iPad OS is officially a thing. The iPad has outgrown iOS as we know it and we should all be jumping for joy. However, let’s note that iPad OS, tvOS and watchOS are still all iOS just “made for” different devices.
But this gives us an entire new outlook on how we will view the iPad moving forward. Remember the “What is a computer?” ads by Apple?
This is a big step for Apple, as we’ve had ads, hints, stabbings and more at the “mainstream PC” for years — almost since the inception of iPad; however, with the iPad finally getting it’s own operating system, this gives Apple room to finally innovate and differentiate on an entirely different level to truly bring productive and powerful features to the world’s most popular, used and powerful tablet.
There, I said it, there is really nothing else to read — unless you want to learn about how smooth interacting with the device is, how it matches up to the competition or the hole punch for the two front facing cameras actually interact with the device. It’s a quick takeaway, but Samsung is truly doing something great here and it should not go unnoticed.
Design and Use
(*My main interaction and time was spent with the Galaxy S10+, which this hands-on will focus on.)
Samsung knocked the ball out of the park here with an incredibly light design housing a massive 6.4″ AMOLED display that is industry and class leading. For full specifications of the Galaxy S10E, S10 and S10+, go here. This display stretches to each side, curving over to the edge and going almost to the top and bottom as well — almost. There is a small bit of continuity cut off due to the hole-punch cutout for the front facing cameras and in my use and to my surprise, were not too impeding in the use of the device. The cameras essentially sit in the notification space and leave the rest of the screen open as a gigantic media-centric canvas.
What does this mean for daily interactions on the device?
Plain and simple — the hole-punch does not get in the way, unless you really, really want it to. Even during expanding a YouTube video from regular pillarbox to full-screen, the camera cut out doesn’t kill the viewing experience — say that about a traditional “notch”. See below:
Using the Galaxy S10+ is a breeze with apps opening fast and seamlessly, as someone who has tested out most of the flagship Samsung phones in recent memory, the optimizations put in place by the company get better and better and One UI is certainly helping out here. One UI is Samsung’s attempt at simplifying the user interface of a smartphone on a big display. With that being said, touch points are larger and placement of items on the display make it much easier for one-handed use, which is something most of us wish to do. Additionally, One UI seems to cut out a lot of the “crap” and jankiness that older Samsung smartphones included out-of-the-box and looks and feels a lot easier on the eyes. Although One UI is an improvement in performance, we still see the usual shutter lag present in most Android smartphones and the S10 camera is no exception. While the photos turn out excellent and going between all three camera modes (2x, 1x and telephoto) are a breeze — when I tap the shutter button, I expect a photo then not a milli-second or two later.
When it’s all said and done, if you want a great all-around performer, this device is for you. Samsung keeps getting better and better and while us techies, including myself, constantly talk about the Pixel — many seem to forget that. This years Pixel 3 XL is an absolute abomination to look at and many argue that the only reason to even buy the phone is for the camera; however, when Samsung has put together the most complete Android phone of the year, it’s simply too hard to ignore.
Welcome Samsung Galaxy S10, the current best Android smartphone of 2019.
iPhones XS, XS Max and XR are available and I’ve gotten a chance to spend time with each.
In previous episodes of my In the Weeds podcast, I’ve been vocal about my dismay towards the notched display; however, I’ve always heaped praise upon the secure and stable iOS. My in person feelings are exactly the same; yet, I’ve got a few different opinions regarding Apple’s implementation of the display notch housing the True Depth camera array for FaceID.
Quick & Dirty
These new iPhones feel fantastic in the hand, whether you are holding the XS or the special XR, in fact, I would argue that the XR feels a bit heavier and more substantial in the hand — which isn’t a bad thing.
Starting off at $749, the iPhone XR is likely the most compelling device for most users looking to upgrade. Featuring a large 6.1″ display, featuring Apple’s distinct notch housing FaceID components, although this display is LCD and less than 1080p, it still looks great from most angles. Additionally, since this display technology isn’t quite as robust as the OLED panels on iPhones XS and XS Max, the bezel surrounding the display is slightly larger — yet still bearable and unobtrusive. Performance is notably great; however, the model I experienced in store appeared just a slight step behind its XS and XS Max counterparts.
iPhones XS and XS Max offer that same design except sleeker, and wrapped in a stainless steel band. iPhone XS Max especially felt great, not only due to the increased screen size, but the fact that it truly displayed more information on webpages and in apps versus those assets simply appearing larger, which is a huge selling point. Performance is what you’d expect — simply unmatched in consistency and speed.
