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

• Monday, August 25
    Nothing Scheduled - Palm Ridge Rec Center Closed For Repairs

• Tuesday, August 26
    Nothing Scheduled - Palm Ridge Rec Center Closed For Repairs

• Wednesday, August 27
    Nothing Scheduled - Palm Ridge Rec Center Closed For Repairs

• Thursday, August 28
    Nothing Scheduled - Palm Ridge Rec Center Closed For Repairs

• Friday, August 29
    Nothing Scheduled - Palm Ridge Rec Center Closed For Repairs 

• Saturday, August 30
Nothing Scheduled - Palm Ridge Rec Center Closed For Repairs 

Intuit's Quicken 2015 for Mac revamps interface, expands investment features


Venerable financial software Quicken is ready to help you with all of your newest accounting needs. Intuit on Thursday announced the release of Quicken 2015 for Mac, the latest update to the long-running app for tracking your personal finances.

Highlights of the new version are a simplified interface designed ground-up for the Mac and new features related to keeping track of investment portfolios. The latter allows for users to create Schedule D tax reports for capital gains, making things easy when April 15 rolls around.

Lest you think that finances haven’t yet entered the 21st century, Intuit is also offering a free mobile app for iOS and Android that works with Quicken for Mac, allowing you to photograph and keep track of your receipts while you’re on the go. You can also use the mobile app to keep tabs on your finances, check account balances, view budgets, see transactions, and more.

Quicken for Mac 2015 supports more than 14,500 banks, credit cards, and loan and investment accounts, presenting them all in a unified interface that lets you get a single top-down view of your finances. And, if you’re a user of Quicken Essentials for Mac, Quicken Mac 2007, or Quicken 2010 for Windows or later, you can easily import your data from any of those apps into Quicken for Mac 2015.

That’s not to say that the app has complete parity with either its predecessor, Quicken 2007, or with Quicken Premier for Windows. Among the missing features in Quicken 2015 are native bill payment, a calendar view of bills and transactions, paycheck deduction tracking, and more. Intuit has posted a feature comparison along with an opportunity for users to vote on which feature they’d most like to see added. (Apparently “all of them” is not currently an option.)

Intuit earned some ire from its customers a couple years ago: The company was slow to adapt Quicken 2007 to Intel Macs, leading to problems when OS X Lion removed the Rosetta compatibility system that allowed PowerPC-based apps to run. The company eventually released a patch to update the software. 

The new version, which is available from Intuit, the Mac App Store, and Amazon is available for $75; it’ll go on sale at retail locations in October.

Updated at 11:10 a.m. ET with more information on missing features and Intuit’s voting process.


Apple updates iMovie for Mac, iWork suite for OS X and iOS with minor bug fixes

In what appears to be a routine maintenance update, Apple on Thursday rolled out minor iWork app point releases for both Mac and iOS, bringing stability improvements and bug fixes to the company's multi-platform productivity suite. 

With the updates, PagesNumbers and Keynote for iOS move to version 2.2.2, while Mac versions were bumped to 5.2.2 for Pages , 3.2.2 for Numbers and 6.2.2 for Keynote.

The last substantial iWork overhaul came in April when the app suite received multiple user interface tweaks and feature additions in an effort to build a more cohesive multi-platform experience. Later that month, an across-the-board update for iOS versions brought similar unspecified bug fixes and performance improvements seen in today's release.

While Pages, Numbers and Keynote have been Mac staples for many years, Apple first released its iWork for iOS in 2011 and has since expanded offerings into iCloud

Apple's iWork updates can be downloaded for free from the iOS or Mac App Stores, as well as Software Update. Users who have recently purchased a new Mac — or iOS device after Sept. 10, 2013 — can grab the apps for free from their respective App Stores. Customers with older iPhone, iPad and iPod touch models need to shell out $9.99 per app, while those using older Macs can buy Pages, Numbers and Keynote for $19.99 each. 

Update: Apple has also issued a small update for the Mac version of iMovie that brings iCloud compatibility improvements for iMovie Theater. The updated app can be downloaded or purchased for $14.99 from the Mac App Store.

Apple plans reversible USB cable for iPhone 6, leaker says


Apple is trying to make the cable that links its mobile devices to either a computer or power outlet a little easier to use, according to a new alleged leak.

