OS X Yosemite Developer Preview 6: Mac and iOS Integration

Here is the status of the other issues I’ve been speaking to over the past few beta releases.

Installation and Startup

Yosemite DP6 was delivered as an UPDATE to DP5. There isn’t a full download, and I don’t know why. When I went to redeem the install code that I got with my Developer Program Membership, the App Store told me it was already redeemed.

The update appeared in the App Store and installed without issue.  Restart was quicker than with DP5. Performance since then has been better than with previous versions of Yosemite.

Mac and iOS Integration

mac_and_ios_mac_ios

Yosemite and iOS 8 when paired together truly provide a remarkable Apple experience.  The only problem I’ve encountered so far is that the reality isn’t measuring up to the vision.  I’m hopeful that future releases of the OS fulfill the vision before its ready for the public release of the new desktop OS.

Phone Calls
This is perhaps the coolest thing I’ve seen in Yosemite so far. Continuity might be cool, but iOS integration is the bomb. I love the fact that I can use my Mac as a speaker phone. However, this is the part of the vision that isn’t really quite there yet. Perhaps is the fan issue that I mentioned earlier (partially, I think), perhaps is the Bluetooth audio quality between my Mac and my iPhone 5 (more likely).  Whatever the issue and cause might be, there’s still a lot of work that needs to get done in order to have this feature working correctly.

If there’s one feature that Apple can really work on more than any other, this is what I would prefer they spend their time working on.  More than any other Yosemite feature I think this is the one that I will personally get the most use out of. I can actually see me using this one a lot.  I’m all over my iPhone and there’s no reason why my Mac and iPhone 5 shouldn’t be able to handle the full load required to make this feature truly rock.

Messages
In previous versions of OS X Yosemite and iOS 8, messages didn’t quite live up to the vision that Craig Federighi outlined at the WWDC Keynote.  Messages has always handled iOS messaging well. (Honestly, it should…it was designed to do just that.)  Where it fell short was non-iOS messaging – sending and receiving messages between a Mac or iOS device and a non-Mac or non-iOS device.

In Yosemite DP6, this appears to be working as designed.  Not only are non-iOS messages received correctly (as they were in previous betas), but you can now send messages to that non-iOS or non-Apple device without any issues.  I really have to hand it to Apple. They make communicating with non-Apple-centric devices on your Mac, very easy now.  This is the way that Messages should have worked from the beginning.

FaceTime
I think this is the area where most of the Mac and iOS integration issues are stemming from, but I could be wrong.  It seems that Apple is wanting FaceTime to be the PC based hub for all non-written communications integration between your Mac and your iPhone.  All of your call history from your iPhone is synchronized with FaceTime when the phone is physically connected to your Mac.  This includes not only your cellular calls, but FaceTime audio and video calls as well.

When you want to make a cellular call from your Mac, you can use either FaceTime or you can use Contacts to find the number. I’ve noticed that regardless of what desktop app you use, searching for a number is delayed as the app tries to search through your contacts for the search string you’re actively typing.  The more contacts you have, the longer the delay.  While this was more pronounced in earlier beta’s, this is still an issue here in DP6.

The audio quality here is still very, VERY bad.  For personal or casual calls, its not that big of a deal.  For business calls, I would not use this feature yet.  You’re just going to have to hang up and call them from your iPhone or a land line.

One of the biggest problems that I have with this particular feature is that the integration at times seems a bit too tight.  Its still very difficult to get my Mac to actually answer the call.  It takes a bit to get the call to really connect/answer.  If you try to answer a call from your iPhone, the call has issues reverting back to the handset… and your Mac continues to ring, even after you’ve gotten the call to answer on the  iPhone.   There needs to be a better hand off between the iPhone and the Mac in this situation.  Apple needs to lock in the hook a bit better and then allow for easy – or better yet – easier unhooking as well.  Right now, the integration between the two needs some strengthening and needs a better, more reliable way of – uh-hem, consciously uncoupling – when you need it to.

Personally, I think there’s a problem relying on FaceTime on the desktop to drive desktop communications and integration between your Mac and your iPhone.  Don’t get me wrong. It makes sense.  However, Apple is totally rewriting FaceTime and its exposing and creating a lot of holes.

The biggest issue right now is that all of the changes are effecting the FaceTime service.  This may be part of what is causing the spike in my fan RPM’s.  There’s likely some kind of FaceTime Stub that runs when your Mac starts, but for some reason isn’t properly activating when needed.

For example, FaceTime video calls don’t always ring on my Mac, even when FaceTime is running on my Mac. I can’t tell you have aggravating that is. When I’m home, I’d much rather take ALL communications – FaceTime Audio/Video as well as cellular calls – through my Mac than on my iPhone.  It should just be a connected, unused accessory when recognized by your Mac, especially if its physically cabled to your Mac.  This is yet another weak integration link that needs to be tightened up quickly.  We’re running out of time in the DP/ Beta time period.

Conclusion

In true Apple fashion, OS X Yosemite 10.10 Developer Preview 6/ Public Beta 2 is an evolutionary update to Developer Preview 5/ Public Beta 1.  Its clear that progress is being made, but at this point, Apple’s standard incremental BS has got to stop. They need to step on the gas and really tighten up their code between their two-week sprints.  Otherwise, I’m not entirely convinced that they’re going to realize the vision that Craig Federighi outlined for us about three or so months ago.  I would hate for the realization of this vision to not be fulfilled until 10.10.2 or 10.10.3.  That would be a bit too late, don’t you think?

When its all said and done, Yosemite should be a really cool OS release. This is some of the coolest stuff I’ve seen on a PC since the introduction of the original iPAQ 3600 back in the day.  The integration is unprecedented, and some of the most innovative work that has been completed since the introduction of the mouse back in 1984.  I’d like to see Microsoft introduce cutting edge features like this that enhance the feature set in Windows (rather than completely remaking the face of it, as MetroUI did).

And speaking of YOUR opinion, I’d love to hear your thoughts on all of this. I’ve really tried not to rah-rah too much in Apple’s direction. I don’t want to come off as a fan boy too much.  Yes, there’s a lot to like here; but I hope I’m being critical enough to provide as well rounded an opinion as possible.

So, what do you think?  Are you using any of the Apple Beta’s?  Are you a registered developer and have DP6 installed?  Were you able to download a full release of DP6, or did you get it as an update as I did? Do you have a Thunderbolt Display?  Are you having fan issues on your Mac when the Display is connected?  I know I’m using it as a docking station (I’ve got all of the ports filled on the back of the Display); but I didn’t think that would be an issue that would cause the Mac’s fan RPM’s to spike and remain high as they have.

Why don’t you meet me in the discussion area below and let me know what you think of these new developments.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on all of this, as I’d like to be able to focus some of my comments and attention on your issues as the DP and Beta periods come to a close.

back to OS X Yosemite Developer Preview 6: Introduction

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The Biggest News at the Apple Event – Microsoft and Google cut to the Core

Guess what kids – iWork (Pages, Numbers, and KeyNote) is FREE and available in the App Store right now.

It was over a LONG time ago. Microsoft beat out both WordPerfect and Lotus SmartSuite back in 1990-blah-blah-blah to win the Office Suite wars. It was hard fought. It was a bitter victory, especially for me, as I used to be a WordPerfect 5.x for DOS and 6.x for Windows instructor. I made money teaching people how to use WP5.x 6.x for DOS and Windows. That is, until Microsoft’s Office 95 hit and changed the world forever.

What was the death blow? That’s simple – integration with other apps. You could write a report in Word and include “live” spreadsheet data or easily import graphics and the text would all just flow around everything… it was so beautiful, it made me cry. It was a paper-jockey’s dream; and the closest competitor, WordPerfect, had a release of WordPerfect for Windows that was SO bad, the CEO of the organization recalled the app (which was already over a year late to market) and made the development team start from scratch.

and Microsoft has dominated the Office Suite world ever since. Hands down. The end. Game over…

Today… at the theater at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Apple not only restarted the war, but it ended it in a single move. They win. Hands down. The end. Game (now really) over.

iwork vs office

How did they do it? That’s simple.

