Sunday, March 18, 2018

iOS 11.3's Potential Release

iOS 11.3 has been talked about for a while. Since the beginning of the year. It feels like a rather large update, even though it's a minor one. It has battery management features, which were announced with Apple's response to the performance throttling issue. We also saw the brief appearance of AirPlay 2. I'd like to see Apple's acknowledgement of most of the new features in iOS 11.3 followed by an announcement, and I think this education event will be the time to do that. Apparently, we will get something called ClassKit as well. I really hope that iOS 11.3 is released about a week after the presentation, if not sooner. That's my prediction.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Rapid Change of the Smartphone Camera

The original iPhone had a 2 megapixel camera. At the time, the iPhone camera was designed to be simple and convenient. Your phone was something you would carry anywhere. Anytime you needed to take a picture, you could. Today, we often use smartphone cameras to take pictures for reference. For example, let's say you need to take a picture of a flyer. You wouldn't be carrying around a point-and-shoot randomly, but even if you were, you'd have to take it back home and import it to your computer from your SD card. And even then, that picture is only available for viewing when you're on your computer. Moving on, the iPhone 3GS made a huge leap by introducing "tap to focus." The foundation of smartphone photography was formed when this came out. You could also take video on an iPhone now. The iPhone 4S had an 8 megapixel camera, which made images much clearer. Suddenly, other smartphone companies bragged about their cameras because they had more megapixels. For years, Apple improved their optics. This is where Apple differentiated themselves. They realized that there was a breaking point. It wasn't about megapixels anymore, it was about the overall quality. Today, with the iPhone X, we have Portrait Mode, Live Photos, and an optical lens. At this point, smartphones have replaced so many consumer cameras. And I notice that at this point, all smartphone cameras are the same in terms of quality. I notice that competitors to the iPhone brag about a slightly better camera rating. When I look at the comparisons, the photos are almost identical. If I took a photo on my iPhone, I wouldn't say, "It's great, but I wish the lighting were a hair better." I'm not suggesting that companies shouldn't make improvements to their optics anymore, but I think features like Portrait Mode, Live Photo, and HEIF help iPhone stand apart from its competitors. Features are now the next big thing to compete over.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Educational Apple Event Announced

Apple is hosting a keynote at a high school of all places. To discuss announcements for education, Apple will be doing a keynote at Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago. It will take place on March 27. We are expecting a cheaper entry-level iPad, costing around $259, a new MacBook or MacBook Air, a new Apple Pencil (based on the invite), and iOS 11.3, with something called ClassKit.

Image Credit: Bloomberg

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Apple Park Visitor Center

Apple Park has been challenging what a corporate headquarters can be with its architectural feats. In this video, I take a look at the Apple Park Visitor Center, located just across the street from Apple Park. Shot on iPhone X.

Music Credit: Hyde

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

AirPower Still Launching in March

Last month, reports surfaced of how AirPower will launch in March. Halfway into the month, DigiTimes has reported that this is still the case. It wouldn't be surprising to hear that AirPower would be delayed, so hearing more reports are welcomed. The enhanced AirPods case with wireless charging will likely launch with this. This will likely be released alongside a press statement. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

WWDC 2018 Announced

Apple has announced that WWDC will take place from June 4 to June 8 this year at San Jose's McEnery Convention Center. A keynote will be held on June 4 and will announce new software, such as iOS 12. Tickets cost $1,599 (exclusive to developers chosen via lottery) and there are up to 350 student scholarships available. Those unable to attend can view the keynote online.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Mac App Store App 'Calendar 2' Mines Cryptocurrency

In recent years, and especially now, we have heard more and more about websites and apps using services like CoinHive, which utilize your CPU (knowingly or unknowingly) to contribute to a large cryptocurrency mining operation. With a declining sustainability of ad revenue (especially with the popularity of AdBlock), many have turned to this method. With strength in numbers, these mining operations can bring in a fair amount of revenue. It's tempting for many, but it is heavily frowned upon. Mac App Store app, Calendar 2, has taken advantage of this by offering it as a "payment" option [Source: Ars Technica]. In exchange for your processing power, you'll get all advanced features for free. In addition, you can disable all advanced features or simply pay for them with money. However, the app mines cryptocurrency by default. That's deceptive for multiple reasons, but that aside, how did this make its way onto the Mac App Store? That remains unknown, but we do know that the app has been taken down since. The developer of Calendar 2, Qbix, is working to remove the miner due to several bugs.

