Say hi to High Sierra!

Say hi to High Sierra!

Apple’s latest update to macOS is here! From now on when you buy a snazzy new Mac, it will come pre-installed with High Sierra, packed full of great new features and updates.

High Sierra is feature-rich and provides loads of great enhancements. From added GPU capabilities like machine learning, virtual reality, and external GPU support, to a more expressive Siri, the new macOS is the best yet.

New features

Apple File System (APFS)

One of High Sierra’s great new features is that it comes with Apple’s new, modern file system, APFS (Apple File System). Optimised for all‑flash internal storage and with an advanced architecture, it brings a new level of security and responsiveness to managing your data.

High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC)

Up to 40% better compression than before, the new industry-standard for 4K video is now available on your Mac. Your videos will stream better and take up less space on your Mac, but you maintain the same great visual quality.

Metal 2 graphics

Metal 2 is a technology built into macOS that lets you access the full power of your Mac’s GPU. For High Sierra, Metal 2 not only takes the visual experience to the next level, but also adds capabilities like machine learning, virtual reality, and external GPU support for entertainment and professional creative apps.

Photos

High Sierra makes your growing library more organised and accessible, with intuitive editing tools to help you perfect your images. Filter your photo collections by your favourite criteria, find what you’re looking for quickly and easily with the always-on sidebar, and fine tune your photos with powerful tools like Curves for contrast and colour adjustments, and Selective Colour to make colours more saturated.

Intelligent tracking prevention

Safari now uses machine learning to identify advertisers and others who track your online behavior, and removes tracking data they leave behind – so you can browse in peace without seeing that same ad pop up again and again.

Siri

Siri gets a more expressive makeover with a more natural voice, and more changes in expression, intonation, and emphasis based on what it’s saying. It can also learn your music preferences to make suggestions, or play you something to suit your mood.

 

Upgrading to High Sierra

High Sierra’s powerful new features may make you want to dive right in, but let’s back up a moment. Before you rush into upgrading your business to the new macOS, there are a few things to consider.

You may already be aware of some of the challenges your business might face in upgrading to a new OS – needing to control who upgrades when, and ensuring as little downtime as possible. With High Sierra, you’ll also need to consider the impact of the APFS on a mixed Mac estate. While you’d still be able to share files between new and old Macs switching to SMB, AFP won’t be able to share files with the new APFS. This could cause issues if you have different team members using different OS.

You’ll also need to consider imaging, as you may find yourself needing to move DEP workflows or purchase mobile device management (MDM) software to push out images across multiple machines. Finally, before you upgrade your entire estate to High Sierra, you’ll need to ensure that your current infrastructure is supported. If you try to use a monolithic system image, required firmware updates will be missing from the installation. This causes the Mac to operate in an unsupported and unstable state.

To help you get your head around this, Apple have published a Preparing for macOS High Sierra document, which you can download here.

We can also support you in your transition to Apple’s new macOS. If you’d like an audit on your existing estate, we can help you work out how best to transition seamlessly with minimal downtime. Plus, we’ll train your IT staff at the same time on how best to utilise all the new features!

Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or by emailing solutions@Jigsaw24.com to speak to one of our consultants. You can stay up to date with all the latest from Apple by following us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24 or by liking us on Facebook.

 

Creative game-changers: What our designers can’t live without

Creative game-changers: What our designers can’t live without

We’ve been doing this for 25 years, and there’s no one out there who gets creative workflows the way we do. And, in the past quarter of a century, there’s been a huge amount of technological advancement. So we caught up with our design team on the game changers they’ve seen in the creative industry, and how they couldn’t do their jobs without them…

Xenia, Graphic Designer

“The Wacom Intuos Pro has changed my life. It makes everything so much easier and is always invaluable throughout all stages of a project – I’d never go back! From quickly drawing out ideas in Illustrator, to easily zooming in or rotating an image, to using the Expresskeys customised with my most-used Creative Cloud shortcuts, I’ve found the Intuos Pro to be an essential piece of tech. And with the wireless kit, working on the go is as easy as moving to another room – I just keep the adaptor plugged into my MacBook ready to go.”

Jamie Shaw, Web Designer

“Back in the day, I remember trying to get PC and Mac to work together was very laborious. Now saving and opening things on both and passing work between them is seamless, and saves so much time! Where getting Windows and macOS to work with each other used to be a headache, everything is much easier now that Macs support SMB, and I’m excited for APFS.” (If you’re not quite as prepared as Jamie, we can run through where you are with your kit and where there’s room for improvement to increase your overall productivity – ask us about our Strategy & Discovery Sessions for more details).

Thierry, Graphic Designer

“A biggie for me is having a notebook and tablet, and the mobility that brings for working both in the office and at home. For example if I’m working away from my desk, I can mock up a more refined document using Adobe Comp on iPad Pro as easily as sketching on paper. And when I move back to my desktop, I can seamlessly pick up exactly where I left off without the hassle of emailing files across or swapping software. Very quickly, I’ve got a clear idea of how things are looking and a design that can be presented for approval.”

