September 16, 2014

iTunes Deals & Early Releases (September 16th)


One of the best things about the digital format is new release films are available earlier on services like iTunes and Cinema Now several weeks before they're released to a wider audience in more tangible formats such as Blu-Ray discs or DVDs.  Here are some new releases and deals you can take advantage as of September 16th




This week the only new early release film is Transformers: Age of Extinction.  But with the fall TV season just around the corner, you can also catch up on some amazing TV Series too.

      



September 11, 2014

An October Apple Event?


The September 2014 event that introduced the world to Apple Watch and iPhone 6 and 6 Plus has come and gone so it's time to start looking forward to Apple's next event which I anticipate will happen in the later half of October with the focus switching to Yosemite and Mac (and hopefully Apple TV).  Even though nothing has been scheduled, I'm predicting the next Apple Event to take place on October 21, 2014. Whether or not we get live streaming of this event is still yet to be seen.  If we do it better be better than last.


Why an October Event?

  • Tim Cook has said several times that 2014 is going to be a huge year for Apple.  So far this year they quietly updated the MacBook Air, added an entry level iMac and introduced the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch.  There's still plenty to cover.

  • OS X Yosemite.  We need a final send off from Apple before it hits the masses.  Mavericks got that honour last year on October 22nd at the end of the Apple event.

  • iMac / MacBook Air / MacBook Pro. The last few updates for each of these products have been done quietly.  It's time for Apple to toot their horn on some major updates like the rumoured MacBook Air with retina display (despite me starting to believe this wont happen).

  • What about iPad?  The last time the iPad lineup got any attention was November 12th 2013 with the quiet release of the iPad Mini retina display.  The iPad Air will be a year old on October 22nd.  There's also rumors of what I call iPad Plus (most are calling it iPad Pro).

  • Apple TV hasn't gotten love since March 2012 when the 3rd generation came out.  It looks identical to the 2nd generation but it added support for 1080p.  Lots of rumors around a new Television set, or another set top box.  I wonder if Apple is waiting to introduce a 4K Apple TV.

  • October 4, 2011; October 23, 2012; October 22, 2013...  Clearly Apple likes to show stuff off in October as well.

There's a few other things that Apple could address, such as the recent discontinuation of the iPod Classic, the future of the Mac mini, and as unlikely as it seems, perhaps the next move for Mac Pro.   

September 10, 2014

Apple Event was missing some things


Yesterday was a huge day for Apple.  Introducing the long awaited wearable which we now know as Apple Watch, and the unveiling of the next generation of iPhone -  iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.  Although there was plenty shown off in the 2 hour window that they scheduled for the event, and in all honesty you can only do so much without downplaying something  I still find myself wishing that Apple would have taken some more time to show off more.


Here's just a few things I would have loved to see

  • OS X Yosemite was first shown off in June at WWDC and while the demonstration was fairly in-depth it was clear there was a lot more coming.  It would have been great to see how Yosemite would interact with Apple Watch and iPhone 6 especially with Continuity or hand-off features. Looks like we have to wait until Mid-October when Yosemite is expected to be released, perhaps along side the next item;

  • MacBook Pro with Retina Display.  It's another long standing rumor and as much as I'd love to see a 12 inch Retina Display on a MacBook Air, I am starting to think that this is less likely than we hope.  Think about it, the Retina display is one of the defining features of the MacBook Pro lineup and the iMac doesn't have it either.  Not to mention that type of device could potentially blur the lines or interfere even more with the possibility of the next rumored item;

  • iPad Plus. Most people have been calling this rumored device with a 11 inch display, the iPad Pro, but based on the naming conventions used for the iPhone 6 it seems appropriate that a larger iPad will follow suit and add Plus to it's name and I've called it here first!  I think we'll learn more about the iPad lineup's future in Somewhere between October & November 2014

  • Apple TV seems to be something that Apple feels content referring to as a Hobby is anything but that.  The set top box is becoming wildly popular among people I know and those who don't already have one are currently on the fence either waiting to see if Apple will refresh the Apple TV given that there are rumors of a fully featured television set with integrated Apple TV software, expanded support for Apps that people are using and even suggestions that an Apple TV is coming that may compete with video game consoles.


On a final note, I was not impressed with the technology aspect of the event broadcast.  It was plagued with problems for the first 30 minutes of the event and was a complete disruption during the introduction of the iPhone 6.  I don't know who handles the Live broadcasting, but it certainly should be something that Apple reviews in time for the next event.  Was it just an overload of people trying to watch? Who knows.  On a related note, I think I may have learned part of a foreign language thanks to the Translator lady that we all heard for a few minutes.



Catch up on a few recent related posts:

September 9, 2014

iTunes Exclusive: Songs of Innocence


Apple wrapped up the September 9th event with a live performance by U2 who treated the audience to one of their new songs available on their first album in 5 years called Songs of Innocence which turns out to be an iTunes exclusive.

