Archive for September 10, 2019

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro

Mark Gurman:

By naming this event “By innovation only,” Apple is really raising expectations for Tuesday, an event thus far expected to focus on iterative iPhone and Apple Watch updates. Internally, I’m told, attention has turned to more groundbreaking 2020 devices. Let’s see.

That seems to have been accurate.

Apple (MacRumors, Hacker News):

iPhone 11 Pro introduces a transformative triple-camera system with all-new Ultra Wide, Wide and Telephoto cameras, deeply integrated into iOS to create a pro-level camera experience designed for everyone.


A redesigned camera interface provides a more immersive experience that works together with the triple-camera system and all-screen display to let users see and capture the area outside of the frame. For the first time, users can easily record video without switching out of Photo mode with QuickTake by simply holding the shutter button to start recording.

What if you want to take burst photos? Hopefully, there’s a preference.

Tim Hardwick:

Apple’s new Night Mode (not to be confused with the new Dark Mode interface option in iOS 13) is Apple’s rejoinder to Google’s Night Sight, and from the little we’ve seen so far, the results do look at least on par with the Pixel.

When using the camera app on any of Apple’s 2019 iPhones, the new Night Mode feature comes on automatically when an indoor or outdoor scene is dark enough to warrant brightening, resulting in natural colors and reduced noise.

In short, new iPhone users should see an immediate improvement when shooting in low light environments, without having to adjust any exposure settings.

However, despite Apple’s boast that the year-old iPhone XR remains faster than the competition, Night Mode seems to be exclusive to iPhone 11, whereas Night Sight works on the Pixel 2 from 2017.

Ben Bajarin:

The new backs on iPhone 11/pro are actually more tacky and less slippery than XS. Quite nice feel in hand IMO.


Update (2019-09-11): Ben Thompson:

Gurman isn’t necessarily wrong about the highly iterative nature of the hardware announcements (although I think that an always-on Apple Watch is a big deal), but that doesn’t necessarily mean he is right about the innovation question.


In the second chart you can see how Apple in 2017 not only raised prices dramatically on its flagship models, but also on the mid-tier model relative to previous flagships. This was important because it was these mid-tier models that replaced previous flagships in Apple’s usual “sell the old flagship for a $100 less per year” approach. That meant that 2017’s price hike filtered through to 2018’s 1-year old model, which increased from $549 to $599.

That means that this year actually saw three price cuts[…]

Mark Gurman:

Nothing shown today really qualifies as meeting high “innovation only” expectations: Apple delivered the smallest Watch update ever, an iPad with a slightly bigger screen and nothing more, and iPhones with cameras equal to or less than many other devices. Apple needs a big 2020.

Jonathan Deutsch:

The new iPhone 11 Pros have gained a bit of weight.

• Two iPhone SEs equal one 11 Pro Max.
• The iPhone 11 Pro weighs 16g more than the 6 Plus!
• Speaking of, that iPhone 6 was damn light for its size
• Heck, you could carry NINE Watch Sports (series 0) for one 11 Pro Max

Update (2019-09-13): John Gruber:

Google beat Apple to the “night mode” game last year, but Apple’s implementation seems more natural to use. It just comes on automatically, when needed. (There is a way to turn it off, very much like turning off the camera flash.) On a Pixel, Night Sight is an entirely different mode, which I find a little weird. My guess has been that Google made Night Sight its own mode because Night Sight images, though often amazing, are also often quite unnatural. It’s so effective that it often makes nighttime scenes look like they were shot in daylight — like an old Hitchcock movie where they shot day-for-night. I hope Apple’s implementation results in more natural images — the goal should be to make it appear that the camera can see in dim lighting, not to make dark scenes look brightly lit.


Some folks will look at that list and say the iPhones 11 Pro aren’t really “pro”. I look at that list and say the regular iPhone 11 is almost just as “pro” at significantly lower prices. This is a very different dynamic between pro and non-pro models compared to MacBooks, Mac desktops, and iPads, where the pro models have very obvious performance differences.


In person, the most impressive thing about the new iPhones, to me, is the way that the entire back is made from a single piece of glass. The square section around the camera systems is milled from the same piece of glass as the rest of the back.

Ryan Jones:

As happens, I got curious and went too far… may I present to you: the complete history of iPhone’s camera bump.

Mitchel Broussard:

Below you’ll find tech specs for iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro, with each difference bolded.

See also: iPhone 11 vs. iPhone XR.

Ryan Jones:

iPhone 11
+25% RAM, 3 → 4GB
+6% battery, 2942 → 3110 mAh

iPhone 11 Pro
+50% RAM, 4 → 6GB
+20% battery, 2658 → 3190 mAh

iPhone 11 Pro Max
+50% RAM, 4 → 6GB
+10% battery, 3174 → 3500 mAh

Apple Watch Series 5

Apple (MacRumors, Hacker News):

Apple Watch Series 5 features an innovative new display that allows the time and important information to remain visible at all times. Each watch face has been carefully optimized for the new display and to preserve battery life, the screen intelligently dims when a user’s wrist is down and returns to full brightness with a raise or a tap. Several advanced technologies work together to deliver this new feature, including the industry’s only low-temperature polysilicone and oxide display (LTPO), ultra-low power display driver, efficient power management integrated circuit and new ambient light sensor. This combination of hardware innovation and incredible software design allows Apple Watch Series 5 to offer all-day 18-hour battery life.

Didn’t see that one that coming. I still can’t see anything Apple Watch does that’s worth $400 to me, but it will be more interesting when this eventually makes it into the base model.

Ryan Jones:

5 years later, Apple launches the TOTALLY FRIGGIN OBVIOUS way to sell Watches.

Update (2019-09-13): Michael Kummer:

In this article, I’ll look at what Series 5 has to offer and how it compares to Apple’s previous wearable, the Series 4. Hopefully, the information I provide here will help you decide if you should upgrade to the new model or stick with the one you have.

Update (2019-09-25): Jeremy Horwitz:

During my testing, Series 5’s battery life was noticeably worse than Series 4’s. After a normal day of use, the new watch was at 35%, while its predecessor had twice the remaining power. So while Apple’s promise of “all-day” battery life is still accurate this year, that’s only because the official 18-hour number hasn’t changed, despite undisclosed annual advances in prior models. Unless Apple improves watchOS, it looks like you’ll have to avoid using Series 5’s new features to get Series 4-like battery results.

Update (2019-09-27): Marques Brownlee:

Gave it a 2-week shot, but I’m finally gonna have to turn off the always-on display on Apple Watch Series 5.

It nukes through battery about 30% faster with it on and I don’t care about it enough to keep it. Back to gestures ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Nick Heer:

iFixit took apart a couple of the new Apple Watch models and found a wildly different battery in the 40mm model than in the 44mm. They also took the time to snark about the recycled aluminum case.

Update (2019-09-30): M.G. Siegler:

I like the new Apple Watch. The always-on screen is great and I’m okay with a trade-off. But come on, let’s just be honest: the battery life is far worse than the previous couple generations as a result.

A few folks following this tweet noted that the WatchOS 6.1 beta helps a lot with the battery issues. Seems like a bunch of little tweaks they can do with software (i.e. maybe don’t need to immediately fully illuminate screen on casual raise, etc). Here’s hoping. 🤞⌚️

Matt Birchler:

The newest Apple Watch is an odd duck when it comes to updates for Apple’s “more personal device ever.” Depending on your measurement, it’s either the most or least significant update to the hardware Apple has ever put out, and that just makes it a funky product to review.

Update (2019-10-15): Matt Birchler:

The worst part of the Series 5 Watch is that it doesn’t automatically turn off the always-on screen when you’re sleeping. I’d also take a much dimmer always-on mode.

Not for battery saving which isn’t a problem for me, but because it lights up the whole bed.

