Turbotodd

Ruminations on IT, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘apple’ Category

Tweet More, iPhone Less

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Having trouble writing everything you want to write on Twitter in 140 characters or less?

Well, Twitter product manager Aliza Rosen feels your pain and wrote that “We want every person around the world to easily express themselves on Twitter, so we’re doing something new: we’re going to try out a longer limit, 280 characters, in languages impacted by cramming (which is all except Japanese, Chinese, and Korean).”

This feature will be available to only a small number of users for now (and it wasn’t clear at press time if President Donald J. Trump would be included in the pilot).

For my money, Twitter has always been about less being more. I have to “cram” all the time, and I avoid sending episodic Tweets at all cost. Call me old school.

In the meanwhile, over on the sidelines, Facebook has just inked a multiyear deal with NFL to distribute game highlights and other content, and in return, NFL Films will produce content packages for Facebook Watch.

It was unclear at press time whether Mark Zuckerberg would be standing or kneeling.

If you just feel like hitting the open road with not a care in the world, you might want to keep an eye on Ford and Lyft’s new partnership to develop and test autonomous vehicle designs and technology. The destination: To put Ford’s cars on Lyft’s networks. No comment yet from G.M., one of Lyft’s biggest investors and partners.

Could be very awkward out there on the autonomous Route 66!

And as if Apple needed any more production headaches after their recent and marvelous launch shindig? First there was a software issue with the Apple Watch Series 3 which caused the Watch to connect to unauthenticated Wi-Fi networks instead of handing off to LTE.

Then there was news that there have been production issues with the new Face ID componentry that has something to do with manufacturing yields for the “Romeo” modules (the “Juliet” modules are producing just fine, but hey, you can’t have a Juliet without a Romeo. That’s just bad Shakespeare…and juju!)

And now, the iPhone 8 has a “crackling” earpiece that’s disrupting the audio experience when people try to make phone calls.

To which I ask, who makes phone calls using an iPhone anymore??

 

Written by turbotodd

September 27, 2017 at 9:13 am

The New iOS 11 is Here!

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Well, the day has finally arrived. Apple is set to release iOS 11 later today.

I’m reminded of that scene with Steve Martin’s character Navin from that age-old classic film, “The Jerk.”

“The new phonebook’s here, the new phonebook’s here!!!!”

No, I’m not excited because my name’s going to be in the phone book. But I am glad to check out some of the new capabilities of iOS 11.

Like what?

Well, the new Dock for the iPad, for starters. The new Dock will be available from any screen with a quick swipe, and will allow myself, and Navin, to easily add more app shortcuts.

Next, the QuickType keyboard improvements for the iPad, which will allow you to see letters, numbers, symbols, and punctuation all on the same keyboard! What a concept! With the current iteration, you have to switch back and forth between keyboards to use many of those characters.

Third, Drag and Drop for the iPad, which allows you to more easily move text, photos, and files between apps. From what I’ve gathered, generally speaking, if you can see it, you can move it.

Fourth, the new Control Center, which is now customizable and les you set up shortcuts for preferred settings and apps.

And…one more thing…the ability to mark up documents and th elike using Apple Pencil (that includes signing documents!). The Apple Pencil has been a great innovation but has had limited capabilities, in my opinion. Adding the ability to markup documents will greatly expand its utility beyond its existing artistic capabilties.

What I hope all of these features and more add up to is expanding the potential for the iPad to become a desktop and/or laptop replacement.

While that doesn’t mean I’ll stop using my MacBook Pro anytime soon, I do think it could expand the horizons of utility for the iPad, something that’s been now seven years in the making.

The new phone book’s here!

P.S. I just discovered this in-depth Ars Technica review of iOS 11, and the word on the new iPad capabilities seems bullish:

Today, the good news for the iPad continues with the public release of iOS 11. There’s a lot of stuff in this update, and a bunch of it benefits iPhone owners, too. But Apple has put a lot of work into the iPad-related parts of the operating system this year—the tablet still exists somewhere in between the iPhone and the Mac, but the changes to the UI and to the underpinnings of iOS 11 help iPads move further toward the Mac than they’ve ever been before. The upgrade is even more significant for tablets than iOS 9, both because the changes are bigger and because more iPads can actually take advantage of all these fancy productivity features now.
– via Ars Technica

Written by turbotodd

September 19, 2017 at 9:20 am

All You Need is Love…and $999

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Well, I was able to make my way through the entire Apple keynote today LIVE (via streaming video) from the new Steve Jobs Theater on the also new Apple Park spaceship-like campus.

