Federico Vittici’s annual small-book-length iOS and iPadOS review is now out — I haven’t read it yet, but it’s so good each year that I’m just going to link you to it anyway.
Apple announced a new version of the iPad Pro today, and, folks, spare a thought for my bank account, ’cause I wants it.
In the way of actual updates, it’s more or less what we’d all expect — a faster A12Z Bionic processor, WiFi 6 networking, which (with the right router) can allow download speeds of 1.2 Gbps (up from 866Mbps), and support for 30 different LTE cellular networking bands, up from 29.
That one band will make all the difference, I’m sure!1Full disclosure: I am not sure.
Apple also announced mouse and trackpad support will come with iPadOS 13.4, which will be released on March 24th — that’s the one thing Jeff has been asking me about for months, so he’ll be extremely happy with that.
Finally, Apple announced a new Magic Keyboard, which won’t be out until May, which sucks ’cause I want it now, dammit!
It has a trackpad, backlit keys (that use the scissor switches that Apple has mercifully gone back to on the 16″ MacBook Pro and new MacBook Air, also announced today), a USB-C port with passthrough power for your iPad, and viewing angles that I cannot wait to try, just take my money Tim Apple.
There’s a bunch more details about the new iPad Pro on MacStories. Give it a read, but hide your Apple Card while you do.
My dogs and I have spent the past few days with the iPhone 11 Pro Max, and I think they would agree when I say that it is an excellent camera for humans who enjoy photographing dogs. As a test of camera performance, dogs are my gold standard: They don’t stay still, and capturing their details (fur in particular) is a challenge. Not only is the iPhone 11 Pro Max capable of taking dog photos of great variety and visual accuracy, it can take them in the low-light conditions dogs so enjoy and with studio effects that do a good job of making them appear as adorable as they truly are.
This has replaced the TechCrunch review of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus as my favorite iPhone review of all time, which is a ranking that I’m not proud of having but what can you do, y’know?
So far, the excellent Beats Powerbeats Pro true wireless earbuds have only been available in black, but the other colors announced several months ago — ivory (off-white), moss (green), and navy — are arriving by the end of this month. They’ll also cost $249.95.
Apple tells me you’ll be able to order them online beginning on August 22nd at 12:01AM PT / 3:01AM ET. All three new Powerbeats Pro colors will start shipping on August 30th and should be in Apple’s retail stores on that day as well.
Jeff purchased the PowerBeats Pro earlier in black, and kept telling me how great they are, so I’m glad the version that will match my weird “must have navy/midnight blue for all the things” is coming out so I can finally get on his level.
This episode is proof-positive we’re in the Darkest Timeline. Sorry!
Trump v. Sportsball
No one is more upset than I am at Trump’s feud with the NFL and Stephan Curry, both because I’m a hard-line supporter of the First Amendment and because now I know things about sports, which is the last thing in the world I wanted.
If you’ll excuse me, I have to go find a not-ugly Golden State Warriors hat.
The Apple Watch’s Heart Rate Tracking
The Apple Watch got a whole bunch of great updates with watchOS 4, including showing resting heart rate, walking heart rate, recovery rate, and will even give you a head’s up when your heartbeat is spiking for no reason whatsoever. However, these features only work on the Series 1, Series 2, and new Series 3 Watches… the Series 0, which is the original Apple Watch, doesn’t have the hardware capable of handling that.
This isn’t really a big deal — you can always expect pretty big leaps in technical capabilities between the first generation of a device and the second or third, and you can especially expect it when the device is made by Apple. The people who might be a little annoyed by this, though, are the people who bought the first generation solid gold Apple Watch Edition, which started at $18,000. They might have expected a little more longevity out of their purchase.
Then again, they were dumb enough to buy an $18,000+ Apple Watch, so they’re kinda getting what they deserve, honestly.
