Mac Information

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


Apple's New iOS 8 Coming This Autumn- What to Expect...

Last week Apple gave a preview of the next version of iOS 8, the software which runs your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch.  Apple releases a new major update once per year and iOS 8 will be the big upgrade for 2014-5.

So what is to come this Autumn…

1/ Messages:
The Messages app is getting an upgrade, and you will be able to see all of your text messages on your Mac, iPhone and iPad, both iMessages and SMS messages.  
Up to now you could only read and send (blue) iMessages on your iPad and iPhone.  But this is changing so that you don’t miss (green) messages from your Blackberry or Android friends.

The new Messages app will also allow you to send short voice messages- you tap the microphone, speak your message and then send that recording through the app:

You will be able to share your location with your text message friends- you might be at an event and wish to show the other person where you are to meet up with them.  You can choose to do this for a temporary period, such as an hour:

2/ New Design:
Some of the changes in iOS 8 will make life a bit easier.  When you receive a text or email on your iPhone it appears at the top of the screen for a few seconds (banner notification).  Under iOS 8, you can tap and send a quick reply, without having to move out of the app you were in.  Right now under iOS 7, you have to move over to Mail or Messages to type a response, interrupting what you were working on.  This quick response feature will mean less moving back and forth between apps:

At present, double-prssing your home button brings up the multitasking screen, showing all of your open apps. Under iOS 8 you will also see a contacts bar at the top of the screen, with your favourite people and recent contacts.  One tap on a face will allow you to call, text or FaceTime that person- a handy way to get to your favourite people more quickly, without having to switch over to your Contacts app first.

iOS 8 will bring a new way to type, with predictive text!  It learns the kinds of phrases you use and will offer suggestions for words which fit into the sentence you are typing:

A new line above the keyboard will offer suggested words which iOS 8 thinks you are about to type next.  Tap one to add it to your message, email etc.  iOS 8 will also recognise the phrases you might use in the Messages as opposed to what you say in Mail- it tries to learn the differences and offer the appropriate words depending on the app you are using.

Apple have also opened up the keyboard to other developers- if you don’t like the iPhone typing method, you can swap the iOS 8 keyboard for another company’s version!  It will just be a matter of installing a new keyboard app.  This could help people who come to the iPhone/iPad but are more familiar with another method of typing, such as on a Blackberry device of Android.

Spotlight searches get an upgrade too- searches will search inside the content on your device (as it does today) but it will also search the web.  Pulling down the icons on your home screen brings up the Spotlight box and under iOS 8 it will find results from internet sites such as Wikipedia:

3/ Family Sharing:
Apple have finally come up with a method to share apps, music, movies between family members.  Up to now each person needed to have their own account and credit card or they attempted to share one Apple ID (which invariably ended in a mess!).  Under Family Sharing, children have an “ask to buy” button which sends a message to their parents’ device.  The parent then has the option to allow the purchase or block it:  

The feature allows allows for shared calendars, locations and photo albums between up to 6 family members.

4/ Photos:
The new iCloud Photos feature under iOS 8 allows you to place all of your photos into iCloud storage, where you can then access any of your photos from your iPhone, iPod or iPad.  
This would mean less syncing between your iPhoto on your Mac and your iOS device.  It will also mean less space being used up on your iPhone or iPad as the photos are stored on the cloud and only downloaded to your device when required.  

Each iCloud account has 5GB of storage, so it is likely that you will need to pay for more storage to take advantage of this feature.  Apple have price tiers for this- an extra 20GB will be $1 per month, 200GB will be $4 per month.  

The Camera app in iOS 8 has new filters and a new Time Lapse video feature.  

5/ iCloud Drive:
The new iCloud Drive will work a lot like Dropbox.  You will be able to browse through all of your files, rearrange them and open them on your iPad or iPhone.  You can also start a Pages, Keynote or Numbers file on your iPhone and then pick up your iPad and carry on editing that document.  

This new file system means you can browse through all of your files in one place, whereas up to now you had to look for them inside the appropriate app, such as only seeing your Pages files inside the Pages app. 


A couple of footnotes:

- iOS 8 will not run on an iPhone 4.  It will only work on a 4s, 5 and 5s, and presumably the new iPhone 6 which is likely to arrive in the Autumn.  
- it will run on any iPad except for the original iPad 1.
- iOS 8 is a free upgrade.

Dr. Simon Spence / 2014.

What a Difference 5 Years Makes…

Amazing what five years does. In the first half of 2007 Apple did not sell a mobile phone. In 2012, they control 75% of the profits of the entire mobile phone industry, and 40% of all revenues. This is today’s chart from Business Insider:

5 years of the iPhone

This shows two things. Firstly how Apple have come to dominate the industry, and they do this selling one model of phone, in three flavours (iPhone 4S, 4 and 3GS). The majority of their units and revenue come from just one model of iPhone, the new iPhone 4S. Apple don’t produce a myriad of handsets and configurations, and this helps to sharpen their image in the market. Everyone knows about the iPhone and most people either have one or intend to get one.

Secondly, Apple’s profit level on these phones far exceeds any other manufacturer. Many Android phone makes would envy the margins that Apple hold, while they pump pout low-cost handsets with thin dividends. Apple makes less than 10% of the total handsets sold, and yet rake in 75% of all of the profits.

It is an amazing story and shows just how far Apple Inc. have moved in the first five years. They have a sharp position in a crowded market, but manage to make their iPhone business one of the most profitable in the tech sector..

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.


iPhone 4 launches in Ireland

The new iPhone 4 has launched in Ireland, and we have the info you need. The iPhone is available on the Vodafone, O2 and 3 networks, and here are the details for each company:


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


What we love & hate about iOS 4

The new iOS 4 for the iPhone is now out and we have been working with a developer version for the last few weeks. Here is our list of our favourite and least favourite parts!

What we love...

1/ Folders- life is much simpler now, with only 2 screens worth of icons. We like to leave the front screen for the most part as Apple intended, and we now have all of screen two containing folders. Just so much more convenient to find things and organise icons.
2/ Camera zoom- ok so it is digital zoom and not true zoom, but it is great for framing a shot and having some way to focus on our subject
3/ Text character count- now we know how long our text messages are- and we like to know this
4/ Combined inbox- we love this and hated all of the old switching back and forth. We also like the threaded messages where they are grouped together when from the same conversation. Nice touch..

Vodafone introduce a price

Vodafone have announced tethering prices for the iPhone.

1GB will cost an expensive €9.99, but 10GB will cost €19.90. This second option seems like far better value and matches Vodafone's prices for mobile broadband USB sticks.
Tethering with Vodafone Ireland
However this compares to O2 rates, where the top plan includes 15GB for €19.99.
Here the current O2 tethering rates:
1GB - €12.50 monthly
7.5GB - €16.99 monthly
15GB - €19.99 monthly

What makes the O2 plan so cynical is that the iPHone comes with an unlimited data plan. It is just that when you use the iPHone to provide internet to your Mac or PC, they charge the tethering rates above.



Vodafone announce release of iPhone on March 25th

Vodafone have announced the release date for the iPhone on its Irish network. The iPhone is due on March 25th, and they have also released the final price plans.

Some of the prices have changed since the pre-release which began in December. Here are the full details:



Listening to radio on the iPhone or iPod touch

Many people we have spoken to have a yearning to listen to radio on their iPhone. This is not possible from a hardware point of view- there is no radio receiver in the iPhone. However you can download apps which will let you listen to radio stations using internet feeds.

One such example which we like is FStream. It is a free app, and you will need to know the address for the radio stations you wish to listen to:
FStream for iPhone and iPod touch radio
However we have gathered a few examples:



Internet tethering problems in Ireland

Internet tethering on the iPhone offers the possibility of using your phone as a modem, something which is very welcome for travellers and business users. It may can reduce the number of devices you carry with you, as many people on the road would already have a USB modem, which plugs into a laptop and provides 3G data access.
iPhone tethering in Ireland
Apple explain the steps required to set up internet tethering on this page, and troubleshooting tips here.

However the situation in Ireland is quite different when you go to use this feature. O2, still the only official provider of iPhones in Ireland, charge an extra fee for using tethering. Here are their current prices:
1GB O2 Advance Internet Tethering - €12.50 monthly - 1 GB usage allowance
7.5GB O2 Advance Internet Tethering - €16.99 monthly - 7.5 GB usage allowance
15GB O2 Advance Internet Tethering - €19.99 monthly - 15 GB usage allowance



