Monday, November 12, 2018

My Thoughts On The New Apple Pencil

I got a chance to try the new Apple Pencil the other day. The first thing I noticed when I picked it up was the difference in just holding it. The original Apple Pencil had this weird heft that doesn't belong in a pencil. This pencil is much lighter, and it doesn't feel like you're waving around a lightsaber every time you draw a line with it. The other difference is the material. The original Apple Pencil had a glossy texture. If I were to describe the new texture used, I would call it "synthetic wood." My point is, it felt way more like a pencil, rather than an overpriced stylus. I didn't use it enough to see how useful it would be in normal use, but I can imagine that it's an essential for iPad Pro users.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

iPhone X Display Repair Program

As an iPhone X user, I haven't experienced any of the issues described here (yet), but apparently, a lot of people have been experiencing issues where the iPhone X's touch screen becomes unresponsive. In addition, this has been going on for a while with some users, so Apple has decided to launch the iPhone X Display Module Replacement Program. Any user experiencing the issues described should go to an Apple Authorized Service Provider or Apple Store for a repair at no cost.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Mac Mini's Upgradability

Since the last major redesign of the Mac mini, Apple has made it relatively easy to upgrade the internals of the computer. With a new model finally available, Apple has made a major change in this regard [Source: iFixit]. The RAM is now upgradable, while it used to be soldered down. CPU and storage are soldered, meaning it isn't easy to upgrade them. Storage used to be able to be upgradable, so this is a bit of a hinderance.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Amazon to Sell Apple Products

Amazon has been notorious for selling non-certified Apple products. Many have been scammed or ripped off trying to buy Apple accessories and products. According to CNET, Apple and Amazon have come to an agreement to sell Apple products on Amazon. Products like the iPhone, Apple Watch, and iPad Pro will be available for purchase. The HomePod won't be available due to competition from the Amazon Echo. This seems like a good move. You can buy pretty much anything on Amazon except for official Apple products at the moment. I usually buy from an Apple Retail Store, but Amazon would be a close second. I would probably buy official accessories from Amazon over an Apple Store just because it's more convenient. I'm sure this will benefit Apple and Amazon given Amazon's massive appeal to consumers.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Apple Watch Celebrates Veterans Day with Activity Challenge

Sunday, November 11 is Veterans Day. To celebrate, Apple has created a challenge to get people out and about. If you do a workout of 11 minutes or more on Veterans Day, you'll receive a new achievement badge. This applies to any workout done through the Workouts app on Apple Watch.

Image Credit: MacRumors

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

11" iPad Pro Features Better Keyboard

The 11-inch iPad Pro is based off of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, but with more screen space. One of my biggest complaints about the 10.5-inch iPad Pro is how its managed to mess up typing. iPad from the very beginning was meant to feel great while typing. Even if a laptop was available, an iPad keyboard was never meant to feel compromising. Thanks to GottaDeal on Reddit, we know that the 11-inch iPad Pro has a larger keyboard with new keys for tab and caps lock, similar to the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. How good this will feel compared to the 10.5-inch model, that's yet to be seen.

Image Credit: GottaDeal via MacRumors

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Apple Third Street Promenade Reopening

With a number of Apple Stores re-opening this month, I have to shine some light on the Third Street Promenade store. This store is located in Santa Monica, California. I obviously have had mixed thoughts on the marketing Apple has used in the past few years. I'm sure I can write an essay about that with the upcoming holiday ad. But Apple did something really cool to promote this store. They made an Apple logo that really captures the essence of the beachside retail store. Details like the bite of the Apple turning into a palm tree is so cool to me. The marketing goes further with special icons for creative sessions. It reminds me of the You Are Here mug collection from Starbucks, which also used vector art to symbolize landmarks.

