John Gruber Reviews Apple’s New Air Pods Pro

My old AirPods no longer keep a charge making listening for more than a few minutes (especially from the left “pod”) quite a challenge. As expensive as AirPods are for them to just wear out after a couple of years makes me hesitant to buy another pair, however, going wireless and the convenience of charging in the case still makes them a very compelling purchase.

Apple, of course, just released the newest iteration of the AirPods (Pro!) and while I don’t have any professional use for wireless headphones, I’m intrigued by their noise cancelling ability and again, that small charging case is awesome. I had been considering other options for my next pair of earphones because noise cancelling is a game changer for the annoying engine noise on long flights.

From Daring Fireball:

Noise cancellation worked really well for me. I own a pair of Bose over-the-ear noise canceling wireless headphones, but almost exclusively wear them only on airplanes and trains. Wearing noise-canceling earbuds on the subway and walking through the city is going to take some getting used to. It’s so good you really do lose sense of your surrounding aural environment.

I was a dummy and didn’t take my Bose headphones on my trip today, so I can’t say how they compare side-by-side on the train, but there’s no question how AirPods Pro compare to regular AirPods. The difference is like night and day. Amtrak trains are pretty noisy—especially at what we in the U.S. so adorably consider “high speeds”—but with AirPods Pro the clackety-clack rumble was effectively blocked out.

Apple AirPods Pro in the hands of a customer.

I’m 90% certain I’ll pick up a pair from the Apple Store at El Paseo Village when I’m in California next week.

California Dreamin’

We’re off for a family trip to California next week and a couple of days ago realized that not only are we losing an hour from the change in timezone, but we’ll also lose an hour because next week is the time change.

It occurred to us that this abrupt two hour change might be hard on our daughter, The Little NessMonster, so we’ve started advancing her bedtimes by 15 minutes per day. Her usual bedtime is at 7:00 and by the time we leave she’ll be going to bed at about 9:00pm which seems crazy but at the same time, it will make it easier for Halloween since we won’t have to worry about her being woken up by trick-or-treaters.

We’re very excited for California and despite widespread black-outs due to high winds, fires, and the dangers of fires from downed power lines… Palm Springs area isn’t supposed to be affected.

(via poweroutage.us)

Meet the Next Generation CRISPR

There’s a new version of CRISPR, the gene editing tool that cuts swaths out of DNA and replaces them with new DNA that, for example, doesn’t contain the code for vulnerabilities to genetically inherited diseases. This version, however, radically improves on the old technology because it can rewrite DNA without actually cutting the DNA (which can damage and introduce errors into the genome). It’s called “prime editing”.

From MIT Technology Review’s article by Antonio Regalado:

Today, in the latest — and possibly most important — of recent improvements to CRISPR technology, Liu is introducing “prime editing,” a molecular gadget he says can rewrite any type of genetic error without actually severing the DNA strand, as CRISPR does.

The new technology uses an engineered protein that, according to a report by Liu and 10 others today in the journal Nature, can transform any single DNA letter into any other, as well as add or delete longer stretches. In fact, Liu claims it’s capable of repairing nearly any of the 75,000 known mutations that cause inherited disease in humans.

From the abstract of the report:

Prime editing substantially expands the scope and capabilities of genome editing, and in principle could correct about 89% of known pathogenic human genetic variants.

Wired, Scientific American, and Nature all have more on this story.

100 Days of SwiftUI

I’ve been dabbling in the Swift programming language lately and after joining the /r/SwiftUI subreddit I discovered a fantastic free online course by Paul Hudson for learning the SwiftUI framework. The basic idea is, spend about an hour a day for 100 days learning about Swift and SwiftUI and then post about it. Slow and steady wins the race.

I’ve been reluctant to write about it because I wanted to try the course out before locking myself into the commitment device of publicly posting about my plan for the next 100 days, however, I just finished Day 6, I love it, and I plan on doing it every day for the next 94 days.

Details of my learning so far after the jump (posted here mostly for learning and review purposes):

Continue reading “100 Days of SwiftUI”

Everything Coming to AppleTV+

The premiere date (November 1st, 2019) for Apple’s new TV and movie subscription service, AppleTV+ is just around the corner. Here is a list (some rumoured some confirmed) of the shows that will (might) eventually make it to AppleTV+.

The Morning Show (2019) – Trailer
See (2019) – Trailer
Dickinson (2019) – Trailer
For All Mankind (2019) – Trailer
Snoopy in Space (2019) – Trailer
The Elephant Queen (2019) – Trailer
Helpsters (2019) – Trailer
ghostwriter (2019) – Trailer
Truth be Told – Trailer
Servant (2019)

and more… (full list after the jump).

From Apple’s marketing:

New Apple Originals every month.
Always ad-free and on demand.
For up to six family members.
Download and watch offline.
4K HDR and Dolby Atmos.

The new Apple shows, for the most part, look pretty intriguing. And for only $5USD the subscription fee seems pretty reasonable.

Continue reading “Everything Coming to AppleTV+”

Disney+ Coming Soon

Speaking of streaming services, Disney’s new offering will launch November 12 in the US, Canada and the Netherlands and a week later, on November 19, in New Zealand and Australia. It’ll be $6.99USD to watch the entire1 back catalogues of Disney, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, Pixar, and 20 Century Fox, all in one place: Disney+. There aren’t as many new shows that are as intriguing as what Apple has to offer, but there is certainly just a lot more to offer kids.

As a side note, and I’m not exactly sure who they expect to watch the whole thing, but Disney has released a three-hour preview with just about everything they intend to include in their new streaming service:

See a complete listing after the jump.

1. Ok, due to previous licensing deals, some marvel titles (for example) won’t be available immediately. It depends on which region you are subscribing from which titles will be available.

Continue reading “Disney+ Coming Soon”

The Bad Review Revue

Rambo: Last Blood: “[It] is less an escapist action movie and more a dramatized manifestation of the most notorious sentences from Donald Trump’s presidential campaign announcement speech.” — Matthew Rozsa, Salon.com

The Addams Family: “There’s little fresh here and of the star-studded vocal cast only Oscar Isaac and (especially) Nick Kroll (Uncle Fester) get the spirit of their characters right. Worse, the very core of Addams Family magic – the highly charged eroticism of the Gomez and Morticia marriage combined with their offbeat parenting skills – is nowhere to be found.” — Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews

Gemini Man: “The literal cinematic equivalent of ‘chasing your own tail'” — Don Shanahan, Every Movie Has a Lesson

Jexi: “Jexi is like Spike Jonze’s 2013 masterpiece Her, only dumb.” — Hope Madden, Columbus Underground

Lucy in the Sky: “Lucy in the Sky has no diamonds.” — Gary Wolcott, KXL-FM (Portland, OR)

The Whistleblower Knows How to Write

Jane Rosenzweig, writing for The New York Times:

“I can’t tell you what’s going to happen to his blockbuster complaint about the president’s behavior, but I can tell you that the whistle-blower’s college writing instructor would be very proud of him.”

As a writing instructor myself for 20 years, I look at the complaint and see a model of clear writing that offers important lessons for aspiring writers”.

Rosenzweig’s breakdown makes me want to use this an illustrative guide in my classroom.

Apple Special Event 2019

Today Apple broadcasted their annual special (iPhone) event. While the naysayers came out again this year complaining that in the age of leaks today’s iPhone 11 event would be a disappointment, however, the folks in Cupertino did not let me down. CEO Tim Cook skipped over his usual update to get started right away… Here are the highlights.

Apple Arcade
100 “groundbreaking” (I’m not too sure about that) new games for iPhone, Mac, iPad and Apple TV with new games added each month. It will be interesting to see what it’s like in the free trial period.

Apple Arcade available September 19. Your unlimited access costs $4.99USD /month.

Apple TV+
$4.99USD per month — Free for a year with the purchase of a new iMac, Mac, iPad, or iPhone. Launching November 1.

iPad
Apple has updated the iPad. These new standard edition tablets have:

  • 10.2” Retina Display
  • A10 Fusion Chip
  • Smart Connector (previously only available on Pro models)
  • 8MP Camera
  • Touch ID

Seventh generation iPad orders start today at $329USD and will be available September 30.

Apple Watch
I’ve been crazy about Apple Watch when I purchased a first generation Apple Watch back in May of 2015. I’m now on my third Apple Watch (last year I got myself a 4th gen.) and I LOVE IT!.

Along with the 5th generation of the watch, Apple is helping roll out three new health studies:

  1. Apple Hearing Study
  2. Apple Women’s Health Study
  3. Apple Heart & Movement Study

Enroll with the Apple Research App (available in the US App store later this year).

Series 5 new features highlights:

  • New always on display! while still maintaining 18 hour battery life.
  • A built in compass
  • International emergency calling (for cellular capable models)
  • New colours including two models made out of titanium, as well, ceramic is back.

I doubt I will be upgrading if only because my 4th Gen is still serving me so well.

This year’s Apple Watch remain the same in size as last year’s model. The price starts at $399USD and will be available September 20th. They’re keeping the Series 3 in the lineup for $199USD.

iPhone
As predicted, three new iPhones will hit the shelf on September 20th. They are: iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max.

The Pro model comes with three cameras, the standard f1.8 26mm wide lens, a 52mm telephoto f2.0, and a new 13mm f2.4 ultra wide. It also comes with the 12mp camera on the front facing camera allowing new photo abilities such as access to slow motion selfies… they call them slofies.

Apple’s previous flagship chip, the A12, was already the fasted chip in a smartphone. The new A13 Bionic chip extends Apple’s lead with the still fastest CPU and GPU ever in a smartphone, capable of 1 trillion operations per second.

Phil Schiller came out to present the iPhone 11 Pro. Its stainless steel design will come in two sizes — the standard 5.8″ and the iPhone 11 Pro Max at 6.5″. All sizes will come with a fast charge 18W adapter.

The phone comes with a triple camera system, each recording 12mp of data.

The three focal depths and apertures are as follows:

  • Wide 26mm f1.8
  • Telephoto 52mm f2.0
  • Ultra wide 13mm f2.4 (with 120° field of view)

These new iPhone models for the first time make use of the U1 chip. It makes possible a new user interface for AirDrop that uses your direction to orientate your friends’ avatars on the interface in relation to you.

There was also a sneak peek at “Deep Fusion” — Phill described the new technology as, “Computational photography mad science”. Part of that science will allow for “night mode” something that other phones have had for awhile but nevertheless, an interesting improvement on previous models.

The third party app, FiLMiC, looks pretty neat. It allows for simultaneous recording of multiple cameras giving one lots of shot options to edit together later. It even allows for recording both front and rear camera at the same time which will be neat for rollercoaster rides and documentary style interviews. The FiLMic app will be available later this year in the app store.

There is a new Quicktake mode (not to be confused with this Apple QuickTake camera). Allowing users to easily and almost instantly switch from still (or livephoto) mode to video mode.

And last but not least, the iPhone 11 Pro will have improved FaceID with a greater angle of view and is even faster.

The three models are priced starting at

  • iPhone 11 $699 USD
  • iPhone 11 Pro $999USD
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max $1099 USD

Orders begin this Friday at 6:00am MST and shipping starts September 20th. Speaking for myself, anyway, I think it’s just about time to get a new phone.