Another day, another digital banishment for Alex Jones and InfoWars. This time, it’s PayPal, which informed InfoWars of the ban on Thursday, saying the site violated “acceptable use policy” by promoting “hate,” The Verge reports. Among other digital platforms that have recently banned Jones—infamous for promoting conspiracy theories, harassing…
Apple’s iPhone XS and XS Max have arrived. Customers have lined up across the world in anticipation of the launch day Apple Store experience, all the while delivery trucks with countless identical boxes are delivering new phones globally.
My FedEx box arrived about an hour ago. Inside was a review sample of the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. I plan on more thoroughly testing both devices in the coming days and weeks, but until then, I thought I’d offer some of my first impressions of the iPhone XS Max — the biggest iPhone Apple has ever made.
It’s not that big
(Image: Jason Cipriani/ZDNet)
Skimming through my Twitter timeline after the iPhone XS review embargo lifted earlier this week (I refuse to read reviews of a product until after I’ve reviewed it), I got the impression that the iPhone XS Max was too big for most reviewers.
And while, yes, it’s a big phone, it’s not earth-shattering big. It’s marginally smaller than the Samsung Note 9, despite having an ever-so-slightly larger display. If the iPhone XS Max is too big, then the Note 9 is also too big, and by extension, the iPhone 8 Plus is too (it’s taller and wider than the XS Max, but barely).
I actually feel as if the iPhone XS Max is more comfortable to hold than the Note 9. There’s something about the way the two curved edges meet on each side of the Note 9 that, by itself isn’t noticeable, but when holding the iPhone XS Max at the same time, just feels weird.
I don’t have big hands and have resisted the trend of bigger phones as much as I possibly could over the past few years. The Note 9 was the first overly big phone I felt comfortable using, and I hope after some more time with the iPhone XS Max, I feel the same way.
Reachability makes a comeback
One of the complaints I saw this week was that reaching for the notification shade when using the XS Max with one hand was difficult and uncomfortable. I agree.
Also: Best smartphones for 2018 CNET
For me, it’s just not possible to reach the top of the phone and swipe down to reveal notifications or Control Center with one hand. As frustrating as that is, iOS does offer a workaround. It’s called Reachability.
(Image: Jason Cipriani/ZDNet)
Reachability lowers the top-half of the display, putting it within reach. The feature has been around since the iPhone 6, when Apple increased the size of its devices and screens. Users activated the feature with a double-tap on the home button. But with the iPhone X, and now the iPhone XS and iPhone XR ditching the home button, there’s also a new method to access the feature.
Also: Best smartphones of 2018 for tech experts TechRepublic
To use Reachability on modern iPhones, you need to place a finger at the bottom of the display and quickly swipe down. When done right, the screen will move down, putting whatever is at the top of the screen within thumb’s reach.
In my brief time with the iPhone XS Max this morning, it’s clear to me I once again need to get used to triggering Reachability and start using it more often.
More to come
Outside of the phone simply being bigger, it’s the same ol’ iPhone X form factor and design I’ve used for the past 11 months. The buttons, cameras, ports, and finish are all the same.
I haven’t had time to get a good feel for battery life or the camera, but I will say that the adjustable Portrait Mode photos is seamless to use, and I can’t wait to test it outside of my office, where it’s possible to take more than a couple photos of a HomePod or my dog.
I will have a full review of the iPhone XS Max in the coming weeks, so stay tuned. Much more to come.
Next week is Microsoft Ignite (disclosure: Microsoft is a client of the author) and a whole bunch of us are flying into Orlando on Sunday to spend the week with Microsoft. In anticipation of this sold out event, I thought I’d list my expectations for this event which is largely focused on enterprise customers. (You can stream many of the sessions if you want to attend this thing remotely. As an aside, I wonder when we’ll be able to attend events like with Mixed Reality?)
Let’s get to it.
