• apple,  apple tv,  apple watch,  ios,  ipad,  ipad mini,  iphone,  iphone se,  tvos,  watchos

    Notes and Impressions from Apple’s “In the Loop” Spring Event

    Opening Remarks by Tim Cook

    Apple turns 40 on April 1, 2016.  I hope they continue to “Stay hungry.  Stay foolish.” for the next 40 years.  Many new Apple products were introduced in the Apple Town Hall auditorium, including the iPod and the iPhone 4S.  This will be the last time an event will be held in Apple Town Hall before moving into the new Campus 2 headquarters.

    Tim Cook’s executive team

    There are now more than 1B Apple devices in use around the world.

    Tim used this opportunity to make the case for strong encryption and personal privacy.  It was clear to me, that Tim Cook is very much displeased about this case and how the FBI/U.S. Government is handling it.  Apple will not “shy away” from protecting our data and our privacy.

    Environmental and Sustainability

    Lisa Jackson, Vice President, Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, has come up to talk about Apple’s environmental program.  Apple has been working hard towards their aggressive environmental innovation and renewable energy initiatives.  Apple is working toward a 100% renewable energy footprint.  Currently, 93% of Apple facilities worldwide and 100% in the US and China are using renewable energy with a 0% carbon emissions over-all rating.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYshVbcEmUc]

    Apple is working on an automated process that will deconstruct an iPhone so that all of it’s parts can be recycled and reused.  Liam is Apple’s new prototype robot that can deconstruct and iPhone that all of an iPhone’s parts can be recycled and reused.  This is pretty amazing stuff!  You can watch the short video clip that introduces Liam if you haven’t seen it yet.  For more information, see apple.com/recycle.

    Was Apple trolling their fans and the tech press?  In the opening few seconds of the Liam video, an iPhone is riding down a conveyor belt.  The iPhone does not have a model identifier on it’s back and it can be clearly seen that the camera lens is completely flush with the back casing just like the iPhone 5s. Below is a screen grab from the video.

    Is this the new iPhone 7?

    ResearchKit and CareKit

    Jeff Williams, Chief Operating Officer, has come up to talk about Apple Health initiatives, particularly around ResearchKit.  ResearchKit has become very popular for hospitals an health research organizations as a tool to help conduct medial research.  Tools for research are becoming new tools for providing health care.  The new CareKit framework is all about building apps to help empower people to improve their health.  Apple sees these tools as a way for customers to help manage their health care.  All data is opt-in and kept confidentially.  Customers choose who has access to their health data.

    Apple Watch

    Tim Cook has declared that Apple Watch has become the #1 selling smartwatch in the industry.  One-third of Apple Watch owners change bands frequently.  (I have five bands, of which, the Midnight Blue Leather Loop band is my favorite.)  Apple has introduced their line of Woven Nylon Bands, new colors in the Sport Band family, and a new Space Black Milanese Loop band.  (Oooh, that one looks really nice.  I may have to break down and get it.)  Finally, Cook announced that Apple Watch Sport Edition will now start at $299, a $50 price reduction. 

    Apple TV

    The new Apple TV (aka Forth Generation) now has 5,000 apps available for it on the App Store.  Siri integration continues to grow for voice searches of video content.  tvOS new features include: Dictation, Siri for App Store, iCloud Photo Library, Live Photos, support for Bluetooth Apple Wireless Keyboards and Folders.  Dictation for speaking user names and passwords is a big win for anyone who has ever entered an email address or strong password on Apple TV.  I’m really happy about that feature being included.  The tvOS update is free and available now.

    iPhone SE

    Greg Joswiak, Vice President, iOS, iPad and iPhone Product Marketing, comes up to talk about iPhone.  In 2015, Apple sold 30M 4-inch iPhones.  (That would be the iPhones 5S and 5C.)  Apple has decided that they will continue to sell a 4-inch iPhone, and that will be the new iPhone SE.  (Insert obligatory Mac SE and/or Mac SE/30 joke here.)

    Did I mention that the iPhone SE comes in the same colors as the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus?  The iPhone SE looks very similar to the iPhone 5S that came before it.  As Apple pushes for very thinner iPhone designs, I actually prefer the squared off sides of the iPhone 5/5S/SE models.  Just not enough to give up my iPhone 6s Plus.  Why can’t we have a 4.7-inch or 5.5-inch iPhone with squared off edges?

    The new iPhone SE includes the same A9 CPU and M9 co-processor as the iPhone 6s.  The best way to think of the iPhone SE is to think of it as an iPhone 6s stuffed inside the iPhone 5s case.  Just without 3D Touch.

    iPhone SE pricing: 16GB at $399 (free with two-year contract or $17/mo on an installment plan), 64GB at $499.  iPhone SE pre-orders start on Thursday, March 24.  iPhone SE goes on sale starting Thursday, March 31.

    For the Spring 2016 event, the corny jokes delivery role when to Jos, but it looks like Craig Federighi, who normally gets all the good “Dad jokes”, approves.

    iOS 9.3

    New in iOS 9.3 are the Night Shift feature, Notes can now be password protected with a PIN passcode, or a finger print using Touch ID.  You can now also get App Suggestions from inside the Health app.  The News app gains the Top Stories feature.  And, if you are lucky enough to have a new car with built in support for CarPlay,  there are some nice enhancements headed your way.  I really wish my 2015 Honda Accord EX had this feature.  Also new in iOS 9.3 is the Education app for iPad.  It is designed to be used by students, teachers, and school administrators.  Of all of the new features, this is the one I know the least about.  It is probably the one feature that I have gotten the most question about deploying at work, which, has nothing to do with education.

    iOS 9.3 is available now and will run on any device that is capable of running iOS 9.0.

    iPad Pro (9.7-inch)

    Phil Schiller, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Marketing, has come up to talk about what’s new with the iPad and introduce the new iPad Pro.  The second iPad Pro is based on the 9.7-inch display form factor and weighs less than 1.0lbs.  The big narrative here is “Why a smaller iPad Pro?”  According to Apple, there are two reasons.  The first is that 9.7-inches is the original display form factor.  You know, the one that Steve Jobs preferred over the mini form factor.  Secondly, it is designed to attract Windows PC users/switchers.  The iPad Pro 9.7-inch is intended to target the 200M 9.7-inch iPad and iPad Air owners with “The ultimate upgrade”.  Personally, I think the Windows PC switcher angle is bit of a long shot.  Owners of 9.7-inch iPads still using the iPad 2 or 3 will want to upgrade.  The iPad Air and iPad Air 2 are still very good iPads, and I think it’s a harder sell to get those people to upgrade to the new iPad Pro.  (I still use my iPad Air every day, more often, even, than my 12.9-inch iPad Pro.)

    The new iPad Pro has an A9X CPU and M9 co-processor.  The 9.7-inch iPad Pro also has a custom display timing chip that drives the display and four speakers.  The 9.7-inch model only has 2GB of RAM compared with the 4GB that is used in the 12.9-inch model.  A new feature that is currently only available on this new iPad is called True Tone Display.  With True Tone Display, the iPad will adjust temperature of the display to match the ambient light in the room where it is being used.

    iPad Pro Accessories include: a new, smaller Smart Keyboard, Apple Pencil, Lightning USB Camera Adapter and SD Card Reader, and the USB Camera Adapter.  Interestingly, Phil called out the fact that the Apple Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter allows podcasters to connect a USB mic to the iPad Pro.

    iPad Pro will be available in the same four colors as the iPhone: silver, space grey, gold, rose gold.  Pricing start at $599 for the 32GB model and $749 for the 128GB model.  For the first time, both iPad Pro models will be available in 256GB configurations, the 9.7-inch model starting at $899.  There was no mention of cellular options on stage, however, the Apple online store is showing that the 9.7-inch iPad Pro will be available with cellular radios for the same $129 premium over the Wi-Fi only models just like all other iPad configurations. The iPad Air 2 will hang around at the $399 price point, while the iPad mini will hold the $269 introductory price point.

    iPad Pro pre-orders start on March 24, and go on sale starting on March 31.

    If you want to watch, or rewatch the Spring 2016 In the Loop keynote presentation, you can do so via the Apple.com website, the Apple YouTube channel, or from the Apple TV and iTunes Special Events app/postcast feed.

  • apple,  ipad,  ipad mini,  iphone,  ipod touch

    Apple Releases iOS 9.0.2, Addresses Lock Screen Bug

     Today, Apple has rolled out iOS 9.0.2.  The 45MB update addresses a few minor issues with the new mobile operating system.

    The unreported security update is the main reason why you will want to apply this update.  According to enthusiast blog AppleInsider, the unreported fix addresses a vulnerability with the lock screen security.

    “…[T]he iOS 9.0.2 update issued today fixes a security issue that allowed malicious users to bypass a passcode protected lock screen and gain unfettered access to an iPhone’s photos and contacts.”

    iOS 9.0.2 is available now for all devices that are running iOS 9, iOS 8 and iOS 7 via the Settings application > General > Software Update.

  • apple,  ipad,  iphone,  ipod touch

    Apple Releases iOS 9.0.1 [Updated]

    Yesterday, Apple released iOS 9 for all devices that are capable of running iOS 8.

    Update:

    Apple has released iOS 9.0.1, a minor update that fixes issues with the iOS 9 setup assistant, alarms and timers don’t alarm and a distorted image issue with Safari and Photos when playing video.  iOS 9.0.1 has been released for all devices running iOS 9.0.

    iOS 9 can largely be thought of as a ‘tock’ release – in other words, iOS 9 is iOS 8’s “Snow Leopard.”  With iOS 9, Apple chose to go back and shore up all of the new features that have been released in iOS 7 (2013) and iOS 8 (2014).

    Even with the focus of iOS 9 being on performance, stability, and setting the stage for what will come in the future, Apple did manage to add new features to iOS 9, including the all new News app, enhancements to Passbook, now called Wallet, Siri Suggestions, iCloud and Safari content blocker (read: ads and ad tracking blockers).  Here’s the full list of what’s in iOS 9, directly from Apple:

    With this update your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch become more intelligent and proactive with powerful search and improved Siri features. New multitasking features for iPad allow you to work with two apps simultaneously, side-by-side or with the new Picture-in-Picture feature. And, built-in apps become more powerful with detailed transit information in Maps, a redesigned Notes app, and an all-new News app. And improvements at the foundation of the operating system enhance performance, improve security and give you up to an hour of extra battery life.

    Intelligence
        •    Proactive assistance
        •    Presents relevant information even before you start typing
        •    Notifies you when you need to leave for appointments using traffic conditions
        •    Learns what you listen to in a certain location or at a particular time of day and can automatically display playback controls for your preferred music and audio apps
        •    Suggested events and contact details are added to apps based on information found in Mail
        •    Siri improvements
        •    Search your personal photos and videos based on dates, locations and album names
        •    Ask Siri to remind you about things you’re looking at in your apps, including Safari, Mail, Notes and Messages
        •    Request directions via public transit
        •    Spotlight search improvements
        •    Get sports scores, weather conditions and stock prices
        •    Simple math calculations and conversions
        •    Initiate messages, phone calls and FaceTime calls from contact search results

