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Disney and Pixar characters come to Apple's Clips app
Apple's Clips app aims make sharable video clips easy to make. It can be styled in many ways, and Apple announced it's brining new Disney graphics. The new overlays and posters feature Disney and Pixar characters.

Users can now add classic Disney and Pixar characters to their videos. Clips 1.1 features animated overlays of Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Daisy Duck. The app also includes characters from Pixar's Toy Story and Inside Out, so users can choose to star with Woody or Jessie, or show their emotions with Joy, Fear and others. To complement the collection of characters, new Disney-designed posters can be added to videos as playful title cards to help tell a story.

The update also offers a number of other improvements and feature enhancements.

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Steve Jobs opera opens this weekend
The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs is an opera about Steve Jobs. The show opens this weekend in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The Ringer:
On Saturday in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the 40-year-old composer will premiere The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, an opera that tells the story of the man who revolutionized computing. The much-hyped production has been two years in the making, and it features an energetic libretto by Pulitzer Prize winner Mark Campbell. After its stint in New Mexico, it'll head to San Francisco and Seattle.

This seems a little out there. Nose-bleed seats start at $43 and go up to over $300 for stage level. Seats are still available for opening night.

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Panic releases Transmit 5
Transmit is a great FTP client and one of the apps I've been using for many years. Panic has release a major new version with 5.0.

Seven years after the first release of Transmit 4, our well-loved and widely-used macOS file transfer app, we sat down with an incredibly exhaustive list of ideas, and -- this'll sound like I'm exaggerating but I'm mostly sure I'm not -- we did it all.

With one massive update we've brought everyone's favorite file-transferring truck into the future with more speed, more servers, more features, more fixes, a better UI, and even Panic Sync. Everything from the core file transfer engine to the "Get Info" experience was rethought, overhauled, and improved.

Transmit 5 is available this week for $35. After this week, it will sell for $45. There is no upgrades available, so, this is a price new and existing users.

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1Password for iOS eases one-time usage
1Password for iOS was updated to version 6.8 and includes a few interesting features:

We can't think of anything better to beat the heat than a nice cold ice-cream in the sunshine ... with extra sprinkles, of course. We'd like to think of your one-time passwords as the sprinkles that complete your Login items. Now 1Password automatically copies those one-time passwords when you fill an item with the 1Password Extension, saving you a step and a giving you more time to enjoy that ice cream.

Also new is support for vaults and date stamps for login modifications. For the modifications, this is a nice feature on macOS that lists when a password was created as last modified. This is pretty helpful when trying to figure out a current password if you happen to have multiple saved passwords. It's also helpful for troubleshooting password issues.

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Report: How Apple vs. Samsung Became a Smartphone Beauty Contest
The Wall Street Journal has a piece comparing Apple and Samsung's design trends.
Some design experts wonder if the Galaxy S8's visual leap says more about Apple and its chief executive, Tim Cook, whose operational skills contrast with the visionary talents of his predecessor, Steve Jobs. "It's not so much that Samsung has gotten better, but Apple has fundamentally changed," said Hugh Dubberly, a former Apple creative director and former member of Samsung's global design advisory board. "The pipeline that Steve [Jobs] started is over."

This is an easy and popular narrative, especially given the iPhone physical appearance is near the end its third year. What might be missed though is that Jobs may have not been as engaged leading up to his resignation. Cook like has been in his role for multiple major cycles. On the flip side, major product cycles span years, so it could be argued Cook is now fully owning the current cycle for its products.

Either way, beyond physical appearances, there are platform considerations. Each company represents different platforms, Apple with its iOS and Samsung Android.

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Apple previews new upcoming emojis
For World Emoji Day, which is a thing, Apple is highlighting a batch of new emojis that it is planning to include with future operating systems. The new emojis appear to be coming either all or in part to iOS, macOS, and watchOS.

With thousands of emoji available on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac, there are many ways to add personality to every message. New emoji include Woman with Headscarf, Bearded Person and Breastfeeding, and food items such as Sandwich and Coconut. More animals and mythical creatures like T-Rex, Zebra, Zombie and Elf are a fun way to describe situations and new Star-Struck and Exploding Head smiley faces make any message more fun.

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Apple's back-to-school promo now available
Those looking to purchase a new Macs or an iPad Pro for school can get free Beats headphones. For years, Apple has offered some kind of promotion of either product or store credits to for back-to-school seasons. Like recent years, Apple is offering Beats headphones. The promotion is on top of existing pricing discounts for education purchases.

With a qualifying purchase, Apple is offering its current line of Beats including Solo3 Wireless, PowerBeats3, or BeatsX

The promotion is available for all qualified education customers, which includes college students and their parents, in addition to educators for all grade levels. The promotion runs July 12 through September 25, 2017.

