Saturday, October 20, 2018

macOS Mojave Notorization

With the Mac App Store unable to compete with website distribution of macOS apps, Apple has created a program that will notarize apps. Similar to how Mac App Store apps must be approved before being published, notarizing a macOS app not on the Mac App Store will help give users piece of mind knowing the software isn't malicious. The software will be reviewed by Apple. Especially after some apps were found to be using computer power to mine for cryptocurrency earlier this year, it would be nice to have apps that followed this review process. It's totally optional for developers, but it doesn't hurt to try it.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Apple Watch to USB-C Cable

Today, Apple released a new cable, which can charge Apple Watch using a USB-C cable. It features the same magnetic charger, but it features a USB-C end, instead of USB-A. This comes with a plethora of rumors suggesting that the iPad Pro will feature USB-C instead of Lightning. While it's entirely possible that the next iPad Pro may feature some ability to connect to the Apple Watch using this cable, it's more likely a coincidence. The cable is 0.3m in length and costs $29.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Apple's October 2018 Event Announced

Apple finally revealed that an October event is coming up. The invite states: "There's more in the making." Each invite has a different Apple logo, all revolving around creative takes on the iconic apple. The event will take place on October 30 in New York City. Because it's on the east coast, the event will start 10 p.m. Eastern Time.

Image Credit: Todd Haselton

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Latest Mac Mini is Four Years Old

The desktop lineup of Macs has long been neglected, aside from the iMac. It's hard to recommend most of these computers because they haven't been updated in so long. The latest Mac Mini is four years old yesterday [via MacRumors]. It was released October 16, 2014. Even then, it was just a refresh. For reference, I was a sophomore in high school when this came out, and now I'm a sophomore in college. It's quite fitting that we have rumors suggesting this wait is nearing its end. If we do have an October event this month, Apple may finally update the Mac Mini. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Mickey Mouse and Beats

Apple and Disney have had a long relationship. Disney's characters are the only licensed characters available as an Apple Watch watch face. Now, Beats is releasing a Mickey Mouse themed pair of Beats Solo³ Wireless Headphones. It's definitely not for everyone, but it's interesting to see such a limited edition package. It comes with a collector's pin and a special carrying case. The headphones cost $349.95 and are available from the Apple Online Store.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Paul Allen

Microsoft was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in 1975. And since then, it's undeniable the impact Microsoft has had on the computing industry and the world. Unfortunately, Paul Allen passed away today at the age of 65 due to complications with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a form of cancer. The biggest names of Silicon Valley gave their condolences to the Allen family and Microsoft. My prayers go out to his family and those who knew him best.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

The Current State of the Mac App Store

App stores on desktops are hard to pull off. Apple, Microsoft, and even Google have tried pulling it off. The need for an app store on a desktop isn't that necessary. On a smartphone, it makes sense, as it provides a safe and consistent environment for anyone to find an app. There's an even playing field. Mobile apps are constrained to smartphones and don't need the same capabilities as a desktop. Meanwhile, a desktop experience is much more demanding. You might need high-end or professional software. Users can make decisions for themselves and use Google to find these apps. Software developers can create websites that show the full extent of what their software can do through videos, demos, and links to reviews. This matters more with more expensive software. There are many other factors that I haven't pointed out, but it does question the point of the Mac App Store today. I haven't used it in the longest time. There are some great, small apps I've downloaded from smaller developers, and for them, I can imagine the Mac App Store is an ideal platform. But it's clear that in the post-PC era, App Stores are much more optimal on non-PC devices.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Apple Maps Surveyor on Foot

Most Apple Maps surveyors use vans with cameras on top to gather info of areas. However, a MacRumors reader found a man wearing an Apple Maps backpack with a huge camera setup. The setup appears to have the same technology used on the Apple Maps vans. The pedestrian setup seems to fall in line with rumors saying that Apple is looking to put more focus on walking directions in Apple Maps. Given the difficulty of surveying on foot, this will likely be limited to just major metro areas. I would definitely like to see if this would translate to indoor directions.

