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  If you are considering VDI or any kind of Desktop Virtualization solution, chances are you have heard about HDX, ICA, RDP, PCoIP, VNC, etc etc.  Perhaps however you have not had a chance to use HDX first hand or at your location. Or you may be a solution provider, reseller, consultant or knowledgeable IT Pro that knows the benefits of HDX and ICA over the alternatives but have not been able to demonstrate it easily to others.
It is now possible to install and use HDX with only two LAN connected PC’s or Virtual Machines. PC to PC, PC to VM or VM to VM. If you have a test rig with a few VMs ( ESX, XenServer, Hyper-V, whatever ) just install the Host MSI in the VM and the Client Receiver MSI on any PC and you can be up and running in less than ten minutes.  It is intended for LAN evaluation but can also work over a WAN with a VPN connection. So if you have hesitated evaluating a full XenDesktop Proof of Concept and just want to kick to tires on HDX, this is your answer. An easy step up from HDX Connect is the XenDesktop Express for up to ten users. ( See everything you need for free VDI

The best way to get HDX Connect now is from your local Citrix Solution Advisor, Citrix Rep or SE ( or maybe a friendly CTP ). If you haven’t reached out in a while, this could be a good time to talk. If you are an authorized Citrix Advisor, you can find the HDX Connect Demo in the demo section of the sales kits on MyCitrix.  

Right now only Windows 7 Pro and XP Pro are supported. No Windows Home or Server editions, Mac, or tablets, however let us know if you think it makes sense for these alternatives. There is a 4 hour session limit and then a 5 minute cool off, plus ULA restrictions so keep that in mind. HDX Connect Demo is not intended for production use, however I expect many ingenious IT Pros may find interesting use cases and ask for something more so let us know what you think.     



The Motorola ATRIX equipped with Citrix Receiver is the first smartphone to live up to the promise of the NirvanaPhone and it’s a reality now! As a killer consumer smartphone, the Atrix has awesome specs: Nvidia 1 Ghz Tegra 2 dual-core CPU, 1G RAM, 4 inch screen, Android 2.2, HDMI out, etc. This device tops any specs available on today’s smartphones; however, the best new feature is called webtop, because it transforms the high-end smartphone into a NirvanaPhone when docked. Instantly Webtop is launched and displays the video output at resolutions up to 1280×1024 on a standard PC display or TV. There is also a optional laptop dock that converts the smartphone into a real laptop alternative. Running inside the Webtop environment is a full function Firefox browser AND Citrix Receiver! The Firefox browser provides native web access including Flash and HTML5 as well as a window into the local Android apps including the phone and text functions. You can even use the full-size keyboard for texting.

The real magic happens when you launch Citrix Receiver. Go to your company logon page and sign in (two-factor security like RSA is fully functional) and you’re presented with your Web Interface list of Windows work applications from XenApp, or a full Windows 7 Virtual Desktop provided by XenDesktop. The apps run just as if it were a local PC, and often faster. If someone calls your presented with the option to answer or ignore and you can speak though the speakerphone or Bluetooth headset while working in your Citrix session.

We have been talking about this NirvanaPhone vision for years, the basic spec is to provide high resolution video-out, full function keyboard and mouse/trackpad, and access to a virtual desktop. This is the dream of millions of laptop luggers who may need to work from anywhere but would love to leave the laptop behind. It always seemed possible, but not quite practical or complete with previous smartphones. I can tell you that I have been using this setup for months and it really works, it’s not just demoware. I’ve used it at work with the dock, at home with various TVs and displays, in hotel rooms with the LCD TV, in guest cubicles with PC monitors, and with meeting room projectors. There are a few remaining limitations, but nothing to keep this setup from making any road warrior or knowledge worker more mobile and productive immediately. Most companies provide cubicles/offices for their employees, contractors, and guests, and many come equipped with a PC display – it would be great if they all did to speed adoption. Plus, although a popup virtual keyboard is available in webtop trackpad mode, adding a dock & a USB or Bluetooth keyboard would satisfy the desire for a physical keyboard. In the past, Bluetooth keyboards have been expensive, but the Microsoft keyboard shown is only $43, so providing a generic solution is not prohibitive. Finding TVs with HDMI is easy, but legacy VGA-only connectors for PC displays and projectors is still prevalent, so expect to need an HDMI to VGA adapter for the cable bag. The Atrix uses industry standard micro USB and mini HDMI, so the cables are readily available and cheap vs. proprietary alternatives. Of course, now there is also another option to bring along the laptop dock and use it like a laptop.

For the Citrix sessions, the performance is excellent. Audio is currently not supported and not all of the HDX features are available, however, it’s easy to multitask and minimize the Citrix session and run YouTube and audio with the native Firefox browser, or even take phone calls. In “windowed” mode (vs. full screen) the webtop environment can display Citrix hosted apps alongside native Firefox windows, plus an Android window making a phone call at the same time.
This really is a NirvanaPhone… the future has arrived!

Full Demo with the HD Docking Station (3 min)

Demo with Trackpad feature and Bluetooth Keyboard (2 min)

Short Demo (55 sec)

Stay tuned for more demos…

 Kevin Rose the founder of Digg made a prediction in a recent post about how the rumored $99 iTV will change everything. He make great points about how this could disrupt the Cable TV market and provide a great interactive TV experience for consumers.  This makes me think about whether the iTV could also provide a great platform for business apps as well. Certainly Apple is not targeting businesses with this device, however the same could be said of the iPhone and iPad when they came out. Regardless of the intent, consumers also have day jobs and found ways to put these devices to work.  

At $99 the price is right for a low maintenance Thin Client with a great experience. This could be appealing to many companies including small business or even home offices that may have conceptually considered Thin Clients, but the overhead of learning/implementing/managing a thin client platform was not worth the effort for a small number of devices. For larger companies with security concerns, iOS is fairly locked down already and there is a growing ecosystem of Mobile Device Management solutions that can provide higher levels of control. Including the ability to restrict/prevent time waster apps from being installed. This solution could be ideal for guest offices & cubicles, conference rooms with projectors or HDTV’s, or any task based workstation at many Mac centric organizations. Hotel rooms would be a no-brainer.  

What about a mouse? Yes currently this is an issue. Consider this, if the Apple Magic Trackpad will support iTV then gestures and mouse functions can be enabled as it does with Macs. Problem solved ! Even without the Magic Trackpad it is also possible for apps like Receiver to pair an iPhone with an iPad€‰ and serve as a trackpad, so applying this for iTV is not a stretch. There is also ample opportunity for 3rd party keyboard/mouse vendors to provide some great solutions.  

iPhone apps on an iTV ? Even if the hundreds of thousands of iOS apps works with iTV they won’t necessarily look good stretched on a big screen, even the iPhone apps look awkward on the iPad. However if the apps would run as widgets on the “desktop” of a large display this could provide a useful workspace. Apple would need to endorse/allow this but it could be appealing.

Business Apps for the iOS are appearing all the time and many could be appropriate for this scenario, safari web apps and HTML5 apps can work at any size.

Virtual Desktops from an app like Citrix Receiver can provide access to most existing Windows business apps and desktops just as they do today with traditional Thin Clients. Many companies already have the required Infrastructure in place or are considering Desktop Virtualization as an alternative to Windows 7 PC migration/replacements. 

So would the rumored “iTV” really displace the existing niche of Thin Clients ? No. However as we have already seen with iPhones breaking into the enterprise and the iPad successfully defining the Tablet as the 3rd screen most people will have, we could see the iTV legitimize the Thin Client form factor and function plus make it pervasive ( and cool  ).

That would change everything… again..    

I could list all the reasons I think the iPad + Citrix are a great fit for healthcare, but it may be more meaningful coming directly from Physicians and IT Pros in the heathcare industry. This is a sample of what has been shared on the blogs when we asked what would Citrix Receiver for iPad be used for.
Dr. Paul Altmann says:
” Chris, the combination of Citrix and the iPad will, I am sure, be a huge success in the healthcare setting where the form factor of the iPad makes it the best all round device to access medical records in real time as clinicians care for their patients.Specifically, I am looking forward to showcase this for Cerner Millennium users who routinely access the application over Citrix.
There will be many other settings where the iPad, which is the first really decently sized, light, with good battery life “thin client”, will become very popular.
Dr Paul Altmann
Clinical Director – Health Informatics – NHS South Central & Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust
Consultant Nephrologist – Oxford Kidney Unit The Churchill – Oxford OX3 7 “

.. says:
“I would love to be able to use citrix on an iPad.  I currently use Citrix to log into our hospitals EMR, Epic, from home.  Being able to do so both at home and even in the hospital would be awesome. “

“So Are you saying that I would be able to use my GE Healthcare Centricity EMR Application from the Ipad? We connect to it using XenApp. This is really the only thing holding me back from getting an iPad is that whether I would be able to run my EMR for work.

