This Week @ MacsWest
Teaching, Helping, Learning and Having Fun! 

• Monday, April 21
    Nothing Scheduled

• Tuesday, April 22
    1:00 PM – iPad Q & A Session, hosted by Nancy Pines, Palo Verde Room, until 2:00 PM
    2:15 PM – iPad Basics Session #3 – Synching, led by Wally Bock, Palo Verde Room, until 3:00 PM (This is a walk-in session, open to members of MacsWest only) This is the LAST iPad Basics session until the fall. We will continue to address your questions and concerns about the iPad—along with all your other Mac questions—over the summer in our weekly Grab Bag Friday sessions.

• Wednesday, April 23
    Nothing Scheduled

• Thursday, April 24
    Nothing Scheduled

• Friday, April 25
    1:00 PM – Regular Meeting: iWorks, presented by CJ from MacMedia, Palo Verde Room, until 2:00 PM

• Saturday, April 26
Nothing Scheduled 

Microsoft launches $70/year Office 365 Personal for Mac, iPad

Tuesday, April 15, 2014, 10:02 am PT (01:02 pm ET)



Pricing on Microsoft's Office 365 service became a little more affordable for individual users on Tuesday, as the company launched a new "Personal" subscription plan priced at $69.99 per year.

The new Office 365 Personal subscription includes access to the service through one Mac or PC, as well as one tablet, including Apple's iPad. Previously, the cheapest option was Office 365 Home, which is priced at $99.99 per year with a one-year commitment.

While the Home plan, which still remains, includes access on 5 Macs or PCs and 5 tablets, the new Personal subscription is limited to one of each. Both plans come with smartphone access, and the ability to access the online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.

The new Office 365 Personal plan also comes with offline storage, 27 gigabytes of online storage for one user, and 60 world minutes of calling per month to 60+ countries with Skype.

Office for Mac

For those who don't want to commit to a full year, Office 365 Personal access can also be purchased for $6.99 per month, while the Home plan runs $9.99 per month.

Microsoft's industry leading Office suite debuted on Apple's iPad late last monthWordExcel andPowerPoint are all free-to-download applications that come with the ability to view documents, while editing and saving requires a subscription to the Office 365 service.

Users can even subscribe to Office 365 through the official iPad applications, granting Apple its traditional 30 percent cut of all in-app and App Store purchases.

Downloads of Office for iPad hit 12 million units in the suite's first week of availability. The applications go head-to-head with Apple's own Pages, Numbers and Keynote for iOS.

As for the Mac, Microsoft has signaled that it is planning to release a new version for Apple's OS X platform later this year. The suite was last updated on the Mac in 2010, and subsequent updates have not arrived because Microsoft disbanded its Mac business unit soon after it launched.

Apple updates iWork for Mac, iOS, and iCloud


Apple updated its iWork suite on all three platforms (iOS, Mac, and iCloud) yesterday, with improvements to almost every aspect of every app, from editing in Pages to creating charts in Numbers and delivering presentations in Keynote.

All three apps will purportedly be more compatible with Microsoft Office (which, coincidentally, finally appeared on the iPad last week). On the Mac, the three iWork apps now aim to do a better job of exporting to Office’s XML formats. The iCloud versions of the three apps can now open password-protected documents, spreadsheets, and presentations from Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. And the Mac and iOS apps claim to preserve custom number formats in charts imported from their Office counterparts.

The new versions are also designed to make sharing documents easier. For example, there’s a new “view-only” option that you can use when you share documents but don’t want viewers to edit anything. The iOS and Mac versions of the Pages, Numbers, and Keynote can share password-protected documents via an iCloud link. The iCloud versions of the three apps can show you a list of the documents that other users have shared with you in the document manager; they also let you add passwords to documents you create online.

The iCloud apps add some other new collaboration tools, too. You can view a list of the collaborators who are currently in a given document. You can also see the cursors and selections of everyone who’s working on a document. To go to wherever a given collaborator is currently editing a document, you can click on his or her name in the collaborator list. And if they move an image and shape, those movements are animated.

The iCloud apps also get support for Retina displays, and you can now use folders to organize online documents in those versions of Pages and Numbers. On the Mac, there’s improved support for AppleScript. Keynote for both Mac and iOS get a bunch of new build animations and new transitions.

There’s plenty more, all of it detailed on the product pages for PagesNumbers, and Keynote. And, if you’re counting, the new Mac versions are Pages 6.2, Numbers 3.2, Keynote 6.2; on iOS, it’s version 2.2 of all three.

Apple, GN ReSound create world's first made-for-iPhone hearing aid


Here’s sweet music for your ears.

