Apple posted a new commercial in its Shot on iPhone series. It’s called The Human Family, and it showcases photographs and videos of people around the world, all shot on an iPhone, of course. It’s a wonderful trip around the world shown through faces of markedly different people. Serving as a backdrop to this parade is Human Family, a poem by Maya Angelou. The whole thing is lovely and compelling. Check it out.
Mobile data and voice connections can be a fickle thing, and a new report from RootMetrics shows just how true that is. The report ranks 125 U.S. cities for wireless reliability, speed, data, call, and text performance, and it turns out the best place for smartphone owners to live is Lansing, Michigan. The worst is Hudson Valley, New York. San Francisco came in at 58, well below Chicago (5), Kansas City (11), and Boston (17). Denver was near the bottom of the list at 119, which sounds about right based on our experiences. You can check out the full report and see how your metro area stacks up at the RootMetrics website.
It’s 10 meters long and 2 meters high. It’s made of discrete transistors and LEDs. You can actually see what’s going on. Is it a real working computer? Yes. Can you program it? Yes. Why was it made? The developer, James Newman, says, “Computers are quite opaque, looking at them it’s impossible to see how they work. What I would like to do is get inside and see what’s going on. Trouble is we can’t shrink down small enough to walk inside a silicon chip. But we can go the other way; we can build the thing big enough that we can walk inside it. Not only that we can also put LEDs on everything so we can actually SEE the data moving and the logic happening.” Behold, the Megaprocessor
Got thirty minutes to spare? If so, I have a video for you. It’s called Watch CarPlay Read Every iPhone Emoji, and it was produced by Motor1.com (via The Next Web). It may be one of the most ridiculous things I have experienced, so I’m pretty keen to get you in on the action, too. The idea is simple: One person sent another person a text message using every emoji in iOS 9.x—all 1,064 of them. Firstly, can you imagine the time making that message took? But wait, it gets better, because they then had CarPlay in what looks like a Honda read that text message. And when Siri is reading emoji, she reads the name of that emoji. Put it all together, and you get this 29 minute and 27 second video. It’s delightful, agonizing, beautiful, horrific, and funny, all wrapped up in one. Enjoy!
This has me somewhere between creeped out and awesomefied, but check out this video. It’s a demonstration of “mini robots”—or “robot spiders,” as The Next Web put it—weaving a structure of carbon fiber. Or more specifically, a hammock. These devices can climb walls and crawl across ceilings (like spiders), and they work in concert to pull strands of carbon fiber to build “structures.” Call me old fashioned, but it’s hardly reassuring that the hammock they built looks a lot like a vicious spiderweb, and that the model lying in that web, I mean hammock, looks lifeless. See what I mean? It’s creeptastic and amazeballs all the same time (YMMV). Dezeen has a detailed report on the project.
VAVA’s new Voom 20 is perhaps my new favorite Bluetooth speaker, and that’s saying a lot. It’s the right size – a little taller than a can of soda – and has a full, warm sound that can fill a room or your outdoor deck. With dual 8W drivers, two passive subwoofers, 10 hours of battery life and an IPX5 water rating, this speaker will go anywhere you want to bring it, be that the beach, your hotel room, or the kitchen of your AirBnB. It’s even got speakerphone capabilities as well as a USB port for charging your iPhone from the Voom 20s internal 5200mAh battery. It supports the aptX Bluetooth codec, so if you’re using this with your Mac you can get top-quality Bluetooth sound to it. One note: the volume control on the speaker is set independently of your device’s volume, so be sure to crank up both of them. With a special 25% discount available through August 8, the VAVA Voom 20 can be yours direct from VAVA for $59.99 with coupon code GOVOOM20. That’s less than half of what I’ve found comparable speakers cost.
Check out Apple’s new iPad Pro commercial, titled “iPad Pro — What’s a Computer?” It’s like a Microsoft Surface Pro spot, with a prettier star, better lighting, better graphics, and better direction. It pitches iPad Pro as a computer, only one you can touch, type on, and write on using a stylus. It features iPad Pro (9.7-inch), Smart Keyboard, and Apple Pencil. It’s almost like Apple is saying this combination of devices is kind of like a toasterfridge that can do it all. I’d love to hear some thoughts from our readers on this.
OmniFocus already encrypts your tasks database, but your files stored on the sync server were susceptible to hackers. That changes with OmniFocus 2.6.1 for the Mac and 2.15 for the iPhone and iPad. The update ensures your OmniFocus files are securely encrypted when they’re at rest on the server, protecting you from nosey hackers interested in how you spend your day—which, it turns out, might include making sure OmniFocus is as secure as possible. OmniFocus 2 is priced starting at US$39.99 and is available on the App Store and Mac App Store.
