Apple’s Portrait Mode in iPhone 7 Plus and iOS 11 exits beta, allows effect to be turned off after the fact — In the latest iOS 11 beta, Apple has taken the Portrait Mode camera setting out of beta, and has altered how the camera roll handles the pictures to allow for the effect to be removed from a picture using it at any time.
Titanfall: Assault real-time strategy title lands on iPhone, Sega Forever drive expands with Ristar —Two major titles have arrived on iPhone and iPad as free-to-play titles this week, with Nexon’s Titanfall: Assault introducing real time strategy to the battlefield-based franchise, while Ristar has been ported to iOS a full 22 years after its first release on the Sega Genesis.
Watch: AirPlay 2 delivers speaker integration with HomeKit, Siri support, more — When iOS 11 launches this fall, Apple will roll out a revamped version of its AirPlay protocol featuring speaker support for HomeKit, multi-room audio, shared up-next playlists, Siri integration and more, as you can see in the video at this link.
Wicked Brainstorm lets you brainstorm up a storm in iOS Message — It can be very handy to be able to brainstorm with folks. However, it hasn’t been practical using Messages on your iPhone or iPad. Now it is, thanks to Wicked Brainstorm. Before using the app, brainstorming buddies would see all ideas mixed in with every other text message. With Wicked Brainstorm, those ideas are gathered together, yet still kept within Messages. When you’re done, you can turn the brainstormed list into a checklist and even vote as a group on the best ideas. It’s a free app, too.
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III coming to the Mac on June 8 — Feral Interactive has announced that Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III, the latest episode in Relic Entertainment’s real-time strategy series, will be released for macOS and Linux on Thursday, June 8.
Nongünz game blasts onto the Mac — Sindiecate Arts has released Nongünz on Steam for macOS, Windows and Linux. It’s a US$6.99 ‘gothic retro game described thus: “The game is a puzzle in itself, a secret to be discovered. Each run has you fighting through a procedurally-generated dungeon filled with hordes of monsters made from human limbs and giblets. Build up your score by executing stylish combos and spend the rewards on your expanding band of lost souls and death cultists.”
Apple’s wind farm project developer wants bigger, but fewer, turbines — Avangrid Renewables, the project developer for Apple’s Montague (Oregon) Wind Power Facility, is seeking a permit amendment for the Montague Wind Power Facility that would allow it to use a turbine model with a rotor diameter of 136 meters and generating capacity of 3.6 megawatts.
How to delete an album within Photos on macOS Sierra — Sometimes you may need to delete an album within Photos on macOS Sierra. It’s not as easy as you’d think; you can’t simply click on an album name and hit delete on your keyboard.
Stevie Wonder performs at Apple HQ to celebrate Global — Multi-platinum Grammy winning artist Stevie Wonder performed at Apple’s corporate headquarters this week, in an event recognizing Global Accessibility Awareness Day, focused on making technology accessible and usable for persons with disabilities.
Execs from Apple, other tech firms to talk immigration and government modernisation at White House meeting — Immigration policies, government services modernization and integration with cutting edge Silicon Valley initiatives like machine learning are on the docket for next month’s meeting of President Donald Trump’s American Technology Council, according to a report. [All I’m saying is ‘Faust’.]
Data forensics company recovers notes data Apple claims is deleted — Files deleted from Apple’s Notes app shouldn’t be recoverable after 30 days, but the security and data forensics company Elcomsoft found they could access records that were deleted months, or even more than a year, ago. That sounds pretty bad, but recovering those files requires some pretty specific elements, including knowing your iCloud login and password.
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.
With iPad Pro and True Tone, Apple finds reason to nerd out over iOS color management — Every once in a while, Apple rolls out new behind-the-scenes features that are exceptional technical achievements but receive little fanfare. With the launch of the miniature iPad Pro, that focus shifted toward the important-but-impenetrable world of colour management.
Microsoft lets new Word Flow keyboard loose on the App Store with one-handed mode — Those who have a fondness for customising their iPhone keyboard can now do so in a Microsoft-approved fashion with the Redmond software giant’s new Word Flow keyboard for iOS. But Word Flow is only available only in US English for now, and only on the US App Store and there is no word on when — or even if — additional languages might ship. The keyboard is a free, 70.7-megabyte download from the App Store.
