Katie's Week in Review: April 24, 2016

It’s been a fairly busy week in the world of Apple, here are the links of note for the week ending April 24, 2016:

  • Apple introduced an update to the MacBook Line. The update includes faster processors, longer battery life and a new Rose Gold option. The new machines feature Skylake Intel Core M processors up to 1.3 GHz and Intel HD Graphics and faster flash storage that will deliver up to 25% faster performance. Notably, the basic design and features of the notebook remain unchanged. While this is a nice update to the existing product, it’s not the Gen 2 overhaul that some were hoping for. As appealing as the small MacBook may be, it pretty much solidifies my decision that my next Machine will be a 13" Retina MacBook Pro, which is widely rumored for a major update in the coming months.
  • That new MacBook Pro (and hopefully a Retina External Cinema Display) that I’ve been longing for might just be announced at WWDC. Apple has announced the World Wide Developers Conference will kick off June 13th in San Francisco. Apple held a ticket lottery and winners have already been notified and billed for their tickets. For those who weren’t lucky enough to get a golden ticket, the Keynote will be live streamed and sessions will also be streamed live via the WWDC Web site.
  • Last week the iTunes Movies and iBooks store suddenly went dark in China. As reported by Paul Mozur and Jane Perlez of the New York Times, Apple initially had governmental approval to launch the stores but a regulator from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television demanded the stores be closed. Husain Sumra of MacRumors has additional reporting.
  • In legal news this week, the Justice Department has dropped its New York case against Apple in an effort to obtain a passcode for an iPhone 5s. As reported by Husain Sumra from MacRumors, the Justice Department claims that an “individual has provided the passcode for the iPhone at issue.” Curious.
  • This news comes on the heals of a report that the FBI paid in excess of $1 million for the hack that was used to access the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone 5c. Jeff Gamet of The Mac Observe has additional analysis. Despite the significant amount the government paid for the iPhone hack, it may have actually been less expensive than the pending legal battle with Apple.
  • Amazon has introduced new subscription plans for Amazon Prime. In addition to their standard $99 a year model which includes access to all Prime benefits, Amazon is now offering a Prime Video only service for $8.99 a month and an option to subscribe to all prime services on a monthly basis for $10.99. I’m not sure for the price difference the video only model makes much sense in the long term, but it’s $1 a month cheeper than Netflix’s basic plan. (Albeit for a smaller catalog) Though the Prime monthly subscription may make sense for people who are just trying the service or perhaps only want to subscribe to prime a few months out of the year (say for the holidays). I’m very selective about the number of subscription services I subscribe to, but Prime is one that I find great value in.
  • Serenity Caldwell of iMore tells her terrifying tale of losing her iPad Pro at a rest stop at 1 a.m. Thankfully the story has a happy ending but emphasizes the importance of using the Find my iPhone/iPad service.
  • Last week on Mac Power Users David and I discussed tips for Locking Down Your Technology. One of the reasons behind that show was the recent ransomeware attack that targeted Macs. Lucian Constantain, writing for Macworld, looks at a free security tool that can detect attempts by ransomware programers to encrypt files and warn the user before too much damage has occurred.
  • My thanks to Agenda Minder for becoming the inaugural sponsor on KatieFloyd.com this week. Agenda Minder is a personal productivity app for the Mac that helps you prepare for your meetings. Click here for more information on how you can advertise on this site through an RSS sponsorship.
  • Finally this week, Federico Viticci of Mac Stories and an avid iOS user detailed his wishes for iOS 10. In addition to the article, Federico collaborated with Sam Beckett to create a concept video of what these wishes might look like if implemented by Apple. I found myself mesmerized watching the video and hope that Apple has some of this, and more, in store for us when they release iOS 10. Here's the video: