movie-green-mile.jpg
Miracles happen in unexpected places, even in the cell block for death row at Cold Mountain Penitentiary. There, John Coffey, a gentle and giant prisoner with supernatural powers, brings a sense of spirit and humanity to his guards and cellmates. Tom Hanks leads a stellar cast (including Michael Clarke Duncan, as Coffey) in this exciting and touching story of guards and prisoners; husbands and wives; an unforgettable mouse named Mr. Jingles.

iPhone

  • Apple’s WWDC 2016 Recap

    Today was Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference 2016 keynote. As has become the custom, Apple’s 10:00 AM Pacific keynote, it is primarily focused towards consumers, with some features shown off to developers. This year’s was no exception to this. Apple covered its four major operating systems in the keynote. This recap will only highlight the biggest features.

    watchOS

    Introduced just 20 months ago, the Apple Watch has become indispensable for many individuals. The ability to view notifications as well as control applications has become a key function. However, the biggest use of the Apple Watch is health activities. The biggest complaint that users have is the speed of applications. With watchOS 3, there have been some major improvements in all of these areas.

    Apps now launch nearly instantly. This is being done by keeping your favorite applications in memory. Along with this, information will be updated in the background; meaning that when you do open an application, the information will be instantly available. According to Apple’s test opening an application with watchOS 3 is approximately 7x faster. This should relieve some of the issues that users are facing.

    The button on the side of the Apple Watch now has a new function; to show the dock. Just like the dock on your Mac, you are able to switch between all of the applications that you have open. The Dock will show live preview, which means that current information should be shown when you browse to an app.

    Health

    Health is an important aspect to the Apple Watch. With watchOS 3, you will be able to do even more around your health.

    Sharing

    One way that motivates some users is through competition. Apple is enabling you to compare your health stats with only those that you choose. Once you view their statistics, you can send everyone a message. This could either be some encouragement, or more likely, some trash talk.

    wwdc2016.health.share

    Wheelchair Users

    Fitness is great for everyone, yet there are some who are confined to a wheelchair. Apple has thought about this and worked with a couple of organizations to provide alternatives for those in wheelchairs. Users in wheelchairs will now be able to perform exercises for them. One of the activity rings, the Standing ring, does not apply to wheelchair users. Instead, they will receive a new notification, “Time to Roll”.

    Breathing

    wwdc.2016.breathe

    Life in 2016 can be hectic and stressful. Research has shown that taking a few minutes out of the day and doing some mindful breathing can assist in reducing the stress. Apple has introduced a new feature of watchOS 3, a breathing app. As apple states

    “The new Breathe app guides you through a series of deep breaths that can help you better manage everyday stress or just experience a few calming moments. Start anytime and let the mesmerizing animation and gentle taps help you focus. See your heart rate when you’re done, and use the Time to Breathe reminders to fit a session into each day.”

    The inclusiveness of the new health features will allow more people to become even healthier.

    SOS

    Sometimes we are not always within reaching distance of our phones, when an emergency occurs. It may be helpful to contact emergency services. This can be by holding down the button on the side. When a user does this, a countdown timer will begin to indicate that emergency services will be notified. This will initiate a call with local emergency anywhere in the world. Along side this, a message can be sent to your emergency contacts that includes your location so they know where you are located. This will be a big benefit to all users.

    Other features

    There are some new watch faces, specifically Minnie Mouse and you can even choose her dress color. You can quickly switch between faces by swiping from edge to edge.

    There are a few new apps as well. These are HomeKit, Find my Friends, and Reminders. Apple Pay is being expanded to allow Apple pay to be used within apps.

    tvOS

    Apple’s latest platform is the TV. The 4th Generation Apple TV was introduced back in September. Since then it has received some much needed updates, there are even more with the tvOS 10.

    tvOS 10 brings a slew of new features to the platform. These include improved Siri, a dark mode, Home Kit, Single Sign-on, and a new Apple TV Remote app.

    Siri

    Siri is an important aspect to tvOS. With Siri in tvOS 10, you will be able to search by any number of things. The first is that you can combine multiple criteria and Siri will be able to understand you. For instance, can ask Siri “Show me all of the Spy movies from the 1960s” and Siri on the Apple TV will show all of the movies that meet the criteria.

    Siri can already search a few sources of videos. However, the biggest one in the world will be added, YouTube. This means that you can ask Siri to “Search YouTube for Cute Cat Videos”, and the cute cat videos will appear.

