Tag Archives: Los Angeles

Apple Watch 487 — Numbers, lists and speculations


Californian smartphones need kill switches from next year
Californian smartphones need kill switches from next year

Lists galore — In the lead-up to an Apple announcement (there’s an ‘Event’ September 9th) all the Apple following sites tend to resort to lists. Macworld in particular – I’m not saying this is bad, they’re usually really interesting: best apps for preschoolers, uni students, best features of he forthcoming iOS 8 for businesses …

Los Angeles drops iPads for schools — Meanwhile, life goes on. In what must be a shock for Apple, Los Angeles Superintendent John Deasy has suspended future use of a contract with Apple. This happened Monday 25th August. The deal was to provide iPads to all students in the the United States’ second-largest school system but scrutiny of the US$1-billion-plus effort had been mounting.
The contract had been approved just over a year ago. The terms meant Apple was expected to provide iPads with Pearson as the subcontractor. School board members were made to understand that the initial US$30-million contract was expected to expand to about US$500 million as the project rolled out over the following year. An additional US$500 million would be used to expand internet access and other infrastructure issues at schools.
The two main reasons Apple is now not in the pipeline is a deemed unsuitability of iPads in this environment (new electronic state tests were hard to read on iPad screens due to their size), but much more disturbingly, Deasy’s process looked, to critics, as if it had been skewed to favour Apple from the start. I’ll follow this with interest.

Californian kill switches — Meanwhile, California has passed a law mandating smartphone kill switches.
That means that smartphones sold in California will soon be required to have a kill switch that lets users remotely lock them and wipe them of data in the event they are lost or stolen.
The demand is the result of a new law, signed into effect on Monday, that applies to all smartphones manufactured after July 1, 2015 sold in the state. The inefficiency of producing phones solely for California means the kill switch is expected to be adopted by phone makers on handsets sold across the US – and around the world.
Apple had, of course, already responded to this request by adding a feature called Activation Lock into its iOS 7 operating system. This already meets all requirements of California’s kill switch law except one: it doesn’t come enabled in new phones out of the box. That’s all that will have to change.

iOS 7 dominates iDevice users — With iOS 8 on the horizon, 91% of Apple users made the switch to iOS 7. This is very impressive, especially when you compare it to the Android world: there are currently five different versions of Android each holding 10% or higher shares of that market.
That means Google’s Android is more fragmented than ever, with three different versions of the platform representing two-thirds of all devices. This makes it hard for developers – which system to develop and test for? And it’s hard for consumers: which apps work on your particular system?
So on the one hand, Android users get the ‘freedom’ to play around with all these different system, while on the other, us iOS users are ‘trapped’ into a system most of us are using, which has a rock-solid testing and deployment process. I’m biased, of course, but it’s pretty obvious to me which one is preferable.

Windows 8 was no dragon slayer for Microsoft — Apple followers have been chortling over the almost constant reports for other tech analysts that Apple has messed up, about to die, missed the boat etc. Of course, all these things might be true, at least one day, but the style of reporting certainly shows a strong pattern. Some put Apple down by championing competitors in the strongest of terms as, finally, real ‘Apple beaters’.

An example is Zach Epstein. He postulated that Microsoft’s Windows 8 would be the Mac and iPad killer all rolled into one. In the Boy Genius Report in 2011, he wrote “Apple paved the way but Microsoft will get there first with Windows 8. A tablet that can be as fluid and user friendly as the iPad but as capable as a Windows laptop. A tablet that can boot in under 10 seconds and fire up a full-scale version of Adobe Dreamweaver a few moments later. A tablet that can be slipped into a dock to instantly become a fully capable touch-enabled laptop computer. This is Microsoft’s vision with Windows 8, and this is what it will deliver.”
Deliver? The same site’s Brad Reed now writes “Why did Windows 8 fail? … We know from well-connected Microsoft reporters and even directly from Microsoft employees that Microsoft knows it stumbled badly with Windows 8. Indeed, the Windows 8 brand has become so toxic that the company’s employees have reportedly dubbed it ‘the new Vista’.” Ouch.

