2020 iPad Air review: Almost Pro

The big question for me, when it comes to the new iPad Air, is how it compares to the iPad Pro.

Jason Snell:

The release of the fourth-generation iPad Air feels kind of like that. Apple is apparently so confident in the roll that it’s on with the iPad that it’s happy to take the iPad Air, which it previously defined as a more expensive version of the low-end iPad, and transform it into an iPad Pro.

No, the new iPad Air doesn’t offer every single feature of the iPad Pro. There are still some reasons for some users to opt for the more expensive model. But this isn’t a move that a company terrified of undercutting its own high-margin products would make.

So what are those differences?

The iPad Air has two speakers rather than four. There’s no second rear camera, no portrait mode support, and no Lidar scanner. And the screen refreshes at 60Hz, not the buttery-smooth 120Hz found on Pro models.

No Face ID, but you do get Touch ID in the power button. And no Face ID means no face-reacting Animoji or Memoji. And the new iPad Air has a 10.9″ screen.

If the above sits well with you, the new iPad Air is a no-brainer. Starts at $599.

Packaging saving irony: French iPhone boxes come packed in an outer box with separate EarPods

Hartley Charlton, MacRumors:

The French iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro does not have a different retail box to accommodate EarPods, meaning that all ‌iPhone‌ boxes are consistent worldwide. Since the new ‌iPhone‌ boxes are slimmer without a tray for EarPods or a power adapter below the ‌iPhone‌, in France the EarPods are in the bottom of a separate box that is large enough to also contain the standard ‌iPhone‌’s box. The additional box appears to be much larger than the new, slimmed-down ‌iPhone‌ boxes.

I get it. This is all to accommodate a French law requiring EarPods for every new smartphone. But the packaging waste is egregious (follow the link, check the image). And Apple’s packaging elegance is lost.

Got to be a better way.

Apple TV+ and the Snoopy Trojan horse

First things first, from this Apple press release:

Apple TV+ has teamed up with WildBrain, along with Peanuts Worldwide and Lee Mendelson Film Productions, to become the home for all things “Peanuts,” bringing together new original series and specials, along with iconic beloved specials to fans around the world, all in one place.

And, most importantly:

The original programs and new specials will also soon stream globally alongside iconic “Peanuts” specials, including “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” and “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” The Halloween special will begin streaming globally on Apple TV+ on October 19, and will be available for free from October 30 until November 1 as a special treat on Apple TV+.

When this announcement hit, earlier this week, there was some pushback online about Apple taking a tradition away from the masses, the tradition of watching three great Peanuts specials on Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. But that is simply not the case. True, those shows will no longer be running on Network TV, but they will be available much more broadly, for free, on the web and Apple TV.

Turning to the headline linked post from Motley Fool:

This is a great score for Apple TV+, and the world’s most valuable company by market cap is doing something brilliant here. The three seasonal specials will always be available for on-demand streaming on the platform, but for a few days around each holiday, it will make the content available to nonsubscribers at no cost.

And:

And let’s be honest here: Snoopy is a Trojan horse. Folks are going to download the Apple TV+ app on their streaming hubs for this holiday freebie, and they’ll stay close every single month until the end of this year. They may decide to stick around as paying subscribers, just as the first wave of Apple TV+ users who got free 12-month trials for buying iOS gadgetry potentially walk away.

The Snoopy Trojan horse and Ted Lasso are two big bright spots to get folks looking at Apple TV+. And lets not forget about the bundles coming our way. I remain bullish on Apple TV+.

New York, shot on an iPhone 12 Pro in 4K

[VIDEO] This is just gorgeous (video embedded in main Loop post). Andy To shot the whole thing in HDR video, no external lenses, edited it on his MacBook Pro in Final Cut Pro.

Side note: If you are watching this on your Mac in Safari and not seeing the 4K option on playback, switch over to Google Chrome.

The iPhone 12, 12 Pro battery life takes a big hit over 5G

Mark Spoonauer, Tom’s Guide:

Here’s how the Tom’s Guide battery test works. It surfs the web continuously at 150 nits of screen brightness, launching a new site every 30 seconds until the battery drains. For the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro, we ran this test over 5G and 4G, and the difference was pretty dramatic.

