Tag Archives: Apple

Pocket Sized Podcast 150: Different Visions of Doom

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Overview

Jason Snell joins Ronnie and Scott to talk about different visions of doom analysts and writers have created for Apple; wearables and whether there will be a next big thing like the iPhone; and much more. Have a listen, it’s a podcast, not a book! Also John Nemo does have the Take Control of iCloud second edition book as well as

Links:

‘Haunted Empire’ sticks to its Apple-is-doomed narrative

iWatch watch: Apple is not here to entertain you

Macworld – News, tips, and reviews from the Apple Experts

TechHive – News, tips, and reviews about phones, tablets, apps, and all the other tech in your life

The Incomparable – An award–winning geeky podcast about sci–fi and related books, comics, movies, and TV

Take Control of iCloud, Second Edition

Versavu Case of iPad Air – Black Cherry

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Artwork by Donny Yankellow

Theme music by Bryan Page, aka Jesta, available on Jesta’s Theme Page!

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Pocket Sized Podcast 147: The Big Deal

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Apple may or may not be talking to Comcast about a deal that may or may not happen. Scott and Peter discuss what it might look like for the consumer, as well as voice some opinions on a Washington Post article on the matter.

Links:

Apple trying to cut streaming TV deal with Comcast
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/23/apple-comcast-talks_n_5019261.html

Apple pushes ahead with TV box amid tough talks with cable companies
https://www.theinformation.com/Apple-Pushes-Ahead-with-New-Set-Top-Amid-Slog-with-Cable-Cos

How a deal with Comcast could force Apple to cede tight control over its products
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/03/24/how-a-deal-with-comcast-could-force-apple-to-cede-tight-control-over-its-products/

A deal between Apple and Comcast could kill Netflix and change the future of TV
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/03/25/a-deal-between-apple-and-comcast-could-kill-netflix-and-change-the-future-of-net-tv.html

Finding more than one of the same worm in the Apple
https://docs.google.com/a/saw66.com/presentation/d/1HOebw6pCQ_w207E4X3vzTkEHbMELP2lDuv9lMDXLwm8/edit#slide=id.p

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Artwork by Donny Yankellow
Theme music by Bryan Page, aka Jesta available on Jesta’s Theme Page!

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Pocket Sized Podcast 144: goto Podcast fail

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Apple has a massive SSL facepalm moment by leaving every single customer of theirs open to MiM attacks for a full year, and Ronnie and Scott talk about it. John Nemo has the means for charging your iOS devices and covering your iPad Air in Nemo’s World’s Shortest Reviewcast.

Links:

Apple’s SSL/TLS bug
https://www.imperialviolet.org/2014/02/22/applebug.html

Apple releases iOS 7.0.6 and 6.1.6 to patch an SSL problem
http://arstechnica.com/apple/2014/02/apple-releases-ios–7–0–6-and–6–1–6-to-patch-an-ssl-problem/

About the security content of iOS 7.0.6
http://support.apple.com/kb/HT6147?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US

On the timing of iOS’s SSL Vulnerability and Apple’s addition to the NSA PRISM program
http://daringfireball.net/2014/02/apple_prism

RAM iPhone 5s cradle for iPhone 5/5s with no case
http://www.rammount.com/CatalogResults/PartDetails/tabid/63/partid/082065077045072079076045065080049049085/Default.aspx

RAM single socket mount with round base
http://www.rammount.com/CatalogResults/PartDetails/tabid/63/partid/082065080045066045049048052085/Default.aspx

Unread – an RSS reader for iPhone
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/unread-an-rss-reader/id754143884?mt=8

iKanji touch for iPhone
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ikanji-touch-japanese-kanji/id311920885?mt=8

iKana touch universal iOS app
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ikana-touch-hiragana-katakana/id288805273?mt=8

Macally MDUALSYNCL retractable sync and charge cable
http://www.macally.com/EN/?page_id=14653

Targus Versavu case for iPad Air – Noir
http://targus.com/US/Versavu-Case-for-iPad-Air-Noir-thz196us

EZ Buys Executive Black Leather iPad Air Case
http://www.ezbuysdirect.com/tablet-accessories/ipad-air-cases/executive-black-leather-ipad-air-case.html

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Pocket Sized Podcast 126: iOS 7 Rundown

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iOS 7 is coming, and Scott and Ronnie talk about some of the new features and how people might react to it. John Nemo uses the World’s Shortest Reviewcast to bring you the world’s shortest tripods.

