April 9, 2015

Link: Jason Snell Reviews the New MacBook ☍

Jason Snell writing for his old employer:

Using a computer that feels like it fell through a time warp from the future is fun, but if that computer drops through the wormhole without any compatible accessories then there’s going to be some aggravation, too.

The new MacBook is one of those Apple products. It feels like it came from the future, and didn’t bring its ecosystem with it. With its single USB-C port for both charging and peripherals, it’s unlike any Mac previously made. It’s the smallest, lightest Mac laptop ever, offers a Retina display, and yet it boasts all-day battery life. Using it alone will be a pleasure, but trying to plug it in to all your existing technology will be a pain.

If you want more information, Snell also has a great grab bag piece on his own site:

After writing 3500 words about a laptop, you wouldn’t think there’d be much left on the cutting-room floor. Oh, but you’d be wrong! Here are a few brief hands-on notes about the MacBook that I’ve saved just for Six Colors readers…

April 8, 2015

News: Apple Releases OS X Yosemite 10.10.3

As expected, Apple also released an update to OS X Yosemite, adding the Photos app, updating the Emoji picker, and improving overall stability…

News: Apple Releases iOS 8.3

Available via iOS’s Software Update, this version includes a lot of changes, but most notably improved performance, bug fixes, and a redesigned Emoji keyboard. The notable changes I saw were a redesigned Passbook screen and the skin-tone Emoji picker (and also the removal of all redheads in the Emoji picker)…

Link: John Gruber Reviews the Apple Watch ☍

John Gruber:

There are two types of people in the world: those who wear a watch, and those who don’t. Watch wearers, in my experience, recognize that non-wearers are manifold. Those who don’t wear a watch, on the other hand, often seem under the impression that few people wear watches anymore. They’re wrong — fewer people wear watches than in the past, but many do.

Apple is targeting people from both groups. They want watch wearers to switch, and they want non-watch wearers to start wearing one. Those are two wholly separate marketing and product design challenges.

In his standard format, there are no photos, just great descriptions and musings on everyday use. Although I read a lot of different reviews, this one gave me the best summary of this first-generation product.

March 31, 2015

Review: Incase Hardshell

Incase HardshellOne popular accessory for Apple’s portables are hard shell cases. We looked at the Uncommon Deflector awhile back, and this time got a hold of the $50 Incase Hardshell for the 11” MacBook Air. Incase’s take is slightly different from the Deflector and other competitors, and has been the result of a slow evolution, going back to the days of plastic MacBooks, so we were curious to see how the most recent iteration fared…

Link: Blade Runner Reality ☍

I came across this Instagram account from a post on The Verge by Adi Robertson. It’s amazing how it’s so easy to snap pictures of places today and they look like they belong in the future Ridley Scott dreamed up in the early 1980s.

Link: Apple Pay Hurdles ☍

Tim Higgins and Elizabeth Dexheimer for Bloomberg:

While 66 percent of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners surveyed had signed up for Apple Pay, repeat usage is being hurt, the study by Phoenix Marketing International said. Almost half of users visited a store listed as an Apple Pay merchant only to find they couldn’t use the service because the location wasn’t actually accepting the system or wasn’t ready to do so, according to the survey, which drew about 3,000 respondents.

I’ve used Apple Pay a lot since it has been introduced. Almost all in-app versions work great (Target’s app hasn’t in the two times I tried), but in stores it has really depended on the state of the terminals. Subway has worked less often than it has worked (with one employee skeptical that I wasn’t “hacking” the credit card machine), McDonald’s has mostly worked, and the rest of places have worked every time. Meijer’s original terminals were a bit older and so some just failed, but all the locations near me received new ones recently.

If I were to point the biggest hurdles for Apple Pay for me, it would be that stores I shop don’t support it (or have the ability to use it explicitly disabled), they have old terminals that are flaky, or the employee training is lacking. As more people have Apple Pay-compatible iPhones, the Apple Watch, and NFC-capable Android devices, stores will need to iron out the kinks on their end, either through replacement hardware or better training.

March 29, 2015

“America’s business community recognized a long time ago that discrimination, in all its forms, is bad for business. At Apple, we are in business to empower and enrich our customers’ lives. We strive to do business in a way that is just and fair. That’s why, on behalf of Apple, I’m standing up to oppose this new wave of legislation — wherever it emerges.”