movie-total-recall.jpg
It’s 2084 A.D. and Doug Quaid is haunted by recurring dreams about journeying to Earths closest planetary neighbor Mars. He lives in a time that has survived yet another world war and where Government elections are obsolete. His wife accuses him of fantasizing about Mars to escape their boring life-style. Yet, Quaid can’t stop thinking about the oppressed Martian colonies under the harsh rule of the tyrant Cohaagen. A flashing advertisement, Call Rekall, where we make the impossible possible, draws Quaid into a vacation parlor. Here, fantasies are artificially implanted in the minds of those who desire to turn their dreams into reality. Quaid is intrigued by the role of an intelligence agent – on Mars. Something goes wrong with the procedure, unlocking thoughts that were erased from his mind. Quaid realizes that he’s truly been to Mars, that he’s not who he thinks he is and that even his wife is fake, a spy sent to monitor his new identify. Distant memories of a Martian woman, his past life and a menacing plan are invading his mind…

Tag: macOS

  • New Apple Book Available for Pre-Order

    Book Cover for iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, tvOS 15 and watchOS 8 for Users, Administrators, and Developers

    Every year since 2012 I have written a book covering the new releases of Apple’s operating systems, one that covers iOS and its sibling operating systems and another one for macOS. This is the 10th year that I have been writing books. Beyond it being 10 years, Apple’s operating systems have become quite similar, particularly wit the addition of Apple Silicon.

    This year I am doing something different, there is only one book this year. That book covers all of Apple’s operating systems. The title of this year’s book is “iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, tvOS 15 and watchOS 8 for Users, Administrators, and Developers”.

    Here is the description of the book.

    Apple is on a yearly cadence for releasing new operating systems. Despite all of the troubles of 2020 and 2021, Apple has continued this cadence. This year’s releases of iOS 15, iPadOS 15, tvOS 15, watchOS 8, and macOS Monterey are somewhat lighter on new features that one might expect. However, the new features the operating systems have are big changes.

    The biggest change is with a new Focus system, which will allow you to customize how your iPhone, iPad, and Mac all function when you need to concentrate on a particular type of task. The iPad has seen a significant change with the ability to place Widgets on the home screen. This will create a whole new experience, particularly with the extra large widget size.

    For developers there are significant changes with Swift’s new async/await pattern, a whole new button system for customizing buttons, and a new continuous integration service called Xcode Cloud. Xcode itself has some improvements like inline commenting and the ability to review, merge, or close pull requests.

    SwiftUI, Apple’s Swift-only UI framework has some enhancements with a new refreshable modifier, new button options, a new primitive called AsyncImage.

    These topics just barely scratch what is covered in iOS 15, iPadOS 15, tvOS 15, watchOS 8, and macOS Monterey. The information within will provide details about all of the new features of each operating system and has something for everyone, no matter what level of expertise.

    The book is available for pre-order from both Apple Books and Amazon for $4.99. The current release date is November 1st, but the book will be available whenever iOS 15 or macOS Monterey is released.

    There will be a paperback forthcoming. When that is available there will be another post letting you know.

  • Hopes for Improvements for Apple’s Platforms

    There are some things that I would like to see changed with Apple’s platforms. These are mostly “paper cuts”, in that none of them show-stoppers in themselves but combined they make it a lot tougher to deal with the platforms. These are not my predictions for WWDC, those will be in a separate post.

    Apple TV

    • A way to save specific screensavers while still downloading new ones.
    • Have the ability to have Siri limit to the media I already own.
    • Have Siri have the ability to add more categories. For example “Show me movies that are action comedies.”

    macOS

    • Specifically for Catalyst, more refined controls for macOS Catalyst apps that match macOS even better.
    • Fix Bluetooth, for keyboard, mice, and trackpads. I have issues with bluetooth disconnecting randomly and in the middle of using it.
    • Within the Mail app, keep order of accounts. The order will randomly reset when showing the app window even if the mail app was not closed, but the window was.

    iCloud

    • More default iCloud storage. 5GB really is paltry and just embarrassing at this point. I do not expect 100GB, but even 10GB or 25GB free would be better than the 5GB we get now.

    iOS

    • Improvements to Mail, like actually indicating messages have been read.
    • Quick method to enable or disable “Block Unknown callers” from Control Center.
    • Set default for Noise Cancelling headphones other than “Active Noise Cancelling”.
    • I love that iOS 13.4 added keyboard and trackpad support for iOS, but system-wide support for navigating alerts with the keyboard would be very helpful.
    • Fix Bluetooth. Bluetooth is a mess on iOS, particularly for audio. For instance, my Beats Solo Pros will have distortion when using any other app, but not all the time. It is consistent enough to notice that it is a problem. For instance, if I am typing in messages while listening to something, the audio will stutter and its not the key taps making noise. The same goes for many other apps.
    • Within the Files app, provide option to always show file extensions. I say an option because some will not want it, but power users, like myself, can really need it.

    iPadOS

    • True multiple user support, not limited to schools or businesses.
    • Have a calculator, specifically license PCalc, for use on the iPad.

    Screen Time

    • Have actually accurate synchronization and reports. Here is a great example. April 12th, I got the following reports: iPhone: 15 hours, 59 minutes, iPadOS stated, up 51% for an average of 16 hours and 15 minutes per day, and macOS stated “You averaged 13 hours, 33 minutes of screen time per day last week.” So obviously something is amiss between the synchronization of the devices and the reported screen time. Synchronization should be forced before sending the notification.

    watchOS

    • Qi Charging on the Apple Watch. Right now the Apple Watch uses proprietary charging, but having standard charging would be nice.

    Wallet

    • We need a website with the ability to see all transactions, make payments, etc.
    • Additional user on the same card including adding children, and even possibly giving them a budget.

    Notes

    • Add the ability to not have urls automatically be created for links, preferably on a note-by-note basis.

    Numbers

    • Copy a table as HTML, even without any formatting, with the header rows as thead rows.

    Pages

    • Have it remember your place when you switch between Pages and another app, when using it on iOS.
    • Provide ability to edit styles when a file is in a shared folder on iCloud. Currently, you cannot edit any styles if the file is in a folder that is shared on iCloud. You can select them, but not edit

    iTunes Connect

    • Create an API, similar to the App Store Connect API, for users to be able to manage their iTunes Connect items in a similar manner as App Store Connect. This would be a tremendous improvement.

    These are just some of the things that I have managed to come across that would be helpful for improving the functioning of Apple’s platforms. Some of these are easier to accomplish than others, and some are just bugs that should have already been fixed, but for some reason are still present within Apple’s software.

  • Swift Playgrounds for Mac Now Available

    In 2014 Apple introduced a new programming language called Swift. Swift took the best of existing programming languages and wrapped it into one. In 2016 Apple introduced a new way to work with Swift, called Swift Playgrounds.

    Swift Playgrounds are, as the name implies, areas where you can play with the different aspects of Swift within a single area. Swift Playgrounds was introduced for iOS as an iPad-only app. Swift Playgrounds is no longer an iPad exclusive with the release of Swift Playgrounds on for macOS Catalina.

    Swift Playgrounds on macOS is a Catalyst app. This means that it is the same code that is used with the iOS version of Swift Playgrounds. With this, it means that the app is the same as the iOS version, just available on macOS. Now that Swift Playgrounds is available on macOS you are able to use the existing playgrounds that you used on iOS on your Mac and vice versa. Additionally, any changes that you make on either platform will synchronize to the other.

    The fact that Swift Playgrounds is on both platforms will allow those who may only have access to Mac and not an iPad the ability to learn how to code using Swift Playgrounds on the Mac. There is a version of Swift Playgrounds available within Xcode, but that does not have all of the same features, like code completion, the tutorials, and connectivity to the bluetooth accessories like Sphero.

    If you have ever wanted to learn how to program, Swift Playgrounds is a great tool for doing so and now you can use it on your Mac. You can download Swift Playgrounds for free on the Mac App Store today. It does require macOS 10.15.3 or later.

    Swift Playgrounds on macOS
  • My Ongoing iCloud Issues (And a Possible Fix)

    When technology “just works” it is absolutely fantastic. It can allow us to do things that we never thought possible. Technology can provide us interactions and efficiencies that were mere ideas only a short time ago. However, when technology goes awry, it can be a complete disaster. This is exhibited with my ongoing iCloud issues.

    The Issue

    The issue I am having with iCloud is that I cannot upload any files to iCloud Drive. When I do, it just sits and pretends it will upload the files, but it does not. The same goes with downloading files from iCloud Drive; no files can be downloaded. This renders iCloud entirely useless.

    Now, this may not be a big issue if I only used iCloud randomly and sporadically; but that is not the case. I use Apple’s “Desktop & Documents folders” syncing feature, which allows any files I create in m “Documents” or “Desktop” folders to synchronize to all of my Macs and iCloud. This includes being able to access the files from within any application or on my iOS devices. Due the inability to upload or download any files to iCloud, these features are entirely broken.

    Backstory

    This actually began on December 1oth, 2019 after I upgraded my iMac to macOS Catalina 10.15.2. My MacBook Pro is usually on the developer version of macOS and it did not exhibit any of this behavior and was synchronizing files without a hitch. At first I thought it might have just been a fluke and that iCloud needed time to resynchronize everything. After a few days of not being able to synchronize anything, I contacted Apple Support.

    Apple Support

    When I contacted Apple support I was connected with a tech support person who attempted to help me. We did some testing, which included trying to upload files to iCloud on all of my devices and on different networks, rebooting the device, but none of these steps had any effect.

    Since the first tech support person I contacted was not able to find a fix, I was transferred to a specialist. Over the course of a couple weeks we did various things, including:

    • Creating a test file and uploading it (does not work)
    • Creating a new account and trying to upload a file (does not work)
    • Trying to find any offending files that were not uploading and remove them (had no effect)
    • Uploading files via the web interface (which did and does still work)
    • Creating a file at a specific time and then gathering the logging information for 24 hours

    After all of this testing and nothing working, the issue was sent to Engineering. Engineering came back with some questions and requests, and required screenshots on iOS of the issue. One of the things they requested was to install a configuration profile to gather some data. The log that was uploaded ended up being well over a gigabyte in size; and that was when it was compressed.

