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Daily analysis on Apple, gadgets, tech news, and more.
A feed by Lance Somoza
Permalink - Posted on 2017-09-19 16:29
iOS 11 is out today, beginning at 10AM Pacific. I’ve been using it exclusively on my iPhone 7 Plus and iPad Pro 10.5-inch since the developer beta was released back in June. I have to say, this is probably the most jam-packed iOS release Apple has ever published. There are so many features, but I’m going to give you my thoughts on the ones I believe are most meaningful and important after using them day in and day out.
To start us off, here’s a collection of updates shared between iPhone and iPad.
This one is sure to be a big crowd pleaser, as we can finally customize Control Center.
On iPhone, Control Center now takes up the the entire screen upon engagement. On the iPad, it sits to the far-right of the new App Switcher (more on that later). 1
It may first seem a little jarring, given the different sizes of elements and methods to control them, but the new Control Center is leaps and bounds better than its previous implementations. All the basic controls are here in similar forms. Here’s a rundown:
I was hoping for the capability to quickly change Wi-Fi networks from Control Center, but sadly Apple has not deemed it worthy. Maybe iOS 12 will finally bring us this.
Before iOS 11, we had the iCloud Drive app. It was nice when you needed to get something in iCloud Drive, but that’s about it. In iOS 11, iCloud Drive has essentially morphed into the Files app.
I would describe Files as a barebones Finder. It doesn’t allow you access to system resources, of course, but it borrows a lot of the same functionality. Right from the app, you can browse all your files: local, iCloud Drive, and other cloud services like Box, Dropbox, etc. By default, most 3rd-party apps will appear in Files with the old document selector interface. Developers will need to update their apps to be fully compatible with the new Files API, which allows them to take full advantage of native navigation and all the other features.
You can tag files for easy grouping, as well as favorite them for quick access. It’s simple, but very welcome — especially when working between iPhone and iPad.
This is the most disappointing part of iOS 11, in my opinion. Apple introduced so many nice tweaks in this release, but for some reason, they really struggle with notifications.
Swiping down from the status bar still reveals the ‘Notification Center’, but it now highly resembles your Lock screen (it shares its wallpaper and big, bold time). Initially confusing, Apple has made a few refinements which mostly leave us right where we left off with iOS 10. You can still swipe left to view actionable items on each notification or swipe right to open the corresponding app.
Throughout the betas of iOS 11, Apple played with Notification Center’s UX quite a bit. Initially, it was renamed ‘Cover Sheet’, but the final version of iOS 11 removes reference to this name entirely. Confusingly, I guess we’ll still continue to call it Notification Center.
One new change that has stuck is that older notifications are segregated by a swipe. To see notifications from earlier in the day (or previous days), you have to decidedly swipe up (versus simply scrolling a list). I fail to see how this is helpful since you’re still left with the same endless stream of notifications. Apple clearly has conflicting ideas of how this should be handled, but I hope they get it together for iOS 12. I keep wondering how Apple execs can live with notifications in this sad state of affairs.
The App Store has been updated with more of a focus on storytelling and discovery. The ‘Today’ view includes featured apps, along with developer interviews describing how the app was made, the story behind it, etc. This is really great, and it fosters a real sense of careful curation.
Another big change is in the form of separated tabs for Apps and Games. The thinking here is that all games are apps, but not all apps are games. I think this is a very logical change that will make it easier to filter through these categories separately.
One other thing I noticed is in relation to app updates. Apple no longer tells you how large the file size is for app updates, even though the max download size remains 100MB on cellular. With all the optimization Apple has done to help us use as little space as possible on our devices, this seems to be an area they want us to concern ourselves with less and less.
There are a few nice little additions to Siri, like word suggestions while you’re typing based off things you’ve recently looked at. There’s also voice translation built in, so you can ask her things like “How do you say ‘hello’ in Spanish?”.
The most obvious change is Siri’s voice. It sounds so much better and more lifelike. Apple has discussed the techniques behind this transformation in a recent entry in their Machine Learning Journal.
Apple is making yet another attempt at social networking-esque features for their music service. 2 This time, it’s a little more simplistic. You can follow your friends on Apple Music and see their shared playlists, albums, stations, etc.
That said, the service is still behind Spotify in this area. For instance, there are still no collaborative playlists, whereby you and others can curate playlists together. There’s still no band equalizer, a feature I’ve ranted about before. Apple Music has come a long way since it’s debut, though. These missing features are low-hanging fruit, and I would think Apple will address some of them in iOS 12.
AirPlay, Apple’s proprietary audio syncing and playback protocol, advances to version two. The most notable new feature: simultaneous, multi-room playback across AirPlay 2 speakers on your network.
AirPlay 2 is clearly a necessity of Apple’s first connected speaker, HomePod, due out in December. With its sights clearly set on Sonos, I’m looking forward to seeing HomePod and AirPlay 2 in action.
Another feature of AirPlay 2 ties in to HomeKit. Now, you can add AirPlay 2-compatible speakers to your HomeKit environment. This will open the door to native automation involving audio. 3
As for the Home app itself, you can now set multi-location-based triggers for anyone in your Family Sharing account who has access to your home. This is huge, and will allow for much easier creation of these types of automations. Here’s a real-life example:
Turning on certain lights only when the first family member arrives home.
To achieve this currently, I’m using this setup: Life360 app on my phone and my wife’s, IFTTT, and the Lurton Caséta app. Life360 continuously tracks our location, IFTTT reads this location data and triggers a scene in the Lurton Caséta app to turn on certain lights only if one of us isn’t home already. Get it? This makes sure the lights don’t change if my wife is already home or vice versa. This is a fairly easy thing to setup, but knowing how to do it is the problem. It’s terribly complicated for the average person to figure out, so I’m really excited we’ll be able to do it natively in the Home app with iOS 11. You can also ensure automations only happen on specific dates and/or times, if you wish. There is one caveat, though: you need at least a 4th-generation Apple TV or iPad to act as a home hub.
In addition, Apple is making it easier for hardware manufacturers to make their products HomeKit-certified with software encryption. Up until iOS 11, manufacturers had to meet Apple’s stringent encryption standards by means of hardware. This is a large reason why the vast majority of smart home products don’t support HomeKit — it was an additional expense, additional engineering, all of the above. Now, manufacturers will be able to easier implement the same high-level of security demanded by Apple within software. We could even see software updates for existing devices that introduce HomeKit compatibility. I’m hopeful for a HomeKit boom in the coming year because of this.
Apple has included powerful augmented reality and machine learning APIs for developers to use in iOS 11.
Since Beta 1, developers have begun to build impressive apps with ARKit. Not to mention iPhone 8 and iPhone X will offer even more power in this arena, given their upgraded cameras are specifically tuned for AR in the factory.
Machine learning is less of a show-off, but expect developers to take advantage of both of these APIs with haste. AR and ML are huge focus areas for Apple. They are not just the next random trends in the industry, but technologies that will change the way we use computers of all shapes and sizes.
Here’s a list of additional little features that kick ass.
After taking a screenshot, a small rendition of it appears in the bottom-left portion of your screen. From here, you can:
This is really awesome and elegant. It also helps to de-clutter your Camera Roll, since you can easily delete one-off screenshots.
When connecting a friend’s iPhone or iPad to your network, you can now wirelessly and securely send the password to their device with a press of a button (provided they are in your phone’s contacts). Simply be in range of their device with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi one. Once they select the password field for your network, you will be prompted to send it over to their device, and your friend is instantly joined to your network. So easy, fun, and more secure than typing/sharing your password.
You can now show ruled lines in Notes (via Settings > Notes). This is helpful on iPad if you use Apple Pencil or other stylus to take handwritten notes. Furthermore, writing with a stylus no longer requires a standalone image aside from your text. Simply write as you normally would on paper, and your markings appear amongst your text. There’s also a built-in document scanner (powered by ARKit) that works incredibly well. You can scan documents at odd angles and iOS captures them almost perfectly.
Apple has introduced a few new methods to help us to save space on our devices. For example, we can offload apps from the Settings > General > iPhone Storage screen, review messages with large attachments, or auto delete old conversations. Offloading an app will delete the app’s system files, but keep its documents and data around, should you reinstall it in the future.
Labeling people’s faces in the Photos app now syncs across your devices with iCloud (privately and securely, of course). This will make for a much better experience since you no longer have to set this up per device.
This is so damn handy. If you use iCloud Keychain to store your passwords for websites, it can now automatically suggest stored credentials within apps. Imagine loading the Amazon app for the first time and the iOS keyboard recommending your Amazon credentials from iCloud Keychain. This makes signing in lightning fast. Some might say Apple is sherlocking 1Password, LastPass, and the like, but those services offer additional features if you’re into that kind of thing. For me, the iOS 11 implementation takes the cake because it’s built in and I don’t even have to do anything.
YES. Lane guidance is the only reason I still have longed to use Google Maps, but not anymore. This is super helpful, especially when combined with CarPlay. One-finger zoom is also nice — just double-tap and drag up or down. Apple Maps sure has come a long way. I have used it as my sole maps app since the original Apple Watch launched.
About damn time. QR codes are great for non-sensitive information, and the Camera app can now detect codes containing website links, contacts, Wi-Fi network connection info, 4 and more.
When setting up a new device, you can automatically transfer your base settings from an existing device by bringing it within close proximity`. I tested this a couple times, and it’s fantastic. It greatly cuts down on the lengthy initial iOS setup process.
Apple announced a couple features slated for iOS 11 that have since received delays, and are therefore ‘coming soon’ in a minor update. I’m looking forward to reviewing these once released.
Person-to-person payments like Venmo or Square Cash. Payments are stored in your Wallet’s Apple Pay Card. From there, you can use the card like a debit card in stores or on websites that support Apple Pay. Alternatively, you can withdraw the amount to your banking account. Fees and miscellaneous details are yet to be determined.
Instead of all your Apple devices independently downloading iMessages, your messages will be stored in the cloud by default (if you opt-in). Apple promises better notification syncing between devices because of this and less messages-out-of-order oddities.
The iPad is on a huge upswing. For the first time in a long time, Apple reported sales are up (15% Year/Year) for Q3 2017, partially thanks to the new, cheaper ‘iPad’. Factoring in iOS 11 changes and two incredibly-powered iPads Pro, this has been a great year for the tablet leader.
The features iPad receives in iOS 11 is just short of what many would look for in a standalone iPad OS. I’ve been a huge proponent of the device since it was introduced and have purchased at least six different versions over the years. I can confidently say iOS 11 course-corrects from the iPad-as-gigantic-iPhone narrative. It doesn’t solve every problem, but it’s a big leap forward and reassures Apple has not forgotten about meaningful innovation for the device’s software.
