Saturday, December 31, 2016

Apple's Plans for 2017

One of Apple's biggest plans for 2017 will be making edge-to-edge displays. In previous years, Apple has made thinner and thinner bezels for iPads, but now, they're getting rid of them entirely it seems. In addition, it will be the iPhone's 10th anniversary, which makes the new redesign more understandable. So, we'll probably see the first big design change in the new iPads coming this spring. Definitely looking forward to that. Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Theater Mode for iOS 10.3

According to Sonny Dickson, iOS 10.3 will release next month and there will be a new "Theatre Mode" coming to Control Center. This mode will be depicted with a popcorn icon. What this mode will do, no one can say. Could it be a new dark mode? It is worth noting that there is a scene icon in HomeKit that is a popcorn icon. I actually use this scene an already know it as "Theater Mode." I just spell it like that because 'Merica. Maybe this is a preset for HomeKit?

Thursday, December 29, 2016

'Ring In the New Year' Apple Watch Achievement

This new year, Apple is promoting a new achievement to promote use of the Apple Watch as a workout companion. This medal will be called 'Ring In the New Year.' To earn it, you must complete all three activity rings for one week, starting on a Monday. This is only available in January. You will also receive an iMessage Sticker for this task.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

AirPods: First Impressions

Yesterday, I finally received my AirPods. After getting to know them for about a day, here are my first impressions. First off, they do in fact stay in my ear. I have shook my head very hard, and they have yet to fall out. Obviously, results may vary for different ear sizes, but they definitely work for me. The sound quality is also very good. I'm no music critic, but I have no complaints about music quality. My only real wish is that I want to be able to double tap on an AirPod to skip a song. This setting is customizable, but skipping a song is not an option. Other than that, it's just a matter of price. I feel that Apple could've added in a 1-month promo code for Apple Music to sweeten the deal. They'd likely profit in the end, by hooking people in on the convenience of Apple Music. That would make the $159 price tag a bit better. Overall, I really like my AirPods and they join my phone, keys, and watch in my daily routine.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Handbrake Finally out of Beta

After 13 years in beta, Handbrake, the video conversion app, is finally out of beta. Handbrake has always been the choice app among many for converting video, which ultimately aided its development. With version 1.0.0 out, users can finally say they're running what is technically a stable build of Handbrake. Handbrake is available for free from its official website.

Monday, December 26, 2016

AirPods Orders Expedited

While delayed Apple products are often expedited by Apple at no additional charge (i.e. Apple Watches, 2016 MacBook Pros), AirPods orders are seeing dramatic changes in their delivery dates. I ordered mine an hour after they went on sale and the delivery date was around January 12. Had I ordered 30 minutes earlier, I would've gotten them around December 19. Now, they're expected to come tomorrow, December 27. They would've come on Christmas if that wasn't a holiday. So, needless to say, production was cranked up to an 11 on these orders. Let's hope quality isn't sacrificed as a result.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Alexa Holiday Tips

In addition to the free reading of A Christmas Carol with Alexa, there are some other holiday commands you can give your Amazon Echo, Amazon Tap, or Echo Dot. For a holiday story, say, "Alexa, tell me a holiday story." For some music, ask, "Alexa, play happy holiday music." Finally, see what happens when you ask, "Alexa, open my gift." Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Listen to 'A Christmas Carol' for Free with Amazon Echo

Until January 3, you can listen to Tim Curry read A Christmas Carol for free with your Alexa-enabled device. Definitely a great way to test out your new Amazon Echo, Amazon Tap, or Echo Dot if you got one. All you have to say is, "Alexa, read A Christmas Carol from Audible." The Audible-powered audiobook lasts about three hours, but you should be able to save your spot in the book if you can't listen to it all in one sitting.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Spotify Adds Touch Bar Support

In an unexpected, yet not-surprising move, Spotify has updated their Mac app to support Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pro. It provides basic functionality for music playback. It also adds AirPods support. Taking one AirPod out of your ear will pause your Spotify music, just like any other AirPods-supported app. 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Pokémon Go for Apple Watch Released

After confusion about Pokémon Go for Apple Watch's fate, Pokémon Go for Apple Watch is finally available for trainers. While the casual audience for the game has died down, this may reignite Apple Watch-equipped trainers. It definitely makes the game easier to play without the need to be focused on a phone. Pokémon Go is available on the Apple App Store for free [Direct Link].

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

AirPods and Apple Watch

One of the best features of AirPods is how it fits into Apple's vision of continuity. How Apple Watch handles this is really cool to see. First, if you're wearing AirPods and you receive a phone call, the accept button will have an AirPod symbol, noting that the audio source will be your AirPods. The other feature is how AirPods will show their battery life in the battery view of watchOS. Both AirPods have their battery shown.

Image Credit: MacRumors

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Waiting for AirPods

This morning, I got up early and went to my local Apple Store in hopes of getting a pair of AirPods. When I got there, I managed to get fifth in line, a few minutes before a bunch of other people showed up. During the thirty minute wait, I learned that there were only eight pairs of AirPods in stock yesterday, the day AirPods was released. When the store opened, there were none in stock. While that was disappointing, I did get to talk to Sebastien Page, founder of iDownloadBlog, as he was in line after me. So, if you still need AirPods for Christmas, like 99% of the world, then be sure to wake up early and hope you're lucky. Good luck!

Monday, December 19, 2016

AirPods Finally Released

Today, AirPods were finally made available at Apple Stores. However, they were made available in small quantities, typically less than 100 units per store. Apple is making an effort in letting people buy these in time for the holidays, but it's clear that it's going to be hard to get ahold of these. AirPods were in very high demand when I tried getting a pair. I didn't take note of the special holiday hours and found that my Apple Store opened an hour earlier than usual, leaving me to find none of the earbuds. This seems to be a trend with Apple products this year. MacBook Pros, LG UltraFine Displays, and now AirPods.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Why RFID Wallets (Likely) Do Nothing For You

Many have unknowingly fallen into the trap setup by today's wallet makers when purchasing an RFID-blocking wallet. You may think that these wallets protect you from having your identity and credit card information stolen, but chances are, you were never at risk for this. RFID stands for radio frequency identification, meaning a small device that transmits data using radio frequencies. These are usually found in animal trackers. What they aren't found in are most credit cards. When referring to a credit card with RFID capabilities, they can be used through contactless payments, like Apple Pay. The difference is, you don't need a fingerprint to pay using these. They're much more vulnerable, for a little more convince. Few people use these cards. If you're unsure about if you have one, you'll usually be able to tell from the marketing on the card. MasterCard PayPass, American Express ExpressPay, Discover Zip, and Visa payWave are the big names in the contactless credit card business. If you have one of these cards, then an RFID wallet may be for you. But for other credit cards, whether they have a magnetic strip or a EMV chip, you are not at risk for RFID theft.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Pokémon Go for Apple Watch Still Coming

This morning, a fake image of an email from Niantic posted on Reddit falsely convinced many people that Pokémon Go for the Apple Watch would be canceled. However, Niantic has publicly announced that development on the Apple Watch port has not ceased. Announced at the iPhone 7 event, Pokémon Go for Apple Watch was supposed to be released in December. The dwindling popularity of Pokémon Go has implied that Niantic may feel that a port is no longer necessary.

Friday, December 16, 2016

AirPods Available in Apple Stores on Monday

According to MacRumors, AirPods will be available in Apple Retail Stores starting Monday morning. Apple hasn't officially confirmed the specific date AirPods will come to retail stores, but they did say next week would be the general timeframe. If you got a late pre-order and are forced to wait 4-6 weeks for your AirPods to ship, getting one this Monday may be your best bet. Good luck!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Super Mario Run Releases on iOS

Today, Super Mario Run made its debut on the Apple App Store. The entire carousel of the App Store has been designed around Super Mario Run. After the success of Pokémon Go, it seems that Super Mario Run may be another money maker for Nintendo, combining the popularity and versatility of mobile games and the Mario intellectual property. Super Mario Run is available exclusively on the Apple App Store for free [Direct Link].

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Stay Safe This Holiday Season

This isn't a very tech related post, but below is a video that serves as a reminder that public safety should never be sacrificed for anything. While no one was seriously hurt in the video, there was a car crash that could've been easily been prevented with some more cones. The Comcast repairmen did not take the proper safety precautions needed for the situation given and caused slides offs and a crash. My point is, no matter who you are, make sure you're doing everything you can to keep safety a top priority. Happy holidays.

You can read Comcast's public statement about the incident via their news page.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

AirPods Available on Apple Online Store

AirPods were finally available to order this morning, starting at 6 AM PST. This batch was expected to deliver on December 21. In just over an hour, the estimates turned to December 29. And just after that, the estimate turned to "4 weeks." That estimate has remained the same as of the writing of this post. However, AirPods are expected to be available next week at Apple Retail Stores. Maybe it's best to hold off and see if you can get a pair at your local Apple Store. I don't know how, but I guess Apple managed to get AirPods in time for the holiday season, even if it's just 4 days before and they're sold out for weeks...

Monday, December 12, 2016

iOS and tvOS 10.2 Released

iOS and tvOS 10.2 have been released today, which means the TV app is now available. The TV app adds some cool features. It puts all of your shows in one place, letting you queue and access TV shows and movies. If you have a cool provider (i.e. not Time Warner Cable), then you may have access to Single Sign-On, letting you sign in to all of your video apps with your service provider. iOS 10.2 is available to compatible iOS devices starting today. tvOS 10.2 is available to fourth-generation Apple TVs starting today.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Report Spam in Calendar

Recently, many iCloud users have been receiving spam in the form of calendar events. Apple has started to address this issue starting on If you receive an event from someone not on your contact list, you can report it as junk. This will hopefully cut down on this spam. While this is only available on, it will likely be available on iOS and macOS in this week's iOS 10.2 update.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Stupid Mario Run: Nintendo's Patent-Pending Anti-Piracy Measure

With Super Mario Run coming out this Thursday, Nintendo is ready to line its wallets with another round of mobile in-app purchases. To unlock the full version of Super Mario Run, a $9.99 price tag is hidden in the in-app purchases section. But that's not why I'm writing this post.

Nintendo has made the facepalming decision to require Super Mario Run to connect to the internet continuously... to prevent piracy [Source: Mashable]. Piracy... on iOS? I would think the whole point of making a big deal of announcing your first Mario game on mobile at an Apple event would be to utilize the technologies Apple gives to you. A huge plus for developers on the Apple App Store is that they don't have to worry about piracy. Most iOS users don't know how to pirate. Meanwhile on the Play Store, piracy is completely rampant. Androids simply need an APK file of the app to get a free copy. Even games with advertisements will work without internet, which disables the ads. So, why would Nintendo want to burden iOS users with an anti-piracy feature? I'm not sure, but it's certainly making that $9.99 price tag look less appealing. And you're certainly not going to be able to use this app on a subway as advertised. School WiFi networks already blocked Miitomo, Nintendo's other game, so this will likely use up data.

The execution seems to be another problem. Having a continuous connection wastes data and battery life. Once every 24 hours maybe? Even the Xbox One had better anti-piracy tactics than this. I mean, get real. Am I going to have a valid copy of the game at the beginning of the day and by noon, it will be pirated? Are there enough pirates out there to justify having this continuous connection? While they're less common, iPod Touches will have no means of running this app since they don't have cellular data. Younger kids won't be able to play as their favorite Italian plumber because of an anti-piracy measure. I see the trending hashtag now: #MarioGate.

Am I over exaggerating? Maybe a little. How much data can this take up? Will this have an impact on my battery? I shouldn't judge this until we have some hard evidence to make an argument. But at the same time, is piracy a big enough of an issue to justify bricking Super Mario Run when you have no signal? For all we know, all this data checking if your app is pirated may mess up Nintendo's servers, just like Pokémon Go. In the words of George Santayana, "Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it."

