How Apple and Acronis are making Mac integration easier

How Apple and Acronis are making Mac integration easier

There have been times in history when Mac computers and PC servers were less than friendly, but with iOS devices overrunning offices and people outside the design department asking for Macs, those days are long gone. OS X offers you tools to make integration easier than ever, and there are some great third party tools available, too.

Let’s start with the basics

It’s a myth that you can’t integrate Mac computers into a Windows environment. The latest version of OS X, Yosemite, even supports SMB 3.0, so everyone’s on the same file sharing protocol and integration is even easier.

However, to deliver the best user experience, your servers still need a little help…

While huge strides have been made, SMB 3.0 is only supported by Windows Server 2012 and OS X Yosemite, and Mac users in a Windows environment can still experience issues like seeing certain files as ‘greyed out’ and inaccessible, or be denied certain permissions that their PC counterparts have. There are also Mac-only features, such as Spotlight search, that aren’t supported if you’re just using Apple’s built-in integration tools, but which contribute a considerable amount to your Mac users’ productivity and the hassle-free user experience they expect from their Apple kit.

Acronis Access Connect (formerly known as ExtremeZ-IP) is a tried and tested solution for solving these issues. By allowing Mac computers to connect to Windows servers over AFP, it re-enables instant search and indexing, and allows Mac users to integrate their files with volumes and file structures on your Windows network. It also returns support for Time Machine, Apple’s built-in backup technology, to the Mac.

Part of Access Connect’s appeal is that it installs quickly, and automatically integrates with Active Directory accounts and NTFS permissions. It then allows end users running any version of OS X to connect using AFP. This results in better performance from their core apps (which are all optimised for AFP) and gives parity of functionality between users.

It also makes life easier for IT admins – not just because they don’t have to deal with incompatibility-based help desk queries, but because Access Connect supports key features like single sign on through Kerberos,  DFS/network reshare, home directories, clustering, quotas, file name policies and advanced logging.

And don’t forget to back up…

If you need to back up your servers (hint: you do) but don’t have the money, capacity or desire to store all your backups locally (perhaps your office is a flood risk, or the office dog likes to gnaw through wires, or you’re just incredibly professional and thorough), then we can help there too.

Our Backup24 managed backup service allows you to back all your data up to our tier 2+ data centre. It’s based in the UK, so you know exactly where your data is, and we physically check that all backups have been successful every day. And if you’re feeling particularly worried about any particular day’s save, our team are only a phone call away. You can find out more here.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email business@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Using JAMF Software to tame iOS and OS X devices in the workplace

Using JAMF Software to tame iOS and OS X devices in the workplace

With the rise of OS X and iOS devices in business, finding a way to manage these devices and ensure they’re in line with company policies is more important than ever – especially if you need your Mac users to work in harmony with a PC-based workforce.  Here, we talk through some of the techniques and tools you can use to make sure all your Mac and iOS devices are managed and visible, without overburdening IT admin.

While the rise of Apple devices and BYOD/mixed platform environments can be great for productivity and end user satisfaction, it can be a cause for concern among IT admins, particularly as Apple have retired their server hardware, prompting a widespread move to managing Mac computers using Windows servers.  And as the Mac user base grows, viruses are becoming increasingly targeted at the platform, making policy compliance and disk encryption incredibly important for mobile devices and desktops alike. Happily, Apple and a range of third parties are working together to make the situation manageable.

Device Enrolment Programme (DEP)

One of Apple’s latest initiatives, the DEP is designed to make it easier for you to enrol new devices on your company’s MDM system, and reduce the chance of any user accessing the network on an unsecured device. It is not an MDM solution in and of itself, but it does make a ‘zero touch’ MDM deployment possible for all new devices, drastically reducing the time and effort involved in setting up new users.

Put broadly, your create MDM profiles for different types of device and user, then share them with Apple’s servers. Apple will assign your MDM server a unique token, and when a device connects to it for the first time, DEP will push the correct MDM profile to the device as part of the initial startup process, so your end users can’t use their new devices without enrolling them in your MDM service, and no one from IT has to be on hand to oversee registration – it’s all done automatically.

You can enrol your company in DEP at deploy.apple.com.

Preparing for MDM

Before rolling out an MDM solution for Apple devices, you’ll need to make a decision about your Apple ID policy. Many apps and services, both free and paid for, rely on your end user having an Apple ID to authenticate their identity in the App Store and other areas. For this reason, we recommend you allow users to create individual Apple IDs (however, your admin team should use a shared Apple ID to access services like DEP and VPP).

Every Apple ID requires an associated email address – the degree of freedom you wish to allow users and whom ownership of the device sits with will determine whether you allow end users to use their personal emails and existing Apple IDs, or insist they create a separate Apple ID associated with their work email address.

MDM solutions: JAMF Software’s Casper Suite

JAMF Software are one of the most experienced Mac and iOS management experts out there, and their Casper Suite management solution is even used by Apple themselves. At the core of the suite is the JAMF Software Server, which acts just like a web server. It can be hosted on any existing Windows, Linux or OS X server at your premises, hosted remotely via JAMF Cloud or provided as a managed service by our accredited team.

Key features include:

Recon, an app included in the suite which scans your existing estate for Apple devices not currently enrolled in Casper Suite. Recon can then be used to enrol multiple OS X computers remotely. It will also scan IP ranges and enrol any computer it can connect to via SSH (Remote Login).

A range of imaging options, including monolithic imaging (IT builds a standard image including apps and settings, which is then deployed locally or over the network to all computers), thin imaging (IT builds a smaller, more modular image which is installed on top of a standard OS X installation, and other restrictions and apps are deployed using profiles and policies) and zero touch imaging (enrolment through DEP).

Self Service, an app which acts like an internal App Store for your organisation. It can contain apps linked to VPP, packaged apps, eBooks, printer settings, configuration profiles and custom profiles, all of which users can install on or apply to their own device without IT intervention.

JAMF software can be run completely on windows server hardware if required.

Volume Purchasing Program and Managed Distribution

Apple’s Volume Purchasing Program (VPP) is a purchasing scheme designed to save time and money for organisations who want to buy apps and books in bulk. It allows your IT admin to purchase several licences for a particular app, then centrally assign them to end users.

Traditionally, you had to buy your licences, download a spreadsheet of redeemable codes, provide a code to each user so that they can download the app without paying again, and then transfer ownership of the app or book to that user’s Apple ID permanently. Obviously, this is quite time consuming and messy, and involves you losing ownership of the app or book.

Now, if you’re using DEP, you can use Managed Distribution to license content to your end users, meaning they can use the app or book on a temporary basis but you can revoke access at any time. All you need to do is use Casper Suite to generate an invitation email for the end users who need access, and then they’ll be guided through the installation and licensing process without the need for IT admin’s involvement.

Casper Suite as a managed service

If you don’t have the resource to handle MDM in-house, or if your IT team are all PC-based and aren’t comfortable administrating Macs or iOS devices, we can provide Casper Suite as a managed service. You tell us what needs doing; our JAMF-certified team can set up and maintain your deployment. We can even help you optimise your infrastructure for Casper Suite, so you’re getting the best possible performance out of your software.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email business@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Thanks for swinging by our 4K shootout

Thanks for swinging by our 4K shootout

We’ve released the models, sent our demo units back on the road and written John Harrison a long and embarrassing fan letter, but there is one thing left to do: thank you, the people, for bearing witness to our epic 4K Shootout last week. 

As well as cameras from JVC, Sony, Canon, Panasonic, AJA and Blackmagic, we managed to round up some of the best peripherals available (Zeiss, Samyang and Tokina glass, Atomos DTEs, Dedolite and Kinoflo lights, Libec tripods, IDX charge kits, Shape rigs, Konova sliders and – last but not least – HPRC cases) so that visitors could try out the cameras fully rigged, and in a fully lit environment.

ant_contemplates

Broadcast Consultant Anthony contemplates the universe

Award-winning cinematographer John Harrison was there to deliver two oversubscribed seminars on lighting for 4K. Sorry to everyone we had to turn away from the first session, but even our warren-like office can only hold so many people. Those who were lucky enough to make it in were treated to a lighting masterclass on how to make the best use of your Dedolight and Kinoflow kit when you’re shooting at high res, complete with some fascinating questions from a really engaged crowd. For those who like to keep track of these things, John was shooting on a Sony F55.

4K_lighting

John Harrison summons light from our boardroom floor, a feat only true DoPs can perform.

Downstairs in Wonderland, we had the shootout proper, with a Sony FS7, AJA Cion, Blackmagic Design URSA (hint, we have £1000 off these at the moment), Sony A7-S, Panasonic GH4 and JVC LS-300 all available for shooting. We’d rigged the cameras as far as possible, with a DTE on pretty much anything (thanks to Atomos for showing up in force with more toys than we knew what to do with).

We also had the incredible JVC GW-S100e 4K remote control camera system, which allows you to capture 4K footage remotely from what is possible the smallest MFT camera we’ve ever seen.

We can't tell if those guys in the back are crowding round an FS7 or queueing for free beer.

We can’t tell if those guys in the back are crowding round an FS7 or queueing for free beer.

Thanks for everyone who was involved, from the vendors who bought their kit to those who showed up last minute for the beer and networking. If you didn’t see anything that was right for you, try our Small is the New Big event on 20th August, where we’ll be pitting pro handheld cameras like the Panasonic GH4, Canon C100 and Sony X70 against each other to find the tiniest and mightiest of the current handheld crop, as well as giving you the chance to try out Optica’s latest sliders and gimbals.

You can register for our pro handheld event here.

Need 4K kit? Take a look at our best video deals here. Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Day in the Life of: Scene Photography

Day in the Life of: Scene Photography

In the first of a new ‘Day in the Life’ series on creatives and creative agencies from around the UK, we go behind the scenes at Nottingham-based studio Scene Photography. Check out the video below for an insight into Rob and Karen Smalley’s creative workflow, and the tools they’re using to help boost productivity.

Throughout our Day in the Life series, we’ll be calling round at other creatives, including graphic design and web design agencies, and more, so you can see some of the great work others in the industry are getting up to, and how they’re making the most of the latest creative tools.

Subscribe on YouTube to keep up with our latest Day in the Life videos, and please feel free to share with other creatives!

Want to know more? Call 03332 409 306, email design@Jigsaw24.com, head on over to our new Design & Publishing home page and don’t forget to check out our Adobe Creative Cloud hub for resources, and updates on all your favourite Adobe apps. For all the latest news and tips follow us on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

4K Shootout: Your guide to the current 4K camera crop

4K Shootout: Your guide to the current 4K camera crop

With our 4K shootout due to mosey into town any day now (well, on 23rd July), we thought it was time to take a closer look at four of the cameras you’ll be able to get hands-on with on the day. Take notes, prepare questions, mentally pick out lenses: anything to ensure you’re not overwhelmed when you get the chance to shoot with all four of them side by side. 

Sony PXW-FS7

First up, the Sony PXW-FS7. As we’ve said before, this Super 35mm 4K handheld takes everything we loved about the FS700, ratchets it up to 11 and then marries it to one of the most ergonomic designs we’ve seen in a long time.

The FS7 is the most flexible workhorse of the bunch, well built enough to function as an excellent ENG and documentary camera. The built-in hand grip serves the dual function of making the camera lighter and easier to balance during long shoots, and means that you don’t have to rig the camera to the extent that you expect in order to get the shots that you want – both big pluses for run and gun shooting.

However, that’s not to discount the quality of images you can get from this camera – it’s capable of shooting beautiful footage, and its support for S-Log3 effectively gives you 1.5 extra stops of dynamic range compared to its predecessor, the FS700, and, as S-Log3 is pretty close to Cineon log, the footage you get is easier to grade and you’ve got more chance of achieving a classic ‘filmic’ look.

Sensor-wise, the PXW-FS7 boasts a Super 35mm CMOS image sensor with 11.6 million pixels in a 4352 x 2662 configuration, including 8.9 million effective pixels. The sensor’s high readout speed means the FS7 can support super slow motion 4K shooting, and its full pixel readout capability and lack of pixel binning mean that jaggies and noir are minimised.

While it’s natively E-mount, an A-mount adaptor is available if you want access to a wider pool of lenses. Plus, Sony are so confident about the quality of their hardware that they’re offering an extended warranty on it, which is always reassuring.

AJA CION

AJA are known for their sturdy, unfussy designs, and the CION follows that pattern exactly: its traditional form factor and lightweight body make it an ergonomic choice for longer shoots. There’s also the usual (but highly practical) fact that it can be stored away while fully rigged, so if you need to shoot with no notice, you can just take it out of its case and go.

Design considerations aside, the CION is able to output 4K raw data at up to 120fps via 4x 3G-SDI outputs (you can shoot directly to edit-ready Apple ProRes 4444 at up to 4K 30fps over Thunderbolt, ProRes 422 at up to 4K 60fps, or output AJA Raw at up to 4K 120fps), and records directly to AJA Pak SSD media at up to 60 frames per second. Its APS-C sized CMOS sensor is backed by great internal processing, meaning your end image is noise-free under most conditions, and it packs in an electronic global shutter and 12 stops of dynamic range.

Given the range of codecs and lens options available to you, the CION is a great choice for anyone who’s looking to achieve a cinematic look under a range of circumstances and workflows. AJA’s hardware is typically built like a tank and rarely goes EOL, so we’re willing to bet the CION will be kept current for a good few years – it’s already had some interesting firmware upgrades – making it a safe investment for anyone who needs their camera to last far longer than it should at its price point.

