Tag Archives: Apple

FlippedBITS: Four Password Myths

Are your passwords strong enough to resist an automated attack? If you believe any of several common password myths, they may not be. In this installment of FlippedBITS, Joe Kissell examines a few of the most dangerous myths about password security and explains smarter and safer practices.

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from TidBITS: Apple News for the Rest of Us http://tidbits.com/article/13651?rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+tidbits_main+%28TidBITS%3A+Mac+News+for+the+Rest+of+Us%29


The curious case of the persistent image

The case of the persistent image

The other day I was working on some blog posts, and when I pulled up an image in Preview to edit it, I noticed something odd. It looked like the Preview window was transparent, and that I was seeing a window through it. I thought nothing of it until a few minutes later when I closed a number of open windows on my new 27-inch iMac and noticed that a faint “echo” of those windows was visible on my desktop photo. I realized I was seeing some image persistence.

This is nothing new; back in the days of PCs with cathode-ray tube monitors, it was quite common to see the C: prompt burned into some screens, visible even when the monitor was turned off! But this was a bit of a surprise, since I hadn’t experienced image persistence for a long time. And on a brand new 27-inch iMac? Ouch.

I’m guessing that something kept my iMac display from going to sleep, resulting in the “burn in.” I usually have the display set to go completely dark after 15 minutes, and had never seen this happen before on this or my previous 27-inch iMac.

Immediately I went to the Apple support communities and searched for image persistence and image retention, and I found that this has been a fairly common issue with the new devices. Not only are iMacs prone to persistent images, but some MacBooks are also seeing the problem. (Mike Rose experienced the image persistence issue specific to the MacBook Pro Retina models with LG panels, and ended up having his screen replaced.) There are a number of people who were so concerned that they brought their devices back to the Apple Store and asked for a replacement, but Apple believes that the problem is common to IPS (in-plane switching) LCD panels and not a real issue.

Apple recommends doing exactly what I had been doing — setting display sleep after 15 minutes of non-use. Fortunately, they also have instructions on what to do if your get a burned-in image despite using display sleep. In knowledge base article HT5455, “Avoiding image persistence on Apple displays,” there’s a section on using a screen saver to eliminate a persistent image:

  1. From the Apple () menu, choose System Preferences, and then click “Desktop & Screen Saver.”
  2. Click the Screen Saver tab.
  3. Choose a screen saver.
  4. Set the “Start screen saver” time to be shorter than the “Display sleep” and “Computer sleep” settings in the Energy Saver pane of System Preferences.
  5. To clear the persistent image, allow the screen saver to run for approximately as long as the image was being displayed.

I had no idea how long the image had been “stuck” on my screen, so I just decided to change the screen saver time to five minutes and the display sleep time to three hours and let the “Flurry” screen saver run for that length of time.

Sure enough, once I returned to my iMac this morning, the annoying persistent images were nowhere to be found. One commenter in the support community suggests that this might be a problem with all IPS LCD panels made by LG, and that this didn’t happen with display panels made by Samsung — a company that Apple seems to want to avoid at this time due to the lawsuit situation going on.

Regardless of the cause, it’s refreshing to know that there is a way to correct it and that this does not cause permanent damage to the display. I’ve changed my iMac settings to go to screen saver after five minutes and to display sleep after 15 minutes, and hopefully I’ll never see those persistent images again.

Have any TUAW readers experienced this problem? Did running the screen saver work to eliminate the ghosted images? Let us know in the comments.

The curious case of the persistent image originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 18 Feb 2013 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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from TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog http://www.tuaw.com/2013/02/18/the-curious-case-of-the-persistent-image/

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Use These Keyboard Shortcuts To Reboot Or Shutdown Your Mac Instantly [OS X Tips]


I’ve been a Mac user since the Performa 638 CD I purchased in 1994, and I had no idea these shortcuts existed. While I wouldn’t recommend them to every Mac user, if you’re comfortable with the potential issues of immediately shutting down your Mac, you’ll want to learn these post-haste.

Note that when we refer to the Power button below, you may see an Eject button instead. Use either the Power or Eject button, whichever is in the upper right of your keyboard, to activate the following instant actions.

