The iPhone push

I explained that my device was randomly shutting down and wouldn’t come back on for several hours. As soon as I finished the explanation, the greeter said, “Have you considered upgrading to a new iPhone recently?”

I was holding my iPhone XS Max in my hand, but the Apple store employee clearly must have thought it was an iPhone X. I responded by saying, “There’s an iPhone newer than the iPhone XS Max?” and she quickly laughed and tried to play it off… More here.

I think many of us have been seeing this trend growing for some time.

There are new features and there are real features

I have found that I am using almost none of the latest iOS features that Apple has released. If they need any kind of effort on my part I am discovering that I am not even touching them. If they are implemented in such a way that they are obvious and are just there they seem to get regular use. It’s all in the implementation and the invisibility of how a feature creeps into my life.

Memoji

I think I have used Memoji twice on the first day the feature was released. At no point since have I needed it or felt inclined to send one.

Screen Time

Looked at the first weekly report and never looked since. It’s a nice idea, but the reality is that most of us think we do not have a problem with our screen time and I am one of them, no matter how extreme the numbers are.

Photos places search etc

Still haven’t searched for anything by location or a keyword and completely forgot it was there for a long time.

Portrait Mode

I do like Portrait Mode in the right lighting, but I have used it three times since its release.

Shortcuts

Not once have I used a shortcut after downloading it for more than one time.

Measure app

Was opened once out of curiosity, now sits somewhere in a folder. I don’t even know which folder.

Do Not Disturb (new options)

These are obvious and come in handy every single day.

Grouped notifications

This feature makes notifications much easier to view and manage. Obvious, in your face and a huge improvement.

The above are from iOS 12 and only two get use because they are somewhat unavoidable. The rest are fluff that sound good in the keynote.

Apple is great at building features that become part of our daily lives and it is getting more difficult to come up with genuinely useful new tools. I just hope that the company can find a way to do it more in the future.

Do not track, screen captures etc

Apps like Abercrombie & Fitch, Hotels.com and Singapore Airlines also use Glassbox, a customer experience analytics firm, one of a handful of companies that allows developers to embed “session replay” technology into their apps. These session replays let app developers record the screen and play them back to see how its users interacted with the app to figure out if something didn’t work or if there was an error. Every tap, button push and keyboard entry is recorded — effectively screenshotted — and sent back to the app developers… More at TC.

Sometimes it feels as though there is no way for one person to protect themselves anymore.

As spotted by DuckDuckGo, the release notes for the newest version of Safari say the company has “removed support for the expired Do Not Track standard to prevent potential use as a fingerprinting variable.” In other words, the DNT signal was being used as a way to track people. Irony alert… More here.

Not sure it ever worked for me from the start.

So if you’ve recently lost an iPhone, be very careful about phishing attempts. Especially watch out for emails or texts claiming to be from Apple notifying you your device has been found and asking for your login credentials to prove it’s yours. It would be best to be wary of any messages that seem to be from Apple… More here.

Starting to consider pen and paper, and a Nokia 101 as the way forward.

A $600 fix for a $6 cable

The problem for MacBook Pro owners is that, thanks to Apple making the flex cable part of the screen during manufacturing, it’s not possible to fix just the cable. Instead, it requires a whole new display unit, turning a $6 repair job into a $600 one… More here.

Likely the intention was good when making it part of the screen, but the implementation is poor when it still breaks so easily.

I Fought Apple and Won

I continued the conversation with the store duty manager and she said the best she can do is take 25% off the replacement handset price of AUD$800 (or close to it). I was not about to pay an additional $600 for my phone after paying $1600 for it not too long ago.

She gave me a few other options but the outcome of those would most likely be no replacement due to liquid damage.

I was completely honest with her and said “I understand this isn’t you making the policy, but I feel misled and like there is a bit of false advertising going on here. You can’t just make a statement and then choose not to cover it under warranty” she apologised again and I said that’s fine, I understand it’s not her. I told her I would be filing a complaint with NSW Fair Trading (consumer protection department in my state) because of the misleading statements made by Apple. She said that’s good and she hopes I get the outcome I want… More here.

Apple does come over very stringent with regards to policy when it comes to repair, but you can fight and you may win. I found this out when my wife’s Apple Watch was replaced for free.


.

The Swiss Dreams Watchphone

Oh yes, this design attracts eyes! What a vivid idea, what a luxurious performance! The design of this smartphone is a story about how the world changes, how modern achievements conquer it and creates a new vision, new references, new values, and new philosophy. An example of the phenomenal popularity of Apple Watch that by their triumphal march around the world made the traditional watch brands make room significantly, confirms the fact that the modern world is changing and this change is fascinating.

The smartphone’s body is decorated with a splendid picture of the globe with relief gold continents, while in the center of this unusual “globe” Apple Watch is going through as if it is demonstrating its expansion visually… More here.

Um… $21,110.

I fail to understand Apple…

I fail to understand why companies like Apple don’t address the entire market. That means various smartphone sizes and various smartphone prices. I don’t believe that making a less expensive phone with fewer features eats away at the higher priced items. People usually want the most features at a price they can afford. But some people really want a smaller phone. Or a less expensive phone. And if they find one elsewhere, Apple has lost a sale, and likely a customer forever.

As an example, I was at the Apple Store a few days ago getting the battery on my 6S replaced. It’s been acting strange for about 6 months but only in early January did it actually tell me that it needed to be replaced. After the special price ended. Hmmmm.

In any case, while there I looked at the XS and XR. The XR is a nice size but noticeably heavier. The XS is an okay size, but I have no compelling reason to buy one as my 6S is doing fine for what I need. And even if I wanted a new phone, I’d look at the X which is almost everything the XS is but a lot less pricey. Bob

Bob makes a very good point. Look at the number of budget and middle-range Android phones. Apple has nothing to compete on price alone which is the overriding factor for the vast majority of customers.

Apple Services are way behind

It’s interesting how many commentators are looking at services as Apple’s next big thing in light of recent announcements. The fact that Apple Music works on Alexa is an indicator as is iTunes coming to Samsung and other TVs which suggests that hardware may not be the main financial driver in certain areas going forward.

The problem is, however, that Apple has a lot of catching up to do because the current offerings do not offer enough to make people move over, and in some cases they just don’t work. Let’s take a look at each in turn-

Siri

You don’t me to tell you how flaky Siri is and how much catching up it has to do. The argument that privacy limits its reach is valid, but in my experience it isn’t improving much at all and never has. The likes of Google and Amazon are way ahead, but maybe Siri isn’t a huge financial driver though.

iCloud Drive

I still use Dropbox and only pay for extra iCloud for backups for myself and my family. The limitations in iCloud, and for some the lack of obvious features, is holding it back. This in theory could be changed quite easily.

Music

Apple Music is an example of a service that easily competes with the likes of Google and Spotify. It is the one offering that stands up and is level on features, performance and price.

Film / TV

iTunes is dead to anyone who is not embedded deeply into Apple. Netflix offers streaming of a huge amount of content, Amazon Prime offers streaming and the purchasing / rentals of iTunes for a highly competitive price, and the likes of Hulu etc also compete very well. Apple is paying a lot for future content, but it is ‘late’ in a big way to something it effectively started.

So, Apple’s services arguably do not sell the hardware in every way the company wants them to. A new iPhone user will likely already be using Netflix or Amazon for film, Spotify for music and Dropbox if they have file management needs.

It is hard to see how Apple moves forward here because if the company aims to add its services to every platform the hooks are gone to the Apple hardware. And if the hooks are gone will people pay the extra just for nice hardware and a smoother operating system? It’s a catch 22 and one that Apple will have to think very carefully about, but it needs to do it now.