December 2017

Apple Pay

Latest iOS release (11.2) includes Apple Pay Cash via iMessage.

Learn all about Apple Pay Cash announcement, by Apple.

Here is an overview of Apple Pay, including Apple Pay Cash.

How to send and receive money, and overview by iMore.


Apple watchOS 4.2 has just been released. It includes support for Apple Pay Cash.

See a list of features with watchOS 4.2.

Apple just introduced a new Apple Watch recycling program. They offer Apple Store gift cards for older Apple Watch devices that are in good working condition through a partnership with Brightstar, for up to $175.

CARROT weather app for the Watch is a powerful and well designed app.

15 Apple Watch games you should play, reports Macworld.

iOS & Apple news

Remember that Amazon streaming was announced as a future feature of Apple TV? It's still coming this year, reports Loopinsight.

Apple park has a visitor center that is now open to the public. A brief tour, by `There's also a special augmented reality experience in the building: A model of Apple Park in its entirety that, when you look at it through the lens of dedicated iPads, comes to life in AR. Move around. Sneaker-zoom in and out, and watch roofs levitate and area unfurl. It's as close as you can come to being a drone flying around the campus.’

The new Apple Visitor Center < is as beautiful and ridiculous as you would expect/a>, writes Mashable. `it’s also an opportunity show off obsessive design and attention to detail worthy of Steve Jobs.'

Jony Ive on iPhone X: We had to solve extraordinarily complex problems, reports Time Magazine. Apple executives say the iPhone X is about charting a course for where Apple’s products are headed. This phone really sets us up well for the next 10 years says Dan Riccio, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware engineering.

Another review of iPhone X: The new frontier, writes Federico Viticci. A detailed and thoughtful review.

In-app mobile payments now accepted by Target stores, using a new Wallet feature in the Target app available on iOS devices. You need to add a Target REDCard to the Wallet in the Target app. Target's payments service is a barcode-based system. Apple Pay is not available in Target's retail stores, but Target does offer Apple Pay as a payment option in the Target app when making online purchases.

New patent by Apple includes the possibility of Apple Pencil working with future iPhone.

New Apple ad using Animoji:

iOS 11 in now installed in over 59% of devices.

Want to charge your device fast? Here is a comparison of different charging times.

New iPod ad by Apple is a clever comeback to Microsoft's CEO remark, reports QZ. It was a nothing comment, the gentlest of ribbings: `You need to get a real computer, my friend,' Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, made the quip two weeks ago after spotting two reporters using iPads during a press event in India. The incident was described in passing in a TechRadar story, by a journalist who owned one of the offending iPads. Here is Apple's new ad:

iOS 11

A recap of new features in iOS 11:

Here is Apple’s summary of new features in iOS 11.

Here is a nice list of new features by category.

Lots of wonderful new features. Here are some you might have missed:

Apple has created a page on iOS 11 preview. Take a look at all their brief but educational videos. Here are some:

Apple has created a page on How to Do Even More with an iPad Pro and iOS 11.

tips & tricks

[ DEMO ] Reminder: With iOS 11, the new Control Center shows a lot of controls. But did you know that many have further controls? Tap and hold to see additional options.

[ DEMO ] Reminder: How one-handed typing works on iPhone with iOS 11. (iPhone with a new email draft)

[ DEMO ] How The Dock and Multitasking works on an iPad with iOS 11. How to use the new iPad Dock (streamline your navigation). Now to multi-task, one of the easiest ways is to drag an app from the Dock. It's important to to notice how useful the Dock is now. You might need to rethink how you use it and which apps you place there. Demo: How to open a 2nd app, how to place it, slide over, toggle between these two modes, multitasking view.

[DEMO ] How to drag and drop on an iPad with iOS 11. Demo: iPad with new email draft, open Photos app, multiple select photos drag-drop on email message. Drag drop URL from Safari in split view.

Here are some iPhone X Tips and Tricks, to get started.

For iPhone X, read 4 tips at the bottom of this review, for gestures and reachability.

iOS apps

Paper has a major update, with new 3D Notebooks, performance improvements and more. Olga recommends it highly.

Memopad, by Tayasui is a free app that lets you jot, sketch, take a quick note, all very quickly and easily. One of the best apps of its kind (maybe the best one). Highly recommended by Olga who now has this app one her iPhone's homescreen for quick notes.

[ DEMO ] Memopad on iPhone for quick jots.

New app by FiftyThree: Paste. `Paste is a collaborative presentation tool built for today’s creative teams that makes sharing your work simple and beautiful. Drag anything into a deck to instantly create slides from images, videos, docs, and links. Pull from sources like Paper, Photos, and Files or paste in links to embed YouTube videos, Google Docs, or other files. Auto-layout formats everything beautifully for gorgeous slides with no wasted effort. Create and review in real-time. Paste syncs to the cloud, so you always have your team's latest thinking at your fingertips. Browse, zoom in, and download every image, file, and video in full resolution. When you’re ready, present your deck onscreen, download as a PDF, or post a public view-only link to the world.’

