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.

Todd Was Wrong About the iPad Pro →

August 22, 2016 · 22:23

Todd Haselton:

I’m quick to criticize new products, our readers know that all too well, but I was wrong about the iPad Pro.


I personally know a few people who totally trashed the iPad until the day they spent some time with it and got it. They then went and got one for themselves.

Samsung Note 7 Delivers Embarrassing Real-World Performance →

August 22, 2016 · 15:22

Eric Hulse:

We have four units within our staff, and every one of our new Notes suffer clear performance issues, sometimes consistently and other times infrequently. The worst hiccups and stutters – or delays – happen only every now and then, but the phone itself is simply slower than its competitors at nearly every action. We have tested the application launch times, both hot and cold, of the Note 7 under the same conditions as our other devices and found it trailing behind not just other Snapdragon 820 phones like the OnePlus 3 and HTC 10, but also the year-old Nexus 6P running on Android’s latest preview. Considering that Samsung packs the cream of today’s processing power with its UFS 2.0 storage, LPDDR4 RAM and the Snapdragon 820, we can begin to entertain the notion that something went wrong with Samsung’s implementation.

Read the whole piece before you buy a Note 7.

Apple Discontinues the Thunderbolt Display →

June 30, 2016 · 23:34

Rene Ritchie:

“We’re discontinuing the Apple Thunderbolt Display,” Apple told iMore. “It will be available through, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers while supplies last. There are a number of great third-party options available for Mac users.”

The only monitors I would consider buying today, while waiting for a future Thunderbolt Display, are NEC’s and Eizo’s better 4K options, which actually work in Retina mode.

Apple MacBook vs. HP Spectre →

June 21, 2016 · 23:32

Joanna Stern:

HP’s trackpad, on the other hand, feels claustrophobic. I also repeatedly encountered issues with it, including jumping cursors and unregistered clicks.

This doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a deal breaker for me. The keyboard and trackpad have to be perfect, and despite it being 2016, few laptops actually deliver a good experience in this regard.

Drive a 4K Display at 60 Hz With the 2016 MacBook →

June 7, 2016 · 08:17

Jeff Benjamin:

The 2016 MacBook is capable of driving a 4K display at 60 Hz via a single USB-C cable. Such a feat is achievable via an easy-to-apply IOKit patch.
One of the great things about the new Intel hardware inside of the 2016 MacBook is that it’s capable of supporting 4K resolution at 60 Hz. The jump in refresh is a big deal, as anyone who’s tried to put up with running a 30 Hz refresh rate can attest to.

Operating at 30 Hz results in jerky and choppy cursor movement, and in some cases can induce headaches after prolonged use.

The good news is that it is possible to enable 60 Hz at native 4K resolution and 1080p (HiDPI/Retina) resolution on a 2016 MacBook. In fact, I just did so on the LG 27UD88 4K USB-C monitor that I recently reviewed. Watch the step-by-step process in our video tutorial for the details.

I don’t understand why this is even necessary, but at least it’s possible. I can confirm that using a 4K, or any display for that matter, at 30 Hz is impossible for in the long run. It should be also possible (I assume) to run the display @1.6x, which results in a 2560×1440 pt workspace, which is what I’m using on my Eizo.

LG’s USB-C-Enabled 4K Monitor Lends Single Cable Simplicity to 12″ MacBook →

June 7, 2016 · 08:12

Jeff Benjamin:

you’re looking for a 4K display that can be paired with your 12″ MacBook via a single USB-C cable, then your options are fairly limited. It seems that LG is one of the few display makers that has such a monitor available for sale.

LG’s 27UD88-W is a 27″ USB-C-enabled display. Its USB-C port allows MacBook owners to connect a single cable to drive the display, charge the machine, and facilitate data transfer.

This is actually quite cool. Too bad the colour’s not even close to that seen on the new Retina iMacs, but still. It does however need a hack to run at 60 Hz (see my next post).

Leica Launches M-D (Typ 262) Digital Rangefinder Without LCD →

April 29, 2016 · 15:15

Damien Demolder:

German camera manufacturer Leica has announced a new M digital rangefinder that has no LCD panel. The Leica M-D (Typ 262) will be almost exactly the same as the existing M (Typ 262) but without a rear screen for reviewing images and working the menu. The company says it has produced a camera with only the ‘essentials of photography’, or ‘Das Wescentliche’, and that it will help photographers concentrate on the important elements of image making rather than getting distracted with the camera functions.

Beautifully minimalist, for which you have to pay more than for the model with the LCD. Insane? Perhaps, but it doesn’t matter if it grabs people’s hearts. It did mine.

Logitech’s Smart Connector-Equipped Charging Dock for iPad Pro →

April 27, 2016 · 08:15

Chance Miller:

On the surface, the Base looks similar to various other charging docks we’ve seen over the years, but look closer and you’ll see Smart Connector prongs and a Lightning port on the back. This means that you can dock your iPad Pro to the Smart Connector and charge it just like you would when you dock an iPhone. And it’s really well thought out.