To reboot your Mac instantly, hit Control-Command-Power/Eject. To immediately shut down your Mac, hit Command-Option-Control-Power/Eject. To Log yourself (or any user) off of your Mac without using a menu or mouse, hit Command-Shift-Q.

To put your Mac right to sleep, the poor dear, hit Command-Option-Power, and hold them down for two seconds or so. To turn off your Mac’s display immediately, hit Shift-Control-Power. Go ahead, try it! To wake your screen back up, just hit the Spacebar key.

Now you have the magic keys to the kingdom, at least as far as shutting down or restarting your Mac on the fly without needing to use an onscreen button, mouse, or menu. Just remember that with great power comes great responsibility.

Source: OS X Daily
Image: Håkan Dahlström, Flickr

from Cult of Mac http://www.cultofmac.com/210965/use-these-keyboard-shortcuts-to-reboot-or-shutdown-your-mac-instantly-os-x-tips/

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What If the Next iPad, iMac, Business PC and Apple TV Are All One Device?

How would you radically improve the iPad? You’d give it more powerful processing, enabling more powerful apps.

How would you improve the 27-inch iMac? You’d make it 37 inches.

How would you create an Apple desktop computer for business? You’d make it work like an iPad, but double as a boardroom device for presentations and video conferencing.

And how would you improve TV and make it Applish? You’d build in a computer, Apple TV-like functions and give it a remote.

If you think about it, these obvious improvements are not moving these four product lines away from each other, but toward each other — resulting in a single super product that does it all.

What if Apple’s next iPad, iMac, business PC and TV set are all one iDevice? 

Almost every company in technology evolves their product lines from a starting point of fewer and simpler models to more and more complex ones.

Apple, on the other hand, thinks different. They try (they don’t always succeed) to unify and simplify. For example, they don’t have separate devices for consumers and education, or consumers and business. It’s the same phone, the same tablet and the same Mac.

In fact, no Apple device since the iPod has been exclusively designed for consumers or for business. Every Apple product since the iPhone shipped in 2007 has been designed for both consumers and business.

So when people predict that Apple will ship a TV exclusively designed for consumers in the living room, they’re also predicting that Apple will violate its five-year-old policy.

I think it’s possible that Apple may pull off the Mother of All unifications — to create a giant iPad that serves business people in the board room and consumers in the living room.

Everybody, including and especially Moore and his Law, expect the iPad line to get increasingly powerful processors, more RAM, faster graphics chips. This is simply going to happen. This improved capability will enable better apps, more console-like games, more OS X-like applications for iPads of all sizes.

Apple has to improve the iMac — they’ve already made it super thin and super elegant. Yes, they’ll make it more powerful, too, but what us users really want is a bigger screen. Many of us want Apple to continue adding touch-like user interface elements, as Apple has already begun to do with the Launchpad, better gestures and all the other iOS-like improvements.

Combine these two ideas, and image that the next iMac is a 37-inch iPad. It’s powerful like the iMac, but runs a new, more capable version of iOS. Tilt it back, and it works like an iPad, with multi-touch gestures. Tilt it up, and use a bluetooth keyboard and Magic Trackpad and it works much like an iMac. Talk to it, and it works like an iPhone running Siri.

By now you’re probably thinking of the limitations: It’s not mobile or portable like a real iPad. And it’s not able to run OS X-level desktop applications like the iMac.

So where would someone use such a mutant device?

The answer: in business and in the living room.

The business-desktop iPad

The corporate world, from small businesses to major enterprises, has gone gaga for iOS devices, both iPhone and iPad. They love the hyper-simplicity, visual appeal and the usefulness and flexibility of apps.

But business people of all kinds still need a big screen. Right now, even iPhone- and iPad-happy business people usually use Windows PCs at work — but hesitate to move to iMacs. They want full-size word processing documents and spreadsheets. They want email and web surfing. And they need big screens to do presentations and to bring in remote meeting attendees with video conferencing.

A giant desktop iPad could be used like an iPad or a PC or a presentation screen. It would simply need to be oriented in one of three angles — mostly flat for iPad mode, mostly upright for PC mode or perfectly vertical for presentation and video conferencing mode.

(Come to think of it, such a device would be really great for education, too.)

In order to use the device for presentations and videoconferencing, you’d also want a very simple remote control.

And you know where else you’d want a remote control?

