iOS 9 and Bushel Bring Apps To Devices Without Needing Apple IDs

An Apple ID is an account that users of any Apple device can use to access content on an iPhone, iPad, or Mac. This content includes iBooks from the iBook Store, apps from the Mac and iOS App Stores, and media from iTunes. Traditionally, each user should have their own Apple ID. This works great in home environments, and can be layered with Apple’s Family Plan in order to allow families to share content.
Work environments are a different story. One of the hardest things to deal with in Apple deployments has been how to deal with Apple IDs. Managing Apple IDs can become unwieldy depending if they decide to use Apple IDs for each user or for each device. To help with this, Apple built the ability to centrally manage some content using a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution, such as Bushel (www.bushel.com). MDM is a service that allows users to enroll their device and then have content sent to that device from a central location. An MDM service can help you get devices set-up and then manage what users can do on those devices (e.g. you can restrict access to features you don’t want used, automatically deploy email accounts, or, if needed, wipe a device that falls outside your control). Content is then usually purchased in bulk using Apple’s Volume Purchase Program (VPP), so licenses are centrally owned and can be reclaimed if necessary.
The VPP allows organizations to buy 10 or 10,000 copies of an app, and automatically deploy that app to devices. Traditionally, each user or device required a unique Apple ID. This meant users needed to create Apple IDs, or organizations needed to create Apple IDs on their behalf. The MDM service then sent apps to devices using these Apple IDs. I have spent months working with schools and companies of all sizes on strategies for managing Apple IDs.
iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 (El Capitan) brought an entirely new way of deploying content to devices. You can now deploy an app or iBook to a device, rather than to an Apple ID meaning you can perform large deployments without having to use unique Apple IDs on each device. There might be other factors that still cause you to need to use Apple IDs, but distributing apps and books isn’t one of them. Many MDM solutions, including Bushel, have implemented this new option from Apple, greatly streamlining how devices are managed.
In order to deploy apps to devices, you’ll still need to buy those apps through the VPP. Doing so allows you to potentially get apps at a discount and provide better management over what users are able to do within those apps. For many environments, removing the need to use an Apple ID will make using Apple devices en masse so much simpler. An MDM can also remove the app from a device and allow an administrator to deploy the app to someone else (for example, if an employee who uses their own device leaves the organization).
Overall, this new feature of an MDM solution further underscores the need to manage devices centrally, no matter the size of your organization. And doing so doesn’t have to be a costly. Bushel can be used by administrators for free on up to three devices, forever, so smaller teams using company iPads, iPhones, or Macs might not even end up needing to pay for an MDM solution. As deployments grow, Bushel only costs $2 per device, per month.
Once upon a time, you needed large farms of servers to centrally manage mobile devices. These days, the solutions out there are inexpensive, if not free. If you have a growing number of Apple devices, want to be able to wipe your devices should you lose them, manage apps on devices, or manage what people can do on those devices, check out the many MDM solutions out there, including Bushel, the only one written from the ground up with small businesses in mind.
When you buy your devices, make sure they can be managed through Apple’s Device Enrollment Program (DEP). DEP allows you to ship devices to a user and have them join an MDM solution at set-up, automatically. Using an MDM solution in conjunction with Apple’s new Apple ID-free deployment options, VPP, and a DEP account provides you with the most zero-touch solution available, while being as secure as possible. And when you can give a user a device that’s still shrink-wrapped from Apple that they can set up themselves, you’ve just slashed IT costs and made sure your devices meet company requirements, all while providing users with a personal experience similar to the unbeatable Apple Retail experience. Your employees and coworkers will thank you.

AdBlock Plus’ list of acceptable ads to be run by independent board

Eyeo has been accused of extorting large companies in exchange for placement on a list of advertisers whose promotions aren’t hidden from consumers by AdBlock Plus, a popular tool which promises to make browsing the Web easier by hiding most ads. Now it’s planning to give control over the controversial list to an independent board that will decide the requirements which must be met by its prospective members.
Details about the independent board remain scarce, but an Eyeo spokesperson told Gigaom that the company is “tentatively hoping for early 2016” and that it doesn’t “have a concrete timeframe” for the board’s establishment. The Guardian reports that the company is seeking “representatives from advertising, publishing and the public” for the board, but it hasn’t yet revealed any specific membership candidates.
Eyeo has been criticized for its revenue model since the Financial Times revealed in February that companies like Taboola, Microsoft, and Google pay to be on its list of acceptable advertisers. A digital media company told the Times that Eyeo asked it to pay “a fee equivalent to 30 per cent of the additional ad revenues that it would make from being unblocked” in exchange for having its advertisements placed on the list.
At the time, I argued that Eyeo’s revenue model was another example of a Silicon Valley company hiding behind lofty ideals, such as improving Web browsing, while covertly using its software to suit other purposes. The company didn’t offer a free ad-blocker just so it could improve the Web; it also used the tool to personally profit based on the sheer number of people who trusted it to block any ad they might see.
That criticism was stoked when the Wall Street Journal reported that Dean Murphy, the maker of the popular Crystal ad-blocker for iOS, would be paid to use Eyeo’s list of acceptable advertisers in his own application. This would provide Murphy with two revenue streams — Crystal’s a paid application — for a software tool that belongs to a category that many believe could prove disastrous to ad-dependent publishers.
Here’s what Murphy said in a blog post about his decision to use this list:

[B]y blocking all advertising with brute-force, it doesn’t promote a healthy mobile web that is sustainable and allows publishers to make a living from the free content they provide. By including the option for a user-managed whitelist and Acceptable Ads, I’m hoping to empower users to be able to support the mobile web in any way they see fit. […] In the long term, I’m hoping this convinces advertising agencies and publishers to reassess the kind of advertising they are using and bring them inline to a either the Acceptable Ads (or similar) criteria.

Arguments about whether or not it’s acceptable for ad-blocking companies to accept fees aren’t likely to be resolved now that Eyeo plans to set up an independent board. Here’s what a spokesperson said in response to my question about how Eyeo will make money when the independent board takes control of the list of acceptable ads:

We will continue to receive compensation from the larger entities on the whitelist. That’s about 10 percent of them all. However, those companies first have to uphold criteria (as do the 90 percent who don’t pay). It’s just that now an independent board made up of representatives from all over the map (figuratively and literally) will alter, update and enforce those criteria. Big, big change.

Big change indeed. I suspect it won’t change much about the conversation around the list, though. Even if it’s managed by an independent board, and even if all its members have to meet stringent requirements about ad quality, there will always be people upset that their favorite ad-blocker is making money by letting ads through. Eyeo could be in the right on this one, but it’s going to be criticized all the same.

Apple to automatically issue refunds for ad blocking app ‘Peace’

Apple is refunding consumers who bought Peace, the short-lived content blocker that rose to the top of its list of paid software before it was removed from sale, without requiring them to complain about the app’s quick demise.
Peace developer Marco Arment said in a blog post today that Apple will automatically issue the refunds to anyone who bought his app. He previously advised users to individually request refunds from the App Store, and said he granted 13,000 refunds between the app’s shutdown and Apple’s decision from this afternoon. This could be one of the first times Apple has issued such a mass refund to date, as typically requests are handled on a case-by-case basis, as Arment explained.
Arment said he struggled with deciding what to do with the money drawn from Peace sales. Now that decision has been taken out of his hands — and he’s glad:

Today, Apple made the decision for me, in a way that I didn’t even think was possible, and I’m actually happy — or at least, as happy as someone can be who just made a lot of money on a roller coaster of surprise, guilt, and stress, then lost it all suddenly in a giant, unexpected reset that actually resolves things pretty well.

I reached out to Apple for comment on its decision but have yet to hear back. This post will be updated if the company responds. In the meantime, here’s some more background on Peace, in addition to questions for the company that provided the database used to determine what content the app should block.

Here’s what should excite you about the new iPhone 6S

Apple has released some new iPhones. They come with the company’s new operating system, are available with a new aluminum finish, and boast a bunch of the incremental upgrades that accompany every new product under the sun.
In these ways, the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus would be easy to dismiss as the same off-year product updates Apple popularized with the iPhone 4s or 5s. But these new iPhones also have features that will change how people take photos, interact with their phones, and view the concept of ownership in this new age.
Apple iPhone 6s

Cosmetic changes & improved specs

First the easy stuff. These new iPhones are available with a new Rose Gold finish, and Apple claims that it has developed new forms of aluminum and glass to make the devices more durable than their predecessors. They have updated processors, ship with iOS 9, and boast improved front-and rear-facing cameras.
iPhone 6s Live Photo

GIFs & Live Photos

Then comes the more interesting things, starting with Live Photos. These are basically animated GIFs that the new iPhones make whenever someone takes a picture. They have sound, are about three seconds long, and can be viewed by making a long press on any photo captured with these devices’ new cameras.
Automatically generating these GIFs is a nice nod to the forms dominance on the Internet. Who wants to watch a video or see a still image when an animated GIF is available? I suspect these Live Photos will be very popular — and that their popularity will be increased by the fact that services like Facebook will support them within the year, thus helping them attract all kinds of attention.
It’s hard to overstate how having Live Photos available on something like Facebook could help sell the new iPhones to many consumers. There’s nothing like good ol’ fashioned jealousy, especially where social media is concerned, to make a bunch of people want something they might have otherwise dismissed.
The interaction that allows people to view Live Photos — a long press — is part of a much larger change Apple is making to how people interact with the sheets of metal and glass that serve as windows into much of their lives. Apple is calling the upgrade 3D Touch, and horrible name aside, it’s kind of a big deal.

A screenshot showing the iPhone 6s' 3D Touch capabilities in action.

A screenshot showing the iPhone 6s’ 3D Touch capabilities in action.

3D Touch – Awful name, big addition

3D Touch is essentially bringing the concept of a right-click to the iPhone. Instead of restricting people to interacting with content shown on the screen, 3D Touch allows iPhone owners to view pertinent information or perform common tasks with little more than a long, forceful press or simple gesture.
This means things that previously required a few taps, like responding to an email or viewing flight information from a text message thread, can now be found a little more easily. It might seem like a small change, but this could make the day-to-day experience of using an iPhone less painful than before.
Features like 3D Touch and Live Photos aren’t going to make anyone want a smartphone. Hell, both of them probably sound like gobbledygook to people who aren’t already sold on animated GIFs or using smartphones every day. Instead, the features are supposed to appeal to people who already own a smartphone, whether it’s an iPhone or some Android device or another.
Apple iPhone Upgrade Program

iPhone upgrade program

That’s where the iPhone Upgrade Program comes in. Apple wants to make it easier for people to get a new iPhone every year. To do that, it’s offering unlocked devices for a monthly fee starting at $32, effectively allowing people to rent the latest-and-greatest iPhones for the 12 months between releases. Once that new device is available, consumers will be expected to turn in their old one.
It does sound tempting. But, then again, I’m also a foolish consumer who has been willing to do obscene things with his Verizon account just to get new phones whenever an old one starts showing any kind of problem, or a new one is announced with enough new features to warrant even a little excitement.
And it’s hard not to think of this as an iPhone-as-a-service play. Instead of having something you own forever, Apple is basically asking people to pay for their phones the same way they pay for their Netflix subscription. Why buy a movie when you can rent all of them? Why get an iPhone you’ll eventually replace? It’s so much more convenient to just rent one out for a little while.
That could have questionable consequences for the concept of ownership. Do we really need to rent everything we use? Wouldn’t it be nice to own some things outright instead of having everything depend on monthly payments? Those are just a few of the concerns I have about this new upgrade program.
Still, I have to hand it to Apple: the company picked the right time to introduce this new, potentially lucrative pricing structure. These new iPhones aren’t just incremental upgrades; they’re poised to change the way people use their phones or share moments from their lives. I’d pay a few bucks each month for that.

