Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Review of prognostications - was I right?

My prognostication report card:  It looks like I was pretty much right, aside from when iPhones would ship.  It will not go to my head.

I think predicting possible problems or supposed problems might be something to think about next time...

Here were my detailed predictions and some comments:
  • MacBook Air [Was wrong about this one.  Just wrong.  They have a retina 5K imac instead?]
    • Bump to retina.  If not now, in 2014.
  • New iPhone 4.7" and 5.5" [Aside from the ship date, I was right]
    • with a better camera, both with TouchID [Very true]
    • NFC [Yes]
    • some new sensors that aren't rumored
      • We have a 2nd motion sensor for low power use, and an barometer.
    • a sideways mode for some iphone built-in apps that is more like iPad [True for iPhone 6 Plus]
    • higher resolution screens [Yes]
    • Shipping by mid-October [ok this was wrong - they shipped in a couple weeks with 10 million sold the first weekend]
  • iWatch [I think I was right on the money]
    • with more fashion than I can imagine
    • fewer sensors than imagined - definitely no glucose monitoring this time around
    • coming out in early 2015
    • comes with more HealthKit discussion
  • Services: [I think I was right]
    • Definitely mobile payments, and NFC seems very likely, rolling out with many major retailers across the US, tied to TouchID

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Getting the most out of Siri in iOS 8

I used and enjoyed Siri in an iPhone 5.  I did not really explore Siri fully, however.  For example, I have a bluetooth car handsfree kit, but using activating Siri always seemed to require touching the actual phone.  I now plug in my iPhone 6 in my car, and use "Hey Siri" to give truly hands-free voice commands to Siri.  Some give graphical data that I cannot look at while I drive.  At the end are helpful audiobook and podcast commands...
  • SMS/iMessage:
    • "read my texts" or "read my messages"
    • When I have messages, Siri gives me the opportunity to reply to each person who has sent me SMS or iMessages
    • You can also ask Siri to text people.  I find it easiest to text people for whom I have a defined relationship (you can define relationships in contacts) such as wife.
    • "Tell her I'll be there in 5 minutes" - replying to Siri after reading a message
  • Phone: 
    • "call my wife, mobile"
    • "Facetime Frank"
    • "Call 480-555-1212"
  • Locations:
    • Is my wife home?
  • Misc:
    • "enable airplane mode", "turn on airplane mode"
    • "Turn on do not disturb"
    • "my wife is Jane Doe"
    • "Who is near me"
    • "Note that I need to buy eggs" - adds a note to the notes app
    • "What's my ETA?"
    • "How many dollars is 45 euros"
    • "Google bendgate"
    • "Launch <app name>" - "launch photos"
    • "What can I ask you?" or "What can Siri do?" *** GOLD *** click on categories to see examples
  • Weather:
    • "What's it like outside?"
    • "Will it be hot today?"
    • "How windy is it out there?"
  • Directions:
    • "Give me directions home"
    • You have to have it in your contacts to ask for it...
    • "What is Bob's address?"
    • "Are we there yet?"
    • "Find coffee near me"
  • Alarm:
    • "Wake me up tomorrow at 6AM"
    • "Do I have an alarm set?" - shows you alarms and if they are set, and lets you turn them on with a swipe
    • "Turn on my 5AM alarm" - I already have one defined for several days per week, and turned that one on!
    • "Set a timer for 5 minutes"
  • Twitter:
    • "Show me my tweets"
    • "Search twitter for SF giants"
    • "What's trending on twitter?"
    • "tweet learning to use hashtag siri for twitter"
  • Sports:
    • "Score for the Giants game today?"  Right now I get asked San Francisco or New York, since both are in season.
    • "What is the Giants' roster?"
  • Stock:
    • Ask Siri, "How's Apple stock doing?"
  • Calendar:
    • "What's on my calendar for tomorrow"
    • "Cancel my noon appointment tomorrow"
    • "When is my next meeting?"
    • I have not yet been successful adding new appoints to Siri that are not 1 hour long.  If you know how, let me know.
    • meet my daughter at noon"
  • Pronunciation:
    • Ask Siri, "Learn to pronounce the name, <name>"
  • Music:
    • "Play album <album name>"
    • "Play artist <artist name>"
    • "Play song <song name>"
    • "Play genre classical"
    • "Play iTunes radio"
  • Podcast and audiobook controls:
    • Ask Siri, "Play podcast <podcast name>" - only when there are unplayed episodes
    • Ask Siri, "Play audio book <audio book name>"
    • "Play podcast" to resume playing a podcast - only do this when that was the last audio thing you were doing.  If you were playing music, it plays your first podcast.
    • "Play audiobook" to resume playing an audiobook - only do this when this was the last audio thing you were doing.  If you were listening to a podcast, for example, this plays your first audiobook.
    • Ask Siri to move in time in your podcast or audiobook:
      •  "Skip three and a half minutes"
      • "Jump ahead four minutes"
      • "rewind four minutes"
      • "Jump back four minutes"
      • "Skip ahead two minutes"
      • "Skip back two minutes"
      • "Fast forward fourty minutes"

Apple Pay, Google Wallet, NFC credit cards, and Chip and Pin credit cards for brick and mortar transactions - which why?

