Category Archives: Mac News

Apple’s earnings coming


Coming on (NZ’s Wednesday): Apple Q3 Earnings Call — Next Tuesday US Pacific Time is July 22, the day that we hear from Apple executives about how the company did in its third fiscal quarter ending June 30, 2014.
TUAW will live-blog the earnings call beginning at 5 PM ET, and you can listen in on the proceedings via Apple’s livestream.
Meanwhile, Jan Dawson, the founder and chief analyst of Jackdaw Research, has put together a massive profile discussing the state of the company.
A combination of detailed charts and raw data, this exceptional presentation examines reporting information directly from Apple, along with some projections provided by Jackdaw Research.

 

Sue Wagner joins Apple board
Sue Wagner joins Apple board

Apple adds financial exec Sue Wagner to its board of directors — Apple has welcomed its newest member, Susan L Wagner. Wagner, a founding partner and director of asset-management company BlackRock. Wagner previously served as that company’s vice chairman until mid-2012. She replaces Intuit Chairman Bill Campbell, who has served on the company’s board of directors since Steve Jobs’s return in 1997. Theutgoing Apple board member Bill Campbell offered insight into Apple and Steve Jobs in an interview.

How-to safely delete or change an iCloud account from your Mac or iOS device — First off, before we begin and actually discuss how to safely delete or change an iCloud account, we should discuss the different scenarios as to why you might need to delete or change your iCloud account off of your device …

Rumour that new MacBook Airs are on the way — New 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air models have gone into production, according to a pair of reports from Taiwan’s Economic Daily News. The first report says updates to both current MacBook Air sizes have entered production with Apple partner Quanta Computer, and that the new computers will boost Quanta’s 2014 notebook shipment numbers by 15%. The new devices are said to sport new chassis, screens, and chipsets, and volume shipments are due in late-August barring any unforeseen component delays.

Apple on the environment; IBM; more


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Apple environment chief Lisa Jackson speaks at Apple Distinguished Educator conference — Apple Vice President of Environmental Initiatives Lisa Jackson spoke to educators about the importance of the environment and Apple’s related work. During her talk, Jackson shared Apple’s work to trying to reach 100% renewable energy across its operations and she said that Apple is “not going to stop until we get to 101%…”

Apple’s deal with IBM is a strategic strike in a larger war — TUAW’s takes is that Enterprise sales aren’t terribly exciting to most. So while there are folks out there underwhelmed by the deal, that’s not to say the deal itself lacks significance. Apple has historically lacked an enterprise focus, though this has changed considerably in recent years. The deal with IBM therefore represents just the latest step Apple is making towards getting iOS devices out and into as many hands as possible.

Getting the most from external hard drives — Not long ago, Macworld put the new Mac Pro to the test on the front of connectivity and external drive performance. At one point the test involved 36 devices connected via Thunderbolt, USB 3, and even FireWire 800 (via Thunderbolt docks), including an extensive list of external hard drives plus an Apple Thunderbolt display, two Apple Cinema Displays, and a 27-inch HP LED display (pictured, above). The results shed very interesting light on some of the capabilities — and possible limitations — of Thunderbolt daisy chains. [Basically, it comes down to where you place what in the chain for max throughput.]

A lickety-split Mac app for stop-motion video creation — Briefly (Mac App Store link) is a one-trick pony with a limited use case, but the trick it performs is pretty slick and if it suits your needs there may be nothing else you need. Simply put, Briefly (NZ$18.99)  takes a set of photographs and sews them into a single stop-motion video.

Microsoft to cut workforce by 18,000 — Current Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has a reputation as someone who cuts middle management.
Microsoft is going through some major turbulence. Today it has announced major layoffs, beginning with 13,000 positions to go immediately, with a total of 18,000 expecting to find themselves out of a job sometime during 2014.