Monday, November 5, 2018

The Marvel of the New Apple Pencil

We've been waiting for a new Apple Pencil for quite a while now. The original Apple Pencil went down as one of Apple's worst designs for a product. It had no place to be stored, it could easily roll off of the table, the cap could easily be lost, there were no functions that integrated with the app being used, and, most annoyingly, it would plug into iPad to charge. So not only can you not charge your iPad while charging the Apple Pencil, but it turned your iPad into a lollipop. At least the Apple Pencil charged within seconds. This iteration of the Apple Pencil is a perfect example of Apple turning feedback into reality. I didn't even think of accidentally mistaking someone else's Apple Pencil as my own, but now we have engraving, adding an element of uniqueness to the stylus. The inductive charging that sticks to the iPad is what we've wanted for so long.

Now, the biggest flaw of the Apple Pencil would be in the native Notes app, which can be updated. It's subjective, but I am not a fan of the Notes app paired with Apple Pencil. Maybe it's a good thing, but I highly prefer other apps to use with Apple Pencil. However, with Evernote in the situation it's in, and the rapidly changing state of third-party apps, I find myself wanting to switch to a new note taking app pretty often. The idea of Apple's Notes being the end-all be-all of note taking apps would be nice because I know Notes is here to stay.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

First 5G iPhone Coming in 2020

5G is the next generation of cellular data, but it is still a far off reality for the consumer. According to Fast Company, Apple will be using Intel modem chips capable of using 5G in 2020. It's still two years off, but at least we don't have to get our hopes up for 2019. Given what a jump 4G LTE was from 3G, 5G should be a breath of fresh air. 4G LTE was introduced in the iPhone 5, over five years ago.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

iPad Pro's Benchmarks

Apple certainly brags about the new iPad Pro's immense power packed into a thin tablet. They went as far as to compare it to the Xbox One S, which is a pretty bold claim. They showed some good and bad examples of what the iPad Pro was capable of, but in the end, quantitive data is king. Thanks to Geekbench, we now know the benchmark scores of the iPad Pro are comparable to those of the latest MacBook Pros. Looking at the graph below from MacRumors, you can see the results for yourself. While these numbers are impressive, that still doesn't necessarily represent real-world situations. We don't have too many desktop class apps that will take full advantage of this power. iOS isn't the best framework to build this statistic off of. And without a fan, this score likely won't hold in power-heavy situations.

Image Credit: MacRumors

Friday, November 2, 2018

Spotify Coming to Apple Watch

With the Apple Watch becoming more and more independent, Spotify can only benefit with an Apple Watch app. There are certainly apps that work better than others on Apple Watch, but I think we can agree that a music app is a smarter pick than something like Twitter or Day One. Spotify’s Apple Watch app is still in public beta, but I’m sure we’ll see it hit the public soon. 

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Smartphones Outpacing Lithium-Ion Technology

Lithium-ion batteries are the life-force of most portable devices today. They made alkaline batteries (AA, AAA, etc.) nearly obsolete. Why find a C battery for your flashlight when you can just use your iPhone? According to the The Washington Post, smartphone technology may be advancing too fast for lithium-ion batteries, which brings into question whether an alternative should be used soon. The iPhone XS was ranked a worse battery than the iPhone X. The full chart is below. Take note of the color of the bars. Gray bars represent 2017 phones while blue bars represent 2018 phones.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

iOS 12.1 Add Battery Performance Management to More Devices

Battery Performance Management was introduced earlier this year in an update following controversy about performance throttling. iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus were not affected by this change. However, iOS 12.1 added Battery Performance Management to these devices. This is interesting because this feature is only relevant for older devices, so we now see when Apple sees fit for devices to have this feature.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

My Impressions of the New iPad Pro

I love the iPad. It feels totally different from an iPhone, yet very familiar. When I owned the original iPad, I thought it was cool, but there was plenty of room to grow. With the iPad Air 2, I thought it was a very solid model, but it could use a power boost. I felt the iPad needed a better way to compete with desktops in the post-PC era. As an amateur Android developer and Final Cut Pro video editor in high school, I wanted to be able to code and edit on the go. When I first saw the iPad Pro, I thought this could be the turning point. Apple could embrace the iPad's features and change iOS around it. So, Apple released a new iPad Pro and iOS 11, which was made to distinguish iPad from iPhone. And so, after having an iPad Air 2 for high school, I was equipped with a 10.5-inch iPad Pro with iOS 11 for college. And did it do the job?

Absolutely not.

