iOS 9 security & jailbreaking: there’s no such thing as impossible

By Jeff Benjamin on May 22, 2015

Recent reports are claiming that Apple’s upcoming iOS update—iOS 9—will make it more difficult to jailbreak iPhones and iPads going forward. Some are even stating that it will be nearly impossible to jailbreak an iPhone running iOS 9.

The reason? Rootless—the kernel-level security feature that was discussed earlier today. This new feature is said to prevent malware, increase the safety of extensions and preserve the security of sensitive data.

When it’s all said and done, Apple’s security efforts in iOS 9 appear to be its most prolific since iOS 5. It could make it more of a challenge for jailbreakers and hackers.

But impossible? There’s nothing that’s impossible when it comes to security. More difficult? Perhaps. More challenging? Maybe. But impossible? Read More

 

Hey Siri, will you please let me talk back to you?

By Sébastien Page on May 13, 2015

Siri has come a long way since it was first introduced along the iPhone 4s and iOS 5 back in 2011. The assistant has gotten smarter, wittier, and all around more helpful, at least on the iPhone, because in my experience,  it’s a completely different animal on Apple Watch.

To be fair, I’m not so much complaining about actual voice dictation on Apple Watch. Besides a few missteps that were most likely due to my strong French accent, dictation has been very reliable on Apple Watch. What hasn’t though, is to getting Siri to activate, whether it is hands-free or by using the Digital Crown. And when I do get it to work, not being able to interact with Siri with interactive voice commands is also a source of frustration. Allow me to explain. Read More

 

Why you should be using a passcode on your Apple Watch

By Jeff Benjamin on May 13, 2015

There seems to be a bit of misunderstanding when it comes to using a passcode on the Apple Watch. I’ve seen more than a few comments about how inconvenient it would be to have to “enter a passcode on that tiny screen every time I want to use the watch.” Indeed, it would be inconvenient if that were a true statement; thankfully it’s not. Read More

 

Apple Watch is delightfully liberating

By Sébastien Page on May 4, 2015

In a post I published before Apple Watch was even released, I noted that the most important features Apple hadn’t emphasized about the device were its convenience, and immediacy. Convenient because it is right there on your wrist, and immediate because everything is one raise of the wrist away.

I stand behind what I wrote at the time, especially now that I’ve had time to actually use Apple Watch and confirm my early beliefs. Something I hadn’t envisaged though is how liberating Apple Watch can be. Read More

 

The Apple Watch Home screen is a beautiful mess

By Sébastien Page on Apr 30, 2015

With the Apple Watch Home screen, Apple introduced a new layout and design that is a departure from what we have all been accustomed to with iPhone and iPad. Instead of favoring rows and columns of square-ish icons, Apple had to rethink the user interface and introduced us to an infinite and honeycomb-like fluid grid of apps devoid of pages, folders, or dock.

One could argue this design paradigm modernizes the Home screen as we know it, but beyond the new and refreshing look, I’ve had a hard time getting used to it and actually find it useful. As a matter of fact, I don’t find it useful at all. It is absolutely gorgeous to look at, but it is also a terrible mess to use. Organizing apps, looking for apps, and being able to accurately tap on their icons is something that I have had a difficult time with. Read More

 

I don’t open apps on my Apple Watch

By Oliver Haslam on Apr 30, 2015

As I spend more time with my Apple Watch, I am finding that we are starting to settle into something of a routine. The watch tells me when someone or something wants my attention, and I triage that notification based on its importance and the level of attention I can give it. It might not sound exciting, but the process of quick notification triage is something that the Apple Watch is proving most adept at.

But the Apple Watch is more than a way to read notifications. It has apps, and glances, and sensors. Some apps, just like on the iPhone and iPad, are more useful than others, and it’s still very early days for the Apple Watch ecosystem as a whole. That said, after a week of using my Apple Watch, I have come to the conclusion that I don’t launch apps by tapping their icon on the watch’s Home screen. In fact, I don’t really use that many apps at all. Read More

 

Twelve thoughts on Apple Watch

By Jeff Benjamin on Apr 28, 2015

I’ve had an Apple Watch for almost a full work week now, and I’ve formed a variety of opinions. What I can tell you up front is that I really like this device, and have no buyers remorse. The Apple Watch does a lot of things really well, and a few things not-so-well. Here are twelve personal observations about the Apple Watch that I’d like to share with you. Read More

 

Why I recommend the 42mm Apple Watch over the 38mm version

By Jeff Benjamin on Apr 27, 2015

Apple Watch Sport collection vs Apple Watch Sport, Milanese Loop vs Leather loop. There are lots and lots of choices when it comes to configuring an Apple Watch. There are even two sizes to choose from—38mm and 42mm.

Choice is good, and there’s certainly a lot of decisions to make when it comes to Apple Watch configuration. But when it comes to size, I would recommend the 42mm. Unless you have really small fingers, and a really small wrist, I think that you should at least try on the 42mm version to test it out.

Why am I so high on the 42mm Apple Watch? It’s because I’ve tried them both. At first I didn’t think that the difference would be that big of a deal, but after going hands on with both, I’m leaning more heavily towards recommending the larger version Read More

 

24 hours with the Apple Watch

By Oliver Haslam on Apr 26, 2015

I told you last week that I had an Apple Watch on order and that to get to that point I had gone through a few different emotions before eventually landing on one that had me rather excited about Apple’s first wearable and the future that it could have. As I write this I have had my Apple Watch on my wrist for a little over a full day, and I thought someone somewhere might be interested in how I feel about the purchase. I also wanted to share one or two things I have noticed after spending my first day with the Apple Watch, too. Read More

 

The four stages of my Apple Watch purchase: elation, denial, buyer’s remorse and confidence

By Oliver Haslam on Apr 19, 2015

I have an Apple Watch on pre-order. Many of us do. How I got here hasn’t been as simple as most though, because I feel like I have been through the four stages of Apple Watch purchasing – elation, denial, buyer’s remorse and confidence. And not necessarily in that order and some more than once. Read More

 

The limits of Android Wear compatibility with iOS

By Sébastien Page on Mar 28, 2015

If you can’t beat them, join them. This could be the motto for Google, which is rumored to bring iOS compatibility to Android Wear. And if strings of code that were recently discovered are any indication, it seems the rumor actually holds a lot of truth to it.

Considering this probable move, there seems to be a lot of excitement about the potential possibilities, especially among people who don’t believe in Apple Watch, or want the convenience of a smartwatch without all the strings attached to the Apple ecosystem.

One thing people don’t seem to realize is that even with full iOS support, Android Wear will never be more than a shiny screen with a handful of limited features. Read More

 

Using pre-release software? You beta be sure

By Oliver Haslam on Mar 25, 2015

So there I was, two days into my carrier’s billing cycle looking at a text message saying I had used 80% of my 2GB data allowance. I’d used 1.6GB of 4G data in a couple of days, and I have Wi-Fi at home and at work. In fact, the only place I don’t have Wi-Fi in my day-to-day life is my car.

I’d used 1.6GB of 4G data in my car. How?

The answer came after much toggling of iOS option switches, browsing of websites and general trial and error. It turned out the ‘Documents and Sync’ portion of the inner workings of iOS was eating data like there was no tomorrow, which, once it reached that 2GB cap, wasn’t far from the truth. I had to buy more data just to give me wiggle room to do some more testing and once I knew where in iOS I could specifically track the usage that was causing me problems, I had somewhere to start.

Now believe it or not this post isn’t about hunting for strange iOS bugs and squashing them with the contempt that they deserve. It’s not even to point out that the culprit, after it was first thought to be iCloud Drive and in particular my favorite text editor, was actually iCloud Photo Library. It’s to remind everyone that betas aren’t as fun as you may think. Read More

 

Not everyone understands Apple Watch, and that’s just fine

By Oliver Haslam on Mar 19, 2015

When Apple announced the Apple Watch, I knew I wanted one. In fact, when Motorola announced the Moto 360, I wanted one of those too. If it had been compatible with iOS without any tricks or hacks, then I might have even bought one. It’s probably safe to say that the idea of a smartwatch appeals to me greatly.

But since the announcement of pricing for the Apple Watch I have found myself in conversation with more than a few people who just don’t seem to get why the Apple Watch is so exciting to some of us. It’s expensive, they say. It doesn’t do anything that your iPhone doesn’t do, they point out. You just don’t need it. Read More

 

Apple Watch: what the iDB team is buying

By Oliver Haslam on Mar 16, 2015

It’s been a long time coming, but now that we know just what the Apple Watch will cost, how much we will need to pay for additional bands and when pre-orders will be open, the only thing left to do is choose which Apple Watch will order.

At least, that’s how it seems to us here at iDB. After months of waiting for concrete information on availability and pricing, the decision on whether to actually pick up an Apple Watch was one that didn’t need much thinking about. The argument over whether to plump for the Apple Watch Edition was taken out of our hands by its price, too, so really all it comes down to is whether the Apple Watch or Apple Watch Sport is the watch for you.

The iDB team got to discussing this very subject recently and we thought that discussion might be an interesting one to share with everyone. After all, if you guys are struggling to make a decision as much as we were, then every little bit of help is no doubt appreciated.

So, with that elongated preamble of the way, let’s see what the iDB team will be ordering come April 10th. Read More

 

The best Apple Watch features Apple hasn’t told you about

By Sébastien Page on Mar 12, 2015

The purpose of Apple Watch is something that has been greatly discussed ever since the company first unveiled it last September, and as the release date nears, it seems to be the topic of even more arguments.

