All posts by jhrogersii

The App Store is 10? Where Has the Time Gone?

Today is the tenth birthday of Apple’s App Store, which is hard to believe. It makes me feel my age just a bit as I type this. On the one hand, it’s hard to remember the world of mobile devices and smartphones before it, because it is so much a part of everyday life today. On the other hand, I also remember the Summer of 2008 like it was yesterday.

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Looks Like the New LCD iPhone May Come in More Colors After All

Photo Source: 9to5Mac

There are new, and this time much more credible, rumors that the new less expensive iPhone with an LCD screen will come in a variety of colors to set it apart from the rest of the lineup. However, while the first report showed an iPhone with awful looking variants of green and purple that came out of India, these new rumors come courtesy of our old friend Ming-Chi Kuo, and should much more realistic. Even in his new gig, he is evidently still paying attention to Apple. Old habits die hard, I guess.

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New iPad Pro With Face ID All But Confirmed in Latest iOS 12 Beta

Photo Source: Steve Troughton-Smith

There have been rumors of a new redesigned iPad Pro with TrueDepth Camera and Face ID, no Home Button, and reduced bezels since the end of last year. Now, courtesy of noted Apple developer Steve Troughton-Smith, we have some real evidence that this device is more than just a rumor.

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Deals: Metallic Spring 3 ft MFi- Certified Lightning Cable

If you own an iOS device, then you have probably had to replace your Lightning Cables at some point. I have been able to push them to between two and three years of life with constant use, but I am also more careful than the average bear. My kids, on the other hand, could kill an Apple Lightning Cable in a month flat. Don’t even get me started on the gas station or dollar store cables. Those barely last a week in our house.

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Apple May Be Making the Move to USB-C Chargers This Year

Photo Source: 9to5Mac

It looks like Apple is making the move to adopt USB-C with this year’s new iOS hardware. However, unlike the recent rumors that proposed that Apple would be dropping the Lightning Connector from the iPhone in favor of USB-C this year or next, the new charger in the leaked imaged above is more likely to be for use with their USB-C to Lightning Cables. This is good news in my book, as all of our older accessories will still work while Apple gradually phases in the new USB-C bricks.

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Apple is Finally Taking Full Ownership of its Maps.

On Friday, Matthew Panzarino of TechCrunch posted a great article about Apple’s new ambitions for its Maps platform. This article isn’t short, but it is well worth the read, especially if you are familiar with Apple’s early struggles with Maps after its release.

I definitely remember the iOS 6 Beta and release very well, which was honestly a disappointment all the way around. iOS 5 was the first Developer Beta that I ran on my devices, so I was very excited when it came time to load iOS 6. Unfortunately, it was really nothing more than iOS 5.5, and a big reason for that was the amount of time Apple put into releasing what turned out to be a poor Maps app. All of the above left a bad taste in a lot of mouths at the time, even among hardcore Apple fans like me. In fact, the last time I seriously considered moving to another mobile OS was after the announcement of iOS 6.


Apple has certainly come a long way since then, and to be honest, so has Maps. The app was revamped with a much better interface a couple of years ago, and there has been a slow but steady stream of improvements over the last five. We have better traffic information, lane guidance, transit information, and more comprehensive business and place locations now. Maps still isn’t a true rival to Google Maps, but it is a good app and service in its own right at this point. Apple turned it from a joke into a solid and relatable app.

What makes me happy about this article is that Apple seems to recognize that good just isn’t good enough. For years many of us, including myself, have wondered about how Apple’s employees and executives views some of its products. They speak in nothing but superlatives during their events, even when they were talking about the original version of Maps, and they still do this in regards to Siri. That has always made me wonder if they actually understand how their users and fans view their products. Do they really believe the marketing hype they spout during the presentations?

According to Mr Panzarino, this initiative to rebuild Maps has been going on for four years now. Apple hasn’t said a word about it until now, but there have been clues out there for us to find. Their Apple Maps vans have been spotted on the road back to 2015. I guess we all just assumed that they work working on place data or just making corrections. In reality, they have been rebuilding their entire mapping database from the ground up, which is obviously a huge undertaking.

This new Maps initiative is a very important step for Apple. It shows that they are willing to put their enormous pile of cash were their mouth is. When they need to build something and own it, they are going to do it themselves. The best part is that they have been willing to play the long game here. We haven’t even seen any of the fruit of all of this work they are putting into this new map database yet. It will all roll out over the next year, and I am definitely excited to see it.

