September 25, 2017

Thanks to Twocanoes Software for sponsoring The Loop this week. If you are upgrading to High Sierra and have a Boot Camp partition, check out Winclone 6. Winclone 6 is the ideal Mac App for backing up your Boot Camp partition. You spent a ton of time getting your Windows setup just right, and Winclone makes sure that you can always get back to that same setup. Winclone creates a exact clone of your Boot Camp partition, including all Windows system files, applications, and data. If you have a failed update, bad drive, or ransomware attack in Windows, you just restore your Winclone backup and you are back up and running.

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Greatest trick plays in Football history

There are some good plays in here.


Baseball is the perfected candidate for this kind of augmented reality experience for two reasons. First, there’s a lot of downtime — even the staunchest of baseball apologists will cop to the fact that the game can be extremely slow. Second, baseball is a game of stats.

In essence, it’s a bit like watching TV broadcast in person, with information overlaid on the action as it happens in real-time.

I’m of two minds about this. The information junkie in me loves the idea but, as far as a baseball purist as I may or may not be, I’d like to just sit and watch the game. Not to mention how distracting this would be for fans around you.

It’s Nice That:

The Visual History of Type is a definitive survey of the major typefaces produced since the advent of printing, from movable type in the mid-15th century to the present day.

Arranged chronologically, more than 320 typefaces are presented in the form of their original type specimens or earliest printings, located in their historical context through brief overviews and descriptions of the key characteristics of each face.

Here, rather than attempting to provide a potted version of 500 years of typographic history, The Visual History of Type’s author, Paul McNeil, has selected a few of his current favourites from the book for It’s Nice That.

Type is one of those things most of us know little about but instantly know whether we like it or not. If there’s a design nerd in your family, this book looks like it would make a lovely present.


CEO Tim Cook named her the first-ever vice president and managing director for Apple in what it calls Greater China—the mainland plus Hong Kong and Taiwan. Apple’s other sales regions don’t have lead execs; the company prides itself on its “functional” structure, with teams grouped by what they do, not location. But it’s time for Apple to think different in China.

There is probably no more important executive at Apple outside of the “Core Four”. China is and will continue to be Apple’s most challenging market.

Silicon Valley reacting to Apple’s iPhone X

This is pure snark, cut together by Funny or Die.

Me? I preferred this take on Craig Federighi.

Jeff Butts, MacObserver, sharing info he got from Andrew Woodward, who has his new Apple Watch in hand:

When Mr. Woodward activated his Apple Watch Series 3 LTE and received a text message confirmation, he thought he’d see the green dots on the Watch face. He didn’t, so began the technical support process. After speaking to both his cellular provider and Apple, the thought was that the eSIM was still waiting to be provisioned.

It wasn’t, but Mr. Woodward didn’t realize it until later on in the day. He walked away from his iPhone, beyond Bluetooth and Wi-Fi range. Suddenly the green dots appeared.

Those green dots are the sign that your Apple Watch is flying solo, using its data plan and, likely, using more battery to support the LTE radio.

As you’d expect, the Apple Watch uses the iPhone’s radio whenever possible, saving battery life.

The linked article also walks through the Apple Watch Control Panel interface (swipe up from the bottom of the Apple Watch face), where the “radio tower” icon is white if your Apple Watch is in range of an LTE signal, and green if it’s actually connected and using that connection.

Good stuff.

John Paczkowski, Managing Editor, BuzzFeed:

This year the company is particularly proud of these, which boast a marquee “Portrait Lighting” feature that brings a range of professional-looking effects to the already great photos the dual camera system on the iPhone 7 Plus is capable of taking.

This year’s leap, however, feels particularly meaningful.