NFC credit cards:
  • I am hearing about credit cards with NFC, which means the cards could be used by taping or waving the card at a point of sale (POS) terminal.  Apparently this is real: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine-archive/2011/june/money/credit-card-fraud/rfid-credit-cards/index.htm
  • These cards are hard to secure.  I do not recommend them!
  • They go by the name of "blink", "PayPass", "payWave", "ExpressPay", or "Zip" and may have a wireless symbol on them (as seen in the consumer reports site listed above).
  • This is not the same as EMV or chip and pin.
The EMV Chip card initiative:
  •  It is what we are currently switching over to use in the US.  My understanding is that all replacement credit cards in the US from now on will have an embedded chip.
  • If merchants continue to use magnetic strip credit card reads past a certain date, then in the end the merchants take on the fraud liability from magnetic strip credit card usage.
  • This system was first used in parts of Europe in the early 1990's; it is not new to the world.
  • When your card is inserted, you must then type in a PIN code, validating that it is you using the card.  This changes things - restaurants and merchants no longer take your credit card, for example; they must let you type in your PIN while the card is in use.  
  • This initiative is a big deal, because it means almost all merchants will be upgrading their POS terminals.  And while they are upgrading, they have an opportunity to add other features, such as NFC.  There was no similar wide-ranging initiative and incentive to push merchants in the US to upgrade POS terminals previously.
  • There is an alliance of credit card companies that has a FAQ - http://www.smartcardalliance.org/publications-nfc-frequently-asked-questions/
  • Android, Microsoft, Blackberry, and Apple all have initiatives to use NFC for payments.  Even some feature phones (non-smart phones) have NFC.  I'll explore only Android and Apple in this post, as they have the majority of the smartphone market share.
Google Wallet Tap and Pay (the name for the NFC feature)
  • They have had it since 2011 - for years!  And yet, read on...
  • Google Wallet Tap and Pay - that's a long name (complaint tongue and cheek)
  • Google has not explained their service well.( http://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2014/09/18/why-do-people-think-apple-pay-is-so-innovative-when-an-equivalent-has-been-part-of-android-for-two-years/ )
  • Some carriers (AT&T, Verison, T-mobile) have been interfering with Tap and Pay, so it is only available with some phones from other carriers.  ( http://phandroid.com/2013/09/19/google-wallet-nfc-payments-blocked/ ) There are notably optimistically titled articles stating that now it can work on all carriers!  However, the articles then admit that in fact that is not true. ( http://www.androidcentral.com/google-wallet-tap-and-pay-can-work-any-android-44-device-still-requires-us-sim )  Carriers can control the software and firmware they are willing to carry with most cell phones.
  • Google changed the rules on its users.
    • When Tap and Pay was first released, it was tied to one card, one carrier, with the secure element.
    • Google changed things in April, 2014, when Google implemented HCE (host card emulation), which replaces the secure element by storing information representing the credit card in the cloud.  Google stopped supporting Tap and Pay for OS versions before Kit Kat 4.4 as they cannot support HCE.  
  • To use Google Wallet for NFC securely, a user must use many (too many?) steps:
    • Type in a code to unlock the phone (the phone must be locked)
    • Select the Google Wallet App
    • Type in the Google Wallet App code
    • Select a card
    • then continue with the transaction
  • Information is power:
    • With the Google Wallet transaction system, Google is enacting the transaction on behalf of the user.  Google gets information about your purchases, for whatever purposes Google uses this information for.
    • If Google Wallet were to have become ubiquitous, Google would have had a huge quantity of information about merchants and their sales data.  Merchants do not all want Google to have this proprietary data.  (This was briefly mentioned in http://blog.euromonitor.com/2013/10/google-wallets-in-store-payment-feature-all-but-dead.html )
  • In addition, some have mentioned that the Google play store is not as secure as the "walled garden" of the Apple App store: http://www.infoworld.com/article/2610099/mobile-security/report--android-malware-and-spyware-apps-spike-in-the-google-play-store.html
  • What does Google earn for transactions it conducts?  This is unclear.
  • Other notes:
    • In 2011, Eric Schmidt predicted 1/3 of all POS devices would be able to accept NFC payments: http://nfctimes.com/news/google-s-schmidt-predicts-contactless-terminal-rollout
    • In 2013, Bloomberg reported that Google was missing out on the mobile payments boom: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-06-06/why-google-is-missing-out-on-the-mobile-payments-boom
Apple Pay:
  • It is not yet in place; we have not yet tried it.  Keep that in mind.  When it is activated, it will start only in the US.
  • Apple appears to have worked very hard to gain both broad acceptance and widespread deployment in the US in 2014 and early 2015.  Apple deployed the technology at a time that worked well for this adoption.  
  • It only currently works with iPhone 6 and 6 plus.  This is limiting, but we know that there are more than ten million of these devices out in the world that could use the feature.  (It will work in the future with Apple Watch paired with an iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, 6, or 6 plus as well).
  • It works with the Apple Passbook app, and TouchID.  It is supposed to be simpler than using a credit card:
    • Hold your phone in place by a NFC terminal while holding TouchID to verify your identity.
  • Apple reports that Apple does not transmit credit card numbers to the merchant, and Apple keeps no information about your transactions.  The transactions are more secure.
  • Apple reportedly earns $0.15 per $100 of transactions.  Even if $20 billion in transactions go through Apple Pay, that is only $30 million dollars to Apple.  I do not see this as a huge money maker at this time, nor a huge drain on the system.
  • RFID credit cards are insecure.  I would not use them.
  • Chip and pin is coming your way.  ASAP use chip and pin over magnetic stripe.  I would, however, prefer cell-phone enabled transactions as more secure than chip and pin transactions.
  • Google Wallet Tap and Pay:
    • If users follow Google recommendations, I see no evidence that Google Wallet is not fully secure.  They do no longer use the secure element.
    • It is not clear to me what Google does with data about transactions.  This is a worry to some users, and is a big worry to some merchants.
    • Google changed the rules on its users, and devices that were able to use
    • Google was unable to get widespread adoption.  Google was unable to get cooperation from all carriers. 
    • Using Google Pay is not as smooth as using Apple Pay.  Google cannot fully control this.
    • Apple Pay deployment should be a benefit to Google as NFC is more widely deployed.
  • Apple Pay:
    • This appears to be a great time and with great partnerships for Apple to deploy.
    • Apple has taken great care to make transactions as secure, easy, and private as possible.  This appears to be able to keep users, merchants, and partners happy.
  • Both Google Wallet and Apple Pay are more secure than traditional credit cards or chip-and-pin credit cards.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Healthkit now and soon