Push to the cloud
While I expect there will be sessions that cover the breadth of what Microsoft provides I also expect that most of the focus for this show will be on Azure and the cloud. Azure is Satya Nadella’s baby and he takes incredibly good care of it. With the coming of 5G, I’ve been expecting a big pivot from Microsoft toward even more comprehensive cloud services, and my expectation is that is exactly what we will see at the show. There is very little you can’t do in the cloud these days with the only limitations, at least when it comes to personal technology, being bandwidth. With 5G networks starting to get lit up in a few short months (2019 event), the ability to truly pivot to the cloud is near, and I’m looking forward to seeing just how far that pivot will be at Ignite.
While it may seem a tad early, given there is no 5G yet, companies like Microsoft tend to anticipate these advancements at shows like this. This is so that when they come all the elements are lined up to begin testing, and were it makes sense, deploying solutions based on the technology. This means they need a lot of lead time, and given the proximity to the roll out, I believe we are now in that window.
It is particularly interesting that this is an almost back-to-the-future event because the age of mainframes, which preceded PCs, was all about centralized computing. We seem to be pivoting back to something similar as an industry. There is no doubt in my mind that computing will again be centralized by 2030; the question is how much sooner will this come to pass? I’m hoping this event will help answer that question.
Microsoft Teams and collaboration
Looking at the top promoted sessions, one of the more interesting appears to be about Microsoft Teams. This is another huge area for advancement in the company and this will also likely be my first chance to see the new version of the Surface Hub. Teams is important for two reasons, one is there is a renewed focus on collaboration and both Teams and the Surface Hub are focused on that. But the other reason is that Microsoft lives or dies on collaboration both inside the company and with partners, so I know Microsoft Teams usage has been going up almost vertically. As a result, I’m hoping to hear less about the technology and more about how it is being used successfully at the event. With tools like this it is all about implementation and usage, and I expect there will be some interesting stories coming out of those that use these tools.
Networking and diversity
Shows like this are as much about making contacts as they are about taking classes (for certification) and attending keynotes. Microsoft has been pushing hard on diversity, and I’m interested in seeing the progress they have made in that regard. This is also a place where you can catch up with old friends and maybe make some new ones. Particularly useful for folks that are practitioners these things are a great place to locate people that have solved many of the problems you may be struggling with using the vendor’s (in this case Microsoft’s) offerings.
On the show floor you can often run into interesting new companies and products you may not see anyplace else, and there are always a few fun things to check out. On the topic of fun, it looks like they are going to Universal Studios this year as a reward for the attendees. This park is my favorite in the nation, and the new Harry Potter stuff is just amazing. But even here you can meet new contacts and friends, but watch the alcohol consumption because those Facebook posts could come back to haunt you this year.
Microsoft Ignite remains one of the most important shows to attend if you are an enterprise with a significant investment in Microsoft. You can best monitor their pivot to the cloud and get a sense for what is coming before the changes surprise you and your team. But the real benefits remain with the contacts you make both with peers and with folks in Microsoft. This is because with all the changes going on with tech, we all need a little edge, and that edge may be that one person you meet that can provide the critical answer you’re looking for.
If you are going to ignite and end up at Universal Studios, watch out for the Mummy Ride, it remains my favorite and make sure you hang on when you see the bugs. Safe travels!
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Apple is dropping the Back To My Mac remote access feature, and in a recent support document they urge you to be prepared by looking for alternatives.
RemotePC by iDrive is a full-featured remote access solution that lets you connect to your work or office computer securely from anywhere, and from any iOS or Android device. Right now, their 50 computer package is 90% off or just $6.95 for your 1st year. So if you need an alternative to Back To My Mac, or have been thinking about remote access, now is a good time to consider RemotePC. Learn more about it here.
This story, “Apple’s dropping Back To My Mac Remote Access. Here’s an Alternative, Currently Discounted.” was originally published by PCWorld.
But I didn’t get a new iPhone
You don’t need to actually have a new iPhone XS to get a sense of what they are like – Apple has published a little microsite in which you can toy with an interactive 3D model to get a sense of them. You can also compare the sizes of the new devices with those of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. You must be using mobile versions of the Chrome or Safari browsers for this to work.
Without further ado, the new features:
I’ll assume most new iPhone purchasers remembered to back up their old devices and figured out how easy it is to just hold your new iPhone beside your old one and use QuickStart to transfer all your stuff. But once you create your Face ID, you must spend time getting to know the new gestures.
Here are the top five gestures to get you started:
- Get to Home screen: Swipe up the home bar
- Notifications: Swipe down from top of the screen
- Control Center: Swipe down from top right of the screen
- Siri: Press and hold the side button
- App Switcher: Swipe left or right on Home bar
A more complete guide is available here.
With at least 64GB of space and iCloud backup, you may want to make sure any images you take are as high-resolution as possible. However, you may also want to make sure they don’t take up all your space. That’s why you should open Settings>Camera>Formats and select High Efficiency. In the future, images and videos saved in this format will take around half as much space – so you can get busy taking images, changing dynamic depth of field, and creating your very own Memoji:
- Open Messages and open a new or existing conversation.
- Open the App Drawer and select the Animoji icon.
- Swipe all the way to the right until you find “New Memoji,” and tap plus.
- You will then be able to create your very own avatar, customizing a huge array of facial features. Tap Done when you are done, and this personal “you” will join the default Animoji’s in the drawer.
- You’ll probably want to try Portrait Lighting: Choose something to photograph, launch the Camera, select Portrait, and then swipe through the different portrait modes to see what this can do.
Someone already shot a movie with an iPhone XS, by the way.
Take your Dual-SIM for a ride
One of the most exciting new features is the new Dual-SIM support in the iPhone XS range. Scheduled to be enabled by a software update this fall, you may want to try this out by opening a PAYG account with another network (unless your iPhone is locked, in which case you’ll need to use the same one).
In the U.S., AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and (soon), Sprint will support the feature. You will also be able to use this feature internationally with GigSky, and this will become even more efficient once GigSky launches an accompanying app this fall.
Build a Shortcut
You will need to spend a little time learning to create them, but Siri Shortcuts will transform your productivity.
Once you get your new iPhone, you should download the Shortcuts app from the App Store and take a look at the Shortcuts available inside the app.
Siri will recommend new Shortcuts to you, but the app also lets you build your own — including creating shortcuts using third-party apps that have been updated for the feature.
While learning how to use these is effectively a feature in itself, here is a quick and easy Shortcut you can build right now that I hope comes in a little useful but also helps you understand how Siri Shortcuts work:
- Open the Shortcuts app and tap Create Shortcut.
- Now search for and add Set Wi-Fi and Set Bluetooth.
- Turn these both to “off.”
- Tap the Settings button, and call this Shortcut “Close networks”.
- Tap the Add to Siri button and record a phrase, such as “Close networks”.
That’s it, now whenever you need to switch off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for any reason, you can just summon Siri and say “Close networks” and you’re done.
You can also create a similar sequence called “Open networks”.
Try wireless charging
Sure, you can go and explore Amazon for wireless chargers or purchase a system from the Apple Store, but the best and cheapest way to get a feel for how effective wireless charging can be with your iPhone has to be to visit your local Apple Store and place your device on one of the mats there.
They’ll probably even let you use Wi-Fi, and perhaps one of the resident experts will explain why you can’t get a telephone dialer as a Control Center widget.
Learn to use Reachability
If you are using an iPhone XS Max, you will absolutely want to learn to use Reachability. This is an iOS feature that has been around for some time that makes a real difference when you use this model iPhone, as it makes it easier to get around all that screen real estate using just your thumb.
- Enable Reachability in Settings>General>Accessibility in the Interaction section.
