September 20, 2019

iPhone 11 Pro behind the scenes first look at the new triple-camera system

Apple:

Photographer Justin Bettman creates elaborate and detailed scenes in unexpected locations. Check out the process behind the production as Justin creates a bigger picture using the triple-camera system of iPhone 11 Pro.

This is not much of a “behind the scenes” look but it does show the iPhone 11 Pro can and will be used by professional photographers and videographers.

Review: iPhones 11

I remember writing iPhone reviews with the focus usually on whether the device was powerful enough to get through our daily routines. We are so far past that point now; it’s not even a consideration for me anymore. However, there are a lot of other things to look at in the new iPhone 11, Pro, and Pro Max.

Perhaps the most stunning feature of the new iPhones is the camera system—I will get to that in just a minute—but for me, the A13 Bionic chip stole the show. It is, after all, the heart of the iPhone that drives everything we use on the device.

As I was taking notes during the keynote, I realized how much work Apple put into the chip design. It’s not just about making a more powerful chip; it was about making a more efficient chip.

The chip gives us raw power, but also increased battery life, faster machine learning, and a faster GPU. In fact, in the two performance cores alone, the A13 is 20 percent faster and uses 30 percent less power than the A12.

The efficiency of the chip gives the iPhone 11 Pro four more hours, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max five more hours of battery life than their predecessors. For a lot of users, that’s another half day of usage.

Taking about the chip is not the sexy part of the iPhone, but it is something to keep in mind as we look at all the other features of the iPhones. The chips are something we tend to take for granted, but when you see the amount of work Apple is putting into the technology behind the scene, you get an idea of the commitment the company has in producing the device.

Cameras

Let’s jump right into the cameras. Besides the chip design, the camera system on the new iPhones is the thing that impressed me the most.

I am not the most exceptional photographer in the world by any stretch of the imagination. I may not even be good at taking pictures, but with the iPhones 11, Apple has given me the cameras that will allow me to become a much better photographer.

The Pro and Pro Max have a three-camera system: Telephoto, Wide, and Ultra Wide. You have seen plenty of photos by now featuring the differences between the three cameras. There is no doubt they are incredible shots, but when I look at reviewing a device like this, I try to look at how an average person, like me, might use them.

Can an average user take advantage of a three-camera system? Yes.

Think about when you usually take a picture. Many times it will be with family or friends, perhaps having dinner at a restaurant. Have you ever tried taking a picture of the entire table and kept backing up until you’re on top of the table behind you? I have.

Have you ever told people to squish in a bit more so they could all fit in the picture? Happens all the time.

Now imagine just tapping a button on the iPhone and camera changes to Ultra Wide and everything fits instantly. That’s the way this system works.

Yes, pros and high-end amateurs are going to take some spectacular pictures using these cameras, but there are plenty of uses for them that the average users can take advantage of too.

Night Mode

It seems strange to me that my overall favorite feature on the new iPhone has to do with the camera, but it does. It’s a new feature called Night Mode.

As you would expect, Night Mode is optimized for taking photos in low-light conditions. To say I was stunned by the quality of the feature would be the understatement of the year.

Here’s how Night Mode works. When you hold your iPhone up to take a picture, the system automatically recognizes that there isn’t enough light for the photo. Night Mode activates automatically, and a little notification comes on the top of your screen indicating how many seconds you will need to hold still after you tap the shutter button to take the picture. Mine has always been 3 seconds so far.

When you press the shutter button, the camera takes multiple shots and fuses them to make one photo.

It’s important to note that once you tap the shutter button, you have to remain still for the amount of time Night Mode requires—there’s a countdown displayed on the iPhone. This delay gives the camera the time needed to take all of the required images.

Typically, taking shots at night results in poor images. There is a lot of noise in the pictures, and they are grainy. I usually end up throwing most of them away.

I bring this up because even using Night Mode, the image you see on the display as you’re taking the picture looks pretty bad. Don’t worry, the actual photo will look great. I almost stopped taking the photo because it didn’t look good on the iPhone display, but luckily I didn’t.

Here is an example of a Night Mode picture taken in my backyard at night. Nothing else was done to either photo.

