Tag - Hardware
Previously, I've thought that some software or hardware is immediately and obviously useful. Plus, I've thought that some other such things didn't seem so at first, yet over time become vital parts of my work. For the first time, though, Living With has a new category: the product you didn't think you'd especially like, but which instantaneously became the most useful thing you own -- and so much a part of your work that you're sure you must've written about it before.
This week's slice through four decades of Apple history turns out to be a pivotal time for the company. There are plenty of new beginnings, and a few endings, plus many things that happened -- and one that failed to. Right the way across Apple, from hardware and software to people, May 14 through 20 was a key week for Apple in the 1980s, 90s, and 2000s.
We love our Macs, and we game on our Macs, but there still is no substitute for a beefy gaming PC. If you have been hanging around the MacNN corridors for a few years you may remember our unboxing, or should we say un-crating, of Origin's Millennium PC. Now, just one year later, a new Origin crate has arrived our doorstep, but this time housing something much smaller, the Chronos. Announced earlier this year at CES, Chronos is a new small form-factor PC from Origin that looks to pack a lot of punch into a small space.
Macs, iPhones and all Apple gear just works –– until it doesn't. There is an advantage to being an OS X or iOS user in that we've got those Apple Stores with the free advice and potentially expensive repairs, but we all face one disadvantage. You need these devices to work! When they don't, you need them fixed fast but it's hard to know what the fastest solution is. Sometimes it will be that you can fix it yourself and sometimes it will be that you need to go to an Apple Store. This Pointers is about how you find out which is right for you and your situation.
Nobody can teach you how to write and nobody can tell you the best way to do it, but that doesn't stop everybody trying. Including us. Blame editor Charles Martin, though, as he set out last week to show how you can use Apple hardware and a lot of software to create your own writing best practices but then specifically asked me to disagree.
There are rumors aplenty about whether Apple will drop the old 3.5mm jack plug for headphones in favor of wireless and the slimmer Lightning port. If it happens, though, we know exactly how it will go down in every sense, because we've seen this over and over again. We've seen it in hardware and we've seen it in software: Apple is remarkably consistent in how it makes changes that hurt us -- but it's also astonishingly consistent about how it works out for the best in the long run, most of the time.
It's not as if you go out of your way to pay Apple more money than you want to for things, but common wisdom holds that they do charge more -- how accurate that statement is, depends greatly on what product you're talking about. They charge enough more that if you have a Mac or an iPhone, you've been asked why you'd spend all that money, and you've been told that PCs and Androids are much better anyway, so there. The counter-argument you've probably started with is that no, they're not. When pressed, you've gone further and explained that you do spend more on Macs, but all the PC users you know have to keep replacing their hardware at what seems unfathomably short intervals. I've said all these things so often that I was programmed to ignore non-Apple Lightning cables.
Earlier this year, there was some controversy about heat and SSD data life when left unpowered. We don't think this is a major problem for most users, as a SSD will be powered for essentially its entire operational life -- but it may be an issue going forward, as users collect older technologies for re-use, given the generally long life of Apple hardware. So, in conjunction with our SSD Trim testing, we've started real-life testing of unpowered, depleted SSDs, exposed to high temperatures for extended periods of time to check on both data retention, as well as drive survivability.
When it comes to PC gaming, there are two basic routes you can take. You can choose to purchase a built-to-order machine from one of the many boutique gaming companies, or you can hunt down the necessary parts and do everything yourself. While many opt for the latter route, there is undoubtedly a market of gamers who would rather have everything put together for them. Origin PC has taken notice of this market and -- thanks to products like the mid-tower Millennium -- has managed to make a respected name for itself in the industry. Several weeks ago, we were lucky enough to receive a Millennium tower from Origin, and have spent some time putting through its paces. Our particular review build was priced at nearly $4,000, and includes some of the latest and greatest in PC components, including an Intel Core i7 4790k and dual Nvidia GeForce GTX 980s. Read all about our experience with this powerful gaming PC in our full review.
Popular app-to-app audio routing solution for many iOS apps, Audiobus, has been updated to version 2.0. Initially released in 2012, Audiobus offers iOS apps the ability to communicate with each other to exchange effects and sounds, allowing users to create a single audio stream from multiple apps, simultaneously. Its latest version features Multi-Routing, which can manage multiple audio pipelines for unlimited connections or effect chaining. Audiobus display a menu for selecting a compatible app, opening and adding an effect on top of an existing one. This creates a chain of effects within the Audiobus interface, which can be combined with multi-channel input hardware support.
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE