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Watch Modern Family’s Apple episode on your own iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, or Mac

Modern Apple Family

In case you weren’t in front of your TV set last night when ABC aired its Apple-centric episode of Modern Family, the “Connection Lost” episode that plays out entirely on a MacBook screen using FaceTime, iMessage, and other Apple products is now available to stream on your own Apple devices…

iPhone & iPad

For cable subscribers, the Watch ABC app for iPhone and iPad has the latest Modern Family episode, but you will have to verify your paid subscription through your service provider getting access. AT&T, Comcast, Dish, DirecTV, and a long list of other major and regional providers are supported.

If you’re a cord cutter and don’t have a cable subscription, you still may be in luck. Hulu Plus subscribers can instantly watch the Apple Modern Family episode on iOS devices as well. You just need an active subscription or free trial. The app is free to download from the App Store.

Apple TV

If you want to watch the episode on TV as it originally aired, the same options apply to Apple TV. The Watch ABC channel has the episode, but you’ll need to verify your service subscription. The Hulu channel also has the episode for Hulu Plus subscribers. Service is $7.99/month or you can start out with a free week trial with a fresh email account.


If you want to watch Modern Family’s Apple-centric episode on your Mac just like it plays out on the show, both ABC (full episode) and Hulu (full episode) have next-day streams available online. The same rules apply: you need to have a cable subscription login for Watch ABC or a Plus subscription for Hulu (although the episode will be available to non-subscribers in one week so mark your calendar).


Finally, if you just want to purchase the episode to watch it on any of your Apple devices and avoid the login requirements of Watch ABC and Hulu Plus, iTunes has “Connection Lost” in HD for $2.99 or standard definition for $1.99 (behind-the-scenes available on iTunes for free).

For readers outside of the United States, restrictions are much tighter (sorry!), but maybe the episode will surface on YouTube or elsewhere eventually. In the meantime, check out how the behind-the-scenes look at how the show was put together using Apple technology.

Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: ABC, Apple TV, FaceTime, full episode, Hulu, Hulu Plus, iMessage, iPad, iPhone, Mac, MacBook, Modern Family, TV, Watch ABC

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Opinion: Does the Apple Watch Edition signal future luxury-model iPhones, iPads and Macs?


Back in April of last year, when a luxury model of the Apple Watch was still a vague rumor, I wrote an opinion piece in which I expressed the view that Apple could indeed pull this off. I went further, and suggested that it could even create an entire range of luxury versions of its existing products, from iPhones to Macs.

Ten months on, with the Apple Watch Edition now real, and the general expectation that it’s going to cost several thousand dollars at least, I thought it was time to revisit that idea. Is a luxury model of the Apple Watch a one-off, or does Apple see this as the first step toward Edition models of its complete product range … ? 

I should state very clearly at the outset that I’m not sure that gold is the right route for a luxury iPhone, and I’m certain it’s not for an iPad or Mac. While gold can look tasteful on small things like watches, it very quickly starts to look tacky if you scale it up. There are gold-plated iPhones out there, and to my mind they look a little too reminiscent of a gold ingot to pass the taste test.


It’s the reason I think Apple was very careful to choose a rather muted shade of gold for its existing range of iPhones. Scale real gold up to an iPad or MacBook, and … no. Just no. (I’m not even personally convinced about the iPhone-style gold color on a Mac.)


And Apple obviously isn’t going to do anything as unbelievably crass as embedding diamonds into its products. But I could see brushed platinum as possibility.


A brushed platinum line of iPhones, iPads and MacBooks could look tasteful, understated and yet be sufficiently visibly different to the standard models to satisfy the needs of those who care to display their wealth.

I’ve long thought it slightly odd that Apple has never done this. There’s a luxury market out there, and you can be pretty confident that when it comes to technology, most of it buys Apple kit. By failing to offer a luxury range, Apple is leaving money on the table.

Sure, you can spec up your iDevices, and Apple will charge you a handsome premium for the privilege–especially on MacBooks. But the luxury market isn’t, in the main, about specs: it’s about style and materials. Apple has the style already, and of course opted for glass and metal over plastic, but prior to the Apple Watch there were no luxury materials on offer.


