Tag: services

Apple’s March 25th Event Announcements


Today Apple held their March event. With the release of last week’s hardware, this event was all about Services. Today Apple announced a few new services, Apple News+, Apple Card, Apple Arcade, and Apple TV+. Let us go in order of announcements, but before that Apple had a new video., which can be seen on their YouTube channel.

The first item on the agenda is Apple News+.

Apple News+

Apple news was introduced with iOS 9 in September of 2015. While it seemed like an odd prospect at the time, Apple News has become a place where users can get personalized news articles based upon your interests. There are over 5 billion articles read every month. That is a lot of news.

Apple News Plus uses the smarts of Apple News and adds some additional features. Apple News+ is a monthly subscription service that provides access to more than 300 magazines. Some of the magazines included are National Geographic, Popular Science, Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, O: the Opera Magazine, and many many more. But that is not all. Apple News+ also adds a couple of newspapers as well. Both the Los Angeles Times as well as the Wall Street Journal are included.

Typically when new subscription services are released they tend to be U.S. only for a while. That is not the case with Apple News+. Apple News+ will also be available in Canada. Apple News+ subscribers in Canada will have access to the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest newspapers.

Apple News+ will cost $9.99 per month, or $12.99 in Canada. For your subscription fee you will get access to all of the magazines as well as the newspapers, in your country. But you can also share the subscription with your family members, who are in the a Shared Family. Each member of a family will get access to Apple News+, as well as their personalized feed.

When you use Apple News+, none of the articles that you read are not tracked and advertisers cannot track you based upon what ads you see.

Apple News+ is available today by updating to iOS 12.2 or macOS 14.4. When you get started with Apple News+ you will get the first month free, and the subscription will be automatically renewed after the free trial ends. The next item announced is related to Apple Pay.

Apple Pay and Apple Card

Apple Pay is Apple’s mobile payment service that was introduced in October of 2014 with iOS 8.1. Apple Pay is extremely popular, with billions of transactions per year, with this year being on track to have more than 10 billion transactions. Apple Pay is expanding in a couple of different ways. The first is that Apple Pay is coming to major transit systems, including Portland, Chicago, and New York. All of these will be available at some point this year.

The second change is a bigger deal, an Apple-based credit card. The Apple Card takes what we all have come to expect from a credit card and enhances it. Apple Card is a credit card that lives on your iPhone and integrates with Apple Pay.

Apple Card can provide you with a breakdown of different categories of items that you have purchased. Each category will have its own color. You can also get your balance, what you have spent, and your payment due date all from the Apple Card screen.

When you are looking at your transactions, you can get a location of any of the transactions, including a map, of where your purchase was made. This uses Apple Maps to show the locations.

Credit cards often provide rewards. The Apple Card does as well. The rewards are quite simple. You get 2% Daily Cash for all purchases that you have used with Apple Card. This is deposited directly into your Apple Pay Cash account. If you purchase something from Apple, including in a physical store, as well as the App Store, or the Apple Store app, you will actually get 3% daily cash.

There is one last benefit that is will be welcome by just about anyone; No fees. There are no fees what-so-ever. This means no annual fees, no cash-advance fees, no over-the-limit fees, and no late fees.

Even though Apple Pay is accepted in a wide variety of places, including 99% of establishments in Australia, 70% in the United States. There are places where you cannot use Apple Pay, or Apple Card. So There is a physical Apple Card for those times. This card is a titanium card and even the physical card has privacy in mind. The Apple Card has no card number, no CVV, no expiration date, and no signature.

However, all of this information is available in the wallet app. For any purchases made with the physical card, you will get 1% Daily Cash, so even those purchases will provide some money back.

Apple Card will be available this summer, for those who qualify for the card. You can find more information about Apple Card at https://www.apple.com/apple-card/.

The next item that was announced relates around gaming, and it is called Apple Arcade.

Apple Arcade

The iOS App Store is a very popular app, with over 500 million people visiting the app eery single week. The biggest category for the App Store is gaming. Gaming on mobile is becoming an ever-increasing activity on iOS devices.

iOS provides two different types of games, either free games or paid games. Free games are typically supported by in-app purchases or by ads. Paid games are games that are paid up front and you generally get the whole experience with your purchase. One of the problems with paid games is that it is not always possible to determine how popular a game will be and putting a significant amount of development effort into a game does not always mean that the game will be successful.

In order to make sure that the gaming experience is the best across all of Apple’s platforms, Apple is introducing a service called Apple Arcade.

