Tag Archives: podcasts

Tuesday Talk ~ What is Apple up to? A lot!


(Speculative image from TechFrag)

Apple sure has been busy lately! While everyone knew (and hoped) Apple was up to things, the gap between the 2016 and the 2017 WWDC seemed to yawn cavernously on, with any glimmers of hope generated by eager commentators and aficionados while Apple remained monolithically silent. We all hoped Apple was crazy-busy behind the scenes, but there was little evidence to support that, thanks to the usual layers of secrecy, until the very welcome blockbuster announcements.
The hardware announcements appealed to almost everybody, but of course, WWDC is a developer conference. For the San José hordes to leave smiling, they needed more than a raft of new hardware to aspire to.
But Apple’s messages have been mixed. On the one hand, Apple more than halved affiliate fees people can earn by directing their readers to Apple services, which just seems rude and uncaring considering how stinkingly-wealthy Apple is, while on the other there have been moves to both broaden and tighten the so-called ‘Apple ecosystem’. In this model, every device you have is by Apple, and Apple tech and services connects them all up. Coders code  on Apple devices and in Apple environments, and users can’t really get into the hardware and software of those devices, unlike the more accessible Microsoft and Android platforms.

Some of these moves are very welcome. For example, Apple will soon let the people who make podcasts learn what podcast listeners actually like – and what they ignore. A coming version of Apple’s Podcasts, which is by far the most popular podcast app, will provide basic analytics to podcast creators, giving them the ability to see when podcast listeners play individual episodes, and more importantly what part of individual episodes they listen to, which parts they skip over, and when they bail out of an episode.
This has been an annoyingly opaque world for far too long: launch your podcast into the ether and your only real feedback is how many people downloaded it, and the minimal user-feedback on iTunes.
iBooks is even worse – the authoring app dates back to 2012 and the awful truth only really dawns on you when you publish a book: sales are tiny because nobody really uses the iBooks platform (which is flat-out marvellous) and Apple seemingly cannot be bothered to put any effort into it or to properly promote it.
But the podcasts initiative is a sign of hope.

However, Apple is now clearly busy on several fronts. Self-driving machine learning is at the core of Apple’s car ambitions. We know this because Tim Cook said so. You know, in public. Business Chat will appear in iOS 11, which will work across Apple’ iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch, but not the Mac (at first, anyway). Apple customers will be able to start a conversation with a business from Safari, Maps, Spotlight, and Siri. Once again, inside that Apple ecosystem, all will be sweet – it’s just that some find this a constriction whereas most users find it a pure boon.
Tim Cook has also announced a wide range of software and hardware changes that will finally bring VR to macOS, and that’s pretty surprising because Tim Cook himself had been on record as giving “exactly zero damns about VR“. Which I think is a good thing because it shows he’s flexible to new realities, right?

For some, of course, it has all been too much, even from the 2016 announcements. Because when you think about it, a lot of the top announcements at the last WWDC hardly went anywhere. How many people with 3D Touch-capable devices actually use it? Not many, in my experience, which is a shame as it’s remarkably useful. The same can’t be said for Stickers in Messages. I had a look once, and can’t be bothered with it. Like most people. This was froth, unlike most of the core tech and fundamentals of this year’s initiatives. It’s hard to use, and worse, virtually pointless.
Even Siri was practically useless to me until I discovered it’s superb function as a maths problem solver. I’m so bad at maths it takes me ages even to frame the question properly in a calculator or spreadsheet. Then if I’m lucky I might get close to the answer. Being able to just ask Siri a maths problem framed as a normal question is unbelievably satisfying and efficient.

All round, I think this year’s WWDC showed a much greater commitment to the core of what makes people Apple fans. And I’m really happy about that. 

2017 iMac surprises, High Sierra, GarageBand, European data, Boom 3D, Samsung law change, podcasts


Teardown, testing discover Apple made 2017 iMacs easier for users to upgrade — Apple has made its recently-released iMacs more easily upgradeable, with retailer OWC confirming the base specification 27-inch 5K iMac can be fitted with up to 64GB of RAM, while an iFixit teardown reveals both the memory and the processor used in the 21.5-inch 4K iMac can be removed and replaced.
The customary teardown from iFixit of the 2017 21.5-inch 4K iMac reveals that it too is capable of being upgraded, but not as easily as the 27-inch model. This is a “major win for upgradability” over previous models.
But the RAM is a confusing issue that Mac Observer tries to explain. But the other big surprise is that the Intel Kaby Lake architecture CPU isn’t soldered to the motherboard either. Instead, it’s seated in a standard LGA 1151 CPU socket, meaning the CPU could be upgraded without too much fuss and bother.

Inside macOS 10.13 High Sierra: APFS benefits end users with space, speed — Apple’s next-generation APFS has made its way to macOS High Sierra after an official debut on iOS 10.3, and with it comes essentially instant file copies, better efficiency for greater overall speed and fine-tuning of read and write operations boosting system performance.

