Blind Bargains

The Weekly Apple Rundown: Gold Watch Safe Edition

Welcome back everyone to the news that was, and wasn't in some cases, for that little 'ol company that has most of the money on the planet. More on that in a moment.
Apple had to take a back seat to Microsoft last week, thanks Windows 10, so the best way to get revenge is to release an update to iTunes 12 on Windows. Oh, and there was one for Mac too. But it seems that social media is more clogged with people telling me that the Windows version is not fun to use. While an iTunes update may not be a thing to rejoice about, at least updating an older iDevice with 16 gigs or less to iOS v8.13 is easier now, as this new update will allow one to get the latest version without having to delete all their music, videos, pictures... books... well after you get this installed its said that devices on the lower end of the storage space spectrum should update easier without the need for mass deletion. Better yet, those pesky jailbreakers helped Apple find and patch a small hole in the iOS boat. Apple even acknowledged them in the release documentation. The latest iOS8 update didn't seem to squash some of the bigger bugs found for Voiceover users. However as heard in this AppleVis podcast, the latest update for Yosemite 10.10.2 contained a big fix for audio and messages.
Lastly, in the realm of publicly available updates, the Apple TV got in on the fun as well with an update that saw 16 security problems resolved.

The big story of last week, and I do mean big, was the staggering amount of money Apple made last quarter. Remember that part in "The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy" where Douglas Adams talked about an economy so large that it required its own mathematics system just to attempt to calculate its net worth? Yeah, its like that. See for yourself. Naturally, with the media being the media and all, many an article arrived on the scene to parse these astounding digits. While domestic growth slowed on many levels, Tim Cook's efforts to sell goods in China seems to be paying off in droves. Somehow there is a strange symetry in that the country that makes most of these devices is now a quantifiable legal purchaser of said devices.

Still, the discussion of numbers and pie charts can only go so far. The longer focus on the financial success had some people saying that built-in apps, like iMessage, are putting the squeeze on the younger set to avoid those kids who smoke in the parking lot after school while staring at their Android phones.

Others held to the belief that the introduction of the iPhone 6, and 6 Plus, hit those larger Android phones right in the Gorilla Glass.
And there may actually be something to this, as Samsung is seeing a slowdown in shipments for its Galaxy S5 and Note 4 flagship lines. Larger Apple phones plus pressure from other Android makers,
may mean Samsung will have to come out of the gate with more than the "next big thing" in its rumored press event next month to announce the upcoming release of the Galaxy s6. But before you go and get a shovel to bury this electronics giant, be aware that the last laugh may be theirs if this story about Samsung being the chip supplier for the next iPhone is true.

Stepping away from the phone wars for a second, the numbers that were just as hard to miss were those for iPad sales. Sales saw another dip, and another assertion by analysts that the Tablet market may have matured. Or peeked. Or, as said in this article, it's just "meh". And if you thought that article was harsh, heh heh, this Slashdot post really doesn't hold back. The squeamish should avoid the comments section by the way.

Now, in some odd alternate universe, if Apple were to copy their rivals they would just jump start iPad sales by releasing an even bigger iPad right? Wait, they actually may be doing that? Yay! I'm looking so forward to the multiple posts on the internet debating Surface Pro 3 versus iPad Mega.

The bad "non-iPhone" news didn't stop with iPads though. Both Apple TV and iPod sales were slowing or just not worth reporting anymore. Furthering the possibility that Apple TV may end up being a hobby after all is the story that Apple is considering making its own version of Netflix.

While iPods are no longer the crown jewels they once were, neither is the Arizona Sapphire Glass plant going to make the glass for the iDevice of the future. Instead it will now be the seed for the iCloud of the future, as the plant will be retrofitted to become Apple's new Command and Control center. Also, as an awesome bonus for the state's economy, this will stem some of the job losses in the original closure plans for the complex.

Now with everything slowing but the unstoppable iPhone, stockholders and click bait tech sites begin the call for the much anticipated Apple Watch. That means, if you are an Apple Store employee, you get a whole new round of training and a bunch of new posters to put on the walls and a schedule grid to determine who locks the gold watches up in the store display safe. No, I'm not kidding.

So if you add new Apple Store redesign, plus Tim Cook saying Apple Watch ships in April, that must equal big iPad -- see what I did there? -- event at the end of the month to talk styluses right? Probably not. Apple fan sites are already creating their event bingo cards in anticipation of another "magical" on stage jamboree with Craig, Tim and a black-shirt-wearing Jony Ive in front of a white background Apple Watch love-in. But not everyone is poised to heap loads of prerelease praise on the new device. In fact some tech reporters dare to, gulp, bring reality into the conversation with a reminder that the old Apple adage of "buy on revision 2" might apply here. Rene Richie explains why in his article: Apple Watch, WatchKit, and false expectations

Continuing with the slant on the reality in the distortion field, some are noting that with only the iPhone doing well, Apple may not have a choice and must release a watch to create new markets for itself.

However, who cares about watches and big honking tablets. We all want to know what this mysterious car belonging to Apple was doing with these roof-mounted cameras!

One publication that sadly will not be around to cover the Apple event later this month is The Unofficial Apple Weblog. This iBeakon of Apple news once shone its light for all to see like a lighthouse on a foggy San Francisco morning. Yet it, and several other big name sites like videogame stalwart "Joystick", were swept away in the grand AOL media restructuring. This past week saw their final post, entitled "Some final thoughts...".

Developers face an Apple App Store wasteland if they do not have their apps up to the 64 bit spec this month. App makers who do not update to this new requirement will be banished to the Phantom Zone, never to reappear in our world again. Okay, they just can't get any app updates approved through the store until they do, but you have to admit it is kinda the same thing. Also, here are some other stories that might appeal to Developers...

Finally, Photos see some love in the new seed builds of 10.10.3
Android Game Apps Are Becoming As Profitable As Those On The iPhone
Google Play Store saw 60% more downloads than iOS App Store, though Apple made more money
Apple took down Photos for OS X preview pages, but launch plan still on track
What’s going on with iTunes Connect developer accounts? Updated
iTunes Connect bug logs developers into random Apple account, displays wrong apps
Apple to close the old standalone TestFlight beta testing service next month

Apple Remote Desktop admin tool is updated for the first time in forever

Building WebKit for iOS Simulator

Daring Fireball posted Marco's wonderful take on Apple Accessibility. It doesn't get much more mainstream than this!

Two shout outs this week to those who fly the Apple flag high. Apple Vis has a rundown of their own] and it covers the myriad of accessible apps that arrive each month on their pages.
AppleVis Unlimited: What’s New in Accessible Apps for January 2015

And Top Tech Tidbits, over at Flying Blind, always has great Mac and iOS resources each week. Read the archives over at Flying Blind.

Be My Eyes might just be one of the biggest stories of 2015 as the app is continuing to gain mainstream attention. The nonprofit would like to know more about how people use their app and they recently posted the request out to the Twitterverse.
@BeMyEyes Have you helped somebody or received help through Be My Eyes app? Share your personal story:

You might have heard, possibly on this very site no less, that last week sunny Florida hosted ATIA 2015. This conference is generally aimed at government and educational types. But it also is a show more geared to disabilities outside of Blindness and Low Vision. Press releases often use words that have been co-opted by our community to mean one thing yet it turns out that their definition of "access" just might not be the one you were hoping for if you rely mostly on a screen reader for your access. Case in point, [read this release very carefully. New Mac word processor makes reading and writing accessible for everyone

Microsoft did manage to slide into the headlines once again this week. For a new version of an app for the reading of electronic mail. Or E-Mail if you will. Even more astounding, the app is fairly useable with VO and it wasn't universally heralded as one of the four elephants of the apocalypse.
The history of Microsoft's new Outlook for iPhone app

And as proof of its worthiness of time spent in the app store, I bring you an overview from Cool Blind Tech.

Two other app stories that made the rounds were...

Soundcloud's latest iPad app is good for listeners, bad for creators

Announcing Pushbullet for iPad, Mac, and Safari

Here are two neat "how to" links that might be worth a bookmark.

10 steps to take when your Mac won't start up

How to speed up a slow iPhone 4, slow iPhone 4S, slow iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C or other older

The next four articles are a part of our weekly stroll through security, and possible rhetoric on an Apple feature. This week we find Apple Pay articles and another reason to say farewell to Flash.

Apple trainers take note, this may aid you in the training of those knuckle-dragging Windows luddites. Er ... um ... I meant those loveable new Apple Koolaide- drinking nOObs who keep calling that one key the "ALT" key. Our weekly look at security finds that Apple Pay was the punching bag of the week. Additionally, one more reason why friends should never let friends use Flash.

Apple loses global payments executive to eBay's rumored PayPal replacement

Apple Pay actually makes it really easy to commit credit card fraud

Apple Pay is secure, but weak ID checks by partner banks create vulnerability, claims report

Apple Blocks Flash on the Mac Following Major Security Exploit

Lastly, I leave you with two strange tales. One contains an out of court agreement by the host of American idol's iPhone keyboard 3rd party accessory maker Typo versus the former phone titan Blackberry.
Typo settles out of court with Blackberry
And the other ponders why digital assistants seem to be mostly women, and if it is creepy if the digital lady in your life may know more about you than any flesh and bone ones you chance to encounter.
Why Is My Digital Assistant So Creepy?

We'll be back next week with more. Feel free to put your Apple event predictions in the comments section. Especially in regards to what that car may or may not be.

Category: Articles

No one has commented on this post.

You must be logged in to post comments.

Username or Email:
Keep me logged in on this computer

Or Forgot username or password?
Register for free

Joe Steinkamp is no stranger to the world of technology, having been a user of video magnification and blindness related electronic devices since 1979. Joe has worked in radio, retail management and Vocational Rehabilitation for blind and low vision individuals in Texas. He has been writing about the A.T. Industry for 15 years and podcasting about it for almost a decade.

Copyright 2006-2024, A T Guys, LLC.