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Apple Apple TV Apple Watch HomeKit iPad Pro Siri

Apple’s WWDC 2017 Announcements

Yesterday’s Apple World Wide Developer Conference keynote was a long one. It came in at just under two and half hours. This is the longest keynote that they have done, end so it was completely full of announcements. A list of items covered include software, and hardware, including some sneak peeks at hardware coming later. There was so much in this keynote, it is hard to choose where to begin. Let us start with hardware.

iPad Pro

One of the things that Apple announced at this keynote is new iPad Pros. The new iPad Pros have a slew of new features. Both of the iPad Pros now have feature parity, meaning that they have the same hardware inside the case.

  • ProMotion technology
  • P3 Wide Color Gamut
  • True Tone Display
  • A10X Fusion Chip
  • 12-megapixel camera
  • ƒ/1.8 aperture

The physical dimensions of the iPad Pros have changed, at least for the 9.7-inch model. That model is gone. It has been replaced with the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro, yet it is almost the same physical size. This is possible because there is now 40% less bezel on the sides. The new 10.5-inch iPad Pro is only 0.3 inches longer and 0.2 inches wider than the 9.7-inch model. The size difference also means that the weight of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro is a bit more over the 9.7-inch model. In fact, it is a whole 32 grams, or 0.07 pounds more.

If one is going from the 9.7-inch iPad pro to the 10.5-inch iPad Pro you will see a more modest set of changes one. However, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is seeing a bunch of new features. Again, these are all available on the 10.5-inch. The new features of the 12.9-inch include:

  • Digital zoom up to 5x
  • Optical image stabilization
  • Six‑element lens
  • Quad-LED True Tone flash
  • Panorama (up to 63 megapixels)
  • ProMotion technology
  • Wide color display (P3)
  • True Tone display

As mentioned, these were all available on the 9.7-inch previously, however having them on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro will be a nice change for those 12.9-inch iPad Pro owners who do upgrade. In fact, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is now lighter by 36 grams, or 0.08 pounds.

The FaceTime camera has also been upgraded in both models. It is now a 7 megapixel camera with a ƒ/2.2 aperture, and 1080p recording. The FaceTime camera includes Wide Color capture as well. The FaceTime camera changes will work not only for FaceTime but also for selfies.

There is one last thing to note. The 10.5-inch iPad Pro is the only one that comes in Rose Gold. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro does not. The 10.5-inch model starts at $649, while the 12.9-inch model starts at $799. You can choose among three different storage sizes, 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB. This is double the previous models. There are also cellular models and these cost $130 more. The new iPad Pros are able to be ordered today, and they ship next week.

Macs

The quick summary is that everything got updated, well except the Mac mini, and the MacBook Air. The iMac, MacBook and MacBook Pros have all gotten an upgrade to the latest Intel Series of chips, codenamed Kaby Lake. The 13-inch MacBook now has the Intel Iris Plus 640 Graphics chip, where as the 13-inch with Touch Bar has the Intel Iris Plus Graphics 650.

The 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar now includes an AMD Radeon 555 with 2GB of Video RAM, or Radeon 560 with 4GB of Video RAM. The 13-inch MacBook Pro non-touchbar model is now starting at $1299.

The 12-inch MacBook has also received a slight upgrade as well. It also has the 7th Generation Intel chips. It now has a 1.2 GHz process as its base which includes Intel HD 615 Graphics. Along side this it has Bluetooth 4.2 support.

If you are still in the market for a MacBook Air, they are still around and have recieved a very minor procssor speed increase, but that is the only change for the MacBook Air.

The MacBooks were modest upgrades, unlike the iMacs. These received a more substantial upgrade.

iMacs

The entire Retina iMac line received upgrades to the latest Intel chips, Kaby Lake. The most notable change is in the 27-inch Screen. It now supports the Wide Color Gamut (P3), which brings it to parity with the iPads.

The second biggest change is that the iMac line now supports USB-C, and Thunderbolt 3, with the two USB-C ports available on all models. This is the first time that USB-C has been available on a desktop Mac. Alongside, there is also Bluetooth 4.2 support. One of the most noticeable changes will be in graphics. For all Retina models, Apple is now including AMD Radeon Pro graphics. For the 21.5-inch model this is the 555 with 2GB of RAM or the 560 with 4GB of RAM. The 27-inch models get the Radeon Pro 570, 575, or 580, with 4GB of memory for the 570 and 575, and 8GB video Memory for the 580.

The change that is most likely to be a nice change is that the 21.5-inch 4K Retina iMac now starts at $1299. This is down from $1499 for the previous version.

