Sunday, December 31, 2017

Echo Spot

Amazon releases new variations of their devices so often, it's impossible to keep track of all of them. One nifty device I missed was the Echo Spot. Released just in time for the holiday season, the Echo Spot takes the functionality of Alexa and puts it into an alarm clock style. It looks great in my opinion. Its design reminds me a lot of the Nest thermostat. With the right setup, it can take the place of your home phone. I really hope this paves the way for more dedicated smart home devices. Apple once mentioned that Alexa-type devices would work better with a display, so it makes me wonder if Apple would be willing to make devices similar to the Echo Show and Echo Spot (that isn't HomePod). I would want to ask a personal assistant to control my smart devices and alarms. But I'd like that assistant to be Siri, since it's in the Apple ecosystem. Alexa has served me well, but she doesn't know some information that my phone knows. And while I could ask my phone, there's no guarantee that it will be in my room all the time. Echo Spot is available from Amazon for $129.99 [Direct Link].

Note: This page includes affiliate links that may benefit Tech Talk 4 Geeks by clicking on them.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

$29 Battery Replacements Now Available

Previously, Apple stated that $29 battery replacements would be available in late January. However, they are available now. If you own an iPhone 6 or newer, then you are eligible [Source: TechCrunch]. Apple does say that supplies are limited due to this immediate availability. Check your local Apple Store for details. 

Friday, December 29, 2017

Steve Jobs: The Italian Clothing Brand

Every once in a while, you come across a story like this and you have to read it twice. But then you realize, if it was possible, someone had to do it. Today, we look into how an Italian clothing brand acquired the right to use "Steve Jobs" as its name [Source: The Verge]. Vincenzo and Giacomo Barbato had a clothing brand and named it "Steve Jobs" in 2012 since Apple did not have it trademarked. Interesting choice, seeing as the brand had a stunning lack of black turtle necks. But it doesn't stop there. Their logo is a "J" with a bite taken out of the side, with the signature Apple leaf on top. Apple obviously sued, but the brothers won the right to use the name and logo. Apparently, the letter "J" isn't edible. Shocking, I know. But because of that, it would not be mistaken for an apple. Personally, when I look at the Apple logo, I'm not reminded of the fruit the most of the time, just because the logo is so iconic. But that aside, when the context is Steve Jobs, I'm immediately going to think that the clothing brand has some association with Apple. At this point, how could a story that's so bad, it's good, get any better? According to Business Insider Italia, these brothers are working on selling electronics. A bit of a leap from clothing to technology. I'm sure they will be amazing. 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Apple's Response to the Battery Lawsuit

Literally an hour before this news story went live, I was thinking about this whole Apple lawsuit. I was just thinking how most of the people against Apple were hoping to get some cash settlement or a new phone and were only in it for just that. But I figured Apple would just replace their batteries, since that would resolve the issue by everyone's logic. An hour later, Apple did basically that. They announced that they would replace batteries of the iPhone 6 and later for just $29 for out-of-warranty customers. That's opposed to the regular $79 fee. In addition, in early 2018, Apple will update iOS to have a battery health screen. This helps users keep track of their battery capacity. I'm certainly looking forward to this. I'm sure there are third-party apps that do this, but I would obviously prefer an Apple-made solution when dealing with my battery life. Everyone has been acting like this was one big scheme by Apple, when in reality, they've been pretty transparent about it. And by doing that, the world freaked out. This isn't some big conspiracy. If you owned any other brand of phone, your battery would drain much faster instead of a slower phone until it bricked because it can't hold enough of a charge to startup. It's the literal nature of a lithium-ion battery. One would have to buy a new phone eventually, and, to be honest, they probably would've bought one anyways. That's my take on it, but if you'd like to read Apple's statement on this, you can do so here.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

iPhone X’s Side Button

iPhone X made a lot of changes, but a more subtle one is the Side Button. Previously known as the Lock Button, the Side Button is larger and acts more similarly to that of the Apple Watch. Double click it for Apple Pay. Hold it for Siri, similar to a walkie-talkie. And, of course, single click it to lock. I like how this age old button has been given a new purpose that doesn’t just turn off the phone. 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Easily Zoom to 2x for iPhones with Optical Zoom

The iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X all feature optical zoom. By pinching in and out of the camera viewfinder, you can zoom precisely. You can optically zoom up to 2x. Naturally, you'd want to probably zoom to 2x often, to preserve the image while getting as much zoom as possible. To quickly zoom to exactly 2x, just tap the zoom button that says "1x" by default. This will switch the telephoto lens and change your zoom.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas 2017

Hi all! Just wanted to do a quick post to wish you all a Merry Christmas! If you got any new Apple products this season, look for some tips in the near future. I’m also hoping to give some impressions of accessories I’ve seen or bought recently. Until then, enjoy the rest of the holiday season!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Future Apple Watch May Have EKG Monitor

According to Bloomberg, Apple may be working on implementing an EKG monitor into a future Apple Watch. With Apple's focus on making Apple Watch a health device, an EKG would provide better readings of heart rate. This would be very useful to the Apple Heart Study, which is a voluntary study that collects heart data to help detect irregular heart rhythms. I would love to see this implemented into a future Apple Watch.

P.S. Have a merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Struggle for a Good iPhone X Screen Protector

The iPhone X is a beautiful phone. Every aspect of its design makes it feel like a luxury phone. Yet, despite that, I always feel the need to take the safe route and apply the screen protector, just in case. I looked on Apple's site to find Belkin's screen protector. However, it had terrible reviews of easily cracking under normal usage. It got so bad that Belkin halted sales of it. It was a shame because I typically trusted Belkin to provide a quality screen protector for the right price. I resorted to Amazon, where the validity of any brand has more questionability. I purchased Syde's screen protector for iPhone X for $9.99 [Direct Link]. It fits well and all, but left bubbles near the notch. I was told by a representative that all iPhone X screen protectors seem to suffer from this and it takes some time to fully go away. I've tolerated this for two weeks with no sign of it disappearing. Regardless of brand, keeping the screen protector as minimally invasive is key to being able to enjoy your phone to it's fullest potential. I'm still in the market to finding the perfect protector and I'll be sure to write about it if I find one.

Friday, December 22, 2017

On Apple’s Battery Lawsuit

Currently, Apple is being sued for throttling speeds of older iPhone models in an effort to get these users to upgrade to new phones. Apple has responded by stating that as lithium-ion battery health declines, it is harder to efficiently do more demanding tasks. Apple comphensates by slowing down the phone. This was met with outcry of many saying that this is unethical. My response to this is that if Apple didn’t do this, people’s batteries would be draining way quicker. At the same time, people wouldn’t have a case if this happened. Apple shouldn’t be at fault, but probably will be because they were transparent. This case is ridiculous, but it will probably be a slap on the wrist for Apple in the end. 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

College Apple Watch Bands

Apple Watch has a large market for watch bands. Now, you can represent your college with a college Apple Watch band. There's a variety of selection at College Jewelry, where they have an entire section dedicated to Apple Watch bands. It appears they're modeled after the Sport Band and come in both 38mm and 42mm sizes. It appears they're cheaper than the $50 price point of Apple's Sport Bands. Plus, there is free shipping on every order.