Blackmagic Design URSA

As we’ve said before, of all this group, the URSA is most suited to multiple operators; you can even split the on-camera controls so that one side of the camera controls audio while the other handles image settings, and can check separate scopes on all three of the URSA’s on-board monitors.

The corollary to this is that the URSA really needs to be rigged on a tripod, being, as it is, one of the heaviest cameras we’ve ever encountered. You’ll also need a good stock of V-lock batteries, as the URSA’s massive internal processing power translates to a constant thirst for power, so grab some batteries and a VTC plate along with the camera body if you’re thinking of buying.

However, it can shoot incredibly flexibly, supports high frame rate and delivers what are team our calling “pretty hardcore” image quality, so if you want 180fps ProRes now, no questions asked, this is the camera to set your sights on.

JVC GY-LS300

Not often mentioned in the same breath as the other three, but we think the LS300 has a lot more to offer than most people assume. First off, this is a Super 35mm 4K camera for under £3K ex VAT, which is extremely good value. And the fact that it supports a wide range of interchangeable lenses means that you can probably save again by reusing your existing still camera lenses to shoot video. Then of course there’s the fact that it shoots 4K Ultra HD, full HD with 4:2:2 sampling, SD and web-friendly proxy files, so you’re not going to need to replace or add to it for some time, meaning you’ll get great ROI.

It also has some very nifty hidden features and, because it has a full frame sensor and lets you scale down the crop factor by percentage, offers you ultimate lens flexibility. If you want to capture a micro 4/3″ or 2/3″ size image, you simply need to scale to the correct size, then carry on shooting as if you were on a smaller sensor camera. And even if you’re attaching the smallest lenses in your collection, you’ll still be able to pull HD images off the camera – in some cases, even 4K.

It also has XLR inputs, so you have plenty of high quality micing options, and will support auto-focus and zoom rocker use on any lenses that have those features enabled, meaning that with the right accessories the LS300 can become a really interesting run and gun camera, perfect for live events and ENG-style shooting – especially given its live streaming and FTP capabilities.

Register for our 4K Shootout

Drop by our Soho office on 23rd July to get hands on with these guys and put your questions to the team – we’ll also have Varicam, DSLRs like the A7S and GH4, the URSA Mini and the XC-10, as well as Zeiss glass, a 4K lighting setup from Cirrolight (and a tutorial on lighting for 4K with cinematographer John Harrison).

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

How many Odysseys can you use on a single shoot?

How many Odysseys can you use on a single shoot?

To celebrate that fact that we have a stash of Convergent Design Odyssey 7Q+s available for just £1199 ex VAT, we’re relaying the tale of heroic filmmaker Jim Arthurs, who set out to discover how many Odysseys one man could use on a single shoot. This Herculean labour was originally documented on Convergent Design’s site

 

 

Filmmaker Jim Arthurs had a dream: just how many Odysseys could he put to work on a single shoot? He came up with the concept for ‘Assignment: Odyssey’ as a visual demonstration of the versatility of the Odyssey7Q+ monitor/recorder.  Eight unique and popular cameras systems (each with Odyssey7Q+s) ranging from inexpensive 4K mirrorless cameras up through high end systems such as the Sony F55 and ARRI ALEXA were deployed on a Convergent Design themed virtual set green screen shoot.

Throughout the day, each camera was chosen for its particular strengths or features, while the Odyssey7Q+ was used to ‘common capture’ to UHD Apple ProRes or a given camera’s unique RAW data stream.

“Here was the opportunity to do what few in our industry have the chance to do,” explained Arthurs. “Custom select a wide range of cameras for a single job, based on their individual strengths, without the concern of handling multiple brands of recording devices and the resulting hassle in post.”

From the portability and fluid motion of the tiny Sony A7s used gimbal-mounted (both hand-held and on a jib), to the low noise characteristics of the Sony F55 for green screen work, to the 120fps in 4K RAW Burst mode of the Sony FS-700 and the unique Canon C500 colour science and smooth continuous 60fps RAW recording, each camera was chosen to overcome a particular production ‘challenge.’  The Odyssey7Q+ UHD to HD Supersampling was demonstrated with the Panasonic GH4.

“The Odyssey7Q+ was the great equaliser,” noted Arthurs, “Allowing green screen shots from both the high and low end of the Sony line – the F55 and the A7s – to intercut back to back in the final product. Every camera has a unique look, but the richness of signal captured by the Odyssey7Q+ in both RAW and Apple ProRes allow me to easily color correct and match the cameras with great results. And I easily pulled great green screen composites off even the most modest of camera kits with the robust signals recorded on the Odyssey7Q+.”

