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CONTENTS

Features APPLE BY THE NUMBERS

22

Keeping track of how Apple is doing is really hard. The stock price rises and falls, analysts examine marketshare statistics and some say Apple is doomed. So how is the company doing, really?

APPLE FOR KIDS

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Toddlers, tweens and teens are among the biggest users – and fans – of Apple products, so here we round up some of the latest and coolest accessories for iOS and Mac gear.

Regulars 08 10 12 34 36 40 42 44

MAIL HOT STUFF iSNAP GADGET GUIDE MAC GEMS APP GUIDE STEP BY STEP Freely capture your Mac audio SECRETS Make iOS 7 less nausea-inducing Do more with Messages Five iCloud email tricks you may have missed Blocking numbers in iOS 7


5 NOVEMBER 2013 www.macworld.com.au

Reviews 52 56

HELP GROUP TEST PODCAST MICROPHONES ■ Zoom H2n ■ Apogee MiC ■ Blue Microphones Nessie ■ RØDE Podcaster

14 16 18 58 59 60 62 63 64 64 66

Apple iPhone 5s Apple iPhone 5c iOS 7 Apple 21.5in iMac (late 2013) Sonos Play:1 wireless speaker BioShock Infinite Epson EB-1776W portable projector Kanex Multi-Sync keyboard Apple iPhone 5s case Logitech Keyboard Folio mini Philips 298P4 LCD monitor


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EDITORIAL

STAFF PICKS

Sales, dates and spring-cleaning

Favourite ever Apple product? Dave Bullard

ORIGINAL iMAC his issue the focus is on numbers. The past few months have been a huge period for Apple CEO Tim Cook, those who drive the One Infinite Loop HQ on weekdays and the blue-Tshirt-wearing Apple retail staff. Superseding Coca-Cola, which held the title for 13 years, as the most valuable global brand in September, Apple has held a spring clean and refreshed most of its product lines to initial success. The period also marked the second anniversary of Steve Jobs’ death on 5 October and, despite calls that Cook didn’t have the personality to fill Jobs’ shoes as CEO, it appears he has directed the company into smooth waters and allowed other executives’ personalities to blossom. Phil Schiller and Craig Federighi come to mind. The launch of two new iPhone designs went off without a hitch. In fact, they just went off the shelves. In a shock to all those spruiking the end of the company – poised to publish their ever-present Apple obituaries – the opening weekend saw a record nine million iPhone sales and a migration of 200 million iOS devices to the latest mobile operating system, iOS 7.

T

In September 2012, Apple sold a mere five million iPhone 5 smartphones and 100 million users moved to iOS 6. The year before, it sold four million iPhone 4S models and 25 million customers moved to iOS 5. As a week passed, iOS 7 ran on 58.3 percent of devices – 14 percent more than iOS 6 and more than double iOS 5 two years earlier. A downward spiral if I ever saw one. But this does not mean the company is without competition. It has a number of strong rivals in all aspects of its business. Android has leaped from four percent of the smartphone market in 2009 to 66 percent in 2012, taking the place of former mobile giants BlackBerry and Symbian. The arrival of 7in tablets put a big dent in Apple’s tablet market share and, while its Macs are doing well compared to the PC industry in percentage growth, it still only holds approximately five percent of global computer shipments. Apple appears to have taken up the fight and, as consumers, we can only benefit. C

When the first iMac came out I was running a Power Macintosh 7100. The iMac was better in every way – and MUCH cheaper – and ushered in a new era of computing. Jonathan Stewart

MACBOOK I loved the sleek look of the black 13in MacBooks. The matte finish and portable body made it stand above other laptops in my eyes. Madeleine Swain

iPOD NANO While the iPhone is doubtless a thing of beauty, it's my iPod nano – so much musical goodness, in such a tiny package. Davin Lim

iPOD CLASSIC It would be the third-gen. iPod classic. The way it looked with the red LED buttons, all-touch interface and slimmer body, it was the standout iPod.

NOVEMBER 2013 / ISSUE NO. 189 CONSUMER TECH DIVISION (Macworld Australia & MacTalk): Content Director Dave Bullard dave.bullard@niche.com.au @dave_bullard Editor Jonathan Stewart jonathan.stewart@niche.com.au @Stewart_JL Newsroom Assistant Editors Madeleine Swain madeleine.swain@niche.com.au @MadeleineSwain Rebecca Hagan rebecca.hagan@niche.com.au Group Sales Manager Lane Delany lane.delany@niche.com.au +61 3 9948 4906 Advertising Sales Executive Tynan McCarthy tynan.mccarthy@niche.com.au +61 3 9948 4941 MACWORLD AU PRODUCTION: Art Director Keely Atkins Production Manager Julia Garvey julia.garvey@niche.com.au Digital Prepress Davin Lim NICHE MEDIA: Chairman Nicholas Dower Managing Director Paul Lidgerwood Group Commercial Director Joanne Davies Financial Controller Sonia Jurista Subscriptions Freecall: 1800 804 160 subscriptions@macworld.com.au www.macworld.com.au/subscribe CTP/Print Southern Colour (VIC) Pty Ltd Accounting Software SapphireOne www.sapphireone.com ISSN 2200-2375. Macworld Australia is a publication of Niche Media Pty Ltd ABN 13 064 613 529. 142 Dorcas Street, South Melbourne, Victoria 3205 Australia. Macworld Australia is published under license from International Data Group Inc. and Mac Publishing LLC. Macworld Australia has reprint rights to Macworld (UK & US), publications of International Data Group Inc. and Mac Publishing LLC. Macworld Australia is an independent journal and not affiliated with Apple Inc. Material appearing in in Macworld Australia is copyright and reproduction in whole or part without express permission from the publishers will result in litigation. Editorial items appearing in Macworld Australia that were originally published in the US and UK additions of Macworld are the copyright property of International Data Group Inc, which reserves all rights. Macworld is a trademark of International Data Group Inc. Products in Gadget Guide are included for information purposes only and carry no endorsement from Macworld Australia. This issue may contain offers and competitions that if you choose to to participate, require you to provide your personal information. Niche Media will use this information to provide you with the products and services requested. We may also provide this information to contractors and third parties involved who provide the products and services on our behalf (such as mail houses and suppliers of subscription premiums and promotional prizes). We do not sell your information to third parties under any circumstances, however they may retain the information we provide for future promotions, activities of their own including direct marketing. Niche Media will retain your information and may use it to inform you of other Niche Media publications and promotions from time to time.

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8

MAIL

HAVE YOUR SAY DIVOOM LETTER OF THE MONTH iPRAYER FOR APPLE Dear Macworld Australia, My daughter and I made this prayer, which we hope is worth printing in your wonderful magazine. Our Steve, who art in iHeaven, Hallowed be iMac. iCloud has come, iPhone is done. On earth as it is in iHeaven. Give us this day our daily iTunes And forgive us our Androids, As we forgive those who Google against us. Lead us not into Windows, But deliver us from viruses. For thine is the Siri, iPad and iPod, For ever and ever, iMen.

Lucas de Jong

if they can slow the implementation down significantly, the IT departments will be able to trash the project, while Microsoft catches up. But Microsoft isn’t catching up. IT has a lot of fear, but I think what you should take away from this is that most IT departments and enterprises are trying to deploy iPads like they would a Windows Laptop; however, iPads and new wave mobile devices, with the exception of a lot of the Windows stuff, are a totally new paradigm. It’s no longer about controlling the device or the hardware; the new paradigm is user centric, and the issue is now about controlling the data. It’s information or data that is important to companies and corporations, who need to find new ways of controlling the data on users’ devices, rather than controlling the device. The information security community needs to look at new ways of achieving data security using applications on mobile devices… not locking or reducing the functionality of the hardware. Because of this new paradigm, I now see very limited opportunities for IT departments at the user end, and they know this, hence their reluctance to support the iPad or iOS devices properly.

Murray Lawler

iSTRAIN

FLYING BLIND In reference to your article, iPad pilot programs’ dirty little secret (http:// www.macworld.com.au/107993), I think a lot of IT environments sabotage Apple deployments including iPads. The thinking being

Although I’m not overly impressed with the new ‘look’ of iOS 7, I’m more interested in function than form. But I have found one big negative with iOS 7 on the iPhone and that is the readability of the font for ageing eyes like mine. I’ve fiddled with brightness and other settings, but I really struggle with the thin lines of the font, particularly the white on the rather washed-out colours of some backgrounds.

Maglizm

iSTRAIN ALSO iOS 7 has a lot of good features, but falls down on the most important. Its readability and the ability to be easily understood are both reduced. Simplicity sometimes undermines usability, even if it is pretty.

Ronel

STACKED PODCASTS Unfortunately for those of us that listen to podcasts a lot, we’ve been screwed. Now, every single episode of a podcast shows up. Which means some weekly shows, going back to 2005, have filled page after page. And those of us with limited download data who download to one computer and manually move to other devices have found that iTunes has gone and deleted almost everything off our hard drives. Even paid-for ‘podcasts’ that use the podcast RSS as a way of downloading have been deleted. Whatever happened to the ease of getting home and syncing your device by plugging it in?

Laith

CONTINUOUS CHOICE REQUIRED In regards to Macworld Australia’s 20 September Rumour Mill (www.macworld.com.au/108022). I am still waiting for Apple to recognise that many iPhone users want to be able to play albums one after the other, especially in the car where Bluetooth makes it possible to avoid having to pick up the phone to answer a call. It


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■ Letters should be emailed to editor@macworld.com.au with a subject header of ‘Letter to the Editor’ or by post to: Macworld Australia Mailbox, 142 Dorcas Street, South Melbourne, Victoria, 3205. Please include your full name and address, including state or territory. ■ Comments on stories or Forum posts on

Judy Frazer

www.macworld.com.au are also eligible for the prize. ■ We reserve the right to edit letters and probably will.

CHEAP DISAPPOINTMENT After all the pre-release hype I was looking forward to a truly budget priced iPhone. The pricing of the iPhone 5c was a real disappointment. I think it will be an absolute flop. As an Apple diehard – I have six Macs for business and home – I am confused by this offering and have thought a bit about it. My first thought is that perhaps Apple should stick to its central game of just offering premium grade products, keeping the focus on expanding its range of great innovations and not confusing the issue by offering lesser options. Or, if it really wants to break into the cheaper end of the market, offer something at a bargain price, which is way better than the opposition even if it takes some customers away from its premium range. If this offering is as big a flop as I predict it will be, it will be used by the ‘other side’ to sully Apple’s reputation. Bad move.

John Wilkins

■ Letters of fewer than 200 words are given preference.

FORCED CHARGE It will be interesting to see what Apple does if the EU politicians force it to conform to a standard charger (www. macworld.com.au/108883). USB is bigger than Lightning and also has fewer pins. Another dongle from Apple? A crippled European version? Or will Apple’s cable pretensions be shown to be hot air and the iPhone is fully functional with a mini-USB adaptor?

Alex

WELCOME TO THE END Oops. Here’s the end of innovation. Let the bureaucrats loose and everyone has to be the same. Seriously, a charger connection is not the end of the world, but when EU politicians step into the picture, it’s all downhill. Apple has had a dedicated Apple unique design to ensure that there aren’t too many devices burning up the electronics inside its toys. Would you put Lada parts in a BMW? That’s effectively what could happen. Apple could just ensure that the warranty becomes void if a nonApple charger is attached and the software could detect this.

Cambo

This month’s prize to the Macworld Australia reader who submits what we think is the most interesting letter is a Divoom Onbeat-200, worth $99, from Anyware. The Onbeat-200 is a compact Bluetooth speaker system which turns any phone, tablet or mobile device into a portable, Hi-Fi sound system. The built-in microphone lets you enjoy hands-free calls or video chats. Precision-tuned drivers and passive bass radiator work in concert to produce amazingly clear, full audio at any volume and the 1200mAh rechargeable battery lets you play wireless audio for up to eight hours. www.anyware.com.au

TERMS AND CONDITIONS. Divroom letter of the month 1. Instructions on how to enter form part of these conditions of entry. 2. To enter send tips or queries to editor@macworld.com. au with a subject header of “Letter to the Editor”. Entries will be judged by the editorial staff of Macworld Australia. The judges’ decision in relation to any aspect of the competition is final and binding on every person who enters. No correspondence will be entered into. Chance plays no part in determining the winner(s). Each entry will be individually judged based on its degree of interest. 4. Employees, their immediate families and agencies associated with this competition are not permitted to enter. 5. The Promoter accepts no responsibility for late or misdirected entries. 6. The best entry/entries as determined by the judges will win the prize(s). 7. The Promoter is neither responsible nor liable for any change in the value of the prize occurring between the publish date and the date the prize(s) is claimed. 8. The prize(s) is not transferable and will not be exchanged for cash. 9. The winner(s) will be notified by email. 10. All entries become the property of the Promoter. 11. The collection, use and disclosure of personal information provided in connection with this competition is governed by the Privacy Notice 12. The Promoter is Niche Media Pty Ltd of 142 Dorcas Street, South Melbourne, Victoria 3205 Ph 03 9948 4900, (ABN 13 064 613 529).

NOVEMBER 2013 www.macworld.com.au

would be great not have to pick it up to reselect a track when the album finishes. At present, it seems the only way is to create a ‘travel’ playlist of several songs, which is clunky to say the least. How about a ‘continuous’ choice?


10

NEWS

HOT STUFF

A selection of Apple, Mac and iOS news from Macworld.com.au

APPLE TAKES TOP POSITION

TIM COOK MARKS ANNIVERSARY OF STEVE JOBS’ DEATH Marking the second anniversary of the death of Apple co-founder and revered leader, Steve Jobs on 5 October, the current CEO Tim Cook sent an email to Apple employees. The email read as follows: “Team – Tomorrow marks the second anniversary of Steve’s death. I hope everyone will reflect on what he meant to all of us and to the world. Steve was an amazing human being and left the world a better place. I think of him often and find enormous strength in memories of his friendship, vision and leadership. He left behind a company that only he could have built and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple. We will continue to honour his memory by dedicating ourselves to the work he loved so much. There is no higher tribute to his memory. I know that he would be proud of all of you. Best, Tim” Cook followed the email with a tweet a couple of days later, with a couple of additional thoughts. “Second anniversary of Steve’s death. Going on a long hike today and reflecting on his friendship and all the dents he made in the universe.” Apple watchers have noted that the email and tweet made for a slightly more muted tribute than last year, when the company posted a photo and audio slideshow to mark the first anniversary of Jobs’ death.

Apple has emerged as the most valuable brand in the world, passing Coca-Cola, which held the top position for 13 years, according to a report released by brand consultancy Interbrand (www.macworld.com. au/109095). The maker of high-profile products like the iPad and iPhone, which was ranked second last year, saw its brand value grow 28 percent this year to US$98.3 billion. Other tech companies that figured in the top five rankings for 2013 were Google at number two and IBM and Microsoft at fourth and fifth place, respectively. Google was number four in 2012, while IBM was third and Microsoft held the fifth position last year. “Few brands have enabled so many people to do so much so easily, which is why Apple has legions of adoring fans,” Interbrand said in the report released in late September. Apple has set a high bar for aesthetics, simplicity and ease of use that other tech brands have to match, and Apple itself will have to continually exceed, the report said. Interbrand’s rankings, first introduced in 2000, cover global brands that have at least 30 percent of their revenues from outside the brand’s home region. The brands must also have a presence in at least three major continents, and broad geographic coverage in emerging markets. Brands are rated on the financial performance of the branded products or services, the role they play in influencing customer choice and their ability to command a premium price or secure earnings for the company.

ADOBE ACKNOWLEDGES SECURITY BREACH Adobe reported what it called a ‘sophisticated’ cyberattack on its network where hackers gained unauthorised access to confidential customer information including IDs and encrypted passwords in October (www.macworld.com. au/109473). The hack affected some 2.9 million customers worldwide, the company estimates. Information accessed in the attack includes names, encrypted credit or debit card numbers, expiration dates and order information. Adobe does not believe the criminals removed decrypted credit or debit card numbers from company systems, however. This security breach extended to Adobe source code for numerous products such as Acrobat, ColdFusion, ColdFusion Builder and other company products, Adobe said. According to a blog entry, Adobe believes that the two security violations are related. In addition to contacting and assisting law enforcement, Adobe says it’s resetting relevant customer passwords. Customers whose user ID or passwords were affected will be notified via email and instructed to change their passwords. Adobe also advises changing passwords on any website where customers may have used the same user ID and password as their Adobe account.

ROBUST iPHONES SquareTrade, the San Francisco-based provider of protection plans for electronic gadgets, including smartphones and tablets, has done another of its regular tests to measure which smartphone comes out as most resilient. And it has uploaded the results to YouTube (www.macworld.com.au/108414). The four phones tested this time around were the Samsung Galaxy S4, Google’s Moto X and the two new iPhones, the 5c and the 5s.


