Control Center bug, iPhone browsing anonymity, robots on iPad design, smartphone stabiliser


Rigiet stabiliser will be well-priced even if you don’t back it on Kickstarter

iOS Control Center bug Is freezing certain iPhones — An iOS Control Center bug plaguing some Apple customers is causing some iPhones to freeze and restart. It happens when you tap any three buttons in the Control Center at once. iOS versions affected by this include iOS 10 and even the latest iOS 10.3.2 beta. Here’s what you need to know.

A Tor Browser might not be your best solution for internet privacy — There are a number of ways to make sure you have a good experience browsing while keeping things private on iDevices. Jeff Butts looks at some of the methods for doing that.

Emergence of robots will, remarkably, force a change in iPad design — The iPad was developed, in the Macintosh era of maturity, as a simpler alternaive for content consumption. It nicely eliminated the headaches of PC complexity and security concerns. Today, things are radically different, and the need to be able to create content and generate personal revenue is much more pressing than when the iPad was first conceived almost a decade ago.

Prototype review: Rigiet smartphone camera stabiliser — If you want to hand hold an iPhone 7 Plus to film high quality video, you need a gimbal. Dobot has announced the start of its Kickstarter campaign to bring the Rigiet stabiliser to market for just US$189 (or $129 to backers of the Kickstarter campaign) but even the regular retail price is over $100 less than the DJI Osmo…

2m Final Cut Pro X users, AI guru, Californian heist, iWork updated


Final Cut Pro X now has over 2 million users, Apple says — Final Cut Pro X , once a controversial redesign of Apple’s professional video editing suite, has just topped 2 million users, Apple announced at this week’s National Association of Broadcasters conference in Las Vegas. It took significantly less time to jump from 1 million to 2 million than to reach that first milestone, an Apple representative said. Pro X has been on the market since June 2011. Since then Apple has made numerous updates to Pro X, addressing many of the original complaints. It has nevertheless had to fight to keep Final Cut relevant, faced with competition like Adobe’s Premiere Pro CC.

AirPort Utility – adjusting Basestation preferences — “My AirPort’s light is orange instead of green. What do I do?” AirPort Utility’s habit of blinking devices’ status lights amber when updates are available is kind of a pain, but  a couple of preferences you can change to be sure that your users aren’t notified of updates, so you can decide to go forward with new software when you’re ready (and not just when AirPort Utility wants you to). Melissa Holt explains.

Apple AI guru Tom Gruber speaks of artificial intelligence’s ‘inevitability’ at TED — Speaking at the TED conference, Siri co-founder and Apple AI expert Tom Gruber declared that artificial intelligence should be used less to replace humans, and more to enhance aspects of humanity that are unreliable or fail with time, like memory.

Robbers nab $24K worth of Apple goods in Corte Madera, CA heist — Apple devices usually come with a Designed in California label. Now 17 iPhones, three iPads, and two Macs can wear a Stolen in California label, as the devices were stolen from an Apple retail outlet at The Village at Corte Madera mall in Corte Madera, California.

Keynote, Numbers, Pages iWork apps updated for both macOS and iOS — On Tuesday, Apple updated its Pages, Numbers, and Keynote applications for iOS and macOS, with the biggest addition being a numeric keypad for Numbers users on the iPad.

Dutch ruling on refurbs, slashed commissions, Uber sued for tracking, Google Photos AirPlay-able


Netherlands judge rules Apple can’t swap refurbished iPads for broken ones — Another court ruling in the Netherlands mandates that when Apple needs to replace a broken iPhone or iPad, it must do so with a new unit, and not a refurbished one. [Parsimonious is one thing, Apple, but some things are just mean. But wait, there’s more …]

Apple slashes affiliate commission rate on apps from 7 to 2.5% — Apple on Monday alerted members of its link affiliate program to a sharp reduction in their take from apps and in-app purchases, down from 7 percent to just 2.5.

Uber sued for $5M over ‘Hell’ app used to track Lyft drivers — Fresh off revelations of the ridesharing service’s run-in with Apple, Uber is being sued for the use of an app called Hell, which allegedly tracked drivers from the company’s main US rival Lyft. [In Auckland, I use Zoomy instead of Uber, it’s much fairer to the drivers and just as good.]

Google Photos 2.14 adds AirPlay functionality — Google Photos for iOS was updated yesterday with official AirPlay support, adding the capability to stream photos and videos to TVs through Apple TV. Google Photos version 2.14 finally brings support for AirPlay to the app, almost two years after it was first launched. Prior to this release, iOS device users who wanted to “beam” photos and video to their TVs could not use an Apple TV as an AirPlay receiver. [Honestly, why does anyone trust or use Google?]

WD with USB-C, securing your wifi router, Carpool Karaoke delayed again


Western Digital G-Technology line gets Thunderbolt 3, USB-C upgrades — At the 2017 NAB Show in Las Vegas, Western Digital Corporation announced upgrades to the G-Technology product line targeted at creative professionals. The big news is the addition of Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C technologies to the product family to optimise the speed and performance of the G-Technology product lines.

A network scanner helps you secure your wi-fi router — When you’re thinking about internet security and privacy, it’s easy to get consumed with keeping tabs on who might be tracking you from remote spots. What many people often forget about, though, is staying in the know about what devices are on your physical or wireless network that shouldn’t be there. Here are the various ways you can explore which devices are active on your home or office network.

‘Carpool Karaoke’ delayed until later in 2017 — Apple’s first attempt at original video content has been delayed again. “Carpool Karaoke,” which is a spinoff of the namesake segment on The Late Late Show with James Corden, was first announced last July. Initially the show was to debut in March and was then pushed back to this month. Now the latest from Apple after postponing a launch party is that Carpool Karaoke:The Series will premiere on Apple Music later this year.” [And I care … not one bit.]

Tuesday Talk ~ Moan fest


(Image from Apple Insider)

I feel Tuesday Talk has become a moan-fest about what Apple could be, its failings and what the Inc could do better. It didn’t used to be this way – when I used to write about Apple for the New Zealand Herald it was to continuously trumpet Apple’s successes. Apple is still ‘successful’ in that it has a global presence and makes tons of money, of course, but for the last two years Apple seems to have been focussing its energies and resources on … gosh, I don’t know what. Not tech and innovation anyway. At least not visibly.
Apple Watch just turned two, and I was always amazed by this product, mostly because it had serious competitors out there in the market place before it was even actually a product. Rumours of the Apple Watch sparked companies to create smart watches that would be ‘better’ than ‘anything Apple could produce’ … except Apple hadn’t produced anything. That’s pretty incredible power right there.
But was Apple Watch the last really innovative thing Apple did? The Watch is beautifully built, and much more useful than you’d think at first sight. But Apple lost control of the market for a device it hadn’t even released, then had to work to regain the market it had itself created. Apple did, eventually, but this was a bizarre situation that it inadvertently orchestrated for itself.

Since the Watch introduction, Mac lines have languished; iPhone has had some regular updates that haven’t been groundbreaking but definitely very good; iPad has had some regularising updates and its lineup has been refined. But for the rest, Apple now has to do something truly incredible at the World Wide Developers Conference in June on more than one front. The tech world will be focussed on Apple like never before.
But why has Apple been acting this way? That’s what I can’t work out. John Gruber, who I interviewed a few years ago in Wellington, reckons Apple’s team focus has been too much on iPhone.
Sure, under Jobs, Apple would focus its key team members on different projects one after another: a project would get the love, then the love would get moved on to another category. This approach made perfect sense when Apple was lean, a little desperate and lacked resources and power – but now that Apple has resources and power to burn, this approach no longer makes any sense. At all.
Frankly, I’m amazed Apple is still doing this. Indeed, Bryan Chaffin reckons Apple’s Achilles heel is the leadership team’s slavish devotion to maintaining a tiny executive inner circle. This appears to have led to positional nest-feathering and structured, impenetrable ennui. We are supposed to be impressed when Cook, Schiller et al even talk in public, when I’d rather see them releasing new products. I actually don’t care who these people are, they’re not my Apple rock stars. Apple’s products should be.

Even Virtual Reality … sure, I’m excited Apple has set up an AR/VR lab in Wellington, New Zealand. Who wouldn’t be? But really? Google, Microsoft and other big players have been exploring this space for years already. Does Apple really think a white headset with an Apple logo on it at twice the price is all Apple is capable of? All we expect? I really, really hope not. Apple needs to work hard to be a relevant player in this space if it’s going to enter it at all. Apple has been publicly ignoring virtual reality while hiring and acquiring experts at an impressive rate.
Meanwhile, Apple as a gaming platform has had some remarkable successes in iDevices, yet it’s still largely ignored on Mac as it has been for decades. This shouldn’t matter to people who use Macs for anything but gaming, but it does: Macs still have second-rate video cards compared to cheaper PCs largely because it can’t be bothered to attract decent games, which challenge and raise technical specs on PCs. This is galling – yet it has always been galling.
Which doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be changed. It’s also galling because virtual reality games will explode.

So I have one message, Apple: please, please get your sh_t together!
I’d much rather be writing positive commentary.

Stylus for any iPad, mobile AR, Samsung problems, Paris transport, Apple Watch turns two


The Pinpoint X-Spring Precision Stylus & Pen is a joy to use — Not everybody has an iPad Pro, but everyone can benefit from using stylus-enabled apps on any iPad. Today’s Apple World Today Deals Shop special is for a combination stylus and pen that you’ll find to be a joy to use. The Pinpoint X-Spring Precision Stylus & Pen from Joy Factory is available for $14.95, 57% off the usual price of $34.95.

Tractica: mobile AR markets to reach 1.9 billion unique monthly active users — Apple is almost certainly planning to enter the augmented reality (AR) market, and now is a good time. Between 2008 and 2015, augmented reality (AR) was a technology gimmick looking for a market.
Now, according to a new report from Tractica, the expanding use cases for mobile AR will lead to growth from 342.8 million unique monthly active users (MAUs) globally in 2016 to nearly 1.9 billion MAUs by 2022.  During this period, the market intelligence firm forecasts that worldwide mobile AR revenue will rise from $749.0 million to $18.5 billion annually, according to the market research group. [Except Apple use to lead tech, not come lately.]

Samsung’s fix for red-tinted Galaxy S8 screens forces users to self-calibrate — With a growing number of complaints about a red-tinged screen in some owners with the Samsung Galaxy S8, the company is issuing a software patch allowing users expanded options for correcting the problem in software by placing the responsibility for colour accuracy even more in user’s hands – in other words, they’re being told how to colour-calibrate their own handsets.

Apple Maps has added transit directions for Paris, France — The apps, for both iOS and macOS, gained the public transit on the weekend, including both the city’s Metro subway and above-ground train lines like the RER and Transilien networks.
Station entrances are marked clearly, and a tap on any stations shows all connecting lines and information on pending departures. In addition to the train systems, Paris transit directions include buses, Autolib car sharing, and Velib bike sharing.

On its 2nd anniversary, Apple Watch settling into role as fitness & notification wearable with Siri, Apple Pay — Originally pitched as a multitude of things, including an intimate communication tool and new frontier for mobile apps, the Apple Watch has been refined and simplified in the two years since its debut, focusing on what Apple has determined to be the fledgling device’s core strengths.

CloudMounter master password, AR/VR, NASA car engineers


(Image from FXFactory)

Update to CloudMounter adds encryption locked by a master password — Many Mac users find that storing part or all of our data on cloud services is a great way to extend the capabilities of our computers, but sometimes it’s a bit difficult to get data in and out of services like Google Drive, Box, Amazon S3, Microsoft OneDrive and even FTP or WebDAV servers.
Eltima Software’s CloudMounter for macOS (US$29.99) takes care of adding all of these services as mountable ‘drives’ in the macOS Finder, and today the app was updated to provide data encryption as well as a way to ensure that only your instance of CloudMounter can access your data.