There were two “Sneak Peeks” at the keynote. These will be covered a bit later. For now, let us look at the software that was announced, starting with tvOS.

tvOS

There was only one announcement, for today, regarding the Apple TV. Even though it was only one announcement, it was a big one; the Amazon Prime Video is coming this fall. This means that anybody who likes to watch Amazon Prime Video will be able to do that directly on the Apple TV. It is possible to use AirPlay to get Amazon Video on your Apple TV today, but this is an inelegant solution.

watchOS

The Apple Watch has become a key aspect to many people’s lives since its initial release in April of 2015. It took a couple of years, but the Apple has honed in on its main focus, health and fitness. watchOS 4 brings a few new features, the first being a new user interface for scrolling applications. Along side this there are a few new watch faces, Siri, Kaleidoscope, as well as coupel of new iconic characters. These characterse areWoody, Jessie, and Buzz from the Toy Story franchise.

Workouts are now easier under watchOS 4. To coincide with this, you are able to get more data to and from the Apple Watch. This is done through the use of NFC. The NFC capability will only available on newer equipment, but if it is available, it will be helpful. In particular, your heart rate will be sent from your Apple Watch to the gym equipment, whereas the incline rate from the gym equipment will be sent to your Apple Watch. This two-way communication allows for more data relating to health. This is likely only the beginning of the two-way communications between the Apple Watch and gym equipment.

The last item with watchOS is that Music can now be automatically synchronized over to your Apple Watch. This feature will allow you to always have music with you, particularly if you do not bring your iPhone with your when you exercise.

There are a bunch of other features for watchOS. For now let us look at some of the new features of iOS.

iOS 11

The most anticipated aspect of the announcement is the operating system for the iPhone, and iPad, iOS. iOS 11 brings a bunch of updates. One of the most used applications on iOS is Messages.

Messages

There are a couple of updates specifically for Messages. These revolve around iMessage apps, syncing, and Payments.

iMessage Apps and Stickers

With iOS 10, Apple added iMessage applications to iOS. One of the downsides to have so many iMessage apps and stickers is the difficulty of finding the specifc iMessage application you wanted to use. With iOS 11 it is now easier to find said application. You simply scroll through your iMessage application drawer and locate the application you are looking for. This was one of the biggest issues with iMessage in iOS 10. The next feature is syncing of messages.

Syncing

iOS 11 will synchronize all of your messages across all of your devices. This is possible because all of your iMessages will being stored in the cloud, securely. When you get a new device, all of your recent messages will be synchronized to the device. This will also reduce the amount of storage needed on your device for messages. The last item to highlight is actually an iMessage app, Payments.

Person to Person Payments

The biggest change to iMessage in iOS 11 will be the ability to send money directly to someone. Once you receive some money, it will be added to your Apple Pay Cash card. You can use this to purchase apps or pay for other services using your iPhone. Alternnatively you can transfer the money to your bank account.

App Store

Since the App Store was released nine years ago, it has remained mostly unchanged. It has changed slightly here and there with the style changes of iOS. However, that is going to change with iOS 11. Under iOS 11, the App Store is now getting a major redesign, similar to the one that Apple Music introduced. There are now two new and distinct tabs at the bottom; Games and Apps. These, as one might guess, are specifically for these two genres. This separation allows those specifically looking for Games to be able to find a game to play. The same goes for the other app categories.

The biggest change within the App Store is the “Today” tab. Similar to how Apple Music will suggest music for you, the App Store can now show you what is new today. This could be popular items, suggestions from the App Store curators, or even in-app purchases for games you are already playing.

Mark Up

One of the features within Mail on macOS Sierra was the ability to “Mark Up” images and send them to others. This feature is now available on screenshots within iOS 11. “Mark Up” is even better on an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil, but the feature works across all iOS 11 devices. This means that you will be able to add notes and highlights to any screenshot. This will make collaboration even better.

iPad Changes

The biggest changes for iOS 11 are with the iPad. As was stated, “This is the biggest release of iOS for the iPad”. The focus on the iPad Pro. They were not kidding. iOS 11 is chalk full of features specifically for the iPad. Some of these include:

  • Update for the Dock
  • Improvements to Split View & Drag and Drop
  • Consolidated Files

There is a lot more that has been added, but these are the biggest items and we will focus on these. Let us start with the Dock.

The Dock

Under iOS 10 and previous versions, the dock on the iPad was limited to 5 items, regardless of the size of the iPad. This meant that there was a lot of empty space between applications. This is no longer the case with iOS 11. Instead, you are now able to fill up the dock with as many applications as you would like. Additionally, the dock will house any recent items and will even predict what applications you may want.

Split View

Split View came to the iPad with iOS 9 in 2015. At the time you were able to run more than one application at the same time. This has been the case, but now with iOS 11, you are able to drag and drop all types of data between applications. This means that instead of needing to manually copy and paste, or send a picture to another application. This will make things even quicker for many users.

Alongside Drag and Drop, applications that you pair together will now stay together. This means that if you like to have two applications open side by side, it will now be remembered, which will only increase productivity.

Files.app

The last thing to know about the iPad, and iPhone, is that all of your files will now be viewable into a single application. This means that if you have files stored in iCloud, One Drive, and Dropbox you will be able to see all of them all at once instead of needing to go to different applications to get all of the files that you have. This will make it even easier with Drag and Drop to be able to find items and place them onto applications.

