It’s Amazing That Anyone Upgrades Their iPhone – 500ish Words

I’ve owned every iPhone since the original one back in 2007. Each time that I get the latest version I do something many people consider crazy: I set it up as a new iPhone, rather than restoring a backup of my last device. My rationale is both simple and silly: I like the idea of this being a natural “reset” of my phone — a way to determine which apps I really want, or more to the point, need, on my device. It’s always far fewer than I think. And certainly less than I would have if I restored and deleted just the ones I thought I wouldn’t miss.

Anyway, I bring this up because this process, while in a way liberating, is also a pain. It takes a long time to re-download every app that I actually want. And, of course, even longer to log in to each of these apps. One by one.

And yet I was reminded this week that my process actually isn’t that much more laborious than the more traditional restore. A few weeks back I bought my wife the latest iPhone — she had been using an iPhone 8, and I wanted her to have the best camera to take pictures of our little girl — but she kept pushing off setting it up. When I asked her why, she noted that the restore process is incredibly slow and cumbersome.

Actually, that was my prim and proper translation of what she said. She really just said that it sucks. And I know she’s not alone in thinking that.

This sort of surprises me since I had heard the restore process had gotten a lot better in recent years as iCloud itself has gone from a laughing stock to quite good. And again, doing this all over-the-air sure sounds much easier than what I do each time with a full rebuild from scratch.

But as it turns out, restoring an iPhone does indeed still suck. While you can do everything via the cloud, there are still a whole slew of things that are no better than a clean install. And in some cases, actually worse.

This is a difficult situation. There is some data that gets lost if you don’t upgrade: health data, and passwords (if you don’t have iCloud Keychain turned on). So the best way is to do an iTunes backup and restore from that.

But the author points out the problem with the new phone that needed an iOS update in order to load the backup, because the phone he had backed up was on a later version of iOS. This is quite frustrating, and gets me every time I don’t get an iPhone on the very first day it’s released.

The whole process is needlessly complicated, especially since iTunes no longer manages apps, and you have to download them all, which can take more than an hour with my internet bandwidth.

Source: It’s Amazing That Anyone Upgrades Their iPhone – 500ish Words

Why I Won’t Sell an iPhone on eBay Any More

For many years, I have bought new iPhones and sold the previous models. As a tech journalist, it’s useful for me to have the latest technology – even though I don’t do this every year – and I don’t want to accumulate old devices, like many of my friends who have “boxes of phones.”

I used to do this on eBay, but, when I tried to sell my iPhone 8+ recently, the experience was so bad that I will never do it again.

The first problem is that scammers hone in on iPhone sales pretty quickly. Each time I listed it – I’ll explain in a bit why I had to do this several times – I got emails like this:

hi i was wondering if you iphone 8 has been sold or not as I might be interested
my contact number is XXXX XXX XXX
regards
john

Often, the messages would give an email address, in the form username @ outlook dot com, so eBay’s filters wouldn’t catch them. And many of them used the same story, saying they needed to get one for their daughter’s birthday that week.

eBay seems to be very slow catching up to this. Generally it took a day or so before I got an email from eBay saying:

Our records show that you recently contacted or received messages from XXXXXXXX through eBay’s messaging system. We’re writing to let you know that an unauthorized third party may have compromised this member’s account security. It’s important to note that we’re unaware of any problems with your account. We recommend the following precautions to help keep you safe:

  • Don’t respond to offers to buy or sell an item from this user. The offer may be fraudulent, and the transaction won’t be covered by eBay.
  • Don’t respond to any messages you received from this user that appear to be a Second Chance Offer for an item you recently bid on.
  • Never pay for eBay items using instant cash wire-transfer services such as Western Union or MoneyGram. It’s against eBay’s Safe Payments Policy for a seller to request payment with these methods.

Most of these are new accounts – they weren’t “compromised” – which you can see by the low or zero feedback, and the join date on their pages. (Some may have feedback; scammers just buy a few cheap items to get some feedback on their accounts.)

I can understand how some people may fall for this scam, where the buyer pays you via PayPal, then claims that they never received the item, or, if you have sent it with a signature required, that it was broken. (And they’ll have photos of a broken iPhone to show.)

Another issue I had was people paying, then sending a strange looking address. In these cases, I just cancelled the order and refunded the person.

I’ve sold other items of value on eBay; I recently sold a Mac mini, and last year I sold an iMac, and never get this kind of email. I think it’s too much of a hassle for the scammers to try this for things bigger than a smartphone.

So when I bought the new iPhone XS Max last year, I moved over to Apple’s upgrade program. I won’t have to worry about selling old iPhones any more. As for the iPhone 8+, I traded it in to Apple; I got less than I would have from eBay (even after their fees), but there’s no hassle involved.

