Apple’s October 2014 Event – A Summary


Starting with perhaps their most cult-like intro video ever, Apple kicked the keynote off with an ode to iPhone 6. Tim has “a few more things [to show] before we close out the year” – rather sounds like this could be the last event of the year then.

After some sales and pre-order figures for iPhone 6 making it the “biggest iPhone release ever”, Tim WatchKit SDK rolling out in November, Apple Watch still scheduled for an early 2015 release.

Craig on stage to talk about iOS and OS X. Stats such as 48% of iOS users running iOS, and a reminder of how great both operating systems are, reminding us of all the features announced earlier in the year, including how useful Continuity is for consumers who completely buy into the Apple ecosystem. Craig then demonstrates Continuity including a phone call on an iMac through an iPhone, and it really does work very well. Yosemite and iWork updates available today, iOS 8.1 available on Monday, all for free.

iPad Air 2it’s thinner than a laser-sliced pencil!

  • 6.1mm thin, thinnest iPad ever, also the “world’s thinnest tablet”
  • Display components are laminated together to minimize internal reflection
  • A8X chips specifically for iPad Air 2 – 64-bit, 3bn transistor. Also sports the M8 motion co-processor.
  • 10 hour battery life
  • 8MP iSight camera with 1080p HD video – not bad compared to other tablets, but nothing revolutionary. Dual microphones either side of the least different angles.
  • TouchID sensor
  • WiFi $499 16GB/$599 64GB / $699 128GB
  • WiFi + Cellular $629 16GB / $729 64GB / $829 128GB
  • Shipping by end of next week

iPad mini 3

  • I swear this was announced in less than 30 seconds. Specs are lesser such as 5MP camera, but still comes with TouchID
  • WiFi $399 16GB/$499 64GB / $599 128GB
  • WiFi + Cellular $529 16GB / $629 64GB / $729 128GB
  • Shipping by end of next week

 

iMac with Retina display

  • 27″ 5120×2880 “5K display”
  • 5mm thin tapered edges
  • 3.5GHz quad core i5 as the base 27″ option
  • AMD graphics, which Phil didn’t make a fuss about, but that’s a pretty big change
  • Starts at $2,499, shipping from today

 

New Mac mini

  • 4th gen Intel processors
  • Starts from $499, shipping from today

 

Sorry there’s not much detail in the specifications list – All the presenters apart from Craig were speeding through their presentation points like there was no tomorrow. Personally, I think this was a much more bountiful keynote than the iPhone 6 one, as we’ve seen four product refreshes and several major software releases. Does look like the MacBook Pro with Retina display will be waiting a while before it’s refreshed though, and nobody exactly mentioned any updated Apple standalone display to match the new 27″ iMac resolution.

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?

128GB iPad is a reality


A couple days back there were rumours of an upcoming iDevice having 128GB storage capabilities from info in a developer release of iOS 6.1. Today Apple confirmed that they will be producing a 128GB iDevice, and while it isn’t an iPhone as many were dreaming, it’s the retina iPad 4. Available for sale from the 5th February at $799 for WiFi and $929 for WiFi/cellular.

Also in recent Apple news was the release of iOS 6.1, most importantly broadening LTE compatability. I know iOS X.X releases aren’t accompanied with an Apple keynote, but with this iPad announcement Apple feels publicly more like Microsoft than Job’s Apple…

2012, the year of the new Apple


So, the first complete year of Apple without Steve Jobs at the helm in the 2000s has drawn to a close, though who knows when his legacy of influence will end behind the scenes. It’s been quite a revolutionary year, though there haven’t been any brand new product lines.

The most notable and widest spread product update is certainly the iPhone, I say widest spread because it is unbelievably popular and even those who aren’t Mac users own them – it’s a fully featured Apple product that the masses are interested in and can afford. For example, I could spend a day without seeing a single Mac, but I’d be hard pressed to walk one block without seeing an iPhone. Anyway, this year’s iPhone update was certainly the biggest physical update we’ve ever seen – it now has a 4″ screen, and it’s ever steadily getting faster, but on the whole it’s the normal amount of new features Apple brings out yearly.