RTÉ embrace the iPhone and iPod touch

One interesting development we have noticed over the last few months is RTÉ's embrace for apps on the iPhone and iPod touch. The latest application is the RTÉ news app, which is availbale for free on the iTunes App Store for Ireland. it's worth noting that if you try to buy the RTÉ News app from the US store, it costs $2.99.
RTE News app
The RTÉ news app is quite a simple application with two main functions: the first is top stories section which reflects the news stories on the RTÉ website. It has four sections covering news, sport, business and entertainment. The second feature is the "watch live" section, which has a video feed of RTÉ News headlines and weather. There are two other buttons at the bottom of the screen, one called "share" and one called "RTÉ Mobile". However these are just links for sharing details of the app with a friend and a link to other mobile features and applications. So on first impressions it looks as if this application has more to it, but in fact it is just a combination of the RTÉ website news, and the news video feed. Overall it is useful, if rather uninspiring. [Click here- iTunes link].



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


Vodafone Ireland iPhone settings

Just in case any new Vodafone Ireland iPhone users need the details for their data and MMS settings, here they are:
Vodafone Ireland iPhone
To enter these, go to Settings -> General -> Network-> Cellular Data Network

Cellular Data
Username: vodafone
Password: vodafone

Username: dublin
Password: dublin
MMS proxy:
MMS Max Message Size: 307200
MMS UA Prof URL: .

Why no Visual Voicemail in Ireland?

Since O2 launched the iPhone in Ireland in March 2008, Visual Voicemail has been missing from the offering. When we contacted O2 about this in 2008, we were told that this would possibly be introduced if customers expressed interest. However at this point, we are sure that most people using an iPhone in Ireland are unaware that Visual Voicemail is available in other countries, such as in the US and the UK.

Visual Voicemail for iPhone in Ireland

Visual Voicemail was one of the key features of the iPhone when announced by Apple in January 2007. When O2 introduced the iPhone in the UK, Visual Voicemail was available, but the subsequent launch in Ireland excluded this feature. We speculated at that time that Apple were more concerned about launching on a network in Ireland than on insisting on this feature with the carrier.

We will be interested to see what happens when the iPhone is officially launched on Vodafone in 2010. Will this be the first chance for customers to use Visual Voicemail, and will O2 finally introduce this feature?.

First Impressions: iPhone on Vodafone Ireland

We received our new Vodafone Ireland iPhone this week, and have begun to use it on the network. Our first impressions are that there have been no problems or glitches, and that the registration process was seamless.

This is done through iTunes and involves the user entering their Apple ID and password. This worked perfectly, and the phone simply stated that it was now unlocked and registered.

iPhone 3GS on Vodafone Ireland

This is the one bit which is rather unfriendly. The iPhones which are being distributed are not set up for Vodafone, and so the user needs to type in the settings manually. IOS, the distributor, have included a two page document with the iPhone pack, which shows you the steps. The details need to be entered in the Cellular Data Network section of the Settings, under Network. Without these settings, the user can't send or receive MMS messages, or use the 3G network.
One item not included on the list is that you should restart the iPhone after you enter these settings. The MMS part will not function until you do this.

Calls, messaging and 3G quality:
We haven't noticed any difference in call quality on the Vodafone network to using any other Vodafone phone. We have not tested the 3G signal for data yet, but have been receiving emails on the move. Texting has worked flawlessly.

We have found the experience very simple and easy, although it is a bit like being a "shadow" customer of Vodafone. Their call centre will not be able to help with any queries (as stated in the letter) as their staff have not yet been trained, and when we log in to our account, there is no evidence of us using an iPhone. It all feels a bit covert right now, although it does not effect our day-to-day use of the phone, it feels a bit odd. The only issue might come if a user has a problem and needs to phone for support. IOS will only claim to be the distributor, and Vodafone won't have the answers. However as this is all part of a preliminary release, we appreciate that this goes with the territory.

If you are in a similar situation with an early iPhone on Vodafone, let us know your experiences.


Exclusive: iPhone arriving on Vodafone Ireland

Vodafone have begun to phone customers in Ireland in relation to the iPhone. It appears that they are beginning to sell the phone to customers who pre-registered.

iPhone on Vodafone Ireland

Vodafone are working with IOS, a company which will distribute the iPhone on their behalf. This is in advance of the official launch, happening in early 2010. This offer is being made to some of the Vodafone customers who registered online when they announced their intention to adopt the iPhone at the end of September . If the customer agrees to go ahead, IOS will arrange delivery of an iPhone to the Vodafone customer.

The tariffs also reveal that Vodafone are to offer a 2GB data package, twice the level offered by O2. Here are the details:

Basics: 0 minutes and 0 texts
Data allowance per month: 2GB
Free Vodafone to Vodafone calls
Contract length: 18 months
Cost of 16GB iPhone 3GS: €199
Monthly tariff: €34.99 per month

Basics: 150 minutes and 150 texts
Data allowance per month: 2GB
Free Vodafone to Vodafone calls
Contract length: 18 months
Cost of 16GB iPhone 3GS: €199
Monthly tariff: €49.99 per month

Basics: 300 minutes and 300 texts
Data allowance per month: 2GB
Free Vodafone to Vodafone calls
Contract length: 18 months
Cost of 16GB iPhone 3GS: €99
Monthly tariff: €64.99 per month

Basics: 500 minutes and 500 texts
Data allowance per month: 2GB
Free Vodafone to Vodafone calls
Contract length: 18 months
Cost of 16GB iPhone 3GS: €49
Monthly tariff: €84.99 per month

Basics: 700 minutes and 700 texts
Data allowance per month: 2GB
Free Vodafone to Vodafone calls
Contract length: 18 months
Cost of 16GB iPhone 3GS: Free
Monthly tariff: €99.99 per month

Vodafone have stated that they have a limited supply of these iPhones, and the 16GB 3GS model is the only one available. This is a limited release to those who registered early, and the full launch of the phone on Vodafone Ireland's network will around February 2010.

To compare the tariffs to those offered by O2, click here..

Tesco UK to sell iPhones

Tesco in the UK have announced that they are to begin to sell iPhones in a deal with O2. Tesco Mobile, the mobile phone division of th well-known supermarket chain, will start to sell iPhone 3G and 3GS handsets “shortly”. This brings the number of sellers of iPhones to three, with O2 and Orange already selling iPhone sin the UK.

Tesco’s website has further details.


Vodafone to sell iPhone in Ireland and the UK

The news that Vodafone UK and Ireland will begin to sell the iPhone in the new year must come as good news to many people. Orange UK is also planning to join the party, and this will hopefully inject a good element of competition into the market.
iPhone at Vodafone Ireland and the UK
We have had a number of clients who have been reluctant to switch to get their hands on an iPhone, and in our own case, the O2 network reception is very poor at our office. So the idea of staying with Vodafone and finally being able to upgrade to an iPhone is good news.

O2 announce iPhone 3G S prices for Ireland

O2 have released their tariffs and prices for the new iPhone 3G S. The new phones will be available form June 26th, although data tethering will not be available at launch. However MMS will be available from the start, something AT&T have been criticised for the in the US.
iPhone 3G S in Ireland.

Dates for iPhone 3G S launch, inc. Ireland

If you watch the WWDC keynote speech you will see Phil Schiller announce the dates for the launch of the iPhone 3G S. Here are three snapshots of those dates:.

Apple launch new iPhone 3G S & 3.0

Apple have launched the new iPhone 3G S, which is due to go on sale later this month. The new phone is faster than its predecessor, the iPhone 3G, and incorporates a new video and stills camera. It also has voice controls for making calls, a built in compass for sat nav software and other apps, and comes with the new 3.0 OS.

iPhone 3G S Ireland.

Review: Quickoffice Files

One App Store application we really like is Quickoffice Files, which allows you to download or place files on your iDisk, and email them to colleagues. You can also connect your Mac to the iPhone to drop files between the devices..

Mac Information Guide: Using an iPhone Abroad

Mac Information have put together a PDF guide on roaming changes for data, and how best to avoid big bills. The PDF shows you how to use WiFi only when roaming, and how to change your settings before stepping on that plane..

All you need to know from the iPhone event...

  • Here is a run-down of the announcements from the iPhone 3.0 event this week:
iPhone OS 3.0 event summary
  • iPhone now on sale in 80 countries, with China being probably the biggest gap right now.
  • 13.7m iPhones sold in 2008
  • 17m iPhones sold to end of 2008
  • iPhone and iPod touch run iPhone OS- so 30m devices now run this OS
  • 800,000 downloads of iPhone SDK
  • 50,000 iPhone developers now signed up to Apple Developer program
  • 60% did not develop for Apple before this

iPhone update plugs many gaps

The new iPhone operating system, based on Mac OS X, was previewed this week at a special Apple event held in Cupertino. Version 3.0 promises many new features, 100 according to Apple. Some of these are very welcome and fill gaps which we had hoped would be filled soon.

iPhone OS 3.0.