And the most useful features of Yosemite and iOS 8 are ?

A great thing about iOS 8 and Yosemite was the creation of new communication links between iOS devices and Macs.  When they were released to the public those links were there to an extent but there were significant issues with reliability.  Subsequent updates to both platforms have improved reliability.  The experience when those links work is excellent, but one or two issues remain.  This is actually the kind of thing that I expected once I got my first iPhone (I was already a Mac user), when it didn’t materialise it was what I always hoped for.  Here are some aspects of this new integration that I find most useful.

Airdrop.  Useful method for quickly pinging something between Mac and iPhone.  I take a lot of video on my iPhone and then edit it in iMovie on my Mac.  I used to have to plug in the phone to transfer video files, but now I can Airdrop them wirelessly and it isn’t slow.  Aside from the ease of transfer I like this method because it avoids charging my phone.  That’s good for two reasons: (1) I dislike partially charging my phone between full charges, (2) if my MacBook is on battery power it’s discharge cycle will take a big hit by charging my phone.

AirDrop 01

It needs to be said that a mysterious problem affects Airdrop.  Sometimes Airdrop won’t work if sending from an iOS device to a Mac – the Mac doesn’t show up as an option even though the iOS devices do show up on the Mac.  This has happened only a few times but it is incredibly frustrating when it does occur.  As of yet I haven’t tracked down a cause of the bug and there is no obvious cure.  I have tried numerous reboots, turning Handoff/Airdrop off and on, unpairing and repairing devices in bluetooth.  Nothing seems to solve the issue, it mysteriously resolves itself after a couple of days of not trying anything in particular.


SMS – Continuity. This was really troublesome when it was initially released.  If you were put off by a bad experience you should try it again now.  Being able to text from my laptop makes life quite a bit easier when I’m working at my laptop.


Pocket – Handoff.  Read an article on iPhone, sit down at my desk and pick up where I left off on my Mac.


iWork – Handoff.  Tweak a document on iPad, arrive at my desk and finish it off with precision on my Mac.



Personal Hotspot.  Entering the Settings app and activating a personal hotspot is now largely a thing of the past.  The new method of an instant hotspot from the Wi-Fi menu is incredibly convenient – it just makes sense.  Generally speaking it works well, though I have run into a couple of instances of a failed attempt.


A Word of Caution : older Macs (pre 2012) do not support the useful features of Yosemite! I discovered this to my huge disappointment when I performed a clean install of Yosemite on my 2011 iMac. I cannot use Handoff, but more galling is the fact that I cannot Airdrop between my iPhone and iMac!  Even between my newer MacBook and iMac an Airdrop requires me to choose the “Older Mac” option in the Finder window, which makes the process very clunky indeed.  I’m strongly considering going back to Mavericks or upgrading the Bluetooth chipset. AirDrop 02


iBooks Author is back in the game

When Yosemite was released Apple also released an update for iBooks Author. The bug with opening documents made in previous versions of OSX has been squashed. Authors hoping to edit and update older multi touch iBooks can continue to do so.

iBA is still awaiting an update to its UI to bring it inline with the iWork apps. But a functioning app is of far greater value than a beautiful and useless app.

Hope you authors are happy with that result! But maybe you were banking on a delay between the releases of Yosemite and the iBA update so you could have a holiday?

Now Yosemite is ready for you to download (updated 16 Oct 23:30)

If you try following the upgrade link for Yosemite from the website you’ll be disappointed I’m afraid.  The installer isn’t ready for download.  I’m hearing that it is a global issue, so don’t worry those in the US Store haven’t got a head start on the rest of us!


Yosemite not released just yet


Yosemite is showing up in the Mac App Store but still not downloading, so it is likely minutes away from being available.



In case you didn’t already know the installer is now available … enjoy!

(Blog title updated to reflect the change.)

Apple please make a decent productivity announcement tomorrow!

Being the big fan of iWork that I am I’m hoping for one announcement in particular that will help keep iWork in the game. I think that there will at least be one (semi) iWork update announced as iBooks Author is at least one year overdue an visual update to bring it inline with Pages etc and now the Yosemite visual refresh.

As we know document creation is increasingly collaborative and many apps are being designed to specifically handle collaboration. In my opinion the gold standard is Google Drive, which goes so far as to enable real time collaboration.

There is a draw back with Drive though which is that it is predominantly Web browser based. There are mobile apps but they are limited in what they can do. This is where Apple have an advantage – the iWork iOS apps are well made and powerful. They also have well a established suit of native desktop apps.

Last year we saw the introduction of iWork in the Web browser. That was certainly a step in the right direction. Sadly owners of iWork apps missed out on the opportunity to truly collaborate from within those apps! The greatness of the apps is severely diminished if an important function can only be performed from a Web browser. And that is what must be done when editing a document sent to you from someone else. This fact is reinforced by the way that iOS iWork apps handle documents. The documents live inside the app; they aren’t meant to be edited outside of the app.

My hope for tomorrow is a long shot but hey! I’d like to imagine that Apple will announce in app collaboration. Perhaps to be more realistic this should instead be a longer term desire, what do you think?

IBooks Author & Yosemite

Update : iBooks Author was updated at the release of Yosemite, see this post.

Apple have disappointed a number of people by releasing Yosemite after iOS 8. You have to say that given the promised deep integration between iOS and Yosemite releasing one without the other is a strange decision.  I hope that Apple don’t make another mistake in October when they are expected to release Yosemite to the public.

In the suite of iWork apps, which I greatly enjoy working with, iBooks Author stands alone as the overlooked by Apple productivity app.  It didn’t receive the updated UI and features of Pages, Numbers and Keynote around the time of the release of Mavericks.  It now looks pretty old, though it is still functional (some might say more functional than the others).  Well if the Yosemite release goes ahead in October and iBA is not updated by that time iBook authors will be prevented from continuing their work as the app cannot open .iba files created on earlier OS’s (it can create new files). This has hampered my work flow recently.

I hope that Apple can get that fixed with an update and not upset a whole bunch more users. Additionally it will be interesting to see what Apple have to offer by way of a refresh for iBA. As long as there is no loss of functionality users should be happy.

Would this problem with iBooks Author on Yosemite be problematic for you?