NEWS

QUALCOMM BACKTRACKS FROM A7 COMMENTS Qualcomm has backtracked from an earlier statement in which a company executive said Apple’s A7 64-bit chip in the iPhone 5s is a marketing gimmick, and that the technical advance had limited benefits in mobile devices (www.macworld.com.au/109856). In an interview with the IDG News Service in October, Qualcomm chief marketing officer Anand Chandrasekher said that Apple’s A7 will give iPhone 5s users “zero benefit” beyond more memory addressability. He also said Qualcomm was developing a 64-bit chip, but saw it as more beneficial from engineering, chip design and operating system standpoints. “The comments made by Anand Chandrasekher, Qualcomm CMO, about 64-bit computing were inaccurate,” said a Qualcomm spokesperson in an email. “The mobile hardware and software ecosystem is already moving in the direction of 64-bit; and, the evolution to 64-bit brings desktop class capabilities and user experiences to mobile, as well as enabling mobile processors and software to run new classes of computing devices.” Qualcomm did not provide further comment. The company has a close working relationship with Apple and supplies modems used in iPhones and iPads. Qualcomm and Apple both design mobile chips based on ARM architecture. Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Apple is the first to put a 64-bit A7 chip in a smartphone, and is about a year ahead of its Android smartphone rivals in doing so, analysts estimate. A benefit of 64-bit is the ability to put more than 4GB of memory in smartphones, but the iPhone 5s has only 1GB of DRAM. Servers and PCs use 64-bit operating systems because of the need for more memory, and analysts questioned the worth of a 64-bit chip in the iPhone 5s. The A7 chip is based on the ARMv8 instruction set. Apple says that the new A7 chip is faster at accelerating mathematical and security tasks, and a wider instruction set gets rid of some of the inefficiencies in older ARM instructions. Many of the performance benefits have been attributed to the new instruction set, but questions still remain on how much performance can be credited purely to 64-bit addressing. Qualcomm is one of the world’s top suppliers of chips for smartphones and tablets, and its Snapdragon chips are used in Android and Windows Phone smartphones. The company is also pushing its chips into netbook-like devices with mobile broadband connectivity. Chips based on ARM architecture with 64-bit addressing are also expected to reach servers starting next year. Chandrasekher said that 64-bit chips are more relevant for server class applications, and added the company was keeping a close watch on the server market for opportunities. ARM Holdings licenses out processor designs and architectures to third parties. Some famous ARM licensees include Apple, Samsung, Qualcomm and Nvidia.

NOVEMBER 2013 www.macworld.com.au

The tests involve the gadgets being dunked in water, dropped from a height of about 1.5 metres and slid off a flat surface. Robots are used to conduct the tests, to ensure a consistent approach. And if you thought (hoped) the polycarbonate casing on the iPhone 5c would go some way to making this phone more resistant to scratches and shattered screens, sadly, it seems that is not the case. In the drop test, the clear loser was the Galaxy S4, which gave up the ghost altogether, while the 5c ended up with a shattered screen, but could still turn on and function. The 5s suffered a few nicks, but the Moto X had barely a scratch on it. In the slide test, where the phones are catapulted across a table to see which has the most resistance, the Moto X again came out on top, with the 5c sliding a little further along the table. The 5s fared the worst here – disappearing right off the edge of the surface. And in the ‘dunkbot’ test, after 10 seconds of being submerged in water, the S4 shut itself off completely (although some commenters have noted that this may be a safety measure and SquareTrade didn’t seem to check and see if it would work later), while the three other smartphones all continued to work and had their audio seemingly unimpaired. SquareTrade’s conclusions had the Moto X in first place, followed by the 5s, then the 5c and the Galaxy S4 as not so lucky last. But how do these results compare to earlier iPhones? Well, the scores given are out of 10, with one being the highest and 10 being the lowest. The aluminium and glass iPhone 5s scored a 5.5, while the polycarbonate and glass 5c only managed a 6 rating. Their

immediate predecessor, the iPhone 5 scored 5 when it was tested. It also only slid just over 0.6 of a metre in the slide test, compared to the 5c’s 0.9 of a metre and the 5s’ distinctly unimpressive Thelma and Louise act. So the take-home message? If you’re the sort who likes to use your phone as a punching bag, you can buy a Moto X (heaven forbid), refrain from whizzing your 5s along the bar to get the bartender’s attention or just get yourself a really good case. Maybe sooner, rather than later.

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iSNAP

iSNAP:

Red Door Western Australian, Craig Stewart is the one we have to thank for this photo. alking a familiar path through the western Perth suburb of Wembley, the iSnap winner of this month managed to capture a beautiful reflection after the rain departed. Caught on an iPhone 5, the former service station is now an op shop according to photographer Craig Stewart and its reflection stood out from the backdrop. “We have been having a lot of rain and the reflection just caught my eye. I like a degree of symmetry in images and knew that the reflection would provide this.”

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While we probably didn’t need to ask why Craig named his iSnap entry Red Door, we did anyway. His answer? “I’m afraid that it’s called Red Door because I’m rather unimaginative when it comes to thinking of names!” We think it’s a fitting choice. Like many others, Craig enjoys having the opportunity to quickly snap a picture with the smartphone ever-present in his pocket, but is cautious to avoid becoming consumed by it.

“The old adage that the ‘best camera is the one you have with you’ makes the iPhone a great choice; however, the proliferation of the medium has meant a lot of people are no longer ‘present in the moment’ at events.” Which app did Craig decide to use? “Definitely Snapseed, as it lets you have discrete control rather than just applying canned effects.” Any editing after the photo was taken? “Not much editing – just boosting contrast and saturation in Snapseed.”

In iSnap we’re on the lookout for some of the best photographs being taken with iOS devices. Submit your favourites to macworld@macworld.com.au for your chance to be featured in the online iSnap gallery (www.macworld.com.au/isnap). Each month’s winner will win a prize and appear on this page! This month’s prize is a Kogeto Dot for iPhone 4/4S/5, valued at $59.95, from A.P. Technologies. The Dot is a lens attachment for the iPhone which, combined with Kogeto’s free app, lets you capture panoramic video from the palm of your hand and share it with friends via Facebook, Twitter, email and kogeto.com. www.aptech.com.au


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Apple iPhone 5s Faster processor, fingerprint sensor and an improved camera flash, it’s a serious upgrade.

pple’s pattern of iteration isn’t smooth when it comes to the iPhone. It bumps along: a new case design one year, more subtle advancements the next. The iPhone 5s is, as the name implies, a phone that doesn’t look much different from last year’s iPhone 5. But the mostly static exterior belies the numerous changes inside the device. The result is, yes, Apple’s latest best-iPhone-yet.

A

ALL THAT GLITTERS We’ve been carrying an iPhone 5 in our pocket for the past year, and the iPhone 5s feels exactly the same. Only the updated Home button and the new camera flash betray that this is not an iPhone 5. That is, unless you count the colour. Last year’s slate model has been displaced by a slightly lighter space gray version, but more notably the white-and-silver model has been joined by a second, white-and-gold variation. The display of the iPhone 5s is essentially the same as that of the iPhone 5: a 4in-diagonal, 1136 x 640-pixel display at 326 ppi, or Retina resolution. It’s a bright, beautiful display. It’s great, but we find ourselves looking at the larger screens on the phones of competitors with growing envy.

Then there’s the new Home button on the iPhone 5s. That old roundedrectangle image silkscreened on a slightly concave button, the one we’ve known since the very first iPhone, is history. Meet the new button: a metallic ring surrounds a flat surface that seems subtly smaller than the old button. The purpose of this button change isn’t aesthetic. This new button is not just a bit of clicky plastic. It’s a sophisticated biometric scanner, and it’s just as outlandish as it is practical.

SCI-FI TECHNOLOGY MADE ROUTINE Beneath the surface of the Home button is the new Touch ID fingerprint sensor. Unlocking the phone with Touch ID is seamless. If we press the Home button and leave our finger resting on the button after the press, the phone just jumps to the home screen. And Apple’s software design decisions around Touch ID are tasteful, not distracting. After three failed attempts to scan a finger, a passcode/password screen slides in, a reminder that you can also unlock the phone without any fingerprint. Is Touch ID security going to satisfy spies and handlers of classified material? No, but the point of Touch

ID is not to create unbreakable security against all attackers. It’s to make iPhones more secure overall by making it easier for users to lock their devices. Touch ID also requires that you add a passcode or password, and what self-respecting iPhone 5s user would buy this phone and then never use the built-in fingerprint sensor? As a result, we suspect that Touch ID will cause a much larger percentage of iPhone users to lock their phones, and that’s a good thing. Adding a fingerprint sensor was an audacious move by Apple; this is weird, sci-fi technology that could have made the iPhone a laughingstock if it didn’t work right. Not only does it work, but Apple has also shown great restraint in making the entire process feel normal. There are no bright animations or wacky sounds when Touch ID is in use.

IT’S FASTER, FOR SURE We didn’t think we would notice a difference between speed on the iPhone 5 and its successor; we mean, really, the iPhone 5 is pretty darned fast on its own. But the moment we started launching apps on the iPhone 5s, we could tell that it was a lot faster. Particularly troublesome or ambitious apps, ones that bogged down on our


REVIEWS

NOVEMBER 2013 www.macworld.com.au

iPhone 5, ran smoothly on the iPhone 5s, with little or no delays and no jittery scrolling. So the iPhone 5s feels fast. What do the benchmarks say? You can read our lab results in detail (www. macworld.com.au/108602), but to summarise: the iPhone 5s is twice as fast as the iPhone 5c and nearly twice as fast as the iPhone 5. Upgraders from the iPhone 4s will be even more impressed, as the iPhone 5s is roughly six times as fast as the phone that was Apple’s top-of-the-line model only two years ago. And the battery life is better than that of the iPhone 5.

SKATEBOARD REVOLUTION The camera in the iPhone 5s is physically better – it includes a larger sensor and a bigger lens that lets in more light, which together make for better pictures and better low-light performance. But we suspect that the star of the show is really the A7 processor, which allows the iPhone 5s to focus and capture photos faster than any previous iPhone. Take the new Slo-Mo mode, which shoots 720p HD video at a rate of 120 frames per second, four times the rate of standard video, to give you the option of slowing things down to quarter speed. Shooting slow-motion video is easy. Once you select the Slo-Mo mode in the Camera app, you just shoot video normally. You select the portion of the video you want to play in slow motion and you have a shareable video. The Camera app also offers a new burst mode, enabled when you hold your finger down on the shutter. In this mode, the camera takes a whole bunch of full-quality photos, 10 per second. The iPhone picks the image it deems best, but you can also burrow down into the entire stack of photos from the burst and pick your favourites. There’s more synergy between hardware and software in the new True Tone Flash. The flash consists of two

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separate LCDs, each with its own unique colour temperature. (One of them is a bluish-white, while the other is more yellow.) The iPhone’s software analyses the colour temperature of the shot it’s going to take and then adjusts the intensity of the two LED flashes to match the ambient light as closely as possible. The result is better flashes, no doubt.

WE LIKE TO MOVE IT, MOVE IT One of the iPhone 5s features we find most fascinating is also one that we can’t really test. It’s the existence of the M7 coprocessor, a chip that allows the iPhone to constantly monitor its array of sensors (accelerometer, gyroscope, compass) without expending the massive amount of power required to keep the main processor operating.

APPLE apple.com/au PROS Touch ID fingerprint sensor; camera flash adjusts to ambient light temperature; big speed improvement over iPhone 5 CONS Screen still feels small next to other high-end phones $869 (16GB); $999 (32GB); $1129 (64GB)

For now, Apple says that there are two places where it’s using the M7 data already. The first is in the Maps app, which can sense a change in how you’re moving. If you’ve stopped driving and started walking, the Maps app will switch from providing driving directions to telling you where to walk. The iPhone 5s will also take note of its own movement. If the phone hasn’t moved for some time, it will reduce the amount of time it spends querying the network for data, thereby saving energy.

BOTTOM LINE The iPhone 5s continues Apple’s relentless iteration, with the company adding several cutting edge technologies into the product line, impressively improving on last year’s model while utterly blowing away the features of the two-year-old phones owned by users who are ready to upgrade. Rather than tossing a couple of dozen half-finished features into a new model and hoping for the best, Apple has focused on a few specific areas. It has combined its hardware knowledge with its software expertise, and done an impressive job of making the new features elegant and usable. C

– JASON SNELL


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Apple iPhone 5c The no-brainer upgrade for iPhone 4 or 4s.

hen a new device comes out, it’s only natural to compare it to its immediate predecessor. Does this thing do something new the last thing couldn’t do? It’s a measuring stick, a way to put the new device into context. And when we’re talking iPhones, it’s a perfectly standard practice. But we think that comparing the iPhone 5c only to the model it replaces would be a mistake. In part that’s because the 5c so closely matches the specs and features of its predecessor, last year’s iPhone 5. But it’s also because of how people buy smartphones in an era of two-year commitments to carriers. If you signed away 24 months of your life to an iPhone 5, a colour change and an improved front-facing camera probably aren’t enough to get you to reevaluate things one spin around the sun later. On the other hand, if you have an iPhone 4 or 4s the circumstances are very different. If that’s your situation, you’ll be intrigued by the promise of a full-featured phone with a more-thanreasonable price tag.

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noticeable change in the newer model instantly. Apple has injected more than a bit of colour into the iPhone’s previously black-and-white world. You can opt for the 5c in blue, green, pink, yellow or white. The 5c has a new feel to go with its new look. This model replaces the metal-and-glass materials of other iPhones with a hard-coated polycarbonate shell. The iPhone 5c feels durable and sturdy; that may be because steel reinforcement underlies the colourful surface. We certainly find the 5c easier to grip than older models. The 5c feels heavier than the iPhone 5, too – and it is, at 131.8g to the 5’s 111.98g. Again, though, the extra weight is not necessarily a bad thing. After a few spills, we can say is that Apple chose the 5c’s material well: the back casing of the phone looks none the worse for wear, maintaining its bright sheen. We wouldn’t argue that you don’t need a case to protect your iPhone 5c, though it does seem a shame to cover up the phone’s colourful new back.

NETWORKS AND CAMERAS COLOUR ME IMPRESSED Returning to the comfort of iPhone 5-versus-iPhone 5c comparisons for a moment, you can spot the most

The iPhone 5c offers more compatibility with different flavours of LTE cellular networks than the iPhone 5 does – 13 in all, according to

Apple, which is more than any other smartphone in the world (except for the 5s, of course). Even with added LTE compatibility, you should pay attention to which network carriers provide the best coverage in the places where you plan to use your iPhone 5c, and choose your provider accordingly. That leaves the front-facing camera for the iPhone 5c as the only notable hardware upgrade relative to the iPhone 5. The 1.2-megapixel FaceTime camera shoots 1280 x 960-pixel images and records 720p HD video; it also performs better than the iPhone 5s camera in low-light situations and delivers larger pixels. Overall, you’ll get slightly sharper pictures than you would with the frontfacing camera in the 5 – and it’s not even fair to compare the 5c’s camera to the VGA versions found in the iPhone 4 and 4s. That’s good news for self-portrait enthusiasts. You’ll also use that improved FaceTime camera to beam images of yourself during video calls to family and friends. In our testing, we found the improvement negligible. Video of our smiling faces has to be compressed before travelling across a network to whoever’s on the other end of the line, and we think they’d have a hard time telling whether we’re calling


REVIEWS

NOVEMBER 2013 www.macworld.com.au

from an iPhone 5 or a 5c. That said, the 5c’s capabilities in lower-light settings could prove handy here. As for the other camera on the iPhone 5c, it’s the same eightmegapixel iSight camera you’ll find on the iPhone 5. That may not excite current iPhone 5 owners, but it’s very exciting if you’re still getting by with an older iPhone.

PEAK PERFORMER Internally, older iPhones haven’t changed at all; however, the software running on them has. Operating systems get updated. Mobile apps add new features. And that means a phone that could handle anything two years ago now shows its age. That’s one of the more compelling reasons for iPhone 4 and 4s users to consider an iPhone 5c upgrade. The new phone will deliver a noticeable performance boost without costing as much as the iPhone 5s. The iPhone 5c runs on the same A6 processor that powers the iPhone 5. In our benchmark tests, those two models turned in comparable performances. The iPhone 5 tallied a slightly better Geekbench 3 score than the 5c and edged it in SunSpider JavaScript tests as well. Still, those differences, as well as the nearly identical scores for the iPhone 5 and 5c in GFXBench testing, can be filed under Close Enough for Government Work. But compare the iPhone 5c’s numbers to those for the iPhone 4 and 4s. The iPhone 5c’s Geekbench 3 scores roughly triple the iPhone 4s’s. The 5c completed the SunSpider JavaScript test in about half the time the 4s took. The new phone dramatically bested the 4s on GFXBench for graphics, too.

BATTERY BOOST The improved performance doesn’t come at the expense of battery life. With an iPhone 4, we’ve found that keeping the phone charged until we

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leave for work in the morning usually gives it enough juice to last until we get home in the evening. We’ve found the same to be true of the iPhone 5c, during our limited time with it, though it seems to have a little more juice left at the end of the day. Our lab testing bears out our experience. In our looping video test, the 5c hung on for 10 hours, 19 minutes – 42 minutes longer than the iPhone 5 and one hour, 48 minutes longer than the iPhone 4s. Notably, the Android-based HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 conked out after six hours, 44 minutes and seven hours, one minute, respectively, in this test.

PRICE POINTS Of course, no one clings to an ageing smartphone because of an extreme partiality for all things 2010. Rather,

APPLE apple.com/au PROS 1.2-megapixel FaceTime camera; dramatically better performance than iPhone 4 and 4s; better battery life than previous models CONS Coloured plastic case may not be to everyone’s liking; not a dramatic change from iPhone 5 $739 (16GB), $869 (32GB)

they just want to get the most out of their dollar, and upgrading to every latest-and-greatest smartphone doesn’t fit into that game plan. So this time around, Apple figured out a way to appeal to the frugal technophile: come out with a phone that offers slightly fewer state-ofthe-art features in exchange for a significantly lower price tag. The 16GB iPhone 5c costs $739 – $60 less than you’d have paid for an iPhone 5 when it debuted in 2012 and $130 less than you’d pay for a similarsize iPhone 5s today. A 32GB iPhone 5c is $869.

