WWDC 2017: All the news and releases recapped

WWDC 2017: All the news and releases recapped

Apple’s annual bash for developers usually delivers a few key software releases, but this year we have a bumper crop, with new iMac, a refreshed notebook lineup and updates to every OS Apple are currently running. Oh, and of course the new HomePod smart speaker system. Let’s start with the hardware…

iMac

With Mac Pro undergoing a complete overhaul after 2013’s redesign, creative professionals have been turning to top spec iMac models to support demanding work. Apple seem to officially acknowledge this with the 2017 iMac models, which boast all-new speedy Kaby Lake processors, boosted graphics (the entry level gets Iris Plus 640, up to 80% faster, the 21” models get Radeon Pro 555 and 560 with 4GB VRAM, up to 3x faster, and the 27” iMac gets Radeon Pro 570, 575 or 580, with 4GB VRAM).

Apple have said the display on the new iMacs is also the best ever on a Mac, 43% brighter with 500 nits and 10-bit dithering which basically boils down to them looking really, really good.

We also got a sneak peek at a brand new iMac Pro, due to ship in December. This new version is going to be a great prospect for video editing, as well as VR content creation, with workstation class performance, new fan architecture, 80% better cooling and quiet operation. Apple announced it would come with an 8 Core Xeon processor, upgradable all the way up to an insane 18 Cores, with Radeon Vega graphics, 16GB VRAM and 11 teraflops. iMac Pro will also come with up to 128GB ECC memory (more than twice that of current iMacs), up to 40TB storage, built-in 10Gb Ethernet and four Thunderbolt ports. Most importantly, it’ll be the first iMac to come in a fetching space grey.

Mac notebooks

In terms of notebooks, there wasn’t anything Earth-shattering to report – MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro all get a bump up to new Kaby Lake processors, as expected, and Apple announced they would also receive faster storage and graphics. They’re also dropping the price of the entry level models.

iPad Pro

iPad users will now have a third size option to choose from: the 10.5″ iPad Pro. Apple are putting that extra screen space to good use, giving you a full size onscreen keyboard with support for more than 30 languages. But don’t worry about it getting unwieldy – despite being 20% larger that the 9.7” iPad, it still only weighs a pound.

The new 10’5” iPad Pro and the updated 12.9” model both sport a speedy A10X Fusion chip powering a six-core CPU, which gives you 30% faster CPU performance and 40% faster graphics performance than the previous generation A9X chip. The two leading iPad models have also gotten new screens capable of a 120Hz refresh rate, which combines with a new Pencil to deliver the most responsive iPad Pro performance ever, with just 20 milliseconds latency.

To save you battery life (iPad Pro can still clock up to ten hours on a single charge), the refresh rate is intelligently adjusted based on what you’re doing. If you’re viewing stills, it’ll drop down to the standard 24Hz, play back movies at 48Hz, and then move in to high gear so you can deal with interactive content at 120Hz.

watchOS 4

Good news for anyone rocking an Apple Watch, as watchOS got an update to version 4. Apple showed off new Faces, powered by Siri, which are designed to use machine learning to always display the most relevant information to you and dynamically update the display. Activity and Workout get new features which will appeal to all sports and gym bunnies, but we were most excited by the colourful Kaleidoscope display feature and, oh yes, animated Toy Story characters. They’ve got a friend in us.

tvOS

Apple TV fans rejoice: Amazon Prime Video is coming to tvOS, making it much easier to binge boxsets of the Man In the High Castle and Transparent.

You can visit our Apple store here. If you want to know more, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘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

All the news from WWDC 2016

All the news from WWDC 2016

This was a big one. With four, that’s right, four whole OS updates being unveiled at Apple’s June keynote, it’s fair to say there’s a lot to talk about and a lot to get excited about.

If you love Apple (and emojis) like we do, you’ll have been itching with anticipation for this year’s keynote. So, without further ado, here’s our rundown of all the big announcements from WWDC 2016.

iOS 10 

Release: Public Beta in July, coming this Autumn (free upgrade)

It’s being called the ‘biggest iOS release ever’, and it’s hard to disagree. Designed with user experience in mind, and with substantial improvements to some of iOS’ most popular features, the wait for number 10 will feel like waiting for Christmas. It’ll be available on iPhone 5 and later, and will include:

– Redesigned lock and home screens, incorporating 3D touch, raise to wake and widgets.

– Siri will be opened up to developers for 3rd party messaging apps, allowing users to book Uber rides, pay friends, make VoIP calls and much more. If that’s not convenient enough for you, never fear, Apple already has it figured out with QuickType. QuickType provides intelligent suggestions with deep learning (LSTMs), through factors like current locations, contact information, recent addresses and availability – it even offers intelligent scheduling for the calendar app.

– Photos is getting some cool additions too, with facial recognition, object and scene recognition, and memories (clusters of photos sorted by date, people and topics).

