This is a 2-part article series.  This second part covers what has been announced for iOS 6.

At their World Wide Developer Conference today, Apple announced iOS 6 with 200 new features. A beta version is available today for registered developers and will available to consumers in the fall. Below  I’ll do a brief rundown of the new features.

The Maps app has been updated with a new icon. It seems the leak we saw last week was correct. As far as we know the app itself is completely new. It seems as if Apple has built something totally new, and Apple dropped Google as the Maps provider, using a proprietary service using the maps technology and talent they acquired previous to WWDC.  They are also utilizing Tom Tom and Waze for turn-by-turn directions.

The new Maps interface has the silver theme. Features includes spoken turn by turn directions, crowd sourced information about traffic, construction, and accidents.  It likely will not include information about red-light cameras and police traps.  One of the biggest features in the new Maps is called Flyover. Flyover is a very impressive 3D maps view. When the iPhone first received satellite maps it was very

Apple’s preview of Maps’ Flyover and Turn by turn directions.

impressive; this is the next generation of that. Flyover looks phenomenal (at least in screenshots we’ve seen) and includes the polish which has become almost a feature in Apple products in itself.  You will also be able to zoom in very close on businesses and streets, and the maps app will show restaurant reviews from Yelp on any zoomed-in restaurant.

One sad note, not every iOS 6 device will be getting all of these great features.  Specifically, turn by turn directions and Flyover will only be available on the iPhone 4S and on the iPad 2 and later.  This means that the original iPad, all the iPod Touches, and all iPhone earlier than the 4S will not get these features.  Turn-by-turn directions seems like a feature that should be added to the iPhone 4 at least, if not all of iOS 6.  Why they aren’t spreading this farther is unclear.

Apple demoed a few new Siri features in iOS 6, but those added features were some of the most heavily demanded from users.  Siri can now give you a variety of sports stats covering basketball, soccer, football, baseball, and more.  You can get the latest scores and stats of teams, individual players, and even odd bits of sports trivia.

Siri in iOS 6 allows you to check out reviews and reserve tables at local restaurants using Yelp and the Open Table app respectively.  This means as soon as you find that fancy restaurant for a date, you can immediately check for any open spots and reserve your place.  You will also be able to look up movie reviews through Siri using Rotten Tomatoes reviews.  You will be able to search movies by your favorite directors, stars, genres, and look at when these movies debuted or will debut.  It doesn’t look like you will be able to

Siri pulling up sports scores and statistics.

pre-order movie tickets through a service like Fandango however.

Siri will also be expanding the languages it understands to include Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Swiss-French, Swiss-German, and more.  This is great because you will now be able to update your Facebook status and tweet directly from Siri.  A feature long wished for has finally been added. But the biggest addition to Siri is the ability to launch apps.  Just tell Siri to launch Angry Birds, and you’ll be playing Angry Birds in no time.  This is great for those with a lot of apps scattered about on their device.

Apple also is bringing about a feature called “Eyes Free”.  It is a feature that will be integrated with cars to allow you to control your iPhone through Siri.  The screen will be shut off while connected to the car, and Siri will announce whatever news is coming your way, text messages, who is calling, and directions to your next location.  I think that this is a great safety feature and I’m glad to see Apple adding this.  Currently, BMW, Toyota, Honda, General Motors, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, and Chrysler are on board with this according to Apple.

Oh, and Siri will be able to run on the iPhone 4S and the new iPad (third generation).


Apple has really embraced some of the ways people are using the iPad.  This has been especially true for those with some form of disabilities and how they use the iPad.  Guided Access is a new app from Apple that allows users to control access to certain areas of an app.  A controller user, such as a teacher, can turn on Guided Access and prevent access to the Home Button and limit touch and motion controls on the iPad.  They will also be able to circle areas of an app on-screen.  Whatever is circled will not be accessible to other users of the iPad.  This means that a teacher could prevent a child from accessing settings or accidentally exiting the app.  Apple talked a lot about autistic children when showing off this feature, and this really does target them and allow parents and care workers to help these people.