    HomeKit

    One of the things that would make life a bit easier, for those that have multiple connected devices, would be the ability to connect to your devices when you are away. Apple has allowed this by having your Apple TV be an endpoint to securely connect to your devices when you are away. With HomeKit on iOS, you will be able to remotely change the status of your devices.

    This will be a big improvement and leap forward for connected home devices.

    Single Sign-On

    One of the issues that can be a burden to the adoption of applications on the Apple TV is having to sign in to multiple applications with the same credentials. In order to combat this issue, Apple is offering single sign-on for video applications on the Apple TV. The biggest benefit is that a user will only need to enter in their credentials once, Apple will remember these credentials, and it will be entered in automatically on new applications.

    Along with this, Apple will show you all of the applications that are able to use your sign on for your provider.

    Remote App

    The new Remote app will be able to mimic the physical Siri remote and will have all of the same features. This includes the ability to use Siri to search for something, play games, and even display photos and videos from your iOS device to the Apple TV.

    iOS

    iOS was introduced in January of 2007 with a basic set of features. Each version of iOS has grown to include a bunch of new and much needed features. iOS 10 is no different in this respect. Some of the items included with iOS 10 are: Messages improvements and a Music redesign.

    Messages

    iMessage as a service is one of Apple’s most used. It serves hundreds of millions of messages. It is nice to be able to send messages to people, but sometimes you want to spruce it up a bit. Apple has enabled a few more options within Messages.

    Previews

    When you message someone there are times that you want to be able to see what is being sent, without having to open the link. Apple has added previews for links. When a link appears, a preview will automatically be generated, if one can be. It is possible that a preview will not be able to be shown.

    Text

    You can now perform some actions with your messages, before you send them, in order to provide some nice decoration, to your message. There are four different styles:

    • Slam
    • Loud
    • Gentle
    • Invisible Ink

    Slam will send the message and present it as if it were slammed down. Loud will increase the font size. Gentle will make the font smaller. Lastly, Invisible ink. Invisible Ink will obfuscate the text and require you to swipe to show the text. These changes are great for individual messages, but what if you need something with a it more pizazz. Apple has you covered there as well.

    wwdc.2016.iPhone.Messages.Invisible.Ink

    wwdc.2016.iPhone.Messages

    Screen

    Similar to the ability to make changes to the entire screen to add even more to a message. There are five different screen effects to choose from:

    • Balloons
    • Confetti
    • Laser Show
    • Fireworks
    • Shooting Star

    Each of these will perform a different effect once you send a message. These are just a few of the myriad of changes within the Message application.

    Raise to Wake

    It can be troublesome to have to unlock your phone jut to be able o see the most recent information. Sometimes, okay most times, it would be nicer if there was an easier way to handle this. With iOS 10, there is such a feature, Raise to Wake.

    With Raise to Wake, you are able to simply pick up your phone and you will be able to see your lock screen, which will include the currently playing audio on the main screen. If you swipe right, you will be able to see any of the widgets that you have added to Today View.

    This will provide you a quick glance at the information that you need to see, right when you need to see it. All without needing to unlock your phone.

    wwdc.2016.Raise.To.Wake

    Recap

    If you are using iOS 9 now, iOS 10 should work on your phone, with the exclusion of one; the iPhone 4s. The iPhone 4s will not support iOS 10. iOS 10 will be a free upgrade to all users in the Fall.

    If you want to use iOS 10 sooner than this fall, a public beta is of iOS 10 will be available in July. You can sign up at beta.apple.com.

    OS X

    If you line up all of Apple’s platforms, much in this manner:

              iOS
            tvOS
               OS X
    watchOS

    You will see something a bit askew. The biggest is that one of these things is not like the others; that is OS X. Apple is going to be consistent with its naming and renaming OS X to macOS.

    Similar to previous versions of OS X, macOS also has a code name. This one is “Sierra”. macOS Sierra brings some new features to the Mac, most notably Photos improvements and Siri.

    Photo Improvements

    One of the things that Apple has been working on, behind the scenes, is some Artificial Intelligence. This is most apparent with Siri, but Apple is going further. This time with Photos Apple is adding even more.

    Photos will now be able to look at all of your photos and videos and categorize them. This could be anything within the photo. From a watch, to an ocean, to a boat, or even a dog. You will then be able to search on this item.

    Similarly, Photos can automatically create different sets of pictures through Memories. Memories will be able to show you your favorite moments, or even some photos that you might have forgotten about.

    Privacy

    All of this information is done locally on your Mac, and not transferred anywhere else. Nobody else has the information, only your local device. This is the case for both iOS and macOS.

    Picture-in-Picture

    There are many times that you may want to watch a video, while doing something else. It is possible to arrange the tabs so that you can do two things at once. However, this is not always the best option. With macOS Sierra, you will be able to have a video go to Picture-In-Picture and continue doing the tasks you wish to.

    You will be able to move the video to any corner of the screen, just like on iOS.

    Developers will have to implement this feature, but it would be well worth their time to do so. Once they do, however, it will be a worthwhile upgrade to viewing video.

    Full Recap

    Apple’s WWDC 2016 keynote has brought new features to all of Apple’s operating systems. On watchOS 3, you can now call for help without having access to your phone. You can also stay more fit, even if you’re in a wheel chair with specific exercises for you. Along with this, you can also compete against your friends to see who is really telling the truth when they say they’ve done more.

    With tvOS you will be able to login to all of your available applications by only entering in your information nonce, instead of each time an app requires the information. tvOS will also allow you to find videos on YouTube. And all of this can be done with the Siri Remote, or with the new Remote app for your iPhone and iPad.

    iOS brings a bunch of improvements to Messages. This includes new decorations for conversations on both a message by message level, as well as the entire screen. Instead of just having to unlock your phone, you can now use ‘Raise to Wake’ to wake up your phone and get a quick glance at the information you need to see, without having to unlock your phone.

    macOS Sierra brings new Picture-in-Picture features, similar to those that iOS 9 brought to the iPad. The new Photos features will help you remember some of the good times you had, particularly if you forgot. With Siri on macOS Sierra, you will also be able to search not just your files, but also perform all of the same Siri searches that your iOS devices can, and even a bit more.

    There is much more that is in each of the new operating systems, but these are just the biggest features in each category. There is much much more to each of the operating systems. You can view more on Apple’s website.

    As for my predictions. I will likely post the results of those later in the week.

  • Apple App Store Improvements

    Earlier this week Apple made some surprise announcements about changes occurring to its App Stores. It is not surprising that the changes are being made, but instead their timing is the interesting aspect. With Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) beginning next week, one would think that this information would be announced at the conference. According to Phil Schiller, Apple’s Vice President of Marketing:

    We’re doing something a little different this year. We’ve got a bunch of App Store/developer-related announcements for WWDC next week, but frankly, we’ve got a busy enough keynote that we decided we’re not going to cover those in the keynote. And rather, just cover them in the afternoon and throughout the week. We’re talking to people today for news tomorrow about those things, in advance of WWDC, and then developers can come and be ready for sessions about these things, with knowledge about them before the conference. We haven’t done this before, but we figured, what the heck, let’s give it a try.

    The three area where changes have occurred are:

    Let us look at each of these three areas.

    App Store Approvals

    Since the first availability of third-party applications on the App Store, the approval process has taken about a week. Recently this has changed. The time for approvals has been drastically reduced. According to Vice President of Marketing Phil Schiller, 50 percent of submitted apps are now approved within 24 hours and 90 percent in 48 hours. This is a significant improvement.

    According to John Gruber’s reporting, the reasons are:

    1. Tool improvements internal to Apple.
    2. Staffing changes.
    3. Policy changes.

    This is a double-edged sword. For application developers, they are able to anticipate a shorter release schedule. However, for those reviewing applications they may have potentially less time to work on a review. This will become a balancing act for both developers and reviewers.

    Search Ads

    I do not normally report on rumors, so I did not post anything about this before. However, the idea of “Search Ads” was floated a few weeks ago. It appears that they are a reality. Search Ads are a new feature within the app store. Here is the basic flow for how Search Ads will work.

    • A developer will bid on a keyword search term. If they are the second highest bidder, they will win.
    • A user searches the store with that keyword.
    • An add will appear showing off the developer’s application.

    That is the basic flow of what will occur. Developers will pay when a user taps, or clicks, on the ad. They do not need to purchase anything, just tap or click on it. Here is an example of what an ad in search may look like.

    search.ads.2016.06.11

    Privacy

    One of Apple’s core tenets is user privacy. That will still be the case with Search Ads. Search Ads is covered by Apple’s overall user privacy, which means developers will never know who is the individual who installed the application.

    Developers will still be able to get information about the click through rate, as well as similar information. As mentioned before no personally identifiable user information will be available to the developer.

