It was a nice warm spring evening as we all came in for tonight’s meeting. I was early and bought my raffle tickets without knowing what the prizes were tonight. I always consider it a donation to the club win or lose. Pete Lozzi was tonight’s speaker and he was busy setting up an Apple TV at the front for his talk on choices for consumers looking for entertainment on their TV or mobile device. Pete was also trying out a virtual reality device he had brought in (He likes to bring in tech toys he has recently bought or is trying out.).
He started the meeting with “Hello, thank you for joining us on the formerly Tuesday night now Wednesday night MacNexus meeting.” Pete was using his iPhone tethered to the Apple TV which was connected to the projector at the front of the room. We had one potential new member, Mark, who had come with a friend and was considering joining. Welcome Mark!
In news and rumors, Apple had sent out the invitations to the upcoming World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) which will be in San Jose on June 3-7. The invitation has a unicorn with a bunch of icons floating around. Pete said the “Nerds” would be trying to decipher what the image meant would be announced at this conference. The WWDC is so popular that there is a lottery to get one of the 3600 tickets that are issued. It is a prime time when developers can talk directly to Apple engineers and learn directly from Apple what new things are available in Apple software. Apple usually pre-announces the newest version of iOS and macOS. This year, it likely will be iOS 13 and macOS 10.15. Rumors are that iOS 13 will be faster and offer multi-user access to your iOS devices. This means that each person using your iPad could have their own login that would remember how they have the device set up. You can watch the WWDC keynote by going to www.apple.com and clicking on the provided link. Usually, this is live then posted for viewing for a couple months.
Another rumor is that Apple may be eyeing Tesla as a possible purchase. This is from a rumor that Apple was trying to do an acquisition that would really surprise people if it worked out. Tesla may make some sense as Apple has been working on self driving car technology for a while. A member noted that that would make Ken really happy being both a Tesla and Apple fan. It may just be a headline rumor that is posted to gain clicks. Apple has announced no new hardware or software since our last meeting. For Home Pod users (and there were a few in the group tonight) iOS 13 may bring the ability to recognize different voices giving Siri commands. Pete was looking forward to this since his Home Pod uses his account, the kids in his house like “sugary pop”, so now Apple Music suggests sugary pop songs to Pete, thinking he likes them.
A member asked about improvements to Siri. Siri was originally an independent company that was acquired by Apple. It is one of the apps you either like or hate. Pete noted his mom, who likes to cook, will have her phone covered in flour with the screen clear only where she slides to change apps. This is because she will not use Siri to set a timer when she cooks. Siri can make mistakes, but Apple has engineers who listen to anonymous recordings of Siri requests and use this to improve Siri’s recognition of various requests. You can learn to request things in a manner that is easier for Siri to understand. Siri is location aware; you can set a reminder to occur when you leave your current location or when you get home or arrive at work. Siri does not currently understand stacked commands (“in twenty minutes remind me to play Come Fly With Me.).
Apple has announced an extended repair program for MacBooks that use the “butterfly keyboard.” There has been problems with debris getting caught under the operating mechanism of the keyboard. You can enter the serial number of your machine and the site will tell you if your Mac is eligible for the repair program and make arrangements for you to send it in or get an appointment at the Apple store to take it in for repair.
Questions and Answers tonight. A member asked about the security of 5G. Pete wasn’t sure which 5G the member meant — the 5G that is used by home routers or the proposed 5G cellular network. Pete did not know of any security changes in either 5G network. The cellular 5G is not deployed yet (AT&T will show a 5Ge by the cell signal icon but it is not the 5G that everyone is talking about.).
Another member asked “When I edit a photo on my iPhone, is it edited everywhere?” Pete explained that if you use Apple’s Photos app, you will always be able to revert to the original image. Pete found a picture, edited in the Photos app, cropped it and saved it. He then opened the cropped photo, went into edit again and there was a revert button that he clicked and the picture went back to the original. Someone asked what if you want both versions the original and the edited one. Pete showed that by choosing a picture and going to the share icon, you can copy the photo. You can then edit the copy and the original will not be changed. Pete noted that you can edit a photo, make the copy and then you can revert the copy back to the original.
“Are you entertained?” was the subject of Pete’s talk tonight. Pete is a cable cutter; he does not get his TV and movies directly from the cable company. He uses Apple TV to get his entertainment. He watches the shows he wants at a time convenient to him and his family, not when they are scheduled. This can be a problem with social media as people will post what has happen on a show right after it has been on. He noted that you will need a good Internet connection to cut the cable, but not necessarily an extremely fast connection. When he called his provider to drop the TV from his service, he discovered that dropping it would cost him more money per month. He decided to keep the TV service just to keep his bill down.
