Monday, December 31, 2018

Here's to 2019

With the new year nearly upon us, it's time to set our unrealistic goals and expectations for the future. If you look at the Blog Archive widget on the right side, you'll see that I've been consistently writing 365 posts each year since 2013. And while I do look forward to adding 2019 to that growing list, with over 2,000 daily posts under my belt, I do believe that it is time to move on to bigger and better things in my life. I will stop writing daily posts on May 20, 2019. I started this blog in the summer of 2012 when I was in middle school. Today, I am a sophomore in college. The motto for this blog played off of asking a teenager for technology help, and I think it's fitting that I end my daily posts on the day before I turn 20 years old. With this, I will have written daily blog posts for nearly the entirety of all of my teenage years. I hope that everyone reading this understands my decision. Thank you for reading my blog and I wish you a happy new year.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Problem with Multitasking on iPad

iPad multitasking before iOS 11 was simple and to the point. Swipe left from the right edge of the screen to reveal an iPhone-sized second app. Swipe from the top to pick a different app. It wasn't perfect but it got the job done. Probably the most annoying thing with it was that you have to scroll through the app selection, instead of having them all on one page, but everything else felt solid. Now, you have this terrible system where you slide up from the bottom of the iPad. But, not too quickly, otherwise you'll close your current app. That is terrible design philosophy. Power users are the prime demographic for multitasking and you're telling me I have to slide up slowly? Then, tap and hold on an app in the dock, wait for it to hover, and drag it over to the right side of the screen. This feels so cryptic. It's like finding a hidden room in the original Legend of Zelda. How was I supposed to know that specific action would accomplish this? The difference with this is that video games are fun to explore every nook and cranny. You shouldn't have to do that with a mobile operating system. Hopefully, in iOS 13, we see a complete overhaul of this system. It's simply unacceptable.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

The Problem with Control Center

Control Center has changed constantly over the past few years. It used to be simple. Swipe up and toggle Wi-Fi or something. Later, you'd have to swipe over a page to control volume. Then that was scratched and we have the tile view we have today. On the iPhone X and later, along with all supported iPads, you have to swipe down from the top-right corner of the screen to get to Control Center. But on iPhone 8 and earlier, you have to swipe up from the bottom. While change can be hard to accept for some, I think we can all agree that change is easier to swallow when it's a consistent change. iPads have no notches, so it seems weird that only iPhones with notches follow the new swipe down rule. What's worse is that iPhone 8 and earlier owners are likely unaware of this change, so if Apple makes it consistent now, between major updates, there will be riots in the streets. Apple needs to make sure that iOS has a consistent ruleset across all devices.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Instagram's Horizontal Scrolling

Instagram, aside from many aesthetic changes, has largely remained the same app for its entire life. However, Instagram rolled out a mode where posts are looked through horizontally rather than the normal vertical scrolling screen. This mode was meant to only go live for a small group of users, but went out to more than intended. The new mode was so universally disliked that it garnered trending status and media attention. The change has been reverted and we can only guess that Instagram R&D will not put this layout in a future build.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

macOS Mojave's Stacks

When it was first announced, I didn't think too much of the Stacks feature. It essentially groups up your files on the desktop by file type. I figured that's what folders were for and didn't think much of it. However, I now see how useful it can be. I usually just cleanup my desktop from time to time by either trashing files or sending them to an archive folder, but between file purges, my desktop can get very messy, especially during big projects. So, I find that Stacks come in handy often. To enable Stacks, just right click on the desktop and click "Use Stacks."

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

iPad Mini 5 Case Leak

The iPad Mini hasn't been updated for sometime, and with significant improvements in the iPad line since that update, we wonder what could make it down to the smaller tablet. Thanks to Slashleaks, we may have a direction to go in. The alleged iPad Mini 5 case leak shown below, suggest that flash will finally be added, due to the larger camera cutout. There are also speaker cutouts for four speakers, suggesting surround sound speakers, similar to the iPad Pro. While we have to take this with a grain of salt, it would be nice to see the iPad Mini 5 live up closer to an iPad Pro. Maybe we'll even get USB-C?

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Tips for Your New iOS Device

If you just got a new iOS device for Christmas, be sure to follow these tips to get the most out of your new device.

If this is your first upgrade in a while, remember that there are more features than what is advertised for your device. The iPhone 7 introduced water-resistance and better speakers. The iPhone 8 introduced wireless charging. The iPhone X has portrait mode and two cameras in all models. Be sure to see what's changed since your last iPhone.

If you like starting fresh, rather than restoring from a backup, check the Apple App Store for some new apps. Their front page and collections are great starting points and can help you find apps you never knew you needed. I recommend 1Password and Deliveries for starting out fresh.

Finally, take note of the devices your old iPhone interacted with. For example, Bluetooth devices may need to be repaired. Your car will likely keep searching for your old phone. Bluetooth speakers will need repairing as well. However, AirPods will automatically connect to your new device, as long as it shares your Apple ID.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Ask Alexa Where Santa Is

Tracking Santa's journey throughout the past few years have changed a lot in the past decade. Google has taken over Norad for a while now, but Alexa is finally putting Norad back in the spotlight. Just ask her where Santa is tonight and she'll let you know where Santa is based on Norad's tracking service. It's a fun way to bring the family together this Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Apple's Dan Riccio Says iPad Pros Meet or Exceed Quality Standards

After Apple told the Verge that iPad Pros shipped bent are normal, a MacRumors reader reached out to Apple in an email looking for any followup. Dan Riccio, Apple's Vice President of Hardware Engineering, replied. The email is below, but to summarize, he states that the quality standards regulating the iPad Pro are the best they've had and bent iPad Pros shouldn't be too noticeable. In my opinion, if people are noticing a bend in the tablet they paid around a grand for, that speaks volumes about either the quality standards or the enforcement of the quality standards. One of those needs to change.
"Relative to the issue you referenced regarding the new iPad Pro, its unibody design meets or exceeds all of Apple's high quality standards of design and precision manufacturing. We've carefully engineered it and every part of the manufacturing process is precisely measured and controlled. 
Our current specification for iPad Pro flatness is up to 400 microns which is even tighter than previous generations. This 400 micron variance is less than half a millimeter (or the width of fewer than four sheets of paper at most) and this level of flatness won't change during normal use over the lifetime of the product. Note, these slight variations do not affect the function of the device in any way. 
Again, thanks for reaching out and I hope the above explanation addresses your concerns."