    Search Ads will be in beta over the Summer and will be released in the Fall, presumably with iOS 10.

    Subscription Changes

    When subscription pricing was introduced in 2011, developers were both eager and excited to use subscriptions to their own benefit to generate even more income. However, this was limited to only certain types of applications. These included dating applications, magazines, and media (movie, TV, music, etc) subscription services. This limitations has now been lifted.

    Eligible Application Types

    In the Fall, Apple will allow all application types to be eligible for subscriptions. There will be two categories for auto-renewable subscriptions, Content and Services.

    Content

    The content category for auto-renewable subscriptions includes items that deliver updated content on a regular basis. This could be items like newspapers, educational courses, or audio or video libraries. This could also be services like Netflix or Amazon Instant Video.

    Services

    Besides applications that deliver content, applications that provide a service can also use auto-renewing subscriptions. These could include cloud-storage services, or games that provide back-end servers, like massively multiplayer online games. Apple states “the experience must provide ongoing value worth the recurring payment for an auto-renewable subscription to make sense”.

    This means that Apple will be able to determine if an application provides enough to warrant the use of auto-renewing subscriptions.

    With all in-app purchases and subscriptions, Apple takes thirty percent of all of these purchases. When in-app purchases were initially unveiled one of the limitation was that Applications could not charge more on their own website than they were charging in the app. This policy changed so that content owners could charge more for the content purchased inside an app, than outside. This became quite useful for subscription media services so they could cover the extra thirty percent Apple was charging.

    Even with the ability to create more income, the split remained the same, seventy percent for the developer and thirty percent for Apple. This rate has changed, with some caveats.

    Revenue Split

    One of the biggest complaints by application developers has been the on-going revenue In order to address some of the concerns Apple has made some changes to the percentages. This is a good thing, but this change comes with caveats. The change is that after the first year, developers will get 85% and Apple will get 15%. Again, this only after the first year. If a customer continues to pay after one year, the percentage will change.

    The reasoning behind this is that if a developer can retain a user for more than a year, they must be doing something correctly. Additionally, the developer is doing the hardest part of the job and creating an application that is interesting.

    With the one year increase in revenue for the developer there is a sixty day grace period, in case a subscription lapses. If a user re-subscribes within sixty days, the days counting past the one year will continue as if nothing changed and you will get 85% of the revenue. However, if a user re-subscribes on day sixty-one, or any time past then, you will only get seventy percent, and the clock will start over.

    Different Pricing<

    There are some other features for the change in pricing. Apple states,

    Starting this fall, apps with auto-renewable subscriptions will be able to offer territory-specific prices and will have access to 200 price points across all currencies. You will be able to set the prices you think are suitable for subscribers in different markets, and you will have the flexibility to price your subscriptions at parity if they’re available elsewhere.

    This is a significant improvement. This means that developers will be able to set the price of their subscriptions with more granularity.

    If a developer does opt to increase pricing, a user will not be surprised when this occurs. They will receive an email indicating that the price is going to increase and the user will have the option of cancelling the subscription.

    Developers have been asking for free trials. Instead of implementing free-trials themselves, they do offer them in one manner. A developer can choose to provide access to an in-app purchase for seven days, for a one-month recurring subscription. This time frame goes up to one-month for a year-long subscription.

    Price Points

    One of the more difficult things, as a developer, to determine is how to price an app. As of this writing, there are 88 total tiers. These range from free to $999.99. The first 51 are in $1 increments. Tiers 52 through 61 are in $5 increments. Tiers 62 and 63 are $10 increments. Tier 64 is $5 more ($124.99). Tiers 65 through 69 are again $10 increments. Tier 70 is another $5 increment ($174.99). Tiers 71 through 78 are in $10 increments. Tiers 79 through 83 are in $50 increments. Tiers 84 through 88 are in $100 increments. These range of options are good, but Apple has decided to add more.

    Ultimately there will be 200 different tiers for developers to choose from. The exact amounts that will be available is not fully known. It is likely that the tiers will be filled in the existing tiers. It could be smaller increments, say $0.50, for some tiers, or it could be more on the higher end.

    Along with this, developers can opt to charge different territories. A developer may choose to do this because of different exchange rates in different locations; or if you follow Apple’s earnings calls, what they would call “economic headwinds”.

    We will see what Apple decides to unveil.

    Other Information

    There is some other information that may be useful not just to developers, but everybody in general. An application can have multiple subscriptions, but they cannot be overlapping. This means that there may be different subscriptions for different features or services.