    Partial Fix

    Due to the complete hassle this has been I began looking for a fix on my own. As with any problem, it is best to search google. I came up with this solution from stackexchange.com. The following commands were entered into terminal:

    killall bird
    cd ~/Library/Application\ Support
    rm -rf CloudDocs

    These steps will do the following:

    1. Stop the “bird” service. The “bird” service is the service that controls uploading and downloading data to and from iCloud Drive.
    2. Change directories to the local user Application Support directory under the “Library” directory.
    3. Remove all of the cached files for iCloud.

    When these have been done, you need to restart the computer, just to be on the safe side. When I did this on my MacBook Pro, it began downloading the file list in iCloud Drive. Once this was done, the biggest portion of the work began. That work is comparing the local copies of the files with the files that are stored in iCloud Drive. The length of time is depending on the number of locally stored files that you have.

    Due to the amount of information I had on my MacBook Pro this ended up taking several hours. But once it was finished I tested uploading a file to iCloud Drive and it worked. I waited a couple of days to make sure things still worked. Upon verification, I then performed the same steps on my iMac and it produced the same results, albeit the amount of time it took on my iMac was a bit longer due to having more files on my iMac.

    My iOS devices were another matter entirely. Because you do not have access to terminal on iOS, you cannot perform the same actions. The only steps you can do on iOS are:

    1. Open the Settings app.
    2. Click on your Name at the top to open up the iCloud settings.
    3. Tap on “iCloud” to open iCloud options.
    4. Scroll down to “iCloud”.
    5. Tap on iCloud Drive toggle switch to disable it. A popup may appear.
    6. Click on “Delete from iPhone” to confirm any documents that are not synchronized will be deleted. This will turn off iCloud Drive and delete any locally saved documents.
    7. Reboot the iOS device.
    8. Plug the iOS device into power.

    You can then restart your device and perform the same steps to turn iCloud Drive back on. When I did this, it did not seem to have any effect, at first. After about 45 minutes the files that are stored in iCloud Drive populated. Unlike on macOS, I do not think any of the downloaded files that I had remained on the device. One last thing to keep in mind is that when you disable iCloud Drive on an iPhone it will also disable the Wallet app, because the Wallet app depends on iCloud Drive to function properly. So you will want to re-enable Wallet on your device as well. Disabling iCloud Drive will not remove your cards, so I am not sure what function requires iCloud Drive within the Wallet app.

    Once I saw the list of files, I then created a test folder and verified that it would indeed upload and I could see it on my other devices. So, this seemed to work.

    It may not strictly be necessary to plug the iOS device into power, but it cannot hurt because when an iOS device is connected to power, additional processes will run that may not run when the device is on power and this may ultimately speed up the population of the iCloud Drive files.

    Possible Root Cause

    While I cannot fully know, I think I have determined the cause of the issue. When it comes to any app, you are likely to have a “state” for something. In the case of Files, the “source of truth” is iCloud. I think that the synchronization information on my iMac somehow got corrupted and that corrupted information propagated to all of my devices. The only way to get things back into place was to erase the local cache and re-download all of the data from the server.

    Closing Thoughts

    As of this writing, everything seems to be working. I am somewhat disappointed that Apple could not find a solution, and I was left to find a solution on my own. Also, at the moment, my issue is still in Engineering, and I do not expect to hear back from my support representative about a fix for the issue. I am glad I was able to find a solution to get things back on track, but these types of things need to be handled by Apple in a much faster manner than they are now.

    One way to mitigate this from happen would be for Apple to create some sort of automated testing that occurs on each device where it attempts to create a file and upload it to iCloud. If this does not happen within a period of time, say 24 hours, send a push notification that will trigger the resetting of the iCloud cache information stored on the device. This type of solution would be able to mitigate, if not eliminate, these types of issue because it would end up being proactive and not wait for the user to notice that something is wrong and attempt to find a solution with the help of Apple. I completely get that I may have just been a “lucky” one to run into this bug and it may only be affecting a small percentage of users. However, when you have 1.5 billion active devices, even one tenth of one percent is still 1.5 million people. Even if the percentage is much smaller, this type of solution could go a long way to improving user experience.

  • iOS 12 and macOS Mojave e-books available for Pre-order

    As has been the case in 2012, I have written a couple more books. Just like last year, I have written a couple of books. Also like last year there are two, one about iOS, tvOS and watchOS and the other about macOS.

    In previous years I have published an iBooks version as well as an ePub. There is a slightly different approach this year, at least for my books on Apple. There is only going to be one version, ePub. The biggest reason for this that the ePub format that is produced by Apple’s Pages software can now do image galleries, which was the big reason for doing the iBooks version.

