BEAUTIFULLY NEW: iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c & iOS 7 reviewed
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How well is the compa any do oing, really?
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K I DS E L FOR P P A HELP | SECRETS | STEP BY STEP | REVIEWS 15/10/13 12:13 PM
Features APPLE BY THE NUMBERS
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?
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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.
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
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HELP GROUP TEST PODCAST MICROPHONES ■ Zoom H2n ■ Apogee MiC ■ Blue Microphones Nessie ■ RØDE Podcaster
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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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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.
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.
Control yourself. Control Center puts many of iOS’s frequently used features at your fingertips.
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
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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
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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
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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
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.
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NOVEMBER 2013 www.macworld.com.au
Apple by the numbers
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.
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