Friday, September 30, 2016

Apple Debuts Balloon Ad

For their first iOS 10 ad, Apple based it around the Screen Effects available in Messages. This ad shows a red balloon go through different areas until it is joined by hundreds of other balloons. The ad ends with someone receiving a happy birthday message with the Balloons Screen Effect. The advertisement is embedded below.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

FCC Votes to Make Better Emergency Notifications

The Federal Communications Commission has voted to enhance emergency notifications sent to smartphones in several ways. These emergency notifications often include adverse weather, missing children, and local emergencies. The FCC has decided to make the character limit 360, up from 90 characters (only on 4G and LTE networks). Links can also be embedded into the notifications to give people more resources about the situation at hand. Hopefully, this will help people stay safe during an emergency situation.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Skype Gets CallKit Support

One of the many features I was looking forward to in iOS 10 was CallKit. Skype for iOS finally supports it. I was really hoping for support on iOS 10 launch day, but better late than never. Most people never noticed CallKit, as it was a developer API. CallKit allows for VoIP apps (i.e. Skype, WhatsApp) to display full screen notifications on the lock screen using the native answering screen for normal phone calls. This is the screen with the "Remind Me" and "Message" buttons, in addition to the "Accept" and "Decline" options (or "Slide to Answer"). In addition, CallKit lets you call through VoIP using Siri. For example, "Hey Siri, call John using Skype." CallKit also allows you to call through VoIP through the Contacts app. One of the best parts of CallKit, is that it allows access to so many different Apple services, like CarPlay and Bluetooth devices. These calls are also recorded in the History tab of the Phone app. Skype for iOS is available for free from the App Store [Direct Link].

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Jet Black iPhone Shortage

According to Ming-Chi Kuo, the popularity of the Jet Black iPhone 7 is not the only reason why it's hard to acquire. As it turns out, the color is very hard to manufacture. Apparently, 30-40 percent of the Jet Black units do not meet Apple's standards and must be retooled. Note that the Jet Black color is the model which has a nine-step anodization and polishing process during production. Combined with the popularity, Samsung recall, and this lengthy process, it makes sense why Apple was very protective of its stock these past few weeks. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Optimize Space with macOS Sierra

My MacBook Pro has had very little space for the past few months. It would often fluctuate between out of space and 20 GB due to caching and other factors. As a result, my computer got slower. With macOS Sierra, I managed to get my laptop up to 40 GB free. The new storage management is probably one of the best features of macOS Sierra. Just open "About This Mac" from the Apple menu, go to Storage, and press the "Manage..." button. While I don't use the store in iCloud feature, I would recommend using the Optimize Storage function. It will remove watched movies and TV shows from your Mac. Note that they will still be available in the cloud. You can also look through a variety of apps and file types and remove some files. For me, I found myself deleting podcasts and Steam games. This saved a lot of storage. I would definitely recommend trying this out, even if you're not out of storage yet.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Potential of the W1 Chip

For those who didn't watch the full keynote, at the Apple event on September 7, Apple announced a new chip called the W1 chip. This chip is designed specifically for headphones and earbuds. So far, they're in AirPods, Beats Solo³ Wireless, Powerbeats³ Wireless, and the new BeatsX earphones. In addition to allowing better battery life and quicker charges, the W1 chip allows for instant pairing with your iOS and Mac devices. You just hold them near the device, and follow the one-button prompt to connect. In a matter of seconds, from the lock screen, you're connected. No settings app, no Bluetooth nonsense. So imagine if Apple allowed third-parties to use this chip, which I could easily see happening. Every modern wireless listening device could instantly pair to your device with ease. That would certainly be a huge selling point for Apple products. It's 2016 and it's hard to believe we've put up with the hassle of Bluetooth prompts for this long. It's why I chose wired Beats over wireless ones back in 2014. Now, Apple has finally made headphones more intelligent, which allows them to work with your devices. I'd love to see this technology in more listening devices. Speakers, radios, you name it. Let's hope Apple pushes this technology to its highest potential.