With the release of iOS 8.0.2 today, Healthkit is enabled.  I see just about zero news on the subject.

If you own an iPhone 6/6 Plus, there are sections of automatic data collection and reporting you can activate now.  Open the health app, navigate to Fitness and then select each one, and choose Show on Dashboard for any you wish:

  • Flights Climbed
  • Steps
  • Walking + Running Distance

That's it for now!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Using iOS 8 on an iPhone 6 - the day after

Now that I'm mostly done dealing with trials and tribulations, I am starting to enjoy my iPhone 6 and some iOS 8 features.

First, a joke.  Since continuity is working with my iPad with iOS 8, I used my iPad as a phone and called my wife.  I held the iPad up like I was holding a cell phone to my ear.  As I got strange looks, I joked, "What?  I'm using my iPhone 6 +++!"  I plan to do this with others soon, before it gets old.

Many are saying that extensions are the big thing about iOS 8.  Since I'm still not experimenting with alternative keyboards, I'll share the two biggest places this affects me: 1Password and Evernote

I enabled touchID for 1Password.  Wow.  It is SO much more usable with touchID!  I enabled the safari extension (per this support document: https://guides.agilebits.com/1password-ios/5/en/topic/extension )  I used it by going into a website I log into, clicking the share button, and selecting 1Password.  It works!  This sounds small, but it is big and makes 1Password on the iPhone much more useful, more like on a desktop.

I do need to add that my iPhone is set up to automatically update apps.  This means I moved to 1Password5 without meaning to.  This means I no longer am syncing to my mac 1Password.  Oh dear.  I supposed I can wait a month, but this automatic problem creation is not good.

Web clipping with Evernote worked flawlessly as well from Safari.

I'm using touchID to unlock my phone, and it makes me reach for it more often knowing I don't have to type in my unlock code!  This is not new to iPhone 6, but it is new to me, and I am enjoying it.  It seems to always work for me.

I was on a website on my iPhone, and used continuity to get my iPad on that webpage immediately upon unlock.  This is pretty cool.  It was not working for mail or messages, probably because I'm not using iCloud drive yet.

I used mail draft hiding with a swipe down on the draft - this is GREAT!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Moving over to iPhone 6 - trials and tribulations

Bright and early this morning, I was told I received the first 2 iPhone 6 phones delivered in my town.

