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.

 

airport · apple watch · appletv · imac · ipad · iphone · macbook pro

2017 Apple Hardware Purchasing Plans

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Just a few days ago, I was talking about my accidental trip into the Amazon ecosystem.  Today, I want to evaluate where I am going with Apple hardware.  What follows is what I think I will be my Apple hardware purchasing plans for 2017 with a little bit of commentary thrown in for fun.

2017 iPhone

Rumors about the 2017 iPhone have been circulating since before the iPhone 7 launch.  What we do know is that the 2017 iPhone, regardless of whether Apple acknowledges it in any meaningful way, will be the tenth anniversary iPhone.  We know that the 2017 iPhone will have a new system on a chip, probably called the A11.  Maybe more RAM.  Personally, I would like to see the return of the squared off sides, like the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 series, but I don’t think that will happen.  What I do think will happen is that we will get a curved iPhone display just like the one used on the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge.  With all of this in mind, I do plan on buying a new 2017 iPhone Plus.  We don’t know if the 2017 iPhone will be an ‘S’ year or not.  I feel that if Apple gives us a dramatic form factor redesign in 2017, they should call it the iPhone 8.  If there is more than one ‘large’ model, I will likely get the largest screen/best camera model.

Purchasing Probability – Yes, please!

2017 iPad

I use my iPad Air (October 2013) and 12.9-inch iPad Pro (November 2015) every day and I love them.  For me, the iPad has taken a central role in my daily computing.  Reading the news?  Surfing my favorite websites?  Catching up on Twitter?  Reading ebooks?  Watching TV shows and movies? Checking and replying to email? Yup.  All of this gets done on my iPads.  The iPad Pro covers work-work and ebook reading for class.  The iPad Air takes care of my personal needs.  In 2017, I am hopeful that Apple will release new iPad Pros.  Screen sizes are up for debate.  I don’t expect to replace my work-issued iPad Pro.  Cost is the main reason here.  I would hope that Apple releases an updated 12.9-inch iPad Pro that brings it up to parity with the 9.7-inch iPad Pro.  The way I use my iPad Air, it is still working well for me.  I do not expect to upgrade my personal 9.7-inch iPad in 2017.  I do think that 2017, with iOS 11, will be the last year for my beloved Air.  Check back with me in 2018 to see if there is a new 9.7-inch iPad in my future.

Purchasing Probability – Not likely.

Macintosh

The Macintosh is still an important product for me.  Maybe because I have bene an Apple user and fan for so long.  Maybe because I prefer Mac OS over Windows and Linux  I know I am in the minority here, but it’s the way I feel.

In 2016, I purchased a new 5k iMac and I love it!  I chose to go with the 2TB Fusion drive and a 3.3GHz Intel Core i5 CPU.  Thankfully, Apple still allows customers to upgrade the RAM on the iMac, so I stuffed it full of 8GB DIMMs and maxed it out with 32GB of RAM.  There’s no SSD – they are still too expensive for a 1.0TB or larger drive – and I didn’t get a Core i7 CPU either.  And that’s fine.  I think my iMac is super-fast, considering my upgrade from a 2009 17-inch MacBook Pro.  So, I don’t plan on getting a new iMac in 2017.

I’m on the fence about the 2016 MacBook Pro.  I miss having a MacBook for the times I want to do work away from my iMac and home office.  Still, the frustration with the MacBook Pro’s inconsistent battery life, 16GB memory limit, and the use of an older Intel Core CPU are tugging on logical side of my brain, and is disrupting the famous Apple reality distortion field.  See the Ars Technical 13-inch MacBook Pro review for more details.

On the go writing with Microsoft Word and surfing with Safari can easily be done with my iPad Pro.  BBEdit on the Mac and Coda on the iPad Pro are a good match.  But not having OmniGraffle (or Visio), XCode, or Eclipse on the iPad hurts a bit.  I know I can spend another $100 to get OmniGraffle for iOS, but if I am being honest, I don’t use it enough to justify the cost.  I don’t expect there to be new MacBook Pro notebooks in 2017, so I am leaning toward a 2016 MacBook Pro without the Touch Bar and Touch ID.  I would get the 16GB RAM upgrade, however, the aforementioned battery issues, are keeping me from spending the money to upgrade to a 512GB SSD and an i7 CPU.  So, no new iMac and there is still a 50/50 chance for a new MacBook Pro.

