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Podcast: End of Macworld Expo? Mac Hack, Jobs movie + more




Tool and guides emerge to upgrade older Macs for Yosemite Continuity/Handoff

Someone in the MacRumors forums put together a installation tool for activating Yosemite handoff features on older Macs. The feature officially requires Bluetooth 4.0 LE and is limited to only a handful of the most recent Macs. In addition to the tool, the community is sharing info and experiences to retrofit older Macs for this feature.

The tool presented can override Apple’s settings and enable the features in some Macs such as the 2011 MacBook Air and Mac mini. Older Macs can also add the feature, but it will require some surgery to replace the Broadcom Bluetooth module.

I’ve been curious about this and plan to try getting this going on my hackintosh. I’d also like to get it going on some older Macs, although it seems some are easier than others. Some upgrades simply require a PCIe adapter card and pop it in, others are more involved. Kits are available, but they can be a little pricy.

Obviously any adventures require a steady, confident hand and backups.



Google Inbox

Today, we’re introducing something new. It’s called Inbox. Years in the making, Inbox is by the same people who brought you Gmail, but it’s not Gmail: it’s a completely different type of inbox, designed to focus on what really matters.

This is being rolled out via invites. You can request and invite or receive one from someone else with an account.






Memory upgrades for new 5K iMac from Other World Computing

OWC Monday announced memory for Apple’s just released 5k iMac. The newest iMac uses PC3-12800 DDR3L modules and should be a simple upgrade for most end users. OWC offers install videos to help customers upgrade the memory in their iMac.

8GB (2 x 4GB) PC3-12800 DDR3L 1600MHz Upgrade Kit with Lifetime Limited Warranty. $99.79

16GB (2 x 8GB) PC3-12800 DDR3L 1600MHz Upgrade Kit with Lifetime Limited Warranty. $197.99

32GB (4 x 8GB) PC3-12800 DDR3L 1600MHz Upgrade Kit with Lifetime Limited Warranty. $395.00

OWC’s kits offer savings of up to 50% over build-to-order options at Apple, which amounts to over $200 in savings.



Dropbox adds iPhone 6/6+, Touch ID support

Dropbox Monday released version 3.5 of their iOS app. The update adds support for the iPhone 6/6 Plus screen formats, in addition to Touch ID security.

The larger screen format allows the app to be viewed in a native resolution rather than scaled. Touch ID works in conjunction with the apps PIN code. So, you can use your fingerprint to unlock the app. This is separate from the Dropbox account password, so this is just a layer of device security once the app is synced with the Dropbox service.



Video: How to charge your iPhone 6 faster

This video demonstrates that the iPhone 6 can take a greater charge than previous iPhones. A comparison of charging rates of the 5 watt and 12 watt Apple chargers and the iPhone 6.






Apple announces iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3

Both new iPads got Touch ID. Also storage got switched up similar to the iPhone 6/6+ with a 16/64/128 lineup.

The mini 3 form is basically unchanged from the original mini. The only significant improvement over last year's model is TouchID and the change in the storage options. Even the CPU is unchanged as it sticks with the A7 chip. That seems weird.

The iPad Air 2 takes on a lot features from the iPhone 6. The camera has been updated to what appears to match the iPhone 6 camera, along with improved WiFi. Most remarkably is the new thin design. Interestingly the iPad Air 2 is about 1/2 the thickness of the original iPad.

Pricing for the mini 3 starts out at $399/$499/$599 and the iPad Air 2 is $100 more at each storage level, which again seems weird. The value here seems clearly with the iPad Air 2 in both size and specs. For those even more price sensitive, Apple's is keeping around the iPad mini 2 for $299/$349 for 16GB/32GB versions and the original mini for $249 for 16GB. The iPad Air is also hanging around for $399/$449 for 16GB and 32GB models.



Apple announces new iMac with 5K display

Starting out at about $2500, the new iMac with Retina 5K Display is an compelling announcement. The high 5K resolution, which is available only in 27-inch iMac form, allows for native 4K video editing in Final Cut Pro with the timeline and tools on screen.

The new iMac configuration tops out at 4 GHz quad i7 with a AMD Radeon R9 M295x GPU.

Missing, unfortunately, is an updated 5K Thunderbolt Display. Maybe in the near future.

I like my Hackintosh as a desktop and the new iMac hardware doesn't really move the needle for me. The 5K display, however, is tempting.



OS X Yosemite launches

Apple launched its latest version of Mac OS X Thursday. OS X Yosemite was originally announced in June. For me, the most compelling feature I think is Continuity, which better links OS X and iOS. The features will require iOS 8.1, which is expected on Monday October 20th. It also requires a Mac with Bluetooth LE, which are equipped on newer Macs or may require an adapter.

OS X Yosemite is available now for free. It requires a Mac made in 2009 or newer along with some specific models from 2007 and 2008.



Apple updates Mac mini

Thursday the Mac mini got some attention. Nothing crazy, but it did get a spec bump to current hardware and a trimmed pricetag.

The mini is Apple's lowest entry computer and it got more affordable at $499. One nifty feature is the Mac mini only uses 6-watts of power when idle. Also new are dual Thunderbolt 2 ports, and newer Intel graphics with Intel HD Graphics 5000 and Iris Graphics GPUs.





Recent Articles

Apple Pay goes live October 20

Thursday Apple announced the formal release of its mobile payment system. We heard all about it last month when it was announced, so now we know the date.

Apple Pay in stores is fast and easy to use. Simply hold iPhone near the contactless reader while keeping a finger on Touch ID. In addition to the 262 Apple retail stores in the US, availability from leading retailers at launch include: Aéropostale, American Eagle Outfitters, Babies”R”Us, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Bloomingdale’s, Champs Sports, Chevron and Texaco retail stores including ExtraMile, Disney Store, Duane Reade, Footaction, Foot Locker, House of Hoops by Foot Locker, Kids Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker, Macy’s, McDonald’s, Nike, Office Depot, Panera Bread, Petco, RadioShack, RUN by Foot Locker, SIX:02, Sports Authority, SUBWAY, Toys”R”Us, Unleashed by Petco, Walgreens, Wegmans and Whole Foods Market. In addition, many others will add support this year, such as Anthropologie, Free People, Sephora, Staples, Urban Outfitters, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and more.

Ultimately I think it will depends on adoption and Apple seems to have a good start. Personally I'm not sure it really solves a problem for me, but I'm curious about the convenience and security features are attractive.



HBO plans to launch stand-alone streaming service next year

Speaking at the Time Warner Inc. Investor Meeting today, Richard Plepler, chairman and CEO, HBO, announced that the company will offer a stand-alone HBO streaming service in 2015. Following a portion of his presentation focused on HBO’s domestic business, during which he cited significant growth opportunities inside the pay-TV universe, Plepler then turned to the current ten million broadband-only homes, which is projected to grow.

Plepler then added:

“That is a large and growing opportunity that should no longer be left untapped. It is time to remove all barriers to those who want HBO.

“So, in 2015, we will launch a stand-alone, over-the-top, HBO service in the United States. We will work with our current partners. And, we will explore models with new partners. All in, there are 80 million homes that do not have HBO and we will use all means at our disposal to go after them.”

This is big. We dropped HBO a while back because of expensive channel bundling. We just buy the shows we want on iTunes. Given a fair price and terms, we’d totally be down with a monthly streaming service to watch on an Apple TV.



Macworld/iWorld called off for 2015

“We are announcing today that Macworld/iWorld is going on hiatus, and will not be taking place as planned in 2015. Our MacIT event, the world’s premiere event for deploying Apple in the enterprise, will continue next year with details to be announced in the coming weeks.

The decline of that show I think predated Apple pulling out, but certainly that was a big blow. Apple's keynote was a huge tentpole for the conference and expo, drawing a lot of attendees and media who wanted to see Apple's announcement. As Apple grew, however, it didn't need a third-party show to gather a own crowd, plus Apple could schedule events to meet its own timetables, such as this week's special event.

The other big blow to Macworld was the massive Apple-related presence at CES through the iLounge sections. Within the first year or two, the iLounge zone was bigger than Macworld Expo itself.

This is being called a hiatus, so it may return in some form. I wouldn't be surprised if someone else picks up the torch and does smaller, more affordable, and perhaps more frequent event in hotel ballrooms.



Podcast - Apple Event, iOS 8 Adoption + More




New Apple event set for October 16th

The Loop:

Apple on Wednesday sent out an invite for a special event being held on its Cupertino, Calif. campus on October 16. The event will begin at 10:00 am PT.

The logo reminds me of the original rainbow Apple logo, which makes me think this will be heavy on the Mac. Likely OS X Yosemite and some new hardware. iPads would seem a good bet too. Of course, the invite design could mean nothing.



Fitbit says not working on iOS 8 Health integration

Via 9 to 5 Mac:
We do not currently have plans to integrate with HealthKit… It is an interesting new platform and we will watch as it matures, looking for opportunities to improve the Fitbit experience. At the moment, we’re working on other exciting projects that we think will be valuable to users.

This is curious, but doesn't really surprise me. I think the Fitbit app is very nice and I like how it's open to two way data sharing with third parties. I'm not sure yet how Health fits into things for me. I'm not that interested in a central one stop shop right now. To me, Health is solving a problem I don't have, however, I'm sure new opportunities will come to light.

While I do hope Fitbit jumps on board, if they're working on other projects right now I can see them not being in a big hurry to throw resources at iOS 8 Health.



1Password Update for iOS 8 Bugs

AgileBits updated the iOS version of 1Password to version 5.1. Key features include support for the iPhone 6/6+, custom keyboard preference, and a big fix for some Touch ID functions.

