Avoiding USB-C on iPhones may get harder for Apple as Brazil considers mandate

Close-up shot of USB-C cable plug.

Enlarge (credit: Getty)

Brazil is the latest country to consider making USB-C charging a requirement for smartphones. On Tuesday, Anatel, Brazil’s National Telecommunications Agency, announced a public consultation for a proposal to make USB-C charging a requirement for all cell phones sold in the country.

Anatel’s announcement said it was following in the European Union’s footsteps. The EU’s USB-C policy will require all smartphones, tablets, digital cameras, and some other consumer electronics with wired charging to receive power over USB-C in order to be sold in the region. Laptops will eventually have to meet the requirement, too. Anatel is currently only discussing a mandate for phones in Brazil.

The regulator also noted that some US senators are seeking a universal charger strategy similar to the EU’s policy.

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#apple, #brazil, #iphone, #policy, #smartphones, #tech, #usb, #usb-c

iPhones will be required to use USB-C charging by 2024 under EU policy

Extreme close-up photograph of USB cable.

Enlarge (credit: Tony Webster / Flickr)

The European Union (EU) has reached an agreement that will make USB-C charging no longer just a convenience but a requirement for iPhones and all other mobile phones by the fall of 2024. The plan extends to additional consumer electronics using wired charging, including digital cameras, tablets, and, at a later date, laptops.

Today’s announcement shows the EU Parliament and Council agreeing to terms for universal USB-C charging, something the parliament has spent 10 years arguing for. In September, the European Commission announced its intent to enact legislation requiring USB-C charging. The next step will be for the EU Parliament and Council to formally approve the agreement.

Once approved, the policy will also apply to handheld video game consoles, e-readers, earbuds, headphones, and headsets. Products in the named categories “that are rechargeable via a wired cable will have to be equipped with a USB Type-C port, regardless of their manufacturer,” the EU Parliament said in today’s announcement.

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#apple, #european-union, #iphone, #policy, #smartphones, #tech, #usb

Apple takes cues from Watch UI for iOS 16

Apple takes cues from Watch UI for iOS 16

CUPERTINO, Calif.—iOS 16 will reach iPhones later this year, and as expected, it’s loaded with major changes.

Apple executives and product managers took the stage at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote to outline the upcoming features and changes, which include a focus on the lock screen.

iOS 16 brings more personalization options to the lock screen, like a “depth effect” where you can make a selected photo appear in front of the time. You can also press and hold to customize the lock screen and swipe to try out different styles, like black-and-white and other color filters, and font and color options for the text and time.

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#apple, #ios, #ios-16, #ipad, #ipados, #ipados-16, #iphone, #tech, #wwdc-2022

I Tried Apple’s Self-Repair Program With My iPhone. Disaster Ensued.

Apple’s do-it-yourself tools and instructions are far from ideal for most of us. I know this because I broke my phone trying to use them.

#apple-inc, #batteries, #computers-and-the-internet, #content-type-service, #electronics, #iphone, #tools

Apple details new iPhone features like door detection, live captions

Global Accessibility Awareness Day is Thursday, so Apple took to its newsroom blog this week to announce several major new accessibility features headed to the iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac.

One of the most widely used will likely be Live Captions, which is coming to iPhone, Mac, and iPad. The feature shows AI-driven, live-updating subtitles for speech coming from any audio source on the phone, whether the user is “on a phone or FaceTime call, using a video conferencing or social media app, streaming media content, or having a conversation with someone next to them.”

The text (which users can resize at will) appears at the top of the screen and ticks along as the subject speaks. Additionally, Mac users will be able to type responses and have them read aloud to others on the call. Live Captions will enter public beta on supported devices (“iPhone 11 and later, iPad models with A12 Bionic and later, and Macs with Apple silicon”) later this year.

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iOS 15.5 and macOS 12.4 bring updates to Podcasts, digital payments, and more

Apple's Studio Display received a firmware update today to improve its webcam performance.

Enlarge / Apple’s Studio Display received a firmware update today to improve its webcam performance. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

Apple released new software updates for all of its platforms on Tuesday. That includes the following:

  • iOS 15.5 for iPhones and the iPod touch
  • iPadOS 15.5 for iPads
  • macOS 12.4 for Macs
  • watchOS 8.6 for the Apple Watch
  • tvOS 15.5 for the Apple TV
  • HomePod Software 15.5 for HomePods
  • Studio Display Firmware 15.5 for the Studio Display
  • Switch Playgrounds 4.1 for iPad and Mac

These are almost certainly the last updates before the company’s annual developer conference, which is scheduled to kick off on June 6. Among other things, Apple will announce iOS and iPadOS 16, macOS 13, and watchOS 9 at the conference, but those updates won’t arrive until later this year.

iOS 15.5

Today’s iOS update offers just enough new user-facing features to earn that 15.x label instead of 15.x.x, which is usually reserved for bug fixes and the like.

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Researchers devise iPhone malware that runs even when device is turned off

Researchers devise iPhone malware that runs even when device is turned off

Enlarge (credit: Classen et al.)

When you turn off an iPhone, it doesn’t fully power down. Chips inside the device continue to run in a low-power mode that makes it possible to locate lost or stolen devices using the Find My feature or use credit cards and car keys after the battery dies. Now researchers have devised a way to abuse this always-on mechanism to run malware that remains active even when an iPhone appears to be powered down.

It turns out that the iPhone’s Bluetooth chip—which is key to making features like Find My work—has no mechanism for digitally signing or even encrypting the firmware it runs. Academics at Germany’s Technical University of Darmstadt figured out how to exploit this lack of hardening to run malicious firmware that allows the attacker to track the phone’s location or run new features when the device is turned off.

This video provides a high overview of some of the ways an attack can work.

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#biz-it, #firmware, #ios, #iphone, #security

Report: Apple is testing USB-C iPhone models for 2023

2021's iPhone 13 still uses Apple's proprietary Lightning port.

Enlarge / 2021’s iPhone 13 still uses Apple’s proprietary Lightning port. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Apple is testing iPhones that use the industry-standard USB-C port, according to a new report in Bloomberg citing people with knowledge of the situation.

Since 2012, Apple’s smartphones have used the company’s proprietary Lightning connector. But more recently, the slightly larger USB-C port has come to dominate consumer electronics, including most of Apple’s other products. Consumers, reviewers, and even government regulators have called for Apple to drop Lightning in favor of USB-C in recent years.

This has led Apple to a tough spot, with three possible paths forward, each of which has some major downsides.

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#apple, #bloomberg, #iphone, #lightning, #tech, #usb-c

Apple Stops Production of iPods, After Nearly 22 Years

After nearly 22 years, Apple is stopping production of the devices that changed consumer electronics and led to the creation of the iPhone.