One feature to spread across Apple’s portable range has been the inevitably controversial lightning connector. Another first since 2007, Apple made a change to the connector port on the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and iPod nano, said by Apple themselves to be “a bold move”. Smaller, reversible, and hopefully a lot less prone to connections issues with fraying cables, it threw the accessory industry up in arms as their 30-pin connector products were nearly made redundant. Apple released a 30-pin connector to lightning port adapter, but really, the height of the new iPhone and iPod touch combined with that adapter just won’t fit in those speaker systems with an enclosed iPhone space. It also seems there are more cases available for the iPhone 4/4S than for the iPhone 5, but I’m hoping that situation will improve over the coming months.

iTunes was updated with a massive visual overhaul, covered in slightly more detail here. My opinions on it are still mixed, as queuing music is fantastic but I do miss the control I had over the way I viewed my music collection.

In the Mac corner, we saw the majority of devices getting thinner and faster, with the new iMac and retina MacBook Pro. We’re still awaiting a retina MacBook Air, but is there really a need? The Mac Pro has been largely overlooked yet again, I can’t remember when I last saw it get an update in a keynote rather than a subtle enhancement. Year by year it does look as if Apple is trying to drop the Mac Pro, but as impressive as the iMac gets each year, you just can’t beat 12 cores and 64GB of RAM, which many media professionals use daily.

Elsewhere there was an update to the Apple TV introducing 1080p output for the same price of $99. Not to forget the iPad mini, a product anticipated almost since the day the original iPad was released. And then there’s the iPad… when Apple announced a fourth generation, I fit into the category of people who asked themselves “but didn’t they just release the third generation?”. Yes, in a move uncharacteristically like Apple, they updated a product within their usual 12 month rotation – perhaps compensating for the iPhone 4 not being updated for nearly a year and a half.

And finally, there’s iOS 6. Making the headlines for all the wrong reasons, Apple released their first version of iOS without Google’s products being an out-of-the-box component because their deal expired. Google released a YouTube app on the App Store fairly promptly, but only recently updated it to support the iPhone 5’s screen size. I’m sure you won’t forget the Maps fiasco, with Apple’s maps being ridiculed and sneered at. Google left Apple users without an alternative until only earlier this month with Google Maps finally making it onto the App Store. I can’t imagine what took them so long to produce it, maybe they chose the path of letting Apple embarrass themselves rather than play the role of the instant hero. Nevertheless, I feel Jobs’ declaration of thermonuclear war on Apple will prevail posthumously.

Oh, one last thing in the Apple headlines – Scott Forstall was forced to leave Apple. With Steve out of the picture, Tim and Jony saw a chance to remove Forstall and his skeuomorphic design tendencies. While the appearance of iOS is getting stale, I personally don’t dislike Notes looking like a legal pad and folders having a cloth background, but clearly others want it gone. It would be interesting if 2013 brings a completely re-designed iOS.

In the ever-busy Apple ‘rumor mill’ we exit the year with a potentially Intel-powered Apple watch, interesting since the latest iPod nano did away with the form factor that made it wearable on the wrist, and the never-faltering suggestion of an actual Apple TV; a screen, not just a box.

When I started this back in 2010, I had no idea what the coming years would hold. This year I’ve only had 1,800 views, but considering there were only 11 posts excluding this one, that’s not too bad. I will try to get back into reporting every bit of Apple news there is in 2013 rather than just the key pieces, so please stick around for more to come and have a Happy New Year! I won’t be going any time soon, as despite the ever-present lack of a large and loyal reader-base, running this has at least contributed to my writing improving, something which will hopefully be beneficial in a career.

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.

