Archive for November 2, 2018

So I Just Bought A New iPhone XS/XS Max/XR… What Accessories Do I Need?

Posted in Tips with tags on November 2, 2018 by itnerd

If you’ve dropped the cash (and to be frank, it’s a lot of cash) on the new iPhones from Apple like I did, you might be wondering what accessories you need. I’ve gotten a few emails asking me that question, so I thought it would be a good idea to put my thoughts down on paper so to speak.

  1. AppleCare: The number one thing to do with these phones is to buy AppleCare. These phones are expensive and the cost of repairing them in or out of warranty (in the case of accidental damage) is sky high. AppleCare mitigates that by keeping the cost of repair from accidental damage low and extending the warranty to two years from the factory standard of one. Consider this a must buy.
  2. Buy a case: A case is the next thing on the list. But not just any case. Look for one with some form of drop protection as it’s a matter of when not if you drop your iPhone. I reviewed two examples of such cases recently but there are many others out there. Look around and see if you can find something that fits your use case.
  3. Buy a screen protector: The screens on these new iPhones, or any iPhone for that matter are not cheap. So a screen protector is a must. My go to for the last few years is this one by Belkin. It’s saved screens on my iPhone at least twice. So I have no problem recommending it. Plus it will be professionally installed at your local Apple Store. That’s hard to beat.
  4. Consider wireless headphones: There’s no headphone jack on these iPhones. Thus unless you feel like living the dongle life as Apple for reasons only they understand no longer include the 3.5mm to Lightning adapter in the box with a new iPhone, a set of wireless headphones are in your future. Besides the headphones that do come in the box aren’t that great and should never be used. I’ve been rocking out using these headphones for a while now and I highly recommend them. They’re at a great price point and have great audio. Plus the link above has a discount code that can save you a few bucks.
  5. Consider a wireless charger: I used to be indifferent about wireless charging. That is until I got one and I have to admit that it sure is convenient to just drop your phone on the charger and have it charge. The new iPhones are compatible with any Qi standard charger but you should look for one with two or more coils on it. That way it guarantees that your iPhone will charge regardless of how it is physically placed on the charging surface. Also look for one that will do 7.5W as that’s what will charge the iPhone the fastest. I’m currently using this one which also charges my Apple Watch, but there’s a ton of them out there from a variety of companies.
  6. Keep it clean: Who knows what your new iPhone picks up during the day? Thus keeping it clean is a must. My go to product for keeping any of my iDevices clean is IKear which comes with a microfibre cloth if you buy the right package. I highly recommend it for keeping your gear clean.

Are there other accessories that you would recommend for a new iPhone XS/XS Max/XR user? If you have something in mind, please leave a comment and share your wisdom.

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So…. Are iPhone 8/8 Plus & X Models Affected By #BatteryGate?

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 2, 2018 by itnerd

That’s the question based on the fact that iOS 12.1 which was released by Apple earlier this week has given the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X the same battery management features that showed up in the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 7, and iPhone 7 Plus after the #BatteryGate scandal broke. In fact Apple says as much in its official release notes and on its Battery and Performance website. But Apple also claims that performance management may be less noticeable due to the newer iPhones’ more advanced hardware and software.

I found that to be weird because I remember Apple saying that the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X were not affected by #BatteryGate. In fact to confirm that I wasn’t smoking something, I found this article that confirmed what I was thinking:

“iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X models include hardware updates that allow a more advanced performance management system that more precisely allows iOS to anticipate and avoid an unexpected shutdown,” Apple public policy VP Cynthia Hogan wrote in a letter to the US Senate. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus were introduced in September; the iPhone X in November.

So, what’s up with Apple bringing these features to phones that are supposedly not affected by #BatteryGate? I can think of two reasons:

  • The most likely reason is that Apple is covering itself by rolling these features out to every iPhone regardless of whether it needs it or not. For example my iPhone XS has these battery management features, and from what I was able to gather, so does the XS Max and XR. So they in effect are giving every user the same user experience when it comes to potential battery issues. That on the surface makes total sense. It also could be that getting slapped by Italy over #BatteryGate was a factor in this as well.
  • If you’re into conspiracy theories, you could argue that Apple is doing this because this is a more widespread problem than they are admitting to. Thus they need to do this in order to make #BatteryGate go away. Or at least stay somewhere under the surface. Now iPhone 8 and X models haven’t been around long enough to say if that is the case or not. But perhaps there might be an issue that they have seen in their labs and are now trying to get in front of?

The bottom line is that there is no clear answer. And Apple sure isn’t going to tell us because they aren’t really a company that is known for transparency. But one thing is certain. This isn’t going to make #BatteryGate go away anytime soon.

Toronto Needs To Say No To Sidewalk Labs

Posted in Commentary with tags , on November 2, 2018 by itnerd

Two years ago Alphabet via its Sidewalk Labs arm was given planning permission to develop 800 acres of Toronto waterfront into a car-free, data-driven neighborhood called Quayside. The vision was as follows:

By combining people-centered urban design with cutting-edge technology, we can achieve new standards of sustainability, affordability, mobility, and economic opportunity.

That sounds great right? Well, some say not so much. Former BlackBerry co-CEO Jim Balsillie called it “a colonizing experiment in surveillance capitalism” and pretty much said that Toronto should deep six the idea. Then Saadia Muzaffar and John Ruffalo who were volunteer members of an advisory committee quit the project. Both indicated that their departures had to do with a lack of public trust. To top it all off Ann Cavoukian who was Ontario’s privacy commissioner and a leading privacy expert quit citing privacy concerns.

Clearly all is not well with Quayside.

When one of the leading privacy experts in the country, as well as two others with very strong business and tech backgrounds, along with the former CEO of a company that has security at the forefront of everything they do all say that this project is a bad idea, perhaps the City Of Toronto should listen and pull the plug on this. Now Sidewalk Labs put out a really pretty blog post that says that everything is fine and people in Toronto have nothing to worry about because they take privacy seriously. But consider this. We are talking about Alphabet which is also known as Google. A company known for slurping up massive amounts of data and using it to make piles of cash. Can the be trusted?

I’m going to go with no.

If I were the City of Toronto, I would run away from this project. It’s not worth it. Seriously. It’s time to say no to Sidewalk Labs and Quayside.