Sonny Dickson -- who made a name for himself last year by leaking accurate details on the iPhone 5S prior to its arrival -- tweeted over the weekend an image of what he claims is a design improvement to the Lightning cable that will connect to the long-rumored iPhone 6. While the already-reversible eight-pin dock won't change, according to Dickson, the other end, where users plug the cable into a USB port, will now be reversible as well.

As any user of a USB cable knows, its configuration requires you to plug it into a computer or any other device in one way and one way only. Apple's alleged improvement will feature a USB end with contacts on both sides of the insert, which would allow people to plug in a cable without checking which direction is up.

When Apple announced its Lightning connector in 2012, the company touted not only its improved charging abilities, but also its reversibility. Apple said at the time that reversibility would make everyone's life just a little easier, since users wouldn't need to waste time determining which way the eight-pin dock needed to be placed into an iPhone or iPad. The previous Apple 30-pin connector was not reversible.

It's not clear from Dickson's announcement on his Twitter feed where he learned of Apple's upcoming modification. It's also worth noting that while his track record is strong, he has gotten it wrong in the past. It's possible, therefore, that Apple won't launch a reversible USB cable this time around.

If Apple does, however, decide to launch a reversible USB cable, it wouldn't be the first to do so. There are several third-party providers that offer reversible USB cables. A new USB standard, known as Type-C, is also coming along that will be reversible.

CNET has contacted Apple for comment on the report. We will update this story when we have more information.


Apple sets Sept. 9 for new iPhone debut, report says

Apple plans to hold a media event September 9, when it's likely to launch the iPhone 6, according to a new report.

Recode, which often has accurate information about Apple launch dates and other news, pegged the event to that September date, but didn't give any other information. Other reports have recently speculated that Apple wouldn't introduce its newest smartphones until October, which would be later than its recent strategy.

Apple has added a new iPhone every year since former CEO Steve Jobs introduced the smartphone line in 2007. New iPhones have been unveiled in September since 2011.

Apple declined to comment.

Many market watchers expect Apple to introduce two new iPhone 6 models with display sizes of 4.7 and 5.5 inches, though some recent reports speculate one device could be released at a later date. Apple, has asked manufacturing partners to produce 70 million to 80 million units of its larger screen iPhones by December 30, The Wall Street Journal reported last month. That's up from its initial order of 50 million to 60 million units of the iPhone 5S and 5C, the paper said.

Apple's results have been fueled by the iPhone for the past several years, with the company generating about half of its revenue from the smartphone. But Apple is facing more competition than ever before. Samsung and others are pressuring the company at the high end, while Apple is largely missing out on the low end of the market. That's a big concern as more and more mobile sales come from emerging markets like China, where inexpensive phones from companies such as Huawei and ZTE are popular.

So far, though, Apple's customers have remained loyal, and it's attracting buyers despite offering devices that are almost a year old. In April, Apple said it had nearly 800 million iTunes accounts, a number that CEO Tim Cook described at that time as "staggering." About a year earlier, Apple announced it had 575 million accounts. And Apple last month said it sold 35.2 million iPhones in its fiscal third quarter ended in June, up from 31.2 million in the year-ago period. The continued strength of the iPhone represents an anomaly at a time when the smartphone business is maturing and there is a noticeable lack of excitement in the area.


Apple wins patent on charging iThings THROUGH THIN AIR

A patent newly granted to Apple points to a future in which Cupertinian kit will charge over the air, without the need for cables.

The company's US Patent 8,796,885 describes a near-field magnetic resonance (NFMR) system that would be able to wirelessly charge multiple nearby devices from a single base station (such as a desktop computer).

According to Apple's filing, the power supply for the devices would be roughly the size of a AAA battery and could easily be stored in peripheral devices or handsets (Apple uses a portable media player as one example).

The main unit would be small enough to fit inside a desktop computer case and could be used to charge more than one device, although the company noted that charging multiple devices at once could reduce the range and power supplied by the source.

Such a system could make it possible for Apple to offer all-in-one computers that only require one cable to be plugged in – namely, a power cable for the main unit itself. None of the other peripherals, such as keyboards and mice, would require cable connections, replaceable batteries, or separate chargers.