Atmospheric space roguelike Out There gets a huge update, is coming to Mac — France’s Mi Clos Studio once released a charming little game called Out There that scratched a lot of the same itches. Like a randomised choose-your-own-adventure novel with resource management, Out There allowed you to explore alien universes, learn extraterrestrial languages, fight an evil alien civilisation, and more. Now Out There isn’t just getting a sizeable update … it’s also coming to the Mac.

Epic Games releases Unreal Engine 4.3 with Metal API support on iOS and much more — Epic Games has announced Unreal Engine 4.3, the latest version of their gaming engine technology, which includes over 500 updates. Included in the latest version of Unreal Engine is support for Apple’s new Metal API for game developers, first introduced last month at WWDC, for code compiled with the Xcode 6 beta. Unreal Engine launched version 4.0 earlier this year introducing its current subscription model for developers as well as Mac support.

Apple + IBM: huge partnership


Apple announces huge IBM partnership for enterprise services — Apple and IBM announced a new partnership yesterday that will see the companies collaborate to bring over 100 enterprise apps & cloud services to the iPhone and iPad and launch a new AppleCare service specifically for enterprise customers. The products will be branded ‘IBM MobileFirst for iOS Solutions’ and IBM will also soon sell iPhones and iPads to enterprise customers along with the new services– I wrote about this yesterday on the NZ Herald online.

Here’s Tim Cook’s memo to Apple staff about the new venture.  9to5Mac has 7 reasons why it’s a big deal., while analysts Piper Jaffray don’t see it as a big deal. Here’s Apple’s actual announcement.

Apple agrees to $400 million settlement in ebook price-fixing case — Apple has agreed to an approximately $400 million settlement as part of the high-profile ebook pricing fixing federal court case that would cover consumer damages and civil penalties for the 33 states involved. Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman made an announcement detailing the settlement that was also discovered in documents filed with the courts.

hansansAdobe releases free font Source Han Sans — To celebrate its 25th year of typeface development, Adobe has released Source Han Sans (left), a new family of free, open source fonts that harmonise East Asian and Latin font designs. More than three years in the making, this is one of Adobe’s most complex font projects. It required cooperation among five different companies to accurately represent the more than 65,000 glyphs (characters) required for typesetting in the  Chinese, Japanese and Korean (CJK) languages. You can get it for yourself from here, in 7 weights, but you need to set up a free subscription.

Nine things everyone should know how to do with a presentation app — “Whether you’re a student preparing a class assignment or a rising executive trying to impress your CEO, you’ll have to go beyond the basics if you want your computer-based slideshows to stand out. While teaching people how to use presentation software over the years, I’ve identified nine techniques that I think everyone should have in their arsenal—but which even some experienced presenters often seem to miss. Here’s how those techniques work in Microsoft PowerPoint for Mac 2011, Apple’s Keynote 6.2, and Google Docs.”

SnapNDrag Pro 3.5.6 review: A superb Mac app for organising and annotating your screenshots — SnapNDrag Pro (NZ$12.99 in the Mac App Store) simplifies both the screenshot and organization processes and as a bonus, tracks annotations you make to your images. Here’s Macworld’s review.

Five apps that help Windows users feel at home on Macs — Here’s an interesting PC World article for switchers to Mac.

iLife under threat?


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With iPhoto’s demise, writing may be on the wall for iLife — Ted Landau writes that Apple’s iLife consumer-level suite of apps has changed dramatically over the years. It has contained as few as three apps and as many as six. It’s cost as much as US$79 and as little as zero. It’s been packaged both as an integrated software collection and as a loose confederacy of disparate apps. And now, in its latest evolutionary shift, it’s been placed on the endangered software list, with a reasonable probability that it will, in the not too distant future, go extinct altogether.

Ten things everyone should know how to do with a word processor — Jeffery Battersby reckons you don’t use half the tools in your word processing app, whether it’s Microsoft Word, Apple’s own Pages, or Google Docs – and maybe even less than half. But without all those bells and whistles you’ve been ignoring, that app is little more than a glorified text editor.