#apple-inc, #computers-and-the-internet, #digital-audio-players, #iphone, #ipod, #itunes, #music, #rubinstein-jonathan-j-1956

Despite the Epic v. Apple battle, Fortnite is officially back on the iPhone

Fortnite on Xbox Cloud Gaming.

In an about-face, Epic Games has made Fortnite available on Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming streaming service. Among other things, that means the massively popular game is officially available to play on the iPhone again for the first time since it was pulled in the midst of the recent legal battle between Epic and Apple.

A post on Microsoft’s Xbox blog specifies that all you need to play Fortnite on just about any device with a screen is a Microsoft account, Internet access, and the device.

Fortnite is a free-to-play game, and for the first time, Xbox Cloud Gaming is also free-to-play, so long as the game you want to play is Fortnite. The company’s cloud-gaming service is normally restricted to paying Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers, but Fortnite is receiving an exception and works in any web browser with nothing more than a free Xbox login. Microsoft writes that it plans to introduce more free-to-play cloud games that don’t require paid Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriptions in the future.

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Why Jony Ive Left Apple to the ‘Accountants’

The man who helped give the world candy-colored computers walked out the door as Tim Cook took charge. What does that mean for the company’s next big thing?

#apple-inc, #appointments-and-executive-changes, #computers-and-the-internet, #content-type-personal-profile, #cook-timothy-d, #design, #desktop-computers, #ipad, #iphone, #ipod, #ive-jonathan, #jobs-steven-p

Apple launches self-service repair program for iPhone users in the US

First announced in November, Apple is now selling and renting parts to customers who want to repair their iPhones.

In a blog post, Apple describes the program, which closely matches what was previously announced. You can now visit an online “Self Service Repair Store” to read repair manuals and order tools and ports. The store is only available in the United States for now, but it’s coming to other countries later this year. The first additional countries will be in Europe, Apple says.

The store offers more than 200 parts and tools. Apple says the parts are the same as those used in Apple’s network of authorized repair providers.

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Arizona Offers Driver’s Licenses on iPhones. Other States Want to Be Next.

Digital copies of licenses and state-issued IDs, which can also be stored on Apple Watches, will only work at security checkpoints at a Phoenix airport for now, officials said.

#airport-security, #apple-inc, #arizona, #drivers-licenses, #identification-devices, #iphone, #mobile-applications, #phoenix-ariz, #privacy, #states-us, #wearable-computing

Apple could soon turn the iPhone into a recurring subscription service

A blue smartphone with two cameras.

Enlarge / The back of the iPhone 13. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Apple is working on a way for users to acquire iPhones as part of a subscrption service, according to reporting from Bloomberg. The service could launch as soon as this year, but it could also arrive in early 2023.

The new offering would fit neatly into Apple’s ongoing efforts to emphasize recurring subscription revenue. That model has worked well for big tech companies like Microsoft, which earn most of their revenue from subscriptions, albeit mostly not hardware ones.

Microsoft does offer a hardware subscription for the Xbox Series S console, though, and that subscription might be similar to what we would see from Apple with the iPhone. Users pay for an Xbox in installments with a flat monthly fee that also includes online and software subscription services like Xbox Game Pass.

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#apple, #bloomberg, #iphone, #tech

2022 iPhone SE review: Revving up a classic hot rod

The 2022 iPhone SE.

Enlarge / The 2022 iPhone SE. (credit: Samuel Axon)

The iPhone SE is the classic iPhone, the OG iPhone, the Mazda Miata of smartphones. It performs well, and its design is iconic and familiar—even comforting—despite being dated and devoid of modern frills and comforts. But the SE is still one of Apple’s best products.

While the flagship iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro go all in on screen real estate and quality, battery life, and monster cameras, the iPhone SE focuses on simplicity, comfort in your hand, and yes, keeping costs down.

Most people don’t need the iPhone 13’s excellent OLED screen, though you could argue that more would at least want its improved cameras. But for some users, the smartphone is an as-needed workhorse and nothing more. They want something affordable and reliable—something that will last them several years, so they don’t have to think about the smartphone rat race at all.

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#apple, #ars-shopping, #gadgetology, #ios, #iphone, #iphone-se, #tech

iOS 15.4 and macOS 12.3 are here with Universal Control and more

The iPhone 13 Pro Max, photographed by the iPhone 13 Pro in low light.

Enlarge / The iPhone 13 Pro Max, photographed by the iPhone 13 Pro in low light. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Today, Apple pushed out the public releases of all its operating systems, including iOS/iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. These releases include new features across all platforms, not just bug fixes or security updates.

As usual, the iOS and iPad update (iOS and iPadOS 15.4) is the most major in terms of number and breadth of changes. The two biggest new features are arguably Universal Control support for the iPad and the ability to use Face ID while wearing a protective face mask.

To use Face ID with a mask, users must opt in to the capability in Settings. And Universal Control, which allows users to control both a Mac and an iPad seamlessly with the same input devices, requires both an iPad and a Mac on the latest software releases.

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Apple iPhone SE Review: A Phone for the Anti-Consumer

Why spend more if you don’t have to? The new $430 iPhone meets all the criteria of what most of us need in a smartphone.

#5g-wireless-communications, #apple-inc, #batteries, #cameras, #content-type-service, #iphone, #mobile-applications, #smartphones, #telephones-and-telecommunications, #wireless-communications

Apple’s new iPhone SE features 5G, a faster CPU, and more

Apple’s new iPhone SE features 5G, a faster CPU, and more

Enlarge (credit: Apple)

As expected, Apple took the stage in a streaming product event today to announce a new version of the company’s cheapest iPhone, the iPhone SE.

Like its 2020 predecessor, the new SE closely resembles the iPhone 8 first released back in 2017. To keep its cost down, it still has a home button and a fingerprint reader, unlike other modern iPhones. But it’s got some newer things on the inside. Namely, it has Apple’s A15 system-on-a-chip, which was previously seen in 2021’s flagship iPhone 13 lineup.

The device comes in three colors, Midnight, Starlight, and Product RED. Apple says it’s 1.8 times faster than the iPhone 8. There’s a 12MP camera and IP67 dust and water resistance, and Apple promises “better battery life”

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#5g, #a15, #apple, #iphone, #iphone-se, #lcd, #tech

The things Apple might announce next week, ranked by how likely they are

Futuristic glass-walled building permits views of surrounding forest.

Enlarge / Inside the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple’s headquarters. (credit: Samuel Axon)

On March 8, Apple will stream its first product unveiling event since October. While the unveiling likely won’t be as bombastic as the huge fall events last year, there’s a real possibility that more (and more exciting) products will be introduced next week than at some prior Spring events.