Apple is updating its communication apps with several nice new features.  iOS’s Mail app has finally added a flagging feature, allowing you to flag important messages.  I use this feature a lot on the desktop to help me keep up with important emails that need responses or that remind me of things I need to take care of us.  You can now setup a VIP Mailbox in iOS Mail, allowing you to only focus on emails from certain groups, companies, and people.  This makes it easier to sort through email and get work done without having to constantly flag emails from certain people.

Apple has updated how you decline a phone call.  When you decline a call now, you get the added option of set your iPhone to remind you about the call at a later time or to send a quick text or iMessage to the caller.  These messages can be manually typed out or you can use a premade message. And while we’re talking about calling, Facetime can now be used over WiFi and 3G connections, a feature that has been on Android phone and other video chatting services for a long time.

Apple also has included a “Do Not Disturb” feature.  You can set your iDevice to not notify you of any emails, Twitter updates, or any other notifications during a set time period.  This was demoed as a feature for getting through the night with a good rest.  Apple also said, however, that you will be able to set certain contacts that will be able get through this barrier, meaning you won’t ever miss a phone call or message from your child, boss, loved one, etc.

There’s one more note though about all of this.  Facetime and iMessage all work through your Apple ID, which has caused problems if a person didn’t have your Apple ID,and instead only had your iPhone’s number.  Problems included messages and calls not syncing across devices, or certain messages showing up only on your iPhone.  Now, Apple is integrating your iPhone’s number with your Apple ID, meaning your Facetime calls and iMessages will always be synced across iPhone, Macs, and other iDevices.


Apple has worked to make Safari even better.  Your open tabs from Safari on iOS to another of your iOS devices and/or Macs with a feature called Cloud Tabs.  You can select these from a new iCloud icon in the Safari menu.    Apple drastically improved their Reading List feature; instead of just saving the links to

Picture of the new Safari

your web articles, now it saves the website for offline reading.  And Safari can go into a special full screen mode when your iPhone or iPod Touch is held horizontally, letting you save precious screen real estate.


Last year, Apple integrated Twitter with iOS, allowing you to tweet almost anything from anywhere.  This year, Facebook integration is coming to iOS 6.  You can update your status, share links, and show off your photos without launching the Facebook app.  Likewise, your Facebook events and friends’ birthdays can be integrated with your Calendar, and your contacts personal information can also be added directly.  If this integration is like Twitter, you will have to have the Facebook app already installed on your iOS device.

Photo Stream is adding the ability to share Photo Streams with others.  Just select the photos from your Photos app and anyone running iOS 6 or Mountain Lion will have that picture in their Photo Stream or iPhoto app.  I see potentially a lot of great family albums and a few embarrassing moments being shared.  And Apple has said that if you want to share these with people who aren’t using Apple devices, they will be able to see them on the web.


Passbook was an interesting feature announced by Apple.  Since Google Wallet was announced, people had been speculating about whether or not Apple would release a similar product, dubbed iWallet.  While Apple didn’t announce anything with that, they did show off Passbook.  Basically, you can store your coupons, loyalty cards, passports, movie tickets, and more in the app.  Then you can use it to scan these items in a checkout line, in an airport, etc.  But the app does more than storage; it also updates when your flight terminal changes, your coupons expire, and help you locate your seat in a theatre, as well as checking the balance on your money cards.  And using your iDevice’s location systems, the app will show the appropriate tickets or cards on the lock screen based off the time and your location.  I must admit that I wasn’t impressed at first glance, but I can see this as being a very useful app, especially for travelers.  That being said, there seems to be no indication that you can add your credit or debit cards to Passbook.


Apple has also included a few minor improvements as well.  Apple has already talking about integrating more Chinese services into iOS for its Chinese consumers.  Chinese users have an increased library of character, Baidu support for web searching in Safari, and other social networking features.

A look at Apple’s new design for their online store apps.

Improvements to the iBookStore, iTunes Store, and the iOS App Store also have received some revamping.   Each of these stores now remember your preview history of songs, books, and other media, allowing you to quickly re-find them for purchase later.  You can start shopping on one iOS device and continue the purchase on another.  Lastly, the stores had a little visual refresh to show the hottest content in a Cover Flow-like system.

iOS 6 seems to be giving users a lot of features they’ve been asking for, though some of it seems like Apple is playing catch-up to other apps and operating systems.  We’d like to hear what you are most excited about.  Please leave a comment below or hit us up on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.  Thanks!

WWDC: For the Mac

This is a 2-part article series.  This first part covers what has been announced for OS X and the Mac product lines.


The new MacBook Airs have received a few notable upgrades.  First, the Airs are all getting i5 Intel Ivy Bridge Chips, as well as the Turbo Boost feature.  Each now come with 4 gigs of RAM upgradable to 8 gigs.

Apple’s Macbook Airs. No noteable design changes.

However, they can be upgraded to 512 Gigs of Solid State Memory on all but the lowest end 11-inch model.  You can also upgrade all but the lowest end 11 inch model to an i7 Intel Ivy Bridge Chip, starting at 2.0 Ghz.

All the Airs are also getting 2 USB 3.0 ports.  Apple has finally seen fit to upgrade to USB 3.0, and each Air will have a 3.0 port on each side of the Mac.  They still have the same Thunderbolt port, headphone jack, and power port.  Lastly, they will have a 720p front facing Facetime camera. You can begin buying them today and will get Mountain Lion for free.


The MacBook Pros also see a minor spec update as well as a removal.  The 17 inch MacBook Pro has been silently discontinued, though you can still buy refurbished models from the Apple Store. The low-end 13-inch MBP will have a non-upgradeable 2.5 Ghz i5 Intel Ivy Bridge processor.  All the other MBP will be getting i7 Ivy Bridge processors. All the chips will have Turbo Boost.

The 13 inch MBP’s will also be getting the graphics upgraded to use Intel HD Graphics 4000 instead of the former 3000. The 15 inch model will be using NVidia GeForce GT 650M graphics cards.  The lower end models have 4 gigs of RAM, but can be upgraded to 8 gigs, while the higher end models have 8 gigs installed already. You can upgrade all but the low-end 13-inch models to a Sold State hard drive and up to 512 gigs.

All the MBP’s will be getting USB 3.0 and 720p Facetime cameras, just like the Airs.  They also still have their CD/DVD drives.  Like the Air, you can begin buying them today and will get Mountain Lion for free.


Apple announced a brand new MacBook Pro, which they call the Next Generation MacBook Pro.  It truly is the direction Apple is taking for the future.

The Next-Gen MBP will only be available in a 15 inch model.  The CD/DVD drive has been removed and the thickness decreased; this means the Next-Gen MBP is 4.5 pounds in weight and 0.7 inches thick.  It’s

The Retina display of the new MacBook Pro

about as thick as the MacBook Air, but still has the squared design rather than the tapered design of the Air.  Like the Air, it uses a Solid-State hard drive.  The low-end model has a non-upgradable 256 gig drive, the upper end model comes 512 gigs of storage, but it can be upgraded to 768 gigs of space, over three-quarters of a terabyte.

Both models also come with the NVidia GeForce 650M graphics cards, and i7 Ivy Bridge chips with Turbo Boost.  Both models also come with 8 gigs of RAM by default, but can be upgraded to 16 gigs of RAM, making this a power horse.  And both sport the 720p Facetime camera, an SD card slot, 2 USB 3.0 ports, 2 Thunderbolt ports and, for the first time, a HDMI port.

Most of the body is taken up by battery, almost half of it because of the biggest news.  The Next-Gen MBP has a 2880 by 1800 Retina Display, which is double the resolution of the standard MBP or Airs.  Between this high-definition display and the new graphics chip, the Next-Gen MBP’s screen look beautiful.  Apple showed off some Diablo 3, as well their updated Pro apps like Final Cut and Aperture.  It is available to order today.


Apple talked a lot about Mountain Lion at WWDC.  Apple showed a little of Notes and Reminders, two iOS apps making their way to OS X.  Reminders and Notes sync with their counterparts on the iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch so that you always have access to your notes and reminders.  Reminders also integrates with iCal.  Apple showed off Messages, allowing you to iMessage anyone in your contacts list from your Mac.  It also means you don’t always don’t have to pull out your phone to answer an iMessage.

