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Google and Microsoft moves that signal opportunities for Apple

In the fall, a technology company’s fancy turns to new products. As we pass the midpoint of October, the holiday buying season has started to solidify, and we’ve gotten our requisite annual announcements from not only Apple, but from Google and Microsoft as well. Now that these three big tech companies have all laid their cards on the table, we have a chance to look over what each of them discussed and compare and contrast approaches: where are they working on technology in the same vein, and where do their[..]

With Catalina, the Mac leans on Apple’s other devices

Ever since the introduction of the iPod in 2001, Apple has had to navigate the intricacies of a multi-device ecosystem. In the earliest of days, that meant dealing with the iPod as an ancillary media device, reliant upon a Mac (or later a PC) for everything from activation to syncing media. Over the last twelve years, the Apple ecosystem has gotten only more complex, with the addition of iPhones and iPads, the Apple TV, the Apple Watch, AirPods, the HomePod, and more. And while the Mac may be the elder stat[..]

Siri is more open than ever, but it still has room to grow

Ever since Siri’s introduction on the iPhone 4s, third-party developers have clamored to integrate their apps more closely with the virtual assistant. And while Apple has relaxed its strictures over the years, Siri has largely—with a few handpicked exceptions—remained wedded to the company’s own software. But with every major software update, Apple loosens the reins just a tad, and this year is no exception. Not only does iOS 13 once again broaden the categories of apps that work with Siri, but Apple’s also[..]

Is the writing on the wall for the Apple TV?

Of all of Apple’s platforms, tvOS seems to have gotten the least attention in this year’s annual round of updates. When you think about it, that’s a little surprising. After all, Apple is on the verge of launching a major new video streaming service, and the Apple TV hardware device is sure to be a part of that. Where’s the love? But look a little closer and the big picture starts to come into focus. Even with the imminent launch of Apple TV+, the Apple TV set-top box, once Apple’s beachhead in the living r[..]

Three places iOS 13 might point to future Apple ambitions

By this time, iOS 13 has already been installed on iPhones and iPads around the world, though it’s poised to be one of the shortest-lived updates of all time, with iOS 13.1 already on the horizon for next week. But now that the initial release of Apple’s latest mobile OS has arrived, it’s time to once again cast our eyes forward to the inexorable future marching towards us. Apple likes to say that it skates to where the puck is going, so for those who are interested in the company’s future plans, it’s alway[..]

Apple is making its iPhones last longer. That’s a good thing

A cynic might argue that prolonging the lifetime of its smartphones runs counter to Apple’s interests. After all, the sooner iPhones break down, the sooner customers have to pony up the cash for a new one. For years, conspiracy theories of “planned obsolescence” have run rampant, full of anecdata of iPhones breaking down just as they run out of warranty. But that argument flies in the face of reality. For one thing, if your expensive new phone breaks after a year, are you really going to immediately replace[..]

Three things that probably won’t show up at next week’s Apple event

Welcome to the calm before the storm. Apple is readying its announcements for its annual fall event next week and the rumors and whispers have started to coalesce around what we’ll likely see trotted out: new iPhones, including better camera features, new Apple Watch case materials, and a Tile competitor that will let you track your wallet, keys, and so on. To read this article in full, please click here

Three big questions about Apple’s September event

With the announcement that Apple’s annual September event will be upon us in a little more than a week, it’s time to take stock of what we know about Apple’s upcoming plans and, more importantly, what we want to know. While we can all feel pretty confident with the prediction that Apple will launch new iPhones, as well as recap the latest updates to its iOS and watchOS software platforms, there are still plenty of questions about the details of those announcements. Plus, as always, there’s plenty of specula[..]

Shoot to thrill: Three camera features the iPhone should add

In the era of the personal computer, we worshipped at the altar of processor speeds, RAM capacity, and hard drive space. But in the era of the smartphone, none of these items are as important as they once were. Instead, we are more concerned about what their devices can do, and chief among those capabilities is taking great pictures. Look back over the past few years of smartphone announcements from industry leaders like Samsung, Google, and, of course, Apple, and you’ll see cameras occupying a lot of time [..]

Traveling with Apple tech: What soars, what falls flat

Travel has a way of opening your eyes to new possibilities. For the last three weeks, I’ve been away from home, spending time in a few European countries. During this trip, I found myself thinking about the different ways that we use technology when we’re outside of our daily routine, and how it brings to light not only things that work well, but also the areas where there’s still a decent amount of friction. As I’ve been making the rounds, I’ve made note of a few places where I think Apple technologies hav[..]

Apple should make authentication its next killer app

When it comes to security, we often think primarily of protecting our data: encrypting it to make sure that nobody else can access it. But just as important as that is the concept of authentication: proving that we are who we say we are. Apple has made great strides with authentication in the past few years. Biometric measures like Touch ID and Face ID help make it easier for users to identify themselves and ensure that only they can access their private data. In Apple’s usage, that authentication has gener[..]

How Apple could simplify its complex iPhone line-up this fall

It may only be July, but it’s never too early to start speculating about Apple’s next big announcements. We’re likely another seven or eight weeks out from the company’s annual September event, and while little is known about what Apple might have up its sleeves, a new iPhone line-up seems like a sure thing. (After all, it’s not like Cupertino’s just going to up and quit making them.) I ventured into an Apple Store recently to help my wife upgrade from her iPhone 6, and as we ran down the list of available [..]

Does Apple’s simplified Mac lineup have a hole in it?

When Steve Jobs came back to Apple, one of his early moves was to vastly simplify what had become a bloated line-up of Mac hardware. Jobs famously showed off a two-by-two product grid: pro and consumer, desktop and portable. Filling the grid were four products—iMac, PowerMac, iBook, PowerBook—each addressing one of those combinations. The two-by-two grid lasted for several years, until the debut of the category-busting Mac mini in 2005. Since then, there’s been an almost magnetic impulse to cite the grid as[..]

Jony Ive is gone, but he won’t take Apple with him

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Here we are, once again debating whether or not the departure of a single prominent Apple employee signals doom for the company. This time it’s designer extraordinaire Jony Ive who’s leaving the company, though the reception to his exit is decidedly mixed. Some feel Ive is the embodiment of an Apple that’s placed too high a value on form over function; others worry that the company won’t be able to keep delivering world-class design without him. Neither o[..]

Features that should be in Apple’s upcoming OS releases but aren’t

As we get further away from this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, the reality of Apple’s latest OS upgrades are beginning to sink in. That’s even more the case this week, as the release of Apple’s public betas for iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, and macOS arrived slightly earlier than expected. Of course, betas, like the future, are always in motion, and there’s no guarantee that what we see now is what will end up shipping in the fall—but usually the tweaks between then and now are on the minor side, more about [..]

3 products that would be hits for Apple if the company made them

Being a big business is all about making choices. Even the most successful, most profitable company can’t pursue all possible avenues. Decisions have to be made, even if they mean ignoring a segment of the market that might address some consumers. Such is the reality with Apple. It can’t possibly make all of the products that its customers want—it just does’t have the time, money, or people. But some of the choices that Apple has made about products to not pursue have been surprising. Especially when it see[..]

Reading between the lines of Apple's WWDC announcements

There’s only so much information one can digest in a single sitting. Even a week after Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference wrapped up, we’re still sifting through the details of the company’s announcements. And that’s before the deluge of users even installing the public beta. But beyond just the features that Apple has included (or hasn’t) in the next versions of its software platforms, there’s also a lot to glean from these announcements about the company’s future plans. In some cases they’re o[..]

WWDC: What Apple’s biggest announcements mean for the company

As Apple’s biggest event of the year winds down and the dust begins to settle, the shape of company’s future plans is starting to become clearer. And this time around it’s not a matter of digging up a mere smattering of hints about where Apple is taking its products, but of sifting through the metric ton of details that the company divulged. Most people were convinced that this would be a big event, and they were ultimately right—even if not for the reasons initially suspected. Here are just a few of the bi[..]

Marzipan, Mac Pro, and iPad features: A wish list for WWDC19

Apple’s annual extravaganza is just around the corner. By the time my next column rolls around, we’ll know all the secrets that Apple has been sitting on for the last year. (Well, many of those secrets, anyway.) The only real question is whether Apple executives will be going with untucked or tucked-in shirts? The excitement is palpable. The Worldwide Developers Conference keynote is always a big high for the Apple-following community: wishes get fulfilled, hopes get dashed, and things appear that we never [..]

What we won’t see at WWDC 2019

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference is still more than a week away, and as usual the internet is rife with posts predicting what we’ll see—or what people would like to see (including this one)—during the next big Apple keynote. But even with a two-hour song and dance, Apple can’t show off everything that it’s working on. Not only because there’s simply not time, but also because not everything the company’s actively developing is ready for prime time. Some things just won’t make the cut, inevitably spaw[..]