My probable iOS update dilemma


Well, it’s nearing the sixth, and Apple will most likely be announcing iOS 5 (maybe it’s been confirmed by them, I forget). As you may have gathered from some of my tweets over the past while, I have a third generation 64GB iPod Touch running iOS 4.0 (yes, 4.0, not 4.0.1 or 4.0.2, just 4.0). I updated to it about two hours after it’s release (a day which I had been eagerly anticipating since Apple announced a specific release date. I even made a rudimentary countdown thing out of post-it notes) as soon as I got back home. Overall, I was pretty happy with it. There were several huge flaws, such as all photos that weren’t in ‘saved photos’ were now awful quality. Oh, and the Music app (including the Videos app) crashed each time I tapped on it, meaning my iPod now no longer performed it’s primary function. I managed to sort out the crashing problem within a few days, but it was a pain nonetheless.
I remember it vividly yet I’m not sure what the event was. On the way back from the coast, I kept checking for Apple news updates. Just remembered what the event was (as this is statically displayed this probably looks odd. If it was live text display, such as speech, it would make sense), it was the September Apple music event where they had just announced the new line of iPods. When I got home, I decided to jailbreak my iPod, with some helpful tips and guidance from the two twitter users @wondroushippo and @zabmanic, two very nice and helpful people, so I would like to thank them here properly for their tips rather than in a limited 140 characters. So, thank you 😀
I had attempted to jailbreak my iPod before, using the USB to PC methods many many times, but it had never worked. There isn’t really any method easier than http://jailbreakme.com. You simply visit the site on your iDevice (you have to be running iOS 4.0 or 4.0.1. Can’t remember if 4.0.2 was the last working one or the one Apple released as a patch) and just slide a lock-screen style slider. Then you wait a few minutes, and it’s done.
Anyway, I always seem to manage to go into deeper detail than is properly necessary. I’ll try to get back to the main point now. So, currently, my iPod is jailbroken. I do benefit from it, whether just using SBSettings (fantastic, especially being able to change the brightness without having to quit an app and go to settings), backgrounder (makes all apps multitask. Sure, it slows the device down if you have too many running, but it’s better than having just about 20% of apps having multitasking and the rest not) and mxtube (hard to locate the videos, but handy nonetheless, YouTube downloader), to name probably my top three most used jailbreaking features. I’ve managed to get by without Game Centre and all the other updates, but will I be able to cope without the new features in iOS 5? As far as I am aware, it isn’t really a good idea to try and update the firmware on a jailbroken iDevice. Also, as I discovered running 4.0, most hackstore (Cydia) stuff works best on older versions of iOS. For example, the version of MobileTerminal on Cydia crashes on startup in 4.0, but their is a newer compatible version available through another source.
If iOS 5 is just a teeny update, then I doubt updating will even cross my mind. However, this is Apple. They work like clockwork (mostly). Chances are, this update is going to provide some pretty groundbreaking stuff (and will probably be compatible with the 3rd generation, considering the past. 4.0 is compatible-ish with 2nd, 3rd and 4th, so 5.0 will probably be compatible-ish with 3rd, 4th and the future 5th. By “compatible-ish, I mean the 2nd generation iDevices couldn’t do multitasking or home screen wallpapers, but they could run the OS).
Would I be able to cope without the jailbreaking advantages? I doubt it. And if I had to, my usage of the device would be a lot more time consuming and less productive. It would also result in me using computers more than it. Is that really what you want happening, Apple?

iPhone knows where you’ve been…


As probably everyone with a twitter account knows (from probably at least two of the people you follow), it has been discovered that the iPhone tracks and logs all locations it has been to. The map shown by the first person to write about this story shows dots over the map, but I would have thought they would be lines  unless the iPhone jumped from one location to another. Anyway, apparently it applies to devices running iOS 4 that have GPS of some sort in it, so that means the iPhone and the 3G iPad. All the data seems to just be stored on the phone and on backups, but this is still rather worrying.

iPad 2!


At long last, Apple have finally announced the iPad 2! First thing to notice is that yes, everyone got the name right in their predictions (unlike the 3Gs). It looks amazing. 33% more amazing to be precise. With a rear style akin to the iPod Touch and a grill on the back, this looks old yet very, very new. Why a grill? My guess is because of the 1Ghz dual-core A5 chip. Everything has improved. Two cameras, better graphics, thinner than the iPhone 4 (the world’s thinnest smartphone) and a fast processor. And you’ll be able to get some great new Apple apps for it, such as GarageBand! I have to say, this seems to be Apple’s biggest update to a product ever (e.g. this is like jumping from the original iPhone straight to the iPhone 4). Oh, and it’s being released in a week (in the US, later this month for most other big-on-Apple-products countries).

 

 

 

More in-depth post about the event coming soon – *spoiler alert*  Steve Jobs was back on the stage presenting it!

Apple iPad 2 leaks – looking rather fake


We will probably never get any Apple leaks as early and legitimate as the iPhone 4 fiasco, and this alleged leak doesn’t look like coming even close. With the iPad 2 announcement (presumably) just round the corner, people are less likely to brush away this claim, but these grainy photos don’t look like the typical Apple design style. Admittedly, the iPhone 4 looked rather odd and awkward when we all saw the photos, but this just looks messy. The grill on the back? Not really Apple’s style. Nor is an SD card slot. The ability to increase your storage space for A LOT less then the hundreds of dollars you would have to pay Apple? Hardly likely. Apple only recently changed their larger products to ‘accept’ third party hardware parts like RAM, so Apple giving up their grasp on portable device storage? Unlikely. I guess Apple could put some sort of lock on how an SD card could function in it, but presumably a jailbreak feature would be released to fully utilise (in the near future) a 2TB SDXC card as functioning storage, and Apple really wouldn’t want that happening.

Want to see the leaked images? Click here!