The company is still only part-way through its Apple Silicon transition, the iPhone SE is due for a revamp, rumors are swirling about mixed reality headsets, and one of the iPad models is getting long in the tooth. Not all of these things are slam dunks, but you can just about bet that at least one or two of those will be seen next week.

Here’s a quick roundup of what we expect or what the wider Internet conversation around Apple is buzzing about, ranked in categories from what we deem to be most likely to least likely.

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Apple fixes Mac battery drain, WebKit vulnerability in software updates

A 14-inch laptop on a table

Enlarge / The 2021 14-inch MacBook Pro. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Apple has released updates for iOS/iPadOS, macOS, and watchOS that primarily address bugs and security vulnerabilities.

iOS 15.3.1 is a minor update, feature-wise, for most users. It fixes a problem with Braille displays and addresses an arbitrary code execution vulnerability.

Apple’s iOS update notes are as follows

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I Used Apple AirTags, Tiles and a GPS Tracker to Watch My Husband’s Every Move

A vast location-tracking network is being built around us so we don’t lose our keys: One couple’s adventures in the consumer tech surveillance state.

#airtag, #android-operating-system, #apple-inc, #bluetooth-wireless-technology, #computers-and-the-internet, #global-positioning-system, #iphone, #landairsea, #mobile-applications, #privacy, #stalking-crime, #tile-inc

Soon, iPhones will process contactless payments without extra hardware

A smartphone on a wooden table.

Enlarge / The iPhone XS, the oldest iPhone that will support Tap to Pay on iPhone. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Today, Apple announced a limited new feature coming to iOS. With “Tap to Pay on iPhone,” merchants and vendors will be able to accept contactless payments from customers at point-of-sale using just an app on the iPhone. No additional hardware will be necessary.

Up to this point, point-of-sale apps like Stripe have had to use additional hardware that connects to the iPhone either wirelessly or over the Lightning or headphone port. Now, no additional hardware will be needed—but developers will have to build this functionality into their apps using the tools Apple provides.

At least for now, Tap to Pay will only work on apps from Apple’s participant partners. Right now, that means Stripe, a giant in the mobile point-of-sale industry. More partners are coming later, Apple says.

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#apple, #apple-pay, #apple-wallet, #contactless-payments, #iphone, #nfc, #point-of-sale, #stripe, #tap-to-pay-on-iphone, #tech

Report: Apple will introduce new iPhone, iPad on March 8

The 2020 iPhone SE

Enlarge / The 2020 iPhone SE. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Once again, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has published a predictive report. This time, Bloomberg’s sources have shared details on Apple’s upcoming Spring event.

The report claims that Apple will host this year’s event on March 8, which is a little earlier than usual. And the report names four major announcements expected at the event. In contrast to some of Gurman’s recent newsletters, he cites sources familiar with Apple’s plans, lending the report some credibility.

The Apple event will feature a new iPhone SE model with 5G capabilities, as has long been rumored. The sources also say the mid-range smartphone will have a faster processor and an improved camera, but it won’t feature a radical new design.

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#5g, #apple, #bloomberg, #face-id, #ios-15, #ios-15-4, #ipad, #ipad-air, #iphone, #iphone-se, #m1, #m1-max, #m1-pro, #mac, #mac-mini, #mark-gurman, #tech, #universal-control

Meta Says Apple’s Privacy Changes Could Cost the Company $10 Billion

After Apple made it harder to track people on the internet, even tech giants felt the effects.

#apple-inc, #company-reports, #computers-and-the-internet, #facebook-inc, #google-inc, #iphone, #meta-platforms-inc, #metaverse-internet, #online-advertising, #privacy, #snap-inc, #social-media, #software

Apple just had the biggest holiday quarter in its history

A blue smartphone with two cameras.

Enlarge / The back of the iPhone 13. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Neither a global pandemic nor a supply chain crunch can stop Apple, based on the company’s Q1 2022 earnings report. Released today, the report showed Apple smashing many of its sales records once again, with $123.9 billion in overall revenue and $34.6 billion in profit.

A lot of that money was driven by the iPhone 13, as this was the first full quarter since that product line’s launch. When we reviewed the iPhone 13 lineup, we wrote that it doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel with flashy new features, but it does give the people what they say they want: better cameras and more battery life.

Cameras and battery life seemed to resonate with buyers. iPhone revenue for the quarter was $71.63 billion, up 9 percent year-over-year. Also, Apple achieved a new record for smartphone market share in the critical China market: 23 percent. That made the company the top-selling smartphone brand in the country for the first time in years.

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#airpods, #apple, #apple-watch, #ipad, #iphone, #iphone-13, #mac, #q1-2022, #tech, #tim-cook

Here’s what Apple might announce at a spring event this March

The 2020 iPhone SE

Enlarge / The 2020 iPhone SE. (credit: Samuel Axon)

It doesn’t seem like that long ago that Apple announced a plethora of new iPhone, Apple Watch, and MacBook Pro computers, but we’re likely now just a couple of months away from another product unveiling event from the company.

The Internet is spinning with wild speculation today, so now seems like a good time to check in and set expectations as much as is possible at this stage.

Why a spring event?

Apple spring events in the past several years have fallen on April 20, March 25, March 27, and March 21. And based on the company’s typical release/update cadence, several of Apple’s products are due now: high-end Mac mini models, the iPad Air, the iPhone SE, the Mac Pro, the larger-format iMac, and the iPad Pro.

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Apple Becomes First Company to Hit $3 Trillion Market Value

The iPhone maker’s value tripled since 2018 as its sales continued to soar and it spent hundreds of billions of dollars on its own stock.

#apple-inc, #computers-and-the-internet, #iphone, #sp-dow-jones-indices, #stock-buybacks, #stocks-and-bonds

Are Apple AirTags Being Used to Track People and Steal Cars?

Privacy groups sounded alarms about the coin-sized location-tracking devices when they were introduced. Now people are concerned those fears are being realized.

#airtags, #apple-inc, #computers-and-the-internet, #electronic-frontier-foundation, #iphone, #los-angeles-calif, #privacy, #stalking-crime, #turo-inc

Apple reaches quiet truce over iPhone privacy changes

A privacy notice appears on an iPhone 12 under the new iOS 14.5.1 operating system. Developers of an application have to ask for the user's permission to allow cross-app tracking.

Enlarge / A privacy notice appears on an iPhone 12 under the new iOS 14.5.1 operating system. Developers of an application have to ask for the user’s permission to allow cross-app tracking. (credit: Picture Alliance | Getty Images)

Apple has allowed app developers to collect data from its 1 billion iPhone users for targeted advertising, in an unacknowledged shift that lets companies follow a much looser interpretation of its controversial privacy policy.

In May Apple communicated its privacy changes to the wider public, launching an advert that featured a harassed man whose daily activities were closely monitored by an ever-growing group of strangers. When his iPhone prompted him to “Ask App Not to Track,” he clicked it and they vanished. Apple’s message to potential customers was clear—if you choose an iPhone, you are choosing privacy.

