Archive for November 5, 2018

watchOS 5.1.1 Now Available… It Promises Not To Brick Your Apple Watch

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 5, 2018 by itnerd

After last weeks incident where some Apple Watch owners had their Apple Watch bricked by watchOS 5.1, which led to Apple pulling the update, Apple has taken a lot of heat for what happened. Consequently, there has been a lot if anticipation to see how Apple was going to address this. In the last few minutes, Apple has released watchOS 5.1.1 which says this in the release notes:

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There’s not much there. Thus I guess the bricking of really expensive smart watches is a bug. In any case, I am downloading and installing this as I type this. After all it’s better I rather than you brick their really expensive smart watch in the event Apple goes 0-2 here. Update to come.

Oh, by the way, bricked Apple Watches require servicing from Apple and this software update doesn’t do anything to change that. Sorry.

UPDATE: My Apple Watch is now on watchOS 5.1.1 with no issues.

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If You Have A Newer iPhone, You Should Consider Fast Charging

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 5, 2018 by itnerd

For reasons that nobody fully understands, Apple includes a 5W charger in the box of every iPhone that they sell. The problem with that is that is that if you have an iPhone 8 or later, you can actually “fast charge” your iPhone. Meaning that you can get 50% of a charge in 30 minutes according to Apple. And about 90 minutes to get a phone fully charged. Because a fast charger doesn’t come in the box, owners of those super expensive iPhones are forced to buy a fast charger from Apple. And they aren’t cheap. Just see what it costs for an Apple 29W, 30W, 61W, or 87W USB-C Power Adapter and associated USB-C to Lightning cable in your neck of the woods.

Now why is that a big deal? Pretty much every flagship phone on the Android side of the fence comes with a fast charger in the box. Not to mention substantially downmarket Android phones costing as little as $300 come with fast chargers. So Apple has really dropped the ball here. Doubly so now that Apple now sells phones that are so expensive.

So if you want to fast charge your iPhone, and you don’t want to be nickeled and dimed by Apple, here’s your choices:

  1. Get a 7.5W Qi compatible wireless charger. I personally use this one and it works quickly to get either a quick top up, or to charge my phone completely. But any Qi compatible wireless charger will work just as well. Just make sure you are running iOS 11.2 or higher and you’re good to go. One thing that I should point out is that this isn’t as fast as fast charging with a cable. But it is way better than using the dinky 5W charger in the box of your iPhone.
  2. Use a wall charger such as this one from Anker. It has great reviews on Amazon and is far cheaper than anything Apple offers. Just use the official Apple USB-C to Lightning cable and you’re good to go. Now you’re likely wondering why I am recommending a USB-C charger and a USB-C to Lighting cable. Fast charging is based around USB-C. Thus you do need USB-C devices to make this happen. And for the record, fast charging an iPhone requires at least a 15W USB-C charger. Top Tip: Try to stay away from chargers that lack Apple’s “Made for iOS” (MFi) certification because they may easily damage your iPhone battery or the phone itself. Now Anker is a quality brand that I have never had issues with. But not all brands are like that.
  3. If you have a USB-C MacBook or MacBook Pro, you can use the USB-C charger that came with it to charge your iPhone. Just use the official Apple USB-C to Lightning cable and you’re good to go.

The bottom line is this. If you have a newer iPhone, you should at least consider leveraging fast charging as that will help to keep your phone alive and working with minimal effort. The options that I have outlined should cover the use case that works best for you.

Review: The Wiggles For iOS

Posted in Commentary on November 5, 2018 by itnerd

If you are a parent, especially a parent of a child around pre-school age, then you’ve heard of The Wiggles. For the rest of you, The Wiggles are a hugely popular Australian children’s music group formed in Sydney, New South Wales, in 1991. While they’ve typically been on TV and doing tours around the world, they’ve found a new way to reach their audience. They’ve come out with an iOS app that had a number of elements that made me want to review it.

First, let’s have a look at the home screen of the app:

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There’s four different activities for your kids to choose from.

  • Fun Time With Videos: This allows your kids to watch performances of different songs that The Wiggles are known for.
  • Play Time With Faces: This is where things get cool. The app uses the front facing camera of your iOS device to add objects such as crowns and wigs to your kid’s face. I was pretty impressed with the fact that it was able to easily figure out where the face started and ended so that it could apply the object to it perfectly.
  • Fun Time With Songs: This takes Play Time With Faces and jacks it up by taking a Wiggles song and turning it into a sing along where your child can sing along with The Wiggles with clear indications when they should be joining in.
  • Fun Time With Stories: This was the most impressive section of the app. It used the front facing camera to take the image of whoever is in frame and turned it into this:

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Meet Wags The Dog. What’s cool about this is any action that Wags does is live. If the child looking into the camera smiles, Wags smiles. If they open their mouth, Wags opens his mouth. That’s because there’s some ARKit action being used to pull this off. Wags, which is of course the child who is using this app, then participates in the story that’s being told. And because it is interactive, there’s a “learn through play” element here that add value to the experience. I’m going to further illustrate this by showing you a short clip of the ARKit functionality so that I can illustrate how interactive this is:

To add to all of the above, a lot of the content is downloadable. That means that the app will continue to be useful over time as new items get added.

Now I tested this using an iPhone XS and to get the most out of this app, you need to use an iPhone X or above as it makes objects such as Wags The Dog 3D. Otherwise, you’ll be viewing content in 2D which is fine and I am sure that the average 4 year old won’t notice or care. But 3D content is far more engaging if you ask me.

Now this is an app that is subscription based, and the terms are very clear and straightforward which I appreciate:

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Finally there’s a clear privacy policy, there’s also a FAQ and the app does mention to have an adult assist with using the app. All of this gets the thumbs up from me. A yearly subscription is $24.99 a year CDN or a monthly subscription is $2.49 CDN a month. If you have pre-school kids, an iPad or ideally an iPhone X, have a look at this app as I think there’s more than enough here to keep them engaged for hours.