I feel sorry for Mac Pro and Mac mini fans.  They are long overdue for some new hardware. Hopefully, 2017 will be their year.

Purchasing Probability – Looking favorable for a 13-inch, Space Grey MacBook Pro.

Apple Watch

The Watch is a good product.  I’m glad I have it over a Fitbit or a Nike+ Fuelband.  I owned both, but I feel that the Apple Watch offers more utility then those other devices.  I love having important to me notifications on my wrist.  I should exercise more, and hey, who shouldn’t, but in day-to-day usage, I just don’t use the fitness features of the Watch over tracking my walks.  With that said, I don’t see myself upgrading to a Series 2 Watch anytime soon.  My original, aka Series 0, Watch Sport model with watchOS 3 is good enough for me.

Purchasing Probability – Not likely.

Apple TV

I do not expect that Apple will refresh the Apple TV in 2017.  I have a 32GB fourth generation Apple TV.  I use it often to watch Netflix and some movies and TV shows purchased from iTunes.  But I don’t use it every day.  I am not a big apps user.  I don’t expect to buy a new Apple TV.  I would buy a new Siri Remote if Apple released one, but I don’t expect any new remote to appear in 2017.

Purchasing Probability – Not likely.

Apple Accessories

In 2016, Apple exited the monitor business.  In place of the Cinema Displays, Apple co-designed a new 5K display with LG called the UltraFine 5K Display.  My iMac doesn’t have USB-C, so I don’t see myself buying a second monitor.  In all honesty, I like the cleanliness of a single monitor on my desk.

Apple is also rumored to be out of the router and Wi-Fi business.  As I recently wrote, this means the end of the line for AirPort networking equipment.  I just purchased my last refurbished AirPort Express.  I wish Apple would stay in this business, because they are very reliable and very easy to setup.

With Apple exiting both of those businesses, I don’t see myself buying the LG display or another AirPort.  If I find myself needing a second monitor in 2017, I need a second monitor or new networking equipment, I see myself getting the Dell UltraSharp 27 Ultra HD 5K UP2715K and an eero mesh Wi-Fi network 3-pack.

My iMac came with a new Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse 2.  I don’t expect to replace them in 2017.  Mostly because I still like using my Apple Wireless Keyboard (2006) and my Apple Extended II keyboard (1995).  I have gotten better with typing on the Magic Keyboard, but I prefer the key travel of it’s larger format cousins.  I would get a new wireless Magic Keyboard if it included all of the function keys of the Bluetooth Apple Wireless Keyboard (2006), but we all know that Jony Ive won’t allow such a monstrosity to be created.  Maybe if the Magic Keyboard was released with the same amount of key travel and included the Touch Bar and Touch ID I might spring for it.  After all, I’m not above spending $200 for a great Apple keyboard.

Purchasing Probability – Unlikely, without the release of an iMac compatible Touch Bar and Touch ID Magic Keyboard.

Closing Thoughts

So, there are my plans for Apple hardware in 2017.  I don’t think that there are going to be any surprises for me.  New releases of Mac OS, iOS, watchOS, and tvOS are surely going to be welcomed and will delight customers.  I think I am most excited about a new iPhone.  I feel that a new MacBook Pro would be helpful with my school work, primarily with my upcoming programming classes this year.  I wish I had the option of upgrading to 32GB of memory, but there are still issues to be worked out there.


Image credit: MacWorld.com, 2015.

apple · apple watch · iphone 7 · iphone 7 plus · itunes · upgrade

Notes on iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus Upgrade Process

Update: Friend of the blog Mike C called me out for not mentioning that Bluetooth devices also need to be paired with your new iPhone after performing an iTunes or iCloud backup restore.  That oversight has been corrected below.