But seven months later, companies including Snap and Facebook have been allowed to keep sharing user-level signals from iPhones, as long as that data is anonymised and aggregated rather than tied to specific user profiles.

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#facebook, #ios, #iphone, #meta, #policy, #privacy, #targeted-advertising, #tech, #tracking

T-Mobile “inexplicably” rejected iPhone 13 rebates worth hundreds of dollars

Stamp Rejected isolated on white. Agreement or approval concept. 3d illustration

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Bet_Noire)

T-Mobile has been incorrectly rejecting rebate requests from customers who purchased new iPhones, according to an article yesterday by Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman. T-Mobile acknowledged the problem and said it is being fixed.

Gurman experienced the problem himself when he traded in an iPhone 12 Pro Max for an iPhone 13 Pro Max. He was promised a $790 credit from Apple for trading in his year-old iPhone “plus $500 in bill credits over several months” from T-Mobile. Getting the trade-in credit from Apple was quick and easy, but T-Mobile denied rebate requests from Gurman and people who made similar iPhone upgrades.

Gurman submitted the iPhone rebate request to T-Mobile on September 27 and received T-Mobile’s rejection last week. In the replies to Gurman’s tweet showing a screenshot of the rejection notice, about 20 other people reported getting similar denials from T-Mobile.

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#iphone, #policy, #rebate, #t-mobile

iPhones of US diplomats hacked using “0-click” exploits from embattled NSO

iPhones of US diplomats hacked using “0-click” exploits from embattled NSO

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

The iPhones of nine US State Department officials were infected by powerful and stealthy malware developed by NSO Group, the Israeli exploit seller that has come under increasing scrutiny for selling its wares to journalists, lawyers, activists, and US allies.

The US officials, either stationed in Uganda or focusing on issues related to that country, received warnings like this one from Apple informing them their iPhones were being targeted by hackers. Citing unnamed people with knowledge of the attacks, Reuters said the hackers used software from NSO.

No clicking required

As previously reported, NSO software known as Pegasus uses exploits sent through messaging apps that infect iPhones and Android devices without requiring targets to click links or take any other action. From there, the devices run hard-to-detect malware that can download photos, contacts, text messages, and other data. The malware also allows the operator to listen to audio and view video in real time.

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#biz-it, #iphone, #nso-group, #security

How to Store Your Covid Vaccine Card or Test Results on Your Phone

To plan for safe travels and gatherings this holiday season, here are some simple ways to take your Covid-related health data with you.

#android-operating-system, #apple-inc, #bar-codes, #computers-and-the-internet, #content-type-service, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-risks-and-safety-concerns, #google-inc, #iphone, #mobile-applications, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #smartphones, #states-us, #travel-and-vacations, #vaccination-and-immunization, #vaccination-proof-and-immunization-records

Apple is exploring reverse and “true” wireless charging technology

A giant video screen dwarfs a man giving a presentation.

Enlarge / AirPower, as announced in 2017 before its ultimate cancellation. (credit: Samuel Axon)

A newsletter from Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman claims that Apple is still working on a multidevice wireless charger that would fulfill the promise of its long-canceled AirPower charging mat.

The newsletter that Gurman sent out yesterday claims that Apple is still working on a charger that could handle three devices at once—iPhone, AirPods, and Apple Watch—despite its failures with AirPower. Apple publicly announced AirPower alongside the iPhone X in 2017, but the product was reportedly plagued with development problems like overheating and was ultimately scrapped.

Bloomberg previously reported that Apple was working on both an AirPower successor and true wireless technology in an article published last June. (That article also outed, among other things, the iPad mini redesign.)

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Apple sues Israeli spyware group NSO

A man walks by the building entrance of Israeli cyber company NSO Group at one of its branches in the Arava Desert on November 11, 2021, in Sapir, Israel.

Enlarge / A man walks by the building entrance of Israeli cyber company NSO Group at one of its branches in the Arava Desert on November 11, 2021, in Sapir, Israel. (credit: Amir Levy | Getty Images)

Apple is suing NSO Group Technologies, the Israeli military-grade spyware manufacturer that created surveillance software used to target the mobile phones of journalists, political dissidents, and human rights activists, to block it from using Apple products.

The iPhone maker’s lawsuit, filed on Tuesday in federal court in California, alleged that NSO, the largest known Israeli cyber warfare company, had spied on and targeted Apple users. It is seeking damages as well as an order stopping NSO from using any Apple software, device, or services.

NSO develops and sells its spyware, known as Pegasus, which exploits vulnerabilities in iPhones and Android smartphones and allows those who deploy it to infiltrate a target’s device unnoticed.

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#0days, #apple, #ios, #iphone, #nso-group, #policy, #spyware, #tech

Apple addresses two iPhone and Apple Watch bugs with iOS 15.1.1 and watchOS 8.1.1

The Apple Watch Series 7 is virtually indistinguishable from the Series 6 (less so with a light-colored watch face), and it doesn't add much, but it's still the best smartwatch you can buy.

Enlarge / The Apple Watch Series 7 is virtually indistinguishable from the Series 6 (less so with a light-colored watch face), and it doesn’t add much, but it’s still the best smartwatch you can buy. (credit: Corey Gaskin)

Apple has pushed out two small software updates for its platforms—one for iPhones, and the other for the Apple Watch.

According to its release notes, iOS 15.1.1 does exactly one thing: it addresses dropped calls on iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max.

Here are Apple’s own words, which aren’t any more revealing:

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What Apple’s New Repair Program Means for You (and Your iPhone)

Apple said it would soon provide parts, tools and manuals to those who wanted to fix their own iPhones and Mac computers.

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Apple will soon send parts and tools to users who want to repair their phones

A blue smartphone with two cameras.

Enlarge / The back of the iPhone 13. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Apple will begin selling repair kits to consumers who want to perform some essential repairs on their iPhones themselves. Titled Self Service Repair, the program will first be available in the United States starting early next year, with more regions gaining access throughout 2022.

At first, the program will apply exclusively to iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 devices, but it will “soon” apply to Macs with M1 chips as well. A news release from Apple about the program says that it’s intended to allow “customers who are comfortable with completing their own repairs” access to the parts and support they need, but that it believes going to a Apple Authorized Service Provider (AASP), independent repair provider, or Apple Store will still be the best choice for most users.

But for those who do want to repair their phones or laptops themselves, Apple describes the process thusly:

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Apple silicon roadmap reveals plans for Mac Pro, MacBook Air

The M1 SoC die compared to M1 Pro and M1 Max.

Enlarge / The M1 SoC die compared to M1 Pro and M1 Max. (credit: Apple)

Apple has already finalized the second generation of Mac processors, and the third generation is expected to be made with a new 3-nanometer process, according to a report in The Information citing people with direct knowledge of the plans.

The report says that the second-generation chips will use an “upgraded version” of the 5-nanometer process used for the M1, M1 Pro, and M1 Max found in recent Apple Silicon Macs. But unlike those first-generation chips, some of the second-generation chips will have two dies instead of one, allowing for more processor cores.

A second-generation chip with just one die will be included in the long-rumored, redesigned MacBook Air as well as in iPads. That chip is code-named Staten. On the other hand, the MacBook Pro will feature more powerful second-generation chips code-named Rhodes. The second-generation chips have already been finalized and are ready to enter trial production, according to The Information’s sources.

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Apple’s Federighi delivers dramatic speech on dangers of sideloading

Apple's Software Engineering SVP Craig Federighi speaks at Web Summit 2021.

Enlarge / Apple’s Software Engineering SVP Craig Federighi speaks at Web Summit 2021. (credit: Web Summit)

Apple executive Craig Federighi, who is responsible for the company’s iOS software for iPhones, delivered a lengthy speech intended to alarm listeners about what might happen if Apple is forced to allow users to sideload apps. The speech was given at Web Summit 2021 in Lisbon, Portugal, and it expands on earlier, similar statements from Apple CEO Tim Cook.

The European Commission is actively discussing the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which is intended to regulate big tech platforms to ensure a fair playing ground. Companies like Apple could face fines of up to 10 percent of their global revenue.

In its current proposed form, the DMA would force Apple to begin allowing sideloading on the iPhone or face such fines. Federighi called the DMA out specifically in his speech, briefly voicing support for it overall but singling out the sideloading provision in almost apocalyptic terms.

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Despite huge iPhone sales, Apple misses the mark in Q4 earnings report

An older man in a white polo shirt flashes a peace sign while walking outdoors.

Enlarge / Apple CEO Tim Cook. (credit: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

In its quarterly call with investors today, Apple revealed that its revenue grew in all of its businesses and product categories, but the numbers weren’t enough to impress investors who were expecting even bigger gains.

The company’s overall revenue grew by 29 percent to $83.36 billion, with iPhone revenue seeing the biggest growth at 47 growth year-over-year at $38.87 billion.

Services revenue came in at $18.28 billion, for 24.6 percent growth. The Mac managed $9.18 billion for 1.6 percent, and the iPad $8.25 billion for 21.4 percent. “Other products,” which includes the Watch and AirPods, grew 11.5 percent to $8.79 billion.

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#apple, #earnings, #iphone, #revenue, #stocks, #tech, #tim-cook

Google Pixel 6 Review: Playing Catch-Up With the iPhone

With long battery life and nice cameras, the new Google devices excel at what popular phones have done for years. Is that enough?

#android-operating-system, #apple-inc, #artificial-intelligence, #batteries, #computers-and-the-internet, #content-type-service, #google-inc, #innovation, #iphone, #japanese-language, #mobile-applications, #photography, #smartphones, #software, #translation-and-interpreters

The True Cost of Upgrading Your Phone

Buying a $1,000 iPhone can be equivalent to giving up $17,000 in retirement savings or 2,500 cups of coffee.

#apple-inc, #calculators, #computers-and-the-internet, #content-type-service, #iphone, #orman-suze, #personal-finances, #samsung-group, #savings, #smartphones

iOS 15 review: Forget quantity, Focus on quality

Screenshot of smartphone interface.

Enlarge / A few apps that received significant updates in iOS 15. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Every year, Apple releases a major update to its operating systems for the iPhone and iPad that sets the stage for a year of changes to come.  This year, iOS 15 brings new FaceTime and Messages features, tweaks to existing apps and notifications, and most notably, a new way of managing apps and notifications called Focus.

Frankly, this is a relatively modest update compared to what we saw last year. That’s amplified by the fact that some key features that Apple initially announced in June haven’t made it into the initial release of iOS 15. But today we’ll be exploring whether a modest update means a bad one. Should you bother to upgrade to the new version of iOS when it’s mostly a tune-up and a fresh coat of paint?

As always, let’s start with a look at which devices are still supported.

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#apple, #features, #gadgetology, #ios, #ios-15, #ipad, #iphone, #operating-system, #tech

How to Find ‘Stalkerware’ on Your Devices

These spyware apps record your conversations, location and everything you type, all while camouflaged as a calculator or calendar.

#android-operating-system, #apple-inc, #calculators, #computer-security, #computers-and-the-internet, #content-type-service, #data-mining-and-database-marketing, #domestic-violence, #google-inc, #iphone, #mobile-applications, #privacy, #smartphones, #software, #stalking-crime

iPhone 13 and 13 Pro review: If you could have three wishes

The iPhone 13 Pro Max, photographed by the iPhone 13 Pro in low light.

Enlarge / The iPhone 13 Pro Max, photographed by the iPhone 13 Pro in low light.

Imagine you were visited by a genie who would grant you three wishes, but they all had to be about what you want from your next smartphone. As market research and surveys tell it, almost everyone would make the same three wishes: great battery life, excellent cameras, and big, beautiful screens.

This year, Apple is that technology genie, because that’s exactly what the iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max deliver when they hit store shelves today.

Cupertino’s flagship phone lineup might seem like an iterative “S”-style update, given that the phones look almost the same as last year’s models and that there are no major new features apart from screens with higher refresh rates in the priciest models. But since Apple zeroed in on most people’s highest priorities, this seemingly iterative update ends up being a noteworthy one.

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Upgrading? Here’s What You Can Do With an Old Mobile Device.

Before you retire that smartphone or tablet to the bottom of a drawer, there are ways to get more life out of it around the house.

#android-operating-system, #iphone, #mobile-applications, #smartphones

The iPhone 13 Pro goes to Disneyland

This year’s iPhone review goes back to Disneyland for the first time in a couple of years for, uh, obvious reasons. I’m happy to report that the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 performed extremely well and the limited testing I was able to do on the iPhone mini and iPhone 13 Pro Max showed that for the first time you’re able to make a pretty easy choice based on size once you’ve decided you’re ok without telephoto.

One of the major reasons I keep bringing these iPhones back to Disneyland is that it’s pretty much the perfect place to test the improvements Apple claims it is making in an intense real-world setting. It’s typically hot, the network environment is atrocious, you have to use your phone for almost everything these days from pictures to ticket scanning to food ordering and you’re usually there as long as you can to get the most out of your buck. It’s the ideal stress test that doesn’t involve artificial battery rundowns or controlled photo environments. 

In my testing, most of Apple’s improvements actually had a visible impact on the quality of life of my trip, though in some cases not massive. Screen brightness, the longer telephoto and battery life were all bright spots.

