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Tom Briant

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for 4/9/2017

Apple just released this beautiful drone video of its new 'spaceship’ campus

New Report: Apple's Mac Is No Longer Virus-Free

So says McAfee — a company that sells anti-virus software.

McAfee says that the number of malware cases affecting Macs grew by 744 percent in 2016.
Most of the cases are advertisement software (adware), which is merely annoying, vs. destructive ransomware or intrusive spyware.
The 744% growth sounds alarming -- but it's still nothing compared to the amount of malware for Windows that McAfee identified.

Nearly 640 million malware instances were found overall by McAfee -- with the vast majority of these coming from Windows. The Mac malware is still a drop in the ocean in comparison.

Apple will reportedly drop 32-bit app support entirely with iOS 11 this fall

Apple has slowly been cracking down on 32-bit iOS apps, but it appears that it will make a drastic change come this fall. This means that many OLD apps will no longer work.

Apple AirPods: Review

They’re expensive, but the work well with Siri and are very convenient.

Apple to ditch the current Mac Pro design

In a rare admission of a misstep, executives conceded the unusual design limited Apple's ability to offer meaningful upgrades and failed to meet many pro users' needs.

Apple Says It Is “Completely Rethinking” The Mac Pro
There's a new Mac on the way for pro users, but it isn't hitting shelves anytime soon.

The Mac Pro, Apple’s marquee desktop machine, hasn’t been refreshed since 2013. But lest you think it was forgotten, the diminutive black obelisk is top of mind at Apple these days — specifically how to reimagine it in a way that will appeal to professionals frustrated by its seemingly stalled evolution. To that end, there is officially a new Mac Pro in the pipeline, but it's going to be a while before it arrives.

Though not unprecedented, these are rare admissions for Apple, which has historically taken a “people don't know what they want until you show it to them” approach to product design.

Apple pushes the reset button on the Mac Pro

The news, if you want it straight: Apple is acknowledging that the Mac Pro they introduced in 2013 has run aground on the cleverness of its own design, and they’re re-thinking the entire machine. In addition, they’ll be releasing a new external display — something it had previously opted out of.

But none of that is coming this year.

Fifteen percent of all Mac customers, Phil Schiller says, use “pro” category apps multiple times a week. Basically, they use apps in a professional capacity. Thirty percent of Apple’s Mac customer base use pro apps less frequently than once a week but still do use them. And the vast majority of customers who define themselves as pros use Apple’s notebooks.

Sorry about the last Mac Pro, Apple promises major redesign

Includes video.

“We’re in the process of completely rethinking the Mac Pro,” said Phil Schiller.

The Mac Pro’s problems were twofold. First, it was trying to be a one-size fits all for pro customers who happen to spread across an incredibly diverse set of creative and computing disciplines (photos, video, music, science, development and coding).  Second, it wasn’t customizable enough to allow customers to address their widely diverse needs themselves.

For some time now, Apple’s been on a sort of Pro user listening tour, trying to understand those who own the Mac Pro and those who have rejected it. Apple has also paid attention to the chatter in Internet forums where some Mac users wondered if Apple still cared about them.

The Mac Pro Lives

Let’s say you’re Apple. You’re faced with the following problem. Three years ago you launched a radical new lineup of Mac Pros. For multiple reasons, you haven’t shipped an update to those machines since. At some point you came to the conclusion that the 2013 Mac Pro concept was fundamentally flawed. 

What do you do? There are really only two options at this point.

The first would be to suck it up and wait until the next-generation Mac Pros are ready to be announced, and suffer in silence while more and more people point to the current Mac Pro’s stagnation as proof that Apple is abandoning the Mac Pro market.

The second would be to bite the bullet and tell the world what your plans are, even though it’s your decades-long tradition — a fundamental part of the company’s culture — to let actual shipping products, not promises of future products, tell your story.

Apple chose the latter.

My takeaway is that the Mac’s future is bright. Mac sales were up in 2016, once again outpacing the PC industry as a whole, and the new MacBook Pros are a hit, with sales up “about 20 percent” year over year. The Mac is a $25 billion business for Apple annually, and according to the company there are 100 million people in the active Mac user base worldwide.

Yes, those numbers are all peanuts compared to the iPhone, but everythingis peanuts compared to the iPhone.

Apple's high-end desktop is back from the dead

Until now, the  Mac Pro desktop was the closest Apple had to a forgotten product. The cylindrical desktop tower, intended for a professional content creation audience, was introduced to much fanfare in 2013, but it's remained essentially unchanged ever since.

But Apple has finally given professional Mac users who've felt left out in the cold for the past few years reason for optimism.
The company revealed that an entirely new Mac Pro desktop design is in the works.

If you're still tempted by the current version of the Mac Pro, know that it's a very interesting desktop with some notable features and and an impressive aesthetic. But, it's also less flexible than what a design or creative pro might need.

