When I learned that another new photo editing application was coming, one that claimed it would be able to take on the juggernaut of the industry, Adobe Photoshop, I rolled my eyes. “First this software will need to be able to knock off Pixelmator,” I thought. I downloaded Affinity Photos immediately, and within one day of using the software I realized that Affinity was no competition for Pixelmator – it easily surpassed it.
The company in charge of Affinity is Serif LTD., located in Nottingham, England. Serif has been around since 1987, and has a host of web and creative editing tools, largely focused on the consumer and educational markets. If you have never heard of them, as I had not, there is a big reason for that. Until Affinity Photo, all Serif's software was built exclusively for Windows. However, with the Mac continuing to grow and stay firmly entrenched in the creative markets, Serif set off in a new direction. Affinity Photo was engineered from the ground up for OS X. There is no Affinity Windows counterpart. There no shared code or pallet design ported from the platform best forgotten. Affinity Photo is 100% OS X goodness, and already includes Force Touch capability.
WWDC 2015 is just around the corner, but one of the most interesting updates to the Mac product line will not be mentioned on Monday. Over the next year we can expect all new Mac models to begin incorporating Touch ID into their designs.
All new iPhones and iPads have Touch ID, and Apple Watch leverages the technology with Apple Pay abilities. Apple intends to extend the technology to Macs, eliminating the need for laborious passwords. Consider this Apple’s secure One Password solution, only faster, easier, more secure — better. Like iOS, upon reboot, OS X will require the user to type in their password to start using Touch ID (for security) but after that passwords for access to your Mac or Keychain can all be had with your fingerprint.
If you hadn’t noticed, Apple is on what can only be described as a never-ending tear of success, and their enemies seem incapable or inept at stopping them. But this does not mean other tech players aren’t trying to wear their big-boy pants — they just continue to come up short at competing effectively. Perhaps the worst offender is Microsoft. Under former CEO Steve Ballmer, the Redmond software giant became very good at making lofty promises, delivering failures, demonstrating vaporware or throwing an occasional chair. Today’s Microsoft, run by Satya Nadella, is now a softer, gentler software vendor, but has yet to be any more effective at defeating the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and soon to arrive and dominate the wearable market, Apple Watch.
Nadella showed initial promise by downplaying the consumer electronics market, turning his focus on enterprise solutions. Old habits die hard. Microsoft is once again is pulling out their Fisher Price "My First Marketing Playbook" in another attempt at capturing the consumers eye with Surface 3. Will a cheaper Surface, whose best feature is the 5 seconds of switching between a poor tablet and so-so ultrabook, backed with a massive advertising budget, be enough to derail Apple’s best laid plans?
If rumors come true, expect Apple to send out invitations tomorrow for a Special Event to take place on Tuesday, February 24th. Recently Apple has given short notice between announcements for Special Events and the actual event itself. While seven day is cutting it close, the reasons make sense. First, this Special Event would coincide with what would have been Steve Jobs’ 60th birthday. Second, we needed to get beyond the long-holiday Valentine’s Day/President’s Day weekend in the U.S. Any invitation sent out before then would have had less impact. Announcing tomorrow makes sense in that there will be few, if any, distractions.
Why Apple would hold a Special Event in the middle of the quarter is two fold. First, Apple would spend some time reviewing Apple Watch and showing us a bit more how it works and why we all need one. Apple would also reveal more specifics on pricing, so people can know what their desires will cost them. Second, Apple would use the event to introduce a new 12" device. There has been much speculation that a forthcoming 12" device could be a MacBook Air (to replace both 11" and 13" models) a MacBook Pro or an iPad Pro (here and here).
Sometimes we get spoiled. We seldom stop to reflect on what has happened, always wanting more of something we don't yet have. Tis one of the pitfalls of capitalism coupled with our natural, insatiable tendency for something more. The fix for this problem is gratitude — being thankful for what we do have and have been given.
In the realm of Apple, this plays out in our desire for the “next best thing” instead of looking around us and being amazed at all the things Apple has done, just in 2014. Here are a few highlights to reflect upon from Apple in 2014.
Guy Kawasaki, Chief Evangelist for Apple in the mid-80’s, was interviewed on Bloomberg Surveillance today. And while Kawasaki has insight on where Apple once was, his ideas of Apple are now clearly from the outside looking in. Guy Kawasaki’s belief that Apple is a luxury brand is simply wrong.
The iMac was recently updated to include a stunningly high-resolution 5K display. Saying a fancy number like "5K" is one thing, but seeing it in person is quite another. The display is simply breathtaking, and the retina feel from my staring eyeballs from just two-feet away was in full effect. Simply put, Apple's iMac Retina 5K display is the best on the market in an all-in-one. So where is Apple's 27" 5K Thunderbolt display?
Apple currently sells the 27" Thunderbolt display for $999, while the iMac with Retina 5K display starts at $2,499. Based on Apple's previous 27" iMac pricing (which used the exact 2560 x 1440 display as the 27" Thunderbolt monitor), it would seem reasonable for Apple to sell a 5K display for roughly $1,499.
Will Apple’s OS X Yosemite Spotlight Search be used by the masses? Will dark mode be the default go-to look and feel? Will Continuity be a must users simply won’t be able to live without? Like test driving a car, once purchased, the owners continued long term use reveals the gimmicky sales tools versus what features are truly useful. In many respects new OS releases are much the same. Widgets once seemed like a great default tool to quickly discover weather, stock prices and flight times. Fast forward a few years and OS X Widgets are rarely developed for or used. Sherlock seemed a sure bet, then morphed into Spotlight, but was limited in only finding things on your local drive. Now Spotlight has been given a rebirth in Yosemite under its new name, Spotlight Search. Long term value of such tools will be discovered over time, thus, here are some initial impressions of Apple’s newly minted OS.
Some things in life are just inevitable. If you eat one potato chip when the entire bag is available, it is inevitable that you will eat more; if you drink often in bars and pubs and then drive home, it is inevitable you will someday get a DUI. If you are in Vegas and on a lucky streak, if you keep betting it is inevitable that the casino will win all its money back and then some.
Wishing for Santa to deliver a new Mac Pro for Christmas? Well, at least the ability to order one started this morning, but they won't be arriving into studios and power users hands until February.
There are two configurations for the Mac Pro, starting at $2,999 for a quad-core system, and $3,999 for the six-core powerhouse. But this is just the entry point for a configuration. We started configuring the high-end model and maxed out with a price of $14,959.98. A Mac Pro or Kia Soul, take your pick. Maybe get one of each.