    New iPad Features
        •    Slide Over
        •    Quickly use a second app without leaving the one you’re in
        •    Easily switch between Slide Over apps
        •    Support for Apple apps and enabled third party apps
        •    Split View
        •    View and interact with two apps at once
        •    Ability to resize your view to give equal attention to both apps or prioritize one app over another
        •    Support for Apple apps and enabled third party apps
        •    Picture in picture
        •    Continue watching a video while using your favorite apps
        •    Support for Safari video, FaceTime, Videos and Podcasts and enabled third party apps
        •    QuickType improvements
        •    Multi-Touch gestures for easier text selection on iPad
        •    Quick access to text editing tools with Shortcut Bar on iPad
        •    Support for hardware keyboard shortcuts
        •    Support for all Unicode emoji flags

    Built-in Apps
        •    Map improvements
        •    Support for public transit lines, station details with exits and entrances, schedules and directions in select major cities
        •    Browse for places around you by category, including Food, Drinks, Shopping, Fun and more
        •    Apple Pay support is indicated on place cards at participating retail locations
        •    Place cards include Wikipedia information for landmarks and cities
        •    Redesigned Notes app
        •    Add photos to your notes with the built-in camera or from your Photo Library
        •    Create useful checklists and check off completed items with a tap
        •    Sketch a quick thought using just your finger
        •    Save interesting items directly from other apps using the Share menu
        •    All-new News app
        •    Read your favorite newspapers, magazines, and blogs, or choose from over a million topics
        •    Beautiful typography and layouts, photo galleries, videos, animations, and more
        •    Browse articles that are chosen based on your interests in For You. Find channel and topic recommendations in Explore. News gets more personalized the more you read
        •    Easily share articles with friends or save them to read later — even when you’re offline
        •    Mail improvements
        •    Search improvements help you quickly find what you’re looking for by filtering results based on sender, recipient, subject or a combination of options
        •    Support for Markup lets you annotate an image or PDF attachment with text, shapes and even your signature, then send it back — without leaving Mail
        •    Easily save the attachments you receive or add files from iCloud Drive or other document providers while composing a new message
        •    Apple Pay and Wallet improvements
        •    Support for Discover cards
        •    Support for rewards cards and store credit and debit cards
        •    To check out even faster, you can prepare an upcoming payment by double-clicking the Home button from the Lock Screen and keeping your finger on Touch ID
        •    New iCloud Drive app
        •    Easily search for a file or browse in the new iCloud Drive app by date, name, or tags you added on your Mac
        •    Open files in any compatible app or share with those you choose
        •    Organize folders and files
        •    Get the iCloud Drive app in Settings > iCloud > iCloud Drive and select Show on Home Screen
        •    CarPlay improvements
        •    Plays back audio messages, letting you hear from people in their own voices
        •    Full support for car knob controls, so you can tilt and spin to scroll through lists or pan around in Maps
        •    Support for CarPlay apps from auto manufacturers

    Foundation
        •    Longer battery life
        •    Up to one hour of additional time before you need to charge your battery
        •    Facedown detection for turning display off when not in use
        •    Low power mode optimizes device performance to extend battery by up to an additional three hours
        •    Software updates require less space to download and offer an option to install later
        •    iOS apps and user interface now use Metal to deliver faster scrolling, smoother animation, and better overall performance
        •    Improved security with two-factor authentication support and a default 6 digit passcode support for Touch ID devices

    Other improvements
        •    New San Francisco system font
        •    Leave a message option if recipient isn’t available for a FaceTime call
        •    Share voicemails from the Phone app using the share sheet
        •    Flight and package tracking for data detectors
        •    Health app adds support for reproductive health, UV exposure, water intake and sedentary state data types
        •    HomeKit adds support for motorized windows and shades, motion sensors and home security system accessories
        •    Podcasts has an all-new design, makes it easy to find the latest episodes of your favorite shows and notifies you when new episodes become available for you
        •    Support for Wi-Fi calling on iPad, iPod touch and Mac, without iPhone in proximity on participating carriers
        •    Wi-Fi Assist to automatically use cellular data when Wi-Fi connectivity is poor
        •    Transfer content from an Android device with the Move to iOS app, visit http://www.apple.com/move-to-ios for more details

    Expanded language support
        •    New PingFang Chinese system font
        •    Improved predictions, learning and autocorrection for Chinese in QuickType
        •    Redesigned punctuation input on 10-key Chinese keyboard
        •    Redesigned User Interface for right-to-left languages
        •    Added Siri support for Austria, Belgium (French and Dutch), and Norway
        •    Added Spotlight search support for Mexico
        •    New keyboards for French (Belgium), German (Austria), Gujarati, Hindi (Transliteration), Hinglish, Punjabi, Spanish (Mexico), and Telugu
        •    Predictive input for French (Belgium), German (Austria), Korean, Russian, Spanish (Mexico), and Turkish
        •    Dictation support for Dutch (Belgium), English (Ireland, Philippines, South Africa), French (Belgium), German (Austria), and Spanish (Chile, Colombia)
        •    Spell check for Finnish and Korean
        •    Definition dictionary for Hindi, Norwegian and Swedish
        •    Bilingual dictionary for French-English and German-English
        •    New Japanese autocorrection and improved predictions and learning in QuickType
        •    Option to switch between number systems for Arabic and Hindi

    Enterprise & Education
        •    Assign apps directly to iOS devices without needing to have an iTunes Store account configured
        •    Improved calendar reliability for customers using Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync v16
        •    Expanded Per App VPN support for the built-in IPSec and IKEv2 VPN clients
        •    New networking controls for managed apps to help limit international data roaming costs
        •    New restrictions to prevent changes to passcodes, device names and wallpapers, or to disable AirDrop on managed devices
        •    Third party app extension support for VPN, advanced content filtering, and captive Wi-Fi networks

    Accessibility
        •    Touch Accommodations provides additional touch control for those with physical motor limitations
        •    Switch Control Recipes to customize features or create your own
        •    Support for Siri Voices for VoiceOver users
        •    Additional customization of AssistiveTouch
        •    Hardware keyboard support for Key Repeat, Slow Keys and Sticky Keys
        •    Improved MFi hearing aid audio routing to choose where audio is played

    Some features may not be available for all countries or all areas, for more information visit: http://www.apple.com/ios/feature-availability and http://www.apple.com/ios/whats-new

    For information on the security content of this update, please visit this website:
    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1222

  • apple,  ios 8,  ipad,  iphone,  ipod touch,  update

    Apple Releases iOS 8.4.1 Update for Apple Music

    Today, Apple released iOS 8.4.1 for all current model iPhones, iPads and iPod touches.

