How to Install and Activate Third-Party Keyboards in iOS 8

Sure, Apple lets you choose your own keyboard in iOS 8, but it doesn’t mean they made it easy to see how. In my latest post over at The Mac Observer, I guide you through installing a third-party keyboard on your iOS device, and even give you a suggestion on a free keyboard to take for a spin.

Exploring Apple’s iPhone 6 and iWatch announcements on the MacJury

I joined TMO Alumnus Ted Landau, Joe Kissell and host Chuck Joiner on the latest edition of The MacJury. The panel pontificated on new iPhones and analyzed the long term implications of the new “i-less” offerings: Apple Pay and Apple Watch.

What makes Apple’s NFC payment system better than Google’s? (Hint: It’s about who gets to see your data.) Can southpaws get as much out of the Apple Watch as righties? (Spoiler: Yes.) These and other burning questions are answered in The MacJury’s typical light-hearted (yet oh-so-authoritative) style.

The MacJury is available as a video podcast at Apple’s iTunes Store and the MacVoices website.

Goodbye to Macworld, but not to those who made it great

One of the mainstays in Mac publishing is no more. Macworld will cease publishing the print version of its magazine after the November edition. It says the web version will continue publication.

The company also laid off most of its staff.

The news began breaking yesterday on Twitter, with several of Macworld’s editorial staff posting that they had been let go.

Macworld Layoff TweetsIn addition to Roman Loyola, Macworld laid off Dan Frakes, Phillip Michaels and Dan Moren. Senior Vice President and Editorial Director Jason Snell announced he was leaving the company in a decision that had been made prior to the layoffs; Serenity Caldwell also posted that she had given notice last week, and would be leaving the magazine at the end of the month. Dan Miller posted that he would be “here for another month to assist with the transition.” Senior Editor Chris Breen apparently remains the only “big name” writer left with the publication.

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Ruminations on the Apple iPhone announcement: it’s not an ‘iWatch’

A lot of the details about the purported Apple iPhone 6 have already come to light, and assuming the multitude of corroborating stories are more than just the same rumor bouncing around the tech press Echo Chamber (a big assumption, to be sure), it seems likely that Apple is set to announce two iPhones today, with a 4.7 and 5.5-inch screen. John Gruber’s math on screen resolution seems to work out well, so I’ll take the “ultra high” resolution speculation on its face; the alternative of a sub-retina display is certainly not where Apple would go with this.

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When facts and narrative collide: Apple’s double-digit Mac growth calls out analysts’ flawed estimates

From AppleInsider:

Apple reported “strong double digit growth” in its Mac sales in the U.S., directly contradicting the earlier estimates published by IDC and Gartner that stated Apple’s U.S. Mac sales fell year-over-year in the June quarter and calling into question the legitimacy of market estimates that the tech media uncritically presents as factual.

Writing for Fortune, Philip Elmer-DeWitt shines some light on how those “estimates” are made (or made up): (via The Loop)

“So, the mantra became, preserve the growth rates; to hell with the actual numbers. Even the growth rates are fiction. The fudge is in the ‘others’ category, which is used as a plug to make the numbers work out. In fairness, we did do survey work, calling around, and attending white box conferences and venues to try to get a feel for that market, but in the end, the process was political. I used to tell customers which parts of the data they could trust, essentially the major vendors by form factor and region. The rest was garbage.”

RandomMaccess LookBack: On the 30th anniversary of the Macintosh, a look at the 20th

On the 30th anniversary of the introduction of the Macintosh, RandomMaccess takes a look at how we covered the Mac’s last big milestone — its 20th anniversary. A lot has changed since then: The iPod and iPad were still top-secret projects somewhere deep in the bowels of One Infinite Loop (or its Area 51 equivalent). Apple was enjoying the explosive success of the iPod and the company’s resulting resurgence. And of course, Steve Jobs was still alive.

Although the article is now 10 years old, I think a lot of the analysis still applies to this day — although perhaps one result of Jobs’ absence is an executive team that allowed the retrospective Apple is hosting on its site today. It’s hard to imagine Steve permitting such an emotional walk down memory lane.

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The ‘canary in the coal mine’ in Apple’s transparency report

Several people have pointed out that Apple’s “Transparency” report of government requests for information contains a brilliant end run around the government’s gag order on revealing that certain requests have even been made.

At the end of the report’s Notes section, Apple states it “has never received an order under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act. We would expect to challenge an order if served on us.”

Sounds pretty innocuous, right? But here’s the kicker. As long as Apple never receives such a request, we can expect future reports to contain the same statement. If that statement were to go missing, however, it would be a clear message that a request or requests had been received.

Well played, Apple. Well played.

‘Open vs. Closed’ and other mythical battles on The MacJury

I joined a panel of pretty smart pundits on the latest edition of Chuck Joiner’s MacJury podcast. We started out with a look at the “battle” between so-called Open and Closed ecosystems, including of course Android and iOS (and some thoughts on why Android is ahead of iOS in market share), and then delved into TV and movie content distribution and other tangents. As usual, it was a lively discussion that I think shed some light on some of the issues at play. Guests Peter Cohen of The Loop and iMore and Weldon Dodd of Rewind Technology were lots of fun to banter with.

The episode’s worth checking out if for no other reason that to see how much grayer my hair’s gotten since my last appearance.

New iPhones on September 10th? ‘Yep.’

Jim Dalrymple puts his signature stamp of approval on an AllThingsD report claiming Apple will unveil its next-generation iPhone at a special event on September 10th.

Apple could introduce two new models at the event, the report says: an iPhone 5S, a speed-bumped version of the iPhone 5 that could include a fingerprint sensor and improved camera. The company may also announce a lower-cost “iPhone 5C,” which pundits have been saying would help Apple in the mid-range market, where it faces competition from low-cost and highly subsidized Android phones.

Any phones introduced are expected to ship with iOS 7 — an update to the iPhone’s operating system.

As far as I can recall, Dalrymple hasn’t tossed out a wrong “yep” yet.

RM Flashback: How we covered the introduction of the iTunes Music Store

decadeOn the 10th anniversary of the iTunes Music Store, we thought it would be fun to turn back the clock and take a look at how we covered Steve Jobs’ introduction of the service. The event also introduced iTunes version 4 and the third generation iPods, with what turned out to be a short-lived redesign and a capacity of up to 30GB — “up to 7,500 CD-quality songs,” according to Jobs, in an analogy that might not have much meaning for today’s music buyers.

Read on for our “as-it-happened-coverage” of the birth of a music industry sea change.

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