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Apple’s WWDC releases: An over-excited guide

Apple’s WWDC releases: An over-excited guide

In case you missed our over-excited tweeting on the night – we were very into El Capitan, disappointed by the lack of beards and divided about Danny Pudi’s rap – here’s a roundup of Apple’s big announcements from WWDC 2015.

OS X 10.11 El Capitan

User experience and semantics seem to be at the heart of this update, with new gestures, improvements to Safari and a new, more powerful Spotlight that builds on the new, more powerful Spotlight that we got with Yosemite this time last year.

Key gestures we saw demoed at WWDC include shaking your mouse (or scrubbing your trackpad) to enlarge the cursor to make it easier to find, Tinder-esque two-finger swiping left and right to mark email unread or delete it, and the ability to ‘pin’ commonly used sites in Safari by dragging the tab they’re open in to the left corner of your browser.

Safari has also caught up with Chrome in terms of letting you find and mute audio when you’re not sure which tab it’s coming from. (On a personal note, we’re glad that Rickrolling is still a popular enough phenomenon to be included in WWDC. Does this make it the longest-running meme in internet history? Will it ever cease? Will Rick Astley become the Hegelochus of our age? Only time will tell.)

But the update we’re going to rely on most is probably the increasingly powerful search in Spotlight, which can now handle natural language chains like ‘mail I’ve ignored from Phil’ or ‘documents I worked on last June’. Just type in your vague query and El Capitan will pull all the documents and emails that qualify. Now of course, we’re incredibly committed and organised people who know exactly what we were working on 18 months ago, but if we weren’t, this would be a godsend.

Another change that looks like it’s going to do wonders for our productivity is the ability to tab your Compose window in Mail, and drag and drop pictures and attachments from emails you’ve just received into the Compose window – we’re already getting excited about how much easier this is going to make approvals, especially as El Capitan allows you to snap applications to a side-by-side view for easier comparison and drag/dropping.

Metal

Creative users will be pleased to hear that Apple’s graphics acceleration solution, Metal, is making its way to the Mac. This should mean that graphics-heavy applications (and games) will launch and run faster – Apple are reporting a 50% increase in rendering speeds, and a 40% reduction in the amount of power your CPU needs to do that rendering.

Adobe have said that they’ve seen an eightfold increase in rendering performance in After Effects, and seamless interactivity within apps like InDesign, so you can zoom seamlessly and shouldn’t experience any lag when performing common tasks. They’re planning to support Metal on all their OS X 10-compatible apps, so you can check that off the list of things to worry about when you move to El Capitan.

iOS 9

Over the past year, Siri has become 40% more accurate and 40% faster. In iOS 9, she’s going to get proactive, doing things like starting your music player when you plug in your headphones, adding invitations to your calendar automatically, and advising you on the time it will take to get there based on realtime traffic info. She can even suggest who a caller might be by trawling your email for phone numbers hidden in email signatures.

Other highlights include:

– Apple Pay coming to the UK in July.

– Its partner app, Passbook, being renamed Wallet. This is the TfL-compatible app that’s going to let you use your iPhone or Watch as an Oyster card, or a credit card if you’re with one of the eight major banks (more will be supported from the autumn).

– The ability to sketch, create to-do lists and take photos from within the Notes app.

– An extra hour of battery life for your iPhone.

– A new, Flipboard-style app calls News which replaces Newsstand, and organises all your regular reading into a single, simple feed (think of it as an RSS feed that arranges itself like a magazine and has lovely transitions between articles).

– Transit routes added to Maps for 20 cities worldwide, including London.

watchOS

Not to be left out, Apple Watch has seen an update to its operating system, watchOS 2. This is paired with WatchKit, a set of tools that will allow developers access to key hardware like the Digital Crown, Taptic Engine, heart rate sensor, accelerometer and microphone. New software APIs enable audio and video playback and animation, and with the ClockKit framework, developers can represent their data as complications on the watch face. You can download WatchKit here.

The upshot of this? You can now develop more robust apps that will run natively on Apple Watch, and some apps will now be able to run using just your Watch and a known WiFi network, rather than having to do everything through your iPhone.

From an end user point of view, the big new features are:

– Nightstand Mode that transforms Apple Watch into a bedside alarm clock, with the Digital Crown and side button serving as snooze and off buttons for the alarm.

– The ability to use merchant rewards and store-issued credit and debit cards with Apple Pay, which can be added to Wallet (née Passbook).

– Support for Transit in Maps, so you can view detailed transportation maps and schedules, including walking directions to the nearest stations with entrances and exits precisely mapped.

