iPhone Web Sites

TeenSafe leaks Apple ID usernames and passwords

iPhone J.D. - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 22:46

What is your teenager doing on his or her iPhone?  Many parents looking for answers to this question have turned to services that promise the ability to monitor an iPhone.  For example, TeenSafe offers a service called TeenSafe Monitor.  For $15 a month, parents can access a web-based dashboard to review their child's text messages (both SMS and iMessage, and even if the messages were deleted from the iPhone), messages sent through WhatsApp, incoming and outgoing calls, a full list of contacts on the iPhone, the history of websites visited on the iPhone, and the current and historical locations where the iPhone has been.  How does it get access to all of this information?  The iPhone has to be configured to backup to iCloud, two-factor authentication has to be turned off, and you have to give TeenSafe your teenager's Apple ID username and password. 

Those requirements may make you raise your eyebrows and bit, and for good reason.  If you are going to give any third party a username and password, you have to trust them.  Not only do you have to trust that they are going to use the information responsibly, but you also need to trust that they are going to safeguard this secret information.

Unfortunately, Zack Whittacker of ZDNet reported this weekend that TeenSafe wasn't very careful in storing this information.  TeenSafe stored a file which had all of those usernames and passwords and other information in a place on the Internet where anyone could access it.  Even worse, the data was not encrypted and was instead stored in a plain text format.  The reporter contacted some of the email addresses in the file that anyone could download, and confirmed that, sure enough, the leaked passwords were accurate.  Ugh.  As you would imagine, TeenSafe is now taking efforts to secure the data again and to inform its customers of the leak.

Did any bad actors get access to the usernames and passwords before the story was published on ZDNet?  Perhaps we will never know.

The ZDNet story came just one day after an article by Jennifer Valentino-DeVries of the New York Times.  She reported that while these services say that they are for parents to monitor their teens, they are heavily used by people to monitor their spouses, especially when infidelity is suspected.  The report goes on to explain that some stalkers are using them to monitor their victims. 

I'm reminded of an incident about four years ago, when a hacker was able to trick celebrities through a phishing attack into providing their Apple ID passwords.  Once he had the username and password, the hacker was able to access their iCloud backups, find nude photographs, and then leak them to the Internet. 

We live in a digital world in which many aspects of our privacy are often protected by little more than a username and password.  Every time you give a password to someone else — your spouse, a co-worker, or a third party — you need to be sure that you can trust that they are going to protect your privacy just as much as you yourself would.

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

In the news

iPhone J.D. - Fri, 05/18/2018 - 01:18

Only two weeks ago, I started In the news by stating:  "It seems like every time we get one security disaster behind us, the next one comes along."  Sure enough, two weeks after the issue with Twitter passwords, we now have the next one.  If you use PGP to encrypt your emails, the EFF reported this week that new vulnerabilities have been discovered, such that the EFF recommends not even using PGP anymore.  Sigh.  And now, the news of note from the past week:

  • If you use GoodNotes for your iPad handwritten notes, the developer recently posted a helpful article with videos showing you how to make the most of drop and drag with the GoodNotes app.
  • Rene Ritchie of iMore writes about how Apple has worked with a number of other companies to develop carbon-free aluminum smelting so that the aluminum used in future Apple devices can be made with less negative environmental impact.
  • Good news:  Ben Lovejoy of 9to5Mac reports that the Logitech Crayon for iPad is now on sale, giving you most of the capabilities of an Apple Pencil for half of the price.  Bad news:  it only works with the 6th generation iPad, and you have to be a school to buy one.
  • If you don't subscribe to Apple Music but you want to watch Apple's Carpool Karaoke show, Killian Bell of Cult of Mac reports that all 19 episodes of the first season are now available for free for anyone with an Apple TV.
  • The iMac is 20 years old.  To celebrate, you can give your iPhone a case that looks like the early iMacs.  Leif Johnson of Macworld shows off the cases, made by Spigen.
  • And finally, if instead of celebrating the iMac you want your iPhone to celebrate how much money you have to spend, the Russian luxury item company Caviar is selling an iPhone X in a custom case which includes a solar panel.  Caviar calls it the iPhone X Tesla.  The 64 GB version sells for 284,000 ₽ (about $4,500) and the 256 GB version sells for 299,000 ₽ (about $4,800).  Here is a video which shows off the device (with the voiceover in Russian):

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

[Sponsor] iTimeKeep -- time entry built for attorneys

iPhone J.D. - Sat, 05/12/2018 - 23:22

Thank you to Bellefield Systems, the creator of iTimeKeep, for sponsoring iPhone J.D. again this month. 

You may talk to a client over the weekend, spend time working on a brief at night after you put the kids to bed, or handle something in a courthouse because you happen to be there on another matter.  iTimeKeep makes time entry so simple and accessible that you can easily enter your time no matter when or where you are working, and thus you don't forget to record your time entries.

Forgetting to record a few 0.1 or 0.2 time entries may not seem like a big deal, but over weeks and months it can really add up.  This time that would have otherwise been lost is what Bellefield refers to as invisible time. With the iTimeKeep app on your iPhone — which is likely with you all the time — you can enter your time contemporaneously and before you forget about it.  As soon as you enter time, the app quickly talks to your firm's time management system so that the activity is officially recorded.  By using your iPhone to record your time entries at the time that you do the work, you don't have to worry about losing time that you forgot about as you try to reconstruct your activities at a later time.  It’s not unreasonable to expect that you will record some additional billable time every day by keeping your time contemporaneously with iTimeKeep.  Multiply that by 255 work days a year, and multiply that by your billable rate, and the value of iTimeKeep becomes obvious.