The consumer-TV iPad

The specs on this 37-inch desktop iPad would be the same as any reasonable Apple TV set you might imagine. All you’d need is something similar to an Apple TV box built in.

The ability to do things that Apple TV can do — connect to the Internet, iTunes and iCloud; do AirPlay and AirPlay mirroring; find any HD content anywhere and play it — these are things that both business users would want and consumers watching TV would want.

The current version of Apple TV is $99, so building in these same capabilities would be a trivial expense for Apple.

The naysayers who say Apple won’t make a TV set because it won’t sell enough units haven’t considered that the Apple TV set may also be sold as an all-purpose Business PC and an educational desktop as well, multiplying unit sales.

I think there’s a very real chance that Apple’s next iPad, business PC, iMac and TV set are all one in the same device: A giant iPad that does it all.

Would you buy one?

from Cult of Mac http://www.cultofmac.com/207810/what-if-the-next-ipad-imac-business-pc-and-apple-tv-are-all-one-device/

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How to reset Lion back to the Setup Assistant

There have been previous hints on how to reset earlier versions of Mac OS X to delete users so that it boots to the Setup Assistant again. This can be useful if you are passing on or selling your computer to someone else. The most recent hint was posted in 2007 for Mac OS X 10.5 and there were significant corrections included in the comments. There is also a command that changed in 10.7 (also in the older hint’s comments) and even with the modifications suggested in the comments, the hint is still incomplete.

So instead of adding yet another modification in the comments of a hint related to 10.5, I thought I would submit a new hint brining everything together from the old hint, its comments, changes needed for 10.7, and the missing items I have found. This provides a current version of the hint for 10.7 and presumably 10.8 …

from MacOSXHints.com http://hints.macworld.com/article.php?story=20121202080339900

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Merging Apple IDs still not possible. Now what?

TUAW reader Glenn Thorpe wrote about Apple ID problems:

“I recently upgraded to iOS 6 as recommended and I am now faced with some challenges when using FaceTime and Messages.

“My Apple ID account which I use to download apps cannot be used for FaceTime nor Messages. I had to create new AppleIDs for both of these applications. The frustrating issue is that I now have three AppleIDs to manage and I am not sure of what impact this will have when I buy apps or try to perform other transactions.

“Please advise me if I can somehow consolidate these IDs or will I be able to use my original ID again for all of my apps.”

This has been a long-standing problem, made worse by the advent of iCloud.

A year ago there were rumors that Apple was working on a way to merge Apple IDs, and Tim Cook was reported to have called someone who had complained about the problem and said “we are aware of this issue and are working on it.”

Well, as the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words. When I wrote about this a year ago, I noted that Apple’s AppleID FAQ said “At this time, Apple IDs cannot be consolidated.” This led some people to speculate that Apple would be announcing a way to consolidate Apple IDs.

Today that page says “Apple IDs cannot be merged.”

Maybe Apple is still working on this, but a year has passed, a new version of iOS has been released, this problem has still not been addressed, and the only official word we have from Apple has changed from “This can’t be done yet” to “This can’t be done.” I think it is a much safer assumption to make that Apple either tried to figure out a way to do this and couldn’t make it work, or that Apple has simply given up because it had bigger things to worry about. Either way, don’t hold your breath.

My Apple ID history

I created my first Apple ID back when the iTunes Music Store first opened. It was just a username, not an email address, and even though I had an email address associated with it, the email address was completely unrelated to my Apple ID username.

With the advent of MobileMe, Apple started moving people towards using their email address as their Apple ID, but it was not required. Eventually it was no longer possible to create an Apple ID that was just a username, and finally we arrived at the point where an Apple ID which is not an email address cannot be used for some features such as iCloud or Messages.

Somewhere along the line I managed to create a second Apple ID which was username@mac.com and I thought that meant they were interchageable. Unfortunately I was wrong, these were considered completely separate Apple IDs and caused no small amount of frustration and confusion. I continued to use my username for iTunes/App Store purchases and used username@mac.com for those services which required an email address.

However, in light of my recent iCloud debacle (which was never solved and the AppleCare rep I was working with stopped returning my calls and emails), I decided that it was time to stop fighting Apple and just stick to one Apple ID. Fortunately I have never used iCloud for email, so dropping that email address was not that big of a deal. Not everyone will be so lucky. However, if you still need to use that Apple ID for email you can add it under “Mail, Contacts, Calendars.”

