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iPhone 8 Plus camera test 62 Best iOS 11 features 74 Guide to iPhone X 85 HOW TO
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Apple probes reports of swollen iPhone 8 batteries We shouldn’t be too worried though, writes Michael Simon
ou might have seen a tweet or Facebook post over recent weeks with a picture of someone’s swollen iPhone 8 case. A handful of such claims have surfaced since the phone started shipping on 22 September, and as expected, they are making headlines all across the web. But there’s no reason to worry yet. Bulging batteries are caused by a build-up of gases inside the cell. It generally affects older batteries that are reaching the end of their lifespan, but while it’s rare, it’s not completely uncommon for it to affect new batteries as well. In fact, if you search for ‘iPhone 7 battery swelling’, you’ll find numerous cases of Apple swapping out new iPhones that experienced the very
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problem being spread across social media. In total, there have only been six reported cases of bulging batteries, an infinitesimally small number when you consider the millions of phones that were likely sold since its launch. Granted, there could be many more that haven’t been posted on social media or news sites, but if it was a widespread issue, we likely would have heard about it by now. Apple has said it is looking into the claims. Faulty smartphones batteries receive a lot of attention these days due to Samsung Galaxy Note7 recall last year. Back in September 2016, reports began to emerge of Note 7s that were spontaneously catching on fire, with photo evidence. But these are different problems. In Samsung’s case, the issue was traced back to several manufacturing defects. In the most common instance, the negative electrode windings were bent within the batter assembly, causing internal short circuits. Other issues included improper welding, substandard separators, and missing insulation tape. In short, Samsung’s vendors supplied them with faulty batteries, which weren’t caught before they ended up in shipping phones. But while there’s no evidence of iPhone 8 batteries causing any harm or property damage, a swelling smartphone battery is still cause for concern. Swelling can affect any lithium-ion or lithium-polymer battery, and it can affect all products, not just smartphones. If your iPhone 8 (or any other phone, tablet, or laptop) shows signs of swelling, don’t charge your device or try to puncture the battery. Take it to your nearest Apple Store where they can properly dispose of it.
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Microsoft brings Edge browser to iOS Microsoft’s browser finally comes to iOS, reveals Brad Chacos
reaking down the barriers between your PC and your phone is one of the biggest goals of the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, which is available now. Microsoft has announced that Windows 10’s Edge browser is coming to iOS. All are designed to make shifting files and web pages between devices easy.
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The mobile Edge browser syncs with your Microsoft account, so your favourites, history, Reading List, and customized New Tab Page cross over no matter what device you’re working on. Microsoft’s announcement post doesn’t specify whether your collection of e-books from the Microsoft Store syncs as well, but we’d expect them to do so given the recent drive to turn Edge into an e-reader. The mobile version of Edge also includes a ‘Continue on PC’ button that pushes whatever you’re looking at over to your computer. It doesn’t sound like the mobile Edge browser syncs recent tabs like Chrome does, but this is still a solid start.
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iPhone 8/8 Plus iPhone 8 : From £699 from Buy from: tinyurl.com/y8tmsvn2 iPhone 8 Plus: From £799 Buy from: tinyurl.com/y8tmsvn2
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pple releases a new iPhone every September, and it’s a given that it will be the best ever. But what do you do when the company announces not one, not two, but three new models? How do you rank them and decide which one is the actual best iPhone ever, especially when they don’t all go on sale at the same time? Because of this, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are at an unfair disadvantage right out of the gate. The iPhone X was announced at the same time and is the clear frontrunner when it comes to innovation – it has an all-new design with an edge-to-edge, bezel-less OLED display and a new Face ID technology that lets you unlock your handset just by looking at it. The iPhone 8 maintains the same look and feel of the 6, 6s and 7, with some changes and enhancements. However, pushing the iPhone X aside, the 8 and 8 Plus make huge improvements over the iPhone 7, which our colleague at Macworld US Susie Ochs said felt “like a beta version of what’s to come”. Well, the iPhone 7 is officially out of beta, and it’s called the iPhone 8.
Familiar design with a glassy addition It’s true: at a glance, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus look almost identical to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. They have practically the same dimensions (138.4x67.3x7.3mm for the iPhone 8; 158.4x78.1x7.5mm for the iPhone 8 Plus), same display size (4.7 inches diagonally for the iPhone 8; 5.5 inches for the iPhone 8 Plus), same button and port locations, and they both lack a headphone jack (very sorry to say). If you have a case for your iPhone 7, it will fit the iPhone 8 like a glove.
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Colour wise, you have three options: space grey with a black bezel, silver with a white bezel, or gold with a white bezel. Gone is the jet black matte finish, and gone is the lovely rose gold option, but Apple switched up its standard gold option to meet us somewhere in the middle. If you compare a gold iPhone 6/6s or 7 to a gold iPhone 8, you’ll notice that the iPhone 8 has a copperbronze tint to it, where the older models are closer to a champagne gold. I’m low-key obsessed with the new gold option – I think it’s the iPhone’s best colour yet. But if you look closer, you’ll notice one key design difference: it has a glass back, featuring a new glass formula that Corning made especially for Apple. Apple claims that it has a 50 percent deeper strengthening layer over Gorilla Glass. Because of the glass, the 8 models are slightly heavier than the 7 models – the iPhone 8 is 148g, 10g heavier than the 7; the 8 iPhone Plus is 202g, 14g heavier than the 7 Plus. I didn’t notice the extra heft at all when comparing the iPhone 8 to the 7, but it is definitely noticeable in the Plus version. However, the iPhone 8 Plus doesn’t feel like a heavy phone whatsoever. This isn’t the first iPhone to feature a glass back: The iPhone 4 and 4s also had glass, but Apple ditched it with the iPhone 5. I like the look of the glass a lot – it gives the iPhone a nice shine, and also gives it a bit of contrast from the main colour. Take the new gold, for example. The glass back gives it a kind of cream-coloured finish, and the gold really pops along the edges. Yes, the glass does make the phone a bit more slippery compared to the aluminium finish of the
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iPhone 7. I haven’t had a problem with it slipping out of my hands or sliding off of a table or anything unexpected, but it just feels more slippery, generally speaking. And it absolutely will show fingerprints and smudges, even after a few minutes of casual use. If you’re worried about any of the above, then a case is the way to go.
Wireless charging There’s a reason why Apple revived the glass back. The material is more conducive to wireless charging – which can’t travel through metals – and the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are Apple’s first phones that support the
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technology. You can top up your iPhone 8’s battery with any wireless charging pad that uses the Qi standard – just place your iPhone on the pad, and it will begin to charge. It will make the same charging chime and flash the lightning bolt indicator, just as it does with a Lightning connector. Have a case on your phone? No problem: if it’s not metal, it should charge just fine through the case. I’ve tested out the iPhone 8’s charging capabilities with several different cases and haven’t had any problems. I didn’t think this would be a feature that I cared much about, but it turns out, I do. I love that I can just set my iPhone down on the charging pad by my desk or on my nightstand without having to fiddle with a Lightning cable. It will be a lot better when Apple releases its AirPower charging pad in 2018, where I should be able to charge my new Apple Watch Series 3, my iPhone 8 Plus, and my AirPods all on the same pad. There are some downsides to wireless charging, however. To start, you can’t ignore the cost. Apple still provides a Lightning cable in the box when you buy your new iPhone 8 or 8 Plus, but if you picked up one of the charging pads that Apple sells in stores (either from Belkin or Mophie), which will set you back an additional £54.95 from tinyurl.com/y7dw7Lp6 and tinyurl.com/ y7xzbk9e respectively. It’s common to have Lightning cables in every room in the house, but to do the same with charging pads could be a major investment. Wireless charging doesn’t boast of any speed improvements, either. Apple states that wireless charging is about as fast as the included Lightning cable and wall plug, and our testing lines up with that claim.
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Apple sells third-party wireless pads, such as this one from Mophie
There aren’t any wireless charging pads that support fast charging on the market yet, so if you need to reload your battery quickly, you’re better off using a USB-C to Lightning cable with a compatible power adaptor. Also, you can’t use your iPhone while it’s charging, which is annoying. Plus, make sure you pay attention to how you place your iPhone down on the charging pad – if it doesn’t line up with the sensors properly, it won’t charge. During my first overnight charge, I had slightly missed the target and the phone was dead before morning. Because of these reasons, I suggest starting with one pad and keeping it on your nightstand for overnight charging.
