What You Missed
It was another Wednesday night meeting (April 18th will be the last). The dark clouds may have keep some people away. But everyone seemed to be in good mood and our raffle volunteers were doing their part to liven things up. There was a Brother Printer, two WYZE Cams, a $25 iTunes gift card, and an official Apple pen from the main campus in the raffle tonight.
While I was waiting for the meeting to start, Carlos came up to tell me he had a friend who had joined, but wasn’t able to come to the General Meeting. They had attended the last Saturday workshop and really enjoyed it. Carlos had another friend who was also interested in joining. We had no other new members tonight, but it was good to hear we still have people who want to join. Remember to invite your friends and family to come check us out and check out MacNexus.org for meeting times and schedules.
Ken Spencer opened the meeting noting that maybe people didn’t like the Wednesday meetings, but things would be back to the normal meeting time after April. Current events and rumors: It was a slow news week for Apple but a busy news week for Facebook. iMore has a good series of articles about Facebook at (https://www.imore.com/facebook ). MacNexus has a Facebook page and it has been useful for many members.
Apple has announced an Education Event in Chicago for March 27th and the World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) for June 4-8 in San Jose. The only product Apple has announced lately is new watch bands. The Apple Watch is appearing to be an effective heart monitor. The new Series 3 watch with LTE (cell service) has a longer battery life, so you can wear it at night to see how you are sleeping. Even if you don’t activate the cell service for your Apple Watch, you can still use it to call 911 as you can also do with old iPhones. You can put one of your old iPhones (on its charger) in your bathroom (where many accidents happen) and have available to call for help.
Ken had found a new gadget for us, it’s a device that lets you control your ceiling fans with your iPhone/iPad — the Bond WiFi Fan controller ( https://bondhome.io ). Once you have entered your remote control capable fans in the app, you can control all the fans in your house from one place or use your Amazon Echo device to control them. Another fun thing Ken showed was the Elevation labs iPhone Dock (https://www.elevationlab.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI2-WelKL_2QIVD3F-Ch2dKQa8EAAYASAAEgICQ_D_BwE# ) which has a right angle lighting connector and a small dock that you rest the iPhone in. You can unplug the phone from the connector or leave it plugged in and easily lift your phone to your ear. The dock is a lot smaller than most options.
Ken has a mailing list you can join on the MacNexus.org website. The purpose of the mailing list is to let people know when iTune gift cards are on sale — usually for 15% off. Letting people know about the deals is the only reason for the list and the only emails you will get from Ken are for the iTune gift card deals, so check it out.
Tech Q & A - there were four questions tonight and Ken invited our guest Jason Snell to help out with questions. One member occasionally gets a popup window saying the there is an update for Microsoft software and she wasn’t sure if she should click on it. Ken pointed out that Microsoft has frequent updates to its software and if the window was not popping up in a web browser, it should be OK. If you click on the window, the Finder should show you what apps opening. Microsoft’s updater is named Microsoft AutoUpdate. Ken recommended EtreCheck ( https://etrecheck.com ) as a program you can use to protect your computer from malware. The next question was about an Apple Watch that was running out of power after about 11 hours. The member was wondering if there was a setting they could change or apps they could turn off to make it last longer. It was a Series 1 Apple Watch and the battery is probably aging and not holding a charge as long. Apple offers a battery replacement for $79 (https://support.apple.com/watch/repair/service/pricing). Another option might be to get a charger to use during the day. Another member had an iPhone SE that had fallen in the toilet and wondered if it was unusual that it still worked. They had used desiccant packs to dry it out and it was still working. It can be hit or miss if you can revive a phone after getting it wet. The last question was where the member didn’t have Excel on their new computer but had Excel files they needed to open. They were wondering if they could do it with Numbers and how well it would work. Ken and Jason agreed that, if the files did not use Macros, they probably would be fine. Other options would be to use Google Sheets (https://www.google.com/sheets/about/?utm_source=gaboutpage&utm_medium=sheetslink&utm_campaign=gabout) as an alternative to installing Office. If you need to collaborate with PC users, the web versions of Numbers will work for both parties. The last question was about receiving an email attachment that was in Excel that wouldn’t open. Ken said this might be one of the features Apple Mail offers where you have an attachment that is too large Mail will upload it to iCloud with a link that is temporary. The links do expire and it is possible that the link the member had gotten was expired.