HealthKit attracts medicos … and insurers — Meanwhile, it looks more and more like anything like a so-far imaginary Apple ‘iWatch’ will have a lot to do with medical and other sensory devices. And that’s the real impetus behind Apple’s June launch of HealthKit, which adds APIs and other services to a range of medical sensor makers and their related apps. Do you really want to monitor many aspects of your own body? I don’t – but I might one day. It certainly suits those trying to improve their fitness, but even more so, those with medical conditions … because conceivably this data could be shared with medical practitioners. They could get alerts when your heart rate of blood pressure go up, for example. They’ll call and say ‘Stop watching the rugby!’ Hah. Anyway, insurers seem to be getting into the concept too – these implications are discussed in a Mac Observer podcast.

China’s new OS — Finally, you may have heard that China has been deleting Apple devices from government agencies. Since Chinese tech companies haven’t developed their own operating systems that can compete with OS X, iOS, Windows, or Android, billions of dollars flow out of China, and Chinese security services feel like it exposes the country to espionage from the US National Security Agency (NSA).

So China is trying to develop it’s own OS based on Linux, which is ironic in itself. This is also discussed on the Mac Observer.

At the end of the day, I do recall that the Apple world remains an interesting hotbed of news, information and rumours.

LA drops iPad order, iTunes Festival, iOS 8 for business, rice and iPhone rescue, Windows and iPhone, Google apps,


iTune sFestival added to Apple TV
iTune sFestival added to Apple TV

Los Angeles doesn’t want $500 million worth of iPads now — A US$1 billion plan to give every student in the Los Angeles Unified School District an iPad, while beefing up the district’s internet capabilities and other infrastructure, is now dead, according to the LA Times. The deal would have started with a US$30 million purchase of tablets from Apple, which would have grown to roughly $500 million worth of iPads as the program expanded.
The reason for the change is twofold: First, the district decided iPads weren’t ideal for purpose, and second, and most damning, was a disclosure by LA Unified’s Superintendent John Deasy that revealed an uncomfortably close relationship between Deasy, his staff, and the companies that would have benefited the most from the deal – Apple.

Apple adds Showtime Anytime, iTunes Festival channels to Apple TV — Apple has added two new channel options to its set-top streamer, bringing on-demand Showtime Anytime from the cable network as well as a dedicated channel for the upcoming iTunes Festival in London. The band deadmau5  will open the Festival, and Mary J Blige, Tony Bennett and others have been added to the bill.

The top iOS 8 features for business users — You can always tell when the tech world is waiting for an important Apple announcement – loads of lists appear.
Apple’s iOS 8 is set to bring several new features, including its HealthKit and HomeKit platforms, to the iPhone and iPad. Many of the advances are consumer-oriented and focused on creating a seamless experience across iOS devices and Macs running the forthcoming OS X Yosemite.

How not to use rice to save your iPhone — Rice can indeed dry out your iDevice if it ends up taking an unexpected tumble into a pool, pond, or – tech gods forbid – toilet. That being said, this is not the way to do it. Leave your device off for as long as possible, and certainly until you’re confident there is no more moisture left inside the device.

Researchers: iPhones, iPads connected to Windows PCs are at risk — Attackers could compromise iPads and iPhones on a large scale through the infected computers that make up botnets, researchers say.

Google bolsters iOS productivity suite with Slides, updates to Docs and Sheets — Google has released presentation app Slides alongside updates to existing iOS apps Docs and Sheets, offering a free Web-connected alternative to similar productivity suites from Microsoft and Apple.

Teach organic gardening to kids — Get those green thumbs ready with Gro Garden (NZ$3.79, universal), an educational app that helps budding explorers discover organic gardening in a creative and competitive way. Did you ever trick your kids into eating their veggies by sneaking the ingredients into some yummy home-baked cookies and brownies?

Best educational apps for primary schoolers — It’s that time of the year again when parents, teachers and students start thinking about heading back to school. If you have an iOS device, you can supplement your child’s education and stimulate them to get involved with quality educational iOS apps. Here are some of the best titles for children in the middle school-aged group.