Apple is always bringing in a unified notification system, just like they did with iOS 5.  With a quick swipe to the right, you can see all of your active notifications such as Calendar appointments, new email,Notification Center's sidebar Reminders, App Store Updates, and more.  Apps that integrate with Notifications will also pop up in a small box in the upper right hand corner, similar to how the app Growl works.

Another cool feature is called Power Nap.  Power Nap allows you to put your Mac to sleep and still allow it to fetch information.  Your Mac will still be able to sync through iCloud, fetch your mail, and run Find My Mac, among other iCloud features.  Your Mac will also be able to back up with Time Machine and run software updates.  All of this will happen without your mac having to wake up, turn on the fan, and will use minimal battery.  Hopefully other apps will implement this feature soon after release.  It is also unclear whether updating means updates to OS X and/or Mac App Store apps.

Apple also brought over Voice Dictation, using the same style technology as the iPad.  It works in Japanese, English (U.S.,  U.K., and Australian), German, and French.  They also have worked to make sharing information from everywhere a reality.  Share Sheets, as Apple calls it, allows you to share text, pictures, websites and documents with a variety of services.  Apps like Safari, as well as Finder, allows you to Tweet, email, message, and post to Facebook any of these items.

Facebook link sharing from Mountain Lion’s Share Sheet.

This also shows that you can post to Facebook or just update your status directly from OS X, though this doesn’t mean you can check your wall or timeline from OS X.  You will be able to comment on what your friends post and you will get Facebook notifications in Notification Center.

Mountain Lion also brings Game Center and AirPlay to the Mac.  Game Center allows you to play games with anyone on a Mac, iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch that supports Game Center.  You can also track high scores, achievements, and more.  This leads us into AirPlay; Mountain Lion allows you to mirror your Mac’s screen through an Apple TV, meaning you can beam your Mac’s display to a HDTV.  You can browse the web, play games, and stream media all to a bigger screen.  Apple also is allowing you to share a screen in Game Center with your friends through AirPlay.  So if you’re playing a game on your Mac, and your friend wants to play the same game against you on their iPad, you can play split-screen through your Apple TV.

Apple also showed off Safari.  Safari now will have their search bar integrate with the address bar, allowing you to search from the unified bar.  Safari also has updated the way tabs work.  First, you can use a gesture to visually see and sort through all of your tabs.  The style look very similar to the way it works on an iPhone and iPod Touch.  Also, Safari now allows you to sync your open tabs through iCloud to any of your Macs or iDevices.

Apple did not talk much about Gatekeeper in their discussion of Mountain Lion today.  Gatekeeper is their service in Mountain Lion that allows you to limit where you can install apps from on your Mac.  There probably wasn’t anything major enough to update and talk about, as the feature is pretty straight forward.


A lot of the news about iCloud on the Mac focused specifically around the apps Apple was bringing from iOS to the Mac, as well as Safari.  Two items were specifically highlighted though.

First is Photo Stream.  Apple is updating Photo Stream so that you can share and combine Photo Streams with other people and share them.  You can select Photos from your Mac or iDevice and create a shared Photo Stream album.  This could be useful for people wanting to share photos from a family event taken with their own iDevices.  However, this functionality is not yet implemented and likely won’t be until the release of Mountain Lion and iOS 6.

The second was Documents in the Cloud improvements.  When Documents in the Cloud was originally debuted, people thought it would work like Dropbox in the sense that you could edit documents on one Apple device and then it would automatically sync to another.  In reality, it only worked for iOS devices, not for Mac.  Apple has come back and improved this functionality.  Apple showed off Pages on Mountain Lion being able to pull and edit documents from your iCloud document library and edit them, then have them immediately upload back to iCloud when you’re done.  They also said this functionality would be in Keynote and Numbers.  This is exactly what iCloud has need, and hopefully it will work just as functioned when Mountain Lion and iOS 6 are released.


