May 13, 2016

Review: Apple iPhone SE

Apple iPhone SEWhen Apple released the iPhone SE a little over a month ago, I was immediately intrigued. Although I'm what one typically would consider an iOS "power user," I typically get at least two years out of each iPhone, skipping the "S" models. With the iPhone SE, I'd be replacing my iPhone 6 after about a year and a half, but what would I be gaining?

May 12, 2016

Link: Is It Okay to Use White Emoji? ☍

Andrew McGill for The Atlantic:

But this effect may also signal a squeamishness on the part of white people. The folks I talked to before writing this story said it felt awkward to use an affirmatively white emoji; at a time when skin-tone modifiers are used to assert racial identity, proclaiming whiteness felt uncomfortably close to displaying “white pride,” with all the baggage of intolerance that carries.  At the same time, they said, it feels like co-opting something that doesn’t exactly belong to white people—weren’t skin-tone modifiers designed so people of color would be represented online?

Prior to seeing this article, I had never thought of this other than the originally discussion to add skin tone modifiers to emojis. Although from a technical standpoint, yellow is the neutral default, but obviously different meanings and feelings are conveyed over time. As a white male on the pastier side of things, I recognize that I’m not qualified to speak about this in terms of what should and should not be used or what’s best for different races or ethnicities. However, it certainly is a thought-provoking conversation and worth checking out. If and when I use emojis that are modifiable by skin tone, my usage tends to be based on if it’s reflecting my voice or not. Maybe the default ones should be shifted from Lego/Simpsons yellow to completely white like cartoon character gloves?

May 5, 2016

Link: Shrinking the Wallet ☍

Matt Richman:

And in order to realize Cook’s vision of an iPhone that also stores your passport and driver’s license, Apple will have to persuade and then work with countless governments around the world. Additionally, the company will have to ensure that others accept what’s stored in its digital wallet. And even then — even if Apple can design the perfect product and ensure 100 percent compatibility — there’s no guarantee digital wallets will be universally used.

Apple’s quest to replace the wallet began in 2012 with the release of Passbook for iOS. The built-in app stored things like boarding passes and loyalty cards. Since then, Apple has changed the app’s name to Wallet and integrated Apple Pay into the app, allowing people to pay for things with their phones.

There are a lot of hurdles for wallets to move electronic-only, but what Apple is doing currently is a good first step. For me, I have a few cards that I would rather not carry all the time and they’ve been replaced with their digital equivalents. My physical wallet currently consists of a few credit/debit cards, a driver’s license, insurance card, and a few folded bills. As much as I’d love to get rid of cash, it still has a place at times, but I try to carry as little as possible. An iPhone and a few cards is still certainly less than the George Constanza wallet I might have been carrying before.

Elsewhere in the article, Richman mentions person-to-person payments. Currently, I use Square Cash and have found it works well for my needs, and could fill the cross-platform gap, but most of my regular transactions involve iPhone users. Apple could almost treat person-to-person Apple Pay like iMessage—iOS-exclusive and a reason why you should choose an iPhone over something else. Right now, iOS certainly supports alternatives that do work with Android or even the web. This would be a nice feature to introduce, as it will allow me to remove yet another service and double-down on Apple Pay as a whole.

April 26, 2016

News: Apple Reports Q2 Results

Apple announced financial results for its fiscal 2016 first quarter ending March 26, 2016. In the conference call, Apple posted quarterly revenue of $50.6 billion and quarterly net income of $10.5 billion, or $1.90 per diluted share…

April 25, 2016

Link: Microsoft Word Flow Keyboard Released ☍

Microsoft’s new iOS system keyboard, arguably based around their acquisition of SwiftKey, is quite nice, mixing swiping and traditional typing. It also gives the option to switch to “Arc Mode” where the keyboard curves around a corner of the screen, allowing easier one-handed typing on bigger devices. While this may not end up being my daily-use keyboard, it’s a nice alternative, and good to see Microsoft trying little side projects on iOS.