Furthermore, let’s talk about these notches. On the smaller devices, I found the notch a touch more intrusive; however, with the larger iPhone XS Max, it almost (almost) seemed to disappear. The larger screen, giving you more information is almost certainly a win in every case.
Overall, the device experience is great on all of the new Apple smartphones. iPhones XS and XR are here for the taking with arguably the best hardware and software experience on the market.
Coming off of the helms of the iPhones X, 8 and 8 Plus this year it was rumored that we’d receive a new Apple Watch alongside 3 new iPhones, which exact specifications and price we wouldn’t know.
Apple’s events are always touted as being “magical” and known for being master marketers, Apple is usually poised to have their onlookers shouting, “Shut up and take my money!”.
Does this ring true with the devices debuted today?
Welcome, Apple Watch Series 4 a slimmer, fuller screen smartwatch. The Apple Watch is not only the number one smartwatch on earth, it is additionally the number one watch in terms of units sold. The amount of features in regards to apps and health propel it, easily, past other smartwatch offerings from Android’s virtually nonexistent WearOS and Samsung’s Tizen, which powers the company’s Gear line.
In addition to the Apple watch receiving a slight facelift (don’t worry all of our Apple Watch bands from the earlier generations will work) there are new features also packed in.
First, is EKG or electrocardiogram. Apple Watch Series 4 is the first over the counter, FDA approved device that features this technology, it’s been rumored to be included in an Apple Watch and this is a phenomenal feature to have aboard. EKG is the process of recording electrical activity of the heart over a period of time using electrodes placed over the skin [Source: Wikipedia]. Taking an EKG on Apple Watch is as simple as holding your finger on the redesigned digital crown for 30 seconds. Including this in a smartwatch makes this item much more than just a companion device or as some view it, “a toy” — it makes it a first class wearable that is deserving of respect. All of the health data is saved securely to your device in case a need arises to be shown to a physician.
Second, due to the “edge to edge” screen of the Apple Watch Series 4, it will include more dynamic watchfaces and complications that can be used on the watch while keeping the same battery life as the previous generation.
Lastly, the Series 4 watch includes fall detection. Fall detection is vital, especially for the older demographic and thanks to the latest addition from another alerting device may be able to go the way of the Dodo.
Overall, Apple Watch Series 4 is looking to be an excellent upgrade from last years model and although it is not a must buy for all Series 3 owners, if you have Series 0 through 2 — please proceed to your closest Apple Store.
This is likely what you’re all here for; however, after seeing the release of Apple Watch Series 4 one could wonder if they could be pleasantly delighted any more. iPhone X was Apple’s first attempt at a radical redesign of the iPhone, ever. Not only was the home button no more, the orientation of the cameras changed and there were additions and subtractions made inside of iOS to account for the new display, including it’s hideous display notch — yes, it’s still there in 2018 devices, get used to it.
Enter iPhones XS and XS Max.
Gone are the days of new “Plus” models. When it came to the Plus devices, they each offered a different experience when compared to their smaller counterparts.
iPhone 6S vs 6S Plus — Camera differences, iPhone 6S did not have optical image stabilzation.
iPhone 7/8 vs 7/8 Plus — Camera differences, iPhones 7/8 did not have dual lens camera systems capable of producing portait mode shots with enhanced depth of field.
Now that we have the “Max” model there aren’t any apparent differences other than battery size and screen size 5.8″ versus 6.5″.
The new iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max devices are powered by the latest SoC from Apple, A12 Bionic, which not only provide improved overall performance of the device itself, but faster unlocking using FaceID. FaceID, while regarded as generally stellar, was often noted as being slower than TouchID, which is notably fast and seamless. Additionally, because of this new chip we get camera improvements and can now adjust the depth of field of a portrait mode photo after it has been captured. While there have been third party applications that could do that because the image data is readily available, this feature is now natively available within the Photos app itself. All of these features topped with the pleasant addition of IPS 68 water and dust resistance, up to 2 meters, comparable to devices such as Samsung Galaxy S9.
Just when we thought that all was done, there was….one…..more…..device.
Enter iPhone XR.
This is Apple’s low-cost iPhone, let’s call it like it is. When your devices start of at $999 for iPhone XS and $1099 for iPhone XS Max, there needs to be another device for the majority of consumers and emerging markets. Face it, in 2018 you can get a solid smartphone for $500 (eg. One Plus), we shouldn’t have to spend a grand to get a solid phone. While one could argue about reliability, long-lasting support and other premises that take Apple’s devices from good to great — the aforementioned argument is solely based on price alone.
iPhone XR starts at $749 (in the buying options it doesn’t appear that this device can be purchased unlocked) and features a 6.1″ LCD display that forgoes 3D touch but doesn’t lack in many other areas. It is notable that iPhones 6/7/8 all had LCD displays but all had 3D touch — seems to be an omission for the sake of differentiation. Although it is LCD, Apple is touting it as the most accurate LCD display on a smartphone, which is likely true as Apple’s displays are individually calibrated for accurate at the factory and lead the industry in how accurate the representation of colors are. XR also comes in a variety of colors to spice things up, while having only a single lens camera, which differentiates it further from the XS and XS Max. Although there is only one lens here, the camera is still capable of producing portrait mode shots through the Google coined, computational photography, which Phil Schiller almost winced while saying. Otherwise, the device could be confused with a X, XS or XS Max device as it features the same stylings and notch, which also houses the same True Depth camera and sensor array that is used for FaceID.
In short, Apple knocked it out of the park here, especially with pricing. While iPhone XR could come in at an even lower pricepoint to shake up the market, $749 is a pleasant surprise, while $1099 for iPhone XS Max is as well as we are used to seeing a $150 or more markup for the larger devices year over year. As of this event below is Apple’s new iPhone lineup:
iPhone 7/7 Plus
iPhone 8/8 Plus
iPhone XS Max
iPhone X is no longer in the lineup and will not be sold going forward.
Of course, there were new updates to iOS, which will be pushed out in iOS 12, Monday, September 17th.
With all of the hype surrounding an Apple event, there are always devices and services rumored to be released and/or updated that simply do not get the attention we thought they’d get.
Most notable is Apple’s AirPower mat, which was promised last year — STILL is nowhere to be found, without as much of a mention from Apple. Not only would this be a great companion to this iPhone lineup, which has Qi “wireless” charging support, it would show users that they’ve taken this product seriously.
Then, iPads, Mac Mini and AirPods. All of these items were longshots and will ultimately receive their own event when and if they are updated this year. This was an event all about iPhone and it’s number one companion, Apple Watch. Here’s to another fall or early winter event from Apple.
It is safe to say that Apple is once again firmly in the lead in many areas after this event. When it comes to companion devices and Apple Watch, there is no question, while the iPhone XR gives premium features at a reasonable cost.
Google I/O 2018 has been in the record books for over a week, as it happened on May 8, 2018 — yet people are still talking about the latest in Android P, Google Duplex, Google Assistant, Google News and more — along with a healthy helping of FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt, that’s to loudmouths from the Apple community, more on that later).
If you had no idea what Artificial Intelligence (AI) was before this keynote, it was literally said thousands of times — I hope you know what AI is now after this 2 hour dose of Google. If you’d like the TLDR of Google I/O 2018, you’ll find it below along with my full analysis:
Source: The Verge, YouTube
Currently able to work with over 5000 smart devices, getting 30 languages in 80 countries by the end of the year, Google Assistant is shaping up to be one of the best, if not best digital assistants when compared to Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa offerings. Additionally, Assistant is working to be more conversational by negating the need for the requesting person to constant say the trigger phrase, “OK Google” to trigger more subsequent actions, Assistant literally will wait for a second or two, while waiting for additional input. Multiple Actions are introduced, which work with an “and” thrown in between the commands such as, “Turn off the office lights and set a rice timer for 10 minutes“.
Next came the unveiling of Google Duplex, AI at it’s finest. Google Duplex is a technology that utilizes Google Assistant to call restaurants and other places to book services for you and potentially more. Imagine the utility that this can have for those with speech difficulties and more. Additionally, with Assistant sounding so lifelike with implementations of “mmhhmm” and “ummm” — the conversation can be much easier. See a demo and reaction from MKBHD, here:
Source: MKBHD, YouTube
This where the FUD (translation: Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) come in, usually from pundits on the Apple side such as Rene Ritchie (just Google Rene Ritchie biased, if you don’t believe me), who has a tendency to be extremely biased against any company not named Apple.