The plan:
  • Move off of 2 iPhone 5's into 2 iPhone 6's.
  • Move off of 2 iPhone 4's into the 2 iPhone 5's.
  • Use covers on the old phones to keep them straightened out as to which is which.  Once a recovery is made to an iPhone 6, the cover photo will let me see which is which quickly.
Simple, right?  Here are some complications:
  1. These devices are syncing to a machine with Lion.  Lion does not have iPhoto. We want to preserve the photos on all iPhones, and some have thousands of photos.
  2. We are all using one iCloud ID to do photo sharing.
First I back up each phone.  This consists of:
  1. Backing up to our Lion iTunes server
  2. Backing up photos to a Mavericks iPhoto-based machine
  • So I activate and recover each respective iPhone 6 to the backup of an iPhone 5.  Easy.
  • Then I take my iPhone 4's and iPhone 5's to an AT&T store.  I wait in line for about 30 minutes, and go inside to do a phone swap/SIM card replacement on the iPhone 5's.  One will not activate!  Eventually I am told a story about how sometimes it takes up to two hours to activate.  I grab a card of a person in the store to bypass lines if the phone never activates, and head off to do more syncing.
  • I then recover to the two iPhone 5's.
  • Next up: voicemail.  I have no idea what the voicemail passwords are.  A quick login to the AT&T online portal to reset passwords.  I then set new passwords and get visual voicemail working.
  • Then email...
    • I have a corporate mobile device management system.  It is not working with iPhone 6.  It worked with iPhone 5 and iOS 8.  This precludes corporate email for now for me.
    • I was surprised how much I had to use passwords in some cases, app passwords in others.  This is complicated, but doable.
  • One phone would not activate.  I had to go back to AT&T, get a manager.  They did not want to let me hop the line even though the promised long activation never happened.  However, the manager remembered me from earlier (and I did have a card from the person who had been helping me) and the manager helped me outside the store.  Not letting me back in the store somehow soothed the people still in line at 8PM.  There was some kind of typo in the data entry they had to do.  Once fixed, the iPhone 5 activated just fine immediately.
  • I was then trying to set up our old system of sharing photos.  We all use the same iCloud AppleID.  I use many icloud features, and every one else just shares photos and uses imessage.
    • After a while into this, I was unable to put my icloud account on one iphone.  It just would not work.  I had many symptoms listed in http://support.apple.com/kb/TS4268
    • I had other problems.  My wife and I would text a family member, and it looked like it came from my wife when I was texting!  This would not do.  I turned off Messages and Facetime on all of the iPhones and reset networking.  I set it all up from scratch.  It kept happening.  Eventually I did this on an iPad I have with iOS 8 and my computer as well.  THAT FIXED IT!  One of the two had somehow gotten my phone number and my wife's too, as if they were both mine.
    • I had a new problem - Continuity!  A call to one cell phone was a call to ALL cell phones (and my iPad)!  I became convinced that there was no way to make this old system work.  It was an interesting cacophony!
    • To fix: I went to all devices that are not my personal devices and:
      •  turned off the iPhone FaceTime setting "iPhone Cellular calls"
      • Handoff (under General, Handoff & Suggested Apps)
    • I still could not get one family phone to use my iCloud ID to share photos.  We are not ready to turn on family sharing today.  Then I remembered my old iPhone 4 devices we plan not to use!
      • I de-registered them with iCloud, turning off Find my iPhone, and then cloud services all together.
      • I reset their networking, and powered them off.  They are ready to be wiped and sold.
      • I went to icloud.com to verify... and saw a mess.  I had to re-sync each phone with a computer and rename it, giving it a useful name in Find My iPhone.  I had thought the recovery from backup would do this; it did not.
      • I had to delete a few old items like an old computer or two that had crashed and been replaced.  
  • Now it was finally time to get photos back on devices.  After wrestling my iTunes from an old Lion machine to a Mavericks machine containing my iPhoto backups, I tried to sync over photos.  The Photos area in iTunes for the device just contained a permanent spiral mark that  was like the pinwheel of death.  I waited, did other things (like eat), and came back - it was never going to resolve.  My CPU and disk were not busy in any way.
    • I checked out this article: http://support.apple.com/kb/TS3697?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US
    • I backed up each machine, then sync'ed it, and then I could copy photos via iTunes
    • A new problem cropped up: duplicates!  By this time, iCloud had shared a quarter of the 4,000 photos on a couple iPhones.  This effort meant they now had 5,000.  The only way I can think of to fix this is to start over, wipe the phones, do the photo sync first, and THEN set up iCloud.  Whew.
    • Other problems: in turning off iCloud and turning it back on, many other things start to sync and are turned on!  You cannot turn them off fast enough to stop this.  I had to delete Passbook data from other iPhones.
All of this took about.... 17 hours.  I have 4 iPhones, an iPad, and one computer involved.  I have some duplicate photos, and one iPhone 5 I cannot get to share photos via iCloud.  This was not a smooth process.  Advice:
  • Back up each iphone to a computer with Mavericks. Back up photos to iTunes on that machine.
  • Turn off Facetime, Messages, and for good measure iCloud on phones you are retiring or repurposing (once they are backed up).
  • Recover the phone in their entirety, including photos.
  • Clean up any old devices in Find My iPhone before proceeding.
  • Then do settings like email, voicemail, and the like.  If you encrypt your iPhone and iPhone backups, these settings can pass into the new iPhone.  Why not use that advantage?
  • Do iCloud enablement last.  Use the FaceTime and Continuity settings carefully.  If you make a mistake, watch the iCloud settings on the iPhone and delete any data you did not want on the iPhone.
  • Under Settings, General, About, you can rename your device.  This is a helpful tool with iCloud.
  • My iPhone and my wife's have no music on them.  None.  We downloaded via iTunes match - apparently we have to start over.
  • One iPhone 6 is having weird audiobook behavior - it will not restart from headset controls...
  • We have quadruple (or more) photos in... our photo albums.  I cannot say photo stream at this point.  What a mess.
More updates:
  • One repurposed iPhone 5 would not connect via facetime or messages no matter what.  I had a scheduled call with Apple, and they said my old iPhone 4 and the new iPhone 5 were both in apple systems as active with iMessage.  The support person said they cleared it and suggested I had to call AT&T to get them to reset things.  I called AT&T and they said everything was fine and started me through messages troubleshooting.  I said no, Apple sent me there for a reason.  They asked me to recover the iPhone 5 from scratch, and I insisted they get Apple back on the phone.  I quickly got to a senior technician who had me use xcode to dump logs from the phone - very cool! I'm told I'll hear back in a few days once engineering figures out what to do.