I could see a couple of arguments against a luxury range. First, while Apple has unashamedly targeted a premium market, it has stopped short of being seen as elitist. Especially since the banking crisis, being associated with the 1% isn’t great PR for a company. But so long as you can still buy the standard models, I don’t think anyone is going to be bothered by the fact that there’s a much more expensive casing available.

The second opposing argument is that, unlike jewellery and traditional watches, which you might keep for a lifetime and even pass on to future generations, your iDevice is going to be outdated a year or two down the line. This is the reason some have speculated that the Apple Watch Edition might be upgradeable, allowing you to swap out the innards when next year’s tech comes along.

That’s possible. But I suspect not, for the simple reason that I don’t think Apple needs to do it. As John Gruber put it, the Apple Watch Edition is targeted at “people who don’t care” that their $X,000 purchase will need to be replaced a year or two down the line. I agree, so don’t think that argument applies either.

So: there’s no reason Apple couldn’t go down the luxury model route; the Apple Watch Edition demonstrates a willingness to do so; and there’s money there for the taking if it does the same thing with iPhones, iPads and Macs. I’m seeing Edition models of the complete range of Apple products as a real possibility.

What about you? Take our poll, and–as ever–let us know your views in the comments.

Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: AAPL, Apple Inc, Apple watch, Apple Watch Edition, iPad, iPhone, luxury, Mac, Mac Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro

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‘Modern Family’ producers reveal how they filmed an entire episode with iPhones and MacBooks

Last week it was announced that an upcoming episode of the ABC sitcom Modern Family had been filmed using only iOS devices, and the entire story would play out on the screen of a MacBook. Today the producers of the show provided BuzzFeed with a look at how the episode was shot.

In order to make it look like the actors were actually holding the devices—without actually handing them iPhones, which they would then misplace—the crew decided to have a cameraman manage the phone, while cast members kept one hand on the cameraman’s at all times to create the illusion that the phone was actually in their own hands.

Executive producer Steve Levitan also revealed in the segment that the show has previously worked iPhone footage into its episodes, usually in the absence of an actual TV camera. It seem the best camera really is the one you have with you.

Modern Family’s all-Apple episode will air Wednesday night.

Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: iPad, iPhone, MacBook, Modern Family

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Upcoming Modern Family episode shot w/ iPhone & iPad, plays out entirely on MacBook screen


An upcoming episode of the popular ABC show Modern Family will take place entirely on a MacBook as the characters use FaceTime and other services to communicate, as noted by Recode:

The episode revolves around Claire Dunphy, a working mother of three played by Julie Bowen, who is stuck in an airport and desperate to reach her daughter, Haley, to reconcile after a fight. The story plays out on her Macbook, as she employs all the forms of modern communication at her disposal, from email to FaceTime to Facebook, in an attempt to locate her eldest child, played by Sarah Hyland.

Not only will the upcoming episode take place on a MacBook screen, the report adds that it “was shot entirely with Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPad Air 2 tablets.”

Recode has more with quotes from the show’s co-creator Steven Levitan on the inspiration behind the episode.

Filed under: AAPL Company, iOS Devices, Mac Tagged: ABC, iPad Air 2, iPhone 6, MacBook, Modern Family

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How-To: Update your old MacBook, Mac mini, or Mac Pro hard drive with a fast SSD


My Mac is now silent. After installing a solid state drive (SSD) with no moving parts, the drone of my iMac’s hard drive and fans has given way to such an absence of sound that I only hear the high-pitched squeal of my office lights.

My Mac is now fast. Even with 400GB of available space, OS X Yosemite’s constant hard drive accessing had brought my quad-core, 3.4GHz Core i7 machine to its knees. Now I’m seeing five times the hard drive speeds, apps are loading instantly, and my iMac feels as responsive as the MacBooks and iPads that beat it to the SSD game.

Last week, buoyed by (finally!) reasonable SSD prices and a desire to try a DIY project, I walked through the steps to replace a prior-generation iMac’s hard drive with an SSD. Similarly excited readers have pointed out that older MacBooks and certain other Macs are also easy to upgrade… but at least one Mac (surprise: the Mac mini) is not. So below, I’ll show you some great SSD options that you can install yourself, ask a tech-savvy friend/repair shop to handle for you, or choose as external solutions.


