Monday, October 31, 2016

Potential Apple Music Price Drop

According to Digital Music News and their sources, Apple is considering dropping their prices for Apple Music plans. To keep things simple, all prices in this post will be per month. For individual plans, the change would be from $9.99 to $7.99. Family plans would be dropped from $14.99 to $12.99. Student plans would remain at $4.99. I don't have many opinions on this since I'm on the student plan, but I know this isn't Apple giving Apple Music one last shot. They are very committed to this product, and the people who use it are typically pretty satisfied. In addition, because streaming music is very likely to be the future, Apple has no reason to discontinue Apple Music and is more likely to discontinue buying songs for 99¢, as controversial as that is. 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Famous Mac Startup Sound Not Present in New MacBook Pros

For the longest time, starting up your Mac would cause a short chord to play to indicate that no errors occurred during initialization. That is no longer the case for the new MacBook Pros. While some may be disappointed by this, I can understand why Apple may do this. The new MacBook Pros now turn on just by opening the lid or plugging in the charging cable. I believe this is to close the gap between macOS and iOS, as iOS devices quickly and quietly startup. Nowadays, I mute my Mac before I turn it off to silence the sound, because I'll pull out my MacBook in a quiet classroom, and then you hear that sound disrupt the silence. It can be awkward. But my main point is, in an ever-changing world, now based around mobile devices, computers need to evolve to keep up. 

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Touch Bar and 1Password

With the newest build of Xcode, developers can run the new Touch Bar simulator, which allows them to test their apps using the new MacBook Pro's Touch Bar. AgileBits was kind enough to share their vision for how Touch Bar will work for their app, 1Password. The designs look pretty cool and show great promise for what third party app developers have in store for us. I've looked through the human interface documentation already for Touch Bar and the design guidelines, in my opinion, allow for a lot of possibilities for Touch Bar. 1Password is available for $64.99 from the Mac App Store [Direct Link].

Friday, October 28, 2016

Apple Done With Displays

Apple announced their partnership with LG to create 4K and 5K displays to work with their products yesterday. However, most people wanted Apple to make their own displays, like how they used to. According to Nilay Patel, Apple is done with the standalone display business. Unfortunately, this means that there won't be an official Retina Display standalone display anytime soon.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The New MacBook Pro

Today, the new MacBook Pro was announced, and the wait was worth it. Before I go further, this post is an opinion post and not a recap, so I'd recommend watching the keynote or looking at the official site to learn more about the product.

We learned that what we thought was the Magic Toolbar is actually called the Touch Bar. I really like this in that it can be contextual and provide supplemental information, while still providing access to important system functions at anytime, like the mute button. The entire time, I needed to hear them say that developers would have access to this technology, and they did wait a while to say this, but they did. Meaning, this technology can be the gift that keeps on giving as long as developers choose to support it. I also was hoping that Final Cut Pro would be compatible with it on day one. It was. The fact that they even acknowledged Final Cut Pro was crucial. Final Cut Pro has not received an update on the Mac App Store since January of this year. Since discontinuing Aperture, I've had a lingering fear that Apple may soon discontinue all of their pro apps, but this update means that Final Cut (and hopefully Logic Pro) will continue to be supported. The final point I wanted to make was how Apple put emphasis on the "Pro" in MacBook Pro. It was designed to be a top-of-the-line professional computer. It's finally that again, after such a long time without an update. However, it's not for everyone. This Touch Bar is not for everyone. That's why they have the model without the Touch Bar. It's great for more moderate usage, but at a price point that more people can afford. In short, today's presentation wasn't for everyone, but for the people it was for, it was an important step for the MacBook.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Leaked Images of the Magic Toolbar

The Magic Toolbar, which will be announced tomorrow alongside a new MacBook Pro, has had images leaked thanks to source files in the latest macOS Sierra beta [Source: MacRumors]. It appears that the Touch ID area will be embedded into a small square near the right side of the bar. I'm looking forward to seeing everything it's capable of tomorrow at Apple's "Hello Again" event.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Bootleg Apple Products

Hi all. I'm very sick today and won't be able to do a proper post myself today, so my dad will be stepping in today. Hopefully I can get back to normal soon. Anyways, thanks for reading!

