Sunday, January 31, 2016

Apple Should "Sherlock" Duets For iOS, OS X, and TV OS

One of the best productivity tool that you might not hear much about or have much use if you don't have a Mac is Duet Display by Kairos  started by former Apple engineers. It's an app that allows the user to use an iPad as a secondary screen for the Mac.  It is one of the best productivity app in the App Store and one that I use quite often that I think it is probably an app that Apple should "Sherlock".  Apple should also take it further and extend this feature to the Apple TV.

The idea of getting "Sherlocked" (Urban Dictionary) essential is when an app that is so useful that Apple end up copying the idea and building it into its own operating system or creating a whole new app around it.  While I think it would be horrible for Duet Display developers, it would be a boom for iPad and Mac users.  So, instead of just ripping off Duet Display, the fairest thing is for Apple to buy up Duet Display and bring onboard to Apple and allow the developers to do more with it.  

So, Mac extending its screen onto an iPad and making it work easier and better would be a great start, what else can Apple do to make Duet Display feature even better?  How about iOS to iOS.  iPad to iPad or iPhone to iPad.  Wouldn't this be great?  This feature along could entice people to go out and buy and extra iPad.  Or even given its older iPad an extra function.  

Furthermore, Apple should extend the Duet Display feature over to Apple TV as well.  Airplay is great and I use it quite a bit.  In fact, I hardly turned on my HDTV until I got one of the latest Apple TV along with the iPad mini 4 where Airplay becomes much more useful.  And right now, Airplaying from the iPad to Apple TV is possible when you mirror what you see on your iPad onto the TV screen.  There is no way to use the Apple TV to make the TV screen work as a secondary screen.  

In fact, there is no iOS app that I know of that does this.  And there is no need for such an app since the Duet Display feature does not exist.  But given develops this feature and build it into the iOS, OS X, and TV OS SDKs, imagine the possibilities.  Forget gaming but it would open up a range of what gamers can do.  Furthermore, I can see folks using the iOS devices as their main computers, replacing PCs and being able to use two screens to increase their productivity.  

Now, keep in mind that I'm not suggesting that Apple just rip off Duet Display.  I would like Apple to buy the app and the team that made it and bring it in-house.  With more resources and access to the native codes for Apple's three main OS', a more rich and robust Duet Display would appeal to even more mobile users and even businesses.  

If I was a betting man, I'd bet this will happen - either Duet Display gets Sherlocked or Apple bring the team back into the fold.  

Friday, January 29, 2016

Main Reason That Current Slowdown Will Force Some Out And Apple Comes Out Stronger

Here is the post from 360 Mac I want to add a bit on to.  It generally provides a good and rather obvious road map on the "coming tech apocalypse" and proclaims that Apple will weather it and come out even stronger.  I agree for the most part and I like to explain why.  Apple's products are aspirational but they are among the best on the market.  There is no second or third place among its competitors as far as premium products, services, and ecosystems go.  None. 

And as millions in developing countries join their own versions of the middle class, Apple will be primed to sell them the products they want and need.  Phones, tablets, computers, wearables, and, yes, Car Play-ready cars or even Apple cars.  Oh, yeah, stuff for the homes that are HomeKit enabled.  Oh, yeah, Apple TV and relevant services as well.  Perhaps, even banking with Apple one day.

None of this will happen overnight and given what it feels like at times is the snail-like pace in which Apple unveils features and services, there is a meticulous and well through out road map at Cupertino, Apple's HQ.  And even through downturns, Apple continues to pour on the R&D dollars. 

In a downturn, folks will hold onto their gears longer and that upgrade cycle will hurt a lot of companies. Even Apple to some extent but a mast majority of Apple's customers have greater net worth which means a great many of them will continue to upgrade regardless of the larger economic slow down. 

Apple's competitors will mostly be forced to cut back their own development cycle to reduce costs or go away entirely.  Perhaps, even get picked up by larger companies.  What it essentially means is that the experience gap between Apple and its competitors will grow wider. 

All of this is good for Apple even if Wall Street thinks otherwise.  This is a long game.  Product upgrades and entry into new markets does not happen overnight.  I'm sure in a couple of years, the consumer tech landscape will be vastly different and Apple will resume its double digit growth that Wall Street wants. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Final Investigative Report on Kickstarter and the Failed (Fraudulent) Zano Drone Project

Here is the detailed report (Medium) commissioned by Kickstarter over the failed Zano drone that I was also a backer and, ultimately, victim to.  With millions of backers' money, Zano, the drone that would change everything, was a sure thing, right?  The video was awesome and its features were nothing like what is available on the market.

Delay after delay.  This was expected.  I like to give people the benefit of the doubt.  But then, boom!  Torquing Group went into liquidation, taking all our money with it.  No drone.  The shocked look on my face was likely plastered on thousands of others as well. 

While you can read the post (recommended) to find out what exactly happened, the result as far as I'm concerned, and likely feared by Kickstarter, is that I have been a lot more cautious about funding anything.  This is in light of other complaints from backers on other projects as well.  Kickstarter, like Indigogo, was fast becoming a place for companies to pull money from backers that sell subpar products or to entice users to back products, which at times, seem just another way to get buyers to pre-order. 

I still go on Kickstarter and scout for interesting projects but I have not backed anything for a while.  And I reckon others are doing the same thing I am.  Furthermore, I am also quite content to let others take the risks.  Sure, there are rewards like getting the final product earlier or with a discounted price.  Those are the rewards but I'm also perfectly fine paying retail on something later so long as I know it is what it is and works as advertised.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Cars, Security, and Safety

Here is an interesting article from MacObserver discussing the importance of Apple's open source programming language, Swift, that is used write apps for iOS, Watch OS and OS X. And presumably, Car OS when Apple releases its Apple Car.

Not only is ease of use going to bean issue as far as operating the car is concerned, but hacking and cyberattacks are going to be something future vehicles are going to need to be protected against as best as Apple can.

And when Apple designed Swift, security was paramount. In doing that and with annual improvements, it kept an eye on Car OS as well. Only Apple knows and perhaps, under the Apple's glasnost that is Tim Cook's reign, we may learn of it when Tim or Jony Ives tells us about the iCar development process on 60 Minutes.

- Posted using Mobile.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Apple Needs an iCloud Plug-In For Windows 10 Browsers Or Re-release Safari for Windows

If you're on a Windows 10 machine, Apple offers an iCloud app and associated extensions for use with Windows more popular browsers, Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome. It was more than I thought were supported by Apple for its cloud service but there should be more support for Windows users for iCloud. After all, Apple has an equivalent webapp for its OS X app like iWork apps, mail, and other major iCloud services. Barring that, Apple should reintroduce Safari that has built-in support for iCloud services.

Right now, you can use any of the above three mentioned browsers use access but you are met with a warning that the browser does not fully support iCloud features. You can download iCloud for Windows that offers a direct integration with iCloud data and Windows.

For most people, what Apple does offer now is sufficient. But as a writer and blogger, I would like to be able to sharing links and information from one app to another more seamlessly than what is currently possible now on Windows. I had tried to sent an URL in my browser on the Macbook and all I had do was to click on the share icon in Safari and all the options that I have set up for sharing pops open.

When I'm on a Windows machine (unfortunately, I cannot be on a Mac all the time I'm at work), I have to copy and paste the URL in another tab where apps are on and then go through an extra couple of steps to do the same thing. If Apple had build a better extension or even a Windows version of Safari with the same functions as on OS X, I could save myself a lot of trouble. As it is now, I'm forced to spread my links on Feedly, Twitter, Instapaper, or another social network.

It is unlikely I'll see Apple build a more robust iCloud for Windows app that offers a similar experience as I do on the OS X. As it is now, new and old iPhone and iPad users can use their iOS devices entirely free of a traditional computer - all their data are cloud-stored. Sure, a vast majority of businesses still rely on PCs but more and more are work entirely on their tablet or phone. And Apple has been positioning the iPad as a laptop replacement, this is especially evident with the release of the iPad Pro. And iOS will only mature more and more with each annual update and gain added features that make using PC in businesses and schools more obsolete.

I started off writing this post to name the hole that is glaringly evident in Apple's iCloud services and its use on Windows, where Wintel machines still dominate the computing landscape. I've come around to the fact that iPad and mobile computing is where Apple is focused on and directing its innovative visions towards. Still, it will not happen overnight or even in the next few years. Tablets will have a lot of growing to do.

MacBook Air M2 - I Love It And Any Laptop You Get Will Always Be Right For the Time

The 2016 MacBook sitting off to the side still has some value as I gleefully starting using my MacBook Air M2 that I got for a decent price ...