Apple hire of plug-in developer shows AR/VR and Pro commitment — Amidst persistent stories about Apple developing an augmented reality headset of some sort and recent moves to shore up the company’s standing with creative professionals, the company has recently hired a developer well-known for writing Final Cut Pro plug-ins. Tim Dashwood has joined Apple – he’s best known for his 360VR Toolbox plugin.

Four ex-NASA engineers on Apple’s list of autonomous car software testers — Among Apple employees involved in testing of Apple’s self-driving car software consist of an ex-NASA researcher who was once tasked to develop an autonomous vehicle to explore one of Jupiter’s moons, and three others who worked for JPL.

iPhone Supercycle, Live Photos API, Guardian drops Apple News, Message stickers, Overcast on Watch


Data suggests tens of millions of iPhone users ready to fuel 2017 ‘supercycle’ — Lending credence to speculation of a coming iPhone ‘supercycle,’ market research firm comScore on Thursday released data showing tens of millions of users who own legacy iPhones are primed to upgrade. [So expect long waits when you’re ready to upgrade …]

Apple debuts Live Photos API, allows for playback on most popular browsers — Apple has developed a JavaScript API for its Live Photos, allowing pictures taken with the iOS feature to be shared on the web.

UK site The Guardian drops Apple News in bid to boost ad & subscription revenues — Prominent UK newspaper The Guardian has pulled out of two major app-based initiatives, Apple News and Facebook Instant Articles, in a bid to reclaim revenue.

Apple’s 2017 Earth Day Challenge for Apple Watch awards iMessage Stickers — In recognition of today’s Earth Day, Apple created Earth Day Challenge to reward reaching 30 minutes of exercise on the day with a special achievement badge in the Activity app, as well as stickers for use within iMessage. [Do people actually get excited about stickers? I looked at them when they first appeared, and never again.]

Overcast 3.1 update puts podcasts directly on Apple Watch — Popular iOS podcast app Overcast has updated with the ability to sync episodes directly to an Apple Watch, letting runners and others leave home without an iPhone in tow.

Earth power, Chinese censorship, private Epic Browser, iCloud cancellation bug, Music Up Next


Apple is powering 96% of its operations with renewable energy — Apple has announced that it’s now powering 96% of its operations with renewable energy in the company’s offices, retail stores, and product distribution centers. The company says it’s now 100% renewable in 24 countries, including all of its data centres. Apple’s upcoming Danish data centre will help warm area homes, and Apple uploaded four videos to its YouTube channel ahead of Earth Day (April 22) featuring Apple employees and executives explaining the company’s environmental initiatives.

Apple runs up against state censorship in China, again — Apple is once again running into issues with state censorship in China, according to Xinhua. Two different agencies will call Apple into their offices to demand tighter controls over streaming apps in the App Store.

For the most private browsing experience, think Epic Browser — In the browser war, most of the emphasis is placed on the Big Three: Safari, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox are the most well known, and each offers ways to protect your privacy and security. None of them are perfect, unfortunately, as we saw last week with the Punycode phishing attack. One lesser-known browser is better at privacy and security, though – Epic Privacy Browser, built on Chromium, the open-source project forming the basis for the Google Chrome browser.
Epic Privacy Browser is available for Mac (and Windows) and costs nothing. On top of browser choice, you should also think carefully about doing a security checkup on your Mac.

Apple apologises to users for mistakenly saying their paid iCloud subscription was cancelled — Days after an error led to false iCloud cancellation emails sent to subscribers, Apple has followed up with another note apologising for the bug, and reassuring them that their plan remains in good standing.

Apple Music launches ‘Up Next’ monthly feature with Zane Lowe to highlight new artists — Apple announced last week Thursday that new feature Up Next has been added to Apple Music, a new video documentary series that promises to feature a new artist every month.