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    A PREMIUM TECH NIGHT OWL LIVE EXPERIENCE! Welcome to Tech Night Owl+! For a low monthly or annual subscription fee, you will receive access to an ad-free higher-resolution version of The Tech Night Owl LIVE and other exclusive content. For more information and simple signup instructions, click here.

    DOWNLOAD — Free Version: Columnist and blogger Kirk McElhearn talks with Gene about the future of technology books. Are printed computer books dead? What about sharply targeted eBooks that focus on the topics tech savvy people are interested in. What about magazines devoted to Apple? Is Apple now too mainstream to require separate publications?  The discussion also covers the end of the platform wars, and the hazards of running beta software on your computer.

    You’ll also hear from Josh Centers, Managing Editor for TidBITS, and author of “Take Control of Apple TV” and other titles, who does this interview on his new 10.5-inch iPad Pro, using the mic  from Apple’s AirPods wireless earphones. There’s a long discussion about the value of the iPad as a productivity tool, as Josh explains why the apps he requires for his job are not all available on Apple’s tablet. So he has to use his Mac instead, and Gene explains the problems he has in using an iPad for his work. Microsoft’s move into PC hardware, the Surface, is also discussed. The interview wraps with a long discussion about the future of Apple TV, and the tepid updates being offered in the next version of the tvOS operating system. Will the next Apple TV support 4K and HDR, the latest technologies used on TV sets? Should Apple build its own TV set, or did the ship sail years ago? Gene and Josh also talk about the possibilities of Apple’s set-top box and whether such gadgets are needed in light of the fact that new TV sets already offer popular streaming services, such as Amazon Instant Video and Netflix.

    Click to hear our latest episode: The Tech Night Owl Live — July 15, 2017

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    Tim Cook and “Imaginative CEOs”

    July 20th, 2017

    Over the years, there has been a perception that Tim Cook is not quite the master of innovation Steve Jobs was and thus not suited to lead Apple. After all, it was Jobs who, after his return to Apple in late 1996,  shepherded the introduction of the iMac, the iPod, the iPad, and, of course, the iPhone. And let’s not forget the Mac and the original Apple computers during the early years.

    A seasoned CEO would be lucky to manage even one of these achievements, let alone all of them. His very appearance at an Apple event, or during a keynote address, signaled insanely great. He had this aura about him that some regarded as a “reality distortion field,” meaning he was such a talented salesperson that he could make you believe just about anything.

    Legend has it that all or most of these products only exist because of Jobs’ uniqueness, that no other CEO could possibly have done as well. Forgotten was the fact that he had his failures, too. So, although NeXT is remembered for its innovative, Unix-based operating system that formed the basis of today’s macOS, the company failed at selling hardware, and was otherwise reduced to niche status before Apple acquired the company in 1996.

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    The Haters Say: Don’t Buy the iPhone Because It’ll Be Late and Overpriced!

    July 19th, 2017

    By fall, many of you will have an iPhone (or perhaps an Android smartphone) that is at least three years old. That’s virtually forever in the mobile business, so you’ve just got to think about what to buy next.

    That doesn’t mean you should, of course. It may well be that what you have is perfectly suited to your needs, and you really don’t care about the extra features and the snappier performance. After all, an iPhone 6, for example, has a camera that was state of the art just a few years ago. Touch ID, which might have been a tad laggy on the iPhone 5s, works pretty well. It will also run iOS 11 (but the same can be said for the previous model).

    All right, if you have an iPhone 5 or iPhone 5c, iOS 11 will pass you buy. That may not make a difference either. Mrs. Steinberg only uses the latter for phone calls. Her mobile device of choice is an iPad, and it’ll be compatible with the next OS upgrade. But she really doesn’t care about those fineries. She focuses mostly on email and Facebook, plus an assortment of fashion-related sites. They’ll continue to work regardless of which iOS she uses.

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    iTunes and the 24-Hour Movie Rental Conundrum

    July 18th, 2017

    Most of you know about this, but it doesn’t make the policy any easier to tolerate. So Mrs. Steinberg and I were looking for something to watch Saturday night. Most of our favorite TV shows are on their summer hiatus, and there are a handful of summer shows, from SyFy and other channels, which only occupy a few hours of our time each week.

    So we went hunting on iTunes for something worth watching, and there wasn’t much to see in terms of recent action and sci-fi fare. A couple of weeks back, we ran across “Doctor Strange,” the movie about the Marvel magical super hero, on Netflix. We’re currently catching up with Iron Fist, yet another Marvel super hero.

    We returned to iTunes, and ran across a recent Tom Cruise film, “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.” It’s about a former military investigator turned vigilante who has a penchant for beating up bad people and performing impossible stunts. To be fair, it’s what might be called a “B” grade action movie, and Cruise’s age is starting to show.

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    Newsletter Issue #920: The iPhone 8 Obsession

    July 17th, 2017

    For a product whose expected launch is nearly two months from now, one potential Apple gadget is getting an awful lot of publicity. Not all of it is good. In fact, quite a lot of it is quite negative for one reason or another, about it being buggy from the get-go, or destined to become a big fail.

    Now with all that chatter about the iPhone 8, you’d almost think it’s been around of a while. Or that Apple has been making a huge deal of it, but that’s obviously not so. True, Tim Cook did blame somewhat tepid iPhone sales for the March quarter on speculation about the next model. But he avoided actually saying anything about it because, of course, Apple doesn’t discuss unreleased products.

    Well, at least when an advance announcement doesn’t serve their marketing plans. So we know that an iMac Pro is coming in December. But that merely fulfills a promise Apple made during its roundtable with several tech journalists in early April, about forthcoming pro features for the iMac. In fact, Apple exceeded expectations. Some tech pundits, including yours truly, speculated about a few options with more powerful processors and graphics, not an all-new model with with the parts you’d expect in a Mac Pro.

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