A big part of owning a tool is knowing how to use it effectively. So if you ever use Word, Pages, or Google Docs, you owe it to yourself to know how to do a few essential things with it. Here are the ten of the most essential.

Apple begins encrypting iCloud email sent between providers — Last month Apple confirmed it would soon beef up encryption for iCloud email following a report detailing security flaws in major email services. While Apple previously encrypted emails sent between its own iCloud customers, now the company has enabled encryption for emails in transit between iCloud and third-party services for me.com and mac.com email addresses.

The change is documented on Google’s transparency website that shows the percentage of emails encrypted in transit for both inbound and outbound email exchanges.

Email to Tim Cook prompted change of Apple’s ‘on hold’ music quality — In a recent thread on Reddit, one Apple customer describes an experience in which he effected change in Apple’s daily operations, specifically as it pertains to “on hold” music, after contacting CEO Tim Cook via email.

Model number for Apple’s mystery iBeacon device may hint at upgrade to existing hardware — A new Apple device revealed earlier this week in certification documents filed with the FCC appears to be the first in a new line of iBeacon-specific hardware, but the mysterious product’s model number suggests it may instead be an extension of one of Apple’s existing products.

Apple paying out to US suppliers


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Apple doled out more than $3B to over 7,000 US suppliers in 2013 — After announcing cooperation with the White House’s SupplierPay initiative, Apple on Friday released domestic supply chain expenditure figures for the first time, saying it spent more than US$3 billion with over 7000 US suppliers last year.

The numbers, along with some backstory on the small company responsible for the Mac Pro’s aluminum enclosure, were revealed in a statement provided to TechCrunch following SVP of Operations Jeff Williams’ meeting with President Barack Obama over the “SupplierPay” initiative.

Surprising sales in emerging markets keep Mac growth ahead of PC market — Sales growth for Apple’s Mac platform has outpaced the PC market for the 31st time in the past 32 quarters, keeping the trend alive. But surprisingly, Apple’s premium-priced computers were actually driven by growth in emerging markets like China and Latin America last quarter, new data shows (chart, above, from Needham & Co).

Expensive lunch for charity — Apple fans have another chance at a sit-down with a member of the company’s senior leadership, as internet software and services chief Eddy Cue has put one hour of his time up for auction — and sweetened the pot with a 13-inch MacBook Air — in the Fortune 500 equivalent of a charity dunk tank.

Background removal tool — Who hasn’t struggled with knocking out the background of a photo in Photoshop? Zooming in, finely tuning your tool to be the proper size and then frustratingly highlighting the areas you want to save or delete—what a pain! PhotoScissors 1.1 seeks to eliminate the hassle by providing a simple background removal tool. Macworld reviews it.

Nine things everyone should know how to do with a spreadsheet — Rob Griffiths thinks that as a Mac user, you’ve got plenty of choices among spreadsheet apps, but for most of us the choice comes down to three: Microsoft’s Excel 2011; Apple’s Numbers (version 3.2); and the browser-based Sheets section of Google Docs. Here are 9 things you should be able to do with any spreadsheet you have, although he specifies Numbers and Excel.

 

US Foundation for the Blind lauds Apple


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National Federation of the Blind says ‘Apple has done more for accessibility than any other company’
Apple works hard to ensure that Macs, iPhones, iPods, and iPads can be used to their full extent by people who are deaf or blind, for example. In response to the reporting (Philip Elmer-DeWitt has a good summary of the original reporting and takedowns at Fortune), Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, has published a comprehensive blog post describing Apple’s work on accessibility, the technology industry as a whole, the resolution regarding iOS device accessibility, and what can be done to improve accessibility of third-party apps into the future. 9to5Mac has more.

Chinese state TV annoyed by NSA, takes it out on Apple
The WSJ reports that the state-run China Central TV has described the iPhone as a “national security concern” due to its location-tracking capabilities. [Picture from 9to5Mac.]
But Apple denies the claims, stating that “privacy is built into [its] products and services from the earliest stages of design. We work tirelessly to deliver the most secure hardware and software in the world.” Apple also explains that it uses industry leading encryption to protect location data, and says that all location data is stored solely on the iPhone, not on Apple’s servers.