Illustration from Apple's wireless charging patent

Apple's scheme sees peripherals powered by small pods that can recharge using magnetic resonance

While it is always good to take patent filings with a grain of salt, as not all become products, this one seems more likely than others to result in a finished product from Cupertino. It was filed in April of 2012, giving Apple plenty of time to develop and test the technology ahead of a potential release.

And in fact, Apple has previously been rumored to be working on wireless power systems. One 2013 report even claimed that Apple's rumored (but as-yet unseen) iWatch wristslab will be charged using magnetic resonance from up to a meter away from the source.

Efficient wireless power systems have long been sought after in the consumer tech industry, and Apple is far from alone in developing the tech. That one-meter range is still a bit of a pipe dream, though. The very latest Qi charging standard from the Wireless Power Consortium has only been successfully demonstrated at distances of up to 45mm. ®


Apple TV Gets CNBC And FOX NOW Channels


Apple continues to fill out its Apple TV content library, with two new additions to the device today including a CNBC channel with live broadcasts and FOX NOW, the on-demand app for the network that includes episodes of Glee, Family Guy and more. Both channels need a cable subscription to unlock completely, but offer some preview content free, according to 9to5mac which spotted the update.

Apple had sold around $1 billion in media sales via the Apple TV according to Apple CEO Tim Cook during an annual shareholder’s meeting earlier this year. Its value to Apple is on the rise as the company sees its iTunes and services revenue grow; those are now its fastest-growing line of business, over and above its high-margin hardware business.

Building new content like CNBC and FOX NOW into the platform doesn’t directly influence its ability to sell and rent media direct to consumers through Apple TV, but it does give people another reason to own. Apple TV becoming a one-stop shop for TV-based entertainment is good for the business in general, even if for now, people still have to have an active cable subscription in order to access big chunks of the newly available channels.

Apple continues to favor control over an open app ecosystem on its set-top streaming box, despite rumors we’ve heard that it might be moving to more of an App Store model. But there are advantages to keeping things locked down, so we’ll see how long Apple continues to stay the course and hand-pick what does and doesn’t get included via apps built into the platform.


Apple Wins a Patent for a Wristwatch Branded iTime


Apple Wins a Patent for a Wristwatch

Apple's invention pertains to a smartwatch which is often referred to as an electronic wristwatch or an electronic wristband. In one embodiment, the electronic device can be a mobile electronic device that can be removably coupled to the electronic wristband.

Advantageously, the electronic device can utilize the additional electrical circuitry or devices provided within the electronic wristband to augment its capabilities. In another embodiment, the electronic device can be integrally formed within the electronic wristband. 

The invention may be implemented in numerous ways, including, but not limited to, a system, device, apparatus or method. 

As an electronic wristband to be worn on a wrist of a user, one embodiment of the invention can, for example, include at least a central portion and at least one band portion.

The central portion can have a receptacle area configured to receive a mobile electronic device (and different ones at that). The mobile electronic device can include a display and be independently useable apart from the electronic watchband. 

Apple and IBM partner to make iOS king of the office


Apple and IBM have just announced what the companies describe as a "landmark partnership" designed to "redefine the way work will get done, address key industry mobility challenges and spark true mobile-led business change." Put more simply, they're aiming to combine their respective strengths and aggressively tackle the enterprise market. IBM says it will contribute its big data and analytics expertise, with Apple offering the "elegant user experience of iPhone and iPad." The move could transform Apple, which ordinarily focuses squarely on consumers, into a true business powerhouse. It could also touch off a new battle with Microsoft, which now more than ever is focused on the enterprise and cloud services.

Apple and IBM want to conquer the enterprise

IBM will sell iOS devices to corporate clients that come preloaded with enterprise software designed in collaboration with Apple; those apps will become available "starting this fall" with more debuting in 2015. Both companies are promising "a new category of mobile apps" that address the needs of specific industries like "retail, healthcare, banking, travel, telecommunications, and insurance." The apps will of course make heavy use of IBM's cloud infrastructure, all the while coexisting with Apple's own services like iCloud. Apple also announced that it plans to add a new  "AppleCare for Enterprise" customer service tier that will provide IT departments and users with 24/7 support.

In an interview with Recode, Tim Cook basically admitted that Apple needed to look outside the company to piece together an offering that meets every conceivable enterprise need. "We’re good at building a simple experience and in building devices," he said. "The kind of deep industry expertise you would need to really transform the enterprise isn’t in our DNA. But it is in IBM’s." Apple has fared alright without IBM's support; plenty of Fortune 500 businesses have already deployed many, many iPhones and iPads to end users.

But teaming with IBM will only take that momentum further. "Arguably there is a new level to achieve in business," he told CNBC. "We knew we couldn't do it alone," Cook said, adding that Apple found a "kindred spirit" in IBM. Ginni Rometty, IBM's CEO, agrees. "We are delighted to be teaming with Apple, whose innovations have transformed our lives in ways we take for granted, but can’t imagine living without," she said in a statement. "Our alliance will bring the same kind of transformation to the way people work, industries operate and companies perform."


Apple releases iOS 7.1.2 with iBeacon, Mail attachment, third-party accessory fixes & Apple TV OS 6.2

Apple has released iOS 7.1.2 to end users today over-the-air with the following changes:

• Improves iBeacon connectivity and stability
• Fixes a bug with data transfer for some 3rd party accessories, including bar code scanners
• Corrects an issue with data protection class of Mail attachments

The update is available over-the-air or via iTunes for the latest iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches. The fix for Mail addresses a well-publicized security problem regarding attachments. Apple has also released OS X 10.9.4 with various bug fixes and security enhancements.

The build number is 11D257 and it comes in at approximately 30 MB over-the-air on the iPad and 32 MB on the iPhone. The update is approximately 1.4GB for a complete download via iTunes.

In addition, Apple has released Apple TV software version 6.2 (build number 11D257c) without any major changes. The update addresses stability and performance issues:

  • Includes general performance and stability improvements.

OS X Mavericks 10.9.4 Update Brings Safari 7.0.5 and Miscellaneous Fixes

Apple has released 10.9.4 system update for OS X Mavericks. The update brings Safari 7.0.5 and a bunch of bug fixes, including one for an issue that prevented some Macs from automatically connecting to known Wi-Fi networks. The update also claims to improve the reliability of waking from sleep, while fixing an issue that caused the background or Apple logo to appear incorrectly on startup.

Like any other Apple OS update, OS X 10.9.4 also contains fixes for a bunch of security issues. The details of these issues can be found on Apple's website.

As usual, to download and install the update, click the Apple menu and choose Software Update to check for the latest Apple software via the Mac App Store, including this update. The update's size may vary from computer to computer when installed using Software Update, depending upon what earlier updates you had installed.

You can also download the manual update installer. This is especially useful when you need to update multiple computers but only want to download the update once. These versions of the standalone installers are available from Apple Support Downloads.

About the update

The OS X Mavericks 10.9.4 Update is recommended for all Mavericks users. It improves the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac.

This update:

  • Fixes an issue that prevented some Macs from automatically connecting to known Wi-Fi networks
  • Fixes issue causing the background or Apple logo to appear incorrectly on startup
  • Improves the reliability of waking from sleep
  • Includes Safari 7.0.5

Apple Inc. Launches New 16GB iPod Touch

Apple has added more colors to iPod touch entry level 16 GB version along with rear camera, and slashed the price of all three versions.

Apple has updated its entry-level iPod touch by adding a rear iSight Camera and offering some new color options. The price of the newly launched gadget is $199. The iPod touch 32 GB and 64 GB price has also been reduced to $249 and $299 respectively.

Apple iPod Touch

No other changes to iPod touch

Now, similar to higher version, iPod touch 16 GB is also available in different colors like black, space grey, pink, yellow, blue, and (Product) RED. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has made available full range of iPods on it online store that will be shipped within 24 hours. Before the update, 16 GB iPod touch was only available in space grey color and did not sport a camera. The iPod touch loop wrist strap was also absent.

Previously, the 32 GB version was available for $299 and 64 GB used to cost around $399. All other specs remain unchanged on the 16 GB version. All iPod touch has a 4-inch Retina display, a forward facing FaceTime HD camera, and powered by Apple Inc.’s A5 processor. All the models are compatible with iOS 7 and are packed with the Apple’s EarPods.

Prior to this update, the iPod touch was updated in June 2013. The iPod touch replaced the fourth generation model, which used to cost $199, but had a slower A4 chip.

