Apple and Earth Day

No company can focus on everything. It is not feasible, nor is it practical. Instead, all companies must decide what is the most important to them. One area where Apple chooses to put some focus is on the environment. They do this in a couple of different ways. The first is by using using renewable energy for all of its operations. These operations include corporate offices, retail spaces, datacenter and co-location facilities across the world.

Renewable Energy

One way that Apple demonstrate using renewable energy is by having installed solar panels all over the roof of their Apple Park campus. Along with their properties being renewable, Apple also tends to work with suppliers who also utilize renewable energy. An additional nine suppliers have agreed to use 100% renewable energy for their operations. With Apple being the most valued company they have shown that being eco-friendly is not only good for nature but can also help with its bottom-line.

Daisy

There is another way that Apple is helping the environment, that is by recycling. Apple uses sustainably harvested materials for packaging, and other various aspects of their operations. Something that goes hand-in-hand with this is that Apple offers recycling of products. In March of 2016, Apple unveiled their iPhone recycling robot, Liam. Now Apple has unveiled its second-generation iPhone recycling robot, Daisy.

Daisy can recycle up to 200 devices per hour. When Daisy does recycle a phone, it can retrieve some materials that can be recycled. Amongst these are:

  • 1900 kilograms of Aluminum
  • 710 Kilograms of Copper
  • 0.97 kilograms of of Gold
  • 0.10 kilograms of Palladium
  • 7.5 kilograms of Silver
  • 42 kilograms of Tin
  • 11 kilograms of Rare Earth metals
  • 770 kilograms of Cobalt
  • 93 kilograms of Tungsten
  • 1.8 kilograms of Tantalum

The statistics above are for every 100,000 devices, or approximately every 3 weeks if Daisy is running at full capacity. Every kilogram of materials that Apple is able to recover means that the same amount does not need to be mined out of the earth. Apple is looking out for the environment, but you can as well.

Give Back

If you have an older device that is no longer needed you can recycle it and Apple might even give you some money for it.. This could a laptop, iPhone, or iPod. You can see how much your device is worth by going to Apple’s Give Back page.

Apple Watch

Many companies are always on the lookout for ways to have multiple products converge to provide some incentive for users. One are where Apple uses Earth Day is with Apple Watch users. Apple does not incentivize Apple Watch users to recycle, instead they provide Apple Watch users with a badge if they complete a 30-minute workout on Earth Day. Apple did the same thing for Earth Day 2017 with the same reward. If you complete the challenge you will get not only a badge, but some iMessage stickers that can be used to adorn your conversations.

Anything you can do to help conserve the limited resources on the planet is beneficial for everyone, whether they appreciate or realize that it is beneficial for them.

Sources: Apple Newsroom (Renewable), Apple Newsroom (Recycling).

Apple’s PRODUCT(RED) iPhone

Apple is a company that tries to do some good along with selling their products. One of the most prominent causes that Apple likes to donate to is (PRODUCT)RED. There have been a number of products throughout the years that Apple has made to sponsor PRODUCT(RED). Some of these have included iPods, iPhone cases, headphones, even a 2013 Mac Pro, and even more.

Today Apple announced a new item that is available in PRODUCT(RED), the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. When Apple has done PRODUCT(RED) iPod Touches and iPhones in the past, they have been Red backs with White faces. The PRODUCT(RED) iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus have changed this. The backs are still Red, but the front is now black.

The change o the front actually does two things. The first is it responds to the request from users to have a black front with the red back. The second is that it will help differentiate between an iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 that are in PRODUCT(RED).

Personally, I like the look of the PRODUCT(RED) iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. Even though It would be great to see a Product Red iPhone X.

Even though there is not a PRODUCT(RED) iPhone X, there is a PRODUCT(RED) iPhone X Leather Folio.

The PRODUCT(RED) iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X Leather Folio will be available for order starting tomorrow, April 10th, 2018, with products available in stores on April 13th, 2018.

If you do not want an iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, or iPhone X Leather Folio, there are more options available PRODUCT(RED) on Apple’s PRODUCT(RED) page.

Source: apple.com

Apple Education Event: Additional Thoughts on Classroom

I listen to a lot of podcasts and many of them are technology-focused, which likely would come as o surprise to nobody. One of the announcement that Apple made at their Let’s Take a Field Trip event was that their iOS app named Classroom was coming to the Mac.

