October General Meeting

Read the minutes of the October General Meeting. Many thanks to MacsWest Secretary Judy Cherry for recording and preparing them.


This Week @ MacsWest
Teaching, Helping, Learning and Having Fun! 

• Monday, October 5, 2015 
    Nothing Scheduled   

• Tuesday, October 6, 2015
    1:00 PM – iOS8 Q&A, Hosted by Wally Bock, Palo Verde Room, until 2:00 PM (These Tuesday sessions deal with anything and everything Apple)
    2:15 PM – iOS8 iPad Basics Session, “Contacts & Calendars,” led by Wally Bock, Palo Verde Room, until 3:00 PM (or thereabouts). For  MW Members ONLY! (Note: This is the fourth in a new series of five sessions devoted to the Apple iPad. These sessions are led by various Club members and will continue using the previous operating system, iOS8. These sessions highlighting iOS8 will end next Tuesday. See below for the iOS9 schedule)

• Wednesday, October 7, 2015 
    10:00 AM – Senior Genius Bar: hosted by various members of the MW Club, Room C, every Wednesday, until 11:30 AM. These are one-on-one help sessions are held every Wednesday and deal ONLY with Apple devices (Mac computers, iPads, iPhones), the Apple operating systems, and specifically, Apple apps. If you have questions about non-Apple apps, please bring them to a regular Tuesday Q&A session. NOTE: These Senior Genius Bar sessions are for  MW Members ONLY! There is no fee. Drop-ins are encouraged.

• Thursday, October 8, 2015
    Nothing Scheduled

• Friday, October 9, 2015
    1:00 PM – MacsWest Regular Meeting, Review of the New OSX Operating System “El Capitan,” presented by Bill Turvin, Palo Verde Room, until 2:00 PM
    2:15 PM – Yosemite Mac Basics Session, “Mail,” led by John Huotari, Palo Verde Room, until 3:00 PM (or thereabouts). For MW Members ONLY! (Note: This is the fourth in a new series of five sessions devoted to the Mac computer. These sessions are led by various Club members and will end next Friday)

• Saturday, October 10, 2015 
    Nothing Scheduled

Apple Rumoured to Release New 21.5-Inch 4K iMac Next Week

Apple is planning to announce its new 21.5-inch 4K iMacs next week according to reports. The new iMacs are said to begin popping up in stores starting on Oct. 13, Tuesday, while bigger shipments of the computer will arrive in November.

The new 21.5-inch 4K iMac will be launched next week acccording to 9To5Mac’s numerous ‘reliable sources.' Though the sources say that the new Apple computers will begin selling in retail stores as early as Oct. 13, it may be difficult for people to get their hands on one as supplies looks to be very limited early on. However, the tech giant will begin shipping bigger amounts of units the following month. This goes in line with Apple’s holiday strategy and the completion of its fall lineup along with the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, and the iPad Pro which is set to be released in November. The last time the 21.5-inch version of the all-in-one computer was updated was back in 2013, and it does seem like the right time to give it a refreshed take.

News of a new 21.5-inch 4K iMac began popping up back in July when a line of code on OS X El Capitan beta was discovered to be referencing support for a 4,096 x 2,304 (4K) resolution retina display and  a reference for  the Iris Pro 6200 chipset. Currently, the new 4K iMac will most likely have the similar physical look of the current 21.5-inch iMac. The difference here is that now comes with the 4K resolution display and most likely a faster graphics card. In terms of processors, there’s no word yet on whether Apple will be fitting it with Intel’s latest Skylake chipset.

The tech company is also working on the Magic Mouse 2 that’s said to be integrated with Force Touch features, as well as a new Bluetooth keyboard with better battery life. It’s unclear, however if these accessories will be available straight from the box of the new 4K desktop computer.

With Apple rumoured to release the iPad Pro in early November, the announcement and the accompanying release of the 4K iMac does look pretty imminent. Pricing for the new 4K computer is said to be slightly higher than the non-4K version, and it will most likely have OS X El Capitan running straight out of the box.

Apple announces $199 iPhone 6s & $299 6s Plus with 3D Touch, A9 CPU, rose gold color, coming Sept. 25

Apple's new iPhone 6s series will offer users an entirely new way to interact with their handset, sensing pressure from fingertips to enable entirely new shortcuts in iOS 9. It also boasts an all-new 12-megapixel iSight camera, a souped-up A9 processor that nearly doubles performance over the iPhone 6, and a new rose gold color option.

Calling it "just as profound as the first Multi-Touch," Apple marketing head Phil Schiller touted 3D Touch as an entirely new way to interact with the iPhone.

In a video narrated by design head Jony Ive, Apple showed how users can use 3D Touch to quickly access functions within apps from the home screen, and to quickly view linked content such as an address in a text message.

Preorders will begin this Saturday, Sept. 12, with the new models getting into the hands of consumers on Friday, Sept. 25.

In Wednesday's presentation, Apple's head of software engineering, Craig Federighi, took to the stage to show multiple uses for 3D Touch in a variety of apps. For example, a link in an iMessage could be pressed more forcefully with 3D Touch, allowing the user to preview the link without actually opening Safari.

Quick 3D Touch actions from the home screen include a "Take Selfie" option on the Camera app, selecting "Directions Home" in Maps, or "Update Status" in Facebook Federighi also showed how users can quickly switch between apps with a combination of 3D Touch and edge gestures.

The iPhone 6s brings Apple's Taptic Engine from the Apple TV to the handset. These new vibrations were described by Ive as a "mini-tap" and a "full tap" that will give users tactile feedback when interacting with the iPhone 6s.

The new iPhones are made of a custom 7000 series aluminum, and come in four colors: space grey, silver, gold, and rose gold. The cover glass has also been improved with a dual ion-exchange process.

Inside, the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus includes a new third-generation 64-bit A9 chip with a new transistor architecture. Apple says the A9 is 70 percent faster at CPU tasks and 90 percent faster at graphics tasks than the iPhone 6 and its A8 processor.