Friday, September 19, 2014

My First Experiences With Apple's iOS 8

iOS 8 came out yesterday, September 17th, 2014.  Since then, I installed it on an iPad Air (32GB) and an iPhone 5 (64GB).

I did both installs over-the-air not via iTunes on a computer.  This meant I had to free up 5-7GB of local space to do the upgrade.  Like many have reported, I had to painfully clear up space.  I did so by deleting movies and some larger apps (like garageband, imovie, and other Apple apps), carefully noting which ones to replace them once the upgrade was done.  I did not carefully track the time, but it took at least a couple hours, maybe a bit longer, on each, until done in this fashion.  Then I got to play!

I did not realize how much was going to have to wait until October for iOS 8 to be fully realized for me...

  • I did not activate iCloud drive.  I have been advised not to do so until October, until after Yosemite is released.
    • I have played with 1password, but since I'm not using iCloud drive, I'm not playing with 1password 5, so I'm not playing with new iOS 8-integrated features.
  • I did not activate Family Sharing.  I'm holding back until Yosemite is released.  I also need to verify it is going to work with my Apple TV version 2.  I want to be able to get all shared photos into my Apple TV photo stream.
  • HealthKit has recognized bugs.  There is not much to play with, so I will not be commenting on the Health app.  All healthkit apps were pulled from the store.
  • Some features are going to be enabled in an update in October:
    • Continuity
      • SMS Relay/Text Message Forwarding - even between an iPhone and iPad.  I can make a call from my iPad now, but not text my Android-using friends from my iPad.
  • I'm just not ready to try out the downloadable keyboards.  Try it and report how you like it!
  • I haven't yet had time to play with many photos features, such as the new larger panoamas and time-lapse photography.
  • I have an iPhone 5 and so did not play with app TouchID integration; I don't have it.

What have I tried?

  • I received and made phone calls from my iPad.  It defaulted to speakerphone mode.  How do you make a call with no phone app?  Use contacts, either from the contacts app, or when choosing another app to multitask do with the double click to the home button, where the new iOS 8 recent contacts show up.
  • I made sure to put some photos with some recent and favorite contacts so that they would show up when looking at favorite contacts.  I deleted some duplicate contact entries to make sure the pictures would show up.
  • I sent voice messages via imessage.  I have noticed that some people do not like it when I do this.  It works even with folks who are not on iOS 8 - they play the sound via QuickTime.
  • I used "Hey Siri".  It came in really handy in the car when I wanted to ask Siri to read a text back to me while driving.  I thought of making a song with the words, "Hey Siri" in it.  I want to see if Siri can be solo-activated by an iPhone/iPad playing such a "Hey Siri" song!
  • I sent my location to someone - that could be done before iOS 8 but was more of a pain.  This was simple!
  • I created a name for a group text!  Unfortunately, this name did not sync between iPhone and iPad - probably because I'm not using iCloud drive.
  • I browsed photos from chats in imessage - that is really nice!  Way to go Apple!  People may not remember how much of an upgrade iMessage (messages) is from "old text messaging before Apple".  I hope they keep improving it!
  • I used the pre-texting words keyboard feature - I chose words rather than being an autocorrect victim!
  • I checked the apps that use the most power (after using iOS 8 for many hours).  The home screen and lock screen for me were the worst!  I do still have the parallax thing turned on... Maybe I should look at that more.
  • email handling in the summary screen(s):
    • Swipe to the right and click to make a message unread
    • Quick swipe left for the options for more options, flag, or move to trash -- this one can be a bit tricky until you get used to it - don't accidentally do a long swipe right...
    • Long swipe left to trash a message
  • Photos
    • I no longer see my old Photos camera roll and cloud photos as separate things.  They are all sort of one thing.  I think this will make more sense once I am using iCloud drive in a month.
    • I am going to have to play with this more.  Old options, for example to delete something from Photos in the cloud (to get it off of my Apple TV, for example) are not nearly so obvious.  Which photos did I take vs which photos did my wife take?  It is not at all so clear any more.  This is going to freak out some family members after the upgrade.
    • I played with photo editing.  I made a photo B&W (black and white).  I had to unselect B&W to get to see it in color again; playing in the color selection did nothing.  That was a counter-intuitive.
  • iOS8 extensions - deeper integrations with apps:
    • I did web clipping with evernote!  This is a great improvement.
  • Safari
    • Request desktop site - just click the address bar, pull down, and get the options to Add to Favorites and Request Desktop Site.  This one is helpful to some for sure, but I think I get what I need without it so far.
  • New weather app - cool...
  • Maps
    • I took a 3D flyover tour of San Francisco, Yosemite National Park, and Paris!  It was a bit choppy but was otherwise thrilling and pretty amazing.
That's all for now.  Enjoy iOS 8!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Fixing iBooks on my old Lion-based iTunes server

I have an old 2008 white macbook that is my household iTunes server.  I carefully back it up, but it was not always my iTunes server, and it does not know where iBooks are.  The iTunes library was on a newer machine I upgraded to Mavericks, which moved the iBooks.  I need to fix that before getting an iPhone 6.  I have books not bought from Apple, and PDFs, and I want to keep them on my iPad and iPhone.

I am not using iPhoto on this old machine.  So I have a hole in how I keep backups of photos.  I'll have to look at that later.  It is highly recommended that anyone upgrading iOS make sure that they have a full backup of photos.

I do not have room for my media (photos, iBooks, iTunes) on the local drive, and so have it on an external drive.  I moved the drive from one machine to another, and never migrated iBooks.  Now I have to look for them and update anything that needs updating so that I can again sync iBooks.  Note that audiobooks are still in iTunes - no problems there.  But once iBooks became an app for Macs, iBooks were no longer in iTunes.

I have my iBooks on my Mavericks-based machine.  Where?

  • ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.BKAgentService/Data/Documents/iBooks/Books
So I copied files from my Mavericks computer to a location available to my iTunes server computer.  I tried to import them.  It turns out I had some of the files located on my old Lion-based iTunes machine, so I deleted duplicates.  I tried to sync my iPhone.  It said it could not locate some files.  I ended up deleting ALL iBooks from my iTunes library, unselected all books from sharing with my iPhone, and then reimported the whole list in the shared location.  I still had no PDFs; importing PDFs did not work.  I had to drag and drop the PDFs into iTunes in my old iTunes server.   I then selected books (and PDFs) to sync, and it all worked.  Whew.

The good thing is that I had put some PDFs into categories in iBooks on my iPhone and iPad.  They fell right back into those categories once re-synced even after all of my cleanup shenanigans.  I did not have to re-select the 15 PDFs related to a class I took into a category for that class.

Friday, September 12, 2014

My experience buying an iPhone 6 online at Midnight September 12

I bought two iPhone 6 phones near Midnight, 9/12/14.  How did that work?

  • First I was going to the Apple website, to the store.  http://store.apple.us/  This was not getting me anywhere - just the banner saying that the site would be back up shortly as they were working on it.
  • Then I navigated to the iPhone portion of the main Apple site, and clicked on iPhone 6, and a button in the upper right (which now says Pre-Order Now) said something different about learning where to order.  At about 12:15AM Pacific time, this link changed, but still it brought up the maintenance page.
  • I grabbed both iPhone 5 phones my family owns and made sure the Apple Store app was up-to-date.  I tried to use the Apple Store app on the phone to buy iPhones.  This also did not work.
  • At around 12:30AM, it finally allowed me to enter information about the iPhone I was using to try to upgrade to a new iPhone and to check eligibility.  When this succeeded (it often failed or seemed to time out), I was able to select the iPhone I wanted to upgrade to.  However, the message on the phone let me know that each possible iPhone 6 model I selected was unavailable.
  • At around 12:40, on one phone (and not on the other), when I clicked on some random model with 16GB of storage, it was listed as available!  But this was not the case on the model I wanted.   I clicked around on models some more and the model I wanted, it was listed as available!  However, I was clicking around and clicked to another model which was not available!  Argh!  When I clicked back on the Space Gray 128GB iPhone I wanted, it was still available, and I put it in my cart.
  • I was given the opportunity to buy AppleCare.  I do want AppleCare.  However, trying to add this to the cart timed out several times.  I gave up on AppleCare.
  • I went to check out and paid, accepting terms.
  • Then I moved firmly to the other iPhone, trying over and over to select just the iPhone 6 I wanted.  It continued to show it was not available.
  • By around 1AM, I was able to complete a purchase on the other iPhone.
I checked the web site.  It still only showed the maintenance page...

On the Apple Store website, at around 8AM, I see that this model is still available for September 19th availability... Maybe I did not need to stay up late?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

First thoughts on Apple Pay and the Apple Watch

Apple Pay:

  • Only works with iPhone 6 and beyond (also with Apple Watch, probably only with iPhone 6 and 6 Plus)
  • It is about time passbook was given expanded use.
  • NFC is important because it is ultra-low power - lower power than Bluetooth.
  • Other non-Apple phones (some Android, and even Windows phone) have had this for a while.
  • So why is it really a big deal?  I think there are three bits:
    • Apple sells enough iPhones to enough folks who are likely to actually use NFC that it becomes more ubiquitous and more vendors/stores and banks will support it.
    • Apple reputedly will secure things more than other NFS solutions, and will thus cause lower fees for credit card use.  This means there is room for Apple to earn a little ($0.15 per $100) while also getting banks/vendors to use NFC more.
    • Apple reputedly will see and keep less data about transactions.  Apple does not want to sell data about buyers and sellers.
All of this will take more time to really evaluate.  It is not available until October, 2014.

