The Visual Effects Society – a professional organization of artists, producers, technologists, and more who work in the entertainment industry – polled its nearly 3,400 members and determined a ranking of the most influential visual effects movies of all time.
What an interesting list, not necessarily of good movies but of movies that had visual excellence.
Good video showing these apps in real world use. Many are limited functionality right now but you can see some amazing potential.
Had a lot of back and forth on Twitter yesterday working through how to find and follow someone on Apple Music, and the various settings that impact what the follower can see.
First things first, here’s how to find and follow someone on Apple Music:
- Tap the Music app
- In the tab bar at the bottom of the screen, tap the Search icon (it’s a magnifying glass, lower right corner).
- Tap the Apple Music tab (as opposed to Your Library, the other choice).
- Type the name of the person you want to find, or type their Apple Music nickname.
For example, to find me, you could type David Mark or my nickname, which is zzdave. Once you find them, you can tap to follow, or explore their musical tastes, etc.
I found this process a bit non-obvious, but once I figured it out, Search was clearly the right place for this to be.
As to sharing and protecting your listening history, take a read of this post from Kirk McElhearn, How to Share Your Listening History in Apple Music. Kirk takes you through the process of setting up your profile (which you’ll definitely want to do before you start following folks) and finding folks.
I find that my listening history is not updated. I’ve been listening to a ton of music that folks I’m following are listening to, and none of it is showing up on my Listening To list. A bug?
No matter, I’m enjoying this way of discovering new music.
This is an old video but what a wonderful, poignant ad celebrating lifelong friendships and motorcycles. I’m honestly jealous of these guys.
When Apple released the Apple Watch Series 3 at its event last week, it added a few really big new features, including cellular capabilities to the device. I’ve been testing out a cellular model with an iPhone 8 for about a week.
It’s hard for me to express how much I love the Apple Watch. It helped me get healthier, lose a lot of weight, and with its notifications, it changed the way I use my iPhone. With the addition of cellular, that is going to change even more.
Even after the demonstration that Jeff Williams did on stage when he called a colleague on an Apple Watch paddling in the middle of a lake, I was skeptical. I was impressed, but I was skeptical because it sounded so good.
The only thing to do was test it myself.
I went to the financial district of San Francisco with my father. I left my iPhone at home, so all I had was my Apple Watch. He walked one way and I walked the other. A couple of minutes later, he called and I picked up the call on my Apple Watch.
I had the watch about chest high when I was speaking, but he said he could hear me “clear as day.” I could also hear him clearly from the Apple Watch speaker.
Next, I dropped my arm and started walking, but continued my conversation with him. He said he could still hear me just fine, even though my arm was down by my side and I was walking at a normal pace. To be honest, I wanted to see what I could do so that he couldn’t hear me, but he kept saying it sounded fine.
There was some traffic in the area, but it wasn’t incredibly busy with horns blasting when we were doing the tests. However, San Francisco is a busy spot around mid-morning on a weekday, so it was a good place to test the cellular capabilities.
Finally, I tried a phone call using my AirPods and the Apple Watch and he said that was the best—the sound was incredible at that point. Of course, that makes sense.
With technology so prevalent these days, we never want to miss out on anything that happens. We all carry our iPhones everywhere we go and check them nonstop—many would say too much.
In the past week, I’ve gone out multiple times without my iPhone and still received messages, emails, and phone calls. I was still in touch with people, but I felt a little free not having my iPhone with me.
If I left my iPhone behind accidentally, I’d be freaking out and need to get home to get it in case something happened—I didn’t feel that with the Apple Watch Series 3. I had everything I needed on my wrist.
Originally, I loved the notifications on the Apple Watch because it allowed me to see what was going on without having to pick up my iPhone. Every time I picked up the phone, I would get stuck going down a rabbit hole of checking everything that came in. With Apple Watch, I can look at a notification and decide if it’s something that needs to be dealt with or not.