A $350 Jean Jacket
Jean jackets are back, much to my dismay, and Levi’s released their new Commuter Trucker denim jacket yesterday, which retails $350. Admittedly, it’s a jacket with a li’l technological trick up its sleeve… by swiping or tapping the fabrics on the left cuff, you can control your smartphone via Bluetooth. It’s also made in partnership with Google, so you don’t have to worry about the technical know-how of the fine folks at Levi’s in the hopes that the thing will work, which is nice.
That said, for $350, you can also buy an Apple Watch and not look like a time traveler from 1997, which might be a better look all-around, if you ask me. But hey, it’s your money, spend it how you want, weirdo!
There’s plenty more in the episode to entertain and probably horrify you, so visit Nearly Coherent or wherever you get your podcast fix to give it a listen.
Alfred, which is more or less OS X’s Spotlight on steroids, released a new version today. Whenever I’m setting up a new Mac for myself, Alfred is the second application I’ll install.1
It’s free to use the basic functionality, so you have nothing to lose by giving it a shot. Live a little, would’ja?
Given the hullaballoo over the idiotically-dangerous “Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016” that was released in draft form today, I thought it might be wise to remind people why strong encryption is a good and necessary thing. Fortunately, this video does all the legwork for me, which is really rather considerate of it.
A few days ago, Jason Snell wrote about how Steve Jobs transformed product announcements. Of product announcements before this transformation, Snell had this to say:
Now, it’s not as if Apple didn’t do keynotes at its events before Jobs came back. (And of course, other tech companies did keynotes at events like the Consumer Electronics Show.) But all of these were gray, businesslike affairs — glorified press conferences or nerdy product announcements accompanied by boring PowerPoints. None of them could hold a candle to what Jobs did with the events once he took control of them.
There is no event that best encapsulates the pomp and pageantry and overall spectacle of a Steve Jobs Apple event like the announcement of the iPhone in 2007. Even now, knowing exactly what was coming and how the keynote would play out word for word, you can still feel the excitement in the room that day.
Apple’s media events have been of varying quality since then, with today’s “Let Us Loop You In” event being a particular low point in my estimation. Admittedly, there were events under Jobs that were also awful — I’m looking at you, iPod Socks/iPod Hifi announcement — but they were awful because the products being released were absolute shit, not due to the quality of the presentation. They might have been selling a turd, but they showed that turd off with panache the likes of which you could not imagine.
Today’s event had exactly the opposite problem, and it’s a problem that Apple, frankly, has been dealing with for quite some time. And while I love going on Twitter to mock what’s going on, it is starting to feel like I’m picking on someone who’s just trying their best but is really not good at what they’re doing, like I’m just being mean.
I hate to say it, but I think it’s time Apple stops with this sort of media event.
The fine folks at Apple are holding what is likely their last media event at their Town Hall on Apple’s current campus before switching over to the new, giant-ass auditorium at their new crazy spaceship campus that will open up next year. A lot of products were introduced there — the iPod, the Xserve, the ugly and horrible iPod Hi-Fi — so expect some sort of “this room has a lot of history in it” self-congratulatory nonsense before we get to the new stuff Apple has lined up.
You can watch the event on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac by visiting this page or on an Apple TV via the Apple Events app, which you will either have to install from the App Store (on the latest generation) or has magically appeared on your home screen (on earlier generations).
I will be live-snarking the hell out of this event on Twitter — which you can either follow along with by following me on Twitter or by simply clicking the “Continue Reading” link below to see a live, regularly-updating collection of my tweets (and the tweets of others that I found amusing) during the event. I’ll also be back later to opine on whatever I feel like, presuming I feel like I have anything else to say on the matter beyond the obvious “here’s my money, Tim Cook, make things appear right now, please and thank you”.
As will likely become tradition around these parts, here’s last night’s “Last Week Tonight” main story, which focuses on encryption, Apple, and the FBI. I think I’ve made my stance on this whole thing clear but, if you’re still on the fence, hopefully this will make why this is such a hornet’s nest of bad hoodoo clearer.