Monday, May 20, 2019

Lessons Learned and Farewell

It’s hard for me to believe that this blog has gone on for as long as it has. Since September 17, 2012, I’ve written here every single day. In total, 2,470 posts. That’s over six whole years of blog posts, without counting the days before that. A lot has changed since 2012, and as today is my last day of being a teenager, I think that it is poetic to end the daily posts today. With that, I’d like to end off with something that isn’t technology-related: What I’ve learned from writing here everyday for almost seven years.

I think writing everyday has given me invaluable experience, while also teaching me the importance of discipline. It keeps me thinking of new ideas and gives me a responsibility every day. Throughout the day, I might remember a new tip for iOS or hear a news story that I’d like to share my take on. There are a lot of times where I think of an idea in a class or while driving, and I end up forgetting the idea altogether. 

And all of that ties into the idea of how writing everyday can interfere with daily life. Sometimes, you’re just really tired and would rather go to bed instead of thinking of something to write at 11:38 p.m. You weren’t able to think of anything during the day, so you check if there are any interesting news stories. But then you realize it’s Saturday and there’s literally nothing. At this point, you rack your brain for anything that can be used, and I’ve somehow managed to come up with something, even if it isn’t the most interesting topic. 

Sometimes the opposite is true, where life can interfere with writing everyday. I’ve been in multiple situations these past few years where I’ll be camping without access to the internet, so I have to write up to five blog posts in advance. When I studied abroad in Japan last year, I had to account for the time change and make sure I wrote my posts by 4:00 p.m. Japan time. With a responsibility like this, where you can’t just call in sick, you have to be really careful with how you plan events or commit to them. It’s similar to taking a medication in some regards, where if you’re going on vacation, you have to bring x amount of tablets with you. 

The blog has also helped me become more open-minded. I find it interesting how I have changed over the past several years. I find that I’ve changed from an Apple enthusiast to an Apple critic. I find that I sometimes write critical pieces of Apple several days in a row, and I worry it gives off the wrong idea. I write critical pieces because Apple is my favorite technology company and I want what I believe is best for it. I’m still very committed to the company. I recently got an iPad Pro and have been loving it so far. 

With all of that said, I believe it is time for me to move on to bigger and better things. As this book closes, another begins to unfold. Tomorrow, I begin my IT Software Engineering Internship with Viasat, a telecommunications company, and I am excited to start. I remember when I first got 100,000 page views and being amazed. Today, the blog stands at over 400,000 page views and I could not be happier with its progress. And with that, I’d like to thank you for reading my blog. Whether you’ve stayed along for the entire ride, or just read one post, I’m glad you’ve stumbled across this site in the vast sea of websites. Thank you so very much. It’s been an experience.

- Alex Baratti

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Content vs. Platform

I think Apple has historically made a good habit of ensuring they provided platforms for developers, artists, and others, without making too much content for those platforms. It kept Apple's image neutral and professional. However, as of late, Apple has begun making a lot of content that's out of the norm of Apple's regular habits. Whether it's Apple TV+, Carpool Karaoke, or Warren Buffet's Paper Wizard, I find it hard to find the target audience for the content Apple makes. When I ask others about things like these, they tell me they've never heard of it. So, you could narrow the audience down to those who follow Apple news. I personally don't plan to get Apple TV+ or any of the things I've mentioned. I think Apple should focus on what they do best, which is providing a platform for other content creators. We've seen it work with the App Store and the iTunes Store. And if Apple wants to make money with subscription services (which is a can of worms by itself), the solution has to be better than Apple News+. I think the service can be better if it gets more support and lowers its prices. Maybe if Apple provided a single subscription solution that supported App Store developers, we could see both benefit to Apple and less apps that require subscriptions for basic functionality. The App Store is plagued by apps that lock basic functionality behind subscriptions because the App Store is becoming less profitable. I think Apple needs to be looking towards a solution that solves this problem, while giving the user reason to support the solution.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

My Favorite iPad Apps

Good iPad apps are something special because they are designed with a large screen in mind. With such a big canvas at a developer's disposal, there's a lot of potential for great user interfaces and experiences. Below are some of my favorite iPad apps.

iStudiez Pro

iStudiez Pro is a planner app for students. I use it everyday in college to keep track of assignments, classes, exams, and overall GPA. It's really useful. I think my only criticism of it is that it doesn't use iCloud, so syncing is manual. The overview screen is very useful on the iPad, as it shows your schedule, calendar, and assignments on one screen. In short, if you're a college student, I highly recommend this app [Direct Link].


Procreate is a drawing app that rivals Adobe Photoshop's abilities. It has a great interface, a wide selection of brushes, and a ton of control given to the user. It was clearly written from the ground up for the iPad. It even has an entire Apple Book written as a guide for how to use the app [Direct Link].  It also has no in-app purchases or subscriptions. Procreate is available from the Apple App Store and is exclusive to iPad [Direct Link].


Bear is a beautiful writing app that uses Markdown to format text. It's very simple, and that's what makes it so great. My only issue with it is that a good amount of its features require a subscription. I'd happily pay $5 for the full version, but that isn't an option. It's a great way to jot down a few notes or an idea quickly, with a great organization system [Direct Link]


If you want an alternative to OneNote, GoodNotes is a pretty nice notebook app that gives you a lot of customizability for notebook covers and paper. I like how you can search text, regardless if it was typed or handwritten. With a variety of paper sizes, this app is best experienced on an iPad with an Apple Pencil. I plan to use this app for my notes this fall semester [Direct Link].

Honorable Mentions

There are too many apps that I love on the iPad to name, but here are a few more. 1Password, Day One, Concepts, Paprika, and Flipp are apps that are all worth checking out.

Friday, May 17, 2019

The Spotlight Glitch on iOS

This has been a glitch that has annoyed me for the longest time. I finally found out how to consistently recreate it on multiple devices. The process is fairly simple. Unlock your iOS device to the home menu and swipe down to reveal the Spotlight search screen. The keyboard will appear, then disappear, and reappear again. This has been driving me insane. As someone who uses Spotlight for nearly everything, it's frustrating when the keyboard decides to seemingly randomly disappear. I now know that this only seems to happen when Spotlight is opened immediately after unlocking the device, but this has been going on for sometime now. You'd think Apple would've found it and fixed it by now. I wish I had the time to make a video demonstrating it, but I've found that the screen recording seems to cause the glitch to not occur. In short, you can try it out for yourself. Maybe you've noticed this glitch but didn't know the cause. Regardless, hopefully Apple fixes it soon.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Using the iPad Pro Left-Handed

The iPad Pro introduces a new magnet that holds the new Apple Pencil to one of the sides of the tablet. In the portrait orientation, the Apple Pencil goes on the right side. However, if you're part of the 10% of the population who are left-handed, like myself, you'd obviously prefer it on the left side. But there's no magnet on the left side. Apple did design an interesting solution to this. They advertise the new iPad Pro to work in any orientation you prefer. This means, functions like Face ID will work no matter which orientation its in. And because of the even design all around, using the iPad Pro upside down won't look too different than normal portrait mode. Now, you can have the Apple Pencil attach to the left side of the iPad. You can even flip it so that the tip of the Pencil is pointed towards you. Whether fully intentional or not, Apple's new design choice made this iPad work for both dominant hands.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Steam Link App Finally Available on iOS

The Steam Link app was announced just over a year ago and aimed to let iOS devices stream desktop games. This would let users play the games on their smartphones, away from the computer. Apple rejected the app citing business conflicts. Valve has since removed the ability to buy new games within the iOS app, which is believed to be the cause of the rejection. Today, it was released and can be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store [Direct Link]. It requires a computer (Mac or PC) that can run Steam on the same network as your phone, with the Steam Link app installed.

