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…