Monday, February 19, 2018

iOS 11.2.6 Released with Critical Character Fix

Today, Apple released iOS 11.2.6, which contains an important fix for a specific character in the Indian language, Telugu. If sent or received in Messages, Safari, and many other apps, the app would become unresponsive. I think it's important to note that if someone sends this character to someone else, both parties are affected, if running iOS. If you run iOS 11, I recommend you update. 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Apple Music and TV Shows

I know I’ve talked about this before, but this article comes with the news that Apple is renewing its Carpool Karaoke series for a second season. I’ve also read reactions to this from the internet. If you don’t know my stance on Apple branching into the entertainment industry, in short, I don’t like it. I get that Amazon creates entertainment now, but that doesn’t obligate every company in the tech industry to start creating content. Apple has a lot on its plate. A lot of people depend on their services. Computers, smartphones, watches, video editing software, a cloud service, photo backup, server software, retail, events at retail stores, professional support, a navigation system, contactless payments, and much more. A good amount of these are relied on by many. The last thing I need is any one of these losing support because Apple is too busy negotiating which celebrity to book to sing in a car. Granted, that could be seen as a bit extreme, but it’s something that doesn’t need to happen. If they don’t renew this series, Apple won’t have any new original content, and I’m fine with that. One of the biggest counter arguments to this is that Carpool Karaoke is not directed to tech enthusiasts. That couldn’t be more true. What’s also true is that the target demographic is blissfully unaware of Carpool Karaoke on Apple Music. Apple put very little marketing into the series. Perhaps it’s because the series lost the shred of relevance it had several years ago. When Apple is faced with critism about buggy software and promises of software updates for features that should arrive at launch, I don’t need Tim Cook distracted by this side project. 

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Twitter Discontinues macOS App

When the Mac App Store released, it remember Twitter was one of the first apps I downloaded. It’s clear that Mac apps function very differently than iOS apps. Mac apps should take advantage of the greater power and screen space of a Mac. When it doesn’t, it functions best as a website. People use websites more for these smaller apps. Twitter is noticing this change and allocating it’s resources into its website for desktops. Twitter is discontinuing it’s macOS app. I can understand this. When you pay a team to maintain the entire social network on many platforms, it can become obvious that it isn’t worth supporting a Mac app that probably isn’t frequently used, when the web version works just as well. 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Belkin iPhone X Screen Protector Available Again

After not being on the market for almost two months, the InvisiGlass Ultra Screen Protector for iPhone X is finally available again. They were taken off the market after they started cracking under normal use. It is now 0.29mm thick instead of 0.21mm thick. It should be noted that Apple Stores will use a tool to help install Belkin Screen protectors. It is available for $39.95 on Apple’s website [Direct Link].

Thursday, February 15, 2018

HomePod Coasters

Just after the news of HomePod leaving white marks on certain wood surfaces, Pad & Quill have announced an accessory that will hopefully prevent this. It's a low-profile coaster for the HomePod. They're Leather HomePod Coasters. If not for this white mark thing, this product would have next to zero attention. It probably would've reminded me a bit of the pointless Apple Pencil case that retails for $29.00 on Apple's website. But this actually serves a purpose for some. They're available in Whiskey and Chestnut for $19.95 each [Direct Link].


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

HomePod May Leave White Marks on Wood

The HomePod has a silicone base to dampen vibrations created by the speaker. However, this may lead to your HomePod leaving white rings on your wood if it has an oil or wax finish. While these rings should eventually fade, it's creating a good amount of buzz from some owners. You can use a damp cloth to help remove the marks, but to avoid them all together, consider a different surface to place your HomePod on.

