Monday, December 17, 2018

Apple Offers Free Next-Day Delivery for Last Minute Gifts

Apple is offering free next-day delivery on all items in their online store ordered by December 21 at 3 p.m. local time. Next-day delivery includes weekends. Obviously, only in-stock items apply for this offer. While Apple has been branching out to new retailers as of late, it is nice to see little things like free next-day shipping to make shopping at Apple a more premium experience.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

3D Printed Head vs. Facial Recognition

Forbes used a 3D printed head in an attempt to fool various smartphones with facial recognition. They used an iPhone X, an LG G7 ThinQ, a Samsung S9, a Samsung Note 8 and a OnePlus 6. Every Android phone of the bunch opened up to the 3D printed head, but the iPhone X remained locked. While facial hacking isn't something most people should worry about, it does speak volumes of Apple's TrueDepth system.

Image Credit: Forbes

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Costco Selling Macs Online

Apple may be responding to lackluster sales with new retailers. Earlier, we saw Apple start selling more products on Amazon and now the same is going for Costco's online store. Both Amazon and Costco have had major deals on Apple products since they've had the new listings. The deals put Apple's Black Friday sale to shame. The base 2018 MacBook Air is $200 cheaper on Costco than Apple. Before buying Apple products be sure to check the websites of Costco (if you have a membership) and Amazon.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Apple Music Now Available on Alexa

Earlier this month, it was announced that Apple Music would be available on Alexa starting the week of December 17. It seems that plans have changed, as the Alexa skill is already available. I've already tried it and it works pretty well. It can play my playlists synced through Apple Music. It can even play music that I added manually (not through the Apple Music catalog). To get started, just add the Apple Music skill to your Alexa device through the Amazon Alexa app.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Apple Music Connect To Shut Down

Apple Music Connect was a very small feature in Apple Music. It was similar to iTunes Ping, shut down in 2012. iTunes Ping tried to make iTunes a social experience. Apple Music Connect added artist's posts and tweets into Apple Music. Apple has tried to make music a social experience for too long. I think most people just want a way to get notified if their favorite artists release a new album. Connect content will be searchable until May 24, 2019.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

HomePod Discounted to Apple Music Subscribers in the U.K.

HomePod's biggest problem is the ridiculous price of $350. Target had an offer on HomePods that made it $250 this week, which would be a more appropriate regular price, at least for Apple. Now, Apple is offering those in the U.K. £50 off of HomePod. That's roughly $60 in the U.S., which could eventually translate to a $50 discount. Apple Music subscribers definitely should have a discount on HomePod. Either that, or HomePod comes with three months of Apple Music. The offer lasts until December 16, and there's no work if this discount will expand to other countries.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Verizon Now Supports eSIM

Verizon now supports eSIM, which means you can have a Verizon plan without the need for a physical SIM card. This can be useful for those traveling to the United States frequently or those who have a second phone number with Verizon. Verizon's adoption of eSIM is important for eSIM as a whole. Hopefully, more carriers begin adopting it. Currently, this is only limited to non-Verizon customers who want an eSIM from Verizon. The only iPhones that can support eSIM are iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Samsung Finally Removes the Headphone Jack

Samsung has used the iPhone's lack of a headphone jack as a medium for the mudslinging in their advertising for a while now. However, they'll awkwardly slide that under the rug with their new Samsung Galaxy A8s. It has an edge to edge display and no headphone jack. With Samsung finally jumping on board, there aren't many phones that still have a headphone jack. However, the Samsung Galaxy S10 may still have a headphone jack. That is to be determined, but I believe they will use the A8s to test the waters of certain features before adding them to a flagship phone.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Google Chrome and Dark Mode

Google Chrome is one of the most popular web browsers, for both macOS and Windows. With macOS Mojave, Dark Mode is now available for apps that support it. To satisfy more users, it only makes sense to bring these two together. Thanks to a user on Reddit, we have reason to believe Dark Mode will come by early 2019. It should come out in Chrome 72. 

Saturday, December 8, 2018

iPhone XS Battery Case Could Be Released Soon

The Smart Battery Cases for iPhone are a weird contention point for Apple enthusiasts. It's nice to have an external battery that integrates with iOS. But then you have the ugly silicone material and the hump of a battery that makes you wonder if Apple even cares about Jony Ive anymore. Regardless, it seems that the iPhone XS will be getting a Smart Battery Case [Source: 9to5Mac]. We could even see iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR variations. For all we know, there could be a minor redesign to make it look better, although it's unlikely. We have reason to believe it will release in 2018.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Apple Watch ECG Feature Only Available in the United States

While this is nothing new, it is important to reiterate that the ECG feature on the Apple Watch Series 4 is only available to owners in the United States. This is because of regulations, and the Apple Watch has not been approved outside of the U.S. at this time. The reason to bring this up is because, as MacRumors has pointed out, changing your device's region to the United States will not affect this. Only models purchased in the United States will work with the ECG feature. Hopefully, other countries get this feature soon. This obviously isn't Apple's fault. It's just part of the process.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

watchOS 5.1.2 Released with ECG Support

It's weird to have such a random, minor update have one of the flagship features of a device, but here we are. watchOS 5.1.2 released today, a day after Apple released new updates for so many other products. The timing is weird, but I'm not complaining. watchOS 5.1.2 includes ECG support for the Apple Watch Series 4. This can be very informative for your heart health. Make sure you update your iPhone to the latest software to take advantage of creating PDF reports of your ECG as well.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

iOS 12.1.1 Released, With No Signs of watchOS 5.1.2

iOS 12.1.1 was released today, which brings eSIM support to the latest iPhones. It also adds support for ECG data on the iPhone's side. This isn't useful unless you have an Apple Watch Series 4 with watchOS 5.1.2. Despite so many minor updates from Apple being released today. There hasn't been any sign of watchOS 5.1.2. It will likely come out in the next few days. If it is delayed, it may be to iron out the updating process. watchOS is notorious for bricking Apple Watches. While it's not super common, we do hear of quite a few cases from time to time.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Every Android Flagship Phone Will Have 5G in 2020

Qualcomm's president has stated that every Android flagship smartphone will have 5G by the end of 2019. This comes right after we learned that Apple will likely wait until 2020 to implement 5G. To say that this is a a blow to Apple would be an understatement. I understand that Apple usually waits on things like this, but with iPhone sales showing no signs of speeding up, iPhone is looking to be the laughing stock of smartphones in 2019. We can only hope that 2019's iPhones have something really innovative, but it's too soon to call it.

Monday, December 3, 2018

5G iPhones Coming As Early As 2020

5G is on the horizon as its possibility of being in consumer smartphones becomes greater and greater. However, it seems that Apple will wait until at least 2020 to release an iPhone with 5G compatibility [Source: Bloomberg]. Apple has waited a year with both 3G and 4G as well. This could be a blow with Apple. While waiting on 3G and 4G may have not been a huge deal in their time, 5G will likely be a big selling point, and probably standard by 2019's end. To say that Apple would be left in the dust would leave us with another round of disappointing sales numbers. Things are certainly different this time around.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

New AirPods Not Expected Until 2019

According to Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple will release their next generation of AirPods in the first quarter of 2019. Unsurprisingly, Apple did not get these out by the end of 2018. However, there is an interesting detail. Kuo notes that it will have an "all-new design model." Could this mean we'll see more than just wireless charging and "Hey, Siri" support? AirPods is at that point where people are likely holding out for an update, so an AirPods update is very welcome at this point.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Apple Watch Series 4 Getting ECG Feature in Next Update

Apple Watch Series 4 will be getting an ECG feature, which is arguably one of the flagship features of the device, alongside the major redesign. The ECG feature can help determine if you may be suffering from atrial fibrillation or irregular heart rhythm. The next watchOS update, watchOS 5.1.2, will enable this feature. This feature is still being approved in most countries, but it will be available in the United States. The update is in beta testing, but we can expect the update by the end of the year.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Apple Music and Amazon Alexa

For anyone looking for another reason to not buy HomePod, Apple and Amazon announced today that Apple Music is coming to Amazon Alexa. Starting the week of December 17, you'll be able to ask Alexa to play a song using Apple Music. It's almost poetic that Apple Music as the most popular music streaming service in the U.S. is available on one of the most popular smart speakers. But it does speak of Apple's position on HomePod. Amazon won't sell HomePod because it's technically a competing product, which is being generous calling it that. I've lost almost any reason to buy a HomePod with this news.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Apple and iHeartMedia

iHeartRadio has been the Frankenstein of music streaming. It tried AM/FM streaming, Pandora style-streaming, and Apple Music-style streaming all at the same time, but ended up failing. With iHeartMedia filing for bankruptcy, Apple is taking a look at buying a stake in the group [Source: Financial Times]. My opinion will vary based on how Apple implemented this, but I think it would be good for Apple to have some stake in iHeartMedia. I live in Arizona for university, but I enjoy listening to old fashioned AM/FM radio from California. I can listen to it through iHeartRadio, but I don't enjoy using their app. I think if Apple took iHeartMedia's stations and put them into the Apple Music's radio section, they could strike gold. Asking Siri to play a specific station with HomePod would certainly intrigue me more. Android users would have more incentive to download the Apple Music app and listen to their favorite stations at no cost. iHeartMedia, though bankrupt, could do a lot for Apple.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

iPhone XR Outsells iPhone XS

According to Apple via CNET, the iPhone XR has been outselling the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max everyday since the device's launch. This is a clear indication that the cheaper price point is good for Apple. Now, a lot of people are interpreting this as iPhones are doing fine. Which is weird because this came from an Apple's VP of Marketing. Apple would never admit the iPhone is doing terrible. To say the iPhone XR is outselling the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max is like saying a turtle is faster than a snail. This doesn't mean that the rumors of cutting iPhone XR production is false.