Apple has pushed the first trailer for Carpool Karaoke, the spinoff series being produced for Apple Music by James Corden and CBS. It features, “James Corden, Will Smith, Billy Eichner, Metallica, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Ariana Grande, Seth MacFarlane, Chelsea Handler, Blake Shelton, Michael Strahan, John Cena, Shaquille O’Neal, and many more.” It’s super fun, and builds a song with short samples from many episodes of the first season. Carpool Karaoke has been a huge hit for James Corden and The Late Late Show, and news broke late in 2016 that it would be spun off as a standalone show for Apple Music. My guess—especially after seeing this trailer—is that it’s going to be a huge hit for Apple Music, too.
Check out this recording of Steve Jobs’ NeXT keynote from 1992 (via Cult of Mac), where he introduced NeXTSTEP 3.0 (which eventually became OS X). Interesting tidbits from the spot include the 51 minute and 32 second mark, where he shows a feature that ended up being cut when Apple bought NeXT, distributed object inter-application and inter network communication. At 59 minutes and 53 seconds, Mr. Jobs shows off fast elliptical encryption built right into NeXT’s email system. That was also cut for the Mac. Then there was the bit about operating system-level the Renderman rending engine (nixed), and NeXTSTEP for Intel processors, which did eventually make it to the Mac. All these observations come courtesy of John Kheit, who used to work at NeXT. He called this one of Steve Jobs’s best keynotes and a must-watch for fans. I agree, though your mileage may vary. One way or another, it’s definitely good.
Tim Cook spoke to the students of the University of Glasgow this week. The hour long event included questions from faculty and students alike. Topics included President Trump’s travel bans on seven muslim-majority countries, the reach of the App Store, the environment, wealth inequality, education, balancing work and life, technology interacting with our bodies, Apple Watch, idealism, Steve Jobs’s influence over Apple today, styluses, and more. The video was posted by a student. The audio quality is poor, but the rules for the event precluded “dedicated recording equipment.” To that end, this video was recorded entirely on an iPhone 7 in the hands of a student 50-70 feet from Mr. Cook, and is stunningly good considering. In addition, note how quiet and respectful this audience of 800-plus students is.
The race to get Thunderbolt 3 docks to market has been on since Apple introduced the Touch Bar MacBook Pro, and CalDigit is the first to hit that mark with its new TS3 Lite. The dock includes two Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports, two USB 3.1 type A ports and a single USB-C port, audio in and out, Gigabit Ethernet, and DisplayPort. The TS3 Lite supports dual displays plus 4K and 5K displays, and it’s two front-facing USB ports can charge devices when the dock isn’t connected to your Mac. The TS3 Lite is available now for US$199.99.
If you watch the Grammy Awards on Sunday night and don’t skip the commercials, you’re likely to see something that reminds you of Apple’s “1984”: a new commercial from Sonos targeted at ridding the world of a new disease, The Silent Home. Previewed to the press this week in Boston, the spot is effective at delivering its message and is perhaps the clearest advertising we’ve seen yet from Sonos. View it in advance of the Grammy’s right here (or on YouTube if you prefer that sort of thing).
Today Pinterest rolled out a new visual search tool called Lens. It’s a feature found within the app that uses machine learning to classify real-world objects. Lens suggests items in Pinterest that are related to the object. Pinterest co-founder Evan Sharp demonstrated Lens visual search to detect a pomegranate, and Pinterest showed him pins about pomegranate bread, sandwiches and helpful tips to peel the fruit. Along with Lens, the company introduced Shop the Look, a tool that identifies objects in pins that you can purchase, and gives you a direct link to buy. Right now it’s only available for five brands. Although currently in beta, Lens is sure to help usher in augmented reality.