Contemporaneous time entry is good for another reason.  It is much easier to keep track of what you are doing while you are doing it than it is to try to reconstruct your time entries at the end of the day (or on a subsequent day).  We've all been there before — you are doing your time entries at the end of the day, and you find yourself staring blankly as you try to remember what it was that you worked on in the morning.  Eventually it may come to you, but you are wasting your own (non-billable) time as you attempt to remember what you did.  If you instead enter your time as you are doing tasks, you save yourself the agony of reconstructing your day.  And because iTimeKeep makes it so easy to keep track of your time contemporaneously, over time you will find that you do it more and more.

iTimeKeep works with law firms of any size, integrating with several time and billing systems:  Aderant, Elite, Omega, PC Law, TimeMatters, and many, many more which are listed here.

I started using this app in my own law practice last year, and I posted a comprehensive review in August.  I have used this app on more occasions that I can remember to record my time when I am out of the office, time that I might have otherwise forgotten about.  Thus, the app has helped me to get paid for the work that I am actually doing, plus it ensures that my timesheets accurately reflect all of the work that I am doing for my clients.

 

iTimeKeep validates your time against client billing guidelines, so you don't have to worry about forgetting to add a needed issue or task code for a file, or entering time in 0.1 increments when the client requires 0.25 entries.  And you can use built-in timers to keep track of precisely how long you spend working on a task.

What surprised me about iTimeKeep is that it isn't just a tool for avoiding missed time entries.  It is also a fantastic tool to use every day for recording all of your time.  The iTimeKeep interface is so incredibly well-designed and fast to use that I often prefer using iTimeKeep over the interface for my law firm's time entry software.  And fortunately, it doesn't matter which one I use — time that I enter in iTimeKeep shows up on my firm system, and time that I enter in my firm's system shows up in iTimeKeep if I have to go back and edit an entry.

I cannot type on an iPhone as fast as I can type on a computer keyboard.  However, I can often enter time just as quickly using iTimeKeep on my iPhone.  Sometimes I use Siri dictation to speak a time entry, which is fast and easy.  Other times I use the iPhone's keyboard shortcut feature to speed up time entry.  (In the Settings app, go to General -> Keyboard -> Text Replacement.)  For example, if I type "tcw" on my iPhone, it automatically changes that to "Telephone conference with " so I just need to type the name and the "re" information.

But iTimeKeep is not just a product for your iPhone (and iPad and Apple Watch, and even Android).  You can also use iTimeKeep on your computer via a secure website interface.  Whether I am entering time in the office on my PC or at home on my Mac, I frequently use the desktop version of iTimeKeep to type my time entries in the clean and efficient interface.

No attorney enjoys time entry, but it is a necessary part of the practice of law for most of us.  With iTimeKeep, you significantly reduce the friction associated with entering your time, especially when you record it contemporaneous with performing the work for your client.  Thank you to Bellefield for sponsoring iPhone J.D. again this month, and thank you for creating this perfect example of an iPhone app that greatly improves the practice of law for attorneys.

Don't waste anymore time.  Try iTimeKeep today.

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

In the news

iPhone J.D. - Fri, 05/11/2018 - 01:26

If you have an older iPhone with a battery that no longer holds a charge for very long, you can go to an Apple Store and pay only $29 to get the battery replaced.  When Apple first started this program a few months ago, I heard many stories about how hard it was to get an appointment for this service.   Serenity Caldwell of iMore reports that Apple seems to finally have a sufficient stock of the replacement batteries.  If you were waiting for the line to shorten before giving new life to an older iPhone, now seems to be the time to do so.  And now, the news of note from the past week:

  • California attorney David Sparks discusses Apple's efforts to make the iPhone more secure.
  • Debra Cassens Weiss of the ABA Journal reports on a federal Fourth Circuit decision holding that some form of individualized suspicion is necessary before the government can search a cellphone seized at the border.
  • In an article for The Daily Record, New York attorney Nicole Black discusses iPhone use by attorneys.  Note that the title of the article mentions 2018 use, but the data she is discussing comes from the 2017 ABA Tech Survey released last November (my report), which is based on data collected from February to May, 2017.
  • Luke Dormehl reports that Apple now has permission to use drones to improve Apple M4444444aps.
  • Benjamin Clymer of Hodinkee (a website and magazine devoted to expensive watches) interviewed Apple's Jonathan Ive to discuss the creation of the Apple Watch.
  • Matthew Byrd of The App Factor came up with a list of 20 iPhone apps that you might not know about but which are worth checking out.  There are some good ones on this list.
  • Harry Guinness of How-To Geek explains how secure Face ID and Touch ID are on an iPhone.
  • Olloclip has made external lenses for iPhones for years now.  Jim Fisher of PC Magazine reviews the new Olloclip for the iPhone X, and finds that while it can work well, there are tradeoffs.
  • Peter Cao of 9to5Mac reports that starting in July 2018, all new apps and all updates to older apps must include support for the iPhone X's display.
  • And finally, Ed Hardy of Cult of Mac reports that at the recent 97th annual Art Directors Club awards, Apple won Best in Show for an ad that Apple created called Barbers which shows how portrait mode on the iPhone can make anyone look good.  I mentioned this ad almost exactly one year ago when it debuted, not only because I thought it was a great ad, but also because it was filmed right here in New Orleans.  (I also noted that Apple made some digital changes to the neighborhood, including adding a fake law firm.)  Perhaps this will inspire Apple to film even more commercials in the Big Easy.  Here is that award-winning ad again:

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

Tips for using 3D Touch

iPhone J.D. - Thu, 05/10/2018 - 01:48

Unless you are using an older iPhone, I suspect that you are using an iPhone that can support 3D Touch.  This is a gesture similar to tapping, except that you push down a little bit more.  3D Touch was introduced with the iPhone 6s in September 2015, and also works on the iPhone 7, iPhone 8, and the iPhone X (and the Plus variants of those phones).  But even though 3D Touch has been around for many years, I talk to many folks who don't even know that the feature is there.  Frankly, I forget about it sometimes too.  But there are tons of really useful things that you can do with 3D Touch.  Here are a few of my favorites.

Quickly jot something down

I often need to quickly jot something down, like a phone number, a name, a case number, etc.  The built-in Notes app is a great place to put that information.  Of course, you can open the app and then tap on the button to create a new note, but it is faster to use 3D Touch.  Just push down on the app icon on your home screen and tap New Note.

Perhaps even more useful is the option just below that:  New Checklist.  If you need to jot down a number of items, such as a grocery list, the New Checklist option after you 3D Touch will open the Notes app, create a new note, and then enter the checklist mode (normally accessed by pressing the icon of the check mark inside of a circle).  Using 3D Touch and tapping New Checklist is far, far faster that doing all of those steps one at a time.

 Compose a new email, without distractions

If you 3D Touch on the built-in Mail app icon, there is a New Message option.  Thus, using 3D Touch is a fast way to compose a new email.  But the real reason that I like this shortcut is that whenever I open the Mail app to compose a new email, the first thing I see when the Mail app opens is a list of emails, which probably includes some new ones that I haven't seen yet.  Thus, I find myself distracted, and sometimes sidetracked, by those messages.  By the time I start composing my email, I may have even forgotten what I was going to say.  When I use the 3D Touch shortcut to compose a new email, I don't see my Inbox until my new email is composed and sent. 

3D Touch cursor

When typing an email, or when typing virtually any other text, if you push down on the keyboard, the keys turn blank and the keyboard turns into a trackpad.  You can slide your finger around to move your cursor up a few lines to edit or add to text.  Not only does this save you the trouble of tapping to select a new location for the cursor, I also find that it is far more precise than just tapping on text you previously typed.

While you are moving the cursor around, you can 3D Touch again to select a word, and then drag your finger to select multiple words.

Message a specific person

If you tap on the Messages app icon, you will probably see your most recent text message conversation.  But if you 3D Touch on the Messages app, you will see a list of names of folks who have recently had text message conversations with you.  Assuming that you wanted to send a message to, or review a recent message from, one of those three people, this is a faster way to jump directly to the text message conversation with that person.

Beware of Contacts

This isn't as much of a tip as it is a warning.  If you 3D Touch on the built-in Phone app, you see a list of four favorites.  Tap a name, and you call that person.  That makes sense.  What I don't like is that if you 3D Touch on the Contacts app icon, you see that same list of Phone favorites, and tapping one of those names will also call that person.  That shortcut makes sense to me on the Phone app icon, an app used to call people, but not on the Contacts app icon.  It would make much more sense to me for a 3D Touch on the Contacts app to bring up the Contacts entry for that person so that you can review contact information.  And that might be the behavior that you were expecting as well, which can cause quite a surprise if you were intending to quickly bring up a person's contact information to see some detail about the person and instead you find yourself calling that person's phone.

Mark my location

If you 3D Touch on the Maps app icon, the first choice is to Mark My Location.  Tap this to drop a pin on the map at your current location.  This can be useful if you are parking a car or a bike and then you are going to walk somewhere else and you are worried that you might forget where your car or bike was located.

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi

I frequently have a need to open the Settings app and go to the Wi-Fi settings or the Bluetooth settings.  Both are located near the top of the list after you open the Settings app, but an even faster way to access these settings is to 3D Touch on the Settings icon and then tap Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

Get this app first

Sometimes I want to start using an updated version of an app, so I will open the App Store icon, tap Updates, pull down from the top of the screen to see what updates are available, and then I'll tap the button to update all of my apps.  Normally this works fine, but sometimes I find that I really want my iPhone to start by updating app X, and instead my iPhone is slowly updating apps Y and Z.  As I wait, I cannot even launch the app that most interests me because the app icon is gray.  Ugh.

To solve this, 3D Touch on the app icon on your home screen for the app in question, and then tap Prioritize Download.  This will tell your iPhone to put the other updates to the side and immediately start updating this app.

Speaking of the App Store, you can 3D Touch on the App Store icon to see a few choices, one of which is Search, which brings you directly to the search function of the App Store.

Adjusting 3D Touch

You can adjust how hard you need to press on the display to trigger 3D Touch.  Open the Settings app and go to General -> Accessibility -> 3D Touch to select Light, Medium or Firm.  You can also turn off 3D Touch, if for some reason you need to do that.

And much more

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to 3D Touch.  For example, you can also use it to "peek" at a link or a file before you officially open it.  And many third-party apps offer interesting 3D Touch options, such as the Launch Center Pro app which lets you see miniature icons.  Click here to see a short video by Apple showing off the features of 3D Touch.

If you are looking for something to do while in waiting in line at the grocery store, on a train, etc., take a few minutes to play around with 3D Touch in different places to find other interesting uses.  3D Touch is a useful, but I suspect underused, feature on the iPhone.

