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.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

My Experience with tvOS 12

I love my Apple TV 4K. It takes up so little of my TV's real estate, yet it's my TV's most used device. I think tvOS has so much potential but Apple neglects it in terms of big features. Notifications for new episodes, multiple user profiles, and better use of continuity are high on my tvOS wish list. But for now, this has been my tvOS 12 experience. Screensavers now have labels, which is awesome, but also long overdue. It's cool to try to figure out where a particular aerial may have been taken, and then tap the remote to discover it, but it gets old fast once you've seen them all. I haven't seen any aerials from space yet, so I look forward to seeing some fresh screensavers in the coming weeks. I haven't had the chance to use the new password system yet, since most of my apps were already signed in, but I hope it encourages developers to stray away from the "enter this code on this website" tactic. But most frustrating are these HDMI issues I've gotten since the update. I haven't seen many other reports of these issues, so this might be exclusive to me. One out of every five times my Apple TV wakes up, the screen is a garbled pink color, requiring me to unplug and replug my HDMI cable. In addition, I get a friendly reminder telling me that my HDMI cable is having trouble maintaining a stable connection, an error I never had on tvOS 11. Overall, a pretty lackluster update, but hopefully paves the way for a better update in tvOS 13.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Amazon Alexa Expands to New Devices

Remember that Apple event where Apple unveiled two new devices? Amazon blew that out of the water by just announcing device after device yesterday, all revolving around Alexa. Obviously, a tactic like that is likely putting quantity before quality, and it's true that not every one of these devices is a winner. The new generation of Echo smart speakers are welcome, although I'm not a fan of the Google Home-inspired designs. I felt that the original design was very iconic for Amazon. The sleek look was modern, like a picture frame, but now it just looks like a throw pillow. Other notable devices announced includes a subwoofer, a wall clock, a microwave, and a tiny device made to add Alexa support for your car.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

iPhone XS Guides Reference AirPower

In a time where the state of AirPower has been more questioned than ever, the charging mat was referenced by name in the iPhone XS manual. Thanks to Gavin Stevens, we have a look at a short excerpt about charging the iPhone.
"Place iPhone with screen facing up on AirPower or a Qi-certified wireless charger. You can also use the Lightning connector to charge iPhone and connect accessories."
While this isn't much to go off of, AirPower is probably still in the works at Apple. Whether it will be released in the near future is a completely different matter. We don't have any idea of when this manual was printed and packed into the iPhone box, so AirPower's fate could have changed by this point. Supposedly, heating issues with the accessory seem to be the blame for its delay.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

iPhone X Cases May Not Be Compatible with iPhone XS

While most iPhone X owners won't likely be upgrading to the iPhone XS, it is still good to know that their cases are not compatible with each other [Source: Daring Fireball]. This is because of slightly different camera sizes, by about a millimeter or two. While this change is minimal, it's enough to say the wrong case won't have a perfect fit.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Face ID Will Work in Landscape Mode for iPad Pro

The next iPad Pro is undoubtedly getting Face ID based on code from iOS 12. Now, Steven Troughton-Smith is stating that Face ID will have support for landscape orientation on the iPad Pro. Face ID on iPhone X only works when the device is in portrait orientation. Landscape orientation would require realignment of the sensors, so this would be exclusive to the iPad Pro. iPads are often used in landscape orientation. I use my iPad almost exclusively in landscape orientation, so having Face ID work in this mode just makes sense.

Monday, September 17, 2018

The Shortcuts App

One of iOS 12's headlining features is Shortcuts. Shortcuts, in my eyes, is Apple's alternative to giving us a SiriKit, which would let developers make Siri commands freely, without the restrictions Apple puts on today. Shortcuts do not pull this off well. If I start laundry and I need a timer for 25 minutes, I could ask Siri to set a timer for 25 minutes. If I make a shortcut so all I need to say is "set a timer for the laundry," then that sounds cleaner on paper. Apple's own example recipe for this consists of sending a notification through the Reminders app to let me know my laundry is done. There is no function to set a timer, so their solution is to send a reminder. Really? With a timer, I can see how much time is left on the lock screen, and I get an alarm that keeps beeping until I acknowledge it. With a Reminder notification, I get a buzz in my pocket and nothing else. A buzz that is no different than a Twitter update. Given that Apple has access to the whole operating system, and that they made this workflow, you'd think they would make a timer. I think what's more boggling is the fact that this is one of the more practical use cases, and it is still terrible. Here are just a few impractical use cases: downloading a file from a URL copied to your clipboard, creating custom date format patterns, and playing the entire album of the song you are currently listening to. Most of these are either redundant or so impractical, I would never create a shortcut for them in the first place. Why would I need a shortcut to take a picture if I can already get to the camera from the lock screen? And all of this is disregarding the sloppy execution of it all. If you don't know what I'm talking about, go ahead and try it out for yourself. The app is riddled with discontinuity when running slightly more complex workflows.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Pre-Orders for the Apple Watch Series 4 and iPhone XS

According to Ming-Chi Kuo (via MacRumors), is stating that Apple Watch Series 4 pre-orders are "better than expected," but also stating that iPhone XS (not iPhone XS Max) pre-orders have been "lower-than expected." This is to be expected, since the Apple Watch Series 4 was seen as the highlight of the event for many, while the iPhone XS did not bring anything new for many. It will be interesting to see how the iPhone XR compares in terms of pre-order sales.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

iOS 12 Golden Master Available

iOS 12's Golden Master was released Wednesday. If you're a beta tester or a developer, this means you can download iOS 12 today and it will be in the same state as the seed released to the public Monday. The Shortcuts app is also in its Golden Master state. Getting today can be a time saver since the servers will be less clogged than they will be on Monday. In addition, it's the weekend and if something goes wrong, you don't have to work it out during the week, which can be frustrating. For everyone else, iOS 12 is available to the public on Monday, September 17.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Looking in the Box of the iPhone XS

Apple has a list of items included in the box of the iPhone XS, so let's take a look at what's included. Obviously, you have the phone. Included are the EarPods with Lightning connector. This is pretty standard. As nice as it would be to get a pair of AirPods, I understand that's a bit unreasonable, even for the more expensive models. There is no dongle. I don't think this is entirely to be cheap. But it's likely to make people rely on 3.5mm headphone jacks less. Regardless, I think we're still in an era where they should be included. My real gripe is with the cable and power adapter. It's a USB-A to Lightning cable. A USB-C to Lightning cable would be much better, considering we have wireless chargers and USB-C ports on Macs. The power adapter is only 5W, while wireless chargers compatible with iPhone can go up to 7.5W. These little differences take away from the premium feel of opening up an iPhone. First impressions are everything, and things like a weak (by today's standards) power adapter and EarPods made to look like AirPods are not good first impressions.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

iPhone X's Lack of Evolution

Always at the back of my head for the past year, I remember an obscure statement from Jony Ive. He told Wallpaper* the following:
And because of the fluid nature of software, this product is going to change and evolve. In 12 months' time, this object will be able to do things that it can't now. I think that is extraordinary. I think we will look back on it and see it as a very significant point in terms of the products we have been developing.
After the iPhone XS announcement, I thought I was the only one who remembered this statement. Maybe I dreamt it and Jony Ive never said that. But then EverythingApplePro on YouTube mentioned this in his newest video. The iPhone X has not done anything worthy of the term "evolve." And the iPhone X was the perfect device to see evolve. EverythingApplePro cited concepts of an always-on display thanks to the iPhone X's OLED display, a dark mode, dynamic effects like sound waves on music, and a notification-sized Siri. Clearly, there was a lot of room for change and evolution, but Apple clearly wanted us to forget. iPhone X was a special phone because it was the epitome of change that served as Apple's vision into the future, but as also a testament to the foundation that the original iPhone created.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Gather Round Event: Quick Thoughts

Today, Apple had their annual iPhone announcement event. Pretty much everything was leaked this morning or in the weeks prior to today, but let's go over it anyway. One major difference to this year's rumors than previous rumors was the lack of iPhone rumors. We pretty much knew there would be three models, one an 6.1-inch LCD in multiple colors and the other two being different sized OLED models. We also knew their names, the iPhone XS, the iPhone XS Max, and the iPhone XR (Marketing team really burned the midnight oil on these ones). Other than that, we didn't know much. And that's because there was nothing else to say. There is next to nothing new with the iPhones other than "this is faster" and "this is 50% better" or "this lasts 30 minutes longer than the iPhone X." The only purpose of this generation of iPhone is to make a bigger iPhone X and a cheaper iPhone X, the two biggest requests since the iPhone X came out. You can hear the nervousness in the speakers' voices, because they were stretching an event that should have been 45 minutes tops into 2 hours. "Look at this photo! Doesn't it look great?" Like, yeah, but you said that last year. There's nothing groundbreaking. "We have three developers to lengthen the show!" "I'd like to invite up John Appleseed to reiterate exactly what I just said." It was painfully slow at times. And I know this is an "S" update, but even the iPhone 6s had Live Photos and 3D Touch. The iPhone 5s had Touch ID. All models still start at 64 GB, which seemed weird for me. I feel like the higher end models should have started at 128 GB, especially with the decline in SSD prices in the past few months. By far, the most surprising part of the entire keynote was Todd Howard coming on stage, even if what he was showing off wasn't groundbreaking either.

Let's talk about the Apple Watch. This was definitely the highlight of the show, even if we knew about it due to leaks. That one leak was probably the best we've seen it and the rest of the images we saw didn't really do it justice, so I'll have to see it in person when it comes out. I am long overdue for an upgrade from my Apple Watch Series 0 and this is an Apple Watch worthy to upgrade to. That ECG/EKG (they're the same thing) looks really cool. The focus on health is a huge selling point. You could tell the speakers were catering this model towards Series 0 and Series 1 owners, because they listed every feature to come out since Series 1 at the end of the Apple Watch section. It would've been nice if cellular came standard on the Series 4, but I can't really complain about that. The option of cellular just confuses me, because that was what defined Series 3, even though it was optional there too. The Series 4 is definitely on the pricier side, so when you throw in all of these optional features, it feels like you're at a car dealer.

We got nothing on AirPower, which we now have reason to believe has been delayed further. We literally only got updates to the iPhone and Apple Watch. Some minor news includes the iPhone X, the iPhone SE, the iPhone 6s, and the Apple Watch Series 1 being discontinued.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

No New Beats Products Expected Tomorrow

Beats products received major updates two years ago with the introduction of AirPods and the W1 chip, but it seems that even with the likely update of AirPods with wireless charging that we will not receive any new Beats updates tomorrow [Source: The Verge]. I think making a Beats Solo4 pair of headphones with wireless charging, USB-C support, and a potential W2 chip would make for really good addition to the Beats line. Despite that, it will be a relatively minor absence in the grand scheme of things. Apple's Gather Round event is tomorrow starting at 10 a.m. Pacific Time.

Monday, September 10, 2018

iMac Pro Owners Receive Survey

With little news about Apple's plan to revitalize the Mac Pro, iMac Pro users have received a survey regarding the iMac Pro. a f waller‏ on Twitter has posted some of the questions, noting that the survey has a large focus on why iMac Pro users bought an iMac Pro over other Macs and other computers. The iMac Pro is currently Apple's highest end computer, while the Mac Pro hasn't been touched since 2013. Keep in mind, the Mac Pro was supposed to revolutionize the pro desktop, even receiving a movie theater preview. Apple has been vocal about releasing a proper successor to the Mac Pro in 2019. This survey may have some influence on it.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Nima Allergy Sensor

Nima is a company in the TechCrunch Battlefield with a sensor that could change food allergies forever (via TechCrunch). Their allergy sensor has the ability to detect peanuts in food. To use it, you just take a small sample of the food in a disposable vial, and the sensor will report with 97.6 percent accuracy if the sample contains any trace of peanuts. It can take up to five minutes to detect any traces. It also can connect to your smartphone to keep track of your testing history and can display a map of places where the food has been tested. It's truly awesome to see this, especially considering how many people are allergic to peanuts and how that can affect their daily lives.

Image Credit: TechCrunch

Saturday, September 8, 2018

The State of AirPower

Currently, the AirPower charging mat is just shy of a year since its announcement. We are expecting some kind of update on it this Wednesday at Apple's iPhone event. In fact, it was announced on the same day last year, September 12, 2017. And with that, we're seeing this trend of accessories with names starting with "Air" getting delayed ridiculous amounts of time. Apple Watch Series 3 used AirPower as a legitimate selling point, but they'll likely use it as a selling point for Series 4 as well to make it sound better. AirPods were delayed as well, but not to this extent. It's getting ridiculous where accessories take over a year to come out. While AirPower works across device generations, it shouldn't serve as an excuse to take a year for it to come out. We don't know every specific about what caused the delay, but it's becoming a legitimate trend for Apple lately. Hopefully, Apple finally learns from this and can start delivering more within their timeframe.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Apple In Talks With Major Newspapers About Texture Service

In March, Apple acquired Texture, a subscription service for reading magazines. According to Recode, Apple is attempting to get major newspapers on board with Texture. Texture currently uses a $9.99 per month model for access to various magazines. In the coming years, I wouldn't be surprised if Apple rebranded it and added it to their Apple News app. Whether newspapers would be interested or not is a different question. It will be interesting to see how they respond in the changing landscape of the newspaper industry.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

6.5-inch iPhone Xs Max

After rumors of having trouble picking a name, it seems that Apple has decided on calling the larger iPhone Xs, the iPhone Xs Max [Source: 9to5Mac]. I think Apple is already regretting the change to Roman numerals. Max is a strange departure from the Plus we've known for so long now. The fact that it's pronounced "iPhone 10s Max" makes it even more confusing. It's hard to believe that someone had the job of naming this device and we got "iPhone Xs Max." I guess it worked, since I'm talking about it.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Apple Watch Series 4 Screen Size

According to 9to5Mac, Apple Watch Series 4 will have an increased screen size of what is expected to be 384x480. This would be up from 312x390. This is more than the entirety of the original iPhone's screen, which was 320×480. This is estimated using an Apple Watch simulator that was modified to satisfy what we know so far about the device.

Source: 9to5Mac

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Samsung Could Release Foldable Phone This Year

According to CNBC, Samsung could release a foldable smartphone by the end of the year under their Galaxy Note line. Foldable phones have long been rumored to be the next big thing for smartphones. When it finally releases, we'll find out if they become standard, or a gimmick like 3D TVs. Apple is expected to release a foldable phone in 2020 as of now.

Monday, September 3, 2018

New iPad Pro Prediction Renders

Steve Hemmerstoffer (via MySmartPrice) has created some new CAD-based renders for the upcoming iPad Pro. It looks much more like an iPhone, with the blocky edges and antenna lines. From certain angles, the iPad looks more like a MacBook as well. Ditching the smoother edges makes the device look completely different. Hopefully, we finally get some details on the new iPad Pro on September 12.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

September iPad Pro Still Questionable

We’re just over a week away from Apple’s unveiling of the iPhone XS and the Apple Watch Series 4. There’s been a lot of back and forth about whether we will see an iPad Pro update there. At this point, I’m guessing not, but it’s not entirely out of the question. It seems a bit too convenient that we got leaks for the iPhone XS and the Apple Watch Series 4, the two devices we were confident would show up on September 12. Even so, an iPad Pro update would certainly be welcome. 

Saturday, September 1, 2018

watchOS and iOS Timers

When doing something like laundry, I like to put a timer on my phone. But when I put it on my phone, my Apple Watch won't sync up. In the leaked image of the Apple Watch Series 4, the Timer complication is visible. This is nothing new, but I'm hoping Apple would make the obvious choice to have timers set on iPhone sync up to timers on Apple Watch. This would let a user set a timer on their phone, and look at their watch to see it ticking down on the main watch face. Hopefully, this small change makes its way into watchOS 5.