What You Missed - May 27, 2020

What You Missed

(Editor note: You can also view the meeting by downloading the recording from https://youtu.be/x0K7WZCtDNo.)

Another Zoom meeting tonight, and Ken Spencer was busy setting things up, so that we could have a “raffle” tonight later in the meeting. Past members had been invited to join us tonight also. Ken noted that, since there was only one ticket per member, the odds in the raffle were good tonight. The next Saturday classes and the next General meeting are planned to be Zoom meetings and non-members can participate.

Tonight’s speaker was Jason Snell, who has made several in person appearances at MacNexus. Tonights raffle had four $25 Amazon gift cards and two $100 Amazon gift cards.

In current events, Al Trivett, who regularly posts Apple news on the MacNexus Facebook page, shared Apple news. Apple is planning to re-open 100 Apple stores soon, including Arden Fair for curbside pickup and one-on-one consultation. Masks will be required (they will be provided if you don’t have one) and temperature checks will be done to screen customers as they enter.Check the Arden Fair store website for hours and restrictions. Apple can help online in many cases. macOS 10.15.5 has been released and is a big update to Catalina. The 13” MacBook Pro update has been released. Apple & Google have worked together on a Covid-19 exposure notification API that governments can use for contact tracing. The app generates a unique bluetooth number (it is not tied to any personal information), that is used only when you indicate you may have the virus. Other phones you have come into contact with will remember the unique number and allow them to be notified if they have been near you. New iPhones are expected this fall but may be a little delayed. We had no new members tonight.

In Q&A tonight, the first question was what should to do with an old 1st generation Apple TV? You can still use it for AirPlay but there is not much else to do with it. In Messages, I can text iPhone people but not Android people. You need to go to Settings > Messages and turn on both Send as SMS and MMS and Group messages in order to text people who are not on iPhones.

Another member wanted to transfer information from an old iPhone to a new iPhone. Apple has an easy way to this. Place the old iPhone near the other, make sure both are on the same WiFi network and follow the instructions on the new phone to make the transfer. Another member asked how to do the background in Zoom? You go to the ellipsis in on the iPad to choose “Virtual Background”. On a Mac, go to the chevron next to the video icon and choose a background there. If your computer/iPad is older, it may not have enough power to run the dynamic background.

Looking in Junk in Apple Mail, a member was surprised to see what ended up in Junk mail. Mail will try to learn what is junk, but you can also mark items as junk and it will be remembered. A member asked, what is Apple TV+ exactly? It is a streaming service like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

After a short break Jason Snell joined our meeting. From Wikipedia: Jason Snell is an American writer, editor, and podcaster whose professional career has been spent covering Apple Inc.'s Macintosh computers and related technologies, and pop culture. He was also one of the early users of the Internet as a publishing medium, with several magazines and web sites to his credit. He started at MacUser magazine and then moved to MacWorld until 2014 when he went out on his own. He and his wife agreed that they would try it for one year and it has worked out for the past 5 1/2 years. He works out of his garage and as such was not greatly affected by shelter in place. He has a website Six colors (https://sixcolors.com) where you can find his comments and information. We were the most people he has done on a Zoom call to date (62 people).

His talk tonight was on “Where are we now?” The Mac is in an interesting place. Laptops seem to be solid now that the keyboard has been changed. The 13” MacBook Pro, new Retina MacBook Air and the 16” MacBook Pro all use the new style keyboard. The MacBook Air is Jason’s default recommendation for a laptop now. If you need something larger, the MacBook or MacBook Pro are options but more expensive. You can do processor, RAM and hard drive upgrades when you buy them.

Apple shipped a new iPad Pro with a different camera and an upgraded processor. It has a LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensor which bounces IR light to do a depth map of the area you are in, probably for virtual or augmented reality apps. The bigger reason to buy a new iPad is the new Magic Keyboard, but the Magic Keyboard also works with the 2018 iPad Pros. The iPad now can have a cursor and the Magic Keyboard has a trackpad for it. It makes the iPad Pro more like a laptop. The processor is faster than most laptop processors even now.

The World Wide Developer Conference, usually gets people together in San Jose to meet in person. Santa Clara County, where Apple Headquarters is located, was an early epicenter of the virus outbreak, so Apple has had to adapt. So the WWDC will be virtual this year on June 24th to 26th. Apple used to stream a lot of the material anyway so they will only have to add the live sessions they didn’t stream before. Apple will be looking for different ways to do the WWDC. They tend to make big announcements for things coming out in the fall. Things will probably be delayed this year as most people at Apple are still working at home. Having that many people working at home has been a challenge for Apple as they are very secretive and having so many people needing access to information at home is challenging.