Links:

iOS 7: What’s new
http://www.apple.com/ios/whats-new/

What devices are iOS 7 compatible?
http://ipod.about.com/od/iphonesoftwareterms/f/What-Devices-Are-Ios–7-Compatible.htm

Will iOS 7 work on my iPhone? Which devices support which features
http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/121818-will-ios–7-work-on-my-iphone-which-devices-support-which-features

Use AirDrop with or without a wireless connection
http://macs.about.com/od/LionTipsNtricks/qt/Airdrop-With-Or-Without-A-Wireless-Connection.htm

OS X: Can I use AirDrop with my computer?
http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4783?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US

Joby GPod Mini Magnetic tripod
http://joby.com/gorillapod/gpod-mini-magnetic/

Joby MPod Mini Stand for iPhone and Android phones
http://joby.com/smartphones/mpod-mini

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Pocket Sized Podcast 122: iCloud – They Can Try

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World’s Longest Episode of Pocket Sized Podcast (maybe). Ronnie, Peter, and Scott talk endlessly about iCloud. Peter is the only one who thinks managing photos on iOS is not broken. John Nemo jives with World’s Shortest Reviewcast and the CableJive dockBoss 5.

Links:

iCloud features
http://www.apple.com/icloud/features/

Take Control of iCloud by Joe Kissell and Take Control Books
http://www.takecontrolbooks.com/icloud

Regular people have no idea how to manage photos on their iPhone
http://chambersdaily.com/bradleychambers/2013/8/3/regular-people-have-no-idea-how-to-manage-photos-their-iphone

How to reclaim iCloud storage space
http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/how-to-reclaim-icloud-storage-space

iCloud storage upgrades and downgrades
http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4874?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US

iCloud gets kicked in the Core Data sync – totally had it coming
http://www.imore.com/icloud-gets-kicked-core-data-sync-totally-had-it-coming

The Gathering Storm: Our Travails with iCloud Sync
http://rms2.tumblr.com/post/46505165521/the-gathering-storm-our-travails-with-icloud-sync

CableJive dockBoss 5 smart USB and audio adapter for iPhone and iPod docks.
http://www.cablejive.com/products/dockBoss5.html

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Pocket Sized Podcast 115: iOS 7 Shiny, Shiny

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Scott and Peter talk about iOS 7. John Nemo offers an alternative to iRadio with Slacker Personal Radio.

Links:

iOS 7
http://www.apple.com/ios/ios7/

iOS 7 features
http://www.apple.com/ios/ios7/features/

27 new iOS 7 features Apple didn’t talk about
http://www.macworld.com/article/2041306/27-new-ios–7-features-apple-didnt-talk-about.html

FAQ: everything you need to know about iOS 7
http://www.macworld.com/article/2041455/ios–7-what-you-need-to-know.html

Slacker Personal Radio
https://store.slacker.com/store/Subscriptions.do

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Artwork by Donny Yankellow
Theme music by Bryan Page, aka Jesta available on Jesta’s Theme Page!

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Pocket Sized Podcast 111: Jason Snell on the state of Apple

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Jason Snell, editorial director of MacworldPCWorld, and TechHive, and host of The Incomparable podcast, joins us to talk about the state of Apple and iOS, iOS vs. Mac for workflows, and iOS devices and children.

Links:

Macworld
http://www.macworld.com

PCWorld
http://www.pcworld.com

TechHive
http://www.techhive.com

The Incomparable
http://5by5.tv/incomparable

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Pocket Sized Podcast 105: Short and Sweet Two-Step Authorization

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Apple has two-step Apple ID verification, and Scott enables it live on the podcast. John Nemo has what is truly the World’s Shortest Reviewcast, and it’s NiceByDesign. Scott reviews Talk Japanese: Phrasebook for English and does a quick app folder on three additional apps.

Links:

Apple enables two-step verification for iCloud accounts
http://www.imore.com/apple-enabled-two-step-verification-icloud-accounts?style=default

Apple ID: Frequently asked questions about two-step verification for Apple ID
http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5570

Talk Japanese – Phrasebook for English universal iOS app
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/talk-japanese-phrasebook-for/id568829318?mt=8

Goldie CableKeep cable organizer for Apple iPhone charger
http://nicebydesign.com/products/goldie

Gulp CableKeep cable organizer for Apple iPad charger
http://nicebydesign.com/products/gulp

Nibbles CableKeep cable organizer for Apple iPad charger
http://nicebydesign.com/products/nibbles

Bodyweight Training: You Are Your Own Gym universal iOS app
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bodyweight-training-you-are/id416981420?mt=8

Flexibits Fantastical for iPhone
http://flexibits.com/fantastical-iphone

Fantastical for iPhone in the iOS app store
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fantastical/id575647534?mt=8

NewsBlur RSS Reader universal iOS app
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/newsblur/id463981119?mt=8

NewsBlur online RSS Reader service
http://www.newsblur.com

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Pocket Sized Podcast 103: iOS Accessibility

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Summer Hartzfeld joins Scott to talk about iOS Accessibility features. Scott gets motivated to try a couple third-party apps with accessibility to see how they score.

