iOS 13 May FINALLY Bring a Dark Mode to iPhone & iPad

A Bloomberg report released today details the eventual adoption for a system-wide “Dark Mode” for iOS devices. This report is likely true due to Apple bringing a dark mode to MacOS last year in its Mojave release in the fall. This can be seen as an effort to align features across MacOS and iOS. Dark Mode has been a highly requested feature amongst iOS users some users have resorted to Jailbreaking their device to achieve this.

Don’t hold your breath for an official statement from Apple on this matter as they tend to hold back any concrete information regarding future versions of iOS, MacOS, or their upcoming features.

Though June is five months away, Apple typically holds its World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) during that month. At this event, Apple debuts its upcoming software for its various devices. If a dark mode is indeed on its way to iOS devices we will certainly find out at this year’s conference in June.

FaceTime Bug allows Unsuspecting Users to be Spied on

In what seems to be a never-ending PR nightmare for Apple, the tech giant’s latest blunder exists within their very popular FaceTime App.  Within the App FaceTime which is used to video or voice chat across Apple devices, a bug has been discovered that could inadvertently affect the privacy of users of the app. This bug was produced when Apple introduced the widely requested group FaceTime which was a key feature of iOS 12. This Bug is initiated when one user makes a FaceTime call to another person, the initial caller can add themselves to a group FaceTime with the other person and this action “answers” the call for the other person. The person on the other end of the call may be completely unaware that their microphone and or camera is now active, and the person on the other end is now listening or watching. 

As scary as this seems, thankfully Apple is already aware of this exploit and will be releasing a patch soon to fix this problem. 

In the meantime to protect yourself, you can disable FaceTime all together if you aren’t a frequent user of the app. Also, Apple will soon temporarily disable group FaceTime which will provide a short term fix until a full patch is released. 

Samsung Plans to Kill the Notch With the Galaxy S10

In 2019 Samsung (SSNLF) plans to take its Infinity Display technology to the next level by achieving a very coveted higher screen to body ratio.  Samsung plans to do this by reducing its top and bottom bezels on their flagship phones. When reducing or removing bezels, phone manufacturers have been plagued with the task of figuring out what to do with the largely essential front facing camera. 

As Selfies are still very much in vogue, phone users still demand that their devices are equipped with a high-quality camera to take selfies with. Those photos are taken the easiest when there is a camera on the front of the device. 

The solution up to this point has primarily been the “notch”. The notch is a blacked out segment of the display. This segment houses the front-facing camera, earpiece, and other sensors depending on the phone. Phones, like the iPhone and Google Pixel 3XL, weren’t first to feature the notch, but they have brought this design choice into the mainstream. For the iPhone specifically, its notch houses its front-facing camera and Face ID sensors.

Smartphone companies like Apple and Google have gone all in on the notch hoping their design choice will appease the majority of users. Customers can enjoy more screen than ever before while still keeping their front-facing camera. The only problem is that notches aren’t exactly aesthetically pleasing to the eye. In fact, some people are so repulsed by the notch they have vowed to not upgrade to a newer phone until technology eliminates the need for it.

Public perception of the notch divides people into two camps. The first group is those who tolerate the notch and eventually get used to it, and then there are those who abhor the notch, and the design choices phone manufacturers are making in pursuit of nearly all-screen displays on phones. 

Samsung’s approach is to forgo the notch all together. Their next line of Galaxy phones is set to offer various cut-outs or “hole-punches” in their displays for their front-facing cameras to be placed. This approach is vastly different from Apple and Google’s notches which are rather large and obtrusive. While Samsung’s solution is by no means perfect, these hole-punches are going to be much smaller than most notches and probably easier to forgive by users.

Even with these new designs that are admittedly intriguing, the smartphone market has plateaued across the board. Phone manufactures feel that adopting radical designs needs to be considered to stay relevant and help rekindle demand. 

Samsung Galaxy S10 is set to be revealed next month on February 20th and only then will we see if this new hole-punch design will be embraced by the masses. Unfortunately for Samsung, the company Honor has beat Samsung to the punch by releasing their own hole-punch display phone the “View 20” giving us a taste of what Samsung has in store for its user base. 

Should Journalist Let Apple Set the Script When Reporting?

Large Tech Companies like Apple do their best to keep a positive public perception of their products and their band, as they obviously should, but does Apple provide a platform for those in the news media to be critical of their platforms. Apple Executives, like CEO Tim Cook, rarely give televised or recorded interviews, and when they do one might get the impression that questions for the company have been screened, approved, and only have scripted answers intended to leave the brand with a coat of polish. I understand this is business as usual, however, marketing and promotion disguised as a candid interview are no longer fooling the masses, and in the age of social media customers feel empowered to demand answers even from brands as iconic as Apple. 

Apple along with other tech giants are realizing that ominous silence in the face of mounting criticism is no longer a viable option. They have however yet to strike a balance of providing adequate answers to customers and not being too available for comment. As a result, they tend to only speak up only as a last resort. Of course to maintain their brand prestige they must give the impression that they always know what’s best for their company and the customer thus not needing to explain themselves to anyone (Unless customers discover their iPhones are being throttled due to battery issues). Unfortunately, at this time Apple is in a Scramble to decipher where their shortcomings in their business are hiding. Falling stock prices, weaker than expected iPhone demand, legal disputes with Qualcomm, and a myriad of product blunders, the latest being the iPad Pro #BendGate, are all plaguing the tech giant and has Apple doing damage control.

With all of this on Apple’s plate, you would think prominent news outlets would be pressuring Apple for a comment on these matters, there is however radio silence from the majority of the largest media companies. Apple did, however, respond to the Verge on the matter of the bending iPad after being pressed by the publication and the backdrop of public outrage. Apple added insult to injury by stating “iPads meet or exceed quality standards” and that slight bends in the iPads casing are “normal”. There is no accurate estimate of how many iPad Pros are affected by this, but to suggest that bends in the premium-priced iPad Pro are normal is alarming, to say the least. Customers are demanding clarification on this matter and it seems nobody with the proper authority is stepping to be a proxy between them and Apple. The Verge should be commended for reaching out for comment from Apple. The Verge and other prominent media outlets in the press should press Apple harder to hold them accountable and stop allowing Apple to set the rules on the questions they are asked and to what conclusion. 

I’m not naive, Apple is one of the most recognized brands in the world with unparalleled power and influence. Crossing Apple isn’t in the interest of any tech publication, as coverage of Apple products and news is an enormous source of readership from their respective sites. Pressing Apple too hard could result in being cut off from working relationships with them which is never ideal. Apple knows they are at the head of this power dynamic and uses it to their advantage.  As readers of these publications connect with other people online and discuss their concerns with Apple or other large companies they will look to these publications to ask the tough questions on their behalf. If not readers will consume content elsewhere, where the content creators don’t allow themselves to be pushed in a corner.