I'm pretty excited about both adding TouchID and Safari extensions with iOS 8 and 1Password 5. Unfortunately the implementation was a little buggy out of the game. 1Password would lose the TouchID credentials and make you reenter in the master password. This appears to be resolved, in addition, they cleaned up the preferences a bit to make configuration less complex.



T-Mobile CEO Legere on Bendgate

Via 9 to 5 Mac:
“That is such horses—t. Listen, what the f—k‚ did you need to see? The video of the guy that’s doing this, and if you could have seen his face he probably would have been purple and the veins are coming out of his fingers. And the thing moves a little bit? Are you sh—ing me?”

“This is an amazing supercomputer in your hand. What the f– are you putting it in your pants and sitting on it for?

This guy is all kinds of awesome. Click through for the NSFW video.



Podcast: Verizon Plans, Windows 10, Apple QA, plus much more




Apple Activation Lock Status website

Apple launched a new iCloud page to let people know whether an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch is still tied an account through Find my iPhone. The site simply allows people to enter an IMEI or serial number. Once submitted, the page will tell you whether the device is currently locked. If it is locked, the owner needs to restore the device and disable the feature using their iCloud account credentials.

This is handy for those buying used devices to know whether they’ll have issues before any money is handed over.



Vogue Profiles Ive

An interesting piece of Johny Ive. There are not many features on Ive and this has some interesting tidbits about the new watch and other things. A couple parts I enjoyed:

Work is conducted behind tinted windows, serenaded by the team’s beloved techno music, a must for the boss. “I find that when I write I need things to be quiet, but when I design, I can’t bear it if it’s quiet,” he says. Indeed, the design team is said to have followed an unwritten rule to move away from their work whenever the famously brusque Jobs entered the studio and turn up the volume so as to make his criticisms less audible, less likely to throw them off course.

“He’s not distracted by any veneer of glamour,” says Tang, who remarks on his friend’s thoughtfulness. On a recent birthday, Tang received two finely crafted wooden boxes containing large, engraved, Ive-designed ashtrays—Tang loves cigars—constructed from the next-generation iPhone material. “It was like getting the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey,” Tang says.

I want one of those and I don’t even smoke.



Verizon promotion boosts shared data plans

Families on MORE Everything plans and small business customers who choose MORE Everything for Business plans can all benefit when they choose the promotion that will double their monthly data allowance. Starting Oct. 2, customers with monthly data allowances of between 20GB to 50GB will be able to get two times that data -- from 40GB to 100GB, depending on how much they choose -- for the same price, the best-ever from Verizon. Customers must act on these promotional offers by October 31.

This promo follows similar deals from AT&T and Sprint. You have to have at least a 12 GB plan for this promo. You can get up to 100 GB of monthly data, which is doubled from 50 GB at the current $375/mo rate.

We recently upped to 10 GB to take advantage of Edge savings per line. It might be tempting to tack on an extra $10 to bump that up 50% to 15 GB. We usually don’t come close to using 1/3 that, but psychologically it would basically be like unlimited data for us so we no longer have to really think about bandwidth caps.



Bendgate helps Apple?

A curious take from Apple Insider's Daniel Eran Dilger:
HTC also jumped at the opportunity to take a potshot at Apple, claiming its One M8 flagship was "designed to withstand the most demanding environments. Like your pockets."

However, when Consumer Reports tested the 5 inch HTC One M8 against Apple's new phones, it held up worse than either the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, which has both a larger display and is significantly thinner (7.1) than HTC's phone (9.35mm).

HTC's flagship bent at 60 pounds of force and cracked open at 90, while the iPhone 6 Plus didn't bend until 90 pounds of force, and didn't crack open until the test reached 110 pounds.

Oops.



Consumer Reports takes on iPhone bending

Consumer Reports:
The reports stated that Apple applies 25 kilograms (slightly more than 55 pounds) of force to an iPhone 6 Plus to test flex. What does 55 pounds mean in context? Using our Instron, we found that it's approximately the force required to break three pencils.

Consumer Reports' tests pushed the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus much further than 55 pounds....

Consumer Reports is always happy to jump on the viral destruction of electronics. Even their URL utilizes "bendgate" to maximize SEO.

Anyway, these are some interesting results that quantify the situation better than anyone else. It is interesting, however, to hear the same people who scoffed at Consumer Reports' negative tests of the iPhone 4 now prop them up when they say something more to their liking.



A look at making launch day iPhone cases

Erika Adams for Racked:
In keeping with Apple's impossibly secretive ways, the company does not disclose specifications for its new devices before its big events. If case manufacturers want to have new iPhone cases ready to sell by launch date (which, this year, was 10 days after the announcement), they'll have to rely on leaked specs, inside sources, and, ultimately, a costly gamble on measurements not officially confirmed by Apple. If they guess wrong, the manufactured cases become worthless and the company eats the cost.

It's a big gamble since Apple doesn't release specs in time for the launch. If, however, you have cases in stores for the launch, it's a big pay day.





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