Free ride request in Australia, VR and Apple


Apple objects to ‘free ride’ requests by Australian banks to open up NFC on iPhone — Apple has complained to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission over the resistance of major banks in the country using Apple Pay, with a recent filing claiming a request to open up access to the iPhone’s NFC controller would effectively allow banks to avoid using Apple Pay entirely.
In New Zealand only ANZ – an Australian bank – has implemented Apple Pay.

VR evangelist doubles down on rumor that Apple AR headset is inbound, moves date up to 2017 — Augmented and virtual reality herald Robert Scoble has amplified his predictions about an Apple partnership with Carl Zeiss on a pair of smart glasses, and is predicting an announcement of the technology possibly as early as the middle of 2017.
Scoble expects a very lightweight pair of glasses, with the electronics on other places on your body, such as in an iPhone or other wearable.

LG UltraFine shielding, Cook’s French surprise, filing against Trump, free Final Cut template Seal


Shielded LG UltraFine 5K displays headed to Apple stores, fixes done on case-by-case basis — Thunderbolt 3 LG UltraFine 5K displays boasting enhanced shielding to prevent radio frequency interference disconnects and crashing are working their way to retailers now. Meanwhile problematic units in the field will be assessed for service and shielding addition on a case by case basis, AppleInsider has learned.

Apple’s Tim Cook makes surprise stops at stores in Paris, Marseilles — Apple CEO Tim Cook made unexpected visits to two French Apple stores on Sunday, namely the Terrasses du Port outlet in the southern city of Marseilles, and the Carrousel du Louvre location in Paris.

Apple, other tech companies file brief opposing Trump’s travel ban — The legal battle is intensifying over President Trump’s immigration order, with further court filings expected today from both the government and Department of Justice. Seventy-five tech companies, including Apple, US tech companies have filed an amicus brief opposing the travel ban, saying it “inflicts significant harm on American businesses.”

Free Seal makes it easy to create seal titles for Apple’s Final Cut Pro X — Conner Productions’s Seal is a pro level template to make introductory seal titles for Apple’s Final Cut Pro X. It’s free — and free is good!
Seal, designed with creative professionals, individuals, and businesses, is customisable and lets you create introduction seals for your videos featuring a spinning seal that comes into focus. It’s easy to customize text color, background color, and other elements to craft the template to fit within a video. Conner Production’s installer makes installing Seal easy; using the template in videos is a matter of dragging it into the timeline.

132 million US iPhones, Bangalore iPhones, Celebrate hacking tools, Linea Sketching App

Linea is a great iPad sketching app
Linea is a great iPad sketching app, and Serenity Caldwell sketches her review in the app

iPhone US installed base has reached 132 million — Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP), has released its analysis of the results from its research on Apple for the fiscal quarter that ended Dec. 31, 2016. The research group found that the iPhone US installed base reached 132 million units as of the end of 2016. [There are c325 million people in the States.]

Apple to start assembling iPhones in Bangalore by April — Apple plans to start assembling the iPhone in Bangalore by end April under a contract manufacturing arrangement with Taiwan’s Wistron.
The move comes as it awaits approval from the federal government for some of its proposals for lowering the import duties on components and for creating an ecosystem of local manufacturers who can supply components for the smartphones, according to sources close to the situation.

Hackers post Cellebrite’s Smartphone Cracking Tools online — A hacker dumped 900GB of hacking tools and data used by Cellebrite. The cache of data is on Pastebin, for now, at least. Cellebrite is an Israeli security company that came to public prominence when the FBI used its services to hack into the San Bernadino shooter’s iPhone. [Ouch – The hacker took the hacking tools from a remote server controlled by Cellebrite.]

Serenity Caldwell’s animated review of Iconfactory’s Linea Sketching App — Iconfactory has been making a big splash with its new Linea sketching app, a major new entry in the illustration space. Serenity Caldwell has done a great animated (stop motion video) review of the software for iMore.
Caldwell said “Linea has supplanted Paper in my iPad’s dock as my go-to sketching program — and for those who know me, that’s a shocker: I haven’t really sketched in anything consistently other than Paper since its 2013 release.” If you’ve been curious about Linea, you should definitely watch.

Mac is the future, switch from Windows, Pro Mac apps, tech coalition vs Trump, free speech award, Room Lighting Calc


Perhaps the Mac is the real ‘future of personal computing’ — Apple CEO Tim Cook has said that the iPad is the “clearest expression of our vision of the future of personal computing.” However, Dennis sellers thinks the Mac may fill that role with the iPad thriving as a complementary device.
Tuesday lat week, Apple reported its Mac line generated record single-quarter revenue of $7.2 billion, beating the previous mark set three years earlier by $300 million. The Mac not only returned to growth, but generated its highest quarterly revenue ever. And it you believe that, here’s the easy guide to switching from Windows to Mac.