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Performance, speed, and special features The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus have a brand new chip: Apple’s A11 Bionic, which boasts a six-core CPU and 64-bit architecture. Apple claims that its two performance cores are 25 percent faster than the iPhone 7’s A10 Fusion chip, while it’s four efficiency cores are 70 percent faster. Our Geekbench speed tests support that claim (see the graph below). All I noticed was speed on both devices, especially when compared to my year-old iPhone 7 Plus, which has been sluggish for the last month or so. Apps launched right away, unlocking the phones with Touch ID was quicker than ever, Apple Pay was seamless, and video streaming via Apple Music, Netflix, and YouTube had little to no delay. Running powerful image-editing applications such as Adobe Lightroom? Not a problem
The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are much faster than their predecessors, based on our Geekbench tests. Longer bars are better
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on either phone. Graphics-heavy games like Super Mario Run with large files? Also fast. Even installing new programs and running updates felt fast. The speed is most noticeable when playing around with augmented reality apps. There are a small handful of AR offerings in the App Store – home decorating apps from Ikea and Housecraft, Sky Guide AR for star gazing, and a dinosaur app called Monster Park – Dino World to name a few – and the iPhone 8 handles all of these better than the iPhone 7. They are ridiculously fun to play around with, too: the apps prompt you to scan the floor around you, which takes just a few seconds, and then you’ll have dinosaurs stomping around your living room in no time. I also noticed slightly better battery performance, too. Both the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus survived a heavy
More AR dinosaurs, please
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day of use while I was at Disneyland without needing a charge, where I was constantly snapping photos and videos for my Instagram story, texting, playing games while waiting in line for rides, streaming music, and more. A normal day of use still fares better than my iPhone 7 Plus, every single day that I’ve been testing these phones. Officially, Apple says that battery life is about the same between the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 (12 hours of internet use on the iPhone 8, 13 hours on the iPhone 8 Plus), so your mileage will vary. On a normal use day, I typically have around 25 percent left on the iPhone 8 and 30 percent on the 8 Plus; my iPhone 7 Plus usual hovers somewhere around 15 percent. Chances are, you won’t notice much of a difference unless
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your older phone has experienced some performance issues (as mine has). As for call quality, every call I made on both the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus sounded crystal clear, both when using Wi-Fi-based calling or FaceTime calls and while making calls over my cellular network. I haven’t experienced any of the crackling issues that have plagued other iPhone 8 owners. Luckily, Apple has pushed out an iOS 11 update (iOS 11.0.2) that should fix the crackle problem, if you have it. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus maintain the same level of water resistance as the iPhone 7, with a IP67 rating (you can submerge your iPhone for up to 30 minutes in a depth of 1.5m). I took them for a quick dunk in a swimming pool. One caveat: you’ll have to dry off your Home button to use Touch ID, and you should make sure your camera lenses are dry, too. Another welcome feature is the iPhone 8’s TrueTone Retina HD display, which automatically adjusts the white balance on the display to better match the ambient light around you. It’s really noticeable when you compare the iPhone 7 to the iPhone 8 – the iPhone 8 (and 8 Plus) look crisper and warmer. If you don’t have an older iPhone handy, you can toggle this setting off or on while setting up your new iPhone 8 or 8 Plus to see the difference.
The camera Looking at specifications alone, it doesn’t look like the iPhone 8 or 8 Plus has improved their cameras much over the iPhone 7 or 7 Plus. But when using the cameras in the field, there are noticeable improvements.
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The iPhone 8 has a 12 megapixel back-facing camera, with ƒ/1.8 aperture and digital zoom capabilities up to 5x – just like the iPhone 7. It still has optical image stabilization, a quad-LED True Tone flash, noise reduction, auto HDR, and all of the other marquee iPhone 7 camera features. I’ve been using the Plus version of Apple’s phones since the launch of the iPhone 6, and the Plus has always had a better camera over its baby brother. I was really impressed with what the iPhone 8 can do with its camera – all of the photos I took look great, with vibrant colours and sharp details that I wasn’t expecting to see. The camera app hasn’t changed at all in iOS 11, so you can launch it and start taking great photos right away. Because of the speedy A11 Bionic chip, the camera was quick to focus and snap pictures, even if I was in motion. The iPhone 8 Plus has more to offer. Both the 7 Plus and 8 Plus cameras still rock dual 12Mp setups, with a wide-angle lens at an aperture of f/1.8 with OIS, and telephoto lens at f/2.8. The 8 Plus has upgraded its Sony sensor to be more power efficient and to allow ‘deeper’ pixels over the iPhone 7 Plus. Immediately, I noticed a better colour balance on the iPhone 8 Plus over the 7 Plus. Colours were just a bit more vibrant, but in a natural way – nothing seemed heavily filtered or oversaturated. My nighttime and dusk shots had also greatly improved, as the iPhone 8 Plus is better equipped to handle low-light photos (see overleaf). You still can see some levels of graininess in lowlight environments, especially if you’re using the zoom,
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The iPhone 8 (top) versus the iPhone 8 Plus (bottom). While the 8 Plus has better sharpness, vibrancy, and balance, both cameras capture beautiful landscape shots
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iPhone 7 Plus
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iPhone 8 Plus
There’s a noticeable difference between the iPhone 8 and the others – the 8 had trouble focusing with the neon signs. There’s a slight difference between the 7 Plus and 8 Plus, with the neon shining a little brighter on the 8 Plus
but it offers better results than the 7 Plus. Mind you, I am not a professional photographer by any means. I don’t own a DSLR, and I’m mostly concerned with how good my photos look for Instagram-related purposes – but even I can clearly see the differences. One feature that left me disappointed is the iPhone 8 Plus’s Portrait Lighting mode, which uses depth and facial recognition to selectively alter the image to recreate professional-grade studio lighting effects. This feature is still in beta, so I can’t judge it too harshly
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yet, but some of our results so far leave much to be desired. Two modes – Studio Light and Contour Light – performed okay, adding a nice level of backlighting and facial details that could be useful in certain settings. However, Stage Light and Stage Light Mono look flat-out silly most of the time. Use these sparingly. Luckily, the default Portrait Mode setting – Natural Light – is a joy to work with. The bokeh effect is soft and subtle, and the clarity of most photo subjects is excellent.
Verdict It’s difficult to put a label on the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. It’s a definite update from 2016’s iPhone 7 – even though it looks almost exactly the same – but it’s different enough that it doesn’t deserve to be given an ‘S’ naming scheme. To me, it feels more like an ‘iPhone 7 and three-quarters’: too different to be a 7, not quite different enough to be bumped into a new category. And that’s why, understandably, some iPhone diehards may be bored with the iPhone 8. It’s a big improvement, but not quite innovative enough to be exciting. All of the innovation hype lies with November’s release of the iPhone X.
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However, the iPhone X might be too radical for many users. Remember when we all flipped out over the loss of the headphone jack on the iPhone 7? For some, losing Touch ID and relying on gestures for navigation instead of a Home button will be just as hard of an adjustment. The iPhone 8 might be playing it safe, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. So, who is the 8 and 8 Plus for? If you’re on the iPhone Upgrade Plan (or other similar plan with your carrier), you have no interest in the iPhone X, and the cost difference between your current phone and an 8 isn’t that much, this is a worthwhile upgrade. If you’re rocking an iPhone 6s or older, the improvements here will be noticeable, too. But if you’re on an iPhone 7 and still love it, you can probably stick with your current phone for one more year and be just fine. Leah Yamshon
Specifications iPhone 8 • 4.7in (1334x750, 326ppi) IPS touchscreen • iOS 11 • Apple A11 Bionic processor • Hexa-core (2x Monsoon + 4x Mistral) • Apple GPU • 2GB RAM • 64/256GB storage • 12Mp, f/1.8, 28mm, phase detection autofocus, OIS, quad-LED (dual tone) flash • 7Mp, f/2.2, 1080p@30fps, 720p@240fps, face detection, HDR, panorama • Wi-Fi 802.11ac
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• A-GPS/GLONASS • Bluetooth 5.0 • NFC • USB 2.0 • 1,821mAh non-removable lithium-ion battery • Front-mounted fingerprint sensor • 138.4x67.3x7.3mm • 148g iPhone 8 Plus • 5.5in (1920x1080, 401ppi) IPS display • iOS 11 • Apple A11 Bionic processor • Hexa-core (2x Monsoon + 4x Mistral) • Apple GPU • 3GB RAM • 64/256GB storage • Dual 12Mp, (28mm, f/1.8, OIS and 56mm, f/2.8), phase detection autofocus, 2x optical zoom, quad-LED (dual tone) flash • 7Mp, f/2.2, 1080p@30fps, 720p@240fps, face detection, HDR, panorama • Wi-Fi 802.11ac • A-GPS/GLONASS • Bluetooth 4.1 • NFC • Micro-USB 3.0 • 2,691mAh non-removable lithium-ion battery • Front-mounted fingerprint sensor • 158.4x78.1x7.5mm • 202g
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iOS 11 Price: Free Download from: iTunes
t seems like almost every year Apple crows that the latest iOS update is the greatest one yet. Yes, when you incrementally add features and fix bugs, every new version is fundamentally better than the previous one. But iOS 11 is more than that: This is a substantial upgrade that dramatically transforms iPad productivity while offering a host of new features that have the potential to make the world around us both safer and more entertaining than ever before.
Changes you can’t miss The day you buy a new iPhone or iPad should be a time of joy. Instead, it’s frequently a frustrating exercise
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in entering in passwords repeatedly while tapping through a long series of questions about activating or deactivating numerous iOS features. Apple’s been gradually improving this process over the years, but it takes a big step forward with the new auto-setup features in iOS 11. In iOS 11, you can transfer key features (including settings, and your keychain passwords) directly between devices by pointing your old iPhone’s camera at the new model, which displays a pattern that allows the two devices to pair with each other wirelessly and begin transferring information. When all was said and done, I still needed to restore my iCloud backup and reload apps from the App Store, but the process was measurably smoother than ever before. Assuming that everyone updates their old devices to iOS 11 before buying new iPhones, this year’s iPhone upgrades should be much smoother for new phone buyers. Control Centre, the interface that lets you make quick changes to your iPhone with a quick swipe up from the bottom of the screen, is completely redesigned in iOS 11. Gone is the old three-page interface, replaced with a single page of icons, buttons, and sliders. You can customize Control Centre now – for example, to add a button to enable Low Power Mode or remove the button for HomeKit. Most of the buttons also provide additional features if you 3D Touch them (or tap and hold if you’re not on a 3D-touch-capable device). It’s a great upgrade. I especially have come to like the slider controls for volume and brightness. Some
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The new Control Centre (right) is customizable via the Settings app (left)
features, such as switching audio output devices or turning on and off a HomeKit device, are now a little less obvious, but once you get used to the new approach, they’re not really harder to access than they were in iOS 10. (I still don’t understand why you can’t quickly switch Wi-Fi networks from Control Centre, though.) With iOS 11, Apple has addressed one of my biggest complaints with notifications on my lock screen and in Notification Centre by bringing them in to alignment with one another. With iOS 11, the lock screen and Notification Centre are merged together,
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The App Store app has been completely redesigned, with a large feature area containing articles about apps, and a simplified app detail screen
with the current time, currently playing audio, and current and recent notifications, all scrollable. I used to ‘lose’ notifications after unlocking my phone, and they wouldn’t be visible in Notification Centre, but that seems to be all fixed now. Perhaps the most important part of iOS as a platform is the App Store, so it’s understandable that Apple has been reluctant to mess with success. But with iOS 11, consider it messed: The App Store app has been completely redesigned. There’s a new visual look (inherited from the iOS 10 design of Apple Music),
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with big banners and large, graphic-rich boxes. But more impressive is the editorial commitment Apple is making, with articles spotlighting the app and game of the day, as well as other featured items. In iOS 11, the App Store is a richer, more fun experience – and, I suspect, a more effective tool for selling us more apps. The first time you hop in a car with an iPhone running iOS 11, you’ll be prompted to turn on Do Not Disturb When Driving, a variant on Do Not Disturb that senses you’re in a vehicle (either via sensors or by connecting to a car via Bluetooth) and disables all but the most important alerts. In this mode, app notifications are blocked, as are phone calls and texts from all but the people you choose. You can set the iPhone to auto-reply to certain people you specify, who can then break through the text block if it’s urgent. This is a great feature that’s bound to save lives and prevent traffic accidents. It’s so easy to be distracted while driving, especially by the avalanche of push notifications that our apps send to us regularly. The allowances for call and text overrides are helpful, so I can know that my family can reach me when I’m driving even if I’d prefer not to be bothered by anyone else. While Apple could’ve added many more settings for this feature, I’m glad that it kept things simple. You can’t set apps to break through, for example, and I think that’s Apple’s message that no app notification is worth creating a distracted driver.
Subtle changes Some iOS 11 changes are a little more subtle. The Apple News app is more personalized in iOS 11, with
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You can activate the one-handed keyboard (right) via a new element at the bottom of the keyboard picker (left)
support for a ‘spotlight topic’. If you frequently hold your iPhone in one hand, there’s a new one-handed keyboard layout that pushes all the keys to the left or right side of the screen, so your fingers can reach every key – even on the emoji keyboard. (You bring it up by tapping and holding on the emoji/keyboard button; to return to a normal keyboard, just tap the arrow at the large empty area.) This is an especially nice feature on the larger iPhone Plus models. Apple has added a bunch of features to iOS 11 that aren’t particularly new, even on iOS – but now that they’re integrated into the core apps that come with iOS, they’ll probably find a wider audience than did before. Notes now has a document-scanner mode that will automatically detect the edges of a piece of paper held in front of your device’s camera and use those edges to intelligently crop and adjust the image so that it looks more or less like you scanned it on a flatbed scanner. Notes also now includes OCR (optical character recognition) technology, so when
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you scan or hand-write text (rather than typing it on a keyboard), your device will figure out that text and make it searchable. The Maps app is adding lane guidance, which is a welcome addition – but also one that Google has offered in Google Maps for some time. A few more of the subtle changes:
• You now have much better control over Live Photos • Videos and photos are stored in more compact formats and converted on the fly to larger but more compatible formats for sharing (learn more) • You can send money to friends via Apple Pay in Messages (this feature isn’t available until later this autumn) • Siri has an improved voice and a bunch of new features, including translation • Apple Music has added a social layer that shows you what music your friends are enjoying • You can now set the behaviour of a double-tap on the left and right AirPods separately, so (for example) tapping on the right AirPod advances to the next track while tapping on the left one plays or pauses audio
Changes that will take time Most iOS features arrive fully formed, but there’s a whole category of features that won’t reach their potential for a little while, because they rely on outside app or hardware developers to support them. ARKit, Apple’s framework for augmented reality apps – apps that can take a live image captured by
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Apps like PCalc (left) and Carrot Weather (right) have been updated to include AR features. Other AR applications both silly and useful will fill iOS devices this autumn
your device’s camera and then place virtual objects into that space and display the mixed result on the screen – has the potential to be huge. This fall we’ll be inundated with AR apps, most bad, some mindblowingly good. There’s huge potential here, but we’ll need to see how app developers respond to this new technology over the next few months. Similarly, the new Files app looks great. It’s essentially an update of the old iCloud Drive app
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The iOS 11 Files app is a file browser for iCloud Drive and other cloud services
that has expanded its horizons. It’s a full-fledged file browser, so if you’d like to manage files on your iOS device, you can. (If you don’t want to, you don’t need to! Unlike Finder, which is at the centre of the Mac experience, Files is an app like any other, and if you never open it, you’ll basically never see it.) Third-party apps can hook into Files, which means that every possible cloud-storage service you can think of – Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, OneDrive, even SFTP and
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SMB servers – should be able to hook into Files and appear as a peer to iCloud and local storage. This will be a big deal for professionals who need to store and manage files in the cloud – but I’m reserving judgment until I see which players properly support it, and how well it works in practice. Finally, there’s AirPlay 2, Apple’s latest iteration of its device-to-devices media streaming protocol. The proof in AirPlay 2’s quality will be in how well it interacts with hardware, both from Apple and from other manufacturers. Only then will we know if AirPlay is a boon or a bust.
Changes for iPad Some of the most dramatic changes in iOS 11 are limited to the iPad. It’s been two years since the last iOS update to feature prominent iPad-only features, and this year Apple has tweaked many of the multitasking features introduced in iOS 9. This update also brings numerous other iPad-focused features, whether you’re an Apple Pencil user or someone who tends to focus on the software keyboard. Everyone who uses iOS 11 will notice that the Dock at the bottom of the home screen has been redesigned (and the name labels on apps removed), but on the iPad the Dock (not Control Centre) is accessible by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. This enables fast switching between apps, but also provides a palette of app icons that can be dragged out into the iPad interface to create multitasking pairs. Drag an icon out of the Dock to the right or left of the screen, and you’ll see a preview of Split View multitasking. Let go and the
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The iOS 11 multitasking view on an iPad, complete with a new Dock (bottom) and the redesigned Control Centre (right)
second app opens right next to the one you’re running. (Dragging an app into a more central area or onto the border between two existing apps will place it into Slide Over rather than Split View. While apps in Slide Over behave more or less as they did in iOS 9 and 10, they now appear as a floating window rather than an overlay that comes in from the right side.) It’s a carefully thought out system that makes multitasking more accessible and tactile. Apps that are
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Two apps side by side in iOS 11, with the Dock swiped up at bottom and the Files app providing quick access to recent files
in a pair stay together until you unlink them, allowing you to create several pairs of apps and switch among them. While Apple could’ve built the system with more granularity of control (and perhaps that will be an option someday), I think iOS 11 strikes the right balance when it comes to multitasking. The one major drawback is that if an app isn’t in your Dock, it’s much harder to add it to multitasking. (If you’re using a hardware keyboard, you can do a Spotlight search and drag the
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app icon out of the search results, but that doesn’t work if you don’t have a keyboard attached.) iOS 11 brings true drag-and-drop functionality to the platform for the first time. For iPhone users, this feature is limited to dragging data around within an app. But on the iPad, you can drag data between apps. It’s a great feature, though apps have to be updated to really take advantage of it. This feature actually surpasses my expectations, because not only can you drag items between on-screen apps, you can actually begin dragging data and then use the multitasking view to move to a different app, then drop it there. That’s a multi-finger gesture that’s a little complicated to execute, but it feels natural – and it opens every single app on your iPad to dragging and dropping. It’s another huge boost for iPad productivity. There are a few other great changes that iPad users will love. You can now set Notes to open automatically when you tap on the lock screen with an Apple Pencil, which essentially turns your iPad into an on-demand notepad. And on the 9.7- and 10.5in iPads, the new QuickType keyboard lets you type a second characters by tapping with a slight downward swipe. Once you get used to it, it makes typing symbols and numbers far more fluid than when you had to toggle to a different keyboard, tap a key, and then switch back to the standard set of letters.