Congratulations on getting your new iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus!

Now that you have your brand new iPhone it’s time to upgrade from your old one.  While the process will vary from person to person, I have come up with a list of six steps to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Step 1: Unpair your Apple Watch.

The Apple Watch is a great tool for notifications, fitness tracking, taking a quick phone call or sending a dictated text message.  To ensure all of your data stays intact while moving over to your new iPhone, unpair it from your current iPhone.  Doing so backs up your Watch data to your iPhone.  To help, Apple has posted a support article called Unpair your Apple Watch and iPhone to help you navigate the process.

Step 2: Backup your current iPhone with iTunes.

When you use the latest version of iTunes on your Mac or Windows PC to create an encrypted local backup, iOS will also backup sensitive data including fitness and activity data and email account passwords.  Using iTunes to create an encrypted local backup of your iPhone is a different process that the nightly iCloud backups you are probably already doing.  To refresh yourself on how to use iTunes to backup an iPhone, look at Apple’s How to back up your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch support article; specifically the “Use iTunes” section.

When you run an encrypted backup, you also preserve your Apple Watch data in the process, allowing you to restore your data to Apple Watch later on.

Make sure that you write down your encrypted iTunes backup password!

Step 3: Power off your old iPhone.

At this point, I like to put my old iPhone into airplane mode.  The point is that your old iPhone should not have network access.

Step 4: Power on your new iPhone and follow the on-screen prompts to complete the initial setup.

This step assumes that you are activating your iPhone at home.  If you purchased your iPhone at a retail location and a well-meaning sales associate tried to setup your iPhone you may have a different experience.

Step 5: When prompted, select the option to restore your iPhone data from an iTunes backup.

At this time, select the option to restore from an iTunes backup and connect your iPhone to your Mac or Windows PC.  I like to have iTunes already launched before connecting the iPhone for restoration.  In iTunes, select the backup you performed in Step 2 as the one to be restored to your new iPhone.

Step 6: Sit back and have a refreshing beverage of choice, following any iPhone and/or iTunes prompts to complete the restore.

For me, this is the hardest part about getting a new iPhone – the waiting for all of the data to transfer from my Mac to my new iPhone!  Be patient.  It can take a long time to restore your data.  One the restore is done, take a look around to make sure everything is working normally.

Step 7: Pair your Apple Watch to your new iPhone.

When you start the pairing process, you will be prompted to restore your Apple Watch data from a backup. Select the backup that was created as part of Step 1 to restore all of your health and activity data.

Miscellaneous Odds and Ends

Here are some things to consider doing after you have completed your iPhone upgrade.

  • Change your iPhone device name by going to: Settings > General > About > Name
  • Pair up Bluetooth devices like Beats headphones, wireless speakers, and car hands free systems
  • Verify your loyalty cards are setup.  You may need to re-login to your online member accounts
  • Setup Apple Pay credit and debit cards
  • Sync any iTunes purchased ring tones and alert sound effects
  • Double-check that iCloud is setup the way you like by going to: Settings > iCloud
  • Corporate users will want to validate their Microsoft Exchange server settings
The process of backing up and restoring an iPhone and Apple Watch can seem to take forever, especially when you are excited to start using your new phone.  Taking the time to follow these simple steps will get you up and running as quickly as possible can keeping all of your settings and data intact.
apple · apple music · apple watch · beats · ios 10 · iphone 7 · iphone 7 plus · iwork

First Impressions from Apple’s Special Event – September 2016

Today was Apple’s annual September “Special Event” to show of the new iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, Apple Watch Series 2, and the all new AirPods.  The event was held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, California at 10:00am PT.

The following are my first impressions and thoughts as I watched pre-recorded video stream from the Apple website.

This year’s opening video is of Tim Cook joining James Corden for Carpool Karaoke (One Republic – I’ve Lived, Lynryd Skynyrd Sweet Home Alabama).  Corden and Cook were joined by later joined by Pharrell Williams.  I’ve never watched Corden’s show, but it looks interesting based on this video short.  I think this speaks a lot about Apple’s future: Apple Watch, Apple TV and new, original streaming content, and of course, Project Titan.  Maybe I’m reading too much into things, but we don’t see a Mac, iPhone, or iPad in the frame.

Welcome and Updates

Apple Music Update

Carpool Karaoke will be coming to Apple Music early next year.  Did we know that already?  I knew of the partnership, but honestly, where Apple Music is concerned, I am tuned out.

Apple Music now has 17 million paying subscribers.  That’s up 2 million since the last update.

Tim mentioned that there have been 70 exclusives for customers to listen to new music on Apple Music.  I wonder what is going to happen to that number over the coming year now that labels, specifically, Universal Music Group Chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge, is slamming the door shut on exclusives?  I had the distinct impression over the last year that Apple, like every other streaming service, was trying to use exclusives as a way to draw subscribers.

It’s been 10 years of the Apple Music Festival. Free steams from Apple devices. I probably should have been watching more.

App Store Update

140 billion app downloads since it’s launch in the summer of 2008.

Apple is still the preferred platform for app developers with 2x the payouts over the Android platform.  I don’t see this changing in the next 3-5 years.  Android is just a mess in terms of software updates and getting the majority of users on a current release.  Tim will get to brag about this for years to come.

Nintendo is coming to iOS in a BIG way!  Tim beams as he brings Super Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto on stage for the introduction.  For me, this is a much, much bigger deal that Niantic’s Pokemon Go coming to iOS.

Super Mario Run will be an iOS App Store exclusive.  This is a major win for Apple.  Super Mario Run will be yet another side scrolling running game.  Even though it is not a port of Super Mario Bros. from the Nintendo consoles, it looks and feels like a sibling.  I am so glad to hear that this game will be a paid up front game and won’t resort to nickel and diming players for coins, time delays, and other scams that other endless runners and “freemium” games resort to.  (I alway felt that this is where Rovio lost it’s way with their Angry Birds games.)

Education Update

Apple’s education initiatives has always been in their DNA.  I’m living proof of that.  Much like the kids using these Apple //s, when I was in the forth grade, I was completely hooked on the Apple //e and Apple.

Apple is putting it’s money where it’s mouth is with free hardware for schools (Apple TV in each classroom), teachers (MacBook Pro and iPad), and most importantly, students (iPads).  The big challenge here is to make sure that there are people in these schools that can put all of that hardware and software to good use.

As someone who has a career in IT because of Apple’s education initiatives back in the 1980s, I’m glad to see the next generation of technology users and creators being given the same opportunities.

Everyone Can Code initiative teaches kids (and adults) how to program in Apple’s new programing language, Swift.  I gave both of my girls iPads that can run iOS 10 and Swift Playgrounds so that they can learn.

iWork Update

iWhat? Oh, iWork.  Does anyone use iWork anymore?  In recent years, I have felt that Apple keeps Pages, Numbers and Keynote around just to have some extra checkmarks on a requirements list somewhere in Apple headquarters.  With inexpensive Microsoft Office 365 subscriptions, there aren’t many reasons to not be using Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.  That said, I do think iWork documents can be make to look much more impactful than their Office counterparts.

Susan Presscott, VP of Worldwide Apps Product Marketing comes out to talk more about Pages, Numbers, and Keynote.  Real-time collaboration is coming to all editions of the iWork apps.  Ok, live edits from the Mac, iPad and iPhone are impressive.  But also throwing in iWork on the web – ok, that’s a neat party trick.  I just wish it hadn’t taken so long to get here.  Google’s Docs, Sheets, and Slides and Microsoft’s Office 365 web apps have been able to do this for a while now.

New Products Introduction

Apple Watch Series 2

Apple Watch was launched 18 months ago with a focus on notifications, Apple Pay, and fitness tracking.  Apple is claiming that they are the #2 watch maker by revenue only behind Rolex.  Apple Watch is the #1 fitness tracker.

Jeff Williams, Apple’s COO, comes on stage to reintroduce watchOS 3.0 and it’s key features, including Messages, Breath, and SOS.  If you are into Pokemon Go, you may be excited that the game is coming to Apple Watch.  After watching the demo, I’m still disinclined to download and play the game.