BOTTOM LINE When the history of Apple’s 2013 iPhone-a-palooza is written, the iPhone 5c will inevitably be viewed as the opening act to the iPhone 5s’s headliner. But anyone who chooses the more colourful iPhone will hardly care. The iPhone 5c’s compelling mixture of features, performance and price is likely to persuade people with older models to upgrade. And it’s an appealing, lower-cost option that should attract disaffected Android and Windows Phone users to the iOS fold. C

– PHILLIP MICHAELS


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iOS 7 Radical redesign is more than skin-deep. OS 7 isn’t just a face-lift of Apple’s mobile operating system. As busy as Apple design chief Jonathan Ive and his team of designers have been creating a new visual language for iOS, the company’s software guru, Craig Federighi, and his group have been equally hard at work crafting new features. iOS had in some ways reached a plateau over the last six years. So Apple has done more than just change the way iOS looks and feels. It has also reimagined the way iOS works.

i

Control yourself. Control Center puts many of iOS’s frequently used features at your fingertips.

on the rest of the user interface. Two of those are existing features – Notification Center and Siri – while the other, Control Center, is brand new.

LOOK AND FEEL. What’s perhaps most striking about the look of iOS 7 is not just what’s different, but also what’s the same. Critics might be tempted to dismiss iOS 7 as simply a palette swap: thin lines where there used to be thick, text where there used to be buttons, simple icons where there used to be complex ones. That’s true within reason. In plenty of the apps, like Notes or Stocks, the functionality hasn’t really changed – just the look has been updated. With iOS 7, Apple has tried to impose a single, consistent experience across its operating system and apps. Not in terms of making apps that all look the same, but rather by establishing a vocabulary of design

that can be used to construct apps. Not only would we argue that Apple’s vast undertaking is by and large a success, we’d go even further: iOS 7’s design has stripped the system down to the very essence of what iOS is.

CENTRES OF ATTENTION Layering is important in iOS 7; certain system-level features live on layers that can be temporarily superimposed

Control subject. To start with the new stuff, Control Center is a feature that many iOS users have clamoured for since the earliest days of the iPhone. Toggling certain system-level features could be an onerous process that first required you to navigate to wherever you’d hidden your Settings app, and then had you drilling down to the appropriate sublevel until you found the switch you were looking for. Control Center simplifies many of those tasks: Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlay, AirDrop and Do Not Disturb can all be enabled or disabled from the panel, which is available with a swipe up from the bottom of any screen. There is also a brightness slider and music controls. We give Control Center a hearty thumbs-up. It has certainly made our life easier. That’s not to say it couldn’t stand a couple improvements. Some other features would be helpful to have access to (for us, the VPN), and some of the existing features could be expanded. For example, tap and hold on the Wi-Fi control to bring up a list of Wi-Fi networks. Being able to swap out the quick-launch items


REVIEWS

You will be notified. Just as you can swipe up to access Control Center, Notification Center is accessible via a swipe down from the top of the screen. But it has received a revamp here, most obviously in the form of the new Today pane. A sort-of answer to Google Now, Today gives you information about your day at a glance: the date, a brief summary of the weather, information about your next appointment, and your commute (or travel time to your next destination if it’s in your calendar). Also included on the Today pane is information from your calendar, any reminders that are due today, info on your stocks, and a quick paragraph about events for tomorrow including the time your alarm is set for in the morning. The end result gives new meaning to the idea of a personal digital assistant, providing the information you want, when you want it. It’s a great idea in theory, perhaps suffering only a bit from a lack of depth. We’d like to see even more information in that Today pane, or at least have the option to pull from additional sources or apps. In addition to Today, there are two more panes in Notification Center; you can move between them by tapping toolbar tabs at the top of the screen or simply by swiping left. The All pane is similar to the Notification Center of old, while the Missed tab is what we’d been looking for from Notification Center all along. It is a place that just shows those notifications that we didn’t act on. The Missed view is an improvement over the All view because it reduces the notifications to the bare minimum; if you don’t view them within 24 hours, they automatically get weeded out of the list. Talk to the screen. Apple has, to its credit, greatly expanded Siri’s

right: Getting carded. Multitasking’s new interface is more intuitive and useful than that of its predecessor.

NOVEMBER 2013 www.macworld.com.au

for apps of your own choice would be nifty, though we’re not holding our breath on that one. But a button that launches the Settings app would be much appreciated.

far right: Clean design. The Music app has a new, white look in iOS 7.

capabilities in iOS 7. The assistant understands more queries than in the past, and now has access to more of your phone’s features – such as the ability to turn on Airplane Mode, enable or disable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and go directly to specific Settings screens. Siri has also expanded its abilities to deal with other information: it can now read the entire text of emails sent to you, play back voicemails and search for tweets about a subject or by a specific person. (It still can’t read tweets aloud to you, however; you’ll need to refer back to the screen for that.) And, catching up to Google’s voice-search offering, Siri can now show – and read to you – answers to some questions without leaving the assistant’s interface. The virtual assistant also has a new speech engine, which provides

APPLE apple.com/au PROS Extensive, eye-catching design; Control Center gives quick access to settings; new multitasking capabilities CONS Minor bugs are not uncommon; AirDrop feature lacks Mac compatibility; iPad version feels uneven FREE

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not only a more natural-sounding voice, but also both male and female options. You still aren’t likely to mistake Siri for a flesh-and-blood human, but that gap is closing all the time.

WORKING, EVEN WHEN YOU’RE NOT A number of the improvements in iOS 7 deal with keeping your phone’s apps and information up-to-date without the need for your involvement. But if you want control over those features, iOS 7 offers that, too. Pick a card, any card. There’s an entirely new Multitasking interface. You swipe through a carousel of cards, each showing the screen of a different app accompanied by the program’s icon. In addition to its interface being more helpfully visual than the old multitasking bar, there are a couple of other advantages here: First, you can actually refer to information on a card without bringing the app to the foreground, which can save you some taps if you’re, say, writing an email and need to refer to something in another app. Second, you can now force-quit an app by simply flicking the card upward – easier than the interface in iOS 6.


20 that we’d tout, it’s the performance. After years and years of being promised speedier photo-snapping, Apple has finally delivered. We’d argue that’s in large part due to the demise of the shutter animation that previous versions of iOS insisted on. Photos snap so fast that you may find yourself mashing the button a couple times before you realise that you’ve already taken the picture. While that may not be a flashy new addition, it’s among the best tweaks in iOS 7.

DROP IT.

Apps updated while you wait. Automatic app updates work well – almost too well, in fact. Unless you either catch the elusive new appupdate icon or check the Updates tab in the App Store (which now, thankfully, tells you which apps have been recently updated and with what changes), you may not even realise you have a new version. If that doesn’t fly with you, you can always disable the automatic updates under Settings > iTunes & App Store; you can also opt to have those updates delivered over cellular data connections as well as via Wi-Fi.

PICTURES, PERFECTED. Because our smartphones (and, to a lesser extent, tablets) are increasingly the devices we use to take pictures, every iOS update has its share of photo-related improvements, and iOS 7 is no exception. Organisation and sharing are the keywords this time around, along with a few tips of the hat to the popular photo trends of the day. All those moments will not be lost in time. In iOS 7, the Photos app finally treats the pictures you take with your iOS device as first-class citizens. As in iPhoto on your Mac, your pictures are automatically organised based on when and where you took them. At the

lowest level you have Moments, which are photos usually grouped around a single place over a day or two. They’re listed by location and date, and tapping on the header will give you a map view for that Moment, showing where photos were taken; this is a replacement for the Places view in earlier versions of iOS. One level up from Moments are Collections, which group photos from longer spans of time and a geographically wider area – think the pictures you took while on a vacation in Italy. As with Moments, you can view those pictures on a map. But you can also tap and hold on any tiny image in the mosaic Photos presents and get a pop-up thumbnail of that image; drag across the mosaic, and you’ll see a blown-up view of whatever picture your finger is resting on. Oversaturated market. There are eight filters in iOS 7, ranging from the monochromatic to the instant-camerainspired, and you can of course apply them to any photo in your library by using the Edit interface and also available in live preview. If you know you like filters, you might like these; if you can’t be bothered, at least they won’t get in your way. But if there’s one major improvement in iOS 7’s Camera app

left to right: Change the filter. iOS 7 includes eight filters, most of which are effects you’ve seen before. Certain devices let you preview your filtered shot before you take it. The forecast. The most obvious change to the Weather app is the animated photo backgrounds reflecting the weather conditions of the city you’re looking at.

Previously, sharing photos, videos and other files between iOS devices required that you know the person – that is, that you had their contact information. You could send pictures via email or instant message, but if you wanted to send files to someone, you had to have an address or number. AirDrop’s ability to exchange files wirelessly via a peer-to-peer connection should solve that problem. You’ll see it as an option at the top of the redesigned share sheet whenever you choose the share option. Anybody else in the vicinity running iOS 7 should show up as an icon; tap that (or tap multiple contacts), and you can send one or more files to them via the magic of radio waves. While Apple has focused on using this feature to share photos, AirDrop shows up in other places, too. For example, you can share a location using Maps, which could be useful if you want to send driving directions to your gathered friends so they don’t have to look up the destination themselves. But our biggest question is, “Why doesn’t AirDrop in iOS 7 work with the Mac?” In case you don’t believe us, we’ve tested it – oh, we’ve tested it. It seems darned peculiar to release two operating systems with identically named features that work the same way yet are not compatible with one another. What gives, Apple?

SAFARI, SO GOOD Not surprisingly, Apple’s web browser gets a refresh in iOS 7, though perhaps the most contentious change has been the app’s newer, simpler icon.


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21 NOVEMBER 2013 www.macworld.com.au

The functional changes to Safari are more significant, but it still remains the browser you’ve used for years. Unification. The biggest change you’ll notice is the demise of the search bar. It’s now integrated directly into Safari’s address bar, just as it’s been on OS X since Safari 6. Start typing an address or search query into the bar, and Safari will suggest potential hits from your search engine of choice from your bookmarks and history, and places where that term appears on the current page. So how do you navigate? Apple has expanded its gesture support to Safari, letting you swipe to the right to go back a page, or to the left to go forward a page. This capability has actually been in Safari on OS X for some time, so it’s somewhat surprising that it’s only now making its way to the touchscreen-based OS. iCloud Tabs have also moved to the tab interface; you scroll down past your list of open tabs to see what pages are open on your other devices. Plus, in a very smart move, Apple has moved the Private browsing feature here, rather than burying it deep in the Settings app. This makes it much easier to use, and far more likely that people will actually remember that it’s there.

bottom left to right: Drop it like it’s hot. AirDrop is probably the easiest way to share photos and other files between you and other iOS 7 users. On the tab. The 3D tab interface is an improvement in Safari for the iPhone, as is the more prominent private browsing option.

BOTTOM LINE We’ve focused mainly on the highlights, but there’s a lot more that’s new in iOS 7, and you’ll find plenty about it all in Macworld Australia. We’ve spent a decent amount of time with iOS 7 since its debut earlier this year. We like it. There – we said it. We’re pro-iOS 7. To us, the new interface looks sleek and clean and modern. It smacks of purpose-driven design. Whenever we returned to our

iOS 6 reference devices, the interface seemed funny and cartoonish – the same way we think the early Aqua stylings of OS X would look from the vantage point of Mountain Lion. The world has moved on, and a smartphone OS today doesn’t need to do the same thing that it did six years ago when the market was still brand new. C

– DAN MOREN


FEATURE

How well is the company doing, really? ILLUSTRATIONS BY TAYLOR CALLERY

Keeping track of how Apple is doing as a company is hard. The stock price goes up, the stock price goes down – often without any apparent reason. We hear one set of marketshare numbers for smartphones, tablets and computers one day, and an entirely different set the next. Apple is doing well, says one group of analysts, while another says Apple is doomed. So how is Apple doing, really? To get some sense of the company’s health, we asked four writers to dig into four different sets of numbers: the ones that Apple itself publishes every quarter, as part of its required financial reporting, regarding the sales of its four principal product lines – Macs, iPhones, iPads and (yes, still) iPods. We asked those writers to look at those numbers over as long a period as they could, to see if they could extract some long-term signals from those short-term trends. The bottom line: Apple is doing just fine, thanks, but it is also facing some very definite – and very dangerous – threats in each of those four product lines. Those threats make this period – the spring and summer of 2013, when the company is announcing and ship new products in at least three of its lines – one of the most crucial in the company’s history.

NOVEMBER 2013 www.macworld.com.au

Apple by the numbers

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FEATURE

THE MAC

BY THE NUMBERS. BY IAN PAUL

T

he PC market as a whole may be shrinking, but one segment of the market that isn’t declining is the Mac. Even as the Mac makes up an everdiminishing portion of Apple’s overall revenues, the Mac’s popularity has grown by leaps and bounds in the last decade.

MAC SHIPMENTS UP In 2003, Apple shipped just more than three million Macs worldwide, the majority of which were desktop PCs. At the time, the Mac was the largest contributor to Apple’s bottom line, accounting for more than 72 percent of Apple revenue. Jump ahead to Apple’s 2012 financial year: the company sold more than 18 million Macs, and yet those Mac sales amounted to less than 15 percent of Apple’s bottom line. How does that happen? The most significant shift in Apple’s business over the last decade, of course, was the advent of its mobile operating system – iOS – and its related devices. Beginning with the release of the original iPhone in 2007, followed by the iPad three years later, Apple set off a tectonic shift in personal

APPLE’S EVOLUTION AS A COMPANY, ITS INDUSTRIAL DESIGN AESTHETIC, AND THE ABILITY OF PRODUCTS LIKE THE iPOD AND iOS DEVICES TO DRAW NEW USERS TO THE PLATFORM – ALL HELPED TO PUSH THE MAC’S GROWTH AS WELL. computing – a change that is still wreaking havoc on the entire PC market, as well as on Apple itself. Because many of us are now equipped with smartphones and tablets, we have less need for PCs in 2013 than we did even five years ago. Analysts and critics still debate whether mobile devices have outright decimated the PC market or have just delayed purchases of PC replacements by a few years. The market impact of iOS aside, the Mac has unquestionably increased in popularity compared with other, nonApple computers. Between 2009 and 2010, the number of Macs sold rose by more than 31 percent. The following year, Apple

recorded nearly 22.5 percent growth for its computer business. That continued success has three reasons. First, Apple’s own retail stores gave the company more direct communication with Mac buyers and let them get hands-on time with the company’s products. “Direct retail is one of the big success factors for Apple,” says Mikako Kitagawa, principal research analyst for market research firm Gartner. Second, Apple made the decision in 2006 to switch from using PowerPC processors to using Intel chips, a change in CPUs that gave the Mac’s performance a leg up. “There was no comparison between PowerPC and Intel at the time,” said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy. “[Intel] was more powerful, it was more power efficient, and it also scaled from the low end with notebooks to the high end with workstations and the pro market.” The third reason for the Mac’s continued ability to thrive is that in the same year that Apple switched to Intel processors, demand for notebooks began to regularly exceed sales of desktop machines for the first time. Soon after, Apple introduced the MacBook Air, a laptop designed for the mobile era. Initial Air models were criticised for being slow and lacking ports, but they were slim,


FEATURE

NOVEMBER 2013 www.macworld.com.au

light and beautifully designed, and that’s what seemed to matter for the mobile market. Design touches first seen in the MacBook Air filtered through the rest of the Mac product line. Other MacBook models were soon sporting Air-like components such as solid-state drives, sealed batteries and unibody designs. These same features have now filtered through to the rest of the PC industry.

MACS NOW A SMALLER SLICE OF APPLE’S PIE A decade ago, Apple’s share of the PC market was small – around two percent of all desktops and laptops worldwide. “In 2003, [the PC industry] really was all about desktops,” Moorhead says. “It was still a pretty big period of growth, particularly in the emerging regions that weren’t really able to ever afford a Mac.” In more established markets, says Moorhead, consumers were becoming fascinated with Apple’s industrial design and with the benefits that OS X offered such as easy-to-use video and photo management. But Apple’s higher prices compared with what you could buy on the Windows side meant that Apple’s primary consumers were those willing to pay a premium for the Apple experience.

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As recently as 2006, Apple’s market share was still hovering around two percent. But by the end of 2012 the Mac’s popularity had more than doubled to about five percent of worldwide desktop and laptop shipments. Apple’s evolution as a company, its industrial design aesthetic, and the ability of products like the iPod and iOS devices to draw new users to the platform – all helped to push the Mac’s growth as well. But at the same time that the Mac was becoming more popular, the overall appeal of personal computers would begin to wane. The rise of tablets, especially the iPad, would help precipitate a dramatic decline in worldwide PC demand. Tablet shipments surged from zero in 2009 to more than 100 million by 2012, thanks to tablets’ ease of use, faster response times, greater portability and sub-$600 prices compared with PCs. PC shipments, meanwhile, have steadily declined quarter after quarter. Gartner reported in July that the PC industry was in the longest slump ever seen, and it’s not clear when – or even whether – things might turn around.

LOOKING AHEAD Mac sales appear set to continue increasing, although perhaps more slowly than in recent years.

