What a Hellish Experience it Is to Restore an iPhone

IMG 8125I’m sure you’ve had to restore your iPhone at least once. Stuff happens, you try to reset some settings, but it still doesn’t work as it should. Since yesterday, I’ve been having trouble connecting to cellular networks on mine. If I put the SIM card in my iPhone SE, that works fine, so it seems to have something to do with iOS 12. I tried resetting network settings, and that worked for a few minutes, but then the same thing happened.

So, it was time to restore the iPhone. I have a 15 Mbps internet connection, so the 3+ GB download for iOS only took about an hour. But then there’s all the apps to re-download. Because iTunes no longer manages apps, you have to redownload potentially tens of gigabytes of stuff. If you have music and photos in the cloud, you have to download some of them, but the apps alone make this process painful.

In addition, you can’t pause the process; you can only put the phone into airplane mode. So if you do need to use the phone to make calls or use data, your connection is saturate, and you’re limited for the several hours it takes to get everything downloaded.

When I think about all those who have even slower internet access than I do, I feel sorry for them. I feel sorry about Apple, who assumes that everyone has fiber, and can restore an iPhone in five minutes. It’s really quite a bit of contempt for many of Apple’s users. It makes life really complicated.

Is the Apple Watch the New iPhone?

In last week’s presentation of new products, Apple covered only two items, the Apple Watch and the iPhone. And they led with the Apple Watch, which meant they were prioritizing the iPhone; save the best for last.

But the opinions of many tech journalists, and, apparently, consumers, suggest that the Apple Watch is the new, hot gadget. Many journalists have pointed out that there are no real innovations in this year’s iPhones. This is, of course, an “s” year, that Apple has gotten us used to; years when iPhone models add an “s” to their names, and feature only incremental updates. (However, some key technologies have been introduced in “s” years.) The iPhone XS and XS Max are extensions of last year’s iPhone X, and the iPhone XR is a “budget” version of the more expensive model.

But the Apple Watch caught the attention of many people. Apparently, pre-orders have been “above expectations,” while iPhone sales are tepid. One reason may be the new, large size of the Apple Watch, converting what has been a fairly small display to one that will be much more readable. And there’s the glitzy new Infograph watch face with multiple complications. And the stainless steel model now comes in gold.

Some are suggesting that the addition of an ECG feature may be swaying consumers, but I find that unlikely; while this is a useful medical tool, it’s hard to imagine that everyone wants to run ECGs on themselves (and I worry about what happens when people try to understand them). Fall detection is a very interesting feature, and, while it’s mostly for the elderly, there are other cases when it can be useful: epilepsy, perhaps car accidents, and more. It could be that consumers are seeing the potential of a wearable as a medical device, and that these limited features have convinced them to invest in one, in part because of existing technologies, but also because of the potential of the Apple Watch to change the way they look at their health with other technologies in the future.

This comes at a good time for Apple. The smartphone market has been mature for years, and is limping along on incremental upgrades. It’s good for manufacturers that many smartphones take a beating, so even if people keep them longer, they eventually need to upgrade. But it’s hard to imagine many interesting new features being added to this technology. Other than the new size, and the improved display and internals, there’s nothing in the new iPhone that sets it apart from last year’s model. (And that “groundbreaking” dual-camera system is neither new nor truly groundbreaking.)

Apple knows this, and will be pushing much of its innovation to the Apple Watch in the coming years. The company has already drastically increased the price of the device, in order to turn it into a cash cow, and there’s one big change they can make that could increase sales exponentially: make it a standalone device. The Apple Watch still requires an iPhone to set it up, but there’s no reason why it couldn’t exist on its own, so Android users can have Apple Watches too. While this wouldn’t offer full functionality, since there wouldn’t be the same tight integration with apps, notifications, etc. – an app on Android could manage the actual setup, and everything would function over cellular access, and all data could be stored in the cloud. The Apple Watch can already work without the iPhone after the initial setup, using cellular access, but it’s only a question of time before Apple makes it an independent device.

Of course, this is only a temporary solution; there are so many limits to the Apple Watch that it will never be able to do too much, but Apple’s focusing on health (they barely mentioned fitness in presenting this new model) shows how they want to make this device essential.

The iPhone will continue to sell by the tens of millions, but as sales become flat, Apple is poised to have another success on its hands with the Apple Watch. It will be interesting to see how far this device goes.

Apple Introduces New iPhones and Apple Watches

Today Apple introduced the latest models of the iPhone and Apple Watch at the Steve Jobs Theater on the new Apple campus. If you’ve been following the Mac news sites, you’ve seen much of what was announced; leaks made this event less surprising that it often is. This is an “s” year, when Apple iterates the latest model iPhone without any major new features. There are two new top-of-the-line iPhones and one inexpensive model, similar in many respects to the flagship iPhones Xs.

As for the Apple Watch, the update was more interesting. Some major new health-related features join new sizes for the device. A redesign of some of the watch faces means that you will have access to more information at a glance. A new gold stainless steel model adds a bit of class to the product line.

Here’s what’s new:

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

The 7 most egregious fibs Apple told about the iPhone XS camera today – TechCrunch

Apple always drops a few whoppers at its events, and the iPhone XS announcement today was no exception. And nowhere were they more blatant than in the introduction of the devices’ “new” camera features. No one doubts that iPhones take great pictures, so why bother lying about it? My guess is they can’t help themselves.

To be clear, I have no doubt they made some great updates to make a good camera better. But whatever those improvements are, they were overshadowed today by the breathless hype that was frequently questionable and occasionally just plain wrong. Now, to fill this article out I had to get a bit pedantic, but honestly, some of these are pretty egregious.

As I watched the event, I was particularly struck by the expression “Remarkable new dual camera system.” There’s nothing new about it, nothing more remarkable than last year’s camera system, which, while very good, isn’t really remarkable in the industry.

The article dissects a number of claims that are really just fluff. Apple didn’t have much new to say about the camera, so they sort of made stuff up, or presented features that exist on other devices and tried to claim that they were Apple inventions.

The iPhone camera is quite good for what it is, but Apple has depended on the camera to sell iPhones for years, and if they don’t have anything really new, then they have to fudge a bit.

The thing with the background blur is interesting, though not unique to Apple, but all does is allow you to adjust the amount of blur that is applied to the depth layer of a photo by the software. I was actually more impressed by the ability to do that with the single-camera iPhone XR.

Source: The 7 most egregious fibs Apple told about the iPhone XS camera today | TechCrunch

Why Apple Needs to Improve the Camera in the iPhone

Apple will announce their new iPhones later today, and it’s time that they improve the camera. Not the lenses or the software; that’s what they’ve done in recent years. Adding a dual-camera system is great, adding software features like portrait mode is interesting. But the iPhone camera is still only 12 megapixels, and many other smartphones have much better sensors.

Apple increased the size of the sensor with the iPhone 5s, five years ago, and the iPhone X has a slightly larger sensor. They moved to a 12 Mp sensor with the iPhone 6s; that was three years ago. Bu other manufacturers have sensors that offer much greater resolution. The Nokia Lumia 1020 has a 41 Mp sensor, and phones from Motorola, Asus, Huawei and Sony have sensors around 20 Mp.

Megapixels aren’t everything; optics are incredibly important, the ability of a sensor to work in low light is important (though part of that is related to the size of the sensor), and the software that makes the photos from the sensor is probably one of the most important elements. The dual lenses on certain iPhones allow you to have both a wide-angle and telephoto lens, which is great when you’re outdoors, but I find that indoors, the iPhone often switches to a zoomed shot of the wide-angle lens, with poor image quality, when I tell it to zoom.

I would love to see Apple add a monochrome sensor; this takes black and white photos by collecting luminance data, and nothing else. It’s a lot better than converting a color photo to black and white, but in smartphones it is used to add detail and contrast to color photos as well. (Huawei has a few cameras with this, as do a couple of other manufacturers.)

As we’ll see later today in Apple’s presentation of the new iPhone, the camera is incredibly important. In fact, it’s one of the few features they can tout that average users understand and appreciate. People take scads of photos with their phones, and having a better camera can get some people to upgrade. But while Apple’s software for converting sensor data to photos is excellent, they are lagging in the quality of the sensor. I hope that Apple ups the size to at least 16 Mp today; if they went higher, that would be a very good selling point to get people to spend more on an iPhone instead of buying one of the new cameras that have been announced in recent weeks.

Update: not much new in the camera hardware, and some improvements in the software.

iOS Lock Screen: Guide to Keep Data off Your iPhone Lock Screen

We use our iOS devices to keep us up to date on important information. With notifications that can display on your iPhone lock screen, you can see who’s emailed you, important messages, and much more. But with the default iOS settings, sometimes private data that you don’t want others to see can display on your lock screen, and anyone who can see your iPhone or iPad can potentially access personal information on your iPhone, even if it’s locked.

This means if your iPhone is lost or stolen, whoever has your iOS device will not need your passcode to look at the information that displays on the iOS lock screen. Even someone who randomly walks by your phone when you’re not there could potentially see sensitive information displayed on it while it’s locked.

Fortunately, Apple’s iOS contains a number of privacy settings to control what data can display on your lock screen, but many people ignore these options. Want to keep your sensitive information private? In this guide, we’ll show you what you can control and how to change these settings to keep private data off your iPhone lock screen.

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