The Apple TV remote only has four buttons and is easy to use. Pete pointed out it made couch cushions deadly as the Apple Remote is easy to lose in the cushions. He purchased a silicone case for the remote that comes with a tether and magnets so you can keep track of it easily. About 1/3 of the people at the meeting were Apple TV users. Pete asked for people’s experiences with Apple TV. One member disliked the remote and said they still preferred the larger remote that came with their cable box. Pete thought it might be a case of “Stockholm Syndrome.” (Ed. note: There are a fair number of users that prefer mice and dislike touch pads; the Apple remote is a glorified touchpad. Just saying!)
Apple TV offers single sign-in that works for many apps, but not all. There are apps that will only allow you to watch the content if you pay for the channel on cable. Apps can offer ad free watching which can save many minutes of your time watching a show. Some people have avoided Apple TV for these reasons. The Apple TV remote has Siri. It is not as full featured as the Siri on your other devices but can do several helpful things. You can use it to start a show or movie, look for shows featuring a specific actor or genre. There are many ways to get shows. You can use the providers app directly, get the show through a service like Hulu or use the new Apple TV+ app, that is now on Apple TV’s and other iOS devices. The Apple TV+ app tries to aggregate channels so you can get to them from one location. The interface is very similar to the iOS interface. When you open the Apple TV+ app, it will show you what you watched last, so you can go to the next episode or continue watching. Apple TV has its own app store where you can get apps or games to use with the Apple TV. In iOS, you can double tap the home button or swipe up from the bottom to see all the apps you have opened. Apple TV has a similar function by double tapping the button the remote with a TV on it. You can hold down on an app to move it or make folders for apps. If you do a long press on an app, it shows an icon you can use get more information about the show including cast information. You can use that information to see more shows with a particular actor in them. You can use the remote and Siri to get the current weather or similar information.
Pete then talked about the main suppliers of content. He first mentioned YouTube, which is one of the best places to learn how to do something. Pete had remodeled his bathroom using his iPad and Youtube. He showed us how he found videos on soldering pipes and said that is what he had followed when doing his bathroom. No leaks so far as he knows. Netflix and Hulu are the big two in content providers. Netflix has made the move into original content in a big way and offered many shows that you can only see on Netflix. Pete pays $50 per month for Hulu which offers DVR function, live TV including local channels and sports. He did note that, for $50 per month, he was not supposed to have ads, but still got them on some shows. His family jokes that when there are ads they must not have paid all of the Hulu bill that month. This Fall, Apple will have its own content channel which will also have a monthly fee (unknown what it will be now). Apple has paid a lot for talent for the channel — with Steven Spielberg and Oprah among the talent hired. You can see some of the people involved here on an Apple TV+ video ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrdbT4hpwBk ). The Apple TV software is now showing up on Smart TV’s which means you don’t have to buy the Apple TV hardware to use Apple TV. Samsung is among the first to add it. Recent models are getting firmware updates; new models come with the update. (By the time you read this, Vizio should be deploying also.) It has the same functionality as the Apple TV box built into the TV. This will make Apple’s offerings available to a greater number of people. Netflix prices range from $8.99 to15.99 per month. The more expensive plans feature higher resolution and more simultaneous screens to watch on. Hulu has more options in pricing with or without ads, with live TV and with sports. Hulu will let you sign up for other providers such as HBO through Hulu. Pete guesses that the Apple TV+ service will be in the $14.99 per month range when it comes out in the fall, Apple has not announced the actual price yet. Apple TV using Siri does offer something Pete uses a lot. If you miss what is said on a show or movie, you can say to Siri, using the remote “What did they say” and the Apple TV will rewind the show 10 seconds and replay it with closed captioning turned on so you can both listen and read what was said. You can use Siri to turn on or off closed captioning.
A member asked how much bandwidth or speed do you need to stream? Pete has 500 megabits per second (Mbps) at his house which works great for all the TV’s in his house. If you get 50 Mbps, you will be able to stream shows. You can go to speedof.me to check your speed and the FTC offers a website which will tell you the speeds offered by the Internet providers in your area. If you get less that 50 Mbps you will probably have problems with streaming. Apple TV hardware costs $179.99 (32 GB) or $199.99 (64 GB). A member commented that using the button with the TV on it on the Apple TV remote she could turn on her TV and the Apple TV but if she wanted to go back to regular TV she had to find a remote that would let her change input on the TV, she could not do it with the Apple TV remote. Pete noted that this will be less of a problem when the Apple TV software is on a smart TV.
Pete then saw that he had run a little bit over the meeting time and said the since we had already gone over we could keep going, in a joking voice. It was raffle time, with the volunteer raffle going first. Dick Warner won the $25 iTunes gift card — again. The main raffle started then with two $25 iTune gift cards and three 4K 32 GB Apple TVs up for grabs. The prizes were all available first come first served. Pete’s daughter drew the tickets and announced them in a clear loud voice. The Apple TVs went first to some happy members and the $25 iTune gift cards got smiles also. Hope to see you at the next meeting and remember to invite someone to come a check us out. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.