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ExtraBITS for 14 July 2014

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Apple has launched a blog for its new Swift programming language, a sign of a more open Apple. Bad news for Mac fans: Intel’s new desktop processors have been delayed until 2015, and it turns out that the new entry-level iMac isn’t worth the money. Worse news for Apple TV fans, as Apple’s set-top box lags behind the Roku and Chromecast in U.S. sales. Steve Wozniak looks back on Steve Jobs, and Apple has released an all-new version of iTunes U.

Swift: The Blog -- In yet another sign of a more open Apple, the company has debuted a new blog dedicated to its new Swift programming language (for more on Swift, see “Swift: Who Is Apple’s New Programming Language For?,” 12 June 2014). Promising to provide a “behind-the-scenes look into the design of the Swift language” from Swift engineers, the blog currently has only one entry, but it’s a good one: an announcement that the Xcode 6 beta is now available for free download (formerly, downloads of Xcode betas required a paid Apple developer account). As the blog has no reader comment capability, we don’t foresee the blog becoming a forum in which developers can offer their own suggestions for improvements and enhancements to the language, so it will be interesting to see just what Apple does with the blog in the coming weeks and months.

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Intel’s New Mac Processors Delayed Until 2015 -- Bad news for those hoping for new Macs this year: Intel has announced that its next-generation Broadwell processors, originally promised for the 2014 holiday season, have been delayed until early to mid 2015. Intel is starting production of its low-power Core M Broadwell chips this summer, but the main line of processors won’t see the light of day for several months. Apple may still unveil new Macs this year, including a long-awaited Mac mini refresh, but they will feature last-generation Haswell chips (unless Apple decides to switch the Mac over to the ARM-based processors used in their mobile devices).

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Apple TV Falling Behind Chromecast and Roku in the U.S. -- According to a new report by Parks Associates, Google sold 3.8 million Chromecast devices in the United States in 2013, Roku sold about the same number of its streaming boxes, and Apple sold only about 2 million Apple TVs. However, globally, over 20 million Apple TVs have been sold in total, while Roku has sold only 8 million.

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Steve Wozniak Reminisces about Steve Jobs -- Steve Wozniak sat down for an interview with the Milwaukee Business Journal’s Allison Bauter, where he discusses the evolution of fellow co-founder Steve Jobs’s personality over the years, including where Jobs got many of his business ideas from and his early failures while trying to lead Apple. Wozniak relayed an interesting tidbit about the original Macintosh team: “Almost all of them said they would never, ever work for Steve Jobs again. It was that bad.” But one misconception Wozniak wants to debunk is that there was bad blood between himself and Jobs. “We never had a fight or an argument — we were always friends,” he said.

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Apple Rolls out iTunes U 2.0 -- Apple has updated iTunes U to version 2.0, with a bunch of new features for students and teachers. Students in private courses can now pose questions on the course, any post, or an assignment; and students in the same class can join the discussion to ask questions or provide answers. Teachers now have the option of creating or updating courses from their iPads and can use the iWork apps to create course materials. Students and teachers both can now receive push notifications for discussions.

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Ars Technica Confirms that the $1,099 iMac Is Not a Great Deal -- Ars Technica has benchmarked the “new” $1,099 iMac and confirmed what we initially suspected: that the money you save isn’t worth the drop in performance (see “Apple Introduces Entry-Level iMac for $1,099,” 18 June 2014). In fact, for the 18 percent you save over the $1,299 iMac, you lose 50 percent of the performance, and have a machine that’s roughly equivalent in performance to a MacBook Air. However, Ars echoes what many of you told us: it’s an ideal machine for institutions that don’t need speed, but could save a fortune buying in bulk.

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