The Classroom app allows teachers to perform a variety of tasks. Some of these include:

Start, focus, or pause student work

  • Launch any app, website, or book on student devices with a tap
  • Lock devices into a single app to help students focus
  • Lock screens to pause work or refocus your class
  • Mute audio on student devices

See what your students see with Screen View

  • See an overview of all student screens at once
  • Focus on a single student screen
  • Students are informed when their screens are being viewed

What I heard many times was that the Classroom app was being ported to the Mac because the teachers are more accustom to the Mac. I understand the idea behind it. Meaning that teachers are not used to iPads. I think that for a percentage of teachers this is true, however I do not think this is the primary driving factor. Let us start with a scenario.

Imagine that you are a teacher with 25 kids. You are doing a lesson that involves showing the students the planets and what you are showing them is a video that is within the app. Along with this you would like to make sure that the students are paying attention. Since the iPad that you, as the teacher, are using is showing the app, so you cannot monitor what the students are doing.

Now, with the Classroom app on the nearby Mac, you can now keep an eye on what the students are doing while the video is playing, and if necessary put them back on task.

We are definitely in a transition time, but the immediate thought that teachers are “olds” and need to use a Mac to get stuff done. While that may be the case for a number of teachers, the ability to use the Classroom app on the Mac, in addition to an iPad, will allow teachers to monitor the students even if the iPad is currently in use.

Apple’s Let’s Take a Field Trip Event

Apple has a part of the education market from the early days of Apple. All the way back to 1978 to be exact. Today Apple has reinforced their education commitment. Apple held their education event at Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago, Illinois. The event is focused on education and they have delivered in a big way.

Being in Chicago, Apple provided a couple of tidbits about Chicago Public Schools. The Chicago Public Schools is working with Apple to teach more than 370,000 students how to code. Alongside this, the venue for the event, Lane Tech College Prep, has had more PhD graduate from there than any other school in the country.

Many questions why Apple would hold an education event at the end of the school year, but this is the perfect time because now is when schools start buying for next year. So this is the perfect time to hold an event.

Tools for Educators

Apple has released some new tools specifically for the K-12 market. These include Shared iPad Support, Classroom app, and Schoolwork.

Shared iPads

Shared iPads is not a new feature, it has actually been around for a couple of years, but it is worth reiterating because it can be an invaluable feature for classrooms so that every student does not necessarily need their own dedicated iPad but can indeed share amongst many students. Students can login to any iPad and get all of their data within minutes.

Classroom

The “Classroom” app was introduced in 2017 with iOS 11. Classroom allows teachers to keep an eye on what their students are doing. If a student is not following along, they can get the student back on track by bringing up the necessary application or website. Similarly, if a student needs some assistance, the teacher can help the student and guide them to where they need to be. There is a new feature for Classroom, Classroom is coming to the Mac.

All of the same features that are available on iPad will be available on the Classroom app for Mac. This will be available as a beta in June.

Schoolwork

Schoolwork is a free web-based app, that allows you to give handouts, provide progress, These handouts can include web links, PDFS, and other documents. Additionally, educators can not only send students a link to an application, but they can now send a link to a specific activity within an application. The ability to send a specific activity will help teachers be able to direct students to exactly what the teacher hopes to be able to assign.

Assigning is not enough though, Schoolwork will also allow teachers to check on the progress of students. At a single glance a teacher can get a quick overview of how all of the students are doing. If they tap on any student, they can then get a detailed view of how the student performed on that activity.

With students using technology for an ever increasing percentage of their work, an area for concern is how to keep that information safe. As one can guess, Apple takes privacy very seriously, and the privacy of student data even more seriously than most. Teachers are the only ones that can see how a student is performing. Apple cannot, nor can anyone else.

These activities are not just going to magically appear, they will require developer support and developers have a new framework to help create these activities, it is

Schoolwork will be available in June.

Apple Teacher

Apple has also introduced a new resource specifically aimed at teachers themselves, it is called Apple Teacher. Apple Teacher is a free web-based tool to help teachers build their skills as a teacher.

Apple Teacher Learning Center is where you can get learn to get the most out of Apple’s technologies as well as providing new ideas to bring creative ideas to the classroom. Apple Teacher is available at https://appleteacher.apple.com/

Everyone Can

One of Apple’s core beliefs is that having everyone learn to code is an important part of today’s education. This is not only to provide a path for future developers, but also because it can teach other skills like critical thinking and problem solving. This is a great idea for those interested in coding.

Everyone can code has guides for teachers, including rubrics, keynote presentations and more. Everyone can code is not new, but it is a resource that is available on apple.com. Apple is also working with ConnectEd and 40 STEM organizations, including App Camp for Girls.

