Aurora update, Apple solar, most reliable laptops, disabling Handoff, Flash rebranding


Aurora HDR update — A new version of Aurora HDR has arrived! Macphun have listened closely to user feedback and developed brand new features and improvements.
Highlights include more extensive plug-in compatibility with host applications Adobe Lightroom & Apple Aperture, more versatile ghost reduction handling, performance improvements and a new preset category for those photographers interested in more natural results.

Apple recognised for its amount of solar capacity and number of solar installations — For the fourth year in a row, Walmart ranked No.1 in the Solar Means Business report by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), which identifies major commercial solar projects and ranks top corporate solar users. Apple is also among the companies recognised for their amount of solar capacity and number of solar installations (along with Kohl’s, Macy’s, Walgreens, Target, IKEA, Prologis, FedEx, Intel, General Motors, Verizon, Johnson & Johnson, Bed Bath & Beyond, Safeway, Hartz Mountain, Staples, L’Oreal, Kaiser Permanente and Toyota).

Consumer Reports: Macs are the most reliable laptops — A survey of 58,000 Consumer Reports subscribers — as reported by ZDNet — shows Apple has the most reliable laptops with only a 10 percent breakdown rate in the first three years.

Disabling Handoff in OS X — The so-called Handoff feature isn’t new; it’s been around since Yosemite/iOS 8 — but a lot of people don’t know what’s going on when it happens. On your Mac, having Handoff on means that you may see new icons appearing and disappearing on the left side of your Dock.

Adobe to change Flash — Adobe has a big Creative Cloud update coming in January 2016, and one of the changes will be the renaming of Flash Professional CC, Adobe’s long-time Flash content creation tool, to Animate CC. To be fair, this is more than rebranding; it’s a big step towards shoring up Adobe’s place as a mainstream HTML5 content creator. It’s also an important step on the path to [the accursed] Flash’s inevitable demise.

iPad sales and Pro, pair your Pencil, trace with iPad Pro, NSA ends collection, Airways Watch scanning, addresses for everywhere

Can the Pro model turn around iPad sales? Two research groups have differing predictions — Worldwide tablet shipments will reach 211.3 million units in 2015, down -8.1% from 2014, according to new data from IDC. However, the research group expects the iPad Pro, which it considered a “detachable” device, to turn around Apple’s tablet sales. [Dare I say ‘wait and see?’ Well, yes.]

How to pair your Apple Pencil with your iPad Pro — So you’ve finally gotten your hands on a $99 Apple Pencil to use with your iPad Pro. Here’s how to pair the two.

How to Trace Drawings and Photos on Your iPad Pro — You can snap photos and use scanner apps to get drawings into your iPad Pro, but what if you want to trace a drawing? Turns out you can with your Apple Pencil. Watch The Mac Observer’s video where Jeff Gamet shows you how.

NSA ends bulk phone record collection — The National Security Agency’s days of openly collecting US phone records in bulk have come to an end, at least for now. The agency was required by the USA Freedom Act to stop its whole scale phone metadata harvesting program and is now expected to request warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for specific individuals or groups.

Citing rapid Apple Watch adoption, British Airways to launch wrist-friendly ticket scanners — British Airways has seen quick customer adoption of the Apple Watch for boarding passes, prompting the airliner to integrate new wrist-friendly ticket scanners at London’s Heathrow Airport starting this month.


IN1 is a handy combination iPhone case and Swiss Army Knife — Dennis sellers has lamented more than once that there’s nothing new under the sun when it comes to iPhone cases. He stands corrected. “The IN1 Multi-Tool Utility Case is certainly different than anything I’ve ever tested before.” [I’d by this – good luck taking it onto a plane, though it’s apparently TSA compliant due to its lack of a truly sharp blade]

What3Words app brings ‘addresses’ to any place on Earth — A London-based startup called What3Words promises to bring an ‘address’ of sorts to those locations that may not be near a recognisable street or road.

(Product)Red logos, Adobe Photoshop, Fuse, MyApple magazine, Black Friday, Photo 10, Mac games, Apple Music and Sonos


Apple Store logos turn red to mark World AIDS Day, (Product)Red donations top $100M — Maintaining a four-year-old tradition, Apple has changed the logos outside of a number of its retail stores from white to red in order to signal World AIDS Day, simultaneously announcing its (Product)Red donations have topped $100 million.

Adobe releases big updates to Photoshop and a new 3D character app, Fuse — Interface tweaks and new features come to Photoshop, along with a new integrated app for creating 3D models to pose or animate.
All updates all the time is Adobe’s mission for its Creative Cloud subscription plan. Delivering perpetual updates to the suite’s desktop lineup, without adhering to a designated upgrade schedule, frees both company and users from the long, cold wait for new and enhanced features. On Monday, Adobe announced a huge update to Photoshop CC 2015, its flagship image editor, which now hooks into its new 3D character creation app called Fuse CC (English language only, so far).

MyApple Magazine Issue No. 2 is now available for free — It’s the beginning of December, and Issue #2 of MyApple Magazine is now available for your reading pleasure (free)

Analyst thinks Apple’s Black Friday was its best ever — Apple apparently registered the strongest Friday sales in its entire history this Black Friday just gone (Nov. 27), says Global Equities’ Trip Chowdhry. He attributes this to the company’s “strategic shift in selling.”

On1 Photo 10 review: From suite to sweet: photo editing app does it all — For about a decade, On1’s photo editing tools have been marketed and used primarily as plug-ins for Adobe Lightroom, Apple Aperture, or Adobe Photoshop. Each tool was an independent, one-trick pony and appropriately named: Perfect Black and White, for example, or Perfect Portrait. A couple of versions back, On1 began rolling these mini-apps into a Perfect Photo Suite that allowed users to access all the tools from a central dashboard independent of Lightroom or Aperture. The latest version — renamed On1 Photo 10 — takes this plan to the next level. Photo 10 is no longer a suite in name or design: it’s now a pretty well integrated app.

Mac games — It’s the season of giving — but if you love gaming on your Mac, why not treat yourself to a little something? November saw the release of dozens of new Mac games, and Macworld picked out the best and most intriguing of the bunch. Half of these are $20 or less apiece, so even if you’re tight on cash amidst ample holiday shopping, you can still grab something new to play.

Apple Music will play nice with Sonos beginning Dec. 15 — Streaming music and Sonos speakers go together like peanut butter and jelly, which is why Apple Music’s absence from Sonos’s list of supported streaming services was perplexing. But Apple Music is joining the roster of supported music services on Dec. 15, so Sonos speaker owners will have another option for streaming songs throughout their homes.

Review ~ Swiss Mobility Rugged Power Pack


Swiss Mobility makes a range of chargers but for high-speed iDevice charging on the go, it’s hard to beat the Rugged Power Pack. This palm-sized device is a 6000mAh charger and can do two devices at once. It’s also ruggedised to military standard 810G; it’s both splash-proof and shock-resistant.
You charge the Rugged in advance (although it comes precharged out of the box, so when you get it new, it’s ready to use without having to charge it first) then plug in your device for 2.1-amp fast charging for tablets, 1-amp charging for smartphones.

Lights — Press the top-mounted button once to light up one-to-four blue lights showing how much charge you have available – four lights is the most charge, naturally. The Rugged can retain its charge for 1000 hours. One end (the end where the charge indicator lights are) has a flip-down cover, which gives it the splash resistance. Opening it reveals the two USB ports for charging (note these are different powers). There are also two bright white LEDs placed centrally, between the two USB ports and above the mini-USB charge input port you use to top up power to the charger– the Rugged Charger is an emergency torch, too. To activate the torch, press the top-mounted button twice (once gives you charge indication).

Conclusion — The Rugged Power Pack is handy in itself thanks to the torch, and it’s rugged build plus splash-proof cover makes it handy for travellers, hikers and other people out in the wild, although the strong, rubbery material adds a little bulk that stops it being as pocketable as some.

What’s great — Strong, long-lasting charger that will be indispensable when far from power points. The addition of a torch is a good idea, although this will, of course, also deplete the charge. It’s a good price considering its dual-charging, strength and extra features.

What’s not — Rugged rubbery case adds a little bulk, but it’s still pocketable, depending on the pocket.

Needs — Travellers, hikers, outdoor workers

Swiss Mobility Rugged Power NZ$79.99.

System — Charges iPads and iPhones (and other-brand tablets and smartphones, some cameras). Comes with a Micro USB power cord, User Manual and a storage pouch. To charge, use the USB cable that came with your device.

Available from — Apple Resellers and some electronics retailers.

More info — macgear (the page for this particular charger is here).

12-coreGPU in Pro, Product(Red iPhone case, Android trial, Apple Watch sales

Chipworks12Chipworks finds 12-cluster GPU, dual-core CPU in the iPad Pro A9X — An X-ray of the latest Apple system-on-chip from Chipworks always seems to follow the teardown of the latest devices by iFixit. Chipworks shared its latest X-ray with The Motley Fool, and found that the A9X features a dual-core CPU and a 12 GPU clusters.
The SoC that Chipworks scanned was found to have been built by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, although it’s unknown if that company is a sole-source supplier for the A9X.
What makes the GPU design so fascinating is that Apple uses the Imagination Technologies Series 7XT GPU, and that graphics partner only offers its technology in clusters of 2, 4, 6, 8 and 16.
That means that the A9X features a semi-custom design for Apple.

Apple’s leather cases for iPhone 6s, 6s Plus now shipping in new (Product)Red versions — Apple has launched (Product)Red options for its official leather cases for the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, channeling a portion of the proceeds towards charity.

Macworld contributor tries Android — It took less than 72 hours to wipe away eight years of memories. Part of it was the allure of the younger Nexus 6P, but it wasn’t just a newness thing; for a fleeting moment it was as if iOS and Siri didn’t exist. My once-beloved iPhone 6 sat on my nightstand, slowly draining its charge, with a persistent “No SIM card installed” message as if begging for my attention. [This story concludes “…once my crush wore off I was able to see just how dependable and reliable iOS is.”]

Apple Watch sales could total 12 million for 2015 — On the all-important Black Friday shopping day on November 27, analyst Daniel Ives of FBR & Co. checked with a number of Apple retail stores and based on his estimates, Ives believes that Apple could end up selling 6 million Apple Watches in the quarter ending December 31, 2015.

iMac HDMI, Apple R&D, 2016 MacBook Air, hardware RAID


Why doesn’t the iMac have an HDMI connector? Thunderbolt and USB ports are nice. However, HDMI is getting smaller even as it gets bigger. HDMI is an interface for audiovisual equipment such as high-definition television and home theater systems. It’s able to carry a bandwidth of 5Gbps (gigabits per second), which is purportedly more than twice the bandwidth needed to transmit multi-channel audio and video. HDMI provides an uncompressed, all-digital signal. (OSX Daily tells you how to connect an GDMI display to an iMac.)

Apple R&D spending is a fraction of other major American tech companies — Apple spent just 3.5% — $8.1 billion — of its 2015 revenues on research and development, proportionately far less than peers like Google and Facebook in the American tech landscape.

Dennis Sellers’ crystal ball: what to expect in the revamped MacBook Air, MacBook Pro line-ups — In a report noted by AppleInsider, Taiwan-based Economic Daily News claims Apple is working on an all-new MacBook Air series that will debut at next summer’s Worldwide Developer Conference. I think they’re right, but that some of the details are wrong.

Considering a hardware RAID? What you need to know — A hardware RAID can be pricey but helps prevent data loss and improves performance.