Getting Apple Pay to work with Subway

I went to Subway last week and was unsuccessful at getting Apple Pay to work. Neither the clerk nor I knew how it should work with their point of sale, and there was a line of customers that I did not want to holdup.

Today I went back and there was no line so I tried again. The clerks, both super nice and helpful, said that Apple Pay did not work with their system yet. They said that something about the POS cannot handle the Apple Pay processing.

I found that odd and asked if we could try. I had already moved my iPhone 6 Plus to the reader and Apple Pay came up. This proved to be a mistake.

They tried to put the POS into “mobile” mode but it failed with a beep. I asked them to try credit card, because that’s all Apple Pay is, but the phone had timed out or the NFC reader had timed out, because Apple Pay was no longer coming up.

We chatted for a bit and they tried another mobile mode, which brought up a QR code on the scanner, and they asked me to hold my phone over it. I explained that would not work, so I asked them to try credit card once more.

They were sure eager to get Apple Pay working. They said that they had been trying for over a week but it never worked.

They put the POS into credit card mode again and I put the phone up to the reader. On the left side of the reader the Apple Pay screen came up, I tapped touch ID and the payment went through!

They exclaimed how cool that was and I explained why credit card works but not “mobile” as that must be for other payment systems. They thanked me for helping them to get it working.

Subway should train their employees a little better and explain how this all works. Apple could do a little better with the user interface. For example, does the phone sense NFC or not? I could not tell which piece of hardware timed out or got into a confused state. Apple Pay did not have a good UI for “resetting” it, so I just logged into the phone, then slept it, then backed away, and started over. I think I knew to do this because I am an engineer. A normal user would just give up.

Apple Pay is awesome, but it has some edge cases to be smoothed out.

WWDC

There is a lot of talk around WWDC. Apple will introduce HealthBook, home automation SDKs, a flat UI for OS X, etc.

Here is what I am hoping for:

Development

  • Xcode 6 that doesn’t crash when compiling XIBs via the command line
  • Xcode 6 with better refactoring and editing tools (AppCodeque)
  • Xcode 6 with a better IB that allows for shared resources such as named colors across XIBs
  • Ability to ship alpha/beta versions of our in-production apps to opt-in/select customers via the App Store
  • App distribution (Testflight) built into Xcode
  • Better Xcode CI functionality around externally hosted GIT repositories that use submodules
  • UIKit on OS X
  • A better Feedback tool for submitting/tracking/communicating about radars
  • Elimination of useless Team Provisioning Profiles
  • A “fix” button in Xcode that does not break more than it fixes

iOS

  • Better keyboard (or even custom keyboards)
  • AirDrop to OS X
  • 100% Calendar parity (edit/create every type of event, such as M W F)
  • Better battery life
  • Better GPS accuracy when in Airplane mode
  • Widgets on homescreen
  • Siri that allows me to retry a command when one fails
  • Built in transit

Using 1Password with Windows

As my friends will tell you, I love the password manager 1Password from AgileBits. I won’t go into why, but if you use passwords (which you do), and you don’t manage them, you need something like 1Password.

I recently set up an older MacBook Pro as a Windows machine via BootCamp to play games. I needed some passwords on the machine for various accounts I will need access to, but I did not feel comfortable syncing my entire set of passwords to the Windows machine.

I do not feel comfortable mainly because I do not fully understand how easily the machine can be compromised. I did buy Norton Internet Security for it (Thanks, Matt!), but still, 1Password has my entire life in it. I want to be prudent in protecting that information.

Dropbox is secure, but I don’t want people getting the encrypted files if I can prevent it. Also, Windows seems more likely to get a key logger, so I really did not want to deal with a hacker getting my one password that encrypts all other passwords. All of this is over paranoid, but why take the risk if there is a solution?

Fortunately, the awesome 1Password supports multiple vaults. You can create a secondary vault easily, as explained here. Thanks to the awesome support via the @1password twitter account for the link.

Creating a second vault has its own password, but it is also accessible via the primary vault’s master password. I do not plan to ever use that master password on the Windows machine.

Now I have a second vault, what next? I want access to some passwords, not all. I also do not want to manage two sets of passwords. I really just want read-only access to the passwords I need.

1Password allows you to copy entries from one vault to another. You can copy an entry by right clicking the entry, going to the Share contextual menu, selecting your secondary vault and selecting copy. If you choose copy a second time, it replaces the destination entirely. Using this feature, I can manually keep my windows vault in sync with my primary vault on the Mac. Sweet!

Now I need a way to remember which passwords I want synced to the Windows vault. Enter the awesome tags feature. I love tags. You can edit any entry in 1Password, a login, a secure note, etc, and give it tags. Tags are just words that you will use later to find. I used the tag “Windows” on all of the entries I want to sync.

Now comes the part that was not intuitive with 1password in beta, but now is awesome! – Creating a smart folder of tags. A smart folder is a folder whose contents are generated via criteria, such as ‘all entries whose tag is “Windows”‘ This folder updates itself automatically, which is awesome.

First, choose “New smart folder” from the File menu. You will be presented with a pane that includes search criteria:

Smart Folder UI with no settings

Now change the settings to find all tags that are “Windows:”

1Password smart folder dialog tag is windows

Click “Save” in the upper right corner of the pane.

Every time that you add the tag “Windows” to an item, it will show up in this folder! All that is left to do is sync. You can sync all of these items by selecting the smart folder, then clicking one of them in the list and pressing Command-A (or Select All), then right click the selected list, select Share, then your vault, then copy. 1Password will replace all entries!

Note: It would be nice if I could right click the Smart Folder to share all items, AgileBits :)

This method will not remove any entries that you removed the “Windows” tag from. You will have to do that manually.

Now that you have copied entires into the secondary vault, go to the Finder and open your Dropbox folder. Create a new folder for the secondary vault. Back in 1Password, switch to the secondary vault (Via the 1Password application menu) and open preferences. Select the Sync tab, and choose to sync via Folder. Select the folder you just created in your Dropbox folder.

On Windows, when you install Dropbox, choose to not select everything. This will allow you to not sync your 1Password folder, but will let you sync your folder you made for the secondary vault. Once Dropbox is installed, it will copy your newly made secondary vault to your windows machine.

To access the passwords, you can either buy 1Password for Windows, or if you just need simple access, AgileBits has includes the awesome 1Password Anywhere HTML file. Simply open your Dropbox folder, open your secondary vault folder, open the 1Password agile keychain, then open the 1Password.html file with Firefox (it won’t work with Chrome, and certainly do not use Internet Explorer)

Type in your secondary vault password and have access to all of your data. If I need to create/update logins, I will do that on the Mac, re-sync everything to the secondary vault, and access on Windows.

It seems like a lot of work, but in practice it takes 10 seconds once set up, and gives me the peace of mind knowing that most of my data is not on the Windows machine.

I’d like to repeat that this may be overkill, but because I am not a Windows expert, I do not want to make it easier than necessary for others to access my data. If I can limit the amount of data I keep on a computer that I do not use very often, I will feel better about it.

One may point out that the 1Password anywhere file is accessible via Dropbox.com also, which is true! You do not even need to install Dropbox on the computer. Simply log into Dropbox.com, and navigate to the secondary vault folder. I would not access my primary vault this way, again because of the off chance that a key logger has slipped past Norton.

What Apple’s SSL bug means to you

On Friday it was revealed that Apple has a very serious flaw in iOS 6, iOS 7, and Mac OS X 10.9.x.

You should stop what you are doing and update iOS now. Agile Bits has a good explanation on how to do this here:

1Password is not affected by the SSL bug (http://tinyurl.com/mxhj2vh)

As of this writing (Sunday night, February 23rd) Apple does not have a patch for OS X 10.9 Mavericks, but as said that one will come “very soon.” You can get that update by choosing “Software Update…” from the Apple menu. 10.8 and earlier do not appear to have this flaw.

To test your system, use gotofail.com

What’s the issue?

When your computer connects to the Internet and asks for a secure connection, it does so using one of several protocols. Secure Socket Layer (SSL) is one of them. When the data comes back, the operating system does checks to make sure everything is proper.

Sometime in 2012, Apple checked in some broken code. The code had an extra line that caused the software to always skip a check and consider the answer good. Now if someone has control over a privileged portion of the network you are communicating on, they can intercept the data and lie to iOS or OS X. Because of the bug, the lie will not be caught and your data will be improperly encrypted.

So someone who has taken control of a coffee shop’s wifi router, or a rogue employee at an ISP, or a hacker who has taken over a router somewhere, can listen to the traffic from Safari, iMessage, iCal, Mail, etc.