I think the photo speaks for itself.

If you take pictures on your iPhone, this feature alone is worth the upgrade.

One more note. I’ve seen some people say that Night Mode isn’t worth it—you can use the flash on the camera and get similar pictures. That is absolutely wrong. It is the farthest thing from the truth that someone could possibly say.

Other features

I love Face ID and the security it provides for my iPhone. Apple said it improved the angles that Face ID could be used on the new iPhone, but I do not really see it.

From my use, I have to put the iPhone where I always did to make Face ID work consistently and adequately. Perhaps I’m trying to hard to get different angles, but I do not see much of a difference.

Spatial audio is a new feature that is built specifically for Dolby 5.1 and 7.1 content. Using the new system, the sound feels like it’s moving around when watching movies and other content.

It doesn’t work for typical music content, but there is good news on that front too. I’m not quite sure if it’s new speakers or an algorithm, but the music sounds much better through the iPhone than ever before.

I know it sounds strange to play music through an iPhone, but I do it all the time. I listen to podcasts and play music all day long, and all through my iPhone.

I find it very convenient to do it that way, even when I’m on my Mac. When I take a break, go for a walk, or go for a drive, I pick up my iPhone and keep listening. Strange, but it’s a habit now.

Recommendation

The main difference between the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max is the size of the display. All other technologies are the same, so your decision is going to come down to the dimensions of the iPhone you want to carry around.

The iPhone 11 has a few differences from the Pro models. It has an LCD instead of the OLED display in the Pro; it doesn’t have an option for 512GB storage; and it only has two cameras (the Wide Angle and Ultra Wide Angle).

A friend of mine came over last night and saw all three models. He’s going to buy two for his family next week, and he asked me the hardest question: “Which one will you buy?”

I stuttered and stammered and ran through all of the features and the fact they all have Night Mode and A13, and everything else. He finally said, “You don’t know, do you?”

He’s probably right, but I did settle on iPhone 11 Pro Max because of the larger size for my eyes and the camera system.

The point is, there is no wrong answer in choosing an iPhone 11. All three models are generously equipped with features, power, and efficiency.

Pick the model that best suits your needs and be happy you have the fastest smartphone in the world.

Imgur:

Our own little oasis about 20 minutes outside of downtown Portland. 30ft in diameter. 730 sq ft w/ an additional 200 sq ft loft. The exterior structure is a kit that we built (most yurts in the US are manufactured by about 10 different “yurt companies”). Interior was completely custom.

Check this project out. My wife has always wanted a Yurt in our backyard but I thought it was silly. Looking at this beautiful design makes me think it’s less of a silly idea – but we’re still not doing it.

Digg:

Seven minutes of high-octane mayhem.

Both the cop and the bad guy are incredible riders.

The Verge:

Apple’s new iOS 13 update adds a new privacy measure that requires apps to get your consent in order to use your device’s Bluetooth. After installing the latest version of iOS, trust me when I say you’ll be surprised by the number of apps asking for Bluetooth permission the next time you open them. Some might seem very strange (like Dunkin’ Donuts in my case), but others probably won’t make you think twice about giving the thumbs-up.

The reason Apple implemented this is because Bluetooth has enabled companies to sneakily track your location over Bluetooth by using beacons in stores, shopping malls, and even on popular city streets if they’re placed within range of a place you’d walk by.

I’m very glad Apple is shining a light on this sleazy practice.

The Dalrymple Report: A look at the iPhones 11

I’ve been using the new iPhones for a few days, so Dave and I took some time to talk about some of the new features.

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Apple drops new Apple Arcade trailer

You know what I’m going to do this weekend? Yup, I’m going to hide myself away and immerse myself in some high quality games. Seeya!

iOS 13: Top features & changes

Jeff Benjamin clearly and calmly offers a guided tour through the main changes that come with iOS 13. Very easy to follow, full of detail.

Federico Viticci, MacStories:

It was only natural (and well-deserved) for the iPad to begin advancing in a parallel direction to iOS – informed and inspired by it, but also capable of growing on its own and tackling problems that an iPhone doesn’t have to solve.