Apple also spent a considerable amount of time boasting of the camera capabilities of its new iPhone 6s series. It includes a 12-megapixel lens and larger image sensor.

The camera is also capable of capturing 4K-resolution high-definition video featuring 8 million pixels.

With 3D Touch, the iPhone 6s also includes a feature dubbed "Live Photos." Photos will automatically be captured with a short video clip, and pressing on the image forcefully will "extend the captured moment."

Live Photos will be supported by Developer APIs, as well as other Apple devices, including custom watch faces on the Apple Watch with watchOS 2.

The new M9 motion coprocessor is integrated directly into the A9 processor, which means it's always on. LTE and Wi-Fi have also been improved, and are up to twice as fast.

The iPhone 6s also features a second-generation Touch ID sensor that is twice as fast as its predecessor.

There are also new charging docks that match the finishes of the iPhone. Apple also has new leather and silicone colors, including a (Product) RED model.

Apple will continue to sell the iPhone 5s for free, the iPhone 6 for $99, and the iPhone 6 Plus for $199. Installment plans will also be available starting at as low as $19 per month for the iPhone 5s, up to $31 for the iPhone 6s Plus.

Apple Announces The 12.9-Inch iPad Pro, Featuring A9X Processor And Starting At $799

Apple has finally taken the wraps off of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro — hailed by the company as the most powerful iPad ever.

The new tablet is the largest the company has made to date, and is largely targeted toward media professionals and those in the enterprise.

Touted by Apple as the "biggest news in iPad since the iPad," the iPad Pro offers a display with a whopping 5.3 million pixels — more than the display on the MacBook Pro with Retina Display. This display allows for a full-screen typing experience, and for users to do things like play musical instruments on their device. For those who don't want a software keyboard, Apple has also unveiled a new physical keyboard called the Smart Keyboard.

(Photo : Apple / Tech Times)

To connect with the keyboard, the device makes use of the new Smart Connector, which is magnetic and capable of carrying both power and data.

The new device also makes use of Apple's new A9X chip, the processor designed specifically for Apple's tablets. The chip, according to Apple, is a pretty substantial 1.8x faster than the previous generation A8X chip — putting it in the same class as many desktop computer processors.

(Photo : Apple / Tech Times)

The iPad Pro also features a four-speaker system, which balances frequencies based on the orientation of the device. It will certainly be interesting to see how this works in real life.

Multitasking is a prominent selling point for the new iPad, and with iOS 9, users can have multiple apps on the display at once — taking advantage of the large screen for productivity. Apple even called on Microsoft's Kirk Koenigsbauer to talk about Microsoft Office on the iPad Pro.

As far as dimensions for the new device, the iPad Pro is 6.9 mm thin, only slightly thicker than the iPad Air 2, and weighs 1.57 pounds, which is only slightly heavier than the original iPad. This is pretty substantial, considering how large the iPad Pro is.

Apart from Apple bringing a Microsoft executive on stage, perhaps the biggest announcement at the Apple Special Event was the Apple Pencil: a high-tech stylus for the device, able to detect things like the angle at which the user is drawing.

Other features include a FaceTime camera, Wi-Fi compatibility, and so on. The iPad Pro comes in three finishes, and starts at $799. It will be available starting in November.


Apple Inc. Reveals New Apple Watch Models And Bands Designed By Hermès

apple watch

Apple revealed new Apple Watch bands and models Wednesday as part of its "Hey Siri" event at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. 

Apple revealed new gold and rose gold sports band models, retaining the existing anodized aluminum body. These will be available at the same price as the rest of Sport range, and were announced alongside new sports band colors in more neutral tones. The new models will begin shipping immediately.

apple watch sportNew Rose Gold and Gold Apple Watches.  Apple

The company also announced an expansion of watch configurations for the space black stainless steel model. Alongside classic leather and black sports bands, the space black stainless steel also will be available with a Product Red sports band. 

A partnership with French luxury brand Hermès, resulting in three new hand-stitched leather bands, was also revealed. Each band has a custom Hermès watch face, and will be available in select stores in October.

WatchOS 2, which the company will be shipping Sept. 16, was also demonstrated. Native apps announced include Facebook Messenger, iTranslate, GoPro and Airstrip.

New Apple TV announced with Siri and App Store, coming in October for $149

"The future of TV is apps."


The long-awaited overhaul to Apple's living room set-top box is here. Today the company is unveiling its latest Apple TV with a revised physical design, faster internals, updated remote, and key new features including a built-in App Store. "It's the golden age of television," said CEO Tim Cook. "Our vision for TV is simple and perhaps a little provocative. We believe the future of television is apps."

The new Apple TV is much more powerful than its predecessor, which is a crucial upgrade for the device’s gaming ambitions. It's powered by a 64-bit A8 processor and supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. "It's just 10 millimeters taller," than the previous device, said Apple's Eddy Cue. As for connections, the new Apple TV carries over the same, simplistic power / HDMI / ethernet setup as the old model. It will launch in late October in two configurations: 32GB for $149 or 64GB for $199.

With the newly built-in app store, Apple and third-party developers will expand Apple TV's software ecosystem and widen its core functionality to put a much bigger emphasis on gaming. "When you consume this way, you realize just how much better it can be," Cook said. This is the next step in Apple's attempt to own the living room, and arrives ahead of the company's own internet TV subscription service, expected to arrive sometime in the next year.

You interact with the new Apple TV using Siri, Apple's personal assistant technology. Similar to other set-top box makers like Roku and Amazon, Apple has embraced voice search as the primary means of finding content to watch. Apple's universal search can browse multiple video services (iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Showtime) for the shows and movies you're looking for. You can search for titles, actors, genres, and even granular criteria like guest spots or cameos on TV shows. Siri can also make content suggestions for general questions like, "What are some new movies that are good to watch with kids?"

Along with the deep voice search capabilities, Apple is bundling a new and vastly improved physical remote with the latest Apple TV. The remote features a touch surface for easier navigation through the device's user interface, which resembles the previous menu system but is now refreshed and much more in line with modern iOS devices. Apple says the new software is called tvOS. As you watch shows and movies, Siri can also provide current weather conditions or keep you updated on sports scores.

But third-party apps are by far the biggest addition to this new Apple TV. The bundled remote can be used to control games running on your TV screen. On stage, Apple showcased a few titles including Crossy Road and Beat Sports, a game made by Harmonix. Apple's gaming push seems tailored around casual players — the same people who've collectively downloaded millions of titles onto their iPhones and iPads.

Gaming is a huge focus on the new Apple TV.

But apps extend beyond gaming and other sources for video streaming. Apple also brought companies like Gilt on stage to demonstrate how consumers will be able to shop directly on Apple TV. In this way, Apple TV will offer much broader functionality than similar living room devices from Roku or Amazon, which stick largely to entertainment.

But there'll be plenty of that on Apple TV, of course, with Apple also giving stage time to MLB.TV and NHL Game Center; apps can offer push notifications and take you right into a critical moment of a live sports game.

The revamped Apple TV has been rumored for months, and after reportedly delaying a WWDC announcement earlier this year, Apple set today's September 9th event as the new reveal target. Eddy Cue labeled the new Apple TV "a foundation for the future of television," offering another hint of the company's plans for a subscription service down the road.


Apple to Delay Live TV Service to 2016 Due to Stalled Negotiations and Lack of Network Capacity


Apple, Inc. will be delaying its live TV service to 2016 due to several factors, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

Issues with the licensing of TV programming and the lack of computer network capacity are said to be the reasons for the delay.

The source, who doesn't want to be identified because talks are private, told Bloomberg that Apple's negotiations to license programming from TV networks owned by CBS Corp. and 21st Century Fox, Inc. is progressing slowly.

The issue with the price is seen as the main reason why talks are stalling.

People familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that Apple wants to offer a package of popular channels for just $40 a month.

The package price is way lower compared to the average monthly cable bill in the U.S.

Bloomberg adds that TV networks expect Internet-based services, like Apple's live TV service, to pay them a higher fee. This is because these services are just new to the market and are also asking to gain a share of the viewers.

CNET also adds that Apple is not being helped by the already competitive market being dominated by cable companies and satellite TV providers.

This competition is also a reason why content providers can hold out for better terms.

Unless Apple can convince these TV networks to give them a discounted price to show some of their programs, it's going to be hard to offer to consumers the $40 a month package that they want.

Bloomberg adds that aside from providing the content, Apple is also struggling with creating a computer network that can support a fast, glitch-free, viewing experience in the U.S.

Nick Del Deo, an analyst at Moffettnathanson LLC, told Bloomberg that though Apple has solutions, it would be expensive.

"Apple could send every bit from one central point, but the bandwidth costs would be exorbitant," he said. "Plus, the service would be terrible."

Apple is working with Akamai Technologies, Inc., a company that runs a "content distribution network," and another company that operates small "micro-data centers" to help solve its network capacity issues, according to Bloomberg.

CNET adds that Apple's live TV service is the company's next step in its entertainment strategy, which is a key component of Apple's overall goal.

Apple wants to create a stable of products and services that keep consumers from straying to competitors such as Google.


IBM Launches New Service to Deploy Macs to Businesses Around the World

IBM today announced the launch of a new service that will allow large companies to easily incorporate Mac computers into their preexisting corporate infrastructure. The service, being deployed by IBM's MobileFirst Managed Mobility Services unit, will be aimed at companies around the world and not just based in the United States. 

Thanks to the MobileFirst partnership with Apple that has brought about multiple waves of enterprise-focused apps as the company has increased its own usage of Macs, IBM saw an opportunity to commercialize its expertise in "enterprise deployment" of Macs in the workplace.

“Ease of adoption and use are at the foundation of every Apple product, and as these devices are used more in the workplace, people expect the same experience they enjoy with Apple technology in their personal lives,” said Richard Patterson, general manager, Infrastructure Services, IBM Global Technology Services. “IBM’s new enterprise services ensure a great user experience for clients using Macs, providing world-class support from installation through the life of the product.”
The company promises that the new MobileFirst service will be completely headache-free for clients, with the Macs delivered directly to customers and ready to go out of the box with easy network access setup screens and security measures. It will also support the personal Macs of employees if they bring their own devices to work. The source of the quick-and-painless software setup is a partnership with JAMF Software and its Casper Suite, the "leading solution" for the quick deployment and setup of enterprise computers. 

Today's news comes after an internal video of IBM chief information officer Jeff Smith that leaked late last week, in which Smith told employees that the company could end up purchasing 150,000-200,000 Macs annually, significantly more than the original estimate of 50,000 Macs deployed through the end of the year announced in internal memo earlier in the year. IBM has told Apple it expects the initiative could eventually see 50-75 percent of IBM employees switching over to Mac from the company-standard Lenovo computers used at IBM.

Apple's New iPod Touch Is Basically a Diet iPhone



Apple iPod Touch


Apple introduced a revamped iPod Touch lineup on Wednesday, the product’s first major overhaul since 2012. The new features — a faster processor, a better camera and new fitness tracking capabilities — restore the iPod Touch’s place in Apple’s lineup as an iPhone minus the phone element.

The new iPod Touch, available Wednesday starting at $199, packs the same A8 processor found in the iPhone 6, as well as an eight megapixel rear camera and improved front-facing camera. While the iPod Touch lacks the ability to connect to a cell phone carrier’s wireless network, it does have Wi-Fi, so users can access features like Apple’s new Apple Music streaming service when connected to a local network or hotspot.

The new iPod Touch comes in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB varieties for $199, $249, $299 and $399 respectively. Apple has also added five new colors to the entire iPod lineup.

In many ways, Apple has the iPod to thank for setting it on a path to become the world’s most valuable company. While the iPod received mixed and often cold reviews initially, it soon became synonymous with “.mp3 player,” helped along by the iTunes Music Store’s large selection and ease of use.

