Apple Music is coming...

Apple Music is coming tomorrow. There are a couple of hoops you’re going to have to jump through to listen in.

Updates

Apple is going to push iOS 8.4 to iPhones and iPads at 8:00 AM PDT (11:00 AM on the East Coast) on June 30 (tomorrow). That will update the Music app to support Apple Music. The Beats app is getting an update (though not necessarily at the same time) that will let it export your Library and Playlists over to the updated Apple Music app.

If you use Spotify, Rdio, etc., you can use the Beats Importer (info here) to move your stuff to Beats and then from there into Apple Music.

Money

You’re going to have to pay for most of the features of Apple Music. It’s $9.99/month for one user, $14.99/month for up to six users connected through iCloud Family Sharing. But, in my opinion it’s worth it. For that you get unlimited skips on Apple Music radio stations except on Beats1, which is live and doesn’t have skips, unlimited listening to everything in the Apple Music catalog, all of your own music added through iTunes Match, and access to the curated playlists and recommendations in Apple Music. You will also get offline listening for those times when you’re driving to Snowshoe and cell service sucks.

There is a three month free trial period for everyone but if you decide not to pay after that you’ll lose access to any content from the catalog you’ve added and you’ll be skip-limited on all radio stations.

Where to Listen

Initially you’ll get to enjoy Apple Music on any iOS device, any Mac or PC running the latest iTunes, and the Apple Watch. Apple TV support and an Android app are coming later this year.

So, Should I Try It?

Yeah. If you use the Music app now for iTunes Match and/or iTunes Radio then you’ll be using it anyway. And iTunes Radio is being killed off in favor of Apple Music so you’ve got no choice there. If you use Beats then you’re eventually going to be migrated over to Apple Music (probably) so you might as well start that process now.

If you’re using one of the other streaming services and really, really love it, then I dunno. Maybe just try Apple Music for a bit since it’s free for three months and decide then.

But, I want to know more…

Then you should check out Serenity Caldwell’s Apple Music FAQ: Everything you need to know on iMore. It has, literally, everything you need to know.

Happy listening…

WWDC 2015 Keynote

For a WWDC keynote in which essentially nothing "new" was announced, there sure was a lot going on today at the Moscone Center. We didn't get any new hardware: the Apple TV was apparently scrapped at the last minute because either the hardware, the content agreements, or both, aren't ready yet. And all of the upgrades and services announced for iOS and OS X are iterative. I suppose the native SDK for watchOS is new, but it was completely expected. So, boring, right?

Nope.

OS X El Capitan

OS X 10.11 (awkward numbering, there) is called El Capitan. It's a little hard to say out loud but it's a good name. And if nothing else it makes for a really nice desktop wallpaper. The features in El Cap are what's exciting. Along with the usual gang of performance and security improvements we're getting some cool UI stuff.

There are new touchpad gestures that will let you swipe on emails to mark them read or delete them – not sure if that's customizable to archive instead of delete, but it certainly should be. I'm very excited to have pinned tabs in Safari. And the ability to mute audio in tabs (looking right at you, Macworld, with your insufferable auto-playing videos) from the address bar is nice.

I am also very excited about the split-screen window management. I often have TweetBot and Safari open and would really like a better way to see both than clicking between windows or swiping between full-screen spaces. It's definitely a first-world problem but it will reduce friction and frustration.

Apple also announced they're bringing Metal to the desktop in 10.11 which should give significant performance improvements in games and in high-end apps like Adobe's Lightroom and Photoshop. Indeed, Adobe has announced they will incorporate Metal in all of their Mac apps soon.

iOS 9

iOS doesn't get cool, California names so it's just boring old 9. It is very cool that this latest mobile OS will be available on every device that iOS 8 can run on today will run iOS 9 when it is available. How well it runs on older devices is yet to be seen, however.

Siri continues to get better with improvements in accuracy and performance. And Siri is getting smarter with improved search and even predictive, contextual suggestions. She's even creepier than before! To be fair, I have been using Siri more lately and have noticed a big improvement.

