iPhone 12 Pro Max Camera Test: A Day At the Georgia Aquarium

This Year Apple boasts significant improvements to their cameras on their iPhone 12 lineup especially their 12 pro max. Apple claims their larger sensors on the 12 pro max will perform much better in low light situations. 

The camera sensor on the iPhone 12 pro max is about 40% larger than on the 12 pro, which means the sensor can absorb more light, improving low light photos. Also, instead of stabilizing the lens, this time on the Pro Max, the actual sensor is stabilized and should reduce shakiness in videos and improve overall image quality.

Suppose you have even been to the Georgia Aquarium, which is the largest Aquarium in the United States, or just an aquarium in general. In that case, you know lighting situations can be precarious if not challenging. Below you can see photos that were shot on the iPhone 12 Pro Max and have not been retouched by me in any way. Also the flash was disabled for all photos taken.

Corner of the Aquarium. . Telephoto x2 zoom .Outdoors great lighting

Cannon Ball Jelly. Standard Wide Angle Lens. Low Light

Coral or Sea Anemone. Standard Wide Angle Lens. Low Light

Orchid. Telephoto X2 Zoom. Moderate Light

Japanese Spider Crab telephoto X2 Zoom . Low Light

South African Penguin. Standard Wide Angle Lens. Moderate Light

Great Hammer Head Shark. Standard Wide Angle Lens. Very Low light + Motion

Weedy Sea Dragon. Standard Wide Angle Lens. Moderate Light

Southern Sea Otter. Standard Wide Angle Lens. Moderate Light

Top of Habitat. Ultra Wide Lens. Great light

Top of Habitat/Workspace. Wide Angle Lens. Moderate Light

Alligator Snapping Turtle. Telephoto Lens X2. Moderate Light

Apple Has Set the Stage to Eliminate the Charging Port

This week Apple held its virtual October event highlighting its latest iPhone models. For the first time, Apple has revealed 4 iPhone models for its annual line up. Apple CEO Tim Cook said, “the iPhone 12 begins a new era for the smartphone. Many might assume Cook was referring to 5G connectivity with that statement, and while I agree 5G is part of the equation, I believe Cook’s vision for the future of the iPhone is much more ambitious. 

The iPhone 12 series has numerous new features and improvements over last year’s iPhone 11 series of phones. For one, all of the iPhones in Apple’s lineup are equipped with OLED displays. Significant camera improvements make their way across all of the new iPhones. However, only the 12 pro series of iPhones will receive the new Lidar camera sensor, which will be used for 3D Mapping for improved AR and even faster autofocus. 

One new feature that Apple did introduce this week that I feel will have significantly more impact in the coming years, and that feature is MagSafe on the iPhone. All of the new iPhones are equipped with an array of magnets on the phone’s rear to assist with perfect alignment for apples fresh MagSafe accessories. You can even charge your new iPhone through this rear magnetic mount with a new MagSafe charger. 

The introduction of this new charging method is a subtle warning for a future many in the tech community has seen coming for some time now. Apple is getting ready to kill the charging port on the iPhone. For those hoping that the iPhone would ever adopt a USB-C port like the MacBook and iPad Pro, I’m sorry to report that Apple plans to eliminate this port altogether. In the past, Apple has said its vision of the iPhone was to be a port less and buttonless slab of glass, and this new MagSafe standard is apple setting the stage to eliminate one of the essential ports on an iPhone or any device for that matter.

You may be asking yourself why would apple eliminate the charging port on their devices. Apple has a record of pushing the technology community forward, even when they understand these transitions will be uncomfortable. Eliminating this port will work wonders for the device’s security, blacking nearly all brute force attempts to access data stored on the device. Having no port would also increase the device’s resistance to dust and water elements, damaging the device or causing the device to deteriorate faster. 

I believe Apple is pragmatic about this new standard and easing its customers into this change slower than usual. The iPhone 12 series will still have the option to charge via the lightning port on the phone’s bottom. Apple is hoping its users will adopt this charging method now, so they will have the proper hardware already on hand when apple is ready to make the switch to a port less iPhone. I believe that change is coming sooner than we think, perhaps as early as the iPhone 13.

Without a doubt, this change will stress those who aren’t prepared to make the switch, no matter Apple’s efforts to soften the blow.

Instagram Finally Enables Dark Mode for iPhones Running iOS 13 Just in Time for Halloween!

