Uninstall QuickTime on your Windows system now

The anti-virus software maker Trend Micro has issued a call to action last night urging everyone to uninstall QuickTime for Windows as soon as possible. Trend Micro has found two critical vulnerabilities affecting QuickTime for Windows, and Apple is no longer providing security updates for the software.

First, Apple is deprecating QuickTime for Microsoft Windows. They will no longer be issuing security updates for the product on the Windows Platform and recommend users uninstall it. Note that this does not apply to QuickTime on Mac OSX.

So far there is no known active attacks against the vulnerabilities. Apple is strangely quite but does provide instructions on how to uninstall QuickTime for Windows. Many Windows user has QuickTime when it was a required component of iTunes for Windows. iTunes now works without QuickTime. Uninstall it on your Windows system now.

Differences between the new 9.7 inch iPad Pro and 12.9 inch iPad Pro

Apple introduced a new 9.7 inch model into its iPad Pro line up during its media event on Monday. The new device is essentially the same as the larger 12.9 inch which was released November 2015, there are however differences that make the larger iPad Pro seems like the ‘last-generation’ model. Here’s the breakdown of the differences between the two devices.

  iPad Pro 9.7 inch iPad Pro 12.9 inch
Weight 0.96 pounds (Wi-Fi) 0.98 pounds (Wi-Fi+Cellular) 1.57 pounds (Wi-Fi) 1.59 pounds (Wi-Fi+Cellular)
Thickness 6.1mm 6.9mm
Screen 9.7 inch. Wide color display. True Tone display. 12.9 inch
Screen Resolution 2048×1536 at 264 ppi 2732×2048 at 264 ppi
CPU A9X @ 2.16 GHz A9X @ 2.24 GHz
RAM Memory 2GB 4GB
Battery 27.5 watt-hour 38.5 watt-hour
Rear Camera 12MP iSight. f/2.2. 63MP panorama. True Tone flash. Live Photos. Auto HDR. 8MP iSight. f/2.4. 43MP panorama.
4K Video Recording Yes No
Camera Bump on the Back Yes No
Front Camera FaceTime HD 5MP with Retina Flash FaceTime HD 1.2MP No Retina Flash
Always on Siri Yes No
Cellular LTE Advanced Yes No
Wi-Fi + Cellular Models 32GB, 128GB, 256GB 128GB, 256GB
Finish Silver, Gold, Space Gray, Rose Gold Silver, Gold, Space Gray

Wish list for WWDC 2016

Apple’s developer conference WWDC 2016 is expected in early June. Here’s a developer’s wish list of things hopefully Apple will announce this year. This list is in no particular order.

Unified UIKit and AppKit

Developers are presented with two different UI kit when developing for both iOS and OS X. It is high time Apple support targeting both iOS and OS X using one unified kit. At the minimum, Apple should make it easy for developers to use the same iOS UI code to develop for OS X. 

It is speculated that Apple’s own Photos app is using the same ‘UXKit’ framework in both iOS and OS X version of the app. There is hope that Apple will release this framework to the public. It is an opportunity for Apple to revive the Mac platform. Nobody wants OS X to remain a dead native platform forever. 

Xcode for iPad

If we do not see Xcode for iPad soon, maybe Apple should strip the ‘Pro’ labelling for its iPad Pro. How about partnering with IBM for a “Visual Swift” tool for building enterprise iPad apps?

Scripting for iOS

With the success of Workflow, expect to see this popular automation app sherlocked by Apple soon. Where is Automator and AppleScript for iOS when you need them?

iOS as bots platform

Bots are taking over the programming world. Most bots are found in messaging and chat apps. Apple should make its platform the bots platform of choice. Ideally there should be an SDK for developers to add app specific bots and make them available as system utilities. Not sure technically how it should be accomplished. A bot app for a unified bots interface? Or a bot SDK for app to integrate with Siri?

Apple might just build a bot platform on top of iMessages. But the app does require some innovative features to be in competition with the likes of Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and WeChat. Just an iMessages for Android might not save the day.

Split screen version 2

Split screen is a great addition in iOS 9. But two features are missing. The first is the ability to drag and drop between split apps. Touchscreen interface without drag-and-drop is like the first version of iOS without copy-and-paste. The second missing feature is the ability to run the same app side by side on split screen. 

App Store and Mac App Store

Developers like to blame Apple when they’re not able to generate enough earning for their livelihood on the iOS and Mac App Store. It’s a debate if the race to $0 dollar app is largely Apple’s fault. But there is so much more Apple can do to help out developers. Some might say it is not in Apple’s interest to care for all developers, since the majority of earnings are from but a few. Developers that are struggling to survive can either choose another way out or hope that at least some help is on its way. Whatever App Store changes Apple put in place, it is doubtful if it will have any impact on the dire situation smaller developers are facing today.  

Many developers have asked for a way to charge for upgrade for years. This is especially true for high price premium apps on the Mac App Store. Apple does not get it. Developer can release a new SKU for the new version of its app, but it is different from a paid upgrade. Without paid upgrade, no discount can be given to existing users. Many premium apps rely on upgrade from existing users, without such the business is just not sustainable. It is painful to see Apple just choose to ignore this feature request.

Apple supports auto-renewable subscription as an In-app purchase option but it has its quirks. First of all, it is not open to all apps and is under Apple’s discretion whether your app can use it or not. Imagine spending the time implementing auto-renewable subscription and then end up not being approved by Apple.