“We think that Mac share will grow gradually, but continue to be small,” says Gartner’s Kitagawa. A PC market in retreat, combined with Apple’s minimum $1000 price tag, will keep the Mac beyond the reach of mass-market buyers who aren’t willing to pony up that much for a computer. Whether or not the Mac’s popularity exceeds current expectations, MacBooks and iMacs still have an important role to play in Apple’s overall business. Along with Samsung and Lenovo, Apple is at the forefront of the socalled post-PC era. Instead of desktop or laptop computers handling each and every computing task, smartphones, tablets, laptops and PCs are playing complementary roles in our everyday lives. Each device now suits specific situations, from crunching massive spreadsheets at the office to catching up on reading into the wee hours before bedtime. Looking into the more-distant future, it’s anybody’s guess as to what’s in store for Apple’s desktops and laptops. Will the Mac and iPad remain separate, or will the two converge into one device? Anything’s possible, but given Microsoft’s struggle to realise its vision of a world of tablets, laptops and desktops all running Windows 8, Apple’s steady approach to the Mac’s evolution seems like the right course.


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FEATURE

THE iPHONE

BY THE NUMBERS. BY DAN MOREN.

T

he iPhone is not only Apple’s most prominent and iconic product at present, it’s also the most important to the company’s bottom line. But that significance also means that competitors have painted a big bull’s-eye on the iPhone’s back – and uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.

THE APPLE OF APPLE’S EYE Right now, no arena is more contentious for Apple – with more and more competition – than the smartphone market. Although the company isn’t yet in the position of living or dying by the iPhone’s sales figures, it’s impossible to dispute that the iPhone is the crown jewel of Apple’s product line. In 2012, Apple sold 125 million iPhones, which accounted for more than half of the company’s revenue that year. Were the bottom to fall out of the smartphone market tomorrow, Apple wouldn’t necessarily be ruined, but neither would the situation be copacetic. So, it’s hardly surprising that iPhone sales are the subject of intense scrutiny from analysts, tech pundits and even rank-and-file consumers. So far, the company – and its customers and investors – have had little to worry about. Even as Apple has found itself confronting numerous challengers in the smartphone market, the iPhone has remained a top performer in Apple’s lineup. The handset has maintained a steady

upward trend since its release in 2007, every year racking up better sales, pulling in more revenue and accounting for a higher percentage of the company’s total revenue than it did the year before. Steve Jobs once described the iPhone as one leg of the three-legged stool that made up Apple’s business; the other two were the Mac and music (on its iPods). Over the past six years, the latter two legs have become shorter, while the ever-popular iPhone has picked up the slack.

CHALLENGE AND OPPORTUNITY Though Apple certainly did upend the smartphone market, it didn’t by any stretch of the imagination enter it as the dominant player. In its early days, the iPhone was the upstart challenging the entrenched old guard of the BlackBerry and, to a lesser extent, Windows Mobile. Even more challenging than its somewhat late arrival to the smartphone party was the

fact that smartphones in general had made only a relatively small dent in a market dominated by so-called feature phones – handsets occupying the tier of the market between basic mobile phones and high-end smartphones. Striking that balance in the market has been Apple’s great challenge – and its opportunity – over the past few years. It wasn’t until the second quarter of 2013 that smartphone sales finally exceeded sales of traditional feature phones. But even now, with feature phones accounting for just under half of the world’s mobile phone sales, the market still has plenty of room for smartphone sales – and Apple – to expand. Overall, though, Apple’s share of the smartphone market has remained pretty steady. According to market research firm Gartner, the iPhone captured eight percent of the market in 2008, growing to 14 percent in 2009, 16 percent in 2010 and


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FEATURE

then holding steady at 19 percent of the market in 2011 and 2012. Meanwhile, Google’s smartphone platform, Android, has skyrocketed from a mere four percent of the market in 2009 to an admittedly impressive 66 percent of the market in 2012. But those gains are coming less at iOS’s expense than from the likes of BlackBerry, Symbian and other older platforms. That suggests that iOS’s segment of the market is actually pretty stable, and perhaps not as besieged as some people have feared. Part of that is because of fragmentation in the smartphone market, and not just because of the much ballyhooed multitude of Android versions. iOS’s main rival in the smartphone market is Android, yes, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Apple’s main rival is Android’s developer, Google. In fact, Google makes relatively little money off of Android, since it gives the operating system away for free to its hardware partners. The only direct revenue it pulls in is from the phones that are made by its Motorola subsidiary. Samsung, on the other hand, has risen from the scrum to become the primary purveyor of Android-powered smartphones, and the Korean company has positioned itself as the antithesis of Apple in the market, in patent battles and

BUT THE iPHONE IS MATURING AS A PRODUCT, AND THAT MEANS A NEW SET OF CHALLENGES ARE ARISING. WHERE DOES APPLE’S HANDSET GO FROM HERE? in popular culture. At any given point in time, the company seems to offer half a dozen different phones, at a variety of screen sizes and price points. Apple, for its part, still does very well when it comes to its balance sheet. While the company doesn’t break out profits across its individual lines, the company as a whole continues to make money hand over fist. But the iPhone is maturing as a product, and that means a new set of challenges are arising. Where does Apple’s handset go from here? It’ll be interesting to see what the new lower-priced iPhone 5c will do for Apple’s bottom line and market share. The thinking goes that an iPhone with a smaller price tag could help Apple compete at the low end of the market; of course, Apple is already

trying to appeal to that segment by offering previous years’ phones at lower prices. That strategy hasn’t yielded entirely positive results, though. In Apple’s third quarter of 2013, the average selling price of an iPhone dropped below the $600 mark for the first time since 2009. That drop has been attributed, in large part, to a greater proportion of the iPhones sold being those older, cheaper models. A new model of iPhone, built from the ground up to be more affordable, could help reverse that trend (see page 16).

APPLE HOLDS ITS CUSTOMER BASE Conventional wisdom in the smartphone market is that Apple is losing its grip. But reality doesn’t necessarily match conventional wisdom. A pitched battle is under way, but as in the operating system wars of the 1980s and 1990s, this isn’t necessarily a zero-sum game: Apple’s competitors don’t need to lose for Apple to win, and vice versa. In fact, the success of the iPhone seems largely to mirror the success of Apple’s contender in that earlier fight: the Mac. The company has established a niche where it can appeal to consumers who value a high-quality product and are willing to pay a premium price. As such, Apple has maintained its customer base, even as competitors have flooded the market with cheaper alternatives. And even in a world where mobile devices are becoming more and more prominent, the Mac is still going strong, almost 30 years after it debuted. Contrast that with the relatively short-lived, if meteoric, success of Apple’s other flagship product, the iPod. While it achieved great heights in its time, in recent years it has found itself superseded by the iPhone’s many and varied capabilities, and its sales and share of Apple’s revenues have declined accordingly. In the long run, even more important than Apple just keeping up with the competition is that the company continues to do what it does best and offers compelling, innovative products that consumers are willing to pay for.


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FEATURE

BUT EVEN THOUGH THE iPOD IS STILL PROFITABLE, IT’S DYING. AND APPLE HAS NO REASON TO FIGHT ITS INEVITABLE DEMISE.

THE iPOD

BY THE NUMBERS. BY LEX FRIEDMAN

In 2010, the iPhone and iPod began to cross paths in terms of their percentages of Apple’s overall revenue. The iPhone generated 39 percent of the company’s revenue that year, compared with the iPod’s 13 percent.

T

hough the iPod still generates billions of dollars in revenue for Apple each year, it’s clear that the portable digital music player’s heyday has passed – not that anyone in Cupertino is likely to be too concerned about that. When the iPod debuted on October 23, 2001, it didn’t start out as a smash hit. It was not the first portable digital music player, of course, and it then worked only with the Mac. It also earned scorn from some people for having no wireless capability and for offering less space than its competitors. Apple sold just 125,000 iPods in its first few months. But soon the iPod exploded in popularity. In 2002, Apple made PCcompatible iPods, added more storage capacity and lowered the prices. And in October 2003, two years after unveiling the first iPod, Apple shipped iTunes for Windows. Until then, PC customers had had to sync their iPods with third-party software. But iTunes’ tight integration with both the iPod and Apple’s nascent iTunes Music Store propelled the device to massive popularity. In 2003, Apple sold just under a million iPods, for net revenue of US$345 million. Sales more than quadrupled the next year – Apple sold 4.4 million iPods for US$1.3 billion in revenue. In 2006, iPods accounted for US$7.7 billion

DROP IT LIKE IT’S HOT

– from more than 39 million units sold that year – making up a full 40 percent of Apple’s total revenue that year. Then, something happened.

THE iPHONE JUGGERNAUT Over the next two years, the iPod’s revenue would continue to grow: US$8.3 billion in 2007, over US$9.1 billion in 2008 – more than 50 million iPod units in each of those years. But while the iPod’s dramatic growth continued, the device’s impact on Apple’s overall business only shrank. In 2008, it dropped from constituting 40 percent of Apple’s revenue (in 2006) to merely 28 percent. That’s because Apple introduced another product in late 2007 that would blunt the iPod’s impact on the company – a little device called the iPhone. What helped drive Apple’s ascendancy, as one of the world’s most valuable companies, was the stunning amount of revenue generated by the iPhone.

In 2011, Apple sold 42.6 million iPods. The following year, it sold just 35.2 million. Even at these depressed numbers, however, it’s worth noting that the iPod still generated US$5.6 billion in revenue for Apple in 2012. That’s the kind of ‘declining’ business many companies would be happy to suffer. But even though the iPod is still profitable, it’s dying. And Apple has no reason to fight its inevitable demise. Instead of trying to artificially prop up the iPod market, Apple is simply focusing the bulk of its attention on the areas of its business the growth of which has not peaked. That’s why the iPhone has a great music player and Apple has released iTunes Radio (as part of iOS 7 for US customers). These kinds of technologies sell more iPhones – and iPhones are substantially more profitable than iPods. But that doesn’t mean Apple will stop making iPods any time soon. Even a company as rich as Apple won’t give up on a multibillion-dollar business until it’s forced to.


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FEATURE

THE iPAD

BY THE NUMBERS. BY JARED NEWMAN In three short years, Apple’s tablet revolutionised the PC industry. With that work done, the iPad is taking a breather. Although it was once the fastest-selling electronic device of all time, sales have slowed considerably over the last year and they actually declined year-over-year in the third quarter of 2013. Here’s how Apple got to this point, and what the slowing sales mean for the company going forward.

iPAD IMPACT ON APPLE When Apple introduced the iPad in January 2010, the rest of the industry was miles behind. Despite many months of rumours about an imminent Apple tablet, no other tech company was prepared to match Apple’s sleek, $600 app-consumption machine. Early Android tablets like Samsung’s Galaxy Tab and Motorola’s Xoom were flops, critically and commercially. When Google finally released a version of Android designed for tablets, it was buggy and slow, with few tablet-optimised apps available for it. Apple’s iPad wasn’t just the best tablet on the market, it was the only one worth considering. Apple reaped the rewards. In its 2010 fiscal year, Apple sold 7.5 million iPads, and in 2011, sales more than quadrupled to 32.4 million. With every passing quarter, year-over-year sales doubled or sometimes

tripled. The last fiscal year – which ended in September 2012 – Apple sold 58.3 million iPads, pulling in net revenues of US$32.4 billion. The iPad seemed to be on track for the same explosive growth that the iPhone has enjoyed for years. Even better for Apple, the iPad was slowly representing a bigger slice of the company’s revenues, reaching 26.2 percent of net sales revenue in Q3 2012. When iPad sales doubled or tripled, the tablet’s revenues doubled or tripled nearly in lockstep. But Apple’s quarterly earnings statements show a drastic change in the fourth quarter of its 2012 fiscal year, which covers July through to September. Year-over-year sales increased by just 26.2 percent, and revenue jumped by only 9.3 percent. The next two quarters were better, with unit sales up by 48.1 percent and 65.1 percent year-over-year, but slower revenue gains of 65.1 percent and 32.7 percent showed that average selling prices were falling. Then came the 2013 third quarter’s unit sales decline, from 17 million units to 14.6 million units year-over-year, along with a 30.5 percent drop in revenue. The pattern of growth that once mirrored that of the iPhone had come to an abrupt end. “Our view is that the iPad is being accepted faster but likely will not be as important as the iPhone over time,” UBS analyst Steven Milunovich wrote in a research note that was shared with Macworld. What’s behind the sudden sales drop? Partly, it’s just a matter of timing, as Apple shifted its launch of new iPads

EVEN BETTER FOR APPLE, THE iPAD WAS SLOWLY REPRESENTING A BIGGER SLICE OF THE COMPANY’S REVENUES, REACHING 26.2 PERCENT OF NET SALES REVENUE IN Q3 2012. from autumn to spring and didn’t benefit from the usual new hardware sales spike. Milunovich, in his research note, offered a few other theories, such as longer upgrade cycles for tablets compared with smartphones, and faster market penetration and narrower appeal than smartphones in general.

PRICE DROPS A CLUE But none of those theories explain the drop in the iPad’s average selling prices. Sameer Singh, an analyst best-known for his accurate cost estimates of Apple products, has suggested that Apple’s shrinking revenue growth was a result of the iPad going mainstream. When Apple began selling the iPad 2 in the autumn of 2012, it provided a lower entry level for new customers. The iPad mini lowered the entry-level cost even further, at the expense of Apple’s profit margins. “Early iPad buyers may have opted for models with higher storage, but the market began moving to consumers looking for a ‘good enough’ tablet,” Singh said in an email interview.


FEATURE

NOVEMBER 2013 www.macworld.com.au

It’s also worth noting that when Apple dropped the price of the original iPad as the iPad 2 debuted, the company didn’t feel the need to permanently offer an iPad at that price point, because the company still didn’t have any noteworthy competition. Everything changed, however, when cheap tablets began to flood the market. To blame slower iPad sales on hardware cycles and late adopters would be to understate the profound impact that cheaper tablets are having on Apple’s business.

COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE After more than a year of futile attempts to mimic the full-size iPad, Android tablet makers finally found a better angle of attack: 7in slates like the Samsung Galaxy Tab II and the Amazon Kindle Fire undercut Apple on price and were more portable than the full-size iPad. Although they didn’t receive the same critical praise as Apple’s iPad, their $200-and-up price tags proved an effective lure. These iPad alternatives started getting traction in late 2011, when Amazon debuted the Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble launched the Nook Tablet. According to IDC, Apple’s rivals grabbed 48.3 percent of the market during that holiday quarter. From there, Apple’s rivals began experiencing the kind of dramatic growth that the iPad had enjoyed in its early days, with year-over-year shipments increasing by at least 100 percent in nearly every quarter. In the quarter ending December 2012, iPad alternatives were finally on top, with 29.6 million units shipped, compared with 22.9 million iPads sold. A theory circulated, shortly after Amazon’s Kindle Fire launched, that these cheap tablets were like fruitcakes: because Kindle Fire shipments tended to crater after the holiday season, pundits wondered whether these were the kinds of tablets that you bought as gifts but would never use yourself. That theory isn’t holding up as strongly anymore, as Android has matured and tablets like Google’s Nexus 7 have launched to critical acclaim. According to IDC, Apple’s rivals shipped 29.7 million units in the first quarter of 2013 – a narrow gain over the previous quarter. The post-holiday cratering of Android tablet

33

shipments has ceased, and last quarter, while iPad sales were falling, Apple’s rivals shipped 30.5 million units – a gain of 169.9 percent year-over-year. If you can put a positive spin on this trend for Apple, it’s that the iPad mini now looks like a brilliant defensive move. Rhoda Alexander, senior manager of monitors and tablets for IHS iSuppli, said that the iPad mini represented 60 percent of iPad sales last quarter. IHS projects that the mini will represent 61 percent of iPad sales in all of 2013. The market has shifted toward smaller, cheaper tablets – and it’s a good thing Apple was ready. Sameer Singh says that if Apple hadn’t introduced the mini, the iPad’s sales probably would have been far worse than they are today. “I think it’s now clear that the full-size iPad’s market position wasn’t sustainable given the influx of low-cost devices,” he wrote in an email. The other upside for the iPad is that it continues to outshine its rivals in usage share. Despite Android’s marketshare gains, people don’t seem to be using those iPad alternatives as much.

“Research suggests a substantial buyer remorse for low-cost tablets,” UBS’s Steven Milunovich wrote in his research report. “Apple might be right about its superior user experience luring Android customers to switch over time, and growth will reaccelerate.” Apple’s success with the 9.7in iPad also puts the company in a better position than Android tablet makers, who have struggled to sell tablets with larger screens. IHS iSuppli’s Alexander believes that the market will swing back to larger tablets – perhaps even larger than 10in – in 2015 and 2016, as people seek to derive more productivity from their tablets. “The challenge for Apple and the Android players in the market will be, if you want to move this product to a larger screen size, you have got to make a use case that makes it compelling for users,” Alexander said in an interview. In the meantime, look for Apple to recalibrate. Gone are the days of magic and revolution – and the extraordinary sales that came with it – but the iPad still has room to grow. C


34

PRODUCTS

Magellan Echo smartwatch The Magellan Echo connects to an iPhone via Bluetooth to sync fitness information, such as distance, time, elevation and pace in real time. Users can control their fitness app with the screen or buttons of the smartwatch and even adjust the music app on their smartphone. The Echo, available from November, features a rugged and showerproof design. A Bluetooth-equipped heart rate monitor is an optional extra. $149; $199 (with heart rate monitor) / Magellan / www.magellangps.com.au

GEAR S GIZMOES GOODI

GADGET GUIDE Kingston SSDNow E50

yurbuds earphones

Cygnett WORKMATE UTILITY for iPhone 5/5s

Kingston’s latest enterprise-class solid-state drive, the SSDNow E50, is made to deliver enterprise-level performance to companies without heavy endurance needs – at a more cost-effective price than the company’s E100. It helps alleviate I/O latencies and server bottlenecks by providing greater IOPS and higher bandwidth, while offering advanced data integrity protection. It comes in 100GB, 240GB and 480GB capacities.

