We’re sure you’ve seen the Apple campaign for the third-generation iPad Air – you know, the one that tells you your next computer might not be a computer.Continue reading
PC vs. Mac: Burned at the Stake?
Religion and politics have not been the only subjects to generate intense discussions, if not outright arguments. The choice between a PC and Mac has generated the same feelings, but in actual experience, we’ve seen more détente – or ecumenicism. Many of us have PC computers and Apple mobile devices. Heck, many people even use Macs to run Windows programs. Are they about to be burned at the stake in a high-tech holy war?
The short answer is: Probably.
Way, way back at the dawn of the personal computing age, Apple and DOS (disk operating system) were the technologies that drove desktop computing. Within a few years, Apple established itself as both an operating system and a line of products. Microsoft used DOS to establish a line of software products (that evolved into Office and other business applications) that could be used with computers made by various manufacturers.
Both computing systems developed personae. Macs were graphically oriented and cool. PCs were no-nonsense and businesslike. Apple held tight control over its software and hardware. Microsoft and the rest of the PC world that developed were more open source, allowing in more hardware manufacturers and software developers and letting users customize systems to meet their needs and wants. Cool artists used Macs, and the wheels of commerce were driven by PCs.
Only problem was, businesspeople wanted to be cool. The industry gave them that ability. For many years, Macs had Intel processors that enabled their users to run Windows-based programs. It not only enabled people to have either a PC or Mac for doing work, it also enabled PC users to have cool iPhones and iPads that they could sync together.
This, of course, was a boon to developers. Apps like Parallel sprung up, and everyone could go merrily along the path of their choice.
But all this may be about to change. Apple is planning to drop the Intel chips and make its own for its products. We can speculate about all the business reasons Apple has to take this route. Besides being able to control its costs better (though that could be arguable), it would be more cost-effective to have the same chip for Macs, iPhones and iPads. It would make it much more efficient in so many ways to share apps and technology across all those devices and provide better security and customer service.
It could force its cool business customers to choose between being cool or getting down to business in a Windows environment. You may not be able to run those great PC programs with Parallel or a similar app. It may force business app developers to revise their code to fit the Apple system – and you can guess who’s going to pay for that. Once upon a time, Apple had its own word processor and spreadsheet programs, and it could decide to have them again.
We don’t know how things will shake out in this “holy war” between these two monolithic systems or if the shakeout (or shakedown) will happen. If you are one of those people who are attached to the Mac computer and Windows-based apps, you should talk to us. We can assess your needs and help you decide on a technology path that minimizes your risk of being burned on somebody’s technology stake. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us for an appointment.
New Shortages Popping Up
Late last year and early this year, we warned of Intel chip shortages, which made it difficult to get new computers for those who needed them to run Windows 10. Now, we have other shortages, compounded by some Apple decisions. So, who’s coming up short? It could be Apple.
Getting Apple stuff for our clients is becoming more challenging for the more expensive, high-end devices. The wait can be up to two weeks for things we used to get right away, and some of that is because of varying store hours.
One of our clients is waiting for a Mac with an SSD hard drive and a 27-inch monitor. It’s a combination that’s out of the ordinary, but it was never a problem to walk out of the store with that system. Now, we’re hoping the wait is only two weeks.
Looking ahead, Apple is expected to start making its own chips later this year for the 2021 Macs. It’s a logical move for the company, which is looking for more end-to-end control of its systems. Whether they’ll be able to produce enough chips because of COVID-19 concerns is one thing. Another thing is that when it drops the Intel chips (which could free up chip production for Windows-based computers), we think it may become harder to run Windows software on a Mac.
This has the effect of drawing a new line in the “cybersand” when it comes to compatibility, and that could be a problem in the business world. A lot of business applications are written for Windows, but the Apple platform has been able to accommodate them. For Mac fans, it’s the best of both worlds. But unless the app developers and Apple can up with apps for the platform, there’s another issue to add to our woes.