The latest update of iWork, their office suite which contains a word processor (Pages), spreadsheet (Numbers), and presentation creator (Keynote) is available today, and it’s free.

iWork is cloud enabled. All of the documents that you create and edit can be saved to iCloud, Apple’s cloud sync service. It can be used on the desktop or in a browser. It can be used by Mac or PC users. Documents can be started on one platform and edited in another, at the same time.

Did I mention that it’s cross platform and it’s free?

Both Microsoft and Google charge subscription fees for their office suites. Microsoft’s Office 365 has a number of different subscription tiers and the monthly fees aren’t bad. However, you’re still paying a lot for a set of apps that Apple is now giving away for free.

Oh… and by the way, Apple is also giving away OS X 10.9 Mavericks – the latest full version of their desktop operating system – for free. This really makes life difficult for Microsoft whose main revenue streams have been not only Office but Windows as well.

Apple’s new iPad announcements don’t mean much in comparison. Don’t get me wrong the iPad Air looks compelling and the new iPad mini has a retina display. Both hardware updates may be enough to get those still outside the tablet world or waiting for a reason to upgrade from an iPad 1 or an iPad 2 a compelling reason TO upgrade; but the big story from San Francisco today – free software from Apple. If that’s not a reason to give a longer, harder more serious look to computing platforms and ecosystem, then I’m not certain what is.

The war is over, my friends. And whether you think so or not, Apple really cut both Microsoft and Google to the core. They’re now going to have to rethink a lot of their mobile strategy and price points in order to combat this latest development after Apple’s announcement today.

iwork

I’d love to hear what you have to say about all of this. Why not join us in the discussion, below and tell us what you think?

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Google I/O – The Cool Stuff: Part 1

google-io-2013A lot of cool stuff came out of Google I/O last week. Let’s take a quick look at some of them in this sweet two-part series.

Google I/O is Google’s big annual developer bash. Like Microsoft Build and Apple’s WWDC, Google I/O is designed to showcase Google’s latest goodies and achievements. The idea is to attract new developers to use the new features and functionality that will in turn attract more consumer and enterprise customers to the Google side of the mobile world.

This year, Google rolled out a number of new developments in both the desktop and mobile platform spaces. Over the next couple of days, I’m going to highlight some interesting developments from both areas and try to show you where you might find value for yourself. Today, we’re going to concentrate on the desktop.

Desktop Developments

Quick Actions in Gmail
When you get an actionable email message from someone, don’t be surprised when you can act on the item from right within Gmail. Google is rolling out Quick Action buttons that show up next to actionable items. For example, you’ll be able to RSVP for events from within the invite. Flight information will also be a featured action. Its Google’s intention to solicit their developer partners for ideas on additional buttons.

Gmail Payments
Send money via email, just like PayPal, only its Google Wallet. If you have a Google Wallet account, you can send money to anyone else with an email address. They don’t have to have Gmail, but will have to have a Wallet account.

This is nearly the EXACT same model as PayPal, which BTW, does pretty well. Like their other “me too” app Google+, which competes directly with Facebook, I expect this to have the same amount of success. People may give it a shot to see how well it does or doesn’t work, but then will either revert back to their PayPal account or simply abandon it entirely. Google’s been trying to get into the payments game for a while now with NFC and Google Wallet, It hasn’t had a lot of luck, and I don’t see Gmail Payments providing them with any kind of competitive advantage over the very well established and widely accepted PayPal.

Voice-Powered Desktop Search
This new development is meant to compete directly with Apple’s Siri. It’s been rumored that Apple would be bringing Siri to the desktop in Mountain Lion, but that update never materialized. While many Apple users are still looking for it, Google beat them to the punch with the introduction of conversational, voice powered desktop search. I would expect to see this as part of most Chromebooks as well as an extension available via Google’s Chrome browser.

Google Now Cards – Cool Reminders
This is another feature that catches up to Apple Reminders. Supporting both time and date, Google added geo-fencing to Now’s reminders. You can get a reminder to trigger in Google Now when you arrive or leave a specific geographic location.