Then there is no option to allow developer to offer an “Unsubscribe” button from within the app. The subscription management is buried within App Store settings page.Then there is the issue of the app not knowing if the user has turn off renew automatically before the subscription actually ends. Developer can’t have the last attempt to prompt user to continue their subscription.

App Store team should seriously review how other subscription services are implemented. The current implementation is just not friendly to the app business.

Apple TV

There are a number of ways Apple can spruce up the current Apple TV. Apple TV is not the best general purpose media player due to its lack of 4K video. It is not the ideal game platform due to the limitation of its default controller. Third party gamepad is supported, but unless Apple release its own gamepad, not many will view Apple TV as a serious game platform. We don’t even get the most powerful A-series processor on Apple TV.

As an app platform, Apple TV is lacking in few departments. Where’s the camera and microphone when you want to develop a chat or video conference app? What is the best practice payment flow like for a shopping app? Where’s the SDK for Siri to develop an Amazon Echo like app? And there is no options for developers to use Apple TV as a HomeKit hub.

Developer News

Apple developers will likely shake their heads after visiting developers.googleblog.com. It is disheartening when you visit developer.apple.com/news/ and read those one sentence news such as “OS X El Capitan 10.11.4 beta 7 (15E64a) Now Available”, “iOS 9.3 beta 7 (13E5233a | 13E5234a) Now Available”. It appears that the news site is run by the App Store team. Need news on the latest development of Swift? Then it is on another site. Need to know the latest developer sample apps released by Apple, then you have to dig elsewhere. Looking for some tutorials on how to use Swift 2.2, head over to IBM blog. 

The news site is build more for managers of developers, with a total lack of articles and insight on how to build better apps for Apple platform. It is in Apple’s best interests to teach and train its developers all year round, not just during WWDC. Is it too much to ask Apple to dedicate some such resource? 

Multi-user support for iPad

One common use case for iPad is as an entertainment and reading device for family members. Multi-user support is ideal to enable such sharing. Apple might think multi-user support will impact iPad’s sale. The lack of this feature will not propel a family to buy more iPad. It will only give them inconveniences.

Apple might want to consider a brand new padOS for its iPad, with multi-user support, terminal command prompt, file management access and full USB support. This will make choosing an iPad Pro over MS Surface a no brainer exercise.

iPad sales is not growing. Maybe its not because of the hardware.

User login for tvOS

It is strange that when you switch on an AppleTV and see the photos, music, apps of one family member. tvOS requires a user account login for its App Store, Photos, Music, Podcasts etc. There is clearly a mismatch. A TV is a communal device shared by many. Hopefully Apple is working on a solution for the next version of tvOS.

Native Docker support for OS X

Docker container technology is storming into cloud computing, and is becoming the tool of choice for many developers, especially for backend app development. OS X is currently not compatible with the container tech used by Docker. Using Docker on OS X is clunky, as it relies on a virtual machine running a compatible Linux instance. It is no surprise to see that OS X is running out of flavour with some developers who choose to run Ubuntu or Debian on their Mac.

Sacha Baron Cohen spoofs Jonathan Ive in “The Brothers Grimsby” Keynote Speech

Sacha Baron Cohen is promoting his new film “The Brothers Grimsby” with a video of him spoofing Jonathan Ive while presenting an Apple-style keynote speech. The promotional video starts with a group of “fans” waiting keenly outside the presentation hall, with Baron Cohen introducing his new character in the film The Nobby with Apple-esque adjectives. You might find video hilarious or totally hate it.

Apple Support is now available on Twitter

Apple Support now on Twitter

Apple has quietly launched a Twitter account @AppleSupport for customer support. The account tweets about tips on how to use Apple products, and is already fielding many questions from users.

We’re here to provide tips, tricks and helpful information when you need it most, and if you have a question, well – we’re here to help with that too.

Apple created @AppleMusicHelp last October for Apple Music support. It has just tweeted “Starting today, follow @AppleSupport for tips & questions on Apple Music + more!”. It now wants you to use the new Twitter handler @AppleSupport to reach Apple.

Answers to your questions about Apple and security

Apple has published a Q&A page as a follow-up to Tim Cook’s open letter, resisting a court order requiring the company to assist FBI to unlock the iPhone of dead terrorist in the San Bernardino incident. In it Apple is asking the government to withdraw its demands under the All Writs Act and said Congress should “form a commission or other panel of experts on intelligence, technology, and civil liberties to discuss the implications for law enforcement, national security, privacy, and personal freedoms.” Apple vs the FBI. Whose side are you on?

The Most Important Apple Executive You’ve Never Heard Of

The Most Important Apple Executive You’ve Never Heard Of

Bloomberg has published a nice profiling of Johnny Srouji, senior vice president of hardware technologies at Apple. Srouji is the chief ‘chipmaker’ at Apple, responsible for the Ax series CPU used in iOS devices. The whole piece is an interesting read in the history of why Apple decides to build its own chip, Srouji’s background, and  includes tidbits on the delay of the iPad Pro.

The Talk Show podcast with Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi

It is rare to have Apple’s top management being interviewed in a podcast. In the latest episode of The Talk Show by John Gruber, we have not one but two Apple heads in the podcast. It appears that Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi were in the podcast to promote the upcoming iOS 9.3 and tvOS 9.2 features. John Gruber however was able to get their opinions on the recent Internet rants about the perceived low quality of Apple software, and the plan for iTunes on the desktop. It might not worth a listen if you’re expecting something new or revealing in the podcast.