Friday, August 18, 2017

The iPhone Edition's Run

What I have referred to on this blog as the iPhone 8 has been often called the iPhone Edition, due to its expensive price and unique design. It would also fall in line with the Apple Watch Edition. This potential naming has led many to wonder, "Will the iPhone Edition have a limited run?" Well, first we have to take in this: the iPhone Edition will not likely go down in price in the coming years. At least not enough to reach what an iPhone 7 would cost today. Given that, iPhone Edition will probably be either a special edition iPhone or will be updated each year as the premium flagship phone, like the Galaxy S8 Edge. The second thing to consider is that Apple could release exclusive APIs and features for the iPhone Edition. It wouldn't make sense just to throw that away the next year. Imagine if Apple did away with the Apple Watch tomorrow. That's not encouraging for developers to adopt Apple's latest technologies. Hopefully, we'll see more iPhone Editions, particularly one with Touch ID. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

McDonald's Uses iPhone 8 Roundup in Marketing

We've seen a lot of confidence put into rumors. People have waited outside Apple Fifth Avenue before an iPhone was announced. There have been cases made for iPhones before they were announced. And now, we have McDonalds using a render of an iPhone, before it has been announced.  The image below is an advertisement for mymacca's from McDonald's Australia. Needless to say, this is fake. The dots on top have been switched to bars in iOS 11. The creator of the render has tweeted on the subject as well. In the end, I'm talking about McDonald's on a tech blog, and in the end, isn't that all McDonald's wanted.

Image Credit: Amir T. via MacRumors

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Facebook Celebrates Birthdays with Donation Features

Birthdays are celebrated in different ways on different social networks. Facebook is taking a new approach by letting the birthday person pick a charity and ask that others donate as a birthday gift. It's an interesting initiative, a large company giving its avid users a chance to ask for donations rather than physical possessions. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Issue with Smart Locks

Everything in the home is becoming tech-enabled, including door locks. Door locks is a bit too much, even for me. Before you buy a smart lock, read this first and determine if they're right for you. Consumer Wi-Fi-enabled locks are what keep your home secure, should you install one. While I don't believe hacking to be a concern, because it would have to be specifically targeted towards you. That being said, I don't think the convenience is worth the sacrifice of security. In addition, if you have an Amazon Echo or similar device (even an iOS device) near an open window, it could potentially hear commands from outside. Since these devices can control smart devices, including smart locks, that could be an unintended security hole. With this in mind, choose wisely if a smart lock is right for you. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Apple Watch Series 3's Selling Point is LTE

According to Ming-Chi Kuo, we have reason to believe that Apple Watch Series 3 will boast LTE connectivity as its main selling point. In addition, there won't be any major redesign. To me, it seems like a weird choice. It's basically advertising a higher cell phone bill. In addition, while it may be a little faster, this is only really useful if the Apple Watch is disconnected from its iPhone, which isn't too often. Hopefully we see more meaningful features. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Pinnacle of Apple Music

You know when you plug your phone into your car and the song alphabetically first starts playing? Well, who would guess that a trending song on Apple Music and iTunes would be the solution to that problem? The song known as "A a a a a Very Good Song" is hitting the charts. This song is literally ten minutes of silence. Because it's alphabetically first, you have time to switch inputs or choose a song to your liking before you're blasted with a song that you're not in the mood for. "A a a a a Very Good Song" is available from Apple Music and iTunes for 99¢ [Direct Link].

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Apple's Audio Future - AirPods

AirPods are easily my favorite earbuds on the market. They do what wireless audio should've been this whole time. Put in an earbud and you're connected. So, how can Apple improve on this? I don't have much, but I would like to see customizable gestures added. Volume up and down with a slide and double tap for the next track. I wouldn't mind seeing that. Other than that, better production times for the next generation would be awesome. AirPods are an amazing companion to an Apple Music subscription and a long study session. I love my pair still eight months later.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Apple's Audio Future - Beats Solo3

Today, I'll be talking about the Beats Solo3 and how it can be improved. Let's get right into it. First off, I think it should use USB-C for charging and as a medium for audio. Micro-USB seems really strange since Beats is owned by Apple, but as long as we're changing the port, we might as well go directly to USB-C. Next, Find my Beats. If AirPods can use Find my iPhone, I see no reason why Beats can't do the same. Personally, I love the design of the Solo3. For me, it sets the standard for on-ear headphones. I love its wireless capabilities, battery life, and iOS integration. I would like to see an update for the Studio line, but for now, the Solo3 does a lot right for Apple and their vision for music.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Apple's Audio Future - HomePod

Apple has had music at its heart since the iPod. With the HomePod coming this year, let's take a look at how Apple can improve this device and how it stands in Apple's history. 

