Friday, November 1, 2013

Thinking of upgrading your Apple Mac to Mavericks? Better read this first...

It's crazy to think how huge corporations nowadays can affect our lives and change our behaviour, simply by changing the way their products work.
In so doing, they force their customers to break old habits and adopt new ways of doing things.

Apple has recently done exactly this, by means of the much touted "Mavericks" update to OS X - version 10.9.
In case you missed it, gone are the days of the big cats.
No longer will we have such bravado codenames as "Mountain Lion" and "Tiger", by which to refer to the various OS X versions.
Mavericks is in fact a popular surfing location in Northern California, and future updates to OS X will carry the names of locations in California that have inspired the company.

Onto the point of this post.
One of the most controversial changes in Mavericks (in my opinion anyway), is the obliteration of Sync Services.
In layman's terms, this means that you can now no longer sync your iPhone / iPad calendars, tasks and contacts to your Mac, via iTunes using USB or WIFI.
Think about that for a sec - pre-Mavericks, iTunes had a tab called "Info" when you plugged in your iDevice. That tab is now gone.
Now if you are someone who uses Microsoft Outlook within the Mac environment, and you like to keep your contacts and calendars in sync between Outlook and your iDevices, well you're clean outta luck.

Outlook used to be able to sync to iCal and Address Book using Sync Services. With Sync Services now gone, so is that sync relationship - Outlook is now dead in the water and totally isolated from your iDevices.

In terms of a fix, patch, update or resolution, nothing is forthcoming at this stage from Apple or Microsoft.
Apple forums all over the web are abuzz as Mac users continue to hit this seemingly backward move for OSX.
In terms of workarounds, they range from tedious to extreme...:

Tedious:

Point iCal (now Calendar), your iPhone and iPad to your iCloud account so that they all sync there.
With all your iDevices now talking, manual labour is required in order to keep Outlook in sync.
For EVERY new appointment created or accepted in Outlook, you have to drag that appointment from the Outlook calendar, down onto the Calendar icon in the Dock.
Calendar will then popup, asking you to confirm which category you would like to add the appointment to, and you're done.
Tedious as hell, but it's all we have right now.

Extreme:

Backup your Mac and downgrade back to Mountain Lion (10.8).
Extreme, yet it appears that some people are prepared to go this route in order to retain USB syncing of their devices with Outlook.

It all comes back to what I said at the beginning of this post - changing the way we behave as consumers.
Apple clearly want their customer base to become more reliant on iCloud, and what better way to achieve this, than to kill USB syncing in OS X. Nasty.
I am also not quite sure what message they are sending to Microsoft here - Apple seems eager to lay blame at Microsoft's door for not seeing the update coming and making Outlook more compatible, yet the counter argument is valid as well - with so many Apple customers depending on a sync partnership between Outlook and OS X, why the hell not just leave Sync Services alone?

Will Apple fix it? I doubt it.
Will Microsoft update Outlook 2011 to remedy it? Probably not - Office 2014 is likely around the corner anyway...

What will you do now that your iWorld is out of sync?
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