Cereal Killer, Phantom Phreak, Crash Override…if these handles appear on your computer screen, you’re beyond saving–consider yourself hacked. In this cyberpunk thriller, a renegade group of elite teenage computer hackers rollerblade through New York City by day and ride the information highway by night. After hacking into a high-stakes industrial conspiracy, they become prime suspects and must recruit the best of the cybernet underground to help clear their names.

Tag: iPhone

  • The Original iPhone: 15 Years Later

    The Original iPhone: 15 Years Later

    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.

    Nokia 3310 in Champagne

    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

    Front and back of the original iPhone from 2007
    Original iPhone front and back

    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.

    Design

    Photo of the Back of the original iPhone taken with an iPhone 13 Pro Max
    Photo of the Back of the original iPhone taken with an iPhone 13 Pro Max

    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.

    Features

    The original iPhone had only a few physical capabilities and connections. These features included:

    • 30-pin Dock Connector
    • A headphone jack
    • A camera
    • A microphone
    • A speaker
    • Bluetooth 2.0+EDR
    • 802.11b/g Wi-Fi

    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.

    Side view of the original iPhone
    Side view of the original iPhone

    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.

    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.

    Default iPhone software for iPhoneOS 3.1.3
    Default software for the original iPhone running iPhoneOS 3.1.3

    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:

    • SMS
    • Calendar
    • Photos
    • Camera
    • YouTube
    • Stocks
    • Maps (powered by Google)
    • Weather
    • Clock
    • Calculator
    • Notes
    • Settings
    • Phone
    • Mail
    • Safari
    • iPod

    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.

    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

    Original iPhone showing the "Activating" message
    Original iPhone showing the “Activating” message

    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.

    Syncing

    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.

    Screen

    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.

    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.

    Software keyboard on the original iPhone using the SMS app.
    Software keyboard on the original iPhone using the SMS app

    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.

    Cellular

    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.

    Pricing

    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.

    Reception

    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

    Unlock Screen on the original iPhone running iPhoneOS 3.1.3
    Unlock Screen on the original iPhone running iPhoneOS 3.1.3

    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.

    Closing Thoughts

    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.

    Original post: https://www.waynedixon.com/2007/07/16/iphone/

  • The iPhone Introduction: 15 Years Later

    The iPhone Introduction: 15 Years Later

    “Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything”. When someone states something like the previous quote it is often seen as hyperbole. However, in the case of this exact quote, it was quite prophetic and not hyperbole at all. Although it would take a bit of time for it to catch on.

    This is the opening line to a keynote that introduced a device that would change the way that people use technology. The keynote was for the MacWorld San Francisco that took place 15 years ago today, on January 9th, 2007.

    I have not been lucky enough to attend any of Apple’s keynotes. Instead, I would watch them at home. I distinctly remember feeling that this would be a different one, and indeed it was. As Steve Jobs stated, “Today we are introducing three revolutionary products, A Widescreen iPod, Revolutionary mobile phone, and an internet communicator…Are you getting it, these are not three separate devices. This is one device, and we are calling it iPhone”.

    Apple introduced the iPhone well before it was to be on sale. The iPhone did not go on sale until June 29th, 2007. The rationale for announcing it so early in order to avoid any information being leaked. Jobs even stated as much in the keynote. For years there had been rumors that Apple was building a phone. In fact, Apple started by making a tablet, but they could not get the technology to scale properly, so instead they turned to making a phone.

    Was the iPhone the first Smartphone, no, that would likely go to the Palm or Blackberry. Yet, the iPhone has indisputably been one of the most popular lines of devices ever produced. The introduction of the iPhone sparked the modern cell phone revolution. Many of the paradigms and interaction methods introduced with the iPhone remain to this day, including swiping and pinch to zoom, just to name a couple of examples.

    The iPhone not only changed the way we interact with mobile devices, but it also brought a much more prevalent and larger revolution, the mobile app revolution. Again, the iPhone was not the first to have apps, but it was the device that help usher in a new digital economy. While it is entirely possible to use a mobile device using only the provided applications, it is very very likely that every smartphone user has installed at least one additional app to their phone.

    Skeptics

    At the time of its launch, there were many who did not think as though Apple could pull it off. For instance, Nokia’s Chief Strategist at the time, Anssi Vanjoki stated:

    The development of mobile phones will be similar in PCs. Even with the Mac, Apple has attracted much attention at first, but they have still remained a niche manufacturer. That will be in mobile phones as well.

    Another example is from Palm CEO Ed Colligan, he said

    We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone. PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.

    The last example is from Research in Motion’s Co-CEO of Blackberry, Jim Balsillie,

    It’s kind of one more entrant into an already very busy space with lots of choice for consumers. But in terms of a sort of a sea-change for BlackBerry, I would think that’s overstating it.

    At the same Macworld event Steve Jobs stated that Apple was hoping to sell 10 million iPhones in all of 2008, which would have been one percent of the overall market at the time. It took Apple just over 74 days to sell their one millionth iPhone. Apple did reach their goal of selling 10 million iPhones in 2008, when they sold 6.9 million iPhones in their 4th fiscal quarter, alone, which was from July to September 2008.

    Personal Journey with iPhone

    As for my own personal journey with the iPhone, that is an easy one. I did not buy an iPhone on launch day. I actually waited until the second day, June 30th. While there was definitely less fanfare that day, it was actually probably better because I was the fourth person in line when I went to get mine. I can clearly recall the delight of being able to use a whole new type of cell phone. My Motorola Razr V3 was still a great phone, but the iPhone was different.

    Since that day, I have only had an iPhone as my preferred mobile device. While I would prefer not to give up my iPad, if I had to choose only one device between the iPhone and the iPad, I would choose the iPhone every time. My iPhone the device I use the most. It is usually not more than a few feet away from me at any point throughout the day. The iPhone has come a long way in the last 15 years. Will the iPhone last forever, no, nothing ever does. But I am sure it still has a long life left in it.

    We now have many things that were not present on the first iPhone. Things like Copy and Paste, Multitasking, and vastly superior cameras and even video recording capabilities. The original iPhone did not even have 3G capability, that would come in 2008 with the release of the iPhone 3G. It is strange to think that the iPhone that begun the entire journey of modern smart phones can no longer be used as a cell phone. Even its four successors, the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and iPhone 4S will no longer be capable of being used more cellular connectivity as of July 1st, 2022.

    While there are many who prefer to use Android-based phones, they cannot argue that the iPhone is the device that pushed Google to create Android. I do not think that today’s modern technological landscape would be nearly where it is today if it were not for the iPhone. It was, and remains, a truly revolutionary device that has transformed an incalculable number of ways that we do things. It will be interesting to see the next 15 years of the iPhones life will be like. It is possible that the iPhone may be a secondary market and something else may take over.

    Original iPhone as compared to an iPhone 13 Pro Max
    Original iPhone as compared to an iPhone 13 Pro Max

    You can watch the full Macworld keynote on YouTube.

  • Apple’s “Hi, Speed” Event Recap

    Apple’s “Hi, Speed” Event Recap

    Apple had their “Hi, Speed” event today and it had a lot in a short amount of time. Apple only covered two items today, HomePod and iPhone. Let us look at each in turn starting with the HomePod.

    HomePod

    The HomePod is Apple’s smart speaker for the home. Back in 2017, Apple introduced the HomePod and released it in February of 2018. Since then, the speaker itself has not changed. Today, there is a new addition to the HomePod line, the HomePod Mini.

    The HomePod Mini is a much smaller version of the HomePod. It stands at 3.3 inches high and 3.9 inches wide. This much smaller size means that the weight has also been significantly reduced. The HomePod mini is now 0.76 pounds versus the larger HomePod size of 5.5 pounds. The physical characteristics are not the only thing to change. The internals have changed as well.

    The larger HomePod has 7 tweeters, and you cannot fit 7 tweeters in the small size of the HomePod mini. Instead, there are two tweeters with a new “acoustic waveguide”, which will direct the sound where it needs to go. The new HomePod Mini is powered by Apple’s S5 chip. The same one that powers the Apple Watch SE and the Apple Watch Series 5. This also includes the U1 chip, which will help detect the proximity of your iPhone.

    What the U1 chip will do is allow you to move throughout your home and your audio can follow wherever you are. This means that you can go about doing housework without needing to carry around anything with you. The

    There is also a new feature to the HomePod called Intercom. Intercom is a way of being able to address all of the HomePods in a home so you can get everyone’s attention. When someone hears an Intercom message, they can also respond back. The Intercom feature is not limited to HomePods. It can also work with iPhones as well as CarPlay devices. Additionally, you can address an individual room with an Intercom message.

    Ultimately, the much smaller package comes with a smaller price tag as well. The new HomePod mini is $99 and comes in Space Gray or White. It will be available for pre-order starting on November 6th, with delivery the week of November 16th. Next, let us look at the iPhone.

    iPhone

    Apple unveiled a slew of iPhones, four in total. These are the iPhone 12 Mini, the iPhone 12, the iPhone 12 Pro, and the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Let us look at these in two groups, iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. Before we do that, let us look at the commonalities between all of the models.

    iPhone 12 Common Features

    Even though Apple introduced four new iPhones, within two different groups, there are some commonalities between all of the iPhone 12 models.