"We have decided to REMOVE the miner in the app. The next version will remove the option to get free features via mining. This is for three reasons:
1) The company which provided us the miner library did not disclose its source code, and it would take too long for them to fix the root cause of the CPU issue.
2) The rollout had a perfect storm of bugs which made it seem like our company *wanted* to mine crypto-currency without people's permission, and that goes against our whole ethos and vision for Qbix.
3) My own personal feeling that Proof of Work has a dangerous set of incentives which can lead to electricity waste on a global scale we've never seen before. We don't want to get sucked into this set of incentives, and hopefully our decision to ultimately remove the miner will set some sort of precedent for other apps as well."
Regardless of any stance on their statement, it raises an important topic of apps and websites using our processing power to mine crypto. So many reports state how developers have to retract or update these apps because they are using too much power. If that's the case for one app, what's stopping other apps from fighting for CPU? All while the user is blissfully unaware of any of this. It's becoming an epidemic fast.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

New MacBook Coming at WWDC

According to DigiTimes, there will be a new entry-level 13.3" MacBook announced at WWDC. It's currently unknown if this could be a MacBook Air or a MacBook. It seems likely that this will be a long-overdue refresh to the MacBook Air line. In addition, it would have a Retina Display. The MacBook Air is the only all-in-one Mac without a Retina Display currently. This would be refreshing given that the MacBook Air feels very outdated by today's standards. That being said, I think the MacBook Air is having an identity crisis, due to the MacBook being thinner and more modern. I'd like to see how Apple would execute a MacBook Air refresh.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Support for iPhone X

iPhone X support will be mandatory soon, but many apps still do not support the new screen size. In a great article, MacRumors reached out to some app developers to see their status on making their apps optimized with the iPhone X. Looking at the article, it seems that most have active plans to update their apps. I believe the App Store guideline for iPhone X support is really pushing this. This will be in effect starting April 2018. I highly recommend checking out the article to see a complete list of the apps.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Google Maps and MAR10 Day

Tomorrow is March 10, which is Mario Day (MAR10), so Nintendo and Google Maps have teamed up to replace the current location point with Mario in a pipe frame kart. With the latest Google Maps update, you can tap the "?" block in the bottom right corner to toggle this theme. This will be available for the next seven days. Google Maps is available from the Apple App Store for free [Direct Link].

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Customize AirPods Gestures

By default, AirPods let you activate Siri by double tapping either earphone. However, you can customize this. On your iPhone, go to Settings > Bluetooth and select your AirPods’ info button. From here, you can choose your gestures for each AirPod. I personally keep my left AirPod for Siri and my right AirPod for the next song. Be sure to experiment with what works best for you. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

New iPad Pro Coming at WWDC

According to Jun Zhang, we could be seeing a new iPad Pro at this year's WWDC. This iPad Pro is expected to have Face ID. This could also mean we get a larger screen on the iPad, which would look amazing, given the mockup below. WWDC is only a few months away and we did see a new iPad Pro announced at last year's WWDC, so hopefully this is true.

Image Credit: Carlos Guerra

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Free Apple Music Trial with Select Car Purchase

By purchasing a Chrysler, Dodge, FIAT, Jeep, or Ram vehicle with CarPlay support, customers will receive six months of Apple Music for free. This runs until April 2019. While that may not sound like a big deal at first, I find it interesting because I remember so long ago, many dealers would offer a month of Sirius XM for free with a car purchase. I think this represents a big change with the large acceptance of CarPlay among cars today. Sirius XM hasn't been doing as well lately while streaming music has become more and more dominant. The fact that dealers are giving them out is an important point in this transition. 