Three keyboard changes Apple should make—to iOS

As a writer, the vast majority of my time is spent inputting text, which means that the most crucial of the tools of my trade is, of course, the keyboard. Now, you probably think you know where this is going. Apple’s certainly taken a lot of flak for its laptop keyboards over the last couple years, and frankly I’m of the opinion that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. But I’m not here to talk about the keyboards on the company’s laptops. I’m here to talk about iOS. Apple popularized the onscreen keyboard wi[..]

Three features Apple should borrow from Google’s I/O announcements

Spring has sprung, and with it comes the onslaught of tech companies announcing the latest updates to their products. This week, it was Google’s I/O keynote that took the main stage, as the Mountain View company catalogued all of the new devices, features, and promises it had targeted for 2019. Many of the features that Google talked about were a clear attempt to catch up in areas where Apple already excels: privacy, for example, or distribution of security updates. I’m not about to suggest that Apple needs[..]

What the future looks like for the Mac, iPad Pro, and Apple Watch

Apple’s quarterly financial conference calls are always an opportunity to peer into the minds of a company that is famously tight-lipped about its intentions. And while most attempts to suss out future plans from the Cupertino-based company are met with an weary sigh and a polite dismissal, Apple is not above letting details of its own choosing slip out. This most recent quarter was no exception and, especially when it came to the Apple product lines that aren’t the iPhone. As rare as those tea leaves are, [..]

It’s about time for a Mac with a touch interface

A house divided against itself cannot stand. But with its dual stewardship of macOS and iOS devices, Apple is in some ways a house divided into two different ideas of what a computer should be. (And that’s without even getting to a semantic argument about what exactly “computer” means.) This week, rumors stirred the pot further, with the suggestion that support for pointing devices like mice and trackpads—traditionally the domain of the Mac—may be supported in an iOS release later this year. The takes have [..]

Three ways Apple’s own Marzipan apps can benefit macOS

As the Nobel Prize laureate once sang, “The times, they are a-changin’.” 2019 is a big year for Apple, and at the forefront of the questions circling around the company is the future of macOS. Last year’s demonstration of “Marzipan” technology—letting iOS apps run on the Mac with little alteration—shook the foundations of what many people considered a Mac app. Long time Mac users are, understandably, nervous about what this could imply for the future of their chosen platform. Will apps get “dumbed down” and[..]

The iTunes break up: What will happen to our favorite features?

For a company that maintains multiple major operating systems, has its own productivity suite, and even developed one of the most popular web browsers in use, there was a time that the piece of software most identified with Apple was also perhaps the one most viewed as a necessary evil. I speak, of course, of iTunes. Yes, the music-playing/device syncing/media-buying/podcast-listening (and so much more) app was at one time not only a brand unto itself, but also an almost universal experience, as one of the [..]

Three Apple products in the danger zone

Goodbye, AirPower! We hardly knew ye. It’s only early April and it’s already been a tough year for Apple. Besides the admission that the company simply could not ship the wireless charging pad that it had been teasing for a year and a half, there was also the restatement of the company’s holiday quarter results, and an Apple event featuring TV content that showed remarkably little of that content, leaving some folks scratching their heads. To read this article in full, please click here

This week's Apple event was still all about the ecosystem

Yes, this week’s Apple event wasn’t quite business as usual for the company. It was a long presentation, studded with A-list celebrities and announcements for services—no hardware in sight—that mostly aren’t shipping yet, many of which don’t even have price points. That’s not exactly the moves we’ve come to expect from Apple. But we were warned upfront by Tim Cook that this time would be a little different, and the company has been banging the drum about bolstering its Services business for a few years now.[..]

With Apple, everything old is new again

Whoever said “out with the old, in with the new” clearly wasn’t talking about Apple’s playbook. The company may have its fair share of new and updated devices, but it’s also made a habit of building off of its existing devices—and not just in terms of spec bumps and speed boosts, but in actively finding ways to use old products as launching points for brand new devices. It’s a move that most companies probably couldn’t pull off, but one with which Apple has had great success—and which it will probably conti[..]

Apple WWDC19: What’s in store for iOS macOS, watchOS, and tvOS

We’re teetering on the edge of an embarrassment of Apple riches. The company’s March event is just over a week away, but with this week’s official announcement of the 2019 Worldwide Developers Conference, many eyes are already fixed on that point, three months from now. Whatever comes our way in March, it will almost certainly pale in comparison to WWDC, which is probably the most significant event in Apple’s calendar. Yes, the September launch of new iPhones and attendant devices may get more attention, bu[..]