Friday, December 9, 2016

Apple Store Employees Wear Mario Pins for Super Mario Run

In honor of the upcoming release of Super Mario Run, many Apple Store employees are sporting a new 8-bit Mario pin. This is because of the upcoming release of Super Mario Run. Yesterday, Super Mario Run demos were installed on Apple Store devices, giving the public a chance to check out the new game. It's cool to see this app have such an effect on the store as a whole.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Pokémon Go and Starbucks

In hopes to reignite the hype for Pokémon Go, Niantic has made a deal with Starbucks, turning every café into a Pokéstop. In addition, there's a Pokémon Go Frappuccino. This news comes during the week we expect Pokémon Go to add about 100 generation 2 Pokémon. Pokémon Go was also just named the Breakout Hit of the Apple App Store for 2016. Also, Super Mario Run will be releasing next week. It is definitely a big week for Nintendo in mobile gaming.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Bluetooth 5

Bluetooth 5 has been adopted by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group. This means that manufacturers are allowed to use Bluetooth in their devices. But what is Bluetooth 5? Bluetooth 5 is the new version of Bluetooth. It has four times the range, twice the speed, and eight times the broadcast message capacity. It's also a big push for the smart home and the Internet of Things. And, as always, it improves the power draw, so that it eats up less battery. However, it isn't a simple software update. Manufacturers must first use this in their devices for consumers to use it. There's a good chance that it'll work with next year's iPhone 8.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Samsung Galaxy S8 Won't Have a Headphone Jack

After mocking the iPhone 7 for not having a headphone jack, the next flagship smartphone for Samsung will not have a headphone jack, according to SamMobile. During the controversy of the iPhone 7's lack of the headphone jack, I said to many that it would become the industry standard. Samsung's removal of the headphone jack will be another big push toward this future. This phone will likely be revealed in February.

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Simpsons Reference in Apple Maps

There's a small detail that many will miss in Apple Maps for iOS. If you tap the info button, choose "Add a Place," and select "Other" from the types of places, you'll be taken to a map to position a marker and a text field to enter the name of the place. However, you may notice that there's some hint text with an example. It reads "e.g. Moe's Tavern." This is a reference to Moe's Tavern in The Simpsons animated series. It's nice to see that the developers had some fun with this by adding such a small detail.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Apple's Battery Site

If you've been needing some tips regarding your batteries, Apple's battery website may help. On this page, Apple has some information on how to keep your batteries in top shape, in addition to how Apple's lithium-ion batteries work. It also dispels some myths about charge cycles and trickle charging. For example, since a full discharge counts as one charge cycle, there is nothing wrong with charging your phone every night. It's a very good page, and I recommend every Apple user take a quick glance at it to learn a bit.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Potential iPhone 6s Battery Shortage

After an announcement that Apple would repair the batteries of deteriorating iPhone 6s batteries, it seems that Apple Stores are low on stock. When I went to my Apple Store to get my battery replaced, I was told that every Apple Store in proximity was out of the battery and would not get one until mid-next week. This can be frustrating for many users as it seems to be getting exponentially worse. My iPhone shutdown twice while I was waiting. Hopefully, these batteries get back in stock soon, as many people are being affected.

Note: this is not a safety issue, just a matter of keeping our phones from shutting down.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Super Mario Run Release Details

Super Mario Run, a runner game from Nintendo similar to Temple Run, will be releasing on December 15. While the base game will be free to purchase, the full game costs $9.99 as an in-app purchase. Although this is cheap by Nintendo standards, most seem to think this is a bit too much given what we've seen. In addition, Nintendo believes Super Mario Run will outdo Pokémon Go. Unless they mean in revenue, there's no way the amount of downloads will exceed that of Pokémon Go, especially considering this is an iOS exclusive for the time being. Super Mario Run will be free when it releases [Direct Link].

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Apple Maps Will Use Drone Data

According to Bloomberg, Apple will use some drones that can map landscapes. These drones can identify street signs and monitor roads and construction. This would be a quick and easy way to ensure your maps are accurate and up-to-date. Apple has filed their paperwork to the Federal Aviation Administration, so it seems this project is well underway.