A literally complete handbook on keeping your iOS devices running smoothly
Today's Pointers column was inspired by a real-life incident in which an acquaintance asked me for help in picking out a new iPad. Knowing that they had a fourth-generation iPad -- not far removed from the iPad Air 2 that I have -- I asked why. "Doesn't work anymore," they grumbled resentfully. "Lots of crashes, some apps don't even launch now." I asked if it had ever been turned off. "Every night," they said. I said, "no, not put to sleep -- turned off." "You can do that?!" they exclaimed.
Simple near-universal bluetooth remote allows for easy music and media control
Let's paint a scenario for you: you're driving along, letting your iPhone serenade you with favorites from your music collection, when suddenly it plays that one song that you hate more than anything. You look away from the road to grab your phone and switch the song to something else, and in that brief moment, you've drifted into the other lane. Sound familiar? If this sounds like something that you can relate to, we'd like to introduce you to the Satechi Media Button, a Bluetooth enabled media remote designed to help you avoid moments just like that.
Wintel installed base still larger, but Apple sees expansion headroom still
Apple reached a new milestone with its most recent quarterly report, according to analyst Benedict Evans, in that the combined sales of iOS devices now match annual sales of all Windows devices made by various manufacturers. While not unexpected, the change demonstrates the changing nature of computing in the 21st century, which has become increasingly mobile-centric and cloud-dependent -- two trends that have had significant ripple effects through the entire PC industry.
Too busy enjoying Apple Music streaming on my iPod touch
In this early season of presidential candidate pronouncements, its refreshing to see someone not running for office who can crazy with the best of them. On this week's MacNN Podcast We celebrate 10 years of podcasts along with Apple, as well as the new, updated iPod touch. We then proceed, like all good parties, to trash some things -- in this case, iTunes and Neil Young's crazy (high) horse. Show notes after the jump.
Or: I guess relative planet size and albedo makes no difference, huh?
July is well more than half over! Hard to believe, but this is already our fourth Sunday installment of the MacNN Week That Was column. In case you're not familiar, Week that Was is about the stories that entertained us, informed us, or amused us in our patrols around the Internet during the week. We're not just highlighting our own writing -- anything that we've discussed behind the scenes here at MacNN is fair game. Read on for thoughts on the events of the week in the tech world.
New 64-bit model offers up to 128GB storage, not particularly repairable
A new teardown of the latest sixth-generation iPod touch by iFixit -- a firm that sells repair tools and services -- has ranked the unit as slightly more repairable than the previous model, but continues to criticize the new device for things that would be important only to tinkerers, such as the lack of external screws and the use of adhesive to keep the device together. The teardown revealed some specifics on the new model, including a larger battery.
New iPods ship in five colors, plus PROJECT(RED) version
As expected, Apple has taken the wraps off a new iPod touch. Predictions for the device were generally correct, with the new version getting a new 8MP rear camera, 64-bit A8 processor, and M8 motion coprocessor. The new iPod touch is available in five colors: space gray, silver, gold, pink and a darker blue than the previous offering.
Store outage began at 8:50 EDT, return time unknown
[Update: store back up!] Apple's online store is down. Expected today is a refresh of the entire iPod line, bolstered by information gleaned out of last week's iTunes and OS X update. Expected are a sixth-generation iPod touch with 64-bit processor, new colors, and perhaps a new camera. No significant change is expected to pricing or specifications of the iPod nano or shuffle.
Rumored relaunch still MIA, internal specs of new models still unknown
While a rumored refresh of the iPod line -- confirmed through art leaks in the latest iTunes releases -- allegedly set for today has not yet materialized, shipping times for the devices have gotten longer on Apple's US online store, suggesting that a refresh is imminent. While full details of the updated iPods is not yet known, new color options -- including strong shades of blue, pink, and gold -- are on tap for the new models.
What do we do when Apple doesn't release 20 updates in a week?
This is the third Week that Was column, and our first since the omni-release week that was the Apple Music rollout. Seems almost desolate around here. Anyway, lets jump into it, in this third week of our Sunday discussion of the stories that entertained us, informed us, or just plain tickled us in the course of the week. We're not just highlighting our own writing -- anything that we've discussed behind the scenes here at MacNN is fair game.
