In Incredibles 2, Helen is called on to lead a campaign to bring Supers back, while Bob navigates the day-to-day heroics of “normal” life at home with Violet, Dash and baby Jack-Jack – whose superpowers are about to be discovered. Their mission is derailed, however, when a new villain emerges with a brilliant and dangerous plot that threatens everything. But the Parrs don’t shy away from a challenge, especially with Frozone by their side. That’s what makes this family so Incredible.
July 2022 has just ended, which means that it is now ‘Back to School’ season. For July I did not listen to that many titles over the past month. I started and stopped a number of titles, but did not finish them because they just were not what I wanted to listen to. Instead, I opted to listen to items that I have listened to before. I only listened to 11 items and none of them were new titles.
All of the titles are Science Fiction titles, which is not too surprising, but typically there is some other genre.
It is likely that I will have new titles each of the next three months, at least I have pre-orders in for titles that are coming out in the next three months.
The book I am going to highlight for July is “Collapsing Empire” by John Scalzi.
Our universe is ruled by physics. Faster than light travel is impossible—until the discovery of The Flow, an extradimensional field available at certain points in space-time, which can take us to other planets around other stars.
Riding The Flow, humanity spreads to innumerable other worlds. Earth is forgotten. A new empire arises, the Interdependency, based on the doctrine that no one human outpost can survive without the others. It’s a hedge against interstellar war—and, for the empire’s rulers, a system of control.
The Flow is eternal—but it’s not static. Just as a river changes course, The Flow changes as well. In rare cases, entire worlds have been cut off from the rest of humanity. When it’s discovered that the entire Flow is moving, possibly separating all human worlds from one another forever, three individuals—a scientist, a starship captain, and the emperox of the Interdependency—must race against time to discover what, if anything, can be salvaged from an interstellar empire on the brink of collapse.
This post is another in the series of me looking back at the technology related events that occurred during the year. The reason for the is because 2007 turned out to be a big year for me technology wise. This is the seventh in the series. the previous articles are:
Back in March I posted about the fact that I purchased a Late-2006 20-inch iMac. While that was both my first Mac overall, it was also my first desktop Mac. A mere 4 months later, I ended up buying a MacBook. In fact, the one that I ended up purchasing was the 13.3-inch Black MacBook.
The 13-inch Black MacBook was more expensive than the regular MacBook. In fact, it was quite a bit more, it started at $1499. The model that I got was the base model, because any upgrades would significantly add to the cost. The second reason I chose that model was because the base specifications were enough for what I needed. On the topic of specifications, let us look at the specifications.
What was interesting with the 13-inch Black MacBook was that it had most of the same specifications as the Late 2006 20-inch iMac that I had purchased. It had a 2.16GHz Core 2 Duo, with 1GB of RAM. The only difference between that and 20-inch iMac is that the MacBook only had a 160GB 5400 hard drive, whereas the iMac had a 250GB 7200 hard drive.
These specs go along with the two USB 2.0 ports and single Firewire port. Along with this, the MacBook had a first-generation MagSafe power port.
The MacBook came with Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. The last version of OS X that the 13-inch MacBook supported was Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. The reason that it did not support any newer operating system is the fact that the Intel 2.16GHz Core 2 Duo is a 32-bit processor, and the logic board was 32-bit as well. Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion dropped support for 32-bit processors.
Having multiple Macs, I know I ended up buying the family pack of macOS Leopard so I could install it both of my Macs. The upgrade price of $199, so for $70 more than the single price you could install it up to five computers. This was a great thing to have at the time. Now, of course, macOS upgrades are free, so no special licensing is needed.
On the topic of upgrades, let us look at upgrading the hardware next.
Even though I purchased just the base model, it was inevitable thaT I would upgrade the MacBook, because it was still possible with that model.One of the best features of the 13-inch Black MacBook was the simplicity of upgrading. The upgrade process was pretty quick. The steps were:
Turn off the MacBook.
Unlock the battery using a coin.
Remove the battery.
Unscrew the four screws holding the memory and hard drive cover.
Remove the memory and hard drive cover.
Once you have removed the cover, you had access to the memory and the hard drive. For the hard drive you could easily remove it with the tab on the hard drive enclosure. The memory could easily be removed by pressing on the two tabs next to the hard drives.
I do not know when, but I know I upgraded both the hard drive and the memory. I know I ended up installing a 250GB 7200 RPM drive and 3GB of memory.
The MacBook was designed to be portable. At the same time, it was not an inexpensive item. Because of the price, I went looking for a way to protect it, even while I traveled with it. I went looking for a good solution. I ended up buying two things. The first was an Incase 13-inch Laptop sleeve, which I still use to this day, but for my 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Th second item I purchased was a Pelican case. Specifically, it was the Pelican 1450.
The reason I chose this case was two fold. The first reason is that, as mentioned above, I wanted something that I knew could protect the laptop and a Pelican case definitely could do that. The second reason I went with this model was that it included an insert system that consists of tiny blocks. The blocks can be removed individually which would allow you to customize the function of the case.
Therefore, what I ended up doing was creating a layout for being able to transport just about anything that I could possibly need to transport with it. This included the power brick, the extended charging cord which would go into the power brick, a Mini-DVI to VGA adapter, a Mini-DVI to HDMI adapter, an ethernet cable, and other various cables that I might need, like USB to 30-pin cables.
Was the Pelican case excessive? Looking back now, yes, it was. I definitely did not need such a rugged case. I still have the case today, but it not really used for anything, but I am reluctant to get rid of it, because If I want to use it for something else, I simply need to get a replacement foam set and reconfigure it as necessary.
Now, let us look at how I use the 2007 Black MacBook now.
I no longer really use the 13-inch MacBook. It still functions, but the battery ended up swelling, so I removed it. Furthermore, my brother needed a replacement power cord for his MacBook Pro, so I gave him mine, along with a MagSafe to MagSafe 2 adapter that he can use for his 2012 MacBook Pro.
After initially writing this, I ended up buying a replacement power adapter and a NewerTech battery from MacSales.com. After I powered up the MacBook there were a few updates that needed to be installed, and the last version of macOS that is supported on the Machine is Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, which was released in 2011 and the last update was in October of 2012, so it’s been a while since I booted up the MacBook.
Therefore, if I need any data off of the hard drive, I can either copy it directly on the MacBook, using File Sharing, or even use Screen Sharing to copy data.
Even though the 13-inch Black MacBook was more expensive, it did have some higher specifications when purchased. I used the 2007 Black MacBook regularly from 2007 until April of 2015 when I purchased an early-2015 13-inch MacBook Pro, which coincidentally, I am actually using now to write this post, so almost a full eight years of usage of the 2007 MacBook before it was replaced.
I miss the pure black color on the 2007 MacBook. I understand why it is not possible to get a pure black MacBook Pro these days, but it would be really nice to get a MacBook Pro that is darker than the current Space Gray, even if it would cost a bit more for the color.
As has become my habit, I have written another book about Apple’s operating systems. This is the 21st Apple-related book that I have written, and 23rd book overall. I have a dedicated page for all of my books, so you can see the full list there.
This year’s book is titled “iOS 16, iPadOS 16, macOS Ventura, and watchOS 9 for Users and Developers” and it s the longest one yet. The description of the book is:
Apple continues its cadence of yearly releases. iOS 16, iPadOS 16, watchOS 9, and macOS Ventura are packed with a slew new features.
The biggest change for iOS is the new customizable Lock Screen complete with widgets. For iPadOS and macOS there is a new window management feature called Stage Manager. Health gets some improvements with new medication tracking, including scheduling and notifications. If you use Photos there is now a new Shared Photo Library option.
Sometimes you need to quickly escape a situation. If that is the case the new Safety Check feature will quickly remove access to your apps, location, and Apple ID account.
For those who like to run there are new measurements as well as ways of racing against yourself with a new Race Route function. If you like to compete in Triathlons, you can use the new Multisport exercise to seamlessly move between sports.
For developers is a whole new WeatherKit Framework that utilizes the existing Async/Await features, and has a REST API. SwiftUI, Apple’s Swift-only UI framework, continues to evolve with a whole framework of its own, Swift Charts.
These topics are just some of the topics covered in iOS 16, iPadOS 16, watchOS 9, and macOS Ventura. The information contained within provides details about all of the new features of each operating system and has something for everyone, no matter what level of expertise.
The eBook will be available this fall for $4.99. You can pre-order it now from Apple or Amazon and you will get it the day it is released. There will be a paperback and hardcover versions coming this fall as well, so keep an eye out for those as well.
Just about 5 years ago now, I purchased a 4.2GHz 27-inch iMac with a 3TB Fusion Drive. I opted for the Fusion drive due it being the most amount of storage that I could get at the time and besides that SSD prices were, and still are, a bit much for the same amount of storage.
With a Fusion Drive it is actually two physical drives. In my case a 128GB Solid State Drive and a 3TB 7200 RPM traditional spinning hard drive. These two drives are logically connected to be presented as a single drive to macOS. The SSD portion would store the operating system files as well as the most commonly used files and data, to provide it the fastest access possible, meanwhile everything else would be stored on the traditional spinning hard drive.
Back in April I purchased a Mac Studio and the Mac Studio is now my primary computer. I opted to get the Mac Studio after the screen on my iMac began to crack. It started as a small 1-inch crack but it since expanded quite a bit, to be 18-inches. As a side note, the crack has not expanded at all, which I find interesting. Since the iMac has been replaced, I was only being used as a device to test out the macOS Ventura betas.
I went to install macOS Ventura developer beta 3, but the update never installed, at least I do not think it did. When I went to check on it the screen was entirely black. The machine was still running because the backlight of the iMac screen was on. So, I held down the power button to force the iMac to turn off. I waited a bit, turned it back on and let it boot. Once at the login screen I went to login, but as soon as I attempted to actually login, the entire system just froze giving the infamous beachball.
Knowing that there was obviously something wrong, I rebooted into Recovery Mode and ran First Aid on both drives and their APFS containers. If I scanned each one of them on its own, they would both pass. Having both of them passed, I figured it might just be a software problem and re-installing macOS should fix it. I attempted to re-install macOS Ventura, but it presented me with an error that stated that the drive failed with some S.M.A.R.T errors. Typically, when drives have S.M.A.R.T. errors, that means that the device is failing.
This left me with a bit of a quandary. I have an external SSD that has macOS Monterey on it. So, I attempted use that to run Disk Utility and received the same results. It passed the First Aid checks. I thought it could be an issue with the Ventura beta, so I attempted to re-install macOS Monterey. But that also failed with the same S.M.A.R.T. error message. No matter what I did nothing would install. I was still able to access all of the data, which was all on the spinning hard drive.
Ultimately, what I ended up doing was erasing the spinning hard drive and re-partitioning it. After it was partitioned I re-installed macOS Monterey. This worked, because the spinning hard drive did not show any S.M.A.R.T. errors. After it finished the macOS Monterey install, I did the initial setup then I attempted to upgrade to macOS Ventura, but it sat there on 48 seconds remaining for who knows how long. So, I rebooted the iMac and restarted the installation.
The Ventura beta installation did complete and my 2017 iMac is back to working condition, albeit a bit slower than before. That is to be expected though, given that it is a 7200RPM hard drive that is now being used, even for system files. The slowness is acceptable though since it is just for testing and not my daily machine.
