WWDC 2014 Keynote Summary


The Keynote started with a video remind you how amazingly fantastic apps, specifically ones used on Apple platforms, are, with people thanking developers (specifically, those who develop for Apple platforms). After this, Tim Cook walked on stage, continuing to praise developers, and mentioned some facts and figures about WWDC, such as the youngest developer in the audience being thirteen. Segues into reminding the audience that today is not only about iOS, but Mac OS as well, and “the mother of all releases for developers” – which will get an entire section of the keynote devoted to it, which the public will undoubtedly care less about than the other two, but developers cheered.

The Mac OS announcements:

Mr Hair-to-rival-John-Slattery strolled on stage, to crack jokes… shapographic (is that a thing) video ensues, showing the new dock, toolbars, and windows

Translucent windows and dock

New icons of an iOS 7 flavor,  including a translucent trash can.

A dark mode for Mac OS. That’s it, I’m sold now on the design change.

New notification center with an improved Today view with widgets such as clocks, stocks, reminders, as well as 3rd party ones such as ESPN

Spotlight Search is now a big field in the middle of the display, with in-line previews for documents, and web search at the same time. Federighi continues to throw jokes left, right, and center, such as Jony Ive’s custom aluminium spoons with chamfered edges, at such a speed there’s no time for laughs. Maps, movies, and iTunes Store results all show in-line in Spotlight. I wonder if that includes

Calendar has a new Day View

iCloud Drive – access content from Mac OS, iOS, and Windows

Mail – New “Mail Drop” technology, that sends attachments via iCloud for large attachments up to 5GB in size. Markup to doodle over images.

Safari – favorites now hidden in the search bar. Easy subscription to RSS feeds, easier sharing between people, birds eye view of tabs. Visually, Safari now looks exactly like an elongated version of Safari on iOS 7 does. Also features Markup in sharing.

Announcing “Continuity”. That’s right, picking nouns from a dictionary counts as naming a product. AirDrop now works across iOS and Mac OS, devices in proximity can pick up where you left off with documents, emails, and websites. Instant Hotspot lets you automatically turn your phone into a hotspot from your Mac.

Texts and calls can now work through your Mac. Yes, that means exactly what it sounds like.

Craig continues to perform his comedy act, including brushing off a call from his mother, opting instead to call Dr. Dre. Yosemite available to developers today, and a Fall release for the public at the price of nothing. In a turn of events, Apple will be offering a Public Beta of Yosemite this Summer.

On to iOS 8:

Interactive notifications, much like on Mac OS. Also works on the lockscreen.

Double tap now not only shows recent apps now, but people as well.

Safari has the same new tab view

Mail is now a more efficient experience with gestures and a floating compose window

Spotlight does iTunes, Apps, and Movies, and the search bar in Safari does the same Wikipedia trick as on Mac OS

QuickType – locally stored predictive typing for iOS, which stores different language usage with different contacts

iMessage – Message threads can now be left or set to do not disturb. Other new features include tap to talk (and video), people locations, and view all images shared in a thread in one place.

A demonstration happens, with an on-stage selfie and a hair crisis from Craig. Looks like the fun never ends at Apple.

Enterprise enhancements are mentioned, but I’m afraid I don’t understand much about it.

On to Health then. Now, after so many years, you can consolidate all your health information in one single place. Provided you use iOS, naturally. Surely you didn’t expect Apple would actually solve a problem rather than adding to it.

Family Sharing – “The easy way to share what’s important”. Create a family unit with iOS devices and share things with them. That’s right, you have to convert your entire family to iOS. You are free to use what your family dictates. On a positive note though, you can now access the iTunes purchases of up to six family members… providing you all share the same credit card. Enjoy cleaning that mess up.

Photos – search has been improved for albums, locations, times etc. New simplified photo effect editing has been added. Photos for Mac OS will be updated next year to work in similar ways, and work online as well.

App Store – app previews (videos) and app bundles with discounted pricing.

Notification Center gets interactive widgets

3rd party keyboards can now be used in iOS

 

I don’t think the word “Google” was mentioned a single time during this… Bing seemed to be getting a lot of shout-outs though. Your other bingo word to look out for was “Kit”.

Advertisements

Summary of Apple’s ‘Special October Event’, 2013


(Introductory paragraph written before the event, the rest was written as it unfolded. Look through for bold text for information of different products.)

In June, Apple spawned a lot of questions, most of which weren’t answered at last month’s event, such as specifics on the upcoming Mac Pro and Mac OS Mavericks – for example, a presumed launch of Mavericks either today or very soon, as it went gold a few weeks ago. It should also be noted that despite September being Apple’s traditional month for their music event, the various iPod models didn’t see an update – we haven’t seen a new iPod since May, which was a ‘budget’ version of the iPod touch. Not to mention the iPod classic, which hasn’t really been spoken of since 2009. Apple has a reputation for releasing products on yearly cycles, which has fallen slightly out of sync in recent years, but still stands – leaving expectations of new iPods, a new Apple TV, new MacBook Pros, the new Mac Pro, a new Mac Mini, Mac OS, and potentially an entirely new product.

