Archive for Apple

September 2014 Apple Event Summary

Apple had a monumental, although not very surprising, event on Tuesday. Apple unveiled 2 iPhones with all new screen sizes, a brand new payment system and the much anticipated watch. This will be known as one of the milestone Apple events and is intact the first major new product announcement since the death of Steve Jobs. Tim Cook made the standard keynote his own by skipping the standard updates on sales and retails that are a staple of every Apple keynote and jumped right into the new products. This was the biggest product launch in Tim Cook’s tenure and you could tell he couldn’t be more excited about it.

iPhones:

iPhone6-34FR-SpGry_iPhone6plus-34FL-SpGry_Homescreen-PRINT
Apple’s first announcement was the most expected product, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The new iPhones both feature an all new, rounded designs with a new glass iPhone6-6-Plusdisplay that seamlessly meets the aluminum body. As expected, the new iPhones come in 2 brand new screen sizes the iPhone 6 with a slightly larger 4.7 inch screen and the iPhone 6 Plus with a 5.5 inch screen to compete with the very popular large screen Android Phablets.

Retina HD Display:
The new iPhones are not only bigger, but they also are higher resolution with the new Retina HD display technology that offer higher contrast and all around improved viewing experience. The iPhone 6 is only sightly larger than the 5s while the iPhone 6 Plus is an entire inch larger.

Screen Size Resolution
iPhone 5s  4 inch 1,136 x 640
iPhone 6 4.7 inch 1334×750
iPhone 6 Plus 5.5 Inch 1920×1080

Thickness:
The new iPhones are an all-new, rounded design that are also thinner than their predecessor. The iPhone 6 is the thinest iPhone ever at 6.9 mm and the iPhone 6 Plus is still thinner than all prior iPhones.

Thickness
iPhone 5S 7.6 mm
iPhone 6 6.9 mm
iPhone 6 Plus 7.1 mm thin

Camera:
The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have an improved camera, although it is still 8 Megapixels, the sensors are improve which are supposed to make more of a quality difference than megapixels.

  • Smart pixels- Phase detection for fast auto focus and easy to change what is in focus in video
  • Faster Auto focus
  • Faster face detection for Focus
  • Optical image stabilization in iPhone 6 Plus only
  • Improved Video
    • 1080p Video at  30 and 60 Frames Per Seconds
    • Slowmo video up to 240 FPS
    • Cinematic video stabilization
    • Timelapse video in iOS 8
    • Focus pixels- faster auto focus in video
  • Improved Front-facing FaceTime Camera
    • Increased Aperture- Better low light performance
    • New sensor
    • Improved face detection
    • Bust mode of FaceTime camera
    • Singleshot HDR
    • HDR Video

Other New Features:
In addition to the new displays and new form factors, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have plenty of other great new features of the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

  • A8 Processor- New 64 bit processor offering up to 25% improved CPU Performance and 50% improved GPU performance over the iPhone 5S
  • M8 Motion Co-Processor- Adds the ability to track activity such as biking, running and can now track flights of stairs with the new barometer in the iPhone 6
  • 50% more energy efficient- Battery life is equal or better than the iPhone 5S
  • Apps optimized for larger screens including 2-up display in Mail and Messages
  • Keyboard on the iPhone 6 Plus- adds dedicated buttons for functions such as copy, paste, bold and undo
  • Reachability– Double tapping (not pressing) on the Touch ID Sensor will bring the top of the screen down for  easy access when using the iPhone 6/6 Plus with one hand
  • Advanced Wireless- 150 MBS LTE and 802.11 AC WiFi (3 times faster)
  • VoLTE (Voice over LTE)- Phone calls can be made via LTE network
  • WiFi Calling:  Calls can be places over WiFi and seamlessly transitioned to VOLTE when out of WiFi network- T-Mobile first carrier supporting in the US
  • NFC (Near Field Communication): Near field communication will be built into the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus for Apple Pay; Connects to nearby receivers for transactions such as payments and possibly data transfers

Pricing and Availability: 
Pricing is the standard iPhone pricing scheme, with some minor changes to the previous lineup.  The 32 GB model was replaced with a 64 GB model for the same price and a 128 iPhone was introduced at the old 64 GB price point.

The iPhone were available for pre-order Friday September 12th and will begin shipping to users on September 19th.

16 GB 64 GB 128 GB
iPhone 6 $199 $299 $399
iPhone 6 Plus $299 $399 $499
16 GB 32 GB
iPhone 5S $99 $149

iPhone 5C (8 GB): Free

iOS 8: 
Apple reviewed some key features of iOS 8 and announced it would be available as a free download on September 17th. iOS8

Improved Messages app: Adds audio and video messaging
Heath app for tracking health and fitness
Extensibility throughout iOS 8; Featured in Notification Center

Touch ID API: Third party apps can now use the Touch ID sensor to authenticate

 

Apple Pay:
Apple Pay is the new payments system that makes it easier and more secure to make purchases in retail stores. It uses Near field communication built into the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus along with the Touch ID sensor for authentication to make payments, fast, easy and secure.  Applepay

To make a purchase at a participating location all one needs to do is hold their iPhone to the NFC sensor at the point of sale and tap the touch ID sensor, they don’t even need to unlock their phone.

