iOS 8 & OS X Yosemite Bring Continuity

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apple-logo.pngOf all the features announced during today’s WWDC event, the iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite “Continuity” features were easily the most impressive to me. It’s such a small detail but the ability to answer phone calls and non-iMessage texts on my iPad and Macbook Air is an absolute game changer for me.

It makes sense.

When I get home, it’s iPad time. I leave my iPhone charging by my bed and carry the iPad around with me for web browsing purposes. Why browse on a tiny screen when I have an iPad? And whenever I want to do some word processing (like right now), I put down the iPad and pick up my Macbook Air. It’s great to know that with iOS 8 and Yosemite, I don’t have to worry about missing a phone call or text message from non-iPhone users.

OS X Yosemite will also bring other noteworthy features like a new look, refined Safari and a more useful Notification Center. iOS 8 already had its facelift so most of its new changes were functionality oriented. I look forward to trying out the new keyboard and I’m glad to see TouchID receive third party support. Now I just need TouchID capable devices.

It’s going to be some time before we see these new features in production ready states. Apple is saying Fall 2014 but I cannot wait so I’ve thrown my name into Yosemite beta program. Let’s just hope it isn’t a complete disaster in its beta state.

Checkpoint: Smart Travel Edition

Checkpoint - Smart Travel Edition

I haven’t done much traveling in my 30 some years on this Earth. The last time I went anywhere was prior to the “smartphone” revolution. With that in mind, it’s amazing how easy it is to navigate and familiarize oneself with a modern city. This past long weekend, that city was Montreal.

It began with a Wi-Fi enabled intercity bus. There were restrictions like the lack of YouTube access, restricted access to gaming media and dismal performance but it was free and for the likes of Twitter, Google Maps and other travel related sites, it was fine.

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My Mac experience 2+ years later

apple-logo.pngI can’t believe it’s been nearly two years since I purchased this 11″ Macbook Air. I enjoy it just as much (if not more) than I did the first time I booted it up. The hardware is still functional and each OS X helped improve my Mac experience whether it was through improved performance, battery life or functionality. The only thing that would convince me to upgrade would be a 12″ Macbook Air w/ Retina Display.

Succumb to Safari. It’s good for you.

One of the first applications that I installed on my Macbook Air in 2011 was Google Chrome. I didn’t even consider the possibility that it would be an power hungry monster that would drain my battery quicker and heat up my Macbook. I thought my Macbook was operating as intended.

It wasn’t until OS X Mavericks and the inclusion of the “Energy Impact” column in the Activity Monitor that I realized Google Chrome was the culprit. As soon as I switched to Safari, my Macbook Air now lasts up to an hour longer and it no longer heats up like it used to.

I still keep Chrome installed for edge cases but this little revelation helped me realize the importance of tight software and hardware integration. If I were on a Windows laptop, I’d consider the effects of battery life between Chrome and Internet Explorer as well.

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New iPads, Macbooks & Mac Pros. Oh my!

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apple-logo.pngThe autumn leaves have revealed themselves which means it’s time for another round of hardware updates to the Apple lineup.

There was a lot of speculation as to what Apple had in store for this event. And just like with every event, most of the rumors were spot on while a handful omissions were disappointing.

Macbook Pro w/ Retina Display Haswell update

The first generation Macbook Pro w/ Retina Display was a solid effort for the 15″ but the 13″ was lagging behind due to Ivy Bridge’s relatively weak integrated GPU solution. The Haswell update and its Iris Pro offerings seems to be the missing pieces that will help Apple properly bring their high density Macbook Pro into reality.

Mac Pro Update

At $1999, it’s pricier than what I would normally pay for a desktop but then again I am not the target audience for such a machine. I don’t mind admiring exquisite design but I love tinkering and upgrading too much to give that up — especially a machine that costs $1999 or more.

iPad Air

I don’t quite understand why Apple decided to add the word “Air” to their latest 9.7″ iPad. They didn’t introduce a direct replacement to the thicker iPad 4 and they are phasing it out as well. So why did they? Why did they feel the need to the emphasize the the thin and lightness of it with the moniker?

I’m also confused by their continued use of the A7 in the full sized iPad. Historically, Apple took their latest SoC added additional GPU cores, bumped clock speed and slapped on the X suffix. They didn’t do that this time around. I doubt the A7 is running at the same clock speed but what about the number of GPU cores?

iPad Mini w/ Retina Display

The mystery behind the A7 continued when Apple revealed the iPad Mini w/ Retina display. The iPad Mini has the same number of pixels so the A7 is required but will it be running at the exact same speed? Apple is promising the same 10 hour battery life for both the 9.7″ and 7.9″ tablets, so either Apple engineers are wizards or there are some compromises that we’re not aware of.

Perhaps both are running at the exact same speeds and by doing so, Apple was able to get the weight of the 9.7″ down to 1 lb. I’m very curious how it all pans out.

The lack of Touch ID and gold color options for both iPads were disappointing. I don’t necessarily need the Touch ID for my iPad because I just leave that unlocked at home. It makes sense on a phone but not as important for me on the tablet. The lack of gold option though? I don’t understand why they wouldn’t offer that. Too gaudy to have a solid gold back? Or perhaps all of the above was held back due to supply and manufacturing concerns? After all, the gold iPhone 5s was (is?) a bit tough to acquire.

OS X Mavericks Is Free

So this is it. The end of charging for the operating systems from Apple. We’ve all come to expect free iOS updates from Apple, so this is just an extension of their philosophy of giving users software to keep them in the ecosystem.

I didn’t mind paying $20 for a yearly update but I certainly don’t mind free.

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