Image Credit: 9to5Mac

Saturday, September 24, 2016

iMessage App Store Grows to Over 1,500 Apps

According to TechCrunch, the iMessage App Store has grown to over 1,650 apps after about 10 days. More interestingly, 75% of these apps are sticker packs. There are 307 free sticker packs and 944 paid sticker packs. Of the paid stickers, 86 percent cost $0.99, 12 percent cost $1.99, 1 percent cost $2.99, and only one sticker app in the entire store costs $3.99. If you haven't had a chance to check out the iMessage Store, I highly recommend you do and check out any stickers that might interest you.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Snapchat Glasses?

Snapchat has announced a pair of glasses called Spectacles [Source: The Wall Street Journal]. They are glasses that can take 10-seconds of footage at a time. This would sync up to your smartphone. From here, I'm guessing you could easily add it to your story or share it with friends. Now, I am probably the only person at my school who doesn't understand Snapchat and its appeal, but that being said, I don't see these taking off. The CEO of Snapchat (or Snap, Inc.) referred to Spectacles as a "toy" and said they made it because "it's fun." There's nothing wrong with that by any means, but this seems to be Snapchat's way of "testing the water" for hardware-driven social networks. Who knows? Maybe something similar to Spectacles could become a sign of the times in the same way earbuds are now? Spectacles will release this fall for $130 in teal, black, and coral.

Image Credit: The Wall Street Journal

Thursday, September 22, 2016

500 Million Yahoo Accounts Hacked

Yahoo has confirmed that 500 million Yahoo accounts were hacked in late 2014. Information that has been compromised includes names, email addresses, telephone numbers, birthdates, hashed passwords, and security questions. While billing information was not accessed, it is recommended that all Yahoo users reset their passwords. In addition, be cautious of your Yahoo account's activity, that that of others.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

iOS 10.1 Seeded to Developers

Today, the first beta of iOS 10.1 was seeded to developers. This comes just a week after iOS 10 was released to the public. As expected, the iPhone 7 Plus will support Portrait mode with this update. Portrait mode allows for an advanced depth of field effect. This is something that high-end DSLRs are normally capable of, making the iPhone 7 Plus camera that much more advanced. This Friday, the first iOS 10.1 beta will be available to public beta testers. However, there are bugs to be worked out still, so don't expect this too soon. I would guess that the public will be able to get this update in late October.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Siri on macOS Doesn't Support HomeKit

macOS Sierra was officially released to the public today. By far, the biggest update to macOS is Siri functionality. And with iOS getting a big push for HomeKit functionality, you might think that macOS would get the same treatment. Unfortunately, HomeKit does not work on macOS Sierra. Asking Siri to activate a HomeKit appliance will leave her to say, "Sorry, I can't help you with HomeKit here." Hopefully, this will be included in a future update. It doesn't seem to hard to implement. Most likely, we will see it eventually, just not now.

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Cause of Samsung's Battery Issue

The ultimate cause of why Samsung Galaxy Note 7 batteries have been exploding can be traced back to one simple reason, according to Bloomberg, reports of a lackluster iPhone 7. With this news, Samsung engineers started rushing this product to market. Employees even stayed overnight at their offices. A consequence of this was rushing their suppliers. Batteries were of poor quality when rushed, causing these reports. Things got worse when Samsung tried to handle the issue. They took it into their own hands to handle the recall, instead of contacting the Consumer Product Safety Commission in a timely manner, as is legally required. This created conflicting reports as how consumers should handle their Note 7s. It weird to think that Samsung's edgy competitiveness could've caused something like this. It's not the end of Samsung, but it will be remembered for some time. To think at the announcement, them mocking the rumors of the iPhone 7 not having a headphone jack could've been their biggest mistake. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Why You Shouldn't Work For Nintendo...

I find myself ranting more and more about Nintendo, how they handle their fans, and how they make business decisions. I could probably start an entire blog on that alone and still post everyday. However, most of this I don't post because it's so predictable by Nintendo at this point. However, when I saw this story (credit to Ohnickel via YouTube), I knew I had to write about this.

Sephazon, as he is known on Twitter, always wanted to work at Nintendo. He is very passionate about the games and characters that Nintendo has brought into this world. So, he went to get a job at Nintendo. After being interviewed in Seattle, where Nintendo of America's headquarters is located, he was hired as a Miiverse Community Insights Specialist.

You can tell from his Twitter feed alone that he is the kind of person that Nintendo needs. Especially with how unaware Nintendo is of their fans, where they stand in the market, and even their own games at times. He even wears a Franklin badge from EarthBound on his business suit. Anyways, from here, Sephazon starts moving from the East Coast all the way over to Seattle, Washington over the time of a week. After this lengthy process, he was told that the position he was hired for was "no longer available."



Seems about rig--


Nintendo, you cannot treat jobs like amiibo! It's dumb enough that you can manage to cancel pre-orders on your products, but how do you let something like this happen. Especially, if they have to move by car across the country to get to your headquarters. Sephazon was very calm and respectful about the situation. He did delete the tweet about him not getting the job because so many people gave Nintendo hate for it, which they rightfully deserve. Even after all of this, he stated that he will continue to support Nintendo. I honestly hope Nintendo does feel the repercussions of this, because this is more than just a bad business practice. It's cluelessness and stupidity by a company.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Pokémon Go Plus: First Impressions

Pokémon Go Plus is the official accessory that complements the App Store phenomenon, Pokémon Go. It can catch Pokémon and obtain items from Pokéstops without opening the app. It can track distance for eggs and Pokémon buddies. When in range of a Pokémon or Pokéstop, the device will vibrate and light up. This is very convenient while driving. However, there are some drawbacks. Pokémon Go Plus will only function about 20 minutes without the app being open. Also, since the catch rate is random, Pokémon with very little CP will run away from you. Because of how many Pokémon you encounter, you go through Pokéballs fast and you'll quickly run out of Pokémon storage space. My biggest complaint is that you don't get any Pokécoins for registering the device. It costs $34.99 and the features don't make the most of that price tag. I would be much happier if they gave me 500 or 1,000 Pokécoins for purchasing the device. Overall, whether you like this product depends on how dedicated you are to Pokémon Go.

Friday, September 16, 2016

iPhone 7: New Home Button

Since the iPhone 7 came out today, I visited my local Apple Store. The first thing I noticed was the home button. During last week's keynote, I didn't really understand what they meant when they talked about a new home button. Now I understand. The new home button no longer pushes in. Instead you press on it and the Taptic Engine makes vibrations to give the sensation of pressing down. You can pick different vibrations as well. It's a little weird, but interesting at the same time. Another thing I noticed is that Reachability seems to have been removed. One thing remains unsolved, and that's how this button will evolve when next year's iPhone comes out.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

iOS 10: Control Center

iOS 10's new Control Center has had mixed reviews on it. However, there is a large advantage for those who use HomeKit enabled accessories. Using HomeKit will reveal a third page for Control Center. This page allows you to control your smart home devices from anywhere. There's no need to open a specific app or use Siri. It's kinda like having your own remote control where ever you are. This brings new meaning to the term "Control Center."

Image Credit: AppleInsider

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Apple Surveys MacBook Pro with Retina Display Users

According to a MacRumors reader, Apple has surveyed a small amount of MacBook Pro with Retina Display users. Most notably, one of the questions was "Do you ever use the headphone port on your MacBook Pro with Retina display?" It should be noted that the next generation design of the MacBook Pro with Retina Display (expected to be announced next month) is almost certainly finalized. This will likely not affect the design for at least a year. Other questions are about battery life and the SD card slot.

Image Credit: MacRumors

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Tim Cook to Appear on Good Morning America

Tim Cook will be on Good Morning America, and based on a teaser from GMA's Twitter account, he will be talking a bit about AirPods. Many have been concerned that they will easily fall out of the ear, however, Cook says in the teaser that without wires to weigh them down, there's nothing to pull them out. He'll probably talk about other recent announcements, but this hasn't been officially confirmed. The show will air on ABC tomorrow from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Monday, September 12, 2016

iMessage App Store Launches

Tomorrow, iOS 10 will be officially released to the public. However, developers and beta testers got an early preview in terms of what other developers have been working on. In addition to iOS 10 app updates being pushed out, the iMessage App Store was opened. Sticker packs, like Super Mario Run, will be among the pioneers of this new genre of app. iOS 10 will be released publicly tomorrow at around 10 a.m. Pacific Time.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

iOS 10: First Impressions

Yesterday, I downloaded the golden master of iOS 10, which will likely be the same version of iOS that will be distributed to the public on September 13. When I first saw iOS 10, I was glad to see a feature-heavy major software upgrade to iOS, something we really needed after two years of performance enhancements. When I upgraded, I figured it'd be a decent upgrade, but nothing special. However, iOS 10 was a breath of fresh air for me. For the first time since around iOS 5 or iOS 6, I was pleased and excited by the new features.

The Good

By far, my favorite part of iOS 10 had to be iMessage. I texted a few of my friends who had installed the beta and tried sending some stickers and used some apps. It was a lot of fun for all of us. We shared YouTube videos and watched them without leaving the app, shared our favorite video game songs using Apple Music, and I even got to send some of my custom sticker packs I made in Xcode. Keep in mind, this is before the iMessage App Store has any apps on it, so consider that the icing on the cake when September 13 comes. 

I also liked Memories in the Photos app. It let me give my photos a nice place to be displayed. Each one had a different theme. I gave my trip to Arizona a complementing title font that made it look like a desert.

I'll get to the lock screen later, but I found that Apple may have given a bit of leeway to Touch ID. I found it to be more accepting when I misplaced my thumb, which is a change I'm fine with. Touch ID on my iPhone 6s was fast and accurate, but it was nit-picky if my finger was dirty, sweaty, or misplaced. I'm not expecting anyone with a near identical fingerprint to pick up my phone anytime soon.

The News app had a nice redesign that made me want to use it a lot more. First, I'm glad to see notifications to catch me up on important news I may have missed. I also like the small touch of adding the local weather to the top-right corner of the For You tab. In short, I've finally ditched Flipboard for this.

And because I know people have been asking for this, yes, you can delete built-in apps. Not all of them, but the non-essential ones. You can delete apps like Stocks, Home, Maps, Calendar, Notes, Apple Watch (thank goodness), and more.

The Bad

One of the issues that will plague everyone in iOS 10 will be getting used to what's new. If people didn't like the lock screen in iOS 7, they're gonna hate this lock screen. It's no longer slide to unlock, but instead tap the home button. I got used to this in about a day, but it was a little annoying. Touch ID (as I mentioned earlier) makes up for a lot of this, but if it doesn't work, it gets a bit annoying.

Again with getting used to changes, notifications are a bit wonky at first. I'm still getting used to them. Whether it's from the lock screen or a banner, they're hard to get used to.

This one affects very few people, however in the OS X version of the Photos app, if you tagged people's faces, they don't transfer over to iOS 10 (even though it worked with iOS 9). I'm not sure if this is because I haven't upgraded my computer to macOS Sierra, but it's annoying for sure.

The Pending

A lot of features haven't been available to beta testers. These features rely on apps that utilize APIs announced at WWDC. For example, CallKit doesn't work because apps that support CallKit haven't been released to anyone yet. SiriKit doesn't work either for the same reason. It's not good or bad. It's just the nature of a beta. These features only work if you're a developer. The only part of this I got to try was the custom sticker packs, which require a developer account. I am definitely looking forward to see what stickers, iMessage apps, and Siri commands we'll be able to use in iOS 10. 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

iOS 10: Stickers

Adding a sticker to an existing message
The iMessage apps section
In iOS 10, stickers were introduced as a new way to send iMessages to your friends. When the iMessage App Store opens, there's no doubt that we'll see some great stickers from official sources, similar to Line's sticker store. Until then, let's go over the basics. Stickers are accessible from the iMessage apps section. When you have a sticker picked out, tap on it to send it as a standalone sticker, or you can drag it onto an existing message. You can even create your own sticker sets with Xcode. I hope this helps!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Apple Still "Very Committed" To Macs

According to an anonymous MacRumors reader who emailed Tim Cook, Cook says that Apple is still committed to their Macintosh lineup. Apple hasn't updated their Mac lineup with anything major in quite some time, so customers are hoping to see an update soon. Rumors suggest that we'll see an update in October, supported by Tim's "stay tuned" in his email. Whether or not he personally wrote it has yet to be seen.
"I love the Mac and we are very committed to it. Stay tuned."

