The Ambitious-And-Impressive Edition Tuesday, September 19, 2017

iOS 11, Thoroughly Reviewed, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

Today, the good news for the iPad continues with the public release of iOS 11. There’s a lot of stuff in this update, and a bunch of it benefits iPhone owners, too. But Apple has put a lot of work into the iPad-related parts of the operating system this year—the tablet still exists somewhere in between the iPhone and the Mac, but the changes to the UI and to the underpinnings of iOS 11 help iPads move further toward the Mac than they’ve ever been before. The upgrade is even more significant for tablets than iOS 9, both because the changes are bigger and because more iPads can actually take advantage of all these fancy productivity features now.

iOS 11 Review: Apple’s Most Ambitious And Impressive Upgrade In Years, by Jason Snell, Macworld

In iOS 11, you can transfer key features (including settings, preferences, and your keychain passwords) directly between devices by pointing your old iPhone’s camera at the new model, which displays a pattern that allows the two devices to pair with each other wirelessly and begin transferring information. When all was said and done, I still needed to restore my iCloud backup and reload apps from the App Store, but the process was measurably smoother than ever before. Assuming that everyone updates their old devices to iOS 11 before buying new iPhones, this year’s iPhone upgrades should be much smoother for new phone buyers.

Control Center, the interface that lets you make quick changes to your iPhone with a quick swipe up from the bottom of the screen, is completely redesigned in iOS 11. Gone is the old three-page interface, replaced with a single page of icons, buttons, and sliders. You can customize Control Center now—for example, to add a button to enable Low Power Mode or remove the button for HomeKit. Most of the buttons also provide additional features if you 3D Touch them (or tap and hold if you’re not on a 3D-touch-capable device).

iOS 11 Arrives Today ... And It Is A Mess, by Paul Thurrott

Put simply, adapting the touch-first iOS user interface to traditional multitasking and productivity tasks is a work in progress as I’ve noted. It is a mess, a glorious mess if you will. But a mess.

There are a few arguments to be made about how people just adapt to what they use. But that’s where iOS really lets down the typical user. Because it works differently across devices, users will face a learning curve every single time they acquire a new device or upgrade to iOS 11 on any device. That is, you don’t just learn iOS 11 once. You have to relearn it on each device to some degree. And then remember what the differences are when you move between them.

Apple Pay Cash Coming In Future Update To iOS 11 And watchOS 4, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple Pay Cash is a new peer-to-peer payment service that enables iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch users to send and receive money.

Platonic Ideal Of That First iPhone

The iPhone 8: A Worthy Refinement Before The Next Generation, by Farhad Manjoo, New York Times

So here’s my conclusion, after nearly a week testing the 8 and 8 Plus: The 8s feel like a swan song — or, to put it another way, they represent Apple’s platonic ideal of that first iPhone, an ultimate refinement before eternal retirement.

Unsurprisingly, both the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are very good phones. Most of Apple’s improvements over the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are minor, but if you have an older model, either of the 8s will feel like a solid upgrade. And if you are considering upgrading from an Android phone, there’s one area where the new iPhones still rank head and shoulders above their competition — the processor, the engine that runs the entire device, where Apple is so far ahead that it almost feels unfair.

iPhone 8 And 8 Plus Review: Change In Small Doses, by Chris Velazco, Engadget

All of these elements come together in bodies that are longer, thicker and weightier than before. For those keeping track, the 8 is as thick as the 7 Plus, and the 8 Plus is the heaviest of them all. You wouldn't think half an ounce would make a difference, but it does: The smaller 8 is still comfortable to use for long periods of time, but the combination of its weight and bezels make the 8 Plus one of the more uncomfortable big smartphones I've tested lately.


Sure, objectively speaking, the [TrueTone] feature makes the display less accurate -- as I write this, I'm in our dim studio and the iPhone 8 has adjusted its display to be a little warmer than normal. The flip side is that the colors I see now seem a little more accurate in this context, and everything is generally easier on the eyes too.

Review: iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, by Jim Dalrymple, The Loop

The new Portrait Mode improves background blurring and performance in low light to make those photos even better. Not only that, Apple has added a new portrait feature to the iPhone 8 Plus: Portrait Lighting.

