Weekly Wrap: Updates in the air, Flash dies, and your questions answered
By Jason Snell
What a week it was! Software updates flew through the air with the greatest of ease. Steve Jobs’s “Thoughts on Flash” got some vindication courtesy of Adobe’s executive team. Consumer Reports endorsed the iPhone 4S and yet still somehow managed to make everyone mad in the process. And of course, you were so busy with your workaday life that you missed some of the best stories the good folks here at Macworld posted this week. Fear not, friends—that’s why we invented the Weekly Wrap.
iOS 5.0.1 flies free
On Thursday Apple released iOS 5.0.1. The update was intended to fix bugs in iOS 5 that were causing some devices to deplete their batteries far too quickly. (On Friday Apple admitted that while some of the battery bugs have been squashed, it didn’t get all of them.)
But this iOS update wasn’t just notable because of the battery issue: It marked the first time that Apple’s released one using the new over-the-air update feature found in iOS 5. That means you can coax your iPhone or iPad onto the latest version even if you’re far away from a Mac or PC. And with that, iOS 5 is now truly, provably, an operating system that can be run without any intervention by a computer.
Want more iOS intrigue? It turns out that there are a few hidden features of iOS 5 that can be turned on—so long as you sync it with a Mac. (So much for that PC-free lifestyle!) But as our Dan Moren reported, there are some good reasons these new features (including support for panoramic photos) aren’t turned on: They’re kind of buggy.
We’ve seen years of controversy about Apple’s omission of Adobe’s Flash technology from iOS web browsers. Steve Jobs himself penned his “Thoughts on Flash”, in which he said that Adobe had never been able to demonstrate Flash running smoothly on any mobile device. Apple’s critics charged that the complaints were a smokescreen and that Apple’s insistence on using HTML instead of plug-ins was a power play.
Turns out that most (if not all) devices that shipped with mobile Flash were hammered by critics for—you guessed it—poor Flash performance. (We certainly found that to be true in the case of HP’s ill-fated TouchPad.) Maybe Jobs wasn’t just pulling our legs, after all?
Well, the saga came to an end this week. Mobile Flash is dead, with Adobe declaring that it’ll focus on desktop Flash and the use of Adobe’s AIR technologies to create mobile apps instead of stuff embedded in a browser. Does this mean that Flash as we know it is doomed, even on the desktop? The insightful Dan Moren peered into his Magic Eight Ball and says Flash’s future looks dim.
Stump the Wrap
I see some hands raised out there, so let’s take this one in rapid-fire succession. Hit me.
Our younger readers may not recall those glorious days—we think it might have been 2009—when Macworld posted a new video podcast every week. Well, we’re back. Starting this week and continuing until we grow exhausted again, we’ll be posting a weekly tip screencast from one of our editors. Our inaugural entry is Chris Breen talking about DVD ripping. Did you miss it? Subscribe to our video podcast in iTunes, subscribe to the Macworld YouTube channel, download the file, or, heck, just watch the YouTube video we’ve embedded below.
Before we go, here are just a few of the notable Mac and iOS apps we covered this week:
Chris Breen wrote a detailed review of GarageBand 1.1, which brings Apple’s music software to the iPhone for the first time.
Alexandra Chang covered the launch of Mixel, a really fun social-collage app for the iPad. (Confession: I dreamt about making Mixel collages last night.)
Dan Frakes fights back against the scourge of improper-ejection error messages with Jettison, a fresh Mac Gem. And there’s Tunesque, a Mac Gem that lets you search all of Apple’s media stores in one swell foop.
And venerable Macworld contributor Tom Negrino favoribly reviews BBEdit 10, an app so awesome that this entire Weekly Wrap article was written using it.
And That Was The Week That Was. Don’t forget, it’s not too late to start that NaNoWriMo novel. (Unfortunately, the thousand words I just wrote for the Weekly Wrap don’t count toward my total.) Wrap with you again next week!