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In this issue: Apple releases OS X 10.10.4, iOS 8.4, and iTunes 12.2; More Apple news; Dynée Medlock to present at SMUG.
July 2015 MSS Newsletter

Apple releases OS X 10.10.4, iOS 8.4, and iTunes 12.2

We are busy testing all of the above, but early returns are very promising for OS X 10.10.4 Yosemite, slightly less so for iOS 8.4, and, well, we struggle for words with iTunes 12.2. Let's look at them one by one:

OS X 10.4.4 Yosemite
We've installed OS X 10.10.4 Yosemite on multiple Macs now and continue to test them without problem. Happily, this version of Yosemite includes a long-awaited fix for the networking issues that have bedeviled many a Mac user since Yosemite was introduced. So that's great. In fact, we're in a place now where we are prepared to recommend Yosemite as a general upgrade from any previous version of the Mac operating system, not just for people already using Yosemite. If your Mac is running OS X 10.6 or OS X 10.7 you are past due in terms of upgrading, and you should make plans to do so immediately. 

If your Mac is running OS X 10.8 or OS X 10.9, the need to upgrade is less pronounced, but Yosemite offers a number of new features and it's free, so there's little reason not to jump on board other than the inevitable learning curve that comes with a new operating system. Given that Apple only maintains the current operating system (10.10) and the last two (10.9 and 10.8) and given that 10.11 "El Capitan" arrives this fall, now is not a bad time to make the move the Yosemite. 

For clients already running Yosemite, presumably the 10.10.3 version, we're still in testing, but the chatter on the net has been good and we don't anticipate any show stopping bugs at this point. For our Sentinel+ clients, this means we'll look to roll out and automatically update any Yosemite Mac to 10.10.4 in about a week. You don't need to do anything except log out like normal. 

iOS 8.4
We have upgraded several iPhones and iPads to iOS 8.4. The upgrade process was not smooth on every device, with some requiring a restart post-install to get themselves sorted. We've also seen occasional random restarts (on iPhones, particularly). These are not common, daily crashes, but chatter on the net would seem to indicate that our experience is not extraordinary either. That said, by and large, we like iOS 8.4 and it seems (in admittedly limited testing) to be solid enough on iPhone 6 and iPad Air 2. We will be doing more testing on additional devices in the coming weeks. 

As of this writing iOS 8.4 has about a 40% adoption rate, meaning tens of millions of devices are running it and Apple has stopped code signing iOS 8.3 (so no going back) which is generally considered a vote of confidence. 

iTunes 12.2
The latest version of iTunes introduces Apple Music (a streaming music service for $10 a month), an all-new free worldwide radio station called Beats 1, and Apple Connect (a music-oriented social network for following your favorite musical artists). 

The overriding virtue of Apple Music is that for $10 a month, you have access to virtually every song in Apple's catalog. Unlimited music, unlimited plays, all the time. That sort of musical all-you-can-eat buffet will undoubtedly be appealing to many people. If you're not sure if you're one of them, Apple is even offering a free 3 month trial. Because I already have a large music collection (~20,000 songs), I'm not sure that Apple Music makes sense for me, but for someone with a smaller catalog or for the teenager just starting out, $10 a month for almost every song out there seems an incredible bargain. I can see Apple Music doing quite well. 

Beats 1, Apple's world-wide radio station, strikes me as a hot mess. I'm not saying it's without virtue—it plays a lot of music I really enjoy—but that I find much of the "how to use it" perplexing. I'm getting good results clicking around, but surely there has to be a better way to organize all this. (I will return to this theme shortly.)

Connect is Apple's latest venture into social networking, allowing musicians to post content and "connect" with the fans to choose to follow them. Apple tried this once before with the gone-but-not-at-all-lamented "Ping" social network. Connect does not strike me as an improvement or anything anyone will spend much time on, which is what I thought about Ping as well, but not knowing the teenage mind as I once did, perhaps I'll be proven wrong on this score. Kids today and all that. 

I'm more confident in saying that the iTunes user interface remains an utter disgrace for a company that stands for user friendliness. iTunes is one of Apple's most important programs, linking iOS devices to the Mac, sorting music, movies, apps, and facilitating the purchase of the same. It is also virtually impossible to intuit, to understand just by looking at it.

Instead I highly recommend you go the iTunes Help menu and choose "iTunes Quick Tour." You may need to go through the slides more than once. (Don't feel badly about this. It's not your fault.) Eventually, you can get the hang of the crazed user interface that is iTunes. It's neither fun nor very Apple-like, but it's what we're stuck with until Apple decides to do better. On the brighter side, it is free. 

 

More Apple news

Apple has launched a 3TB hard drive replacement program for iMac13,2 iMacs. This effects relatively few iMacs, but if you're concerned here are details

The recent XARA security vulnerabilities we sent a recent Newsflash about have by and large been patched by Apple. You should, of course, continue to be careful about where you download software from. 

 

Dynée Medlock to present at SMUG

Dynée Medlock, MacAtoZ's own Apple tech and web designer, will be giving this month's general meeting presentation, Changing the Face of Healthcare, for the Salem Macintosh Users Group (SMUG). The meeting will be held from 6:45 pm to 8:30 pm on Tuesday, July 14 at Comfort Suites on Hawthorne Avenue in Salem, Oregon. 

Visitors are always welcome, and should you be inclined to join, membership dues are just $25 per family per year. Dynée will be bringing snacks, which may be reason alone to attend. 

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