Apple supplier Pegatron still using low pay, excessive overtime, watchdog group says — One of Apple’s iPhone manufacturers, Pegatron, is still seeing its labour force put in excessive overtime — something unfortunately necessary for workers to meet basic financial needs, according to China Labor Watch.
This is a flop? Apple Watch debut-year sales double the iPhone in its first year — Despite mixed perceptions about the Apple Watch (high-profile VC Fred Wilson even called it a ‘flop’) analysts reckon the company has sold 12 million to 13 million in the year since its launch. As noted by Seeking Alpha. That’s double the 6M iPhones that were sold in its first 12 months of sales …
Office goes free on phones and tablets: what you get, and what you don’t — With the news that Microsoft is making all of its mobile Office apps free — the iPad and upcoming Android tablet versions — with a few caveats: Phone and tablet users will be able to view, create and edit documents for free, and they’ll be able to sync those documents with Dropbox or OneDrive cloud storage. Certain advanced editing features, such as the ability to accept or reject Track Changes in Word, will require an Office 365 subscription. And for commercial use rights, you’ll need Office 365 for Business.
[I am loving Microsoft’s re-engagement with the Apple world – better for all of us.]
Dan Frommer still likes his iPhone 6 Plus, and Steven Sandes loves his — Dan Frommer, writing over at Quartz, published a 30-day review of the iPhone 6 Plus today. The verdict? “After more than a month of everyday use, it has become even more of the pocket computer I’ve always wanted.” Steven Sande loves his too.
[I still love my slimmer 6 – the Plus is just too big for me.]
EFF ranks Apple’s iMessage, FaceTime “best mass market options” for secure messaging, ahead of BlackBerry Messenger, Google Hangouts, Facebook, Microsoft Skype —In its ranking of electronic messaging systems for safety and security, the Electronic Frontier Foundation said no mainstream products passed all of its criteria, but that Apple’s iMessage and FaceTime “stood out as the best of the mass-market options.”
Philips Hue iOS 8 Notification Center widget for connected lightbulbs now available — Users of Philips Hue connected LED lightbulbs can now quickly control their lighting and enable “scenes” with the new easy-access Hue widget, now available for iOS 8.
8 ways to take better photos with any camera — Now that ghosts and goblins have cleared the way for turkeys and reindeer, the prime holiday picture-taking season is upon us. To avoid getting disappointing photos that you can’t reshoot, you can follow these tips to increase your photographic prowess and take better pictures with any camera…including your iPhone.
Samsung Electronics’ heir apparent Lee Jae-yong profiled as silver spoon-fed product of corrupt nepotism with little real experience — When Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook came out as gay, jokes flew that Samsung might rush to announce it “was even more gay.” In reality however, Samsung Electronics is a step further behind Apple, having yet to officially name a successor to its ailing leader Lee Kun-hee, who at 72 remains hospitalised following a heart attack in May.
Jailbroken Chinese iOS devices fall prey to invasive WireLurker malware — Researchers at Palo Alto Networks said they’ve discovered an impressive malware attack against Apple devices, which for now appears to be limited to users of a Chinese application store. [Most people, don’t panic – your device is most likely not jailbroken, as that’s something you have to do specifically to your iDevice as a hack.]
Apple Pay dominates discussion at Money20/20 mobile payments industry conference — This week was the Money20/20 mobile payment conference in Las Vegas, Nevada and with over 7000 people in attendance, the hottest topic at the show was the recent launch of Apple Pay and what it means for the industry.
Leaf on the Wind is an engaging and very clever game — Mel Martin doesn’t do a lot of game reviews “because to me they usually are endless variations on a theme. Leaf on the Wind (NZ$3.79) is a clever exception, and a game I am really enjoying.”
Send your kid on a safari adventure with Trail the Tail — Trail the tail is an educational children’s app. It requires iOS 6.0 or later, is available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, and is optimised for iPhone 5. It’s a simple app with three short, fun, and educational games for young children in the main menu, a simple math game, and several other games involving various zoo animals on a side menu and costs NZ$3.79.
Google Maps app gets overhauled, adds Uber and Opentable — Google Maps, otherwise known as the mapping app that Apple Maps so desperately wishes it could be, got a little bit better today with an app refresh. The update brings with it a cleaner look and less clutter, which happens to match the post-iOS 7 aesthetic perfectly, along with support for third-party apps such as OpenTable and Uber.