Create

Apple has ideas that go beyond coding. Apple is building a new curriculum to augment the coding, this one is based around any subject. This is focused on four skills areas. These areas are: music, video, photography, and drawing. There will be student guide as well as teacher guides available. It is available for <a href=”https://www.apple.com/education/everyone-can-create/’>preview now. With more coming in the summer to be prepared for the fall semester.

While many of these resources are not new, they are resources that many, including myself, may not have known about. It is imperative to allow teachers help students learn and develop new skills that will benefit them beyond the classroom.

iCloud Storage

Every Apple ID gets 5GB of storage for free, this includes education accounts. This 5GB limit is quite restrictive for everyone, but is particularly hard on schools particularly if students want to be able to store a video. Apple has increased the storage limit on all accounts that managed through the Apple School Manager software. Instead of only having 5GB of storage, each account gets 200GB of storage.

iPad

Besides the new tools that Apple has provided for educators they have released the sixth generation 9.7-inch iPad. The 9.7-inch iPad has some new internals, specifically the A10 processor, and Apple Pencil support. The support for Apple Pencil is the same as the iPad Pro.

The A10 Processor allows users to use Augmented reality applications, just like the other iOS devices. The price remains the same at $329 and is available to order now and arrives later this week.

iWork

Apple has updated their iWork suite to support the Apple Pencil.

There is an additional set of features for Pages. A new feature called “Smart Annotations”. Instead of needing to manually print out and mark up a student’s homework, a teacher can now add note for the student to adjust. These notes are not just standard annotations, but will remain with the text.

This is not just for the device versions of iWork, but these features also work on the iCloud.com version of the iWork applications as well.

Digital Book Creation

One of the strategies for Apple is the creation of digital books. Apple has built-in some new features to Pages that will help with the creation. These features include:

  • Image Galleries
  • The ability to have video with sound, and can even record directly on an iPad
  • Drawing support built-in

Books created with Pages meet ePub standards for books. While some of these features are similar to Apple’s iBooks Author application, it does not negate the interactivity and features of an iBooks Author.

Even though they are not the same, the ability to create ebooks directly on the iPad is a huge benefit, not just for writers, but also for educators and students to be able to create books that they want.

Final Thoughts

I think Apple’s focus on education is an important one, not only because education is a huge part of the overall market, but because it is the foundation that will help students of all ages. This is valuable because they will be the ones who help move society forward, they are the ones who will be the next astronauts, teachers, and scientists. Without education, and in particular teachers, we would not be able to move forward.

Providing the resources for teachers is what Apple is all about when it comes to education. Whether it is using the Classroom app, the Schoolwork app, and even the iPad with Pencil support will all allow the next generation to keep everything going and moving the world forward.

Apple Proposes Accessible Emoji

I do not post about everything Apple does, mostly just the big stories. However, this story is one that embodies many things that Apple is passionate about. According to the proposal:

“Apple is requesting the addition of emoji to better represent individuals with disabilities. Currently, emoji provide a wide range of options, but may not represent the experiences of those with disabilities. Diversifying the options available helps fill a significant gap and provides a more inclusive experience for all.”

Apple has proposed some new emoji that depicts disabled users. One of the focal points for everything that Apple does is accessibility. For a long time now, Apple has made sure that everything they do is accessible for all users. These are proposed for Unicode 12.0, which will likely be approved in the Fall of 2018 and could be seen in the Spring of 2019, or even the fall of 2019. It is great to see Apple proposing emoji for those with disabilities.

Source: Emojipedia via SixColors.

Apple Education Event Announced

Apple has invited some journalists to an event that they are holding on March 27th at 10:00 am. This event is not being held at Apple Park nor at 1 Infinite Loop. Instead, this event is being held at Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago, Illinois. This is the first event that Apple has held for the press in Chicago.

This is not the first press event that Apple has held outside of California. In January of 2012, Apple held an education event in New York City. The invite states “Join us to hear creative new ideas for teachers and students.”

It is nice to have Apple hold an event close to where I live, it is just too bad that I did not get invited (nor did I really every expect to be invited, but it would have been nice.)

I will try to follow what is announced at the event and will let everybody know what Apple says.

Idea for macOS Server

Earlier this year Apple announced a shift for macOS Server. Since writing up that article I have been thinking about some directions that Apple could take macOS Server. I have a couple of ideas, and thought I would share them.

Per Apple, the primary focus for macOS Server going forward will be device and storage management. Device Management within macOS Server is handled through Apple’s Profile Manager service. One of the primary tasks with Profile Manager is to be able to restrict functions on iOS devices. With this being the focus, there is a possibility for some expansions. This is great for solution companies, but what about individuals?