This site is not associated with College Jewelry in anyway.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

True Continuity Coming to App Store Next Year

If you buy an iOS app, the macOS app may come at an additional charge. This causes macOS apps to be less maintained, especially considering the current state of the Mac App Store. The next major releases of iOS and macOS may see a merger between the iOS and macOS App Stores [Source: Bloomberg News]. This sounds exciting. While I don’t think it will save the Mac App Store, I think it’s a step in the right direction. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Pricing for Cellular on Apple Watch

Apple originally advertised cellular pricing for Apple Watch to be an additional $10/month [Source: MacRumors]. Most carriers will charge additional fees, bumping the monthly price to just shy of $15 typically. What's worse is that you can't choose which months you'd like to have the service active without fees. For example, if you'd like to just activate the cellular for a month, you'd pay the normal rate, plus an activation fee. Most carriers will charge about $25 for that. I can understand that cellular on a watch benefits people like long-distance runners who wouldn't want to carry around a phone, but the amount to pay for that convenience is very demanding. 

Monday, December 18, 2017

Next-Day iPnone X Delivery

For those looking for an iPhone X for the holidays, Apple is offering free next-day delivery for the iPhone X and select other products in the Apple Online Store. This applies to the U.S. and the U.K. If you still need one for the holidays, I recommend picking one up. You must order by 3:00 p.m. local time for next-day delivery. Good luck!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

AirPods Sold Out Until Next Year

The Apple Store app will gladly list AirPods as one of their "last-minute gifts." Unfortunately, it seems like that won't be the case. The site shows that they will not be available to ship until January. There may be some still available in retail stores and third party retailers, so not all hope is lost, but with a week until Christmas, stock is sure to go fast.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Face ID's Hidden Easter Egg

Face ID is really convenient to use on the iPhone X for a variety of purposes. With each time you use it, you'll be greeted by the face below. However, I believe this face is a reference to the macOS face. You'll see this in the Finder app and the startup icon for the original Macintosh. I think it's a nice touch that goes overlooked, despite how often it is shown.

Image Credit: OS X Daily

Friday, December 15, 2017

iTunes Not Coming to Windows Store in 2017

Microsoft announced earlier this year that iTunes would be coming to their Windows Store in 2017. With the year wrapping up, an Apple spokesperson told ZDNet that they need more time to get it right. This isn’t relevant to most people, but I just found it interesting because Apple already offers iTunes for the PC on their website, so it leads me to wonder what the hold up is. Maybe they just forgot. I like to think that’s what happened. 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Space Gray Accessories are iMac Pro Exclusive

The iMac Pro introduced the Magic Mouse, Magic Keynoard, and Magic Trackpad in Space Gray. Many Apple enthusiasts were hoping to snag these color variants, however, Apple confirmed that these aren’t available for separate purchase. If you were buying an iMac Pro just for the color scheme, that’s an expensive way to do so. Hopefully, we’ll see separate releases in the future.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Microsoft Mixed Reality Demo: My Terrible Experience

I went to a Microsoft Store today because one of my professors told me that a VR demo was available. I've had my fair share of VR demos before, but I heard you could play Superhot VR, so I was eager to try it out. When I went to try it out, I was met with a form I had to sign on a Surface. Microsoft Edge stopped working as I filled it out, so another Surface had to be brought in. When I had finished that, I tried on the "Mixed Reality" headset. About 10 seconds into the demo, the application had to be restarted due to some malfunction. When it restarted, the entire screen was blurry. It became more clear if I looked up, but the person at the station told me not to do that, so I was almost blind. They also accidentally chose the game for me when showing me where the buttons were, so I got stuck with "Free the Night." I was met with some voiceover and a starry night sky. No amount of button presses or movements progressed me, so I was under the impression that this was it. While this is apparently a fully fledged game, there was no indication of what I was supposed to do. I ended my demo early on account of the fact that I was bored, unimpressed, and felt that I had wasted roughly ten minutes of my time. I don't like to have to rant like this, but after trying so many VR platforms, Mixed Reality just feels like one of the worst out there. I've had more inviting experiences with Google Cardboard.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

iMac Pro To Be Available December 14

After its announcement at WWDC, we finally have a release date for the iMac Pro. It will be available to order December 14. This will start at $4,999. Already, we are seeing that this computer is a very powerful one, with reviews citing lack of upgradability as its downfall. Full pricing details are not available yet.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Apple Allowing Pre-Orders for Apps

Apple is letting developers allow pre-orders for their apps [Source: MacStories]. When a user pre-orders an app, it will be automatically downloaded when the app is officially released. If the app costs money, the charge will be made at the time of download, not pre-order. It's a small, but important feature for the new App Store.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Face ID Impressions

I've used Face ID these past few days and I have gotten time to get used to it. It's very convenient. I can slide up on the lock screen almost immediately and my phone is unlocked by then. It's how unlocking a phone should feel. It's even better in apps like 1Password or Day One. If my fingerprint was dirty, I would often find myself using a password. Now, I just have to look at my phone, which I'm already doing. One thing I'm not as much of a fan of is using it while docked. I put my iPhone on an iHome speaker dock at night, and I have to move my head quite a bit to be in range, instead of just putting my hand on a home button. This isn't a big deal, as I would have to move a bit or undock the phone if I was going to be using the phone in this state anyways (if that made any sense). 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Apple May Acquire Shazam

Apple and Shazam have been very close for years. I first heard of Shazam from an old iPhone ad, probably from the 3GS era. In iOS 8, Shazam was integrated into Siri. It would be very interesting to see Apple acquire Shazam [Source: TechCrunch].  They could announce this Monday if all goes well in the deal. I personally hope it goes well. I see Shazam as the forefront in machine learning-based music recognition.

Friday, December 8, 2017

I Got The iPhone X

My generous grandparents were kind enough to get me an early Christmas present, the iPhone X. This is actually perfect timing, as I'm off to see Apple Park tomorrow as part of my Winter Break. It's a beautiful phone. Every screen feels fresh and amazing with the new screen. I just wanted to thank my grandparents publicly to show my appreciation for them. Thank you very much!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Apple Fixes Major HomeKit Vulnerability

According to 9to5Mac, Apple has fixed a major vulnerability in HomeKit, which would allow unauthorized access to devices. This vulnerability was introduced in iOS 11.2. This is temporarily disabling shared access to HomeKit accessories, but access will be restored early next week. As we move into a world where our lightbulbs need security updates, it's a scary thought how unauthorized access can become a real issue for consumers.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Amazon Prime Video Released for Apple TV

Six months after its first announcement, Amazon Prime Video is finally out for the Apple TV. Amazon has become a large competitor in the video streaming field due to the large adoption of Amazon Prime, so this is great to see on Apple TV. Apple TV 4K supports streaming from Amazon Prime Video in 4K HDR, which is a huge plus. It also integrates with the TV app. Amazon Prime Video is available for free from the tvOS App Store.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Reversed Emoji

The Unicode Consortium has made new guidelines that propose reversible emoji. These would make it easy to an emoji to point or face one way versus the other. This would help a lot for conveying new messages. Below is a mockup by Emojipedia explaining this concept pretty well. We could potentially see them in the coming years.

Image Credit: Emojipedia

Monday, December 4, 2017

Apple Pay Cash Now Available

Apple Pay Cash, which was not activated in yesterday's update, is now officially live. Going to Settings > Wallet & Apple Pay and switching on Apple Pay Cash will guide you through the setup process. After the setup, you'll have a nifty new card your Wallet app with a holographic design based on your phone's gyroscope. With this, you can add a debit card to add funds and send money to friends and family. With credit on the Apple Pay Cash card, you can use it like you would at Apple Pay accepting locations or choose to add the funds to your bank account. I'm sure Apple will eventually have some incentives to use Apple Pay Cash in the future as well.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

A Critique of Apple's New User Interface

Below is an image provided by Apple Developer's design guidelines. This style, where the page name is in large text near the top of the screen, has become a staple in iOS 11. This was actually originally confined to the Music app in iOS 10 if I remember correctly. While I'm somewhat glad they made it consistent across system apps and not just an odd one out in the Music app, I can't say I'm happy with this design choice. First off, with all of this screen space available with the iPhone X, putting "Favorites" in text that big seems like a waste. "Woah, I'm in the favorites screen. I would've never guessed." We don't need such extravagant text for every single screen. The screen will be better used and more aesthetically pleasing if the title text was shrinked and center-aligned between the "+" and "Edit" buttons. Now you can't un-see it. Look at all of that blank space! What justifies that? It looks like the UI designer made a mistake and let it slide into the golden master build. This works in some situations, especially on tvOS, where large titles are necessary to understanding where you are in the system. However, it's unnecessary on an phone, where screen space is limited and basic design principles keep users from getting confused or lost (which is basically every app except Snapchat and YouTube).

Saturday, December 2, 2017

iOS 11.2 Released

iOS 11.2 was released today and it brings some important updates. First off, we have Apple Pay Cash. This lets you make peer-to-peer payments through Apple Pay and iMessage. It's being rolled out currently, so it may not be available right away. Next is faster wireless charging. iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X now support 7.5W wireless charging, which is faster than the 5W power brick included with the phones. It also adds a Sports section to the TV app, where you can keep track of your favorite sports teams. This also fixes the "I.T" keyboard bug.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Fight Dementia with Sea Hero Quest

Dementia is a terrible disease that affects tens of millions of people today. Scientists are working to eradicate it but this often takes a lot of data and research. However, we can all help with Sea Hero Quest, a game that uses crowd sourced data to help researchers of dementia. Navigational skills are first to go with dementia, and because scientists don't have an idea of what normal navigation skills are, a lot of data is required. We can all contribute with this game, which gives a lot of data as you navigate mazes of waters in your ship. Sea Hero Quest is available from the Apple App Store for free [Direct Link].

Thursday, November 30, 2017

iPhone X Shipping Estimates Improve to a Week

We were expecting a very rough holiday season for the iPhone X. Not because of lack of demand, but lack of supply. However, we are now seeing that iPhone X models are showing a delivery estimate of December 8. That's about a week! I'm glad to see we're not seeing super long estimates, leaving people worried if their orders will come before the holidays.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Apple Support App Redesign

Right after starting a YouTube channel, Apple Support has updated their app. This update redesigns the app, making it similar to the redesigned App Store in iOS 11. It has a Discover tab, which allows for easy discovery of tips and tricks. The Apple Support app is available for free from the Apple App Store [Direct Link].

Image Credit: MacRumors

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Apple Support YouTube Channel

After Apple created the Apple Support Twitter account in 2016, they complemented it with a YouTube channel. Apple has shown it will go to many lengths to stay relevant with social networks. They made a Tumblr page for the iPhone 5c and they have a Snapchat account. I just find it funny how they advertise the addition of YouTube (See embedded video below). Mostly because the YouTube app is shown, which literally violates every user interface design choice made by Apple. YouTube uses their own custom Material view, which is native to Android's user interface. So, in that way, it almost feels like they're advertising Android to some extent. Am I overthinking this? Probably. Anyways, the channel is currently showcasing some simple tips and tricks.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Another iOS 11 Keyboard Bug

After the famous "A[?]" autocorrect bug, which would auto correct "I" to "A[?]", we have another bug, which corrects "it" to "I.T". This isn't happening for everyone, but a few hundred people have complained about it [Source: MacRumors]. My guess for these errors would have to be Apple's deep learning algorithm takes keyboard data from users around the world who consented and found that enough people used "I.T" to justify the autocorrect. This would make some sense considering "I.T." can be an abbreviation of Information Technology.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

New iPhone SE May Come in 2018

Apple may have plans to make a new iPhone SE for release in 2018 [Source: Economic Daily News]. The current iPhone SE is modeled aesthetically after the iPhone 5s and functionally after the iPhone 6s. We could see one modeled aesthetically after a hybrid iPhone 5s and iPhone X. This would be an iPhone 5s with a full screen and Face ID. Whether that will happen, I can't say. There is a good possibility that it would have a glass back to enable wireless charging, so that would be interesting regardless. We will likely hear about this in March of 2018.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Amazon Echo Buttons Available for Pre-Order

Amazon announced Echo Buttons two months ago and now they're finally available to pre-order. Echo Buttons lets Alexa in on family game night. With compatible skills, Alexa can keep track of individual players' scores through buttons. Each player has a button and can buzz in when the time is appropriate. They are available in packs of 2 for $20 on Amazon [Direct Link]. These will ship December 19.

Note: This post includes affiliate links that may benefit Tech Talk 4 Geeks by clicking on them.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Improved iPhone X Supply Not From Weak Demand

We've seen vast improvements in iPhone X supply, dropping to just 1-2 weeks in the U.S. According to a source from MacRumors, Apple is experiencing better than expected production, not weak demand. With such quick improvements, it would be easy to say that the demand dropped. However, we are seeing that the TrueDepth camera and antenna components are being produced quicker. This is heavily contributing to more worldwide availability.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Black Friday 2017

Happy Thanksgiving to all! I hope you've all had time to spend with your families and had the chance to relax a bit. But, it is my duty to remind you that we as humans living in 2017 thrive on one thing, and that's buying stuff. And what better day to do so on Black Friday. That being said, here's my routine for Black Friday. First, check your iTunes Wish List for any discounts or sales. I have an iPad still running iOS 10 that let's me see my App Store Wish List. The Wish List was removed in iOS 11 unfortunately. Next, check for software that has an annual update. For me, that would be VMWare Fusion or MacFamilyTree. They typically have great deals on Black Friday, making this the best time to upgrade. Finally, if you like video games, check sites for good deals. Steam has great deals as always. The Nintendo eShop for Nintendo Switch is celebrating it's first Black Friday, and there are some nice deals, particularly from Indies. Regardless, make up your own routine that fits your lifestyle and see if you can find any good deals.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

iPhone X Estimates Improve Again

iPhone X shipping estimates have improved once more. This time, the shipping estimates in the U.S. appear to be 1-2 weeks. Previously, they had been 2-3 weeks. Apple seems to be doing a good job of making sure they have stock for the holidays. Especially considering they released their annual holiday ad today.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

iMac Pro May Have Theft Protection

As we saw a few days ago, the iMac Pro may have always on Hey Siri. Another always on feature may be theft protection [Source: Pike's Universum]. This would use some form of cellular connectivity. Possibly for location tracking for Find my Mac or to make a phone call. We don't quite know yet. For $5000+, we definitely want to keep an iMac Pro stolen, so seeing Apple put a feature that can't turn off is very important.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Spotify Holiday Sale