Performance and battery

The battery of the iPhone 13 Pro hit just over the 13 hour mark in the parks for me running it right to the dregs. Since there was so much video testing this year, the camera app did stay on screen longer than usual at just over 1hr of active ‘on screen’ usage which does put a bit of a strain on the system. I’d say that in real-world standard use you’ll probably get a bit more than that out of it so I’m comfortable saying that Apple’s estimate of an hour or more longer video playback time from the iPhone 12 Pro is probably pretty accurate. 

Though it was hard to get the same level of stress on the iPhone 13 Pro Max during my tests, I’d say you can expect even more battery life out of it, given the surplus it still had when my iPhone 13 Pro needed charging. Bigger battery, more battery life, not a big shock.

If you’re using it in the parks and doing the rope drop I’d say I would plan on taking it off the charger at 6am or so and plan to have a charger handy by about 4pm so you don’t go dead. That’s not a bad run overall for an iPhone in challenging conditions and with heavy camera use. 

Apple’s new ProMotion display was a nice upgrade as well, and I did notice the increased screen brightness. Typically the bump in brightness was only truly noticeable side-by-side with an iPhone 12 Pro with high-key content displayed on the screen. Popping open the Disneyland app for the barcode meant a bit better consistency in scanning (though that’s pretty hard to say for sure) and a visual increase in overall brightness in direct sun. Out of the Sun I’d say you’d be hard pressed to tell.

The variable refresh rate of the ProMotion screen cranking all the way up to 120hz while scrolling Safari is a really nice quality of life improvement. I’m unfortunately a bit jaded in this department because I’ve done a ton of my computing on the iPad Pro for the past couple of years, but it’s going to be an amazing bump for iPhone users that haven’t experienced it. Because Apple’s system is not locked at 120hz, it allows them to conserve battery life by slowing down the screen’s refresh rate when viewing static content like photos or text when not scrolling. I’m happy to say that I did not see any significant ramping while scrolling, so it’s really responsive and seamless in its handling of this variability.

The new A15 chip is, yes, more powerful than last year. Here’s some numbers if that’s your sort of thing:

Impressive as hell, especially for more battery life not less. The power-per-watt performance of Apple’s devices continues to be the (relatively) un-sung victory of its chips department. It’s not just that this year’s iPhones or the M1 laptops are crazy fast, it’s that they’re also actually usable for enormous amounts of time not connected to a charger. For those curious, the iPhone 12 Pro appears to have 6GB of RAM. 

Design

The design of the iPhone continues to be driven by the camera and radio. Whatever is necessary to support the sensors and lenses of the camera package and whatever is necessary to ensure that the antennas can accommodate 5G are in control of the wheel at this point in the iPhone’s life, and that’s pretty natural. 

The camera array on the back of the iPhone 13 Pro is bigger and taller in order to accommodate the three new cameras Apple has installed here. And I do mean bigger, like 40% bigger overall with taller arrays. Apple’s new cases now have a very noticeable raised ridge that exists to protect the lenses when you’re setting the case down on a surface. 

Everything else is sort of built around the camera and the need for wireless charging and radio performance. But Apple’s frosted glass and steel rim look retains its jewel-like quality this year and they’re still really good looking phones. I doubt the vast majority of people will see them long without a case but while you do they’re nice looking phones.

The front notch has been pared down slightly due to improvements in camera packaging, which leaves a tiny bit more screen real-estate for things like videos, but we’ll have to wait to see if developers find clever ways to use the extra pixels. 

Now, on to the cameras.

Cameras

It seems impossible that Apple continues to make year-over-year improvements that genuinely improve your optionality and quality of images that are enough to matter. And yet. The camera quality and features are a very real jump from the iPhone 11 Pro across the board and still a noticeable improvement from the iPhone 12 Pro for you early adopters. Anything older and you’re going to get a blast of quality right to the face that you’re going to love. 

The camera packaging and feature set is also more uniform across the lineup than ever before with Apple’s IBIS in camera sensor shift stabilization system appearing in every model — even the iPhone 13 mini which is a crazy achievement given the overall package size of this sensor array.

In my experience in the parks this year, Apple’s improvements to cameras made for a material difference no matter which lens I chose. From low light to long zoom, there’s something to love here for every avid photographer. Oh, and that Cinematic Mode, we’ll talk about that too. 

Telephoto

Of all of the lenses I expected improvement from, the telephoto was actually not that high on my list. But I was pleasantly surprised by the increased range and utility of this lens. I am an admitted telephoto addict, with some 60% of my photos on iPhone 12 Pro taken with the tele lens over the wide. I just prefer the ability to pick and choose my framing more closely without having to crop after the fact. 

Having Night Mode on the telephoto now means that it doesn’t fall back to the wide lens with crop in dark conditions as it used to. Now you get that native telephoto optics plus the Night Mode magic. This means much better black points and great overall exposure even hand held at zoom — something that felt just completely out of reach a couple of years ago.

With the higher zoom level, portraits are cropped tighter, with better organic non-portrait-mode bokeh which is lovely. With this new lens you’re going to be able to shoot better looking images of people, period.

If you’re a camera person, the 3x reminds me a lot of my favorite 105mm fixed portrait lens. It’s got the crop, it’s got the nice background separation and the optical quality is very, very good on this lens package. Apple knocked it out of the park on the tele this time around. 

The longer optical range was also very handy in a Disneyland world where performers are often kept separate from guests — sometimes for effect but mostly because of pandemic precautions. Being able to reach out and get that shot of Kylo Ren hyping up the crowd was a fun thing to be enabled to do.

Wide

Apple’s wide lens gets the biggest overall jump in sensor technology. A larger ƒ/1.5 aperture and new 1.9µm pixels roughly doubles the light gathering — and it shows. Images at night and inside ride buildings had a marked improvement in overall quality due to deeper blacks and better dynamic range. 

With Night Mode enabled, the deeper light gathering range and improved Smart HDR 4 makes for deeper blacks and a less washed out appearance. If I had to characterize it, it would be ‘more natural’ overall — a theme I’ve seen play out across the iPhone cameras this time around. 

Without Night Mode enabled, the raw improvement in image quality due to more light being captured is immediately evident. Though I think there are few situations where you need to turn off Night Mode any more, subjects in motion in low light are one of those and you’ll get a few inches extra of wiggle room with this new sensor and lens combo in those instances. 

Having sensor shift OIS come to the wide on the iPhone 13 across the range is a huge godsend to both still shots and video. Though I’m spoiled having been able to play with the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s stabilization, if you haven’t shot with it before you’re going to be incredibly happy with the additional levels of sharpness it brings.

Ultra Wide

Apple’s ultra wide camera has been in need of some love for a while. Though it offered a nice additional perspective, it has suffered from a lack of auto-focus and sub-par light gathering ability since its release. This time around it gets both a larger ƒ/1.8 aperture and autofocus. Apple claims 92% more light gathering and my testing in pretty rough lighting conditions shows a massive improvement across the board. 