Apple goes on to, once again, explain that it does not work with government agencies to spy on its customers.

Yosemite hands-on: Mail, Messages, and Calendar
Jason Snell writes about the forthcoming major update to OS X. It generally means that many of the apps included with the operating system also get major updates — or at least the biggest updates they’re likely to get until the next major operating-system release.

In OS X Yosemite, due this fall, several major Apple apps have received upgrades both big and small. I’ve been using a pre-release version of Yosemite (on an Apple-supplied MacBook Pro) for the past month and have had a chance to spend a little time with Mail, Messages, and Calendar. Here’s a look at what’s new.

Apple blog highlights new Swift programming language
Apple has launched a blog on its official developer website to promote the new Swift programming language. Swift, which was announced at WWDC 2014, is a successor to the Objective-C programming language for iOS and OS X, and it provides new, cleaner, and more robust tools for developing applications. The blog will be dedicated to Apple engineers working on Swift sharing tidbits behind the language’s development as well as hints.

Life after Aperture, iPhoto


Life after Aperture & iPhoto

Yes, they’re going. The next OS (Yosemite) gets rid of both,  and since iPhoto has been the included image management application on the Mac for years, it’s actively used by millions of customers. Although Aperture never made as many inroads into the professional community as Adobe’s Photoshop Lightroom, it was still the Apple-supplied pro option [and I love it for looking after my genealogical image collection].

Both programs are being replaced by Apple’s upcoming Photos for OS X application, which at this point is still a mystery: Will it incorporate the advanced features of Aperture, will it be a stripped-down limited clone of the Photos app under iOS 8, or will it be something in-between?

No matter what’s to come, you can start to take steps now, thanks to Macworld,  to prepare for your transition – whether that means switching to Photos or migrating to another third-party photo application. (Regardless of your decision, make sure you have good working backups of your photos!)

itrnsSonico Mobile releases iTranslate for Mac with 80+ languages

Sonico Mobile, makers of popular apps such as iTranslate and iTranslate Voice for iOS today released iTranslate for Mac, bringing the features of the corresponding iOS app to the Mac.

iTranslate for Mac sits right in your menu bar, so translations are always just a click away, no matter what app you’re working in. Simply input text, and the app will quickly process it and provide you the translated output. It’s just as easy to use as the iOS version.

The app has over 80 languages built in as well as a dictionary, so you can get meanings for translated words. Users will also appreciate voice output feature, which makes it easy to listen to the pronunciation of your translation.

Finally, the app has support for reading non-Latin characters, with Romanization for Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Korean, and more.

iTranslate for Mac is on sale for a limited time at 50% off introductory price, so for NZ$6.49 in the Mac App Store. [I bought it.]

The App Store’s 6th anniversary by the numbers

Apple is celebrating the 6th anniversary of the App Store, so let’s look at the most recent numbers Apple announced regarding App Store statistics. During the WWDC keynote on June 2nd, Apple CEO Tim Cook shared that the App Store then featured more than 1.2 million apps and counting. App Store customers have downloaded apps more than 75 billion times since the digital store debuted on July 10, 2008, and Apple also noted its platform is home to more than 9 million developers with registered accounts through the Developer Program, a number which was up 47% from the previous year.

Apple’s Volume Purchase Program for apps to 16 new countries

Apple is about to roll out its Volume Purchase Program, which allows business and education customers to purchase and distribute iOS apps in bulk for deployed devices, into 16 new countries. Apple’s website for both the Volume Purchase Program for Business and for Education have been updated to announce the expansion to: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan,Turkey, and United Arab Emirates.

Countries that already have access to the Volume Purchase Program include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, United Kingdom, and the United States.

