Our team talked about the Apple WWDC 2017 in our 100th episode of the Theotek Podcast. WWDC stands for World Wide Developer Conference and at this event Apple reveals their new plans for iOS and macOS as well as other interesting tidbits. It’s for developers, but a lot consumer-focused information often hits the newswire after the keynote event that opens the conference.
In this episode we talk about tvOS, which powers the Apple TV, as well as watchOS 4 for the Apple Watch. Then we discussed macOS High Sierra and MacBook Pros, iMacs and iMac Pros powered by the new updated operating system. Next, we discussed iOS 11, the new operating system that will run iPhones and iPads. Apple revealed a new iPad Pro with a 10.5-inch screen so we all discussed that as well. Finally, we covered the new HomePod Sierra speaker coming out this year just in time for Christmas.
Watch the video from YouTube and of course, subscribe to your YouTube channel if that’s your preferred way to enjoy Theotek Podcast. You can also scroll to the bottom of this post to listen to the audio version or click on our link in the menu to find out how to subscribe to the audio version.
Also, if you want to watch the full Apple WWDC 2017 Keynote address, here it is.
We’re taking a summer hiatus. We might do some Theotek Extra Podcasts, but there won’t be a regular Theotek Podcast with Wes, Rick, LaRosa, Antoine or Kevin until August. Our relaunch will likely take place in August or September.
The church uses a lot of paper to share its message, whether that message tells members and attendees what’s happening this week, the order of worship that day, or asks them to sign up for activities. In this episode of the Theotek Podcast we talk about using digital alternatives to paper bulletins, newsletters and even sign-up sheets.
Watch the podcast below from our YouTube Channel. The end includes a review of my Apple AirPods.
Digital Alternatives to Bulletins or Newsletters
In the episode above we talked about a few options for digital alternatives to paper communication tools. For example, if you want to text your entire congregation or even send up a voice mail over the Internet consider a service like CallEmAll.
I use CallEmAll at my church, High Peak Baptist Church. We only use it for emergencies, but it’s reliable and easy to use. You could send weekly reminders about events, activities or worship times. You can also categorize members into groups like your choir, youth group, parents, seniors, or Sunday school teachers. Only contact them. The service isn’t free, but it’s also not expensive. It costs 9 cents for credits and a text message is a single credit while voicemail counts as two credits.
Wes Allen said he used to create an eBook for his weekly church bulletin. People could download it from the website. They also put announcements on their WordPress Blog. Another alternative is SquareSpace, a web hosting and content management solution that a lot of people are using instead of WordPress.
Two other services that include digital bulletin alternatives are YouVersion’s Bible app and Logos/Proclaim from Faithlife. We’ve talked about this before on Theotek. You can put your bulletin, order or service, scriptures and more in these apps. If people install the mobile version, they can use open the bulletin on the phone. Some of the things these services handle include:
Bible readings in the service
Links to the website or other sites
YouVersion’s Bible app offers YouVersion events to the church. The church signs up and then someone from the church creates a weekly event for your worship service. The above video explains more about how it works.
Don’t forget services like Mail Chimp for sending out email newsletters. Also, consider using a Facebook Group as your primary way of getting news out about your church.
As mentioned above people can sign up for events or to volunteer in the mobile apps from YouVersion and Faithlife. We also talked about using a kiosk system where people sign up at a computer or tablet in the church. Set up a Google Form to do this and it sends the list to you automatically in a spreadsheet.
WordPress and SquareSpace offer online forms for sign-ups. Search for a form plugin in WordPress or SquareSpace.
What About People Without Computers, Smartphones or Tablets?
The question arose in our discussion. What do you do for those in your congregation who don’t use or own a computer, a tablet or a smartphone? Maybe they do, but don’t feel comfortable using them for the above solutions. This is where community comes in.
Announce occasionally that such people should pair up with someone who does use these tools. Maybe a senior adult can have their son or daughter or a good friend print the digital email newsletter or bulletin. Those with these tools can look out for things their non-technical friends or family would find interesting. They can share it when appropriate.
Try to make a limited number of paper version available if possible. For example, you’ve already got the graphics and copy for a newsletter in email form or on a website. Why not just copy/paste to a document and print off just enough for this group?
Apple AirPods Review
At the end of the show, I reviewed my Apple AirPods. Here’s my bullet list review:
They sound great.
Pairing with an iPhone is awesome and easy; just open the lid and a dialog box offers to pair.
