January 30, 2015

Link: AOL Closing TUAW ☍

Micah Singleton for The Verge:

There goes another one. AOL is shutting down The Unofficial Apple Weblog, better known as TUAW, sources familiar with the situation tell The Verge. The company — which is also shutting down its gaming site Joystiq — is in the midst of a major reorganization, and is cutting back on media properties it deems as underperforming. TUAW’s run comes to an end on February 2nd.

It’s a shame AOL couldn’t make it work with a blog about an exciting tech company making more money than they know what to do with. Jokes aside, I’m sorry to see more folks lose their jobs and a site that I thoroughly enjoyed—especially in its early days—disappear.

January 29, 2015

Link: Microsoft Releases New Outlook App for iOS and Android ☍

Initially, I dismissed this release as another Microsoft tool that I wouldn’t necessarily need or use. Curiosity got the best of me and I installed it and added my work Exchange account to try and have found it to be pretty good. The app is mostly a rebranding of Acompli, which Microsoft recently purchased and brought in-house. Around the various sites reporting on this, a number of commenters have complained that Microsoft took the easy way out, but I don’t see it any different than Dropbox buying Mailbox, Apple buying Siri, or any other tech acquisition involving a startup. Kudos to Microsoft for realizing that someone was doing a better job than they were and bringing them into the fold to further develop a product category.

That being said, I still like Apple’s Mail app on iOS and may flip the switch to use my work email on there again, but for the time being, it’s nice to see what others bring to the table.

January 27, 2015

News: Apple Reports Q1 Results

Apple announced financial results for its fiscal 2015 first quarter ending December 27, 2014. In the conference call, Apple posted quarterly revenue of $74.6 billion and quarterly net profit of $18 billion, or $2.07 per diluted share…

Link: Apple Releases OS X 10.10.2 ☍

As expected, OS X Yosemite received an update today with the following changes:

  • Resolves an issue that may cause Wi-Fi to disconnect.
  • Resolves an issue that may cause web pages to load slowly.
  • Fixes an issue that caused Spotlight to load remote email content when the preference was disabled in Mail.
  • Improves audio and video sync when using Bluetooth headphones.
  • Adds the ability to browse iCloud Drive in Time Machine.
  • Improves VoiceOver speech performance.
  • Resolves an issue that causes VoiceOver to echo characters when entering text on a web page
  • Addresses an issue that may cause the input method to switch languages unexpectedly.
  • Improves stability and security in Safari.

Link: Apple Releases iOS 8.1.3 ☍

Available via the Software Update feature on iOS, this update seems to vary in size (weighing in at 247MB on my iPhone 6, 136MB on an iPad 2), and includes the following:

  • Reduces the amount of storage required to perform a software update.
  • Fixes an issue that prevent some users from entering their Apple ID password for Messages and FaceTime.
  • Addresses an issue that caused Spotlight to stop displaying app results.
  • Fixes an issue which prevented multitasking gestures from working on iPad.
  • Adds new configuration options for education standardized testing.
January 22, 2015

Link: BlackBerry CEO John Chen is Whiny, Doesn’t Get Net Neutrality ☍

John Chen:

Unfortunately, not all content and applications providers have embraced openness and neutrality. Unlike BlackBerry, which allows iPhone users to download and use our BBM service, Apple does not allow BlackBerry or Android users to download Apple’s iMessage messaging service. Netflix, which has forcefully advocated for carrier neutrality, has discriminated against BlackBerry customers by refusing to make its streaming movie service available to them. Many other applications providers similarly offer service only to iPhone and Android users. This dynamic has created a two-tiered wireless broadband ecosystem, in which iPhone and Android users are able to access far more content and applications than customers using devices running other operating systems. These are precisely the sort of discriminatory practices that neutrality advocates have criticized at the carrier level.

While it is a chicken-egg situation for BlackBerry’s newest offerings, along with Windows Phone, this is how business works. If you’re developing an app, you’re going to target the most popular devices. Others may eventually happen, but that requires additional time, effort, and support. Let’s not forget that BBM was BlackBerry-only for quite a long time, only opening up support for other platforms in a quick attempt to entice potential customers. Historically, this would be like 1996 Apple complaining that there’s way more software and hardware available for Windows PCs. That’s how competition works—Apple and Google had to gain momentum to get the popular apps and services for their mobile devices—it’s not their fault that BlackBerry lost support from developers and customers.

January 17, 2015

Article: Down

As someone who is interested in technology, I often find myself lusting after gadgets that I don’t really need. While I feel like most purchases have been justified, there’s always the chance that something I purchase will end up sitting idle on a shelf or in a box after a few weeks or months. Last week, I learned a bit about how the idea of a fitness tracker really doesn’t appeal to me as much as I thought it would…

January 15, 2015

Link: The Forgotten iPod touch ☍

Stephen Hackett:

The iPod touch is a big hit for parents looking for lost-cost devices for their kids, but with the original, A5-powered iPad mini now for sale at just $249, the iPod touch is a harder sell. The iPad mini — with its bigger screen and better battery — is a lot better for games and videos, the two things kids do with these kinds of devices. Toss in that it’s much harder to lose a 7.9-inch device than a 4-inch one, and it’s not hard to see why the iPod touch may be losing out to the iPad mini.

I’d love to see Apple do away with their A5 products once and for all—in some ways, I think this is holding iOS back. Besides that, the iPod touch is a great product to have, but with hand-me-down iPhones and the iPad mini, it really doesn’t have a place. However, I would like to see Apple either make the decision to discontinue it or upgrade it to at least be on par with the iPhone 5s.