Maps is getting better, too. Apple is really upping their mapping efforts to improve accuracy. They're also adding public transit routes. Maps will even understand the layouts of subway stations and integrate walking directions to get you where you want to go faster.

As expected, Apple is adding more banks and merchants to its Apple Pay system. And they announced that Apple Pay will go live in the United Kingdom next month. And you can use it on the Underground. No more Oyster card for us, Mr. Fish!

Believe it or not the thing I was am excited about with iOS 9 is the updated Notes app. Notes is getting added to share sheets so you can easily add web links and photos. You will also be able to make checklists in Notes and even make sketches right in the app. It's going to actually be useful now.

Apple introduced a new app called News that will have content from publishers available for free. So, I guess there is something new. Please disregard the first sentence of this post. There you will have stories from Wired, ESPN, New York Times, and a bunch of Conde Nast publications. It looks a bit like a Flipboard-type service. You can bookmark articles for reading later, as well.

The iPad is finally getting real multitasking. No. For real. Honest-to-goodness side-by-side apps. Every iPad running iOS 9 will get a SlideOver function where you can pick an app (the new Notes would be handy here, as would Twitterrific) that you can, well, slide over the side of the active app. True split view multitasking like that coming in OS X El Capitan is limited to the iPad Air 2, though.

I'm also very excited about the Picture-in-picture feature coming with iOS 9. Finally I'll be able to watch baseball and check twitter at the same time! Looks like developers will have to use the new API to make that work, though, so some might not support it right away.

They announced improvements in battery life, the install size of updates, and streamlining app resources for each device (because, no, it does not make sense for a universal app to install iPad-size images on an iPhone). There are also many under-the-hood improvements as well as APIs and frameworks for developers to use.

watchOS

Apple announced watchOS 2. Eh.

I'm sure I'll care more about the watch when I have one but I don't think Apple will be able to convince me of its usefulness any time soon. Until then: Eh.

Apple Music

With Apple Music they have taken the best parts of the Beats Music service and the best parts of iTunes Radio/iTunes Match and smashed them together in a single app. And it looks really good. You'll have access to all of your music like you do know through the Music app with iTunes match but you can also seamlessly stream anything you want on demand as you can now with Beats.

The radio function looks nice, too. There will be one live, 24/7 station hosted by real live DJs (without ads) called Beats1. In addition there will be a bunch of other stations that cover the gamut from Top Trends to Americana to Electronic. And you can create your own custom stations based on a song, an artist, or an album just like you can now with iTunes Radio.

There is a Connect part, too, where you can follow your favorite artists but I think that's for a younger demographic than myself. I just want the music.

Apple Music will be $9.99 a month (the same price Beats Music is now) or $14.99 a month to add up to six family members. I suppose that means up to six Apple IDs in a Family Sharing plan. You can listen to Beats1 and other Apple Music stations for free, but paying for membership gets you unlimited skips on the stations (other than Beats1, obvs) as well as features like unlimited listening from all of the Apple Music library, offline listening, and expert music recommendations.

They announced that Apple Music will launch on June 30 and everybody will get a three-month free trial. I have a feeling a lot of people will want to keep it after three months.

Other Stuff

Just wanted to mention a few other things about the keynote. This was the first time I can remember Apple having female executives on stage during a keynote. There were two: Jennifer Bailey, who heads up Apple Pay, and Susan Prescott, VP of Product Marketing. They both did an excellent job and it was refreshing to see more than the standard group of middle-aged white men up there.

All of the videos that Apple showed at the keynote were really good. From the intro video starring Bill Hader (and many other comedy personalities) to the Beats1 promo, they were all very well done. I enjoyed them much more than the normal Jony Ive aluminium videos.

OS X El Capitan, iOS 9, and watchOS are available now as developer betas. So, if you are brave and have $99 you can install them today. OS X and iOS 9 will be available soon as public betas if you're only slightly less adventurous. As per the usual, I will be waiting until full releases in the Fall and I recommend pretty much everybody to that.