Apple is finally bringing the Siri remote’s features to the iPhone and iPad with it’s new Apple TV Remote app. The app lets users control their fourth generation Apple TV as if they were using the device’s included remote, and supports Siri voice control, too. It also supports the second and third generation Apple TV sans Siri control, but can’t control iTunes on your Mac. For that you’ll still need the older Remote app. Apple TV Remote is a free download at Apple’s App Store.
Twitter stickers are available to everyone in Twitter’s own iPhone app. Stickers let you add fun graphics to the photos you upload, just like you can do on other social network services. They’re easy to use, and TMO’s Jeff Gamet shows you how in this Quick Tip video.
A video out of Vietnam claims to show Apple’s own Lighting to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter in action—the adapter that’s expected to ship with the iPhone 7 this fall. The new iPhone will reportedly ditch the familiar 3.5mm headphone jack in favor of audio over Lighting and audio over Bluetooth. Reports claim Apple will include a Lightning to 3.5mm adapter with the new iPhone model. It’s hard to say if this video shows a legit Apple adapter, or something from a third party manufacturer. Regardless, the look seems very Apple, so maybe we really are getting a glimpse of what’ll be in the box when the iPhone 7 hits store shelves.
Douglas Adams’s Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is coming to BBC America! The first trailer for the series was released this week at Comic-Con, and it looks amazing. It stars Samuel Barnett in the title role, with Elijah Wood as his assistant Todd. I enjoyed the Dirk Gently novels, and I’m looking forward to this eight-episode series. Enjoy the new trailer!
Rogue Amoeba, developers of many great things upon which we podcasters rely, updated Loopback to version 1.0.3 today. Loopback lets you create virtual audio devices on your Mac which send the audio from one application to another in ways that most apps don’t directly support. The update brings Rogue Amoeba’s latest Instant On component, version 8.3, which now supports macOS 10.12 Sierra (available in beta form), as well as a bug fix for monitoring devices that are removed and re-added. Loopback is available directly from Rogue Amoeba.
Controlling your Nest smart thermostat just got bit more convenient thanks to an iPhone app update that adds Apple Watch support. You can check and adjust the room temperature from your wrist without having to fish your iPhone out of your pocket—something Ecobee users have been doing for a while. The app update also adds support for viewing multiple Nest cameras at the same time, and adds 1080p support for the Drocam Pro. Nest may be a little late to the game with Apple Watch support, but at least it’s finally here.
Steve Jobs was almost always compelling, intensely so. The Loop noted this video interview from 1994 when a bearded Mr. Jobs was still at NeXT. I’m not sure what he was asked (something about equating computing to the Renaissance), but his answer is intensely compelling. His central thesis is that advances in computing technology are ephemeral, and that all of his work “will be obsolete by the time I’m 50.” What’s unsaid is that legacy wasn’t the thing that drove him. Mr. Jobs relentlessly pursued the future, and this answer is part and parcel of that drive. I highly recommend watching it.
Deliveries, Junecloud’s excellent delivery tracking app, sees an update this week that adds a complete set of Apple Watch complications. Previous versions would only work with certain complications, and specifically had nothing for the smaller “Circular” complication that often sits in the corners of the watch face. Now any complication spot can be filled with your Deliveries data. Our tests also showed that the newest version of the app works fine on the current iOS 10 and watchOS 3 betas, but no comments were made by the developer. Your mileage may vary, of course.
Geocaching, both the name of the real-world treasure-hunt style game and its companion iOS app, sees an update to the latter today to better surface GeoTours. GeoTours are custom-built collections of geocaches to enhance (or serve as the foundation for) a trip or vacation to a specific area. There are now over 60 unique GeoTours available, and more are being added all the time. To learn about GeoTours or search for a specific one, start with the Search icon in the app and select GeoTours. You’ll be good to go from there!
Mozilla has pushed out version 5.0 of Firefox for iOS to the App Store, and along with it comes a slew of new features. Chief among those are both speed and battery life improvements as well as the ability to add custom search engines to the browser. When searching for something in Firefox, you’ve long had the option of tapping the icon of an alternative engine to perform your search there. Now you can add your own custom engines by simply going to any website, putting the cursor in the website’s own search box, and then hitting Firefox’s magnifying-glass-with-a-plus-symbol icon. That’ll add it to the top of your alternatives list and you’re good to go!
Adobe Lightroom is already available on the Mac, iPad and iPhone, and now it’s on Apple TV, too. The Apple TV version won’t let you edit images, but it does display Lightroom galleries on your big screen TV. You can view photos synchronized with the iPad version, or uploaded through Lightroom on the Web, view photos in slide shows, and zoom in on image details, too. Installing Lightroom (free) on your iPhone or iPad first makes it show up in purchased apps on your Apple TV. You’ll need a fourth generation Apple TV and a Creative Cloud account, too.