“Please tell us you are working on a citrix client for the IPad.  It will be so “revolutionary” if you have one ready by the time the IPad is available. Physicians will love to use an IPad to handle their Electronic Medical Records at bedside, exam rooms.”

“Chris Smith says:
Yes, I think this would be fantastic. Many EHR (electronic health record) applications have developed stylus-driven interfaces for slate PCs (tablets with no keyboard option), so touch interface is a natural easy win for those already developed applications. Many of the EHR applications are also already deployed via Citrix, so this is a serious WIN WIN for Citrix to pursue… and as you mentioned, Citrix has already done quite a bit of work on the Citrix Receiver for the iPhone. This really does have so much more capability, now that you have the larger screen.
Also, multi-touch is supported in Windows 7, so it will be interesting to see how the XenReciever can interact with the Win7 host operating system environment, or even hosted application environment, but having the Receiver bridge that gap in the user experience via the iPad would be amazing!”

“I work for a health care provider and this could be huge. It turns the iPad from an interesting toy, to potentially powerful tool for business”

Todd Bruni says:
“Being in a large Healthcare environment I also see this device as having huge potential. First for ARRA/Hitech initiatives such as CPOE, BMV, Physician Documentation, etc physicians, clinicians, and/or nursing are going to want, need, demand mobile devices. As multiple people have pointed out one of those devices are tablets. The cost of those devices intended for Healthcare are extremely expensive (Motion Computing, etc).  Second, as people have pointed out protecting patient data is a requirement.  That is one of the beauties of desktop virtualization whether its hosted shared desktops or hosted dedicated desktops that data stays in the data center.  Finally organizations need to hit meaningful use in the not so distant future. Most of the large EMR vendors are not web-based today and organizations have to start taking steps now to meet the meaningful use timelines. That means these applications are client based today which is another reason to do desktop virtualization now until the ISVs solutions are ported to the web.
So how does this wrap back around to this device? Any device that is going to help healthcare organizations start taking steps now to adopt desktop virtualization, mobility, extend battery life, and move data into the datacenter without having to spend $2k on a tablet, $3k on cart solution is a great candidate. Being able to purchase 4 or 5 of these devices at the cost of one tablet makes it very intriguing. Add a docking station with keyboard and mouse for $40-50 in key locations and now you don’t have to worry about real estate on the floors (another huge healthcare issue) and the device becomes easy to stop and make updates to your EMR.
Finally, I don’t remember who said it but I completely agree with whoever said that we won’t know any of this until we get these devices into the clinicians hands we won’t know.”

“Already have XenDesktop environment pushing around 20 desktops using Nextgen out to several medical clinics in my area. Was able to get budget money for purchasing 5 iPads as a demo in less than 2 minutes. Will be an interesting demo as I have connections to several hospitals that are all looking into the EPIC Haiku Application also being developed with Keiser Medical Group in mind. A current rolling wireless cart with a WYSE Thin Client typically costs a Hospital in Oregon $20,000 after we did our full ROI 2 years ago. Interesting what happened in 2 years! “

Checkout the Heathcare IT Community site http://community.citrix.com/p/healthcare

Learn how to make the iPad work for your healthcare organization at Citrix Synergy

IT has a number of options to enable remote access for employees wanting mobile access to email and work applications from their iPads. There are however pros and cons for each option as well as some prerequisite questions to consider.


Company iPads - For company owned iPads a likely scenario is to treat iPads similar to mobile phones. If company apps or email are allowed to run native on the iPad then Mobile Device Management ( MDM ) software may be necessary to assure corporate security policy is enforced. BES servers may be in place already for Blackberry’s, this type of control may be need to be duplicated for company iPads as well. The forth coming improvements in iOS4 will help with email however additional applications will still require management. If however company data is not allowed to reach the iPad as discussed below, then the management costs and administration could be significantly reduced.