The last part of the keynote, the "One more thing...", was all about Apple Music. They went over the same points so many times that I thought I was going crazy. First Jimmy Iovine went over everything. Then Eddie Cue went over everything. Then, for some reason, Drake came out and talked about the Connect part of Apple Music. It really seemed like dropping the Apple TV from the keynote made them stretch the Apple Music stuff to fill time (but, why?) and that stuff was hastily thrown in. It was painful to bear by the end but the performance by The Weeknd at the end was really good. I like that guy.

Apple fixed the iOS keyboard shift key. Our long, national nightmare is over. When you see how simple the fix was you will wonder what the hell they've been doing in Cuptertino for the last eight years.

Links of Interest

Some links to stories about the keynote that you may be interested in:

Everything you need to know about the WWDC 2015 keynote | iMore

Thoughts on the WWDC 2015 keynote itself, but not the actual contents of the keynote, because I need more time to think — 512 Pixels

Six Colors: WWDC 2015 keynote: The fine print

Apple - Music - Membership

Daring Fireball: Move to iOS

Screens

I was actually getting ready to do an updated post on my iPhone icon arrangement – as far as I can tell by searching the site this is the first time I did so, in 2012, and man are those screens small and terrible – when I was stopped in my tracks by a podcast. It's a new podcast on the Relay.fm network called Cortex with Myke Hurley and CGP Grey – of the eponymous videos. During the premier episode they talked about their iPhone apps and how they have them arranged and they both posted screenshots in the show notes of episode one. Grey talked about his simplified screens and I liked his method so much I (sort of) implemented it on my phone.

I've simplified everything. I couldn't get it all on one screen the way Grey does because, c'mon that's crazy, and I use way more apps than can comfortably fit one one screen without dumping almost everything in folders. I did manage to get it all on three screens, with only two folders on the second screen and folders holding all the other stuff on screen three. I'll also go through the apps because some things have changed since last I discussed my iOS apps.

Lock and Home 1

My (current, this week) lock screen is the launch of Gemini IV. That's the mission where Ed White became the first American to do a spacewalk. It was also the first multi-day American space mission.

My main home screen has just the apps I use most. The "first tier" apps, so to speak. At Bat, in it's proper location, top left. I've been using Fotograf to take and edit photos and I like the way it works. My photos are next, then the Camera app is in the spot where the actual camera is on the back of the phone. I keep the camera app handy for taking video.

Weather Line is still my go-to weather app. I started using it when it came out in late-2013 and actually recommended it on one of my all-time favorite IRR CON POD episodes, Episode 45: Hashtag Putin Selfies. I use Apple Maps. The integration with the OS is worth the few trade-offs to me. Fantastical is a great calendar app. And I use the clock app to wake me up and to time my lunch breaks.

Slack is what Mr. Fish and I use to plan out our podcast episodes. We like it because it works great and it's free. Messages speaks for itself. Spark is a new email client I've been trying out. I like it so far but its got some quirks. Safari is Safari.

I use Editorial on iPhone and iPad for writing and editing my blog posts and such. I have them synced between my devices using Dropbox. They're just text files. I'm writing this now in BBEdit in a file saved in there. I get a lot of news from the updated – now free – NYT Now app. I really like their Morning Briefing. I use Unread on iPhone and iPad for RSS. Wunderlist – recently acquired by Microsoft, yay – is what Erin and I use to keep our lists in sync: groceries, etc.

Music is there for music I've bought and have matched through iTunes Match. And I use iTunes Radio when I want to just put music on and not think about it. And, yes, believe it or not I'm using Beats Music. I find I really like being able to listen to almost anything at all whenever I want without buying it. And there is good reason to believe that Beats/iTunes will be even further integrated soon. I use Overcast to listen to podcasts – saved 49 hours so far! And then there is the IMDb app. You know you watch too much TV and too many movies when you have to have this app on your home screen for quick access.

