Tuesday, December 12, 2017

iMac Pro To Be Available December 14

After its announcement at WWDC, we finally have a release date for the iMac Pro. It will be available to order December 14. This will start at $4,999. Already, we are seeing that this computer is a very powerful one, with reviews citing lack of upgradability as its downfall. Full pricing details are not available yet.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Apple Allowing Pre-Orders for Apps

Apple is letting developers allow pre-orders for their apps [Source: MacStories]. When a user pre-orders an app, it will be automatically downloaded when the app is officially released. If the app costs money, the charge will be made at the time of download, not pre-order. It's a small, but important feature for the new App Store.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Face ID Impressions

I've used Face ID these past few days and I have gotten time to get used to it. It's very convenient. I can slide up on the lock screen almost immediately and my phone is unlocked by then. It's how unlocking a phone should feel. It's even better in apps like 1Password or Day One. If my fingerprint was dirty, I would often find myself using a password. Now, I just have to look at my phone, which I'm already doing. One thing I'm not as much of a fan of is using it while docked. I put my iPhone on an iHome speaker dock at night, and I have to move my head quite a bit to be in range, instead of just putting my hand on a home button. This isn't a big deal, as I would have to move a bit or undock the phone if I was going to be using the phone in this state anyways (if that made any sense). 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Apple May Acquire Shazam

Apple and Shazam have been very close for years. I first heard of Shazam from an old iPhone ad, probably from the 3GS era. In iOS 8, Shazam was integrated into Siri. It would be very interesting to see Apple acquire Shazam [Source: TechCrunch].  They could announce this Monday if all goes well in the deal. I personally hope it goes well. I see Shazam as the forefront in machine learning-based music recognition.

Friday, December 8, 2017

I Got The iPhone X

My generous grandparents were kind enough to get me an early Christmas present, the iPhone X. This is actually perfect timing, as I'm off to see Apple Park tomorrow as part of my Winter Break. It's a beautiful phone. Every screen feels fresh and amazing with the new screen. I just wanted to thank my grandparents publicly to show my appreciation for them. Thank you very much!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Apple Fixes Major HomeKit Vulnerability

According to 9to5Mac, Apple has fixed a major vulnerability in HomeKit, which would allow unauthorized access to devices. This vulnerability was introduced in iOS 11.2. This is temporarily disabling shared access to HomeKit accessories, but access will be restored early next week. As we move into a world where our lightbulbs need security updates, it's a scary thought how unauthorized access can become a real issue for consumers.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Amazon Prime Video Released for Apple TV

Six months after its first announcement, Amazon Prime Video is finally out for the Apple TV. Amazon has become a large competitor in the video streaming field due to the large adoption of Amazon Prime, so this is great to see on Apple TV. Apple TV 4K supports streaming from Amazon Prime Video in 4K HDR, which is a huge plus. It also integrates with the TV app. Amazon Prime Video is available for free from the tvOS App Store.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Reversed Emoji

The Unicode Consortium has made new guidelines that propose reversible emoji. These would make it easy to an emoji to point or face one way versus the other. This would help a lot for conveying new messages. Below is a mockup by Emojipedia explaining this concept pretty well. We could potentially see them in the coming years.

Image Credit: Emojipedia

Monday, December 4, 2017

Apple Pay Cash Now Available

Apple Pay Cash, which was not activated in yesterday's update, is now officially live. Going to Settings > Wallet & Apple Pay and switching on Apple Pay Cash will guide you through the setup process. After the setup, you'll have a nifty new card your Wallet app with a holographic design based on your phone's gyroscope. With this, you can add a debit card to add funds and send money to friends and family. With credit on the Apple Pay Cash card, you can use it like you would at Apple Pay accepting locations or choose to add the funds to your bank account. I'm sure Apple will eventually have some incentives to use Apple Pay Cash in the future as well.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

A Critique of Apple's New User Interface

Below is an image provided by Apple Developer's design guidelines. This style, where the page name is in large text near the top of the screen, has become a staple in iOS 11. This was actually originally confined to the Music app in iOS 10 if I remember correctly. While I'm somewhat glad they made it consistent across system apps and not just an odd one out in the Music app, I can't say I'm happy with this design choice. First off, with all of this screen space available with the iPhone X, putting "Favorites" in text that big seems like a waste. "Woah, I'm in the favorites screen. I would've never guessed." We don't need such extravagant text for every single screen. The screen will be better used and more aesthetically pleasing if the title text was shrinked and center-aligned between the "+" and "Edit" buttons. Now you can't un-see it. Look at all of that blank space! What justifies that? It looks like the UI designer made a mistake and let it slide into the golden master build. This works in some situations, especially on tvOS, where large titles are necessary to understanding where you are in the system. However, it's unnecessary on an phone, where screen space is limited and basic design principles keep users from getting confused or lost (which is basically every app except Snapchat and YouTube).

