3 ways tech can improve travel

Traveling is a great chance to put technology through the wringer. It’s a time when you have to be economical about the gear you carry, when your environments challenge you, and when you start seeing places where your devices could go further and do more than they already do.

Last week, my girlfriend and I spent nine days in Iceland (it was supposed to be seven, but a blizzard stranded us for an extra forty-eight hours). During that time we covered roughly half the country, from snowy lava fields in the west to black sand beaches—also with their share of snow—in the south. We carried more than a few pieces of tech with us, which gave us ample time to see what worked well and where we could use some improvement over the status quo.

More real than reality

Read more »

0

macOS Server: As features are cut, what does the future hold for Apple’s server software?

Apple may have embraced the pro market on the Mac hardware side with the recent release of the iMac Pro and forthcoming Mac Pro, but the software side, well, that’s a slightly different story.

A quiet post on Apple’s support site last month revealed that the company is significantly dialing back the capabilities of its macOS Server package, the $20 add-on software that turns your Mac into a full-featured piece of server hardware. Gone are features like web and mail hosting, VPNs, and more. Instead, Apple says it is re-focusing macOS Server on “management of computers, devices, and storage on your network.” Or, in other words, on managing all your other Apple devices.

Still, that’s a shame for a number of reasons, not least of which that macOS has long been a powerful (if somewhat under-the-radar) network server option. As someone who’s dabbled in running servers in the past, I’ll be sad to see macOS Server go—but I’m not exactly surprised.

Read more »

0

It’s time for Apple to take a new approach to product releases

We’ll fix it in post.

It’s a longstanding joke in the podcast community—when somebody flubs a line or misspeaks during recording, we just kick the can down the road and repair it in editing. (For shows that actually do editing, anyway.)

But lately it’s started to seem like a more common occurrence across the tech industry, and even Apple’s jumped aboard the train. We’ve seen a number of places where Apple announced a particular feature shipping in a product—whether it be a new hardware device or a major software update—only to eventually release the product without said feature, promising it in a subsequent software update. The most recent example is the HomePod, which will lack support for multi-room audio, stereo pairing, and AirPlay 2 when it ships next month. But before that, we had iOS 11’s promised Messages in iCloud, Apple Pay Cash (which did ship in a later point release), and, again, AirPlay 2.

Read more »

0

Apple knows best (or so it would have you believe)

If there’s one philosophy that seems to exemplify the vast majority of decisions that Apple has made about their products, it’s this: “We know best.”

Now, I get it. That’s kind of the upside of having a benevolent dictator: decisions get made for you, and you don’t have to worry yourself about making the right ones. Of course, the downside to a benevolent dictator is that they’re still, fundamentally, a dictator.

Apple’s taken its fair share of backlash over these kind of high-level decisions throughout the years, and the latest firestorm is about the company’s decision to make the tradeoff of battery life versus performance in older iPhones. Whether or not the company is right to have chosen for us, it’s now walking that decision back, with Tim Cook saying this week that a future version of iOS will allow users to decide for themselves.

Read more »

0

An Apple device for all seasons

Allow me to indulge my imagination for just a moment. Over the past few months there’s been plenty of discussion about the future of the macOS and iOS platforms. About the possibility that they might come to share more hardware than they already do. About the potential for a unified application architecture between the two platforms.

But device proliferation is at an all-time high: I’ve got devices that range in size from an Apple Watch all the way up to a 5K iMac. There’s a place and purpose for each and every one of these devices; they serve distinct and specific niches in my work and play. I’d be hard-pressed to part with any of them.

Still, part of me yearns for the simplicity of accomplishing all the same tasks, but with fewer things. Maybe one device could take the place of multiple devices? Blasphemy, perhaps, especially when Apple makes so much of its money on hardware. But there’s precedent for both the technology industry and Apple creating one device that can operate in more than one context.

Read more »

0

There's no place like HomePod

Late last year, Apple announced that it would delay the promised release of its HomePod smart speaker to early 2018. It was a disappointment for those customers hoping to score one for the holiday season, but in an interview with Dutch site Bright.nl, Apple senior vice president Phil Schiller said Apple needed "more time to make it right."

It's more important to be right than first

That's hardly a new sentiment for the company to espouse. Apple's reputation has long been to do things right instead of rushing them out the door just to compete. And when it comes to the HomePod, the competition already promises to be fierce: Amazon and Google are already entrenched, while everybody from Lenovo to Sonos has been jumping in with me-too offerings.

Read more »

0

Apple in 2018: Cool tech to look out for

With 2017 pretty much in the books, it’s time to cast our eyes forward to the year ahead. Apple’s already laid a lot of groundwork for what we can expect to see next year, but there are a lot of blanks still to be filled in. As ever, some of it can be gleaned from the tea leaves of what Apple’s already talked about, though, admittedly, there’s always an element of wishful thinking that plays into it as well.

Based on that heady combination, here are three technologies that I’m looking forward to hearing more from Apple about in 2018.

Chips and dips

Read more »

0