Three improvements Apple should make to its Mail app on iOS and macOS

When people roll out wish lists of things they wish Apple would do to its products, they’re often focused on brand new features. We all like new features, sure, but part of me worries that while the focus is on the shiny, the basics—the software that we’re all using everyday—gets ignored. In particular, I’m really ready for Apple to tackle that old standby: Mail. I know: email’s dead, supplanted by a myriad of other means of digital communication. Except, for many of us, email is still something that we’re [..]

How repairing an old Mac mini made me anticipate a new Mac Pro

I spent the better part of this week with my 2012 Mac mini in pieces in my living room, as I attempted to fix an issue with a dead drive. The problem that sparked it is still plaguing me, but the experience has given me both some appreciation for the way Apple used to do things, as well as the way it might once again. This isn’t the first time I’ve taken apart a Mac—it’s not even the first time I’ve taken apart this particular Mac mini. Diving into hardware has always been a task that I enjoy. It’s fun not [..]

What Apple can do to take Apple Pay to the next level

Oftentimes, new technologies can seem like solutions in search of problems. And while Apple isn’t above those kinds of moves, it also often finds itself ahead of the curve, pushing technologies with a lot of potential before the world at large is ready for them. Apple Pay has, since its introduction, tended toward the latter. It’s a system that offers real tangible advantages over the status quo; the ability to pay with your iPhone or your Apple Watch offers not only more convenience than paying with a phys[..]

What Apple can do to take Apple Pay to the next level

Oftentimes, new technologies can seem like solutions in search of problems. And while Apple isn’t above those kinds of moves, it also often finds itself ahead of the curve, pushing technologies with a lot of potential before the world at large is ready for them. Apple Pay has, since its introduction, tended toward the latter. It’s a system that offers real tangible advantages over the status quo; the ability to pay with your iPhone or your Apple Watch offers not only more convenience than paying with a phys[..]

Three hurdles Apple’s rumored news service will have to overcome

Apple’s plans to launch a subscription service for news are, by this point, an open secret. Just under a year ago, the company announced its acquisition of existing magazine subscription service Texture, which Apple executive Eddy Cue quickly revealed would be folded into the existing Apple News app. Since then, the news service has mostly been absent from the limelight, generally taking a backseat to the more prominent news leaking out around Apple’s upcoming video streaming service. But as recent reports [..]

Three hurdles Apple’s rumored news service will have to overcome

Apple’s plans to launch a subscription service for news are, by this point, an open secret. Just under a year ago, the company announced its acquisition of existing magazine subscription service Texture, which Apple executive Eddy Cue quickly revealed would be folded into the existing Apple News app. Since then, the news service has mostly been absent from the limelight, generally taking a backseat to the more prominent news leaking out around Apple’s upcoming video streaming service. But as recent reports [..]

Apple’s bug bounties need to get with the program

Digital and information security is something that everybody’s had to become all too familiar with over the past decade. As we carry around devices that themselves store everything from our friends’ contact details to our bank account information, it’s become ever more crucial that those devices be well secured against all possible intruders. In general, Apple’s track record on security has been pretty solid. The App Store’s walled garden, while often the target of derision from competitors, has done an eff[..]

Apple’s bug bounties need to get with the program

Digital and information security is something that everybody’s had to become all too familiar with over the past decade. As we carry around devices that themselves store everything from our friends’ contact details to our bank account information, it’s become ever more crucial that those devices be well secured against all possible intruders. In general, Apple’s track record on security has been pretty solid. The App Store’s walled garden, while often the target of derision from competitors, has done an eff[..]

Three Apple decisions that don’t please the user, but the company won’t change

The results are in and, despite a downturn in iPhone sales that require reissuing its revenue estimates, Apple still managed to pull in billions of dollars in its latest quarter. Yes, the drop in iPhone sales that we’ve all been talking about did hurt Apple’s bottom line, but the company’s certainly not about to pack it all in. However, Apple’s most recent report brought to mind a few of the decisions that the company has made in recent years—decisions that don’t always please the end user, but help Apple’s[..]

Three Apple decisions that don’t please the user, but the company won’t change

The results are in and, despite a downturn in iPhone sales that require reissuing its revenue estimates, Apple still managed to pull in billions of dollars in its latest quarter. Yes, the drop in iPhone sales that we’ve all been talking about did hurt Apple’s bottom line, but the company’s certainly not about to pack it all in. However, Apple’s most recent report brought to mind a few of the decisions that the company has made in recent years—decisions that don’t always please the end user, but help Apple’s[..]