    Internals

    All of the iPhones have the A14 Bionic. This processor has six cores, a faster neural engine, and is built on a 5 nanometer process. According to Apple:

    the A14 Bionic features a 16-core Neural Engine — for an 80 percent increase in performance — that is capable of completing 11 trillion operations per second, enabling improved performance on even the most intense ML models.

    5G Connectivity

    The biggest among the commonalities is the inclusion of 5G. All four models have 5G cellular radios within them, and in the U.S. the millimeter-wave variant of 5G will be supported. 5G will allow faster downloads and uploads. This includes up to 4Gbps download and 200Mbps upload. These are in ideal conditions, which means you will likely see speeds a bit slower than the ideal ones.

    5G connectivity will use more battery, so if you do not need the speed, your iPhone 12 will automatically switch to LTE in order to save battery.

    Cameras

    The ubiquity of smartphones means that everybody has the potential to take pictures. One of the more common types of photos taken is the selfie. While some, myself included, hate taking selfies, there is a large contingent of people who like taking them. The entire iPhone 12 line has a new TrueDepth sensor array, including the front camera. With this new sensor comes a new option, the ability to take Night Mode selfies.

    The new front camera will allow better low-light shots so you can take good selfies even if you are in a low-light area. To go along with this new night mode selfie option, you can now also take time lapse pictures and video with Night Mode enabled.

    There are more changes with the cameras, but those will be covered in a bit.

    Environmental Impact

    Even though Apple introduced four new iPhones, within two different groups, there are some commonalities between all of them. The biggest among them is the inclusion of 5G. All four models have 5G cellular radios within them, and in the U.S. the millimeter-wave variant of 5G will be supported. All of the iPhones have the A14 Bionic. This processor has six cores, a faster neural engine, and is built on a 5 nanometer process, which allows for better efficiency of battery.

    One of the areas where Apple is attempting to help the environment is by reducing waste. One way to do that is to not include some items in the box. Much like the Apple Watch, the iPhone 12 line will not include a power brick within the box. Furthermore, there will no longer be headphones included in the box. All of this means that the iPhone 12 boxes should be significantly smaller and will allow more to be packed onto a pallet, which should reduce fuel consumption overall.

    A charging cable is still included in the box. But this has changed slightly. In the box will be a USB-C to lightning cable. This means that you will need to get a USB-C power brick, if you do not have one, or you can use wireless charging. Which all of the iPhone 12 models include.

    The most interacted item on an iPhone is the screen. All of the iPhones have some similarities in their screen. All of the iPhone 12 models will have an HDR display that has a Wide P3 color gamut and supports True Tone.One of the experiences that all iPhone owners will likely eventually have is when they drop their phone and the glass breaks. Apple has made the glass a bit tougher over the years, but this year is a larger jump in protection with the new Ceramic Shield.

    Ceramic Shield

    The Ceramic Shield is a new feature that you will not see directly, as it is it built into the glass on the iPhone 12 line. This protective coating is designed to make the glass four times more resistant to breaking. This means that if you accidentally drop your iPhone it is less likely to have the glass break. According to Apple,

    the Ceramic Shield front cover, which goes beyond glass by adding a new high temperature crystallization step that grows nano-ceramic crystals within the glass matrix, increases drop performance by 4x.

    Whether or not the Ceramic Shield will indeed limit breaking of the front glass has yet to be seen, but it could prove interesting and a great enhancement. That concludes all of the common features, next let us turn to the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini.

    iPhone 12/iPhone 12 mini

    The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini are essentially the same phone, except for the size. The iPhone mini has a 5.4-inch screen with a resolution of 2340-by-1080 pixels. Whereas the iPhone 12 has a 6.1-inch screen with a 2532-by-1170 pixel screen. Both models come in three storage options: 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB.

    The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini have an aluminum shell that will be pretty sturdy. The back will continue to be glass and, as mentioned above, the front will be the Ceramic Shield. The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini will come in a variety of colors, let us look at those now.

    Colors

    The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini will be available in five colors. These colors are:

    • Black
    • White
    • (PRODUCT)RED
    • Green
    • Blue

    The iPhone 12 mini’s price depends on your carrier. There is a $30 instant discount for AT&T and Verizon subscribers. Here is the pricing for AT&T and Verizon for the iPhone 12 mini/iPhone 12:

    • 64GB is $699/$799
    • 128GB is $749/$849
    • 256GB is $849/$949

    Pricing for T-Mobile, Sprint, or Sim-Free is $30 more.

    • 64GB is $729/$829
    • 128GB is $779/$879
    • 256GB is $879/$979

    The 6.1-inch iPhone 12 will be available for pre-order this Friday, October 16th and will begin arriving on October 23rd. The iPhone 12 mini will be available for pre-order on November 6th, and will begin arriving on November 13th.

    iPhone 12 Pro/iPhone 12 Pro Max

    The iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max are very similar in features. The only difference between the two models is some features on the cameras. Before we dive into the differences in cameras, let us look at a new feature to the iPhone 12 Pro line, LiDAR.

    LiDAR

    LiDAR, or Light Detection and Ranging, is used to measure the distance from one object to another. This is done by measuring the amount of time taken for the reflection of a light to bounce back to the source. LiDAR is not new to Apple products, as the 4th Generation 12.9-inch, and 2nd Generation 11-inch iPad Pro models are equipped with it. However, the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max are the first iPhones to have the technology.

    LiDAR is used heavily with Augmented Reality and allows you to map out a scene in extensive detail. You can then take this data and use it to build an Augmented Reality scene. Having LiDAR on the iPhone 12 Pro models will allow the technology to be used more heavily within the iOS ecosystem. Next, let us look at the other changes regarding the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Max, the Cameras.

    iPhone 12 Pro/iPhone 12 Pro Max Cameras

    One of the biggest uses of any iPhone is its camera. The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Max have similar cameras, but they are different. To quote Apple:

    iPhone 12 Pro features the new seven-element lens Wide camera with an ƒ/1.6 aperture, the fastest ever on an iPhone, for 27 percent improved low-light performance in photo and video; the Ultra Wide camera with a 120-degree field of view, perfect for capturing more scene in tight spots or epic landscapes; and a 52 mm focal length Telephoto camera, great for framing portraits, bringing the optical zoom range to 4x.

    iPhone 12 Pro Max takes the pro camera experience even further. The new ƒ/1.6 aperture Wide camera boasts a 47 percent larger sensor with 1.7μm pixels for a massive 87 percent improvement in low-light conditions. It also includes the expansive Ultra Wide camera and a 65 mm focal length Telephoto camera for increased flexibility with closer shots and tighter crops. Combined, this system offers 5x optical zoom range.

    Both of the iPhone 12 Pro models can shoot photos in a few feature called Apple ProRaw. Apple ProRaw is a way of taking RAW photos, like you would on a non-smartphone camera, and combine it with Apple’s Machine Learning to provide a combination of the two technologies.

    The two iPhone 12 Pro models have the same camera setup of three lenses of Ultra Wide, Wide, and Telephoto lenses. The Ultra Wide lens features an ƒ/2.4 aperture with a 120° field of view and the Wide lens has an ƒ/1.6 aperture.

    Here is a breakdown of the differences between the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro, in terms of camera features. These will be in the format of iPhone 12 Pro/iPhone 12 Pro Max.

    • Telephoto lens: ƒ/2.0 aperture ƒ/2.2 aperture
    • Optical Zoom in: 2x/2.5x
    • Optical Zoom out: 2x/2x
    • Optical Zoom Range: 4x/5x
    • Digital Zoom: 10x/12x

    The above differences are for still pictures. There are some variations between the two when it comes to video as well. The iPhone 12 Pro has a digital zoom up to 6x for video, while the iPhone 12 Pro Max has up to 7x digital zoom for video.

    The iPhone 12 Pro Max wide camera sensor has exclusive feature to it, Sensor-shift optical image stabilization. The Sensor-shift optical image stabilization will allow minor vibrations to be compensated for, so you will not get blurry and bouncy images when using the Wide sensor.

    One of the differences for the iPhone 12 Pro models, as compared to the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini, is the back and shell. The iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro max have a Textured matte glass back and stainless steel design. The stainless steel edges should allow the color iPhone you choose to really shine. Speaking of colors, let us take a look at the options.

    Colors

    Similar to the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max will be available in four colors. These colors are:

    • Silver
    • Graphite
    • Gold
    • Pacific Blue

    The iPhone 12 Pro models will come in three different storage options, 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB. The base storage has been doubled from last year. Unlike the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12, the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max pricing is a bit simpler. The base price remains unchanged from last year, however, the higher storage options have actually been reduced in price. The pricing for the iPhone 12 Pro/iPhone 12 Pro Max is:

    • 128GB is $999/$1099
    • 128GB is $1099/$1199
    • 256GB is $1299/$1399

    The 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro will be available for pre-order this Friday, October 16th and will begin arriving on October 23rd. The 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max will be available for pre-order on November 6th, and will begin arriving on November 13th.

    Let us turn to one additional thing that is new, and that is one last item that is common to all of the iPhone 12 models, MagSafe.

    MagSafe

    There is one thing that is featured on all of the new iPhones and that is a new MagSafe connector. This connector allows you to more easily position your iPhone on a wireless charger, meaning that you will be able to get an efficient charge. MagSafe is built into all of the new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models. To go along with this is a new set of cases. There are cases for each size in a variety of colors. These colors are:

    • Black
    • Clear
    • Cyprus Green
    • Deep Navy
    • Kumquat
    • Pink Citrus
    • Plum
    • PRODUCT(RED)
    • White

    These will be available for $49 each. Sometimes you want to travel with as few things as possible. There is a new accessory that allows you to leave your wallet at home, and that is the new “iPhone Leather Wallet with MagSafe”. These leather additions have a MagSafe connector on the back of them and allow you to put the important items in the wallet and attach it to the back of your iPhone. These wallets will come in four colors:

    • Baltic Blue
    • California Poppy
    • Saddle Brown
    • Black

    Each of these Leather Wallets will be $59. While Apple is producing MagSafe accessories, other manufacturers are not being locked out. They are free to create new accessories that will work with the MagSafe charger on the iPhones 12 line.

    The image at the top of this section is called a MagSafe Duo. There is no release date, nor pricing on this, but it should be able to charge both an iPhone as well as an Apple Watch.

    Older iPhones

    It is not uncommon for Apple to keep older iPhone models around, however they have not done so the last few years. This year is an exception to that. The iPhone XR, and iPhone 11 will remain in the lineup of iPhones, but at new prices.

    The iPhone XR is still available in its six colors:

    • White
    • Black
    • Blue
    • Yellow
    • Coral
    • (PRODUCT)RED

    It is still available in two sizes, 64GB or 128GB. The 64GB model is $499 and the 128GB model is $549.

    Similarly, the iPhone 11 is still available in its six colors:

    • White
    • Black
    • Green
    • Yellow
    • Purple
    • (PRODUCT)RED

    The iPhone 11 is also still available in its three storage sizes, 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB. The prices for each is $599, $649, and $749 respectively.

    The iPhone SE is still $399 for the 64GB model, and $449 for the 128GB model, and $549 for the 256GB model. It is still available in the same three colors, White, Black, and (PRODUCT)Red.

    Closing Thoughts

    The new iPhones are great additions to the existing lineup. The fact that Apple kept the older models around will be good for those who may not want, or be able to afford, the latest technology but still may want a great phone. The fact that the only changes are the prices means that you can still get your favorite colors.

    If you do want the latest iPhone technology but do not want a large phone, the new iPhone 12 mini may be a great solution for you. The iPhone 12 mini is identical to the iPhone 12, except for the screen size. The 5.4-inch screen should be a nice happy medium between the iPhone SE, which has a 4.7-inch screen, and the iPhone XS, which had a 5.8 inch screen.

    The iPhone 12 is a solid upgrade to the iPhone 11, with the new A14 processor and new night mode selfie options will be great updates for everyone. The iPhone 12 Pro line has the new LiDAR sensor as well as the new Apple ProRaw feature. Although ApplePro Raw will not be available until later this year.

    The new HomePod mini should be great addition to the HomePod line, and the $99 price tag should allow you to add HomePods in more rooms of your home.

    The 6.1-inch iPhone 12 and the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro are available for pre-order this Friday, October 16th. The iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max, and HomePod mini will be available for pre-order on November 6th.

    Source: iPhone 12 & iPhone 12 mini, HomePod mini, iPhone 12 Pro & iPhone 12 Pro Max

  • iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max Availability for 09/17/2017 (Evening)

    iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max Availability for 09/17/2017 (Evening)
    A lot has changed in just 24 hours. All iPhone 11s from Apple are now October 1st, which is 2 weeks from this posting. Also, the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max have a 3 to 4 week delivery time. It is merely speculation, but I think that demand has outpaced supply estimates and the phones are going to be more difficult to come by than anticipated, at least in the short term. If demand keeps up though, this could go into the holidays, but time will tell on that.

    Changes for Apple

    • ATT – 256GB Green iPhone 11 has changed from Oct 7 – Oct 14 to Oct 1
    • Sprint – 64GB Green iPhone 11 has changed from Oct 7 – Oct 14 to Oct 1
    • Sprint – 128GB Green iPhone 11 has changed from Oct 7 – Oct 14 to Oct 1
    • Sprint – 256GB Green iPhone 11 has changed from Oct 7 – Oct 14 to Oct 1
    • Sprint – 64GB Yellow iPhone 11 has changed from Oct 7 – Oct 14 to Oct 1
    • Sprint – 64GB Purple iPhone 11 has changed from Oct 7 – Oct 14 to Oct 1
    • Sprint – 128GB Purple iPhone 11 has changed from Oct 7 – Oct 14 to Oct 1
    • T-Mobile – 64GB Green iPhone 11 has changed from Oct 7 – Oct 14 to Oct 1
    • T-Mobile – 128GB Green iPhone 11 has changed from Oct 7 – Oct 14 to Oct 1
    • T-Mobile – 256GB Green iPhone 11 has changed from Oct 7 – Oct 14 to Oct 1
    • T-Mobile – 64GB Purple iPhone 11 has changed from Oct 7 – Oct 14 to Oct 1
    • T-Mobile – 256GB Purple iPhone 11 has changed from Oct 7 – Oct 14 to Oct 1
    • Verizon – 64GB Green iPhone 11 has changed from Oct 7 – Oct 14 to Oct 1
    • Verizon – 256GB Green iPhone 11 has changed from Oct 7 – Oct 14 to Oct 1
    • Verizon – 256GB Purple iPhone 11 has changed from Oct 7 – Oct 14 to Oct 1
    • Sim-Free – 64GB Green iPhone 11 has changed from Oct 7 – Oct 14 to Oct 1
    • Sim-Free – 128GB Green iPhone 11 has changed from Oct 7 – Oct 14 to Oct 1
    • Sim-Free – 256GB Green iPhone 11 has changed from Oct 7 – Oct 14 to Oct 1
    • Sim-Free – 64GB Purple iPhone 11 has changed from Oct 7 – Oct 14 to Oct 1
    • Sim-Free – 128GB Purple iPhone 11 has changed from Oct 7 – Oct 14 to Oct 1
    • Sim-Free – 256GB Purple iPhone 11 has changed from Oct 7 – Oct 14 to Oct 1

    Changes for the Carriers

    • ATT – 512GB Space Gray iPhone 11 Pro has changed from Sep 20, 2019 to Oct 16, 2019
    • ATT – 512GB Silver iPhone 11 Pro has changed from Oct 15, 2019 to Oct 16, 2019
    • ATT – 64GB Midnight Green iPhone 11 Pro has changed from Sep 20, 2019 to Oct 2, 2019
    • T-Mobile – 256GB Gold iPhone 11 Pro has changed from Sep 25 – Oct-01 to Oct 02 – Oct-08
    • ATT – 256GB Space Gray iPhone 11 Pro Max has changed from Sep 20, 2019 to Oct 2, 2019
    • T-Mobile – 512GB Silver iPhone 11 Pro Max has changed from Sep 25 – Oct-01 to Oct 02 – Oct-25

    iPhone 11

    ATT 64GB 128GB 256GB
    White Oct 1 Oct 1 Oct 1
    Black Oct 1 Oct 1 Oct 1
    Green Oct 1 Oct 1 Oct 1
    Yellow Oct 1 Oct 1 – Oct 3 Oct 1
    Purple Oct 1 Oct 1 Oct 1
    (PRODUCT)Red Oct 1 Oct 1 Oct 1
    Sprint 64GB 128GB 256GB
    White Oct 1 Oct 1 Oct 1
    Black Oct 1 Oct 1 Oct 1
    Green Oct 1 Oct 1 Oct 1
    Yellow Oct 1 Oct 1 Oct 1
    Purple Oct 1 Oct 1 Oct 1
    (PRODUCT)Red Oct 1 – Oct 3 Oct 1 Oct 1
    T-Mobile 64GB 128GB 256GB
    White Oct 1 – Oct 3 Oct 1 Oct 1
    Black Oct 1 Oct 1 Oct 1
    Green Oct 1 Oct 1 Oct 1
    Yellow Oct 1 Oct 1 Oct 1
    Purple Oct 1 Oct 1 Oct 1
    (PRODUCT)Red Oct 1 Oct 1 Oct 1
    Verizon 64GB 128GB 256GB
    White Oct 1 Oct 1 Oct 1
    Black Oct 1 Oct 1 Oct 1
    Green Oct 1 Oct 1 Oct 1
    Yellow Oct 1 Oct 1 Oct 1
    Purple Oct 1 Oct 1 Oct 1
    (PRODUCT)Red Oct 1 Oct 1 Oct 1
    Sim-Free 64GB 128GB 256GB
    White Oct 1 Oct 1 – Oct 3 Oct 1
    Black Oct 1 Oct 1 – Oct 3 Oct 1
    Green Oct 1 Oct 1 Oct 1
    Yellow Oct 1 Oct 1 Oct 1
    Purple Oct 1 Oct 1 Oct 1
    (PRODUCT)Red Oct 1 – Oct 3 Oct 1 Oct 1