The Big Picture

It’s hard to believe, but back in 2008, Apple offered a 64GB solid state drive upgrade to the original MacBook Air for a whopping $1,300 premium over the laptop’s normal price. At that time, a consumer 1TB drive cost around $4,000, and Apple wasn’t even attempting to sell one.

A lot has changed even over the past year. SSDs are faster, more reliable, and a lot more affordable. Today, excellent quality SSDs start at $60 (120GB), climbing to $120 (250GB), $231 (500GB) and $420 (1TB) — still not as cheap as traditional drives, but better. The Samsung 850 EVO I installed in my iMac is 5 times faster than the 1TB hard disk it replaced and has no moving parts, so it’s tiny, silent and cooler-running. It also has a five-year warranty and a longer expected lifespan than most hard drives; if you’re willing to pay more, the 850 PRO version has a ten-year warranty that eclipses all but the most expensive enterprise-class desktop hard disks.

Internal or External?

Although performance will vary based on the specific Mac you’re upgrading with an SSD, Macs released over the past five years will likely see bigger gains if you replace their internal hard drives rather than adding SSDs as external drives. A new SSD inside an older iMac, MacBook, Mac mini, or Mac Pro will lead to much faster OS X performance, app loading, restarting, and file accessing. But if you buy an external SSD and connect it using something faster than USB 2 or FireWire 800 — say, a spare Thunderbolt or USB 3 port — you’ll see definite speed improvements for whatever files and apps you place on the SSD.

My personal advice would be to consider an internal solution, if possible following a DIY hard drive replacement guide like the ones linked below. If you’re concerned about damaging your Mac during the replacement process, you can opt to have a tech-savvy friend or local Apple repair store handle the SSD replacement for you. And if you prefer an external drive — and don’t mind cutting the performance benefits down somewhat — there are some good, though more expensive options below.

MacBook/MacBook Pro: Internal + External SSD Options


courtesy iFixit


Aluminum-bodied MacBooks and MacBook Pros made in 2012 or earlier can be upgraded with 2.5″ internal SSDs, including the Samsung 850 EVO I carefully selected for my iMac. As shown in these iFixit guides (MacBook Pro 13″ 2009 / 2010 / 2011 / 2012, and MacBook Pro 15″), the process requires little more than one Torx T6 screwdriver, one Philips #00 screwdriver, and a flat-head screwdriver (or spudger) to accomplish. It’s even easier for the short-lived 2008 metal MacBook, which has a pop-off bottom panel for easier hard drive replacement.


Replacing the hard drive of the unibody MacBook Pro requires only a handful of steps: backing up your old drive (preferably using Time Machine), removing the bottom cover of your MacBook using Torx screwdrivers, removing the hard drive, replacing it with the SSD, then reattaching the bottom cover. For a variety of reasons, it’s even easier than the iMac hard drive swap I discussed in my prior article, and all you need is the screwdriver, the SSD, and the confidence to do it yourself.


If you’re going to do an internal hard drive swap, there’s pretty widespread agreement that the Samsung 850 EVO ($60-$420) I previously recommended offers a superb combination of speed, reliability, and quality for the price. It has a 4.7/5-star rating on Amazon, versus the 850 Pro, which sells for more ($98-$555) and has a 4.8/5-star rating. By contrast, the most popular portable external SSDs right now are Samsung’s new USB 3.0-based T1 (250GB/$174, 500GB/$300, 1TB/$569, shown above), with 4.5/5-star ratings. If you’re willing to spend quite a bit more and have a free Thunderbolt port, Elgato’s Thunderbolt Drive+ (256GB/$425, 512GB/$780) has Thunderbolt and USB 3.0/2.0 interfaces.

Mac mini: Internal + External SSD Options


courtesy iFixit


Internal SSD replacement for the 2010 to 2014 “unibody” Mac mini requires considerably more effort and skill than doing so for the MacBooks and iMacs. You’ll need to disassemble the Mac mini’s chassis, fan, and antenna plate before disconnecting the logic board and hard drive — with steps that become even more challenging on the most recent 2014 models. My suggestion would be to leave an internal drive upgrade of this model up to a professional.

The same sort of 2.5″ internal drives can be used in the Mac mini as on the other Macs. While the 2010 Mac mini limits you to FireWire 800 or USB 2.0 — probably not worth the effort of adding an external SSD — the 2011 model has a Thunderbolt port, and the 2012 version has USB 3.0 ports, making external SSDs easier to add. Go with the Elgato Thunderbolt Drive+ (256GB/$425, 512GB/$780) if you can’t use USB 3.0, and Samsung’s T1 (250GB/$174, 500GB/$300, 1TB/$569) if USB 3.0 is an option.

Mac Pro: Internal + External SSD Options


Current-generation Mac Pros ship with large, fast SSDs, making replacements highly unlikely for the time being, but first-generation Mac Pros can definitely benefit from the speed increase. As iFixit’s guide notes, the process of installing a new drive is as simple as flipping a rear latch, pulling the Mac’s side panel and hard drive bay out, then using a Philips head screw driver to attach a hard drive sled to your new drive.

But with an SSD, there’s another step: you’ll need a 2.5″ to 3.5″ hard drive adapter bracket such as NewerTech’s AdaptaDrive ($15) to mount the tiny SSD inside a large hard drive bay. The company also sells the OWC Mount Pro (now only $18), which lets you mount the SSD on a custom-fit replacement for the Mac Pro’s hard drive bay. This is an easier solution, and the one I’d pick if installing an SSD in the Mac Pro.


The Mac Pro’s physical size and multi-drive-ready internal architecture make it an ideal candidate for an internal SSD. If you’re considering an external drive, you might want to think again. The built-in, outdated USB 2.0 and FireWire 800 ports aren’t going to cut it, and users have reported very mixed experiences adding USB 3.0 cards — somewhat better results with more expensive ones such as Caldigit’s FASTA-6GU3 Pro — to this computer. My advice would be to stick with an internal solution.

iMac: Internal + External SSD Options



I’ve discussed the iMac in much greater detail in my prior article, but the internal and external SSD recommendations are basically the same as for the MacBook Pro: the Samsung 850 EVO ($60-$420), Samsung 850 Pro ($98-$555), Elgato’s Thunderbolt Drive+ (256GB/$425, 512GB/$780), or Samsung T1 (250GB/$174, 500GB/$300, 1TB/$569).

Whichever option you choose for your Mac will yield significant dividends – with an internal drive, 3X to 5X speed improvements are typical with SSDs of the caliber recommended above. There’s no better (or more cost-effective) way to speed up an old Mac today.

Filed under: How-To, Mac Tagged: iMac, Mac Mini, Mac Pro, MacBook, MacBook Pro, SSD

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Review: ClamCase Pro case for iPad Air 2 – a premium keyboard case with a premium price


At first glance, you could be forgiven for thinking you’re looking at some kind of ultra-small MacBook Air on the right, next to my MBA 11. It’s actually my iPad Air 2 in the ClamCase Pro keyboard case that combines all-round protection with a near-laptop-quality keyboard.

I’m testing here the case for the iPad Air 2, but there are other models for the iPad 2/3/4, previous iPad Air and iPad mini … 

Look & feel

Aesthetically, the ClamCase Pro is a slightly odd mix. The keyboard itself is clearly closely modelled on a MacBook keyboard, chiclet keyboard with black keys set into an anodised aluminum base. The recessed ‘tray’ in which the keys sit is made from white plastic, in place of the all-aluminum MacBook casing, but is otherwise almost a clone.


The wedge shape of the keyboard also closely mimics the look of a MacBook Air, especially with the laptop-style rear hinge.


The outside of the case, however, is white plastic. Top:


And bottom:


ClamCase doesn’t have too much choice about the material: the way the iPad Air 2 snaps into the top shell means that it has to be flexible, ruling out aluminum–even if the cost didn’t. And making it silver, as a kind of fake aluminum would, I think, look cheap against the real thing. But it does give the case a slightly schizophrenic look: MacBook quality from the front and side, and a cheaper look from behind and when closed.

Personally, I’d prefer black to white, but that will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me.



The ClamCase Pro is impressively thin, at just 0.74-inches deep. This makes it about three times the thickness of the naked iPad, which is extremely impressive for a keyboard case.

The aluminum base does mean it weighs 1.2lbs, more than doubling the weight of the iPad alone, but for me this is a price worth paying for the quality.