Apple Watch:
  • It is only useful, according to Apple, with an iPhone (5 and up).
  • According to Tim Cook (see his interview on the Charlie Rose show: http://www.hulu.com/watch/686851 ) it can be used while leaving your iphone behind while you work out.
  • It comes in a bigger and smaller version, with 3 forms (gold, not gold (steel) but still sapphire, and steel with very strong glass.  There are tons of watch bands for every fashion need a band can fulfill.  Really.
  • Other attributes:
    • It charges wirelessly, via a magnetic attachment - via a sealed element.
    • It has a microphone and "discrete" speaker.  It is Siri-enabled.
    • There is an accelerometer
    • Other interface info: It has a new pressure-sensitive touch screen/face, a new watch crown dial and button 
    • Sensors on the back, against the wearer's skin, to sense heart rate.
    • A haptic device to enable precise/careful vibration-like communications.  This is supposed to be very unusual.  If one person taps on the phone to communicate to another, it supposedly feels like being tapped on the wrist.
    • Networking:
      • Bluetooth 4.0
      • Wifi (types unknown)
      • NFC
  • What I do not like, so far:
    • OK, um, it is used to do everything and the kitchen sink as a total extension of the iPhone on your wrist.
    • It needs to be charged, presumably every day.  This implies to me and many that it will not be used to track sleep.  Sleep tracking is important to many folks.
    • It is not water proof - not to be used in pools or the shower.  The watch I have now is water proof.  I have worn my watch into a pool; I swim.  If the Apple Watch is ruined by this, I am quite concerned I will ruin it if I own it.
  • What people can use it for:
    • A watch.  Many faces are available.
    • A view into your data:
      • Weather, stock, facebook posts, what movies are playing nearby
      • Photos - keeps a local store of photos you want to be able to see.
    • Fitness coach:
      • Look at your fitness status for the day in three areas:
        • Calories for the day
        • Minutes of active exercise for the day
        • Stand - tracks taking breaks throughout the day to stand up for a bit 
    • Interaction:
      • Mail
      • play music (music is stored in the watch), control music, control an appleTV...
      • Text, use new creative emoticon capabilities, the haptic system to tap on a friend's wrist, and draw pictures on your watch for a friend.
      • Maps: rather than pull out your phone and looking at your phone screen, your watch can show a minimap.  Also, haptic communications can just tap left or right to let you know where to go at each intersection.  This is supposed to be very cool and very discrete.
      • Challenge a friend to work out more, or invite them to dinner
    • Remote:
      • Remote control for Apple TV
      • Remote for the camera on the iPhone, including remote viewfinder
    • Bill Pay

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Summary of announcements from Apple and the September 9 2014 event

DRAFT - ongoing information

  • Stream at http://www.apple.com/live/2014-sept-event/
  • http://appleinsider.com/articles/14/09/09/apple-announces-47-iphone-6-and-55-iphone-6-plus-new-design-a8-cpu-retina-hd-display

  • iPhone 6 4.7"
    • gold, silver, space grey
    • in contract $199 16GB, $299 64GB, $399 128GB
    • bigger but thinner at 6.9mm thick (thinner than iPhone 5 which is 7.6mm thick)
    • as good or better in every battery category
    • Retina Display HD - 1334x750 pixels (1 million)
      • 1400:1 contrast ratio (avg)
      • 326 ppi (same as iphone 5)
  • iPhone 6 plus 5.5"
    • gold, silver, space grey
    • in contract $299 16GB, $399 64GB, $499 128GB
    • much bigger but still thinner at 7.1mm thick
    • Retina Display HD - 1920x1080 pixels (2 million)
      • 1300:1 contrast ratio (avg)
      • 401 ppi
  • A8
    • 2 billion transistors (2x A7), 25% faster than A7, 50% more efficient overall than A7
    • Next generation image processor for camera
      • more advanced face detection
  • M8
  • Camera:
    • New camera sensor
      • Phase detection auto-focus (better faster auto-focus)
      • better noise reduction
      • Panorama up to 43megapixels
    • Optical image stabilization
    • 1080P video at 30 or 60 fps (like 5s), slo-mo video at 240fps (double before)
    • h.265 for facetime calls
    • front camera improved also
      • f/2.2 (much better at capturing light - they say 80% better)
      • burst mode for better selfies
  • Other sensors:
    • Next generation gyroscope
    • Barometer (altitude detection)
  • Networking:
    • Now 802.11AC Wifi is available also - up to 3x faster than wireless N
    • LTE:
      • faster - up to 150MB/sec
      • VoLTE - when supported by carriers, enables voice over LTE
      • more bands in each phone - up to 20 (Verizon is said to be the one to buy if you are buying unlocked)
      • BlueTooth LE
        • Apple has worked hard to take advantage of all the capabilities of the Bluetooth standard.
    • When supported by carriers - the ability to take a call from WiFi back to cellular will offload cellular demands and hopefully make calls more reliable.
  • Display Zoom - makes icons and text bigger on the new screens with more pixels
  • Reachability - double click the home button to make the top of the screen reachable
  • New silicon and leather cases
  • iPhone 5C starts free, iPhone 5s starts at $99
  • new phones start shipping Sept 19th, pre-order starting 9/12/14
  • 115 countries by the end of the year
  • Not available for iPhone 4, available Sept 17.
Apple Pay
  • New payments process
  • for iPhone 6/6+, NFC + TouchID + Secure Element + Passbook 
  • Card number not stored - token created with dynamic security code - credit card info not on device
  • Find my iphone allows disabling credit card
  • Apple does not know what/where/how much you paid
  • Cashier does not see your name, card #, or security code
  • AMEX, MasterCard, VISA to start
  • Some stores supporting it: Macy's, Bloomingdales, walgreens, Duanereade, staples, subway, McDonald's (including drive-through), Whole Foods, Apple stores, Disney (all stores and Disney World), Panera, Sephora, Petco, Toys 'R Us
  • Online: one-touch checkout - Target, groupon, Uber, Opentable (to pay check at restaurants), tickets.com, starbucks
  • Update to IOS8 in the US in October, 2014 (reminder: new iPhones only)
Apple Watch
  • Starts at $349, available in 2015
  • Models
    • Watch - Stainless Steel and Sapphire Crystal
    • Watch Sport - Aluminum and Ion-X Glass
    • Watch Edition - 18-karat gold, Sapphire gold
  • Apple pay works with Apple watch
  • Has to be charged with a magnetically attaching charger on the back
  • Sensors:
    • Gyroscope
    • Pulse rate
    • Accelerometer
  • S1 processor
  • Taptic 
  • Apps on the watch:
    • too many to count
  • What you can do with the watch:
    • I'll write another post - there are too many things!
  • U2 - Free just-released to 500 million people album - to all iTunes users.

