Apple delays HomePod until Early 2018

Apple just released a statement about the upcoming HomePod:

We can’t wait for people to experience HomePod, Apple’s breakthrough wireless speaker for the home, but we need a little more time before it’s ready for our customers. We’ll start shipping in the US, UK and Australia in early 2018.

Originally scheduled for December this means Apple will miss the upcoming holidays. The question is why did Apple announce it so early, in June 2017, even with a supposed launch in December. Did they run into issues with the production, the hardware or software itself?


Install the macOS High Sierra 10.13 Supplemental Update now

Apple just released a supplemental update for macOS High Sierra 10.13 that fixes two security issues. It can be found in the Mac App Store and you should install it now.

While one issue could allow access to an encrypted APFS volume the second problem gave applications the ability to extract passwords that were stored in the macOS keychain.


watchOS 4.0.1 fixes Apple Watch Wi-Fi (and LTE) issues

When the first reviews of the new Apple Watch Series 3 came out there were a couple of reviewers that ran into issues with their watches trying to use previously saved Wi-Fi networks that use so-called captive portals. You may have seen these portals when using public Wi-Fi hotspots at Starbucks or using in-flight service on your favorite airline. They usually require you to accept their Terms of Service or something similar, which isn’t an issue on a normal device.

If you connected to one of those, say on your iPhone or Mac, they’ll be saved on your other devices as well, to make it easier when you try to connect with them as well later on. The problem is, these Wi-Fi networks are – or were – being synced to watchOS as well. Since the Apple Watch has no interface for you to agree to any ToS, you weren’t able to successfully connect to them. This resulted in the Watch getting stuck half way without a network connection.

For the Apple Watch Series 3 with Cellular this also meant that it wouldn’t let go of it and use LTE to get a connection, resulting in zero service – even though LTE might have been available where you were.

watchOS 4.0.1 which was publicly released today fixes this bug. So if you own an Apple Watch you might want to go to your Watch app on your iPhone and look for software updates and install it. Make sure to connect your Watch to the charging puck and not take it off before it’s done updating. As usual, your Apple Watch also needs to be at least 50 percent charged before it will start or even allow updating of the operating system. There’s however a small trick that will make downloading the update a bit faster, by using Wi-Fi, which I might get into in a separate article.

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Alto’s Odyssey is coming in 2017

Can’t wait!

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Apple is sorry about your iCloud spam, and working on a fix

Apple’s statement about the recent increase of iCloud calendar spam to Rene Ritchie:

We are sorry that some of our users are receiving spam calendar invitations. We are actively working to address this issue by identifying and blocking suspicious senders and spam in the invites being sent.

Not sure “identifying and blocking suspicious senders and spam in the invites” is enough to get rid of this problem. The whole idea of being able to freely send calendar invites to anyone with an email address – or abuse Apples iCloud Photo Sharing – is frightening. I’m actually surprised it took the spammers this long to finally find this opening.

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San Francisco Subway Hackers Now Threaten to Publicly Dump Data

Joseph Cox for Motherboard:

Over the weekend, riders of San Francisco’s municipal transit system (Muni) were allowed to travel for free because hackers had infected subway computers with ransomware. According to CSO Online, the attackers have demanded some $73,000 worth of bitcoin.

Now, the hackers have made a new threat: the release of 30GB of databases and documents belonging to the San Francisco Muni, including contracts and employee data, if they don’t receive payment.

Update: According to SF Gate Muni fixed their systems and are back up running without even communicating with the attackers.

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Sal Soghoian leaves Apple

The macOS Automation Sites:

Q. I hear you no longer work for Apple; is that true?

A. Correct. I joined Apple in January of 1997, almost twenty years ago, because of my profound belief that “the power of the computer should reside in the hands of the one using it.” That credo remains my truth to this day. Recently, I was informed that my position as Product Manager of Automation Technologies was eliminated for business reasons. Consequently, I am no longer employed by Apple Inc. But, I still believe my credo to be as true today as ever.

Q. What are you going to do?

A. Effective December 1, I will be considering opportunities and available for consulting. In the meantime, sign up to receive User Automation news, and I will keep you posted.

A sad day.

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About that developer angle at WWDC

On yesterday’s Upgrade podcast with Jason Snell and Mike Hurley they talked about products that would only be introduced at WWDC if they had a developer angle1.

Seeing that it boils down to almost guaranteed updates for iOS and OS X – with a possible introduction of a new Apple TV we could see a couple of news that would have this angle. These news might further tie in into the streaming services, that are rumoured to be announced in early June to be launched later that month.

Apple Watch on the other hand may be largely absent from the show, with Apple just saying “We’ll get back to you later this year” when they are ready to show a WatchOS beta that brings a native Watch SDK.

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Apple Photos released as part of OS X 10.10.3 Beta

After removing mentions about its upcoming Photos app for OS X a few days ago, Apple today published a new website detailing the new features in the iPhoto (and Aperture) replacement. While the beta version for OS X 10.10.3 – which includes Photos – is available for testers only, Apple also made the new app available to some select news sites:

The app itself felt stable and looks a lot like an scaled up version of the iOS 8 Photos app. It works the same way when navigating between Photos, Shared Photos and Albums. The Photos view also has the same model of drilling down from a yearly overview, to location and date based automated photo groups.

One big gripe is the iCloud data storage used if you want to sync photos between your Mac and iOS devices. This requires a lot of space and Apple only gives you 5 GB, which is shared not only with the photos you want to upload but also iOS backups, iCloud mail and all apps that use iCloud to store anything online in Apple’s cloud service.

Apple offers a variety of upgraded storage options (from 20 GB for $0.99/month to 1 TB at $19.99/month) but that doesn’t take away from making 5 GB feel like it’s 2008. Sharing that little amount of free storage across multiple iOS devices gets tight quick.

It’d be a different story if Apple would give you 5 GB per active device. So if you had a Mac, iPhone and iPad using the same iCloud account, you’ll get a total of 15 GB for free.

When it comes to the actual editing Photos seems to be a mix of iPhoto and Aperture, while definitely aimed at users of the former. It’s not a professional app like Aperture, let alone Lightroom. If you’re looking for anything more that simple editing features, Adobe’s Lightroom is the place to look at. For regular users iPhoto should be more than enough though. It’s certainly possible that Apple could add more features over time like it did with Final Cut Pro X after it was released and everybody got up in arms over its missing features that were part of Final Cut Pro 7 before.

Photos should be a welcome update, coming some time later this spring, most likely with the release of OS X 10.10.3 which it was bundled with in today’s developer release.

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Adobe releases new creative apps for iOS, updates Creative Cloud, various CC apps

Adobe today released a slew of updates for their Creative Cloud apps. While the main Creative Cloud app promises OS X Yosemite compatibility and battery life savings, apps like Premiere Pro and After Effects include “expanded support for HiDPI displays”. These updates can be found in the Creative Cloud app.

As part of Adobe MAX, Adobe’s annual conference, they also released a couple of new and updated apps for iOS that work hand in hand with Adobe’s desktop apps. Among them two apps for Illustration (Illustrator Line and Illustrator Draw) and Premiere Clip that – as the name implies – is a simple version of Premiere Pro. Clip is Adobe’s first video editing app for iOS.

On the Imaging side Adobe released Photoshop Sketch, as well as updates for Photoshop Mix and Lightroom for iPad and iPhone. While Photoshop Mix is now also compatible with the iPhone, Lightroom mobile gains a few new social features and the ability to sync GPS information between Lightroom for iPhone and the desktop app.