Steve Jobs’s obsession over every aspect of a device being important is legendary. He famously (and infamously to some) demanded that the insides of a sealed machine—even the circuit boards—be just as aesthetically pleasing as the outside. Reuters has an interesting piece about Apple Campus 2.0, and how Apple’s current leadership is applying that same penchant for detail to this building. Pipe that you can’t see. Wires that you can’t see. That sort of thing. Some of you are instantly getting tense because you would rather Apple be spending that time and attention to, say, new Macs. Or iPads. Or AirPort devices. Or a 5K display worthy of a Mac. Or something other than new iPhones. I’m still just as tense as I have been about those things, but the reality is I’m glad Apple is being all obsessive about Apple Campus 2.0. This building is just as much Steve Jobs’s legacy as Apple itself. I imagine it’s important to his survivors at Apple that they treat this building as he would have treated it. I can’t help but think working in a living reminder of this aspect of Steve Jobs will help make future products that much better. One way or another, go read the Reuters piece. It’s really good.
This new product caught my eye because its so darn cool. Consider: a replaceable Li-ion 16 amp-hour battery in a nifty suitcase (16 x 12 x 4 inches), 13 lbs, with 2 x 10 watt solar panels built into the lid that can charge it in about six hours. Outputs include 110 volts AC, 2 x 12 volts DC and 4 x USB (6 amps). You can also charge it from your car or AC power. The battery packs enough energy to charge an iPad Air six times, an iPhone 32 times or a small notebook five times (40 W-h). Perfect for the camper, and it’s now available, under $600.00.
1999 was a good time to be a Mac user. Apple was coming back, baby! And unlike today, the company was releasing new Macs, too. 1999 saw the PowerMac G3 and PowerMac G4, multicolored iMacs to replace the Bondi Blue iMac, and the PowerBook G3 (Lombard). Those were good times. It was also the year Apple ran a spot called HAL in the Super Bowl. Ken Segall, who was then the Apple account manager at TBWA/Chiat/Day, gave us the inside story on how HAL was born and the convoluted steps HAL took to land in the Super Bowl. Spoiler: it almost didn’t happen. Quick nuggets include the voice actor who recreated the HAL voice because the original voice actor was reportedly too precious to do commercials; the painstaking process of recreating HAL’s look and feel; and securing permission from Stanley Kubrick and MGM to use the characters and imagery (respectively). I love reading Ken Segall’s stories about working with Steve Jobs, and this is another good one. Definitely check it out. Below is the beginning of the Macworld Expo keynote where HAL actually debuted.
Target is discounting its entire lineup of Apple Watch Series 1 models by US$70—that includes eight models of Apple Watch. With the price drop, 38mm models are $199, and 42mm models are $229. Both prices include free shipping. This is a great deal for customers who want an Apple Watch but not necessarily the latest model. The prime differences between Series 1 and Series 2 watches are that the Series 2 devices have a GPS sensor, water resistance, and a better display. (via MacRumors).
If you’re only interest in the Super Bowl was the commercials, you don’t have to find a friend who recorded the game just so you can see them. The Super Bowl Commercials website has your back. They have all of the commercials, and they chose what they see as the top 9 ads from the game. Spoiler: car makers nailed it with their ads this year. You can watch all of the ads at the Super Bowl Commercials website.
Iconfactory has been making a big splash with its new Linea sketching app, a major new entry in the illustration space. Serenity Caldwell has done a great animated (i.e. stop motion video) review of the software for iMore. She said, “Linea has supplanted Paper in my iPad’s dock as my go-to sketching program — and for those who know me, that’s a shocker: I haven’t really sketched in anything consistently other than Paper since its 2013 release.” If you’ve been curious about Linea, you should definitely watch.
OK, Nintendo fans, you have another game to take up your free time: Fire Emblem Heroes. The fantasy-based role playing game (RPG) puts you on a quest to save heroes from different worlds and stop the Emblian Empire’s evil rule. The game is based on the Fire Emblem game franchise and pits you in battles and duels as you explore. Unfortunately, you’ll need an active internet connection to play, just like Super Mario Run because Nintendo seems to think we’re all clever hackers out to steal their game. Fire Emblem Heroes is a free download for the iPhone and iPad, and it includes some in-game purchases.
Depending on usage and the watchOS version, most Apple Watch users find themselves routinely charging their watch every night out of caution or necessity. But what if one is camping and has no access to electrical power? Or otherwise unable to charge the Apple Watch as expected. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an interchangeable Apple Watch band that could provide backup power? A good collection of bands means one could wear the AW all the time, says our Bryan Chaffin, and that means opportunity for sleep tracking, says our Jeff Gamet. Patently Apple (thanks guys) has the story. This would be great news if Apple pursues it.
Today the World Wide Web Consortium and the International Digital Publishing Forum have completed a merger. The new initiative, called [email protected], will use web technologies to improve publishing, authoring and reading of interactive eBooks. The goal is to make an eBook a self-contained ecosystem with rich interactions using dynamic documents, search, and multimedia. The self-contained part means that the web elements can work even if you’re offline, without needing an always-on connection. Work is underway on APIs and packaging formats to enable these eBooks to act more like apps or web pages. The move could dramatically overhaul the ebook market, which is currently dominated by Amazon, with Apple’s iBooks as a distant second. It remains to be seen how having the W3C’s weight behind an ebook standard could affect the market, but it could give authors, publishers (including independent authors), and readers more options. It could also have a big impact on the textbook industry.
Apple has a webpage called Exchange and Repair Extension Programs that lists the company’s current recalls and warranty programs. I’m not sure it lists every such program Apple has, but it’s a good place to check if you have concerns about an Apple device. Each listing includes a date of the program or extension, the name of the program, and a link to a page detailing exactly what it is, what it covers, and how you utilize it. You should bookmark it, and then do what you can to not forget that it’s there. As of this writing there are some 15 different programs listed, from the Apple Ultracompact USB Power Adapter Exchange Program to iPhone 6s Program for Unexpected Shutdown Issues,
The Iconfactory is jumping into the iPad sketch app market with its brand new Linea app, and based on our tests, it’s pretty cool. Linea is going for drawing and sketching, not digital painting, and it has the right tool set for the job. It comes with four pen tips an dan eraser tool, support for five layers, blending and transparency modes, graph paper grids, and one of my favorite features: tap a swatch on the color palette to see several shades for that color. It also includes Apple Pencil support and offers pretty flexible image export options. Linea is priced at US$9.99, and it’s one of the few sketching apps that gets to stay on my iPad Pro.
watchOS 3.2 introduced Theater Mode, which means your Apple Watch will be less obtrusive when you’re watching movies or live shows. The feature is easy to turn on and off, and your fellow theatuer goers will appreciate that you’re using it. Follow along with our how-to video to learn how Theater Mode works.
Starbucks just added a new feature to its iPhone app that lets you speak your order instead of tapping through the on screen menu. The feature, called My Starbucks barista, works sort of like a text chat where you say what you want—like, medium soy chai—and the app places the order at your local Starbucks. The app can handle L.A. Story-quality orders, too, like double upside down macchiato half decaf with room and splash of cream in a grande cup. The good news is the feature is part of yesterday’s Starbucks app update, and the bad news is that it’s beta right now and available to only 1,000 customers. For the rest of us, we’ll have to make due with the new Starbucks Alexa skill that lets you reorder your last drink. Seriously. You can do that now.
iAppleBytes did some speed tests comparing iOS 10.2.1 and iOS 10.3—with its new file system. In the video below, they show startup times on an iPhone 5 and an iPhone 5s. The device on the left of each pair is running iOS 10.2.1, the current shipping version of iOS. The devices on the right of each pair are running iOS 10.3, which includes Apple File System (APFS). This is a brand new file system years in the making, and it will change of underlying structural aspects of iOS. This demonstration shows one of those things is startup times. The iPhone 5s running iOS 10.3 started up 5.88 seconds faster than its cousin running 10.2.1. That’s 19.7% faster! The iPhone 5 running iOS 10.3 started up 7.57 seconds faster (18.7% faster). This is just one metric, mind you, and it’s important to remember this version of iOS 10.3 is the first developer preview. Newer iPhone and iPads with newer processors will likely show a smaller delta in absolute terms, but the whole point is that things are going to be happening faster. Squuuueeeeeeeeeeeeee!