Environmental


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Apple issues 2014 Environmental Responsibility Report

Apple has updated its Environmental Initiatives website and has issued its 2014 Environmental Responsibility Report. The update fulfills a promise from Earth Day in which Apple said that it would more frequently update consumers on its environmental progress and the report highlights significant advances in clean energy usage

Apple has pushed its attention to new levels with the hire of former Environmental Protection Agency head Lisa Jackson last year. 9to5Mac has more information.

Diversity at Apple

At this week’s Sun Valley conference in Idaho, Apple CEO Tim Cook told Bloomberg reporters that Apple will release diversity data on its workforce. Cook did not specify when this data release would come, but it’s the first confirmation from Apple that the company is planning to release such data. A CNN report from March detailed Apple as one of the several technology giants that have objected to releasing the information.

Diversity reports, such as one Facebook released on its workforce a couple of weeks ago, typically detail demographics in terms of ethnicity and gender. Apple has been criticised for having both a mostly male executive team and board of directors, but Cook has added Angela Ahrendts to the executive team and has been seeking new board members in recent months (and there’s Lisa Jackson , as above). Recently Apple appointed Denise Young Smith as the new head of Human Resources.

[Um-hm … what do you see in the picture, above?]

Cue and Cook at Sun Valley

As expected (due their appearances on the guest list) Apple CEO Tim Cook and Senior VP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue were in attendance at this week’s Sun Valley media conference in Idaho. The WSJ’s Doug MacMillan shared the above photo of Cook walking around the Sun Valley resort. The Information’s Jessica Lessin spotted Cue, and the executive provided a witty response to Lessin’s question about TV deals.

iTunes U 2.0 has iPad-based course creation, student discussions 

Apple has issued a significant update to its iTunes U application for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The application focuses on enhancements for both teachers and students, and the application was first announced by Apple last week alongside the new Back to School retail initiatives.

Apple’s official press release appears here.

Lego Retro Apple Gear


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Recreating retro Apple gear with Lego blocks — Do you still have an old Apple IIc laying around? What about a Mac 128k? Maybe you do, and maybe you don’t, but regardless of whether you’ve ever actually owned one of these harbingers of modern computing there’s a good chance you’ll fall in love with these tiny Lego replicas by Chris McVeigh.

He goes by his online alias Powerpig, and he’s taken painstaking steps to recreate some of the most recognisable Apple computers of yesteryear, while keeping their charm and quirky appeal very much intact.

The novice’s guide to excellent Mac backups — Everyone knows they are supposed to back up, but maybe you aren’t sure what you should do or how you should do it. I’m here to help.

Play It On A Mac: Spintires — In this weekly series Mike Wehner shows you how to get your favourite Windows-exclusive PC games running on OS X. For more information on the programs used, check out the Play It On A Mac explainer. For suggestions and/or questions about any game, feel free to contact me on Twitter.

Spintires is an off-road adventure game with ridiculously realistic physics and terrain deformation. You can actually see the mud and road debris wrap around the tires of your various Soviet-era trucks as you make your way through forests, streams, and the very rare paved roadway. The game was successfully Kickstarted a number of months ago and just recently debuted on Steam to rave reviews.

Yosemite, Tokyo, Cupertino


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How some of your favorite Mac apps could look when OS X Yosemite launches — When OS X 10.10 Yosemite launches this fall, most of Apple’s first-party apps will look completely different. This means that many third-party apps will begin to look out of place. Zinx has compiled some mockups from Dribbble demonstrating how some popular apps could look when they are redesigned for Yosemite.

Apple shares video of Omotesando, Tokyo Apple Store grand opening preparation — Apple has shared a video on its official YouTube channel of its preparations for the June 13th grand opening of the Omotesando, Tokyo Apple Store (above). The video is just under a minute long, but it does provide some perspective into the lengths that Apple takes to prepare stores for their openings.

Apple opens stunning new (and more private) Caffè Macs employee cafeteria in Cupertino — According to employee tweets and photos, Apple opened a stunning new Caffè Macs employee cafeteria at the corner of Bandley and Alves Drive in Cupertino this past Tuesday. Located close to the company’s first campus building, Apple received approval to build at this location in early 2012, and after 2 years of work, the new cafeteria is complete.