Chrome and Firefox are not afflicted because they do not use Apple’s code for SSL.

This is a really big deal. You are encouraged to not use a network you do not trust until Apple patches OS X. Apple has already patched iOS 6 and 7, but not OS X.

iOS 5 is not affected.

For more reading, check out Imperial Violet

Apple needs to be held accountable somehow. Depending on how much tin is in your hat, this bug is either a plain bug that was not caught because Apple lacks code review and unit testing practices, or they added it for the NSA, or a rogue NSA employee added it. That does not matter, this is the most trusted of code and it should never fail like this for so long.

Chevy and/or Apple improve Volt music connection

Updated: 2014-07-15

I am a huge fan of my 2013 @chevyvolt.  The only issue I have with the car has been it’s entertainment stack and how that works (or doesn’t) with the iPhone.

It seems as though there have been improvements, either over the air via OnStar, when I took my car in for maintenance, or via iOS 7.0.4.  I have been tracking the same issues since iOS 5, so I doubt that Apple has fixed anything.

When do the issues arise?

  • Use Siri to start playing music
  • Switch to Bluetooth source on the Volt
  • Try to use the controls on the Volt to skip tracks
  • or try to use Siri to play new music

What would happen?

  • The Volt would switch to Paused mode, while the phone said it was playing
  • The Volt would be showing the incorrect song for the music playing
  • Everything would finally cease working
  • Music would start playing on the iPhone, but not through the Volt

All of these things are terrible on their own, but while driving, it’s downright dangerous, I believe, because it distracts from keeping one’s eyes on the road. People are allowed to use a radio while driving, and this should be as reliable and simple. Therefore I choose to not use this while I drive, and just listen to FM radio.

Chevy has not responded to inquiries about updating the 2013s for Siri Eyes Free, so I think it is safe to say that they will never support this. @Chevrolet has tweeted asking how will we use the new Siri support in our Volts, but we cannot, because the new support isn’t available unless you buy a new car.

In my tests today, it seems that all but the last issue are working better. I hesitate to say resolved because I need more time with the system.

In addition, I found that the issue with the audio muting happens when you are connected to the iPhone via the Bluetooth Source and then use Siri. This causes the Volt to switch to “dialing” mode for Siri. When that is done, it switches back to Bluetooth Source, but no audio is heard. If I switch to another source then then back to Bluetooth, the audio starts, usually about 15 seconds into the song.

Apple and @Chevrolet can get better. I’d appreciate it if @ChevyVolt would give me a way to pay for an upgrade to my $40,000+ car so I can safely use Siri, iTunes Match, and listen to my music in my electric car of the future

Evening eye strain? Try Flux

Do you use a Mac laptop at night?  Is your lighting usually dimmer than the screen?  Do you turn the screen brightness down?

If you answered yes to any of these, you might want to try Flux.  Flux changes the color of your screen to a warm yellow at night.  It looks weird and broken at first, but after using it for a month, I can attest that it does reduce eyestrain.

If you are watching a movie or working on something color sensitive, you can easily disable or quit Flux via it’s menubar item.  But for the rest of the time spent surfing the web, I have found that my eyes are a lot less tired after several hours of being on the computer.

Check out Flux.

TIP: Save to recent locations

As OS X has changed over the years, I find myself missing some of the nuances I in the new interface.  Recently I had been working on a number of documents in various applications and while saving them, repeating many steps.  I would click Documents in the sidebar, then find the folder I had been saving in, choose it, then name my document.

Until I saw, at the bottom of the navigation popup menu in the Save dialog:

@N04/8917355799">save_dialog_recents1

 At the very bottom of that menu is a list of recent places!  Very handy to have because for some reason, the OS X Save Dialog keeps resetting to my default folder each time I open it.

@N04/8917356529">save_dialog_recents2

Scanning and submitting expense receipts

As many of us do, I have to submit expense reports to the company I work for.  We have to submit receipts with each report, and the system is a bit old, so those receipts must be in small (under 2mb) TIFF format (named .tif as well).  This can be a bit of a pain not only scanning receipts (such as parking receipts) but then getting them into the proper format, especially when the Mac prefers PDF.

I have an awesome Fujitsu ScanSnap S510M which works great for bills and such, but it is not so hot on smaller receipts.  It tears them up, or they get caught in the mechanism, etc.  I could always just scan my credit card, but I do not like redacting one hundred line items just to expense five.

