Advanced Sound’s based on Long Island, NY, just outside of the world’s greatest city, and not far from where I was born. They’re a plucky company, making headphones and hardware for people who really care about audio quality and want to get it at a good price. They launched a Kickstarter campaign not long ago for their Accessport, a dongle that solves a silly problem. The iPhone 7 didn’t come with a headphone jack. The iPhone 8 and iPhone X don’t have headphone jacks either. You could use the adapter that Apple provides (and sells for just $9), or you could try to upgrade your experience. You could go with a dongle that allows you to both listen to music and charge your phone at the same time. You could go further by getting one that has a higher quality digital to analog converter (DAC) and amplifier, to really make your music sound incredible. With such a setup, you’d actually be better off than if Apple provided a headphone jack in the phone. An external DAC and amplifier that can also charge your phone? Perfect. And that’s just what Advanced Sound promised with their Accessport. Unfortunately, they didn’t come close to delivering on that promise. In fact, it actually sounds far worse than the sound from my iPhone (I still have a headphone jack equipped iPhone 6s… for now).
As a subway commuter, I quickly learned a little trick for getting service in the subway. For the uninitiated, nearly every subway station in NYC now has cellular reception. Usually it’s LTE, but sometimes it’s just 3G. But these are the only places where you can get service. In the tunnels between stations, there is no service. When the iPhone loses a data connection, it goes down the chain of potential technologies to use for a connection. First it looks for 3G, then it looks for a call-only connection, and finally, it settles on no service. When service returns, it goes back up the chain… slowly. Often you’re not in a station long enough for it to get back to LTE on its own. That’s where the little trick comes in. I have an iPhone 6s, so I’ve got Force Touch. I press hard on the Settings icon, and tap the Cellular option that comes up. Then I turn Cellular Data off for about 5-10 seconds, then I turn it back on. This causes the cellular radio to reset. When the cellular radio gets powered back on, it looks for a connection in descending order, starting with the best possible connection. First LTE, then 3G, then a voice only connection. When this happens, it goes from “thinking” there’s only a 1x voice connection to realizing that there’s an LTE connection available. It’s a handy trick, and one I’ve actually heard other commuters talking about, so I know it works.
When Apple introduced iOS 11, they put all the wireless radios in Control Center. I was probably more excited than I had any right to be. This put the cellular radio toggle just a swipe and a tap away from any app. Surely this would make my little trick easier. However, when I tried it on the subway, I found it didn’t work. The next day, I read an article that told me why: the toggle is a lie. iOS doesn’t shut off the cellular, WiFi, or Bluetooth radios when you toggle them in Control Center. This is a huge problem, it’s a UI element that claims to do something, but doesn’t do it, tricking it’s user. It’s simultaneously unlike Apple and extremely Apple-like.
Apple didn’t release the first smartphone, they didn’t release the first touchscreen phone, but they did release the best, by a wide margin. Since then, other smartphones evolved to look more like Apple’s, and from there, we get the iOS vs Android duopoly that we have today. Apple wasn’t the first to make a GUI, the first PC manufacturer, the first to put a fingerprint sensor on a phone, they weren’t the first with two cameras, or even the first to make an MP3 player, but they’ve done the best versions of all of these things, changing the market forever. That’s why I hate graphics like the ones above, which seem to come out every time Apple releases some exciting new iPhone. No, Apple wasn’t the first, but they’ve done everything so much better, so the question becomes, why did the others create such half-assed projects to begin with? If you’re going to do something right, take your time and do it right, don’t rush it and release something that’s less than the best. That’s Apple’s philosophy, it’s why iPhone users stick with iOS, and it’s why we’re excited to use the iPhone X.
So, what about the points raised in the graphics above? I’m going to tear each of them apart. Why? Because I hate the spread of fake news far more than I hate know-it-all fanboys, and this involves both.
You know? I like the number 9. It’s the highest single digit decimal number, it’s the number for the first month of fall, it’s my favorite number squared, and, for some silly reason, 9/10ths of a cent are added to the price of every gallon of gas in the U.S. Yes, 9 is a pretty special number. Unfortunately, some people tend to disagree with me. Namely, Microsoft and Apple. Microsoft jumped from Windows 8 to Windows 10, perhaps to distance itself from the disaster that was Windows 8, and Apple just released the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X (pronounced “ten”). In one or two years, it’s unlikely they’ll release the iPhone 9 and iPhone 11, they’ll likely mix up the names, so we likely will never see the number 9 on an iPhone. Why’d Apple release an iPhone X (ten in Roman numerals), alongside the iPhone 8? For nostalgia’s sake, of course, but it’s anything but a device stuck in the past. The new iPhones weren’t the only new Apple devices on the stage on during Tuesday’s event. Apple also announced the Apple TV 4K, Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE, and new features of iOS 11. With the introduction of three new flagship iPhone models, it was certainly a unique event, and with the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus going on preorder last Friday, we can get an idea of how popular these devices will be.
Apple has never been a company to look into the past, always moving forward. However, once before, they celebrated how far they came with a brand new product that encapsulates all the greatness of their past products while simultaneously forging forward. The 20th anniversary Macintosh, released in 1997, came out just a few years before Apple released Mac OS X, a dramatic leap forward in the desktop operating system. It’s a rare moment of nostalgia for Apple before they forge ahead with new technologies. Plus, customers love these creative devices. Something else Apple rarely does? Leak their own products. 2017 seems to be a unique hear for them, because this year, they’re both looking back, and leaking their own products.
For the second time, Apple accidentally released firmware that reveals their upcoming products. Now we know for sure that the next iPhones will be called the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and a new premium model, the iPhone X. Apple also revealed a new Apple Watch, presumably the LTE Apple Watch, as well as a secret feature of the iPhone X: emoji that track (and react to) your face!
Two supposed leaks or rumors state the possible names for the iPhones won’t follow Apple’s standard naming patterns, though they disagree on the final names for the most hotly anticipated iPhone in years. Previously, it was assumed that there would be three iPhone models released this year. There would be the upgrades to the current models, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus would be replaced by the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus, and then there would be the new model, the iPhone 8. However, two new rumors state that Apple will skip the ‘S’ moniker this year, going right to the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus for the 4.7″ and 5.5″ iPhones, respectively, and the 5.7″ with almost no bezel iPhone would instead be named either the iPhone Edition or iPhone X. But which is more likely?