A new hearing aid from Danish company GN ReSound will be the coolest accessory ever, thanks to a partnership with tech giant Apple. The innovative LiNX hearing aid syncs with iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch, and it’s compatible with Apple’s iOS7. Meaning not only can it help you hear better, it can let you listen to music, sync movies, receive phone calls and even chat over Facetime.

Imagine Siri, whispering sweet nothings directly into your ear.

The two companies have been working on the Bluetooth link that makes it possible for more than two years, Kim Herman, president of ReSound U.S., told Fox Business.

“We were the first hearing aid manufacturer to work on a 2.4GHz connectivity platform in 2010. We are now on our third generation of this platform, which provided us with a unique background to create the world’s first Made for iPhone hearing aids,” Herman wrote in an email.

The hearing aid has been designed to be comfortable to wear and simple to operate, he says. So simple that once you download the company’s Smart App, you’re all set to go. The app controls the hearing aid’s volume, settings and other acoustical adjustments while also allowing users to check their battery status. It can geo-tag locations as well, and there’s even a “find my hearing aid” feature just like that “find my phone” function.

Since appearing at the 2014 Consumer Electronic Show (CES), Herman says that the company has received overwhelming support from audiologists and consumers young and old.

“When people realize how much benefit ReSound LiNX can provide, and how seamless their experience is, it changes how they think about hearing aids. ReSound LiNX is appropriate for 90 percent of hearing losses, whether or not the wearer owns an iPhone or iPad,” she said.

Depending on the patient’s level of hearing, the price for ReSound LiNX can range between $2,400 and $3,500. They are available only through licensed hearing care professionals, who program each unit specifically for the patient based on their unique hearing loss, ear anatomy and lifestyle.


Apple releases iOS 7.1 for iPhone, iPad with bug fixes, new features

Apple has released iOS 7.1, the latest iterative version of its mobile software for its smartphones and tablets.

The software was made available for download on Monday, a week shy of six months after a radically redesigned iOS 7 was released.

The latest software version is is compatible with iPhone 4 and later, iPad 2 and later, and iPod touch (5th generation) devices. 

Users of iOS 7 and older versions can upgrade compatible devices over-the-air by navigating to "Software Update" in the "General" section of the device's settings.

iOS 7.1 includes a number of bug fixes that have plagued some early adopters, along with user interface design tweaks, such as visual changes to the phone dialer and power-off features.

The software also lands with a number of new features, including:

  • CarPlay: formerly known as iOS in the Car, which supports iPhone calling, music, maps, and messaging. It also allows users to control certain functions through iOS' in-built voice-activated assistance Siri;

  • Siri improvements: Including natural-sounding voices for U.K. English, Australian English, Japanese, and Mandarin Chinese. You can also use it in push-to-talk mode by holding the Home button for the duration of your query;

  • Calendar changes: The list view has returned in month view, and the update has also included country-specific holidays added for many locales;

  • iTunes Radio updates: The radio feature, first introduced in iOS 7, has been updated with new features, including the ability to buy albums over-the-air from "Now Playing";

  • Accessibility additions: The "parallax" motion feature option now includes Weather, Messages, and multi-tasking user interface animations. New options have been added to allow users to display a darker keyboard;

  • Camera settings bolstered: Including a setting that allows users to automatically enable HDR mode for iPhone 5s users;

  • Touch ID improved: The software that controls the biometric reader has been improved to make fingerprint recognition better.

As of the 7‑days ending February 23. (Image: Apple)

Overall, with its user interface and bug fix improvements, the update is designed above all to resolve some of the initial problems with the software, which some insiders previously reported was rushed in order to land in line with the release of iPhone 5s and 5c smartphones in September.

According to Apple, about 82 percent of all compatible iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch devices are running iOS 7 as of late February, based on App Store data.

As many millions have waited to upgrade until some of the known and well-documented bugs and user interface flaws have been resolved, that figure is expected to rise significantly in the next days.

For those not able to download over-the-air, Windows and Mac users can alternatively connect their compatible iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch devices to iTunes, and upgrade by selecting the "Check for Upgrade" button in their device's summary window.  

Or, users can download the software bundle (.IPSW) files from Apple's website for offline installations in the coming hours. (Enterprise users can use Apple's Phobos server for download links.) 

In past updates, downloads are often slow at first as millions attempt to upgrade at the same time.

Downloading over a Wi-Fi connection is recommended due to the size of the file, and some users may have to delete content from their devices in order to install.


Apple to Launch 'iOS in the Car' with Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo Next Week

Ever since "Car Display" showed up in General -> Restrictions in some of the early iOS 7 beta versions we've known that iOS in the Car would be coming along shortly.Financial Times has now confirmed that Apple, in collaboration with Ferrari, Volvo and Mercedes-Benz, will be announcing its in-car operating system at next week's Geneva Motor Show.

iOS in the Car to debut with Ferrari, Volvo, Mercedes-Benz

iOS in the Car will allow auto manufacturers to integrate iOS devices with their vehicles' native control systems, thereby allowing an operator to access iOS functions through his/her vehicle's interface. Initially, the focus will be on functions such as Siri, telephony, navigation, music control and messaging. This is just the infancy of what is bound to be a massive evolutionary step for both smart devices and the automobile industry, that could culminate in vehicles being monitored or even controlled by a central computer. Suddenly Minority Report doesn't seem like the far distant future. Back to here and now, just about every auto manufacturer and a lot of the big technology companies, including Google, Microsoft, Apple and IBM are entering a period of intense competition for a market share in tomorrow's smart cars. Earlier this year, in his keynote address at International CES, Audi chairman Rupert Stadler described automobile connectivity as a "real mega trend" and said, "if mobility used to be about connecting places and people, it is now about connecting the driver with the car, the car’s surroundings, the traffic infrastructure, and all of the other connected elements of their life." He also said that connected automobiles will "become the largest social mobile devices we own." iOS in the Car is taking the first step in that direction.

Although next week's announcement only involves Ferrari, Volvo and Mercedes-Benz, many other manufacturers are expected to incorporate it in their vehicles in 2014, according to Financial Times. At last year's WWDC keynote, Apple Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services, Eddie Cue, listed several manufacturers that had expressed interest in iOS in the Car, including Ford, Chevrolet, BMW, Nissan, Honda, Acura, Toyota and Hyundai among others.

Disney Teams With Apple Inc. to Launch Cloud-Based Digital Movie Service


Today The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS  ) announced that it has teamed with Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) to introduce Disney Movies Anywhere, a digital movie service that is cloud-based and will be made available through an app to be used with the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, as well as on the web. As a result, Disney Movies Anywhere will use iTunes as its "the premier digital movie provider."
"Disney Movies Anywhere offers an exceptional consumer experience built around some of the most beloved and popular entertainment brands in the world," noted the president of The Walt Disney Studios, Alan Bergman, in the company press release. "This unique technology underscores Disney's commitment to meeting our consumers where they are with the content they want, and we're thrilled to debut with iTunes..."
The new Disney Movies Anywhere app will allow users access to the 400 active digital movie titles made available by Disney, Pixar, and Marvel. The press release highlights how the partnership between Disney and Apple will allow for individuals to sync their iTunes account to the Disney app, which will allow their existing Disney collection to be viewed. Disney will also allow customers to access the movies they received a digital copy of when they purchased a hard copy of the DVD or Blu-ray.
Disney noted the new technology will give consumers access across different devices -- including the popular products mentioned above, as well as Apple TV and web browsers -- allowing them to stream and purchase movies simultaneously across one account.
"The beauty of this technology is that it enables us to work with iTunes and future provider partners to ensure movie lovers have streamlined access to all of their favorite Disney titles no matter which device they are on," Jamie Voris, The Walt Disney Studios Chief Technology Officer, is quoted as saying.

Apple Set to Release Hybrid iPad Pro in 2014 Shaking up Notebook Market


Apple Inc. is set to unveil a 12-inch hybrid iPad Pro in the fall of 2014, a move that could basically change the notebook PC landscape, reports AppleInsider.

According to Evercore Partners analyst Patrick Wang, the new iPad model will feature a larger 12-inch display powered by a next-generation “A8″ processor built by Apple. Unlike the previous models, the hybrid iPad Pro is rumoured to shake up the traditional-established notebook market by serving as both a tablet and a notebook, making the model more appealing to enterprise and business customers.

Analysts claim that the hybrid iPad Pro will be a step ahead of the regular iPad Air and will definitely be a lot bigger than the iPad Mini. While the tech trend was shifting towards smaller and more portable tablets, this new and larger hybrid model can be expected to bridge the gap between notebooks and tablets.

Wang calls the 64-bit infrastructure incorporated in Apple’s “A7″ chip a “game changer”, that sets the stage for a new hybrid iPad which would eventually show the company’s renewed focus on the enterprise market. The 64-bit A7 processor currently powers the iPad Air, iPad mini and iPhone 5s with Retina display.

Microsoft has been trying to takeover Apple with its hybrid Surface Tablets running on Windows 8, but thus far it has been largely falling. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook in a recent iPad event stated that the user experience on the iPad was “incredible”, and that the Surface Tablets were “confusing and inconvenient”, turning tablets into PCs and vice-versa.

Wang further added that the hybrid model would expand the market of chipmaker ARM, which currently makes the sample designs for Apple’s A-series processors. ARM chip is estimated to represent only 4 percent of Apple’s 128GB iPad. This could create a greater price competition between ARM and Intel, the dominant player in the traditional computer chips, as ARM’s gains would come at a cost to its rival chipmaker.


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