Monday, October 20, 2014

iOS 8.1 Rolls Out Adding New Features to iPhone, iPad


Earlier today Apple released iOS 8.1 for all current model iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices.

The new features included in the iOS 8.1 update are:
  • Apple Pay for iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus
  • Photos app now includes the Camera Roll
  • Enables support for the iCloud Photo Library (beta service)
  • Enhancements to Messages for iPhone users to send SMS and MMS messages from an iPad or Macintosh running OS X 10.10 Yosemite
  • Fixes for Wi-Fi performance issues when connected to certain base stations/access points
  • Fixes and issue connecting to some Bluetooth hands-free devices
  • Fixes an issues that can cause screen rotation to stop working
  • Adds an option to select between 2G, 3G or LTE networks for cellular data
  • Enables HealthKit applications to access data in the background
The iOS 8.1 update on both of my iPhone 6 units (Sprint and Verizon) ran about 30 minutes from start to finish.  The update package was 126MB.

All current model iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices already running iOS 8 can upgrade now, for free, to the iOS 8.1 release.

Earlier this month, Apple released iOS 8.0.1 that caused some iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus customers (about 40,000 customers in total) problems with using their phone to make calls.  iOS 8.0.2, which corrected the problem and iOS 8.1 do not suffer from the same issue as the original iOS 8.0.1 update did.  In other words, iOS 8.1 is safe to download and install.

For more information, see Apple's support website.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Apple Store Grand Opening, Trumbull Connecticut


This weekend, Apple opened another store in Connecticut, this time in the well known Westfield Shopping Town, Trumbull mall.  My father and I were just crazy enough to get out of bed early on a rainy Saturday morning to stand in line to celebrate the opening of the new store - and to score free t-shirts!

The Trumbull Apple Store at 7:45am

We arrived at the mall at about 7:35am.  It took us about 10 minutes to park the car and make our wall through the virtually empty, cavernous mall.  As we turned the corner we could see the security guards standing around and knew that the new geeky playground was just ahead.  We took our places, twelve and thirteen, in line.  As you can see from the photo above, the store looks identical to all of Apple's other in mall stores.

The line at 7:55am

There where several points during the morning when the Apple Store employees would come up to the doors and check out the growing line.  We started taking them pictures of them and they did the same to us!

 Employees taking pictures of us taking pictures of them at 9:15am

Another Apple Store selfie

To help past the time, my Dad and I started taking more Apple Store selfies.  My daughters have informed me that we are definitely not cool.  By 9:40 the line had gotten pretty long.  While it looks like the line only goes to the mall doors, the line actually breaks to keep the doors clear and then continues down the hallway to the left.

The lines goes to the end of the hall and then breaks to the left

Chants of "Trumbull, Trumbull, Trumbull!" could be heard from inside the Apple Store

The staff really started getting psyched up in the final 15 minutes before the store opened for business.  You can see from the picture inside that the main house lights were turned off and that something was being projected inside (You can see a reflection of sorts on the ceiling).  Just before the lights came back on you could hear the staff getting super excited - clapping, whooping and chanting "Trumbull, Trumbull, Trumbull!  All of this got the crowd that was gathered out side super excited.  Everyone who had been sitting on folding chairs or the floor was now standing with anticipation.  The people in front of the line had big smiles on their faces.  We couldn't hide it.  I don't know what special magic is contained in the Apple Retail Store employee handbook, but I do know that whatever is says about the procedure for launching a new store and getting customers excited to go in and spend their money was clearly, clearly, working.

High fives and smiles all around

Seconds after the lights came back on and the chanting stopped, the employees exploded from inside the store and started running down the line high fiving the customers who had been standing in line for hours.  It was hard to remind myself that this was the opening of a high-end electronics store and not the pep rally just before a high school football game.




Once back inside, there was one more last minute team meeting and then the doors slowly began to part and lock into their open position as the crowd heard the familiar 6...5...4...3...2...1... and then everyone lost their minds and went nuts with an excitement - an excitement you can watch in an Apple keynote but just don't understand until you've participated in it live and in person.



Once I got inside, the store was instantly flooded wall-to-wall with customers, employees, hardware and what I can only describe as amazing party atmosphere! As we all poured in there was even more shouting, clapping, and high fives for everyone.  Store employees where handing out special commemorative t-shirts and greeting customers with warm hellos, welcomes and smiles.


While inside, I did manage to buy a new black smart case for my iPad Air







I can't adequately explain the excitement of being at the launch of an Apple Store.  Being a major tech nerd, my family expects me to wait up late at night to buy the latest shiny new gadget, software (boxed or download - yes, I was at the midnight launches for both Windows 98 and Windows 98) or get up early on a day I should be sleeping in to go stand in a long, long line.  This time, I knew it was worth it from the smile on my Dad's face.  And while I was one of the lucky first 1,000 people to get a free t-shirt, I just couldn't leave the Apple Store without picking something up, so my iPad Air, which I had with me, went home with a new black Smart Case to match the black leather case on my iPhone 6; which I was using to shoot these pictures and video with.

Once I got home, I unboxed the t-shirt.  I almost forgot to take the unboxing photos as evident by the cut in the box's silver tab seal.




The first 1,000 customers to the Trumbull store each received a large commemorative t-shirt
It's not every day that you get to buy a new major piece of hardware, such as an iPhone 6, or are able to be literally one of the first two dozen people to walk into a new Apple Store.  If you get chance to go to a product launch or a store opening, you should do it.  Even if you aren't an Apple fan boy, clearly I am, or a tech nerd, or don't know everything about Apple's stuff.  It's a pretty amazing experience to hang out with other customers, fans, and staff who truly "get" what makes Apple's products so amazing, transformative, and simply delightful to use.

