Apple’s New “Stuff”

I like Apple’s stuff. As I have written about in the past, that wasn’t always the case. But since 2008 or so, all of the major technology in my life has been Apple-made; and surprisingly our Anti-Apple district went all Apple in the summer of 2012 (We still have PC labs, but teachers all have MacBooks, and we have iPads in all 17 schools, including five 1:1 schools [one is my school]).

That said, I don’t run out and buy every Apple product. If I had endless money, I would, but at the moment, I own:

  • 2008 Aluminum MacBook
  • 4th Generation iPad
  • iPhone 5

We have a lot of other Apple things in our home, but these are the things that are specifically mine. My promise to myself is to purchase a new MacBook when I can no longer update to the next version of OS X. Surprise…the next version of OS X (Yosemite) will run on my MacBook. So…no new MacBook for me. Honestly, though, I pretty much only use my MacBook for Finale, PDFtoMusic, and PhotoScore Ultimate. We also use it as the home for our family pictures. Other than that–I use my iPad or iPhone

I did not update to the iPad Air, and this year will be a year of updating for me. I was waiting for Touch ID (unlock with fingerprint), which did not happen last year. This year’s release will be four to ten times faster than my iPad, so it will be time to update. My iPad is my #1 tool, so it is worth updating my iPad to me. It may not be worth updating for you.

Our iPhones are heavy lifters in our family. My wife lives on Facebook and Instagram via her iPhone. I do most of my reading on my iPhone. When AT&T changed their update policy (they used to offer annual updates to the newest iPhone), we stopped updating until the end of a contract. Our phones are two years old, and as of this writing, we expect new iPhones–with a new carrier–on Tuesday. We’ll see…the order was inexplicably cancelled today (I went to a T-Mobile store and placed the order in person this evening)

At its last press conference, Apple focused on three “new” things. Two iPhones and the Apple Watch.

I don’t understand the public’s desire for “phablets,” but it is clear that a lot of people want a phone that is a small tablet. Although that would be great for reading and browsing the web, it seems impractical as a phone. And I wouldn’t want to read or compose music on it. Sales of the iPhone 6 Plus are through the roof (as is the iPhone 6), so clearly my opinion is my own. I look forward to a rounded phone again (I have never been a big fan of the square iPhone 4-5) and I look forward to improvements in speed as well as Touch ID.

But in truth, most phones are now smart phones, and pretty much any phone will do what other phones will do. iPhones do have an easier to use operating system, but once you get past the operating system, all the main apps that people use look the same on both devices. I know all the arguments on both sides–but it comes down to the idea of simply buying what you like.

When it comes to tablets, the list of available apps (particularly in music education) begin to highly favor the iPad, and for good reason–the iPad was built around Core MIDI, Android doesn’t make that a priority. And does it come as a surprise that Apple would make a device that would be more friendly towards musicians? Granted, there are apps such as NotateMe that favor a Samsung device with a dedicated stylus, but these apps are rare–and usually available on both iOS and Android.

The other new product Apple introduced is the Apple Watch. The device isn’t coming until 2015, but Apple had to announce something “revolutionary” because simply improving your existing products isn’t enough for the tech journalists. I will buy an Apple Watch–I have been using an iPod Nano with a special Hex watchband as my primary watch for three or four years. It will be a nice accessory to the iPhone (iMessages, e-mail, and other apps) but it won’t be “necessary.” I look forward to the first developers who make a metronome and pitch pipe for the device!

Apple introduced some other concepts, such as Apple Pay. Truly, if I can do away with carrying credit cards and typing in credit card numbers–with the added security of purchasing only via my fingerprint–sign me up for that. And of course, Apple also introduced iOS 8, which has a bunch of new features (mainly for developers to make better apps), but in the process some things are now broken, such as Air Turn functionality on iOS 8. The AirTurn acts as a keyboard, and iOS 8 treats keyboards differently than in past versions of the OS. Developers use the code provided by AirTurn, and iOS 8 has changed how that code interacts–leaving the developers of the apps “under fire” when the problem lies somewhere between Apple and AirTurn. I’m hoping that AirTurn can get the “ear” of Apple and a solution can be found, soon.

So, in summary, Apple released and introduced a lot of nice things as “new stuff” earlier this month. Some things, such as the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, can be purchased now. iOS 8 is out (if your device supports it). And other items are coming later (Apple Pay and Apple Watch)

Do you need an iPhone? Well, are you under contract with your current device, or can you upgrade? Do you like your current phone, or have you been longing for something else? It’s really a personal choice.

Do you need an Apple Watch? Probably not. But if you want one, buy one

Do you need Apple Pay? If you don’t need a solution to credit cards, I do.

Do you need iOS 8? If you have a device that can run it, probably.

There will be more news from Apple before the end of the year (October?) which will introduce new iPads and likely new MacBooks. There may even be some new devices introduced, such as an iPad “Pro.” Stay tuned.


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