This is a big one. Drag and drop is built into iOS at its core. That is to say, you can drag and drop all the things. For instance: apps for split-view, URLs, blocks of text, images, handwritten notes, and more once developers update their apps to take advantage of the new API. Simply tap and hold (briefly), then drag and drop.
I’m selling it short. The truth is it’s amazing and incredibly well thought out. You can even start to drag something, switch apps by any means possible, then drop in an app of your choosing. More on this below.
The revamped Dock is a core feature of multitasking and productivity on iPad. Here’s a list of its new features and methods for interacting with the Dock.
The App Switcher has also received a redesign. Here are the highlights:
I really love the new Dock and App Switcher. Combined, they make for a powerful new multitasking experience.
Apple has revamped multitasking on iPad. Split View is still around, where you can have two apps side by side and adjust them in 1/3, 1/2, or full screen increments. Popover is still here, too, where you can float an app above your current one and swipe it away to the right of the screen for quick access.
The new aspects of multitasking include greater flexibility in managing apps. For instance, gone is the endless vertical app carousel use to scroll through and find an app to use in Split View or Popover. Instead, you simply drag and drop a second app into place by its icon. Dragging it to the left or right edge of the screen mounts it in Split View. Dragging it anywhere else makes it a Popover. Other means of accomplishing this include:
It’s also worth specifically noting the leftmost app is no longer the “main app” when in Split View. That is to say, you can drag and drop over the left or right app to replace it with another. In addition, you can make the left or right app full screen by dragging the slider all the way to the edge.
iPads with 4GB of RAM or more can run two apps in Split View and a third app in Popover at the same time (in addition to an optional PIP video). To achieve this, simply hold, drag, and drop the third app’s icon over the vertical multitasking bar dividing your Split View apps. Note: iPads with less than 4GB of RAM won’t be able to take advantage of all these features. iMore has a good breakdown.
The new multitasking UX on iPad is a huge start on what we iPad proponents have been wanting from this powerhouse tablet. That said, there are a few other things Apple can do to move the needle on this feature in iOS 12, such as:
iOS 11 has my full support. Apple really brought out the big guns this time — and this isn’t even everything. Like I said at the top, this review doesn’t touch on every feature, but hones in on the most meaningful ones after using iOS 11 for months.
Most people think of iOS as feature-complete, and it definitely is in certain aspects. The truth is, Apple is still finding ways to better the mobile experience. They have added so many great features across the board with iOS 11, it may even be a little overwhelming to remember everything you can do.
iPad was such a huge focus of this update, and I hope they iterate on its new features come iOS 12. It really is exciting to think about the opportunities. The new multitasking and dock experience puts us closer to a 1:1 parity with laptops than we’ve ever been. We’re definitely not all the way there yet, but iPad just took its first big step towards realizing Tim Cook’s vision. Putting my money where my mouth is (or hands are), everything I write for Gaddgict is from the Editorial app on my 10.5-inch iPad Pro with Smart Keyboard. Something about doing the same on a Mac feels less compelling than an iPad. I think we’re going to see more of this as iPad progresses. 5
If Apple keeps this up, iPad really might be the future of computing for most people.
Note: there are also special iOS 11 features for iPhone X, of which I’ll talk about when I’ve had it in my hands. 6
I’ve always wondered why Apple didn’t make Control Center a full screen UI to begin with. It’s not like the 3/4 UI we had was helpful at all. So we could see 1/4 of our current screen behind the menu — big deal. ↩︎
Remember Ping? ↩︎
I’m looking forward to hearing Rush’s ‘Working Man’ when I arrive home from work, for instance. ↩︎
This one is really cool. ↩︎
I love my MacBook Pro and wouldn’t trade it for an iPad just yet. ↩︎
Hopefully not too long after November 3rd. ↩︎
Permalink - Posted on 2017-09-17 18:41
In a long interview with Brian Merchant (author of ‘The One Device’), Alan Kay discussed his detailed views on computing. Specifically, Kay outlines how our amazing computers are usually deduced to consumption devices due to lack of education.
This is a fantastic insight into Alan Kay’s thought process and computing vision. Although I don’t agree with everything he says, he makes a lot of striking points.
Some backing on Kay:
Kay is one of the forefathers of personal computing; he’s what you can safely call a living legend. He directed a research team at the legendary Xerox PARC, where he led the development of the influential programming language SmallTalk, which foreshadowed the first graphical user interfaces, and the Xerox Alto, a forerunner of the personal computer that predated 1984’s Apple Macintosh by 11 years (only 2,000 of the $70,000 devices were produced). Kay was one of the earliest advocates, back in the days of hulking gray mainframes, for using the computer as a dynamic instrument of learning and creativity. It took imagination like his to drive the computer into the public’s hands.
Kay describing the Dynabook (one of the article’s main focuses) in his own words:
“Imagine having your own self-contained knowledge manipulator,” they implored—note the language, and the emphasis on knowledge. “Suppose it had enough power to outrace your senses of sight and hearing, enough capacity to store for later retrieval thousands of page-equivalents of reference materials, poems, letters, recipes, records, drawings, animations, musical scores, waveforms, dynamic simulations, and anything else you would like to remember and change.”
Sounds like the iPad, right? As Brian points out here, though, the key word is knowledge as a central point. Instead of being an open book to venture off, Kay essentially thinks tablets should be primarily utilitarian and productivity-driven.
Kay on the original iPhone:
When I first got to Apple, which was in ’84, the Mac was already out and Newsweek contacted me and asked me what I thought of the Mac. I said, “Well, the Mac is the first personal computer good enough to be criticized.”
So, after Steve [announced] the iPhone [in 2007], he brought it up to me and handed it to me. He said, “Alan, is this good enough to be criticized?” And I said, “Steve, make it this size [as big as a tablet] and you’ll rule the world.” Now, that has been misunderstood, because I didn’t know what they were doing. But as a scientist-engineer, I would’ve bet a thousand dollars–and I would’ve won–that there was already an iPad.
Quite an accurate prediction by Kay. We know without a doubt that Apple was already working on the technology in tablet form before the iPhone.
Kay on computing comprehension:
If people could understand what computing was about, the iPhone would not be a bad thing. But because people don’t understand what computing is about, they think they have it in the iPhone, and that illusion is as bad as the illusion that Guitar Hero is the same as a real guitar. That’s the simple long and the short of it.
This is the problem with television. Television is 24 hours a day and it seems like an entire world. It is a kind of a world, but it’s such a subset. And it’s so in-your-face that it essentially puts you into a dumb world. It’s got stuff going on all the time and almost none of it is of a
This right here is an incredibly tall order. Kay essentially says the iPad is viewed to the masses as a television, which I would mostly agree with. However, as he will go on to describe in detail later, the problem is education.
Kay on the original iPad and lack of dedicated stylus holder:
First thing I did was to test how good the actual touch sensor was. I had to go out and get a capacitive pen, because one didn’t come with the iPad. You’re supposed to use your finger on it. There were five things that you could draw with on it and only one of them was good. And with that [Autodesk] pen, I was able to draw, take a ruler and draw lines with this thing, and see how linear it came out on the display, and the thing was a lot better than it needed to be. You’re kind of drawing with a crayon, but they actually did a hell of a good job on it.
No place to put the pen though.
So, I talked to Steve on the phone [about adding a standard pen and penholder]. I said, “Look Steve. You know, you’ve made something that is perfect for 2-year-olds and perfect for 92-year-olds. But everybody in-between learns to use tools.”
And he says, “Well, people lose their pens.”
And I said, “Well, have a place to put it.”
Kay really wants a defined place to store his stylus. Here’s my philosophy: unless you’re using a folio of some sort, traditional paper notebooks don’t come with a defined pen holder, so why should the iPad? That said, most pens have caps, so you could just clip it to the notebook — something the iPad and Apple Pencil can’t do, of course — point notebook. Technically, the Apple Pencil can be held by the iPad’s internal magnets for the Smart Cover, but it’s a side effect not to be trusted versus an actual feature.
For the latest iPad Pro models, Apple has made an optional leather sleeve with a Pencil holder at the top. It looks great, but also costs $129 (10.5-inch) or $149 (12.9-inch). Plus, most people seem to prefer actual cases over sleeves. There are 3rd-party options, but they typically add bulk, and Kay wants something built in.
As for me, I really don’t see it as a big deal. I carry my Apple Pencil in the quick-access slot of my bag 1, so it’s usually just a few seconds away when I need it. I don’t see Apple solving Kay’s problem anytime soon, as they clearly view the Pencil as an ancillary device only to be used (and purchased) by those who truly need it. Otherwise, it would come with the iPad.
I think a better case could be made for including the Smart Keyboard with the iPad if it weren’t for the cost increase. People use keyboards way more the styluses. 2
Alright, back to Kay, now on human universals…
Years ago, this anthropologist Donald Brown wrote a book called Human Universals. This was just gathering up what generations of anthropologists had gleaned from studying thousands of traditional societies.
They first looked at traditional societies for differences, and found they’re all very different in detail but they’re all very similar in category. They couldn’t find a society that didn’t have a language, that didn’t have stories, didn’t have kinship, didn’t have revenge. They couldn’t find a society that did have equal rights. So, the things that were common to every society without fail, they started calling human universals. Most of them are probably genetic.
Suppose you want to make a lot of money. Well, just take the top 20 human universals and build a technological amplifier for them—like communication.
He goes on to reference the creation of the telephone as an example. The brilliance of this really resonates with me. Throughout history, we have continually improved communication, which I view as the most important human essential.
Kay on education in the 21st century — essentially what we need to do to increase people’s understanding of computing:
Brian: Do you think most people care about this stuff?
Kay: They never have. You know, if you look at [educator Maria] Montessori’s first two books, both were really important. […] One of the things she said was, look, the problem is, the culture around most children, whether at home or in school, is like the 10th century, and we’re living in the 20th century. If you really want them to learn, if you want them all to learn, it can’t be like choosing a musical instrument because you’re interested in it. Everybody learns their culture, because it’s in the form of a culture, and that trumps any particular interest we have. This is what [Marshall] McLuhan was talking about too. That’s a big deal. It’s a difference between taking a class in something and living in something. So if you want to fix this, you gotta fix the schools, and get the kids to grow up in the 21st century, rather than being in a technological version of the 11th century.
This really hits the nail on the head. A good example I can think of for grade school is handwriting. Who the hell needs handwriting anymore? Not to mention, through high school, everything is still largely taught from paper books or in the textbook format. Why don’t we have computers in every grade starting with kindergarten and new, immersive ways to teach?
I remember we had a computer lab in grade school. Though some of the teachings consisted of word processing, most of it was garbage educational games. I was fortunate enough to go to a technical high school and study Computer Science, but the other classes were still as old-school as ever.
Kay on the lack of teaching our devices do, an example being iPhone’s “Shake to Undo” feature:
So, in theory, you’re supposed to shake the iPhone and that means undo. Did you ever, did anybody ever tell you that? It’s not on the website. It turns out almost no app responds to a shake. And there’s no other provision. In fact, you can’t even find out how to use the iPhone on the iPhone. You ever notice that?
I agree with Kay here. Shake to Undo has always been an odd interaction method, with no indication the feature even exists (kind of similar to 3D Touch in certain respects). Apple really should re-think how to better implement Undo/Redo globally, because it really sucks. Maybe a two-finger counter-clockwise gesture for Undo and clockwise for Redo? I always feel like an idiot when I need to shake my phone to undo something.
Apple has always strived for intuition with their UI, but things like Shake to Undo and some of 3D Touch really stray from that path.
Kay thinks computers should better teach us how to use them:
Kay: It’s been an idea in the ARPA/PARC community—which hasn’t been funded since 1980 or so, but a lot of us are still alive—one of the ideas was that in personal computing, what you really need is some form of mentor that’s an integral part of the user interface.
Brian: Something like a digital assistant?
Kay: It’s something just like the GUI, which I had a lot to do with designing. I did that, more or less, as a somewhat disappointed reaction to realizing [AI] is just a hard problem. We had some of the best AI people in the whole world at PARC, but the computers were really small for what AI needs.
We’re getting closer to solving the AI hurdles thanks to things like machine learning, and Apple has been making a huge push for Siri to be at the forefront of all its products. Perhaps one day Siri itself will say something like “Welcome to iOS 11, let me give you a guided tour”, while proceeding to take you through the top new features natively on your phone, as opposed to just playing a video. Siri then ends with “Those are the biggest changes in iOS 11, but just ask if you want to learn more, or about something more specific”.
Optimism is key here. We’ll probably get to Kay’s vision one day, when people no longer view technology as something to be afraid of.
Permalink - Posted on 2017-09-16 01:07
Matthew Panzarino from TechCrunch interviewed Craig in regards to the many questions surrounding Face ID since its introduction on Tuesday. There’s a lot of great content in the article, but here’s a few excerpts:
On privacy and security:
When it comes to customers — users — Apple gathers absolutely nothing itself. Federighi was very explicit on this point.
“We do not gather customer data when you enroll in Face ID, it stays on your device, we do not send it to the cloud for training data,” he notes.
On accessing face data/providing it to law enforcement:
The simple answer, which is identical to the answer for Touch ID, by the way, is that Apple does not even have a way to give it to law enforcement. Apple never takes possession of the data, anonymized or otherwise. When you train the data it gets immediately stored in the Secure Enclave as a mathematical model that cannot be reverse-engineered back into a “model of a face.” Any re-training also happens there. It’s on your device, in your SE, period.
I’ll say it again: Apple is the privacy and security tech company because we are not the product.
How to temporarily disable Face ID:
On older phones the sequence was to click 5 times [on the power button], but on newer phones like iPhone 8 and iPhone X, if you grip the side buttons on either side and hold them a little while — we’ll take you to the power down [screen]. But that also has the effect of disabling Face ID,” says Federighi.
Matt on the reliance of Face ID:
Everyone I’ve spoken to who has been in a position to be using it for weeks or months says it’s incredibly reliable no matter the light level. The combination of using the RGB camera and the IR emitter plus the dot projector covers a wide array of scenarios that allow it to be very reliable and very fast.
If you lift your phone and swipe up immediately, there’s a good chance that the Face ID system will have performed its authentication fast enough to have unlocked your device by the time you finish your swipe. That’s how fast it is.
This is a bit of an aside, but I’d also like to point out here that Face ID emits no visible light. I’ve seen some misconceptions on social media that it’s going to be shining a light at your face. Nope. It uses only infrared and existing light, which means it will work in darkness without any more light than is coming off of the phone’s screen.
This was surprising to me, that people really thought it was going to shine a visible light.
I feel confident Face ID will work well. Apple wouldn’t ship it if it didn’t. It’s also clear this will eventually replace Touch ID for every applicable Apple product — and this is only generation one of the feature. Can you imagine how much better it’s going to get over the coming years? I could even see a path for it to be in a future Apple TV (for authenticating purchases and whatnot). This is only the beginning of how our computers will start to know us and our intent. Exciting times.
Permalink - Posted on 2017-09-14 18:31
Makes sense, since a standard replacement case costs $69. I would also imagine this new case will come standard with AirPods shortly thereafter.
Permalink - Posted on 2017-09-13 18:01
We’re back with an in-depth discussion about everything Apple announced at their September 2017 keynote. Oh yeah, and we now have an intro theme!
For a more detailed expansion on these show notes, refer to Lance’s Key Notes for the event.
Permalink - Posted on 2017-09-13 15:03
Looks like Apple learned their lesson from last year. There were plenty of iPhone Upgrade Program folks (yourself included) upset with the first-time upgrade process. I hope this pre-approval extends to the iPhone X as well.
Permalink - Posted on 2017-09-13 02:42
Welcome to Key Notes, where I highlight all the stuff that catches my attention after an Apple keynote.
Apple announced a good helping of stuff today, most of which was confirmed over the weekend by the unexpected leak of the iOS 11 Golden Master for iPhone X. Apple didn’t let that stop the magic, though, juxtaposing a mood that ranged from somber to excitement.
Permalink - Posted on 2017-09-12 01:11
Tim sat down for an interview with Adam Lashinsky from Fortune to discuss how Apple changes the world. There are so many amazing things in this interview, but Tim’s Health Care comments are what caught my attention most.
Tim on health:
We’re extremely interested in this area. And, yes, it is a business opportunity. If you look at it, medical health activity is the largest or second-largest component of the economy, depending on which country in the world you’re dealing with. And it hasn’t been constructed in a way where the focus at the device level is making great products from a pure point of view. The focus has been on making products that can get reimbursed through the insurance companies, through Medicare, or through Medicaid. And so in some ways we bring a totally fresh view into this and say, ‘Forget all of that. What will help people?’
This rings so true, working in Healthcare IT. So many end-user healthcare devices are pieces of crap, reminiscent of “feature phones” pre-iPhone. Apple would walk right in, dominate this market, and save lives in the process. Just thinking of the possibilities with their ecosystem in this space is extremely exciting.
Tim on where this takes Apple:
We put out ResearchKit [a software developers tool] and made it a source so that people could run enormous-sized studies. And there have been studies in Parkinson’s and so forth that literally are the largest studies ever in the history of the world. And we’re just scratching the surface right now. There’s no business model there. Honestly, we don’t make any money on that. But it was something that we thought would be good for society and so we did it. Will it eventually lead us somewhere? We’ll find out. I can’t answer that today.
I think it’s only a matter of time before Apple enters the Health Care business in some capacity — even with an FDA-certified Apple Watch to test the waters (e.g. a Medical Series Watch).
For more on how I think Apple can help, read Part I of ‘An Apple A Day’ — my series on Apple’s growing Healthcare ambitions.
Permalink - Posted on 2017-09-10 18:38
John Gruber for Daring Fireball:
As best I’ve been able to ascertain, these builds were available to download by anyone, but they were obscured by long, unguessable URLs. Someone within Apple leaked the list of URLs to 9to5Mac and MacRumors. I’m nearly certain this wasn’t a mistake, but rather a deliberate malicious act by a rogue Apple employee. Whoever did this is the least popular person in Cupertino. More surprises were spoiled by this leak than any leak in Apple history.
That’s what I sounds like to me, too — the builds were already online and someone within Apple leaked the links to 9to5Mac. From there, the same links were posted on Reddit and potentially downloaded by thousands of people.
Apple stopped signing the GM build, but not after the damage had been done. They have lost the element of surprise for Tuesday’s keynote, but once the iPhone X gets into our hands, the leaks won’t matter. The actual phone and experience will. That’s where they haven’t lost anything. 1
It must be incredibly disheartening for the folks that poured their heart and soul into iOS 11 and iPhone X, only to have it spoiled a few days before the keynote. It must also be tough for Tim, Phil, and the other execs to take the stage Tuesday and act like this is the first time we’re seeing everything. I’m sure they will still handle it with aplomb.
Neither Mr Gruber nor the two Apple-related news sites have disclosed their sources.
However, the BBC has independently confirmed that an anonymous source provided the publications with links to iOS 11’s gold master (GM) code that downloaded the software from Apple’s own computer servers.
Such an incredibly shitty thing to do. I’m sure Apple will find out who it was.
All these leaks kinda render the bingo cards pointless, though. ↩︎
Permalink - Posted on 2017-09-08 19:18
The top-tier iPhone announced next week will most likely start at $1,000. Some analysts seemingly can’t fathom this, as they are scrambling to come up with a way Apple can ‘justify’ the cost of such a product, but they’re missing the point. Here’s one example in particular.
Jim Edwards for Business Insider:
Apple will unveil its next iPhone on Tuesday, but there is a problem: iPhone 8 (or iPhone Edition, or whatever it is called) may cost more than $1,000, or £760.
It’s only a problem if you don’t understand whom this phone is for and what it’s trying to accomplish.
Jim goes on to present a ‘solution’ from Barclays:
So how will Apple persuade you to pay even more for a phone that runs the same operating system as the one you may already be holding in your hand?
Barclays analyst Mark Moskowitz and his team think they have figured that out, positing that Apple could offer free subscriptions to Apple Music and 200 GB of iCloud storage for one year, a deal worth $156, to anyone who buys iPhone 8. That would bring the perceived cost of the phone down to a potentially more palatable $844.
Not a bad idea, but also incredibly un-Apple. They don’t even bundle in the 29W USB-C fast charger with the purchase of an iPad Pro. You really think they’re going to give away nice margins on services to millions of customers because the phone is more expensive? I seriously doubt it. It’s not their MO.
Furthermore, the iPhone 8 is rumored to be different from a UI/UX perspective, so even though it runs the same operating system as Jim says, it’s not the same experience.
The purpose of the iPhone 8 (or whatever it’s going to be called) isn’t to get into the hands of every existing Apple customer.
The device will have advanced components which are difficult to produce in the kind of mass quantity Apple is accustomed to for their normal iPhone line. For instance: 3D facial recognition sensors, including a possible laser assembly. OLED screens in general are difficult to produce, let alone a custom-shaped one. Just yesterday, Ming-Chi Kuo estimated Apple is paying Samsung between $120-$130 for each screen panel (compared to $45-$55 for an LCD screen).
Because of this, it’s completely unrealistic to have the same expectations for this phone as you would for a normal release. Apple simply won’t be able to produce the same tens of millions of phones per quarter anyway. It’s a moot point.
Here’s the truth: iPhone 8 will be for diehard Apple fanatics, early adopters, extremely heavy iPhone users, and those who must live on the bleeding edge of technology. It’s also for those who have more money than they know what to do with and just want the best damn iPhone.
This iPhone won’t be for your typical parents, friends, co-workers, or family members who come to you for advice on technology. They will be content paying the same price as they normally would for the regular update (i.e. 7S/7S Plus).
Why the hell not? The people that will buy this phone won’t care about its price in the long run. Apple doesn’t lose anything by creating an ultra iPhone tier, as they know they can maintain the production run of the normal line (i.e. 7S/7S Plus any beyond).
Here’s a few excellent points from Jason Snell and John Gruber on this subject.
Now, it’s entirely possible that Apple’s apparent difficulties with its next-generation phone model are in part the fault of designers and engineers who bet that new technology would be available—at scale and at the prices necessary for Apple to maintain its profit margins—in order to ship this new phone in the fall of 2017. But it’s also true that most cutting-edge technologies are going to cost more and initially be available in limited quantities, unless Apple makes huge investments in equipment and manufacturing and corners the world’s supply of those parts, which it has done on more than one occasion.
If you want to argue that Apple should never create an iPhone with a higher starting price than what we have today, you’re implicitly arguing that Apple should never put any components into a new iPhone that can’t be made at iPhone 7 scale. I think that’s dangerous strategically, leaving Apple open to attack from competitors making premium phones with components (cameras, displays, new sensors, new battery technologies, etc.) that can only be produced in single-digit millions per quarter.
On the other hand, without question, this “new premium tier” strategy that I’m suggesting poses its own significant risk for Apple. The mere existence of the new edge-to-edge OLED iPhone could dampen excitement for the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus, leading to a decrease in overall sales. […]
Personally, I think this strategy makes sense, and arguably is overdue. In the same way it made sense for Honda and Toyota to create their Acura and Lexus divisions to sell higher-end cars without eroding the value or popularity of their best-selling Accords and Camrys, it makes sense for Apple to create a premium tier for the iPhone, the best-selling product the company has ever made and likely will ever make. But Apple won’t have the luxury (pardon the pun) of doing so under an Acura- or Lexus-like new brand. They’ll have to do it as Apple.
Extremely well said on both accounts. Furthermore, I just think an ultra iPhone would be bad ass (just please don’t call it iPhone Edition).
Permalink - Posted on 2017-09-07 16:27
Only available in the US, but this is a great strategy by Spotify and Hulu. Maybe Apple Music should partner up with Netflix.
Permalink - Posted on 2017-09-06 19:39
The iOS 11 GM leak over the weekend has kind of spoiled the bingo cards, but feel free to still play along.
Permalink - Posted on 2017-09-06 16:01
Kinda clever to get people to search about these on the web, but it’s a bit of a roundabout way to promote the comedy specials (which are excellent).
Permalink - Posted on 2017-09-05 23:16
Tim Cook, in an internal email to Apple employees:
Earlier today, the Justice Department announced that President Trump will cancel the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in six months if Congress does not act to make the program permanent.
I am deeply dismayed that 800,000 Americans – including more than 250 of our Apple coworkers – may soon find themselves cast out of the only country they’ve ever called home.
I want to assure you that Apple will work with members of Congress from both parties to advocate for a legislative solution that provides permanent protections for all the Dreamers in our country.
He also had the following to say on Twitter:
#Dreamers contribute to our companies and our communities just as much as you and I. Apple will fight for them to be treated as equals.— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) September 5, 2017
Apple will be on the right side of history, along with Microsoft and others supporting DACA. If you have ever doubted Tim’s appointment to CEO, don’t discount his stance on these important issues affecting our nation. His strong leadership for Apple and our country are incredibly reassuring. Make sure you read the whole email. Cook 2020?
Permalink - Posted on 2017-09-05 22:39
Michael Schmidt for The New York Times:
The Yankees, who had long been suspicious of the Red Sox stealing catchers’ signs in Fenway Park, contended the videotape showed a member of the Red Sox training staff looking at his Apple Watch in the dugout and then relaying a message to players, who may have then been able to use the information to know the type of pitch that was going to be thrown, according to the people familiar with the case.
Baseball investigators corroborated the Yankees’ claims based on video the commissioner’s office uses for instant replay and broadcasts, the people said. The commissioner’s office then confronted the Red Sox, who admitted that their trainers had received signals from video replay personnel and then relayed that information to some players — an operation that had been in place for at least several weeks.
I love this story, and don’t really see what the big deal is. I played baseball for about ten years, and was a Catcher for most of that time.
At the end of the Freshman season in High School, I was called up to help out the JV team. I didn’t start one particular game and my coach half-jokingly told us bench warmers to try and pick off the other team’s pitching signs.
After about 10 minutes of watching their coach, I had the signs figured out. I told my team, and before I knew it, they all were shouting the next pitch at our batter. 1 Eventually, the other team’s coach just let the Catcher call everything himself. Here’s the thing though: you can know what pitch is coming, but it doesn’t mean anything if you can’t hit it (read: we lost the game).
In the case of the Red Sox, Apple Watch just helped speed up an already-existing workflow — and like my Dad always says: baseball is a thinking man’s game, so good thinking on their part. I think the Apple Watch Series 3 to be announced next week will help the rest of us speed up our own workflows.
Come on, guys. How about some subtlety? ↩︎
Permalink - Posted on 2017-09-05 19:58
Seth Weintraub for 9to5Mac:
I’m here at IFA in Berlin, Germany which opens to the public today. Behind the scenes I’ve been discussing the upcoming iPhone launch on September 12th with many case vendors. At least two have heard, and have moved on, knowledge of the upcoming iPhone nomenclature and some details which they’ve separately learned from sources in Shenzhen who claim to have seen the new iPhone packaging.
First and most importantly, these people believe the names of the iPhones will be:
- iPhone 8
- iPhone 8 Plus
- iPhone Edition
One casemaker has updated their internal SKUs based on the information and is actively printing packaging which I was able to see in the form of preliminary artwork. The other had made sticker labels which they were showing to their retail partners behind closed doors. Both makers requested anonymity for obvious reasons.
iPhone 8/8 Plus I can get behind, as I really don’t care for the ‘S’ branding. However, in my opinion, the ‘Edition’ moniker is the worst branding Apple has ever used. The word simply makes no sense in this context. 1 Now, Apple has arguably used the ‘Pro’ moniker more loosely as of late, but at least the word is logical.
‘iPhone Edition’ implies a few things:
The last two are most likely true, but I think ‘Edition’ sends the wrong message when it comes to iPhone. If you think how it’s used now, Apple Watch Edition is only in reference to price and materials. It is equal in every other way to other Apple Watch versions. Conversely, the iPhone 8 (as we’ve been calling it) is going to be extremely different than the 7S/7S Plus in more than just price and materials (screen shape, UI/UX, buttons, and more). When used in this context, ‘Edition’ also implies a sense of gaudy superiority that I just don’t care for.
While nothing is official until September 12, I really hope they don’t call it iPhone Edition.
I’m looking at you, Apple Watch Edition. ↩︎
Permalink - Posted on 2017-09-01 23:59
This makes total sense, as Siri definitely falls more under the purview of software engineering than services. I feel confident Craig (aka Hair Force One) will be able to make great strides with Siri in the coming years.
Permalink - Posted on 2017-09-01 20:57
Ashley Carman for The Verge:
Juicero, the company that made its name by creating a proprietary juice-squeezing machine, is shutting down. The announcement comes from Juicero’s website. In its post, the company writes that it is suspending the sale of both its juice packets and its Juicero Press device. The last juice packet delivery will occur next week. All customers have up to 90 days to request a refund for their purchase of the Juicero Press, regardless of when they bought it. Fortune reports that employees are being given 60 days notice.
I’m surprised Juicero lasted this long. The packets of juice were squeezable by hand, rendering the $400 juicer completely pointless. 1 This is what happens when companies get greedy by focusing so much on just the trends (connected device, subscription model, etc.). Not that I want to see anyone fail, but I’m glad the market didn’t fall prey to this lousy attempt at a cash grab.
Sadly, I’m sure there will be other Juiceros down the line, given the obsession to connect literally everything to the Internet.
Original price was a criminal $699. ↩︎
Permalink - Posted on 2017-08-31 19:25
Yesterday was the last day to provide comment to the FCC on their proposal to gut Net Neutrality rules implemented in 2015. As a result, Apple finally broke their silence on this subject with an official letter to the FCC. In it, Apple comments on consumer choice, fast lanes, transparency, competition, investment and innovation, and more in support of Net Neutrality. It’s a great, short read, but to the point.
Here’s my Net Neutrality And You post if you need a refresher on the subject. Now for a few excerpts from Apple’s letter…
On consumer choice:
Consumers must be allowed to access the lawful internet content, applications, and services of their choice, using non-harmful devices of their choice (subject, of course, to reasonable network management). Broadband providers should not block, throttle, or otherwise discriminate against lawful websites and services.
On the prospect of paid fast lanes:
Paid fast lanes could replace today’s content-neutral transmission of internet traffic with differential treatment of content based on an online providers’ ability or willingness to pay. The result would be an internet with distorted competition where online providers are driven to reach deals with broadband providers or risk being stuck in the slow lane and losing customers due to lower quality service.
Competition for last-mile broadband connections is crucial to protecting an open internet. Based on the FCC’s latest data, 57 percent of Americans with access to fixed broadband at or above 25Mbps/3Mbps—the current FCC benchmark for advanced broadband service—have only one choice of broadband provider.3 This means that many consumers cannot switch providers even if they learn that their broadband provider interferes with the internet’s openness in a way that they oppose.
This in particular is laughably pathetic. America is so far behind in terms of home Internet speeds it’s embarrassing.
I’m glad to see this official response from Apple, even if it doesn’t explicitly call for ISPs to remain classified as Title II utilities. On the other hand, I don’t know why it took them so damn long to comment.
Permalink - Posted on 2017-08-31 18:35
Apple confirmed the rumored September 12 event today, as the above press invites have gone out. This will be the first event on their new campus, Apple Park. As such, it will also be the first event held in the Steve Jobs Theater. There was some uncertainty if the theater would be ready in time, since Apple has yet to fully complete construction, but they seem determined to make it happen.
Among the expected announcements are three new iPhones, a new Watch, and a new Apple TV.
The event will be live streamed via the Apple website and the Apple Events app on Apple TV beginning at 10am on September 12. Can’t wait!