    Apple’s release notes for iOS 8.4.1 appear below.

    This release includes improvements and fixes to Apple Music.
    • Resolves issues that could prevent turning on iCloud Music Library
    • Resolves an issue that hides added music because Apple Music was set to show offline music only
    • Provides a way to add songs to a new playlist if there aren’t any playlists to choose from
    • Resolves an issue that may show different artwork for an album on other devices
    • Resolves several issues for artists while posting to Connect
    • Fixes an issue where tapping Love doesn’t work as expected while listening to Beats 1
    For information on the security content of this update, please visit this website:

    The iOS 8.4.1 release is available now as an over the air (OTA) update from your devices.  Just go to:
    Settings > General > Software Update to begin the install.

  • apple,  ios 9,  ipad,  iphone,  ipod touch

    Thoughts Regarding the iOS 9 Public Beta

    It’s that special time of year once again where we have been shown all of the wonderful software enhancements that Apple is cooking up for us this fall.  It is also the time when we, the brave nerds, install not quite fully finished software on our iDevices and Macs.  All of this is done in the name of being nerdy.

    Actually, what I’m talking about is the pre-release public beta versions of Apple’s upcoming operating systems: iOS 9 and Mac OS X El Capitan 10.11.

    Both of these new operating systems are still under development so it’s not fair to judge either of them on their technical merits, stability or performance.  The completed versions of both iOS 9 and El Capitan are due out “this fall.”  What I want to talk about here are some of the user facing enhancements in iOS 9.

    Keyboards

    Last year, one of the big ticket items in iOS 8 was Apple allowing third-party keyboards to be installed on iOS.  While having alternate keyboards available was fun, I dumped all of them inside a week.

    This year, I’m far more interested in the tweak Apple has baked into the iOS 9 public beta: changing keyboard key cap states.  With iOS 8, I could never keep the Shift key state straight in my head: What was the CAPS mode icon state again? Solid white?  Or was that grey?  I can’t remember.  Better keep mashing the Shift key and retyping.  At least half the time while I was banging out a long text in Messages, a tweet in Twitter or a long email in Mail, I would get the state wrong.  So annoying!

    In iOS 9, now the key caps change state depending on whether or not Shift is engaged or not.  Below is a sample of iOS 9 Public Beta 1 running on my iPhone 5S (left) and iOS 8.4 running on my iPhone 6 (right).

    I think I really like that enhancement.

    News and iCloud Drive

    After installing iOS 9, you will get two new stock apps: News (as featured in the WWDC June 8 keynote) and iCloud Drive.

    News appears to be everything Apple showed in the keynote.  I was really excited about News when is was unveiled during the keynote address.  As I said in my summary post on this year’s WWDC keynote, I think this will be a worthwhile feature for both the iPhone and iPad.  With Apple’s focus on user privacy, I think this could become the go-to alternative for things like Facebook Instant Articles.  The beta apps has lots of great articles from across the spectrum of publishers and topics.  I think the biggest challenge users will face is taking the time to fine tune their news feeds.

    iCloud Drive, in my opinion, is a new iOS client app to help round out the features of iCloud document storage that launched as part of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite last year.  With iCloud Drive, you now have access to the folders and documents that you have stored in iCloud.  iCloud Drive works similarly to Microsoft’s OneDrive or Google’s Drive iOS apps.

    On the left, you can see the top level folder view for iCloud Drive.  On the right, you see the list view of the contents of the Keynote folder.  It’s pretty basic stuff to be sure, but is also a utilitarian feature that Apple needs to gain parity with Google and Microsoft.

    iOS 9 will be released later this year and is expected to run on any iOS device that is already running iOS 8.

    For more information about iOS 9, check out Apple’s iOS 9 preview website.

  • apple,  ios 8,  ipad,  ipad mini,  iphone,  ipod touch

    Apple Rolls Out iOS 8.4 with Apple Music, Beats 1 Radio

    At 11:00am EDT this morning Apple released iOS 8.4 bringing a redesigned Music app, launching the new Apple Music service with Beats 1 24/7 live radio and updates to the iBooks apps.

    Below are the release notes for iOS 8.4.

    iOS 8.4 Release Notes
    This update introduces Apple Music—a revolutionary music service, 24/7 global radio, and a way for fans to connect with their favorite artists—all included in the redesigned Music app. iOS 8.4 also includes improvements for iBooks and bug fixes.
    Apple Music
    • Become an Apple Music member to play from millions of songs in the Apple Music catalog, or keep them offline for playback later
    • For You: Members can see playlist and album recommendations, handpicked by music experts
    • New: Members can find the latest, greatest new music available—direct from our editors
    • Radio: Tune in to music, interviews, and exclusive radio shows on Beats 1, play radio stations created by our editors or create your own from any artist or song
    • Connect: See shared thoughts, photos, music, and videos from artists you follow, then join the conversation
    • My Music: Play from all of your iTunes purchases, songs from Apple Music, and playlists in one place
    • Completely redesigned music player that includes new features such as Recently Added, MiniPlayer, Up Next, and more
    • iTunes Store: Still the best place to buy your favorite music—one song or album at a time
    • Availability and features may vary by country
    iBooks improvements and fixes
    • Browse, listen and download audiobooks from inside iBooks
    • Enjoy the all-new Now Playing feature, designed specifically for audiobooks
    • Books that are Made for iBooks now work on iPhone in addition to iPad
    • Find and pre-order books in a series right from your library
    • Improves accessibility of widgets, glossary and navigation in books made with iBooks Author
    • New default Chinese font
    • New setting to turn off Auto-Night theme in your library
    • Resolves an issue that may have prevented Hide Purchases from working
    • Resolves an issue that may have prevented downloading books from iCloud
    Other improvements and bug fixes
    • Fixes an issue where receiving a specific series of Unicode characters causes device to reboot
    • Fixes an issue that prevented GPS accessories from providing location data
    • Fixes an issue where deleted Apple Watch apps could re-install
    For information on the security content of this update, please visit this website:

    iOS 8.4 can be installed on any current model iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

  • android,  apple,  beats,  el capitan,  ios 9,  ipad,  ipad mini,  iphone,  mac os x,  music,  radio,  windows,  wwdc

    Thoughts on the Apple WWDC 15 Keynote Presentation

    Yesterday, Apple kicked off their twenty-sixth WWDC conference with a keynote address from Tim Cook.

    If you haven’t already watched the keynote session, you can do so now directly from the WWDC page on Apple.com.

    What follows are my thoughts and comments as I watched the presentation early this morning about the exciting new updates coming to OS X, iOS and watchOS.

    Opening Remarks

    Usually, the formula for an Apple keynote presentation is to welcome everyone and then run through a number of slides talking about how well Apple is doing. This year, Cook announced that 2015 is the twenty-sixth developer’s conference.  In addition to the live stream of the keynote, he also announced that for the first time ever, Apple will be live streaming 30 developer sessions this year to try and accommodate the developers who were not able to buy a ticket to this year’s conference.

    In short, Cook said “everything’s great” and then turned the stage over to Craig Federighi, Senior Vice President, Software Engineering to talk about advances in OS X, iOS and the new watchOS.

    Mac OS X El Capitan Update

    – 55% of active Mac users have upgraded to OS X Yosemite
    – Mac OS X 10.11 will be called OS X El Capitan; notice the lack of “10.11” in the product name
    – Two major areas of focus for El Capitan: user experience and performance

    The user experience performance should be thought of as a refinement of last year’s bold new OS X design language in Yosemite.  The tent pole features that were shown off include the new Informed Search features of Spotlight, refinements of the built-in OS X apps and window and workspace management with Mission Control, the Spaces bar and the new Split View windows control.

    Of all of the new updates, I think I will get the most utility out of the new Split View controls.  The windows snapping feature of Windows 7 is one that I use all of the time at work and the one Windows feature that I wished my Mac has built in by default.  (The other was the smoky grey Vista Start bar, but that was addressed last year with the Yosemite dark mode menu.)

    Informed Search in Spotlight allows you to use nature language text to help find things on your Mac.  With Informed Search, you can now type in search terms like “Show me all of my photos from last June”.  That’s pretty powerful because it lets us type in what we are looking for an let the computer figure out what we meant rather than us tying to remember some details about how, when or where we may have stored the files on disk.

    There was also a brief demo of a new feature coming to Safari wherein that if a video, say an ad, starts auto-playing a video in a tab that you are not looking at, a speaker mute icon will appear in the URL/search navigation bar.  Just click it and the audio is instantly muted.  That will really become a handy feature as more and more websites start auto-playing video ads on their sites.

    There isn’t enough time to cover all of the OS X El Capitan features

    Apple has to pick and choose what features are going to be high-lighted on stage.  Some interesting features that appeared in the “…and so much more.” slide include:

    – New system font – Yes, Apple Watch’s San Francisco font is coming to Mac OS X
    – Last search – Sounds like a really nice time saver
    – Rename from context menu
    – Time to leave reminders
    – Redesigned Disk Utility – seems like an odd update; are enhancements to HFS+ coming?
    – File copy resume
    – Copy file path in Finder

    On the OS X performance side of the house, Apple is bringing their Metal graphics engine that debuted on iOS last year “back to the Mac” El Capitan.  Metal will give professional apps and game developers a higher performance graphics layer than the older OpenGL and OpenCL platforms.

    Reportedly, all of Apple’s first party apps are being enhanced to take advantage of Metal.  I’m looking forward to the performance boost to things like the quick view feature that let’s you look at a document without having to launch the app first.  Oh, and when you do have to launch apps, Apple is working on making the time you wait for apps to launch must quicker.

    The schedule for Mac OS X El Capitan is:

    – Developers get a free preview starting right now.
    – Public beta testers will get El Capitan next month (July)
    – El Capitan general release will ship “this fall”

     iOS 9 Update

    – 83% of active iPhone users are running iOS 8 today
    – iOS 9’s major focus is “elevating” the foundation:improved battery life, better performance, and security enhancements

    Just like with OS X El Capitan, intelligence and informed seraching is coming to iOS 9 and Siri.  Siri can now understand more natural language requests like “show me pictures from …” or create new reminders based on what you are looking at in an app such as Safari.  Siri can even look up phone numbers for incoming calls that aren’t in your contacts by searching your email and making a suggestion.

    As with all of these security features, iOS 9 keeps all of your data private.