No one likes it when earphones pop out. The yurbuds range use TwistLock technology to secure your earbuds in place, even during the most intense workout sessions according to yurbuds. The earphone range, featuring a number of models in a variety of colours, boast 15mm drivers and allow ambient noise to keep users aware of their surroundings.

Melbourne-based case maker Cygnett has unveiled a new protective case for the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s. The WORKMATE UTILITY, which features a quadmaterial system for 360-degree protection and is available in three colours, comes in two pieces that snap together to cover an iPhone and offers button overlays and dust and weather resistant ports. Watch the case in action at au.cygnett.com/project_utility.

From $40 - $125 yurbuds yurbuds.com.au

$39.95 Cygnett au.cygnett.com

POA Kingston www.kingston.com/en


PRODUCTS

35 NOVEMBER 2013 www.macworld.com.au

Belkin NetCam Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision

Bower & Wilkins P7 headphones

Belkin’s NetCam Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision allows users to monitor their homes on their iOS or Android smartphone or tablet. The Wi-Fi camera provides wide-angle 720p video, infared night vision, audio and movement-detection. Video can also be saved to a mobile device for sharing and the camera can connect with the Belkin WeMo range.

English audio company, Bower & Wilkins has launched its first over-ear headphones, the P7. The black headphones feature noise-isolating, dual cavity ear cushions, brushed aluminium, soft leather, in-line remote and microphone and two 40mm drivers. The headphones weigh 290g and can be folded to slide into the accompanying case.

$129.95 Belkin www.belkin.com/au

$449.95 Bower & Wilkins www.bowers-wilkins.net

Twelve South SurfacePad for MacBook Pro Here’s some relief for your poor, overworked wrists. The US$29.99 SurfacePad for MacBook Pro provides a “warm weather work surface” on your laptop, also helping to preserve that MacBook’s resale value by keeping the palmrests free of the grime and oils. The SurfacePad for MacBook Air debuted a while back; this version expands the line to fit 13in and 15in MacBook Pro models. US$29.99 + shipping Twelve South twelvesouth.com

Just Mobile AluCup The AluCup from European designer Just Mobile is a multipurpose stand for an iPhone, iPod or iPad mini. The desktop stand is a combination of high-grade aluminium and soft rubber and features four, 90-degree slots for a cable to charge the device. The AluCup is available in four colours – black, red, blue and yellow. $29.95 + shipping / Just Mobile / www.just-mobile.com


36

APPLICATIONS

MAC GEMS

NEW SOFTWARE FROM THE MAC APP STORE

BATTERY HEALTH UTILITIES FIBLAB Free

TOP PICK

Anyone who has a portable Mac needs to know a handful of tricks to help squeeze a few more computing minutes out of their MacBook battery. Battery Health provides the data you need to maximise your Mac laptop’s battery power. This menu bar item shows your battery’s current charge both as a percentage of a full charge and in terms of the number of milliampere hours remaining. The app also shows how much of the battery’s original capacity remains. One of the app’s coolest features is its real-time power-usage chart, which gives you instant feedback on how an action such as closing applications, turning off Wi-Fi, or tweaking the display brightness affects the amount of power your laptop consumes. Available via fiblab.com.

HEALTHIER: BREAK REMINDER

CLEAR DAY

Shuo Yang $4.49

Vimov $2.99

HEALTH & FITNESS

Healthier, an app that resides in the menu bar, prompts you to take scheduled breaks so that you get up from your seat. You can set how often you’d like to be interrupted and how long the break should be. Clicking the menubar icon opens a window that displays the time remaining until your next break.

WEATHER

When opening Clear Day, you’re practically hit in the face by a giant visual display of weather conditions in your currently selected city. You can see weekly and daily forecasts, and Clear Day also permits you to set parameters for severe weather alerts that will send notifications to your Notification Center. Clear Day’s menu bar icon provides the basic weather information that most people are likely to need.

QUICKSAND

TOTALFINDER

Zibity Free

Binary Age US$18

PRODUCTIVITY

Dropbox is convenient, but it requires you to curate files. Quicksand keeps a copy of your recently opened files in one convenient spot. You simply specify how many of your files you want to keep a copy of and where you want to keep them. You can opt to place the folder in your Dropbox or other cloud storage, giving you access to the files from anywhere. Available via www.zibity.com.

UTILITIES

TotalFinder offers the real power tools for users who need more control over their files. TotalFinder is a plug-in for the Finder that goes way beyond tabbed browsing. Its Dual Mode displays two folders side by side in tabs to make shuffling files around easier. You can also show system files, change how folders and files are listed together, and much more. Available via totalfinder.binaryage.com.


APPLICATIONS

LITTLEIPSUM

Minder Softworks US$29

Dustin Senos Free

PRODUCTIVITY

If you ever need to document the contents of your house or office, MyStuff Pro can ease the process. It keeps track of all your possessions by grouping them into categories, recording their value and even reminding you when warranties expire. You can input data about each item by using your device’s camera to scan a barcode. The app can also produce a neatly printed spreadsheet with the necessary details. Available via www.mindersoftworks.com.

PRODUCTIVITY

When you need to generate placeholder text, LittleIpsum can speed things up. A simple menu-bar app, LittleIpsum stays out of your way until you need it. Click the icon and you can copy by the word, by the sentence, or by the paragraph. It’s a simple way to add bits of placeholder content to anything from blocks of text to menu items. Available via littleipsum.com.

CLOUD MATE

SOUNDBUNNY

RED When Excited US$6.99

Prosoft Engineering US$9.99

UTILITIES

Cloud Mate offers features that Apple’s iCloud should but doesn’t. On the left of the app’s two-pane interface sit all of your apps that use your iCloud account for syncing. Click an app, and the right pane lists all the documents and data synced in iCloud for that app. Best of all, Cloud Mate gives you access to Photo Stream without requiring you to launch iPhoto. Available via www.rwe-uk.com.

HORUS NEWS READER NEWS

Fallen Leaf Soft $8.49

AUDIO

Nothing is more jarring than to have sound blare unexpectedly out of your Mac’s speakers – which can happen when you switch apps. SoundBunny protects you from these auditory assaults by letting you set the volume level of each running app individually. Thus, your Beethoven symphony can play with the volume set to 11, while Mail can notify you of new messages at a lower level. Available via www.prosofteng.com.

TOP PICK

Horus News Reader is an RSS feed reader that separates itself from the rest of the RSS herd by placing immense importance on design and the graphic presentation of stories. You add sites to your reading lists by clicking the ‘add feed’ button and then pasting in the URLs of your favourite news sites. Stories are displayed horizontally as small square tiles containing the name of and art from the article. Using your mouse or trackpad allows you to easily swipe across the story list and choose which story you want to view next. After you click a story box, Horus opens the story in a new window and displays it there.

NOVEMBER 2013 www.macworld.com.au

MYSTUFF PRO

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38

GEAR S GIZMOES GOODI

APPLE FOR KIDS

Orbotix Sphero 2.0 Sphero 2.0 is a robotic ball controlled by a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. The second edition, Sphero 2.0, can roll up to speeds of 2.1 metres a second, which is twice as fast as before. It features new multicolour LEDs with millions of possible colours, three accelorometers and three gyrometers included in the ball. It’s also waterproof and interacts with a variety of iOS apps. Available at iworldaustralia.com.au. $179.95 / Orbotix / www.gosphero.com

Griffin Crayola Light Marker

Cygnett Crystal case

Combined with a free multi-activity app, the Crayola Light Marker sends an invisible beam of light to your iPad’s front-facing camera, which then allows you to colour, play games, solve puzzles and create glow-in-the dark art. Users can play Dot to Dot, Splatter Paint, Hide ‘n’ Seek and enjoy free drawing with digital markers, crayons, paintbrushes and more.

Kids love a splash of colour and Cygnett’s Crystal case for the iPhone 5c lets the smartphone show off its vibrant polycarbonate casing. The clear case fits the iPhone 5c snugly, leaving the top power button and bottom ports of the iPhone accessible. The rear of the case features a camera cutout and there are three cutouts down the left-hand side for the volume controls.

US$29.99 + shipping Griffin Technology www.griffintechnology.com

$24.95 Cygnett au.cygnett.com

Divoom Bluetune Bean Portable and vibrant in appearance, the Divoom Bluetune Bean features a Bluetooth speaker and speakerphone that children can clip to a bag or an item of clothing. Available in six colours, the Bluetune Bean has a built-in rechargeable battery with a six-hour playback time, comes with a metal carabineer and weighs 107g. $49.95 Anyware www.anyware.com.au


APPLE FOR KIDS

39 NOVEMBER 2013 www.macworld.com.au

Belkin LEGO Builder Case

Kensington SafeGrip for iPad

GoPro HERO3+ Black Edition

If your kid’s a LEGO fan, this may be the case for them. Available for the iPhone 5 and fifthgeneration iPod touch, the LEGO Builder Cases from Belkin allow for creations to be built onto the case’s integrated LEGO baseplate. According to Belkin, the case is made with a “semi-flexible outer frame for shock absorption, button protection, and unobstructed access to audio ports and speakers”.

Children can, at times, get a little rough will their toys and an iPad is no exception. The SafeGrip cover from Kensington adds rugged, padded protection for an iPad, ideal for small children or communal use in a classroom environment. The SafeGrip has a handle, stand, button overlays and cutouts. There is also a screen protector, stylus holder and personalisation pocket.

Outdoor youngster? The GoPro HERO3+ Black Edition portable camera features a range of video resolutions up to 4K, captures 12MP photos up to 30 frames per second, connects via built-in Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi remote and is waterproof to 40m. The latest version is 20 percent smaller and lighter than its predecessors and boasts a 30 percent battery increase.

$39.95 Belkin www.belkin.com/au

$54.95 Kensington www.kensington.com

$529.99 GoPro www.gopro.com

Osprey Cyber Port Day Pack The Osprey Cyber Port Day Pack offers a series of compartments to store tech goodies, but, most importantly, boasts a window to access and use your iPad without talking it out of the bag. The bag also offers separate padded laptop and a tablet sleeve, magazine/document sleeves, organiser panels and a top padded grab handle. $109.95 / Osprey / www.ospreypacks.com


40

APPLICATIONS

APP GUIDE PLANTS VS ZOMBIES 2 GAMES PopCap

iPHONE & iPAD Free

Cool software for the iPad, iPhone & iPod touch.

TOP PICK

A man wearing a steel pot for a hat tells you that he wants to enjoy the taco he just ate again, so he’s going back in time with the help of his talking camper. That’s essentially the plot of Plants vs Zombies 2, the long-awaited sequel to the much beloved tower defence game that pits vegetation against the undead. This time your adventures in gardening take you to Ancient Egypt, 17th century pirate-infested waters and, eventually, the Old West. Despite a freemium model that nearly spoils the crop, PvZ2 is still a blue-ribbon mobile title with a charm and humour that is beyond garden variety. Although we’re not wild about the in-app purchases, Plants vs Zombies 2 is still a fun romp for fans of the original.

ITRAVELGO

QUIP

TRAVEL

PRODUCTIVITY

Oleg Baranovskyi iPHONE $0.99 Looking for a quick guide to the world’s most celebrated cities? The iTravelGo app for iPhone provides the following for each of the 36 cities on its roster: the 12 best attractions, the 15 most significant restaurants and 28 ‘exclusive’ hotels. Hotels can be reserved via Booking. com, and the app includes both maps and language guides to help you navigate the local culture.

Quip iPHONE & iPAD Free Quip is an attractive app but it is a word processor in only the most basic sense. You can add headings, images, tables, lists and links to other Quip documents, but that’s it. However, it collaborates well with others. As you edit a document, there is a running list of changes by other users. You can attach files or invite other collaborators.

MIXBIT

MICROSOFT ONENOTE

PHOTO & VIDEO

PRODUCTIVITY

AVOS iPHONE Free

Created by AVOS Systems, a company led by YouTube cofounders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, the free MixBit is a new iPhone video sharing app that has a social swapping component letting users in the MixBit community incorporate other people’s content into their own videos. Individual clips can be up to 16 seconds long, and you’re able to stitch up to 256 clips together.

Microsoft iPHONE & iPAD Free While still afflicted with reticence over providing a native iPad version of Office, Microsoft has updated OneNote for iPad to make it independent from its desktop counterpart. Specifically, note-takers can now create notebooks and create, delete and rename notebook sections on their OneNote for iPad. OneNote features automatic list detection and SkyDrive connectivity. A Microsoft account is required to use OneNote.


APPLICATIONS

WHERE’S MY WATER? 2

Silvio Rizzi iPHONE & iPAD $5.49

Disney iPHONE & iPAD Free

GAMES

NEWS

Reeder is a deceptively simple app. You sync your RSS subscriptions with a feed service, and then browse stories. The app conveniently caches story excerpts for you and displays them in an elegant format. Reeder 2 gives you your daily news fix in an easy-to-use package that feels right at home on iOS 7.

Where’s My Water? 2 feels like an advanced version of the first game. In each level, you must dig a passageway for water, goop or steam to flow to a pipeline. The levels are puzzling yet familiar, the challenges are well thoughtout, and the upgrades are there as a safety net if you need them.

VLC STREAMER

NASA EARTH AS ART

Hobbyist Software iPAD Free

NASA iPAD Free

EDUCATION

ENTERTAINMENT

Earth As Art is a collection of images that were sent back to this planet from a variety of NASA satellites during the past 15 years. These images do not look into space, but rather from space back to Earth. They shed light on a wide variety of ice, sea and land formations, focusing on their almost other-worldly beauty as seen from space. Worth a look.

VLC is a popular media-playback app. In addition to being able to transfer files to VLC over iTunes File Sharing, VLC can also download a file from a URL, view a network video stream or access files from your Dropbox. As video goes, VLC seems to be kind of a mixed bag. User can adjust the video brightness, contrast, hue, saturation, speed and gamma.

SMALL WORLD 2 GAMES

Days Of Wonder

iPAD $10.49

TOP PICK

As one of the first games to launch on the original iPad, Small World has been conquering empires and breaking hearts for some time, and now it’s back (in sequel form), following Days of Wonder’s successful Kickstarter drive earlier this year. Small World 2 takes the empire-wrangling, minion-managing gameplay of the original and lets far more people get in on the action. The original iPad release was limited to two players: Small World 2 lets up to five play over Bluetooth and WiFi, or in a pass and play mode, if you don’t mind sharing your tablet with others. You can also play online in real-time with GameCenter and Faceboook friends. If you own the original Small World – it’s completely free.

NOVEMBER 2013 www.macworld.com.au

REEDER 2

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42

STEP BY STEP

Freely capture your Mac audio Record your Mac’s audio for free with Soundflower. BY CHRISTOPHER BREEN ou’ve likely found yourself in this position more than once: Your Mac is playing audio that you’d love a permanent copy of, but the application you’re using doesn’t provide a way

Y

to do that. While you could turn to one of the few commercial Mac applications that perform this task, there’s a way to go about it that won’t cost you a cent. C

VITAL INFO Device: Mac Difficulty: Beginner Time required: 5 mins What you need: Soundflower (free; cycling74.com) OS X 10.2.8 or later

Menu options. Users can choose to place the Soundflowerbed shortcut in the Mac’s menu bar. Providing quick access to choose location of the Mac’s audio output.

In QuickTime. Apple’s free QuickTime Player has limited features but makes recording AAC files, encoded at 256 kbps, simple and painless.

High or Maximum. QuickTime Player allows users to select the direction the audio is heading and offers two options for audio quality – High and Maximum.

Tunes. Soundflower enables users to route the audio playing on their Mac into the Mac’s audio input circuitry, allowing them to then record any audio played by their Macs, such as iTunes.


STEP BY STEP

43 NOVEMBER 2013 www.macworld.com.au

1

Getting prepared. The first thing you need is a copy of Cycling 74’s Soundflower, which you can get from cycling74.com. Click on the Free Download link, choose the appropriate version for your Mac, click on the installer link and it will be downloaded to your Mac. Install Soundflower and, if asked to, restart your Mac.

2

3

Choosing the player. To perform the capture, launch QuickTime Player, choose New Audio Recording from the File menu, and in the window that appears, click on the small triangle on the right-hand side. To ensure the audio is heading in the right direction, make sure that Soundflower (2ch) is selected under the Microphone heading.

4

5

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Listen up. One thing you’ll immediately notice as you record is the sound of silence. To hear what your Mac is recording, launch the Soundflowerbed application, which, when the Soundflower application was installed, was placed inside the SoundFlower folder, now inside your Applications folder. A new menu will appear in the Mac’s menu bar. Click on it and choose the output you’d like to monitor from – headphones jacked into the Mac’s headphone port, for example.

Sort out the settings. Now move to System Preferences, select the Sound preference, and in the Input and Output tabs, select Soundflower (2ch). Doing this takes the audio playing on your Mac and routes into the Mac’s audio input circuitry, allowing you to then capture it. Quit System Preferences.

Quality choices. In the Audio area below you have two options – High and Maximum. Both produce an AAC file encoded at 256 kbps. The difference is that High quality records at a resolution of 44.1 kHz and Maximum records at a higher quality of 48 kHz. Select your preferred option, play the audio you wish to record and hit record in QuickTime Player.

Capture and save. Now go about your capture and, when you’re finished, click QuickTime Player’s Stop button. Close the window to name and save it as an audio file. This will save your recording as a 256kbps AAC file. And that’s it, capturing your Mac’s audio on the cheap.


