Archive for October 12, 2021

ServiceNow Releases New ESG Solution

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 12, 2021 by itnerd

ServiceNow today announced a new, integrated ESG solution powered by the Now Platform that helps companies activate ESG strategies, programs, and initiatives – from enhancing diversity and inclusion and reducing carbon emissions to enabling business resilience – across the enterprise. ServiceNow’s ESG solution combines the power of the Now Platform, new and existing products, and ServiceNow’s partner ecosystem to help organizations plan, manage, govern, and report on their ESG programs and initiatives to drive greater environmental, social, and business impact.

Companies are increasingly prioritizing ESG initiatives to help contribute to a more sustainable, equitable, and ethical world, build customer and stakeholder trust, and deliver successful business outcomes. According to recent studies, 88% of investors agree companies that prioritize ESG initiatives represent better opportunities for long‑term returns than companies that do not, and global consumers are nearly five times more likely to trust, buy, champion, and protect companies with a strong ESG purpose.

Today’s ESG efforts are often ad hoc, siloed, and manual. The technology products currently available support discrete, disconnected ESG efforts, compounding the problem. At the same time, global ESG regulations continue to rapidly evolve: more than 170 ESG proposed regulatory measures have emerged since 2018, and 82 percent of investors believe companies are not prepared to comply with ESG reporting regulations. Companies must be able to connect their disparate ESG products and operational systems and support new and existing proposed regulatory requirements to scale their ESG efforts, meet their ESG goals, and support increasing stakeholder expectations for greater levels of transparency and disclosure. ServiceNow’s ESG solution, leveraging the single data model and single architecture of the Now Platform, helps companies accomplish these objectives.

With its latest integrated ESG solution, ServiceNow is taking a holistic approach to help organizations drive impact and build greater customer, investor, and employee trust. Organizations can convert ESG goals into meaningful impact and create long‑term value by innovating processes and delivering sustainable outcomes.

Delivering a unified solution for activating ESG across the enterprise

Harnessing the power of the Now Platform, ServiceNow’s new ESG solution serves as an operational control tower to help convert companies’ ESG goals into reality by providing visibility and transparency across their ESG programs and initiatives and helping them strategize, manage, govern, and report on these efforts on a single platform Key components of ServiceNow’s integrated solution include: 

  • *NEW* ServiceNow ESG Management and Reporting enables companies to document material topics, establish goals and KPIs, track performance, collect and validate audit‑ready data, and create disclosures that align with major ESG reporting frameworks.
  • ServiceNow Project and Portfolio Management helps build and maintain a company’s ESG roadmap, including strategy, planning, and budgeting tools plus ongoing tracking of costs, resources, and results. Companies gain visibility into their ESG investments and improve the scale and impact of their ESG efforts.
  • ServiceNow Integrated Risk Management provides core governance capabilities plus advanced risk assessments, continuous monitoring, AI, audits, privacy, automation, and more. It integrates ESG considerations and data into effective enterprise‑wide risk and compliance management with a real‑time view of ESG compliance and risk as well as rich analytics that improve decision making and business performance.

These products work seamlessly with ServiceNow’s low‑code tools and solutions such as Business Continuity ManagementVendor Risk ManagementSecurity Operations,  Hardware Asset Management, and HR Service Delivery to generate even greater enterprise‑wide ESG value and impact.     

Collaborating with the ServiceNow ecosystem to solve new and existing ESG challenges 

ServiceNow’s ecosystem of partners, developers, customers, and other third parties will serve as a force multiplier for the ServiceNow ESG solution. Today ServiceNow also announced an expanded alliance with KPMG, where KPMG will serve as the lead launch partner for ServiceNow’s ESG solution. Both companies will work closely together to activate ESG across the enterprise for their joint customers, while also building new ESG workflows on the Now Platform to further extend the solution’s capabilities. 