But the iPod has long since been eclipsed by the iPhone, which today provides the bulk of Apple’s revenue. Apple no longer identifies the iPod individually in its earnings reports; it’s lumped into an “Other Products” category that’s typically responsible for the smallest chunk of the company’s bottom line. For that reason, it’s always a little surprising when Apple decides to do much of anything with the iPod: It could easily let the product wither away and die, and suffer essentially zero ill consequences for doing so.

Showtime's new cord-cutter channel launches on Apple TV with 30-day free trial

Cable cutters can now access premium network Showtime, home to "Homeland" and "Dexter," via their Apple TV, which launched on Tuesday with a free 30-day trial period.

After the trial ends, Showtime will run subscribers $10.99 per month. The new Showtime streaming channel is available automatically on all second- and third-generation "hockey puck" Apple TV units.

Showtime's streaming-only launch also arrives ahead of the premiere of the third season of "Ray Donovan," starring Liev Schreiber and Jon Voight, which will air this Sunday at 9 p.m. Eastern. It will be followed by the third season premiere of "Masters of Sex," starring Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan, at 10 p.m.

Showtime's new streaming service operates largely the same as HBO Now, which debuted exclusively on the Apple TV in April before making its way to other platforms. But Showtime also undercuts HBO Now's $14.99-per-month price point.

The CBS-owned Showtime first announced last month that it would offer standalone, cable-free subscriptions. It was originally expected to launch July 12, making Tuesday's debut a few days early.

Like HBO, Showtime is known for a combination of original programming and an extensive movie library. Among the channel's most well-known efforts are the thriller "Homeland," crime dramas "Dexter" and "Weeds," and other shows like "Californication" and "United States of Tara."

Apple Pay: A 5-step beginner's guide

Apple CEO Tim Cook has called 2015 “the year of Apple Pay," referring to the company’s highly successful mobile payments system, which was developed across several years.

Step 1: Set up Apple Pay on iPhone

Apple Pay works with iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and an Apple Watch that’s paired with an iPhone 5 or later series device.

Launch the Passbook app (soon to be called Wallet).

Tap Set up Apple Pay

There are a couple of ways to set up Apple Pay for your card.

Add the credit or debit card you already use for iTunes to Passbook by entering the card security code


Use your iSight camera to scan your card in order to enter your card information.


Do it manually. Choose Enter a new Credit or Debit Card

Enter the Name, Card Number, Expiration Date and Security Code from your card. Tap Next.

In some cases, your card will be verified with your bank, which may require you make or receive a call and/or enter a code sent to you via SMS.

Your verified card will appear at the top of Passbook & Apple Pay section of settings.

Step 2: Set up Apple Pay on Apple Watch

Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and select Passbook & Apple Pay. Tap ‘Add a Credit or Debit Card."

To add the card you already use with iTunes just enter the security code.

You can also add a card using the iSight camera on your iPhone or type details manually (as above).

Step 3: Using Apple Pay

In theory, Apple Pay works in any store that accepts NFC payments, usually shown by the ‘Contactless’ (tap and pay) symbol on the payment machine. You can already use it internationally if you have an account with a supporting bank.

You can also use Apple Pay to pay with a single touch within apps – just look for the Buy with Apple Pay icon.

To pay with a phone: Just hold your iPhone near the contactless reader with your finger on Touch ID

To pay with Apple Watch: Double-click the side button and hold the face of your Apple Watch up to the contactless reader. A gentle tap and a beep confirm that your payment information has been sent.

If you have multiple cards, you can browse through all available payment cards in Passbook on your iPhone or Apple Watch.

Step 4: Update and remove

If you want to remove a card from Apple Pay to go to Settings>Passbook & Apple pay, tap the card that you want to remove and then select Remove Card.

You can change the address email, or phone number you use for paying within apps Settings > Passbook & Apple Pay to update your information.

Step 5: Is it safe?

Apple likes to say its system is safer than existing chip-and-pin system, and may have a point. Whenever you use a card to pay, your card number and identity are visible. Apple Pay uses a a unique Device Account Number to replace your actual credit and debit card numbers, so your real identity and card number details are not shared. And if you lose your iOS device, you can use Find My iPhone to suspend Apple Pay or wipe your device.

You can also remove your cards from Apple Pay on iCloud.com. Just sign in, click Settings, choose your device, and remove your cards in the Apple Pay section.


Inside iOS 9: Apple makes it easier to upgrade with automatic overnight updates, smaller files



Thursday, June 11, 2015, 09:04 am PT (12:04 pm ET)

In a bid to drive the already-impressive iOS upgrade rate even higher, Apple has brought a bit of OS X to iOS 9 with a new automatic installation option that will let iPhones and iPads update themselves — at a convenient time for the user.

"We're also changing the way software updates are presented to the user," OS X platform lead Andreas Wendker said during a session at this week's Worldwide Developers Conference. "Users will be given a choice to install right now, or later at night when they might not need access to devices."

This change will bring iOS in line with OS X, which began offering such an option in Mavericks. 

On the desktop, selecting "Try Tonight" will automatically install available updates between the hours of 2 a.m. and 5 a.m., whenever the computer is not being used. The update process is fully automatic — the computer saves state, restarts itself when necessary, and presents the same state when the user logs on again.

Though further details are not yet available, the new iOS 9 update mechanisms appear to follow the same pattern. A post-update dialog shown on screen at the conference confirms that the update was successfully installed, and gives the user an option to read more information about the changes.

Apple has also reduced the amount of free space required to install updates on the device, from 4.6 gigabytes for iOS 8 to 1.3 gigabytes for iOS 9.

"So we think this is going to keep pushing users to update quickly, and will allow you to keep focusing your energies on the latest version of iOS," Wendker told audience.

Apple Music, iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan: Everything Apple announced at its WWDC 2015 developers conference

We expected a low-key, only modestly consumer-focused conference from Apple's  WWDC 2015; what we got was a lot of new software to look forward to. As predicted, there was no shiny new hardware. But here are the highlights, including the  celebrity-filled rehearsal parody videothat launched the event. And a rarity for Apple, women on stage!

Interested in the stats? Here's  WWDC by the numbers -- or you can always skip to the video highlights.

Apple Music

Tim Cook resurrected Apple's "one more thing" for this announcement. It's been a year since the acquisition of audio company Beats, and a  relatively quiet one at that. But today, the company announced a new music-streaming service, Apple Music .

Designed to address the "fragmented mess" of music,  Apple Music includes Beats 1, a live 24-hour radio station with DJs from New York, LA and London; a curated playlist feature called For You; and Connect, a way for artists to interact with fans, including direct delivery of music from outside the catalog and other content.

In addition to searching its music library, Apple Music will also allow you to search -- and stream -- music from iTunes.

The app has a new interface with a (hideable) mini player along the bottom, thumbnails for recently added albums, varying views, the option to add your own artwork and dragging and dropping items in playlists. You can also watch ad-free music videos.

And of course, you can talk to it with Siri, including natural language search ("Play the song from 'Selma.'")

Apple Music launches later in June on iOS 8.4 (and a bunch of other platforms). The first three months come free, and it'll cost $15 per month for families of up to six people and $10 per month for individuals thereafter. We'll update the Apple Music review page with international pricing and availability as we get them.

iOS 9

Apple's push with  iOS 9 is proactivity. It introduces a new user interface for Siri. Apple's virtual assistant seems to benefit from the natural-language interface technology in OS X, and it has more assistant-like capabilities than before. Interestingly, it sounds a lot like what Google announced two weeks ago at its own conference, I/O.

Siri's been spruced up. It can automatically process invitations with reminders, incorporate map-based information like driving directions and guess the identity of unknown callers from their phone numbers. It can suggest apps based on your actions and do video searches across sites (with direct play). And Siri can automatically add links to reminders you set up.

Plugging in your  headphones can, say, automatically launch your music. You'll be able to scrub through photos, and find them with natural language search ("Show my karaoke photos of Eddy.").

Apple Pay comes to Discover, Baskin-Robbins, B&H Photo and more (here are all the numbers). This fall, Square will bring out a new reader with Apple Pay support and later this month you'll be able to buy pins from Pinterest via Apple Pay. Next month, it crosses the pond to the UK with a bunch of banks and brands (250,000 locations). London's public transport will also be accepting Apple Pay.

In  iOS 9 , you'll be able to add store cards, frequent buyer programs and reward cards in addition to event and travel tickets, coupons and the like. The growing capabilities have driven Apple to rename the Passbook app as Wallet.

There are enhancements to a lot of apps. Notes gets a toolbar with formatting options, automatic checklists, access to your camera roll and camera, and drawing tools. You'll be able to share a link into your notes, see thumbnails and see an attachments view.

In Maps, there's now a public transport map (Transit) with routing, and step-by-step directions with walking time. It looks a lot like the NYC MTA map, and the feature is rolling out globally for big cities.

Say goodbye to Newsstand; say hello to  News, Apple's homegrown news aggregation app. It has been likened to Flipboard, and for good reason. It's an interactive platform that provides a personalized, bookmarkable news feed. There's a new Apple News format that publishers will be able to use for custom layouts. It supports animated imagery and videos and has a Photo Mosaics gallery display. It's also private; what you read is not shared or linked to other Apple services. The usual news sources will be available at launch. In his review of Apple News, CNET's David Katzmaier wrote, "Apple says 30 New York Times articles per week will be delivered free to News users. Also mentioned was ESPN and Conde Nast, and the ability to add just about any type of local content."

One of the big  iPad-related updates: the keyboard is now a trackpad with a two-finger drag. The QuickType keyboard will come with shortcuts for important actions like cut, copy and paste, with additional shortcuts for connected keyboards.

And  multitasking! It has split and picture-in-picture view and a visually redesigned task switcher; a swipe from the right pulls out email and swiping down brings down all your thumbnails of running apps. You can also pin running apps. However, not everything is supported on all iPads -- some are only on the iPad Air onward, and split-screen is only on the iPad Air 2 .

You should see improvements in animation and scrolling on all iOS devices, and extended battery life on the iPhone. There's now a low-power mode, whichApple claims extends life by 3 hours.

Two-factor authenticaion comes to iCloud, and over-the-air updates are smaller (down to 1.3GB from 4GB of iOS 8).

The developer beta launches today and a public beta will be available in July ( here's how to sign up); the free upgrade rolls out in the fall. It will remain compatible with all iOS 8 devices.

OS X 10.11: El Capitan

OS X 10.11 has updates for frequently used applications and enhanced window management. These include making it easier to find the cursor by shaking your finger on the trackpad, email gestures, pinned sites and audio indicators in the tabs in Safari and natural text searches in Spotlight and the other applications ("documents I worked on last June"). It has swipe gestures in Mission Control and more mobile-like window behavior plus tabs in full-screen mode; you can now more easily organize two windows side by side. It has graphical thumbnails for links in Notes, and you'll be able to drag and drop windows to create workspaces.

There are also performance enhancements, including faster app launching, app switching, mail retrieval and preview.  Metal, the company's game application programming interface, was announced last year. combined with moving the OpenGL stack into it, is supposed to deliver better performance. This includes upcoming performance improvements in Adobe After Effects and the Illustrator drawing engine. Game developer Epic claimed a 70 percent lower CPU usage, and demoed its upcoming title Fortnite, built on the Unreal Engine, displaying some pretty nice real-time rendering. Zombies, too.

El Capitan is available today for developers. There's a public beta in July and a free upgrade for all this fall.

Apple Watch

The smartwatch's  Watch OS gets native apps, which means they can be faster, better and smarter. The new version (with the Timepiece API) offers new, motion-sensing changeable faces like photos, photo albums, and a time-lapse photo face.

The OS also gets an information-display feature called Complications, which are single-screen widgets showing weather information, sports scores and so on. The Time Travel feature will show past and future information and events when you rotate the watch's crown. It also has a new nightstand mode intended to give an optimal bedside experience.

It's easier to add friends from the Friend display. Now drawings can be multicolored, and you'll be able to reply to emails, use FaceTime audio right on your wrist and run native fitness apps (apps that work without a phone). You can start workouts via Siri and the watch can display achievements that you can share. Siri will also be able to give you mass transit directions, support talking to your HomeKit devices and bring up third-party apps like Instagram.

The new Wallet and Transit features are supported on the Watch as well.

Watch OS 2 will be available to all in the fall, but the developer preview is available now.

For developers: 'Kits, 'Play and Swift

HomeKit devices finally started shipping just last week (check out our review of the first one, the Lutron Caséta Wireless Lighting Starter Kit ).

Announced at last year's WWDC,  Swift -- here's our primer -- goes open-source with Swift 2. It will gain whole-module optimization, better error handling and protocol extensions.

Apple has opened up its search API, allowing deep links into applications and backlinks. If you've incorporated auto layout and size classes, your apps will automatically support the new split and picture-in-picture views.

Xcode gains UI testing and app thinning for incremental downloads, and GameKit has obstacle avoidance and other physics, plus ReplayKit for sharing gameplay videos.

HealthKit is being updated with hydration, UV exposure and reproductive health APIs;  HomeKitgets updates to control window shades, sensors and security systems, plus iCloud-based management; CarPlay rolls out support for auto makers and wireless connectivity between phone and car.

WatchKit now has the logic to run apps on the Apple Watch instead of the phone and the capability to connect to known Wi-Fi networks. Developers can access the microphone, play audio on the watch speaker (or through a connected Bluetooth device), play small videos, use HealthKit and HomeKit APIs, access the accelerometers, use the Taptic engine and control parameters via the Digital Crown.

And to close things out,  The Weeknd debuted a new song on stage.


See CNET's archived live blog, and check out our complete coverage of the Apple WWDC 2015 event.


Apple moves to six-digit passcode in iOS 9

Apple plans to require six-digit passcodes to unlock its latest mobile devices that use iOS 9, its forthcoming mobile operating system.

Users already have the option in iOS 8 of setting a much longer passcode than four digits, which is the current minimum requirement. Symbols and letters can also be used.

Increasing the minimum number of digits to six means that there will be 1 million possible combinations rather than 10,000, which "will be a lot tougher to crack," Apple wrote on its website.

The move to longer passcodes is not likely to please U.S. authorities, who have expressed fears that stronger security measures, including encryption, may make it more difficult to obtain information for time-sensitive investigations, such as terrorism.

Apple beefed up the encryption in iOS 8, protecting more sensitive data and employing more protections within hardware to make it harder to access.

Security experts have said that the use of a four-digit passcodes in iOS 8 is likely insufficient to protect data despite the protections Apple put in place. Users are better served by longer, unique passwords, but rarely opt for more complicated ones.

The passcode change will apply to devices that have Touch ID, Apple's fingerprint scanner that is built into the latest versions of its hardware.

Touch ID eliminates the sometimes fiddly process of unlocking a phone using the four-digit code, but Apple does require it to be entered after a device is restarted.

iOS devices have other passcode protection features. For example, if a wrong passcode is entered, an iPhone can lock someone out for a minute and for subsequently longer times if wrong passcodes are repeatedly entered.

A device can also be configured to erase itself after 10 wrong attempts.

The move to six digits could make it a lot harder for law enforcement to randomly guess passcodes on an iOS 9 device if it hasn't been configured to wipe its data.

Apple rolls out cheaper Retina iMac, 15-inch MacBook Pro with Force Touch

Apple is upgrading its 15-inch MacBook Pro, while offering a cheaper downgrade for its 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display.

The new 15-inch MacBook Pro has a pressure-sensitive Force Touch trackpad, following the footsteps of the 13-inch MacBook Pro and the new 12-inch MacBook. Users can press hard on the trackpad to perform special commands, such as previewing links, editing file names, exposing an app’s open windows, and dropping a pin in Maps.

Apple is also using a new type of flash storage that is 2.5 times faster than the previous model, and is improving battery life by an hour, bringing it up to 9 hours of web browsing or movie playback. The base model starts at $1,999 with a 2.2 GHz Intel Core i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM, and 256 GB of storage.

The other big change to the MacBook Pro is optional: Users can get a discrete AMD Radeon R9 M370X graphics card, for when Intel’s integrated Iris Pro graphics fall short. It’ll cost you though, as it’s only available with the $2,499 model that also has 512 GB of storage and a 2.5 GHz Intel Core i7 processor.


As for the Retina display iMac, Apple is adding a cheaper $1,999 variant with a 3.3 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, AMD Radeon R9 M290 graphics, and a 1 TB hard drive. The existing model, which has a 3.5 GHz processor, AMD Radeon R9 M290X graphics, and a 1 TB fusion drive, is getting a $200 price drop to $2,299.

Why this matters: While these aren’t major product launches for Apple, they do spread some of the company’s big technologies to across more of the product line. Force Touch is now standard on every MacBook except the MacBook Air (and is reportedly on the way to the iPhone), and the Retina display iMac is just a $200 upgrade over the regular 27-inch model. It’s not hard to imagine both technologies being standard across Apple’s lineup in a year or two.

The best cable modem (for most folks)



This post was done in partnership with The Wirecutter, a list of the best technology to buy. Read the full article below at TheWirecutter.com.