- To use this feature while in an app, just swipe down on the gesture bar at the bottom of the screen.
- The top of the display will move down the screen and be a little easier to reach. Swipe up on the gesture bar to return to normal mode.
Try not to get it wet
Apple says the iPhone XS will survive being immersed in two meters of water for 30 minutes. This isn’t something most people would really want to test, but at least one reviewer has done so. “Testing it in the bath was nerve-racking, but it passed the test (though you can’t text while it’s submerged),” they wrote.
Play a game
Both new iPhones feature 458ppi Super Retina HD displays. Driven by high-performance 7-nanometer processors, they have so much power you’ll want to put both the screens and processors to the test.
Apple demonstrated a game called Elder Scrolls Blades during its announcement of the new devices, but this isn’t yet available, so you may want to try installing Warhammer AoS: Realm War on your new iPhone to get a sense of the combination of AR, powerful processors and a stunning screen promises you for gaming and cinematic experiences. Why not? It’s a new iPhone – you can get back to enterprise productivity later on.
Google+? If you use social media and happen to be a Google+ user, why not join AppleHolic’s Kool Aid Corner community and get involved with the conversation as we pursue the spirit of the New Model Apple?
Got a story? Please drop me a line via Twitter and let me know. I’d like it if you chose to follow me on Twitter so I can let you know about new articles I publish and reports I find.
It’s once again that time when the iFixit team get their hands on the new iPhones and carry out their usual detailed teardown. And as is the case, the teardown of the new iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max has revealed some interesting details that Apple didn’t tell us about during the unveiling.
Must read: iOS 12 features you should try today
The first interesting revelation is that the iPhone XS has a smaller battery than the one found inside last year’s iPhone X — 10.13Wh compared to 10.35Wh. According to iFixit, the reason for this is that in moving from a design that featured a dual-battery, the iPhone XS uses a single-celled L-shaped battery. In order to create a battery with six corners, Apple had to add notches to the corners to handle thermal expansion, and this in turn reduced the capacity of the battery.
The iPhone XS Max continues to make use of a dual-battery system, and this has a capacity of 12.08Wh.
As for the waterproofing of the new iPhones being bumped up from IP67 to IP68, the iFixit team couldn’t find any signs of additional seals or gaskets compared to last year’s models, leading them to believe that Apple may have erred on the side of caution and undersold the waterproofing capabilities of the handsets.
iFixit also found a new Apple chip inside the iPhone XS Max — the Apple 338S00456, which is a new power-management chip.
iFixit gave both the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max a 6 out of 10 on the repairability scale, down in part to how easy it is to replace the display and battery, but breaking the back glass still leaves you in a world of hurt.
Samsung’s Note 9 flagship enterprise smartphone has arrived with a bunch of hardware upgrades that make it one of the most advanced smartphones ever, but enterprise users might be more interested in a clever upgrade for DeX, the innovative Samsung software that allows a smartphone to be paired with a TV or monitor for a virtual desktop.
The Galaxy Note 9’s S Pen comes in new fashionable colors to match the phone.
A better DeX experience
With DeX, Samsung came up with a neat way to harness the significant power of a modern smartphone. Connected to an external monitor or TV, DeX redraws the phone home screen to make it much more like a conventional PC desktop. Coupled with a mouse and keyboard, it strikes a compelling proposal for travelers who don’t want to carry a laptop but find a phone a bit too small for everything they need to do.
The first and second generation versions of DeX required a cradle and a dock respectively but that’s history. DeX in the Note 9 connects directly to a TV or monitor using the phone’s USB-C connector.
I used an off-the-shelf Cirago USB-C-to-HDMI adapter and successfully ran DeX on a TV through the HDMI input and a monitor, using an HDMI to DVI cable.Martyn Williams/IDG
Google Maps running in a browser on the DeX desktop
Learning to love DeX
If you’ve never used DeX before, there is a learning curve, but it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to figure out that notifications are now at the bottom, that right-click doesn’t always do anything and that sometimes you just have to single click an icon.
Then you can start being productive.
DeX is especially powerful on workplace web apps that aren’t customized for a mobile screen. Suddenly it’s like you’re sitting at a PC with all the desktop real estate in the world.
Some apps have been optimized for DeX to make use of the extra desktop space and display mode. There aren’t may but they do include several Adobe apps and Microsoft Office. For others, DeX attempts to force resize apps that aren’t optimized.Martyn Williams/IDG
An experimental feature allows DeX to resize apps that don’t explicitly support it.
The phone screen can be used as a second screen or as a track pad when it’s running in DeX mode. This is handy if you want to, say, jot down notes while running a presentation on the main screen. In productivity mode, the screen can be used if you happen to forget your mouse or for apps that use track pads.
Goodbye to ports
By dispensing with a dock or cradle, Samsung has simplified DeX but there is a downside. Those hardware devices included additional USB sockets for peripherals and a power socket for charging the phone while in use.
This means you’ll need a Bluetooth keyboard and a mouse.
As for charging, there’s a 4,000mAh battery in the Note 9, which I found more than good enough to power a few hours of DeX use without significantly reducing battery life. Samsung says it’s the largest battery it’ s ever put on a flagship smartphone and is good for all day use – – at least in early testing that appears to be true.
It would be helpful if Samsung offered a USB-C to HDMI adapter that included an input power port.
The Galaxy Note 9
More enterprise features
Aside from the DeX upgrades, the Note 9 arrives with a welcome improvement to the S Pen stylus.
Samsung has upgraded the S-Pen stylus and it now contains a button that connects to the phone via Bluetooth Low Energy. It can be used as a clicker for a slide deck, so hooked up to a monitor or projector via DeX, the Note 9 becomes a presentation machine in your pocket.
It can also be used for more important enterprise features, such as a remote trigger for taking selfies.
The Galaxy Note 9
Lots of power
The Note 9’s Snapdragon 845 provides lots of power to run the phone. Coupled with at least 6GB of memory, it’s everything a $1,000 smartphone should be. The base model comes with 128GB of storage, but a more expensive option adds 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage.
The rear cameras are both 12-megapixel, one with a 2X optical zoom lens, and the front camera is 8 megapixel.
New is a scene optimizer that attempts to identify the subject of a photo and tweak the camera settings for the best shot. It’s an automatic version of those scene modes we all have in our cameras – – landscape, portrait, flower, food – – but forget to set each time we snap a photo.
The fingerprint sensor on the Galaxy Note 9 is in a better spot this year.
Zeit’s open source Next.js framework for static and server-rendered React applications compiles faster and improves error reporting with the new Version 7 release. Support for the WebAssembly binary format—via the Webpack 4 module bundler—is a key addition as well.
The new features in Next.js Version 7
For debugging, Next.js 7 uses
react-error-overlay to improve the stack trace with accurate locations for server and client errors. Source highlights are provided for context. It also is now easier to open a text editor by clicking on a specific block of code.
By being powered by Webpack 4, Next.js 7 gains the following benefits:
The initial HTML payload has been optimized, reduced by 7.4 percent to 1.5KB, making pages leaner.
Next.js supports the new React context API between
‘pages/_app.js’ and page components. Previously, developers could not use React context in between pages on the server side. A custom Webpack plugin changes this behavior to share module instances between pages. This allows use of the React context while also reducing the Next.js memory footprint when sharing code between pages.
Where to download Next.js
You can download Next.js from GitHub. Next.js also can be installed from NPM via
npm install --save next react react-dom.
Running out of things to do with Alexa? Don’t despair. Soon, you’ll be able to tell your Amazon personal assistant to heat a mug of water, defrost a chicken, or prepare some popcorn. It’s all thanks to the new AmazonBasics microwave that connects to Amazon’s Echo device so you can…