Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Gold Beats Headphones

The Beats Solo3 and Powerbeats3 Wireless headphones are really being pushed by Apple, and rightfully so. Now we have a special edition gold-like color of the two headphones. In a partnership with Balmain, a French fashion label, these "Safari" colored headphones run at a premium. The Beats Solo3 are $600 and the Powerbeats3 are $250.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Nintendo Switch Online App

I've owned my Nintendo Switch for a few months now and I can safely say that it's probably my favorite modern gaming console on the market. Today, the Nintendo Switch Online app has been released on the Apple App Store. There doesn't appear to have any functionality, as the servers are going under maintenance, however, the app will integrate with Splatoon 2 and it's online modes. Nintendo Switch Online is available from the Apple App Store for free [Direct Link].

Monday, July 17, 2017

Apple Celebrates World Emoji Day

📅. It's July 17, which means it's World Emoji Day. I know, we've been waiting all year for today. Apple is celebrating by updating the movie carousel in the iTunes Store with emojis representing movies. 💁🏻🐗🥀🏰 for example was Beauty and the Beast. Also, new emoji are coming in iOS 11. Anyway, lets not celebrate this holiday any longer than we have to and get on with our lives. 👍

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Should Apple Delay the iPhone 8?

The iPhone 8, or iPhone Edition, is becoming more and more problematic for Apple. Touch ID and 3D Touch is difficult to implement in the screen. So the question is: should Apple delay it? If they do, they would probably put on an event for the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus and announce the iPhone 8 at that event or later in the year. The iPhone 8 would be released at a later date. If not, we would get a watered down phone, potentially without Touch ID. Personally, I would prefer a delayed phone. Touch ID is just too important to me. Leave a comment of what you think in the comments below. 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Core NFC in iOS 11

Apple quietly announced Core NFC for iOS 11 at WWDC. This will add some new functionality to NFC tags. This opens up some possibilities, such as Nintendo's proposal to bring amiibo support to iOS and Android. A few limitations should be noted. First off, it doesn't support iPhone to iPhone sharing or writing to NFC tags. It can only read NFC tags. Second, it only works on iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus currently. Finally, the associated app must be open before the tag is read. For example, you cannot simply tap your locked iPhone to an NFC tag.

Image Credit: MacRumors

Friday, July 14, 2017

Apple's Secret Gift Card Font

Apple iTunes Gift Cards can be redeemed through scanning with your iOS devices. However, most don't think what font is being read. Equinux has solved the mystery. The font is not a regular font like Courier, but rather a custom-made font. By digging through iTunes resource files, the team found two fonts. Scancardium is used to recognize and enter the codes, while Spendcardium hides credit card info as it's entered. With the Scancardium font, you could make your own autoscanning gift card.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Apple Launches Back to School Promotion for 2017

After leaving many to question the promotion's return, Apple has finally launched their annual Back to School promotion. Similar to last year, with the purchase of a MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, Mac Pro, or iPad Pro, you are eligible to pick from a pair of Beats Solo3 Wireless, Powerbeats3, or BeatsX headphones. For a Mac, any pair is free, but for an iPad Pro, only the BeatsX are free. It's an additional $50 for Powerbeats3 and an additional $150 for Beats Solo3 Wireless.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Whatever Happened to Owning Software?

Recently, I've noticed that many developers are converting to the subscription model for app pricing. Instead of a "pay up front and own it for life," it's now "get a free, bricked app and pay monthly for access." While each example has its own variation, they're all roughly the same. Look, I get it. Making money from a one time purchase is not profitable. Not by any means. But I'm tired of Microsoft and Adobe making subscription-based apps an okay thing for any app. We even see Microsoft Office being phased out for Google Drive. Adobe thrives because they're the only choice for PC users. I gladly use Pixelmator for Mac over Photoshop because it's a one time purchase and doesn't have to validate my subscription on startup. But Day One and 1Password, two apps I used to admire, simply cannot sellout to this subscription model. I want to own software, not rent it. These apps don't fit with this model. They're not the type of apps that can push out regular updates that justify regular payment. So what's the solution? My suggestion is to use the model of paid upgrades. The user decides if the major update is worthy of payment. I want developers to show me what I'm paying for before I pay for it, and my payment should act as approval. While I don't know how these app developers' finances are currently, it's clear that many consumers are unhappy with this new model. As a developer, I understand that development and managing said development is difficult, especially as an independent or with a small team. I understand that consumers only look at the final product and never understand what hard work gets put into the smallest details, but that's the unfortunate way this industry works. The consumer in me loved these apps, but not to the point where I'm going to pay $50 a year to get my journals encrypted. Best of luck app developers. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Apple Cramming for iPhone 8

According to Fast Company, Apple is in panic due to problems revolving around 3D Touch and wireless charging. This is all on top of attempts of Touch ID trying to be frantically implemented in the iPhone 8. A bit concerning, since we've been hearing hype about this iPhone for about a year now, and it seems that basic components are starting to not work. Hopefully, we'll see Apple resolve these issues before production.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Amazon Prime Day 2017

