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Acquiring minds want to know: A peek inside Apple’s most recent corporate acquisitions

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it dozens of times: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” When it comes to its corporate acquisitions, Cupertino likes to play its cards very close to its chest. Of course, that doesn’t stop industry watchers from peering at the tea leaves to see if they can divine exactly what the company might be working on. And, hey, I’m no different than those folks, because Apple does so little to telegrap[..]

Apple’s security and privacy is good, but could be even better

Buckle up, because we’re poised for another battle on digital security. The FBI has reputedly asked for Apple’s help unlocking phones belonging of the alleged shooter from the Pensacola air base incident last year. Apple, for its part, claims it has already turned over to law enforcement all the information it has access to. If you feel like we’ve been here before, it’s because we have. Back in 2016, the FBI wanted Apple to unlock a phone belonging to the San Bernardino shooter; Apple declined to help, as d[..]

In 2020, Apple is poised to push HomeKit forward

Technology has made its way into every nook and cranny of our lives over the past decade, and there’s no reason to think that trend’s about to stop now. As we roll into the ‘20s, Apple has positioned itself at the forefront of a bunch of different technological niches, but one place that it seems to be putting an especial amount of attention in the year ahead is smart home technology. Apple’s no newbie to the market, of course. HomeKit, the company’s smart home framework, has been around since 2014, and tho[..]

What to expect from Apple in 2020

Apple’s come a long way in the last decade. Ten years ago, the company had just released the third version of the iPhone and users of the smartphone had only recently gotten the ability to cut, copy, and paste things. The iPad was waiting in the wings and the Mac Pro was still on its first cheese-grater design. Fast forward to today and so much has changed. Smartphones are part of everyone’s daily lives, the iPad has been through an entire cycle of sales challenges, and the Mac Pro is, well, a cheese-grater[..]

Apple’s most significant moves of 2019

The end of the year—and with it the decade!—are nigh, and both have been busy for the company from Cupertino. There have been new products, the usual number of major and minor controversies, and oh so much rumor and speculation. But let’s stick to the facts. With the year’s close upon us, it’s time to cast our eyes back over the last 12 months in Apple and pick out the most significant moves and trends—the ones only visible with the benefit of hindsight. Turning pro It’s hard to deny that 2019 wasn’t the bi[..]

Apple’s next step with the Mac should be consumer-focused

At long last, some two and a half years after Apple declared itself serious about enticing professionals back to the Mac, the Mac Pro is finally here. It joins the iMac Pro and the new 16-inch MacBook Pro as a triptych of attractive options for professional Mac users. That’s great. Apple Mac mini To read this article in full, please click here

Evaluating the rumors of the 2020 and 2021 iPhones

It hasn’t even been three months since the release of Apple’s latest iPhone lineup and already the rumor mill is working overtime on what might arrive in the company’s smartphones next year and, believe it or not, the year after that. Even if the iPhone is making up a smaller percentage of Apple’s revenue these days, it hasn’t ceased being the product that defines Apple, meaning speculation remains at peak levels. And all the smartwatches, streaming services, and fancy wireless headphones aren’t going to be[..]

Apple software features to be thankful for

It's that time of year here in the U.S. where we take a break from viewing everything through the lens of what technology companies can do in the future and instead remind ourselves of all the things we're lucky to already have in the present. And so, inspired by my colleague Jason Snell's look at the tech accessories that he's thankful for, I figured I'd take a similar tack and run down some of the software capabilities that I just couldn't get by without. Some of them are marquee features, others unsung h[..]

Software bugs have become Apple’s greatest vulnerability

Reports of bugs have plagued many of Apple’s software releases this fall, from iOS 13 to iPadOS to macOS Catalina. Even the HomePod received an update that resulted in some of the smart speakers becoming unresponsive, causing Apple to temporarily pull the release while it fixed the problem. Bugs, of course, are not the sole province of the folks from Cupertino, but this year has seemed particularly bad, especially when compared with the relatively stable release of iOS 12 in the fall of 2018. It’s led to ma[..]

Apple listens strategically, but acts tactically

Apple listens. It often seems like it doesn’t, for a couple reason. Firstly, because it usually doesn’t come right out and say “we’re listening”—at least not specifically. But more visibly, because the actions that result from that listening generally take a pretty long time to come to fruition. The old metaphor for something that’s slow to change is "turning a battleship," but Apple is so big at this point that it’s more like turning a flotilla of aircraft carriers that have been lashed together as a float[..]

What the AirPods Pro hint about Apple’s wearable AR philosophy

I've spent the last week wearing Apple's new AirPods Pro. Not a week straight, I mean, but pretty consistently in all the places where I would usually use one of my other myriad sets of headphones. In looking at the AirPods Pro as a product, I think there are important things to be gleaned from the choices Apple made in their design—the kind of design choices that may lend insight into the way Apple is thinking about the wearables market. Wearables, of course, was the market that was sharply up in the compa[..]

Apple: Putting its efforts where the money is

Like the man said: follow the money. In looking at Apple’s most recent financial quarterly results, you can learn a lot about the company’s strategy by seeing where the company is doing well. As chief financial officer Luca Maestri pointed out on the call, Apple’s primary investments have traditionally been in research and development, and it’s a good bet that it will focus many of those funds on areas that are growing. As I listened to this week’s financial recap of Apple’s latest blockbuster quarter, I ke[..]

When Apple makes changes, communication is key

As a company, Apple is constantly innovating: rolling out new features, making changes to old ones, fixing bugs, and so on. That’s great. It’s exactly what we expect from technology companies. But an equally important part of that process is finding a way to communicate those changes to its users, and that’s one area where Apple has recently demonstrated a more mixed record. The company has made a few choices that have left some users scratching their heads, trying to figure out exactly how to use or find a[..]

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[..]