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.

 

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 · appletv · ios 9 · ipad mini · iphone 6s · iphone 6s plus · pencil · smart keyboard · tvos · watchos

Apple "Hey, Siri" Special Event Wrap Up

Apple has unleashed new Apple Watches, iPads, an all new Apple TV and, yes, even the new iPhones 6s and iPhone 6s Plus on the world.

If you haven’t had time to sit through the two and a half hour presentation, here’s everything you need to know about Apple’s newest gear.

Welcome and Opening Remarks from Tim Cook

Tim started off by saying that we have “monster updates across multiple product lines” and he wasn’t kidding.  As with the last keynote, the usual “How are we doing?” state-of-the-state slides were cut.

Apple Watch

After stating that Apple Watch customer satisfaction was at 97%, Tim turned over the Apple Watch section to Jeff Williams, Apple’s SVP Operations.  I don’t recall seeing Jeff up on stage so I’m glad they are giving him time in the spotlight.

  • Time Transit and 3rd-part complications in watchOS 2.0
  • Transit information is coming to Apple Maps to help you find public transit
  • 10,000 watchOS apps in the App Store today
  • New gold and rose gold color options for Apple Watch Sport (available now)
  • New Apple Watch stainless with new band options
  • 16 fluoroelastomer Sport bands, including a new (Product) RED band 
  • Hermes bands and new signature watch faces, available at select stores

I like the new watch bands, but was not blown away with the new colors.  I’ll likely buy one ore two more fluoroelastomer bands before I upgrade my Sport edition watch in the future.

The AirStrip third-party demo seems like an amazing convergence of medical and digital technology. Apple is really showcasing their work with partners in the health and fitness fields.

watchOS 2.0, a free upgrade, arrives Wednesday, September 16.

iPad Pro

Turns out the rumors about a larger iPad were true and that device is called the iPad Pro.  The iPad Pro is clearly targeted at business professionals and not the typical iPad owner.  According to Tim Cook, “iPad is the clearest expression of our vision of personal computing.”  “We’re partnering with the world’s leading enterprise companies, IBM and Cisco, to redefine and transform the way people work in the enterprise.”

To introduce the new iPad Pro, Apple played a video with the solar system and the sun. Let’s just
get to it already.  I don’t want to see a simulated product showing a simulated solar system.  My first impression of the iPad Pro (during the video): “It’s nice.  I don’t need it.”

Then then video ended and Tim Cook came out holding the deice and things turned around quickly for me.  My second impression of the iPad Pro (while Cook was holding it): “I bet it’s close in size to a standard format US magazine – I read a lot of content on my iPad Air today.  EW, Time and others, please for the love of God…please…please use retina assets.”

  • 12.9″ diagonal screen more than enough for holding a “printed” magazine page
  • 2732 x 2048 (horizontal), 2x the resolution as the iPad Air/Air 2 standing tall
  • 5.6M pixels being pushed around the display
  • More pixels than a 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
  • Variable refresh rate display (dynamic power savings)
  • iPad Pro is powered by the third generation 64-bit A9X chip
  • 1.8x faster than the iPad Air 2 A8X chip, 2x flash storage performance
  • 2.0x fater GPU performance (great for games and pro media apps)
  • Still maintains the iPad’s 10-hour battery life target
  • 4x speaker audio system (one speaker at each corner of the device)
  • iPad Pro is 6.9mm thick compared to iPad Air 2 6.1mm
  • Smart Keyboard case with woven fabric key caps (no screen scratching)
  • Smart Connector carries power and data with a magnetic connection
  • Smart Connector does not rely on Bluetooth or peripheral batteries
  • iPad Pro will be available is white/sliver, white/gold, black/space grey
  • 32GB Wi-Fi $799, 128GB Wi-Fi $949, and 128GB Wi-Fi + Cellular $1,079
  • iPad Pro begins shipping this November

I also really like the full size soft keyboard, especially with iOS 9 upper and lower case key caps.

So, how do you get a thinner MacBook or MacBook Air? Ditch the entire bottom half of the notebook.  That’s the iPad Pro.  I think “Road Warriors” (is that still a ‘thing’?) should really
like this for it’s extreme portability.  There was no discussion about an Apple Smart Cover or Smart Case.  I would think that with a full size soft keyboard, you could get by without buying a keyboard accessory to save money.