Tax, iMac, Pro, campus, iStudio Publisher


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Apple responds to EU investigation into tax practices: “Apple pays every euro of every tax that we owe” — Following a report yesterday that the European Commission was about to launch a formal investigation into Apple’s tax practices in Ireland, the EU has now officially announced the investigation at a press conference. Bloomberg reports that the investigation will include not just Apple, but also Starbucks and Fiat Finance & Trade SA and will look at “whether the tax deals in Ireland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg are illegal state aid.”

Apple may soon be able to repatriate its $100B+ overseas cash after Senate mulls tax holiday — If Congress delivers on a proposed tax holiday, Apple could soon join a slew of American companies with large dollar amounts of offshore money eager to repatriate their earnings without being subject to the current corporate tax rate.

iMac reportedly getting a spec bump next week, but no Retina model yet — According to a new MacG report, Apple is planning to debut a spec bump for the iMac lineup next week. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear these will be Retina iMacs (for which references have appeared in recent OS X beta builds). Instead, it seems we’re only due for a slight processor speed increase, with each model gaining only 100MHz.

The report speculates that the new models could include a new and improved Thunderbolt 2 connection, but there doesn’t seem to be any confirmation of that at this time. MacG accurately predicted the most recent MacBook Air refresh, so it’s a safe bet that these iMacs are coming next week.

A year after being announced, you can now get a Mac Pro within 24 hours — While you still may not be able to walk in to an Apple Store and expect to walk out with a 2013 Mac Pro, the US$3000 and $4000 base models of Apple’s professional desktop are shipping within 24 hours of ordering for the first time since launch in late December 2013. This includes shipping to Apple Retail Store locations for pickup. Apple, of course, previewed the latest Mac Pro model at WWDC 2013, exactly one year from yesterday, but it only promised then that it would begin shipping later that year. Availability has since proven to be a challenge for the ‘assembled-in-USA’ Mac line.

Foundation walls start to take shape around Campus 2 project as Apple permanently closes Pruneridge Ave — The first walls around Apple’s Campus 2 have begun to take shape, as noted by KCBS reporter Ron Cervi, in a tweet today. Previously, more photos from KCBS showed the site’s considerable excavation under way, and earlier photos from March detailed the demolition work of the former HP campus on the site, which was almost complete at that time.

iStudio Publisher — This MacPhun software that creates PDFs includes a free 30-day trial of the full iStudio Publisher application for page layout and desktop publishing. Please make full use of your trial period before purchasing.

Yosemite design vid, Air update, Irish tax


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Apple posts OS X Yosemite design video from WWDC keynote — Apple has posted the video about OS X Yosemite’s new design from the WWDC keynote. The video gives a look at the system’s new inherent translucency, cleaner layout, redesigned icons, and new buttons. You can watch it here.

Apple releases SMC update for mid-2013 MacBook Airs to address battery issues — Apple has issued SMC update 2.0 for all mid-2013 MacBook Airs, citing a fix for battery problems while the computer’s screen is closed.

This update addresses an issue which may cause the battery to drain faster than expected when the lid is closed.

You can download the update here or in the Mac App Store.

EU launching formal investigation into Apple’s tax practices in Ireland — According to a report from Ireland’s RTE.ie, the European Commission has decided to launch a formal investigation into Apple’s tax practices in the country (via The Loop). An announcement is expected by EU officials tomorrow:

Apple last year faced US Senate hearing on its offshore tax practices in which it denied taking advantage of any tax gimmicks or loopholes in Ireland. The EU shortly after launched an investigation into tax agreements with multinational companies in Ireland and number of other EU countries, while government officials in Ireland denied claims of a special 2% tax deal with Apple.

Later, in October of last year, the SEC in the US ultimately closed its own investigation without establishing any wrong-doing on Apple’s part.