And:

The regular iPhone 12 lasted just 8 hours and 25 minutes over AT&T’s 5G network. Last year’s iPhone 11 lasted a whopping 11 hours and 16 minutes over 4G. To compare, we switched the iPhone 12 to 4G-only, and it endured for 10 hours and 23 minutes.

Follow the headline link, scroll down to the chart for the details but, in a nutshell, 5G took about 2 hours off the battery life for both the 12 and 12 Pro.

This shouldn’t stop you from buying an iPhone 12, and it shouldn’t stop you from using 5G. Just keep this in mind and plan accordingly.

Peter McKinnon: iPhone 12 Pro camera test

[VIDEO] Peter McKinnon puts the iPhone 12 Pro camera through its paces (video embedded in main Loop post). What I loved about this video are the zoomed in focus on images to see where they shine, and even where they fall flat.

One thing Peter points out that I’ve definitely experienced is the incredible sharpness throughout an image that machine learning makes possible, even in low light. Detail that would be difficult to replicate in a DSLR.

Gruber on real-life, Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband speeds

First things first, this entire iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro review is chock full of detail, and entertaining to boot.

But this one bit struck me:

And — I’ll repeat — holy shit is Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband fast. Using Ookla’s Speedtest app for testing, my LTE service here in Philly is generally in the range of 50-120 Mbps down, 10-20 Mbps up. Not bad. With 5G Ultra Wideband, I typically saw 1,200-1,800 Mbps down, 25-70 Mbps up. At a few spots I consistently saw 2,300-2,700 Mbps down. Wowza. Apple’s and Verizon’s advertised maximum under “ideal conditions” is 4,000 Mbps. That’s gigabit speeds in real life over a cellular network.

But:

But these mmWave coverage zones really are like Wi-Fi hotspots in terms of range. At some spots, the coverage is literally just half a city block.

And there’s the rub. How often will you be in just the right spot to take advantage of these speeds?

That said, 5G will evolve, and mmWave coverage will continue to grow. If you buy into 5G now, you’ll get the benefit of that growth over time.

Want the Apple TV Remote on your iPhone? Turn to Control Center.

Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac:

Apple today silently removed its “Apple TV Remote” app from the App Store, which lets users control the Apple TV from an iPhone or iPad simulating a real Remote. The app is no longer available for download from the App Store and Apple has likely discontinued it, which means that it will no longer get any updates.

And:

Apple has added the Remote feature built into the Control Center in iOS 12, so Apple TV users can have access to all the controls on Siri Remote without having to download any app.

This is more a PSA than anything else. Want the Remote on your iPhone? Turn to Control Center.

The special, anti-fingerprint finish on the gold iPhone 12 Pro

Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch:

Most of the iPhone 12 Pro finishes still use a physical vapor deposition process for edge coating. But the new gold (which I do not have in person but looks great) uses a special high-power, impulse magnetron sputtering (HiPIMS) process that lays down the coating in a super dense pattern, allowing it to be tough and super bright with a molecular structure that mimics the stainless steel underneath — making it more durable than “standard” PVD. One side effect is that it’s easier to wipe clean and takes on less fingerprints, something that my blue model was, uh, definitely prone to.

From the HiPIMS Wikipedia page:

HIPIMS has been successfully applied for the deposition of thin films in industry, particularly on cutting tools. The first HIPIMS coating units appeared on the market in 2006.

The gold version of the Apple iPhone 12 Pro uses this process on the structural stainless steel band that also serves as the device’s antenna system.

There’s nothing I can find that says Apple’s other stainless steel colors can’t take a HiPIMS finish. I asked Panzer about this, his reply:

As far as I understand it, it should be able to be used with many different coatings — it is not a gold specific thing. My guess is that gold proved difficult or had fingerprinting issues.

I’m curious about Apple’s future use of HiPIMS. Will we see it applied in more places? Is the gold iPhone 12 Pro a one-off, or a test case for future stainless iPhones, Apple Watches?

iPhone 12 5G carrier plan details

Eli Blumenthal, CNET:

With low-band 5G service now deployed nationwide by T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon, 2020 marks the first time all three carriers will have next-generation networks widely available.

But getting onto 5G requires more than just a compatible phone. For some carriers, you also need to have the right plan.

Before you upgrade to a new iPhone 12, announced at Tuesday’s Apple event, or a 5G Android phone, here’s what you need to know for getting 5G on each of the three major US carriers.