Verdict If you’re an iPad user, download iOS 11 immediately. It’s a huge update that makes major improvements to the two-year-old multitasking features, and drag-
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and-drop and Files have the potential to transform iPad productivity. If you’re an iPhone user – well, who are we kidding, you’re almost certainly going to upgrade to iOS 11, too. And you’ll be right to do so. This is a great collection of new features, Apple’s best iOS upgrade in years. The new, customizable Control Centre is a winner. Do Not Disturb While Driving will make the roads safer. And ARKit threatens to kick off a revolution in augmentedreality applications. This is all great stuff. Jason Snell
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Apple Watch Series 3 Price: From £329 Buy from: tinyurl.com/ybpo5k6k
pple Watch Series 3 has relieved my Forgotten Phone Anxiety. You know the feeling: You reach your destination and paw at the outside of your pocket to feel the phone-sized lump and it isn’t there. And you panic.
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Mind you, my stomach still drops when I realize my phone isn’t with me (even times when I had purposefully left it at home), but now my fears quickly subside. With an LTE-equipped Apple Watch Series 3 on my wrist, I don’t need to turn around and head back to my house. I know that if someone is trying to get in touch with me, they can, and if an urgent email comes in, I can answer it. That being said, I didn’t need more than a couple days with my LTE-equipped Apple Watch Series 3 to see that it’s not meant to be away from an iPhone for very long. Its main selling point might be independence, but it’s still a generation or two away from being a full replacement for your iPhone.
Design Reviews of Apple products generally devote many words to design, but there’s not a lot to say about Apple Watch Series 3. It’s the same dimensions as Series 2 (38.6x33.3x11.4mm or 42.5x36.4x11.4mm, depending on which size you choose), and there’s just one new colour, grey, in the £1,299 ceramic Edition model, as well as a tweaked gold aluminium to match the iPhone 8. That means all old bands, stands, and chargers will work fine. If you want to be picky, it’s about a millimetre thicker than the Series 1 model Apple is still selling. But that’s with more storage (16- vs 8GB), a bigger battery, GPS, 50m water resistance, a barometric altimeter, and, of course, cellular. I’ve tested several LTE-enabled Android Wear watches that make the 42mm Apple Watch look small, so putting such
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capabilities in the 38mm model is nothing less than a remarkable feat of engineering. Some people are likely to fixate on is the red dot on the Digital Crown. There doesn’t appear to be any technical reason for it, so it’s safe to assume it’s strictly there to distinguish itself from the non-cellular models. And that it does. I never really noticed the colour of the Digital Crown before, but the red circle (see above) was hard to miss against my test model’s silver aluminium body and seashell sport loop band. I like it, but I could see why people despise it so much, especially if you’re the kind of person who constantly changes bands. It’s a curious design choice, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see similar flourishes on future models. Apple Watch’s design is already iconic, and I don’t see a massive redesign in the cards for Series 4 or 5. Apple positions its watch as a luxury item such as a Rolex or Omega, so the familiarity of the design is important. The red dot is a perfect way to showcase newness, even status, without changing what makes Apple Watch so recognizable.
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Performance While it might look the same as models that came before, Apple Watch Series 3 couldn’t be more different on the inside. Along with LTE, there’s also a new S3 processor and W2 wireless chips, which give it a tremendous speed boost. Navigation and animations are much smoother now, but most importantly, apps open much quicker. The speed of third-party apps was a pretty major pain point with previous generations of Apple Watch (particularly the original model, which most people will be upgrading from), and the new internals make a huge difference. I didn’t experience any lag when launching stock apps, and third-party ones rarely showed the spinning loading ring while updating. Even raise-towake seems quicker (though the lack of an always-on display is still annoying). That makes Apple Watch Series 3 much more of a standalone device, even without LTE. Where I mostly relied on my old Apple Watch for quick notifications, by the end of my testing I was instinctively using my Series 3 to respond to messages, check sports scores, even read headlines. Siri’s responsiveness is particularly impressive, but everything from stocks to sports to weather now load within a second or two. By the time the S4 chip comes around, watch apps will be just as fast as the ones on our iPhones, if not faster.
Battery life Apple claims the same 18-hour battery life with either the LTE or non-LTE Series 3 Apple Watches, but as with all battery claims, that doesn’t tell the whole
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story. Apple doesn’t like to give technical specs for its batteries, but iFixit’s teardown found a 279mAh cell inside the 38mm LTE model, a minuscule upgrade over the Series 2’s 273mAh battery. iFixit didn’t open a 42mm model, but presumably its battery is also a little larger than the Series 2 model’s 334mAh one. But while Apple Watch’s battery is a good deal smaller than most of its competitors’, it pretty much blows them all away. With a phone nearby most of the time, I breezed through a full day and most of a second. That includes wearing it while I slept, making calls, checking scores, responding to messages, getting directions – all the usual things you’d do while wearing it. While Series 3 might pale in comparison to Fitbit Ionic’s four- to five- day battery life, OG Apple Watch upgraders will surely see a nice boost in battery life. Granted, those numbers deteriorate pretty quickly when relying exclusively on LTE. When I left my phone at home and used my watch for everything – including a lengthy stretch of listening to music, a couple Apple Pay purchases, driving directions, and liberal use of the Siri face – I barely got through 8 hours. When I made a straight hour of phone calls, my battery dropped to 68 percent. An hour of music mixed with messages and emails cost a little more than 10 percent. But that’s not a typical use case. When jumping between phone and LTE connection as most people will
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do, I was easily able to make it through a full day. With the exception of making calls and listening to music, I measure my Apple Watch interactions in seconds, not minutes, but even when using it far more than I normally would (both tethered and independently), I never needed to resort to Power Reserve mode.
A healthy boost for athletes Apple has packed its Series 3 watch with some new fitness features as well, and it stacks up well to Fitbitâ€™s New Ionic watch, with an expanded and enhanced Workout app, and a barometric altimeter designed to
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measure elevation. Older watches still measure flights climbed, but it’s that much more accurate on Apple Watch Series 3. Apple hasn’t actually updated the heart-rate sensor for its Series 3 watch, but it’s extracting a whole lot more out of it. Launch the Heart Rate app, and you’ll get a bunch of new data, including your current beatsper-minute reading as well as your resting rate and walking average. Even as a non-athlete, I found it useful, especially the feature that alerts you to any abnormalities (thankfully I didn’t get to test it, however). But music is Apple Watch Series 3’s killer new fitness feature. All throughout watchOS 4 there are little touches that make it easier to listen and control your music: You can swipe left in the Workout app to bring up music controls, a Now Playing box appears on the Siri watch face, and the music app will automatically sync playlists while charging. However, you still can’t play music through the Apple Watch’s speaker, and proper LTE streaming won’t arrive until the upcoming 4.1 update.
LTE brings it all together All of the above upgrades are nice, but Apple Watch Series 3 is all about one thing: its cellular connection. For the first time, an Apple Watch can operate independently of your phone, and it’s liberating. I’ve used a variety of LTE watches from Samsung, LG, and ZTE, and Apple Watch Series 3 is the first that delivers on its promise. Setup with the eSim and my mobile account was remarkably simple, taking less than a minute, and the only setting to speak of is an on/off
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When you walk away from your phone with an LTE Apple Watch, you don’t need to freak out anymore
toggle. LTE takes over when your watch is out of range of your phone. I was very aware of when it was running at first, but after a couple days I stopped obsessively checking to see if my watch was connected. It’s not perfect, however. I didn’t have anywhere near the constant problems with unauthenticated networks that some early reviewers experienced, but there were still instances where my watch showed a red ‘x’ while roaming to indicate that it was disconnected from the cellular network. Resetting my phone’s network settings and deleting some old saved networks my Mac helped immensely, but that’s not something you should have to do to ensure a stable connection. Apple issued the
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4.0.1 update while writing this review to correct it, but it didn’t fix some of my other occasional problems. In poor coverage areas, I found that the watch routinely dropped its connection where my phone was able to hang on with a bar or two. If I was on a call when I left my house, it consistently dropped when switching from Wi-Fi to cellular. And once it required a hard reset to get LTE going on my watch again. In strong coverage areas, however, my watch worked great. Overall my issues were infrequent and as expected for a first-generation product. I did want the ability to add a cellular complication to any watch face. The antenna isn’t nearly as strong as it is on the iPhone, and unless you’re using the Explorer face, you can’t quickly tell how strong your connection is without heading into the mini Control Centre first. I’m hoping this is a new feature in watchOS 4.1, along with a fix for my Wi-Fi handoff issues. But even with the above hiccups, LTE on Apple Watch Series 3 is game-changing. I routinely left my phone on the charger while leaving the house for quick errands or to pick up my son from school, and my watch dutifully kept me up-to-date with notifications. I never missed a message, call, score, or breaking news brief, and Siri’s improved responsiveness let me quickly send messages over LTE without needing to scribble letters on the screen. And at times, my watch actually refreshed faster than when it was tethered to my phone.