  • Launching in US with Mastercard, American Express and Visa
  • Credit cards can be added from iTunes Account or scanned in by iPhone camera
  • All information is encrypted and secured on the new Secure Element of the phone.
  • You can see all credit cards in Passbook
  • Card numbers are an never stored or shared
  • Payments use a one time payment numbers and dynamic security code
  • Find my iPhone can suspend payments on the device; No need to cancel credit card
  • Privacy- Apple doesn’t know what you bought, how much you pay or where you bought it
  • Cashier doesn’t see name or card number
  • Partnered with some of the largest retailers including the Apple Store, Staples, Target and McDonalds (Including drive-through)
  • Online Purchases are also simplified on iOS Devices
  • One touch checkout using Touch ID
  • Autofills Shipping and billing address
  • One time payment number
  • Building into shopping app
  • Apple Pay API for all developers
  • Apple Pay will be a free update to iOS 8 in October

Apple Watch:
The final major announcement of the event is arguably the biggest. It was also the first use of Steve Jobs’ signature “One More Thing” line since he passed away. The Apple Watch is the much anticipated wearable technology that serves both as a fitness tracker and smart watch in one. There will be 3 models that start at $349 and will be available in early 2015. Here are some of the details of this brand new product category from Apple. AppleWatch

  • Extremely Accurate Clock by plus or minus 50 milliseconds
  • Requires iPhone for operation; Not a Stand alone device- Kind of disappointing
  • Digital Crown dial used for interacting with content- Also serves as a home button
  • Watch can sense raising your arise to turns on the screen
  • Digital touch for “intimate interactions”
  • Haptic feedback built-in to watch for vibrations for feedback
  • Magsafe charger for no exposed sensors
  • 6 Straps that can be easily replaced
  • 3 Product Lines:
    • Apple Watch- Stainless Steel and Alluminium
    • Sports Watch-Durable model for workouts
    • Apple Watch Edition- 18k Gold
  • Pan through apps with swipe; Tap to launch app
    Thousands of custom watch faces
  • Glances: easy widgets with info; Can be accessed by swiping up from the bottom
  • Quick word- text notifications can be parsed for quick responses, dictated or voice memos
  • Custom Emotions
  • Siri– By pressing and holding the digital crown button to
  • Photos– Digital crown to zoom and tap; Swippe through
  • Maps- Navigate by swipe or zoom out get directions with dictation;
  • Haptic feedback for navigation
  • Digitaltouch- call, text and email from watch or send vibration patterns or drawings from watch or even s
  • end heartbeat

 

Health and fitness
Fitness App

  • Monitor activity
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Uses GPS and monitor in iPhone to track distance
  • Move ring- Tracks calories burnt- ring closes when you meet activity goal
  • Exercise ring- tracks activity completes when you complete 30 mins of activity
  • Stand ring- tracks how long standing and completes when you stand 12 minutes within 12 hour period

Workout App

  • Set specific goals for workout
  • Tracks workout activity
  • Gives summary of activity
  • Sets custom goals
  • Gets to know you like a personal Trainer

Watchkit:

  • Allows developers to create rich experiences on Apple Watch
  • Can also create home screen apps, glances and notifications
  • Can integrate with third party apps

U2:
The event was capped off with a performance by U2 and them giving away their newest album for free to all 500 million iTunes users. This album is exclusive to Apple until October 17th and is available in the iTunes Music store on the devices of one’s choice.

iPod Classic:
This announcement was not made at the event but shortly after, the iPod Classic was removed from the Apple Online store. This was the closest product on the market to the original 2001 iPod and could mean the end of the iPod as we know it.

New Predictions: 
So what’s next? This set of announcements have brought up speculation of what’s next from Apple and how these new technologies can be integrated in Apple’s other products. Here’s what I think is next for Apple:

  • The next generation of iPads will have Retina HD displays
  • The new iPads will be called “iPad Air HD”  and “iPad Mini Retina HD”
  • End of the iName- None of the new product lines announced used the familiar “i” names; Looks like Apple will move away from them in the future
    • iPhoto is already being replaced by the new “Photos” app later this year
  • No More “S” line- Now with the 6 Plus line, the S series might be too much of a mouthful; Next phones may be the iPhone 7

What to Expect from Today’s Apple Event- September 9, 2014

Today Apple will hold a press event and is not only expected to announce the new generation of iPhones, but likely their first new product category since they announced the iPad in 2010. Apple will take the stage today at 10 AM PST at the Flint Center at De Anza Community College. The Flint Center is a significant venue in Apple’s history, because it is where they announced the first Macintosh in 1984 and could be a sign that Apple plans to make another major milestone announcement.

If Apple keeps with tradition, we should expect new iPhones, iPods and the release of iOS 8 which they previewed  at WWDC back in June. Realistically, we probably won’t see a new iPod except for maybe an iPod Touch, the focus will be on the iPhone, iOS and the highly anticipated wearable.

So the question is, what is Apple going to unveil today and what will be left out of what may be the largest Apple announcement in recent history. Here’s what I think we will see on Tuesday, and maybe as important, what we won’t see.

iOS 8:
iOS 8 was already previewed at WWDC back in June, but Apple typically demos the key features again in the fall and show a more final version of operating system. iOS 8 has many new features including improved photo management, continuity across Apple devices and a new health app, called Healthbook. Apple will most likely release the golden master to developers today and announce the public release, which will probably be in a week or two.

iPhone 6:
The main focus of the event will most likely be the new iPhone, which we presume will be called the iPhone 6.

Screen:
The blockbuster feature we are expecting from the iPhone 6 is at least one, if not 2 larger screen size options. Rumors suggest both a 4.7 inch and a 5.5 inch screen, the latter will most likely come out a little later. Both new screen sizes are larger than the existing 4 inch screen featured on the iPhone 5S, and will compete directly with the large screen phones Android from Samsung and other manufacturers.

iPhone but is expected to mirror the iPad Mini and iPad Mini with similar, if not identical, internals leaving the screen size he only difference between the two devices.

