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. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

[iPhone 8 Spoilers!] The Next AirPods

Apple is expected to updated AirPods, and that iOS 11 leak has given us some details [Source: Steve Troughton-Smith]. What we can see from the leak doesn't tell us much in terms of features, but the biggest change we can see is that the LED is moved from inside the case to outside. This design could possibly help production for Apple, which is always welcome. We'll see if there are any new features tomorrow.

Image Credit: @stroughtonsmith

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Tesla and Hurricane Irma

Tesla vehicles could be purchased in variations of battery capacity. However, the way Tesla approached this was very unique, to say the least. A 60 and 70 kWh battery variation actually came with a 75 kWh battery. However, based on the model purchased, the Tesla would stop functioning before the battery was fully depleted. The owner could "upgrade" their battery by paying an additional fee, which lets them use the fully battery. So when Hurricane Irma caused people to flee, one Tesla owner needed an extra 30 miles [Source: Electrek]. Tesla responded by allowing these Teslas to use their full battery until September 16. How crazy is that? Of course, Tesla did good on their part by giving those who needed the extra milage exactly what they needed. But it just blows my mind how a company was able to essentially give all of its customers more battery. It should be noted that the 60 and 70 kWh models have been discontinued, since most owners prefer the higher capacity.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

[iPhone 8 Spoilers!] Emoji on iPhone 8

Just as a courtesy, I will be making the titles clear that they spoil what's to be announced this Tuesday. In addition, what I do put up in the title will be obscure, so if you read it already, you haven't been spoiled. That said, do not read further if you do not want to be spoiled.


Hey, Apple. I would very much appreciate it if you didn't have the entire iOS 11 golden master leaked early. There are these things called Non-Disclosure Agreements with huge consequences if you fail to follow them. Yeah, please use them. At this point, I have no idea what else you have up your sleeve. Okay, so we've seen Snapchat and their face filter things, right? Where you take a picture and some fancy effect is augmented over your face in real time? Well, try combining that with emojis. That's Animoji [Source: Steve Troughton-Smith]. Apple will use it's face tracking advancements to allow you to create facial expressions and send them as an emoji to your friends. It's a neat concept, but it also sounds a bit gimmicky. Nevertheless, it makes good use of the facial recognition and if Apple's done with Touch ID, I can only hope they do a good job supporting it. Apart from the design and display, this is what you're paying a thousand dollars for. Truly, this phone was meant for only the most daring social butterflies.

Edit: I will say the animal ones are very cute.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Our First Look at Apple Watch Series 3

The iOS 11 Golden Master has been leaked, giving us a huge slew of leaks for both the iPhone 8 and Apple Watch Series 3 [Source: MacRumors]. I'll get in to more of these in a separate post, but I wanted to spotlight our first look at Apple's next wearable. Apple Watch Series 3 has been rumored for sometime now to feature LTE connectivity. This image basically confirms this. Looking at the watch, we see 5 blue dots, which we can assume represent cellular reception. The crown is also red, something we haven't seen in an Apple Watch Sport before. With these leaks, I don't know how much Apple will have left to surprise us with.

Image Credit: MacRumors

Thursday, September 7, 2017

iPhone 8 May Start Shipping After iPhone 7s

Apple will likely announce two models of iPhones this Tuesday: the iPhone 7s and the higher end iPhone 8. The iPhone 8 is expected to ship after the iPhone 7s rather than simultaneously [Source: TechCrunch]. How long after? We don't know. But, it will be likely that pre-orders will start September 15, the Friday after the announcement. Hopefully, we don't hear them say "October" or we know it will be delayed.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Inside the Steve Jobs Theater

The Steve Jobs Theater is stunning from not just the outside, but the inside too! There are a few things to take away from the diagram below. The stairs lead past an exhibit room, which has retractable walls to prevent people from seeing the soon-to-be-unveiled products. There are also two rotating elevators that were custom-made for the Steve Jobs Theater. The press is truly getting the first-class treatment on this one.

Image Credit: City of Cupertino

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Apple Park: Almost Complete

A week before the first event in the Steve Jobs Theater, we have drone footage from Duncan Sinfield of an almost completed Apple Park. In the video, people are already inside of the Steve Jobs Theater. It's amazing to see this come to fruition a few years later.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Beats Studio3

This is something I've been hoping for since the announcement of the Beats Solo3 headphones last year. Apple has finally announced the Beats Studio3 headphones, equipped with Apple's W1 chip. What separates these headphones from the Solo3 headphones is their noise-cancelling functionality. What's been bugging me these last few months is that the Studio Wireless headphones are more expensive than the Solo3 headphones, yet they didn't have the W1 chip. Someone without knowledge on Beats headphones could be missing out on the sweet features of the W1 chip. While it's not something I would buy anytime soon, it brings me peace that we finally have these headphones. The only thing is, there aren't any other updates, meaning we probably won't be seeing Beats Solo4 headphones anytime soon. The Beats Studio3 headphones launch this October (hopefully) and will cost $349.99 [Direct Link].

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Siri Leadership Transferred to Craig Federighi

At WWDC, we saw some vast changes for Siri, specifically machine learning, something Apple usually doesn't do for privacy reasons. This can likely be attributed to the Siri leadership position being transferred to Craig Federighi. We didn't see many new features for Siri aside from translations, but perhaps this is the framework of a new Siri. If this is true, that would be great going down the road, as we would probably see less "5 new Siri features each year" and more "Let's just ask Siri." I've mentioned how if I have a random trivial question, I can ask Alexa and she'll tell me the answer a majority of the time. Meanwhile, I don't bother with Siri because I know she'll just do a Bing search and move me over to Safari, defeating the purpose.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Half of All Smartwatch Sales Were Apple Watches Last Quarter

According to research firm IDC via MacRumors, nearly half of all smartwatch sales were Apple Watches. It's market share was estimated at 49.6%. The next best selling watch is from Samsung, with 11% market share. It seems that Series 2 and Apple's popularity could be attributed to these growing numbers. Hopefully Series 3 keeps this momentum going.

Image Credit: MacRumors

Friday, September 1, 2017

Apple Store in Simi Valley Closing Down

Lasting just over 11 years, the Apple Store in Simi Valley, California is closing down this month. An Apple Store closing is a very rare occurrence, but it can happen. Many people report that the mall the store was located in was a bit of a graveyard, so it's likely that a combination of poor sales and bad location are to blame. The store will close September 15.