iPhone Web Sites

In the news

iPhone J.D. - 18 hours 11 min ago

As noted by Dan Moren of Six Colors, Apple announced this week that it is having an event March 27 in Chicago.  The event will take place at a school, and Apple is calling it a Field Trip, so I imagine that Apple will be showing off some new technology that can be used in education.  But that doesn't mean that it might not also be useful for lawyers.  For example, my Apple Pencil is one of the most useful Apple products in my law practice, and as Serenity Caldwell of iMore notes, one rumor is that Apple could debut an Apple Pencil 2 at the event.  Other folks are predicting a new iPad will be announced, although that one seems a little more far-fetched to me.  At this point we can only speculate what will be announced, but if you were planning to buy an Apple product in the next 10 days, you might consider waiting until March 27 just in case Apple updates the product that you were thinking about buying.  And now, the news of note from the past week:

  • My favorite app for listening to podcasts is Overcast because it has so many great features.  This week the app added a new feature called Smart Resume, so that when you pause the podcast and then subsequently resume, the podcast backs up a few seconds and finds dead space between words and starts there.  Chicago attorney John Voorhees of MacStories describes the new feature.  It's so clever that you instantly wonder why podcast apps haven't always done this.
  • Massachusetts attorney Bob Amborgi reports that with Kentucky adding the requirement, there are now 30 states which have an ethical rule imposing a duty of technological competence on attorneys.
  • Oklahoma City attorney Jeff Taylor of the Droid Lawyer website explains how you can manage the information that Google has about you using the MyAccount feature.
  • Earlier this week, I discussed the recent ABA TECHSHOW conference, and one of the things that I mentioned was that the conference iPhone app was quite good.  New York attorney Nicole Black had the same thought, and write about how a good app can help a conference in this article for Above the Law.
  • When you exercise with your Apple Watch, the watch keeps track of your heart rate during the workout.  But what if you want to keep track of your heart rate when you are not working out?  Chance Miller of 9to5Mac describes the HeartMonitor app for Apple Watch which allows you to start a non-exercise session in which the watch will track your heart rate.
  • Many cities now have a bike sharing option that you can pay for.  Romain Dillet of TechCrunch notes that Apple Maps now has the ability to show you the nearest bike-sharing stations in many cities, including 24 U.S. cities and many other around the world.  In New Orleans where I live, we have a relatively new bike sharing service called Blue Bikes and I see people using the service all the time, but Apple Maps doesn't yet work with that service.
  • If you ever thought that you could redact a PDF document using the iOS built-in Markup feature, Benjamin Mayo of 9to5Mac explains why this is NOT an appropriate way to redact confidential information.
  • There is something funny about buying an accessory for an accessory, but that doesn't mean that it isn't useful.  Serenity Caldwell of iMore discusses some of the best accessories for the Apple Pencil.
  • There are lots of ways that you can manage multiple iPhones and other Apple products within a family.  This week, Apple unveiled a new Families page on its website to show you everything that you can do.
  • If you use iAnnotate by Branchfire to manage and annotate your PDF files, a post on the Branchfire blog describes the version 4.5 update which adds the ability to merge PDFs and other features.
  • If you want to add CarPlay to a car which doesn't have it, Zac Hall of 9to5Mac recommends the best aftermarket CarPlay receivers.
  • And finally, this week Apple unveiled a fun commercial called Unlock which shows off the power of using Face ID to unlock an iPhone X.  I like this one:

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

DRI Appellate Advocacy Seminar

iPhone J.D. - Wed, 03/14/2018 - 01:05

I usually try to avoid attending conferences two weeks in a row, but appellate law is a significant part of my law practice, and there is a big appellate conference going on this week.  Thus, after attending ABA TECHSHOW last week, this week I'm attending the DRI Appellate Advocacy Seminar in Las Vegas. 

I know from the emails I receive that lots of appellate lawyers read iPhone J.D.  If you are attending the seminar this week, please look for me and say hello.  (This is what I look like.)  I'd especially love to learn about how you are using an iPad in your appellate practice, either during the briefing stage or for oral argument.  Or if you have advice on whether I should bet on black or red, that could be helpful too.

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

Reflections on ABA TECHSHOW 2018

iPhone J.D. - Sun, 03/11/2018 - 21:31

Last week, I attended ABA TECHSHOW 2018.  For decades, this event held in Chicago every Spring has been the biggest and best event for learning more about legal technology — in other words, for about as long as legal technology has even been a thing.  Every TECHSHOW is different, and there were some big differences this year, most notably a new venue at the Chicago Hyatt Regency.  Debbie Foster and Tom Mighell were the co-chairs of TECHSHOW this year, and they and the rest of the planning board deserve lots of praise for making this transition work so well.  Pretty much every aspect of the venue was better this year.  The layout of the Expo Hall was particularly improved, with everything together in one huge space.  And it was nice having the conference rooms much closer to the Expo Hall so you could more easily go back-and-forth.

The iPhone app associated with the conference was also great this year.  It contained the full schedule and made it easy to create your own agenda of the events and sessions you want to attend.  You could see all program materials.  You could get information on speakers and attendees.  And there was a nice integrated social component with pictures and information, a fun way to see what people were doing without having to do a search on Twitter.  I wish that the app had been updated to accommodate the larger iPhone X screen, but otherwise, it was a great companion for the conference and made printed materials unnecessary.


My big complaint about the conference this year was the lack of mobile content in the sessions.  ABA TECHSHOW has a ton of sessions, with multiple tracks occurring simultaneously.  Even a cursory look at the Expo Floor would confirm what you already know — mobile technology is one of the hottest areas of legal technology, as it has been for many years.  And yet there has not been a mobile track at TECHSHOW since 2015.  This makes no sense to me.  There could have easily been a track devoted to just the use of the iPad in the practice of law, or there could have been an even broader track focused on iPads, iPhones, wearable devices, etc.

I raised this issue with co-chair Tom Mighell.  It's not like Tom doesn't get the importance of mobile technology; back in 2011, he authored a book on how lawyers can use iPads, he used to publish a website called iPad 4 Lawyers, and he and I have co-presented at TECHSHOW in the past on mobile technology topics.  Tom understands mobile technology.  Tom's response to me was that mobile technology could just be incorporated as a sub-topic of other sessions.  I agree that is good too, and I saw some of that myself.  For example, in a session focused on using Macs, Florida attorney Katie Floyd, California attorney David Sparks, and New Jersey attorney Victor Medina shared some great tips on using an iPhone and iPad in a law practice:

But there was only a single session which even mentioned mobile technology in its title, a (great) session by technology consultant Brett Burney and California attorney David Sparks called All in the Family:  Seamless Workflows From Mac to iOS:

There are so many more mobile-specific technology topics that could have been explored because so many things work differently (and often better) on an iPad and iPhone than a computer.  Moreover, I know that this is an area that lots of lawyers want to know more about.  I lost count of all of the attorneys who mentioned to me at the conference that the lack of sessions devoted to mobile technology was a curious omission this year.  Indeed, that is also the reason that it makes sense to have a Mac track at TECHSHOW (which was abandoned last year but brought back this year) — many attorneys use Macs, and things are different on a Mac.  I hope that the planners of TECHSHOW 2019 decide to "think different" on this topic, and either restore a full track focused on mobile technology, or have many more session topics throughout the conference with a specific iPad and/or iPhone focus.