Specs:
Like the previous iPhones, I expect a modest specs boost over it’s predecessor. Generally, a new iPhone can expect to have a next generation processor, graphics processor and now motion co-processor.

The camera will also have improved quality boost.  However, I would not be surprise if Apple left the megapixels the same in favor of increased microns. Apple’s stance has remained megapixels are not the most significant factor in increasing picture quality and has focused more on microns and aperture in recent years. This strategy has paid off with the iPhone 5S being rated one of the top rated smartphone cameras.

Durability:
Somewhat related to the new display, is the new highly-durable glass used on the new iPhone screen. A recent study showed that 50% of college students have cracked their phone screen.

Cracked  screens are a plague on smartphone users and go against Apple’s sense of design. This could be a major differentiation for the iPhone, and make it stand out from the competition. Of course, there’s no guarantees even with the most durable glass and we will have to wait until it is in the hands of regular users to truly test it’s durability in daily use.

NFC:
Near field communication in an iPhone has been predicted for at least the past 2 years. Now, there has been strong rumors of payment integration in the new iPhone and NFC . It is unclear whether this is going to be built into Passbook or a new app specifically for payments. My hope is this would be built into the Passbook app since it could use more real world applications, but a dedicated payments app may make some sense as well.

Apple previously used iBeacon which used Bluetooth LE for such applications, however NFC may be a better choice for payments, since it is being built into some credit card terminals at retail locations.

Design:
The new iPhone is expected to be more rounded around the bezel as well as the back. The mock ups look as though they have kept much of the aesthetic of previous iPhones but with a fresher design.

Storage:
The entry-level iPhone has generally offered 16 GB of storage for $199 with 2-year contract, with the highest capacity iPhone topping out at 64 GB for $499 with 2-year contract. I think Apple will at the very least add an option for 128 GB of storage for at least the larger screen iPhone if not both iPhone sizes. It would also be nice, although not very likely, to increase the entry level capacity to 32 GB of storage.  This may just be wishful thinking from iPhone users who always need more storage on their devices.

Naming:
The Big question is what naming convention will Apple use to differentiate the two screen sizes? We are expecting the new phone to be call the iPhone 6 but what about the larger screen phone? The most rumored naming scheme is the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus; There is also talk of iPhone 6 Pro and iPhone 6 Air to mirror the iPad line. I’m not really fond of any of the rumored names but, there’s a chance they will use a naming scheme that has yet to be leaked and will surprise us all.

iPhone 4S, 5C and 5S:
So what will happen to the three existing iPhones on the market? Presumably the iPhone 6 will start at $199, the iPhone 5S will replace the iPhone 5C at the $99 price point and the 5C will be free with 2-year contract. This will rid the market of any device using the legacy 30-pin adapter in favor of the new Lightning Adapter that Apple launched with the iPhone 5.

iWatch:

The much anticipated Apple wearable is likely going to be announced at this event as well. It is expected to be a fitness band and smart watch in one. It integrates with the new Healthbook app in iOS 8 and can possibly make payments through NFC. In addition to the health aspects, the iWatch will display notifications from iOS devices and possible control iOS devices through Siri. There aren’t too many details leaked but, this is expected to be the major new product category Apple will unveil today.

 

What we Won’t See:

There have been a few rumored announcements that I don’t think we will see:

  • iPads
  • Macs
  • Mac OSX Yosemite Release

I think these will all be done at a later event, most likely in October, when Apple generally makes announcements on those product lines.

 

Be sure to check back on Gdovin.net for a full summary of the event and what was announced for complete announcement coverage.

The Future of TouchID

One of the biggest new features of the new iPhone 5S, is the TouchID fingerprint reader built into the home button. TouchID lets users unlock their phones and make purchases in the iTunes store by scanning their fingerprint, instead of using a password.  However, this is just the beginning of what TouchID could do, since mobile security is becoming an increasingly important issue.  Expanding the capabilities of the TouchID could make the iPhone a great choice in the enterprise, military and government where security is of the utmost importance. TouchID does not send one’s fingerprints to Apple servers or to the cloud, but keeps it encrypted directly on an encrypted section of the A7 chip keeping prints safe. TouchID can accept up to 5 fingerprints whether they are multiple fingers or multiple trusted users. It is very likely that the next generation of Android phones will also sport a fingerprint scanner as well since security and privacy are such hot button issues recently.  As for Apple, there are so many things that could be done with the fingerprint reader later on for additional security and added benefit to the user. Here are just some of the potential features that can truly unlock the potential of the Touch ID system.

1. Open API to Developers
Probably the best opportunity, at least for third-party developers, is for Apple to create open APIs for developers to utilize the fingerprint reader in their apps. This could allow developers to use the fingerprint scanner to secure their apps and the data inside. It could also unlock all sorts of other capabilities that can keep app data safe and make the iPhone a strong contender for the enterprise. In addition, apps like LastPass, Google Authenticator and other apps that contain sensitive information can add an extra layer of security by using the fingerprint scanner. It could assure the data contained in the app is secure and one visible by the intended user.  There is one caveat to this, by opening the API it may could make the fingerprint data less security if any developer can access that data.

2. Fingerprint Password Keychain:
iOS 7 can now sync Safari’s saved keychain of passwords across devices using iCloud for automatic website logins. This is convient, however, as recent events have shown, passwords saved by one’s web browser are not secure. Encypting the keychain with a master password, like LastPass does, or even better require a fingerprint on the new iPhone would protect saved passwords. Fingerprint scanning provides security for the saved passwords without compromising the connivence of saved passwords.

