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Personal Blog

It's not new news that Apple is having it's next major product event on the 16th this month. I along with others am very excited and cannot wait to see what gets released.

For starters, the iPad will probably receive an update. Some believe that the way Apple will amalgamate the MacBook and iPad is by releasing an 'iPad Pro' - a larger and more powerful iPad. Others believe it also may run on a combination of Mac OS X and perhaps iOS as well.

Another major announcement could be the final release of Mac OS X Yosemite (for those who do not know, this is pronounced yo-sem-it-ee) which is currently in it's 5th beta release. 

Another possible release is the iMac with Retina display. This has been a long awaited upgrade for the iMacs which are falling behind their mobile counterparts because of this. A Retina display would up the resolution on the 21 inch model to about 3840 by 2160 and the resolution on the 27 inch to about 5120 by 2880 if they doubled pixel density again.

A final possiblity is the release of a new Mac Mini. Apple's affordable bring your own keyboard, mouse and display Mac for all has not been updated since 2012. It's a shame for me because I really wanted a small Mac desktop that I can use particularly for storing data safely. If the Mac Mini is re-designed, it will likely look like a small version of the (in my opinion) ugly Mac Pro, which will likely mean that all ways of expanding the system will be completely removed - which would be sad.

Until then, we'll just have to wait, only three days to go!

Posted by J B Balfour in Tech news
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Site

After Apple's launch of the new Apple Watch, they have chosen to update their website.

Posted by J B Balfour in Tech news
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You may already know that the iPhone 6 and iOS 8 were shown off tonight. Another major release was the much speculated iWatch known as Apple Watch.

A bit about the last few years

Tim Cook gave the show to Phil Schiller to tell the audience about how Apple has innovated some incredibly new features as well as mentioning that there are 1.3 million apps on the App Store. That's an incredible amount of apps!

1.3 million apps!

1.3 million apps!

iPhone 6

The first thing to note is that there are two iPhones being released - the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus. The Plus is a larger version of the iPhone 6. The iPhone 6 is 6.9mm thin whilst the iPhone 6 Plus is 7.1mm thin. The iPhone 6 has a resolution of 1334 x 750 whilst the Plus has a resolution of 1920 x 1080. The iPhone 6 has an improved camera has an improved camera, particularly with video and better wireless technologies - both better LTE and 802.11ac wireless (like current Macs). One final note about the new iPhone 6 is that the capacities have changed with it still being priced at $199 for 16GB, but there no longer exists that 32GB option at $299 but instead the 64GB model. So for $299 you can now get the iPhone 6 64GB. Both are available from the 19th of September and can be preordered from the 12th.

iPhone 6

The two variations of iPhone 6

Apple Pay

One of the most interesting features coming to the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus is Apple Pay. Apple Pay allows paying using the iPhone rather than a credit or debit card. It uses NFC technology and whilst this has been in a lot of other phones for a long time, I'm certain Apple will do a better job than their competitors would.

Apple Watch

The iWatch concept that has now become Apple Watch was pretty much a shock. Most predictions were totally wrong about this one.

Apple Watch

The Apple Watch formerly known as iWatch

The Apple Watch smart watch is designed like the Samsung Galaxy Gear to be a companion device playing a sidekick role to the iPhone. It is designed to function with the iPhone 5, 5s, 5c and both iPhone 6 models. It features some clever innovations such as using pressure clicks to perform a secondary touch as well as the digital crown (the rotatable bit for adjusting the time and date on a watch) to perform specific tasks, including going home.

Apps on Apple Watch

The Apple Watch also features some specific apps and workarounds, as Tim Cook stated, they didn't just put iOS on it.

Although impressive with a wide range of new innovations and features, I do not think the Apple Watch is for me, and this comes from the fact I have a lovely watch as it is.

It is set for an 'early 2015' release.

2015 release for Apple Watch

The Apple Watch is set for a 2015 release

What I thought

I thought the event had a lot of momentum to start with but there is only so much that can really be brought to these devices now. Sure the Apple Watch was a new innovation, but it may be one of those ones that just doesn't interest me massively due to having a nice watch currently anyway and I'm sure it's the same with other watch owners.

Generally, it was a good event, but I'm not one of those who is interested in a smart watch.

All photos were taken from the live stream.

Posted by J B Balfour in Tech news
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Apple Event

I will be covering tonight's Apple Event via Twitter and my blog. At the moment my blog is not fully equipped to do live blogging so I will not be using for that. As a matter of fact, that is one of the features I will be working on next.

The plan for this is to allow live posts which are posts that update when a user is reading them. This may not happen, but I'm hoping it will. The next few days will also allow me to create a subscribe button for this blog. I am also thinking about adding RSS to the blog, but as this technology is not used very often these days it may seem a bit pointless, but maybe.

Posted by J B Balfour in Tech news
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On the 9th September 2014 Apple will unviel their latest products, rumoured to be the iPhone 6 and the new iWatch. 

The date will be particularly of interest for me because my phone is up for renewal on October the 7th so I'd be buying a new iPhone anyway.

I'd also just like to end this post with a comment about this being my first proper post from my content management system I have developed. :)

Posted by J B Balfour in Tech news
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The US is supposedly giving up control of the DNS root zone. Read it here from Ars Technica:

From Ars Technica/

Posted by J B Balfour in Tech news
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In the next few days Microsoft will rebrand SkyDrive under the name OneDrive due to a claim by BSkyB that this is a breach of their trademark. The new is catchy and it's quite nice, but it will take time for people to adjust just as it took people a while to adjust from Windows Live Folders, and then I think SkyDrive folders(?) or something. There have just been too many to remember.

It's a bit like MSN Hotmail, sorry Windows Live, sorry Outlook. The constant change makes it difficult to talk to others about. I still occasionally refer to my email provider as simply 'Hotmail' or sometimes 'Windows Live' and very occasionally just 'MSN', but really, it is now Outlook. Outlook is a good name for it and it feels so much better than what it was like back in 2003 when I first used it on my 24K or 56K dial-up modem (everything had to be that way, otherwise it would take hours to load[!]).

Microsoft have a terrible problem with rebranding. Windows 8 has this problem with things like Xbox Music which was previously Zune music from what I remember. In some sense, I don't really know what an Xbox is. What actually does the word Xbox mean now? Is it a brand of different things? Is it a program or is it the hardware? I call on Microsoft to describe it.

Microsoft's bad marketing plans are probably one of the reasons I steer quite clear of their recent products, and if they keep going this way, constantly rebranding things, I will not be able to come back.

Posted by J B Balfour in Tech news
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It's been speculated for sometime that a new Mac Mini is next on the line up for Apple. Well, once again, the Belgian store computerstore.com has placed on their site a new Mac Mini, featuring Iris graphics.

The picture below shows that the CPU and RAM have yet to be placed here but the Iris graphics definitely sounds like a new feature. From this, we can assume it to be Haswell powered and not a future generation of Intel CPU that is going to take us by surprise in April.

Mac Minis on display

The lack of a new Mac Mini is frustrating

Posted by J B Balfour in Tech news
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Intel's new Haswell chips have been out for about half a year and are incredibly powerful CPUs. Ranging from the i3 to the i7, the 4th generation core processors was set from the offset to be a big thing.

But recently, my computer; known as The Zebra, which was a second generation Core i7 2600K based system, died on me. The problem was related to a motherboard issue. The system had to be replaced from board to CPU and I decided to replace it with a new Haswell system to make it as future-proofed as possible. The specs of the system are now being boosted several generations further, but it's not without problems.

For a start, I could not find any board featuring FireWire headers or connectors, making my drives with FireWire harder to connect to the system (I eventually decided to trade in FireWire for eSATA). This was none the less a disappointment. On top of that I could only get a decent board without PCI at all. Now it's fully understandable that PCI is being completely phased out, but it's just getting so rapid that it's more costly to the end user. Luckily, I found a mid range board that suits me fine and features just one PCI connector, the Gigabyte Z87-UD3H. This is actually my third Gigabyte and my third UD3 model, with my previous being the Z68XP-UD3 and the previous being the P45-UD3R model.

But the real problem is down to compatibility with Haswell. I've read numerous forums where users are complaining about solid state drives and compatibility with Haswell, in particular the Sandforce controller in the 1000 series (this does not include the SATA 6Gbps versions, apparently). This is the exact drive I own for my PC, so on top of a failing motherboard, I now know that I've got to fork out on a new solid state drive. The Sandforce controllers in the original drives were actually pretty bad for numerous reasons such as a false advertising AES256 instead of AES128 etc. but it was not enough to put me off buying four of them (with my MacBook Pro is the only one of the four that has been a Sandforce SATA 6Gbps).

Anyway, on top of the issues with the drive, there have also been reports that some power supply units (PSU) have also had problems, as such Corsair and other power supply manufacturers are now doing their bit to specify which of their units are working with Haswell boards. Now when you add all this together, it seems like a disaster on Intel's behalf, but from what I am reading it down to the fact that some drives are out of date and do not support the new C states to the full. C states are power states for a computer system, and apparently Haswell adds more C states that makes energy saving better in the system. Of course, all the hardware needs full compatibility with these states in order for it to work and this is where some power supply units and solid state drives have problems.

Corsair's compatibility list can be found here:

http://www.corsair.com/us/blog/haswell-compatibility-with-corsair-power-supplies/

You can share any experiences you may have had down below.

Posted by J B Balfour in Tech news
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If like me you love following big computing companies like Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and all the others out there, then you may have noticed that there was just a big release from two of the larger companies there.

Both Apple and Google have just released new devices; Google with the new Nexus 7 (I love and hate my 2012 Nexus 7 because it's constantly running slow, but is now used for simply browsing the web and playing Happy Street[!]) and Apple with the new iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C. Now it is confirmed that Apple has set the 15th of October (great news for you Calum Cormack) as the date for their next event.

Expected at the event is the new iPad. Some mentioned that the new iPad, now in it's fifth iteration, will feature a smaller bezel, thus allowing the iPad to shrink slightly. Others have stated that a 13 inch iPad may be on the cards. Whilst both of these are feasible, neither have concrete evidence yet.

However, as much a Retina iPad Mini would be something to expect don't get your hopes up. It is completely understandable why Apple has not put one into it's medium size tablet. Retina displays actually made the iPad 3 (first with Retina display) thicker and heavier than the iPad 2. Apple would be giving up the very thin design of the Mini for a display that is not necessarily needed on the company's cheaper line of tablets. However, it seems the right time to do it, as Google launched it's new Nexus 7 which has an eye-watering 323 pixels per inch, and if Apple intends to keep up with Google, or overtake, they will need to push forward.

Also at the event will hopefully be that long awaited update (for me anyway) of the Mac Mini. This year we will see Haswell enter into the mini sized Mac. As well as the Mini, we are also expecting a couple of other Macs including the iMac and possibly MacBook Pro (or Retina?).

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/506677/20130917/apple-ipad-launch-15-october-new-imac.htm

Posted by J B Balfour in Tech news
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