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

In the news

iPhone J.D. - Fri, 05/04/2018 - 00:50

It seems like every time we get one security disaster behind us, the next one comes along.  This week it is Twitter, which announced yesterday that apparently all of its passwords were accidentally decrypted and stored in plain text for a period of time.  Twitter hasn't said for long, and we don't know if any hackers accessed it during this time period, but obviously Twitter is telling everyone to change their passwords just in case.  Twitter also has optional two-factor verification, so while you are updating your password, you should turn that on for extra protection if you have not yet enabled it.  But more importantly, even if you don't use Twitter, this serves as yet another warning that you ought to use unique and secure passwords for every website and service — a task that is much more simple if you use a Password Manager.  (I use 1Password and was able to change both my @jeffrichardson and my @iphonejd account passwords very quickly.)  If you don't currently use a password manager, I strongly recommend that you do so.  Better yet, get it for your entire family, like I recently did with 1Password Families.  And now, the news of note from the past week:

  • Twenty years ago, Apple introduced the iMac, and Apple created a commercial called Simplicity Shootout to show how much easier it was to set up an iMac versus a PC.  I remember that commercial very well.  Michael Steeber of 9to5Mac explains how that video was made, and he even tracked down the two people who starred in that video.  The former PC-user now uses a 12.9" iPad Pro.  It's a fun article and worth reading.
  • Jennifer Vazquez of Channel 4 New York reports on a man who saw a notification on his Apple Watch telling him to seek immediate medical attention because something was wrong with his heart rate.  He immediately went to the ER and the doctors found a dangerous ulcer that could have killed him if he had waited.
  • If you want to get an Apple Watch, for yourself or someone else, Lief Johnson of Macworld reports that they are currently $50 off at Macy's.
  • In my experience, games don't work very well on the Apple Watch, but maybe I just haven't tried the right one yet.  Andrew Hayward of Macworld recommends 15 Apple Watch games.
  • If you use Wemo smart home products, you can add the Wemo Bridge to make it work with Apple HomeKit.  That normally costs $40, but as John Levite of iMore reports, you can currently get it on Amazon for only $30.
  • Today is Star Wars Day.  To celebrate, you can now pre-order tickets for Solo: A Star Wars Story at your local theater.  I just bought mine for May 25th.
  • Yesterday, to celebrate French film director Georges Méliès, Google released a Google Doodle video.  Thuy Ong of The Verge has details.  You can watch it on YouTube, but if you have Google Cardboard, I strongly encourage you to watch the VR version of it using the Google Stories app on the iPhone.  It is an incredibly well done VR short cartoon.  You need to watch it multiple times to catch all of the fun details.
  • And finally, here is an interesting picture recently tweeted by developer Steve Troughton-Smith that I don't remember seeing before, although apparently it was also posted back in 2014 on MacRumors.  This is the hardware setup that Apple used to create the initial software for the iPhone before it was released in 2007:

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

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

iPhone J.D. - Tue, 05/01/2018 - 23:15

Yesterday, Apple released the results for its 2018 fiscal second quarter (which ran from December 31, 2017 to March 31, 2018) and held a call with analysts to discuss the results.  Apple's first fiscal quarter is the one with all of the holiday sales, so Q2 is usually not a particular impressive quarter for Apple.  In fact, two years ago, Apple had a particularly rough second quarter.  In 2018, in contrast, Apple had its best Q2 ever, with record Q2 revenue of $61.1 billion,up from $52.9 billion in 2017 Q2 (and $50.6 billion in 2016 Q2). Apple CEO Tim Cook attributed the record quarter to three factors:  iPhone revenue was up 14%, services revenue (things like Apple Music and the App Store) was up 31%, and wearable revenue (things like the Apple Watch and AirPods) was up almost 50%.  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 transcript of the call prepared by Seeking Alpha, or a transcript prepared by Mikah Sargent of iMore.  Apple's official press release is here.  As always, I'm not as interested in the financial details as I am the statements of Apple executives during the call that are of interest to iPhone and iPad users.  Here are the items that stood out to me.

iPhone

  • During the past quarter, Apple sold 52.217 million iPhones. The all-time record for Q2 was in 2015 when Apple sold 61.2 million iPhones, but this is the second most iPhones that Apple has ever sold in a fiscal second quarter (up from just over 50 million a year ago).
  • By my count, Apple has sold almost 1.4 billion iPhones since they first went on sale in 2007.
  • If you combine Apple's over $38 billion in iPhone revenue in Q2 with its over $61 billion in iPhone revenue in 2018 Q1, you get to about $100 billion in iPhone revenue for the first half of 2018, which Cook said was a new record for iPhone revenue in the first half of the year.  I'm sure that a big part of the reason for this was that Apple has been selling the iPhone X, its most expensive iPhone ever, during these past two quarters.  But whatever the reason, I'm glad that Apple has numbers that it can boast about, because that encourages Apple to continue to develop the iPhone, and encourages smart engineers who work at Apple to stay at the company, all of which results in better iPhones for those of us who use them every day.
  • What kinds of iPhones are people buying?  Cook said that in the past, the most expensive iPhone was not the best=selling iPhone.  In other words, the Plus model of the iPhone 7, iPhone 6, etc. sold less than the non-Plus model.  But in this past fiscal quarter, the most expensive iPhone being sold by Apple — the iPhone X — is also the best-selling iPhone.
  • Before today's call, there were rumors that the iPhone X was not selling as well as Apple had hoped.  Cook addressed this by pointing out what I just mentioned — that the iPhone X was the best-selling iPhone.  He also stated:  "I think that it's one of those things where, like a team wins the Super Bowl, maybe you want them to win by a few more points, but it's a Super Bowl winner and that's how we feel about it.  I could not be prouder of the product."
  • John Gruber of Daring Fireball offered this take on iPhone X sales:  "Year over year, iPhone sales were up 3 percent on unit sales, but 14 percent on revenue.  Unit sales are close to flat, but Apple grew revenue by double digits.  There’s no other way to explain it than that iPhone X is a hit."

