Saturday, April 30, 2016

New Apple Support Site

Yesterday, Apple debuted a new Apple Support site that makes it much easier and convenient to receive support with Apple products. First, there is a large search bar that lets users search by keywords for certain topics. There's also a section dedicated to browsing by product. This is followed by popular topics, community forums, and warranty information. There are also quick links for social media and a few other contact methods. Be sure to check it out if you ever need quick troubleshooting help.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Windows 95 On An Apple Watch

When developer Nick Lee realized that the specs of the Apple Watch exceeded those of many PCs running Windows 95 at its prime, how could he resist? That's right, Windows 95 will run on an Apple Watch. Not only that, but he managed to get all of Windows 95 to work within an app. That means it runs within the normal watchOS interface. Unfortunately, due to the emulated nature of the process, booting takes an hour. Not only that, but each swipe only moves the cursor a few pixels as a result of the slowness. Either way, it's a cool experiment to see in action.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

CareKit Now Available

While it's currently only available for four apps, CareKit officially launched today. CareKit is a new Apple API that allows users to share their medical information to their doctors. This allows for real time tracking and daily reports. Patients can look at their own progress over time. Hopefully, we'll see CareKit expand into more apps in the future that are more centralized for overall health.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Instagram Testing A Simpler Design

A growing number of apps are proving that when it comes to app design, less is more. In today's day and age, we have fewer gradients, shadows, and textures in apps. Instagram wants to take it one step further with their next design. They've selected a group to test their app with their redesigns. As you can see below, the layout has replaced the signature blue color of Instagram with white, along with some translucent menu bars. Whether this design does make it into the final product, that is Instagram's call.

Image Credit: Sbonnot

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

iPhone Upgrade Program Now Works Online

A major criticism of the iPhone Upgrade Program was that you'd have to use it at an Apple Retail Store. Now, it can be used at the Apple Online Store. To use it online, select the iPhone Upgrade Program in the "Purchase Options" when buying an iPhone from the Apple Online Store. The iPhone Upgrade Program allows you to get the newest iPhone with AppleCare+ with a monthly fee. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Fingerprint and 4K Ads

Today, Apple released two ads about the iPhone 6s. The first one is about Touch ID. It shows how many different things you can do with your fingerprint. For example, opening a physical lock, unlocking a car, and signing a document.

The second ad is about the 4K camera on the iPhone 6s. It's about a girl who shoots a 4K video of her mother cutting onions. The video ends up being so good that everyone goes crazy over it and the short clip gets turned into a feature film. That ad is below.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Feature Request: Instant Export

With several mostly internal updates to OS X and iOS in the past few years, I'm hoping that Apple has some feature-heavy updates for us at WWDC. One of those features should be something along the lines of this. When working with things like editing software, you typically have to export your file to have it be useful anywhere. For example, when you create an image in Pixelmator, you have to export it to a JPEG or a PNG file. You typically can't upload a Pixelmator file to a website requesting an image. However, if Apple added a feature that would take these files and could optionally export it to the appropriate file type for that one instance, that would save me a lot of time. An example of this is if I made an image in Pixelmator and needed to upload it to Tech Talk 4 Geeks, I would just have to drag and drop the Pixelmator file into the uploader, and OS X would ask me if I would like to convert it. Hopefully we will see this in a future update.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

WWDC 2016 Lottery Ends

Those who entered the lottery for the chance to purchase WWDC tickets were selected today. They should've received an email and had their credit card charged $1,599. If you haven't received an email, but have been charged, some emails will take until Monday at 5 PM PDT to send. But don't worry if you couldn't purchase a ticket! You can still watch the live stream free of charge of many WWDC events.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Apple Watch Apps Must Be Native By June 1st

Apple Watch apps started out requiring the iPhone to run them. This made using apps on Apple Watch very slow and defeated the purpose of the smartwatch. Native apps fixed this. They are much faster than regular Apple Watch apps. Luckily, Apple is now enforcing that all Apple Watch apps must be native on the Apple Watch by June 1st, 2 weeks before WWDC 2016. Also, it's worth mentioning that watchOS 3 will likely be revealed at WWDC 2016. watchOS 2 actually introduced Native apps, so perhaps Apple has something up their sleeve this year to make Apple Watch apps even better.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Apple Earth Day Ad 2016