The Expo Floor was particularly good this year, with lots of vendors showing off lots of great technology, including iPhone and iPad hardware and software, from the largest companies like Thomson Reuters to small startups.  I enjoyed learning about lots of products that could be useful for my own law firm, and I had a chance to learn about future directions for products that I already use.  Here is a short, two minute video that New Orleans attorney Ernie Svenson created which gives you a sense of all of the activity on the Expo Floor:

Adam Camras, Laurence Colletti and others from the Legal Talk Network were recording podcasts from the Expo Floor, which was fun to see.  Here is a picture from one session being recorded with the TECHSHOW co-Chairs Debbie Foster and Tom Mighell, along with St. Louis attorney Dennis Kennedy and Steve Best of Affinity Consulting:

Lit Software is probably the best publisher of iPad software for attorneys, and they had lots to share at TECHSHOW this year.  Not only did they preview some new features on apps like TrialPad and TranscriptPad, they also pre-announced an iPad app that lawyers will be able to use to collect all of the key date-based information in a case and create a timeline.  I really look forward to trying that one out when it is released later this year.  And I know that they have other useful apps in the lab for a future release.  Here is a picture of Ian O'Flaherty (founder of Lit Software), Tara Cheever (product manager) and Kyle Kvech (lead applications developer) at the booth.  You can tell that I took this picture first thing in the morning because most of the day this booth was packed:

I also enjoyed talking to John Kuntz, co-founder of Bellefield.  That company created iTimeKeep, an app that you can use to enter your time using an iPhone (or iPad) and which integrates with the time entry system that your firm is already using.  (My review.)  I cannot think of how many times I have communicated with a client on my iPhone, or some some other billable work away from my office.  In the past, I would sometimes forget to record that time, but with iTimeKeep on my iPad I can take just a few seconds and record it immediately.

It is always fun to walk around TECHSHOW and bump into people who you "know" from the Internet.  For example, I ran into lots of attorneys who have emailed me iPhone and iPad-related topics of interest over the years, and it was great to talk to them in person.  I also bumped into perhaps the most prolific person on Twitter when it comes to sharing links to legal technology articles (not to mention a frequent author herself) —  New York attorney Nicole Black, who now works for Mycase (@nikiblack on Twitter):

I can't attend TECHSHOW every year, and I missed last year.  But whenever I can attend, I'm always glad that I did.

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

In the news

iPhone J.D. - Sat, 03/10/2018 - 00:27

I just returned from ABA TECHSHOW in Chicago, and it was great to catch up with lots of iPhone J.D. readers while I was there.  I was disappointed by the content of the conference this year because there were so few sessions devoted to mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad, but that was offset somewhat by lots of folks sharing tips on using their iOS devices, and the Expo floor featured lots of companies showing off iOS apps.  I'll have more to say on that next week.  And now, the news of note from the past week:

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

Review: Prizmo Go -- get text from a piece of paper into your iPhone

iPhone J.D. - Mon, 03/05/2018 - 23:40

In my increasingly paperless law practice, most of the documents that I need are already in PDF or some other electronic format, so when I need to get some text out of a document, I can typically just select that text using my computer or iOS device.  But sometimes I find myself working with a paper document — perhaps a single sheet of paper, perhaps a magazine, book, etc. — and I need to get some text out of that document so that I can work with it.  If it is short enough I can just retype it manually, but that is a pain for longer text.  Prizmo Go, an app which was released in 2017, has as its single focus the task of getting text from a paper document into your iPhone (or iPad) so that you can work with it.  Use the app to take a picture of the document, the app does an OCR to read the text, and then the app gives you the text.  The app itself is free, but there are some in-app purchases, discussed below.  The developer gave me a one-month Premium Plan account at no cost (which normally costs $0.99) so that I could see all of the features.  The app works well and I can recommend it.


The developer of Prizmo Go is Creaceed, a company in Belgium that has been making iOS apps since 2008, the same year that the App Store opened.  Back in 2009, I reviewed Prizmo, an app which scans documents and creates PDFs, and that app is still around today.  So these folks have a ton of experience using the iPhone to digitize documents.

Taking a picture

To start using the app, the first step is to use the app to take a picture of some text in a document.  As you are pointing your iPhone at the document, the app will underline all words that it can recognize, so you can see if you need to adjust your iPhone to get it in a position where all of the text that you want is visible and understood.  This is a neat augmented reality-type feature that makes a lot of sense.

Recognizing the words and turning them into text

Once you press the button, Prizmo Go snaps the picture and shows you the picture at the top and the text at the bottom.

If you see errors, you can fix them.  For example, in the above scan, I can see that the word "to" isn't correctly recognized in the second line.  Just tap in the text field to fix the text, and you can even make the text portion bigger so that you can see more of the text at once.

If you don't need all of the words in the photo, use your finger to swipe across the image and select the text that you need, which is highlighted in blue.  (Non-selected text is just underlined.)

The app can recognize words in one of two ways.  You can use the free built-in OCR functions to have the app itself try to read the words.  Or, in the app settings, you can turn on Cloud OCR which sends the picture to a server and returns, almost instantly, even more accurate results.  You need to pay for the Cloud OCR service.  One way to do it is to purchase a premium plan for one month for $0.99 or one year for $7.99.  Or you can pay $0.99 for 100 uses or $4.99 for 1000 uses.  There is also a free 10-pack so that you can try it out.

Use the text

I suspect that most attorneys and other folks using this app will want to do something with the text once it is captured, such as copy-and-paste it into another app, an email, a note, etc.  To do so in Prizmo Go, you need to pay.  If you purchase that $1/month or $8/year premium pack, the ability to export is included.  Otherwise, you need to pay a $4.99 to turn on the export feature.

For most folks, this means that you have a choice in how you pay for this app.  You can spend $4.99 to enable export and perhaps also pay $0.99 for 100 uses of the Cloud OCR feature — or just skip the more accurate Cloud OCR feature and use the still pretty darn accurate built-in OCR.  Or you can pay $1/month or $8/year to have unlimited use of this app.  In other words, you get to choose whether you prefer the pay up front model or the subscription model for using this app.

Once the export feature is turned on, you can do something with the text, such as copy it to the clipboard, send it to an email message, etc.

Other languages

For many attorneys, the operations discussed above are all that you will need.  But if you find yourself needing to work with other languages, the app can handle that too.  Some languages are handled with the built-in OCR, others require the Cloud OCR package.  The Cloud OCR service can recognize languages automatically.

The app can recognize 22 languages and can translate to 59 languages.  In the following example, I scanned a legal decision from a French court, then I had Prizmo translate the text into English.

Other features

There are other features available in this app, although I don't think that they are features that I will need.  For example, the app can read text out loud, which could be useful if your vision is impaired.  (The app also has lots of voice over accessibility features, useful for folks with limited or no vision.)  The app can also detect certain types of data — such as email addresses, phone numbers, URLs, etc. — and you can act upon that data, such as calling a phone number.


Prizmo Go does its job very well.  If you ever need to take some words on paper and then get them into your iPhone or iPad (and from there, you might send them to your computer), Prizmo Go has you covered.  You can often do something similar by using an app which creates PDF documents and then does an OCR, but the Prizmo Go app is more efficient because it focuses on the task of getting you the text that you need as quickly as possible.

The in-app purchases are a little confusing at first, but I really like that the company gives you the choice.  You can either pay $5 to use the app to export text, plus pay for OCR whenever you need it in $1 or $5 chunks (or don't pay for Cloud OCR at all).  Or you can opt for the subscription model of $1/month or $8/year, which gives you access to every feature in the app.

