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.

Questions About iOS We have After WWDC.

During this year’s WWDC, Apple debuted its future for its various operations systems. Highlights included iOS 13, MacOS Catalina, and the debut of Apple’s newest operating system iPad OS. While Apple revealed a great deal about these upcoming software releases, there are still many questions we have about the operating systems themselves, including how they will affect existing devices, and to what degree the new features will be implemented.

iOS 13

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Photo Credit: Apple

My biggest question about iOS 13 is regarding the new Dark Mode. I wonder if Dark Mode will present “true blacks” on OLED devices such as the various iPhone X models except for the XR which uses a liquid retina display which is an LCD. When I say a “true black,” I mean pixels being entirely turned off while using dark mode. If this is the case, I iPhone X(s, Max) could see gains in battery life because fewer pixels have to be illuminated and thus are saving energy. Older iPhones and the XR will of course not be able to achieve true blacks dude to the nature of LCDs, but I’m sure the Dark Mode will still be much easier on the eyes, there however just won’t be any battery savings. 

TvOS 

As a gamer, you can imagine that I was excited at the announcement that the Apple TV would natively support PlayStation and Xbox One controllers. This is fantastic news as I have been highly reluctant to purchase one of the expensive MiFi controllers that were compatible with iOS and TvOS. As I already own multiple PS4 controllers, I now feel empowered to try out more games on my Apple TV. I am, however, more curious about the support Playstation and Xbox controllers will have with iOS, Mac OS, and iPad OS. The Nintendo Switch is one of my favorite gaming consoles due to its very portable nature, other devices I always have with me are my iPad, my MacBook, and my iPhone. I have never liked only having a touch screen for gaming inputs, and I know I could have purchased one of those MiFi controllers, but as I said, I already have enough controllers at home laying around. A few years back, I bought Final Fantasy 7 and Transistor on iOS, but I just didn’t want to play with touch controls or buy a new controller to play them. But now I have the option to play both of these games on my Switch. I historically haven’t had a problem with double dipping on games, when they release on a platform that is more in line with my play-style, and I’ve been on the fence about purchasing these games on Switch. But now my decision will depend on if I can natively use my PS4 controller with my iPad because in that case, I will stick with those games on iOS. 

iPadOS 

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Photo Credit: Apple 

 

Year after year, changes to the software experience on iPad had stolen the show at WWDC, and this year was no different. This time, Apple defined a new pedigree for the software experience on iPad by giving the device its own operating system. iPadOS is the new name of the software that will now power iPad Devices. At this time, iPadOS isn’t a significant departure from the iOS experience on iPad but is different in a few key ways. A notable update is that multitasking is now improved on iPadOS. Multitasking has been improved by allowing better window management and allowing multiple windows of the same app to be displayed. Two of the most desired features that I wanted for iPad (https://iphonetennismatch.com/) are finally making their way to the tablet. The First feature is one that Apple omitted from their presentation, but none the less is present in iPadOS and will for many vastly improve their iPad workflows. That feature is mouse support on the iPad. This feature won’t be immediately apparent as Apple wants you to primarily utilize the iPad’s touch screen to navigate menus and apps. The support for mice and trackpads will be found in the accessibility section of the settings app and can be toggled on or off. It has been confirmed that Apple’s own Magic Mouse and Trackpad will be compatible with iPads on iPadOS. The cursor will be the same found In the assistive touch function found in iOS. Whether or not Apple will add a proper cursor or be more forthcoming on the addition of this feature will remain to be seen.  The Second feature that I anticipated coming to the iPad was the adoption of native support for using an iPad a second display for the Mac. Apple did publicize this feature during its keynote, and they called this feature “Side Car.” It has been confirmed that this feature can be used via USB-C and a wireless Bluetooth connection. There are however questions on whether older iPads that use a lighting cable will be able to utilize the Side Car feature, or if older Macs will be able to interface with newer iPads using this feature as well. According to some sources, All iPads that can support iPadOS will be able to use the Sidecar feature with Macs that can install MacOS Catalina. I do hope that this is the case as it wouldn’t force current Mac and iPad users to upgrade their devices to take advantage of this feature. 