In honor of Earth Day, which is tomorrow, Apple released a video about how their iMessage data servers are run on renewable energy, like water, solar, and wind. Because cell towers are powered by regular electricity, you could argue that sending iMessages are much better for the environment than sending SMS messages. Also, I like how this ad uses the a piano cover of the song "Ophelia" by the Lumineers for its music. It's a nice touch.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

WWDC 2016

Apple announced the date of WWDC 2016 recently. Although there is an official website for it, Siri will also tell you when WWDC will take place. WWDC 2016 will take place June 13-17. Tickets cost $1,599 and will be given out via a lottery system. Register by April 22nd to reserve your chance for a ticket.
"The Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) will be held June 13 to June 17 in San Francisco. I'm so excited!"
- Siri 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

MacBook 2016 Refresh

Today, Apple quietly refreshed their 12" MacBook line. There are new Skylake processors from Intel with new graphics processors to match. Because of this, there is some better battery life. But Apple also added a larger battery. Most notably, there is now a Rose Gold MacBook. Previously, there was only Silver, Space Gray, and Gold. The MacBook starts at $1,299 [Direct Link].

Monday, April 18, 2016

Average iPhone Unlocks Per Day

During a call with reporters, Apple shared how many times the average iPhone user unlocks their iPhone everyday, according to The Verge. The number: 80. This is about once every 10 minutes. 89% of these users use Touch ID. This is an important statistic. This shows that security must be a high priority, that unlocking an iPhone is as fast as possible, and that people should make sure nobody is watching when they type in a passcode.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Find Your Cursor Easily

In OS X El Capitan, there is a new trick to help you find your small cursor on a crowed screen. This is especially useful if you have multiple displays. Simply "shake" your cursor by moving your cursor back and forth. This will make your cursor very big temporarily, making it easy to notice from all of the madness on your desktop. I hope this helps.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Live Tune-In

In a big push to make your Apple TV experience more like your normal TV experience, Apple has added a feature called Live Tune-In. On new Apple TVs, you can use Siri and ask her to tune you to a channel. For example, "Watch CBS." This works with channels whose apps support Live Tune-In. In addition, you must already be able to sign in to these apps, most likely via your TV provider. Be sure to update to the latest version of tvOS to try this out!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Jony Ive Creates iPad Pro For Charity

From time to time, Jony Ive will create special versions of his products and auctions them off for charity. This time, he has created a 12.9" iPad Pro, a Smart Cover, and an Apple Pencil. The iPad Pro is yellow, which is much brighter than the Gold model. The Smart Cover is made from a blue French leather. The Apple Pencil has an orange Italian calf leather case. On the back of the iPad Pro and Smart Cover both have the words "Edition 1 of 1" etched on the back. This is expected to be valued from between $14,000 and $22,000 [Auction Link].

Thursday, April 14, 2016

macOS Rebrand For Mac OS X

Evidence from source files shows that Mac OS X is likely going to be renamed macOS (Source: MacMagazine). This is inline with Apple's other operating systems. These include iOS, watchOS, and tvOS. This is probably going to be a bit annoying to some and a bit helpful for others. Annoying because the internet hates change and helpful because it will probably make knowing which OS is which easier. The old naming convention is a bit harder. For example, saying macOS 12.4 is easier than saying Mac OS X 10.12.4. Hopefully, this will be for the better.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

HTC 10 Supports AirPlay

HTC doesn't always go with the flow when it comes to their smartphones. I remember they announced a phone that looked exactly like an iPhone. Now, they're actually implementing Apple's AirPlay into their new smartphone, the HTC 10. This makes the HTC 10 the first Android phone to officially support AirPlay out of box. It should be noted that AirPlay can be manipulated so that other devices can connect to an AirPlay device. It is also possible to be able to emulate an AirPlay device. That being said, it's likely that Apple had no say in the decision of this. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Teen Smartphone Statistics

According to Piper Jaffray, iPhone is still very popular among teenagers. As of this year, about 75% of surveyed teens expect their next phone to be an iPhone. In addition, just shy of 70% of those surveyed already own an iPhone. This is a pretty important demographic. Teenagers make up a large amount of the target demographic for smartphone companies. In addition, this can determine factors such as which platform(s) should a game developer pick for their next mobile app.

