Friday, November 17, 2017

iPhone X Review: Magic Glass

Remember the delight of experiencing iPhone for the first time back in 2007? That vision of the future, free from flip phones, T9 texting, WAP websites, carrier logos plastered all over your device — the list goes on.

Ten years have gone by in the blink of an eye, and there is still no mistaking the clear and apparent magic dwelling in every iPhone. Never has that been more apparent than iPhone X — Apple’s modern masterpiece.

As much as the original was a vision of the future, so is iPhone X, as a wondrous piece of magic glass.

Apple has never been afraid of changing the iPhone experience on us when new technology demands it. Never before, though, have they changed it so radically than is apparent with iPhone X. Never before has Apple released three different flagship phones with differing interface elements. You know what they say — never say never. Apple is keeping us on our toes.

It’s a year of massive change for iPhone, so let’s dive in with my most extensive review yet.

Read on

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

iPad Drama: Cynicism and Technology

Joshua Topolsky, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of The Outline, took to Twitter yesterday to mercilessly bash the iPad. Here’s where he begins his Tweetstorm, some of which I’ll be addressing.

Before I begin to address his comments, I’ll just say this…

Tech people have strong opinions about the iPad. Some see it as a pedestrian device that will never be capable of replacing their MacBook, and that’s fine. People are entitled to their opinions. Others, such as myself, embrace change and the possitibilities of new technology and the experimentation it offers. We find ways of making new things work that don’t detriment the process.

Second, the notion that the iPad needs to replace the MacBook is a massive misunderstanding. If you’re a MacBook-heavy user, and the iPad doesn’t meet your needs, then just don’t use it. Now, for the drama…

Read on

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Modern device repairability or: How I learned to stop worrying and love fixed components

Microsoft’s Surface Laptop was eviscerated (literally and figuratively) during the iFixit tear down. Of note, the Alcantara fabric that outlines the keyboard has no conceivable way to be removed without damaging the product and there are no screws that allow access to the innards. Their verdict was as follows:

The Surface Laptop is not a laptop. It’s a glue-filled monstrosity. There is nothing about it that is upgradable or long-lasting, and it literally can’t be opened without destroying it. (Show us the procedure, Microsoft, we’d love to be wrong.)

Harsh words, but it’s still a laptop, given its form factor. John Gruber pointed out the similarity to Apple products–namely the AirPods, saying:

Apple’s AirPods got a 0/10 from iFixit. That just goes to show how little correlation there is between iFixit’s concept of repairability and whether a product is good or not. I consider AirPods to be Apple’s best new product in years.

I think the argument here is that a product can perform well and have a great experience no matter how repairable it is. It could also be a piece of crap. In other words, repairability does not a good product make. I often view iFixit’s concerns about this topic to be a bit heavy-handed, but then I remember they are in the business of selling tools for that very purpose.

This does beg the question… in this day and age, with miniaturization and precision engineering, what is a reasonable expectation for repairability?

Read on

Friday, June 16, 2017

iPad Pro 10.5-inch Review

When Steve Jobs introduced the original iPad, he positioned it in between an iPhone and MacBook (literally). He argued that a tablet device had to do some key things better than an iPhone and MacBook in order for it to exist. Those goals were arguably achieved, and now Tim Cook and Apple envision the iPad outright replacing traditional computing devices for the everyday user.

Hardware-wise, I’ve felt the iPad has been a powerhouse since the iPad Air days. I remember being blown away at how fast the Air was—how I could fly in and out of every app with agility. That said, the new hardware in the iPad Pro is just jaw-dropping. From the insane interface fluidity thanks to the ProMotion display, to the ludicrous speed of the A10X Fusion Chip, Apple is making it harder not to replace your traditional ‘computer’ with an iPad. The only thing missing? iOS 11.

Read on

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Apple updates firmware for AirPods

Apple silently updated the AirPods firmware1 this morning to version 3.7.2. This is only the second time Apple has updated the AirPods since their release last December. This new version most likely brings small bug fixes, as there were no official update notes provided by Apple.