Typically at Disneyland I like to shoot the wide in one of two ways: up close to create a fisheye-type perspective for portraits or to snag a vista when the lighting or scene setting is especially good. Having auto focus available improves the first a ton and the wider aperture gives the second a big boost too. 

Check out these shots of a moonlit Trader Sam’s, a snap that you might grab because the lighting and scenery are just right. The iPhone 12 Pro isn’t bad at all here but there is an actually quite clear difference between the two in exposure. Both of these were taken with Night Mode disabled in order to compare the raw improvement in aperture.

The delta is clear, and I’m pretty impressed in general with how much Apple keeps improving this ultra wide camera, though it seems clear at this point that we’re hitting the upper limits of what a 12MP sensor at this size can bring to a lens with such a wide POV. 

The new ISP also improves Night Mode shooting here too — and with a bit more raw range to work with given the wider aperture, your night mode shots lose even more of that bright candy-like look and get a deeper and more organic feeling. 

Macro photos and video

Another new shooting possibility presented by the iPhone 13 Pro is a pretty impressive macro mode that can shoot as close as 2cm. It’s really, really well done given that it’s being implemented in a super wide lens on a smartphone. 

I was able to shoot incredibly detailed snaps very, very close-up. We’re talking ‘the surface texture of objects’ close; ‘pollen hanging off a bee’s thorax’ close; dew…well you get the idea. It’s close, and it’s a nice tool to have without having to carry a macro attachment with you. 

I found the sharpness and clarity of the macro images I captured to be excellent within the rough 40% area that comprised the center of the capture area. Due to the fact that the macro mode is on the ultra wide, there is a significant amount of comatic aberration around the edges of the image. Basically, the lens is so curved you get a bit of separation between wavelengths of light coming in at oblique angles, leading to a rainbow effect. This is only truly visible at very close distances at the minimum of the focal range. If you’re a few cm away you’ll notice and you’ll probably crop it out or live with it. If you’re further away getting a ‘medium macro’ at 10cm or whatever you’ll likely not notice it much.

This is a separate factor from the extremely slim field-of-focus that is absolutely standard with all macro lenses. You’re going to have to be precise at maximum macro, basically, but that’s nothing new.

Given how large scale Disneyland is I actually had to actively seek out ways to use the macro, though I’d imagine it would be useful in more ways in other venues. But I still got cool shots of textures in the bottles in Radiator Springs and some faux fungi at Galaxy’s Edge. 

Macro video is similarly fun but requires extremely stable hands or a tripod to really take advantage of given that the slightest movement of your hands is going to move the camera a massive amount of distance proportional to the focal area. Basically, tiny hand moves, big camera moves in this mode. But it’s a super fun tool to add to your arsenal and I had fun chasing bugs around some flower petals in the garden of the Grand Californian hotel with it.

As a way to go from world scale down to fine detail it’s a great way to mix up your shots.

One interesting quirk of the ultra wide camera being the home of macro on iPhone 13 Pro is that there is a noticeable transition between the wide and ultra-wide cameras as you move into macro range. This presents as a quick-shift image transition where you can see one camera clicking off and the other one turning on — something that was pretty much never obvious in other scenarios even though the cameras switch all the time depending on lighting conditions and imaging judgement calls made by the iPhone’s camera stack. 

Users typically never notice this at all, but given that there is now an official macro camera available when you swoop in close to an object while you’re on 1x then it’s going to flip over to the .5x mode in order to let you shoot super close. This is all totally fine, by the way, but can result in a bit of flutter if you’re moving in and out of range with the cameras continuously switching as you enter and exit ‘macro distance’ (around 10-15cm). 

When I queried about this camera switching behavior, Apple said that “a new setting will be added in a software update this fall to turn off automatic camera switching when shooting at close distances for macro photography and video.”

This should solve this relatively small quirk for people who want to work specifically at the macro range. 

Photographic Styles and Smart HDR 4

One of the constant tensions with Apple’s approach to computational photography has been its general leaning towards the conservative when it comes to highly processed images. Simply put, Apple likes its images to look ‘natural’, where other similar systems from competitors like Google or Samsung have made different choices in order to differentiate and create ‘punchier’ and sometimes just generally brighter images. 

I did some comparisons of these approaches back when Apple introduced Night Mode two years ago.  

The general idea hasn’t changed much even with Apple’s new launches this year, they’re still hewing to nature as a guiding principle. But now they’ve introduced Photographic Styles in order to give you the option of cranking two controls they’re calling Tone and Warmth. These are basically vibrance and color temperature (but only generally). You can choose from 5 presets including no adjustments or you can adjust the two settings on any of the presets on a scale of -100 to +100. 

I would assume that long term people will play with these and recommendations will get passed around on how to get a certain look. My general favorite of these is vibrant because I like the open shadows and mid-tone pop. Though I would assume a lot of folks will gravitate towards Rich Contrast because more contrast is generally more pleasing to the human eye. 

In this shot of some kid-sized speeders, you can see the effects on the shadows and midtones as well as the overall color temperature. Rather than being a situational filter, I view this as a deep ‘camera setting’ feature, much like choosing the type of film that you wanted to roll with in a film camera. For more contrast you might choose a Kodak Ektachrome, for cooler-to-neutral colors perhaps a Fuji, for warm skin tones perhaps a Kodak Portra and for boosted color maybe an Ultramax. 

This setting gives you the option to set up your camera the way you want the color to sit in a similar way. The setting is then retained when you close camera.app. This way when you open it, it’s set to shoot the way you want it to. This goes for the vast majority of camera settings now under iOS 15, which is a nice quality of life improvement over the old days when the iPhone camera reset itself every time you opened it. 

It’s worth noting that these color settings are ‘imbedded’ in the image, which means they are not adjustable afterwards like Portrait Mode’s lighting scenarios. They are also not enabled during RAW — which makes sense.

Smart HDR4 also deserves a mention here because it’s now doing an additional bit of smart segmentation based on subjects in the frame. In a situation with a backlit group of people, for instance, the new ISP is going to segment out each of those subjects individually and apply color profiles, exposure, white balance and other adjustments to them — all in real time. This makes for a marked improvement in dark-to-light scenarios like shooting out of windows and shooting into the sun. 

I would not expect much improvement out of the selfie camera this year, it’s just much the same as normal. Though you can use Cinematic Mode on it which is fun if not that useful in selfie modes.

Cinematic Mode

This is an experimental mode that has been shipped live to the public. That’s the best way to set the scene for those folks looking to dive into it. Contrary to Apple’s general marketing, this won’t yet replace any real camera rack focus setup on a film set, but it does open up a huge toolset for budding filmmakers and casual users that was previously locked behind a lot of doors made up of cameras, lenses and equipment. 