Image Credit: MacRumors

Friday, October 12, 2018

iPhone XR Clear Case

The iPhone X design is stunning, but it's hard to truly admire it with a case on. The glass backing is a thing of beauty, but it's also something most users would want to protect with a case. The same goes for the iPhone XR. Thanks to ivanincanada on Twitter, we know that a Canadian press release from Apple leaked a clear iPhone XR case. It would be about $40 and only compatible with the iPhone XR. As you can see below, it's a simple case with no logos that keeps the design of the iPhone XR visible. This is especially useful given the color options available for the iPhone XR.

Image Credit: 9to5Mac

Thursday, October 11, 2018

CVS Finally Accepts Apple Pay

Since just after Apple Pay's launch in late 2014, CVS has disabled the ability to accept Apple Pay payments. It created an alternative, called CVS Pay. Earlier this year, Tim Cook announced that Apple Pay would roll out to CVS Pharmacies across the country. Now, the rollout seems to be complete [Source: MacRumors]. After the full cycle of a retailer refusing to accept Apple Pay, it will be interesting to see if Target or Walmart finally begin accepting the payment method in store.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Apple Pencil 2 Rumor

According to 9to5Mac, Apple may release an Apple Pencil 2 alongside the new iPad Pros. This Apple Pencil will be able to connect to different devices based on proximity. If you are closer to one iPad over the other, it will connect to the closer one. It's safe to assume this functionality means future iPhones and other Apple products will finally be able to take advantage of the Apple Pencil. We could see this as soon as next week at an Apple Keynote.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Google's Pixel 3 Conference

Today, Google announced their newest lineup of flagship products. Pretty much everything was leaked before the event. In fact, a little while back, someone actually managed to buy the Google Chromecast announced today at a Best Buy. Google tried to play off the leaks by saying we know nothing, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Needless to say, reactions were mixed. One of my hardcore Android friends switched to an iPhone X because they hated what the Pixel 3 leaks were showing. The Pixel 3 has its ups and downs. For starters, that notch is huge. I think that Call Screen thing is a nice feature. My only gripe with it is that it's basically a glorified voicemail message. In 2018, most people will just let an unknown caller go to voicemail.

I'm sure the camera holds up on the Pixel 3, but that image they said an iPhone XS took was definitely not untouched. At the very least, they turned down the brightness slider in the viewfinder. It should be common knowledge that no quality smartphone takes a photo that bad in the middle of the day.

I'm not a fan of the design of Google's Home Hub. It looks like a toy. But I do like that they didn't put a camera on it. The one thing that has kept me from buying an Echo Spot is the fact that it has a camera. Amazon can put as many microphones in my place as they want at this point. I really have stopped caring, but I don't like the idea of cameras that I will never use in any room of a house.

Finally, I just want to touch on the Google Pixel Slate. Why is Google still hung up on tablets? It seems that the general consensus of Android users don't want Android tablets, mostly because the apps are just scaled up phone apps. You look at the iPad and apps are made from the ground up to take advantage of the larger screen size. And then you hear the presenter go on about how you don't want your tablet to be a desktop, but you do at the same time. Oh, it was a mess. It's weird to say you can buy an iPad for cheaper than the Pixel Slate, and you'll probably have a better experience.

If you couldn't tell lately, I have been very critical of Apple. But one of the main reasons I do that is because pretty much every big player in the tech industry is a fish out of water right now. No one is really in the lead. And because of that, it feels more of a "I just have to outrun you" situation. No one's innovating, they're just increasing specs. And that's odd for 2018. We're living in an era where self-driving cars are already on our streets and we can casually send Teslas into space, but our smartphones are getting more and more predictable. We need to ask more of Silicon Valley, because there has been a lower standard for sometime now.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Google+ to Close

The other day, I did a quick Google search to check if Google+ was still around. Launched in June of 2011, Google released Google+, the social network owned by the technology titan. How could it go wrong? Google embraced it as the future of Google, but it never caught on. Today, Google announced that because of low user usage and a software error that caused a data breach, it would close Google+ in August of 2019. It's definitely about time that Google+ closed its doors, but August certainly is a far ways off for a service that not many people use, especially considering a data breach.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

iPhone Emoji Will Be Updated

If you hate the mainstream nature of emojis as much as I do, you'll likely find yourself slowly zoning out scrolling through articles about how Apple is adding an additional 20 million emojis with each update. However, buried in the pile of new emojis is a small detail being added to an existing emoji. The iPhone emoji is currently an iPhone 8, however, in iOS 12.1, Apple will be updating it to an iPhone X-style model [Source: MacRumors]. Given the radical change in design, this is another step to say that this design is the future, which I think is a nice touch. Take a look at the change below.

