CategoryiPhone/iPad

Apple car and other rumors on BTNS ‘Mac Show’

A happy change in scheduling meant I was able to rejoin my colleagues on the British Tech Networks “The Mac Show” last week. We had a great time as usual, with the added bonus of having tech luminary Andy Ihnatko join us.

As usual, we did a lighthearted round up of the week’s Apple news, which included more rumors about an Apple car, how long Apple expects you to use its devices (and a conspiracy theory about how they might enforce that) and of course — a slew of “cool things.”

Another rumor is that I might be coming back to the show on a more regular basis. (I can neither confirm nor deny any such rumor.)

I hope you’ll give it a look.

On Macworld: Five iOS apps to make your next road trip smoother

My latest Macworld article talks about five free iOS apps that could help you out on your next road trip. It focuses on apps that help save you time, money and frustration on the road by making it easier to find things like gas stations, food stops and hotels.

It was a fun one to write, based on a lot of real world experience. It was also inspired by a family trip to bring my son to his first year of college, so naturally, he wants a cut.

The article is on the Macworld website — I hope you check it out.

BTN Mac Show: ‘Trimming Back’

I was remiss in putting the word out about the latest Mac Show on the British Tech Network. I’d be lying if I said I remembered what we talked about, but I do recall it was a lot of fun as usual. Oh, right — I do remember talking about how I now have an Apple Watch.

My “Cool Thing” was the innerexile Glacier iPhone 6/6+ case — a slim, self-healing case that’s very, well…cool.

If you haven’t listened to The Mac Show, give it a try. It’s a fun, lighthearted conversation about some of the coolest things happening in the tech world today — and you don’t need to be an uber-geek to follow along.

Current C minus

Great catch from The Loop’s Dave Mark from Apple’s earnings call:

Remember the MCX Consortium, the competing transaction processing system from Walmart, et al? One of their high profile members is Best Buy. As a reminder, there was a lot of discussion when MCX started out about members being restricted from taking Apple Pay.

Now recall that Cook announced today that Best Buy is (present tense) accepting Apple Pay in its stores.

Mark calls it “a pretty solid crack in the consortium.” I’d say that’s a fair description.

The iPad at five: How we saw it then

It’s been five years since the first iPad shipped (although the device was announced several months earlier.) Here’s a look at what we thought of the original iPad back then — in two articles for The MacObserver and one interview on Mac Voices.

Love It or Leave It: Extremist Views on iPad Obscure the Important Points

There were two predictions I made that didn’t materialize, though. The first was a front-facing camera. I was hoping Apple believes it’s time for mobile version of video iChat. But even more than that, I’ve come to rely on the camera in my iPhone for a host of utilities not having anything to do with taking photographs or video. No, the real power in the iPhone’s camera comes from things like “augmented reality” apps; apps like Red Laser that scan products and search the Internet for information and prices; apps that let you add a bottle of wine to a database — even apps that act as document scanners.

The second unrealized prediction was something much less tangible, but much more important. I said that the real key feature for Apple to include was something no one had figured out — something that we never knew we wanted, but — once Apple showed it — none of us would want to live without. Admittedly, that’s easy to say. It’s like the old joke about teaching someone how to become a millionaire: Step One — get a million dollars. But for me, it was crucial in order for Apple to make the iPad a truly compelling device. I was looking for something the iPad could do that I couldn’t do with either my iPhone or my MacBook Pro. Something that would make me forego the convenience of having a device that fits in my pocket; something that would sway me from just taking my laptop as long as I was going to have to carry something anyway. Without that, the iPad risks remaining a novelty — a very cool one, no doubt — but a novelty nonetheless, attractive to a niche market.

The iPad’s Killer App: It’s Not A Computer

That Apple never refers to the iPad as a computer is no accident. That Apple routinely refers to the iPad as magical is not being trite. Computers are scary, full of arcane commands and file systems and viruses. Technology is intimidating, reserved for younger generations and geeks with chin beards who speak of mega-this and giga-that. An iPad is friendly, inviting and — in spite of its capabilities — simple. A computer responds to commands. An iPad anticipates desires. And as OS updates and apps evolve, its abilities will expand ever further in empowering yet incremental and incrementally intuitive ways.

The iPad will not replace laptops — at least not right away. We geeks will use it as something that fits into a heretofore unimagined “gap” between the iPhone and a laptop, and the non-geeks who buy an iPad would never have bought a laptop anyway.

MacVoices #1009: Chuck La Tournous Delivers A Different Perspective on The iPad

Like the rest of us, RandomMaccess chief Chuck La Tournous has been waiting for the announcement of Apple’s iPad, but with different expectations. Chuck explains where the iPad fits (or doesn’t fit) in the Apple product matrix, and why he won’t be in line to buy one right now. While there are similarities, Chuck doesn’t see the iPad launch as the same as the iPhone launch, and discusses why this may make a difference as in the adoption rate. The discussion also covers the lack of Flash and why that isn’t as important as it once was, the ebook capabilities of the iPad and whether it will successfully challenge the Kindle, and more.

‘WonderCube:’ A multi-function keyring for your phone

Clever idea. It’s a USB/lightning cable, card reader, phone stand, light and emergency charger — all wrapped up in a 1″ cube that attaches to a keyring. It’s already over its IndieGogo goal of $50,000 (over $63.4K as of this posting.) At its retail price of $70, I’m less of a fan, but the $50 early bird price seems reasonable.

Especially clever is the emergency charging feature. A flip of lid reveals a 9-volt battery connector that the company says can provide 3.5 hours of talk time.

‘Hanging by a thread’

I was a guest on the British Tech Network’s Mac Show this week, along with Chris Breen, Josh Centers, Adam Christianson and Host Ewen Rankin. We had a great time speculating on what Chris will do as he leaves Macworld for that “fruit-flavored technology company.” We also talked a lot about the Apple Watch, what Pebble’s Kickstarter project for its own smart watch means for consumer appetites, Apple’s March 9th event and other assorted nonsense.

As usual, it was a tremendous amount of fun with a great panel of smart, funny people. The Mac Show has a bright Chat Room as well, and they add a lot to the program. It’s worth listening to (and subscribing) whether you’re interested in hearing my ramblings or not.

The show can be found on the British Tech Network’s website.

Macworld Review: Vivosmart finds its place by not trying to be a smart watch

My latest Macworld article is a review of Garmin’s Vivosmart. It’s a fitness band that looks to differentiate itself from Apple’s offering by being a fitness tracker with smartphone features, rather than a smartwatch that also happens to track your activity.

I think it’s a smart move by Garmin: get a great fitness band with some useful features at half the price of the Apple Watch. And you don’t have to wait until April to get one.

You can read the full review on Macworld.com.

iRig Mic Studio looks like IK Mulitmedia’s next big hit

IK Multimedia has been on fire lately, with a slew of high quality, innovative products for musicians and podcasters. Today, the company announced its newest product—iRig Mic Studio.

The mic itself is an “ultra-portable large-diaphragm digital condenser microphone” for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, PC and Android. It has a 1″ diameter condenser capsule into an enclosure smaller than an iPhone, targeted at musicians, vocalists, home producers, podcasters, broadcasters, voice-over artists and more.

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Dan Frakes: New features you may have missed in iOS 8

Dan Frakes compiled a list of his favorite new features in iOS 8. You may already know most of these, but having them all together in one place is very helpful, and some features may have slipped your notice.

I completely agree with Dan about the usefulness of the new “Hey, Siri” feature. I wasn’t expecting much from it, but I use it in my car all the time — it’s turned my car into a voice-activated command center.

Dan’s article is available on his website.

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