    Similar to last year there will be paperback versions of the books, the order information for that will be forthcoming a bit later.


    iOS 12 Book Cover

    iOS 12, tvOS12, and watchOS 5 for Users and Developers delves into the changes and new features of Apple’s iOS-based operating systems.

    Some of the changes covered include: performance improvements, privacy changes, grouped notifications, enhancements to FaceTime, improved photo features, suggested password enhancements and more. We will also cover some app updates, including changes to Activity, Stocks, News, Voice Memos, and Books.

    There are also a bunch of new features like the new Siri Shortcuts which allows you to automate various tasks. Screen Time will let you gain insights into your, as well as your children’s, usage across all of your devices. If you like sending Animoji you will love the all new feature Memoji which allows you to customize an Animoji character however you would like. The new Live Listen will help those who may have a difficult time hear things more clearly. We will also dive into the new Safari password features which will help you use individual passwords on all of your devices.

    For developers we dive into the Xcode Changes includes Dark Mode, Performance Improvements, changes around object libraries, and enhanced editing features. We will also dive into Grouped Notifications and how to provide threaded conversations. With Siri Shortcuts we will look at the different ways of adding intents. ARKit 2 is also covered which includes Quick Look and Persistence. For CoreML we look at how to improve model sizes with quantization as well as a brand-new framework related to CoreML, called CreateML. There are also two additional brand new frameworks, Natural Language and Network and we look at these as well. No Apple Developer book would be complete without looking at some of the changes that surround Swift.

    There are some features for web developers as well which includes MapKitJS, MusicKitJS and ways to provide secure loading of remote content.

    No matter your technical level, there is something for everyone in iOS 12, tvOS12 and watchOS 5 for Users and Developers.

    You can pre-order the ePub from Apple for $3.99, or the Kindle version from Amazon for $3.99.


    macOS Mojave Cover

    Despite macOS being a mature operating system, the new version macOS Mojave (10.14) contains a bunch of new features. Some of the new features covered include Dark Mode, Screenshots & Markup, and the redesigned Mac App Store.

    Besides the new features there are some major changes too including ones to Finder, Safari, and using unique passwords on each website. There are also four brand new applications that are coming from iOS. We look at these in-depth. These apps are Stocks, News, Home, and Voice Memos.

    Server Administrators see some big changes with macOS Mojave and these are covered as well.

    For Developers we cover Xcode changes include performance improvements, object libraries, editing enhancements, and code folding improvements. We look at implementing Dark Mode within your apps, Notarized apps, and implementing Finder Actions.

    There are some new frameworks that are covered as well. These include the Network Framework, Natural Language, improvements to CoreML and a related framework called CreateML.

    For web developers we cover MapsKitJS, MusicKitJS, and secure loading of content.

    No Apple developer book is complete without a discussion of the changes around Apple’s own programming language, Swift. We cover some of the recent changes as well as some future ones.

    You can pre-order the ePub from Apple for $3.99, or the Kindle version from Amazon for $3.99.

  • Apple’s 2018 WWDC Keynote Announcements

    The beginning of June starts with Apple providing a preview of what new features users can expect on their devices in the Fall. Apple updates all of their operating systems each year. There are a number of features coming to iOS, tvOS, watchOS, and macOS. There are hundreds of changes and it is not feasible to cover them all in this post. Below are the biggest features for each operating system. Let us start with the biggest operating system, iOS.

    iOS 12

    iPhone Customers have expressed their discontent at how older iOS devices have performed when installing newer updates of iOS. With iOS 12 supporting the same devices as iOS 11, users of the iPhone 5s and the iPad Air 2 may be reluctant to install iOS 12 on their devices. However, this is one of Apple’s primary focus areas for the year.

    In Apple’s tests, applications started 40% faster, the keyboard appeared 50% faster, and sliding to the left to take a photo was up to 70% faster. These improvements will mean that users do not have to wait for common actions to occur.

    There is a new Augmented Reality quick look file format called USDZ, which will allow developers to show quick look previews within applications like Messages, Safari, Mail, Files, and News. This means that you can use augmented reality within a webpage to see exactly how that custom designed product will look, within your own space.

    Adobe is brining the USDZ file format to all of Creative Cloud, that will provide a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWIG) editor in Augmented reality.

    Some of the other items within ARKit 2 will be:

    • Improved face tracking
    • Realistic rendering
    • 3D Object detection
    • Persistent experiences
    • Shared Experiences

    Let us look at this last one, Shared Experiences. Shared Experiences allow you to have up to 4 people simultaneously interacting within the same app, all with their own personalized experience.

    Photos and Camera

    Photos and the camera are significantly important aspects to a lot of iOS users’ experiences. Apple is bringing some improvements to Photos. The biggest amongst these are when it comes to sharing photos.

    With iOS 12, when you share a photo, or set of photos, with someone over iMessage, they will be receiving the full resolution of the photo. Similarly, when a photo set is shared with you, if you have any photos of the same event, you will be prompted to shared the photos that you have with the other person, so everyone can have the same set of photos for the event.