iPad

  • Apple sold 9.113 million iPads in the past fiscal quarter.  iPad sales were highest for Apple in 2013 to 2015; for example, Apple sold 19.5 million iPads in 2013 Q2.  iPad sales have been reduced in recent years, but Apple did sell a few more iPads in 2018 Q2 than it did in 2017 Q2 (when it sold 8.922 million).
  • By my count, Apple has sold over 403 million iPads since they first went on sale in 2010.
  • To help you to see iPad sales over time, I prepared a chart that shows two things.  The blue line shows the actual iPad sales each quarter (in millions).  The green bars show the average of the current quarter and the prior three quarters.  I think that this chart is useful because while the blue line shows peaks every year in Apple's fiscal first quarter — the holiday quarter, when folks buy lots of iPads as presents — the green bars are more helpful for seeing 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).  From calendar year 2014 through 2017 Q2, iPad sales have decreased over time.  But then iPad sales started to increase again.  The increase wasn't very much each quarter, and thus if you look at the last four green bars in this chart, you can only see a slight increase.  But it does increase.  For four quarters in a row, the four-quarter average of iPad sales has increased every single quarter.  I don't know if we will ever see the record iPad sales that we saw a few years ago, but as long as iPad sales continue to increase, Apple will (hopefully) be encouraged to continue to put resources into iPad development.  And hopefully that will translate into better iPads for us to use.

Other

  • This was Apple's best-ever quarter for services, including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay, iCloud, etc.  Because much of this is subscription revenue, these should continue to be profitable areas for Apple in the future.
  • Cook noted that more transit systems are accepting Apple Pay, which has increased Apple Pay use by commuters.
  • Apple never reveals specific numbers for the Apple Watch, but Cook did say that 2018 Q2 Apple Watch sales were higher than any prior Q2, adding:  "Millions of customers are using Apple Watch to help them stay active, healthy, and connected, and they have made it the top selling watch in the world."
  • Apple also doesn't release specific numbers for the AirPods, but Cook said that the product is a "runaway hit."
  • Of course Tim Cook was not going to reveal any new products coming in the future, but Cook did show his excitement for the future, noting:  "We have the best pipeline of products and services we've ever had.  We have a huge installed base of active devices that is growing across all products, and we have the highest customer loyalty and satisfaction in the industry."
  • One analyst asked Tim Cook whether Apple's emphasis on user privacy was a focus because it could help Apple's revenue.  Cook pushed back and said that Apple doesn't see it that way.  "In terms of benefit, we don't really view it like that.  We view that privacy is a fundamental human right and that it's an extremely complex situation, if you're a user, to understand a lot of the user agreements and so forth.  And we've always viewed that part of our role was to sort of make things as simple as possible for the user and provide them a level of privacy and security."
Categories: iPhone Web Sites

The transition to 5G on the iPhone

iPhone J.D. - Mon, 04/30/2018 - 02:19

Yesterday, T-Mobile and Sprint announced that they will merge.  If the government approves, then we will have only three major wireless companies in the United States.  In the communications that I have seen from the two companies, including a joint website that went live yesterday, one of the main themes was that this merger would promote 5G, the next generation of wireless technology.  This makes me wonder, what will 5G bring us, and when can we start to use it on the iPhone?

100x faster

It won't surprise you that the primary advantage of 5G is faster Internet for mobile devices.  Indeed, wireless speed has increased dramatically since the iPhone was originally introduced in 2007, so we all expect this to continue in the future.

The original iPhone only supported 2G Edge wireless, and the addition of 3G support a year later was such an improvement that the second generation of iPhone mentions it in its name:  it was called the iPhone 3G.  Edge on the original iPhone provided download speeds of around 100 Kbps — about twice as fast as a 56K modem.  With 3G, the iPhone 3G in 2008 increased download speeds to around 500 Kbps.  Carriers improved 3G technology over time, and manufacturers improved devices to take advantage of that.  For example, in early 2009, I reported that AT&T was planning to double 3G speed, and by 2011, I was using an iPhone 4 with better 3G technology and I saw average download speeds of around 3 Mbps.

The iPhone 5 was introduced in the Fall of 2012, and one of the marquee features was support for 4G LTE.  It provided a major increase in wireless speed.  Here in New Orleans, in 2012-2013, I would typically see 4G LTE download speeds in the 30-40 Mbps range.  Those speeds increased over time as technology improved.  With my iPhone X in 2018, I typically see 4G LTE speeds of 75-100 Mbps, and I often see speeds well in excess 0f 100 Mbps.

 

While 4G has gotten faster over the years, just like 3G did, as I look back over the past decade, the major speed advantages have been when there was a new generation.  5G is being advertised as being the next major speed bump.  The CTIA, a trade organization for the wireless industry, says that 5G can be 100 times faster than 4G, and a chart on its website predicts a transition from 100 Mbps download speeds to 10 Gbps.  5G will also feature low latency that can make the internet five times more responsive when you initiate each request.

With this dramatic increase in speed, I imagine that we will see an increase in high quality video on demand, a vast increase in augmented reality, and even more services living in the cloud.  And of course, I'm sure that the faster speeds will prompt new innovations that many of us have not thought about yet.  The CTIA website says that with 5G, "[s]ensors will monitor the health and safety of critical infrastructure like buildings, roads, and bridges, while connected trash cans, bus stops, light poles and more will help cities operate more efficiently" and says that 5G will help self-driving cars.