    Recap

    Apple’s announcements of changes to the App Stores. Many of the changes will be beneficial for both users and developers. The addition of Search Ads will help developers put their application in front of more people. The new subscription options will allow for a free-trial like experience for users. Subscriptions will, hopefully, allow for more opportunities for both developers and users.

    Apple announcing this before WWDC will leave plenty of time for whatever they end up announcing on Monday. You can check out my predictions as well as my iOS or OS X wish list.

    There will be more from Apple’s WWDC, including a recap of the keynote, next week.

  • Predictions for Apple’s WWDC

    Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference kicks off one week from today, on Monday June 13th. The keynote for the event is at 1:00 PM Eastern, 10:00 AM Pacific time. Back in April I posted my wish list for iOS and OS X. Here are my predictions for what we will see next week.

    Hardware

    WWDC has seen its share of new hardware being released. However, last year as well as in 2014, WWDC did not see any new hardware released. Even though the past couple of years have been hardware free, I think this year’s WWDC will see some new hardware. This will include things that developers will love; a new Mac Pro and a new Thunderbolt display. If Apple were to announce high-end hardware like this, WWDC would be the best place to do so. Besides this, developers are one of the target audiences for the Mac Pro, and there is no where better to announce new hardware for developers.

    Emoji

    Language is a fluid and dynamic entity. New words are being created, and other words are being re-appropriated for other uses. There are times though that words do not always accurately evoke the sentiment that we are looking to express. This is where Emoji come in handy. Emoji are handled by the Unicode consortium. The latest release of Emoji are to be included with Unicode 9.0, which will be released on June 21st. It is almost a foregone conclusion that we will see the Emoji of Unicode 9.0 in iOS 10. It may not be in the first beta, but it will likely be in the 2nd or 3rd beta, and most definitely by the first public beta.

    unicode-9-emojis-emojipedia

    Swift

    I am thinking that Swift will be a giant portion of the conference. There are a couple of indications that this is the case. The first is that the WWDC site is full of Swift code. This is the first indication. The second is that Apple is preparing Swift 3 for release. Swift 3 is set to bring many new features to the language, including it being the last one to do any major code-breaking changes.

    iOS

    Apple’s biggest selling product, the iPhone, is supported by iOS. There haven’t been any rumors leaked as to what we will see with iOS, but here is what I think.

    Naming

    With this year’s WWDC, it will be the 10th release of iOS. If tradition were to continue, Apple may just name the release iOS 10. Alternatively, Apple could name it iOS X and start changing the numbering she me. However, the 10th release is a good time to change tact. Instead of continuing to use the same numbering scheme, it may be time to change to a code name instead. Apple could start using the same code name as OS X. Given that there are times that the feature of iOS work best with the corresponding release of OS X. This approach may just work best in the long run. Yes, it would require users to know the name of the OS installed on their iPhone, yet the version of the OS could still appear under Settings.

    Audio

    The audio on the iPad Pro is excellent. One of the areas where iOS lacks is in the audio arena. Currently on iOS you can only record audio, but not listen at the same time. This limitation makes it difficult to be able to do a podcast entirely on an iPad, or even an iPhone. I predict that Apple will announce the ability to not only listen, but also record simultaneously. If Apple does indeed add this, there will be many happy podcasters. Additionally, this would make it even easier for non-techies to create and edit their own podcasts.

    tvOS

    tvOS is Apple’s latest operating system, based on iOS. There are many features that could be added to tvOS. One that users have been asking about is the ability to allow developers to be able require a controller for their game. Currently, Apple does not allow this to occur. If Apple really does want to make the Apple TV viable as a gaming platform, the ability to require a controller is key. I think this will be an increase in the number of podcasts, with decent audio, being released; beyond what is happening now.

    watchOS

    watchOS has been around for just about 18 months. It was originally released in November of 2014 with the first release of Xcode with WatchKit. Last year at WWDC 2015, Apple unveiled watchOS, which allows developers to create applications that run natively on the watch.

    I think there will be a slight improvement with watchOS. I think the biggest improvement will come with applications becoming faster. Some of the current speed issues is due to limitations in the hardware, but the applications do need to become faster.

    The only other feature that I think we will see is the ability to create and use custom watch faces. Imagine that any company, or developer, could release a custom watch face that was able to look how one wants. It could allow for even more customization for the Apple Watch.

    OS X

    Along with the developer betas of iOS 10, tvOS 10, and watchOS 4, comes the oldest Apple operating system, OS X.