The camera’s effects don’t rely on filters. They’re the result of Apple’s new dual camera system working in concert with machine learning to sense a scene, map it for depth, and then change lighting contours over the subject. It’s all done in real time, and you can even preview the results thanks to the company’s enormously powerful new A11 Bionic chip. The result, when applied to Apple scale, has the power to be transformative for modern photography, with millions of amateur shots suddenly professionalized. In many ways it’s the fullest realization of the democratization of high-quality imagery that the company has been working toward since the iPhone 4.

i couldn’t agree more. Apple is changing the conversation. It’s no longer a simple focus on the reduction of low-light image graininess, megapixel count, or CCD capacitor thresholds. Apple is creating tools that help people take amazing pictures.

Love this review.

From a larger article on customizing your iOS home screen, Rene Ritchie has a section on rearranging apps on a page. Of all the gestures added to iOS over the years, I find this one (stacking app icons) the most difficult to master. Might be my big oafish fingers, or a subtlety on the tap mechanism itself, but I’ve simply found this mechanism frustrating.


Reading the steps Rene lays out in his post, watching the GIF, and practicing a bit, I finally have it. I think the issue for me was a quick staccato tap to add an icon. Had to hit it just right.

No matter, if you’ve never tried the app stacking thing, give Rene’s article a read.


Right now, an Apple-1 computer valued at $700,000 is being auctioned off, with a current bid of $140,000. And starting Oct. 20, a Newsweek magazine from 1988 signed by Jobs will be auctioned off at a starting bid of $1,000. It’s estimated the magazine will sell for between $10,000 and $15,000, according to RR Auction Executive Vice President Bobby Livingston.

Here’s a link to the Apple I auction page. As I write this, the current bid is up to $204,999. Bidding closes noon PT/3p ET tomorrow.

And here’s a link to the coming (October 20th) auction of the Steve Jobs signed Newsweek cover.

Horace Dediu, Asymco:

Apple is now the biggest watchmaker in the world, overtaking Rolex during the last quarter. This achievement happened less than two and a half years after Apple entered the watch market. Rolex, on the other hand, was founded in 1905, 112 years ago at a time when watches were the avant-garde of technology.

Horace follows with a nice job of walking through the numbers. That part of his post is interesting, but further down the column is something I found even more so:

It’s fitting therefore to remember how the iPhone was launched; as a tentpole troika: A wide-screen iPod, an Internet Communicator and a Phone. Today the new Watch is a small-screen iPod, an Internet Communicator and a Phone.


The iPhone was born a phone but grew up to be something completely unprecedented, unforeseen by its creators and, frankly, undescribable in the language of 2007.

The Watch was born a timepiece but it is traversing through the early iPhone and pulling in a new direction all of its own. The fact that we are talking about “Resting Rate”, “Arrhythmia” and “Atrial fibrillation” at a timekeeping launch event indicates that new behaviors will follow and so will the language we’ll use to describe this child-like product once it grows up.

The Apple Watch is still linked to the iPhone, still traveling in an iPhone orbit. But it is clearly towards having a direction all its own, independent of the iPhone. But bigger picture, both devices, linked or not, still serve as interfaces to the Apple ecosystem.

September 24, 2017

CTV News:

A British Columbia man asked a family of bears to leave his property in maybe the most Canadian way possible.

When Jordan Cote heard his tenant’s dog barking outside on Monday, he walked out onto his deck to find a black bear with two young cubs just metres away.

Cote took the dog inside and then returned to film the bears. “I need you guys to go,” Cote can be heard saying to the unwanted visitors in his video, followed by a “thank you” when the bears begin to turn around.

“I hope you enjoyed my yard,” he continues. “Have a good day.”

This might be the funniest Canadian thing you see all weekend.


Apple’s new A11 Bionic chip used in iPhone 8 and the upcoming iPhone X packs in an array of processing cores and sophisticated controllers, each optimized for specific tasks. We only know a bit about these, let alone what else is packed into this SoC. Here’s a look at the new Apple GPU, Neural Engine, its 6 core CPU, NVMe SSD controller and new custom video encoder inside the package.

As I said on the Your Mac Life Show with The Publisher last Wednesday, Apple isn’t getting nearly enough credit for the chip efforts.

