Mac Information

Apple Macintosh, iPod, iPad and iPhone news and advice in Dublin, Ireland


Steps for Upgrading to iOS 8

Here are our recommended steps for upgrading to the new operating system for your iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, iOS 8.


1/ check if your device is covered- here are the devices which can install iOS 8:
iPhone: 4s, 5, 5s, 5c, (the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus comes with iOS 8 already installed)
iPad: 2, 3, 4, Air
iPad mini: mini, mini with Retina Display
iPod: touch (5th generation)

2/ update your device today before iOS 8 arrives- get your device up to the latest version of iOS 7 (7.1.2) in advance of the big move to iOS 8.

3/ update your apps- that number on top of your App Store icon- deal with it! Go into the App Store and install all of the waiting updates.

4/ backup your device in iTunes on your Mac. We strongly recommend backing up your device to your Mac, as this will mean you have a complete backup in case of loss, accident or theft. Run another backup before you are tempted to upgrade to iOS 8.

5/ clear your photos from the camera roll: yes while you are at your Mac, try to keep your camera roll slimmed down by importing your photos to iPhoto and then clear the camera roll after, when it confirms that all photos have been imported. Try not to let your camera roll reach into the 1000s!
Instead, sync your favourite photos back to your device by creating albums and selecting them in iTunes.

6/ restart your device- always good to have a fresh start.

7/ make sure you plug it into the power before upgrading- don’t update on battery power (ok you can technically do this as long as you have enough battery life left, but it is safer to plug it into your adapter or Mac during the update as it is a big download!).

8/ now go ahead and upgrade- it is quicker to do this on the device, so go to Settings -> General -> Software Update.
Once Apple release iOS 8 it will appear in this section. If you see a message saying you are up to date and on 7.1.2, then the new update has not been released yet. It should arrive tomorrow evening (17th Sept).

To check out some of the highlights of iOS 8, have a look at our earlier article..

Expect a busy Sept-Oct from Apple

The months of September and October and going to be big for Apple this year. Given that there have been relatively few announcements for customers in the early part of the year, with WWDC being aimed at developers, September and October promises to reshape the Apple line up.

First, we expect there to be two events between now and Christmas. Although Apple have not officially announced any event yet, it is almost certain that a Sept 10th event will see the unveiling of the new iPhone(s). We also expect the new iOS 7 to ship with the new phones, something which Apple have so far only said will happen in “Fall” 2013.


In terms of hardware, this leaves the iPads, iPods and some Macs, all of which we expect to be updated before Christmas. Our view is that Sept 10th will see two new iPhones (5S and 5C?), plus the launch of iOS 7. This seems to be plenty for a 60-90 min keynote. Then at the later event in October, we will see the annual refresh of the iPods and possibly iPads, ready for the busy Christmas season.

OS X Mavericks may not require any press event. This was previewed in June at WWDC, and so its launch date may just be mentioned at a keynote, or it will be a press release.

As for the Macs, we expect to see refreshed iMacs and MacBook Pros before the end of the year, but these two can happen without any event. There is also the question of the Mac Pro, something Apple have been making noise about ever since Phil Schiller’s sneak preview at WWDC. It could be that they will launch the Mac Pro at one of the events, simply because it makes a statement about Apple design and deserves more than a press release. Apple seem to be taking their step back into pro desktop seriously and so will want to show off this machine at a media event.

Lastly, the Apple TV. Don’t bet any money on this. It is likely that there will continue to be an iterative change to this existing product, but we don’t expect any major new hardware just yet. Unlike with mp3 players or PCs, Apple need to focus firstly on content and lastly on hardware. It is a matter of getting the content providers into place and then we have no doubt that Apple have a new hardware product to match this offering. But for now Eddie Cues torturous job of dragging all networks and content producers to the table continues..

New iOS: iOS 7 for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad

Apple launched a test version of their new iOS 7 last week, giving a sneak preview of what is coming in September.
iOS 7 will be the new operating system for iPhones and iPads and is probably the biggest change since the first iPhone in 2007.

Here is a quick rundown with some snapshots of how it will look:

Home screen
The new iOS 7 has a cleaner look, with lots of clear clean lines and a less cluttered feel. Here I an example of the new home screen on an iPhone under iOS 7:

ios-7-iPhone-5-ireland-1 ios-7-iPhone-5-ireland-2

You can see above that the new look is crisp and clear.


Shipped versus Sold

Today’s IDG sales figures are good news for Apple. Their year on year growth was 65% with 19.5 million iPads shipping in the first quarter of 2013. However we would caution against reading too much into these figures.

Click here to view the IDC chart.

The number stated can only be estimates as companies such as Microsoft and Amazon do not reveal the number of tablets sold. Furthermore, it seems that IDG quote figures for numbers of tablets shipped and not the real number of tablets sold. Only Apple give the number of iPads it sells for each quarter. It is hard to tell what percentage of these tablet shipments on the IDG chart are left unsold or are returned to the supplier. In December, Blackberry wrote off $485 million in PlayBook inventory, bringing the cost to the company of its tablet adventures to $1.5 billion.

There are three figures to look out for (if a company gives hints to their real numbers): the number of tablets manufactured, the number shipped and most importantly, the number sold. Many companies seem to give indications about the numbers shipped but fewer are revealing the numbers actually sold and in the hands of consumers..

What next for Apple?

Yesterday’s results revealed both good and bad news for Apple. On the good side they reported $43.6 billion in revenue, compared to last year when they reported $39.2 billion for Q2. iPhone sales were up 7% year on year, with iPad sales up a huge 65%- this is the key part of the Q2 story.


On the negative side, profits were down to $9.5 billion compared to $11.6 billion in Q2 2012. That’s quite a big drop, especially when you look at revenue increasing in the quarter. But what seems to be at play here is the success of the iPad mini. Apple say that the mini makes up the majority of all iPad sales and its margin is far lower than the larger iPad. Apple at present seem to be ok about letting their margins dip while share grows. Apple dominates the “tablet” (iPad) market and they have done this by adding the new mini to grab the smaller device market before a competitor can undermine their position. If we look back, the same happened in the iPod market in the 00s when Apple added the iPod mini, followed by the iPod nano. The smaller form appealed to consumers and it became the biggest selling model.

Good news
The good news is the iPad figure. The continuing dominance of the iPad means that Apple’s is still the default tablet. As home customers and increasingly corporate buyers move away from PCs, the iPad is becoming the device of choice. This combined with the figures for iCloud, where Apple now have 300m accounts, means that iOS is a unique environment. iTunes accounted for $2.4 billion in revenue this quarter from sales of music, apps, films and books etc.

mountain-lion 10.8

The Mac too is holding its own, especially in turbulent times. Overall PC sales are down about 14% (according to IDC), so Apple’s relatively flat sales are a good result for the quarter. This is especially true when you consider that the iMac was not in full supply until well into the quarter, with supply problems since its December release.

Bad news
The problem for Apple may lie in what comes next. Cook mentioned that new products were coming in the autumn and this may signal a quiet quarter on the hardware front. Apple’s attention seems to now be on WWDC and software announcements, with iOS 7 and OS X 10.9 expected to be key parts of the June event.

iPhone sales will fall away in Q3 just as they always have in the past, in anticipation of the next model being announced. Customers have become very savvy at this and most people will tell you that buying an iPhone in the summer is a bad idea (unless you are being offered a good deal for the soon-to-be-replaced handset).

iPad sales will also be mixed. Speculation about the next model may drive sales down and yet the start of the education buying season, with students returning to school and university, may help balance the figures. However we still expect this to be the lowest quarter of the year for iPad and iPhone, Apple’s two strongest product categories.

Cook referred to new product announcements in the Autumn but there is still the possibility of a new Mac Pro being announced at WWDC. This is the logical place for such a statement. Apple has shied away from hardware at WWDC in recent years, but the Mac Pro is an inexcusable gap in the Apple Mac lineup.

There may also be some refreshing of processors in the laptop lines, possibly to boost the education season. This could wait until the Autumn, but that way all categories may be refreshed in one go, something that Apple may avoid in an attempt to spread out the good news. It’s is also worth noting that any refresh of Macs always happen after any back to education sales offers. This may mean any changes come late in the quarter.

Overall we expect Q3 to be about strategy- the next version of iOS and OS X setting the pace for the year. Apple have already indicated that revenue will be between $33.5 and $35.5 billion with a gross margin of 36-37%, lower than in Q2. In Q3 of last year sales were at $35 billion and so ben Apple expect a flat year over year set of results.

However this does all lead us to Q4 and more importantly Q1 2014, where new products come on stream. Q1 is Apple’s Christmas quarter and is always a blow-out set of results and we see no reason why this will not continue. Indeed Cook referred to a new product segment in the conference call and that means one thing- a new leg on the Apple table. Apart from a revised iPhone and iPad, and updated Macs and iPods, it looks certain that they will enter a new market before the end of the calendar year. If investors are looking for signs of growth for the end of 2013 and into 2014, Cook presented them with a perfect hint to what’s next for Apple..

New Products for 2013

Now that we are in April it is likely that there will be new products in the next few weeks. We say this for these reasons:

- Apple normally refresh the iPad range at this time of the year, with the iPad 4 being the one exception
- the MacBook Air line was refreshed in June 2012 and so may be ready for a change
- the education buying season starts in early summer and Apple traditionally updates Macs aimed at this market

- the iPods will not be refreshed until the Autumn
- Apple have recently caught up with iMac demand and so a refresh is unlikely until late 2013
- the Mac Pro is crying out for an update, although we would bet this will happen at the WWDC conference this summer
- the iPhone will be updated in the usual timeframe, between June-Sept.

It's About Innovation and Increments, Not Market Demands

Apple has always been a company which steadily improved products. Year on year advances and changes, with well chosen launches and introductions for new technology. So how did it reach a point where some members of the press suggest that Apple *need* a brand new product now, saying that their future growth and profits depend on this?

For example, one analyst is quoted as saying “to re-accelerate growth, Apple likely needs to launch new products…” [link]. However this is simply untrue. In the past, Apple has steadily grown through incremental changes, launching a product and then following up with year on year changes to refine and improve this product segment. The major innovation, which breaks up an existing market and redefine its direction, is the exception and not the standard. The iPod, the iPad and iPhone all came years apart and after the initial launch, Apple would improve this with changes and innovation by adapting the improving its product to stay ahead of the competition.


The iPod is a classic example of this. The original iPod was introduced in 2001 and did not receive huge acclaim at the start. Instead its popularity grew as Apple modified the design, with incremental changes and the parallel changes to iTunes. Each year in recent times there have been new iPods, not redefining the industry, but keeping the iPod ahead of all competitors. Even today the iPod dominates the digital music market.

The same pattern has been adopted for the iPhone and iPad, with yearly updates, improving and adding features with each new model. So why do so many analysts demand completely new products from Apple, as if this was the general driver for the company’s growth? For a company which launched two game changing products in the last six years (iPhone and iPad) why does anyone expect Apple to launch a new product frequently?

This is partly due to simple laziness. We believe that many of these analysts don’t understand Apple’s history and only know the headlines. They believe that the iPod, Mac, iPhone and iPad came from an innovation production-line and therefore there must be another new gadget ready in the automatic pipeline. Talk of a new Apple TV set shows this- an ill-conceived idea that Apple should enter this mature market. This makes no sense, as the margins in the this market are low and Apple are far more likely to enter a market which it sees as where we are heading rather than a market that has already existed for years.

It is entirely possible that Apple will launch a new product, possibly in 2013, but they will only do this when the product is right, when it is ready to launch (I.e. high quality and refined) and not when the market demands a new “innovation” from them. Apple has never reacted to expectations, instead choosing to enter at a disruptive moment, changing the direction of a product category or creating a grand new segment.

Apple constantly innovate; but this does not have to mean brand new products in new markets at regular intervals. In fact this type of predictable schedule defeats the essence of innovation and the flexibility that Apple needs to surprise and delight consumers. .

Apple launch iPad mini and iPad 4

Apple launched two new iPads today; the brand new iPad mini and a new iPad 4, which is the latest Retina Display iPad.


The new iPad mini has a diagonal screen size of 7.9 inches, and comes with an A5 processor. It is half the weight of the iPad and is 23% thinner. It comes in white or black, and has the same storage range as the larger iPad (16, 32, 64GB). Anyone looking to buy the version which has a SIM-card slot needs to pay special attention to the two variations, which will match different mobile phone carriers. iPad with Retina Display Model A1460 and iPad mini Model A1455 are designed to work with UK carriers (and presumably Irish ones too). Check out Apple’s information page for details.

On the iPad 4, the main difference to its predecessor is speed. It comes with a new A6X chip, but comes in the same storage sizes and with the Retina Display. We don’t see the iPad 4 as a vital upgrade for iPad 3 owners- it is just an improvement for the Christmas market. We also welcome Apple launching this in time for the Christmas buying season, rather than immediately after. It also seems to be that Apple needed to revise the iPad to take advantage of new LTE networks, such as the new EE network coming to the UK.

Both of these new iPad ranges come with the Lightening connector instead of the older dock connector.

On price, the new iPad mini starts at €339 or £269 and they begin taking orders on the 28th October, with the WiFi models arriving on Nov 2nd. Cellular models arrive a few weeks later. .

iPad mini on the way?

John Gruber has the most logical reason I have seen to be persuaded that Apple will produce a smaller iPad- the resolution would be the same as the iPad and iPad 2, just squeezed into a smaller physical size. This makes sense, as the idea of asking developers to support another screen size sounds messy. .

Sony vs Apple

John Gruber, of Daring Fireball, has summed up all that is wrong in the technology industry, and just how right Apple have been in their positioning and timing.

When Apple launched the iPhone in 2007, they knew this would hit sales of the iPod. In fact during the 2007 keynote, Jobs stated that the iPhone was three devices in one: an iPod, a phone and an internet device. Many CEOs would have worried about cannibalising their own products, but as Gruber points out, “Apple is skating to where the puck is heading; Sony is skating to where the puck is at the moment.”


Sony are looking to a drop in camera sales, probably directly dented by the great camera in the new iPhone 4S. How many iPhone users still buy a separate point and shoot camera, now that the 4S comes with an 8 megapixel camera? Sony still focusses on separate devices, instead of going where the market is aiming for. They are chasing the model of the past, and not moving to where people will be in five years time..

Apple Dominates Tablet Computing

If you need any indication of just how much Apple dominates the tablet market, you just need to glance at this chart:

© Business Insider

The developments at HP in the last week just further strengthen this position. HP announced that it had decided to stop manufacturing its webOS devices, and held a fire-sale of all HP TouchPad tablets. The TouchPad was the number two tablet on the market, even if this was far behind the figures for the iPad.


Find My iPhone- essential kit for all iOS devices

If there is one feature you enable on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, make sure it is the “Find My iPhone” feature from Apple.

Find My iPhone


One year on, iPad apps we still use...

Having used an iPad for over a year now, and having recently upgraded to an iPad 2, here is a list of the apps we still use. We have also listed some apps which dropped out of favour.

Apps used daily:

1/ Twitter: the official app from Twitter. We slowly moved across to this instead of Twitterific, and we aren’t entirely sure why! The sliding panes of Twitter app may not be to everyone’s liking, and Twitterific does have a classier design. However you can only add one account to the free version of Twitterific, and in the end we weren’t drawn to Twitterific enough to buy a copy of the pro version. The Twitter app works fine for us.


iPad 2 goes on sale in Ireland & UK this Friday

Thinking of getting a new iPad 2? Well Friday is the day and Apple have confirmed pricing.

iPad 2 goes on sale in Ireland

The prices of the new iPad 2 models in Ireland are:

iPad 2 with WiFi
€479.00 inc VAT (€395.87 ex VAT) for the 16GB model
€579.00 inc VAT (€478.51 ex VAT) for the 32GB model
€679.00 inc VAT (€561.16 ex VAT) for the 64GB model


iPad 2 arrives- what is new?

Today Apple introduced iPad 2, which adds cameras and a new faster A5 chip to the tablet computer. The new model will go on sale in Ireland on March 25th and the prices will remain the same.

The main differences between iPad 1 and iPad 2 are:
1/ weight- 79 grams lighter
2/ thickness- the new iPad 2 is 33% thinner


The Mac Information Christmas Guide

Check out our 2010 Christmas Gift Guide, with a look at what we believe to be the best Apple products. We have chosen our favourite Mac, iPods, iPhone and iPad models, which may help you choose the best gadget!

Christmas 2010 iMac Christmas 2010 MacBook Pro Christmas 2010 iPad

Click here for details.

Watch out for Black Friday

Black Friday is a traditional sales day in the US, and over the last few years, some of the discounts available to US shopper have also been available in the UK and Ireland. It traditionally marks the start of the Christmas buying season in the US, following the Thanksgiving holiday.

If you are in the market for a new Mac or accessory, and you can wait until November 26th, then you may get a discount.


What we love and hate about the iPad

We have been using our iPad now for about four months, and so it is time to look back on what we most liked and really dislike about this device.

The first point is that we use the iPad for consuming and not producing; in other words we find ourselves reading emails, browsing webpages, and reading Twitter messages on the iPad. We have not moved to producing material, such as using Pages, Keynote or Numbers. We do tend to reply to emails, and will type out short messages but not any long messages or notes. .

iPad arrives in Ireland on July 23rd

The wait for the iPad to arrive in Ireland is almost over. Apple today announced that it will go on sale here this Friday, July 23rd.

Here are the prices and specs:


Our favourite iPad apps

Here is a quick list of iPad applications which we are using and like. Almost all are free and they can be downloaded using the App Store application on the iPad.

