Switching default Safari Search Engine on iOS

DuckDuckGo has been one of the default Safari search engines since iOS 8. I tried keeping an eye out on its progress as an alternative search engine to Google Search because of their Policy advocating on protecting user privacy. It wasn’t until late 2018 when a tweet from Walt Mossberg triggered me to revisit and review the progress. I switched my iPhone default search engine from Google to DuckDuckGo and initially thought I wouldn’t stick with it.

I thought Google will always be better at delivering the most relevant and correct results. I was wrong. I found DuckDuckGo equally useful to the point I switched to it on all of my iOS devices as the default search engine in Safari. It’s been a year since I made the switch and DuckDuckGo never faltered, to the point, throughout the year, I never thought about going back to using Google Search. Such is the way the mind works when you see no faults in whatever defaults you use as your go-to tool.

Upgrading to the AirPods Pro

Left: AirPods Pro. Right: AirPods 2.0

I heavily rely on the comforts of music. I am not often without a pair of headphones on my person wherever I am and was happily using the Apple EarPods for quite a long time. Despite their sound quality inferiority, when compared to other garden variety headphones supplied with new phones, the EarPods did an excellent job for what they are. It was time, however, for me to explore the world of wireless headphones, and being in the Apple ecosystem, where better to start than with the AirPods.

I bought my first pair of AirPods in March this year when Apple released the second-gen AirPods, and they’ve delighted me in all the ways I hoped they would; from convenience, to comfort, and improved sound quality over the EarPods. I was instantaneously a convert and a big fan of them, which led me to learn more about the true wireless earbuds evolution and started looking forward to what’s next with AirPods.

The iPhone 11 Pro Smart Battery Case

The original Mophie Juice Pack and the Juice Pack Air were the last battery cases I owned and used on the iPhone. They did a pretty great job, and I appreciated being able to keep my iPhone juiced up in situations where I am away from a charging outlet on my photo walks.

Talking of photo walks, considering I have plans to restart the hobby, I already planned on getting a battery bank, but it now makes sense to look into Apples Smart Battery Case for the iPhone 11 Pro instead. The dedicated camera button on the case to quickly launch the camera whether the iPhone screen is locked or unlocked is a bonus and the deciding factor in getting the Smart Battery Case instead of a battery bank. It will no doubt prove to be incredibly useful.

Even though I continue to experience and enjoy the vastly improved battery life on my iPhone 11 Pro Max, having a back-up in case a short photo walk turns into a lengthy all-day affair makes sense. I plan not only resurrecting my photography hobby but also journey into the world of videography as well, given how good the iPhone 11 Pro shoots video now. For that, I will take all the extra juice I can get.

WWDC app renamed Apple Developer app

Starting today, the WWDC app is now the Apple Developer app and delivers in-depth information from Apple experts all year round. Stay up to date with the latest developer news, informative videos, WWDC content, and more.

I subscribed via RSS to the Apple developer news feed where I keep up to date with news and other relevant information about iOS development. I appreciate, however, the promise of more content from the developer news feed with year-round in-depth information sharing from “Apple experts via the newly rebranded Apple Developer app.

What used to be – for me, and I’m sure for many – a yearly install of the WWDC app for the week-long WWDC event looks set to now claim a permanent home on my iOS devices. Being able to receive timely push notification updates whenever new content is published is a big plus. I dig the new icon, too.

Source.

Upgrading to the iPhone 11 Pro Max

 iPhone 11 Pro Max

iPhone 11 Pro Max

Leading to the September 10 Apple Keynote Event announcing the next generation of iPhones, I had little intention of upgrading for the simple fact that I purchased the 512GB iPhone XS Max six months earlier. I planned on using the XS Max and wait for the 2020 iPhone. However, I had a reservation that, based on enhancements, i.e. the camera, battery life, I will make considerations on whether to upgrade.

Apple News+ Launches in the UK

Apple News+ presents the best and most relevant publications to meet any range of interests from renowned British publications such as The Times and The Sunday Times, Cosmopolitan UK, Elle UK, Esquire UK, FourFourTwo, Empire, Hello!, Cyclist and Grazia, as well as several US newspapers, magazines and digital outlets including The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Businessweek, National Geographic, Rolling Stone, Vox and more.