There are definitely many more features, however these are some of the biggest. Now, let us move on to macOS.

macOS

It is not surprising to see a new version of macOS at Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference. Each year there is a new name to accompany the new operating system. macOS 10.13 is code-named “High Sierra”. This is similar to the naming convention used by Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. This signifies that while there were some user facing features, these updates were aimed at under the hood improvements.

macOS High Sierra does not contain a huge number of new feeatures, except there are a ton of under the hood changes. The lowest level that one interacts with every day, the file system. iOS 10.3 brought the Apple File System (APFS) to iOS devices,

macOS High Sierra brings APFS to the Mac. This will be the default going forward. One of the things that many users use often is Safari. There have been a couple of changes in Safari.

Safari

The biggest change in Safari on macOS High Sierra is that Autoplay videos will no longer play, automatically. They are still able to be played, but they will be muted by default. Having autoplay videos not play automatically will only improve a user’s experience.

One of the downsides of the the modern web is the amount of tracking that is done has become and just how it occurs across all types of websites. This has changed with Safari under macOS High Sierra. Now, Safari will cordon off those sites that attempt to track your data and it will remove the data, so you cannot be tracked all over the web. The ads will still display, so it will not break the internet, but it should become a bit more pleasant.

There are some other technologies that are “under the hood” of macOS High Sierra, but these are not necessary to cover now. Let us look at the two products that Apple previewed.

Sneak Peeks

It is not often that Apple previews hardware, it has occurred before, but it is not often. Today Apple previewed two new products, the iMac Pro and HomePod. Let us start with the iMac Pro.

iMac Pro

The iMac Pro was briefly mentioned a couple months ago, when Apple sat down with a handful of journalists to spell out the future of the professional Mac. At that time there were no details. We now have some more information. First and foremost, the iMac Pro is designed for Professionals. This is particularly apparent with the STARTING price, of $4999. Yes, almost five thousand dollars is the starting price. The iMac Pro has the following specifications:

  • Retina 5k Screen with Wide Color Gamut
  • An 8, 10 or 18-Core Xeon Processor
  • 32, 64, or 128GB of Memory
  • 1TB SSD, configurable to 2TB or even 4TB
  • AMD Radeon Pro Vega 56 graphics, with 8GB of memory, configurable to Radeon Pro Vega 64 with 16GB of memory
  • 1080p FaceTime Camera
  • Stereo Speakers with Four microphones
  • 4 USB3 port
  • 4 USB-C ports
  • Bluetooth 4.2 wireless technology
  • 10Gbps ethernet port

There is only one color for the iMac Pro, Space Gray. The peripherals are also Space Gray, this includes the keyboard, Magic Trackpad and Magic Mouse 2. The iMac Pro will be available in December 2017.

Mac Accessories

There is one new accessory for everybody today, a Magic Keyboard with a number pad. This is available today for $129. Let us look at the other sneak peek, the HomePod.

HomePod

One of the more anticipated items is what Apple would do regarding a smart home speaker. Today, they answered the question with the HomePod. The HomePod has a built-in A8 chip, the same one that powers the 4th generation Apple TV. Besides the processing chip, there are six microphones, and seven tweeters, each with their own drivers. The microphones and tweeters work in concert to be able to produce the best sound possible.

It does this through Spatial Awareness. Spatial Awareness will test the room that it is in and adjust the sound to each tweeter individually to produce the best sound possible. All of this is done within a 6.8 inches high cylinder that is surrounded by a wire mesh to allow the sound to flow through.

The HomePod is primarily designed to be a music speaker, however that is not all it can do. It also functions as a conduit to using Siri. You can ask Siri, “Who is the drummer in this song”, “Play some Hip Hop”, or even “Play this specific song” That is not all though, since it integrates with Siri, you can also say things like “Give me the news” or “Turn off the lights”. The HomePod is fully integrated with HomeKit, so it can perform any of the same tasks that Siri can.

The HomePod will be available in December 2017 for $349. It comes in two colors, White and Space Grey. If you have more than one HomePod in the same room, they can both work in concert to produce even better sound. At launch, HomePod will be availble in the U.S., the UK, and Australia, with other countries coming next year.

Final Thoughts

Today’s World Wide Developer Keynote presentation was a long, but feature rich presentation. The refreshed Macs and iPad Pros will provide even more for users. iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra will also provide a slew of new features. Both iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra will be available in the fall as free upgrades.

There was even more in the presentation that I did not cover here. You can watch the entire keynote on Apple’s website.

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Apple Apple Watch iPad iPad Pro iPhone Siri

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.

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Apple Apple Watch Siri

Apple’s Epic Keynote: Part 2

Yesterday was Apple’s September event. Given the length of Apple’s keynote, I opted to break up the two into articles. Yesterday’s <a href=‘https://www.waynedixon.com/2015/09/09/apples-epic-keynote-part-1/’>article covers the first two products, Apple Watch and iPad. This article will provide information about the last two items, Apple TV and iPhone.

Apple TV

It is not like Apple to show off new products too often. This was done in September of 2006 when then CEO Steve Jobs showed off a new product that they were calling “iTV”. By the time it was shown off again in January of 2007, name was changed to Apple TV. The Apple TV was originally based on a slimmed down version of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. At the time, the Apple TV was called a “hobby”. This hobby got an upgrade.

The second generation Apple TV was shown off in September of 2010. This iteration was a big change. The box was about 75% smaller, fanless, and was based on iOS. This model had no hard drive and only had 8GB of internal storage for caching. Apple has a curated “channel” list of approved HTML5 applications that could stream content to the Apple TV. This was not the last version.

The Third generation Apple TV was introduced in March of 2012. This model was identical to the second generation in physical appearance but could handle 1080p content and sported a single-core A5 processor. There was a minor revision to this model in January of 2013, but the box was effectively the same.

Fast forward 30 months to September 9th, 2015 and Apple has unveiled their fourth generation Apple TV. This one, is a big change.

Hardware

apple.tv

The 4th Generation Apple TV has the same general shape as the the previous two generations. Physically, it is still the same width and depth as the previous two generations, but it is 43% taller at 1.3 inches. This change is needed to accommodate some of the new internals.

The new Apple TV sports an A8 Processor, the same as was in the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and 6th generation iPod Touch. The new Apple TV also has bluetooth 4.0 support, 802.11A/B/G/N/AC with MIMO technology, an IR Receiver, HDMI 1.4, a USB-C port for service and support, and, disappointedly, 10/100Base-T Ethernet.

There was one thing removed from the 4th Generation Apple TV that was in the 2nd and 3rd generations, the digital optical out. This may be a problem for some, but for most it should not be an issue. That about covers the hardware changes, excluding one, the new remote.

Siri Remote

siri.remote

The new Apple TV sports a new bluetooth remote, named the Siri Remote. The Siri Remote has a couple of features to it. The first is that it has a Touch surface at the top. This area allows for multi-directional navigation, the ability to click anywhere in the touch area, and even allows for precision when it comes to scrubbing a video.

The Siri Remote, also has a dedicated button for accessing Siri. With the Siri button, you are able to ask Siri to perform many actions. These actions include “Who directed this film?”, “Show me James Bond Films”, and even phrases like “What did she say?”. These phrases are contextually aware. When you ask who directed the film, an overlay will appear on top of the video with additional information about the film.

If you use the phrase “Show me James Bond Films”, you will receive a list of all James Bond films. You can say, “Only the ones with Daniel Craig”, and Siri will have the Apple TV reduce the list to the ones that show Daniel Craig.

The phrase “What did she/he say” will skip the video back 15 seconds and temporarily turn on captions, so you will be able to see exactly what was said.

Siri on the Apple TV also has the capability of searching multiple sources for content. The initial group includes iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and Showtime. These are just the initial list of sources and Apple will be adding more as time goes on.

The power behind this is the all new operating system, tvOS.

tvOS

tvOS

tvOS is Apple’s name for the operating system that underlies the new Apple TV. tvOS is still based on iOS, but it is running a variant of the latest version, iOS 9. tvOS is designed to be more powerful update to the existing Apple TV Operating system.

tvOS includes the familiar Movies, tv shows, photos, and music. tvOS even includes the new Apple Music subscription service. These all received a nice new and fresh look that is brighter than the previous versions.

There is even a new feature on Movie Posters, parallaxing. Parallaxing is the concept of moving a picture slightly to make it appear as though it is three dimensional. It is an interesting effect when seen.

A new operating system and a snazzy new remote are nice and all, but how does one utilize all of that power? Simple, allow developers access. tvOS is designed to be used with 3rd party applications.

tvOS is designed to allow developers to build applications. These could be shopping applications, like Gilt (which was shown off during the keynote), or even Amazon. With a powerful box and touch-based remote, one could easily see other possible uses, like games. This is one of the major functions that Apple has in mind for the 4th generation Apple TV.

Gaming

When you have a piece of hardware that has the same capabilities of an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, it should not be surprising that gaming could come to mind. Being able to play games on an 9.7-inch iPad is good, but only having 9.7 inches of screen real estate does not work well if you have a number of people who want to watch and participate. This is where the Apple TV will shine.

There are many iOS games, like Crossy Road, Pac-Man256, and Ball Jump, are enjoyed by many people on the iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches. Even with this personal enjoyment, there are times when being able to play against others is more enjoyable on a larger screen. The Apple TV is the platform for this.

Developers will be able to create Universal applications that will work across all iOS devices. Even with these universal applications, developers will be able to create unique gaming experiences that are tuned specifically for the Apple TV. This experience may be with a game controller.

The ability to use either game controllers or other iOS devices will allow developers to provide gamers the ability to have fun while playing multiplayer games.

Pricing

The new Apple TV comes in two models, 32GB for $149 and 64GB for $149. Both Models will be available starting in late October.

