October 17, 2019

Snippet: It Is Currently Impossible to Exchange Money for an iPhone ☍

Jason Koebler for Vice (via Nick Heer):

I think that buying a new phone is a shameful but occasionally necessary activity to continue living in the modern world. I disagree with most of Apple’s corporate philosophies on recycling, repair, and its walled-garden, monopolistic approach to the App Store. I do not like spending time in Apple Stores, nor do I like giving the company money, but I appreciate Apple’s commitment to privacy and security, and my current phone is more than three years old, has been repaired three times, and no longer takes photos or connects to WiFi. It is, unfortunately, Time for a New Phone.

The article makes it seem like Koebler would rather talk about how he’s not going to buy an iPhone as some sort of badge of honor. There’s almost this notion that some tech writers can only be against anything new. You don’t see writers who cover the automotive industry argue that while the new model of x is perfectly fine, they’re personally sticking with their 2002 Ford Focus to show everyone! But, back to the unavailable iPhones:

If you want to buy a new iPhone, there are two basic options: You can either become beholden to Apple for the next two years of your life by paying monthly installments of between $30 and $60, or you can give the company a bunch of money up front. […]

The problem is that, at the moment, it is nearly impossible to exchange US currency for an iPhone 11 Pro…

Koebler apparently forgets that most carriers offer financing and there’s plenty of places that do trade-ins (although his phone sounds like it’s on its last leg), so there are ways to get them without full price or Apple’s financing. While inventory is tight at times, they actually just don’t have the model he wants right now:

It is worth noting that you can buy the 64GB version of the iPhone 11 Pro at most stores, which is a version of the phone that shouldn’t exist because that is not enough storage.

I haven’t seen this argument very often, as it’s not like the days of the 16GB iPhones wearing out their welcome. For many people in 2019, 64GB will still feel cavernous, and they probably would be looking at the regular 11 anyway (the 128GB model is a good value proposition). At this point, my advice would be to order it, wait the week or two for the probably lower-volume model to ship, and try to enjoy it.

October 14, 2019

Snippet: Naming the ‘iPhone SE 2’ ☍

Stephen Hackett on the rumored new budget iPhone, using an iPhone 8 chassis:

If it really is $399, it would be $50 less expensive than the iPhone 8, but if it comes with the A13, it doesn’t make any sense that it would be below the iPhone 8 in the lineup.

I think it is safe to assume that this iPhone will replace the current iPhone 8, while also being cheaper. Without the iPhone 8 in the way, Apple won’t be stuck with “8” as the brand ceiling, forced into the “SE 2” corner.

One could look at all of this and assume the name would be the iPhone 8S, but I think 9 is a better choice.

Ever since the initial rumors, I’ve been wondering what this iPhone would be called and how it will be positioned. Like the original SE, it would have mostly better internal components than more expensive models, but many older user-facing components (the SE sold alongside the 6 and 6S, this would sell at least alongside the XR). Replacing the 8 would be a good move to simplify the lineup and maybe even drop the Plus option, further cleaning things up. While it would be weird to have an iPhone 9 introduced now, it does fit and would actually correct the lineup a bit.

October 12, 2019

Snippet: Remove the macOS Catalina Guilt Trip from macOS Mojave ☍

Rob Griffiths:

I have no plans to move my main iMac to macOS Catalina, at least for the forseeable future. There are two key apps I use—Fujitsu’s ScanSnap scanner software and the Many Tricks’ accounting app—that are both 32-bit. In addition, there are changes in Catalina relative to permissions that make it somewhat Vista like and slow down my interaction with the system. (My MacBook Air is my “production” Catalina Mac, and I have an older retina MacBook Pro that I use for Catalina betas.) […]

And while that’s [a System Preference upgrade message] annoying, it’s not nearly as annoying as the red “1” dot they stick on System Preferences, which will stare at you forever. I complained about this on Twitter, and as is often the case, some very bright people had solutions to the problem.

There are two things that I wanted to get rid of on my iMac: The notice about Catalina, and the infuriating red dot. At its simplest level, this appears to require just two Terminal commands…

I think it’s rather telling that many die-hard Mac users are skipping macOS Catalina for now. Inevitably, new machines will come with it and force it among users, but for now a lot are staying away, due to stability, annoyances, or 32-bit software. The fact that a major macOS release isn’t even generating much excitement amongst people like me should concern Apple and maybe cause them to rethink their every-year strategy for Mac updates.

The install-on-day-one-bugs-be-damned attitude still lives with iOS, but mostly because the new features are worth the trouble. For the Mac, I think we’d much prefer stability and simple iterations, something expected from a very mature platform.

October 8, 2019

Snippet: Taiwan Flag Emoji Disappears From Latest Apple iPhone Keyboard ☍

Kris Cheng for Hong Kong Free Press (via John Gruber):

The Republic of China flag emoji has disappeared from Apple iPhone’s keyboard for Hong Kong and Macau users. The change happened for users who updated their phones to the latest operating system.

Updating iPhones to iOS 13.1.1 or above caused the flag emoji to disappear from the emoji keyboard. The flag, commonly used by users to denote Taiwan, can still be displayed by typing “Taiwan” in English, and choosing the flag in prediction candidates.

Gruber thinks the evidence points to kowtowing to China and I can’t think it would be anything otherwise. I know Apple is in a difficult position, but it still doesn’t feel great.

October 7, 2019

Snippet: Minimum Viable Connectivity ☍

Mike Davidson:

There is no shortage of advice about how to make your phone less addictive. Turn off a bunch of notifications. Flip on Do Not Disturb. Use Black & White mode. Delete social networking apps. It’s all good advice, but for me, having that giant, heavy glass brick in my pocket is a constant reminder of what’s at my fingertips.

What I’ve really grown to want is less at my fingertips.

Without spoiling the end plan, this has been an ongoing question I’ve had—if certain features/apps/etc. aren’t there, will that cause me to avoid messing with them if I have a moment of downtime? Nonetheless, I’m fascinated by the idea and will be eager to see how this goes.