Apple publishes annual Environmental Progress Report — In 2015, 93% of Apple’s energy came from renewable sources. In Singapore, the company is powering its facilities with a 32-megawatt solar project spread over 800 rooftops. In China, they’re adding 170 megawatts of solar to begin offsetting the energy used to make products. And Apple’s data centers around the world run on 100% clean energy and power billions of iMessages, answers from Siri, and song downloads from iTunes. You can read the report here.
Imagining Apple Car: how hardcore car enthusiasts see Apple’s rumored automobile — Motor Trend just doodled on the proverbial cocktail napkin, and its Apple Car vision is simultaneously sublime and disturbing.
A reminder to download the free MyApple Magazine and app — It may have missed your attention the other day, but there’s a new issue of MyApple Magazine (1/2016) available for your reading pleasure, and of course, it’s free!
Chrominator is useful for sprucing up logos, text in Final Cut Pro X — If you’re a Final Cut Pro X user, Noise Industries’ US$49 Tokyo Chrominator is a useful tool for adding production value to logos and text. You can take any graphic shape or FCP X title and quickly give it a glossy 3D bevelled look complete with animated lighting.
Apple’s Swift programming language grew swiftly in 2015 — Swift, Apple’s programming language, grew swiftly in 2015, according Freelancer.com’s Fast 50 report.
The data comes from 1,429,842 projects “filtered for spam, advertising, self promotion, reposts, or that are otherwise unlikely to be filled,” the published report says. Swift-related jobs grew 566% year-over-year as more developers took notice of the newly open-sourced programming language, according to the report (via Apple World Today).
Test your router’s ability to handle full speeds and avoid buffer bloat— Your router’s Quality of Service (QoS) settings and avoiding a scenario where everything else on your network slows down when one device is using up all of your bandwidth, a condition known as Buffer Bloat. One way to test that is to do a speed test while simultaneously watching a series of pings from the Terminal. Another is to simply use DSLReports’ speed test which does all of this for you.
Using EtreCheck to diagnose Mac problems — If you’ve got a misbehaving Mac, an incredibly awesome tool to have in your arsenal is a program called EtreCheck. It’s free, though Etresoft is currently asking for donations to help improve El Capitan compatibility.
The complete guide to using iTunes with lossless audio — While you might not notice the difference in sound quality [I never do], the lossless format leaves you with an archival file you can convert at any time in the future. You’ll never need to rip those CDs again.
Apple is (still) the world’s most valuable brand, but Disney is the most powerful — Apple remains the world’s most valuable brand, up 14% to $145.9 billion, according to the latest Brand Finance rankings. However, the brand valuation and strategy consultancy says Disney is the “most powerful,” thanks to the record-breaking success of Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens.
Brands are evaluated to determine which are the most powerful (based on factors such familiarity, loyalty, promotion, marketing investment, staff satisfaction and corporate reputation) and which are most valuable and ranked in the Brand Finance Global 500.
Apple’s Swift language project gains continuous integration — Apple on Monday officially launched continuous integration for Swift, enabling checks on the project’s health, and integrated testing within pull requests before any commits are made.
Analyst: Apple may decrease its use of Amazon cloud computing services — In a note to clients Morgan Stanley analyst Brain Nowak says Apple may decrease its use of Amazon’s AWS cloud computing services. Morgan Stanley’s Katy Hubert thinks Apple spent a billion dollars on data centers last year, including money paid to Amazon, so moving away from AWS could save the company big bucks.
How to use Wireless Diagnostics to help you resolve Mac Wi-Fi issues — If you’re facing Wi-Fi issues with your Mac, you can use Apple’s Wireless Diagnostic Tool to (hopefully) help you resolve the problem. You can open Wi-Fi Diagnostics from the Wi-Fi menu in the OS X tool bar. Try to connect to your Wi-Fi network, then quit any other apps that are open. While pressing the Option key, click the Wi-Fi menu.
Sid Meier’s Railroads! is fun, but may disappoint longtime Railroad Tycoon fans — Sid Meier’s Railroads! (published by Feral Interactive and developed by Firaxis games) it’s a “re-imagining” of Railroad Tycoon on the Mac. If you haven’t followed the Railroad series, you’ll enjoy the game, though longtime Railroad Tycoon fans may be disappointed. It costs NZ$29.99 in the Mac App Store. (And here’s Macworld’s 10 Mac games from January 2016.)
