Category Archives: Apple Watch

The Straw, Siri vs Alexa, saving Netflix vids, Apple Watch status icons


macstraw

McDonalds parodies Apple ad — The McDonald’s ad uses Jeffrey Roy, identified as the company’s “person with British accent,” who parodies Jony Ive by explaining that while the STRAW isn’t “so revolutionary, it changes everything,” it’s “close.” The video goes on to mock Apple’s tendency to over-emphasize minor design elements, including use of the term “magical.” [Can’t beat an “adjective inducing masterpiece”.]

Who’s more Intelligent, Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa? Microsoft has Cortana Artificial Intelligence and Google has Assistant. On your iOS and tvOS devices, we have Siri. If you’re an Amazon fan, Alexa is present in the Echo, Echo Dot, Fire TV and Amazon Tap. All of these are very capable virtual assistants, but Siri and Alexa seem to dominate the artificial intelligence landscape for many of us. So which is more intelligent? [OK, so I asked Siri on my Mac, and it offered me the contact details for someone called Alexa. But on your iDevice at least, make sure you set Siri to the NZ accent or you’ll get nowhere. You can do this on your Mac, too, in System Preferences>Siri under Language.]

How to save Netflix videos for offline viewing on an iPhone or iPad — A feature you’re bound to see more of in streaming video apps is support for offline caching – that is, the ability to temporarily download a show or movie so you can watch it later without internet access. Here’s how to do it for Netflix, one of the most popular video services on iPhone and iPad.

What’s with the Status Icons at the top of Apple Watch — Cupertino has added several new status icons to the list on Apple Watch, so here’s what they are and what they mean.
Note that you can always access the Apple Watch User Guide. From your connected iPhone, go to the Apple Watch app and tap My Watch>General>About>View the Apple Watch User Guide. The description of the status icons are in the Get Started section.

Prince arrives on Apple Music, closing Activity Rings on Apple Watch


20158-21503-170211-watch-l

Prince’s Warner Brothers music catalog lands on Apple Music, other streaming services — After Prince abruptly pulled his music from all streaming services save for Tidal in 2015, the Purple One’s Warner Brothers catalogue, which contains a majority of his biggest hits, has returned. Warner Brothers has made its collection of Prince tunes available to all streaming platforms, including Apple Music and Spotify.

Apple shares new Apple Watch Series 2 ad featuring Activity rings
— Apple has posted a short commercial spot highlighting the health tracking functions of Apple Watch Series 2, urging users to keep fit by closing their Activity app rings. You can watch the spot at Apple Insider.

iPad Air 2, must-know AirPod commands, Apple Watch apps


The world of Apple Watch Apps is blossoming
The world of Apple Watch Apps is blossoming

Stock-outs could signal the death of Apple’s iPad Air 2 ahead of expected lineup refresh — Inventory of Apple’s entry-level 9.7-inch iPad continues to dry up with a trio of new models rumoured to soon launch, potentially suggesting the popular iPad Air 2 will be axed for a new model with faster processor.

Must-know Siri commands for Apple’s wireless AirPods — To keep AirPods as hassle-free – and aesthetically pleasing – as possible, Apple opted to completely replace physical controls with Siri voice commands, a first for the company. AppleInsider compiled a few key phrases new AirPods owners should know in order to get the most out of their purchase.

Blossoming world of Apple Watch Apps — A key feature to the Apple Watch’s much-improved app experience is the App Dock, new in watchOS 3. It brings significant changes to app performance and your ability to quickly open your most important apps, do your thing, and get on with your day: one of the Watch’s core purposes for existing. If you aren’t familiar, check out The Mac Observer’s quick tip on the App Dock, then come back here to find some great apps with which to fill it.
And here’s how to find, install and remove said Apps, and how to force close Apple Watch apps in watchOS 3.

Night On Earth, Watch App Dock


1nightearth

Stunning new Apple ad highlights One Night on Earth — A new Apple ad focused on the photographic capabilities of the iPhone 7 uses 16 photographers in 15 cities on 6 continents, all shooting photos and video on the same night. One Night on Earth uses still photos, time-lapse photography, video, and the skill of the photographers to capture humanity with the outstanding optics and sensors of the iPhone 7.

Quick Apple Watch Tip: Get to know the new App Dock — Did you know watchOS 3 has a dock for apps now, which replaces the previous Glances feature? Apple deemed it so important to watchOS that this new dock also usurped the previous (and likely unpopular) Friends functionality of the Watch’s only button besides the Digital Crown.

Tuesday Talk ~ Not on my watch


img_0848

Is it time to admit Apple Watch is a success? Apple CEO Tim Cook has stated the last holiday period was the company’s “best quarter ever” for Apple Watch, both in units and revenues, “with holiday demand so strong that we couldn’t make enough.” Yet the tech community seems to think it’s not doing well, or even that it’s a failure.
John Gruber just thinks it should be considered a watch, rather than a ‘smartwatch’. In September last year, Gruber points out, Apple Watch sales were second only to Rolex. Strangely, perhaps, when I tried the first version of the Apple Watch, what put me off was the lag in many operations. Once I had to send a unit back, I found the thing I missed the most was having the time on my wrist at all, so I went out and bought a watch which cost me just NZ$100 (about US$73). Couldn’t be happier.
Of course, I never got to try the second version of the Watch (Series 2), so I never got to compare. Which at least spared me from spending another few hundred dollars on something with an Apple logo on it. What did impress me was superb build quality and very clever design, I loved being able to choose my Watch faces, and I loved the wonderful ease of changing straps – still a finicky mission on a normal watch.
I figured I would have got used to all the great features if it wasn’t for those little lags that, eventually, stopped me even trying to do things, although I understand the latest versions are significantly faster, by up to 50%. But if you’re still not satisfied even after updating to watchOS 3, which also added speed enhancements, it is possible to speed a Watch up via various settings.
Series 2 has its own GPS which means you don’t have to have your iPhone on you to track fitness etc – this never actually bothered me as I cycle and walk with my iPhone in my pocket anyway.

But hey, I’m not wearing an Apple Watch. I’m wearing a Timex Weekender. What about you?

Tuesday Talk ~ Apple fandom and logic


(Image from TechEBlog)
(Image from TechEBlog)

How can we tell if our love for Apple is logical or biased? That was a headline on the Mac Observer. I guess this is a question we all ask ourselves sometimes. I definitely had a very biased view of Apple once I first started using a Mac in 1989, because I could actually do things, create things and work out how things worked with a Mac, whereas in those days other computers pretty much needed a degree in rocket surgery to even print out a page (but pat yourselves on the back, you people).
By the time I became editor of NZ MacGuide magazine (2002-2007) things changed for me, partly because I started to realise how difficult Apple was to deal with. Basically, Apple was (and is) very secretive and suspicious, but this was amplified through the lens of Renaissance Inc, which had the only legal NZ Apple import/distribution license in that period. Renaissance never seemed to really know where it stood with Apple, and seemed scared of losing its exclusive deal, so any secrecy and suspicion was both obfuscated and amplified.
Things became a lot better once I forged a relationship with actual Apple staffers, and although they were always (and understandably) very guarded, they’re a fine bunch of interesting and creative people. Information from them has always been first class.

And I can still make and do things. Despite still not having a degree in rocket surgery, I can still make music, films, magazines and all sorts of other things with my Apple gear, and my iPhone is my always-available smart assistant. I am living in the future.
Windows and Android have made huge strides to offer similar attributes, largely thanks to Apple’s efforts (if even only by competing with what Apple does) but I’m so imbued with Apple operating procedures they’re like foreign languages, and every unwilling experience with them is an infuriating battle.
Of course, this is the same for people coming over to the Apple world, many of whom I have personally introduced to macOS and iOS over the years either through my Mac NZ efforts, via email or in person when I present to individuals and groups. This is a relatively easy process: explain the paradigm, introduce a few concepts and off they go.

So, am I still biased? Of course, but I have come to realise Apple has flaws. The child labour thing in Asia horrified me and I was very glad Apple made moves to address this (and of course, HP, Samsung, Dell etc were all using the same factories with the same conditions, they just never seemed to get caught in the searchlights). Not paying tax sickens me – I know there are New Zealanders who have similar beliefs and I think they should be allowed to not pay tax, since they consider this unjust.
Fair enough, don’t pay tax – but then they should be banned from using our roads, public lighting, hospital emergency rooms, parks and schools. This tax issue is less clear with Apple – the Inc makes an absolute fortune, which it constantly trumpets, yet also chooses to avoid paying tax because it’s found a ‘legal’ loophole.
And I feel abandoned on the Mac front sometimes, and critical of Apple’s direction, as should be clear from my posts under this heading. And I have to admit these things have shaken my loyalty.

But hey, I still love my Apple gear. I’m still happy and productive. And that’s still the bottom line.

iOS 10.3 faster, redesigned Evernote, watchOS 3.2 beta


spdtst

Speed Test shows iOS 10.3 starts 6 seconds faster on iPhone 5s — iAppleBytes did some speed tests comparing iOS 10.2.1 and iOS 10.3, with its new file system. In a video, the site shows startup times on an iPhone 5 and an iPhone 5s. The device on the left of each pair is running iOS 10.2.1, the current shipping version of iOS.

