Apple's new algorithms for Apple Music Permanent Article Link- Apple's new algorithms for Apple Music

Buzzfeed:

If you gave high ratings to a song or album in your old iTunes library, or just played it a lot more than others, you'll find that behavior reflected in your My Favorites Mix. Meanwhile, the My New Music Mix algorithm serves recently released songs -- as well as songs that Apple Music knows you haven't played before -- that the service's music experts have flagged as similar to others in your taste profile. Apple Music executives suggested even more personalized playlists will follow in the series; but only after prototypes have been vetted, with all possible outcomes -- intentional and otherwise -- given careful consideration.

I didn't realize Apple Music dug into your iTunes library. I figured it was just using Apple Music activity. A lot of the recommended playlists seems to work well for me. Often playlists are mostly full of songs I like, and Apple music promotes those playlists to me. Newer music is a little tougher since it may take a few plays for me to decide if I like it.




Sonos wireless speakers coming to Apple retail Permanent Article Link- Sonos wireless speakers coming to Apple retail

We're very excited to announce today that we're making it easier than ever by expanding our collaboration with Apple and bringing Sonos into Apple's physical and online retail stores. Two of our most popular speakers -- the PLAY:1 and PLAY:5 -- will be available later today at Apple.com in the USA, at 468 Apple Stores around the world starting October 5, and Apple.com in the coming weeks in most markets outside of the USA.


Apple and Sonos recently partnered to bring Apple Music to its wireless speakers. So a retail partnership isn't that big of a deal, but the timing is noteworthy. As Apple just ships the iPhone 7, it's driving the market towards wireless audio.

The PLAY: 1 retails for $199.95 and the PLAY:5 retails for $499.95. Through the end of the year, Sonos and Apple are running a promotion that includes a three month Apple Music Gift card with purchase.




Report: Apple working on advancing HealthKit Permanent Article Link- Report: Apple working on advancing HealthKit

Bloomberg:

The ultimate goal of Apple's medical technology team is to turn HealthKit into a tool that improves diagnoses, the people said. The system could chip away at two problems that plague the industry and have stumped other specialist firms in the field: interoperability -- allowing data to be transferred from hospital to hospital across different databases; and analysis -- making it quick and easy for physicians to extrapolate salient information from mountains of data.

Apple is also thought to be working on new apps in addition to it seems a hub for health data. HealthKit basically is a hub for data collected from various apps and devices, but Apple may be going beyond that by interfacing with other data collections.




Reloaded Mac






Change in iOS reportedly makes iTunes backups easier to crack Permanent Article Link- Change in iOS reportedly makes iTunes backups easier to crack

Elcomsoft, a Russian forensics company claims that iOS 10 allows for easier password cracking on iTunes backups. If you back up your device to a computer and utilize the encrypted back-up option, basically this situations would make it easier for someone to crack that password. Via Forbes:

"We discovered an alternative password verification mechanism added to iOS 10 backups. We looked into it and found out that the new mechanism skips certain security checks, allowing us to try passwords approximately 2500 times faster compared to the old mechanism used in iOS 9 and older," Elcomsoft's Oleg Afonin wrote in a blog post today.

Apple said it is aware of the issue and will be release a fix:
"We're aware of an issue that affects the encryption strength for backups of devices on iOS 10 when backing up to iTunes on the Mac or PC. We are addressing this issue in an upcoming security update. This does not affect iCloud backups," a spokesperson said. "We recommend users ensure their Mac or PC are protected with strong passwords and can only be accessed by authorized users. Additional security is also available with FileVault whole disk encryption."

Basically, if you're utilizing FileVault on your Mac, which you should, the backup image that has weaker encryption will be itself encrypted by FileVault, so you should be fine there until the situations remedied.