Tim Cook walks on stage and starts with what we’ve all come to expect – updates of the news sort rather than the software/hardware sort.

Plenty of figures and opinions about the iPhone 5s and 5c sales and reception, and a video of their retail stores. Figures such as 200 million devices updated to iOS 7 in five days, 20 million users have listened to iTunes radio, developers have earned over $13 billion.

Now onto the updates we’re all waiting for:

Craig Federighi talking about Mavericks:

  • current 13″ MacBook Air will see up to an hour more battery life for web browsing with Mavericks installed (rather what I was expecting what with App Nap and other power saving features announced in June)
  • Reminders about all the other features we’re so eagerly anticipating such as iBooks, Maps, Notifications, Finder tags & tabs, and better multiple display functionality. Ironically, better display functionality could make covering this a lot easier.
  • The Mavericks update will be free to download, even if you’re upgrading from Snow Leopard. Hardware compatible-wise, you can get Mavericks if you have a 2007+ iMac or MacBook Pro, 2008+ MacBook Air, MacBook, or Mac Pro, and 2009+ for the Mac mini.
  • And as expected, available today. “Go out and get it” I’d love to, just as soon as the update appears.

Phil Schiller on to talk about the MacBook Pro:

  • The ‘MacBook Pro’ has been abandoned, Apple now only sell the Retina variant.
  • 13″ gets up to nine hours battery life. 15″ gets up to eight hours.
  • faster flash storage, more video RAM, 802.11ac WiFi, Thunderbolt.
  • All shipping from today.

Now on to the Mac Pro:

  • 4, 6, 8, or 12 core configurations available with the Intel Xeon e5.
  • up to 64GB of 1866MHz of RAM
  • up to 12GB of video RAM (with the dual AMD FirePro configuration)
  • Four USB 3 ports, six ThunderBolt 2 ports, and an HDMI port. With ThunderBolt you can have up to three 4K displays.
  • It really is amazingly small – I doubt it’s much bigger than the latest AirPort Time Capsule. It’ll blend in nicely on the top of a desk (where it’s really intended to be) and makes the same amount of noise as the Mac mini.
  • Ships in December, starting at $2,999.

Now onto iLife with Eddy Cue:

  • New versions of iMovie, iPhoto, and Garage Band for Mavericks and iOS.
  • 64 bit and iCloud compatible
  • you can now edit and order photo books with iLife on iPad
  • iMove Theater integrates with iCloud so you can see everything you’ve made in it on all devices, including Apple TV.
  • The iOS version of GarageBand now has a 16 track limit, up from 8, and 32 tracks on 64 bit devices. And, as you’d expect, everything is synced with iCloud.
  • GarageBand now has a Drummer feature – a virtual drummer that you can easiy modify to play along in a different way. Ships with one drummer, you can add 14 more and more instruments with a single in-app purchase.
  • All available today, and ships free with new Macs and iOS devices.

iWork:

  • 64 bit with redesigned UIs – including new icons.
  • It looks like Pages on Mac now allows you to view a document like in Word rather than some borderless monstrosity…. (Update: I just installed it, and you can easily zoom in and out, allowing the page to actually look like a page now) It also has a format panel on the right hand side – another welcome timesaving addition.
  • Numbers has interactive charts so you can watch a bar chart change, showing past figures to present.
  • Keynote has some new animations and transitions that look quite nice.
  • iWork documents can be instantly shared with iCloud to anyone you give the link to – they don’t need an iCloud account to view it. You can also collaboratively edit documents Google Drive style.
  • Available today, ships free on new Macs and iOS devices.

Tim takes the stage again, for the iPad. He starts off with looking back at initial press slating of the 1st generation iPad “I can’t see a need for the thing”, then revealing that the 170 millionth iPad was sold earlier this month. There are 475,000 apps specifically designed for iPad, and Apple claim that the iPad is used up to four times more than any other tablet, and ranks number one for customer satisfaction. Some source for these figures would be nice… Tim follows up the figures with a video that basically shows iPads everywhere – restaurants, fire trucks, operating rooms, ice rinks, DJs, business meetings, and a tent hung on the side of a mountain.

Anyway, what’s new:

A name… the new iPad isn’t the “new new iPad” or “iPad 5th generation”, it’s the iPad Air, replacing the 4th generation iPad in the way that the Retina MacBook Pro replaced the MacBook Pro.

  • 9.7″ retina display, 43% thinner bezel, 7.5mm thin, 1lb. In the advert it’s portrayed to be thinner than a pencil, so watch your back Kindle.
  • 64 bit A7 chip (same as the iPhone 5s)
  • 8x faster than the original iPad, with 72x faster graphics.
  • 5MP iSight camera with 1080p video and dual microphones.
  • up to 10 hours battery life
  • Available from November 1st, in silver/white and space gray/black starting at $499

iPad mini:

  • Now has retina display (2,048×1,536 – the same as iPad 3, 4, and Air)
  • 64 bit A7 chip, proving that it’s just a smaller form factor, not a budget device.
  • 10 hours battery life
  • Available “later in November” from $399

Tim closes with an advert for the iPad Air, and says goodbye.