Image Credit: MacRumors

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Apple Park in Venom

This weekend, the big movie to see is Venom. For those of you who plan to see it soon, be sure to look out for a small Apple Park reference. Within the first five minutes of the movie, Eddie Brock will briefly mention Silicon Valley in his news report, as the movie's setting is San Francisco. There is a short clip of Apple Park drone footage in the bottom right corner. I'm not sure if this is Apple's own footage, but I personally like to believe that Sony did a quick YouTube search for Apple Park and ripped a random person's drone footage without permission. Regardless, it is definitely cool to see Apple Park become such a landmark. It is almost synonymous with "Silicon Valley Tech Campus" to many.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Remembering Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs passed away seven years ago today, October 5, 2011. To me, he represented Apple's golden era, giving us products we didn't know we needed and never following the competition. He was Apple's best leader. When Steve was in charge, you could look at the "smartphone" section of a Target and you would see a ton of cheap phones surrounding the iPhone. The iPhone stood out. It was new, different, but with no compromises. It was truly the ultimate phone. Polished and stable software and always pushing the boundaries of what a phone can do. You can hardly say that today with the current competition. Steve Jobs was truly a crazy one.

Apple actually still has a memorial hosted on their website to Steve Jobs. It has different posts from people around the world. Many of them are from 2011, which make for some interesting trips down memory lane.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

iOS 12 Overtakes iOS 11

iOS 12 released about two weeks ago and Mixpanel has some interesting information about the iOS install base. iOS 12 is sitting about neck and neck with iOS 11 in terms of installation percent. As of writing this, iOS 12 barely takes the cake with 47.49% install, over iOS 11 with 45.65% install (the remaining percent being an older operating system). Today was the day where iOS 12 overtook iOS 11. That's definitely a perk for iOS developers, as Android's install base has historically been scattered. When I got my Moto G for Android development about five years ago, Android Lollipop made up a few percentage points at best of the install base. Today, it is the default version of Android to develop for due to its install base.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

New Wi-Fi Naming Scheme

For years, we've referred to Wi-Fi standards using a complicated naming scheme. The device you're using is likely using the 802.11ac standard. Before that was 802.11n. As you can see, it can be a bit difficult accurately referring to each standard. So for the upcoming release of 802.11ax the Wi-Fi alliance is making a change to the naming scheme used. 802.11ax will be referred to as Wi-Fi 6. 802.11ac will be Wi-Fi 5 and so on. Putting an easy numerical identifier, along with the use of "Wi-Fi" makes it instantly clear what you're referring to. Wi-Fi 6 will be overall much faster than Wi-Fi 5 with some other performance enhancements.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Apple Pay Student IDs Rolling Out to Select Schools Today

Student ID cards can be a pain to constantly take out at a university. They're used for everything, from going to the gym, to using your meal plan, to attending a career fair. With NFC on the rise and magnetic strips on their way out, it's about time that smartphones and student ID cards got together. Today, students attending Duke University, University of Alabama, and University of Oklahoma can start using their student ID card on their iPhone and Apple Watch. When set to Express Mode, this works like the Suica card for Japanese transit when used for Apple Pay. You don't have to open any app, you just have to tap your iPhone or Apple Watch to the scanner and it just works. Johns Hopkins, Santa Clara and Temple Universities will have student ID support by the end of the year. I can imagine that plenty of universities will be added throughout 2019.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Everyone Can Create

With the recent rebranding of iBooks, Apple has released some crash course books in different creative ways to use your iOS devices. It's a full on curriculum with teacher companions to make projects easy to make. The guides encompass drawing, music, photos, and video. All of the books are available for free in the Apple Books store.