Profile Manager can be installed, and managed by just about anyone. The tricky part is that some of the settings are not easy to understand and determine how they affect operating of an iOS device. Most of the setting are somewhat self-explanatory, for those more technologically inclined. What if Apple were to make profile manager non-techie friendly? This is my first idea.

User-Friendly Profile Manager

There are many different aspects to iOS that can be configured with Profile Manager, but many users are not like myself, and are able to understand what impact each of those settings could have, when they are set. I would love to see Apple create a cloud-based management portal for non-techies. In particular, one that can allow parents to manage their children’s iOS devices.

Many parents would love to see the ability to limit the days and times that the iOS devices that their child has can be operated. In addition, they would also like to be able to allow certain applications all the time, like apps for school work, or maybe evening learning applications.

In order for Apple to provide this type of service, additional and more granular restrictions would be needed for iOS, but providing this type of service, as well as the restrictions, would go a long way to helping parents keep an eye on what their children are using.

The reason for making this could based, instead of just iOS-based, would be so a parent could adjust settings from anywhere. It would also be useful to have an app for the

Cloud-based Profile Manager

One of the other ideas that I have pondered, is one where Apple provides a cloud-based profile manager, similar to its current form, just cloud-based instead of on-premise. This would not necessarily replace profile manager for those who host it within their company, but could allow smaller companies to get into Profile Manager without needing to have a server on-site.

Profile Manager requires an Open Directory server to connect to. This means that you either have to have one on the same server as the profile manager server, or one that can connect.

Providing this service would require an additional Open Directory server to be present on the Profile Manager server. This server could be a secondary server, but one would be necessary. If a company is only hosting their profile management server in the cloud, then it would make configuration a lot easier.

Providing a cloud-based profile manager server could be a benefit smaller companies who would want to be able to have the ability to control devices, but do not have the internal expertise to manage a macOS Server. Similarly, this could help Apple add to its services revenue, which could help in the long run.

These are just a couple of ideas for where Apple could take macOS Server. Only time will tell if this is the direction Apple will take macOS Server or not.

HomePod Pre-orders Starting January 26th

Today Apple announced that its smart speaker, HomePod, will be available on Friday February 9th.
According to Phil Schiller, Apple’s Senior Vice President for Marketing:

“HomePod is a magical new music experience from Apple. It brings advanced audio technologies like beam-forming tweeters, a high-excursion woofer and automatic spatial awareness, together with the entire Apple Music catalog and the latest Siri intelligence, in a simple, beautiful design that is so much fun to use.”

There are some aspects to HomePod which will not be available until later the year. These items are AirPlay 2 and Multi-Room Audio. AirPlay 2 will allow you to use multiple HomePods to play music throughout your home. This could be the same song or different songs, depending on your needs. If you opt to put multiple HomePods in the same room, the two HomePods will be able to communicate with each other and create a more immersive and create an even better sound setup.

As mentioned above, HomePod will be available on February 9th. Pre-orders for the HomePod will begin on January 26th, for those in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. Later this spring, users in France and Germany will be able to order the HomePod. HomePod is $349 and comes in two colors, Space Gray and White.

I am hoping tome able to order one, and if I am able to, then I will provide my initial impressions and, in due course after having been able to use it for a while, a full review.

The entire press release by Apple is available at Apple.com.

Apple and Girls’ Education

Today Apple announced that they are partnering with the Malala Fund. The Malala Fund is a fund that was created by Malala Yousafzai who has been an advocate for the education of women. Malala was injured in October of 2012 after an attempt on her life was made. The Malala fund was created to help her continue her advocacy efforts. The primary focus of the Malala fund is to champions every girl’s right to 12 years of free, safe, quality education.

With Apple’s support, Malala Fund expects to double the number of grants awarded by its Gulmakai Network and extend funding programs to India and Latin America with the initial goal of extending secondary education opportunities to more than 100,000 girls.

Many people in the western world take for granted education and their right, and in some countries compulsion, to attend school. Even though the number of 10,000 does not sound like a large number, but each of those 100,000 girls will be able to get the education that everyone deserves. With these 100,000 girls getting an education, what they are able to accomplish with this information is unknown.

It is great to see that Apple is stepping up to help fund the education of girls. For too long girls, not only in non-western countries but also around the world have been told that they are not to have an education and are to submit to the will of men.

If you look through history, many women have done great things. Just to list a few:

  • Marie Curie
  • Grace Hopper
  • Joan of Arc
  • Helen Keller
  • Rosa Parks

And this is just a handful of women who have made significant contributions to life, in many ways. While Apple leads the way, more companies need to do their part in helping the education of everyone, across the world. Having everyone be educated helps not just the person with the education, but everyone else as well.