The interesting discussion this brings up is the rejection of the app in the App Store. If being able to buy games using a streaming service is the issue, then where is the line drawn? The PS4 Remote Play app [Direct Link] streams a PS4's video output, which can be used to buy PS4 games. Maybe this doesn't count because it seems the Steam Link doesn't seem to stream an interface. Will Google Stadia be affected, or will it not be a business issue because you're streaming games as part of a subscription, rather than buying them à la carte? Maybe Apple doesn't even realize what apps are capable of this? I'm curious on if this could affect the other apps in question.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Alexa Guard

Today, Amazon is rolling out a new feature called Alexa Guard. It's a pretty cool way of giving your home a new layer of security, as well as bringing more value to your Echo device. When you leave your house, you say "Alexa, I'm leaving." Echo will show a white light to signal guard mode is enabled. Once in this state, Alexa will listen for broken windows and fire alarms. If it hears this, it will send you a notification. In addition, it will turn on and off your lights in a similar fashion to when others in your area have their lights on. This makes it appear like you're home. Overall, it's a pretty nice feature that works out of the box with your Echo device. It works with the Ring and ADT security systems for more sophisticated responses than a notification. To set up Alexa Guard, go to the device settings of your Alexa app.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Adobe Warns of Legal Risk to Customers Using Old Versions of Software

I've been vocal on my opinions of the changing landscape of software ownership. I think owning software is a fantasy today, forcing developers to step out of their lane and create subscription models. That's scratching the surface, and I usually don't fault the developers for this, but you can read about that in full here. Adobe recently sent an email to Matt Roszak regarding the use of older Adobe software. It states that because they discontinued some older versions of their software, the user is no longer licensed to use them, and as a result, they may be liable to legal action. Now, please do not take anything I say as legal advice. I don't claim to be knowledgeable about this kind of stuff, but this is what I take from this. Adobe software is used at big companies for big projects. Adobe makes professional software for photo editing, video editing, and way more. So, if a big company were to used software that they technically didn't have the license to because it was out of date, hypothetically, someone could take legal action against them. I'm not saying that's Adobe, but for a company, it's a risk not worth taking. I don't think those using Adobe software for personal use should have much to worry about, but again, I'm not a lawyer. That's just my uneducated, shot-in-the-dark guess. By saying certain versions are no longer licensed to users, Adobe is heavily incentivizing its users to stay up to date with their software. This is a big deal for Adobe because they are able to do this with their subscription model. I'm not saying it's necessarily bad, just clever. Again, I heavily prefer the major update model that lets users choose when to upgrade. The scary part comes when Adobe decides to remove a feature. What if a business needs that feature for a project? What if a professor requires that feature for a class assignment? These features could be deprecated at any time with this rule. In short, this likely won't affect too many people, as most (I believe) are satisfied with the current version enough to not care, but we'll have to see if that changes one day.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

First Look at the Apple Card

It seems that Apple employees are getting the Apple Card a bit early. Ben Geskin has shared images of the cards on Twitter. The card shown below isn't Geskin's, but they have been edited to protect the identity of the original cardholder. I really like how the packaging looks, along with the simple setup text. If employees are getting them now, hopefully we hear news about when the public will get a hold of the card. We will likely hear more around WWDC, or maybe it will just be a random press release. Either way, I'm excited for the release of this card.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

iPhone Cases: Leather or Silicone?

Apple iPhone cases come in a multitude of colors and the choice of two materials: leather and silicone. Which is better for you? Prices aside, let's look at both. Silicone colors are cooler and brighter while leather colors are warmer and darker. While leather will age, it does so in a way that doesn't look too bad. It looks pretty natural. Silicone doesn't age, but in my experience, dark marks often appear after significant use. In addition, silicone is good with water. Aesthetically speaking, both look good in their own lights, but if there's one thing to note, I personally prefer leather because it reminds me of a wallet, something I see the smartphone fully replacing one day. I don't recommend the folio by the way, as it can be awkward to carry cash with and it essentially just a leather case glued on to a piece of leather. In short, take note of these points and see if you prefer one material over the other. 

Friday, May 10, 2019

2019 iPhones Could Charge AirPods

Two-way wireless charging is becoming more common in smartphones, and iPhone may add this to its skillset this year [Source: Bloomberg]. I think this would be very timely, as there is currently no official way to wirelessly charge the AirPods Wireless Charging Case. Because AirPower was canceled, the only way to do so currently is use a third-party wireless charger. Believe me, that isn't the end of the world, but it's very un-Apple-like to have a flagship feature that requires a third-party accessory. Being able to charge the case with an iPhone would be a pretty interesting selling point. I think brining wireless charging to more devices would be great too, like the Beats and iPad lineups.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Amazon Physical Retail Locations

Amazon has long been known for being the go-to place for online shopping. However, Amazon has a multitude of physical stores, some not even using the Amazon name. Of course, there are the fabled Amazon Go stores, which allow you to walk out of the store with groceries without going through a checkout line. And there's Whole Foods, which was acquired by Amazon in late 2017. Amazon 4-Star and Amazon Books are the hidden gems located across the country that sell popular products and books respectively. Amazon Pop-Ups are also located in multiple malls around the country. I went to my local Amazon Books store today and it was a pretty interesting experience. I think there should always be a physical component to shopping because it lets you explore in a way that isn't currently possible online. It's a great way to find new and interesting products. Check out if there is a store near you using Amazon's physical retail site.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Apple's Repair Warranty

If you get a repair from Apple on a product that is out of warranty, if you find any additional problems within 90 days of the completed repair, the issue is likely covered under Apple's repair warranty. If you find yourself in this situation, don't hesitate to bring your product into an Apple Store and see if it will be covered. Things like water-damage are not covered, so don't rely on it as a get out of jail free card. However, if you find the display of your device is acting finicky, you may be able to get it replaced. These repairs usually take less than a week. I highly recommend it because the repair facility often fixes any problems it can find, not just the ones you report. In my case, they didn't charge me extra for those issues, but I'm sure it can vary. They will notify you if there will be an extra charge. A good repair can bring new life to an old device, so check it out if you're having a hardware issue.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Galaxy Fold’s Release Uncertain

Today, Reuters published an email from Samsung regarding the release of the Galaxy Fold that gave me flashbacks to the disaster of AirPower. 
“If we do not hear from and we have not shipped by May 31st, your order will be canceled automatically.”
This statement was emailed to those who pre-ordered the Galaxy Fold. Needless to say, it has a very uncertain tone to it. While I doubt the device will have the same fate as AirPower, it’s strange to see that Samsung not knowing when it could be released, but having some confidence that it could be released as soon as this month. I have my doubts on the projected date, unless this is just the most confusing marketing scheme ever concocted by a company.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Microsoft Revamps Edge

Microsoft Edge, the successor to Internet Explorer, is getting a pretty big update. Edge has long been the laughing stock of internet browsers, but Microsoft seems to be making strides in the right direction. This new update is built on the Chromium framework, which will display websites better. It will also be on macOS, which is the first time a Microsoft browser has been officially supported on macOS in 16 years. Since many PC users use Chrome over Edge, this may win some users back. I think the big deal is that it can be as good as Chrome, but without sending data to Google. If I trusted my data between Google and Microsoft, Microsoft would be the clear winner as of now. 

Sunday, May 5, 2019

The Monitors at the Genius Bar

I had to go to the Genius Bar today and while I’m waiting, I usually like to watch the videos that play on the monitors at the Genius Bar. Usually, they have tips and some support information, along with some marketing. However, when I went, I only saw two videos on loop: a video for the iPhone XS and a video for the iPhone XR. Nothing else. Most people wouldn’t think much of it, but I’ll always prefer the short videos that could teach you something new while waiting. After all, the Genius Bar is for those who already own an Apple product, so why not teach them something new rather than constantly ask them if they want a new phone. I know I’m looking way too into this, but part of the experience of an Apple Store is that the experience is usually more than just buying something. Hopefully this is temporary and they bring back the videos, assuming other Apple Stores are doing this too. 