Dock

My dock has the apps I use more than any other. Fitbit is there to log my food and check my steps and sleep. I'm trying to drop some pounds. Well, a lot of pounds. I'm using Pushpin to save links to Pinboard. I should write a post about that but basically I'm using Pinboard for bookmarking and as my read later service now. Sorry Instapaper; it's not you, it's me. OmniFocus is how I keep myself (sort of) organized. I'm trying to integrate OmniFocus with the Getting Things Done system. It's a process. And finally my twitter app of choice, Twitterrific. Because muffle >>> mute.

Home 2 and Home 3

On my second screen I have stuff that I use less often but still want to be able to access quickly. I use myNoise, specifically the "Aircraft Cabin Noise", to help me sleep. When it's silent my ears ring. Instagram is for Instagramming. I like to have the App Store handy to browse for new weather apps and to check for updates. And I use the Settings app more often than most people, I'd wager.

I don't use Shazam all that often but when I need it I need it right now. 1Password is the most useful app of all time and I use it when I'm logging into my bank's App right next to it. We use iAllowance to manage Beatrix's allowance. It's not great but it works.

Now we come to my first folder: News/Info. In here I have NPR News, ESPN, iMore, a couple of photography light finding apps, the WebMD Allergens app, the hilarious Funny or Die News Flash, and Dave Pell's NextDraft which is excellent. Folder two is Games. I have games in it. Deliveries is the best app to track UPS, FedEx, and more. Screenshot is a Workflow action that I use to edit screenshots, post them to droplr and then delete them from the phone.

Superfaver is a workflow action that lets me quickly create the super hilarious superfaves I send out on twitter. Google Docs is where Mr. Fish and I keep our show notes. Convertible is a really handy app for converting between different quantities. And PCalc is simply the best iOS calculator there is.

Droplr is where I upload about 99% of the images I share on twitter. I share a lot of links with it, too. I've been using Dark Sky as a weather map, but I'm not sure it's very good for that. Suggestions welcome... Amazon is where I buy things. And the Xfinity TV Remote is handy for setting recordings on my DVR and checking TV listings.

My third and final screen is where everything else goes. This is stuff that I use from time to time but don't really need quick access to. I can usually take the time to find them or just swipe down and search for them. I have these arranged in one-screen folders so that there is nothing hidden in the folders. Every app is shown; so, I could just look through this array of tiny icons and find what I need. The same is true for the News/Info app on the previous page. Games is the only folder that goes deeper than one page. A fair amount of these apps could probably be deleted but I have tons of room on my phone so I don't bother. And I just numbered the folders 01-12 because I wanted them to be named but couldn't think of anything better. I'll probably end up deleting unused apps as I get new ones because I really like the order and symmetry of this page.

I can guarantee that these apps and their arrangement will change but as of right now this is my iPhone.

Smithsonian

We decided, sort of last minute, to take Beatrix up to see the Air and Space Museum in DC. She and I went to the Udvar-Hazy Center last year but this was her first time at the main museum.

She had a blast and saw all kinds of cool things and I, obviously, got lots of photos. Here are the ones I don't hate too much to share...


Update: Looking at that elephant photo I'm seeing so many things wrong with the composition... Should have rotated around to the left a couple of feet...

Movies I Have Seen

Marco Arment posted a list of popular movies he’s seen (and those he hasn’t seen) from the last fifteen years. For him it was a confession about how many he has not seen. I went through his list for myself partly out of curiosity and partly because it made for an easy blog post.

To generate the list Marco combined lists of the Academy’s Best Picture nominees and the Top 10 highest-grossing for each year.

I’m not sure whether this says anything really about my movie viewing. A lot of them I’ve seen because I have a kid. A fair number are on my list to see but I just haven’t gotten to them yet. And, of course, I haven’t noted whether any of the movies I saw were any good. Some of them were very good an some of them were downright awful.

