Technology expert, Winston Sih, has your guide to seasonal buying! The best time of year to buy kitchen appliances, a family car and so much more.
Technology expert, Winston Sih, showcases the latest in home technology to simplify your daily routines—from Google Home automation system to the Ryobi garage door opener!
- All-new design is slick and seamless
- Face ID doesn’t just work—it works well
- TrueDepth camera makes way for interactive augmented reality
- It’s expensive
- No Home button means you have to learn a whole new set of gestures
- You better put a case on it—or else
When Apple first announced the 10th-anniversary iPhone at their September event in Cupertino, Calif., analysts questioned the decision to stagger the launch of two premium smartphones—and whether a stray from their traditional annual launch strategy would do them more harm than good.
Many enthusiasts decided to wait and see how iPhone X stacked up to its recently-launched sibling. While lineups for iPhone 8 were shorter than previous releases, carriers are reporting record-breaking preorder demand for iPhone X. But is a smartphone really worth a whopping $1,300? We were among the first to put iPhone X through its paces.
Redesigned from the inside out
The first thing you notice when picking up iPhone X is the gorgeous design. Everything has been reimagined. From the edge-to-edge 5.8-inch Super Retina OLED display, to the glass front and back that Apple touts as the ‘most durable ever in a smartphone,’ the stunning curvature of the edges makes this design an engineering feat and resembles a piece of artwork.
iPhone X remains water- and dust-resistant, featuring speakers 35 per cent louder, and is compatible with Qi-enabled wireless chargers. The device will turn heads and start conversations—though you’re best to throw a case on it, especially if you’re prone to dropping things. You know who you are.
No more Home button
First the headphone jack, now the home button. They finally did it. iPhone X is the first iPhone to do away with the one button that does virtually everything. Instead, users will need to learn a new series of gestures in iOS 11—like swipe up to go to your home screen; double press on the side button to activate Apple Pay; and hold the side and volume button to power off.
There was a learning curve for the first while. You’ll be reaching for the Home button annoyed it’s no longer there, and then cycle through the gestures. You get used to it—and is the price you pay for an all-screen display.
If you’re the type who likes using your smartphone with one hand, the new gestures may complicate things. There are more swipes from the top, bottom, and sides. Unless you have long thumbs, you may need two hands to perform certain actions.
Facial recognition is the new fingerprint scan
For those who have become accustomed to the fingerprint authentication (known as Touch ID), iPhone X introduces a new facial recognition technology. I was blown away by how quick it learns your face and how effortless it is to use.
Face ID uses a new, front-facing TrueDepth camera that maps over 30,000 invisible dots to your face. It is stored securely on your device and is accurate to 1 in 1,000,000 that a random person can unlock your device. It also adapts to changes in appearance like facial hair growth, and cosmetic makeup.
It is used to do everything from unlock your device, authenticate into apps, and pay for purchases through Apple Pay. And none of the information is uploaded to the cloud, similar to Touch ID.
Cameras and AR
Camera enthusiasts will see a step-up in quality through not one, but two 12-megapixel rear cameras with dual optical image stabilization. This includes an updated Quad-LED True Tone flash that lights images more evenly and gives you more vibrant and accurate colours.
The popular portrait mode that was once for the rear cameras on iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 8 Plus is now coming to iPhone X’s front-facing camera—something that will delight selfie takers and up their social media game.
The same TrueDepth camera that maps your face for security also unlocks a whole new world through augmented reality technology. Apple continues to double down on AR as a future way of interacting with the real world, and apps including Snapchat and IKEA are making use of ARKit. New Animojis in iMessage enable users to have 10-second clips of emojis mimicking your expressions and facial movements captured. A lot of fun to use and without a doubt going to be popular with the tweens—that is, if they can afford one.
Is it worth it?
And for the age-old question… The phone is expensive. Over $1,000 expensive. iPhone X will run you $1,319 and $1,529 for the 64GB and 256GB variants, respectively. So is it worth throwing down a month’s mortgage payment on a smartphone that is made of all-glass? It depends on which features are important to you.
iPhone X is without a doubt one of the slickest devices I’ve seen in a long time. The build quality is unlike many other smartphones on the market today. The iPhone changed the smartphone industry and paved way for a lucrative app market. It is the combination of well-built hardware, easy-to-use software, and the potential of apps to personalize the mobile computing experience that put iPhone on the map a decade ago. And the tech giant is hoping to do that all over again.
As preorder sales have proven already, enthusiasts who want to be part of that experience will line up overnight or wait upwards of six weeks to get hold of a device. But for many others, iPhone 8—even iPhone 7—will suffice, especially if the Home button is still of great value. Though, iPhone 8 will still make a dent in your wallet at just under $1,000, off contract.
Apple hopes that choice and category redefinition will help boost sales, after the wait-and-see approach of iPhone 8 resulted in shorter lineups at retail stores.
Apple unveiled the latest iterations of iPhone at their futuristic Apple Park campus in Cupertino, Calif., Tuesday morning. At the first event in the Steve Jobs Theater, the tech giant is hoping not one—but three—new devices will have consumers digging for their wallets to get their hands on a new smartphone.
Celebrating the 10th-anniversary of iPhone, here are 10 things you need to know about the newly announced devices:
1. Three new iPhones to choose from
Unveiled were iPhone 8 and 8 Plus—an upgrade from their iPhone 7 sibling on the market today. It features an all-new glass and aluminum design, single- and dual-lens cameras on the devices, respectively, and an A11 Bionic chip that runs 30 per cent faster than the previous A10 chip. Also announced was iPhone X—pronounced ‘ten’— featuring an all-glass design and an OLED Super Retina display.
2. There’s still no headphone jack, and they ditched the home button, too
Yes, the headphone jack is gone—likely for good—and while iPhone 8 preserves the button that seemingly does almost everything, iPhone X ditches the home button, too. It is replaced by swipe gestures to unlock, multitask, and a new side button allows you to activate the Siri voice assistant and Apple Pay.
3. Your face will unlock your phone
Through a new feature on iPhone X, FaceID will replace the biometric TouchID fingerprint reader. It uses a unique camera system to map a user’s face on the fly, and depth-sensing technology allows you to unlock your device, use Apple Pay, and gain access to secure apps.
4. The screen that changes everything
If you’re looking for an immersive experience, iPhone X is worth waiting for. The device features an all-new, edge-to-edge, 5.8-inch Super Retina OLED display. This means you’ll get truer blacks, vivid colours, and a wider gamut through high-definition resolution. The OLED display is a first-of-its-kind in an iPhone, and features a 2436×1125 resolution.
5. Say goodbye to cord city
Apple is doubling down in wireless charging technology, through the all-glass backs on iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X. Through third-party accessories that support the Qi charging standard and their own AirPower mat accessory, users will now be able to charge their iPhone, Apple Watch Series 3, and AirPods without plugging in individual cables—a challenge many users have been hoping for a solution to for a long time.
6. Augmented reality is in
Coupled with the new A11 Bionic chip and new cameras on iPhone 8 Plus, the company believes augmented reality technology is in. Cameras are designed to work with built-in gyroscopes and accelerometers to track motion, and with graphics supported at 60 frames per second, developers will be able to tailor apps to enable users to star gaze, read live player stats at baseball games, and more, right from an app on your phone.
7. All-new cameras
All three devices feature improved cameras—12 megapixel rear cameras to be exact. iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X feature a dual rear camera, and that brings new functionality like the Portrait Lighting mode that can digitally modify lighting to users’ specific preferences—all in real time.
8. Animojis to make you laugh
One of my faves—emojis have become part of our everyday vernacular, and Apple is bringing them alive by way of an ‘Animoji.’ An animated emoji that will use the front-facing camera to measure your face, animate your favourite emojis into life-like characters, and record a short clip for text messaging. This will no doubt be addictive to not just your everyday millennial, but grandparents alike.
9. Yes, it’s pricey
It’s a steep price point, but no doubt many will be lining up overnight to be the first to get their hands on a device. In Canada, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus will be available in 64GB and 256GB capacities starting at $929, and iPhone X will retail for over $1,300. Wireless carriers will have individual pricing on contract.
