Interesting Snippets on the Apple Watch

apple-watch-selling-points.jpg With Apple previewing more of the Apple Watch in this week’s Spring event, we got to see a lot more of what it can do, what developers are working on as far as creating their apps to work on the device and of course prices and release dates.

After events like these, there are always questions about the device which Apple didn’t cover most probably down to time constraints but since the event, some snippets that caught me eye included Jim Dalrymple’s view on the how the Watch can differ from the iPhone;

I really like what Uber has done with its app on the watch. You are initiating something on the watch, not just responding to things happening on the iPhone. This is what we need to see more of from developers moving forward.

One of the mistakes that I made when thinking about the watch was that I’d just be responding to messages—that sounds expensive and boring. Luckily I was wrong.

On a question of storage, Charles Arthur sought out this from Apple:

Apple Watch can store 2GB of music (and play it to Bluetooth headphone), 75 MB of photos; 8 GB storage total.

On a question of waterproof, John Gruber found the small print for the Apple Watch:

Apple Watch is splash and water resistant but not waterproof. You can, for example, wear and use Apple Watch during exercise, in the rain, and while washing your hands, but submerging Apple Watch is not recommended. Apple Watch has a water resistance rating of IPX7 under IEC standard 60529. The leather bands are not water resistant.

Clayton Morris on the speed of interacting:

On the surface the Apple Watch is limited and direct with the most useful information pushed to the top. A text comes in from one of my VIP contacts and I can immediately read it and respond without being dragged four layers deep inside my phone. To respond I can only use voice dictation or tap one of the prefilled fields such as “On my way”. An Uber notification that my car is two minutes away. Great, nothing more to see here. A Dark Sky notification that a massive thunderstorm is set to strike. I think I’ll head inside. A phone call from my wife, “Hello?”. No more fumbling for the phone inside the car, the backpack or pants pocket. My phone could even be plugged in three floors away, on the same WiFi network, and I can receive a call on my wrist.

Personally, I think I am going to order the 42mm Sport version as I like the matte finish to match metal.

There will be stacks more snippets to link to in the coming weeks before launch and with the initial excitement hitting everybody before pre-orders take place, it’s useful to learn as much as we can about the product including details that were readily available.

So for now, we look forward to April 10th when pre-orders begin.

PC makers mock Apple’s new MacBook

Over at The Verge, they put together nice retorts to how PC makers were quick to advertise how their products were better than Apple’s newest design. It seems to be getting more and more common for competitors to try and sway consumers for choosing their products over Apple’s – still worth a quick read even if Apple are guilty of it themselves:

PC makers mock Apple’s new MacBook | The Verge

Lenovo was first out the gate by calling the new MacBook “so last year,” the ultimate insult to any fashion-conscious laptop buyers. Lenovo also went for a comparison picture showing how its Yoga 3 Pro is 12.8mm thin compared to the 13.1mm thinness of the MacBook, all while conveniently overlooking the fact its laptop is 0.62 pounds heavier than Apple’s latest. The comparison picture also makes the MacBook look rather thick.

And this:

Dell followed Lenovo in its response to the Macbook with a tweet dismissing its Retina display. Dell claims its XPS 13 has 2 million more pixels than the MacBook, but weight and thickness didn’t even feature in Dell’s comparison. While Dell’s XPS 13 is heavier and thicker than the MacBook, you do get two USB ports, a mini DisplayPort, and a SD card reader.

And this:

The final entry in the PC market response is Asus with its ZenBook UX305. At just 12.3mm thin it certainly beats the MacBook thickness, and even has an impressive three USB ports, micro HDMI, and SD card reader. It’s still slightly heavier than the MacBook, and Asus forgot to mention it only has a 1920 x 1080 13-inch display on the base model.

 

Good summary from The Verge:

If there’s anything these comparisons teach us it’s that PC makers will compare only their very best stats and ignore the rest. That’s surprisingly similar to Apple’s own stats manipulation during its keynotes, but it’s also a reminder that the PC market doesn’t have an answer to the new 12-inch MacBook just yet — a good combination of weight, thickness, trackpad, and high-resolution display. Some have matched or got close to the MacBook Air, while failing on the quality of trackpads and battery life.

iOS 8.2 Available Today, Preparing Your Phone For The Apple Watch

 

iOS 8.2 Will Be Available Today, Preparing Your Phone For The Apple Watch | TechCrunch

Apple’s iOS 8.2 update is now official, bringing support for the upcoming Apple Watch. Version 8.2 will include the Apple Watch companion app and will offer a number of other new features in addition to support for communicating with Apple’s wearable.