The Beats 1 that just can't go wrong today
Time once again for another episode of The MacNN Podcast, this time episode 22! Since it was quite a notable week, this week's chat between Editor Charles, Managing Editor Mike, and staffers Michelle, Bradley, and Sanjiv is pretty jam-packed. The big story of the week was the launch of Apple Music, and we spend time on both the good and bad of that, but we talk about a lot more as well. Show notes after the jump.
Shuffle, Nano, Touch to continue, but no obvious visible changes seen
An image buried inside the resources of iTunes 12.2 offers a surprising revelation to iPod fans: Apple's iPod lineup, which has seen diminishing sales for years, will get another -- though possibly final -- hurrah, with new color options and likely upgraded processors and storage. All three of the company's current iPod models -- the wearable Shuffle, the diminutive Nano, and the full-sized "iPhone with no phone," the iPod touch -- will see new colors, including strong shades of blue and pink, as well as the now-expected gold option.
iPads and iPods
Right now at Apple's online store, find great bargains on refurbished iPads and iPods. The refurbished 5th generation iPod touch with 16GB of storage can be had for only $149 after a $30 discount, while $159 will get a 4th gen. 32GB Touch. Priced at $199 is the refurbished 5th generation 32GB iPod touch in blue, pink or space gray. Also available is the 5th gen. 64GB Touch in yellow or space gray for $239.
Announces new Chinese educational programs to be offered in schools
In a new interview given to the Chinese-language version of Businessweek, Apple CEO Tim Cook admits that the company takes Chinese consumer tastes into account in its product designs, along with other factors. Cook specifically pointed to the gold color option -- first introduced with 2013's iPhone 5s and now expanded to the iPad and new 12-inch Retina MacBook line -- as reflecting in part "the popularity of that color among Chinese users."
Ford should stop selling cars because they sell more trucks, paper argues
In case you haven't heard, the Wall Street Journal has run an embarrassingly blinkered editorial called "Why Apple Should Kill Off the Mac" which is, on the face of it, nonsensical. We expect this sort of asinine fodder from the logic-averse scrawls of established nitwits like your Dvoraks, your Enderles -- but the Wall Street Journal was once a respected, legitimate newspaper (at least until Rupert Murdoch bought it).
iPods, iPads and iMacs
This week at Apple's online store, save on a selection of refurbished items from iPods to iMacs. A $30 price cut is offered on the refurbished fifth-generation 16GB iPod touch, which has been reduced to $149 from $179. The 32GB fifth-generation Touch has been cut to $199, while the 64GB configuration has seen a $60 drop to $239.
Unique headphones use bone-conduction to help keep you safe
Headphones, the humble hero of everyday life. Boring commute on public transportation? Just pop in your headphones and listen to an audio book. Noisy construction outside of your window? Slip your headphones over your ears, and have an impromptu Netflix marathon. Avid jogger? A great playlist can help workouts fly by, but in this case, headphones are more of a hindrance than a boon. Cutting out important audio cues, such as sounds of construction, car horns, bike bells, or yelling pedestrians can be dangerous. But there is a solution -- headphones that don't work by closing off your ears. We took a look at Aftershokz Bluez, headphones designed to help keep you alert at all times.
An app controlled wireless smart lamp that works with notifications
Perhaps you've already seen our review of the Dotti LED display from Witti Design. Meet Notti, Dotti's "sibling". Notti is a softball sized, asymmetric crystalline shaped, opaque white smart lamp that can glow any color. Much like Dotti, the lamp can integrate through an iOS or Android app and provide colored notifications for the user's various services. It can also act as an audio visualizer, pulsing its light in any color in time with the music. We've spent a bit of time with Notti, and people react well to it when we show off the features, but there are a few things we wish it did a little better -- check out our review to see what they are.
iPods, iPads and accessories
At Apple's online store right now, take advantage of price cuts on refurbished iPods, iPads and Apple Accessories. The fifth-generation refurbished 16GB iPod touch is now only $149 after a $30 price break, but for even more bang for your buck, get the 32GB fourth-generation Touch for only $10 more, now $159. The fourth-generation 64GB Touch is also a steal at $209, after a $120 discount.
Safari troubles, Mighty Mouse programming and more
This week in the MacNN forums, members discuss problems they have been having recently with the copy bounding box in Safari on the iPhone as it seems to be broken at the moment. One Mac Elite who is new to OS X and the Mighty Mouse is wondering how to program the Mighty Mouse to work different.
Portable storage for all your mobile devices
It seems like no matter how much internal storage is included today's mobile devices, we, as users, will always find a way to fill them up. This is where Seagate's Wireless can come in handy, especially now that more devices are making the move away from removable media. The 500GB drive can be accessed wirelessly, meaning users can store photos, videos, and music that would normally take up precious space off of their mobile device. On paper, the Wireless seems like a very useful tool, so we managed to get our hands on one, fill it with data, and take it on vacation to see just how well it really worked.
CEO vows to improve quality, says collaboration is why Apple is better
Following an excerpt from the forthcoming biography called Becoming Steve Jobs about the mercurial co-founder and former CEO of Apple, the company's current leader Tim Cook was interviewed by Fast Company about what has changed -- and what has stayed the same -- since Jobs' untimely death in 2011. In the wide-ranging conversation, Cook owns up to some growing pains, but says the spirit of Jobs lives on.
new lower prices
At Apple's online store today, find new reduced prices on refurbished iPods, Macs and accessories. The refurbished Apple TV is now only $59, since a brand new model has been dropped to $69. With the drop in price on brand new iPod touch models (from $199), Apple has also slashed prices on reconditioned models, with the 16GB configuration now only $149.
Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery?
Fittingly enough for a racing game, let's get this out front: AG Drive ($4) is a Wipeout clone. That isn't a strike against it – the developer admits it, the Wipeout series has plenty of fans, and many worthy titles have followed the same template. But a game can hew close to that template or build a unique identity, and execution, ultimately, is everything.
win 1 of 5 copies of Workflow 1.1
What is Workflow 1.1? Is it really an "essential" tool to add to your tool kit? What's new in version 1.1? Last week MacNN explored these questions in a complete Hands On review. We discussed who this software title would be good for, and who it might not be so good for. We also secured five promo codes to give away copies of this software to our readers.
Bringing your 'brains' with you, safely and efficiently
You may have noticed that people rarely use the term "getting away from it all" when they talk about vacations anymore. Unless you are going camping in the middle of absolutely nowhere, or trying to do a cruise ship on the cheap, chances are you are in fact bringing some of "it" with you -- probably in the form of your iPhone, iPad or Mac (or all three) and a connection to the Internet. As jet-setting journalists, we have come up with a few tips for this over the years, which we now pass on to you.
Prediction based on likely development time, Apple Watch timing
Speculators are now predicting, based on the usual development cycle and other factors, that Apple will release the currently-in-testing iOS 8.2 upgrade next month. Conventional wisdom has the release as likely in the second week, approximately a month prior to the Apple Watch rollout, which is estimated for April. In related news, Apple has updated its gauge for iOS 8 adoption, now at 72 percent of users.
monitors, Macs, iPods and iPads
Apple's online store currently has a vast selection of refurbished products, from iPods and iPads to Mac Pros and accessories. Save $200 on the refurbished 27-inch Apple Cinema display with 2560x1440 resolution. It was $999, but is now $799. That monitor would pair nicely with the six-core Mac Pro which has a 3.5GHz processor, 16GB of RAM, 256GB of storage and a price tag of $3,399.
Releases enter later testing phase
Apple has released fifth betas of iOS 8.2 and Xcode 6.2 to developers. Both are available through the Dev Center; iOS 8.2 is also accessible as an over-the-air update for people already using beta firmware. Exact changes have yet to be discovered, but Xcode has been updated to include the latest set of WatchKit tools for Apple Watch developers.
wireless docking is the future
This week, the MacNN forums have been abuzz with talk of everything from wireless docking to favorite apps. Yesterday, Moderator "P" shared an article about Broadwell vPro processors and wireless docking, then goes on to explain how he thinks Apple will use this technology. Yesterday, "jeff k" was trying to figure out a problem he was having with Sophos security software and Time Machine, so far a solution hasn't been found.
Strips out recording options, potentially offensive material
Twitter has released a new iPhone app linked to its Vine video-sharing network, Vine Kids. The app offers a curated selection of videos "appropriate for a young audience," and further removes the core client's ability to record new material. Animated characters guide kids through clips.
Apple credits TaiG team in release notes
Yesterday's iOS 8.1.3 update sabotages the TaiG jailbreak tool, users say. The hack was functional through iOS 8.1.2, outdoing Pangu, which stopped working as of v8.1.1. Although the TaiG team itself hasn't confirmed the problem, Apple's notes for v8.1.3 actually credit the group with finding four security vulnerabilities.
Defunct Mini model briefly returns to online Apple store
Apple's official online shipping times for the iPod shuffle have improved in the UK, France, Germany, and several other European countries, reports say. Earlier this month, shipping times deteriorated to between seven to 10 days worldwide, prompting fears that Apple might be discontinuing the product. Sources claimed that Apple was just going through component supplier changes, however, and this may be borne out by the European Apple online stores, which is now seeing the media player ship in five to seven days. Delays have yet to improve in the US or Canada, but may follow suit in the near future.
Giant otherwise shows strong financial performance
Beyond its official press release, Apple has posted a detailed breakdown (PDF) of its fiscal first quarter. The document is the only one to mention iPad sales, and reveals that shipments dropped 18 percent year-over-year to 21.42 million. Revenues for the tablet fell 22 percent to $9 billion.
Generally directed at bugfixes
Apple has released iOS 8.1.3 via iTunes and as an over-the-air download. Though primarily a maintenance update, it does make one important change: reducing the amount of storage that will be needed for future over-the-air upgrades. The amount of space iOS 8 required for an OTA update was a common complaint by users; on 16GB iPhones and iPads, there is frequently too little room left, forcing people to use iTunes instead. Apple hasn't said how much storage will be needed in the future.
Browser layout updated for Material Design, new iPhones
Google has updated the iOS version of Chrome with several major improvements. The most important may be overdue support for the higher resolutions of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. In parallel, though, the look of the browser has been revised to match Google's Material Design philosophy, which includes touches like "flatter" surfaces and more animation.
Pushes video to numerous media streaming platforms
A new port of AllCast, a popular Android app, has just been released for iOS. The title lets users stream personal photo, video, and music libraries to a variety of platforms, not just the Apple TV -- the only format natively supported by Apple. Some compatible targets include Chrome, Chromecast, Fire TV, Roku, WDTV, Xbox One/Xbox 360, and various platforms compatible with DLNA.
Public release may run parallel with Apple Watch availability
Apple is now seeding a fourth beta of iOS 8.2 via the company's developer portal, and as an over-the-air update for existing beta users. The build is listed as 12D5461b, and follows a little less than a month after beta 3, which was issued December 18. That build was 12D5452a. Accompanying the beta is a new version of WatchKit, the SDK and framework needed to build Apple Watch support into iOS apps.
Tracking data points to spike in Apple testing
Apple's upcoming iOS 8.1.3 update should arrive next week, reports suggest. Sources say that some sort of iOS 8 update, whether beta or public, will go live on Tuesday or Wednesday. Web tracking data at MacRumors, however, shows a sudden spike this week in iOS 8.1.3 devices visiting from Apple's internal networks.
Apple not dropping product, sources say
In spite of fears to the contrary, Apple is not killing off the iPod shuffle, according to sources. Stocks of the player have dwindled considerably, leading to speculation that it might be going the same route as the iPod classic. The sources say that instead, Apple is simply going through component supplier changes that have temporarily interrupted Shuffle production.
Tech requires no built-in batteries
Philips has announced a new set of Lightning headphones, the Fidelio NC1Ls. As with the company's previous Lightning hardware, the NC1Ls include their own 24-bit digital-to-analog converter. New to the product, though, is active noise cancellation -- based on inverting the input from four integrated microphones. Unlike most noise-cancelling headphones, the NC1Ls run on the power of the device they're connected to, eliminating the need for built-in or replaceable batteries (but also introducing additional battery drain on mobile devices).
Could hint at possible discontinuation
Stock of Apple's original "wearable" device, the iPod shuffle, is drying up at both Apple's online store and its retail outlets, sources say - reports that are backed up by checks. The company is reportedly warning retail workers that Shuffle supplies will be low for an unspecified amount of time, so much so that shoppers looking to buy the product should be redirected to the online store. Even then, the US site is listing Shuffles as shipping in seven to 10 days, well beyond the 24-hour window quoted for the iPod touch or nano.
Upgraded thermal imaging for mobile devices
FLIR has introduced a new thermal-imaging accessory for mobile devices, as reported earlier. The new FLIR One attaches via Apple's Lightning port or to an Android device's Micro USB port, rather than integrating the thermal camera into a custom iPhone 5 case. Electronista checked out the upgraded model at CES to see how it stacks up against its predecessor.
2TB encrypted local backup over local network
The IDrive online backup service company today revealed a local network backup peripheral. Presented at the Consumer Electronics Show, the IDrive Wi-Fi local backup drive allows users to backup and restore up to 2TB of their data between devices over a local connection, with data protected by encryption.
Company trying to push iCloud subscriptions, plaintiffs suggest
A new lawsuit, filed in a federal court in California on Tuesday, accuses Apple of failing to inform people how much space iOS 8 will consume on a device, while simultaneously prompting them to buy online storage via iCloud. Specifically the suit claims that iOS 8 can occupy as much as 23.1 percent of device memory, but that not many people realize this when making a purchase. The plaintiffs are seeking damages, as well as changes by Apple to comply with state law. The case is being pursued as a class action.
battery swapping, problems with Notes and more
Today in the MacNN Forums, Fresh-Faced Recruit "Ryan700" was asking if it was possible to move a battery from one 13-inch MBP to another 13-inch MBP, after the battery in his wife's computer needed to be replaced. A frustrated "jeff k" has turned to the forums hoping someone will be able to help him figure out why it is that the Notes app on his new iPhone keeps deleting notes at the end of the day.
App currently in TestFlight
VLC -- a popular multi-platform video player -- should be returning to the App Store early next year, says the lead developer on the iOS project, Felix Paul Kuehne. The title disappeared from the store nearly four months ago, shortly after the release of iOS 8. At the time, it was only said that the development team was "working with Apple on a solution" to bring the app back. In December, however a semi-public v2.4.0 beta was released via TestFlight, and indeed a second beta is now available.
songs won't erase, trackpad troubles and more
This week in the MacNN forums, members are plagued with songs that won't erase from their iPods, trackpad problems and more. "I can't erase songs from my iPod touch" says one frustrated Mac Elite, who is also baffled as to why there are random U2 songs on there that he never downloaded. After doing an update on an iPad 2, one Mac Enthusiast found that the unit is stuck on "searching" for cellular service.
Sleek camera app helps fine-tune pictures
We often get a photo with sub-par quality when we use a cellphone or tablet as our go-to camera. One of the main reasons for this, of course, is because users have minimal control over individual camera functions like focus, white balance, and ISO sensitivity. The iPhone's camera is far more akin to a point-and-shoot than a professional model, and frequently the automatic settings can leave a picture feeling a bit lacking. There is, however, still hope -- something like Manual Photo Camera, by Rego Korosi, allows a person to take maximum control over shooting.
Increases user attachments to Messenger
Facebook has released Stickered for Messenger, an app that lets users add virtual "stickers" to photos shot on an iPhone or iPod touch. The stickers can be added after or even before a photo is taken, as well as to pre-existing images in the Camera Roll. As necessary, stickers can be dragged, resized, and rotated. As the name of the app implies, created images are shared via Facebook's Messenger service.