Thursday, August 31, 2017

iPhone 8 Event Invite: Let's Meet at Our Place

Apple has officially announced that their iPhone 8 event will take place on September 12. Possibly more importantly, Apple has confirmed that this event will take place at the Steve Jobs Theater. That's why the invite says, "Let's Meet at Our Place." At this event, we can expect new iPhones, Apple Watches, Apple TVs, and more.


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Home Button May Hide on Home Screen on iPhone 8

According to Bloomberg, the digital Home Button on the iPhone 8 would be replaced by the dock in iOS 11 for the iPad Pro while on the Home Screen. Getting to the App Switcher would likely be via gesture. This is half and half for me. I like the idea of saving space where it can be, but at the same time, the Home Button does have some uses on the Home Screen. Even at the iPhone 7 announcement, Apple noted how useful the Home Button is. App Switcher, Siri, Apple Pay, TOUCH ID (*cough* *cough*), haptics, and screen shots. I don't want to learn new gestures for all of these. We have enough space on the Home Screen as it is in my opinion.

Image Credit: Olivier Charavel

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

My Thoughts on ARKit

I genuinely thought AR was dead for a long time. When the Nintendo 3DS came out in 2011, I was most excited about AR Games, a collection of Nintendo-themed AR demos centered around physical cards. The technology became dormant and never really did anything until Pok√©mon Go last year, to which most people playing the game immediately turned the feature off. When Apple announced ARKit at WWDC this year, I genuinely thought they lost it. I thought AR was just a gimmick with no potential. I thought it was something you picked up once and stopped using (and that could potentially still be the case). But now that I've seen what so many developers can do with this technology, it could change our daily lives. Augmenting furniture into our rooms before buying it, using the camera as a ruler, augmented walking directions, and augmented models of food instead of regular menus. I'm not a big fan of games centered around AR, because they seem gimmicky. But nevertheless, the strong framework is there. If this technology is really as good as we've been seeing in not only Apple's demos, but also from developer's demos too, there's a whole new ballgame. I understand a lot of people are saying that they don't see the point or that the whole thing seems pointless. To that, all I can say is things like Snapchat and Twitch exists. If I told you fifteen years ago that I wanted a service that only displayed pictures sent to me for seven seconds, you'd say that would never catch on (I still don't get why Snapchat is so popular still). If I told you fifteen years ago that I wanted a website that would let me watch people play video games live, you'd say nobody would want to watch other people play video games. And here we are. Could it flop? Absolutely. But sometimes it takes some risks and a large community of developers to create something really amazing. It worked for the App Store, and it could work here too.

Monday, August 28, 2017

ARKit and Menus

This is a really cool one. You know when you're at a restaurant and something jumps out to you on the menu and you'd like to see a picture of it for one reason or another? With ARKit, this can be made possible. Kabaq uses ARKit to let you see the menu on your table. Now you know what the large size is versus the small size. Check out the video below for an idea of what it's like.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Swift Courses Expanding to Community Colleges

Apple is expanding their App Development with Swift curriculum to community colleges. This curriculum is derived from the iBook that was released with the introduction of Swift a few years back. It's a full year course, and the original iBook is still available on the iBooks Store for free [Direct Link].


Saturday, August 26, 2017

iPhone Edition's Controversial Price

While we did know this for some time, this is a really hard pill to swallow. The iPhone 8 or Edition or whatever will start at $999 for 64 GB [Source: The New York Times]. This is very deterring, but it probably won't change the fact that it will sell out. Take a look at the Apple Watch Edition (Generation 1), costing over $10,000 in some variations. People who bought those are now stuck with a slower processor than Series 2. My question is how much are we willing to pay for a phone that will immediately become obsolete? I understand that there are cheaper options for iPhone, such as the iPhone 7s, which is becoming more tempting. But Apple isn't supposed to work that way. Apple has always been about paying more for a higher quality product than its competitors. Not, here are your options: cheap phone, regular phone, and super expensive phone. Especially considering that the features in the iPhone 8 have been in other phones for years and that features have been sacrificed for the new design. My theory is that the price is so high to keep supply from getting too scarce. Apple probably cannot manufacture enough Face ID scanners and OLED displays to keep up with demand with a lower price point. 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Beats Solo3 Neighborhood Collection