Another detail from the article worth noting is that Apple’s focus on privacy remains at the heart of the work they are doing on Maps. The data is encrypted when collected, and the people doing the work never seen any private information from individuals, cars, houses, etc that make their way into the data set. All of this information either is removed or obscured before anyone ever sees it. Even if we opt in to allow out data to be used to improve Maps or help with traffic information, it is always anonymous. It is good to see Apple proving that their strict user privacy policies aren’t holding them back from delivering the good in mapping.

While I am happy that Maps should take a much bigger step forward than any of us expected coming into this year. I am even more interested in the thought process behind these changes. If Apple is willing to put four years into improving Maps for a rollout we haven’t even seen yet, then it gives me hope that they are doing the exact same thing with Siri right now. As important as Maps is, Siri, AI, and machine learning are even more vital to the future of Apple and their products. Even though we haven’t seen the evidence, maybe they are taking the same kind of “all the way” replacement approach to Siri, as well. I’ve been wondering when the positive results all of the acquisitions and hires would show up. Maybe our patience will be rewarded sooner than later. This also gives me a good feeling that Apple’s coming video service and content will be done right from the beginning.

As much money and resources as Apple has at their disposal, it has been strange to see them struggle so much in certain areas. Whether it was culture, lack of leadership, hubris, impatience, or other reasons, they have never been the best at any service offering beyond the original rollout of iTunes many years ago. As critical as services will be to the future of the company, it is good to see that Tim Cook and Apple’s leadership do see the problems and are working on them. We may not see the results as fast as we want them, but if the solutions are as comprehensive as what Mr Panzarino describes, then we will likely be happy with the results.

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Tips and Tricks: Apple Unifies Trackpad Mode in iOS 12

Apple brought us Trackpad Mode, a way to move a cursor for easier text editing, almost three years ago. It debuted on the iPad in iOS 9. We also got an iPhone version of Trackpad Mode later that same year with the 6S and its 3D Touch feature. However, while Trackpad Mode has always been very handy, it’s implementation across Apple devices has always been inconsistent.

Before iOS 12, it took a two finger press, hold, and swipe across the on-screen keyboard to enable Trackpad mode on the iPad. Trackpad Mode on the iPhone has been limited to those that have 3D Touch installed. It is enabled by pressing on the on-screen keyboard with a hard press with one finger. So we have two different methods for the iPhone and iPad, and the fact that this feature has never been available on many iPhones.

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Apple has Lined Up a Second OLED Supplier, But is That Good News?

One of the big fears last year at the release of the iPhone X was that supplies would be severely constrained due to the limited number of OLED panels available and the difficulties with Face ID hardware yields. The fears turned out to be largely unfounded, as Apple was able to fill the record number of launch orders much faster than expected.

While sticking with Samsung alone worked last year, this year’s iPhone launch should be a much bigger challenge. If the consistent rumors are true, Apple will be releasing three new iPhones, two of which will have OLED screens. One of those is likely to be a 6.5″ Plus version of the X design, which will put an increased strain on OLED supplies.

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Deals: Pop Phone Grip Packs

Pop grips are all the rage these days. They make it easier to hold electronic devices and smartphones more securely, and they also work well as an always with you device stand. They may be simple, but they are also very effective.

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Evidence for an Apple Unified Subscription is Mounting

Before WWDC, I predicted that Apple would start talking about subscription unification during the Keynote. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, but it turned out to not be the right time. No one expected any of Apple’s new video content to be ready or announced then, but there was speculation that we might hear something about their Texture acquisition and plans to integrate it with Apple News. Adding a third subscription to Apple Music and iCloud (with a fourth for Video obviously on the way in the next year or so) would have made WWDC the perfect opportunity for such an announcement. I guess Apple has a lot more patience than fans like myself do.

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Deals: Mondly Lifetime Subscription

I vividly remember taking two years of French in high school. My teacher was vary accomplished and VERY demanding. She was fluent in French and Spanish and had spent quite a bit of time in both countries. After leaving my high school, she became a college professor and eventually ended up running their foreign language department.

Despite the fact that I had a great teacher who really pushed her classes, I can hardly remember anything of the French language. The story is the same for so may, as well. No class in school can duplicate learning a language by immersion and conversation.

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