Portrait Lighting uses facial landmarking and depth maps to create photos that are unbelievable—and quite honestly photos that were unattainable to people like me before using this iPhone.

iPhone 8/Plus Review: With This Traditionally Beautiful Powerhouse, Should You Really Wait For iPhone X?, by Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac

The first thing you might notice is zero shutter lag, something Apple told me it has been able to achieve on both iPhone 8 and 8 Plus with a bit of help from the A11 Bionic chip. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus got close, but the 8 and 8 Plus are the first iPhones with true zero shutter lag and in my tests that truly made for a more satisfying experience when snapping photos.

I also appreciated some new haptic feedback Apple added when you tap the shutter button, a nice touch that makes a lot of sense now that zero shutter lag has arrived. Initially you might think the haptics would blur the pictures but they don’t at all – it’s just enough to make it feel like a real shutter button.

The iPhones 8, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

I was tempted to write this review under the conceit that there was no such thing as the iPhone X. Just don’t even mention the iPhone X, and consider the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus as though they were the only two new phones coming from Apple this year. That conceit would work, insofar as the iPhones 8 are excellent year-over-year upgrades compared to their iPhone 7 counterparts.

But ignoring the iPhone X would actually do an injustice to the 8 and 8 Plus, because so much of what is inside the X is also inside the 8’s. These phones are in no way shape or form some sort of half-hearted or minor update over the iPhone 7.

Tim Cook Speaks To Good Morning America, Discusses iOS 11, iPhone X, Face ID. Steve Jobs Legacy, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

Cook noted that Jobs's vision for products from the company remains at Apple, and continues unabated to this day. The CEO noted that Apple has never been about selling the most of anything despite the iPhone's success and has always been about making the best for all of its users and not just a select few.

"[Apple is] a values-based company that is making insanely great products that are simple to use where the technology takes the back seat, " Cook said, about Jobs's foundation for Apple. "The user experience is top for us —we want users to be happy."

APFS Not On Fusion Drives, Yet

New Apple File System Coming In macOS High Sierra Won't Work With Fusion Drives, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

When macOS High Sierra is released to the public next week, the new Apple File System (APFS) feature will be limited to Macs with all-flash built-in storage, which means it won't work with iMacs that include Fusion Drives.


Apple Raises Prices For iPhone Screen Replacements By $20, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

That means that it now costs $149 to replace a screen on the smaller 6S and 7 instead of the original $129, and $169 for the 6S Plus and 7 Plus, up from the old price of $149. The new $149 and $169 prices also apply to the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, which will be released later this week.

Apple iBeacons Are Helping Blind Shoppers Find Their Way, by Emily Chung, CBC

The project installs and programs palm-sized Apple iBeacons that use Bluetooth wireless signals to connect with nearby users' phones via an iPhone app called BlindSquare. It provides directions to help them navigate through doors and vestibules, to service counters, washrooms, and other important parts of buildings such as stores and restaurants.

Index Is A Clean, Colorful App For Organizing Your Ideas And Digital Content, by Anthony Ha, TechCrunch

The makers of Index are hoping they’ve created the only app you’ll need to access all your files, notes and links.

“We’re giving people a full control panel for the digital world,” founder Brian Cox told me.

Momento Brings Depth Filters To Version 4.0, by Jake Underwood, MacStories

A GIF maker for your Live Photos, videos, and bursts, Momento makes it easy to turn your memories into bite-sized, customized animations. In version 4.0, Momento introduces a new way to take advantage of the iPhone’s dual camera system: depth mapped filters.


What Comes After User-Friendly Design?, by Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan, Fast Company

The discussion around privacy, security, and transparency underscores a broader transformation in the typical role of the designer. [...]

So what does it mean to be friendly to users–er, people–today? Do we need a new way to talk about design that isn’t necessarily friendly, but respectful? I talked to a range of designers about how we got here, and what comes next.

HTML5 DRM Finally Makes It As An Official W3C Recommendation, by Peter Bright, Ars Technica

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the industry body that oversees development of HTML and related Web standards, has today published the Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) specification as a Recommendation, marking its final blessing as an official Web standard. Final approval came after the W3C's members voted 58.4 percent to approve the spec, 30.8 percent to oppose, with 10.8 percent abstaining.