From this standpoint, there are two sides to iOS 13: on one hand, an underlying tide that raises all platforms, featuring a distillation of themes Apple comes back to on an annual basis; on the other, a fork in the road, opening a new path for the iPad’s next decade. And against this backdrop, a single question looms large:

Can Apple balance both?

This is a remarkable read, just chock full of detail on every aspect of iOS and iPadOS 13. As you make your way through it, tap the table of contents icon in the upper right corner (looks like a 2×2 grid of squares) to get a sense of the overall structure, and to jump to a particular chapter that interests you.

This is incredible work.

Apple releases new Apple TV+ clip for “For All Mankind”

This will be the first show I dig into when Apple TV+ drops on November 1.

Jason Snell has been working on an update to his book, Take Control of Photos (update coming soon), and pulled together this overview of the iOS 13 Photos app.

Not a long read, definitely worth your time if this is your first experience with the updated Photos app.

Reddit:

I am running both iOS 13 beta (it gets publicly released in a few hours) and Spotify beta. iOS 13 is required, as well as the latest version of Spotify from the iOS App Store for this to work.

Here’s a link to an image, showing this at work.

If you use the Spotify app on iOS 13, give it a try.

September 19, 2019

Ars Technica:

Apple has begun pushing iOS 13 and watchOS 6 to supported iPhones and Apple Watches. Both updates bring substantial changes—especially iOS 13—and mark the beginning of a new annual update cycle.

While it may take some time, most users should see iOS 13 become available in the Settings apps on their iPhones or iPod touches by the end of the day today. The watchOS update will pop up in the Watch app on iPhones that are connected to an Apple Watch.

iPadOS, macOS, and tvOS releases are still on the way, though.

Take this free advice for what it’s worth: DO NOT install iOS 13 today on any devices you NEED to be stable and not buggy. Just wait until next Tuesday for iOS 13.1.

TidBITS:

Do you have an aging iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch that you want to keep using—and keep covered by AppleCare? The good news is that if you previously bought AppleCare+ for your device, you can now extend that coverage indefinitely on a monthly basis when the plan ends. Here are two things to keep in mind:

You cannot extend your coverage until your existing AppleCare coverage ends. Once it ends, you have 60 days to renew your coverage.

Apple will not notify you when your AppleCare+ coverage ends, unless otherwise required by law.

Set yourself a reminder to do this once your AppleCare+ expires.

Om Malik, Wired:

About 72 minutes into the annual iPhone launch event, Apple senior vice president of marketing Phil Schiller invited Sri Santhanam to come onstage and talk about the brand new A13 Bionic chip found inside all three of the new phones.

And:

By the time Santhanam was done talking, all I could think of were the numbers. Apple’s new chip contains 8.5 billion transistors. Also, there are six CPU cores: Two high-performance cores running at 2.66 GHz (called Lightning), and four efficiency cores (called Thunder). It has a quad-core graphics processor, an LTE modem, an Apple-designed image processor, and an octa-core neural engine for machine intelligence functions that can run a trillion operations per second.

This new chip is smarter, faster, and beefier, and yet it somehow manages to consume less power than its predecessor. It’s about 30 percent more efficient than last year’s A12 chip, one of the factors that contributes to the extra five hours per day of battery life in the new iPhones.

And this on the competing chips from Qualcomm, Huawei, and Samsung:

Those chips have some faster components and more of them, so you may think those chips perform better than Apple’s. But the reality is that we hardly use the entire capacity of the chips that come in our mobile devices. One or two high-performance cores are enough for most of what we throw at our phones. Apple’s six-core design might seem lagging compared to the eight-core processors from the competitors, but really, the two big processors on its chip easily outperform its rivals’ designs.

This is a terrific read. No special hardware knowledge required.

iPhone 11 “audio zoom”

One of the little-covered announcements in last week’s full-to-the-brim Apple event, was the iPhone 11’s so-called audio zoom.

Here’s a video that shows off how this works.

