Monday, July 31, 2017

HomePod Firmware Reveals iPhone 8 Design

HomePod firmware has been revealing a lot, but this is the most interesting. Below is the icon used to depict what will probably be the iPhone 8. Steven Troughton-Smith, a developer who has dug through HomePod firmware, went beyond this and looked at the actual code. He has found no evidence that there will be Touch ID. Face ID, the face-recognition alternative, will likely fully replace it. It's disappointing to see Touch ID probably won't be in the iPhone 8, considering how long Apple left us in suspense.

Image Credit: Steven Troughton-Smith via HomePod Firmware

Sunday, July 30, 2017

HomePod's Display

Thanks to multiple users on Twitter, we have an idea of how a display would work on HomePod. It would use an LED matrix. While the images below don't look anything like a Retina Display, I would assume that some material may diffuse the pixels, making them more smooth. In addition, it would only display small icons most likely. How effective this display would be, that's anyone's guess.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

iPod Mini Quickly Appears on the Apple Online Store

Yesterday, the iPod Mini was spotted on the Singapore Apple Online Store [Source: MacRumors]. While this was most likely a glitch, it's cool to see these in present day on the store. My first iPod was a second-generation green iPod Mini, the same iPod as was listed. In addition, if this was real, it would technically be the only device on the entire online store that has a 30-pin connector. The listing was removed quickly.

Image Credit: MacRumors

Friday, July 28, 2017

4K Movies Coming to iTunes?

This is exciting. While many, including myself, do not own 4K TVs yet, the idea of iTunes adding 4K movies is a huge stepping stone for the adoption of 4K. It also gives us insight for upcoming products, like the Apple TV. From MacRumors, listings for some movies showed availability for "4K, HDR" resolution. While it was unable to download at this resolution, it basically confirms 4K is coming. Let's see if we get an updated Apple TV this fall.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

iPod Shuffle and iPod Nano Discontinued

Apple has discontinued the iPod Shuffle and iPod Nano, the two music players that didn't support Apple Music. The iPod Touch remains as the final iPod. It's the end of an era in some sense. The industry moved on from having a thousand songs in your pocket to having an infinite library in the cloud. It could be argued the iPhone ultimately killed the iPod. While the iPod is almost gone, it will live on in Apple Music.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

ARKit and Take On Me

In a really cool development, AR studio Trixi has created an ADKit app that recreates A-ha's "Take On Me" music video. It combines the sketched style of the original video, with the real world. It's quite an amazing thing to see what developers can do. Apple may revolutionize augmented reality now that it has such diverse and creative developer support.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Google Chrome Finally Adds Touch Bar Support

It's nice to see when Google supports its competitor's operating systems. Google helped out Touch Bar users by adding support to it, making use of the touch strip. As shown below, it adds some basic functions, which is nice. It's subjective which is superior, but Safari will show previews of your tabs. I'm neutral on the issue, as sometimes it's useful and sometimes it's downright annoying. When you need it, it might be blocked out by text suggestions, or you have so many tabs open, it doesn't help. Plus, the previews are tiny. Anyways, I'm glad to see Chrome joining in on the party.

Monday, July 24, 2017

New Notification Unlock Screen in iOS 11

MacRumors has recently shown off all of the new features in iOS 11 Beta 4, and one screenshot stood out to me. The screenshot on the right shows after you've tapped on a notification while your device is locked. Could this hint at Touch ID being embedded into the screen in the iPhone 8? Or perhaps this could be replaced by a viewfinder for the front camera for face recognition? Maybe even both. Small details like this are important to note in predicting hardware updates. We'll find out this fall.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Siri: The Movie

When Apple is producing Carpool Karaoke for Apple Music, what can you expect at this point? Be advised, this is not a full movie, just an ad. It is quite humorous. It stars Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson asking an excessive amount of questions to Siri (You expect me to believe he uses Lyft to get around?). But it's hilarious to watch because of how off the top it is. You can watch the video in the embed below.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Theater Mode in watchOS

I used to think that Theater Mode was an unneeded feature in watchOS. Then I went to a symphony. I put my watch into Theater Mode. Someone in front of me didn't, and every time their wrist was at just the wrong angle, I had 500-1000 nits of lights directed right at my face. Needless to say, it helps out. It would be nice if Apple took this a step further. For example, having it enabled could dim the screen when you turn on the display, ensure your phone is silenced and also dim your phone's screen if you take it out. That would be awesome.

Friday, July 21, 2017

ARKit for Walking Directions

A tweet from Andrew Hart shows off his new ARKit demo for walking directions. In the video below, Hart's project shows very solid augmented reality directions on an iPhone. It directs him to a nearby Starbucks using superimposed arrows on the screen. Combining CoreLocation and ARKit looks like a really solid way to plot out directions.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Google Play Music Supports CarPlay?

I remember vividly when Apple didn't give out their CarPlay API to just anyone. They were very selective about who had access. Now, even Google is jumping on board and brining the Google Play Music app to CarPlay [Source: reddit]. While I don't use the app, I'm glad Google is committed to making it convenient and safe for users to use their app in the car even if it's not on their platform. Google Play Music for iOS is available for free from the Apple App Store [Direct Link].

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Gold Beats Headphones

The Beats Solo3 and Powerbeats3 Wireless headphones are really being pushed by Apple, and rightfully so. Now we have a special edition gold-like color of the two headphones. In a partnership with Balmain, a French fashion label, these "Safari" colored headphones run at a premium. The Beats Solo3 are $600 and the Powerbeats3 are $250.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Nintendo Switch Online App

I've owned my Nintendo Switch for a few months now and I can safely say that it's probably my favorite modern gaming console on the market. Today, the Nintendo Switch Online app has been released on the Apple App Store. There doesn't appear to have any functionality, as the servers are going under maintenance, however, the app will integrate with Splatoon 2 and it's online modes. Nintendo Switch Online is available from the Apple App Store for free [Direct Link].

Monday, July 17, 2017

Apple Celebrates World Emoji Day

📅. It's July 17, which means it's World Emoji Day. I know, we've been waiting all year for today. Apple is celebrating by updating the movie carousel in the iTunes Store with emojis representing movies. 💁🏻🐗🥀🏰 for example was Beauty and the Beast. Also, new emoji are coming in iOS 11. Anyway, lets not celebrate this holiday any longer than we have to and get on with our lives. 👍

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Should Apple Delay the iPhone 8?

The iPhone 8, or iPhone Edition, is becoming more and more problematic for Apple. Touch ID and 3D Touch is difficult to implement in the screen. So the question is: should Apple delay it? If they do, they would probably put on an event for the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus and announce the iPhone 8 at that event or later in the year. The iPhone 8 would be released at a later date. If not, we would get a watered down phone, potentially without Touch ID. Personally, I would prefer a delayed phone. Touch ID is just too important to me. Leave a comment of what you think in the comments below. 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Core NFC in iOS 11

Apple quietly announced Core NFC for iOS 11 at WWDC. This will add some new functionality to NFC tags. This opens up some possibilities, such as Nintendo's proposal to bring amiibo support to iOS and Android. A few limitations should be noted. First off, it doesn't support iPhone to iPhone sharing or writing to NFC tags. It can only read NFC tags. Second, it only works on iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus currently. Finally, the associated app must be open before the tag is read. For example, you cannot simply tap your locked iPhone to an NFC tag.

Image Credit: MacRumors

Friday, July 14, 2017

Apple's Secret Gift Card Font

Apple iTunes Gift Cards can be redeemed through scanning with your iOS devices. However, most don't think what font is being read. Equinux has solved the mystery. The font is not a regular font like Courier, but rather a custom-made font. By digging through iTunes resource files, the team found two fonts. Scancardium is used to recognize and enter the codes, while Spendcardium hides credit card info as it's entered. With the Scancardium font, you could make your own autoscanning gift card.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Apple Launches Back to School Promotion for 2017

After leaving many to question the promotion's return, Apple has finally launched their annual Back to School promotion. Similar to last year, with the purchase of a MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, Mac Pro, or iPad Pro, you are eligible to pick from a pair of Beats Solo3 Wireless, Powerbeats3, or BeatsX headphones. For a Mac, any pair is free, but for an iPad Pro, only the BeatsX are free. It's an additional $50 for Powerbeats3 and an additional $150 for Beats Solo3 Wireless.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Whatever Happened to Owning Software?

Recently, I've noticed that many developers are converting to the subscription model for app pricing. Instead of a "pay up front and own it for life," it's now "get a free, bricked app and pay monthly for access." While each example has its own variation, they're all roughly the same. Look, I get it. Making money from a one time purchase is not profitable. Not by any means. But I'm tired of Microsoft and Adobe making subscription-based apps an okay thing for any app. We even see Microsoft Office being phased out for Google Drive. Adobe thrives because they're the only choice for PC users. I gladly use Pixelmator for Mac over Photoshop because it's a one time purchase and doesn't have to validate my subscription on startup. But Day One and 1Password, two apps I used to admire, simply cannot sellout to this subscription model. I want to own software, not rent it. These apps don't fit with this model. They're not the type of apps that can push out regular updates that justify regular payment. So what's the solution? My suggestion is to use the model of paid upgrades. The user decides if the major update is worthy of payment. I want developers to show me what I'm paying for before I pay for it, and my payment should act as approval. While I don't know how these app developers' finances are currently, it's clear that many consumers are unhappy with this new model. As a developer, I understand that development and managing said development is difficult, especially as an independent or with a small team. I understand that consumers only look at the final product and never understand what hard work gets put into the smallest details, but that's the unfortunate way this industry works. The consumer in me loved these apps, but not to the point where I'm going to pay $50 a year to get my journals encrypted. Best of luck app developers. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Apple Cramming for iPhone 8