Image Credit: Wirecutter

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Processing Power in Exchange for Advertisements

Advertising revolutionized the digital web and led to the rise of more content creators across the internet. It seemed simple enough. People browsed the internet. Their habits tailored their ad experience. They might read an article and see an advertisement that peaks their interest. There may be one just to the right of this article (shameless plug). But the rise of ads have also led to the rise of ad blockers. News site Salon is taking an interesting approach to counter this. If it detects you're using an ad blocker, it will kindly ask you to disable it or it will ask that you lend some processing power to them. This processing power is helping them mine cryptocurrency. This isn't the first website to do this, but it's very interesting how is has sprung up.

Image Credit: SlashGear

Monday, February 12, 2018

Potential iOS 12 Features

iOS 12 is rumored to cut down on major features in an effort to make more bug fixes. I think bug fixes are really important right now. However, we may have a glimpse into what Apple has planned for iOS 12 aside from bug fixes [Source: Bloomberg News]. FaceTime may see Animoji. Animoji would be augmented over a face in the video call. Do Not Disturb will get new options for more customizability. We also expect for iOS apps to finally be truly cross platform with macOS. Hopefully, the bug fixes will be worth it.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Drones at the Winter Olympics Opening Show

The 2018 Winter Olympics are currently ongoing and the opening show was this last Friday. One of the highlights of the show was when a record 1,218 drones went into the skies. Created by Intel, each of them were equipped with LEDs that create a light show in the sky. Patterns are animated and the drones fly to recreate the animation. Think of each drone as a single pixel, all synced up in unison to create a large image. It's an amazing thing to watch. Check it out below!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Disable Live Photos in Messages

When you take a photo in the Messages app, you're presented with a smaller version of the camera interface. You can take a photo by tapping the little button at the bottom of the frame. However, with an iPhone 6s or later, this will usually take a Live Photo. To disable this Live Photo for each individual photo you're about to send, tap the Live Photo icon in the top left corner of each picture you took. This will put a slash there, signifying that it will not be Live.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Apple Discounts Select Beats Products

With the release of HomePod, Apple is temporarily discounting some of their Beats products. BeatsX are normally $149.95, now just $119.95. Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless are usually $199.95, now $159.95. Finally, Beats Solo3 Wireless are regularly $299.95, and now cost $239.95. If you've been looking for any deals on Beats products, Apple is finally discounting them, however, be sure to check out Amazon, as they often give greater discounts.


Thursday, February 8, 2018

Users Give Impressions of HomePod

HomePod is finally out, and users have been sharing their impressions. The general consensus is that HomePod deliveries amazing audio quality, which is obviously good considering it streams most of its music from Apple Music. Another point of agreement owners have is how well it picks up the phrase “Hey Siri.” Raj Deut on Twitter notes that the touch controls on top of HomePod can get very cluttered with fingerprints. Hopefully, we’ll see some Siri updates considering how on-par the hardware is. 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Apple Watch Could Detect Early Signs of Diabetes

A new study from Cardiogram suggests that Apple Watch could detect early signs of diabetes. Based on heart rate data. Apple Watch could tell the difference between diabetic and non-diabetic users 85 percent of the time. 14.011 people participated with either an Apple Watch or an Android Wear device. Considering the amount of people wearing an Apple Watch today, it boggles my mind how many health innovations we could get from this little device. Prevention is key with many diseases, and I have always believed that the future of health is digital. Yearly checkups with holistic reports don't do much for patients, so having this hard data can let your watch become your doctor, delivering important notifications on the spot. 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Our First Look at iOS 11.3's Battery Health Features

Apple promised that we would get new battery health features in a near update. In iOS 11.3's latest beta, we see what this is. In the Battery settings, there is a new section for Battery Health. This will show the maximum capacity a battery is capable of holding. Third party apps could already show us this, but it's nice to see this officially from Apple. From here, you can disable the performance management option if your battery is degraded enough and suffers an unexpected shutdown. Once you disable it, you cannot re-enable it until your phone suffers another unexpected shutdown.