Geo-fencing has been a bit of an issue for Apple, and the feature doesn’t work as intended. At least I’ve never been able to have it work correctly. Hopefully Google’s vast experience with Maps will help it better trigger these events and its performance will be much better than Apple Reminders’; cuz it kinda sucks…

Streaming Music Service – All Access
This is yet another area where Google beat Apple to the punch. Apple’s iRadio has been rumored to be in the works for a few years now. Unfortunately, the much anticipated and much sought after service has not materialized behind Apple’s Walled Garden of content and services.

I’m not sure how Google pulled it off, but they got to the party first with All Access. For about $10 bucks a month, you can stream “millions” of songs out of the Google Play Store or your own Google Music library. Available in the US now (and other countries in the coming months), users get a 30 day free trial with the service billed automatically after that. If you signup before 30-Jul-2013, you get the service for $8 bucks.

If you plan to use the service and don’t have a fat data plan, you better make a trip over to your cell carrier of choice and make sure you’ve got the bandwidth to support the service. Usually those people who use other streaming services like Pandora or Rdio find that once they start, they can’t stop. This is a huge win for Google as the new service works on the desktop as well as your mobile device. Hopefully, as details of the fine print come to light, we’ll find that it’s worth the cost.

Come back next time, as we’ll dive into some cool mobile developments that came out of Google I/O. It may be that the best is yet to come!

Google I/O – The Cool Stuff: Part 2

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How to run iPad apps on your computer? With iPadian.

Since the dawn of the PC, emulating has been always considered a useful process, that has its own advantages in terms of portability on different systems. Most relevant examples would be the Amiga and Commodore 8 bit apps that have been emulated to run on newer 16 bit systems. Even console games from Nintendo, Sega, and Atari have been emulated to run on a computer with Windows operating system. But what about running iPad apps on your desktop?

The only solution at the moment is iPadian, a free Adobe AIR open source app that can emulate the iPad environment and gives you access to some iPad native apps. iPadian needs no installation process, just extract the archive wherever you want and run it (it requires Adobe AIR to be installed). You will get an overlay iPad desktop with access to some native apps: iNote, iChat, Instagram, Keynote, etc.

Despite the full screen view you will not lose contact with your original desktop. The taskbar can be accessed at anytime. There is also a huge offer to online services, from the popular Facebook social network and YouTube to epubBooks, Google and Bing. If you own accounts from any of these services, iPadian can log you in automatically in case you are already logged through your computer, keeping you up to date with all the activity.

Being an open source program, iPadian has no access to the native Apps Store service. The so-called store is just an easier way to get to online free apps that are similar to the popular present in the original tablet. For example the Games icon is just a link to the Scumlabs online games service and the Radio icon sends you directly to The Radio.com service.

Unfortunately iPadian features no touch-screen support nor mouse gestures. At the moment you are restricted to interact with its interface by point-and-click with the mouse. Despite its drawbacks, iPadian is worth a look, especially because of its unique nature of bringing a sense of iPad into our desktops.

download iPadian

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WWDC 2011 Apple launches Mac OS X Lion iOS5 and iCloud

World Wide Developers Conference San Francisco 2011 has three Software Revolutions prepared for the public: Mac OS X Lion 10.7, iOS 5 for iPhone/iPad and iCloud to keep them all together.

“Mac OS X has over 250 new features and 3000 api’s for developers.”

At WWDC 2011 Mac OS X Lion was presented with 10 key new features:
1 – Multi-Touch Gestures
Improved gestures and BYE BYE scroll bars

2 – Full Screen Apps
New top-right button for it. You can see all applications in full screen.

3 – Mission Control
Bird-eye-view for everything you have running.

Downside to all these features means you have to learn some gestures, learn how to use and get used to mission control, and get used to new full-screen apps.

4 – Built into Lion Mac App Store
Because this was a very “hard” thing to do.

5 – Launch Pad
A gesture for all your applications, it also looks very alike iOS from iPhone/iPad.

6 – Resume
Remembers the application setting, selected texts if it gets closed intentionally or by accident.

7 – Auto Save
Lion can automatically save any document while you are working.

8 – Versions
Automatic versions of your document. A time-machine of all your document versions.

9 – Airdrop
Aa sharing documents and files from a mac to another. Peer-2-Peer Wifi based sharing tool. This is sharing folder improved in visual way.