Update (2019-10-21): Rene Ritchie:

It’s so good I sometimes still forget it’s in always-on mode and I need to tap to return it to normal before I can check notifications. That’s how well integrated it is.


As for me, both on the aluminum at first and the titanium now, I’m getting a little less with always-on-on than I got with no always-on at all on the Series 4. I typically finish the day with between 20 and 40%, depending on how intense my usage is. That’s down from between 30 and 50% on the Series 4. But, it’s not much of a price to pay at all for always-on, at least not for me.

Apple Music on the Web Beta

Josh Centers (MacRumors, Hacker News):

Apple has quietly launched the beta of a Web app for Apple Music, allowing Apple Music subscribers to access all their Apple Music content using a modern Web browser. Just about every feature you’d expect is there, except for the capability to upload music, smart playlists, some music videos, recently played custom radio stations, and curiously, Beats One radio.

Alan Stonebridge:

MacRumors story about Apple Music web beta doesn’t seem to explicitly mention that it provides access to your personal library, not just Apple Music’s.

Federico Viticci:

Apple Music now has a better iPad layout as a beta web app than a native iPad app 😬


Update (2020-04-17): Eric Slivka:

As of today, Apple Music on the web has exited beta and is now available at

Longtime Finder Alias Keyboard Shortcuts Now Mutate Photos

John Gruber:

And to top this all off — truly, this is genuinely hard to believe — these ⌘R and ⌘L shortcuts not only break 27-year-old Finder shortcuts, but they aren’t even consistent with Photos, which uses ⌘R for “Rotate Counterclockwise” and ⌥⌘R for “Rotate Clockwise”. So in Photos the R maps to Rotate not Right, and the direction for an image rotated using ⌘R is left/counterclockwise.


There is some consistency to using ⌘L and ⌘R as shortcuts for “Rotate Left” and “Rotate Right” — those are the same command names and shortcuts that Preview uses. But there’s no reason Preview doesn’t use the same command names and shortcuts as Photos, and Photos’s use of “Clockwise” and “Counterclockwise” is, in my opinion, more clear than “Right” and “Left”.

Brian Gerfort:

Oh shit! So THAT’s why I occasionally find rotated photos on my machine! I’ve been wondering why that happens. And guess what I do constantly every day: Build and run in Xcode (Cmd+R) ..accidentally have a Finder window/desktop with an image file in focus? Boom.


The biggest problem with the change is not that command-R no longer reveals but that it rotates photos without any real feedback. I’ve got a ton of rotated photos now. Fuck whoever made this change, and especially didn’t put it in the menu bar so it could be disabled.

You can’t disable it, but you can use System Preferences to assign the keyboard shortcuts to other commands, i.e. back to “Make Alias” and “Show Original”. Then you run into this bug.

Peter Kamb:

in 2019 ⌘R should be either “Refresh” or no-op. Browser muscle memory overrides everything else for those big shortcuts like ⌘R, ⌘T, ⌘W.

Manipulating the System Policy Database with Configuration Profiles

Tom Bridge:

The spctl binary that is part of macOS’s command line interface, and has been for a very long time, are responsible for controlling what Gatekeeper looks at. These both write to a sqlite3 database stored at /var/db/SystemPolicy, and think of it a lot like a database of ID cards that the security guard at the desk will review. If your card is recognized, you pass through security without more than a passing hello at the barrier. If you card is not recognized, your ID is checked, your destination cleared, your name jotted down, and you’re granted a card if you belong.


This system can be directly manipulated via configuration profile, and those configuration profiles can be delivered by a capable MDM. Moreover, this has been the case since macOS 10.12. Hidden away in Apple’s documentation is the SystemPolicyRule payload type, which can allow you to embed whitelisted objects in an MDM Profile.


While all of the above is intended for the operation:install key, operation: execute would allow you to run non-notarized Applications without Gatekeeper dialogs for those applications that are downloaded in their entirety without an installer package. You will need a separate profile if you want to whitelist both an installer and an application.