When the performance ended, Apple CEO, Tim Cook joked with the band about getting the album out into public hands through iTunes and then mentioned that not only would the album containing 11 songs only be available to iTunes customers, but it would be Free to existing customers, and those who sign up for iTunes accounts over the next 5 weeks.

To get the Album free (through October 13th) visit the iTunes store (or click here)

Apple says that the company and U2 share a special connection in music.  U2 was an important partner for the opening of the iTunes store and worked together on the iPod U2 Special edition.  A special ad was also created for this news, which is very reminiscent of the early iPod commercials using silhouettes and colours.  Have a look here:





Update: Removal Tool Available Now
Despite the goodwill gesture of providing the U2 Album free to all iTunes users, Apple has received a lot of criticism for this move.  Enough that they have developed a tool that will delete the U2 Album from customer's accounts if they choose not to have the free music available to them.

To Access the Tool, click the link below:
https://buy.itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZFinance.woa/wa/offerOptOut


One thing to note did not download the album's into people's library without permission.  They simply added the music to each users accounts, which is why you'll see a Cloud icon next to each song, allowing customers to easily download the free music if they choose.


Apple Watch announced


"One More Thing..."

The audience cheered as Tim Cook adopted the phrase made famous by Steve Jobs as he transitioned from the iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 plus to introduce the next chapter in Apple's story with a new entry into a category in it's infancy.  The highly anticipated iWatch.  The video played to cheers as the new watch was seen outside of Apple for the first time and then everyone learned that this new piece of tech has a completely different name than anyone expected. 

Apple Watch.

Jony Ive, Apple's senior vice president of design says that "With Apple Watch, we've developed multiple technologies and an entirely new user interface specifically for a device that's designed to be worn.  It blurs the boundary between physical object and user interface.  Ive says "We've created an entire range of products that enable unparalleled personalization"  referring to the 3 versions Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport, and Apple Watch Edition.  While each have the same body design, different materials were used to give them each a unique look.  Additionally the Apple Watch allows users to easily interchange their straps and make the Apple Watch look great in any situation whether it's a day at the beach or a formal suit & tie event.



Here's the Introduction of the Apple Watch shown during the September 9th Apple Event:


The Apple watch price will start at $350 USD and will obviously go up depending on the strap and body you select.  I imagine that the 18K gold Apple Watch Edition models will be significantly more costly.  Apple Watch is slated to be available in Early 2015.

I am definitely going to be Watching for it.  (sorry).

iPhone 6 Announced


As we've come to expect in the middle of September, Apple announced the next version of the iPhone.  And as anticipated it wasn't just one iPhone, but two models.  The rumours that have been floating around the internet for some time turned out to be true with Apple announcing a 4.7-inch display on the iPhone 6, alongside a 5.5 inch variant called iPhone 6 Plus.



Apple confirmed my prediction that the new iPhone lineup in Gold, Silver and Space Grey would be available on Friday September 19th.  Many Canadian wireless providers didn't take long to advertise that they would be carrying the devices but haven't revealed what the pricing will be for Canadian consumers where the price can vary from $25-100 depending on the device.

During the presentation Apple provided the suggested pricing based on a 2 year wireless contract, keep in mind the values are in US Dollars.



Canadian carriers have a practice of requiring a minimum monthly plan in order to purchase a device at what they refer to as "Subsidized pricing" which is essentially an extremely low interest loan (consider how much you pay up front along with the device balance deducted monthly and you'll quickly see it costs more to buy a phone this way).


Some of the things that were called out during the presentation also were around the graphics processing.  Apple says that the Retina HD Displays are capable of displaying a game in a higher resolution than current gen consoles (PlayStation 4, XBox One) and an improved power efficiency.   Battery life always seems to be a question with smart phones, and while there is a bit of a boost when comparing the iPhone 5S to the iPhone 6, there is a significant improvement on the larger iPhone 6 Plus.

Another thing that was pointed out was the declining number of Point-and-shoot cameras that you see these days.  Almost everyone has traded them in for a smart phone so it's important that companies like Apple put more effort into their cameras.  The iPhone 6 offers image stabilization, while the iPhone 6 Plus has optical image stabilization.  Both iPhones have camera hardware in them that are common in Digital SLR cameras.



For more information about the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, visit Apple's website.

One last note, iOS 8 will be included on both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and will be available to the general public on September 17th 2014.  Here's a list of compatible devices:


  • iPod Touch 5th generation
  • iPad 2
  • iPad with Retina Display
  • iPad 4th generation
  • iPad Air
  • iPad mini
  • iPad mini with Retina Display
  • iPhone 4S
  • iPhone 5
  • iPhone 5C
  • iPhone 5S
  • iPhone 6
  • iPhone 6 Plus