Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Santa, I want an I Pad Mini With M3

Dear Santa,

How’s your vacation been? Christmas 2022 was another resounding success. Credit to you and your elves. I know you treat them well and they’re just great wonderful magical creatures paid with union wages, great healthy care, education, and everything.  I don’t blame you for the inventory and inflation issues due to COVID. That’s all on us mortals.

Now, I want to discuss something with you and you will realize that I’m actually doing this for millions of other Apple fans out there. 

I would really appreciate it if you could send a couple of your top elven designers to Apple in Cupertino and design the next iPad mini. 

There was chatter about a year ago that Apple is working on an iPad mini Pro. If this is not true, whoever started this false rumors deserves to be on your naughty list for the rest of time. But if this is true, an iPad mini Pro with Apple’s upcoming M3 chip is exactly what millions of Apple fans and I want. I’ve started 2023 on a very nice track so o thought I send you my iPad min wishlist. 

You gifted me an iPad mini 5 and I’ve been using it since. As you know, I skipped the iPad mini 6 and my current mini works great. I am learning to draw, code, and generally doing more work on the mini which means I would need something more powerful in the coming years. 

On top of this, being able to plug the mini into a monitor to gain professional features currently available pro-level iPads would mean I have a desktop computer as well. The reason for a pro version of the  mini is because Apple likes to differentiate between consumer and professional levels. For example, the iPad Air with M1 does not have Thunderbolt support that the pro iPads have.

It would be great if the mini has Pro features. And to come with these Pro features, I would like to see the upcoming Apple chip, the M3 built on TSMC’s 3nm processor technology. I know Apple likes to use an iPhone chips in iPads but if I think the M-series I’m an iPad mini Pro would be the perfect mobile device for a wide spectrum of mobile users.

I think often people dismiss the smallest iPad as a tablet for consuming contents rather than a real device for content creation or other types of work. I have seem people use them for work - coding, drawing, or office work. It’s awesome to see that people using the mini for such a wide range of productivity-related activities on this small form factor. 

At the top, I had mentioned you sending a couple of your engineers to Apple to help them with the design of this iPad mini Pro. I think there is a bias at Apple regarding small form factors (your elfish engineers will probably be the smallest there at Apple!). Since Tim Cook took over, the iPhone has only gotten bigger and bigger. And when they tried to make iPhones with smaller bodies like the mini, they tried it for two years and discontinued them leaving the iPhone SE as the lone small form factor iPhone. 

Apple is allowing a great opportunity to pass if the next iPad mini is just a simple upgrade with whatever happens to be "last year's chip" and be done with it for the next two years. 

So, what do you say? I've been really good so far this year.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

The Tepid Reception for iPhone Plus Should Be A Warning To Apple that 15” MacBook Air May Not Sell Well

 There are a lot of chatter this week about the upcoming 15” MacBook Air that will be added to the 13.3” version currently on the market. Perhaps I’m not seeing it but I am not alone judging by the number of blog posts today about it, a few think that Apple should have gone the other way - a 11” or 12” MacBook Air would be the better route to go. 

The question we have to ask is why is Apple making a 15” MacBook Air? And why is it called a MacBook Air? To be exact, the bigger MacBook Air will have 15.5” which is a mere half in from the 16” MacBook Pro. Apple probably believe that people who want a bigger screen but are not willing to pay for the professional specs will opt for a lower end laptop with a similarly sized screen.

Not a bad line of thinking. Except this is the Mac market, not the Windows PC market. I use a 15” Windows laptop for work. I think it came from Costco and cost about $700. The 13.6” MacBook Air starts at $1199. How much would a 15.5” version cost? Let’s use the Pro as a reference. The 14” MacBook Pro starts at $1999 and the 16” version starts $2499, a $500 difference.

Let’s say Apple decides to start the 15.5” MacBook Air at $1499 (but I think it’ll probably start at $1599), that is a $300 difference. At that price, maybe I start looking at the 14” MacBook Pro because by spending a few hundred more, I do get a smaller screen but I will get more memory and a much more powerful laptop.