Apple’s take on the smartwatch: Elegant evolution

After attending the “Spring Forward” event to get all of the remaining Apple Watch details and then getting some hands-on time with the device, I walked away with mixed emotions.

Apple Watch 42mm on wrist

On the one hand, [company]Apple[/company] debuted a polished product that was very responsive in my use. On the other hand, we learned few additional features or details we didn’t already know from the September Apple Watch introduction.

The Apple Watch pricing was perhaps the biggest new piece of information. A 38 millimeter Apple Watch Sport will cost $349 while a 42 millimeter version is priced $50 more.

Apple Watch Sport Edition

The stainless steel Apple Watch starts at $549 for the smaller model and there is the same $50 premium for the larger size. Depending on your choice of band, you can spend up to $1,049. And the Apple Watch Editions made from gold will start at $10,000.

Apple Watch Edition

Aside from that, we learned a few minor details to fill in gaps. We knew, for example, the Watch would support Apple Pay but today we saw how it works. Third-party apps were shown off as extensions to what you could already do on your phone. We learned that the display of Apple Watch is off until you either raise your wrist or tap on the screen. And we saw how you could take a phone call right from the Apple Watch with its microphone and speaker.

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 11.14.51 AM (2)

Here’s the thing: There was no surprise or compelling feature that set the Apple Watch apart from other smartwatches, and I didn’t really see any major advancement of the device category. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. If you liked what you saw in the Apple Watch back in September, you got a little more to like today. If you were unconvinced back then, you’re likely still on the fence.

The situation is, to me, vastly different from another first generation product from Apple. The iPad. When the iPad arrived, it truly stood out and put Apple out in front of the tablet market. Yes, there were tablets available in the past, but none compelled the mass market uptake that iPad did.

I’m not so sure the same will hold true for the Apple Watch, at least in its first iteration.

Oh, I still expect Apple to sell millions of watches. Just not tens of millions for some time to come. Those looking for the convenience factor of not having to reach for their iPhone 100 times a day will strongly consider it. How much they will pay for that convenience is another question. I hemmed and hawed over a $249 Android Wear watch in December, for example, even with a $50 holiday discount. Spending hundreds more isn’t something I’d personally consider, but that’s just me.

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 10.56.57 AM (2)

As far as early comparisons between the Apple Watch and Android Wear, the functionality is much the same. There are some unique features on both, but at their core, both do similar things — notifications, health tracking and small app functionality — as they extend apps and data from a connected phone. The interfaces are different though, and overall, in my limited hands-on time, the Apple Watch appears more responsive than any Android Wear device I’ve used: fast, slick animations and quick transitions between screens.

Forrester analyst James McQuivey seems to feel the same, backing up my impressions in an email:

“Competitors will also be relieved that Apple didn’t really surprise anyone with its features. Samsung and Motorola don’t have to worry that Apple has leapfrogged them in many functional ways — the Moto 360, for example, already does most of what Apple showed today, though sometimes the user has to go looking for those features.”

Apple’s take on the smartwatch is what you’d expect then: Designed in a way that Apple feels is elegant and intuitive, just like its iPhone and iPad products. Apple Watch isn’t quite a smartwatch revolution but more of Apple’s stamp on the product category.

Apple Watch Tim cook

Perhaps the biggest difference between Apple Watch and competing products is the fashion and luxury tie-in between the different bands — which looked very nice — and gold casings. Turning a phone accessory into a luxury item purchase might be the real advancement here, and that might get people to shell out $549 or far more for a smartwatch.

Apple Watch ranges in price from $349 to over $10,000; on sale April 24

Apple answered questions about its first smartwatch at a media event in San Francisco on Monday and now we’ve got some answers on how much Apple Watch will cost and when you can buy one.

Apple Watch pricing depends on which size you get. The 38-mm Apple Watch Sport will cost $349, and the 42-mm model will cost $399. To move up to the stainless steel model, you’re going to spend at least $549, and as much as $1,049, depending on bracelet. The 42-mm models are $50 more. And for big spenders, the Apple Watch Edition with a gold case costs $10,000 and up. More information is now available on Apple’s website.

Apple Watch collection

Preorders start on April 10, and that’s when Apple will start to display them in Apple Stores. Apple Watch will go on sale on April 24 in nine countries, including China, Hong Kong, France, Japan, and the United States.

Bands, sold separately, will start at $49 for a sport band, with leather bands and a mesh bracelet coming in at $150, all the way up to Apple’s link band, which costs $449.

Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special event on March 9, 2015 in San Francisco, California.

Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special event on March 9, 2015 in San Francisco, California.

In the absence of a unified story about what Apple Watch is best for, Apple focused on several Apple Watch features on Monday. Its first demo centered on a feature Apple called Digital Touch, which was introduced in September. It allows a user to draw on their watch and send the image to a friend’s Apple Watch — a feature that Android Wear doesn’t yet include. Users can pick up calls or reply to iMessages from an Apple Watch.

Apple Watch stand up

Apple Watch is fitness-focused, too. If you’ve been sitting too long, it will tap you and remind you to get up. For more serious athletes, Apple Watch is sporting a new workout app that tracks running, cycling, and sessions on cardio machines at your gym. It sets activity goals for you the way a coach would. These aren’t third-party features; they’re built into every Apple Watch.

Passbook gets some Apple Watch love, too. It can be used on the Apple Watch to show flight times and store QR codes. Apple Watch will work with Apple Pay for contactless retail payments.

Other features will have to be provided by third-party developers. Apple previewed apps and notifications from ESPN, CNN, Salesforce, Instagram, WeChat, Uber, Shazam, Starwood Hotels, and developers. To get those apps, you download them through the Apple Watch app on an iPhone. That feature is in the iOS 8.2 update, available today.

Uber Apple Watch app

Even if you don’t like notifications or apps on your wrist, Apple Watch has a few nifty features, like the ability to change faces based on the time of day or your location. You can control your music and use Siri as well, although Siri doesn’t talk on the Apple Watch.

Apple Watch syncs with an iPhone through both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. If you were wondering about battery life, Apple says that Apple Watch can manage an “all-day battery life across a range of activities,” which apparently means about 18 hours.

Apple Senior Vice President of Operations Jeff Williams announces ResearchKit on stage during an Apple special event on March 9, 2015 in San Francisco, California.

Apple Senior Vice President of Operations Jeff Williams announces ResearchKit on stage during an Apple special event on March 9, 2015 in San Francisco, California.

Apple debuts a thin, fanless MacBook that comes in gold

Although most of the attention at Apple’s special event on Monday will be on the Apple Watch, the company still had a little treat for Mac fans. As expected, Apple launched a 12-inch MacBook on Monday, and it will cost $1,299 or more when it starts shipping on April 10.

“We challenged ourselves to reinvent the notebook with what we’ve learned from iPhone and iPad,” CEO Tim Cook said.

macbook_overview_og

Starting, apparently, with colors. The new MacBook comes in the same colors as the iPhone and iPad: Gray, gold and silver.

This new laptop is a clear break from previous Apple laptops. Instead of Apple’s proprietary MagSafe charger, it has a single USB Type-C port, which delivers video, data and power in one, and a headphone jack. The single port shouldn’t cause too many problems when users want to plug in a device while charging: Apple says the new MacBook should be able to manage nine hours of web browsing on a single charge.

IMG_0099

Apple said its MacBook is 24 percent slimmer than the current MacBook Air line. Its length and width dimensions are close to those of the 11-inch MacBook Air. It sports a 12-inch display by slimming the extra space on both sides of the keyboard found on previous MacBooks. That 12-inch screen is a Retina display, sporting a resolution of 2304 x 1440. It’s powered by a 5-watt Intel Core M processor clocked at up to 1.3GHz, which means that the laptop doesn’t need a fan.

Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing, speaks during the Apple event in San Francisco on March 9, 2015.

Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing, speaks during the Apple event in San Francisco on March 9, 2015.

The new MacBook, simply called MacBook, sports a large trackpad using the taptic engine technology Apple is also using for its watches, and an edge-to-edge keyboard with a new mechanism that allows the laptop to be thinner. The taptic engine should enable new forms of touch interfaces, such as the ability to press harder to, say, bring up a Wikipedia entry or fast forward more quickly.

The new MacBook is apparently a new line of notebooks. It “joins” the existing MacBook Air, and MacBook Pros are getting the new upgraded taptic force trackpad as well.

Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the new MacBook during an Apple special event on March 9, 2015 in San Francisco, California.

Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the new MacBook during an Apple special event on March 9, 2015 in San Francisco, California.

Live blog: The Apple Watch “Spring Forward” event

Announced in September, the Apple Watch is nearly here; expected to ship in April. There are still many remaining questions about the wearable and Apple is likely to answer them all at its “Spring Forward” event in San Francisco at 10am PT, Monday, March 9.

I’ll be on the scene, live-blogging the event right here, sharing more about the device’s features and pricing as the product story unfolds. It’s also possible we see other new, or updated products, such as a 12-inch MacBook Air. Tune in right here for all of the details as the event unfolds and don’t hesitate to leave your [company]Apple[/company] Watch questions in the comments; I’m sure to get some hands-on time with the newest watch that doesn’t have hands to get you some answers.

Update: Here’s what Apple announced.

Apple event preview: Apple Watch, Apple Watch, maybe a MacBook

On Monday, Apple is holding a special event starting at 10 a.m. PT. Gigaom will be there to liveblog, and you can stream the video online from a Mac or iOS device.

Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t provide an agenda for its special events, so we had to come up with one.

apple-invite

Apple Watch price and availability

If Apple wants us to buy these smartwatches it’s been playing up the past five months, it’s going to have to tell us how much they cost and when Apple fans can start lining up. Apple Watch will go on sale in April, so this event will be Apple’s best chance to convince the public its worth the price.

We know the least expensive Apple Watch will start at $349. But there are three separate Apple Watch lines: “Watch,” “Watch Sport,” and “Watch Edition.” Watch Edition is made out of 18-karat gold. And each watch has optional bands sold separately. So there’s a lot of range for different prices.

Speculation has centered on the Watch Sport being $349, with the stainless steel Watch coming in somewhere between $500 and $1000. The Watch Edition is the hardest to pinpoint, with guesses starting around $1,000 and going up to $10,000 or more.

Apple Watch. Photo by Tom Krazit/Gigaom

You might even be able to pre-order an Apple Watch. We’ll learn on Monday.

Apple Watch apps

Apple has been holding secretive sessions with third-party developers in what sounds like a internet-free bunker in Apple’s headquarters, according to reports from Bloomberg and 9to5Mac. Developers reportedly can’t bring in anything but a hard drive and can’t take anything out of the room, but in return, they have been able to fine-tune their apps on real Apple Watch prototype hardware.

The Bloomberg report named BMW, Facebook, Starwood Hotels and United Airlines as companies participating in the secret lab sessions, but 9to5Mac put the number at “hundreds of iOS developers.”  CEO Tim Cook has said Apple Watch will be able to start a car, and Starwood wants to use Apple Watch as a hotel room key, so to show off those features, Apple will probably pull a few of its partners up on stage.

Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces Apple Pay with the Apple Watch.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces Apple Pay with the Apple Watch. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

9to5Mac pointed to Electronic Arts, Uber, Dropbox, and Match.com as participants in secretive Apple Watch trials. Apple will also mention ApplePay and explain how it works on the watch and how many partners it’s signed up. Apple could also pull one of its HomeKit partners to explain how Apple Watch works in a smart home.

Apple’s also has at least two of its own apps, Fitness and Workout, that it will need to explain to the world, in addition to improvements in the Health app.

Jony Ive in a white box

One major question about Apple Watch is what’s underneath the hood. Apple has said the S1, a “system in package,” is powering the smartwatch. I don’t expect Apple to go too much into specs on Monday — maybe it will reveal the Apple Watch has 8GB of onboard storage — but we’ll certainly get a little more clarity than we had before.

Apple Watch Internals

More likely is that Apple will be making the case that even in the absence of a “killer app” or compelling reason to purchase an Apple Watch, there are enough uses and it’s a good enough timepiece that you want it anyway. That discussion will likely focus on features and functions, like its low-power mode and “heart rate glance,” a way to check heart rate on the watch quickly.

Most likely, Apple design guru Jony Ive will deliver that part of that story, through a video, since he doesn’t like public speaking. And as is Ive’s wont, that video will probably take place in a white box.

Here’s Ive’s video from a white box from last September, when he introduced the Apple Watch:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwpGU3aUYao

iOS update

The new iPhone 6 is displayed during an Apple special event.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The new iPhone 6 is displayed during an Apple special event. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

It’s been almost confirmed that Apple Watch will require a companion iOS app for changing settings and controlling the watch. Since no such app is currently installed on iPhones, the next iOS update, 8.2, will likely have support for pairing with an Apple Watch, or the companion app could be accessible from the iTunes App Store.

Since Apple will have to push an update to Apple Watch users, it might give some stage time to other tweaks in iOS 8.2. However, the major iOS update will likely be revealed this June, at Apple’s developer’s conference.

One more thing?

If there’s a surprise Apple product announcement at Monday’s event, it’s unlikely to be the long-rumored bigger iPad or a new Apple TV.

silvergray-copy

Based on recent rumors, there’s a chance that Apple’s radically redesigned 12-inch MacBook might be a topic of discussion on Monday. The device is tipped to use the new USB Type-C port, and could be even thinner than the current MacBook Air. It’s not a sure thing, but if you’re in the market for a new laptop, perhaps you should wait until after Monday’s announcements.

At the very least, a new MacBook would be a better surprise than a free U2 album.

[protected-iframe id=”b39c83014a0ad2b86bb35e70a343c40c-14960843-20403030″ info=”https://vine.co/v/OzXDQvTu6u1/embed/simple” width=”600″ height=”600″ frameborder=”0″]

Mobile recap: iOS Android Wear; Pebble Time Steel; Huawei Nexus

In the final run up before the Apple Watch launches, an interesting rumor made the rounds: Google is allegedly working on bringing Android Wear watch support to iPhones. On the surface that may sound odd: Why would Google even consider such a thing?

Google Play Music Android Wear main

The reality is: [company]Google[/company] has long supported [company]Apple[/company]’s mobile OS with nearly all of its services and there are plenty of examples of that. There are iOS apps for Google Play Music and Movies, for example, as well as Gmail, Google Voice, Google Search (which adds Google Now contextual notifications to iOS), Drive, Maps and more. About the only main Google app that still remains Android only I can think of is Google Keep.

Granted, Android Wear is a different case since this is Google’s smartwatch platform. There’s precedent here, however: Google eventually added Google Glass support for iPhone users. I think, as a result, it would make sense for Google to bring an Android Wear to iOS. It would open up Android Wear watch sales to a completely new segment of potential users and allow Google to keep gathering valuable information from iPhone owners.

pebble time steel

Such cross-platform support is something that the Pebble smartwatch enjoys. And if that wasn’t enough, the new Pebble Time edition now has a stainless steel option. Pebble introduced the Pebble Time Steel this week, allowing those who already backed the plastic model a chance to upgrade. The metal version will cost $299 when it arrives in June but early backers can reserve one for $249.

Months later is the typical time of year when Google introduces a new Nexus handset and there’s been buzz this week that Huawei will get the nod to design and produce it. If that happens, it will be the first time a China-based company was tapped for the Nexus phone since the line was introduced in 2010. Previous Nexus-makers include HTC, Samsung, LG and Motorola.

huawei watch official

Huawei has even dropped hints about any future phones it might sell in the U.S., saying they will come with “stock Android,” which is a key feature of Nexus phones. Of course, Google wants its own flagships to be high-quality, good-looking devices and Huawei has proven itself in that area if the company’s new Huawei Watch is any indication.