Image Credit: Piper Jaffray

Monday, April 11, 2016

Apple Watch 2 Will Have Vast Internal Improvements

According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the Apple Watch 2 will focus more on internal improvements than external. This is very welcome as the Apple Watch needs a serious bump in processing. Hopefully, this will make opening and using apps much easier and faster. In addition, a redesigned body would be concerning. It could suggest that previous-generation bands wouldn't be compatible with current-generation watches. Luckily, this doesn't seem to be the case for now. The Apple Watch 2 is expected to be announced at WWDC in June.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Apple Releases "Father Time" Ad

Just in time for Kobe Bryant's last NBA game this Wednesday, Apple has released an Apple TV ad starring the basketball player and Michael B. Jordan. Basically, the ad showcases some of the Apple TV's Siri functionality, specifically in movies. As for the main plot of the ad, I think you'd be better off watching the ad rather than have me attempt to explain it. The video is embedded below.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Official iOS Reddit App Released

Reddit has had a strange history with releasing apps. For the longest time, they had an Android app, but no iOS app, which was very strange for any respectable social network. Eventually, Alien Blue, their flagship app at the time, made it to iOS. However, that app has been retired and finally replaced with the Reddit app. Now, I wouldn't be talking about a random app release if there wasn't anything special about it. If you sign in to the Reddit app by this Thursday, you'll receive three months of Reddit Gold! Reddit Gold normally costs money and has some pretty sweet perks. It turns off ads, gets you into exclusive chats, and more! Be sure to get this special offer while you can. Reddit is available from the Apple App Store for free [Direct Link].

I'd show you the home tab of the app, but the internet is immature so...

Friday, April 8, 2016

Apple Watch 2 To Debut At WWDC 2016

According to Brian White, the Apple Watch 2 is likely going to be announced at WWDC 2016. In addition, the Apple Watch 2 will be 20-40% thinner. White's reasoning for his prediction is based on his China tech tour where he met with a tech supply chain company.
"[W]e walked away with the sense that the Apple Watch refresh will not occur in September with the iPhone 7, but is more likely to occur within the next 2-3 months, and thus we believe an unveiling at WWDC in June makes sense. We believe Apple Watch 2 could be 20-40% thinner than the current Apple Watch."
- Brian White 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Apple Watch Hermès Bands To Be Sold Separately

Apple Watch Hermès bands were previously only available by buying an Apple Watch with it. However, now Apple Watch owners (excluding owners of the Apple Watch Sport) will be able to purchase these bands separately starting April 19. These bands start at $340. In addition, these bands will be available at most Apple Retail Store. These bands were previously exclusive to certain stores and boutiques. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Ability To Hide Included iOS Apps Coming Soon

iTunes metadata suggests that the ability to hide built-in apps from iOS will be available in a future update, according to AppAdvice. In the App Store, there are two new attributes for apps. The first one is named "isFirstParty". This one seems self-explanatory, but the more important one is the second attribute. It's named "isFirstPartyHideableApp". This would be assigned true for apps that are built-in to iOS and that can be hidden. This being said, it would make sense for first-party apps to have the ability to be hidden. This has been a long requested feature by iOS users.

Image Credit: AppAdvice

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Apple Stores Transitioning To Paper Bags

I remember when I was five and I was amazed by the plastic bags Apple Stores would use. The bags were of much better plastic than any store I had been to and their strings made the bag double as a backpack. That was the coolest thing to me! Unfortunately, Apple is phasing out these plastic bags in favor of paper bags. As for whether they'll live up to their predecessors, that is yet to be seen. No designs have been disclosed. We will probably see on April 15th. Then, Apple Retail Stores will deplete their plastic bag supply and will change their usage to paper bags. Hopefully, these paper bags will have some Jonny Ive inspiration in them.

Monday, April 4, 2016

My Thoughts On VR

Virtual reality is very much becoming a huge trend in the tech and gaming industries and many people are questioning whether it will do with immersion what Apple did with the iPhone. In the 2020s, will people be wearing Oculus Rifts everywhere in the same way that we wear EarPods everywhere today? Personally, I say no. Virtual reality may be taking immersion a step too far. And I don't think that because of any conceptual standpoint, but because of the major flaws that you just can't fix. A good product should not create new problems for the user that aren't fixed by the product itself or can't be fixed as technology advances. While that doesn't mean a good product must defy gravity to keep itself from falling to the ground, it shouldn't cause the user to feel sick from simply using the device as intended for more than two hours. That's a big problem and it doesn't seem fixable just because that's how humans are. If you put a bright screen with lots of motion in a dark environment two inches in front of a person for extended periods of time, that's not a good design. Batteries will improve, processors will improve, the way humans react to environments created by virtual reality will not improve. And as unfortunate as it is, factors like this will cause virtual reality to be a short fad, something that will be laughed about in 2030 in the same way that 3D TVs are laughed about today. After all, anyone who tried the Virtual Boy, Nintendo's failed attempt at virtual reality in 1995, know that there hasn't been much improvement at this issue since then. But there is one more issue, it's expensive. Using Oculus as an example, it costs $599.99 for the Oculus Rift, but that's not counting a PC that can handle it. According to Oculus, my PC (which I just got last Christmas) cannot handle an Oculus Rift. The fact that it can't handle a brand new, middle-class PC is a huge problem. So, that's at least $1000 thrown at a PC, and for what? So you can throw up? That's what charcoal is for! As cool as watching March Madness in virtual reality is, these are just gimmick features that VR companies are touting to artificially inflate their "hype balloons." My suggestion: buy Google Cardboard for about $15, try out a few VR apps on your phone, and try it for yourself. The fact that you can get a decent sampling of VR from your phone with just $15 really makes you question whether paying $1600 for the whole deal is really worth it.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Dyson Releases Smartphone Enabled Fan

Continuing the trend of smart home appliances, Dyson released their first smartphone enabled fan, the Pure Cool Link. This is a big step for the 23 year old home appliance company. This fan can measure air quality, be controlled via the app, be scheduled, and adjust its settings based on temperature automatically. The Dyson Link app can be used to control the fan [Direct Link]. The only available Pure Cool Link model in the United States is a tower shaped fan. This version costs a hefty $499.99, but there is a smaller one available in other regions that's expected to cost $399.99 in the United States.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

WeMo and HomeKit - Update

Over a year ago, I wrote about how I hoped that Belkin would integrate HomeKit into their WeMo line. I already had several WeMo devices in my house. In January 2015, Belkin said that HomeKit would be coming "in the very near future." Over a year later, Belkin has said that HomeKit compatibility is on hold. I would be mad about this is they didn't have a legitimate reason. They want to be able to have HomeKit compatibility with existing WeMo devices. Even with a software update, WeMo devices wouldn't be compatible. I'm glad to hear this because as a long time owner of these devices, I don't want to have to buy new WeMos and have to install them all. This will also give Apple time to fix HomeKit some more, as some have said that it can be buggy. Even though this is disappointing, it's good to hear that Belkin is at least on our side (unlike Fitbit).
"We've been trying to integrate with HomeKit for sometime, as you know, but as of yet have not found a way to make existing WeMo products work with HomeKit that fall within the Apple guidelines. HomeKit integration requires a specific hardware component - it cannot happen with just a software or firmware update - which means that we would have to make a separate line of HomeKit enabled WeMo products in addition to the ones already out on the market. This also means that all of the WeMo products you already own still wouldn't work with HomeKit and you would have to buy new ones in order to get compatibility. We have put HomeKit compatibility on hold until we can find a way to make it work for both new and existing users. We are sorry for the disappointing news."

Friday, April 1, 2016

Google Cardboard Plastic

As an April Fools' joke, Google made an addition to their Google Cardboard VR line, which is ironic because using a piece of cardboard for VR sounds crazy by its self. This addition is called Google Cardboard Plastic. It's literally just a piece of plastic shaped like Google Cardboard. The only difference is that you don't put your phone in it. Thus, you are now immersed in actual reality. The resolution and sound are as good as your vision and hearing. You can check out the promo video below.