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Taking stock of Apple's own OS X apps

Stephen Hackett on 512 Pixels:
Maybe its a lack of shiny retail boxes and clear branding, or the fact that OS X is now on an annual release schedule, but it sure feels like Apple's first-party apps are being ignored. While the majority of them saw significant work in 2014, many of the updates are just work carrying over from releases at the end of 2013.

Stephen walks through all of Apple's OS X apps and recaps recent developments, pricing, and ratings. Neat idea.



Continuity Activation Tool now for USB dongles

There's a project on GitHub for making it easier to activate OS X Yosemite's Continuity feature on older Macs. The OS X feature requires Bluetooth 4.0, which means you'll need a Mac made in the past couple years.

If you have an older Mac, there have been upgrade paths available using Broadcom USB 4.0 chips. These chips are the same used in Macs, so compatibility is likely assured, provided you can swap out your existing chip in a compatible form.

Now, the tool has been updated and seems to work with USB dongles. This would seem to push back possible compatibility to some 2008 computers.

The software can be downloaded from Github and a compatibility reference chart is available.



The backstory on iOS 8's wallpaper

Each year Apple selects an official wallpaper for both OS X and iOS. The wallpaper is used in product marketing and becomes connected to the release, and in the case of iOS, often with a new iPhone model.

The image rights were acquired by Apple through 500px.com. They have a neat story about Espen Haagensen, the photographer who captured the image. He didn't know Apple purchased his image until iOS 8 was announced.

I was at Sunnmore, making the last preparations for my wedding when a colleague of mine called me. He was all worked up, and asked whether it was my image Apple was using in their presentation of the new iPhone 6. I said I didn’t know, but maybe it was. I found my Mac, and took a look at the live streaming of the iPhone launch. I found my image all over the place! That started a day of a lot of media attention. First, the story came out on a couple of online newspapers, then national radio and national TV.




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Twelve South announces BookBook for iPhone 6/6+

BookBook for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus is an all-new wallet case, hands-free stand and removable shell – wrapped up in one gorgeous, vintage leather book.

BookBook has always been a cool product for MacBooks. I'm generally not a fan of wallet-style cases for my phone, however. This new design is interesting through with the removable shell. It offers some versatility for when you just want a case.

The BookBook for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus is available now for $59.99. It's available in either Black or Brown leather.




Apple's new touching The Song ad

Apple's holiday ad The Song is touching story using Apple's ecosystem to create a special gift.

With a Mac, iPhone or iPad you have the power to create thoughtful, emotional gifts and memories that transcend time. It could be a movie, a homemade card or a song that brings two generations closer together.





Video: Post-It Note App for iOS captures your notes

Post-It is cool app that captures your sticky notes for collaboration and sharing. Basically take a picture of your notes and they're automatically imported as individual elements. You can then edit the notes and share with others.




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iDevices looks to jumpstart Homekit adoption

Dan DeSilva for 9 to 5 Mac
On average, iDevice’s partners can expect to bring a HomeKit compliant product to market 9 to 12 months faster, but it’s possible some quick-moving companies could get the job done in as little as 6 months thanks to iDevices’ platform.

Interesting profile piece. iDevices invested $10 million into their own developer kit and reportedly did so working closely with Apple.

This could be an interesting way to jumpstart the ecosystem. I look forward to seeing more at CES.



Initial Apple-IBM enterprise solutions announced

IBM and Apple announced results of their recent partnership. Basically the idea is the two companies flex their respective muscles with iPads, app development, and enterprise services.

Categories for the new apps banking/finance, travel/transportation, retail, insurance, telecommunications, and government.

For travel and transportation, for example, there are two app/services offered for airlines. Passenger+ helps flight attendants manage the passenger cabin and Plan Flight assists pilots



OWC announces SSD upgrade for new Mac Pros

Other World Computing Tuesday announced Aura SSD upgrade for the 2013 Mac Pro. The upgrade replaces the SSD blades in the new Mac Pro model.

OWC is announcing two Aura SSD models of 1 TB and 2 TB. The upgrades offer up to 8x capacity over base models from Apple. OWC says the Aura SSD is capable of up to 726 MB/second sustained speeds.

The company is offering pre-orders with the Aura SSD expected to ship before the end of December. Pricing is $899 for the 1 TB model and $1479 for the 2 TB. The OWC kits include their Envoy Pro USB 3.0 enclosure. With the enclosure, you can remove the old SSD and use it an external USB drive.



Apple TV gets YouTube update

Peter Kafka for re/code:
The world’s biggest video service has refreshed its app for Apple’s TV streaming box. The update means YouTube on Apple TV will look similar to YouTube on Xbox and other devices, both in terms of appearance and content.

The most notable change seems to be ads now appear. The downside of course is people will see ads with the content, but the good news is all content should become available on Apple TV. Content creators have the option to restrict playback on devices not support ads, so that would include the Apple TV.




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Recent Articles

iTunes features best of 2014

Apple has it annual big feature on the iTunes Store with their picks and best selling items for 2014. Apps linked here, but also rolls out best of for music, TV, and movies.



Link: Gift Guide for Bourbon Drinkers

Some cross promotion here. Holidays and booze go together, and I wanted to share a gift guide over at my Whiskey Lately blog. Listed is a nice selection of Bourbons for the holidays.



iPad 2 ad Change

Apple Sunday released a new iPad 2 air featuring a number of real-world uses for the iPad. The ad is stylistically cool starting in full screen and narrows down to the width of an iPad.




Jimmy Iovine interview on selling Beats to Apple

GQ has an interesting interview with Jimmy Iovine. He talks about joining up with Apple, in addition to coming up in the industry.

