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iPhone 7 & 7 Plus: Apple’s latest handset is its most radical yet
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REVIEW: Pixelmator 3.5 Our favourite image-editing app updated
Contents News 4 7 9 12 14 16 19 21
Apple unveils iPhone 7 and 7 Plus Apple pushes new EarPods and AirPods Water-resistant Apple Watch 2 unveiled Pokémon GO is coming to the Apple Watch Super Mario coming to the iPhone Apple must pay Ireland £11bn in taxes Cook calls tax ruling “political crap” BitTorrent client distributing Mac malware
Hands-on 23 29 33
iPhone 7 Apple Watch Series 2 AirPods
Features 39 44 53 58 83 87 94 99
Three reasons to run your own Mac server Learn to code with Swift Playgrounds Guide to playing your music with AirPlay Help Desk Get smart with these home control apps Learn another language with these apps Ask the iTunes Guy Why you should avoid iOS battery apps
Latest Mac games
elcome to the latest issue of Macworld. The rumours were true: Apple’s next-generation iPhones, the 7 and 7 Plus, traded the headphone jack for Lightning EarPods. Now there’s one port instead of two. We’ve all the news from the launch event, including hands-on reviews with the iPhone 7 (page 23), Apple Watch Series 2 (page 29) and Apple’s AirPods, the company’s ﬁrst ever wireless earphones (page 33). The other big news in the world of Apple is the release of its macOS Sierra operating system. Many of you will be keen to download it as soon as possible, but what do you do if your Mac can’t verify the new OS? Thankfully all is not lost and on page 109, we explain how to ﬁx the problem. We take a look at the latest version of Pixelmator (page 78), our favourite image-editing app, while on page 67 we round up the latest Mac games. Plus, we’ve our usual tips and tutorials, so you can get the most out of your Apple hardware.
How To 101 104 109
Verify your Twitter account Be a considerate late-night iPad/iPhone user Fix an error when installing a new copy OS X
Opinion 114 119
What AirPods tell us about Apple’s future Why Nintendo is making the right moves
News: Apple unveils iPhone 7 and 7 Plus After all the rumours and speculation Apple’s new phones are ﬁnally here. Caitlin McGarry reports
he rumours were true: Apple’s next-generation iPhones, the 7 and 7 Plus, traded the headphone jack for Lightning EarPods. Now there’s one port instead of two. The company is including Lightning-connected EarPods with the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Apple is also including a Lightning to 3.5mm adaptor in the box to avoid causing too much outrage over supporting non-Lightning headphones, or you can buy one separately for £9. So why that lack of a jack? “It’s been with us for a really long time,” Apple marketing VP Phil Schiller said during Apple’s iPhone presentation at the launch event. “It comes down to courage – courage to move on, do something new that betters all of us.” That something new is a wireless standard, debuting in another headset product called Apple AirPods (sold separately for £159). The W1 chip inside the AirPod ofers one-tap pairing
to ease the pain of poor Bluetooth connection, plus the pods ofers consistent playback that only start when you insert them in your ears. You can double-tap a pod to access Siri. Both iPhone 7 models are water-resistant up to 1m for 30 minutes with an IP67 rating. Both pack new stereo speakers at the top and bottom into the same slim body as the 6s. Aside from being splash-proof, the iPhone 7’s marquee feature is a dramatically improved camera. Both the 4.7in iPhone 7 and 5.5in 7 Plus have a wider f/1.8 aperture to capture more light, a 6-element lens, high-speed 12Mp sensors, quad-LED True Tone ﬂash, a new sensor to compensate for ﬂickering lights, wide colour capture, and optical image stabilization. The 7 Plus, as long rumoured, has two cameras, both 12Mp, with two lenses. One is wide-angle, and the other is a 56mm telephoto lens. Both cameras have zoom. The new phones have an A10 Fusion chip with a four-core CPU: Two are high-performance cores that are 40 percent faster than the A9 chip in the 6s and 6s Plus, and two are high-eiciency, running at 20 percent of the power as the high-performing cores. It’s all about balance. Shallow depth of ﬁeld is something you can usually only achieve with a DSLR’s full frame sensor or a giant lens. The 7 Plus camera accomplishes it easily – just tap the new Portrait option in the iOS Camera app coming in a free iOS update later this year to preview it automatically. The 7, which now comes in black and jet-black (matte and glossy, respectively) in addition to silver, gold, and rose gold, is moving from a mechanical A4FA36D ΄?24IAD>5
Home button to a solid-state Force Touch button, with a Taptic Engine so you’ll feel vibrations when you press it. Apple is opening the Taptic Engine to third-party developers with an API. The iPhone 7’s water resistance and overhauled camera are its marquee features, but the headphone jack removal is sure to be Apple’s most controversial move since the switch from 30-pin to Lightning connectors back in 2012 (probably more so). Apple sold adaptors separately for £29 back then, but this time around the company is including an adaptor in the box. If you’re upset about the headphone jack and don’t like the adaptor option, Apple is dangling the promise of more battery life: The 7 and 7 Plus have the longest battery life of any iPhone, Schiller said, with the 7 lasting two hours longer than the iPhone 6s on average and the 7 Plus promising an average of 1 hour more life than the 6s Plus. The iPhone 7 starts at £599, the same price as a 16GB iPhone 6s, for a 32GB base model. That’s right, Apple is ditching 16GB for all but the iPhone SE. The 7 Plus starts at £719 with 32-, 128- and 256GB conﬁgurations. The new jet black option is reserved for 128- and 256GB models only, so you’ll have to pay more for Jony Ive’s masterpiece. Read our hands-on review of the iPhone 7 on page 23.
News: Apple pushes new EarPods and AirPods Apple removes headphone jack from the iPhone 7 and ships Lightning EarPods and an adaptor, writes Jared Newman
pple will try to ease the pain of killing the headphone jack in the iPhone 7, shipping the new smartphone with Lightning-enabled EarPods and an analogue adaptor. â€œThe reason to move on... it really comes down to one word: Courage,â€? Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller said during the companyâ€™s September news event. Schiller explained that abandoning the analogue headphone jack allows Apple to make room for various other technological improvements, such as brighter displays, faster processors, and the iPhone 7â€™s stereo speakers. The Lightning connection A4FA36D Î„?24IAD>5
also allows for new headphone features, he said, including adaptive noise cancellation and higherquality audio without an external power source.
Actually Bluetooth Buds While Apple made no explicit mention of Bluetooth when announcing its new AirPods, or any sort of compatibility with non-Apple Bluetooth devices, the companyâ€™s store page notes that Bluetooth connectivity is supported. Still, Apple claims that its AirPods, and their new W1 chip in particular, go well beyond the capabilities of â€œtraditional wireless chips.â€? The new chip can wirelessly transmit â€œhigh-quality AAC audioâ€? (the ďŹ ne print mentions testing 256kb/s AAC tracks), and instead of an often-complex Bluetooth pairing process, AirPods will recognise when an iPhone is nearby for one-tap pairing. Theyâ€™ll also simultaneously connect with an Apple Watch, andÂ can pair to an iPad or Mac over iCloud. AirPods are packed with some additional sensorsÂ as well. Infrared allows them to only start playing when theyâ€™re in your ear, while an accelerometer recognises speech and uses dual beam-forming microphones to ďŹ lter out backgroundÂ noise. Double-tapping on either AirPodÂ calls up Siri for voice commands. As for battery life, each AirPod will run for ďŹ ve hours on a charge, and they come with a wireless charging case that brings back a few hours of runtime after 15 minutes inside. In total, the case provides up to 24 hours of battery life. Apple plans to ship the AirPods in late October forÂ ÂŁ159. See page 33 for our hands-on review. ?24IAD>5Î„A4FA36D
News: Water-resistant Apple Watch 2 unveiled Apple’s smartwatch debuts with water-resistant capabilities, built-in GPS and a new Nike edition. Oscar Raymundo reports
lmost two years after the Apple Watch was ﬁrst unveiled in 2014, Apple has ﬁnally pulled the curtain back on its second-generation smartwatch. The Apple Watch Series 2 with dual-core, a brighter display, swim-proof capabilities and built-in GPS was unveiled during Apple’s event. This new model has a redesigned speaker to make it A4FA36D ΄?24IAD>5
water-resistant down to 50m. Other than that, this updated smartwatch looks near-identical to the ﬁrst Apple Watch, now known as Apple Watch Series 1, which was only splash-proof. Even though the Apple Watch Series 2 boasts a built-in GPS, it lacks cellular connectivity. This means that you will still need an iPhone nearby for your Series 2 to perform data-heavy operations. The Apple Watch Series 2 comes in conjunction with watchOS 3, which Apple ﬁrst unveiled this summer at WWDC and is available now. The latest iteration of watchOS 3 makes apps launch seven times faster, lets you write with your ﬁngertip to create messages, and activity-sharing so you can compete with your friends.
Apple Watch Nike+ for runners Apple has also partnered with Nike to create a special edition of Apple Watch. The Apple Watch Nike+ is designed speciﬁcally for runners with lightweight aluminium and perforated band. With this running-focused Watch you can simply tell Siri to start a run. When you’re out on your run, you can get a distraction-free display with just the distance and pace, or enable an ‘advanced’ mode with more details about your workout. Motivation is a main component of the Apple Watch Nike+. You will get ‘Are We Running Today?’ notiﬁcations, such as when was the last time you went on a run, if the weather is perfect to go outside, or information from your friends to keep you motivated. In addition, Apple Watch Nike+ has a ‘Just Do It Sundays’ to get users running on the last day of the week. Purchasing an Apple ?24IAD>5΄A4FA36D
Watch Nike+ will also get you a membership to the Nike+ Run Club, which will personalised coaching sessions, gear recommendations, and access to live runs around the world. The Apple Watch Nike+ comes in four colours and will be available in late October for £369. As for the Apple Watch Series 2, there is a new ceramic body that’s actually harder than stainless steel. Apple has also created two new Hermés bands and new colours. Prices start at £1,149 The Apple Watch Series 2 will also start at £369. The original Apple Watch Series 1 is now £269. Read our hands-on review on page 29.
News: Pokémon GO is coming to the Apple Watch A new egg-hatching monitor will be added to help spur you on in your Pokémon hunting, writes Mark Hachman
new version of Pokémon GO is coming to the Apple Watch, together with a new feature that better tracks how far you need to walk before your Pokémon ‘eggs’ hatch within the game. It will ship before the end of the year, John Hanke, the chief executive of Pokémon GO developer Niantic Labs, said at Apple’s iPhone 7 launch event in San Francisco. The mobile game for iOS and Android, has been downloaded over 500 million times worldwide, Hanke said. The game uses augmented reality to help players discover Pokémon in the wild,
allowing users to ‘see’ Pokémon superimposed over real-world objects. According to the chief executive of Niantic Labs, Pokémon GO is coming to the Apple’s smartwatch, along with a new feature: better egg tracking. One of the features of the game involves hatching virtual eggs, which require you to walk a certain distance to hatch. The new Apple Watch feature will allow you to track the progress of your eggs as you’re out for a run or a stroll, and also alert you to the presence of nearby Pokémon. “We’re really excited to bring you this new way to experience Pokémon GO, and to give you a little more motivation to get outside, get some exercise, and have fun with your friends,” Hanke said. Nintendo is already working on Pokémon GO+, a new wearable peripheral that will buzz your wrist when you’re near a Pokémon in the wild. It works in conjunction with your iPhone, and will be available in September, Hanke said. A4FA36D ΄?24IAD>5
News: Super Mario coming to the iPhone Super Mario Run to let you play one-handed against other players around the world. Gordon Mah Ung reports
ne of the ﬁrst big announcements to come out of Apple’s September product reveal was the news that Nintendo will release its ﬁrst smartphone game on the iPhone. Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the game, Super Mario Run, before being joined by Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto who provided details about the game. The gameplay has Mario always running to the right and jumping when the screen is pressed. A longer press causes Mario to jump higher. Miyamoto said the game can easily be played with one hand, allowing gameplay while simultaneously riding the subway, say, or eating a hamburger. A multiplayer mode called ‘Toad Rally’ lets you play against others in a time trial mode, where the other player is represented by a ghosted image while you collect coins and jump over enemy turtles. Winning in the Toad Rally allows you to collect ‘toad people’, which you can use to customise your mushroom kingdom. Nintendo has never made a smartphone game before, so its selection of iOS for this debut gives Apple’s app store a signiﬁcant advantage over the competition, at least while the game remains exclusive to that platform. A4FA36D ΄?24IAD>5
Image: European Commission
News: Apple must pay Ireland £11bn in taxes Two Irish tax rulings constituted illegal state aid, rules the European Commission. Peter Sayer reports
pple’s tax beneﬁts in Ireland are illegal, and the company will have to pay up to €13 billion (£11 billion) in back taxes, plus interest. That’s the verdict European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager delivered recently, wrapping up a two-year investigation of the company’s tax afairs stretching back to 2003.