Monday, March 5, 2018

The State of iBooks

Apple has shown a bit of an identity crisis with their iBooks brand. Aside from the fact that "iBooks" is very similar to the name of their precursor to the MacBook, the iBook, betas of iOS 11.3 have shown the app renamed to simply "Books." There have also been rumored of a completely revamped iBooks coming soon. I think changing the name to Books would be best, as eBooks are a very common form of media today and trying to brand them as your own is a bit tacky in 2018. Apple faces a lot of challenges in the eBook industry, especially from Amazon. Now, being on top in the eBooks arena means very little to be fair. Printed books are still very common. But I think Apple could take a note from their competitors and capitalize on their shortcomings. Let HomePod read your books to you with Siri's voice (similar to Alexa). Maybe add audiobooks or iBooks into Apple Music subscriptions to get more people on board with Apple Music and the Books app. Textbooks have not been touched for years and I think some revamping of iBooks Author to cater to interactive novels, manga, comics, and project books would be a great way to drive creators and a more diverse selection of readers. Think Live Photos, but for books, where illustrations could have subtle movements. This would be great for manuals and DIY project books especially. There is a lot of room for improvement.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Consumer Reports Ranks iPhone X Best Camera

Consumer Reports has ranked that the iPhone X has the best smartphone camera on the market currently. There's no denying that the competition has become very close, with controversy in some rankings. I personally have been loving my iPhone X camera. The optical zoom, Portrait Mode, HEIF, and Live Photos are my favorite features. We've reached a point where megapixels don't matter much anymore and it's all about optics and these nice features.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Apple Watch Sales for 2017

Apple Watch has grown significantly over the past few years. At it's launch, it was hard to get certain models and some questioned the role of the device. However, it is hard to deny the device's popularity today. Many people own one. Looking at sales data from IDC, Apple Watch has outsold every competing smartwatch combined in 2017. That is complete dominance. And I think it is the reason why it's so hard to find other smartwatches in the public today. 

Friday, March 2, 2018

Apple Products Last four Years on Average

Horace Dediu has released a report on the average lifespan of an Apple product. He calculated this with the number of active devices and the total amount of devices sold. Based on the recent earnings call from Apple, Apple has 1.3 billion active devices. Taking into account iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Apple Watches, the average turned out to be four years and three months.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

macOS 11 Concept

We have been on macOS 10 for a long time. Sometimes I wonder if we'll ever get a macOS 11 to simplify versioning. Ãlvaro Pabesio has posted a new concept on his vision for macOS 11. With lots of rumors of iOS apps being compatible on macOS, the concept takes this into account and creates a lot of cool features out of it. I also really like the Proactive Siri function and the use of what he calls "bubbles" as UI elements. I highly recommend you check it out.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Apple Releases Support Document on Identifying Phishing Emails

In the past few years, some of my friends and family have shown me emails asking me if they're from Apple. I've seen really well and really poorly crafted emails. Needless to say, these can be common. Even legitimate emails can be worrying. Luckily, Apple has released a support document about how to identify phishing emails posing as Apple. It states that genuine purchase receipts will always have your current billing address. In addition, if you find a phishing email, you should report it to

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

HomePod at WWDC

Full disclosure: this entire article is just my own speculation. So, this June will be the first WWDC with the HomePod officially released. We first saw the HomePod announced at WWDC '17. I think it's important to remember that WWDC is meant for developers primarily, but in this year, it's very clear it is much more aimed towards the general public. Last year, new iPads were announced at the end of the conference. Despite that, Apple makes an effort to focus on software previews so developers can prepare their apps for the new technologies introduced. So, it wouldn't be out of the question to believe that HomePod would make an appearance with a software preview. While there is no "homeOS," I believe Apple would tie a HomePod update into the iOS segment. They will probably announce a new API that would allow developers to create new Siri commands just for HomePod. While I believe this feature should've been at launch, this would fall in line with watchOS 2. watchOS 2 was announced about two months after the original Apple Watch was released. I remember watching it and seeing features that should've been available at launch in watchOS 2. From this, when we see Apple products released early in the year with obvious holes and missing features in them, we can expect them in a update announced at WWDC. And I believe Apple will do exactly that.