Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘apple’ Category

Close Those Circles

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As goes Wichita, so goes Wichita Falls.

Reuters is reporting that one of America’s oldest and largest North American life insurance firms, John Hancock, will stop underwriting traditional life insurance and instead sell only interactive policies that track fitness and health data through wearable devices and smartphones.

Reuters story indicates that policyholders score premium discounts for hitting exercise targets tracked on wearable devices such as a Fitbit or Apple Watch and get gift cards for retail stores and other perks by logging their workouts and healthy food purchases in an app.

Presumably that doesn’t include buying pints of Chocolate Häagen-Dazs.

Privacy and consumer advocates have already raised the alarm, wondering whether insurers like John Hancock could use the data to select for more profitable customers, and penalizing those who don’t close all their Apple Watch circles every day.

And you thought it was just a cool digital watch you could show off to your friends!

Written by turbotodd

September 20, 2018 at 10:16 am

About Those New iPhones

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If you’re in the market for one of those new iPhones, there’s plenty of reviews coming out. What you want may depend on who you read.

The New York Times’ Brian Chen starts his review by saying he’d been a naysayer on the growing size of smartphones. But after spending a week with the new iPhone XS Max, Chen seems to have come around to the idea of having a much larger phone in one’s hand.

One reason for the change was that Apple had managed to cram a bigger screen into a slightly smaller body, which meant that Chen could hold the XS Max in one hand and type messages easily. So, less bevel, more screen space.

Chen indicated that he also liked the jumbo screen for practical reasons, finding it beneficial for reading maps when driving, when writing longer emails, and even for reading recipes in the kitchen. Just try not to do all three of those things at once!

Yet even Chen encouraged those looking to buy a new iPhone to try before you buy, because there are several sizes for different prices and they’ll all be in Apple stores to see first hand soon.

The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern did us all a favor by providing a very simple to read breakdown of the three new iPhones introduced last week:

  • iPhone XS: An upgrade to the 5.8-inch iPhone X from last year. It still starts at $1,000 and begins shipping Friday, Sept. 21. (The original X is gone. RIP.)
  • iPhone XS Max: A giant version of the XS with a 6.5-inch screen— Apple Inc.’s biggest-ever phone display. It starts at $1,100 and also ships Friday.
  • iPhone XR: A new model that doesn’t have the two-camera system and vibrant OLED screen, but does have a slightly larger 6.1-inch LCD screen and apparently better battery life. It starts at $750 and ships on Oct. 26.

She called the XS and XS Max “fabulous phones,” then hedged by writing that “we’ve hit a point where every smartphone is great – it comes down to what you want and what you want to spend.”

For the XS Max, she explained that “if you want a ginormous screen on an iPhone, the XS Max’S beautiful 6.5-inch OLED display is here for you.”

Taking photos, watching videos, FaceTiming, Fortniting, even writing emails felt more immersive on the big phone. But two things hold me back from going to the Max.

However, she concluded that unless you are in an iPhone upgrade program or absolutely dying for that Max screen, she suggested not jumping from the X to the XS.

“Going back to last year’s model, I missed the speed boost a bit, but not enough to drop another grand or more.”

And she reminds us not forget that the new iOS 12 is expected to speed up certain elements, particularly on older phones.

In fact, I just upgraded a now ancient iPad Air (Gen 1) to iOS 12, and it already seems like it’s 40% faster with the upgrade.

As for those looking to go more down market for one of these new iPhones (if down market can even be ascribed to these categories and prices of smartphones), the iPhone XR is poised to do very well.

While it doesn’t have the two-camera system of XS and XS Max, it does have a 6.1-inch LCD screen and ostensibly better battery life, and costs several hundred dollars cheaper.

And if you’re on the fence and might be looking into Android land, don’t forget that the Google Pixel 3 is expected to announce around October 9th.

TechRadar provides some rumor, innuendo and leaked pics of the new Pixel just in case you want to hedge and build some anticipation. 

Me, I bought a 6 Plus off Gazelle earlier this year for less than $500, and it works beautifully on iOS 12.

But am I tempted…?!!

Written by turbotodd

September 18, 2018 at 10:33 am

Posted in 2018, apple, iPhone, iPhone XS

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Bigger, Better iPhones?

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First off, for those of you in the North Carolina and South Carolina and Virginia and surrounding states, I wish you well in the coming days and hope that you all stay safe, sound, and dry!

Hurricanes are no fun. We found that out first-hand last year with Harvey here in Texas.

But neither rain nor sleet nor storms can prevent Apple from announcing their next slate of gadgets, which they’re slated to do here in about 45 minutes.

I love all the guesswork that goes into trying to figure out what Apple is going to announce at these events, but All Things How is taking a crack at the tea leaves by analyzing the Apple products sitemap on the company’s website.

In its analysis, they discovered that the company is introducing at least two new iPhones, the iPhone XS, the iPhone XR, and the iPhone XS Max.

Some details:

iPhone XS Display Size: 5.8-inch
iPhone XS Max Display Size: 6.5-inch
iPhone XS and XS Max Storage Options: 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB
iPhone XS and XS Max Color Options: Silver, Black, and Gold

iPhone XR Display Size: 6.1-inch
iPhone XR Storage Options: 64GB and 256GB
iPhone XR Color Options: Black, White, Red, Yellow, Blue, and Coral

We’ll all know more for sure in a couple of hours.

Written by turbotodd

September 12, 2018 at 11:16 am

Posted in 2018, apple, weather

Tagged with , , ,

Oh Thank Heavens

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It’s all about convenience.

MacRumors is reporting that 7-Eleven announced yesterday that Apple Pay and Google Pay are accepted at nearly all of its 10,000+ locations across the United States.

The company also highlighted some of the technology improvements that it has introduced recently including the 7-Eleven NOW app for placing on demand orders with Apple Pay, the 7Rewards loyalty program that allows customers to earn points for purchases, and the 7-Eleven Bot on Facebook Messenger to allow customers to get quick answers to questions.

Those all-critical questions that often arise at 2 AM, like: “Do you have any hotdogs left?”

To use Apple Pay at 7-Eleven stores, customers will need an iPhone 6, 6s, 6, 7, 8, 6 Plus, 6s Plus, 7 Plus, 8 Plus, SE, or X, and/or a compatible Apple Watch model.

Written by turbotodd

September 11, 2018 at 9:35 am

Posted in 2018, apple, payments, retail

Tagged with , , ,

Apple AR Acquisition

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Happy Thursday.

Reuters is reporting that Apple has acquired a startup focused on making lenses for augmented reality glasses, a sign that Apple has ambitions to make a wearable device that would superimpose digital information on the real world.

The company, Akonia, could not be immediately reached for comment, according to Reuters. it reports the company was founded in 2012 by a group of holography scientists and had originally focused on holographic data storage before pivoting to creating displays for AR glasses.

Neither the purchase price nor the date of the acquisition was revealed, although one executive in the AR industry said the Akonia team had become “very quiet” over the past six months.

Reuter’s suggests that this acquisition is the first clear indication about Apple might handle one of the most daunting challenges in AR hardware: producing crystal clear optical displays thin and light enough to fit in the glasses similar to everyday frames with images bright enough for outdoor use and suited to mass manufacturing at a relatively low price.

Meanwhile, from The Verge we learn that Google’s Titan Security key set — which includes a USB key, a Bluetooth key, and various connectors — is now available to we mere mortals for only $50.

The Titan keys work as a second factor for a number of services, including Google Cloud customers, Facebook, Dropbox, and GitHub. But as The Verge points out, they’re built particularly for Google account logins, and, specifically, the Advanced Protection Program announced last October.

The Verge writes that “Because the keys verify themselves with a complex handshake rather than a static code, they’re far more resistant to phishing attacks than a conventional confirmtion code. The key was initially designed for internal Google use, and has been in active use within the company for more than eight months.”

Google has also indicated the production process makes the keys more resistant to supply chain attacks, because the firmware is sealed permanently Into a secure element hardware chip at production time in the chip production factory. Google says that the chip used is designed to resist physical attacks aimed at extracting firmware and secret key material.

Anything to keep the very bad people away from my data.

Written by turbotodd

August 30, 2018 at 9:49 am

iPhone X Making Moolah

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I’ve not upgraded to an iPhone 8 or X yet, but someone out there in the ether has.  Maybe even quite a few.

MacRumor reported yesterday that, according to Counterpoint Research, the iPhone X accounted for 35 percent of total worldwide handset profits in the fourth quarter of 2017.

They also reported that the X generated 5X more profit than the combined profit of more than 600 Android OEMs during the quarter, and this despite the fact that the X was available for purchase only during the final two months of the year.

iPhone X Sales

The story indicated other Apple iPhones, including the 8, 8 Plus, 7, and 7 Plus accounted for a second large chunk of global handset profits.

And that Apple was the most profitable brand with 86 percent of total handset market profits.

Yeah, just a little bit.

So excuse me for a moment if I kid about this story that appeared in The Wall Street Journal about folks wanting to go all retro with “candy bar” and “banana” and so-called feature phones because their smartphone had too much to compel them to use it.  

Uh, isn’t that the frickin’ point?  A computer in our hands?!

I waited 20+ years to get a smartphone!

I use it for all kinds of things — writing, reading, watching stuff, playing games, navigating, travel, communicating via video and text, etc.…and you want to go back to a feature phone?  

Are you ——ing kidding me?  

I’m sorry if you’re so addicted to your smartphone that you can’t control yourself.  

But that’s your problem.  

Me, I’ll be perfectly find if I never have to send another T9 text for the rest of my adult life!

Written by turbotodd

April 18, 2018 at 1:56 pm

Posted in 2018, apple, iPhone, iphone x

Tagged with , ,

X Marks the Spot

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Yesterday was Samsung S9 day.

Today is Apple iPhone whatever-comes-next day.

Bloomberg is reporting Apple is preparing to release three new smartphones later this year, including the largest iPhone ever, along with an upgraded handset the size of the current iPhone X and a less expensive model that has the X’s flagship features.

According to the report, Apple is trying to appeal to consumers who “crave the multitasking attributes of so-called phablets while also catering to those looking for a more affordable version of the iPhone X.”

What, you mean people aren’t responding kindly to having to spend $1,000+ for a phone-slash-computer in their pocket?!

Bloomberg assets the iPhone X has not sold as well as had been expected, which has led to Apple trimming the supply. Apparently consumers want something somewhere between the iPhone 8, which doesn’t have enough new widgets and whistles, and the iPhone X, which requires a mortgage.

The article also suggests the larger screen should appeal to business users, who could use the new iPhone to write emails and manage spreadsheets on a screen “about as big as a small tablet.” The new device would also likely include split-screen mode for certain apps, another feature that would make it more attractive to business users.

Now the question is will Apple come up with the equivalent of Samsung’s DeX docking station, a device that will soon take a Samsung S9 smartphone and turn it into a working desktop computer?

That surely is the direction all this has to be going, right?

Written by turbotodd

February 27, 2018 at 9:25 am

Posted in 2018, apple, iphone x

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