The investigation found that Appleâ€™s efective taxÂ rate on proďŹ t reported in Ireland was just â‚Ź500Â per million euros in proďŹ t, falling to â‚Ź50 per million in 2014. â€œI would have a feeling if my efective tax rate were 0.05 percent, falling to 0.005 percent. I wouldÂ feel that maybe I should have another lookÂ atÂ my tax bill,â€? said. The Commission looked into tax rulings granted by the Irish government to two Apple subsidiaries, Apple Operations Europe, which makes some Apple computers, and Apple Sales International, which resells the companyâ€™s products throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and India. The latter accounts for almost all the unpaid taxes Ireland now needs to recover, Vestager said. Vestager said that the Irish tax authorities had allowed Apple to split proďŹ t from the two companies, which were subject to normal taxes, with â€˜head oiceâ€™ companies that were subject to no taxes, either in Ireland or elsewhere. â€œSplitting the proďŹ ts did not have any factual or economic justiďŹ cation. The so-called head oice had no employees, no premises, no real activities,â€?Â Vestager added. Those head-oice companies were allocated almost all the proďŹ ts. This selective tax treatment in Ireland is illegal under European Union state aid rules, sheÂ argued, and distorts competition. To restore fairÂ competition, Ireland must recover up to â‚Ź13 billion in back taxes from Apple for the period fromÂ 2003 to 2014. â€œIt is for the Irish authorities to determine the exact amount and the modalities of payment,â€? Vestager said. Apple will have to pay up even if A4FA36D Î„?24IAD>5
theÂ ruling is appealed, with the money going into an escrow account. Should the US government decide to change itsÂ tax rules so that Apple owes more tax in the US on its EU proďŹ ts, then the sum to be repaid in Ireland could be reduced by a corresponding amount, Vestager added. Apple is not the only company in the Commissionâ€™s sights. It has also issued tax rulings against Starbucks and Fiat, and is still investigating Amazon and McDonalds in Luxembourg. â€œAll companies, big or small, should pay taxes where they make their proďŹ ts. We need changes in corporate philosophies, and we need changes in legislation to address loopholes and to ensure transparency,â€? concluded Vestager. Apple CEO Tim Cook responded with an open letter dedicated to the â€œApple community in Europe,â€? explaining how Appleâ€™s operations in Cork, Ireland have boosted the local economy andÂ created roughly 1.5 million jobs across Europe. The company claims to have always complied with the law, and has â€œnever asked for, nor did we receive, any special dealsâ€?. â€œOver the years, we received guidance from Irish tax authorities on how to comply correctly with Irish tax law â€“ the same kind of guidance available to any company doing business there. In Ireland and in every country where we operate, Apple follows the law and we pay all the taxes we owe.â€? Both Ireland and Apple are planning on appealing the Commissionâ€™s decision, and CookÂ isÂ â€œconďŹ dent that the Commissionâ€™s order willÂ be reversed.â€? ?24IAD>5Î„A4FA36D
News: Cook calls tax ruling “total political crap” Apple’s CEO says that both Apple and the Irish government have played by the rules, writes Katherine Noyes
he European Commission’s decision to force Apple to pay Ireland billions of dollars in back taxes is “total political crap” and a reﬂection of anti-US sentiment, company CEO Tim Cook told the Irish Independent in an interview. “No A4FA36D ΄?24IAD>5
one did anything wrong here,” Cook said. “Ireland is being picked on, and this is unacceptable.” As we report on page 16, the EC has ruled that Ireland gave Apple illegal tax beneﬁts by not collecting €13 billion ($14.5 billion) in taxes owed to it over a 10-year period. It was the culmination of a two-year investigation into the company’s tax afairs that found Apple’s efective tax rate on proﬁt reported in Ireland was just €500 per million euros in proﬁt, falling to €50 per million in 2014. The Commission’s charges have “no basis in fact or in law,” Cook wrote in an open letter to Apple customers. The Irish tax authority has also disputed the ruling. The EC is essentially trying to reallocate taxes that should be paid in the US to the EU, Cook told the publication, and may be using the case as part of a play to harmonise tax rates across the EU, as well. The fact that Apple was targeted is also in part a reﬂection of anti-US sentiment, he said.
News: BitTorrent client distributing Mac malware Months earlier, the Transmission BitTorrent client was found distributing Mac-based ransomware. Michael Kan reports
popular BitTorrent client called Transmission has again been found distributing Mac-based malware, months after it was used to spread a strand of ransomware. Researchers at security ﬁrm ESET have been following a malware called OSX/Keydnap, which can steal passwords, and noticed that it was spreading through Transmission’s oicial site. A4FA36D ΄?24IAD>5
Somehow, a version of the BitTorrent client containing the malware had been recently made available on the site, ESET said in a recent blog post. Transmission has already removed the download, but users who downloaded the client at the end of August should check for signs that their Mac has been comprised. In addition to stealing credentials, the malware functions as a backdoor program that can allow the hacker to execute remote commands on the Mac, including ﬁle downloads. ESET published details on the malware in July, but the security ﬁrm wasn’t sure how it was being spread. “It could be through attachments in spam messages, downloads from untrusted websites, or something else,” the company said at the time. At the time of writing Transmission was investigating the issue, according to ESET. However, earlier this year, the BitTorrent client was also found spreading a Mac-based ransomware called KeRanger. Like KeRanger, the Keydnap malware was also spread through a Transmission client that was signed with a legitimate Apple developer’s certiﬁcate. This can help it bypass Apple’s malware detecting feature Gatekeeper. While it isn’t clear why Transmission was distributing the malware, its possible the site may have been hacked, and then uploaded with a tainted version of the BitTorrent client. ESET has already notiﬁed Apple about the compromised developer certiﬁcate. The security ﬁrm’s products will also detect and remove the Keydnap malware. ?24IAD>5΄A4FA36D
Hands-on: iPhone 7 From £599 inc VAT ΄ apple.com/uk
he iPhone we’ve been hearing rumours about for months is real, so let the anguish over its conﬁrmed lack of a headphone jack begin. (Since this might have been the worst-kept secret in Apple history, hopefully you’ve worked through a few stages of grief already.) It’s true. Apple used the space freed up by removing the headphone port to add a Taptic Engine under the hood, as well as a second speaker to the bottom of the device. The company says this will give you stereo sound, and the speakers did sound louder, but the busy demo area was just too crowded and noisy to properly evaluate how much of a diference the second speaker makes. In fact, during my limited hands-on time after Apple’s September 7 event, I found the iPhone 7 okay – it’s faster and it’s got a better camera, but a lot of the changes (the new Home button, the dual speakers) are too subtle to make much of a ﬁrst impression. A4FA36D ΄?24IAD>5
Changes to the Home button About that Taptic Engine, for example, it’s there to enable a completely ﬂush, motionless Home button. One of the rumours about 2017’s iPhone is that Apple may ditch the Home button, embedding it in the screen instead. For the iPhone 7, Apple kept the “chin” at the bottom of the device, with the Home button and its shiny Touch ID ring in their familiar place. But the button no longer physically moves up and down. Instead, you press it and get a little vibration of haptic feedback so it feels like it’s going down.
This is similar to the Force Touch trackpad in the 12in MacBook, which doesn’t physically click but still mimics what a click should feel like. As on the Mac side, iOS developers will get access to the Taptic Engine for building more subtle vibration efects into their apps, reacting to your touch. In my hands-on time at the event, the new Home button felt pretty odd to click, with a split-second lag before I felt anything. Two of Apple’s demonstrators mentioned that it takes a little adjustment before it feels normal. Luckily, there’s a setting where you can customise the haptic feedback somewhat. Physically, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are the same size as their predecessors, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. But don’t expect any iPhone 6 or iPhone 6s cases to ﬁt an iPhone 7, because the camera lens on the back is a lot bigger than it used to be, and so is the TrueTone ﬂash. Similarly, iPhone 6 Plus and 6s Plus cases almost deﬁnitely wouldn’t ﬁt an iPhone 7 Plus, since that device has a dual-camera setup I’ll explain a bit later. New cases all around. If you can stomach slapping a case on your new phone in the ﬁrst place, that is. The iPhone 7 comes in silver, gold, and rose gold ﬁnishes, but the ‘space grey’ colour has been replaced by not one but two versions of black. The matte version is just called black, and it’s lovely, with an almost brushed aluminium efect that does pick up ﬁngerprints, but more on its shiny black Apple logo than on the rest of the device. The highly glossy ‘jet black’ version has a shinier ﬁnish, like a grand piano, and it’s a magnet for ﬁngerprints – and maybe tiny scratches too. Apple even has a disclaimer on the iPhone 7 pre-order page: “Its surface is equally as hard as A4FA36D ΄?24IAD>5
other anodized Apple products; however, its high shine may show ﬁne micro-abrasions with use.” The company suggests you use a case if you’re concerned, but then no one can appreciate your glossy phone. It’s subjective, but I like the matte version better anyway.
New cameras and water resistance The iPhone 7’s camera still bulges out from the back of the phone, but the bulge rises directly out of the iPhone’s rear panel. In the iPhone 6s, the camera bulge has an aluminium ring around it that makes it look kind of stuck on after the
fact, while the iPhone 7 camera bump looks a little moreÂ likeÂ itÂ belongs. I prefer the iPhone SEâ€™s designÂ in which the camera is completely ďŹ‚ush, butÂ itâ€™s not a deal breaker. The 7 Plus has a dual-lens setup: two 12Mp cameras side by side on the back. One is the same wide angle as in the iPhone 7, and the second is a telephoto lens. Tapping the 1x button above the shutter in the Camera app switches to the 2x view of the telephoto lens instantly â€“ itâ€™s so fast itâ€™s like youâ€™re using the same camera, not switching between two. Holding the button down lets you push past the 2x optical zoom, up to 10x of digital zoom (in photos; 5.8x when shooting video), although digital zoom enlarges the pixels and thus degrades the image quality. The Portrait mode with its bokeh efect demonstrated on stage wonâ€™t be ready until a software update later in the year, for iPhone 7 Plus owners only. None of the demonstration units in the hands-on area had it yet. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus have 25 percent brighter screens with a wider colour gamut, although the sizes and pixel dimensions remain the same. Every iPhone screen looks great to me, and these were no exception. But the diference wasnâ€™t so noticeable that it would sway me to upgrade just for the extra brightness. Maybe when we get to test the phones outdoors, weâ€™ll see a bigger diference. Ready for one more thing? This is the ďŹ rst oicially water resistant iPhone! Last yearâ€™s iPhone 6s had some under-the-hood water resistance, but Apple didnâ€™t advertise it. Instead of shoving ugly rubber plugs into the various ports to keep liquid out, the company added gaskets inside the case A4FA36D Î„?24IAD>5
and waterproofed individual connections between internal cables and the logic board. Think of that as a beta test of sorts, because now Apple is proudly calling the iPhone 7 splash, dust, and water resistant, with a rating of IP67. That means it should withstand powerful streams of water right on it, as well as dunks in up to a metre of water for 30 minutes. Unfortunately, Apple didnâ€™t provide a dunk tank in the demo area, so thatâ€™s another thing weâ€™ll have to test for the full review.
Verdict So, Apple gave us water resistance and a more powerful camera, even as it takes away our faithful friend the 3.5mm headphone jack. The iPhone lineup still lacks built-in wireless charging, Apple Pencil support, and an OLED screen, but the iPhone 7 is no slouch. (Apple bragged that the 64-bit A10 Fusion chip makes this the most powerful iPhone in history, but thatâ€™s a progression that we expect â€“ obviously Apple wouldnâ€™t want the new phone to be slower than the older models.) Photographers and the accident-prone have the most reasons to rejoice, but personally, Iâ€™m not excited enough about the new cameras or the waterprooďŹ ng to preorder a new iPhone for launch. As much as I like the AirPods (which wonâ€™t be ready for the iPhone 7â€™s launch), the inconvenience of plugging headphones into the Lightning port until then is keeping me in wait-and-see territory, until I ďŹ nd out if the brighter screen and the better camera are really enough to make me screw up myÂ â€˜courageâ€™ and bid the headphone jack a permanent goodbye. Susie Ochs ?24IAD>5Î„A4FA36D
Hands-on: Apple Watch 2 From £369 inc VAT ΄ apple.com/uk
t’s really hard to tell the diference between the new Apple Watch Series 2 models and the originals – the aluminium and steel versions anyway – until you place them side by side. The Series 2 models are ever so slightly thicker than their predecessors. Just a hair, not enough to even complain about, really, and it’s certainly not a deal-breaker. But from Apple, a company with a track record of sacriﬁcing ports and redesigning keyboards in order to make its products thinner and thinner and thinner, the Apple Watch’s extra bulk is a sign that the company is still adding hardware features to ﬁnd the best mix. In this case, GPS. What remains to be seen – and isn’t a one-sizeﬁts-all answer anyhow – is whether GPS will be worth the extra cost for the Series 2. After all, GPS A4FA36D ΄?24IAD>5
and 50m waterprooﬁng are the only diferences between the Series 2 watches and the Series 1, which is still on sale. Aluminium Series 1 models, formerly called Apple Watch Sport, are £269 for 38mm and £299 for 42mm, and those Series 1 watches even have the same S2 chips that Apple put in the aluminium Series 2 models, which are £100 more. Since my hands-on time after Apple’s September 7 event didn’t include a chance to swim laps or go for a run, the Series 2’s exclusive features didn’t have the opportunity to impress me. Still, one Series 2 watch called out to me from the crowded table of demo units: the ceramic model. Shiny and pristinely white, it looks like it was carved from solid block of unicorn horn. I’m a little surprised it only comes in white, but it’s a pleasant throwback to when Apple ofered a whole range of glossy white products, from iPods to MacBooks. The ceramic Apple Watch Edition, which Apple says is four times harder than stainless steel, was the biggest surprise in Apple’s keynote, both for what it is and what it isn’t: gold. While it starts at a jaw-dropping £1,249 for the 38mm version, the ceramic Apple Watch Edition replaces the solid-gold Apple Watch Edition models. Funnily enough, that gorgeous ceramic watch is only sold with an of-white (sorry, ‘Cloud’) Sport Band, a £49 strap that matches the look perfectly but didn’t seem luxe enough to me considering the four-ﬁgure package price. The Apple Watch Hermès models, on the other hand, have the opposite problem. For £1,149 and up, you get a stainless steel Apple Watch Series 2 with exclusive Hermès watch faces and a high-end
leather band. I tried on the 38mm size with an Etoupe Swift Leather Double Buckle Cuf (pictured below), which felt like butter even if it did take twice as long to put on as a watch with, well, a single buckle. But it retails for £1,549, and that doesn’t come close to adding up: a stainless steel Series 2 watch with a Sport Band is £549, which means that stepping up to the Hermès is paying £1,000 more to get the fancier cuf and the Hermès watch faces. Well, the exact same cuf can be had on its own for £699. That just leaves the faces, based on classic Hermès watches called Clipper, Cape Cod, and Espace, but honestly, I don’t think they’re good-looking. I wouldn’t pay £5 for one in the App Store even if I could. Finally, the Apple Watch Nike Plus is a aluminium Apple Watch Series 2 in space gray or silver, with a special Nike Sport Band and exclusive Nike watch face. The bands are vented all the way around and stand out thanks to Nike’s eye-catching neon-yellow ‘Volt’ colour. (Plainer black/grey and silver/white colours are available too, but if you’re going to go Nike, go neon, I say.) Aimed at runners, the Nike watch face will even nudge you to pound the pavement more often, by reminding you how long it’s been since you last ran, how nice the weather is, or A4FA36D ΄?24IAD>5
how hard your friends are smoking you on the leaderboards. Keeping in mind that any Apple Watch running watchOS 3 will let you share Activity rings for a little friendly competition, but Nike’s implementation seems like a lot of fun. And the prices are the same as the rest of the aluminium Series 2 models, so whether you go Nike or not is simply a personal preference.