Through its Developer Program, ServiceNow is also mobilizing ISVs, as well as other third parties and customers, to create specialized ESG workflows that serve the unique requirements of various industries and geographies, address specific material issues, and extend ESG initiatives beyond the enterprise to the supply chain. For example:

  • EcoVadis delivers a sustainability ratings platform to assess environmental, social, and ethical practices. By integrating EcoVadis with the ServiceNow Vendor Risk Management product, we can help customers consider third parties’ sustainability performance along with other types of risks – providing a comprehensive view of third‑party risk.
  • Watershed enables companies to measure, reduce, remove, and report their carbon emissions. Leading companies—including ServiceNow, Airbnb, DoorDash, Stripe, Shopify, and sweetgreen—are using Watershed on their path to get to zero carbon. By integrating with ServiceNow ESG Management and Reporting, companies can integrate their climate work into their overall ESG program, importing carbon metrics from Watershed into ServiceNow.
  • Reporting Standards Bodies are engaged with ServiceNow to integrate their standards into the ESG Management and Reporting product. For example, ServiceNow has already licensed the Value Reporting Foundation’s SASB Standards. And ServiceNow is currently in the process of requesting authorization to use the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards content in its ESG Management and Reporting solution before the end of the year. These product capabilities will enable companies to produce reporting and disclosures aligned with some of the most commonly used reporting standards.

Availability and additional information

Third party comments on ServiceNow’s 

Nearly Three-Quarters of Canadian IT Decision Makers Negatively Impacted by Security Threats Says Trend Micro

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 12, 2021 by itnerd

Trend Micro today revealed findings from its global survey on the resilience of Security Operations Centers (SOCs) as they continue to encounter a rising number of cybersecurity threats to their businesses.

The global survey polled IT specialists in 21 countries and included 101 Canadian IT security decision-makers in their findings. Overall, study results found that just under half (46%) of SOC/IT security teams were overwhelmed by security alerts. Additionally, almost three-quarters (71%) of respondents reported being negatively impacted emotionally by their work managing cybersecurity threats and alerts. This includes almost half (43%) reporting they felt so stressed at work they were unable to relax.

The survey also found that more than half (52%) of Canadian respondents were not highly confident about their organization’s ability to prioritize and respond to security alerts. This, despite companies surveyed reporting having an average of 23 security monitoring solutions in place to deal with ongoing threats. Furthermore, when it came to security infrastructure already in place, 2 in 5 companies (41%) admit to not using their existing systems. Reasons for not using their systems included them being out of date (46%), a lack of integration (41%), and difficulties around using it (31%).

Other topline Canadian findings include:

  • 65% of companies surveyed are either expecting or already dealing with a data breach.
  • 82% of companies surveyed have a security operations centre (SOC).
  • Just under half of SOC/IT security teams operate 24/7 (45%).
  • On average 25% of time is spent investigating false alert positives.

Trend Micro Vision One is the company’s answer to the struggles of SOC teams. Prioritized, correlated alerts using data from the entire IT environment help teams spend their time more wisely. Fewer alerts and stronger intelligence allow teams to regain balance in their work life and ease the emotional toll of security.

To find out more, please read the accompanying report.

Research methodology

The study is based on interviews with 2,303 IT security decision makers in 21 countries. This includes leaders who run SOC teams (85%) and those who manage SecOps from within their IT security team (15%). All respondents came from 250+ employee companies.

Amazon Launches Echo Buds In Canada

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 12, 2021 by itnerd

Amazon has launched the much-anticipated Echo Buds in Canada, featuring premium audio architecture for crisp, balanced sound, custom-designed Active Noise Cancellation technology, wireless charging capabilities, microphones for strong call quality, and hands-free access to Alexa. 

It’s never been easier for customers to bring Alexa with them throughout their day—whether at home, walking the neighbourhood, or commuting to work. All you have to do is ask Alexa to play music, call to check in on a loved one, try out a new recipe, and so much more. 

The all-new Echo Buds will be available in Black or Glacier White and customers can pre-order on amazon.ca – the price is $154.99.

Google Cloud Announces New Customer, Partner, Product & Sustainability Offerings

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 12, 2021 by itnerd

Next ’21 kicks off today and Google are announcing a number of new customers, partners, sustainability solutions and product offerings to further demonstrate how Google Cloud is helping organizations in every industry accelerate their cloud journey.