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Apple Will Release New Lower-End iPads Next Year

This year, we saw the 6th generation iPad, a great value iPad with a focus on creativity. The China Times is reporting that we will see the return of the iPad mini and a 7th generation iPad. The iPad mini received its latest update in 2015, so those looking to buy one should consider waiting. These iPads would release in the first half of 2019. These iPads are nice because they definitely get the job done for most people, provide great value, and don't feel held back by iOS, unlike the iPad Pros.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Apple Says Some iPad Pros Are Shipped Bent

Apple has told The Verge that a percentage of iPad Pros have shipped slightly bent. However, this is not a bug, it is a feature. Not really, but stick with me. Apple states that this is normal and not considered a defect, since it is a normal result of the manufacturing process. While Apple did say this, they also said customers should have no problem exchanging their iPad Pro for a new model. This is just weird for Apple to say. There is no reason for someone to pay potentially $1,000+ for a device just to find that it is bent. While the bend is not very noticeable at a glance, it's enough where users will still take note.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

John Giannandrea Promoted to Apple's Senior Vice President in Machine Learning and AI Strategy

John Giannandrea joined Apple in April of this year. He worked at Google with their search and artificial intelligence technologies, before being picked up by Apple to become their chief of machine learning and AI strategy. In the short time he's worked at Apple, he's now been promoted to their Senior Vice President of Machine Learning and AI Strategy. We can only hope that Siri becomes better under his new role.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Apple Sending Unsolicited Notifications

One of Apple's guidelines for notifications is that developers may not use them for advertising or promotional purposes, however, it seems that Apple's own Music app is now guilty of that. Many users have reported getting notifications regarding new episodes of Carpool Karaoke and Amazon Echo support for Apple Music. Not all users got these notifications, but many of those who did were upset. iOS has always been free of ads on the base operating system, and to see an ad for something like Carpool Karaoke can easily be seen as a desperate attempt by Apple to get more people to watch the show. Apple needs to ensure that their entire team is aware of their own guidelines and find better ways to communicate their marketing materials.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Charter Spectrum on Apple TV Delayed

In June, Apple said that Charter Spectrum would have a tvOS app and Zero Sign-On by the end of 2018. However, it seems that plans have changed. Instead of saying that the feature will come "later this year," the page states that it is "coming soon." Zero Sign-On would allow Apple TV to sign you into your cable subscription using your broadband connection details alone, bypassing any credentials.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Apple Offers Free Next-Day Delivery for Last Minute Gifts

Apple is offering free next-day delivery on all items in their online store ordered by December 21 at 3 p.m. local time. Next-day delivery includes weekends. Obviously, only in-stock items apply for this offer. While Apple has been branching out to new retailers as of late, it is nice to see little things like free next-day shipping to make shopping at Apple a more premium experience.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

3D Printed Head vs. Facial Recognition

Forbes used a 3D printed head in an attempt to fool various smartphones with facial recognition. They used an iPhone X, an LG G7 ThinQ, a Samsung S9, a Samsung Note 8 and a OnePlus 6. Every Android phone of the bunch opened up to the 3D printed head, but the iPhone X remained locked. While facial hacking isn't something most people should worry about, it does speak volumes of Apple's TrueDepth system.

Image Credit: Forbes

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Costco Selling Macs Online

Apple may be responding to lackluster sales with new retailers. Earlier, we saw Apple start selling more products on Amazon and now the same is going for Costco's online store. Both Amazon and Costco have had major deals on Apple products since they've had the new listings. The deals put Apple's Black Friday sale to shame. The base 2018 MacBook Air is $200 cheaper on Costco than Apple. Before buying Apple products be sure to check the websites of Costco (if you have a membership) and Amazon.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Apple Music Now Available on Alexa

Earlier this month, it was announced that Apple Music would be available on Alexa starting the week of December 17. It seems that plans have changed, as the Alexa skill is already available. I've already tried it and it works pretty well. It can play my playlists synced through Apple Music. It can even play music that I added manually (not through the Apple Music catalog). To get started, just add the Apple Music skill to your Alexa device through the Amazon Alexa app.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Apple Music Connect To Shut Down

Apple Music Connect was a very small feature in Apple Music. It was similar to iTunes Ping, shut down in 2012. iTunes Ping tried to make iTunes a social experience. Apple Music Connect added artist's posts and tweets into Apple Music. Apple has tried to make music a social experience for too long. I think most people just want a way to get notified if their favorite artists release a new album. Connect content will be searchable until May 24, 2019.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

HomePod Discounted to Apple Music Subscribers in the U.K.

HomePod's biggest problem is the ridiculous price of $350. Target had an offer on HomePods that made it $250 this week, which would be a more appropriate regular price, at least for Apple. Now, Apple is offering those in the U.K. £50 off of HomePod. That's roughly $60 in the U.S., which could eventually translate to a $50 discount. Apple Music subscribers definitely should have a discount on HomePod. Either that, or HomePod comes with three months of Apple Music. The offer lasts until December 16, and there's no work if this discount will expand to other countries.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Verizon Now Supports eSIM

Verizon now supports eSIM, which means you can have a Verizon plan without the need for a physical SIM card. This can be useful for those traveling to the United States frequently or those who have a second phone number with Verizon. Verizon's adoption of eSIM is important for eSIM as a whole. Hopefully, more carriers begin adopting it. Currently, this is only limited to non-Verizon customers who want an eSIM from Verizon. The only iPhones that can support eSIM are iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Samsung Finally Removes the Headphone Jack

Samsung has used the iPhone's lack of a headphone jack as a medium for the mudslinging in their advertising for a while now. However, they'll awkwardly slide that under the rug with their new Samsung Galaxy A8s. It has an edge to edge display and no headphone jack. With Samsung finally jumping on board, there aren't many phones that still have a headphone jack. However, the Samsung Galaxy S10 may still have a headphone jack. That is to be determined, but I believe they will use the A8s to test the waters of certain features before adding them to a flagship phone.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Google Chrome and Dark Mode

Google Chrome is one of the most popular web browsers, for both macOS and Windows. With macOS Mojave, Dark Mode is now available for apps that support it. To satisfy more users, it only makes sense to bring these two together. Thanks to a user on Reddit, we have reason to believe Dark Mode will come by early 2019. It should come out in Chrome 72. 

Saturday, December 8, 2018

iPhone XS Battery Case Could Be Released Soon

The Smart Battery Cases for iPhone are a weird contention point for Apple enthusiasts. It's nice to have an external battery that integrates with iOS. But then you have the ugly silicone material and the hump of a battery that makes you wonder if Apple even cares about Jony Ive anymore. Regardless, it seems that the iPhone XS will be getting a Smart Battery Case [Source: 9to5Mac]. We could even see iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR variations. For all we know, there could be a minor redesign to make it look better, although it's unlikely. We have reason to believe it will release in 2018.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Apple Watch ECG Feature Only Available in the United States

While this is nothing new, it is important to reiterate that the ECG feature on the Apple Watch Series 4 is only available to owners in the United States. This is because of regulations, and the Apple Watch has not been approved outside of the U.S. at this time. The reason to bring this up is because, as MacRumors has pointed out, changing your device's region to the United States will not affect this. Only models purchased in the United States will work with the ECG feature. Hopefully, other countries get this feature soon. This obviously isn't Apple's fault. It's just part of the process.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

watchOS 5.1.2 Released with ECG Support

It's weird to have such a random, minor update have one of the flagship features of a device, but here we are. watchOS 5.1.2 released today, a day after Apple released new updates for so many other products. The timing is weird, but I'm not complaining. watchOS 5.1.2 includes ECG support for the Apple Watch Series 4. This can be very informative for your heart health. Make sure you update your iPhone to the latest software to take advantage of creating PDF reports of your ECG as well.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

iOS 12.1.1 Released, With No Signs of watchOS 5.1.2

iOS 12.1.1 was released today, which brings eSIM support to the latest iPhones. It also adds support for ECG data on the iPhone's side. This isn't useful unless you have an Apple Watch Series 4 with watchOS 5.1.2. Despite so many minor updates from Apple being released today. There hasn't been any sign of watchOS 5.1.2. It will likely come out in the next few days. If it is delayed, it may be to iron out the updating process. watchOS is notorious for bricking Apple Watches. While it's not super common, we do hear of quite a few cases from time to time.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Every Android Flagship Phone Will Have 5G in 2020

Qualcomm's president has stated that every Android flagship smartphone will have 5G by the end of 2019. This comes right after we learned that Apple will likely wait until 2020 to implement 5G. To say that this is a a blow to Apple would be an understatement. I understand that Apple usually waits on things like this, but with iPhone sales showing no signs of speeding up, iPhone is looking to be the laughing stock of smartphones in 2019. We can only hope that 2019's iPhones have something really innovative, but it's too soon to call it.

