11 year old plays a masterful Classical Gas on ukulele

[VIDEO] The fact that this kid is only 11 years old just knocks me out. Fantastic performance. Hard to believe this sound is coming out of a ukulele. Bravo, kid, bravo. Video embedded in man Loop post.

Everything to know about the new, rich Apple Watch complications on Series 4

Christian Zibreg, iDownloadBlog:

Complications—small elements rendered on the Apple Watch face that provide quick access to frequently-used data—have received a boost on Series 4: all-new templates now let brand new elements, such as full-color images, text and gauges, follow curvature of the display.

Complications are a great way to connect users to their favorite apps with every wrist raise and keep them informed throughout their day. Tapping a complication launches its underlying app.

Terrific post, lots of interesting detail.

How potentially dangerous fake Apple products reach the US consumer market

Kevin McCoy, USA Today:

The knockoff power adapters and chargers, which Apple says could cause electrical shocks, allegedly traveled from a manufacturer in Hong Kong to Amazon.com, with stopping points at the Brooklyn location and New Jersey electronics companies.


From outward appearances, the Apple-like products seemed genuine.

However, the chargers and adapters lacked adequate insulation and had improper spacing between the high voltage and low voltage circuits, creating risks of overheating, fire or electrical shocks, Apple charged in a 2016 federal court lawsuit. The case ended with confidential settlements in late May.


Twelve of 400 fake iPhone adapters tested in a study unrelated to those in Apple’s lawsuit were so badly constructed that they posed “a risk of lethal electrocution to the user,” U.S.-based safety standards leader UL warned.

When I first came across this article, I was pretty sure Amazon would be part of the equation. In addition to the obvious safety hazard issues, I also wonder if there are some counterfeits with embedded malware, just waiting for an unsuspecting device to be plugged in. One reason I zealously guard the USB bricks that come in the iPhone and Apple Watch boxes.

Inside Apple’s iPhone XS camera technology

Lance Ulanoff:

Schiller, along with Graham Townsend, Apple’s senior director of camera hardware, and Sebastien Marineau-Mes, Apple’s vice president of software, sat down late on the afternoon of iPhone XS launch day to peel away the veil of secrecy surrounding at least one part of Apple’s iPhone technology matrix: how they design and develop their photo and video capture hardware and software.

While a lot of this post was conveyed in the Apple keynote, what I found most interesting were the little nuggets from the callout quotes from Phil Schiller, Graham Townsend, Sebastien Marineau-Mes, and photographer Pete Souza.

Thanks for the surprise integration with my website, Apple!

Fun story, in which someone who runs a popular guitar chord and scale calculator website finds themselves part of Apple’s iOS Shortcuts rollout. A pleasant surprise, and a terrific example of the power of Shortcuts.

The future of the iPhone SE in an iPhone XS world

Glenn Marston:

When Apple’s website reappeared after shutdown for the company’s Sept. 12 product event, it displayed a list of the new X-Series iPhones.

Eliminated from Apple availability were the regular- and large-size iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s, which had been introduced in September 2014 and September 2015.

Also missing was a unique small phone, the iPhone SE. Based on the body of 2012’s iPhone 5, it had been the only remnant of the compact early iPhones.


One should not assume that Apple has sworn off small phones. They are favorites of smaller folks, plus a segment of women that eschews the grand purse and those of both genders who prefer to travel light with clothes trailered tight.

Apple might have intended no inference other than limiting new iPhones to those in the minimal-bezel, Face ID form of the X series.

With that in mind, Apple should produce an iPhone XR Mini as a follow-on to the iPhone SE.

I’ve been thinking about the loss of iPhone SE form factor. Is Apple undervaluing people with small hands, and small wrists? The Apple Watch is getting larger (thinner, but longer/wider), even though there are plenty of people who wish for a smaller case size.

And, as Glenn points out, Apple has eliminated the last vestige of the smaller iPhone form factor, the iPhone SE. Is this the end of the line for the SE? Or is this, possibly, a supply chain issue?

Apple has unified their iPhone line in a number of ways. All the new phones (XS, XS Max, XR) use Face ID and have the corresponding notch and lack of a home button. And all the new phones are based on Apple’s 7nm A12 Bionic chip.

The XS and XS Max went on sale in Apple Stores this morning (8a, your local time). But, likely due to supply chain constraints, the iPhone XR will not be available for pre-order until early morning October 19th (12:01 am PT).

No complaints there, this is smart product rollout. But could those limitations have informed Apple’s decision not to release an iPhone X with the smaller iPhone SE form factor?

