Apple today began sending out emails to customers who purchased popular automation app Workflow in the last few weeks, letting them know that they’ll be receiving a refund for the purchase price of the app.
Apple is handing out refunds because following its recent acquisition of the Workflow app and team, it made the Workflow app free to download and removed some key functionality.
Let’s not beat around the bush. I have great news to share:
Apple is currently hard at work on a “completely rethought” Mac Pro, with a modular design that can accommodate high-end CPUs and big honking hot-running GPUs, and which should make it easier for Apple to update with new components on a regular basis. They’re also working on Apple-branded pro displays to go with them.
I also have not-so-great news:
These next-gen Mac Pros and pro displays “will not ship this year”. (I hope that means “next year”, but all Apple said was “not this year”.) In the meantime, Apple is today releasing meager speed-bump updates to the existing Mac Pros. The $2999 model goes from 4 Xeon CPU cores to 6, and from dual AMD G300 GPUs to dual G500 GPUs. The $3999 model goes from 6 CPU cores to 8, and from dual D500 GPUs to dual D800 GPUs. Nothing else is changing, including the ports. No USB-C, no Thunderbolt 3 (and so no support for the LG UltraFine 5K display).
But more good news, too:
Apple has “great” new iMacs in the pipeline, slated for release “this year”, including configurations specifically targeted at large segments of the pro market.
Nineteen years ago, Steve Jobs unveiled his simplified Mac product strategy of a box divided into four squares: Power Mac, PowerBook, iMac, and a question mark that would eventually be filled in by the iBook.
These days Apple can’t fit its key product lines, let alone individual products, in four squares. But there are strong signs that Apple is in the midst of executing a strategy to simplify its product lines and, ultimately, make it easier for consumers to understand what products Apple is offering.
There was a bit of surprising news today out of TechCrunch from Matthew Panzarino. It looks like Apple bought Workflow, which is–in my opinion–the single most useful utility application on the iPhone or iPad. I love Workflow so much that I made a MacSparky Video Field Guide about it.
Workflow is an application that allows you to glue together other applications on iOS and create automated tasks. For instance, I use a Workflow recipe to automatically date and file PDF documents on my iPad. Once I figured it out, the process is actually faster on my iPad then it is on my Mac.
I once made a joke on Mac Power Users that the only reason Workflow got approved was because someone must have naked pictures of somebody important at Apple. The application seemed just so contrary to Apple’s general position of iOS simplicity. (Not that I’m complaining.) Over the years, the Workflow team has continued to innovate with this application, adding new features often and allowing us to automate work on the iPad and iPhone that we only dreamed about just a few years ago.
Frankly, I’m mixed about the idea of Apple purchasing Workflow
David makes excellent points in this post. I’ve been using Workflow since day 1 and love it, so am anxious to see how this turns out.
Google Talk — affectionally known as “Gchat” — is finally getting replaced for good. Google actually released Hangouts back in 2013 as a more feature-filled chat service take the place of Talk in the Gmail sidebar, but users have been able to stick with the older, more basic service if they chose.
That’s changing on June 26th, when anyone still using Gchat will be forcibly transitioned over to Hangouts. It’s not a major change for most — there will still be chat built into Gmail, contacts will transition over, and Google has been trying to get people to switch over to Hangouts for the last four years, so maybe it’s time for Talk to go. The Google Talk Android app will also stop functioning, as will any third-party apps designed for Talk. (Again, anything using Hangouts — which is essentially the same thing — will still be fine.)
Gchat still existed? I actually thought most of that got rolled into Hangouts already.
Apple today announced iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition in a vibrant red aluminum finish, in recognition of more than 10 years of partnership between Apple and (RED). This gives customers an unprecedented way to contribute to the Global Fund and bring the world a step closer to an AIDS-free generation.
The special edition (PRODUCT)RED iPhone will be available to order online worldwide and in stores beginning Friday, March 24.
Apple today updated its most popular-sized iPad, featuring a brighter 9.7-inch Retina display and best-in-class performance at its most affordable price ever, starting at $329 (US). Designed for unmatched portability and ease of use, along with incredible performance and all-day battery life, iPad is the world’s most popular tablet and the primary computing device for millions of customers around the world.
Through the more than 1.3 million apps designed specifically for iPad, customers can do even more, from learning to code with Swift Playgrounds and reading books on the large screen to boosting productivity through Microsoft Office and using multitasking features like Split Screen.
John Gruber on what may be coming next in terms of iPad refreshes:
What doesn’t make sense to me is a new 10.5-inch model. The idea makes sense — keeping the physical footprint of the current 9.7-inch models but reducing the bezels and putting in a bigger display. The ideal form factor for iPads and iPhones is just a screen, like the phones in Rian Johnson’s Looper — reducing the size of bezels and moving toward edge-to-edge displays is inevitable. Even the pixel density math works out for a 10.5-inch display.
What doesn’t make sense to me is the timing. I don’t see how an iPad with an exciting new design could debut alongside updated versions of the existing 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch iPads. Who would buy the updated 9.7-inch iPad Pro with the traditional bezels if there’s a 10.5-inch model without bezels? No one.
Starting today and available to all iPhone users next week, you can talk to Amazon’s intelligent assistant Alexa while using the Amazon app.
Naturally, the voice assistant is able to shop and track packages, but it can also do most of the things Alexa can do, like tell a joke, give weather updates, and predict the Best Picture at the Academy Awards or the winner of the Super Bowl. It also plays music, controls Internet of Thing (IoT) devices, and grants Amazon app users access to more than 10,000 skills.
Some people will portray this as Amazon
taking on Siri, but since Alexa is buried inside the Amazon app, it probably won’t affect Siri usage one bit.
It’s like using Google Assistant on the iPhone now vs using Siri. If there’s too many options needed to do something, people will usually choose the option that’s easiest.
The official Raspberry Pi magazine just announced that over 12.5 million of the affordable little Linux boards have been sold since the original Pi was launched in 2012. As The MagPi points out, this puts the Raspberry Pi past Commodore 64 sales, according to some estimates.
That would make the Pi the third best-selling “general purpose computer” ever, behind Apple Macintosh and Microsoft Windows PCs. As commenters have pointed out, this isn’t a precisely fair comparison, because there were other Commodore models than just the 64, but it’s still a nice milestone all the same.
The Raspberry Pi 3 has the largest marketshare at 30% of overall sales.
It’s actually neat to see so many people buying Pis, they’re handy little computers.