Market shrinking, Apple still leads

The iPod was the major growth driver and main reason behind Apple’s revival some years back. However, the media player is phasing out gradually and represents only a small portion of Apple Inc.’s massive business dominated primarily by the iPhone and iPad. Though, the market is shrinking, the iPod continues to be the most demanded media player. NPD group pegged Apple’s share at 72%.

Apple repeatedly stated during its earnings conference calls that iPod touch contributed for more than half of total iPod sales, but denied to give category wise data. Last quarter, the sales of iPod dropped to just 2.7 million units, which was absent from the company financial result discussion.

Apple has made available more than 1.2 million apps on iPod touch along with hundreds of thousands of games. Users can, also, access selection of music, TV shows, movies and books by purchasing them or downloading directly to their iPod touch.

Apple introduces a new entry-level iMac


If you’re in the market for a new Apple computer, but can’t afford a top of the line model, you’ll be pleased to know Apple has today rolled out a new entry-level iMac.

The new system is available now and comes with a 21.5 inch screen, 1.4 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory, a 500GB hard drive and Intel HD Graphics 5000.

It’s priced at $1,099, which is $200 cheaper than the next model (which offers a 2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor and a 1TB hard drive).

Configuration options let you boost the iMac’s storage to 1TB for an additional $50, or you can select a 1TB Fusion Drive, (or add 256GB of Flash storage) for an extra $250.

It’s obviously not the most powerful iMac, but if you’re not too worried about performance, it’s certainly a decent choice for the hom


Apple to make 3-5 million smartwatches monthly, sales begin October:

The Apple logo is pictured at a retail store in the Marina neighborhood in San Francisco, California April 23, 2014.  REUTERS/Robert Galbraith/Files
Credit: Reuters/Robert Galbraith/Files

The Apple logo is pictured at a retail store in the Marina neighborhood in San Francisco, California April 23, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Robert Galbraith/Files


(Reuters) - Apple Inc is preparing to sell its first wearable device this October, aiming to produce 3 million to 5 million smartwatches a month in its initial run, the Nikkei reported on Friday, citing an unidentified parts supplier and sources familiar with the matter.



Specifications are still being finalized, but the devices are likely to sport curved OLED (organic light-emitting diode) displays and sensors that collect health data from blood glucose and calorie consumption to sleep activity, the Japanese news service cited industry sources as saying.


The industry has long expected Apple to unveil some sort of smartwatch, following the release of Samsung Electronics' Galaxy Gear watches.


Wall Street is hoping to see a new Apple product this year to galvanize the former stock market darling's share price and end a years-long drought of ground-breaking devices. CEO Tim Cook has promised "new product categories" in 2014.


Apple declined to comment.


(Reporting by San Francisco newsroom. Editing by Andre Grenon)

Apple announces OS X Yosemite, deepens its ties to iOS

OS X Yosemite Federighi

Apple on Monday announced that the next version of the Mac OS—dubbed OS X Yosemite, after the popular National Park in California—will be available as a free upgrade to the public this fall. 

The jam-packed operating system update features a significant user interface overhaul, rich with bright colors and translucent effects, plus numerous changes to the visual identity of almost every system app that brings them closer to their iOS counterparts. The interface now also comes with a “dark” mode, which dims system elements like the Menu and Dock and allows apps to be more prominent.

The changes, however, are more than skin deep, as many system components have been updated and improved. Spotlight, for example now appears as a convenient text box in the middle of the screen and provides access to information from a large variety of sources, including the various App Stores. Notification Center is now fully customizable—and includes support for third-party widgets. 

Among Apple's own apps, Safari now sports a slimmer interface that leaves more room for content, and includes improved support for advanced Web technologies such as CSS and WebGL. Mail's improvements include the ability to annotate and even sign messages and attachments directly within the app, and sharing them with others.

The company's services ecosystem will also experience several improvements when Yosemite hits the digital shelves: iCloud gains a new Drive feature, which offers access to file-based cloud storage à la Dropbox. A new feature, called Continuity, allows users to begin tasks on one device and continue them seamlessly on another, and is based on the same technology as AirDrop, which will finally work across both iOS and OS X.

Speaking of iOS, the integration between Apple's mobile and desktop operating systems now extends to the ability to easily share cellular phone calls and SMS messaging, with support for both baked right into OS X, which will be able to make and receive calls seamlessly, so long as an iPhone is within reach and paired via Bluetooth.

In a departure from tradition, the company will also institute a public beta program that will allow users to test the new operating system before its general availability, regardless of whether they are part of the company's developer program.


iOS 8 additions promise to streamline how you communicate and share

wwdc ios 8

iOS users will have plenty of new things to familiarize themselves with this fall. That’s when iOS 8 arrives, and Apple’s updated mobile operating system promises a slew of new features and enhancements that aim to help you communicate and share more easily.

While most of us will have to wait until the fall to really explore the many changes announced Monday during the Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, app makers and developers will get an early crack at iOS 8, with a pre-release version available now for anyone with a developer account. Here are the features we’re most excited to see:


wwdc ios 8 notificationsPhoto: Serenity Caldwell

Changes to how you interact with Notifications highlight the new additions to iOS 8.


Notifications: Perhaps most notably, Apple introduced new interactive notifications that allow you to respond to alerts without having to leave the app you’re in. Get a calendar invitation, and you can respond, all while continuing to compose that email or—more likely—play that mobile game. You can also interact with notifications from your mobile device’s lock screen, swiping on a notification to deal with it.


wwdc ios 8 multitaskPhoto: Serenity Caldwell

The multitasking menu in iOS 8 adds contacts to the top of the screen, allowing you to communicate with them more quickly.


iOS 7 added the ability to double tap the home button to bring up a multitasking menu. iOS 8 adds most frequent contacts across the top of the multitasking menu, allowing you to quickly call, text, or FaceTime friends, family, or other VIPs.

Mail: Mail will get several new tools in iOS 8, starting with the ability to add an event to your calendar directly from within an email message. Mail now incorporates several new gestures into the interface, letting you swipe to flag, delete, or mark an email as unread. Dragging all the way across on a message will delete it from your mailbox.

Perhaps one of the coolest feature in iOS 8’s Mail will be the ability to minimize drafts by swiping down. With this feature in place, you’ll be able to more easily grab information from one message and put it in another.

Safari: The built-in browser for iOS is in line for a few updates as well. Safari’s quick-glance tab view from OS X comes to the iPad version of the browser as will the just-announced sidebar slated for OS X Yosemite, which Apple also previewed on Monday.

Search: OS X’s Yosemite update also inspires some new spotlight features in iOS 8. Searching for “Yosemite,” for example, brings up the Wikipedia page for Yosemite, news, and all other kinds of relevant information.

Keyboard: A new keyboard in iOS 8 will use predictive typing to speed up input. As you type out words with the new keyboard, recommendations for the next word based on common phrases will pop up; you can then add those to your message. We’ve seen this a bit with the keyboard in theSwiftKey Note app, but Apple’s solution goes a bit further to learn your personal voice (all the while maintaining your privacy, Apple executives were quick to add during Monday’s keynote.)

Continuity features: Apple wants better integration between all those devices you own, so iOS 8 is going to let you pick up on your iPad what you were doing on your iPhone. That includes taking phone calls on your tablet by more easily creating a portable hotspot for sharing your phone’s connection.

Messaging: Enhancements in the Messages app in iOS 8 focus on group messaging; you can add and remove people within a thread. Other enhancements let you name your thread for easily tracking or turning on a Do Not Disturb setting for a particular thread. You can share your location with people in a conversation;if they’ve shared with you, you can see their location on a map.


wwdc ios 8 tap to talkPhoto: Serenity Caldwell

Tap to Talk in Messages lets you send audio or video messages to your contacts.


A useful addition to Messages is a Tap to Talk feature that sends audio or video messages to contacts—and yes, it works with selfies, too. Best of all, you can listen to and interact with these to messages right from your lock screen just by putting your phone up to your ear.

iCloud Drive: iCloud Drive promises a better way to work across applications in iOS 8. For example, if you’re working in an app such as Sketchbook, you can open up a document from another application and edit them in that app.

HealthKit: Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, lamented how different health wearables are unable to talk to each other and share the information they gather. iOS 8 looks to address that problem with HealthKit, an attempt to take health stats and put it in a central repository so you can manage it all from one app. Partnerships with the Mayo Clinic and Epic Systems (who provide software for many major hospitals and healthcare organizations) will make it easier for iPhone users to share key health statistics with their doctors, in order to better manage their health between checkups.

