iFixit Investigates the iPhone’s Waterproof Capabilities


But over the weekend some brave Apple fans introduced their new iPhones to a life aquatic. The phones didn’t always emerge unscathed, but the overall trend is clear: the 6s and 6s Plus are dramatically less prone to liquid damage than their predecessors. (They aren’t, of course, completely waterproof—so don’t jump into a pool with them or anything.) […]

So, there are still places for water to get into the case. Maybe that strip of goo around the display isn’t for waterproofing after all, but has some other nefarious purpose; 3D Touch is a new technology, so it’s hard to say. Nevertheless, we think this is an exciting step forward for the iPhone and its fans.

I think Apple’s decision to stealth-upgrade the iPhone’s waterproof capabilities is extremely smart. Making the iPhone more resilient to spills is an incredible feature, but if Apple were to laud it as a tentpole feature, they run the risk of having users treat their iPhones carelessly. Apple wants the iPhone to survive more water incidents, but you don’t want users to get the wrong idea about using their iPhone in and around water — it’s probably still not a great idea.

Use Safari’s Responsive Design Mode in El Capitan

I have a project that I plan on starting this spring and this new feature looks like it’ll be invaluable while I’m working on it.

Apple to Open Apple TV Universal Search API

John Paczkowski, writing for BuzzFeed News:

In a recent interview with BuzzFeed News, Apple CEO Tim Cook said universal search in Apple TV is not something that the company plans to reserve for key content partners. “At launch we’ll have iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, Showtime, and HBO — so we’ll have five major inputs into universal search initially,” Cook said. “But we’re also opening an API, so that others can join in.”

Every single developer building apps for the Apple TV is going to want to make use of that API.

The New Apple TV Can Only Support Two Connected Bluetooth Controllers at a Time

If this is true, its really unfortunate. Local multiplayer is a lot of fun and limiting it to only two or three players is a bit of a disappointment. I’m hoping this is a software issue that will be fixed shortly.

Update: SchwarzTech noted on Twitter:

Hopefully a software limitation, but perhaps Apple assumes more iOS devices as extra controllers/remotes initially?

This is something I hadn’t considered, but sounds like a plausible reason for Apple to forgo support for more than two Bluetooth controllers at launch.

Twitter Plans to Go Beyond Its 140-Character Limit

Kurt Wagner and Jason Del Ray, reporting for Re/code:

Twitter is building a new product that will allow users to share tweets that are longer than the company’s 140-character limit, according to multiple people familiar with the company’s plans.

It’s unclear what the product will look like, but sources say it would enable Twitter users to publish long-form content to the service.

I’ve written about this recently and am vehemently opposed to it. Twitter should, instead, embrace other publishing platforms that allow for longer form content by building stronger ties with sites like WordPress.com, Blogger, Facebook, and Tumblr. I would much rather have Twitter remain the short-form messaging platform that we love than allow users to put it into verbose mode.

Google Unveils New Nexus Phones, Chromecast, and Pixel C 

AppleInsider’s Roger Fingas details Google’s Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Pixel C, and Chromecast announcements from Tuesday’s press event.

Amazon to Ban Sale of Apple TV, Google Chromecast

Spencer Soper, writing for Bloomberg:

The Seattle-based Web retailer sent an e-mail to its marketplace sellers that it will stop selling the Apple TV and Google’s Chromecast since those devices don’t “interact well” with Prime Video. No new listings for the products will be allowed and posting of existing inventory will be removed Oct. 29, Amazon said. Prime Video doesn’t run easily on its rival’s hardware.

I see this move as an indication that one of these three things is true:

  1. Amazon is afraid that the Fire TV is an inferior product when compared to the Apple TV and Chromecast. Amazon doesn’t even want to give customers the option because if they do customers might pass the Fire TV by.
  2. Apple isn’t allowing Amazon to build an Amazon Video app for the Apple TV.
  3. Amazon eventually plans to discontinue AirPlay support in their mobile apps and doesn’t plan on ever adding Chromecast support or building an Apple TV app.

I think the major question that Amazon has to ask themselves when making a decision like this is “are we a retailer first or a platform company first?” I think most users of the Amazon ecosystem think of them as a retailer with a nice side project building tablets and media boxes, but I suspect Amazon feels differently — the removal of the Apple TV and Chromecast from their store is a good indicator of this.

Only time will tell how far Amazon is willing to take this and whether or not they’ll find the success they’re seeking. But in the meantime, customers like myself who pay for Amazon Prime and own Apple products are going to find it harder and harder to take full advantage of Amazon’s non-retail services.

The Verge Reviews the Logitech Harmony Elite

If I was in the market for a universal remote, this is the one I’d buy. But I’m still quite happy with my Logitech Harmony One and I’ll likely continue using it until it doesn’t function anymore.

Eddy Cue: ‘I Know I’m Not Allowed to Talk About the Phone but What the Hell — He Can’t Fire Me’

Jimi Famurewa, writing for the Evening Standard:

He taps his phone and makes an offhand comment about “trying not to get roaming charges” while in London which, I note, proves how insanely expensive phone calls and data can be abroad. “It’s sad, it’s another problem,” says Cue. “We’re trying to fix it and we’re making a little bit of progress but you’ve got to convince a lot of people.” It sounds like an impossible task. But that, you would imagine, is where the famous flair will come in.

Tweetbot 4 for iOS is Now Available

Its now a universal app with external keyboard shortcuts, new Activity and Stats tabs, support for Apple’s San Francisco font, and is available for $4.99 — 50% off of the regular price — for a limited time.

I’ve been begrudgingly using the previous version of Tweetbot on my iPad because it was still the best Twitter client available. The previous user interface was decidedly quaint, but Tweetbot 4 brings with it a modern aesthetic that I’m more than ready to switch to. Honestly, I would have paid $4.99 for the iPad update alone.

If you want a more in-depth look at all of the new features, I suggest reading Chris Gonzales’ review on The Sweet Setup.

I’m Not Signing Up for Apple Music

Richard Anderson:

Streaming is ephemeral, and that worries me. If an artist or a label decides it doesn’t like the deal Apple is playing, what’s to stop them from pulling their music? Remember Taylor Swift and Spotify? Prince pulled his music from everything but TIDAL. They won’t be the last ones. Anyone who grumbles about needing membership to a bunch of different video streaming services to watch the shows they want, yet is happy to sign up for a streaming music service, is just asking for the same pain down the line.

No one in the music industry has the ability to reach into your hard drive and remove legally purchased music from it. I’m with Richard on this, the convenience of streaming services doesn’t outweigh the lack of freedom that comes with it. I’d rather pay for music than risk having my favorite bands’ albums taken from me on a whim when their record label decides they’re no longer happy with their compensation.

Jack Dorsey Expected to Be Named Permanent Twitter CEO

Kara Swisher and Kurt Wagner, reporting for Re/code:

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, who has been serving as interim CEO for the past three months, is expected to be named the company’s new permanent CEO as early as tomorrow, although that timeframe may change, according to sources. Dorsey will apparently continue to run Square, the payments company he founded where he’s also CEO.

If this pans out, I think it’ll be a huge step in the right direction.

‘I Miss Wii Sports’

RTLewis, writing on Kinja:

The simplicity of the controls led to Wii Sports’ greatest achievement: the shared social experience. It was Nintendo at its very finest, them being the masters of local multiplayer. And yet, something was different. Those people nailing strike after strike were not your normal Smash Bros buddies. The woman rolling a 300 was your grandmother. Your doubles partner was mom. Never before had a video game brought these different people together.

My fiancée and both of her parents regularly played Wii Sports Resort for about a year during its heyday. My fiancée was never much of a gamer, beyond the few NES cartridges that were handed down to her from a cousin, but her parents never played a video game in their life until the Wii came out. And yet, they were often the ones clamoring to play during our weekly board game night. RTLewis is right, Wii Sports (especially Resort) was really fun.

My fiancée and I started playing our Wii again after I purchased Mario Kart Wii at our local Target. I’ve actually never played a Mario Kart game before, but it was the last copy in the store and I figured I’d give it a go. That was about three weeks ago and we’ve played it 3-4 nights a week since then.

We’ve been having a blast with Mario Kart, but for whatever reason we decided to switch it up a few nights ago and play Wii Sports Resort. We forgot how much fun it was to play 100-pin bowling and now we can’t wait to have her parents over again to reprise our Wii Sports gaming sessions.

Discontent is an iOS ‘Content’ Blocker

From the App Store description:

Discontent blocks web content. Not scripts, not ads, not trackers. Content. Stop distracting yourself with marginally informative blog posts and start living.

Pairs nicely with an ad blocker for a true barebones web experience.

This is hilarious.

Expeditions Pioneer Program


Expeditions teams will visit selected schools around the world, starting with the United States, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Brazil. Each team will bring a complete Expeditions kit with everything the teachers need to take their students on journeys anywhere. The team will show teachers how Expeditions works and help set it up before class.

My fiancée is teaching third grade this year and would love to implement Expiditions into her curriculum. According to their posted schedule, they’ll be about an hour and a half away from her school in early November. She’s already signed up to be considered for the program and I hope they’ll be stopping at her school along the way.

If It Ain’t Fixed, Break It

Daniel Jalkut:

Apple “broke” the haptic feedback associated with invoking Siri, by “fixing” the problem that there had ever been any latency before. Have an iPhone 6s or 6s Plus? Go ahead, I dare you: hold down the home button and start talking to Siri. You will not escape its attention. It’s ready to go when you are, so it would be obnoxious of it to impose any contrived delay or to give taptic feedback that is uncalled for. Siri has become a more perfect assistant, and we have to change our habits to accommodate this.

I’ve been trying to take Daniel’s advice, but Siri keeps ignoring the first few words I say — I suppose I need to add another beat of hesitation before I start talking. I just wish Apple would allow us turn on some sort of feedback so that I could be reassured of when she starts listening, even though it’s unnecessary.

Apple’s Approach to Privacy

“The most personal technology must also be the most private.”

The Ultimate iPhone Camera Comparison

Lisa Bettany:

In the past eight years, each new advancement in iPhone camera technology has made dramatic improvements to image quality. The new 12-megapixel iPhone 6s iSight camera is no exception. With 50% more megapixels than the last four iPhone 8-megapixel models, the iPhone 6s boasts a number of key improvements including: improved auto-focus, local tone-mapping, noise reduction, and colour separation, with that fancy “deep trench isolation” technology Apple is raving about.

In this follow-up post to my previous iPhone comparisons, I present a 9 iPhone comparison from all iPhone versions taken with Camera+ including: the original iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3Gs, iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, and the new iPhone 6s, in a variety of real-life situations to test each iPhone camera’s capabilities.

Twitter’s 140-Character Limit

Eugene Wei, on Twitter’s primary limitation:

I’d actually remove the 140 character limit on Tweets as well, though such a move would undoubtedly spawn even more of a public outcry than Instagram’s move since so many power users of Twitter are journalists. Yes, a 140 character limit enforces some concision in writing, rewarding the witty among us, but it also alienates a lot of people who hate having to edit a thought multiple times just to fit in the arbitrary limit.

I would like to respectfully disagree. The 140-character limit is Twitter’s greatest strength. It’s one of the few communication tools that forces users to be concise. And although that sometimes seems difficult, it makes Twitter the perfect tool for celebrities and media personalities to communicate with their audience.

Do you think John Gruber would be able to read every single one of his mentions if users were able to send him novels-worth of text in a tweet? Of course not. He has over 365,000 followers and often receives upwards of 100 mentions per day.

The limited character count forces users to be creative in order to convey their message while living within the confines of the medium. It’s annoying, yes. But if users want a social network that allows for longer forms of communication then they can join Facebook, Tumblr, WordPress, or Blogger — there’s plenty of options.