So, I am not sure where the 15.5” MacBook Air fit and who it is really for. I hope this is not another misfire by Apple.

Another you ask? That’s right. 

Take the iPhone 14 Plus with the 6.7” screen that starts at $899. It is not selling as well as Apple is hoping. We will not know until Apple brings out the numbers if they ever do at all or when Apple cancels the Plus in a year or two entirely because of low demand. 

I opt out of this year’s iPhone upgrade but if I had wanted to upgrade or I’m happen to be a new iPhone user, I would give the iPhone Pro Max a really hard look. Starting at $1099, I would get a high-end iPhone with new camera, longer battery life, and new features such as a new chip, higher quality case, and the Dynamic Island. All that for $300 more. 

Though only Apple knows why the iPhone Plus was offered, I feel the 15.5” MacBook Air is being put on the market for the same reason. There are Apple friendly bloggers who suggest that Apple is offering the Plus for people who are not willing to pay for the Pro Max. They will likely suggest that the 15.5” MacBook Air is being offered to those who want a bigger screen without paying for the 16” MacBook Pro. 

Well, if the Plus is any indication, I think the bigger Air will have its fans but it will be a limited segment of the Mac market. Instead of going bigger, Apple should consider going smaller. And that includes bringing back the iPhone mini.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Watching Video Will Come To The Apple Watch (Not Just The Ultra)

We will not be like Dick Tracy and do video calls on the Apple Watch any time soon if ever and I’m fine with to given privacy issues - I don’t want or need a camera on my watch. But I would like to be able it watch old Dick Tracy cartoons and the one movie starring Warren Beatty on my Apple Watch. It’s going to happen. And I think it will happen soon. 

Why? Have you seen the screen size of Apple Watch these days? As a proud owner of 44 mm (1.73”) Series 6, the screen is plenty big for my aging eyes  once in a while, some video will play on my watch  it’s small but watchable  in a pinch if you happen to be waiting in line and have a minutes to kill. 

Short form videos would be an excellent example of why we should be allowed to watch videos on the watch.

Folks are are fortunate enough to have the Apple Watch Ultra on their wrists have unanimously noted how big and bright the screen in at 49 mm (1.93”) and a few have even suggested that they would love to watch videos on their Ultra.

There are already ways to watch video on the Apple Watch but it would be great if Apple brings more support to WatchOS. So far, I've only found on one app that lets me watch video. Here is a sample with a Youtube video playing on my watch.

Here are some interesting notes from watching the video on the Apple Watch:
  • It works. It's not too small for general viewing. If there are words or anything that needs to be read, you can forget about it. For that it's too small. 
  • I recall watching video on my iPod. It was not too small then. The screen on the watch is smaller but not by much.
  • It is for a short duration. Some Youtube videos. Short form videos. In fact, I suggest that I am not sure if I will be able to get through a whole sitcom. However, you never know. If you're at the DMV and all you have is your Apple Watch, maybe an episode of The Big Bang Theory might help pass the time.
  • Battery will be an issue. No need to really get into this. I did not watch the Youtube video long enough to see the impact on the battery life. I think it could get ugly. 
  • So will be storage. Apple has not increase the storage of the watch for a while now. The original Apple Watch through the third generation has 8 GB. I recall having to delete a lot of stuff in order to update the OS. Interestingly, the Series 4 was the only one with 16 GB while Series 5 and on has 32 GB. Yeah, that could do for a movie or two but not much more if you have podcasts, music, and apps installed. If Apple eventually go 64 GB, sure why not but that's a lot of apps that currently felt limited. I think it would help to have more map, photos, or other information stored on the watch. With 64 GB, I would want to be able to store and watch videos. Even if I am not watching, if I can listen to the audio, that is fine with me.
  • The video was pretty crisp. Not like watch TV on those old portable TV from the 90s. I had expected that but I was very impressed with the quality despite it being small. 
  • Apple will need to provide a more robust framework for video viewing on the watch. A couple of things will have to happen for this to go forward with official support - the chip in the watch has to be faster and more efficient. I feel the current chip in the Apple Watch will strain to show videos while doing other tasks in the background. 
Only Apple knows if it will bring video watch to the Apple Watch. And if Apple has that on the roadmap, only Apple know when it will make it happen. Meanwhile, there are a lot of folks who are interested in this feature, even now with the current tech in the Apple Watch. 