A couple of closing thoughts:

So, the iPad 2 is the ‘cheaper past-gen option’ Apple offer, but only $100 less than the iPad Air. Given how much more advanced the iPad Air, even how much more advanced the 4th generation iPad is, I think Apple is really missing a trick charging so much for what is now so little – I think they should either drop the price for the iPad 2 a lot more to expand their consumer base, or offer a different past generation iPad as the cheaper alternative.

No new gadget, no iPod updates, and no Mac mini update – will there be another even this year? I doubt it, as that would be far too many events for one year. Perhaps we’ll see something new in January?

WWDC 2013 – keynote summary


(skim through and look for the bold/underlined headings for the products you’re interested in knowing about)

So, it opened with a slightly pretentious feeling video, although Apple can usually get away with that. Most of the time…

Anyway, Tim’s first large point is the typical sales update. “We made a video”. No surprise there. An Apple Store in Berlin with meander patterns and Ionic columns on the outside – a classical far cry from the glass buildings seen in other cities, although the interior is the usual bare stylishness. “Only Apple could do this”. Could or would? They’re certainly the only tech company who bother to put this much effort into physical outlets.

“More accounts with credit cards than any other store on the internet that we’re aware of.” That’s not the first time he’s said “that we’re aware of” today, and I’m sure Steve Jobs never threw doubts into people’s minds like that.

Quickly into a third party demo with Anki which looked cool although ran into a difficulty. I’d love to buy something like this, controlling real miniature vehicles with an iPhone – like Death Rally but in real life. This really doesn’t feel like a traditional Apple keynote.

Tim now moves on to Mac, looking at figures for MacBooks. Craig Federighi comes on stage making jokes about running out of cat names and then a joke about the next iteration of Mac OS being called OS X Sea Lion. The name turns out to be OS X Mavericks, named after this place. It’ll be released to consumers in Autumn, but now on to the features:

  • Finder tabs – perfect, much easier than using multiple windows
  • Tagging – adding tags to documents that can appear in the finder sidebar
  • Multiple Displays – it works the way multiple displays should do, works really well. You can even turn your Apple TV into a third monitor and still use your computer as normal.
  • Lots of OS performance changes to improve battery life, faster performance under load, and quicker wake from standby. App Nap balances how system resources are shared so that your battery doesn’t pay for what you aren’t currently using.
  • Improved notifications, even enabling push notifications from iOS to come through. Shows on lockscreen. On a related note,
  • Apps update in the background.

Now Safari, they’re making it “even better”. Well, that’s better than making it worse. Anyway:

  • continuously scroll through articles saved to your Reading List
  • browse shared links seamlessly from Twitter
  • Safari wins on SunSpider and JSBench comparisons
  • iCloud Keychain not only remembers your website logins across devices, but also your WiFi passwords. Also saves your credit card information, excluding the security code.

The Calendar:

  • Aware of location, travel time, weather. Flatter visuals and bland colours – he made a joke about skeuomorphics going
  • Continuous scrolling
  • Tells you travel information right in the calendar – notifies you when you need to leave to get to your appointment on time

Maps:

  • Flyover and other iOS style features
  • You can send directions from desktop maps instantly to your iPhone

iBooks:

  • On the Mac at long last – does everything the iOS iBooks does, including the night mode.
  • Textbooks work fantastically – pity hardly any educational outfits adopted it.

Phil Schiller now takes the stage to talk about the MacBook Air, with an entire new line, shipping from today:

  • New 4th generation Intel Haswell processors – 40% faster graphics and much better battery life. For example, 11 inch going from previous 5 hours battery to up to 9. 13 inch from 7 hours to 12 hours – “all day battery life”
  • 802.11ac WiFi (yes, that’s better than Wireless N) – on a related note, there’s a new AirPort Extreme Base Station that has a HDD inside so it can also act as a Time Capsule (hence the incredibly tall form-factor)
  • More storage for the same price as the last generation.

At long last, after only a slight silent improvement last year, the Mac Pro is finally getting a big update. This time round it even comes with a new design (it’s had the same basic design of the 2003 PowerMac G5). Unfortunately,It looks like a shiny black trash can. Same 12-core maximum, but newer Xeons. 1866MHz DDR3 RAM, Thunderbolt 2, PCIe Flash storage, dual AMD FirePro GPUs as default that can output to up to three 4K (that’s a lot better than 1080p HD) displays. The ports light up, it is tiny compared to the original Mac Pro, and assembled in the USA. Awkward but impressive form. This was only a sneak peek though – released later this year.

On to iCloud services:

  • Some facts and figures
  • iWork for iCloud – looks like it works in a web browser. Nothing new in comparison to Microsoft, but it works just as well.

Time for iOS 7 – it’ll run on iPhone 4+, iPad 2nd gen, iPad mini, 5th gen iPod touch, but some features run on only the current lineup. Consumer release in Autumn.