Why do we care about the WWDC? Apple uses it to make big announcements and it is the “Start” of Apple’s year. They talk about the next version of Mac OS, iOS, watchOS, etc. Generally, at this time of year, we don’t see upgrades of the existing operating systems as Apple is working hard on the next full version. It seems like rumors are not as prevalent on what Apple is planning as in years prior. Jason had just posted an article with a long list of the things he wishes the iPad could do. His list for Mac, iPhone and Watch are shorter. He would most like them to work better. Jason would like improvements to Shortcuts which he uses fairly often. The Home Screen could be improved on the iPhone. Android has some items on the home screen and a list of apps that are installed. Jason wonders if Covid-19 has changed what Apple is doing with their software development. There will probably be improvements to the cursor and keyboard controls to make the iPad Pro even more like a laptop. Since Fall 2018, Apple has had, iPad Pros that are capable but very little of the higher end Mac Pro level software works on them. Adobe has been able to bring Photoshop to the iPad. Jason is hoping some of the Pro level software will make it to the iPad.

With the Apple Watch, Jason wants more faces that are more flexible and that work with more complications. He suspects that something like sleep tracking may be coming with a new Apple Watch rather than with a software update. Medical stuff is a challenge as they have to be reviewed and approved. Something like a Pulse Oximeter could be possible with the Apple Watch but it would need approval which can take a while. The current climate might lessen the time for approval.

For the Mac, Jason would like to see Apple concentrate on making the macOS better. Apple came up with Catalyst for porting iOS apps to the Mac which could lead to some interesting apps on the Mac. Apple also has Swift UI for writing one app that can work on all Apple platforms. Apple may have more iOS apps that can be run on the Mac. Messages could be an example. Catalina introduced a bunch of security features that put up a bunch of warnings that Jason would like to see reduced. The big irritation is that you can’t say yes on the warning, you have to go to System Preferences to say yes and to do that you have to quit the app that you are using.

ARM transition may come up at the WWDC. ARM is a type of processor, Apple already designs and uses in the iPhone/iPad. The question is if there will be an ARM processor for the Mac. Processor transitions mean that programs need to be recompiled for the new processor or some kind of translation needs to happen. Mac users have been through this with the Power PC processor to Intel processor transition. All iPhone/iPad software is written on Macs in Xcode which translates to the ARM processors in the iPhone/iPad. Apple could do some work to make the transition possible and the could start the software to make it happen this year. Jason believes the processor change will happen eventually. When you hear ARM processor, think Apple processor, Apple can and has been designing its own chips. The iPad Pro processor has six cores and eight graphics processors, more than any MacBook Air processors. Apple uses Taiwan Semiconductor to make the processors and Taiwan Semiconductor is planning to build a “FAB” (fabrication plant) in Arizona.

A new iPhone will come out this Fall but it will probably be late. It is assembled in China, but the parts come from all over the world. Tim Cook is an expert in supply management and will be working hard to get the iPhone out as soon as possible. Rumor is there may be a iPhone 12 Max so there would be four different iPhone models coming out. Jason is looking for an iMac and iMac Pro updates although Apple could wait to do an ARM iMac. The new iPhone will probably have the new LiDAR system introduced on the new iPad Pro. It does make virtual reality work better. Apple may be building the hardware and software for whatever AR (augmented reality) glasses Apple may be developing, so that everything will be tested and working when it comes out.

Jason was wearing his NASA shirt to remind everyone that there is a manned space launch this week. Jason has a podcast called “Liftoff” on every other Tuesday where he discusses space stuff.

Ken asked about Jonny Ives and his leaving Apple. Jason thought he was important during the transition period when Steve Jobs died but he had not been doing much lately. Apple may have wanted to keep Jonny involved and engaged in recent years, as he was important to the company. Designers that worked with him are now able to explore their own ideas.

Someone asked about “Tags” that were mentioned by Apple last Fall, but haven’t come out yet. They may come out this Fall. Every sign points to their existence, but they may being held for software improvements or because people aren’t moving around like the used to. Tags are something you would put on your keychain, for example, that would let you find misplaced items. Home Pod, rumor is there is a new smaller version coming, a little less over engineered and cheaper. Jason likes the Home Pod and has two set up as a stereo pair and they work great.

Jason was able to imagine the applause we were giving him when he finished, based on his earlier in person appearances and all the clapping hands shown on Zoom.

Ken used his iPhone to generate random numbers that were matched up with a numbered list of the members who were attending the Zoom meeting as a way to do the “drawing” for the raffle. Winners then sent Ken (or his assistants) their email address to get the Amazon gift card information. As with the last meeting, people were invited to stay around if they wanted to ask more questions or catch up with people.

I look forward to seeing you at the next meeting and remember to have a friend or family member check us out. Easy to do with the Zoom meeting. I can be reached at donob.macnexus@gmail.com

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