Final Thoughts on Apple TV

The Apple TV has received the long-awaited upgrade. The refreshed interface, with the new tvOS will allow more individuals to experience a whole new way of watching TV. The interactions enabled by the Siri Remote will allow for in-depth functionality and allow viewers to get more information about what they are watching. The integration of Siri also allows the searching of multiple sources, which means that users do not need to know which application has the content they want to watch, they can now just search for it and begin watching. tvOS will allow developers to create new and innovative experiences with all sorts of applications, but more importantly, games.

iPhone

Apple’s biggest business is the iPhone. At each September event since the iPhone 5 in 2011, Apple has been released new iPhones. This remains the case for this September event.

New iPhones

iphone6s.plus.space.grey

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were two of Apple’s best selling phones. They have now been moved down the rung and replaced by the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. The two new models run Apple’s custom A9 processor, a sibling of the A9x in the iPad Pro. According to Apple, this is 70% faster in CPU performance and 90% faster in graphics performance over their A7 chip.

With the release of the iPhone 5s, Apple included a motion co-processor, the M7. With the M7 and M8, the co-processor was in a separate chip outside of the CPU. With the A9, this changes. The M9 co-processor is now inside of the CPU. This means that the “Hey Siri” feature, can now be accessed anytime, due to the M9 getting constant power.

There are a few consistent aspects to the new iPhones. The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus still come in the same storage configurations of 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB. Along with storage, the screen sizes remain at 4.7 and 5.5 inches respectively. They hold the same resolutions of 1334 by 750 pixels, and 1920 by 1080 pixels.

The Retina HD screens remain, but have been enhanced by a new feature called 3D Touch.

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h4>3D Touch

As the iPhone has progressed in its life, the screen and the touch surface have become ever increasingly one piece. This has proven to be beneficial with the new feature of 3D Touch. The ability for Apple to bring these two pieces closer has led the ability to add to the backlight of the Retina HD screen to accommodate for 3D Touch. 3D Touch will detect the microscopic changes

3D Touch is the ability to press into the surface of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus to perform additional functions. These functions are ultimately “deep links” in iOS 9 and allow direct access to the most common functions of an application.

For instance, in the Music app, you are able to Play Beats1, Search your library, and even bring up the last item playing. With the camera app, you can quickly take a Selfie, Record Video, or even record a Slo Motion video.

The last example is with Mail. When you press down on the Mail App with 3D Touch, you are able to compose a new message, search your mail, view VIP mail, and even jump right to your inbox.

There are two concepts with 3D Touch, peek and pop. When you press lightly down on an object, you will be able to look at an item in context. If you press harder, that item will pop to fill the entire screen. A good example of this is within the Mail app. Within Mail you can lightly press down on a message and see a quick look of the message. If you continue to press down, the message will take over the entire screen. Another example is if you’re in the Contacts app and when you lightly press on a contact, you are able to can message them, call them, or even send them an email.

3D Touch will add another level of interaction between applications and the users of those applications. 3D Touch is just one change to the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, another is the Camera.

3D.Touch

Camera

There is a common phrase, “The best camera you have is the one you have with you”. Apple tries to make this possible with all of their iPhones. One of the aspects of the iPhone that Apple prides themselves on is the camera. Even the original iPhone in 2007 had a camera. Over the intervening eight years, Apple has improved the camera and its capabilities. Some of these include High Dynamic Range (HDR) photos, the ability to capture movies at 30, 60, and 120 frames per second, the ability to take panorama photos, and much more.

The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus cameras have received some major updates. The iPhone 4 was the first iPhone to have an 8MP camera. The benchmark of 8 megapixels has remained constant through the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. With the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, this is no longer the case. The camera has received an upgrade.

The new camera is a 12 megapixel camera. You may think, “The megapixel wars are over”, and they likely are. But the new Camera is capable of taking pictures with less noise. This is due to the 1.22 micron pixels in the camera, and the technology to keep the colors separated with deep trench isolation.

The 12MP camera also brings an enhancement to video recording. The capability of recording 4K video that is 3840 by 2160 at 30 frames per second. This new capability also allows for taking 8 megapixel images while recording 4K video, which is a feat in itself.

4K Video recording is not the only change to cameras, the front-facing camera has also received a nice upgrade from 1.2 megapixels to a 5 megapixel camera. This camera will now allow clearer and better pictures. To put this in perspective, this is the same number of pixels that was in the rear facing camera on the iPhone 4 and there was more space in the iPhone 4 for that camera.

There is one more feature for the front facing camera, a flash, but it not a traditional flash. The front facing camera uses the Retina HD screen as its flash. The entire screen will flash momentarily when the flash is needed. This will be great for those low-light selfie shots that people need to get.

Colors

The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus still come in the Silver, Space Grey, and Gold options. However, there is now one additional option, Rose Gold. The Rose Gold iPhone is only available on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.

iPhone6.Backs

Pricing

The market for phones is changing in the United States. It is now better reflecting how the rest of the world handles their phones. If your carrier still allows contracts, you can get the new phones on contract for $199 for a 16GB iPhone 6s and $299 for a 16GB iPhone 6s Plus. You can also purchase your phone at full price starting at $649 and $749 respectively. Each storage increase will increase the price by $100, up to $949 for a 128GB iPhone 6s Plus.