5G brings an incredible wave of complexity to the carrier plan landscape. Me? I’d call my current carrier, go through my existing plan, see what my options are, see what they are willing to do to keep me in a longer term commitment. You’ve got the leverage here. They want to keep you.

Hands on with Apple’s iPhone 12 MagSafe cases

Though this does not show off the fit of an actual iPhone 12 in the case, the video embedded in the main Loop post does an excellent job showing off the variety of case colors and the MagSafe attachment.

A tsunami of iPhone 12 reviews

Chance Miller, 9to5Mac, pulled together a slew of iPhones 12 reviews, both as text links/callouts and embedded videos. Follow the headline link, start scrolling.

Season 2 of Disney+’s The Mandalorian: Sneak peek

[VIDEO] Big fan of The Mandalorian. The fact that they’ve somehow managed to make a season 2 during the pandemic just gives me hope, offers a tiny bit of light at the end of a very dark tunnel.

Enjoy. Episode 1 drops in 10 days. Disney+. Trailer embedded in main Loop post.

MagSafe

[VIDEO] Here’s a first look at MagSafe, with an unboxing, some magnet paper, metal things, and some previous model iPhones (video embedded in main Loop post). Looking forward to people’s iPhones 12 arriving so we can see how well the magnet sticks to MagSafe optimized gear.

The word “safe” in the word MagSafe has always meant something specific to me: Tug on a cable with a MagSafe connector and the connector comes off. It doesn’t pull your Mac off the table.

Is this still the purpose of the “safe” in MagSafe? If I accidentally tug the MagSafe cable, will it pop off my iPhone? Or will my iPhone go tumbling to the floor? Or is this new MagSafe about ensuring your phone is charging properly, with the magnet ensuring your iPhone is properly centered on the Qi charging coil?

Apple and Springsteen

[VIDEO] As part of Apple’s campaign for Bruce Springsteen’s new documentary and album, Apple has announced a live streaming, album release event, Thursday, October 22, at 11:00 pm ET.

Want to attend? You’ll need a ticket (free, but limited to Apple Music subscribers). Follow the headline link to RSVP.

This is an interesting experiment for Apple. They’ve formalized the approach with their ticketing.apple.com sub-domain. Will we start to see regular events like this, an alternative to the live, in-store music events they’ve had in the past? Is this long term, or purely until we get past COVID?

Side note, if you are a Springsteen fan, here’s a new trailer (embedded in the main Loop post) for the upcoming documentary (the doc goes live on Apple TV October 23rd, Letters to You album drops on Apple Music the same day).

Apple launches Apple Music TV. Here’s how to watch.

Variety:

Apple has launched Apple Music TV, a free 24-hour curated livestream of popular music videos that will also include “exclusive new music videos and premiers, special curated music video blocks, and live shows and events as well as chart countdowns and guests,” according to the announcement.

Apple Music TV will be available to U.S. residents only on the Apple Music app and the Apple TV app.

In iOS/iPad OS:

  • Launch the Music app
  • Tap the Browse tab
  • Tap the Apple Music TV intro article, or tap “Apple Music TV: Watch Now”
  • To return to the Browse tab, pull down on the window
  • Tap stop button to stop

On the Mac:

  • Launch the Music app
  • Tap the Browse tab (in the sidebar on the left)
  • Tap the Introducing Apple Music TV article
  • To exit, close the window

On Apple TV:

  • Press and hold the Apple TV remote’s Menu button to get to the top level of the interface
  • Tap Apple TV
  • Tap Watch Now tab
  • Scroll down to new Apple Music TV section
  • Tap one of the buttons (Apple Music, Watch, or Listen). They all seem to lead to the live interface.

I love the big screen experience, which you can get on your Mac (with a big screen attached) or via AirPlay. Note that explicit videos may be playing, so plan accordingly.

The most powerful iPhone ever

[VIDEO] Last week, we posted the Chris Rock iPhone 12 Verizon 5G commercial. Definitely on my long list of favorite iPhone spots.