    Animoji

    Animoji are a big feature on the iPhone X. Apple is adding some more Animoji, including the Koala, Ghost, T-Rex, and Tiger. Animoji can now also detect your tongue so yes, you can use Animoji to stick out your tongue at others.

    While Animoji are great, it is better to be able to create an animated example of yourself. With iOS 12 this is possible with a new feature called “Memoji”.

    Memoji

    Memoji takes the concept of an Animoji, but allows you to create your own custom Animoji for use with Animoji. You can customize your skin color, including adding freckles, hair color, and eye color. You can also add items like hats, sunglasses, earrings, and more.

    Memoji will allow you to personalize your conversations even more than before. Besides messages, users also communicate via FaceTime, which has seen some big improvements as well.

    FaceTime

    FaceTime was introduced 8 years ago, in June of 2010. Since its release it has only seen minor changes. That is no longer the case.

    Traditionally, when you use FaceTime can only be used between two individuals, With iOS 12 you can now use FaceTime in groups, up to 32 individuals. Having 32 people can make group chat a lot easier.

    When you do have these FaceTime group calls, you can want to add some personality to them. You can do this by using your Memoji right within FaceTime, while you are chatting.

    Siri Shortcuts

    There are many times that a user wants to do something via Siri, but there is no capability within iOS to do so. There is a new feature called Siri Shortcuts that will allow you do just that. Siri Shortcuts allow any app to expose quick actions to Siri.

    With Siri Shortcuts you will be able to name the shortcuts, and then use that phrase to activate the selected action. For instance, if you use the tile app to find something, like your keys, can you assign the phrase “lost my keys”, and with Siri Shortcuts the Tile app will automatically open directly to your keys so you that you can find your keys.

    This is just an example and it will depend on application support.

    Notifications

    The last feature to note of is regarding Notifications. With Notifications under iOS 12, you will get grouping options. You will now be able to group notifications by application, automatically, or turn it off. This can be done on an app by app basis. You will also be able to group by topic or thread as well. With grouped notifications you can remove an entire group by swiping left, just like notifications under iOS 11.

    You can also turn off individuals notifications or types of notifications by pressing and holding on an individual notification.

    Siri will also be able to suggest notifications to turn off for applications that you have not used for a while. This will be very helpful to reduce the number of notifications that you receive. Let us turn to the last new feature of iOS, called Screen Time.

    Screen Time

    Screen time, in general, is a problem for today’s technology-based society. The jury is out as to whether or not spending so much time in front of a screen is problematic or not. In order to provide users with information that they need around how much time they are spending on their devices, there is a new feature called “Screen Time”.

    With Screen Time you can see how much time each type of app category, application itself, and website are used. You can take any one of those categories, apps, or website and set a limits to what you want. These can be customized on a daily basis, or even on a

    Besides individuals wanting to get their traffic usage information, the biggest section of user who want to enable limits is parents. A parent can set up the limitations for their child. This can be done from the parent’s device and automatically applied to a child’s device.

    Screen Time will be a huge feature for everyone to keep an eye on overall usage.

    That covers the big features of iOS, let us look at tvOS next.

    tvOS 12

    tvOS has only a few updates that most users will notice. The first of these is that Dolby Atmos audio is coming to tvOS 12. If you have a Dolby Atmos sound bar connected to your Apple TV, and the content that you are watching is Dolby Atmos enabled, it should work.

    The second new feature is “Zero Sign-on”. Zero Sign-on is the idea that if you are using your cable company provider’s internet connection you can be automatically signed in to all of the applications that you can stream from, like HBO, ShowTime, and others. This will start with Charter Spectrum customers first, and will expand to other providers in the future.

    The third feature revolves around the Aerial views on the Apple TV. With tvOS 12 you will be able to swipe between Aerial Screensavers. Along with this, you will be able to tap on the Siri remote and see the location of the screen saver.

    The next feature is that you will be able to tune into live news and sports with the Apple TV. News and Sports are one of the key reasons that people still have traditional cable subscriptions, but that may change.

    The last feature of tvOS is the ability to use third-party remotes instead of the Siri remote.

    These are minor changes, but welcome ones for Apple TV users. It’s time to move on to watchOS.

    watchOS 5

    The Apple Watch has a primary focus, health. That has not changed with watchOS 5. The biggest changes for watchOS 5 still revolve around health. These include a new workout type, workout detection, and staying connected.

    The new workout type is for Yoga. It is primarily focused on heart-rate. There are millions of people around the world who like to do Yoga and having it be a workout type will allow those individuals to get credit for their Yoga Workouts.

    There are often times that you forget to start a workout and only realize it afterwards. This can be particular problematic if you have gone for a while and are not going to get credit. With watchOS 5, this may no longer be the case. watchOS 5 can automatically detect that you are in a workout and suggest you start one. When this occurs, you will receive credit for the time that it detected you were active. Similarly, if you forget to end a workout, watchOS will do the same thing.

