Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Alexa Adds iCloud Calendar Integration

iOS users will finally be able to sync their calendars to Alexa via iCloud. This lets Alexa read off your schedule for the day and add events. To enable this, just sign into iCloud in the settings of the Alexa app for iOS. It's nice to finally have this feature. I was a bit disappointed when I got my Echo a year ago and it didn't have this integration. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Apple May Be Causing Nintendo Switch Supply Issues

According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple's strong grasp on component manufacturers may be causing supply issues with the Nintendo Switch. As many know, the Nintendo Switch has been very difficult to find and requires hopeful owners to be ready to purchase with a moment's notice. The Switch is in need of a steady supply of flash-memory chips, LCDs, and motors for HD Rumble. Let's hope both companies can work out a steady supply somehow.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Apple Park on Apple Maps

Apple Park has been added to Apple Maps, complete with 3D models and its own icon. It's quite a spectacle considering the unorthodox design of the building. The icon is the now iconic ring of the campus. The Steve Jobs Theater is also displayed on the map. Be sure to check it out on Apple Maps.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Transition to Internet TV

Internet-based TV is quickly becoming more popular. Platforms like Netflix and Hulu are becoming the forefront in what will be a highly competitive market. Companies like Apple and Google have begun making their own content. Think about it: tech companies making TV shows. Sounds very strange, right? In the coming months and years, keep track of how often you find yourself watching any video-based content on a tablet, phone, or video streaming device. 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Wemo and HomeKit

Belkin has finally announced their solution to connecting Wemo devices to HomeKit. It's called the Wemo Bridge. It's a standard bridge that will enable HomeKit functionality, similar to Homebridge, the Raspberry Pi plugin for HomeKit (which I've used for several months for my Wemo devices). No pricing has been announced yet, but it is expected to ship this fall.

Friday, May 26, 2017

'The New Yorker' Cover Sketched on iPad

It's pretty cool to see how Apple products have been used in professional productions. We've already seen iPhone cameras being used to create feature-length films. This week The New Yorker had its cover sketched on an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil. It's really cool to see the results of these kinds of creations. The artist, Jorge Colombo, sketched it while watching the scene in real life, worried the basketball would hit him or the iPad.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Apple Watch Named Most Accurate Heart Rate Tracker

In a study, the Apple Watch was named the best heart rate tracker in a fitness tracker study. This is a big win for Apple in a market dominated by Fitbit. The fitness trackers were compared against a control of a ECG. Apple Watch had about a 2% error in heart rate tracking. Be sure to check out the study for more details.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

DJI Spark

While I was personally hoping to see a Phantom 5 reveal, DJI has unveiled the DJI Spark. This is a lightweight, cheaper drone compared to their other drones. It relies heavily on gestures for movement and can use an iPhone as a controller. It also comes in multiple colors, giving it more options than DJI's other drones. Pre-orders start today at $499.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

iPad Pro May Be Able to Connect to Macs for New Functionality

According to Thom Holwerda, the iPad Pro may have the ability to be connected to a Mac. In order to make up for Macs without Touch Bars, using an iPad as a new display with a touch screen may be their plan. The iPad could be used as a drawing tablet. When paired with an Apple Pencil, there is sure to be a lot of untapped potential for this concept. I'm hoping we see more iPad Pro specific features at WWDC this year.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Apple's New Switch Campaign

Apple has decided to make another ad campaign and site tailored towards Android users, in hopes to switch them over to iPhone. It touches on speed, security, and iMessage. These three points are huge. iPhone is one of the few smartphones to have software and hardware designed together. iPhone is the industry leader of security. iPhone is the only smartphone to support iMessage. And we all know that one person who ruins a group chat because they don't have iMessage. Be sure to check out the new site.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Happy Birthday Messages

In iOS 10, animations for iMessages where introduced. However, using a phrase like "Happy Birthday" will automatically add a balloon effect to your message. It's a neat touch that adds surprise to those who don't know about the effects. Be sure to try it out next time you wish someone happy birthday!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

iPad Pro Production

According to the DigiTimes, the iPad Pro will have increased production numbers. In July, shipments will increase to 600,000 units, from 500,000 units. Apple is clearly expecting a lot more sales with this iteration, as the iPad Pro has not had a major update for some time now. In addition, the fact that these shipments are in July may hint that the iPad Pro may have a July release, with an announcement at WWDC. Take that with a grain of salt, as this is my own speculation.