 

To the delight of Dark Mode enthusiasts everywhere, Instagram has enabled a dark theme for its app. If users want to take advantage of Dark Mode for Instagram, they need to be running iOS 13 on their iPhone. Instagram, by default, has a bright white interface that can be uncomfortable to look at for long periods, especially in darker environments. Aesthetics aside, dark mode for Instagram will be much easier on the eyes due to its darker interface. Perhaps it will also be easier on battery life for phones with OLED displays.

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To ensure you can use Dark Mode on Instagram, follow these steps.

  1. Make Sure you are running iOS 13 (You can make sure in the settings app)
  2. Update your Instagram app to the latest version (Version 114.0)
  3. Enable System Dark Mode on your iPhone. (Settings or Control Center)
  4. Open the newly updated version of Instagram
  5. Enjoy your new spooky Instagram!

 

 

Microsoft Gives Up Windows in Favor of Android for its 2020 Foldable Phone

This week at their annual press conference, Microsoft unveiled a wide variety of devices for its customers. Unsurprisingly the company showed off its latest laptops and tablets, which, as you would expect, are running the latest versions of Windows. In a surprise move, however, Microsoft announced it is launching a new phone during the holiday season of 2020. This phone is going to be a new type of dual-screen foldable device Called the Microsoft Duo. What’s more surprising that Microsoft launching a new phone? Well, this phone won’t run a mobile version of Windows. (Microsofts own OS) The Duo will run Android OS.

This isn’t Microsoft’s first attempt to capture a portion of the smartphone market. Their brand of Windows phones was a commercial failure. This failure was due in part to the companies inability to convince developers to make apps for their mobile version of Windows.

This time Microsoft has a different strategy. Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, said “the company needs to meet customers where they are. The predominant operating system for smartphone users is Android, and it makes more sense for Microsoft to utilize this Open source platform for their devices.

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Photo Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft does have the advantage of utilizing the world’s most used Operating system. Microsoft, however, has to contend with other Android phone manufacturers who are well established and have a proven track record of producing high-quality phones with innovative designs. The design of the Microsoft Duo, in my opinion, already looks dated. Though its dual-screen design isn’t widespread, it’s very thick bezels leave much to be desired. The design of the Microsoft Duo might have customers thinking the device is obsolete upon arrival.

Even though the Duo will use Android OS, Microsoft still needs developers to update their apps to utilize the dual-screen setup in innovative ways. Microsoft announced this phone so early for that very reason, so developers can start thinking of ways to bring their apps to the Duo. As the Duo is still in development, it will likely be midway through 2020 before we get more information like specs and camera information.

A Day At The Atlanta Botanical Gardens:   iPhone 11 Pro Max Camera Test 

The iPhone 11 Pro has been out for a few weeks now, and early impressions continue to hold the new iPhone cameras in high regard. As someone who used their iPhone as their primary camera, I was excited to finally get my hands on the iPhone 11 Pro Max.

Once I finally got my device, I rushed to one of the most photogenic spots in the city. The Atlanta Botanical Gardens was my destination. Filled with colorful and exotic plants, what better local to test Apple’s latest and greatest camera sensors.

Below I will share some of the photos I captured on this trip. As a disclaimer, I am not a professional photographer, nor have these photos been edited by me. Any edits to these photos have been facilitated by the iPhones photo processing, which is automatic.

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Red Flowering Plant: Telephoto Lens

 

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Pink Flowering Plant, With Water droplets: Telephoto Lens

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Ultra Wide View of Various Green Leaves: Ultra Wide Lens

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Bumble Bee Resting: Telephoto Lens

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Red Leaves: Standard Wide Lens

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Close up Red Flower: Standard Wide Lens

 

All Photos are credited to Kostner Guyton and are Property of iPhoneTennisMatch.com. Please contact Kostner Guyton @iPhoneTennismatch@gmail.com for permissions regarding these photos.

Should You Update to the latest iPhones?

On September 10th, Apple held its annual iPhone update event. The company unveiled three different models of phones for its customers to choose from. These phones included the iPhone 11, the iPhone 11 Pro, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max. As reactions from this event pour in, the consensus seems to be that these phones are incremental upgrades from last year’s models. Before we discuss if you upgrade your phone this year, we will cover what is new with these iPhones.

iPhone 11

Apple’s naming strategy for their phones has been unpredictable as of late. You might think the iPhone 11 would become the direct successor of the iPhone 10s (Xs). In terms of the processor, yes, there is an upgrade there. However, the screen resolution is much lower on the iPhone 11 over the Xs. Also, the XS uses an OLED display while the iPhone 11 still uses an LED display. In essence, the iPhone 11’s purpose is to be a comparable phone to last year’s extremely popular iPhone XR. The XR was a successful attempt by Apple to introduce another budget model of its iPhone. The iPhone 11 hopes to continue that trend and hopefully persuade cost-conscious customers to upgrade their aging iPhones finally. So what does the iPhone 11 offer?