After researching 57 different cable modems, the $90 ARRIS / Motorola SurfBoard SB6141 DOCSIS 3.0 remains the cable modem we recommend for most people. If instead of renting from your ISP, you buy your own cable modem, you can get a better device and recoup the cost in as little as a year—and then start saving anywhere from $6-$10 each month, depending on your ISP's rental fees.  Yes, you can probably find a slightly cheaper cable modem that only works with your ISP. We prefer our pick because its flexibility makes it a better long-term investment if you change service during the lifetime of the device. Unlike the competition, the SurfBoard is compatible with almost all of the fastest Internet plans from seven of the eight biggest cable Internet providers, including Charter, Comcast, and Time Warner Cable. You can move almost wherever you want and be assured that this buy-once, use-for-awhile device will still work. And you get the flexibility to switch providers if there's a better deal in your area.


Read The Complete Article Here.

Apple Watch, new MacBook unveiled; Apple joins forces with HBO Now

Last Updated Mar 9, 2015 2:20 PM EDT

The time has come to finally see the highly anticipated Apple Watch. Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled the company's first entirely new product line in five years Monday at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco. 

After talking about a number of other updates, Cook called Apple Watch "the most personal device we have ever created" and "the most advanced timepiece ever created."

Calling the new device a comprehensive health and fitness companion, Cook gave a brief summary of the health and fitness capabilities of Apple Watch, like tracking your movement throughout the day, giving you weekly reports and targets for next week, and reminding you when you've been sitting to long and ought to get up and move around.

A video featuring model and women's health advocate Christy Turlington Burns showed her talking about how Apple Watch fitness apps help her train for races like an upcoming marathon.

Developers have been creating thousands of new apps for the wearable, which is designed for quick bursts of use -- just a few seconds at a time.

Cook ran through some of the various ways Apple Watch can connect to social media, such as the Facebook app, and described how it can be used to keep track of news right when it happens.

VP of Technology Kevin Lynch, who has been overseeing the software on Apple Watch, demonstrated how you can press crown to start Siri and get readouts on the watch face. He also showed how to pay with Apple Pay on the watch, to a round of applause. He also answered a phone call from Bow Wow Meow on the watch on stage and ordered himself an Uber.

Apple Watch communicates with Wi-Fi as well as Bluetooth so when your phone is out of Bluetooth range you can still get calls and notifications on the watch.

But before unveiling the wearable, Cook made fans wait just a little longer as he took the stage and opened the event with a video of Apple's new store in China. "We've got a few more reasons for you to visit those stores today. And I'm going to start with Apple TV," he said.

He invited HBO CEO Richard Plepler to introduce HBO Now, the cable network's streaming service, which will launch exclusively with Apple TV.

Cook announced that the company is lowering the price of Apple TV to $69, from $99.

He also highlighted the success thus far of the mobile payment system Apple Pay, which he said has seen the number of locations accepting it triple in the three months since its launch. Cook touted the fact that Coca Cola plans to have 100,000 vending machines that take Apple Pay by the end of the year as a sign that the NFC payment system is "forever changing the way we pay for things." 

Cook brought out Jeff Williams to talk about the new ResearchKit for medical research. The five few apps will launch immediately for breast cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma and Parkinson's, and starting next month the whole thing will launch -- and it will be open source, so it can be used on non-Apple devices.

Then onto the big guns: The MacBook.

"We challenged ourselves to reinvent the notebook -- and we did it," said Cook.

The new model -- powered by the 1.1 GHzIntel Core M -- weighs just two pounds. It's the lightest Mac ever, and the thinnest, 24 percent thinner than the MacBook Air. 

Apple's head of marketing Phil Schiller said this makes "a huge difference."

It has a full sized keyboard that goes all the way to the edge of the all-metal body. Besides being larger, the keyboard is also thinner with larger, more stable keys for more accurate typing.

The 12-inch Retina display is "truly is the best display we've ever built onto a Mac," with 2,304 by 1,440 pixel resolution -- a total of nearly 3.3 million pixels. It will also consume 30 percent less energy. 

The new "Force Touch" trackpad has force sensors to move beyond just touch-to-click and full click. The trackpad will respond differently to the force of your press, for instance fast-forwarding faster the harder you press while watching a video.

And fans will love this: The MacBook is now fan-less, making it much quieter.

The company says it will be able to deliver all-day battery life -- enough for 9 hours of wireless web surfing, or 10 hours of iTunes movie watching -- by creating contoured batteries to fit into the new slimmer body design. The contouring allows 35 percent more battery than the typical rectangular shape.

The new MacBook will begin to ship April 10. The 8GB model will start at $1299, and $1,599 for 512 GB.

MacBook Air will get faster processors and faster memory starting today. MacBook Pro will get the Force Touch trackpad and increased speeds, as well, including another hour of battery life, upping it to 10 hours. B

The main attraction at the event is expected to be the Apple Watch. First revealed in its prototype phase alongside the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus at Apple's September media event in Cupertino, Calif., the Apple Watch is the company's highly anticipated entrance into the wearables market. Leaks and rumors have fueled months of excitement for the smartwatch, which will go on sale in April. 

It is also Apple's first foray into a new product market since it released the iPad in 2010. Then, the company sold an impressive sold 7.5 million tablets in the first six months. Reports have said that Apple ordered an initial run of between 5 and 6 million Apple Watches. That's more than the aggregate number of smartwatches shipped in all of 2014, which according to Strategy Analytics, totaled 4.6 million.

CNET reports that Strategy Analytics predicted Apple will ship 15.4 million Apple Watch units in 2015, giving the company 54.8 percent of the global smartwatch market and bumping Samsung to number two.

"Apple's bet is that 5 percent of Apple users that have iPhone will buy the watches," said CBS News business analyst Jill Schlesinger. "That would translate into 15 million people buying Apple Watches, or 55 percent of the smartwatch market."

Other industry analysts are less optimistic, with sales projections ranging from 8 to 10 million units in their fist nine months on the market. 

Of the units Apple has reportedly ordered, half could be the aluminum Apple Watch Sport, which will start at $349. 

"This is a higher price point than other smartwatches," Schlesinger noted."$300 is really what the market has; Apple is coming in at $349."

The primary style -- called simply Apple Watch -- has a stainless steel case and a ceramic back. The top-tier Apple Watch Edition incorporates 18-karat gold. Prices for the higher end models have been kept quiet.

