Apple disables FaceTime until security bug is fixed

Update: Apple released iOS 12.1.4 on February 7, 2019 to fix the FaceTime issue.   FaceTime is now available at the Apple System Status page.

USA Today and the Washington Post have reported that some iPhone FaceTime users have been able to listen to people they are calling before the call is answered.   FaceTime runs on iPhones and iPads running iOS 12.1 as well as Macs running macOS Mojave.

Apple is currently working on a fix for this security issue.   FaceTime has been temporarily taken down as noted on the Apple System Status page.

Apple AirPlay allows wireless communication between compatible devices

Apple AirPlay is a wireless protocol that allows MacOS computers, iPhones, iPads, and Apple TVs to wirelessly send content to compatible TVs and speakers.  Each device must meet Apple’s system requirements in order to use AirPlay.

Apple AirPlay is currently at version 2.0 and uses Apple HomeKit technology.  This wireless protocol functionality was originally developed under the names Apple AirTunes or Apple AirPort.

Smart devices and media centers that are not Apple products can communicate using Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) or Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) standards.

iPhone 5 added to Apple vintage and obsolete products list

Apple recently added the iPhone 5 smartphone to its vintage and obsolete products list. The iPhone 5 is considered vintage by Apple because it was discontinued between five years and seven years before today. Products discontinued more than seven years ago are considered obsolete by Apple.

Apple has discontinued hardware service for its vintage products with some exceptions, and all obsolete products with no exceptions.

Apple announces release of new Mac and iPad products at October 2018 event

Apple announced the release of several new products on October 30th 2018, including new iPad Pro and MacBook Air models with Retina display, and a new Mac Mini.  These devices use a more secure Apple T2 chip, use Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C ports, and are made of environmentally-friendly recycled aluminum.  They will be publicly available for retail sale on November 7th.

Apple has a comparison of all iPad models on its website.

A new Apple Pencil will also be available at the same date.  This pencil will magnetically snap to the iPad for storage and wireless charging.

iOS 12.1 will be available on October 30th and includes Group FaceTime for up to 32 users, camera depth control, dual SIM card support, and new emojis.

Apple releases iOS 12.0.1 update to fix iPhone and iPad issues

Apple released iOS version 12.0.1 on October 8th 2018 to fix some recent issues on iPhones and iPads, which includes iPhone X battery charging problems, as well as security updates.

A full list of Apple device security updates is available at  Instructions on how to install updates on Apple iOS devices are available at

Airtable is a cloud based hybrid of spreadsheets and databases

Airtable is a cloud database that allows users to design databases in a spreadsheet-like format.  It allows collaboration with multiple users and can be accessed from MacOS, Windows, iOS, and Android devicesMultiple templates are available to download including calendars, project management, etc.

Airtable can be accessed for free for databases smaller than 1200 records.   Paid versions with additional features are also available.

Microsoft Office 2019 now available for Windows and Mac

The desktop version of Microsoft Office 2019 is now available for Windows and Mac. This non-cloud based product has different options from the cloud subscription versions of Microsoft Office 365 and generally has fewer features than Office 365.

A list of frequently asked questions about Office 2019 may be found here.

Apple announces release of new iPhone series and other products

On September 12th 2018, Apple announced the upcoming release of iPhone XS and iPhone XR series smartphones with Super Retina display, as well as the new Apple Watch Series 4.  iPhone XS and Apple Watch series 4 will be available on September 21 and iPhone XR will be in stores on October 26th.

The Apple Watch Series 4 Health app can monitor your heart rate, and also includes Fall Detection and Emergency SOS capability.   An ECG app that has output similar to a single-lead electrocardiogram will be available at a later date.  Update: the ECG app and irregular heart rhythm notification is available as of December 6th 2018.

New watchOS 5 features include walkie-talkie functionality and listening to podcasts.

iOS 12 for iPhone and iPad will be available for download by September 17th.  The iOS 12 new features list includes a Measure app that can automatically detect dimensions of rectangular objects.   Apple Books is the replacement for iBooks and allows you to read downloaded books and listen to audiobooks.

Devices that support iOS 11 generally can be updated to iOS 12.  An iOS device should be backed up before installing this update.  iOS can then be installed by selecting Settings > General > Software Update.

macOS Mojave will be available on September 24th for newer MacBook, iMac, and Mac Pro computers.

Apple plans to release three new iPhones in September 2018

According to, Apple plans to release three new iPhone models at some time in September 2018 with various price points.  A new Apple watch may also be released at some time in 2018 as well as new versions of iPad Pros.

A possible feature for one or more of the new iPhones is Dual SIM card slots, which can be set up for international and domestic calls, as well as receiving calls for separate business and personal phone numbers on one phone device.