    Another watchOS feature that may help people stay in touch. There is a large segment of the population that used walkie talkies when they were kids. Apple has brought the same feature to watchOS 5. It is cleverly called “Walkie Talkie”. It does just what you would expect. You can send short audio messages to those who you designate as contacts. The recipient will have to accept an invitation, but after that you will be able to talk freely.

    The last feature to highlight is that Siri Shortcuts can now be included in the Siri Watch Face, which include third-party applications are supported.

    There are more features on watchOS, but let us move onto macOS.

    macOS

    Modern macOS was introduced 17 years ago. Since 2013 Apple has been using California place names. For the last four years they have been mountain related. This year though, it is going a bit dryer, with macOS 10.14 Mojave.

    macOS 10.14 Mojave has a bunch of new features, with Finder, the Mac App Store, and the Desktop. Let us look at the Finder changes.

    Finder Changes

    The Finder has received a new view, called Gallery View. Gallery View will provide you with a preview strip at the bottom of the Finder window and a metadata information panel on the right. In this view, in the lower right corner is a new set of features, Quick Actions.

    Quick Actions are just as they sound, actions that can be done quickly. These actions are context aware, meaning that you will see different actions for an image, versus a PDF, and other files. Developers can add quick actions if they wish using any combination of shell scripts or automator actions to perform actions all without needing to open an application.

    Next, let us look at the Mac App Store.

    Mac App Store

    The Mac App Store has seen a complete redesign. This is similar to the one that iOS got last year under iOS 12. There is a new sidebar with seven different categories. These categories are:

    • Discover
    • Create
    • Work
    • Play
    • Develop
    • Categories
    • Updates

    Each tab contains a variety of applications that match that specific category. The Discover tab will let you find new applications that you may not know about as well as provide editorials about applications. The discover tab also shows the Top Charts.

    That covers the Mac App Store changes, now let us move to the new features within the Desktop.

    Desktop Changes

    The changes around the desktop include a large item, and a small one. The small change is actually around screenshots. Screenshots on macOS now functions a lot like that on iOS. You can take a screenshot and do instant mark-up on the screenshot. It will be great to have consistency between iOS and macOS.

    Many users use their Desktop as a temporary holding place for files that they are working on. In order to be able to more easily organize the myriad of files on your Desktop, Apple has created “Stack View”. Stack View will allow you to see all of the files on your desktop within stacks. You can organize Kind of file, Date, or Tag. When you add a new item to the desktop, it will automatically be sorted.

    The biggest change for the desktop is an all new Dark Mode. Dark Mode on macOS is a true Dark Mode. In previous versions you could have the menu bar and dock be dark but now with macOS Mojave, all aspects of the operating system can be Dark, including applications, provided the developer has added support for them.

    If you use your Mac throughout the day, there is a Dynamic Desktop which will automatically adjust the screen throughout the day, from Light Mode to Dark Mode.

    Closing Thoughts

    There have been a large number of changes across iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS. iOS brings ARKit enhancements, new Animoji, the new Memoji feature, FaceTime group chat, Siri Shortcuts, the ability to group notifications, and the all new Screen Time all bring iOS forward and help people more quickly do things to get back to what they were doing.

    tvOS has a few new features that include Dolby Atmos, Zero Sign-in, Live News and Sports, and the ability to swipe to switch Aerial views and their locations. These are minor, but well needed updates.

    watchOS brings Siri Shortcuts, the Yoga workout, automatically starting and ending of workouts, and the new Walkie Talkie feature.

    macOS includes a whole new Mac App Store, new Quick Actions in Finder, a new Gallery View for Finder. The Desktop gets Dynamic Desktop, a whole new Dark Mode, and Markup.

    Overall, the changes to all of Apple’s operating systems should be quite beneficial for users across all of their Apple devices.

    There are even more features that have not been included, but will be covered in my e-books. There will be more information about those later in the summer.

  • iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra books available for pre-order

    As I have done since 2012 I have written two e-books over the course of the summer. While the final touches are being put on the books, they are now available for pre-order. As I mention in the books, I did something a bit different this year. I kept track of the total time spent working on the books. So far, I have spent 178 hours on these two e-books. This encompasses everything from watch the Apple Development videos, writing, editing, and image gathering. All of this work has resulted in over 95,000 words between the two books. It is a huge undertaking every year. Nonetheless, the e-books are available for pre-order. They will be released as soon as their corresponding operating systems are released.

    iOS 11, tvOS 11, and watchOS 4 for Users and Developers covers all of the new features for each platform. On iOS this includes history of the iPhone, iOS 10.1 to iOS 10.3, 32-bit apps, the redesigned lock screen, home screen, and new cover sheet. Other topics include the all new Files app, control center, changes to Siri, the App Store, updates to Messages, Notes, Camera,  the Music app, and Photos, along with many other changes

    A primary topic is the iPad, specifically multitasking, the Dock, Drag and Drop, and how iOS 11 brings a whole slew of new iPad-specific features to the forefront. 

    watchOS 4 covers the new User interface, watch faces, and workout types, along with the redesigned music app. tvOS 11 brings Right to left language support, changes to app sizes, and home screen sync. 

