iPhone 6s and 6s Plus review: The best iPhone ever, by a wide margin — “The only thing that’s changed is everything,” says the slogan Apple unveiled along side the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. It’s an attempt to address the perception that the odd-year “s” updates to the iPhone line are minimal and uninteresting. Check out Macworld’s review, and here’s Dr Mac’s first Look at the iPhone 6s.
iOS 9 — The difference between Wi-Fi Calling & Wi-Fi Assist explained: iOS 8 Introduced Wi-Fi Calling and iOS 9 introduced what’s called Wi-Fi Assist. They’re two distinctly different features. The first has no downside, but the second could, and it’s turned on by default in iOS 9. Let’s look at the difference. The Notes app has been greatly enhanced – here’s what it now does, and with iOS 9 you can disconnect from a Bluetooth accessory without making your iPhone forget it.
Russian police worried iPhone Emoji will give kids the gay — Police in Russia’s Kirov region think that including same sex couples as emoji on the iPhone is a Really Bad Thing. The police are investigating whether or not the same sex emoji violate Russia’s law banning what they see as propaganda promoting homosexuality to children. [I really don’t know what to think about this, beyond overwhelming derision.]
Mac OS X El Capitan is coming tomorrow — September has been a great month for Apple fans, with updates to all major operating systems. First it was iOS 9, then watchOS 2, and now Mac OS X El Capitan will be officially available tomorrow (Wednesday northern time). Here are three steps to get ready,and a review sayings it’s ‘solid as a rock‘ [it is – I’ve been using it for weeks.]
Apple to reveal fiscal Q4 2015 earnings on October 27 — Apple on Monday announced plans to reveal quarterly financial results for its final fiscal quarter of 2015 on Oct. 27, which will be followed by a conference call expected to shed light on initial iPhone 6s and 6s Plus sales, as well as the upcoming fourth-generation Apple TV.
Apple expands Flyover coverage to new locales in France, Germany, Japan and more — As part of continued effort to build out its in-house mapping service, Apple recently added 3D Flyover assets to a number of cities and landmarks, including multiple locations in France, Italy and Germany.
How to merge large iPhoto and Photos libraries — The good news is that this can be done. The bad news is that it takes more effort.
Scrivener 2 still on sale for a few more hours — Ever tried writing a novel in Microsoft Word? Trust us, you don’t want to. So many writing professionals around the world use Scrivener 2, the word processor and project management tool that stays with you from your first, unformed idea all the way through to the final draft. At MacObserver it’s still on sale: US$19.50 instead of US$45.
Apple explains 3D Touch with a cool video — 3D Touch on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus is a really cool way to make things happen without needing to drill down through lots of menus, or in some cases, without even opening an app. It’s like a hyper-contextual menu (ie, like a right-click or Control-click in Mac OS). Apple figured that might be easier to explain with a demonstration, so the company put together an awesome video showing some of the ways 3D Touch can help you out. [To me, although it’s a feature that’s easy to overlook, it’s the single biggest reason to get a 6s.]
Over 50% for iOS 9 adoption — Since iOS 9 launched on September 16, analytics firm Mixpanel has been closely monitoring the adoption rate of the new OS by checking the version of devices running apps with Mixpanel’s tracking code. Today, just 12 days after the launch of iOS 9, the new mobile operating system is running on 52.33 percent of all iOS devices.
Apple makes it easier to upgrade to iOS 9 with automatic overnight updates, smaller files — In a bid to drive the already-impressive iOS upgrade rate even higher, Apple has brought a bit of OS X to iOS 9 with a new automatic installation option that will let iPhones and iPads update themselves – at a convenient time for the user.
Apple brings IFTTT-like functionality to HomeKit with Event Triggers —With HomeKit-compatible accessories finally hitting the market, Apple has added new capabilities to its home automation platform in iOS 9 to make smart bulbs, locks, and garage door openers easier to manage and more powerful — including the ability to define IFTTT-style event chains with new Event Triggers.
How to use Time Travel in watchOS 2 — WatchOS 2, the upgrade of the operating system for the Apple Watch, adds a Time Travel feature. Nope, no Back to the Future or Looper possibilities here. But you can scroll with the Digital Crown to explore events in the future (and past).
