Not so long ago most Mac users would have told you that their systems didn't need any form of protection as they were inherently safe. But the world has become a more dangerous place and last year the iWorm malware is thought to have recruited some 18,000 Macs into a botnet.
Whilst experienced users who are careful about what they install and where they go online may still be justified in feeling safe using a Mac without additional protection, there's no doubt that non-experts need extra security. Particularly as cyber criminals have started to target Macs because they know more of them are unprotected.
Apple has released the first public betas of iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 El Capitan, allowing anyone with a compatible device -- iPhone and/or Mac -- to become a tester. Having signed up for the beta program last month, I immediately wanted to experience what is new in the upcoming versions of the two operating systems.
There is huge demand for the first public betas, proof being that Apple's servers were quickly overloaded during the first hours of availability. You can thank the media frenzy for this. Nonetheless, I have managed to install the iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 El Capitan public betas on my iPhone 6 Plus and 13-inch MacBook Air, respectively. And here are my first impressions.
Reviewing most any MacBook Pro is a pointless exercise, because this year's model isn't much different from the previous—or the one before. That's why I typically buy refurbished rather than new. But I broke with that practice last month, after a sudden electrical calamity laid my wife's laptop to rest. Fried and died it is. With Apple releasing new versions of iOS and OS X and launching a streaming music service, a summer sojourn seemed opportune.
I considered going Windows 10, which arrives later this month. But most of my BetaNews colleagues are headed that way, so I set out down the Apple reviews track. Again, I probably wouldn't have done so if not for my wife's computer catastrophe. I lent her my Chromebook Pixel LS and purchased a new MBP. She will never give up the Google laptop, BTW.
Just as expected, Apple today released iOS 8.4, officially launching its Apple Music streaming service and the Beats 1 radio station. Also new for today is an update for OS X 10.10 Yosemite, which comes with a significant number of bug fixes and improvements in tow.
Apple Music and Beats 1 are introduced through the redesigned Music app. Upon launch, it promotes the company's new streaming service, inviting users to a free, three-month trial. There is a new icon as well as a new user interface -- if you want to keep listening to your existing music collection, you can do so as easily as before. The new Music app is not all that is new in iOS 8.4, as the new release also features a number of bug fixes and improvements targeting iBooks and other parts of the operating system.
USB hubs are commonplace and, let's be honest, not especially exciting pieces of kit. Inateck’s HB4009 is a three-port USB 3.0 hub, but it also has an extra trick up its sleeve. It has a Magic Port, allowing you to link two systems together for file transfers or establish a client/host link using the USB On-The-Go (OTG) standard.
This makes it a versatile little device as you can link Windows, Mac OS and Android devices to their own kind or to each other. You can also attach another USB device like a flash drive or camera to a system, such as a tablet, that might not otherwise have a suitable port.
There was a lot of Apple news to digest from WWDC last week. As well as the latest versions of OS X and iOS, we witnessed the appearance of women on stage as Apple tried to do its part for diversity. Apple would probably like us to focus on the likes of the Apple Music and Beats One launches, but really it's another announcement that should be foremost in our minds: Apple News.
On the face of it, this is a simple replacement -- perhaps even just a renaming -- for Newsstand, but it's really much more than that. The key difference here is that content will not only come from media partners, but will also be curated. Apple is now a news editor, and that's extremely dangerous.
Apple has a long history of competitive marketing one-upmanship. Major tactic is the artful leak timed around someone else's major product announcement or event. How many times has the company stolen CES participants' thunder without ever attending the event, for example? Occasionally, the showstopper is accidental, as is the case with OS X El Capitan.
I wonder: What were the Microsoft development and marketing teams thinking when they chose July 29th as Windows 10's release date? It's like stepping off the curb in front of a fast-moving, energy-efficient, gas-powered bus. Apple almost certainly will release the OS X 10.11 Public Preview before Windows 10 drops. The company promises July and has every reason to rub Microsoft's nose in the stink.
While Microsoft has been busy cramming lots of new features into Windows 10, Apple is taking a different, iterative approach with OS X 10.11, called El Capitan. Yes, like the headline says, that is the actual name. The focus is on refinement, with the biggest changes to the latest Mac operating system being a more polished and beefed-up user interface, improvements to the built-in software and better performance.
Visually, OS X 10.11 El Capitan introduces new gestures, like swipe to delete emails in Mail, an improved Safari user interface, which now gives users the option to pin tabs by swiping and the ability to quickly mute audio in individual tabs. The most-obvious and interesting change in this area, however, is related to multitasking.
It has been rumored for as long as we can remember (well... almost...). The idea that Apple would launch a streaming music services -- bearing in mind everything else Apple does -- is something that just makes sense. Now the cat is out of the bag as the rumor is confirmed by Doug Morris, CEO of Sony Music.
The official announcement will come from Apple at its World Wide Developers Conference tomorrow (Monday 8 June), but Morris' statement in an interview in the Midem Music Industry Festival in Cannes is a solid source. He said that the launch will represent a "tipping point" for the industry as music listeners make the move from downloading tracks to streaming them on demand. Just don't expect Apple service to be free.
Nine years ago, a NPR interviewer asked me about Google and other U.S. companies censoring search results in China. The question was one of morality -- to which I gave answer she didn't expect. That response, or my recollection of it, is appropriate for rather ridiculous and self-serving statements that Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly made two days ago.
"We believe that people have a fundamental right to privacy", Cook said, Matthew Panzarino reports for TechCrunch. "The American people demand it, the constitution demands it, morality demands it". Oh? What is moral? The answer I gave NPR in 2006 applies: There is no moral high ground in business. The high ground is quagmire, because all public companies -- Apple surely among them -- share a single, moral objective: Make profits for stockholders. Plain, pure, and simple.
Hot on the heels of news that OS X topped the vulnerabilities charts in April comes Dr. Web's virus activity review for May which shows increasing quantities of adware and unwanted applications targeting the Apple operating system.
Security company Secunia has released its latest quarterly Vulnerability Update covering the period from February to April 2015.
It looks at the top 20 products with the most vulnerabilities each month and finds that there have been a total of 1,691 new vulnerabilities appearing in the top 20 over the three month period.
Gmail might be the most popular email service in the world, but even the biggest players fall sometimes, and once that happens, the little guys will be there to cheer.
Server outages and crashes have happened before, and even though Gmail is generally seen as a solid, well-built and stable product, it too can crash, leaving you without all those precious emails you’ve been saving.
When Logitech announced that it was crowdsourcing a video game using Reddit, I was dubious to say the least. I knew the company could pull it off, but I was fearful that anonymous Internet users would ruin the "Together We Game" experiment.
Luckily, my fears were unfounded, as not only has the game been released, it is actually very fun and normal. In other words, the Internet did not spoil the game. Best of all, the tower defense game is free and available for Windows, OS X and iOS. Will you download PX57?
Those of you who simply want to chat with your Facebook friends can now access Messenger through its own dedicated site. The interface is similar to that of the Android, iOS and Windows Phone mobile apps, and there is even support for desktop notifications, so you won't miss any of your friends' important messages.
However, because you have to access Messenger through a site, you have to keep a tab open in your favorite browser. But if you're using a Mac you can also try this new unofficial OS X app, which effectively turns the site into a dedicated client.