Can the iPad Pro be a compelling alternative to MacBook, MacBook Air?  Assuming you purchase the mid-tier iPad Pro, a Smart Keyboard and a Pencil, your out the door cost is $1,200 for the 128GB Wi-Fi iPad Pro.

Apple Pencil

Apple Pencil is the stylus that God did’t give you and is a much more refined writing experience over today’s stylus.  I’m guessing that the people at 53, who make that cool Paper app, are really pissed about the new stylus and it’s name.

  • When using Pencil, iPad Pro digitizer is scanning 2x as fast to collect more data
  • Can use both touch and Pencil input at the same time (ruler and pencil example
  • Tracks position, force and tilt of Pencil as you use it
  • Promises low latency to better replicate the feel of writing/drawing on paper.  This is a big one for me since I take notes on iPad Air with Jot stylus
  • Pencil charges off of iPad Pro Lighting port (first Holy $#!+ moment)
  • Pencil working with built in apps looks like Microsoft Surface stylus done right
  • Into video showed hand firmly resting on the display and not interfering with Pencil input.

Improving the experience of note taking on the iPad looks to be greatly enhanced with the new iPad Pro only Pencil stylus.  Overall, it looks like a better experience of using my iPad Air and Bluetooth Jot stylus.

Professional Productivity on iPad Pro

Playing word association with the term “Professional Productivity” does not conjure up images of “Microsoft”.  Adobe is the first word that comes to mind.

Admit it, Microsoft Office on iPad Pro with Pencil and Split Screen is incredibly cool!

Adobe’s up next with their Com page layout software and Photoshop Fix apps.  Photoshop Fix offers real-time dynamic photo re-touching on an iPad.  This took forever on my 1992 Macintosh IIci desktop.  Now I can do that work from a tablet in real-time.

I was glad to see Irene Walsh from 3D4Medical on stage to show off her company’s anatomy app.  That demo looked pretty impressive.

iPad mini 4

  • iPad Air 2 hardware reconfigured into the mini’s format
  • Like iPad Air and iPad mini 3 both have A7
  • iPad mini 4 starts at $399

The iPad mini 4 only received a passing mention during the event.  Aside from putting the iPad Air 2 guts into the iPad mini 3 case, there’t not much new there.

I wonder what this means for iPad Air 9.7-inch line.  Seems like many people are opting for the iPad mini.  iPad Pro is clearly aimed at professionals. Is this a way to boost margins on iPad line? Is Apple just keeping the iPad Air around because people still buy it?  This feels a lot like the MacBook (One) being out, yet Apple still continues to sell the MacBook Air.

Apple TV, Forth Generation, and tvOS

Tim Cook started off the Apple TV potion of the keynote by stating that “The future of TV is apps,” and with the new Apple TV, there will be plenty of apps to go around.  The new Apple TV, as Apple likes to say, will be instantly familiar, but new.   The new Apple TV looks very similar to the second and third generation Apple TVs we have now.  With the new Apple TV, the box will be slightly taller than before.

The software that drives Apple TV has been updated too.  tvOS, a variation on iOS – just like watchOS is also a variant of iOS – has gotten a new flat, clean ascetic.  With the integration of Siri, you are now able to use the new Siri remote for Apple TV to speak commands such has “So me movies with Robert Downey, jr”, “What was the score from last night’s Yankees game”, or “What is the weather forecast for later today?”.  That’s a pretty cool feature…if it works reliably.

With the Siri Remote, better remote control navigation, Bluetooth communication, apps, a redesigned UI and Universal Search the new Apple TV is a worth while upgrade for existing Apple TV owners and people looking to add “smart” features to their TV.  My initial reaction to Apple TV was that Apple has caught up to where everyone else is.  But the story does quite end there. If you squint when you look at Apple TV, you can see where Apple plans to go in the future, so I’m holding out hope that Apple TV and tvOS will have a more compelling reason to buy one over it’s competitors in the future.

To introduce the new Apple TV, Tim brought out Jen Folse from the Apple TV engineering team to demonstrate some of the new features.

The new Apple TV, forth generation features:

  • Redesigned hardware, including the new Siri Remote
  • Redesigned UI/UX: GUI, glass touch interface on remote, Siri voice controls
  • Siri Universal Search for content across iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, HBO and Showtime
  • HD video screen savers that look so amazing that I want to have them running all the time
  • Apple TV now includes Apps, App Store, and full integration with Apple Music and Beats 1
  • A8, Bluetooth 4, 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO
  • 10mm taller than Apple TV 3rd gen
  • Siri Remote charges via Lightning Cable and is good for 3 mo on a single charge
  • TV volume control, on off TV/receiver control
  • Available in two models: 32GB $149, 64GB $199
  • Apple TV 3 lives on at the existing $69 price point
  • Apple TV 4 ships in late October

tvOS

 Apple TV’s operating system received an official name this year, and it is “tvOS”.

  • New software that drives Apple TV and is based on iOS
  • Think of tvOS in the same way that watchOS is a “derivative” of iOS
  • tvOS uses all of the same foundations as iOS, easy to move iOS apps to tvOS
  • Multiplayer game support, mixing Apple TV remote and iPhone, iPad or iPod touch as extra controllers.
  • Apple TV remote also can interact with apps like a Wii Remote does
  • Support for three additional iOS controllers for a total of four players
  • Universal apps now span iOS for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and tvOS
  • Support for game progress saves, continue playing where you last left off
  • Developers have access to tvOS now – developer.apple.com/tvos

iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus

At about 83 minutes, gets to the part of the presentation we have all been waiting for: iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.

With so much packed into this presentation, you will recall that Apple chose to cut out all of the status updates.  Still, Tim Cook still found the time to take a jab at all of the Apple naysayers by pointing out the iPhone has grown 35% year-over-year.  Boom!

The new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus will have bodies constructed with Apple’s 7000 series aluminum and come in a new rose gold color in addition to silver, gold and space grey.  Being an “s: year, Apple has chosen to keep the same display sizes: 6s 4.7-inches and the 6s at 5.5-inches.  The bodies are slightly larger than the previous year, however, Apple’s website still shows that iPhone 6-series and iPhone 6s-series phone will be able to fit into existing cases.

So of the new features about the new iPhone that I really like are:

  • iPhone 6S/Plus includes to Multi-Touch interface called 3D Touch
  • Peek and Pop Force Touch gestures for navigating and controlling iPhone
  • Tactile feedback is provided to the display via a Taptic engine
  • New 3D Force gestures for Peek and email are going to be a big time saver for me
  • iPhone 6S/Plus is powered by the new A9 processor
  • Desktop and console grade graphics – games look great on Metal for iOS
  • M9 motion coprocessor has now been moved directly into the A9 CPU
  • Apple gets points for a 12MP iSight camera; 5MP FaceTime camera (screen as flash!)
  • New Live Photos feature works across OS X El Capitan, iOS 9 on iPhone iPad and watchOS 2

In addition to the specs, Apple has made some changes to the hardware line up.

  • iPhone 6S/Plus will keep the same price configurations
  • iPhone 5S is free on contract
  • iPhone 5C is out (say goodbye to the last non-TouchID device)
  • You can now purchase your iPhone directly from Apple on a payment plan called iPhone Upgrade Program, which includes AppleCare+

The iPhone 6S/Plus go on sale Sept 25.  Pre-orders, the only humane way to order on iPhone, will be available with free shipping to your home or in store reservations.

There’s a lot to digest with the Hey, Siri event and I’m looking forward to getting my hands on the new hardware and software as soon as possible.

apple · apple watch · appletv · ios 8 · ipad air · ipad mini · iphone

Apple Releases iOS 8.2, Support for Apple Watch

Today, after Apple’s Spring Forward event, the leading smartphone maker release iOS 8.2; which includes Apple Watch support.

The Apple Watch app in iOS 8.2 is waiting for an Apple Watch to pair with

iOS 8.2 is available now as an OTA update for current model iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches that are running or can run iOS 8.x. Here’s a list of what’s new and improved in iOS 8.2.

In addition to today’s iOS 8.2 update, Apple also rolled out an update for Apple TV.

apple · appletv · ios · itunes · itunes match · Uncategorized

Apple Introduces the New AppleTV with Support for 1080p Video [U]

Along side the third generation iPad, Apple introduced the third generation AppleTV.  The “tiny entertainment powerhouse” as it is referred to by Apple, now supports 1080p videos downloaded from the iTunes Store for playback on your 1080p television and had a new, streamlined user interface.

