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Infinite Loophole

Insight and Opinion on the World of Apple, Tech and Culture

New iPhone Pre-Order Process Created Headaches For Verizon Customers

Alex Cranz:

Did you try to buy an iPhone from the Apple website to use with your current Verizon plan? Did you have very little success, or finish the process so late that your phone isn’t shipping until October?

You are not alone. Twitter was flooded with irritated pre-order customers unable to get their hands on their phones, including two separate Gizmodo writers.

Whoops.

Apple Watch Series 2, First Thoughts

Susie Ochs for Macworld:

Turns out, the Series 2 models are ever so slightly thicker than their predecessors. Just a hair, not enough to even complain about, really, and it’s certainly not a deal-breaker. But from Apple, a company with a track record of sacrificing ports and redesigning keyboards in order to make its products thinner and thinner and thinner, the Apple Watch’s extra bulk is a sign that the company is still adding hardware features to find the best mix. In this case, GPS.

Similar to the iPhone 6s, which was a hair larger than the 6 to make room for the 3D Touch display, the Apple Watch Series 2 is thicker than the first gen model. Although this is slightly disappointing, I don’t mind a thicker device as long as the features are worth it.

The new S2 system, addition of GPS and waterproofing make the slightly thicker form factor a non issue for me. I think Apple has taken a solid step forward in making the Apple Watch less dependent on the iPhone. It makes the watch feel less like an iPhone accessory and more like a stand alone product.

Apple Announces iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, Highlights 10 New Features

Apple has removed the wraps from the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus and highlighted 10 new features to introduce the devices.

1. Design

The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus feature a new design…kind of. The overall look is near identical to the 6s line. The only noticeable differences is the antennae bands have been moved and the camera is cut out from the same unibody piece of aluminum. Oh, and the headphone jack is gone, but we’ll get to that later.

The other design news is the new color options. There is no Space Gray iPhone 7 or 7 Plus option. It has been replaced by two new color options, a matte and a glossy black finish Apple labeled Black and Jet Black respectively.

2. Home Button

A redesigned Home button will sit in its familiar location on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. The button will no longer physically click. Instead, the new Home button is solid state, pressure sensitive and will feature Taptic feedback.

3. Water and Dust Resistant

Finally, Apple mentioned water resistance on stage. While iPhones have continued to become more water resistant over the years, Apple has never made note of that fact during a keynote. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are IP67 certified.

4. Camera

It’s no surprise the cameras on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus were upgraded, but the massive improvements were a bit of a shock. The iPhone 7 features a 12MP sensor with an f/1.8 aperture which Apple claims takes in 50 percent more light than the 6s. However, the big news was all about the iPhone 7 Plus.

The iPhone 7 Plus features a dual lens setup. Alongside the 12MP wide angle lens is a second 12MP telephoto lens. This dual setup allows for more zoom and the creation of shallow depth of field by meshing together images taken from both cameras. However, this depth of field feature will not be available at launch, although Apple promised it was coming in a software update later this year.

5. Display

The display on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus is 25% brighter than last year’s models with a wider color gamut. The resolution for both will stay the same.

6. Stereo Speakers

Finally, an iPhone will feature stereo speakers. I personally listen to podcasts and other spoken word audio directly from my iPhone’s speaker on a regular basis, so this news is really exciting. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus will have one on the bottom, one at the top and the result is twice the volume as before.

7. Lightning EarPods

As was heavily rumored, Apple ditched the headphone jack in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. The new models will come equipped with Lighting EarPods.

8. AirPods

Apple also made a point to push the fact we’re headed towards a wireless future. Naturally, a wireless version of Apple’s EarPods, dubbed AirPods, will be released in October. Although these probably aren’t for me, the technology inside is impressive. They feature a new chip which allows the AirPods to connect to Apple devices without the hassle of Bluetooth pairing.

9. Apple Pay

Apple Pay is headed to Japan. Other than that, Apple highlighted the continued growth and success of their mobile payment service.

10. Performance

Specs are still important to note, although most people would probably say their iPhone is fast enough at this point. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus feature the new A10 Fusion chip, which is a 64-bit quad core chip Apple claims is 40 percent faster than the A9.

On 1Password and App Subscriptions

We’re in the middle of an interesting transition with the App Store. Developers are moving their apps to subscription models and Apple is encouraging the same. The problem is some developers are forcing customers into the new model. Remember the Text Expander fiasco from a few months ago?

