Android Wear Smartwatches Come to the iPhone

Now for the bad news:

Apple also doesn’t allow competing app stores on the iPhone, nor is it likely that third-party app makers will be able to easily bake in more advanced support for Android Wear. That means that Google doesn’t (at least for now) offer third-party watch apps for iPhone users. It also means that the selection of third-party watch faces you can get are “curated” by Google and probably won’t offer the same advanced features you can get when you use Android Wear with an Android phone.

You can use an Android Wear watch with the iPhone, but you aren’t going to get the same experience as you would pairing it with an Android phone. Even though support exists, I still think iPhone owners should stick to the Apple Watch and Android users should stick with Android Wear.

Mark Gurman Offers More Details on Upcoming Apple TV

Gaming, Siri, third-party controller support, and more.

Recently, Your Camera Roll Photos in a Monthly Magazine

This is the kind of magazine that guests can’t help but look through when they notice it on your coffee table. And for just $9, it seems like a really good deal. Although, I’m not sure once a month would be right for me — maybe four times a year would be better.

I can also imagine Recently as a mechanism for sharing photos with tech-adverse family members.

ArsTechnica Reviews the Google OnHub

Ron Amadeo, regarding the OnHub’s smartphone app:

If you’re going to leave a comment with the question “Can it do x?” the answer is probably “no.” You can pick the name, password, static IPs, enable UPnP, do port forwarding, and really nothing else. You won’t be installing DD-WRT or doing anything advanced anytime soon—it’s a simple router.

And, as for the OnHub’s Wi-Fi speed when compared to a similarly priced router from Asus:

We also tried a speed test on a Nexus 6 in the yard about 100ft away from the router. Again, the OnHub lost. The Asus router handily beat the OnHub no matter where we were testing, with both increased range and better throughput (and that’s with being bridged to the OnHub, which probably gave the OnHub a small advantage). If you’re looking to spend $200 on just a router, there are better deals out there.

So, it doesn’t pack many features and isn’t even faster than other routers on the market. Why would anyone buy this? Because it’s likely a trojan horse for Google’s smart home initiative.

Personally, I wouldn’t suggest anyone buy the OnHub today. The idea of a smart home is too far off for the majority of people. And I think most would be better off spending the next few years with a great, feature-packed router than spend $200 on one that’s designed for what your home might eventually become.

Ron’s concludes with similar sentiments:

Right now, the router doesn’t seem like anything special. It’s perfectly functional but not much else. No one should buy the OnHub as purely a Wi-Fi router. What will make or break this device is the upcoming smart home functionality, and right now we just don’t know what that entails.

If you’re currently in the market for a router, I’d suggest the TP-Link Archer C7 or Apple’s Time Capsule.

Jailbreak Attack Reportedly Stole More Than 225,000 Apple Logins

This is a great example of why you should think twice before jailbreaking your iOS device.

Latest Apple Music Ads Debut Featuring The Weeknd

I have no idea what’s going on — why is there a car on fire and why is John Travolta driving a limo?

If that’s not weird enough, here’s part two.

Gurman: New Apple TV Ships in October for Under $200

Mark Gurman, writing for 9 to 5 Mac:

According to sources, the fourth-generation Apple TV will be priced below $200, and is on track to become available in October. Apple executives are apparently still finalizing the price of the revamped living room device, but the latest options call for a starting price point of either $149 or $199 […]

According to our sources, the software update that enables Apple’s cable-replacement service is currently planned to also become available for the third-generation Apple TV. However, the current model will not receive support for the upcoming App Store, nor will it be directly controllable by Siri.

I had a feeling the new Apple TV wasn’t going to be cheap. But it’s nice to know that Apple plans to keep the current, lower-priced Apple TV around for the foreseeable future. It’s a great way to get users in the door and allows for an easy upgrade path — demoting the current Apple TV to a bedroom when you purchase the new Apple TV for your living room.

Apple Did Not Stop Tidal From Streaming Drake’s Set At Katrina Benefit

Tidal isn’t going anywhere if they think stunts like this are a good idea.

iCloud Music Library Data Loss

Joe Rosensteel:

Apple has provided no way for users to revert changes that are being made in iOS, and no mechanism to recover deleted data. That really bothers me because if an automated system is going to make changes to optimize my data then it’s never going to be 100 percent accurate. Dropbox is really close to perfect these days for maintaining the integrity of my data, but they still have mechanisms to recover files and revert versions.

I’m more than a little worried about transitioning away from Apple Music once my subscription runs out at the end of September. And its sad that I feel like I should have 2-3 backups in place just to make sure I don’t lose any data.

I hope Apple does what it needs to in order to repair their reputation for me — a year or so of solid software releases would help tremendously.