Apple makes Swift open source, so its influence will reach beyond the walled garden — Apple just open-sourced the Swift programming language that developers use to build apps for Macs and iOS devices. This might not mean much for regular folks who use those apps, but for developers, it’s a huge step forward.
Apple is known for creating ‘walled gardens’ of devices and software that all run within the same ecosystem, and that includes the code used to create apps for its ecosystem. Before last year’s rollout of Swift, the company used Objective-C, which was completely closed off – developers couldn’t modify the language at all. Now, as Apple senior Software VP Craig Federighi suggested in an interview, it’s a “front to back” development option. And IBM Swift Sandbox lets you test Apple’s newly open-source programming language in your browser. And here’s a handy introduction to using it (on YouTube).
Expect WiGig support in future Macs — Future Macs will almost certainly add support for 802.11ad, also known as WiGig. Its name makes it sound like the follow-up to 802.11ac, but that’s not the case.
How to uninstall MacKeeper from your Mac —Some people regret installing MacKeeper but can’t figure out how to remove it. Macworld tells you how.
Beats Music subscribers have until Jan. 19 to make the switch to Apple Music — Apple is making the process easy. Now that Apple Music has arrived on Android as a public beta, Apple is finally shuttering its predecessor, Beats Music. But don’t worry: you’ll have a month to save all of your playlists.
Getting movies onto Apple devices — It’s not always easy, but it is possible.
Apple’s Swift 2 is poised to rock the software world — On Monday, Apple’s Craig Federighi announced that Apple’s Swift 2 programming language would become open source. This decision will have spectacular consequences for the whole software world.
Apple’s Swift programming language is designed to be fast, less syntactically complex, less ambiguous and thereby more secure. However, to date, it has been restricted to iOS and OS X development. Of course, that’s not a bad thing, and Swift has walked the fiery coals of any language used for mass mobile app deployment. That’s a great opening act.
One ramification is that you will no longer require a Mac to write in Swift.
Everything you need to know about Apple Music — After months of rumour and speculation, Apple on Tuesday unveiled its first foray into paid music streaming with Apple Music. Featuring access to an extensive iTunes-based catalogue, human-curated playlists, Beats 1 radio and Connect social networking for artists, the product promises to be one of Apple’s biggest releases for 2015.
Apple breaks down Music into three pillars: streaming tracks, Beats 1 radio and Connect. Separately, each leg can’t stand on its own, but together Apple hopes to offer a compelling option to industry giants like Spotify.
Apple Store employees sent emails to Tim Cook regarding bag check policy — Yesterday, a judge unsealed records that are part of a 2013 lawsuit that alleges Apple should pay employees for the time it takes to do security bag checks. These checks are done at the end of shifts, designed to ensure employees were not taking merchandise from the retail outlets.
Apple reveals OS X 10.11 ‘El Capitan’, promising better speed and other upgrades — Apple has brought Yosemite to the mountain: El Capitan, which is the name of OS X 10.11 as well as a peak in Yosemite National Park. Revealed today at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, El Capitan is intended to reach a higher point by fixing irritations and adding big efficiency gains.
Apple introduces Metal for Mac, promises huge leap in graphics performance — At WWDC, Apple SVP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi announced Metal for Mac, which combines the power of OpenCL and graphics crunching capability of OpenGL into a unified API that reduces draw rendering times by 50%. Metal is a core-level graphics technology that allows developers nearly untethered access to system GPU hardware for highly efficient processing, and kit was first introduced in iOS 8.
Apple to open source Swift later this year with support for iOS, OS X, and Linux — Apple has announced this morning it will make its popular new Swift programming language open source, releasing the language and toolchains for iOS, OS X, and Linux. Swift was announced at last year’s WWDC.
WWDC attendees greeted with jackets featuring Apple Watch San Francisco font, Swift code — Attendees registering for Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference are being given a familiar jacket but this year the text is set in the company’s new internally created San Francisco font, along with a clever reference to Apple’s recently-released Swift language.
More diversity — Apple CEO Tim Cook says the lack of diversity in the tech market is everyone’s fault, and he’s working to change that. Cook hinted that we’ll Diversity during this morning’s Worldwide Developer Conference keynote presentation will include more women. [About time!]
Well, here it is folks, Apple Watch (number 486 no less) is here, now on Mac NZ until further notice, in which I will continue to divine goodness-knows-what (goodness, at least) from Apple’s rather scant tealeaves at least once a week. I mean, there are plenty of rumours that seem to emanate mysteriously from third-party suppliers, but I don’t believe anything until an Apple announcement, and I (usually) shy away from passing on rumours.