Could this also be an engineering issue? The notch is a relatively fixed size. Could fitting the Face ID hardware, etc. (the notch assembly) in the smaller iPhone SE footprint be problematic? Could that be the reason Apple has not announced an iPhone X updated SE, or, as Glenn put it, an iPhone XR Mini?

Seems to me, Apple is proceeding logically here. The first steps were to unify the product line and ramp up production of the 7nm A12 Bionic chip, to ensure that the iPhones XS, XS Max, and XR are all available to customers who want them.

Once those needs are met, and if they can solve the engineering problems (problems being speculation on my part) of fitting the notch contents in a much smaller package, might we see an iPhone X version of the SE? I really hope so. I’ve got a whole family of iPhone users who prefer that smaller footprint.

Amazon announces host of new Alexa devices, including a $60 Alexa Microwave

Amazon just announced a wave of new Alexa-equipped Echo devices. There’s a wall clock that lets you set timers, something called Echo Input that let’s you add an Alexa/Echo to an existing speaker via Bluetooth or 3.5mm headphone jack. There’s an Echo subwoofer and Echo Amp (think stereo equipment), and an Echo smart plug (use your voice to turn things on and off).

But my favorite? The Amazon Alexa Microwave. Yes, a microwave that lets you use your voice instead of pressing buttons. And it’s only $59.99.

I expect this thing to fly off the shelves, especially to college students. I wonder how long it will be until one of these devices makes its way into a movie or TV show plot. The microwave ships November 15th, in plenty of time for the holidays.

The making of the Apple Watch Series 4 fire, water, and vapor faces

[VIDEO] Josh Rubin, Cool Hunting:

I vary between this info-dense watch face and the new ultra-minimal and very hypnotic Fire, Water, Liquid Metal and Vapor faces. And these faces are more special than Apple let on during their keynote. They’re not rendered—each face is high resolution video shot in a studio using real fire, water and vapor elements.

This is yet another example of the tremendous effort Apple puts into design detail. Check out the behind-the-scenes making-of video embedded in the main Loop post.

John Gruber, the Apple Watch Series 4, and fashion

John Gruber, Daring Fireball:

Apple has several products that lead their markets in revenue or profit. What makes Apple Watch different from every other product the company makes, though, is a measure near and dear to the company’s soul by which they cannot claim Apple Watch to be number one: nicest.

This is a very interesting point. At its core, to me, is the concept of fashion. Some people are happy to run around with running shoes and sweats, while others are careful to color-coordinate with the latest fashions, top to bottom. And this applies to the Apple Watch, far more than any other Apple product.

John continues:

Traditional watches are Apple’s competition for nicest watch. And Apple Watch just isn’t there. It’s not even close. Don’t get me wrong — Apple Watch is nice, and always has been. I think that’s ultimately what defined the minimum viable product for the original Apple Watch.

There’s an elegance to a beautifully crafted wristwatch. While I’d argue that Apple Watch has its own elegant elements, as a whole it’d be hard to place the Apple Watch on the same fashion shelf with high priced timepieces such as the Jaeger-LeCoultre Ultra Thin Moon or the Constantin Patrimony Grand Taille.

I do appreciate the beauty, the art of mechanical watches. But, to me, they belong in a different category. The Apple Watch is about functionality first. And that priority limits where Apple Watch can go in terms of fashion.

Apple could have made something that did what the original Apple Watch did years earlier, I’m sure. But it wouldn’t have been nice enough. But as nice as Apple Watch has always been, there are many watches that are nicer. And that makes Apple Watch unique in the history of the company. What successful product has Apple ever made that wasn’t at least arguably the nicest in its category? Apple Watch is the first.

Very interesting. My thought is that Apple Watch has disrupted the mechanical watch industry, and the concept of fashion driving what people put on their wrists. For good or for bad, that ship has sailed.

All that said, this point is just the tip of the iceberg in John’s Apple Watch review. It is appreciative of the Apple Watch design, incredibly detailed (incredibly!), and well worth your time. Here’s the link again, just for convenience.

What’s in the Apple Watch box

Zac Hall, 9to5Mac, pulled together a bunch of unboxing videos, and some insight into the Apple Watch packaging.

Two things that stuck out:

First, Apple Watch Series 3 without LTE will no longer include the 5W USB charging brick, although the charging cable is still included. You can buy these separately of course, but a lot of customers probably also have spare bricks from iPhones and other devices.

This change strikes me as similar to not including a headphone to Lightning adapter in the iPhone box. A practical decision, no doubt fueled by market research. Not an issue for most folks, I suspect.

The second thing that stuck out to me was the pure beauty of the Apple Watch Series 4 packaging, enthusiastically shown off by iJustine in the video embedded in the main Loop post.