Get Pro Mac apps from Apple with an Education Discount — Apple is offering a brand new educational bundle for students and teachers. The apps, worth US$430 (NZ$588) separately, are bundled for US$199 (about NZ$282) and include Logic Pro X, Final Cut Pro X, Motion 5, Compressor 4 and Main Stage 3. Verification requires an account on UNiDAYS, a savings program for college kids.

Apple, Google, other techs build coalition to oppose Trump’s Muslim Ban — Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook are building a coalition of corporate giants to oppose President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban. According to Re/code, the tech giants are reaching out to other tech companies, including Uber and Stripe, as well as companies outside of the tech space.

Tim Cook wins the Newseum 2017 Free Expression Award in the Free Speech category — The Newseum has announced that Apple CEO Tim Cook will receive the Newseum’s 2017 Free Expression Award in the Free Speech category. Cook, who has led Apple since August 2011, will be recognized “for his leadership in creating technology that has had a profound impact on how we communicate.” [Is there an Evading Tax award?]

Room Lighting Calc simplifies the generation of morphologically defined parametric objects — If you need to generate morphologically defined parametric objects (vaults, quadric, domes, etc..) or generate primitive objects, (cubes, spheres, cones, etc.), you may find Brotens’ Room Lighting Calc for macOS handy.
The light sources, calculated as volumetric sources, are managed entirely by Room Lighting Calc, which allows you to import, display, edit and format: IESNA LM-63 (ASCII text files normally used by manufacturers of lighting fixtures in North America); EULUMDAT (formed by European standards); and DXF drawings and data files.
It requires macOS 10.10 or higher, costs NZ$36.99/US$24.99, and is available at the Mac App Store.

Futurology ~ Life on Europa, odd astronaut DNA results, 2nd Life VR Social world, entry into physics, concrete

After four years' work, Sansar the VR world should arrive this year
After four years’ work, Sansar the VR world should arrive this year

Promising new tool may help find life on Europa — Scientists have tailored an old-school chemistry technique to analyse amino acid patterns, creating a tool for sniffing out alien biosignatures in just a few grams of seawater.
The method, 10,000 times more sensitive than similar techniques used by NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover, is ideally suited for a life-hunting mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa, or Saturn’s Enceladus, lead study author Peter Willis told Gizmodo.
~ Not so good for dry planets, then. 

Odd DNA results for Scott Kelly — Astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly volunteered themselves as test subjects for NASA, which has been studying the pair since they’ve returned from their respective voyages in space: the identical twin brothers are subjects of a 10-part investigation to understand the impact of space travel on the body.
As identical twins, the brothers are genetically very similar. However, researchers found that while he was in orbit, Scott’s telomeres — the caps on the ends of chromosomes — grew longer than his twin brother’s. Though Scott’s telomeres returned to their pre-flight lengths shortly after he returned to Earth, these results were totally unexpected, since telomeres naturally shrink over the course of one’s life, and the stresses of spaceflight are supposed to accelerate this.
~ Must be a pain being born as an Identical Test Subject. 

Sansar, the new virtual reality world from Second Life’s creators — after four years work, will arrive later this year on Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headsets. “It is trying to solve some of the big problems that plagued Second Life for years,” reports MIT Technology Review, “such as that most users come in through what is essentially a front door and have a hard time finding things to do once they get in… In the demos I tried, I navigated via an atlas that shows a simple clickable thumbnail image of each destination along with its name.”
~ Let me in! Reality has become so freakin’ crazy!

Want to get into physics? Wired has some tips for you.
~ No, I want to get into Sansar! Meanwhile, Siri is the maths master for converting units easily. 

Concrete … what is it? we invented it, we lost it, we reinvented it — Here’s how we discovered concrete, forgot it, and then finally cracked the mystery of what makes it so strong. For concrete, we usually picture white pavements, swimming pools and building foundations. Most of us aren’t aware of concrete’s fiery volcanic origin story, or that concrete is a $100 billion dollar industry. In fact, it’s the most widely-used material on our planet after water. Ton for ton, humans use more concrete today than steel, wood, plastics, and aluminum combined.
~ “We are all Romans, unconscious collective…”

Five Tip Friday ~ macOS tips for viewing files instantly, Smart Folders and Safari