Regardless of type of drive, is that they will fail eventually. With that, the one thing I find interesting is the fact that SSD failed before the spinning hard drive. If the spinning hard drive fails, I will likely just hook up the external SSD again and use that. I briefly thought about possibly opening up the iMac and replacing both drives with a single SSD, but it is a lot more work than it is worth, and the procedure to do so, while possible, seems rather daunting.
We are now officially half way through 2022, which is hard to believe. As I indicated last month, I did not listen to nearly as books as I did in May. The reason for this is that I am working on my next book about Apple’s latest operating systems.
Even though I am working on that during most of my free time I still do have some opportunities to listen to audiobook. During June I listened to 13 books total, of which only one is new. That sole new book is the one I would like to highlight. The title is “Sparring Partners” by John Grisham:
Best-selling author John Grisham explores fascinating questions of justice and the law in these three novellas. In “Homecoming”, Jake Brigance (of A Time to Kill fame) makes the dicey choice to help a former colleague who absconded with a fortune. “Strawberry Moon” follows young death-row inmate Cody Wallace in his weighty final hours. And the title story introduces Diantha Bradshaw, the loyal associate charged with saving a failing family law firm from the feuding brothers tearing it apart. In each novella, the stakes aren’t just legal but intensely personal as well, with bonds of blood and friendship on the line. Whether he’s portraying the desperation behind Cody’s simple but heartrending final wish or forcing Diantha to examine the true cost of corruption, Grisham is a master of making legal and criminal issues feel intensely personal. Sparring Partners gives us a triple helping of Grisham at his best.
Sparring Partners was a good book, and given the there are three novellas it does not take super long to finish any of them, so you can listen to them in spurts.
I am not sure how many books I will listen to next month, but I suspect it may not be that many either.
All throughout history, technology has improved. There are some technologies that have had significant impacts on society, whether the impact is an overall positive or negative one depends on ones perspective. One thing that cannot really be argued is that smartphones have had a significant impact on modern society and have become a necessary item in today’s society.
Smart Phones are a bit older than you might realize, in fact the first “smartphone” was actually developed by IBM in 1994, but, needless to say it was a bit before its time. Fast forward eight years to 2002 when the first Palm Treo was released, the Treo 180. The Palm Treo line of smartphones wee some of the first ones that people have heard of. The Treo 180 was the first cell phone to incorporate some of the features which would later become commonplace. These features included a full QWERTY keyboard. The Treo 180 did not not have much connectivity. It only had an single Infrared port, which was used to connect the device to a computer, or you could use the USB port to connect, which was probably a better option overall.
While the Treo was first, it was quickly followed by devices running WindowsCE, like the Palm Treo 750 and the Blackberry Pearl, by Research in Motion (RIM), introduced in 2006. While smartphones were popular amongst enterprise users, BlackBerry was the most popular smartphone company with its focus squarely on enterprise. Beyond its reach with enterprises, Blackberry became quite popular amongst the general population. No matter how popular the Treo and BlackBerry phones would be, they had not had any breakout hits that would become must have items.
It actually took a company, whom nobody would have expected, to completely reimagine the smartphone. The reimagining would not only revolutionize the smartphone industry, but it would also revolutionize the entire technology industry. The device would put the company on a solid financial footing and subsequently make it one of the most profitable companies in history. That company is, of course, Apple. The product that started its meteoric rise was the iPhone.
The name iPhone is one that is easily recognized all over the world. I am not sure if it is just as well known as Coca-Cola, but it is definitely up there. The original iPhone was introduced by Steve Jobs at MacWorld Expo on January 9th, 2007. You can read my entire recap on the iPhone’s introduction.
I could do an in-depth history of the iPhone, but that is not what this post is about. Instead, it is about the original iPhone, 15 years later. It might be worthwhile to re-read my first post in this series about the introduction of the iPhone. Before we dive into the iPhone, let us briefly look at my cell phone history before that.
My Cell Phone History
I have used an iPhone since 2007. Prior to that I had used three different cell phones. These were the iconic Nokia 3310, a candy bar-style phone with a monochrome screen and a standard cell phone non-QWERTY keyboard, a Samsung T637, another candy bar-style phone, with the same non-QWERTY keyboard, but this one had a color screen, and a Razr V3. The Razr V3 was a clamshell phone, but also only had a non-QWERTY keyboard, but also had a color screen. The Razr V3 was so popular that it sold 130 million units during its lifetime, becoming the single most popular clamshell phone, a record which it still holds today.
I used the Nokia 3310 for approximately 3 years, the same for the Samsung T637, and I used the Razr V3 for about 2 years. Overall, this was three cell phones in seven years, or about 28 months each, which is close to the average that most use their cell phones before replacing them.
Now, this all changed with my next phone, the iPhone, so let us look at that next by starting with my Launch Day/Pickup day experience.
Launch Day/Pickup Day
If you have been reading the blog for a while you may recognize the fact that I tend to try and get new iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches on the day that they are released. For the most part, I have been able to do so. One product that I did not get on launch day was the original iPhone, but it was not much after the launch that I got one.
It was not that I was not interested in the phone, I absolutely was. However, I had not made up my mind as to whether or not to get one. Because of my indecision I did not go on launch day, June 29th, 2007. I actually went to the Apple store on the following day, June 30th, 2007. I was actually glad I did not go on launch day because from what the Apple Store employee told me, it was super busy.
I actually got up early to go to the Apple Store and wait. The Apple store that I go to now is much closer than the one I had to go to at that time, it was the only close Apple store. So, I made the drive. I arrived a few hours before the store opened, just to be on the safe side because I was not sure how many people may have been in line. When I got there I was not the first person in line, but the line was not that long. In fact, I ended up being the fourth person in line that day.
The original iPhone came in two storage sizes, a 4GB model and an 8GB version. I opted for the 4GB model. I got this model for two reasons. The first was cost, which was $499, and after tax it came out to about $537. The second reason was that adding the iPhone would increase my cellular plan because an unlimited data plan was required.
Unlike today where the iPhone is on almost every carrier, the original iPhone was only available on AT&T. I had actually switched to AT&T a couple years before, so I did not have to worry about switching carriers and transferring phone numbers.
Let us now turn to the iPhone by stating to look at the design of the original iPhone.
One of the aspects of the original iPhone that is iconic, is the design. The original iPhone had rounded corners, with a flat back that goes into the rounded corners. The back of the original iPhone was a combination of plastic and brushed aluminum. The plastic was black and was only covering the antenna to be allow the antennas to connect to the cell towers without any attenuation.
This general shape has, for the most part, remained consistent and is the basis for all modern smartphones since 2007. There have been different materials used, and various different thicknesses of the devices, but overall, it has remained very similar to the original. This was such a radical change that there have been only a few improvements to the overall design in the intervening 15 years. If you were to travel back and show someone an iPhone SE from 2022 they would easily be able to recognize it as such, just a more modern version, and with a larger screen.
The biggest change would be what features the original iPhone had on it.
The original iPhone had only a few physical capabilities and connections. These features included:
30-pin Dock Connector
A headphone jack
As you might expect, the original iPhone camera is no where near the quality of cameras when compared to today’s iPhones. Yet, back in 2007 the camera was an upgrade to other cell phones like the Razr v3.
The headphone jack was very helpful if you wanted to listen to something without annoying others around you. You could use any headphones you wanted, but you could also use the included Apple headphones with microphone set. These headphones allowed you to control the playback of music by clicking on the volume up and down on the headphones.
Now that we have covered the features, let us look at what is arguably more important, the software.
The form factor and physical features of the iPhone were not the only aspect that was radically different. What was even more radical was the entire software stack. The approach that Apple took with the software on the iPhone was different. Instead of building something entirely new, they took some of the foundations of OS X and then built an entirely new user interface and set of interactions on top of that base.
The original software for the iPhone was not called an operating system, as we do so today. Instead, it was being referred to as “firmware”, which is essentially the operating system for most devices. In reality, the two names are interchangeable, but back then Apple always referred to it as the firmware. The name of the firmware was called iPhoneOS. Regardless of what you name it, when you powered up the iPhone there were only sixteen applications for the entire system. The original list of applications were:
Maps (powered by Google)
All of these apps, with the exclusion of YouTube are still on the iPhone today. Some have changed a bit, SMS is now Messages, Maps is now powered by Apple’s own product, iPod has been replaced by Music, and Settings has been renamed to System Preferences, but the remainders are all on the iPhone to this day.
I could easily go into each of the apps on the original iPhone, but I will not do, with the exception of a single app. The app I want to focus on is Safari.
At the original iPhone introduction Steve Jobs made sure to reiterate that the iPhone was a “breakthrough internet communicator”. This was not just because it was a phone, but because it included a web browser. That browser was Safari. The version of Safari included on the iPhone was not the slimmed down version of Safari, but the full version of Safari. This meant that you could view actual webpages and not a stripped down version of the pages. This was a fundamental shift in the way that people consumed the internet while on the go.
Before you could actually do anything though, you would need to activate the iPhone, so let us look at that now.
Syncing and Activating
Before you could actually use the iPhone you needed to activate the iPhone. This was done by plugging in the iPhone using the provided USB-A to 30-pin Dock connector to your Mac or PC. When you did this, iTunes would open. At this point, iTunes would walk you through connecting the iPhone and activating it with AT&T. Once it was activated you could then begin to use the phone or synchronize media to it.
The original iPhone was a lot like an iPod, where it would need to be synchronized with a Mac or PC to be able to transfer media to the iPhone. The items that you could transfer included music, movies, podcasts, and even ringtones.
The original iPhone did have the iTunes Store on it. So you could purchase music, videos, and ringtones right on your iPhone. When you would next synchronize your iPhone with your Mac or PC your purchases would be transferred back to your computer for safe keeping.
Once you had synchronized your device, you could start to use it. In order to access your iPhone, you would have to perform an iconic gesture, Swipe to Unlock. It is arguable but the iPhone’s Swipe to Unlock gesture was there for two reasons. One, because it looked cool, and second was to stop you from accidentally performing a task on the iPhone inadvertently. The primary interaction point of the iPhone was, and remains, the screen. So, let us look at that now.
The original iPhone came with a glass front. The glass was a special type of glass, called Gorilla Glass. Gorilla Glass was designed by Corning to be tougher than regular glass and bit more scratch resistant. While glass is what we are all used to, the original iPhone prototypes had plastic screens. But while Steve Jobs was using the prototypes, the screen began to scratch when it came into contact with keys, so he told the team it needed to change. If you had a first-generation iPod nano you might be well aware of what can happen to a plastic screen, it scratches a lot easier.
The screen was a 3.5-inch diagonal screen with a resolution of 163 pixels per inch. This meant that the screen was non-retina, but this was a substantially larger screen than any other one on the market and would be great, particularly in widescreen, for playing videos on the screen.
Let us now look at another interaction item, the keyboard.
The most notable feature that the iPhone ushered in, and that other manufactures would quickly adopt, was the elimination of the physical keyboard. Instead, the entire front of the iPhone was all glass. The benefit of the all-glass front is that the keyboard could be shown or hidden as needed. This was a genuine shift from the physical keyboards on any smart phones at the time. There were definitely some who were resistant to using a software keyboard, but the utility of being able to use the entire screen, and not having half the screen taken up by an immovable keyboard, outweighed the physical keyboard.
There was one feature that Apple included with the original iPhone that aided people with typing on glass.. That feature was autocorrect. Autocorrect had been available on the Mac of a long time. I remember that as I was typing away on the iPhone that it would fix most of the typos that I had. What I did not know at the time, but came to realize later, was that the iPhone keyboard would actually enlarge the target area for each key based on predicting what the system thought you wanted to type next. So, if you got close enough it would send that you actually tapped on the proper key. This was a nice little touch to the entire system.
One of the most useful features of the iPhone was the always on connectivity, no matter where you were, so let us turn to Wi-Fi and Cellular next.
Wi-Fi and Cellular
It was only a few years before the iPhone, on July 21st, 1999 to be precise, where Apple introduced the first iBook with an Airport Wireless card. The inclusion of the AirPort Wireless card meant that you would not need to be plugged into ethernet in order to be able to connect to the internet, provided you had access to a wireless network In those short eight years, wireless networks had become quite commonplace. In 2007, there were only three wireless standards, 802.11b (2.4GHz), 802.11a (5GHz), and 802.11g (2.4GHz).
The original iPhone only supported the 2.4GHz networks, so 802.11b and 802.11g. At 54 megabits per second, the Wi-Fi speeds of 802.11g, the faster of the two supported networks, were plenty fast for the time. Honestly, either of the two wireless standards would definitely outpace the cellular service at the time. Speaking of cellular, let us move to that.
We have become very accustom to being able to use an iPhone on almost any carrier almost anywhere in the world. That was definitely not the case 15 years ago with the original iPhone. There was only a single carrier, AT&T, and the iPhone initially launched only in the U.S. This agreement was an exclusive contract, meaning that you had to be an AT&T customer in order to use an iPhone.
The iPhone came with 2G cellular connectivity. The maximum speed possibles with 2G is 384 kbit/s, which in today’s world is laughable, although depending on where you are it may seem like your speeds are that slow. Even though today the speeds would not be sustainable, having the ability to always be connected to a cellular network no matter where you were was a new and novel experience for many users.
As you might expect, the iPhone was not free and would require a purchase. Let us see what the original iPhone cost.
The original iPhone came in two storage sizes, 4GB and 8GB. The 4GB model was $499, and the 8GB model was $599. Those were the prices for the device and they required a 2-year contract. There were some people who switched. AT&T took a big risk partnering with Apple, but it definitely paid off for them given how many people switched.
Part of the contract that you agreed to included an additional fee of $20 per month for unlimited 2G data. That means that you could use 1GB of data and it would only cost $20 per month. I am sure there were some that were hesitant about having to pay a fee, but I did not hesitate to pay it. Not just because I wanted the iPhone, but the idea of being able to download things no matter where I was at was very appealing.
It is hard to go back and think about how things were at the time, as compared to today, but sometimes it is a worthwhile exercise to partake in, just to try and remember how things used to be before the modern times. One of the things that the original iPhone could not do, but would eventually be able to do, was download apps. Let us look at third-party apps on the iPhone.
Third-Party Apps (Or Lack there of)
The original iPhone shipped with only built-in apps and no official way for third-parties to build applications for the platform. Apple did offer a solution. According to Steve Jobs at the announcement, it was a “sweet solution”. That solution was web apps. While there were some that did build web apps designed for the iPhone, there were not many. Despite the fact that there was no official software development kit, that would not arrive until the next year, that did not deter people from trying to reverse engineer the software to be able to run their own apps.
Updating the iPhone
Beyond the physical device and its completely new design, there was another aspect to the entire system that Apple changed, and that was regarding software updates. Prior to the iPhone a cell phone manufacturer would create an update to a phone and it was up to the carrier’s discretion as to when to create updates. However, that is not how the iPhone was updated. Instead, Apple was in control of when the iPhone would get an update.
There may be many things that Android users can righty claim that they had first. However, there is no doubt that all smartphone users can thank Apple for. Let us now look at some critiques and criticism at the time of the launch.
The original iPhone was received mostly positively. The device was such a sea change that many, myself included, were merely enamored with what the original iPhone could do. When Apple announced the iPhone, Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs had stated that they had hoped to sell one million iPhones by the end of September 2007, and to have 10 million iPhones sold by the end of 2008. 10 Million units for any product is considered a success. It took Apple a mere 74 days to sell its one million iPhone, see the Apple PR item at https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2007/09/10Apple-Sells-One-Millionth-iPhone/.
Just over 2 months from the iPhone going on sale, Apple made a decision to reduce the pricing of the 8GB iPhone model from $599 to $399. At the same time, they removed the 4GB model from sale. As an owner of the 4GB model I was a bit surprised that my less than three-month old iPhone was now completely obsoleted and no longer available for sale. But, overall, it did not bother me. I was happy with the iPhone as it was.
The price drop was not the last change for the original iPhone. In February 2008, Apple released a 16GB version of the iPhone for the same price as the original 4GB model, $499. By the time the original iPhone was replaced it had sold 6.1 million units. Needless to say, Apple easily hit their 10 million iPhone mark before the end of calendar year 2008.
The iPhone was not universally seen as a great device, there were some that did think there were some issues with it. Let us look back at those next.
Critiques and Criticisms
When the iPhone was first released, not everybody was completely enamored with it. There were some that thought that it had no future and it was a folly for Apple to get into the cellphone market.
There were two main criticisms. The first, and biggest, critique was that the iPhone only supported 2G cellular, even though 3G connectivity was available. On one hand, this was legit criticism yet, in the overall scheme it was not. This is because in June of 2007 there were only 200 million 3G subscribers in the entire world, or 6.7% of the nearly 3 billion cellular phones in use at that time.
According to Comscore, in June 2007, for the entirety of the United States, there was only 16.7% of the population that was covered by 3G. See https://www.comscore.com/Insights/Press-Releases/2008/09/US-Adoption-of-3G-Mobile-Devices. Therefore, in my opinion, Apple made the right tradeoff. Even in 2008, a year after the launch of the iPhone, 3G penetration was just over 28.4% in the United States. That means not even 1/3 of subscribers had the opportunity to get 3G.
The second criticism was the pricing. Today, we are used to paying for phones either all up-front or over the course of 12 to 24 months. However, that was not always the case. When cell phones were originally coming into fashion, and especially during the mid to late 2000s, it was very common for one to get an a phone with a heavy subsidy. This typically came in the form of contracts where the cell phone carrier would spread out the overall cost of the device over the length of the contract. This is what people had become accustomed to and the price tag of $499, or $599 seemed a bit high.
While there was no direct subsidy for the original iPhone, one would be coming with its successor, but that is a whole separate story.
Using the Original iPhone Today
Sadly, the primary feature of the iPhone, the phone, can no longer be used because 2G cellular networks, which the device was based on, are no longer in service. Even the 3G networks, the successor to 2G, are being shut down. Even though it can no longer be used as a phone, if you plug in an iPhone into a modern Mac, it will still appear in Finder. You can still synchronize music, movies, tv shows, and apps to it. So, you could actually use the original iPhone as a 4GB iPod to this day. No, it will not support any streaming services, but if you synchronize music to it, it will work. I am not sure how much longer Apple will continue to support these older devices on modern operating systems, but as of this writing they are still supported on macOS 12.4.
While I may not use my original iPhone every day, I do use my iPhone every singe day for multiple hours each day. I am constantly listening to music, audiobook, or podcasts on it. Beyond this, I am using various social media apps multiple times a day and do not even bat at an eye when switching between Wi-Fi and using 5G. Yes, I do notice the speed differences, but the fact that I can get just about anything at my fingertips is still an amazing thing to behold.
The original iPhone will always hold a special place in my life. I distinctly remember the drive to the Apple Store, waiting in line, and subsequently setting up the iPhone, performing the initial synchronization, and even using the iPhone. It makes me smile even today when I think back at how I felt on June 30th, 2007 when I first started using the iPhone. 15 years later, I know I often take for granted the fact that I have been able to purchase a new iPhone each year. Furthermore, I also seem to forget just how incredible it is that 15 years later I am using a phone that was a radical shift in the technology world.
I do not have my original 4GB iPhone, and this saddens me a bit. Despite this, I did buy another refurbished 4GB original iPhone. Even though I only had 4GB of storage on my iPhone, it was still a fantastic device. There are many who might claim that some technology or product is “revolutionary”. Often these people are mistaken. However, in the case of the iPhone when people said the iPhone was going to change everything were absolutely correct and how it changed everything cannot be understated.
The original iPhone was the start of a significant shift in technology and it has shaped significant aspects of today’s modern society. The iPhone had pushed the entire technology industry to shift in major ways. The iPhone showed that there was an appetite for a smart phone with always on cellular connectivity, and it would not only be the techies who would buy it , but the general public would as well.
I know for me the iPhone is probably the one piece of technology that has had the most profound impact on everything that I do today. It was the device that started the app revolution, but more importantly spurred the cellular providers to keep increasing capacity to accommodate subscribers. I do not know where we would be if the iPhone was not the massive success that it has turned out to be.
It has been 15 years since the original iPhone got into the hands of consumers. I would love to see Apple bring back a special edition iPhone, maybe for the 25th anniversary, that has the same shape and design as the original iPhone, but bigger with the latest internals. I doubt that Apple would do that, because they do not look back at the past, only the future. But, it would be an interesting thing to see.
Today Apple had their World Wide Developer Conference 2022 Keynote. As expected they announced the new versions of most operating systems, iOS 16, iPadOS 16, macOS 16, and watchOS 9. Beyond this, they also announced two new Macs, with the successor to the M1 chip. Let us look at the hardware first.
MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro
Both the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro received refreshes with a whole new chip, called the M2 system-on-a-chip
M2 System on a Chip
The M2 uses a 2nd generation 5 nanometer process, which allows for even better power efficiency. This means that you can get even more performance for the same energy. In fact, according to Apple, the M2 has 25% more transistors, and can transfer memory at 100 gigabytes per second.
The new M2 processors allow for 25% higher graphics performance over M1, with up to 10 GPU cores, and an overall performance increase of 18%. The M2 also has a new generation of Secure Enclave and Neural engine, which provides 40% more operations per second than M1, at 15.8 trillion operations on the M2. There is also a dedicated media encode and decode portion on the chip with support for Apple’s ProRes, H.264, and even support for external 6K displays.
The last big change for the M2 is the maximum amount of memory, it is now 24GB instead of 16. This is a 50% increase and a big change for those who want or need a lot of memory for their workflows.
The MacBook Pro retains the same design as the previous model, just with the new M2 chip. The price for the 13-inch MacBook Pro is $1299, and $1199 for education. The MacBook Air though, is a different story.
The MacBook Air has received a whole new design, continues to be fanless. There are still only two ports, but both of them are Thunderbolt 4. However, there is now MagSafe as well. This means that you can charge and keep the two Thunderbolt ports open for other uses.
Included in the box with the M2 MacBook Air is a 35-watt Dual USB-C charger. This means that you can charge another device at the same time. The MacBook Air also supports fast charging, which can give you up to 50% charge in 30 minutes, but this does require a separate 67-watt charger, which you can select at the time that you order your MacBook Air, or you can purchase separately.
MagSafe is not the only change. There is also a new 1080p Camera System that will allow you to look even better during video conference, or when using FaceTime. One other feature with the M2 MacBook Air is that the bezels around the screen have been reduced. This makes the screen itself even larger screen at 13.6-inches. The reduced bezels does mean there is a notch similar to that on the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros.
The MacBook Air comes in four colors, Silver, Space Gray, Starlight, and Midnight. The prices start at $1199 for the M2 MacBook Air. The M1 MacBook Air is still available starting at $999.
The M2 MacBook Air and M2 MacBook Pro will be available in July. Now, let us move onto some of the new features of iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and watchOS, starting with watchOS.
The Apple Watch is designed to focus on health and fitness, and watchOS 9 continues this with some new features, like Atrial Fibrillation history, a new Medications App, and enhanced workout statistics.
The Apple Watch is capable of detecting Atrial Fibrillation, or AFib, and then alerting you so you can get the medical attention you need. Now, instead of just alerting you, you can see a full history in the Health app, as well as a pattern for possible days, times, and other factors that may point to a pattern. You can share this information with your doctor, if you so choose.
The new medications app will allow you to enter in the medications your are taking, and how often they should be taken. The app can then provide you with notifications and reminders to take your medicine. Beyond this, when you add a medication the app can suggest any possible interactions that you may have with other medications that you are taking. This way, you can be aware of them and consult with your primary care physician.
The Apple Watch is designed to allow you to keep track of your workouts and how you are performing. While you are on a run, you can now view additional metrics like heart rate, and specifically if you are in your target heart-rate range.
There are also four new Watch Faces, Astronomy, Lunar Calendar, PlayTime, and Metropolitan. These watch faces, along with the others, can now support rich complications which will allow even more customizations by developers.
The final big feature with watchOS 9 is regarding Sleep. You will now be able to get some additional insights into sleep, specifically how well you slept in each of the three types of sleep, REM, Core Sleep, and Deep Sleep. You will be able to see graphs of how much of each type of sleep you got over the night.
WatchOS will be compatible with Apple Watch Series 4 and newer, as well as Apple Watch SE.
iOS has a slew of new features available for it as well. The biggest of these is an entirely redesigned Lock Screen. The Lock Screen will now allow you to put various widgets right on your Lock Screen. This can be battery levels, weather, or any other third-party widgets that are available through your apps. You can have multiple Lock Screens that can integrate with Focus Modes so you can have different apps and show just what you want for each different screen.
There are two new features in Messages, inline editing a message and marking a conversation as unread, so you can easily fix a typo in a message. You can also mark a thread as unread, so you can get back to it later.
Another big feature with iOS 16 is a new feature to Continuity, in particular you are able to use your iPhone as a camera on your Mac. This will work not just in Apple’s apps, but all video conferencing software, like Zoom, Teams, and WebEx.
Mail has gotten a few changes, including scheduled sending, undo sending, and follow up suggestions, including the ability to remind you on a specific date and time to follow up on a Mail message.
There is another feature for Families, in particular Family iCloud Library. This means that you can add individual photos, add by default, or based on date. Any edits will be automatically synchronized to everyone, including favorites, captions, and keywords too.
iOS 16 will be on iPhone SE (2nd Generation or newer), and any iPhone introduced in 2017 or later, so iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X or newer.
macOS is a mature operating system, but there are still some new features, including ones already covered, like Continuity Camera, Handoff for FaceTime, Family Photos Library, changes to Messages, and Mail changes.
Spotlight has some new changes including enhanced image search, by finding images in Photos, Messages, Notes, Finder, or even the web. You can also use Spotlight to start a timer or create an alarm. iOS and iPadOS also get these changes as well.
The biggest change to macOS is a new feature called Stage Manager. Stage Manager will allow you to easily group up to four apps together in a group. You can then easily move apps together and all of the apps will be put off to the left, so you can stay focused on the task at hand, but will allow you to easily get to any other app quickly.
macOS Ventura will be available on iMac, iMac Pro, MacBook, and MacBook Pro 2017 and later, Mac mini and MacBook Air 2018 and newer, the 2019 Mac Pro and later, and 2022 Mac Studio and later.
The iPad has received a lot of the features that have been already mentioned, like scheduled mail, mail follow up, Family Sharing iCloud Library, and message editing. The biggest addition is one that is also on the Mac, Stage Manager.
Stage Manager on the iPad allows you to easily switch apps, however, you can now also more easily pair apps together by dragging them with the current app. This is well beyond SplitView, because the iPad can now have overlapping windows with the ability to resize windows, individually. This means that you will be able to position the windows where you would like, so you can easily switch between the apps and rearrange as needed. Stage Manager is a mode that you can toggle as needed through Control Center on iPadOS 16.
When you are using an iPad with an M1 chip, you may want to have more screen real estate, this is now possible with improved display support. There are two different options. The first is to change the display size, to provide more space. When you do this, you can get more information on the screen at once.
The second option is to connect an external monitor. When you do this, you can use it as a second monitor and you can easily move apps between the external monitor and the iPad Pro.
Beyond Stage Manager, the iPad now has the Weather app which is designed using SwiftUI specifically for the iPad and adapts as necessary.
iPadOS 16 will be available on iPad mini (5th generation or later), iPad (5th generation or later), iPad Air (3rd generation or later), and all iPad Pro models.
This year’s operating systems, iOS 16, iPadOS 16, macOS Ventura, and watchOS 9 all add a variety of new features. Developer betas are available today with public betas arriving sometime in July, with the final releases in the fall. The items outlined above are just scratching the surface of all of the new features, so be sure to check out the links above, or even the Apple Newsroom source links below.
All of the links below are for Apple Newsroom articles
It is now early June and Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference is on Monday. Typically, I would do a predictions, but given that WWDC is primarily about software, and it is anybody’s guess as to what Apple will announce. So, because of that instead of predictions, I will provide my wish list for what I would like to see from iOS 16, iPadOS 16, macOS 13, tvOS 16, and watchOS 9.
Widgets were introduced in iOS 14 for the iPhone, and widgets were added to iPadOS with iOS 15, including an extra large Widget type. It would be nice to see Widgets come to the desktop of macOS.
Along with being available on macOS, I also think it would be great if there could be a tad bit of interactivity, not the pseudo-interactivity that Widgets have now. It may only be through standard controls, like Button, and Picker, but even that would be a significant improvement
macOS is a mature operating system and it is not easy to think what additional features macOS could have added to it. But there is one, Widgets on the desktop of macOS, which is covered above.
As for the name for macOS 13 that is a bit more difficult. There are five possible names,
Mammoth – Only if it is a monumental release
A second feature, which would be nice would be a completely redesigned System preferences screen. Possibly with new an entirely new preference pane style, or at bare minimum, a resizable window.
The iPad in its current state is living a double-life, one of hardware and another of software. First, the hardware is fantastic. The entire iPad line of products, from the smallest, the 8.3-inch iPad mini, to the largest, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, are able to easily handle anything that is thrown at them. The iPad Pro has an M1 with 8GB of memory, and even the base model iPad even has 3GB of memory.
Yet, the software is woefully inadequate. I am not going to say that the iPad has been ignored, although for many years it was clear that Apple was not sure of its direction, but it does seem like iPadOS has not been getting enough attention. Apple has not been pushing the limits of what the iPad can do.
When the person who uses the iPad to its maximum and pushes the boundaries, decides to leave the iPad Pro behind and instead embrace macOS, it should be a clear sign that the current state of iPadOS is not where it should be.
I would like to see significant changes to iPadOS myself. I had thought about trying to use the iPad for some of the tasks that I use my MacBook Pro for, but the limitations of iPadOS precluded me from doing so. Part of the problem, I suspect, is that the apps that I am used to using on my MacBook Pro are not available, in any form, on the iPad.
HomeKit is Apple’s framework that allows you to control and manage your smart devices in your home. The Home app has the ability for you to identify favorites. One thing that would be nice to have would be the ability to put your favorites in whatever order you want. With iOS 15 this is not possible. The order is entirely arbitrary and does not make any sense.
Removing a favorite and re-adding it does not change the order and there is no way to manually adjust the order. It would be a great addition to be able to set the order for favorites would go a long way to adding some flexibility.
There are a couple of things I would like to see on the Apple Watch. These are the same things that I wanted last year, but we did not get them. Therefore, I am copying and pasting my exact wish list items from last year.
When you charge an Apple Watch once the Watch is fully charged a notification will be sent to the paired iPhone. What I would like to see is this enhanced a bit so that the notification will be sent to other nearby devices, like a Mac or an iPad, provided that the devices are logged into the same iCloud account. Like the listing of shared iCloud folders, this is a small feature that would add a nice touch.
The second change is third-party custom watch faces. I think allowing developers to create custom watch faces, and having users install them, is sorely needed. The Apple Watch has a wide variety of watch faces, however, even with all of the customizations that are available, not all watch faces suit the needs of all users. I am not sure if Apple will ever do this, but I am sure that there is a market for this.
I think we will see some improvements to SwiftUI. What specific improvements might be tricky to determine, given that SwiftUI is not open source. However, SwiftUI is still a somewhat nascent framework and there is still some features that could be added.
One area that could be significantly improved is layout. In particular, providing equal width buttons. If I have three buttons that I want to have equal widths, there is no simple way of doing this.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks for any programmer is determining whether something can be done with a particular framework. Apple’s documentation, while it has improved, is still woefully inadequate, particularly in relation to SwiftUI. Instead of consulting Apple’s own documentation, I tend to just do a search for how to do something in SwiftUI, because Apple’s documentation won’t answer it.
It is not necessary just a particular approach, but whether a particular View (Stack, List, HStack, etc…) can accept a particular modifier or not. There are times I just try to add a modifier to a view and see if it can do anything. Sometimes, it works, other times it does not.
There is my wish list for iOS 16, iPadOS 16, tvOS 16, watchOS 9, and macOS 13. Apple’s WWDC keynote is on Monday at 10am Pacific Time. Apple’s State of the Union will follow at 1:00pm Pacific Time. As is the case with other Apple keynotes, I will post a recap sometime on Monday, after the keynote.
A full third of the year has now passed and we have reached meteorological summer, it is time to provide my reading list for May 2022. For the month of May 2022 I read a total of 23 titles, 2 of which are new, or about 8.70% being first time listens for me.
The title I want to highlight this month is “Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood.
The Handmaid’s Tale is a novel of such power that the reader will be unable to forget its images and its forecast. Set in the near future, it describes life in what was once the United States and is now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men in its population
I think next three months will be lighter on books I will listen to due to personal projects going on throughout the summer.
There are actually two parts to the full course, the “Apple Device Support” course and the “Apple Deployment and Management” course. The Device Support course is approximately 14 hours in length and will cover tools, services, and the best practices used to support an organization’s iPhones, iPads, and Macs. Once you have completed the course you can attempt the exam to earn the Apple Certified Support Professional certification, with the exam ID of 9L0-3021-ENU.
The Apple Deployment and Management course is approximately 13 hours long and will cover the ways to configure, manage, and secure Apple’s products while using a mobile device management, or MDM, service using Apple’s Business Manager or Apple School Manager. Once you have completed this course and pass the exam, you can earn the Apple Certified IT Professional certification, with the exam ID of 9L0-3019-ENU.
There are a couple of things to note about these. First, the “Certified Support Professional” is required before attempting the “Certified IT Professional” certificate.
Second, the exams are online exams and administered by Pearson OnVue. When you do take the exam, it will cost $149 each. So, that is something to keep in mind. According to Apple’s documents, if you do not pass the exam on the first try, you can retake it again after 14 days, with a maximum of four attempts to pass the exam.
Each exam is 110 questions, of which you need to get 80%, or 88 questions, correct in order to pass. You have 120 minutes to complete the questions.
This is a great addition for those looking to get some training on Apple’s products with documents directly from Apple. The ability to learn at your own pace is a great thing for providing significant flexibility for those wanting to learn.