Inserting & removing the iPad

The first time you insert and remove the iPad, it does feel a little scary, bending back the stiff plastic of the top shell with what feels like a fair degree of force. But once you are confident it isn’t brittle enough to crack, you’ll find yourself snapping the iPad in and out of the case in a second or two.

Bluetooth pairing is simple, and reconnecting was flawless in my experience. The case switches off automatically when closed, but was always instantly ready for use every time.


In use

I’m British, and therefore not normally prone to hyperbole, but I love, love, love using this keyboard case. Unlike some keyboard cases, where the iPad sits some way toward you, the clamshell design places the screen right at the back, exactly like a laptop.

The quality of the hinge is excellent. In laptop mode, the case is held very securely at an angle I find equally comfortable on my lap and on my desk, and feels rock-solid.

The keyboard quality isn’t quite up to the standard of a MacBook, but it’s close–very close. It’s easily the best keyboard case I’ve ever used when it comes to the typing experience. My one complaint is that it isn’t backlit. It’s not something I need often, but from time to time backlighting would be very handy.

As usual with iPad keyboards, there are dedicated keys at the top for things like copying and pasting, as well as volume and music/video controls.

The hinge mechanism has a clever three-position design which allows you to use it as a laptop, as a stand and folded right flat against the back of the iPad to give you a rather thick tablet. Personally, the ease with which you can snap the iPad in and out means that if I want to use the iPad without the keyboard, I’ll just remove it and put the case back in my bag, but some may find this useful.


In stand mode, it has a soft-stop rather than a click-stop, so is slightly springy when touching the iPad. This doesn’t bother me as I only use stand mode when passively viewing video, but might be slightly annoying in active use.

Price & conclusions

Usually, I’d just use a ‘Conclusions’ heading here and mention the price at the end. But in this case, the price is sufficiently … noteworthy … to get at least half a heading to itself.

Sitting down? Okay. The recommended retail price for the case is $169. Yep, that’s a third the price of the cheapest iPad Air 2 model, and adds 20% to the price of even the most expensive 128GB cellular model. It’s a pretty frightening price for a keyboard case.

Worse, while you can usually find better deals on Amazon for most gadgets, I wasn’t able to do so for this–other than used models. If you want this case, you’re going to have to take a deep breath and tell your credit card to brace itself.

Is it worth it? For me, it depends how you use your iPad. My iPad goes almost everywhere with me, and I do a lot of typing on it. I use it for emails, even lengthy ones sometimes. I use it to write articles. I even use it to work on a novel. So for me, a high-quality keyboard is a necessity rather than a luxury.

In a week of heavy usage, I’ve found the ClamCase Pro so good that I’ve stuck to my iPad even in situations where I would otherwise have switched to my MacBook Air. For me, the keyboard is that good–and justifies the price. Your mileage may vary. All I can say is that, after trying this, I don’t ever expect to use anything else.

The ClamCase Pro range of keyboard cases for iPad 2/3/4, iPad Air and iPad Air 2 cost $169. For the iPad mini, they cost $129.

Filed under: iOS Devices, Reviews Tagged: Apple Inc, Clamcase, ClamCase Pro, ClamCase Pro keyboard case, iPad, iPad Air 2, iPad Air 2 cases, iPad Air 2 keyboard cases, iPad Air 2 keyboards, MacBook, MacBook Air

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MacBook Air survives 1000-foot, 125mph fall from plane

Left, a Sport Cruiser aircraft of the same type; right, the MacBook Air after the fall

A South African pilot appears to have taken the name of his MacBook Air a little too literally, managing to drop it from the light aircraft he was flying when the canopy flew open. The MacBook, along with his flying license and logbook, fell 1000 feet into the fields below–but amazingly survived the experience.

Admittedly it didn’t emerge entirely unscathed. Pilot and Reddit user Av80r reports that the unibody casing was bent, the glass trackpad shattered and the cooling fans were damaged, but the screen remained intact and the MacBook continues to work … 

The MacBook was found by a farmer, along with with the pilot’s paperwork, which enabled the farmer to make contact via Facebook in order to arrange to return the items. Check out the other photos below.

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Filed under: Mac Tagged: Laptop, MacBook, MacBook Air, plane, Touchpad

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