According to Fast Company, Apple is in panic due to problems revolving around 3D Touch and wireless charging. This is all on top of attempts of Touch ID trying to be frantically implemented in the iPhone 8. A bit concerning, since we've been hearing hype about this iPhone for about a year now, and it seems that basic components are starting to not work. Hopefully, we'll see Apple resolve these issues before production.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Amazon Prime Day 2017

Today, Amazon Prime Day started. Prime Day is an annual event that showcases various deals exclusive to Prime members. It's 30 hours long and will end tomorrow night. So far, I've seen copious deals on Amazon Echo devices. I've also seen some SD card deals, which are great if you're in need of stocking up. If you have a minute, take a look at some of the deals. You never know what you'll find with this.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Wireless Charging Accessory May Ship After iPhone 8 Release

According to John Gruber, the wireless charging accessory won't ship until after the iPhone 8 launches. Where have I heard that before? For those who don't know, AirPods were scheduled to be released in October, a month after the iPhone 7 was released. Then, they were delayed until late December. Hopefully we won't see history repeat itself.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

iPhones in High Temperatures

I recently went to Arizona just to find my iPhone overheating. I've only experienced this one other time when I left my iPad in a hot car. iPhones aren't exactly meant to operate over a temperature of 95°F. Depending on certain factors, you will start noticing overheating symptoms when your flash refuses to activate. In the Camera app, the flash button will be replaced by a warning triangle and the flashlight function in Control Center is greyed out. If it's hot enough, your iPhone will be locked until it cools down. The only available function is an emergency call. Be careful if you find yourself in this situation and quickly find a way to cool down your phone. Nothing dangerous is likely to come of this (depending on the temperature), but heat can dramatically ruin your battery life.

Friday, July 7, 2017

iOS 11 Design May Complement iPhone 8 Renders

While renders are meant to give us an idea of what the actual product may look like, these iPhone 8 renders from iDrop, along with many others, use iOS 11's design to increase their accuracy. As you can see below, the images on the left and right showcase the new design style of iOS 11. The dark, fragmented pieces of Control Center in the left render look like pieces of glass sitting on top of the glass phone. The same goes with the right render with AirPlay 2. Combine this with the haptic engine and you have a very immersive experience with the iPhone 8.

Image Credit: iDrop

Thursday, July 6, 2017

All 2017 iPhones Could Feature an OLED Display

According to Nikkei, we could see three new iPhones, all sporting OLED displays. OLED displays are organic light-emitting diode displays, which can use less battery life (results may vary), are faster, and often have better picture quality. We were expecting OLEDs to only be on the iPhone 8, but they could appear on the iPhone 7s and 7s Plus. How Apple would execute OLED displays is very intriguing, given their flexible qualities. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Apple News Could Expand Publisher Options

According to Ad Age, Apple News may expand publisher options because publishers have been hesitant to adopt it as a platform. For cents a pop, Apple could use micropayments to give readers access to certain articles. Apple may also enable access to third-party ads to encourage publishers to monetize on Apple News.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

2017 iPhones to Ship with USB-A Power Adapters

Something I've been curious to know is if the next iPhones will ship with a USB-C adapter. According to Ming-Chi Kuo, this will not be the case. Instead, the next iPhones will ship with the same power adapter included with current iPhones, USB-A. We know that Apple will definitely include USB-C adapters eventually, to support the technology, but that won't be until it's more adopted. 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Rumors of iPhone 8 Removing Touch ID

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has reported that the iPhone 8 will not have Touch ID. A few months ago, Apple was attempting to put the technology in the screen. Instead of Touch ID, 3D facial recognition may be used. While this rumor does come from a reputable source, it is just a rumor and we do have reason to believe it will still have Touch ID. Some suggest that Apple may be keeping their suppliers out of the loop and may be planning Touch ID in the screen, on the back, or in the lock button. I personally hope Apple does not remove Touch ID. It just seems to integral to services like Apple Pay, and given the reception of facial recognition on other devices, it doesn't seem like a good idea.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Amazon Alexa and SiriusXM

When I got an Amazon Echo a year ago, one of the features I was hoping to get was SiriusXM integration. Now, that's a reality. In the Alexa app, go to Music, Video, & Books and find the SiriusXM option. Activate the skill and link your account. Now you can ask Alexa to play a SiriusXM station. For example, "Alexa, play [Station/Channel] on SiriusXM."

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Red Lion Hotels and Apple

Red Lion Hotels is implementing a suite of Apple products into their chain of hotels. In some hotel rooms, Apple TVs will be connected to the TVs. Their iOS app will be updated for mobile check-in and room unlock. No more needing to wait at the front desk. Lobbies will have iPad kiosks. It's cool to see all of this being added, and perhaps we'll eventually see this trend pick up in other hotels.