Simply Mac Blog
Jun 201411

The Verge Calls iPhone 5s “The Best Smartphone You Can Buy”

by Shane Roberts

iPhone 5s - simply mac

We all know it already, but it’s nice to see some validation from other websites that the iPhone is the best phone out there.

The Verge ran an article on which smartphone should be your next smartphone, if you’re up for a new one. Of course, they chose the iPhone 5s as the best all-around phone, and suggest if you’re in the market for a new phone, don’t look any farther than the iPhone 5s. Here’s a little of what they had to say:

The 5S’ appeal begins with its design. Its rounded metallic body feels precious and high-end in a way few phones can match. Its 4-inch screen is a little small by today’s standards, but it makes the device much easier to use in one hand and far more pocketable. Its camera is best-in-class, an 8-megapixel shooter that takes crisp and clear photos that no other cellphone camera has ever been able to replicate. Battery life is the 5S’ weakest spot — it’ll last a day but never more — but it’s nowhere near enough to be a problem.

No doubt there are other great phones out there, with some cool features. However, this final paragraph by The Verge nails exactly what the iPhone is all about:

Other devices may have particular advantages — a bigger screen or longer battery life — but they all come with complications and trade-offs. The 5S has none. If you want a smartphone you know you’ll love, that you’ll never have to worry or think about, the iPhone 5S is the best you can buy.

Make sure to go check out the entire article, because the iPhone 5c makes an appearance as well.

Check out all the iPhone models currently available here, and come into your local Simply Mac to get your new iPhone!

Jun 201410

QuickType – Typing on your iPhone/iPad is getting a lot better

by Shane Roberts

QuickType - iOS 8

One of the most static features of iOS since the original iPhone was announced has been the keyboard. There has been some tweaks to it, but overall the keyboard has remained largely untouched.

In iOS 8, Apple is bringing some major new features to the keyboard with QuickType. Essentially, QuickType is a predictive text feature that will help you compose whatever it is you’re typing. Here is how Apple describes it:

Now you can write entire sentences with a few taps. Because as you type, you’ll see choices of words or phrases you’d probably type next, based on your past conversations and writing style. iOS 8 takes into account the casual style you might use in Messages and the more formal language you probably use in Mail. It also adjusts based on the person you’re communicating with, because your choice of words is likely more laid back with your spouse than with your boss. Your conversation data is kept only on your device, so it’s always private.

iOS 8 - QuickType

Image Courtesy of

This feature will be especially handy for those quick response texts. For example, if someone asks you via text if you want to go to a movie or dinner, QuickType will present those two options and you just select one.

iOS 8 - Quicktype

Image Courtesy of

Another huge feature that is coming with the new keyboard in iOS 8, is the ability to add 3rd-party system wide keyboards. So, if you’d like to use different keyboards – like Swype – you will be able to download those keyboards once they are available!

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Here is what Apple has to say on allowing third-party keyboards:

Swipe rather than type, or go old school with the classic keyboard layout. For the first time, iOS 8 opens up the keyboard to developers. And once new keyboards are available, you’ll be able to choose your favorite input method or layout systemwide.

Some of the biggest keyboard developers have already jumped on this, so we should expect to see a good selection of third-party keyboards when iOS 8 launches this fall.

iOS 8 will be available this fall and will be a free update!

For all the features coming to iOS, click here. 

To see if your device will be able to update to iOS 8, click here.

Jun 201410

Apple II First Shipped 37 years ago today

by Shane Roberts

Courtesy of

37 years ago today Apple shipped the first Apple II, the first computer that many of us grew up on. Those of us who used Apple II machines in elementary or high school, are all to familiar with the green hued display and the loud clicking keyboard. did a great write up on this historic machine. Here are a couple of excerpts from their write up.

A hulking beige mammoth with 4KB of RAM (upgradeable to a whopping 48KB), the Apple II was the computer that defined Apple for a generation of fans. Retailing at $1,298, it cost the equivalent of two MacBook Pros today  — even though it seemed a total bargain at the time.

Unlike its Apple I predecessor, the Apple II was polished and mass market — featuring a keyboard, BASIC compatibility and, most notable of all, color graphics.

Despite being the company’s second computer, the Apple II was responsible for a number of firsts at Apple. It was the machine which turned Apple into a million-dollar company (yes, million — not billion). The year the Apple II debuted, Apple turned over $770,000 in revenue. The year after that, its success brought in $7.9 million, and the year after that $49 million.

The Apple II was essentially the corner stone and foundation for much of the computer industry going forward.

Ultimately, the Apple II was a superb machine, and a triumph of collaboration between Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, who would never work so well together again. It had great peripherals like the Disk II 51/4-inch floppy drive, superb software ranging from games to productivity tools, and it changed the face of computing years before the Mac, iPhone or iPad were gleams in the eye of anyone at Apple.

