eXtensions - Wednesday 23 August 2017
eXtensions - The Wednesday File (19): Foundations for Digital Expansion
By Graham K. Rogers
This is why I always avoid making any such comments on what will or will not be coming from Apple - and certainly don't make predictions - as I have seen all this before. The magician wants you to look the other way. Instead I note that the number of beta releases has begun to increase: this week there were updates to developer versions of macOS, iOS, tvOS and WatchOS, only a few days after the last one. Closer and closer. In one of the releases it was revealed that Apple had dealt with a bug that had made it possible to crack an iPhone 7 passcode using a dedicated $500 hardware guessing box. Christian Zibreg (iDownload Blog) explains about the bug and the fix.
Although I make some other comments below, the expansion of the HomeKit and HealthKit is exciting and there is beginning to be more awareness of potential. With the next version of iOS, users of some of the more recent iPhones including the iPhone SE) will be able to experience ARKit output. Several demonstrations have been shown online after Apple released the software components for this. There is phenomenal potential here, not only for game overlays but for mapping and remote displays for instruction purposes. As has happened with iPhone technology before, even Apple is surprised by some of the solutions developers come up with.
The login with the Apple Watch is not quite walking into a room and having the screen become active - I still have to press a button - but there was no need to type in a password for the MacBook, although the TouchID access on the MacBook Pro does make the Watch feature a little redundant. TouchID by the way is not something that I think of much, until it is not available - the MacBook and my Mac mini - then the need to type in the characters makes one remember how easy life can be.
When the Touch Bar appeared so many commented on its uselessness, although it was clear from what they had written that they hadn't actually used the feature, or only tried it for a few minutes in an Apple Store. As apps introduced support for this, it became more and more useful and I find myself - not consciously - hovering over it from time to time.
There are several functions that I use on a day to day basis, and there are some apps for which I use certain features, for example browsing images in Photos when I have a lot to sift through. Now it is reported that the latest version of Parallels Desktop 13 has this and it brings native TouchBar support to Windows: at least when it is run on a Mac (Greg Barbosa, 9to5 Mac).
The emphasis on typing in the password was reinforced this week when I accessed the Mac mini for the first time in a while and found that the batteries in the wireless keyboard were flat. I remembered they were running down and also remembered that I had said to myself, I will fix that when I come back. I didn't, so before I could get into the Mac mini I had to run down to the nearest 7/11 and buy a pack of AA batteries. That was not wasted either as once I was in, the Magic Trackpad warned that it too wanted new batteries.
I suggested a demonstration facility and workshop. I was told to put this in a proposal as there are already plans for a new construction using roof space and it would be good for the department to stake its claim to some of the area as soon as possible. The proposal was submitted Tuesday, but to my dismay, when showing off the Home App, for the first time the devices showed, No Response. I wondered if there had been a power cut, but when I tried later in a different location, the system was working again.
I use the Apple Watch for a number of health reasons as well as now unlocking the Macs and I remembered that a few months ago Aetna Insurance had bought several thousands for its staff, but is now reported to be trying to come to some sort of arrangement with Apple to make these available (free or discounted) to its customers too. If an insurance company sees the benefits of such a device which can help with monitoring, others might want to take another look as well.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. After 3 years writing a column in the Life supplement, he is now no longer associated with the Bangkok Post. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)
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