Encountered this commercial over the weekend, equal time for AT&T. Wondering if the same team at Apple drove both of these ads. Seem different as night and day. Judge for yourself. Video embedded in main Loop post.

iPhone 12 models in Dual SIM mode may not run at 5G Speeds, at least initially

Got your giant grain of salt ready? OK, read on. Tim Hardwick, MacRumors:

All 5G iPhone 12 models support Dual SIM mode, which refers to the ability to switch between a SIM card and an eSIM operating on independent numbers and/or carriers. However, an image of a training document from Apple’s Sales Web resources called “What you need to know about 5G on iPhone” and posted to Reddit suggests the ‌iPhone 12‌ will not support 5G on either line when Dual SIM mode is active.

Specifically, the language reads:

When using two lines in Dual SIM mode, 5G data isn’t supported on either line and will fall back to 4G LTE. If customers are using eSIM only and are on a 5G-supported carrier and service plan, they’ll have 5G access.

This true? We should know as soon as folks with Dual SIM setup get their iPhones 12 and can test this.

Even if true, it sounds like this is a temporary issue:

On the bright side, this incompatibility could be a software issue, and therefore something Apple could resolve down the line. Indeed, the Reddit user who posted the above image claims that an update coming later in 2020 will enable 5G when using a Dual SIM mode.

Early days for Apple and 5G.

Fireball: Visitors From Darker Worlds — Official Trailer | Apple TV+

[VIDEO] From the description:

From Directors Werner Herzog and Clive Oppenheimer, Fireball: Visitors From Darker Worlds explores how meteorites have impacted our planet’s landscapes and cultures.

To me, these words do not do the show justice. Watch the trailer (embedded in the main Loop post), fascinating and beautifully filmed.

Premiers November 13th. On my calendar.

Easy way to compare the size of the iPhone 12 mini, any other phone

I set the headline link up to compare the iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and the iPhone 11 Pro, side-by-side.

Note the slider in the upper right which will resize all selected phones proportionately. There’s also a Credit Card Object, also resizable. This should let you resize until the size of the objects on the screen match your real life credit card or phone.

Great tool, give it a try.

Good Morning America gets their hands on the iPhones 12

[VIDEO] Though this video does not offer the technical insight (or precision) you might get from your typical tech reviewer, it is interesting to see how this crew views the new Apple shiny. Video embedded in main Loop post.

Apple’s iPhone 12 can wirelessly charge twice as fast, but only with a MagSafe charger

Nick Statt, The Verge:

Apple’s new iPhone 12 line will be able to access faster wireless charging speeds of 15W in line with the most up-to-date Qi standard, but there’s a catch: you’ll have to use Apple’s new MagSafe brand of charger or a MagSafe-compatible one from a third-party accessory maker.

Interesting. Hop over to the iPhone 12 technical specs page, then down to the Power and Battery section (about halfway down the page):

  • MagSafe wireless charging up to 15W
  • Qi wireless charging up to 7.5W

Yup, only MagSafe gets the full 15W. So if someone did come up with a magnet case for older phones, they’d likely solve the click-in-place problem, but not sure they could offer access to the faster charging.

Chris Rock Verizon iPhone 12 5G commercial

[VIDEO] Saw this commercial during Tuesday night’s football game, forgot to post it yesterday. This is a great spot, would love to see Chris Rock in a wave of these. Video embedded in main Loop post.

Belkin rolls out iPhone 12 MagSafe accessories

Follow the headline link and tap the image for a bigger version.

Interesting to see this first wave of MagSafe accessories. Wondering if we’ll see third party cases that bring MagSafe click-in-place to older Qi-compatible iPhones.

Apple’s new Intercom. Not for Mac?

Tim Hardwick, MacRumors:

Intercom will enable family members to communicate with each other wherever they are in the home, with the ability to send and receive spoken messages via HomePod speakers. If a family member is in the garden or away from home, they can still use Intercom on their iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and even CarPlay.

No mention of Mac there. From Apple’s official HomePod mini release, in the section called “Smart Home Controls and New Intercom System”, there’s no mention of the Mac.

An oversight? Intentional omission?

Apple event in 51 seconds

[VIDEO] Joining the storm of videos from yesterday’s event is the (now traditional) recap, this one crushing the highlights into 51 seconds. Video embedded in main Loop post.

Videos from yesterday’s Apple event

[VIDEO] Per usual, Apple shared the videos they ran during yesterday’s event:

  • Introducing HomePod mini
  • Meet iPhone 12
  • This is iPhone 12 Pro

Videos embedded in main Loop post.