Monday Morning News
Welcome one, welcome all, to another year of daily Apple news with a unique Australian focus. As we kick off the news this morning, I hope you all had an excellent Christmas and New Year break, whether you spent the time with family and friends, or like me, mostly put your feet up and relaxed. But enough of that — it’s time for some Apple-related news. Oh, and if you have any feedback or suggestions for improvement regarding the news, you know where to get in touch with me.
The Christmas holiday period was pretty good for Apple, undoubtedly due to the large number of iPads, iPhones, and iPods being unboxed this year as gifts. Analytics company Flurry puts activations of Apple devices at over half of all devices at 51%, with iPads and iPhones taking out the top spots. Samsung followed behind at 17.7%, and Nokia, Sony, and LG made up the top five.
During the time off (for some, anyway), Apple pushed out an OS X Security Update. The OS X NTP Security Update was notable because it was the first update that was automatically installed on many users’ computers, thanks to a new check box in System Preferences allowing the automatic installation of system data files and security updates. The App Store preference pane in OS X Yosemite also allows for automatic app updates OS X updates.
It was during that same holiday period that saw the launch of the official iTunes Tumblr. It’s not Apple’s first foray into social media — the company has had official Twitter accounts for iBooks, the App Store, and the iTunes Store — but as far as I’m aware, it is the first official Tumblr account. And in true Tumblr style, it has plenty of GIFs.
MG Siegler writes about the apps he actually used in 2014, leaving out Apple’s stock apps and just focusing on the third-party ones. There’s new entrants to his first home screen, and he’s written little notes on each one to explain why he’s been using it. Over at World of Apple, Alex Brooks has a similar post, but with enough variety between the two posts I felt it was worth sharing his apps, too.
Six Colors has a list of their favourite iOS games. New entrants such as Monument Valley, Threes, and Crossy Road make the list (just like the former two made ours), but a few older classics exist in the form of puzzle/physics titles The Room and The Room 2.
Your Mac’s firewall is off by default, and How To Geek (incidentally, one of the first Discourse-powered forums), asks whether you need to enable it. Software firewalls like the one built into OS X are designed primarily to block incoming connections, and How To Geek does a great job of explaining what a firewall does and why you might want to enable it (and what the potential downsides are to doing so).
While the iOS App Store is the only sanctioned way to install software on iOS devices, the Mac has no such protections. But distributing software on the desktop can be a doubled-edged sword — on the one hand, you get to have complete control over every aspect of the customer experience, as detailed in a blog post by the founder of Realmac Software.
On the other hand, Mac adware exists and is a thing now. I know of at least one torrent client that sneakily inserts ads into webpages, and The Sweet Setup calls out InstallMac as one of the worst culprits. Also known as Genio, InstallMac hijacks all web browsers and is tricky to remove, with an uninstaller that might as well do nothing. Luckily, an adware removal tool for Mac called AdwareMedic cleans it up nice and good.
Jailbreaking has largely fallen out of the public spotlight since iOS added enough features to keep most iOS users happy, but for those that still decide to do the dance, Auxo 3 is an incredible tweak that makes me a little jealous of those that do sacrifice a little device security.
Something I see all the time is pocket lint preventing iPhones from charging. It’s a real problem: lint and other fluff gets stuck in there, is then compacted by when you shove your Lightning cable to charge, and the process repeats itself until you begin to doubt whether your iPhone charges at all. This kind of problem never happened anywhere near as frequently as the older 30 pin connector, either.
TUAW says the crapification of great iOS apps is what happens when free to play ruins games. It’s nothing that we haven’t seen before — ads, pop-ups asking for App Store ratings, and in-app purchases galore — but either way, it must be hard for Halfbrick Studios.
2015 is the year of the Apple Watch. Dan Frommer at Quartz explains.