Turbotodd

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

Archive for the ‘iPhone’ Category

Khashoggi’s Watch

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I’ve been following the disappearance and possible (likely) murder of expat Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey with both horror and fascination.

When I read that Turkish newpaper Sabah wrote that Khashoggi’s Apple Watch may have provided evidence by Turkish officials of his murder, I paid even closer attention.

Could Khashoggi have activated a recording app on his Apple Watch, which was, in turn, connected to the iPhone he left in the car with his wife, and then have had that recording automagically uploaded to his iCloud account?

A report from CNBC pointed out some holes in Sabah’s story which bear following up.

First, they point out there’s no fingerprint sensor on the Apple Watch, so Sabah’s report that the Saudis attempt to delete the audio recording using Khashoggi’s fingerprint to unlock the Apple Watch wouldn’t be viable. The Apple Watch is unlocked with a passcode.

Also, the Apple Watch typically remains unlocked as long as the wearer keeps it strapped to their wrist after inputting the passcode.

Second, CNBC reports that the Sabah report indicated the audio recording was sent to Khashoggi’s iPhone from his Apple Watch, but if he left his iPhone with his fiancee outside the Saudi consulate, it would likely be difficult to maintain a Bluetooth connection to send the audio recording data to that phone.  

The rate of data transfer between Bluetooth 4.0 devices can be up to 25 Mbps, and though the signal can work through walls, the more objects in between the devices, the less overall range. The general range for Bluetooth 4.0 is up to 300 feet, so depending on how close his fiancee’s car was to the actual room where Khashoggi was allegedly being dismembered, the file might or might not have been transferrable back to his iPhone.

If you were thinking perhaps Khaoshoggi was wearing an Apple Watch that has a cellular data connection, CNBC points out that that particular model of the Apple Watch is incompatible with cellular networks in Turkey.

Finally, even if Khashoggi used an app to record from his Apple watch, Apple doesn’t actually ship the watch with a recording app.

So, he would have had to use one of several third-party apps that enable audio recording on the watch, and Apple’s privacy rules require such apps to display a red indicator on the watch a screen while it’s recording audio.

Anyone who looked at the watch would likely know they were being recorded. Of course, it’s certainly possible someone unfamiliar with the Apple Watch might not know what that big red button meant. But an alleged 15 highly-trained assassins?

Which leads me back to a hypothesis shared with me via a former member of the U.S. military. The Sabah Apple Watch story was very possibly a smokescreen published by Turkish intelligence intended to protect its own sources and methods.

Meaning, the Turkish government most likely had that Saudi consulate bugged to high heaven, so it’s very likely they do know if there was a murder and dismemberment taking place there. 

But suggesting via an open source record like a Turkish newspaper that such knowledge came in via an Apple Watch versus a well-placed bug is a very convenient way to let the world know that the Turks had that information, without really letting the world, and the Saudis, know exactly how.

Whatever the role these technologies did or didn’t play, the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi has evolved into an international incident.

Just this morning, The New York Times reported that President Trump said that he spoke with the king of Saudi Arabia and that “the ruler denied any knowledge of what happened to a missing Saudi dissident journalist [Jamal Khashoggi].”

Yet, Trump indicated he would still be sending Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Saudia Arabia later this morning to meet with King Salman.

No word yet on whether or not Secretary Pompeo will be wearing an Apple Watch!

Written by turbotodd

October 15, 2018 at 11:03 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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Red, White, Blue, Grey, and Orange

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Happy post-Independence Day, for those of you here in the U.S. and in the U.S. diaspora around the globe.

We had a very wet holiday here in Austin, but that didn’t keep the fireworks from going bang bang starting sometime around 9:21 PM CST last night.

That felt as though it was the shortest 4th of July holiday I have ever had!

Speaking of fireworks, some news on the iPhone front…

On the personal side of things, I finally gave up my beloved small SE to upgrade to an iPhone 7 Plus, which I hunted down on Gazelle.

Me already likey the bigger screen, but we’ll see what happens when I have start lugging this boat anchor around on my person.

On the public side, 9 to 5 Mac is covering a report from Ming-Chi Kuo, which suggests 2018 iPhone sales are up.

And, suggests the new 6.5-inch OLED iPhone model will likely be priced around $1,000 (same as iPhone X) and feature dual SIM capabilities.

The new device is expected to come in a “plethora” of colors, including black, white, gold for the 6.5-inch version, and the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone will debut in “grey, white, blue, red, and orange.”

All I can say to that is, “Remember the iPhone 5C” which came in more colors than a small crayon box and which languished on the shelves, begging to be bought like a “Toy Story” orphan.

 

Written by turbotodd

July 5, 2018 at 10:15 am

Posted in 2018, iPhone

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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 , ,

Apple to Cut iPhone X Production

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As my IA friend explained in a Facebook message, “It’s the notch.”

Apple’s new anchor iPhone, the iPhone X, is having is production slashed for the three-month period ending March 31 due to slack demand.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Apple plans to make about 20 million iPhone X handsets in the first quarter, down by half from the original 40 million forecast.

Those familiar with the iPhone supply chain indicated Apple had cut orders for components used in the iPhone X by 60 percent.