GarageBand for Mac update adds Touch Bar support, more virtual drummers — Apple has released an update for GarageBand on Mac, adding Touch Bar support to the music creation software, with other additions including a design refresh to make the audio tool easier to use, three new drummers, and more drum loops to be added to a user’s composition.
Version 10.2 of GarageBand for Mac makes the MacBook Pro Touch Bar more useful for song creation, allowing users to navigate through a project’s timeline, and also play instruments, such as the drums or keyboard. The Touch Bar support arrives just under five months after the same feature was introduced to Logic Pro X in the 10.3 update.

European Union eyeing legislation to give police faster access to tech data — Reuters reports that the European Union wants legislation allowing law enforcement to access a suspect’s data straight from the tech company, circumventing going through the legal system – even when the request crosses country borders.

Global Delight unveils Boom 3D, a surround sound audio app for the Mac — Global Delight has unveiled Boom 3D, a next gen app that builds on Boom 2, its Mac audio enhancement tool. Powered by Global Delight’s patent-pending audio engine, it provides a virtual surround audio experience.
The app also includes handcrafted Equalizer Presets that can pump up any audio in the Mac, advanced Audio Effects and an Intensity controller to customize audio to suit individual listening tastes. Designed for macOS 10.10.3 and later, Boom 3D self-calibrates to the type of Mac it runs on to offer a personalized experience to the users, according to Jason Foodman, president of Global Delight. If you’re an existing Boom 2 user, you can upgrade for a discount off the standard price, so get 3 for about NZ$11 instead of US$16.99.

Samsung: $120 million fine in Apple battle changes patent law — Samsung continues to press the US Supreme Court to review a Federal Circuit ruling that it must pay $120 million for infringing Apple’s smartphone patents, arguing this week the lower court’s decisions in the case dramatically change patent law and will harm innovation, reports the Law360 website.
Meanwhile, Apple still has to pay WARF US$234 million for patent infringement.

Podcasts … Gruber’s Talk Show Live: iMac Pro, and HomePod and Mac NZ’s Mark too — Bryan Chaffin and Jeff share their takeaways from John Gruber’s Talk Show Live interview with Apple senior VPs Phil Schiller and Craig Federighi. They also discuss Apple’s newly announced iMac Pro and HomePod and explore how they’ll fit into our professional and personal lives.
And I did a podcast too, about the Apple releases, with Paul Spain’s NZ Tech Podcast with fellow guest Damian O’Carroll. Y0u can listen to it at that link or find it in iTunes under Podcasts.

Money for China quake, App count, Reno data, Pages layers, Facebook, podcasts


 

How many apps do you have on your Mac?
How many apps do you have on your Mac?

Apple contributes $1.6 million to Chinese earthquake relief — Apple and China have had a somewhat shaky relationship as of late, with state-run news decrying the iPhone as a threat and rumors of government bans on Apple products (though there seems to be some conflicting reports on this point), but in the wake of China’s 6.5 magnitude quake that hit the country over the weekend, the company is doing its best to help out. As reported by CRIENGLISH, Apple is donating 10 million yuan, or about US$1.6 million, to the relief efforts.

How many apps you have on your Mac — Out of the almost 1100 responses, a majority of readers (38%) said that they had over 500 apps on their iPhones! Comments ranged from “I have 16 apps and I rarely use those” to “I have over a thousand”.
So how many apps you have on your Mac? Although it’s not exactly precise, if we all use the methodology of going into our Applications folder (Finder, Go > Applications, then use the number of items listed as your count) we’ll get a pretty decent idea of just how many (or few) apps the average TUAW reader has installed on his or her Mac. Take TUAW’s poll. [If you can’t see how many at a glance, choose Show Status Bar from the View menu in the finder to turn on the file count along the bottom of the window, pictured above. I have 73, but I had 144 and it was out of control, so last week I erased my Mac, reinstalled the OS and carefully put apps back on that I knew I’d use.]

Apple’s Reno data centre prepares for update — Apple’s data centre near Reno, Nevada is getting an update according to the Reno Gazette-Journal. The paper is reporting that Apple has applied for new building permits for its Reno Technology Park campus.

How to rearrange layered objects in Pages — This comes in handy when you’d like to move text in front of a graphical element, say, or when you’ve got a few objects together and you want to overlap them in a specific order. Check out Melissa Holt’s layered shapes tutorial.

Direct access to Facebook on your Mac desktop — Sometimes, the best utilities aren’t something you necessarily can’t live without, but a little tool that makes your overall computing experience better. Head for Facebook is a tiny little circle that lives on a corner of your screen and, when clicked, reveals the Facebook.com website in a Web view (mobile or desktop), blurring out the rest of your desktop. Another click, and the website disappears. [Or you could choose to get work done.]

Apple fixes podcast downloading, browsing bugs with latest iTunes update — Late last week Apple rolled out the latest version of iTunes with bug fixes in place for updating of subscribed podcasts and episode browsing.
iTunes 11.3.1 addresses two separate podcast handling problems that caused the app to unexpectedly stop downloading new episodes of subscribed podcasts and freeze the program when browsing through podcast episodes in a list.