Apple Is About to Lay down Its TV Cards

Matthew Panzerino, writing for TechCrunch:

If Apple did indeed ‘delay’ the Apple TV from being released at WWDC, then it probably had a reason. And, if my sources are correct, that reason could well be polish, polish, polish. The experience of using it is said to blow away the types of junky smart TV interfaces we’ve had to deal with so far. This is the first real Apple TV product.

I’m really excited to get my hands on the new Apple TV hardware, I just hope it lives up to the hype. I’ve mentioned it before, but my main concern is with the remote. I’m probably the only person who’s more than happy with the Apple TV’s current input method and doesn’t want it to go away.

Matthew Panzerino describes the remote as “slightly bigger and thicker, with physical buttons on the bottom half, a Touchpad area at the top and a Siri microphone.” There’s too many nitpicky details that are still unknown with the remote — will it also function as a game controller, will there be hardware directional buttons, will the Apple TV have an IR sensor. I guess this is the one aspect that I’m just going to have to wait and see with.

‘How I Produce My Podcast’

Matt Birchler, producer and host of Bite Size Tech, shares his podcast recording, editing, and publishing setup.

Ski Safari 2 Reviewed

Nathan Ansel, writing on Hash Bang Star:

The new Ski Safari is a great combination of cute, funny, and fun. I was a big fan of the original Ski Safari, and I had no idea this sequel was in the works. It was a pleasant surprise to wake up to a new game available! I’ve been playing this game for the past few days and I heartily suggest buying it, it is definitely worth the $2.

I haven’t had the opportunity to try out Ski Safari 2 — I’ve been pretty busy with my day job, writing for the site, and trying to enjoy as much time as I can with my family during these last few days of summer. There’s a lot of competition for my gaming time, though. Just in the past few weeks Pac-Man 256, Rollercoaster Tycoon 3, and the Grand Tournament expansion in Hearthstone have all been released. But I absolutely loved the original Ski Safari and expect I’ll be able to fit the sequel into my rotation once things settle down this fall.

Apple Said to Be Targeting $40 a Month for TV Streaming Service

I wonder if this is akin to the pricing rumors that appeared during the lead up to the iPad announcement. Maybe Apple is leaking false information to set the stage for positive reactions when they announce pricing at or near $19.99 a month. WIthout rumors like this the press would only have Netflix, Hulu, and other competitors’ pricing to compare to which might result in Apple’s service being bashed for costing $10-15 more than others.

Chrome Will Begin Pausing Flash Ads by Default

Sarah Perez, writing for TechCrunch:

According to a new post on Google+, the company says that, starting on September 1st, Chrome will begin to pause many Flash ads by default in order to improve performance for its users. This change was first announced in June, and initially rolled out to the beta version of the Chrome desktop web browser.

Ad blocking features, just like pop-up blockers, will eventually become ubiquitous in web browsers. There’s no point in fighting it, it’s time to find other ways to monetize.

Dispatch 3.0 Brings iPad App, Improvements to Actions and Snippets

My favorite email client for iOS just got a lot better. It’s now optimized for iPad and features a slew of improvements that I believe Federicco Viticci does a wonderful job detailing. If you’re looking for an email app that will help you process you inbox quickly, Dispatch is the best app for the job.

It Must Be Mark Gurman’s Favorite Time of Year

Shortly after Apple announced their September 9 event, the incredibly informed Mark Gurman published four pieces detailing some of what we can expect from the upcoming iPhone and Apple TV event. He revealed that the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus may feature animated wallpapers, a 12MP camera, come in rose gold, and that we might not see the iPhone 6c at the event. If you aren’t already paying attention to Mark Gurman’s work on 9 to 5 Mac, there’s no better time of year to do so than now.

Facebook M, a Personal Assistant for Messenger

Natt Garun, writing for The Next Web:

Facebook’s Vice President of Messaging Products David Marcus today announced a new service called M. M is designed to be your personal assistant, which you can use to ask for recommendations such as gift ideas or restaurants to visit when you’re traveling. […]

The service is similar to what smartphones offer with Siri and Cortana, though offering the service via Messenger means anyone can use it as long as the app is available on their platform.

M looks like an impressive service, but I don’t think it’s a very good competitor to Siri. The barrier to entry for using it is just too high. With Siri, users are a simple long-press on their home button away from setting timers, reminders, asking questions, and more. But with M users have to launch Facebook’s Messenger app and enter a conversation to start making use of its personal assistant features.

Some users are bound to love M and it being tied to Facebook gives it some level of awareness that may be unique compared to Siri or Google Now. And, given the size of Facebook’s user base, I’m certain there’s plenty of users who practically live in Facebook Messenger. However, its inherent cross platform “benefits” could ultimately be its death knell — the user experience of having M tucked away inside of an application pales in comparison to activating Siri with a hardware button without even needing to unlock your device.

IDC: Apple Shipped an Estimated 3.6 Million Apple Watches Last Quarter

Apple’s already nipping at the heels of the current market leader, Fitbit. And with their current plans of expanding into other retail stores by the holidays, I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple took the top spot within a year.

Apple Announces iPhone and Apple TV Event for September 9

It will be held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium which holds around 7,000. That’s a huge room for an Apple event and I’m surprised the rumor panned out. I was even drafting a piece last night conveying my doubts and ending with a quip about John Gruber forgetting to announce a Daring Fireball conference — you know, because of the “exterior wall mounted star graphic sign.” The joke was good, I had to mention it.

If you’re curious about what I expect Apple to announce at the event, I published my predictions yesterday. Although, the bit about the iPhone 6c doesn’t look promising.

Skipping Credits on Netflix

Matt Hauger:

But there’s still one vestige of broadcast TV that invites you to stop watching: interminable opening credits sequences. Star Trek’s theme song is retro-catchy the first ten times. After that, it’s tedious and irritating. Or consider House of Cards, whose melancholy opening sequence lasts nearly two full minutes(!). There’s only so many times I can watch those DC time lapses.

So why can’t Netflix automatically skip these opening titles for me?

DVDs typically have chapter markers inserted at the end of the opening credits — which is handy when you’re viewing an archived copy on the Apple TV. But why don’t streaming services offer the same feature? My guess is it’s just cheaper and easier to omit it.

 

Best Buy Accelerating Apple Watch Rollout

Phil Wahba, reporting for Fortune:

The retailer expects to be selling the [Apple Watch], which hit the market in June, at all of its 1,050 big-box stores by the end of September, he added. Initially, Best Buy had planned to have watches in 300 stores by the holiday season. […]

It is currently updating its Apple shop-in-shops at 740 stores, including new fixtures and more display tables for phones, computers, and tablets. The work is already complete at 350 stores, and will be finished at another 170 in time for the key holiday season. He also said that Best Buy will begin selling AppleCare product service and support this quarter, and will start testing out being an authorized service provider at 50 stores.

You’ve got to skate to where the puck is going if you want to have any growth, especially in retail consumer electronics. Ironically, I look forward to the day when I can pop into my local Best Buy to purchase whatever Apple product I need. I would obviously rather go to an Apple Store, but since the closest location is two hours away, I’ll take what I can get.

Last Call for Initial Charge Shirts

initial-charge-shirts

Today is the last day to order the Initial Charge t-shirt — the Teespring campaign will be ending at approximately 11PM eastern. Thanks to everyone who placed an order, your shirt should be arriving in early September.

For those who haven’t ordered yet, they come in men’s athletic gray for $22 and women’s athletic blue for $21. But you better act quick, you don’t want to be left shirtless.

Update: The Teespring campaign has ended. One last thanks to everyone who ordered, I really appreciate it.

Predicting Apple’s Upcoming Events

I wrote some preliminary predictions when I linked to Matt Birchler’s piece about the upcoming iPhone lineup. But, shortly after publishing my thoughts I created a note in Vesper to jot down a revised — and complete — version of what I expect we’ll see from Apple over the next 7-8 months. There’s been a few rumors since last week which forced me to rethink the iPhone announcement, but I don’t expect my thoughts to change again unless something drastic comes about through the rumor mill.

It’s pretty clear that Apple is going to be holding an iPhone event the week of September 6. Once the press begins receiving invitations on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week, we’ll know the date for sure. I’m still holding out hope for September 8 — of course, I want to be right — but the ninth is looking like the most likely date.

Here’s what I expect we’ll see from Apple at their September iPhone event:

  • WatchOS 2
  • New Watch Bands
  • iOS 9
  • iPhone 6c
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • New Apple TV

I think the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus will sport updated internals with Force Touch-capable displays being the landmark feature. I expect they’ll both be available September 18 with storage options starting at 32GB. As for the iPhone 6c, it will become both the free and $99 iPhone option going forward for 16GB and 32GB respectively. It will have iPhone 6-like internals, a 4-inch display, and an “unapologetically plastic” casing. But I don’t expect it will ship until October or November.

My iPhone predictions are likely the boldest of the bunch, but I think Apple wants to cut ties with all previous models. Apple will continue selling the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 5s, and 5c until stock is depleted, but going forward I believe Apple wants all of their lower-priced models to have plastic bodies and 4-inch displays. At least for the foreseeable future.

Apple has already announced that iOS 9 and watchOS 2 will be coming this fall and I believe golden master builds of both will be available for developers hours after the event with a public release as late as September 14. Apple will also announce new watch band colors that will be available to order that same day, shipping at the end of the week.

The long rumored new Apple TV set-top-box will be announced with a claimed ship date similar to the iPhone 5c’s October or November timeframe. The Apple TV will gain a refreshed user interface and hardware design, an updated remote control, iOS 9-dependent features like universal search, a developer SDK, and App Store. Apple will most likely bring a couple of hand-picked developers on stage to show what they’ve been able to build for the Apple TV in a very short period of time.

The remaining questions I have regarding the Apple TV is on pricing and game controllers. I would love to see this new Apple TV priced at $99. But if Apple is going to build it on rather beefy internals, I just don’t see how that could be. I suppose Apple could differentiate pricing based on storage, but I don’t know if Apple really wants to do that. The target market — the masses — isn’t likely to know how those storage capacities will impact the Apple TV’s usability and most will just buy the cheapest model available. And that won’t make for the best overall user experience.

As for game controllers, I’m not sure if Apple will release a stand-alone controller themselves, expect third-parties to build controllers for them, or if the new remote could be turned on its side to be used as a controller with hardware direction buttons on the left and action buttons on the right. Of the three, I think a mixture of the second and third are the most likely. That would prevent most customers from needing to acquire a controller with more hardcore fans having the option to buy something more ergonomic.

Looking Further Forward

At first, I thought Apple would skip their typical October event and announce their new iPad lineup at the iPhone event, but that would make for a jam-packed event with far too much to cover in just two hours. And after the less-than-stellar Apple Music announcement, I’d guess Apple will be a bit more touchy about long-winded events than they normally are.

Here’s my broad-strokes expectations from an October iPad event:

  • OS X El Capitan
  • 21.5-inch iMac with Retina Display
  • iPad mini 4
  • iPad Air 3
  • iPad Pro

Again, these are some super-extra-early predictions. If I get any of this right, I’ll be just as surprised as you. However, I can’t imagine I’m too far off the mark.

El Capitan will likely get a GM build around the time of the event with a public release coming before the end of October. A new 21.5-inch iMac has been cropping up in rumors lately and it feels like a natural fit at the October event. I could also see some stealth updates to the Mac mini and Mac Pro which would quietly appear on Apple’s website — both are due for an update and releasing them before the holiday season would certainly contribute to a strong quarter for Mac sales.

I don’t expect much more than internal hardware upgrades for the iPad mini 4 and iPad Air 3, but the iPad Pro will obviously be an entirely new product. And I think we’ll see a few iPad Pro-specific features in iOS 9.1 that take better advantage of the increased screen real estate. I’m not sure what they could be, but wouldn’t it be neat if you could run two apps simultaneously that faced users on opposite sides of the device? A true multi-user device sounds like a novel idea, but imagine if schools could purchase half the number of iPads for classrooms.

As for an event to be held this spring — March or April:

  • New Apple Watch
  • Television streaming service
  • MacBook refresh

I won’t elaborate too much on the announcements at a potential spring event, but I do think the new Apple Watch will come in additional colors — such as gold or yellow — and obviously the streaming TV service will be entirely dependent on Apple’s ability to acquire the necessary rights. I expect Apple would be able to cut deals by then, but there’s always the possibility that one or more of the networks will decide that it’s not in their best interest to play ball.

Eager Anticipation

Of all the announcements Apple is likely to make over the next several months, I’m by far the most excited for the iPhone 6s and Apple TV. That’s partly because I plan on buying both of them as soon as I’m able to, but also because my current iPhone 5s is really starting to show its age. I can barely go a full day on a single charge at this point due to the wear and tear on the battery — my phone spends much of the day in airplane mode trying to preserve as much battery life as possible.

I also see the Apple TV as a huge opportunity for Apple. The Apple Watch will never be as important to the company as the iPhone because there’s only so many people that are interested in wearing a watch, but nearly everyone watches television. And if Apple can find a way to build a compelling device that’s powerful and easy to use, they could have a real hit on their hands.

Swift as an Introductory Programming Language

Computer science professor, Aaron Block:

Every language has its pros can cons and rather than giving you a giant spreadsheet of how each language stacks against Swift, I want to give you a few examples of where Swift really shines in an intro class.

I’ve always been interested in computer programming, but there’s always been something in my way preventing me from learning. I taught myself how to build rudimentary text-based games on my TI-83+ in high school — mostly as a means of telling jokes — but that was a brief period before I fell in love with writing about computers.

My interest in programming hasn’t subsided, but the amount of free time available to me has diminished over the years. Aaron makes a great case for Swift as a first language and if I ever find myself with enough time to learn I’ll certainly look at Swift first.

(Via Guy English.)

Galaxy Note 5 Design Flaw: A Backwards S-Pen Can Permanently Damage the Device

Who wants a stylus when it can apparently damage your device if you make the honest, and I’d guess common, mistake of putting it away backwards?

Samsung has also issued a response, as reported by The Verge:

We highly recommend our Galaxy Note5 users follow the instructions in the user guide to ensure they do not experience such an unexpected scenario caused by reinserting the S pen in the other way around.

Translation: we admit no guilt and if your device ends up broken, it’s your fault.