According to MacRumors, Apple is selling a new collection of Beats Solo3 Wireless headphones called the Neighborhood collection. In addition to Apple Retail Stores, Apple will sell these at Target stores in their clothing section to complement certain styles. It's interesting to see how Beats can be associated with other industries.

Image Credit: John Lewis

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Tile and Alexa

One of the cooler applications of Alexa is being able to use it with Tile. For those who don't know, Tile is a Bluetooth tracker that can be rung from a compatible device. Alexa is a great helper if you need to find something you've misplaced in your home. Just say, "Alexa, ask Tile to find my keys" or something like that and you'll probably hear your keys ring (provided they have a Tile on them). To add the Tile skill to your Amazon Echo, just use the Alexa app.


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

iPhone Event 2017 Date Prediction

According to Mac4Ever, Apple may host their annual iPhone event on September 12, a Tuesday. This will likely be an accurate prediction as Apple tends to use Tuesdays to announce their products and uses this week a lot for iPhone announcements, although this will be one of the earlier announce dates in recent years. Furthermore, the iPhone 8 will likely be released on September 22, just over a week later. We'll know for sure when Apple sends out invites to the event.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

HomePod Setup

When I first saw how AirPods and headphones with the W1 chip would work, I was wondering how this could be applied to speakers. HomePod answers that [Source: iHelp BR]. The video below from Guilherme Rambo via Twitter reveals how HomePod setup appears. It starts out like AirPods do, but then get more into advanced settings, such as where the speakers are for HomeKit. It seems these cards will be playing a much larger role in iOS 11, such as NFC and Wi-Fi sharing.

Monday, August 21, 2017

AirPods Shipment Times Improve Further

Almost a year since their announcement, AirPods shipping estimates have now dropped to a mere 2-3 weeks. Originally, shipping estimates were at 6 weeks, recently dropping to 4 weeks. While still a long time compared to most Apple products, this is certainly an improvement. Hopefully, the next generation of AirPods doesn't suffer from stock issues.


Sunday, August 20, 2017

Apple's Hidden Job Offer

ZDNet's Zach Whittaker has discovered a hidden website on Apple's domain for a "talented engineer" willing to work on "critical infrastructure." The page was at us-west-1.blobstore.apple.com, but is no longer available. Apple certainly holds this job in high regards, considering it works with "tens of thousands" of servers and "millions" of disks. The page was captured by Whittaker and is below.


Saturday, August 19, 2017

iOS 11 Fixes Passcode Exploit

Apple will fix the world's dumbest passcode bypass in iOS 11 [Source: TechCrunch]. Do you have $500 you feel like burning? Just buy this passcode guessing box and follow these extremely conditional steps. Take a pre-iOS 11 iPhone and plug it into the box. Make sure the passcode was changed in the past 10 minutes. Also, the passcode should only be 4-digits long. Yeah, Apple fixes that in iOS 11. 

Friday, August 18, 2017

The iPhone Edition's Run

What I have referred to on this blog as the iPhone 8 has been often called the iPhone Edition, due to its expensive price and unique design. It would also fall in line with the Apple Watch Edition. This potential naming has led many to wonder, "Will the iPhone Edition have a limited run?" Well, first we have to take in this: the iPhone Edition will not likely go down in price in the coming years. At least not enough to reach what an iPhone 7 would cost today. Given that, iPhone Edition will probably be either a special edition iPhone or will be updated each year as the premium flagship phone, like the Galaxy S8 Edge. The second thing to consider is that Apple could release exclusive APIs and features for the iPhone Edition. It wouldn't make sense just to throw that away the next year. Imagine if Apple did away with the Apple Watch tomorrow. That's not encouraging for developers to adopt Apple's latest technologies. Hopefully, we'll see more iPhone Editions, particularly one with Touch ID. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