The opening video was clever, as it showed people walking into the new theater for the first time ever. Accompanying the walk-in video was The Beatles’ “All You Need is Love.”

Yes, all you need is love, and $999, if you wish to purchase the new Apple X (pronounced “ten,” not “ex”) 64GB iPhone, whose new features include an A11 Bionic neural engine chip, a first-of-its-kind OLED screen, and a new Facial ID security feature that makes Touch ID obsolete and has a 1 in a million (according to Apple) chance of being hacked.

No doubt, it’s a gorgeous new smartphone, and yes, it’s being released in the 10th anniversary year of the original iPhone’s introduction. But unless you’re really excited by the novelty of the Face ID authentication or the “Super Retina Display” or the increased speeds and feeds of the A11 bionic neural networking chip, then this particular “one more thing” may just be that.

Apple also introduced the new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, which also come with the A11 chip, which is optimized for 3D games and Metal 2, paving the way for Apple’s coming Augmented Reality onslaught. Both the iPhone 8 devices and the X will now be charged via Qi-standards based wireless chargers, which apparently will create a new cottage industry of 3rd party opportunities for the likes of Mophie.

For me, the upside surprise came with the new Apple Watch Series 3, one which has built-in LTE and gets us closer than ever to Dick Tracy-land. In fact, the demo involved the presenter making a live Watch-to-Watch call to another Apple employee who was out on a body of water somewhere paddle boarding. Thankfully, she didn’t fall in while on camera, but the new Apple Watch working as a phone with no iPhone in sight was, well, a welcome sight. Too bad I just bought a Series 1 earlier this year!

In terms of software, I should have known better — there wasn’t much on offer for what clearly was an Apple fall hardware announcement. There were some cute new animated emojis using the Face ID tech: “animojis.” The Apple Watch includes some new heart monitoring capabilities, including the ability to monitor for atrial fibrillation (if your heart is fibrillating, put down your Apple Watch and call your doctor, FAST!).

My favorite was what looks to be a killer new AR game called “The Machines” where you can point your iPhone 8 (but what about my SE??) and shoot stuff with your friends.

And if you *were* awaiting news about the new iOS 11, Apple indicated it would be available for download starting a week from today (September 19th).

As for buying new stuff, I’ll stick with my year-old Apple iPhone SE for now — it still has a headphone jack I can actually plug stuff into, even if I do have to … first world deep sigh … plug it in as well every night to charge the thing. Oh, the horror….

Written by turbotodd

September 12, 2017 at 3:00 pm

What I’m Looking For In Today’s Apple Announcements

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In a phrase, not much.

First, I’m excited about seeing the new Steve Jobs Theater at Apple’s new spaceship HQ.

Second, while I *am* interested in seeing the specs, speeds and feeds of the reported Apple X and iPhone 8 models, I’m not sure there’s anything transformative that will appear (maybe the presumed "Face ID" facial recognition will be interesting).

The new LTE-enabled Apple Watch? Well, I waited two years to buy the Apple Watch, and Apple told me it had to be tethered to my iPhone and that for my watch to work, I would have to carry my iPhone everywhere I go.

So I did. And I do!

The new Apple TV…meh. I already got one and I hardly use the thing, and I don’t think 4K support will be the kickstarter.

Which leaves us with…what?

Software.

I’m looking to see how the software changes and improves.

I’m looking to see if Siri is getting smarter and more usable.

I’m really looking to see if iOS 11 delivers on some needed improvements…a new, designed Control Center (for better shortcuts and preferred app settings)…Document scanner in Notes…Drag and drop with the iPad…Instant Markup with the Apple Pencil (through a variety of apps)…In short, I’m looking to see if the iPad Pro could actually start me down the road to using the iPad as an MBP replacement.

Other than that, I don’t expect much. : 0

Don’t get me wrong, because I am, indeed, invested heavily in the Apple ecosystem.

But in the past I’ve also bought into too much hype of these types of announcements.

So rather than drool over my screen like a fanboy ready to wait in line for the iPhone X until next February, I’m instead looking for some serious progress on the software front.

Siri, are you listening?

Written by turbotodd

September 12, 2017 at 11:00 am

No More Nano

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Happy Friday.

Here in Austin, weekend highs of 107 F are expected — another nice, cool Austin summer weekend!

Austin’s not the only thing heating up. The U.S. Commerce Department just announced earlier today that U.S. GDP quickened to 2.6 percent in 2Q, a pace over twice that of 1Q’s 1.2 percent.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, “both consumers and businesses helped propel growth in the second quarter.”

If the economy keeps heating up like this, competition for top talent could follow. But don’t expect HPE CEO Meg Whitman to take that top job at Uber. According to a report from TechCrunch “she’s not going anywhere.”

However, General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt is apparently on a shortlist for the Uber CEO job, a list that Bloomberg suggests is less than six names.

Immelt was already set to step down as chairman and CEO of GEO next month, so, yeah, he might have some time to take the Uber gig.

While that’s still a developing story, there’s a story about developers also unfolding.

Microsoft just announced that it has opened up Windows 10 S to developers and education customers, but not for testing to consumers.

According to a report from Thurrott, “The Home for Tech Enthusiasts: News, Reviews & Analysis”:

“We’re releasing [Windows 10 S] today to developers because we want to be sure they are testing Windows 10 S,” a Microsoft statement notes. “We especially want EDU-focused developers to continue to innovate and make apps that teachers and students would use from the Windows Store…This is very much meant only for developers and IT pros, not consumers to broadly download/switch to Windows 10 S.”
– via Thurrott.com

And finally, in the “We don’t sell that anymore” category, Apple confimed yesterday it has discontinued the iPod Nano and the iPod Shuffle. 

What happened, you ask?

In short, first the iPhone, and later the Apple Watch, killed the iPod Nano and Shuffle radio star.

I loved me some iPod Shuffle, but at some point we all just gonna have to move on…

Written by turbotodd

July 28, 2017 at 9:53 am

Posted in 2017, apple, GDP, ipod, uber

Back in a Flash

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Head ups. Adobe has announced it will stop updating and distributing Flash at the end of 2020.

You’ve been given ample warning.

TechCrunch is reporting that until then, Adobe will still partner with the likes of Apple, Mozilla, Microsoft and Google to offer security updates for Flash in their browsers and support new versions of them, but beyond that, it’s no frills Flash, all the time.

HTML5 has won the day.

***

U.S. President Donald Trump said yesterday in an interview that Apple CEO Tim Cook has committed to build three big manufacturing plants in the U.S., but didn’t elaborate on where those plants would be located or when they would be built.

Do these new Apple plants get build before the Wall on the U.S./Mexico border, or after?

Sorry, I NAFTA hafta ask!

***

AI neuroscience startup Vicarious announced that it has raised $50M in a round led by Khosla Ventures, according to VentureBeat.

The company is said to be using computational neuroscience to build better machine learning models that help robots address a wide variety of tasks. They focus on the neocortex, a part of the brain concerned with sight and hearing.

Does that mean Alexa will soon be able to fetch me a beer from the fridge??!

Written by turbotodd

July 26, 2017 at 8:36 am

Pets at Home Builds In-Store Digital Experience with iPad App Using IBM MobileFirst Capabilities

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Pets at Home, the UK’s leading pet specialist retailer and IBM today announced the launch of Sales Assist, an IBM MobileFirst for iOS app for iPad which will be used across 440 stores nationwide to make it easier and simpler for customers to purchase the products they need.

Pets at Home offers a unique omni-channel experience for pet owners, including a large network of stores, brand websites, innovative and exclusive products, and pet services through vet practices and grooming salons.

With the Pets at Home website capturing some of the highest levels of web traffic in the pet care retail market, IBM is working with the brand to further evolve the digital experience and bring it to life in stores across the country.

Previously, customers who were unable to secure the right products and services for their pets had to either go online or visit another store. However, the introduction of Sales Assist into Pets at Home stores means that store colleagues now have a fast way to access a wider range of insights and products to be able to convert these enquiries into sales on the spot.

“At Pets at Home, we’re investing in innovative new technology to reinvent the retail experience for our customers. We want our consumers to be able to learn about and order the right products across every channel, and mobility is at the forefront of this transformation, “said Chris Holyland, Ecommerce Director at Pets at Home. “By customizing Sales Assist, in collaboration with IBM and Apple, we are providing our consumers with access to an even bigger range of goods regardless of location. The unique tool allows our colleagues to confidently show product information, ratings and reviews from the shop floor, opening up opportunities to foster higher brand engagement and ultimately provide our consumers with the experience they expect.”

Sales Assist is one of over 100 apps in the IBM MobileFirst for iOS portfolio that are changing the nature of work for retailers and global companies across industries by putting real-time data in the hands of employees.

Using iPad, more than 3,000 Pets at Home store colleagues will have quick access to the retailer’s product databases while assisting customers to provide a more compelling in-store experience.

You can learn more about IBM MobileFirst technology here.

Written by turbotodd

July 11, 2017 at 9:14 am

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