Key: Bold means I’ve seen it, Italic means I haven’t seen it

2000:

Gladiator

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Traffic

What Women Want

Meet the Parents

Chocolat

Erin Brockovich

Mission: Impossible II

Cast Away

Dinosaur

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

The Perfect Storm

X-Men

What Lies Beneath

2001:

A Beautiful Mind

Monsters, Inc.

Ocean’s Eleven

Gosford Park

In the Bedroom

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Moulin Rouge

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Shrek

Pearl Harbor

The Mummy Returns

Jurassic Park III

Planet of the Apes

Hannibal

2002:

Spider-Man

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Men in Black II

Die Another Day

Minority Report

Chicago

Gangs of New York

The Hours

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

The Pianist

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Signs

Ice Age

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

2003:

Finding Nemo

The Matrix Reloaded

The Matrix Revolutions

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Lost in Translation

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Mystic River

Seabiscuit

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Bruce Almighty

The Last Samurai

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

X2

Bad Boys II1

2004:

The Incredibles

Ocean’s Twelve

Million Dollar Baby

The Aviator

Finding Neverland

Ray

Sideways

Shrek 2

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Spider-Man 2

The Passion of the Christ

The Day After Tomorrow

Meet the Fockers

Troy

Shark Tale

2005:

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Crash

Brokeback Mountain

Capote

Good Night, and Good Luck

Munich

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

War of the Worlds

King Kong

Madagascar

Mr. and Mrs. Smith

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Batman Begins

Hitch

2006:

Little Miss Sunshine

Casino Royale

Cars

The Departed

Babel

Letters from Iwo Jima

The Queen

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

The Da Vinci Code

Ice Age: The Meltdown

Night at the Museum

X-Men: The Last Stand

Mission: Impossible III

Superman Returns

Happy Feet

2007:

No Country for Old Men

Juno

Ratatouille

I Am Legend

Atonement

Michael Clayton

There Will Be Blood

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Spider-Man 3

Shrek the Third

Transformers

The Simpsons Movie

National Treasure: Book of Secrets

300

2008:

The Dark Knight

Quantum of Solace

WALL-E

Slumdog Millionaire

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Frost/Nixon

Milk

The Reader

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Kung Fu Panda

Hancock

Mamma Mia!

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

Iron Man

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

2009:

The Hurt Locker

Avatar

The Blind Side

District 9

An Education

Inglourious Basterds

Precious

A Serious Man

Up

Up in the Air

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

2012

The Twilight Saga: New Moon

Sherlock Holmes

Angels & Demons

The Hangover

2010:

The Social Network

Toy Story 3

The Kings’ Speech

127 Hours

Black Swan

The Fighter

Inception

The Kids Are All Right

True Grit

Winter’s Bone

Alice in Wonderland

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

Shrek Forever After

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Iron Man 2

Tangled

Despicable Me

How to Train Your Dragon

2011:

The Artist

The Descendants

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

The Help

Hugo

Midnight in Paris

Moneyball

The Tree of Life

War Horse

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1

Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol

Kung Fu Panda 2

Fast Five

The Hangover Part II

The Smurfs

Cars 2

2012:

Skyfall

Argo

Amour

Beasts of the Southern WIld

Django Unchained

Les Misérables

Life of Pi

Lincoln

Silver Linings Playbook

Zero Dark Thirty

The Avengers

The Dark Knight Rises

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Ice Age: Continental Drift

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2

The Amazing Spider-Man

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted

The Hunger Games

Men in Black 3

2013:

Monsters University

12 Years a Slave

American Hustle

Captain Phillips

Dallas Buyers Club

Gravity

Her

Nebraska

Philomena

The Wolf of Wall Street

Frozen

Iron Man 3

Despicable Me 2

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Fast & Furious 6

Man of Steel

Thor: The Dark World

2014:

Birdman

American Sniper

Boyhood

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game

Selma

The Theory of Everything

Whiplash

Transformers: Age of Extinction

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Guardians of the Galaxy

Maleficent

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1

X-Men: Days of Future Past

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Interstellar


Notes:

  1. All I can hear is Nick Frost saying, “You ain’t seen Bad Boys II?!”