– Workouts from third-party fitness apps contributing to your all-day Move and Exercise goals.

– Using Siri to start specific workouts, launch Glances and reply to email.

– Activation Lock, which lets users secure their Apple Watch with their Apple ID, preventing another user from wiping or activating the device if it is lost or stolen.

Apple Pay

For those of you who have been eagerly awaiting Pay, here’s the official rundown of what will be supported when it launches:

“Starting in July, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch users will be able to make purchases anywhere contactless payments are accepted. In addition to the 39 Apple Stores in the UK, leading locations for everyday shopping that will accept Apple Pay include Boots UK, BP, Costa Coffee, Dune, JD Sports, KFC UK & Ireland, Liberty, LIDL, Marks & Spencer (M&S), McDonald’s UK, Nando’s, New Look, Post Office, Pret A Manger, SPAR, Starbucks, SUBWAY stores, Wagamama and Waitrose. Transport for London will also accept Apple Pay, so you can use your iPhone or Apple Watch to pay for your travel or daily commute.

“We are proud to be one of the first retailers to introduce Apple Pay at our stores across the UK. Whether customers are enjoying our special food range or our clothing collections, our early introduction of Apple Pay will provide them with a seamless and secure way of checking out,” said Marc Bolland, CEO of Marks & Spencer.

“In apps, checkout is simple and there is no need to manually fill out lengthy account forms or repeatedly type in shipping and billing information. Apps that will accept Apple Pay in the UK include Addison Lee, Airbnb, Argos, Booking.com, British Airways, Domino’s, easyJet, Hailo, HotelTonight, hungryhouse, JD Sports, Just Eat, lastminute.com, Miss Selfridge, Ocado, Stubhub, thetrainline.com, Top 10, Topshop, Uncover, Vueling, YPlan, Zalando and Zara, among others. When paying for goods and services within apps, Apple Pay is compatible with iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3.”

Meanwhile, on iPad…

Over on your iPad Air, the new Slide Over feature lets you simultaneously work in a second app without leaving the first. All you need to do is access the same Split View feature thats been promised in El Capitan, and you can work in two apps at the same time, side-by-side. Sadly, pre-Air iPad models won’t be able to support this feature.

Crowd favourite Picture-in-Picture lets you continue a FaceTime call or video while using your favourite apps (so if you want to check your calendar while you’re on a call and trying to arrange a meeting, now you can).

And if you’re particularly fond of the trackpad on your MacBook, you’ll be happy to hear that a new gesture control has been added that will let you open a trackpad over your iPad keyboard, so that you can perform OS X-style gesture controls while moving between apps (great if you’re working in two apps with their own specific gesture controls but just want to perform an iOS function like swiping between apps or tabs).

Swift 2 goes open source

Importantly for developers, APIs for all these new features and controls will be made available. They’ll also get a new version of Swift, Swift 2, the compiler and standard library for which will be made open source later this year. Your new API tools will include:

– Extensible search that deep links directly to content within third-party apps.

– GameplayKit and Model I/O for building better games and ReplayKit for recording gameplay.

– New HomeKit profiles for motorised windows and shades, motion sensors and home security systems.

– Wireless CarPlay and support for auto manufacturers to develop apps within CarPlay.

– New HealthKit data points for reproductive health, UV exposure, water intake and sedentary state.

 And one more thing…

We were hoping it’d be the next generation of Apple TV, but apparently we haven’t earned that yet. Instead, Apple unveiled a new music streaming service, Apple Music, that turns iTunes into a sort of giant, Taylor Swift-rich Spotify rival. As well as listening to your own iTunes library, you can stream any of the 30 million songs Apple has access to, or listen to carefully curated playlists based on your tastes.

Siri is also getting in on the action, and is now able to respond to requests like, ‘play the number one song from August 1987′ or ‘play the best U2 songs’ in order to fire up the appropriate playlist.

Apple Music starts with a free trial, but will be $9.99 per month for an individual and $14.99 a month for a family thereafter.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

iPad for ePOS: the key kit

iPad for ePOS: the key kit

Point of sale is changing. As new software and systems allow you to move away from expensive custom ePOS hardware and toward a more slimline, iPad-driven approach, we look at the available kit. 

Now, until everyone and everything supports Apple Pay, you’re going to need to add a few accessories to your iPad to turn it into a fully functioning till. Here’s a quick guide to the best barcode scanners, most reliable receipt printers and cash drawers our product management team couldn’t jimmy open with a screwdriver.

Barcode scanners

Kicking things off is the Opticon OPN-2001 barcode scanner. This pocket laser scanner is as straightforward as it gets: scan the barcode to store it, press the clear button on the front of the device and re-scan the same barcode to forget it, charge via USB every 1000 scans or so. It can hold up to 10,000 codes with time stamps and weighs just 28 grams, so is great if you’re building a temporary POS and need to keep the weight of your setup down.

 

If you want something a bit more ergonomic, then try the very sleek Socket Mobile CHS 7Ci barcode scanner, which has the added advantage of being certified by Apple for use with iOS devices. It can read printed barcodes and those on screens, so if you’re emailing out offer codes to your customers on a regular basis, this is probably the one for you, especially given its 10 hour/10,000 scan battery life and impressive 508mm scan range.

 

Printers

Star Micronics are our go-to receipt printers, and we’re particularly fond of the SM-S220i and TSP143.

The SM-S220i is a great choice if you need something mobile. A lightweight Bluetooth receipt printer, it’s designed for queue busters and wait staff to take payment wherever the customer happens to be. Compatible with both iOS and Android, it’s the ideal partner for a mobile ePOS solution, and despite being tiny it can crank out an impressive 8cm of 230 dpi receipt per second.

If you’re looking for a fixed printer, try the TSP143. It’s a LAN thermal printer, meaning you get fast long-distance communication over Cat5 LAN cabling (nice and cheap), and includes a ‘print on disconnection’ feature that’ll print you an alert should you have any network issues.

An auto-cutter and all the accessories and software you need to get set up are included in the price (including a wall mount, in case you like your receipt printers vertical). The only thing that might set you back extra is a splash-proof cover that we imagine would be a sound investment if you’re a restaurateur or a particularly clumsy goldfish-seller.

Cash drawers

And now to the most important bit: making sure no-one can run off with your hard-earned dosh. APG’s Vasario series of cash drawers are a popular choice: they rely on the popular MultiPRO interface, so will work with most ePOS systems, and the four-function lock offers you the security of locked closed, locked open, online and manual settings.

The Vasario 1616 offers great bang for your buck, giving you the security of that multifunction lock at a lower price point than usual, plus drawer status reporting and a two year warranty.

If you’re using a Star or Epson printer, a good call is the Star Micronics CB-2002, which is designed specifically to work with these printers and comes in eight note/eight coin and four note/eight coin variations.

It has a three-position lock with drawer release, includes a compulsion switch and RJ12 connection.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email business@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Jigsaw24 recommends: iPad kiosks

Jigsaw24 recommends: iPad kiosks

If you want to set up iPad kiosks in-store there are a number of factors to consider, including physical security, how you’ll charge them and whether you’ll need to sync them remotely. Here are some ideas… 

So you know you want a snazzy interactive kiosk where your customers can find out more about products, staff can present rich content and – gasp – contactless payments may even take place. What you don’t know is how to stop customers running off with your devices and how to make sure they’re always fully charged. Never fear – our retail team have found three ace kiosk-makers with solutions that will sort all of this for you. Here’s the rundown…

Maclocks

There are two solutions we really like from Maclocks – the Space Desk Enclosure and the BrandMe Floorstand (both compatible with iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4 and iPad Air).

The Space Desk Enclosure is a padded aluminium enclosure that stops anyone tampering with your iPad’s home, volume and lock buttons, but still allows data, radio and WiFi signals to filter through, so you can enjoy full access to whichever app you lock the iPad into. (If you don’t know how to lock an iPad with Guided Access, read this.)

If you fancy keeping your iPad on a tabletop, the Space Desk Enclosure can accommodate a cable lock to hold it down, or you can mount the whole thing flush against your showroom wall (you won’t be able to rotate iPad once it’s mounted, though, so pay careful attention to whether your app works best in portrait or landscape mode).

If you want a freestanding kiosk, the BrandMe Floorstand is, as its name suggests, brandable, with dedicated space on the column for your logo. As well as being able to show iPad in portrait and landscape mode, it allows you to hide the charging cable in the base of the stand, so you can charge your iPad discreetly and securely at any time.

Your iPad can attach to the BrandMe stand using a Space enclosure or an ‘Executive Enclosure’ made of tamperproof aluminium screws, which has the advantage of being chic and incredibly thief-resistant.

Bouncepad

If Maclocks’ offering isn’t doing it for you, try Bouncepad. They have a slightly swooshier design (that’s a technical term) and their tabletop option, Bouncepad Desk, has a short ‘stalk’, so that you can display your iPad devices at a conveniently tiled viewing angle without taking up too much space or giving customers the chance to yank the screen around too much.