Your ‘username’ Apple ID can be updated to an email address

I liked having an Apple ID that wasn’t an email address, and I wanted to keep it that way. I kept hoping that Apple would make it easier to use, but they have made absolutely no movement in that direction.

In fact, if you have an Apple ID which is not an email address, Apple will strongly suggest that you change it. I resisted this for a long time, but finally gave in.

Here is how to change your “username” Apple ID to be an email address:

  1. Go to http://appleid.apple.com.

  2. Select “Manage Your Apple ID.”

  3. Log in with your Apple ID and password.

  4. If your “Apple ID and Primary Email Address” are not the same, there will be a prominent box prompting you to change that.

  5. Make sure that your Primary Email Address is the one that you want to use as your Apple ID. (If not, add it and verify it to your Apple ID account.)

    Note that this email address cannot be the same as your “Rescue Email Address” so if you want to use that email address, you will have to change the “Rescue Email Address” in the “Password and Security” section of the “My Apple ID” at http://appleid.apple.com.

  6. Once your Primary Email Address is correct, select the option to make your Apple ID and Primary Email Address the same.

  7. On your Mac(s):

    • Log out of iCloud in System Preferences and then log back in with your new Apple ID.
    • In the Messages app, delete your Apple ID and then re-add it using your email address.
    • Log out of iTunes and the App Store app, then log back in.
  8. On your iOS device(s):

    • Log out of iCloud and then back in.
    • Log out of FaceTime and then back in (tap the ‘Use your Apple ID for FaceTime).
    • Check Messages to make sure that your Apple ID is listed there.
    • Log out of iTunes & App Stores in Settings.

Also, if you use Find My iPhone or Find My Friends you may need to reconfigure those on iOS and Mac OS X.

Note that after you make this change you may be asked to confirm your billing information for iTunes. Usually that just means re-entering the credit card security number (that three- or four-digit code on the back of the card).

Temporary frustration versus on-going frustration

Making this switch isn’t very difficult, although it is a bit annoying and can be time-consuming, depending on how many Macs and iOS devices you have. It’s a decision between the temporary frustration of changing everything to be the way that Apple now wants it to be versus the ongoing frustration of trying to fight against the way Apple wants it to be.

Apple doesn’t seem to be making any movement towards making this easier for those of us with more than one Apple ID, so it’s up to us to decide which frustration we prefer.

Merging Apple IDs still not possible. Now what? originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 01 Oct 2012 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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from TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog http://www.tuaw.com/2012/10/01/merging-apple-ids-still-not-possible-now-what/


★ The iPhone 5

The iPhone 5 is really nice.

It feels great, looks great, has the best display I’ve seen at any size, runs noticeably faster, networks noticeably faster, is way thinner and lighter than any of its predecessors, takes better photos, and, in my six days of testing, gets totally decent iPhone-4S-level battery life.

But you don’t even have to turn it on to see how nice it is. Just hold it. You really have to. Apple boasted during last week’s event that they now measure the precision of the iPhone 5 assembly in microns. A micron is one-millionth of a meter. On the web page promoting the iPhone 5’s design, Apple states:

iPhone 5 is made with a level of precision you’d expect to find in
a finely crafted watch, not a smartphone.

Never before has this degree of fit and finish been applied to a
phone. Take the glass inlays on the back of iPhone 5, for
instance. During manufacturing, each iPhone 5 aluminum housing is
photographed by two high-powered 29MP cameras. A machine then
examines the images and compares them against 725 unique inlays to
find the most precise match for every single iPhone.

iPhone 5 in my hand, this talk of micron-precision, fine watch craftsmanship, and the computerized selection of best-match inlays sounds not the least bit bullshitty or blustery. It simply sounds like an explanation of the level of obsession that it takes to create a mass-produced device that feels this, well, nice. It even feels as though they’ve put some serious work into the iPhone’s one historical weak spot: the home button.1

The iPhone remains the flagship of Apple’s entire product line. It exhibits not merely the highest degree of fit and finish of any smartphone, but the highest degree of fit and finish for anything Apple has ever made. When first you hold it — where by you I mean “you, who, like me, is intimately familiar with the feel and heft of an iPhone 4 or 4S” — you will be struck by how light it feels, yet in a premium, not chintzy way. Within a week, it will feel normal, and your old iPhone 4/4S will feel like a brick.