Image Credit: MacRumors

Thursday, September 8, 2016

How To Charge iPhone 7 and Listen to Wired Headphones At The Same Time

Phil Schiller, Apple's SVP of Marketing, has responded to a customer email regarding listening to music through wired headphones on an iPhone 7 while charging it. Since the iPhone 7 removed the headphone jack, it's impossible to do this without an accessory. Schiller recommends using an Apple Lightning Dock to make this possible, as it has a headphone jack ($49). There are also other accessories that allow this. The best solution is definitely to use wireless headphones.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Apple Store App Starts Advertising iPhone 7 in 3D Touch

With all of the crazy Apple announcements today (which I'll get to later this week), the Apple Store is one step ahead of everyone who wants to pre-order. If you 3D Touch on the Apple Store app, a new option to "Shop iPhone 7" will appear. Normally, only three options are shown. So, if you'd like to pre-order, you can do it in style with this neat trick. The Apple Store app is available for free from the Apple App Store [Direct Link].

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

What I Could Dig Up: See You On The 7th

Here's what we can expect to see from Apple tomorrow for their special announcement.

iPhone 7

  • No major redesign; same screen sizes
  • No headphone jack
  • Pressure sensitive home button
  • Better water resistance
  • Dual cameras for iPhone 7 Plus
  • A10 processor

Apple Watch 2

  • Better processor
  • Better water resistance
  • Built-in GPS

No New Macs

There's no denying that the Mac lineup is desperately in need of a refresh. With rumors of a redesigned MacBook Pro in the works, people are waiting for these announcements. It is very unlikely that we'll see new Macs tomorrow, however, we'll probably see these announcements at Apple's October event, along with an iPad refresh. Just hang in the a bit longer!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Recall

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 users should be advised that they may be affected by a recall. Samsung has stated that the battery cells used by the Note 7 are causing some of the devices to catch on fire and even explode. Many speculate this is because the battery cells are of poor quality. American customers should be able to replace their phones by next week. For the inconvenience, Samsung will offer a $25 bill credit or $25 gift card. Until this is resolved, many are recommending finding a spare phone to hold you over until next week. If you can't do that, be sure to not leave your phone unattended while charging it. Although it's unlikely to happen, you can never be too safe when it comes to this kind of situation.

Sunday, September 4, 2016


Have you ever considered buying a video game but first wanted to find out how much time and dedication it takes to complete? HowLongToBeat is a cool website that uses community based completion times to determine about how long it takes to complete a game. It tells you how long it takes for multiple play styles, including: main story, main story and extras, completionist style, speed run, and all play styles. Be sure to check out HowLongToBeat.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

iPhone 7 To Have Five Colors

According to Ming-Chi Kuo, the iPhone 7 will be available in five different colors in total. There have been a lot of rumors about a fifth color (and potential color lineup changes) for the iPhone 7, but this is our best bet for what it will be. Silver, Gold, and Rose Gold will remain in the lineup. However, Space Gray will be replaced by a dark gray. In addition, there is a new "piano black" color expected. This raises some questions, such as if other Apple products will receive this color change. Other Apple products that use the color scheme include iPad, MacBook, and Beats headphones.

Friday, September 2, 2016

App Store to Remove Obselete Apps

We've all seen App Store listings that are outdated. They're old, you can tell they were made in 2010 just from the screenshots. In addition, their function may no longer work. Well, Apple is going to be removing these apps from the App Store. This will hopefully reduce our encounters with these apps. It will also work as incentive for developers to continue to support their apps. 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

New Beats Product To Be Announced With iPhone 7

According to iGeneration, an email was incorrectly sent from the Beats PR team and leaked that a new Beats product would be unveiled with the iPhone 7. This explains why there was a promotion for  free Beats headphones over the summer (the promotion ends on the 5th). What is this new Beats product? I have no idea, but my curiosity is peaked. I'm personally hoping for Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones, or something along those lines. Maybe a hybrid of wired and wireless headphones, so it can be powered via a Lightning cable or use Bluetooth. I wouldn't even mind if they ditched micro-USB for USB-C or Lightning. We will just have to see September 7th.