30th August 2018

As usual, Apple can’t seem to keep things secret anymore. Leaks are now emerging of the new iPhone XS that will be announced at the event on the 12th September.

I have completely mixed feeling about it this time. It’s a real shame that some of the surprise from the event has been somewhat spoiled. I don’t mind a few bits of information being leaked, but when it’s marketing images of a new product, it feels like someone has really screwed up.

Some people will surely point the blame at the people like 9To5Mac that make these things public, but that’s their job, to release interesting news. And it will certainly interest a lot of people.

I’ve read one article from 9To5Mac which includes an image of the iPhone XS, with new sizes and colour, and I’ve seen a few photos of a new Watch face, but I’m going to try and stay away from anything else. It will be pretty hard, seeing as I follow a lot of blogs that will cover it, and it will be all over Twitter, but I’ll manage.

Guilherme Rambo‏, the main investigator of Apple related leaks nowadays, said that a lot of information is coming from some test streams that Apple clearly didn’t think people were watching:

Apple just can’t seem to keep it in their pants anymore.


I would like to note that I won’t be writing about these leaks, or sharing other links to anything else that may come out. I don’t hold anything against anyone that reads, shares, or does anything with the information. I’ll just try and wait until the official announcement.

13th August 2018

I started a note a while ago to list out the things I want in the next iPhone, but there’s honestly not much that I can think of. I may really want these things, but there’s not many of them.

Just for some perspective, I’m currently using an iPhone 7 Plus, and I’m still really happy with the device. But I got it on release day, so after two years I think I’m due an upgrade. However, taking into consideration the improvements made in the iPhone X, there are just a few things I’d like the next model (whatever it’s going to be called) to improve upon.

The first has to be the battery. I don’t really ever get a full days use out of a single charge, but I do understand that I am a bit of an edge case. I use my phone a lot, whether it’s at work when I’m using it as a test device, or when I’m travelling and I’m constantly taking photos. I would like the battery life to be great for all types of users, not just when it’s new, or for someone who uses it less than me.

Following on the photography side of my iPhone use, I wouldn’t mind the camera getting a bit better. It’s a pretty good camera, and I get some good shots, but I don’t think there has been any major leaps in a while. I know this isn’t a great metric to use as a comparison, but the iPhone 6 had a 12MP camera, and so does the iPhone X. Sure, quite a lot of other things have changed, and the lens makes a lot of difference on it’s own. But I would like to see an aperture lower than f/1.8, improvements to macro photography, and general improvements to sharpness.

One thing that I expect to see, and I kind of really need in my next device, is the ability to use Face ID in any orientation. I’m still unsure about facial recognition, seeing as how reliable and fast Touch ID is, and the fact the iPhone X has to be in portrait for it to be unlocked would be pretty annoying. But with the rumours of this coming to the iPad, I don’t see why the next iPhone wouldn’t also receive it. Maybe even the iPhone X could retroactively gain support for this as well.

My next wish is something I’ve been wanting for a long time now, and it’s a reason why I’ve been tempted to buy a Google Pixel before, colourful hardware. In the past, Apple have offered multiple colour options for quite a lot of their products, the early iMacs, iPods, the iPhone 5C, and of course the Apple Watch straps. I really want a phone that isn’t just a boring slab of monochrome, (I don’t accept the gold options, and the RED edition takes ages to be launched). Why not something with a bit of character? What about adding a few accents to the side buttons like the Pixel, or going for whole colour changes, like the rumoured orange version (😍). And I don’t want any interesting options to be relegated to the cheaper models. I remember when I purchased a 5S, I really wanted the design of the 5C so I could get a bright colour for once, but I wasn’t going to buy one with old hardware. With a $1 trillion market cap, you’d think there’d be room for some more colour options for arguably their main product.

To round up my wishes, there’s just one more thing (yeah, I wrote that) I want Apple to include. Nothing big or extravagant, just a USB C to Lightning cable in the box as standard. The USB C market clearly isn’t as big as Apple predicted it would be by now, and I’ve written about how the iPad could improve this, but another push would be if the iPhone connected via USB C.

Anyway, I’ll sit back with everyone else, and await what device we’re all going to be purchasing.

