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  • Troubleshooting kernel panics and testing Mac hardware

    Posted on August 2nd, 2020 at 23:05 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    APPLE MAC

    By Nathan Parker

    Most of the time, the macOS operating system “just works.” On healthy machines, users rarely experience major system issues.

    But occasionally, macOS will experience a kernel panic — the Apple equivalent of the Windows blue screen of death. In most cases, a kernel panic is caused by some flaw or incompatibility in an application or the operating system. But the source of frequent kernel panics could be in the hardware. It’s a good idea to run a hardware test to rule out that possibility.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.30.0 (2020-08-03).

  • Apple’s WWDC: A retrospective

    Posted on June 28th, 2020 at 15:55 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Good outline from our own Nathan Parker, @parkernathan:

    WWDC 2020 Bottom Line

    WWDC 2020 recently wrapped up with its first online-only event. While no new consumer hardware was announced during the event, major updates are coming to the operating systems that power Apple devices this fall, and Apple has also kicked off a major processor transition that will affect Mac users for years to come. Here is the WWDC 2020 “bottom line”.

    iOS 14:
    • Will run on all devices compatible with iOS 13
    • Widgets can be pinned to Home Screen (including widgets that swap out at different times)
    • New App Library (similar to app drawer in Android, although it still categorizes apps)
    • More compact call notifications (both from phone and CallKit apps)
    • Picture in Picture arrives for videos and FaceTime calls
    • Messages adds: pinned conversations, group images, mentions, inline replies, and new Memoji and stickers
    • Maps adds: cycling directions, electric vehicle routing around charging stations, travel guides
    • New built-in Translator app, includes offline mode for privacy
    • Siri adds: compact interface, improved knowledge and web search, sending audio messages
    • Home adds: suggested automations, home status icons at the top of the Home app, adaptive lighting, activity zones, face recognition for HomeKit Secure Video cameras
    • Safari adds: built-in translation, performance enhancements, password monitoring, website privacy reports
    • CarPlay adds: wallpaper backgrounds, and support for parking, electric vehicle, and food ordering apps
    • CarKeys: Use iPhone to unlock and start select car models, arriving first to BMW 5 Series
    • AirPods enhancements (to firmware, not hardware): spatial audio support on AirPods Pro, battery notifications, adaptive charging, automatic device switching, accommodations to account for hearing differences, Apple TV audio sharing
    • App Clips: Use a part of an app without downloading the entire app
    • Privacy enhancements: App Store lists privacy information, recording indicator, migrate existing accounts under Sign In with Apple, share approximate instead of exact location
    • App Store now allows app developers to offer the ability to share in-app subscriptions on Family Sharing
    • Apple Arcade: New Game Center app (also works with non Apple Arcade apps) and Game Center integration, continue playing feature across devices for games
    • ARKit 4 now includes location anchors
    • Camera app adds the ability to lock exposure values
    • Health enhancements: sleep tracking, sound data collected from headphones, health checklist, new data types for ECG, symptoms, mobility, and health records
    • Now includes the ability to set the default web browser and email app to third party apps
    (finally!)
    • Weather app now includes some integration from the acquisition of Dark Sky
    • Apple Music offers a new Listen Now home tab

    iPadOS 14:
    • Will run on all devices compatible with iPadOS 13
    • Will include most but not all new features of iOS 14
    • Also includes a new search feature that feels similar to Spotlight on Mac
    • Also includes the ability to write in text fields with Apple Pencil (known as Scribble)
    • Also includes the ability to copy and paste handwriting
    • Also includes data detectors on handwriting

    macOS Big Sur:
    • Changes release number to 11 (early developer betas show 10.16, but release will be 11)
    • Compatible with these Macs (some Catalina Macs will be left out)
    • New design for apps, dock, and icons with taller, more translucent menu bar and redesigned sheets, all based on iOS
    • New design for Notification Center and widgets
    • New Control Center similar to iOS
    • Safari adds: Chrome to Safari extension porting, the ability to import Chrome settings, customizable start page, new dedicated extensions category in App Store, new tab design, built-in translation, password monitoring, privacy reports for websites, increased performance and power efficiency
    • Maps adds: cycling directions, electric vehicle routing around charging stations, travel guides, look around, indoor maps
    • App Store adds additional app privacy information
    • Photos adds improved ML photo editing
    • AirPods support adds automatic device switching
    • Home adds: activity zones and face recognition to HomeKit Secure Video cameras
    • Apple Music adds new Listen Now home tab
    • Siri enhancements include increased Siri knowledge
    • Optimized battery charging and usage history comes to all Mac notebooks
    • macOS System now signed
    • Faster macOS updates
    • Return of the Boot Chime, new tweaked system sounds

    watchOS 7:
    • Available for Apple Watch Series 3 or later
    • New watch faces, complications, and the ability for app developers to offer more complications for third-party apps
    • Adds the ability to share watch faces
    • Ability to download watch fasces from the App Store or online
    • Workouts adds: dance, functional strength training, core training, and post-workout cooldown
    • Maps adds bike routes
    • New automatic handwashing timer and reminder to wash hands when arriving home
    • Siri adds: translation, on-device dictation, and Siri Shortcuts
    • New hearing features: Safe weekly listening threshold when using earphones, weekly listening summary, reduce loud sounds
    • Drops support for Force Touch

    tvOS Enhancements:
    • Multi-user gaming
    • HomeKit Secure Video feeds from cameras
    • Picture-in-picture
    • AirPods audio sharing
    • YouTube and AirPlay now supports 4K on the Apple TV 4K