There is one other pricing model, the financing model. This is done by carriers and you pay a premium on your cell phone plan until you pay off your phone. With these plans, you are eligible for an upgrade after a certain number of payments. The fewer payments, the more per month your phone will cost. Apple is getting into this game with it’s Annual Upgrade Program.

Upgrade Program

Apple has unveiled a new program that allows customers to get a new iPhone every year from Apple. They must finance their iPhone purchase through Apple. With this, they will receive a new iPhone every year. The iPhone they select will be unlocked and include AppleCare+ for their monthly fee.

What is not clear is what happens when you upgrade. Does the remaining balance continue to accrue, or does the difference in cost get absorbed by Apple. It remains to be seen how this will pan out for users, but it is another option.

AppleCare+

There has been an additional change with the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus; the cost of AppleCare+. In previous years, the cost of Apple’s extended warranty has stood at $99. This time it has gone up to $129. It is presumed that the 3D Touch sensor, as well as the Taptic engine has added to the increase in price.

Other iPhones

As occurs every year, last year’s flagship models remain in the lineup. This is still the case with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus this year. There have been a couple of changes with this line-up. The first is that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus no longer come in 128GB models. They only come in 16GB and 64GB models. The second change is that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are no longer available in Gold. As expected, the price of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have dropped a bit in price. They now start at $549 for the 16GB iPhone 6 and $649 for the iPhone 6 Plus. The iPhone 5s is now “free” on contact, or can be purchased without contract starting at $450.

Conclusion

Apple’s keynote was just about two and a half hours long after all four announcements and a musical number of One Republic. Apple’s newest product line, the Apple Watch received a nice update with watchOS 2. The new Hermes collection and the new watch bands will allow Apple Watch users to create new combinations. The new Rose Gold Aluminum Apple Watch will allow a new choice for users who want to have Rose Gold, but cannot afford the luxury price.

Apple’s newly introduced iPad Pro will big a big boon for users who can use the larger screen. The capabilities with the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard can make it a replacement device for a number of individuals.

The revamped Apple TV with its new application-based platform is something that has been requested by users for a long time. The ability to pair a game controller with the Apple TV will allow games to have new experiences. Universal applications will allow developers to create experiences that span a range of screens to include the largest one of all, the Television. tvOS is a great new basis for developers to bring even more to the Apple TV.

The flagship product line of the iPhones has received a significant upgrade with the A9 Processors with the M9 built in, along with the new 3D Touch technology will provide iPhone owners with new interactions and provide quick access to common features. The upgraded 12 megapixel camera with 4K video recording is one of the biggest differentiating factors of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s.

Overall, Apple has outdone themselves again and released a plethora of new products and updates to appeal to a large number of individuals.

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Apple

Apple October Event Roundup: Software and Services

Apple’s October event was a big one. They introduced new iPads and updated one Mac and introduced another new Mac the last thing to talk about is software and services and with that, let us dive in.

iOS 8.1

iOS8.1

Apple introduced iOS 8.0 last month. In that time 48% of iOS devices are running iOS 8.0, and 47% are running iOS 7. The remaining 5% are running an earlier version of iOS. iOS 8.1 includes a couple of bug fixes and includes support Pay. iOS 8.1 will be available on Monday, October 20th as a free upgrade for all of those running iOS 8.0. The iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 should be running iOS 8.1. Besides Apple Pay, there are other new features for the update, just Pay.

WatchKit

Apple.Watch

At the September event, Apple announced their new product line, the Watch. At that time they also announced a new framework, WatchKit; they stated that it would be coming later this year. They were not incorrect when they stated this. At today’s event, Apple announced that the WatchKit framework would be coming in November to allow developers time to determine how best to support the Watch with their applications. There was no update on release date for the Watch outside of “Early 2015”.

WatchKit

Pay

Apple introduced its payment service, Pay, last month at their September Event. At that time, they stated that Pay would begin rolling out in October. Well, a date has been set, and it is on Monday, October 20th, and it will only begin in the United States. Apple has partnered with the three largest card issuers, Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. Also at the September event Apple stated that they were starting with the largest banks. In the interim, they have signed up over 500 banks. All of these will begin to roll out support for Pay this year as well as early next year.

OS X 10.10 Yosemite

OSXYosemite

All Macs being shipped today, including the updated Mac Mini and the iMac with 5K Retina Display will be running OS X 10.10 Yosemite. It is available now in the Mac App Store and is available for Free. If you are running OS X 10.8 or OS X 10.9 Mavericks, you can upgrade right now.

OS X Server 4.0

OSXServer4

There was a piece of software that was not mentioned and that is OS X 10.10 Yosemite Server. It was also updated to version 4.0. Unlike OS X 10.10 Yosemite, Server 4.0 is not a free upgrade and costs $19.99. It can be downloaded from the Mac App Store. OS X Server 4.0 will only run on OS X 10.10 Yosemite.

iWork

PagesNumbersKeynote

One of the suites of software that was announced as receiving an update is the iWork Suite. Pages, Numbers and Keynote have been updated to take advantage of the features of OS X 10.10 Yosemite. Pages 5.5 includes support for Handoff, iCloud drive support, an updated file format, Apple Support for mail merge, and improved table support. Numbers 3.5 includes support for Handoff, iCloud Drive, an updated file format, improved table support, and the ability to easily resize and re-position charts. Keynote 6.5 includes support for Handoff, iCloud Drive, an updated file format, the ability to move and customize items in the presenter’s display, the ability to pair Keynote with nearby iOS devices by using Multipeer connectivity, and improved table support.

iWork is a free upgrade for those who have already purchased the applications. If you have not, you can download Pages, Numbers, and Keynote for $19.99 each.

GarageBand

GarageBand

GarageBand has been updated to 10.0.3. The changes associated with this are OS X 10.10 Yosemite support, Mail Drop support, a new Voice template to easily create a voice track, and the addition of audio-effect plugins. GarageBand is available in the Mac App Store as a free update, or $4.99 if you do not already own the application.

iMovie

iMovie

iMovie 10.0.6 includes an updated look for OS X 10.10 Yosemite, a set of new export options, including Audio Only, the ability to share a frame as an image, the ability to email HD video with Mail Drop, improved performance, and the ability for developers to create App Previews as well as screen capturing directly from an iPhone or iPad. It is available now in the Mac App Store as a free update, or $14.99 if you do not already own it.

iPhoto

iPhoto

iPhoto received only a very minor update to version 9.6. The only fixes are compatibility fixes for OS X 10.10 Yosemite. It is available in the Mac App Store for free.

Final Thoughts

Even though we knew that OS X 10.10 Yosemite was right around the corner, we did not know the exact release date. The unveiling of the Pay start date, as well as the accompanying iOS 8.1 update, will let users being using Pay on Monday. With over 500 banks that will be supporting Pay, it is quite likely that a bank near you will be supporting the service sometime soon.

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Apple

Thoughts on Apple’s Event for October 2013

Today Apple announced a whole slew of new products. The iPad Air and a refresh of the iPad Mini with a Retina Display. As well as new 13” and 15” MacBook Pros, running Haswell and Crystalwell respectively. While the new Mac Pros were unveiled at their World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) 2013 event, we received update information, better information on specs and a release date.

I could rehash all of the specs for the new devices, but I want to focus on Apps instead. We will start with OS X 10.9 Mavericks. OS X 10.9 Mavericks was unveiled to the world at WWDC 2013. Some of the new features were covered, the biggest item left out was the price and availability date. Today we learned that. Mavericks is a FREE Upgrade for those running OS X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard, Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, or OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. Yes, you read that correctly, it is FREE. You can read all about the OS X 10.9 Mavericks upgrade by purchasing my ebook review from iTunes in ePub or iBooks versions for $2.99. The price of OS X 10.9 Mavericks is the important thing to note. Apple not released OS X 10.9 Mavericks, but also released some other applications today too.

Apple has unveiled completely refreshed versions of their iLife and iWork applications. These updates have been completely redesigned for OS X 10.9 Mavericks and iOS 7. It now makes completely sense as to why Apple did not release updated versions of Garageband, iPhoto, and iMovie on the iLife side and Pages, Keynote and Numbers, on the iWork side, at iOS at last month’s iPhone announcement. It was to be done in conjunction with OS X 10.9 Mavericks’ release. Let us look at each of the apps in turn. We’ll start with iLife.

iLife

iLife has been the demo software of choice when showing off just how well a Mac runs and also demonstrates what is possible with a Mac. Not to mention that the iLife Suite makes it much easier to be creative on a Mac.

Garageband

Garageband.iOS.IconGarageBand.Mac.Icon

Garageband received a big update. Garageband is now completely 64-bit on iOS and OS X. Garageband now has the ability to handle up to 32 Tracks simultaneously. That is 32 tracks on any 64-bit device, iPhone, iPad Mini with Retina, iPad Air or OS X Mavericks machine. That was not the only update. Garageband also has a new feature called “Drummer Track”. Drummer Track will allow you to have a track that will play a drumbeat in your song. You have the ability to change which portion of the drum set the player is playing on, the tempo of the drumming and even what type of feel the drummer will bring to your song. This feature is available on all iOS and OS X 10.9 Mavericks devices.

iPhoto

iPhoto.iOS.IconiPhoto.Mac.icon

iPhoto has always been a big application for users who take a lot of photos. With easy editing, organization and sharing, iPhoto is a no brainer for just about anybody. iPhoto is a getting a brand new look. Everything is now contextual. This means that if you’re editing a photo you will see only items that are related to the photo. The same goes for sharing as well. With iPhoto you are now able to select a group of photos and iPhoto will create a montage of the photos to fit best for displaying.

