2 months with the iPhone XR

I’ve owned every iPhone since the iPhone 3G in 2008. And to be honest, it was the iPhone that I liked the most. Nowadays I use an iPhone XR. I upgraded from an iPhone X. Many people would call this idiotic and more of a downgrade. Let me tell you why I switched from an iPhone X:

  • I prefer LCD screens. AMOLEDs are too yellow-ish and I don’t like PWM.
  • Battery life is significantly better
  • Much improved camera

I do not regret switching, but I’m also not really satisfied. The iPhone XR feels bulky and hefty. I have quite large hands and I barely reach the top to pull down the notification center, even the back swipe is quite arduous. I can’t image any women comfortably using it. And remember, Apple sees this as the new default iPhone size.

Apart from that, it’s a nice iPhone. The battery life is extraordinary. The display, and don’t let anyone tell you something different, is really good and has its advantages over AMOLED screens. Face ID and the camera are much improved over the iPhone X. And the performance is second to none.

All in all, you get a fantastic device for the price. I wouldn’t recommend the XS / XS Max. You get nearly everything those two do, but for less money and with additional benefits like longer battery life and, in my opinion, better looks with the aluminium frame and colourful options.

If you need a case: don’t go for the Clear Case from Apple. It’s their worst product right now. It feels cheap and adds a lot of bulk. I recommend the hard graft full on grainy iPhone cover. I dropped my XR with this case and the screen smashed. Maybe you should buy AppleCare+ and use no case at all :-)

iOS 11’s Misleading “Off-ish” Setting for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi is Bad for User Security

Andrés Arrieta, Electronic Frontier Foundation:

On an iPhone, users might instinctively swipe up to open Control Center and toggle Wi-Fi and Bluetooth off from the quick settings. Each icon switches from blue to gray, leading a user to reasonably believe they have been turned off—in other words, fully disabled. In iOS 10, that was true. However, in iOS 11, the same setting change no longer actually turns Wi-Fi or Bluetooth “off.”

Instead, what actually happens in iOS 11 when you toggle your quick settings to “off” is that the phone will disconnect from Wi-Fi networks and some devices, but remain on for Apple services. Location Services is still enabled, Apple devices (like Apple Watch and Pencil) stay connected, and services such as Handoff and Instant Hotspot stay on. Apple’s UI fails to even attempt to communicate these exceptions to its users.

Apple really doesn’t want you to turn off Bluetooth or WiFi. It’s bad design and I hope they revert this. It’s no excuse that they want their own devices (e.g. Apple Watch) to stay connected. In iOS 10, Bluetooth reactivated itself with every update. Now Apple makes sure the “normal” user isn’t turning it off at all.

Safari and App Nap

Safari is by far the most efficient browser for OS X. It is so efficient, it even suspends tabs you don’t look at. While this probably saves a lot of energy and CPU usage, it also causes a few problems.

For example, if you use Facebook or messenger.com in your browser, you rely on the notification sound. When the tab is active, everything works well. If it’s inactive, you won’t get any notification sound, not until you open the tab.

Unfortunately it is not possible to deactivate App Nap specifically for Safari. You have to disable it system-wide:

defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSAppSleepDisabled -bool YES

A few weeks with the Apple Watch

The Apple Watch is a nice little gadget with useful features. In the last four weeks I wore the watch every day, the bands are very comfortable and the device itself isn’t too heavy. The build quality is very good. The battery lasts nearly 2 days.

My two most used features were: telling the time and notifications. I barely used any apps, not even the pre installed Apple apps. I liked the glances, especially heart rate, weather and maps. I fear third party apps will have a hard time. Tapping on the watch doesn’t feel very natural and I’m thankful for the digital crown.

All in all, I still use and love my iPhone the same, but receiving notifications on a device you are wearing is really quite neat. My iPhone is now muted all day long, with my Watch informing me whether I should put it out of my pocket or not.

Bowers & Wilkins MM-1

Bowers & Wilkins MM-1

Ich hatte schon immer ein Faible für Bowers & Wilkins. Auch nach Jahren bin ich immer noch jedes Mal begeistert, wenn ich meinen P5 oder Zeppelin nutze. Derart überzeugt habe ich heute dann ohne lange nachzudenken die MM-1 gekauft. Und was soll man sagen? Wie üblich unglaublich klarer, aber trotzdem satter Klang. Ich wüsste nicht was B&W hier hätte besser machen können. Kaufempfehlung.

In Chrome 36, you can no longer disable the notification icon in the menu bar (OS X)

A few versions ago, Chrome added a hideous notification icon to the menu bar in OS X. It’s enabled by default, but you had the option to disable it in chrome://flags. In Chrome 34 you needed to disable Enable Rich Notifications Mac, Windows, in Chrome 35 it changed to Notification Center behavior Mac. Shockingly, in the current Chrome 36 Beta there is no way to disable it, as this option seemingly has been removed.

For the last years, Chrome was the best browser available. But by enforcing useless and ugly features like this to its users, Chrome has had it for me. I’ll return to Safari, even though it’s by far not perfect. But at least it won’t bug me.

UPDATE
Thankfully, you can now hide it directly via the menu bar: Chrome, Hide Notifications Icon. Although I still disagree with Google using their own notification system instead of OS X’ native one, this seems like a good move. Thanks for the tip, Thanik!