Apple Adds CNNGo Channel to Apple TV

Several sites, including MacRumors are reporting that CNNGo is making an appearance on the Apple TV. When I read the headlines I was ecstatic. The channel includes access to live news coverage and segments from the past 24 hours. When I cut the cable over three years ago one of the things I missed most was access to cable news channels like CNN. I’ve long said if I had an option to pay a reasonable monthly fee (a couple bucks a month) for a la carte access to CNN on the Apple TV I would.

Then I saw:

Much of the content within CNNGo requires authentication through a cable provider. Live television and full shows require authentication, but clips can be watched without a cable subscription. 

Damn.

MacBook Air PalmGuard Protector

I’ve talked a lot about the new MacBook recently and how it potentially impacts my plans to upgrade my Mid–2012 MacBook Air. I still find myself conflicted, so I’ve decided for now the best course of action is to do nothing. 

However, I am going to be buying an Apple Watch, so I do need to prepare. I currently wear a watch but I’ve found that I tend to take it off and set it next to my keyboard when I’m typing on my MacBook Air. My current watch has a metal band and I’m afraid constantly rubbing the watch against the palm rest will scratch the surface. Since I don’t want to take my Apple Watch on and off when I type so I decided to pickup Moshi PalmGuard protector for my 13" MacBook Air. 

A quick search on Amazon will yield several results, but I picked up the Moshi PalmGuard For MacBook Air. (Other sizes available here and here - double check your fit.) It wasn’t the cheapest of the group, but I’ve used Moshi products in the past, had a good experience and it had positive reviews.

Installation was easy, just peel the back and apply it like a sticker. I found the cut and fit was precise and it feels like a high quality product. You do want to take your time and apply it with care to get a good fit. The color is close but not a perfect match to the aluminum. When sitting at the computer you can clearly tell the palm guard is applied, but from a distance it becomes less noticeable. It’s I choose not to apply the guard to the trackpad since I was concerned with protecting the palm rest area. It’s classy and seems to get the job done.

MPU: 246: Workflows with Eddie Smith

This week on Mac Power Users, we talk with Eddie Smith. Eddie has unique workflow for his job as an Actuary - he creates in-depth study guides and video seminars to help students prepare for Actuary exams. Eddie walks us through his workflow which includes culling through thousands of pages of reference material using DevonThink, creating equation-rich study guides with LaTeX and brining it all together with keynote to create video tutorials.

 

Oh yeah, At the end of the show we also sidetrack into a discussion of the new MacBooks and Apple watch, for all of you who wanted to know more about my thoughts on the new laptops this is your chance. 

MPU Live: My Neighbors Think I’m Completely Insane

Last Saturday was the first Saturday of the month which means it's time for MPU Live. In this episode David and I discuss Smart Folders with guest Joel Anderson. We also follow-up on texting workflows, managing large scans and OCR quality, journaling, compare Launch Center Pro and Workflow, talk about monitoring your home network usage, help a listener assemble media for a family legacy project and discuss the Apple Watch. We also have a lively debate about the value and practicality of changing the color of your Internet connected light bulbs.

 

2012 MacBook Air Compared to the 2015 MacBook

I’m still thinking about this new MacBook. I share a couple more thoughts at the end of the Mac Power Users episode that will release next week. For now I’ve decided to do nothing until at least mid-May. I’ve got a busy April finishing up the school semester, speaking at the ABA TECHSHOW and work and family obligations. I also want to wait and see what accessories are released for the new USB-C connector. Belkin has already announced a line of USB-C cables, including a USB-C to Ethernet adapter, I suspect they’re just the first of the accessory makers to announce these types of products.

While I’m waiting for the first reviews and benchmarks of the new MacBook to aide in my decision, I came across this article from Ars Technica discussing the new Core M chip:

We’ll need to have the system in hand to examine how the laptop throttles its CPU and GPU to save power, which will be important for things like gaming, video editing, and heavy Photoshop work. For general-use tasks that don’t peg the processor, the oversimplified version is that Core M performs a lot like the Ivy Bridge Core i5 and i7 CPUs in the 2012 MacBook Airs. If you’ve got a 2013 or 2015 MacBook Air, it will be a step down. If you have a 2012 MacBook Air, it’s a step sideways at best.

Yikes.

My current machine is a 2012 13" MacBook Air, 2GHz Intel i7 with 8GB of RAM. While there are many advantages to the new MacBook, namely the Retina display and thinner and smaller form factor, it seems that from a speed and processing power it’s going to be about the same. That could be hard to justify.

244: When Bad Things Happen | Mac Power Users

This week on Mac Power Users David and I discuss what to do when the worst things happen to your tech. We’ll discuss malware, compromised passwords, stolen devices and more and what what you can do to prepare now to be ready when disaster strikes.

You can find the show on the MPU site or subscribe in iTunes or via RSS.

Thoughts on Today's Apple Event

What an event…I’m left excited, but not all that surprised by what we learned today about the Apple Watch. But what has stirred me more than anything is the introduction (or reintroduction) of the MacBook. Before I lay down to sleep, I wanted to get a few thoughts out of my head. I’m sure there will be much more to say as we learn more about these products in the coming days and weeks.

The MacBook 

Wow. The design of this computer alone is almost enough to make me buy it on the spot, almost. (Except for the gold - yuck!) I’ve known for some time now that I wanted a smaller computer. My current computer is a Mid–2012 13" MacBook Air, 2GHz Intel i7. When I bought this machine there was no 13” Retina MacBook Pro option. Based on my standard upgrade cycle I’m due to sell this machine and get something new. But I’ve been waiting. Waiting to see what Apple would do with the MacBook Air line, waiting got see whether the fabled 12" MacBook Air would materialize.

When Mark Gurman first broke the news about the Rumored 12" "MacBook Air" back in January, I hoped he got the details wrong. Today we learned he was spot on (except about the name). This first generation of the new MacBook feels a lot like the original MacBook Air, a compromised computer. I noticed Apple didn’t tout any benchmarks in today’s keynote. I suspect when the reviews come out the they will show the 1.1 GHz Intel Core M processor and Intel HD Graphics 5300 will be a bit sluggish with processor-intensive tasks. But I don’t do much heavy lifting with my computer these days, so maybe that isn’t as much of a concern. What worries me more than anything is the lack of ports.

I have to have a laptop, and I choose to use one as my primary Mac. While I’m writing this blog post right now from the comfort of my bed, most of my serious work is done at my desk, plugged into a 24" Apple Cinema Display (mini-DisplayPort) and connected to a number of USB devices and Gigabit Ethernet. That’s going to be difficult, and perhaps impossible with the new MacBook. At a minimum, to use the new MacBook the way I’m accustomed will require a number of expensive adapters. While the USB-C port provides native DisplayPort 1.2 video output, I’ve yet to find a way to connect my Apple Cinema Display to it while simultaneously having power and connecting to a USB hub. (If you know how to do this, please drop me a note with details.) 

I suspect as things progress, Apple, and likely third parties, will provide solutions to these problems. USB-C will gain in popularity and we’ll see more accessories come out. But these solutions may not come for months, or years. I really don’t want to buy another display until I can buy a retina display for my desk. If I can’t use my current workstation with minimal adjustments, it may be a deal breaker. 

At this point I’m not sure what I’ll do. While the new MacBook is tempting I’m going to take a wait and see approach. I’ll need to see how the reviews come back with benchmarks and what accessories and adapters are available and how easy it is to fit this MacBook into my existing system. While I would love to buy this MacBook it may make more sense to either buy an updated 11" MacBook Air or the 13” Retina MacBook Pro and sit out another few upgrade cycles to see how things progress.

Apple Watch 

Perhaps the most surprising thing about the Apple Watch announcement today is that there wasn’t much surprising. In many respects this was a repeat and perhaps a bit more detail of the information we heard last September. I was happy to see the “a day in the life of” demo at the event which gave us a better idea of some of the practical applications of the Apple Watch and showed off some apps that we can expect to be available at launch. We also learned  answers to a few of the lingering questions such as battery life, pricing and band availability. Though, the answers in retrospect, were predictable. 

There are still a few unanswered questions and perhaps a few missed opportunities. We didn’t hear much about the water resistance. Tim Cook told employees at a retail store in Germany last month that he wears his Apple Watch in the shower. But I don’t think we heard anything about it today other than it can be worn while exercising, while washing your hands or in the rain. As Gruber points out, the fine print on Apple’s page says the Apple Watch has a "water resistance rating of IPX7 under IEC standard 60529." IPX7 supposedly allows for 1 meter of submersion for up to 30 minutes. Not sure I’d want to test this anytime soon, I think Apple is hedging their bets by not mentioning it further. 

We also didn’t hear much about the retail experience of buying the Apple Watch. We know the Edition model will only be available at select stores, but will stores stock all the multiple combinations or will watches and bands be put together on site? What about on board storage? We know there’s a music app, and the iPhone can be paired with Bluetooth headphones, but there’s no mention of this. I was expecting to see Apple launch bluetooth headphones, perhaps in conjunction with Beats, but nothing. 

Apple TV 

I almost forgot about the Apple TV. Apple got the temporary exclusive on HBO’s new service, but that won’t last long. The price drop on the Apple TV is nice, but that doesn’t change the fact that it has fallen woefully behind the competition. I can only assume this was a stop-gap because Apple didn’t have anything better ready at this point. Hopefully dropping the current model Apple TV to $69 (note there are a few available on the Refurb store for $59) opens up a position for a higher end Apple TV starting at a price point above $100 in the near future.

Final Thoughts 

The MacBook has given me a lot to think about. I really want to buy one of these computers, but I’m afraid the time just isn’t quite right. It may be too soon. We’ll see. 

As for the Apple Watch, not much has changed. I’m still planning on buying the entry level model. Though adding on the $149 Milanese Loop is tempting, I’ll have to wait and see how things go with the standard band. AppleCare+ is available for the watch, but no pricing information as of yet. With a first generation product I’m tempted but the cost/benefit may not be there for a product that I’ll only keep a year or two.

I’m setting my alarm for 2:50 a.m. (Eastern) April 10th to get my pre-order in. I’ll see you then…