Apple Watch Series 2 has been introduced.  In Watch Series 2, you can wear Watch in the water – swimming, surfing, or kayaking – up to a depth of 50 meters (164.04 feet).  The speaker has been redesigned to eject water out of the speaker canal.  Like walks and run, there will now be two new work outs for indoor pool swims and open water swims.

Apple’s S2 SiP is now has a dual core CPU and a twice as fast GPU which, along with watchOS 3.0 this will really help speed up apps.  There is also a new, brighter display (1000 nits) and a standalone GPS.  To cool thing about Watch Series 2 with it’s built-in GPS is that the GPS will connect very quickly with satellites (we’ll see) and can also show you map data with color coded speed information in the Activity app on your iPhone.  I like to walk and I think these new features will be enough to push me over the line to get a new Watch.

Apple Watch Series 2 will come in the same aluminum and stainless steel options as before and will include a new ceramic version.  Over all, my Apple Watch Sport edition has held up better than I thought it would, but it does have a few hairline scratches on the display and the body has two small nicks.  Maybe the ceramic, which is supposed to be 4x stronger than the stainless steel edition is for me.  If the price is right.

Remember the Nike+ FuelBand?  No? I don’t blame you.  Myself and three other people bought them before Apple Watch existed.  Now, as part of Series 2, you can get Apple Watch Nike+ Edition.  This is the logical conclusion for the FuelBand product, which I liked a lot, actually.  Nike+ will be available in four colors.  While I’m crazy about the bands, at least it is good to know you can swap them after your run.

The new Watch line up will include a “remixed” original Apple Watch, now called Apple Watch Series 1, with the same S2 processor as Series 2.  The price will be $269 for Series 1 and start at $369 for Series 2.  Both Series 1 and 2 Apple Watch models will become available for pre-order on September 9 (this Friday) and watchOS 3.0 will arrive on Tuesday, September 13.  Both Series 1 and 2 will go on sale on September 16, and the Nike+ edition will follow in “Late October”.

While I like the idea of Watch Series 2, at $369, I don’t think that I am going to jump on the launch day band wagon.  I like my Apple Watch, and I have worn it every day since I got it (except for a week in December when I forgot it at home while away on a business trip), I don’t feel that I get $369 worth of value out of it.  Like my iPad Air, I think my Apple Watch Sport edition is good enough for now.

Since there was no mention of the body size changing, I am left wondering whether or not the new Series 1, 2, and Nike+ editions will use the same quick swap lugs as the original Apple Watch Sport and Stainless Steel editions.  I would assume so.  And I think that leaves the door open to me getting a Series 2 Watch down the road if I can still use my existing set of six bands.

Apple iPhone 7 and iOS 10

Tim Cook quickly re-introduces everyone to iOS 10, highlighting Home Kit and updates to Messages.

Tim introduces the new iPhone 7 with a Johnny Ive video.  We got a Johnny Ive narrated video!  Phil Schiller comes out on stage to talk about the new iPhone 7.

Jet Black is the new high gloss color.  Black now replaces Space Grey.  Silver, Gold, and Roes Gold (don’t call it ‘pink’) round out the color options.  Navy Blue? Nah. Sorry Rumor Mill.  I’ve always been a “black” iPhone guy and I don’t think that will change this time around.  Jet Black looks great in photos, but I think the “Just Black” version is in my future…maybe.

(By the way, is anyone else bothered by the fact that in the middle of the iPhone 7 introduction, the MacBook’s spacebar and right Command key are not centered on the Force Touch track pad?  I can’t un-see this now. Sorry.)

The new “Force Touch” Home button seems cool.  I won’t have to worry about getting a mushy Home button like I did on my iPhone 4s.  I will have to leave my final judgement until I get my hands on iPhone 7 before I can make any definitive rulings on this one.

I am excited that iPhone 7 is now water and dust resistant.  Apple has been seen as “losing” against a handful of Android phones on this feature for a while now.  I don’t often worry about water and dust, but I am happy to know that those protections are now part of the enclosure.  Falling in the pool, or the toilet (Come on!  You were all thinking it too!) won’t be a problem any more.

The camera in iPhone has long been the go to camera over point in shoots for years now.  Optical image stabilization as a standard feature in iPhone 7 is a great move by Apple.  Even the flash got an upgrade that throws 50% more light.  I will want to see how much better low light photos are when taken with an iPhone 7 Plus over my current iPhone 6s Plus.  The new Flicker sensor sounds like a fantastic upgrade too.  And I’m sure that the kids are going to love the new 7MP FaceTime HD front facing camera for all of those ridiculous selfie and SnapChat photos.

Did someone just say “two cameras”, “wide angle” and “telephoto”?!  Sign me up for the iPhone 7Plus!

But, wait!  Schiller has more! Shallow depth of field is coming to iPhone!  This is something I have wanted to do for a long time, but didn’t know what the feature was called or how it was done.  Sweet!  All I will need to do now is to select the new “Portrait” setting in the iOS Camera app…coming later this year in a software update for the iPhone 7 Plus.

The Retina Display gets some nice upgrades too, but no True Tone from the iPad Pro 9.7″.  Bummer.

After using the iPad Pro 12.9″ for eight months now, and watching TV shows on it, I am looking forward to having stereo speakers on the iPhone 7 Plus.

Apple EarPods…here we go! Begin Internet melt down!  There is no 3.5mm headphone jack on that iPhone!  Oh, wait!  I already own a pair of PowerBeats wireless Bluetooth ear buds.

900 million Lightning devices in use today.  JBL Lightning ear buds are held up as an example of Lightning ear buds that are available today.  And, Apple will put a pair of Lightning EarPods in the box with iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.  Ok, so far, so good.  AND…Apple is putting a Lightning to 3.5mm adapter in the box with iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.  Nothing extra to buy.  Existing accessories will still work.  Internet crisis averted.  Case closed.

Apple has three reasons for taking away from the 3.5mm jack.  1. Lightning is a digital audio connection.  2. 3.5mm jack is over 100 years old and is taking up space that is needed for new technologies.  It’s time to be “courageous” and move on.  3. Wireless is the future of devices.  I’m ok with all of those reasons.  Oh, yeah, and AirPods.  As in wireless.

AirPods are the wireless “vision” of what ear buds are supposed to be and are powered by a new SiP called the W1.  The AirPods are introduced by a second Johnny Ive narrated video.  I’m pretty excited about the automatic pairing feature of AirPods to connect with all of my Apple devices.

Bluetooth pairing has aways been messy and so has been moving my PowerBeats between my iPad Air and iPhone 6s Plus; so much so that I don’t ever do it.  Now, that problem is solved.  Boom!  One step setup with your iPhone.  One.  Step.  One step.  And with the magic of iCloud, once AirPods are paired with your iPhone, they can seamlessly connect to Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac.  Sweet!  Tangled up ear bud cables just became a thing of the past.

The W1 chip is also coming to the Beats Solo3, PowerBeats3 and the new BeatsX.  I think I’ll put off buying new Beats Solo headphones and try the AirPods first.  They will go on sale in “Late October” for $159.

The new iPhones are going to be powered by the new Apple A10 Fusion SOC chip.  This thing is packing 4 processing cores.  Two super high speed and two “1/5 performance cores” that are going to extend battery life by optimizing on the fly which set of CPU cores to put processes on.  The same trick works for the GPU too.  It’s going to be a while for Samsung to try and copy that.  All of this adds up to an extra 2 hours of battery life on the iPhone 7 and an extra hour of battery life on the iPhone 7 Plus as compared to the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.  Not too bad.  I’m assuming those numbers include running on low power mode once the iPhone drops below 20%.  That’s great.  On light use days, I’m already squeaking by on two days of use between charges.

