Tag Archives: iPad

Apple’s IOS 10 Operating System: Mature and smooth – and it only took ten attempts.

IOS 10 Artwork
IOS 10 Artwork

Well, after ten versions Apple apparently has gotten it right with the IOS 10 operating system. An operating system (OS) – regardless if it’s Apple, Google, Microsoft, or others – is never really finished. It is always a work in progress; features are added, bugs are squashed, compatibility with third party applications (apps) is improved – the list goes on and on.

If the operating system developer had only one hardware device to write OS software for it might be easier to get it right. Writing OS code that works reliably on an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple Watch, and Apple TV for current devices, as well as for older devices, is quite a trick. There are thousands of permutations. Getting it right is very difficult, time consuming, and R&D expensive.

Apple is just about the only hardware manufacturer that also writes its own OS software. Samsung, Lenovo, Sharp, HTC, and dozens of others hardware manufacturers depend on OS software written by companies like Google (who makes Android OS software) and Microsoft (who makes Windows OS software) to develop their operating system software. Yes, I’m aware that Google also manufacturers the Google phone and the Chromebook, and that Microsoft manufacturers the Surface laptop. But these are “one-off” machines.

A few quick examples of improvements in IOS 10:

1. A completely redesigned Maps app that is simpler, bolder looking, and easier to use. A major improvement in day-to-day use. Location accuracy is also much better.

2. You can now read voicemail messages as well as listen to them. The voice transcription is pretty accurate and predictable.

3. The Photos app now includes the ability to organize by faces and map locations. Now you can easily find all the photos of your children and your friends. The map locations allows you to see all the photos you took in a specific location (as determined by GPS).

4. Siri is now open to developers so that you can directly tie into services such as Uber.

5. The music app tied to Apple Music is greatly improved in look and feel (see an expanded description below).

6. The Messages app has gone crazy! It has its own App Store. Add stickers, GIF’s, emojis and more.

7. iPhones now support a “raise to wake” feature that lets you see notifications without having to push a button.

8. The ability to remove Apple default (stock) apps like Stock, Weather, and most others. They can be reloaded later if you wish.

One detailed example:

When Apple introduced the “Music” app two years ago it was a mess. Missing options (like sorting lists), difficult navigation going from one area to another, inconsistency of menus are just a few examples. For a company that had just introduced its new 30-million-track service, like Spotify, it was a lame first attempt.

Last year’s IOS 9 update was somewhat better – but still not truly Apple in look or feel.

This year’s IOS 10 update is much better; a simpler, more stark appearing interface is easier to understand and use, with black and white graphics and text, while color is employed sparingly for emphasis. Sorting by artist, album, release date, and more, is available throughout the application. Song lyrics are also available for most tracks. The star rating system has returned to the joy of many long time iTunes users.

On a different subject – creativity:

Apple has been criticized for a lack of creativity since the death of one of its founders – Steve Jobs. I’m not sure that criticism is deserved. Here are three examples of recent product innovations.

1. The Apple Watch (second edition), has met with success from the media, retail, and the user communities. It’s now water-resistant, has a faster processor, improved operating system (3rd generation), longer battery life, and a less expensive starting price.

2. The Apple “W1” Bluetooth audio chip was just released. It is used on the new Apple AirPod wireless headphones, and several of the new Beats (owned by Apple) brand of wireless headphones. The W1 chips offers:

  • a. Extreme battery life – 40 hours of playtime vs 2-4 hours of most other wireless headphones.
  • b. Extreme range (distance) – up to 300 feet vs 33 feet of most other Bluetooth devices.
  • c. Simple pairing (connecting) interface – works with any Apple IOS 10 device by simply connecting to your first device, and then the rest of your devices are auto connected (if you use the same Apple ID on all of your devices).

3. The recently introduced MacBook Pro laptops with a new OLED color touch-bar located above the keyboard that dynamically changes depending on the software app being used.

My bottom line:

Apple is not perfect; not even close. But in many ways, they have innovative design, solid manufacturing, and great (read: loyal) customer support. I admit to being an Apple “fan boy”. 2017 will see the tenth anniversary of the iPhone. It will be interesting to see what improvements and new features will be added to IOS 11. Stay tuned!

Do seniors really need to update to Apple’s newest software?

Apple OS updates
Apple OS updates

You don’t need to update, but it’s almost always a good idea. Updates provide us with a measure of comfort by contributing a number of things:

• Generally, a slightly faster, and more reliable device (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and Mac).

• Usually a number of new and improved features that make day-to-day use more enjoyable.

• Security updates that help protect our devices from nasty hackers.

• Bug fixes that repair problems discovered before the update.

A better question may be: Why wouldn’t you want to update your device? Here are a few reasons to update:

• It’s free (Apple never charges for updates).

• It’s easy to do (Follow the steps below).

• You will receive bug fixes and new features.

• Get a leg up on your kids and grand kids (beat them by updating first).