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Photo Credit: Apple

First, we will cover what is the same as last year’s XR. The iPhone 11 still has its 6.1-inch Liquid Retina Display. The display has a roughly 720p resolution, which sounds disappointing on paper. However, the display is very sharp and showcases vibrant and accurate colors. Users of the iPhone XR have been satisfied with the display, and keeping the resolution the same is an efficient way for Apple to keep the cost of the phone lower. Speaking of the costs, the price for the iPhone 11 is about $50 cheaper than last year’s XR. This strategy is exciting news for budget wary customers as the iPhone 11 is priced at $699 to start instead of the $749 starting price of the XR last year.

It’s not all the same with the iPhone 11. This time the iPhone 11 gets a dual camera set up like the iPhone 10. Only this time the iPhone 11 is getting a wide-angle lens and an ultra-wide lens. If you want the extra zoom of the telephoto lens, you need to pick up an iPhone 11 Pro.

iPhone 11 Pro (Max)

Like the iPhone 11 and XR, much hasn’t changed between this year’s flagships from last year’s model. The iPhone 11 Pro models are the direct successors to last year’s XS phones. As you might expect, the phones are physically very similar to the XS. The display sizes remain the same at 5.8 in for the 11 Pro and 6.5 in for the 11 Pro Max. The resolution for the phones also stays the same. The iPhone 11 Pro’s display does get significantly brighter. The phones can sustain a brightness of around 800 nits, and reach a peak brightness of about 1200 nits. The 1200 nit peak cannot be sustained for extended periods, and will only trigger in specific situations. The Cameras on the iPhone 11 Pro have also changed. The phones now sport a triple-lens setup. All of the lenses are 12 MP but have different functions. The primary shooter is a wide-angle lens. The telephoto lens has also returned to provide a 2x optical zoom. This time, however, the telephoto lens will have a much wider aperture to let in more light. This wider aperture should significantly improve low light photography when taking macro photos. Finally, the third lens on the new iPhone is the ultra-wide camera. This lens will allow the iPhone to take a much better landscape or pictures of large groups of people.

Aside from the significant camera improvements, the iPhone 11’s battery life has been noticeably improved. The iPhone 11 Pro is expected to achieve four hours more battery life than the XS, and the 11 Pro Max should receive five more hours than the XS Max.
While the changes presented here are significant, in the grand scheme of things they may seem incremental.
Should You Upgrade?

The decision to upgrade or rather my endorsement to upgrade depends mostly on what your current device is. If you are using a phone older than the iPhone X I would highly suggest upgrading. The speed, battery, and camera improvements will be monumental for your user experience. If you have an iPhone X or newer, it depends on if you want the best iPhone you can get. Full disclosure, I am an iPhone XS Max user, and I am upgrading to the 11 Pro Max. I love taking photos on my iPhone. I, however, was beginning to fall out of love with the camera experience on the iPhone. The more I saw pictures from Googles Pixel 3. The new camera updates to the 11 Pro have me excited again, and I’m eager to have a comparable camera experience to Google’s phones.

If you don’t primarily use your iPhone for photography, and the battery life is exceptional on your current iPhone, I would hold off and wait for the 2020 iPhone. In 2020 Apple should be ready to refresh the design of the iPhone significantly and finally make some changes to the notch.

Samsung Unveils The Expensive Galaxy Note 10 Plus, But it’s Still Cheaper Than Last Years iPhone XS Max.

 
It’s no secret, flagship smartphone prices are on the rise and climbing to extraordinary heights. Apple started this trend with its first thousand-dollar iPhone back when the iPhone X released. Apple pressed its customers, even more, then Apple announced the follow up to the iPhone X, the Xs Max and Xs. The top of the line iPhone XS Max with Max storage of 512 GB will cost potential buyers about $1500 after taxes and fees. Samsung has been trying to increase its prices as well, most likely trying to improve its profit margins. Samsung, however, has taken a different approach to their pricing. Their prices continue to climb with Apple, but they seem to undercut them by about $100-$200 consistently. For comparison, Samsung’s new Galaxy Note Plus with 512GB and 5G compatible is 1399.99 concerning Apples iPhone XS Max with 512 GB and no 5G option priced at $1449. Contrary to Apple’s Pricing Strategy, Samsung feels compelled to assure you that your money is well spent. Let’s go over what all Samsung is offering this fall.

Galaxy Note 10 (Not Plus)
This year Samsung decided it would try offering two different models of its Note phones. The first and more affordable option is the Base Galaxy Note 10. The note 10 features a 6.3″ 1080p AMOLED display with very minimal bezels. The Note 10 uses the infinity “O” variant of its display meaning it has a single small circular cutout placed directly centered near the top pf the phone. This camera layout is in contrast to the Galaxy S 10 (Plus) which has a dual camera cutout in the shape of a pill in the right-hand corner of the phone. Speaking of Cameras both the Galaxy S 10 and the Note 10 have triple-lens cameras on the rear of the device. The Note 10 has two 12MP ( Mega Pixel) cameras one has a wide-angle lens, and the other utilizes a telephoto lens. The final lens has a 16MP sensor that is used to take ultra-wide photos. The handsets will also come in a variety of colors with an iridescent gloss continuing their psychedelic phone aesthetic. Instead of facial recognition, the Note 10 will continue to use an ultrasonic fingerprint reader that is embedded in the bottom of the display. The base model of the Note 10 ships with an impressive 256 GB of storage, it, however, does not feature a Micro SD card slot. Pricing for the Note 10 Starts at $949.

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Photo Credit: Samsung

Galaxy Note 10 Plus
The Note 10 Plus is nearly the same with its smaller counterpart, but this version of the phone does have a few key differences. First is the screen size. The Note 10 Plus features a 6.8″ display and a Quad HD resolution. Also different from its smaller brother is the option to utilize a Micro SD card for expandable storage. Samsung is finally making its user base pay a premium for that feature. Another feature that is exclusive to the Note 10 Plus is the depth sensing camera on the back, a 512 GB storage option, and the option to have a 5G modem in the phone. The Smaller Note 10 won’t have a 5G option. Pricing for the Note 10 Plus is as follows. $1099 256 GB, $1199 512 GB, and $1399 512GB and 5G. Again I have to reiterate even the fully specked Note 10 Plus with 5G capabilities is cheaper than the maxed out iPhone XS Max nearly a year after its release. Hopefully, this years’ iPhone 11 will have killer features that will justify its sticker price. Otherwise, I fear many looking to upgrade will jump to Samsung’s more affordable offering.

Square Cameras Will be Making Their Way to iPhones and the Pixel 4 this Fall Whether you like them or Not.

 
The design language of smartphone components is continuously changing and evolving with the implementation of new technologies. The pressure to be innovative can stem from competitors and the growing boredom and reluctance from customers to upgrade their devices as often as they used to.

The quest to have the best smartphone camera has forced smartphone manufacturers to rethink their previous strategy of having small and minimalist cameras on the rears of their handsets. Google and Apple have had a different approach to their camera functionality. Apple has embraced a hardware-based approach featuring dual lenses and proximity sensors. Google, on the other hand, has used a software-based method utilizing artificial intelligence to tweak and enhance the quality of photos shot on their phone. Apple uses AI as well for its camera sensors but not as focused as Google’s model.

At this point, it seems Google has achieved the perfect balance between competent hardware and a heavy emphasis on AI-based photography to produce stunning results when taking pictures on their Pixel phones. While iPhones are certainly no slouch in the photography department, many agree that Google still holds the edge with camera features and photo quality. A prominent example of this is Google’s Night-Sight mode on their newer Pixel phones. The Night-Sight feature uses AI to take well-composed pictures in near black-out environments without the need for a flash.

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Photo Credit: EverythingApplePro

Apple plans to try to even the score or even surpass Google by doubling down on its hardware strategy by adding another camera sensor to its next iPhone. This would give the top tier iPhone a total of three lenses on the rear. However, due to a recent leak and subsequent surprise confirmation by Google, Google also plans on adding another lens to its flagship for a grand total of two cameras on the rear with an unknown sensor.

Because of leaks, we now know that both Apple and Google have significant physical changes coming to their camera sensors. These new camera modules will be relatively large and square in shape. Impressions from the leaks and renders of the phones have been mixed, and sometimes leaning to the negative side of the fence due to differences in design preferences.

The jury is still out on what new advancements these new camera modules will bring, but I have to assume Apple and Google can justify the risk of an unpopular design by providing a significant upgrade to their current camera systems.