8.2 brings developer support for Apple Watch apps to the iPhone, letting WatchKit software work with other iOS devices. It also improves Apple’s Health app, adding the ability to bring in workout information from third-party apps as well as new privacy features for those who don’t want to record the steps and distance data.

Apple also made improvements to general OS stability with this update, improving the reliability of Mail, Maps (when using the 3D Flyover feature), Music, VoiceOver, and hearing aid connectivity.

Check software update for it now, to update your device.

Thoughts on Apple’s Spring Event

I’ve had a few days now to digest the keynote, read opinions, articles and watch multiple videos and exit the reality distortion field and ready to share just a few brief thoughts and key quotes and links that stood out for me.

First of all, it’s fantastic that Apple appears to be streaming live every keynote they host now – in recent years (after the not-streamed-at-all-years) it was an unexpected bonus to be able to enjoy the show as it happens, as not every event was streamed live and instead you had to rely on prominent Apple-news sites to run a typed commentary from one of their writers who was in the audience. Nowadays, it’s looking like the need for these live event-typed-commentary sites are no longer required by the majority – Apple make it easy for folks to watch the live streams via Safari or via the Apple TV. The fact Apple doesn’t make the live stream available for users of Chrome, Internet Explorer or any other browser is deliberate for the eco-system and the business model and not as some naive cynics suggest, ‘clueless’.

Tim Cook is clearly enjoying heading up the keynotes nowadays and his confidence and humour shine through more so than the early post-Jobs keynotes which is understandable. Tim is proving to be an outstanding leader for Apple and this new Apple continues to shine.

Apple TV

Apple-TV-11

With Apple announcing that the Apple TV has been reduced to $69 from $99, this appears to be a price drop in response to their competitors producing newer and more competitively priced devices. Apple may or may not be working on a product refresh for the Apple and based on Tim’s final comment on stage from the Apple TV segment where he implied there was more coming to the Apple TV soon, maybe a refresh is just around the corner.

atv

One new feature they did announce for the Apple TV was the addition of HBO as a studio and channel coming soon to the Apple TV. Apple has been gradually adding channels and networks to the Apple TV and HBO is considered a big player due to it holding the rights to such big shows as Game of Thrones and Veep. You will need a subscription to watch HBO which is priced at $14.99 per month and available in the U.S. to start.

With Tim announcing that Apple have sold 25 million of the devices and HBO being added and as he alluded to, one thinks there is much more to come from Apple in this space.

New MacBook

retinamacbookkeyboard-800x484

Apple also announced a brand new version of their MacBook. As Mark Gurman at 9to5Mac scooped back in January, the new laptop is a futuristic new design with a new design in the keys and trackpad made to achieve an even thinner design. Measuring just 13.1mm thick and weighing just 2.03 pounds, this new laptop is clearly a laptop for the future due to the addition of one port – a USB-C which (depending on an adapter) can power VGA, HDMI, USB and of course to charge. This laptop is not designed for folks who need to hook up thunderbolt-displays or run powerful video-editing software due to it’s connection and power restraints – this laptop is a change in design and has Jonny Ive’s mark all over it. I’ll look at this this MacBook in more depth soon.

Available in 3 new colours Space Grey, silver and gold, prices and configurations start from $1299 available soon.

Apple Watch

apple-watch-6_1

In announcing the configurations and prices for the Apple Watch and a pre-order date of April 10th, Apple are ready to release the product to the world. I thought Apple did a fantastic job of showing everybody exactly where the Apple Watch fits and what you can do with it. The fitness aspects of the device were highlighted with Christy Turlington speaking on stage on how she uses it for her fitness and her upcoming London marathon. Kevin Lynch I thought did a marvellous job of walking through a typical usage of the Apple Watch showing how different apps can aid you in day to day life. Again, I will take a more in depth look at the Apple Watch in the next few days once we have more information.

ResearchKit

Jim Dalrymple summed up perfectly Apple’s release of ResearchKit:

ResearchKit is a software framework that allows doctors and researchers to gather data more frequently and accurately than ever before. It’s a way for those people to help find the causes and cures for the diseases that haunt humanity.

As I sat listening to Jeff Williams talk about ResearchKit, I thought to myself, this is why I love Apple—they care. They don’t just talk the talk and put out press releases about massive donations they make to charities, they are actually making a difference and putting the power of the most successful company in the world behind what they say.

Federico Viticci touching on his own personal experience highlighted his thoughts:

As someone who relies on Apple’s Health app every day and had to go through medical research years ago for a brief period of time, I find ResearchKit to be Apple’s most profound and impactful announcement from Monday.

