Spring forward – Apple Event Mar 2015

apple-event-mar2015

The upcoming event for Apple will probably be one of the most important in recent years. Although the Apple Watch was announced in October last year, there are still many details not known to the public. Scheduled to be available in April, this event will be the Apple Watch’s official introduction to the rest of the world.

As usual, the event will be on 9 March 10am PDT – which will be 10 March (Tuesday) 2am (Singapore) time. The event will be streamed live on this page and you can view it on Safari on your Mac or iOS device, or Apple TV1.

In case you need a refresher on what is the Apple Watch – watch the video below.


  1. Live streaming video requires Safari 5.1.10 or later on OS X v10.6.8 or later; Safari on iOS 6.0 or later. Streaming via Apple TV requires second- or third-generation Apple TV with software 6.2 or later. 

MacBook Pro Repair Extension Program

macbookpro-retinaIf you happen to own a MacBook Pro that was purchased between Feb 2011 and December 2013, and faces some problems with the display, you might be able to get it fixed for free – even if your AppleCare had expired.

Products affected:

  • 15″ and 17″ MacBook Pro models manufactured in 2011
  • 15″ MacBook PRo Retina models manufactured from Mid 2012 to Early 2013

Should your MacBook Pro display one of the following symptoms, you can check if your model is one of those that qualify for the program.

  • Distorted or scrambled video on the computer screen
  • No video on the computer screen (or external display) even though the computer is on
  • Computer restarts unexpectedly

To check, simply go to this page – Check your Coverage tool and key in your Mac’s serial number. Use this link to find your serial number on your Mac.

If you do have the issue and is covered in this program, do go down to any Apple Authorized Service Provider and get it fixed.

More details here.

Happy Chinese New Year

Happy Chinese New Year

Happy Chinese New Year - artwork was done by my 3 yr old son.

Have a great and prosperous Chinese New Year and the days ahead. I’ll take a short hiatus as I celebrate the holidays with my family and will be back next week.

祝大家新年快乐,事事顺利,身体健康,恭喜发财!

Recording your iOS screen on your Mac – QuickTips

One of the new features in Yosemite is the ability to record your screen of your iOS 8 device connected with a Lightning cable to your Mac with the QuickTime player. Previously such features were limited to developers using Xcode to do that. With Yosemite, it is just a matter of hooking up your iOS device to your Mac and using QuickTime player to record.

Once you connect your iOS 8 device to your Mac, start QuickTime player, click on File and select New Movie Recording. If your iOS 8 device is connected, you will be able to select the device for the Camera and Microphone options. QuickTime will record the audio from your iOS device if you select that as your Microphone input. Lastly, if you have sufficient HD space, I’d usually set Maximum quality just so when you edit, you don’t lose much of the quality.

Once that is set up, prepare your iOS device and click record.

Below is a segment I recorded off the Vainglory game I’m playing.

So if you need to do a product demonstration of your iOS app, or just to record a FaceTime conversation with your love ones…you just need to run QuickTime player app, hook up your iOS device with a Lightning cable and you’re set. Once that is recorded, you can trim and edit it with iMovie and add in text, animations and effects…to capture the memory.

Dreeps – this must be the dopiest game

DreepsCall Dreeps – this game by Japanese developers Hisanori Hiraoka and Daisuke Watanabe is marketed as a game “for those who don’t have the time to play RPG anymore”.

The game is set in a real-time universe which mixes sci-fi and fantasy with animated pixel-art graphics. The main character, a robot-boy will sleep and regain energy at the same pace than the user, then be able to beat bosses and climb ranks. The main character will be gaining experience points after battles and level up, see some events happening or gain new companions and new alarms.

Dreeps

So basically you set an alarm, goes to sleep, wakes up and watch your robot-boy goes wondering around in a beautifully designed pixel-art universe, fighting monsters and robots. But you don’t need to do anything else. Just watch. Sleep and watch him grow and level-up.

Besides having lovely pixel-art, the lack of text allows you to imagine what the game is about and what the hero is doing. Lastly, as you need to sleep for your character to regain energy, it encourages you to rest more – kinda counter-intuitive when it comes to gaming but this might just works…at least till you get bored of the “game”.

At US$2.99 – it might be a good wake-up alarm and serves as a good screen saver while you watch your hero gets into action but a good game…?

See more screens of the games below and download Dreeps at the App Store now.

Apple Tips app – QuickTips

Apple Tips appWith iOS 8, Apple included a Tips app that showcase some of the new features of iOS 8 which you can quickly go through. Currently there are 35 tips, ranging from sending an audio message in your Message app, teaching Siri who’s who to using your Camera app’s filters.

These tips are updated weekly and Apple will send a notification to your iPhone when it has been updated. With the Tips app, new users to iOS can learn some new tricks with the use of simple animations and concise description.

Watch the video below for a quick view of the app in action. Try it and let me know how it works for you.

iOS Mail app – organise your mailboxes – QuickTips

Apple’s Mail app is one of the underrated productivity app in the face of other popular email clients on iOS – Mailbox (free), Inbox for Gmail (invite only) and the recently released Microsoft Outlook (free), just to name a few.

Since iOS 8, Mail app has seen some improvements which have helped it bridge the gaps from its more popular competitors. One of this is how you can organise your mailboxes within the app to show just what you need.

How to easily manage your mailboxes in iOS Mail app

How to easily manage your mailboxes in iOS Mail app

When you start Mail app, click on the Edit button on the top right to see how you can organise your mailboxes. Besides the Inboxes of your various accounts, you have a few filtered views which can make email management more palatable:

  • Today – shows only emails that you have today both Read and Unread
  • Unread – shows only unread emails to give you a quick view of what you might have missed
  • VIP – shows only emails from the very-important-people
  • Flagged – shows only flagged emails, which you can easily do by swiping to your left and selecting the “Flag” button
  • To or CC – shows only emails which has you on the To or CC field – useful if you want to filter out mailing list emails
  • Attachements – shows emails that have attachments in them
  • Thread Notifications – shows email threads that you have selected to be notified – very useful at work where you might have email threads for ongoing jobs
  • All Drafts, All Sent and All Trash – pretty much speaks for themselves

Though these are basic set of filtered views, they do their job especially if you don’t like to install more apps on your iOS device. Try it and let me know how it works for you.

This is the first of a series of QuickTips which helps me in my daily life – and hopefully in your’s too.

Apple China’s version of The Song

Another sign of Apple’s increase focus on China, they have created a Chinese version of their holiday ad The Song which has the similar story of a girl discovering her granny’s old recording, and using a MacBook Air and GarageBand to remix the song. Eventually sharing it with her granny on an iPad.

Besides the video, to celebrate the upcoming Chinese New Year, Apple is also offering free seminars and trainings at their various retail outlets in China to encourage their customers to create something new.

看看一个音乐爱好者如何使用 MacBook Air 和 GarageBand,为祖母创作出一份别出心裁的春节礼物。来从我们的免费讲座、特别活动,还有一系列使用 Apple 产品创作的艺术作品中获得灵感,开始属于你自己的全新创作。

“开启一份新意” apple.cn ,一次奇妙的旅行 🙏✌️

A photo posted by Eleanor Lee 李凱馨 (@eleanorleex) on

There is also a local twist to this video as the main actress happens to be the daughter of local TV host – Quan YiFeng. Eleanor Lee, who is a part time model was talent scouted through recommendations by local celebrity hairstylist Addy Lee. Would’ve love to hear the complete version of the song.

So what do you think of this ad as compared to the US version?

Apple Watch coming in April

Coming in April 2015

Coming in April 2015

Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that the Apple Watch will be shipping in April during this morning’s FY 15 First Quarter Results Conference Call.

Development for Apple Watch is right on schedule, and we expect to be shipping in April. Developers are hard at work on apps, notifications, and information summaries that we call Glances, all designed specifically for the watch’s user interface. The creativity and software innovation going on around Apple Watch is incredibly exciting, and we can’t wait for our customers to experience them when Apple Watch becomes available.

Announced in September last year, Apple’s been rushing to ensure the Apple Watch ship with a level of refinement and battery usage that will meet customers’ expectation. According to 9to5Mac, there are around 3,000 sets that are being stressed-tested in the wild. Sources told 9to5Mac that the first generation of the Apple Watch will have 2.5 hours of heavy application use or 3.5 hours of standard use. It will also be expected to last up to 19 hours of combined active/passive use with 3 days of standby time.

2.5 hours per day might sound short, but unlike the iPhone where we might interact with the device for more than 30 minutes at one go (each of my Vain Glory game lasts at least 25 minutes), I don’t expect interaction on the Apple Watch to go beyond 30 seconds. Anything more one would be better off doing it on the iPhone.

WatchKit was released to developers in November 2014 to create apps that will work with the Apple Watch. At this time, WatchKit app consists of a WatchKit extension that runs on the iPhone which will update what you see on the Apple Watch and the interface resources on the Apple Watch.

What you can do with WatchKit right now

What you can do with WatchKit right now

Developers can also use WatchKit to create Glances which basically is read-only content that is updated from the iPhone. Lastly, there are Actionable Notifications that allow user-interaction which allows you to take actions right on the Apple Watch. However, there are no option to create native apps which don’t require an iPhone pairing.

By April, we should expect Apple Watch to be launched with a wide range of apps that will work with the Apple Watch from the start. According to Tim Cook,

My expectations are very high on it. I’m using it every day, and love it, and I can’t live without it. And so I see that we’re making great progress on the development on it, the number of developers that are writing apps for it are impressive and we’re seeing some incredible innovation coming out there.

April is not too far away and I hope we are one of the markets that will receive the first shipment. Just in case you need some reminder of what the Apple Watch is…

iOS 8.1.3 and OS X 10.10.2 updates available

Apple released updates for both iOS and OS X to rectify some bugs and also pushed some improvements for both OS. Both of these are maintenance updates with no new features being introduced.

ios813-updateFor iOS 8.1.3, this update removed some bugs, strengthen iOS 8’s stability and performance and also reduced the amount of space needed to perform this update. The full list of changes:

  • Reduces the amount of storage required to perform a software update
  • Fixes an issue that prevented some users from entering their Apple ID password for Messages and FaceTime
  • Addresses an issue that caused Spotlight to stop displaying app results
  • Fixes an issue which prevented multitasking gestures from working on iPad
  • Adds new configuration options for education standardized testing

For OS X 10.10.2, this update also include bug fixes, improvement to services like iCloud Drive, Bluetooth sync plus many more. The full list of changes:

  • Resolves an issue that may cause WiFi to disconnect
  • Resolves an issue that may cause web pages to load slowly
  • Fixes an issue that caused Spotlight to load remote email content when the preference was disabled in Mail
  • Improves audio and video sync when using Bluetooth headphones
  • Adds the ability to browse iCloud Drive in Time Machine
  • Improves VoiceOver speech performance
  • Resolves an issue that causes VoiceOver to echo characters when entering text on a web page
  • Addresses an issue that may cause the input method to switch languages unexpectedly
  • Improves stability and security in Safari

Both updates are available now for you to download and run.