I tried a couple of camera solutions, but none worked until I found Scanner Pro for $6.99 on the App Store.  It is a nice little app that takes scans, converts the scans to black and white saves them into a PDF document.  Some of the plusses for my system include:

  • Easy management of multiple PDF documents (can rename documents, has a badge for number of pages)
  • Automatic uploading of the documents (once saved) to DropBox
  • Ability to add new scans to existing documents
  • Creates nice, high contrast images

This solved one of my problems – Timely scanning.  I can now scan a parking receipt while in the parking garage elevator and have the receipt in a document (such as August Parking) and uploaded to DropBox by the time I reach my car.  Score!

This did not resolve my issue with the system at work needing .tifs.  This proved to be a royal pain, because exporting as TIFF from Preview makes HUGE images.  Each receipt was around 2-3mb.  The size is not only an issue due to the constraints of our system, but also an image that large takes over a minute to upload.

I turned to my trust old friend from decades past, Graphic Converter.  At $39 on the Mac App Store, it is not cheap, but it sure is useful.  The user interface is fairly terrible, but it works!  The command I used is “Convert & Modify” from the file menu.  Once you use the terrible file browser to select your folder of PDFs from Scanner Pro, and select a destination folder, you do the following:

        • Function: Convert
        • Format: TIFF
        • Options: LZW with Prediction, Single Page File, uncheck all metadata
        • Check “WWW Ready”
        • Check “Use Batch”
        • Add two commands to the Batch Table:
          • Scale: proportional 50%
          • Resolution 72×72 ppi

 

 

 

Graphic Converter will remember these settings (The Export settings feature failed miserably on 10.8) Once everything is set up, press “Go.”  In about 5 seconds you will have one file for each page in the document named “August Parking1.tif” “August Parking2.tif” etc.  These files for a typical gas station sized receipt will average 100k in filesize.

Upload tiny documents, archive, and repeat next month.

Update: Sam Grover says that he uses automator to do the part I am using Graphic Converter for!

It’s iCloudy and time for an umbrella

The Apple ecosystem is growing faster than anyone could have imagined.  We buy music, apps for our phones, apps for our Macs, videos, and books all via our iTunes accounts.  We can even pay for our Netflix accounts via iTunes now.

This is convenient and nice, but as people come together and form families, things can start to become a mess.  Some music is bought on one spouse’s account, while some apps are bought on another.  Kids are typically set up with an allowance on a parent’s account.  Some families that existed when the Apple ecosystem started have adopted to buy everything under one master account.  Some families have, sadly, broken apart and have to deal with figuring out who gets the main account and who starts over.

In all of these cases, it would be easier to let everyone have their own iTunes account, and then combine them under an iCloud umbrella.  The umbrella would give permission for everyone under the umbrella to use the assets of the other accounts.  The umbrella simply manages the keys needed to access the assets.  If someone is removed from the umbrella, those keys would be revoked.

This system would allow my wife to access the apps that I bought, and vice vera.  We would not have to play the login game to keep our apps up to date.  We could access each other’s music and album art without playing games.

This is Apple after all.  It should “just work.”

Apple, shield us from the rainy iCloud days and give us iTunes account umbrellas.

Presenting Lion

I will be giving a class on Mac OS X 10.7 Lion at MacCamp this fall.  We are going to have three classes on Lion, and should be covering iOS 5 and iCloud.

If you are in the Oregon/Washington area and are looking for an excuse to spend a couple of days in the beautiful forest with other Mac users, consider signing up for MacCamp!

Getting Ready for Lion

Mac OS X Lion (10.7) is going to be released soon.  Are you ready?  If not, I suggest you wait for 10.7.1 to be released.  Let others find the bugs and issues.  In the meantime, make a list of your printers and other peripherals, then research their Lion compatibility before upgrading.

Another great resource to help prepare you for Lion is Macworld’s Article on Getting Ready for Lion.  Be sure to check it out before considering upgrading to Lion.

Whatever you do, create a full clone backup of your hard drive before installing Lion.  This will allow you to revert to a known working system should something go awry.

Changes coming to us Mac users

Apple’s announcements about Mac OS X Lion didn’t come as a surprise to some of us.  I’ve been preaching the concept to my friends that Apple will start to merge OS X and iOS.  Apple went a little farther than I expected this soon with the iPad’s application launcher and folder manager, LaunchPad, however I think for novice users this will be a welcome user interface.

lion_springboard1_20101020.jpg

I love how they defocus the background to try and make the application icons pop.