Personal iPads - Many early adopter employees and specifically executives are now bringing their new iPad to work and asking IT for access to company apps. One problem is most companies have policies against storing company data on anything but company owned equipment. While the iPad does include a great email app including support for Exchange, the decision needs to be made to change the company policy or allow exceptions for iPad users. Beyond email, corporate calendars are also supported by the iPad, however most users complain of conflicts and errors compared to Outlook Calendar. The best solution for most companies dealing with personal iPads is to not allow apps or data to run locally. IT can provide safe remote access to hosted email and apps or virtual desktops.

Applications - Beyond Email, determining what apps are required by users and if they are available on the iPad is a big consideration. Many company web apps require specific browsers and are not compatible with mobile Safari on the iPad. Windows apps will obviously not work locally and although iWork and a few Office clones are available, most users will find these limiting.

Other Tablets - Since the iPad was announced it seems like there is a new Tablet announced or rumored every week. Some like the Dell Streak or Cisco Cius run Android but others will run Windows or WebOS or MeeGo or other yet to be named OS. The iPad has a head start but it will not be the only Tablet that needs access to company apps. So solving the problem only for iPads will be another point solution for a growing challenge.


Native iPad Apps - If every app required is available on the iPad, then this may be the right answer for company iPads provided they can be managed through MDM software and administration. The pros for native apps are user experience and offline operation ( app dependent ) For personal iPads however assuring corporate security compliance is a challenge with native apps. Also future support for non iPad Tablets should be considered.

VPN with Web Apps - The iPad does have limited native VPN capability in the OS and can support some web apps. These apps need to be tested and expect many not to be compatible. Again consideration for data left behind on personal iPads needs to be taken into account.

Hosted Virtual Applications - Applications running on Windows servers such as Windows XenApp ( or Terminal Services/RDS ) can be an ideal solution for secure iPad app delivery. In addition to Windows apps, Web Apps that require IE or specific browser plug-ins can easily be delivered to iPads. With XenApp IT can dictate what user gets what app and can easily turn on or off access to applications without managing the iPad itself. Only a single app, the Citrix Receiver is required on the iPad and the configuration can be done via emailed or clicking a link on an intranet web wage. No MDM software is required or concern about company data on personal iPads. A con of this method is that a WiFi or 3G connection is required and apps will not work offline.
Over 200,000 companies already have Citrix XenApp infrastructure that can support the iPad although some may need to configuration changes to enable access. A Citrix Access Gateway is also recommended for secure access, again already in place at many companies. For companies without Citrix, the implementation can be small as a single Windows server with XenApp Fundamentals which is good for between 5 and 75 users.

Virtual Desktops - Hosted Virtual Desktops or Virtual Desktop Infrastructure ( VDI ) such as XenDesktop provides a full Windows 7 environment for each user running on a server in a company datacenter or service provider. Again only the Citrix Receiver is required on the iPad and IT has complete control to turn on or off access. Applications can be installed in the Windows 7 images or be streamed to the image via Application Virtualization. Citrix XenDesktop is required for this solution along with servers supporting the Virtual Desktop images. A free starter edition is available for up to 10 users called XenDesktop Express .

So now that the iPad has topped 3 million units with no slow down in sight, it’s obvious that the tablet form factor has been legitimized and also has a place in business ( or at least remote access to the business ). If you are in IT and considering how to support the iPad let us know your challenges.

If you are in the Healthcare business and rely on IT to improve patient care you may want to check out the Citrix community site for Healthcare IT. The site includes video tips with examples of what IT Pros like Nick Volosin have come up with using the Citrix SDK to speed access for providers. There are forums to ask questions of others in the industry and share feedback. Currently we are looking for feedback on pilots regarding the use of iPads in healthcare as well as requested new features.

Also Florian Becker, Director of Citrix Consulting Solutions and our resident Healthcare IT expert will answer questions and share his thoughts on the blogs. So if your looking for ideas, have questions, or can share what you have done to improve patient care with IT check out the site.


 Traditionally Citrix has not been considered to be a key component in an organizations mobile device strategy. Typically mobile solutions include; Exchange integration, BES servers, and more recently Mobile Device Management software. However with increased IT challenges resulting from the explosion of devices and user requirements, Citrix has leveraged its technology into the mobility space, and has made some great progress giving you many reasons to reconsider.

