Apple Expected to Debut New iPad Pro Lineup, 128GB iPhone SE etc

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In terms of the iPad Pro lineup, the report claims Apple will announce new 7.9-inch, 9.7-inch, 10.5-inch, and 12.9-inch models. The 10.5-inch model may not ship until May, while the other sizes are said to ship in March.

If the report is accurate, it would suggest Apple plans to refresh the iPad mini 4 with a new 7.9-inch iPad Pro model, update its existing 9.7-inch iPad Pro and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, and introduce an all-new 10.5-inch iPad Pro, which is widely rumored to feature an edge-to-edge display without a Home button.

Mac Otakara previously said the 10.9-inch iPad Pro—it now says 10.5-inch—will have the same overall footprint as the current 9.7-inch iPad Pro thanks to its edge-to-edge design. The earlier report said the top bezel will remain in order to provide space for the front-facing FaceTime camera, but it will likely be slimmer… More at MacRumors.

Just give me the 128GB SE. Now.

Should you take your phone, or yourself, to the United States?

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That is the rather startling advice in a blogpost that is being widely shared right now.

Its author, Quincy Larson, is a software engineer, who has previously written about the importance of protecting personal data.

He now fears that data could be at risk every time you cross a border.

His concerns were sparked by the story of Sidd Bikkannavar, an American-born Nasa engineer, who flew home from a trip to Chile last month. On arrival in Houston, he was detained by the border police and, by his own account, put under great pressure to hand over the passcode to his smartphone, despite the fact that the device had been issued to him by Nasa.

Eventually, Bikkannavar did hand over both the phone and the passcode. It was taken away for 30 minutes and then returned, and he was free to go… More at the BBC.

When I was last in the US 3 years ago I complained about having to have my fingerprints taken at Orlando International. I asked why they needed them and the answers were so weak that I continued to complain.

My wife took me to one side, after having had her fingerprints taken, and advised me that if after an 8 hour flight and a 2 hour queue at the airport we had to get back on a plane to the UK because of my complaining, she would remove my man parts and give them to me in a jar.

She is persuasive at the best of times, but I was in a bind. We were in Orlando for the kids, it was an expensive holiday and there was no choice but to give over my fingerprints just because the American government felt I should do so.

As it happens, the next 2 weeks were a blast and we loved every minute. We felt welcome throughout, there was a sense of calm everywhere and it was the America I grew up reading about and watching on the TV when I was a child. Admittedly, we were mostly in the Disney bubble, but it was a great experience all the same.

If we fast forward 3 years to the crazy time we are in now, America feels very different from across the pond. Stories like the one above send a shiver through my spine even though I could probably sail through any American airport without a hitch. I am white, I have a Scottish surname (Trump is half-Scottish I am ashamed to say) and I don’t pose a threat at all. I do not pose a threat purely on that basis, apparently, and my nationality and colour are the only indicators that I could be a terrorist, apparently. What a load of shit that kind of policy is and how much likelier does it make the chance of a terrorist attack? More likely I would say and it only plays into the hands of people who want to change the way people live their lives in the West.

My wife and I were discussing our next holiday last week and America didn’t even figure. It always has before, it is usually right at the top of the list, but the vibe from the US now is one of exclusion, fear and complete craziness. I feel so sorry for normal right-minded intelligent Americans who have to suffer what is happening now, but having to open my phone to a Government employee is merely the tip of the iceberg for a country that overnight feels remarkably unfriendly.

AirPods thoughts

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My thoughts:
– I still enjoy using the AirPods
– there are technical challenges, such as not connecting quickly enough and — worse — dropping out during calls and then re-connecting. Apple needs to address this as, currently, they are less reliable than their far cheaper (bundled?) counterparts
– but I love not having a wire to contend with, which I was constantly untangling or trying to stop getting snagged on clothes
– sound is good enough for me
– they stay in my ears better than I was expecting, and I’m not worried about them falling out on the tube in rush hour any more
– microphone is better than I was expecting, and better than the mic on the wired headphones which was forever bumping on my shirt / collar and making noise on a call
– lack of physical controls is a complete pain, and I’m still no more of a fan of Siri. Using the Apple Watch to control playback is better than having to use Siri, but still a pain
– battery life has been fine for the way I use them so far, but then I haven’t had any long flights / train journeys
– clearly not worth the £160

Neil

A decent summing up of a product that is so nearly perfect.

An introduction to the regulation of apps and wearables as medical devices

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As well as use in fitness and exercise contexts, these apps and wearables can be used to provide “mHealth” services, potentially crossing the line from recreational to medical and healthcare applications. This article introduces the regulatory framework for medical devices and provides an overview of its key provisions and considerations in respect of apps and wearables… More at Neilzone.

If you need to know this kind of information, I can think of few more qualified people than Neil to give you want you need.

Do camera reviews even matter?

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As someone who suffers from G.A.S. (gear acquisition syndrome) when it comes to cameras, I spend a lot of time reading camera reviews. And when I am done reading, I watch YouTube videos. And after I am done with each one of them, I realize I am still no closer to making a smart buying decision about a camera because none of the reviews say anything meaningful… More at OM.

I wonder if that view could be applied to many other reviews of different products?

Got a new puppy? Take a week off

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A newborn puppy can be a full-time job, that’s why beer maker BrewDog — a Scottish brewery set to open up an Ohio location later this year — now offers a week of paid leave for employees with new puppies or rescued dogs.

The company said it’s the first company in the United States, and the first brewery in the United Kingdom, to offer the “paw-ternity” benefit… More at USA Today.

That’s so sweet.