For those of you sticking with Windows systems, you can expect Intel’s supply problems to persist through the rest of this year. That is forcing some manufacturers to switch to AMD chips to meet the demand for their products. We’re still a fan of Intel chips, but if you need a new computer, we can certainly take a look at the AMD-equipped machines and see which one can work for you.
On the phone front, Apple is beating the drums for the iPhone 12, and it’s scheduled for release in the fall. Football is also scheduled for this fall, but we live in unusual times. Since all we can deal with at this time are rumors and speculations, this is expected to be the first year that Apple introduces 5G support in the iPhone. This will allow the new phones to connect to much faster networks. While all the phones will have 5G connectivity, we don’t know if all models will have super-fast mmWave support in all countries. Of course, if you can’t travel, you can hold on to your current phone or, if you must upgrade a phone within your family or business, you can go with any of the less expensive iPhones, which are more than serviceable, and upgrade later.
While we don’t have a crystal ball, we can discuss your current and future computer and phone needs and help you find the best solution for your needs. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us to talk about it.
Apple TV+ – Delicious or Wormy?
Apple has announced it will launch its own TV streaming service this fall, Apple TV+. Apple will join Netflix, Amazon and others in providing content. We don’t what it will cost, and we don’t know if the experience will be delicious or full of worms. But we can count on Apple disrupting the market and changing the game. It’s how they play it.
Let’s start with the promises. Apple claims its new stream will be “the new home for the world’s most creative storytellers featuring exclusive original shows, movies and documentaries.” If you want a hint about if they’ll be able to keep that promise, they will debut with a sneak peek through a new Apple TV app that works across iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac, smart TVs and streaming devices. You’ll be able to subscribe to Apple’s TV channels a la carte and watch them through the app.
You may want to look at Apple’s move as another reason to cut the cable cord, but we don’t see it that way. Even though increasing numbers of people are streaming programs through their TVs, in addition to computers and devices, cable companies are accommodating customers who want programming from “non-TV” providers. You can get Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Apple – in addition to premium content providers such as HBO and Showtime – through your cable system. And why not? As gatekeepers, they’re happy to pick off a few dollars in subscriber fees from any and all content providers.
And it’s as a gatekeeper and content provider that Apple may be trying to maximize its hold on content viewing. Apple has a big market share of smartphones and an even bigger share of tablets – all in addition to a large base of Mac computers. But it’s way behind Roku and Amazon for connected TVs with only 15 percent of the market. Further, more than half of the nation’s TV streamers use Roku or Fire TV, and some 30 percent use smart TVs. Apple gets only 15 percent of the streamers. Clearly, Apple will need to partner with those who deliver content just as much as it will need to provide strong content to make this venture work.
We don’t know what Apple TV+ will cost, but various sources figure it will fall somewhere in the range of $10 to $15 per month. Apple could undercut the market with attractive intro deals. They have the resources to do it if they wish. With a push based on low prices and innovative programming, Apple could disrupt the industries that create and deliver content, especially in the short term. But history tells us that other industry giants will react to meet their own needs – and that some upstart will find a way to step on the giants’ toes.
Whatever happens, here are some things to keep in mind:
- High-definition streaming requires a fast internet connection and a powerful Wi-Fi network. If you have multiple high-def TVs and a slew of devices, you’ll need lots of speed and capacity.
- Many consumers get their internet from cable providers, and there are some things you need to balance when figuring out how much content to get from cable or the internet. Cable companies are willing to give you good internet speed if you’re a cable TV customer. If you are an internet-only customer, you may pay more for your connection, and you may face caps on how much data you can download. For the cable companies, it’s all about profitability.
- How and where do you want to watch your content? Cable is good for big TVs for large groups, but you can take your devices anywhere. Consider the price of what you watch on. You can get a really good, fairly big TV for $500 or less, and you can pay twice that much for a mobile device.
We can help you make smart decisions about how and where you’ll watch programming by looking at the technology currently in your home and recommending what you’ll need to have a system that works for your preferences. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us for answers to your questions or to set up an appointment to discuss your needs.
Eye on 2015
Every year holds promises for new technology. Here’s what we see coming in 2015.