Family Sharing: iOS 8 introduces better management features to let family members easily share photos, location, reminders, and many other pieces of information with each other. The chief benefit here: You’re finally going to get to share music, movies, and TV shows you’ve bought with other family members. You can hook in up to six devices. Parents in particular will appreciate new notifications that alert you when your kids try to make a purchase.

Photos With iOS 8, photos will be integrated with iCloud so that every photo you take will be available on all your iOS and OS X devices. To help you sort through all the photos in iCloud, you can search by location, time, and albums you’ve set up. And there are smart editing controls that help you quickly edit and crop photos from your device.


wwdc ios 8 photosPhoto: Serenity Caldwell

Apple’s Craig Federighi shows off the new photo features in iOS 8.


Siri. Siri also gets some enhancements in iOS 8. Saying “Hey, Siri” will now let you interact with Siri in your car so you don’t have to touch your phone while driving. (OK Google, that feature may sound pretty familiar to you.) Siri will also add Shazam integration to help identify the song that’s currently playing on the radio; you can buy that song using voice commands from Siri. Apple’s digital assistant also gains streaming voice recognition and 22 new dictation languages in iOS 8.

Cox Communications plans 1 gigabit speed for Phoenix Internet customers

Cox Communications is upping the ante in the battle for broadband supremacy, bringing 1 gigabit Internet speeds to Phoenix and going head to head with Google Inc.

The Atlanta-based company, which is the major cable and Internet provider in Phoenix, announced the plan this morning to put in the gigabit service for all new construction. Phoenix, along with Las Vegas and Omaha, also will see existing customers get the speed bump by the end of 2016.

“We are excited about our road map to offer gigabit speeds to all of our residential customers,” saidPat Esser, Cox Communications president.

Company officials said it does not yet have prices for how much it will cost for the 1 gigabit service.

The plan was unveiled at Mark Taylor Residential’s San Travesia apartments in Scottsdale, where Cox will first offer the product as well as Cox Metro wi-fi.

“Offering the fastest Internet speeds and wi-fi access where our residents live and play, makes it essential to connecting our tech savvy residents,” said Dale Phillips, president of Mark-Taylor Residential.

The Metro service will launch later in 2014 and give Cox customers access to more than 250,000 hotspots around the country.

While current customers will have to wait more than two years for the increased speeds, Cox plans to double its existing speeds by the end of the year. Those with the preferred tier will see speeds rise to 50 megabits per second, and those on the premier speed will see speeds of 100 megabits per second. Company officials said there would be no price increase this year when Internet speeds are increased.

The move is a clear shot at Google, which has listed Phoenix as one of its finalists to install its Google Fiber network. That network, however, would be limited to Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe.

Google’s move is still in the evaluation stages, but the city of Phoenix has given the company permission to use city land to place network hubs to help build the network.

Patrick O'Grady is managing editor of the Phoenix Business Journal.

Apple reportedly readying new smart home platform

Apple plans to launch a new smart home platform at next month's Worldwide Developer Conference that will allow iPhones and iPads to control a home's lights, security system, and other connected appliances, according to a Financial Times report.

The new "software platform," which will be unveiled at WWDC on June 2, will be built into the iOS devices, according to the report, which cited anonymous sources. As with Apple's "Made for iPhone" program, the new platform will be open to third-party device makers, allowing their gadgets to work on Apple's automation system.

One application of the new software platform cited by the newspaper was the ability to automatically turn on the lights when an iPhone paired with the system enters a building. Appleoutlined its ideas for a home automation system in a patent filing last November.

The move is seen as a "big play" to challenge device giant Samsung and Google, which in February closed its $3.2 billion acquisition of Nest Labs, maker of the Learning Thermostat and the Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector.

As companies look for opportunities to expand smartphones' reach, home automation is seen as one of new markets for growth. Apple already has made inroads with the automobile sector. AtWWDC 2013, Apple announced plans to better integrate iOS into car dashboard screens. Apple's iBeacon location-sensing technology, which debuted late last year on devices running iOS 7, is already in use for indoor navigation, automatic ticketing, and location-relevant promotions.

CNET has contacted Apple for comment on the report and will update this report when we learn more



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