Liana, Graphic Designer

Creative Cloud is great because I can work from home, and have files readily available rather than getting people to email them across. I’m able to cut out a lot of steps in the image searching process, so I can spend more time designing and less time trawling the web. Being able to search and share images, styles and assets among different applications and computers, as well as with other team members, has really impacted my productivity.”

Simon, Graphic Designer

“On a day to day basis, I often find myself swapping between print and web work. A colour calibrated display, such as the Eizo ColorEdge series, is great for this because at the click of a button I can change the colour mode needed for the current project I’m working on. I know the finished product will look how I want straight away instead of battling unwanted hues by trial and error. I can be confident that colours on screen will reflect the end product, and get more out of my day by not having to waste time on avoidable colour edits. And not only does the colour and tone of imagery look better when working on it, but it translates to the screens of other devices much better as well.”

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

 

Preparing for APFS

Preparing for APFS

At last year’s WWDC Apple announced that their new file system, APFS, would be replacing the age-old HFS+, which has underpinned their file system since 1998. It came to mobile devices with iOS 10.3, and is expected to make the jump to macOS at June’s WWDC event. So, with the mooted release date looming, how should companies be preparing for APFS? What considerations do you need to take into account? 

Key considerations

Data loss A developer beta has been available for a while now, and from what we’ve heard transitions have gone smoothly – Apple say they’ve built the system to avoid all data loss. However, being the cautious types we are, we can’t help but think a bit of pre-rollout preparation is for the best, especially if you’re in an enterprise environment.

Awareness of the impact on mixed estates and corporate services If your estate isn’t standardised, you’ll be handling a mixture of older machines using HFS+ and newer ones using APFS, and will need to offer parity access to corporate services (printers, files shares etc). Do you have the tools to inventory your estate and identify potential pitfalls?

Imaging strategy Consider what impact the change may have on the way you approach disc imaging.

Missed the announcement? Here are the key features of APFS.

Protect against data loss

APFS has been engineered to fit neatly into the gaps in HFS+, meaning the chance of data loss is minimal. However, we can’t in good conscience tell you to perform a cross-office upgrade without backing up your own data and ensuring end users do the same with their endpoint devices. Ideally, perform an automated backup across all the devices under your command yourself – asking end users to back up manually rarely gets the desired result, and even if some users oblige you, there are roadblocks such as the photo storage limit that’s imposed on the free version of iCloud, which might prevent some users backing up all their files.

We’d recommend doing an automated backup across all the devices you manage, and keeping at least one copy internally and one copy at an external site – you might want to rent some hosted cloud storage for the switchover period, as this is a really easy way to ensure you have secure, offsite backup without massively impacting your budget.

If you don’t have an automated backup solution already in place, take a look at Archiware P5, or Acronis Backup Advanced. We can also offer Backup24, our own hosted cloud backup solution, in which your data is held in our secure, UK-based data centre, and can be accessed at any time without any retrieval fees.

Know what you’ll need to standardise, and check access to services

Macs running anything earlier than OS X Yosemite won’t be able to read APFS volumes. Any Macs that you buy after the next macOS release will arrive with APFS as their native file system. To avoid problems, you need to inventory your devices and work out which bits of your estate are running OS X Yosemite or earlier and then, where possible, update them so that they’re running the latest OS (here are the minimum requirements for upgrading to Sierra). You’ll also need to root out any devices which are not 64-bit.

You can share APFS volumes over SMB or NFS, but not using AFP, which has led to widespread speculation that Apple will be phasing this out soon. If you’re currently making use of AFP to give your Mac users access to print servers and the like, the move to a later OS should also help you move them over to SMB, which is far better supported in more recent OS releases.

So how do you manage this auditing process and switchover? Well, the number of dedicated Mac management solutions is on the rise, and many of them offer auditing and inventory tools that you can use to roadmap which parts of your estate need changing and when. We recommend Jamf Pro in most instances (we’re so keen on this one we can offer it as a managed, hosted service if you’d rather not take on MDM in house), but AirWatch is another popular solution that’ll serve you well if you’re in a mixed Android/iOS environment.

Want to know more about inventorying your estate? Take a look at our whitepapers here.

Changes to standard imaging practices

APFS is likely to have an impact on some of the traditional forms of disk imaging used in the deployment of new devices. Your current process might involve building a Mac with the desired OS, software and configuration settings, then creating a disk image that contains the content of that Mac’s boot drive, and then applying this to multiple other Macs.

However, Apple seem to want you to invest in MDM (we can’t argue with this) and then use DEP to facilitate zero touch device enrolment as an alternative to imaging.

Doing some research into the best MDM solution for your business and getting your team skilled up on DEP both seem like good ideas at this point – get in touch with our team on the details below to find our how to get started.

Want to know more about achieving zero touch deployment? Take a look at our whitepapers here.

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

Here’s why iOS 10.3 is great for business

Here’s why iOS 10.3 is great for business

iOS 10 is now more personal, and more powerful. Apple’s latest operating system is packed with features to make your business day run as smoothly as possible.

Whether you’re running late for a meeting or need to make secure payments on the web, iOS 10.3 is here for your everyday business needs. If you’ve been considering iOS for business or have already made the jump, here are just a few features that could improve your day…

APFS

iOS 10.3 is the first to adopt the new Apple File System (APFS), developed to replace the 30 year old HFS file system. APFS is optimised for Flash/SSD storage and features strong encryption, copy-on-write metadata, space sharing, cloning for files and directories, snapshots, fast directory sizing, atomic safe-save primitives, and improved file system fundamentals. Copying files with APFS is noticeably speedier thanks to efficient space optimisation and the updated way the file system calculates capacity.

Dual apps

With iOS 10.3, the way you use apps is changing. It’s now possible to work on two apps at once, so you can move fluidly between tasks for a more productive experience. Siri now works with all your favourite business apps from the App Store, so you can ask it to book a ride or send a payment with ease.

Contextual predictions

Your device is now able to speed up your interactions by predicting the information you want to share, based what you type. When sharing contact information, simply type something like “My number is…” and your details will pop up ready to populate. Or tell someone “I’m available at…” and iOS will search your calendar for your next free space. Perfect for making arrangements on the go.

Updated Settings app

The Settings app has been revamped for iOS 10.3, so you can spend less time hopping in and out of menus to configure your device. Manage your iCloud and App Store configurations all in one unified menu, as well as accessing information on all of your connected Apple devices. It’s also easier to keep your device protected, as the Password and Security menu is just a tap away. Here you can change your password, set up two-factor authentication or edit your trusted phone number to make sure all your business files stay secure.

Maps

Your Maps app is now more intelligent, able to learn your daily commute and check the best route available based on meetings in your calendar. It can also make proactive suggestions on other places you might like to visit and calculate them into your route, so you can easily stop for food, coffee or fuel.

Multilingual typing

Save time when speaking with international colleagues or clients with multilingual typing. Now in iOS 10 you can type in two different languages at the same time, without the need to switch between keyboards. iOS can now recognise any pair of the following languages: English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. It also supports English and Chinese together.

Apple Pay

With Touch ID and Apple Pay on the web, shopping online is now easier, faster and more private. With the hardware working seamlessly with the OS, the advanced fingerprint sensor recognises you and the software keeps your payment information safe. Simply browse the web, and pay using your fingerprint for a quick and secure checkout.

CarPlay

Switch between apps more quickly and easily in CarPlay to stay connected on the go. Using the quick switcher in the status bar, tap between your communication, Maps and entertainment apps while keeping your focus on the road.

Check out 9to5Mac’s video on the full list of new iOS 10.3 features…

Want to know more about the new iOS 10.3? Give us a call on 03332 409 306, email sales@Jigsaw24.com or pop your details in the form below. For all the latest news and reviews, follow us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24 and ‘like’ us on Facebook.

What the new Apple File System (APFS) means for imaging

What the new Apple File System (APFS) means for imaging

The new Apple File System (APFS) looks set to revolutionise everything including imaging, backup, OS upgrades and security. And with iOS 10.3 the first OS to adopt the new Apple File System (APFS), developers and systems engineers all over are getting very excited.

The old HFS+ file system has been at the heart of Apple’s ecosystem for donkeys’ years (since 1998 to be precise), back when floppy disks were a primary means of storage, rather than just a smart-looking save symbol. So in an age when people now store hundreds of gigabytes and access millions of files on high-speed, low-latency flash drives, it was definitely time for a refresh.

Step in Apple File System, a new 64-bit file system supporting over 9 quintillion files on a single volume. Apple have developed APFS to replace all their variants of HFS+ for various different products, as one system that will scale across all of Apple’s operating systems including macOS, iOS, watchOS and tvOS. APFS is optimised for Flash/SSD storage and features strong encryption, copy-on-write metadata, space sharing, cloning for files and directories, snapshots, fast directory sizing, atomic safe-save primitives, and improved file system fundamentals.

As well as Flash/SSD storage, APFS can also be used with traditional hard disk drives (HDD) and external, direct-attached storage. You can share APFS-formatted volumes using the SMB or NFS network file-sharing protocol, but interestingly you cannot share APFS-formatted volumes using AFP.

With the AFP protocol not being supported, there are whispers that it may finally be dead, putting a shelf life on certain third-party applications too. It also may potentially be killed off in macOS sever, meaning they might not develop the client further. Interesting times for the future of security and imaging, with many tech soothsayers proclaiming that APFS will mark the end of disk imaging on Macs, with the focus shifted to DEP and MDM. All eyes on Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2017 in June for more from Apple on this then…

Upgrading to Apple File System

Apple will offer non-destructive in-place upgrades from HFS+ to APFS for all boot volumes when Apple File System ships in 2017. Tools will be available to convert external volumes from HFS+ to APFS format. And while you can use Disk Utility to erase an APFS-formatted volume and reformat as HFS+, your data will not be preserved.

– A Developer Preview of Apple File System is available in macOS Sierra, and Apple are planning to release Apple File System as a bootable file system in 2017.

Want to know more about Apple and managed devices? Give us a call on 03332 409 306, email sales@Jigsaw24.com or pop your details in the form below. For all the latest news and reviews, follow us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24 and ‘like’ us on Facebook.