Apple Arcade will allow customers to get a subscription that will provide access to bring over 100 brand new games. Apple Arcade is an all you can play subscription that does not include any ads nor any in-app purchase. You can even play while you are offline with no internet connectivity. Just like Apple News+, an Apple Arcade subscription can be used by any family member through family sharing.

Apple Arcade games is still privacy focused by now allowing the apps to learn how you play, or any of your information without your explicit consent.

Apple Arcade will be available this fall to over 150 countries and revisions. Apple Arcade will be available on iOS, macOS, and tvOS. You can find more information, as well as see preview of some of the games at https://www.apple.com/apple-arcade/.

There is still one last announcement for the event, Apple TV+.

Apple TV+

It is well known that Apple is making a huge investment into original video content. It is no surprise that Apple will have a subscription service, they have named it Apple TV+. The way that you get all of this content is through the Apple TV app. Apple TV+ will be available in more than 100 countries. All of the content will be available for downloading for off-line viewing.

Apple TV+ will be available this Fall. There is more information available at https://www.apple.com/apple-tv-plus/.

Closing Thoughts

Today’s event was absolutely focused on services. There was an over-arching theme, services that protect your privacy. All of the services announced today, protect your privacy by performing any recommendations on device as well as not providing any of your usage information to the providers, that includes Apple. Along with protecting your privacy, you will also be able to share any of the services with your family members.

While most of the services are not available today, they will be available by the end of the year. Excluding Apple News+, the services will be available in multiple countries.

Apple News+ is available today ,with a free trial for $9.99. The cost of the other services, Apple Channels will be available in May through the new Apple TV app, and Apple Arcade and Apple TV+ will be available this fall.

The entire keynote can be streamed on Apple’s page for the event.

A Shift for macOS Server

The first version of what we call macOS was released in 2001, with the release of Mac OS X 10.0 Cheetah. When Mac OS X 10.0 Cheetah was released, a separate version called Mac OS X 10.0 Cheetah Server was also released. At the time of its release the landscape of servers, and their utility, was entirely different from today’s landscape. Back then, high speed internet was generally limited to large companies and home users typically had dial-up, ISDN, or possibly even slow DSL connections. The roll out of cable-based internet was not nearly as ubiquitous as it is today. Mobile internet was not even on the horizon for many users. That would come a half dozen years later with the release of the iPhone. Today’s internet landscape is vastly different. Mobile broadband as well as home broadband are more common than before. Of course there are some exceptions, but having high speed internet is the norm in many places.

The server portion of macOS has seen its share of changes over the years. At first, the Server version was a separate installation and had its own pricing structure. As time progressed, the features of macOS Server increased. As the feature set increased, the pricing of macOS Server has decreased. Initially, Server came in two versions, a 10-client and Unlimited Client versions. With the release of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, the unlimited version was the only one released. Its price was reduced to the price of $499, which was the original cost of the 10-client version. This is down from $999.

Mac OS X 10.7 Lion completely changed the server paradigm on the Mac. Instead of being a different version, the entire Server application was released as an application. The price was reduced again to $49.99. This was a substantial reduction from the previous price, a 90% price drop. With OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, Apple reduced the price even further to $19.99 for the app. This has been the pricer new purchases, but for the last few versions if you previously purchased macOS Server, each new version was a free upgrade.

macOS Server has had a standard set of services that it has provided, with a few additions over the years. The set of all services that macOS Server has provided over the years is as follows:

  • Caching Server
  • Calendar
  • Contacts
  • DHCP
  • DNS
  • File Sharing
  • Mail
  • Messages
  • NetInstall
  • Open Directory
  • Profile Manager
  • Software Update Server
  • VPN
  • Websites
  • Wiki
  • Xcode
  • Xsan

With macOS High Sierra (10.13), Apple moved a couple of these services to the core operating system itself. Caching Server and File Sharing were both integrated into macOS itself. Xcode Server was also removed from macOS Server and that service was integrated into Xcode 9, and its core functionality changed. Xcode Server removed the ability to host code repositories, instead relying on services like GitHub to do this for users. Apple has unveiled some new information about the future of its macOS Server application, specifically what the spring update to macOS Server will bring to those who use macOS Server.

macOS Server is changing to focus more on management of computers, devices, and storage on your network. As a result, some changes are coming in how Server works. A number of services will be deprecated, and will be hidden on new installations of an update to macOS Server coming in spring 2018. If you’ve already configured one of these services, you’ll still be able to use it in the spring 2018 macOS Server update.

These deprecated services will be removed in a future release of macOS Server, so those depending on them should consider alternatives, including hosted services.

The list of deprecated services include:

  • Calendar
  • Contacts
  • DHCP
  • DNS
  • Mail
  • Messages
  • NetInstall
  • VPN
  • Websites
  • Wiki

Apple does provide a list of alternatives for each of the deprecated services, within the support article. These alternatives will require a bit more knowledge, and more likely more configuration, over the graphical interface provided by the Server application. This change will have the biggest impact on small and medium businesses who rely on macOS Server to be able to run their custom applications. It is not impossible to continue to use macOS to host these, it just will not be a elegant to do so.

The deprecation of these services leaves only a few remaining services. These service are:

  • Open Directory
  • Profile Manager
  • Xsan

That is all that remains of macOS Server with the next update in the spring. If you have any of the deprecated services already configured, these will still be available to be managed. Profile Manager, and by extension Open Directory, are still areas which Apple can differentiate themselves and management of macOS and iOS devices is an area that Apple still feels is very important. I think the writing was on the wall for macOS Server after the Software Update Service was officially deprecated. If one of the features that many institutions relied on was being deprecated, what about the other services.

The removal of Calendar, Contacts, DHCP, DNS, Mail, Messages, Net Install, VPN, and Wiki, honestly all make sense. The usage of these services by individuals and small businesses is probably very small. These services were big and much needed 15 years ago, but are not necessary today. The one that I would like Apple to keep is Websites, only because I tend to do some web development on my Macs. With the removal of Websites, packages like XAMPP are likely to become even more heavily used by developers.

As the article states, “These deprecated services will be removed in a future release of macOS Server”. It is my guess that these services will be removed in the version of Server that corresponds with the next version of macOS. Like macOS Server 6.0 that is paired with macOS 10.14. It is entirely possible that these remaining services will be integrated directly into macOS itself and activated similarly to how Caching Server is activated, through System Preferences, however since these services still require a bit of advanced knowledge, these are more likely to still be configured by a separate, albeit a much smaller, application. It is possible that Apple may even reduce the price further, to $9.99 or possibly even free. I know I am interested in seeing how macOS Server 6 is under the next version of macOS.

Source: apple.com.

Streaming Companies: How to Improve the Customer Experience

It is the season to watch halloween-based or scary movies. Now I have my list of halloween/scary movie that I watch every year. The list is at the end of this article. Weirdly, I had watched all of the movies that I normally see so I went looking for more.

I subscribe to Netflix and have an Amazon Prime account. While looking for movies it occurred to me that neither of these two services has a list of halloween/scary movies. Sure, they both have the capability to search based on genre, as well as suggestions for similar titles, but they do not have a list of available halloween-based movies. The closest that either service comes, is when Netflix suggests “Titles related to”. This at least shows similar movies.

I find it quite strange that neither of these services provides this functionality. I know it would take some on-going man power to accomplish, but in the end it would provide some good will with their customers.

It may be too late to do a list for Halloween movies, but they could easily do ones for Thanksgiving and definitely Christmas.

 

Halloween/Scary Movies
Title Amazon Apple
28 Days Later Amazon Apple
28 Weeks Later Amazon Apple
Attack the Block Amazon Apple
Battle: Los Angeles Amazon Apple
Cloverfield Amazon Apple
Cockney’s VS. Zombies Amazon Apple
Contagion Amazon Apple
The Crazies Amazon Apple
Dawn of the Dead Amazon Apple
The Happening Amazon Apple
Hocus Pocus Amazon Apple
Hot Fuzz Amazon Apple
It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown Amazon Apple
Knowing Amazon Apple
Outbreak Amazon Apple
Scary Movie Amazon Apple
Scary Movie 2 Amazon Apple
Scary Movie 3 Amazon Apple
Scream Amazon Apple
Scream 2 Amazon Apple
Scream 3 Amazon Apple
Scream 4 Amazon Apple
Shaun of the Dead Amazon Apple
Super 8 Amazon Apple
The Village Amazon Apple
World War Z Amazon Apple
Zombeavers (Just added this year, Not for kids) Amazon Apple
Zombieland Amazon 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.

Daily Run Down 07/02/2013: Evening Edition

Here is this evening’s Daily Run Down.

Recalls

Social Issues/Human Interest

General News

International

Politics

Obits

Health

Science/Space

Financial

Historical

Gaming

Gadgets

Reviews

Law

Technology

Internet

Mobile

Software/Apps

Security

London/Britain/UK

Personal

Odd

Funny

WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT CHARLIE

Chicagoland

Total Number of stories: 82

Look for more stories tomorrow.