I have a lot of videos on my Apple TV and iTunes account. I would love to be able to download them and have them readily available to watch or just to listen to the audio in the background. More and more, I am leaving my iPhone at home because my watch is more than enough to allow me to stay in touch with messages, emails, and calls. 

Would be nice to have a few of my videos along with me if I happen to be bored somewhere and having a video to watch would sure help pass the time.

Sunday, September 4, 2022

Apple Should "Courageously" Turn the iPhone Into A Full Fledge Computer With Stage Manager

 I want Apple to give me Stage Manager on the iPhone when I connect it to a TV/monitor via Airplay or cable. I know that Apple probably will never go this route because I would love it if Apple makes the iPhone the everything device for us mobile users - including individuals and companies as well.

To do this it'll take something former Apple VP Phill Schiller said, "courage". When he famously said the word "courage" in front of a crowd for the iPhone 7 unveiling when Apple "courageously" removed the headphone jack. 

Now, it is time for Apple to be courageous again - the low hanging branches of mobile features for Apple is slowly harder and harder to come by. We can expect better camera year after year but other than that, what revolutionary features can we expect. In the past, I have written about health features that Apple can add to the iPhone, turning it into a medical tricorder if both doctors Leonard McCoy and Beverly Crush would approve of. That's another post that I will eventually visit again. 

One feature that Apple can bring to the iPhone that will provide a greater impetus for users to upgrade their iPhone in a regular basis is to bring Stage Manager to a sufficiently powerful enough iPhone.

In the age of "quiet quitting" and "lying flat" in China, maybe you think that users would not want to take their iPhone back home to plug into a monitor or TV to start working again. I'm not talking about those folks. In fact, I'm a fan of quiet quitting. As an employee, I'll do my best in the time that I have at work. But paying me for forty hours of work and trying to get my to work sixty to eighty hours a week just is not right. As am employer (which I am not), I would not expect people who work for me to put in more time than what I pay them. It just is not fair. But this too is another blog post entirely.

I'm talking about people like me who use their iPhones for social connection and recreation but someone who create contents on it as well. Imagine an iPhone with M3 chip that allows me to not only crush my opponents in RPG games or watching videos on Apple TV but also lets me connect to a monitor that turns the iPhone into a computer that lets me use desktop class apps with Stage Manager implementation. I add a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse and I'm off to the races - writing, drawing, or churning out videos for Youtube. 

Of course, you're thinking why would Apple do this - wouldn't this cannibalize iPads and perhaps even Mac sales? Perhaps. But if the Stage Manager enabled iPhone is only available for the iPhone Pro Max, it would tip iPhone sales towards the high end - generating more revenues and profits. Most content creators and professionals would still opt for the Mac. There is no question about that. 

Some iPad sales might be cannibalized by an iPhone Pro Max but iPad users who want the bigger screens on the go, including myself, would still get an iPad. As the years go by and Stage Manager improves, the line between iPad Pro and the Mac will blur even further - cannibalization between the two classes of Apple products is inevitable. With a Stage Manger enabled iPhone, Apple is simply adding another premium product to the mix.

I know this is probably too soon for it to happen because Stage Manager is so early in its development and there are a lot of new features, bugs, quirks, and input from users in the coming upgrades for Apple to add, fix, and think about in general. Even once Apple get to a point where it is satisfied with Stage Manager implementation, it should naturally come to the high end iPhones.

Breaking down the iPhone to its most essential element - it is a computer. Steve Jobs said computers are like the bicycle for the mind. Think of Stage Manager on the iPhone as the next natural step in the evolution of that bike - a motorized bike that takes mobile computing and creative endeavors to the next level.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Is There A Future For the iPhone Mini?