Links:

Apple Accessibility Vision for iPhone
http://www.apple.com/accessibility/iphone/vision.html

iOS VoiceOver Getting Started Guide
http://www.raizlabs.com/blog/2012/12/18/ios-voiceover-getting-started-guide/

AppleVis.com Empowering blind and low-vision users of Apple products and related applications
http://applevis.com/

Accessibility for iPhone and iPad Apps
http://mattgemmell.com/2010/12/19/accessibility-for-iphone-and-ipad-apps/

iOS Accessibility Heroes and Villians
http://mattgemmell.com/2012/10/26/ios-accessibility-heroes-and-villains/

Apple Keynote universal iOS app
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/keynote/id361285480?mt=8

Apple Numbers universal iOS app
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/numbers/id361304891?mt=8

Google+ universal iOS app
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/google+/id447119634?mt=8

Felix for App.NET iPhone app
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/felix-for-app.net/id562447652?mt=8

Alarmed universal iOS app
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/alarmed-reminders-+-timers/id371886784?mt=8

Yacto Alarm Clock universal iOS app
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/yocto-alarm-clock/id508107926?mt=8

Fleksy – Happy Typing universal iOS app
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fleksy-happy-typing/id520337246?mt=8

TweetList Pro for Twitter iPhone app
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tweetlist-pro-for-twitter/id365198798?mt=8

PDFPen for iPad
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pdfpen-for-ipad/id490774625?mt=8

PDFPen for iPhone
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pdfpen-for-iphone/id557705455?mt=8

Summer Hartzfeld on Twitter
https://twitter.com/summer72h

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Google Maps for iOS

It's hard to believe that it was just under 3 months between the release of Apple's new Maps app with iOS 6 in Septmember 2012, and Google's own new Maps app for iOS becoming available in the App Store on December 13th. It feels like we've endured far more than 3 months worth of articles about how Apple Maps has almost killed thousands of people or relocated major cities to the center of the ocean.

It's certainly a measure of the poor reputation Apple Maps suffers from that within 48 hours of Google Maps being released in the App Store, it had already been downloaded 10 million times. I saw some comments online by people who were relieved that they could “FINALLY!” update their devices to iOS 6, and Wired tweeted a request for people who were now considering purchasing an iPhone 5 because of Google Maps to please contact them.

I'll admit that I've felt like the backlash against Apple Maps has been a bit of a perception based event rather than an accurate indication of the quality of Maps itself. Many things about Apple Maps are superior to the version of the app that preceded it. I've enjoyed the turn-by-turn navigation greatly. The map data has been accurate everywhere I've tested it so far, although where I live in the US, it would be a major failure if it weren't. My main complaint about Apple Maps has been the lack of POI data. We noticed this clearly driving home from Thanksgiving at a relative's house when searching for gas stations. It was completely useless without knowing the exact name of a specific gas station. Similarly, I tried to find a nearby aquarium recently and it was unable to find it, even with the correct name. But for navigating to locations with turn-by-turn driving instructions, it's been flawless for me. I'm not claiming that Apple's map data doesn't have major issues depending on the location. I just think that a lot of people who would never have had any issues with it gave up on it without giving it a fair chance.

Of course, like everyone else with Intarwebs on December 13th, I downloaded the Google Maps app to try it out, fully expecting not to like it. It's not that I don't think Google has the best mapping data, because they do. It's just that I was so irritated with what I feel is bandwagon jumping with regards to Apple Maps that I let it annoy me with Google's app before I'd even seen it. I also traditionally have not been a fan of Google iOS apps UI.

The reality has been different than I expected. Google has really come a long way with their user interface design for their iOS apps. I never thought I'd say this about any Google app, but their recent apps have been very clean and elegant looking, and generally nice to use. Maps, Gmail, YouTube Capture, and Google+ apps are all examples of Google's newly discovered ability to appeal to the type of people who buy Apple products. In short, they are nice apps.