Apple:

Apple today previewed the new Apple Fifth Avenue, an entirely reimagined space beneath one of New York City’s most recognized landmarks. With its distinctive, luminous glass cube rising above a newly designed public plaza, Apple Fifth Avenue is ready to resume its place at the heart of one of the world’s most vibrant creative communities.

Now nearly double the size of its original version with a higher ceiling and more natural light, Apple Fifth Avenue is a brighter, more expansive space, and the perfect stage for customers to discover and try Apple’s newest products. A new Forum will be home to free, daily Today at Apple programming, which kicks off Saturday with a special series that captures the creative spirit of New York. The area dedicated to Geniuses has also doubled, allowing the team to dramatically increase service capacity. It remains the only Apple retail location open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Follow the headline link, check out those images. Those circular stairs are a marvel.

Great food for thought from The Verge’s Dieter Bohn. Read it, it’s well written, not too long.

Bottom line, it does not seem an unreasonable conclusion that Apple Arcade will impact the App Store, at least in the Games section. The question is, will that impact be seismic?

Will Apple Arcade have a similar impact to music streaming, where all-you-can-eat replaced one-at-a-time song sales?

Will the Apple Arcade grow into the thousands, even tens of thousands? Or will Apple limit the number of games in the catalog?

One thing that is clear to me: For the consumer, Apple Arcade is a big win. Not only for value, but for the ability to live in a world free of scams and the pressure to make in-app purchases.

Interesting.

You might want to clear the decks around 10a PT, 1p ET, 6p London time. There’re a lot of games to be played.

As we shared yesterday, here’s a nice list of games to get you started, and a growing list of all the games on Apple Arcade so far.

While you wait, now might be a good time to dig out your Xbox One, PS4, or MFi game controllers and charge ’em up.

Once you dig in, ping me with your absolute favorite games.

T-Mobile:

Today, T-Mobile announced it is the only wireless provider to offer 3% Daily Cash on Apple Card. Starting Friday, September 20, all customers will receive 3% Daily Cash when they use Apple Card with Apple Pay at any T-Mobile store. Combine that with T-Mobile’s current offer — 50% off the latest iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max with 24 monthly bill credits and an eligible trade-in — and customers score serious savings on the latest and greatest.

First things first, if you’re considering a carrier switch, this might be worth considering. As I read it, you have to go to a T-Mobile store. Not clear if this works if you start service on-line or over the phone.

There’s also this:

And this is just the beginning, as T-Mobile will bring Apple Pay to the T-Mobile app and t-mobile.com.

“Will bring”. Not clear when this will happen, but once it does, you should get the 2% Apple Pay bonus when you pay your monthly bill, so add that to the equation.

One final thought on the 3% list. I wish there was an easy way to tell if a merchant I was about to pay offered the 3% bonus. Seems to me, there should be a way, on the Apple Card Wallet page, to tell me the bonus of the nearby terminal. That’s prompt me to use Apple Card in that situation. As is, I have to remember the list of 3% offerers.

Zac Hall, 9to5Mac:

Apple Watch is still a maturing product category for Apple, and that shows in the adoption data. According to CNBC, Apple says a whole 70% of Apple Watch customers are buying their very first model. That means that 30% of Apple Watch customers are actually upgrading from older models, but Apple hasn’t fully tapped into the upgrade pool yet.

Here’s a link to the CNBC article. Great catch by Zac.

70% of Apple Watch buyers are new to Apple Watch. That’s incredible growth. And it’s before Apple Watch Series 5 hits the street.

Doomed.

September 18, 2019

Vanity Fair:

As he exits Apple’s board, the Disney chief reminisces about his unlikely friendship with its mercurial founder—and how their radical visions aligned to save two companies.

If anyone else had said that Apple and Disney might have merged, I wouldn’t believe them.

The Verge:

Let’s just get this out of the way: if you’re at all interested in high-quality mobile games and you own an iOS device, Apple Arcade is a no-brainer. The subscription service launches tomorrow for $4.99 a month, and it’s making its debut with a huge range of excellent games from renowned studios like Ustwo, Simogo, and Capy Games. If there are even two titles that pique your interest, that’s worth the price of admission.