Let’s lay a couple of things out so that they can be easily understood:
For Google to parse through real time communication, the call must be recorded. With that being said, this will likely be unavailable in certain states due to law. At the end of the day, as a human, we usually can discern if we are talking to a human or not.
Assistant will announce itself when it places a call for you, read more here.
So what does the above mean for privacy? If you receive one of these calls, as a business, and you do not want to engage — hang up and move on. Google has been addressing privacy and security in many realms. Let’s note that they have one of the most comprehensive and easy to understand privacy statements of any tech company. However, this tech is coming, whether you like it or not and the usefulness of this will be huge, especially for accessibility — all the while companies like Google and others need to help ensure that privacy and security remain at the forefront.
With Google, there is constant re-branding among many of it’s products and services. Remember Nexus? Remember Google Reader? Remember the Android Market? All of these either got axed by Google or renamed. From Nexus to Pixel, Google Reader is just gone and the Android Market is now called Google Play, with Google even working to remove “Play” from many of the names of it’s apps and services.
With that being said, Google Play Newsstand is no more, in comes Google News and oh, is it great.
For You is all about your briefing — what topics have you added and are following, such as Apple, Android, NBA — the list goes on. What’s excellent about it is that it is a timeline of what’s happening in your world, but that isn’t where Google News stops.
Headlines takes you outside of your comfort zone. Headlines gives you the latest world, business, tech, entertainment, sports, science and health news without any bearings on your preferences, which truly brings you up to date in what is going on around you while removing you from the bubble that you’ve created with your topics.
Favorites lists out all topics and sources that you’ve added into Google News that you follow. Additionally, saved stories and magazines find their home here.
Newsstand is all about sources, you can add sources by searching or coming here.
Overall, Google News is a major win and I suggest you try it, unless you believe that everything Google does is of the devil.
Android P is coming, folks and it’s going to bring some incremental changes on top of Oreo, let’s break it down!
This update aims to focus on 3 pillars: Intelligence, Simplicity and Digital Well-Being.
First up, Adaptive Battery (Intelligence), focuses on reducing the number of CPU wake-ups for apps — when these become more and more infrequent, this will reduce the amount of battery drain.
Next, we learned about Predictive Actions (Intelligence), which is all about understanding how you utilize your device so that it doesn’t take you as long to complete certain tasks. Before we go forward, all of this user data is stored locally on the device and is encrypted. Ever open your app drawer to scroll down to your favorite workout app…..everyday….at 5 PM — this is one of the things that Predictive Actions will help with. Android will learn the apps that you use and under which circumstances and group them together at the top of the drawer so that they will be easier for you to get to.
Source: The Verge, YouTube
Followed up by a beta “Nav bar”, which is eerily similar to the bar on iPhone X, just not as graceful in implementation — note that Android P is in beta and while this first implemtation includes a bit of “jank”, I’m expecting this to grow into a good design choice, hopefully.
We all deal with a bit of device addiction to a certain degree. Under that sentiment, Google will all you to gray-scale your phone after a certain time so that apps and the UI are not as intriguing to you, thus leading you to put it down (Digital Well-Being).
Maps and Waymo
Google Maps leads the way in digital mapping and updates keep making it get better and better. This years IO showed us a VPS or Visual Positioning System in which the user can hold up their phone to the world and directions will overlay on the real world.
Source: TWiT, YouTube
Maps is good for us and it’s even more vital for self-driving cars.
In comes Waymo (Google’s self-driving car project).
Waymo has been testing it’s software with an early-rider project and users are loving the tech in its initial city, Phoenix. With 6 million miles driven on public roads, this technology is only going to get better and better with the data being collected, such as “unusual behavior”, which allows the car to detect bad drivers and avoid accidents.
Source: ExpovistaTV, YouTube
Google I/O 2018 was long, fun, unneeded fear-mongering and full of excitement, which has been outlined above . However, there are some things that I didn’t mention, so feel free to watch this wrap up video, from Google Developers:
Source: Google Developers, YouTube
Tech for the masses, meant to empower, educate and inform by Dexter Johnson.