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Apple’s October Event: What is coming?

Apple’s October Event: What is coming?

All signs are that Apple will be announcing new iPad Pro models with M2 chip and some new Mac models also powered by the M2 chip.

Of particular interest is the possibility the a new line of MacBook Pro models with the M2 chip. There is also a rumored Mac Mini with the new M2 chip.

Although Apple TV is due for an update, it is unclear whether this will be included in Apple’s October event.

Also due for an update are the iPadOS and MacOS (Ventura). The release dates of these operating systems be be announced at the October event.

Beware of iOS 8.4

Beware of iOS 8.4

One of the biggest reasons I never apply an OS update from Apple as soon as it is released is because I don’t want to lose functionality.

Sometimes an Apple update just breaks things. This has happened often enough to make me wait until it’s discovered and fixed. But increasingly, Apple has secretly eliminated features or functionality in order gain a financial benefit. It appears this has happened again with the iOS 8.4 release. Home Sharing has been quietly cut from iOS 8.4. If you update, you will no longer have the ability to stream audio from iTunes from your Mac OS X computer to iPhones, iPads, and iPods for free.

Rumors are that such an uproar from the Apple community has convinced Apple to return the feature, but not until iOS 9. So if you don’t want to lose this capability, stay away from iOS 8.4.

Animation on the iPad with iStopMotion

Animation on the iPad with iStopMotion

I remember fondly my first animation class when I was eight years old. There was the excitement of creating a story with inanimate objects and bringing them to life with a Super-8mm camera. I also remember how agonizing it was to wait for the film to be developed so I could view the fruits of my labor. If only I had an iPad and iStopMotion back then…

focusiStopMotion ($9.99) is a well-design app for the iPad 2 and third-generation iPad. The interface is simple and intuitive, allowing young and old animators alike to get to the task at hand. You can use either the front or rear camera to create your masterpiece. And, with the free iStopMotion Remote Camera app, you can remotely control an iPhone camera to shoot your video.

recordThe process is brilliantly simple. Position your iPad and choose which camera to use. Then, set the frame-rate (1-30fps), focus, exposure, and white balance. Then, begin animating by moving your objects and tapping on the screen to expose one frame at a time. As you create frames, they appear below in a timeline. Any time you want to play back what you created, simply hit the play button. The app smartly gives you an “onion skin” view, a ghosted image of your previous frame, which allows you to gauge the amount of movement from one frame to the next.

iStopMotion also allows you to capture time-lapse. You simply set the frequency of exposures in seconds and start it.

saveOnce you’ve created your animation, iStopMotion also allows you to record sound and/or add music. Then, you can save your work to Camera Roll, email, YouTube, or DropBox.

Once you realize how easy it is to animate with iStopMotion, you’ll never look at the inanimate objects in your life the same way!

iStopMotion for iPad by Boinx ($9.99)

Creating iPad Screencasts

Creating iPad Screencasts

Since the release of the first iPad in April, 2010, I have been looking for a way to create screencasts on it. Screencasts can be very helpful in creating quick video tutorials. For some reason, Apple decided to not allow this capability directly on the iPad. (It turns out that there was a way to do it, but it required jailbreaking the iPad.)

But now there is a way to do it by displaying your iPad screen onto your Mac and using screencasting software on the Mac for capture.

Since Snow Leopard (10.6), QuickTime has had the ability to create screencasts. My favorite tool for creating screencasts on the Mac is ScreenFlow ($99), but there are several software packages out there, both free and paid, that allow you to create screencasts on the Mac.

The secret to this approach is a piece of software that runs on your Mac and allows your iPad to wirelessly display on your Mac’s screen. This software is called AirServer ($15). AirServer has both a Mac and PC version, so it opens up screencasting the iPad on both platforms. Some details about the Mac version are:

  • It runs on OS X Tiger or greater
  • It works for screencasting iPad 2, iPad Retina, iPad Mini, iPod Touch 5, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5

The setup is relatively simple.

AirServer Setup

AirServer is application that runs on your Mac and acts as an AirPlay receiver. It allows you to receive AirPlay feeds, similar to an Apple TV, to stream content or mirror the display from your iOS device. It delivers full 1080p HD! Perhaps a lightbulb just went off above your head as you start to see that there are a number of other interesting possibilities available with being able to stream content at this resolution to your Mac (where, by the way, it may be recorded). But for now, I’ll focus on creating screencasts from an iPad.

AirServer Preferences

In the General tab of AirServer Preferences you can set the Computer Name and establish a password. This allows you to identify your Mac on the wireless network from your iPad, and create a password so not just anyone seeing your computer on the network can mirror to it. Here you can also adjust settings for rebroadcasting and launching AirServer on startup.

Optimize AirServer for each deviceIn the Mirroring tab, you can tell AirServer to optimize for which ever device you are mirroring to the Mac. In this case, I’ve optimized for the iPad. But you can see the other device optimizations available in the drop down.

iPad Setup

Next, we get on the iPad and find the Mac on the wireless network.

Basically, you double-click the Home button on the iPad to bring up a list of active apps along the bottom of the screen. Swipe this list to go to the far left. There you will see the AirPlay icon. Click on that icon and search for your Mac’s name in the list. Click on it and toggle mirroring on.

But just in case that isn’t clear, I’ve created a screencast from my iPad to demonstrate these steps:


That’s all there is to it. Now you can create informative screencasts from your iPad and share them with the world!

Judge Decides Samsung Galaxy “Not Cool”

Judge Decides Samsung Galaxy “Not Cool”

Galaxy Not As CoolSamsung won the Apple patent suit in court. But it may wish it hadn’t.

A judge ruled that Samsung was the victor in a patent infringement lawsuit brought by Apple. Apple filed the suit claiming that Samsung had copied it’s iPad and iPhone designs in their Galaxy tablet. But the judge in this case determined that Samsung Galaxy tablets “do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design,” and therefore the “overall impression produced is different.” Samsung’s products are simply “not as cool” as Apple’s.


Sharing Content Wirelessly From an iPad

Sharing Content Wirelessly From an iPad

I’m using my iPad2 more and more for business.

I haven’t found the additional features of the new iPad compelling enough to buy one. Since Apple dropped the price of the iPad2, I find these to be even more attractive for most folks. The new iPad’s faster chip and higher resolution display may be more targeted towards gamers. But I don’t often use my iPad for games.

I do find that I’m using the iPad to do more presentations in meetings. Often in these meetings, several people have iPads and want to present referenced content to an HDTV in a conference room. In these cases, passing around an HDMI cable is awkward and time consuming. Now, there’s a better way.

Apple TV and AirPlay

Apple TV ($99) and AirPlay allow you to wirelessly mirror your iPad’s screen to an HDTV or any HDMI-capable display (like a portable HDMI projector). The setup is easy and relatively quick.

Setup Apple TV for AirPlay

AirPlay under Settings

The first thing to do is to set up the Apple TV for AirPlay, Apple’s wireless streaming technology. To do this, connect your AppleTV to an HDTV (or HDMI projector) via the HDMI cable. Once in the Apple TV menu system, navigate to the Settings menu.

AirPlay Setup

Then navigate down to the AirPlay selection. There you can toggle on or off the AirPlay service, and you can set a password for connecting a device to your Apple TV. (Setting a password is highly recommended.)

Join Wireless Network on Apple TV

Join the network

The iPad and the Apple TV must be on the same wireless network. To do this, select Settings, then General, then Network, then select Configure Wi-Fi. This screen will display the available wireless networks. Click to join the desired network.

Join Wireless Network on iPad

The last step is to join the same wireless network on the iPad, and then to turn on AirPlay with mirroring.

Join Wi-Fi on iPad

On the iPad, go to Settings, then Wi-Fi and choose the same wireless network you joined on the Apple TV.

Once the network is joined, you need to turn on AirPlay. To do this, double-click the Home button on the iPad. This will bring up a list of recently used apps along the bottom of the screen. Scroll to the far left of this list. There you will see the AirPlay icon.

Select mirroring

Click on the AirPlay icon to reveal the Apple Tv on your network. Under the Apple TV will be the option to toggle on the mirroring setting. Once this is toggled on, your HDTV (or HDMI projector) will begin displaying your iPad screen.

The iPad in Business

So, now you can imagine a meeting in an HDTV-equipped conference room with participants on iPads, all joined on the same wireless network. As each person presents, they toggle on the mirroring option on their iPad. When done, they toggle off, and the next presenter toggles on.

I’m excited about this method of presenting with the iPad. The weight of an iPad and Apple TV is still less than a laptop. The convenience of presenting wirelessly is huge.

NOTE: It appears that Apple’s next OS (Mountain Lion) will allow this same type of mirroring via AirPlay from your laptop.