Apple showed off a little of their updated Pro apps, specifically Aperture (their professional photo-editing software) and Final Cut X (their professional video-editing software).  While new features weren’t really announced, Apple did say they were being updated to support the Retina Display of the Next-Gen MacBook Pro.  This elicited a lot of excitement from several professional editors in the crowd.  Any other major updates weren’t talked about while the Keynote was going on.


Apple had a lot to talk about on stage and they were really excited to announce it.  The biggest news from the Mac side of things has to be the Next-Gen MacBook Pro with the Retina Display, though improved iCloud integration, Facebook in OS X, notifications, and Power Nap also really stick out in my mind.  Tell us what you think below about WWDC.  What did you like, what did you dislike, and what do you wish Apple had talked about/shown off?  Let us know below, or hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.  Thanks!

What You Can Expect to See at WWDC 2012

Apple’s WorldWide Developer Conference (WWDC) starts up June 11, and will run through June 15.  While this conference remains as the primary location for iOS and Mac developers to meet, converse, and learn from Apple about what to expect in the next year, Apple also uses WWDC to announce its newest products or software updates.  With the rumor mill churning, I want to take a moment to examine some of these and put my voice in about what we’re likely to see and what seems more like fluff.

OS 10.8 MOUNTAIN LION: Guaranteed

We are guaranteed to see Mountain Lion at WWDC.  Apple is already on Developer Preview 3 for the OS, so we’re sure to see this big cat raise its head.  Apple will likely show off Mountain Lion’s improved iCloud syncing features, as well as talk more about the iOS apps moving into OS X, including Game Center & Reminders.  We’ll also see the rebranding and updating of other classic Mac apps, such as Address Book becoming Contacts and iCal becoming Calendar.

Apple will reveal some of the more notable changes to the OS, such as AirPlay mirroring with an Apple TV & Gatekeeper.  Gatekeeper is the program Apple is shipping with Mountain Lion that allows users to set restrictions on app sources.  Users can set Gatekeeper to only allow apps to install from the Mac App Store, from registered developers and the Mac App Store, or from anywhere.  Some are worried about this being the beginning of Apple locking down Mac like they have iOS, but given the “registered developers” option, we’re not likely to see that soon.

iOS 6: Confirmed

While the third-generation iPad is only 3 months old, and the next iPhone likely won’t come out until September or October, iOS 6 has been one of the hottest topics.  What will Apple do?  Will there be a major redesign?  Apple has already displayed a banner with the iOS 6 logo just today, so we know it is on the table.  Personally, I’m not expecting a major redesign like Android style widgets, but I think iOS 6 could use a little more revamping. One expected feature is Facebook integration; iOS 5 brought in deep integration with Twitter and the rumors seem to be pointing to Facebook getting similar treatment.  As always, we won’t know until Apple tells us on stage what’s coming.

iWORK:  Highly Likely

The latest version of iWork is still iWork ’09, and many are ready for an upgrade.  One of the features touted about iCloud has been Documents in the Cloud, which is supposed to sync the documents, presentations, and spreadsheets between your various Apple devices.  However, it really only works for if your Apple device is running iOS.  The current version of iWork for Mac doesn’t support iCloud very well, so it only makes sense that we could see iWork ’12 at WWDC.  As to what other features iWork ’12 might add besides iCloud capabilities is hard to say, so I would love to hear your input as to what else you would like to see.


Honestly, I’m pretty certain we will see updates to the Mac line, but as to what those may be are the only reason I’m giving this a highly likely.  The updates are expected for the iMac, Macbook Pro, and Macbook Air.  All three have rumors pointing to Retina displays, Intel’s Ivy Bridge chipsets, and better battery life.  On the Macbook Pro, however, rumors have been circulating that Apple will remove the CD/DVD SuperDrive and instead use that space for a larger battery or a dual hard disk setup.  A dual hard disk setup would likely mean having the Mac OS on a Solid-State drive (giving it speed), while your personal data remains on a traditional spinning hard drive (for space).

Apple wouldn’t dare try to go without Ivy Bridge; these chips are both much more powerful and use much less energy than the previous Intel chipsets, so we should see those.  I expect all of these devices to get improved displays and better graphics.  However, a Retina display seems like too much, and this Cult of Mac article does a good job of explaining why.  The short version is that Macs already have amazing quality displays.  A minor bump would make them “technically Retina displays”, but not the double resolution that we see on the third-generation iPad or the iPhone.  I’m not sure that Apple is ready to remove the SuperDrive yet either.  The only Mac that has had a SuperDrive actually removed as of late is the Mac Mini.  The Mac Pros, the iMac, and the Macbook Pros are still used by creative professionals who may need the drive for their work.  I will note that the chances of us seeing the SuperDrive in a Mac are increasing shrinking on anything that’s not a desktop, and eventually a pro line.  If Apple did remove the SuperDrive, they are more likely to increase the battery size rather than a 2-disk setup simply for the ease of the users.  While you can manually install a second drive in place of a SuperDrive on the newest Macbook Pros, it is a hack method, and you can only officially get multiple hard drives in the Mac Pro line.  Having two drives in a laptop like this could potentially cause problems and user frustration.

Simply put, expect improved graphics, Ivy Bridge chips, and better battery life.  Don’t expect double-resolution Retina displays or the SuperDrive to be removed from the Macbook Pro.

THE NEW iPHONE / IPHONE 5 / iPHONE 6 / iPHONE 4G: Possible

Rumors around the next iPhone have been big in the news.  Most people are expecting a major redesign: A 4 inch diagonal screen, improved front and rear facing cameras, the headphone jack moved to the bottom of the phone, a return to a plastic or metal (simply no glass) design, and 4G LTE among other things.  With the third-generation iPad supporting AT&T and Verizon’s 4G plans, the next iPhone is almost guaranteed to have it, although Apple has yet to actually confirm it.  I do expect to see a better front facing camera (because it could use it) if not both.  I doubt the rear facing camera would have a major bump compared to what the iPhone 4S had, but a 10 megapixel rear facing camera seems the most reasonable for that improvement.  A better battery is also expected, especially if Apple does come out with a 4 inch screen.  I would love to see a bigger screen, and it doesn’t seem unreasonable given that Apple is due in its 2-year pattern for a major hardware upgrade.  However, whether or not Apple is willing to make this change means that I’m leary of calling this guaranteed.  The headphone jack’s position change could go either way, and I don’t see it as a major issue.

iTV: HIghly Unlikely

Rumors have also been flying about the next Apple TV, dubbed by some as the iTV (though this name has already been bought by another company).  The rumors point to a HDTV, the size varying but usually around 42 inches in screen size, that functions as a normal TV with the Apple TV system built-in.  The TV

An iTV mockup

would have Siri integration for searching through iTunes and your own collection of media.  There is also the possibility of gaining more apps or allowing developers to develop apps and channels to expand the functionality of the current Apple TV (because it is sorely need, that’s no rumor).

Apple updated their Apple TV line when they updated the Apple TV.  While Internet TVs are moving toward a more integrated setup, like the Samsung Smart TV, I don’t see Apple updating their little box for the next year, and I still see the box as providing a cheaper alternative to an all-in-one TV.  Perhaps they will do both, announcements like this at WWDC this year are not likely.  The only thing I expect for sure about the Apple TV is for Apple to show off Mountain Lion’s ability to use to Apple TV for AirPlay Mirroring on any TV screen.  If Apple was going to announce anything extraordinary about the Apple TV, I would hope they would open up the Apple TV to either run iOS apps (because the Apple TV runs on a modified version of iOS) or create an SDK for developers to write channels for the Apple TV, allowing for the Apple TV to rapidly gain market share in the relatively new Internet TV market.

All of this, with the exception of iOS 6 and Mountain Lion, is speculation.  What Apple will announce for good or ill won’t be revealed until next week.  The biggest news is likely to come Monday, so I’ll be live-tweeting the event Monday, June 11th, at 1 pm Eastern Time/10 pm Pacific Time.  So be sure to follow for the latest @EasyOSX on Twitter.

A post will be made after WWDC to score how well my predictions came out, as well as any interesting commenters’ predictions.

App of the Week: FBContacts

Thanks to iCloud, it’s easier than ever to sync your contacts and their info from your Mac to your iOS devices, and back.  Facebook also allows people to share that contact info with friends, sometimes more than they realize.  But the information on Facebook is not always the information you have in your contact book.  Facebook users tend to put their birthdays on the social network, as well as other important information, things that tend not to always be in your Address Book.  FBContacts steps in as the intermediary.

FBContacts works by letting you pull your Facebook friends information and add it into your Mac’s Address Book.  The app can pull things like their website url, phone numbers, email addresses, and more.  It also allows you to use your friends’ Facebook profile pictures as the picture in your Address Book.  Of course for this to work your friends have to be posting reliable information, and not saying they were born in the 1800’s or that their hometown is the bottom of the ocean.  If this is the case, FBContacts can pull down that information and add it to your contact information.  Fortunately, FBContacts has you covered; from the information FBContacts pulls from Facebook, you can choose which of that is added to your contacts list.  That way you don’t have a false birthday listed or don’t want to see everyone’s homepage listed as their Facebook page.

Two concerns immediately come to mind: user privacy and contact overload.  For the first concern, people may be wondering about all that information being pulled off of Facebook so easily.  First, I would point out that if you didn’t want it to be widely known, you

A pretty straight forward interface. Of course I’m not willing to show you my Facebook friends.

probably shouldn’t have put it on Facebook.  That being said, however, FBContacts can only pull the information that you allow your friends to see.  This means some of my friends who have more private settings enabled on Facebook won’t have those bits of information synced to me.

The second concern is by syncing these contacts from Facebook, your Address Book could unnecessarily huge.  This leads me to one of the neat features of FBContacts.  The app can scan the names of people your Facebook friends and intelligently match them up with people of the same name in your Mac’s Address Book.  That way you don’t risk having duplicate contacts, or having all of your Facebook friends listed in your Mac.  After sorting through your Facebook contacts, FBContacts organizes your friends into “Matched”, “Collision”, and “Unmatched”.  Matched are all the contacts it was able to match, and unmatched are those contacts that had no listing in your Mac’s Address Book.  “Collision” is a handy feature for when some information doesn’t add up about a contact, or FBContacts is unsure about syncing information about a certain contact.  From there, you can tell FBContacts whether or not sync a person from any of the three lists, and what info should be synced.

FBContacts has to log into Facebook to pull the contact info and scan through them.  This of course means that the more friends you have, the longer FBContacts will take to pull all the information.  There is another problem regarding how you list people in your own Address Book.  I had a few contacts that I only listed by their first name in my Address Book, but I had multiple friends with that same name on Facebook.  FBContacts, unless you catch it beforehand, will attempt to sync all the people on Facebook of that name to that one contact on your Mac, creating some confusing when you see one person’s picture when you’re trying to call another person of that name.  I did note that I had two contacts with the same first name, we’ll say “Beth”, but I had only attached a last name to one of the “Beth”‘s. FBContacts was able to attach the proper Facebook info to the “Beth” with a last name, and did not attempt to attach it to the other “Beth”, a testament to FBContacts relative intelligence.  Also, if your friends don’t have their birth year listed on Facebook, but their birthday or birth month, then FBContacts lists them as being born in the 1600’s.  A rather strange, but humorous glitch to be sure.

FBContacts icon

Overall, FBContacts is a good way of keeping information synced between Facebook and your Address Book.  While the app doesn’t have an iOS counterpart, iCloud syncing of contacts will allow you to transfer that data between your devices.  FBContacts isn’t an app you’re likely to run everyday, or even every week, but good for a sync every once in a while.  FBContacts is made by Lord Of Software and is available in the Mac App Store for $1.99 (American) and runs on OS 10.6 and higher (Snow Leopard and higher).

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about this or any other topic, leave a comment below or email me at easyosx@live.com  You can also check me out on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube by hitting the buttons on the top of your screen.  And check out my Google Plus.  Thanks!