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    DOWNLOAD — GCN Version: On this week’s all-star episode, we feature Adam Engst, of TidBITS and Take Control Books. During this segment, he’ll talk about making pizza and Google’s corporate reorganization that resulted in creating a holding company known as Alphabet. Adam explains why the presence of electronic stability control on newer motor vehicles was a prime reason why he purchased a new car for his 16-year-old son, and he and Gene go into an extended discussion about the sad state of auto infotainment systems. Is CarPlay the answer, and is Apple working on building its own car?

    You’ll also hear from Jeff Gamet, Managing Editor for The Mac Observer, who also discusses car infotainment systems and the prospects for an Apple Car. The discussion turns to the data breach at Ashley Madison, a site that specializes in matching up people for possible “discrete encounters.” And what about Apple Music, the prospects for a larger iPad, the iPad Pro, along with a new stylus design? There’s also a brief discussion about Apple’s “neglected” products.

    Click to hear our latest episode: The Tech Night Owl Live — August 22, 2015

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    Apple Car Again? Sigh!

    August 18th, 2015

    On Monday morning, Mrs. Steinberg came to me and asked about the Apple Car? “The Apple what”? I responded, and I was somewhat distracted with another task. She pointed me to the TV set, where I observed a certain cable news station interviewing an editor from a well known tech publication who was pontificating on the subject.

    All the well-worn rumors were there, based on reports that Apple has established “Project Titan” to develop their new vehicle. Before I get to the rest of the details, such as they are, the latest wrinkle in this tale has it that Apple is seeking a place where development vehicles can be test-driven. One location mentioned is a former naval base located near San Francisco that is already being used by Honda and Mercedes-Benz.

    Another has it that Tim Cook and other Apple executives went to Germany last year to tour the assembly line for BMW’s i3 electric car. Another mentioned negotiations with Apple and BMW that evidently failed to produce an agreement.

    Continue Reading...

    Newsletter Issue #820: The Apple Hardware Report: Waiting on Refreshes

    August 17th, 2015

    Apple is no doubt busy crafting and manufacturing fall updates for many products. There will be new iPhones, maybe a new Apple TV, and perhaps updated iPads. There might even be something new in the Mac universe due to Intel beginning to ship those more powerful and energy efficient Skylake chips.

    But not Apple Watch, which debuted in April and only needs an OS update to come into its own. But if Apple needs to fix something to make this product hot for the holiday season, you can bet they’ll do it on the software side of things, not to mention spending a bundle on promotion.

    When it comes to the iPhone, it’s sort of predictable, or has been since the product debuted in 2007. A new design appears, and the following year, the same casings are used, with minor modifications, but internal parts are enhanced. So there will likely be an iPhone 6s and an iPhone 6s Plus, with brand new components. That means a rumored A9 processor, perhaps a better camera with more megapixels (maybe with 4K support), and enhancements to Wi-Fi and LTE. There may even be Force Touch, since Apple already debuted that feature on the Apple Watch and assorted gear from the MacBook line.

    Continue Reading…

    Apple Music — Getting There

    August 14th, 2015

    Last week, Apple announced that some eleven million people had signed up for the 90-day free trial of Apple Music. Depending on your point of view and expectations, that was either good, or not-so-good, for the fledgling subscription music service.

    Apple treated the news as something significant, that 1.4% of the estimated 800 million iTunes users had become subscribers in a little over a month. Some critics felt that Apple could and should have done better, and maybe it was partly about reports of ongoing glitches. So there were the usual cloud-based bugs involving storage and syncing of music libraries. Although the feature set was expansive, some felt that the interface was far too busy for comfort.

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    Attention Critics: Please Make Logical Arguments Against Apple — For Once!

    August 13th, 2015

    There are a few tech columnists who spend a great deal of time correcting misinformation about Apple. But it’s easy to feel the effort is wasted, because the serial misinformers continue to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt. A good reason for this is that mentioning anything about Apple, iPhone, iPad, Macs and even Apple Watch is certain hit bait. The post will get more hits even if the contents are utterly bogus, or have very little connection to what’s in the headline.

    Even when the story seems reasonable, something might be tossed in that assumes facts not in evidence.

    So, among the rumors about the next iPhone, is the claim that Apple intends to use a stronger aluminum alloy to reduce the alleged “bendgate” effect. Now having a tougher case is certainly a good thing, but the story assumes that there was actually a scandal involving the alleged susceptibility of an iPhone 6, and particularly the iPhone 6 Plus, to bend in one’s pocket.

    Continue Reading...