This looks great. Since it uses the iPad’s charger, I wonder if it can utilise the additional power of the 29 W USB-C brick through the Smart Connector, to improve charge times on the big iPad Pro.

New Early 2016 MacBooks Are Out, in Rose Gold No Less →

April 19, 2016 · 21:56

The new models have updated 14 nm Intel Core m3, m5 or m7 CPUs, with up to 25% fast graphics, faster PCIe storage, and longer battery life. Unfortunately, still no Thunderbolt 3 or 10 Gbps USB-C — these should arrive next year.

The new MacBooks appear to be about 15% faster overall in the synthetic Geekbench benchmark over last year’s model.

P.S. The 13″ MacBook Air now has 8 GB of RAM standard, instead of four.

Thoughts on The New Kindle Oasis

April 15, 2016 · 22:24

I bought my first Kindle in 2011. It was the model with side mounted buttons to flip pages, a non-lit screen, and I loved it1. Not because it was a good device, but because it allowed me to carry so many of my books with me, read them fairly comfortably, and I wasn’t worried about destroying it — it was cheap enough that should anything happen to it, I would just go get a new one. Five years later, the latter has changed quite a bit.

Continue reading →

  1. It’s either a Kindle 4 or Kindle Classic, depending on who you ask, and I got it just before the Paperwhite came out. Figures.

The iPhone SE — an Elegant Smartphone, for a More Civilized Age →

April 2, 2016 · 08:21

John Gruber:

If you’ve already upgraded to an iPhone 6 or 6S and have made peace with the trade-offs of a larger, heavier, less-grippy-because-of-the-round-edges form factor, the appeal is less clear. Me, I talk the talk about preferring the smaller form factor, but ultimately I’m a sucker for top-of-the-line CPU/GPU performance and camera quality. For the next six months or so, the iPhone SE stands on the top tier. After that, it won’t — I think — and it’ll be back to the 4.7-inch display form factor for me. So why bother switching back for just a few months? I keep asking myself.
And then I pick up the iPhone SE, and hold it in my hand.

Sometimes, it’s what’s in your heart that’s important, despite your head telling you otherwise.

John also mentions how many errors he now makes while typing on the 4″ virtual keyboard — I remember I was great at typing on that screen until I moved to the iPhone 6 and later to the iPhone 6S Plus. When I tried to use the small keyboard a few months after making the switch to the 4.7″ screen, I found I was abysmal at typing on it.

‘The iPhone SE Is Apple’s Hotrod’ →

March 31, 2016 · 13:02

Jim Dalrymple:

Look at the iPhone SE like this.

Pick your favorite classic car. An old Corvette or Mustang—whatever your favorite car is. That design will always be classic, no matter what has happened in the automobile industry in the last 40 years, those 1960s designs will always be classic.

Now, take that classic car design and replace the engine, drive train, and everything else you can think of. What do you have? A hotrod. An incredible classic design with the most advanced technology that you could put in it.

That is the iPhone SE. A classic design with a lot of the newest and greatest technology.

The iPhone SE is Apple’s classic hotrod.

Jason Snell Review’s the Smart Keyboard for 9.7-Inch iPad Pro →

March 30, 2016 · 12:08

Jason Snell:

While the reduced dimensions of the 9.7-inch iPad Pro add complications in some ways, they offer benefits in others. This new Smart Keyboard has to cover a screen that’s 60 percent of the surface area of the larger model, meaning that it’s much lighter and less bulky. On the 12.9-inch iPad Pro (which is already 9.8 ounces heavier), using the Smart Keyboard as a cover felt bulky and burdensome. The smaller Smart Keyboard, on the smaller iPad Pro, doesn’t feel that way at all.

Whenever I want to use my iPad Pro 12.9″ for anything other than writing, I take the Smart Keyboard off. It’s too bulky. But the larger screen is gorgeous! Everything in life is a compromise, and it’s up to us to make the right choices.

Federico Viticci Tested Apple’s 29W USB-C Power Adapter and iPad Pro Fast Charging →

March 29, 2016 · 21:24

Federico Viticci:

The 29W USB-C power adapter with fast charging on the iPad Pro isn’t only capable of quickly charging an iPad Pro while its screen is turned off – most notably, it can both sustain and power the device considerably while it’s working hard used at full brightness. The 29W adapter is remarkably consistent in battery gains in a variety of conditions and it dramatically reduces the amount of time required to charge the iPad Pro.

I could guess Apple’s motivations for selling the 29W power adapter as a separate accessory (one could argue that fast charging for the iPad Pro wasn’t ready to ship last year). In an ideal world, however, the 29W adapter and USB-C to Lightning cable should be included in the 12.9-inch iPad Pro box.

The difference is insanely huge! I expected a difference, but not this.

Make sure to check out Federico’s charts.

9.7″ iPad Pro — the Bad and the Ugly →

March 29, 2016 · 15:13

Andrew Cunningham, reviewing the 9.7″ iPad Pro, noticed a discrepancy in memory bandwidth when compared to the 12.9″ iPad Pro:

We’re not sure what to blame for the reduction in memory bandwidth. The memory bus could be narrower (the 12.9-inch iPad uses a 128-bit memory interface, as opposed to 64-bit in the iPhone), but the scores are still substantially higher than they are in the iPhone 6S, and we’d expect them to be lower if the memory interface had actually been scaled back. The smaller Pro could be using DDR3 RAM like the iPad Air and Air 2 did instead of DDR4, but every A9-equipped device has used DDR4 memory, and the A9 and A9X memory controller might not even support the older DDR3 standard. We’ll need to wait for additional insight from iFixit or Chipworks before we have enough information to say for sure.

This is the third thing that surprised me, after I learned that Apple’s Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter only supports USB 2 speeds on the smaller of the two iPad Pros.

If this A9X had shown up in an iPad Air 3 and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro didn’t exist, it would have blown us away. It still represents a tangible improvement over the A8X in the Air 2. It’s only next to the full-fat, 4GB-of-RAM A9X in the big Pro that this one looks a little disappointing.

While ‘only’ 2 GB of RAM wouldn’t impact me personally, I don’t quite understand why Apple wouldn’t want to future-proof the most popular iPad size category, especially since its sales are declining over the past few quarters. Four gigs could actually be a valid selling point, especially since people seem to keep their iPads for years. I realise that I partially answered my question, but raising the ASP should account for something, right?

Thoughts on iPhone SE, iPad Pro 9.7”, and Apple’s March 2016 ‘Let Us Loop You in’ Event

March 26, 2016 · 10:15

A lot of people are not pleased with the fact that Apple ‘only’ unveiled a new 4” iPhone, another iPad, and a few Apple Watch bands. Personally, I don’t have anything negative to say about the hardware, but what I really miss is the surprise. The leaks in the weeks before any Apple event in recent years are both a blessing and a curse — while I can’t stop myself from following the rumours, they totally spoil the event. It’s as if I’d gone to see ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ on opening night, knowing the whole plot. In 2012, during D10, Tim Cook promised Kara Swisher and Walk Mossberg to ‘double down on secrecy’ — I’m still waiting for him to deliver.
Continue reading →

iPhone SE — Better Battery Life Than a 6S →

March 25, 2016 · 07:58

Geoffrey A. Fowler:

The standout news is battery life. Unlike many other recent Apple products, the iPhone SE’s is a significant improvement over its predecessors’. In my lab stress test, which cycles through websites with uniform screen brightness, the SE lasted 10 hours—more than two hours longer than both the iPhone 6s and iPhone 5s, and nearly three hours longer than the Galaxy S7.

This is huge! I’m so tempted…

Best iPhone Tripods and Mounts for Photographers →

March 24, 2016 · 20:27

Allyson Kazmucha:

Over the past several months I’ve been milling around Amazon looking for the best iPhone tripods and mounts I can find. I’ve ran several through their paces and I’ve made my final decisions.
When it comes time for our trip, these are the tripods and mounts that will make it into my (very light) gear bag alongside my Olloclip and a few other travel accessories.

A nice list of decent smartphone mounts. I think I’ll get the Shoulderpod myself.

PlayStation VR Launching October for $399 →

March 16, 2016 · 12:00

Andrew House:

With the annual Game Developers Conference in full swing, I’m pleased to give you an exciting update on PlayStation VR. Today, we are announcing that the PlayStation VR headset will launch in October of this year for a suggested retail price of USD $399 / CAD $549.

This is probably the first time VR has actually caught my interest. I might actually get this.

Galaxy S7 vs. iPhone 6S Plus Camera Shootout ‘Proves iPhone Still Best’ →

March 9, 2016 · 12:46

Daniel Bader writing for iMore:

It’s not easy to tell which device wins this contest, as both the iPhone 6s Plus and Galaxy S7 dominate a couple of categories. The iPhone’s strengths are in situations with ample light, particularly with the sun as a source; Apple manages to capture photos with more natural colors and less artificial sharpening. This is especially evident in shots with lots of minute detail, or in macros.

The Galaxy S7, on the other hand, performs well in lower light, owing to a larger sensor and wider aperture. That said, the device doesn’t outright dominate, as photos taken in dim situations tend to emerge warmer and less lifelike.

I hope I get a review unit to test this out personally, but it appears from the samples Daniel posted, that the iPhone takes the more naturally pleasing and technically better photos, while the Galaxy S7 prefers to go for more ‘pop’ (eg. in HDR mode). Having said that, many users prefer the latter, just like they like the screen’s colours to be unnaturally saturated.

Duplicate Software on Samsung Galaxy S7 →

March 9, 2016 · 12:42

Walt Mossberg:

I agree that the S7’s have the cleanest software build of any Galaxy I’ve tested, and that Samsung’s TouchWiz interface has been toned down. But there’s still too much duplicate software for my taste. For instance, out of the box, there are still two email apps, two music services, two photo-viewing apps, two messaging apps, and, except on Verizon, two browsers and dueling wireless payment services.

I still don’t understand this.