If you like the original iPhone SE with its 4" screen or even iPhone 12 and 13 mini, you would probably be interested in the iPhone 14 mini. Alas, it is not to be with this year's iPhone upgrade cycle. Apparently, Apple does not think the mini has sold enough in numbers to qualify for an update. However, I do not think that the mini will be going away any time soon.

The addressable market for users who like smaller iPhones or phones in general is quite big. That is not the issue here. The really issue is that the mini is not selling in sufficient enough quantity for Apple to invest in making the mini a part of its annual iPhone refresh. 

While we lament the loss of the iPhone 14 mini, we can expect Apple to continue to sell the iPhone 13 mini for least another year. Apple knows that there is a market for the mini and the company will want to recoup as much of the investment as possible. 

More likely, Apple will see the iPhone 13 mini another year as a hold over until there it refresh the iPhone SE. Let me explain. The latest 2nd generation iPhone SE was launched on March 18, 2022. If Apple sticks to a 2 year cycle for the iPhone SE, the next fresh is approximately 19-20 months from now. Apple can continue to sell the iPhone 13 mini during this period until the next SE refresh. 

The iPhone SE and the 13 mini both have the same chips - Apple-designed A15 Bionic system on a chip. So, both of these phones will be on the market at the same time. The SE and mini costs $429 with memory option of 64 to 256 GB and $699 with memory options of 128 to 512 GB, respectively. Take away the 64 GB option of the SE, the price difference between these two smallest iPhone is $220 for the 128 GB configuration and $270 for the 256 GB option. I'm not sure why the gap widened by $50 for the 256 BG options but the difference accounts for the higher costs of components and cameras for the mini. The screen and camera alone is well worth the upgrade. 

If Apple does choose to make the mini take the place of the current SE form factor, we have to see just how low Apple is willing to lower the price of the mini as the SE - $429 with 64 GB? I can see a lot of Apple and tech elitists/bloggers have an issue about that. I'm going to guess that Apple will start with $499 (perhaps $529) at 128 GB. That would be a difference of $200 from the current configuration. 

How probably is this? Right now, the 13 mini is $699 and the 12 mini, which is still being sold by Apple is $599. When the iPhone 14 launches in a few weeks, the 13 mini will likely fall to $599 and the 12 mini will be taken off the market. There is an outside chance the 12 mini might still be sold so Apple can test the market or clear its inventory of them. The 12 mini would drop to $549 from its current $649. That's $70 more than the iPhone SE with 128 GB. 

I'm pretty confidence about this analysis. Apple has been rather predictable in the Tim Cook era and this makes a whole lot of sense. The current and evolutionary status of the  iPhone SE form factor is a throwback to the original iPhone. Apple is not shy about moving on. 

The chances of the mini form factor taking the place of the SE is very likely. Furthermore, who is to say that Apple won't put the home button or TouchID on the power button like they are doing on the iPad? It would be a welcoming option for users who rather unlock their iPhones with their fingers rather than their faces. I foresee a time when Apple adds the TouchID option to all iOS and iPadOS devices down the road.

What say you? iPhone SE in its current form forever or let the mini take over in a couple of years?

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Apple: Moving Beyond China's Unstable Market

At first glance, you might think that the title of this article is a clickbait considering that China is the second biggest economy in the world and Western countries have made tens if not hundreds of billions from Chinese consumers. However, this access to the Chinese market really can end overnight - either at the whim of the totalitarian government in Beijing because perceived slight by the company or another zero-COVID lockdown as the rest of the world adjust to living with the pandemic.

Like any government or organization that has grown to a size that is too big for its own good or to be able to be effective, Beijing is no different. However, it is controlled by one man at the top and has only a few individuals who get together to set policies. Control is absolute and dissent is nowhere to be seen on the surface. Mention Tibet or truthfully state that Taiwan is an independent country, you can find your company suddenly under the microscope of the state controlled media and social media that immediately called for banning the company from the company.

While a company like Apple with Tim Cook at the helm has been very good at navigating Chinese politics and kowtowing it its demands, it is inevitable that Apple will have to choose how far it will go to placate the Chinese Community Party. 

To be fair, China also needs Apple. Without Apple and other Western tech companies, China's economic growth and is technical advances would be nowhere near where it is today. The benefits to all parties cannot be denied. The hope, from the perspective of the West, is that as China went from a third rate economy to one that everyone knows that eventually become the largest in the world, it would also open up its society and some form of democracy would thrive as a result. Well, that did not quite happen. If anything, China has become more closed off and other Western governments are taking cues from it.

A day of reckoning is coming. Whether this could be the result of Speaker Nancy Pelosi's trip to Taiwan or something else down the line in the South China Sea. The question for Apple, other companies, and the West is that before any flashpoint, do companies like Apple time left to decouple from China as it is no longer the low hanging fruit that it is?

Even before the supply chain disruption based by COVID and China's zero-COVID policy, Apple with its partners has begun to trying to ship manufacturing away from China for years. And just as it has taken decades for Apple to develop its supply chain in China, it may take just as long for Apple to do the same elsewhere so that if anything happens in China that is worse than what Apple experience with the COVID disruption, the effect would be mitigated.

If there is going to be pain beyond the ones caused by COVID, that will slowly go away as Apple's supply chain in India, Brazil, Vietnam, and even the US matures.

The more important question is Apple's access to the Chinese market and what happens if Apple loses it completely one day. It can happen over time as Chinese nationalist sentiments become even more extreme than it is today and kick out Western companies or make unreasonable demands that even Apple cannot accept. This is the most likely scenario for Apple to leave. War between China and the United States is another. 

For Apple, it makes sense to spend additional resources and pay more attention to markets outside of China. Doing this would make sense for any company. However, it is even more important for Apple because China has been its profit and revenue growth engine for more than a decade. To replace that is paramount for Apple. 

Apple's total revenue in 2021 was $365.8 billion. China came in at $68.3 billion. It is probably going to be the same for 2022 given the economic and political challenges. It is unlikely that 2023 and the foreseeable years will be any different. Apple's growth will have to come in forms of new products and services and working harder in regions where I think it is underperforming. 

The key question is what to do if that $70 billion a year from China suddenly disappear. While Apple or anyone else for that matter will not publicly suggest that will happen out of fear of angering China, it has to be something that keeps Tim Cook up at night. How do you replace 20% of your revenue?

You cannot do that just like that. However, in the short term, Apple will try to diminish the size of that China's contribution to its bottomline.

  • Double down growing the size of its services revenue. Apple services generated nearly $20 billion in the latest quarter and it will hit $100 billion annually. Getting it to $150 billion if service revenues continue to grow at a steady pace will help a lot. Wall Street seems to suggest that China will stagnate in the coming years. 
  • New products. Apple Watch has done well and as Apple's focus on health for the wearables continue to improve the watch, greater number of upgrades and new users will pick it up. New products will still be needed. Augmented reality is going to be big bet for Apple. 
  • While promising, Apple's future may well be its auto ambition. We have not seen a new car from Apple or anything like that but Apple's latest CarPlay "play" from its World Wide Developer Conference this June has folks very excited. No one knows for sure if Apple is making any money from auto makers that have incorporated CarPlay into their vehicles. Some suggests that Apple charges manufacturer no cost to incorporate CarPlay. If that is the case, Apple is using it as a halo effect for its other products and services. Apple will eventually release its own car. That alone can generate tens of billions in additional revenue that alone rivals the size of Apple's China revenue. The global vehicle revenue is projected to be nearly $4 trillion. Telsa's 2021 revenue is $54 billion. Volkswagen and Toyota generated $254 billion and $250 billion respectively. Ford came in at $127 billion and GM generated $123 billion. If Apple takes only 1% of the global auto market, that means $40 billion of additional revenue. A more apt comparison for Apple is Porsche which is doing quite well with only $35 billion in 2021.
Those points above is a roadmap that many know about given the number of articles about services, augment reality, and car plans from industry analysts, Apple focused news sites, and Apple itself. There is one other area that Apple can spend more energy on. 

With a GDP greater than even the United States, Apple seems to be underperform in Europe. And Asia is more than just China. And I have yet to hear anything about Apple's business plan for Africa. Putting all of this together, Apple can continue to grow regardless what happens in China.

And let's face it - doing business with China means losing a bit of yourself. I don't want to quite cross the line and suggest it is like selling your soul to the devil but it is close. You cannot ignore the human rights violations indefinitely for both Chinese citizens and minority groups like the Tibetans and Uighurs. Apple executives and boardrooms in other companies will one day have to decide of doing business in China under the current condition which will worsen in years to come is worth it. If they are asking themselves this question now, it's time to prepare to go on without China.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Time For Mac to Give Back To the iPhone and iPad

We have seen quite a number of iOS and iPadOS features that have migrated over to the Mac. Perhaps, it is time that the Mac give a little back. After all, if not the for Halo effect of the iPod and, later, the iPhone and iPad, perhaps the Mac might not be as successful as it is today. 

Let's see what some of the great features that the Mac gain from the iOS/iPadOS. First off, the App Store quickly comes to mind. The proliferation and success of the app economy with the App Store meant that Apple has naturally would duplicate the App Store on the Mac. While the success of the Mac version of the app store is somewhat dubious, I have not bought any app from outside of the App Store in years. 

And of course, this next revolution function that people today are taking for granted: multi-touch. It first appeared on the iPhone in 2007. And now, it is common place on the trackpad for the MacBooks and Magic Trackpad. 

I am sure if we dig back, we can find a dozen or so more - Books, messaging, sharing, Siri, etc. Perhaps it is time that the iPhone and iPad gain some of the Mac. 

One of the first features I want to have on the iPhone is the studio quality microphones that Apple put on the MacBooks. I've never had a chance to do my own recording and listen to it. I don't have one of the new MacBook Pro and trying it out at the Apple store just is not practical. The best I can do is listen to samples on Youtube. Honestly, it does sound better than the regular microphones on the iPhones and iPads. Professional podcasters and producers will still want use their own dedicated studio microphones but I think for on the go recording and for videos, it would be a welcoming addition. For the iPhone 13, Apple featured the new cinematic mode that allows iPhone 13 users to shoot video that looks like those in the movies. 

We have seen demos of this feature, some are professionally done. And what I noticed that the sound should have been a lot better. Perhaps this is where Apple can give the iPhone studio class microphones, focusing on sound as it continues to improve both video/photo qualities. 

Another feature I think the Mac should share with the iPhone and iPad improved battery life. As Apple improve efficiency of its own chips, the battery life should start to go beyond the 10-hour limitation that has been around since the original iPad. To be fair, I think for daily uses, the iPad, particularly the bigger ones, has gone beyond the 10 hour mark with some tests going as high as 13:42 hours for the new iPad Air (Tom's Guide). However, the rest of the iPad lineup come in just a bit over the promised 10 hours. I like to see Apple improve that by 10-15% per upgrade cycle until it reaches parity with the MacBooks. Honestly, it is not a big ask as Apple is placing the iPad Pro as a productivity machine. A pro tablet with a pro battery life. The 18-hours you can get on the MacBook is nothing short of astonishing. And we already have great battery life on the iPhone Pro and Pro Max.

The next one is something that I think some Mac users with iPads would like to see the the ability of the iPad to run Mac apps. The iPad Pro and iPad Air already have the same M1 chips inside the MacBooks, Studio, and Mini. What is keeping the iPad from running Mac apps? Perhaps not with iOS 16 but with a future iPadOS, Apple can bring together an environment in which Mac apps can also run on the iPad as well as it does on the Mac. Developers can already code for the iPad and Mac at the same time. Perhaps it is the developers who should make sure their Mac apps run on the iPad. 

I believe that while Stage Manager in iOS 16 and on the Mac, it is Apple attempt at doing just this. It could take another round of iPadOS and MacOS updates but I do believe that Mac apps will eventually run on the iPad. And yeah, the iPad will get the M2 (and M3 and every subsequent Apple silicon).

And finally, speaking of Apple silicon, would it not be wonderful if Apple upgrade the iPhone Pro Max with the M2 and, later, M3 chips. It makes sense that Apple would make sure the flagship iPhone is the most powerful mobile computing device. Consider this, with an iPhone Pro Max with M-series chip inside that is hooked up to a monitor or HDTV via Airplay, it can go into the Stage Manager mode and instantly becoming a desktop computing device.

What other Mac features or hardwares would you like Apple to bring over to the iPhone and iPad?

Friday, July 29, 2022

Health Sensors On the iPhone - Great Ways for Apple To Get Users To Upgrade Than Annual Processor and Camera Improvements

 I can go for a year or two without a new iPhone because I think I'm not missing much when it comes to the incremental upgrades between one iPhone and the subsequent one. Better processor is great as is improved camera but for my daily needs, I just do not see the difference. However, I believe that Apple can get users to upgrade more often if Apple upgrades the iPhone with health related sensors. 

I am sure you already know that there are apps that can measure your heart rate - press your index finger up against the flash on the camera and it is able to read how fast your heart is beating. I've also seen one done through the selfie camera. 

However, I think there are other sensors that Apple can add to the iPhone that can make the iPhone a health companion the way the Apple Watch is for me and tens of millions of users. I am not expecting a Baymax when I mentioned companion. At least not yet. Perhaps one day.

But until that day, I think I can settle some health sensors that are already on the Apple Watch, even some that Apple might have working but have yet to incorporate them into the Apple Watch because of technical reasons because the Watch is so small where as the iPhone could potentially have more room for Apple to fit in biometric sensors.

  • A dedicated heart rate sensor would be nice but I feel that would be redundant since we can already use the camera and the flash for that reason.
  • An oximeter would be great. Given the importance of blood oxygen level as it is related to COVID pandemic which shows no sign of abating, I imagine this would be a must have feature for iPhone users. 
  • Temperature - there are rumors that the next watch may include temperature sensors. I'm not hopeful that Apple will add a new health feature this year. However, having temperature sensor that allows the iPhone to act as a thermometer would be pretty cool. Rumors suggest that Apple's current idea of the body temperature gauge can only tell if you have an abnormal body temperature (like a fever) as opposed to the actual body temperature, I think adding something like this to the iPhone would be perfect. And because the iPhone is larger, maybe Apple can add a bigger sensor that is able to tell the temperature of the users' bodies.
  • I'm lump these features in together because we only know that Apple is working on them but are no where near ready: blood pressure, glucose level, more advanced heart monitoring, and possiblydiagnostic tools that might detect early signs of health related issues. The last one is where the iPhone is more like Baymax.

I can imagine more than a few doctors who would not mind having an iPhone that can help them with basic diagnosis or gather health data on their patients for the sake of saving times, costs, and, not to mention, lives. 

I do my basic breathing, check up on my blood oxygen, and, once in a while, use the ECG app on my watch. If I did not have an Apple Watch and Apple added those functions to the iPhone, it would entice many iPhone users to upgrade their iPhones just to get those functions. Plus, many Android users would probably want to switch. It would not preclude these iPhone owners from also buying an Apple Watch as well. 

On top of that, Apple would be saving a lot of lives as well. And if Apple wants to make sure that an iPhone with health functions do not prevent users from buying Apple Watches, Apple can limit it only to the iPhone Pro Max. 

Could this happen? I think so. On top of the rumors of what Apple is doing with health for the Apple Watch, there is rumblings that future AirPods could also gain health related functions as well. 

What do you think? Do you want an iPhone that also keeps you healthy?

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Everyone Wants a 12" MacBook with Apple's M-Series Chip So Just Make It Happen Already

I do not know if Apple will ever release another 12" MacBook (regardless of whether it is an Air or a Pro but there has been a lot of attention focused on it recently. As someone who will need a new MacBook soon, but not immediately, I can afford to wait at least a year. 

I am currently writing this post on a 2016 12" MacBook that I bought for the purpose of writing and some light professional work. The professional part is debatable but I definitely have gotten a lot of milage out of this MacBook. I love the size and for a while the battery life. The keyboard is fine though the right shift key is giving me issues. And the speed is fine enough for browsing the Web, coding at a beginner level, and, of course, writing.

In a year, should my coding turn into more than just a hobby and other professional needs arise, I will be have to start the upgrade process. And by then, a 12" MacBook? 

I'm hoping Apple just make it happen already in a year or so. Arguments for it are there. There are those who argue that the new M2 MacBook Air is perfect already. And if in a year, perhaps that is what I will upgrade to if there still is not a 12" MacBook on the market.

However, I think users who have never owned and used a 12" model have to understand that those of us relishing for a 12" laptop have our reasons. One quickly comes to mind - it just feels different when I am on my 12" as opposed to the Air that my wife has. I'll be fine with an Air but the portability of the MacBook cannot be matched by anything else. Whenever I read user comments to related articles and on Twitter, some even goes as far as to mention the 11" MacBook Air from 2015. 

There is a market for a high quality, well spec-out 12" MacBook. There has been rumblings that it could be a Pro model. So be it. I think it is worth a premium if Apple can give up a bit more speed than the lower powered Intel versions. Many have forgotten but in decades past, light and small commanded a premium price even if it was underpowered at times. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

AirPods Pro 2 - What New Features Can We Expect Or Want (Part 1)

I received a pair of AirPods Pro as a gift. Prior to that, I had avoided spending $250 on these little Bluetooth earbuds that I knew I had a good chance of losing. But after using it for more than a year now, I eagerly await the next version of the AirPods Pro and can’t wait to see how AirPods Pro 2 would be better than the original version. 

As an Apple fan, you would think that I would have been all over the AirPods when it first came out. And if not the original AirPods, then I would go for the AirPods Pro because of its new form, active noice cancellation features, water proof against sweat, and longer battery life.

But I didn’t buy it because knowing myself, there was a good chance I was going to lose it. But so far, I’ve  misplaced it many times but have not permanently lost one earbud or the whole set yet.  I’ve listed many other cheap pairs that I bought from Amazon so I have been pleasantly surprised. 

Now I know I can be remarkably responsible in this respect, I am looking forward to the next version of the AirPods Pro. Let’s start with what we know so far:

  • It will come in the second half of this year.  My guess, and probably yours, it is that’ll be here in time for the Holidays.
  • There could be features what adapt to the user - usage, ear size, etc. 
  • Price will stay at $250, the current retail price of the AirPods Pro 
  • . But I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that is possible Apple might price it higher at $279 due to rising costs. And yeah we will buy it. I doubt people will grumble about it given the rate of inflation and just recently, Apple also hiked the entry price of the new iPhone SE by $30. The price was noted but few complaints. 
  • Better battery life. I am guess an hour at most. While your mileage may vary, I do want my gadgets to have longer battery life but at no time have I ran out of juice because I could put the AirPods into the case for a quick charge. Maybe one of the two did run out of battery once but I was able to continue using the other one while the other one charges. For reference, the Beats Fit Pro from Apple with ANC offers six hours. 
  • Better sound quality. I do not have discerning ears so while I appreciate any improvement Apple makes, I doubt the audio quality of my audiobooks and podcasts will sound any better. That’s what I listen to most. Having said that, Apple is all about innovations so we can expert some crazy awesome improvements. 
  • New design. Given how compact the Beats Fit Pro is, I expect the AirPods Pro 2 will looks more like the Fit than the original one. However, I am worried about audio quality from the microphone. 
  • There may be some health features but I’ll be honest about this one: so far, this sounds more like wishful thinking. If anyone is waiting to get health features on the AirPods, I recommend to just go ahead and get the Apple Watch. 
More information will leak from Asia, Apple watchers with insider info, and certain well connected analysts. Those information above are pretty sound and I expect most of that to be pretty accurate. Next, I’ll hit the features that we are all hoping to have on the AirPods Pro 2.