Monday, December 3, 2018

5G iPhones Coming As Early As 2020

5G is on the horizon as its possibility of being in consumer smartphones becomes greater and greater. However, it seems that Apple will wait until at least 2020 to release an iPhone with 5G compatibility [Source: Bloomberg]. Apple has waited a year with both 3G and 4G as well. This could be a blow with Apple. While waiting on 3G and 4G may have not been a huge deal in their time, 5G will likely be a big selling point, and probably standard by 2019's end. To say that Apple would be left in the dust would leave us with another round of disappointing sales numbers. Things are certainly different this time around.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

New AirPods Not Expected Until 2019

According to Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple will release their next generation of AirPods in the first quarter of 2019. Unsurprisingly, Apple did not get these out by the end of 2018. However, there is an interesting detail. Kuo notes that it will have an "all-new design model." Could this mean we'll see more than just wireless charging and "Hey, Siri" support? AirPods is at that point where people are likely holding out for an update, so an AirPods update is very welcome at this point.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Apple Watch Series 4 Getting ECG Feature in Next Update

Apple Watch Series 4 will be getting an ECG feature, which is arguably one of the flagship features of the device, alongside the major redesign. The ECG feature can help determine if you may be suffering from atrial fibrillation or irregular heart rhythm. The next watchOS update, watchOS 5.1.2, will enable this feature. This feature is still being approved in most countries, but it will be available in the United States. The update is in beta testing, but we can expect the update by the end of the year.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Apple Music and Amazon Alexa

For anyone looking for another reason to not buy HomePod, Apple and Amazon announced today that Apple Music is coming to Amazon Alexa. Starting the week of December 17, you'll be able to ask Alexa to play a song using Apple Music. It's almost poetic that Apple Music as the most popular music streaming service in the U.S. is available on one of the most popular smart speakers. But it does speak of Apple's position on HomePod. Amazon won't sell HomePod because it's technically a competing product, which is being generous calling it that. I've lost almost any reason to buy a HomePod with this news.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Apple and iHeartMedia

iHeartRadio has been the Frankenstein of music streaming. It tried AM/FM streaming, Pandora style-streaming, and Apple Music-style streaming all at the same time, but ended up failing. With iHeartMedia filing for bankruptcy, Apple is taking a look at buying a stake in the group [Source: Financial Times]. My opinion will vary based on how Apple implemented this, but I think it would be good for Apple to have some stake in iHeartMedia. I live in Arizona for university, but I enjoy listening to old fashioned AM/FM radio from California. I can listen to it through iHeartRadio, but I don't enjoy using their app. I think if Apple took iHeartMedia's stations and put them into the Apple Music's radio section, they could strike gold. Asking Siri to play a specific station with HomePod would certainly intrigue me more. Android users would have more incentive to download the Apple Music app and listen to their favorite stations at no cost. iHeartMedia, though bankrupt, could do a lot for Apple.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

iPhone XR Outsells iPhone XS

According to Apple via CNET, the iPhone XR has been outselling the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max everyday since the device's launch. This is a clear indication that the cheaper price point is good for Apple. Now, a lot of people are interpreting this as iPhones are doing fine. Which is weird because this came from an Apple's VP of Marketing. Apple would never admit the iPhone is doing terrible. To say the iPhone XR is outselling the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max is like saying a turtle is faster than a snail. This doesn't mean that the rumors of cutting iPhone XR production is false. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

DriveSavers' iOS Unlocker

The latest device that can unlock your iPhone has arrived. Earlier this year, there was the GrayKey box, which was advertised to law enforcement. Now we have DriveSavers, who have released a product that can unlock an iPhone marketed towards consumers. It works on iOS, in addition to Android, Windows, and Blackberry products. While Apple may patch out this device's usability, it's doubtful a company like Blackberry would, so it would still have some use. The device is priced at about $3,900 and is for device owners only.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Microsoft Surpasses Apple As Most Valuable U.S. Company

In early August, Apple became the world's first trillion dollar company. They went under $1 trillion earlier this month and now they have lost the most valuable company title to Microsoft, at about $814 billion [Source: Business Insider]. That's a pretty big fall from a trillion. Many believe that the fall is due to the mediocre sales of the latest iPhones. I hope this helps Apple realize that their logo on a product does not guarantee sales. Sales are earned, and it's clear that the latest iPhones were not deserving of the same sales as some other iPhones.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Amazon Begins Selling Apple Products

The other day, Amazon announced they would soon start selling Apple products. Now, Amazon has added Apple products to their site. Amazon is notorious for having knock off Apple products and accessories on their site, so hopefully official listings changes that reputation. But with many Apple products listed, be sure to check there for potential new deals on Apple products and accessories.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Apple Could Lower iPhone XR Price in Japan

According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple could lower the price of the iPhone XR in Japan due to low sales. We've heard a lot of talk about how poorly the latest iPhones have been selling, especially in the U.S. So, the fact that Apple would reduce the iPhone XR price so quickly is concerning. This is something rare for any major smartphone company. Apple has a serious issue with their flagship lineup of products and needs to take action quickly.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Apple's Black Friday Shopping Event

As I have mentioned earlier this week, Apple is not known for great Black Friday deals. Now, their Black Friday shopping event is taking place. You can get various Apple gift cards depending on which product you get. This is a horrible deal, especially when considering the deals available from major retailers this year. I think, at the very least, we should get gift cards on price tier. But instead, Apple uses gift cards as incentive to clear out their products taking up too much stock. The iPhone XS has sold horribly, but there is no gift card available. Gift cards would be great for newer products because you can use the gift cards to buy accessories for the product right on the spot. Older products typically have less accessories, depending on the product. I hope we can get better deals in future years.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

iPhone X Could Be Produced Again

Ever since the first rumors of the iPhone XS, we've heard rumblings that the iPhone X would be discontinued. That was true, but could now be reversed. The iPhone X could be put back into production and we can attribute that to the poor sales of the iPhone XS and iPhone XR [Source: The Wall Street Journal]. If true, we could see a lower priced iPhone X that may be able to entice customers. The iPhone X is a fine smartphone. I personally love mine without taking a second glance at the iPhone XS. So, if Apple sold this phone a few hundred less than the iPhone XS, many people might consider it instead of the iPhone XR.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Use Hey Siri to Activate Google Assistant

A while back, Amazon and Microsoft teamed up to bring Alexa to Microsoft's smart speaker and Cortana to Amazon's Echo line. While this isn't a collaboration of any kind, Google has now used the Siri Shortcuts feature in iOS 12 to make it possible to activate the Google Assistant from Siri. Update the Google app on your iOS device and follow the "Add to Siri" prompt. You should be able to use the phrase you use for Google Assistant. If you pick "Hey Google," you would essentially say "Hey Siri, Hey Google."

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Apple's Holiday Ad 2018

Apple has had a rocky streak in recent years with their holiday ads. So, I'm glad they've turned that around this year with a pretty good ad. It's called "Share Your Gifts" and it does a good job connecting the "creativity" theme Apple has been promoting recently. Consistency is key here. This ad centers around a girl who keeps her artistic creations to herself, until her dog accidentally lets her papers fly out of her window for the world to see. This ad does a lot right that previous ads do not.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Gmail's Handy Reminder

If you write a lot of emails, you know the feeling of instant regret when you forget to add an attachment to an email you've already sent. If you can relate, Gmail has you covered. I don't know how long this has been a feature, but I encountered the message below the other day. I mention an attachment in my email and I forgot to attach one. Google notices this and prompts me if I still want to send the message. Think the "your message doesn't have a subject" reminder, but it's actually useful. All in all, this is a handy little feature that can go a long way.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

AirPort Line of Products No Longer Available

The AirPort line of products was officially discontinued back in April. However, Apple did allow users to deplete their stock before pulling the products from their shelves. Now, the AirPort Extreme and the 2 TB Time Capsule have reached their limit and are no longer available from Apple. With this, we no longer have any AirPort products to look for. Only refurbished models are available from Apple at this point.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Black Friday Deals 2018

Apple is notorious for not having great Black Friday deals, but at least we can look to other retail giants for great deals on Apple's latest products. If you're looking for an exhaustive list, I recommend checking out MacRumors' article on them. That being said, there are a few deals I wanted to point out.

The regular iPad is getting cheaper and cheaper, which makes it a steal when it goes on sale. The 32 GB 9.7-inch iPad will be available starting at just $249.99 (usually $329.99) at Target and Walmart. For 128 GB, Best Buy has it available for $329.99 instead of $429.99. The 9.7-inch iPad is great in that it just works. It gets the job done. A lightweight, portable device that does everything you expect from an iPad. And it's still well supported, despite being thrown in the shadow with the new iPad Pro.

The HomePod is getting a much needed discount at Best Buy. It will be just $249.99 instead of $349.99. While this is still relatively expensive for a smart speaker today, it certainly looks way better by comparison to the MSRP. I did mention earlier that I don't recommend HomePod in its current state, but for anyone who really wants HomePod and can't hold out until a cheaper model is released, this is certainly the time to buy it.

Overall, you can't expect too many great deals for Black Friday after Apple announced so many products just now. Unless they're older deals, you'll have to pay full price for the shiny new gadgets that have hype around them. 

Friday, November 16, 2018

Bendgate Returns in iPad Pro

Bendgate hasn't been a real issue since the iPhone 6, and there's still a lot of controversy if that was ever a "real issue." But it seems that the new iPad Pro could revive this issue. JerryRigEverything on YouTube has shown off the iPad Pro being bent in half. The iPhone 6 bend test took a consider amount of time and effort, but the iPad Pro seems to snap in half almost immediately. Obviously, this isn't a demonstration of normal wear and tear, but it is concerning at the least.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

iPhone's Awful Naming Convention

There is a very clear difference in the naming of the iPhone during the Steve Jobs era and the Tim Cook era.

Up to the iPhone 5s, the naming of the iPhone was very simple and clear. iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S. I could order any way and it would be very clear which model is the superior model.

Let's move on. iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max, iPhone Xr. You can slowly see the naming degenerate, especially with this last year. The introduction of the "Plus" naming makes sense, but many will remember how ridiculous the name "iPhone 6s Plus" sounded when it first released. That was nowhere near where we are today. But the pattern is still there. Number model, S model. The S model is obviously superior to the number model, so evolution is still clear. Apple did change the styling of the S and made it lowercase for some reason.

Then, we just go from iPhone 7 to iPhone 8. No S model. But then, we skip the iPhone 9 entirely, and go to iPhone X (pronounced "iPhone Ten"). Furthermore, the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X were all released in the same year. In addition, there's no iPhone X Plus, so if you wanted the larger iPhone we have in the iPhone Xs Max today, then you'd be out of luck. Now let's move to the twisted present. iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max, and iPhone Xr. I cannot bring myself to call it the "iPhone Ten-S" for whatever reason, but that terrible name aside, we randomly drop the "Plus" for "Max" for next to no reason. But now we have the iPhone Xr. The iPhone Xr actually uses a "stylized lowercase R" which makes it look like a capital letter, but it's really lowercase, which is an entirely different can of worms. The iPhone Xr is technically the latest iPhone, so you'd expect it to be superior to the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max. But it's cheaper. Oh, so it's the budget model? Well, yes and no. The screen is bigger than the iPhone Xs by a considerable amount. There is no sense of any linearity with these iPhones.

There was a time where it was outstandingly clear which iPhone was the best. Back then, you could easily say that iPhone was the best smartphone period. But now, I realize that marketing is the real field that everyone should be pursuing, because now we know some team got paid a lot of money to create the "iPhone Xs Max" name.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Minor Change to Apple Watch Dock

For no clear reason, Apple has changed the model of Apple Watch Dock sold on their online store today. There are no appearance changes. We can only guess there are internal changes. The new model number is MU9F2AM/A, while the previous one was MLDW2AM/A. This is sure to spark theories about AirPower, but in reality, it's likely going to mean nothing in the long run. The dock is $79 on Apple's website.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Apple Sells Refurbished HomePod

While a refurbished listing doesn't usually spark too much discussion, the first refurbished HomePod listings have appeared on Apple's online store. And they sell for $299. That's just $50 less than the regular price. With little to no spotlight on the HomePod for sometime, it's unclear what Apple's plan for the HomePod is. I would highly recommend not buying HomePod at this price. Hopefully, we get a cheaper, better HomePod next year.

Monday, November 12, 2018

My Thoughts On The New Apple Pencil

I got a chance to try the new Apple Pencil the other day. The first thing I noticed when I picked it up was the difference in just holding it. The original Apple Pencil had this weird heft that doesn't belong in a pencil. This pencil is much lighter, and it doesn't feel like you're waving around a lightsaber every time you draw a line with it. The other difference is the material. The original Apple Pencil had a glossy texture. If I were to describe the new texture used, I would call it "synthetic wood." My point is, it felt way more like a pencil, rather than an overpriced stylus. I didn't use it enough to see how useful it would be in normal use, but I can imagine that it's an essential for iPad Pro users.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

iPhone X Display Repair Program

As an iPhone X user, I haven't experienced any of the issues described here (yet), but apparently, a lot of people have been experiencing issues where the iPhone X's touch screen becomes unresponsive. In addition, this has been going on for a while with some users, so Apple has decided to launch the iPhone X Display Module Replacement Program. Any user experiencing the issues described should go to an Apple Authorized Service Provider or Apple Store for a repair at no cost.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Mac Mini's Upgradability

Since the last major redesign of the Mac mini, Apple has made it relatively easy to upgrade the internals of the computer. With a new model finally available, Apple has made a major change in this regard [Source: iFixit]. The RAM is now upgradable, while it used to be soldered down. CPU and storage are soldered, meaning it isn't easy to upgrade them. Storage used to be able to be upgradable, so this is a bit of a hinderance.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Amazon to Sell Apple Products