This iPad, was by far my least favorite iPad. It advertised leaps forward, but seemingly took steps back. The bezels were so thin, it would read false inputs constantly. The camera bulges out from the back, which kind of works on iPhone, but certainly doesn't on iPad. The built-in keyboard is the biggest sin in my opinion. I don't know how Apple managed to mess up a keyboard when you have more screen space to work with, but they did. I typed leagues faster on a 9.7-inch iPad than I ever could on a 10.5-inch iPad. I never took notes on it as I had planned and opted for my MacBook Pro. The Apple Pencil was a half-baked idea. Somehow, my iPad Air 2 always held a significantly more stable WiFi connection, while my iPad Pro would constantly disconnect. Maybe I just had the world's most defective model and this is just me. I still used it, mostly for video streaming, but I knew it had so much more potential. So, given that, what do I think of today's announcement?

This is everything I wanted for my iPad Pro.

I almost wish I had held out a little over a year for this iPad Pro. This iPad feels designed from the ground up to actually work. There is an entirely new magnet system, all around the back and sides of the iPad, that make the accessories actually work as advertised. The Smart Keyboard always looked like a circus act when trying to stand it up. Now, the magnets hold the keyboard cover in place. The new Apple Pencil finally can charge by just having it magnetically attach to the iPad. It all feels very intentional and robust. They made it clear that every orientation is the right way to hold it. I personally prefer using iPad horizontally. But I'm also left-handed, so my Apple Pencil would have to attach to the other side of the iPad. I do still see some flaws from the iPad Pro. I'm sure the bezels will give me a hard time and the camera could get annoying, but we're seeing improvements that we've been wanting for a long time, and I'm very happy with that. The fact that the Apple Pencil no longer rolls on desks and can be engraved amazes me.

Monday, October 29, 2018

iOS 12.1 Releases Tomorrow

Apple announced that iOS 12.1 will release Tuesday, October 30. This is timely considering that the October Apple event is the same day. iOS 12.1 brings group FaceTime, dual-SIM, and enhanced depth control for the latest iPhones. There's also a slew of new emoji that no one will notice. We can expect this update to drop at about 10:00 Pacific Time.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Next-Gen AirPods

After Apple hinting at "Hey Siri" support for AirPods at their September event during the intro video, it seems inevitable that we'll see them at the October event. It's almost like Apple filmed the intro video, realized that AirPower would be delayed, and delayed the announcement of these new AirPods. Granted, it is unusual for Apple to hint at any new product with a concrete feature during an intro video. If AirPower has any update, it seems like AirPods will have an update as well. The video is embedded below.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

iFixit Teardown of iPhone XR

Our first look into the iPhone XR comes from none other than iFixit as usual. There's not too much new, but it is interesting when taking in the context of other iPhones. iFixit goes into how the internals compare to models like the iPhone 8 and the iPhone XS. They note that the internals are like a cross between the iPhone X and the iPhone 8, with a rectangular battery and logic board. To see their full, in-depth analysis, check out iFixit's full report.

Friday, October 26, 2018

iPhone XR Released

Apple today released the iPhone XR, the more affordable and more colorful version of the iPhone XS. The phone has made the headlines in the past few weeks. Initial impressions from around the internet give the iPhone XR a strong first impression. The increased adoption of the iPhone X-style screens will hopefully encourage more developers to take full advantage of the larger screen size.

Shazam App Acknowledges Apple Acquisition

Apple is finally able to begin taking steps to overhaul Shazam to their liking after their acquisition. The first step is a new Shazam privacy policy [Source: iGeneration]. The privacy policy simply states that all Shazam data is now under ownership of Apple. That's not a huge concern considering Apple is Apple and not Google. In the future, we can expect better integration between Shazam and Apple Music, which sounds exciting.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Every Apple Logo for the October Event

As you may know, the October event for the new iPads has been marketed with a variety of different Apple logos made by artists. Every time you reload the site for the event, the logo will change. Thanks to a MacRumors reader, we now know there are over 350 Apple logos created for the event. All of them are available to view on an Imgur album created by MacRumors.

All of the Apple logos from the October 30th event invites