    Craig Federighi discussed personal data privacy in iOS 9

    Some other cool features that Federighi showed off, include:

    – iOS’ swipe to the left of the first app launcher screen is coming back and has been enhanced to offer contextual suggestions

    – Search has been enhanced to include new categories of information

    – iOS 9 searching has a new Search API that can be used to search across installed apps and provide deep linking to specific content and take you back to search results

    – Apple is building in intelligence into iOS, but they are not data mining; all information stays on device

    – Look ups for information is all anonymous, not shared – you are always in control of your data

    ZDNet’s iOS 9 beta lock screen

    One of the nice features coming to iOS 9 that didn’t get highlighted in the presentation is that Apple is improving iOS security by increasing the number of digits in a PIN from 4 to 6.  By adding just two additional digits to the PIN, iPhones and iPads will become all the more difficult to “hack” using a brute force attach.  ZDNet had a nice little write up about this feature.

    Jennifer Bailey talks about how Apple is simplifying the wallet with Apple Pay

    To talk about the updates to Apple Pay in iOS 9, Apple brought out VP, Apple Pay, Jennifer Bailey!  I was really surprised to see Apple giving a woman “FaceTime” (sorry about the pun) on the WWDC stage.  It would appear that Apple really is trying to show that it is a diverse company and not just a company run by “old 50-something white dudes”.

    In addition to launching Apple Pay in the UK later this year, Bailey went on to talk about the upcoming changes to Apple Pay in iOS 9.  They include:

    – Discover Card is coming to Apple Pay this year
    – Square is releasing a new NFC Apple Pay reader that will be in stores this fall
    – Store loyalty and reward card support is coming to Apple Pay
    – Passbook is being renamed to “Wallet”

    It’s that last on that I feel is kind of cheap.  Apple clearly has the head start on all of the competing mobile payment systems.  That’s not to say they arrived first – just that they have an early success advantage.  Switching to Wallet from Passbook, to me, makes it sound like Apple is chaing after Google.

    Maps, an app that has been steadily improving year-over-year, is also getting updated to include support for public transit information, specifically:

    – Adding a new Transit map (buses, trains, subway stations) with departure times
    – Step by step walking directions
    – Siri is being integrated to the new Maps transit information

    I’m glad to see that Apple is adding public transit information to Maps.  Android users have had this information via Google Maps for a long time now.  Apple Maps has had a rough start, but it is clear that Apple is committed to enhancing their mapping service over time.

    With iOS 9, Apple is included an all new pre-installed application called “News”.  News will bring “beautiful content from the worlds best world’s greatest sources, personalized for you.”  To help introduce and demonstrate News, Apple brought out the VP Application Product Management, Susan Prescott.

     Let’s just stop for a minute and let it sink in that Apple now has had two high ranking women on the WWDC stage showing off some of their newest software with the world watching.  This is the new-new Apple.

    Susan Prescott shows off the all-new News app for iOS 9

    I’m really excited about the new News app for iPad and iPhone.  I read the Wall Street Journal on my iPad most days in the WSJ app.  I’ll probably still do that because I have a subscription, but the News app has a lot going for it.  I can see in the future, the News app taking the place of Newsstand in the future.

    With News, you tell the app a little about what websites you like to visist and the kinds of articles you like to read on them.  Form there, News will aggregate a feed of news articles, beautifully rendered and laid out for you to read.  The app updates each time you launch it so there will always be fresh content to read and presented in a visually stunning way.

    Up until now, I have this on again off again relationship with Facebook.  I’ve recently started using it again after having liked the WSJ and New York Times pages so that I get news added to my Facebook feed.  I’ve never really been happy about liking pages on Facebook because of all the creepy things they are probably doing to collect my data.  With News, all of that is gone!

    The high points on New include:

    – News updates each time you launch it.  The more you read the better News can be about learning
    about what you like to read
    – News will ship for both iPad and iPhone
    – News will have privacy built in from the start.  There will be no sharing of data with Apple or third-parties about what you are reading
    – This is, in my opinion, a direct shot at Facebook instant articles and I’m glad to have an Apple alternative
    – When News goes live, there will be 30 New York Times articles published a day for News.
    – If all of this reading is anonymous, and there is no data sharing with publishers, who’s footing the bill for the stories?

    iPad iOS 9 Enhancements

    With iOS 9, Apple shows the iPad more love than it’s seen in the last two releases.  It’s clear that Apple is looking to bolster how their industry-leading tablet is both viewed (it’s not just a really large iPhone) and used (now with more productivity and multitasking enhancements).

    iOS 9 brings the Shortcut Bar to the iPad keyboard

    iPad gets the new Shortcut Bar as part of the new iOS 9 keyboard of iPad.  Not only does the keyboard give you predictive text for what you might be typing, but now you have access to text tools right in the keyboard.  The new Shortcut Bar provides convenient access cut/copy/paste functions as well as the ability to add bold, italics and underlined text.  You can even add an attachment if the app support it.

    If you’re not convinced that Apple is trying to cater to people who want to use the iPad as their only computer, a new two finger gesture allows you to move the insertion point cursor around the screen when you place two fingers over the keyboard and move them around as if you were using the trackpad on a MacBook.  This should be a pretty handy feature for people who become frustrated with how you move the cursor around the screen. I know a lot of people who will be happy to have this feature.  I have to wonder if the new iPad Air 3 will feature a Force Touch screen unlocking even more functionality of the track pad-like feature of iOS 9.

    iOS 9 bring Multitasking to the iPad

    Adding iOS 9 to an iPad Air 2 you are able to begin using the new Split Screen feature.  Split Screen was first rumored last year to be a part of iOS 8.  With iOS 9, Split Screen is now a reality.

    The iPad Air 2 running iOS 9 will be able to use Split Screen

    In Split Screen mode, both halves of the screen are running separate applications simultaneously.  You can also grab the slider in the middle of the screen to resize the two windows according to what you are working on.  Regrettably, Screen Split is only available with the iPad Air 2 and will not work with the iPad Air.  Personally, I think that’s a mistake, but no one asked me.

    In addition to Split Screen, is Slide Over.  With Slide Over, you swipe in from the right edge of the screen to open a new column that takes up about one-third of the screen.