44

SECRETS

Make iOS 7 less nausea-inducing A few quick fixes for those struggling with iOS 7. BY SERENITY CALDWELL

OS 7 has many snazzy effects and cool new animations, but it’s not for everyone. Some users have reported feeling dizzy from the operating system’s motion effects, while others are having issues reading the system’s default text. But you don’t have to deal with feeling ill every time you look at your iPhone – there’s another way. Here’s how to de-animate and re-boldify iOS 7.

i

REDUCE MOTION IN iOS 7 If the dynamic wallpaper movement on iOS 7 has you feeling seasick, don’t panic. There’s no need to throw your iPhone overboard. You can disable this animation and iOS 7’s other more drastic shifts by going to Settings > General > Accessibility > Reduce Motion. After you flick this switch, your home screen wallpaper should once again be as still as it was in iOS 6.

MAKE THE TEXT LARGER AND BOLDER Having trouble reading text in your apps? There are two solutions hidden away in Settings > General > Accessibility. The first, Larger Type, hooks into iOS 7’s Text Kit framework and lets you set a predefined text size for apps to use; you can make that text even bigger by flipping the Larger Dynamic Type toggle. Currently, Larger Type only works for apps that support it – this includes any built-in app on your device, but your third-party programs may not yet have implemented this feature. If it’s not large text you seek but thicker text, iOS offers a Bold Text option within the Accessibility screen. Enabling it does require rebooting your iOS device, but after you do so, your device’s default font is bolder all around.

above, left to right: To boldly go. Turn on the Bold Text switch to embolden fonts in iOS 7 (right). Darker times. Turn on the Increase Contrast switch to flatten the layers below Siri, Notification Center or Control Center (right).

right Shape switch. Enable the On/ Off Labels toggle to add shapes to your switches.

INCREASE CONTROL CENTER AND NOTIFICATION CENTER’S CONTRAST Thanks to iOS 7’s new layered view, Siri, Control Center and Notification Center appear to float above your current home screen or app when you open them. Sometimes, however, that contrast is a little rough, making it hard to see what’s on that top view. The Increase Contrast switch, found under Settings > General > Accessibility, removes the subtler blur in favour of a straight transparency gradient.

MAKE SURE A SWITCH IS ON OR OFF If you have trouble with colour, the On/Off Labels switch in Settings > General > Accessibility enables shapes under iOS 7’s white-and-green switches, so that you can tell when one is enabled or disabled. (The circle indicates a switch is disabled, while the vertical line indicates it’s enabled.)


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46

SECRETS

Do more with Messages Go beyond chatting to explore this tool’s powerful hidden options. BY CHRISTOPHER BREEN ountain Lion’s Messages can help you keep in touch with co-workers and friends. But the app hides some less obvious features, including screen sharing, remote slideshows and presentations, and the ability to view past chats.

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SHARE YOUR SCREEN WITH MESSAGES Messages lets you see and control the screen of another Mac over the internet. This invaluable feature enables us to troubleshoot a relative or friend’s computer from across the country. We share the screen: we tinker with a few things, and we let them know what we’re doing as we do it. As we share, we can talk to one another via the Mac’s microphone and speakers, avoiding the cost of a longdistance call. Someone probably plays a similar role in your circle of friends. If you need help, this is an easy way for that person to provide it.

This kind of screen sharing is great for collaboration because the two of you can take turns controlling the cursor and screen. Remember, however, that both of you can’t control the mouse or trackpad at the same time. In fact, competing for control is like fighting over an Ouija board possessed by uncooperative spirits. Get started with screen sharing. To start screen sharing, each person must use the same kind of account – AIM, Bonjour, Google Talk or Jabber. Screen sharing is unavailable through the iMessage protocol (meaning two iCloud accounts) or Yahoo. To share someone else’s screen, select that person’s name in your buddy list and, from the Buddies menu, choose Ask to Share [PersonX]’s Screen (where [PersonX] is the person you want to interact with). That person will receive an invitation via an alert sound and a dialogue box. To allow their screen to be shared, they simply click the

dialogue box. They can also elect to send you a text reply. For example, if they are in the middle of something, they can just click the Text Reply button and type “I can’t right this second. Try again in five minutes,” or the like. Conversely, you can share your screen with another person. To do so, select the person and choose Buddies > Share My Screen With [PersonX]. Your buddy will receive an invitation and can accept it by clicking the dialogue box that appears. Stop screen sharing. To end sharing of your screen, look in the menu bar for a flashing orange screen-sharing icon. Click this icon and then choose End Screen Sharing. The connection will break. To end sharing of a remote screen, click the small My Computer window to view the remote screen and then close the small sharedscreen window. Alternatively, you can choose Buddies > End Screen Sharing.


SECRETS

SHARE SLIDESHOWS AND PRESENTATIONS You can do more during your Messages chat session than just talk. If you’re linked by a video chat, you can share images and presentations. This feature is a tremendous business and collaboration tool. Start your video chat. First, establish a video chat between you and your buddy. (Both of you must use the same service – AIM, Bonjour, Google Talk or Yahoo.) To enable video chatting, select Video > Video Chat Enabled, and then click the camera icon next to the person’s name in the Buddies list to initiate the chat. To accept your invitation, the buddy must click a dialogue box that appears on their screen – at which point, the video chat will begin. If you’d like to chat with more than one person (Messages supports video chatting with up to three other people), hold down the c key and click the name of each person you wish to chat with. Then

This invaluable feature enables us to troubleshoot a relative or friend’s computer from across the country. click the camera icon next to one of the selected individuals. You’ll see your image in the smaller window in one of the chat window’s corners (you can drag the small window anywhere you like) and a larger portion containing your buddy’s image as projected by that Mac’s camera. Share an image or presentation. To share an image with someone, drag it into the video chat window. When you do, you’ll see that the window has two main areas. The upper area reads ‘Send to BuddyX’, while the lower

area says ‘Share With Theatre’. Drag the image into the window’s lower area, and it will expand to fill most of each participant’s video chat window. You’ll still be able to see the other person in a smaller window in one of the corners, so the person sharing the image can narrate and you can respond. But we mentioned slideshows, right? Correct. If you drag multiple images into the video chat window, Messages will begin a slideshow consisting of those images. You can let the slideshow run automatically, pause it by clicking the Pause button (and unpause it by clicking the Play button), and manually click backward or forward through the images by clicking the program’s back and forward arrow buttons. This feature works especially well for sharing a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation. Suppose that we wanted to hold a remote meeting with England’s Poison Oak Fancier’s League, to conduct a 15-minute presentation on the plant’s itchproducing properties. All we would have to do is drag our presentation into the Share With Theatre area of the window. If it were a PowerPoint presentation, we could use back and forward buttons to navigate through it. If it were a Keynote presentation, our copy of Keynote would launch, open the file and offer

Present from afar. Messages makes it easy to share a PowerPoint or (as here) Keynote presentation with one or more people who are a long distance away. Ask permission. You can’t use Messages to share a screen without first obtaining the other person’s permission to do so.

us a slideshow window for controlling our presentation. As in the case of a projected slideshow, viewers on the other end would see our face in a smaller window in a corner.

CAPTURE YOUR CONVERSATIONS To keep a copy of your online chats, choose Messages > Preferences, select the Messages tab, and enable the Save History When Conversations Are Closed option. From this point on, your conversations will be archived. To locate archived messages, go to the Finder, hold down the Option key, and choose Go > Library. In the Library window that appears, open the Messages folder and then open the Archive folder. Inside this folder is a series of folders named by their dates. When you open a folder, you’ll find files reflecting any chats that you held on that date. You can open the files in Messages, or you can select one of them and press the spacebar to view it in a Quick Look window. No doubt everyone you chat with is completely trustworthy and would never stoop to using your chats for nefarious purposes. Still, it’s worth knowing that whatever you type in Messages can be archived. So, as with any other kind of communication, it’s best to not put into words anything that you don’t want repeated outside your control.

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48

SECRETS

Five iCloud email tricks you may have missed Take advantage of all this free email account has to offer. BY KIRK MCELHEARN f you have an Apple ID, then you have an iCloud email account. This free account gives you up to 5GB of storage for your messages, minus what you use for documents and other data you store in the cloud. It’s easy to work with your iCloud email in Apple’s Mail, either on the Mac or on an iOS device. Still, you may not know about the many options and features available if you log in to iCloud via the web. Before you can take advantage of the following five tips, you need to turn on iCloud. Even if you have an Apple ID for use on the iTunes store, you may never have set up iCloud; for details on doing so, see www.macworld.com.au/83826.

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ACCESS EMAIL ANYWHERE While you may check your email on your Mac, iPhone or iPad, you can

also access your messages on the web. This option is useful not only if you need to obtain or send email from a shared computer, but also if you have to receive or send files when you’re on the road. Just log in to icloud.com and then click the Mail icon. You’ll have access to all of your email – and all of your contacts, if you’ve set iCloud to sync them – so you can send and receive both messages and files. The feature can be especially convenient if you need to grab a file and print it out when you’re visiting a client or a friend.

AVOID SPAM WITH ALIASES Although you have only one iCloud email account, you can set up aliases, or other addresses for sending and receiving email with that account. In the iCloud email

Create aliases to avoid spam. Set up email aliases to protect your main address from junk. Use an alias to sign up for online newsletters, for example, or to post on message boards.

preferences, click Accounts and then, below the account list, click Add an Alias. When you’re creating an alias, a warning will appear if the one you want is taken. You can choose up to three aliases; for instance, you may want one for shopping and another for friends, reserving your main account for work. To avoid receiving spam on your main address, use an alias when you have to register for a website.


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50

SECRETS

Blocking numbers from texting or calling you in iOS 7 Filter all of your email. You can create rules so the iCloud server will act on your email before the messages reach your Mac or your iOS device.

CREATE RULES THAT WORK ON ALL YOUR DEVICES You can set up rules – filters that act on incoming email – using Mail for OS X. But these rules work only on your Mac; they don’t affect your iPhone or iPad, unless you leave the Mac on all the time. If your Mac isn’t running, your email will simply flow into your iCloud account’s inbox. On the icloud.com website, you can set up rules that will move messages before they reach your devices. For example, you can filter email so that messages from your employer go into a specific mailbox. First, create a new mailbox. With iCloud on the web, click the plus sign (+) next to Folders, and then type a name for the new mailbox. Next, click the gear icon at the top right of the iCloud Mail interface, and choose Rules. Click Add a Rule, and select one of the conditions, such as if a message is from a specific person or has a subject with a particular word. In the next field, enter an email address (for a specific person), a domain name (for any messages coming from that domain), one or more words for subject filtering, or the like. In the next section, choose Move to Folder, Move to Trash or Forward to. Then select the folder that should receive the message, or the address to which you want to forward it. Click Done.

TELL COLLEAGUES YOU’RE AWAY Here’s something you can’t do in Mail on the Mac, or on iOS. If you’re away from work, you can set an auto-response to say when you’ll be back. Click the gear icon at the top right of the iCloud Mail page, and click Preferences. Click the Vacation icon, and check Automatically reply to Messages When They Are Received. Enter the text you’d like the system to send, and click Done. You can combine this tip with rules to route work messages to colleagues, too. After you’ve made the autoresponse, click Rules, create a rule for specific addresses or domains, and forward the messages to the person at work who’s filling in for you. When you get back, just delete the rule.

FORWARD TO ANOTHER ACCOUNT You can choose to forward all the messages received in your iCloud account to another account. This way, you can view your iCloud email when you check your main account – instead of checking two accounts, you can check just one. Click the gear icon at the top right of the iCloud Mail page, select Preferences, and click General. Next to Forwarding, check Forward My Email to, and enter an email address. Check Delete messages after forwarding if you don’t want messages clogging up your iCloud mailbox.

e’ve all been there. The survey takers keep trying to reach you, or the wrong number that keeps dialling you, never seeming to realise that you’re not the person they’re looking for. Blocking numbers usually requires the assistance of your mobile provider, but with iOS 7, you can block selected people from calling, texting or starting a FaceTime session with you. If you want to block someone, you can go about it one of two ways. Through your contacts list or through the Settings app. To block someone already on your contacts list, open the Contacts app, select a contact card, scroll down toward the bottom and tap Block this Caller. If you’re blocking someone in your Recents list of the Phone app, you’ll need to tap the ‘i’ to get their contact card, but aside from that, the process is the same. If you want to edit your blocked list more quickly, open the Settings app, then go to either Phone, Messages or FaceTime settings; scroll down to Blocked, and you can add or remove people from your blocked list. To add someone, tap Add New…; to remove someone, swipe a person’s name from right to left, then tap the Unblock button that appears. Keep in mind that if you block someone, they won’t be able to call you, send you text messages or start a FaceTime conversation with you. C

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52

HELP

STM READER TIP

!

OPEN ON THE LEFT By default, new tabs in Safari open on the right. But some folks want directional freedom; they yearn to break free from the tyranny of ‘the right is right’ when it comes to tab creation. You accomplish this leftyism with AppleScript; the code below is from reader xhinter. Once you’ve created the script, you can even give it a custom keyboard shortcut. tell application “Safari” if windows is {} then make new document else tell first window if miniaturized then set miniaturized to false make new tab at beginning with properties {URL:“bookmarks://”} set current tab to first tab tell application “System Events” to tell process “Safari” to tell menu bar 1 to tell menu bar item “File” to tell menu 1 to click menu item “Open Location...” else make new tab at beginning with properties {URL:“bookmarks://”} set current tab to first tab tell application “System Events” to tell process “Safari” to tell menu bar 1 to tell menu bar item “File” to tell menu 1 to click menu item “Open Location...” end if end tell end if end tell xhinter

■ EACH MONTH, STM gives a prize to the Macworld Australia reader who submits the best and most useful tip. (Undocumented tips preferred.) This month’s prize is a comfortable and portable velo 2 travel bag worth $119.95. Secured by two quick release buckles, the bag's main technology compartment is designed to accommodate a tablet and your reading material.The velo 2 also features a side-entry pocket for a laptop, a front organisation pocket and side utility pockets. Travellers will also appreciate the luggage pass-through for wheeled bags. www.stmbags.com.au

YOU CAN ASK THE MACWORLD AUSTRALIA TEAM ANY MAC- OR APPLE-RELATED QUESTIONS BY EMAILING EDITOR@MACWORLD.COM.AU. ANSWERS THIS MONTH BY CHRISTOPHER BREEN AND KIRK MCELHEARN.

Stopping time. Make sure the Stop Time button isn’t clicked.

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FIX iTUNES’ TRUNCATED TRACKS

iTunes truncates the last 15 seconds of tracks and jumps to the next track. I don’t have crossfade on, and the effect seems more prevalent on ripped CD tracks I own. I have not subscribed to iTunes Match. What might the problem be? Mike Barlow You can do a few things to pinpoint where the problem lies. First, select one of the shortened tracks and choose File > Show in Finder. A Finder window will open. Press the spacebar to preview the track, and drag the playhead to the end to confirm that the entire track is present. (It probably is.) You have now determined that the problem isn’t with the track but with iTunes. This step saves you the trouble of reripping. To make sure, return to iTunes, select the track, press c-I, and in the Options tab confirm that Stop Time is not enabled. (For those not in the know, you can shorten track playback by adjusting start and stop times in this tab.) This option is highly likely to be set as it should be, but confirming that it is helps you eliminate it as a suspect. The next step is to delete the track from iTunes, but not from your Mac. The system will first ask if you’re sure


?

CREATE A BOOTABLE iPOD CLASSIC

that you want to delete it. Confirm that you are. Next it will ask whether to delete the track from your Mac. This is something you don’t want to do, so click Keep File. Now return to where the track is stored on your Mac, and re-add it. With a modicum of luck, it will play, as it should, from beginning to end. No? Then quit iTunes and, while holding Option, relaunch it. The Choose iTunes Library window will appear. Click Create Library and save the new library to your Music folder. Navigate to one of the troublesome files, and drag it into iTunes to add it. Click the play button and see if it plays to the end. If so, your problem is with the iTunes database in your previous library. You can try to re-create that database; see support.apple.com/kb/HT1451 for Apple’s instructions. The gist is that you quit iTunes, navigate to the iTunes folder (youruserfolder/Music/iTunes), drag the iTunes Library.itl file to the Trash, and move the iTunes Library.xml file to the desktop. Now launch iTunes, where you will find an empty library. Choose File > Library > Import Playlist, navigate to the iTunes Library.xml file on the desktop, and click Choose to reload your library, complete with playlists, song ratings and play counts.

I heard you could make use of an old iPod to boot and troubleshoot a Mac. Is this possible? If so, can you provide the steps? Kirk Aplin

Yes and configuring the iPod is reasonably easy. (Warning: doing this will wipe all the media off your iPod. Make sure that you have a backup of those files before proceeding.) Plug the iPod classic into your Mac, using the standard dockconnector-to-USB cable. If iTunes launches, quit iTunes. Launch Disk Utility (found in Applications/ Utilities). Within Disk Utility select the iPod in the list of devices to the left. To the right, click the Partition tab. In the Partition Layout pop-up menu, choose 1 Partition. The Options button below the partition area becomes active. Click it. In the sheet that appears, select GUID Partition Table and click OK. Click Apply. Your iPod will be formatted so that it can serve as a startup volume. Now, find the copy of the OS X Mountain Lion or OS X Mavericks installer on your... What? You don’t have it because it was deleted after you originally installed the new

!