    For developers some of the topics include changes to Swift, Xcode 9 changes included the Code Editor Window, Source Control, Colors, and developing on iOS. Other topics include APFS, AirPlay 2, Metal 2, CoreML, and networking changes.

    iOS 11, tvOS 11, and watchOS 4 for Users and Developers has something for all types of users, whatever your primary interest lies in iOS, watchOS, or tvOS.

    It is available for pre-order from Apple in either iBooks, or ePub format. It is $3.99. You can pre-order the e-pub version from Amazon for $4.99.

    macOS High Sierra for Users, Administrators, and Developers covers topics for all types of users. Some of the areas covered include new additions and changes to Photos, Safari enhancements, updates to Mail, Notes, iCloud, Siri, and the Apple File System (APFS).

    maOS High Sierra for administrators covers some changes around File Sharing, Caching Service, Time Machine Server, and Xcode Server. Along side this, a layout of all of the new and changed Profile Manager payloads and options. 

    Lastly for developers, some of the topics covered include changes to Swift, Xcode 9 changes included the Code Editor Window, Source Control, Colors, and developing on iOS. Other topics include APFS, AirPlay 2, Metal 2, CoreML, 32-bit Apps, and external graphics.

    macOS High Sierra for Users, Administrators, and Developers has something for every type of user to learn all about the new features that are within macOS.

    iOS 11, tvOS 11, and watchOS 4 for Users and Developers has something for all types of users, whatever your primary interest lies in iOS, watchOS, or tvOS.

    It is also available for pre-order from Apple in either iBooks, or ePub format. It is $3.99. You can pre-order the e-pub version from Amazon for $4.99.

  • Apple WWDC 2017 Predictions: macOS, tvOS, and watchOS

    One of the hardest things to do is predict where Apple might take things in the future. However, that does not stop one from trying. Which is what I plan to do, regarding what Apple will announce at their annual World Wide Developer’s Conference on June 5th at 10 AM Pacific Time.

    The Apple of 2017 is very different from the Apple of 1979. Apple today has a fair number of platforms: iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS. Within each of these, there are numerous frameworks which allow developers to produce apps. Built to support these platforms are a variety of services. These services include iCloud, Apple Music, and the iTunes stores.

    I am going to attempt to predict what Apple might announce at their World Wide Developer Conference Keynote on June 5th, 2017 at 10:00AM Pacific Time. Some of these items are logical changes while others are just what I hope Apple will announce.

    This is the second of two posts that cover my predictions for what will be announced. This article covers macOS, tvOS, and watchOS. The first post covers iPhone and iPad.

    macOS

    macOS is a very mature operating system. The basic ideas of macOS have been in place since 1984 and many of the features that users have come to rely on have been added since 2001 when Mac OS X 10.0 Cheetah was released. With an operating system that is so mature, new features can be hard to come by. However, with a sibling operating system in iOS, macOS can get some new features from iOS.

    Feature Parity

    Back in 2011 with Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, Apple began having macOS and iOS have more features on both platforms. The biggest was the consistent naming on both platforms. I am well aware that you can only put so much engineering into an operating system every year. However, it would be nice to be able to get the same features on macOS at the same time as iOS. To be clear, there are some features that cannot be easily brought over from one operating system to the other. Additionally, there are always features that are not able to be moved over.

    iMessage Apps

    With iOS 10, Apple unveiled a new feature to iOS, iMessage Applications. These applications allowed for a variety of items all within the iMessage application. Some of these applications include stickers, full-blown applications, and even the ability to order food, and send money to others. One place where this is not possible is on macOS. Adding iMessage Apps to macOS would not be easy for developers, but it could be possible.

    The ability to perform many, if not all, of the same functions on macOS would be very helpful for many users, as well as providing parity between iOS and macOS. With the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, it is possible that any Touch ID-based applications to be available on macOS. I give the likelihood of iMessage Apps being added macOS at 95%.

    macOS Server

    macOS Server has remaining largely unchanged since 2011 when Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. One of the stalwarts macOS Server is the “Software Update” service. With macOS Sierra, Apple announced that the Software Update Service has been deprecated. What this means is that the service will no longer get any updates. Additionally, at some point in the future the service will be removed entirely. I give the possibility of Apple removing this at 85%. If it is not removed with this version, it will most certainly be removed with the version released next year.

    watchOS

    Even though watchOS has only been around since November of 2014, it has received vast improvements over the last two and half years. The most significant improvement was with watchOS 3, where both battery and speed improvements were recognized, even with the original Series 0 Apple Watch.

    Initially the function of Apple Watch was haphazard. The Apple Watch attempted to be a miniaturized version of the iPhone; but ultimately that proved to be the wrong approach. Now a majority of individuals use the Apple Watch as a health-tracking device.