Here is how to get started…

1. On an IOS device (e.g. iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch)

a. Look at the connector at the bottom of your device – where you plug it in to recharge the battery. If it has the older wider 20 pin connector you cannot upgrade your device to IOS 10. Sorry. If you have the newer, small “Lightning Connector” you can update to IOS 10.

b. Make sure your device is attached to the charging cable and is at least 50% charged.

c. Now go into “Settings” (it looks like a gear). Next press on the word “General”. Finally press on the words “Software Update”. The software should now be downloading, verifying, installing and then restarting the device. Once the restart has begun, you’ll see a black screen, then a white Apple logo, and then a progress bar. This should happen twice and then the update will be complete.

2. On an Apple Watch (updating the Apple Watch from watchOS 2 to watchOS 3)

a. Make sure your iPhone has been updated to IOS 10 (this is required).

b. Connect your iPhone to its battery charger.

c. Connect your Apple Watch to its battery charger.

d. In the Watch app on your iPhone scroll down the screen until you see the “General” icon. Press on the word “General”. Next, press on the words “Software Update”. The software should now be downloading (to the Apple Watch), verifying, installing and then restarting the device. Once the restart has begun, you’ll see a black screen, then a white Apple logo, and then a progress circle. This should happen twice and then the update will be complete.

3. On an Apple TV (Hardware Version 4)

a. Start at the main menu of your Apple TV.

b. Go to the settings menu (the Gear icon).

c. Scroll down until you see the word “System” and then click on it.

d. Now look below and find the words “Software Updates” and then click on it.

e. Now click on the words “Update Software”.

f. If the system needs to be updated, the software download will begin. The Apple will automatically restart upon completion.

4. On a Mac computer (all newer models that use Mac OS 10 or newer)

a. Start at the top left of the screen. Click on the “Apple” icon.

b. The menu will drop down, and you need to click on the “App Store” menu item.

c. Make sure you click on the word “Featured”.

d. You should see the icon for “Mac OS 10 Sierra Update”. Click on this icon to begin downloading and installing the update. This is a large update and will take at least an hour to download and install. You can check on the progress by clicking on the words “Purchased” in the App Store.

Apple has made free user guides for all of the updates. If you have iBooks installed on your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or Mac you can go to the “Featured” menu and search for the books:

• iPhone Users Guide for IOS 10

• iPad Users Guide for IOS 10

• iPod Touch Users Guide for IOS 10

• Apple Watch Users Guide

• Apple TV Users Guide

• MacBook Essentials

• MacBook Pro Essentials

• MacBook Air Essentials

• iMac Essentials

These free digital books provided by Apple are a great way to learn about the new and improved features. They’re also excellent reference guides for the “How do I…” questions that often come up.

Happy updating!

APPS: What’s on my iPhone/iPad right now.

Favorite IOS Apps
Favorite IOS Apps

A lot of my friends – and a lot of you readers – have asked me what apps do you recommend?  As an Apple “fan-boy” since 1978 I’ve used hundreds of apps on every Apple device imaginable. Over the years my long list of devices have included the Apple ][, Apple ///, Apple Lisa, Apple Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple Watch, and Apple TV.

Quite frankly there is no such thing as the perfect app.  Every app developer thinks their app is the best.  Few are.  Even great ones like Numerous for the iPhone/iPad which had over 150,000 active users recently died an untimely death due to a lack of customer funding.  The history of computer apps (from an earlier term: applications) is littered with a few standouts and thousands of little purchased and little used want-to-be’s.

To give you an idea how big the market for apps is, consider that Apple has over 1,500,000 apps available for the iPhone, iPad, and the iPod Touch. There are more than 15,000 apps available for the Apple Watch. In less than a year the Apple TV 4 has grown from 40 apps to over 5,000. Apps range in price from free to a thousand dollars or more! The average price for an IOS app for consumer use is $1.99. I’ve never understood how a person who spends hundreds of dollars on a new iPhone or iPad complains about the cost of an app that costs only a couple-of-bucks and has a lifetime of free upgrades.

I’ve compiled a list of my all-time top ten favorite apps for your consideration. Each app I use almost daily and each provides a good mix of features, performance and reliability. Note that some are free, some require a monthly or annual subscription, and a couple are reasonably priced. The list is in no particular order.

All of these apps work on iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches. Some also work on the Apple Watch, Apple TV and the Apple Mac.

Check out my Top Ten Favorite Apps by clicking here:  Tom’s Favorite Apps

You will be taken to my app page where you can read a brief overview of each App and then click on a link to open the app in the Apple App Store.

Enjoy! Comments and questions are always welcome. Tech support is available from each developers web site.

OneNote for Mac adds printing and more…

20140501-152447.jpg

What? Two Microsoft blogs in less than one week? Yikes! I’m an Apple guy, so what’s the buzz today?