Verdict I’m eager to test the GPS and lap-counting Swim workouts in the new Apple Watch Series 2, once they ship, and see how long the battery lasts compared to my trusty ﬁrst-generation Apple Watch. Until then, I think the ceramic watch is the best looking if you’re willing to shell out for it, the Hermès Edition isn’t worth the money (but the à la carte bands might be), and the aluminium Series 2 watches continue to be a pretty good deal. If you already have an Apple Watch, there’s no need to upgrade, but if you’ve been waiting to jump onboard, now’s a great time, and if you don’t mind forgoing GPS, the Series 1 option saves you money without sacriﬁcing speed. Susie Ochs
Hands-on: AirPods £159 inc VAT ΄ apple.com/uk
didn’t want to like the AirPods, I really didn’t. But in the hands-on area after Apple’s iPhone 7 event I found myself dancing along in spite of myself – and they stayed put, feeling surprisingly secure. With convenient features on both the hardware and software sides, I have to admit that Apple’s totally-wireless AirPods kind of rocked my world. A4FA36D ΄?24IAD>5
When they’re in your ears, they look similar to an old pair of wired EarPods that someone has snipped the wires of. The earbud part ﬁlls your ear just as before, and a plastic stem hangs down a bit below your earlobe. They’re the same general shape as the EarPods and made from the same hard white plastic. Now, that plastic has been a deal-breaker for me for years – I hate how normal EarPods feel in my ears. They don’t seem like they’re going to stay put, and they fall out if I move my head too much. Even if they do stay in, after about a half hour, my ears starts to ache, although I don’t experience the same pain when using earbuds with silicone or foam tips. Since the AirPods look so similar, I expected them to feel the same too – and I’m surprised and happy to report that I was dead wrong. Not only did I dance, I headbanged. I shook my head side to side, I tossed my hair, I jogged in place, and I looked silly doing all of it. The AirPods stayed put, and they stayed loud. The music (more Sia, naturally) sounded full and lush and I couldn’t hear a single word anyone around me was saying, as if I was completely sealed of in a bubble of rock and roll. Pretty impressive.
For Apple devices only The AirPods’ special features are pretty impressive too, even though they only work with Apple devices. You don’t need a brand-new iPhone or Apple Watch to use them, but they only support Apple devices running the latest operating systems: iOS 10, macOS Sierra, and watchOS 3. The AirPods use Bluetooth, so you would think maybe there’d
be a way to pair them to an Android phone or an iOS 8 device since those have Bluetooth too, but there’s no button on the AirPods to put them into pairing mode. We’ll test to conﬁrm when we get review units, but it seems like the AirPods will only be ‘seen’ by Apple devices. When you ﬁrst ﬂip open the glossy white carrying box – which looks like the most high-tech pack of TicTacs ever – you’ll see a screen on your nearby iPhone ofering to pair. (That’s just the ﬁrst time; you won’t have to do this every time you want to use the AirPods.) Once you’ve paired them to your iPhone, you can also use them the Apple Watch that’s paired to your iPhone, as well as with any iPad and Mac that’s signed in to the same iCloud account. I didn’t get to test how seamless it is to switch between devices, but the idea is, you can pause music on your iPhone, start playing songs stored on your Apple Watch, and the AirPods will just switch.
Each AirPod has infrared sensors, so they know when they’re in your ears or not, and an accelerometer so you can double-tap either AirPod to invoke Siri. They don’t have any traditional buttons, unlike some Bluetooth headphones: No on/of switch, no pairing button, no play/pause or call-answering buttons, and no volume controls. Instead, you can double-tap to get Siri – this pauses your music, but you can at least say “turn up the volume” without ﬁshing out your iPhone to turn it up on that device. It’s a lot more awkward than just having volume controls built in. Removing one AirPod from your ear while music is playing will automatically pause it, perfect for interacting with a cashier, barista, or nosy passerby who has questions about your AirPods. The auto-pausing efect is incredibly cool – I wish all my headphones did this. Just don’t remove both AirPods, or the audio playback will automatically switch back to your iPhone’s speakers, leaving you scrambling to pause it.
Power to go The charging case is pretty neat on its own, too. It’s got a Lightning port in the back, and you can charge just the case on its own or the AirPods inside the case. That’s right – while the AirPods themselves get about ﬁve hours of playback per charge, according to Apple, the case has a battery, so you can top of on the go. The case has enough juice for about 24 hours of playback, Apple says, which means you could recharge the AirPods nearly ﬁve times before you have to plug the case into a power adaptor or USB port
to recharge. Apple says that popping the AirPods into the charging case for 15 minutes will get you another three hours of music â€“ a tiny green LED inside the case lets you know the AirPods are charging. Keeping wireless headphones charged can be a major pain point â€“ running out of battery mid-workout or mid-commute is the worst, so this couldÂ be a good solution. The AirPods have a W1 chip inside to enable all this intelligence, and Apple built the same chip into a new lineup of Beats headphones too. The Beats Solo3 Wireless are over-the-ear headphones that have a more complete set of on-ear controls and 40 hours of battery life, available now for ÂŁ249. As for the AirPods themselves, sadly, they wonâ€™t launch with the iPhone 7. Theyâ€™re due later in October, sold separately for ÂŁ159. Thatâ€™s steep compared to other Apple-branded earbuds â€“
the companyâ€™s most high-end wired earbuds topped out at ÂŁ79, but much more reasonable compared toÂ wireless Beats or other high-end wireless models. iPhone 7 early adopters can use any Bluetooth headphones, of course, and Apple is also including two more solutions in the box: a wired pair of EarPods that connect to the iPhoneâ€™sÂ Lightning port, and a Lightning-to â€“Â 3.5mmÂ adaptor that lets you plug any standard wired headphones into the Lightning port.
Feature: Three reasons to run your own Mac server Dan Moren reveals why running a server isn’t as scary as you think. Here are three reasons why you should consider it, too
hen it comes to technology, the word ‘server’ might bring to mind, for some, a warehouse-sized room not unlike the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, but with fewer crates and more racks of computers. For others it A4FA36D ΄?24IAD>5
might be the cause of sweaty palms and glazedover eyes. But servers don’t need to be mysterious or scary – after all, a server is just a computer that serves up information (and/or services) that can be accessed by other computers. Sure, it can get more complex than that, but it can also be a fairly simple and invaluable tool. I run a Mac mini server on my home network for a handful of reasons that are mundane, but all of which help at least provide some peace of mind, especially when I’m not in the house.
The portal One of the primary uses of my Mac mini is as a portal into my home network. When I’m away from the house, or on a business trip or holiday, this means I can not only access the data on my home machines, but even see and control them.
I maintain several diferent services to let me access my home machines. Most basic is the Secure Shell (SSH) command-line interface (OS X calls it Remote Login in the Sharing system preferences pane) and its associated Secure FTP (SFTP) ﬁle transfer service. These services allow me to quickly interact with my home machine as well as download ﬁles to whatever Mac or iOS device I happen to have with me at the time. I’ve also taken the somewhat more complex step of setting up OS X Server to host a Virtual Private Network (VPN) – an encrypted tunnel that lets me securely route my data and my internet connection back through my home network. In some cases it might be slow, but it does help protect my data when I’m using a spurious Wi-Fi network. Sometimes I want to check on an app that’s running on one of my Macs, and for that use Screens (£22.99 from the Mac App Store). If you know your way around a little ﬁrewall trickery, you can use OS X’s built-in screen sharing. (Before I started using Screens, I sometimes used to screen share into my Mac mini, and then screen share from there into my iMac, since my iMac wasn’t directly accessible.) Beyond the ability to access programs on the remote Mac, I’ve also availed myself of another beneﬁt: if you have a desktop Mac that’s turned on and has a FaceTime camera, you can remotely launch Photo Booth to take a look around your home while you’re, say, on holiday.
The media In this day and age, what self-respecting server doesn’t serve up media? I have a full copy of my A4FA36D ΄?24IAD>5
You access Plex’s settings in a web browser, too
iTunes Library on my Mac mini, and in those cases where iCloud Music Library is under the weather, I can use iTunes Home Sharing to stream from my mini to my iOS devices and Macs alike. It also lets me access some types of media that iTunes doesn’t store in the cloud by default, such as audiobooks. My non-iTunes content, mostly video, is stored in Plex (plex.tv), a home media server with apps for the Mac, iOS, Apple TV, and a few of those other platforms, too. You can stream video (and music and photos, if you so prefer) from your Plex server to those other devices, whether it’s the Apple TV connected to the big TV in your living room or your iPhone when you’re travelling halfway around the world, as long as you have a usable internet connection.
The vault Most importantly, my Mac mini is my vault. That’s where I archive all my documents, store the ?24IAD>5΄A4FA36D
downloaded copies of my iTunes and Photos libraries, and keep any other data that’s not in the cloud. I use SuperDuper! (shirt-pocket.com) to create a nightly clone of the entire server, and have online backup via CrashPlan, just to be on the safe side. With three Macs in the house (server included), it can be a pain trying to make sure that ﬁles don’t get lost in the shule. To simplify matters, I generally consider my server to be the ‘canonical’ versions of my ﬁles. In truth, I could stand to be more vigilant about making sure that I shuttle ﬁles onto the mini more regularly. Since I do most of my day-to-day work on the iMac, I generally only remember to move ﬁles from there every once in a while. (Critical ﬁles that I’m working on all the time on a variety of diferent devices live instead in Dropbox or iCloud Drive.) But many of the ﬁles on that mini go back a long way, in some cases all the way back to the very earliest documents I created on my original Macs.
Service included In many cases, a lot of these server-based technologies are being obviated by services that run in the cloud and handle common tasks like ﬁle storage or streaming media. Cloud services are just ﬁne – I use plenty of them – but in some cases, they’re simply not the right ﬁt. The one major advantage to running your own server is that you have control over everything, from soup to nuts. That can have its downsides too – when something goes wrong, you’re usually the one who has to ﬁx it, but sometimes there’s just no substitute for doing it yourself. A4FA36D ΄?24IAD>5
Feature: Learn to code with Swift Playgrounds Susie Ochs reveals why Apple’s teaching app is a triumph
earning to code isn’t supposed to be this fun. Apple’s new Swift Playgrounds app for iPads running iOS 10 is aimed at teaching the Swift programming language to children from the age of 10 and adults, no coding experience necessary. But it feels like a puzzle game – one that just happens to be solved with commands and functions and For loops, instead of with a catapult full of birds.
And I’m totally hooked. In fact, Swift Playgrounds is my favourite thing to come out of this year’s WWDC by far, and I think it’s going to be one of the highlights of iOS 10 when it’s released. You can try out the free Swift Playgrounds app today by putting the iOS 10 public beta on a compatible iPad (fourth-generation or later). The app is automatically added to your home screen when you join the beta, but when iOS 10 launches this fall, Swift Playgrounds will be a free download from the App Store.
Finding lessons When you ﬁre it up, you’ll see a Featured section with lesson packs named ‘Learn to Code 1: Fundamentals of Swift’, and then ‘Learn to Code 2: Beyond the Basics’. Below that are the Challenges, starting with Drawing Sounds and Blink. More lesson packs and challenges will be added over time, and the lessons are RSS-based, so Apple can add new content without having to update the app. Downloading a lesson pack or challenge adds it to the My Playgrounds tab, which looks like the shelf in iBooks. You can create new playgrounds too, or download them from other sources. For example, Apple made a Sphero playground to demo at WWDC, showing how Swift Playgrounds can use all of the iPad’s hardware and software features, in this case connecting via Bluetooth and issuing commands to a Sphero robotic ball. Sphero could actually make its own playground and distribute it on its own site, explained Wiley Hodges, Apple’s director of tools and technologies product marketing. A4FA36D ΄?24IAD>5
Swift Playgrounds takes advantage of the iPad’s touchscreen interface. You can tap commands from the list along the bottom, pull up to get a full keyboard, or tap individual items in your code (like the For loop highlighted in red) for contextual items
From this shelf, you can also duplicate a playground or reset it. Say your child is halfway through a lesson her little sister wants to try, too. You can duplicate the playground to make a copy, then reset the copy to its original state. (Swift Playgrounds will also work with the classroom-management features Apple added for teachers in iOS 9.3,)
Learning to code Since I had no Swift experience, I plunged right in to Learn to Code 1, which assumes no prior knowledge. A friendly cut-scene introduces each new topic and explains it in a way anyone can understand. The ﬁrst group of lessons, for example, ?24IAD>5΄A4FA36D
covers basic commands, so the cut-scene makes the analogy that these are like following a recipe or set of instructions. Later, when introducing For loops, the analogy is breaking down a task, such as planting a ďŹ‚ower garden, into small steps youâ€™ll repeat over and over. But once the concepts are introduced, the lessons use the real terms for everything: call a function, loop commands, if statement, conditionalÂ code. All the jargon in the instructions isÂ coloured red â€“ all you have to do is tap a red word for a deďŹ nition. The interface is split into two panels. The left side is text: Your challenge is explained at the top, with a space below for you to compose your program. The right side of the screen shows the results, with a big red Play button you can tap, labelled Run My Code. For the Learn to Code 1 lesson, Iâ€™m giving commands to Byte, a cartoonish mascot whoâ€™s moving around a game board collecting gems and ďŹ‚ipping switches. (Easter egg:Â tap on Byte to change the character model; there are three to choose from.) Youâ€™re given some commands to get started: You can tell Byte, for example, to moveForward and turnLeft, which are both examples of how Swift commands really appear. But thereâ€™s no turnRight command out of the gate, so one of my ďŹ rst challenges was writing a turnRight function that combined three turnLeft commands. You can run the program after entering each command, or try to write the whole thing out at once by tapping the commands in the QuickType row or expanding theÂ whole keyboard. The preview pane supports A4FA36D Î„?24IAD>5
The preview pane is interactive: you can zoom around to get a look at things, and tap on Byte to change the character
Multi-Touch, so I was able to scroll around the game world and zoom in and out to count, for example, how many squares Byte needed to move forward before he turned left. Learn to Code 2, which will launch with the ďŹ nal version of Swift Playgrounds this fall, has a diferent world than the gem-collecting, switch-ďŹ‚ipping realm of Byte, which is meant to show that Swiftâ€™s tools can be used for tons of diferent applications, as well as to cut down on repetition.
Thinking like a coder Swift Playgrounds encourages creative problemsolving â€“ there isnâ€™t one single solution, or even ?24IAD>5Î„A4FA36D
one ‘best’ solution. You aren’t graded on how few lines you can use or how many functions you come up with. But the app does teach good coding habits like looking for patterns that repeat, and using descriptive names for functions so you can more easily remember what they do. If you break out ahead, say, adding a loop to your code before you are formally taught loops, the app gives you props for your advanced skills. The whole experience is heavy on praise, which made me want to keep going lesson after lesson. And a progressive Hint button cuts down the frustration factor if you do hit a wall. At ﬁrst, the Hint pop-up ofers ways to think about the challenge. If you need more help, it will supply clues about how to break down the challenge into parts, and ﬁnally just shows you the correct code if you’re really stumped. But you can’t copy and paste from the Hint bubble into the code editor – you have to type it out manually, which will help you learn. It’s a lot of fun to tinker Swift Playgrounds, learning the concepts behind making good code as well as the syntax, but your code isn’t trapped there. You can record and share movies of your code, even give them voice-overs bragging about your skills, or even share entire playgrounds via AirDrop, Messages, and Mail. The iPad isn’t a full development platform just yet, but you can also export code from your playgrounds back into Xcode on the Mac.
Why it’s so unique Apple introduced Swift at WWDC in 2014, and made it open source this past December. It’s A4FA36D ΄?24IAD>5
already being used in more than 100,000 apps in the App Store, including heavy-hitters like Lyft, Slack, and Strava. “We’ve gotten a great response,” said Hodges, adding that Swift is the fastestgrowing programming language. The beneﬁts of Swift is that it’s fast and powerful like compiled languages such as Objective-C, while also being more friendly and easy to read, like a scripting language. Commands and functions are built with human-readable words. My ﬁrst encounter with writing code was back in the ’80s, when I learned BASIC at a summer day camp for nerdy children, and I loved how I could tell what it was going to do before I actually ran it, just by reading the code. Swift reminds me of that, and Swift Playgrounds’ split-screen view makes that
visualization even easier, the code listed on the left, next to the virtual world where it’ll run. In fact, Swift Playgrounds is (naturally) written in Swift, and the code you create in the code editor is inserted directly into the program running on the right side of the screen. Once I accidentally deleted a bracket and broke the code. It wasn’t a problem of the on-screen Byte character not reaching his goal because I’d given him the wrong commands and sent him in the wrong direction. He wouldn’t move at all until I ﬁxed the syntax, an in-my-face reminder that every keystroke matters. The game world uses SceneKit, Metal, and 3D acceleration, the same technologies used all over iOS. Apple developed the curriculum for Swift Playgrounds itself, based on what its own software engineers think is the best way to learn software engineering. This isn’t a purely academic exercise: Swift Playgrounds is designed to get you thinking like a coder, decomposing problems and applying logic. “It’s made by Apple, by the people who write the real software,” said Tim Triemstra, who handles product marketing for Apple’s developer tools, “so we’re teaching programming how it’s actually done.” But Apple also brought in professional educators, and of course kid testers, to tweak things like the levelling and the motivating language. “We worked with educators to hit the important notes of how to teach computer science,” explained Cheryl Thomas, Apple’s vice president of software engineering operations. “We wanted to be egalitarian, with a wide appeal to both boys and girls,” she said. A4FA36D ΄?24IAD>5
All the lessons are available right away, so you don’t have to unlock them one by one or play them in a certain order. The goal was to create excitement, so a lot of thinking went into how to keep users engaged – and it really shows. Swift Playgrounds feels more like a game than an academic exercise, with a ‘just one more lesson’ addictiveness that made me want to keep building on the skills I’d just learned. Swift Playgrounds is available with the iOS 10 public beta, including Learn to Code 1 and two Challenges. More lessons will come later with the ﬁnal shipping version of the app, launching with iOS 10 this autumn.
Feature: Guide to playing your music with AirPlay Apple’s streaming protocol can send audio to a variety of devices. Kirk McElhearn shows how to make it work for you
f you use a Mac or an iOS device, you may know about AirPlay, Apple’s streaming protocol that can send audio and/or video to a variety of devices. Initially launched in 2004 as AirTunes, for audio only from iTunes to Apple devices, AirPlay is now supported by speakers, ampliﬁers, receivers, and more, from dozens of brands. A4FA36D ΄?24IAD>5
While you don’t have many options with AirPlay Mirroring (streaming both audio and video; you can do this from a Mac or iOS device to an Apple TV), using AirPlay with music is incredibly ﬂexible. There are ways to use AirPlay you may never have thought of. Here’s an overview of some of the ways you can send music throughout your house using AirPlay.
Pick a speaker When you’re playing music from iTunes, you can choose an AirPlay target by clicking the AirPlay button to the left of the iTunes LCD. Choose a single device, or, if you want to send music to multiple locations, click Multiple and check the devices you want to use. Choose an AirPlay device (or several) from this menu in iTunes
On an iOS device, tap the AirPlay button in Control Center, or in a music app, and choose a speaker; you can’t stream to multiple targets from an iOS device, however. AirPlay targets include the Apple TV, standalone speakers, and hi-ﬁ ampliﬁers and receivers. You can stream to any system using an AirPort Express (£79); just connect its combination analogue/optical audio jack to a device with the appropriate cable. The AirPort Express also lets you extend a Wi-Fi network; but if you simply want a device to use AirPlay, get the third-generation Apple TV, which ofers the same streaming options, as well as all the other features of that device. Make sure to check Enable AirPlay/AirTunes on the Music tab of AirPort Utility when setting up the AirPort Express, if you’re using that device.
Stream to an ampliﬁer or receiver More and more home audio hardware supports AirPlay. Not just standalone speakers, but fullsize ampliﬁers and receivers. So you can stream from your iTunes library or iOS device to a stereo system. Brands such as Yamaha, Philips, Marantz, Denon, and Sony ofer devices that support AirPlay. Some merely play audio, but others also display information about what’s playing on their display. If you want to make your home entertainment system AirPlay compatible, check out which devices support the protocol. Even if you don’t plan to use AirPlay right now, if you’re in the market for new stereo equipment, you might want to get hardware that supports this protocol in case you change your mind. A4FA36D ΄?24IAD>5
Stream AirPlay over ethernet You may have discovered that third-party AirPlay devices aren’t always ideal. Some devices lose connectivity, or play back music with stutters and pauses. My experience with such devices has been mixed, and I think the problem is that these devices don’t have adequate antennas to pick up Wi-Fi signals eiciently. In addition, some hi-ﬁ separates may ofer AirPlay but not have integrated Wi-Fi. With some ampliﬁers or receivers, you can buy an optional Wi-Fi adaptor to use them wirelessly. You can get around this using AirPlay over ethernet. If you have an ampliﬁer or receiver that supports AirPlay and has an ethernet port, connect it to the network; AirPlay works perfectly. I use the Yamaha R-N301 (£199) connected to my network with a powerline adaptor. (You don’t need very high bandwidth for audio only.) Streaming is always perfect; no glitches, no dropouts.
Stream AirPlay to a Mac While Macs can be AirPlay sources, they can also serve as AirPlay targets, with the help of third-party software. I use Rogue Ameoba’s Airfoil Satellite (a free addition to the $29 Airfoil [tinyurl.com/chhpgw] app). When this is running, my Mac is an AirPlay target, and I can stream music to it from any other Mac, or from an iOS device. The Airfoil Satellite window shows what’s playing (with album artwork) and gives you controls to play, pause, skip tracks, and change volume. Why would you want this? You may want to listen to audio from an iOS app on your Mac, rather than
Stream to a Mac with Airfoil Satellite
through your iPhoneâ€™s little speaker, or you may even want to stream from one Mac to another.
Stream from an Android phone While AirPlay is an Apple protocol, itâ€™s wide adoption in the home audio industry has led at least one Android phone manufacturer to support the protocol. The forthcoming HTC 10 (go.macworld. com/htc10pre) will support AirPlay streaming, so even if you donâ€™t have an iPhone or iPad, you may be able to use AirPlay. Streaming to every room is easier now that AirPlay is widely supported. With these tips, youâ€™ll be able to get music to any location in your home. A4FA36D Î„?24IAD>5
Feature: Help Desk Kirk McElhearn answers your Mac questions Use iCloud Photo Library selectively Q: How do I take pictures of iCloud, but not haveÂ them deleted from my iMac, iPhone, and iPad? My iCloud is full, and I want to clear it up byÂ taking the photos of. Brenda Best A: In the past, Iâ€™ve said, â€œSorry, itâ€™s all or nothing.â€? Once you opt in to iCloud Photo Library, all of yourÂ images are synced across all devices that use the same iCloud login and have iCloud Photo Library enabled, and the full-resolution versions ofÂ images and videos have to be stored in your iCloud account.
But I was being a little too restrictive in my thinking. There are ways around this situation, neither of which is ideal, but neither is completely a pain, either.
Use a separate Photos library Only a single Photos library can be synced to iCloud Photo Library. You can maintain other libraries, and those photos and videos remain only locally stored. (Be sure and create an efective backup plan for that media, though, so you don’t accidentally lose it all in the event of a drive disaster or unintentional deletion.) Photos for OS X doesn’t let you split libraries; you’d have to export images from your existing library and re-import them into a new one. To switch among multiple libraries, quit Photos, hold down the Option key, and launch Photos. You’re prompted to select which library to open. If you’re willing to spend the princely sum of $29, you can purchase PowerPhotos from fatcatsoftware.com. It’s a third-party utility package that can merge, split, and manage Photos libraries. I’m a big fan of this software for adding functionality that Apple didn’t include. While merging is self-explanatory, splitting a library isn’t a built-in feature. Follow these steps to do so in PowerPhotos:
΄Create an album (or albums) in your main library that contains items you want to shift to a local-only library ΄Launch PowerPhotos and create a new Photos library or select a new one to add media to A4FA36D ΄?24IAD>5
΄Copy the albums from your main library to this new local-only library.
΄Return to the Photos app and select your main library and then delete the photos in the copied albums It’s possible you may lose some metadata in the process or be unable to revert to the original for images that were modiﬁed within Photos, so keep that in mind.
Use referenced media for local storage Photos for OS X only syncs media ﬁles to iCloud Photo Library that have been imported into the Photos library rather than copied. Photos for OS X copies all media by default, but you can disable this behaviour: in the Photos → Preferences → General tab, uncheck Copy Items To The Photos Library. Now when you drag items in or import them, Photos will create a reference to the ﬁle’s location on an internal, external, or networked volume. Referenced images can be used in Photos just like any others, but they’re not copied to iCloud. This means you should make a local backup of these non-imported ﬁles just as you would any other data that’s not also backed up in the cloud. You can opt to copy referenced images into a library later (select one or more items and choose File → Consolidate), but you can’t take an imported image and convert it to a referenced-only one. The biggest pain with this approach is that you will likely want to include or exclude images at diferent times from being synced when importing. You have to remember each time to check the ?24IAD>5΄A4FA36D
Photos preference to ensure that the Copy Items checkbox is set as you want it for that import.
Pages collaboration Q: How do I work between Pages 5 and Pages ’09? From my research online, it appears that they do not work compatibly together; I need to be able to open the documents he sends to me and edit them. I was also curious if there was any way for me to download Pages ’09 so that I have the same version my work associate has. Natasha Scott A: You’ve got a few diferent ways to sort this out, but I’ll start with the second question ﬁrst, as it may be simpler. While Apple no longer sells the iWork ’09 suite, of which Pages ’09 is a part, third-party sellers ofer it via Amazon and other sources. Looking at Amazon (tinyurl.com/j52t4ks), I
see a number of copies available. (Check the New box under Condition in the far left column of the Amazon page.) I wouldn’t buy ‘open box’ copies, and I’d only purchase from sellers with high ratings and a history at Amazon. As of El Capitan, Pages ’09 still runs just ﬁne. At the time of writing only one ‘new’ copy was available, priced £39. I would avoid any online ofers to download the ﬁles, as those are likely laden with malware or adware, and it’s not a legitimate way to obtain licensed software unless it’s from the source in any case. However, if you’d prefer to get and use Pages 5, you can work between the two versions. It just takes extra efort, and you might wind up with some formatting problems over time. Pages 5 can open Pages ’09 ﬁles without any extra software or conﬁguration. Pages 5 can also export any opened ﬁle to Pages ’09 format via Files → Export To → Pages ’09. Some Pages 5 features won’t export correctly to Pages ’09 and are removed, though you may be warned if something particularly critical would be suppressed. Likewise, opening a Pages ’09 ﬁle that does something diferently than Pages 5 should cause the software to list what’s wrong in View → Show Warnings. I’ve found going back and forth can introduce problems after a while, but it’s deﬁnitely a reasonable, if logistically annoying, solution.