For Apple fans, we expect to see the Apple Watch and the iPad Pro. With the iPad model, we’re likely to go from mini to maxi. Some details are starting to leak out, including a 12” to 13” screen, which would put it into the Microsoft Surface category. Speculation includes a new processor and four speakers in the new model with a release date in early spring.
Early spring is also a rumored release time for the Apple Watch. We’ll be watching.
On the Microsoft front, we just loaded a test version of Windows 10. We’ll see how it flows and what similarities it has to Windows 8 and the things we liked in Windows 7. Rumors abound on this product, too, but we hear rumblings of a Microsoft “event” for late January. The rumor mill also points to the operating system working across all platforms, including smartphones, tablets and Xbox One consoles.
We expect a continuing trend toward more use of Microsoft Office 365. We sell it to a lot of our clients and continue to recommend it. We helped a client with Exchange cut costs from $700 to $96.
We also look for improvements to Office 365 and Outlook for the Mac. It was released on Halloween (how’s that for “trick or treat?”), and we immediately downloaded it while traveling. It has the look and feel of Office and Outlook, and while there are some differences between Windows and Mac in the way I use it, the Mac version is 1000 times better than it was. We still don’t have One-Drive for the Mac, but we’re hopeful that will come out next year.
The other tech darling of the consumer world is 4K ultra high-def TV. Flat screen TVs with 720 and 1080 resolution have gotten dirt cheap to the point that you can save a lot of space and electricity costs by junking your “tube” TV.
But if 4K TV catches on in 2015 as we expect, it’s just a matter of time until you’ll want to have it. Priming that pump will be the growth of non-cable, non-satellite content delivery technology from Amazon, Apple TV, Roku and others.
New content delivery systems are just another reminder that technology can change on a dime. So if you’re contemplating a new purchase, be sure to talk to us – especially if you’re buying technology for your office and are looking for tax-saving opportunities. If you don’t need next year’s soon-to-be latest and greatest, you can find some good pricing on this year’s technology and be eligible for applicable tax write-offs for office systems. Call – 973-433-6676 – or email to set up an appointment.
Pop-Ups at XP’s 11th Hour
“Hear ye, hear ye,” the Windows town crier is saying. “It’s 11 o’clock for Windows XP, and if you haven’t upgraded or made your upgrade plans, all is NOT well.” The town crier will come in the form of pop-up messages, starting today, that can lead to either a bad solution of operating-system issues or a breach of your security. If you want to eliminate annoying pop-ups and their consequences, you need to replace your XP OS with a new one that will meet your needs and avoid the ultimate pop-up problem.
Security of your data – and likely your identity – will be your biggest problem if you remain on XP. As soon as Microsoft stops issuing security updates, hackers will swing into action. They will have had a month to crack the last security patches, and they have all the time you give them to further their exploitation of your vulnerabilities. Their clock will stop ticking when you stop using XP.
In the meantime, the ticking – in the form of pop-ups – could drive you batty and lead to a security breach before the end of XP’s support. The pop-ups from Microsoft will direct you to the company’s web pages for Windows 8, which we believe is not good for businesses. Your annoyance level is sure to increase, but the worst consequences will come after you let your guard down and click on any of the many hacker redirects that are sure to come.
We all click on pop-ups at some point without really knowing to where they are redirecting us. In essence, these links are no different than bank and credit-card scam links that try to get you to enter sensitive information. Once a scammer has you unknowingly at their website, they likely will be in your network – with access to all the information stored on computer drives and servers.
If you move away from Windows XP ASAP, you’ll have no more pop-ups and one fewer set of security worries.
In addition to the annoying pop-ups and security vulnerabilities with XP, you’re going to lose operating efficiency. The newer operating systems are suited for the newest programs you use for business and home. As Microsoft ends XP support, it ends support for Office 2003. But if you try to use Office 2003 with a newer operating system, you’ll find it just doesn’t have the same capabilities. Any perceived savings from not investing in OS and software upgrades will be quickly eaten up by operating inefficiencies.