    HomePod gains support for third-party music services

    Apple Silicon Transition:
    • Apple announced it is transitioning its Macs from Intel processors to processors based on its A Series chips used in other Apple devices (also based on ARM)
    • First Mac with Apple Silicon ships by year end, Mac Mini Developer Transition Kit based on A12Z available now for developers to lease, more Intel Macs arriving this year
    • Transition to likely be complete within two years
    • macOS upgrades for Intel Macs supported for “years”
    • Apple Silicon Macs will natively run iOS and iPadOS apps
    • First Apple Silicon Mac will run macOS Big Sur
    • Developers can build “Universal 2” apps that run on Intel and Apple Silicon Macs (similar to “Universal” apps during the PowerPC to Intel transition)
    • “Rosetta 2” runs Intel-only apps on Apple Silicon Macs while developers work to port their Macs to “Universal 2” (works similar to “Rosetta” during the PowerPC to Intel transition, although with faster performance than the older “Rosetta” technology), virtualization with Linux works but not for Windows apps or Boot Camp at the moment
    • Boot and recovery mode and Mac sharing (Target Disk Mode replacement) streamlined on Apple Silicon Macs

  • The former head of Windows: “Mac will be the ultimate developer PC”

    Posted on June 26th, 2020 at 14:28 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I don’t quote Steve Sinofsky very often, but he just posted this on Twitter – and it rings very true.

    Steve Troughton-Smith:

    I really hope the ARM transition is what gets Apple’s Mac lineup to 120Hz, Face ID & touch. There are so many things we take for granted on iOS that make macOS feel broken without them, and with the convergence of the software and hardware it feels like those are closer than ever

    Sinofsky:

    It will. Guaranteed. In two years there is only ARM hardware and in 4 Intel will be ancient memory. The ecosystem will have rolled over. And Mac will be the ultimate developer PC. iPad will be used for more and more “work”. PS yes a computer without touch is broken.

    Yes, this is the Steve Sinofsky who started on Excel development, ran the Office side of things for many years, then shifted over to lead the team that finished Windows 7 and created Windows 8. Yes, that Windows 8.

    I rarely, rarely find myself agreeing with SteveSi on anything. But in this case, I think he’s right.

    (Don’t tell Steve I said, that, OK?)

  • Switchers: Taking a bite of the Apple – Part 2

    Posted on March 16th, 2020 at 01:00 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    APPLE MAC

    By Nathan Parker

    With the end of free support for Windows 7, some users are weighing whether it might be a good time to jump to Apple’s Mac.

    If you’re thinking about making the switch but are new to Apple, we’ve provided a two-part quick guide to the Mac environment.

    In Part 1 (2020-03-09 AskWoody Plus Newsletter) we discussed the various types of Mac desktops and notebooks. We also included an overview on setting up a new Mac. In Part 2, we’ll examine the macOS desktop, provide a brief description of the Mac keyboard, and discuss system backup and security.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.11.0 (2020-03-16).

  • Switchers: Taking a bite of the Apple – Part 1

    Posted on March 9th, 2020 at 01:05 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    APPLE MAC

    By Nathan Parker

    With the end of free support for Windows 7, many users are looking at alternatives to Windows 10. And some are considering jumping to Apple’s Mac platform.

    This two-part series is an introduction to the world of Mac for those thinking about making the switch from a Windows PC. (A more-detailed verion of this article can be found in the AskWoody forum.)

    In this installment, we’ll cover the various types of Mac desktops and notebooks. We’ll also give tips for setting up a new Apple system. Part 2 will provide a general tour of the macOS operating system, discuss keyboard differences, and delve into Mac security concepts.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.10.0 (2020-03-09).

  • iPad guide for Windows users who want to switch

    Posted on February 26th, 2020 at 14:18 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Another amazing, hard-knocks rundown from Nathan Parker, edited by @PKCano.

    If you’re thinking of moving from Windows to an iPad, there are many tricks — and your knowledge of Windows can help.

    See the full guide in AKB 2000021.

  • Guide for Windows users who are thinking about switching to a Mac

    Posted on February 24th, 2020 at 15:44 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Nathan Parker has just published an enormous, fact-filled guide to making the switch from Windows to Mac. With @PKCano wielding the editorial sword, I think it’s going to be an AskWoody Knowledge Base classic.

    The Guide itself is in AKB 2000020, Mac Guide for Windows Users Wanting to Switch

    Comments/questions/discussion are in a separate post, here.

    With Apple now claiming the “snooping” high ground (your opinion may vary, of course), I think it’s important for Windows owners to consider the Apple option. And for those who need to buy a new PC because Windows 7 is going kaput, you should certainly think about going over to the citrus side of the fence.

    Don’t forget that we have an entire forum for Mac folks — and it’s platform agnostic.

    Do you have a topic you’d like to cover in depth? Drop me a line.

  • Apple: More active devices than Microsoft

    Posted on January 29th, 2020 at 08:29 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    You can dot some “i”s and cross some “t”s but Apple just ate Microsoft’s lunch.

    Chances are good, if you follow such things, that you know Apple had a record quarter, ending December 28. What you may have missed is that the number of monthly active devices running Apple operating systems just went over 1.5 billion:

    During the holiday quarter our active installed base of devices grew in each of our geographic segments and has now reached over 1.5 billion. We see this as a powerful testament to the satisfaction, engagement and loyalty of our customers — and a great driver of our growth across the board.

    As far as I know, Microsoft has never claimed more than 1.5 billion monthly active devices – and it’s highly debatable whether the real number these days (however it may be defined) is anywhere close to 1.5 billion.