Jason Snell was our guest speaker tonight. Jason was the lead editor for Macworld for more than a decade. He also oversaw editorial operations for PCWorld, and launched TechHive and Greenbot. All told, Jason did two decades of technology journalism and covering Apple at close range. During his time at Macworld, he covered every major Apple product release, including every version of OS X, the iPod, iPhone, and iPad and much more. He’s written breaking news, interviewed executives (including Steve Jobs), reviewed major products, wrote how-to articles, penned award-winning editorials, shot and edited videos, produced podcasts... you name it. He thought when he left MacWorld that he would earn his living by writing, but now he earns most of his living speaking into a microphone as a podcaster.
He was here tonight (his fourth time presenting to us) to talk about predicting Apple’s future.
Apple has announced an Apple Education Event in Chicago at a school. The last time they had an event outside of California was at the Guggenheim Museum in 2012. The iPad is the primary focus for education. Jason thought that they could be announcing a new iPad, cheaper than the current iPad ($299 for education buyers) and perhaps with Apple Pencil support. Jason’s son is at a school that gives each student an iPad. He can see where giving students an Apple Pencil would be a great thing. The 2012 event was about iBooks and iBook Author, which haven’t taken off. Part of this event could be about iBooks and iTunes U. The event will be Apple’s chance to tell a story about a product, why they have made the product, and why you need it. Apple’s story about Education, tying in iPads, iTunes and Apple Pencil. Jason hopes they have a story about Mac in education, also.
The MacBook Air exists because it costs $999; the next version of a Mac laptop costs $1299. The Air uses older technology but it is very popular. The parts are getting so old that it may start getting hard for Apple to get parts for it. The $1299 laptops are the 13” MacBook Pro without the Touch Bar and the 13” MacBook. The 13” MacBook Pro is about the same size as an MacBook Air and only weighs about an ounce more than the Air. Jason expects that it will still be around; if Apple kills it, Jason will be sad it is gone as the MacBook Air is his favorite laptop. Jason wonders where the Touch Bar MacBook Pro is going (2/3rds of all Macs sold are laptops). He wonders what will happen when Apple’s inventions are not eagerly bought. The big news last year was Apple love for the Pro market. They announced a new Mac Pro and released an iMac Pro last year. Jason has a iMac Pro really likes it.
WWDC is being held June 4-8 this year which is earlier than usual, so Jason will get to see what the end of the school year is like for his kids as he is usually is at WWDC when his kids get out of school. Rumor is that Apple is trying to slow down their update schedule to make sure that software is ready to be released rather than picking a date to release it. A rumor is they are going to be giving iOS developers as way to write macOS apps easily. It could be helpful for the growth of the Mac to have developers be able to easily convert an iOS app to run on a Mac. iOS is ten years old now and there is probably a replacement being developed. In 5 or 10 years there may be one platform for all Apple products. There are probably new iPads coming out this year — possibly a Pro with Face ID and a smaller bezel.
Jason isn’t sure how Face ID would work on an iPad. iPads are very often oriented horizontally but Face ID on the iPhone X only works in a vertical orientation. Jason would like to see an iPad keyboard that turns the iPad into a laptop but doubts Apple would do it. He uses a third party Bluetooth keyboard that makes his iPad similar to a laptop, but it took him several tries to find one that worked and he is still not impressed with the quality of the products. His big prediction of the night was that there would be new iPhones this year. He suspects there will be an iPhone X Plus and there could be an iPhone 9 with Face ID but a LCD screen so it would be more affordable. A new Apple Watch may be coming. Jason hopes it will have a good enough battery and software that it can display a clock face all the time. There could be some exciting things coming for the Apple Watch at WWDC.
tvOS should get better and the non-4K Apple TV should get less expensive for Apple to better complete with Roku and Amazon. Home Pod will probably only get software updates for stereo and multi-room play. Home Pod is controlled by the Home App and Jason wonders if that is to get more people using it. He has an article on his Six Colors website (https://sixcolors.com) about a program called HomeBridge which when running on an always on computer lets you connect non-Home Kit awards devices to the Home App. It lets him control his Nest Thermostat with Siri. A member asked what Apple is doing with all the money they can repatriate now. Apple is buying back stock, paying taxes and investing more in R&D (they spend more now than they ever have) and in keeping some of it in reserve. After going through the lean years, Apple wants to have the ability to chart its own course. Another member asked about the Mac mini. Jason is optimistic that there will be an update; otherwise, Apple would drop it from their product list. Apple should be able to make an updated mini. Apple is developing a new display technology and Jason expects them to have a new display to go with the Mac Pro when it comes out.
The meeting ran a little long but none of us minded. Jason got a round of applause and thanked us for having him back. Then he got to pick out the winning raffle tickets. It went quickly and I was lucky enough to take home one of the WYZE cameras, I just have to decide where to put it.
I look forward to seeing you at the next meeting (on Weds. night). Remember to invite someone to come check us out either at the General Meeting or at the Workshop. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.