Apple (Once Again) Loves Computers As Much As We Do →

November 13, 2019 · 14:50

Marco Arment:

We haven’t had long enough to fully test it yet. There may be flaws or shortcomings discovered over time — there usually are (and always have been). But frankly, it could catch fire twice a week and it would still be my favorite laptop Apple has made since 2015. Fortunately, upon initial usage, nothing bad really jumps out.

The new MacBook Pro has no massive asterisks or qualifications. It’s a great computer, period, and it feels so good to be able to say that again.

For the first time in years, without any major exceptions, we can see that Apple loves computers as much as we do.

So when’s the updated 13-inch model coming out?


Apple Introduces 16-Inch MacBook Pro; Fixes Keyboard →

November 13, 2019 · 14:39

Apple:

The 16-inch MacBook Pro features a new Magic Keyboard with a refined scissor mechanism that delivers 1mm of key travel and a stable key feel, as well as an Apple-designed rubber dome that stores more potential energy for a responsive key press. Incorporating extensive research and user studies focused on human factors and key design, the 16-inch MacBook Pro delivers a keyboard with a comfortable, satisfying and quiet typing experience. The new Magic Keyboard also features a physical Escape key and an inverted-“T” arrangement for the arrow keys, along with Touch Bar and Touch ID, for a keyboard that delivers the best typing experience ever on a Mac notebook.

They fixed it! This setup is the best next thing after having no Touch Bar at all.


Apple iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max: The Battery Life Is Real →

September 18, 2019 · 13:47

Nilay Patel, for The Verge:

[…] the iPhone 11 Pro cameras are an enormous improvement over the XS, and they beat the Pixel and Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10 Plus in most of our side-by-side comparisons. In fact, I think the iPhone 11 Pro is the best smartphone camera on the market right now.

Make sure to take a good look at all of Nilay’s samples. While the year-old Pixel 3 indeed has a lot less detail, especially in Night Sight mode, I do like the look of many of the Note 10 photos more. Their post-processing system still needs more work but Samsung really is in point with their cameras recently.

From my conversations with Apple, semantic rendering basically goes like this:

  • The iPhone starts taking photos to a buffer the instant you open the camera app. So by the time you actually press the shutter button, it’s captured four underexposed frames and the photo you want. Then it grabs one overexposed frame. (This is all basically the same as the iPhone XS and the Pixel 3, except the Pixel doesn’t grab that overexposed frame.)
  • Smart HDR looks for things in the photos it understands: the sky, faces, hair, facial hair, things like that.
  • Then it uses the additional detail from the underexposed and overexposed frames to selectively process those areas of the image: hair gets sharpened, the sky gets de-noised but not sharpened, faces get relighted to make them look more even, and facial hair gets sharpened up.
  • Smart HDR is also now less aggressive with highlights and shadows. Highlights on faces aren’t corrected as aggressively as before because those highlights make photos look more natural, but other highlights and shadows are corrected to regain detail.
  • The whole image gets saved and shows up in your camera roll.
  • This all happens instantly every time you take a photo.

I wasn’t a fan of Smart HDR on the XS and I actually preferred the look of the iPhone Xs shots when shooting backlit subjects — they weren’t as flat or dull.

The only place where I truly missed 3D Touch was the keyboard: you could press down anywhere on the keyboard to move the cursor around on the XS. With Haptic Touch, you press and hold on the spacebar.

I am going to miss this a lot. I tried using the Spacebar method and it’s going to take a while to get used to it.


The iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Do Disneyland After Dark →

September 18, 2019 · 13:37

Matthew Panzarino, for TechCrunch, details how Direct Transfer works and what it’s limitations are:

Much of the iPhone 11 Pro’s setup process has remained the same over the years, but Apple has added one new feature worth mentioning: Direct Transfer. This option during setup sits, philosophically, between restoring from a backup made on a local Mac and restoring from an iCloud backup.

Direct Transfer is designed to help users transfer their information directly from one device to another using a direct peer-to-peer connection between the two devices. Specifically, it uses Apple Wireless Direct Link (AWDL), which also powers AirDrop and AirPlay. The transfer is initiated using a particle cloud link similar to the one you see setting up Apple Watch. Once it’s initiated, your old iPhone and new iPhone will be out of commission for up to two to three hours, depending on how much information you’re transferring.

The data is encrypted in transit. Information directly transferred includes Messages history, full resolution photos that are already stored on your phone and any app data attached to installed apps. The apps themselves are not transferred because Apple’s app signing procedure locks apps to a device, so they must be (automatically) re-dowloaded from the App Store, a process that begins once the Direct Transfer is complete. This also ensures that you’re getting the appropriate version of the app.

Once you’ve done the transfer, the data on your phone is then “rationalized” with iCloud. This helps in cases where you have multiple devices and one of those other devices could have been making changes in the cloud that now need to be updated on the device.

Apple noted that Direct Transfer is good for a few kinds of people:

  • People without an iCloud backup
  • People who have not backed up in a while
  • People in countries where internet speeds are not broadly strong, like China
  • People who don’t mind waiting longer initially for a “more complete” restore

Basically what you’ve got here is a choice between having your iPhone “ready” immediately for basic functionality (iCloud backup restore) and waiting a bit longer to have far more of your personal data accessible from the start, without waiting for iCloud downloads of original photos, Messages history, etc.

Direct Transfer also does not transfer Face ID or Touch ID settings, Apple Pay information or Mail Data, aside from usernames and passwords.

After iPhone Migration is complete, the Messages content from the device will be reconciled with the Messages content in iCloud to ensure they are in sync. The same is true for Photos stored in iCloud.

My plan was to make a full iTunes backup (under MacOS Mojave) and then restore it to the iPhone 11 Pro, which I would then upgrade to iOS 13.1 beta (13.0 is buggy), but I’m worried iTunes won’t like iOS 13.

Oh, about that improved Face ID angle — I saw, maybe, a sliiiiiiight improvement, if any. But not that much. A few degrees? Sometimes? Hard to say. I will be interested to see what other reviewers found. Maybe my face sucks.

I was hoping for a distinctly wider Face ID, even wider than the system on the iPad Pro.

On a tripod or another stationary object, Night Mode will automatically extend up to a 10-second exposure. This allows for some great night photography effects, like light painting or trailing.

Now this is a first! I’ll be extremely interested to test this out.

We are truly in a golden age for taking pictures of dark shit with phone cameras.

I chortled when I read this.


The iPhones 11 Pro and iPhone 11: ‘They Look and Feel Like a Single Camera With Multiple Zoom Levels’ →

September 18, 2019 · 13:31

John Gruber, on Daring Fireball:

I keep mentioning that the iPhone 11 Pro has a three-camera system and the iPhone 11 a dual-camera system. And I’ll mention that again. But what’s essential to understand is that you don’t need to know that the iPhone 11 camera systems consist of two or three discrete cameras. From the user’s perspective, they look and feel like a single camera with multiple zoom levels […]

This works for 720p and 1080p at frame rates up to 60 FPS, and for 4K at 24 and 30 FPS. The exception is 4K 60 FPS — when shooting 4K 60 FPS, once you start recording, you’re stuck with the lens you started with.

This is one of the main reasons I decided to upgrade from my XS to the 11 Pro and while I wish everything worked at 4K and 60 fps, it’s not that big of a deal.

Another bit of magic. There are two new options in Settings → Camera: “Photos Capture Outside the Frame” (off by default) and “Videos Capture Outside the Frame” (on by default). When these options are turned on, when you shoot with the 1x or 2x lenses (wide or telephoto), the Camera app will use the next widest lens to capture additional footage outside the frame of the lens you’re shooting with. In post, this allows you to rotate the photo or video — typically, to fix a crooked horizon — without cropping. This seems to be, unfortunately, a bit buggy in iOS 13.0, but when it works, it’s amazing. At some point when Apple has more confidence in this feature, I expect it to be on by default for both video and photos.

Now this is something which I am excited to test. I wonder if it’s already fixed in the betas of iOS 13.1.

The new SF Camera font is delightful. Literally no one is going to buy an iPhone 11 just to get a slightly more industrial-looking font in the Camera app, but it’s a nice bonus. Update: OK, OK, we all know there’s at least one person who might buy an iPhone 11 just to get the new SF Camera font.

I’m actually disappointed John didn’t go into greater detail on the new SF Camera font — I was secretly hoping it would have a whole section in his review.


I’ll Be Pre-Ordering a White iPhone 11 Pro Today

September 13, 2019 · 10:42

I was actually not planning on upgrading from my iPhone XS this year but there are two features which got me hooked. I’m not really into the ultra wide 13 mm lens — I would still prefer a proper tele in the 70-100 mm range — but the new video features, including the ability to record from two lenses simultaneously (via Filmic Pro) and to the possibility of continuously zooming between all three while recording, are what made my mind up.

I had a white X and it was great at masking all my fingerprints. Unfortunately, I decided to get a Space Grey XS and discovered that the lens is an absolute lint magnet (I don’t use a case and I didn’t even notice the lint on my X) so I’ll be going back to white again. Additionally, I love the look of the polished stainless steel case around the glass — it reminds me of high quality mechanical watch cases.

A little over 3 hours to go…


July 9, 2019 · 20:20

The Surface Pro 6 got a quad-core 8th gen. 15W CPU in October 2019 2018. It took Apple 9 months to add 15W Intel parts to 13-inch MacBook Pros.

It’s things like this, that piss me off most.


I Won’t Buy Another MacBook Pro Until Apple Drops the Touch Bar (Or Makes It Optional) →

July 9, 2019 · 15:53

Apple PR:

In addition, the entry-level $1,299 13-inch MacBook Pro has been updated with the latest 8th-generation quad-core processors, making it two times more powerful than before. It also now features Touch Bar and Touch ID, a True Tone Retina display and the Apple T2 Security Chip […]

The Touch Bar is just bad design. Not only does it not provide any feedback whatsoever, I cannot use the keyboard without actually taking my hands off of it to look at what I want to touch (I use it primarily on my knees).

If Apple hadn’t added the Touch Bar to the non-Touch Bar model and just upgraded the CPU, I would be ordering one right now — the new CPUs are exactly what I have been waiting for. Unfortunately, they did, so that probably means no more Macs for me, at least until they get rid of the Touch Bar. And no, the Air is not sufficient for my needs — it lacks Display P3 and a proper processor.

Update

Clarified that I’m all for making the Touch Bar optional. I would actually consider paying a small premium not to have it.


Apple’s New A10-Powered iPod Touch →

May 29, 2019 · 11:44

Apple’s Newsroom:

Apple today introduced the new iPod touch with enhancements to power, capability and communication at a remarkable price. The Apple-designed A10 Fusion chip brings improved performance in games, and for the first time on iPod, immersive augmented reality (AR) experiences and Group FaceTime, making it easy to chat with family members, friends or colleagues simultaneously.

I’m guessing a new iPod Touch with just an upgraded A10 chip was introduced because of Apple Arcade, Apple Music, iOS 13 support, and all the industries, including stores, museums, etc. that use it for various tasks, where an iPad is too large.


Apple Cancels AirPower →

March 29, 2019 · 22:24

Matthew Panzarino, for TechCrunch:

“After much effort, we’ve concluded AirPower will not achieve our high standards and we have cancelled the project. We apologize to those customers who were looking forward to this launch. We continue to believe that the future is wireless and are committed to push the wireless experience forward,” said Dan Riccio, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Engineering in an emailed statement today.

Not that I was interested, but… damn!


Quick Thoughts on AirPods 2

March 28, 2019 · 09:45

I have used my first generation AirPods almost daily for the past two years. I started having issues with the right AirPod a few months ago, so I sent them in to get them looked at. They, surprisingly, replaced both AirPods (I got the old case back since it was fine) because Apple confirmed the issues that I had described. Quite frankly, going without AirPods for 5 days wasn’t easy — they’re easily the best product that Apple has created recently.

I expected AirPods 2 to get a 30% price increase and there being just one model available. Ideally, Apple would have introduced the second generation model with the charging case at the same price, but that’s just not how the world works. Instead, we got new AirPods with the old case for the same price and the option to upgrade to the Qi-enabled case for an extra 25%. This is better than nothing and honestly, you don’t actually need the wireless charging case.

There are rumours of AirPods with ANC. I will wait for them but I really hope they’re not going to charge even more for those.

Anyway, if you haven’t yet used AirPods (and they fit your ears), make sure to get a new pair. They really are extraordinary.


Quick Thoughts on the iPad Mini 5 and 10.5-inch iPad Air

March 28, 2019 · 09:29

I really thought the iPad Mini was dead but when the rumours started coming in about a newer model, I kept my fingers crossed for Apple adopting the Liquid Retina display from the new iPad Pros, along with a similarly designed case. I had two Minis in my iPad history and I loved them both. They were most excellent for thumb-typing and fantastic reading tablets, especially for RSS, the web, Twitter, and even ebooks. The screen was a bit small for comic books and magazines but I blame my ageing eyes on that. While a new Mini is always welcome — it really is a great little tablet — things have changed in the last few years. I really expect more from the “most innovative” company in the world, than just a speed bump, a slightly better screen, and the same 7-year-old design.

The “new” 10.5-inch iPad Air is really just a 10.5-inch iPad Pro without ProMotion and the quad-speaker system. While most people won’t notice the loss of the former, they really could have retained the latter, since a lot of people like to use iPads for watching video. The good news is that the price is down slightly.


Quick Thoughts on the New iMac (Early 2019)

March 28, 2019 · 09:14

Apple finally updated the iMac with new CPUs and GPUs last week and while not much has changed in the design of this particular Mac — same design, same Bluetooth, similar configs, etc. — a speed bump is always welcome. Unfortunately, some upgrade pricing is still as insanely absurd as ever and the base models still offer spinning disk drives:

  • The base models should all have SSDs.
  • The 8 GB → 16 GB upgrade costs $200. You can buy an 8 GB module for around $40-50 and a 16 GB module to around $90, which means Apple is charging 3-4 times more.
  • The 32 GB RAM upgrade is $600. A 32 GB set of two 16 GB DDR modules is around $180-190.
  • The 64 GB RAM upgrade is $1000 while a similar set can range from $200-430, depending on the vendor.
  • SSD upgrade pricing is 2-3 times higher than current prices for high-quality NVMe SSDs.
  • Since the design hasn’t been changed, I’m assuming that dust will still accumulate on the back of the screen over time.

I’m glad that the iMac has been updated but I still cannot comprehend why they aren’t getting more flack for their absurd upgrade pricing. The i9-9900 configuration should make a nice hackintosh config though, which I can fix in minutes or hours should anything go wrong, instead of sending it in to Apple and waiting 5-7 days. This route also allows me to use much beefier GPUs. I just wish Apple and NVIDIA stopped bickering — MacOS really could use GTX and RTX support.


Logitech Powered — Inductive Charging Dock for iPhone →

August 8, 2018 · 11:07

I currently use Samsung chargers but this actually looks nicer. I have been considering getting an AirPower from Apple, if they ever come out, especially since I have AirPods, an Apple Watch, and an iPhone, but I’m worried that I won’t be able to justify paying the price for it — somehow I doubt it’ll be inexpensive.

The Logitech Powered isn’t cheap and I don’t quite understand why it only supports 5W charging for Android phones, but it looks like a nice product. I might go for it but I’ll wait for AirPower first.


Rama Works M60-A Keyboard →

April 30, 2018 · 10:25

The M60-A represents the benchmark and equilibrium between function and design for us at Rama Works. The gently exaggerated design of the frame is not understated, but rather provocative. Inspiration and evolution from previous models are evident in the beautifully articulated design and the well defined aesthetic, the fingerprint of our ‘Industrial Modern’ designs. The M60-A offers a unique contender in the traditional 60% form factor.

The attention to detail in this design is quite amazing. If not for its considerable height and lack of arrow keys, I would be ordering it right now.


Luna Display →

August 23, 2017 · 14:42

Craig Hockenberry:

What if I told you that you could add a Retina Display to your MacBook Pro for under $100? And what would you think when I showed how it plugs into your computer?

The only use that I can see, for me personally, is for Lightroom. But only because Lightroom for iOS isn’t an exact equivalent of its desktop counterpart.

This also raises a few questions in regard to touch screens and Macs. Should Apple introduce touch to the Mac? Is this a niche product/need? Will the iPad with iOS 11 kill that need? Or with future releases, making iOS on iPads fully featured? Will there be a laptop with iOS in the near future? Will “the next big thing” arrive, replacing our need for smartphones and tablets, before iOS matures?

These are truly interesting times in tech, ones which I could not have imagined 30 years ago, sitting in front our IBM PC XT.


The New iPad Pro Screen Is Amazing →

June 23, 2017 · 15:32

Gabe Weatherhead:

Most of what I’ve read or heard about the new iPad Pro is close to reality but I think the effect of the new 120 Hz refresh rate of the screen is being over stated. It’s nice but it is not dramatically better. It’s not even that noticeable. Scrolling looks better, but it’s minor. From the early reviews you might expect more but I think there was a lot of pent up excitement for the iPad Pro revision.

I cannot stress how much I don’t agree with this. The new ProMotion screen is jaw-dropping. The smoothness of the animations and scrolling are fantastic, and in a few short minutes, have ruined my iPhone’s screen. If you use an iPad a lot and can afford to get one, do so.


Atari CEO Confirms the Company Is Working on a New Game Console →

June 17, 2017 · 20:34

Dean Takahashi:

Last week, Atari began teasing a new product called the Ataribox. The video released on a non-Atari web site showed a picture of some kind of hardware product, but many people wondered if the teaser was fake. Others had no idea what the video was showing about a “brand new Atari product years in the making.”

After all, nobody makes a game console with wood-grain siding. But at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Chesnais told me that the rumors are true.

“We’re back in the hardware business,” he said.

Chesnais declined to describe a lot of details about the console. But he said it is based on PC technology. He said Atari is still working on the design and will reveal it at a later date.

My first console was an Atari Amigo. I still remember my Pac-Man and River Raid sessions with my friends. I’ll probably get one, purely for nostalgic reasons.


Jason Snell Ears On with the HomePod →

June 6, 2017 · 15:42

Jason Snell:

In general, I found the HomePod to sound quite good, with a powerful bass and great clarity in the treble. However, in a few cases—Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” was the one that really struck me—I felt that the Sonos Play:3 more accurately reproduced the feel of the track, while the (extremely early, pre-release version of the) HomePod’s clever audio processing technology spread the bass and vocals out so much that it didn’t sound right anymore.

Of course, with the HomePod half a year away from shipping, there’s probably a lot of software tweaking yet to be done in terms of audio processing.

This sounds very promising! I’m definitely looking to get at least one. The HomePod is missing one feature that I would love to see — the ability to use two, three or five of them, to set up a 2.0, 3.0 or 5.0 surround sound system for my Apple TV. I realise that this wouldn’t be cheap, but… no wires!


Rethinking Apple →

April 5, 2017 · 10:36

Dr Drang:

Apple is making money hand over fist. By market share, it’s the biggest company in the world. Why is it continually putting itself in positions where it’s either apologizing, like today, or should be apologizing, as with the once long-overdue MacBook Pro update and the currently long-overdue iMac, Mac Mini, and iPad Pro updates.

While I appreciate Apple voicing their commitment to the Mac, I cannot fathom why this is even necessary. They are one of the biggest companies in the world and surely they can create teams that will constantly only work on Mac hardware. While I understand that simple updates to components seem perhaps too easy to do, with Apple’s aspirations being much higher, regular updates should be present in all line-ups. For example, the Mac Mini perhaps doesn’t fullfill Apple’s dreams of what a small Mac could or should be, but while they figure this out, it would be nice to have current generation hardware inside, regularly updated to the latest and greatest technologies, including Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C. I know of a lot of people holding off, just because the Mini is 900+ days old.