  • Figures such as 600 million iOS devices sold and 82 percent tablet market share for the iPad. Apple also claim to have the most very satisfied users – Windows Phone comes in second place.
  • “The biggest change to iOS since the introduction of the iPhone” – much like the iPhone 5 was the biggest change to iPhone since the original iPhone. “Amazing new features” and a “stunning new user interface”.
  • It looks extremely psychedelic and INCREDIBLY different. I’m hoping that it’s not quite as extreme as it looks due to pressure for Apple to change it as much as possible.
  • Pastel colours, WebOS style multi-tasking, wallpaper moves around, new icons, slide to the side to unlock lockscreen, round lockscreen numbers, multiple pages in folders, new notification center (also accessible on lock screen), slide up to get instant access to some settings, playback controls, and flashlight etc. shortcuts…. there’s really too much for me to list. Imagine everything you see on your iOS device at the moment. Now it’s ALL different. Well, App icons are in the same grid. But everything else is new.
  • I’ll just list some adjectives as the changes – flat. pastel Google-esque colours. transparency. fluid. more of a fullscreen sense. Blackberry OS 10 style sliding in mail, slower looking transitions, ghostly keyboard.
  • Craig says it’s like getting a new phone – I agree, as what you see is a major part of a phone’s user experience. I think this is going to take a lot of getting used to for people.

Here’s a few key iOS features in a formal style of listing:

  • Apps update intelligently and automatically
  • Card style interface for Safari tabs like on Chrome mobile but more of a rolodex swirl – also, the 8 tab limit is gone.
  • All apps can multitask and run typically used apps ready to go before you tap on them
  • Control Center works from within any app (for example, you can turn the flashlight on instantly)
  • live filters in the redesigned Camera app
  • Images in Photos are organized into ‘moments’
  • Siri has more human-like voice, can control parts of the system (such as change the brightness), and fills the whole screen in a cleaner interface.
  • Deals with 16 vehicle manufacturers such as Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Chevrolet, Hyundai, Volvo, and Jaguar  to have iOS-linked displays in the car
  • App Store can show apps popular near you.
  • Music app has artist images, album grid instead of the now non-existent coverflow
  • iTunes Radio (starting in the US only) – free with ads, no ads if you have an iTunes Match account (at last, now I get more than consistent iTunes crashes for my £21.99 a year). Doesn’t seem as good as the Xbox Music Pass to be honest, but the ecosystem is wider-spread
  • Dismissing a notification on iOS dismisses it across all your devices

And that’s ‘it’ – new MacBook Air available now, OS X and iOS available in Autumn, Mac Pro available “later this year”.

UPDATE – if you want to see how iOS 7 looks like, you can visit Apple’s gallery here.

iTunes 11 is (finally) released; would Steve Jobs have allowed the delay?


A late welcome, but welcoming nonetheless.

So, originally Apple promised iTunes 11 to us for a vague October release. The days passed slowly by, the eager among us waited patiently and expectantly, and then the release month was subtly pushed back to November by Apple. And then the days of November slowly passed by, and it was still looking uncertain. With one and a half days left, I was starting to get less and less optimistic. Then 6PM GMT, Apple’s typical software launch time, passed, and I gave up hope for the night. But then I checked again, just being curious, and there it was. Perhaps it wasn’t 6PM because of daylight savings, I’m not sure, but nonetheless, it was a very delayed release.

Tim Cook has definitely been getting a lot of flak about how he’s running Apple. iOS Maps didn’t go down too well, so perhaps that was a motive behind delaying iTunes 11 until they determined that it was as polished as possible. But I don’t recall Steve delaying products. Remember Ping? Well, it wasn’t much of a success, but we still got it. Remember MobileMe, the precursor to iCloud? Well, that was infamously rather a shambles, but we still got it.

Anyway, enough complaining about the delays, we’ve got it now and that’s what matters. What’s new? A lot. The UI looks really minimalistic and clean, and the overall feel, as a Windows user, feels a lot more like something straight from Mac OS, as iTunes never really felt like it looked 100% Mac OS native to me, despite obviously being so. Oh, also, the icon’s changed again and I’m sure we all remember the uproar that occurred last time that happened  It looks okay in a medium scale, that is, I dislike the desktop icon appearance and the taskbar appearance, but the size on the start menu looks nice. Perhaps it’ll grown on me though.

October Apple Event


Rather unusually, Apple not only hosted their traditional September music event, but also an October event. Anyway, onto the key points:

Statistics – the usual stuff, unbelievably high figures:

  • 125 million documents in iCloud
  • 300 billion iMessages sent
  • 35 billion app downloads
  • $6.5bn in payouts to 3rd party developers
  • 1.5m iBooks with 400m downloads

Now that the lonely statistics are out of the way, time for the new items:

new iBooks:

  • Now has Japanese, Chinese, and Korean
  • Continuous scrolling
  • Better sharing capability and better iCloud functionality
  • Night and sepia modes

new Retina 13″ MacBook Pro

  • Similar to the 15″ update a while back, this now has retina display
  • Ivy Bridge, lots of bits crammed inside to the thinner body
  • up to 768GB flash storage space
  • 7 hour battery life
  • Starts at $1699 for a 2.5GHz dual core i5, 8GB RAM and 128GB flash storage.
  • Oh yeah, no optical drive
  • ‘Power Nap’ – the skeuomorphics are clearly invading their names as well as design… it can update contacts, mac app store app updates, iCloud documents, mail, Time Machine backup etc. while in sleep