Once you pair with one Apple device iCloud syncs the pairing with others so you don’t have to pair again to an iPad or Mac.
They fit my ears better than the Apple earbuds in the iPhone box.
The battery life is good.
You can use one AirPod at a time to double your battery life if you don’t mind forgoing stereo sound.
Open the lid on the AirPods and a window pops up showing battery life.
They’re way too expensive at $159, but I’m sure glad I bought them.
It seems that Apple is moving away from macOS towards an iOS-centric future. If the iPhone and iPad replaces the Mac, what does that mean for the church, Bible software and companies that make tools and software to help the church and believers make disciples? That’s our discussion as we focused on the question, “Is Apple moving in that direction? If they are does that affect Windows, Mobile devices, and other platforms? What is the future of church software and technology in light of this possibility?”
The conversation began, however, with our Christmas tech toys. The gifts we got for Christmas included some fun things like the following:
Michael Purcell – my son joined us for this episode and got the Surface Pro 4, Type cover and Surface Pen. He explains why he loves his.
Wes Allen – ThinkGeek toys like the BB8 Waffle Maker and the R2D2 Coffee Press. He also got an Apple Pencil.
LaRosa Johnson – one of LaRosa’s co-workers sold him the Blue Yeti mic.
Antoine Wright – one of Antoine’s Kickstarter campaign investments actually came through in a positive way. He got the Lumos Bike Helmet.
Kevin Purcell – I got myself a Kindle Fire with the gift card for Amazon that my wife bought me.
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Last week Apple and Microsoft unveiled new computers. Apple showed off a newly designed MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and Touch ID while Microsoft refreshed their Surface Book and introduced a professional creativity focused all-in-one system called the Surface Studio. It will run the new Windows Creative Edition coming out next year. We talk about the two companies and their vision for what customers want in hardware. Watch the podcast below or listen at the bottom of this page.
Microsoft Surface Studio and Windows Creative Edition
We took the two announcements events in the order they came, starting with Microsoft’s unveiling of Windows Creative Edition. Most of what they covered focused on creating content using Windows. They were enamored with 3D since Paint gets an update to include 3D. My colleague Travis Pope of GottaBeMobile tells you all about the new version.
The SurfaceBook gets an update to the SurfaceBook 2 (starts at $2,399). It’s a two-in-one mobile device that’s mostly a laptop, but with a detachable screen. Microsoft first released it last year, but it was extremely buggy. They fixed the bugs and now they put in new processors and upped the video graphics chip for better overall performance and great battery life.
The biggest news of their event centered around the new desktop all-in-one. It’s called the Surface Studio (starts at $2,999) and comes with a huge 28-inch touchscreen that the user can adjust to use upright like a traditional desktop system or fold it down to work on it like a drafting table. Again, check out the GottaBeMobile post about it.
2016 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar
The biggest controversy in our discussion centered around the gimmicky nature of the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. Apple unveiled this updated MacBook. I don’t like that it comes with only USB-C ports. They’re great ports and I love them, hoping that in a few years that’s what everyone uses to sync and charge and connect peripherals, including the iPhone. However, we’re not there yet and we need things like an HDMI port or SD card slots. The other guys disagreed with me because they’re mostly Apple Fanboys (just kidding, sort of). Read more about it in my post for Notebooks.com.
Our Favorite Things
We ended with Our Favorite Things!
My favorite thing was an adapter for the iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus that lets users both charge and listen to their phone at the same time. The ALIWELL Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter ($18) has a Lightning connector on one end and on the other there’s a place to plug both a Lightning charging or syncing cable in and 3.5mm headphone jack. It also has volume keys and a button for answering the phone or play/pause.
It’s not perfect since it slows down fast charging adapters. I plugged my iPad charger that usually boosts the iPhone battery 10% in about 5 minutes. With this it takes longer.
Rick picked a nice iPad Pro case that comes with a sturdy secure Apple Pencil holder. The Poetic QuarterBack Case for iPad Pro 12.9 with Apple Pencil Holder ($15) covers the back of the iPad and holds your Apple Pencil in place. He loves it and convinced me to get one too. I ordered the Green and Gold version so I can run around with Green Bay Packer colors on my iPad.
It’s compatible with the Apple Smart Keyboard Cover. It also includes all the other button and port cutouts or access.
LaRosa ordered an Apple Watch 2 (starts at $369 for 38mm Series 2), so we’ll hear more about that when he gets it.
