HomePod Delayed Until 2018 

Apple, in a statement today:

We can’t wait for people to experience HomePod, Apple’s breakthrough wireless speaker for the home, but we need a little more time before it’s ready for our customers. We’ll start shipping in the US, UK and Australia in early 2018.

At WWDC, Apple said that its home speaker would be out “by the end of the year.”

No word on the iMac Pro, but Apple’s website still says “Available December” for that product.

Apple Begins High Sierra Automatic Rollout 

I have heard rumblings that Apple was considering making a bigger push for macOS users to upgrade to High Sierra. At the time, I was very unsure what that meant.

Forcing updates for patch releases, such as 10.13.0 to 10.13.1 is one thing; moving users from Sierra to High Sierra with little input is another thing altogether.

I’ve had this rattling around in the back of my mind, then I spotted this TidBITS article by Adam Engst:

If you’re running macOS 10.12 Sierra or earlier, and do not want to upgrade to 10.13 High Sierra right now, be careful because Apple has started pushing High Sierra to older Macs and making it all too easy to upgrade inadvertently.

Here’s the deal: Sierra users are seeing a macOS push notification banner titled “Upgrade to macOS High Sierra. Enjoy the latest technologies and refinements to your favorite apps.”

This banner has two buttons: Install and Details.

Hitting Install will prompt the user for their administrative password and the installer will begin. It happens instantly because macOS has already downloaded High Sierra in the background. Once the Installer is on the disk, the notification is triggered.

The Details button launches the App Store page for High Sierra.

As Engst points out, Apple has confirmed this behavior in support article #HT201475:

If you’re using OS X El Capitan v10.11.5 or later, High Sierra conveniently downloads in the background, making it even easier to upgrade your Mac. When the download has completed, you receive a notification indicating that High Sierra is ready to be installed. Click Install in the notification to get started.

If you want to install High Sierra later, just dismiss the notification. Install it at any time by opening the file named Install macOS High Sierra from your Applications folder, Launchpad, or Spotlight. Or delete the installer by dragging it to the Trash. You can always get it again from the App Store.

I understand Apple’s desire to move its user base to High Sierra. Having as many Macs in the world as possible on the most recent version of macOS is good for the company, third-party developers and ultimately users.

That said, this approach feels too heavy-handed to me. I don’t have a problem with the notification itself. It feels like nagging, but it may be the only way some users may hear that a new version of macOS is available.

However, having the OS download the 5.21 GB Installer in the background is some serious bullshit. Many users have limited disk space, bandwidth, or both.
Clicking Install on the notification should trigger the download, not the other way around.

If this sounds familiar, it should, as Apple did this with Sierra. I wrote this same blog post last year, so let me quote myself:

More importantly, this move may lessen the perceived significance of installing a major update to macOS. While Sierra doesn’t bring sweeping changes, putting it on the same level of updating Tweetbot feels a little problematic.

Time is a flat circle of macOS installers, as it turns out.

I don’t know if this is what the whispers about forced upgrades was about or not. I really don’t want Apple to get even more aggressive about this.

Fixing Media Playback Control Keys on High Sierra »

With High Sierra, Apple changed how the media playback control keys work on Macs without Touch Bars. In the past, these keys were locked to iTunes, even if media was playing in Safari, Messages or another application. Now, if I view an Animoji video from someone in Messages, the media keys become disassociated with iTunes, and they seem to get stuck with Messages far too long.

This has been driving me crazy on my iMac, where I keep iTunes running nearly all day. Thankfully, Milan Toth has fixed this regression with a little free Mac app named High Sierra Media Key Enabler. I’ve been running it since I saw Brian Stucki tweet about it, and it’s pretty great.

Kbase Article of the Week: Macintosh Performa 6100: Frequently Asked Questions »

This old support document includes “the answers to the following frequently asked questions about Macintosh Performa 6100 series computers:”

  1. What is the difference between native software and conventional software?
  2. I bought a Macintosh Performa 6100 series computer and added an AV card. Can I get software that supports the video digitizer?
  3. My computer does not remember sound settings from restart to restart. I continually have to go back to the Sound control panel and reset the CD input source.
  4. What causes Type 11 errors?
  5. Does my Power Macintosh have an FPU? I see errors that an FPU is not installed.
  6. Can you install the Apple TV/Video System in a Performa 6115?
  7. What is the difference between a Power Macintosh 6100 and a Macintosh Performa 6100 series computer?
  8. I need to run DOS software on my Performa 6100 series computer. What are my options?
  9. My microphone from my LC II does not work on my Performa 6100 series computer. What’s wrong?
  10. I have an old program which tells me to turn off 32-bit addressing. But I don’t see this as an option in my Memory control panel. Why?
  11. The sound from my 15″ Multiple Scan Display is very low. Sometimes, I can only hear sound out the left speaker. What is wrong?
  12. I have a Macintosh Performa computer which was shipped with a CD-ROM. I have purchased a third-party disk management utility or virus detector which states I should use a “Disk Tools” disk in order to create an emergency disk. I did not receive one with my computer. Should I have?
  13. My computer recently stopped displaying any video. It appears to start up normally, but nothing appears on the monitor. What could be causing this?

Clips: the New Photo Booth »

Karan Varindani, writing about the updated version of Clips:

Playing with the Selfie Scenes in Clips last week, I had the same feeling that I did playing with Photo Booth on my Mac many years ago. It was a little surreal, as someone with incredible front-camera shyness, to find myself having so much fun with it. The whole experience had me thinking: In a few years, once the Face ID technology has spread to the rest of the iOS line (and maybe even the Mac), could Clips be the successor to Photo Booth? Between Selfie Scenes, stickers, Live Titles, and fast sharing to social media, it seems the perfect fit.

‘Best Laptop Ever Made’ »

Marco Arment:

Apple has made many great laptops, but the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro (2012–2015) is the epitome of usefulness, elegance, practicality, and power for an overall package that still hasn’t been (and may never be) surpassed.

Like me, Marco formerly had a Thunderbolt 3 MacBook Pro and sold it out of frustration. He picked up a 2015 15-inch model, while I returned to a Late 2012 13-inch machine. As he writes, this generation of MacBook Pro is one for the ages:

At its introduction, it was criticized only for ditching the optical drive and Ethernet port, but these were defensible, well-timed removals: neither could’ve even come close to physically fitting in the new design, very few MacBook Pro users were still using either on a regular basis, and almost none of us needed to buy external optical drives or Ethernet adapters to fit the new laptop into our lives. In exchange for those removals, we got substantial reductions in thickness and weight, and a huge new battery.

There were no other downsides. Everything else about this machine was an upgrade: thinner, lighter, faster, better battery life, quieter fans, better speakers, better microphones, a second Thunderbolt port, and a convenient new HDMI port.

I’ve loved having an SD card slot again, too. After reading this, I’m tempted to find a 2015 on eBay and run it as long as I can. Since my notebook is my secondary computer, I can totally get away with it.

Connected #168: My Bedroom Has Become a Museum »

This week on Connected:

Control Center is broken, Myke is broken and Spotify is broken.

My thanks to our sponsors this week:

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Ushering in a New Era of Entertainment »

This month on MacStories, I wrote about the original Apple TV:

By this point, iTunes housed (and sold) music, TV shows and movies. Users could enjoy this content on Macs, PC and iPods, but not their televisions.

This product — dubbed the iTV at this point — was designed for “completing the package” of Apple’s digital content business. In Jobs’ words, it was a box for getting iTunes content to a flat-screen TV. Pretty simple.