Apple HomePod Compared to Sonos One

Many people buy smart speakers because of their smarts: Apple’s HomePod provides access to Siri, Amazon’s Echo and some devices from other manufacturers let you talk to Alexa and Google Home lets you query Ok Google. If you want a speaker to listen to music but are wedded to one of these “smart” ecosystems, then your choices are limited.

But if what matters to you is sound quality and you want a standalone speaker that you can stream music to, then you have a lot of options. I reviewed Apple’s HomePod here, and, while the sound is good, it’s not as good as it could be. I now have two HomePods which I use in my bedroom as a stereo pair, and I wanted a speaker for the kitchen to listen to music while I cook. But I didn’t want a Bluetooth speaker because their sound quality is limited; since I use Apple Music and iTunes, having AirPlay access was essential for me. Rather than spend the $350 for another HomePod, I decided to buy a Sonos One. At $200 (and I got it at the $25 discount Black Friday price), it’s more accessible; you can get two to make a stereo pair for just a bit more than a single HomePod.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

Intego Mac Podcast, Episode 59: Is Apple Changing from a Hardware Company to a Service Company?

This week’s news include info about an Instagram data breach, an Amazon data breach, a new class-action lawsuit against Apple, and an expensive way to get access to your iPhone if you get locked out. Then we discuss whether Apple is morphing from a hardware company to a service company.

Check out the latest episode of The Intego Mac Podcast, which I co-host with Josh Long. We talk about Macs and iOS devices, and how to keep them secure.

Learn How to Use Apple Photos with Take Control of Photos

TCo Photos 1 0 Cover for EPUBGet to know Apple’s Photos app and how best to use it to import, manage, edit, and share your photos in Mojave and iOS 12. As the successor to Apple’s iPhoto and Aperture apps, Photos has a more refined interface and deeper connections to iCloud, and it runs faster. Following the expert advice of Jason Snell, publisher of Six Colors and former lead editor at Macworld, you’ll learn how to navigate Photos like a pro with Take Control of Photos.

In this book, you’ll learn how to:

  • Migrate your library from iPhoto or Aperture (Apple’s discontinued professional photography app) into Photos
  • Import photos from devices or memory cards
  • Use multiple Photos libraries
  • Navigate the Photos interface, including the sidebar and icons
  • View, edit, or disable Live Photos
  • Organize your library by using enhanced search features, adding metadata, building albums, and creating smart albums
  • Edit your photos using quick fixes like cropping, applying filters, and fixing red-eye and rotation problems
  • Use advanced editing techniques within Photos and edit using external apps like Photoshop
  • Manage your photo collection using the Memories and People features, and get summary views
  • Sync and share your photos with iCloud
  • View your photos on an Apple TV
  • Share your photos via social media, export them out of Photos, or turn them into slideshows
  • Create printed objects (such as books and calendars) from your photos using third-party services
  • Jason also highlights changes in Photos under iOS 12, including searching for multiple items at once, a For You tab, and an updated Import tab; plus changes in Mojave, including new keyboard shortcuts and the removal of built-in features for making calendars, books, and other printed materials (and alternative means of obtaining them).

Take Control of Photos, which is about the new versions of Photos that Apple released in September 2018, covers Photos for macOS version 4.0 in Mojave, as well as Photos in iOS 12 and tvOS 12.

Get Take Control of Photos.

Apple Doesn’t Care About Apps that Violate the Company’s Rules [Updated]

I own a Netatmo weather station, which I use to monitor the temperature in my garden, and in my office. This weather station uses an iOS app, which can send me notifications, such as when the temperature goes above or below certain thresholds that I set.

On black Friday, I received this notification:

Netatmo

This sort of notification is against Apple’s App Store guidelines; in section 4.5.4, about push notifications, these guidelines say:

4.5.4 Push Notifications must not be required for the app to function, and should not be used for advertising, promotions, or direct marketing purposes or to send sensitive personal or confidential information. Abuse of these services may result in revocation of your privileges.

So I contacted Apple’s iTunes Store support. Here’s what they replied:

Hi Kirk,

Thanks for contacting us. I can certainly understand your concern regarding this issue.

In this case, I would recommend you to contact the app developer as they are the creators if [sic] the app.

I would also like to inform you that, iTunes Store is just a store front where we sell the contents provided by the content provider.

It seems like Apple doesn’t care what an app does; you can probably report any type of violation and they won’t do anything about it. This is quite surprising, given their stringent guidelines for apps. But, hey, too much work, I guess.

Update: I replied to that reply, saying:

So you’re saying that an app that violates your App Store Guidelines won’t have any problem because you don’t care about it?

And I received a reply back:

Thank you for providing this information about an app that may be violating the review guidelines. We take these cases very seriously as we care about our customers and App Store. We have escalated the information you have provided to our App Review team. They will investigate the app using the information you have provided and follow up directly with the developer if the app is in violation to fix the issue. Please understand that we cannot provide you any updates on the investigation as we can only communicate with the developer of the app.

We thank you for the information and if you can provide anymore information to help with the investigation it will be appreciated greatly.

So it seems the first-level support doesn’t care, and that you need to be more forceful to get some action. This said, there is no easy way to report this sort of thing; you have to go to the app’s page and report a problem; and, of course, you can only do this on iOS since there is no longer an App Store in iTunes. I’ll post more info here if I hear anything back.

How Apple Is Changing from a Hardware Company to a Services and Media Company

The iPhone has been Apple’s biggest product for many years now, and Apple has leveraged it to become the first trillion-dollar company. But things are starting to change. In Apple’s recent earnings call, the company said that it would no longer break out unit sales of the iPhone or its other products. As CFO Luca Maestri said, “a unit of sale is less relevant for us today than it was in the past given the breadth of our portfolio.” This change comes as Apple’s iPhone sales have been essentially flat for the past two years – they peaked in the holiday quarter of 2016 – signaling the first time that the company is facing up to the slowing growth in the smartphone market.

Maestri isn’t wrong; as Apple increases the average selling price of their device, unit sales are less important, and they don’t want to highlight the fact that they’re not growing any more. But there’s a lot more to it than just the iPhone.

Read the rest of the article on the Mac Security Blog.

Learn How to Manage Your Apple ID

Tc appleidI get a huge number of emails from people who are having problems with their Apple IDs, about managing the Apple ID and their devices, about using two-factor authentication, and about using the Apple ID with the iTunes Store and App Store. I’m very happy that Glenn Fleishman has written this book covering the Apple ID from A – Z.

Your Apple ID is much more than a simple username. It’s a key that unlocks a long list of Apple products and services on any of numerous devices. iCloud uses an Apple ID; so do iTunes, Apple Music, the App Store on Mac and iOS, the Books app, and more. An Apple ID protects your personal information, including email and iOS backups; helps you find a lost iPhone; and can even unlock your Mac. So it goes without saying that if something goes wrong with your Apple ID, you could be in for a world of hurt.

Unfortunately, things go wrong with Apple IDs all the time. Fortunately, Glenn Fleishman, a veteran technology journalist and the author of Macworld’s “Mac 911” column, is ready to help with expert advice on how to manage your Apple ID—including how to prevent, solve, or work around most common problems, in his new book, Take Control of Your Apple ID.

In this book, Glenn answers questions like:

  • What all is my Apple ID used for?
  • How does my iCloud account relate to my Apple ID?
  • What problems can two-factor authentication (2FA) solve, and how do I use it?
  • Are there other mechanisms I can use to ensure that I can recover an Apple ID in the event of a problem? (Spoiler: yes!)
  • What if I have a device that’s too old to work with two-factor authentication?
  • What should I do if I have two or more Apple IDs or iCloud accounts?
  • Will I lose access to all my Apple media purchases if I move to another country?
  • Can I share an Apple ID with someone else?
  • What exactly should I do if I think someone is hacking my Apple ID account?
  • How can I recover a forgotten Apple ID password?
  • What steps should I take if Apple locks me out of my account?
  • If I lose access to an email address associated with my Apple ID, what can I do?

And that’s just the beginning. Glenn has packed a remarkable amount of concise problem-solving information into this compact, 76-page book. Read it before you encounter Apple ID problems to minimize your risk, and if you’ve already encountered a problem, read it to find the best path to a rapid solution.

Get Take Control of Your Apple ID.