Microsoft released OneNote version 15.1 for the Mac today. It adds a bunch of new features like:

1). The ability to print – WhooHoo! Now you can print individual pages or your whole notebook.
2). You can also save to PDF by “Printing” to PDF using the Mac print dialog box.
3). Pictures can be “dragged” into pages from other documents, applications, and web pages.
4). You can simply type in a web address and it makes automatic links.
5). You can use the format painter
6). Other good stuff… (see the release notes).

Why is all this “whoopie” about Microsoft coming from this Apple guy? Because the new CEO and management team “get it.” They are all about software and all about preserving the importance of Microsoft Office to the Mac community (pretty strong rumors about Office 2014/2015 coming this fall for the Mac).

Microsoft has been asleep for the past 10+ years. The new guy(s) “get it” and the “get it” NOW. Key an on of their stock. I bought it about 30 days ago (mid March) because of the moves and plans Microsoft has been making the past 90 days. Invest at your own risk!

WhooHoo! AirPrint comes to iPad Office Apps!

20140429-132547.jpg

Today’s the day! If you are using Microsoft Office Word, Excel or PowerPoint on your Apple iPad this is the day that you can go to the Apple App Store and download free upgrades to all three app’s.

Microsoft has added the ability to print documents from the three apps using Apple’s AirPrint software which is built into the IOS operating system used on iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches.

Additional items for the newly released app’s include a few new features and of course bug fixes.

Kudos to Microsoft and it’s new CEO who promised to quickly add printing to the three apps at the launch a couple of weeks ago.

There are good reasons why both Microsoft and Apple’s stocks are rising in the last few weeks. With Microsoft’s new CEO “Getting it” and Apple’s launch of new products coming this fall – my money is on a continued rise in the stock price of both.

REVIEW: Microsoft Word on the iPad

20140409-201539.jpg

Well here I am. Writing this article in Microsoft Word on the Apple iPad. Microsoft has obviously taken its time in developing this software for the iPad. The “fit and finish” and smoothness and stability are excellent for a version 1.0 product. Although not “bloated” with features seldom used, it has enough features to get 95% of most peoples work done.

It is exceedingly simple to use. Actually reminds me of Word 2003 in many ways – as the first to you a ribbon bar with easy to use “touch” commands. The application uses pretty standard keyboard commands that make it easy to use with almost any bluetooth keyboard connected to the iPad.

What really impresses me is how well formatting comes over from the desktop version of MS Word 2013 on the PC or Word 2011 on the Mac (Microsoft has confirmed that a new version of Office 365 is in development for the Mac.)

The application has five simple menu choices: Home, Insert, Layout, Review and View.

 Home: is basic formatting – type choices, highlighting, text position, bullets, numbering, paragraph indent and outdent, show or hide “invisibles” and more.
 Insert: insertion of page breaks, column and section breaks, tables, pictures, shapes, text box, hyperlinks and footnotes.
 Layout: page orientation, page size, page margins, text flow direction, number of columns, header & footer information, page numbering.
 Review: normal editors and proofers markers are available as well as the ability to track changes and display items for review.
 View: the view command gives you spelling, ruler and word count options.

Sure there are things that could be better, a few missing features – like the ability to print (coming in the next version according to published sources from Microsoft.

Live collaboration and review is easily accomplished by sharing links that allow more than one person to be working on the same document at the same time. The links can be set as “read only” or “read and edit.” Nice! The document can also be sent as an attachment via the iPads email system.

Is Word for the iPad “better” than Apple’s Pages app. No, but it may be more familiar to the millions of business users who use Office everyday. There is very little learning curve, and you can get up to speed very quickly.

Bottom line… nice job Microsoft.

Microsoft as a “Trojan Horse”

Over the last six months (October 2013 – March 2014) Microsoft has indeed looked more and more like the fabled “Trojan Horse.”

No one is more “pro” Apple than I am. As we used to say (when Apple’s logo was colored) “I bleed in six colors.” And I still do.

But earlier this week I purchased my first Microsoft stock. Why, you might ask… Well here are a few things that you might want to give consideration to concerning all the “hub bub”:

• A singularity of OS. More and more it appears that Microsoft is bringing all of their OS’s together. Windows 8, Windows RT, Windows Mobile and more.
• Broadening their hardware experience by developing tablet PC’s such as their own Surface brand tablet.
• Buying a large piece of Nokia for the experience of developing mobile hardware.
• Making key Microsoft software available to the “enemy” (Apple) users for Mac and IOS devices. Such software as OneNote and soon Office 365 for the iPad. Think of what this means to the many corporations that were holding out on the iPad because it lacked the ability to use Microsoft Office.
• A new CEO from outside the company that appears to be very bright, full of new ideas and is a proven business leader.

Will Microsoft be the next “comeback kid?” Some think so and their stock is beginning to head North again for the fist time in years. Watch for a series of announcements beginning on March 27th. You may want to purchase a share or two before those announcements begin.

20140322-100524.jpg