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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.

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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.

    Continue Reading…

    So is macOS High Sierra Dangerous to Online Advertising?

    July 14th, 2017

    Let’s put this all in perspective, shall we? macOS High Sierra, sometimes known as macOS 10.13, is currently in the hands of developers and public beta testers. Assuming a high participation rate for the latter, the number of users may have reached hundreds of thousands of brave souls.

    I say “brave” because it’s fairly buggy, particularly on my aging MacBook Pro. For me, and I gather others, Sleep mode merely freezes up the computer, requiring a forced restart. So when I’m done with it, I just shut it down. After three releases (including two public betas), I had hoped Apple would have eradicated that one. Downloading messages in Mail also stalls for some reason.

    But after a few more weeks, it’ll no doubt smooth out. Since I don’t travel as much as I used to, installing a beta OS on that notebook is not going to crimp my work style. I’ll hold off on the iMac until I’m confident that it’s reliable for a production machine, meaning real close to release.

    Continue Reading...

    Why Are All the Problems About Apple?

    July 13th, 2017

    The world is about to end. The populace is planning to build a small fleet of spaceships to enable specially selected people to leave the planet and look to the stars for a new home.

    Wait a minute! That’s a plot line used for several sci-fi films about how humans cope with Armageddon. One of the earlier entrants among such disaster films was “When Worlds Collide,” released in 1951. So when a new planet is discovered, scientists realize that a nearby star will crash into the Earth in a few months. All right, maybe it was just a modern take on Noah’s Arc, but the premise was still a little absurd.

    But when it comes to absurd, consider all those predictions about impending disaster for Apple. Consider, then, how often those predictions have come to pass.

    All right, the pundits were almost right once upon a time, where Apple did lots of things to take the company down. But all that’s something that occurred over 20 years ago, before the second coming of Steve Jobs. Since then, how often has Apple skipped a sizable quarter profit? Not very often, and not in recent years, but the critics sing the same tired old song year after year.

    Continue Reading...

    More iPhone 8 Fear-Mongering

    July 12th, 2017

    If past is prologue, the earliest we’ll know for sure what Apple plans for the rumored iPhone 8 is early September. That’s the usual timeframe for the introduction of a new iPhone lineup, and there seems to be no reason why it should change this year.

    The online chatter has coalesced on two distinct product lineups. The first will be the expected annual refresh of the current iPhones; thus the iPhone 7s and the iPhone 7s Plus. Perhaps there will be more than minor changes, although the physical differences between iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 required a second look to detect.

    This doesn’t mean Apple won’t add some interesting stuff, such as the first iteration of wireless charging, or maybe they’ll be able to eke out more battery life with larger cells and perhaps more power efficient chips. So expect an A11 Fusion processor that will offer more amazing performance boosts. We may even see the first iteration of Apple’s home-built graphics.

    Continue Reading...