Apple are still continuing the non-Retina MacBook Pros, and there doesn’t seem to be an update to the Air

A new Mac Mini. Seems to me like it’s been a long time since Apple last updated it:

  • up to 16GB RAM
  • dual or quad core Ivy Bridge i5/i7
  • $599 for base edition, $999 for server edition

New iMac. This is turning out to be quite a lot of updates being gone through in a brief period of time…

  • It looks pretty insane. The design looks quite like the size of my monitor, really thin at the edges but rather large in the centre. Although of course this isn’t just a monitor, it’s also got a computer inside it, so it’s to be expected.
  • the edge is 80% thinner than before
  • the display is laminated to the glass, similar to the iPhone. Means less reflection and the picture looks better.
  • Nvidia Kepler graphics
  • quad core ivy Bridge i5/i7
  • up to 3TB of usual storage, 768GB maximum flash storage.
  • You could opt for Fusion Drive, which gets you an Imac with one storage drive combined of 1TB/3TB mechanical HDD and a 128GB flash drive. This means your most frequently used apps get automatically moved onto the flash storage (for speed).
  • Again, the optical drive has vanished.
  • Standard amount of RAM seems to be 8GB, which is pretty good. 21.5″ starts at $1299 with 2.7GHz quad core i5, 8GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GT 640M, 1TB HDD. 27″ starts at $1799 for 2.9GHz quad core i5, 8GB RAM, GeForce GTX 660M, 1TB HDD.

iPad time. Probably the main thing everybody’s been anticipating. 100 million iPads sold in total, 91% of tablet web traffic is people using iPads. The usual spiel about the iPad being used in education. You’d get the impression that iPads are only used by schools, businesses, hospitals…

New version of iBooks Author (what people use to create textbooks for iBooks). Publishers can use their own fonts, update books OTA, directly insert mathematical expressions, insert multi-touch widgets for even greater functionality.

I do find it slightly odd that their latest generation is always their fstest selling with everything…

4th generation iPad (seems like only yesterday we got the 3rd generation):

  • Apple A6X chip
  • Lightning connector
  • expanded LTE and 2x faster WiFi
  • 16GB WiFi model starts at $499, 16GB WiFi+cellular starts at $629

7 inch iPad, the ‘iPad mini’. Really, it just looks like somebody stretched the new iPod touch horizontally and made it a bit bigger.

  • dual core A5 chip
  • FaceTime HD camera on the front
  • 5MP iSight camera on the rear
  • 10 hours battery life
  • WiFi and LTE
  • Lightning connector
  • ‘as light as a pad of paper’
  • 1024×768 resolution
  • runs all the same 270,000 iPad-specific apps
  • apparently were all going to love doing everything on the iPad mini
  • new Smart Cover
  • while I’m not a fan of the iPad mini, at least Apple managed to do a small tablet right unlike all the others. Really, the bezels on other tablets are ridiculously big and they’re all tacky plastic. Although unless you are gripping it round the edges as suggested and instead having your thumbs all over the front in the way you would on the regular iPad, you’ll be blocking part of the screen.

Current base iPad lineup prices are:

  • iPad mini: – $329
  • iPad 2 – $399
  • Retina iPad – $499

the 16GB Nexus 7 is $249, so an Apple product of the same form factor and storage for $329 isn’t too bad.

aaaaaand… that’s all. Strangely no update on iTunes 11 launch date, which is a shame.

iOS 5 – first impressions


Strangely, the iCloud side of things seem to be my favorite features. I’m sure I would be a huge fan of the previous purchases IF us unfortunate people in the UK could actually access our past TV shows (will we ever be able to??).

So, 5GB of free iCloud space, a free me.com email address and awesome synchronising. It would be nice if all my calendar events now didn’t occur three times for every occurrence, but iCloud seems to have been to keen to merge all my already-linked calendars.

Anyway, being able to download one app update at the same time as another app update is installing is an awesome timesaver and the notifications area is fairly cool. It does feel a lot more slick, but guess what? Not a fan of newsstand. I though I would be, but all it seems to be is a homescreen folder that just has bookshelves instead, specifically for magazine/newspaper apps.  Overall, not as impressed as I though I would be, but my first impressions could have been tinted by the nine hours of hell needing to be justified by something that would need to be little short of 100%-awesome, which did not happen. Instead, it was something 100%-meh,-it’s-got-some-cool-features-but-I-could-probably-live-without-this.-Though-iCloud-is-pretty-neat.

iOS 5 updating hell


(UPDATED as of 9:23AM GMT with ‘conclusion’)

yes, it’s that time of year again. I’ll write this from the present perspective.

so, it’s 10:44PM GMT. I, like many others, had been expecting iOS 5 to be released around 6PM GMT. It was released (aprox.) 6:10GMT. I instantly tried to update, first running into a similar issue as I had done late last night with the iTunes 10.5 update, but it quickly sorted itself (unlike iTunes). 200MB into the download, the internet connection died. So, I tried again. Just under an hour ago it had finally finished downloading (it took ages).

