Tag Archive for ‘Zac Hall’

This Adapter Turns Standard CarPlay Into Wireless CarPlay ➝

Zac Hall reviews a nifty little adapter that turns a wired CarPlay head unit into a wireless one. My wife and I have been looking at buying a new vehicle soon, but the model we want only offers wired CarPlay. When we eventually make our purchase, we’ll almost certainly get one of these adapters so we aren’t forced to tether our device in the car.

➝ Source: 9to5mac.com

Apple Watch Series 4 Revealed ➝

The folks at 9 to 5 Mac seem to have hit a gold mine today. And I hope this is an indication that Apple has more Watch faces coming soon. I’m a little tired of using Modular.

AirPort Express Software Update Adds AirPlay 2 and Home App Support ➝

Zac Hall, writing for 9 to 5 Mac:

Apple’s AirPort line may be discontinued, but AirPort Express got one heck of an update today. Firmware update 7.8 for the latest AirPort Express hardware (2012 2nd-gen model, no longer sold) adds support for AirPlay 2 and Apple’s Home app. The teaser for support has been present since iOS 11.4 beta, but support hasn’t been live before today’s version 7.8 firmware update.

I just updated my AirPort Express a few minutes ago and, as I said on Twitter: “Holy cow, they actually did it”. Although, I had to do a bit of fiddling to get it to show up in the Home app. After the firmware upgrade, the Home app wouldn’t see my AirPort Express until after I sent audio to it. Not entirely sure why, but its working now — I’m not going to complain too much.

Aside from iOS devices and Macs, I believe this is the first time Apple has released a software update for a discontinued product that introduced new features. Maybe they’ve done so for security reasons, but this is uncharted territory for them. And its pretty darn rad.

Apple’s Thunderbolt Display Sold Out in Many Apple Stores ➝

Zac Hall, writing for 9 to 5 Mac:

It’s been true for way too long now that Apple’s Thunderbolt Display is due for a comprehensive upgrade. Apple’s $999 27-inch display has a dated design and has much lower resolution than the Retina 5K iMac for $800 more. For those reasons and more, it’s been on everyone’s Do Not Buy list for quite some time, but that may be about to change. […]

Thunderbolt Display can still be delivered overnight when bought through Apple’s online store, but a check at nearby Apple Stores showed that one out of every three locations had zero inventory. We’ve seen stock fluctuation in the past way before a product replacement — most recently the Apple TV — so it’s possible the inevitable Thunderbolt Display replacement could be planned for the fall and not Apple’s keynote in two weeks. But there are plenty of reasons to expect something new in Thunderbolt Display’s place at any point.

“Way too long” is an understatement — Apple hasn’t updated their standalone display offerings in nearly five years. It’s hard to believe that’s even true, there aren’t many Apple products that survive this long without being refreshed or discontinued. And I truly hope this is a sign that Apple will be shipping Retina-quality desktop displays in the next few months.

Selling the Apple Watch Without a Band

Zac Hall recently wrote a piece for 9 to 5 Mac about his hope for an Apple Watch upgrade program:

Apple Watch has a lot of opportunity to get better over the next few years, though, just like the original iPhone advanced dramatically between iPhone 1 to iPhone 4. A proper Apple Watch Upgrade Program could easily encourage current owners to buy the latest hardware every year (everyone using the latest generation helps the overall product’s reputation) and encourage new customers to splurge on higher-priced models.

This would undoubtedly be a stellar idea, but what if Apple simply offered a Watch that didn’t come with a band? This would give existing Watch owners an inexpensive option for upgrading without forcing them to turn over their older model. I don’t expect Apple would be able to cut too much off the price, but having to use the bands you already own in order to save $30-40 would sound like a pretty good deal to me.

I floated the idea past Craig Hockenberry on Twitter after he wrote about his band collection, but he didn’t think Apple would do such a thing.

I would prefer that, but it doubt it will happen. They don’t sell incomplete products (e.g. Mac without a keyboard.)

The only problem with this argument is that Apple already sells plenty of “incomplete” products. The Apple TV doesn’t come with an HDMI cable; the Mac mini doesn’t come with a display, keyboard, or mouse; and neither does the Mac Pro.

Apple clearly isn’t above selling a device without everything necessary to use it and I think the Mac mini is the best example of this. On the mini’s Features page, Apple even markets the machine by specifically encouraging buyers to “bring your own display, keyboard, and mouse”. The reason Apple can get away with this is because they can safely assume that many buyers already have these items and can reuse them.

But at some point Apple could make this same assumption for Watch bands when customers upgrade from an older model. The bands that Apple offers seem incredibly durable, many Watch owners have purchased additional bands, and I doubt the current lug mechanism will be phased out anytime soon. To me, it seems like a great way for Apple to encourage upgrades from existing users.

Another criticism I could see against this idea would be the question of why anyone would want to keep their old model. But this line of thinking comes from a technology enthusiast’s perspective rather than a watch enthusiast’s perspective — watch collecting is a thing. There are entire websites dedicated to selling cases designed to hold and display watches. If Apple is serious about the Apple Watch being — not just a smartwatch, but a timepiece — this is the type of market they might want to serve.

Inexpensive band-less watches make a lot more sense the more expensive the model, too. Does someone who spent over $10,000 on a watch really want to hand it in alongside an upgrade fee for the new model? I would expect the device to hold some amount of sentimental value to its owner. As someone who recently spent several hundred dollars on a pair of wedding bands, I would never dream of giving up my ring for one with smoother edges and a shinier finish. I plan on holding onto that round hunk of metal for the rest of my life.

Remember, the Apple Watch is a piece of jewelry and a gadget — each customer is going to consider it to be one of these to varying degrees.

From a logistical standpoint, though, I could see where selling a band-less Watch could be a little tricky. Obviously Apple wouldn’t want an unsuspecting customer to purchase a band-less Watch unless they already have bands to use with it. But I think that’s the kind of problem that could easily be solved by making it painfully clear to customers on the product page and obscuring the SKU on their website ensuring that most customers won’t even find it.

I think both upgrade program proposals have their merits — I’m sure there are plenty of Watch owners that would make use of each. Personally, I think of the Apple Watch more as a piece of jewelry than as a gadget. And as a result, I place a greater amount of sentimental value on the device. When I upgrade to a future iteration of the Apple Watch, I expect I’ll keep my existing model. I just hope Apple offers an option without a band so that I can save a little money in the process.

Kevin Lynch Says Steve Jobs Tried Recruiting Him to Apple After Flash Debate ➝

Zac Hall, writing for 9 to 5 Mac:

While it hasn’t been widely discussed that Jobs had tried (and failed) to recruit the Adobe CTO in 2010, Lynch confirmed the detail in a recent commencement address delivered to University of Illinois at Chicago’s mid-year graduating class.

Apple Offers App Analytics Sign-Ups to Developers ➝

Zac Hall, writing for 9 to 5 Mac:

Apple has started offering registered developers the chance to sign-up and test its upcoming App Analytics feature first announced last year at WWDC. Developers have been awaiting the service since it was announced following Apple’s acquisition of TestFlight (and FlightPath), a service which offered its own analytics features.