Here’s the news: 

  • Businesses of all sizes, spanning every industry—from digital natives to established multinationals—are leveraging Google Cloud’s products and services to help them digitally transform. Building on recent momentum, Google will announce several new customers including General MillsDPDHLSiemens Energy, Walmart and Wendy’s; new and expanded partnerships with Trifacta, Databricks, Atlassian, Cybereason, Crowdstrike, Palo Alto Networks and more.
  • Google will also be making a number of product announcements across 5 key pillars:
    • A unified data, analytics, and AI portfolio: We’re announcing new innovations across their data cloud portfolio including Vertex AI Workbench, BigQuery Omni GA, Cloud Spanner, and Spark on Google Cloud along with new integrations with data analytics and AI providers. Google is also announcing a new AI-powered industry solution, Intelligent Products Essentials. 
    • An open cloud that runs anywhere: Google is announcing Google Distributed Cloud, which extends Google Cloud’s infrastructure and services to edge locations and customer data centers and taps into Google’s planet-scale infrastructure, delivering the highest levels of performance, availability and security. 
    • Collaboration across every facet of the hybrid workplace: Google is announcing new investments in the Google Workspace platform, including a new Atlassian Jira integration for Google Chat and Spaces, a new AppSheet in Gmail integration that allows anyone—even non-coders—to build email apps for tasks like budget approvals, vacation requests and more, an expanded partnership with Citrix to ensure that distributed and hybrid workers have easy, secure, and low-latency access to virtualized applications and desktops from anywhere,  and new security innovations including client-side encryption for Meet and Data Loss Prevention (DLP) for Chat. 
    • Keeping users, applications, and data safe online: Google is announcing the Google Cybersecurity Action Team, a group of experts from across Google that will use Google’s own security best practices to guide organizations, and the new Work Safer Program, to help organizations achieve a stronger security posture in today’s hybrid work environment.
    • Scaling the Cleanest Cloud in the Industry: Google is making a number of announcements that will help customers manage their own sustainability posture including tools like Carbon Footprint, Google Earth Engine and Unattended Project Recommender. Google is also announcing a new partnership initiative with leading data and application providers to help global businesses and governments accelerate their sustainability programs.

You can also read more from Thomas Kurian, CEO of Google Cloud here

Find Joy On Your Drive With New Headspace Experience On Waze

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 12, 2021 by itnerd

Waze, the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app, is partnering with Headspace, a global leader in mindfulness and meditation, to help drivers discover the joy in their journeys, be more present behind the wheel, and arrive at destinations feeling good. 

The partnership combines Waze’s mission of ending traffic altogether, and Headspace’s mission of improving the health and happiness of the world. Drivers activating the Headspace experience on Waze will learn how to create more joyful and meaningful drives with custom navigation prompts from Headspace’s mindfulness teacher and Director of Meditation, Eve Lewis Prieto.

The Headspace experience on Waze includes a selection of five new Moods—Aware, Bright, Hopeful, Joyful, and Open—to put drivers in a positive mindset as they take to the roads. To help drivers appreciate their journey, they’ll be able to stream a custom Spotify playlist from Headspace, and can even swap out their in-app car icon for a hot air balloon to take them to Cloud Nine. 

The Headspace experience on Waze launches today and is available for a limited time in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. To download the experience, click here—alternatively, you can tap “My Waze” to find the “Drive with Headspace” banner, and tap to activate the experience. You can access Headspace’s custom Spotify playlist here. 

For more information, or to download the Waze app, please visit this link. To learn more about Headspace, please visit www.headspace.com

Roland Cloutier, Global CSO of ByteDance and TikTok Announced Keynote Speaker for Infosec Inspire 2021 

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 12, 2021 by itnerd

Infosec Institute, a leading cybersecurity education company, today announced Roland Cloutier, Global Chief Security Officer of ByteDance and TikTok, as the keynote speaker for their Infosec Inspire conference. Live-streamed on October 18-19, 2021, the two-day event will include live sessions and interactive attendee experiences, connecting hundreds of security leaders and visionaries from across the nation.