FocusList is an app to help you focus and track what you need to do. It implements the Pomodoro technique but does more. Olga recommends it highly. It's available for iOS, watchOS, and Mac. You need not use all of these together, but if you want to, they sync.

Lee told us about File Manager for iOS, an app thar lets you view your files on iOS devices.

Just Press Record does what it says. It also transcribes your recordings and syncs via iCloud to iPhone, iPac, Mac. It also offers a Watch app.

MyScript Nebo is a note-taking app for iPad and Apple Pencil. It converts your handwriting to formatted, typed text. It can even convert mathematics symbols and equations, as well as diagrams and flowcharts. Very impressive.

Oh She Glows is a cookbook app for iPhone and iPad. It features vegetarian recipes, professionally photographed. You can make notes, filter recipes by ingredient, and cross out items while you cook to track which ones you used.

Clips was released by Apple a few months ago. It may be underutilized by many people. `A free app that lets you make fun videos to share with friends and family. With a few taps you can create and send a video message or tell a quick story with artistic filters, animated text, music, emoji, and fun stickers featuring characters from Star Wars, Disney, Pixar and more.'

Lake is a free app that works like a coloring book on iPhone or iPad. It’s also a good stress relief. Lake comes with a selection of free illustrations every day, and users can color the new illustration using tools such as an acrylic or watercolor brush, spray paint, and so on.

Moleskine Timepage got an Apple design Award in 2016. It's a `smart calendar that makes planning your time and projects smooth and stress-free’. It combines your events, maps, contacts and weather into one easy app, working with your existing calendar so you don't need to setup anything new. It also offers a Watch app.

Bumpers turns your iPhone into a studio for Podcast making. `Recording, editing, and sharing a podcast has never been easier! Capture high-quality audio, edit your recording, and produce your podcast using our free sound library. Publish your podcast to Bumpers, export to iTunes, and share it everywhere else. No prior audio experience necessary.'

Astropad turns your iPad into an extension of your Mac, making it work like a graphics tablet for your Mac. It works in wired or wireless mode and supports Apple pencil and has pressure sensitivity.

Down to Lunch is an app for quickly and easily arranging meetings with several people. `Tap 1 button to invite friends. Always know who’s free. Only get notifications if you can go (No More Group Chats Blowing Up Your Phone).’

RunPee is silly, or funny, or clever (or all of the above). It can tell you the best times to run to the restroom mid-movie, without missing the best scenes.

Need to split the bill among several people? Tab does this nicely. It adds the tax and tip and splits it all. Even lets you share the receipts.

Highball is a free app for creating and sharing cocktail recipes.

The Infatuation offers curated reviews to let you find great restaurants on your iPhone. It offers offline functionality. Great for travel.

options for older devices

If you don't want to sell your older iOS devices, but you are planning to upgrade to a new iPhone or iPad, here are some ideas about what to do with your old iPhones and iPads, the WSJ.

Of course you can also give them as gifts to family.

No matter what you decide to do, What to do before you sell or give away your iPhone or iPad, by Apple.

If you want to sell or buy iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, consider using Swappa. It's a marketplace designed for this purpose, sales are fast and secure. Olga recently used it to buy 2 used iPhone 6 (for gifts), and to sell 4 old iPads, and 2 Apple Watches. All were very good experiences and the sales give nearly 2x what Gazelle offers.

Another option is Apple. They take your old devices and give you instant credit.

Here is a checklist of what to do to prepare your iOS device for sale, provided by Swappa.

Are you buying a new iPad soon? How to take your data plan to a new iPad, reports the NY Times.


Bernie showed us his brand new sleeve for his iPhone X from Wrappers who have high quality sleeves for iPhones, iPads, and Macbooks. They offer sleeves made of felt, Alcantara (a man-made suede-like fabric made in Italy), as well as linen/fabric sleeves. All are lined.

Felt sleeves (100% wool) made by Byrd & Belle are high quality and nicely designed by a Minnesota architect.

printing services

Below are some printing services that Olga has used multiple times and has been very happy with the results. She showed us examples of each service, using iPhone photos, iPad drawing and painting apps, as well as DSLR photos. offers cards, post cards, business cards, posters and others. You can use their templates or design your own. The results are professional and beautiful. Our own iPUG business cards are made by Moo.

Artifact Uprising offers prints, cards, photo books, and many more options. Their quality is impressive. Their goal is to bring back the printed photo, as an artifact that returns to reclaim its space in our lives.

Adorama Pix is a printing service offered by the renown camera store in NYC. Olga showed examples of Metal prints. They are a beautiful way to showcase a special photo or to make a gift. No framing needed.

Fracture offers beautiful prints directly on glass. Photos look very striking on glass. No framing needed.

Walgreens Photo offers simple prints, canvas prints, photo books, calendars and more. Olga used their website to create an 18-month calendar using iPhone photos. It was a great success as a gift.

gadgets & gift ideas

Since the holiday season is around the corner, gadgets and accessories are good gift ideas as well.

A simple but very useful gadget is a long(er) Lightning cable. Apple sells them, but also there are some third party versions that are tougher and great for travel or for the home. Bernie showed us his cable by Native Union.

Mac Power Users dedicated a podcast to 2017 Geek Gift Guide. Take a look for a list of ideas for the favorite geek in yor life (or a present for yourself).

Consider Anker gadgets listed on Amazon.

Nearly a year later, AirPods remain unrivaled as truly best wireless earbuds, says 9to5Mac.

For Apple Earpods or Airpods, consider accessorizing them with EarSkinz.

Olga showed us the Harmon Kardon wireless headphones. She bought them new but on eBay (for about 33% of retail) and recommends them.

Best clear cases for iPhone X, by iMore.

Cases and lenses for iPhone X by Moment. These are considered the best for iPhones in general, and they cover all models.

Exolens makes a `case' for iPhone 7 that is really a support structure for external lenses. This is a rare accessory. Very few companies make external lenses for iPhone 7.

New website HomeKitty was created to crowdsource all accessories that support the HomeKit protocol all in one place.

Apple's website lists Hover Camera Passport Drone, which lets you become a `flying photographer'.

Curt points out that the iXpand flash drive by Sandisk has had a price drop. It’s a very handy flash drive that can extend your iPhone or iPad’s capacity.

Drew has been using a Wireless Stick by SanDisk, for backup and data transfers.

iXpand Base, also by SanDisk, is a charging base that backs up your photos and videos automatically.

For iPad Pro users, Curt points us to PaperLike which got started as an IndieGoGo project. Olga bought it for her iPad Pro 12.9’’ and gave us an overview.

The latest version of SonicCare toothbrush by Philips comes with an app that gives you advice and feedback on your brushing techniques, reports A dentist in your iPhone!

Travel USB Wall Charger with LED nightlight is a very practical gadget.

The best car headrest mounts for iPad, reports iMore. A great way to entertain the backseat passengers, especially if they are restless.

iDevices has released a Dimmer Switch that is controllable by iPhone and also learns your preferences over time. Recall that iDevices uses Apple’s HomeKit, so security and privacy standards are high.

Aurora by Nanoleaf is a modular LED-based lighting system. Here is a brief overview vi 9to5mac:

WiFi HD Endoscopic Camera attaches to your iPhone and lets you view things your cannot reach. Bernie gave us a demo.

Macworld lists the best iPhone camera lenses for the 6 and 6s models. Exolens is deemed to be among the best.

Moleskine announces Smart Planner That Will Digitize Appointments into Apple's iCalendar Format, reports

iPhone becomes a reliable light meter with Lumu Power, reports Cult of Mac in their review of Lumu Power.

privacy, security, net neutrality

Apple has a new Privacy webpage, stating that for Apple, privacy is a fundamental human right.

A reminder: an iPhone or iPad user can be compelled by police to use Touch ID to unlock their device. However, a user cannot be compelled to use their passcode. iOS 11 is enhanced to take advantage of this distinction, reports John Gruber.

More specifically, iOS 11 new SOS feature allows you to temporarily disable Touch ID and require a passcode, reports John Gruber. This can be done by pressing the sleep/wake button 5 times in rapid succession. This can be done discreetly, without even having to take your iPhone out of your pocket.

See screenshots of the new SOS feature in iOS 11, from

Apple to FCC: protect net neutrality and do not allow fast lanes. Re/Code repports on Apple’s first comments urging the protection of net neutrality.

Equifax had a massive data breach: 143 Million Americans were affected, jeopardizing Social Security numbers, birthdates, addresses and driver’s licenses, as reported by Krebson Security. To avoid identity theft, consider freezing your credit reports.

Pat points us to ITRC letter template for requesting that credit reports be frozen.

A good reminder: How to switch off what Google tracks about you, a good overview by Birmingham Mail.

Gail points us to a good reminder: 10 Online Accounts That Should Have Two-Factor Authentication, a guide by Follow the steps and secure your personal info.

Two online Security Steps you should stop putting off, reports the NY Times: a password manager and 2-step authentication.

Want better privacy and security? How to encrypt your devices.

general news and crossover

Antivirus for Android has a Long, Long Way to Go, reports Wired. They write that Android antivirus programs are making the same mistakes as those for PCs, always trying to play catch-up.

Apple makes technology look easy but it’s not. For example, Galaxy S8 introduced `facial recognition’ this year. But its security can easily be bypassed by a photo or a video. Take a look:

general apps & services

Dropbox has eliminated their Public folder function. They now offer different ways to share folders and collaborate with others.

For general purpose web hosting, offers reasonable prices, fast access and good support. Our iPUG website is now hosted by SiteGround.

Traveling abroad and want to access your Netflix account to stream videos? Consider GetFlix to let you bypass the geo-block.