Friday, May 19, 2017

iOS 11 Concept - iOS Tailored for iPad

For a while now, I've been wanting an iOS made for the iPad. An iOS that has a fine balance between iPhone and Mac. This captures that beautifully. MacStories has created an amazing concept for iOS 11 with some cool and improved multitasking features. There is also a universal clipboard that can store addresses, sites, text, and more. With a new iPad Pro expected at WWDC, we can expect new multitasking features in iOS 11. Be sure to check out the video below.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Updated MacBook Air Coming at WWDC 2017

According to Bloomberg, the MacBook Air could see an update at WWDC. This is unexpected as most were expecting Apple to discontinue the laptop due to its old hardware. However, its affordable price point has secured customer loyalty. While the update would be mostly under the hood, it's an update nevertheless. We may see Kaby Lake processors. Hopefully, this doesn't hold back Apple's other computers.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Donate Your Color

Sherwin-Williams has created a pretty cool initiative to help communities. It's called Donate Your Color. By browsing their website in black and white (hence, donating your color), Sherwin-Williams will help a community in need by donating paint. Their current goal is to donate 10,000,000 square feet of paint.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Apple to Discontinue iPad Mini

According to BGR, Apple is planning to discontinue the iPad Mini. This isn't very surprising at this point, as the iPad Mini has been lagging behind the iPad Air and iPad Pro for the past few years. With only a smaller size to offer, the regular iPad has become a better bargain for the most part. It will likely confuse some too, as there is only a $30 price difference between the 128 GB iPad Mini and regular iPad. With a new sized iPad Pro in the rumors, this is all the more reason to discontinue the iPad Mini. We may know for sure in June with WWDC coming up.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Glucose Monitoring for Apple Watch

According to BGR, a future Apple Watch model could have glucose monitoring, in addition to potential smart bands. Apple has often advertised the Apple Watch as a health device, and Apple Watch does a great job of collecting data seamlessly into the Health app. Glucose levels are in the Health app, so this would make sense as a potential feature. BGR didn't specify explicitly when this could come out, but we can only hope it could be the Apple Watch Series 3 coming this fall.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Future of the Home App

With a Siri speaker coming at WWDC, it's time to take a look of what the future could hold for the Home app. The Home app does a lot of things right, for those who use it. But there's a lot that could still be improved.

First off, I believe that more devices should be added to this app. As the main hub for home control, I think adding devices like an Apple TV would be very beneficial. I can turn on my lights as I use a digital remote. The two can interact and can set my "Theater Mode" scene when I use my Apple TV. This could be expanded with an API too. For example, a digital picture frame could have its picture changed from the app. Turn on a gaming console or a TV.

Homes are generally shared by families. So when I tell Siri to set my "Good Night" scene, I don't expect it to turn off my parent's lights too. If I leave my house, I don't want my "Leave Home" scene to enable unless no one is in the house. Each person the house is shared with should have their own scenes. In addition, there needs to be a way to make sure the scenes aren't affecting other people in the house.

When I get home, I want my fan to turn on, but only if the temperature is high enough. Conditional scenes would be amazing. Using factors like weather to determine what should be turned on or off would be amazing. Scenes and automation should incorporate different parameters and triggers.

Speaking of scenes, we need more icons. There are only 12 and five of them are just variations of the same house. More icons means more inspiration. Maybe a work, reading, or gaming icon? Seems easy enough.

Finally, indoor mapping. A couple years ago, Apple quietly released an Indoor Survey app, which has since been removed. It was made to map out the inside of a building. Personally, I think it would be amazing to see if scenes and lights could be activated with this technology, without camera-based sensors or iBeacon.

Anyways, that's my "Wish List" for Home and HomeKit at WWDC this year. We will most likely be seeing some improvements to the app, and I will welcome them with open arms. I use HomeKit everyday and can only hope it gets better.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

iPad Pro Likely Coming at WWDC

We finally have some word about when we'll see the long awaited iPad Pros. According to Ming-Chi Kuo, there is more than a 70% chance of the next iPad Pro to be revealed at WWDC. While we were expecting an announcement in April, it's good to finally have a very clear answer to our call for a new iPad Pro. WWDC will start on June 5, in just over a month.

Friday, May 12, 2017

iTunes is coming to the Windows Store

With the announcement of Windows 10 S, having developer support for the Windows Store is critical. With this, Apple is returning iTunes support for Windows and adding it to the Windows Store. iTunes will be available on the Windows Store by the end of this year.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Apple Creates iPhone Photography Website

Apple has launched a new photography website for iPhone, designed to give users tutorials on how to capture great photos. The lessons consist of short videos giving tips about certain subjects. The videos are less than a minute long. While the videos are centered around the iPhone 7, most of the tips apply to all modern iPhones.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Apple Acquires Beddit

Apple recently acquired Beddit, a sleep tracking system. This could mean a lot for Apple's future. It could bring sleep tracking to the Apple Watch or an Apple designed dedicated sleep tracking device.. Or Apple may just keep Beddit to make money off of its sales without rebranding, similar to Beats. As of now, Apple has kept selling Beddit.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

WWDC 2017 Invites

The press has officially received their invitations to WWDC 2017. However, what's more interesting is what the invitation is implying. This basically guarantees that there will be no iPad Pro event and if there will be an iPad Pro announced, it will be at WWDC. Hardware hasn't been unveiled at WWDC in recent years, however with an iPad Pro update imminent and rumors of a Siri smart speaker, this may be the perfect time for Apple to revive this tradition.

Image Credit: MacRumors

Monday, May 8, 2017

Mother's Day Apple Watch Achievement

May 14 is Mother's Day this year and Apple is celebrating with another Apple Watch challenge. To get the badge, you must complete a one-mile workout on the 14th. Completing this challenge will also grant an iMessage sticker. This is the fourth Apple Watch challenge we've seen so far. 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Leave WWDC to the Professionals This Year

WWDC has been an event since 1983, but it's clear it has been made more consumer-friendly in recent years. For good reason too, more average consumers get to learn about the next software updates three months ahead. However, last year was a big problem in this regard. In an attempt to connect with consumers, Apple had normal people demoing software with respect to how it benefitted their lives. But it all came to a halt when two people demoing the new iMessage crashed the demo and had a huge stage malfunction. Later, a woman demoed the new Apple Music and tried to get the audience to sing along. Apple, come on. This is something I expect to see from Steve Balmer, not you. Your target audience should be developers who paid over a thousand dollars to attend this developer conference. They didn't pay to sing along to random songs or watch demos crash. In the demos, there should be a fine balance between relating to the consumer and communicating features to the developer. People like Craig Federighi did a great job at this. He explained how the features benefitted the user, but also explained how the features worked to achieve this. I hope to see this style return this year.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Update on iPhone 8 Touch ID

Back in April, there were rumors of Apple getting rid of Touch ID if they failed to embed it into the screen. Now, it seems that Apple will put Touch ID in the back of the display [Source: Sebastian Hou and Brian Chen]. Hopefully, this will be appropriately positioned, as Samsung Galaxy S8 users seem to heavily dislike its proximity to the camera.

Friday, May 5, 2017


Your phone may be the future of paying at the pump. ExxonMobil's Speedpass+ app lets you use your phone or Apple Watch to pay for gas and car washes. Instead of using those dirty self-serve kiosks, you can use your phone to select a pump and pay. Speedpass+ is available from the Apple App Store for free [Direct Link].

Thursday, May 4, 2017

C by GE Will Add HomeKit

This Summer, General Electric's C-Life and C-Sleep lightbulbs will receive HomeKit this summer. "Wow, Alex. You're really desperate for a post today aren't you?" 1. Yes. 2. There is some substance to this though. GE is expected to drop out of the light bulb business. Keep in mind that GE was founded by Thomas Edison and had the first consumer light bulb on the market. This begs the question: Will GE truly get rid of their bulb line or is their "C by GE" collection an evolution of the light bulb? If the latter, then that's truly a testament to how far light bulb technology has come.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Steve Jobs Manga

Mari Yamazaki has created a manga based on the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson. The first book in the series details his life up until 1974. While it's written entirely in Japanese, it's a must-have for those interested in both Steve Jobs' life and Japanese culture. It's available on Amazon from mostly used sellers for less than $10.

Image Credit: Kotaku

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

T-Mobile's Plan to Launch 5G

4G LTE is extremely fast, yet the idea of something even faster is very intriguing. T-Mobile plans to roll out 5G in the U.S. in 2019. By 2020, they plan to have nationwide coverage. Of course, a 5G network doesn't mean anything without a phone that supports it. These phones are expected to be released this year. No word yet on when Apple would implement this, but it will likely be closer to the rollout of 5G by all carriers.

Monday, May 1, 2017

AirPods Satisfaction Rate

AirPods have been out for about five months now. While most are still unable to get a pair due to stock issue, Experian and Creative Strategies have shared survey results regarding customer satisfaction of AirPods. Overall, they received a 98% satisfaction rate. Looking at the results below, customers seem very satisfied. However, it should be noted that those who purchase AirPods are likely deeply embedded into the Apple ecosystem and may not be representative of the average consumer.