a little disappointed by the tame shirt Eddie is wearing. But, I digress.

With Apple TV 4K being asked to push all of those HDR pixels around, it’s no wonder why Apple stuffed an iPad Pro A10X Fusion chip in the new Apple TV.

What is cool is that Apple is updating iTunes with 4K movie content as the same price as iTunes HD content. That’s really nice seeing how 4K Blu-ray discs are more expensive than the standard Blu-ray version. 4K content at the same price as HD content on iTunes, I think, will be a driver for people to move from Blu-ray players and discs.

Ok, Eddie, now I’m impressed. Free HD movie upgrades to 4K versions at no additional charge. Honestly, we knew a 4K Apple TV was coming because leaks. I was fully expecting another iTunes Plus moment where people can play the difference between HD and 4K to get the upgrade without having to play full price. It’s nice to see Apple eating the cost on this and not passing it on to customers.

Also I’m glad to hear that the Netflix app, and the it will get here eventually Amazon Prime app will provided 4K steaming support to the Apple TV. Apple needs these two partners providing Apple TV users with 4K content.

Live sports…..Zzzzzz….

I will give you the ThatGameCompany Sky game demo looks pretty cool. I’m still looking for that killer game that will make me use want to play a game on Apple TV rather than my iPad Pro. Sky will be available for Apple TV, iPad, and iPhone this winter.

Apple TV 4K orders start on Friday, September 15 with unit sales starting the following week on September 22.

iPhone Update

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Tim is just getting back on stage to talk about iPhone. I just had a terrible thought. Please don’t let Tim pull out “One more thing” to introduce D22, the new, expensive iPhone we all have been talking about for the last year and was confirmed by the HomePod firmware leak.

Tim lays it on pretty thick for the non-Apple nerds by going over the last 10 years of iPhone hardware/software innovations. They have come a long way in the last decade.

Phil Schiller comes out to talk about iPhone 8. Yup, 8, as in skipping right over 7s.

While the new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus look very similar to the iPhone 6/6s/7 models, the iPhone 8 series sees the return of the glass front and back design last seen on the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S from 2010 and 2011. My first iPhone was the 4S. I still have it on my desk. It looks like I will have to keep waiting for the return of the squared off sides like the iPhone 4 and 5 series had.

iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus come in three colors this year: Silver, Space Grey, and new Gold finish. The aluminum antenna bands match the front and back plates. I won’t like, I think that they look nice. If I didn’t already know that there is a third iPhone coming this year, I would be ordering a Space Grey iPhone 8 Plus. It looks really nice.

I’m really glad to see True Tone displays coming to the iPhone. After living with the new 10.5″ iPad Pro for a few months, it really does make the display on the iPhone 7-series look inferior.

The iPhone 8-series will be the first iPhones to feature the new A11 Bionic chip.

That’s a LOT of horsepower for a pocket computer. Let’s face it, these things stopped being just “phones” a long, long time ago.

If you care about mobile photography you need to have an iPhone 8 Plus. Hands down. No question. Full stop.

The new advanced lighting AI feature is really cool. Really cool. Available as a beta feature on the iPhone 8 Plus, the Camera app is able to digitally change the lighting in a photo while you are preparing to take the photo. It is also very cool that you can alter the lighting after the photo is taken. Phil was very clear the point out that this is NOT a photo filter system. This is real-time lighting analysis.

What Apple is able to do with the camera hardware and software for shotting photos, high def video, and AR features is amazing. I have no idea how you go about doing this stuff. Its just like magic.

Palm Pre with Touchstone Wireless Charger, circa 2009
Palm Pre on Touchstone Inductive Charger, circa 2009

The iPhone 8-series now supports inductive charging!

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The iPhone 8-series now supports inductive charging! I’ve been waiting for this feature since getting my iPhone 4S back in 2011. Finally.

The wireless charging using in the iPhone 8-series is called Qi. Mophie and Belkin received a glancing reference about their charging pads. there’s no mention of an Apple branded charging pad. Yet.

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Ok, now it’s time for the rubber to meet the road. Apple is only offering iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus in two storage capacities: 64GB and 256GB. With the iPhone 7 Plus, I went for the middle, 128GB, which is gone now. That’s good news, I think, because my general impression is that people just need more storage on their phones. My wife’s iPhone 6s is perpetually full. The bad news is that the starting prices are going up, up, and away! iPhone 8 will start at $699, while iPhone 8 Plus will start at $799. Ouch!

Pre-orders for iPhone 8-series starts this Friday, September 15, and go on sale on Friday, September 22. iOS 11, which did not get any stage time, will go live for everyone on Tuesday, September 19.

On more thing…

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Oh, Tim. I really don’t know how I feel about this. I remember back to Steve’s keynotes and how excited I got. It was like watching a baseball game where the New York Yankees come from way behind in the bottom of the 9th, against the Red Sox, to win the game. Those were awesome. This doesn’t feel awesome to me. Don’t get me wrong. I get what Tim’s going for, given the accolades at the beginning in Steve’s honor, but this misses the mark, I’m afraid.

“We have great respect for these works and we don’t use them lightly.” Ok, at least there’s that.

Please welcome, the iPhone X.

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The iPhone X looks cool. I’m glad that it has a new glass back and a stainless steel frame. It looks amazing. I am having a hard time with the name, thou. X. As in 10. Didn’t Mac OS X just get renamed to macOS? Was it because the X was moving from the Mac to the iPhone? I don’t know. X is cooler than 10, but I think iPhone Edition would have made a better name.

I’m glad that there are only two colors for iPhone X; Space Grey and Silver. I’m not a fan of the Gold/Rose Gold colors. There’s a special place in my heart for (Product) RED devices, and I can see an iPhone X in (Product) RED coming in six months, but for now, yeah, I’m good with Space Grey and Silver. I’m sure that I’ll be ordering the Space Grey model.

iPhone X’s display is call the Super Retina Display, which, of course, brings all the goodies. I am really excited to see this display in person.

Raise to Wake and Tap to Wake are fine features, but I already miss Touch ID and the Home button. That said, I generally like the feel of the new display, notch and all. But the gut reaction is that I would immediately flip the status bar, putting the clock on the right and radio signal and battery indicators on the left.

Face ID = Simple. Nature. Effortless. Thank goodness, Phil didn’t say “courageous”.

I’m not smart enough to understand how a neural engine works, but if Face ID is as easy to use as Touch ID was, I don’t care. Neural engine might as well as been synonymous with “frickin’ awesome”.

Phil also says that Face ID can’t be fooled by photos or professional quality masks. That’s a shot at Samsung. Apple has clearly done their homework with all of the hardware they put into this iPhone. Time will tell if Face ID is any easier to crack than Touch ID or Samsung’s thing, but I’m willing to give Apple the benefit of the doubt here. This looks really cool and I can’t wait to get my hands on iPhone X.

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C Fed is on stage to demo iOS 11 running on iPhone X!!

Face ID for unlock looks like it is going to be fine. Even when paying for groceries with Apple Pay. The new swipe gestures, I think are going to take some getting used to, after all, we are talking about 10 years of muscle memory, but I think after a few days, it will be fine too.

Cool! Portrait Mode selfies!!

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Yeah, my kids don’t need an education. (I’m kidding.)  I have all new accessories to buy on top of the crazy expensive iPhone X. AirPower really does look super coo!. #Need. It is going to be a long wait for AirPower to come out “next year.” On the plus side, I don’t have to buy another AirPod charging case now. So there’s that.

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Ouch!

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Pre-order for iPhone X is October 27 – wha? Over a month away. If I had Animoji now, there might be a soft serve frownie face here.

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Ouch again. But I’ve already taken that day off from work.

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Here’s the 2017 fall iPhone line up.  Obviously, I want all of this stuff “yesterday”.  It’s going to be a long, drawn out wait for November 3 to arrive.

Overall, I thought this was a good event and I’m looking at getting my hands on these new toys in the months ahead.

 

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.