Turbotodd

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

Archive for the ‘iPhone’ Category

Apple’s New Razor Blades

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On today’s Apple marketing-fest, Tim Cook made a big change in the order of business we’ve come to expect of their product launches: He led with the razor blades instead of the razors.

Specifically, he led with Apple’s new gaming subscription service (Apple Arcade, $4.99 monthly, available Sept 19th, 150 countries, 100 new games added to the launch catalog) and its new filmed content subscription service (AppleTV+ content streaming service with first shows arriving Nov 1, over 100 countries at launch, also $4.99/month).

That alone was a statement of strategic focus moving forward. The razors are important, but the razor blades are where the new growth comes from.

So what about the hardware?

About what you’d expect. The Apple iPhone Pro probably stood out most (I don’t need a new Watch, iPad, yadda yadda yadda), if only because the speeds and feeds looked absolutely bionic. Who doesn’t want three cameras to cover all angles and motion of your Friday night beer pong contest?

And slow-motion selfies — don’t forggettt thosseee slowwww mo-shunnnnn selff-eeeeeees.

Today’s launch may have been all about the razor blades. But if you ask me, it’s been a very long time since Apple launched a new and must have razor.

Written by turbotodd

September 10, 2019 at 3:43 pm

Posted in 2019, apple, apple watch, iPhone

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The New iPhone’s (Almost) Here!

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If you don’t get the headline, go back and watch Steve Martin’s “The Jerk.”  It’ll make you smile on a long Labor (free) Day holiday.

But the new iPhones are apparently almost here. Or at least almost announced.

Tuesday, September 10, 10 AM, Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park Campus in Cupertino.

Macrumors writes the following could be on offer: 

  • Three iPhones, two OLED models in 5.8 and 6.5 inches and on LCD that’s 6.1, and all with camera improvements.
  • 3D Touch goes, haptic feedback makes a resurgence…bilateral wireless charging, bigger batteries, new AMX co-processor and A13 chip.

Likely see a new Apple Watch, new iPad Pros, new 10.2-inch iPad, and a high-end 16-inch MacBook Pro.

Me, I’m still doing well with my dual phone strategy, an iPhone 7+ and a 2008 Nokia E71 that keeps me off-the-grid and that I use mainly for phone calls and texts (which if you’re moving around can admittedly drop the signal). But for $20/month, you can’t beat it (sorry, no data).

My take on the new Apple lineup: The iPhone XR is going to start looking like a fantastic next-gen iPhone for those who don’t aspire to the new 11s. (The retail price of the low-end XR is still $750 on the Apple website, a deal compared to the higher-end Xs and, I would imagine, the 11s). 

Written by turbotodd

August 29, 2019 at 2:12 pm

Posted in 2019, apple, iPhone

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Some iPhone Models Banned In China

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Happy Monday.

Axios is reporting that a Chinese court has banned the sale of a number of recent iPhone models “citing infringement of two Qualcomm patents.”

Axios writes why this matters:

The preliminary injunction blocks the sale and import of iPhones into China, but not the manufacture or export of the devices, so the direct impact is limited to the domestic Chinese market. Still, it represents a significant disruption to Apple’s business and could bring the two parties to the negotiating table in their long litigation war.

The injunction prevents the sale and import of the iPhone 6s, 6sPlus, 7, 7 Plus, iPhone 8, 8 Plus and iPhone X. 

Apple’s response: 

“Qualcomm’s effort to ban our products is another desperate move by a company whose illegal practices are under investigation by regulators around the world. All iPhone models remain available for our customers in China. Qualcomm is asserting three patents they had never raised before, including one which has already been invalidated. We will pursue all our legal options through the courts.”

And Qualcomm’s:

Apple continues to benefit from our intellectual property while refusing to compensate us. These Court orders are further confirmation of the strength of Qualcomm’s vast patent portfolio.”

Meanwhile, Kara Swisher writing in The New York Times pulls back the camera and asks the question, “Can the U.S. Stop China from Controlling the Next Internet age?”

Rhetorical???

Written by turbotodd

December 10, 2018 at 9:55 am

Posted in 2018, apple, china, iPhone

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Apple a Day

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Bloomberg is reporting that Apple is “experimenting” with iPhone marketing strategies it rarely uses, including discount promotions with generous device buyback terms, to help bolster sales of its new line of smartphones.

Apparently they were selling below expectations, and not coincidentally Apple has lost about a fifth of market value since the start of October. And iPhone supplier Cirrus Logic cut its holiday quarter sales forecast 16 percent due to slack demand.

You can visit apple.com if you want to see whether or not your older iPhone is eligible for the trade-in, one which is lowering the cost of an XR model by up to $300.

 

Written by turbotodd

December 5, 2018 at 2:13 pm

Posted in 2018, apple, iPhone

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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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