The iPhone XS Max review – Same old same old, but the price not so old

I’m writing this inside a Grab. On the very device that I am reviewing.

Price

Having purchased my Silver 512GB XS Max for quite a bit lower than the local MSRP, I have to say that this is a worthwhile purchase at the price I bought the phone at. At the local MSRP though, the 512GB Max is probably not a worthy purchase, nor even a reasonable one.

One thing though, for the majority of people the 256GB model will almost definitely be enough for your phone needs, there is no need to pay the additional 400 Singapore dollars or so for the 512GB model.

During the reveal of the iPhone X last year, I was crying foul because the MSRP of the X in Singapore is so much higher than in other countries like Japan and Hong Kong Continue reading ‘The iPhone XS Max review – Same old same old, but the price not so old’

Apple’s Accessories Lineup Autumn 2017

Ever since a few years ago, Apple has been putting massive efforts into their accessories, realizing that accessories are a massive cash cow.
While their iPhone/iPad cases/covers might not offer the best protection, they are definitely some of the most well-made products on the market.

While the iPhone X stole the thunder of the September event, there is also a lot of excitement from Apple Watch owners, especially those who collect Apple’s own first-party watch bands, for this season’s watch band line up look to one of the more interesting ones in recent memory.

I paid a visit to Apple Orchard last week, hoping to check out the Ultra Violet accessories in person and my, they did not disappoint. Apple’s accessories have had a tendency to be offered in muted or less exciting colors, but Ultra Violet was like, “WOW”.

The Apple Silicon cases for the iPhone 7/8 Plus were especially tempting as they offer a lot of Ultra Violet “WOW”ness for less money than the Apple Watch bands ($58 vs $78).

One thing I did not expect was how nice Blue Cobalt actually looked. The color did not look interesting at all on Apple’s site, but in person (and the right lighting) it definitely looks like one of the best blues Apple’s ever offered for their accessories.

Besides the Sports bands, Apple also introduced the Sports Loop into the Apple Watch band lineup. For old timers who remember the very first Casio Baby Gs decades ago, these offered probably the same style/feel. And while they are definitely not as bright or striking like some of the Sport Band colors, they are really comfortable.

The question ultimately is, how many watch bands does one need?

I also managed to check out the two new colors that the Beats X is now offered in (muted silver and muted gold), and while they looked interesting, I have to say I much preferred my blue pair. The old four colors which are now discontinued are being heavily discounted on Amazon and other online outlets from time to time, so it will be a great time to snatch a pair if you do not have one yet!

PSA: Don’t Upgrade to WatchOS 4 if you use your Watch to Control Music Playback

If you use your Apple Watch as a remote to control your phone’s music app, do not upgrade to WatchOS 4.

This has actually been in the WatchOS 4 betas since the very first one, but I did not catch it until very recently because I could not be bothered to load the WatchOS betas on my Apple Watches since in my experience, they tend to be unstable and will “brick” your Watch if something happens during the installation/updating process.

To clarify what is going on here, Apple has made delibrate changes to the Music app in the Apple Watch in WatchOS 4, such that you are no longer able to select the source of the music controlled through the app.

In other words;

This.

The above function is now gone and you can no longer select the music source between the phone and the watch.

Why does this matter?

There is only 8GB of storage in the Apple Watch, out of which only a portion of the storage space can be used for syncing music into the Watch. Therefore it does not make much sense to sync music into your Watch, but rather as a controller for your phone’s music in the situations when you have no physical access to your phone.

Me myself, I love (and still do) controlling my phone’s music, selecting the specific song/artist/playlist through the Watch during peak hours in the mornings and evenings when I am usually not afforded the space to put my hand into my pocket to pull out my 7 Plus but still want fine grain control of the music playing in my Beats X (that is connected to my phone).

With WatchOS 4, you can now only play music that is synced to your Apple Watch or, with LTE service from your Apple Watch Series 3 Cellular, stream (and PAY FOR) Apple Music. So it is either I sync a (very small) bunch of music into my Watch, force the Beats X to connect to them rather than connect to the 7 Plus, and control my music from there, or I control my music solely from the phone and resign to just play/pause/skip functions on the Apple Watch’s Now Playing app in WatchOS 4. Which is useless since I have the same controls on my Beats X.

Having bought a launch day Apple Watch (on the worldwide launch day, not Singapore’s), I have seen WatchOS progress from the crap it was on Day 1, to the almost-perfect WatchOS 3. Seems like with WatchOS 4 they are taking some steps forward (like the recently announced heartrate monitor app improvements) and some steps backwards. Kevin Lynch has always been an idiot (and I believe the sole reason behind why progress on WatchOS was so slow and so filled with bad ideas) and it shows.

And this is not everything that is bad about the Apple Watch this October. I have a much larger rant about the Series 3 that was just announced, but I will leave that for a later post.

Some forum postings regarding this issue can be found below;

WatchOS4 totally ruined the Watch for me !! what the hell apple !!
and
Watch OS 4 Beta 1 – Music app doesn’t connect to iPhone library
and
Reddit: Support QuestionCan I still choose my music source with watchOS 4?
among others.

Happy Birthday iPhone

The iPhone.

It was the one device which the world needed.

It was the one device that changed the world.

Everything we do in our daily lives today will not have been possible without the introduction of the iPhone in 2017;

Taking uber,

Running a business from the palm of your hands,

Full scale, WIDESPREAD, portable video conferencing on the scale of everyone,

Checking the time it will take for the next bus to arrive at the bus stop,

Complaining about the next Singapore train breakdown on all of social media,

and much, much, more.

Hell, REAL social media won’t have been possible without the iPhone.

Here’s to ten great years of the iPhone. And to the next hundred.

Apple Watch Edition (in real gold and rose gold) on Sale at Apple Watch Shinjuku Isetan

Apple Watch Edition

I found out about this a few weeks ago, and I guess it will be mean of me not to share this.

If, for some reason, you are looking for a SERIES 0 (first release in April 2015) Apple Watch Edition in REAL Gold and Rose Gold, and happen to be in Japan, Apple Watch Shinjuku Isetan (the store) is having a secret sale on them for 70% off, with the final price around 400000 yen (around 3600USD), while stocks last.

You will have to speak directly to the sales people about those, there is no signage or banner indicating the sale at all. It is a secret sale for a reason.

If you crave a Apple Watch in real gold, and don’t mind the fact that the innards are the slow Series 0/S1 System-on-a-chip, then don’t miss the chance to get what is probably the first and the last Apple-made gold watch.

Happy 10th Birthday, iPhone

iPhone Original

I still remember the day I was sitting in my room, at my desk, watching the keynote and calculating how long would I have to save in order to afford the phone should it come to Singapore eventually (roughly 7 months, I was a student then).

Many months later when it seemed like the iPhone will not be coming to Singapore anytime soon I started exploring the possibilities of buying an iPod Touch instead, for it was running “iPhone OS” albeit with several restrictions like the inability to edit calendars on the iPod (they reversed that stupid decision very soon after the iPod keynote).

Then I finally saw it in person.

My friend Roger, had one and I remembered meeting him just to have a look at the phone. There I was, sitting outside McDonald’s at Bugis Junction, looking at this unbelievable device – supposingly a phone, but unlike any phone I knew then. It has such a bright display that it looked out of this world, for until then there was no such display in the world. The reaction to touch was instantaneous, and NOTHING with a touchscreen up till that point was as responsive as the iPhone’s display was.

It was, to put it simply, MAGIC.

I would eventually come upon a chance several months later to own one of the original US sets, thanks to a friend’s aunt who worked in an airline and flew to the US often back then.

Even though it now has a dent at one of its corner, and iOS 3.1.3 is as slow as hell on its hardware, it still sits proudly on my shelf in its dock(that came in the box!).

The original iPhone, is still my favorite iPhone.

Thank you Steve, and thank you Apple, for this wonderful gift to the world.

Sent from my iPhone

ExFAT 6: The 2-hour Rant

Ryu and Daniel came back after 2 months of hiatus for an epic 2-hour rant about WWDC. This was recorded pre-WWDC.

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Major changes coming to MacOS, iOS, watchOS and tvOS during WWDC 2016

Right from the mouth of Mark Gurman (during the Jay and Fared Show Podcast), first reported by O’Grady’s Powerpage;

  1. No hardware announcements (that we already know)

  2. Siri in MacOS, to be featured in top right corner alongside Spotlight

  3. iOS Design Refresh with more colors – this is big. There are still many who insists that iOS 7 to 9 have been pretty bland and boring design-wise, coming from design powerhouse Apple, and refreshing the UI will definitely help in the looks department.

  4. Notifications will change (among other iOS system tweaks). Probably for the sake of watchOS 3, since the current less-than-perfect notification system is weighing watchOS 2 down.

  5. Big enhancement to Photos both on iOS and MacOS (to fend off Google Photos, as well as address the demise of Aperture somewhat. After all, Google Photo’s editing features are worked on by the former team at Nik.

  6. Redesigned Apple Music. (Whatever, just bring back the old Music app please)

  7. New encryption abilities (Wow).

  8. Send money to others through iMessage

ExFAT 5: The Uneventful Event

This was recorded late March, and was released this late due to some personal issues I(Ryu) had.

It was an uneventful March Apple event, and neither of us were really pumped up about it, making for a really lethargic sounding episode.

We are sorry about it.

The next episode will be better, we promise.

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iPhone 7? Maybe not

For all it is worth, early rumors of the next iPhone are showing something different about Apple’s strategy this time round – iPhone 7 might be the iPhone 6ss.

Nothing says more about a new iPhone being “new” than a need to buy a new case for it.

Right now the rumors are;

  1. Same industrial design (aka phone body shape and size) with the exception of redesigned antenna lines

  2. Dual-lens cameras on a brand new iPhone Pro, which will be the higher spec-ed model of a iPhone 7 Plus

  3. Will underwhelm. LOL.

Kind of a bummer.

Well, it is not like real iOS people are going to jump ship to Android all of a sudden, and the random customers who do will eventually come back when a nicer iPhone comes around in a few years’ time, so no big deal I guess.




About MacRyu.com

MacRyu is the Mac Blog by Singaporeans and for Singaporeans. It was started in April 2007 as a side project of the then President of the Official Mac User Group of NUS, Ryu, and grew to become possibly one of the most popular Apple-related sites based in Singapore. MacRyu hopes to provide you with more Mac-related info, thoughts and stuff, from the Singaporean perspective.

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