On Monday TiVo announced their BOLT+ DVR, enhancing the company’s flagship line with a sleek, black unit that includes six tuners and 3TB of recording capacity. Six tuners may seem like a lot until you think about how the current TiVo paradigm works: you have the BOLT+ (or BOLT, or 4+ tuner Roamio) on one TV connected to cable, then you have TiVo Minis at all your other TVs. You only pay a subscription fee for your main device, and each of the Minis can stream live or recorded shows from the host. The trick is, each active Mini occupies one tuner of the host device when in use. Six tuners begins to make a lot of sense if you have even 2 or 3 TVs in action at any one point in time. TiVo is really the only company who is properly addressing the whole-house media viewing solution this way, and it truly makes life a lot simpler. TIVo’s new BOLT+ is priced at $499.99 and will be available online and at brick-and-mortar retail on Thursday, September 15th.
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Rolled out to to developers last week, the iOS 10 Golden Master release (Version 10.0.1 14A403) includes a new Announce Calls feature in Settings > Phone. When enabled, your phone will begin ringing as usual and then your ringtone’s volume will duck down while Siri announces the name or number of the caller. You have the option to set this to Always, Headphones & Car, Headphones Only or Never. If set to Always, it will announce through your iPhone’s speaker only when the Ring/Silent switch is in Ring mode. iOS 10 will be available for all users tomorrow, Tuesday, September 13th.
On March 31 of this year (2016), Apple solved the problem that existed since September of 2014: Power users that wanted an iPhone with the latest CPU but preferred the 4″ form factor could have their cake and eat it, too – again – with the introduction of the iPhone SE. Now, though, that problem starts all over again.
On Tuesday, wireless speaker manufacturer Sonos summoned the press to Manhattan to show off some new software features they’ve been working on and, in doing so, painted a picture of a more open Sonos experience. Demonstrating Amazon Alexa voice control and Spotify app integration, Sonos showed a not-too-distant future where customers have the ability to control their Sonos products in a variety of new ways without sacrificing any of the existing benefits of the Sonos platform.
Mac Geek Gab listener Daryn is interested in seeing the size of both files and folders when using the Terminal. We’ll help him utilize the ‘du’ command to glean that information, and then we’ll talk about how to do that in Recovery Mode where ‘du’ isn’t readily available.
Recently on Mac Geek Gab the topic of phantom app data has come up, mostly in the context of how one can remove it. This data can be from deleted apps, temp files from existing apps, or sometimes even data that iTunes has downloaded for temporary storage. Over the course of the past few episodes we’ve found three ways to delete this data.
Years in the making, today Cyan released Obduction which, as they term it, is the “spiritual successor” to their immensely popular game, Myst. Like its predecessor, Oduction is built to take you on an immersive and non-linear story through worlds of wonder and mystery. From first looks, it seems fantastic. Many of us have been waiting a long time for this and now it’s here for us to play. Kickstarter backers get the Mac version today, and Cyan indicates that a general release of the Mac version is “coming soon.” Related: I’ll be busy for the rest of the day. You might be, too.
On Sunday AT&T rolled out their new Mobile Share Advantage Plans and, along with them, their online comparison tool that shows you just what the new plans will cost you. Digging in this morning it’s pretty evident that only a handful of people currently on Mobile Share Value plans will actually save money with these new plans. Click through to see the math and the details.
Sitting squarely in the finally column, Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides received updates today enabling Split Screen view for capable iPads running iOS 9 (and later). It works exactly as you would have expected it to work in the fall when it should have originally been released. Go download them from the App Store.
Whether you’re a cord-cutter or someone who uses a standard cable subscription, sometimes all you want to see is the Olympics highlight reel. TiVo’ing four hours of Prime Time coverage to just wade through the muck is not my idea of a good time. Enter the NBC Sports app. Launch this on your Apple TV, iPhone or iPad and you can instantly see short clips of just the highlights from the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Sure, down the road you may find you want to watch entire matches, too, but this is a great way to catch up quick while whetting your appetite for future events.
We’d like to thank Digiarty, makers of MacX MediaTrans, for their sponsorship of The Mac Observer this week. For the time being, all TMO readers are eligible for a 30-day free trial of MacX MediaTrans. Once you’ve tried it, you can get a 2 Mac license of MacX MediaTrans for only $29.95, and that comes with lifetime upgrades!