McDonald's Uses iPhone 8 Roundup in Marketing

We've seen a lot of confidence put into rumors. People have waited outside Apple Fifth Avenue before an iPhone was announced. There have been cases made for iPhones before they were announced. And now, we have McDonalds using a render of an iPhone, before it has been announced.  The image below is an advertisement for mymacca's from McDonald's Australia. Needless to say, this is fake. The dots on top have been switched to bars in iOS 11. The creator of the render has tweeted on the subject as well. In the end, I'm talking about McDonald's on a tech blog, and in the end, isn't that all McDonald's wanted.

Image Credit: Amir T. via MacRumors

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Facebook Celebrates Birthdays with Donation Features

Birthdays are celebrated in different ways on different social networks. Facebook is taking a new approach by letting the birthday person pick a charity and ask that others donate as a birthday gift. It's an interesting initiative, a large company giving its avid users a chance to ask for donations rather than physical possessions. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Issue with Smart Locks

Everything in the home is becoming tech-enabled, including door locks. Door locks is a bit too much, even for me. Before you buy a smart lock, read this first and determine if they're right for you. Consumer Wi-Fi-enabled locks are what keep your home secure, should you install one. While I don't believe hacking to be a concern, because it would have to be specifically targeted towards you. That being said, I don't think the convenience is worth the sacrifice of security. In addition, if you have an Amazon Echo or similar device (even an iOS device) near an open window, it could potentially hear commands from outside. Since these devices can control smart devices, including smart locks, that could be an unintended security hole. With this in mind, choose wisely if a smart lock is right for you. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Apple Watch Series 3's Selling Point is LTE

According to Ming-Chi Kuo, we have reason to believe that Apple Watch Series 3 will boast LTE connectivity as its main selling point. In addition, there won't be any major redesign. To me, it seems like a weird choice. It's basically advertising a higher cell phone bill. In addition, while it may be a little faster, this is only really useful if the Apple Watch is disconnected from its iPhone, which isn't too often. Hopefully we see more meaningful features. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Pinnacle of Apple Music

You know when you plug your phone into your car and the song alphabetically first starts playing? Well, who would guess that a trending song on Apple Music and iTunes would be the solution to that problem? The song known as "A a a a a Very Good Song" is hitting the charts. This song is literally ten minutes of silence. Because it's alphabetically first, you have time to switch inputs or choose a song to your liking before you're blasted with a song that you're not in the mood for. "A a a a a Very Good Song" is available from Apple Music and iTunes for 99¢ [Direct Link].

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Apple's Audio Future - AirPods

AirPods are easily my favorite earbuds on the market. They do what wireless audio should've been this whole time. Put in an earbud and you're connected. So, how can Apple improve on this? I don't have much, but I would like to see customizable gestures added. Volume up and down with a slide and double tap for the next track. I wouldn't mind seeing that. Other than that, better production times for the next generation would be awesome. AirPods are an amazing companion to an Apple Music subscription and a long study session. I love my pair still eight months later.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Apple's Audio Future - Beats Solo3

Today, I'll be talking about the Beats Solo3 and how it can be improved. Let's get right into it. First off, I think it should use USB-C for charging and as a medium for audio. Micro-USB seems really strange since Beats is owned by Apple, but as long as we're changing the port, we might as well go directly to USB-C. Next, Find my Beats. If AirPods can use Find my iPhone, I see no reason why Beats can't do the same. Personally, I love the design of the Solo3. For me, it sets the standard for on-ear headphones. I love its wireless capabilities, battery life, and iOS integration. I would like to see an update for the Studio line, but for now, the Solo3 does a lot right for Apple and their vision for music.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Apple's Audio Future - HomePod

Apple has had music at its heart since the iPod. With the HomePod coming this year, let's take a look at how Apple can improve this device and how it stands in Apple's history.