Redesigned Evernote 8.0.3 for iPhone and iPad brings major design revamp — Evernote is a free note-taking and note-keeping service for iOS, Mac, PCs and online. Recently, the iPhone and iPad app versions were updated to 8.0.3, which brought a totally new look and improvements to functionality.
The latest revision to the Evernote app for iPhone and iPad notebook app aims to speed up the service – AppleInsider takes a few notes.

Apple makes watchOS 3.2 beta with Theater Mode, SiriKit available for developers — Nearly a week after the last set of betas for macOS and iOS, Apple has made available the first beta of watchOS 3.2 for developers.

MagBytes 83 for January 2017


mb83The Swiss have arrived so seize the carp! OK, I’m not very good at French and Latin, but MagBytes 83 is here, full of news, views, tips and tricks for all Apple users, free and bulging with info in electronic form.

That’s just a thumbnail at left, so click …

THIS LINK —> issue83jan17 to get this PDF magazine on your device and/or computer.

Find your AirPods, Apple Pay, developer feedback, iPhone spectroscopy chip, Watch in movies


An iPhone case has a chip that analyses food and drinks for things like caffeine and gluten levels
An iPhone case has a chip that analyses food and drinks for things like caffeine and gluten levels

iOS 10.3 for iPhone and iPad adds Find My AirPods feature — If you’re worried about losing your fancy new AirPods, Apple has your back — or your ear. iOS 10.3, which was released as a beta to developers on Tuesday so will be with general users soon, includes a newFind My AirPods feature to help you track down your wayward wireless earpods.

Apple Pay use is on the rise — Consumer spending analytics company TXN says that Apple Pay is on the rise, based on data from its panel of over three million consumers. Analysis of credit card bills from banks that distinguish Apple Pay transactions suggest that usage of the payment method grew by slightly over 50% in the 12 months ending December 2016.

Apple allowing developers to respond to user reviews in App Stores with iOS 10.3, more improvements coming — As part of feedback collected by Apple, when iOS 10.3 ships to customers the company is adding the ability for an app’s developer to respond to complaints or praise, with the response available for all to see in the App Store —and more improvements for developers are coming.

New microchip could bring portable spectroscopy to iPhone, Apple Watch — Si-Ware on Tuesday revealed an iPhone-compatible spectroscopy chip, the NeoSpectra Micro, which could potentially expand the uses of both mobile devices and wearables in areas like health, science, and nutrition.

Apple Watch to get Theater Mode, more in watchOS 3.2 — Your Apple Watch is about to become far less annoying in movie theaters because the Theater Mode feature rumoured to be coming to the iPhone is actually destined for your wrist. Apple tipped off developers to that feature and more in an overview of what’s coming in watchOS 3.2.

App Store pays better, Angry Birds, Microsoft Solitaire, health Watches, IBM and Canada, iBooks StoryTime on Apple TV


iBooks StoryTime reads stories and entertains your kids for you
iBooks StoryTime reads stories and entertains your kids for you

Apple’s App Store continues to pay developers more than Google Play, thanks to Chinese iOS users — The App Store remains more profitable for iOS developers than the Google Play store is for Android apps, new estimates reveal, with App Store revenues in China also continuing to climb at a fast pace.

Angry Birds Blast isn’t explosively fun, but it’s not bad either —
Rovio’s latest entry continues the trend of adequate, uninspiring spinoffs.

Microsoft Solitaire Collection: My new iOS app addiction — The Microsoft Solitaire Collection (free with in-app purchase) carries five solitaire games: Klondike, Spider, FreeCell, Pyramid and TriPeaks. Klondike is the old, traditional game that’s been around forever, while Pyramid and TriPeaks are relatively new to the Microsoft Solitaire world. Each has a different set of rules and method of play; while you might be an expert in one game, it really takes some effort to win consistently at all five.

Stanford program offers 1000 Apple Watches, funding for healthcare research proposals — Stanford University is offering to hand out up to 1000 Apple Watches and up to $10,000 in funding to instructors and members of the faculty, as part of a new program to find innovative ways to use the Apple Watch in healthcare. [You’d need very long arms …]

IBM and Bell partner to bring MobileFirst for iOS apps to Canada — IBM has announced a new MobileFirst for iOS partnership with Bell Canada that promises to deliver enterprise apps for iPad, iPhone and Apple Watch to the Great White North.

iBooks StoryTime is a fine Apple TV app for those who have children or grandchildren — You can have the Apple TV handle the storytelling job thanks to iBooks StoryTime. It’s a free app aimed at the preschooler who is just starting to learn to read. iBooks StoryTime lets you open a virtual book on any HDTV that’s connected to an Apple TV, and here’s how to use it.