10 – Mail
Improved version of Mail with some features and user interface from iOS. It also has bubble-like history for the emails which is cute.
I must admit I love the search feature, you can finally easily search and find fast something on your email.

Check them out:

 

Mac OS X Lion will be priced only for $29.99 available in July only through Apple App Store.

( If you take out the flashy box, and the manuals, the disk and all the manufacturing process and SHIPPING for these Mac OS X disks – then you can make a $29.99 operating system, Just wondering why microsoft is still behind on this )

iOS 5 – new OS for your revolutionary device

Here are the WWDC 2011 presented iOS 5 features :
1 – Notification Center
No more interrupting, no more losing the list of notifications if you have the screen locked Notifications Center “is a single place which combines all notifications ” “just swipe your finger down from the top to get your notifications center”.

2 – Newsstand
Magazines and news papers will be available on your iPhone, in a single place that combines all of them (by purchase). The best part is that you get music and video inside the news. This feature downloads in background all the papers and data. (unfortunately you need a good data plan, without it, a music magazine will download while you are sleeping, increasing your bill)

3 – Twitter – new twitter app integrated

4 – Safari Updates – improved reading options. reading list – to read your page later – this will sync up on your Mac or PC and a great feature: tabs for iPads.

5 – Reminders (text, date, location so on)
Love the “location” feature, you can now program reminders by GPS location (if you leave or arrive somewhere). The downside to this is that I can’t imagine what your battery life will get if you use it a lot. Reminders will sync with Exchange on windows and iCal.

6 – Camera
Lock screen shortcut, use the volume up button to take the photo, grid lines, pinch to zoom, AE/AF lock using your finger and basic photo editing features.

7 – Mail
Rich text formatting, drag addresses, support for flagging, search entire content from the mail server, swipe to inbox gestures, added support for S/MIME and built-in dictionary.

9 – PC-FREE
No more “plug in iTunes to setup”, Software Updates are OTA (Over-The-Air), Delta Updates you download only the updates not the entire OS, create/delete calendars from iOS.

10 – iMessage
New message system between iOS devices iPhone-iPad-iPod Touch, supported over WiFi and 3G.
You can exchange:
– text, photos, video, contacts, etc
– delivery receipts (confirmation of sending)
– read receipts (confirmation of read)
– typing indication
– pushed to all devices

The new iOS 5 includes also over 200+ new features, here are a few that were mentioned in the WWDC 2011 conference:
– Split Keyboard for your iPad if you type with your thumbs
– Game Center “iOS is the most popular gaming platform on the planet” (support for Turn-based games)
– Airplay mirroring (wireless mirroring iPad over Apple TV)
– WiFi Sync to iTunes
– Multitask Gestures

 

iOS 5 will be available this Fall. Will it work on all earlier versions of the iPhone ? – NOPE.
iOS 5 will work only on iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad, iPad 2, and iPod Touch 3rd and 4th gen.

iCLOUD
– stores your content and wirelessly pushes it to all your devices
– is integrated with your apps so everything happens automatically.

iCloud and MobileMe are not the same thing.

iCloud features:

– Now iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and iMac – can be synced completely automatically through iCloud. You don’t have to be near your mac or iPod to sync your new music.

– You can Sync: contacts, iCal, mail, appstore purchases, keynote presentations, documents,album photos, music (purchased with your Apple Id), books and magazines.

– IBooks also remembers bookmarks so you can read something on your iPhone and continue on iPad.

– Backup – if you get a new phone, everything you purchased (music apps and books, camera roll, device settings, app data, and personal data)

– iTunes Match for $24.99 will scan your music (no upload) that you ripped or purchased from another place, match it with 256kbps AAC DRM-free music from iTunes and you can have the same benefits as music purchased from iTunes.

Limitations include: 1000 photos, 30 Days storage time on the cloud, 5 Gb of storage (mail, documents and backup) for your Apple ID beside purchased music, app, books and photo stream.
Again, you should have a data plan on your mobile device.

And the best part of this – THIS IS FREE. (no more MobileMe year subscription)

Everything looks pretty iNICE.

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