Monday, September 8, 2014

OK time to prognosticate about the September 9, 2014 event

There is so much prognostication going on, it is infectious to some.  I have finally been infected.  What all is rumored?  What do I think might be real?

First let's start with product categories and rumors.  Then I'll make a short personal prognostication list.  I think Apple likes simplicity, and so I do not expect the announcement to cover anywhere near everything listed under rumors.  Here is the rumor roundup:

  • Mac
    • Macbook Air
      • Mainly the talk is about bumping screens to retina
    • Macbook Pro
    • iMac
    • Mac Pro
    • Screens
      • 4K screen
  • iPod
    • iPod Touch:
      • bigger iPod touches? 
      • better camera
      • touchID?
  • iPad
    • iPad Pro 12.9"?
    • TouchID?
  • iPhone
    • 4.7" and 5.5" versions?
    • 5.5" even thinner with humongous battery?
    • WiFi AC?
    • New super high resolutions
    • better camera?
    • liquid metal outer covering, finally?
    • sapphire yet non-shattering screen?
    • A wholly sapphire encased phone that does not need a case?
    • NFC - near field communication - used for phone-based payment services
  • Apple TV
    • De Nada - see software and services...
  • Beats Headphones
    • lightning plug high-res listening?
  • iWatch
    • Multiple versions (men/women is the most plausible)
    • Usable independent of iPhone - useful to customers without other Apple products.
    • NFC tie to iPhone
    • Tie to HomeKit: use band to get home info and possibly unlock locks at least.
    • possible tie to Disney - and their magic bands
    • text message tie to iPhone
    • sapphire screen, liquid metal band
    • flexible electronics, unique form-fitting band
    • sensors rumored for tie to HealthKit:
      • motion (mainly up/down but also useful for tracking sleep)
      • altitude/barometer
      • gyroscope
      • gps
      • heart rate
      • blood pressure
      • oxygen saturation
      • glucose monitoring
Software and services:
  • Beats streaming - integrated with iTunes radio
  • Movie version of iTunes match?
  • Mobile payments service with NFC in new iPhones (with TouchID and Passbook ties)
Notably absent:
  • More about HomeKit

Now for my prognostication:
  • MacBook Air
    • Bump to retina.  If not now, in 2014.
  • New iPhone 4.7" and 5.5"
    • with a better camera, both with TouchID
    • NFC
    • some new sensors that aren't rumored
    • a sideways mode for some iphone built-in apps that is more like iPad
    • higher resolution screens
    • Shipping by mid-October
  • iWatch
    • with more fashion than I can imagine
    • fewer sensors than imagined - definitely no glucose monitoring this time around
    • coming out in early 2015
    • comes with more HealthKit discussion
  • Services:
    • Definitely mobile payments, and NFC seems very likely, rolling out with many major retailers across the US, tied to TouchID

What is going on with Apple hires and acquihires in 2014?

I have never seen any company make so many high-profile hires (some by company purchases).  Something is goin' on!

  • Angela Ahrendts - CEO of Burberry
  • Paul Devenve - CEO of Yves Saint Laurent
  • Catherine Monier - European President, head of retail, Yves Saint Laurent
  • Patrick Pruniaux - VP Sales, Tag Heuer
  • Marc Newson - famed designer
  • Ari Partinen - formerly Nokia's Lumia photography lead
  • Ben Schaffer - famed for work on Nike's FuelBand
  • Musa Tariq, Global Senior Director Social Media & Community, Nike
  • Alex Acero - had 20 years in Microsoft researching speech technology
  • Gunnar Evermann, Siri Manager, Nuance
  • Dr. Dre - of Beats, by Dr. Dre...
    • Jimmy Iovine - of Beats
    • Trent Reznor of Beats - this just started getting discussed in October, 2014
  • Medicine/sensors:
    • Michael O'Reilly - Masimo CMO
    • Marcelo Lamego - Cercacor CTO
    • Ravi Narasimhan VP biosensor technology, Vital Connect
    • Nima Ferdosi, embedded sensors exper
    • Alexander Chan, biomedical engineer, Vital Connect
    • Nancy Dougherty, Sano Intelligence
    • Todd Whitehurst, VP Product, Senseonics
I see:
  • Fashion and branding
  • Entertainment industry ties
  • Serious involvement in medicine and sensors
  • Camera technology
  • Speech technology

How much will be heard/seen in 2014 vs how much will be the future?  I'm not ready for that prognostication yet.