For those who remember, the iPod Hi-Fi was released in early 2006. It was a speaker that you would plug in an iPod and enjoy music in your home. Steve Jobs said when he introduced it that the iPod was an on-the-go device. But Apple wanted to expand to home audio. It ultimately flopped and was discontinued less than two years later. Fast forward eleven years, and we have the HomePod. This time, the playing field has changed. I have emphasized how music is now in the cloud and not in our pockets. HomePod requires no device plugged in to it, untethering your device. Yet, despite this, I believe HomePod will not do as well as Apple hopes (at least not in its current state) and will ultimately be remembered as iPod Hi-Fi 2. Why?

First, the iPod may have caused the downfall of both of these products. People like to listen to their music using headphones, even if its in their own houses. Maybe it's just me, but do people really sit down in their houses anymore and listen to music for extended periods of time? If so, do people do it frequently enough to justify $349 speaker purchases? People have families and neighbors that will be disrupted by loud music. Personally, I don't think either of these products accomplished anything normal headphones will. Plus, headphones can be taken anywhere. These products don't even have batteries to take to a get-together.

Let's talk money. iPod Hi-Fi was priced at $349. HomePod is priced at $349. Need I say more? You can't justify the price by saying Echo is $200 and a good speaker is $300 so a combination would cost $500. That's not how anything works. By that logic, the original iPhone probably would only be owned by seven people in the world. I'm no audiophile, but I love the speaker quality of the Amazon Echo (not the Echo Dot). For less than $200, I'm getting a great speaker (if I ever even need to use it), plus an amazing assistant that works well. Which brings me to my next point.

Apple, come on. You can't just announce you're adding translations and a few other trinkets to Siri and call it a day. You're getting beat up in the ring with Alexa and Google. You're grating on the nation's last nerve with your classic "but I found this on the web" bit. A Bing search isn't going to get you anywhere.

So, why do Google Home and Amazon Echo work? They don't put a huge focus on music. They focus on the experience. Those little moments when you ask your family a random trivial question that no one knows the answer to, but then you ask Alexa and she tells you. That's why we buy these smart speakers. We disregard the fact that we have a microphone recording us constantly for that, and we love it. And now, Google Home and Amazon Echo are even replacing the home phone with their products, which I love! It's genius, and it's something I wanted Apple to do long ago. 

Keep in mind that the Amazon Echo and Google Home don't take away from your phone's experience. What you can do on Apple HomePod, can easily be accomplished on your iPhone. Amazon Echo has a full marketplace of skills that are tailored to the Echo's capabilities and Google Home has a growing library of apps too. Apple HomePod hasn't even opened up third-party support. In fact, I don't think it can even do everything iOS Siri can do because it lacks a proper screen. 

Finally, let's talk design. Look, I don't know what you were thinking when you released this Apple, but no one likes it. We know Jony Ive did not work on this. It looks like a roll of toilet paper. It seems way too compact as well. People were expecting it to look like the Mac Pro. A smart speaker should be tall and sleek. It gives off an impression that it's loud but can also listen well from its vantage point. When you're only putting it in one position forever, no one cares how small it is. 

With all of that being said, I do love the features that AirPlay 2 brings, but that will be available on Apple TVs and other speakers that are likely less expensive. I personally believe it's a rushed piece of technology after the smart speaker market became viable and mainstream. There's not much I like about the HomePod, but I hope Apple learns from it.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

3D Touch Limited on iPhone 8

For those who don't know, you can activate the "App Switcher" as the cool kids call today, by 3D touching on the left edge of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 7. However, it seems this will be removed for all devices come iOS 11 [Source: Bryan Irace]. This is likely because iPhone 8 will not be able to physically support this particular action. I get that we need continuity, but it's annoying having to support iPhone 8's downfalls on our devices.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A Quick Update

Hi all. I will soon be attending Arizona State University studying software engineering. Now, how will this be affecting this blog? I can't say for sure yet. I don't intend to immediately end my daily post schedule, however I cannot guarantee that it will remain consistent. If I am really busy or the internet goes down, I won't have a choice. Maybe I should work on a weekly podcast or video series or something instead of this? I don't know. We'll just have to wait and see. Thanks for sticking with me.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Carpool Karaoke Debuts on Apple Music Tomorrow

...

I can't believe I had to write that as a title for a post. Apple, STOP. Just stop. Please. Stop trying to be hip and with the kids. This isn't original, this isn't interesting, and this isn't even on time. If I recall, Apple's Carpool Karaoke was supposed to debut back in April. According to the producers, "Apple has a pulse on everything that feels relevant and feels cool." If this is what they call "relevant" and "cool," I'm sure we can all look forward to an Apple Music produced Fidget Spinner show next year. I get it, not all of Apple's resources are going into this and I'm not obligated to watch it, but when I keep reading articles about how Apple engineers can't put Touch ID into the iPhone 8 after more than a year of time, this doesn't help my current opinion of Apple as a whole. 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

iPhone 8 Could Detect Faces While Lying Flat

iHelp BR strikes again and they have discovered references to "resting" associated with "unlock." This may suggest that the iPhone 8 can detect faces even when the device is lying flat on a surface. This isn't a huge deal at first glance, but it does mean that we likely don't have to hold the iPhone super close to our faces to work. Hopefully, Face ID lives up to the rumors and becomes a true successor to Touch ID.

Image Credit: iHelp BR

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Apple Watch Series 3 May Have LTE

The Apple Watch Series 3 will likely be released this fall. According to Jeffrey Grossman via Twitter, we have HomePod firmware evidence that Apple Watch Series 3 will have LTE connectivity. I'm not sure how this will work. Maybe it's just me, but there aren't many times where I don't have my iPhone, but I have my Apple Watch. Maybe this will make it retrieve data faster, or it will just drain the battery more. Hopefully, Apple Watch Series 3 will have a better battery and faster processor.

Friday, August 4, 2017

AirPods Shipping in 4 Weeks

AirPods are very hard to come by. Apple cannot produce them fast enough. Since release in December, AirPods have had a 6-week shipping estimate. Now, it's finally down to 4-weeks. While that is still quite some time, we finally have a quicker estimate from Apple, suggesting that production has been cranked up.


Thursday, August 3, 2017

iPhone 8 May Record 4K Video at 60 FPS

The iPhone 6s was the first iPhone to shoot 4K video. It was and still is only in 30 FPS. However, because of the rumor rush that is HomePod firmware, we now have details about this. iHelp BR has found evidence that the iPhone 8 will record 4K video in a smooth 60 FPS. Not just the rear camera, but the front one too. Maybe now, we'll finally get that 4K Apple TV.

Image Credit: iHelp BR

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Pay With Your Face: Practically Magic

With the removal of Touch ID in the iPhone 8, Apple Pay will follow suit with the unlock screen and use Face ID for payments [Source: @r_idn]. Face ID could be executed very well by Apple. Samsung unlocked phones when pictures of people were held up to the camera, so Apple putting some measures ensuring a physical face must be present is nice to hear. However, I just find Face ID fundamentally wrong. I don't want to see my face when I unlock my phone or make a payment. It doesn't feel natural. I hold my credit card when I go to use it. I don't put my face in front of it. Face ID will have to work very fast for me to consider it a good replacement for Touch ID. Let's hope so.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Microsoft and Self-Driving Cars

Recently in the news, Microsoft has been working on a self-driving car. Microsoft is probably the last company I want jumping on this bandwagon. I can see it now. Annoying requests to update in the middle of driving. Or maybe someone "accidentally" deletes system32 during routine maintenance. Scary thoughts, but with Microsoft, they build all of their products on the same foundation. Windows Phone, Xbox, the Surface. Hopefully, their venture into automobiles doesn't cause these issues, but it's a scary thought.

Monday, July 31, 2017

HomePod Firmware Reveals iPhone 8 Design

HomePod firmware has been revealing a lot, but this is the most interesting. Below is the icon used to depict what will probably be the iPhone 8. Steven Troughton-Smith, a developer who has dug through HomePod firmware, went beyond this and looked at the actual code. He has found no evidence that there will be Touch ID. Face ID, the face-recognition alternative, will likely fully replace it. It's disappointing to see Touch ID probably won't be in the iPhone 8, considering how long Apple left us in suspense.

Image Credit: Steven Troughton-Smith via HomePod Firmware

Sunday, July 30, 2017

HomePod's Display

Thanks to multiple users on Twitter, we have an idea of how a display would work on HomePod. It would use an LED matrix. While the images below don't look anything like a Retina Display, I would assume that some material may diffuse the pixels, making them more smooth. In addition, it would only display small icons most likely. How effective this display would be, that's anyone's guess.