Archive for Apple

Apple Just Bought Shazam

Posted in Commentary with tags on December 11, 2017 by itnerd

It had been rumored for days and just a few minutes ago, it’s been confirmed that Apple has bought the music tagging and recognition service known as Shazam. The word on the street is that Apple dropped $400 million to get the company.

Now Apple had been using the service to power the music nonrecognition feature within Siri. But now that they apparently own the company, you have to wonder what more they can do with the service. On top of that. You have to also wonder what happens to the base of Android users who use the service. When Beats Music was purchased, the Android app was kept around. Perhaps we will see that happen here as well. We’ll have to wait and see.

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#PSA: macOS Twitter Integration Only Supports 140 Characters

Posted in Commentary with tags on December 9, 2017 by itnerd

If you’re running macOS all the way up to the latest version which is 10.13.2, and you use the Twitter integration that is built into the OS, you should be aware that it only supports 140 characters while pretty much every other Twitter client supports the new 280 character standard.

Now for those of you who are not familiar with the Twitter integration that exists in macOS, clicking the Notification Panel, and then clicking social will allow you to send a Tweet. However, I noticed this recently:

evenScreen Shot 2017-12-09 at 6.04.03 PM

It appears that even though you are limited to 140 characters. This is confirmed by typing exactly 140 characters and getting this result:

Screen Shot 2017-12-09 at 6.05.54 PM

I reported this to Apple and they confirmed that this is something that they will fix in a future macOS update. I’ll let you know when I confirm that this is fixed. But you have to wonder why this wasn’t included in the 10.13.2 update that came out this week as 280 characters on Twitter has been around for a while. I guess it was an oversight.

Telus Launching Apple Watch Series 3 GPS + Cellular Sales TODAY

Posted in Commentary with tags , on December 8, 2017 by itnerd

If you’re Canadian and you want an option other than Bell to get an Apple Watch Series 3 with GPS + Cellular from, Telus can help you with that starting today.

Telus customers can add an Apple Watch for $10 per month to their SharePlus data plan, and that includes 1GB of data on top of whatever they have. Now, that is $5 more than what Bell is asking for. But Bell isn’t serving up the extra gig of data.  A $20 connection fee also applies. One other note is that Telus customers will need watchOS 4.2 installed before the head to their local Telus store. As soon as there’s a link online to order, I will post it here.

So that leaves Rogers being the only one of the big three who don’t support the Apple Watch on their network. Their latest Tweets seem to point to a 2018 launch for support. But I would suspect that by the time that they have support, many die-hard Apple fans would have switched to Telus and Bell by then.

UPDATE: Here’s a link to get to the Telus page for the Apple Watch. One thing that I did note on the page is the fact that you get the first three months of Apple Watch service free. That more than offsets the $20 setup charge (or eSIM charge as they call it).

Another Apple Security Flaw Found…. This Time In HomeKit

Posted in Commentary with tags on December 7, 2017 by itnerd

9to5mac is reporting that yet another security hole in an Apple product has been found. This time it’s the HomeKit framework when used with the recently released iOS 11.2. The flaw allowed remote access by those of ill intent to HomeKit devices. So a real world example of this that the miscreant could say, unlock your doors if you had HomeKit compatible smart locks, and then disable your security cameras if you had HomeKit compatible security cameras before pillaging your home.

Clearly this was not a trivial issue.

However, the only good news out of all of this is that Apple has fixed most of the problem as I type this. Some of the fixes are coming on the server side of the fence. The rest of the fixes will show up in a iOS update that is coming next week. The only catch is that remote access for HomeKit users is disabled until that iOS update comes out.

At this point you have to ask yourself what has gone wrong with Apple’s QA as this highlights what I said about it being an #EpicFail. It never used to be this bad and we’ve now had over a week of solid security issues that are hitting the news. Clearly Apple has dropped the ball in a big way and they really need to pull up their socks or they’ll be ridiculed like Microsoft was in the early 2000’s when they went through their security nightmare.

#Fail: Upgrading To macOS 10.13.1 Can Undo Fix For Epic Security Vulnerability

Posted in Commentary with tags on December 4, 2017 by itnerd

Betanews among others are reporting that the emergency patch that was released last week to fix this epic security flaw can easily be undone:

Numerous users have confirmed to Wired that Apple’s hastily rolled out bug fix is far from flawless itself. It seems that Apple was predicting a particular order in which users would do things, and this assumption means the original problem can be reintroduced. If you had upgraded to macOS High Sierra 10.13.1 and then installed the patch you should be fine — but not everyone has done this.

If you had yet to upgrade to the very latest version of High Sierra — that is, you were running 10.13.0 — and you install the patch and THEN upgraded to 10.13.1, the “root” access bug rears its head once again. Other people have complained that even if they have upgraded to 10.13.1 before installing the patch, there is no notification that a reboot is required to finish the installation, and therefore the problem remains.

The solution is simple enough which is to reinstall the patch after upgrading from 10.13 to 10.13.1. It’s outlined in this support document which was modified to make this clearer. But who checks this sort of thing before they upgrade? Nobody does. In my mind, what should have happened is that anyone who downloads 10.13.1 should get the emergency patch included. Thus you wouldn’t have to think about it. But it is possible that with 10.13.2, which now has this patch included as of the last beta, is due to be released as early as this week, Apple might have figured that this was likely not that big of a deal.

Having said all of that, I do have a question. How was this not caught in Apple’s QA process? Creating a test case around this scenario would not have been hard. And maybe Apple could have tweaked things to stop this scenario from happening. Of course I am assuming that this is a bug rather than a willful decision on the part of Apple. I’m sure that we’re unlikely to get any clarification from the folks at Apple Park on this which is a shame as some transparency given last week’s events would be welcome right about now.

Review: Apple Watch Series 3 With GPS

Posted in Products with tags on December 2, 2017 by itnerd

Frequent readers of this blog will recall that I just got a Apple Watch Series 2 in March of this year. So why am I replacing that with an Apple Watch Series 3 with GPS? Quite simply, Apple has come out with a smart watch that despite what I said here, has more than enough of an improvement that it will make Series 2 owners think about whether they should upgrade. In the case of Series 1 or original Apple Watch owners, they will run to their local Apple Store for one.

Now let me point out that I have the Series 3 With GPS and not the Series 3 With GPS + Cellular. Why did I go for the former? There’s several reasons:

  • First if I look at my use case for the Apple Watch, there are very few times where I am without my iPhone 7 Plus. For example, when I ride my bike, my iPhone 7 Plus is connected to my Garmin Edge 520 cyclocomputer via Bluetooth specifically for the incident detection feature. Since Garmin cannot or will not make that feature work with the Apple Watch, it means that my iPhone 7 Plus will be with me when I ride. When I cross country ski, I keep my iPhone 7 Plus handy as I use Runtastic Pro to keep track of how well I ski. While Runtastic Pro does have an Apple Watch app, it still needs your phone to work properly. Though that is apparently going to change shortly according to Runtastic. In other words, having the GPS + Cellular model will not change my life in those areas.
  • Second, my current cell phone carrier of the moment which is Rogers doesn’t support the Series 3 with GPS + Cellular. If they did, I might have gone for it for no other reason than the coolness factor. But they don’t so there was no reason for me to go for it. Though I will note that my wife is thinking about a Series 3 with GPS + Cellular and is willing to dump Rogers to get one.
  • Even if Rogers did support the Series 3 with GPS + Cellular, it’s version 1.0 of this technology. Which means you should likely wait for the next revision given the fact that according to Mobile Syrup, the iPhone that it is paired to has to be turned on and connected to the Internet for it to fully function. On top of that, people who I know who have the Series 3 with GPS + Cellular say that they have problems with the cellular part when they travel overseas. Seeing how much I travel, that’s a potential non-starter.

The looks of the Series 3 Apple Watch With GPS haven’t changed. The screen is the same, and the case is the same. And it’s still waterproof up to 50M and connects to 802.11 b/g/n WiFi (albeit via the 2.4Ghz band via a new WiFi chip). I guess took the attitude of not messing with what already works. Having said all of that, I do feel that he Series 3 is a hair lighter than the Series 2. The bottom line is that I’m not upgrading for looks. But there are three big reasons why the Apple Watch Series 3 with GPS is worth a look, and why I ultimately upgraded from the Series 2:

  • First off there’s the S3 processor that’s in the Series 3. Apple claims it is 70% faster than the S2 processor that is used in the Series 2. Now the Series 2 wasn’t slow. But the Series 3 makes the Series 2 look and feel slow in pretty much every way. The interface is more responsive, third-party apps open much quicker. But the big thing is that Siri is far more usable and Siri finally speaks to you which is a welcome addition because I don’t have to look at the watch to interact with Siri anymore.
  • Battery life is better over the Series 2. Apple still tells you that you’ll get 18 hours of battery life. But I note that at the end of the day, I typically have 75% to 80% battery life left. That’s up from the 75% or less that I was getting from the Series 2. That means that you can go a couple of days between charges if you had to.
  • If you work out, the Series 3 now has an altimeter which now allows you to more accurately track your workout efforts. In my use case, one of my workouts is to run up the stairs of my condo twice. All 35 floors. I do that at least three times a week and it is helping me to keep in shape during the winter. I can now leave my phone behind and simply use my watch to accurately track my efforts as it will track the elevation change by itself. Prior to that, I would need to bring my iPhone 7 Plus and have it track the elevation change.

Other than that, nothing has changed about how how I use the watch. I still use it to pay for stuff via Apple Pay. I still use it to discreetly see and respond to notifications and texts. And I still use it to help me get into better shape. On this last point I have to say that the Apple Watch has turned out not to be the short term novelty that I thought it was going to be. Now, some of this can be attributed to watchOS 4, but the new hardware that was put into the Apple Watch Series 3 with GPS helps with this as well.

My gripes are mostly the same as my last Apple Watch review. It still doesn’t support Android users, not that I am shocked by that. It is still pricey, though can still get the Series 1 if price is an issue. Though you give up speed and the fact that it is waterproof if you go that route. If it were me, I wouldn’t recommend going that route. You’d be better off finding a Series 2 with AppleCare on Craigslist. Such as the one that I have up for sale on Craigslist. (This has been sold)

The bottom line is this, the Apple Watch Series 3 with GPS is a worthwhile upgrade for existing Apple Watch users. There’s enough here to make it worth your while to upgrade to. Pricing starts at $429 CDN and goes up from there. If I were you I’d skip the GPS + Cellular model and plunk your hard earned dollars down on this one as this is currently the best smartwatch to get if you’re an iPhone owner.

Guest Post: Strong Early iPhone X Adoption Positions Apple For Market Leadership

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 30, 2017 by itnerd

By Ian Fogg, senior director, mobile and telecom, IHS Markit

In eight countries, the iPhone X already accounts for over 2 percent of the iPhone active installed base just three weeks after its first availability on November 3. The leading countries for iPhone X adoption are markets with high gross domestic product (GDP) per head such as Singapore, Denmark, Switzerland and Japan.

IHS Markit is able to use its unique measurement of active installed base data to provide very early insights into how the iPhone X is performing, well in advance of the availability of shipment data.

iPhone X does best in markets where iPhone Plus is popular

Countries where “Plus” model iPhones have been successful in the past have a strong correlation with initial levels of iPhone X adoption. Consumers in those markets have a greater interest in larger displays and high-quality dual cameras, as well as the willingness to pay the higher price a Plus model or iPhone X costs over regular-size iPhones.

Despite production constraints, in the markets where iPhone X has launched, initial uptake is very similar to adoption of previous iPhone flagship launches in the same launch period. This indicates good demand for iPhone X and is better than the rumored supply.

In the US, iPhone X adoption after three weeks matched the adoption of iPhone 8 Plus and beat early adoption levels for both the iPhone 8 and 7 Plus. Only the iPhone 7 model had greater initial success. In Japan, initial iPhone X adoption was as good as or better than any recent iPhone launch, and matched the level of the iPhone 7.

Apple will enjoy record-breaking iPhone performance in 2018

We expect Apple will enjoy its best ever year for iPhone. IHS Markit forecasts each of the next four quarters will see increases year-on-year in iPhone shipment volumes, compared to the same quarter a year earlier.

In the fourth quarter of 2017, IHS Markit forecasts Apple will ship 88.8 million iPhones — this will be the greatest number of iPhones ever shipped in one quarter.

Apple will need to ship just 31 million iPhone X units for iPhone average selling price (ASP) to exceed $700 for the first time in the iPhone’s 10-year history, assuming total shipments amount to 88.8 million.

iPhone X represents a shrewd strategy from Apple. In a maturing smartphone market, consumers may choose to buy replacement smartphones less often. If so, the higher price of the iPhone X means Apple could gain similar revenue levels and profits at lower shipment volumes. If Apple can increase unit shipments instead, then iPhone X will drive significantly higher iPhone profits.

The full report is available to clients of IHS Markit Smartphone Intelligence Service – Premium and is published here: https://technology.ihs.com/Services/570567/