3. Wireless Fingerprint Reader for Computers:
Apple could really take a step into the enterprise world by allowing the iPhone to serve as a wireless fingerprint reader for one’s computer and other devices. This would be helpful to extend the convenient security features of the iPhone 5S to one’s computer and let users login to the computer and automatically fill passwords with the press of their finger. There are plenty of USB fingerprint readers and other solutions already, but if Apple were to make an elegant, wireless solution for users to use their existing iPhone wirelessly, it could be quite a powerful tool.

TouchID provides a very secure way for users to fill in security information, but the question still is how reliable will the new sensor be in recognizing fingerprints, since most fingerprint reader currently on the market are not very reliable. Only time will tell but with improved software Apple can use the TouchID reader to leverage their way further into enterprise and government users’ hands and dramatically increase their market share.

iPhone 5S and 5C Event Summary

Apple’s “Brighten Your Day” iPhone event went as expected and had all the heavily rumored major announcements that were predicted. As expected there were no all new products announced at this even such as the Smartwatch which will likely be announced later.  The announcements may not have been the most revoutionary products but, these enhancements provide a strong feature set to hold us over.

iOS 7-
The first announcement, following the retail update and stats, wasn’t really much of an announcement, but more a review of iOS 7 which was previewed back in June at WWDC. VP of iOS and OSX Software, Craig Federighi, demonstrated some of the new features and all new design of iOS 7. He also demonstrated the improvements to Siri including Twitter search and all new ringtones and alert tones. The most important thing from this segment is that iOS 7 will be released on September 18th for free for:
iPad 2 and Later
iPad Mini
iPod Touch 5th Generation
Apple will also launch their streaming music service, iTunes Radio, on the 18th for free ad-supported streaming radio on all iOS 7 devices and in iTunes. The final iOS software announcement was that iWork, Apple’s mobile office suite along with iPhoto and iMovie will be free for all new devices activated after September 1st. This mirrors the bundling strategy used on Apple’s desktop and laptop computers and provides users a great value added since each App typically cost between $5 and $10 in the App Store. It also allows users to edit documents, presentations, spreadsheets, photos and videos on their phone out of the box which no phone really offers.  Noticeably absent from those offering, was the remaining piece of the iLife Suite, GarageBand, which presumably will remain $5 on the App Store. This is slightly disappointing for those who may want to use their iOS devices to create music, but may be due to the fact there are royalties that must be paid for the loops included in GarageBand.

iPhone 5C-
The first iPhone announcement was the multi-colored, budget friendly iPhone 5C. The internal components are virtually the same with the as the iPhone 5, featuring the last-generation A6 processor. The iPhone 5C does, however, have increased battery life and new and a new antenna system that cover more LTE wireless bands. The 5C forgo the anodized aluminum case of its predecessor for polycarbonate plastic cases in 5 different colors:  Blue, White, Pink, Yellow and Green. The iPhone 5C will be $99 for the 16 GB and $199 for the 32 GB model with a 2 year contract. It is available for pre-order this Friday, September 13th and will ship September 20th.

iPhone 5S
The big announcement of the day the new flagship phone, the iPhone 5S, as expected. The iPhone 5S, like previous “S” models, is based on the existing iPhone 5 design with improved specs. One of the few noticeable differences from the iPhone 5 is the color choices, the 5S comes in Silver, similar to the previous White model, Gold, and Space Gray, somewhat similar to the previous black model.  There is also a steel ring around the home button, which will be explained later on. The iPhone 5S will deliver speeds up twice as faster as the iPhone 5 with the all new A7 processor which is also the first 64 bit smartphone chip. There is also the M7 chip which tracks motion in the phone and unlocks functionality for a whole new generation of fitness tracking applications.

The 5S has the same 8 Megapixel camera, but don’t be fooled, the image sensor is 15% larger and now sports a 5 element lens that shoots at a 2.2 Apeture for significantly better low light and overall performance. The new camera system also takes advantage of the power of the A7 processor with dynamic tone mapping and autofocus matrixes to improve the color and focus of images, providing DSLR-level features.  The 5S camera also takes multiple images every time the shutter is pressed and automatically chooses the best image or can even combined multiple takes for the optimal image.  In addition, users can now take up to 10 pictures per second in burst mode and motion blur will be a thing of the past with built-in auto image stabilization. The final feature of the new camera system is the TrueTone flash that has 2 LED flashes, one warm light, one cool to best match the environment and produces the most accurate color.

Probably the biggest new feature of the iPhone 5S is the TouchID fingerprint reader built into the home button. User can simply securely lock their phone, and instead of typing in a code each time they want to unlock their phone, they can just touch their home button. The phone can recognize up to 5 fingers or 5 trusted users and not only can TouchID unlock the phone but can also be used to make purchases from the iTunes Store.  Fingerprint readers are typically temperamental at times but the TouchID reader can read a fingerprint at any angle so hopefully it can provide a better experience than existing biometric solutions, but no one will know until they get their hands on the iPhone 5S.

The battery life is going to be the same if not better than the iPhone 5, providing up to 10 hours of battery life when surfing  the internet on LTE. Pricing remains the same as previous models with the 16 GB model starting at $199 and topping off with the 64 GB model for $399.  There is no preorder available for the 5S, but it will also be available for purchase on September 20th.

The iPhone 5S was really the biggest and most important announcement this event, in my opinion. The 5C is important in that it provides a powerful entry-level iPhone, but technically doesn’t deliver anything new since its the guts of the iPhone 5 stuffed in a cheaper, multicolor  plastic shell. The iPhone 4S will surprisingly remain available as well, for free with a new contract. I would have expected with Apple releasing two new iPhones this year, that they would eliminate the remaining 30-pin devices in favor of the newer, thinner lightning adapter.