I remember that, as a patient, medical research wasn’t fun. In my case, I was going through treatments and trying experimental drugs three years ago, and I was handed paperwork that I needed to sign and fill with information about chemo effects and how I was feeling. Having to fill forms manually while you’re sick – even if it’s for a greater cause – isn’t the most pleasant experience. I did it, but it felt antiquated and strangely old-fashioned when compared to modern advancements in cancer treatment. Not to mention the bureaucracy and, as Apple’s Jeff Williams outlined, the infrequency and inconsistency of data and the limited amount of people willing to share their information.

Using an iPhone as a sensor-laden device for medical research seems genius to me and exactly what has to be done to expand medical research and make it more connected and accessible. When dealing with patients – and, obviously, my experience is limited to what I went through, so circumstances may be different – or people who are simply interested in helping with medical research, it’s important to make the data collecting process seamless and reliable. An iPhone is always with you (possibly on you) and it’s filled with sensors that can accurately measure parameters such as steps and vocal intensity; it’s got a screen that can assess manual interactions through touch; with Bluetooth and wireless connections, it can connect to certified medical devices and store data securely in a central repository that can be shared with other apps.

When I was watching the presentation, I could feel that ResearchKit was a big deal to the people who worked on it. But, at the same time, I imagined some of the reactions on Twitter and the comments from people who were thinking the announcement was boring. After introducing a framework that is deeply changing personal health tracking (and that will power Apple Watch), I believe that going one step further to embrace medical research through iOS features and apps is an important new direction for Apple’s Health initiative.

Bloomberg after the event had this to report:

Stanford University researchers were stunned when they awoke Tuesday to find that 11,000 people had signed up for a cardiovascular study using Apple Inc.’s ResearchKit, less than 24 hours after the iPhone tool was introduced.

“To get 10,000 people enrolled in a medical study normally, it would take a year and 50 medical centers around the country,” said Alan Yeung, medical director of Stanford Cardiovascular Health. “That’s the power of the phone.”

Overall it was good keynote and great to see that Apple has ironed out the streaming issues of the past. Look forward to an in depth look at some of these new announcements soon.

How I Store & Share Photos & Videos on iCloud

Since iOS 8’s introduction, Apple had made great strides in offering a photo management solution for us so that we can easily and quickly store our photos and videos in such a way that our precious memories are safely and securely backed up to the cloud and at the same time managed in such a way that our Camera Rolls can no longer be a dumping ground for the snaps we take and end up having to store gigabytes of photos and videos. 

What you need to do;

Presuming that you have updated your iPhone or iPad to iOS 8 (check by going into the Settings app, tapping About and under Version check it says 8.x) in the last few months, the first thing you need to do is make sure you have upgraded your photos to the new iCloud Photo Libary Beta. You can do this by making sure have enabled the Beta upgrade by navigating to Settings, scroll down to Photos & Camera and making sure you toggled the option for iCloud Photo Library (Beta).



After enabling this feature on all of your iOS devices, all your photos and videos that were stored in the old Camera Roll folder will now live in All Photos within the Photos app. After an initial sync, the albums for All Photos and Videos should mirror each other when you have more than one iOS device with iCloud Photo Library (Beta) enabled. You can gain access to the All Photos folder by tapping on the Albums button at the bottom of the screen as highlighted in blue in the below picture.




From now on any new photos and videos that you add or import to your devices will save in All Photos and Videos and will stay in sync even if you delete or edit any of the content on any of your devices.

Creating Albums & Events That Can be Shared

The majority of people I speak to and hear from are concerned that they are not sure what to with their photos after taking them/importing them and are not sure whether to transfer them to their computers or how to store them properly in iCloud. Apple for sure can take much of the blame here – they certainly could do a much better job at educating their users in this regard.

The key here is to try and educate yourself to get away from transferring photos and videos to your PC or Mac and instead, transfer the content to the cloud using Apple’s revamped iCloud Photo Library service. Once you have your content in the cloud, then any of your devices including iPhones, iPads, Macs or PCs that you may have, will then easily be able to see the same photo and video collection because they will all be configured to see your content in iCloud whereas in the past your home PC or Mac was the unofficial dumping and storage place which would result in unmanageable and disorganised collections in most people’s cases.

Normally when you take a bunch of photos or videos, it is because of an event you have been to or a day out somewhere with your family or perhaps a holiday or trip abroad. Whatever it is, it’s wise to keep your snaps organised into an album with a simple title to signify the event. Don’t worry so much about dates and locations of where the photos were taken as nowadays this information is included with any images you take (can be toggled off) and can be searched easily to help you locate memories. Instead, try and keep your album titles simple such as Christmas ’15 or London ’13 or Joe’s 4th Birthday. With that in mind, I’ll show you how to move your photos and videos out of All Photos in your Photos app and into organised, iCloud-stored, simple to find albums.

Navigate to your Photos app and pay attention to the three tabs at the bottom of the screen titled Photos, Shared and Albums. Tap on the Middle tab titled Shared and this should take you to a screen where a display of your most recently shared photos are shown in a collage. Notice in the top left hand side of the screen a blue transparent button tiled Sharing – tap this and this should take you to an overview of any shared albums and events that you may created or stored.




After tapping Sharing you will now be in the iCloud Photo Sharing page and this is where we are going to store all our photos and video in organised and titled albums. 

  • First thing to do is to create a new album which you can do by tapping on the New Shared Album box which has a blue plus sign in the centre.
  • Give your album a name (depending on the photos you have in your All Photos folder in Albums in the input box that appears and tap Next.
  • In the next input box, this is where you need to input the iCloud/email address of the person or persons that you wish to share this album with so they have the photos and videos stored on their devices with their Photos app, then tap Create. NB if you don’t wish to share the album, just refrain from entering an email address and tap Create – the album will still be stored in iCloud and you can always share this album later.

You should then notice a new album created that is blank but has the album title you just added.



Tap on this newly created album to open the folder. To choose which photos and videos you want to store in this album, tap the grey box with the blue plus sign and it will take you to a screen titled Moments. We just want to access our All Photos folder because that’s where are content is stored so tap the Albums button which is one of the three tabs at the bottom of the screen which we accessed earlier, then tap All Photos to see the screen which lists all your photos and videos. 



Now you need to tap on each photo to select the ones you want to add to your album – you’ll notice that as you tap on each photo or video, a small blue tick will appear over it to signify your selection. Once you have chosen and ticked all the media you want to add, tap Done.

On the next box that prompts, just tap Post and depending on network speeds and amount images selected, you will shortly see your chosen images appear in this new album. Tapping Sharing in the top left hand corner will take you back to the overview of all your iCloud stored albums. You also have options to add or remove sharing privileges with friends and family by tapping the People option in the top right hand side.

Housekeeping & Summary

Now that you have created a shared album and it’s safely stored in iCloud, for housekeeping purposes, you should remove your original photos and videos that you used to create your shared album otherwise you’ll end up with duplicates in your All Photos folder. Navigate to All Photos as you did earlier, select the photos and videos that you have used to create your shared album and feel free to delete them. If after you have deleted any photos or videos that you didn’t mean to, then don’t despair- that’s why there is the Recently Deleted folder which stores photos and videos recently deleted from any of your iCloud devices up to 30 days.

You can check your recently created shared album by accessing your photos from another one of your iCloud devices and check the Shared Albums to see your synced album with any photos and videos. This may or may not be the definitive way that Apple advises to store your albums in iCloud but I think that creating an album in the Shared Albums section allows for flexibility for sharing your albums if you need to in the future. As I said before, Apple has not clearly suggested the best way to house your photo collection in iCloud but I have done extensive testing with this over the last year and have even seen my shared and uploaded albums automatically appear whenever I have swapped iPhones or activated a new iOS device and signed into my iCloud account on the device, so I know that it is transferable and tied to you iCloud account.

I will update this article in the future if and when Apple advises any to the contrary but for now I am confident this is the definitive way to store your photo and home video collection.

Google releases Calendar for iPhone app

 

Google calendar iphone 01

Google releases Calendar for iPhone app | 9to5Mac

Google just announced its much anticipated Google Calendar app for iPhone is now available on the App Store. The app is essentially an iPhone version of the standalone Calendar mobile app previously only available for Android devices. Google first unveiled the latest version of its Calendar app alongside the release of Android 5.0 Lollipop late last year. 
The Google Calendar app for iPhone works with your Exchange and iCloud calendars and also integrates with Gmail to automatically turn events from emails into Calendar entries.

First impressions of this app are that it is gorgeous – nice bright colour-coded events with a non-cluttered view to keep things simple. I am currently testing this app on my iPhone and so far I am loving it.

Apple to Stream ‘Spring Forward’ Apple Watch Event Later Today

Apple Events channel appears on Apple TV, ready for livestreaming ‘Spring Forward’ event later today | 9to5Mac

As is the norm nowadays, the Apple Events channel has appeared on the Apple TV ahead of Apple’s Spring Forward event later today. From 10 AM PST, Apple will be live streaming all the happenings from the presentation.
Customers can follow along on the Apple TV, or online at apple.com/live.

For us here in the United Kingdom, we can follow from 5pm GMT.