July 23, 2015

Just look at the company’s historic success with the iPhone and you can tell that we are indeed living in strange times! So far Apple has taken down Nokia and left Motorola, HTC and Samsung gasping for air. The profits have not stopped flowing to Cupertino. Apple has reported $42.3 billion in net income so far for the first three quarters of this fiscal year. That’s more than the company’s profits for all of 2012.

I’ve said this before, but no company that reports a profit in the billions of dollars should be worried about doom and gloom. It’s based on what Wall Street predicts, which seems flawed to me.

July 22, 2015

But that’s not the story at all. For one thing, Android overtook the Wintel world way back in 2012. The story here is that mobile utterly dwarfs desktop and laptop computing. Civilization has been changing under our very noses, and today even the second largest mobile platform outsells the world of Wintel.

This is an interesting take from Bryan Chaffin.

Apple Music is a nightmare and I’m done with it

[Editor: Be sure to read Dave Mark’s response to this post]

I love Apple. I love them because they take difficult problems and come up with innovative, simple solutions. The things they make just work and we trust them. Unfortunately, my experience with Apple Music has been exactly the opposite. As of today, I’m missing about 4,700 songs from my library with little hope of getting them back.

I had high hopes for Apple Music. I really wanted it to work and become my default music streaming service, but after the problems I’ve experienced over the last couple of weeks, I’m disabling it altogether.

My problems started about a week after installing Apple Music. While Apple Music Radio and Playlists worked well, adding music to my library is nothing short of a mind-blowing exercise in frustration.

I started to notice that whenever I added an album to my library, not all of the songs would get added. When I looked at the list of songs, there would be some missing—sometimes, most of the album would be missing. When I clicked the “Show Complete Album” button on my Mac, all of the missing songs would show up with an “Add” button beside them.

Why do that when I already told Apple Music to add the album?

From what I can tell in my tests, Apple Music is deciding itself, based on your library, that it will not add duplicate songs. For instance, I purchased a lot of Black Sabbath albums over the years, but not all of the compilations. I went into Apple Music and added a compilation album, but it didn’t all get added to my library. When I looked at all of the songs that didn’t get added, they were ones that I already had in my library.

In another example, I added Bob Dylan’s “Blonde On Blonde” and his “Greatest Hits” albums. The “Greatest Hits” was short three songs—the same three songs that are on “Blonde On Blonde,” so Apple Music chose not to add them to the “Greatest Hits” album. It’s not unreasonable to want to listen to an album in the context the artist wrote it, and then other times, just listen to their greatest hits. It’s my choice to make.

However, if I decide I really want those songs, when I click the “Add” button, nothing happens, which seemed odd to me. If adding the songs is an option, why won’t they add to the library. I went to my iPhone and tapped “Show Complete Album”—when I tapped on the song to add it, the option was to “Remove from My Music.” This means that my iPhone thinks it’s already added, but the song isn’t showing up. What I had to do is go through all of the songs, remove them from the library, and then click add to get them back in the library.

I went through about 15 albums one night and manually added all of the missing songs. It was frustrating, to say the least, but I did it. I nearly lost my mind the next morning when I checked my iPhone and Apple Music and taken out all of the songs I added the night before. I was right back where I started.

In some cases, like Bob Dylan and Neil Young, a few of the songs show up twice on one album. When you tap to play the song, they both show the animated icon in iTunes, as if they are both playing. Note in the screenshot that the songs are different in terms of their length of playing time. Either Apple Music shaved a few seconds off one of the tracks, or they’re from different albums.

youngdupe

dylandupe

Other strange things have happened too. For instance, I added ZZ Top’s “The Very Baddest” album. Instead of downloading all of the songs from that album, it downloaded them from multiple albums. So now I have several ZZ Top albums, each with a few songs on them.

Apple Music also decided that I like Electronica and Pop music. I found this out by going to the setup screen to redo my entire account and see that if that helped fix my original problem. I deleted the categories and bands that Apple Music put in, but it didn’t help the overall problem.

In another case, I own Led Zeppelin IV—and all of their other albums. However, when I look at it in Apple Music, it doesn’t recognize that I have it and gives me the option to add it to my library. With all of the other problems I’ve been having, I didn’t even bother trying that.

I tried adding one Neil Young album six times and it just wouldn’t go into my library. I finally just gave up.

If all that wasn’t enough, none of my devices seem to sync, so my Macs don’t have the same songs that my iPhone has, and neither of them match my iPad.

mac2The Recently Added from one of my Macs

maclibTaken at the same time, the Recently Added from another of my Macs

I’ve tried logging out of my accounts on all my devices and allowing Apple Music to rebuild itself. I’ve turned iCloud Music Library on/off and I’ve done just about everything else I can think of doing. Nothing I’ve tried works.

The only thing that changed since I started using Apple Music is transferring my Beats account to my new Apple Music subscription. I can’t say for sure if that caused all of these problems or not, but it was around the same time.

I know I’m not the only one having this problem. There are threads on Apple’s support forums detailing similar issues to the ones I’m having, and I’ve noticed tweets in my stream reporting the same problems.

At some point, enough is enough. That time has come for me—Apple Music is just too much of a hassle to be bothered with. Nobody I’ve spoken at Apple or outside the company has any idea how to fix it, so the chances of a positive outcome seem slim to none.

As if all of that wasn’t enough, Apple Music gave me one more kick in the head. Over the weekend, I turned off Apple Music and it took large chunks of my purchased music with it. Sadly, many of the songs were added from CDs years ago that I no longer have access to. Looking at my old iTunes Match library, before Apple Music, I’m missing about 4,700 songs. At this point, I just don’t care anymore, I just want Apple Music off my devices.

I trusted my data to Apple and they failed. I also failed by not backing up my library before installing Apple Music. I will not make either of those mistakes again.

I’m going to listen to what’s left of my music library, and try to figure out all of the songs I have to buy again. I’ll also download Spotify and reactivate the account I cancelled with them a couple of weeks ago.

Juli Clover, writing for MacRumors:

Apple has quietly changed its App Store policies and is no longer permitting iOS devices running pre-release software to be used to write App Store reviews. When attempting to write a review from a device that has iOS 9 installed, a popup is displayed that tells users reviews can’t be submitted while using beta software.

Good. And here’s why.

What Tim said about Apple Watch sales

During Apple’s earnings call yesterday, Tim Cook carved out a section of his presentation to address Apple Watch sales numbers.

A little parsing:

Sales of the watch did exceed our expectations, and they did so despite supply still trailing demand at the end of the quarter.

That’s referring to Apple constraining sales to online-only, long shipping dates, not being able to make enough Apple Watches to meet demand.

To give you a little additional insight, through the end of the quarter, in fact the Apple Watch sell-through was higher than the comparable of the launch periods of the original iPhone or the original iPad.

This post elaborates on this point. Apple Watch numbers, at this point in the product lifecycle, are better than iPhone sales, better than the original iPad sales, at the same point in those lifecycles.

We were able to do that with having only 680 points of sale, and as you probably know, as I had reviewed earlier, the online sales were so great at the beginning, we were not able to feed inventory to our stores until mid June, and so those points of sale pretty much the overwhelming of the low numbers of sales were not there until the last two weeks of the quarter.

Sales didn’t rollout to stores until there were only two weeks left in the quarter. This doesn’t mean that the next quarter sales will be off the charts. It’s still early in the adoption cycle and watchOS 2 is still in beta. Only time will tell us how successful Apple Watch will be in the long run.

But Tim followed with this point:

Most importantly of all of this, is the customer sat is off the charts. Because we’ve constantly seen that if you can get the customer sat off the charts you can wind up doing fairly well over time.

The “customer sat” refers to existing customer satisfaction with the product. With a sat of 97%, it’s clear that people who own an Apple Watch love their Apple Watch. And that is a huge point. If anything is a predictor of future success, tremendous user satisfaction is that predictor.

[Transcript via Six Colors]

July 21, 2015

Jason Snell has a great transcript of what Tim Cook said to analysts during the earnings call today. In case you missed it, Apple reported a profit $10.7 billion on revenue of $49.6 billion.

Microsoft reported a $3.2 billion quarterly net loss, hurt by charges related to its Nokia phone business and job cuts, and weak demand for its Windows operating system.

The company took a charge of $7.5 billion in the fourth quarter related to the restructuring of its Nokia handset business, which it acquired last year.

Ouch.

Basically, the companies argue that a refusal to limit damages to infringing features could have huge impact in an era when consumer products incorporate many highly sophisticated components within a single device. That Samsung can be successfully sued over singular design features and forced to pay damages based on overall device sales rather than a portion of profits sets a dangerous precedent, the group argues.

I could see their point if Samsung had of taken one feature and incorporated it into a smartphone it designed. However, Samsung stole the entire phone—hardware, software, and everything else it could lay its grubby little hands on. They were caught and should pay.

Apple reports record third quarter results

Apple on Tuesday reported a third quarter profit of $10.7 billion on revenue of $49.6 billion. This compares to revenue of $37.4 billion and net profit of $7.7 billion in the year ago quarter.

Apple said the growth was fueled by record third quarter sales of iPhone and Mac, all-time record revenue from services and the successful launch of Apple Watch.

In the quarter, Apple sold 47.5 million iPhones, 10.9 million iPads, and 4.7 million Macs. Apple did not break out sales of the recently released Apple Watch.

Updated every Monday morning, Discover Weekly brings you two hours of custom-made music recommendations, tailored specifically to you and delivered as a unique Spotify playlist.

Good idea.

Betts, who has spent more than 25 years in the auto industry with companies including Toyota and Nissan, vacated his role of head of quality at Chrysler Group last year to “pursue other interests.”

Oh Apple, what are you up to.

Eddie Van Halen appears on Les Paul’s special in 1988

Ed is just on fire. Much respect.

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USAToday:

The airplane is one that turns heads.

Aviation enthusiasts instinctively know it is the “Beluga,” a nickname stemming from the aircraft’s uncanny resemblance to the whale of the same name.

But nearly all who see it tend to agree that regardless of its name, it’s one of the world’s strangest-looking aircraft.

I have a fascination and appreciation for the magic of flight and those crafts that are able to achieve it but this thing? Sorry. It’s one butt ugly airplane.

Apple:

All Store Services – Some users are affected. Users are experiencing a problem with the services listed above. We are investigating and will update the status as more information becomes available.

For those of you/us who are having issues accessing Apple Music and other services today, rest assured, it’s not on your end. Apple has been having frequent problems with Apple Music since last week. This is a good page to bookmark and check when your Apple cloud-based services aren’t working as expected.

This is one of those lists that likely has a number of things you already know. But it’s worth reading, just for that one little nugget that’s new to you.

My favorite is one that works on your Apple Watch but also on any iOS device. This is especially useful for folks who are new to Siri. When you have a spare minute, ask Siri:

What kind of things can I ask you?

You’ll get a list of queries, organized by apps installed on your device. Tap an app and you’ll get a second page with more suggestions for that app.

Pass this one along.

Mike Wehner, writing for the Daily Dot, put together a nice little writeup showing iPod, iPad, and iPhone sales numbers at the same point in their life-cycle as the Apple Watch is now.

Bottom line, speculation is foolish. Those who speculate so early in the game are destined for John Gruber’s claim chowder file.

Quick way to view a list of all non-Apple software installed on your Mac

The report on the hardware and software that makes up your Mac has been around forever. But that report, accessible via the Apple menu’s About This Mac menu item, is constantly evolving.

One particularly useful element of this report is the what and when of all the software you’ve got installed on your Mac. If you’ve not encountered this, here’s how you get there:

  • Click on the Apple menu (leftmost menu on the menu bar)
  • The first item on this menu says About This Mac. Press and hold the option key and that item changes to System Information…
  • Select System Information…

When the report appears, scroll down on the left-hand sidebar and, under Software, select Installations. The scrolling list that appears on the right shows every piece of software you’ve installed on your Mac. You can click on a column header to sort your list by name, version number, source, or install date.

Of particular interest is the source column. Anything showing a source of Apple is likely safe, but are there items on the list that you don’t recognize marked as 3rd Party? Might be worth looking into those.

[Via MakeTechEasier.com]

Before you get too excited, this fine print is from the new NFL Game Pass web site:

NFL Game Pass includes live access to most preseason games. Such live preseason games do not include all nationally-broadcast preseason games and any preseason games televised in a user’s local market. Preseason games that are not available live in NFL Game Pass will be made available on-demand in the NFL Game Pass archives shortly after the conclusion of the original telecast. NFL Game Pass does not include live regular season, playoff, and Super Bowl game broadcasts. Access to these games is available within NFL Game Pass on an on-demand basis in the NFL Game Pass archives after such games have aired on broadcast television. Sunday morning and afternoon games (9:30am ET, 1pm ET & 4pm ET) are available at the conclusion of all Sunday 4pm ET games, and Sunday night, Monday night, Thursday and Saturday NFL games are available following the conclusion of the applicable game telecast. NFL Game Pass is unavailable during the telecast of the Super Bowl. Some 2009 regular season games are not available. NFL Game Pass is only available to users within the United States, Bermuda, Antigua, the Bahamas, any U.S. territories, possessions and commonwealths (including American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands), and Mexico.**Some live Preseason games may not be available live on phones, but will always be available in the archives.

The key here is the phrase: “Sunday morning and afternoon games (9:30am ET, 1pm ET & 4pm ET) are available at the conclusion of all Sunday 4pm ET games, and Sunday night, Monday night, Thursday and Saturday NFL games are available following the conclusion of the applicable game telecast.”

No live games.

July 20, 2015

Roger Waters The Wall movie trailer

I’m definitely going to see this movie.

Kiss your afternoon goodbye. Enjoy.

Pixelmator for iOS just keeps getting better. In the latest release, the guys added Dynamic Touch, which lets users adjust the brush size of all Retouch tools by painting with their tip or a larger area of their finger; the Pixelmator for Mac repairing algorithm has been added to iOS; and they published the Pixelmator for iOS User Guide and video tutorials.

This is one of my favorite apps and companies. Just go buy their software.

The Dalrymple Report with Merlin Mann: 17 Surprising Reasons Your Hair May Be on Fire

Merlin and Jim talk about the future, whether we’re happy with the direction Apple is going, non-technical things that give us joy, David Gilmore, and underrated guitarists.

Subscribe to this podcast

Apple:

Listen to streaming audio from the conference call.

Live streaming audio requires iPhone®, iPad®, or iPod touch® running iOS 4.2 or above, a Mac® running OS X 10.6.8 or above or a PC running Windows 7 and QuickTime 7 or later. Safari or Internet Explorer also required.

This is the quarterly call where Apple talks about just how many metric buttloads of money they have made in the past three months, the ridiculous number of iPhones and Macs they’ve sold but not a word on how many Apple Watches they have put on wrists around the world.

While the conference call is restricted to analysts (some of whom will ask really stupid questions), you can be a fly on the wall and listen in to the audio, starting at 5 p.m. ET (2 p.m. PT).

It has tremendous potential and lots of room for growth if only someone were to give it some love. Is that someone you?

I like this app. I think someone could do a lot with it.

Igloo allows you to share files, coordinate calendars, provide updates and manage projects easily.

  • Why use the latest, sleekest devices if you are going to use them to stare at an intranet website that looks like it was built in the 90’s?

  • Igloos are CSS and HTML5 friendly, which means they can be customized to look amazing.

  • They are also responsive right off the bat, which means that everything you can do at your desk, you can now do on the go, on your phone.

  • And just like your favorite Apple devices, Igloo helps you do your best work.

  • Share files, coordinate calendars, provide status updates and manage projects. Igloo’s not just for your traditional intranet stuff like HR policies and expense forms. It also lets you work better together with your teams.

  • For example, with Igloo’s latest release, Wolf, you can preview Photoshop, InDesign, HTML or CSS files straight from the platform, making it easier for co-workers to give feedback on creative assets.

  • Head over to igloosoftware.com to sign up for a free trial today and invite up to 10 of your favorite coworkers to try it too.

One of the best ways to measure how a product is being received by its owners is customer satisfaction. This statistic alone is highlighted by Apple continually as the barometer in which they measure a product’s success. Many pundits will look to Apple Watch sales as the metric for its success. But the real question is, do people love it? The answer is yes.

I agree that pundits will look for sales numbers and I also agree that satisfaction is an important question in determining success.

Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum:

For the Smithsonian’s first-ever Kickstarter campaign, we are proud to announce plans to conserve, digitize, and display Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 spacesuit in time for this milestone anniversary. We want to preserve Armstrong’s spacesuit – and the story it tells of its incredible journey – down to the particles of lunar dust that cling to its surface. Just like the Apollo program, we will accomplish this in collaboration of thousands of people across the country and around the world. And that’s where you come in.

I’m a vocal critic of Kickstarter in general but this is for a great cause and a relative pittance. Some smart company or billionaire should just step up and cover the costs of the suit’s restoration and dispaly.

This might seem like a simple experiment, but I agree with the Neurology poster: This is a glimpse into the future.

Some pretty good reasons there.

Gary Stockton dug up an old WWDC clip (embedded below) that shows Steve Jobs replying to a snarky question from the audience (remember when Steve used to take questions from the audience?) about OpenDoc and Java. Steve’s reply is worth watching.