Admittedly, Apple isn’t doing a great job at highlighting the true selling points of Apple Watch. If you go to the Watch mini site on Apple.com, the first thing Apple tells you about it is that it is an incredibly precise timepiece. I don’t know about you, but I don’t recall ever wondering if the time I was looking at (be it on my iPhone, my Mac, or my microwave clock) was indeed precise, and I imagine most people feel the same.

To me, there are three features Apple should have made essential parts of its marketing materials. The company either didn’t feel the need to because they aren’t actual features per se, or maybe Apple didn’t realize their importance, something that can only be measured as you use the device day in day out for an extended period of time.

I will not pretend I know better than Apple when it comes to communicating. That’s clearly not the case, but as someone who’s been using a Pebble every day for over a year, I believe I have a very good sense of what makes a smartwatch so indispensable. Read More

 

My Cydia pet peeve: App Store redirects

By Jeff Benjamin on Mar 4, 2015

The situation in Cydia right now is one of sadness. I’m sad, because nearly every time I try to download or purchase a new tweak or app, I have to finagle and wrangle with the App Store redirects that seem to have multiplied as of late.

I kid you not, I get about 5 pop-ups every time I open a page on Cydia’s BigBoss repo, and sometimes I just give up after wrestling with trying to open a tweak’s page. At first this behavior was tolerable, but over the last few weeks, it seems to have reached a boiling point. It generally takes a lot of inconveniences for me to decide to write about one of my annoyances, but this situation is just flat out of control, and I need to vent.

Someone needs to fix this. The problem primarily seems to happen with tweaks hosted on the BigBoss repo. If this happened to any other repo, I’d simply uninstall that repo and go about my business. Sadly, I can’t do that, because the BigBoss repo is more or less Cydia. It hosts 99% of the tweaks that we report on, and it’s generally where all of the action is when it comes to tweaks. Themes are a different story, and sometimes you’ll find a really cool tweak on ModMyi, but it’s obvious that the BigBoss repo is where most of the activity resides in this community. Read More

 

The case for user accounts on iOS: my two-year-old

By Oliver Haslam on Feb 25, 2015

Google just this week released iOS and Android versions of its YouTube apps that are specifically tailored for kids. On the face of it, and especially to those not in possession of a little bundle of joy or two, the move may seem a bit superfluous. If you do happen to have a two-year-old that’s obsessed with watching Thomas the Tank Engine videos though, it’ll make absolutely perfect sense.

In fact, mine loves using the iPad in general, not just for catching up on what latest shenanigans Thomas and his band of merry locomotives have managed to get themselves into. He has games that revolve around Thomas, or Peppa Pig for that matter. He likes to use the app that lets him tap parts of an image and paint it. Sort of like those felt-lined things we used to color in with markers when we were kids. Or at least we did in the UK.

Regardless of whether you had the pleasure of not having to worry about staying between the lines or not, there’s little argument that kids enjoy an iPad, and mine certainly enjoys the iPad 2. I didn’t buy it specifically for him by the way, I’m not that bad. It was handed down for his enjoyment and no doubt subsequent destruction at the hands of a cup of juice. He almost enjoys it too much, but that’s a discussion for another time.

What I want to discuss right now is the lack of user accounts on iOS devices. Read More

 

Six months with the Dell UP2414Q 4K display

By Jeff Benjamin on Feb 22, 2015

It’s been over 6 months since I purchased a 4K Dell monitor to pair with my 15″ Retina MacBook Pro. In my initial post, I talked above the setup, my hands-on experiences, problems I encountered, etc. Now that I’ve had some time to really use this monitor on a regular basis, I’m here to provide you with a little more commentary and insight on my purchase decision. If I could go back in time, would I do it all over again? Read More

 

Apple is right to ditch marquee features for stability and fixes

By Oliver Haslam on Feb 11, 2015

We reported a couple of days ago that Apple was set to launch iOS 9 with few, if any marquee features, instead focusing on fixing bugs and adding stability to a platform that has seen such rapid iteration over the last few years that it is almost unrecognizable from iOS 1.0. It seems, if reports are to be believed, that Apple is doubling down on stability.

And about time too. Read More

 

The iPad is a real computer

By Oliver Haslam on Feb 6, 2015

If anyone has been following along over the last few months then you’ll probably know that I’ve been having a bit of a love-in with my iPad mini. After initially suffering the same fate as my other iPads and being all but discarded after the initial novelty wore off, the iPad mini with Retina – now renamed by Apple as the iPad mini 2 – has become my main computer.

And yes, I just called the iPad a computer.

So when I started reading Federico Viticci’s iPad Air 2 review, I was already interested to read how he found the switch from an iPad mini to the iPad Air form factor. Turns out he likes it, and I find myself wondering whether my next iPad should be of the larger variety, too. I’m still not convinced, but with the Airs getting thinner and lighter and with ever decreasing bezels, it’s something worthy of serious consideration after falling in love with the mini’s super portable size. Read More

 
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