Report: Apple testing an Amazon Echo-like device Permanent Article Link- Report: Apple testing an Amazon Echo-like device

Bloomberg:

Apple Inc. is pressing ahead with the development of an Echo-like smart-home device based on the Siri voice assistant, according to people familiar with the matter.
Started more than two years ago, the project has exited the research and development lab and is now in prototype testing, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing unannounced Apple projects. Like Amazon Inc.'s Echo, the device is designed to control appliances, locks, lights and curtains via voice activation, the people said.

All of this, of course, is rumor, and even assuming the report is accurate, that doesn't mean such a product will come to market. If Apple does launch a new device, based on previous product testing the report speculates something could come to market in the next 6-12 months.

Alternatively, Apple could maybe reach similar functionality using existing hardware across its product line. Rather than a dedicated device, it might be neat if various productions could work in concert. For example, Macs, Apple TV, iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watch, could coordinate services throughout the house. Like the report says, however, Apple may be looking for new products to expand revenues, which would mean new hardware.




Inside Apple And IBM's App Making Machine Permanent Article Link- Inside Apple And IBM's App Making Machine

Fast Company has an great read on the Apple-IBM partnership. The partnership merges Apple's hardware and user design expertise with IBM's back-end system and business client relationships.

There are a lot of things worth highlighting, but here's a look at how a client's app is developed in a workshop.

Fast Company:

During one workshop, one of the end users explained: "When I need to do that, I just write it on my hand," Sylvia-Miller recalls. "And the manager was like, 'you what?!'" It's exactly this kind of nitty-gritty day-to-day work reality that gets exposed during the three-day workshops--things a middle manager might never know about.

The first day of the workshop is spent mainly talking to end users about their workday and about how the app might best be integrated into the work. After that, the Apple and IBM designers begin to develop actual app screens that carefully reflect the users' workflows.

By the end of the three-day workshop, the participants will have created the first few screens of a new app.




Reloaded Mac






Are Technica's macOS Sierra review Permanent Article Link- Are Technica's macOS Sierra review

Andrew Cunningham:

It has been a long time since the Mac was Apple's favorite child, and there are places in Sierra (like the Messages app) where it clearly feels like Mac users are getting a second-tier experience compared to people on iOS. Add in the Mac's stale, aging hardware lineup and Apple's total lack of communication about it, and there seems to be real problems for the Mac as a platform.

But for all the Mac users already out there, Sierra happily trundles along in the operating system's quiet and reliable groove. The name has changed, but otherwise it's business as usual for Mac OS Mac OS X OS X macOS.

i've been running the beta for the past few weeks and it seems solid upgrade. Unlocking a Mac with the Apple Watch might be my favorite single feature.

I'm also giving iCloud a fresh look. Especially with more intelligent storage to better manage limited drive space on SSD drives. That solves a problem I have with Dropbox.

I haven't really got into Siri much. Talking to my computer doesn't really appeal to me, especially when it can be hit and miss. I'll probably figure out a couple key tasks that are otherwise a pain, but otherwise, the reason I like Siri on iOS is i don't have the efficiency of a dedicated keyboard and mouse.




Apple Lightening EarPods, headphone adapter dismantled Permanent Article Link- Apple Lightening EarPods, headphone adapter dismantled

Via MacRumors, a video shows how much stuff is crammed in Apple's new Lightning EarPods and Lightning headphone jack adapter. As assumed, each contain a tiny digital-to-analog converter to go from a digital signal to analog audio. Likely due to size and cost, the DACs used will be minimal quality compared to what may be possible for audiophiles.




iPhone 7/7 Plus Thoughts Permanent Article Link- iPhone 7/7 Plus Thoughts

New Home Button

The iPhone 7 has a new home button that doesn't click. Instead, the haptic motor gives a thump to simulate a click. This is similar to what Apple did with newer laptops, which honestly, I probably would think was still a mechanical click if it wasn't a highlighted feature.

The iPhone 7 is a little different, less natural feel, but I like it. It took a bit to get used to the feel and rewire my brain for the physical response. It doesn't really change usability, but for me it changes the experience in a good way. It's sort of drive-by-wire fun that makes the device just feel more advanced. You can also set the intensity for the tap between three levels for your liking. As a bonus, generally the home button gets a lot of miles and tends to wear out or break, so this should be a nice change for durability.

The New Black and the Other New Black

The footnote for the new Jet Black warns that it will scratch and if you're concerned with that you should use a case. It seems kind of silly to heavily promote a new color only to recommend covering it, but whatever. I played it safe and went with the regular matte black.

The matte black I think looks great and reminds me of the iPhone 5, which I really liked. Hopefully, however, this treatment won't scratch off like we saw with the iPhone 5.

Camera Zoom

The iPhone 7 Plus has two camera, one that offers a 2x optical zoom. You can toggle between cameras by touching the 1x/2x indicator in the Camera App. Additional digital zoom is available, although things can get a little grainy as you'd expect. This works well, although it seems the iPhone 7 doesn't always utilize the telephoto lens if lighting conditions aren't good enough. It seems this results in a digital zoom using the regular lens, but there's no indication of what's going on.

Camera CPU

Which brings us to the iPhone's image signal processor. Apple says it performs 100 billion operations for your photo to make it the best possible. You can't really argue a mobile phone will ever match a DSLR, but Apple is working hard to do everything possible with the available optics and sensors. As always, the best camera is the one you've got with you, and iPhone 7, particularly the 7 Plus, makes the best argument yet for leaving the DSLR home.

Flashlight/Flash

The iPhone 7 sports a four LED dual tone flash. Meaning it's brighter and capable of adjusting light temperature for your scene. It is certainly brighter. Not only for pictures, but the old flashlight hack is much brighter and offers a better spotlight.

Improved Display

It's hard for me to really evaluate the LCD. New phones to me aways seem brighter and more brilliant just due to age. After using a device extensively for a year and flipping on a new phone, the fresh LCD and glass always looks better. All I can say is it looks great. 25% better? Sure.

Speakers

I was very interested the iPhone 7 adding a second speaker, but I don't think it really works how I'd hope. I often set my phone down and just listen to something. I'm not holding it, or even looking at the screen. Here, the added speaker doesn't do much for me. I don't find it significantly louder. While holding the iPhone 7, however, it is louder and the quality seems better. it also offers stereo sound, but not sure there's really enough separation between speakers to make that much of a difference. Basically it's louder and clearer when viewing the screen.

A10 CPU

Snappier? Yes. The iPhone 7 feels notably more responsive compared to the iPhone 6s. iOS 10 has some nice animations that I think make it feel faster, and perhaps it is actually faster. After using the beta most of the summer, it seems the iPhone 7 adds on to that for a nice improvements across the board.

Battery Life

The iPhone 7 offers up to two hours and 7 Plus up to one hour over the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. Comparing the plus models, I'm not sure it's that big of a deal, but I do seem to end the day with a little extra battery life. Of course, things are still new and initial battery life tends to take a hit as it's fun to test and tinker with a new phone.

Water and Dust Resistance

To me, this is a piece of mind thing. I don't see myself regularly getting the phone wet or dirty, but it's nice to know it's there. Eventually there will be days when I'll let it get wet or dirty when normally I would baby it.

Headphone jack

This is a pretty tired topic. For me though, the biggest issue will probably be driving when I want to charge the phone while plugging it into the stereo's aux input. Other than that, I'm fine with Bluetooth headphones and keeping a few adapters around.




The best way to get an iPhone 7 at Apple retail stores Permanent Article Link- The best way to get an iPhone 7 at Apple retail stores

At night, likely around midnight, Apple retail stores will make their inventories of iPhones available for reservation on Apple.com. These are phones that are in the local store's inventory, but not pre-sold. So, if you're looking for an iPhone 7, don't bother waiting in line. Just jump online tonight and see what's available. You won't find any Jet Black models, and it's very unlikely you'll find an iPhone 7 Plus in any color or configuration.

After Friday, the same process works for new store inventories. Check at night to see what's available and you can reserve your phone to be picked up during a time window the next day.






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