The Twelve South TimePorter is a combination travel case for Apple Watch accessories and stand. It looks and carries like an eyeglass case. It's nicely made, and the concept is good. Unfortunately, as John Martellaro found out, it requires too much fussing to be considered a great product.
Have you heard of JJ Lin? Singapore-born and based in Taiwan, he's an enormously popular performer and producer in that part of the world. He posted a video to his YouTube channel of him and his pal Apple CEO Tim Cook jamming in GarageBand with those new Chinese-music loops and instruments I wrote about yesterday. Mr. Cook serves as DJ in the piece, tapping loops to create the background music while JJ Lin plays the lead melody on one of those new instruments. It's fun, and it's a message aimed at the Chinese market. Also, note that JJ Lin posted it, not Apple and not Mr. Cook. Seems like Apple really is learning more about how to operate in that market.
We have a deal for you today on KeepSolid Disposable Phone Lines, an encrypted voice-over-IP (VOIP) service that essentially gives you disposable lines from which to make calls. With the package we're offering, you’ll receive up to 3 total private USA or Canadian phone numbers with unlimited SMS, and unlimited calls (US lines only). Our deal is for a 1-year subscription at 75 percent off, or $99. Check out the deal listing for more details.
Netflix wants you to know how fast your internet connection is, so came up with its own speed test website called Fast.com. It's a one trick pony in that you'll see just your download speed, which makes sense considering that's the part of your connection Netflix really cares about. What's nice is that you don't need to click any buttons to start or sift through ads trying to figure out how to start the test; just hit the Fast.com site and wait a few seconds while it does its thing.
CurrentC is delayed yet again, and it's looking more and more like the alternative contactless payment system will never officially launch. Kelly Guimont and John Martellaro join Jeff Gamet to talk about the eminent demise of CurrentC and the companies defecting from the platform for alternative systems.
Don't miss this week's Dr. Mac's Rants & Raves — Part II of his annual gift guide for dads & grads.
The guy that got the interent in a tizzy over iTunes deleting his personal music library has a follow up: Apple's engineers paid him a personal visit to troubleshoot the problem. What they discovered was the lost music wasn't user error, there's a hard to track bug in iTunes, and Amber, the phone support representative he originally spoke with didn't know what she was talking about.
Apple has been quietly adding engineers with experience in wireless charging, according to some LinkedIn sleuthing by The Verge. Over the course of the last two years, Apple has hired more than a dozen people in this field, including two from wireless charging startup uBeam in just the last four months. There's no telling what they're working on, but Apple already offers inductive wireless charging on Apple Watch, and Bloomberg reported in January that Apple wanted to do some kind of wireless charging solution for iPhone in 2017. Check out the full report at The Verge for additional information—the takeaway is that Apple is working on something in the field of wireless charging, and that's exciting, and it will probably be less dramatic, yet far cooler, than Nikola Tesla's wireless electricity transmission experiments more than a century ago.
Apple continued beefing up its offerings for the Chinese market this week with an update to GarageBand dedicated to Chinese content. The company added several Chinese instruments, including the pipa, the erhu and unspecified "Chinese percussion." Apple also added "300 Apple-created Chinese musical loops," the first new loops we've seen in some time.
Apple has been taking a lot of heat lately for iTunes. The user interface, which was stellar when it first launched, has become complex, confusing and opaque. Plus, many small problems have plagued its robustness over the years as it tried to do too much. iTunes 12.4 takes two steps forward after many backwards steps, and restores some interface sanity. This is in itself notable.
Check out TarDisk, a cleverly named flash memory storage device for your MacBook. It fits in the SD slot on your MacBook, and is seen as a hard drive. If you use the included Pear 2.0 utility, that 64GB will virtually integrate with your internal hard drive so that your MacBook sees them both as one drive. Pretty cool! You can get this device through us for $99.99, some 32 percent off retail.
The Mac Observer's Jeff Gamet will be talking about social media services tonight, May 17, at the Denver Apple Pi Mac User Group. He'll be talking about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and more, plus he'll have some tips for staying safe online.
iTunes 12.4 is out with some new interface changes. John Martellaro and Dave Hamilton join Jeff Gamet to share their first impressions with the iTunes update, plus they offer up some thoughts on the System and Security Info app getting bumped from the App Store.
I use iTunes every day, and when searching in the iTunes Store for new music it just seems odd to me that there's no link or option to show the same content in Apple Music. In today's video, an example of that and perhaps a better option for iTunes...12.5?
Apple's manufacturing partner Foxconn is ramping up earlier than usual for the next wave of iPhone production, and it looks like device assembly is going to be even more complicated. Workers reportedly need more training to put the smartphone's components together, so hiring started early to meet Apple's expected September launch window.
iTunes just got updated, and version 12.4 looks a bit different. For one thing, we can use the sidebar again (whoo!), and for another, we can edit that sidebar to show only what we want it to (double whoo!). We've got the how-to right here in today's Quick Tip.
Apple squashed scores of security flaws in updates to OS X (10.11.5), iOS (9.3.2), and watchOS (2.2.1) on Monday, and TMO recommends that you run those updates ASAP—unless you're on an iPad Pro (9.7-inch). Bryan Chaffin explains.
It is with no small amount of glee and even more schadenfreude that I pass along the news that CurrentC's nationwide launch has been "postponed." Why the quote marks? Because that's almost certainly code for "shelved." And why the schadenfreude? Because from the moment it was announced, CurrentC offended Bryan Chaffin.
We have a deal for you today on a 3-in-1 lens kit for your iPhone from Acesori. It includes a Fish Eye Lens, Wide-Angle Lens, and a Macro Lens. It also comes with lanyards and covers for each lens, a microfiber cleaning cloth, and a carrying pouch. They're held in place with magnetic rings that are also included—rings designed to stick to the metal around a smartphone's lens. The price on our deal is $9.99.
System and Security Info from Stefan Esser launched on the iPhone only a few days ago and has already been booted off the App Store. The app checked which processes were running on users' iPhones, then reported back with details about which apps were running, and whether or not any could be unwanted or malware. The internet quickly jumped to the conclusion that Apple was blocking apps that could detect device-level spying, but the reality is far less insidious: System and Security info violated Apple's developer guidelines and was rejected.
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