Sonos and Amazon jointly announced their Alexa integration earlier this year and the world rejoiced. Voice control of your Sonos system is one of those holy grails. The integration is expected to be available at some point in 2017. But I’m an impatient geek so, while I’m waiting for official support to be available, I spent an hour yesterday getting this working using freely-available open-source tools. You can do this, too, and I’ll walk you through what you’re doing and how to get started.
Smile’s PDFpen and PDFpen Pro gained Retina MacBook Pro Touch Bar support on Tuesday so users can edit documents with finger taps, and PDFpen Pro users can edit Table of Contents, too. PDFpen and PDFpen Pro are PDF document editing and creation apps. Users can add and remove pages from documents, edit text, and and remove images, create PDF forms, OCR scanned text, sync files via iCloud and Dropbox, and more. PDFpen 8.3 costs US$74.95 and PDFpen Pro 8.3 is priced at $124.95. The updates are free for version 8.x users.
This Quick Tip is about making a backup…of your backup. So if you’re super-paranoid about your file archives, you can make sure that your Time Capsule’s historical data is saved in multiple locations. Hey, where backups are concerned, we think paranoia is good, so come read all about it!
Fourth generation Apple TV owners can finally use the single sign-on feature Apple showed off months ago. The feature went live on Tuesday, although some content providers are still missing, and it’s available only in the United States.
Over the last year, The Mac Observer’s John Martellaro has aired over 60 episodes of his Background Mode podcast. This show has allowed listeners to hear the inspiring success story of many notable people in the tech industry. Here’s an update on the status of the show and a recap of some notable guests who have joined him so far.
Samsung’s legal persistence is paying off because the United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Tuesday the electronics maker doesn’t have to pay Apple US$400 million for infringing on iPhone-related patents. More specifically, the court ruled Samsung owes Apple damages based on infringing components instead of the entire device.
IDC says Apple Watch sales are tanking, but Apple CEO Tim Cook says that’s not so. In fact, he says Apple Watch sales are going strong and the company is on track for a record quarter.
First Amazon wanted to be your go-to online shopping destination, and now the company wants to be your local brick-and-mortar store, too. John Martellaro and Dave Hamilton join Jeff Gamet to look at Amazon’s planned cashier-free grocery store, plus they dive into the possibility of our iPhones becoming our only computing device.
Today I am pleased to tell you about a deal on a gadget I would have linked to as Cool Stuff Found if we didn’t have a deal. It’s the HyperDrive USB Type-C 5-in-1 Hub, a hub you can plug directly into your MacBook or MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. As you can see in the picture, the hub has an SDXC slot, a microSDXC slot, two USB 3.0 ports, and a USB-C port, too. The device is made from aluminum, and it’s priced at $39.95 through us, 20% off retail. Works with Chromebook Pixel, too.
Oh my goodness…check out this film about EMVI, the Electro Mechanical Voice Inscriber. This device was invented by a 16 year old kid named Victor Shineman in what looks to be the mid 1950s. Using analog electronic gear, EMVI used a microphone to “convert [spoken] letters into low voltage current. Electrical impulse would type out the spoken letter” on a typewriter. It’s primitive, and it appears to have only done one letter at a time, and maybe even only one letter (“a”). But come on, in the 1950s? Using analog gear? That’s nothing short of magic. This video was shot for the “21st School Science Fair,” put on in New York City by The American Institute of the City of New York. It’s utterly fascinating.
IK Multimedia announced Tuesday that iKlip Grip Pro has shipped. This clever device serves as a desktop tripod, an above-the-crowd extender (or selfie stick), or a handheld camera grip. It features a pivoting ball-joint attachment for 90 degree angle adjustments and 360 degree rotation. It also comes with a detachable Bluetooth button you can use to trigger your camera app or camera. It will mount a smartphone, GoPro, or DSLR camera, too. I’ve been thinking about tripods recently, and while there are a ton of good ones on the market, this device seems super flexible. I plan on checking it out. It’s US$59.99/€59.99, and it’s available now. The video below offers a solid look at the iKlip Grip Pro.
Jean-Louis Gassée has an excellent piece on the future of desktop and mobile operating systems. It includes some lore—including that time Apple tried to buy a a code dump of BeOS from Palm—and some interesting speculation on the future. Both are well worth your time, and it got me thinking about an old interview of Steve Jobs from the mid-1990s. Think: the Reverse ToasterFridge.
Amazon has taken a page from Apple’s book and maybe one-upped it, or at least brought it closer to home. The company announced Amazon Go, a combination retail store and app that allows you to walk in, scan a code, and walk out without doing going through any form of checkout line. Apple’s been doing something similar for years.
“Your movies look like movies on iPhone 7.” That’s the tag line to Apple’s newest commercial, iPhone 7 – Romeo and Juliet. It features a performance from Shakespeare’s play of the same name with children in the starring role. The piece looks like a movie at first, but then you see the kids on a stage and a proud parent filming his daughter (Juliet) with his iPhone 7. It’s touching, It’s cute. I suspect it will tug all the right strings for parents with younger kids. I also think it’s a powerful message that paints a solid picture of how good iPhone 7’s camera is without it being a ‘splainy commercial.
Politics and technology may have intersected yet again on Monday, as former U.S. Vice President and current Apple board member Al Gore met with President-Elect Donald Trump. Mr. Gore acknowledged the meeting outside of Trump Tower, but here are four topics most likely to have been on the agenda.
Brydge Technologies makes outstanding aluminum, color matched keyboards for most iPads. Co-founder Nicholas Smith took over the original, failing company founded on Kickstarter and breathed new life into it. That was in the form of an outstanding customer relationship and order fulfillment systems. In this episode I chat with Nick about how he turned the product around, moved his company, with 15 people, from SIngapore to Park City, Utah (more consumer focus), decided not to use Apple’s Smart Connector and flourished in a market that now embraces iPads with keyboards. Nick also talks about what prepared him for this kind of venture, his turn-around artistry, and his vision for keyboards on our beloved iPads. He also provides a glimpse of his next new keyboard project. Bonus: we talk about skiing.
Apple’s Mac business alone amounts to $23 billion annually. Jean-Louis Gassée reminds us that’s as much as the annual revenues of the Northrop Grumman Corp. That’s not something to take lightly. Also, a defocus from Apple branded displays and routers could simply drive customers into the arms of the competition in other closely related product areas. Even computers. Rene Ritche calls it the “Horn Effect.” Page 2 of Friday’s Particle Debris has the conversation.
We have a slightly different deal for you today. It’s called the Black Friday Mac Bundle 2.0, a collection of 9 Mac productivity apps. The bundle itself isn’t new, but it’s back for a limited time at $19.99. What’s new is that the price is going to go up a dollar every day until the end of this week. That means buy early if you’re interested. Check out the list of apps in the deal description.
The UK police got unlocked access to a suspect’s iPhone but, unlike the FBI earlier this year, they didn’t have to ask Apple to hack it. Interestingly, though, the FBI did something very similar to the UK police a few years ago. Listen to hear more. Then it’s on to how Apple might just be our last hope to save the integrity of the internet. John Martellaro explains!