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Get $3 Off Any Amazon Purchase with Amazon Music Stream

Amazon is taking an interesting approach to attract new subscribers to their music streaming service. Prime members can earn a promotional code for $3 when they stream a song through Amazon Music. Considering the popularity of the Amazon Echo and Amazon Prime, this is a pretty effective way to lure in new subscribers. The code only works on eligible orders more than $15. The offer is available until May 19, 2019 and the code is delivered via email.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Powerbeats Pro Now Available to Order

Powerbeats Pro is Beats' compliment to Apple's AirPods. I don't think they'll ever reach the popularity of AirPods, but I think the reviews will be interesting. While AirPods don't fall out easily, the Powerbeats Pro do offer a more secure earbud alternative. If you're curious about the differences between the AirPods and Powerbeats Pro, check out my post about them. Powerbeats Pro cost $249.95 and will ship starting May 14, however they are back-ordered to June.

Inline - 1

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Adobe Doubles Price of Photography Plan

I remember working with Adobe Photoshop as a young child, probably around five years old. It was a different time where you could actually own software and opt not to upgrade. That's why it pains me when people my age don't realize that there was a time where you could get Photoshop without buying an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. Today, Adobe says it's "testing" a new pricing for their Photography plan, which includes Photoshop and Lightroom. Previously available for $9.99 a month, some users are seeing it at $19.99 a month.

I get it. A lot of software can't make it work with one-time payments. But I think the model where users can choose to update to a major new version is a fair compromise between consumer and developer. It lets the user have a choice as to if an update is worth it. A lot of these apps have subscriptions when they shouldn't. Note, journal, calendar, and sketching apps really shouldn't have subscription plans for use, additional tools, or dark mode. I won't name any names, but I can't think of a reason to pay a monthly fee to use something like a calendar or a mail client that provides very little over the default calendar or mail client.

If Adobe doesn't change their payment model, I think a new developer needs to step in and take over Adobe's reign with a new payment model. I think Procreate and Pixelmator are the closest to doing so with Photoshop. They both have one-time purchases and they take full advantage of iOS and macOS respectively. I've made it very clear that I'm done with keeping track of so many subscriptions, and that I think the bubble of subscription services is ready to burst. I hope we can move away from this and find a better way to support app developers in the long-term that benefits both the developer and the consumer.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

iPad 2 Declared Obsolete

All Apple products eventually become acknowledged as obsolete by Apple. Apple has recently declared the iPad 2 obsolete. While this doesn't mean much to most people, the iPad 2 has always been interesting to me. It changed the iPad in so many ways so quickly after the original iPad was released just a year before. It had a redesign, introduced the Smart Cover, and added front and back cameras. In addition, it was one of the last products released under the leadership of Steve Jobs. So to see the iPad 2 become obsolete serves as a testament as to how long it has been since his passing. It's good to see that Apple still dominates the tablet market to this day, and we can owe a good portion of that to the strong foundation the original iPad and iPad 2 laid out so many years ago.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Aperture Will Not Run on macOS Post-Mojave

Aperture was a popular professional photo editor made by Apple. It was discontinued in 2014 to the disappointment of many. Apple did try to make a compromise by putting a large effort into the photo editing abilities of the native Photos apps, but it wasn't the same by any measure. This change led many to switching to Adobe Lightroom, while some may continue using Aperture, even though it wasn't being updated anymore. However, it seems that Aperture won't be able to run after macOS 2019 is released. Apple has created a new support document regarding the change. I don't know if Aperture was 32-bit as of the final update, but Apple cites "technical reasons" for the inability to run. In the document, Apple describes the migration process to Photos and Adobe Lightroom Classic. Depending on the process you use, you may lose some metadata from your Aperture library, so be careful and make backups. I almost bought Aperture right before it was announced it was being discontinued, so I'm definitely glad I don't have to worry about this mess, but it is unfortunate to see Aperture finally meet the end of its days.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Anki Robotics Shutting Down

When I first heard of Anki from one of Apple's keynote events, I genuinely thought they had one of the coolest demos. Anki Drive reminded me of the RC cars you could race on a track. It seemed like an evolution, where you could have the cars drive themselves. I always wanted to try them out, but I never got around to it. Unfortunately, it seems like they won't be around for much longer. Recode today shared the news that Anki is shutting down on Wednesday due to lack of sufficient funding. Even more unfortunate is the fact that their products will eventually become obsolete due to their reliance on apps. If Anki isn't around to update the apps anymore, they will become more difficult to use.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

The Apple Watch Series 4 Fixes Accidental Screenshots

I don't know if this issue was exclusive to me when I had a Series 0, but I would always manage to take accidental screenshots on my Apple Watch. The crown and side button would both have to be pressed for this to happen. Because the side button sticks out of the Apple Watch, this would happen often. One example is if I reached into my pocket for my phone, I would find my phone had a random screenshot later in the day. The Series 4 fixes this with a side button that's embedded into the watch case. This makes nearly impossible to take accidental screenshots, and it's a much appreciated change. I think the design looks better as well. Overall, the Series 4 hardware change gave Apple the opportunity to change a lot with the Apple Watch's previous design, and I'm glad they looked at the smaller details, like the side button, and made improvements. 

Saturday, April 27, 2019

The Transition to 64-Bit Apps

64-bit apps have been the norm for iOS for some time now. 32-bit apps will no longer work on any iOS device running the latest software. This has mostly gone unnoticed to many, as most developers updated their apps to support this change. macOS is a different story. Because the Mac App Store is not the only way to install macOS software, macOS developers aren't always held to the standards that Apple sets for them. macOS Mojave is the last version of macOS that will support 32-bit apps, and that is a big leap. While most macOS apps these days are 64-bit, it takes just one vital app not supporting it to discourage someone from updating. While many apps will be updated, I have some apps that haven't been updated in years, and I doubt they will be. If you're curious which apps on your Mac are 32-bit, go to the Apple in the top left corner, select "About This Mac," and select "System Report..." In the left sidebar, scroll down and select "Applications." This will display all of your applications. You can tell under the column labeled "64-bit (Intel)" if a specific app is 32-bit. Make sure you can live without these apps before updating this fall.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Could the Galaxy Fold Delay Be Intentional?

The Galaxy Fold was set to release today, but as we know, that has changed. Due to a large proportion of review units essentially having their displays bricked, Samsung has delayed the product until they can release a working product. It seems like a Herculean task to be able to make a hardware change and get the phone out to market within a few months. But I personally has a suspicion that it could have been an intentional move. While I highly doubt this is the case, we're now all talking about the Galaxy Fold. I didn't realize the phone was launching this week until they delayed it, and that could be the case for many others as well. If they already had a design change ready for the mass market, but gave out faulty review phones, they would not only have days of free press, but also a quick turnaround for the phones. It would be an easy way to get free press without having your phones posing a safety hazard to people. The only other thing is that I find it very hard to believe that Samsung let this phone pass their quality standards. Having a non-functional $2,000 phone is unacceptable. I don't think Samsung would be willing to have one-in-four of their phones become bricked. It all seems a bit suspicious.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

New AirPods Could Come As Soon As This Year

Apple's popular AirPods could be seeing a refresh as early as this year. However, if Apple has a track record with one thing, it's taking a while with releasing AirPods, so don't get your hopes up. In short, Ming-Chi Kuo believes we will see two new models either late this year or early next year. One would have an all new design while the other would retain the older design. Think last year's iPad Pro vs. the iPad Air released this year. Personally, my AirPods' batteries are barely holding a charge, but I'd rather wait for a new model instead of getting the ones just released. I think a new version with a new design could bring a lot to the table.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Don't Forget to Unsubscribe From Your Apple News+ Trial

One month less a day ago, Apple News+ was released to the public where they could start a free, one-month trial. For those who aren't satisfied with the service or who don't want to be charged for it, you should cancel by tomorrow if you started as soon as it came out. As soon as you cancel, you'll lose access to Apple News+. To do this on iPhone, go to the Apple News app, go to the Following tab, tap "Manage Subscriptions," and tap "Cancel Free Trial." Then, just follow the prompt and you won't be charged. There have been a lot of criticisms of the service, and I think Apple needs to make improvements before they can really start bragging about it. I don't think the concept is terrible, but the execution was pretty far from hitting the mark for me.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Powerbeats Pro vs. AirPods