Why is it not selling?

troubles incorporating the new technology led to delays in the manufacturing process, and forced Apple to abandon the use of fingerprints as an option to unlock the phones.
– via WSJ

Those early delays were exacerbated by a shortage of certain components used in the facial-recognition system. Sales of the iPhone X were pushed back until Nov. 3, shortening the critical retailing window ahead of the holiday shopping season.
– via WSJ

Then there is the $1,000 base price—many consumers don’t believe the features justify spending that much money, some analysts say.
– via WSJ

Written by turbotodd

January 30, 2018 at 11:58 am

Posted in 2018, apple, iPhone, iphone x

Tweet More, iPhone Less

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Having trouble writing everything you want to write on Twitter in 140 characters or less?

Well, Twitter product manager Aliza Rosen feels your pain and wrote that “We want every person around the world to easily express themselves on Twitter, so we’re doing something new: we’re going to try out a longer limit, 280 characters, in languages impacted by cramming (which is all except Japanese, Chinese, and Korean).”

This feature will be available to only a small number of users for now (and it wasn’t clear at press time if President Donald J. Trump would be included in the pilot).

For my money, Twitter has always been about less being more. I have to “cram” all the time, and I avoid sending episodic Tweets at all cost. Call me old school.

In the meanwhile, over on the sidelines, Facebook has just inked a multiyear deal with NFL to distribute game highlights and other content, and in return, NFL Films will produce content packages for Facebook Watch.

It was unclear at press time whether Mark Zuckerberg would be standing or kneeling.

If you just feel like hitting the open road with not a care in the world, you might want to keep an eye on Ford and Lyft’s new partnership to develop and test autonomous vehicle designs and technology. The destination: To put Ford’s cars on Lyft’s networks. No comment yet from G.M., one of Lyft’s biggest investors and partners.

Could be very awkward out there on the autonomous Route 66!

And as if Apple needed any more production headaches after their recent and marvelous launch shindig? First there was a software issue with the Apple Watch Series 3 which caused the Watch to connect to unauthenticated Wi-Fi networks instead of handing off to LTE.

Then there was news that there have been production issues with the new Face ID componentry that has something to do with manufacturing yields for the “Romeo” modules (the “Juliet” modules are producing just fine, but hey, you can’t have a Juliet without a Romeo. That’s just bad Shakespeare…and juju!)

And now, the iPhone 8 has a “crackling” earpiece that’s disrupting the audio experience when people try to make phone calls.

To which I ask, who makes phone calls using an iPhone anymore??

 

Written by turbotodd

September 27, 2017 at 9:13 am

All You Need is Love…and $999

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Well, I was able to make my way through the entire Apple keynote today LIVE (via streaming video) from the new Steve Jobs Theater on the also new Apple Park spaceship-like campus.

The opening video was clever, as it showed people walking into the new theater for the first time ever. Accompanying the walk-in video was The Beatles’ “All You Need is Love.”

Yes, all you need is love, and $999, if you wish to purchase the new Apple X (pronounced “ten,” not “ex”) 64GB iPhone, whose new features include an A11 Bionic neural engine chip, a first-of-its-kind OLED screen, and a new Facial ID security feature that makes Touch ID obsolete and has a 1 in a million (according to Apple) chance of being hacked.

No doubt, it’s a gorgeous new smartphone, and yes, it’s being released in the 10th anniversary year of the original iPhone’s introduction. But unless you’re really excited by the novelty of the Face ID authentication or the “Super Retina Display” or the increased speeds and feeds of the A11 bionic neural networking chip, then this particular “one more thing” may just be that.

Apple also introduced the new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, which also come with the A11 chip, which is optimized for 3D games and Metal 2, paving the way for Apple’s coming Augmented Reality onslaught. Both the iPhone 8 devices and the X will now be charged via Qi-standards based wireless chargers, which apparently will create a new cottage industry of 3rd party opportunities for the likes of Mophie.

For me, the upside surprise came with the new Apple Watch Series 3, one which has built-in LTE and gets us closer than ever to Dick Tracy-land. In fact, the demo involved the presenter making a live Watch-to-Watch call to another Apple employee who was out on a body of water somewhere paddle boarding. Thankfully, she didn’t fall in while on camera, but the new Apple Watch working as a phone with no iPhone in sight was, well, a welcome sight. Too bad I just bought a Series 1 earlier this year!

In terms of software, I should have known better — there wasn’t much on offer for what clearly was an Apple fall hardware announcement. There were some cute new animated emojis using the Face ID tech: “animojis.” The Apple Watch includes some new heart monitoring capabilities, including the ability to monitor for atrial fibrillation (if your heart is fibrillating, put down your Apple Watch and call your doctor, FAST!).

My favorite was what looks to be a killer new AR game called “The Machines” where you can point your iPhone 8 (but what about my SE??) and shoot stuff with your friends.

And if you *were* awaiting news about the new iOS 11, Apple indicated it would be available for download starting a week from today (September 19th).

As for buying new stuff, I’ll stick with my year-old Apple iPhone SE for now — it still has a headphone jack I can actually plug stuff into, even if I do have to … first world deep sigh … plug it in as well every night to charge the thing. Oh, the horror….

Written by turbotodd

September 12, 2017 at 3:00 pm

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