It’s been yet another fascinating week in the world of Apple news, so let’s get right to it. This week’s roundup includes results from the first ever touchscreen responsiveness benchmark tests, a neat comparison of all the iPhones since the first iteration back in 2007 as well as new video that’s leaked featuring the new, soon-to-be released large iPad.
There's a surprising lack of buzz surrounding the anticipated introduction of new iPads in October. I suspect one reason is that we already know a fair amount about the fifth-generation iPad: it'll be thinner, lighter, and narrower, with narrower bezels left and right, and a form factor similar to the iPad mini. Another reason may be that no one is expecting anything major, unlike last year when the iPad mini was announced. So far it's a bit of a mystery what sort of upgrade the mini will receive, with some rumors saying it'll get a retina display and others saying that a retina model won't be ready until next year.
The Touch ID fingerprint sensor on the new iPhone 5s has been well received. Apple says that half of smartphone owners don't use any security at all, so Touch ID should provide greater security just by making it easier for people to restrict access without having to go through the step of a passcode. But fingerprint sensors have been shown in the past to be vulnerable, and the day after the iPhone 5s was released, a group of hackers in Germany claimed to have defeated Touch ID security. (See the video below.) But it's not easy, and it's unlikely that most bad guys would go to this much trouble.
Here's how they describe the steps necessary to perform this hack:
Every time a new update comes out, I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve. It’s quite distracting, and I find myself daydreaming about all the goodies in store for me. Some updates are more awesome than others, but I’m glad to say that the iOS 7 did not disappoint me, iPhone Life-ers! It certainly is the biggest change in five years. Sure there are things that I would change if I were boss of the world, but there’s lots that I like. Instead of going feature by feature, let’s focus on the visual user interface (UI) differences. As the husband of a graphic designer and a person who has overseen the design and development of many iPhone apps in his day, the look and feel is really important to me.
As an avid Apple follower, I've seen and heard it all lately. Many respected technology sites are praising the iPhone 5s for its new camera, fingerprint scanner, and faster chip. They are saying that the phone is so much better than its younger sibling, the 5c, that it puts the poor phone to shame.
These experts, analysts, and Apple watchers are wrong. So wrong that it offends me.
I've already covered basic tips and useful hidden features in iOS 7. Now I'd like to cover a few new features that seem important for everyone to be aware of.
On Friday, Sept. 20, record numbers of people lined up all over the world to get their hands on the new iPhone 5s and 5c. According to Tech Crunch the line at Apple’s flagship NYC store was 83 percent longer at 8 a.m. on Friday morning than it was at the same time during the iPhone 5 launch. Similar scenes played out in all the major cities. Fortune posted a roundup of YouTube videos documenting the impressive crowds:
For the first time since the original iPhone came out, I did NOT get the latest model on opening day. It was not for lack of trying, but it's complicated. As a developer, I can justify grabbing the latest gear, because I have to make sure my apps work on the new devices, and take advantage of any new features. But I've been using iOS 7 for several weeks on my iPhone 5 and was satisfied that they would work fine. The 64-bit CPU is important for data-intensive apps, but not necessarily my apps. Apple hasn't opened up the fingerprint reader to developers, so there wasn't an overwhelming need to upgrade.
Last week I posted some basic tips for iOS 7. In this post I want to share some useful but not obvious features.
For those of you who find iOS 7 harder to see, in addition to selecting a darker wallpaper, as I explained in my previous post, you can make the new slimmer system font bold so that app names are more visible. Do this by going to Settings>General>Accessibility, and turning on Bold. In addition, you can increase the font size by going to Settings>General>Larger Type, and adjusting the slider. This doesn't appear to affect fonts on the Home screen but does increase the size of fonts in those apps that take advantage of this feature, including most of Apple's apps such as Mail.
When I take my mountain bike out on the trails, besides getting a good workout, it relaxes me. For me it's a mindful experience being out in nature with only me, the bike, and the trail.
However, because I live in Colorado, when the snow starts falling my bike finds residence in my garage until the sun starts shining again, I can shed my North Face coat, and the trails start drying out.
