About that titanium Apple Watch….

Want to know how well a particular finish (stainless steel, aluminum, etc) for iPhones/Apple Watches will hold up over time? Apple Store display units are usually the best indicator.

Raw stainless steel on the silver models get scuffed easily while the black, gold and now midnight green stainless steel models have a special coating to keep them pretty well protected against scratches.

This year is the first time since Apple last used titanium in their products almost 19 years ago (Titanium G4 PowerBook) and titanium is not known to have much resistance against scratches (camping/outdoor peeps will know).

Apple however stated that the space black titanium model has a diamond-like coating (like the space black stainless models) applied on them, while the natural brushed titanium finish has a “new surface treatment that is stain and fingerprint resistant”.

How do they fare?






Not so well, when you are talking about the natural brushed titanium model (well Apple never said their surface treatment will prevent scratches). The space black model is much more resistant to scratches but looks a fair bit less “titanium-ish” than the natural brushed model.

I guess if you wanted to buy a titanium watch you are probably looking for a “well-used” titanium look (like people who collect titanium utensils) in the first place.

It is worth noting that although the titanium models are priced 100USD higher than the stainless steel models, like all Apple Watch Edition models they come with a limited edition sport band each. That is a value of 49USD alone (more if you consider the fact that you can’t get the bands by simply purchasing them from Apple). So the titanium models are really just 50USD or so more expensive than the stainless steel models, making them the cheapest Apple Watch Edition watches ever release.

If you always buy the stainless steel models maybe the titanium models will be a good upgrade this year.

If you like the look.

iMore’s Explanation of Checkm8

iMore is these days the fastest and most possibly the most fact-accurate site you can go to if you have questions or worries about the latest Apple devices/news. Rene Ritchie’s access to Apple (and giving away the correct information asap) is a valuable asset to all that many Apple users can dream about a decade ago.

And so here is the iMore article on checkm8, probably the biggest exploit in the iOS world in the last five years or so (that really does not affect any serious Apple user).

And if you prefer a video

The Biggest Feature of Android 10….

..is the ability to turn on the “iPhone Bar” option in the Gestures settings to turn your Pixel/Android phone into a cheap iPhone!


Android 10 creates value by letting you have an (almost) iPhone if you only have 500-600 singapore dollars.

Google – the Photocopier Company.

Why I no longer have much to write about Apple

These days Apple is hitting the news cycle for everything it dabbles in, from watches to a tv subscription service, but I largely stopped writing about Apple because I no long find much to write about.

Yes I can write rumors about the upcoming iPhones, but do you really need to hear them from me? This year’s iPhones are going to be largely the same as last year’s, with some additional feature here or there. Honestly, the whole phone market is just full of iPhones and iPhone clones, and we have reached the point where nothing new can be truly new. Yes, folding phones (with foldable screens) are not “new”, they are an evolution of the folding “productivity” phones of the early 2000s, which never really caught on. I buy iPhone and will continue to buy iPhone because the competition is both shitty and atrocious, and iOS is great, despite its flaws.

But I digress. I find nothing to write about Apple these days because Apple these days is more like Sony twenty years ago, or even Microsoft during their MSN days. There is so much going on because so many people are doing so many things separately at the company, and you can no longer tell what Apple’s “plan” because everything is so diverse. Hell I bet even Tim Cook don’t have a hold on everything that is happening at the company.

Yes I can write about flaws like the recent keyboards with butterfly switches, or highs like iPadOS, but you know, the MacBook Pros always go through one design generation of being slightly shitty, then the next generation being almost flawless, then to another generation of being slightly shitty again, eg. titanium G4 (slightly shitty), aluminum G4/MBP (almost perfect), first unibody MBPs (slightly shitty), Retina MBP (almost perfect) and now we are at the TB3 MBPs (slightly shitty) generation again. So it will likely get better.

iPadOS wise, if you are a serious follower of Apple throughout even just the last decade, it will have been easy to spot how Apple has always been slowly building up iOS on the iPad to this stage, especially since five years ago. The problem these days are people like MKBHD and other well-known youtubers without an actual history of following Apple sprouting fallacies like “Apple is finally giving us this and that..” when really, it was in the works all along. I mean, the guy makes good-looking videos, but that does not mean he is John Siracusa.

Oh you want to talk about Jony Ive leaving? The guy’s a massive asshole. After Steve died he used all his influence to get rid of Scott Forstall and his people, with the excuse of “unifying software and hardware design under the same person”. After Forstall was fired, Ive then reassigned software design and hardware design to two different men, splitting the responsibilities up again. Getting rid of Forstall and his men drove a stake into iOS’s stability that it really never recovered until iOS 12 recently. So yeah, Ive’s gone, so what. I considered him to be capable enough to be in the running to succeed Tim Cook eventually, but apparently he is not interested. So out he goes.

I have no insight on Apple Card, Apple TV+, Apple Music (I still think Eddy Cue’s a bozo) and I generally disagree with everything Apple is doing on the subscription front. But that is a story for another day. Or maybe one I will never write.

The Problem with Twitterrific 6….

is likely this.

Seriously speaking, it’s the developer’s rights to switch to a subscription service, but one would have thought that after what happened to Textexpander developers would think twice about taking the scorched earth approach, by taking away what you sold to your customers previously and forcing them to either stop using your app or

Yes, Twitterrific 5 might have been out for 7 years, and there were (probably) many updates during this period of time, but the only changes that I (and probably many others) have noticed are the inclusion of the dark interface (or was it there all along?) and the fail attempt to charge for changing app icons.

Now its primary competitor, Tweetbot, have since gone through more updates and charged increasingly higher prices, but Tweetbot’s loyal customers have always gone back. Not to mention that one can still access older versions of Tweetbot even if they chose not to buy the new one.

Twitterrific, however, have stayed at version 5 for many years, and while there was a change from outright selling the app for 3 dollars to giving the app away with ads and charging 5 dollars to disable them (always a bad idea, people tend to get used to the ads if they downloaded the app with ads in it in the first place).

So imagine everyone’s surprise when their app was suddenly updated, now littered with arguably more distracting ads and have no way to disable them except to pay 10 dollars per year or 30 dollars to buy the app outright. How will you feel if the McDonalds breakfast you have been eating for years and paying 5 dollars each time suddenly tells you one day that their new price is 50 dollars? Extreme price increases usually don’t work, especially if the goods in question are not necessities. ]

The sudden huge increase in pricing and the misleading “forever” wording to indicate the full app purchase pricing does not inspire confidence in customers, who, even if they are willing to fork out the money, are unsure if version 6 will last another 7 years, or just another year. It does feel like the developer suddenly needed a lot more money than before, even though that is probably not the case.

I have always been using Tweetbot as my main Twitter client, and paid for most prior versions of Twitterrific because it was always a good Twitter app, and sometimes Twitterrific is faster at adopting new OS features, even if it is never my first choice. Now I guess I will just delete it.

Jony Ive is leaving Apple later this year

Oh my f***ing god

(Update: Delayed again till July) Powerbeats Pro to be delayed outside of US and Canada

Only the United States and Canada will be getting the Powerbeats Pro in May, while other “launch” countries like Japan and Singapore will have theirs starting from June, due to Beats’ wishes to “make sure that the product quality is up to notch”.

The first units will also only be available in black with other countries following, similar to the initial launch of BeatsX two years ago.

Beats also mentioned that Lightning will slowly replace micro usb as the default charging connector for their products over time.

Update: Apple has announced that the Powerbeats Pro will be available for preorder on the US and Canada sites on May 3rd with release on May 10. As previously reported here other launch countries will follow suit in June.

Update again: Beats just announced the remaining “launch countries” will now get the black model in July.

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


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. Apple is price discriminating surely, but nobody seems to mind.

When the rumored 100 USD drop to the pricier XS line did not happen this year, I shuddered at the thought of spending 2349 Singapore dollars on a phone. I knew that I wanted the 512GB, as my previous 256GB phones were chocked full of photos and videos after less than a year of usage, so to me only the storage space of 512GB phone be will enough for my use. The most I ever paid for a portable Mac was around 1.7K (Hi 12” MacBook!), and it almost makes little sense to pay way more for a phone that will likely only last me for a year.

However, in Singapore we have various ways of buying phones that do not directly involve Apple in the sales process. And one of these “ways” worked out quite well for myself. So maybe this is the one time I will tell you not to buy something from Apple directly (either via Apple Orchard or the online store).


The Max is the preferred size of iPhones for me. I had been using the Plus sized phones since the 6s Plus, and the display of the iPhone X last year was simple not wide enough for my use cases. Despite having what seems to be a bigger screen in total area size than the iPhone 8 Plus, the usable area size of the X was definitely more similar to that of the smaller iPhone 8. So the XS Max was a welcomed change.

Battery Life

I don’t know how Consumer Reports was testing the phone, but it does not last longer than my iPhone 8 Plus, frequently unable to last a hectic work day without topping up the charge. However it is likely still going to last longer than the regular XS. iPhones have never had the best battery life in the industry since multitasking become a thing in iOS (and since iPhones don’t trade having a manageable size for more battery life), and it does not bother me so long it lasts most of a day.

So I’ve just repeated what most reviewers said about the phone.

But then this phone is just that – just the exact phone that everyone else is saying it is. It’s a bigger version of last year’s iPhone X. And it is likely to delight anyone who loves the iPhone X last year but thinks that the usable screen estate is too small.

The XR

Unlike most others who used the iPhone XS Max exclusively without any experience of using the XR, I have been using a blue XR (a family member’s phone) since its launch a few weeks ago.

To be honest, there are so many ways that I prefer XR over the Max that I rather use the XR as my main phone if only it had the telephoto lens and 3D Touch. Those are likely the major annoyances on the XR for the majority of power users.

But the XR has a shitty display you say? Not even 1080P you say?

The XR has arguably a better overall display than the XS Max, the colors of photos simply looked more natural on the XR than the XS Max, and while I am not sure how close Android idiots/users look at their phone screen, the XR screen looks as sharp as any other iPhone displays I used. It might not go as bright as the XS Max can, but seriously who uses their phones at full brightness?

Coupled with the fact that you are actually getting the exact same screen estate as the XS Max but in a more usable form factor (without a pop socket or bunker ring) not to mention the great color options (everyday I look at the AWESOME blue body of the XR and then at the boring gold/silver Max, I wonder why anyone pays more for the Max), I have no idea why anyone except the most dedicated iPhone users will buy the Max over the XR (oh yes the regular XS is not even in the consideration, it is not much smaller physically than the XR but shows a lot less information on the screen). Oh, and the battery life of the XR is much better than the Max.

But this is not the iPhone XR review. That is coming later.

In conclusion, I love the 512GB storage tier, the presence of 3D Touch and the telephone lens (but the XR takes better portrait photos, I use the telephoto lens for 2X zoom mainly) about the Max, but nothing much else. I hate the steel antenna bands, for they can scratch to the high hells even with much care, and dislike the weight, unwieldy-ness and the boring colors of the Max/XS. Oh and once again who can forget the high MSRP of the phone? Get it if you buy on contract or get a decent deal on the highest spec models. Miss it if you want to. Either way I don’t care.

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;


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 !!
Watch OS 4 Beta 1 – Music app doesn’t connect to iPhone library
Reddit: Support QuestionCan I still choose my music source with watchOS 4?
among others.

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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