Lens Rentals:

If you’re thinking about buying a circular polarizing filter, you probably want to know which ones polarize the best and which ones the worst, right?

So what did we discover today? Well, several things, one of which is really useful. So I’ll get that one out of the way first, and then let this post just steadily deteriorate. If you are buying a circular polarizing filter because you want some circular polarizing, it doesn’t seem to matter much which one you choose; they all polarize like gangbusters.

This is a really nerdy article but the bottom line is interesting. I’ll keep it in mind next time I’m asked about polarizing filters.

September 23, 2017

DIY Photography:

Google have released a new version of Snapseed with a drastically overhauled user interface. Version 2.18 is available for both iOS and Android.

All of the usual features are still there, and a new perspective correction feature has also been added. The new, brighter look is getting some mixed reactions, though.

Snapseed is my favourite iOS editing tool. The new UI takes a bit of getting used to but being able to save “Looks” is worth it.


One of the most pleasant surprises out of last week’s Apple event was the announcement that purchased iTunes movies would be automatically upgraded to 4K for free. Well, it turns out it’s not actually that simple. A support document from Apple tells us that users will not be able to download 4K versions of their upgraded movies from iTunes; Ultra HD is limited to streaming only.

While this makes sense, it’s one of those things that might put people off the new Apple TV.


Camera drone operator Paul Nurkkala just released a video titled “Flight of the Year” that showcases his world-class drone piloting skills. He captured some seemingly impossible footage of his drone flying onto, next to, inside, and under a moving freight train.

Nurkkala’s video is getting a considerable amount of attention and praise, but it appears to be in violation of both railroad and government policies.

While it’s obviously at least unwise, if not technically illegal to fly a drone like this, you’ve got to admire the mad skills of the pilot operator.

September 22, 2017

On September 22, Apple Watch Series 3 with built-in cellular and Apple Watch Series 3 with GPS went on sale around the world at 8 a.m. local time. The new Watches add powerful health and fitness enhancements, a faster dual-core processor, a new wireless chip and watchOS 4.

Enjoy folks, I’m loving mine.


You have 30 days to start watching a movie after you rent it. After you start watching the movie, you have 48 hours to finish it. You can watch the movie as often as you like until it expires.

Jon Maddox via Twitter pointed out this significant change to iTunes movie rentals.

This is how Apple prepares for “iPhone Day”


How does Apple ship iPhones around the world on launch day? We got a behind-the-scenes look with head of retail Angela Ahrendts.

It’s a superficial look but has some interesting details like the UPS sorting facility in Kentucky. Don’t like the little dig about the lack of lines at Apple Stores though. There’s no proof that “no lines” equals “lack of interest”.

Uber will not be issued a new private hire licence, Transport for London (TfL) has said.

TfL concluded the ride-hailing app firm was not fit and proper to hold a London private hire operator licence.

I really don’t understand this decision. Uber and Lyft and wonderful services for the consumer and should be supported.

Bird Life:

Since the Hooded Grebe is found in the isolated, and largely inaccessible, lakes of remote Patagonia, it’s had plenty of time to rehearse its elaborate dance routine in private; the species was only discovered by humans 43 years ago, and we’re still unlocking the secrets of this charismatic species.

This footage, filmed for the documentary Tango in the Wind, is the first time the Hooded Grebe’s spectacular routine has been filmed in such detail.

This is hilarious but it seems like a lot of work just to get a little birdy something something.

Airplane! was actually a shot-for-shot remake of an earlier drama

Shot-for-shot might be a bit of an overstatement, but watch the video below. Had no idea Airplane was a remake. If you’ve never seen the movie, it’s hilariously juvenile and fantastically funny. If you like that sort of thing. Lots of quotable lines, terrific sight gags.

Seeing the remake side by side with the original just makes me appreciate this comedy gem that much more.

How to tell which Apple Watch model/series you have

Turns out the 1st generation (as opposed to Series 1, which came next) Apple Watch does not support the new heart rate features in watchOS 4.

