Katie's Week In Review: December 20, 2015

The holidays are upon us, but yet there’s still plenty of Apple-related news to share. As we wind things down for the year, here are the links I found of note for the week ending December 20, 2015

  • Apple made some changes to it’s executive lineup this week. As announced by Apple PR, Jeff Williams was formally named Chief Operating Officer and Johny Srouji is joining Apple’s executive team as senior vice president for Hardware Technologies. Phil Schiller, senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, will expand his role to include leadership of the App Store across all Apple platforms. Apple also announced that Tor Myhren will join Apple in the first calendar quarter of 2016 as vice president of Marketing Communications. William’s promotion is really just making official what his role has been for some time, Apple’s last official COO was Tim Cook, who held the role until he was promoted to CEO. My hope is that by highlighting Schiller’s expanded role over the App Store it signals Apple is finally going to give the store some attention and perhaps reconsider some of their policies. Rene Ritchie, writing for iMore has a nice roundup of the promotion and what he thinks the new executive titles really mean.
  • Set your TiVos, (I’ve set mine) as reported by Dawn Chmielewski of re/code, 60-minutes Goes Inside Apple HQ for a Peek at the Apple Store of the Future. Charlie Rose will speak with Angela Ahrendts about the future of the Apple Store and will also get access to Jony Ive’s design studio. Tim Cook is also expected to speak about encryption, corporate taxes and China. The segment airs on Sunday, December 20, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. though it may be delayed on the East coast due to Football, plan accordingly.
  • To my friends and family who haven’t yet found the perfect gift for me - Apple is here to help. As reported by Ben Lovejoy at 9to5 Mac, Apple lets you take your gift shopping to the wire with free overnight delivery and in store pickup. You can order in-stock products from Apple right up to 2pm on December 23rd and Apple will throw in free one overnight shipping.
  • Things for users who were duped into installing MacKeeper just keep going from bad to worse. As reported by Thomas Reed on Malwarebytes Unpacked, Kromtech, the developer of MacKeeper, has suffered a major breach that has exposed more than 13 million users’ data. The exposed data includes names, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, computer serial numbers, license codes, and, worst of all, usernames and very weakly hashed passwords. If you’ve used MacKeeper you’ll want to make sure that you’ve uninstalled the software and also made sure that any password associated with the site is not used elsewhere.
  • Evernote announced this week that it was ending support for Skitch on Windows, Android and iOS. Although Skitch for Mac will continue to receive support, I suspect it’s only a matter of time before that product is “sunset” as well. I use Skitch when I need to quickly markup photos and documents so was disheartened to hear this news. Thankfully, Federico Viticci at MacStories has a few suggestions for alternate apps.
  • iPhone 6s and 6s Plus owners have the ability to capture Live Photos (I call them “Harry Potter Photos”). Unfortunately sharing those photos can be difficult. Writing for Macworld, Oscar Raymundo explains how to share Live Photos with non-iPhone users on Instagram and via text.
  • Bryan Chaffin from The Mac Observer shares a tip that I was unaware of, Apple offers a service where you can check the setting son an email account called “Mail Setting Lookup.” This can be a valuable tool when troubleshooting a problematic email account. Here’s how you can check your email setting with Apple’s Mail Settings Lookup.
  • I’m still conflicted about the iPad Pro. On one hand, I have no interest in a bigger iPad, but I’m also very intrigued by the device, especially it’s applications when used with the pencil or as a laptop replacement. I can see a time coming in the not so distant future (when my graduate program is over next year) where having a laptop may no longer be a requirement and I could perhaps get by with a more powerful desktop at my desk and a more powerful iPad for travel. That’s why I was very interested to read Stephen Hackett’s review of the iPad Pro from the standpoint of someone who is a strong OS X user. Stephen calls the iPad Pro a line in the sand.
  • Casey Liss revised the Apple Watch essentially writing a post that I have been planning to write for weeks. While I may at some point write my own post, I second everything Casey had to say reflecting up on his experiences with the Apple Watch 9 months on. I’ve worn my Apple Watch every day since it arrived (except for 2 days when camping in the Grand Canyon) and I have not once regretted the purchase. But at the same time, I’m fairly limited in my use of the watch. It’s almost entirely a device to check the time, receive notifications from my phone and give me access to Siri for things like creating reminders and appointments. While I expected at this point I’d be doing more with the Apple Watch - those limited interactions are enough to justify it as a must-have device for me.
  • I know this week was all about Star Wars. While I won’t spoil anything for those of you who haven’t seen the movie yet, I will say I’ve seen it twice and very much enjoyed it. That being said, there is also some Star Trek news to report. The trailer for Star Trek Beyond was released. Based on the trailer alone, I’m not overly optimistic about the movie. My initial impressions are that it looks just like any generic action movie and not like Star Trek. Keep in mind, it’s just an early trailer. (By the way, Simon Pegg "didn't love" the movie trailer either.)