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In this issue: Great news from WWDC; OS X 10.9.4 Mavericks: Free free; How to call Apple Bridgeport Village (or any Apple retail store); MacAtoZ vacation schedule.
MacAtoZ LLC
July 2014 MSS Newsletter

Great news from WWDC

Apple's annual World Wide Developer's Conferences (WWDC) was extra special this year. Although, as the name implies, it's an event focused on developers not consumers, us consumer-types also get a preview of what's to come. And boy is it exciting! 

What follows are some general notes I made while watching the two-hour, jam-packed WWDC keynote

The Macintosh installed base is now 80 million. Mac sales were up 12% last year versus -5% for the industry, meaning Apple is gaining marketshare. About 51% of this installed base is running Mavericks. 

OS X Yosemite (OS X 10.10) is coming next, looking very iOS 7-like. New system font. Dark mode. Notification Center much improved with third-party widgets. Spotlight finally takes on the qualities of LaunchBar, QuickSilver, and Alfred, making launching apps and doing searches even better. (I am very happy about this.)

Yosemite will include new features:
  • iCloud Drive: Basically, DropBox but built into the OS. 5 GB free, additional storage relatively inexpensive.
  • Mail: Supposedly improved. (One would hope.) MailDrop for large attachments (up to 5 GB). Nice. 
  • Markup: Built in images editing in the Mail app. Need to send an image and make a visual note on the image itself? There you go. Fantastic. 
  • Safari: Great new improvements, some of which make it faster and significantly more energy efficient. Scrolling tabs and tabview. If you use tabs in your web browsing, this should be great. Sharing an image or a page is a snap.
  • Continuity: AirDrop now works between iOS and Mac! Excellent news!
  • Handoff: Switch between using Mac and iOS device on the fly. Instant Hotspot from Mac. 
  • Text Messages: iPhone will relay text messages and phone calls(!) from your iPhone, even if your phone is on the other side of the house getting charged or something. Phone calls from your Mac. Very intriguing. 
Yosemite is free and will be released this fall. 

Now iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch): Sold 800 million iOS devices. 130 million iOS customers new to Apple in the last year. iOS 7 on 89% of devices. That's an enormous adoption rate for any platform. (Latest version of Android is only on something like 9% of all their phones.)

iOS 8 announced. It includes:
  • Interactive notifications. Get a notification, swipe or tap to immediately respond.
  • Spotlight suggestions, like new apps, news, restaurants, Wikipedia, movies, and more.
  • QuickType for keyboard: Predictive auto-suggestions for what you're typing. Should make entering text a lot faster.
  • Continuity between Mac and iOS devices. Start a document, email, etc. on Mac, keep working on it on iPhone or iPad...automatically. No user intervention to transfer required. 
  • Messages is the most frequently used app on iOS. Group messages vastly enhanced. Audio and Video messaging a breeze.
  • iCloud Drive to sync documents and work across applications.
  • HealthKit: A dashboard for your personal health information. 
  • Family Sharing: Perfect for a family to share apps, music, movies, iBooks using just one AppleID. (Finally!)
  • Photos: Every photo you take on your devices can go to the cloud. All of them, meaning every photo is available on any device. Great automatic photo editing. New Photos app coming early next year for Mac.
  • Siri: Adds Shazam song recognition, 22 new dictation languages. 
Minimum requirements for iOS 8 are iPhone 4S and iPad 2. iOS 8 Beta available for developers at WWDC, general release this fall, no charge. 

I did not include above some of the developer-only information (extensibility and Swift, for example), but suffice to say that developers were cheering by the end. Apple has moved their platforms (OS X and iOS) forward in dramatic fashion, and we will all be the beneficiaries. 
 

OS X 10.9.4 Mavericks: Feel free

The OS X 10.9.4 release of Mavericks is here, and after testing, I'm confident enough in its stability and reliability to encourage those who wish to upgrade to do so.

The only area that continues to vex slightly is Mail, and then only in cases where you have multiple devices or computers accessing the exact same email account. For me, I have these multiple devices (Mac, iPhone, iPad) using the same email accounts, and if I delete an email on one device, Maverick's Mail app doesn't always delete it on the Mac. This is an inconvenience, but it's not enough that would tell users not to upgrade. 

So here's my specific advice: 

If you're running Mac OS X 10.6.8, I would encourage this upgrade by the end of year for security reasons. 10.6.8 no longer receives security updates, and you'll want to keep your Mac secure. That said, you'll be bypassing several operating systems (10.7 and 10.8) so you'll also have the biggest learning curve.

If your Mac is currently on OS X 10.7, you should also consider an upgrade. It's not essential from a security perspective, but Mavericks is generally a better operating system in my experience than 10.7.