The third generation AppleTV retains the same $99 price point.  AppleTV’s tentpole features include: video playback from iTunes Store purchase, Netflix,  YouTube and major league baseball streaming video (subscriptions maybe required), AirPlay, iCloud support, iTunes Match, and Photo Stream.

Owners of the second generation AppleTV will gain access to the new user interface and software features by way of a free iOS software update.

For more details or to order the new AppleTV, visit the Apple website.

Update

The new AppleTV will go on sale next Friday, March 16, at the same time the new iPad goes on sale.  Unlike the new iPad, Apple does not appear to be taking pre-orders for the new AppleTV and the website is still showing a 1-2 week lead time.

apple · appletv · ios · ipad

Apple Unveils the Revolutionary New iPad

Earlier today, Apple unveiled the revolutionary third generation iPad.

For all the new features and specifications of the new iPad, check out the Apple website.  You can view Apple CEO Tim Cook’s keynote, the new iPad video, and the new TV spot also on the Apple website.

In addition to the new iPad, Apple also unleashed a boat load of new software updates, including: iTunes for Mac OS X and Windows, iOS 5.1, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iTunes U, iBooks, Find My iPhone, Find My Friends, iMovie, and Remote.  Use the App Store application on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to upgrade your software.

On the hardware front, Apple also unveiled the new third edition AppleTV.

The new iPad can be pre-ordered now and has the same price points as the previous two generations of iPad, and will begin shipping on Friday, March 16.  The iPad 2 is still available at a new low $399 price point.

The third generation AppleTV is available for order now at the same $99 price point and will begin shipping in 1-2 weeks according to the Apple website.

appletv · att · ios · ipad · iphone · ipod · itunes · mac · touch · verizon · windows

Apple Releases iOS 4.3 Update Ahead of iPad 2 Launch (Updated)

Earlier today, Apple has released the iOS 4.3 update for current model iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch mobile devices.  iPad 2, which will go on sale at 5pm on Friday (3/11/11) will come pre-loaded with iOS 4.3 from the factory.

Interestinly absent from the iOS 4.3 part is the new CDMA Verizon iPhone 4.  The Verizon iPhone 4 will not receive an update along side it’s GMS counterpart on rival wireless carrier, AT&T.

iOS 4.3 provides some new features, including iTunes Home Sharing (streaming between your Mac or PC and your iOS device), iPhone 4 Personal HotSpot (Mi-Fi like cellular Internet connection sharing), and a new preference to allow iPad owners to chose the function of the slider switch (screen rotation lock or mute switch).

In addtion to the new features, iOS 4.3 also enhances the Safari browser and the AirPlay feature, which requires a second generation AppleTV, first introduced in iOS 4.2.  ComputerWorld.com also reports that iOS 4.3 patches some 59 iOS bugs.

iOS 4.3 supports all current model iDevices, include: iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 GMS, iPad, and iPad 2, iPod touch (2009), and iPod touch (2010).  There is no world on when iOS 4.3 will be coming to the Verizon iPhone 4 or the second generation AppleTV.

To install iOS on your device, first upgrade iTunes to the latest release, and then connect your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to your computer and follow the on screen upgrade prompts.

Update

Apple has released a software update for the second generation AppleTV to bring it to version 4.2.  Click the Read More link for details.

AppleInsider.com reports that Apple has updated the second generation AppleTV software version 4.2.

New features of the update, as highlighted by Apple, include:

  • MLB.TV: Watch live and on-demand Major League Baseball games, access stats, scores and standings.
  • NBA: See scores and more, plus League Pass Broadband subscribers get live and archived games.
  • AirPlay for apps: Use AirPlay to wirelessly stream video from apps and Safari on your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
  • Netflix Dolby Digital 5.1: Enjoy Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound when watching Netflix movies and TV shows
  • New slideshow themes: View photos with the new Scrapbook, Photo Mobile, and Holiday Mobile slideshow themes.
  • Improved on-screen keyboard: Search and enter names and passwords more easily with the redesigned on-screen keyboard.

To update the software on your second generation AppleTV, use the software update feature in the settings menu.

[Via AppleInsider.com…]