    iPhone 11 Pro

    ATT 64GB 256GB 512GB
    Space Gray Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15
    Silver Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15
    Midnight Green Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15
    Gold Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15
    Sprint 64GB 256GB 512GB
    Space Gray Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15
    Silver Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15
    Midnight Green Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15
    Gold Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15
    T-Mobile 64GB 256GB 512GB
    Space Gray Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15
    Silver Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15
    Midnight Green Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15
    Gold Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15
    Verizon 64GB 256GB 512GB
    Space Gray Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15
    Silver Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15
    Midnight Green Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15
    Gold Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15
    Sim-Free 64GB 256GB 512GB
    Space Gray Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15
    Silver Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15
    Midnight Green Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15
    Gold Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15

    iPhone 11 Pro Max

    ATT 64GB 256GB 512GB
    Space Gray Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15
    Silver Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15
    Midnight Green Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15
    Gold Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15
    Sprint 64GB 256GB 512GB
    Space Gray Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15
    Silver Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15
    Midnight Green Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15
    Gold Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15
    T-Mobile 64GB 256GB 512GB
    Space Gray Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15
    Silver Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15
    Midnight Green Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15
    Gold Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15
    Verizon 64GB 256GB 512GB
    Space Gray Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15
    Silver Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15
    Midnight Green Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15
    Gold Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15
    Sim-Free 64GB 256GB 512GB
    Space Gray Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15
    Silver Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15
    Midnight Green Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15
    Gold Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15 Oct 8 – Oct 15

    iPhone 11 – from Carriers

    ATT 64GB 128GB 256GB
    White Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019
    Black Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019
    Green Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019
    Yellow Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019
    Purple Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019
    (PRODUCT)Red Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019
    Sprint 64GB 128GB 256GB
    White 9/20 9/20 9/20
    Black 9/20 9/20 9/20
    Green 9/20 9/21 -10/1 9/20
    Yellow 9/20 9/20 9/20
    Purple 9/20 9/27 – 10/4 10/11 – 10/18
    (PRODUCT)Red 9/20 9/20 9/21 – 10/1
    T-Mobile 64GB 128GB 256GB
    White Sep 20 Sep 21 – Sep-24 Oct 02 – Oct-25
    Black Sep 20 Sep 21 – Sep-24 Oct 09 – Oct-25
    Green Sep 25 – Oct-01 Oct 09 – Oct-25 Oct 02 – Oct-25
    Yellow Oct 09 – Oct-25 Oct 02 – Oct-25 Sep 25 – Oct-01
    Purple Sep 25 – Oct-01 Oct 09 – Oct-25 Oct 02 – Oct-25
    (PRODUCT)Red Sep 21 – Sep-24 Sep 21 – Sep-24 Oct 02 – Oct-25
    Verizon 64GB 128GB 256GB
    White 09-20-2019 09-20-2019 09-20-2019
    Black 09-20-2019 09-20-2019 09-20-2019
    Green 09-27-2019 10-02-2019 09-20-2019
    Yellow 10-02-2019 09-20-2019 09-20-2019
    Purple 10-02-2019 09-27-2019 09-27-2019
    (PRODUCT)Red 09-20-2019 09-20-2019 09-20-2019

    iPhone 11 Pro – from Carriers

    ATT 64GB 256GB 512GB
    Space Gray Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019 Oct 16, 2019
    Silver Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019 Oct 16, 2019
    Midnight Green Oct 2, 2019 Oct 2, 2019 Oct 16, 2019
    Gold Oct 2, 2019 Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019
    Sprint 64GB 256GB 512GB
    Space Gray 9/20 9/27 – 10/4 9/20
    Silver 9/20 10/18 – 10/25 9/20
    Midnight Green 9/20 – 9/27 10/11 – 10/18 9/20
    Gold 9/27 – 10/4 10/4 – 10/11 9/20
    T-Mobile 64GB 256GB 512GB
    Space Gray Sep 21 – Sep-24 Oct 02 – Oct-08 Sep 25 – Oct-01
    Silver Sep 25 – Oct-01 Oct 02 – Oct-25 Sep 25 – Oct-01
    Midnight Green Oct 02 – Oct-08 Oct 09 – Oct-25 Sep 25 – Oct-01
    Gold Sep 21 – Sep-24 Oct 02 – Oct-08 Sep 25 – Oct-01
    Verizon 64GB 256GB 512GB
    Space Gray 09-27-2019 10-09-2019 10-09-2019
    Silver 09-20-2019 10-09-2019 10-09-2019
    Midnight Green 09-27-2019 09-27-2019 10-16-2019
    Gold 10-02-2019 09-27-2019 09-20-2019

    iPhone 11 Pro Max – from Carriers

    ATT 64GB 256GB 512GB
    Space Gray Sep 20, 2019 Oct 2, 2019 Sep 20, 2019
    Silver Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019 Oct 16, 2019
    Midnight Green Oct 2, 2019 Oct 2, 2019 Sep 20, 2019
    Gold Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019
    Sprint 64GB 256GB 512GB
    Space Gray 9/20 – 9/27 9/20 9/27 – 10/4
    Silver 10/18 – 10/25 9/20 9/20
    Midnight Green 10/4 – 10/11 9/20 9/20
    Gold 9/20 – 9/27 9/20 9/20
    T-Mobile 64GB 256GB 512GB
    Space Gray Sep 25 – Oct-01 Sep 21 – Sep-24 Oct 02 – Oct-25
    Silver Oct 09 – Oct-25 Oct 02 – Oct-25 Oct 02 – Oct-25
    Midnight Green Oct 09 – Oct-25 Oct 02 – Oct-08 Oct 02 – Oct-25
    Gold Sep 25 – Oct-01 Sep 21 – Sep-24 Oct 02 – Oct-25
    Verizon 64GB 256GB 512GB
    Space Gray 10-02-2019 10-09-2019 10-09-2019
    Silver 09-27-2019 09-27-2019 09-20-2019
    Midnight Green 10-02-2019 09-27-2019 10-09-2019
    Gold 10-02-2019 09-20-2019 09-20-2019
  • Apple Releases New Battery Cases

    Apple Releases New Battery Cases

    Today Apple released a few new products, all of them being Smart Battery Cases. There are battery cases for the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and the iPhone XR.

    The battery cases come in two colors, Black and White. The Smart Battery Cases are compatible with Qi Chargers, so you will be able to charge the case with any of your Qi Chargers you have purchased.

    You can order a Smart Battery Case today and it will be available on January 18th, 2019. If you do order one, it will cost your $129. I have ordered a Black Smart Battery Case for my iPhone XS and once I get it and have had a bit of time with it, I will let you know my thoughts.

    If you are thinking about ordering a Smart Battery Case, but you have questions, let me know and I will do my best to answer them, once I get my case.

  • Apple’s Battery Mess

    Apple’s Battery Mess

    One of the issues with today’s technology is that almost every device relies on a battery. Maybe there will be a giant leap in battery technology that makes them effectively obsolete. Unfortunately, it is not likely a giant leap will be found soon. Hence, we are stuck with modern battery technology. Most batteries in today’s technology is based on lithium-ion technology. One of the issues with this technology is that it may no longer be able to provide all of the necessary power to devices. Up through September of 2016, if an iPhone was not capable of providing the necessary power to the device, it may act in strange ways. The most noticeable of these is that the device might end up shutting down. This is an unacceptable solution.

    Starting with iOS 10.2.1, which was released in January of 2017, Apple made some changes in order to minimize the instances of iPhones inexplicably shutting down. The change that they made was to reduce the speed of the iPhones in order to reduce the burden on an iPhone’s battery. By doing this, users will still be able to keep using their iPhones. Along with this, if you went to “Settings” -> “Battery” and iOS detected issue with the battery you would see a notice indicating that you might need to get the battery serviced.

    All of this came to light due to a set of benchmarks that were run that showed that the speed of the iPhone was noticeably slower. Once these benchmarks were released, it played directly into the narrative that Apple was deliberately slowing down devices to force users to upgrade. This was not the case.

    Even though this is not the case, Apple has acknowledged the issue with their approach. At first they released a support article the discusses Lithium-Ion batteries. While this is informational, it did not directly address the cause. In order to help rectify it, Apple has issued an open letter. In this, Apple indicates that they will be reducing the price for out of warranty battery replacements. Currently, it is $79. Starting in late January, this price will be reduced to $29. This will be valid on iPhone 6 models, and later, from late January 2018 to December of 2018.

    This is a good step to help those who have purchased an iPhone 6, or later, to be able to continue to use their devices. As the message about the battery states “Early in 2018, we will issue an iOS software update with new features that give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery, so they can see for themselves if its condition is affecting performance.” This is absolutely necessary and should have been done before.

    With this apology and price reduction, Walt Mossberg, former technology writer, had something to say about it in a series of tweets. Or you can read it in its entirety

    It is as follows:

    It’s natural that, after Apple’s apology and battery replacement discount, people are calling for the return of user-replaceable batteries in phones and other devices. And it may well happen. But one big reason Steve Jobs wanted to get rid of replaceable batteries was to make room for *larger* batteries, taking advantage of the space gained by eliminating the user-accessible battery compartments and covers and user-safe casings. Thinness was secondary. And industry sales figures showed hardly anyone bought spare batteries or kept them charged, and that device turnover was fast enough that degrading batteries weren’t much of an issue. Also, in the case of phones, their processors and other components for years weren’t potent enough to run truly powerful software or tax the batteries nearly as much as they do today. Now, I wouldn’t be surprised to see 2020 smartphones with much more easily replaceable batteries, especially since Apple is now calling them “consumable” components.

    Mossberg makes a good point, particularly the last sentence “especially since Apple is now calling them ‘consumable’ components.” If this is truly the case, then I would expect Apple to begin incorporating user-replaceable batteries. It would be nice to see a return, however I do not know how likely it is. I am sure that Apple will begin looking the feasibility of replaceable batteries. I do not expect it for 2018, but as Mossberg postulates, 2020 is a possibility.

    It is not known what Apple will end up doing in the long run, but it would be nice to see a bit more flexibility. However, with the move to subscription phone subsidies, the need for user-replaceable batteries may be moot and not really an issue. Yes, this is absolutely bad for Apple, but Apple cannot control chemistry and the way that chemicals react. Should Apple have warned users, yes. I hope that Apple learns from its mistake and provides more information to the users. This incident may cause some users to switch to Android, but ultimately I do not think it will hurt Apple sales that much, but time will tell on that. Even with this battery issue, having an iPhone feel slower is still not as bad as having them explode, as Samsung experienced with their Galaxy Note 7, even so, this is not good.

  • Upgrading to a new iPhone

    Upgrading to a new iPhone

    From time to time people need to upgrade their devices. One of those times is shortly after Apple’s Fall Event, which is where we are now. When it comes to upgrade an iPhone, it can be somewhat straightforward, depending on what type of backup you have. There are two different backup possibilities. The two options are iTunes and iCloud.

    iTunes has been the stalwart for music and has been used by millions of people for backing up their iOS devices. One of the benefits of backing up iTunes is that you can encrypt your backups. The benefit of encrypting your backup is that absolutely everything on your iPhone can be completely restored. This includes any health data that is on your iPhone.

    If you backup via iCloud, your health data will not be backed up nor restored. This can pose an issue for some users. This changes slightly with iOS 11. Before we delve into that, let us look at the procedure for backing up and restoring a device running iOS 10.

    Restoring an iOS Device with iOS 10.

    When you restore an iPhone under iOS 10, there are a number of items that are backed up, whether it is to iCloud or to a computer itself. The items that are backed up to iCloud are:

    • App data
    • Apple Watch backups
    • Call history
    • Device settings
    • Health data
    • HomeKit configuration
    • Home screen and app organization
    • iMessage, text (SMS), and MMS messages
    • Photos and videos on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
    • Purchase history from Apple services, like your music, movies, TV shows, apps, and books
    • Ringtones
    • Visual Voicemail password (requires the SIM card that was in use during backup)

    The one item that is not backed up under iOS 10 is your health data. In order to provide some protection for your health data, it is not backed up via iCloud. In order to backup your health data, you need to use iTunes.

    Backing up with iTunes

    Our phones have some of the most important data that we own. This could include messages, emails, pictures, and countless other pieces of media. With such a significant amount of information, being able to get it back is important. One of the ways to do this is to store as much in “the cloud” as possible. This also comes with some possible downsides. What is you cannot access the service storing the information? What if the service disappears? What if you lose your device or it needs to be replaced? This is why having a good local backup is important.

    One of the functions of iTunes that many users utilize is the ability to backup your iPhone. One of the capabilities of iTunes is to enhance your backups by encrypting them. Encrypting an iPhone backup is not a difficult proposition, however it does come with some responsibility. An encrypted iTunes backup is similar to a regular iTunes backup, but there is a password that is used to encrypt the iTunes backup. The downside with an encrypted backup is that you cannot restore an encrypted backup without the password.

    It is recommended that you select a password that is secure and it is best to write the password down and store it in a secure place. You can also have your macOS Keychain remember the password, but it is always a good idea to have it backed up just in case something happens to your Mac.

    The benefit of an encrypted backup is twofold. First, you will be able to backup all of your health data. This means any information that has been transmitted from your electronic health monitoring devices, such as a pacemaker, glucose monitors, or Apple Watch will be backed up. The second benefit is that no one can easily see what is in your encrypted backup, not without the password.

    Upgrading an iPhone with a paired Apple Watch

    Having an Apple Watch paired to your iPhone can make things a bit trickier when it comes to upgrading your iPhone. Your Apple Watch data should be automatically backed up. Having had an Apple Watch since it was released in 2015, I have been through the upgrade process a couple of times now. Here is the procedure that I use. Some of it may not be necessary, but I prefer to be safe than sorry.

    1. Backup my iPhone using and encrypted backup in iTunes using a lightning cable. The important piece of information to verify is that the last backup date and time are recent.
    2. Unpair the old Apple Watch so it will backup to the iPhone.
    3. Perform another encrypted backup of my iPhone in iTunes, again making sure the date and time are current.
    4. Restore the new iPhone from this latest backup.
    5. Pair the new Apple Watch to the new iPhone.

    I suggest using a lightning cable because the process is much faster than doing a backup over Wi-Fi. This is not necessary possible with iCloud, but having a backup is definitely an important aspect to owning a iPhone.

    The new Apple Watch should now be paired to the new iPhone. It will take a while for this to occur, particularly since there are two encrypted backups of the iPhone. The use of a lightning cable does make this go much faster than syncing via Wifi; hence why I always use the cable.

    With iOS 11, this may not be necessary anymore, since the Health Data should be encrypted and backed up to iCloud. So before you upgrade to a new iPhone, upgrade to iOS 11 and then perform a backup. This backup should include your health data, which will make restoring to your new phone even easier.

    An additional feature of iOS 11 is the new “Quick Setup” feature. Quick Setup will allow you to use an existing iOS 11 device to quickly setup your new iOS device. This means that you will be able to transfer your Apple account settings from one phone to another, which then means you will be able to more quickly restore your new iOS device from your iCloud backup.

    I know for me, I will still be using the steps outlined above, mostly since I know they will work like I want them to. Additionally, my new iPhone will have all of the same settings as my old iPhone, which makes things much easier.

    Final Thoughts

    No matter when you upgrade your iPhone, you should make sure that you have a backup. It does not really matter, at least with iOS 11, if that is an iCloud backup or a backup with iTunes. If you do not have an Apple Watch, upgrading an iPhone is pretty straight-forward. If you do have an Apple Watch in the mix, it is not super difficult, just a couple of extra steps to be able to get your new iPhone up and running. There are some who are only getting new Apple Watches, and that is a whole other upgrade process that will need to occur.

  • Apple’s Fall 2017 Event Round Up: Apple Watch, Apple TV, and iPhone 8

    Apple’s Fall 2017 Event Round Up: Apple Watch, Apple TV, and iPhone 8

    Apple has held their annual Fall Event. The biggest aspect to any Fall event is the unveiling of new iPhones. This event does indeed include new iPhones. Apple’s fall event is the one that receives the most attention from not just technology media, but, more importantly, from those outside of the technology sphere. With that fact in mind Apple chose to hold this year’s event at the new Steve Jobs Theater on the new Apple Park campus. To me, it seems quite befitting to have the first event at the new Steve Jobs Theater be the unveiling of iPhones. This is because back in January of 2007, Steve Jobs stood on stage at the MacWorld Expo in San Francisco and unveiled the first iPhone, one that would revolutionize not just only the mobile phone industry, but also the technology sphere in general. The mobile phone revolution has ushered in one of the greatest technology shifts of the last few centuries. While Today’s iPhone announcements may, to some, seem evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, the march of progress continues.

    This article focuses on the Apple Watch, Apple TV, and iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. If you are looking for the iPhone X, that is in its own article.

    Apple Watch

    The Apple Watch is one of Apple’s newer product lines. When it was introduced three years ago at the September 2014 event, Apple positioned the Apple Watch as a smaller version of the iPhone. While this was a good premise to start a product, ultimately the market has steered the Apple Watch to primarily become a fitness and notification mechanism. While Apple has continued to improve the software, most notably with watch OS 3, and now with WatchOS 4, the hardware, besides internal changes, has remained unchanged. The hardware that was present on the original Apple Watch is the same that was on the Apple Watch Series 2. One of the downsides to the Apple Watch, up to now, has been the need for many to bring their iPhones with them when they go and exercise. The Apple Watch Series 2 obviated this, in someways, by providing a GPS radio in the watch. This is beneficial to those who wanted to plot a route foe their outdoor workouts, but it did not completely reduce the need for bringing an iPhone along.

    Hardware Changes

    The new Apple Watch Series 3 has made a big leap forward, in this regard. The Apple Watch Series 3 now includes an LTE radio. The inclusion of an LTE radio opens up many more opportunities for fitness. The biggest, and most obvious, is that the Series 3 you can now leave your iPhone at home. To complement this new capability, watchOS 4 includes a new feature that will allow you to automatically sync some of your favorite music to the Apple Watch. This is quite useful if you want to exercise and only bring your bluetooth headphones and your Apple Watch. Combining this with the new watchOS 4 feature that allows you to pair your Apple Watch with gym equipment, and the other new feature to quickly add a new exercise to your current session directly on the watch, one can quickly see that it becomes even easier to switch your current exercise,or music, without needing to fumble with your watch.

    There are both upsides and downsides to the inclusion of LTE on the Apple Watch. The upside is that Apple has worked with the carriers to be able to receive phone calls on your Apple Watch. This is not only a convenient feature when around the house, but it will be super helpful should you need to call emergency services. The addition of LTE also means that you will be able to receive iMessages, phone calls, and perform many of the same tasks you would on an iPhone, but with your Apple Watch. Starting in October, you will even be able to stream your Apple Music right from you watch, over LTE.

    The processor in the Apple Watch Series 3 has been upgrade to a faster dual-core model, named the S3. Along with this there is a new Apple Wireless chip, the W2. The W2 make some enhancements over the W1, but what those are is not known.

    There is an additional hardware change. The Apple Watch Series 3 includes a new barometric altimeter. The barometric altimeter will allow you to more accurately track flights walked up as well as differences in elevation when you are exercising outdoors.

    The Apple Watch Series 3, with Cellular has 16GB of storage available on it, this is up from 8GB on the non-cellular models and the older Apple Watches. The last tweak is that the back of the Apple Watch Series 3, with cellular is ceramic and no longer composite. This is due to the nature of radio and the need to be able to send signals through the back of the watch. The advance in processing power has allowed Apple to let Siri actually respond with voice instead of just text.

    The last change regarding cellular is the location of the wireless radio for cellular. It is actually embedded within the screen which leaves even more room for the other internals that are needed. Let us turn to some accessories for the Apple Watch, most notably the bands.

    Bands

    One of the ways that individuals customize their Apple Watch is through bands. Apple has unveiled a new style of band, the Sport Loop. The Sport Loop combines the best of the Sport band with the best of the Milanese Loop. The Sport Loop functions like the Milanese in that you can precisely position it how you need. At the same time though, it is able to breathe like the sport band so that you can use it while exercising.

    There are eight colors for the Sport Loop. These colors are:

    • Flash
    • Spicy Orange
    • Electric Pink
    • Midnight Blue
    • Black Sport
    • Seashell
    • Dark Olive
    • Pink Sand

    Just like traditional sport bands, these cost $49 and are available to order today for delivery on September 22nd. The Sport Loop is not the only update, there are two new Hermès bands as well. One for the 38mm, the Hermès Bordeaux Swift Leather Double Tour, and the corresponding Single Tour version available for both the 38mm and 42mm. The Double Tour is $489, and the Single Tour is $339. There are still more bands available.

    There is a whole new line of Nylon Colors. The available colors for Nylon are:

    • Dark Olive Woven Nylon
    • Midnight Blue Woven Nylon
    • White Woven Nylon
    • Spicy Orange Woven Nylon
    • Berry Woven Nylon
    • Black Woven Nylon
    • White Woven Nylon
    • Midnight Blue Woven Nylon
    • Black Woven Nylon

    Just like the Sport Loop, these are available for delivery starting September 22nd. There is a single new Nike Sport Band, the Pure Platinum/Black band. It is available for $49. The last new set of bands available are the Leather ones, with buckles. The new options are:

    • Cosmos Blue Classic Buckle
    • Pink Fuchsia Classic Buckle
    • Dark Aubergine Classic Buckle
    • Ruby (PRODUCT)RED Classic Buckle
    • Cosmos Blue Leather Loop (42mm only)
    • Charcoal Gray Leather Loop (42mm only)

    Just like the other bands, these are available for order today and delivery of September 22nd. These bands cost $149 each.

    Apple Watch Colors

    Outside of the addition of LTE, there have been a couple of other hardware changes. The Apple Watch initially came in two colors, Silver and Space Gray. There were three different possible materials choices for the case; aluminum, stainless steel, and also solid gold, but that was for the high-end “edition” model. The Apple Watch Series 2 expanded the colors to include Rose Gold and Gold for the aluminum in addition to a new white ceramic as the “Apple Watch Edition” model. This year there are a couple new colors. There is a new “Blush Gold” aluminum color and a new “Gray” for the ceramic edition of the Apple Watch. While these may be modest changes, these will definitely help attract more users, and provide a few more options in the product line.

    The Apple Watch Series 3 comes in the same color choices. For the Sport model the options are Silver, Space Gray, and Gold. Pricing for the 38MM aluminum starts at $329. The Cellular option is $70 more at $399. The 42MM is $359 for the non-cellular model and $429 for the cellular model. The Apple Watch Edition is only available in a cellular model. The 38MM is $1299, and the 42MM is $1349.

    The Stainless Steel and Hermes models are available in the same colors as before. The Stainless Steel model only comes in two colors, Silver and Space Gray, and just like the Apple Watch Edition, the Stainless Steel model is only available in a cellular configuration. The 38mm is available for $599, and the 42mm is $649. The Hermes is only available in Stainless Steel and only comes in cellular models.

    Pre-orders for all of the Apple Watch Series 3 starts on September 15th with deliveries beginning on September 22nd.

    Apple TV

    The Apple TV began life in 2007 as a modified version of a Mac Mini. This was replaced with a small “puck” like device in the 2nd and 3rd Generation Apple TVs. In 2015, Apple unveiled their all new 4th Generation Apple TV. This Apple TV changed the paradigm for the Apple TV to one that was based upon applications and not based upon whom Apple was willing to partner with. The Apple TV has seen a modicum of success in the last two years. Today, Apple announced an all new Apple TV 4K. The changes that have been brought with the Apple TV 4K bring capabilities to the Apple TV that allow it to take advantage of today’s television technology.

    The most notable upgrade to the Apple TV 4K is the fact that it can do 4K. 4K television have been around for almost a decade and it is very likely that any TV that you purchase will be a 4K Television. 4K offers twice the number of vertical pixels, 2160, as well as twice the number of horizontal pixels, 3840 pixels over traditional HD TVs, which have a resolution of 1920 pixels wide by 1080 Pixels high. This means that there are four times the number of pixels on the same size screen. This should allow for better clarity and smoother action scenes.

    The second, and possibly more noticeable feature, is the addition of High Dynamic Range, or HDR. You may already be familiar with HDR if you use your iPhone to take pictures. HDR on an iPhone will take three pictures and take the best features of each and combine them into a single picture. Ultimately, this results in better colors and more contrast within a picture. The same general thing occurs with HDR on TVs. HDR on a TV will allow for even blacker blacks and even brighter whites. This means that all of the colors on a screen will be even brighter and clearer, which will see the picture even more life-like.

    The internals of the Apple TV 4K have been significantly improved. It now sports an A10X Fusion processor in it. This is the same as the 10.5-inch iPad Pro and 2nd Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro. The Apple TV 4K also has Bluetooth 5.0 for connectivity to the latest peripherals. Alongside this comes HDMI 2.0a and Gigabit Ethernet. This is up from Bluetooth 4.2, HDMI 1.4, and 10/100 ethernet. The wireless has also been improved to support the 5GHz band

    Apple would not introduce a 4K Apple TV without having some 4K content to go with it. iTunes now has 4K content within the store. 4K movies will cost the same as HD movies. So around $20 for new releases. Rentals will cost the same around $6 for new releases. With having four times as many pixels being shown within a 4K movie, you might think that the size of the file would be significantly higher. In reality, they are not. With the new High Efficiency Video Codec (HEVC) in tvOS 11, and iOS 11, 4K movies will be able to be better compressed all while maintaining their quality. This means that 4K movies should come in around 4GB for a 90 minute movie. This is approximately the same size as a 1080p movie that is not encoded with HEVC.

    If you already have HD Movies, they will automatically be upgraded to 4K versions. This is a great perk for those who already have large iTunes collections.

    The addition of 4K and HDR to the Apple TV will make it a worthy upgrade for anyone who has an Apple TV and a 4K TV. The Apple TV 4K is available for pre-order on September 15th, for $179 for the 32GB model and $199 for the 64GB model. The 32GB 4th Generation Apple TV is still around for $149.

    iPhones

    With the iPhone being the biggest consumer item for Apple, making up 60% of all of Apple’s profits, and with selling millions of phones every quarter, it is hard to keep a lid on all of the changes that are to come with a new iPhone. This year presents a big change for iPhones. The biggest being that there are three different models being introduced. From 2007 through 2013, there was only one model introduced. It may have come in some colors, but there was only one size. From 2007 to 2011, this was a 3.5-inch sized iPhone. For 2012 and 2013, this was 4-inch screen. Since 2014, there have been two sizes, 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screens, starting with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. These two sizes continue with the 8 and 8 Plus. Let us look at the new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.

    iPhone 8 and 8 Plus

    The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus continue on the tradition of their predecessors. The general form factor of the phone has remained unchanged since the introduction of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in 2014. There have been some interior structural changes, like with the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6 Plus becoming a bit more rigid to combat any inadvertent bending. Many people may complain that the outside of the iPhone has remained unchanged for four releases now, however this does come with some benefits. For instance, it means that Apple has gotten really good at making the exterior cases for the phone. Along side this, many of your peripherals will continue to work with a new phone, just like they did on the old phone. However, that is not always the case.

    The biggest change with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models were that he headphone jack was removed. The removal of the headphone jack allowed Apple to make the iPhone something that it was not previously capable of being; water resistant. One of the quickest ways to kill any electronic device is to expose it to water. The change to the water resistant case, which required removal of the headphone jack, has lead to fewer iPhones being destroyed by being put into water; whether willingly or unwillingly.

    Processor

    One change that occurs every year is the interior components. The new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus contains the new A11 Bionic processor along with its M11 motion co-processor. The A11 Bionic This brings even better battery efficiency and processing to the phone. The A11 Bionic is a six core processor that consists of four high efficiency cores that are up to 70 percent faster than A10 Fusion. It also has two high performance cores that are up to 25 percent faster than the A10 Fusion. To go with the processor, Apple has included a new Apple-designed graphics processor as well. This will get 30% faster performance over the graphics in the A10 Fusion.

    There is an all new item incorporated with the A11 Bionic, a neural engine. The neural engine will allow even faster processing of Augmented Reality and Machine Learning than the A10 Fusion. The neural engine is designed not only for Augmented Reality and Machine Learning, but can be used for many other things like processing of items within photos and much much more. The new items within the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus do not end there. Let us look now turn to the screen.

    Screen

    The screen on the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are significantly better with an all new technology that Apple is calling Retina HD displays. Retina HD displays incorporate True Tone technology to adjust the screen to the right brightness, contrast, and color based upon the surroundings. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus also incorporate the Wide Color Gamut, which will be able to show the best colors possible.

    With the glass back on the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, Apple has matched the aluminum band around the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus to be the exact same color as the back. Besides matching aesthetically, this also allows for more rigidity within the iPhone.

    Camera

    The biggest usage of any iPhone is the camera. The camera in the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus have been vastly improved. They now both feature Quad-LED True Tone flash with Slow Sync. They are also capable of recording 4K video at 60 frames per second, which will make your 4K video even more life-like. The cameras have otherwise remained largely the same.

    The iPhone 8 Plus has seen a bit of an improvement on its own. It now has a new feature, Portrait Lighting. Similar to the way that Portrait photos were brought to the iPhone 7 Plus last year, Portrait Lighting is in beta, but it allows you to perform some interesting effects with a Portrait photo. Portrait Lighting will take the information from the surrounding light and apply a lighting effect to the photo. The biggest benefit is that you can do this retroactively and you can also change

    Battery

    One of the things you can always expect is that battery life on the iPhone will remain fairly consistent. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are no exception. They get the same battery life as their predecessors.

    The iPhone 8 has a new set of materials on the outside. The front and back are now both glass. The glass is surrounded by a band of aluminum. The glass back allows for an all new feature to iPhones, wireless charging.

    The wireless charging that is included with the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus is the Qi, pronounced “she”, standard. This means that if you have a Qi-compliant charging pad, it will work with the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. The inclusion of wireless charging will allow users to simply place their iPhone on a charging pad and it should begin charging. This means that you will not have to plug in your iPhone just to have it charge. This is convenient, not only for home, but also if you travel. This is because you can bring a charging mat that will allow your iPhone, Apple Watch Series 3, and even AirPods charge wirelessly.

    There is a new product coming in 2018 called “AirPower”. AirPower is a mat designed by Apple that will allow you to charge all of your Apple devices at once.

    Pricing

    The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus come in two configurations. 64GB and 256GB and come in three colors; Silver, Space Gray, and Gold. The prices have gone up slightly to $699 and $799, respectively, for the 64GB models. The 256GB models are $849 and $949 respectively. Pre-orders for the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 plus begin Friday September 15th, and delivery starts on September 22nd.

    Other iPhones

    When Apple introduces new iPhone models, they typically eliminate an older model, however that is not the case this year. The iPhone 6s/6s Plus and iPhone 7/7 Plus are still available, as is the iPhone SE. The pricing on these models has changed though.

    The iPhone SE is now $50 cheaper, at $349 for 32GB and $449 for 128GB. The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus have dropped by $100. The iPhone 6s is $449 for the 32GB model, and $549 for the 128GB Model, while the iPhone 6s Plus is $549 for the 32GB model and $649 for the 128GB Model. The iPhone 7 is also $100 less at $549 for the 32GB model, and $649 for the 128GB model, where as the iPhone 7 Plus is $669 for the 32GB model, and $769 for the 128GB Model.

    The decision to keep the iPhone 6s will allow even more devices to be purchased that support ARKit under iOS 11, which means that Apple’s current iPhone line supports ARKit.

    Final Thoughts

    The new LTE-enabled Apple Watch Series 3 will allow those who exercise to leave their phones somewhere safe and no use them and without having to sacrifice connectivity. The improved processor will make things even smoother than before. Even though the Apple Watch Serires 2 is no longer available for sale, the Series 1 is still available at a new lower price, of $249. The inclusion of cellular as a standard on the Hermes, Stainless Steel, and Ceramic Edition will provide even more benefit for users who purchase those versions.

    The new Apple TV 4K is a great upgrade to bring the Apple TV up to date to be able to take advantage of the latest technologies, like 4K and High Dynamic Range. Keeping the old 4th Generation Apple TV around at a lower price point will allow more options for Apple TVs and will allow those who do not have a 4K TV to be able to take advantage of the capabilities of the Apple TV. The automatic upgrade of previously purchased content to 4K is a definite plus that will benefit everyone, not just those who have 4K now, but will end up buying a 4K TV in the future. The biggest benefit is that the pricing of the 4K movies will be the same price as HD movies, which is great for consumers and will ultimately benefit the movie companies as well.

    The new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus bring some solid enhancements to the already future-looking iPhone lineup. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus add a couple of additional phones to the lineup and are ARKit compatible. The all new glass back will definitely allow the adoption of the Qi wireless charging standard to become the de facto standard. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are solid upgrades over the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. The Retina HD with True Tone display will allow for better viewing all around. If you are in the market for an iPhone, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are solid upgrades. Just be sure to get your wallets ready for pre-orders of all of these starting on Friday.

  • App Updates and Model Change

    App Updates and Model Change

    When one starts out creating an application, it is usually with the intent of keeping it up to date with all of the latest enhancements and changes that newer operating systems might bring. That was my intention with my apps, wwrite, wwrite – iPhone Edition, and wwriteFree. However, as many have experienced, life sometimes gets in the way.

    History

    Back in March of 2010, before the iPad was launched but after it was announced, I got an idea for an app for the iPad: a plain-text editor. The idea was to use the iPad for productivity; which seems to be well ahead of the curve. I submitted my app to the iOS App Store in early April 2010 and it has been on sale ever since.

    I kept it up to date on a semi-regular basis after that. That was up until June of 2014. In June of 2014, right before the introduction of iOS 8, I updated wwrite and wwriteFree to be compatible with iOS 7. I did this because I knew I would be spending the summer writing two e-books, iOS 8 for Users and Developers, and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion for Users, Administrators, and Developers, so I would not have a chance to do any updates on the apps.

    Back on August 10th, 2014, I removed the iPhone version of my app, wwrite – iPhone Edition, from sale. The biggest reason for this was that it was a lot of work to update the application and not many people had purchased it. To be honest, besides the lack of sales, there is the Notes app, which is absolutely free and included on all iOS devices.

    Fast Forward

    Part of the reason for not getting updates was just a lack of motivation. I have been toying with doing an update for over a year. One would have been a complete re-write using Swift, but this was a bit too daunting. I must have started this at least four times, but it never got that far. It may be bad for a developer to say, but I do not use my own application that often. This is mostly due to how bad it looks like on a 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Regardless, I did still want to update it, I just needed to get the motivation and time. The final push for motivation was this exchange on Twitter.

    In case you are unaware, James writes an application called PCalc. You should go and purchase PCalc as well as PCalc for tvOS.

    So, a couple weeks ago I decided to really get down to updating my app. When I decided to update it, I knew I wanted to use be a Universal app (one that works on iPhone as well as iPad). The second thing I knew I wanted to do was make it work in Slide Over and Split Screen, just a James suggested. So that is what I have done.

    wwrite 3.0.0 now supports full Split Screen and slide over. Here are the rest of the new features:

    • Now a Universal application, supports iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
    • Supports Split View and Slide Over.
    • Keyboard Shortcuts for Save, New File, New File From Template, Help, Show/Hide file list, Do word count
    • Ability to import plain-text files from other applications using the “Share Sheet”.
    • Fixed word count miscalculation
    • Reworked Template Customization
    • Jump Directly to App Settings from “Tools” drop-down
    • Support for system Emoji within files.
    • Other “under the hood” changes to bring everything up to date.

    Pricing Model

    Since its initial release in April of 2010, wwrite has always been a paid application and this will continue to be the case. wwriteFree was designed to be ad-supported with Apple’s iAd platform. Since Apple discontinued their iAd platform, I have decided to change the way that the model for the two apps. wwrite will still be paid but it will have more up to date features. Whereas wwriteFree will stay free but will not always have the latest features. For instance, it does not support Slide Over nor does it support Split View.

    wwriteFree has received a minor update to remove the advertising, and make it somewhat more up to date. Previously it required iOS 7, wwriteFree now requires iOS 9.

    If you already have wwrite, it will be a free update. If you do not own, now is a good time to go and buy a copy.

  • Apple WWDC 2017 Predictions: iPhone and iPad

    Apple WWDC 2017 Predictions: iPhone and iPad

    One of the hardest things to do is predict where Apple might take things in the future. However, that does not stop one from trying. Which is what I plan to do, regarding what Apple will announce at their annual World Wide Developer’s Conference on June 5th at 10 AM Pacific Time.

    The Apple of 2017 is very different from the Apple of 1979. Apple today has a fair number of platforms: iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS. Within each of these, there are numerous frameworks which allow developers to produce apps. Built to support these platforms are a variety of services. These services include iCloud, Apple Music, and the iTunes stores.

    I am going to attempt to predict what Apple might announce at their World Wide Developer Conference Keynote on June 5th, 2017 at 10:00AM Pacific Time. Some of these items are logical changes while others are just what I hope Apple will announce.

    This is the first of two posts that cover my predictions for what will be announced. This article covers iPad and iPhone. There will be a second post next week that covers macOS, tvOS, and watchOS.

    iPad

    One of the areas where Apple needs to make some major improvements is with the iPad. While the iPad is no where near as popular as the iPhone, it is still a major part of Apple’s strategy. The iPad has seen some improvements over its seven year life, however any iPad-specific improvements have been lacking in the last few releases. In particular, improvements that would help the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

    The biggest improvement that could be made is around the way that multiple applications are handled. When you use multiple applications on the iPad Pro, you can swipe from the right side of the screen to bring up any compatible applications. However, there is no real order to the applications. This makes it quite difficult to be able to easily locate the application that you want to use in split view.

    One possible solution to this issue is to reduce the size of the icons, and basically make it an alphabetical list with application names. This could be an option that is just at the top of the screen. My guess at the probability of this behavior changing is 100%.

    Switching Applications

    Switching applications on the iPad, particularly in split view is rather cumbersome. If you want to be able to switch the left and right applications, you have to perform the following steps:

    1. Expand the application on the right all the way to the left.
    2. Use slide over to bring up the list of possible applications.
    3. Locate the application that you wish to use (see above for issues wit this).
    4. Tap on the application that you wish to use in split view.
    5. Drag the right-side application to the size you wish to use it at.
    6. Tap on the divider button to put the application into split view.

    This procedure takes six steps to be able to accomplish. What would make for a better user experience is to be able to easily swap the two applications. This could be accomplished by holding down on the divider between apps that are in split view. A popup could appear and would offer to swap the applications. I predict the possibility of this occurring at 75%.

    App Groups

    It is quite often that when you are using applications in split view, that you wish would automatically be grouped together. This could be applications like “Twitter” and “Slack”, or “Notes” and “TV”. However, this is not possible under iOS 10.

    It would be nice to see this feature for iOS. This solution could be something akin to Spaces on macOS. With Spaces on macOS you are able to assign applications to a specific space, and the application will also show on that space. This means that you can assign applications that you want to group together to the same space. Given that it is iOS, there is likely a limit to the number of these “spaces” that could be configured. If Apple were to add this feature, it would go a long way for the “pro” users. I give the likelihood of this occurring is 50%.

    Within Apple development, there is this idea of application groups. These “application groups” are ones that allow shared information between different applications from the same developer. That is not the type of application grouping that I am referring to.

    Sharing Information Between Applications

    One of the downsides of split screen on the iPad is that if you want to share information between the two applications that are currently on the screen. If it is simply text that you want to transfer, you can copy and paste. However, if there is an image that you want to send to the other application, you must use the share sheet.

    It would be helpful if someone could easily drag and drop information from one application to another. This behavior is very prevalent in macOS applications. There are instances where the items that are dropped from one application to another result in garbage, but this is to be expected.

    If Apple were to add this type of functionality, it would be a huge boon to the professional group of iPad users. Additionally, this would add some more functionality and provide more of a replacement for a wider range of users. I put the likelihood of this occurring at 25%.

    Swift Playgrounds

    When Swift Playgrounds was first introduced it was touted as a way to be able to test out applications and develop directly on the iPad, albeit in a limited manner. There may be some point in the future when you are able to fully develop applications on the iPad, however we are a ways off from that. I do think there will be one change to Swift Playgrounds; the ability to create Sticker Packs directly on the iPad.

    Sticker Packs are available for iMessage and allow individuals to quickly create stickers and submit them to the store. There is absolutely no coding required to create a sticker pack. With the Apple Pencil and the iPad Pro, there is a large contingent of artists who would love to be able to create and publish their sticker packs directly from the iPad.

    Right now, Xcode is required to be able to publish these sticker packs. However, if Apple updates Swift Playgrounds, or creates an entirely new application, it could allow even more sticker packs.

    The update, or application, would only allow sticker packs, not more full-featured applications, so it could be possible to allow this to happen. I think the likelihood of this occurring is about 30%.

    iPhone and iPad

    There are many aspects to iOS that are shared amongst the iPhone and iPad. Whereas the iPhone was the first product released, it was not the first product to enter development, that was the iPad. When the iPad was released it was actually a different operating system. The features between the iPhone and iPad did not come together until iOS 4.3.

    32-bit applications

    One of the likeliest features of the next version of iOS are that 32-bit applications will no longer be supported. If this does come to pass, there are a couple of ramifications.

    The first result is that there will be a couple of devices that will no longer be supported. Most notably, the iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, and the 4th generation iPad. This is not anything new, given that devices eventually do become end-of-lifed.

    The second result is that any applications that are 32-bit only will no longer run. This means that applications that have not been updated will stop working. A majority of these apps are games, which could become problematic for some of your favorite games. I give the possibility of this occurring at 90%.

    Naming

    Last year’s release of iOS 10 and macOS 10.12 Sierra were both quite substantial. If there is any time that Apple would change from the “10.x” series of names, this would be it. Now is an excellent time for Apple to name the next macOS as macOS 11 [code name], and next years would be macOS 12 [code name], and keep the numbering going forward. This could allow for individuals to more easily know which versions of the operating systems work best together. While it is possible for newer versions of macOS to work with older versions of iOS, and newer iOS versions to work with older macOS versions, the operating systems work best when they are updated to matching versions.

    Along side this, Apple could also start providing names to iOS versions. Ideally, these names would be the same. By doing this, users could more easily identify which version of each operating system that they are using and this would also allow users to easily know if they are running the same versions. This is merely an idea. I give this a 5% possibility. I also give the probability of iOS and macOS having the same version going forward as 5%.

    Possibility Recap

    Let me recap what my predictions for what will be unveiled at Apple’s WWDC Keynote.

    Possibility Recap
    Change Likelihood
    Split View Changing 100%
    32-bit Apps going away 90%
    Fast split view app swapping 75%
    Split View App Groups 50%
    Sticker Pack creation from iPad Pro 30%
    Drag and drop Data Transfer 25%

    Final Thoughts

    Each new version of macOS and iOS include a slew of new features. This is not only because new features generate buzz and excitement, but also because new features can spark new ideas from developers. When the occurs the entire eco-system benefits. Apple benefits by increased usage, developers can profit from the features, which Apple also benefits from. Finally users get some updated applications and new capabilities on their existing devices.

    Having been an iOS user since the beginning, I have seen the feature set grow from a very limited set to a very feature-rich operating system. However, that does not mean it is near complete, quite the opposite. I have been using macOS full-time for a decade now, and while its feature set was largely in place, it still has a lot of room to grow as well, just in different areas.

    I do not know if any of my predictions will actually come to fruition. I guess we will see what Apple does unveil at their WWDC Keynote on June 5th, 2017 at 10:00AM Pacific. Look for another article about macOS, tvOS, and watchOS coming soon.