If you're looking for some affordable holiday music streaming, Spotify has you covered. For just 99¢, you can get three months of Spotify Premium. That's a screaming deal. You can get this until December 31, 2017. Note that you can not get this deal if you have provided a credit card or used a free trial, this does not apply to you. You have to be a new user. To sign up, go to Spotify's website.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

'Hey Siri' is Coming to macOS

Thanks to Jonathan Levin, Steven Troughton-Smith, and Guilherme Rambo, we know that "Hey Siri" will be coming to macOS in an update. Or at least the iMac Pro. The iMac Pro will likely have an A10 chip that will allow for this feature even if the iMac Pro is off. Given that this iMac Pro is meant for professionals, or at least high-end consumers, this isn't a big deal if the feature is exclusive. Similar to Touch Bar, professionals aren't interested in gimmicky features like these. That being said, it is interesting to see dedicated chips that can perform tasks when the device is off. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

HomePod Delayed Until 2018

Apple has officially announced that HomePod will not be available until early 2018 [Source: The Verge]. We were expecting it in December. Of course, this is following AirPods launch, as it was delayed from October until mid-December. Stock was very limited, and I wouldn't be surprised if this was the case for HomePod too. No word on the iMac Pro yet.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Apple Park Now Open to the Public

Today, Apple Park opened its Visitor's Center for everyone to see. Inside are iPads with ARKit rigged up for visitors to explore a 3D model of Apple Park. The gift shop has exclusive souvenirs for purchase and a cafe. If you're in the area, be sure to check it out. The official page has hours and other information.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Apple To No Longer Accept watchOS 1 Updates

Apple announced that they will not accept watchOS 1 app updates to be submitted to the App Store starting April 1, 2018. watchOS 1 was the OS that shipped with the original Apple Watch. These apps ran very slow and did not run natively. Building with newer SDKs will allow for faster and better apps. Very few apps still use this SDK, but small developers may find themselves doing this. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

iPhone X Shipping Estimates Improve

iPhone X shipping estimates have dropped on the Apple Online Store to 2-3 weeks. Previously, it was 3-4 weeks. It looks like Apple is getting their stock under control and we could see a relatively smooth Christmas shopping season for prospective iPhone X owners. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

iOS 11.2 Supports 7.5W Wireless Charging

With the new beta of iOS 11.2 being released, we now know that iOS 11.2 will likely support 7.5W wireless charging for the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X. This will make charging quite a bit faster than 5W wireless charging. Realistically, users can expect to experience about 20% in half an hour [Source: MacRumors]. Qi Wireless charging standards can allow for up to 15W but it seems it will be sometime until we get that, likely to avoid a battery fiasco of some sort. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

iOS 11.2 Will Give Better Explanation of Network Controls

If you enable or disable Wi-Fi or Bluetooth in iOS 11's Control Center, there's a lot that isn't revealed about what is happening. Disabling Wi-Fi will still allow Wi-Fi processes such as AirDrop, location accuracy, and Personal Hotspot. Disabling Bluetooth will still allow Handoff, Apple Watch connections, and Apple Pencil connections. These will automatically re-enable at 5 a.m. the next morning. iOS 11.2 will make this much more clear by providing a one time pop-up explanation and descriptive text each time you do this.

Image Credit: MacRumors

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Apple to Reduce iPhone 8 Production

According to Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple will shift production from the iPhone 8 in favor of the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X by 50-60 percent. The iPhone 8 Plus outsold the iPhone 8 by about a million units as consumers begin desiring larger and larger displays. The iPhone X was definitely in need of more production, but I was surprised that this year's "Plus" model was so popular, and it seems Apple was too.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

A Better Control Center on iPhone X

The iPhone X has an interesting way of activating Control Center. You have to swipe down from the right side of the notch. However, Guilherme Rambo has tweeted about a more natural solution that involves using a 3D Touch from a side, similar to how 3D Touch App Switcher would work. I'd welcome this change since I can understand how hard it could be in one-handed situations to open Control Center in its current state. Let's hope Apple sees the difficulty as well.

Friday, November 10, 2017

iPhone X Green Line

Some users are finding that a green line is appearing on the iPhone X. The line seems to appear on the edge of the screen whenever the screen is on. There doesn’t seem to be a fix readily available. However, there are reports of Apple Stores replacing them for free, so that’s worth a try. 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

“This Weekend Only” Deals

With iOS 11’s new App Store, Apple is creating a new way to save on apps. Now, going to the Today section will show apps with deals for the weekend, appropriately titled “This Weekend Only.” From Thursday thru Sunday, apps will have special offers. For example, Chipotle’s app will be giving out chips and queso for free with any entree purchase. Be sure to check out the deals. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Apple Park Visitor Center

On November 17, Apple Park will open to the public. Apple is also sending invites to those who live near Apple Park to visit on the 16th. This center has an observation deck, a cafe, and a seating area. There is also a gift shop. After all the waiting, it’s exciting to see the visitor center finally open so the public can experience Apple Park firsthand. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

280 Character Tweets

I've always thought that 140 characters wasn't enough. Today, that limit has been bumped to 280 characters. It's a simple change, but it will probably change Twitter a lot. The brevity of Twitter was it's gimmick. There are advantages and disadvantages to this, but it's a change I'm fine with. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

iStockNow for iPhone X

If you're looking for an iPhone X, iStockNow may be able to help you find a store with stock. This tool gives you an idea of stock around the country. A green pin means there is stock, while a red one means no stock. You can also filter by color and capacity, so I highly recommend checking it out!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Animoji Karaoke

I've mentioned before my concerns with Animoji for the iPhone X. However, the internet works in very strange ways and has created Animoji Karaoke. Using screen recording, iPhone X users can capture Animoji mouthing words to songs. They can then overlay music and make it look like they are singing. The video below is probably one of the most amazing things I've seen. It would not surprise me if Apple officially acknowledged this and made some kind of dedicated app to create these. If Animoji will be part of iPhone X's feature arsenal, then embracing crazy things like this would be awesome. If AnimojiKit (as I mentioned before) becomes a thing, it would be hilarious to see licensed characters do the same thing.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

4K HDR Movies On Sale

With the release of the iPhone X, which features an HDR screen, and the 4K Apple TV, Apple has some great 4K movies discounted to just $9.99 on iTunes. If you want to future-proof some great movies, I highly recommend checking out some of these films. Right now, you can see them by going to the iTunes Store, going to the Movies section, and you should see a banner in the carousel at the top.

Friday, November 3, 2017

iPhone X: First Impressions

The iPhone X was finally released today, and I got my hands on a demo at my local Apple Store. Looking at the picture below, you can see that compared to my iPhone 6s, the screen is way larger than that of my iPhone's, despite having a similar size. Having this extra screen space is an amazing luxury, especially with apps that take advantage of the display. I found this useful with the Calendar app, which gives you just enough extra space to see more of your day or week without scrolling. Both of these phones are at full brightness as well, but you probably see the iPhone X's OLED display shows some whiter whites. The gestures took minimal time for me to get used to, but I'm sure that's different for whoever you ask. The real kicker is the camera. The photo below was taken using an iPhone X, but this doesn't do it much justice. Having a camera this stellar in your pocket is truly amazing. The different lightings that can be taken in portrait mode gives a lot of power to the user when done right. There were no third party apps installed on the demo, so I can't say how many apps are optimized. I made an app in Xcode the other day and found some staggering differences as to how the iPhone X displays some storyboards, so hopefully no existing apps are ruined. This display has a lot of potential, and it gives me much more excitement as to what features Apple will do for this phone in the coming months or for next year's model.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Thieves Steal iPhone X Models

Tomorrow, the iPhone X will finally be available, but some thieves felt the need to make a quick buck off of the limited-supplied phone [Source: CNET]. They stole over 300 iPhone X models from Stonestown in San Francisco. This will definitely affect supply for prospective iPhone X buyers in San Francisco. They were estimated to have stolen over $370,000 worth of iPhone X models.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Potential AirPower Price

Apple announced the AirPower wireless charging mat this last September, but only told us it would be released next year. While the features it boasts are pretty nice, how much it should cost is up to debate. X-Kom has an AirPower mat available for 999 Złotych. This cannot be purchased, and the validity of the listing cannot be confirmed, but we have reason to believe this means the product will be $199. That's a bit much for a charging mat. Most charging mats cost around $10-$30. A premium one from Apple should cost at most $100, in my opinion. Take into account that this works best with AirPods ($159), the wireless charging case for AirPods (sold separately; $69), an Apple Watch Series 3, and an iPhone 8 or iPhone X. That's a lot of money for just a charging mat.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Face ID on Twins

Two identical twins had the chance to test out Face ID and see if it could tell the two apart. Mashable and Business Insider both ran this test. Mashable found that twins could unlock the iPhone with just one face registered, while Business Insider found the opposite. For them, the iPhone would only unlock for one of the twins. Regardless, it's probably better to have someone related to you be able to unlock your phone than a complete stranger. 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Microsoft Rep Installs Google Chrome During Pitch

This is a truly funny video to watch. During a presentation on how to migrate to Microsoft Azure, the presenter, a representative of Microsoft, found Microsoft Edge to be crashing too much during the demo. To remedy this, he decided to install Google Chrome during the presentation. After that, the presentation seemed to work fine. Microsoft had the unfortunate pleasure of having to upload the video as it was an official video pitch to their YouTube channel. Despite this, the presenter handled it very well and took it like a champ.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

iPhone 11 Production

According to Ming-Chi Kuo, we will see improved production with the iPhone 11. Issues with producing the TrueDepth camera didn't do Apple many favors with this launch. With this issue out of the way, we could see a much more stable launch for next year's iPhone.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Final Cut Pro X 10.4

A new version of Final Cut Pro X will be released by the end of the year. That’s just in time for the iMac Pro. This update will include HVEC support which will bring improved lossless compression compared to H.264. In addition, this update will have VR support. That is very exciting. Looking forward to seeing this update in action.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Best Buy's iPhone X

Best Buy, I don't think I've ever seen you live up to your name. Last night, for the pre-orders of the iPhone X, Best Buy marked up their prices of the smartphone by $100 [Source: MacRumors]. Now, Best Buy has some justification for this. Let me tell you about it. What is it? Because flexibility has a cost. Flexibility? Being able to pick your carrier and plan. Oh, but isn't that the same for Apple but the cost is $100 less. Yes. So, what's the point? Who knows? It seems a bit ridiculous to pull something like this. People probably waited on Best Buy's website just to be greeted with a $100 surcharge with no explanation. With the phones selling out in 5 minutes, you have no choice but to impulse buy. A very scummy move on Best Buy's part.

Image Credit: MacRumors

Thursday, October 26, 2017

iPhone X Pre-Orders

The iPhone X pre-orders start tonight. Due to the high demand, you're going to want to make sure you're prepared. Obviously, make sure you know the capacity and color you want. The general consensus at this point is that Space Gray with 256 GB of storage will be the most coveted model. Have the last four digits of your SSN handy as well if you don't have them memorized. At 12:01 a.m. PDT, pre-orders will officially start, so be ready. Good luck!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Sound Check

If you're like me, then you probably make the drastic mistake of pairing light piano music with big band music in the same playlist. So when you turn up your volume on your headphones to hear the piano music better, you get blasted with a brass band without warning. To help avoid this, turn on Sound Check. For iOS, just go to Settings > Music > Sound Check. For iTunes, open iTunes, go to Preferences, and check it on in General.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

New Apple Homepage

In preparation for the iPhone X, Apple has revamped their homepage to revolve around it. The page features the phone, along with several animated images that showcase its features. Despite the limited supply, Apple is very determined to advertise iPhone X as its flagship product.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Apple Lists Cars Compatible with iPhone 8 Wireless Charging

With the iPhone 8 and iPhone X getting wireless charging, Apple has listed car models that are compatible with the Qi wireless charging standard. However, Apple cannot confirm that each model listed will be able to fit the iPhone, as cubby sizes vary. It should be noted that this is just for charging and will not support CarPlay.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

No October Event for HomePod and iMac Pro

We were expecting some form of an event, likely in October, for the HomePod and iMac Pro. Both products are supposed to be released by the end of the year. Craig Federighi has confirmed that there will be no October event. MacRumors reader Luke asked, "Will we see an October keynote event?" and Federighi by saying "I think we're all Keynoted out for the season! :-)". At this point, we can assume there is no event planned for these products and there will just be a simple press release. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

iPhone X and the iPhone Upgrade Program

We all know about the slim supply of the iPhone X that will inevitably sell out very quickly. For iPhone Upgrade Members, many are planning on upgrading to the new phone. However, they have to go through a loan approval process. To alleviate this, Apple is giving these people a head start on the approval process. This will start on Monday, October 23, where eligible customers can go on the Apple Store app and begin the checkout process for an iPhone X. Once approved, the customer can have a smoother checkout process when pre-orders begin on October 27 at 12:01 PDT.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Apple Stores Won't Upsell Customers to iPhone X

With Apple producing their most expensive iPhone yet, the iPhone X certainly isn't for everyone. And with supply shortages, demand is very high. That being said, Angela Ahrendts, Apple's retail chief, stated that Apple will not be attempting to upsell customers to the iPhone X. She states that not everyone needs the most expensive iPhone.
"Internally we said the tagline was 'an iPhone for everyone,'" she said. "I prefer that we ask you who you're buying it for. If they're 6 or 7 years old, what do they need? If it's someone who's leaning into something else, what do they need? We do that with Mac, we do that with iPad, why wouldn't we do that with [the] phone?"

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Mac Mini's Future

With the Mac Mini not getting an update for over three years now, many are questioning the future of the computer. The Mac Mini lets users bring their own accessories, like a display and keyboard. For this reason, it's very affordable compared to other Apple products. Tim Cook has responded to an email addressing the state of the machine [Source: MacRumors]. He states that it will be "an important part of our product line moving forward."

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

'Hey, Siri' Listens Better After a Failed Attempt

Apple has published a new entry in their Machine Learning Journal. It details how 'Hey, Siri' works better after a failed attempt. In short, there are two thresholds for how likely Apple heard the phrase. At the higher threshold, Siri starts listening to your request. However, the lower threshold lowers the sensitivity for a followup attempt. It's very interesting to see the inner workings of Siri.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Touch Bar Media Button

When playing music or media, Touch Bar will add a fifth button to the compressed Control Strip on the right. However, there are some instances where it can change. With a phone call, the button will change to a green phone icon. With Xcode, you'll get a debug icon. And with BetterTouchTool, you'll get their logo. It's a nice surprise to occasionally discover these new icons.

Monday, October 16, 2017

The iMac Pro Isn't Dead

It wouldn't surprise me to hear that the iMac Pro got delayed until next year, given how much time has passed since we heard about it at WWDC. But Geekbench records beg to differ. These records give strong evidence that the iMac Pro have the scores shown below. I'm not super great with hardware, nor am I great with the whole "PC Master Race" scene, but if anyone wants to see the scores in more detail, check out the Geekbench records.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Discord Video Chat

In a highly anticipated update, Discord has finally rolled out video chat to all users. With this update, users can share screens and video chat with up to 10 people in a channel. This is a pretty momentous update for no other reason than video chat on Discord has made a name for itself. For more information, watch the entertaining video below.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Apple Pencil Support Coming to iPhone in 2019

According to The Insider, Apple is looking to add Apple Pencil support to iPhone in 2019. I’m not saying I’ve been needing this feature, but really? 2019? I’d like to say Apple’s flagship stylus works with more than just one device sooner. I’m not a big fan of styluses because of Steve Jobs, but I understand that they’re good in the right situations, especially if the stylus is not required. That being said, it seems like the Apple Pencil is due for an update in support. Locking it behind iPad Pro models will not sell these very well. Adding support for iPhone would be a step in the right direction. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Avoiding Apple ID Phishing

There is an easy way for malicious developers to request Apple ID credentials while looking completely legitimate. Simply display a prompt with the exact text the legitimate prompts would have. This isn't something you should be constantly worried about since these apps are rare and likely won't come from popular apps. Felix Krause wrote an excellent article about this topic. In short, to verify these popups are legitimate, just press the home button. If you exit to the Home Menu, it's a hoax. If nothing happens, it's legitimate and from the system. This is the best way to ensure you're not a phishing victim.

Image Credit: Felix Krause

Thursday, October 12, 2017

iOS 11 is Installed On More Active iOS Devices than iOS 10

iOS 11 is now on the majority of active iOS devices. Just over three weeks and iOS 11 is at 47.32% adoption [Source: Mixpanel]. iOS 10 is at 46.01% adoption, with the remaining 6.67% on an older version. This is the tipping point I suppose, since the OS is on the majority of devices. As an Android developer, I can confirm what Apple says about Android adoption is true, and having more users on your latest operating systems helps a lot with keeping apps fresh and accessible.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Yelp Gains Support for Apple Pay

Yelp has been updated with the ability to make payments through Apple Pay. This allows for the ability to pay for delivery or takeout, for restaurants that support it. Due to the popularity of Yelp, more so than OpenTable, we may be able to use Apple Pay at many more locations than before. Yelp is available for iOS from the Apple App Store for free [Direct Link].

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Most Prospective Buyers of the iPhone X Intend to Buy 256 GB Model

According to RBC Capital Markets, 57% of all prospective iPhone X buyers intend to buy the 256 GB model, with 43% intending to purchase the 64 GB model. Given that iPhone X is marketed toward those more integrated into the Apple ecosystem, it's not out of the question to believe they use their devices more see it fit to purchase a higher storage capacity. Plus, when you're spending about $1,000 on a phone, many likely think to jump up to avoid storage issues in the future. This does raise questions about how Apple produces these phones. If 256 GB sells out too fast, many will likely be deterred from buying the 64 GB model.

Monday, October 9, 2017

iPad Pro May Feature Face ID

The next device Apple will make to support Face ID will likely be the iPad Pro, according to Ming-Chi Kuo. Of course, this means the iPad Pro will have the TrueDepth camera system the iPhone X will have. If so, this may suggest that the screen will have minimal bezels and have no home button. If Apple sees Face ID as the future, I'm glad they're embracing it by putting it in more devices. I hope that they find a way to add wireless charging to more products as well. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Stop Apple Watch from Showing Now Playing Automatically

In watchOS 4, Apple Watch will automatically open the Apple Watch audio app you're listening to on your iPhone. For example, if you start a song in Apple's Music app on your iPhone, your watch will open the Music app as well. This can be convenient in the right situations, but for many, it's disorientating. To disable this, simply open the Apple Watch app, go to General > Wake Screen and disable Auto-launch Audio Apps. That's it.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

AIM Will Be Discontinued After 20 Years

This year, the last 90s kid will become an adult. Fittingly, AIM, or AOL Instant Messenger, will be discontinued just before the end of the year. December 15, 2017 to be exact. I could go on and on about the rise and fall of AOL, but it’s a perfect example of how rapidly developing technology changes, but also deprecates older technologies. The advancements in technologies made even SMS a bit obsolete in favor of iMessage and other data-based SMS services. It’s no surprise that AIM is being discontinued. I forgot it existed until today.

Of course, I’m a bit saddened by this news. AOL was my first email account I got, and I would use AIM to message far-away friends. Seeing that AIM stick figure... “thing” got me really nostalgic. I was a bit surprised AIM had a Twitter account. Who knows? Maybe somebody will make an “AIM Rewritten” service. With Cuphead doing as well as it is, I wouldn’t mind a 90s nostalgia instant messenger. It’s something to think about. 

Friday, October 6, 2017

iOS Updates Don't Slow Down Devices Intentionally

I've always found this conspiracy theory funny. The idea that Apple intentionally slows down older devices through iOS updates. That's not how that works. Older hardware (which cannot be changed mid-use) does not account for new software (which can be changed on the fly). Major iOS updates typically take advantage of new features on the newest phone. Your older phone does not anticipate these updates since hardware has so many limitations once it's pushed out. That's also why recalls are such a big deal. Futuremark put this entire theory to the test and confirmed that the theory is wrong. Benchmarks of CPU and GPU showed very consistent results over multiple years. While it's not completely definitive, it's a good way to judge these things. Check out their site for the full results.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Quick Impressions of the Google Pixel 2

Yesterday, Google announced some new products. Most notably, the Google Pixel 2. To me, nothing revolutionary was announced. Last year, Google poked fun at the iPhone 7 for not having a headphone jack, only to follow in its steps one generation later. They also made their own AirPods that also cost $159. These are attached to each other, similar to the Powerbeats3 Wireless. The original Google Pixel also barely had better camera specs than its competition, but used it to boast its phone more. The same thing here, with Apple and Samsung tied in the DxOMark test for smartphones with a score of 94. The Google Pixel 2 gets a 98. It's clear we're reaching the threshold for camera optics on a phone. Eventually, it's just going to be more megapixels and less emphasis on optics. It's not that I want to bash on the Google Pixel 2. I waited about 8 months for this phone, hoping to use it as a development phone. But I'm not seeing anything revolutionary. The only benefit I see is a cheaper original Pixel. If there's one last thing I wish to mention, I wish they kept the "Really Blue" color and didn't replace it with "Kinda Blue." Really Blue made the phone look like a blueprint, perfect for a developer phone.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Why Do I Use Yahoo! Again?

Yahoo! has gone downhill, especially when you look back on their decisions. Their search is currently powered by Bing. They chose not to buy Google for $1 million. But this is just... I don't know. Verizon, which now owns Yahoo!, disclosed that the 2013 hack on Yahoo! did not just affect one billion accounts as Yahoo said. It actually affected all three billion accounts in existence. Will this change under the guidance of Verizon or will Yahoo! fade in an era where cybersecurity standards are more important than ever?

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Samsung Will Make More Money from iPhone X than Galaxy S8

According to The Wall Street Journal, Samsung will make about $4 billion more making parts for the iPhone X, than they will making Galaxy S8 parts. For those who don't know, Samsung does supply quite a bit of the parts used in iPhones. Samsung executives occasionally refer to Apple as their best client. With the iPhone X having a large OLED display, it's not hard to believe that Samsung would make a pretty penny with the amount of hype and demand the iPhone X has.

Monday, October 2, 2017

iOS 11 Removes Wish List

iOS 11 has made the unfortunate decision to remove the wish list. This was a feature I've waited forever for before it was finally added in iOS 7. It's a shame that they removed it when Apple made a big deal about the remodel of the App Store in iOS 11. The wish list was a great way for me to keep track of apps I wanted to buy. I would also check it if apps were on sale. If I got an iTunes gift card, I was sure to check my wish list before anything else. Now, I don't know what to spend it on. It's a mystery why Apple would remove this feature.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

New Photo Projects in macOS High Sierra

macOS High Sierra introduces an obscure but cool new feature for Photos. There are extensions that allow you to make more than just the Books, Calendars, and Cards that Apple makes. You can download compatible apps and create things like t-shirts with your photos. If you have a compatible app, in Photos, use File > Create and pick a third-party app. Hopefully, this doesn't give Apple an excuse to drop out of the print business entirely.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Facebook and Blood Drives

Facebook wants to make it easier for those in need of blood to get it. If you tell Facebook you're a donor, it will attempt to find those seeking blood near you. From what I can tell, the feature is limited to just India, as October 1 is India's National Blood Donor Day, but it's a neat idea that shows how technology is making strides to help others and save lives.

Friday, September 29, 2017

32 Bit Apps in iOS 11

As I’ve discussed, 32 bit apps no longer work in iOS 11. However, I’ve never talked about what it looks like. Essentially, you’ll see a cloud icon next to the app name, and tapping on the app will display a message. The app will not open and will need to be updated for use.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Echo Buttons

An interesting product Amazon announced was Echo Buttons. These are more of accessories to Echo. They're designed for family game night with Alexa. As someone who enjoys playing Jeopardy on Echo with my family, this peaks my interest. As a developer for Alexa Skills, I see some potential for this. Each button could be used to keep track of each player's score, rather than a sum score at the end of the game. While they aren't available yet, they will be sold at a price of $20 each.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Future of the Home Phone

Amazon made some announcements regarding their very successful Echo line. From the little I've seen of the lineup so far, it looks very... Kindle Fire-esque. While that's not great, something did catch my eye: the Echo Connect. This $35 device connects to your existing home phone jack and you can make and receives calls on your Amazon Echo device instead of your home phone. This is what I've been waiting for. Something to bring the home phone into the 21st century. Home phones have long been shadowed by smartphones, but I think a separate number that can call 911 with your home address is still something good to have. This is what I wanted HomePod to be in a way. Add some HD voice functionality with others that have the device and you're set. A home phone that can be voice controlled (perfect in the kitchen) with all of the functionality of Alexa. While you're at it, send a message, ask for conversions, or ask Alexa for the next instruction of that recipe. This is how the home phone should evolve.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

iPhone X Launch Day Supply

This is a bit worrisome for iPhone X stock. There's expected to be just 12 million units produced by launch day [Source: Jeff Pu]. Apple has probably manufactured about 2 million units so far and we expect them to manufacture another 10 million units for a total of 12 million units. That TrueDepth camera is likely to blame.  Now, 12 million units is nothing to scoff at, but considering that this will have accumulated over almost two months and it will be sold out in minutes, there's no denying that this will be a hard product to get a hold of.

Monday, September 25, 2017

iPhone 8 Drop Test

The iPhone 8 (and iPhone X) has a glass back to allow for wireless charging. Apple calls it the most durable glass in a smartphone. But, glass is glass and glass shatters. But SquareTrade put this to the test and compared it with a Samsung Galaxy Note8. The results were about the same. So, if you find yourself getting one of the new iPhones, please get a case.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Putting iPhone into Recovery Mode

Today, my iPhone 6s had an issue and would not boot no matter what. I let it sit for a few hours and realized how hard it was to work without my iPhone. I can't just quickly bring out my laptop, write down a reminder, and put it in my pocket in a dining hall. While it's nice that we have alternatives and work arounds, there's no denying that a smartphone is essential to almost any lifestyle. So when my iPhone wouldn't boot, I knew I had no other choice. I had to put it into recovery mode. For iPhone 7 users and above, please replace every instance of "home button" with "volume down button." I held the sleep/wake button and the home button. Hold it past the startup screen. Keep doing this until you see the iTunes logo appear. I plugged my iPhone into my MacBook Pro and I was presented with some options. I tried updating it, in hopes it would resolve the issue without needing a restore. That didn't work. I had to do a restore, meaning wiping all of my data and restoring from an iCloud backup. Thankfully, I had a recent backup from the morning before. This weird iPhone hard-lock was not preemptive, with the exception of more and more slowdown (but I was used to that), so paying a little bit for extra iCloud storage for backups just paid for itself. While it was a bit tedious and time-consuming (especially with Apple Pay and Apple Watch), I got my iPhone back up and running. It's a little bit snappier now too.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

T-Mobile and Sprint Merger

Via Reuters, we have reason to believe that T-Mobile and Sprint are very close to merging. T-Mobile would own most of the merged company, with Sprint owning 40-50%. It could be finalized as soon as the end of October. What this means consumer-side is shady. I am very curious to see what comes out of this.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Fixing Apple Watch Series 3's Digital Crown

If you've seen the LTE Apple Watch's Digital Crown, the red color is a bit of a subjective matter. I personally don't like it. But WatchDots has us covered. WatchDots makes little covers for the side buttons and the Digital Crown. You can have it match a specific band color or just use them to cover up that color. If you want to cover up that red crown, check them out!

(This is not a paid endorsement.)

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Automatic Setup in iOS 11

iPhone 8 pre-orders will be delivered tomorrow for many, so here's how you can quickly setup your new iPhone with an existing device running iOS 11. First, power on the new device and pick a language. Hold your two devices near each other and the existing device should have a prompt appear. Tap continue, and you can follow the prompts from there. This will transfer your settings and preferences, but you can choose whether you want to restore from a backup or start fresh with the new device.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

iPhone X Delays

I wasn't very fond of the iPhone X when it first launched, but it looks nicer each day I see it. Clearly, I'm not the only one that thinks so. Despite the constant criticism, we see growing hype for this device. The iPhone 8 pre-orders were the first pre-orders to not immediately sellout. In fact, they were readily available throughout the weekend. This is because most are waiting for the iPhone X pre-orders. But now we're seeing the same thing that happened to AirPods happen to iPhone X. We already expected this. If this device gets even further delayed, it will be another AirPods fiasco. Knowing Apple, AirPower will probably have the same issue. According to Barron's, we have reason to believe that the iPhone X will be delayed until mid-October. Understandably, given the amount of time and hype this device has gathered, we would hope for it soon, especially given its drawbacks and price. We will just have to wait and see how long this phone takes to get to us.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Impressions of ARKit

Today, I got a chance to try out some apps made for ARKit. I've tried IKEA Place, which lets you place IKEA furniture in your house and HomeCraft, a similar app that lets you place generic furniture in your home. Both were very solid. I was impressed. It just takes a quick calibration where you point the camera at the floor and it works like magic. Most AR apps I've used have trouble pinning the object down to the floor and don't move naturally. ARKit does a great job of keeping the object pinned down and making it feel natural. I'm excited to use more apps that use ARKit in the future.

Monday, September 18, 2017

32-Bit Apps in iOS 11

iOS 11 will be released tomorrow, which means that 32-bit apps will no longer function. To check if you have any 32-bit apps, go to Settings > General > About > Applications and you will see any apps that will not work in iOS 11. In addition, you should see a notice appear if you try to open one of these apps, so if you use a 32-bit app frequently, you probably know about this. Most apps are already 64-bit, so most apps are fine. I saw a few apps get updated today for 64-bit compatibility, so be sure to update any apps.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

5 Years of Consistent Blogging

Time flies! It has been five years since I have started blogging once a day here. It's crazy for me to look back and say that I would have to make sure I would have a post up before I go to bed. Most people don't have such a responsibility. If I was going to be without internet for a few days, I would have to write ahead and schedule posts. If I had an event that would take up most of my evening, I would write a post beforehand. Even through my other responsibilities, like being a broadcast editor for my high school, I still put up a post. And all of that has given me some sense of accomplishment. I started this in middle school and now I am in college. So, thanks for all the support and for reading Tech Talk 4 Geeks!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Using Apple Watch to See If You've Lost Your iPhone

If you've lost your iPhone, you could use your Apple Watch to ring your iPhone, but you're not always in a position to ring your phone loudly. Here's another way I use my Apple Watch to find my iPhone. The first thing I think of when I can't find my iPhone is "Is it near me or did I leave it somewhere completely different?" To figure this out, I take a quick glance at my watch. If the red "disconnected" icon appears at the top of the screen, it's not in the general vicinity. This helps me retrace my steps while filtering out any places that may throw me off. If the icon does not appear, it's near you and you can retrace your steps just a few minutes back. I use this strategy whenever I worry I misplaced my iPhone.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Children Under 13 Cannot Use Face ID

Apple will not allow children under 13 to use Face ID. This comes from the App Store Review Guidelines. This isn't a huge deal since not many kids that age would have an iPhone X, but I'm curious about the reasoning for this. If Face ID is the future of Apple products, would this rule continue to be in effect?
Apps using facial recognition for account authentication must use LocalAuthentication (and not ARKit or other facial recognition technology), and must use an alternate authentication method for users under 13 years old.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

iPhone 8 Pre-Orders Start Tonight

While the iPhone X won't be available for some time to pre-order, the iPhone 8 will start pre-orders tonight at midnight. In addition, Apple Watch Series 3 and Apple TV 4K pre-orders start tonight. All pre-orders will be available on Apple's website. It should be noted that the times listed are in Pacific Time, and that when I say midnight, it's actually 12:01 a.m.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

What Happened with the Face ID Demo

The Face ID fail at Apple's event yesterday was embarrassing, no matter what actually happened. You never want to see that happen during a presentation. But, thanks to David Pogue, we know what happened, as he contacted Apple. As some have speculated, while people setup the iPhone X for the demo, they may have woken it up accidentally and looked at it, causing the iPhone to recognize that as a bad attempt. We see that as the lock icon doesn't shake as I assume it would if it detected an incorrect face. From this, we can assume that there were no more Face ID attempts. This checks out with me and most people, but definitely not a good way to show off one of the flagship features of the iPhone X.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

iPhone Event 2017: Quick Thoughts

I just now finished watching Apple's iPhone 8/X event. Here are some quick thoughts.

Apple Watch Series 3

The general consensus is that cellular on an Apple Watch isn't very practical. I'm not going to call someone while I'm surfing. I'm not away from my phone long enough to justify an extra $10 per month on my phone bill. Series 3 without cellular looks nice. More speed is all I can ask for. Compatibility with the AirPower Mat is nice. I was hoping Series 2 would cost about $100 less and I could get that, but it looks like we're stuck with the same price.

Apple TV 4K

This was a product that was two years late. There were rumors two years ago about a 4K Apple TV. I think it's important to note that we have video games in 4K now. I understand it wasn't as mainstream two years ago, but if iPhone 6s could shoot 4K video at that time, it seems that would've been perfect timing. If not then, then last year, but now just feels late. The features for the TV app look nice, but that's for any Apple TV.

iPhone 8

This phone looks solid. Yeah, it was just performance upgrades and a glass back, but I really like this phone. Coming from an iPhone 6s owner, I like this phone for no other reason than there weren't a bunch of gimmicks Apple was trying to sell me on. Granted, they offered wireless charging, but I am excited for wireless charging. The idea of placing my phone in my car and having it charge and connect to CarPlay is awesome. AirPower Mat is still a cool idea. I believe that will revolutionize the way people travel with Apple products. No itinerary just for cables. Just bring your devices and the mat. No one likes the transition for things like AirPods and Apple Watch, but I get why we need the upgrade for wireless charging. I also feel this introduction to wireless charging could be a great transition for USB-C next year, so users can choose between USB-C and wireless, causing less controversy.

iPhone X

For me, this phone is very controversial. I love the design. An edge to edge display for iPhone looks beautiful. But paying over $400 extra for that display plus Animoji doesn't seem worth it to me. If they announce the iPhone 11 next year and lower the price point, I would be much more excited about that phone. I would like it if they made an "AnimojiKit." Developers could take 3D models of popular characters, like Mario, and have users send animated versions of them. I don't care for the emojis. I don't like Apple making these emojis a flagship feature of their $1,000 phone. To me, it's just an iPhone 8 + a great display + a replacement for Touch ID + Animoji. In short, it's just the display that appeals to me.