IPad apps for Ireland and the UK

Some of the best free apps:
- iBooks- to download books from the Apple store- lots of classic book are free
- Kindle- Amazon’s version of iBooks but access to the Amazon book store. This let’s you sync your books between your Mac and your iPad or iPhone using their Whisper Sync.
- Epicuruous- iPad version of recipes app
- Twitterific- best app for using with Twitter
- Pocket Pond- fun app- just try it!
- Planets- beautiful graphics showing the planets and stars
- Adobe Ideas- a drawing app


Article: Pre-ordering the iPad: It's All about the Brand

[This article appeared in TidBITS on March 29th 2010:
For more information about TidBITS please visit the site here]

A number of recent commentators, including one in an article reprinted by Macworld, questioned why anyone would bother to order an iPad before they had a chance to see one in a store or to read the reviews. The answer is "the brand." The strength of the Apple brand explains why people are willing to risk their hard-earned cash on something they haven't personally seen or experienced.

Strong product branding encompasses many variables, such as specifications, pricing, packaging, features, and overall utility. However, those are all part of the rational, logical reasons we buy something. Also significant, and, I would argue, even more important, are the unconscious reasons we buy a product such as an iPod or iPhone. If you talk to someone about why they bought an iPhone, they will list reasons such as the App Store, ease of synchronisation, or other functional aspects of using the phone. The closest we normally get to an emotional reason is the "cool factor," which is an acceptable way of describing your emotions towards the product without appearing goofy! However, these deep emotional keys motivate us to spend money on a product which has not yet been tried and tested.


No word on iPad for Ireland

The announcement last week that the iPad will go on sale in the US on April 3rd, and in selected counties later in April, have left Irish customers wondering- when? Apple announced that the iPad would be available for pre-order this week (March 12th) before going on sale in the US on Saturday April 3rd. The statement went on to say " in addition, all models of iPad will be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK in late April."
iPad in Ireland
This essentially follows the lines for Apple retail stores. Countries with retail stores will get the iPad first, presumably because shoppers will expect the device to be available in an official Apple store first. However countries without Apple stores, such as Ireland, do not yet have a launch date.



iPad in Education

About ten years ago I spent the majority of my time travelling between libraries in the UK and Ireland, researching for my PhD. This was a notes gathering exercise for about two years, as I collected material relating to my research field in Liverpool, Nottingham, Manchester, London and Dublin.

In those days I had two main tools to hand- my Apple PowerBook G3 laptop, and my trusty Apple eMate. Many people may have forgotten or may not even be aware of the eMate 300. It was launched in 1997, and was a small, light, green plastic mini device, a cross between a PDA and a laptop- a netbook without the net!

Apple eMate 300

This light PDA/laptop hybrid meant it was easy to carry around libraries, and was ideal for notes. The keys were smaller than on a standard PowerBook keyboard, but it was still comfortable to work on. It also had a stylus pen, which worked on the touch screen. There was no mouse input, and so you controlled windows and dialogue boxes using the pen on the greyscale screen.


Apps we would like to see on the iPad

With the introduction of the iPad, and its launch coming in March, we have been thinking about what apps we would like to see on the iPad. Up to now, apps on the iPhone have normally been widget-type apps, plus games and utilities. However the iPad offers the opportunity for larger input, through typing on the touchscreen keyboard or through an external keyboard.

The combination of keyboard and larger screen offers new opportunities for existing developers. So what apps might make it to the iPad, and lure us away from our laptop. Could the iPad replace a MacBook (Pro/Air) on the road?

1/ FileMaker- we liked FileMaker's sortie into the world of iPod/iPhone apps, but would love to see a more powerful iPad database app, which allows full FileMaker editing. This could be great for client databases for sales people on the road, or for researchers in universities.
FileMaker Pro for iPad


Top 5 groups who will want an iPad

Here is our assessment of the top five groups who should look at buying an iPad:

Top 5 iPad uses

1/ Presenters: the iPad is a great way to make presentations. With iWork available for the iPad, users can run Keynote. This means that sales people on the move could receive a presentation by email, edit it and then present it using the VGA adapter which will connect an iPad to a standard projector.


Apple iPad arrives- plenty of surprises

Apple have launched the new iPad, a tablet based computer, which runs a modified version of the iPhone OS.

Apple's new iPad for UK and Ireland

The iPad is a new type of device, primarily for viewing data, such as webpages, email, photos and books. It has access to three stores- the App Store, the iTunes Store, and the new iBook store, where users can download books from major publishers.

A few initial thoughts: