Saturday, October 21, 2017

iPhone X and the iPhone Upgrade Program

We all know about the slim supply of the iPhone X that will inevitably sell out very quickly. For iPhone Upgrade Members, many are planning on upgrading to the new phone. However, they have to go through a loan approval process. To alleviate this, Apple is giving these people a head start on the approval process. This will start on Monday, October 23, where eligible customers can go on the Apple Store app and begin the checkout process for an iPhone X. Once approved, the customer can have a smoother checkout process when pre-orders begin on October 27 at 12:01 PDT.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Apple Stores Won't Upsell Customers to iPhone X

With Apple producing their most expensive iPhone yet, the iPhone X certainly isn't for everyone. And with supply shortages, demand is very high. That being said, Angela Ahrendts, Apple's retail chief, stated that Apple will not be attempting to upsell customers to the iPhone X. She states that not everyone needs the most expensive iPhone.
"Internally we said the tagline was 'an iPhone for everyone,'" she said. "I prefer that we ask you who you're buying it for. If they're 6 or 7 years old, what do they need? If it's someone who's leaning into something else, what do they need? We do that with Mac, we do that with iPad, why wouldn't we do that with [the] phone?"

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Mac Mini's Future

With the Mac Mini not getting an update for over three years now, many are questioning the future of the computer. The Mac Mini lets users bring their own accessories, like a display and keyboard. For this reason, it's very affordable compared to other Apple products. Tim Cook has responded to an email addressing the state of the machine [Source: MacRumors]. He states that it will be "an important part of our product line moving forward."

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

'Hey, Siri' Listens Better After a Failed Attempt

Apple has published a new entry in their Machine Learning Journal. It details how 'Hey, Siri' works better after a failed attempt. In short, there are two thresholds for how likely Apple heard the phrase. At the higher threshold, Siri starts listening to your request. However, the lower threshold lowers the sensitivity for a followup attempt. It's very interesting to see the inner workings of Siri.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Touch Bar Media Button

When playing music or media, Touch Bar will add a fifth button to the compressed Control Strip on the right. However, there are some instances where it can change. With a phone call, the button will change to a green phone icon. With Xcode, you'll get a debug icon. And with BetterTouchTool, you'll get their logo. It's a nice surprise to occasionally discover these new icons.

Monday, October 16, 2017

The iMac Pro Isn't Dead

It wouldn't surprise me to hear that the iMac Pro got delayed until next year, given how much time has passed since we heard about it at WWDC. But Geekbench records beg to differ. These records give strong evidence that the iMac Pro have the scores shown below. I'm not super great with hardware, nor am I great with the whole "PC Master Race" scene, but if anyone wants to see the scores in more detail, check out the Geekbench records.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Discord Video Chat

In a highly anticipated update, Discord has finally rolled out video chat to all users. With this update, users can share screens and video chat with up to 10 people in a channel. This is a pretty momentous update for no other reason than video chat on Discord has made a name for itself. For more information, watch the entertaining video below.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Apple Pencil Support Coming to iPhone in 2019

According to The Insider, Apple is looking to add Apple Pencil support to iPhone in 2019. I’m not saying I’ve been needing this feature, but really? 2019? I’d like to say Apple’s flagship stylus works with more than just one device sooner. I’m not a big fan of styluses because of Steve Jobs, but I understand that they’re good in the right situations, especially if the stylus is not required. That being said, it seems like the Apple Pencil is due for an update in support. Locking it behind iPad Pro models will not sell these very well. Adding support for iPhone would be a step in the right direction. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Avoiding Apple ID Phishing

There is an easy way for malicious developers to request Apple ID credentials while looking completely legitimate. Simply display a prompt with the exact text the legitimate prompts would have. This isn't something you should be constantly worried about since these apps are rare and likely won't come from popular apps. Felix Krause wrote an excellent article about this topic. In short, to verify these popups are legitimate, just press the home button. If you exit to the Home Menu, it's a hoax. If nothing happens, it's legitimate and from the system. This is the best way to ensure you're not a phishing victim.

Image Credit: Felix Krause

Thursday, October 12, 2017

iOS 11 is Installed On More Active iOS Devices than iOS 10

iOS 11 is now on the majority of active iOS devices. Just over three weeks and iOS 11 is at 47.32% adoption [Source: Mixpanel]. iOS 10 is at 46.01% adoption, with the remaining 6.67% on an older version. This is the tipping point I suppose, since the OS is on the majority of devices. As an Android developer, I can confirm what Apple says about Android adoption is true, and having more users on your latest operating systems helps a lot with keeping apps fresh and accessible.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Yelp Gains Support for Apple Pay

Yelp has been updated with the ability to make payments through Apple Pay. This allows for the ability to pay for delivery or takeout, for restaurants that support it. Due to the popularity of Yelp, more so than OpenTable, we may be able to use Apple Pay at many more locations than before. Yelp is available for iOS from the Apple App Store for free [Direct Link].

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Most Prospective Buyers of the iPhone X Intend to Buy 256 GB Model

According to RBC Capital Markets, 57% of all prospective iPhone X buyers intend to buy the 256 GB model, with 43% intending to purchase the 64 GB model. Given that iPhone X is marketed toward those more integrated into the Apple ecosystem, it's not out of the question to believe they use their devices more see it fit to purchase a higher storage capacity. Plus, when you're spending about $1,000 on a phone, many likely think to jump up to avoid storage issues in the future. This does raise questions about how Apple produces these phones. If 256 GB sells out too fast, many will likely be deterred from buying the 64 GB model.