Click here to get Prizmo Go (free): 

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

In the news

iPhone J.D. - Fri, 03/02/2018 - 01:38

I'm attending ABA TECHSHOW in Chicago next week.  If you will be there too, please say hello if you bump into me.  I love to meet iPhone J.D. readers and find out how you are using an iPhone or iPad in your law practice.  One place to see me is the Mac Power Users meetup on Wednesday night, which you should sign up for (it's free) if you will be in Chicago that night.  And if you see me on Thursday when I will be attending sessions and checking out the latest in legal technology on the EXPO floor, I'll have some iPhone J.D. logo Mobile Cloth screen cleaners with me.  They work great to keep your iPhone and iPad (and even your eyeglasses) clean, so please don't be bashful in asking me for one!  And now, the news of note from the past week:

  • Texas attorney Zach Herbert shows how you can use PDF Expert on a Mac to apply Bates numbers to a document and then sync that to an iPad.  The only iPad app I know of which can apply Bates numbers is DocReviewPad.  Let me know if you are aware of any others.
  • The Lit Software blog explains how Kansas City attorney Bert Braud uses TrialPad and TranscriptPad.
  • Joe Rossignol of MacRumors discusses some of the latest improvements to the Maps app, including improvements in South Carolina and lane guidance in many countries.  I've found lane guidance to be very helpful when I'm driving in a new area and using CarPlay.
  • I don't ski — I live in New Orleans so I barely even know what snow is — but if you do, you can now use your Apple Watch Series 3 for skiing and snowboarding activity.  Here is an article on the Apple newsroom website with additional details.  This is the first time that I have seen Apple add a new exercise/activity feature that requires the Series 3.
  • Tory Foulk of iMore reports that you can save $5 on movie tickets this weekend if you pay using Apple Pay through Fandango.
  • Nick Guy of Wirecutter recommends some of his favorite third-party Apple Watch bands.
  • Jim McDannald of Wirecutter recommends iPhone armbands and waistbands for running.
  • To celebrate Australia voting to legalize same-sex marriage, Apple unveiled some "shot on an iPhone" videos called First Dance.  Luke Dormehl of Cult of Mac collects them all on this page.
  • And finally, Apple also unveiled some new, short video ads to encourage folks to switch to an iPhone.  Peter Cao of 9to5Mac has collected all of them.  Here is the one called Safe:

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

Useful iOS settings -- inspired by Mac Power Users #419

iPhone J.D. - Wed, 02/28/2018 - 23:05

Earlier this week, I had to drive several hours to argue a summary judgment motion in a courthouse across the state.  Fortunately, I was able to listen to some good podcasts and music along the way.  I learned a lot listening to Episode 419 of the Mac Power Users podcast, hosted by Florida attorney Katie Floyd and California attorney David Sparks.  In that episode — "iOS Settings" — they discuss many useful things that you can configure in the Settings app on an iPhone or iPad.  The podcast mentioned one or two things I didn't know about, but it was just as useful to hear them discuss some settings that I did know about in the back of my brain but hadn't thought about much lately.  If you have about an hour and a half (or even less time if you speed up your podcasts using the Overcast app like I do) to learn about iPhone settings, this episode is a great one to listen to.

The episode inspired me to think about some of the parts of the Settings app that I access regularly.  Here is my list.  Hopefully you one or more of these will be new to you and useful to learn about.  But even if you already know about all of these, perhaps thinking about them again will remind you about how useful these settings can be.

1.    Pull down to search

Sometimes you know that there is something in the Settings app but you don't know where it is.  When you first open the app, use your finger to pull down on the screen, and you will reveal a search box at the top.  You can type something like "Restrictions" and the app will jump you write to the Restrictions page, even if you don't remember that it is tucked away under General.

2.    Family Sharing

My kids have hand-me-down iPhones from me and my wife, without active SIM cards.  I have Family Sharing configured so that when they go to purchase an app, I get an alert on my iPhone, and I need to approve the purchase.  Configure this by tapping your name at the top of the Settings app (just above Airplane Mode) -> Family Sharing -> [tap name of child] -> Ask to Buy.

3.    Airplane Mode

When I am having trouble getting a cellular connection, or when Wi-Fi isn't working right, the first thing I do is turn on Airplane Mode, wait about 10 seconds, and then turn it off again.  I'm amazed at how often that solves the problem for me.  And oh yes, Airplane Mode is also useful when I'm on an airplane.

4.    Forget This Network

If you find that your device is automatically connecting to a Wi-Fi network that you don't want to be using, go to Settings -> Wi-Fi -> [network name] - Forget This Network to stop your device from connecting automatically.  For example, if I connect to the Wi-Fi at a hotel, and then I return to the hotel months later, sometimes my iPhone tries to reconnect automatically but runs into problems.  If I forget the network, and then connect again from scratch, I can usually get things working again.

5.    Double-Tap your AirPods

If you own a pair of Apple's AirPods, you can change what happens when you double-tap on the left and right AirPod.  Go to Settings -> Bluetooth, then tap the info icon (an "i" in a circle) next to the entry for AirPods at a time when your AirPods are in your ears.  This bring you to a screen where you can control what happens when you double-tap.  I have mine set to play/pause wen I double-tap my right ear and to bring up Siri when i double-tap my left ear.  Other options are skipping to the next or previous tracks.

6.    Control Center

When you swipe up on most iPhones, or when you swipe down from the top right on an iPhone X, you bring up the Control Center.  This is a quick and easy way to access all sorts of controls.  You can turn on or off the items that show up in the Control Center by going to Settings -> Control Center -> Customize Controls.  Katie Floyd mentioned in the podcast that she likes to put an Apple TV Remote in her Control Center so that she can quickly control her Apple TV using her iPhone even if she cannot find the tiny and easy-to-misplace remote that comes with the Apple TV. 

7.    CarPlay icons

You can control which icons appear on which screen of your CarPlay screen by going to Settings -> General -> CarPlay -> [your car name].  I put all of the apps I use on my main screen, and move the ones that I never use (such as the built-in app for my Honda Accord) to the second screen.  And the apps that I use the most, like Now Playing and Overcast, are on the left side of the screen so that they are easier to reach from the driver's seat.

8.    Magnifying Glass

Whether I am reading the fine print in a contract or trying to read small type on a package, it is often useful to have a magnifying glass.  I have my iPhone set up so that if I triple-click the side button on my iPhone X (for earlier models, triple-click on the home button), the magnifier comes right up.  I do this in Settings -> General -> Accessibility -> Magnifier.  You can also put a Magnifier icon in the Control Center using the tip I mentioned above if you would rather access it that way.

9.    Where have I been?

Trying to remember the name of that restaurant you went to last week in Boston?  Or trying to figure out how long you were at a location such as a courthouse, to help you to do your time sheets?  Your iPhone keeps a log of many of the places that you visit, and how long you were there.  Sometimes it is useful for you to go back and see where you have been.  But whether you use this feature or not, you should know that it is there in case someone else gets access to your iPhone and you don't want them to know where you have been.

Go to Settings -> Privacy -> Location Services -> System Services [all the way at the bottom] -> Significant Locations.  I see that on my iPhone X, my phone checks my Face ID before going to the next screen, which is a nice privacy check.  On that next screen, when Significant Locations is turned on, you will see a list of many (although probably not all) of the cities that you have been to recently.  Tap a city to see specific locations with the city.  For example, right now I am seeing that I was at Lafayette Parish Courthouse earlier this week for that summary judgment hearing from 8:49 am to 10:38 am.  That time span includes the time that I was in my car across the street from the courthouse waiting for the building to open, and also includes the time I spent in my car sending an email to my client after the hearing to report that we won.  Thus, the time associated with a specific establishment may include some time when you were nearby, but these time estimates can still be useful whenever you need to recreate your day.