Apple Music FAQ: the ins and outs of Apple’s new streaming music service — What kind of playlists can I create? Will Apple Music replace iTunes? What will happen to my Beats subscription? Macworld has the answers, and more. And here’s how to disable Auto Renewal so no money gets taken out of your account wants your free trial expires.
Mac OS X market share in Japan declines year-over-year — Approximately 97.9% of the total population in Japan now owns at least one personal computer, according to a survey by Kakaku, which provides price, products and other information of merchandise and services including PCs, home electronics, broadband and mobile phone telecommunication fees, food, drink, interiors and cosmetics. That’s up 1.8 percentage points year-over-year.
Windows 7 was the most popular operating system with 46.3 percent market share. Windows 10 had 15.3% percent, while Mac OS X had 7.4%, according to Kakaku. That’s down from 11.26 percent in 2014 (based on data from StatsMonkey.com). If Kakaku’s survey is accurate, Japan seems to be the exception to the rule. Overall, Macs have gained global market share for 33 out of the last 34 quarters. [It does seem like a hell of a steep decline over such a short period.]
iA Writer 3.0.1 review: Mac app gets back to basics for focused writing — Information Architects has backtracked, returning the app to its minimalist origins with iA Writer 3 (NZ$24.99 in the Mac App Store), which restores the simplicity of the original app while retaining some of the additional features of Writer Pro. (If you already own Writer Pro, iA Writer 3 is a free upgrade from the Mac App Store.) This type of text editor is for people who don’t need the complexity of full-fledged word processors, with their buttons, ribbons, and menus full of complex commands. [In other words, like Apple’s free Text Edit which is already on every single Mac, in the Applications Folder. If you open Text Edit and turn on Wrap To Page in Preferences, it looks and acts like a word processor instead of a notepad – and it reads and writes Word files…]
The best 3D Touch-enabled apps available for iPhone 6s and 6s Plus — Apple released its latest and greatest iPhone on Friday with an all-new pressure-sensitive 3D Touch input system [which is great] that introduces novel user interactions like “peek and pop,” Quick Actions, added gesture control and more. Here’s how to adjust its sensitivity.
Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Elements 14 roll out with support for 4K video — Adobe recently rolled out its latest update to Adobe Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements, the company’s basic desktop photo and video editing programs. Both Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements are available now for $100 each or as bundled together for $150. They now support the 4K video the 6s models can shoot.
App Slicing temporarily removed — Apple has removed App Slicing, an iOS 9 feature for developers that allows apps to download only those assets they need to work on a target device. The company said the feature would be reenabled at some point.
Apple one of the ‘Brands of the Year’ at the 2015 World Branding Awards — Apple was among 118 brands from 30 countries honoured at the World Branding Awards. To win, a brand needs to have built a good reputation and trust with consumers, as 70 percent of the scoring process come from consumers voting for their favorite brands. [I’m guessing VW didn’t make the cut.]
Apple’s Tim Cook, Lisa Jackson placed at head table for White House state dinner — Apple CEO Tim Cook and environment and government affairs chief Lisa Jackson joined other tech industry titans at President Barack Obama’s head table for Friday night’s White House dinner in honour of visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping. Cook is also expected to meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi this weekend.
Apple redesigns iTunes Connect, updates Apple Store app for iPhone 6s — Ahead of Friday’s iPhone 6s release, Apple pushed out a redesigned iTunes Connect content management Web tool for developers.
Totally spectacular flyover through the Veil Nebula — The Hubble Space Telescope took a new image of the Veil Nebula, a supernova remnant from a star that exploded 8000 years ago, and made this truly spectacular flyover visualisation of the beautiful ripple in space that you can see above. In the 3D visualization, red is sulfur, green is hydrogen and blue is oxygen. ~ Hey, oxygen.
Radio burst to map the universe in 3D — Using redshifts, fast radio bursts and state of the art technology, researchers at University of British Columbia have proposed a new method of calculating distance between celestial objects, and mapping the cosmos in 3D. ~ Here be dragons.