    The iPad Air 2 with a Slide Over pane open

    As with Split Screen, both apps are live at the same time.  This feature is really hand if you are working with data in the first two-thirds of the screen and you want to use the last third of the screen to go look something up.  When the Slide Over pane is visible, you will see a Notification Center style tab at the top of the screen. When you pull down on this tab, an app picker appears of the running apps that you can choose to snap in and replace the current app that is in the Slide Over pane.

    The iPad Air 2 Slide Over open app selector

    Slide Over is not a hardware exclusive feature tied to the iPad Air 2 and will also work on the iPad Air, iPad mini 2 and the iPad mini 3.

    Lastly, you can double-click the Home button (or Touch ID button on the new iPad Air 2) to bring up the new iPad Task Switcher.  Unlike the card view used today, running applications are presented on a sort of digital carrousel.

    The iPad Air 2 using the new Task Switcher

     While the new Task Switch looks new and refreshed, nothing that we saw in the demo showed any new features.

    All the Reset of iOS 9

    There’s so much good stuff coming in iOS 9 it’s hard to catalog it all in this single post.  Some of the more important goodies include:

    – A new iOS 9 Low Power mode will extend battery life for up to three hours (estimated)

    – iOS 9 will only require 1.4GB of free space needed to upgrade – iOS 8 required a whopping 4.6GB of free space to run the upgrade

    – HomeKit gadgets can now be securely connected your iPhone over the Internet via iCloud.  Very very cool.

    – Wireless CarPlay what a snoozer.  I’d just like to have CarPlay support in my 2015 Honda Accord  EX.  Oh well, maybe in three to four years when my current least is up Apple and Honda will have their collective acts together. (I’m so glad that Honda was a CarPlay launch partner.)

    – Swift 2 has gone Open Source – now anyone can use it.  A standards compiler and support for iOS, OS X and Linux will be available later this year.  Notice that Windows is missing from that list.

    The release schedule for iOS 9 is:

    – Developers get a free preview starting right now.
    – Public beta testers will get iOS 9 next month (July)
    – iOS 9 general release will ship “this fall”

    Lastly, iOS 9 will install and run on all of the current iOS hardware, which is: iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad mini, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and yes, even the iPod touch 5th generation.

    watchOS 2 Update

    It’s hard to comprehend that Apple Watch and watchOS 1.0 have only been shipping for about six weeks now and already Apple is pushing forward with enhancements to existing features and native application support with watchOS 2.  (I’ll have my Apple Watch review post up before watchOS 2 ships, I promise.)

    Here are some thoughts on what’s coming in watchOS 2 later this year.

    – Seeing “watchOS” on a slide makes me immediately think of Palm’s now defunct “webOS”.  Old habits die really hard I guess.

    – watchOS 2 will bring native apps to the platform.  These apps can run without an iPhone within range of Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

    watchOS 2 will being new watch faces to the current list of watch face styles.  Photo Face and Photo Album Face are new watch faces that will allow you to pick a photo to use as your watch face or a Photos album to randomly display pictures from each time you activate the watch face.  Another cool animated watch face will be the new Time-Lapse face.  Apple will pre-build time lapsed “slideshows” of a select set of cities like London and New York that will animate when the watch face is on.

    Apple also promised that in watchOS 2, software developers will be able to add their own “widgets” or “complications” to watch faces.  Complications are the little blocks of information on the wathc face like the date, upcoming apponintments, battery level and fitness tracking rings.

    Lastly, while you are looking at the watch face, you can scroll the digital crown to see calendar events that happened earlier today or that will be coming up later in the day.

    watchOS 2 also adds:

    – Night Stand mode: when the Watch is charging and turned on it’s side withwith the digital crown and button facing up the screen will work like an alarm clock.

    – Email replies using Siri dictation

    – Make and receive FaceTime audio calls directly on the Watch

    – Siri voice command support for activating the Workout app – “Start a 30 minute run in the park.”

    – Siri voice command to display a specific glance on the Watch face

    With watchOS 2, we are really going to see the flood gates open with regard to what developers can access on the Watch – native apps, new complications, system level access to microphone and speakers and the on board sensors – and all new apps to dream up and make available for use.

    Lastly, as you might have already guessed, watchOS 2 will be a free upgrade coming “this fall.”

    On more thing… Apple Music

    I appreciate that Apple is once again using “One more thing…” in their presentations.  It’s a classic move that Steve Jobs would use to whip up the crowd into a frenzy before showing off one last software package, some new hardware or a new Apple service. 

    Yesterday, Tim Cook returned to that familiar place to talk about Apple’s upcoming Apple Music service and Beats 1 124/7 live radio station.  Naturally, Apple’s fans when nuts.

    Apple’s Jimmie Iovine introduces the new Apple Music streaming service

    Tim Cook kicks off the last segment of the WWDC keynote by introducing Apple Music and Jimmy Ivone to tell us about what Apple Music is all about.

    Apple Music is a new streaming service, 24hr live radio and fans connecting with to artists

    Apple describes Apple Music as:
    – A new revolutionary music service
    – 24/7 live radio service broadcast around the world
    – A new way of connecting fans with artists

    With Apple Music, you will have all of your music all in on place.  Your iTunes library meets the full iTunes Music library streamed to your iOS device, Mac, Windows PC and before the year’s out, Google Android devices.

    I have to say, when Iovine started talking about a “revolutionary new music service” I’m pretty sure I heard echos of Steve Jobs introducing the original iPhone back in 2007.  (You can watch Jobs introduce the iPhone below.)

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hUIxyE2Ns8]

    Apple also made a short video featuring Trent Reznor, Artist/Apple Creative, to tell us about the new music service.