And I hate to sound like an elitist, but maybe it’s okay for Twitter to make decisions that leave some users out. Maybe it’s okay that some users go elsewhere because they grew tired of having to edit their tweets down. Not every social network has to be the one-stop-shop for everybody.

And regarding the idea that Twitter’s secret power is “the network,” the network (or social graph) isn’t any one social network’s secret power, it’s no ones. Because Twitter isn’t the social graph and neither is Facebook or any other social network. Your friends are a collection of people that you’ve met throughout the years and Twitter, Facebook, Instragram, etc. are just communication tools that you use to keep in touch with them.

A spoons secret power isn’t the food itself, it’s secret power is that it’s capable of carrying food from your plate to your mouth. Other people have made advancements in spoon technology by inventing the spork, but I’d venture to guess you don’t have a drawer full of sporks in our kitchen. You likely have a drawer filled with an assortment of tools — salad forks, dinner forks, teaspoons, tablespoons, butter knives, and steak knives — like everyone else, that are all good at specific tasks and terrible at others. Nobody’s eating soup with a butter knife and, as such, nobody needs to publish their masters thesis on Twitter — there are better tools for accomplishing that task.

Of course, just like the existence of the spork, there will be people trying to hack Twitter into becoming the tool they want it to be. But in the end you’re never going to see a spork at a fancy steak house.

‘Actual Formatted Capacity Less’

G. Keenan Schneider explains why a 64GB iPhone doesn’t appear to have 64GB of storage.

Ryan Plummer’s Love Letter to iPad

I couldn’t agree more.

The Benefit of 2GB of RAM in iPhone 6s

Adding more RAM to iOS devices looks like the easiest way for Apple to yield incredible performance increases. The iPad Air 2 was the first device to really prove this and the iPhone 6s further solidifies just how immense the improvement can be.

Shawn Blanc on His Ideal Workspace

My ideal workspace would be an 11-inch MacBook Air next to an iPad Air 2 propped up by a TwelveSouth Compass. I’d have headphones in my ears plugged into an iPhone in my pocket playing the latest State Champs or Tonight Alive album. My devices would be sitting on a large wooden table with only a lamp, notebook, and pen to accompany them. I’d be sitting in front of the table in a comfortable rolling chair inside of a small room with no other furniture, but lots of Windows for natural light.

Using Low Power Mode All the Time

Matt Birchler, writing about his Low Power Mode testing:

while most iOS 9 reviews covered this mode briefly and determined it worked as advertised, I wondered what would happen if you used Low Power Mode all the time. I was surprised that no reviewer seems to have done this, so I took it upon myself to give it a try. I don’t have any standardized battery tests that I can do, so I simply spent the last 2 weeks alternating between using Low Power Mode all day, and not using it at all and comparing the differences. My findings are rather remarkable.

I started using Low Power Mode (almost) full time shortly after I installed iOS 9 on my iPhone 5s. The device was about two years old and the battery was starting to show its age — with iOS 8.4.1, the only way I could get through the day was to keep it in Airplane Mode while it was in my pocket. But Low Power Mode changed all that. And while I didn’t track my iPhone’s battery life throughout the day like Matt did, I can tell you that I was able to get through the whole day without a hitch.

Samantha Bielefeld Interviews Dean Murphy

Developer of Crystal, Dean Murphy, when asked about his decision  to give up some level of control over his ad blocker’s whitelist:

I don’t possess the resources necessary to hand pick, and arbitrate what ads are acceptable. It would require making sure they meet a certain criteria, and I would have to then monitor the ads in order to ensure that standards had been met. It would also require me to form business relationships with advertising networks, etc. It would be a massive time sink and would involve a hell of a lot of work that would distract me from everything else. I’ve spoken to Eyeo, and they have many customers who support their vision. They have set a great standard for acceptable ads, and are backed by some sites that I truly admire.

I’d also suggest reading Dean Murphy’s sort-of FAQ about his partnership with Eyeo and what it means to Crystal users.