Your iPhone uses this log of significant locations for providing location-related information to some of the built-in apps on the iPhone.  Apple tells you in the Settings app that "Significant Locations are encrypted and cannot be read by Apple."  Nevertheless, if you find this feature to be more creepy than useful, feel free to turn off Significant Locations. 

10.    Mail previews

In my Mail app when I am looking at a list of messages, I prefer to just see the sender and the subject line, so that I can see even more messages on the screen at one time.  I know that others prefer to also see a preview of the beginning of the message.  You can adjust what you see in Settings -> Mail -> Preview [under Message List] and then select from None to 5 Lines.  Mine is set to None.

There are lots of other things that you can control in Settings -> Mail such as whether to organize your emails by thread, swipe options, etc.  Spend a little time poking around there to configure your Mail app in a way that makes the most sense for you.

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

In the news

iPhone J.D. - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 02:16

If you are wearing an Apple Watch and get into an accident, you can hold down the large button on the side of the watch for a few seconds and your watch will call 911 emergency services.  Apple explains how this feature works on its website.  You can do the same thing with an iPhone by holding the buttons on both sides, as Apple explains on this page.  Kylie Gilbert of Shape magazine reports that a woman in Pennsylvania used the feature after getting into a car accident, and she credits her Apple Watch for the saving her life and her son's life.  That's amazing.  Less amazing is that an Apple iPhone repair facility in Sacramento has been making around 20 accidental 911 calls a day, and — as you would expect — Apple is trying to fix that.  Hopefully you will never need to use this feature on your own Apple Watch or iPhone, but I encourage you to read the Apple pages on how these features work so that if the need arises, you can get emergency help.  And now, the recent news of note:

  • California attorney David Sparks compares and contrasts Overcast and the Apple Podcasts app, the two best ways to listen to podcasts on an iPhone.  As he notes, the Siri integration is the killer advantage of Apple's app, but I still prefer using Overcast.
  • Sparks also discusses Apple's new Close Your Rings page on its website, which encourages folks to get all of the activity circles on an Apple Watch every day.  Like David, I try to get all of my circles every day.  I was bummed to break a 183-day green circle streak during a recent vacation, but my red and blue circle streaks are still going strong, and keep me motivated to stay much more active than I would be otherwise.
  • In the latest episode of the Apps in Law Podcast, Brett Burney interviews California appellate attorney Robin Meadow to discuss Microsoft OneNote and Evernote.
  • The Lit Software blog explains how California attorney Tom Vidal uses TrialPad, TranscriptPad and DocReviewPad.
  • David Lumb of Engadget reports that Apple updated iOS and other platforms this week to fix a bug which could cause crashes if you received a single Indian-language character via a text message or some other apps. 
  • I've read lots of interviews of Apple CEO Tim Cook over the years, but this week Fast Company published an interview of Cook by Ben Lovejoy, and it is one of the best I've seen in a long time, with lots of detail and insight on how Cook sees Apple.
  • The iPad lacks native support for getting files on or off of a USB thumb drive, but Charlie Sorrel of Cult of Mac describes a workaround using Apple's Files app and a Sandisk iXpand Drive.
  • Michelle Martin of Reuters reports that director Steven Soderbergh used an iPhone to create a movie called Unsane, which will premiere at the Berlin film festival.
  • And finally, here is a fun video on YouTube showing what Siri might have looked like if it was introduced in the 1980s.  There are so many things I love about this video.  It was produced to look like the tech shows in the 1980s, and the content reminds me of using so many computers I used in the 1980s — an IBM-PC, a Mac, my Commodore 64, and even my Sinclair ZX81 which I equipped with a speech synthesizer.  Very clever.

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

Review: iHome iSP100 Outdoor Smart Plug -- use your iPhone to control your outdoor lights

iPhone J.D. - Sun, 02/18/2018 - 14:06

Back in 2012, we threw a big party at my house and put some lights on the fence in my backyard — the small lights on a string that you would put on a Christmas tree.  Over five years later, the lights are still out there because they are fun to have, not only when we are in the backyard and it is nighttime, but also when we are in our living room looking out the windows into the backyard.  The only problem is that the outdoor outlet at my house is under a porch and behind some plants, so it is a little bit of a pain to access.  In early December of 2017, I thought that it might be useful to use a HomeKit-compatible device so that the lights could stay plugged in all the time and I could control them with my iPhone, Apple Watch, etc.

There are two major manufacturers offering such devices.  iDevices sells an Outdoor Switch, which has two outlets (controlled simultaneously, not independently) for $80 (currently $53 on Amazon), and iHome sells the iSP100 Outdoor Smart Plug with one outlet for $40 (currently $37.80 on Amazon).  There are also some lesser-known manufacturers selling similar devices, but I decided to go with a more trusted brand.  I decided to buy the iHome product because at the time it was half the price of the iDevices product, and I only needed one outlet.  I've now been using the product for over two months.  I normally don't wait that long to write a product review, but because this is something that stays outside and is exposed to the elements, I wanted to give it a longer stretch of time to make sure that it continued to work.

The iHome iSP100 Outdoor Smart Plug works very well.  It has worked for me almost 100% of the time, and it gives new life to my outdoor lights because it is now so easy to turn the lights on or off, vastly increasing the number of times that I use and enjoy those lights.


Here is a picture of the iHome iSP100 from the iHome website, to show you what it looks like in pristine condition:

Here is what mine looks like after being outside for a few months, exposed to dirt and the elements:

You download the iHome Control app from the App Store to set up the device.  It is quick and easy because you just plug in the outlet and then scan (or type) the code printed on the bottom of the unit.  Here is a tip:  plug in the device inside of your house, such as into an outlet next to a kitchen counter, when you first set it up.  That way it is easy to scan the code on the bottom of the unit.  Then unplug it and move it outside and when you plug it in it will already be configured.

There is a mounting tab at the top which you can opt to use if you want to screw the device onto a wall.  In my backyard, I just let the device hang from my outlet:

One end of the device has the plug that connects to an outlet.  iHome says that you should use a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet, which is hopefully what you already have on any outdoor outlet at your house.  That is one of those outlets with buttons in the middle which can sense if there is an imbalance in the amount of current flowing from hot to neutral and can trip the circuit when necessary to prevent a fire.

The other end of the iSP100 has a female plug where you plug in your lights, heater, fan, or other small appliance up to 1800 Watts.  For my use, I plugged in an extension cord which was connected to a few strings of lights.  You tell the iHome app what kind of device is plugged in so that it uses the correct icon and so that HomeKit knows that it is, and the list of devices included in the iHome Control app gives you some idea of what you can use this device to control:  light, fan, heather, air conditioner, dehumidifier, audio, video, router, coffee maker, kettle, toaster, microwave, iron, hair dryer, curling iron, Christmas tree, decoration, power strip, video game.  I cannot imagine why you would want to use the iSP100 with some of those devices — such as a toaster or microwave — but maybe I'm just not being creative enough.

The side of the device has two lights and one button:

The WiFi status indicator flashes green when searching for a WiFi network, is solid green when connected, and flashes red when it is disconnected.  The power indicator light is illuminated when electricity is flowing through (e.g. your lights are on) and is off when electricity is not flowing.

The button below the two lights can be pressed to manually turn your lights (or whatever else is plugged in) on or off.