But that’s it. eBay has made itself far too dangerous to sell items like this. Knowing that in disputes they tend to side with the buyer automatically means I simply cannot trust the company to protect me.

The iPhone Is No Longer “Magical”

The big Apple news this week was the company’s surprising profit warning, the first time Apple has had to do this in 15 years. Apple is expecting revenue of about $88 billion this quarter, rather than its initial guidance of up to $93 billion. In other words, they’ve sold about $5 – $9 billion less in iPhones. (Yes, this is mostly the iPhone, because other products seem to be stable, and services have apparently increased.)

Funny, though; this is a record quarter for Apple, yet they had to issue a profit warning, and the stock fell nearly 10% the following day. But the stock market fall was not about this single quarter; it was about Apple’s future. The company’s revenue is mostly – and dangerously – focused on this single product. It represents about 59% of Apple’s income, so any drop in sales could have very serious effects.

It was interesting that Tim Cook spent 1,500 words blaming all sorts of reasons for this drop, whereas he can’t come out and say the real reasons. First, the iPhone has gotten too expensive. As Apple has seen demand flatten, they have raised the price of the iPhone (as well as other products, such as the high-end iPad, and the Apple Watch):

Price

The second reason is that the iPhone simply isn’t magical any more. And hearing Tim Cook use that term in the presentation of the latest iPhones sounded falser than it had in the past. Steve Jobs could say that in the early years of the device, because, for a while, it was magical, at least to many users. But now, the iPhone is an appliance, it’s one of many smartphones that all look more or less alike, and that all do more or less the same things. I stick with the iPhone because of the ecosystem – in part, because I write about Apple products, but also because I’m somewhat locked in through the apps I use – and because it is more reliable and more secure. But it’s not magical.

It’s time for Apple to grow up and stop selling their devices using this sort of language. Sure, the company is transitioning to services, and, as this article suggests, we might see iPaaS, or iPhone as a service, in the near future. Apple has already started that transition, with their upgrade program, but given the high price of new iPhones, the monthly payment for that is still somewhat steep. With the company’s dependency on the iPhone as its main revenue source, this transition will need to happen very quickly to maintain the level of income the company has seen, and that keeps its share price high.

But Apple’s biggest problem is that their services have never been stellar. Sure, the iTunes Store was and still is profitable, but their other services are not leaders in their sectors. We’ll see how Apple negotiates this turnaround as their star product becomes mature and no longer seems magical.

The Camera Features on the iPhone XS and XR Bring New Possibilities

People buy new smartphones for many reasons: some for the apps they can run, others for the ability to watch videos and play games, but one feature that drives many to upgrade is the camera. All smartphone makers work hard to improve their cameras to entire users to opt for newer devices, and Apple has done this for years. With this year’s iPhone models – the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR – Apple has brought new possibilities to the camera. (Read our review of the iPhone XS Max here.) But it’s not just the sensors or lenses that change; the real innovation these days is in the software that creates photos called computational photography.

Read the rest of the article on the Mac Security Blog.

Review: The iPhone XS Max is a Max iPhone at a Max Price

With the second iteration of Apple’s iPhone X line, the company moved from a single device to three versions: the XS, the XS Max, and the lower-priced XR. The two new flagship phones, the iPhone XS and XS Max, are almost exactly the same other than for the size. The larger display doesn’t let you see a broader scene, it’s just bigger.

The iPhone XS is about the same size as last year’s iPhone X, and the XS Max is a hair smaller than the 8 Plus and 7 Plus models. Respectively, the iPhone XS, XS Mac, and 8 Plus have displays that are 5.8″, 6.5″, and 5.5″, so even the smaller model has a larger display than the biggest pervious iPhone. However, the display area is taller, so it’s not an easy comparison. You could go for the iPhone XS if you want the same size display as the larger standard iPhone model, or the XS Max to have the same size phone as the Plus models with a much larger display.

Read the rest of the review on the Mac Security Blog.

iPhone XS: Why It’s A Whole New Camera – Halide

iPhone XS has a completely new camera. It’s not just a different sensor, but an entirely new approach to photography that is new to iOS. Since it leans so heavily on merging exposures and computational photography, images may look quite different from those you’ve taken in similar conditions on older iPhones.

The developers of the Halide app for iOS – a photo app that notably shoots in raw – explain how the iPhones XS camera is so different from its predecessors. He goes into great detail, and it’s worth reading this if you’re a bit of a photography geek and want to know how to manage this new device.

Source: iPhone XS: Why It’s A Whole New Camera – Halide