Monday Morning News

DSC_1768-3_678x452Anandtech’s review of the iPad Air 2 says the tablet continues the same tried-and-true formula of previous iPads, iterating on both design and hardware specs to produce “one of the only tablets worth buying on the market today”. Significant improvements in the display and camera make it more usable, and while hardware specs don’t matter for most people, the updated A8X SoC means an all-round better user experience. In short, it’s just a better tablet, and Anandtech has the graphs to prove it.

You can now upload photos to the Photos webapp on the iCloud website, letting you browse uploaded photos on other devices once they’re all synced up. Apple are slowly but surely building out their plans for an all-in-one photo library, and next year, we’ll see the launch of an entirely new Photos app on the Mac.

The FCC has leaked an [unreleased pair of Beats headphones]( 2), and on further inspection, they appear to be a wireless version of the company’s Beats Solo 2. The new set of cans uses bluetooth to connect to devices, and interestingly, will feature Apple branding, at least on the packaging if not on the actual headphones themselves.

I thought we could put this entire GT Advanced saga behind us, but no. According to MacRumors, unsealed court documents give an insight into Apple’s business practices. What that really means is that Apple has considerable leverage given its position in the market and proven track record for entirely new product categories, so they can make what some perceive to be “unreasonable” demands of companies they’re working with.

True to its word, Apple has removed Fitbit products from its online and Retail Stores. Fitbit’s heart-rate and activity-tracking Surge likely approaches Apple Watch territory, even though the latter has more of a fashion aspect than the former.

Australian developers Shifty Jelly released Pocket Casts 5.0 on Friday, bringing support for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, as well as per-podcast notifications and iOS 8 features, such as actionable notifications and an updated design. The release notes assure me there are plenty of the usual bug fixes and performance improvements, too.

It’s one thing to talk about enabling Handoff on a 2011 MacBook Pro (a process which requires a hardware upgrade as well as software tweaks), but it’s another thing entirely to do the hardware upgrade yourself. Steeley ordered a Handoff-compatible bluetooth card for his machine and posted up a write-up of the entire process in the forums, and you should definitely have a read-through if you’re interested in getting a few more years out of an older machine.

PSA: if you pre-ordered an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus from Apple or managed to snag one on launch day, you have about a week to pick up AppleCare+. I’ve previously written about the benefits of AppleCare+, and if you’re looking to grab it from an Apple Retail Store, The Mac Observer says that even though it won’t appear in your list of agreements on Apple’s support website, coverage will still be in full effect.

Macworld answers your iTunes 12 questions, showing you how to add album art, where your Wish List went, and how you can view new releases from your artists.

Sales of iPads are declining, and if quality apps aren’t the problem, what is? Dr Drang hits the nail on the head by saying that even though the iPad now has performance to rival computers from a number of years ago, it still suffers from the problem of not being a computer.

Smart words from Benedict Evans, who writes that Apple Pay is a perfect example of Apple’s modus operandi of partnering with companies to come up with something that completely disrupts the industry. Not only that, but this current disruption of the banking/payments industry has a precedent in the iTunes Store.

If you haven’t seen it, South Park did an episode on how freemium isn’t free. It’s really well done.

Notable Replies

  1. I think he’s hit the nail on the head with the iPad. It has its professional niche, of course, but I believe (and I have no facts to back this up) that the main uses for iPad are to browse website, watch and listen to media and play casual games.

    No matter how much they push the idea, it just isn’t suited to a lot of productivity applications and that’s got nothing to do with its power, it’s got to do with its screen size and it’s lack of precise input devices.

    My ageing iPad 3 does exactly the same stuff today as it did on its release. For me, that’s visiting websites, watching YouTube, Netflix, Hulu etc and very occasionally playing a game. It’s by and large a toy and that’s ok - there’s a market for it, but it’ll never be as big as production computing.

    When I go to the Apple store and pick up the new iPad I go “Meh. Looks nice but it’s just an iPad”. Why would I buy a new one when my existing one does the same thing? Until I can’t consume today’s media on it I have no reason to upgrade, and unless you are a hardcore iOS gamer the extra power in newer models is impressive but not a deal maker.

  2. I think iPads are a lot like computers in that their upgrade cycles are similar. People are used to upgrading phones every two years because that’s just how contracts with telcos work, so after your two years is up you might as well get a new phone.

    IPads, on the other hand, don’t need to be upgraded as often. I’ve seen people with iPad 2s still around — and maybe some of that is because Apple still sold the devices up until a year ago (or whenever), but I reckon a lot of it just because the iPad 2 is still a fine iPad for what most people use it for.

    I mean, I guess it comes back down to the fact that computers have been way more powerful than most people need for years now, and I guess it’s the same with the iPad. Not really sure what Apple could do to entice people to upgrade every year.

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