Our Wishlist & Predictions For The World Wide Developer’s Conference

 

With WWDC less than a month away and with rumors spreading concerning which features will come to iOS, MacOS, WatchOS, and TvOS this fall, it seemed like an opportune moment to share our wishlists and predictions for the World Wide Developers Conference.

 iOS13 

My number one wish for iOS is a system-wide Dark Mode for iPhones and iPads. Dark modes for phones and laptops are popping up everywhere. Last year Apple gave us hope by announcing dark mode for MacOS, and I’m hoping this year the iPhone and iPad will follow suit. Even Google is getting in on the action as at their Google I/O event, they announced a system-wide dark mode was coming to the latest version of Android. As other operating systems are adopting this feature, I anticipate the inclusion of dark mode on iOS is very likely.

Apple Finally added a user accessible file system to their iOS devices on iOS 11, while this addition was much appreciated, a fuller-featured file manager should be encouraged. Adding more robust support for external storage and management of files stored on those devices would be ideal. Apple wants us to envision the iPad as a viable replacement for our laptops but to do that the iPad needs to function more like a laptop in critical ways such as file management. Due to constant pressure from competitors and Apple’s user base, I anticipate this feature is moderate likely, but it will be implemented in Apple fashion (file type restrictions, installation restrictions, etc.).

I’ve been praying for the addition of a native option for using the iPad Pro as a secondary display for Mac. I’m very hopeful this feature will finally be made available for my mobile workflows. I do however believe if this feature is implemented, it will only be available on iPad Pros with a USB Type C Port, as the lightning port might not have enough bandwidth to support a high-resolution extension of a Mac display. This feature has been available for some time with the use of third-party apps such as Duet and Astropad, but due to the bandwidth of the lightning port video output is highly compressed and the refresh rate is much lower than traditional monitors and displays. 

Multitasking on iPad has significantly advanced over the last couple iterations of iOS, but to truly compete with desktop operating systems, the iPad needs to implement windowed multitasking. These windows need to be arranged as desired or arrange in a split screen configuration as well. Again due to the competition and demand from its user base, I would assume the addition of this feature to be very likely as Apple continues to persuade users that the iPad is a viable replacement for laptops.

 Besides, better multitasking tools on iPad, Apple should also add mouse support to the iPad Pro. With the addition of the Apple Pencil and support for external keyboards, I find my fingers rarely touching the iPads screen. I notice this in specific workflows, especially when I decide to try typing documents on the device. It’s always an inconvenience to move my hand towards the touchscreen to adjust my cursor, and when I try its never as accurate as a mouse’s input. As Apple would have to rework most of their first party apps to utilize mouse support, I would say the addition of this feature is unlikely to slightly likely. 

WatchOS 6

I personally don’t want or expect too much from the next version of WatchOS. The Apple Watch is already one of the most feature-rich smartwatches on the market and understandably one of the most popular wearables. The Apple Watch does have some glaring omissions to its software offerings that wish Apple would finally address. First, I would like Apple to allow support for third-party watch faces. An SDK for building watch faces and a spot in the App Store would create an entirely new development sector for Apple and developers. The only new watch faces Apple Watch owners get are from Apple directly or collaborations other companies have arranged directly with Apple. Examples of this are Pixar’s Toy Story watch faces and Disney’s Mickey and Minnie Mouse watch faces. I would also appreciate more options with the Watch Face options Apple gives us by default. For example, I like to use the live Jellyfish* watch face, though all of the jellies shown are fine, I’d like only one or two of the pictures to be in the rotation. Apple, however, gives you an all or nothing option on that front. Apple also provides a few minimalist watch faces in various colors, which I do enjoy. However, I do wish Apple Watch users had access to a color wheel to choose more specific colors for these watch faces. 

MacOS

As much as people say that Apple needs to pay closer attention to the Mac, I personally feel that Apple has every configuration of Mac desktops and laptops available to a vast variety of users. Also, MacOS seems to get newer and more impressive software features faster than any platform maintained by Apple. MacOS is feature rich, fast, stable, and reliable. I expect Apple to build on this and to further refine its desktop operating system. I personally don’t have many wishes for MacOS as any changes I want to make to the OS or UI I can change with an app. Any new features Apple decides to bring to the Mac will be quality of life changes that I didn’t know I needed or wanted, and those are my favorite kinds of features.

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.