For those who remember, the iPod Hi-Fi was released in early 2006. It was a speaker that you would plug in an iPod and enjoy music in your home. Steve Jobs said when he introduced it that the iPod was an on-the-go device. But Apple wanted to expand to home audio. It ultimately flopped and was discontinued less than two years later. Fast forward eleven years, and we have the HomePod. This time, the playing field has changed. I have emphasized how music is now in the cloud and not in our pockets. HomePod requires no device plugged in to it, untethering your device. Yet, despite this, I believe HomePod will not do as well as Apple hopes (at least not in its current state) and will ultimately be remembered as iPod Hi-Fi 2. Why?

First, the iPod may have caused the downfall of both of these products. People like to listen to their music using headphones, even if its in their own houses. Maybe it's just me, but do people really sit down in their houses anymore and listen to music for extended periods of time? If so, do people do it frequently enough to justify $349 speaker purchases? People have families and neighbors that will be disrupted by loud music. Personally, I don't think either of these products accomplished anything normal headphones will. Plus, headphones can be taken anywhere. These products don't even have batteries to take to a get-together.

What about price? iPod Hi-Fi was priced at $349. HomePod is priced at $349. Need I say more? You can't justify the price by saying Echo is $200 and a good speaker is $300 so a combination would cost $500. That's not how anything works. By that logic, the original iPhone probably would only be owned by seven people in the world. I'm no audiophile, but I love the speaker quality of the Amazon Echo (not the Echo Dot). For less than $200, I'm getting a great speaker (if I ever even need to use it), plus an amazing assistant that works well. Which brings me to my next point.

Apple, come on. You can't just announce you're adding translations and a few other trinkets to Siri and call it a day. You're getting beat up in the ring with Alexa and Google. You're grating on the nation's last nerve with your classic "but I found this on the web" bit. A Bing search isn't going to get you anywhere.

So, why do Google Home and Amazon Echo work? They don't put a huge focus on music. They focus on the experience. Those little moments when you ask your family a random trivial question that no one knows the answer to, but then you ask Alexa and she tells you. That's why we buy these smart speakers. We disregard the fact that we have a microphone recording us constantly for that, and we love it. And now, Google Home and Amazon Echo are even replacing the home phone with their products, which I love! It's genius, and it's something I wanted Apple to do long ago. 

Keep in mind that the Amazon Echo and Google Home don't take away from your phone's experience. What you can do on Apple HomePod, can easily be accomplished on your iPhone. Amazon Echo has a full marketplace of skills that are tailored to the Echo's capabilities and Google Home has a growing library of apps too. Apple HomePod hasn't even opened up third-party support. In fact, I don't think it can even do everything iOS Siri can do because it lacks a proper screen. 

Finally, let's talk design.zI don't know what you were thinking when you released this Apple, but no one likes it. We know Jony Ive did not work on this. It looks like a roll of toilet paper. It seems way too compact as well. People were expecting it to look like the Mac Pro. A smart speaker should be tall and sleek. It gives off an impression that it's loud but can also listen well from its vantage point. When you're only putting it in one position forever, no one cares how small it is. 

With all of that being said, I do love the features that AirPlay 2 brings, but that will be available on Apple TVs and other speakers that are likely less expensive. I personally believe it's a rushed piece of technology after the smart speaker market became viable and mainstream. There's not much I like about the HomePod, but I hope Apple learns from it.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

3D Touch Limited on iPhone 8

For those who don't know, you can activate the "App Switcher" as the cool kids call today, by 3D touching on the left edge of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 7. However, it seems this will be removed for all devices come iOS 11 [Source: Bryan Irace]. This is likely because iPhone 8 will not be able to physically support this particular action. I get that we need continuity, but it's annoying having to support iPhone 8's downfalls on our devices.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A Quick Update

Hi all. I will soon be attending Arizona State University studying software engineering. Now, how will this be affecting this blog? I can't say for sure yet. I don't intend to immediately end my daily post schedule, however I cannot guarantee that it will remain consistent. If I am really busy or the internet goes down, I won't have a choice. Maybe I should work on a weekly podcast or video series or something instead of this? I don't know. We'll just have to wait and see. Thanks for sticking with me.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Carpool Karaoke Debuts on Apple Music Tomorrow

...

