Bradley lives in Chattanooga, TN where he manages Apple devices for a private school.
Tips, feedback, corrections and questions can be sent to Bradley@9to5mac.com.
A few weeks ago, I took a look at the best Twitter apps for iPhone. It was interesting to read the replies I got on Twitter from people who felt strongly one way or another about third-party apps or using the official Twitter one. People who like third-party apps often prefer them for reasons that do make sense. People who are fine with the official Twitter app (based on how they use Twitter) should stick with it. The great thing about the ecosystem (it’s hanging on by a thread) is that both third-party and first-party options work for people. It’s really one of those “what’s best for you” situations. This week, I want to look at the best Twitter app for Mac. Because Twitter killed its official app for Mac last March, third-party apps are all you can use (except for TweetDeck). Twitter would prefer desktop users use Twitter.com. While the Twitter website is fine for casual tweeting, people who use Twitter on desktop with any regularity will want a dedicated app. This week, I am going to pick the best Twitter app for the Mac. expand full story
Back in 2014, the headlines around Apple and K–12 education revolved around the cancellation of a major contract with the Los Angeles United School District. When Apple announced the contract in early 2014, there was a lot of excitement around the project. The approved deal allotted $115 million for deploying between 40,000 and 70,000 tablets to classrooms for use by students and teachers. One of the main drivers behind the project was standardized testing. As someone who just finished up another year of standardized testing on iPad (and getting back the results immediately), I can empathize at the benefits of using the device for testing. The LAUSD project ended up being a massive failure. We covered it extensively throughout the process, and while there were a lot of mistakes, I want to look at it from a technical point of view to explain the LAUSD iPad hacking scandal.
One of the hot news items from Apple’s March event was Apple News+. Apple News+ is a $9.99 per month subscription that includes access to 300 magazines and a handful of popular newspapers. Apple News+ got me thinking about an Apple Podcasts+ service to help drive revenue for podcasts.
One of the key technology trends in the enterprise over the last decade (thanks to iPhones and iPads) is a collaboration and work anywhere mindset. Long gone are the days of employees, students, and teachers logging into desktop computers at work or school. Now, work is wherever we are. Work isn’t a place, but a state of mind. You should be able to work anywhere. You can, and that has led to companies who are distributed around the world. My concern today is that a world where it’s “cloud-first” from a services standpoint has left Apple as vulnerable as Microsoft was when they missed the smartphone era.
Twitter apps for the iPhone have been around before the App Store. Twitterrific was one of the apps released for Jailbroken iPhones prior to the launch of the App Store with iPhone OS 2.0. I would even argue that without the App Store, Twitter would not be the company it is today. While Twitter has done a lot to hurt third-party apps in recent years, there is still a somewhat thriving ecosystem. This week, I want to look at all of the Twitter apps for iPhone to see which one is the best.
Since last October, I’ve been tracking new login options for macOS through Jamf. Jamf recently launched integration with Microsoft Azure Active Directory, and they just announced that G-Suite is coming as a login option during the macOS setup screen. If you’ll remember, I predicted this feature last fall. Jamf was already making life a lot easier for IT managers, but adding both of these services as identity providers for macOS is a big win. By providing Azure AD and G-Suite login options, having a mobile device management system on the desktop has become as imperative as Jamf on iOS. expand full story
Google Duplex rolling out to non-Pixel, iOS devices in the US
Get ready, the ability to get your Google Assistant to call your local eateries to make reservations is now rolling out to non-Pixel devices and iOS in the United States. Google Duplex is now slowly being pushed to devices that don’t have the Google logo embossed upon them.
Pinna launches multiple original podcasts aimed at kids for screen-free entertainment
Since picking up an Echo Dot for really cheap around Christmas through Amazon, my kids have really spent a lot of time listening to Amazon Story Time. I love spoken word content (Audiobooks, Podcasts, etc.) so it makes sense that my kids would love it as well. I recently found out about Pinna, and have enjoyed taking it for a spin during the free trial. Pinna is a subscription service that gives you countless hours of audio entertainment (and screen-free fun) for your kids with audiobooks and original shows.
On a recent episode of Mac Power Users, Stephen Hackett and David Sparks were looking at the iPad as a laptop replacement. I felt like it was one of the most refreshing discussions of the iPad and iOS that I had heard in a while. They looked at things about the iPad that give them joy and things that do not. The show got me thinking about the history of iOS on the iPad, and where things got stagnant. For me, the iPad as a device became stagnant around the time of the iPhone 6 Plus debut. The reality is that the iPhone has gotten better about handling iPad tasks a lot faster than the iPad has vs. a macOS powered laptop. Since then, iOS on the iPad hasn’t changed dramatically outside of how multitasking works. If you want to listen to a great discussion about the good and bad parts of the iPad lifestyle, I would give this episode a listen. As I think about the future of the iPad, I have come to the realization that iOS 13 on the iPad will be the most important release to date.