Physicists smash Quantum Teleportation record with 102 kilometre fibre jump — A team of researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology has broken the distance record for quantum teleportation down optical fibre, showing they’re able to transfer quantum information over 102 kilometres. ~ And now, for something really useful …
IBM supercomputer analysing holiday snaps — IBM’s Jeopardy-winning supercomputer Watson is now a suite of cloud-based services that developers can use to add cognitive capabilities to applications, and one of its powers is visual analysis. Visual Insights analyses images and videos posted to services like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, then looks for patterns and trends in what people have been posting. ~ And the privacy implications?
AI hunts Ebola animals — Outbreaks of infectious diseases like Ebola follow a depressing pattern: people start to get sick, public health authorities find out, and an all-out scramble begins to determine where the disease started and how it’s spreading. Barbara Han, a code-writing ecologist, hopes her artificial intelligence algorithms will put an end to that reactive model. ~ We wish success.
New technique finds all known human viruses in your blood — Ian Lipkin, a virus hunter from Columbia University, recently received a blood sample from colleagues at the National Institutes of Health. In the sample, he found dengue virus – but the team wasn’t looking for dengue virus. ~ House will be out of a job.
Seed vault gets its first withdrawal thanks to Syrian civil war — The Arctic Svalbard Seed Vault is designed to safeguard the seeds of 820,619 plants in the event of massive environmental catastrophe, disease, a nuclear war, or an asteroid impact. Sadly, the ongoing civil war in Syria has caused the first-ever withdrawal of its precious contents. ~ The seeds were requested by researchers in the Middle East to replace seeds in a gene bank near the Syrian city of Aleppo damaged by the war.
Essential survival skills we’ve lost from our ancient ancestors — The basic structure of the human brain has remained essentially unaltered for tens of thousands of years, but the information processed within it has changed dramatically over time. Today, we require an entirely new set of skills to get by, but at the expense of our ancient know-how. Here are some essential skills used by our ancestors to survive, but which we’ve now forgotten. ~ Don’t upset other tribe members, check. Run down Wooly Mammoth, mmm, not so much.
1/ Use Text Replacement to type faster — Using iOS 9’s Text Replacement feature, formerly called keyboard shortcuts, you can greatly speed up input of commonly used phrases, sentences, or text that is challenging to punch in on the iPhone keyboard. I, for example, use ‘mw’ to type out my full @vodafone email address, which is a long one.
Go to Settings>General, find Keyboard and choose Text Replacement. Tapping on Text Replacement presents a screen with a few preconfigured shortcut options arranged alphabetically, as well as a search bar for navigating previously created pairings.
To create your own shortcuts, tap the Plus sign in the upper right corner to open a screen with two entry fields. In the top field, Phrase, enter the text you want to quickly retype in other places on iOS. Below that, enter a text shortcut that will subsequently be recognised by iOS 9 and automatically replaced with the longer phrase you just entered.
For instance, you might regularly tell family, “I just left my beloved place of work after an especially difficult day and expect to be at my esteemed place of residence shortly. Please contact me on my mobile telephonic device me if you need anything from the specialty sports good outlet store that sells the baseball gloves you particularly like.” You can enter that into the phrase field and supply an easy-to-remember shortcut, perhaps “jlw” for “just left work.” Now, in message, email or other text fields, you can simply type “jlw” and hit the space bar to invoke that much longer phrase.
Select a shortcut trigger that is not only easy to key in, but is unlikely to be used in regular conversation. If you use a common word, like “left” for the example above, the longer phrase will override the trigger and be inserted instead.
However, if Auto-Correction is activated in Settings>General> Keyboard>Auto-Correct, a text insertion bubble will appear just above the shortcut. Clicking on it will cancel input of the longer phrase, while hitting the space bar invokes the Text Replacement operation. Similarly, activating QuickType (Settings>General> Keyboard>Predictive) will show both the common word shortcut and the longer phrase as selections above iPhone’s soft keyboard.
To edit existing shortcuts, tap on Edit in the bottom left corner of the Text Replacement window, or directly on a Text Replacement phrase. Shortcuts can also be deleted by swiping left on each entry. Text replacement works across iOS 9, including built-in apps like Messages, Reminders, Safari, Calendar and Mail, as well as third party apps such as Gmail and Twitter.
