Katie's Week in Review: May 30, 2016

Happy Memorial Day! My week in review post is a day later than normal as I’m taking some time this weekend to spend with family. It’s also a fairly slow news week for Apple as we’re in our pre-WWDC lull. Nevertheless, there was speculation of what apple may have planned for the future. Here were a few links of note for the week ending May 30, 2016:

  • Marco Arment wrote a piece last week about how how Apple appears to have been lapped by Google and Amazon in the AI and digital assistant market. The story has gained wide popularity and Marco makes some great points. I find myself using Siri less and less and preferring to use Amazon’s Alexa product when I can around the house, though wishing it would interact with my Apple world.
  • Perhaps in reaction to Marco’s piece last week a number of articles have popped up this week speculating about a rumored Apple competitor to products like the Amazon Echo and newly announced Google Home. Jordan Novet of VentureBeat claims their sources have hinted a New Apple TV will compete with the Amazon Echo. Supposedly the new Apple TV that would gain a dedicated microphone and speaker along with deeper Siri integration. While I think it certainly makes sense to add deeper Siri (and Home Kit) integration to the Apple TV, I don’t think the Apple TV alone is enough. One of the things I love about my Echo is it sits on my kitchen counter where I can issue commands and play music streamed from my iPhone via the bluetooth speaker. I think an Apple TV tucked into a media cabinet is too far removed. Siri needs to get better across the board and gain integration across Apple’s entire product line, including a line of Siri enabled Beats speakers.
  • Rumors of the updates MacBook Pro line continue to heat up. Chance Miller of 9to5Mac reports the new MacBook Pro will sport and OLED screen above the keyboard and Touch ID and likely not ship until Q4. I’ve been watching for this update as I plan to buy a new 13" MacBook Pro once this refresh is released. The guys on ATP had an excellent discussion of the rumored MacBook Pros this week. They make a good point that the delay to Q4 makes sense given that if these new MacBook Pros are to have Touch ID integration and a dedicated Siri button they really can’t ship until the new operating system ships with support for these features. So…I wait and now I wonder whether we’ll even hear about the MacBook Pro at all at WWDC or if this will be held for a September announcement.
  • On Mac Power Users recently we spoke with Frasier Spiers about his one-to-one program and how his school is successfully integrating iPads in their classrooms. Unfortunately, the Maine Department of Education has not had the same experience. As reported by Tim Hardwick at MacRumors, Apple offered to replace iPads with MacBooks in Maine State Classrooms after the school district struggled to integrate the iPads into their curriculum. Given the success Frasier and other districts have had integrating iPads into the classrooms, I suspect the failure of the program in the Maine educational system had a lot to do with the way the iPads were managed and deployed, and less to do with the device itself.
  • Some good news on the legal front this week. As reported by Jeff Gamet of The Mac Observer, it appears that support for anti-encryption laws is fading in Congress. Turns out the draft bill proposed by Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein requiring tech companies to build back doors is not going to be introduced at this time due to lacking support.
  • Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out we got a new trailer for Star Trek Beyond. This one looks a bit better than the first one. Are those Tholians?