Apple and IBM Partnership: Macs, iOS and Watson Are The Glue

· John Martellaro · Particle Debris

IBM's Watson supercomputer

IBM and Apple have been partnering with each other for some time now. The action continues with Macs finding great favor within IBM. Also, education initiatives continue. Finally, IBM’s Watson has to be giving Apple some big ideas. This has the signs of becoming one of the most productive partnerships ever, amongst former rivals, in the tech industry.

Apple Will Likely Let the 2013 Mac Pro Quietly Die

· John Martellaro · Editorial

There was a time when Apple was into powerful headless Macs for technical professionals. Those who wanted their own multiple displays and great expandability. Lately, Apple seems to have lost interest in that market and focussed on mobility. There is a smattering of hopeful signs, but John Martellaro thinks the Mac Pro is headed for the annals of Apple history.

Did You Get the (i)Message? Tapback, Digital Touch, Apps, and More

· Bob LeVitus · Dr. Mac's Rants & Raves

Turn your phone sideways to handwrite a message.

When Dr. Mac sent his daughter an iMessage with iOS 10’s whizzy new stickers, full-screen effects, and animated GIFs, he was shocked when she replied: “Haha! I didn’t even know you could do all that.” He thinks it’s likely some of you in reader-land have yet to discover the joys of the iOS 10 Messages app. So in this week’s Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves (Episode #197 if you’re counting) the good doctor offers up a short primer on the interesting new features in Messages.

Thoughts About Apple's Secret iPhone 7 Chip

· John Martellaro · Editorial

FPGA

An intriguing chip has been discovered in the teardown of the iPhone 7. We know that it’s a field-programmable gate array (FPGA), but we don’t know what it’s intended to do. Speculation abounds. John has a SWAG.

Apple Reportedly Scales Back 'Titan' Apple Car Project For Now

· Bryan Chaffin · The Back Page

The Apple Car Crystal Ball

Apple Car has been Bob Mansfielded, according to a report from Bloomberg. Citing unnamed sources, the report said that Apple has reassigned employees and is focusing solely on developing an autonomous software system. Furthermore, the company’s executive team has imposed a deadline of the end of 2017 to determine the viability of that system. But, Apple Car isn’t necessarily dead, and Bryan Chaffin explains why.

Petition Asks Apple to Bring iTunes Song Ratings Back to iOS [Update]

· Bryan Chaffin · Editorial

iOS 10 Screen for

Duncan Lockard started a petition at Change.org asking Apple to “Put song ratings back on iOS.” I signed it, and if you like song ratings, I’d encourage you to sign it, too. [Updated with additional information on displaying Star Ratings in Songs view.]

What Will We Do When Siri Picks Our Pocket?

· John Martellaro · Particle Debris

Hal9000 eye

A major problem with Artificial Intelligence (AI) development is that a time might come when AI’s are able to learn and teach themselves faster than humans can manage them. Recently, President Obama suggested AI’s that aren’t properly constrained and regulated could be unleashed on unsuspecting citizens and severely disadvantage them. Figuring out when to step in will be the great 21st century challenge for governments.

ACLU Highlights Surveillance State Intersecting with Surveillance Capitalism

· Bryan Chaffin · The Back Page

Spy in the data

Social media as a tool of police or state surveillance is troubling, but it’s a complex issue, too. The ACLU highlighted a situation this week where the surveillance state was meeting surveillance capitalism, and Bryan Chaffin thinks it’s a topic worth discussing.

First Look: 'Portrait Mode' for the iPhone 7 Plus

· Bob LeVitus · Dr. Mac's Rants & Raves

Depth-of-field preview on iPhone 7 Plus screen.

Dr. Mac’s been beta testing Apple’s new depth-of-field effect—which is coming soon to the iPhone 7 Plus (only) real soon. He says it does a phenomenal job of simulating the effect most of the time — so good, in fact, he’s threatening to sell his DSLR.

