Mac Heads

iOS 7: What You Need To Know

After years of small iterations to its mobile operating system (don’t fix what isn’t broken?), Apple has finally taken the wraps off iOS 7. Many say Apple needed to do something dramatic to counteract the barrage of features being hurled at consumers by Android.

Whether this is Apple’s answer answer to the “stale” look and feel of the current OS, or a clap-back at Android and its cute commercials, iOS 7 is indeed new and fresh. Here is an overview of the new features I think you should take a look at.


Apple has ditched the natural and familiar textures, and opted with a more clean and simplistic look and feel. Fonts are more pronounced, and everything seems brighter. Apple tried its hand at a more “flat” look and feel – Something that Windows Phone pioneered with its design. All of the native Apple icons have been redesigned and the shading has been dropped that originally gave them the appearance of depth.

Control Center

I personally wanted Apple to adopt the “widgets” functionality that Android users have enjoyed. The new Control Center is probably the closest thing to an iOS widget I’m gonna get. In a nutshell, iOS 7 will let users “swipe up” from anywhere in the OS to pull up essential and commonly-used options (Wifi, Bluetooth, brightness, music control, etc) – There’s even a flashlight button – Yay!?


Think of WebOS “Cards” and that’s what the new iOS 7 multitasking reminds me of. Double-tap the home button, and a row of open apps that resemble cards will appear that you can quickly scroll through. “Swipe up” on a card and you will kill the app – Much easier than holding an app to wait for it to “jiggle”. Apple claims that true multitasking, and not just pausing) works for all apps.


Nothing to see here really besides the addition of more voice choices (male & female) and the addition of Bing, Wikipedia, and Twitter search results. The interface has been redone but “meh” – Imma need Siri to actually #DoBetter before it just looks better. Although, if I could pick a version where at the end of every response she would add “Son” I would be in love.

“Here’s your reminder to tomorrow at 8pm, Son”


Everything has been redone in iOS, including the camera and photos app. Most notable is users can now add filters to their images, instead of first sharing them to third-party image apps like Instagram. Additional features include groups of pictures taken around the same time at the same location will be automagically grouped as “Moments”, and all images are quickly shareable with other nearby iOS users via AirDrop functionality – Apple’s answer to Samsung’s cute little “tap phones” trick in commercials NFC sharing.


If you can’t already tell, Apple has jacked implemented popular features from Android, Windows Phone…and Palm (of all people), and as slightly inebriated American Idol Paula Abdul would say, “made it their own”. Probably the one thing that Apple has stepped out in front of is the ability to essentially “brick” your phone to deter thieves.

In other words, if your phone is lifted by these new-school ‘Apple pickers’, they won’t be able to wipe and reactivate your phone without your Apple ID credentials, rendering the device useless. They could sell it to a smartphone “chop-shop” for parts (not sure if that’s a thing) but I guess Apple is betting on the fact that thieves don’t want to go through all that trouble.

iOS In Your Ride

Apple will be partnering with a ton of car manufacturers to bring iOS to your car in 2014. In other words, your phone will be able to “talk” to your car as a hub for information, communications, and entertainment, as it should be. In my opinion, there is NO REASON for a separate, intricate car system, when you already have a powerful device in your pocket or purse.

As far as overall functionality is concerned, iOS 7 adds more BlackBerry-esque gestures to how you operate the phone…but that’s about it. Google, Samsung (and I guess others?) have been slanging new and innovative functionality at users for the better part of a year.

Apple chose to go hard on a new design to keep fans interested. The good thing about Apple is when iOS 7 does launch in the fall (probably alongside a new iPhone 5S or 6) it will be available for everybody with an iPhone 4 and up, which is over 90% of iPhone users, compared to Android with only 16% of people currently using OS 4.2 “Jellybean”

There is no doubt that iOS needed an overhaul, but what do you think: Did Apple do enough to continue to be “the team to beat”, or will Samsung Android continue to gobble up more a more marketshare with more bang for your buck?

Mac Heads

Parallels Desktop 8 For Mac Gets an Upgrade As Windows 8 Release Draws Closer

Instead of shelling out for one of those sexy 15″ Retina Display MacBook Pro’s that was announced earlier this year, I decided to keep my mid-2010 13″ MacBook Pro and jazz it up with an 4 additional gigabytes of RAM, and added a 240GB Solid State Drive. I also replaced my optical (CD) drive with the 250GB hard drive that came with my laptop. In lamen’s terms, I now have a faster laptop with a ton of extra storage space to play with.

Another reason for the upgrade is I’m intrigued with the upcoming Windows 8 release, so I made sure I had enough speed and space to install the new Microsoft desktop OS and keep my Mac OS. The way I plan to do this is by running Windows 8 as a virtual machine, with the help of Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac.

As a self-proclaimed Technology Evangelist, I feel I must stay up on the latest and greatest. Plus, even through we are an “Apple house”, most of my family, friends, and others who reach out to me for tech consult, use Microsoft Windows. So while I want to install Windows 8 on my Mac to figure out the nuts and bolts to satisfy my own geeky appetite, I need a way to quickly switch to Windows to fulfill my “IT Support” duties. So the folks from Parallels sent me a copy of their latest version that will let me run Windows on my Mac, without shutting down and restarting my computer every time I need to use the Windows virtual machine.

I’ve used previous versions of the Parallels Desktop software to tinker with earlier developer and consumer preview releases of Windows 8 and it worked well. I was able to get a good idea of what the new Windows 8 “desktop” layout would look like, and play with other aspects of the os. For instance, I was able to decide how I was going to feel about Microsoft removing the “Start” button and the new Metro-style Windows 8 main interface. Turns out, I’m not that messed up about it. All this while keeping my Mac OS untouched, just in case I messed something up on the Windows side. The latest Windows 8 preview version included even more functionality for early-adopters to discover right before the official launch later in October. So, in preparation of the final release, Parallels 8 Desktop for Mac unleashed some new features as well so users like me can get familiar with the capabilities before the general public.

First and foremost, PD8 includes Mac OS X Mountain Lion support for the majority of Mac users who upgraded their OS, and Retina display support for the minority of Mac users who did in fact, spring for the new High-Def MacBook. For example, Mountain Lion released the new Notification Center that can be quickly uncovered to show email, iMessage, calendar and social media notifications. When my Windows virtual machine is up and running, those notifications (like Windows Messenger or Outlook notifications) show up in the Mac Notification center as well. I don’t have to actually do anything with the virtual machine to get an at-a-glance view. Another addition that cam with Mountain Lion was improved “Siri-like” Dictation. PD8 adds dictation support that any Windows

Another feature I like is Bluetooth integration that lets me seamlessly use a Bluetooth device (like a mic, speakers, or camera) with either my Mac or the Windows virtual machine without doing some kind of weird, unplug device, switch desktops, plug device back up ritual. Since I’m a neat-freak, I can also appreciate the ability to monitor how much processor and memory my Windows virtual machine uses. That helps me decide how I organize my system files, documents, videos, music and pictures, across my SSD and HD storage.

Opening and working in my Windows virtual machine is as simple as opening an Mac application. I can also add often-used Windows apps to the Mac app dock for quick access, if I choose to use Windows “like a Mac” (Windows programs appear on the Mac desktop, just like Mac applications. Documents and media from Mac OS X and Windows are kept together on your Mac). If I want to keep everything separate, I can operate Windows “like a PC” (Windows desktop and programs appear in a single window, separate from Mac applications).

Time will tell if I can give the completely redesigned (but still the same underneath) Windows 8 OS the thumbs up. One thing is for sure, with Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac, I don’t have to give trade the familiarity or the normal use of My Mac just to experiment with Windows 8…And I can still troubleshoot printer issues with “Momma Tech”

That’s my Mother, just in case you’re not familiar with my family [tech] naming scheme.