With iPhoto you also have an option to have a book printed of your photos. This has been around for a while, but in iPhoto this is made even simpler.

iMovie

iMovie.iOS.IconiMovie.Mac.Icon

iMovie is gaining a couple of new features, most notably the ability to change the speed of a section of a movie. This, paired with the new iPhone 5S, means that when you take slow-motion video, it can be shown in spectacular beauty without much effort.

Under previous versions of iMovie sharing just a section of a video could be a bit of a pain. Now with the updated iPhoto, users are able to highlight just the section they want and share that to whatever service they may want. It could be Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo or others.

iMovie Theater

iMovie now has another new feature called “iMovie Theater”. iMovie Theater aggregates your movies and trailers and allows you to pick and choose what you want to show. With iCloud all of your movies and trailers are synchronized across all of your devices, including your Apple TV.

iWork

iWork has always been a must-have productivity suite for many users. The biggest downside has been that Apple has not provided a significant update to the iWork Suite since 2009. Today, that has changed.

Pages

Pages.iOS.IconPages.Mac.icon

Pages has received a significant update. Pages now does everything contextually, or as Apple calls it, “object-based” . If you are adding a picture, you will see items related to pictures. If you are changing a selection of text, you will see bold, underline, and italics along with fonts. This is the case for both iOS and OS X.

Keynote

Keynote.iOS.IconKeynote.Mac.Icon

Keynote, like Pages, has received and update. With Keynote you are presented with more transitions, more realistic physics. Apple has added a few more transitions to allow presenters to choose the best transitions for their presentation.

Numbers

Numbers.iOS.IconNumbers.Mac.Icon

Numbers, just like Keynote and Pages, has received a big upgrade. Numbers follows the same path as Keynote and Pages with it’s contextual options. If you are editing a chart, you’ll be presented with options for adding formulas, changing fonts, colors, and text. If you are editing a graph, you will be able to swap the chart on the fly, add a title or legend, and even change colors with a few clicks.

iWork and iCloud

Pages.iCloud.iconKeynote.iCloud.iconNumbers.iCloud.Icon

There is one other aspect to the iWork applications and iCloud. A new feature with iWork is collaboration. Collaboration works just as anybody would expect it to work. You can have multiple people simultaneously working on the same document. The changes are almost instantaneous. iWork for iCloud is not limited to just those with OS X 10.9 Mavericks machines. You can edit iWork documents with those on Windows PCs as well as OS X 10.9 Mavericks machines. There are some limitations for Windows PCs. For instance, if you’re using Pages and need to collaborate with a colleague who is on Windows Vista (or higher) and running Windows 7 with Internet Explorer 9, you will be collaborate in real-time without any issues. iWork for iCloud supports Safari 6.0.3 or newer, Chrome 27 or newer, and Internet Explorer 9.0.8 or later. When using Internet Explorer there may be some issues.

In addition to be compatible between iOS and OS X, but also compatible with Microsoft Office documents, thereby allowing interoperability between the two platforms for even easier transitions between the two.

iCloud Integration

iCloud is heavily integrated in all of the iLife and iWork Applications. With iLife and iWork all of your files become instantly available on all of your devices. This will allow users to create, modify and save on ANY of their devices. You can start creating a Pages document on your iPad and continue editing on your Mac running OS X 10.9 Mavericks. A side effect, and full benefit, of this means that iLife and iWork on iOS are using the exact same file format as on OS X. No more wondering “does this font work on my iPad”, or “What will this presentation look like when I try to start it”. The files are all the same, no more confusion or guess work is needed.

Pricing

Pricing for ALL of Apple iLife and iWork applications has changed. While it was announced last month at the iPhone event, it was clearly reiterated at today’s announcement, FREE. All of the iLife and iWork applications will be free with the purchase of a new iOS device or with a new Mac. It is not just the iLife and iWork applications that were made free. OS X 10.9 Mavericks is now also a free upgrade.

This model has turned the entire computer industry. Instead of focusing on charging users for a license for software, Apple is looking to use the margins on their hardware to subsidize the software portion of their business. The software, in turn, will bring more people into the Mac and iOS communities, which means they will buy hardware and thus creates a nice cycle for Apple and its shareholders.

This model is also a direct shot at Microsoft, who is known to charge at least $99 per year to use their Microsoft Office 365 software suite, and even more for retail boxed copies of the software.

Other Applications

Apple also made mention that over 20 of their applications will be receiving updates similar to those for iLife and iWork. This means full 64-bit compatibility for both iOS 7 and OS X applications. Some of these applications include Podcasts on iOS, Aperture on OS X, If we include the three iLife and three iWork apps, this means that there are still some additional applications that will be updated. So keep your eyes peeled for this.

Overall

Overall, Apple has delivered some rather solid updates. The price change for all of their iLife, iWork and OS X 10.9 Mavericks client becoming free makes a very compelling argument for why anybody would choose to use anything other than Apple products. It will be interesting to watch the response by other companies to this shift in strategy.