The first thing I saw was along the lines of “iTunes failed to backup this iPod, will wipe now”. I thought “fine, I wiped it two or so weeks ago anyway, so I won’t lose anything important”. However, it wanted to ‘restore’ (to be honest Apple, what you class a ‘restoring’ is FAR from the real definition) it. And, just as had happened when I was un-jailbreaking it trying to update to 4.3.5, it failed to ‘restore’ it.

I had actually encountered this “failed to backup” message twice before in the last few days, but thought nothing of it as it worked the next time. Who knows, maybe if it had been a successful backup rather than third time unlucky, there’d be no issue.

So, what am I doing now? Waiting ages for the 32-bit version of the standalone iTunes setup to finish downloading. Why? Well, the tower PC failed to work, so I had to switch to a second rather unused computer. Which a) doesn’t have the latest version of iTunes and b) is unbearable to use. But why the standalone installer? Apple Software Update is only showing quicktime and safari. and despite iTunes saying 10.5 is available, it seems to be a repeat of last night’s non-existent update.

Once that finishes, what will I have to do? I have no idea. I guess I should wiipe the iPod beforehand, as there’s nowhere near enough space on the second computer’s HDD to back it up. Then, I’ll have to wait another 3 1/2 hours for the iOS 5 update to download again. With Apple, the fun never ends…

As a side note, do you know how easy it was to update to Windows Phone 7.5, even when my phone wasn’t yet ‘cleared’ for the update yet? Incredibly simple. No wiping, no restoring, just trick it into thinking my phone can have it right then, download it, wait a bit, done.

UPDATE:

So, I waited another three and a half hours for the update to download again. Then, it gets halfway through the restore progress (it really shouldn’t be restoring anyway) and says no more disk space on C: to restore the iPod. Not specifically Apple’s fault (this time), but it would have been nice if it could have told me BEFORE I wasted 3 1/2 hours.

I have never been a ‘fan’ of the shift-click on update or restore to select an ipsw file, solely because it had never worked for me (always said it was invalid, even when downloaded from Apple). So, I faced a few options. Re-partition the hard drive (would take hours as would have to shift 30GB+ to the left) and try again (re-downloading the file a third time in total, so yet more time taken), boot into XP (larger partition size with more free space) (tried this, but internet wouldn’t work in XP) or, shift-click.

I decided to go for shift-click. So, I located the ipsw in the AppData>Roaming etc. folder and copied it to the desktop. Then, I removed all large files from the iPod. eventually, I was ready. I held shift and left clicked on ‘update’, then selected the ipsw. It went smoothly at first, but then came up with an error (I think it was 3002? I definitely saw 3002 last night and I think this was the occasion). I really couldn’t be asked to try again, so I just did shift-click restore (already had a backup of the iPod on the computer that refuses to do iOS updates for some obscure reason). At last. After NINE hours of constant issues, I had finally managed to update to iOS 5. I waited for it to update, and once it came to the ‘Set up new iPod’ screen in iTunes, I unplugged it and plugged it back into the syncing computer, managing to restore the backup onto it. So, thanks a bunch Apple for a ‘fun filled’ evening, night and early morning. Unbelievable.

World Wide Developers Conference 2011 – Apple keynote


So, Mac sales are up. Hardly surprising, but good news nonetheless.
Mac OS X Lion:
-over 250 new features
Consisting of multi-touch gestures. I’m pretty sure these already existed. Maybe they just improved them. Oh, it’s the ‘physical realism’ that’s new…
Full screen applications. We already know about this from the original keynote about Lion. Apple basically explains how it will be easily for developers to incorporate it into their apps. Apple has also made ‘a number’ of their apps work full screen as well (Safari, iMovie etc.). The transition to full screen is pretty neat.
Photo Booth has some face detection stuff (and full screen).
Mission Control. Again, we’ve all heard about it. It sounds rather like the Windows 7 window features.
The Mac App Store. Apparently it’s the number one channel for buying software. I find that rather surprising… Anyway, in-app purchases and push notifications are now available. I really don’t like the way iOS is invading the desktop. And there’s the big app page view we all saw before that even has folders. Apart from the icons looking like they have more freedom than a little black square, it’s pretty much identical.
Resume. A pretty cool feature. Imagine the iOS multi-tasking, but when you close it; it still picks up where you left off.
Auto Save. Most of us are probably familiar with computer issues that result in you losing your work. Well, Lion saves it automatically. I guess that will be handy in the most part, but sometimes I want the older version of a document, say, one that hasn’t bee edited to death. Well, Apple seem to have noticed this, as you can turn it off (but that could end in tears) or revert it to how it was when you opened it. Document duplication is actually a handy feature. Going back to my point about wanting to go back, it can restore previous versions, but only delta version (I guess so you don’t have an auto save for every new character you type).
AirDrop. We’ve all been there. Well, at least I have. Rushing around with memory that aren’t formatted for the other person’s system (e.g. NTFS on Linux), rushing back, changing everything… you get the picture. Well, AirDrop allows you to wirelessly share files to nearby users. Kind of like DropBox, but as its P2P, it’ll be faster. Oh, and there’s no setup. Imagine the iOS Wi-Fi connection thing but without the wep keys etc.
Mail. It looks new. Pretty nice looking to be honest. The searching has improved and it has the iOS Mail-style conversation feature.
The Price. Well, for all those big features, also including a Windows Migration assistant and FaceTime built in (amongst other things), it’s pretty cheap. Well, there are no discs. Only available through the Mac App Store for just $29.99 (probably also £29.99 since Apple don’t know how to convert currency for us British… :/ ). At least it’s only a 4GB download. Maybe it’s just a huge patch unlike the seven-or-so-GB Snow Leopard disc. Just circle the whole of July on your calendars.

iOS 5 time! Here’s… Scott! Facts and figures time:
-Over 200,000,000 iOS device sold to date
-Apparently it’s the number one mobile operating system with more than 44% of the market. I’m not doubting that, but I’m pretty sure Google were happy with some recent Android figures. Oh yeah, those were just US. Maybe Google were aware of the other less impressive figures. (Apple’s claim was based on Comscore’s figures for April. Oh, and Android was second.)
-Over 25,000,000 iPads sold in the fourteen months it’s been available. Scott claims they’ve created a whole new category of device. Pretty sure that MS were in the tablet game about a decade ago, amongst others.
Then there are the iTunes and co figures. In the millions and billions… Apple is enjoying a few more exclamation marks when announcing how much has been paid out to developers ($2,500,000,000). Interesting they didn’t show how much developers didn’t get due to Apple’s rather large cut. Also, 225,000,000 iTunes accounts with credit cards and one-click purchasing. I’m surprised there are that many who put faith in their hand wandering across iTunes.

Alerts. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who finds notifications popping up right in the middle of the screen annoying. Introducing Notification Centre. All notifications are now in one place, accessed by swiping down from the top menu (the same style SBSettings users probably use). It looks and sounds rather like the Android notification area. If you’re in an app that doesn’t show the top status bar, a notification bar peeks in from the top. There are also notifications on the lock screen. Not surprising that this seems rather like some features available from Cydia, as apparently Apple hired the guy who made them.
Newsstand. Future Publishing, National Geographic, The Telegraph, The New York Time, Bloomberg… I could go on. Imagine the iBooks bookshelf. Now imagine that, but in the style of a home screen folder. New issues get downloaded automatically in the background and it just looks really really nice. I’m starting to want to update… (see my iOS dilemma post two posts ago).
Twitter. Well, looks like the rumours were right. Humorously, the account used for the demo was @forstall, who still hasn’t tweeted (he did demo a tweet though. The interface looked really nice, a floating bubble above the keyboard.). You can also tweet articles from Safari and location from Maps.
Safari. Another impressive statistic. Apparently 64% of all mobile web browsing is done through safari. It’s easy to see why. Given that there isn’t really a way to make the Opera Mini app (or others) your default iOS browser, you’re rather stuck with it. Not that that’s a bad thing. It does have its shortcomings, but it’s bearable to use. Safari Reader allows you to read just the text of a news story in the browser. I’m guessing advertisers aren’t going to be too happy. Also announced was ‘tabbed browsing’. I’m pretty sure the 8-tab-limit feature has been available in Safari for quite some time. Well, they demonstrate iPad tabbed browsing, which looks pretty much like Safari for Desktop tabbed browsing. Oh, and you can use ‘Tweet Sheet’ to tweet bits like links from in Safari.
To-do lists. I’ve been using a to do list in my pocket since way back when I was using Windows Mobile 2003 on a Dell Axim pocket PC. Anyway, it syncs through iCal (even though WinMo tasks synced through active sync and WinMo Device Centre…). Well, I guess it’s a welcome addition fro those who don’t stray off the Apple path.
Camera. There’s now a lock screen shortcut! I do welcome this feature. With the HTC Wizard you just pressed the camera button and you were there instantly. With iOS, you side, you type in your pass code, you quit the app you were in, you navigate to the camera icon on the home screen and then you’re ready. Not sure how they’re going to deal with speed vs. security (pass code entering or strangers taking thousands of photos). Just read that photos can be taken without entering it (so they went for speed), but previous photos can’t be viewed. At least they think of everything, unlike some other companies I could mention. Another camera feature I’m really excited about is the volume up button is now the shutter button (not sure if it’s replaced it or is a toggle feature. I’m guessing it only functions as it from the lock screen camera feature). As I mentioned above about just pressing a button on the HTC Wizard (a feature I sorely miss on the Touch Pro2. The only button you can assign is holding down the green phone button). At least people don’t need to buy a new iDevice to use the button feature. There’s also photo editing availability right after capturing (in the Camera+ style), which I guess is a lot faster than loading Photoshop Express.
Mail. As I’m about 23 minutes behind typing this (in correlation to the live event0 I’ll quickly blast through the new Mail features: Indentation control, rich-text formatting, draggable addresses, search entire messages, flag messages and S/MIME.
Dictionary: A bit like the iBooks dictionary, you can now use a dictionary on any word in any app (including App Store ones).
Keyboard. Most people I know seem to go ‘urgh’ when I show them a picture of an innovative thumb keyboard (half the keys on one side of the screen, the other half on the other side). Well, you can now turn the iPad keyboard into one. Just hold down on it with your thumbs and drag up, splitting it in half.