Shocker!!  The 16GB iPhone is GONE!  The new entry level iPhone starts at 32GB, the 64GB gets replaced by the 128GB, and the 128GB is replaced by a new 256GB option.  Wow!  I was not expecting this at all.  I go for the middle Plus model, so that means a very nice, very roomy bump from 64GB to 128GB. The iPhone 7 will start at $649 and the new iPhone 7 Plus will start at $749.  Also, the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are getting bumped to 32GB and 128GB models.  Thanks, Apple!

Pre-orders go live for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus this Friday, September 9.  And, if you are super excited for the new iPhone, we will only have to wait one week to get them on September 16!  (And yes, if I can get in line crazy early to get my at 8am, you already know I’m going to do that.)

iOS 10 arrives on Tuesday, September 13, as expected, along side watchOS 3.  Presumably, tvOS will go live on September 13 as well.

Musical Guest

This year’s musical guest is Sia who performed The Greatest.  I’m feeling old because I have no idea who Sia is – and I didn’t really like the song.  Don’t get me wrong.  It wasn’t as bad as the socially awkward U2 performance that gave us the Songs of Innocence train wreck.  But let’s face it, that’s a low bar to get over.

Wrap Up

Lots of new technology is this year’s iPhone line up and I’m pretty excited for it.  Nothing out there running Google’s Android operating system can touch iOS 10 and iPhone 7.  Clearly NOT the exploding Samsung Galaxy 7 Note.

So, to recap, I am getting and iPhone 7 Plus 128GB with iOS 10 and the AirPods.  The new Beats Solo3 and Apple Watch Sport Series 2 are on the wait and see list.

In closing, I would like to quote James Corden from the beginning of the keynote as I think it is most appropriate for a fan boy like myself:

“This is it, bitches!  Get in line!”

apple · apple watch · rumors

Thoughts on Apple Watch 2 Rumors

I have an Apple Watch Sport.   No surprise there.  I also have to say that I’m pretty happy with it.  Also, no surprise.  Aside from Microsoft’s Wanderlust to-do list app, I don’t use many third-party apps.  (Checking my grocery list in the store without having to pull out my iPhone is pretty amazing.  But I digress.)  I find myself using Apple Watch for notifications, Siri dictation for hands free iMessages and, yes, even channelling my inner Dick Tracy to take calls when my iPhone is in the other room.  Before my Apple Watch, I used a Nike+ FuelBand and a Jawbone Up after that.  (The Bluetooth Jawbones are better, by the way.)

On Friday, MacRumors.com ran an article revolving around predictions that Drexel Hamilton analyst Brian White made while in China touring new technologies.

In the MacRumors article, in part, reads:

“Finally, we walked away with the sense that the Apple Watch refresh will not occur in September with the iPhone 7, but is more likely to occur within the next 2-3 months, and thus we believe an unveiling at WWDC in June makes sense. We believe Apple Watch 2 could be 20-40% thinner than the current Apple Watch.”

Mr. White’s report has got me thinking about my plans for Apple Watch 2.

I find the idea of a thinner Watch body would be a great upgrade and is something that would get me to buy a new Apple Watch Sport.  The one thing that I am worried about is whether or not Apple Watch Sport 2will be compatible with the current crop of Watch bands.  Apple never made any guarantees that the bands that we buy today will be compatible in the future.  If today’s Watch bands aren’t compatible with a new Apple Watch body, I feel that it will dampen the enthusiasm for accessory band sales.  If one thing about Apple Watch is clear, the bands are what helps drive the feeling of uniqueness and individuality.  Both of those things are key parts of the Apple Watch. story.

I would like to see new sensors that will extend the functionality of Apple Watch.  For example, I liked and miss having an actigraph sensor that can track my sleep patterns.  My Jawbone Up tracker had one and I thought the collected information was interesting.  I’m not all that excited about the rumor that talks about the possible inclusion of a FaceTime camera.

If Apple makes Watch 2 thinner, and is compatible with the current crop of Watch bands, than I think I will get one on launch day.  If there are new sensors in Watch 2, that would make it an even more compelling upgrade.  However, if the current bands are not compatible, then I think I will stay on the sidelines and wait for Apple Watch 3.

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)