My experiences

Like any other HomeKit device, you need to name your device and your room.  I called this one my Fence light and made it part of the room Back Yard.  Once you use the iHome Control app to initially set up the device, you don't need to use that app again because the built-in Home app on the iPhone (or iPad, Apple Watch, HomePod, etc.) can control the lights.  Having said that, the iHome Control app does give you a way to see a historical log of the power state of the device (when you turned it on and off) and also gives you a way to update the firmware.

Because this device works with HomeKit, I can just tell Siri "turn on my fence light" or "turn off the backyard lights" and within about a second or two, the lights respond.  You can also use HomeKit to make the lights go on or off automatically at a certain time of day, such as come on at sunset and then turn off at 11pm.  (If you are looking for more information on HomeKit, the latest episode 54 of the Canvas podcast has a good overview.)

Note that the iSP100 is strictly an on-and-off switch.  You cannot use this device to dim lights.

Using Siri to control lights inside of the house is nice; you save yourself from getting up off of the couch.  But using Siri to control lights in the backyard is VERY nice, saving yourself from putting on shoes, going outside, braving the cold or hot weather, and reaching into an awkward spot .  You can also use the Home app on an iPhone or Apple Watch to control the iSP100, and I especially like being able to tap a button on my Apple Watch to almost instantly make outdoor lights turn on or off.  It is almost magical.

After using the iHome iSP100 for a few months, my experience has been that it works incredibly well and seems to hold up to the elements.  We don't have snow in New Orleans, but we did have a few days of below-freezing temperatures last month.  We had many heavy rainstorms.  We had hot and cold weather, and as you can see from the above pictures, some dirt ended up on my iSP100.  And through all of that, the iSP100 continued to work fine.

I had one time in December that the device stopped responding.  Upon inspection, I found that the circuit had been flipped on my outlet itself; I had to press that little button between the two outlets to reset the outlet.  I don't know if the iHome device had anything to do with that or if it was just my outlet, and it hasn't happened for two months since then.  I also had one time in January when the device stopped responding, and it was some sort of HomeKit issue.  I unplugged the iSP100 from the outlet and waited a few seconds and plugged it back in, and it worked again.  Unfortunately, HomeKit has hiccups with my other devices too, so I don't blame the iSP100 for that.  Other than those two instances, I've turned the lights on and off hundreds of times without any problems at all.


If you want a way to control lights or another appliance that is outside, and if you only need one outlet, the iHome iSP100 works very well.  And although I haven't tried this myself, I suspect that if you spend a few bucks on an outdoor 1-to-3 outlet or power strip, you could use the iSP100 to control multiple outlets simultaneously, which is the one feature additional offered by the more expensive iDevices Outdoor Switch.  I'm happy that I purchased the iHome iSP100 and I can recommend it.  

Click here to get the iHome iSP100 from Amazon ($37.80)

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

In the news

iPhone J.D. - Fri, 02/09/2018 - 00:55

The big iOS-related news of the week is that Apple starts selling the HomePod today.  A number of reviewers have had the chance to try out the product for the last week.  The consensus seems to be that the speaker sounds amazing, much better than any of the other smart speakers on the market such as the Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Sonos.  If you use Apple products like the iPhone and want an external speaker to fill your living room, kitchen, etc. with fantastic sound, the $350 HomePod is perfect for you.  The HomePod has Siri built-in, so you can tell it what to do, and reviewers noted that, thanks to some pretty amazing technology, the HomePod does a great job of hearing your voice even when loud music is playing.  The main critique of the HomePod is that while Siri works well for controlling music and some other items like your HomeKit-enabled devices such as lights, you cannot ask Siri as many things as you can ask a Google Home or an Amazon Echo.  Attorney John Voorhees of MacStories has one of the better roundups of the HomePod reviews, so read that article for more information if you are trying to decide whether or not to buy one.  And if you want to dig deep, Rene Ritchie of iMore has one of the most in-depth reviews.  And now, the other news of note from the past week:

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

Happy Mardi Gras!

iPhone J.D. - Tue, 02/06/2018 - 23:03

I suspect that most readers of this website know that I live in New Orleans, a city that I love.  Today is Mardi Gras day in New Orleans, the culmination of many weeks of parades, parties, and other fun events.  If you are not down here enjoying the festivities this year, hopefully you have done so in the past or will have a chance to do so in the future.  Many folks outside of New Orleans associate Mardi Gras with drinking and debauchery, and I won't deny that you can find that.  But Mardi Gras is also a great time for friends and families, including children, to come together, watch parades, and have a good time.  That's the Mardi Gras that I love. 

Speaking of New Orleans, I should note that this is a a great time to come visit because all throughout 2018, the city is celebrating its tricentennial.  The city was founded in the Spring of 1718. 

New Orleans started as a French colony (La Nouvelle-Orleans), was then under Spanish rule from 1763 to 1802, was then briefly under French rule again in 1803, and was then sold by Napoleon to the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.  The city survived a huge fire in 1788 (which is why most of the oldest buildings in the city reflect Spanish architecture, not French architecture), a British invasion during the War of 1812, pirates, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and Hurricane Katrina.

New Orleans is famous for its fascinating architecture, amazing music (including the birthplace of Jazz), delicious restaurants, and incredible cocktails.  My favorite way to celebrate a Sunday is to enjoy all four of those at once — Jazz Brunch at Commander's Palace in the historic Garden District.  The National World War II Museum is frequently ranked as one of the best museums in the country.  Jazz Fest in late April / early May is one of my favorite events of the year, with great music and even better food — or vice versa, just depending upon your point of view.  Kids and adults love the amazing Aquarium, Insectarium and Zoo.  On a sunny day, we have refreshing snowballs at places like Hansen's Sno-Bliz, where you can spend only $1.50 to savor something worthy of a James Beard Foundation award.  On a breezy day, riding a streetcar down St. Charles Avenue with the window open is a great way to relax and see some beautiful old houses.  And because this year is the tricentennial, there are special events planned all year long.

New Orleans is unlike any other city, and the New York Times recently named New Orleans the #1 place to visit in 2018.  If you missed coming here for Mardi Gras this year, I encourage you to make plans to visit the Big Easy at some point before 2018 comes to a close. 

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

The latest on GoodReader version 5

iPhone J.D. - Mon, 02/05/2018 - 22:41

One of the most important apps for any attorney using an iPad is an app to organize, view and annotate PDF files.  There are quite a few excellent choices out there, but for many years my app of choice has been GoodReader.  The last major update was GoodReader 4, released in 2014.  A lot has changed in the iPad and iOS world since then, so I've been eagerly looking forward to the next major update, GoodReader 5.  For example, version 4 of the app doesn't include advanced support for the Apple Pencil like some other apps, nor does the app support multitasking features such as split screen.

The developer of the app, Yuri Selukoff, teased the version 5 release in April 2017, when he said the following on Facebook:  "It’s a huge update with a completely new design and new features, some you may not even know you'll want until you've seen them!  So fear not, and get ready (or for those of you who’ve been ready, stay ready) – GoodReader 5.0 is on the way!"  Throughout 2017 and into early 2018, I saw similar comments from the developer in response to user reviews on the App Store.  For example, the developer said:  "We understand why the app appears to be abandoned.  There have been no updates for quite a while!  However, we assure you, nothing could be further from the truth.  We're working around the clock on our biggest update ever, GoodReader 5.  It's going to be huge, with features you didn't even know you wanted until you've seen them.  We appreciate your patience!"