Erase a Mac that lacks erasure options Q: I’m trying to securely erase my poor, sad iMac before donating or recycling it. It’s my ?24IAD>5΄A4FA36D
old workhorse – running 10.6.8. Disk Utility’s Erase Security Options is greyed out. I have no OS X disk, and there’s no Recovery HD. What should I do? Susan Lawlor A: It’s admirable to erase your system before you sell – especially with secure erasure – to avoid leaking personal data to someone who buys it or obtains the disk drive. While the odds are likely very low someone would be able to extract data (or be interested in it), you can try to reduce those odds to what is efectively zero. Susan has a number of options of how to proceed, but there’s a bit of navigation along the way. She’s running 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard), which didn’t include Recovery HD. Security Options in A4FA36D ΄?24IAD>5
her version of Disk Utility is greyed out because you can’t erase a disk from its startup volume. (That option is always unavailable for SSDs, but an older iMac won’t have an SSD.) Here are the easiest ways to erase that drive securely by degree of diiculty:
΄Use Target Disk Mode. With two Macs that both have Thunderbolt or FireWire ports, connect them with the appropriate cable, and follow Apple’s instructions (either hold down the ‘T’ key after restarting the one to erase, or use Startup Disk on that computer before restarting it). The Mac to erase mounts as a drive, and Disk Utility can be used with it.
΄Install OS X on an external drive or borrow one with OS X installed. Booting of that drive will also allow erasing via Disk Utility.
΄Upgrade to a newer version of OS X and use Recovery HD (go.macworld.com/recovery). Snow Leopard with the Mac App Store installed should let you download at no cost a later version of OS X. All versions after Snow Leopard include and will install Recovery HD, from which you can then boot and run. iMac models released starting in 2010 can use Internet Recovery, but ﬁrst have to be upgraded at least to Lion and some need a ﬁrmware update installed, so that’s not the simplest path to pursue. A related question came in from Becky Steinke, who was trying to erase a 2008 MacBook. She ?24IAD>5΄A4FA36D
tried to use the Recovery HD startup (holding down Command-R after restarting) and had no luck. Every 2008 and later MacBook Pro and MacBook can install Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, which should be able to install the Recovery partition. If possible, upgrade it to Lion, restart, and use Recovery HD to erase, or use one of the other options mentioned.
How to dispose of a printer securely Q: I have two older printers, an Epson Stylus Photo 960 and an HP Oicejet Pro 800 Wireless printer, as well as an old CanoScan ﬂatbed scanner I would like to get rid of securely, but I need to know whether these consumer products store any print or scanning jobs as I have scanned receipts and personal documents. Philip Cassir A: Let’s start with internal storage. While corporatescale multi-function printers (MFPs) and copier/ printers may have internal ﬂash or even hard disk storage, depending on what kinds of tasks they carry out, no consumer device I’m aware of has non-volatile storage for documents and scans.
HP Oicejet Pro 800 Wireless
Multifunction printers can have enough volatile memory (regular old RAM) to queue dozens or even hundreds of pages scanned or coming through as a fax or while waiting to be printed, pulling the power instantly erases whatever was stored. Many printers can accept ﬂash memory cards from cameras, so make sure you don’t leave one of those inserted. The line between business and consumer hardware has blurred in recent years as the premium for more sophisticated features has dropped, and if you’re in a small oice or had to purchase an expensive printer/copier for some speciﬁc feature, it’s possible you’ve crossed a storage line, too. Just in case you have an oddball model with internal storage, checking the manual for a reference to such a thing isn’t a bad idea. The more important task is to delete settings stored in the small amount of ﬂash memory used to retain values when the power is of, because networked and internet-connected printers can be conﬁgured to receive ﬁles and print jobs over the internet, or email documents to you or store them in a service such as Dropbox as they’re scanned in or received as faxes. Most printer utility software or the front panel used for direct setting changes has a factory-reset or restore-to-default option. Make sure and go through that reset process and check it happened. Consumer scanners that aren’t part of an MFP, to my knowledge and experience, have no permanent storage. I can’t think even of a high-end singlefunction scanner that I’ve ever used that relied on local storage; they all connect to computers or other host devices to pass the data along. ?24IAD>5΄A4FA36D
Round-up: Latest Mac games Andrew Hayward looks at the best new releases
utumn is here, which could mean less fun in the sun, and more fun in front of your Mac. Luckily, thereâ€™s always something new to play in the world of Mac gaming, and weâ€™ve got a fresh batch of recent releases worth checking out. Thrilling action-adventure game Shadow Complex Remastered and space strategy afair Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars are perhaps the biggest Mac releases, but donâ€™t overlook indie gems like Reigns and Pan-Pan in the bunch. A4FA36D Î„?24IAD>5
1. Shadow Complex Remastered Weâ€™re accustomed to waiting for some games to hit the Mac, but really, seven years is a long time. Still, Shadow Complex Remastered (ÂŁ10.99 from the Mac App Store) was thankfully worth the wait, as it delivers the best modern take on Nintendoâ€™s classic Super Metroid-style 2D adventure formula â€“ and this brand new edition adds a bit more polish over the 2009 Xbox 360 original. Shadow Complex sees you take control of Jason, a man who stumbles upon a top-secret facility while backpacking and uses its advanced tech to try and recover his kidnapped girlfriend â€“ and save the United States, as well. As the quest unfolds, youâ€™ll unlock more and more of the facility while also gaining exciting new suit upgrades and abilities, empowering you while making the game even tenser and more fun. Itâ€™s a fantastic game, even several years later. ?24IAD>5Î„A4FA36D
2. Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars MicroProse’s original Master of Orion is one of the old legends in the PC strategy game space, as the 1993 classic was considered the new gold standard for the 4X genre at the time. A couple of sequels followed, but this new entry – published by World of Tanks maker Wargaming – is the ﬁrst release in 13 years. Rather than toss out the old template, Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars (£22.99 from Steam at tinyurl.com/nr7e5rn) starts with the same 10 classic alien races from the original and goes from there, letting you explore dozens of solar systems and research more than 75 technological advancements as you battle for the galaxy in turnbased skirmishes. Critical reviews widely consider it a simpler entry in the 4X strategy genre than some contemporaries, however, so die-hards might ﬁnd less satisfaction than curious newcomers. A4FA36D ΄?24IAD>5
3. Super Time Force Ultra Looking for a new-school take on old-school runand-gun action? Super Time Force (ÂŁ10.99 from Steam at tinyurl.com/jen5kqw) delivers just that, as this absolutely chaotic side-scrolling shooter ďŹ nds you navigating bullet-drenched, retro-stylized landscapes as a futuristic warrior. Youâ€™ll take down loads of foes across six diferent eras in time, and youâ€™ll not only blast through time but also control it. Thanks to the time travelling mechanic, you can rewind time and pop back into the game at any point, only youâ€™ll then have multiple versions of you shooting at the same time. Itâ€™s wild and also extremely silly and over-the-top, and the console and PC versions were pretty well-regarded when released back in 2014. Itâ€™s overdue on Mac, certainly, but fans of frenzied 8-bit action gamesÂ shouldnâ€™t miss it.
4. Reigns Reigns (ÂŁ1.99 from Steam at tinyurl.com/zejL3fp) has been a recent favourite on iPhone, but if youâ€™d rather play on your computer, then itâ€™s both the same price and same experience there. In short, Reigns is a monarchy simulation in which youâ€™re a newly-appointed king who must try to maintain order in the land. However, itâ€™s not a stufy,Â drawn-out experience. Instead, each decision comes up as a card with a yes or no decision to make. Should we attack the land to the north? Do we build a dam? Should we give the church more power? Each call afects all ofÂ the diferent power structures in the land, and your downfall will come swiftly if you donâ€™t balance all of those demands. Itâ€™s super funny and really smartly designed, too, and games last minutes rather than hours.
5. Worms W.M.D. After more than two decades, Team17â€™s vaunted artillery combat series remains one of the rare reasons that hearing â€œYouâ€™ve got Wormsâ€? is actually a positive. Well, at least that seems to be the case with this new entry. The series has bounced between 2D and 3D entries over the years, sometimes of varying quality, but Worms W.M.D (ÂŁ19.99 from Steam at tinyurl.com/jmax3ot) is being hailed as a return to form. It captures the gameplay design of 1999â€™s stillcelebrated Worms Armageddon, albeit with modern tweaks and ďŹ‚ourishes, and the goal is still to use your militarily-equipped annelids to dominate the enemy forces â€“ whether playing solo or in local or online multiplayer modes. So yes, if you love Worms, go ahead and bug out over W.M.D.
6. Metrico+ Charts and graphs might not seem like the most thrilling things in life, but they provide the basis of this inventive puzzle-platform game. Metrico+ (ÂŁ10.59 from Steam at tinyurl.com/hywqugh) is an enhanced version of an indie game from the PlayStation Vita handheld, and it challenges your hero to navigate challenging terrain that reacts toÂ your own movements and interactions. Itâ€™s not just a matter of getting from one place to the next, Super Mario-style, as the bars, lines, ďŹ gures, and other geometric shapes change based on your various actions. Youâ€™ll not only need to physically move through the level but ďŹ gure out how to do that based on the shifting environment and your abilities. Metrico+ might hurt your brain a little, but hopefully only in a very good way.
7. Pan-Pan Pan-Pan (ÂŁ9.99 from Steam at tinyurl.com/h4toova) is a beautiful little indie adventure that drops you into large, open environments and challenges you to solve their riddles. Youâ€™ll need to remain observant as you look for items and solutions, and see how some things in the world afect others. Puzzle-solving is the primary objective in PanPan, but this seems like a world youâ€™d want to just wander around in, soaking in the attractive lowpolygon sights and meeting its myriad characters. It almost reminds me a bit of iOS smash Monument Valley in tone and look. Pan-Pan is relatively compact, only ofering about a few hours of challenges to overcome, but youâ€™ll probably want toÂ spend extra time exploring and enjoying the bright atmosphere.
8. Monsters and Monocles From the makers of early iOS favourite Velocispider comes Monsters and Monocles (ÂŁ10.99 from Steam at tinyurl.com/z65kL32). Itâ€™s a chaotic, top-down shooter in which up to four players (local or online) can work together to blast through wild waves of foes â€“ all with a cartoonish, Victorian steampunk aesthetic to boot. Itâ€™s similar in approach to great games like Nuclear Throne and Enter the Gungeon, and uses procedurally-generated levels and enemy batches so thereâ€™s always something new to play. Even though Early Access means itâ€™s not ďŹ nal and will continue to evolve and expand, Steam user reviewsÂ are largely positive and say itâ€™s pretty polished for a pre-release experience.
9. The Final Station Havenâ€™t tired of post-apocalyptic games just yet? If so, then check out The Final Station (ÂŁ10.99 from Steam at tinyurl.com/zgnejtk). Part simulation and part combat game, The Final Station tasks you with commanding a train through a world overrun with violent, infected humans, which means itâ€™s up to you to protect your passengers and ensure everyoneâ€™s trip doesnâ€™t end earlyâ€Ś or messily. As the warrior-conductor in question, youâ€™ll rely on limited resources to keep the train safe and moving, and blast through the sickly swarms when you do have to stop. Crafting is essential, as is scavenging for supplies when possible, and youâ€™ll encounter some big showdowns at stations across the ďŹ ve-chapter journey. Hope you can make it to the end in one (healthy) piece.
10. Snow Horse Staying atop a fast-moving snowboard as a horse would probably be both very challenging and incredibly, delightfully silly, so itâ€™s a good thing that Snow Horse (ÂŁ4.79 from Steam at tinyurl.com/ jLhjjt) delivers on both counts. This oddball indie game puts you in that exact scenario, tasking you with keeping the steed upright on the board as he makes his way through the powder-packed terrain. Each attempt lasts for as long as you can keep the horse from crashing, and as an extreme sports game, you can naturally pull of gnarly ďŹ‚ips and tricks, grind on rails, and vault well up into the sky to reach suspended platforms, so long as the horse doesnâ€™t land on the wrong side. Snow Horse is goofy, of course, but itâ€™s also pretty fun (and also on iOS for just ÂŁ1.49).
Review: Pixelmator 3.5 ÂŁ22.99 from the Mac App Store Î„ pixelmator.com
s you start moving beyond the basics of editing images â€“ past general exposure and colour adjustments â€“ youâ€™ll discover a semisecret truth: a lot of your time is spent selecting speciďŹ c areas for editing. Making a foreground object brighter, for instance, can reveal a halo if the selection doesnâ€™t match well with the object. Selections have traditionally been a strength of Adobe Photoshop, but the granddaddy editor is overkill for many people who donâ€™t need its extensive feature set, or donâ€™t want to pay a
Creative Cloud subscription fee (which starts at ÂŁ6.98 a month with an annual plan, and can cost up to ÂŁ69.72 per month for the full CC suite). Instead, Pixelmator 3.5 Canyon (pixelmator. com/mac) has been a popular and inexpensive Photoshop alternative. The main improvements in version 3.5 make it easier and less time-consuming to create good selections. This version also brings selective editing to Appleâ€™s Photos app by introducing a new Photos Editing Extension, Pixelmator Retouch, that brings many of its retouching tools to images in your Photos library.