I should reiterate that this whole thing wasn't a big deal from the start. If you've read me for a while, you know I have quite a few gripes with Apple and their decisions, but I think the flack they've gotten from this is just ridiculous. Mostly because people kept acting like it was a conspiracy or something and that someone found this out from a datamine or something. No, Apple publicly disclosed this and the news spread faster than it could be told accurately. Also, the general public likely wasn't educated on how a lithium-ion battery chemically degrades, and I don't expect them to. We Americans also really love class-action lawsuits because "we didn't pay for this!" But in the end, I guess it all works out, because there's a neat new tool for battery health now and the general public can freak out over it. I'm fine with this, but I can see why Apple didn't want to make this available. Apple has always been about keeping the user from worrying about the technical aspects of a device, especially with iOS. Having a phone manage performance for you was part of that. The next thing you know, people will start filing class action lawsuits because their iPhone 3GS doesn't run 99% of apps in 2018 or because their phone didn't defy gravity and the screen cracked.

Degraded Battery Health
Normal Battery Health

Monday, February 5, 2018

Possible Product Refresh in March

According to the DigiTimes, Apple May refresh some of their products in March. The products would include MacBooks, iPads, and an iPhone. Based on this, I wouldn’t be surprised if the MacBook or MacBook Air got an update, and we saw a budget iPad update. In addition, the iPhone SE 2 would probably be this iPhone refresh. The source’s credibility is a tossup, as they have a sketchy record. They brought hope that the 10.5” iPad Pro would be announced in April, which got my hopes up. We didn’t see it until June at WWDC. 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Apple Music May Surpass Spotify This Year

This tidbit of news was something I wasn’t expecting. After so much news about how well Spotify has been doing, The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple Music is growing at 5%, while Spotify is growing at 2%. Should this continue, Apple Music would best Spotify in users this summer. Note that this is only in the U.S. This is good news for Apple, but it’s important to note that HomePod is not compatible with Spotify and only Apple Music, so perhaps this is a factor in the uptick of subscriptions. 

Saturday, February 3, 2018

HomePod is Half Off for Apple Employees

I’ve had a lot of gripes about HomePod’s price. I’m not a fan of the $349 price tag, especially when Apple (and many reporters) say the experience is best with two. But it looks like Apple employees will be getting the HomePod at a steal, according to their claims on Twitter. Around $175 each. That seems much more worth it. It’s just over the price of AirPods. It also makes it $350 for two, instead of $700 for two. Let that sink in. It makes me want to work for Apple before I buy a HomePod. 

Friday, February 2, 2018

1.3 Billion Active Devices

A billion is a big number. We have over 7 billion people on this planet. Apple has reached 1.3 billion active devices according to a press release from Apple. While this doesn't mean every one in seven people on this planet own an Apple product, it is nothing to scoff at. About two years ago, Apple hit a billion active devices. Keep in mind, this counts Apple Watch, Apple TV, Macs, and iOS devices. Let's hope this grows more.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

HomePod Audio Sources

A week before the HomePod's launch, we now know every way HomePod can be delivered audio [Source: HomePod Tech Specs]. Obviously, there's Apple Music, which lets users stream millions of songs. There's also the user's iTunes library, iCloud Music Library, audiobooks, and podcasts. HomePod also has access to Beats 1, Apple Music's live radio station. Finally, and most importantly, there's AirPlay. This is essentially a digital AUX cable for HomePod, where any outputted audio from a compatible device (i.e. an iPhone) will be streamed to the HomePod. That being said, there is no native third-party support for apps like Spotify. Hopefully, Apple expands this eventually.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Uber's Apple Maps Integration Has Disappeared

iOS 10 brought third party integration for Apple Maps. For example, getting directions would offer you ride sharing options. Uber and Lyft were the two that were featured typically. In addition, Siri would be able to book a ride for you. However, Uber's latest update removes this [Source: MacRumors]. Is this intentional? Was this Apple's or Uber's decision? Will Lyft follow? There's a lot of confusion right now as to why this happened. Hopefully, we get an official statement eventually.

Image Credit: MacRumors