2/ Easier Desktop Site — There is a new quick link feature in mobile Safari to request desktop site by simply tapping and holding on the refresh icon in Safari located to the right of the current URL in the search/address bar. Safari now brings up a prompt (shown above) asking the user if they want to request a desktop version of the site.
3/ Reopen earlier-closed tabs — Another somewhat hidden feature in the iOS 9 browser is the ability to reopen recently-closed tabs in Safari. Press and hold the plus button when in the tabs view in the mobile browser.
4/ Up Next in the Music app for iOS — Now you have a trio of playback options to choose from when it comes to iOS’s Music app: Play, Play Next, or Add to Up Next. (plus Start Station to create a streaming playlist based on a song, artist or album.) Up Next does a great job of letting you create on-the-fly playlists, perfect for perusing your tunes without abruptly jumping from one song to another. Up Next also keeps track of all your recently played tunes, and best of all, Up Next stays out of the way when you’re not in the mood.
An Up Next playlist is already up and running on your iPhone or iPad. To take a look, open the Music app, pick any song, album, playlist, or artist, press Play, then tap the Music mini-player (the thin strip near the bottom of the screen that displays the track name) to reveal the main playback controls. To the right of the Back, Play, and Skip buttons, you’ll see a button marked with stack of three bulleted lines. Tap it to open your Up Next list. At the top of the list, you’ll see the song that’s currently playing, while the the following tracks will be the remaining songs from the same album or playlist. Scroll up, and you’ll see a (probably) huge list of songs that you’ve playing in the recent past. (This also works in the Podcasts app, by the way.)
If you go back to your library and press Play on another song, the remaining tracks in its album will be added to your Up Next list, replacing the tracks from the previous album or playlist.
5/ Select a song to Play Next — Scroll up a bit on the Up Next list, find a favourite track in your playback history, tap the little three-dot button to the right, then tap Play Next. Once you’ve selected a song to play next, it’s queued up for playback after the track that’s currently playing.
A helpful icon will appear, which looks like a stack of items with an arrow pointing toward the top. What you’ve done, basically, is queued up the song you picked: it will begin playing as soon as the current track is finished.
Just below the track you chose to play next, you’ll see the original album you started playing, with a Resume heading just above the album tracks.
6/ Select an entire album, artist or playlist to your Up Next list — Tap the three-dot menu to the right of the artist, album, or playlist name in your music library.
7/ Add a song to Up Next — Scroll up again to your track history in Up Next, tap the three-dot button next to a song, then tap Add to Up Next. Tap the Add to Up Next option to add a track to the bottom of your manually selected Up Next songs; notice the tracks of the album that was originally played, under the Resume heading. Again, an icon will pop up, but this time the arrow will be pointing to the bottom of the stack rather than the top. The idea here is that instead of queuing up a song to play directly after the currently playing track, the song will play after the last song that’s on your Up Next list.
8/ Press Play on a new song in your library — When you have a couple of songs queued up and ready to play in your Up Next list, what happens if you head back to your music collection and press the Play button on a random song? You’ll be asked whether you want to keep your Up Next songs or clear the list.
A pop-up asks ‘After playing this, do you want to play the song you’ve added to Up Next?’ appears. Tap the Keep Up Next button, and the songs you previously added to your Up Next queue will scoot just below the track you just started to play. Tap Clear Up Next, and those old Up Next songs will disappear.
9/ Rearrange your Up Next tracks — Head back to your Up Next list (swipe up on the Music mini-player to reveal the main playback controls, then tap the button with the three bulleted lines), then check out the little virtual “handles” to the right of each queued-up song. Now tap and slide a handle to the right of a track to rearrange it in your Up Next list. Unfortunately there’s no way to grab and slide an entire batch of songs at once; you can only drag them one at a time.
10/ Get rid of your Up Next tracks — If you’re ready to go back to playing songs the old-fashioned way, there are a couple of ways to wipe your Up Next list and start fresh. One is to simply press Play on a new song; as we already covered, a pop-up appears with an option to clear your Up Next list. You can also go straight to your Up Next playlist and tap the Clear button next to the Up Next heading. If you’d like to nix a specific song from your Up Next list, swipe it to the left to reveal a Remove button. Tapping that just removes it from the Up Next queue, not your music collection. (These Music Up Next tips came from Macworld.)
Apple World Today shows you how to customise a Watch face — With the watch face showing, firmly press the display, then swipe to see the faces in your collection. When you find the face you want, tap it. You can add special functions — sometimes called complications — to your watch face, so you can instantly check things like stock prices or the weather report …
Rick Astley song reference in Apple Watch page — In the latest inside joke by Apple, a picture of an Apple Watch support page went viral this week as users discovered a subtle reference to the 1987 Rick Astley song Never Gonna Give You Up.
A close look at the Add a Friend section of the page (left) reveals the letters, “NE VE RG ON NA GI VE YU UP,” in place of the first and last characters of the friends’ name on the watch face.
Australian shopper lines up for iPhone 6s with iPad-based telepresence robot — An Australian woman is using an iPad-equipped telepresence robot in Sydney to remotely secure her place in line for Apple’s Friday launch of the highly anticipated iPhone 6s. The robot is currently fourth in line at company’s flagship Australian store in Sydney. [It’s on sale in New Zealand, too, from 8am today.]
Apple says developers have been shutting off GateKeeper to install counterfeit Xcode — Apple has a list of the top 25 iPhone and iPad apps infected with XcodeGhost, and an explanation for how counterfeit versions of its Xcode tools were installed: developers in China intentionally shut off OS X’s Gatekeeper feature. Without Gatekeeper running, there was no failsafe in place to alert developers that they installed malware on their own computers.
Rose gold iPhone 6s models said to represent as much as 40% of preorders — Though it is only one of four colours available, the new rose gold iPhone 6s is said to be the most popular option for preorders, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities.
Apple issues second iOS 9.1 public beta, launches iPhone 6s iOS 9.0.1 update — Apple has just provided public beta testers with their second build of iOS 9.1, and also launched the iOS 9.0.1 update tailored for the soon-to-debut iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.
Apple expands HealthKit in iOS 9 to track sexual activity, ovulation, UV exposure, water intake — Beginning with iOS 9, HealthKit now accepts a number of new data types from external apps and accessories, tracking everything from water consumption to whether protection was used during sex.
Apple localises ‘Trash’ to ‘Rubbish’ in iOS 9 — Apple’s legendary attention to detail is sometimes shown in small and fun ways, such as Mail’s ‘Trash”‘ folder being renamed ‘Rubbish’ in some countries[including New Zealand, on the public release of iOS 9 anyway, as pointed out to me yesterday by reader Alan Alach].
Apple’s new San Francisco, Union Square store tops out its steel skeleton —Apple’s new flagship retail store in San Francisco’s Union Square shopping district has now topped out its metal frame, providing this weekend’s iPhone 6s shoppers with a glimpse of where they will soon line up for their next Apple product.
Apple adds ‘Active Collection’ colors to three Beats headphone lines — Apple on Thursday added new Active Collection colours to three of its Beats headphone lines, including its Tour2 and Powerbeats2 Wireless in-ear models, and the over-the-ear Solo2 Wireless.
Each product is now available in bright blue, red, and yellow colours, at no extra cost. The Tour2 costs US$130, while the Powerbeats2 Wireless is US$200, and the Solo2 Wireless (pictured) costs US$300.
Fake Apple Stores continue to flourish in China — Apple has struggled with fake Apple Stores in China for years. A new report from Reuters (via The Loop) said such stores are flourishing, so much so that secondary businesses have sprung up to supply the fake stores with shirts, signage, and the accoutrements needed to make the fakes look real.
Apple’s Tim Cook offers internship, new iPhone to teen who says Apple Watch saved his life — Apple CEO Tim Cook is reportedly offering a new iPhone and a 2016 summer internship to a high school student who recently claimed his Apple Watch saved his life.
How to set up the Workout app in watchOS 2 — Apple has released watchOS 2, the first major software update for the Apple Watch. If you’ve downloaded it (and you should) and haven’t yet tried the Workout app, here’s how to set it up.