Monday, October 9, 2017

iPad Pro May Feature Face ID

The next device Apple will make to support Face ID will likely be the iPad Pro, according to Ming-Chi Kuo. Of course, this means the iPad Pro will have the TrueDepth camera system the iPhone X will have. If so, this may suggest that the screen will have minimal bezels and have no home button. If Apple sees Face ID as the future, I'm glad they're embracing it by putting it in more devices. I hope that they find a way to add wireless charging to more products as well. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Stop Apple Watch from Showing Now Playing Automatically

In watchOS 4, Apple Watch will automatically open the Apple Watch audio app you're listening to on your iPhone. For example, if you start a song in Apple's Music app on your iPhone, your watch will open the Music app as well. This can be convenient in the right situations, but for many, it's disorientating. To disable this, simply open the Apple Watch app, go to General > Wake Screen and disable Auto-launch Audio Apps. That's it.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

AIM Will Be Discontinued After 20 Years

This year, the last 90s kid will become an adult. Fittingly, AIM, or AOL Instant Messenger, will be discontinued just before the end of the year. December 15, 2017 to be exact. I could go on and on about the rise and fall of AOL, but it’s a perfect example of how rapidly developing technology changes, but also deprecates older technologies. The advancements in technologies made even SMS a bit obsolete in favor of iMessage and other data-based SMS services. It’s no surprise that AIM is being discontinued. I forgot it existed until today.

Of course, I’m a bit saddened by this news. AOL was my first email account I got, and I would use AIM to message far-away friends. Seeing that AIM stick figure... “thing” got me really nostalgic. I was a bit surprised AIM had a Twitter account. Who knows? Maybe somebody will make an “AIM Rewritten” service. With Cuphead doing as well as it is, I wouldn’t mind a 90s nostalgia instant messenger. It’s something to think about. 

Friday, October 6, 2017

iOS Updates Don't Slow Down Devices Intentionally

I've always found this conspiracy theory funny. The idea that Apple intentionally slows down older devices through iOS updates. That's not how that works. Older hardware (which cannot be changed mid-use) does not account for new software (which can be changed on the fly). Major iOS updates typically take advantage of new features on the newest phone. Your older phone does not anticipate these updates since hardware has so many limitations once it's pushed out. That's also why recalls are such a big deal. Futuremark put this entire theory to the test and confirmed that the theory is wrong. Benchmarks of CPU and GPU showed very consistent results over multiple years. While it's not completely definitive, it's a good way to judge these things. Check out their site for the full results.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Quick Impressions of the Google Pixel 2

Yesterday, Google announced some new products. Most notably, the Google Pixel 2. To me, nothing revolutionary was announced. Last year, Google poked fun at the iPhone 7 for not having a headphone jack, only to follow in its steps one generation later. They also made their own AirPods that also cost $159. These are attached to each other, similar to the Powerbeats3 Wireless. The original Google Pixel also barely had better camera specs than its competition, but used it to boast its phone more. The same thing here, with Apple and Samsung tied in the DxOMark test for smartphones with a score of 94. The Google Pixel 2 gets a 98. It's clear we're reaching the threshold for camera optics on a phone. Eventually, it's just going to be more megapixels and less emphasis on optics. It's not that I want to bash on the Google Pixel 2. I waited about 8 months for this phone, hoping to use it as a development phone. But I'm not seeing anything revolutionary. The only benefit I see is a cheaper original Pixel. If there's one last thing I wish to mention, I wish they kept the "Really Blue" color and didn't replace it with "Kinda Blue." Really Blue made the phone look like a blueprint, perfect for a developer phone.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Why Do I Use Yahoo! Again?

Yahoo! has gone downhill, especially when you look back on their decisions. Their search is currently powered by Bing. They chose not to buy Google for $1 million. But this is just... I don't know. Verizon, which now owns Yahoo!, disclosed that the 2013 hack on Yahoo! did not just affect one billion accounts as Yahoo said. It actually affected all three billion accounts in existence. Will this change under the guidance of Verizon or will Yahoo! fade in an era where cybersecurity standards are more important than ever?

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Samsung Will Make More Money from iPhone X than Galaxy S8

According to The Wall Street Journal, Samsung will make about $4 billion more making parts for the iPhone X, than they will making Galaxy S8 parts. For those who don't know, Samsung does supply quite a bit of the parts used in iPhones. Samsung executives occasionally refer to Apple as their best client. With the iPhone X having a large OLED display, it's not hard to believe that Samsung would make a pretty penny with the amount of hype and demand the iPhone X has.

Monday, October 2, 2017

iOS 11 Removes Wish List

iOS 11 has made the unfortunate decision to remove the wish list. This was a feature I've waited forever for before it was finally added in iOS 7. It's a shame that they removed it when Apple made a big deal about the remodel of the App Store in iOS 11. The wish list was a great way for me to keep track of apps I wanted to buy. I would also check it if apps were on sale. If I got an iTunes gift card, I was sure to check my wish list before anything else. Now, I don't know what to spend it on. It's a mystery why Apple would remove this feature.