In addition, Google Maps works really well for locating places, using turn-by-turn navigation, and getting transit information. It feels clean, lightweight, and feels like something that belongs on the iPhone. In some ways, it makes Apple's Maps feel slightly last-generation. In other ways, it feels a little behind the times itself.

User Interface and Map Options

My first impressions of Google Maps were that it's a very simple app. Opening the app, you see a very Google-looking map, a search bar at the top, a little location button at the lower left, and a tiny little tab with three dots on it at the lower right. The UI elements such as the search bar are very flat and clean looking, especially compared to their equivalents in Apple Maps, which look more 3D and have a more metallic or chrome looking appearance. Going back and forth between them, there are positives and negatives of both. Initially I felt the Google app looked to flat and plain; now the Apple Maps app feels slightly dated to me.

In reality, there's a little bit more to this app than initially meets the eye. Tapping the little person icon to the right of the search bar allows you to log in to your Google account. The benefit to this is that you can save locations that you've searched for or shared. The downside is that Google gets a lot more location-based information about you and the places you've been. This is actually a win for Google – Apple didn't want to give them this kind of information, but by having their own app now that's not a built-in app, Google can collect all the user location data they want. Plus one for Google.

Being able to save locations is a pretty standard feature in navigation apps. Unfortunately, Google's implementation falls a little bit short. While Apple's maps lets you search contacts, recents, or bookmarked locations, your options with Google are simply for those locations you've saved or shared. And because you can't rename them, they aren't as useful as they should be. Saved addresses get listed by street address only, with no state or zip code information shown. Personally, I find save locations very near useless without being able to tag the locations with meaningful names like “Dad's house”, “Mac Store”, and “Parole Officer”. In fairness, public locations with business names do show those names when you save them. It's still useless for saving the addresses of people for quick access later though.

While viewing a map, you can access the map options by either touching the tiny little tab with three dots on it located at the bottom right of the map, or by swiping the map left with two fingers. The two-fingered swipe felt a little fiddly to me, as a two-finger touch is also the traditional maps gesture for zooming out. I found much of the time, the app did the opposite of what I wanted when trying to use the swipe gesture to bring out the option list.

The map options include the ability to view traffic, public transit, satellite, or to launch Google Earth to view the location. The nice thing about the traffic, transit, and satellite views are that you can use them in whatever combination you like.

The Google Earth feature feels like a response to Apple's 3D flyover view. If you tap the Google Earth option but don't have that app installed, the App Store is launched and the Google Earth app is shown for you to download. If it is installed, it launches and navigates to the location you were viewing in Google Maps. Considering how much nicer Google Earth views are than Apple's 3D flyover views, this actually works pretty well in practice. Google is playing to its core strengths with both its map data and use of Google Earth to augment the experience, and it shows.

Another key feature of Google Maps is, of course, street view. While Scott Forstall was grinning manically on stage about Apple Maps flyover view during the iOS 6 introduction keynote, I'll bet there were thousands of other people besides myself wondering about a street view feature. I think it's fair to say that, while I don't need it a lot, I find street view quite useful and flyover view not useful at all. I know that Andy Ihnatko likes flyover view and finds it to be more than a gimmick, but in truth, I don't see anything it has that Google Earth doesn't do better. It really is nice to have street view back on iOS with the Google Maps app.

Street View is easily invoked. Search for a place, slide the information pane about that place up from the bottom of the map, and touch the option for Street View.

In Street View, there is also an option to use the gyroscope and compass to correctly orient the view with respect to the direction your iPhone is facing. A nice touch. To exit Street View, tap the screen once and then tap the back arrow that appears at the top to get back to your search results.

Navigation

One of the sticking points between Apple and Google's negotiations over Maps was reportedly the turn-by-turn navigation feature that Google put in its Android Maps but was keeping from Apple. Plenty of people accused Apple of dumping Google and going with their own in-house app for political and customer control reasons, but the fact is that without turn-by-turn, the Maps solution in iOS was feeling extremely dated and inconvenient by the time iOS 6 was released. With Google Maps for iOS and Apple Maps, iOS users now have two free options for high quality turn-by-turn navigation.

As I've already stated, I like the turn-by-turn navigation in Apple Maps. I like the UI, and I like the routing that it chooses. I own the TomTom app US navigation app, but the Apple UI is much simpler in terms of just finding locations and operation. How does Google Maps compare for navigating?