The other day I was walking with Alex (my son who is the creator of this blog) through Best Buy.  He was laser focused and marching quickly toward  the store clerk several aisles away restocking Amiibos, as I got distracted by a display of colorfully printed Apple EarPods.  These headphones were in the same square plastic case as the genuine Apple EarPods I had in my work bag.  Same shape and design, only they had bright colored patterns, each making its own fashion statement.  And, they were on sale for only $7. How could these be so cheap when the same Apple EarPods in white are sold for $29 at the Apple Store? They are knockoffs, counterfeits, of course, made in China.  Some fakes make their way to brick and mortar stores like BB.  Apple doesn't like counterfeits, and takes this seriously, not so much because they are losing revenue, but because these cheaply made products more often have poor performance, can cause electric shocks and even fires.  What thriving company wants the word ‘fire’ attached to their electronic products (Samsung, anyone?)? This year Apple analyzed the products being sold on Amazon that claimed to be Apple-branded accessories.  They now believe that nearly 90 of these online products are fakes. Although Amazon “allowed” counterfeit products to be sold through the website, Amazon itself hasn’t sold these knockoffs.  “Fulfillment by Amazon” items, stored in Amazon warehouses by third party merchants, were most guilty being counterfeit. Amazon itself hasn’t been selling the fake Apple accessories.  What can you do?  Buy directly from Apple, in the store, or on their online store. If you still want to buy accessories that are not genuine, you can first check them out on Fakespot and read reviews to help determine the quality of each.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The iPod Turns 15 Years Old

15 years ago yesterday, Apple redefined the music industry by putting 1,000 songs in our pockets by announcing the iPod. While the iPod is largely considered obsolete today, it would go on to help inspire the iPhone. On November 10, 2001, the iPod would be released to the public for $399. Here's to another 15 years.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

iOS 10: Maps

Booking a table using Apple Maps
Proactive suggesting directions
Apple Maps has had a rough start, but in iOS 10, I found that the Maps app has finally grown into a full-fledged navigation system and then some. The Maps app uses the cohesion of the Apple ecosystem, the functionality of third-party apps, and the intelligence of Apple's Proactive technology to create an amazing experience. Here's a scenario that happened to me recently: after a family gathering, we decided to go out to lunch. I pulled out my phone and reserved a table using OpenTable through the Maps app. My Maps widget updates and adds the restaurant's location to its list. It also kept the location of my car. I could choose to drive, walk, use public transit, or request a ride sharing service, like Uber, for my transportation method. While giving me directions to the restaurant, my Apple Watch tapped me whenever the directions were updated or a turn was coming up. Different haptics tapped my wrist as I got near a turn. It was pretty intuitive. Anyways, I feel like Maps has finally redeemed itself after its initial issues. I would definitely recommend trying out Maps again. I never really get the chance to use navigation since I typically drive from Point A to Point B everyday, and will use my car's built-in GPS system. But now that I have done this, I will probably use the Maps app whenever I get the chance to go somewhere new.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Magic Toolbar

Apple has used the term "magic" in some of its product names, and even in some tag lines. There's the Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse, and Magic Trackpad. What do these have in common? They're input accessories. Apple may continue this trend with the Magic Toolbar [Source: The Trademark Ninja]. For those who follow the blog, you know I am very excited for the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display coming out next week. This laptop will feature a contextual touch screen strip where the function keys are on current models. This may be called the Magic Toolbar. It makes perfect sense. The trademark belongs to Presto Apps America LLC, but this may be a fake company made by Apple to allow for some secrecy. The name sounds a bit generic and they are trademarking that seems to be on Apple's grounds. So, we'll just have to see this Thursday how things play out.

Image Credit: Martin Hajek

Friday, October 21, 2016

IBM Says Macs Have Better Value Than PCs

At the Jamf Nation User Conference, IBM announced that they found Macs to be cheaper than PCs when deploying them into their workplace. They believe this because Macs required much less maintenance than PCs. Over four years, IBM saved up to $543 with each Mac they bought. 73 percent of IBM employees want their next computer to be a Mac. Anyone wondering how to deploy technology in their company may want to check this out.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Nintendo Switch

Today, Nintendo revealed their next-generation console, the Nintendo Switch, the final name for their NX console. Nintendo has a lot riding on this after the flop that was the Wii U. Switch is a hybrid between a handheld and a home console. In addition, it can play more third-party games, including The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. Unfortunately, the short, three-minute trailer we saw this morning will be the last thing we will hear of the Switch until 2017. I'd like to give my thoughts and impressions in a separate post.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Apple Confirms 'Hello Again' Event

Yesterday, I talked about how Apple was rumored to host their event on October 27. Today, Apple has confirmed that. The event is called "Hello Again," a reference to the "Hello" slogan used by the original Macintosh. That being said, this all but explicitly confirms that the event will be centered around the Mac, part of Apple that has gone neglected for too long. Every Mac model, except for the MacBook hasn't had an update for a year, and some for several years. Let's mark our calendars for October 27.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Apple Event on October 27th

Literally as soon as I say there won't be an Apple event in October, there's an Apple event in October. And I'm not complaining by any means. Maybe I should start saying Apple won't be doing stuff more often. According to Re/code, Apple will be hosting an event on October 27. I can't remember the last time Apple has done an event on a Thursday. At this event, we're likely going to see some Mac refreshes. I've been really looking forward to this event. I'll be sure to cover as much of this as I can, including when Apple confirms the event.