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Report: Software issues affecting rumored next iPhone's features
Fast Company is reporting that Apple has been struggling with software problems on its upcoming new iPhone. Specifically, the issues are around rumored wireless or inductive power charging and a rumored 3D sensor. The report describes the situation in June as a "panic" as the company races to prep the next iPhone upgrade cycle.

If the company can't get the technology to work smoothly in time, my source said, it might ship the first phones with inoperable wireless charging hardware, then enable the feature later on.

Another software feature relates to a 3D sensor that may be used to identify owners.

Worst case, however, seems to be that if features are not ready for primetime, they could simply be enabled at a later date. That wouldn't be unprecedented as Apple has activated features for shipping hardware in the past. Most recently the ability to take depth prostrate features with the iPhone 7 Plus and also wireless features that require mobile carriers to support.

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Apple offers extended coverage for 1G Apple Watch back covers
Apple has determined that under certain conditions on some Apple Watch (1st generation) devices the back cover may separate from the watch case. Apple will service eligible devices free of charge. Apple will authorize coverage for three (3) years from the date of purchase.

The extended coverage affects original Apple Watch purchases until at least April 2018. MacRumors said this policy has been in effect since last year, however, support for covered repairs may be spotty. If anyone paid for a past repair to a first generation Apple Watch back or are asked to pay, they should inquire about this coverage policy.

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Jawbone customers struggle to find support
Jawbone is shutting down operations and liquidating assets. The company claims to have a plan in place to deliver on its service obligations, but apparently is struggling to do so for the past six months or so.

USA Today:
Visitors to its website see a company that looks like all is well, and is promoting products--except that there are no links to buy them. Jawbone's Amazon, Facebook and Twitter pages appear as though the company still has its doors open.

Yet a company headquarters phone number contact directs tech support callers to another number that has apparently been disconnected. Customers complain in online review forums of leaving many messages in e-mail and phone form that haven't been answered.

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Little Snitch 4
Little Snitch 4 was recently released with a score of new features. I've been using Little Snitch since the first version. It's a great network monitoring tool to control apps that phone home for various reasons. It also is useful for monitoring activity for a malicious applications that may be running without the user's knowledge.

New features:

Overall modernized design of all UI components
Completely redesigned Network Monitor with map view for visualizing worldwide network connections based on their geographic location
Research Assistant accessible from Network Monitor and Little Snitch Configuration
New, redesigned Silent Mode
Connection alert can be minimized to defer the decision whether to allow or deny a connection
Improved DNS name based traffic filtering using Deep Packet Inspection
Code signature secured filter rules
Improved working with profiles
Automatic Silent Mode Switching
Priority Rules
Managed Rules
Touch Bar Support

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Jean-Louis Gassee on the iPhone's scale
The iPhone is on track to selling over 1.2 billion handsets in its first 10 years while generating over $1 trillion in revenue for Apple.

Jean-Louis Gassee puts the iPhone's scale into perspective:

During the most recent Xmas quarter, Apple sold slightly fewer than 80 million iPhones, about 900,000 a day. Obligingly, a day has 86,400 seconds, so we round up to 90,000 to get a production yield of ten iPhones per second.

But producing a phone isn't instantaneous, it isn't like the click of the shutter in a high-speed camera. Let's assume that it takes about 15 minutes (rounded up to 1,000 seconds) to assemble a single iPhone. How many parallel production pipes need to accumulate ten phones a second? 1,000 divided by 1/10 equals...10,000! Ten thousand parallel pipes in order to output ten phones per second.

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Apple wants to make Siri more culturally with it
9 to 5 Mac notes a new job posting for a Siri Event Maven. The position is to help Siri be more up on the times:

Do you bring "Wookie Cookies" to the office for "May The Forth Be With You"? Is your favorite holiday "∏ Day" or "Talk like a Pirate Day"? We're looking for someone to help us keep Siri up to date on all the various events happening around the world.

Apple says the position will also help Siri "to provide strategic awareness of cultural happenings in the collective zeitgeist."

On one hand the little things is what makes AI a joy to use. On the other this seems superficial considering Siri shortcomings.

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Apple, Cisco CEOs argue their solutions should result in lower security insurance costs
For enterprise companies paying to insurance against cyber crime, Apple CEO Tim Cook argues its customers should get a break on insurance costs when coupled with Cisco gear.

Sharing a stage with Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins at a Cisco event in Las Vegas, Cook said the combination of gear from the two companies was more secure than the use of competing technology, such as the Android mobile operating system made by Alphabet Inc's Google.