If your Mac has OS X 10.8, the upgrade is not essential. You can do it, and Mavericks will add some new features, but your Mac continues to be secure on 10.8 and if you don't want the hassle of an operating system upgrade, then you certainly could just wait for Yosemite (see story above). 
 
How to Upgrade (a quick primer)
First, I always recommend that you go to Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility and verify your hard drive (Verify Disk). Assuming it's fine, then proceed. (If it's not fine, please call us as soon as practical. You have a computer issue that needs to be resolved ASAP.)

Just as important: Make sure you have a current backup of your data! Time Machine or other backup system should be up-to-date before you attempt an operating system upgrade. We're at the point now that it's rare that such a thing would cause data loss, but it does happen, and we don't want it happening to you. 

Go to the Mac App Store, sign in, and in the Featured section look for OS X Mavericks as the first item in the column on the right. Click that, click the Download button on the resulting page, and off you go. It will likely take couple of hours to complete (depending on the speed of your Internet connection and of your Mac), but the OS is free and the install is fairly automated. I've not seen many reports of trouble on the install, and I've personally upgraded dozens of machines without issue. We did have one client-attempted install fail recently, but we were able to reinstall just fine.

Once Mavericks is installed, you may be prompted to sign in to iCloud with your AppleID. If you have one, go ahead. If not, you can skip it and do it later. 

There will be changes in how the operating system works, so expect it to take a few days before you're comfortable with everything. One notable difference, Mail, can be switched back to the older, "Classic" layout, by going to Mail Preferences > Viewing and checking the "Use classic layout" check box. 

If you have questions about Mavericks or want help with installation, please don't hesitate to call (503-507-0410) or email (support@macatoz.com) for help. 
 

How to call Apple Bridgeport Village (or any Apple retail store)

The nearest official Apple retail store to Salem is Apple Bridgeport Village (hereafter ABV). Many people confuse the Mac Store at Lancaster Mall for an official Apple retail store, but the Mac Store is just an authorized third-party reseller. NOT the same by a long shot.

Changes to Apple's phone system for retail stores make it harder to talk with someone at the store itself. The ABV phone number is 503-670-8400. It is answered by an automated phone system that "recognizes" complete sentences. The word "recognizes" is in quotes for a reason. 

We recently dropped off a warrantied MacBook Pro for repair and tried calling the store for the status. Any sentence or phrase spoken to the automated system shunted us away from the store to AppleCare, and while that makes sense in many contexts, it was worthless here. No amount of punching zero on the keyboard worked either. Finally, on our fifth try, we figuratively threw up our hands and just talked with someone at AppleCare. He gave us the following advice. 

If you want to talk with someone at the store, you need to say, "I want to talk with a manager." That will route you to the store. We encourage you to learn from our experience and file this phrase away for future use. 

That said, should you have any questions about a hardware repair, you're welcome to call us for assistance. Particularly for out-of-warranty machines, we can get repairs done less expensively than Apple. 
 

MacAtoZ summer schedule

As we do every summer, we'll be on "vacation" mode during the last weeks of July and first few weeks of August. (This year, our family is taking a tour of the southwest.)

This means that it may take longer to get back to you regarding any issues that you might call or email us about. It does NOT mean that you shouldn't contact us if you're having a computer problem. As a member of our remote support program, your computer concerns remain a priority to us, and we have blocked out time during vacation to assist with problems that may arise. Please call or email. 

We will be returning to full-time operation on Monday, August 18. Thank you in advance for your support and understanding.
Apple Consultants Network
MacAtoZ LLC provides technical support, upgrade, installation, networking, training and tutoring, web design and hosting, and remote support services for Apple products like Macintosh computers, iPhones, iPods, and iPads. Ty Davison, our senior technician, is the only Apple-certified, Apple Consultants Network 
member serving both residential and small business clients in Oregon's mid-Willamette Valley.

MacAtoZ also provides Social Networking consulting services, providing help to individuals and small businesses with FaceBook, Twitter, Tumblr, and more. 

MacAtoZ has been providing computer services for clients in the Salem area since 2006 (and since 1999 as SiteRev.com). Our technicians are certified by Apple and carry $1 million in business liability insurance. We frequently present and are well-known at the Salem Macintosh Users Group (SMUG). You can count on us.

At $120 an hour, MacAtoZ offers one of the lowest Apple certified on-site rates in Oregon. Our innovative remote support program, the MacAtoZ Service Suite (MSS), also provides a wide-range of remote support features at incredibly low-prices.

If you're looking to save money on Apple and Apple-related products, check out our MacAtoZ Online Store. (If you're looking for computer memory, we sell that directly.)



 
MSS

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