There were also a few announcements that weren’t made at the presentation but were announced shortly after. First, the iPod Touch and iPod Nano, which were notably absent from this event, are now available in Space Gray in addition to the existing color choices. Apple also released the first official iPhone docks for both the 5C and 5S, since the iPhone 4S. In less exciting news, the service fee for phone replacements under AppleCare rose from $49 to $79.  Finally, Apple quietly discontinued the Cards app that allowed users to mail greeting cards with pictures from their phones. It is expected however, that much of the functionality will move to the soon to be free iPhoto.

Overall, it was a great event, although nothing unpredicted happened, the announcements are all very exciting.  The new hardware combine with the new iOS 7 software will breathe new live into the iPhone and will serve to further expand Apple’s mobile market share.

September 10th Apple Event Predictions

Apple has finally confirmed they will hold and event on September 10th for the much anticipated new iPhones among other new products. There is much speculation regarding what is going to be announced; from iPhones with a fingerprint reader, to multicolor iPhones, to refreshed Apple TVs, to an all new Apple smart watch. There’s also talk of new iPads, new Macbookss and plenty other products, however I believe the focus will clearly be on the iPhone and most likely products and services around it such as iOS 7, iCloud and yes, possibly the smart watch. These are the things I expect us to see announced this Tuesday by Tim Cook and Company.

What We Will Probably See:
iPhone 5S: The iPhone 5S, or as some are now expecting the iPhone 6, is expected to be based on the existing iPhone 5 design with improved processor, a fingerprint reader and hopefully improved battery life and camera. There are also rumors that seem less plausible, like it will be gold, but I’m not convinced, although multiple color options beyond the the standard black and white are very possible.

iPhone 5C: The iPhone 5C is believed to be the low-cost iPhone with multiple color options and possibly plastic cases. These are expected to provide a low cost phone option for those who want a smartphone without the $200 price tag. This is expand Apple’s market share, especially in developing countries, and with customers who want a smartphone, but don’t need the latest and greatest features.

iOS7: iOS 7 was previewed in June at WWDC and I expect to see another demo of the key features of iOS 7 next week. In addition to showing an almost finished, if not finished version of iOS 7, I expect an announcement of a release date which will likely be within a week or two of the event.

What We Probably Won’t See: 

Mac OS X Mavericks: Like iOS 7, we’ve already seen Mavericks, the next iteration of Mac OS X, at WWDC.  Unlike iOS 7, I don’t think we will see more than a mention of Mavericks at this event, as it is geared primarily towards the iPhones and iOS devices. There is expected to be  a Macbook event in October, and that would probably be a more likely time to review Mavericks.

iPods: September has long been when Apple unveiled their new iPods, however I think that may not happen this year. We haven’t seen or heard many if any rumors and I think that if there were any new iPods waiting in the wings, something would have leaked out. The only rumor regarding the iPods I have seen, were that the iPod Classic being discontinued. The only iPod announcement that even seems feasible is an iPod Touch in keeping with the iOS theme.

Apple TV: The Apple TV is somewhat feasible, as it does run a version of iOS and ties in with the entertainment functionality of the iOS devices. However, I think that it is more likely that this will be done at another event later on allowing this event to focus primarily on the iPhone.

iPads: While the iPad is an iOS device and would make sense to be announced with the new iPhones, it is widely predicted that the iPad will not be refreshed until October, which is when Apple released the new iPads last year.

MacBooks: The MacBooks are also due for an upgrade but like the iPads, the next update isn’t expected until October.

Smartwatch: It is widely expected that Apple will follow in Samsung’s footsteps and release a Smartwatch. They have already recruited several people from other companies for the project, however, it isn’t something I would expect to see this event and may even have its own special event.

As usual,  after the event there will be a summary of the announcements with analysis posted on Gdovin.net.

WWDC 2013 Summary

WWDC2013

Image Courtesy of Apple Inc.

Wow, Apple really delivered on Monday at their WWDC keynote! Over half of the rumored announcements were announced on stage! I will go through all the announcements and explain what they mean to Apple’s millions of users.

 

Mac OSX Mavericks

Image Courtesy of Apple Inc.

After the obligatory store opening video, sales figures for the past year,  and a shaky, but cool, iOS-powered, AI stock car demonstration, that Apple starts every keynote with, the firsts announcements were with Mac OSX. Apple started by announcing that the future versions of Mac OS will be named after famous place in California, since they are running short on big cat names and are dedicated to the future of the Mac, great to hear! The new version of Mac OSX, called Mavericks, is clearly focused on power users, who have been ignored for the most part by Apple, in recent years.  Mavericks features a tabbed finder window allowing users to combine multiple finder windows into one and easily move files between them. The tabbed Finder also lets users have different view modes in each tab, it also adds tagging to the file browser to make finding files much easier. Tags appear on the finder sidebar and allows users to use advanced searching techniques to find files they need easily.

Mavericks also provides some much need enhancements to multiple displays, allowing the dock and menu to appear on each display and full-screen applications no longer interfere with other displays and lets users run multiple full-screen applications on multiple displays. Users can also switch Spaces on each display independently from the other screens. Mavericks allows users to use a HDTV with an Apple TV as a full HD display for their Mac. OSX Mavericks also has a lot of “under-the-hood” technologies to better utilizes system resources and power. Mavericks optimizes CPU and memory usage to minimize amount of system resources that are inactive, cutting down on load time and making the Mac more responsive for the users.

