Apple’s ‘Shot on iPhone’ Photo Contest winners

iPhone photographers around the world shared their best photos for the Shot on iPhone Challenge, capturing remarkable moments with the world’s most popular camera. The 10 selected winners will be featured on billboards in select cities, in Apple retail stores and online. The winning shots came from a range of models, from iPhone XS Max to iPhone 7, showcasing the quality of cameras across the line… More here.

Some stunning photos in the link above, stunning. However, notice how favourable the lighting is throughout…

Publishers grow frustrated by the lack of revenue from Apple News

Today, publishers are still having trouble selling their Apple News inventory directly, sources said. Three cited Apple News’s limited user targeting, which doesn’t allow the use of third-party data or IP addresses, as reasons for them being unable to sell a meaningful amount of ads on Apple News. A fourth source cited Apple News’s incompatibility with the publisher’s current sales strategy, which relies heavily on programmatic advertising, which Apple News prohibits, as a reason for seeing minimal ad revenue from the platform… More here.

Such a shame because Apple News is an excellent feature, one I use more than most others on my iPhone.

The ‘cost’ of Apple products

“It’s something we’re very aware of,” he said. “We do not want to be an elitist company. That’s not — we want to be an egalitarian company, and we’ve got a lot of work going on in developing markets.” More here.

It would appear that Apple is currently counting the cost of the average product pricing the company offers and this could be a good thing for all consumers.

However, there has always been a slanted view regarding Apple costs which is not aimed at the likes of Samsung etc. I have had many conversations with people who will say the iPhone is too expensive at over £1,000, but they don’t blink an eye at the cost of the latest Galaxy phone. They also don’t see that a Mac will last a lot longer than almost all Windows laptops and will work out as good as if not better value in the long run.

Dear Tim…

Sometimes people write to Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Most don’t get a response.

But they do get passed around the company, and sometimes they inspire real action inside. In particular, they’ve helped guide the company deeper into the health care field… More here.

Remember when my wife’s Apple Watch broke following the smallest of drops? I sent a letter, a real one, and also an email to the top people. A few days later I was called by a lady who after a long conversation agreed to replace the watch for free. The entire process was seamless and she checked in throughout to ensure everything was progressing as it should. It really does pay sometimes to make an effort.

Apple’s strange guarantee for Steve’s replacement devices

A friend at work, Steve, is now on his third pair of Beats X headphones because the previous two started to lose audio quality. He called Apple support and was asked to take them to his nearest Apple store where they had to be inspected. He then had to return a few days later to pick up a replacement pair once they had been delivered to the store. This happened on both occasions.

Now, this is not the best experience for anyone because if he had bought his Beats X from PC World (terrible company?) they would have replaced them there and then, but it seems as though Apple does not keep replacement stocks of the Beats which is in contrast to if a much bigger item broke such as an iPhone or an iPad, or even a Mac.

Anyway, he got his replacements, but there is another part to this that perplexes me. On both occasions he was told that the guarantee on the replacement devices only runs until the end of the original 12 month period. So, if his Beats X break after 6 months he only get another 6 months guarantee and in the latest instance only another 3 months.

I don’t get this.

If Apple is replacing a product surely it is of a standard where 12 months should be applicable. I realise that this could potentially go on forever if the products keep breaking, but I would argue that they should not break so often (I am also on my third pair of Beats X) and it would be a nice gesture to offer the full 12 months if the customer has to make repeat visits to get them replaced.

What do you think?

Huawei copies stuff

The Information has the story of an instance where a maker of optical heart rate monitor for the Apple Watch was contacted by Huawei to discuss a potential contract. However, the Huawei representative asked a series of questions about fine details of the product which the vendor did not answer — it’s suspected that Huawei wanted to improve its own heart rate monitor in its smartwatches… More here.

At this point it is hard to have much respect for Huawei. If you can’t innovate in an ethical way you don’t deserve our money.

Reassessing priorities…

Apple is currently undergoing an executive team shakeup, a new report from the Wall Street Journal claims. As a result of the reorganization and personnel changes, several projects have had the pause button hit.

This is reportedly so that managers can “reassess priorities.” While no specific projects are named, some workers are supposedly “rattled” by the changes… More here.

This may be something that has happened every year or it may be a response to disappointing figures that have come out recently.

In an ideal world, however, no company should have to follow the relentless clamour for strong growth every single quarter because that is impossible to achieve. But still it continues…

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.