The only event of its kind, Inspire is hyper-focused on building a culture of security — equipping cybersecurity leaders with knowledge and insights to develop employee cyber skills, strengthen security awareness and make a lasting impact. Headlining the first day of the event, Roland Cloutier will join a fireside chat with Jack Koziol, CEO and founder of Infosec. As global CSO of ByteDance and TikTok, Roland Cloutier brings an unprecedented understanding and knowledge of security leadership to one of the world’s leading media, social and technology companies. The fireside chat will provide an exclusive look at building a culture of security and transparency, TikTok’s security and privacy journey and the trends expected to shape the future of cyber education.

The live event will explore the biggest challenges facing the cybersecurity industry today, covering topics from the cyber skills and diversity gap to the business value of security education, CMMC readiness and developing security talent from speakers including: 

  • Becky Robertson, Vice President of Cybersecurity at Booz Allen Hamilton
  • James Beamon, Dean of the CyberEDGE Academy at Leidos
  • Leo Van Duyn, Cybersecurity & Technology Workforce Development Strategy Leader at  JP Morgan Chase & Co.
  • Mark Cheeks, Director of Cybersecurity, Rotary and Mission Systems at Lockheed Martin
  • Shannon McPherson, Director Information Security & Compliance at the Institute of International Education

In addition to speaking sessions, Infosec Inspire will also host its third annual Infosec Excellence Awards ceremony, recognizing this year’s Infosec Accelerate Scholarship recipients, Hall of Fame inductees and Security Awareness Award winners. Inspire attendees will have the first opportunity to see what’s ahead for Infosec Skills and Infosec IQ products as well as provide feedback to help shape the future of product development. 

For more information about this year’s Infosec Inspire conference, visit https://www.infosecinstitute.com/inspire21

Guest Post: Atlas VPN Says That Sophisticated Attacks Are On The Rise: Streaming Industry Targeted The Most

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 12, 2021 by itnerd

Sophisticated automated attacks emulate human behavior to evade detection. They can imitate human keystrokes and mouse movements. Such bots can trick standard bot-detection tools through human workers.

According to the data presented by the Atlas VPN team, 73% of attacks directed at the streaming industry were sophisticated. Furthermore, the stolen credential success rate has risen significantly during login attacks, meaning hackers took away more accounts.

The streaming industry was the most targeted with sophisticated attacks in the first half of 2021, as 73% of all threats were advanced. Due to the pandemic, usage of streaming services increased exponentially, meaning more people became vulnerable to cybercrime.

Next up, 59% of sophisticated attacks were directed at the event ticketing industry. Inventory fraud, in which scalpers employed bots to buy massive quantities of goods for resale, has fueled the trend.

The exact rate — 59% of sophisticated attacks were also launched at the travel industry by hackers. Hackers utilize data on product pages like prices, availability, limited-time offers, user reviews, ratings, flight numbers, and much more.

Cybersecurity writer and researcher at Atlas VPN William Sword shares his thoughts on sophisticated attacks: 

“Advanced hackers nowadays deploy bots that can convincingly mimic human behavior and launch thousands of bots at once to overwhelm standard security systems. As cyberattacks get more sophisticated, it is not enough to use traditional security tools such as antivirus. Organizations should also employ bot protection services.”

Credential quality improved

Most data hackers steal can be outdated or inaccurate, meaning that only a tiny number of credentials are usable.

Comparing H2 2020 and H1 2021, the most significant increase in credential success rate was in the streaming industry, going up from 0.19% to 29%. The second-biggest increase was seen in the event ticketing industry, where login success percentage went up from 3.95% to 16%.

Moreover, the retail industry also noticed a significant increase in credential success rate, rising from 1.18% in H2 2020 to 12% in H1 2021. The average credential quality jumped from a 2% success rate in 2020 to 9.9% in H1 2021. The growth could be attributed to several factors, such as a general increase in phishing attacks

To read the full article, head over to: https://atlasvpn.com/blog/sophisticated-attacks-on-the-rise-streaming-industry-targeted-the-most

EnGenius Introduces Innovative Long-Range Phones For Large Homes Or Big Footprint Small Businesses

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 12, 2021 by itnerd
EnGenius Technologies Inc. today announced the release of its powerful FreeStyl SIP long-range cordless phone and two-way radio system. 

For small businesses like equipment rental yards, plant nurseries, wedding venues, and others with expansive environments where cellular phone service is poor or not practical and typical cordless phones are not effective, the FreeStyl SIP carry-away phone is ready to go anytime, anywhere.
Key features make the FreeStyl SIP an ideal choice for large homes or small businesses with big footprints that need reliable voice communications.

Extreme Long-Range Performance

FreeStyl SIP implements EnGenius proprietary air protocol, with high RF transmission and sensitivity, providing superior range and coverage for large areas with minimal infrastructure requirements. Coverage is more than sufficient for properties up to 100,000 sq. ft (retail/warehouse), 25,000 sq. ft. (office/hotel), or 10 acres (farm/ranch).

VoIP SIP connection

FreeStyl SIP supports the VoIP SIP interface, allowing users to connect the base station to the internet via an IP-PBX or preferred hosted SIP service provider. 

Wi-Fi Bandwidth Avoidance

Adopting 900MHz (902~928MHz) allows the FreeStyl SIP to avoid competing for Wi-Fi bandwidth. By using 900 MHz for wireless voice communications, the FreeStyl SIP can enjoy clear, open voice communication channels without adding to the Wi-Fi bandwidth demand crowded with laptops, cell phones, security cameras, scanners, and other IoT devices. 

900 MHz Benefits

900MHz (902~928MHz) allows for improved coverage by utilizing a lower unlicensed frequency and FHSS (frequency hopping spread spectrum) technology provides security during conversation.

Multiple Usage

The Freestyl SIP solution can be expanded to 10 handsets and 10 SIP accounts.

Built-in, Independent Two-Way Radio Function
All handsets have built-in digital two-way radio functions including both broadcast and intercom.  The two-way radio functions are independent of the phone base and fully operational even if power to the phone base is down.

Handset Two-Way Intercom

FreeStyl SIP provides direct handset-to-handset communication without going through the phone base station. Intercom connects directly from one handset to another with no push-to-talk turn taking required.

Handset Two-Way Broadcast 

One-way communication, independent of phone base unit is ideal for providing short messages to all handsets or a group of handsets.

The FreeStyl SIP model was developed by EnGenius, the leading manufacturer of long-range industrial voice communications, and shares many of the same top features of models costing two to three times as much. With the FreeStyl SIP, users can enjoy huge savings and clear, long-range communication from virtually any location within the perimeter of a desired property. 
The EnGenius FreeStyl SIP will be available in November 2021.

Review: iPhone 13

Posted in Products with tags on October 12, 2021 by itnerd

My wife got a new iPhone 13 to replace her iPhone XR. Now my wife doesn’t usually replace tech unless she is forced to. So I did the forcing by buying her the iPhone 13 as an early Christmas present. And after having her spend two weeks with it, I have some interesting observations to report.

In the box you get a USB-C to Lightning cable, SIM ejector tool, paperwork, and a single Apple sticker. I should note that it is not color matched with the phone. And for the second year in a row there’s no AC adapter in the box. There’s no use complaining about that now as clearly Apple is making you buy their adapter so that they can line their pockets with more cash. But that’s the cynic in me talking. And if you do need an adapter, there are other options like this one that you can get instead. You also get no plastic wrap around the box. Now the lack of a plastic wrap and the lack of an AC adapter in the box are according to Apple in the name protecting the environment. But seeing as that the iPhone 13 is not only not easy to repair, and the fact that Apple has attempted to dissuade repairs outright by making parts swaps impossible for non-Apple repair shops, on top of the fact that Apple is hyper aggressive about fighting right to repair laws, it’s hard to take their environmental claims seriously. In fact, I would call what Apple is doing “greenwashing”. But I digress. Back to the iPhone 13.

Here’s a look at the phone itself:

This is the Product Red version. My wife calls it a “proper” red because it not only is a deep red, but it aligns with her cultural values as to what red should look like. You’ll note that it still looks like an iPhone 12 and it still has a Lightning port. Everything else is pretty much the same. Though I would note that it is a bit thicker, a bit heavier, the buttons have been shifted slightly, and the camera bump is bigger. All of this is enough that your iPhone 12 case won’t work with it. The chassis is a glass front and back, with a aluminum band around the side. The screen has Apple’s “Ceramic Shield” tech on it to stop it from shattering if dropped. Though that should not stop you from putting a screen protector on it like this one as it will protect the screen from scratches at the very least as “Ceramic Shield” won’t help you with that as shatter resistance is inversely proportional to scratch resistance. Nor should it stop you from putting it in a case like this one as there is no “Ceramic Shield” on the back which means that the back will shatter if you drop it.

The screen is a 6.1″ OLED screen which significant upgrade over the LCD screen that was on my wife’s iPhone XR and even last year’s iPhone 12. It’s 2,532-by-1,170-pixel with a wide color gamut and Apple’s True Tone color management. Typical brightness is now 800cd/m2 as compared with 625cd/m2 on the iPhone 12. One of the differences between this iPhone 13 and the iPhone 13 Pro models is that the 13 has a 60Hz display, while the Pro phones have 120Hz displays. If you’ve never experienced a 120Hz display, this won’t be a big deal. In the case of my wife, she’s never had a 120Hz screen before. So the fact that this is a 60Hz screen is a total non issue for her. And Apple has tended to make the most fluid and smooth 60Hz phones around. So I suspect that this screen will be fine for most.

The new iPhones has a notch at the top that is 20% smaller from side to side. But a bit wider. Sadly, Apple didn’t see fit to add any additional information at the top of the screen seeing as they had more real estate to play with. Would it have killed them to add a battery indicator for example? I don’t think so. This is a missed opportunity as far as I am concerned.

The display is very easy to read in most lighting conditions including bright sunlight. The iPhone 13 is capable of HDR playback. And the test videos that I played on it looked stunning. If that’s not enough, the iPhone 13 is also capable of recording Dolby Vision HDR in 4k60, which is mind blowing considering that this is a phone and not a cinema quality video camera. To illustrate this, I recorded a pair of videos. One on my iPhone 12 Pro and one on my wife’s iPhone 13. Here’s the iPhone 12 Pro video:

Now here’s the iPhone 13 video:

There’s very little in it between the two iPhones. But I think that the iPhone 13 is a bit smoother despite all the shaking. That’s like due to the fact that the iPhone 13 has in body image stabilization from the iPhone 12 Pro Max from last year. I also think that the contrast is slightly better in the iPhone 13 video. Likely due to the improvements in the camera system.

Speaking of cameras, the iPhone 13 has two 12-megapixel cameras on the back:

  • A main f/1.6 camera
  • A 120-degree ultra-wide f/2.4 lens.
  • On the front, there’s a 12-megapixel camera with depth mapping sensors for Face ID and augmented reality.

The main place you will notice the difference is low light or at night. Take for example this iPhone 12 Pro shot:

Note the flaring in a couple of places. Notably the building on the left and the light in the center of the picture. That is a common occurrence on the iPhone 12 Pro. Compare that with the iPhone 13 shot:

Because the iPhone 13 cameras let in more light because their bigger lenses (relative to the iPhone 12), you get a much better photo at night or in low light. The same thing is true for more favorable lighting conditions. Take this photo that was taken with the iPhone 12 Pro:

There’s noting wrong with this picture per se. But compare it with the same shot with the iPhone 13:

There’s a lot more contrast in this picture and the picture “pops” a lot more. Even in ideal lighting conditions, this is true. Again, this is the iPhone 12 Pro:

And this is the iPhone 13

In short, Apple has made the cameras much better. Especially if you are coming from an older iPhone or perhaps even one from last year in this case. Thus if you want a great camera system outside of the iPhone 13 Pro or Pro Max which has a telephoto lens and other camera tweaks, this is it.