Speaking of which, of course, there’s an Apple announcement coming up on the 9th September. We’ll know more (in New Zealand) the following day, so eyes on the 10th.
And what might that announcement be? The most leaks have been about Apple releasing ‘bigger’ iPhones, which worries me as this once again means Apple is following the competition rather than leading it. You could say the same, for example, about the iPad mini following smaller-format tablets that other tech companies released; Steve Jobs had vowed Apple would never make a smaller iPad. (Please note, I have one and I love it.)
Once upon a time the shoe was on the other foot: Apple was fighting off (very publicly, in the courts) those who looked like they had copied Apple’s lead. As an Apple fan, of course, I’d have to hope new, bigger iPhones (if that’s what’s coming) have a lot more going for them than just bigger screens. Because bigger screens by themselves … I don’t get, for two main reasons: 1/ a bigger iPhone is for that limited market of people who don’t want a phone and a tablet, but one device that serves as both; and 2/ why would I want a phone that’s bigger, heavier and harder talk on, and that hardly fits in my pocket? Not to mention it would be easier for potential thieves to spot.
But hey, we can’t get carried away. There are plenty of other rumours that may or may not bear fruit (ha-ha) on North America’s 9th September: Retina iMacs, Retina MacBook Airs, Retina Thunderbolt displays (I’m discerning a certain theme) … not to mention, of course, some kind of wearable thing (the Legendary and Mythical iWatch), a new Mac mini (it could do with a refresh) and some may even remember last year’s rumour de jour, the Apple Television (although this one I always thought was crazy).
And if you look at all the sudden special prices announced on various Macs across New Zealand, it may well be new Macs that form at least part of the announcement: Apple likes to get rid of stocks of outgoing models and its resellers don’t like being saddled with ‘old’ models, either. Sales flurry – and you don’t see deals very often with Apple products, so yes it’s significant.
Of course, Apple could just be releasing the finished versions of Yosemite (aka Mac OS 10.10) and iOS 8. I mean, we actually know they are coming for sure, we just don’t know when beyond Apple’s release forecast of ‘fall’ (ie, the northern autumn). But that release vaguery does allow Apple three months of wiggle room to get things right.
Which brings me back to Swift, the new programmer language Apple announced at WWDC this June. The reason I find Swift so exciting is that it give programmers even more scope to make even greater things. Because, bare-bones, there isn’t all that much to differentiate an iPhone or iPad or Mac from its various competitors, hardware wise. Sure, they’re usually designed to a higher standard. And they’re assembled to a higher standard. Most importantly for Apple users, they all go in to make the criticised (and much loved by Apple fans) ‘ecosystem’ in that they all work together to be more than the sum of their parts.
But the real advantage is as a platform for excellent software. The iPhone, once developers got their hands on Software Development Kits, really took off once their ingenuity could get to work, building incredible apps and services.
No, I’m not saying Android developers aren’t geniuses too. You’re geniuses too, OK? I’m just saying an iPhone wouldn’t be all that fantastic with just Apple’s stock apps on it (and if you think it is, boy are you missing out!). But with ten of my favourite apps on it, it’s utterly indispensable.
But in the realm of leaks and secrecy, Apple worked on Swift for four years, and when it was released, no one had a clue it was coming. Over five thousands WWDC attendee mouths opened all at once on that one. Of course, Swift was developed entirely in house at Apple Inc, Cupertino.
If ever there was a reason Apple might bring its production back to the US, it might be because Apple would have much tighter control over the entire supply chain than it seemingly has now – barely a day goes by that some nondescript part for the purported new Apple whatever doesn’t appear on the ’net (like the image above, from, understandably, MacRumors, supposedly from the 3x resolution of resolution of 1704 x 960). This kind of thing must drive Tim Cook to distraction, and I sympathise.
But when we finally get our deliciously free prime updates to the software for Mac and iDevice, we’ll see the first real results of what that release of Swift actually meant back in June. Real world.
And that’s exciting.
[By the way, feedback is welcome. There’s a Leave a Comment link at the top. Don’t bother venting your spleen at me for liking Apple, and don’t use swearwords, as I get to approve/delete comments. PC and Android lovers comments are otherwise most welcome – the Herald cut loads out, in case you were wondering. And Cameron Slater: don’t even think about it! You’re possibly the only NZ Apple user I’m embarrassed about, or if there are others, you’d be at the very top of the list by a long way. And since Macs are so secure, how on earth did you manage to get yours hacked? So I assume it was your server, not your Mac.]