Apple announced the new iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2 on September 7. We talked about it because we can’t help ourselves when it comes to Apple News.
We also debated the value of removing the headphone jack in the iPhone 7. I’m certain Apple did it for one reason, profit. The others seem a little more favorable of the idea, and that’s okay. What do you think? Post a comment below, on the video at YouTube or hit us up on Twitter.
Some of the highlights of Apple’s accounement include…
Updates to iWork suite for collaboration
A new camera on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus with a 2nd lens on the 7 Plus that does zoom and adds narrow depth of field like a DSLR
No more headphone jack
Higher storage levels for the same prices starting at 32 instead of 16GB and now a 256GB offering
The Theotek Podcast covers technology for the church and Christians. We do it normally every Tuesday night at 9pm Eastern. Follow us @TheotekPodcast for more information and please subscribe on Youtube.
Our crew talked about our experiences in the last 9 months using the iPad Pro for our Bible study, preaching, and general work/play. Then we looked at Our Favorite Things. We planned to talk about Scrivener, a great writing tool that a few of our team members use. However, we went long talking about the iPad, so we’ll save that discussion for next week.
In the meantime, watch or listen below to our thoughts on using the iPad Pro.
What’s it great for?
How could Apple improve it?
How does it compare to Surface Pro 4?
How are we using ours?
What does Wes think just hours into owning one?
For Our Favorite Things this week, I talked quickly about SideClick, a little remote attachment for streaming set-top boxes, like Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Roku. Check it out at their website.
Apple introduced the new iPad Pro 9.7-inch model, which is basically and iPad Air 2 with an update and the iPad Pro display. It uses the Apple Pencil and comes with an optional Smart Keyboard that fits the smaller iPad. They also announced a new iPhone SE.
We talked about the new Apple news and shared Our Favorite Things! We had some fun with this one as Rick shared his excitement of the new Batman v. Superman movie that released that week. I talked again about my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. Wes mentioned his new WD NAS backup storage device.
The court order received by Apple compelling them to help the FBI in gaining access to an iPhone 5c used by one of the terrorists in the San Bernardino attack that happened last year might become the most important tech story in a long time. We did our best to unpack the details and come up with some security suggestions for users.
The debate over Apple v. the FBI is an incredibly complex issue that has potentially drastic repercussions going forward for our security, privacy and our government’s ability to fight terrorism.
No matter which side support in this debate, you should take care while going online with a phone, tablet or your computer. Watch the video above or listen to the podcast below to get some suggestions for encrypting your data and using virtual private networks.
In the Our Favorite Things section of the show, we recommended a few things. Related to the security debate, we looked at a couple of VPN solutions:
What is the new Apple iPad Pro like for studying the Bible, preaching or teaching? Rick Mansfield (@thislamp and thislamp.com) got one this week and we asked him a lot of questions about using it. Watch or listen below to hear his thoughts.
Just a summary of Rick’s conclusions. First, he likes the side-by-side feature so that he can hold his Accordance Bible app next to Microsoft Word. This will help with both Bible study and preaching. The Keynote app and Word can sit on-screen at the same time. He uses the notes feature in Keynote, but after the podcast was over he tested and found out that you can run a Keynote presentation mirrored to an Apple TV and open Word in side-by-side mode.
Second, he tested out the iPad keyboard and looks forward to getting one to use. He didn’t like the Logitech keyboard case as much because it seems harder to remove from the iPad Pro.
We talked about the Pencil, which is hard to come by until December. Wes tested it out at his local Apple Store and found that it was a great experience. They’ve done a good job of making it work well and feel more like writing on paper than older styli.
At the end of the podcast I shared some first impressions of using the Apple TV 4th generation. It’s a nice media device and the remote is both good and bad. Siri works great and AirPlay still works as well as before.
With Microsoft, Google and Apple all releasing new hardware and software, we talked about what they can do to help the church.
We’ve already discussed the Apple hardware and software announcements for this Fall. We chatted about Google’s goodies too. Now it’s Microsoft’s turn. But more importantly for us, what can these three companies and their technology do to help the church do the Great Commission? This week’s episode covered this question. Watch it here or listen below.
The new stuff from Microsoft includes a new Surface Pro 4 tablet with the Surface Pen and Surface Type Cover updated with better keyboard and trackpad. There’s also the new Surface Book, a 2-in-1 notebook/tablet with high-end specs and a high-end price.
At the end we each recommend our choice for the most interesting or exciting of the new Apple, Google and Microsoft devices.