TIP: DISABLE CAPS LOCK

Few of us ever really want Caps Lock turned on; when we do hit that dreaded keyboard toggle, we do so accidentally. One workaround is to disable Caps Lock. Go to System Preferences, and select the Keyboard preference pane. Under the Keyboard tab, click the Modifier Keys button. Finally, using the drop-down menu, set Caps Lock to No Action (or have it pull side duty as a bonus c, Control, or Option key). But what about folks who want the option to quickly enter a mode for NONSTOP CAPITALISATION, yet still wish to avoid triggering said mode by mistake? For those troubled typists, the answer is the free utility CapSee (www.threemagination.com). Install it, and your Mac displays an unmissable on-screen indicator when it’s in Caps Lock mode. ISN’T THAT GREAT?


54

HELP

?

FIVE REASONS TO BUY AN iPAD

I’m a senior citizen who is reasonably comfortable with a Mac. But younger members of my family are urging me to purchase an iPad. I don’t see why I need one when I have my computer. Care to weigh in? via the internet

Setting the table. Before an iPod can serve as a bootable drive, you must format it using the GUID Partition Table option.

OS? Launch the Mac App Store, click the Purchased tab, and locate ‘OS X Mountain Lion’ or ‘OS X Mavericks’ in the list. Click Download, and wait for it to do just that. If you bought a Mac with operating system preinstalled, you don’t have the installer. Our OS X installer expert, Dan Frakes, tells you how to work around this problem at www.macworld.com. au/65363 (yes, the article title refers to Lion, but the advice applies to Mountain Lion and Mavericks as well). Regardless of how you obtain the installer, move it outside the Applications folder so that it won’t be deleted after it does its job. Launch the installer, choose the iPod as the target, and run through the process as you would with any drive. When the installation is finished, boot from the iPod and install any troubleshooting tools. Restart the Mac, booting from its regular startup drive and tuck the iPod away.

!

It’s been our experience that you can’t truly understand how useful an iPad will be to you until you live with one. That said, we can provide some observations. Portability. The main attraction is that you can carry an iPad wherever you go. If we want to check email or Twitter, or to look something up, we needn’t traipse downstairs to our Mac. We can do it all from the comfort of our kitchen, couch or conservatory. The drawback of owning such a portable and powerful device is the temptation to bang away on the thing

Even bigger. The iPad range offers more display real estate than smartphones.

TIP: GET DIRECTIONS AND DETAILS FROM SIRI

You may already know that you can ask Siri for directions. For example, you might say ‘Take me home’ when you’re out and about. But you can say a few other things while your iOS device is helping you navigate. Ask Siri, ‘Are we there yet?’ – or use a less obnoxious version of that query, such as ‘How much longer?’ – and you’ll get an update on your estimated time of arrival. You can be more specific, too. Ask, ‘When is my next turn?’ and Siri will give you the number of minutes until you should encounter it. Tank running low? Ask Siri where the nearest petrol station is, and you’ll receive suggestions for fill-up spots along your route. If you tap one, though, you’ll cancel your current navigation, and Siri will start directing you to the new destination instead.

constantly. Having to make a trip to the ‘computer room’ is often enough to keep you from checking Facebook or Instagram every few minutes. Putting down your iPad while you participate in the real world requires discipline. Access. All iPads work with Wi-Fi, but if you invest in the cellular model (which costs $130 more than the Wi-Fi–only one), your iPad will be able to work just about anywhere, much as your mobile phone does. Yes, you have to hand over a fee each month, but it means that your iPad can almost always reach the outside world. That’s a helpful feature when you need to perform light digital duties away from home or the office and Wi-Fi isn’t available. Ease of use. With iOS, Apple has tried to redefine what it means to interact with computing devices. While some computer veterans believe that an iPad’s interface is dumbed down, not everyone wants the power and flexibility that an open operating system allows. Many people want a device that lets them easily perform the tasks that interest them. The iPad does so admirably. Once you master tapping items, and once you learn how to swipe from place to place, you’re well on your way. Workspace. Regardless of how powerful a phone may be, its small screen is an impediment to performing tasks. If you’re accustomed to working on your phone, you’ll be thrilled with the elbow room the iPad provides. You may not be able to type as quickly on the tablet as you can on your Mac keyboard, but we guarantee you’ll get things done a heck of lot faster than you do with your thumbs on a phone. Apps. This may be the greatest advantage of all. If you’re a longtime Mac user, you know that Mac software


HELP

?

ORGANISING iTUNES PLAYLISTS

I listen to a lot of electronic music, and have various DJ sets and albums on my iPod, but I’d like to simplify the way they’re organised. For example, I have four Dave Seaman mix albums, and each album contains around 30 tracks, but at the moment they are all in the playlist ‘dave seaman’. Can I have a ‘dave seaman’ playlist, and then within that playlist have the albums in separate lists so that I don’t have to scroll through 90-odd tracks to find the album I want to play? Callum Green Yes, you can do this with a playlist folder, which is similar to a folder in the Finder, in that it can contain other playlists and subfolders. In iTunes, choose File > New > Playlist Folder. This adds an empty folder called untitled folder. You can

double-click that default name and give the folder a better name. When you click this folder, it looks like a playlist but it’s not. Next, find the playlists you want and drag them onto the folder. You’ll see that they show up inside the folder, in an indented list, indicating that they reside inside the folder. (If they aren’t indented, that means they didn’t actually make it into the playlist and instead appear just below the folder in the Playlists list; you’ll need to drag them onto the folder again.) After you’ve added playlists, you can click the folder to see its contents in the order of the playlists. So, all the tracks from the first playlist will appear first, then the tracks from the second playlist, and so on. You can play music from this folder by clicking the Play button (a right-pointing arrow), or you can click an individual playlist to access only the tracks it contains. C

NOVEMBER 2013 www.macworld.com.au

pickings used to be slim. The iPad has no such problem. Last time we checked, over 375,000 apps were designed for the iPad. Even if only one percent of them were worthwhile (and far more than that are), that would be 3750 solid apps. With those apps you can read books, create works of music and art, start a journal or blog, organise your life, entertain and inform your kids and grandkids, capture and edit movies and pictures, make and receive free video calls, enjoy music and movies, spend unhealthy quantities of time on Facebook and Twitter and fling birds at pigs. Want a reason why you shouldn’t buy an iPad? Because everyone else is doing it. Some people are content to confine their computing to the Mac or PC in the back room. Real people, real events, real life are more important than their virtual counterparts. If the benefits we’ve outlined sound like they’ll enhance real life, though, give it a go.

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GROUP TEST

Podcast microphones Over a decade, we’ve moved from podcasting being an alternative to radio into it being a commercial broadcast medium. ANTHONY CARUANA looks at four of the best microphones on the market.

Zoom H2n

Apogee MiC

Zoom’s recorders have become one of the most popular portable recording devices around. If you plan to carry out interviews outside a studio or conduct your podcast from random locations then the H2n is great option. The H2n looks like modernised version of an old-school radio station microphone. But under that exterior is some very sophisticated hardware. There are five microphones that can record in stereo, surround, or variable mid-side in a radius of anywhere from 30 to 150 degrees. That makes it ideal for almost any recording situation. We’ve used it for recording voices, music and even a feed from a sound desk using its line-in capability. Driven by a pair of AA batteries – there’s an optional AC adaptor – the H2n records to an SD card, making transfers to your Mac for editing easy. The recording settings can be adjusted on the device with quality options ranging from stereo and four-channel mod at between 48 and 320kbps. You can choose between WAV and MP3 as the recording format. A pair of batteries should deliver up to 20 hours of recording time. The gain level can be easily adjusted on the fly while recording and you can see the recording levels via the graphical display on the front face of the device. However, we’d suggest testing levels before recording for broadcast. Our experience with the H2n was overwhelmingly positive once we had gotten the hang of the menu system. Changing between file formats, quality levels and which mix of microphones is used does take some work. We’d suggest having a solid test run before taking the H2n into the field.

Apogee’s MiC is designed to make a direct digital connection to an iPad, iPhone or Mac. Its USB interface can be used with a Lightning cable and it interfaces directly with GarageBand on your preferred iOS device as well with popular Mac tools such as Logic Studio, GarageBand or any other application that uses Core Audio. The MiC doesn’t require any configuration – just plug and play. The single LED on the front switches between blue, green or red depending on whether it’s connected but not ready, ready for use or the gain level – which is adjusted using a dial on the side – is too high. The all-metal construction makes the MiC feel like a proper accessory and not a cheap peripheral that will let you down. At about the size of a deodorant stick, the MiC comes with a small tripod stand giving it the appearance of a studio microphone. Once it’s plugged in, the MiC is ready to use a few seconds after the appropriate software is loaded on your Mac or iOS device. As well as a tripod screw on the base, the MiC can be attached to a microphone stand using an adaptor. That will add about $20 to the purchase price, but if you plan to use the MiC in a studio situation then this is a worthwhile investment. The only omission is the lack of a headphone socket so you can hear what the MiC is picking up in real time. Recorded audio quality is excellent and, as the audio is going straight into the editing software, there’s no need to go through a transfer process to turn your raw sound into an awesome podcast.

Bottom line. The Zoom H2n isn’t the top device in the Zoom range, but it delivers excellent recording quality in most environments and works well with a Mac.

$329 / ZOOM www.zoom.co.jp PROS Many recording options CONS Complex menu system

Bottom line. Although it’s not the cheapest device, the Apogee MiC captures sound faithfully, works with a wide variety of applications and makes your iOS and Mac gear into a portable recording studio.

$250 / APOGEE DIGITAL www.apogeedigital.com PROS Works with iOS CONS No headphone connection


OUTSTANDING

VERY GOOD

If you’re looking to set up a podcast studio on the cheap, you could do a lot worse than the Nessie, by Blue Microphones. Blue’s been making funky recording gear for some time now that appeals to Mac users by delivering both show and go. The 25cm high Nessie – named for the fabled Loch Ness Monster – has a cardioid microphone that picks sound up in a heart-shaped area in front of the unit. This makes it ideal for one or two person podcasts where the hosts are sitting with the Nessie in front of them. In order to use the Nessie, you need to connect it to your Mac via USB. Once connected, you can mute it by swiping a capacitive control – a great feature that avoids extraneous sounds caused by toggling switches. As a bonus, if you have the Camera Connection Kit for your iOS device, you can use the Nessie with your portable device for recording on the go. The base of the unit has a volume control and a headphone jack so you can listen to what’s being recorded. The microphone height can be adjusted as it pivots the head vertically. The base also reduces the thump that occurs if you accidentally bump the table you’re working on, as it has some shock-absorbency capability. Unfortunately, the Nessie can’t be used with a standard microphone stand so the ability to place it perfectly is limited. Audio quality is very good. The different recording settings for voice, music and raw mode can be changed using a simple switch on the base of the Nessie. This level of simplicity makes the Nessie ideal for podcasters that have an interesting story to tell but aren’t audio engineers. Bottom line. The Blue Microphones Nessie is an attractive and functional unit that is easy to use and will get you started on your podcasting journey.

$150 / BLUE www.bluemic.com PROS Stylish; easy to use CONS Some concerns about audio quality

FLAWED

UNACCEPTABLE

RØDE Podcaster Serious audio people use RØDE microphones. The Podcaster is a USB microphone that works with Macs and iOS devices – the latter requiring a camera connection kit and powered USB hub – to capture sound for editing into professional-level productions. That production pedigree is evident in the solid build and the presence of a 3.5mm headphone jack so you can listen to what’s being recorded in real time. The supplied USB cable is 3m long so you can arrange your recording space easily. The cardioid microphone is ideal for a studio setting as it picks up audio from the front and sides. Recording quality is excellent. A single LED tells you that the Podcaster is on. Unlike cheap microphones, the Podcaster does a great job of faithfully capturing voices and the cardioid capture pattern ensures that ambient sounds are minimised – a problem with omni-directional microphones. The audio capture is very clean – we couldn’t pick up any extraneous hisses or sounds that impacted what we heard. However, that cleanliness doesn’t result in a sterile sound. Voices still sound natural and easy to listen to. Like any microphone, you’ll need to experiment with the gain and how closely you sit in order to balance between being close enough for faithful audio capture and being so close as to create distortion. It has an integrated pop filter and there’s an optional impactabsorbing base for blunting the impact of any accidental table bumps. Like most USB audio devices, the Podcaster appears in OS X’s sound preferences as an audio input device. However, if you’re planning to use it with GarageBand, Audacity or some other Mac application, make sure that the application is set to use it as well, as the system input and application input aren’t always the same. Bottom line. The RØDE Podcaster is a great device. If you want to make the leap from amateur to professional sounding podcasts the RØDE Podcaster is well worth considering.

$345 / RØDE www.rodemic.com PROS Great build quality, excellent sound CONS None

57 NOVEMBER 2013 www.macworld.com.au

Blue Microphones Nessie

GOOD


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Apple 21.5in iMac (late 2013) Modest gains for the entry-level Haswell iMac. here’s no denying that the 21.5in iMac is a beautifully designed all-in-one computer. Its gleaming aluminium body, seamless ultra-thin edges, and bright, LED-backlit IPS screen make the iMac a drool-worthy desktop. This design isn’t new, however – in fact, the 2013 iMacs are externally identical to the late 2012 iMacs. The updates to this iteration of iMacs are all internal. The $1599 entry-level iMac features a 1TB hard drive, 8GB of RAM, a 21.5in screen with a 1920 x 1080 resolution, and a 2.7GHz quadcore Intel Core i5 processor. Sound familiar? That’s because they’re the same as the 2012 entry-level iMac. But where the 2012 iMacs used Intel’s Ivy Bridge Core i5 processors, the 2013 models incorporate Intel’s fourth-generation Core processors, code-named Haswell. And as our lab testing bears out, the Haswell processor is more efficient and higher-performing than its Ivy Bridge counterpart. While all 2012 iMacs used discrete Nvidia GeForce GTX 600 series graphics, the new low-end iMac now uses Intel’s Iris Pro integrated graphics, which Intel claims should perform similarly to discrete GPUs and be as much as twice as fast as the integrated graphics that shipped with Ivy Bridge. While the 2013 21.5in iMac retains the striking design of the 2012 models, it also shares the limitations

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introduced with those systems – namely, a lack of upgradability and features set aside in the name of slimming down the design. The RAM slots are not useraccessible on the 21.5in iMac. All 2013 iMacs ship with a generous 8GB of 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM and can be ordered with 16GB for an extra $240, but if you order with 8GB and decide later that you’d like more, you’ll be stuck. The super-slim edge of the iMac makes it impossible to include a slot-loading optical drive and the SDXC card slot was moved to the less convenient location near the ports. On the back of the iMac you’ll find two Thunderbolt ports, four USB 3.0 ports, a headphone jack and one Gigabit Ethernet port. Apple also continues the yearlong tradition of using 5400-rpm hard drives in the smaller iMacs. The new iMac has an internal PCIe connection for use with optional flash storage upgrades. None of the four standard configuration iMacs come with flash storage, but all can upgraded at the time of purchase.

To see how the processor and graphics updates affect the performance of the iMac, we ran our Speedmark 8 suite of tests on the system and compared the results to recent models. The new iMac was nine percent faster, overall, than the entry-level iMac it replaces and in terms of CPU performance, the new iMac was 12 percent faster in MathematicaMark and 14 percent faster in the Cinebench CPU test than last year’s iMac with its quadcore 2.7GHz Ivy Bridge processor. Hard drive tests also showed improvement over last year’s iMac too, though both use 1TB 5400 rpm drives. Our 6GB file copy test was nine percent faster on the new iMac than on the 2012 2.7GHz 21.5in iMac. Bottom line. The new $1599 entrylevel iMac may not be nearly as groundbreaking as its predecessor, but the updated internals offer welcome, if subtle, performance enhancements. C

– JAMES GALBRAITH

$1599 / APPLE Apple.com/au PROS Faster, more efficient processor; available PCIe-connected Flash storage; faster 802.11AC Wi-Fi networking CONS Integrated graphics; 5400 rpm hard drive; no optical drive


REVIEWS

NOVEMBER 2013 www.macworld.com.au

Sonos Play:1 wireless speaker The smaller Play:1 is a worthy addition to the Sonos family. new entry-level speaker makes the Sonos Digital Music System more flexible and affordable than ever. Sonos is the gold standard when it comes to multi-room audio and it’s a lot more flexible than simply hooking up speakers to a few Airport Expresses spread around your home. Sonos speakers create their own wireless mesh network, so you only need to connect one speaker (or a Sonos bridge) to your home network. Now you can drive the system from any computer or handheld device, playing music in sync throughout the house or different songs in different rooms. Your music can come from your iGadget, computer or Network Attached Storage drive. Alternatively, Sonos can tap into internet radio stations, online simulcasts and subscription music services such as Pandora, Spotify and Rdio. Sonos’ only real drawback is the expense, even if it’s perhaps justified considering the high-calibre speakers. Thankfully, a Sonos system has become a lot more affordable over the years with the introduction of smaller speakers, such as the $649 Play:5 and the $479 Play:3 catering to medium and small rooms respectively. The addition of the $299 Play:1 makes it more cost-effective to bring music to the smallest nooks and crannies of your home. The Play:1 is available in black or white and its footprint is slightly

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Sonos speakers create their own wireless mesh network, so you only need to connect one speaker (or a Sonos bridge) to your home network. larger than a two-litre carton of milk, so around half the size of the Play:3. This makes the little Play:1 a good fit for bookshelves, benchtops, bedside tables and bathrooms – there’s a wallmounting thread on the back and it’s 100 percent humidity-proof. It’s possible to link two Play:1s as a stereo pair, which can stand by themselves or act as rear speakers with a Sonos Playbar home theatre system. You can also sync them with a Sonos SUB for extra low-end grunt. The Play:1 may cater for a small living area if you’re holding dinner parties rather than dance parties. You can crank up the volume with no distortion thanks to its customdesigned 3.5in mid-woofer and separate tweeter driven by individual D-class amplifiers. Unfortunately, the Play:1 is found wanting when it comes to bass, which becomes more noticeable as you turn up the volume. The drop in lowend performance compared to the Play:3 is roughly the same again as the step-down from the Play:5 to the Play:3. Whether you’re a fan of Dave Brubeck or Dave Grohl, if you value a

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rich bass line then you probably won’t be satisfied substituting a Play:1 for a Play:3 even in a small room. This isn’t to say the Play:1 is terrible, just that you shouldn’t view it as a cheaper substitute for one of the larger Sonos speakers. It’s much better to approach the Play:1 as a cost-effective way to extend your multi-room audio system into those small places where a Play:3 seems either too expensive or too large. Alternatively, you may view the Play:1 as a great Sonos entry point for a small living area, with the option to build up your system over time and perhaps retire the Play:1 to another room. For a limited time Sonos is throwing in the $89 Sonos bridge for free, so you won’t need to worry about running Ethernet to your single Play:1 speaker in the lounge room. Bottom line. The Play:1 is a worthy addition to the Sonos family as long as you don’t overestimate its capabilities. It’s a great fit for intimate settings, but if you’re trying to totally rock a large room on a tight budget then you may be underwhelmed.

– ADAM TURNER

$299 / SONOS www.sonos.com PROS Great size and price CONS Light on bass


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BioShock Infinite Phenomenal combination of storytelling and gameplay. f you strip away the first person shooter elements, the swashbuckling combat set in a city amongst the clouds, and the BioShock series’ use of superpowers, BioShock Infinite is still a remarkable piece of storytelling. Developed by Irrational Games and ported to the Mac by Aspyr, BioShock Infinite explores concepts such as memory, linearity, time travel, changing history, parallel universes and the impact that our choices make – all while fighting your way through one of the most spectacular first person shooter campaigns ever. BioShock Infinite isn’t just a worthy successor to the BioShock series, it’s easily one of the most bizarre and exciting titles to be released this decade. BioShock Infinite is the latest installment in the BioShock series, and while the time period and setting have emerged from the 1950s art deco oceans to turn-of-the-century steampunk cloud cities, the game is still fundamentally a sci-fi first person shooter. You’ll be running and gunning with similar weaponry, including an assortment of guns and super powers. Instead of BioShock’s plasmids, the powers this time are supplied by vigors that enable you to cast profoundly powerful abilities like lightning bolts, fireballs and vengeful crows. BioShock Infinite’s plot is best kept under wraps, but the basic premise is that you’re Booker De Witt,

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a Pinkerton’s agent who has been sent to the floating city of Columbia to recover a girl. This girl turns out to be Elizabeth, who will accompany you for the majority of your quest. She isn’t a hapless bullet-magnet either: through her own space time-continuum manipulating abilities, she can often aid you in combat by finding useful items or opening tears to get you additional guns, helpful turrets or new vantage points. BioShock Infinite takes place in an expansive city that truly feels alive from the first moment you enter it. Columbia is alive with citizenry – hostile, neutral and friendly. While this means that BioShock Infinite sacrifices any trappings of being a survival horror game, the larger canvas allows for Irrational Games to paint a much more epic picture, with huge vistas and large firefights that the previous games could never achieve. You’ll pick off enemies with a sniper rifle from across a rooftop and then hop on one of the Skyline tracks to swing around and onto a passing airship. The combat is frenetic, multilevel and delightfully varied. The ideas explored are also diverse and at times, emotionally taxing. The city founders’ white supremacist, Prophet-focused brand of Christianity

takes centre stage, exploring turnof-the-century ideas of isolationism and racial purity in the same way that BioShock took on Randian philosophies of extreme selfishness and free-market capitalism. But Infinite also features a revolutionary group in the Vox Populi, a popular uprising led by the underclasses of the city who have their own moral failings. Booker and Elizabeth are caught between these warring factions. Bottom line. BioShock Infinite and its predecessors are about providing a different kind of experience, and with its complicated approach to narrative and its use of Columbia as one of the best playgrounds you could imagine, BioShock Infinite succeeds in creating a gaming experience unlike any other. Seasoned fans of the series or those taking the plunge for the first time owe themselves an opportunity to play this bizarre, wonderful game. C

– CHRIS HOLT $41.99 / ASYPR www.aspyr.com PROS Detailed storyline; varied gameplay CONS No multiplayer


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Epson EB-1776W portable projector The EB-1776W offers value for money when it comes to portability, performance and features. mall enough to slide into your bag but bright enough to pack a punch, Epson’s EB-1776W is designed for road warriors looking to make a good impression. Weighing in at 1.7kg, with a slim-line design, the 1776W has the footprint of an A4 sheet of paper and is only 44mm thick. It slips easily into a travel satchel even once you allow for the remote control and power supply. This Epson is a step-up in size from the four projectors we reviewed in September, but it’s also a major step-up in performance. The tradeoff is that it’s more expensive and will appeal to travelling businessfolk looking to shine in a client’s boardroom. Afterhours it does a reasonable job of handling your movie collection, although you wouldn’t buy it primarily as a home theatre projector. Fire up the 1776W and you discover a bright 3000 Lumen lamp. It’s impressive considering the projector’s slim-line design and this Epson is bright enough to run presentations even with the blinds up and the lights on. The 16:10, 1280 x 768 picture is sharp enough to do your presentations justice and the projector only needs to be 1.05m from the wall to throw a 1m image. Thankfully the image is bright and sharp enough that you can move it much further back from the wall in a

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large room. There’s a tripod thread and a built-in foot to elevate the front, with manual zoom, automatic focus and automatic horizontal and vertical keystone correction to straighten the picture. These make it easy to set up quickly in a new location and there’s even a Screen Fit button to automatically resize the picture to fit a projector screen. You’ll find projectors with whiter whites and more vivid colours than this, but that’s because the Epson picture isn’t as garish as some of its budget rivals. There are several picture modes to choose from if you’re switching between text, multimedia and movies. The picture contrast is fine for presentations but you’ll want to dim the lights in order to get better results from a movie. Even then, the picture won’t be rich and deep enough to satisfy home cinema buffs with an eye for detail. On the back of the 1776W you’ll find a full-sized HDMI port along with D-Sub and composite video inputs. There’s a 3.5mm audio line-in, but no line-out for connecting to external speakers – which is a shame considering it only features a 1W on-board speaker. You’ll also find a TypeA USB port on the back for running presentations from a USB stick as well as a TypeB port for connecting to your computer. iGadget owners could use a Lightning to Digital AV (HDMI) adaptor, but the

1776W also comes with a USB Wi-Fi adaptor and you can stream wirelessly from a Mac, PC or Epson’s iProjection iOS app. When not in use the USB adaptor slides into the projector for safekeeping. With 3000 Lumen brightness the 1776W is obviously going to pack a noisy fan, but thankfully it’s more of a drone than a whine and you could tolerate it during meetings. One impressive trick is the built-in AV Mute switch – slide it across and the screen goes dark while the noise drops considerably. It’s a handy option for setting up the projector in advance and then killing it quickly when you’ve finished with your presentation but want to keep talking. Bottom line. It’s certainly not a budget projector but Epson’s EB-1776W offers good value for money when it comes to portability, performance and features. The ability to get it up and running quickly, to help you look professional, earns it a place on any road warrior’s short-list of portable projectors. C

– ADAM TURNER

$1599 / EPSON www.epson.com.au PROS: Bright; portable CONS: No battery; no audio line-out


REVIEWS

63 NOVEMBER 2013 www.macworld.com.au

Kanex Multi-Sync keyboard One keyboard, four Macs and iOS devices mong our favourite keyboards these days are Logitech’s Bluetooth Easy-Switch keyboard K811 and its solar-powered sibling, the Wireless Solar keyboard K760. Both Bluetooth keyboards let you pair with any combination of three Macs and iOS devices, switching between those devices with a simple keypress. But what if you need to use your keyboard with four devices? Then you’ll want to take a look at Kanex’s Multi-Sync keyboard. This Mac/iOSfocused keyboard also pairs with up to three Bluetooth devices, but it adds a USB connection for use as a wired keyboard with your Mac. Multi-Sync also includes a standard numeric keypad, a feature missing from those Logitech models. The downside is that the Multi-Sync keyboard’s keys aren’t as good as those on Logitech’s offerings. As with the K760 and K811, the Multi-Sync keyboard pairs easily with up to three Bluetooth-enabled Macs and iOS devices (including the Apple TV) in any combination. To pair the keyboard, you just turn it on, press the desired quick-switch key (F1, F2 or F3, each labelled with the Bluetooth symbol) you want to assign to the device you’re pairing with, and then press the Bluetoothpair button on the bottom of the keyboard. Once you’ve paired the keyboard with several devices, you choose

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the active device by pressing its corresponding F-key (F1, F2 or F3). Using the included 1.2m USB cable, you can connect the keyboard directly to your Mac, reserving the three Bluetooth slots for, say, iOS devices and laptops. We tested the Multi-Sync keyboard connected to our desktop Mac over USB and our iPad, iPhone and Apple TV using Bluetooth. It was convenient to be able to use a single keyboard for all four devices, quickly switching between them when I needed to. Unlike Logitech’s K811, the Multi-Sync keyboard doesn’t include a rechargeable battery; rather, it’s powered by either the USB connection or by two AAA batteries (included in the box). When we reviewed the two Logitech multi-device keyboards, many readers voiced their desires for a similar keyboard with a numeric keypad. The Kanex grants such wishes by offering the full complement of extended-keyboard keys: a numeric keyboard on the right, a standard inverted-T group of arrow keys and, above that, the standard pod of Page Up, Page Down, Home, End, Delete and Fn. There’s also a full row of 15 F-keys that double as special-function keys. The last seven of these keys also work with iOS devices; oddly, the brightness keys do not. Worthy of praise here is the fact that Kanex has split this row into groups of four

F-keys (F1 to F4, F5 to F8 and so on), making it easier for touch-typists to find the desired key by touch. Included with the Multi-Sync keyboard is a fantastic little plastic stand for iOS devices. When collapsed, it’s small and thin enough to slip into any bag or pocket. But it unfolds into a stand that is sturdy enough to prop up even a full-size iPad in portrait orientation. Bottom line. Like Logitech’s EasySwitch keyboards, Kanex’s Multi-Sync keyboard is exceptionally convenient if you’ve got multiple Bluetooth-enabled devices – any combination of three Macs, iPhones, iPads, iPods and Apple TVs – and want to use a single keyboard for all of them. The inclusion of a USB connection, letting you connect an additional wired device, sweetens the deal and, if you don’t need portability, Kanex’s full-size layout, including a numeric keypad, makes it a nice alternative to the compact Logitech models.

– DAN FRAKES

$89.95 / STREETWISE www.streetwise.com.au PROS Connects with up to four Macs and iOS devices simultaneously; full complement of special-function keys and a numeric keypad CONS Keys aren’t as good as those on Apple keyboards


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REVIEWS

Apple iPhone 5s case When it comes to iPhone cases, Apple has always seemed to accept the accessories only grudgingly, as if the mere idea of covering its beautiful designs was distasteful. So we were a bit surprised when Apple announced that it had created iPhone cases. The case – which actually fits both the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5 – is a rigid shell that covers the back and sides of your iPhone, leaving its screen exposed. Available in brown, beige, black, yellow, light blue and (Product) Red, the case sports a soft-leather exterior with a recessed Apple logo on the back. The inside rear of the case – but not the inner edges – is covered in a soft microfibre. The iPhone 5s case is thin and light, weighing just 13g, and it adds only about 4mm to the width and height of the iPhone 5s or 5 – even less to its thickness. Your phone definitely feels bigger with the case on, but not at all bulky. The case covers the iPhone’s Sleep/Wake button and volume buttons with custom-molded overlays. These overlays are subtle, but they’re prominent enough to locate by feel. The Ring/Silent switch, on the other hand, is accessed through a hole in the case. Unfortunately, the switch is recessed enough, and the hole is small enough, that the only way we could flip the switch was by using a fingernail. On the back, the case provides an opening for the phone’s camera and flash. We do have two long-term questions about the case’s durability. First, given the material, will repeatedly removing the case and putting it back on cause the case to stretch and lose its precise fit? Second, how well will the leather hold up to normal wear and tear? We can’t answer these questions yet, but we’ll keep an eye out for any issues.

Logitech Keyboard Folio mini The Keyboard Folio mini for the iPad mini is a fantastic combination of style, practicality and longevity. The outside of the case has a textured covering that feels sturdy and prevents excessive sliding on smooth surfaces. At 395g, 703g with the iPad mini attached, the Folio mini does have a reasonable weight to it, but considering the Bluetooth keyboard and battery that is to be expected. According to Logitech, the battery will last for three months per charge – at two hours of use per day. We were unable to test this over a three-month period, but it lasted through our tests. One side of the case features a flexible holder for the iPad mini that leaves the top and bottom of the tablet open for access to the dock connector and the power button. There is a cutout for the volume controls on the outwardfacing edge and a cutout for the camera. The case can be held securely closed or in an upright position with the aid of hidden magnets, which turn the iPad mini on or off when the case is opened or closed. The other side of the Folio mini offers a detailed QWERTY keyboard with function keys. The keyboard includes a number of quick keys to iOS features such as Siri, the home screen and the lock screen. In testing, we found the search and slide show buttons failed to respond when connected to our iPad mini – running Apple’s latest mobile operating system – but acted as they should when connected to our iOS 6-equipped iPad. According to the company, in iOS "the slideshow function has been removed and search functionality has changed to a simple screen swipe feature. “This is due to functionality changes between iOS 6 and iOS 7 and is not unique to Logitech.” While it isn’t ideal, they are two keys we would rarely use.

Bottom line. Apple’s iPhone 5s case offers decent protection in a minimalist design, it fits perfectly, and it feels and looks quite nice. While we’ll see a flood of third-party cases, you won’t regret buying Apple’s case from the start.

Bottom line. The Logitech case is an excellent cover for an iPad mini, but is hindered a little by the update to iOS 7.

– DAN FRAKES

@STEWART_JL

$48 / APPLE Apple.com/au

$99.95 / LOGITECH www.logitech.com

PROS Lightweight; snug fit; colour options; button overlays

PROS Bluetooth keyboard; secure; nice feel; magnetised stand

CONS Ring/Silent switch is too recessed

CONS Some unresponsive buttons with iOS 7


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REVIEWS

Philips 298P4 LCD monitor The Philips 298P4 LCD monitor adds extra screen real estate.

f you thought a 27in display was the last word in large-size monitors then think again. Philips’ ultra-wide 298P4 IPS LCD panel with LED backlighting boasts a 29in display with a 21:9 aspect ratio. Philips’ monitor offers robust build quality, starting with the stand that needs to be assembled, then clipped to the back of the monitor itself. The 8.46kg stand has a particularly large footprint, so you will need plenty of desk space for it. Once attached, the monitor can swivel 65 degrees either way, tilt 20 degrees up or down and even slide up and down 15cm to adjust the height. The display can also rotate around into portrait orientation. Around the back of the display is a large wedge that houses the interfaces and power supply. There’s a batch of four USB 3.0 sockets on one side and underneath the rest of the connections reside. Here you have a DVI-Dual Link, DisplayPort In and DisplayPort Out, two HDMI ports and a headphone socket. There are built-in speakers but these are low-powered 2W units. The display panel runs almost to the edge with a thin, 2.5mm bevel around the outside – though the actual picture comes up 9mm short of the edge – while at the bottom is a brushed-metal effect panel with a

I

silver trim that flares out to include the Philips logo in the middle. Although it looks nice, for the $699 price you might have expected metal and chrome rather than plastic. The on-screen menu control buttons are underneath and are labelled on the front. The display itself. The first thing to note is that you will need a dual link DVI cable (supplied), DisplayPort or HDMI v1.4 cable to connect and crucially a graphics card capable of displaying the 2560 x 1080 resolution otherwise it will default to 1920 x 1080. What’s immediately obvious is how bright the monitor is set to by default – 100 percent brightness, which is rated at a high 300cd/m2. The display itself uses Advanced High Performance IPS (AH-IPS) and white LED backlighting in combination with a default 6500K colour temperature that gives a really clean and crisp finish. Examining the display there’s a very slight tendency to darken in the corners, but this is minimal. There’s also a slight amount of light leak on the top but again, you have to be really looking for this to actually notice it. Being IPS the viewing angles are excellent, which they need to be with a display this

wide. It’s like having a two-monitor display, but without the extra mess and plastic in the middle. The colours are certainly bright and fresh enough, and it covers 99 percent of the sRGB profile. The contrast ratio is a standard 1000:1 but with dynamic enhancement this is 20,000,000:1, which benefits media viewing. The response time, which is rated at 14ms typical and 7ms using SmartResponse, is a potential risk for anything moving around. In reality, action games and movies look perfectly fine with no ghosting or trails evident. On the power consumption side it does start to run quite warm after a while and typically consumes around 48W, though that’s hardly excessive. This drops to 0.3W on standby. Bottom line. Something of a niche product with a specific, custom resolution, but it looks very stylish and is an impressive piece of wide-screen kit. If you like to run lots of apps at once, it provides an excellent way of working. C

– DUNCAN EVANS

$699 / PHILIPS www.philips.com.au PROS Extremely wide 21:9 display; high quality; great viewing angles; AH-IPS technology; stylish looking; robust and flexible stand; good performance. CONS Requires specific custom resolution; hefty price tag; large footprint.


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