• apple,  apple tv,  ios 7,  ipad,  iphone,  ipod touch

    Apple Releases iOS 7.1

    Earlier today, Apple released the long awaited iOS 7.1 update.

    For iOS 7 users, this is the update that we have been waiting for.  Since it’s launch in September 2013, Apple has released six minor updates to address issues that have cropped up.  With iOS 7.1, Apple has taken the time to bake in a number of meaningful feature improvements.

    Support for CarPlay is new in iOS 7.1 – if you happen to own a new car that takes advantage of it.  Siri has learned a new usability trick, while iPhone 5S customers will appreciate the enhancements to Touch ID.

    iOS 7.1 is available for all current model iPhones, iPads, and the latest generation iPod touch.  The upgrade will weigh in somewhere around 265MB.  There is also a corresponding iOS update for the second and third generation Apple TV boxes.

    To start the software installation, tap Settings > General > Software Update and then tap the Download and Install button.  Before downloading and upgrading to any new iOS update, I recommend that you perform an iCloud backup first.

  • apple tv,  mac os x,  media server,  time machine,  windows

    Seagate Central Home Media NAS Device Review [Updated]

    I discovered Seagate Central while looking for a seamless Macintosh and Windows home backup solution.  Once I started reading more about Seagate Central, what I realized was this little network attached box has a number of nice features for the network connected home.
    Backup All of Your Stuff
    My home has a mix of Mac OS X and Windows desktops and laptops, and Seagate Central makes backing both types of PCs super simple.  Macs can see Seagate Central as a Time Machine server and will work with all recent releases of Mac OS X right out of the box, making Mac backups remarkably easy.  Windows users will need to install the Seagate Dashboard software before backing up files to Central’s hard disk.

    Another useful feature of Seagate Central is that it can backup the pictures and videos that you post to Facebook.  This is an incredibly useful feature as many people don’t backup their smartphones using only social media services as a means for preserving the special moments in our lives that are captured in photos and short videos.  I’m thinking about my wife and her iPhone 4 as a perfect use case here.

    For as useful and easy as it is to backup your Mac or PC to Seagate Central, I do need to offer a word of caution here.  The Seagate Central is a single drive device.  This means, that is the drive in your Seagate Central becomes damaged or fails there is no backup of the backup.  The old be prepared saying goes “one is none”, so if you use Seagate Central as a backup server, I would strongly recommend a second supplemental backup, such as Backblaze.
    Via ComputerShopper.com
    Streaming Media Server
    Seagate Central is also a streaming media server that works with hardware that you probably already have in your home.  To achieve this interoperability, Seagate has baked in Digital Living Network Alliance, or DLNA, services.  This means that the DLNA can talk to your devices like a Sony PS3, Blu-ray players, Samsung TVs and many more devices.  To use Seagate Central as a media server for your connected devices, just connect everything to the same wired or wireless network (802.11n or later is recommended) and grab some hot, buttery popcorn and enjoy.

    What about the Apple TV?  Unfortunately, the Apple TV does not appear to be a DLNA compatible device.  (And why should it be from Apple’s perspective? They want you to purchase and stream your content from iTunes.)  Fear not, Apple TV owners!  Seagate has you covered with their Seagate Media app, which is AirPlay friendly and allows you to redirect content streamed to your iOS over to Apple TV.  The Seagate Media app also works with Android devices.
    Access and Share Your Data
    A unique feature of the Seagate Central server is that you can use it remotely from your Android or iOS device with the free app from Seagate.  Once the Central server is configured and you have installed the app, then you can access your photos, videos, or documents.  Your mobile device will need to be connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot or 3G cellular service.  You can also access the content stored on the Seagate Central server from your Mac or PC using a web browser and even share the content with a private email invitation.  These features are allow you get much more utility our of the Central and effectively gives you your own sharable cloud-based storage solution.
    Pricing & Availability
    Seagate Central is available now and comes in a 2TB ($149.99), 3TB ($179.99) and 4TB ($219.99) models to meet your media and backup needs and budget.  Just as a price comparison, the Apple Time Capsule starts at $299.00 and does not have the streaming media features.  While your individual needs will differ from mine, the 3TB $179.99 version seams to be the best choice for all but the price conscious or those with lots of content to store.
    The Seagate Central NAS server packs a lot of value in an inexpensive package.  It makes backups simple, streams media to your DLNA-compatible devices, gives you access to your data when you are on the go, provides document sharing, and works with Mac OS X, Windows, Android and iOS devices.  The one thing that I would have liked to see was a multi-drive configuration for data redundancy since Seagate Central is billed as a backup solution.


    After posting a question about RAID support in Seagate Central, Seagate Support confirmed that Central does not support a multi-disk RAID configuration.  In place of the Central, Seagate recommends their Business Storage 2-Bay NAS for people who want the peace of mind of a redundant data storage device.

    For more information and purchasing options, visit the Seagate website.

    [Seagate Central showroom image via ComputerShopper.com…]
  • apple,  apple tv,  ios 6,  ios 7,  ipad,  ipad mini,  iphone 5s,  ipod touch,  iwork

    Apple Releases iOS 7.0.4, Other Software Updates

    Following Tuesday’s surprise iPad mini with Retina display launch, Apple released a number of updates for iOS devices, Apple TV, and iWork for iCloud.

    iOS 7.0.4, iBooks and iTunes U

    iOS 7.0.4 is  a minor maintenance update for all current generation iOS devices that fixes a potential issue with FaceTime calls.  The 37MB update also addresses other unspecified bug fixes and improvements.  iOS 7.0.4 is available for the iPhone 5S, 5C, 5, 4S, and 4; iPad Air, iPad 4, 3, and 2; iPad mini with Retina and iPad mini.

    In addition to iOS 7.0.4, iBooks and iTunes U finally received their iOS 7 makeovers.

    iOS 6.1.5 Update for 4th Generation iPod touch

    What, what?!  The iPod touch 4th generation also go a little bit a love today with the release of iOS 6.1.5.  This minor update for the iPod touch which cannot be upgraded to iOS 7, received a similar FaceTime update.

    Apple TV 6.0.2

    Apple TV also received such a small update that there was no mention of what was fixed.  I did not notice any new channels or new features after the update was applied.

    iWork for iCloud Beta Update

    If all of the iOS love wasn’t enough for you, iWork for iCloud received some much needed collaboration updates.  Document editors can now see who else can collaborate on a document and where their cursor is positioned inside the document.

  • airport,  apple,  apple tv,  apps,  ios 7

    Briefly Noted: Apple Updates Remote, AirPort Apps

    Yesterday afternoon, Apple released updates to their Remote and AirPort Utility apps.

    Evident from the app descriptions, the AirPort Utility did not receive an iOS 7-like remake.  It still looks like it’s older iOS 6 version of the add.  The jump to 64-bit native code should make the app run smoothly on the new iPhone 5S, iPad Air, and the soon to be released, iPad mini with Retina Display.

    The Remote app, received a complete iOS 7 design make over.  While the functionality of the software does not appear to have changed, the UI has.  Remote now has the Help screen overlay that flies in when you tap the help question mark icon located at the top right of the screen.  The Menu button now appears a circle icon with a text label “Menu” at the bottom center of the screen, with additional playback controls on either side.  The large “track pad” area still dominates the majority of the screen, however, now appears as a frosted pane allowing you to “see” your wallpaper in typical iOS 7 blurred effect fashion.

    Both applications are available in the iTunes App Store for free.

  • apple,  apple tv,  ios,  ipad,  iphone,  ipod touch

    Apple Releases iOS 6.1.3 Update

    Earlier today, Apple released iOS 6.1.3, a security and maintenance update of iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

    iOS 6.1.3 fixes the lock screen bug that was introduced in an earlier version of iOS 6.  The update also includes minor fixes and updates for the Japanese version of Maps.

    You might recall that iOS 6.1.3 started out life as iOS 6.1.1 back on February 6th.  A number of serious bugs where discovered in iOS 6.1, 6.1.1, and 6.1.2, forcing the originally planned iOS 6.1.1 to become 6.1.3.

    iOS 6.1.3 is available now for current model iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch models.  To upgrade your device OTA, go to: Settings > General > Software Update.

    Apple has also released Apple TV 5.2.1 update for second and third generation Apple TVs.

  • apple,  apple tv,  ipad,  iphone,  ipod touch

    Staples Begins Selling Apple Products (Again)

    Today Apple accessories are now being sold on the Staples website.  It is also believed that Apple’s products will soon be on sale in brick and mortar locations.

    When you visit Staples.com you can choose products from iPad Accessories, Mac Accessories, iPod accessories, and of course, iPhone accessories.  The Apple TV is also available from Staples.

    This will be a return to selling Apple products, for the office supply chain.  Back in the 90’s I can remember my local Staples selling the consumer Macintosh line and classic Mac OS upgrade kits.

  • apple,  apple tv,  ios

    Apple TV Software Upgraded to 5.2

    Along side the iOS 6.1 upgrade released today, Apple also rolled out Update 5.2 for current model Apple TV boxes.

    Users can download the update directly to their device by choosing the Settings application on the Apple TV, then choosing “General,” and “Software Update.” The full list of changes in the update, according to Apple, are:

    iTunes in the Cloud: Brows and play your purchased iTunes music directly from iCloud.
    Up Next: See upcoming songs when playing music, and easily choose what plays next.
    Bluetooth Keyboard: Use your Apple Wireless Keyboard to control your Apple TV.

    [Via AppleInsider.com…]

  • app store,  apple,  apple tv,  itunes

    A Note About Apple TV (Generation 1) Content

    Apple released the first Apple TV set top box in 2007 calling it a ‘hobby’ device and wanted to see what customers would do with it.  I’ve recently upgraded to a new iOS powered Apple TV third generation to watch TV shows and movies on my living room TV.

    My first generation Apple TV is now connected the TV in my girl’s room.  They don’t have a cable box so this gives them a way to watch TV shows and movies that my wife and I can monitor.  But the first generation Apple TV was released in a time before 1080p and there is lots of HD content in the iTunes Store now.

    I recently ran into a problem where a late episode of Discovery’s Mythbusters.  Regardless of what I tried, the episode wouldn’t sync.  Naturally, I ran to Google.com and started searching for answers.

    I couldn’t find any.

    Then I realized that the episode was only showing an “HD” icon, and not the “HD SD” icon.  SD being “standard definition,” the 720p version of the show that the original Apple TV can play.  And there was my light bulb moment.  When I purchased the episode, I purchased the HD version to watch on my MacBook Pro or my living room third generation Apple TV.  I needed the SD version so my kids could watch it in their room.  Aha!

    Once I downloaded the SD version of the shows, the episodes synced up to the first generation Apple TV normally.

    So the lesson that I learned here is when you are purchasing HD content and you plan to use it on a first generation Apple TV make sure you go back and download the SD version of the show or movie if it doesn’t automatically download.

    To learn more about the Apple TV, in all it’s versions, check out the Apple TV Wikipedia page.