    Next up, is Beats 1. a live global radio station with Zane Lowe and his team of real DJs working as hosts around the clock from New York, Los Angles and London.  To help introduce Beats 1, Apple played a short video featuring Zane Lowe talking about how Apple put together Beats 1.

    All of the music recommendations and playlists from Apple Music and Beats 1 are curated by humans to deliver the best possible listening experience for whatever music you want to listen to.

    And last, but not least, is @Connect, which allows artists to upload and share what they are doing directly to their fans.  To help understand how Connect brings fans and artists – big and small – together, Apple brought Drake out to talk about his experience with Connect.  Yet another win for diversity on the Apple stage.

    The schedule for Apple Music, which includes Beats 1 and Connect is:

    – Rolls out with iOS 8.4 on June 30, with new versions of iTunes for Mac and Windows PC.  Android support coming later this year.

    – The first three months of Apple Music are free.  After that, it’s just $9.99/month for an individual subscription.

    – For family of up to six people, a sharing subscription is just $14.99/month and each person has their own library, playlists, recommendations, et el.

    To close out the keynote presentation, Tim Cook invited The Weekend up on stance to perform a new single.  I’m sure it will be on the iTunes Music Store before long.

  • apple,  ios 8,  ipad,  iphone,  ipod touch

    Apple Releases iOS 8.1.3 Maintenance Update

    Yesterday afternoon, Apple released iOS 8.1.3 a minor maintenance release to iOS 8.

    Yes, this update is safe to install.  Since this is a maintenance release, there are no major new features or interface changes.  The areas that received updates include a new installer that requires less free space on the device to perform upgrades, an Apple ID login fix for Messages and FaceTime, a Spotlight app search fix, fixes for multitasking gestures on the iPad and a new configuration option for test taking in school applications.

    I’m glad to see Apple working to fix these nagging issues.  I’ve seen a lot of iPhones and iPads belonging to family members and co-workers who don’t have the latest version of iOS 8 installed because there is not enough free space to download, unpack, and install the update.  I’m also gald to see the fix for the Spotlight search feature.  I very often use that feature as an app launcher and it was super annoying to have to restart my iPhone 6 to restore app search.

    The next update for iOS is 8.2 which is currently in developer beta testings.  iOS 8.2 is expected to bring new features, including support of the Apple Watch in the near future.  While no release date has been set for iOS 8.2, it is currently up to beta release 4 and is expected to be completed right around the time Apple Watch launches in April 2015.

    iOS 8.1.3 is available for all current model iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches.

  • games,  ios,  ipad,  iphone,  puzzle,  ustwogames

    Monument Valley: Forgotten Shores, Ida’s (RED) Dream Review

    Monument Valley is a 3D puzzle game from UsTwoGames that takes you on a visual journey with geometry art based on the styling of M.C. Escher.  You travel fanatically designed monuments with the game’s lead character, a little girl by the name of Princess Ida.

    Monument Valley ($3.99) was originally released for iOS devices on March 12.  The game was also subsequently released on Android devices and the Amazon Kindle.  With only 10 levels, the first edition of Monument Valley was visually impressive and challenged you to look at each beautifully rendered level on multiple levels to help Ida navigate her way around each monument.  I really enjoyed playing Monument Valley, but I felt just as I really got lost in the art, the characters and the story, the game was over.

    This November, just eight months after releasing the original, UsTwo released two add-on packs; Forgotten Shores as a $1.99 in-app purchase (IAP) to the original game and Ida’s (RED) Dream, a $0.99 IAP. 

    Totem is back to help the Princess in Forgotten Shores

    Forgotten Shores, released on November 12, adds eight new delightful levels to Monument Valley in which you are reunited with Princess Ida and Totem.  The levels are still interactive 3D works of art.  The difficulty of the new levels is balanced and delivers a mentally stimulating puzzle that is not overwhelmingly difficult.  Oh, and you still must deal with the pesky Crow People.

    Ida’s (RED) Dream, the second IAP released on November 23, is billed on the Monument Valley website as “One final chapter to fight AIDS.”  100% of the proceeds from this $0.99 IAP level goes to (RED) to help fight for an HIV/AIDS free world.  Ida’s (RED) Dream is available for a limited time (December 7, 2014), and I encourage you to buy it while you can.

    Taken together, Forgotten Shores and Ida’s (RED) Dream offer players nine new levels to explore and enjoy.  As you play, you get drawn into Ida’s world and her mission to return the stolen geometry to the various monuments.  As with the first game, there was one point in Forgotten Shores where I actually drew in a sharp breath and was saddened by what happened.  Not many games on iOS today have that kind of connection between character and player.

    My two favorite levels have to be Forgotten Shores Appendix i The Chasm and Ida’s (RED) Dream.  I like both of these levels for different reasons. In The Chasm, I empathize with the silent princess when all hope appears lost and she is given the opportunity to escape.  Without spoiling it for future players, there is a collective sigh of relief near the end of the first room of The Chasm.  In Ida’s (RED) Dream, I feel as if all of the elements that make a great game come together: the colors of each level, the details in the architecture, the difficulty of the levels and the reward of completing them, the sound effects and last, but definitely not the least, the soothing background music that sets the tone for the chapter.

    Things can get twisted around…
    …and turned upside down quickly!


    I’m not usually in favor of IAPs because they have become synonymous with power-up, “coins” or other “resources” necessary to play and win levels in “freemium” games.  But these IAPs are different.  They add levels, which you own outright, and can play and enjoy over and over again.  They continue the story of the characters you get attached too. Forgotten Shore and Ida’s (RED) Dream clearly demonstrates the high production value craftsmanship that goes into a game that you will remember long after playing it.

    Monument Valley is available now and requires an iPad 2 and iPhone 4 or later to play.  Versions are also available for Google Android and Amazon Kindle devices.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Me4ymG_vnOE?rel=0]