Mavericks has a greatly enhanced Safari, adding a new sidebar containing bookmarks, reading list and shared links for links shared by people followed on Twitter and LinkedIn. Safari also takes advantage of some of Mavericks speed enhancements, delivering information even faster and using less memory. The new OSX also takes Keychain, Apple’s Password management tool, and takes it to the cloud to sync them across devices. It is secure, using 256 bit AES encryption, and syncs web logins, credit card information, account information and WiFi passwords much like LastPass.

Mavericks packs major Notification Center enhancements, with the ability to respond to email, messages and facetime requests right from the notification. iOS App notifications can also appear on your Mac screen and notifications appear on the lock screen, it is not mentioned if this is done via iCloud, Bluetooth, WiFi or some other technology. Finally, Mac Apps updates can now install automatically!

The calendar in Mavericks has a much cleaner user interface, away from the skeuomorphic, leather design of years past. It adds enhanced location suggestions based on location, automatically adding travel time for appointments, even sending the user a notification of when they need to leave. It also adds weather information for appointments. OSX also has the now infamous Apple maps with flyover, points of interest and the ability to send directions directly to an iPhone or iPad.  iBooks also is coming to Mac OS with full iCloud integration much how Kindle has WhisperSync to sync across devices. Mac OSX Mavericks will launch in the Fall, developers get a preview copy now! It looks like a fantastic update for the power users and end users alike!

Image Courtesy of Apple Inc.

Image Courtesy of Apple Inc.

As expected, Apple announced new Macbook Airs featuring Intel’s new Haswell processors and all-day battery life. It also has 802.11 AC, the newest wireless networking standard, the new Macbook Airs do not however offer a Retina display as rumored. The new Macbook Airs are shipping today, shipping at the same prices as the previous models but both featuring larger solid state hard drive than the previous entry-level Macbook Air.

Airport Extreme

Image Courtesy of Apple Inc.

Along with the new Macbook Airs, Apple released a new Airport Extreme routers and Time Capsules with 802.11 AC and Beamforming for enhanced throughput, all in a brand new rectangular design.

Mac Pro

Image Courtesy of Apple Inc.

Apple gave a sneak peak of the highly anticipated new Mac Pro, featuring a brand new cylindrical design. It is built around a thermal core and features a 12-core Intel Xeon Processor, ultra fast flash storage, 2 Thunderbolt 2 ports for 20 GBps transfers and the only real expansion port on the device. It has Duel AMD graphics cards that can support multiple 4K displays, Apple said the Final Cut Pro team is already hard at work on a new version of Final Cut Pro X to support this new high resolution output. This was only a preview and the final product is scheduled to be released towards the end of this year, but at least pro users know they have something coming. The brand new design packs a lot of power, so hopefully it will give the high-end pro users what they have been waiting for.

The final Mac-related announcement was the first iWork update since 2009. iWork for iCloud allows users to edit iWork documents in web browsers both Macs and Windows computer, much like Google Drive and Office 365. iWork for iCloud give full editing capabilities in Safari, Google Chrome and even Internet Explorer with a wide range of editing tools. It also supports editing Microsoft Word documents, an iWork first! Much like many of the other announcements, it will be in developer beta starting now, and public beta will come later this year.

iOS7

Image Courtesy of Apple Inc.

iOS 7 was the biggest announcement of the keynote, it has a completely redesigned user interface featuring a flatter, non-skeuomorphic design. iOS 7 has parallax movements meaning the phone moves as the screen moves with it, creating a 3D effect. iOS 7 lets users have multiple pages of apps within folders and can put that pesky Newstand icon  in a folder, without super fast finger or jailbreaking. iOS’ default mail app took a page from popular Gmail client, Mailbox integrating swipe gestures to its user interface in addition to a brand new flat user interface. Notification center is now translucent and now features 3 tabs for Today (notifications from today), All and Missed notifications and is now available from the lock screen. Control center gives users quick access to settings like Do Not Disturb and Bluetooth everywhere, including the lock screen and even includes a flashlight!

Apple completely overhauled its multitasking interface, now allowing all apps to multitask and replacing the old multitasking bar with a card-like interface similar to Microsoft Metro. iOS 7 analyzes usage to effectively update information without draining power and system resources, and even goes as far as learning the schedule users open certain apps to know when is the best time to update information .

iOS apps will also update automatically just like in OSX Mavericks, once again this can be turned off. Safari was completely redesigned as well with redesigned tabs, and the addition of iCloud Keychain and shared links. The redesigned photos app now can use location data and time stamps to automatically  organize pictures into moments and has some photo stream sharing enhancements including the addition of videos to photo stream. Photos also can be see all at once in a new zoomed out view.

Siri will get a much needed redesign and a new less robotic female voice and a new male voice. Siri can also control the phone operations and can access Twitter, Wikipedia and Bing. Siri for cars also added some new functionality allowing dictation and controls through cars and the addition of several new manufacturers supporting Siri in their cars. There was, however, no mention of making Siri more reliable or accurate.

The iOS App Store, got a facelift, and can now filter search results on age range. Apps can also be suggested based on current location, which might be helpful in a few situations, like at a museum as show on stage, but isn’t incredibly helpful. Like OSX Macericks, the iOS7 App Store now automatically installs app updates, although I do believe this can be disabled if the user wants.

The new music app has a brand new user interface and has the much rumored iTunes Radio. iTunes Radio is a free, ad supported streaming music service offering hundreds of Pre-made stations and users can create their own station based on any song, artist or genre, much like Pandora, Spotify and other streaming music services. It will work on iOS 7, Macs and PCS using iTunes and Apple TV. iTunes Match users get ad-free streaming, which I think makes the $25 much more worthwhile.

iOS 7 also has FaceTime audio calls, notification sync across devices so notifications only need to be dismissed once! Activiation Lock is added to Find My Friends so lost or stolen iPhones can’t be activated or even reset without the owners Apple Account password.

iOS 7 really is the biggest improvement Apple’s mobile platform has ever seen and while a lot of the features have been on other mobile platforms and mobile apps, its great to see these great features integrated into iOS. This will however make it hard for certain app developers like flashlight apps, now that a flashlight is built into iOS 7 as well as Pandora and other streaming services now that Apple will offer its own.