Powerbeats Pro will be launching in May, and it has a lot of similarities to the iconic Apple AirPods. Given that both are owned by Apple, they are marketed to different audiences. Powerbeats Pro is geared towards fitness while AirPods is for any activity. The two designs are reflective of this. Powerbeats Pro hang on to your ears better, have noise isolation, have physical buttons for volume control and playback, and have water resistance. AirPods is much more geared toward convenience. It has an iconic design, each AirPod can be quickly put on, and has optional wireless charging. This all being said, AirPods can be used for workouts and Powerbeats Pro can be used for casual listening, but it's not as optimal. AirPods are quick to put on, which shows it worth if you listen to music between appointments and meetings, while Powerbeats are best enjoyed during a long workout. I think that AirPods will eventually receive features that make this completely one-sided, but for now, the choice is debatable depending on your situation.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Samsung Delays the Galaxy Fold

Days before its official release, Samsung has made the decision to delay the Galaxy Fold. The phone was sent to reviewers with many finding it had problems that would cause the phone to become unusable, seemingly due to the folding display. It was due to release this Friday, but Samsung has told CNBC that they will announce a new release date in a few weeks while they try to fix the issue. The scary thing is that this seems to be a hardware issue rather than a software issue, meaning many phones were already built and will go to waste. At this point, Samsung's move is the best move they could make, but it's hard to believe that a $2,000 phone is suffering from such an issue. This could be a glimpse as to how AirPower's release could have gone had it not been canceled. Those who had the chance to demo AirPower in 2017 say it often didn't charge devices properly. Imagine if it was released and it didn't work properly most of the time or if it overheated and posed a safety threat. It's a rarity to see tech companies make moves like this due to the quality of a product, but when they do, it's important to learn from it, for both the company and its competitors.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Why Apple Should Stop Using Roman Numerals

Apple used roman numerals starting with the iPhone X. It seemed appropriate for the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, especially given the radical design change. Then we got the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. These are the eleventh iPhones, but the XS and XR convert to nothing using roman numerals. That's fine, since they're essentially just slightly better versions of the iPhone X. The issue is that most people refer to them as the "ecks-S" and "ecks-R" instead of the "10S" and "10R" respectively. With rumors of an iPhone XI (iPhone 11 in roman numerals), this gets way more confusing. Will the successor be named the iPhone XIS? Beauty lies in simplicity. The single number was very clear, and adding an "S" to the end communicated an improved version. But with all the different variations of iPhone today, the public doesn't want to waste their time trying to learn the naming scheme of the iPhone. It's an annoying nightmare that we hopefully don't have to deal with in the near future.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Could Siri Shortcuts Replace Automator on macOS?

Siri Shortcuts always seemed like an iOS version of Automator from macOS. Automator has served as macOS's application for creating workflows. According to 9to5Mac, Siri Shortcuts could come to macOS, but that seems weird to stand alongside Automator, possibly suggesting that Siri Shortcuts could replace Automator. If that happens, and Automator is completely deprecated, it could ruin some people's workflows. If Apple decides to do this, it could have consequences who still use Automator. I think it's important if Apple finds a way to preserve Automator functionality in Siri Shortcuts. I'd like it even better if Apple removed Siri Shortcuts all together. They're so confusing and the execution is pretty terrible, at least from my experience. Siri's lines are awkward, remembering and summoning a shortcut is more difficult than doing the task yourself, and a lot of obvious commands are missing. This is not how the future of Siri should look.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Apple Could Re-Enter Display Market Soon

There have been a lot of rumors suggesting that Apple would re-enter the display market this year. Apple officially stopped making displays in late-2016, with the introduction of the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and the LG UltraFine Display line. Apple and LG had a special partnership to create the UltraFine lineup specifically for the MacBook Pro. On Apple's site, the LG UltraFine 4K Display has been sold out for some time, but today, Apple removed the listing from their site. The 5K model remains on the site. This seems to either say that LG is discontinuing their UltraFine lineup or that Apple is ready to launch a new display, which seems more likely. Apple could do a lot of interesting things with this model. Yes, it could just be a new display with USB-C and fancy images. But it could be a lot more. There could be AirPlay 2 integration or a wireless charging spot on the base. With Apple's focus on continuity, a new Apple display could be more than just a display.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Apple Working on Tile Competitor

I've had Tiles since the very beginning. I remember when they were crowdfunding a crazy new product that would help you find what mattered most, and they still thrive today. The Tile has evolved quite a bit, with different variations and rechargeable models available today. According to 9to5Mac, Apple may be working on a similar product that would integrate with iCloud. The rumor suggests that Apple could merge Find my iPhone and Find my Friends into a single app, along with functionality with this new tracker device. I think it would be cool to see how Apple makes this accessory work. Would it have wireless charging? Can Siri ping the tracker for me? Will it last a long time? I feel like it would be called the AirTag or AirFinder. If Apple does this right, it could be a great addition to Apple's lineup.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Galaxy Fold Shows a Major Problem

I truly am interested in how the future of foldable phones will play out. After the fall of modular phones, it can come down to selling a futuristic product and seeing how the public reacts. However, it seems that multiple reviewers are facing issues with the Samsung Galaxy Fold after just days of use. Issues revolve around glitchy or broken displays that do not seem repairable. Mark Gurman was one of the journalists affected by this issue. He made an interesting find.
"The phone comes with this protective layer/film. Samsung says you are not supposed to remove it. I removed it, not knowing you’re not supposed to (consumers won’t know either). It appeared removable in the left corner, so I took it off. I believe this contributed to the problem."
A removable film may seem normal for most smartphones, but a removable film not made to be taken off is weird. You'd think Samsung would be more clear about this. It's still not clear if this is the exact cause of these weird issues. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Apple and Qualcomm's Settlement

For a while, Apple and Qualcomm have been quarreling in legal issues, which has been resolved today in a settlement. This settlement has more implications than you may have initially thought. Apple was thought to be using Intel's 5G chips for their 2020 iPhones, but shortly after this settlement, Intel announced that they are exiting the 5G chip market, likely due to this settlement. Apple will likely go with Qualcomm's 5G chips in this light, which, in my opinion, is a win for consumers. Intel is likely a big reason that this year's iPhone won't have 5G capabilities. At this point, it's probably too late for Apple to use Qualcomm's 5G chips for this year's iPhone.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Reset Advertising Identifier

With Mozilla's recent petition to get Apple to change how advertising identifiers are enabled out of box, here's a quick rundown of how to get advertisers to track you less. On iOS, go to Settings > Privacy > Advertising > and enable "Limit Ad Tracking." On macOS, go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy > Advertising > and check the box for "Limit Ad Tracking." Every once in a while, I also recommend hitting the "Reset Advertising Identifier" button under the "Limit Ad Tracking" button on both iOS and macOS. This should help limit advertiser tracking.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

What a Loading Screen Can Tell You

The other day, I opened my Desktop folder and Finder had a minor hiccup where it hung for about 5 seconds. In those five seconds, it showed the infamous "Beach Ball of Death." After it disappeared, my day went on as normal. This is rare for a typical Mac, but it made me think of Windows. In Windows 10, without fail, opening my Downloads folder will result in the same hang, often for around 15-20 seconds. But instead of an indicator that says something is out of the ordinary, the window just says "Working on it..." And I think that one difference can speak volumes about the differences in macOS and Windows. The Beach Ball of Death occurs when something is out of the ordinary, while "Working on it..." is an office worker before they've had their morning coffee. It leads me to believe that this is something that Microsoft knew the user would encounter often. Maybe not. Maybe my PC is just slow, but I now have to assume that the average user will face this screen often. I think it's a bit ironic that the rarity of this in macOS is what reminded me of how often it occurs in Windows. macOS is so quick with it, you don't even realize it could hang.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Using Spotlight to Hold Copied Text

There are times where you need to copy multiple pieces of text on the computer. For example, one window may have a quote while another window may have a citation, and you need to paste both in another window. It can be annoying having to switch to window A, over to window C to paste the first text, then to window B, and back to window C to paste the second text. Instead, with macOS, you can go from A to B to C and have the same result. To do this, copy the first piece of text and open Spotlight with command-space. Paste it in Spotlight and close it with command-space. Then, go to window B and copy the next string of text. Now you can go to window C and paste window B's text, open Spotlight and copy the text from there, and paste that into window C as well. While it may seem like a pretty unique circumstance, I find myself doing this constantly with programming. I hope this helps!

Friday, April 12, 2019

The Streaming Trend

With the recent news on Disney+ and Apple's announcement of Apple TV+, I hear more and more people saying they're tired of the "streaming revolution" because it's ending up to be more expensive than cable. YouTube TV, Hulu, Netflix, and Crunchyroll are seeing subscription fee increases while regular cable TV with on-demand remains the same. YouTube TV is most notable, as it is now moving up to $50 a month. At that point, just stick with cable. You'll have basically the same service, except without the reliance on the internet. And you'll still be able to connect your cable subscription to all your favorite on demand apps for internet streaming. I think people are going to see this streaming bubble pop very soon and will take one of two routes. Either stick with cable or just cut the cable and switch to YouTube. I almost exclusively watch YouTube and most people my age I know feel the same way. I'm sick of keeping track of how many times I pay a service $9.99 each month and seeing it add up to a colossal amount. And with that, I think it's easy to see why I give a sigh with the magnitude of a major underwater seismic event when I see Apple announce three subscription services in one day. Of course, the only big difference with Disney+ is that Disney owns a third of the film industry with beloved properties that span multiple generations. I think it will be interesting how all of this plays out in the next year or two.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

AirPlay 2 Menu on Apple TV

AirPlay 2's main feature is the ability to control many different devices at once from one device. On iOS, it's in Control Center. However, there is a hidden AirPlay 2 menu on Apple TV. You can access it by holding the Play/Pause button on the Apple TV remote. You have to hold it for around five seconds, so just keep holding it. From here, you can view other AirPlay 2 devices and the content they're playing. I actually discovered this on accident, but it's a well-hidden feature. I hope this helps!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Podcast and TV App Icons for macOS Discovered

We have further evidence that Apple will be splitting up iTunes into individual Music, TV, and Podcasts apps. We know from Apple's service event that the TV app will be coming to macOS, which is heavy evidence by itself. However, thanks to 9to5Mac, we have a look at the icons of the TV and Podcasts apps. The icons are below and they look just about how you'd think they would look. I personally don't use Podcasts too much, so I'm more interested in the Music app for macOS.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Apple Lowers Price of HomePod

It's pretty uncommon to see a price drop on current Apple products. The closest you'll really see for current-generation products are if they're refurbished or for an education discount. However, it seems that even Apple can't deny that you can't sell HomePod in its current state for $349. They've dropped it down to $299, down $50. While this is still too high in my opinion, it's definitely a step in the right direction. If Apple lowers the price, retailers will lower the price even more, possibly lowering it to an acceptable price eventually. 

Monday, April 8, 2019

Netflix No Longer Supports AirPlay

Netflix has stated in a support document that AirPlay is no longer supported due to a technical limitation. When speculation of Netflix doing this in retaliation of Apple TV+ arose, a Netflix spokesperson stated that it was due to AirPlay rolling out to third-party TVs. Because they couldn't tell the difference between being AirPlayed to an Apple TV versus a smart TV, they disabled it. This is likely to restrict unauthorized recording on a third-party device that does not protect content from being screen captured. Netflix won't even allow users to take screenshots during playback. That being said, it could be for both this and a slight jab at Apple TV+ as well.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

The Ying-Yang Relationship of the Smart Music Industry

I bash a lot on the HomePod and often compare it to the Google Home and the Amazon Echo. I think a lot of people see it as a failure that has a lot of obvious flaws. It's easy the point out the obvious when it comes to HomePod and its competition. So, in the smart speaker market, Apple is floundering compared to its competitors. But things get interesting when we look at the opposite of a smart speaker: smart headphones. AirPods has been absolutely dominating this market, becoming an icon in modern culture. AirPods are instantly recognizable and have had constant press for the two years they've been on the market. Meanwhile, it's hard to name one single competitor. With rumors of Amazon potentially making their own competitor, it will be interesting if they will take off like the Amazon Echo did, or flop into an endless sea of AirPods competitors.

Apple Sued for Swollen Apple Watch Batteries

Gina Priano-Keyser is filing a class action lawsuit claiming that Apple Watches are subject to having their batteries swollen, ultimately causing the screen to pop off [Source: MacRumors]. The lawsuit states that this could pose a safety issue to consumers. Apparently, Apple was supposed to repair these for free for up to three years after purchase, but supposedly attributes the damage to an accident, which voids the offer.

This issue actually happened to my first generation Apple Watch last year. I was sitting in a chair and I suddenly heard a loud pop come from my wrist and the screen had popped off. It occurred on July 8, 2018 and I had received my watch in early June of 2015, so the three year deadline was gone by then. When I took it into the Apple Store, I was told that it was likely due to a swollen battery and that it would cost about $100 and take 5 days to fix. They ended up replacing it with an Apple Watch Series 1 (instead of first generation) with an aluminum case. I gave it back stating I had a stainless steel case. A few days later, I got a refurbished original Apple Watch with a stainless steel case, but then they overcharged me by about $150. After they realized they made an error, they sold it to me for $80, since it was a refurbished replacement. Overall, it was a frustrating experience that went in a lot of circles. If people really were injured due to the swollen battery, I can only imagine how much more frustrating it was for them. Apple should find a way to properly address this issue and do more testing as to what makes these batteries swell.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Dedicated Music App May Finally Come to macOS

iTunes has had an identity crisis these past few years, and hasn't done the best job at integrating with Apple Music. It's not bad, but it certainly could be better. With the announcement that Apple will be bringing the TV app to macOS, it only makes sense to have Music and Podcasts apps as well. And it would make sense with the new UIKit functionality being implemented in future versions of macOS. Steve Troughton-Smith on Twitter says we have reason to believe this will be the case. Based on public evidence, it makes perfect sense, and I'm open to it. That being said, breaking up iTunes would be the end of an era, as it revolutionized how we listened to music alongside the iPod, even if it will be there in spirit for the Music app.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Alexa, Sing me a Song

One of Alexa's lesser known functions is that she can sing songs. Every song is custom made for Alexa, typically revolving around smart speakers. Her voice is also pretty good, sounding like an actual human rather than a smart assistant. I've used the command quite a few times and haven't heard the same song twice, so I recommend trying it out whenever you're bored.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

iPad Pros and Flawed Displays

There has been a recent uptick of complaints of iPad Pros from 2016-present having various touchscreen issues on forums like those from Apple Support. These issues typically revolve around the screen not registering touch input. Recently, my own 2017 10.5" iPad Pro has been suffering from some of these described issues as well. iOS devices feel so natural because it revolutionized scrolling and every touch was precise. With these issues, everything feels wrong in ways you have to see to believe. For me, the issues come in waves. They may occur every five minutes or maybe once an hour. It varies. This could be the new Butterfly Keyboard issue. Hopefully Apple creates a repair program for these iPads, because this is happening to iPads with no hardware damage, screen protectors, or modification of any kind, mine included.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Google+ Shuts Down

Seven years ago, Google tried to enter the social media ring with Google+. The service was integrated with many of Google's services and flopped hard. It was found that 90 percent of Google+ user sessions lasted less than five seconds. Because it was integrated into so many services, it only stayed around until Google had a good reason to get rid of it. Due to a security issue with Google+, Google announced that they would shutter the social network in 2019. Today, Google+ is finally gone. I have no personal attachment to Google+ today and I'm more glad it's gone than not. It just overstayed its welcome in the Google ecosystem, especially YouTube. You shouldn't have to annoy someone into using your product, and Google+ was doing just that, which may have been its downfall.

Monday, April 1, 2019

The Overabundance of April Fools' Jokes

April Fools' Day in 2019 is a day of taking every piece of information with a massive grain of salt and, for me, reminding myself where the apostrophe goes in "Fools'." I typically think the jokes pulled by companies are pretty funny and light-hearted. However, this year, you hear a lot more complaints than praise for the stunts pulled. Microsoft even asked its employees to not do any April Fool's jokes [Source: The Verge]. Today is the annual day where you don't believe anything, so when something real happens, you have a moment of doubt. I had to do double takes on emails I got from my bank and my professors just to be sure. It's not that I don't enjoy the spirit and heart that goes into them. It's all in good fun, but when I don't fall for any of them, it's a sign of over saturation. And don't get me started on the companies based in America who pull their pranks in the middle of the day on March 31. That's not clever, that's cheating. Anyways, I don't discourage anyone from making an April Fools' joke by any means. I do however think it would be cool if the folks over at Google made a toggle in Chrome that would detect if the page is an April Fools' joke or not. 

Sunday, March 31, 2019

3D Printed Homes

Every once in a while, you hear a really cool story that you just have to share. As a heads up, I found this story on Digital Trends, so check out their article to learn more. Here's the gist. Startup Icon teamed up with nonprofit New Story to create 3D printed homes. Starting development in El Salvador, these homes are created in hopes to create more affordable housing. The houses are printed on site using a special, supersized 3D printer and their custom material, called Lavacrete. The houses are printed where they will stand and are structurally sound. Check out the video below to see it in action. It is truly amazing to see.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

What's Next for Wireless Charging?

With AirPower officially cancelled, it leaves us with a question: What is next for Apple in terms of wireless charging? Apple probably wants to eliminate all ports on the iPhone eventually, and wireless charging will play a large part in that. But Apple currently has no wireless charging solution. You have to buy a third-party Qi wireless charger in order to take advantage of wireless charging. I think Apple may release smaller wireless chargers that only charge one device at a time. When charging, there could be a screen showing any of your other devices that are charging and their percentages. That's not too far off from AirPower and certainly not impossible. I also think Apple should find a way to fully enable Qi wireless charging on Apple Watch. There are a lot of directions Apple could go with this, but for now, I don't expect to see anything any time soon.

Friday, March 29, 2019

AirPower Officially Cancelled

AirPower hasn't been talked about by Apple since late 2017. It's been so long, I've forgotten the bulk of its features at times. Rumors have circulated bringing conflicting reports of AirPower entering production or AirPower having severe development problems. It seems we finally have an answer today. A representative from Apple had the following to say to TechCrunch:
"After much effort, we've concluded AirPower will not achieve our high standards and we have cancelled the project. We apologize to those customers who were looking forward to this launch. We continue to believe that the future is wireless and are committed to push the wireless experience forward."
I've never seen Apple really do something like this before. The good is that many got so tired of waiting, they stopped caring. Also, Apple likely cancelled AirPower due to heat and safety issues, which would be bad PR if they were released in that state. The bad is those who waited almost two years for AirPower just to be told it's not happening.

This also leaves the wireless charging feature of the Apple Watch Series 3 and 4 half-useless. These Apple Watches only charge on certain wireless chargers, but it's unclear as to which ones. However, we knew it would work with AirPower for sure. In addition, if you bought the wireless charging case for AirPods, it has AirPower depicted on the box. Some people may have bought the wireless charging case just for AirPower capabilities. With all the rumors circulating, this came as a shock to many.

Personally, I'd rather AirPower get cancelled than something like AirPods. AirPods suffered some hiccups before getting to market as well and AirPower never appealed to me that much. AirPower was undeniably a great companion to an Apple enthusiast who travels a lot. Hopefully, we see AirPower's spirit in a future Apple product.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Apple Card Setup Explained

With most credit cards, you usually have to call a phone number in order to activate it. However, the Apple Card has a much more modern approach to activation [Source: TechCrunch]. To activate the physical Apple Card, you simply have to tap the card to your iPhone. It will have a similar process to setting up a pair of AirPods. This is a great idea and is a great way to not only make Apple Card stick out among a sea of credit cards, but it makes me wonder why we still call numbers to activate other cards. We have credit card apps that could easily accomplish the same thing. Apple Card is by far the coolest thing announced this week and totally proved me wrong. Apple seems to innovate best when they take a device or product that is outdated and gives us a modern take on it. They did it with AirPods and how we use Bluetooth headphones, and it looks like they're doing it with the credit card now.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

AirPods 2 Now Compatible with Apple Watch

watchOS 5.2 was released today, giving users AirPods 2 support. Apple often advertises Apple Watch and AirPods as the perfect combination, so it's nice to see AirPods 2 get support. watchOS 5.2 also brings the long-awaited support of ECG readings to more countries. These include Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, and 18 other European countries. Before this, ECG was restricted to the United States due to pending approval in other countries. The update is available from the Apple Watch app on your paired iPhone.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

AirPods 2 Now Available

The new AirPods have been available for pre-order for some time now, but they are now out in the wild, which means you can find them at your local Apple Store. Some of the first impressions mention improved sound quality, which is always welcome. On important note is that the new AirPods will not work with your Apple Watch until it is updated to watchOS 5.2, which has not been released yet. It's unfortunate to see how quickly and harshly AirPods' battery can degrade considering the small size and constant charging, so hopefully this model can get more use out of it. I'm personally holding off on upgrading until the next model of AirPods, which will hopefully release in 2020. I'm hoping for a black color option (the white case can get so dirty) and health features. There's also rumors of noise cancelling too.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Apple's 'It's Showtime' Event

Apple today announced a slew of services. They announced Apple News+, Apple Arcade, Apple Card, and Apple TV+. I don't have the time nor energy to talk about every little thing about the event, but, in short, I was underwhelmed. This was genuinely the worst Apple keynote I have seen yet. There was nothing interesting for the people who usually watched these keynotes, with a few exceptions. This presentation basically sums up how different Apple is now then from 5-10 years ago. The most interesting thing for me was the Apple Card, which adds features to iOS while staying true to Apple's commitment to privacy. Apple Arcade seems like a slap in the face to macOS users and a quick excuse to get Apple in the conversation about gaming. Apple News+ and Apple TV+ aren't for me. I'm sure someone is excited for these services, and more power to you if you are. That's all I'll say on that matter.

It's good for a tree to grow and branch out, but it's pointless if your trunk being chopped with an axe. I can't take Apple seriously if they're going to make services like these while their software is notoriously buggy and hardware is outdated. My Apple Watch crashed and restarted without explanation in the time it took me to write the last paragraph. I know that different teams work on different things, but what matters in the end is where Apple puts their resources and focus. We wait for so long for updates with a laundry list of problems, only to have a small fraction of them checked off every few months, with new problems constantly being added. It's frustrating and I know Apple can do better. 

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Apple Teases Tomorrow's Event Via Livestream

Apple has an interesting livestream to promote tomorrow's service-centric event. The stream shows the stage of the Steve Jobs Theater. It's still streaming as of this post. You may find someone sweeping the stage from time to time, but more interestingly, something may appear on the screen. A call from actor Chris Evans appeared at one point and an iMessage conversation between Tim Cook and NBA player Kevin Durant. Apple's event is tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. PDT and can be live-streamed from Apple's website.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Apple Could Debut a Credit Card This Monday

According to Bloomberg, Apple could be in partnership with Goldman Sachs to create a new credit card, with some extra features for Apple Pay. This credit card would be revealed this Monday, at their service-centric event.

Personally, this seems weird to me. I think most people have enough credit cards in their lives and I find it hard to believe that this credit card will be any better. The only incentive would be special features in the Wallet app, which are arbitrarily tied to one specific card. I think a better approach for Apple would be to use their good standing image of privacy, and integrate a budgeting section into the Wallet app, that works with any card in the app. Or maybe finally let us scan more types of barcodes into the app. The Wallet app could have so much potential but it's seldom used because what can be done with it is so contextual. There are opportunities to expand it but Apple isn't taking them.

Friday, March 22, 2019

My Thoughts on Google Stadia

It's undeniable that gaming (and probably every other form of entertainment) is going in the way of streaming. When Google announced their entrance into the gaming front, Google Stadia, on Tuesday, I was both intrigued and skeptical. There are parts that are genuinely cool, but a lot felt like fluffed up PR talk. I felt a lot of the vibes that I get when I think of Apple's service-centric event coming this week. "You're great as a company at X, so why try going into Y, when you should be focusing more on X?" That being said, here are my thoughts.

The Good

The idea of taking the focus of gaming away from hardware and instead realizing that games can be cloud streamed is a cool premise, at least in a perfect world with no input lag. But for now, let's pretend that there are no connection issues with Stadia at all. Suddenly, your phone or low-end laptop has the graphics and rendering power of a high-end PC, because all it needs to do is stream what is essentially a video stream. The idea of this evolving without the need to upgrade hardware sounds like a dream. You can look at the same game running on a Nintendo Switch and a PS4, and the graphical capabilities are night and day, but the Switch gives up the extra power for portability. With Stadia, you get the best of both worlds, where you can have portability and great looking visuals, because all of the processing is done on one of Google's servers. The continuity features with the controller are also very Apple-esque. Some of the in-game features are also pretty cool. Share states, anti-cheating, and 4K are nice touches provided the product works as advertised.

The Bad

The main issue with this event is what we don't know. We don't know what games will be on this service, aside from a select few. We don't know how much it will cost. We don't know if this will even catch on. Aside from their grasp on the internet, what makes Google qualified to run the gaming service that is supposed to revolutionize video games? I'd rather have a company that didn't have a smartphone OS bias, so iOS users don't miss out on certain features. That's not to say I want Apple to do this by any means. Sundar Pichai began the conference stating, "I'm not actually a big gamer." But then you see the Konami code on the bottom of Google's controller, which is cringy at best. It feels like Google is stepping into the gaming arena because market research shows that it's becoming bigger by the second.

Moving on, what Google had to show at their event wasn't super impressive. I'm all for not giving me a false perception of a product, but if what they showed in their controlled environment is average performance to best case performance, I'm not looking forward to how it works on my network. I've tried PS4 Remote Play on my phone, and as cool as it is, the input lag on my local network was frustrating for any game that wasn't a button masher. So, if that didn't work on my local network, who's to say Google can pull that off with internet involved? Don't get me wrong, I'd love for them to prove me wrong. I'm sure Google invested more into Stadia than Sony into the PS4 Remote Play app. A big hurdle for Stadia is the network performance aspect.

Also, the fact that Google's controller has an always-on microphone is a turn off for me, though I'm glad they let me use my own controller.

It's hard to see Stadia being what Google hypes it up to be. It isn't like movie streaming where movies are significantly cheaper than most games. If we put games to a streaming model, I think that could set a bad precedent for game developers. I'm by no means knowledgable on how video game economics work, but here's my interpretation. If they make their money from someone clicking a play button, would developers feel as incentivized to put as much quality and content in their games? A lot of games that don't live up to the $60 price point usually go on sale pretty quickly and eventually end up in the bargain bin, but when there's no price tag attached to any specific game, there's no depreciation to be had. 

In Summary

Google Stadia could be revolutionary, or it could be the next Ouya. I can't give a full conclusion until we hear more about Stadia in a few months. I can definitely say it has captured my interest way more than this news subscription thing Apple has been drumming up these past few months. I will continue to follow Stadia up to its launch to see if they make any revolutionary announcements.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

New AirPower Image Discovered

AirPower has been removed from AirPod's page after the recent refresh. However, MacRumors seems to have discovered an updated image of AirPower hidden in the source code of the Australian AirPods site. The image is similar to the old image found on the AirPods page, except it features an iPhone XS instead of an iPhone X. The battery percentages are even the exact same. We have plenty of reason to believe AirPower will be released soon, but Apple has been quiet on the matter for nearly two years now.

Image Credit: MacRumors

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Apple Releases New AirPods

Over two years after their initial release, AirPods has finally received an update. These AirPods have a new H1 chip, which allows for "Hey, Siri" functionality in the AirPods. They also have better battery life, which most users will be happy about. You can also engrave the AirPods case now if you order through Apple's website. Apple is releasing the AirPods Wireless Charging Case. You can buy the new AirPods with the new case ($199), or with the normal case ($159). While I wish we would've had some more features, like gesture commands (i.e. volume slide up), an AirPods update is always welcome. There are still rumors of an iPod Touch or AirPower being announced later this week as well, so we'll have to wait.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

iMac Refresh and New iPod Touch Announcement Imminent

Following updated iPads yesterday, Apple has announced this morning that the iMac and iMac Pro lineup will be getting a minor refresh. The new iMacs have new Intel processors, while the iMac Pro can now have up to a whopping 256 GB of RAM. Ahead of their service-based event next week, Apple seems to be quietly announcing new products this week. Thanks to MacRumors, we now have reason to believe that Apple will announce a new iPod Touch as early as tomorrow. The iPod Touch has been long untouched by Apple, not being updated since mid-2015, so an update is welcome. To see the features I want in a new iPod Touch, check out my post on it. While I would like the new iPod Touch to have an edge-to-edge display, I wouldn't get my hopes up. Apple will likely update it for the sake of keeping the device series alive.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Apple Announces New iPad Mini and 10.5" iPad Air

Apple has updated two iPad models today: the iPad mini and the iPad Air. The new iPad mini is the fifth iteration of the small tablet with Apple Pencil support and the A12 chip. The new iPad Air replaces the 10.5" iPad Pro, simultaneously simplifying and confusing the iPad lineup. It made sense to get rid of the 10.5" iPad Pro, as it conflicted with the new iPad Pros. But it is confusing because the iPad Air brand has been absent for several years, and the regular iPad branding is still on the 9.7-inch iPad. The iPad and iPad Air have no major weight differences, so it's unclear why they've created inconsistent branding. Regardless, the new iPad Air gives up ProMotion and quad-speakers for a cheaper price point. It still has Apple Pencil support. Aside from the branding, this was a good choice by Apple. The main gripe from consumers is that the prices could've been a bit lower, but that's not to say they're super overpriced. The iPad Air and iPad mini start at $499 and $399 respectively.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Apple Music Now Available on Amazon Fire TV

The Amazon Fire TV is the Amazon Echo's less-popular TV counterpart. Now, Apple Music subscribers can ask Alexa on their Amazon Fire TVs to play music from Apple Music [Source: CNBC]. Three months ago, Apple also allowed Apple Music to be streamed through Amazon Echo devices, so users of both will get the benefits of Apple Music on both devices. If you own an Amazon Echo with Apple Music set up, there is no need to do any additional setup for it to work with Amazon Fire TV. With all of the additional Alexa devices being created, maybe Alexa could be expanded to those as well.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

IKEA and Sonos Team Up to Make Speakers

IKEA and Sonos will be partnering to create a speaker that combines light and sound in some way. They have announced that the Symfonisk collection will be formally revealed in early April. Sonos seems like a good fit for IKEA, as strange as that may sound. You don't want to divide your consumer base between iOS and Android users, and Sonos has done a great job at being the universal speaker that supports almost any streaming service. IKEA and Sonos could make the next big step towards a connected home next month.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Apple Announces WWDC 2019

It's that time of year again. Apple has announced WWDC 2019, which means the software speculation levels are through the roof once more. It will take place from June 3 to June 7 in San Jose. The big rumor is to expect a new Mac Pro after almost 6 years of waiting for an update. In addition, I wouldn't be surprised if we finally got Dark Mode in iOS 13. It would make sense after we got it in macOS Mojave. WWDC is always an exciting event to look forward to, so hopefully we get great announcements to match the anticipation.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Apple Releases New Privacy Ad

Apple released a new ad today regarding privacy. It's definitely one of their better ads in my opinion. It goes through a variety of scenarios of privacy in real life. It ends with the statement: "If privacy matters in your life, it should matter to the phone your life is on." Apple's strong point has been privacy for some time. When privacy is being questioned more than ever today, this is the kind of ad Apple needs to be promoting. Animoji won't get anyone to switch to an iPhone, but privacy values can be seen as fundamental to a company. Until Apple can get a new iPhone with features that knock the competition out of the park, we need more ads like this.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Rolando Makes a Return to the App Store

For my tenth birthday, I got an iPod Touch, and I have so many fond memories of it. So many apps I owned then are no longer available today. Super Monkey Ball, We Rule, and countless others. They just haven't been maintained for the most part. And the other day, I was thinking of one of my favorite games, Rolando. Rolando was a game heavily advertised by Apple in the early years of the iPhone. It was a fun platforming puzzle game that demonstrated the accelerometer feature of the iPhone and iPod Touch. Rolando: Royal Edition will be returning to bring back some of the nostalgia of the early days of the App Store. It is a remaster of the original game. It is available for pre-order for $1.99, which is 60% off the full price [Direct Link].

This does beg the question of whether other apps and games could do the same. Rolando comes from a time where you would buy a game and you owned it. Today, it's hard to find apps that cost more than 99¢. It's all about in-app purchases or mining your personal data or processing power today. I think it would be cool to see a return to form for some part of the App Store. It's not going to happen just because that's not how money works, but I do long for those days sometimes.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The World Wide Web Turns 30

The wealth of information we take for granted today can be largely attributed to the World Wide Web. It dates back to 1989. A few days ago, plus thirty years, the World Wide Web was proposed. Different than the internet, the World Wide Web harnessed the tools we use everyday, like URLs and HTML. It made the internet much more accessible. It's something we don't think of much today, but use so often. In 2037, it will be interesting to look back on 30 years of smartphones, and so on. The World Wide Web served as a grand foundation, and we continue to build upon it to this day.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Apple Hosting 'It's Show Time' Event on March 25

Apple will be hosting a special event on March 25 in the Steve Jobs Theater. It will take place at 10 a.m. The event has been rumored to focus on services, and will likely have no new hardware announced. The event will be streamable but it's definitely not for everyone. The event is expected to reveal Apple's new service for streamlining news for $9.99 a month. 

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Apple Promotes iTunes Credit Reload Feature with 10% Bonus

Apple is offering a deal to compete with the constant sale of iTunes gift cards available at retailers. If you reload your credit using Apple's interface, you will receive a 10% bonus to whatever you reload. You can receive up to $20 for a $200 reload. It should be noted that you can often find 15-20% discounts on iTunes Gift cards at certain retailers, so take this offer with a grain of salt. To take advantage of this offer, go to Settings, tap your name, tap the iTunes and App Store section, select your Apple ID, and finally tap "Add Funds to Apple ID."

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Apple's AR Glasses

Whenever Apple announces a new genre of product these days, we usually hear about them years in advance. Take the Apple Watch. The long-rumored "iWatch" had a lot building up to it. The same goes for the AR headset that Apple has been working on for some time now. It's no secret that Apple sees a lot of future in AR, and these glasses would be the perfect medium for AR-based apps. Apple would probably be the best company to do it considering how many resources they've put into AR, in addition to Apple's stance on privacy. Ming-Chi Kuo is now saying that these glasses could be releasing in 2020, which feels relatively close. Whether this will be an actual trend or just another Google Glass will likely be up to timing.

Friday, March 8, 2019

My MacBook Pro Repair Experience

This past week was one of the hardest for me because I had to make do without my laptop. It was having its battery replaced. I got it back today and found that the logic board was replaced and several USB-C ports were fixed, so the cables would snap into the port better, in addition to the battery replacement. My keyboard was also fully replaced. My hard drive was wiped and the software was reset to macOS Sierra, which came out about two years ago. I had to setup my Mac and update the software before I could restore from my backup, which took a considerable amount of time. The thing to take away from this is that Apple may perform additional repairs on your Mac, so make sure you do a backup no matter what. I figured only my battery would be replaced, but I took a backup just in case. I'm glad I did.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Use Your PS4 on Your Phone

Sony released an app called Remote Play today for iOS that allows you to stream the video output of your PS4 console to your smartphone. Not only that, but you can also control the console using your iPhone's touch controls. So, you essentially have a portable PS4 on your smartphone. While there are some compromises, a good connection usually provides negligible latency for most games. Turn-based games or button mashers should be no problem for this app. It also works on local networks or networks away from the console. A compatible controller can also be connected. While this is by no means the best way to play PS4 games, it offers a portable spin on a great home console. Remote Play is available from the Apple App Store for free [Direct Link].

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

New iPhone Features Page

Apple has released a new site for iPhone designed to show existing users some features about the iPhone. This site is very useful for those who don't know every nook and cranny of the their iPhone. If I could change one thing, it would be to put the Measure app closer to the top. This app is genuinely one of the most underrated utilities on the iPhone. Think of when people realized they could use their iPhone as a flashlight. I get similar vibes with the Measure app. Overall, this page is a nice tips page for iPhone users, but I wouldn't suggest it for an Android user considering switching to an iPhone, as it mostly touches on features that aren't mind blowing and can make iOS seem dull without any context.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

iPhones with Third-Party Batteries Can Now Be Repaired By Apple

Apple has long been unable to repair iPhones with third-party batteries due to their policy. The repair didn't even have to have anything to do with the battery. However, that seems to have changed finally [Source: iGeneration]. Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers are now allowed to repair iPhones regardless of the battery inside the phone. If the battery is directly related to the repair, the service provider can now replace the battery at the standard fee. This is useful for those who like to buy batteries from iFixit and replace the battery themselves. 

Monday, March 4, 2019

Apple Looking to Social Media to Improve Siri

Siri is notorious for its constant mistakes when compared to other smartphone assistants. Siri’s goof ups are perfect material for a short tweet. Now, Apple has posted a job listing that will check how Siri is perceived by the world on the internet. This would effectively be finding issues that are common on the internet and reporting them to the team that works on Siri. Most people are finding this as either the world’s slowest knee jerk reaction or as job that shouldn’t exist. Siri has so many issues, it’s hard to believe hiring someone to look up issues on Twitter would do much. Siri needs improvement, that’s for sure. How to get that improvement is up to Apple, but it needs to be effective and fast. 

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Apple Looking for More Software Jobs Than Hardware Jobs

For the first time since early 2016, Apple is looking for more software engineers than hardware engineers [Source: Thinknum]. This could signal a shift in Apple's direction as a company. Currently, we are expecting a subscription service coming soon revolving around digital magazines and newspapers. In addition, CarPlay is being added to more and more cars, while the Apple self-driving car project had a considerable amount of layoffs recently. And while the HomePod struggles to sell, Apple has put Apple Music on the Amazon Echo, and may soon add it to Google Home speakers.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Servicing My MacBook's Battery

My 2016 MacBook Pro has been losing charge very quickly in the past few months. In a 75 minute lecture, with just a few, low-power apps open, my MacBook Pro will go from 100 percent to between 40 and 60 percent. After the Service Battery notification popped up, I finally got the chance to bring it into an Apple Store. While iPhone battery replacements often take about an hour, a MacBook Pro battery replacement seems to take between 3 to 5 days. In addition, it will end up costing me about $200. The 2016 MacBook Pro batteries were flawed from the start, resulting in Consumer Reports being unable to recommend the laptop temporarily. These batteries also caused macOS to stop estimating the time left in one charge, because Apple no longer felt confident in the estimate. I can only hope that the replacements are of better quality than the batteries that shipped with the laptop.