AirPods will automatically receive the update when connected to your phone, but you can force an update the following way:

  1. Connect your iPhone to Wi-Fi.
  2. Go to Settings > About.
  3. Plug the AirPods case in to charge and open the lid near your phone.
  4. If you don’t see “AirPods” appear near the bottom of your Settings > About menu, make sure your AirPods are connecting to your iPhone by selecting them in Control Center’s audio output.
  5. If you do see the “AirPods” menu, wait 30 seconds, then close the case lid.
  6. Wait another 30 seconds, then open the case lid and double check the version number in Settings > About > AirPods. You should see the new version reflected as it is in the screenshot below. If you don’t see it, may have to try these steps again.

AirPods Firmware Update

New version showing in Settings > About > AirPods.

For more info on the AirPods themselves, seem my in-depth review.


  1. Software that runs the AirPods. Firmware itself is embedded in a device and unchangeable by an outside source. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The iPhone 8's 'home button'

There could be major changes coming to the iPhone this year, and one of them centers around the home button and Touch ID fingerprint sensor.

The latest rumors and leaks indicate that the Touch ID sensor will either be under the screen or on the back of the iPhone 8. Apple may be having trouble perfecting the Touch ID under the screen technology, which would be the reason we are hearing of the two possibilities. Either way, I haven’t seen too much discussion on the actual implications this brings to the home button’s functionality. Think about it–Touch ID has been married to the home button ever since its introduction with the iPhone 5s. With talk of the sensor relocating due to the borderless screen, what happens to the home button?

Android solves the home button problem with a soft button taking up a small amount of screen real estate. I just don’t see Apple going down that route. Multiple Android-based phones also have the fingerprint sensor on the back, which is a bad experience if you use your phone while it’s resting on a desk. I think Apple would only do this if they absolutely could not get the Touch ID sensor to function perfectly under the screen.

Apple shows a little bit of their hand at a time. They showed their affinity for high pixel density screens with the Retina screen on the iPhone 4. Gradually, the Retina screen made it to all their products. You can see this same pattern with things like Touch ID going from iPhone to iPad to MacBook Pro. Force Touch began on Apple Watch and a similar technology made its way to iPhone (in the form of 3D Touch). I think 3D Touch is the real ace up their sleeves when it comes to the home button.

Here’s how I think the Touch ID and the new “home button” could work…

Read on

Sunday, May 21, 2017

In the market for a MacBook or iPad? Wait a couple weeks.

If you’re in the market for a MacBook, MacBook Pro, or iPad, you may want to wait a couple weeks.

On June 5, Apple will be holding its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). Historically, this event is largely to showcase the latest updates for application developers, but Apple has been known to make a product announcement at this event every once and a while.

The rumor mill is pointing to Apple introducing:

  • Updated MacBook with a faster processor
  • Updated MacBook Pro with a faster processor (namely, Intel’s latest version dubbed ‘Kaby Lake’)
  • 10.5 inch iPad model

The MacBook updates are minor specification bumps. The 10.5″ iPad has been heavily speculated, as it positions itself right between the 9.7″ iPad Pro and the larger 12.9″. It is rumored to have tiny borders around the entire screen (bezels), as opposed to just the left and right sides seen in current iPads. It is unclear exactly what other features it will bring to the table. Apple recently introduced a new 9.7″ iPad which is a great device if you just need an Apple tablet for doing simple stuff like browsing the web, playing games, and don’t need an Apple Pencil or Smart Keyboard. Either way, it might be worth waiting a couple weeks to see what happens.

Apple is also expected to announce its newest operating systems: iOS 11, watchOS 4, macOS 10.13, and tvOS 11. We’ve also been hearing rumblings of a Siri Smart Speaker that could see an introduction. MacRumors has a great write-up on the full expectations: https://www.macrumors.com/roundup/wwdc/

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Apple AirPods Review

The AirPods have been a sleeper hit for Apple, reminiscent of their magical and whimsical nature. They also have been out since December 2016, and are still largely in short supply. I’ve had them since day one, and everyone who sees me wearing them always asks me how I like them, so I figured a proper, in-depth review was in order. Read on if you want to know everything about the AirPods and how much I like them.

Read on