Apple’s spring hardware release season has come and gone. Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen Apple update the iPad mini, release a new iPad Air, and launch new AirPods. One iPad didn’t get an update, and that is the low-cost 9.7-inch iPad aimed at education. The budget iPad was released back in March of 2018 at Apple’s education event. While I was underwhelmed by the actual event with how it related to Apple in the classroom, the $329 9.7-inch iPad is an excellent iPad, and nothing changes that today. With the education buying season kicking off, here is some information to consider when looking at the 9.7-inch iPad for education. expand full story
Edison Mail releases block sender feature for iOS and Android apps
Edison Mail, a popular mail client for iOS and Android, has just released an update aimed to help deal with unwanted senders. The newest update includes a “block sender” feature to avoid emails from repeat Spam offenders (especially when your Spam filters don’t catch it). By using the block sender feature, emails from a block sender will be moved to the trash without ever hitting your inbox.
Back in January, Jamf debuted Microsoft Azure Active Directory login on macOS. It was previously announced in October at JNUC. Since then, I have speculated about the possibility of G-Suite logins coming to macOS. While Microsoft services are very popular, G-Suite is used by 70 million teachers and students.
Conversational email app, Spike, raises $5 million in funding
After I wrote my roundup of best email apps on iPhone, I received a number of emails and direct messages from apps I didn’t take a look at. One of them was Spike. I checked it out, and I was blown away by its unique take on email. In fact, it’s the first time an email app has felt fresh to me since I first used Gmail in 2004.
Note taking apps for Mac are a fun category to look at because of the variety of options on the market. There are apps like Evernote which aim to be an “everything” bucket and apps like SimpleNote that only handle plain text notes. You then have apps like Bear and Apple Notes which aim to live somewhere in the middle. When I am looking for the best note-taking app for the Mac, I am looking for a few different things: sync to iOS (and web if possible), easy to add new notes, and easy to look up existing notes. I’ve used dozens of apps over the years, and I have opinions on what a note-taking app for Mac should look like for my use cases. Most of the apps offer free trials, so I advise you to check them all out. I’ll run through a few of the apps, and then I’ll help you figure out which will be the best note-taking app for you to try.
Deploying and managing iPads and iPhones today is drastically different than how it was a few years ago. Today, it’s a known process. You enroll the devices into Apple School Manager or Apple Business Manager, get them enrolled into your mobile device management system, and then you can go from ordering the device directly from Apple straight to handing them out still shrink wrapped. Jamf calls this a zero touch deployment. It wasn’t that long ago that the process was much more complicated than it is today. Let’s take a look back at Apple Configurator 1.0.
Text Case 2.0 for iOS includes text to emoji, dark theme, and new organization options
I wrote about Text Case last July, and it’s been a staple of my iOS usage ever since. On the Mac, I use Alfred to do all of my case changing, but it doesn’t exist as a iOS app. For writing here at 9to5Mac, and at my day job, I frequently have to change the case of text. Text Case is the best app I’ve found for iOS to accomplish this task, and it has a big update that is now available.
One of the key challenges for K-12 schools with Apple products is management and deployment of an identification infrastructure. While Google has their solution with G-Suite, companies like Clever are also making a play to become a schools centralized identity solution.
Google offers email, document management, calendars, and works as a single sign on provider as well. Clever works directly with software as a service application vendors to sync your data between companies that don’t normally talk together. Yesterday, Apple launched their identity solution for K-12 schools with federated authentication for Microsoft Azure Active Directory.
Baseball season is upon us here in the United States, and I am already looking forward to Spring Practice for college football. To be perfectly honest, I am a glutton for punishment when it comes to sports. I root for the Atlanta Braves who last won a World Series in 1995 despite winning fourteen straight divisional titles. In 1996, they went up 2–0 on the New York Yankees in New York and then proceeded to get swept at home. I also root for the Atlanta Falcons, and they famously were up 28–3 in the third quarter in the Super Bowl before the Patriots made the most epic comeback. To make matters worse, my beloved Georgia Bulldogs lost to Alabama in overtime of the college football championship in January of 2018. There’s an old joke that being a Georgia sports fan is hazardous to your health. Despite that, I love sports. Smartphones have made following a lot of teams and sports a lot easier thanks to a plethora of apps. With a number of options to pick from, how do you find the best sports app for iPhone? expand full story
Over the years I’ve talked with hundreds of schools about their technology deployments. While I don’t do any paid consulting officially, I love to go and visit other schools to share ideas, talk about best practices, and to see how their technology stack is set up. I’ve noticed schools that struggled to get off the ground and maintain traction all have one key trait that they all share. Here’s the one simple thing you should do before buying a single iPad or Mac to avoid major education technology mistakes. expand full story
Earlier today, Spotify launched a new website called It’s Time to Play Fair, where it proceeded to lay out a timeline and “facts” about how Apple mistreats companies like Spotify. I saw a few snippets of it this morning, but once I had a chance to read the entire thing I almost laughed out loud.
The delusion that the entire site has is a poor attempt to build a Steve Jobs’ style reality distortion field. Spotify had a “Facts” page, and I want to respond to it point by point. Before you a leave comment that I am an Apple fanboy, I would like to point you to articles where I prove that is not the case. expand full story