Selective service The challenge when making selections is that there isnâ€™t always a clean line you can follow by drawing with the Lasso tool, and even when there is, deďŹ ning it by hand is painstaking. Let the software assist in a big way. The Quick Selection tool (which replaces the Paint Selection tool) detects edges and shadows, and pays attention to the direction the mouse pointer is moving as you drag to ďŹ gure out which areas to select. In general, the tool does a pretty good job of selecting only the areas I want, even when the tones are similar and when the toolâ€™s brush size was larger than the item being selected. I also like how Pixelmator highlights the sections using a red swath of colour, which is immediately identiďŹ able as you work. Donâ€™t expect the Quick Selection tool to work miracles, though. It will do a good ďŹ rst pass in diicult situations, like hair, but youâ€™ll need to reďŹ neÂ the selection later. A4FA36D Î„?24IAD>5
For areas where you do have well-deďŹ ned lines, the Magnet Selection tool helps you avoid a lot of work and frustration. Click a starting point and then drag (without holding the mouse button) along the edge of the item you wish to select. The selection automatically clings to edges. As you might expect, the tool can be thrown of by similar tones, and sometimes it jumps away from where your eyes think it should go. Thatâ€™s why you can reďŹ ne the line as you go: click to set a point, press Delete to remove a previous point, and, when the line starts to stray like a puppy learning to walk, hold Option to temporarily switch to the Polygonal Lasso tool and deďŹ ne your own line; doing so doesnâ€™t abandon the magnetic selection work youâ€™ve done so far. Overall, the tool works well and provides plenty of ďŹ‚exibility to make a selection while the Magnetic Selection tool remains active.
This initial selection â€“ sandy hair against a similarly coloured and textured background â€“ was made in a single pass using the Quick Selection tool
Ultimately, making good selections doesnâ€™t happen with just one or two tools. As you do more, youâ€™ll combine the programâ€™s other tools, such as painting in Quick Mask mode and using the ReďŹ ne Selection command, for better selections. But the Quick Selection and Magnetic Selection tools in Canyon make the process much easier. Itâ€™s worth mentioning that the company has also implemented the Quick Selection and Magnetic Selection tools into Pixelmator for iOS 2.3 (pixelmator.com/ios). One of Pixelmatorâ€™s strengthsÂ is the ability to synchronize editing projects between Mac and iOS, complete with layers and adjustments. Being able to make better selections, especially in a touch interface where you can immediately see whatâ€™s being selected, isÂ aÂ helpful addition.
Pixelmator Retouch extension Most of the editing tools in Appleâ€™s Photos application apply to an entire image, so if you keepÂ your photo library there, you may feel like your options are limited. Thatâ€™s where Photos extensions come in. The new Pixelmator Retouch extension gives you several controls for editing selected portions of a photo, without having to export the image to edit it in the Pixelmator application. Lighten or darken areas, adjust colour saturation, heal imperfections or remove unwanted items, clone sections, and sharpen or blur areas. All of the features worked well, although itâ€™s important to note that applying them is additive: If you lighten an area, and then go back over it A4FA36D Î„?24IAD>5
again with the brush, it will become even lighter. Thatâ€™s not always a negative, but donâ€™t expect that you can adjust the tone as if it were on its own layer (thatâ€™s when you might consider exporting to Pixelmator itself). Also, as with all Photos extensions, when you click Save Changes, the edits are burned in; you can revert the image to its original state, but canâ€™t walk back any recent edits.
General observations Pixelmator represents that percentage of Photoshopâ€™s features most people actually use on a regular basis. Though itâ€™s not without its quibbles. At the top of my list is erratic application of adjustments. Letâ€™s say, for example, I use the Brightness and Contrast control to increase brightness by 10 percent, but then later decide that was too much. When I return to that control, the sliders are set back to zero, so I need to apply a â€“ 10 percent brightness adjustment to go back to where I was (assuming I remembered that 10 percent was the amount earlier). Worse, this isnâ€™t consistent; some controls, like Black & White, do provide the last edit values. I look forward to the day when Pixelmator implements real adjustment layers that can be independently edited.
Macworldâ€™s buying advice For most image editing tasks, Pixelmator is an excellent, afordable alternative to Photoshop. Its enhanced selection tools work well and add to its utility, while the Pixelmator Retouch Extension for Photos is a good way to add selective edits while remaining within your Photos library. Jef Carlson ?24IAD>5Î„A4FA36D
Feature: Get smart with these home control apps Michael Ansaldo reveals the Apple Watch apps that will let you control your home from your wrist
lenty has been said about how the Apple Watch changes the way we do everything from working out to making purchases. Whatâ€™s been glossed over is that itâ€™s also ideal for interacting with our homes. Tapping, pressing, swiping and glancing make for a ďŹ‚uid way to access and control smart-home products. And itâ€™s always on your wrist, so you donâ€™t have to dig for it in your pockets when you need to dim the lights or take a peek at the security cameras. AppsÂ aboundÂ for connecting with and controlling smart-home appliances. Here areÂ our favourites. A4FA36D Î„?24IAD>5
Huemote Price: Free A must for Philips Hue users, this third-party app gives you complete remote control of the energy-eicient lighting system. Huemote goes beyond the basic functions of Philipsâ€™ oicial Hue app, enabling you to control up to 16 lights simultaneously, save your favourite light settings as â€˜scenesâ€™, and sync your settings across devices via iCloud.
WeTap! for Belkin WeMo Price: ÂŁ1.49 Belkinâ€™s WeMo technology powers a range of smart-home products, from cameras to cofee makers. The companyâ€™s oicial app doesnâ€™t yet support all its devices, but it does allow you to easily manage your WeMo lights and switches. The only requirements are that you have at least one switch installed and all devices are on the same Wi-Fi network.
Drip for Dropcam Price: ÂŁ2.29 The Nest Cam (formerly Dropcam) is the granddaddy of home security cameras. Owners of either model would do well to download this app. While it doesnâ€™t show live camera feeds, it does display a live image every three seconds, so you can keep an eye on the homestead. It supports multiple cameras, and you can turn each of them on and of from the app. Future versions will let you enable/disable night vision. ?24IAD>5Î„A4FA36D
Withings Home Price: Free This app connects to the Withings Home, a DIY security camera with night vision, two-way audio, and a 135-degree viewing angle. It streams the cameraâ€™s live feed and sends motion- and sound-detection alerts right to your wrist. You can even access the cameraâ€™s â€˜Homelapseâ€™ feature, which condenses the dayâ€™s events into a few seconds of video for digest-sized viewing.
Alarm.com Price: Free Alarm.com is a smart home as a service provider with more than two million subscribers. If youâ€™re one of them, this app allows you to remotely arm or disarm your security panel, control lights, lock and unlock doors, watch live and recorded videos from your security cameras, and receive Glances on your home status. You can also get alerts about speciďŹ c events, such asÂ whenÂ yourÂ childrenÂ arrive home from school.
SmartThings Mobile Price: Free Samsungâ€™s SmartThings Hub lets you to wirelessly integrate hundreds of compatible smart devices. This app doesnâ€™t support all of them, but it lets you control lights, thermostats, and security devices via pre-conďŹ gured settings for mornings, nights,Â and times when youâ€™re away. A4FA36D Î„?24IAD>5
Simple Control Price: ÂŁ7.99 for the app, plus subscription fee Run your home entertainment system from your wrist, and youâ€™ll never have to worry about misplacing your remotes. Thatâ€™s the idea behind this app, a universal control for TVs, Blu-ray players, cable and streaming boxes, receivers, lighting, cameras, and thermostats. Itâ€™s compatible with many of theÂ biggest brands in home automation and home entertainment system.
Ecobee Price: Free Ecobee introduced the ďŹ rst Wi-Fi-connected smart thermostat in 2009. Its ďŹ‚agship product, the ecobee3, uses multiple remote sensors to help deliver the right temperature based on where you are in your home. This app lets you remotely manage temperature and humidity settings; change fan modes; and view system status, sensor data, and local forecasts so you can create the optimum environment.
Insteon for Hub Price: Free Users of the Insteon DIY smart home system should download this app. Once you pair your Apple Watch with your Insteon Hub, you can remotely control your thermostats, lights, and other appliances; view camera feeds; receive alerts from motion and water leak sensors; and more. You can also create â€˜scenesâ€™ to activate multiple appliances at once. ?24IAD>5Î„A4FA36D
Feature: Learn another language with these apps Learning a second language can be fun with an app that gamiďŹ es the process, reveals SĂŠamus Bellamy
wo months ago, I promised myself that I would learn another language. So, I spent hours researching diferent iOS apps, both free and paid, before deciding on three to take for a spin: Duolingo, which is free to use, plus Babbel and Rosetta Stone, both of which come with a brief trial period, but require a monthly subscription A4FA36D Î„?24IAD>5
thereafter. I dedicated myself to using each app for 20 minutes a day, on my iPhone or iPad, for two months, with the intention of uncovering which one I liked the mostâ€Ś or at the very least, which one ticked me of the least.
Honourable Mention: Babbel Price: ÂŁ7.99 for one-month subscription Initially, Babbel (babbel.com/mobile) sounded great: a language-learning app that teaches you between 2,000 to 3,000 words for each language it ofers, audio clips from native language speakers, and a constantly evolving database of words to review that grows as you progress through each stage. But the app has enough frustrating quirks that, after two months of use, I canâ€™t recommend it. Babbel doesnâ€™t do anything terribly wrong. Rather, its faults can be found in 1,000 little irritants spread throughout the app. Instead of using mission-speciďŹ c illustrations or photos that speak to the lesson being taught like Duolingo or Rosetta Stone do, Babbel seems to rely on stock photos that sometimes, sort of, have something to do with the word or phrase the app is trying to drive into your skull. One will be in black and white, the next in colour or even run through a ďŹ lter that smacks of Instagram. It makes for a jarring visual experience. The disjointed feel of Babbelâ€™s user interface carries on throughout the app. While each learning module is introduced by a slick splash screen, the educational components within lack the sort of design quality I would expect from an app that demands a monthly subscription. To be blunt, Babbel feels unpolished. ?24IAD>5Î„A4FA36D
Babbelâ€™s confusing and disjointed visuals make it a hard app to love
Beyond this, I found that the Babbel was occasionally slow to respond to my answers, no matter the speed of my internet connection â€“ or theÂ fact that lesson modules need to be downloaded to your iOS device. And frustratingly, audio would frequently cut out half way through a new word or phrase being conveyed to me. WorstÂ of all, I found that phrases I intentionally fudged to test the appâ€™s ability to judge my verbal skills would be accepted as correctly pronounced. If I wasnâ€™t bound by the two-month test period Iâ€™d set for myself to vet the app, I wouldnâ€™t have continued on with using Babbel beyond, maybe, aÂ few weeks. A4FA36D Î„?24IAD>5
Runner-up: Duolingo Price: Free (in-app purchases from £2.29) Duolingo’s (duolingo.com) greatest assets are its colourful design, charm, and the gentle way that the app reintroduces you to new words, phrases, and grammar that have caused you diiculty in past lessons. Unlike Babbel, it ofers a consistent user interface that makes learning mostly easy throughout the app’s various modules. A respectable variety of diferent quizzes and learning games proved adequate to keep me interested and happy to open the app on a daily basis. However, over the course of my two months with Duolingo, I found that there was one thing about it that made me a little mental: its lack of instructions.
Duolingo creates a friendly learning environment, but can be short on instructions and visual prompts
On more than one occasion, I stumbled across features that the app didn’t tell me about. For example, a few weeks into using it, I was surprised to ﬁnd that tapping a word in a sentence sometimes provided a drop-down menu with clues to its meaning. At other times a tap lets you hear what the word sounds like when spoken by a native speaker. Having that pointed out to me early on, or having a substantial visual prompt to encourage touching the words I was working with on my iPad’s display could have made for a smoother learning experience. Another example of the app’s lack of instructions came up when I was asked to speak a Spanish word or phrase to vet my pronunciation. There was no prompt detailing how to start or stop recording. So, I had to ﬁgure it out on my own, which took me a couple of minutes. Not cool. It’s also worth mentioning that, overall, Duolingo lacks the depth of features that our ﬁrst-place winner provides. But hey, it’s a free app. When you weigh its non-existent cost and the large amount of educational value it provides against the few problems I had with it, Duolingo is still pretty great. If you’re on a tight budget or only looking to pick up some new words or phrases before a trip abroad, I recommend checking it out.
Winner: Rosetta Stone Price: Free (in-app purchases from £99.99) With its excellent user interface, clear instructions, wide variety of games and challenges, and the ability to call upon a native speaker for a little one-on-one tutoring if you get stuck during your A4FA36D ΄?24IAD>5
education, Rosetta Stone has got it going on. Simply put, it has a feature set that neither Duolingo nor Babbel can match. In a departure from what I experienced with Babbel, Rosetta Stone used photos to teach a new word or phrase that are mission-speciﬁc and speak to the situation at hand. Not having to struggle with a vague connection between a photo and the word associated with it was like a breath of fresh air. That said, Rosetta Stone doesn’t always make it easy. You might, for example, be asked where a woman in a photo is going. The only way to ﬁgure out the answer is to look at what she’s holding or wearing. In this case, she was standing in the street with a plane ticket in her hand. Boom: airport. In another scenario, a lost traveller looks at a sign in a city with a puzzled expression on her face. I had to guess ?24IAD>5΄A4FA36D
Rosetta Stone lets you scale its diiculty to match your verbal abilities
that she needed a map. By providing a context and then forcing me to ﬁgure out a response, Rosetta Stone had me earn my education, making it all the more rewarding when I got a correct answer. I also liked that, with its adjustable speechrecognition engine, I was able to tweak the app to reﬂect the level of pronunciation that my mouth was capable of expressing. Can’t roll an R to save your life? No problem – Rosetta Stone will forgive your untalented tongue. This combination of a well-thought-out UI, diicult but surmountable challenges, and an understanding that not everyone will be able to blather away like a native speaker of the language they’re learning kept me coming back for more. While its price is steep, if you want to learn a language, Rosetta Stone is worth your money. A4FA36D ΄?24IAD>5
Feature: Ask the iTunes Guy Kirk McElhearn answers your iTunes questions
his month, I look at a question about bookmarking audiobook ﬁles, help solve a problem with iTunes media on an external hard drive and an issue with app updates in iTunes, and then discuss Apple’s cloud oferings for music.
Don’t forget Q: Is there any way to set the Remember Playback Position option so it is on by default for all new tracks? I listen to a lot of audiobooks, and I have to manually set that option each time I add new books to my iTunes library. If iTunes could do that automatically for all new loaded ﬁles, it would make life easier. A: This is an essential setting for listening to audiobooks. When you check this option (to access it, select a group of tracks, press Command-I, click the Options tab, then check Remember Playback Position), iTunes and iOS devices remember where you stop listening to a track. This is useful for audiobooks, so you don’t have to rewind and fast forward to remember where you left of. In addition, this position syncs between iTunes and iOS devices, so you can listen to part of a book with iTunes, then pick it up from the exact same location on your iOS device. A4FA36D ΄?24IAD>5
Use this option to make your audiobooks bookmarkable
As to it being possible to have it on by default, this would only make sense for those people whose libraries are mostly or entirely made up of audiobooks. You wouldn’t want your music tagged like this; if you stopped listening to a song, the next time it comes up, it would start up in the middle. I recommend you create a playlist in iTunes (File → New → Playlist), and add all new audiobooks to this playlist. You can then select all the tracks, make the change and delete the books from this playlist. This way, you won’t have to search your iTunes library to ﬁnd your new audiobooks.
Funny updates Q: The iTunes app has recently started telling me that the update to the Podcasts app for iOS is only available on iOS. If I follow the instructions ?24IAD>5΄A4FA36D
â€˜To get Podcasts, search for it on the App Store for your iOS device,â€™ I donâ€™t ďŹ nd it. Ditto for Find My Friends, another Apple app that now can only be updated on an iOS device. Whatâ€™s going on? A: Yes, this happened to me as well, right after Apple released the ďŹ rst beta versions of iOS 10. Hereâ€™s whatâ€™s going on. With iOS 10, youâ€™ll be able to â€˜removeâ€™ apps from your iOS device. (Actually, they wonâ€™t be removed, just hidden.) To get them back, youâ€™ll have to go to the iTunes Store, and â€˜downloadâ€™ them again. (You wonâ€™t actually download anything, but the iTunes Store will ďŹ‚ip a switch to show the app anew.) As a result of this, a couple of apps â€“ Podcasts and Find My Friends â€“ that were originally available separately from iOS, now show as having updates available. We are seeing this because we originally downloaded those apps when they were ďŹ rst available, and still have versions of them in our iTunes libraries. Other users, who didnâ€™t download the apps, but have only used them since they were bundled with iOS, wonâ€™t see this. Just delete the apps from your iTunes library, and they wonâ€™t show as having updates any more.
Canâ€™t save, wonâ€™t save Q: I recently moved my iTunes library from my MacBook to an external hard drive. Everything looked ďŹ ne until I went to import a CD and iTunes told me it couldnâ€™t save the ďŹ les. The same thing happened when I tried adding some MP3 ďŹ les. And I canâ€™t even download music Iâ€™ve purchased from the iTunes Store. Whatâ€™s going on? A4FA36D Î„?24IAD>5
A: It sounds like a permissions issue on the external drive. Select that drive in the Finder, press Command-I, and then click the padlock at the bottom of the window and enter your password. Check Ignore Ownership on this Volume. I donâ€™t know why this happens, butÂ Iâ€™ve seen it of and on over the years. Iâ€™ve long used an external drive to store my media, and even if my user has read and write permissions (as in the image on the left), it sometimes gets stuck. I also ďŹ nd that, from time to time, the box gets unchecked, and I have to go back and change the setting.
Which cloud is best for me? Q: Can I use iCloud Music Library with my iMac and iOS devices without subscribing to Apple Music or iTunes Match? Iâ€™d like to store my iTunesÂ music in the cloud and then be able to stream it from any Apple device. A: No, iCloud Music Library is part of each of those subscription services; you canâ€™t use the cloud without paying for it. If you want to have your music in the cloud, but not stream anything from Apple Music, then iTunes Match is the better deal, at only ÂŁ21.99 per year. While there have been changes announced to iTunes Match and Apple Music, theyÂ wonâ€™t afect the availability of iTunes Match inÂ the immediate future. ?24IAD>5Î„A4FA36D
Feature: Why you should avoid iOS battery apps iOS already has everything you need, writes Glenn Fleishman
reader recently wrote in suspecting that malware had inﬁltrated his iPhone: “While running a battery app on my iPhone 6, it showed an invisible Chinese program running.” After some back and forth and a bit of research, I found that the free app he’s using, Battery Doctor, doesn’t have a useful purpose and doesn’t ofer accurate information. The app claims that A4FA36D ΄?24IAD>5
it can help with battery management and usage, including providing per-app details about power consumption, and helping prevent an overcharge of an iOS device’s lithium-ion battery. All nonsense. As one of the many techniques it employs to reduce spying and malware, Apple doesn’t expose much information to third-party apps about what’s going on in iOS. I’m unclear why Battery Doctor’s makers released this app and apparently continue to update it. The app in the list that Frederick was worried about translates (with the help of Google) to ‘School Party – Love News’. He doesn’t have such an app installed, and it’s either the battery software purely inventing it or it’s showing the wrong name for an app that is running. This non-existent app appeared at least three years ago, based on forum postings. The company has three other apps listed: one ostensibly rates GPU performance, not really an issue for iOS devices, and the other two more consumer oriented. One translates as “Daily Free Gifts application – only recommended limit free software and games gifts”; the other ofers free videos, and was also updated in August. To get useful battery information, tap Settings → Battery, where after a moment of cogitation, iOS shows you the percentage of battery consumed by apps in the last 24 hours or seven days. Tap the clock icon to get more details about the split in time between on screen/background usage. I just discovered the Fitbit app ate 7 percent of my overall battery consumption in the past 24 hours due to 5.4 hours of background activity. I advised the reader to remove the battery app. ?24IAD>5΄A4FA36D
How To: Verify your Twitter account You can ﬁnally get that coveted blue veriﬁed Twitter badge that has eluded you. Matt Kapko shows how
he equally vaunted and ridiculed blue checkmarks on Twitter are no longer exclusive to elites or those with connections who have an ‘in’ at Twitter. The company has opened the veriﬁed account designation up to all users and put some rules in place for consideration. Many of Twitter’s 310 million monthly active users don’t qualify for veriﬁcation, but the ﬁrm is opening the secretive and invite-only process up to anyone. A4FA36D ΄?24IAD>5
Accounts of public interest, particularly those maintained by individuals and organisations in “music, acting, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media, sports, business, and other key interest areas” are all up for consideration, according to Twitter. “We hope opening up this application process results in more people ﬁnding great, high-quality accounts to follow, and for these creators and inﬂuencers to connect with a broader audience,” Tina Bhatnager, Twitter’s vice president of user services, said in a prepared statement.
Why you should get veriﬁed on Twitter Twitter originally introduced account veriﬁcation in 2009 and has veriﬁed almost 187,000 accounts to date, according to the company. The designation is largely symbolic, but also a defensive move against the untold number of impersonators, satirists, trolls, and hatemongers who roam freely on Twitter. Oftentimes the dynamic between fans and celebrities or public ﬁgures on Twitter is only rewarding if the authenticity of the user being followed is endorsed. Trust matters on Twitter and that’s exactly why anyone who wants to be veriﬁed should take steps to do so. If you carry any impact in your community, ﬁeld of work or areas of heightened awareness and visibility, a veriﬁed account will let your followers know you’re the real deal.
Get veriﬁed on Twitter Follow these steps to give yourself the best chance of getting veriﬁed: ?24IAD>5΄A4FA36D
΄Open your Twitter account settings and make sure you have a veriﬁed phone number, conﬁrmed email address, a bio, proﬁle photo, header photo, a website, and a birthday (required for personal accounts only). Your tweets must also be set to Public in your privacy settings ΄Improve your chances of approval by having a username that reﬂects the real name of the person or company. The account’s proﬁle or header photo should also reﬂect the person or company’s branding, according to Twitter ΄Fill out and submit the form to request account veriﬁcation (veriﬁcation.twitter.com/welcome). Explain why Twitter should verify your account and provide examples to help the company understand your impact. Provide at least two URLs to showcase your newsworthiness or relevancy in your ﬁeld. Finally, Twitter may also request a scan or photo of a government-issued ID to conﬁrm your identity Twitter says it will respond to all requests via email, and users who get denied can submit another request 30 days later.
How To: Be a considerate late-night iPad/iPhone user Ben Patterson explains how to beep your iOS device dark and quiet by switching to dark mode in Safari, and more
here’s nothing like a late-night chapter of a Kindle book to put me right to sleep, but the glow of my iPhone’s screen tends to keep my wife awake – and if a jarring iOS notiﬁcation sounds or buzzes, well, that doesn’t help her sleep. While the new Night Shift mode (which ﬁnally works even when iOS’s low-power mode is enabled) will supposedly help you sleep by ﬁltering out the brightest colours from your iPhone or iPad’s
display, it won’t do much good for a bedfellow who sleeps best in total darkness and silence. I’ve collected a quartet of tips that’ll take Night Shift one step further by dimming your iPhone or iPad screen as much as possible while you read, as well as silencing any intrusive alerts or buzzes.
Browse the web in dark mode Even with Night Shift mode turned on, your iPhone or iPad display will still throw of an impressive amount of light during a late-night web-browsing sessions. If you want to wade into an epic feature story on the Safari web browser without keeping your signiﬁcant other awake, here’s a handy trick. First, activate Safari’s Reader mode by tapping the three-line button at the left end of the address bar. Reader mode strips out extraneous page elements while keeping the text intact, although it won’t do much to dim the screen… well, not yet, anyway. Next, with Reader mode activated, tap the font button in the right side of the address bar (it’s the ‘aA’ one), then tap the dark, right-most circle in the pop-up window. That’s it. Your readerfriendly web page will have switched to white text on a dark background, slashing the brightness of your screen in the process.
Turn on dark mode in iBooks, Kindle and other dedicated reader apps If curling up with a good digital book is your favourite way to fall asleep, there’s an easy way to do it without lighting up the bedroom late at night. If you’re cracking open an iBook, tap the font button in the top corner of the screen (the same A4FA36D ΄?24IAD>5
‘aA’ button as in Safari) and tap the darkest circle for white text on a black background. There’s also an Auto-Night Theme setting that automatically turns on night mode if the iPhone or iPad’s ambient light sensor thinks it’s dark enough. Got the Kindle app? Tap the ‘aA’ button in the bottom corner of the screen and tap the big Black button for white text on a dark background. The Kindle app also has its own screen brightness slider that works independently of the main iOS brightness setting, perfect for making the screen ultra-dim. Many other popular iOS readers have their own night modes, too. For example, you can tap the ‘aA’ button in Instapaper to change the background setting; same thing in Reeder (the excellent iOS RSS reader). For Pocker, tap the three-dot button in the bottom corner of the screen, then tap Display Settings. Unfortunately, not all reading apps have a night mode, including some of the most popular newspaper and magazine apps. You’ll also strike out if you’re looking for a night-mode setting in the Mail app, meaning you’ll be lighting up the whole room while checking your inbox.
Reverse the colours on the screen There is a way, however, to be a considerate late-night iPhone or iPad reader even when there’s no dark-mode feature in sight. Tap Settings → General → Accessibility, then toggle on the Invert Colours setting. When you do, all the colours on your iOS display will reverse themselves, resulting in some interesting visuals ?24IAD>5΄A4FA36D
iOSâ€™s Invert Colours setting results in interesting-looking images, but it also makes for a handy, de facto dark mode
on the home screen and in your photos albums. Thatâ€™s great, but beyond its novelty value, the Invert Colours setting also acts as a de facto night mode. Jump to your Mail inbox, an app, or any web page in Safari that doesnâ€™t support Reader mode, and youâ€™ll see what I mean; yes, weâ€™re talking white letters on a dark background. You donâ€™t need to jump through three iOS settings screens to get to the Invert Colours toggle. Instead, just set up a shortcut. Tap Settings â†’ General â†’ Accessibility, scroll all the way down and tap Accessibility Shortcut, then select Invert Colours. Now, just triple-press the Home key to turnÂ the Invert Colours setting on and of.
Turn of silence-shattering notiďŹ cations Itâ€™s late at night, youâ€™re reading your iPhone with a dark-mode setting on and your partner is dozing contentedly beside you. A4FA36D Î„?24IAD>5
All is well with the world, and then, without warning, your iPhone buzzes to remind you of a friendâ€™s birthday tomorrow, and now your bedmate is stirring. But wait, you have Do Not Disturb mode enabled. How did that happen? Even when itâ€™s active, iOSâ€™s Do Not Disturb mode will still allow notiďŹ cations and alerts to ďŹ re when your iPhone or iPad is unlocked. Thatâ€™s handy if youâ€™re expecting an important call or iMessage, butÂ not when youâ€™re trying to read without making aÂ peep. Tap Settings â†’ Do Not Disturb, scroll down to the Silence setting, then check the Always option. Once thatâ€™s done, Do Not Disturb mode willÂ muzzle all iOS notiďŹ cations even when your iPhone or iPad is unlocked. Under certain circumstances, Do Not Disturb mode may let a call through even with Always selected under the Silence setting. Tap Settings â†’ Do Not Disturb, then check your Allow Calls From and Repeated Calls settings. If you donâ€™t want any calls getting through, change the Allow Calls From setting to No One and turn of Repeated Calls.
How To: Fix an error when installing a new copy OS X Roman Loyola reveals what to do when you see: ‘this copy of the install OS X application cannot be veriﬁed’
he other day a coworker needed to borrow a Mac, so I grabbed an older MacBook Air from storage. I decided to wipe out the laptop’s ﬂash storage and install a fresh version of OS X. I created a bootable USB ﬂash drive installer, plugged it into the laptop, pressed the Option key as the machine booted, and then selected the USB drive as the boot disk. A4FA36D ΄?24IAD>5
This is the error message I got while trying to install OS X from a USB installation disk
I then ran Disk Utility to reformat the drive and ran the OS X installer. It looked like things were moving along, until an error message appeared. I therefore created another boot disk using a diferent storage drive, in case it was a hardware problem, though I got the same error. I ﬁgured that the laptop being in storage for a while could have something to do with it, and it did. This should work with Mavericks and El Capitan. It also worked for me with the macOS Sierra Public Beta, which showed a diferent error message – ‘The installer payload failed signature check’ popped up near the end of the installation.
Fix the problem The installer checks the date on the computer. If the date isn’t current, you get the error shown on ?24IAD>5΄A4FA36D
How to access the Terminal when you boot from an external boot drive installer
the previous page. The ﬁx involves correcting the date on your Mac. If you have an older OS on the Mac If you have a complete OS on the Mac already, boot into it. Fix the date in the Date & Time system preference (Apple menu → System Preferences). Reboot using the USB boot disk, and you should be able to proceed with the installation. If you don’t have an OS on the Mac If you are in a situation like I was, and you don’t have a complete OS on your disk (you reformatted it), you’ll ﬁnd that there’s no way to access the Date & Time system preference when you use an external USB boot installer drive. The Apple menu doesn’t give you access to System A4FA36D ΄?24IAD>5
Preferences. You have to use the Terminal to set the date and time. If you use an external boot disk, your Mac starts up into OS X Disk Utilities. You can access the Terminal by clicking on the Utilities menu and selecting Terminal. Once the Terminal has launched, follow these steps:
΄At the prompt, type date to see the date that’s on the Mac. For example, here’s the date of the MacBook Air I worked on
΄If your Mac is connected to the Internet, you can tell your Mac to check online for the current date and time. You can do this by typing at the prompt ntpdate -u time. apple.com and then pressing Return
Your Mac should now have the current date and time. If you enter date again (as I did in the previous screenshot) the information that appears will be current. You can now run the OS installer. ?24IAD>5΄A4FA36D
If you don’t have an internet connection You can still use Terminal to set the date. Go into the Terminal as described earlier, then follow these steps:
΄At the prompt, type date to see the date that’s on the Mac ΄Figure out the numerical representation of the date and time. The pattern you need to follow: Month: in two-digit format. For example, July is 07. Day: in two-digit format. For example, the 7th is 07. Time: in military format of hours and minutes. For example, 2pm is 14:00 Year: Last two digits. In my example, the numerical representation is 0719140016. This stands for July (07) 19, (19), 2pm (1400), 2016 (16). ΄At the prompt, type date [numerical], with [numerical] being the representation you ﬁgured out. In my example, I typed date 0719140016. Then press Return
The date should be set. You can check the date again by typing date at the prompt. You can now run the installer. A4FA36D ΄?24IAD>5
Opinion: What AirPods tell us about Apple’s future Michael Simon explains how Apple could apply the lessons of its wireless AirPods to the next iPhone or Apple Watch
he most innovative product Apple released this week isn’t the one people are going to rush out to buy. Sure, the iPhone 7 has snazzy new cameras and Apple Watch has learned a whole new ﬁtness regimen, but the biggest new product unveiled this week is actually the one small enough to get lost in your pocket.
Despite the quirky design that makes it look like your ears are smoking mini e-cigs, AirPods are unmistakably an Apple product. It may look like Jony Ive merely severed the cord on a pair of EarPods, but the tiny buds are packed with cutting-edge features. From how they pair to the smart way they handle your tunes, Apple’s ﬁrst crack at wireless headphones are as much about showcasing new tech as it is about replacing a century-old standard. They’re not simply there to ﬁll a void where a pair of wired headphones used to be – we’ve already got several pairs of wireless Beats for that. AirPods represent a platform for the future that extends far beyond our ears.
Pair of aces Apple has said that its new wireless earbuds will work with non-Apple devices, but make no mistake: AirPods are made for Apple devices. As Bluetooth ’buds they’re somewhat humdrum, but when you set them next to an Apple product running one of the latest operating systems, they are smart enough to seamlessly connect and play with barely any direction. That’s no small task for a Bluetooth device. Anyone who has used wireless headphones or speakers know all too well the struggles with connection. Whether it’s pairing with multiple devices or just simply setting them up for ﬁrsttime listening, Bluetooth pairing can be as frustrating as a tangled headphone wire. Apple’s new W1 chip takes virtually all of the friction out of the process, with no need to deal with the A4FA36D ΄?24IAD>5
Bluetooth settings or hold down any buttons to pair with your iPhone. It’s a system that is sure to make it’s way to Apple’s other peripheral devices, but it would be particularly impressive on the Apple Watch. Pairing Apple’s wearable with an iPhone isn’t a terrible process, but it’s still not as easy and instantaneous as the new AirPods. A watch that automatically recognises and pairs with the iPhone it’s near would give Series 3 a bit of the Apple magic it’s missing.
Charging ahead All of this talk about the wireless future for the iPhone leaves out one important point: You still need to plug it in at least once a day to charge it. Wireless charging is surely high on Apple’s list for the next iPhone, but it remains the last major hurdle to clear. But there are clues to Apple’s plan. Apple Watch uses magnetic induction to eliminate cable fumbling. The Smart Battery Case ofers a clever way to monitor and charge your iPhone on the go, and Apple Pencil features ultra-fast charging that supplies a half hour of use after plugging it in for a mere 15 seconds. AirPods take these steps a bit further, incorporating both the portability of the case and the quick charging capabilities of the pencil into a simple, svelte, package. True wireless charging – that is, solar, kinetic or radio waves that allow for continuous usage – is a way of, but Apple is clearly moving toward a mechanism that allows the iPhone to charge without physically inserting a Lightning cable. And ?24IAD>5΄A4FA36D
an AirPods-like system that uses a portable quickcharging station to beams power to the iPhone throughout the day would be the next best thing.
The road ahead But while the iPhone and Apple Watch are certainly poised to take advantage of AirPodsâ€™ innovations, the potential impact on the products Apple is still developing is even more intriguing. Along with music and phone calls, AirPods also put Siri in your ear, inching Appleâ€™s smart servant closer to being your everywhere assistant. Itâ€™s another piece of the larger audio plan: with Hey Siri, Apple Watch, Apple TV and now AirPods, Siri is no longer an iPhone feature, itâ€™s the centrepiece of the larger ecosystem. The next step is bringing it to an always-on home device like Amazon did with Alexa on the Echo (pictured). But the golden goose here is the Apple Car. Not only are there intriguing implications for the charging and connection capabilities, but AirPodsâ€™ sensorbased smarts ofer a peek into the level of integration Apple could provide. If youâ€™re listening to a song on your iPhone or Apple TV, the car could instantly continue the music uninterrupted, or automatically lower the volume if the person sitting in the passenger seat strikes up a conversation. Or if you tend to call A4FA36D Î„?24IAD>5
your signiďŹ cant other at a certain point on your way home from work, it could ofer to dial for you when you get there. There are small features for sure, but theyâ€™re the kind of details that will set an Apple Car apart from the Teslas and Leafs of the world.
Something in the air The removal of the headphone jack gave Apple a reason to introduce them, but AirPods are not going to be an iPhone accessory for long. The prospect of full in-ear independence is likely years away, but some of Apple Watchâ€™s ďŹ tness functions could make their way to the AirPods in the second or third generation. Add a cellular chip to Apple Watch and suddenly the iPhone is no longer AirPodsâ€™ best companion. Appleâ€™s AirPods donâ€™t need to be big sellers to make an enormous impact. As Jony Ive said in the introductory video, â€œWe are just at the beginning of a truly wireless future,â€? and Appleâ€™s ďŹ rst move is a bold new push into audio. The AirPods will evolve, but the core concepts â€“ efortlessÂ pairing, seamless integration and smart controlsÂ â€“ representÂ a new platform for Appleâ€™s devices. For the ďŹ rst time, wireless isnâ€™t so much about the ugliness of cords. Itâ€™s about what can be accomplished when you eliminate the things that are keeping us tied down. ?24IAD>5Î„A4FA36D
Opinion: Why Nintendo is making the right moves The gaming icon nearly stole Apple’s thunder at the iPhone 7 event with Super Mario Run, argues Andrew Hayward
id you catch Nintendo’s press conference on at the iPhone 7 event? It was easily the company’s best showing in ages… and it wasn’t even at a Nintendo event. It was Apple’s, of A4FA36D ΄?24IAD>5
course, and the much-anticipated conference also brought us the iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2. But Mario nearly stole the show, as the iconic plumber protagonist was shown in his very ﬁrst mobile adventure, Super Mario Run. Gaming’s most legendary creative mind, Mario designer Shigeru Miyamoto, appeared onstage and charmed with his demonstration, not to mention his moves mimicking the act of playing one-handed while eating a hamburger. Soon thereafter, Pokémon GO appeared onstage to debut upcoming Apple Watch support for the blockbuster free-to-play game, which has racked up more than 500 million downloads worldwide in just two months. Pokémon Go might have been developed by Niantic and handled by Nintendo subsidiary The Pokémon Company, but Nintendo has beneﬁtted immensely from its success – perhaps in reputation even more than ﬁnancially. Super Mario Run will surely springboard of of some of that prosperity when it debuts in December, but it doesn’t need any help. Not only is Mario the most recognisable face in gaming, but from what was shown onstage, Super Mario Run looks like a clever translation of the classic formula into something better suited for mobile. Here’s how Nintendo has set Super Mario Run up for potentially incredible success.
1. Adapting rather than porting Let’s be honest: turning the Super Mario series into a side-scrolling runner was totally expected move. Runners are just automated platform-action games, and Super Mario is both the original and ?24IAD>5΄A4FA36D
still arguably best example of that classic gaming template. Super Mario Run isn’t innovative, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea at all. Nintendo said from the start that its mobile games wouldn’t be direct ports of classic games, which meant we wouldn’t have to weather ify virtual buttons for precision-based experiences. Ruining a classic experience would be a very bad idea. Reﬁning a classic approach into something new and still fun makes a lot more sense.
And that’s what we’re seeing with Super Mario Run. Automating Mario’s movement refocuses the gameplay around jumping and interacting with the environments, and Nintendo has used that opportunity to drop in things like direction-changing blocks and ceiling grips that you’ll hang from as you navigate over lava and other hazards. Everything else in between is familiar in look and interaction, but now it’s all smartly streamlined for touch. You might have already played something like this. Ubisoft’s Rayman Fiesta Run (and the almost-as-strong Jungle Run before it) is one of the absolute best examples of how to take a brilliant console game and make it just as strong of a mobile experience. And just as the core Rayman games learned their tricks from Mario, Nintendo seems to be taking cues from that kind of experience now in turn.
2. Making it premium is crucial Actually, the mobile Rayman series did have a recent misstep: last year’s Rayman Adventures took the Fiesta Run formula, cut of the price tag, and loaded it with a lot of freemium tedium. The core game experience sufered because of the power-ups and peripheral annoyances, and the resulting game just wasn’t as strong overall. Thankfully, Nintendo seems to be avoiding that with Super Mario Run. The game will be a free download, which will help it land on many, many more devices than a paid app, but you’ll only get a taste of the full game for free. Unlocking levels won’t require watching video ads or waiting on timers. Instead, you’ll just pay once to get access ?24IAD>5΄A4FA36D
to the entire game. We don’t know the price yet, but even if it’s higher than the average mobile game, it’ll probably be worth it. That’s an absolutely essential step – and a surprising one, too. Partnering with mobile giant DeNA for iOS and Android games seemingly ensured that we’d see only free-to-play stuf, but the idea of muddling a classic Mario experience with in-app purchases, timers, and other freemium shenanigans seems like sacrilege. Putting a price
tag on the experience was the only way to satisfy core Mario fans by keeping the console feel of the game intact. And I imagine parents will be pretty happy to just pay once and be done, as well.
3. It’s good for both Nintendo and mobile gaming Unsurprisingly, there have been plenty of hot takes on Super Mario Run over the last couple days. For instance, Engadget writer Sean Buckley says Nintendo is “[losing] a bit of its identity” with the game because it’s not particularly innovative. However, neither were the previous New Super Mario Bros games from which Super Mario Run borrows its visual style. On the other hand, John Davison writes over at Rolling Stone that Super Mario Run is “Nintendo’s ultimate Trojan horse” to get mobile players into not only console games, but maybe even console hardware too – especially with the NX looming. He also notes that Pokémon GO’s success spurred sales of Pokémon console games and merchandise, and suggests the same could happen with Mario and Nintendo’s own platforms. Even if Nintendo doesn’t ultimately attribute an uptick in console game sales to Super Mario Run, putting a massive icon like this on mobile is incredibly smart for the company, bringing a likelylarge boost to its bottom line during a very quiet period for its Wii U. It also shows that Nintendo is serious about diversifying, and that it won’t simply bring strange social apps and lesser-known franchises to mobile. Sure, we’ll have to wait for those promised Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem ?24IAD>5΄A4FA36D
games until Q1 next year, but in the meantime, we get Super Mario on iPhone. That’s great for the App Store, as well. It shows that a major console franchise can be shown respect in the transition to mobile, and that seemingly reﬁned, quality games deserve to be paid for – yes, even on your phone. And if Super Mario Run captures the essence of Nintendo’s brilliant and beloved franchise and deliver a mustplay mobile experience, then it’ll be a big win for everyone: Nintendo, Apple, and players alike.
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