Technical Professionals Are Hanging on, Hoping For The Best from Apple

· John Martellaro · Editorial

Soon, we think, there will be fall Apple event that launches new Macs. The nature of this event and the kinds of Macs that Apple updates and those that are left to quietly die will tell us a lot about where Apple is heading with technical professionals. Many of those former Apple customers have already switched to Linux. Those who remain are dismayed and are not very hopeful.  Some readers weigh in.

Yo Samsung: Give It Up, Bro

· Bryan Chaffin · Editorial

Samsung ArtPC Pulse

Samsung…Samsung. Yo, dudes. We gotta talk, like, for reals. Listen and Ima give it to you straight. You have a problem, Samsung. And it’s time for some change.

Samsung Discontinues Galaxy Note 7 Manufacturing and Sales

· Bryan Chaffin · Editorial

Burned Galaxy Note 7 on Tombstone

This just in: Samsung has officially discontinued manufacturing and sales of the Galaxy Note 7. With repeated incidents of the devices—and replacement devices—catching fire, the company announced on Tuesday it would cease making and selling them.

USB Kill: The $55 Gadget That Will Fry Most Devices

· Bryan Chaffin · Editorial

USB Kill 2.0 Insides

There’s a device out there called USB Kill 2.0 that can fry an electronic device with a USB port. While it looks like an every day USB flash drive, rather than memory, these devices have capacitors that can store up juice being transmitted over the USB bus and then discharge at once. The result is a high-voltage attack on your PC, Mac, smartphone, or other device that can fry the electronics.

Samsung Tweet Suggests Note 7 Stalling Tactics, Suspends Note 7 Sales

· Bryan Chaffin · Editorial

Galaxy Note 7 Allegedly Caught Fire

Over the weekend, Samsung accidentally tweeted a callous message to a Note 7 victim, a message that reveals just how hated and cynical the IP-stealing, politican-bribing company can be. That was followed by reports Samsung was finally suspending sales of the Note 7.

Artificial Intelligence Research, Unintended Consequences and Sex

· John Martellaro · Particle Debris

AI Agent

Research into Artificial Intelligence will evolve into many more applications than asking Amazon’s Echo how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon. Or driving an autonomous car. As the technology expands in its capabilities and applications, we’ll be confronted with massive social change. How will Apple, for example, both serve us and meet competitive challenges?

The Most Important Reason to Upgrade to macOS Sierra: Security

· John Martellaro · Editorial

Cyber security graphic.

When Apple launches a new version of one of its OSes, say, macOS Sierra, the first thing users think about is the features. If they’re a bit more methodical, they’ll look at their mission critical apps and monitor for updates from those developers. But, above all, a decision to not upgrade (or do it soon) must be balanced against the security updates folded into the new version.  John explains.

macOS Sierra and App Compatibility

· Bob LeVitus · Dr. Mac's Rants & Raves

macOS Sierra website

Bob “Dr. Mac” LeVitus walks us through some of the compatibility issues some people (including him) are experiencing with Apple’s newest macOS Sierra. Keyboard wackiness, scanner issues, and other software problems are out there.

Apple TV is Too App-Focused

· Dave Hamilton · Editorial

A view of the Apple TV home screen with apps

Lately I’ve found myself gravitating away from using the Apple TV to watch content, and it’s due entirely to the device’s user interface: Apps get higher billing than they deserve. An app-centric interface makes perfect sense on the iPhone where there are so many things I might do. On the Apple TV, though, it’s safe to make the assumption that I’m launching the device to consume content. I just want my home screen to be a list of that content, thank you very much.

Evidence is Mounting: Apple Will Convert the Macs to ARM CPUs

· John Martellaro · Particle Debris

RIP Intel Inside

The time since most of the Macs have been updated can now be described as geologic. Is that because Apple doesn’t care about the Macs? Or, more likely, could we be in for another major architectural change? Evidence is mounting that Apple will abandon Intel and take the Mac lineup to ARM. John looks at the evidence and makes the case.

My Fantasy Wish List for Apple's October Event

· John Martellaro · Editorial

Wish list.

It’s one thing to make sober, informed predictions about what Apple may announce next. But, this time, John just wants to have fun and provide his fantasy wish list for an Apple event in October. What would have John giggling with delight?  Read on to find out.