Both aspects — the weight and premium feel — are related to materials. The aluminum unibody harkens back to the original 2007 iPhone, which, until now, was my all-time favorite in terms of how it felt in hand. The plastic 3G/3GS body seems like an anomaly in hindsight — it surely offered engineering and cost benefits, but looked and felt (and sounded, for that matter, when, say, you tapped your fingers on it or set it down on a hard table) pedestrian. The glass back of the 4/4S looks and feels very nice, but glass is heavier than aluminum. Volume and weight tend to correlate pretty closely with gadgetry. The iPhone 5, despite being more than a quarter-inch taller than the 4/4S to accommodate the larger display, is 12 percent smaller volumetrically. It’s thus fair to say the new iPhone is “smaller” — and in all but one way (see below) it really does feel smaller. But it’s 20 percent lighter, far greater than the reduction in volume. I’m sure there are dozens of engineering feats that contribute to this reduction in weight, but the biggest is the switch from glass to an aluminum unibody.

The pattern after 2007 has been for a tick-tock design schedule: new hardware design (iPhones 3G and 4), followed the next year by faster, more refined versions of the same design (iPhones 3GS and 4S). No one should be surprised by a same-size-and-shape iPhone 5S next year, but, it’s foolish to treat Apple as a creature of habit. But whatever Apple does with its iPhone designs over the next few years, I’d be very surprised if they move away from aluminum (or at least some sort of textured metal) as the primary housing material. It just feels right, and offers several practical advantages. As stated before, it’s lighter. And compared to the 4/4S’s glass back, it should prove far more durable. (Would you not love to know the number of cracked 4/4S glass backs Apple has replaced?) I believe this is a big reason Apple has not updated its bumpers for the iPhone 5 — this is a phone that was meant to be used without a case. There’s also a marketing advantage: few of the competing phones on the market are made of metal. (No competitor followed Apple’s move to glass; it will be interesting to see if any follow their move back to metal.) A typical consumer could easily identify an iPhone by touch alone, much less by sight.

Is it worth devoting the first 750 or so words of this piece to the iPhone 5’s surface appeal? I don’t know how else to convey the niceness of this thing. This iPhone 5 review unit is the single nicest object in my possession. I own things that cost and remain worth more (e.g. my car). But I own nothing this nice. It sounds hyperbolic to put it that way, but I offer this observation with no exaggeration.

And so thus the meta story surrounding the iPhone 5 is the same as that of the iPhone 4S a year ago: a gaping chasm between consumers so excited to buy it that they stay up until (or wake up in) the middle of the night to pre-order it, and on the other side, a collective yawn from the gadget and tech press. That story a year ago was lost amid the tributes to Steve Jobs, who died the day after the 4S was unveiled.2 If anything, that chasm is growing. The collective yawn from the tech press was louder this year; the enthusiasm from consumers is stronger.

Niceness is my explanation. The bored-by-the-iPhone tech press/industry experts surely value niceness, but they do not hold it in the same top-tier regard that Apple does. They are not equipped to devote an amount of attention to niceness commensurate with the amount of effort Apple puts into it. Apple can speak of micron-level precision and the computer-aided selection of the best-fitting of 725 identical-to-the-naked-eye components, but there is no benchmark, no tech spec, to measure nice. But you can feel it.

And that is what resonates with millions of people around the world.

The Display: Size

The new size takes some getting used to. For one thing, the new dimensions look weird at first. My first few days with the 5, it continually struck me each time I took it from my pocket that it looked too tall — like if my son went away to summer camp and came home several inches taller.

The letterbox mode for not-yet-updated-for-the-new-display apps kind of sucks. It’s not so much that it looks bad (my review unit is white; I’d wager money that the letterboxing is almost hard to notice visually on the black ones), but that it really throws me off while typing. My muscle memory knows where the keys are supposed to be relative to the bottom of the phone; letterboxing moves them all a row higher. This will surely be a non-issue within a few weeks as updates roll into the App Store, unless you’re a devoted user of any apps that are no longer maintained by their developers.

Video playback is better for the utterly obvious reason that it’s nice not to have to choose between filling the display and maintaining the video’s true aspect ratio. Reading is better — more words per page, more tweets or messages per screen.