On Apple buying Beats:
"I don't want to work for anybody else. I want to do this at Apple. I know I can achieve this at Apple. I don't want to shop it. I wanna come here, to Steve's company. I know you guys; I know what you're capable of; I know you get popular culture. I know you have a hole in music right now; let me plug it." I think it was two years before they said yeah.




Elgato ships Thunderbolt 2 Dock

Tuesday Elgato announced their Thunderbolt 2 Dock has started shipping. As the name suggests, it's a Thunderbolt 2 docking system for Macs. The dock is an aluminum case and features two Thunderbolt 2 ports, three USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet, audio out, and microphone input.

The idea is the dock can sit on a desk and be plugged into a computer for a stationary setup on a desk. The solution would be ideal for laptops to dock on a desk setup. The Thunderbolt 2 interface is capable of driving a display up to 4K in addition to USB devices and Ethernet.

The Thunderbolt Dock has a MSRP of $229.95. It’s expected to start shipping this week.



Quora: Should Apple recall the iPhone 6 Plus?

A little old, but this Quora question popped up for me. The posed question asks whether Apple should recall the iPhone 6 Plus because of reports of it bending. Nicolas Akmakjian's answer seems about right.

Think of it like a fork. Can you bend a fork? Sure. But you don't so as not to annoy your hostess and embarrass yourself in front of the other guests. Are forks defective since they can be bent? No. Just use them normally and you'll be fine.

...
But maybe we should have an emotional intelligence test before buying one: Do you bend forks at parties? Cheap feature phone for you! Can you be taken out of your parent's basement without mortifying them? Enjoy the very nice iPhone 6 Plus.

Life pro tip: Don't sit on either a fork or a phone.




Link - iCloud security tips

Stephen Robles for AppleInsider
Certain options are only adjustable on your device, like iCloud Storage and Family Sharing settings. While changes to your Apple ID are not on iCloud.com or your device, but rather appleid.apple.com. This guide will help demystify and inform you about the most important settings for your iCloud account: security.

This is a nice walkthrough to both reset and learn about your iCloud security settings.

Personally I think the best step is to use a dedicated and unique email address for iCloud. That way, no one can figure out your login from an email or some other login.



Other World Computing Holiday Specials

IGM sponsor Other World Computing has their holiday specials online starting for Black Friday. OWC has many accessories for Macs and iOS devices, also upgrades for Mac memory and storage solutions. Check them out.



Trans Intl Holiday Deals

IGM sponsor Trans Intl has a number of special starting for Black Friday. Highlights include DIMM and SO DIMM memory upgrades for Macs and SSD storage from Crucial and Samsung. Also included are Trans Intl's Pro Sled drive mounts for Mac Pros and other items.



Pocket reveals interesting metrics on iPhone 6 vs 6 Plus

Users who upgraded to an iPhone 6 now view content on their phones 72% of the time, up from 55% when on a smaller screen. Those who went big and bought an iPhone 6 Plus consume content on their phones 80% of the time – the same ratio of phone to tablet reading as seen on Android.

Basically bigger the screen the more people are using it. While that seems to be the case, Pocket says that Pocket users are still picking the iPhone 6 2.5x time more vs iPhone 6 Plus. It will be interesting to see how those numbers shift on the next generation.



Dropbox now integrated with Microsoft Office

Now it’s easy to work on the Office files you’ve stored in Dropbox even when you’re on the go — you can edit them from the Dropbox app, and access them directly from the Office apps.

This is pretty neat. Basically you save your documents in Dropbox and now can edit files within Dropbox on iOS. When editing, it launches the appropriate Microsoft Office app. When finished editing, the document is saved back to Dropbox.



Having a Password Emergency Kit

As I've said many times I'm a big fan of 1Password. The plus side of keeping everything secured in a digital locker is privacy and security. The downside is if you're not around to unlock it, important information will be unavailable.

Charles Hamons via Mike Vardy put together a nifty password emergency kit. It's a fillable PDF form that can be printed out and stored somewhere like a safe or safety deposit box. The form organizes your important information from that master password to computer logins and device PINs. Also it serves as a map for where to find information, like if it's stored in your password management tool or elsewhere. For example, I store critical information inside of encrypted image files.

Check it out. It's a good idea.



Corning announced Gorilla Glass 4

Along with the Mythbuster's video, corning last week introduced the latest iteration of their Gorilla Glass:
Corning scientists examined hundreds of broken devices and found that damage caused by sharp contact accounted for more than 70 percent of field failures. The scientists then developed new drop-test methods that simulate real-world break events, based on thousands of hours analyzing cover glass that had broken in the field or laboratory. The scientists used the new methods to drop devices face down from one meter, such that the cover glass directly contacted a rough surface. They found:

- Gorilla Glass 4 is up to two times tougher than competitive glasses

- Gorilla Glass 4 survives up to 80 percent of the time

- Soda-lime glass, as deployed in today’s commercial devices, breaks nearly 100 percent of the time.




Mythbusters explain Gorilla Glass

Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman did a couple promotional videos for Corning. This is an infomercial, but an interesting demonstration. I've seen scratch and impact demo a number of times at CES and it's interesting to see how this stuff works. The duo do an entertaining job explaining and demonstrating the pros of Gorilla Glass.

This is part two which is specific to Gorilla Glass, which should interest users of mobile devices.




Podcast: App Store Get vs Free, Pappy Van Winkle, CoD, Plus More!

iTunes stops calling apps free and instead calls them get. We also talk about the latest Call of Duty Advanced Warfare. And we crack open a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle.






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