watchOS still a work in progress Just because you can use Apple Watch without your phone doesn’t make it an iPhone replacement. Even
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with watchOS 4, many third-party apps still depend on the phone for data retrieval, and things like checking my Twitter timeline, controlling my Hue lights, or peeking at my Ring video doorbell feed just weren’t possible. Developers have slowly been moving away from building Apple Watch apps – just recently Twitter disappeared from the store, and I had major issues with it even before that happened – but I’m hopeful LTE compels them to get back on board. And here’s something that would help spur interest: an on-watch App Store. It’s one of the best features of Android Wear 2.0, and it would be awesome to quickly find and install a watch app while away from our phones. Also missing is a stock Notes app. While there are a few third-party options, I wanted a way to quickly
Say goodbye to the honeycomb screen with watchOS 4’s list option
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ask Siri to take a note and have it sync back to my iPhone. As it stands, that can’t happen. I love having a list view for apps, but the new Dock isn’t as great. It’s basically a task manager/app switcher, and I much preferred the original Glances or watchOS 3’s snapshots, which would let you get little bits of info without actually opening the app. With the new method, apps need to be launched before they’re updated, like the iPhone’s app switcher. Fast app switching isn’t nearly as useful on the watch as it is on the phone, and I’d like to see Apple revert to the old version in watch OS 5. Glanceability is important, and it’s not really there in watchOS 4. My favourite new watch face on watch OS 4 was already the Siri one (sorry Buzz and Woody), but Apple Watch Series 3 takes it to a new level. With LTE connectivity, the Siri face is even more useful when my phone’s not around, as it continuously shows a stream of news, weather, stocks, and photos. LTE and the Siri face didn’t seem to have a noticeable impact on battery life. Third-party app support would make the Siri face that much better, but something tells me we’ll have to wait a while before that arrives. But mostly watchOS is a step, not a leap, forward. There are still occasional bugs. For example, I couldn’t take a screenshot despite toggling, restarting, and repairing, and the side button is less useful than ever. But you’re still not going to find a better wearable platform.
Verdict For my purposes, Apple Watch Series 3 is a software update and a couple apps away from being my dream
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device. But even in its current form, it’s miles ahead of its closest competitor when it comes to functionality and parsecs ahead with design. There’s a reason Apple hasn’t visually changed its watch in three generations: it’s nearly perfect. You can quibble over price, but it’s a bit like comparing a Casio watch to a Tag Heuer or a Rolex. You can save a few bucks by getting a cheaper Android Wear or Fitbit watch, but you’ll definitely get your money’s worth by choosing an Apple Watch Series 3. At £329 for the GPS model or £399 for LTE, it’s hardly a luxury item anymore. Granted, you can spend £1,199 on a ceramic Edition or Hermès double tour, but the affordable entrylevel sport models look and act just as good. Apple is the only company committed to developing a solid wearable platform. Fitbit’s Ionic is initially underwhelming as a smartwatch, Samsung’s Tizen OS is still struggling with security and adoption, and we’ve yet to see a meaningful Android Wear 2.0 watch after six months of public availability. LTE has its issues – most of which will be snuffed out in the first software update – but Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE is the first cellular smartwatch to get it right. Apple Watch Series 3 might not be an iPhone replacement, but it’s the closest thing to an all-day, independent wearable you’re likely to find. And it’s the best remedy for Forgotten Phone Anxiety. Michael Simon
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Latest iOS games Andrew Hayward looks at this month’s best new releases
he past month was a huge one for iPhone hardware, from the now-released iPhone 8 and 8 Plus to the upcoming iPhone X, but you don’t need a new device to have a little fun right now. We saw loads of intriguing new iPhone and iPad games debut. These are the games that made the strongest impression, from the ethereal Flower and puzzling The Witness to the frantic online battles of Modern Combat Versus and the glossy hoops action of NBA 2K18.
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1. Flower Price: £4.99 from tinyurl.com/y924oxcs First released for PlayStation 3 in 2009, Flower is one of my all-time favourite video games, so imagine my surprise when it popped up on the App Store. It’s a quiet, almost meditative experience in which you control actual flower petals, beginning with one and then guiding it around open spaces with the breeze to activate other flowers and re-beautify the surroundings. Yes, it’s an 'art game’, but it’s a really gorgeous and unexpectedly emotional one. And it works pretty well on iOS, letting you tilt your device to send the petals soaring around as you tap and hold the screen. I can’t recommend it enough.
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2. The Witness Price: £9.99 from tinyurl.com/ycuqr7tc Six months after its Mac debut, The Witness is now also available on iOS, and it’s surely one of the meatiest and most engrossing puzzle games found on the App Store. This first-person experience finds you on a vibrant, deserted island filled with hundreds of puzzles, and you’ll wander about the world and try and solve them to figure out the mystery at hand. The brain-teasers start simply enough with little maze puzzles on placards, which you’ll solve by drawing your finger from start to finish, but they quickly become significantly more complicated and start to be more intertwined with your surroundings. It could take you dozens of hours to play through The Witness, but it seems like it’d be time well spent.
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3. Modern Combat Versus Price: Free from tinyurl.com/yddaloty Gameloft’s Modern Combat series has been a reliable source for online multiplayer thrills over the years, even if it’s pretty much been a carbon copy of Call of Duty – and this time around, there’s no single-player campaign mode to pull you away from the competitive action. That’s right: as the title suggests, Modern Combat Versus is all about online play. Luckily, it’s all pretty impressive. This is easily one of the best-looking games I’ve ever played on iPhone or iPad, ramping up the ‘console-quality’ claim to new heights, and the controls are a bit simpler this time around to make the first-person blasting even more manageable. It’s still a free-to-play game, so there might be some annoyances along the way, but the core action is stronger than ever.
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4. NBA 2K18 Price: £7.99 from tinyurl.com/y9tzoorc Looking to shoot some hoops on your commute? 2K Sports is back with NBA 2K18, which delivers another impressive on-the-go simulation. While it’ll never be quite as flashy or fully-featured as the console game, the iOS rendition does a stellar job of capturing the quality of the larger experience in a much cheaper package. The players look (mostly) lifelike in motion and the gameplay is realistic and entertaining, plus there are in-depth modes available beyond doing quick pickup matches. For example, The Association mode lets you guide a franchise across multiple seasons, while the MyCareer mode has you control just one player during his NBA ascent, instead of a full team. It’s pretty flashy for £7.99, considering the source material.
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5. Push & Pop Price: Free from tinyurl.com/y6udhhxs Looking for something free and fun to fill a few minutes during the day? Push & Pop might do the trick. This little puzzle game is hugely appealing, bringing together elements from Tetris and modern mobile classic Threes. In essence, you’ll push around boxes to create complete lines and clear them from the board, creating space in the process. However, in a very Threes-like move, the action takes place in a very compact area, and every time you move, a new box comes onto the screen. That means you’ll need to continue steadily clearing lines to have room to keep playing. It’s claustrophobic but really compelling, with the thumping synth soundtrack and changing colours keeping the excitement high all the while.
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6. Iron Marines Price: £4.99 from tinyurl.com/yby43e95 The Kingdom Rush tower defence series just kept getting better and better, but rather than pump out a fourth entry, developer Ironhide has turned its attention to real-time strategy with Iron Marines. It looks much the same as the previous games and even has a similar interface, but instead of holding down the fort by building offensive towers, you’ll explore alien planets and blast their aggressive inhabitants to bits. Even with the shift in game style, it doesn’t feel dramatically different from Kingdom Rush, but’s that’s because it’s just as smartly streamlined and built for on-thego action. It’s pretty hearty, though: Iron Marines has 14 main campaign missions, 10 more special ops, an ‘impossible mode’, and loads of upgrades to unlock.
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7. Stormbound Price: Free from tinyurl.com/y6u7varw Kongregate’s Stormbound makes an incredibly strong first impression with a dazzling art style that’s a bit like Monument Valley crossed with Severed. And then as the tutorial unfolds, the card-based gameplay seems really smart – almost like a Clash Royale filtered through the game of chess. Sorry, that’s too many comparisons. The point is, the bits and pieces of Stormbound reminded me of other games I love, but it seems to have a unique strength all its own. That’s my first impression, at least. User reviews are a bit more mixed here, with some saying the free-to-play model is punishing and the randomization of cards can kill the fun. It’s free, though, and it’s a game I plan to come back to.
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8. Thimbleweed Park Price: £9.99 from tinyurl.com/y9jc8kud Got a thing for old-school, point-and-click adventure games? If so, then you’ll want to check out Thimbleweed Park. Designed by Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick, a couple of the greats behind classics like Maniac Mansion and the Monkey Island series, Thimbleweed Park holds true to the retro template with big, chunky pixel graphics and plenty of humour along the way. Set in 1987, the game begins with a murder, but then gets quite weird as five different people try to discover why they’ve been summoned to this town. You’ll control all five at different times to push forward the narrative, all while talking, investigating, and solving puzzles along the way. And it has a Casual mode for a breezier story experience, if you please.
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9. Morphite Price: £7.99 from tinyurl.com/y9kfrt29 We just spotlighted the Mac version of Morphite, but at about half the price and packing the same visual punch, it’s hard not to think the iOS release is the one to check out. Crescent Moon’s latest is a first-person space exploration game in which you’ll travel to distant planets, find and scan odd creatures and plants, and try to survive against threats along the way. The No Man’s Sky comparisons are mostly apt, especially given the look of both games, but Morphite is certainly more streamlined, plus it has its own unique features – like a proper storyline and some sense of progression along the way. The low-polygon look and vibrant colouring is really appealing, and this seems like a cool game to just wander around in.
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10. Opus: Rocket of Whispers Price: Free from tinyurl.com/yagl9akp Opus: Rocket of Whispers has an odd little premise. It’s been 25 years since a plague wiped out much of humanity, and you take the role of a rocket scientist working with a so-called ‘witch’ – who recently woke from a cryogenic slumber – to create a ship to send the ghosts of the dead up to the stars. Oh, and the ghosts are talking to you, begging you to finish the job. It’s weird definitely is, but in a compelling way. Opus hits some emotional notes early on with its storytelling and presentation, and while the core loop of scavenging materials and crafting parts and tools seems like it could wear over time, there’s definitely a hook here that might keep you going. It’s a free download, but costs £1.99 within to unlock the full game.
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iPhone 8 Plus camera test The iPhone 8 Plus’s camera doesn’t seem much of an upgrade, so how does it compare to the 7 Plus’s? Adam Patrick Murray finds out
very new iPhone poses the same question: Are the improvements awesome enough to warrant an upgrade? Well, there are tons of reasons to upgrade, but for this article we’re just comparing cameras. Specifically, I put the iPhone 8 Plus against last year’s model, the 7 Plus, to see how much Apple has improved its camera game.
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iPhone 8 Plus
A quick glance at specs doesn’t reveal too much. Both cameras still rock dual 12Mp setups, with the normal lens at an aperture of f/1.8, and telephoto lens at f/2.8. Unfortunately, only the normal lens has optical image stabilization (OIS), even though stabilization would be even more useful on the telephoto lens, as it’s more sensitive to camera shakes. Nonetheless, the 8 Plus does upgrade its Sony sensor, which has so-called ‘deeper’ pixels, and is more power efficient. But, for the most part, the raw specifications look the same. So, let’s cut straight to the chase and check out how the photos look in side by side comparisons. For these tests, we did our best to put the two smartphone cameras in tough lighting situations. Afterward, I brought the photos into Adobe Lightroom, and what I found in the iPhone 8 Plus is impressive.
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Colour Right off the bat, we see big improvements in colour balance. I’ve always been critical of Apple for inaccurate white balance, but the 8 Plus finally gets it right. Check out the image below: skin tones look so much better on the 8 Plus, even in low light. Apple boasted about having a new colour filter inside the lenses, but I think some of the better colour reproduction comes down to more accurate processing on the software side.
In this Portrait Mode photo, we see a night and day difference in colour balance. The 8 Plus has the best skin tones I’ve ever seen on a smartphone camera
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Inside our studio, its the same story
The 8 Plus maintains accurate skin tones, even in low light
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Low light Speaking of low light, the iPhone 8 Plus performs much better than the 7 Plus when the lights go dim. We went into one of the darkest parts of the basement and the results are obvious. I still wouldn’t recommend shooting photos in such a dark environment, but if you need to shoot in low light, then know you’ll get better results from the 8 Plus.
In one of the darkest corners of the basement, both phones struggle
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We can see more colour noise on the 8 Plus, but it’s definitely a sharper image
Even shots taken with the telephoto lens are better on the 8 Plus
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Clarity In almost every single photo, the iPhone 8 Plus was noticeably sharper than the 7 Plus. This is due to sharper lenses and the new Apple-designed image signal processor. Most people don’t pixel peep the way I do in the following sets of photos, but I still think the results show the 8 Plus’s superior clarity
Every type of lighting situation produces the same results: The iPhone 8 Plus takes clearer photos
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So much more detail emerges in the shot taken with the 8 Plus
Some shots are closer than others, especially in well lit scenes
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Exposure For all its superior performance, I did come across one interesting quirk on the 8 Plus: In some situations it tends to expose brighter than the 7 Plus. And it only seemed to happen while shooting in Portrait Mode. Right out of the pocket, it’s a punchier photo, and technically the model’s face is exposed properly. But in some ways I’d rather have the darker photo in order to have more dynamic range to play with in post. So It’s really up to you if you think the 8 Plus holds an advantage.
The iPhone 8 Plus blows out the highlights in order to properly expose the model’s face. But this also results in a loss of information
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The blown-out leaf on the left is somewhat distracting. But once again, the model’s face is properly exposed
Portrait Lighting When it comes to Portrait Mode, the iPhone 8 does have a feature that Apple didn’t bring to the 7 Plus – it’s called Portrait Lighting. It’s still in beta, but the idea is simple: Apple uses the depth and facial recognition data in the photo to selectively alter the image to recreate a studio lighting effect. It sounds exciting on paper, but Portrait Lighting delivers half-baked results in practice. In fact, of all the Portrait Lighting modes I tested, I only found one that made sense, and only in certain situations like heavy backlighting. I like the idea of where Apple is going, but as of right now, Portrait Lighting is mostly worthless.
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None of the Portrait Lighting modes made sense for this shot – unless you’re trying to find a creepy Halloween profile photo
This is one situation where the Studio Light mode actually helped the shot. The Contour mode, meanwhile, was almost a viable option
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Studio Light and Contour Light are viable options if they fit your taste
But don’t get too worked up about Portrait Lighting, because the basic Portrait Mode (now called ‘Natural Light’) is still super fun to play with. I mean just look at the photos below. Even though the 8 Plus struggles with definition around hair – just like the 7 Plus – I’m still surprised every time it takes a great shot. Is the bokeh any better on the 8 Plus? I couldn’t really see too many major differences. But you get all the same benefits of the improved sensor, so I’d call the new Portrait Mode a step up from the 7 Plus.
Conclusion Overall, the iPhone 8 Plus is a huge step up from the 7 Plus. Indeed, after looking a bit stagnate for the past few years, Apple has really swung for the fences with its new photography package. I’d never switch over to iOS from Android, but I am definitely envious of this camera.
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Best iOS 11 features Oscar Raymundo reveals his top 10 new features
pple’s latest version of its mobile operating system introduces a handful of brand-new features. In fact, this version of iOS feels like the most ambitious version we’ve seen in a while. Here are the best new features that we already can’t live without.
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1. Siri’s new tricks Siri is one of those features that keeps getting better with each software upgrade, and iOS 11 is no exception. This time, Siri gets a new voice, plus a super-helpful visual interface that lets you even edit your voice request with text input. And now, Siri is able to translate phrases for you – it can process English to Chinese, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. Apple said that it will add more languages in the months to come.
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2. Customizable Control Centre Currently, Control Centre in iOS 10 takes up two panels, so you have to navigate to the second panel to access volume controls. However, iOS 11 brings everything back to a single screen and relies more on 3D Touch. Not only that, but you can also customize which controls you’d like to have on there. You can add new controls to quickly access your Wallet, turn on Low Power Mode, and even start Screen Recording – a new feature for iOS.
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3. New Live Photos effects Apple has given us more reasons to want to take Live Photos, those GIF-like moving images. In iOS 11, you can add effects to your Live Photos after you take them. Find a Live Photo on your camera roll and then swipe up. You will be able to add a looping effect to your photo or make it ‘bounce’ back-and-forth, similar to an Instagram Boomerang. You can also make it a long exposure shot for better photos of low-lit scenarios.
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4. Drag-and-drop on iPad iOS 11 makes for better multitasking on iPad. Now you can drag-and-drop images, links, and files between apps that are open side-by-side, either in Split View or Side Bar mode. In fact, you can drag-and-drop an app from Dock onto Side Bar mode, and drag that secondary app from the right to the left side of the screen.
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5. Mark up your screenshots Every time you take a screenshot in iOS 11, it will automatically remain floating on the lower left. You can swipe it off-screen to save it to your camera roll as per usual, or you can tap on it to go into Markup. So now, you can add handwritten notes or comments either with your finger or with your Apple Pencil if you’re using an iPad Pro.
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6. Social profiles in Apple Music Apple Music gets social in iOS 11. Taking a page from Spotify, Apple Music members now have a profile on the streaming app. You can use your profile page to showcase your favourite playlists, as well as the albums you’ve recently listened to. You can also follow friends on Apple Music, and their profile photo will show up next to the albums they’ve listened to. However, there is currently no way to listen to music on private or secret mode, so be ready for your Apple Music followers to get a glimpse at all your guilty pleasures.
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7. Do Not Disturb While Driving This feature could be a real life-saver. iOS 11 also introduces ‘Do Not Disturb While Driving’, so that the screen goes totally dark when you’re on the road. You can activate this mode manually via Control Centre or have it turn on automatically whenever you’re connected to CarPlay or a car’s Bluetooth. In addition, you can go into your Do Not Disturb Settings to set up an automatic response to all your incoming texts to alert people that you’re driving and will get back to them as soon as you arrive.
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8. Document scanner in Notes There’s no reason to run to the office scanner anymore, thanks to iOS 11. Using the Notes app you can now press the plus (+) sign to access an all-new document scanner. You can scan several documents at once and apply different filters. The scans can be saved inside your Notes, and you can also export them as PDF files that are Markup-friendly, so you can add your signature and send it back.
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9. Search for handwritten Notes Another cool feature that iOS 11 brings to Notes is the ability to search for things you’ve written our by hand. If you prefer to take notes using your finger or your Apple Pencil on iPad Pro, they are now searchable.
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10. QuickType keyboard improvements iOS 11 also makes significant improvements to the software keyboard. On iPhone, you can press-down on the globe icon and choose one-handed mode. This will bring all the keys closer to either the left or right side of the screen to make it easier to type with one hand. You can also make one-handed mode your default keyboard by going into Settings. For iPad, you can now type numbers, symbols, and punctuation marks without switching to a secondary keyboard. Simply flick down on the key to insert the character you need.
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Guide to iPhone X Tomorrow’s smartphone is almost here, and it’s called the iPhone X. Macworld staff reveal what all the fuss is about
Phone X. It’s real, it’s here, and it’s very expensive. After months of rumour and speculation, followed by the biggest pre-launch leak ever, on Apple finally revealed the iPhone X during the company’s annual autumn press event in September. This is a radical departure from the form factor of every other iPhone out there, including the brand-new
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iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. It comes with a jet-black edgeto-edge OLED screen topped by a TrueDetect camera system that enables a brand-new Face ID unlocking system and Animoji features. Pre-orders don’t start until 27 October, and we won’t know everything about the phone until we can get our hands (and faces) on it. For now, we’re here to answer all of your questions about the new iPhone X.
Price, colours, storage The iPhone X starts at £999 for 64GB of storage, which is the highest starting price of any iPhone to date.
• 64GB: £999 • 256GB: £1,149 To compare, the just-announced 4.7in iPhone 8 is £699 for the same storage. The iPhone X will be
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available in silver and space grey (sorry, gold fans – that finish is reserved for the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus).
Release date and pre-order information Pre-orders are scheduled to begin on 27 October, and will ship on 3 November (the following Friday). Rumours are suggesting that it will be in limited supply, so if you want to get one early, we suggest you pre-order as soon as Apple makes it available.
Key specifications Display: 5.8in diagonal all-screen OLED Multi-Touch display, featuring 2436x1125-pixel resolution at 458ppi and True Tone technology. Dimensions: 143.6x70.9x7.7mm Weight: 174g Battery life: Apple claims that the iPhone X’s battery will last up to 2 hours longer than the iPhone 7. That should net you:
• Talk time (wireless): Up to 21 hours • Internet use: Up to 12 hours • Video playback (wireless): Up to 13 hours • Audio playback (wireless): Up to 60 hours Rear-facing camera: 12Mp wide-angle and telephoto cameras (Wide-angle: ƒ/1.8 aperture; Telephoto: ƒ/2.4 aperture). It has an optical zoom, and a digital zoom up to 10x. It also features Apple’s Portrait Mode, which
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made its debut in the iPhone 7 Plus and is also found in the iPhone 8 Plus. You can also test out the Portrait Lighting beta on the iPhone X. Front-facing camera: 7Mp TrueDepth camera, also compatible with Portrait Mode. It’s the only camera compatible with Apple’s new Animoji feature. Video recording: • 4K video recording at 24-, 30-, or 60fps • 1080p HD video recording at 30- or 60fps • 720p HD video recording at 30fps Splash, water, and dust resistance: Rated IP67 under IEC standard 60529, which means it can be submerged underwater for 30 minutes at a depth of 1m. Processor: A11 Bionic chip Charging compatibility: Charging compatibility: Lightning port, wireless (Qi compatible) For all other specifications, check out Apple’s iPhone X tech specs page at tinyurl.com/ycv6wwxu.
Key features Face ID replaces Home button Without a home button for Touch ID, how does one unlock the iPhone X? With your face! Face ID uses a TrueDepth camera-and-sensor system along the top edge of the iPhone X to detect your face quickly, even in the dark – and even with glasses on.
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Face ID uses more points of comparison than Touch ID, and the iPhone X uses depth sensing so you shouldn’t be able to fool the system with a photograph or even a high-quality mask. You have to actually look at the iPhone too – if your eyes are closed or you’re looking away, it won’t work. So, no, your children can’t unlock your iPhone while you’re asleep. (And they could do that with Touch ID) TrueDepth uses a whole array of sensors to get this done, in fact. Infrared sensors can detect your face in the dark. The dot projector helps create a mathematical model of your face and compare it to the stored model. A machine-learning neural engine is even built into the iPhone X’s A11 Bionic chip to process Face ID in real time, right on the device. But because Touch ID is so fast, Apple really has a high bar to clear with Face ID.
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To access the home screen or multitasking menu, you just swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen. Swipe up quickly to go to the home screen, like you’re sweeping the app off the screen, or pause mid-swipe to instead go to the app switcher. You can even swipe between apps if you swipe along the very bottom edge of the screen. You can summon Siri by saying “Hey Siri”, or just by pressing and holding the Sleep/ Wake button on the side of the iPhone X. Apple Pay also uses Face ID to authenticate transactions. Apps can use the Face ID system too, just like they could use Touch ID already. New cameras for AR and Animoji Like the iPhone 7 Plus, the iPhone X sports two 12Mp cameras on the rear, only this time the lenses are stacked vertically. They still protrude from the back of the phone just slightly, but it’s hard to mind when you consider the specs: dual optical image stabilization, larger sensors for lower-light performance, higher dynamic range, zero shutter lag, and an improved quad-LED True Tone flash. Coupled with iOS 11’s Camera app, the iPhone X supports Portrait mode and the beta Portrait Lighting feature, which detects the different planes of a person’s face and adjusts the lighting on each one to make everyone look their best. In fact, even the TrueDepth camera on the front of the iPhone X supports Portrait mode and Portrait Lighting – best selfies ever. On the front of the iPhone X, the TrueDepth facerecognizing camera system has more tricks than just Face ID. A new feature in Messages called Animoji can
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mimic your mood and expression. They track 50 facial muscles to sync the emoji with what you’re saying, and then send your ‘talking head’ to a friend. You get a dozen options at launch, including the pooh emoji. Yes, your dreams of turning yourself into an animated talking lump of excrement are finally coming true. A11 Bionic chip Inside, the iPhone X sports an A11 Bionic chip, which Apple says is 70 percent faster than the A10 Fusion in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. It has six cores, two for highperformance computing that are 25 percent faster, and four efficiency cores to save battery life during lower-intensity tasks. A performance controller can even combine all six cores at once.