Today, Amazon Prime Day started. Prime Day is an annual event that showcases various deals exclusive to Prime members. It's 30 hours long and will end tomorrow night. So far, I've seen copious deals on Amazon Echo devices. I've also seen some SD card deals, which are great if you're in need of stocking up. If you have a minute, take a look at some of the deals. You never know what you'll find with this.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Wireless Charging Accessory May Ship After iPhone 8 Release

According to John Gruber, the wireless charging accessory won't ship until after the iPhone 8 launches. Where have I heard that before? For those who don't know, AirPods were scheduled to be released in October, a month after the iPhone 7 was released. Then, they were delayed until late December. Hopefully we won't see history repeat itself.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

iPhones in High Temperatures

I recently went to Arizona just to find my iPhone overheating. I've only experienced this one other time when I left my iPad in a hot car. iPhones aren't exactly meant to operate over a temperature of 95°F. Depending on certain factors, you will start noticing overheating symptoms when your flash refuses to activate. In the Camera app, the flash button will be replaced by a warning triangle and the flashlight function in Control Center is greyed out. If it's hot enough, your iPhone will be locked until it cools down. The only available function is an emergency call. Be careful if you find yourself in this situation and quickly find a way to cool down your phone. Nothing dangerous is likely to come of this (depending on the temperature), but heat can dramatically ruin your battery life.

Friday, July 7, 2017

iOS 11 Design May Complement iPhone 8 Renders

While renders are meant to give us an idea of what the actual product may look like, these iPhone 8 renders from iDrop, along with many others, use iOS 11's design to increase their accuracy. As you can see below, the images on the left and right showcase the new design style of iOS 11. The dark, fragmented pieces of Control Center in the left render look like pieces of glass sitting on top of the glass phone. The same goes with the right render with AirPlay 2. Combine this with the haptic engine and you have a very immersive experience with the iPhone 8.

Image Credit: iDrop

Thursday, July 6, 2017

All 2017 iPhones Could Feature an OLED Display

According to Nikkei, we could see three new iPhones, all sporting OLED displays. OLED displays are organic light-emitting diode displays, which can use less battery life (results may vary), are faster, and often have better picture quality. We were expecting OLEDs to only be on the iPhone 8, but they could appear on the iPhone 7s and 7s Plus. How Apple would execute OLED displays is very intriguing, given their flexible qualities. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Apple News Could Expand Publisher Options

According to Ad Age, Apple News may expand publisher options because publishers have been hesitant to adopt it as a platform. For cents a pop, Apple could use micropayments to give readers access to certain articles. Apple may also enable access to third-party ads to encourage publishers to monetize on Apple News.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

2017 iPhones to Ship with USB-A Power Adapters

Something I've been curious to know is if the next iPhones will ship with a USB-C adapter. According to Ming-Chi Kuo, this will not be the case. Instead, the next iPhones will ship with the same power adapter included with current iPhones, USB-A. We know that Apple will definitely include USB-C adapters eventually, to support the technology, but that won't be until it's more adopted. 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Rumors of iPhone 8 Removing Touch ID

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has reported that the iPhone 8 will not have Touch ID. A few months ago, Apple was attempting to put the technology in the screen. Instead of Touch ID, 3D facial recognition may be used. While this rumor does come from a reputable source, it is just a rumor and we do have reason to believe it will still have Touch ID. Some suggest that Apple may be keeping their suppliers out of the loop and may be planning Touch ID in the screen, on the back, or in the lock button. I personally hope Apple does not remove Touch ID. It just seems to integral to services like Apple Pay, and given the reception of facial recognition on other devices, it doesn't seem like a good idea.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Amazon Alexa and SiriusXM

When I got an Amazon Echo a year ago, one of the features I was hoping to get was SiriusXM integration. Now, that's a reality. In the Alexa app, go to Music, Video, & Books and find the SiriusXM option. Activate the skill and link your account. Now you can ask Alexa to play a SiriusXM station. For example, "Alexa, play [Station/Channel] on SiriusXM."

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Red Lion Hotels and Apple

Red Lion Hotels is implementing a suite of Apple products into their chain of hotels. In some hotel rooms, Apple TVs will be connected to the TVs. Their iOS app will be updated for mobile check-in and room unlock. No more needing to wait at the front desk. Lobbies will have iPad kiosks. It's cool to see all of this being added, and perhaps we'll eventually see this trend pick up in other hotels. 

Friday, June 30, 2017

Native iOS YouTube App Removal was YouTube's Decision

In iOS 6, along with the transition into Apple Maps, had the removal of the YouTube app. It was added to the App Store as an app published by Google. It has been revealed that this was Google and YouTube's decision. It had a lot to do with the growing smartphone market and the deployment of YouTube on those devices. The decision was not affected by Apple Maps in iOS 6. Many argue that the new YouTube app is not a good user experience, which I can vouch for. While the old YouTube app designed by Apple would not work today, we would see support for picture-in-picture since it would be designed by Apple. The fundamentals of the app would not be changed as frequently as it is today. One example is how a recent minor update completely changed how the scrubber bar detects when it is being pressed. And of course, there would be less bugs and glitches. YouTube uses a custom-made "Material" design used in Android. However, that doesn't work in iOS. Icons are different, it looks foreign, and it leads to bugs. Orientation may get stuck and buttons may not work. Anyways, rant over and mystery solved.