The bigger display is a total win while using the iPhone 5 two-handed. But navigating the full screen while holding the iPhone in one hand is worse, for exactly the one reason why, even one year ago, I did not expect Apple ever to increase the size of the iPhone display: my thumb no longer easily reaches from corner to corner. (My hands are at least somewhat larger than average. Perhaps, counter-intuitively, this issue will not be noticed by the smaller-handed, whose thumbs don’t easily stretch from corner to corner even on a 3.5-inch iPhone display.)

Consider the windshield wipers on a car, and how, because they swing in a radial arc, they can’t reach the passenger-side top corner. Using the iPhone 5 is like that. There are two specific touch targets where this gives me trouble, both of which I invoke frequently. First, back buttons in the top left corner. I keep mis-tapping underneath them with my fully-outstretched thumb and then need to subtly re-grip the phone so that my thumb can reach. Second, tapping the status bar to scroll to the top of the current view. The top-left back-button issue is only a problem when holding the iPhone 5 one-handed in my right hand, but, I’m right-handed and so that’s the hand I tend to use it with.

There’s a reason Apple emphasizes typing in its justification for why the iPhone 5 display is larger but not too large:

Anyone can make a larger smartphone display. But if you go large
for large’s sake, you end up with a phone that feels oversize,
awkward, and hard to use. iPhone 5 features a 4-inch display
designed the right way: it’s bigger, but it’s the same width as
iPhone 4S. So everything you’ve always done with one hand —
typing on the keyboard, for instance — you can still do with
one hand.

Typing on the iPhone 5 does feel exactly the same. And in my experience testing big-screen phones (mostly with the 4.65-inch Galaxy Nexus), it really is far more difficult to do anything on them one-handed, including typing. And I can reach top-left-corner back buttons and the status bar one-handed with the 5, it just isn’t as easy, and requires an ever-so-slightly different choked up grip on the device than I’ve used for the past five years.

There is no argument that some people really do like these big closer-to-5-than-4-inch Android and Windows phones. I was in a Verizon retail store yesterday (long story; don’t ask) and overheard a relatively small woman buying a Galaxy S III. A companion asked if she wasn’t worried that it was too big, and she said no, big was exactly what she wanted, because she doesn’t have a tablet and wanted to do a lot of reading on whatever phone she got. She even said she was thinking about the 5-inch Galaxy Note (which Verizon doesn’t carry). It was like a conversation out of a Samsung commercial. Such people surely think the iPhone 5’s display remains too small. But, trust me, there are going to be many long-time iPhone users complaining that it’s too big after they upgrade.

In an ideal world, perhaps Apple would offer two iPhone sizes — like they do with products such as MacBook Pros, MacBook Airs, and iMacs. A smaller one with the classic 3.5-inch display, and a larger (say, 4.5-inch?) one for people who want that. On the logistics side, this doesn’t align with Apple’s interests — economies of scale and the marketing simplicity of just one new iPhone per year.

But there’s another factor. I believe many people would choose poorly. Bigger looks better. It’s like the old chestnut about TV sets in big box stores — side-by-side, standing in the store, people tend to choose TVs that are oversaturated, the ones with the boldest colors, rather than the ones with the better, more accurate colors. I can’t help but think that many people would choose the big-ass iPhone in my hypothetical two-sizes scenario, and later regret it with tired thumbs sore from stretching. (My thumbs feel sore just by looking at photos like this one of the LG Optimus G.) Design is making decisions, and Apple has always decided what the best size is for an iPhone display.

So the question is, if a 4-inch 16:9 display is better than a 3.5-inch 3:2 display, why hasn’t the iPhone been using 4-inch 16:9 displays from the start? Cost must have been a factor. Bigger screens are more expensive, and the 2007 iPhone display was like nothing else on the market. Bigger displays also consume more power. But I think it’s really mostly about a subtle change in priorities, a reordering of the tradeoffs — and, let’s face it, a response to marketing pressure from the aforementioned bigger-seems-better retail showroom factor.

The new size is not a radical change. Both the display and the phone itself feel exactly like what they are: the same width but taller. The iPhone 5 remains one of the smaller-screened smartphones on the market. What Apple has arrived at is a reasonable compromise.

But if Apple offered me an otherwise identical iPhone 5 with a 3.5-inch 3:2 display, which one would I choose? Last week, in the first few days of use, I’d have chosen the 3.5-inch one. Now, though, one week in, I’m not so sure. My trusty old iPhone 4S feels better to use for tapping those back buttons and the status bar, but, it really is starting to look squat to my eyes. Give me another week and I suspect I won’t look back.3

Display: Quality

As I wrote in my first impressions after last week’s event, the integration of the touch sensor into the display moves the pixels significantly closer to the surface of the glass. This is very good. The ideal is pixels right on the surface, like ink on paper, and Apple is getting closer and closer every two years.

Color quality is amazing. (Schiller claimed on stage that the iPhone 5 display covers the full sRGB color gamut.) It makes the iPhone 4S display look dull and dim. Brights are brighter, colors are more saturated (but not grossly so, a la AMOLED displays), and blacks are incredibly black. It is almost impossible for me to discern black pixels along the display edge (like, say, the black status bar) from the thin black area surrounding the display.

No single display size can please everyone. But in terms of quality, I honestly can’t imagine how anyone could deny that this is the best phone display in the world. And I still think the iPhone 4/4S display ranks second. Apple has a lead here, which is interesting, because they buy these displays from companies like LG.


The camera improvements over the 4S camera are subtle, but real. Images look sharper and colors are more vivid. Low light performance is significantly improved, not just in terms of exposure, but also for autofocus. The lens is also ever-so-slightly wider angle (4.1 mm vs. 4.3 mm). I’ve uploaded a small set of comparison photos between the iPhone 5 and 4S to Flickr. This low-light shot of an action figure in my office is remarkably better than the corresponding shot from the iPhone 4S. In a nut, iPhone 5 photos look slightly better in daylight; they look dramatically better in low light.

Without selling a single dedicated “camera” since the groundbreaking but discontinued-in-1997 QuickTake, Apple has become one of the leading camera companies in the world.

LTE and Carrier Choice

Apple asked which carrier I preferred for this review unit, and I asked for and received a Verizon model. I’ve been an AT&T customer since the pre-iPhone Cingular days. My pre-ordered personal iPhone 5 is on Verizon.

Verizon LTE was fast and ubiquitous in San Francisco, and the same has been true here at home in Philadelphia. Your mileage may vary, but I’m switching for simple, practical reasons. Verizon has stronger signals in the places I visit most, better family plans with shared data, broader LTE coverage, and AT&T’s network quality seems to be getting worse, not better. Also, my iPad (3) is on Verizon, and it always has as good or better a network connection than my AT&T iPhone 4S. I couldn’t be happier with Verizon’s LTE on the iPad, and, after six days of use, the same is true with the iPhone 5.

The only two factors in AT&T’s favor are: (a) the simultaneous voice and data thing; and (b) the laziness factor — it would’ve been easier to order a new phone on my existing account than to do this switching thing (cf. the aforementioned anecdote about visiting a Verizon retail store yesterday).4

Using the iPhone 5 on LTE is nearly indistinguishable from using it on Wi-Fi. Web pages load in a snap, Siri parses input and responds promptly. It’s as big a difference from 3G (and whatever bullshit AT&T calls “4G”) as 3G was from EDGE.

Battery Life

I’ll leave the battery-specific testing to others. I just used the thing as usual. On Sunday I watched the entire Yankees game over 3G (I was at a family outing in an area sans LTE coverage), browsed the web, read email and Twitter, and by midnight the phone was in the red but hadn’t yet hit the 10 percent charge remaining warning. If anything, I’ve been giving the phone fewer sips of power throughout the day than was typical with my iPhone 4S, simply because I have only one Lightning plug. (I didn’t order any of the 30-pin-to-Lightning adapters, but I did order an extra Lightning-to-USB cable.) Battery life seems good, exactly on par with my 4S.


After my item the other day pointing out that the iPhone 5’s Geekbench score (1,600-ish, which I can confirm) is far higher than that of any PowerPC laptop Apple ever built, a few readers pointed out that Geekbench’s baseline of 1,000 is the “2003 entry-level Power Mac G5”. So, as of this week, we have computing performance in our pants pockets that nine years ago required a professional desktop workstation.

I wrote about this back in 2008, while making the case that RIM was screwed because the future of the phone market was really about the future of portable computing, and that RIM was a phone/messaging company, not a computing company:

Along the lines of
can’t-really-be-answered-but-gosh-they’re-fun-to-ponder questions
like, say, “Who’d win in a fight, Batman or Spider-Man?” or
Star Destroyer vs. U.S.S. Enterprise?”, here’s one regarding
the iPhone: What historical Mac is a current iPhone most analogous
to, spec-wise? I.e, complete this sentence: “An iPhone is like
having a tiny __ in your pocket?”

Think about this: eight or nine years from now, we should have phones that are computationally equivalent to today’s Mac Pro. (Maybe even sooner, given the sorry state of the Mac Pro at the moment.)

Bottom Line

The question everyone who hasn’t yet pre-ordered wants answered: Should you upgrade? My answer is simple. If you can afford it, yes.

There’s a reason why, just as with all five of its predecessors, it just says “iPhone” on the back. The iPhone 5 is all new technically, but it’s the exact same thing as an idea. Apple is simply improving upon that idea year after year in infinitely finer detail, like a fractal. It’s nice.

  1. Impossible for me to say, after just six days testing a single unit, whether this improved home button is truly an improved design. For one thing, on a few of my iPhones over the years, the home button only got janky over time, after thousands of presses over many months in varied weather conditions. For another, surely Apple gives the review units it passes out a once-over. A less-than-perfect home button would be rejected. But color me optimistic — this home button has a pleasing clickiness that, like the aluminum casing, evokes that of the original iPhone, which I think had a better home button than its successors.

  2. A thought that occurred to me the other day, regarding just how far along we already are in the post-Jobs era: Phil Schiller has unveiled just as many new iPhones as Steve Jobs did. (Schiller unveiled the 3GS in 2009, while Jobs was recuperating from his liver transplant.)

  3. This is one of those things that’s hard to judge in just a few days. I didn’t publish my review of the iPhone 3G until October 2008, three months after I bought it.

  4. There’s also the issue of grandfathered “unlimited” data plans on AT&T. I gave that up years ago in exchange for tethering.

from Daring Fireball http://daringfireball.net/2012/09/iphone_5

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Watch Out, Flipboard, Trapit for iPad Raises The Stakes For Newsreader Apps [iOS Tips]

This might well be the future of news content consumption.

Finding stuff on the web is pretty easy. Finding stuff you don’t already know about, surprising stuff, is hard. That’s what the developers behind Trapit are trying to fix.

Trapit for iPad allows you to discover things you’re already interested in as well as stuff you may not even know you’re looking for using algorithms that run in the app behind the scenes. What that means is that once you start using Trapit, it will learn what you’re into, and start finding stuff that might be of interest to you, based on what you’re already checking out as well as new stuff that might be cool for you to see.

The app also curates its own content into a Featured Traps section, which will help you discover even more content for that surprise factor.

Download Trapit for iPad for free, and then launch it with a tap. You’ll be asked to enter some general interest terms, and then you’ll go to the My Traps section. Tap along the top row of buttons to see your personalized Traps, Featured ones, and then the Reading list. In addition to its own “save for later reading” system, Trapit offers the option to send stuff to Instapaper and Evernote.

Tap on a story to highlight it and the associated photo will zoom in. Tap the share button to send to Facebook, Twitter, or email, and tap the little book + icon to save to read later. When browsing subjects in the features section, tap the + symbol to send the topic to your personalized feed.

As you can see, Trapit for iPad does two things well: creates a personal news feed for your own interests, and then allows you to discover new stuff you didn’t even know you wanted to read about. It’s win/win.

From the App Store Description:

Escape with Trapit and hone in on only the subjects that matter to you. Keep up with the topics that don’t always make the headlines, or even the ones that do. Discover new bloggers, online magazines, newspaper features and more among Trapit’s over 100,000 (and growing) hand-picked sources.. Use Trapit to explore and discover, because really, that’s what the Internet was made for.

Got an iOS tip of your own? Need help troubleshooting your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad? (sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address) or leave a comment below.

Source: App Store

from Cult of Mac http://www.cultofmac.com/186156/watch-out-flipboard-trapit-for-ipad-raises-the-stakes-for-newsreader-apps-ios-tips/

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