What’s interesting about the Apple Watch Series 3 with cellular is how it chooses to connect to a network.
The first thing the Apple Watch will try to do is connect to your iPhone. If your iPhone is off or not around, it will try to find a known Wi-Fi network, whether you’re at home or not. If it finds one, it will connect to make and receive phone calls. If it can’t find a Wi-Fi network, it will then connect to the cellular network.
It knows the Wi-Fi networks that it should connect to because it is paired with your iPhone. Whatever networks are on there, will be on the watch too.
You can check to see where your Apple Watch is connected by swiping up on the Watch screen. It will show a picture of an iPhone, Wi-Fi, or cellular connection.
The only time you will see any kind of indication on the watch face screen is when it’s connected to a cellular network—it will show the green dots. That can be confusing because you may think you don’t have a connection at all, but you could be connected to the phone or Wi-Fi. I wish Apple would change that—perhaps change the color of the dots to indicate what type of connection you have.
A few other things
Apple Watch Series 3 comes with an S3 dual-core processor that Apple says is up to 70 percent faster. This increased processing power allowed Apple to do things like enable Siri to speak on the watch.
I actually use Siri on my watch more than my iPhone. I set timers and simple things like that. I also tell Siri what music to play from my watch while I’m driving.
A new barometric altimeter allows Apple Watch to track the number of flights climbed in a day and you will get more credit for exercises going uphill. You will also see the elevation gain in your workout summary.
Speaking of workouts, that app received some updates too. The new workout app now supports HIIT by using custom motion and heart rate algorithms to accurately measure active and total calorie burn. You can also do multiple workouts in the new app by simply adding it—no need to stop one workout and start another.
One thing that Apple said during the launch that surprised me was that the watch was the most used heart rate monitor in the world. That’s incredible. With the new heart rate app, Apple Watch can even send you a notification if your heart rate is above a certain threshold during an inactive period of 10 minutes.
I was disappointed that I couldn’t try out Apple Music streaming on my Apple Watch—it will be available in about a month with a software update. However, Apple intelligently adds a couple of your most listened to playlists to the watch so you always have some music with you, even if you leave your iPhone at home. I use this a lot. You can choose different playlists if you want using the watch app on your iPhone.
I have a deep appreciation for the Apple Watch and the teams that work on all of this technology. It has changed my life and it continues to get better with every version. If you don’t have an Apple Watch and are thinking about getting healthier, do yourself a favor and get one.
For those of you that want to take a break away from your iPhone, even for a few hours, but are afraid you’ll miss something—meet Apple Watch Series 3 with cellular.
Apple officially released iOS 11 today and, as you’d expect, the reviews are rolling in. I’m accumulating a list of reviews below and will add more as I encounter them.
See a comprehensive review that I’ve missed? Please send a link my way and I’ll add it.
- Rene Ritchie, iMore: iOS 11 review: Smarter, better, faster, bolder
- Jason Snell, Macworld: iOS 11 review: Apple’s most ambitious and impressive upgrade in years
- Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica: iOS 11, thoroughly reviewed
- Jennifer Earl, CBS News: 11 iOS 11 features that will make you want to update your iPhone
- Federico Viticci, MacStories: iOS 11: The MacStories Review
- Michael Sheehan, HighTechDad: Top 10 iOS 11 features
- Nick Heer, Pixel Envy: iOS 11: The Pixel Envy Review
- Lance Somoza, Gaddgict: iOS 11 Review: Most Meaningful Features
- Christopher Lawley, video review: iOS 11 Walkthrough & Review: For iPad
- Jeff Gamet, The Mac Observer: iOS 11: Apple’s Big Productivity Upgrade
Apple introduced the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus during a special event at its new Apple Park campus last week. While many people were focused on the launch of the iPhone X, the iPhone 8 is an incredible piece of hardware that features many improvements over its predecessor. I’ve been testing both the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus for about a week.
The iPhone 8 has the same physical layout as the iPhone 7, so the accessories you purchased for the previous generation, like cases, will still work with the new iPhone. That’s a great bit of news for those that purchase a lot of extras for their devices.
Like most of Apple’s updates, that’s where the comparisons stop with the previous generation—Apple has made some big changes to the iPhone 8.
For some people, the iPhone experience starts after they have it all set up and they are ready to use the device. For me, it starts as soon as I open the box. Setting up the iPhone 8 was a delight that even I was surprised with.
Usually when you set up a new iPhone, you type in your Apple ID and password to get started, but Apple has changed that if you are setting up a device and have another one nearby.
After I turned it on, the iPhone 8 asked me to pick up my iPhone 7 and use it for setup. When I did, I saw this message.
I clicked continue and saw this.
And then this.
The iPhone 8 asked me if I wanted to restore from my latest iPhone 7 backup—it already knew which was the latest one in iCloud because it used my Apple ID to sign-in. I could also chose to update the current backup and use that to restore to my new iPhone or set up as a new phone. I chose to update the backup.
When it was done, it restored and it started downloading the apps from the App Store as it normally does after you do a restore. The entire process was absolutely painless and very intuitive.
I have not seen any device that was as easy to setup out of the box as this iPhone 8.
True Tone Display
I tweeted a couple of weeks ago that if Apple only added True Tone technology to the iPhone 8, I would be happy. Well, they added it to both the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. This is a massive feature, especially if you use your iPhone outside in the sun—we all do that.
Here’s how Apple describes True Tone:
True Tone technology automatically adjusts white balance to match the light around you. For a better viewing experience in all kinds of environments.
So in practical terms, what does that really mean?
It means that the iPhone is continuously adjusting the screen, using a four-channel ambient light sensor, to match the color temperature of the light around you. To put it even simpler: you can read your iPhone in direct sunlight.
First introduced in the iPad, True Tone is a very subtle technology—you won’t see the screen change, it just will. All you will notice is that no matter where you are, you can see the screen better.
This is much different from auto-brightness. That feature simply adjusts the screen brightness—True Tone takes it many steps further by recognizing the lighting conditions around you and adjusting the screen for those conditions.
This is a technology that you truly have to use to appreciate, and I love it.
iPhone 8 also features a wide color gamut, giving it even better color accuracy on the new Retina HD display.
One of the design changes Apple made with the iPhone 8 is to add a glass back and wireless charging system to the device. I’ve been testing my iPhones with a Mophie Wireless Charging Base.
I usually charge my iPhone using a fast charging adapter, so it’s very quick. If I have 45 minutes before I’m heading out, I can plug in my phone and get a great charge before I leave.
That’s not what wireless charging does on an iPhone 8—it provides a slower charge, equal to that of the 5W USB Power Adapter that Apple provides with the iPhone. That will increase slightly later this year with a software update from Apple, but for now, that’s what you get.
I’ll be honest, I was a bit disappointed with it at first, but then I realized that wireless charging is more about convenience than getting that quick full charge.
I had the wireless charger beside me where I work. When I sat down, I just put the iPhone 8 on the charger, instead of putting it on the desk. Basically, the iPhone was getting a charge whenever I sat down to work.
This negated the need to do any type of quick charge, because the iPhone was always getting charged.
I asked Apple if there was any worry of wearing down the battery from continuously charging and they said it wasn’t a concern. You can continually update the battery using the wireless charger, so your phone is always topped up.
Overall, the wireless charging worked very well and it’s a feature I’ll be using a lot, probably with multiple charging stations around the house.
I’ve said it before, but I really suck at taking pictures. The good news for people like me is that Apple keeps making its camera technology better.
The iPhone 8 has a 12MP camera with a larger, faster sensor. The new sensor allows for video stabilization and higher video frame rates. It also provides a level of stabilization to reduce motion blur and handshake in low-light photos and videos.
The new iPhone features an Apple-designed image signal processor that analyzes a scene and detects motion, people, and lighting, even before you take a photo. This seems amazing to me—the camera has already detected what’s going on before I even hit the button to snap a picture.
One of the features I used the most with my camera is Portrait Mode and it just got better in the iPhone 8 Plus. The Plus has two cameras on the back—one wide angle and one telephoto, allowing even the most amateur photographer to take great pictures.
If you haven’t seen Portrait Mode, it blurs the background of your photo and focuses the attention on the subject. It’s a really beautiful depth-of-field effect that used to be something you would only see from professional photographers.
The new Portrait Mode improves background blurring and performance in low light to make those photos even better. Not only that, Apple has added a new portrait feature to the iPhone 8 Plus: Portrait Lighting.
Portrait Lighting uses facial landmarking and depth maps to create photos that are unbelievable—and quite honestly photos that were unattainable to people like me before using this iPhone.
Here are the options for Portrait Lighting:
- Natural Light: Your subject’s face in sharp focus against a blurred background. Studio Light. A clean look with your subject’s face brightly lit.
- Contour Light: Dramatic shadows with highlights and lowlights.
- Stage Light: Your subject’s face spotlit against a deep black background.
- Stage Light Mono: Like Stage, but in classic black-and-white.
When you take a portrait, the lighting option appears on the bottom of the screen—you choose the one you want and take the picture. Here’s the best part—you can change the lighting option after the picture has been taken. If you go into your photo library and tap on the picture, all of the Portrait Lighting options pop up on the screen.
The depth maps are so accurate that when you change the lighting to Stage Light, it can accurately isolate the subject of the photo and completely remove the background. It is truly remarkable to see in action.
That old saying: “The best camera is the one you have with you,” just got a lot bolder when you’re carrying around an iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus.
If there is one thing about the new iPhones that surprised me the most, it would be the stereo speakers—they are loud.
Apple says the speakers are about 25 percent louder than before and that sounds about right to me. In fact, I had to turn the speakers down a bit when I was listening to music on the iPhone 8.
I know this may sound strange to some, but I listen to music from my iPhone quite a bit when I work. I could use my Mac or even AirPods, but I always use my iPhone. I’ve been doing this for years, so now it’s just habit for me to turn on music while I work.
If you like listening to music on your iPhone, you’re going to love these speakers.
I’m an AR newbie for sure, but I’ve had some fun using the new iPhones with a few AR apps. I’ve been using The Machines AR by Directive Games, IKEA, and Sky Guide by Fifth Star Labs.
AR is much easier to use than I thought it would be and all of these companies have a great job of making the apps work with an iPhone that was designed with AR in mind.
I must admit, being a bit of a stargazer, I really enjoyed looking at the planets and stars with Sky Guide. It’s fascinating.
There has been thousands of words written about iOS 11 in the past several months, so I won’t go into that here. I will say that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of the new main features that Apple has introduced in the operating system and would strongly recommend upgrading.
There is one feature that I would like to call out though: App Store.
I love the new App Store in iOS 11. I basically stopped visiting the App Store because it wasn’t very helpful to me, as a user. The apps were all games, and not being a gamer, going to the App Store was a waste of my time. I would download an app that friends recommended, but that was about it.
The new App Store is a breath of fresh air from Apple. It gives me recommendations, and while some are games, it doesn’t feel like they are completely taking over the experience.
There are stories, videos, and collections to help you find apps that you may like or use. I’ve even read stories about cooking apps and I can’t cook at all.
I’ve also downloaded more apps in the past few weeks than I had in the months before using the new App Store.
The App Store team did a great job with that.
There is nothing I didn’t like about the iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus. It’s more powerful, has better cameras, Portrait Lighting, better Portrait Mode, Wireless charging, a better display, True Tone, and iOS 11.
These are just great devices that I would not hesitate to recommend.