Agile Bits, the developers behind 1Password, announced their new subscription model yesterday and its the best implementation I’ve seen. Rather than forcing users into an expensive subscription model, users are still able to purchase an individual license or choose from one of three reasonably priced subscriptions. John Vorhees, writing for MacStories, said it best:

I’m also happy to see that in implementing a subscription model, Agile Bits has not done so at the expense of providing its customers with choice and a great value. If you are not already using 1Password, I highly recommend you give it a try.

Hopefully, more developers will follow the lead of Agile Bits and provide users with choice and reasonable subscription options.

New Britney Spears Album to Land Exclusively on Apple Music

Chance Miller, reporting for 9to5Mac:

Just after it was revealed that Frank Ocean’s highly-anticapted album “Boys Don’t Cry” would be coming exclusively to Apple Music, another high-ticket exclusive has been revealed. Britney Spears today announced that her new album, her first in three years, will be coming exclusively to Apple Music on August 26th.

The recent leak from Time Warner regarding Eddie Cue’s not so professional demeanor during TV deal negotiations apparently isn’t holding back Apple Music. This makes me think Cue’s relaxed and casual persona is perfect for negotiations with the entertainment industry but ineffective with major TV networks.

FBI Enlists Israeli Firm Cellebrite to Unlock Shooter’s iPhone

The Apple v. FBI case has been everywhere lately, but this week’s coverage really caught my attention. The FBI moved to postpone the hearing scheduled on Tuesday. I ran across an article on MacRumors detailing the most recent twist and explaing why the FBI made the move:

Israeli mobile software developer Cellebrite is helping the FBI in its attempt to unlock the iPhone at the center of the San Bernadino shooter investigation…if the software company succeeds, then the FBI will no longer need the help of Apple.

You can’t help but wonder how long the FBI has been sitting on this information. Unfortunately, it seems the FBI’s goal was to set a precedent with this case even though they probably haven’t needed Apple’s help for some time. The American public has overwhelmingly supported Apple, and I think this week’s events are the first stages of the FBI ultimately waiving the white flag. Don’t be surprised to see a report in the coming weeks that they’ve cracked the iPhone and no longer need to pursue the case against Apple.

The 9.7-inch iPad Pro Has Only 2 GB of RAM

Apple didn’t mention this on stage the other day, but I saw on MacStories this morning that the new 9.7″ iPad Pro only has 2GB of RAM.

2 GB of RAM was one of the first things I heard about the new device yesterday, and part of the reason why I’m going to stick with the 12.9-inch Pro. In addition to a more comfortable iOS experience, I like knowing that I’m using the most powerful iPad hardware currently available (I don’t count the camera as essential to what I need to do on an iPad).

This is disappointing considering the 12.9″ iPad Pro is stuffed with 4GB of RAM.

Overcast 2.5 Adds Dark Theme, File Uploads

The best keeps getting better. I’m glad Marco added a few features for patrons this time around. Federico had some good coverage on the update over on MacStories.

With Overcast 2.5, launching today on the App Store, Marco Arment is introducing the first features available only to Overcast patrons: a dark theme, and the ability to upload audio files to Overcast’s cloud.

If you haven’t already, go download this app. It’s excellent.

Review: Ulysses 2.5 for iPad and, now, iPhone

Ulysses has become the primary tool I use to write on my Mac, iPad and now iPhone. The app was just updated adding iPhone support. David Chartier, writing for MacStories, summed it up best.

I call Ulysses a writing environment, though not really a publishing environment…because you’re surrounded with a rich set of writing tools. Put another way, it’s one of the very few apps that feels relatively complete. That doesn’t mean it’s finished or there’s nothing left to fix or add. It’s more that Ulysses leaves me with the fewest questions, frustrations, and frictions of any writing app I’ve used.

Check out David’s full review on MacStories.

Apple Introduces iPhone 6s Smart Battery Case

I saw this over on MacStories this morning and was admittedly a bit shocked:

Apple today introduced the new iPhone Smart Battery Case for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6. Available in White or Charcoal Gray, the Smart Battery Case includes a built-in battery which will boost your iPhone’s battery life for talk time up to 25 hours and internet use up to 18 hours on LTE.

The Smart Battery Case is available to purchase from today for $99. The case’s exterior is silicone whilst the interior is a soft microfiber lining. It also features a “soft elastomer hinge design”, which Apple claims will make it easy to put the case on an iPhone and take it off.

Apple always makes sure to tout how good the battery life is on its iPhones so it’s interesting to see them release a pretty clunky looking battery case. It is worth noting that I haven’t seen a variation of the case for the 6s Plus, which packs a much bigger battery than the 6s already.

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