10. Is it worth the upgrade?
If you’ve been waiting out for a new iPhone—this is a good time to upgrade. iPhone 7 users will see improvements through the free iOS upgrade. Whether it’s iPhone 8 or iPhone X, you’re sure to see many improvements on both software and hardware fronts. iPhone X—a special-edition device in itself, celebrating 10 years of iPhone—will be a high-demand smartphone, but you’ll have to wait out until Nov. 3 to get your hands on one. You can pre-order iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus on Sep. 15, in stores on Sep. 22.
Apple refreshed its line of Mac computers at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, Calif., Monday, including the iMac desktop – a device the tech giant hasn’t updated in almost two years. Manufacturers typically renew computers at least yearly to stay relevant.
iMac reimagined on the inside, not out
Not much has changed on the exterior, but the first thing you do notice when powering on is the vibrancy of the display – boasting a beautiful 4K display and 5K display in the 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMacs, respectively. These displays are 43 per cent brighter than its predecessor at 500 nits with support for one billion colours. Essentially, you’re guaranteeing yourself a vivid picture with whatever you’re doing.
From a performance perspective, Apple has heavily invested in the Intel Kaby Lake seventh-generation Core i5 processor as standard, with an option to upgrade to Core i7. Measured against the previous-generation model, the new iMac will allow for three-times-faster gaming on the 21.5-inch model.
iMac pushes the envelope in storage with the evolution of the Fusion Drive across the 27-inch line and on the high-end 21.5-inch 4K computer, adding higher-capacity memory. Fusion Drives allow users to access frequently used documents, photos, videos, on a flash drive, eliminating spinning disks of the traditional hard drive. It means fewer parts to break down. I’d like to see a move to this being standard on all desktops.
Users will find plenty of connectivity on the 27-inch iMac, and unlike iPhone 7, there’s still a headphone jack, alongside four USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt 3 (a.k.a. USB-C for everyone else), a Gigabit Ethernet, and an SD card port. This allows for added displays, high-speed hard drive connectivity, and other third-party accessories.
Among the updates from the conference include a peek at the next iteration of the Mac platform – macOS High Sierra – chock-a-block full of new toys for developers to create immersive experiences for users, like virtual reality. However, the upgrade won’t be available until the fall.
MacBook Pro: Building on its success
The previous generation of MacBook Pro made the laptop much thinner and lighter. Plus, the integration of a fluid and interactive Touch Bar and Touch ID fingerprint reader has been surprisingly useful — not just a gimmick — and the 2017 version builds on that.
The upgrades bring a routine processor and hard drive boost. Machines will see the same Intel Kaby Lake processor as its desktop counterparts, as well as faster solid-state drives, and the 15-inch MacBook Pro will have snappier graphics out of the gate.
The notebook could benefit from an added USB 3.0 port for so many existing devices while still offering flexibility in the increasingly popular USB-C port. I also miss the SD card reader. Can there be a balance struck with ports, or lack thereof?
As for the OLED-lit Touch Bar that offers virtual buttons that react to the specific program you’re in, the technology continues to be unique in its class. I’d like to see exponential growth of adoption by third-party developers for it to be a real hit. But for the apps that currently utilize this, it’s fantastic.
With the last MacBook Pro, I had some issues with the shallow-but-tactile butterfly keyboard sticking. Apple has made some improvements to address reported problems with switch keys.
Other standard updates include increased speed and longer battery life. A larger Force Touch trackpad that reacts to the amount of pressure given to surface different actions remains.
MacBook receives a minor—but needed—spec bump
The entry-level MacBook remains one of Apple most popular laptops. It’s small in form and packs a punch as an ultraportable device, though it’s not as powerful as its sibling MacBook Pro. It gets the job done if you’re a parent just looking to surf the web and answer emails.
The entry-level laptop will get a boost in processor gigahertz, albeit minor at 1.2GHz dual-core, but when you’re working with less than 1.5 GHz to start with, every bit counts — even when you simply have a handful of web browser windows open.
In addition, the new solid-state drives are 50 per cent faster than its predecessor — rounding out a machine many students will no doubt adopt come September.
The new MacBook and MacBook Pro machines are available now.
A pro version of the iMac—aptly named iMac Pro—was announced Monday, but will not be available for sale until December. The updated classic line is available today.