02nd August 2018
Permalink

If you were upset about Apple’s photo printing service no longer being available from the Photos app, you’ll be glad to know that the partner they used, Mimeo, now offer these identical services themselves.

“This is a real opportunity for us to expand our successes as a prominent Apple Photos extension since the beginning,” said John Delbridge, CEO, Mimeo. “We are really excited to see an increase in demand from countries like Australia and Japan in addition to our strong US customer base.”

It’s no longer integrated into the Photos app by default, but there is now the Mimeo Photos app, that will make the service available from Apple’s Photos app.

12th July 2018

With all the nostalgia of the early App Store and iOS SDK days, Frederik Riedel tweeted about his experience developing iRedstone:

After he tweeted that, other developers started quoting it, and sharing their experiences. Frederik has compiled a great collection of them over on his blog.

12th July 2018

Well this is unexpected, Apple have updated some of their Macs:

Cupertino, California — Apple today updated MacBook Pro with faster performance and new pro features, making it the most advanced Mac notebook ever. The new MacBook Pro models with Touch Bar feature 8th-generation Intel Core processors, with 6-core on the 15-inch model for up to 70 percent faster performance and quad-core on the 13-inch model for up to two times faster performance — ideal for manipulating large data sets, performing complex simulations, creating multi-track audio projects or doing advanced image processing or film editing. – Apple Newsroom

The improvements are to the 13” and 15” models of the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, and there are also a few extra bits of news. I thought I’d try and extract the key improvements:

MacBook Pros

 Hardware

  • Faster CPUs – Now using 8th generation chips:
    • Quad-core Intel i5 and i7 processors up to 2.7GHz (Turbo Boost to 4.5GHz) for the 13”
    • Hexa-core Intel i7 and i9 processors up to 2.9GHz (Turbo Boost to 4.8GHz) for the 15”
  • Up to 32GB of DDR4 memory in the 15”
  • New HDD options – 2TB for the 13” ad 4TB for the 15”
  • New Apple T2 Chip
  • True Tone
  • Upgraded graphics chips:
    • Intel Iris Plus 655 for the 13”
    • Radeon Pro chips with 4GB of video memory for the 15”
  • The 13” model now ships with 4 USB C ports
  • The keyboard has been replaced with a new 3rd generation butterfly keyboard, which is quieter, and maybe more reliable.
  • Battery capacities have been slightly increased to cope with the newer specs. However, Brian Heater at TechCrunch says that no mechanical changes have been made.

Software

  • “Hey Siri” comes to the MacBook Pro because of the new T2 chip.
  • Also, enhanced security with secure booting, and on-the-fly storage encryption because of the T2.

 Extras

  • There are new colour options for the MacBook Leather Sleeve (13” and 15”) – Saddle Brown, Midnight Blue, and Black.
  • These MacBook Pro’s are also part of the Back to Schoo program, where students can receive a free pair of Beats headphones with eligible Macs.

28th March 2018

Yesterday, I was getting pretty excited about the “new” iPad:

That’s why this iPad seems absolutely perfect. I get to use one of the most exciting accessories for the iPad, it won’t cost me a huge amount of money to do it, and there are a ton of extra upgrades that I’ll be getting in the mean time. For example, I’ll use this upgrade to move from 64GB to 128GB, the A8X will be replaced with the A10 Fusion chip (currently used in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus), an ever so slight improvement to the camera (it can take Live Photos), and around a 19% increase in battery capacity. Along with some more improvements that will probably cause additional delight.

Since then, I’ve discovered one tiny spec of information that completely flipped this article on its head. As much as the new iPad was an upgrade to my Air 2, the display is actually a downgrade. Specifically, it is not a laminated screen like the Air 2, and more recent models. So the screen is actually clearly behind the glass.

I can’t buy a product like the iPad, knowing I’m going backwards in regards to the display. Because that’s 90% of the iPad experience!

I think my only solution is to get an iPad Pro if I want the Pencil support. I didn’t want to do that though, so I’ll have to have a think.

27th March 2018

Apple have just announced their newest iteration of the iPad, at their education focussed event. They also announced a lot of other school related software, and integrations, but I’m not interested in that at all really.

However, I am very interested in the new iPad. Even if it is geared towards the educational market. And that’s mainly down to two factors: the low price, and the Apple Pencil support.

I should probably interject here with more details on my current iPad situation. I have an iPad Air 2 WiFi, with 64GB of storage. It is actually only my second iPad, after the iPad 2, and I think it’s quite near as perfect as it can be for what I use it for. I watch videos, read blogs, write for my blog, listen to music, play games, etc.

Basically all the usual stuff. Apart from working. But I’m an iOS developer, so it’s not as easy to switch as some other professions. Anyway, I’m completely happy with my Touch Bar MacBook Pro.

Back to the iPad. One of the few features that has made me super jealous of iPad Pro users, is the Apple Pencil. Because it’s such an obvious extension to the iPad, and I can see myself using it for a wide range of tasks. Like taking notes, sketching (of course), mapping out ideas, and maybe I’ll even find a way to write for my blog by handwriting. I would probably prefer it.

With all of that said, it’s probably surprising why I haven’t already just purchased an iPad Pro. I have been very close to making the leap, but the one blocker has always been the price, compared to the added value it would give me. Sure it’s powerful enough to warrant that price. But it’s not worth it for me.

That’s why this iPad seems absolutely perfect. I get to use one of the most exciting accessories for the iPad, it won’t cost me a huge amount of money to do it, and there are a ton of extra upgrades that I’ll be getting in the mean time. For example, I’ll use this upgrade to move from 64GB to 128GB, the A8X will be replaced with the A10 Fusion chip (currently used in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus), an ever so slight improvement to the camera (it can take Live Photos), and around a 19% increase in battery capacity. Along with some more improvements that will probably cause additional delight.

Maybe I’m biased in my opinion here, and I’m 90% certain’t I am. But, I think that this could be the iPad model that pushes a lot of other “normals” to upgrade. Seeing as it doesn’t require any extra use of the device to warrant the price. It’s a super reasonable price, and it could potentially be a decent upgrade for someone on an Air 2 like me or earlier. It would certainly push up numbers for iOS 11 adoption, and from the user’s pont of view, it would give them another few years with a solid device.

I’m very much looking forward to using this device. And it’s been quite a while since I’ve felt like that about a new Apple product. Minus the AirPods.

01st March 2018
Permalink

Matt Birchler has a pretty common request for Siri, and that is the ability to schedule requests.

While all of these assistants can turn things on, turn them off, move thing up and down, and such, they can only do those things now. I can turn on the lights now. I can open the garage door now.

It makes so much sense for this to be supported. Sure you might be able to schedule actions inside of an app. But if voice is an official method of input, you should be able to do everything with it.

There’s not even a particularly high barrier in creating a delay/schedule system. The simplest method I can think of, is that when a voice assistant hears a request with a related time, all it needs to do is store that exact request (even plain text is fine), along with the date/time. Then the system can set its own reminder, and at that time, it simply performs the request automatically, and deletes it from the queue.

22nd January 2018

I’ve had the Touch Bar MacBook Pro now for over a year, and while I love the fact it has 4 x USB C ports, the cable that comes with it, isn’t exactly the best. I find that because it’s not as flexible as the MagSafe used to be, it’s more rigid, and tends to either bend at weird angles, or just slides straight out the port.

However, I’ve heard a lot of good things about Anker, and all of their various USB C products. So I thought I’d order one of their nylon braided USB C cables from Amazon. The Anker PowerLine+ C to C 2.0 to be exact.

The build quality is impressive, as you’d expect. But the nylon braiding, makes it such a superior cable than the Apple one. I find that it fits in the MacBook port with more of a grip, and (although it is a rather smooth connector), it seems to lock itself in position. It also isn’t affected by the twisting and bending of the default cable.

All I can say, is that it’s a pretty impressive little cable! And as I’m impressed with everything about it, I mean I even got a little magnetic pouch to hold it in, I’m probably going to invest in a USB C battery pack from them in the future.

I don’t think it supports Thunderbolt 3, as I can’t find any mention it on the Amazon product page, or Anker’s. However, that’s not a big concern for me. The only peripheral I use with my MacBook is a Transcend external drive, and I’m pretty sure that isn’t Thunderbolt either.

So if you have an Apple USB C cable, or just want to replace another branded one that’s not exactly holding up, I fully recommend this one. I paid £10.99 for mine, which is an unbelievable price.