EXIF is a file standard for photos — the EXIF data is the supplementary file that’s attached to, for example, a JPEG whenever you take a picture. It includes things like copyright information, camera settings, a thumbnail, and the date and time the photo was taken.

Exif Editor is a $10.99 desktop app for Mac that exists for the sole purpose of editing the metadata on photographs.

The 99 cent iPhone app EXIF-fi lets you view and edit the metadata for any photo on your phone.

AW comment:
  Skip the soap opera discussion in the first half of this article.
  Scroll down just a little over half way down the article to read about Mac and iOS software.

This might be the best reason to always buy an iPhone

I reliably upgrade to a new iPhone for $125 every year, without any special deals or promos or financing. It relies on the very slow depreciation of iPhones compared to all other devices. I’ve always found that iPhones hold better value than other smartphones, but it’s been difficult to back up my anecdotes with data, until now.

Data from phone reseller Decluttr shows how quickly phones from different manufacturers lose their value.
The graph in the article is very interesting.

Fixing Your iPhone’s Battery Drain Issues Following a Software Update

Software updates are great, but one of the downsides to them is that they can drain your battery afterward due to old or out-of-date settings from previous versions. But don’t fret as there is a way to fix this without going to buy a new battery.  Just follow the steps below and your phone will be back to normal in no time at all.

How I added four hours of battery life to my smartphone every day for free

Five tricks to improving your iPhone’s battery life.

iPhone thieves leave selfies, video in victim's iCloud

After realizing her phone had been stolen last week, Bianca Dabi wrote off the device and figured she'd never see the phone or the people who took it again.
Then, the pictures showed up.

Whoever took Dabi's phone outside an ATM in Dallas last week apparently started taking photos and videos of themselves and their friends. What they didn't know is, those photos went to the cloud, where Dabi was seeing them pop up with regularity.

iCloud helps nab kidnappers at South Florida Denny’s

The victim of a South Florida kidnapping can thank iCloud for the arrest of his abductors.

Authorities used the victim’s iCloud account on the iPhone that had been stolen to trace the men back to a Denny’s in Coral Gables. A search of the suspect’s car revealed the victim’s stolen property and the men were arrested.

Apple has a solution to underpowered MacBook Pro graphics: fix it yourself

Some people criticized the MacBook Pro’s lack of sufficient RAM and its inferior graphics card. But users quickly discovered they can use external GPUs to turn them into even more powerful computers.

The Disposable Society And My MacBook Pro

My 105 year old typewriter works perfectly. It still works great. I can still buy the ribbons it requires and if it needs servicing, there are still places that will service manual typewriters, even those that are more than 100 years old.

My seven year old MacBook Pro doesn’t work anymore.
It cost several thousand dollars. It was the top of the line.
Its battery failed and it can’t be replaced.

The Apple “genius” said: “Tech gets old fast.”
And worthless..” I interjected.
“And worthless,” he agreed.

MacBook Air 13-inch gets a big price cut, is now $799 new

It was priced at $999 USD, but as of now Best Buy has it listed for $799 USD, a $200 price drop.

AW comment:
Apple often cuts prices of products it plans to discontinue.  The low price won’t last long.

I broke up with my beloved Fitbit for the Apple Watch. Here's what happened
After logging nearly 6.7 million steps with her Fitbit, I switched to the Apple Watch and haven't looked back.

Here are my Top 5 favorite things about the device — and not all of them are fitness-related.

"Be Calm, Robots Aren’t About to Take Your Job, MIT Economist Says”

David Autor knows a lot about robots. He doesn’t think they’re set to devour our jobs.
As an economics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who focuses on the impact of automation on employment, he’s in a good position to know. He’s surrounded by people creating many of the machines behind the latest wave of techno-anxiety.

His is “the non-alarmist view,” he says.

The 50-year-old believes automation has hurt the job market—but in a more targeted way than most pessimists think. He also doesn’t see the automation wave killing a wider array of jobs as quickly as many predict. Machines are invading the workplace, but in many cases as tools to make humans more productive, not replace them.

A recent study put out by PwCestimated that as many as 30% of UK jobs could be "susceptible to automation by robots and AI" by the early 2030s — with 38% in the US at risk, 35% in Germany, and 21% in Japan — although it believes jobs will be created elsewhere in the economy to help offset this.

Are we doing enough to prepare? Absolutely not, says Bob Moritz, global chairman of consultancy firm PwC.

Why Are There Still So Many Jobs? The History and Future of Workplace Automation

journalists and even expert commentators tend to overstate the extent of machine substitution for human labor and ignore the strong complementarities between automation and labor that increase productivity, raise earnings, and augment demand for labor.

an economic reality that is as fundamental as it is over- looked: tasks that cannot be substituted by automation are generally complemented by it.

productivity improvements in one set of tasks almost necessarily increase the economic value of the remaining tasks.

Cyborgs at work: employees getting implanted with microchips

The syringe slides in between the thumb and index finger. Then, with a click, a microchip is injected in the employee's hand. Another "cyborg" is created.

Now here are some interesting comments about this story:

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