Up, down, sideways: Apple’s personnel changes point to its priorities

Back in December, I wrote about what we could glean from Apple’s expansion into new physical locations in the U.S. While studying the company’s personnel moves may cross a bit into reading tea leaves, you can often divine at least some big picture indications from where the company is putting its resources. Make no mistake, Apple’s biggest and most significant resources are its personnel. Granted, those personnel moves are happening on a consistent basis, though they don’t always rise to the level of report[..]

Up, down, sideways: Apple’s personnel changes point to its priorities

Back in December, I wrote about what we could glean from Apple’s expansion into new physical locations in the U.S. While studying the company’s personnel moves may cross a bit into reading tea leaves, you can often divine at least some big picture indications from where the company is putting its resources. Make no mistake, Apple’s biggest and most significant resources are its personnel. Granted, those personnel moves are happening on a consistent basis, though they don’t always rise to the level of report[..]

What is dead may never die: Two products Apple may be looking to revive

Apple’s not a company that’s ever been afraid to kill off its products. At the height of the iPod mini’s popularity, Steve Jobs famously axed it in order to introduce the iPod nano. The underperforming iPod Hi-Fi got the hook, and in recent years we’ve said goodbye to both the AirPort line and most of the iPods. But when a product lies fallow for many years, sitting without an update, it hangs in that liminal space between life and death, leading many to wonder whether it still has a future. Is it ready to [..]

What is dead may never die: Two products Apple may be looking to revive

Apple’s not a company that’s ever been afraid to kill off its products. At the height of the iPod mini’s popularity, Steve Jobs famously axed it in order to introduce the iPod nano. The underperforming iPod Hi-Fi got the hook, and in recent years we’ve said goodbye to both the AirPort line and most of the iPods. But when a product lies fallow for many years, sitting without an update, it hangs in that liminal space between life and death, leading many to wonder whether it still has a future. Is it ready to [..]

The future of Apple is playing well with others

Apple’s not known for being the most outward-looking organization. For much of its existence, it’s seemed to project an aura of indifference—verging on ignorance—of what goes on outside its walls. That’s in large part by design: Apple has always had a carefully cultivated veneer of being in a league of its own, eschewing any need to pay attention to what its would-be rivals were up to. Even when it has deigned to work with others, Apple generally presented an attitude of doing this as a favor to its partner[..]

The future of Apple is playing well with others

Apple’s not known for being the most outward-looking organization. For much of its existence, it’s seemed to project an aura of indifference—verging on ignorance—of what goes on outside its walls. That’s in large part by design: Apple has always had a carefully cultivated veneer of being in a league of its own, eschewing any need to pay attention to what its would-be rivals were up to. Even when it has deigned to work with others, Apple generally presented an attitude of doing this as a favor to its partner[..]

Apple’s revenue drop is about China and more

All anybody is likely to be talking about for the next week or so is Apple’s admission that it’s going to miss its guidance for the first quarter of 2019. We won’t get any more information until the company’s next quarterly financial results, due out on January 29, and the winter is genuinely a dreary time for any other significant Apple news. So, yeah, let’s jump right in. The water’s fine. The China Syndrome Apple’s been betting big on China for the last several years, a fact borne out both by Tim Cook’s [..]

Apple’s revenue drop is about China and more

All anybody is likely to be talking about for the next week or so is Apple’s admission that it’s going to miss its guidance for the first quarter of 2019. We won’t get any more information until the company’s next quarterly financial results, due out on January 29, and the winter is genuinely a dreary time for any other significant Apple news. So, yeah, let’s jump right in. The water’s fine. The China Syndrome Apple’s been betting big on China for the last several years, a fact borne out both by Tim Cook’s [..]

What to expect from Apple in 2019

Seems like just yesterday I was running down what to look for in 2018, but the Earth has made it around the sun once again, which means that we’re once again poised to embark upon a new year of Apple news. While there are some things that we can always reasonably expect from Apple in any given year—a new iPhone, probably at least one iPad revision, and some new Macs—2019 is unusual in that we already have several strong indications of announcements to expect from the company. Here’s a quick look at several [..]

What to expect from Apple in 2019

Seems like just yesterday I was running down what to look for in 2018, but the Earth has made it around the sun once again, which means that we’re once again poised to embark upon a new year of Apple news. While there are some things that we can always reasonably expect from Apple in any given year—a new iPhone, probably at least one iPad revision, and some new Macs—2019 is unusual in that we already have several strong indications of announcements to expect from the company. Here’s a quick look at several [..]