One more note, this one on timing. You need to allow time for ordering and taking delivery of computers with a Windows 7 OS. You cannot buy them off the shelf at your favorite retailer. Major manufacturers may have some computers in stock, but a late rush could wipe out their inventories, pushing delivery back considerably – even with expedited shipping – and leaving you exposed. You could buy new computers with Windows 8 installed, but businesses will not be happy. The OS’s totally different look and feel will bog down operations.
So, if you haven’t done anything yet, we advise to contact us right away (phone: 973-433-6676 email: [email protected]) to set up a plan and a schedule to move from XP. Here are some options, in order of preference:
Replace Your Computers with Windows 7 Machines
We can get them, and we can get them in quantities from 1 to 10. We can best help you by not only determining how many computers you need but what you will need each one to do. Some users in an office will require more computing capability, meaning faster, more expensive machines. We can help you get a computer that matches each user’s needs and avoid overpaying.
Replace Your Software – or Phase in What You Can’t’ Do Now
While it would be preferable to get all new software to take advantage of more speed and capability, you may need to phase in transitions. We can analyze your new computers and the capabilities of your current software to determine which programs should be upgraded first. This will give you the opportunity to perform your most critical tasks with the most up-to-date systems and minimize the consequences of having to take fast action in less-than-ideal conditions.
Business and home users can lower their out-of-pocket expenses or manage cash flow better by subscribing to Office 365. Microsoft offers a number of plans, but basically, you get a subscription that includes a number of licenses that cover computers and devices. We discussed this in detail last month, and we’ll be happy to review your options with you.
Switch to Mac
We would only recommend this for home users and some SOHO businesses with one or two users. While we love Macs – and fully support them, there are a couple of major issues. First, most of the robust programs for business applications are written for Windows-based computers. In many cases, Windows versions are better when you have programs that run on both platforms. Second, you will need to train everyone in your office on the Mac, and that could present the same issues as switching to Windows 8.
Ideally, you should replace all of your XP computers and business software at the same time, but in the real world, we know it’s not possible for everyone. However you choose to approach the end of XP, contact us right away to help you (phone: 973-433-6676 email: [email protected]). The clock is ticking, but it’s more like a time bomb that is going to go “boom” very soon.
This article was published in Technology Update, the monthly newsletter from Sterling Rose LLC.
Today at the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference numerous great announcements were made
The next release of OS X will be called Mavericks
What are some of the new features?
Now in Finder there are Tabs
You can create categories for your Files to easy find and group
Multiple Display Support and you can use Apple TV as a Display
You also have a Longer Battery Life with AppNap. Talking about Battery Life now on the 11” Air we go from 5 hours to 9 hours and on the 13” we go from 7 hours to 12. This means longer computing without plugs.
Now there is iCloud Keychain which can store passwords / credit cards and all your information and can sync to your MAC / iPhone / iPad
Now you can also receive Push Notifications for Apps
Send Maps to your iPhone for directions
iBooks will now be available on your MAC
Now there will be a new Airport Extreme / Time Capsule which will feature 802.11ac
A New Desktop will be coming called MAC Pro and it looks amazing
Now you will be be able to use iWork in the Cloud right from the web from any interface
Lucky 7 the next version will be IOS 7
What is one of the differences between iPhone and Android? Version Fragmentation that means there are numerous versions of Android and some you can’t even use on your older device.
IOS 7 now will have multiple pages so you are no longer limited to just put a few apps in a folder.
Notification Center will now be available without having to unlock your device
Control Center gives you quick access to Bluetooth / Wi-Fi / Airplane Mode as well as a Flashlight
The Photos App now groups pictures to Moments so no more clutter
AppStore now you can look for Apps based on location or for the parents out there by Age Group.
Now remember the numbers you see on those apps that need updating. No More they will update automatically.
Notification Sync – Don’t you hate when you have a reminder on your iPhone and you dismiss it and then you go to your iPad and you have to dismiss the same thing again. Well NO More.
Now if you lose your iPhone and it gets wiped they cannot use it as it will have an Activation Lock where only you can access using your iCloud username / password.