Saturday, December 2, 2017

iOS 11.2 Released

iOS 11.2 was released today and it brings some important updates. First off, we have Apple Pay Cash. This lets you make peer-to-peer payments through Apple Pay and iMessage. It's being rolled out currently, so it may not be available right away. Next is faster wireless charging. iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X now support 7.5W wireless charging, which is faster than the 5W power brick included with the phones. It also adds a Sports section to the TV app, where you can keep track of your favorite sports teams. This also fixes the "I.T" keyboard bug.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Fight Dementia with Sea Hero Quest

Dementia is a terrible disease that affects tens of millions of people today. Scientists are working to eradicate it but this often takes a lot of data and research. However, we can all help with Sea Hero Quest, a game that uses crowd sourced data to help researchers of dementia. Navigational skills are first to go with dementia, and because scientists don't have an idea of what normal navigation skills are, a lot of data is required. We can all contribute with this game, which gives a lot of data as you navigate mazes of waters in your ship. Sea Hero Quest is available from the Apple App Store for free [Direct Link].

Thursday, November 30, 2017

iPhone X Shipping Estimates Improve to a Week

We were expecting a very rough holiday season for the iPhone X. Not because of lack of demand, but lack of supply. However, we are now seeing that iPhone X models are showing a delivery estimate of December 8. That's about a week! I'm glad to see we're not seeing super long estimates, leaving people worried if their orders will come before the holidays.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Apple Support App Redesign

Right after starting a YouTube channel, Apple Support has updated their app. This update redesigns the app, making it similar to the redesigned App Store in iOS 11. It has a Discover tab, which allows for easy discovery of tips and tricks. The Apple Support app is available for free from the Apple App Store [Direct Link].

Image Credit: MacRumors

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Apple Support YouTube Channel

After Apple created the Apple Support Twitter account in 2016, they complemented it with a YouTube channel. Apple has shown it will go to many lengths to stay relevant with social networks. They made a Tumblr page for the iPhone 5c and they have a Snapchat account. I just find it funny how they advertise the addition of YouTube (See embedded video below). Mostly because the YouTube app is shown, which literally violates every user interface design choice made by Apple. YouTube uses their own custom Material view, which is native to Android's user interface. So, in that way, it almost feels like they're advertising Android to some extent. Am I overthinking this? Probably. Anyways, the channel is currently showcasing some simple tips and tricks.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Another iOS 11 Keyboard Bug

After the famous "A[?]" autocorrect bug, which would auto correct "I" to "A[?]", we have another bug, which corrects "it" to "I.T". This isn't happening for everyone, but a few hundred people have complained about it [Source: MacRumors]. My guess for these errors would have to be Apple's deep learning algorithm takes keyboard data from users around the world who consented and found that enough people used "I.T" to justify the autocorrect. This would make some sense considering "I.T." can be an abbreviation of Information Technology.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

New iPhone SE May Come in 2018

Apple may have plans to make a new iPhone SE for release in 2018 [Source: Economic Daily News]. The current iPhone SE is modeled aesthetically after the iPhone 5s and functionally after the iPhone 6s. We could see one modeled aesthetically after a hybrid iPhone 5s and iPhone X. This would be an iPhone 5s with a full screen and Face ID. Whether that will happen, I can't say. There is a good possibility that it would have a glass back to enable wireless charging, so that would be interesting regardless. We will likely hear about this in March of 2018.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Amazon Echo Buttons Available for Pre-Order

Amazon announced Echo Buttons two months ago and now they're finally available to pre-order. Echo Buttons lets Alexa in on family game night. With compatible skills, Alexa can keep track of individual players' scores through buttons. Each player has a button and can buzz in when the time is appropriate. They are available in packs of 2 for $20 on Amazon [Direct Link]. These will ship December 19.

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Friday, November 24, 2017

Improved iPhone X Supply Not From Weak Demand

We've seen vast improvements in iPhone X supply, dropping to just 1-2 weeks in the U.S. According to a source from MacRumors, Apple is experiencing better than expected production, not weak demand. With such quick improvements, it would be easy to say that the demand dropped. However, we are seeing that the TrueDepth camera and antenna components are being produced quicker. This is heavily contributing to more worldwide availability.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Black Friday 2017

Happy Thanksgiving to all! I hope you've all had time to spend with your families and had the chance to relax a bit. But, it is my duty to remind you that we as humans living in 2017 thrive on one thing, and that's buying stuff. And what better day to do so on Black Friday. That being said, here's my routine for Black Friday. First, check your iTunes Wish List for any discounts or sales. I have an iPad still running iOS 10 that let's me see my App Store Wish List. The Wish List was removed in iOS 11 unfortunately. Next, check for software that has an annual update. For me, that would be VMWare Fusion or MacFamilyTree. They typically have great deals on Black Friday, making this the best time to upgrade. Finally, if you like video games, check sites for good deals. Steam has great deals as always. The Nintendo eShop for Nintendo Switch is celebrating it's first Black Friday, and there are some nice deals, particularly from Indies. Regardless, make up your own routine that fits your lifestyle and see if you can find any good deals.