Ground Control to Major Tom

Along with the LaunchPad, Apple has begun a hard core push for full screen applications.  It appears that OS X Lion has better mechanism for going full screen which are supported by Apple’s new “Mission Control,” which is a new application and window manager that utilizes Exposé, Spaces, Dashboard and these new full screen applications.  I really like this actually as the typical Macintosh user did not have a clue as to how to utilize Spaces.  It appears that each fullscreen application gets its own space, as well as the Desktop and Dashboard.  This allows the LaunchPad to swipe right to show the dashboard from the Desktop and then swipe left to get right back to the Desktop.

lion_bridge20101020.jpg

In the image above, you can see full screen applications across the top, your windowed applications in the middle with their windows stacked in piles and the dock across the bottom.

Mac App Store

Apple also announced the Mac App Store, something I had written to Steve Jobs about quite awhile ago and Apple delivered on every feature.  Applications will be checked by Apple for crashes, viruses and trojan horses.  You will be able to run a purchased application on any of your personal Macs.  You will be able to update your software in one click.

There are some downsides to the Mac App Store, albeit small ones.  First off, if you update a application and the new version has a unforeseen bug, you are kinda stuck.  Unless Apple gives developers to push out signed, licensed versions, you will have to wait for Apple to approve the update before you can get it.  Ken Case of Omnigroup makes the point that developers can still deliver betas the old fashion way, however I think that many customers won’t know what the old fashion way is before too long.

Finally, not all software will be available via the Mac App Store.  Software that need to install kernel extensions or plugins will have to wait.  My hope is that Apple makes these types of software easier to install by having the operating system find the software, instead of the software needing to be installed in a specific location.  I would like to see a signed application announce it has kernel extensions, iPhoto plugins, etc and the operating system just handles it, with permission of course.  If you download VMWare from the Mac App Store, the OS should install and activate VMWare’s extensions to the OS.  This would require Apple to make it possible to install and uninstall this type of software without a reboot, which is technically possible today, if not a tad dicey to do.  When you were done with VMWare, you could simply delete the application via the LaunchPad and VMWare along with its remnants would disappear forever, never again to silently confuse the next OS update.  A geek can dream, can’t he?

Cost of Software

I would not count on getting super cheap Mac applications.  Macintosh software is far more complex to develop than iOS software.  There is a broader range of devices to test on as well as several major OS releases to support, if a developer chooses to do so.  Users of Macintosh software are much more abusive of the software, so the software has to be hardened even more.  On a Mac, it is much easier to get that 96 megabyte image onto the clipboard to try and paste into an application.

Summary

I’m interested to see how far Apple goes with this.  As I have posited at PMUG in the past, the Mac as we know it could cease to exist within five to seven years.  The computer may become a more powerful, capable iPad.  Apple lent further evidence of this with the introduction of the new MacBook Air, asking “what would happen if an iPad and MacBook hooked up?”  Macs will always be more capable devices, but the days of running DiskWarrior might be over soon, as Apple will lock down the system so users can make fewer and fewer decisions about how their computer operates.

Can Adobe get worse? Yes! Photoshop Elements Downloader hell

I head to Adobe.com to check out Photoshop Elements 8. They have a trial version so I give it a shot.

First, a browser window pops up asking you to log in to adobe.com. I complete that. Then it says it will download an Akamai Downloader.

The Akamai Downloader downloads and mounts the disk image. It asks me where to save, defaulting to my home directory of all places.

I choose Downloads. This is a Macintosh after all.

I run the Akamai Downloader, and it puts up a minimal window with just a title and a progress bar beneath it. Yes, this “Window” is 20 pixels tall.

Then the window flashes several times and it quits. Now I am sitting at the Finder, with no UI. No Adobe nor Akami apps are running.

I look in Activity Monitor and see this new process, “rsmac_3276″ running. That is a very descriptive process name.

Next i bring Safari forward and now, in the same window I originally downloaded this Akamai Downloader from, is a progress bar with the download.

So apparently, this Akamai Downloader is a Safari Plugin.

The download finishes and it asks me if I want to open the disk image. I select yes, but the disk image is corrupted, so it won’t mount.

Awesome.

Meanwhile, I close the installer window in Safari and I notice this rsmac_4276 process is still running, still using cycles. About 0.3% cpu.

I force quit the process and it immediately launches again.

So awesome, now they have some daemon that won’t go away and is using cpu cycles for no reason. Maybe it is tracking my use of the trial and dialing home, I have not checked yet.

What an awful, awful experience. Should I have expected better?

Update:

I had to delete com.akamai.client.plist from ~/Library/LaunchAgents/ and reboot in order to get rid of this software.

Update 2:

I found a bunch of other daemons installed, like bresink’s for an older hardware monitor I had used two machines ago, a textwrangler agent when I tested that for someone, and three, yes three Google daemons for updating software and such.

I wrote about this before but really, Apple needs to fix this mess of a software model.

Using meta folders for time machine exclusion

Time Machine, Apple’s awesome automatic backup software is very aggressive about backing up your data because, well, that is it’s job.

I’m beta testing a game with a large number of files that change constantly. The folder for the game is around 16GB of data, so I don’t want any of this backed up. I used Time Machine’s exclusion list (found by clicking the Options button in the Time Machine System Preference Pane) to add the game’s beta folder. This worked fantastic, until….

Recently they asked us to delete the game and install from scratch. Not a problem. However, while the new installer did it’s job, it put all of the new content in “Game Beta-Temp”, instead of “Game Beta” Time Machine saw this and starting backing up the now constantly changing temp folder which at the time contained over 10gb of data.

Hmm, what to do. Well, I could add the temp folder to the exclusion list, but what if they change the name of the temp folder in the next build? My solution was simple, I created a folder that would hold the game, and added that folder to Time Machine’s exclusion list.

Now, I have /Application/Game Beta Time Machine Exclusion Folder/

When the game asks where to install, I select the exclusion folder and install inside of that. I have added the Exclusion Folder to Time Machine’s Exclusion list such that anything created by the game or it’s installers in the future will never be backed up.

Perfect.

Boxwave case for iPhone 4 helps reception

When the iPhone 4 shipped, Boxwave ran a promotion to get a free case (for $4.50 shipping). My case finally arrived some 5 weeks or so later.

I ordered [an eclipse crystal slip](http://www.boxwave.com/products/eclipsecrystalslip/apple-iphone-4-eclipse-crystal-slip-case_3968.htm]. The case is quite nice. It provides enough grip so the phone doesn’t slide everywhere, but is also slick enough to not grip my wallet when in a pocket.

The case does not attract lint, but does attract fingerprints. It pulls over the edges fairly easily.

The best part is, the case resolved whatever signal drop issues I had with my microcell. Even in the worst death grip possible, I only dropped to 2 bars and while a tad garbled, I could hear the caller, they could hear me and the call never dropped.

The color isn’t my favorite, it is more brown than “smoke gray”

It feels as though the case is thick enough to take off some of the concern of dropping an iPhone 4 on a corner and shattering it. However, the case is also thin enough with large enough openings to make access to the silence switch easy, even for those with short fingernails.

So while you’re not going to show this case off to friends for how cool it looks, (and after all, the iPhone without a case is about as cool as it gets) this is certainly an affordable option to protect your iPhone 4 and possibly help with any reception issue you might be having.

It’s time for major change in the iWorld

Apple’s been fantastically successful, there is no denying that. Starting with the iMac, then with the hit iPod, moving to the iPhone and now the iPad, Apple has been hitting product home runs for 12 years now.

The Macintosh software that controls the iOS world, however, has been evolutionary at best. It is obvious that the software teams are scrambling to keep up with new devices and new features coming at a blistering pace.

iTunes has suffered the most. If ever there was a case study for the bastardization of a piece of software, it is iTunes. iTunes was originally derived from Cassady & Green’s wonderful Sound Jam. Apple bought the software and has been hacking on it ever since.

Let’s take a quick overview of a Macintosh user’s experience with using an iPhone, for example.

  • I can buy software for my iPhone in iTunes on the Mac, or the App Store application on the iPhone
  • I sync music to and from my iPhone with iTunes
  • I sync applications to and from my iPhone with iTunes
  • I sync podcasts to and from my iPhone with iTunes
  • I sync movies I bought from Apple to and from my iPhone with iTunes
  • I sync movies I made with iMovie on the Mac to my iPhone with iTunes
  • I sync movies I made with iMovie on my iPhone to my Mac with iPhoto
  • I sync photos I have on my Mac to my iPhone with iTunes
  • I sync photos I took on my iPhone to my Mac with iPhoto
  • I access movies I took on my iPhone with iMovie on the Mac via iPhoto
  • I sync my contacts/bookmarks/notes via mobile me, or via itunes, or via google.

I could go on. Confused? Yeah, so is every other Apple customer.

The iWorld has to change.

As a Macintosh user since February of 1984, I’ve seen plenty of changes in the OS I use from Apple. Some good, some not so good. Other areas, such as application install and removal are horrendous on the Mac.

The iPhone, however, is fairly straightforward. Updating your software on the iPhone is a one button task. That is very nice.

Wouldn’t it be nice if updating software on your Mac was a one button process? Wouldn’t it be nice if moving your data to and from an iOS device was a one button process?

I think this is where Apple should go, is going but we just don’t know how nor when.

First off, Apple will drop “OS X” as the Macintosh operating name. It’ll simply become iOS for Mac. The “X” part was short lived anyway. We all know it. Steve has shown that he has the cajones to make these big changes, and frankly, people who are not fans of Macs, yet know about Macs, don’t know about “OS X” as a brand. They know “Mac” as the brand name.

So ok, we have a name change. Then what?

I think we need an App Store for the Mac. Now this would not be the same kind of App store that other iOS devices have, in that it would not be the only way to get software on your Mac, but if you were a Mac developer, you’d sure want it to be a way for people to get your software.

iOS 7 for Mac (the renamed OS X 10.7) would support a number of cool changes. Applications would be bundled as signed entities, so customers knew they were getting legit software. These bundled applications could include screensavers, kernel extensions, launch demons, fonts, spotlight plugins, quicklook plugins, basically every piece of software a Mac application needs.

When a user installs an application via the App Store, all of the included software is enabled. No need to reboot. It just works. When the user deletes the application, all of the software is removed from the system (including kernel extensions) No muss, no fuss.

Ok so what about data? Applications would be given a default storage location in the user’s documents. This is different from how iOS works on your iPhone for example (where each application is given a complete Documents file system) but the software doesn’t care as it uses APIs to find the folders in the first place, right developers?

Ok so now we have a quick way to get apps on and off of a Macintosh, very similar to an iPhone or iPad. Novice users can feel good about getting their software this way, as it has been run through at least some Apple tools to look for malware and the like. Advanced users can install software any way they like, but it won’t be as easily removed.

Novice users also know that they can look in a known place for their documents. Again, all defaults, but if they stick with that, fine, it works for them.

Removing an application gets rid of every bit of software the application polluted your computer with. Removing the application does not remove your documents, which is different than the iPhone, but hey, this is a computer.

Next up is sharing data. Soon we’ll have iOS Apple TVs, cloud syncing to North Carolina, two iPhones per average family, two iPads, two or three Macs and we’ll need a better way to share content.

Apple will introduce in iOS 7 for Mac a new centralized content sharing system. I like the term system because it connotes a strong bond between user and software to understand how things should work.

This new system will have a central syncing component. It will handing syncing all of your iWorld data, including contacts, bookmarks, notes, movies, music, photos. Think of it as iSync done right.

You won’t care how this all happens. The data coming from your iDevices will be stored in well-known places. Software, such as iTunes, iPhoto and iMovie will change to use the database index over this data for faster access.

You’ll never have to launch an app again to sync. You’ll just plug in. Or it’ll happen wirelessly, over your lan, or via the cloud in North Carolina. You just won’t care.

Apple will release the App Store app for iOS for Macintosh. You’ll use it to buy new software. You’ll be able to do this via a web browser, too. Just buy it and it automatically starts syncing to the computers you decide, right there and then. It’s like using an app to schedule your DVR. Same concept. Buy, direct, use.

You’ll shoot video on your phone, walk in the house and it will start syncing to your iWorld. This could include one, or many Macs. It may have syncing to the cloud already while you were in the car. The options are clear in the software. You choose.

You walk in the door, turn on your TV and your movie that you edited in iMovie for iPad is there for you to share with your wife. Simple as that. And there is a good chance the movie is already backed up to your Time Capsule by now.

The Mac needs to remain a computer, but it also needs to become an appliance. Purchase, set it up and use it. We should no longer be required to have IT degrees to manage our home networks.

Once Apple has all of the iWorld pieces in place, we’ll mock ourselves for how we did things back in 2010.