This Week @ MacsWest
Teaching, Helping, Learning and Having Fun!
• Monday, July 27, 2015
• Tuesday, July 28, 2015
1:00 PM – iOS Casual Tuesday, hosted by Mary Kocha, Palo Verde Room, until 2:00 PM (These summer Tuesday sessions deal with anything and everything iOS—iPhones and iPads and, if Bruce is running the show, iPod Touches as well)
2:15 PM – iPad Basics Session, “Using Mail on the iPad” led by Mary Kocha Palo Verde Room, until 3:15 PM. For MW Members ONLY! (Note: This is the fourth in a series of five sessions devoted to the Apple iPad. These sessions are led by various Club members and will continue the one more week.)
• Wednesday, July 29, 2015
10:00 AM – Senior Genius Bar: hosted by various members of the MW Club, Room C, every Wednesday (Yes, even over the summer!), until 11:30 AM. These are one-on-one help sessions regarding ANYTHING Apple. For MW Members ONLY! No fee. Walk-ins are encouraged. Senior Genius Bar will continue every Wednesday through the summer and into the fall.
• Thursday, July 30, 2015
• Friday, July 31, 2015
1:00 PM – OSX Friday Grab Bag hosted by Mary Kocha, Palo Verde Room, until 2:00 PM (These summer Friday sessions deal with anything and everything OSX and the Mac)
• Saturday, August 1, 2015
Apple's New iPod Touch Is Basically a Diet iPhone
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.
Apple Inc. Makes Progress With Networks For Streaming TV
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is having progressive talks with ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox, pushing its streaming TV service project closer to reality, says a report from the New York Post. It is expected that CBS or The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) will be the first to enter into a deal with Apple, says the report.
Apple making progress with networks
One of the major roadblocks was Apple’s keen interest in the live feeds of local channels. However, since affiliate feeds are not under direct control of the networks, the iPhone maker has asked the networks for affiliate rights instead of wasting time in closing every individual deal.
Networks are reportedly doing a good job by negotiating with Apple on behalf of affiliates, and in return, the affiliates are promised a share from the revenue that the Apple service generates, says the report, citing sources familiar with the matter.
According to the New York Post, both Tim Cook and Eddy Cue had a discussion with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft Foods Group Inc (NASDAQ:KRFT). Possibilities of this being a friendly meet cannot be denied, but there are fair chances of Apple executives convincing the NFL to strike a deal in some form.
Still few challenges remain
There are reports that the Cupertino, Calif.-based company is also looking to sell customers a “skinny” channel bundle. However, there are still some challenges, such as whether TV partners will have to forgo 30% of subscription fees if they are paid through App Store. Generally, Apple asks for 30% of all App Store purchase revenue, even if a user is paying for a third-party service bought from an iOS app. If the company goes by this policy, the revenue of the networks will take a massive hit.
The next challenge is that the networks have already given approval to the “most favored nation” clauses, suggesting they cannot charge Apple less than the others. On the other hand, Apple has yet to decide on how much it will charge, with estimates reportedly swinging between $10 and $40 per month.
Apple is expected to launch the service by late fall, and many believe the service will come with cable-only channels such as Discovery and ESPN. If the company succeeds in offering streaming live local news, it could be a big game changer for the U.S. firm in the growing market of set-top boxes.
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."
Cox to Double "Ultimate" Speeds
Cox Communications is rolling out a speed upgrade in Arizona that will double the max downstream speed of its “Ultimate” Internet tier from 150 Mbps to 300 Mbps, while also raising the paired upstream from 20 Mbps to 30 Mbps.
The free upgrade (Ultimate costs $99.99 per month) will be implemented in September, and will be introduced in other Cox markets later this year. Cox is delivering it on its DOCSIS 3.0 network.
Cox has also been busy rolling out G1GABLAST, its 1 Gbps residential service that is initially being offered via FTTP, but will eventually be offered on the MSO’s HFC network via DOCSIS 3.1, an emerging platform that will support multi-gigabit speeds.
Cox first rolled out G1GABLAST first in Phoenix in 2014, and has since introduced it in Orange County, Calif.; Omaha, Neb.; Las Vegas; Hampton Roads, Va.; and New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lafayette, La. Cox is also in the network-deployment phase for it in parts of Arkansas, Rhode Island and Oklahoma, with service to launch in those areas by the end of this year. Cox has plans underway to offer 1-Gig in all its markets by the end of 2016.