In response to another app review noting the lack of support for the features of the iPhone X, the developer responded:

We want to assure you that GoodReader is definitely not abandoned.  We guarantee, it is indeed being developed further.  We're still working hard on GoodReader 5 which will be a free, automatic update from GoodReader 4, but we admit it's taking much longer to complete than we originally estimated. ... We do regret that this update is running late, but we assure you it will be a free update from GoodReader 4 to GoodReader 5.  Anyone considering purchasing GoodReader for the first time, should know that they can buy GoodReader 4 now and receive GoodReader 5 as a free update — but it's also not a bad idea to wait until GoodReader 5 is released before deciding whether to buy it or not — that makes perfect sense to me!  We hope this clears up any concerns you may have about GoodReader's continued development into the future.

And in yet another response from the developer, he says:  "Our main goal is to make sure it's done right, and that it lives up to the high standards our users have come to expect from GoodReader." 

A few days ago, I saw that there was an update to GoodReader.  At first, I thought that this was the major update we have been waiting for, but then I saw that the update was still part of version 4 — version 4.13.0 to be exact.  The developer explained that this was just a minor bug fix and that "we're finishing our huge GoodReader 5 upgrade ... [s]tay tuned for the free major upgrade that is to follow soon!"

If the developer is "finishing" version 5, hopefully that means that we will see it in weeks or months, and won't have to wait until 2019.

Speaking of the recent update to version 4.13.0, I actually had a problem with that update, and the developer helped me to fix it.  While the release notes say that the recent update was apparently supposed to solve some sync issues, that update actually caused me to experience sync problems with Dropbox.  After the update, the app crashed for me every time I pressed the button to sync to Dropbox.  I reported the bug through the GoodReader website and within just a few hours, the developer gave me a fix.  (In case you experience the problem I did:  click the gear icon next to Dropbox in the Connect pane of GoodReader, then log out of Dropbox, then log back in again.)  I understand that hiccups happen from time to time.  I appreciate the developer's quick response to me with a solution, and hopefully this is a good sign of the attention that the developer is giving to GoodReader as he finishes up the work on version 5.

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

Apple 2018 fiscal first quarter -- the iPhone and iPad angle

iPhone J.D. - Sun, 02/04/2018 - 23:59

Last week, Apple released the results for its 2018 fiscal first quarter (which ran from October 1, 2017 to December 30, 2017, and did not actually include any days from calendar year 2018) and held a call with analysts to discuss the results.  This is typically Apple's best quarter of the year because of holiday sales.  It was actually Apple's best quarter ever in terms of revenue, with revenue of $88.3 billion (compared to $78.4 billion a year ago, which was the previous all-time record).  If you want to get all of the nitty gritty details, you can download the audio from the announcement conference call from iTunes, or you can read a rough transcript of the call prepared by Seeking Alpha.  Jason Snell of Six Colors also prepared a transcript.  Apple's official press release is here

It is interesting that Apple has, once again, had a record quarter in revenue.  But as always, I'm not particularly interested in the financial aspects of this call.  Instead, I'm interested in the statements of Apple executives that pertain to the use of the iPhone and iPad. Here are the items that stood out to me:


  • Apple sold 77.3 million iPhones in the last fiscal quarter.  That is slightly less than it sold in the 2016 calendar year holiday quarter one year earlier, when Apple sold 78.3 million iPhones.  However, note that Apple's fiscal quarters are usually 14 weeks long, but 2018 Q1 was only 13 weeks long.  If there had been 14 weeks in this fiscal quarter like there was in 2017 Q1, I'm sure that Apple would have sold a record number of iPhones.
  • While sales were slightly down, revenue was up.  A year ago, iPhone revenue was $54.4 million; this time it was $61.6 million.  Why did Apple make more money selling fewer iPhones?  The explanation is that in the last fiscal quarter, Apple started selling the iPhone X, the most impressive — and most expensive — iPhone ever sold.  Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the iPhone was a "key driver"  in Apple seeing the highest-ever revenue last quarter. 
  • Apple said during the call that the iPhone X was the top selling iPhone every week that it was on sale.  That makes it sound like there was more interested in the new iPhone X than the new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, but keep in mind that the two iPhone 8 models went on sale September 15, 2017 and the iPhone X didn't go on sale until November 3, 2017.  Thus, a lot of folks interested in buying an iPhone 8 had six weeks to get one when it was the only brand new iPhone, and this may be part of the reason that the iPhone X was the most in-demand iPhone during the weeks that it was on sale.
  • Tim Cook said that with the iPhone X, "[o]ur team has put the technology of tomorrow in our customers’ hands today, [and] set a standard for the next decade of smartphones." 
  • By my count, that means that Apple has sold just over 1.25 billion iPhones as of September 30, 2017.  Apple sold its 1 billionth iPhone in July 2016, and it is amazing that it didn't take much more than a year to get to 1.25 billion.


  • Apple sold 13.2 million iPads in the last fiscal quarter. 
  • Who bought those iPads?  Apple says that just over half were sold to folks upgrading from another iPad, and just under half were sold to folks who were first-time tablet buyers or who were switching to an iPad from a different tablet.
  • Four years ago, in the 2014 fiscal first quarter, Apple sold almost twice as many iPads (26 million).  But the 13.2 million number this quarter is good news for Apple in terms of iPad sales.  For three and a half years, fewer iPads were sold every quarter.  Apple started to reverse the trend in its 2017 fiscal third quarter, and sales went up again this quarter, marking three quarter in a row that Apple has seen a year-over-year increase in iPad sales.  The easiest way to see this is to look at a chart that shows the average of four quarters of iPad sales over time. In the following chart, the blue line shows the actual iPad sales each quarter (in millions), and you can see the peaks every year in Apple's fiscal first quarter — the holiday quarter, when folks buy lots of iPads as presents. The green bars show the average of the current quarter and the prior three quarters, which gives you a better sense of iPad sales over time. As this chart shows, the iPad was introduced in 2010 and saw a sharp rise in sales until the end of calendar year 2013 (the beginning of Apple's fiscal year 2014), followed by a decrease in iPad sales over time, and then finally a slight increase in the past three quarters.


  • Apple said that the App Store set a new all-time revenue record.  During the week of Christmas, folks spent $890 million at the App Store.  On New Year's day, App Store revenue was $300 million.
Categories: iPhone Web Sites

In the news

iPhone J.D. - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 00:57

Down here in New Orleans, we are preparing for the first of two big weekends of Mardi Gras, leading up to Mardi Gras day itself.  I'm looking forward to enjoying the parades with my kids, friends, and family, and I'm sure that I'll be using my iPhone X to take lots of photos and videos.  Carey Rose of Digital Photograph Review takes photography very seriously, and wrote this review of the iPhone X as a still and video camera.  It won't surprise you that there is a lot to like.  And now, the news of note from the past week:

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

Microsoft Word Mobile View mode -- a better way to proofread briefs on your iPad

iPhone J.D. - Tue, 01/30/2018 - 23:30

I do most of my brief-writing using Microsoft Word on my PC at work, or if I am working at night or on the weekends, using Word on my Mac at home.  One proofreading tip that I picked up a long time ago is to print out a brief and read it in hard copy instead of on the computer screen when editing my work.  The idea is that when you use a different medium to read something, the different perspective helps you to catch mistakes that you might miss if you had proofread using the same screen that you used when you wrote the document in the first place.  This tip has certainly helped me in my own writing, and there is some research indicating that it helps others too.  See, e.g., Patty Wharton-Michael, Print vs. Computer Screen: Effects of Medium on Proofreading Accuracy, 63 Journalism & Mass Communication Educator 28 (2008).  For many years now, instead of wasting paper, I have created a PDF version on my computer and then proofread the document on my iPad using an app such as GoodReader.  Especially with the larger screen of the 12.9" iPad Pro, this works really well.

When Microsoft Word for iPhone came out in 2014, one of the features I raved about was Reflow view.  This view mode ignores line breaks and increases the text size so that you can read a document without pinching-and-zooming and scrolling back and forth.  This feature let you focus on just the text, ignoring the formatting.  The latest update to Microsoft Word for iPad adds something similar called Mobile View.  This features lets you focus on just the text, reducing visual distractions and giving you a new perspective on your writing that is perfect for proofreading. 

To activate Mobile View, tap the new icon at the top right of the screen, right between the Search icon (magnifying glass) and the Share icon (person with plus sign).  Or, you can tap the View tab and then tap Mobile View.  Once you do so, you will switch from a Print Layout view — which shows you what the document will look like when you print it — to the Mobile View.  In the Mobile View, you won't see page breaks.  You also won't see footnotes.  And the text will be bigger, although you can pinch-to-zoom to change that if you want.

In the following two pictures, the first one shows the normal Print Layout view, and the second one is the same portion of the document using Mobile View.

I have always found the page breaks very distracting when reading a document in Microsoft Word on the iPad, and just that one difference alone makes Mobile View a much better way to proofread a document.

If you want to modify how things look, turn on the Learning Tools in the View tab.  This adds a new tab called Learning Tools.  Using the Column Width option, you can adjust how much white space you see to the side of your text.  (So far, the Narrow view is my favorite.)  You can also tap the Page Color tab to switch between none (black text on a white background), Sepia or Inverse (white text on black background).  I find the Inverse option to be too jarring, but I like the Sepia background; it makes everything look just a little different and is pleasing to the eyes, helping me to get that different perspective on my writing that I find so helpful when proofreading.

You can also ask Word to read your document out loud, which is sometimes a nice way to proofread.  Just close your eyes and listen.  To start, place your cursor where you want the reading to begin, and then tap Read Aloud.  You can adjust the reading speed, and there are also simple controls for jumping back or ahead one paragraph.

One nice advantage of Mobile View versus printing out and reading on paper is that if you see something to change, you can change it right there in the document. 

I've found Mobile View most useful when proofreading a document, but the next time that I draft a Word document on my iPad (which I do most often when I am out of the office), I'm going to write in Mobile View mode.  This way, I can just focus on the words that I am writing, and I won't be distracted by page breaks and some other document formatting.

Microsoft has done a nice job of adding improvements to the iPad and iPhone versions of Microsoft Word over time.  Some new features are not really useful for the way that I use Word — for example, the rainbow pen function added a few months ago is fun, but highly unlikely to make it into any briefs that I write.  And I keep waiting for Word to add more sophisticated Styles capabilities to the Word for iPad app, which is probably the #1 reason that I still prefer a computer to my iPad when writing briefs.  But I appreciate the attention that Microsoft gives to its iOS app, and this new Mobile View feature is one that I'm going to be using a lot.

Click here to get Microsoft Word (free, but Office 365 subscription required): 

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

In the news

iPhone J.D. - Fri, 01/26/2018 - 01:41

Apple starts taking pre-orders for its new HomePod today — Apple's $349 smart speaker with built-in Siri — with units to arrive starting February 9, 2018.  Although the HomePod itself is ready, Apple's AirPlay 2 software won't come out until "later this year" according to Apple (whenever that is).  With AirPlay 2, you will be able to add a second HomePod for stereo sound, and you will also be able to put multiple HomePods in different rooms so that the music stays in sync everywhere.  I'm intrigued by the HomePod and I look forward to reading the reviews, but I'm not in a rush to get one.  Virtually all of the time that I am listening to music or podcasts, I don't want to bother others with my audio, so AirPods make much more sense for me than a HomePod.  Having said that, it does look like a neat device.  And now, the news of note from the past week:

  • This week saw the release of iOS 11.2.5, but Apple is already preparing for the next update, and posted this preview of iOS 11.3.  New features include additional information and settings on battery life and performance, the ability to download your health records into the Health app (if your hospital supports it), augmented reality improvements, and new animoji in the Messages app.
  • These are not full reviews, but a few folks got early looks at the HomePod this week such as Lance Ulanoff and Madeline Buxton of Refinery29.
  • The TripIt app added an interesting new feature for TripIt Pro users this week:  security line wait times, to help you figure out how long it will take you to get to your gate.  For now, the feature is only available at airports in Austin, Denver, Orlando and Phoenix.  For more information, see this post by Angela Feher on the TripIt Blog.
  • Brad Ellis offers an interesting perspective on the design decisions that went into the shape of the iPhone X.
  • This week, Apple announced a partnership with the Malala Fund to promote secondary education for girls.  Josh McConnell of iMore offers this report.
  • And finally, if you are going to promote the feature of taking selfie pictures on an iPhone, why not go all the way and use Muhammad Ali, as Apple did in this cute video:

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

Hey Siri, read me the news

iPhone J.D. - Wed, 01/24/2018 - 23:13

This week, Apple released iOS 11.2.5.  Although a minor update for the iPhone and iPad, it actually has some arguably major elements to it.  For example, it fixes a bug in which a hacker could make your iPhone crash and restart just by sending you a text message with a link — even if you don't look at the message.  Yikes.  But today, I want to focus on a feature in iOS 11.2.5 that I really like.  You can now ask your iPhone to read you the news, and it will immediately start playing a short audio broadcast from a news source.  So if you are getting ready for work, or in the car driving home, and you want to spend a few minutes catching up on the top news, now you can quickly and easily do so.

To start, just say "Hey Siri, read me the news" or "play the news" or "give me the news" or something like that.  Siri will start playing the latest episode of the NPR News Now podcast, which is updated every hour (so it is always fresh news) and only lasts 3-5 minutes (so you quickly get the highlights).  I tried it out a few different times yesterday.  It worked great, and the news updates were interesting and timely.

You can also say "Hey Siri, switch to the Washington Post" to instead listen to the Daily 202 podcast from the Washington Post.  It looks like that podcast is updated every weekday morning, so it may be a little stale to listen to as you are driving home but would be very timely with your morning coffee.

Or you can ask Siri to switch to CNN, which gives you five things to know and, like the Daily 202, is updated in the morning.  Or you can ask Siri to switch to Fox News, which gives you the latest edition of the Fox News Radio Newscast, which like the NPR News Now podcast is updated every hour and lasts five minutes or less.  In other countries, you get news from other local sources such as the BBC.

There are also some specialty news topics.  If you ask for sports news, Siri will by default play the latest episode of the ESPN Sports Update podcast, but you can instead switch to NBC sports news.  Similarly, you can ask for music news (Apple Music Best of the Week podcast). 

The feature also works with Siri in CarPlay.  So as I was in my car leaving a deposition yesterday, I was able to press the Siri button on my steering wheel, ask for the news, and then I heard the highlights of what had gone on in the world while I was in a conference room all day.

This feature will also work with Apple's HomePod speaker, which will be available starting February 9, and which you can pre-order starting tomorrow.

I presume that the news sources will increase over time.  But even with just the current news sources (especially the excellent NPR podcast), I'm enjoying this new feature.

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

iOS update error -- press home button to attempt data recovery

iPhone J.D. - Sun, 01/21/2018 - 23:22

Last night I decided to backup my daughter's iPad to iTunes on my Mac, something I do from time to time.  (I don't use iCloud Backup on my own devices because I'd rather have the backup of the confidential data on my devices live on my home computer rather than Apple's servers, and I've taken the same approach for other devices in my house.)  The computer asked me if I wanted to update the iPad to the latest version of iOS, and I said yes without thinking much about it.  Everything seemed to go fine, but then at the very end I saw an error message that I had never seen before telling me to press the iPad's home button to attempt data recovery.  What the heck?  Nervous that I had somehow lost data on my daughter's iPad, I pressed the button as instructed and crossed my fingers.