1) Security - This is the top issue for enterprise mobility. With Citrix, apps and data remain under IT control with data stored on company network or XenApp/XenDesktop servers As a result devices do not necessarily need to be managed in the traditional sense and there is no data to remotely wipe.

2) Employee owned devices - The iPhone started a trend that is extending to iPads, Androids and predictably more to come. More employees – including execs and revenue generating users require access to corporate apps to be more productive. Citrix provides IT a safe way to allow access while not letting the data to be stored on the device.

3) Compliance - Most enterprises today have policies against allowing company data to be stored on anything except company owned and managed devices. If you are supporting employee owned devices and your not using Citrix you probably  need to change the policy or make an exception with a risk assessment.

4) Email - Every smartphone has a capable email client, however they also have deficiencies for corporate use. iPhone and iPad still have problems with Exchange syncing for Calendars. Androids have security deficiencies. They all have issues with employee ownership. A good alternative is to run a full Outlook ( or Notes ) client on XenApp with columns and reading panes adjusted to fit the real estate of the device. In addition Citrix is developing an Email client for Exchange that looks and feels just like a mobile email app but runs securely under IT control on XenApp. This was demonstrated recently at Synergy from both iPhone and Android, stay tuned for updates.

5) Corporate Apps - Beyond email most employees also want access to the companies apps they may need while mobile. The question is not how many apps are in the Apple or Android app store , it’s how many company apps are accessible on the target device. With Citrix virtually every company app could be available on a mobile device. These will work unmodified, however we also suggest configuring the apps to be Mobile-Friendly when possible. Also many existing tools like Xcelcius or Hyperion can be used to build Dashboards that target the mobile. A new product called PowerGadgets for XenApp can be used by non developers to create great looking mobile apps that run on XenApp and access standard company databases or web services.

6) Build Once, Run Anywhere - It is clear that there will not be a single mobile platform for the foreseeable future. For enterprises that build internal apps with Visual Studio, or other standard platforms, many are now faced with the dilemma of selecting a platform(s) and gaining the skills to build mobile apps. With Citrix, in-house developers can use existing development platforms and skills to create custom apps by following simple guidelines on real estate and usability. The apps can then be hosted on XenApp servers and delivered to any device.

7) User experience - Apple has set a high bar on usability and the touch interface. Citrix leverages the native touch interface for iOS and Android so gestures like pinch, zoom and pan work like native apps. We also have added gestures like vertical swipe for scrolling and horizontal swipe for paging through powerpoint slides or other apps that use right/left key. Even though most apps will run unmodified on XenApp we recommend targeting apps and mobile use cases and following the best practices in 5 or 6 above to provide users the best experience.

8) Tablets - The iPad has legitimized the tablet form factor and there are new ones announced or rumored every month. In most cases Citrix virtual apps or desktops can be deployed without modifications and minimal effort. Tablets are good first candidates to evaluate Citrix before extending to smartphones.

9) ROI - Most enterprises already have Citrix infrastructure and skills somewhere in the company. If mobile adoption grows significantly then additional licenses/servers may be required but need to be balanced with the alternative costs such as:

   A) Cost of a security breach due to a lost device - At a minimum this means impacted IT resources needed to react, contain, and explain the incident. Worse case it could be $ millions in fines, government audits, damaged brands and ruined careers.

   B) Employees will buy their own device. Instead of company purchased devices many employees will gladly buy their own device and only get an expense reimbursement for the service.

   C) Cost of new Mobile Device Management infrastructure and skills. Also keep in mind continuing to invest in a single platform that only supports one device will satisfy a shrinking percentage of users.

   D) Premium data plans cost $40-45 per user/month. Yet with Citrix only a standard $30 data plan is required. This alone can save $180 year per employee.

   E) Redundant resources required to develop and maintain apps for multiple devices.

   F) Redundant infrastructure to deploy apps to users with different devices.

10) Future Proof - The only thing you can count on in the mobility space is change and growth. Blackberry, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Symbian, WebOS, Meego (and the list goes on) all may find there their way into the enterprise. Investment in a single platform will be an incomplete strategy, and investments in multiple platforms will be prohibitively expensive. Citrix will provide Receivers for popular mobile devices now and into the future making any current investment last beyond the hype cycle. Citrix will also be leading the enablement of Workshifting and delivering apps and virtual desktops with new visionary mobile features such as the Citrix Receiver for iPhone 4.0 with Nirvana Phone capability.

