apple · apple store · ipad pro · iphone · macbook pro · macintosh · retail

Apple Danbury Reopens with New Design Language


Apple is getting ready to launch their newly redesigned Danbury Fair Mall location with the new design language that has already debuted in other retail locations, such as the Union Square store in San Francisco.

As I arrived this morning, the prep teams were still putting the finishing touches on the store: setting up chairs at the newly designed tables, arranging the milk crate seats in front of the video wall in The Forum, and obsessively, and I do mean obsessively, wiping away every smudge and fingerprint on the massive sliding glass panels that make up the enterance to the store.

The new retail store format is the work of Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s SVP of Retail and Online Store, and Jonathan Ivy, Apple Chief Design Officer.

The store looks absolutely great! It is instantly recognizable as an iconic Apple store, and still offers a clean modern look that makes you want to just come in and hang out.  The Forum video wall looks really nice! Coming to the store for the new Apple Today sessions is going to be really great fun.

All of the Apple managers and staff that I have talked to this morning, like me, are really excited for the new store and the format. This store, just like the products that are sold here, is just incredible!


With less than an hour to go before the Danbury store relaunched, the employees are marking the last checks on everything.

As the 10:00am launch our draws near, the crew gets in a group photo.

After the doors opened, the group of enthusiastic customers that had gathered in the mall flooded in!

[Updated with new photos.]

airpods · apfs · apple · beta · ios 10 · ipad · iphone

iOS 10.3 Public Beta 1 Released

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Yesterday, Apple released the iOS 10.3 Public Beta right on the heels of the iOS 10.3 Developer Beta.  The developer beta, was released on Tuesday.

I was a little surprised by this move, as iOS 10.3 includes a feature only a nerd’s nerd would like – the Apple File System (APFS).

APFS was announced last summer at the 2016 Apple developer’s conference, WWDC, as an experimental feature in MacOS Sierra.  APFS could only be used with SSD drives, and could not be on the boot drive.  APFS was also restricted from converting disk drives that used HFS+.  The HFS+ file system, released some 18 years ago, is the file system used on all Macs, iPhones, Watches, and Apple TV.  I was presuming that APFS wouldn’t show up for iOS until the iOS 11 beta program this summer.  It looks like Apple is moving a head, getting ready to bring APFS to iOS devices much sooner than MacOS.  Releasing an update that automatically upgrades HPF+ formatted iOS devices to the new APFS is a good sign that development has gone well and that Apple is looking for feedback ahead of a full production rollout in the future.

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In addition to APFS, the other feature that I am looking forward to playing with is the new Find My AirPods functionality that has been added to the Find My iPhone.app.  This feature will be great to help you track down that missing AirPod that is in your pants pocket, your bag, in between your couch cushions, or behind your bed.  Basically, if your AirPods have a charge and are in range of one of your Apple devices signed into your iCloud account, you will be able to get an approximate location.  (Remember, these things do not have built in GPS radios.)

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There is also a nifty Apple ID option at the top of the Settings list.  The purpose of this new setting is to give you quick access to all of your iCloud account settings and options all in one spot. Can’t remember your Apple ID email address? Need to tweak Family Sharing? Want to update your credit card information.  It’s all right here.

Wanna try out the public beta?  You really need to be ready to deal with some bugs.  That’s the whole point of using pre-release software.  I also suggest that you run beta software on an iPhone or iPad that is not your everyday or work provided device.  The last thing you need is to get stuck in a jam and not be able to make a phone call or do work.  Still interested? Head over to beta.apple.com to learn more.

apfs · ios 10 · iphone

Apple iOS 10.3 Developer Beta 1 Started Today

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Generic iOS 10 Beta update screen. via Apple.com

As expected, hot on the heels of the official release of iOS 10.2.1, Apple opened up the iOS 10.3 beta to registered paid developers today.

According to people who have already installed the new beta release, iOS 10.3 includes the new “Find My Air Pods” feature, hourly weather forecasts via 3D Touch on the Weather app icon (would be really useful today), and navigational improvements to the Mail application.

But what I found really interesting was that Apple is including the new Apple File System, APFS, early.  I wasn’t expecting APFS to make an appearance on iOS until iOS 11, presumably due out later this year.  APFS make it’s first appearance at WWDC 2016 in a preview mode so developers could get experience with it.  The current iOS, and MacOS, file system is known as HFS+, which Wikipedia tells us debuted in 1998.  Yes, your 2016 iPhone 7 is running a file system that was released 18 years ago.  And designed for a Macintosh running a Motorola 68000-series processor.  Ah, memories.

Regardless, I was expecting APFS to make its first, non-beta, appearance on the Mac since it is a smaller pool of users compared to the juggernaut that is the iPhone.  Looks like Apple is forging ahead with APFS on iOS devices first.

No word yet as to when public beta testers will be able to get in on the 10.3 beta.

[Via MacRumors…]

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 · ios 10 · ipad · iphone · messages

Forwarding Messages To and From an iPad Using Your iPhone

Earlier today I was presented with an interesting question about Messages on iPad and iPhone. I’ll paraphrase it as: “How can I sent a text from my Wi-Fi iPad to someone using an Android smartphone?”

I thought the answer involved making sure the recipent’s telephone number was used or that the iPad needed to be tethered to an iPhone in hot spot mode. The phone number was strike one and the tethering option was strike two. I was close, but no cigar. Here’s the real answer: Text Message Forwarding from your iPhone.

The Text Message Forwarding feature on an iPhone allows you to compose, send, and receive text messages on your iPad.

To setup Text Message Forwarding:

1. Sign into the same iCloud account on your iPhone and iPad.
2. On your iPhone, go to: Settings > Messages > Text Message Forwarding
3. Slide the toggle switch next to the iPhone you want to use for message forwarding

Enabling Messages Forwarding feature in iOS 10

 
4. On your iPhone, enter the security code that appears on the iPad screen

Message Forwarding PIN confirmation in iOS 10

That’s it! Once the iPhone and iPad are “paired” for message forwarding, you can send and receive text messages on your iPad with all of your “green bubble” friends.

apple · ios 9 · ipad · iphone · ipod touch

iOS 9.3.2 Public Beta 1 Has Been Released

Apple rolled out the first public beta of iOS 9.3.2 last night.  iOS 9.3.2 is largely expected to be a maintenance release and not expected to include any new tentpole features such as Night Shift.

If your iOS device is already enrolled in the iOS 9 Public Beta program, you can download the over 1GB installer oner the air using the Software Update feature.

iOS 9.3.2 Public Beta 1 comes on the heals of iOS 9.3.1, which was released on March 31, and iOS 9.3, which was released on March 21.