Cinematic Mode uses the camera’s depth information, the accelerometer and other signals to craft a video that injects synthetic bokeh (blur) and tracks subjects in the frame to intelligently ‘rack’ focus between them depending on what it thinks you want. There is also some impressive focus tracking features built in that allow you to lock onto a subject and follow them in a ‘tracking shot’ which can keep them in focus through obstacles like crowds, railings and water. I found all of these depth-leveraging features that did tracking to be incredibly impressive in my early testing, but they were often let down a bit by the segmentation masking that struggled to define crisp, clear borders around subjects to separate them from the background. It turns out that doing what portrait mode does with a still image is just insanely hard to do 30 times a second with complex, confusing backgrounds. 

The feature is locked to 1080p/30fps which says a lot about its intended use. This is for family shots presented on the device, AirPlayed to your TV or posted on the web. I’d imagine that this will actually get huge uptake with the TikTok filmmaker crowd who will do cool stuff with the new storytelling tools of selective focus.

I did some test shooting with my kids walking through crowds and riding on carousels that was genuinely, shockingly good. It really does provide a filmic, dreamy quality to the video that I was previously only able to get with quick and continuous focus adjustments on an SLR shooting video with a manually focused lens. 

That, I think, is the major key to understanding Cinematic Mode. Despite the marketing, this mode is intended to unlock new creative possibilities for the vast majority of iPhone users who have no idea how to set focal distances, bend their knees to stabilize and crouch-walk-rack-focus their way to these kinds of tracking shots. It really does open up a big bucket that was just inaccessible before. And in many cases I think that those willing to experiment and deal with its near-term foibles will be rewarded with some great looking shots to add to their iPhone memories widget.

I’ll be writing more about this feature later this week so stay tuned. For now, what you need to know is that an average person can whip this out in bright light and get some pretty fun and impressive results, but it is not a serious professional tool, yet. And even if you miss focus on a particular subject you are able to adjust that in post with a quick tap of the edit button and a tap on a subject — as long as it’s within the focal range of the lens.

As a filmmaking tool for the run and gun generation it’s a pretty compelling concept. The fact is that it allows people to spend less time and less technical energy on the mechanics of filmmaking and more time on the storytelling part. Moviemaking has always been an art that is intertwined with technology — and one of the true exemplars of the ideal that artists are always the first to adopt new technology and push it to its early limits.

Just as Apple’s portrait mode has improved massively over the past 6 years, I expect Cinematic Mode to keep growing and improving. The relatively sketchy performance in low light and the locked zoom are high on my list to see bumps next year, as is improved segmentation. It’s an impressive technical feat that Apple is able to deliver this kind of slicing and adjustment not only in real-time preview but also in post-shooting editing modes, and I’m looking forward to seeing it evolve. 

Assessment

This is a great update that improves user experience in every way, even during an intense day-long Disneyland outing. The improved brightness and screen refresh means easier navigation of park systems and better visibility in daylight for directions and wait times and more. The better cameras mean you’re getting improved shots in dark-to-light situations like waiting in lines or shooting from under overhangs. The nice new telephoto lets you shoot close-up shots of cast members who are now often separated from the crowds by large distances, which is cool — and as a bonus acts as a really lovely portrait lens even while not in Portrait mode.

Overall this was one of the best experiences I’ve had testing a phone at the parks, with a continuous series of ‘wow’ moments with the cameras that sort of made me question my confirmation bias. I ended up with a lot of shots like the night mode wide angle and telephoto ones I shared above that impressed me so much I ended up doing a lot of gut checking asking other people in blind tests what they thought of the two images. Each time I did so the clear winner was the iPhone 13 — it really is just a clear cut improvement in image making across the board.

The rest of the package is pretty well turned out here too, with massive performance gains in the A15 Bionic with not only no discernable impact on battery life but a good extra hour to boot. The performance chart above may give the wow factor but that performance charted on the power usage of the chip across a day is what continues to be the most impressive feat of Apple’s chip teams. 

The iPhones 13 are an impressive field this year, providing a solid moat of image quality, battery life and now, thankfully, screen improvements that should serve Apple well over the next 12 months.

#apple, #apple-inc, #computing, #disneyland, #food, #google, #imaging, #ios, #ios-11, #ipad, #iphone, #iphone-7, #isp, #kodak, #mobile-phones, #ram, #sam, #samsung, #smartphone, #steel, #tc

Apple iPhone 13 Review: The Most Incremental Upgrade Ever

The new iPhone is 10 percent faster than the last one, and the photos are slightly better. In a word: Huh.

#apple-inc, #cameras, #computers-and-the-internet, #content-type-service, #innovation, #iphone, #photography, #privacy, #smartphones

Apple releases iOS 15 with Focus mode and more

iOS 15's Focus feature.

Enlarge / iOS 15’s Focus feature. (credit: Apple)

As announced previously, Apple today released iOS 15 for the iPhone, iPadOS 15 for the iPad, watchOS 8 for the Apple Watch, and tvOS 15 for the Apple TV.

Apple has also announced a major annual update to the Mac operating system called macOS Monterey, but that is not one of today’s releases.

iOS 15’s major new feature addition is Focus, whereby a user can set profiles like “work,” “sleep,” or “home” that display different apps and notifications depending on what the user is doing. It also redesigns notifications and adds numerous new features to Messages and FaceTime, among other things.

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PSA: You don’t have to upgrade to iOS 15

It's OK to hit the pause button on iOS 15, if you want.

Enlarge / It’s OK to hit the pause button on iOS 15, if you want. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

Apple releases iOS and iPadOS 15 to the public today, following the announcement at WWDC earlier this year and the customary public beta period. The new software will run on every single iPhone and iPad that could run iOS or iPadOS 14, going all the way back to 2014’s iPad Air 2 and 2015’s iPhone 6S and 6S Plus.

Normally, this would mean the end of iOS 14. If Apple patched a major zero-day security vulnerability in iOS next week, in past years you’d have to move to iOS 15 to get the fix whether you wanted the rest of its features or not. But starting this year, that’s not the case. For the first time ever, if you want to put off the iOS 15 update for a few weeks or months, you can do that without missing out on important security updates. This is because Apple is planning to continue updates for iOS 14—not just for old devices, but for any phone or tablet that runs iOS 14 or iPadOS 14.

This update policy change brings iOS and iPadOS more closely in line with macOS. Apple provides feature updates for the newest macOS release and important security updates for the two previous macOS versions, for a total of three macOS releases at a time. Apple isn’t committing to that same policy with iOS (and the macOS policy isn’t actually spelled out anywhere, as Microsoft does for its software releases), but security updates for even one other version of iOS is an improvement.

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