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Apple and Accessibility

Apple opened what will in all likelihood be its last event in Town Hall at One Infinite Loop in Cupertino with a video highlighting the importance of accessibility features built into its products. In addition to a video, Apple has created a separate webpage highlighting the accessibility. The page includes videos highlighting wheelchair workouts on the Apple Watch, switch controls on the Mac, Live Listen designed for the hearing impaired, VoiceOver, and Speak Screen.

You can also follow all of the MacStories coverage of today's Apple's keynote through our October 27 Keynote hub, or subscribe to the dedicated October 27 Keynote RSS feed.

Apple Posts October 27 Event and MacBook Pro Videos

If you didn't follow the live stream or announcements as they unfolded today, Apple posted the video of its October 27th keynote held earlier today at Apple's Town Hall at One Infinite Loop in Cupertino along with videos for the new MacBook Pros announced on stage.

The keynote video can be streamed here and on the Apple TV. A higher quality version should be made available in a few hours through iTunes (on the Apple Keynotes podcast). To avoid streaming errors, Safari is recommended for the best viewing experience.

In addition, Apple also posted new product reveal videos for the MacBook Pro on its YouTube channel. You can find all the videos below.

You can also follow all of the MacStories coverage of today's Apple's keynote through our October 27 Keynote hub, or subscribe to the dedicated October 27 Keynote RSS feed.

Apple Announces TV App

Apps as the future of TV creates a problem. Apps are isolated silos of content not unlike channels on cable TV, but harder to switch between. Today, Apple announced its solution. Jen Folse, a design lead at Apple, explained that the solution is, not surprisingly, an app.

Apple took a stab at the discovery shortcomings of tvOS with the Siri Remote. Introduced with the fourth generation Apple TV, the remote allows you to execute voice searches across many, but not all, content providers simultaneously. Today, Apple announced at an event in Cupertino that it will also tackle content discovery with a new app.

The app announced today is called TV and will be integrated with the upcoming Single Sign-on feature that was announced at WWDC in June. Single Sign-on allows users to enter their cable TV credentials into the Apple TV's settings once to get access to content in any participating app that requires a cable TV subscription. Originally anticipated to launch with tvOS 10, which debuted alongside iOS 10 in September, Single Sign-on has not yet launched.

During the event in Cupertino, Apple said that the TV app will recommend content across apps installed on customers' Apple TVs based on the apps a customer has downloaded as well as media watched, purchased, and rented. TV will also be available on iOS devices, unifying TV and movie watching across iOS and tvOS. In addition, TV will include curated suggestions based on user's watching habits.

Unfortunately, not all content providers will participate in TV. According to Recode, Netflix, which was an early third-party supporter of search on the Siri Remote, will not be part of the guide, which leaves a rather large hole in the app at launch.

The TV app will be available as a free download on the US App Store in December.

You can also follow all of the MacStories coverage of today's Apple's keynote through our October 27 Keynote hub , or subscribe to the dedicated October 27 Keynote RSS feed.

Apple’s October 27 Keynote by the Numbers

At Apple's "Hello Again" keynote Thursday, the company continued its tradition of letting the public in on its most important figures. Whether it was a recap of user and sales numbers or figures regarding the new products, Apple gave us plenty of numbers to digest.

Here's a list of significant facts and figures from Apple.

13-Inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar
- 14.9 mm thick
- 23% less volume than previous generation
- 3 pounds
- 2x faster graphics
- Up to 2x faster storage
- 103% faster gaming performance
- 76% faster video editing performance
- 76% faster 3D graphics performance
- Starts at $1799

13-Inch MacBook Pro
- 13% smaller in volume than the MacBook Air
- 12% thinner than the MacBook Air
- Starts at $1499

15-Inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar
- 15.5 mm thick
- 20% less volume than previous generation
- 4 pounds
- 2.3x faster graphics
- 130% faster 3D graphics performance
- 60% faster gaming performance
- Can power 2 5K displays
- Starts at $2399

MacBook Pro Displays
- 67% brighter
- 67% higher contrast ratio
- 25% more colors

MacBook Pro Bodies
- 2x larger trackpad
- 2nd-generation butterfly switches
- 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports on the 13-inch and 15-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pros
- 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports on the 13-inch MacBook Pro

- 400 million have "viewed and enjoyed" Memories on iPhone
- 60% of iOS users are on iOS 10, with 32% on iOS 9
- Currently, there are over 1600 apps from video content providers on Apple TV
- There are over 8000 Apple TV apps in the App Store
- This is the 25th anniversary of Apple's first notebook, the PowerBook

You can also follow all of the MacStories coverage of today's Apple's keynote through our October 27 Keynote hub , or subscribe to the dedicated October 27 Keynote RSS feed.

Apple Q4 2016 Results: $46.9 Billion Revenue, 45.5 Million iPhones, 9.2 Million iPads Sold

Apple has just published their financial results for Q4 2016, which covered the three months from July through to September 2016. The company posted revenue of $46.9 billion with a quarterly net profit of $9 billion. Apple sold 9.2 million iPads, 45.5 million iPhones, and 4.8 million Macs during the quarter.

“Our strong September quarter results cap a very successful fiscal 2016 for Apple,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We’re thrilled with the customer response to iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and Apple Watch Series 2, as well as the incredible momentum of our Services business, where revenue grew 24 percent to set another all-time record.”

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The iPod at Fifteen

I remember my first iPod well. It was a third generation model and I loved it. It was commuting salvation packed into what seemed like an impossibly small package.

