Apple Answers Tweets in 4 New iPad Pro Ads

· · Cool Stuff Found

Apple launched four new iPad commercials that respond to real tweets from real folks. The first (included below) is in response to a tweet about iPad not being a real computer. The second spot addresses a tweet about poor Wi-Fi. The third answers whether Microsoft Word is on the iPad (it is), and the fourth notes that iPads aren’t subject to PC viruses. The Twitter accounts are real (Tweet 1 account, Tweet 2, Tweet 3 account, Tweet 4), and The Verge reported that Apple contacted at least one of the tweeters before using their tweets. There’s almost zero chance Apple didn’t do so with all of them. But, Apple used actors to represent the Twitter account owners. It’s an interesting campaign. Some have already noted it’s reminiscent of Apple’s “Get a Mac” campaign. More interesting, though, is that this is the first time I can remember Apple addressing questions like these, especially in an ad. The company is also leveraging social media, an area that hasn’t typically been a strong suit for Apple. They’re not my favorite spots from Apple, but they’re solid. It will be interesting to see if this becomes a major campaign.

WWDC in San Jose Is Closer and Other Apple Insights

· · Cool Stuff Found

We had a good discussion about Apple moving WWDC back to San Jose on Thursday’s Daily Observations. In that discussion, we talked about how much easier it would be for Apple engineers to attend an event in San Jose because it wouldn’t necessarily suck up a whole day and hours of travel. We also talked about proximity to Apple Campus 2.0, and the reality San Jose is less expensive. Daring Fireball‘s John Gruber discussed the move with Apple senior vice president Phil Schiller, who confirmed most of what we thought. Mr. Gruber also pointed out that Apple’s WWDC is a much bigger deal to San Jose than it ever was to San Francisco. He said Apple was working with San Jose’s mayor and others to stage events throughout the week, something San Francisco never did to my knowledge. Check out his piece—it’s a good read.

WWDC in San Jose Is Closer and Other Apple Insights

Amazon is Just Getting Started With Alexa/Echo

· · Particle Debris

Amazon Echo

The Amazon Echo family of devices shouldn’t be underestimated. We talk about how it appears to be a device for casual questions, weather, music and shopping. But the underlying technology is going after something much bigger. Moreover, Amazon’s lead over Apple in AI and home automation may be unstoppable. John looks at two articles that provide insight into what Amazon is after in the long run.

New McDonald’s Ad Pokes Fun At Apple to Promote ‘STRAW’

· · News

mcdonald's ad new shakes

Fast food chain McDonald’s has a new ad for a product called “the STRAW.” It pokes fun at Apple, in particular Jony Ive, as it features white backgrounds and a British narrator. The product will released along with four new shakes in time for St. Patrick’s Day. Check out the Suction Tube for Reverse Axial Withdrawal in the commercial.

Bryan Chaffin Talks about How Politics Intersects with Technology

· · Cool Stuff Found

Chuck Joiner asked me on to MacVoices to talk about Apple, the tech world, and politics. In this video podcast, I make the case that Apple is just plain too big to avoid politics. From regulations, to taxation policy, to international posturing, to the fact that Apple is worth almost US$700 billion, Apple can’t avoid politics. More importantly, the broader tech world itself that it increasingly intersects with tech. I think I spewed off about getting older and struggling to understand Millennials, too. It’s all kind of hazy, but that didn’t stop Chuck from making that part of his title…oh, and check out that key frame he picked. Why did I agree to do this show again? … Oh, right, because I luuuuurve me some Chucky J!

Who’s More Intelligent, Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa?

· · Editorial

Which AI is smarter, Siri or Alexa?

In the battle of virtual personal assistants, Apple and Amazon have strong contenders. Which one is “smarter,” though, Siri or Alexa? Perhaps it’s too early to really call the race, since both personal assistants keep growing and evolving. Be that as it may, Jeff Butts has put both through their paces, and shares his thoughts.

Right to Repair Laws, Apple Design Critics – TMO Daily Observations 2017-02-15

· · The Mac Observer's Daily Observations Podcast

TMO Daily Observations

Apple doesn’t make it easy for people to get parts for do-it-yourself repairs, and some states want to change that. Kelly Guimont and John Martellaro join Jeff Gamet to debate whether or not companies should be required to make device parts available outside of authorized repair centers, plus they look at a claim Apple is actually pretty crappy ad designing products.

4 Possible Roadmaps For macOS and iOS Evolution

· · Analysis

MacBook-iPad side by side

From time to time, we’ve seen scenarios related to how the Mac/macOS and the iPad/iOS might evolve as personal computing platforms. We know about the declining sales of the iPad and Apple’s seeming inattention to the Mac line as whole in 2016. In turn, that has created some discussion about their respective future developments. John catalogs the likely and not-so-likely roadmaps for these products.

Apple Posts New iPhone 7 Plus Commercials to Highlight Portrait Camera

· · Editorial

Screenshots from Apple's Soulmate Spot,

Apple has two new commercials out promoting iPhone 7 Plus’s Portrait camera. That’s the two-lens camera unique to iPhone 7 Plus that allows photographs to have a shallow depth of field (meaning a blurry background and sharp foreground). The pieces explain in very simple terms what Portrait mode on iPhone 7 Plus does for a photo.

Apple Music Trailer for Carpool Karaoke with Will Smith, Metallica, Ariana Grande, More

· · Cool Stuff Found

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.

iOS Geek Gab, Managing RAM, Converting Numbers to Excel – Mac Geek Gab 644

· & · Mac Geek Gab Podcast

A little iOS Geek Gab segment starts the show, discussing batteries – both internal and out – as well as screen protection. Your geeks share their picks and, more importantly, how they pick. Then it’s on to some great tips from both your two favorite geeks and you, including managing RAM, converting Numbers to Excel (without Numbers!), upgrading your Mac mini and more. Press play and enjoy!

BeatsX Headphones Finally Launch On Apple Store

· · Product News

BeatsX headphones

Apple has finally launched the long-awaited BeatsX headphones. The headphones were originally delayed in Fall 2016. Apple’s website listed shipping times of 4-5 business days for White and Black colors, and 8-11 days for Blue and Gray.

Apple, Kill the LG UltraFine 5K and Make Your Own Displays

· · Editorial

As if it weren’t bad enough that the LG UltraFine 5K performed poorly when placed too close to a wireless router, now Apple’s shipping times for the display have slid to five to six weeks. Jeff thinks that it just might be time for Cupertino to resume making the displays for their Macs and MacBook Pros instead of relying on the third-party market to fill the void.

Self Publish Your Books With iBooks

· · How-To

Self publish on iBooks

If you’re an author, you can self publish your books on iBooks. You’ll want to leverage multiple platforms to increase your visibility, but don’t forget Apple. As The Mac Observer editor-in-chief, Bryan Chaffin, wrote, Apple’s eBook platform isn’t perfect, but it is worthwhile to use.

How do We Assess Our Beliefs About Apple?

· · Analysis

Black hole absorbing a star

Apple is a real company, producing real products and there are quantifiable facts about the company. How well we create a picture of Apple as a company depends on how we assess the reliability of our understanding. That means looking at certain facts with keen understanding and, more importantly, updating our estimations based on new facts. John, as you might expect, gets into physics and Bayesian logic. But don’t worry. It’s a fun ride.