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Apple even designed its own GPU, a three-core version that’s up to 30 percent faster than the GPU in the iPhone 7. Graphics performance is useful for more than just big-name games, though – the iPhone X needs it for augmented reality apps and machine learning too. Wireless charging with Qi iPhone X supports wireless charging with the Qi standard, and Apple will offer existing Qi charging solutions in its retail stores. Next year, Apple will even sell its own extra-wide AirPower charging pad that can simultaneously charge an iPhone X, an Apple Watch Series 3, and even a set of AirPods once you spring for a new charging case that supports Qi.
iPhone X: FAQ Why is it called the iPhone X? Apple hasn’t said, but presumably it’s a reference to 2017 being the tenth anniversary of the handset (it’s even pronounced as the number ten). Remember, Apple shifted away from the ‘X’ branding last year in its Mac operating systems, switching from OS X El Capitan to macOS Sierra, so there won’t be any confusion with the desktop. And besides, X is a super-cool letter. Why is the OLED display a big deal? The iPhone X is Apple’s first OLED phone, meaning that each pixel directly produces light rather than being backlit like an LCD display. As we’ve seen in Android phones from Samsung, Google, and others, OLED colours are more vibrant with deeper blacks, greater brightness, and superb contrast. In case you’ve never
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seen a Galaxy phone, you can see the benefits of OLED on the Apple Watch screen. The iPhone X’s display has a resolution of 2436x1125, for a shocking pixel density of 458ppi. Apple’s calling it Super Retina. Like the iPhone 8, it supports TrueTone to adjust the colour temperature to the ambient light around you. There are also battery benefits. With OLED screens, black pixels don’t produce any light, so the phone actually conserves energy by using dark colours. Apple claims the iPhone X will get two additional hours of battery life over the iPhone 8. Obviously, this is something we’ll test in our review, and battery life varies based on how you use your phone, but Apple’s estimates are usually reliable. One drawback, however, might be supply. OLED screen are more difficult to manufacture, and Apple is going to need a lot of them. Recent rumours suggest there may be a long wait before the iPhone X gets into customers’ hands. Will the camera notch get in the way of apps? While the notch juts into a significant portion of the top of the screen, it won’t actually usable space. The status
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bar splits itself into two equal parts, with the time to the left of the notch and the cellular signal, Wi-Fi, and battery indicators to the right. So, while the background colour and image extend to the top of the screen, it’s really just for looks – all usable space is below the notch. How will the notch work in landscape mode? The screen will orient itself just short of the notch, so you’ll have two thin bars on either side of the screen to properly frame the app or video. How will I use Touch ID without a home button? Apple has ditched Touch ID in the iPhone X for a new system called Face ID. You can also use a swiping gesture paired with a passcode. What’s Face ID? Face ID is Apple’s new biometric system for unlocking the iPhone X and for confirming Apple Pay transactions on the device as well. It will likely utilize a new 3D camera for accurate and secure scanning. In the iOS 11 GM, developer Guilherme Rambo found the full Face ID setup process, complete with toggles for using it to unlock, pay, and autofill; a screen that describes how it works; and authentication animation. Will I be able to use my fingerprint to unlock my iPhone X? Sadly, no. If Touch ID is a feature you can’t live without, it’s still available on the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus.
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So, how will I get back to the home screen? iPhone X features a new gesture-based navigation system, so there will be a learning curve. Instead of tapping the home button to get back to the home screen, you’ll find a new navigation bar on the bottom of the iPhone screen. Pulling up from the button of the screen will now bring you back to the home screen, and a longer pull will bring up the new app switcherControl Centre combo. How will I access Siri on iPhone X? In addition to setting up ‘Hey Siri’, you can summon Siri by holding the sleep/wake button.
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Are there any iPhone X-only features? Yes. Face ID is an iPhone X-only feature, but the phone’s TrueDepth camera that packs the Face ID sensors also allow for another fun iPhone X-clusive feature: Animoji. Users will be able to create custom animated messages that use your voice and reflect your facial expressions using the iPhone X’s 3D camera to analyse the movement of your face and apply your expression to your emoji of choice. You’ll have 12 emoji to pick from at launch – yes, including that one. If you’ve ever wanted to send a poop emoji that is animated with your personality, you might need to get an iPhone X. Will AirPods be included in the iPhone X box? Sadly, no. However, a new AirPods container will be released soon, and it will support wireless charging just like the iPhone X.
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How to: Unlock an iOS device if you’ve forgotten the password Glenn Fleishman reveals your options
pple’s use of an Apple ID on iPads is something Apple does towards keeping your device secure. But it can also be problematic, especially if you have multiple Apple IDs and can’t remember the user names or passwords for them all.
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iPad & iPhone User reader Mae ran into an Apple ID problem when using her iPad. An Activation Lock suddenly appeared on screen. Now I am not sure on what Apple ID I used to set up the iPad. I also forgot its password, because I’m using a different Apple ID. The message that appears is ’This iPad is linked to an Apple ID. Enter the Apple ID and password that were used to set up this iPad’, followed by the email address. I have a variety of bad news:
• Activation Lock only appears if someone erased an iOS device.
• Without the password to that account, the iPad will be unusable forever. That’s the point of Activation Lock. However, as long as you still have access to either the email address associated with that Apple ID or any trusted device associated with that account, you should be able to reset the password and log in: follow Apple’s instructions at tinyurl.com/nnqh4xp. As to why the iPad was erased? There’s reportedly a wave of blackmail going around that involves using weak passwords revealed in password database cracks elsewhere. Many people employ short and easily guessed or cracked passwords, and use them at multiple sites. I’ve heard wind that some people’s Macs are being locked with a messages to pay a fee to obtain the unlock code. With iOS, you can’t lock a device in such a way that it’s owner can’t unlock it with
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Activation Lock protects your device after its been erased. But you might be locked out forever if you lose access to your Apple ID-associated email accounts
the device password. But you can erase it, which seems like vandalism instead of blackmail. If your Apple ID or iCloud password is only eight characters or so long or is very simple (like a word and one piece of punctuation), I recommend picking a better one immediately, even if you don’t know that your account information might have been revealed in the breach of another site.
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The Home button has gone: what’s next? Innovation requires sacrifices sometimes, and Apple has sacrificed a lot, writes Dan Moren
pple has never been a company to dwell on the past. In the last year alone, it’s killed off the ability to sync apps to your iOS device via iTunes, the headphone jack on the iPhone 7, and the Home button on the iPhone X. Even the venerable iPod line has (mostly) been put out to pasture. These all come from a place of ambition: the company isn’t shy about kicking convention to the curb if it thinks it can replace the old with something new and better. (Admittedly, not everyone always agrees that what’s new is better, but Apple doesn’t spend a lot of time soliciting opinions.)
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So in the spirit of Apple’s merciless machete, I started thinking: what other long-running conventions of the company’s mobile platform might be due for an overhaul? Nothing lasts forever, after all. So here are a couple areas of iOS that seem like they’re ripe for a rethink.
Contextual menus Contextual popover menus have been a big part of iOS for a long time. (Although some of us remember that dark age when there was no copy and paste for two years after the iPhone launched.) But those menus are getting a bit old and tired. For one thing, they’ve always been a little bit fiddly: yes, you can tap to bring it up, but you can also tap and hold. And, depending on how you do it, you might get selection handles or the magnifying loupe when you’re not looking for them. More to the point, that contextual menu has gotten a bit overloaded on your average iPhone screen. In more than a few apps, you’ll generally ended up needing to ‘page’ through a set or two of options before you find the one you want. In other places, like text formatting, you actually need to go through multiple sets of these menus, even though there’s no real method for navigating them hierarchically. (If you decide you meant to copy text instead of bolding it, you have to go back and start all over again.) As I see it, there are a couple of options for improving this situation. For one, it might help if there were another way to lay out these options, so you don’t have to navigate through multiple tiny menus. I’d think that a radial menu of some sort would be ideal – you
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could even drill down in to sub-menus by sliding a finger onto them and having them pop up in place. But more to the point, Apple already has a good mechanic for dealing with contextual menus, at least on the iPhone: 3D Touch. iOS doesn’t make a lot of use of this where text is involved, but it could: a hard press could bring up a floating menu that you could then slide your finger or thumb to in order to select the correct option and release to perform that action. (My personal favourite use of 3D Touch in this manner is in iOS’s Music app – press on a song to bring up a contextual menu, then select an option like ‘Play Next’ and release to execute, all in one fluid motion.) Elements of 3D Touch’s ‘peek and pop’ scheme feel like they have never really caught on, and if Apple’s going to spend the time integrating this force-sensitive capability across its iPhone line, then it might as well put it to better use.
The home screen Let’s all wave a big goodbye to the icon grid. Please. If ten years is long enough to get rid of the Home button, please tell me that the home screen is next on the chopping block. I understand the virtues of the home screen: it’s easy to use. Perhaps I should have said ‘virtue’, singular. So much of the home screen feels like wasted space now. Yes, I have apps that I use every day, but more than a couple of the ones on my home screen are just there for occasional usage. That goes double and triple for my subsequent home screens, which contain apps I use every once in a while and folders of
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‘the rest’, respectively. Frankly, I’ve grown used to bringing up Spotlight and searching for anything that’s not on my main home screen, and I’m sure I’m not alone in that. It seems clear that Apple isn’t yet ready to embrace a fully customizable home screen à la Android, but the company has clearly made concessions to bringing more capability to the home screen with the additions of widgets and contextual options via 3D Touch. But the home screen still calls out for dynamic content that you don’t need to swipe around to find – if not allowing full-blown widgets then, at the very least, simple complications akin to those found on the Apple Watch. If anything, the iPad under iOS 11 offers the best idea of what a different default interface could look like on iOS. With the redesign of the iPad’s dock and multitasking interface, there’s less need to visit the home screen – and if Apple provided a way to more easily bring apps from Spotlight into the multitasking interface, I might rarely need that icon grid again. The home screen is valuable real estate, and it seems like it’s being squandered merely by displaying app icons. This far along, I would be shocked if Apple wasn’t investigating alternatives – I’m just hoping we don’t need to wait another ten years to see what it comes up with.
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