The biggest problem with the service right now, though, is that it can be overwhelming. There’s just so much. It can make figuring out where to start almost paralyzing. For the past few days I’ve been digging through the Apple Arcade lineup to pick out the 10 games I’d recommend most, spanning a number of genres and play styles.

Looks like there’s a little something for almost every kind of gamer. Can’t wait to try it out tomorrow.

Austin Mann:

The iPhone 11 Pro announcement was really about one thing: camera.

The big camera features I was most interested in testing were obviously the Ultra Wide (13 mm) lens, the new Night mode, Capture Outside the Frame, and things like iOS 13 photo management, editing tools, etc.

It’s been a blast to shoot with and test this strong camera upgrade and I’m excited to share the results.

As usual, Mann got an early review unit to take on his travels. As expected, the camera performed above and beyond his expectations.

“After 16 years at Apple, countless keynotes, product launches and the occasional PR crisis, I’ve decided that the time is right for me to step away from our remarkable company,” wrote Dowling. “This is something that has been on my mind for a while, and it came into sharp focus during the latest — and for me, last — launch cycle. Your plans are set and the team is executing brilliantly as ever. So, it’s time.”

In a statement, Apple said of Dowling’s departure: “Steve Dowling has been dedicated to Apple for more than 16 years and has contributed to the company at every level through many of its most significant moments. From the first iPhone and App Store to Apple Watch and AirPods, he has helped tell Apple’s story and share our values with the world. Following another successful product launch, he has decided to leave Apple to spend some much deserved time with his family. He leaves behind a tremendous legacy that will serve the company well into the future. We’re grateful to him for all that he’s given to Apple and wish him the best.”

The move comes right after Apple hosted its annual fall event last week at its Cupertino headquarters, launching the iPhone 11 and its latest iteration of the Apple Watch. Marketing head Phil Schiller will take over Dowling’s role in the interim, and sources said the company will be considering both internal and external candidates to take over the position.

This is an incredible bit of news. I will miss Dowling. I’ve known him for the entire time he was at Apple, and he’s always been very upfront, honest, and helpful. All the best.

It’s interesting that Apple is looking internally and externally for a replacement. With Apple the way it is, I think it would be very hard to find someone outside that could fill that role the way Apple expects it to be done. I honestly don’t know if that would work out for them.

Apple releases new trailers for ‘Helpsters’ and ‘Ghostwriter’

Apple:

Helpsters: Meet Cody and the Helpsters, a team of vibrant monsters who love to solve problems. Whether it’s planning a party, climbing a mountain, or mastering a magic trick, the Helpsters can figure anything out—because everything starts with a plan.

Ghostwriter: When a ghost haunts a neighborhood bookstore and starts releasing fictional characters into the real world, four kids must team up to solve an exciting mystery surrounding the ghost’s unfinished business.

Interestingly, the two new trailers for these kid-friendly shows coming in November are available only Apple’s TV+ site, not on its YouTube channel.

Engadget:

You might have rolled your eyes when Apple mentioned that the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro could do “slofies,” but the company is taking things slightly more seriously. Apple has applied to the USPTO for a trademark on the term “Slofie” in terms of “downloadable computer software for use in capturing and recording video.” Don’t worry, it’s not trying to own the cultural landscape — rather, this is largely to prevent app developers and phone makers from ‘borrowing’ the term for their own features.

The word is silly and unlikely to catch on but Apple is CYAing just in case.

Night mode on the iPhone 11 Pro. Ready to have your mind blown?

First off, check this pair of images. So good it just feels fake:

Now move on to this video. Again, amazing. I really appreciate seeing this from the user’s perspective. Great, great work.

I’m waiting for DxOMark to test the iPhone 11 Pro in their new Night mode comparison tests. It’ll be interesting to see how the iPhone 11 Pro Night mode compares to the Pixel 3 in a rigorous test.

Great job. 62 games in the list so far. Trying them out, feels like infinity.

Of all the services, Apple Arcade feels like the most no-brainer of no-brainers.

Dieter Bohn really nailed this Apple Watch Series 5 review. Great production values, lots of detail, all clearly explained.