Every update to iTunes seems to refine a useful feature out of the interface, and as I created a new playlist in iTunes this morning I found yet another. All new Playlists are stuck in “Playlist” view, which has a limited selection of columns and no obvious way to customize them. No worries, you can still customize them, you just have to change your View first. We’ll show you how.
iOS Mail lets you search your messages, and most folks know that. What many of us didn’t know until Aaron’s comment in Sunday’s Mac Geek Gab 616 was that iOS responds differently to certain key words. If, for example, you type “yesterday” into Mail’s search field, it offers to “tokenize” that and make it a condition of the search, limiting to things dated, well, yesterday. Once you tokenize a term, you can add another. We’ve all experienced tokenizing someone’s name or an email subject, but the list is much bigger than that.
VAVA’s new Voom 20 is perhaps my new favorite Bluetooth speaker, and that’s saying a lot. It’s the right size – a little taller than a can of soda – and has a full, warm sound that can fill a room or your outdoor deck. With dual 8W drivers, two passive subwoofers, 10 hours of battery life and an IPX5 water rating, this speaker will go anywhere you want to bring it, be that the beach, your hotel room, or the kitchen of your AirBnB. It’s even got speakerphone capabilities as well as a USB port for charging your iPhone from the Voom 20s internal 5200mAh battery. It supports the aptX Bluetooth codec, so if you’re using this with your Mac you can get top-quality Bluetooth sound to it. One note: the volume control on the speaker is set independently of your device’s volume, so be sure to crank up both of them. With a special 25% discount available through August 8, the VAVA Voom 20 can be yours direct from VAVA for $59.99 with coupon code GOVOOM20. That’s less than half of what I’ve found comparable speakers cost.
Apple’s Touch ID is an excellent security convenience, allowing you to quickly unlock your iPhone or iPad without having to type in your Passcode. Most of us will want to train at least the index finger and thumb of both hands in order to have some unlocking flexibility. That requires adding each fingerprint manually, and the iPhone only allows five total fingerprints to be trained. What if you want to train more than five fingers? Or what if you want to make the training process more efficient? In Sunday’s Mac Geek Gab 616, listener Robin provided an answer to these questions: train multiple fingerprints simultaneously.
Rogue Amoeba, developers of many great things upon which we podcasters rely, updated Loopback to version 1.0.3 today. Loopback lets you create virtual audio devices on your Mac which send the audio from one application to another in ways that most apps don’t directly support. The update brings Rogue Amoeba’s latest Instant On component, version 8.3, which now supports macOS 10.12 Sierra (available in beta form), as well as a bug fix for monitoring devices that are removed and re-added. Loopback is available directly from Rogue Amoeba.
Deliveries, Junecloud’s excellent delivery tracking app, sees an update this week that adds a complete set of Apple Watch complications. Previous versions would only work with certain complications, and specifically had nothing for the smaller “Circular” complication that often sits in the corners of the watch face. Now any complication spot can be filled with your Deliveries data. Our tests also showed that the newest version of the app works fine on the current iOS 10 and watchOS 3 betas, but no comments were made by the developer. Your mileage may vary, of course.
Geocaching, both the name of the real-world treasure-hunt style game and its companion iOS app, sees an update to the latter today to better surface GeoTours. GeoTours are custom-built collections of geocaches to enhance (or serve as the foundation for) a trip or vacation to a specific area. There are now over 60 unique GeoTours available, and more are being added all the time. To learn about GeoTours or search for a specific one, start with the Search icon in the app and select GeoTours. You’ll be good to go from there!
Mozilla has pushed out version 5.0 of Firefox for iOS to the App Store, and along with it comes a slew of new features. Chief among those are both speed and battery life improvements as well as the ability to add custom search engines to the browser. When searching for something in Firefox, you’ve long had the option of tapping the icon of an alternative engine to perform your search there. Now you can add your own custom engines by simply going to any website, putting the cursor in the website’s own search box, and then hitting Firefox’s magnifying-glass-with-a-plus-symbol icon. That’ll add it to the top of your alternatives list and you’re good to go!
I’m someone who runs at a pretty fast clip. When the Apple Watch first came out and everyone was touting its health benefits, I didn’t think that a device on my wrist was going to help remind me to walk, stand or exercise more. Apple’s new Breathe app, however, has changed all of that.