1/ Use Quick Look in macOS Sierra — Use Quick Look in macOS Sierra (and previous versions of macOS) to view photos, files, movies, sound files, PDFs, even Word files when you don’t have Word, without opening them – the view is in full resolution. You can use Quick Look for items in Finder windows, on your desktop, in emails, in messages, and other places. Select one or more items, then press the Spacebar on your keyboard or, with later apple trackpads, force-click items. A Quick Look window opens. If you selected multiple items, the first item is shown. You can manually enlarge the window by dragging its corners, click the Full Screen green button at top left, and to return to the previous size, click the Exit Full Screen button (that green button again).
To see the next or previous item, click the arrows on the left, or press the Left and Right arrow keys. In full screen, you can click Play to view multiple items as a slideshow.
To see the items in an index sheet view, click the Sheet View button on the left, or press Command-Return.
You can also open the file with its parent Application, which is listed at top right, to actually edit the file (in the example above, it’s the Preview app) and click the Share button on the right.
When you’re done, close the Quick Look window by pressing the Spacebar or force-clicking again, or click the Close button (red button at top left of the window).

2/ Play the video portion of a Live Photo — When you open a Live Photo (which you can only take with iPhone 6s or 7) in the Quick Look window, the video portion of the photo plays automatically. To view it again, click Live Photo in the bottom-left corner of the photo.


3/ Create and modify a Smart Folder — Smart Folders automatically gather files by type and subject matter. They’re updated as you change, add, and remove files on your Mac.
In the Finder, choose File>New Smart Folder. To search for files, enter a topic, a phrase, or another parameter in the search field.
To determine whether the search should include only the names of files or their entire contents, choose ‘Name matches’ in the search suggestions that appear below the search field, then click Name, then choose either Filename or Everything.
To search for additional specific attributes, click the Add buttonbelow the search field, then make choices using the search attribute pop-up menus that appear.
The menus work in pairs; for example, to search for images, you choose Kind from the pop-up menu on the left, then choose Images from the pop-up menu next to it.
Click Save, then specify a name and location for your Smart Folder.
If you don’t want your Smart Folder to be in the sidebar, deselect Add To Sidebar.
You can’t use certain characters, including punctuation such as a colon (:), in folder names. If an error message appears, try using another name.
To change the criteria for a Smart Folder, open the Smart Folder. Begin typing in the folder’s search field, or click the Action pop-up menu , then choose Show Search Criteria.

4/ History in Safari — Want to see the sites you were looking at on your Mac yesterday? Easy. From the History menu, you can choose Earlier Today, or any of the six days preceding that.
Of course, this poses a security concern: anyone else can do the same thing on your Mac if it’s unlocked, to see where you were and to open any of those links – you’re bank account, for example, and if you let this automatically log in (a very bad idea), then you’re really asking for trouble. When you select the Clear History item at the bottom of the History menu, you get to choose just to delete the last hour’s sites, Today, Today and Yesterday or All. Be warned that any logins and auto-logins you went to will also be ‘forgotten’ and you will have to enter your details and/or auto- log in again.


5/ Selectively delete history items — I had never realised you can much more selectively delete history items. When you choose Show All History, which is the very top item in the History menu, you get to click on any one item (or hold down the Command key on your keyboard to select several items) to highlight individual sites and press the Delete key on your keyboard.
You can clear everything with the Clear History …’ button and even search for that distant item.
Double-clicking on any line launches the site, which can also be very handy.

Nintendo’s Fire Emblem Heroes, Watch sales, Ranger for iPad


You can download Nintendo’s Fire Emblem Heroes for iOS today — If you’ve been itching to get your hands on Nintendo’s latest mobile game, you’ll be able to download it today.
Fire Emblem Heroes is beginning to roll out in the iOS App store. Launching in 30 countries today, including New Zealand, the game follows the so-called freemium model, with a free initial download bolstered with in-app purchases to aid in your progress.
The game puts a touch-screen spin on the console version of Fire Emblem, letting you complete in “strategic turn-based battles streamlined for on-the-go play.”

Strategy Analytics: Apple sold 5.2 million smartwatches in the fourth quarter — According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global smartwatch shipments grew 1% annually to hit a record 8.2 million units in the fourth quarter of 2016. Apple Watch drove growth and dominated with 63% global smartwatch marketshare, while Samsung maintained second position.

rangerRanger: The Making of a New Zealand Racing Legend — Beautifully designed for iBooks, CreativeTech Ltd has republished Ranger in a digital edition you can read on iPad and iPhone via the iBooks app.
It costs NZ$19.99 and equivalents in over 50 countries worldwide, and a free sample chapter is also available from this link.

ARM chips for Macs, letter to Trump, Baccus backup app, Ranger

A brand new book in iBooks features the story of New Zealand yacht racing legend Ranger
A brand new book in iBooks features the story of New Zealand yacht racing legend Ranger

Apple reportedly working on ARM chips for upcoming Macs — A new Bloomberg report, quoting unnamed “people familiar with the matter,” says Apple is designing a new chip for future Mac laptops that would take on more of the functionality currently handled by Intel processors. Apple engineers are reportedly planning to offload the Mac’s low-power mode, a feature marketed as “Power Nap,” to the next-generation ARM-based chip. [So, not the main CPU, then.]

Apple, others pen letter opposing Trump’s travel ban — Apple, Alphabet, Facebook, Uber, Stripe and other companies have teamed up to pen a letter opposing US President Trump’s travel ban that suspends travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, according to re/code. [“750,000 Dreamers”??]
By the way, you can take various measures at Facebook to control access. Twitter has a much different approach, but there are ways to deal with control there, too, as Macworld explains how to really bury your head in the digital sand.

Baccus is a new backup app for macOS — Factorial has introduced Baccus 1.0, a new backup App for macOS. It’s designed to make it easy to back up your home folder to multiple backup devices, including external drives and NAS.
Baccus requires macOS 10.10 or later. Single user licenses cost US$19.99. A free time-limited trial is available via the Baccus website.

Ranger: The Making of a New Zealand Racing Legend  — Beautifully designed for iBooks, CreativeTech Ltd has republished Ranger in a digital edition you can read on Mac, iPad and iPhone via the iBooks app. It costs NZ$19.99 and equivalents in over 50 countries worldwide, and a free sample chapter is also available from this link.

Record-setting iPhone, Prince, Mobility Partner Program, iPad slump, AirPods update

(Image from Apple Inc's iPhone 7 page)
(Image from Apple Inc’s iPhone 7 page)

Apple smashes expectations: record setting $78.4B in revenue on sales of 78.3M iPhones — Apple’s holiday 2016 quarter was the company’s biggest ever, soaring to new heights on sales of 78.3 million iPhones following the launch of the iPhone 7 series. Apple’s iPhone hit an ASP of $695 in the record-setting fiscal Q1.

Prince coming to Apple Music, Spotify — It looks as if Prince may be streaming on Apple Music and other services soon. An industry insider says deals are in place for the iconic artist’s work to stream on more than just Tidal starting on February 12.

Participating companies shed light on Apple’s secretive ‘Mobility Partner Program’ — Beyond commerce giants IBM, SAP, and Cisco, Apple works with other businesses under the auspices of its Mobility Partner Program,  which isn’t widely discussed. But a recent loosening of Apple’s fabled secrecy has led a few smaller companies to open up about their experiences with the program.
Apple’s Mobility Partner Program is aimed at extending Apple’s technologies into the business app marketplace. The program is bi-directional, with Apple participating with the companies in discussions and training with developers, and the companies in turn supplying feedback to Apple.

Apple iPad decline continues with 19 percent drop in holiday quarter — In contrast with iPhone and Mac performance, the iPad continued a long-term decline in Apple’s first fiscal quarter of 2017, seeing shipments fall 19% year-over-year. [It’s getting so bad, we could call it ‘Donald Slump’.]

Apple pushes AirPods firmware 3.5.1 to synchronized iPhones with minor bug fixes — A firmware update for Apple’s AirPods is being distributed now, which brings undisclosed bug fixes to Apple’s sought-after wireless earbuds.

Apple’s blockbuster quarter, repatriating money, PicGIF

PicGIF makes it easy to control and create GIFs
PicGIF makes it easy to control and create GIFs

Analysts raise Apple targets, see shares going as high as $156 after best-quarter ever — Apple exceeded Wall Street’s expectations led by the blockbuster debut of the iPhone 7 series. Its holiday quarter sent shares of the company’s stock higher and prompted analysts to revise their price targets upward. Even so, Google has overtaken Apple as the world’s most valuable brand, but Apple’s services business has sit Fortune 100 level. Company CEO Tim Cook said the company’s services business is on track to reach the size of a Fortune 100 company in 2017, and the goal is to double the division’s growth over the next four years. The market share for macOS (and for iOS) both rose in January, according to the latest market share survey from NetMarketShare.

Tim Cook says repatriation of $231B in overseas cash would be ‘very good for the country and good for Apple’ — With the newly anointed administration of US President Donald Trump signalling a business-friendly environment, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said he’s hopeful that his company will be able to finally bring some of its massive $231.3 billion cash hoard back home at a ‘reasonable tax rate’. Meanwhile, Apple is weighing legal action against Trump’s immigration ban. [That’s one way to repatriate cash: in lawyers’ fees.]

PicGIF makes it easy, fun to create your own GIFs — Animated images, or GIFs, have been around for 25 years, but they saw a resurgence of popularity starting in 2013. If you want to make your own, PicGIF from Pearl Mountain offers a quick, easy solution. PicGIF is available at the Mac App Store for NZ$7.99/US$4.99 and requires macOS 10.7 or higher.

Goodbye 32-bit, WiFi calls

(Image from Apple Inc)
(Image from Apple Inc)

iOS 10.3 beta reveals Apple will cut off 32-bit support in ‘future versions of iOS’ — Bringing an era to a close, an upcoming version of iOS, possibly iOS 11, will drop support for 32-bit apps entirely, according to an error message discovered in the first iOS 10.3 beta. Apple has used 64-bit processors in iOS devices since 2013’s iPhone 5s, and has been gradually ramping up pressure on developers to conform. New apps were required to offer 64-bit support in Feb. 2015, and that policy extended to app updates in June the same year. [Mac’s have already been exclusively 64-bit for years, which lets them use more RAM.]

Three UK enables Wi-Fi calling for iPhones without use of inTouch app — British cell-phone carrier Three is making it easier for its subscribers to make calls over Wi-Fi when there is no cellular signal, by allowing those with iPhones to place calls and messages using the embedded Wi-Fi calling feature of iOS, instead of the mobile network’s custom app. [Apple has a page about this, but it has to be enabled by the carrier and it appears Vodafone does not support this in NZ.]
The UK carrier update is now available to customers with the iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, or later generations of iPhone running iOS 10.2, and can be enabled within the Phone menu in Settings. Three now joins rival networks EE and Vodafone in offering Wi-Fi calling to its customers in the United Kingdom, using the facility built into iOS.

Apple immigration, new writing app Tabula, 10 games, Cologne Store, new Dropbox tools

Tabula is a new Mac/iOS Word Processor that auto-formats
Tabula is a new Mac/iOS Word Processor that auto-formats and cloud-syncs

Tim Cook: ‘Apple would not exist without immigration’ — Well, neither would America, or New Zealand 0r even England for that matter. Anyway, Cook has joined other tech industry execs in condemning the Trump administration’s executive order that bans refugees and travelers from predominantly Muslim countries.
Apple has championed the causes of marriage equality and environmental sustainability in recent years, so its employees looked to the company’s leadership in the wake of President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration from predominantly Muslim countries. The order, which restricts immigration from seven countries and outright bans refugees from Syria, was handed down late Friday and led to protests in several US cities and at airports where refugees were being detained.
Trump has reportedly drafted an executive order that targeting the types of visa used by Apple: according to Bloomberg, the Trump administration wants to change the rules for temporary worker visas known as H-1B, L-1, E-2 and B1. [Wait till he sets up his own independent ‘security’ organisation.]

Tabula is a new writing app for the Mac that automatically formats your content — Charlie Imhoff has released Tabula 1.0 for macOS. This writing app that automatically formats your text as you write.
Tabula uses an intelligent interpreter that reads and styles text automatically to enable users to create beautiful text documents without touching a styling toolbar or learning complex markup. It wraps up its interpretation in handcrafted themes for export, adjusting to screen size so they read comfortably on any device.
Tabula requires macOS 10.10 or later. For a limited time, it’s offered for the introductory price of US$4.99 and available worldwide exclusively through the Mac App Store [although I get a ‘Not available in New Zealand’ flag, it does show up when you search on ‘Tabula’ in the Mac App Store for NZ$7.49].
Tabula is also available for iOS for the introductory price of US$2.99 at the Apple App Store. Tabula for macOS and iOS work together through iCloud Drive, allowing authors to start documents on their iPhones or iPads, and finish them on their Macs.

Macworld has a Ten Mac Games slideshow — You can check that out here. [Does anyone really like a bit-mappy game? I don’t have a Retina display for nuthin’! Yuri looks good though.]

Apple reportedly nears completion of second retail store in Cologne, Germany — While still unannounced, a photo appears to confirm that Apple is on the verge of opening second store in Cologne, Germany. Apple currently has 14 Stores there.

Dropbox releases office suite Paper out of beta, launches Smart Sync — Dropbox has launched two new tools for its users, with the collaborative-working service Paper exiting beta, and Smart Sync allowing users to more selectively synchronize files between the cloud storage service and individual Mac and PC desktops.