Monday, October 17, 2016

No Apple Event in October?

If you're like me, then you've been probably shocked on how little news there is on the new Macs, especially since we were expecting to see them this month. MacRumors has begun to question whether there will be an event, as they have a confident source saying that the new Macs will be released in October. Even if they were released on the same day as the event, it seems unlikely. There haven't been invites sent out yet and events typically don't happen right before the end of October. In order to make it in time for the holiday shopping season, I'd guess they are skipping the event in favor of a quiet update.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Note7 Banned From All U.S. Flights

The United States Department of Transportation has officially banned the Samsung Galaxy Note7 from all U.S. flights. It is labeled as a "forbidden hazardous material." Not only are they banned from carry-on luggage, but also cargo. All of this, even if it's powered off. If you try to get past this, you could potentially face criminal prosecution. Safe travels everyone!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

What Happens if the iPhone 7's Home Button Fails?

The iPhone 7's home button is a significant deviation from its predecessors. It has no click mechanism and simply vibrates to mimic the feeling of the button being clicked. However, it appears that the button can fail, leaving the user without an essential hardware function. Luckily, Apple did program a temporary workaround [Source: MacRumors]. A message will popup acknowledging that the home button needs to be serviced. From here, a digital home button will be displayed on screen that will function like a normal home button. Hopefully, this doesn't happen to too many people.

Image Credit: iwayne

Friday, October 14, 2016

Jet Black iPhone 7 Plus Availability Update

One of the most popular, and hardest to obtain, iPhone 7 models was the Jet Black iPhone 7 Plus. Today, it is available in many Apple Stores. Jet Black iPhones are particularly hard to find because of their popularity and production process.To see if your local store carries it, check iStockNow for a visual map.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Samsung Offers $100 To Note 7 Users That Stay Loyal To Brand

After the Samsung recall and discontinuation of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, Samsung is hoping to soften the blow to it's user base by offering $100 to stay within the Samsung ecosystem [Source: TechCrunch]. To receive this, an affected customer in the U.S. must exchange their phone to another Samsung phone. The credit will vary, but it can be up to $100. After all is said and done, Samsung is expected to lose $17 billion from this issue. Perhaps this should be taken as a lesson. Lithium-ion batteries are closer and closer to us, and as we incorporate them into our earbuds and watches, it may be important to be wary of them at times.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Get Amazon Music Unlimited for $3.99 a Month

Amazon Music Unlimited is Amazon's music streaming service that launched today. For a monthly fee, you can get access to millions of songs, similar to Apple Music and Spotify. While the price for Prime members is $7.99 per month, Amazon had a great idea for owners of Amazon Echo devices. One of the best features about Amazon Echo is that you can ask Alexa to play any song from Amazon's massive library of music if you have Amazon Music Unlimited. Many people would get the service just for their Echo's but stay with their other streaming services for their other devices. If you're part of this group, you can get Amazon Music Unlimited for just $3.99 per month. The only catch is that you cannot use the service on non-Echo devices. Echo users can ask Alexa to start their free trial of Amazon Music Unlimited to start their subscription.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Samsung Discontinues Galaxy Note7

In an somewhat expected, yet surprising move by Samsung, the Galaxy Note7 has been permanently discontinued for safety reasons [Source: The Wall Street Journal]. The exploding battery issue has become too dangerous for Samsung to take any risks. In addition, Samsung stock dropped almost 10%. If you own a Note7, please power it off and return it. Note that you cannot bring a Galaxy Note7 on a commercial airline, as they are a flight risk. Your options are likely limited by owning a Note7. I highly recommend exchanging it for another smartphone of your choice. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Samsung Halts All Sales of Note 7

Today, Samsung announced that they would be halting all sales of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 worldwide until further safety investigation has been conducted. This is understandable, as several of the replacement models meant to alleviate the exploding battery issue have already exploded. You can't help but feel bad for Samsung though, because many have been waiting for the next generation Note, and having to wait longer to be able to have piece of mind can be frustrating, especially so close to the holiday season. Another scary thought is that since the replacement models were designed specifically not to have this issue, how can anyone be sure that the problem is truly gone? Samsung is asking all Note 7 users to stop using their phones and power them off.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Why I Dont Like The New iPhone 7 Colors

The iPhone 7 ditched Space Gray for two new colors: Black and Jet Black. Although their appearance is totally subjective, there is a specific reason that I don't like the new colors. They disrupt the continuity of Apple's colors. MacBooks, iPads, Apple Watches, and Beats headphones that used Apple's color scheme will likely not adapt to the new colors. They currently offer these products in Gold, Rose Gold, Silver, and Space Gray. The iPhone 7 comes in Gold, Rose Gold, Silver, Black, and Jet Black. I believe that they will not update these products with the new coloring scheme, at least not for Jet Black, as it is very hard to produce. I would hate to buy all my Apple products in Space Gray, just to have them messed up with the new colors. Luckily, I prefer the Silver color, so this doesn't affect me too much. 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Replacement Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Catches Fire on Plane

According to The Verge, a replacement Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has caught fire on a Southwest flight as it pulled out of the gate. Luckily, no one was injured. The phone started smoking at around 80 percent in the owner's pocket. It may be noteworthy that Brian Green, the owner of the phone, only used a wireless charger to charge the device, however, that should not have any correlation. These replacement phones were meant to alleviate the exploding battery issue that initially caused the phone to be recalled. Samsung has not commented on this development.

Image Credit: The Verge

Friday, October 7, 2016

Markup in iOS 10

Markup is Apple's annotating tool used in macOS, and now it works with iOS 10 with Photos. To use it on a photo, just select a photo from the Photos app. Tap Edit, and tap the three dots in the circle near the bottom right corner of the screen. Select "Markup" from the available options. You can now annotate and draw on the photo of your choosing. I hope this helps!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

iOS 10.1 Warns That Older Apps Slow Down iOS

In the iOS 10 beta, Apple had an alert notifying users that used 32-bit (and typically deprecated) apps would likely have lag in iOS. This alert was removed in the official public release. However, this alert seems to have returned in iOS 10.1. It will also note that the developer should improve the app and update it to 64-bit. These outdated apps will also be removed from the App Store soon.

Image Credit: MacRumors

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Why Google Abandoned Nexus

Yesterday, Google announced their Pixel smartphone, the successor to their Nexus phones. But why did they stop using the Nexus brand? Here's my speculation. First, the final phones for Nexus were called the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P. The numbers represented screen size and version number (interchangeably at times). Their tablets were the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10. Keeping the 6 on the Nexus would be confusing to consumers, forcing them to know the difference between a 6P and a 6Q. Another Nexus 7 wouldn't do much good either. So, rebranding it must've been the best choice. One of the selling points of Pixel is that there's no version number. Also, Pixel's name origin comes from the Chromebook Pixel. So, hopefully that clears up any confusion about Google's new phone.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Google Assistant

Today, Google announced their Google Assistant. The Siri clone is compatible with their new flagship phone (which definitely didn't copy any other smartphone), Pixel, their Amazon Echo copy, Google Home, and their other products. Man, Google should've gotten George Lucas to speak at their announcement, because this feels like a new edition of The Clone Wars. I mean, what can you say about Google Assistant? It's an evolution of their "Ok Google" tool, but with a voice and interface. It did what Siri did to Voice Control. Is it a clone? Yes. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. The technology industry moves as a whole in order to work. Google was definitely lagging behind with voice assistance, and they needed something to compensate for that. Every company does it. Frankly, it's what technology has come to as a whole.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Microsoft Discontinues Microsoft Band

Most people I ask weren't aware Microsoft had a wearable, and Microsoft made that clear as glass today by removing their Microsoft Band listings from their website. Although it hasn't been confirmed, it seems that they are discontinuing the band, as they have stated that it won't be updated this year. The Microsoft Band lived a short life, starting in 2014 to compete with the Apple Watch. There were only two generations. For some, this is unfortunate, as those in the Microsoft ecosystem are being left in the dust, time and time again. First discontinuing the Windows Phone, and now with their flagship wearable. That's not to say they were seen as good products, but it does mean that the Microsoft ecosystem may not be the best place to go to for continuity and cohesiveness.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Easily Track Cellular Data Usage

One of my favorite parts of iOS are widgets. When used properly, they are very useful and convenient for quick information that you need frequently. One example of this is cellular data usage. If you want to easily track your usage, try this out. Find your carrier's app in the App Store. Make sure this is for your phone plan, not something else (i.e. My Verizon instead of Verizon Fios). Sign into the app like normal. Now, go to Notification Center and swipe to the right and scroll down. Tap the Edit button and find your carrier's widget in the list. Note that your carrier may not have a widget. If not, this method doesn't apply to you. Sorry. I can confirm that Verizon works with this method using the My Verizon app. Now can see your data usage just by going to Notification Center. I hope this helps!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Apple Campus 2 Progress - October 2016

Apple Campus 2 has developed quite a bit since July. Lights and power have begun to turn on as the campus takes shape. In the video below, the auditorium, trails, and center plaza are beginning to form. The auditorium will be underground, the trails are being formed by the construction company, and the plaza will have a large fountain in the center of it. To see all that has come up for Apple Campus 2, check out the video below.