Apple on Monday released an update to the operating system that powers its smartwatch, the Apple Watch. WatchOS 2.2 is now available for download (use your iPhone to check for the latest version, and update when your Apple Watch is on its magnetic charging stand).
Among the changes to version 2.2 is an improved Maps app. The Maps app adds a new interface layer that makes it a one-tap process to get directions to home or to work. You can also easilly search for locations, find your location, or spot nearby attractions with just a tap. Here are a couple of screenshots showing the new capabilities.
I’ve found the Maps app to be useful, but slow. It’ll be interesting to see if performance is an area that Apple’s improved at all. Still, it’s great to get turn-by-turn directions on the watch, because it taps your wrist when it’s time to turn, saving you from having to look at a screen and distract yourself.
On Monday Apple introduced a new version of the iPad Pro, smaller than before but equipped with the same technology as its big sibling: Smart Connector to attach an external keyboard, A9 processor inside, Apple Pencil support. One comment from Apple VP Phil Schiller caught my ear, though – he explained that the smaller iPad Pro has a low-reflectance screen. Apple says that it’s 40 percent less reflective than the iPad Air 2, which Schiller said professionals really love.
It’s an interesting comment, because all Apple laptops all come with glossy screens — much to the chagrin of many tech professionals who rely on Mac laptops to do their work.
Apple used to offer matte and glossy screens as an option on MacBook Pros, but did away with the option a number of years ago. Since then, numerous complaints have been lodged on discussion forums, there have even been online petition drives, and editorials written, but Apple hasn’t relented. All Mac laptops ship with glossy screens. You might be able to add a matte screen protector (Moshi makes a nice one called the iVisor AG), but that’s about it.
Color and sharpness on Apple laptops – especially Retina display equipped models – is marvelous, and continues to improve. But glare is a huge problem. If you are trying to use your laptop in a brightly-lit environment, or if the sun is over your shoulder, the glare makes it awful to try to get work done. I’ve even read comments from photographers who say that if they’re using their Macs for live editing, they’ve learned to wear dark clothing to avoid reflecting off the glossy screen.
As far as I can tell, Apple did away with the option to simplify its product line, lower production costs, and probably because, quite frankly, the matte option was a niche option that a relatively small number of Mac users really wanted. Mac laptops continue to sell in droves. But some customers still complain loudly that they’d like the option. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro gives us hope that one day, Apple might change its mind again.
Today brings word of an important update to Adobe Flash that fixes “critical vulnerabilities” that could let hackers take control of your system. The new version is 188.8.131.52, and it’s available for immediate download from Adobe’s web site.
Flash, and fake Flash installers, have become major ways that malware developers introduce corrupted payloads onto personal computers. So you need to be very careful when you use Flash, when you update it, or when you respond to pop-up messages that tell you to update Flash right away.
If you already have Adobe Flash installed and you want to make sure you’re using the latest version, follow these simple steps.
- Click on the menu and select System Preferences.
- Click on Flash Player.
- Click on the Updates tab.
- Click on the Check Now button.
If an update exists, the Flash Player system preference will begin to prompt you to download and install the latest Flash update. If no update exists, the Flash Player will tell you Flash is up to date.