I can't believe I had to write that as a title for a post. Apple, STOP. Just stop. Please. Stop trying to be hip and with the kids. This isn't original, this isn't interesting, and this isn't even on time. If I recall, Apple's Carpool Karaoke was supposed to debut back in April. According to the producers, "Apple has a pulse on everything that feels relevant and feels cool." If this is what they call "relevant" and "cool," I'm sure we can all look forward to an Apple Music produced Fidget Spinner show next year. I get it, not all of Apple's resources are going into this and I'm not obligated to watch it, but when I keep reading articles about how Apple engineers can't put Touch ID into the iPhone 8 after more than a year of time, this doesn't help my current opinion of Apple as a whole. 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

iPhone 8 Could Detect Faces While Lying Flat

iHelp BR strikes again and they have discovered references to "resting" associated with "unlock." This may suggest that the iPhone 8 can detect faces even when the device is lying flat on a surface. This isn't a huge deal at first glance, but it does mean that we likely don't have to hold the iPhone super close to our faces to work. Hopefully, Face ID lives up to the rumors and becomes a true successor to Touch ID.

Image Credit: iHelp BR

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Apple Watch Series 3 May Have LTE

The Apple Watch Series 3 will likely be released this fall. According to Jeffrey Grossman via Twitter, we have HomePod firmware evidence that Apple Watch Series 3 will have LTE connectivity. I'm not sure how this will work. Maybe it's just me, but there aren't many times where I don't have my iPhone, but I have my Apple Watch. Maybe this will make it retrieve data faster, or it will just drain the battery more. Hopefully, Apple Watch Series 3 will have a better battery and faster processor.

Friday, August 4, 2017

AirPods Shipping in 4 Weeks

AirPods are very hard to come by. Apple cannot produce them fast enough. Since release in December, AirPods have had a 6-week shipping estimate. Now, it's finally down to 4-weeks. While that is still quite some time, we finally have a quicker estimate from Apple, suggesting that production has been cranked up.


Thursday, August 3, 2017

iPhone 8 May Record 4K Video at 60 FPS

The iPhone 6s was the first iPhone to shoot 4K video. It was and still is only in 30 FPS. However, because of the rumor rush that is HomePod firmware, we now have details about this. iHelp BR has found evidence that the iPhone 8 will record 4K video in a smooth 60 FPS. Not just the rear camera, but the front one too. Maybe now, we'll finally get that 4K Apple TV.

Image Credit: iHelp BR

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Pay With Your Face: Practically Magic

With the removal of Touch ID in the iPhone 8, Apple Pay will follow suit with the unlock screen and use Face ID for payments [Source: @r_idn]. Face ID could be executed very well by Apple. Samsung unlocked phones when pictures of people were held up to the camera, so Apple putting some measures ensuring a physical face must be present is nice to hear. However, I just find Face ID fundamentally wrong. I don't want to see my face when I unlock my phone or make a payment. It doesn't feel natural. I hold my credit card when I go to use it. I don't put my face in front of it. Face ID will have to work very fast for me to consider it a good replacement for Touch ID. Let's hope so.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Microsoft and Self-Driving Cars

Recently in the news, Microsoft has been working on a self-driving car. Microsoft is probably the last company I want jumping on this bandwagon. I can see it now. Annoying requests to update in the middle of driving. Or maybe someone "accidentally" deletes system32 during routine maintenance. Scary thoughts, but with Microsoft, they build all of their products on the same foundation. Windows Phone, Xbox, the Surface. Hopefully, their venture into automobiles doesn't cause these issues, but it's a scary thought.