Recent Articles By Charlotte Henry [RSS]

What Do You Want In iOS 13?

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iOS 12 on iPhone X

It’s been just two months since iOS 12 was released, but people are already looking ahead to what Apple might do with the next iteration of its mobile operating system. MacWorld‘s Jason Cross has published his wishlist and I suspect there is much on there that TMO readers will agree with. It includes the introduction of dark mode as seen in macOS Mojave, an upgrade for Siri and a revamped camera. Cross would also like to see YouTube 4K and HDR video support, not to mention more flexibility and power in the iPad version. Here’s a bit of what he hopes comes next on  iOS:

Apple can do more, much more. The latest iPhones and iPad Pros sport processors, cameras, and sensors that are capable of incredible things, but iOS at times feels like its holding us back. In particular, the iPad Pro feels like it has everything it needs to be a complete laptop replacement—except an operating system that lets you do everything you need to do on a laptop.

Stylish New Leather AirPods Case

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AirPods are hugely popular but, let’s be honest, the charging case is hardly the most chic item Apple has ever released. Accessories maker NOMAD may have solved that problem. On Thursday, they are going to release the Rugged Case – a fully leather outer case for AirPods. Available in brown or black, you can put the AirPod charging case intro the Rugged Case, providing extra protection and a little bit more style. Priced at $29.95, the Rugged Case is available to pre-order now. Distribution will commence on Thursday, 15 November.

Stylish New Leather AirPods Case

The End of 'Beautygate'

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The iPhone XS and XS Max came with a feature called SmartHDR that increased the dynamic range of photos.  It also reduced the local contrast and the phone’s performance in low light. The lowlight issues were fixed by decreasing noise reduction, which, when combined with the lack of contrast created a smoothing effect. This was particularly noticeable in selfies and came to be known as ‘Beautygate’. With iOS 12.1 Apple tried to fix the problem. Did they succeed? A video from AppleInsider takes a look.

Advertising Fraud on Android Apps Uncovered

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Buzzfeed News has discovered a  sophisticated digital advertising fraud scheme targeting Android devices, in which ads were shown to bots, not real users. The article estimates that those behind the scheme “stole close to $10 million from advertisers who used Google’s ad network to place ads in the affected websites and apps”. The fraudulent scheme operated across a  large network of Android apps, including some aimed at children.  It raises major questions about the reviews process used by Google. The article noted that “the Google Play store has a less rigorous app review process than Apple’s App Store.” Here’s some of what Buzzfeed News found:

An investigation by BuzzFeed News reveals that these seemingly separate apps and companies are today part of a massive, sophisticated digital advertising fraud scheme involving more than 125 Android apps and websites connected to a network of front and shell companies in Cyprus, Malta, British Virgin Islands, Croatia, Bulgaria, and elsewhere. More than a dozen of the affected apps are targeted at kids or teens, and a person involved in the scheme estimates it has stolen hundreds of millions of dollars from brands whose ads were shown to bots instead of actual humans.

Apple Headphones Might One Day Auto-Detect Right/Left

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Headphone patent

A new patent reveals that Apple is trying to use microphone to solve the problem of people wearing headphones the wrong way round. Typically our headphones are marked either L and R or having some other kind of indication as to which side is which. Apple has a new patent, reported by AppleInsider,  for a “system and method for automatic right-left ear detection for headphones.” It would use the microphone in the headset to discover the headphone’s orientation and alter the left and right channels accordingly. The patent details a system of five microphones per ear cup, including one inside. Here’s a little insight into what might be on offer in the future:

By listening to the voice of the user, and monitoring the volume of the voice by each microphone, the headphones can determine which edge is closest to the user’s mouth, and therefore which orientation the headphones reside. The offsetting of the top-side microphones also allows for just those two microphones to be used, with the logic the microphone of the two that has the louder volume is closer to the mouth.

How iOS Helps a Blind Veteran Return to the Water

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Here is a feel-good story for a Friday. Apple has made public the story of Scott Leason—a US Navy veteran and keen surfer…who happens to be blind. The story details how by using an iPhone XR, and the VoiceOver application in particular, as well as an Apple Watch, Mr Leason is able to undertake a number of tasks and partake in his beloved water sports. He said,“When I’m at the end of a line behind a boat just like anybody else, I forget I’m blind. And then when I come into the beach and there’s people around [his dog] Snickers and I go yeah that’s my seeing eye dog and I got a board in my hand and they go, ‘you’re blind?’ That’s a cool feeling.” It might be easy for some to be cynical about Apple promoting this, but for most of us, it is equally easy to forget how crucial technology and the accessibility tools modern devices have are to people with a variety of disabilities. Surfs up, Mr Leason!

How iOS Helps a Blind Veteran Return to the Water

Github announces it hosts 100 million repositories

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GitHub, the widely used code management and development tool, revealed Thursday that it hosts 100 million repositories. VentureBeat has a good breakdown of the news and the current state of the platform. It includes the fascinating bit of trivia that Algeria has the most repositories per capita, while Egypt boasts the highest number of open source repositories. GitHub is used by approximately 31 million developers around the globe. It was bought by Microsoft in June for $7.5 million.

Source code management and developer collaboration platform GitHub today announced users have now created 100 million repositories. For context, GitHub had 33 million repositories when the company was founded in 2008, and nearly one in three repositories were made within the past year.

Pixel Starships for the Mac

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Whilst procrastinating and surfing through the app store on my MacBook Pro I came across a new game Pixel Starships made by Savvy Soda. Unable to resist anything that is a) space b) pixellated and silly, I immediately downloaded. The premise is simple. You are the captain of a starship and you must conduct missions, earning rewards and building your ship and crew as you go. Pixel Starships is fun, silly and totally addictive. If you spent hours playing Clash of Clans or similar on your phone, you will enjoy this. Available in the Mac App Store for free (with in-app-purchases).

Pixel Starships for the Mac

New iPad Pro Means it is Time for padOS

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2018 iPad Pro with USB-C

It is fair to say that Ben Lovejoy from 9to5Mac is a fan of the new iPad Pro, including the “perfection of the rounded corners in the display.” He is increasingly recommending it to non-techies over a MacBook. His one gripe though is that he thinks the iPad Pro needs its own operating system – call it padOS. I can see the case for this. The iPad Pro, in particular, is now so advanced that people are doing an increasing number of high-powered tasks on it. The device needs an operating system that reflects that. As Lovejoy points out, Apple argues against converged devices. So why not add an extra operating system into the mix so that each hardware offering is compatible but has a unique software environment so users can truly enjoy devices to their full potential?

But while the iPad Pro isn’t trying to be a Mac, it is a grown-up device and it needs a grown-up operating system. Not macOS, but rather a tailored version of iOS, designed to take advantage of the additional capabilities of the iPad. What some people have termed padOS.