I then waited a while while the iPad told me that it was attempting data recovery:

During the approximately 10 minutes that the iPad spent on this screen, I did some quick research on the Internet, and found lots of other folks saying that this happened to them and that everything was fine when the process finished.  Sure enough, after the iPad finished its data recovery, everything was back to normal, with the latest version of iOS installed.

I'm glad that my initial panic that I had lost data on the iPad turned out to be unjustified.  I don't know why the update failed initially, but apparently Apple has a Plan B that swings into action when the normal update process fails.  If you ever see this error message on your iPhone or iPad, hopefully you will recall this post before you get too nervous, and then after you press the home button and let the data recovery process begin, all will be fine for you as well.

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

In the news

iPhone J.D. - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 00:59

If you had to deal with the cold weather this week, I hope that it went OK for you.  It caused a lot of chaos down here in New Orleans.  Precipitation and below-freezing temperatures are so rare down here that we don't have good ways of dealing with ice on roads, plus many of the pipes in our homes are exposed and can freeze.  As a result, schools and offices were closed much of this week, the Interstate was closed, there is a boil water advisory (meaning that we are not supposed to drink tap water in New Orleans), etc.  Ugh.  Fortunately, it was pretty easy for me to work when I was out of the office just using my iPad and iPhone.  And now, the news of note from the past week:

  • South Carolina attorney Justin Kahn has a daughter who is in high school, Rebecca Kahn, who somehow managed to score an interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook, as detailed in this article.
  • In the latest episode of the Mac Power Users podcast, Florida attorney Kate Floyd and California attorney David Sparks discuss apps and workflows for being more productive with an iPad.
  • Virginia attorney Sharon Nelson discusses the new policies announced by Customs and Border Protection on searching your iPhone when you return to the U.S.  I discussed the impact this has on attorneys in this post.
  • According to a tweet by Erik Schwiebert, a Principal Software Engineer at Microsoft, this is now the first time in 20 years that Microsoft Office is using the same codebase for all platforms (Windows, Mac, iOS and Android).  The last time that happened, Microsoft imposed the PC interface on the Mac, which I didn't like.  But this time, I really like the way that Microsoft Word looks and works, and hopefully the shared codebase will result in even more integration.  My next request:  robust support for Styles in the iOS app!
  • Apple announced this week that it will take advantage of a repatriation provision in the new tax law to bring back the vast majority of the $252 billion in cash that Apple has been keeping outside of the U.S.  It will pay about $38 billion in taxes, and then some of the remaining money will be devoted to creating 20,000 new jobs, a new campus in the U.S., and (as reported by Chaim Gartenberg of The Verge), $2,500 bonuses to every Apple employee in the form of restricted stock units.
  • Thomas Fox-Brewster of Forbes wrote an interesting article on the relationship between Apple and law enforcement regarding accessing iPhones.
  • Back in 2016, I reviewed an app called Parkmobile which you can use to pay for street parking using an iPhone.  It works well, and there have been times when I have been in a deposition which ran long and I was able to add more time to my parking meter just using an iPhone app, which is very cool.  Darrel Etherinton of TechCrunch reported this week that BMW acquired the Parkmobile app.  I hope that they don't ruin the app; I'm a little concerned considering this report by Zac Estrada of The Verge that BMW is planning to make you pay an annual fee to BMW if you want to use Apple CarPlay in its cars, something that no other car maker has done.
  • Speaking of CarPlay, Joe Rossignol of MacRumors reported this week that Toyota is finally adding CarPlay support to its cars, starting with some 2019 models.  The same is true for Lexus, the luxury car division of Toyota.  Toyota was one of the last major CarPlay holdouts.  I bought a Honda Accord last year, and one of the reasons that I didn't even consider a Toyota Camry was the lack of CarPlay support.  I guess Toyota realized that there are a lot of folks like me.
  • Horace Dediu of Asymco reports that Apple's App Store will overtake global box office sales in 2018.
  • And finally, I love using my iPad to take handwritten notes.  In this new commercial, Apple shows that I can do that even when in a tree:

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

In the news

iPhone J.D. - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 00:08

I reported earlier this week on new rules relating to confidential and privileged data on an iPhone when you pass through customs to re-enter the U.S.  Maureen Blando of Mobile Helix discusses one alternative to dealing with Customs:  keep your data on a cloud-based service (like Mobile Helix) so that you can just remove the app before you enter customs — at which point the privileged documents won't even be there anymore — and then re-install the app after you pass through.  1Password offers something similar called Travel Mode whereby all but a few passwords you select are removed from the device, and then you restore them after you enter customs.  If you use Microsoft Exchange with the Mail app on your iPhone, you could just turn off your email in the Settings app (Accounts & Passwords -> [select account] -> turn off Mail) until you get to a location where you feel secure again, and then turn it back on to re-download your messages.  And now, the news of note from the past week:

  • Samantha Cole of Motherboard reports on a murder trial in Germany in which some of the evidence of the defendant disposing of a body in the river consists of data from the defendant's iPhone.  After hiring a forensics company to bypass the passcode on his iPhone 6s, the investigators found data in the Health app showing that the defendant climbed stairs during the period of time that the prosecution alleges that the defendant climbed up the river embankment.
  • According to Katherine Faulders of ABC News, this week White House Chief of Staff John Kelly instituted a new ban on personal cellphones in the White House.  The ban extends to smartwatches, like the Apple Watch.  I suspect that there will still be one particular iPhone in the White House not subject to the ban.
  • Chance Miller of 9to5Mac reports on a recent interview by Rebecca Jarvis of ABC Radio with Angela Ahrendts, Apple VP of Retail.  The video discusses how Ahrendts got the job even though she doesn't consider herself a "techie."
  • Paula Parisi of Variety reports that Jimmy Iovine, one of the Apple executives behind Apple Music, has denied rumors that he is planning to leave Apple this year, and says that he looks forward to further developments in online streaming.
  • Apple released iOS 11.2.2 this week.  As Juli Clover of MacRumors explains, this update addresses the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities that have been in the news as of late.  I always recommend that you update your iPhone (and iPad) when there is a new iOS version to make sure that you have the latest security patches, although it does make sense to wait 24 hours before applying the update just in case Apple discovers some problem with the update, which happens occasionally.
  • If you want an alternative to using your iPhone, Apple Watch or Siri to turn off your HomeKit lights, you can soon buy a big red button — or one of another color.  Zac Hall of 9to5Mac reports that Fibaro's The Button will soon be HomeKit compatible.
  • Jesse Hollington of iLounge explains how you can handoff a call from your iPhone to your Apple Watch.  I didn't realize you could do that.
  • Bradley Chambers of The Sweet Setup reviews Workouts++ and says that it is the best stand-along workout app on the Apple Watch.
  • Thuy Ong of The Verge reports that the Qi wireless standard used by Apple in the iPhone X and the iPhone 8 is becoming even more of a standard now that Powermat is giving up on the rival PMA standard.
  • Chaim Gartenberg of The Verge discusses some of Belkin's upcoming Qi chargers for the iPhone.
  • Glenn Fleishman of Macworld discusses how the iPhone uses a captive page on the Apple website to determine whether a Wi-Fi hotspot has a sign-in page.
  • And finally, the always funny xkcd comic predicts what future iPhone security settings might look like (original link):


Categories: iPhone Web Sites


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