Cox is also rolling out a WiFi network that includes 1,200 hotspots in metro Phoenix and Tucson. Cox is part of a Cable WiFi roaming group (Comcast, Cablevision Systems, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Network are the other current members; Charter Communications will be joining them) that has deployed more than 400,000 hotspots that are accessible to their respective cable modem subs.
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!
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.
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).
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.
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
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.
Apple Releases OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 With Photos for OS X App, Emoji Updates
As expected, Apple today released OS X Yosemite 10.10.3, the first significant feature-rich update the operating system has received. OS X 10.10.3 was first seeded to developers in February, and was provided to public beta testers in March.
The OS X 10.10.3 update can be downloaded through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store. OS X Yosemite Recovery Update 1.0 is also available to improve the reliability of Yosemite Recovery when restoring from a time machine backup.
The OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 update includes the new Photos app and improves the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac.Earlier Yosemite releases, including OS X 10.10.1 and 10.10.2, brought mostly under-the-hood bug fixes and reliability improvements to the operating system, but OS X 10.10.3 includes major new features, like the Photos for OS X app.
The update also includes the following improvements:
- Adds over 300 new Emoji characters
- Adds Spotlight suggestions to Look up
- Prevents Safari from saving website favicon URLs used in Private Browsing
- Improves stability and security in Safari
- Improves WiFi performance and connectivity in various usage scenarios
- Improves compatibility with captive Wi-Fi network environments
- Fixes an issue that may cause Bluetooth devices to disconnect
- Improves screen sharing reliability
Designed to be a replacement for Aperture and iPhoto, Photos for OS X was first announced during the 2014 Worldwide Developers Conference, where Apple promised it would see an "early 2015" release. The Photos for OS X app takes on Yosemite-style design elements, with an emphasis on flatness and translucency, and it integrates with both iCloud Photo Library and the Photos for iOS app.
Reviews of the Photos for OS X app have suggested that while it's a suitable replacement for iPhoto, with speed improvements and better tools than were found in iPhoto, it lacks many power features that professional users have become accustomed to in its current incarnation, like plug-ins, a loupe, brushable adjustments, and custom metadata fields.
Along with the new Photos for OS X app, OS X 10.10.3 brings a new emoji picker that consolidates emoji into a single scrollable page with clear labels, new diversified emoji and emoji skin tone modifiers, additional flag emoji and updated emoji for the iPhone, iMac, and Apple Watch.
There's also support for Google 2-step verification when setting up accounts in System Preferences, doing away with the need for app specific passwords, and there are Force Touch APIs for developers, which will let them incorporate Force Touch gestures into their apps.
As noted by MacRumors reader Joe, the Memory section of the Activity Monitor app has been redesigned to make memory usage more clear to users. The App Memory, Wired Memory, and Compressed sections are now listed as part of "Memory Used" rather than listed separately.
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.
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
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.
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.
OS X Yosemite Preview: 5 Features to Get Excited About
Apple iMacs and MacBooks are set to get a big upgrade in the coming months in the form of a new operating system. OS X Yosemite, the follow-up to OS X Mavericks, is a massive update to Apple’s operating system that not only gives the software a new, more attractive design, but also adds a boatload of features.
The update, which will be available for free when it launches later this fall, also blurs some of the lines between Apple’s desktop OS and its iOS mobile operating system — though not nearly as much as Microsoft’s Windows 8, which can switch from a desktop-based to a tablet-friendly interface on the same computer.
You’ll even be able to make phone calls from your Mac with your connected iPhone.
There are a lot of great additions to Yosemite, but a handful of the operating system’s features stand out. These are the top five features of OS X Yosemite (so far):
1. Improved design.
Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS 7, was a major departure from previous versions in terms of design. Apple is adopting some of these design cues into this new desktop operating system.
Icons in the dock at the bottom of the home screen have a leaner, less three-dimensional design, similar to those found in iOS 7. Even the Share button in Safari looks the same as iOS 7’s Share button. The operating system also has a new, crisper typeface that’s easier to read.