PC Free. So, you’ve bought a new iDevice. You tear it out of the packaging (keeping the packaging intact to display to people :P) and… now you have to spend ten minutes with iTunes at a computer setting it up and registering it. No more! Switch on the device the first time and its slide to set up with a pleasant ‘Welcome’. Also, software updates over the air. At long last. Pity that wasn’t available on iOS 4, as if I want this, I’m going to have to wipe my iPod, losing all App Data (even though there’s the iCloud stuff, read on for that). This all seems to be more like a proper operating system in its own right, hence the ‘cut the cord’ pun.
Game Centre. Well, Apple boasts that they have 50 million Game Centre users, whereas Xbox Live has just 30 million. Well, you can’t exactly play a plethora of amazing 3d (models), current, popular and real games on and iDevice, can you? Who’s laughing now, Apple? Well, you can now purchase and download games from directly in Game Centre, so it’s a bit more akin to Xbox live and PSN, but the games still aren’t as great (mainly because they can’t. The PS3 may have low specs, but it’s dedicated to gaming, so don’t expect to be able to play GTA 4 on your iDevice anytime soon. Gangstar (awful draw distance and memory) and Chinatown Wars will have to be enough). (Had a technological hitch that cost ten minutes, so I’m having to get more to the point).
iMessage. You know all those AdMob ads for turning you iPod into an iPhone? Well, now you can message between all iDevices with iOS 5! You can send text, pictures, and videos. There’s also AirPlay mirroring for iPad, so you can do the whole HDMI presentation feature, but without the cable.
You can also sync your iTunes library over Wi-Fi as well! This really does sound like every reason people jailbreak has been brought to iOS…
As I suspected, it’s available for the devices mentioned in a previous post (iPhone 3Gs and 4, iPod touch 3rd and 4th generation, iPad and iPad 2) and will be available for the public this autumn (fall).
iCloud. Steve starts talking about how the computer was always the hub for everything (like I said in the ‘My opinion on Google music’ post). Then the syncing problem. It sounds like, despite Apple having not changed until today, that they were aware of all the issues we had. The ‘hub’ label is moving from your computer to the cloud. I personally don’t like cloud computing as an idea (with somebody else having all your data in some unknown place), but if this simplifies iLife (not the suite, the living the Apple life). Content now gets wirelessly pushed to your device. MobileMe is now iCloud; it’s all wireless and cloud-y. However, ‘MobileMe’ no longer exists. Pity, as I was planning on getting it soon. iCloud won’t have adverts… yet it’s free! (well, the three main apps at least). iBooks now works better wirelessly, content is backed up every day and when you get a new device, you just type in your ID and everything is accessible. The iDocs suite (launched for pocket iOS devices last week but been available on the iPad for quite some time) is now in the cloud and it all works across iDevices, Macs and PCs. There’s also PhotoStream (photos are kept in the cloud for 30 days) but stored permanently on your device if you put it on it.
And now, something I am so glad of that it deserves a whole new paragraph, “anything I’ve bought [in iTunes] I can now download to any of my devices at no additional charge.” At last! No more paying for TV shows, Music and Movies again and again because they were lost in sync! (Can be pushed to up to 10 devices, but hey, it’s a free service.) You get 5GB of storage space free (but music and photos don’t count as part of the 5GB limit, probably because apple makes money from the iTunes sales t be able to afford it…). iCloud runs on iOS 4.3 Beta.
One more thing: From what it seems, music you have that hasn’t been purchased via iTunes gets just the same ‘privileges’ as stuff that has. Sounds like Google Music…
The End, at last. No iPhone 5, as expected. Apologies for the formatting and spacing being everywhere, but I have been running this to a tight schedule from type to ‘print’ as I wanted it to be up as soon as possible, not weeks later.

 

UPDATE on iTunes past purchase restrictions:

As before, you can re-obtain apps (as it assumes it’s an update) and books. In the US and the UK (amongst, many other countries, I’m sure, but haven’t heard any reports on) you can re-obtain music for free. In the US only (it seems) you can re-obtain TV shows. Real pain for those of us in the rest of the world 😦

Two hours to go…


So, just two hours until the WWDC 2011 keynote. It’s pretty obvious even just from the banner outside the Moscone Centre that the key featres will be OS X Lion, iOS 5 and ‘iCloud’. Just going to throw this out there; has Apple said it will be called iCloud? If not, this will probably be another fun game of guessing the new Apple product/service name, such as iTab, iSlate etc. that was just called ‘iPad’ by Apple. iEther anyone? (yes, I know it’s officially iCloud. Rather takes the fun out of it…)

Anyway, pretty much everyone who’s interested in Apple stuff is eagerly awaiting the keynote, whether being their in person to see it, getting the vidcast or reading live updates as the events unfold. Apple may or may not be streaming it live.