In terms of speed, the iPhone 13 gets the A15 Bionic processor. Benchmark tests say it is up to 20% faster. You won’t notice the difference unless you are coming from a much older phone like the XR. But it does power a bunch of new features that the iPhone 13 introduces. Specifically two. The first is Photographic Styles which are basically like iPhone photo preferences that are baked into the photos that you take. Which put another way, once you take the photo you can’t change it after the fact. So it’s not a filter but a preferred look that you want your photos to have. You can adjust the tone and warmth of each style to suit your preferences and tastes. These stylistic effects won’t affect the skin tones of people in your photos. There are four preset Photographic Styles:

  • Rich Contrast
  • Vibrant
  • Warm
  • Cool.

And you can also create your own. I suspect that most people won’t touch this feature unless they want to tweak their photos to look like what you get with a Samsung or Pixel phone for example.

The last new feature is Cinematic Mode. Cinematic Mode is designed to act like a virtual focus puller. This is someone who might work alongside a camera operator, ensuring that the right parts of the picture are in focus, and perfectly sharp. Except that the iPhone itself is able to focus on faces and blur out the rest of the background. If there are multiple people in the shot, it will focus on the closest person. If that person looks away, it will focus on the next closest person. And you can edit this effect after the fact, but only if you use Apple made editing software just in case the iPhone gets it wrong. For me this is a bit of a party trick that is likely to be used once, but never to be used again. But in the interest of science, I tested it and here’s the video proof.

Because the figurine was the only thing in the shot, it was basically video portrait mode. And it’s limited to 1080p and not 4K. While it’s better than the attempt that Samsung made at doing this a couple of years back, It’s far from a must use feature for my wife and I personally consider it to be version 1.0 of this feature. Maybe it will be different in a few years and a few revisions from now.

The iPhone 13 has better 5G connectivity versus the iPhone 13 thanks to updated tech from Qualcomm. My wife and I tested this by running a few Speedtest.net tests from our balcony on the TELUS network. Here’s my iPhone 12 Pro:

And here’s the iPhone 13:

While the downstream speed is somewhat slower on the iPhone 13, the upstream speed is somewhat faster. This was a repeatable result and I am guessing that Apple is trying to balance downstream and upstream speed to give you a more consistent 5G experience. To stop you from chewing through your battery life, Apple has a feature that will switch between LTE and 5G depending on your data needs to save power that they ported over from the iPhone 12 series.

Speaking of Battery life, it’s insane according to my wife. Here’s a few examples of her usage over a few days:

On this day she got almost 8 hours of battery life and didn’t even use 50% of her battery.

On this day she had just over 7 hours of battery life using just over 50% of her battery.

She also used the phone on 7 hours on this day with roughly 50% of the battery life used. These examples pretty much destroy the battery life on her previous iPhone XR. So when Apple said that they improved battery life, they meant it. You will get much better battery life by going to the iPhone 13 versus any older iPhone.

So, should you buy the iPhone 13? Well, let’s start with why you might want to consider the iPhone 13 Pro instead: 

  • If you want better photo quality because of the telephoto lens and other camera enhancements found in the iPhone 13 Pro, then the iPhone 13 Pro would be worth it. 
  • If you want to leverage the upcoming ProRes video format from Apple, then the iPhone 13 Pro is worth it.
  • If having 2GB extra RAM over the iPhone 13 which comes with 4GB of RAM is worth it to you, then buy the iPhone 13 Pro. 
  • If you want a bigger screen, then the iPhone 13 Pro Max is your only choice.

However, if you want pretty good photos, and you are coming from an older iPhone like a iPhone X, XR, or XS or earlier, then this iPhone 13 is the one to go with. Here in Canada the iPhone starts at $1099 CDN with 128GB. My wife 256GB version was $1239 CDN, but if you can get 512GB for $1509. My recommendation would be to choose 128GB or 256GB as those are the best values. I’d also recommend AppleCare+ which is $199 CDN as fixing any iPhone out of warranty is not cheap.

The iPhone 13 is a great iPhone which is a great upgrade from last year’s iPhone 12, and one that I would recommend to most people. Just make sure that your bank account can support the purchase as it isn’t cheap.