    Naming

    One of the rumors for OS X is that the name of the operating system will be changed from OS X to macOS. I did not originate this idea, but as I stated in my OS X post then:

    On Episode 123 of The Talk Show with John Gruber Apple’s Vice President of Marketing, Phil Schiller, was asked about the casing of the various operating systems of Apple (iOS, tvOS, watchOS). Gruber asked why OS X was different. Schiller responded “give us time”. As Jason Snell of Six Colors has postulated “OS X will be renamed to macOS”. This is entirely possible and given the hints, it is likely to occur.

    I think we will see this. Instead of being macOS 10.12, it will just be called macOS, without any numbering. If Apple is going for a cleaner look, this will definitely assist in that coming to fruition.

    During the 3D Touch demo at the September 2015 event, “…Apple showed an email with three place names within it. These names are Manteca, Tehachapi, and Arroyo Grande”.

    As mentioned above, iOS could utilize a codename instead of continuing the numbering that has been prevalent since its initial release. I think macOS and iOS codename will be “Arroyo Grande”.

    Siri

    There have been rumors that Siri will make its way onto the Mac. The rumors also state that Siri will replace spotlight. Siri will be able to do everything that is possible on iOS. In addition, Siri will be able to search users files, much like Spotlight can do now, except it can be done via voice.

    With having a large battery, power conversation is less of a concern for the Mac, but it is still important. I think Siri will gain the ability to perform tasks via voice. For instance, you will be able to say “Siri, turn off the screen”, and the screen will turn off. Or something similar, like “Siri, open Tweetbot”, and the Tweetbot application will open.

    Recap

    Here is what I think we will see, in order of likelihood.

    • Some news about Swift 3.0.
    • New Emoji that are included in Unicode 9.0.
    • OS X will be renamed to macOS.
    • Siri will appear on the Mac, replacing Spotlight
    • Siri on the Mac will gain the ability to open applications.
    • iOS will get enhanced audio abilities that podcasters will like.
    • iOS and macOS will both use code names; that name will be Arroyo Grande.
    • Apple will allow developers to require controllers for tvOS games.
    • watchOS will get faster applications and customizable Watch faces.
    • New Hardware with the Mac Pro and Display

    Regardless of what Apple does end up unveiling next week, I know I will be watching the keynote live. I will also be installed the iOS on my iPhone and my iPad, macOS on my iMac and my MacBook Pro, tvOS on my 4th Generation Apple TV. I will also be posting a recap of the event as well as how well my predictions did. So be sure to check in again next week.

  • Apple March 21st, 2016 Event Roundup

    Apple breaks up the year into three different parts of the year; Early, Mid, and Late. Each part is four months. Apple generally has one event in each of these parts. Apple has held their early 2016 event; dubbed “Let us loop you in”.

    Apple has unveiled a bunch of new products. Let us look at each of the announced products.

    Apple TV

    Apple.TV

    Last Fall Apple unveiled the 4th generation Apple TV. There is no new hardware, but there is the new release of tvOS 9.2. A few of the new features of tvOS 9.2 include: Folder Support, additional Siri dictation, including passwords, conference room display mode, bluetooth keyboard support, and now iCloud Photo Library with Live Photo support.

    This is a nice upgrade that adds in some features that users had requested.

    Apple Watch

    Apple.Watch.Nylon

    Last year at the March event Apple provided details for the availability of the Apple Watch. Some may have anticipated that the Apple Watch would be a product that is released yearly. If you were hoping for that, Apple has dashed those hopes.

    Apple has positioned the Watch as a fashion product. While they may not be able to release new hardware every season, they are able to provide new personalization options by releasing additional bands.

    The Apple Watch now has a new type of band, the Nylon Band. The Nylon Band is available in seven different color combinations; Black, Gold and Red, Gold and Royal Blue, Pearl, Pink, Royal Blue, and Scuba Blue. These bands come in both 38mm and 42mm varieties and are $49 each.

    Along with the new Nylon Bands, there are three additional Sport Band colors: Apricot, Royal Blue, and Yellow; Two Classic Buckle bands Red and Marine Blue. Two Modern Buckles, Blue Jay and Marigold.The last new bands are the leather loops, Storm Gray and White.

    The last change to the Apple Watch is one that will temp more to purchase the Apple Watch, a price drop. The new price for the Apple Watch is $299 for the 38mm and $349 for the 42MM Sport versions.

    iPad

    While it may not have been the first tablet on the market, the iPad can be considered the one that put the idea of a tablet front and center in the mindshare of the public. Even though it is not at its peak and has fallen, it has not deterred Apple from continuing to innovate the iPad.

    iPad Air 2

    The iPad Air 2 received a single change, a $100 price drop. This means that the iPad Air 2 is now priced at $399 and $499 for the 16GB and 64GB models respectively. There is still the Wi-Fi + Cellular models available at $529 and $629 for the 16GB and 64GB model.

    iPad Pro

    9.7-inch-iPadPro

    Back in September Apple unveiled the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Apple has now released the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. This is the spiritual successor of the 9.7-inch iPad Air 2, but is also very closely related to the larger 12.9-inch iPad Pro. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro is similar to the larger model. The 9.7-inch model supports the Apple Pencil and also has a Smart Connector. With a Smart Connector comes a new Smart Keyboard as well.

    The 9.7-inch iPad Pro also has the same A9X Processor and M9 Co-processor as the larger iPad Pro. There are also the same four speakers within the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. This means that as you rotate the iPad Pro, the speakers are able to automatically adjust the sound.

    This is about where the similarities between the iPad Pros end. There are some other improvements that have been made to the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro has a brand new display that Apple is calling True Tone. The display utilizes the same color gamut as the Late 2015 iMac, the DCI-P3. This means that the colors will be truer to life. This is not the only difference between the two iPads.

    One of the features that many have question about the iPad is the camera. The camera on the 9.7-inch iPad is a vast improvement over the 12.9-inch iPad Pro’s camera. The camera

    The last difference is the colors. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro is available in four colors; Silver, Gold, Rose-Gold and Space Gray.

    The 9.7-inch iPad Pro still comes in the 32GB and 128GB models. Along with this, it is also available in a 256GB model. This comes in both Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + Cellular models. The price of the 9.7-inch iPad Pro is $599, $749, and $899 for the Wi-Fi models only. The Wi-Fi + Cellular models are $729, $879, and $1029 respectively.

    12.9-inch iPad Pro

    While the 9.7-inch iPad Pro was the primary iPad shown off, it was not the only one that got some additional options. While there are no change to the form-factor of the larger iPad, there are a couple of additions options.

    The 12.9-inch iPad is now also available in 256GB models of both Wifi-only and Wifi + Cellular. Along with this, a clarification has been made that the 12.9-inch iPad Pro can now utilize the lightning to USB-C cable and the 29-watt USB C power adapter. This combination will allow for super-fast charging of a 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

    This method is not possible with the 9.7-inch iPad. This is due to that product only having USB 2.0 controller.

    iPhone

    Apple’s best selling product the iPhone continues to sell really well. Apple is known to not divulge the breakdown of models that are sold. Even so, Apple did mention that they sold 30 Million iPhone 5s phones last year. This is a lot of phones that were sold based on 2013 technology. There are many reasons why some might prefer a smaller form-factor phone. They could range from pocket size, better fit in one’s hands, or even just as Apple stated, cost. While using an iPhone 5s would be able to use some of the latest software features, you cannot easily upgrade the hardware inside of the phone. Apple has provided a significant update to the 4-inch form factor. That update is named the iPhone SE.

    iPhone SE

    iphoneSE_spacegray

    The iPhone SE the successor of the iPhone 5s, Apple’s 4-inch iPhone. The iPhone SE has the same case as the iPhone 5s, except instead of glossy chamfers, they are matte. The outside of the phone looks the same as the iPhone 5s, except for the colors. The iPhone SE comes in the standard four colors, Gold, Rose Gold, Silver, and Space Gray.

    The innards of the iPhone SE are the same of the iPhone 6s with an A9 processor and the M9 co-processor. Along with the processors, there is a secure enclave and first-generation Touch ID sensor. This is the same Touch-ID Sensor that has been in the iPhones, prior to the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.

    The rear camera is the same ƒ/2.2 aperture, Five‑element lens that is in the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, minus the optical stabilization. Just like the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus you are able to record 4k video at 30 frames per second, 1080p at 30 or 60fps.

    The only item not improved is the FaceTime camera. On the iPhone SE, it is still the same 1.2 Megapixel camera that was in the iPhone 5s. The likely reason for this is due to the lack of physical space within the physical case. There is one slight improvement, the addition of Retina Flash.

    In case you are not aware, Retina Flash is the ability for the screen to light up to produce enough light that makes it easier to light up your face and surrounding area when taking a selfie.

    The wireless connection on the iPhone SE has been upgraded to include 802.11AC. This means that the iPhone now supports 802.11A/B/G/N/AC. Unlike the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, the iPhone SE does to include the MIMO technology.

    The iPhone SE comes in two sizes, the 16GB version and a 64GB version. It comes in the same standard four colors, Gold, Rose Gold, Silver, and Space Gray.

    You can order an iPhone SE today for $399 for the 16GB model and $499 for the 64GB model. The iPhone SE begins shipping on March 31st.

    Final Thoughts

    The events that Apple has held early in the year are not normally ones where brand new, completely unknown products from Apple are released, and this is the case with this year’s event. Even so, Apple has released a solid set of updates.

    The product with the least number of changes is the Apple TV, since it received only an upgrade to the software. The software is a minor upgrade, but provides a couple of key features that some users have been hoping would be added.

    While the Apple Watch Hardware has remained unchanged, the addition of the new Nylon bands, as well as the new Sport bands and Modern Buckles will provide even more customization options for users. The reduction of the price for the Apple Watch may entice even more people to give the Apple Watch a try.

    The release of the 4-inch iPhone SE continues to provide the smaller form-factor that many want and yet only minimally compromises on features, with the lack of 3D Touch and 2nd generation Touch ID sensor, being the only trade offs.

    The new 9.7-inch iPad Pro is a great successor to the iPad Air 2. The 9.7-inch size is what most would consider the “standard” iPad size. The new True Tone screen will make an even better experience for iPad users. The addition of the Smart Connector and ability to use the Apple Pencil will allow the iPad to be even more of a PC replacement.

  • Apps and Battery Usage on iPhone

    There are many different things that users complain about regarding their iPhones. The biggest complaint that many users have had in that their iOS devices seem to be losing a significant amount of battery, even when using a brand new phone. This has lead to users complaining to Apple. One of the things that Apple has done with multi-tasking is to pause applications when they are in the background. There are certain situations where this does not occur. These include background app-refreshing, background audio, Voice over iP (VoIP), or GPS.

    Sometimes, it is so bad that some users purposefully force quit applications in order to preserve battery. Users do this despite there being no practical reason to do so. However, maybe users who do this may not be too far off the mark.

    Last week it was uncovered that Facebook’s iOS application was using a significant amount of battery even when users were not actively using the application.

    Bruce Geerdes on Twitter has this tweet:

    Within the image, 13% of all battery usage for the last week was due to audio. Now, why is Facebook’s app even using background audio? It is not a streaming any audio what-so-ever.

    As Federico Viticci states in his piece on MacStories.net:

    My guess is that Facebook is hijacking audio sessions on iOS by keeping silent audio in the background whenever a video plays in the app. And because, by default, videos on Facebook auto-play on both Wi-Fi and Cellular and few people ever bother to turn it off, that means there’s a high chance the Facebook app will always find a way to play a video, keep audio in the background, and consume energy to perform background tasks.

    I think Federico is spot on with this presumption. Facebook is the world’s largest social network, and how do you make sure that your users are “always up to date”, play silent audio in the background so the application can auto-refresh without consequence, that’s how.

    When questioned, Facebook stated they were “looking into” the issue, and subsequently Facebook has informed TechCrunch that they are working on a “fix”.

    This is all well and good, but I think Apple should take a stance and remove the Facebook application from the iOS App store. This gesture would make it abundantly clear that Apple will not tolerate user-hostile actions like this from any developer, including the world’s biggest social network. Removing the application would likely have some ramifications on users because they would not be able to download the application, but it would send a very strong signal.

    Do I think this will happen? In a word, no. I do not think Apple is willing to remove the largest social network’s application from its App Store. However, I think Apple could do a couple of things to make sure that no application is able to do this in the future, not even Facebook.

    The first is do some additional testing for any applications. See what usage they have after a set amount of time. I would not expect Apple to disclose this amount of time, so developers cannot work around it. The second is to keep a database of developers whom violate the rules, and scrutinize their application updates for what they had previous violated. This means that developers would not be able to break a user’s trust repeating the same action they have in the past.

    Ultimately, I think if Apple really wants to have the best experience for users, they should be holding developers accountable for their actions and punishing those developers who violate the rules and provide a significantly negative user experience. One thing that I would not be surprised at is if Mark Zuckerberg gets a phone call from Tim Cook or another Apple executive inquiring as to why this is occurring.