But the best part was that I got to experience all of this with my Dad, who bought me my first Apple //e all of those years ago that eventually led us to this point - together.  Thanks, Dad!  (And Mom, too!)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Happy iPhone 6 Day!

Hello!

Today, September 19, Apple released the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to the cheering legions of Apple fanatics around the world!  Today, I was lucky to be one of them.

I don't think all of these people are here for L.L. Bean.

The day started off with my arrival at the Danbury Fair Mall.  I didn't think all of these cars were here for L.L. Bean.

The mall opened it's doors at 5:00am to accommodate the crowds.  I think being inside really helped keep people calm and comfortable with easy access to food, drink, and restrooms!

At least this couple has breakfast.
This is not the line you are looking for.
Fortunately for me, I pre-ordered my iPhone last Friday in the 3:00am Internet shopping frenzy and this is the line that I got to stand in.  Sweet!


iPhone 6 reservations line is much, much more manageable!
There wasn't as many lunatics who stayed up 'til 3:00am last Friday night to spend money on a phone smart people as I expected who pre-ordered their new iPhone.  After we saw the really long walk ins line, we were all pretty glad that we did pre-order last week.

I arrived at the store with Dad at 7:00am.  Waiting wasn't going to be hard with Amber keeping us informed and the Coca-Cola vending machines stocked chuck full of cold bottles of Diet Coke!

Two knuckleheads in line.

Amber kept everyone updated.

Go figure, I was standing next to a case of Coca-Cola!

Just before 8:00am local time, all of the Apple Store employees were called inside for a pre-sale briefing meeting.



As you might have expected, the store staff came running out and counted down the final seconds until 8:00am!  While I was waiting to go in, I managed to get in a few selfies.



As with all product launches, Apple put up new window signs.  This one was a metal spiral ring around the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.  You can see the first batch of people getting their iPhones inside the store.


Once inside, you were paired up with an Apple specialist who helped you get your new iPhone, make sure you understand the new Apple Care rules (you now have 60 days to buy the additional coverage rather than last year's 30 days), point out accessories if you needed them (I have my cases delivered to the house) and generally be there to answer any questions you may have.


Because I was crazy enough to stay up until the middle of the night to order a new phone, I was able to get a new iPhone 6 on launch day.  If you didn't get a chance to buy an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus today, you'll be able to get one in the coming days and weeks.  The iPhone 6, as cool as it is, is still just a phone at the end of the day.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, the unboxing photos.











I'll see you again next year.  Stay hungry, stay crazy!  Thank you, Steve.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Apple Releases Yosemite Public Beta 2, iTunes 12 Beta, and iWork Updates


This past Thursday was pretty busy for Apple.  Continuing toward the presumed late October launch of Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite, the Fruit company released the second public beta of Yosemite alongside a new iTunes 12 beta.

Yosemite Public Beta 2 and iTunes 12 Beta

The Yosemite and iTunes betas brings the changes that have recently been released to Apple's registered (and paying) application developers to the free public test drive of the next version of Mac OS.  The software, as is all other Apple software at this point, is shipped as a software update from the Mac App Store.  The installation process took about 30 minutes on my mid-2009 MacBook Pro.  The new version of iTunes was a relatively quick install.

Taking a quick look around after installing Yosemite, there didn't appear to be all that much changed from Public Beta 1.  Many of the changes at this point will be internal meaning that applications have most, if not all of their features and are going to become more stable.  I did notice that my external USB hard disk had a new flattened icon that I like better than the original orange icon.

The iTunes 12 beta has a new, cleaner look to it.  I'm still on the fence as to whether or not I like the older interface with the sidebar or the new interface.  Knowing myself, I think it's just a reaction to having to learn where things are or a new way of doing them.  I'm pretty sure I'm just being a cranky old man about the UI enhancements in iTunes.

iWork App Updates

In addition to the new beta software, Apple also rolled out new versions of their iWork applications for the Mac, iPhone, and iPad.  I didn't notice any outward appearance changes to Pages, Numbers, and Keynote.  According to the update description, Apple only stated that the new apps "contain stability improvements and bug fixes."

Head over to the Mac App Store and the iOS App Store to download and install the free updates now.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Microsoft's 1994 Website

Suddenly, I don't feel so bad about the first website I built using SimpleText and the Netscape browser on my Apple Mac SE/30.

You can see the full version over at Micrososft's Discover 1994 site.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Still Time To Join the OS X Yosemite Public Beta


If you are an Apple fan and have always wanted to try the latest, but maybe not exactly done, software - now's your chance!

After 14 long years, Apple has launched a public beta for the next version of the Mac OS, OS X 10.10 Yosemite.  As the word 'beta' implies, this software is still very much under development and next exactly ready for prime time.  But if you have a second Mac, or know how to dual-boot your Mac to another partition, then this your chance to jump in the pool and test things out.  If you find something that's not working or has a rough edge, you can report it to Apple.

This is not for the faint of heart or the first time Mac user.  If you want to learn more about what's involved with being a beta tester, you should read yesterday's SPF post first.

Apple's accepting the first one million Mac owner requests to join the program.

Still interested?  Head over to the Yosemite beta sign up page to get started.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Sage Advice From ComputerWold About Running the Yosemite Beta

Mac OS X 10.0 Beta disc via ComputerWorld
 ComputerWorld, this morning, published some tips for Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite beta testers.  You should keep these tips in mind, especially since if you are a first time beta tester.

"First and foremost, keep in mind that this isn't the official release of the software; Apple is still testing and tweaking Yosemite. That means it may not function as expected. Some features may be completely absent or could differ from what Apple showed off during its WWDC keynote in June -- and some features may look very different in the final release."
Head over to ComputerWorld to read the full article.

[Via ComputerWorld.com...]