Beginning the routing process is simple. Search for a location. Once you've found it, click the Route icon on the right side of the information tab for the location that appears at the bottom of the map. Now a routing option view appears, with the ability to choose between driving, transit, and walking routes. For the selected mode of transportation, different available route options appear for you to choose between. Selecting one brings the map back, with the chosen route highlighted in blue. A nice feature is that any alternate routes are also shown, in gray, for you to tap and select if you change your mind. Once you've chosen your route, just click the start button at the lower right of the map to start turn-by-turn directions.

Once you're off and going, Google Maps provides the basic turn-by-turn functionality and UI you need. You won't find niceties such as travelling speed, road speed limits, or the ability to display specific POI data like you'll find in apps like TomTom, but those are things Apple Maps also doesn't do. What you get is a standard GPS display of where you are, where you're going, and street information.
The competing view in Apple Maps wins in my opinion by showing more information about upcoming turns. However, Google Maps does show what direction your next turn will be. And it also has a great feature that Apple Maps doesn't, indeed that no other GPS navigation app I've used does, and that's the ability to swipe back and forth on the road banner at the top of the map to preview upcoming turns and directions. That is a nice feature. Getting the list of directions to get an overview of where you're going is a multi-tap chore in every GPS app on iOS. Being able to swipe ahead and quickly get a sense of what's upcoming is a very powerful and driver friendly feature. When you're swiping ahead, you can resume navigation at any point by tapping Resume.
I did find some differences in routing between Google Maps, Apple Maps, and TomTom. As you might expect, Apple Maps and TomTom have given me the same routing options in all my testing so far. Not really a surprise, since Apple uses TomTom data in many locations, presumably mine being one of them. I found Google Maps also gave similar routes, but the real difference was in how it handled re-routing during my testing. I found that Apple Maps and TomTom handle re-routing gracefully without making major changes to the overall route on longer trips. Google Maps, on the other hand, responded to my taking a different local road by re-routing the entire trip instead of just re-routing me to the point where I could have continued on with the original route. As a result, I wound up with a route that had the worst points of any route I could have chosen, and none of the good ones. It was abysmal.
 
For short trips, Google Maps seems to handle re-routing similarly to Apple Maps and TomTom. I don't know if the incident on the longer trip of completely re-routing me many miles out of the way because of a short quarter mile detour on my part is normal Google Maps behavior, or if I was just really unlucky. It's definitely something I'll be keeping my eye on, and it's something I've never had a problem with on Apple Maps or TomTom. If this kind of experience proves to be the norm, I will have to give the nod to Apple Maps and TomTom over Google Maps on re-routing.
 
Overall Conclusions

Google Maps is a very solid turn-by-turn GPS navigation app. It's better than Apple Maps for POI data by a long shot. It's presumably more accurate than Apple Maps in many areas, although I personally haven't seen any difference in map data accuracy. Bear in mind, it's not perfect – after the media uproar about Apple Maps in Australia, Yahoo! posted a news item that hardly anyone seemed to notice about Google Maps having similar problems in the area as well.
 
I am disappointed in how it handles saved locations compared to Apple Maps bookmarks. Apple Maps also wins hands down when it comes to navigating to a contact. In Apple Maps, it's a one step operation. In Google Maps, it's a ridiculous copy and paste affair. I wonder if Google is aware that iOS has a handy little app called Contacts? Maybe no one from Google ever leaves the Googleplex and has never tried to go over to a friend's house before.
 
In general, Google Maps has become my default mapping app of choice on iOS. I believe it will remain so unless Apple greatly improves the POI data in their own maps. I like the turn-by-turn functionality Google provides as well as that in Apple Maps with the possible exception of how it handles re-routing. It's quick and easy to get a quick view of upcoming turns and road changes, much more so than any other iOS GPS app that I have used. In short, it does what you need, it does it well, and it just works.
 
Considering my attitude towards Google Maps before I tried it, this is good news for Google and bad news for Apple. Google has had many years to get their map data to the quality it is now through people reporting problems (as well as Google cars putting in many miles to get street view data). While Apple maps has already started improving based on feedback, one has to assume that they will be getting a lot less feedback to correct existing problems now if enough people are like me and start using Google Maps as their primary Maps application. As well, Google wins by getting access to user data that they could not get from Apple. By having people log in to their Google accounts to save locations, Google gets even more data about you and your life than they already have.
 
I'm not writing off Apple Maps completely. Nor will I abandon TomTom, which comes in handy for trips way out in the boonies where you can drive for hours with no cellular signal. But for now, Google Maps has become my default mapping app, especially for search and local POI data.