Austin Mann’s iPhone XS camera review

Lots of great insight here. One particular such nugget:

This past year with the iPhone X I’ve had a lot of difficulty with vertical panoramas. I’ve shot so many over and over trying to get everything sharp, but the focus seems to degrade as I continue upward. After talking with Apple engineers, I’ve learned it was not an issue of focus depth but of the accelerometers inside the device and how they are tuned to read your motion.

The iPhone XS fixes this problem. Combined with the new Smart HDR, I’ve shot a bunch of vertical panos that are exposed beautifully and tack sharp from top to bottom. Check out the vertical panos below and note the fixed focusing issue and the insane exposure improvement from iPhone X to iPhone XS.

Smart HDR seems like a big gain for the new camera. This is a terrific post. Keep an eye out for the closeup comparisons between the iPhone X and iPhone XS cameras.

Larger camera bump in iPhone XS may prevent reuse of some iPhone X cases

Malcolm Owen, Apple Insider:

The iPhone XS is similar in terms of size to the iPhone X, sharing the same length, width, and thickness with last year’s model. While this may mean that most cases made for the iPhone X will fit the iPhone XS, a report from Macotakara notes the slightly larger camera section on the back may be too big for cases where the camera cutout is made with the iPhone X’s dimensions in mind.

It is likely the camera bump has been expanded to accommodate a new larger sensor for the wide-angle camera in the iPhone XS, which features an increased pixel pitch.

If you already have an iPhone X and a case, good to know, but not much you can do about this. But if you are buying a case for the iPhone XS, keep this in mind. Make sure the case is specifically built for the iPhone XS, and not sold as a one size fits all.

Tim Cook on Good Morning America: The full interview

[VIDEO] Tim Cook was on Good Morning America yesterday, talking about the new iPhones and Apple Watch. The video is embedded in the main Loop post. The whole thing was very watchable, but two notes:

First, it’s interesting to watch Tim doing a somewhat spontaneous interview. Granted, he’s practiced his talking points and knew the questions going in, but he’s gotten terrific at sharing his enthusiasm with just the right tone, not an easy thing to do.

And second, jump to about 3:05, where Robin Roberts asks Tim about the cost of the new iPhone. Tim’s response is both deft and interesting.

John Gruber’s iPhone XS review


Another grab-a-hot-beverage, put your feet up read. And read you should. Lot’s of great detail here.

“A week on the wrist” – Hodinkee’s Apple Watch Series 4 review

[VIDEO] Stephen Pulvirent, Hodinkee:

During my tenure covering the watch industry, there is no single watch that has been talked about more than the Apple Watch. At first glance, this is very strange. The device is not made by a watchmaker, it is not distributed and sold through the traditional channels for selling watches and jewelry, it has none of the patrimonie and heritage that watch brands so love to talk about, and its primary purpose is almost certainly not telling the time. But then you remember that it is a key product for the most valuable company in the history of the human race, it is created by some of the best designers and engineers on planet Earth, and it is making the case for wearing a watch to a generation who previously roamed the streets with naked wrists. So yeah, I’m not actually all that surprised it garners the attention it does.

First things first, Hodinkee is the preeminent modern and vintage wristwatch review site. It focuses, almost exclusively, on mechanical watches. Their embrace of the Apple Watch is notable.

This review is, hands down, worth your time. It is elegantly and knowledgeably written, from a very rare point of view, that of a true watch enthusiast and connoisseur.

From the conclusion:

For now though, the Apple Watch Series 4 truly is, as Apple is fond of saying, the best Apple Watch yet. It’s a mature expression of what the Apple Watch can be, taking the next steps on the path set out by Apple over the last four years and showing us early glimpses of where it might go in the future. So whether you’re someone still wandering around with a naked wrist, checking the time by pulling out your phones like it’s a new-age pocket watch, or a die-hard watch collector who can’t imagine giving up their mechanical marvels, I think it’s high time you give the Apple Watch a shot.

High praise indeed. If you are interested in the Apple Watch Series 4, grab a cup of something, put your feet up, watch the video embedded in the main Loop post, then follow the headline link and dive into the written review.

Side note: All the images in the review were shot with the iPhone XS.

Apple’s iOS 12 Measure app and accuracy

Kirk McElhearn:

One of the more interesting apps in iOS 12, which Apple released this week, is Measure. It uses augmented reality (AR) to calculate the length, width, and area of items. This is a complex process, which involves having the iPhone or iPad calculate the distance between its camera and the object your are measuring in order to determine the object’s dimensions.

The problem is that it is not very accurate.

Kirk and I went back and forth on Twitter about the Measure app yesterday. I love the concept, but as Kirk (and a number of other folks) weighed in, it became clear that the app was not accurate, at least for us.

Read Kirk’s post, check out his examples. Better yet, grab yourself a tape measure and try the app out for yourself.

My hope is that Apple figures this one out quickly. Measure could be an incredibly handy app to have. But if it doesn’t work, it has the potential to cause problems, especially if you are making decisions based on its measurements.

Apple rolls out helpful “Podcast Marketing Best Practices” site

Whether you have a podcast in the works or are just getting started, Apple’s new podcaster site is worth a visit.

Out of the gate, the site focuses on marketing your podcast and building an audience. Each of the five main sections has a Learn More link that offers a series of bite-size tips.

There’s nothing terribly deep here, but if you are just getting started, this is a terrific tree of information, food for thought to help get the juices flowing.

[Via 9to5Mac]

2 Steve Jobs anecdotes, and one of my favorite Steve Jobs pictures

Kabir Chibber, writing for Quartz, culled two Steve Jobs anecdotes, one from the Wired Oral History of Infinite Loop, and the other from Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography.

But what I really loved about the Quartz post was that image of Steve from 1999, clutching a brand new (what I believe to be) iBook 3G, with a big, proud smile on his face. There’s something so genuine about that smile, a real sense of pride and accomplishment.

3D comparison of the Apple iPhone XS Max and the iPhone 8 Plus

Follow these steps:

  • Jump to the site hotspot3d.com. That will show you the current default, comparing the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max. Tap and drag to rotate the rendered images. Be sure to go left/right and up/down.
  • Once you’re done playing, tap the “Apple iPhone XS” label (upper left corner), then tap the iPhone 8 Plus. You should then return to the main screen, with the iPhone XS Max and iPhone 8 Plus, side-by-side. Rotate as you like.

This is an interesting tool, but it makes a specific point. The iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone XS Max are almost identical in size (the Max is actually just a smidge smaller), but the Max has a much, much larger screen, even taking the notch into account.


iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max show huge speed AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon speed increase

Check this tweet from Speedsmart.net. In particular, take a look at this image:

For each carrier, the top part of the image is the download (top) and upload (bottom) speed of the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max (I read this as, both models have identical speeds).

Below that set of bars is a smaller set which show the speeds for the iPhone X. These are tremendous speed increases. I’d love to see some verification of these tests from other iPhone X and iPhone XS users, but if these results are accurate, and mobile speed is an issue for you, that’s a compelling reason to upgrade.

iPhone XS and XR work even when there’s no battery left

The headline overstates this a bit, but even so, this is absolutely worth knowing.

Chris Smith, BGR:

When Apple unveiled the new iPhones last week, it revealed that all of them support a feature called “Express Cards with power reserve,” without really explaining what it was.

It’s a brand new iPhone feature that will let you use the NFC chip even when the battery life is dead. It might not sound like a big deal, but if you’re using your iPhone to pay for transit, or get access to your building, then it really is.

The details are laid out in Apple’s iOS Security Guide:

If iOS isn’t running because iPhone needs to be charged, there may still be enough power in the battery to support Express Card transactions.

Supported iPhone devices automatically support this feature with:

  • A transit card designated as the Express Transit card
  • Student ID cards with Express Mode turned on

Pressing the side button displays the low battery icon as well as text indicating Express Cards are available to use. The NFC controller performs express card transactions under the same conditions as when iOS is running, except that transactions are indicated with only haptic notification. No visible notification is shown.

This feature isn’t available when a standard user initiated shutdown is performed.

The idea of being able to use your Student ID to get back in your dorm room when your phone is dead is a brilliant little detail. I’m guessing there are other NFC use cases that apply here as well.

Renowned photographer Austin Mann takes the iPhone XS camera for a test drive in Zanzibar

Yesterday, we posted a link to some gorgeous shots taken by former White House Photographer Pete Souza. In the post, we referenced “Austin Mann’s Petapixel post”.

Here’s a link to the Petapixel post, with some gorgeous shots, dripping with color. Both galleries really do the new iPhone XS camera justice. A worthy upgrade, especially if you are using an iPhone short of the iPhone X or iPhone 8 Plus.

Apple drops need for iPhone screen repairs to use calibration hardware, reducing turnaround time

Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac:

When Touch ID debuted with the iPhone 5s, the home button became cryptographically paired with the display and logic board. Replacing an iPhone screen and digitiser without going through Apple’s proprietary calibration process would result in an iPhone with a new screen, but non-functional fingerprint sensor. The same is true with the Face ID biometric system introduced with iPhone X.


Until today, Apple has needed to distribute bulky repair equipment to its own Apple Store repair centers and authorized resellers to affirm that the 3D Touch system is working correctly.


Apple has now managed to achieve all the calibration steps using software alone, dropping the need for dedicated physical hardware to be installed at repair locations.

Makes me curious how they solved this problem. The good news is, screen repairs are now going to be much easier to schedule, with a much faster turnaround.

Shot on iPhone XS — Apple’s experiments in 4K, slo-mo, and time-lapse

This is a marketing piece from Apple, showing off the iPhone X🅂. Note that the headline on Apple’s YouTube page uses iPhone XS. Capital S, not lower-case. As I said in this post, I do think Apple will settle on iPhone Xs, with a lower-case s.

That aside, the video embedded in the main Loop post is a bit of fun, with the real payoff (at least for me), in that last planetary bodies slo-mo shot. Pretty good for a phone camera.

The iPhone Xs, Dual SIM, and Apple’s preferred capitalization

You can use two cellular plans with your iPhone Xs or iPhone Xs Max, a nano-SIM, and an eSIM. An eSIM is a digital SIM that allows you to activate a cellular plan from your carrier without having to use a physical nano-SIM. Here’s how to set up and use a cellular plan using an eSIM.

Follow the headline link to the Apple knowledge base article (big hat tip to Loop follower and furniture maker J. Leko) and dig in.

Side note: The new iPhone branding is all over the place. In this post, it’s “Xs”. On Apple’s front page, it’s “X🅂”, and on a variety of other pages, it’s “XS”. I think Apple is going for “X🅂” and, if typing the s-in-a-square is not practical, “Xs”. I suspect the “XS” was inadvertent and will slowly disappear.

Don’t forget to back up your iPhone or iPad before you download iOS 12

iOS 12 is coming later today. If you haven’t already, follow the advice in Dave Smith’s headline and back up your device before you dive into the new shiny.

One comment on the iCloud backup process. I believe the proper path is:

  • Launch Settings
  • Tap your name
  • Scroll down and tap your phone name (for me, the first line in the 3rd section)
  • Tap iCloud Backup
  • Tap Back Up Now

Enjoy iOS 12.

Apple Stores add gorgeous new graphic panels, 3D feature bays

Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac:

Ahead of next Friday’s iPhone and Apple Watch launches, Apple is rolling out fresh new artwork and eye-popping displays to its retail stores. Vivid graphic panels promote the upcoming iPhone XS, iPhone XR, and Apple Watch Series 4, while feature bays showcasing Apple services, apps, and third-party accessories are headlined by unique new molded iconography.

“Eye-popping”. Love that. Follow the link, check out the pictures in Michael’s post. They truly do look gorgeous. Worth a trip to my local Apple Store to check these out in person.

AirPower scrubbed

From this 9to5Mac article, last week:

Apple has seemingly updated its website today, removing all mentions of AirPower except in one place. Looking at the AirPods product page, Apple mentions the optional wireless charging case, noting that it is currently unavailable. The charging case is placed on what appears to be the AirPower mat, along with the iPhone X.

Previously, the iPhone X’s product page mentioned AirPower, noting that it would be available sometime in 2018. However, with the introduction of iPhone XS and iPhone XR, Apple has removed that reference since iPhone X is no longer being sold.

Now, add this quote from the wrap-up at the end of John Gruber’s Thoughts and Observations on Apple’s iPhone XS/XR and Series 4 Apple Watch Introductory Event, posted Saturday:

I wrote about AirPower’s absence earlier this week. What I’ve heard, third-hand but from multiple little birdies, is that AirPower really is well and truly fucked. Something about the multi-coil design getting too hot — way too hot. There are engineers who looked at AirPower’s design and said it could never work, thermally, and now those same engineers have that “told you so” smug look on their faces. Last year Apple was apparently swayed by arguments that they could figure out a way to make it not get hot. They were, clearly, wrong. I think they’ve either had to go completely back to the drawing board and start over with an entirely different design, or they’ve decided to give up and they just don’t want to say so.

I can only imagine this whole AirPower experience is a lesson learned for the powers-that-be at Apple. Engineering is a complex thing, and not every engineering problem can be solved, as least not in a timely fashion. Pre-announcing product requires a certain hubris and, ultimately, can lead down a rabbit hole of unmet expectations.

Lesson learned is, ultimately, a good thing.

Side note, John Gruber’s event writeup is chock-full of interesting nuggets and well worth your time. I especially like the section on capitalization, and the confusion of “XS/XR” vs “Xs/Xr”, not to mention those little squares. Great stuff.