Monday, April 9, 2018

I am jealous of the new (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus →

From the Apple Newsroom:

Cupertino, California — Apple today announced iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition, the new generation of iPhone in a stunning red finish. Both phones sport a beautiful glass enclosure, now in red, with a matching aluminum band and a sleek black front. The special edition (PRODUCT)RED iPhone will be available to order online in select countries and regions tomorrow and in stores beginning Friday, April 13.

Seems like Apple is on an “official” cycle with these (PRODUCT)RED iPhone special editions. This year, though, the cover glass is the way it should always have been (black, not white).

Red and grey are my favorite colors, so I would kill for an iPhone X in this scheme, but I’m sure the investment wouldn’t pay off (literally) for Apple. Red is a polarizing color enough. Lumped together with the general hesitation for iPhone X alone, 1 you probably wouldn’t have a winning combination.

No, us iPhone X users are left with a new (PRODUCT)RED leather folio case, instead. Looks nice. Too bad I hate cases.

  1. You know, lack of home button, price, ‘the unfamiliar’. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

Why Apple’s chips are faster than Qualcomm’s →

Gary Sims from Android Authority does a good job breaking down the reason why Apple’s A11 Bionic chip outperforms Qualcomm’s recent offerings.

Gary on the difference between Apple, Qualcomm, and others:

Apple designs processors that use ARM’s 64-bit instruction architecture. That means that Apple’s chips use the same underlying RISC architecture as Qualcomm, Samsung, Huawei and others. The difference is that Apple holds an architectural license with ARM, which allows it to design its own chips from scratch. […]

This is widely-known. Also, Apple’s purchase of PA Semi in 2008 has made significant contribution to their chip gains.

On A11 Bionic:

The six CPU cores are made up of two high-performance cores (codenamed Monsoon), and four energy-efficient cores (codenamed Mistral). Unlike the Apple A10, which also had a cluster of high performance cores and a cluster of energy-efficient cores, the A11 is able to use all six cores simultaneously.

Emphasis his. This is really key when it comes to the jump we’re seeing. By comparison, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 (an octa-core processor), can’t use all cores at the same time.

Geekbench Results

Gary compared the A11 Bionic, A10X Fusion, and Snapdragon 835 via Geekbench. The results aren’t even close.

Benchmark A11 Bionic A10X Fusion Snapdragon 835
Single Core 4260 3399 1998
Multi-Core 10221 5386 6765

These results really speak for themselves. You can say “they’re just benchmarks and not real-world comparisons”, but I’ve lost count of how many times Android-to-iPhone switchers say how fast, smooth, and seamless the experience is on iOS. This is largely thanks to Apple’s silicon. 1

On the difference between Apple’s cores (two points):

First, Apple had a head-start over just about everyone when it comes to 64-bit ARM based CPUs. Although ARM itself announced the Cortex-A57 back in October 2012, the proposed timeline was that ARM’s partners would ship the first processors during 2014. But Apple had a 64-bit ARM CPU in devices during 2013. The company has since managed to capitalize on that early lead and has produced a new CPU core design every year.

Second, Apple’s SoC efforts are tightly coupled to its handset releases. Designing a high performance mobile CPU is hard. It is hard for Apple; for ARM; for Qualcomm; for everyone. Because it is hard, it takes a long time. The Cortex-A57 was announced in October 2012, but it didn’t appear in a smartphone until April 2014. That is a long lead time. That lead time is changing.

For example: the Kirin 960 in the Huawei Mate 9 was released just 8 months after the ARM Mali-G71 GPU was delivered to Huawei. There is an argument that since Apple does everything in-house, then that tight coupling allows it to shave a few precious weeks off the development cycle.

Both of these points are highly important. Apple started pushing early for 64-bit architecture, which was called a marketing gimmick by a Qualcomm exec back in 2013, and even questioned by some Apple diehards. It paid off, as most will agree (including Gary) that Apple is now two years ahead of everyone else in this arena. Looks like Apple knew what they were doing after all. Go figure.

Bottom line: Apple has been making bespoke silicon for their products since 2013 and the tangible results are becoming even more apparent with each new release. Also, I’m willing to be Apple is saving a whole lot more than just “a few precious week” off the development cycle for these chips.

Steve always said Apple wanted to own as much of the technology stack as possible in order to make hardware and software that work in tandem. That is never more true than it is today, further taking into account the W-series chip for Bluetooth audio and the Watch’s S-series SIP. As for new territory, the A11 Bionic has a first-ever Apple-designed GPU. They are even rumored to be working on a chip to specifically tackle AI tasks. See a pattern emerging here?

Maybe before long, we’ll see Apple’s silicon replace Intel’s in the Mac. It’s been a long-standing theory, but one that is starting to sound more plausible with every A-series release. With these kinds of gains between generations, an ARM-powered Mac could be a force to be reckoned with.

  1. Software, too. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

How Apple Prepares for iPhone Day

Nicole Nguyen from Buzzfeed went behind the scenes with Apple’s SVP of Retail Angela Ahrendts to get a glimpse of how Apple handles pre-orders and launch day for iPhone.

This is pretty cool, and it’s great to see Angela have a more public presence. You can tell she is really engrossed in Apple’s vision by the way she talks. I got some strong ‘Tim Cook’ vibes from her.

The video shows Apple’s War Room, used to coordinate pre-order go lives. I have often wondered what this situation looked like — as it turns out, sort of like a small-scale NASA mission control.

Despite Apple’s big hype push today, many Apple Stores are seeing less and less people in line for iPhone 8 this morning. I can confirm this, as I picked up my Apple Watch Series 3 at my local Apple Store today. Last year when I picked up the iPhone 7, there were easily over 100 people in line at 8am. This year, there were only about 20 waiting for iPhone 8 (even less when I left around 8:30). As I saw this, I thought to myself, “Wait … this can’t be right. You mean to tell me there are loads of people that do want the $1,000+ iPhone X? Honestly, who could have seen that coming?” It’s a mystery.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Review Roundup: iPhones 8 and Apple TV 4K

Reviews for iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and Apple TV 4K are in (and largely positive). Here are a few that caught my eye.

iPhone 8 and 8 Plus

Just know that the iPhones 8 are fast as hell thanks to the A11 Bionic chip. Now, here are some other interesting points.

Nilay Patel for The Verge on the iPhone 8’s stagnant design:

[…] And that’s really the problem — while competitors like Samsung and LG have pushed phone hardware design far forward, the iPhone has basically stood still for four years. The iPhone 8 might be the most polished iteration of this basic design Apple’s ever made, but compared to the Galaxy S8 and other Android flagships like the LG V30, it’s just extremely dated. Apple’s true competitor to those devices is the iPhone X, but the company tells us that the 8 is also a flagship phone, and those huge bezels and surfboard dimensions just don’t cut it at the top end of the market anymore.

I somewhat agree with Nilay. There is nothing exciting about the design of iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. Sure, the glass back looks nice, but it’s practically the same overall design of the iPhone 6. That said, I think it’s out of necessity. Apple obviously wants all iPhones to look and function like the iPhone X one day, but the manufacturing scale just isn’t there yet. Until then, simply changing the design of the phone for design’s sake wouldn’t be productive.

John Gruber for Daring Fireball on the A11 Bionic chip’s name:

I asked Apple last week what exactly was “bionic” about the A11 chip system. The answer, translated from Apple marketing-speak to plain English, is that The Bionic Man and Woman were cool, and the A11 chip is very cool. I think they’ve started giving these chips names in addition to numbers (last year’s was the A10 Fusion) because the numbers alone belie the true nature of how significant the improvements in these chips are. Going from A10 to A11 is like going from 10 to 11 mathematically, which implies a 10 percent improvement. That’s not the case at all here — the A11 is way more than a 10 percent improvement over the A10. So they’ve given it a name like “Bionic” to emphasize just how powerful it is.

TL;DR: marketing. I get it. Still don’t agree with Bionic, though. By comparison, A10X Fusion is much better.

On Qi “wireless” charging:

I’m glad Apple decided to support the Qi (pronounced “chee”) standard, which several Android handsets already support. This is an area where Apple has been behind its competition. You know how like 10 years ago, hotels started buying bedside alarm clocks with built-in 30-pin iPod docks? And then they were rendered useless when the iPhone switched to Lightning? And how those Lightning docks are utterly useless to Android users? If they start switching to Qi charging pads, it’ll just work for everyone, and that’s a good thing.

This is a nice addition. I suspect Qi pervasiveness is going to skyrocket due to it simply being supported by iPhone.

Apple TV 4K

Nilay Patel for The Verge on Dolby Vision HDR and content deals:

Now, you do get a lot for that $179: the Apple TV is currently the only standalone box that supports the Dolby Vision HDR standard, which is a big deal. (The $69 Chromecast Ultra supports it, but it’s spotty and it lacks its own interface.) Apple’s worked deals with most major studios to price 4K HDR movies at a cheaper $19.99 instead of the usual $29.99 Vudu and Google Play charge, which is terrific. And every HD movie you’ve already bought on iTunes will be upgraded to 4K HDR for free as they get remastered. Several of my movies have already been upgraded, which is very nice, especially because Apple’s encoding is much better than other services. If you have a large existing iTunes library or you buy a lot of movies, you might come out way ahead by investing in an Apple TV 4K.

On its limitations:

But the new Apple TV doesn’t support Atmos. And it doesn’t support YouTube in 4K HDR. And it doesn’t have Disney or Marvel movies in 4K HDR. And it makes some 1080p content look less than great.

I’m going to explain why these limitations exist, but you’ll have to bear with me. […]

Nilay’s review is extremely detailed. If you’re a TV spec buff, you’ll want to read this one.

Devindra Hardawar for Engadget on video quality:

So how do the 4K films actually look? Simply put: stunning. Kong: Skull Island started playing within a second, and it was sharp from the get-go, with no need for buffering. It’s a film with plenty of explosions, gorgeous natural imagery and giant monsters, all of which made it the perfect 4K/Dolby Vision demo. When Kong stands in front of the bright tropical sun, I had to shield my eyes a bit — it was almost as if I was looking at actual daylight. And since there are plenty of dusk and night scenes, the film really shows off HDR’s ability to add more detail to darker scenes.

Marshall Honorof for Tom’s Guide on internet speed requirements:

You’ll need a pretty powerful Internet connection to stream 4K HDR content (you need at least 25 Mbps down, which is more than what we got on a standard home Wi-Fi network), but content loads quickly and smoothly. Streams usually took just a few seconds to buffer before reaching full 1080p HD, and perhaps an additional 5 seconds before 4K HDR kicked in. This will vary depending on the strength of your internet connection, but if you have the requisite speed, the Apple TV 4K will leverage it.

It sounds like the Apple TV 4K is great, but not without its share of caveats. For someone who doesn’t care enough about 4K yet, the Apple TV needed to get faster performance-wise. The 4th generation Apple TVs are nice, but can be sluggish at times when navigating the UI. I’ve only read anecdotally that the new Apple TV 4K is better in this regard due to the A10X Fusion chip, which makes sense in theory. Also, it’s about damn time this product has a Gigabit Ethernet jack.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Key Notes: Steve Jobs, iPhone X, 8, Watch Series 3

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.

Key Notes for September 12, 2017

Steve Jobs Dedication

  • Tasteful, somber, and heartwarming all at the same time. This was the best introduction to a keynote Apple has ever had. Tim Cook nailed the speech.


  • Angela Ahrendts took the stage to talk about Apple Stores being referred to as town squares. It’s a narrative they’ve pushed before, but it’s coming across a little forced. Apple Stores are usually always at capacity. People will stumble across all the Apple Today stuff by happenstance.

Apple Watch Series 3

  • Cellular is an obvious progression. Obviously Apple would ensure battery life wouldn’t be an issue.
  • Streaming music directly from the Watch is going to be badass. Makes the Watch essentially an LTE iPod.
  • Phone calls are in and your number is shared with your phone. Glad Ming-Chi Kuo got this one wrong.
  • I love the red dot on the crown, and red/grey are my favorite color (bet you couldn’t tell). However, it makes me wonder if all future LTE models will have have a red-dot crown? I think eventually it’s possible all Apple Watch models will just come with LTE. Definitely a curious design choice, nonetheless. It’s almost as if Apple decided they needed a way to differentiate the product since the casing is the same.
  • Apple says it has an ‘upgraded’ dual-core processor, which is short of saying it’s a whole new SOC. Sounds like a small speed bump, which could be OK.
  • I want the Ceramic Grey Edition model so bad.
  • I wonder how fast apps that use LTE will respond.

Apple TV 4K HDR

  • Logical upgrades. UI will definitely benefit in terms of responsiveness from the A10X chip.
  • Finally, the Apple TV will have a Gigabit Ethernet connection, although the fourth generation still ships with an inexcusable 10/100 jack.
  • Can’t believe they didn’t redesign the Siri remote’s button layout.

All three new iPhones

  • We’re back to the glass sandwich design, just like the iPhone 4. This is a natural evolution of the iPhone 6 design to accommodate “wireless” charging (read: Qi charging). Hopefully the stronger glass holds up better to falls unlike the iPhone 4. The stronger glass is most likely the reason Qi charging took them so long.
  • True Tone display makes it to the iPhone. Very nice. After using it on my iPad Pro 10.5-inch for a few months, I can say I much prefer it to my iPhone 7’s screen.
  • Black, Jet Black, and Rose Gold finishes are no more. Kind of perplexing, especially for the iPhone 8. Rose Gold has been a huge hit.
  • Portrait Mode selfies and Portrait Lighting are great. No longer need another person to take a great Portrait Mode picture of yourself.
  • 4K 60fps video recording is insane for a phone.

iPhone 8 and 8 Plus

  • It seems pretty clear this form factor will remain until such a time when iPhone X’s design is more affordable/possible to produce in mass quantities.
  • 25% louder stereo speakers is a nice little addition.
  • Poor iPhone 8 was immediately overshadowed by…

iPhone X

  • Why, oh, why are they pronouncing it “ten”??? I was wrong about this one. So many people will still call it iPhone “ex”, anyway. What happens in two years when we have ‘iPhone 10’?
  • Dat screen. Can’t wait to see this thing in person. They did, indeed embrace the notch. The clip of Spider-Man they played looked odd with the video playing above/below the notch. No Pro Motion (120Hz) refresh rate, though. Wondering if it will cheapen the experience any.
  • Face ID is futuristic and way more than just a backup plan for Touch ID. I also accurately predicted much of how it will work. It’s hilarious how many folks apparently thought Apple would just do basic image comparison to identify your face.
  • The iPhone line now has glaring UX differences for everyday actions (unlocking, going home, switching apps, etc.). I think Apple framed it well in the sense that this is what all iPhones will be like in the years to come. Maybe implementing these changes on the entire line in one fell swoop would be too drastic.
  • On a similar note, Apple didn’t completely do away with a home indicator, but I really like the move to gestural navigation. Getting into the App Switcher looks like a replacement for the 3D Touch left-edge gesture that was removed in iOS 11. Only sad thing is the iPhone 8 and below won’t have it, but Apple must have felt it crucial to not further complicate the UX across the entire line.
  • I’m surprised there weren’t any features on the lock screen that only turn on part of the display to take advantage of OLED.
  • Animoji look like hilarious fun. I’m stunned how well the mouth tracking worked in Craig’s demo.
  • The A11 Bionic chip is fucking insane (both the specs and branding). That is to say, branding it as ‘Bionic’ is just strange.
  • Apple is now making its own GPUs. Game changer.
  • Not much focus on real AR, which I thought was a glaring omission.
  • AppleCare+ will be a whopping $200 by itself.


  • AirPower mat to charge iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods is something I need in my life. Too bad it’s not coming until next year.
  • I wonder how much the new AirPods inductive charging case is going to cost.
  • No mention of HomePod was a surprise. Possible October event to announce availability along with iMac Pro?


  • Stay tuned for a new episode of Gaddgict’s podcast, Fatherboard coming later tonight! My Dad and I are going to discuss all this and more.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

John Gruber on the iOS 11 GM leak →

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.


Leo Kelion for BBC is now corroborating Gruber’s report in regards to the links being leaked by an individual:

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.

  1. All these leaks kinda render the bingo cards pointless, though. 

Friday, September 8, 2017

A $1,000+ iPhone is not a ‘problem’ →

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.

Denial and Bargaining

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.

Missing the point

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.

The iPhone for diehards

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 make an ultra iPhone?

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.

Jason Snell for Macworld:

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.

John Gruber for Daring Fireball:

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).

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Please don’t call it ‘iPhone Edition’ →

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:

  • It is a version of a base product (i.e. Apple Phone, iPhone Edition). Dumb.
  • It is the top-tier version of its line.
  • It is the most expensive version of its line.

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.

  1. I’m looking at you, Apple Watch Edition. 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Apple announces September 12 event

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!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Mark Gurman details absence of home button for iPhone 8 →

Mark Gurman is reporting that the iPhone 8 will not have a home button at all, instead having its functions replaced by gestures. While I would support the absence of a home button, many questions spring to mind based on Mark’s descriptions.

Unlocking the phone:

Across the bottom of the screen there’s a thin, software bar in lieu of the home button. A user can drag it up to the middle of the screen to open the phone.

The return of slide to unlock, but vertical? Not to say this wouldn’t work, but I’m a little skeptical. Also, how would Control Center be accessed from the Lock Screen?

Accessing multitasking (App Switcher):

When inside an app, a similar gesture starts multitasking. From here, users can continue to flick upwards to close the app and go back to the home screen. An animation in testing sucks the app back into its icon. The multitasking interface has been redesigned to appear like a series of standalone cards that can be swiped through, versus the stack of cards on current iPhones, the images show.

  1. What happens to Control Center if its swipe-up gesture is changed to open the App Switcher? Does it become the card on the far-right, similar to iOS 11 on iPad? Does it get relegated to the Cover Sheet?

This sounds a lot like the following videos discovered in iOS 11 beta by Guilherme Rambo on Twitter. I would prefer Control Center become the far-right card on the App Switcher.

  1. What happens to accessing Siri via button? Tap and hold on the indicator? What about when the indicator is hidden, as hinted at in the iOS 11 beta (discovered by Steve Troughton-Smith)?

  1. Redesign of the App Switcher cards sounds a lot like iOS 7’s initial implementation. Quite honestly, I don’t prefer one design over another, but perhaps there’s a reason behind this change that isn’t yet apparent.

I have been advocating for the removal of any home button indicator and implementation of 3D Touch, but what Gurman describes sounds like a nice middle ground. If true, getting in and out of apps will be faster than ever.

Mark also mentions that Apple will embrace the notch cutout an the top of the screen.

Apple has opted to not hide the notch area at the top of the screen, showing a definitive cutout at the top of apps with non-black backgrounds. The cutout is noticeable during app usage in the middle of the very top of the screen, where the status bar (the area that shows cellular reception, the time, and battery life) would normally be placed, according to the images. Instead, the status bar will be split into left and right sides, which some Apple employees call “ears” internally. In images of recent test devices, the left side shows the time while the area on the right side of the notch displays cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity and remaining battery life. Because of limited space, the status bar could change based on the task at hand, according to a person familiar with the testing.

Makes sense to make use of the space for indicators, but it would definitely take some getting used to.