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    DOWNLOAD: On this week's all-star episode, we welcome columnist Dan Frakes, a former Macworld editor, who discusses the decision to discontinue the print edition of the oldest Mac magazine, and to put the Macworld / iWorld conference on "hiatus." He'll also discuss current Apple issues, such as iOS 8 and Yosemite.

    You'll also hear from security expert Alain Ghiai, CEO of DigitalSafe, who focuses on smartphone safety and whether Americans should be concerned over the government's claimed right to "break down the doors" to our digital privacy. He'll also discuss the company's encrypted cloud storage system, which is based in Switzerland.

    Our final segment features commentator Jeff Gamet, Managing Editor for The Mac Observer. His bill of fare includes the possible reasons that iPad sales are flagging, the disconnected coverage of the goings on at Apple, the prospects for the Apple Watch and how it sucked the air out of the smartwatch market for this holiday season. He'll also comment briefly on Microsoft Windows 10, which is currently available as a Technical Preview.

    Click to hear our latest episode: The Tech Night Owl Live — October 25, 2014

    For more episodes, click here to visit the show’s home page.

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    The Apple Glitches Report

    October 24th, 2014

    So there's a lurid story this week about some Bank of America customers encountering duplicate charges when using Apple Pay to cover a bill. The critics are yowling. Is Apple's new digital wallet system fatally flawed? Should customers even bother with such silliness as NFC and Touch ID to replace simple if not-terribly-secure credit card swiping.

    Now first and foremost, regardless of the teething problems, there's nothing here that indicates a potential security problem. It's just a processing error of some sort. Bank of America says it's an Apple Pay issue, and Apple promises to fix it. Meantime, it's reported that only about 1,000 customers were impacted and, of course, they will get refunds for the double charges. Nobody is ripping off anybody here.

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    So the New iPads Aren’t Good Enough?

    October 23rd, 2014

    So let's look at the early reviews of the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3. They come from that privileged group of journalists who get an early look at brand new Apple gear. In passing, I wouldn't presume to suggest that Apple favors those who grant positive coverage, since the reviews do have some all-too-typical complaints about whether the refreshes are significant enough.

    But they do miss the point.

    You see, Tim Cook admitted during this week's quarterly conference call with financial analysts that Apple doesn't really have a handle on the iPad upgrade cycle yet. It's clear it's less frequent than smartphones, where most of you can renew your wireless contract every two years and buy the latest and greatest gear at a discount price. So even a first generation iPad is perfectly usable, although it cannot be upgraded to iOS 8.

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    Yosemite and Continuity: The Half a Loaf Report

    October 22nd, 2014

    One of the most significant features of Yosemite is Continuity, a proper and efficient way for a Mac to talk to another Mac, or to an iOS device. This is the sort of integration that you can't find at Google, Microsoft or Samsung. The critics might regard this is a scheme on Apple's part to perpetrate the infamous "walled garden," but they aren't features you ever have to use.

    You can have a Mac, and use an Android smartphone of you like, or if you're one of the few out there, one with Windows Phone or whatever it's called nowadays, or even BlackBerry. By the same token, iPhone and iPad users aren't at all locked into Macs. True, Mac market share is growing substantially, even when reported by IDC, which is notorious for underestimating Mac sales. But there are still loads of Windows users who haven't made the leap. They choose to buy computing gear from multiple manufacturers.

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    Apple’s Record Quarter: But Don’t Count the iPad!

    October 21st, 2014

    Predictably many of the stories about Apple's record fourth fiscal quarter concentrated on diminishing iPad sales. It wasn't so bad this time, some 12.3 million sales. Consider what the competition is doing, and it's not pretty. But compared to last year's results of 14.08 million, it didn't look so well. During the quarterly call with the financial community, Tim Cook boasted of sales conquests in education and the enterprise, claiming sales were what they expected. He also said that channel inventory was drawn down in the September quarter ahead of the launch of new models.

    That puts a positive spin on the matter. Certainly Apple delivered a credible iPad update last week. I expect the critics will find it insufficient, but Apple plays the long game. The new deal with IBM is clearly intended to move both iPhones and iPads, but it'll take time before the impact is known. Meantime, Apple is clearly not panicking over short-term sales shortfalls. Indeed, Cook calls the current sales slump a "speed bump," promising that things will get better moving forward.

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