Lauren Kern, editor-in-chief of Apple News:

Apple News+ offers hundreds of the world’s most popular publications, all discoverable through personalised and curated recommendations. The quality of the journalism, the beautiful photography, the stunning live covers and custom-designed articles in this collection are second to none. We think readers in the UK will be delighted with the offering, and we are proud to support the work of our newest publisher partners.

Source: Apple Newsroom

The iPhone 11 Pro Camera

Camera improvements on the iPhone have always been a focal point, and this year is no different. To date, the camera enhancements on the iPhone 11 Pro is the best I’ve seen on an iPhone. I’ve always been a fan of the iPhone camera and the plethora of photo taking and editing apps. Photography apps dominate my App Store library by a considerable margin.

When Instagram exclusively launched on iOS in 2010, as a photo-sharing platform, which helped fuel the rise of iPhone photography, commonly known as iPhoneography, I was intensely active with photo walks.

Although my photo walk activities and sharing snaps online waned over the years, I continued to use the iPhone camera to snap unmissable photo opportunities actively. The new camera enhancements on the iPhone 11 Pro have whetted my appetite to start photo walks again. With that in my mind, I went out on a short photo walk to see how well the new ultra-wide camera lens handles and captures vast areas. I was not disappointed. I, later on, went out for another walk to capture the night scene with the new Night Mode, I was in awe.

In a strongly contested world of mobile photography, the iPhone camera has once again positioned itself to be the undisputed champion of mobile photography.

Enjoy.

Night Mode

Telephoto, Wide, Ultra Wide.

Apple Music Beta Comes to the Web

Apple Music is continuing its expansion to reach a broader audience in its pursuit of Spotify with the launch of Apple Music Beta on web browsers

The Verge reports:

The beta site will be missing some features, including the flagship Beats 1 live broadcast, some of Apple’s original music video content, and smart playlists. But Apple says it’ll continue to build out the website over time. Additionally, you’ll eventually be able to sign up for Apple Music directly from the web, although that won’t be available in this version of the beta.

Apple Music Beta on Mobile Safari

Apple Music subscribers can now access and stream the entire Apple Music catalogue including their personalised libraries from their preferred web browsers on mobile and desktop, including iOS 13 desktop-class Safari on the iPad.

Apple to Expand Authorised Repair Service Network

Apple today announced a new repair program, offering customers additional options for the most common out-of-warranty iPhone repairs. Apple will provide more independent repair businesses — large or small — with the same genuine parts, tools, training, repair manuals and diagnostics as its Apple Authorised Service Providers (AASPs). The program is launching in the US with plans to expand to other countries.

Upcoming Changes to Siri Privacy Protection

We know that customers have been concerned by recent reports of people listening to audio Siri recordings as part of our Siri quality evaluation process — which we call grading. We heard their concerns, immediately suspended human grading of Siri requests and began a thorough review of our practices and policies. We’ve decided to make some changes to Siri as a result.

Following the suspension of using human contractors to listen to Siri audio snippets for its Siri grading program to improve Siri’s effectiveness in providing accurate responses to queries, Apple have now temporarily terminated the program and offered its apologies for failing to live up to their high ideals and upholding the level of privacy its users are accustom to.

However, the practice will resume in-house when upcoming software updates are released, and a few evaluation process changes have been made:

First, by default, we will no longer retain audio recordings of Siri interactions. We will continue to use computer-generated transcripts to help Siri improve.

Second, users will be able to opt in to help Siri improve by learning from the audio samples of their requests. We hope that many people will choose to help Siri get better, knowing that Apple respects their data and has strong privacy controls in place. Those who choose to participate will be able to opt out at any time.

Third, when customers opt in, only Apple employees will be allowed to listen to audio samples of the Siri interactions. Our team will work to delete any recording which is determined to be an inadvertent trigger of Siri.

I’m glad to see Apple continue to take ownership of its responsibilities in addressing the situation, offering its apologies, and putting forth changes that align with their strong privacy stance and the respect it has for its users. I will be sure to opt-in to help with improving Siri.

Source: Apple Newsroom.