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!
The mid-September launch of Apple Watch Series 2 wasn’t in time to help the company’s third quarter sales figures. A new report from IDC claims that Apple Watch sales fell sharply year-over-year, while cheaper wearables from companies like Fitbit surged.
Apple is now beta testing a number of improvements to iCloud.com Photos, including a new sidebar, easier navigation between photos, and initial support for the Touch Bar on the 2016 MacBook Pro.
Amazon’s servers provide the backbone for much of the Web, and while upload speeds are improving, what happens when you need a few dozen petabytes backed up to the cloud? Enter Amazon Snowmobile, literally a giant truck with a mobile data center capable of physically moving up to 100 petabytes of your data to Amazon’s cloud servers. The concept is the evolution, both in name and function, of the company’s “Snowball” service, which ships customers data units with capacities up to 80TB. As for price, it’s in the “if you have to ask…” category, although Amazon says it aims to make the Snowmobile cheaper than any network-based data transfer which, even at gigabit speeds, would take a while.
Forget backdoors and lawsuits. Police in the UK have come up with an interesting solution to Apple’s strong iOS encryption: they simply waited for the suspect to unlock his device and then snatched it right out of his hands.
Can’t find your user Library folder in macOS Sierra? There are workarounds to temporarily reveal it, but here’s a quick tip to make the user Library folder show up in Finder, and stay there.
Apple reignited interest in its autonomous car project with a letter to Federal regulators arguing that “new entrants” into the autonomous vehicle industry should have just as many rights as the established automakers when it comes to testing prototypes on public roads.
Think the 2016 MacBook Pro is overpriced and underpowered? Check out this comparison video of Apple’s latest laptop with the company’s first portable computer, 1989’s Macintosh Portable. While far from an in-depth technical analysis, the video offers some nice HD shots of how design at Apple has changed over the past 27 years. Bonus points for the Jean-Louis Gassée archival footage.
Quick tips to start: copying mail (instead of moving it), editing your default Touch Bar, a new way to create pinned tabs in Safari, ejecting an external Blu-ray, and disabling notifications. After that it’s time to answer your questions about secure email, SSD upgrades, keychain errors, portable audio recording setups and much more. Press play and enjoy!
Apple quietly removed Paul Deneve from its leadership website. Mr. Deneve came from the fashion world and was Vice President of Special Projects at Apple, where he was known to work on Apple Watch. [Update: Financial Times of London‘s San Francisco reporter Tim Bradshaw tweeted on Saturday that Apple said Paul Deneve remained at Apple, but would now be reporting to COO Jeff Williams, rather than directly to CEO Tim Cook. This makes his removal from the leadership page an issue of chain of command, rather than Mr. Deneve having left Apple. ]
Apple’s spaceship campus is looking more impressive as construction gets closer to wrapping up, and TMO’s latest drone pic really drives that home. Taken Wednesday, our intrepid drone pilot’s flying skills let you see the roof solar panels are nearly all installed, landscaping is starting to come together outside the massive building, and the giant courtyard in the building’s center is taking shape, too. The building really looks like something from JJ Abrams’ Star Trek. Apple Campus 2.0 isn’t finished yet, but is moving along well enough that the company will likely start moving in some time in 2017.
Companies exist to make money. But when wealth beyond dreams, at any cost, is the driving force behind internet business, chaos results. Big tech companies have great power. How they use that power and their own sense of what constitutes ethical, disciplined behavior might all that’s left before the free internet and its free people are no more. Apple is leading the way, but cannot do it all.
Vulnerability Lab has published a video to YouTube (via AppleInsider) demonstrating a method for bypassing the Activation Lock on an iOS device. Researchers discovered a convoluted series of steps one can go through starting with a buffer overflow, and also using a Smart Cover…it’s complicated. The bottom line, though, is that the method would allow someone to bypass the Activation Lock, meaning they could use a device that’s been locked by Find My iPhone. Apple is usually able to patch these bypasses, but this video nicely highlights the ongoing cat and mouse game involved with security. The video is presented in real time, meaning there are long stretches where not much is happening. It’s interesting, though, to see the steps necessary for the exploit and the end result.
I have no idea how practical these products are, but they’re gorgeous. Check out the Orée Board and Orée Touch Slab, a keyboard and trackpad made from wood. The Board is portable and can connect via USB or Bluetooth. It’s designed to work with macOS and iOS, or Windows and Android. Each is made from a single piece of wood, making individual units unique. The Touch Slab is a multitouch trackpad that can also be used as a numeric keypad. Look closely and you’ll see the keypad outlined on top. It’s Bluetooth only, and works with macOS, and Windows 7 or 8. The Board is priced at US$129, while Touch Slab is $150. I haven’t tested them, but they totally caught my eye.
The proliferation of “fake news” has been blamed in part on social media companies’ hands-off approach to curation. Charlotte Henry argues this is one area where social media can take its cues from Apple and its heavily curated approach to Apple News.
Dr. Mac follows up on whether or not it’s safe to upgrade to macOS Sierra; a longer-term report on his EcoTank vs. Instant Ink printer comparison; and a lower price on the leather loop Apple Watch bands he bought in July and August (and still loves).