– Maps will receive an all-new design, complete with improved traffic information, faster route suggestions, and quick controls to find food or petrol. The app will also be opened up for developers, allowing users to book a table and the like.

– Music (now with 15 million paid subscribers) will get a shiny new redesign too. Apple have simplified the app, improved audio clarity, and added a lyrics feature.

– Following suit, News has received a redesign inline with Music, and will feature breaking news notifications to boot. Apple said the app will now include over 2000 publications.

– Home is a brand-new app that’s designed to simplify home automation. It works in conjunction with HomeKit-compatible accessories, which now include controls for cameras, door locks and air conditioning. Home app can see and control all accessories from one place, and provides remote access to home automation.

– Thanks to new Phone updates, you’ll now be alerted to possible spam calls or suspicious numbers (which is great if you’re sick of hearing about PPI!). VoIP apps will also be integrated, and Contacts has received an upgrade.

– Last, but certainly not least, Messages has been gifted some impressive new features that have had Apple fans everywhere talking. The app will now include rich links, tap-to-replace emojis (perfect if you want to let pictures do all the talking) and emoji prediction (emojis are now three times bigger!). Not only that, iOS 10 will introduce a range of bubble effects (including invisible ink for more secretive messages), as well as quick tap back, handwritten messages, digital touch and exciting full screen effects.

tvOS

Release: Coming this Autumn (free upgrade)

tvOS will receive a substantial update this fall with new features, including:

– 1300 video channels, up from 80.

– 6000 native apps.

– An AppleTV remote app for your iPhone, allowing you to control AppleTV through your handset. It mimics the hardware remote, with Siri voice and typing support, dictation for usernames and passwords, a Now Playing screen, accelerometer and gyroscope support for games, touch navigation and more.

– Siri can now search for movies by topic, and browse YouTube.

– Live Tune In – Siri can take you straight to the action, available on AppleTV and iPad.

– Single Sign-on – Also available on iOS, you can now sign in once to access all apps on the network.

– Dark Mode, perfect for nighttime viewing.

– For developers: ReplayKit, PhotoKit and HomeKit.

watchOS 3

Release: Coming this Autumn (free upgrade)

Apple announced some exciting new updates for its wearable hardware:

– In-app launch time is now seven times faster.

– Background updates.

– Dock – Push the side button, and swipe through live apps.

– iOS Control Center – Accessible by swiping from the bottom of the screen.

– Improved smart reply options.

– Scribble – Write your own message replies one letter at a time (available in English and Chinese).

– New, swappable watch faces, including the Activity face which lets you quick start Workout, Minnie Mouse with customisable dress colours (if that’s what you’re into), a numeral face available in a variety of fonts, and analogue, digital and chronograph, the three new Activity ring faces.

– SOS calling – Holding down the side button initiates a three second countdown to call emergency services, and then sends a notification with your location data to all emergency contacts and brings up your medical ID. It works in conjunction with your iPhone or over WiFi.

– Activity Sharing – Swipe right on your Activity rings to check out your family and friends’ rings (a cool feature if you love getting competitive). You’ll even be placed on a leaderboard, so you can see how much better you’re doing than everyone else.

– Breathe – Designed to help combat stress, Breathe is a neat deep breathing/meditation app. It relies on haptic feedback and visuals, and takes a heart reading towards the end of a session.

macOS Sierra

Release: Public Beta in July, coming this Autumn (free upgrade)

Apple’s latest macOS is called Sierra and it’s all about continuity. Along with a whole range of new features, Apple will incorporate Siri, Apple watch and Apple Pay into its flagship operating system when it drops this Autumn. Here’s a rundown of everything we know:

– Auto Unlock – You can now use your Watch to automatically unlock your Mac, very handy if you’re a fan of Apple’s wearable.

– Universal Clipboard – One of the new continuity features, Universal Clipboard allows users to copy content on one device and paste it onto another.

– Hot off the announcement that 10 billion user documents are stored in iCloud, Apple confirmed that all files stored on the Desktop or in the Documents folder of a Mac will be available across multiple devices including other Macs, iPhone and iPad.

– Optimised Storage makes room for new files by keeping older ones in the cloud, and getting rid of files you’ll never use again through a simple user interface . You’ll receive notifications that remind you to delete useless app installers, caches, logs and duplicate downloads.

– Apple Pay on the web works in conjunction with iPhone, and prompts for touch ID payment authentication.

– Tabs will now be available outside of Safari in a variety of Apple apps like Maps, Pages, Mail and more, and will be incorporated into third-party apps too.

– Picture in Picture will allow users to watch videos while performing other tasks; it’s great for multitasking and ideal for continuing your Netflix binge while taking care of other, more important, things.

– Siri is making its Mac debut under Sierra – it’s accessible in the dock and menu bar. Siri will be able to send messages, search the web, open documents, look through photos and videos, make phone and FaceTime calls, set reminders and more.

If you want to know more about all the latest releases from Apple, 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.