Bouncepad Desk is available in black or white as standard, though you can add a custom finish if you want a more branded feel, and can be mounted from above or below a surface depend on said surface’s depth. You can also choose from a variety of faceplates that cover different combinations of buttons, depending on how much you want customers to be able to do.

There are a range of extras available that allow you to rotate, tilt and even add headphones to the stand, so that you can customise each Bouncepad Desk to the activity you want it locked to.

In terms of uprights, we like the Bouncepad Floorstanding. Nice and simple and the perfect height at 114cm, its weighted base and lack of complicated setup mean that it’s an ideal solution for exhibitions, event spaces and other temporary displays. (Don’t worry, you can secure it to the floor so that no-one runs off with it.)

A charger cable can be concealed in the base, so you’re able to enjoy continuous power, and the stand will work with the same tilt and rotate add-ons that you can get for the Desk, if you still want that functionality.

Griffin

Look, we’re just really big fans of Griffin gear, OK? And their Kiosk Desktop range is as sturdy as their mobile one, offering you a sleek, stable enclosure that you can mount on any flat surface without having to look at any unsightly mounting screws.

The Kiosk Desktop gives you a shock resistant iPad enclosure and high-strength steel arm, which can also house the cabling and power supply for your iPad. The Kiosk Desktop comes with three faceplates, so you can choose whether to allow customers access to the iPad home button, camera or neither. And as all the faceplates are part of your initial purchase rather than extras, you can swap out plates if you want to repurpose the iPad in a location where users are given more freedom.

There’s also a 119cm Kiosk Floor available, for anyone who wants a freestanding iPad solution. Both can run the Kiosk App (£2.99 from the App Store) that you can use to manage and sync multiple devices, set home pages and iPad behaviour while idle, and even make sure staff are alerted if a device is damaged, unplugged or otherwise brought low by a heavy-handed customer. So useful!

The only downside is that the Kiosk range currently only supports iPad, iPad 2 and iPad 3, but hopefully and iPad Air-friendly version is in the offing.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email business@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Three ways to protect staff iPad

Three ways to protect staff iPad

Dropping your iPhone is unfortunate. Dropping your iPad mid-sale and losing all your customer data is slightly worse. Avoid it by investing in one of these sturdy cases…

Having spent the last three years rolling out iPad in schools and businesses up and down the country, we’ve seen plenty of people learn the hard way how important it is to properly protect your iPad. Luckily, whether you’re worried about staff dropping them or frustrated customers taking out their anger at an iPad POS, someone has made a case to suit your needs. Here are three of our favourites.

Griffin AirStrap

Available for iPad Air, iPad Air 2 and all three iterations of iPad mini, the Griffin AirStrap is great for anyone using iPad to interact with customers on the shop floor. The case is lightweight and unobtrusive, so you still get that nice sleek iPad look, but the key feature is the AirStrap’s rotating strap.

Not only does it make holding iPad one-handed far easier – particularly if you opted for one of the larger models – but the rotating mount means that you can still spin the case from landscape to portrait view, or turn it round completely if you want to show the screen to a customer without letting go of your device.

 Native Union GRIPSTER Wrap

Not content with a mere rotating grip, Native Union up the ante with a grip that not only rotates but which can be locked into eight different positions to keep your iPad stable while you work (or take selfies). It also has a built-in stand that doubles up as a carrying handle, so you can carry your iPad with you around the store or prop it up in order to present solutions to customers, play media, or let them navigate through an app.

And if, like us, you’re very particular about keeping your screen scratch-free, you’ll appreciate the eight-panel wraparound cover that you can draw round the iPad when it’s not in use, like some kind of high tech roman blind.

The GRIPSTER wrap is available for iPad, iPad Air, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 1, 2 and 3.

Griffin Survivor

Are you going onto a building site? Is there a chance that an angry child will hurl your iPad at a wall? Do you plan to drop it six feet onto solid concrete on a regular basis? If the answer to any of these questions is even slightly likely to be yes, opt for a Griffin Survivor case (other colours are available).

griffin_survivor_case_for_ipad_air

With four layers of protection, cushioning foam inserts, shock-absorbing silicone at the corners and a scratch resistant cover for you screen and camera, the Survivor makes you iPad ready for anything – there are even removable covers for all your device’s ports, so you can keep out the dust and rain if you need to send staff outdoors.

The Survivor is available for the second, third and fourth generations of iPad, the iPad mini range, iPad Air and iPad Air 2, but Griffin do also offer Survivor covers for iPhones and Android tablets, so you can equip staff with a range of devices and still achieve a uniform look.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email business@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook