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  • Strava adds support for iPhone-free running & biking with GPS on Apple Watch Series 2

    Can any app developers help me understand why it would take 6 months to add this feature? It seems like it wouldn't be a huge transition to pull data from the watch GPS instead of the phone GPS.  

    The watch automatically uses its GPS receiver if the phone isn't present, so there is very little change needed by the developer to handle that.  

    My guess would be that the design of the watch app previously relied on the phone being present and doing some of processing.  This was quite a common approach because the first version of watchOS didn't even allow the app to run on the watch - most of the app had to run on the phone and pass data to the watch.  With watchOS 2 and 3 the app does run on the watch but not all of the functionality available in iOS is available in watchOS, so it is often still easier to leave some of the processing on the iPhone and send it to the watch.  Rewriting this functionality to run on the watch could be what has taken them so long.  It could have entailed a change to the fundamental architecture of the app from being split across the iPhone and the watch to running exclusively on the watch.

    However this is all just guesswork as I know nothing about the Strava app!
  • Apple denies imminent iPhone 6 battery exchange program in the works

    There are definitely battery-related problems with the iPhone 6, particularly regarding the estimated percentage.  My other half’s phone seems to randomly jump around, losing massive amounts in a small period of time, but when you restart it then the percentage goes back to what it was.

    It seems more like a software issue than a hardware one, and it has only happened since I upgraded her phone to iOS10, which seems to back that up.  I doubt a new battery would help, but maybe it is a combination of a failing battery and over-sensitive software in iOS10?

    There are lots of complaints on Apple’s forums about it but no response from Apple.
  • Is Apple getting Siri-ous in the face of Amazon's Alexa Echo?

    I use Alexa more times each week than I have used Siri in 5 years of having it.  It is great for playing songs, radio stations (I’m currently listening to a football match on it), news headlines, weather etc.  It doesn’t do anything that I can’t do on a phone, but it’s so much easier to ask it across the room than to take my phone out of my pocket and hope that Siri understands me.  The speaker is a lot better too.

    The Echo and Dot have only been out for a few months here in the UK but already I know loads of people who have got one, especially over Xmas.  And they are all impressed.

    I’m not knocking Apple; Siri was a great leap forward when it came out, but it doesn’t seem to have progressed very much to me.  Dozens of other languages are all well and good but it doesn’t seem any better at recognising English than it was 5 years ago.

    I think some areas of Apple should be very worried about Alexa.  For instance Apple Music.  I love the way that I can ask Alexa to play a song and most of the time is is available from Amazon Prime.  I am now pretty sure that I will switch my Napster account to Amazon Music Unlimited (for 40 million songs instead of 2 million), which is a third cheaper than the competition and allows voice control via Alexa.  I have Sonos, so when the Echo/Sonos link comes out later this year then that will be a fantastic combination.

    I don’t know if voice AI is the next big thing in home technology, but it certainly could be, and if it is then Apple are seriously behind the competition at the moment, despite having had a big head-start in the field.

  • Editorial: Apple survived 2016's onslaught of fake news and failed competitors

    I still think that it only had a few improvements but I probably should have qualified that by saying “relative to previous non-S iPhones, and to most users’ expectations”.  Apple have taught people to expect more from an iPhone with a new number.  It looks like at least one of this year’s models will deliver on that front though, so it will be interesting to see what they call it.

    The posters of these forums certainly seem more pro-Apple than most other places.  I usually find myself defending Apple on other forums, but here I was on the receiving end!
  • Editorial: Apple survived 2016's onslaught of fake news and failed competitors

    adamc said:
    cfc said:
    When you say "real-life" users don’t need 32Gb I assume that you mean most users don’t need 32Gb, which is probably true (at the moment).  However this is supposed to be a Pro machine and a lot of Pro users (myself included) need 32Gb for some tasks.  We will have to stick to using desktop Macs for such tasks, which is why it is a bit worrying that none of them were replaced in 2016.

    Just curious why do you need 32Gb of RAM for?
    I am a full-time iOS developer (and have been since the SDK first became available in 2008).  I don't need anywhere near 32Gb for coding but I also do some data processing that parses large self-referencing XML files (up to 500Gb) and picks out relevant data for my app.  It took quite some fine-tuning to get that to run in 32Gb, let alone 16Gb.  So it will only run on a desktop Mac.

    I realise that is a pretty specific use case and I doubt that many others have similar reasons for 32Gb, but people’s use-cases vary.  Some people seem to think that just because they don’t need more than 16Gb then neither does anyone else, which is a crazy argument.

    I seem to have annoyed several people by saying that the iPhone 7 was disappointing for a non-S version, so I will explain why:

    Camera, CPU, GPU and OS improvements happen every year;
    The 6S is relatively waterproof anyway; 
    I usually use headphones instead of the speakers (often whilst charging!); 
    Wide colour is nice but not necessary for me: I rarely notice it on my iMac (which I love); 
    I don't like the new taptic home “button” (but hope it means smaller bezels next year);
    I have a 6S plus so OIS would not be new to me;
    I would have got the smaller iPhone 7, so I would not have got the dual camera (which would have niggled me).  

    I have had a 6S plus for a year and love the screen size but find it too big for my pockets.  This is why I was hoping for the new OLED screens.  Not for the properties of OLED (although the lower power usage sounds good) but because it has been rumoured for the next form factor with the smaller-bezels.  I'd like to have as big as screen as possible but in as small a form factor as possible and the current iPhone design is very poor in that respect when compared to the competition.  Apple have realised this judging from the rumours, but couldn't address it in time for the iPhone 7.  The iPhone 4, 5 and 6 all improved this aspect but the 7 didn't, which is why I was disappointed.

    I’m not saying that the iPhone 7 is a bad phone.  It really is the best phone that they have ever made (TM).  However the improvements over the previous phone were the least compelling that I can ever remember.  I have owned every iPhone bar the 5S (which I considered for ages) and this was the only time that I was that I was completely happy sticking with last year’s iPhone.

    I’m sorry if my opinion annoys so many people, but it is just an opinion.  I am a big fan of Apple but just happen to think that 2016 was poor for them.  I have very high hopes for 2017 though.