Overall, this was an amazing keynote with all these great new products. The only things I would have liked to see was: a new iPhone and of course an earlier release of the new operating system. Overall, it was a great announcement and can’t wait for the release of all these great new products.

WWDC 2013 Predictions

Apple will hold it’s annual Worldwide Developers’ Conference on Monday.  Since  there hasn’t been a major product announcement since last October; there is speculated announcements for what seems to be Apple’s entire product line! Since it is not expected to be a 4 hour keynote, unlike other tech companies who will remain nameless, some of these announcements won’t happen at this event, if ever. Here’s my thoughts on the rumored announcements for this week’s upcoming event.

Mac:

  1. Macbook Airs/Macbook Pros– The rumor is that the Macbook Airs are sold out in many retail locations signaling an imminent upgrade. Intel also just released their new Haswell processors, so it would make sense for Apple put out a new machine featuring these faster processors. It is also widely rumored that the new Macbook Airs will be featuring a high-resolution retina display.
  2. Macbook Pro- The Macbook Pro is also rumored to be upgraded to feature the new Haswell processors and slimmer builds for the Retina models. There aren’t many other rumors regarding the Macbook Pros, but it is safe to assume the internal hardware will be updated.
  3. Mac Pros- The Mac Pro is long overdue for an upgrade, and it was confirmed by CEO Tim Cook that they are working on “a product for Mac Pro customers”. It is unclear whether or not that means it will be a new Mac Pro in it’s current design with upgraded hardware or if it is a different product all together, possibly a souped-up iMac. It is also very likely that the new Mac Pro or Mac Pro-esque product will be the existing product that Tim Cook pledged would be built entirely in the United States.  A developers’ conference would be the right place to launch the high-end product like the Mac Pro, but that was the case for the past 2 years.
  4. Mac OS 10.9- Apple announced its last version of the Mac operating system, Mountain Lion, last year at WWDC and it is likely they will be releasing a new version, code name Cabernet. The new features are rumored to be focused on power-users including a tabbed finder and a revised Safari browser. However, it is widely reported that engineers were taken off Project Cabernet to work on the redesigned iOS 7.

iPhone/iPad

  1. iOS 7- The new iOS 7 also may be unveiled at this event now under the design guidance of Johnathan Ive, after the departure of Scott Forstall last October. It is rumored that the skumorphic designs, such as the green felt table for game center, it will be replaced by a new flat user interface across the entire environment. It is also rumored to include AirDrop, Apple’s wireless file sharing technology already integrated into OSX. It is possible that this would just be a developers’ preview so they can start building their apps so they are ready when iOS7 goes public.
  2. iPhone 5s/iPhone 6- If they do release iOS 7, it is very likely that Apple will release new hardware to go along with it. It will most likely be a slightly improved iPhone 5s, as apposed to a brand new phone design. The 5S is rumored to have a faster processor, higher resolution screen, better camera, near field communication technology and possibly a fingerprint scanner, although that doesn’t seem likely to me.
  3. Cheaper iPhone- There have also been many rumors of a budget-friendly, plastic shelled, iPhone that would be more affordable, primarily for developing countries. I’m honestly not fully convinced that Apple will release a budget iPhone since they offer discounted previous models; including one that is free with contact. I don’t see them adding an additional budget-friendly model unless they are rethinking their pricing strategy.
  4. New iPad/iPad Mini Retina- I think iPad releases probably the least likely of the rumors. First of all it has been less that a year since the last iPad announcement, although that didn’t stop Apple last time. I think if they do refresh the iPads it will be mostly a performance bump and the addition of a retina display to the iPad Mini.

Other:

  1. Streaming Radio Service- It has been long rumored that Apple is working on it’s own streaming music service and recently has been reported that it has signed a deal with Sony and other record companies making this more likely. It is possible this will be integrated into the iOS 7 announcement but I think it could very possibly be it’s own event as this event is focused on developers and a streaming music service is more consumer-oriented.

After the event on Monday, I will have a complete summary of what happened and what new products were announced.

Moves Review- A Pedometer for your iPhone

SummaryBubble

We all know that most of us, myself included, need to walk more than we do. Yes, we could just take a walk but, most people do a some amount of walking in their daily life, whether it be around the house, at work or moving from place to place, but don’t know how much walking they actually do. There are ways of recording those every day movements, most simply, a pedometer that can be purchased fairly cheap. There are also the wrist bands that track movements like the FitBit or the Nike Fuel band but those cost around $100 and they need to connect to a computer or smartphone running an application to record data.

Moves is a free iPhone application that enables iPhone users to track the number steps, the distance walked and the total time spent walking each day using the the GPS built-into the iPhone. Once installed, simply launch the app once to make sure its ready and its ready to go. Moves can determine when someone is walking and when they are driving or riding, preventing users from being credited extra steps. The app shows results in a beautiful, graphic

WholeTimeline

timeline the day showing how much walking has been done in each location and includes a map of the day’s travels.
Places are normally named by the town or city by default for example, “Place in Philadelphia”. Places can be labeled as home, work, school or even better, Moves ties into Foursquare and has a list of nearby locations to choose from if the user chooses to do so.

The timeline allows users to go through their day and see how much walking they have done at each location. On the top of each day, is a summary bubble that shows: total number of steps, total time spent walking for the day and total distance walked for the whole day and the more you walk, the larger the summary bubble will be. Days where the user has reached a personal best, will also have a record banner on the summary bubble as well.There is a week view as well to see the entire week at-a-glance as well as previous weeks. Moves also ties into social media allowing for summary bubbles or for the more daring, the entire timeline to be shared via Facebook, Twitter, email or saved as a picture to the iPhone Camera roll.

There is only one con of using Moves, which is battery usage. Moves uses the GPS constantly in order to track your movement which is a major drain on the battery. Personally, my iPhone 4 is still able to make it through the day, although, the battery is draining more than it has previously. The Move app does however have some power saving options such as setting a timer to turn off tracking for a set amount of time,  which is useful for those who are staying relativly still for a long period of time. Tracking can also be paused until the phone is charged again or users can simply turn tracking off manually and it will stay off until it is turned back on.

Moves is however a great free application that allows iPhone users to use a device they tend to always have on them to easily keep track if how much walking they do each day. It is great for the fitness enthusiast and couch potato alike by making it easy to see how much they walk in their daily lives. I highly recommend this app despite the fact it does cause significant battery drain because it makes tracking walking amazingly easy on a device that is almost always with you.

Mac OSX Lion Upgrade Thoughts

Yes, I know that Lion came out last July and the next version of OSX is already coming out this coming summer but I was originally not going to upgrade my computer to Lion. Although I did like a lot of the new features of Lion, especially Mission control, I didn’t think that upgrading my 3 year old computer would be a wise use of system resources. However, when I decided it was time to do a fresh re-install of OSX, which. I typically want do on a annual basis, I did some research and was also told by a friend that Lion was actually faster than Snow Leopard. So I decided to give it a shot, it was only $30 and if it was really faster would be well worth the price, not to mention all the new features. So I decided to do a full reinstall of Lion from a bootable thumb drive using Lifehacker’s instructions and if it didn’t work out, I would just reinstall Snow Leopard. The installation was very simply, the only thing that was a little difficult was that you have to run “Disk Utillity” from the Bootable drive first and then proceed with the installation, it doesn’t have the drive formatting tool built-into the installer.   Besides that however, it is very simple installation process and takes about 45 minutes to install not including the time to format the hard drive, if you choose to do that.

Once Lion was installed, it was very snappy and performed better than Snow Leopard! It also has a lot of great features, many of which were derived from iOS. Mission control is one of my favorites because it is a much more powerful system of switching between applications and workspaces. Another useful feature of Lion is Launchpad, which brings iOS-style home screens to the Mac including folders as a faster way to launch applications. This is easy to access with either a gesture on a trackpad or Magic Mouse. I plan on using this instead of launching the Finder and going into the Applications folder every time I want to launch an application This is a much faster way to launch applications and provides a nice way to organize them as well. Lion was definitely faster and

This was also the first time that I did a complete re-installation without using any optical disks. I used a bootable thumb drive to install Lion and then I made disk images for any software that I have on disk, so that I could just install it from my external hard drive and just enter the serial code. This makes it a very simple process, especially for applications like Final Cut Studio which  is on seven disks because you can mount all disk images and then just start the installation process and let it go to install everything and not have to swap the disks out requiring you to check your computer repeatedly.

I highly recommend that you upgrade to Lion if you haven’t done so yet and if your computer meets the system requirements. Although there aren’t too many new features, they are really good features that are very helpful and it also allows you to install the iMessages Beta allowing you to access your iMessages on your computer in addition to your iOS device.  Lion is absolutely worth the $30 price tag with all the new features and higher performance so I highly recommend the upgrade!

Apple iPad Event Summary

On Wednesday, Apple unveiled their new iPad and a few other products. There weren’t any surprise features although some things that I predicted wouldn’t happen, actually did happen. The first of those, also the first announcement of the event, an updated Apple TV. I didn’t think this would happen because they are allegedly working on a television set so why would they put out another set top box if the television is in the works. The new Apple TV outputs 1080p and has a redesigned interface. Those are the only changes so, it is a minor upgrade, the form factor has remained the same as has all the other specs. They also announced the addition of Movies to iTunes in the Cloud so you can download your purchased movies to all your devices with ease.

The big announcement was of course the new iPad, yes that really is the new name of the product, not the iPad 3 nor the iPad HD. The primary new feature of the new iPad is the new Retina display which is extremely high resolution, it looks beautiful and provides an amazingly high resolution output but, it requires more power, so the new iPad has a new A5X processor that adds quad-core graphics to the duel-core processor in order to power the new high resolution screen. One surprise feature was the addition of the option of 4G LTE networking which I did not expect, but I knew it was a matter of time for it to be added, I just didn’t expect it in this iteration. This more or less confirms that the next iPhone will also have 4G LTE high speed networking, I just expected the iPhone to have it first and then the following iPad would get it. As expected the new iPad received an upgraded camera system with a 5 MP camera that can also record 1080p HD video. The final new feature is the addition of a dictation feature similar to Siri on the iPhone 4S without all the extra personal assistant features.

Apple also released the iOS version of iPhoto completing the iLife suite on iOS. They also updated the other iLife apps and all the iWork apps on iOS with more iCloud support and support for the new iPad’s Retina display. Finally they released iOS 5.1 that adds Japanese support to Siri and a few other minor features.

While this update was more evolutionary than revolutionary, it gives the iPad the highest resolution screen for a tablet. In addition to the new iPad which still starts at $499 in the same capacities as the previous models, with the 4G LTE models costing $129 extra. Apple has also kept the16 GB iPad 2 as a lower cost model at $399 as predicted.

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