Here’s how to tell what model Apple Watch you have:

  • Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone
  • Tap the My Watch tab
  • Go to General > About
  • Scroll to the Model field
  • Tap the model once — it should change to a code that starts with the letter A

With that Apple Watch model in hand, head over to this Apple Support page, which will tell you which series your Apple Watch belongs to.

The two original Apple Watches were models A1553 for the 38mm case and A1554 for the 42mm case. Those are the two models that won’t support the watchOS 4 heart rate changes.

Jeff Gamet, MacObserver:

If you’re planning on using the new heart rate monitoring features in watchOS 4 on your original Apple Watch think again because they aren’t there. Apple Watch Series 0, as it’s now called, can track your heart rate, but the new monitoring options require an Apple Watch Series 1 or newer.

Solid point, good to know.

Side note: Here’s how to tell which Apple Watch series/model you have.

Colin Devroe:

Tomorrow iOS 11 is being released to the public, I thought I’d jot down a few things that I believe people should do on the day they upgrade, so that they don’t just move on with their busy lives and forget.

Good list, quick read.

Matt Birchler pulled together a fantastic review of watchOS 4. This is too big to quote out, but worth your time to step through. There’s good and bad here, no punches pulled.

Of particular interest is the new Siri watch face and the detailed discussion of the new Dock. Well done, good read.

Yesterday, we posted the Hodinkee review of the cellular Apple Watch, with some focus on the red dot placed on the edge of the Digital Crown.

To add to the discussion, this from Matthew Achariam’s Red Dot blog post:

We got an unknowing first glimpse at the latest design of the Apple Watch more than two years ago. No less, adorned on the wrist of Tim Cook was a stainless steel watch with a bright red crown cap.

This pic is a closeup from the original Reuters’ pic of Tim’s wrist from a few years ago:

Note the red dot. More from Matthew:

Leica’s brand is iconic due to their distinct red mark which it has used since 1913. It is instantly recognizable.


French fashion designer, Christian Louboutin, employs a similar technique, coating the soles of the shoes he creates in a bright glossy red.


In horology watchmakers use color as a tool to differentiate between editions and various releases constantly. Industrial designer and long time Ive collaborator, Marc Newson, has created several watches that Ive has drawn inspiration from for the Apple Watch. Newson’s Hemipode watch also features red caps, adorned on secondary buttons.


By nature, changing anything that touches so many people always elicits a reaction. If you want an LTE enabled Apple Watch, you’re getting a red crown cap—a decidedly non-neutral color is now the only option. In the past, you had some semblance of choice in getting a non-neutral color. This small red dot breaks the modular styling of the watch. For better or worse, the watch design team decided that this marker and what it represents was of greater importance.

A small thing, perhaps, but the red dot is an important, distinguishing design element.

Lots and lots of detail. A few highlights:

Fully topped off, this 3.82 V, 1821 mAh cell will deliver up to 6.96 Wh of power.

The iPhone 7 battery is 7.45 Wh, the Galaxy S8 has 11.55 Wh. Apple says the iPhone 8 battery life is comparable to the iPhone 7, even with the smaller capacity. Not clear how it compares with the Galaxy S8.

The 8’s sensor is bigger than the 7’s, but specs the same 12 MP resolution. This means the individual pixels are larger, letting in more light, improving colors, and decreasing noise.

The sample pictures I’ve seen all show this to be true, especially easy to see in low light.

There’s lots more, with some terrific pictures. Scroll about halfway down for some nice shots of the Qi enabled (pronounced “chee”) wireless charging coil.

Love this stuff.

September 21, 2017

Tom’s Guide:

The “Bionic” part in the name of Apple’s A11 Bionic chip isn’t just marketing speak. It’s the most powerful processor ever put in a mobile phone. We’ve put this chip to the test in both synthetic benchmarks and some real-world speed trials, and it obliterates every Android phone we tested.

I think the “Bionic” part is silly marketing speak but these results, while not important to the average consumer, still point to the remarkable job Apple has done with their chip designs.