They're all based on the same curved-edge rectangular-screen design. The face will come in two sizes -- 42mm and 38mm. There are also six different watchbands, including brightly colored rubberized sport bands, classic leather and metal mesh.

Apple Watch will work in tandem with iPhone 5, 5C, 6 and 6 Plus running iOS 8.

Apple to Build Data Command Center in Arizona


Apple Inc.AAPL +1.25% plans to invest $2 billion to build a data center in Arizona in the location where its failed sapphire manufacturing facility exists, the state announced Monday.

The company plans to employ 150 full-time Apple staff at the Mesa, Arizona, facility, which will serve as a command center for its global network of data centers. In addition to the investment for the data center, Apple plans to build a solar farm capable of producing 70-megawatts of energy to power the facility.

Apple’s investment is expected to create up to 500 construction jobs as well, the state said.

Apple said it expects to start construction in 2016 after GT Advanced TechnologiesInc.GTATQ +1.35%, the company’s sapphire manufacturing partner, clears out of the 1.3 million square foot site. The $2 billion investment is in addition to the $1 billion that Apple had earmarked to build scratch-resistant sapphire screens at the same location.

The investment comes a few months after GTAT filed for bankruptcy protection in October, citing problems with the Arizona facility. Shortly after its bankruptcy filing, GTAT said it planned to lay off more than 700 employees in Arizona.

In October 2013, Apple had agreed to build a sapphire factory in Mesa that GTAT was going to operate. At the time, Apple had said the new factory was going to create 2,000 jobs and move an important part of its supply chain to the U.S.

However, the project struggled to produce a consistent level of sapphire at the quality demanded by Apple. In the end, Apple did not use sapphire from the facility for its latest iPhones. After GTAT’s bankruptcy, Apple has said it was seeking ways to preserve the jobs lost at the Mesa facility.

Arizona’s governor said the state did not provide additional financial incentives to keep Apple in the state. For the original investment in 2013, Arizona provided $10 million to Apple to sweeten the deal for the company.


If The iPad Air And Original Mac Had A Child, It Might Look Like This


The Macintosh is over 30 years old.

In honor of how far the personal computer has come since then, Curved Labs designed a modern Macintosh that draws on the iPad Air.

We won't ever see this computer in the Apple Store, but it's still fun to look at.This computer would be hard to miss, thanks to its curved base and striking resemblance to the original Macintosh. It would have an 11-inch touchscreen in real life.

In this side-by-side shot, you can see how much computer design has evolved since the 1980s.

Curved's concept kept the glowing Apple logo that we've seen on so many iMacs and MacBooks.

The ventilation and fan is discretely hid behind the computer. This concept has a headphone jack, USB port, and lightning port, even though Apple is slowly doing away with those.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider


Cox unveils faster 'G1gablast' Internet service


Cox Communications has released pricing and a new brand name to market its residential gigabit Internet service available to customer homes later this month.

“G1gablast” is the new brand name for the Cox service that will offer speeds 100 times faster than the average speed available today.

“We are excited to deliver the choice of gigabit speeds to our customers,” Cox Communications President Pat Esser said in a prepared statement. “Coupled with our 2,300 employees in the Valley and more than 20,000 nationwide, our latest investments and the deployment of the fastest speeds available are powering economic growth and development for businesses and residents of the communities we serve.”

Home-based businesses will benefit from this new service as the need for speed increases.

The “G1gablast” service, with speeds as fast as 1 gigabit per second, will be available in Phoenix for $69.99 when combined with Cox’s service bundles. The service also includes the latest high-speed Wi-Fi router, one terabyte of cloud storage, Cox Security Suite and Family Protection and 10 email boxes each with 15 gigabytes of storage.

“Starting today, trained teams of Cox sales representatives will be personally reaching out, door to door, into the neighborhoods that will be the first to have 1G speed available,” said John Wolfe, senior vice president of the Cox Communications’ southwest region in a prepared statement.

The gigabit service will be available first in parts of the Phoenix metro area, and will expand to Las Vegas, Omaha and new developments in Cox markets nationwide.

Businesses have been using Cox gigabit speeds for more than 10 years.

Hayley Ringle covers technology and startups for the Phoenix Business Journal.




Cox Communications plans 1 gigabit speed for Phoenix Internet customers

Cox Communications is upping the ante in the battle for broadband supremacy, bringing 1 gigabit Internet speeds to Phoenix and going head to head with Google Inc.

The Atlanta-based company, which is the major cable and Internet provider in Phoenix, announced the plan this morning to put in the gigabit service for all new construction. Phoenix, along with Las Vegas and Omaha, also will see existing customers get the speed bump by the end of 2016.

“We are excited about our road map to offer gigabit speeds to all of our residential customers,” saidPat Esser, Cox Communications president.

Company officials said it does not yet have prices for how much it will cost for the 1 gigabit service.

The plan was unveiled at Mark Taylor Residential’s San Travesia apartments in Scottsdale, where Cox will first offer the product as well as Cox Metro wi-fi.

“Offering the fastest Internet speeds and wi-fi access where our residents live and play, makes it essential to connecting our tech savvy residents,” said Dale Phillips, president of Mark-Taylor Residential.

The Metro service will launch later in 2014 and give Cox customers access to more than 250,000 hotspots around the country.

While current customers will have to wait more than two years for the increased speeds, Cox plans to double its existing speeds by the end of the year. Those with the preferred tier will see speeds rise to 50 megabits per second, and those on the premier speed will see speeds of 100 megabits per second. Company officials said there would be no price increase this year when Internet speeds are increased.

The move is a clear shot at Google, which has listed Phoenix as one of its finalists to install its Google Fiber network. That network, however, would be limited to Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe.

Google’s move is still in the evaluation stages, but the city of Phoenix has given the company permission to use city land to place network hubs to help build the network.

Patrick O'Grady is managing editor of the Phoenix Business Journal.

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