If you have not previously considered Citrix for mobility it’s easy to get started. Go to the Apple App Store, Android Marketplace, or Citrix download page and install the free Citrix Receiver. There are cloud demos available to experience a number of apps to try first hand and to share with your peers.

Let us know what you think.

Learn more at http://Citrix.com/Receiver

Progress on the Citrix Receiver for iPhone 4.0 is very going well. The Receiver will continue to work on older iPhone 3 and 3G iPhones, however the new iPhone 4 features may have you waiting on store lines or going online now to get on the Apple waiting list. As seen in the video, we have been able to exploit the best new capabilities of the iPhone 4, Multi-tasking and Video-out. Multi-tasking really works allowing you to start a Citrix session, double click, start another native app like youtube or even some 3rd party apps, then double click and go back to your Citrix session and its still alive and running, no re-launch required. You can even take or make a phone call and display & work on the XenDesktop session while talking on the speakerphone.

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7z6svWLbmM

As seen a standard Bluetooth keyboard also works and the iPhone allows you to navigate and click to launch apps etc. This release will have some limitations in keyboard operation and there is no mouse support. So the full Nirvana Phone experience replacing a thin client or Netbook is not quite there yet, but its close enough to see it. The use case for using the iPhone to make powerpoint presentations via conference room projectors absolutely will work well with this 4.0 release, expect Apple to sell a lot more $29 VGA adapters  .     

Aside from the iPhone 4, other mobile vendors also have a Nirvana Phone capable device in the works. The HTC EVO has HDMI out as does the Motorola Driod X that was just announced, plus the Nokia N8 coming in September. It will be interesting to see who can achieve and deliver the real Nirvana Phone experience first, we will be doing our part with Citrix Receiver and XenDesktop.

Get ready to leave your laptop home !  

So my new iPad is already making an impact on my work life. My normal routine in the morning is to scan my email from my iPhone while the coffee is brewing and then take the coffee on the road ( & listen to podcasts for the commute ). I look for all the emails that need urgent attention and may send out a quick reply. Most things with a link I delete or save to read later from my PC at work or home at night. I also check my calender but if I am using the native Calendar app I won’t accept any meetings because strange things still happen between Exchange and the iPhone Calendar app. By the time the coffee is ready I am off to work and following up on things from the office.
This morning however I picked up my iPad and started to check my email. After a quick scan I started going back to emails and reading the entire thread. For emails with useful links ( like press reviews of Citrix on the iPad ) I clicked and went to the website and read the entire column. Instead of taking my coffee on the road as normal I sat down with my cup and soon found myself immersed in email as if I was at work. With access to the full Outlook app I could accept meetings and trust what it told me. Using Outlook I also didn’t need to go in and out of Email, Calendar and Contacts, it was all right there. Before I knew it an hour had passed and I was pouring a second cup of coffee to take on the road.
Not a big deal, but I think this experience may be happening all over soon inside and outside of work. The iPad providing instant access to the apps you need and a great experience may have more of an impact than you expect. Be forewarned !   

For users of Citrix Receiver for iPhone with a 3G or 3GS iPhone we recommend waiting for our forth coming 4.0 release which is designed to support iOS 4. This release will include RSA sync, optional client drive mapping and multi-tasking support for 3GS. I have been using the multi-tasking for weeks and can attest to the improved usability. Fortunately Citrix Receiver 4.0 can even support keeping the session alive even while making a phone call or browsing safari, then switching back with no launch or logon. If you update to iOS 4 right now however you may have issues with authentication that requires 3 inputs ( Password, RSA, Domain ). Also icon colors may be off due to a change in iOS 4. Early buyers of iPhone 4 may be impacted as well.

The enhancements in 4.0 work very well on 3GS iPhone’s however before releasing to the App Store we needed to test it with real iPhone 4 hardware. This includes testing with the new Retina display and support for the video out . As soon as the testing is complete we will be making the release available in the App Store.

For users with 2G and 3G these devices will work with release 4.0 on iOS 4, however multi-tasking will not be supported by Apple.

Stay tuned, it will be worth the wait.