During the winter, I usually find myself hanging out on the couch instead of getting the exercise I need. I absolutely hate going to the gym.
So, that's why I was happy to hear about a fellow Colorado resident who developed an app designed to quiet the mind and make working out at the gym like being outdoors.
Adoption of iOS 7 has been remarkable. According to the New York Times, an estimated 18[ercent of iOS users had downloaded iOS 7 within the first 24 hours. So many people were downloading it that some university networks crashed, and Apple's servers struggled under the load. This strong demand for the new software has led to problems.
Gusto Technologies, creators of the FitTrip App now on Kickstarter, are helping out fellow residents of the Boulder, Colorado area who lost almost everything they own to the flooding that occurred during the week of Sept. 12. Close to 13 inches of rain fell in the region in just a few short days.
So far I really like iOS 7, but my immediate impression was that it was harder to see. I had a light wallpaper and the white text on the lock screen and icon names was barely visible. (The text was white in the past, but it was superimposed over the darker shadow that give the icons their 3-D look.) So I immediately went to Settings>Wallpaper & Brightness and chose a darker image. Plus, I was initially confused about a few things. Here are some basic tips to help you get oriented.
Here’s a last minute chance to get involved in the realization of an exciting Kickstarter project for which the funding period ends Sept. 20, and if the goal is met shipping will begin Oct. 1st.
The project involves a bike computer from Wahoo Fitness powered by an iPhone, for access to GPS, music, and app functionality connected by Bluetooth.
Apple's recent event revealed the iPhone 5S, complete with space gray, silver, or gold color schemes, new camera features, and a fingerprint sensor. It also highlighted the new M7 motion coprocessor, designed to gather motion data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass.
Fitness apps that would normally fall on the A7 chip will now rely on the M7, a more efficient alternative that draws less battery. With a new set of CoreMotion APIs, developers can also contribute a variety of fitness and motion tracking apps for iOS 7.
Wow, the headlines in my RSS reader suggest the new iPhone 5Ss is being very well received, with lots of superlatives. Here's the respected John Gruber on the Daring Fireball website: "This is what innovation, real innovation, looks like." He rebuts arguments that Apple has lost the ability to innovate and argues that the refinements in the iPhone 5S show real innovation. He offers a very detailed review of the camera, Touch ID, and the 64-bit architecture, including benchmarks showing how much faster the iPhone 5S is than the iPhone 5.
The new iPhone 5S is coming very soon, and a lot of people are wondering the same thing... (maybe for the first time). Is it worth the hype? Let's face it, Apple didn't exactly blow socks off at their recent press event, though I was still pretty impressed, particularly over two things: the ARMv8 64-bit design and support for OpenGL 3.0 ES. Some would say, "well, you are a fanboy writer for a magazine called iPhone Life." Of course, I should be impressed, right?! You might be surprised to know I'm not really such a fanboy of the iPhone (more the iPad and iPod), But I digress from the question at hand. Can the new iPhone 5S render a startling 2X performance boost over the iPhone 5, and will that translate to better iStuff in the future? I'll try to sum it all up for you. Without being too much of a fanboy, I promise.
Now that the new iPhones have been launched, the rumor mill is gearing up for the iPad launch. Apple's previous introduction of new iPads was in October of 2012, so it seems very likely this year's iPad event will again be in October. A French website recently said that gossip indicates the date will be October 15. See the Google translation here. Whatever the date, it will be interesting to see what Apple announces. Quite a bit is known about the forthcoming fifth-generation iPad, but the next iteration of the iPad mini remains a mystery. And it's also a mystery whether the new iPads will incorporate some of the iPhone 5s features, such as Touch ID and the M7 chip.
Are you excited about the iOS 7 update available tomorrow? Well, don't get so excited that you forget to take this very important step first - back up your device! Also, bear in mind that not all your apps will be up to speed with the new update. Hopefully the hard-working developers are doing their best to make the transition as smooth as possible for us. In the meantime, we just need to be patient.
Want more? Get our weekly newsletter: