October 2016

Monday Morning News

office-for-mac-adds-touch-bar-support-3Hands-on experience from Six Colors with the new MacBook Pros tells us about the Touch Bar, the bigger trackpad, and the second generation of keys which use Apple’s butterfly keyboard mechanism. The keyboard in particular will be the biggest sticking point for potential owners: if you liked the keyboard on the MacBook, then there’s a good chance you’ll like this one as well. Ars Technica’s hands-on report says there’s a minor improvement to key travel, but apart from that it’s mostly the same.

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Good Reads for October, 2016

Every month, we’ll be bringing you a selection of fashionably featured reads about the wonderful world of Apple. At times, they’ll have commentary on whether Apple’s oldest product lineup still matters, or an explanation of why Tim Cook is the new Steve Ballmer. Other times, it will be well-reasoned commentary on how Apple has no idea what its doing anymore, or an explanation of why your next iPhone won’t be made of ceramic. All I know is, bring your own Instapaper account, because this is Good Reads.

  • When Apple teased invites to its October event with the “hello again” tagline, it kind of set people up for disappointment. I mean, there’s no way Apple wouldn’t have known what those words meant to the Apple faithful — once the tagline of the 1984 Macintosh, to see it used for marketing what turned out to be an entirely unworthy set of updates is heartbreaking. Not only was a third of the Mac lineup updated, but updated in such a way that some are saying Apple has no idea who the Mac is for.

It’s strange — there’s nothing actually wrong with what Apple announced: USB-C on the Mac is great, a thinner, more powerful machine is intriguing and, while it’s too early to say, the Touch Bar could possibly be a gimmick, but it could be useful for helping people discover what shortcuts exist as they use the computer.
The thing is, I can’t figure out who this is for other than those who are on really old machines.

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Apple’s October 2016 Event Wrap Up, Emoji Bar Edition

Provided you didn’t have unrealistic expectations of Apple’s October 2016 event, you weren’t left disappointed. Apple announced a Touch Bar and Touch ID integration on the redesigned 13 and 15-inch MacBook Pros, both thinner, lighter, and more space-efficient than their predecessors. Minor adjustments to the rest of the portable Mac lineup and a new Apple TV simply called “TV” rounded out the rest of the announcements. The rest of the news, and our full summary of the event, follows below.

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Thursday Morning News

EasyRes iconAhead of tomorrow’s Apple event, Ars Technica tells us what to expect given that it’s been about a year since Macs last had a refresh, and even longer since they were last redesigned. While MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs seem overdue for an upgrade, the situation becomes murkier when we’re talking about Apple’s desktops. All I’m saying is, whatever Apple are going to announce tomorrow better be insanely great.

Graphs of Apple’s Q4 2016 financial results from MacStories tell us the story of how Apple is doing compared to previous quarters. The Verge alarmingly reports that Apple has had its first annual revenue decline since 2001, but note that Apple’s financials have been within the company’s own estimates — and for the last 11 years, Apple has never reported revenue below its guidance, according to Horace Deidu.

A transcript of what Apple CEO Tim Cook had to say on the conference call after the results came out tells us a little more about the state of the company. CFO Luca Maestri weighed in with some more details about Apple’s financial. I particularly enjoyed the part where analysts attempted to get Cook to announce new products on the conference call, but failed to do so. I think I’ll call all future attempts to do so “a Munster”.

TechCrunch solves the mystery of the missing AirPods by saying Apple has pushed the release date back. Apple says that the AirPods are not quite ready, and they need a little more time — while it would have been nice to have the AirPods release simultaneously with the headphone jack-less iPhone 7, sometimes things don’t work out that way.

Rumour has it that Apple’s next iPhone will come in three different models, all featuring a glass back. A new 5-inch model will join the existing 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models, although I’m not quite sure why. Surely there are people who would much rather prefer a smaller 4-inch device rather than something that sits between a large and even larger iPhone.

9to5Mac claims Apple will announce a new app for the Apple TV tomorrow, but it seems like a strange fit. There’s been nothing about the Apple TV for months, so it seems strange that Apple would suddenly announce a new app for it at a Mac-focused event, so I guess we’ll wait and see.

With the new MacBook Pro rumoured to remove the Escape key, macOS Sierra now lets you re-map the Escape key to another modifier key. My personal suggestion is Caps Lock, but even then that’s only a bandaid fix for the overall bigger issue: there is no escape.

Apple has moved from licensing GPU technologies to designing their own mobile GPUs, according to MacRumors. Apple’s A8 SoC was the first to include an Apple-designed GPU, with the A9 and A10 also including Apple’s own graphics processors.

IOS 10.1 includes a new popup that says legacy apps “may slow down your iPhone“. If you’re using an app that hasn’t been updated in a while (i.e. hasn’t been updated to support 64-bit), you’ll get the popup, but otherwise the app will continue to work just fine.

Chris Miles’ excellent EasyRes app for the Mac is now free, and it’s an really handy way to switch display resolutions quickly. It’ll let your Retina display go back to 1x display modes, and even has a handy preview of how much more “space” you’ll get (or lose).

Wednesday Morning News

ApplePaySplashSA_GEO@2x.pngApple’s fourth quarter results saw the company generate $46.9 billion in revenue, posting $9 billion in profit for the same time period. Apple sold 45.5 million iPhones, with a small drop on gross margins compared to the year-ago number. Apple highlights their services revenue, which grew 24% to reach an all-time high of $6.3 billion. Commentary from the usual conference call will be out later this morning, but we’ll cover it tomorrow.

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Tuesday Morning News

simple_large_2xApple has registered new Mac models in something called the Eurasian Economic Commission database. At least three new models will be unveiled on Friday, pointing towards new 13 and 15-inch models of MacBook Pro, as well as what’s rumoured to be a 13-inch MacBook or revamp of the MacBook Air lineup. The consecutive model numbers make things a little less clear, but here’s hoping we’ll see something incredible come Friday.

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Monday Morning News

18733-18098-12566-6654-dsc01694-l-lWith an Apple event later this week, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has released a set of predictions for the Mac lineup. Kuo’s latest report claims Apple will be releasing an updated MacBook Pro in both 13 and 15-inch sizes, with the OLED touch bar, Touch ID, Thunderbolt 3, USB-C, and the same keyboard tech found in the MacBook. Kuo also thinks Apple will release a 13-inch MacBook, which is either expected to be an updated version of the MacBook Air or a slightly larger version of the current MacBook.

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Friday Morning News

18700-18018-161020-keyboard-lIn an interview with Vanity Fair, Apple’s SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue referred to existing television interfaces as “pretty brain dead”. Cue went on to say that there’s plenty of channels, but nothing to watch due to how difficult it can be to find something to watch, blaming interfaces for making it impossible to find content. Cue hopes that as content companies get more comfortable with emerging technology, we’ll see television improve gradually.

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Thursday Morning News

hello-again-6cApple has made the rumoured event on October 27th official, sending press invites that say nothing beyond “hello again”, although perhaps even that teaser pays homage to a previous Apple ad campaign. There’s a good chance we’ll see new Macs, and although there’s nothing to say the event will be live-streamed, precedence says it will be, given the extremely limited seating capacity at Apple’s Town Hall location.

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Wednesday Morning News

Really Bad Chess iconRecode points to a Mac event on October 27, which will be the first time Macs have been updated in recent history. The event will allow Apple to not only release much-anticipated new Mac hardware to refresh their lineup, but also release new Mac hardware that comes with macOS Sierra out of the box.

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