    It’s hard to imagine what other improvements Apple could make. I think the most likely ones revolve around adding new health-related functions. Possibly more workout types. One feature that some have asked for is that there is an option to be able to keep the time on the watch face at all times. The ability to keep the time on the watch face all the time would be a direct

    A kind of off-the-wall guess at a new feature is custom watch faces. These would be submitted via Xcode and would be submitted to the Apple Watch store. Submitting Apple Watch faces could work in the same manner as iMessage Stickers work now.

    I give the likelihood of new workout types to be 70%. The probability of the watch face showing the current time all the time at 80%. I give the probability of third-party Apple Watch faces at 50%.

    Health Data

    With the biggest use of the Apple Watch being health-related. There are many who wish to be able to synchronize their health data between devices. I fully agree with this sentiment. Specifically, I would like to have the Health Data be synchronized between all of my devices, including macOS. The reason for this is that I may want to view my health data on other devices, besides my iPhone.

    If Apple were to do this, it would possibly put user’s health data at risk. Health Data is doubtlessly the most personal information that is stored on an iOS device. If Apple were to do this, they would require it to be opt-in, and probably require two confirmations before allowing the synchronization to occur. Given this, the likelihood of it occurring is very low. I think it is about 10%.

    There is one other thing that would be nice from the Apple Watch and Health data. I would like to see indications from the Health app when there are anomalies with heart rate. In particular, if my heart rate spikes while not in a workout, it may be something I want to know about. The health app could do a local notification to indicate that something may be amiss. A similar thing could be done for other types of health data as well. I give this a 25% chance of happening because it would be a logical next step for looking at health data.

    tvOS

    tvOS is the most nascent operating system that Apple has developed. With being the youngest, it is possible that tvOS has a lot of room to grow. The downside of this though, is that tvOS is a pretty focused product, given that it is aimed at the largest screen many people own, their TV. Despite using my Apple TV for almost all of my tv and movie consumption, there is not a whole lot of functionality that I can see being added. Despite this, there is definitely room for improvement.

    The only change that I can see is not directly related to tvOS, but the content. It would be nice to see 4K TV Shows and Movies available for purchase via iTunes. The downside of this is that it would require a new Apple TV box, but not necessarily an entirely new version of tvOS. I do not necessarily see Apple doing this at WWDC, this is more of a consumer-oriented item. Given how much I do not think this will happen, I think the probability of this occurring at 5%.

    TV App

    With tvOS 10, Apple announced the release of a new application, TV. The TV app is designed to provide you with recommendation of what to watch next. This information comes from your iTunes Library as well as any third-party applications that allow integration. This is an area where Apple could greatly improve.

    There has been some concern about the lack of expansion of the third-party integration of the TV App. What Apple could do is provide even better support for third-party services.

    iTunes

    On the subject of iTunes, there is one major thing that I would LOVE to see, but I do not know if it will occur; a revamped iTunes. iTunes has become such a behemoth of an application. iTunes original intent was as a syncing mechanism back when all of our media was locally on our computers. That was back in 2001. 16 years later times have changed and while a percentage of individuals still synchronize their music to their computers, that number is a very small percentage. It would be nice to see Apple completely re-think iTunes. One of the hinderances from this occurring is that iTunes is also on Windows. However, Apple could give macOS a boost by providing an even better experience and keeping iTunes on Windows the way it is now.

    The biggest change would be to separate out the classic iPod syncing portion to its own application. This would still allow those individuals who need to synchronize their items to be able to do so. Meanwhile, the remaining functions, Music, Podcasts, Movies, TV Shows, iTunes U, and Apps could all become their own applications. This approach would allow each of these applications to be updated on their own schedule. Alongside this, each application could have a user-interface which matches the functionality of that application.

    There are two aspects to this prediction. The first is that Apple will preview a refreshed iTunes. The second is that it will be released “in the fall” (meaning when the new iPhones are released). I give this a 10% chance of happening. It is a slim chance, but still a chance.

    Let me recap what my predictions for what will be unveiled at Apple’s WWDC Keynote.

    Possibility Recap
    Change Likelihood
    macOS iMessage apps 95%
    macOS Server Software Update Service going away 85%
    watchOS Face being on all the time 80%
    New watchOS Workout Types 70%
    Third-party Apple Watch Faces 50%
    Notifications about health anomalies 25%
    Synchronize Health Data 10%
    iTunes Refresh 10%
    4K Movies and TV in iTunes 5%

    Final Thoughts

    Each new version of macOS and iOS include a slew of new features. This is not only because new features generate buzz and excitement, but also because new features can spark new ideas from developers. When the occurs the entire eco-system benefits. Apple benefits by increased usage, developers can profit from the features, which Apple also benefits from. Finally users get some updated applications and new capabilities on their existing devices.

    Having been an iOS user since the beginning, I have seen the feature set grow from a very limited set to a very feature-rich operating system. However, that does not mean it is near complete, quite the opposite. I have been using macOS full-time for a decade now, and while its feature set was largely in place, it still has a lot of room to grow as well, just in different areas.

    I do not know if any of my predictions will actually come to fruition. I guess we will see what Apple does unveil at their WWDC Keynote on June 5th, 2017 at 10:00AM Pacific.

  • 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.