Amazon has been notorious for selling non-certified Apple products. Many have been scammed or ripped off trying to buy Apple accessories and products. According to CNET, Apple and Amazon have come to an agreement to sell Apple products on Amazon. Products like the iPhone, Apple Watch, and iPad Pro will be available for purchase. The HomePod won't be available due to competition from the Amazon Echo. This seems like a good move. You can buy pretty much anything on Amazon except for official Apple products at the moment. I usually buy from an Apple Retail Store, but Amazon would be a close second. I would probably buy official accessories from Amazon over an Apple Store just because it's more convenient. I'm sure this will benefit Apple and Amazon given Amazon's massive appeal to consumers.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Apple Watch Celebrates Veterans Day with Activity Challenge

Sunday, November 11 is Veterans Day. To celebrate, Apple has created a challenge to get people out and about. If you do a workout of 11 minutes or more on Veterans Day, you'll receive a new achievement badge. This applies to any workout done through the Workouts app on Apple Watch.

Image Credit: MacRumors

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

11" iPad Pro Features Better Keyboard

The 11-inch iPad Pro is based off of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, but with more screen space. One of my biggest complaints about the 10.5-inch iPad Pro is how its managed to mess up typing. iPad from the very beginning was meant to feel great while typing. Even if a laptop was available, an iPad keyboard was never meant to feel compromising. Thanks to GottaDeal on Reddit, we know that the 11-inch iPad Pro has a larger keyboard with new keys for tab and caps lock, similar to the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. How good this will feel compared to the 10.5-inch model, that's yet to be seen.

Image Credit: GottaDeal via MacRumors

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Apple Third Street Promenade Reopening

With a number of Apple Stores re-opening this month, I have to shine some light on the Third Street Promenade store. This store is located in Santa Monica, California. I obviously have had mixed thoughts on the marketing Apple has used in the past few years. I'm sure I can write an essay about that with the upcoming holiday ad. But Apple did something really cool to promote this store. They made an Apple logo that really captures the essence of the beachside retail store. Details like the bite of the Apple turning into a palm tree is so cool to me. The marketing goes further with special icons for creative sessions. It reminds me of the You Are Here mug collection from Starbucks, which also used vector art to symbolize landmarks.

Monday, November 5, 2018

The Marvel of the New Apple Pencil

We've been waiting for a new Apple Pencil for quite a while now. The original Apple Pencil went down as one of Apple's worst designs for a product. It had no place to be stored, it could easily roll off of the table, the cap could easily be lost, there were no functions that integrated with the app being used, and, most annoyingly, it would plug into iPad to charge. So not only can you not charge your iPad while charging the Apple Pencil, but it turned your iPad into a lollipop. At least the Apple Pencil charged within seconds. This iteration of the Apple Pencil is a perfect example of Apple turning feedback into reality. I didn't even think of accidentally mistaking someone else's Apple Pencil as my own, but now we have engraving, adding an element of uniqueness to the stylus. The inductive charging that sticks to the iPad is what we've wanted for so long.

Now, the biggest flaw of the Apple Pencil would be in the native Notes app, which can be updated. It's subjective, but I am not a fan of the Notes app paired with Apple Pencil. Maybe it's a good thing, but I highly prefer other apps to use with Apple Pencil. However, with Evernote in the situation it's in, and the rapidly changing state of third-party apps, I find myself wanting to switch to a new note taking app pretty often. The idea of Apple's Notes being the end-all be-all of note taking apps would be nice because I know Notes is here to stay.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

First 5G iPhone Coming in 2020

5G is the next generation of cellular data, but it is still a far off reality for the consumer. According to Fast Company, Apple will be using Intel modem chips capable of using 5G in 2020. It's still two years off, but at least we don't have to get our hopes up for 2019. Given what a jump 4G LTE was from 3G, 5G should be a breath of fresh air. 4G LTE was introduced in the iPhone 5, over five years ago.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

iPad Pro's Benchmarks

Apple certainly brags about the new iPad Pro's immense power packed into a thin tablet. They went as far as to compare it to the Xbox One S, which is a pretty bold claim. They showed some good and bad examples of what the iPad Pro was capable of, but in the end, quantitive data is king. Thanks to Geekbench, we now know the benchmark scores of the iPad Pro are comparable to those of the latest MacBook Pros. Looking at the graph below from MacRumors, you can see the results for yourself. While these numbers are impressive, that still doesn't necessarily represent real-world situations. We don't have too many desktop class apps that will take full advantage of this power. iOS isn't the best framework to build this statistic off of. And without a fan, this score likely won't hold in power-heavy situations.

Image Credit: MacRumors

Friday, November 2, 2018

Spotify Coming to Apple Watch

With the Apple Watch becoming more and more independent, Spotify can only benefit with an Apple Watch app. There are certainly apps that work better than others on Apple Watch, but I think we can agree that a music app is a smarter pick than something like Twitter or Day One. Spotify’s Apple Watch app is still in public beta, but I’m sure we’ll see it hit the public soon. 

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Smartphones Outpacing Lithium-Ion Technology

Lithium-ion batteries are the life-force of most portable devices today. They made alkaline batteries (AA, AAA, etc.) nearly obsolete. Why find a C battery for your flashlight when you can just use your iPhone? According to the The Washington Post, smartphone technology may be advancing too fast for lithium-ion batteries, which brings into question whether an alternative should be used soon. The iPhone XS was ranked a worse battery than the iPhone X. The full chart is below. Take note of the color of the bars. Gray bars represent 2017 phones while blue bars represent 2018 phones.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

iOS 12.1 Add Battery Performance Management to More Devices

Battery Performance Management was introduced earlier this year in an update following controversy about performance throttling. iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus were not affected by this change. However, iOS 12.1 added Battery Performance Management to these devices. This is interesting because this feature is only relevant for older devices, so we now see when Apple sees fit for devices to have this feature.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

My Impressions of the New iPad Pro

I love the iPad. It feels totally different from an iPhone, yet very familiar. When I owned the original iPad, I thought it was cool, but there was plenty of room to grow. With the iPad Air 2, I thought it was a very solid model, but it could use a power boost. I felt the iPad needed a better way to compete with desktops in the post-PC era. As an amateur Android developer and Final Cut Pro video editor in high school, I wanted to be able to code and edit on the go. When I first saw the iPad Pro, I thought this could be the turning point. Apple could embrace the iPad's features and change iOS around it. So, Apple released a new iPad Pro and iOS 11, which was made to distinguish iPad from iPhone. And so, after having an iPad Air 2 for high school, I was equipped with a 10.5-inch iPad Pro with iOS 11 for college. And did it do the job?

Absolutely not.

This iPad, was by far my least favorite iPad. It advertised leaps forward, but seemingly took steps back. The bezels were so thin, it would read false inputs constantly. The camera bulges out from the back, which kind of works on iPhone, but certainly doesn't on iPad. The built-in keyboard is the biggest sin in my opinion. I don't know how Apple managed to mess up a keyboard when you have more screen space to work with, but they did. I typed leagues faster on a 9.7-inch iPad than I ever could on a 10.5-inch iPad. I never took notes on it as I had planned and opted for my MacBook Pro. The Apple Pencil was a half-baked idea. Somehow, my iPad Air 2 always held a significantly more stable WiFi connection, while my iPad Pro would constantly disconnect. Maybe I just had the world's most defective model and this is just me. I still used it, mostly for video streaming, but I knew it had so much more potential. So, given that, what do I think of today's announcement?

This is everything I wanted for my iPad Pro.

I almost wish I had held out a little over a year for this iPad Pro. This iPad feels designed from the ground up to actually work. There is an entirely new magnet system, all around the back and sides of the iPad, that make the accessories actually work as advertised. The Smart Keyboard always looked like a circus act when trying to stand it up. Now, the magnets hold the keyboard cover in place. The new Apple Pencil finally can charge by just having it magnetically attach to the iPad. It all feels very intentional and robust. They made it clear that every orientation is the right way to hold it. I personally prefer using iPad horizontally. But I'm also left-handed, so my Apple Pencil would have to attach to the other side of the iPad. I do still see some flaws from the iPad Pro. I'm sure the bezels will give me a hard time and the camera could get annoying, but we're seeing improvements that we've been wanting for a long time, and I'm very happy with that. The fact that the Apple Pencil no longer rolls on desks and can be engraved amazes me.

Monday, October 29, 2018

iOS 12.1 Releases Tomorrow

Apple announced that iOS 12.1 will release Tuesday, October 30. This is timely considering that the October Apple event is the same day. iOS 12.1 brings group FaceTime, dual-SIM, and enhanced depth control for the latest iPhones. There's also a slew of new emoji that no one will notice. We can expect this update to drop at about 10:00 Pacific Time.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Next-Gen AirPods

After Apple hinting at "Hey Siri" support for AirPods at their September event during the intro video, it seems inevitable that we'll see them at the October event. It's almost like Apple filmed the intro video, realized that AirPower would be delayed, and delayed the announcement of these new AirPods. Granted, it is unusual for Apple to hint at any new product with a concrete feature during an intro video. If AirPower has any update, it seems like AirPods will have an update as well. The video is embedded below.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

iFixit Teardown of iPhone XR

Our first look into the iPhone XR comes from none other than iFixit as usual. There's not too much new, but it is interesting when taking in the context of other iPhones. iFixit goes into how the internals compare to models like the iPhone 8 and the iPhone XS. They note that the internals are like a cross between the iPhone X and the iPhone 8, with a rectangular battery and logic board. To see their full, in-depth analysis, check out iFixit's full report.

Friday, October 26, 2018

iPhone XR Released

Apple today released the iPhone XR, the more affordable and more colorful version of the iPhone XS. The phone has made the headlines in the past few weeks. Initial impressions from around the internet give the iPhone XR a strong first impression. The increased adoption of the iPhone X-style screens will hopefully encourage more developers to take full advantage of the larger screen size.

Shazam App Acknowledges Apple Acquisition

Apple is finally able to begin taking steps to overhaul Shazam to their liking after their acquisition. The first step is a new Shazam privacy policy [Source: iGeneration]. The privacy policy simply states that all Shazam data is now under ownership of Apple. That's not a huge concern considering Apple is Apple and not Google. In the future, we can expect better integration between Shazam and Apple Music, which sounds exciting.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Every Apple Logo for the October Event

As you may know, the October event for the new iPads has been marketed with a variety of different Apple logos made by artists. Every time you reload the site for the event, the logo will change. Thanks to a MacRumors reader, we now know there are over 350 Apple logos created for the event. All of them are available to view on an Imgur album created by MacRumors.

All of the Apple logos from the October 30th event invites

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Potential AirPower Release Date

Ming-Chi Kuo has given a quick update of when we might be able to expect AirPower. After so many delays and a lack of information from Apple, Kuo expects AirPower to release in either late 2018 or early 2019. We don't know if Apple will say anything at October's event.

Monday, October 22, 2018

HomePod's Current Popularity

HomePod at the moment is a hard sell for many. With Alexa's detachment from any smartphone and cheaper price, many opt for an Amazon Echo. According to a survey on smart speaker ownership Strategy Analytics, Amazon Echo makes up 23 percent of their sample. This is just the Amazon Echo and doesn't include other models like the Echo Dot, which comes in second place at 21 percent. HomePod is at ninth place with a mere four percent. Between ninth and second are just a variety of Google Home and Amazon Echo models dominating the rankings.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Apple's October Event Change's OnePlus 6T Launch Date

Apple recently announced their October event will take place on October 30. OnePlus already announced that they will launch their OnePlus 6T on October 30. However, OnePlus has decided to change their event to the day earlier, due to the overlap [Source: Android Police]. As a kind gesture, OnePlus will cover any costs created by the date change to those attending the launch event. A full refund is available to those who cannot attend due to the change. It's interesting to see how this overlap is changing things for OnePlus.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

macOS Mojave Notorization

With the Mac App Store unable to compete with website distribution of macOS apps, Apple has created a program that will notarize apps. Similar to how Mac App Store apps must be approved before being published, notarizing a macOS app not on the Mac App Store will help give users piece of mind knowing the software isn't malicious. The software will be reviewed by Apple. Especially after some apps were found to be using computer power to mine for cryptocurrency earlier this year, it would be nice to have apps that followed this review process. It's totally optional for developers, but it doesn't hurt to try it.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Apple Watch to USB-C Cable

Today, Apple released a new cable, which can charge Apple Watch using a USB-C cable. It features the same magnetic charger, but it features a USB-C end, instead of USB-A. This comes with a plethora of rumors suggesting that the iPad Pro will feature USB-C instead of Lightning. While it's entirely possible that the next iPad Pro may feature some ability to connect to the Apple Watch using this cable, it's more likely a coincidence. The cable is 0.3m in length and costs $29.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Apple's October 2018 Event Announced

Apple finally revealed that an October event is coming up. The invite states: "There's more in the making." Each invite has a different Apple logo, all revolving around creative takes on the iconic apple. The event will take place on October 30 in New York City. Because it's on the east coast, the event will start 10 p.m. Eastern Time.

Image Credit: Todd Haselton

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Latest Mac Mini is Four Years Old

The desktop lineup of Macs has long been neglected, aside from the iMac. It's hard to recommend most of these computers because they haven't been updated in so long. The latest Mac Mini is four years old yesterday [via MacRumors]. It was released October 16, 2014. Even then, it was just a refresh. For reference, I was a sophomore in high school when this came out, and now I'm a sophomore in college. It's quite fitting that we have rumors suggesting this wait is nearing its end. If we do have an October event this month, Apple may finally update the Mac Mini. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Mickey Mouse and Beats

Apple and Disney have had a long relationship. Disney's characters are the only licensed characters available as an Apple Watch watch face. Now, Beats is releasing a Mickey Mouse themed pair of Beats Solo³ Wireless Headphones. It's definitely not for everyone, but it's interesting to see such a limited edition package. It comes with a collector's pin and a special carrying case. The headphones cost $349.95 and are available from the Apple Online Store.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Paul Allen

Microsoft was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in 1975. And since then, it's undeniable the impact Microsoft has had on the computing industry and the world. Unfortunately, Paul Allen passed away today at the age of 65 due to complications with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a form of cancer. The biggest names of Silicon Valley gave their condolences to the Allen family and Microsoft. My prayers go out to his family and those who knew him best.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

The Current State of the Mac App Store

App stores on desktops are hard to pull off. Apple, Microsoft, and even Google have tried pulling it off. The need for an app store on a desktop isn't that necessary. On a smartphone, it makes sense, as it provides a safe and consistent environment for anyone to find an app. There's an even playing field. Mobile apps are constrained to smartphones and don't need the same capabilities as a desktop. Meanwhile, a desktop experience is much more demanding. You might need high-end or professional software. Users can make decisions for themselves and use Google to find these apps. Software developers can create websites that show the full extent of what their software can do through videos, demos, and links to reviews. This matters more with more expensive software. There are many other factors that I haven't pointed out, but it does question the point of the Mac App Store today. I haven't used it in the longest time. There are some great, small apps I've downloaded from smaller developers, and for them, I can imagine the Mac App Store is an ideal platform. But it's clear that in the post-PC era, App Stores are much more optimal on non-PC devices.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Apple Maps Surveyor on Foot

Most Apple Maps surveyors use vans with cameras on top to gather info of areas. However, a MacRumors reader found a man wearing an Apple Maps backpack with a huge camera setup. The setup appears to have the same technology used on the Apple Maps vans. The pedestrian setup seems to fall in line with rumors saying that Apple is looking to put more focus on walking directions in Apple Maps. Given the difficulty of surveying on foot, this will likely be limited to just major metro areas. I would definitely like to see if this would translate to indoor directions.

Image Credit: MacRumors

Friday, October 12, 2018

iPhone XR Clear Case

The iPhone X design is stunning, but it's hard to truly admire it with a case on. The glass backing is a thing of beauty, but it's also something most users would want to protect with a case. The same goes for the iPhone XR. Thanks to ivanincanada on Twitter, we know that a Canadian press release from Apple leaked a clear iPhone XR case. It would be about $40 and only compatible with the iPhone XR. As you can see below, it's a simple case with no logos that keeps the design of the iPhone XR visible. This is especially useful given the color options available for the iPhone XR.

Image Credit: 9to5Mac

Thursday, October 11, 2018

CVS Finally Accepts Apple Pay

Since just after Apple Pay's launch in late 2014, CVS has disabled the ability to accept Apple Pay payments. It created an alternative, called CVS Pay. Earlier this year, Tim Cook announced that Apple Pay would roll out to CVS Pharmacies across the country. Now, the rollout seems to be complete [Source: MacRumors]. After the full cycle of a retailer refusing to accept Apple Pay, it will be interesting to see if Target or Walmart finally begin accepting the payment method in store.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Apple Pencil 2 Rumor

According to 9to5Mac, Apple may release an Apple Pencil 2 alongside the new iPad Pros. This Apple Pencil will be able to connect to different devices based on proximity. If you are closer to one iPad over the other, it will connect to the closer one. It's safe to assume this functionality means future iPhones and other Apple products will finally be able to take advantage of the Apple Pencil. We could see this as soon as next week at an Apple Keynote.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Google's Pixel 3 Conference

Today, Google announced their newest lineup of flagship products. Pretty much everything was leaked before the event. In fact, a little while back, someone actually managed to buy the Google Chromecast announced today at a Best Buy. Google tried to play off the leaks by saying we know nothing, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Needless to say, reactions were mixed. One of my hardcore Android friends switched to an iPhone X because they hated what the Pixel 3 leaks were showing. The Pixel 3 has its ups and downs. For starters, that notch is huge. I think that Call Screen thing is a nice feature. My only gripe with it is that it's basically a glorified voicemail message. In 2018, most people will just let an unknown caller go to voicemail.

I'm sure the camera holds up on the Pixel 3, but that image they said an iPhone XS took was definitely not untouched. At the very least, they turned down the brightness slider in the viewfinder. It should be common knowledge that no quality smartphone takes a photo that bad in the middle of the day.

I'm not a fan of the design of Google's Home Hub. It looks like a toy. But I do like that they didn't put a camera on it. The one thing that has kept me from buying an Echo Spot is the fact that it has a camera. Amazon can put as many microphones in my place as they want at this point. I really have stopped caring, but I don't like the idea of cameras that I will never use in any room of a house.

Finally, I just want to touch on the Google Pixel Slate. Why is Google still hung up on tablets? It seems that the general consensus of Android users don't want Android tablets, mostly because the apps are just scaled up phone apps. You look at the iPad and apps are made from the ground up to take advantage of the larger screen size. And then you hear the presenter go on about how you don't want your tablet to be a desktop, but you do at the same time. Oh, it was a mess. It's weird to say you can buy an iPad for cheaper than the Pixel Slate, and you'll probably have a better experience.

If you couldn't tell lately, I have been very critical of Apple. But one of the main reasons I do that is because pretty much every big player in the tech industry is a fish out of water right now. No one is really in the lead. And because of that, it feels more of a "I just have to outrun you" situation. No one's innovating, they're just increasing specs. And that's odd for 2018. We're living in an era where self-driving cars are already on our streets and we can casually send Teslas into space, but our smartphones are getting more and more predictable. We need to ask more of Silicon Valley, because there has been a lower standard for sometime now.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Google+ to Close

The other day, I did a quick Google search to check if Google+ was still around. Launched in June of 2011, Google released Google+, the social network owned by the technology titan. How could it go wrong? Google embraced it as the future of Google, but it never caught on. Today, Google announced that because of low user usage and a software error that caused a data breach, it would close Google+ in August of 2019. It's definitely about time that Google+ closed its doors, but August certainly is a far ways off for a service that not many people use, especially considering a data breach.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

iPhone Emoji Will Be Updated

If you hate the mainstream nature of emojis as much as I do, you'll likely find yourself slowly zoning out scrolling through articles about how Apple is adding an additional 20 million emojis with each update. However, buried in the pile of new emojis is a small detail being added to an existing emoji. The iPhone emoji is currently an iPhone 8, however, in iOS 12.1, Apple will be updating it to an iPhone X-style model [Source: MacRumors]. Given the radical change in design, this is another step to say that this design is the future, which I think is a nice touch. Take a look at the change below.

Image Credit: MacRumors

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Apple Park in Venom

This weekend, the big movie to see is Venom. For those of you who plan to see it soon, be sure to look out for a small Apple Park reference. Within the first five minutes of the movie, Eddie Brock will briefly mention Silicon Valley in his news report, as the movie's setting is San Francisco. There is a short clip of Apple Park drone footage in the bottom right corner. I'm not sure if this is Apple's own footage, but I personally like to believe that Sony did a quick YouTube search for Apple Park and ripped a random person's drone footage without permission. Regardless, it is definitely cool to see Apple Park become such a landmark. It is almost synonymous with "Silicon Valley Tech Campus" to many.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Remembering Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs passed away seven years ago today, October 5, 2011. To me, he represented Apple's golden era, giving us products we didn't know we needed and never following the competition. He was Apple's best leader. When Steve was in charge, you could look at the "smartphone" section of a Target and you would see a ton of cheap phones surrounding the iPhone. The iPhone stood out. It was new, different, but with no compromises. It was truly the ultimate phone. Polished and stable software and always pushing the boundaries of what a phone can do. You can hardly say that today with the current competition. Steve Jobs was truly a crazy one.

Apple actually still has a memorial hosted on their website to Steve Jobs. It has different posts from people around the world. Many of them are from 2011, which make for some interesting trips down memory lane.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

iOS 12 Overtakes iOS 11

iOS 12 released about two weeks ago and Mixpanel has some interesting information about the iOS install base. iOS 12 is sitting about neck and neck with iOS 11 in terms of installation percent. As of writing this, iOS 12 barely takes the cake with 47.49% install, over iOS 11 with 45.65% install (the remaining percent being an older operating system). Today was the day where iOS 12 overtook iOS 11. That's definitely a perk for iOS developers, as Android's install base has historically been scattered. When I got my Moto G for Android development about five years ago, Android Lollipop made up a few percentage points at best of the install base. Today, it is the default version of Android to develop for due to its install base.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

New Wi-Fi Naming Scheme

For years, we've referred to Wi-Fi standards using a complicated naming scheme. The device you're using is likely using the 802.11ac standard. Before that was 802.11n. As you can see, it can be a bit difficult accurately referring to each standard. So for the upcoming release of 802.11ax the Wi-Fi alliance is making a change to the naming scheme used. 802.11ax will be referred to as Wi-Fi 6. 802.11ac will be Wi-Fi 5 and so on. Putting an easy numerical identifier, along with the use of "Wi-Fi" makes it instantly clear what you're referring to. Wi-Fi 6 will be overall much faster than Wi-Fi 5 with some other performance enhancements.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Apple Pay Student IDs Rolling Out to Select Schools Today

Student ID cards can be a pain to constantly take out at a university. They're used for everything, from going to the gym, to using your meal plan, to attending a career fair. With NFC on the rise and magnetic strips on their way out, it's about time that smartphones and student ID cards got together. Today, students attending Duke University, University of Alabama, and University of Oklahoma can start using their student ID card on their iPhone and Apple Watch. When set to Express Mode, this works like the Suica card for Japanese transit when used for Apple Pay. You don't have to open any app, you just have to tap your iPhone or Apple Watch to the scanner and it just works. Johns Hopkins, Santa Clara and Temple Universities will have student ID support by the end of the year. I can imagine that plenty of universities will be added throughout 2019.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Everyone Can Create

With the recent rebranding of iBooks, Apple has released some crash course books in different creative ways to use your iOS devices. It's a full on curriculum with teacher companions to make projects easy to make. The guides encompass drawing, music, photos, and video. All of the books are available for free in the Apple Books store.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Some iPhone XS Devices Suffering from Charging Issue

There is truly nothing more annoying than waking up and realizing your device wasn't charging. Now, some users are reporting that their iPhone XS devices aren't charging until they tap the screen [Source: MacRumors]. There are several variants of symptoms experienced by users, but the main issue is that iPhone XS devices aren't charging despite being plugged in. Tapping the screen or replugging the Lightning cable seems to be the quick fix, but it's certainly not the best solution. Hopefully Apple patches this out soon.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Attempts to Avoid Vulnerabilities

I've been looking at various forums and comment sections after a new vulnerability was discovered in iOS 12 (it's not that serious in my opinion and will likely be patched soon). A few people say they disable Control Center on the lock screen thinking that will prevent a thief from enabling Airplane mode. Enabling Airplane mode would make your iPhone untraceable on Find my iPhone. However, this is redundant as they could either turn off the iPhone and take out the SIM card to prevent any data from being uploaded over cellular. Locking them out of Control Center does very little. The same goes for disabling Siri on the lock screen. I believe that the benefits of being able to access Control Center and Siri on the lock screen outweigh the potential risk. Regardless, that's just me. But most thieves know to steer clear of stealing iPhones unless they're looking for scrap parts to sell. As soon as they steal an iPhone, they've just stolen a very expensive paperweight and nothing more. Not every person should feel like they're a target for having their iPhone stolen.

Friday, September 28, 2018

TV App Customization

The TV app is seriously lacking in the amount of customization. It has so much potential for a good “Today” page. I think Apple should make an effort to let users customize the Up Next page. Movies have no way of being sorted in tvOS. Movies on macOS can be sorted into playlists, but they don’t sync to Apple TV (they also appear in Apple Music which is annoying). With Marvel movies as popular as they are, wouldn’t it be Apple’s best interest to add a section for Marvel movies below the Up Next queue? If I buy one movie, then Apple could recommend other movies in the same cinematic universe and incentivize collecting them all, displaying them all on their own custom page. I rarely look below the Up Next section, but when I do, there’s never any content tailored to me. I would like to take control of it so the TV app becomes my own personal hub. 

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Apple Watch Monogram

The Apple Watch has had monograms since its introduction. However, MacRumors showcased a design that looked really clean that I wanted to show off. The image below is of an Infograph watch face with one complication: the monogram. The monogram is the Apple logo, as Apple devices have a special character reserved for the Apple logo. Using the  character as the monogram text creates a watch face that imagines if Apple put their logos on their watches prominently. It looks really nice with the black and white contrast.

Image Credit: MacRumors

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

eSIM in iPhone XS

One of the features introduced with the iPhone XS was eSIM. eSIM is somewhat similar to Apple SIM on cellular-enabled iPads. However, it's specific purpose is to allow iPhone users to have two numbers on their one iPhone. What good is this for? The most realistic case is that you frequently travel to another country and have a dedicated plan and phone number in that country. With eSIM, you could have one iPhone and receive phone calls from both numbers. You also can use a local data plan while in another country with eSIM. Currently, there are only a handful of carriers around the world that support eSIM, but it will sooner or later catch up. While iPhone isn't the first one to implement an eSIM, it's another big push to get more carriers on board.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Apple Watch Series 4's Smaller Battery

Two things I always look for in the newer Apple Watches are processors and batteries. The better they are, the further we get away from Series 0. The Series 4 batteries have less capacity than the Series 3, despite having the same advertised battery life [Source: MacRumors]. The 44mm models have 16.5 percent less capacity and the 40mm have 19.7 percent less capacity. 20 percent definitely sounds like a lot. Apple says that they should have the same 18 hour battery life as the Series 3, which is believable. The display and processor have better efficiency with power consumption. Despite this, guessing battery life is not an exact science, as it varies with usage habits. Hopefully it's not too noticeable, especially as the lithium-ion battery degrades.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Apple Fully Acquires Shazam

After many months, Apple's acquisition of Shazam is complete. I first learned about Shazam in an iPhone 3GS commercial. Apple and Shazam have been associated with each other for so long, it will be interesting to see what Apple does with it. With the acquisition complete, Shazam will soon become ad-free. 

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Apple Watch Series 4 Fall Detection Is Off By Default

Apple Watch Series 4 has a new feature for detecting hard falls. When you fall, your Apple Watch should be able to prompt you if you're okay and offer emergency services. It's like putting a LifeAlert into your Apple Watch. However, it is not enabled by default, unless the Health app knows you are older than 65 years old. While that may be a bit surprising at first, it does make a lot of sense. Younger people are typically less affected by falls and do activities that may trigger the sensor. Since there is an option to call 911 when the feature is triggered, there is potential for accidental calls. To enable Fall Detection for all ages, go to the Emergency SOS section of the Settings app in the Apple Watch app and enable it.