A big part of Yosemite’s new design is its translucent window effect. The feature gives everything, from the Dock to Finder windows to Safari’s command bar, a kind of frosted-glass look that’s somewhat reminiscent of the Aero design found in Windows Vista and Windows 7.
2. Notification Center.
The Notification Center in the current version of the OS, Mavericks, doesn’t offer much in the way of functionality beyond providing you with recent message and iTunes updates. But that’s all changing with OS X Yosemite and its new Today view.
Accessible through the Notification Center, Today provides you with customizable widgets including a summary of today’s and tomorrow’s events, current weather conditions, your calendar, stocks, and the ability to post to social networks.
A few of Today’s features were previously available in OS X Mavericks’ dashboard, but Apple brought them over to Today to make them more easily accessible. And if Today looks familiar, it’s because it’s a dead ringer for iOS’s Notification Center.
Once Yosemite is available for download, Apple says, more Today view widgets will be available, too, further improving the usefulness of the Notification Center.
3. Spotlight search.
OS X’s Spotlight search also gets a considerable upgrade with Yosemite. In previous versions of OS X, Spotlight was capable of performing only local searches of your computer. With Yosemite, however, Spotlight can search not only your Mac, but the Web as well.
If, for example, you search for a movie like Guardians of the Galaxy, a Spotlight search will provide you with showtimes for the movie at nearby theaters, a plot summary, trailers, the cast and crew, and even its score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Search for a contact’s name, and Spotlight will automatically populate with the person’s information, including her phone number and email address.
Want a bite to eat? Type in your favorite food, and Spotlight will pull up the names and locations of nearby restaurants. You can also look for things like famous public figures: Spotlight will pull up a Wikipedia entry with information on them.
Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 offers a similar feature called Smart Search. It looks like Yosemite’s version will be easier to use.
4. iCloud Drive.
Apple’s cloud storage service, iCloud has long taken a backseat to the likes of Dropbox and Google Drive. They are easy to use and make sharing a snap, too. With Yosemite, though, iCloud may become your cloud drive of choice. That’s because Apple is finally treating iCloud like a normal storage drive.
You can now access your iCloud Drive through OS X’s Finder, just like you work with your local drive. You can even organize the drive any way you want and create new subfolders that are accessible through other iCloud Drive-compatible devices. So you can save your photos, videos, and any other files on your MacBook and open them on your iMac at the office.
OS X’s Mail has gotten some serious enhancements with Yosemite, too. The app’s new Markup tool lets you annotate and edit images and text within Mail without forcing you to open a new program. You can, for example, add highlights and shapes to photos and even sign documents using your MacBook’s touchpad.
That’s not all, though. Mail also makes it easier to send large files with its new Mail Drop feature. Mail Drop works by making your sent files accessible to your recipients via their iCloud accounts. If they don’t use iCloud, then Mail Drop will send them a link where they can download the sent files.
It’s a simple addition but one that will likely prove useful to people sending groups of images or videos.
Bonus feature we’re really waiting for: iOS 8 continuity
One of the biggest draws of OS X Yosemite will be its interoperability with Apple’s upcoming mobile operating system, iOS 8. Rather than existing in two separate worlds, the two operating systems will be able to talk to each other, letting you do things like make and receive phone calls, and send texts, from your Mac through your iPhone.
Working on a Pages document on your Mac? If your iPad or iPhone is nearby, you can pick up where you left off on your mobile device. You can do the same thing with Mail, Safari, Messages, Maps, and other OS X apps.
Using your iPhone as a WiFi hotspot will also be easier with Yosemite. If your wireless data plan lets you use your iPhone as a hotspot, then your Mac will automatically detect that your handset is nearby and treat it like any other hotspot.
OS X Yosemite will be out later this fall as a free upgrade. It will run on Most Macs and MacBooks dating as far back as 2009 and some iMacs from 2007. Check Apple’s website for further compatibility details.
iOS 8 additions promise to streamline how you communicate and share
iOS users will have plenty of new things to familiarize themselves with this fall. That’s when iOS 8 arrives, and Apple’s updated mobile operating system promises a slew of new features and enhancements that aim to help you communicate and share more easily.
While most of us will have to wait until the fall to really explore the many changes announced Monday during the Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, app makers and developers will get an early crack at iOS 8, with a pre-release version available now for anyone with a developer account. Here are the features we’re most excited to see:
Notifications: Perhaps most notably, Apple introduced new interactive notifications that allow you to respond to alerts without having to leave the app you’re in. Get a calendar invitation, and you can respond, all while continuing to compose that email or—more likely—play that mobile game. You can also interact with notifications from your mobile device’s lock screen, swiping on a notification to deal with it.
iOS 7 added the ability to double tap the home button to bring up a multitasking menu. iOS 8 adds most frequent contacts across the top of the multitasking menu, allowing you to quickly call, text, or FaceTime friends, family, or other VIPs.
Mail: Mail will get several new tools in iOS 8, starting with the ability to add an event to your calendar directly from within an email message. Mail now incorporates several new gestures into the interface, letting you swipe to flag, delete, or mark an email as unread. Dragging all the way across on a message will delete it from your mailbox.
Perhaps one of the coolest feature in iOS 8’s Mail will be the ability to minimize drafts by swiping down. With this feature in place, you’ll be able to more easily grab information from one message and put it in another.
Safari: The built-in browser for iOS is in line for a few updates as well. Safari’s quick-glance tab view from OS X comes to the iPad version of the browser as will the just-announced sidebar slated for OS X Yosemite, which Apple also previewed on Monday.
Search: OS X’s Yosemite update also inspires some new spotlight features in iOS 8. Searching for “Yosemite,” for example, brings up the Wikipedia page for Yosemite, news, and all other kinds of relevant information.
Keyboard: A new keyboard in iOS 8 will use predictive typing to speed up input. As you type out words with the new keyboard, recommendations for the next word based on common phrases will pop up; you can then add those to your message. We’ve seen this a bit with the keyboard in theSwiftKey Note app, but Apple’s solution goes a bit further to learn your personal voice (all the while maintaining your privacy, Apple executives were quick to add during Monday’s keynote.)
Continuity features: Apple wants better integration between all those devices you own, so iOS 8 is going to let you pick up on your iPad what you were doing on your iPhone. That includes taking phone calls on your tablet by more easily creating a portable hotspot for sharing your phone’s connection.
Messaging: Enhancements in the Messages app in iOS 8 focus on group messaging; you can add and remove people within a thread. Other enhancements let you name your thread for easily tracking or turning on a Do Not Disturb setting for a particular thread. You can share your location with people in a conversation;if they’ve shared with you, you can see their location on a map.
A useful addition to Messages is a Tap to Talk feature that sends audio or video messages to contacts—and yes, it works with selfies, too. Best of all, you can listen to and interact with these to messages right from your lock screen just by putting your phone up to your ear.
iCloud Drive: iCloud Drive promises a better way to work across applications in iOS 8. For example, if you’re working in an app such as Sketchbook, you can open up a document from another application and edit them in that app.
HealthKit: Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, lamented how different health wearables are unable to talk to each other and share the information they gather. iOS 8 looks to address that problem with HealthKit, an attempt to take health stats and put it in a central repository so you can manage it all from one app. Partnerships with the Mayo Clinic and Epic Systems (who provide software for many major hospitals and healthcare organizations) will make it easier for iPhone users to share key health statistics with their doctors, in order to better manage their health between checkups.
Family Sharing: iOS 8 introduces better management features to let family members easily share photos, location, reminders, and many other pieces of information with each other. The chief benefit here: You’re finally going to get to share music, movies, and TV shows you’ve bought with other family members. You can hook in up to six devices. Parents in particular will appreciate new notifications that alert you when your kids try to make a purchase.
Photos With iOS 8, photos will be integrated with iCloud so that every photo you take will be available on all your iOS and OS X devices. To help you sort through all the photos in iCloud, you can search by location, time, and albums you’ve set up. And there are smart editing controls that help you quickly edit and crop photos from your device.
Siri. Siri also gets some enhancements in iOS 8. Saying “Hey, Siri” will now let you interact with Siri in your car so you don’t have to touch your phone while driving. (OK Google, that feature may sound pretty familiar to you.) Siri will also add Shazam integration to help identify the song that’s currently playing on the radio; you can buy that song using voice commands from Siri. Apple’s digital assistant also gains streaming voice recognition and 22 new dictation languages in iOS 8.
Cox Communications plans 1 gigabit speed for Phoenix Internet customers
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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