The iPod was a transformative device for Apple that laid the groundwork for future devices like the iPhone. Although it synced with a computer, the iPod marked Apple’s first major foray into consumer electronics. In some ways, the introduction of the iPod seems like an impossibly long time ago, but when you look back at its evolution, it’s amazing just how far technology has come in such a short time.

To mark the fifteenth anniversary of that first iPod, The Verge published a visual history of the iPod. I enjoyed scrolling through the product shots and picking out the ones I owned. For a little more history and context on where the iPod fits into Apple’s past, I recommend watching Stephen Hackett’s video on the 512 Pixels YouTube channel. Also, in piece of almost-forgotten history, Nobuyuki Hayashi tells the story of twenty CDs that Steve Jobs and his iPod team chose and put on the iPod prototypes given to journalists for testing (via Daring Fireball). The CDs included an interesting mix of classical, jazz, blues, classic rock, then-current hits, and other selections, each of which is linked in the article.

iOS 10.1 Stands Out Among Updates to All Apple OSes

Apple updated iOS, watchOS, macOS, and tvOS all at once today. Most of the changes consist of bug fixes, security enhancements, and similar updates, but there are also a handful of new features concentrated in iOS 10.1.

iOS 10.1 adds Portrait Mode to the Camera app for iPhone 7 Plus users. Portrait Mode simulates shallow depth of field photos taken by DSLR cameras by creating a depth map using the dual cameras of the 7 Plus. The result is a foreground image in sharp focus with a blurred background.

In the Photos app, iOS 10.1 improves the display of wide color gamut photos when viewed in the app’s preview grid. In addition, the names of people associated with photos are now included in iCloud backups.

Maps added transit support for the cities of Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya in Japan. Sign-based transit navigation, including the layout of underground structures and walkways in large transit stations, and fare comparisons when viewing alternate transit routes were also added to Maps.

iMessage bubble effects, including ‘slam’ and ‘gentle,’ as well as full-screen effects like 'balloons,' 'confetti,' and 'lasers' can now be replayed in Messages. When you receive a message with effects, iOS 10.1 displays a little replay button below the message. With bubble effects the replay button appears regardless of whether the message you receive is text or a photo. iOS 10.1 also allows users to play effects if Reduce Motion is turned on in the Accessibility settings. In addition, the iMessage app browser has replaced page indicators with a scroll bar so users with lots of sticker packs and iMessage apps no longer have page indicators spilling outside the bounds of the controls below the browser.

In the Activity app, iOS 10.1 adds distance and average pace to workout summaries for outdoor wheelchair run pace and outdoor wheelchair walk pace activities.

Similar to changes to Messages in iOS 10.1, watchOS 3.1 adds the ability to replay messages received with bubble and full screen effects and play effects with Reduce Motion enabled. watchOS 3.1 also includes a handful of bug fixes.

Version 10.12.1 of macOS Sierra primarily improves the ‘stability, compatibility, and and security’ of Macs running Sierra. The update adds a new smart album to the Photos app that collects ‘Depth Effect’ photos taken in Portrait Mode using an iPhone 7 Plus. Sierra also includes improved compatibility with Microsoft’s Office Suite when iCloud Desktop and Documents is turned on.

tvOS received a minor update that fixes unspecified bugs and improves security.

Scanbot Turns Six

Scanbot, which can scan documents, QR codes, and bar codes, received a major update today. Version 6 adds a host of powerful features aimed at handling documents after they have been scanned and saved as PDF files.

Scanbot has always been an excellent tool for scanning documents to PDFs on the go, but its PDF editing tools were limited. With version 6, Scanbot can now add, move, delete and rotate scanned pages. You can also annotate PDFs with a pen tool, highlighter, and eraser. Version 6 adds an enhanced pen tool with several colors and stroke sizes. In addition, the Pro version, which includes optical character recognition (OCR), now lets you turn OCR off, only invoking it on demand when needed. Finally, Scanbot has added support for Microsoft OneDrive, OneNote for Business, and Amazon Drive.

Version 6 of Scanbot is a solid update to a mature app. The one change in version 6 that I don’t like is the icon. Scanbot’s old robot icon added a touch of whimsy and fun to an otherwise utilitarian app. It feels like Scanbot’s maker, doo, decided to go after a more corporate user base and perhaps had a hard time selling an app with a robot icon to ‘serious’ business customers. Whatever the reason behind the change, I will miss the old icon. What hasn’t changed though, is that Scanbot 6 is a powerhouse utility that should fill nearly anyone’s mobile scanning needs.

Scanbot 6 is available on the App Store as a free download. The Pro version is $7.99 as a separate app or via an In-App Purchase from the free version.

Apple Announces October 27 Event

As first reported yesterday by Ina Fried at Recode, Apple announced a media event for October 27 at 10 AM San Francisco time. The event will be held at Apple's campus in Cupertino. As shared by Jason Snell at Six Colors, the invitation simply reads "hello again".

Recode's article and other recent speculation suggests that this media event will be primarily dedicated to unveiling new Mac products, many of which are well overdue for an update. In particular it is expected that the MacBook Pro laptop line will receive a significant update with a new touch screen strip that replaces the function keys, a thinner design, improved performance, and potentially Touch ID.

It is also expected that the iMac line will be refreshed. Less likely, but still plausible, are updates to the Mac Pro (last updated in December 2013), MacBook Air (last updated March 2015), and Mac Mini (last updated October 2014).

It is also possible that Apple may announce a ship date for the new wireless AirPods that were announced last month at Apple's iPhone 7 keynote. At the time, Apple said that the AirPods would be available in "late October". The iPhone 7 Plus' new Portrait mode, which creates a depth-of-field effect, has been in a public beta of iOS 10.1 since late September and its official release date could also be announced at this event.