Continent criss-crossing, jet-setting, and last of the famous international playboys, MacNN Editor Charles Martin made a diagonal line from an undisclosed island off the west coast of Canada to Orlando, Florida to help out with some Fringe Festival shows, so he's not available again this week, leaving Managing Editor Mike and MacNN contributor Jordan to go over both the leading tech news stories of the week as well as totally geek out on Disney software, figurines, consoles, Star Wars and more.
Having missed its usual beta cycle last week, Apple on Monday updated all of its OS platforms alongside a potential bug-fix release of iTunes, which also incorporates some design tweaks to the venerable media-management program. Updated today is OS X (to version 10.11.5), iOS (to 9.3.2), tvOS (9.2.1), watchOS (2.2.1), and iTunes for OS X has been bumped to version 12.4, which addresses a potential risk of accidental music deletion for a small number of users.
While the larger but badly-mismanaged LA Unified School District attempt to bring iPads in for every student's use ended in financial disaster for all parties, a similar program in California's Coachella Unified School System has been declared a success. The program, which provided iPads, educational software, and support for the entire 20,000-strong student body has been credited with lifting the graduation rate in the poverty-stricken district from 65 percent in 2011 to 82 percent in 2015.
Today's Pointers column deals with one of those features that some people claim is on by default but actually isn't -- they just didn't pay attention during the setup procedure (a common issue), but can be a boon or a boondoggle, depending on how you use it. On your Mac and on your iOS devices is a feature called Automatic Downloads, and like Microsoft's Clippy it is intended to make your life easier, but has great potential to make your life awful. Hail modern digital living.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has written to an Apple fan after learning about how an iPad purchase for his ill grandfather had helped during his treatment. User "bhanel" on Reddit included screenshots of his email to Cook, as well as Cook's subsequent response. Cook, like his predecessor, the late Steve Jobs, routinely reads correspondence from Apple customers as part of his daily routine. Like Jobs, Cook occasionally takes the time out to respond directly.
The other day, we gave you a few suggestions for things to get your Mother for her day this weekend. It's now a few days closer to the day, have you made up your mind? Do you really want to be out-classed by your siblings? In this collection, we've picked a few more things that Amazon or similar services will have no problem getting to Mom before Sunday. That said, you'd better get going.
Let's just cut straight to it: this is $100. Considering that you do not actually need it, or indeed anything remotely like it, that feels like a lot at the point of sale -- but then you can say exactly the same of your iPad Pro, and you'd be just as wrong. The Logitech Base for iPad Pro is a really fine piece of work. It's a charging stand for either model of the iPad Pro, which uses Apple's new Smart Connector.