 First sold in 1977, the product line continued on until 1993, selling somewhere between 5-6 million computers in the process.

Go read the whole article, it’s great, and you’ll also see some of the old school ’70s advertising that Apple had going on back then.


Jun 201409

WWDC Review: Looking at the new Mail app in Yosemite

by Shane Roberts

Mail - Mac OS X Yosemite

Many Mac users use Mail very frequently as their primary email program. Some people will use Outlook and other 3rd party apps for email, but new features coming in Mac OS X Yosemite may lure some of those users back to Mail. Here are two features that are going to be great additions to Mail:

Mark Up:

Mark up - Mac OS Yosemite

Image Courtesy of

Ever receive an email with an image or PDF that requires your input or signature? Normally you have to open those attachments in a separate program, do your edits or additions there, and then reattach it to your reply. With Mark Up you can do all of that within Mail. As you see in the image above, you can annotate the image within the message with type or drawings. If you get sent an important document that requires your signature, you can sign with your finger on your track pad, or you can use the iSight camera to capture your signature.

Mail Drop:

Sharing attachments, especially large attachments via email can be a massive headache – especially if the person you email has a server that doesn’t play well with big attachments.  There are 3rd party services that can help you send these large attachments, but this new feature will negate the need for those. With Mail Drop you can forget those headaches, and it sounds like all you need is an iCloud account. When you attach the file, and if it’s too big, the email you send will have a link that the recipient can click on to download the file. You can send up to five gigabyte files with this method.  Here is Apple’s description of it:

Now there’s almost nothing that’s too big to mail. When you’re signed in to iCloud, Mail Drop lets you send large files like videos, presentations, even a folder of images without having to worry about your service provider’s limitations. With Mail Drop, when you send a large attachment, it’s automatically uploaded to iCloud. If your recipients use Mail, they’ll receive the attachment just as they do today. If they use another app or webmail, they’ll receive a link to download it. Mail Drop works with any email service. All you need to do is click Send, and Mail takes care of it for you.

These additions to Mail are going to be great. Unfortunately, they will not be available to the masses until this fall. The best news is these additions, along with Yosemite, will be a free update via the Mac App Store!

Jun 201406

Continuity – the killer feature coming to Mac and iOS – WWDC 14 recap

by Shane Roberts

There was a lot talked about at WWDC this past Monday. With the announcement of iOS 8 and Yosemite, there was a lot to digest. However, one announcement  stood above the rest, and will make the lives of those out there with both an iOS device and a Mac much easier and seamless.

The announcement was around a new feature call Continuity. The idea of Continuity is that your iPhone, iPad and Mac can all be interchangeable in many ways. Here are the features that make Continuity so great.

Phone Calls

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 3.06.19 PM

Ever miss a phone call while you’re working on your Mac, because your iPhone is in another room or buried in your bag? With Continuity between iOS 8 and Mac OS Yosemite, when your devices are in proximity to one-another, they will communicate. In this scenario, when your phone rings, if your Mac is nearby, or your iPad, you can receive and make phone calls from your other devices that aren’t your iPhone. Here is how Apple describes it:

“Now you can make and receive iPhone calls right on your Mac. When your iPhone rings, you’ll get a notification on your Mac showing you the caller’s name, number, and profile picture. Click the notification to answer, and your Mac becomes a speakerphone. You can also decline the call or respond with a quick iMessage. Making a phone call from Mac is just as easy. Just click a phone number you see in Contacts, Calendar, Messages, or Safari. Dial in to a conference call from a Calendar event, and your Mac automatically enters the passcode for you. And if your iPhone rings while it’s charging in the bedroom, you can answer the call on your Mac in the living room — they just have to be on the same Wi‑Fi network. Because it works with your existing iPhone number, there’s nothing to set up. Just point, click, and say hello.”

Continuity - Mac

Courtesy of

Instant Hotspot

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 3.06.39 PM

It is a bit of a hassle to turn on your hotspot feature on your iPhone or iPad and have your Mac connect to it. With Continuity, that gets a lot easier. When your phone is nearby, just go to your WiFi options on your Mac and you’ll see the phone, click on it and you’re connected! Here is more from Apple:

“No Wi‑Fi? No problem. Your Mac can automatically use the personal hotspot on your iPhone when they’re within range of each other. No setup is required. Your iPhone will automatically appear in the Wi‑Fi menu on your Mac — just select it to turn on your hotspot. Your Mac even displays the signal strength and battery life of your iPhone. When your Mac isn’t using your phone’s network, it intelligently disconnects to save battery life. And you never have to take your iPhone out of your pocket or bag.”

Continuity - Instant Hotspot

Courtesy of


Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 3.06.32 PM

Ever work on an email or a Pages document on your iPhone or iPad, but would like to go to your Mac and finish what you’re putting together? Now with Continuity, it has never been easier. When you are working on a file on your iPad, you can click an indicator on the Finder icon and resume immediately on our Mac! It works the same way vice-versa as well! Check out how Apple describes it:

“When your Mac and iOS devices are near each other, they can automatically pass whatever you’re doing from one device to another. Say you start writing a report on your Mac, but you want to continue on your iPad as you head to your meeting. Handoff lets you switch over and pick up instantly where you left off. Or maybe you start writing an email on your iPhone, but you want to finish it on your Mac. You can do that, too. Handoff works with Mail, Safari, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Maps, Messages, Reminders, Calendar, and Contacts. And app developers can easily build Handoff into their apps.”

SMS on any Apple device

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 3.06.26 PM

One great thing about having an iPhone is iMessage. Being able to message back-and-forth with other iPhone friends is great, because you can continue your conversation on a Mac or iPad. The downside is your non-iPhone friends will be sending and receiving SMS messages, or the “green bubble” friends, and you can’t continue those conversations on another iDevice.  Well, with the addition of Continuity, when your phone is nearby you can pick up those conversations now on Mac or iPad – just like iMessages! No longer do you have worry about juggling devices if you are carrying on multiple message conversations. Here’s more from Apple:

“With OS X Yosemite and an iPhone running iOS 8, you can send and receive SMS and MMS text messages right from your Mac. So when friends text you — regardless of what phone they have — you can respond from whichever device is closest. All the messages that appear on your iPhone now appear on your Mac, too. You can also initiate a text message conversation on your Mac by clicking a phone number in Safari, Contacts, or Calendar.”

Those new features are going to Mac using an Apple device so much better. To be able to jump from an iPhone to an iPad or a Mac will make a lot of peoples lives a lot easier.

Mac OS X Yosemite will be out this fall! To check out the other features of Yosemite, click here!

To check out the updates come in iOS 8, click here!

Jun 201404

Meet Mac OS X Yosemite – WWDC 14 Recap

by Shane Roberts

Mac OS X Yosemite

Mac OS hasn’t seen much of a facelift in the last nine years. Well, Mac OS X Yosemite will be receiving a treatment similar to iOS 7. Apple will be revamping some of the look and feel of the OS without reinventing the wheel. Screenshot_6_2_14__11_22_AM

As you can see in the image above, there is a flat look to the Dock, and the icons are very similar to what you see in iOS 7 and iOS 8. The windows offer a high level of translucency, and show off some of the color of the operating system. However, with Yosemite, there are some new features coming which will enhance the OS.

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 1.41.31 PM


Today View in Notification Center

The Today view in Notification Center helps you stay on top of key information with a swipe. It shows you up-to-the- minute calendar, weather, and stock information. And you can customize Today with widgets from services like ESPN, Weather Channel, and other similar services.

Spotlight - Mac OSX Yosemite


Spotlight now appears front and center on your display and shows rich previews that you can interact with. Use Spotlight to look up information from Wikipedia, Maps, Bing, iTunes, news, and more, and to convert units and currencies. And Spotlight is always easy to access, no matter what you’re doing on your Mac.

Spotlight is one of my favorite features in Mac OS, and has been for a long time. To see Spotlight get some attention is great, and to augment it is a bonus for everyone.

Safari - Mac OS X Yosemite


Favorites view makes it simple to access your go-to websites. Tab view lets you see all your open tabs—even those on your other devices. New features give you more control over your privacy. And Safari offers blazing fast performance.

Mail - Mac OS X Yosemite


The new Markup feature lets you quickly fill out and annotate forms, images, and PDFs without having to switch to another app. And with Mail Drop, you can easily send files of up to 5GB for free.  MailDrop is a biggie, especially if you email files to people and their servers bounces them back because of size. This will give them a link to that file to download.

Message - Mac OS X Yosemite


Send audio clips with Soundbites. You can give titles to ongoing group conversations, add participants to group conversations, and leave conversations when you’ve finished chiming in.

iCloud Drive - iOS 8

iCloud Drive

Safely store documents of any type in iCloud so you can access and work on them across your devices. iCloud Drive works like any other folder in Finder— just drag in documents and organize them any way you like with folders or tags, and iCloud keeps everything up to date. Think of this as Apple’s Dropbox service, old time Apple fans remember iDisk, and this is an updated version of that.

There is another huge addition called Continuity, that is maybe the best addition, but that deserves a post all its own.

Check out the New in iOS 8 post to catch up on all of the additions coming to iPhone and iPad!


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