A pretty good marketing spin. There are so many variables including typically the weakest link with humans. Actuaries may not see it the same way, but the message seems strong that Apple and Cisco have something to sell for those shopping for secure solutions.

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Report: Apple and Hertz partner to test self-driving cars
The iPhone maker is leasing Lexus RX450h sport-utility vehicles from Hertz's Donlen fleet-management unit, according to documents released recently by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. When Apple received its license to test three autonomous vehicles from the state's DMV in April, the documents listed Donlen as the lessor and Apple as the lessee.

The partnership seems similar that that of Google and Avis to test vehicles. There's no telling when Apple hopes to have a car product, but the company seems to be making some kind of progress as it gears up to test on public roads.

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Switching from Dropbox to iCloud
I've been a happy Dropbox subscriber for several years. The service works great, but I've been having some challenges and I want to consolidate my paid cloud services. I'm currently paying for two iCloud accounts and a Dropbox account. I don't see iCloud going anywhere with its seamless iOS backup and photo/video storage, so that's tipping things away from Dropbox. The other advantage is I want to take advantage of macOS's storage optimization.

In recent years, the challenge with Dropbox is syncing to devices with SSD storage. Everything was good when there was hundreds of gigabytes of storage on laptops and terabytes on desktops. It now, however, can be a challenge to sync across all devices when the contents of the cloud accounts could fill up drives. I've managed this by using selective sync, but that's has some frustrating management requirements and usually has me downloading content via the website when needed.�

macOS solves this by automatically removing older, larger files as needed from local storage. When local storage gets tight, the local copies of files on iCloud Drive get purged. If you want those purged files, you can download them on-demand. It all works transparently, and with modern reliable broadband, it is usually at most a minor inconvenience waiting a few moments to download.�

I've been late to this optimized storage party because this concept is unsettling. The idea that my files are evaporating to the cloud from my computer without my control or even knowledge is unnerving. Still, the sync juggling almost made me switch last year, but Sierra and its updated optimized storage features had just shipped by time my Dropbox subscription was up for renewal. This time around, Apple's solution seems proven and I'm willing to take the leap.�

Another problem I'm looking to solve is, at least to my understanding, my Dropbox files must live locally somewhere. My solution has been a desktop with a large storage to house a master of my large files. iCloud Drive doesn't work this way. I could upload 50 GB, it would live in the cloud, and then be offloaded to free up local space when needed.�

Apple also recently doubled its $10/mo storage tier. I currently pay for 200 GB to handle basically device backup and my photos/videos. I don't have a need for 2 TB of storage, but I'm liking the idea of not thinking about my storage both in the cloud and locally. The other news out of WWDC this month was that we'll finally be able to share storage plans with Family Sharing. So, I'm expecting I can shut down the second iCloud subscription.

This is a leap of faith, but my safety net is I've got Time Machine backups on various machines. I'll still though will maintain external drives to keep everything safe. My hope is if something goes sideways, everything on my iCloud Drive will have a backup somewhere. Fingers crossed.

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The life and death of FireWire
Ars Technica has a great feature on FireWire. FireWire was a marvel when it launched, but ultimately lost the port race due to lack of vision and widespread support.

The final design specification ran over 300 pages--a complex technology with elegant functionality. Ratified as IEEE 1394 in 1995, it allowed for speeds up to 400 megabits (50 MB) per second, simultaneously in both directions, over cables up to 4.5 meters long. Cables could power connected devices with as much as 1.5 amperes of electrical current (at up to 30 volts). As many as 63 devices could be networked together on the same bus, and all were hot-swappable. Everything was configured automatically on connection, too, so you didn't need to worry about network termination or device addresses. And FireWire had its own micro-controller, so it was unaffected by fluctuations in CPU load.

Before the mid-90's, if you wanted work on digital video, you generally needed a pretty significant capture hardware. Targus cards would run $2,000+ as a means of capturing uncompressed analog video to something manageable that a hard disk array could handle. They were NuBus cards, which is another blast from the past. When FireWire came along, it brought with it the new DV digital video standard that Sony put into its camcorders. Reasonably good quality video for the day could be transferred digitally for comparably free. My first Mac to have this was the Bondi blue PowerMac G3. Digital video suddenly became possible for regular consumers.

FireWire also saved us from SCSI. Thinking back, SCSI seemed insane. Various flavors that were not compatible, terminators, and outrageously expensive cables. Chaining devices together was a sort of black magic. Along comes FireWire that does the above quote and changed everything.

We now have Thunderbolt, which seems on its way to grave yard itself, USB 3.0, and most recently USB-C. Good news is Apple still supports FireWire with one of its any white dongles. I still use it almost daily, which is kind of neat considering how much has changed.

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Report: Apple renegotiating streaming music rates
A report from Bloomberg states that Apple is currently negotiating better rates for Apple Music. Apple's current agreement reportedly expires at the end of the month. Negotiations are also reported going well so a stalemate is not expected. Apple appears to be looking to improve its rates similarly to how Spotify recently negotiated better share of revenues.

Under Apple's current deal, record labels at first received about 58 percent of revenue from Apple Music subscribers, a higher cut than from other major streaming services including Spotify, the largest paid music-streaming service in the world. Spotify reduced its rate to 52 percent from 55 percent in recent negotiations with labels, tied to certain guarantees on subscriber growth. The labels are open to a reduction in Apple's rate -- provided it's also able to expand subscriber rolls and meet other requirements, the people said.

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Scott Forstall gives in-depth talk about making the iPhone
The iPhone's 10th anniversary continues to be recognized with a special event the Computer History Museum near San Francisco. Former Apple VP Scott Forstall give an in-depth interview about the development of the original iPhone. A bunch of interesting bits, some of which have been told before, but some stuff I haven't heard.

The Verge:
He details how he and Steve Jobs first demonstrated the iPhone prototype to Cingular executives just weeks before the product's unveiling, how Jobs helped him get through a serious illness, and how Jobs operated a dastardly scheme to scam the Apple cafeteria.

The scam part was the Apple campus cafeteria allowed employees to pay by scanning their ID. Charges would be deducted from their paycheck, however, Jobs salary was only $1 a year. I'd guess someone in accounting got to deal with that every couple weeks.

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Apple Camp offers sessions for kids
Apple released new in-store sessions for kids 8-12. The special sessions are called Apple Camp and run through July.

There are three different camps for coding, music, and video. Each camp is three sessions of 90-minutes each.

To attend a camp, you just select your store, then choose one of the three topics. You can then reserve series of sessions.

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$99 annual Apple Music subscription option appears
Those looking to save some money on an Apple Music subscription have been able to get a $99 pre-paid gift card. You don't need to go through the hassle of getting a card as the option is now available within the app. Customers can now adjust their subscription terms for either a $9.99 per month or $99 per year for single licenses. The $15 family plan still don't offer an annual subscription discount.

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OWC offers memory upgrades for latest iMacs
Other World Computing Monday announced support for memory upgrades to the latest 2017 21.5-inch iMac.

The upgrades are DDR4 memory modules and are offered in two kits. A 16 GB upgrade starts at $154.99 and a 32 GB kit starts at $319.99. For a few bucks more, kits are available with tools to assist in the install.

The kits are cheaper than Apple's built-to-order option, which is currently $200 to upgrade to 16 GB. Furthermore, Apple doesn't offer a 32 GB option.

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Apple hires Sony Pictures Television vets
Apple today announced that Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, two of television's most creative and successful executives, are joining Apple in newly created positions overseeing all aspects of video programming. Erlicht and Van Amburg will lead video programming worldwide, reporting to Eddy Cue. They join Apple from Sony Pictures Television where they have served as presidents since 2005, and have been responsible for some of the most popular and widely acclaimed programming of the past decade, including favorites such as Breaking Bad and its spinoff Better Call Saul, The Crown, Rescue Me and many more.

The duo have an impressive list of shows that were produced while at Sony. It would seem Apple is looking to replicate that for its streaming platforms.

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Tim Cook on Donald Trump, the HomePod, and the Legacy of Steve Jobs
Bloomberg Business Week has an extensive feature interview with Tim Cook. The interview is a part of the magazine's June 19 edition, and now available online.

There's a lot here, but this is a good tidbit on why Apple thinks it can make a dent in the enterprise market:
The other thing that has changed is that the most �forward-thinking chief information officers and chief executives are saying, "The top thing is, let's have happy and productive employees." When you care about people's happiness and productivity, you give them what brings out the best in them and their creativity. And if you give them a choice, they'll say, "I want an iPhone" or "I want a Mac." We think we can win a lot of corporate decisions at that level

Essentially, that's how Apple beat Blackberry for smartphones. The IT managers largely wanted Blackberry because it was a product built for them. End users wanted iPhones because it was made for them. The end users quickly flipped marketshare.

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Report: Apple looking be hub for your medical info
CNBC has learned that a secretive team within Apple's growing health unit has been in talks with developers, hospitals and other industry groups about bringing clinical data, such as detailed lab results and allergy lists, to the iPhone, according to a half-dozen people familiar with the team. And from there, users could choose to share it with third parties, like hospitals and health developers.

Time will tell, but this seems to have the pieces for a good opportunity. Apple has the foundation for such a thing with its HealthKit and strong security. Medical data is also fragmented between health systems and consumer services/vendors.

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