A different kind of infrastructure

To date, wireless cell technology has been based on huge towers with antennas 125 feet in the air which would provide service for several miles.  But it turns out that 5G will be different.  5G is much faster, but the signal doesn't go nearly as far.  So instead of a smaller number of tall towers, 5G will work with a large number of microcells placed around 500 feet apart, often on streetlights or utility poles.

But it won't just be that microcell on a utility pole.  As reported by Allan Homes earlier this year in the New York Times, "[m]uch of the equipment will be on streetlights or utility poles," but it will often be "accompanied by containers the size of refrigerators on the ground."  That New York Times article includes pictures showing how these containers can be made to look like mailboxes so that they don't seem too out-of-place.  Because this equipment on the ground is a potential eyesore, some local governments are looking to regulate 5G implementation, which has led the wireless companies to lobby at the state and federal level to try to block local regulators from slowing down the transition to 5G.  Katherine Shaver of the Washington Post reports:  "Industry-backed legislative proposals introduced this year in 18 states, including Maryland and Virginia, would preempt most local zoning laws for small cell poles up to 50 feet tall.  They would limit residents’ input on applications for small cell facilities and restrict local governments’ ability to reject them."

In an editorial, the USA Today suggests this compromise:  "A smarter approach would bar localities from turning the permitting process into a cash cow, but would give them input on where 5G boxes go and what they should look like.  This kind of buy-in might seem burdensome.  But it is necessary to prevent a grass-roots rebellion of property owners and community activists."

The future is close

It will be interesting to see how these implementation details get worked out, but I presume that somehow, they will.  5G (and someday 6G, 7G, etc.) seems inevitable.  As noted above, T-Mobile and Sprint are seeking government approval of their merger so that they can be a leader in 5G technology.  AT&T announced a few months ago that "2018 will be the year you can experience mobile 5G from AT&T" with preliminary service "in a dozen cities, including parts of Dallas, Atlanta and Waco, Texas, by the end of this year."  Verizon announced a few days ago that it would launch 5G "in 3-5 markets later this year and take the same aggressive approach to the deployment of 5G mobility when devices become available."

As that quote from Verizon indicates, the initial rollout of 5G won't mean that you can start using it on your current iPhone.  When 5G first comes out, you'll need to have a dedicated hardware device to receive the 5G signal, which I presume you can then connect to a mobile phone via Wi-Fi.  3G was available in 2007 when the original iPhone was introduced, but Apple didn't take advantage of it for the first year of the iPhone because some of the initial 3G chips for mobile devices consumed too much power.  Apple waited for the technology to mature a little before adding 3G a year later in 2008 — and even then, just for AT&T.  (The first Verizon iPhone didn't come out until 2011.)

Complicating things further, I understand that there isn't yet any agreement in the industry on how 5G is going to work.  Thus, the technology that lets an iPhone talk to AT&T 5G may not also allow for communication with T-Mobile/Sprint 5G.

Nevertheless, I expect that it won't be long before 5G will start to have enough availability that you will want to have the opportunity to take advantage of it.  I don't expect a 5G iPhone or iPad in 2018, and I suspect that the technology will still be too new in 2019, but it wouldn't surprise me to see 5G in Apple mobile devices in the year 2020.

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

In the news

iPhone J.D. - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 23:47

As someone who started trying out iPhone apps in 2008, I eventually got to the point where I had hundreds of apps on my iPhone.  Last summer, as I was troubleshooting a problem, I ended up starting with a fresh install of iOS.  Since then, I've been more conservative about adding new apps ... but even so, I still have four screens full of apps on my iPhone, and many of those screens have lots of folders.  California attorney David Sparks apparently has more self-control than I do, because as he shows off in a post on his MacSparky website, he has only a single screen of apps and only four folders on that screen, with a system so that every app goes in a special place.  I'm not sure that I can ever see myself with just a single screen of apps, but I can see the logic to his approach.  And now, the news of note from the past week:

  • On the latest edition of the Apps in Law podcast, Brett Burney interviews Massachusetts attorney Howard Lenow, who discusses the Timeline 3D app.  Lenow does a good job of describing how this app is simple to use but very effective.
  • California attorney Jeffrey Allen and Texas attorney Ashley Hallene recommend some of their favorite apps in an article for the ABA's GPSolo eReport.
  • New York attorney Nicole Black discusses time-tracking software for lawyers, including apps that you can use on an iPhone.  One of the apps that she discusses is iTimeKeep, a new sponsor of iPhone J.D. and the app that I use in my law practice almost every day.
  • In early 2015, I noted that upgraded the Wi-Fi in my house by purchasing two AirPort Extreme wireless base stations, putting them at opposite ends of my house, and connecting them with a Cat 6 cable.  I've always liked Apple's AirPort base stations because they were so much easier to use and manage than routers made by other companies.  But Apple stopped updating their devices about five years ago, and never embraced the mesh networking technology that you see in many modern routers.  As reported by Rene Richie of iMore, yesterday Apple announced that it was officially out of the Wi-Fi router business that it entered in 1999 when Wi-Fi was in its infancy. 
  • If you are looking to upgrade the Wi-Fi in your home or office, Apple has some advice for selecting a Wi-Fi router that works well with Apple devices.
  • When I think of smart home and air conditioning, I think of smart thermostats.  But Mike Wuerthele of AppleInsider notes that GE is now shipping the first HomeKit-compatible window air conditioning unit.  And Ben Lovejoy of 9to5Mac notes that GE has some other units that work with HomeKit.
  • Jason Cross of Macworld recommends the best calculators for the iPhone and iPad.  His overall favorite is PCalc, and that's the one that I use too.
  • J.D. Biersdorfer of the New York Times explains how to add fonts to an iPad.
  • If you use Windows 10, Jim Tamous of The Mac Observer notes that iTunes is now available in the Microsoft Store.
  • Bradley Chambers of The Sweet Setup explains how you can change the title of memories in the Photos app.
  • And finally, in this 15 second video, Apple shows visually why the App Store on the iPhone is safer than other app stores on other smartphones:

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

Quick access to your most important notes

iPhone J.D. - Tue, 04/24/2018 - 23:07

Apple's built-in Notes app on the iPhone and iPad is a powerful and well-designed app.  It works great as a quick place to jot down a note that you may only refer to once in the future, but it also works well as a place to store important information that you need to refer to from time to time.  For example, I have a note with the file numbers for all of the cases that I'm working on, a note of the items that I frequently pack when I take a trip (so that I can review the list and make sure I'm not forgetting anything whenever I prepare to travel), a note listing the team members on my daughter's soccer team, a note to keep track of the James Bond movies I'm watching with my kids (next on our list is Goldeneye from 1995), and many more.  Here are two tips which make it faster and easier to bring up specific notes that you want to access the most often.

Pinned Notes

In the Settings app, you can choose to sort notes by the date edited, date created, or title.  I have mine set to the date edited, which usually makes the most sense for me.  Chose whatever method you think will make it easiest for you to find your notes.

 

Sorting by date is often helpful for me, but there are some notes that I don't edit very often (so they are not near the top) but which I am most likely to want to view.  Apple has a solution for this called Pinned Notes.  When you are looking at your list of notes, if you swipe from left to right on a note, you will see a pin icon.  Keep dragging to the right to turn on the pin.  That will move the note to the very top of your list of Notes.

 

The same left-to-right swipe can be used to remove a pin.  Pinning notes is a useful way to keep your most important notes at the top of your list, regardless of the sort order that you selected in Settings.

Jump directly to a note

If you want to get a little more sophisticated, you can use one of the iPhone apps that have an automation feature to create a shortcut to jump to a specific note, no matter where it is in your list.  I briefly mentioned this tip on April 13, 2018 when I linked to an article by Federico Viticci of MacStories, and today I'm providing more details on how it works.  In this example, I'm using the Launch Center Pro app, a $4.99 app which I last reviewed back in 2012.  (The app has improved a lot since then, but that old post will still give you a general idea of what the app does.)

First, you need to get an iCloud URL for your specific note.  To get that, look at a note and tap the share button at the top right of the screen — the icon with a circle around a generic person with a plus sign.

The next screen says Add People.  Tap on the icon near the bottom that says Copy Link.  Then on the next screen, tap Copy Link at the top right, and then you can tap Cancel because you are not going to actually email that link to anyone.

 

Open the Launch Center Pro app, tap the pencil at the top right to enter Edit mode, and then tap the plus sign in any empty location and create a new Action.  In the next screen, type whatever title you want in the Name field, and then paste into the URL field the contents of your clipboard, which will be the iCloud.com URL for your specific note.  The default icon is the Safari icon, but feel free to change it to something more meaningful to you if you want.


That's it.  Now, whenever you want to access your specific note, you can open the Launch Center Pro app and tap the icon for your note.  That will cause the Notes app to open, and then your specific note will come up, no matter where it is located in your list of notes.

If you want an even faster way to launch your specific note, use Quick Actions.  In the Launch Center Pro app, tap the gear at the top left to open up the app settings.  Then tap Quick Actions and add the shortcut you just created to the QUICK ACTION WIDGET setting.  As long as it is in the first row of icons, in the future, you can 3D Touch on the Launch Center Pro icon on your home screen, and then select the icon for your note.  This will jump you directly to your note without even having to fully open the Launch Center Pro app.

The Notes app is a useful place to store tons of different notes.  With these two tips, you can directly access your most important notes quickly and easily.

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

In the news

iPhone J.D. - Thu, 04/19/2018 - 23:35

Earlier this week, I discussed the new GrayKey device which can supposedly unlock an iPhone even without the password, given enough time.  In an article for Motherboard, Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai and Joseph Cox note that Apple has a feature in beta which frustrates GrayKey because a police officer must plug in an iPhone to the GrayKey device within one week of the iPhone last being unlocked.  Of course, it would be easier for law enforcement if they could just compel a suspect to unlock his iPhone.  In an article for The Volokh Conspiracy, USC Law Professor Orin Kerr discusses two recent opinions on this topic from federal magistrate judges.  Additionally, Former FBI Director James Comey has a new book out this week, in case you have been living under a rock and haven't heard yet.  Obviously, the parts concerning President Trump are getting the most attention, but Ben Lovejoy of 9to5Mac notes that the book also offers Comey's perspective on the FBI's efforts to force Apple to unlock iPhones.  iPhone security and privacy is a big issue that is going to remain in the news for a long time.  And now, the other news of note from the past week:

  • The Drafts app was updated to version 5 this week.  California attorney David Sparks is a big fan, and he explains why in this article and even includes some videos showing how to use the app.  Tim Nahumck of MacStories also wrote a comprehensive review of Drafts 5.  Given the enthusiasm that many have for this app, I downloaded it and I'm starting to try it out.  So far, I'm not really seeing how this app fits into my life, but I'll keep trying it and I haven't given up on it yet.
  • Cult of Mac has started a series of articles to recommend 50 essential iOS apps.  The first two apps recommended — Deliveries (my reviews:  1, 2) and Dark Sky Weather are excellent, so I look forward to the future installments in this series.
  • Andrew Orr of the Mac Observer offers some good advice for what to do if your iPhone is stolen.  Read the article now while you are calm and collected, and hopefully you will remember these steps should misfortune shine upon you.
  • In an article in Macworld, security expert Glenn Fleishman offers advice for how to recover your iCloud account if you have two-factor authentication turned on (which I recommend) and one of your authentication methods goes missing.  Read this article now while you are calm and collected ... you know the rest.
  • Andrew O'Hara of AppleInsider reviews the CordDock iPhone dock by ElevationLab, and he notes that it is different from most other docks.
  • Ed Hardy of Cult of Mac notes that the Dropbox app has been updated to work better on the iPad.
  • If you find yourself at a McDonald's today (or next Friday), you can pay with Apple Pay and get a free Medium order of fries.  Mitchel Broussard of MacRumors has the details; for example, you have to order using the McDonald's app.
  • To make up for eating at McDonald's today, on Sunday you can do a 30 minute workout with your Apple Watch and earn the Earth Day Challenge badge.  Once again, Mitchel Broussard of MacRumors has the details.  And then, after all of that working out, you can relax on Sunday night by doing what I will be doing:  watching the new season of Westworld on HBO, which Lee Hutchinson of Ars Technica writes about in this spoiler-free review of Season 2.
  • And finally, Serenity Caldwell of iMore prepared a review of the 2018 version of the 9.7" iPad.  But instead of preparing a written review like I would do, or preparing a traditional video review, she decided to show off what this iPad can do by filming the screen while she walked through various tasks.  She even created the soundtrack in Garage Band on the iPad, and managed to incorporate a few seconds of video of her as a young girl using a Mac.  Combine all of this work with the fact that she is a talented artist, and the final product is impressive.  Here is her video:

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

Consider a longer iPhone passcode

iPhone J.D. - Wed, 04/18/2018 - 01:40

When Apple released iOS 9 in 2015, it changed the default length of the passcode needed to unlock the device from 4 to 6 digits for all devices with a Touch ID sensor.  This increased the odds of guessing a passcode from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 1,000,000.  And while some folks groaned at having to remember two additional numbers, hopefully most attorneys using iPhones realized that if you are going to keep confidential and privileged information on an iPhone, you need to take reasonable steps to keep that device secure.

This week I saw a link by John Gruber of Daring Fireball to an article posted last month by Thomas Reed of the security firm Malwarebytes Labs.  The article describes a device called GrayKey, a small box with two lightning cables coming out of the front of it which can supposedly crack the passcode of an iOS device.  Apparently, the box is only sold to law enforcement.  If someone tries to hack your passcode on an iPhone itself, there is a delay after the wrong passcode is entered.  You have probably encountered this delay yourself at some point.  But it seems that GrayKey has a way around this and can quickly try multiple passcodes.  And according to an article by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai of Motherboard, the only thing slowing down the hack is the length of your passcode.  He quotes statistics from Matthew Green, an assistant professor and cryptographer at the Johns Hopkins Information Security Institute.  Green says that a 4 digit passcode can be cracked in 13 minutes or less, a 6 digit passcode can be cracked in 22.2 hours or less, an 8 digit passcode can be cracked in 92.5 days or less, and a 10 digit passcode can be cracked in 9,259 days or less.

Obviously, then, you can improve the security of your passcode by using more digits.  You can also improve the security of your passcode by making the characters more complicated by using letters and/or symbols in addition to numbers.  Open the Settings app, go to Touch ID & Passcode or Face ID & Passcode (depending upon what device you are using), tap Change Passcode, and then on the next screen tap Passcode Options.  Here, you have the option to change to a custom numeric passcode (more than 6 digits) or a custom alphanumeric code (letters, symbols, and/or digits).

 
Using a longer passcode is less convenient.  First, it takes longer to enter the passcode, and the additional length increases the chance that you will make a mistake while typing.  If you use Touch ID or Face ID, that limits the number of times that you have to type the passcode, but you still need to type it from time to time.

Second, it is harder to remember a longer passcode, especially because the strongest passcodes are long and don't use words that are in a dictionary.  There are some tricks you can use to help you remember more secure passcodes.  For example, you can remove the vowels from words to create something that you can remember but which would be hard to guess.  "Drew Brees #9 Saints" becomes DrwBrs#9Snts, a 12-character passcode lacking words found in a dictionary, and which would take a ridiculously long time to crack using current technology.  Or you can use letters from the first words of a memorable line from a song or poem or other saying.  "The hills are alive with the Sound of Music" becomes ThaawtSoM, a nine-character passcode lacking dictionary words.

Hopefully, it won't be a problem for you that some police officers now have the ability to use a device like the GrayKey.  But what worries me is that if the police have it, perhaps certain bad actors have access to similar devices — criminals who might have a reason to try to access the confidential information that you have on your device about your clients.

Apple is constantly improving the security of its devices, and that's why I encourage all attorneys to update their iPhones and iPads when Apple comes out.  A GrayKey-type device that works today may not work after the next iOS update.  But Apple has been improving iPhone security ever since the first iPhone was released in 2007, and for over a decade now, clever folks have found new ways to circumvent security measures.

Do you need to change your six digit passcode to something stronger?  Well, that's up to you.  Hopefully, the chance that your device will ever be connected to something like GrayKey is extremely remote.  But for what its worth, I'm currently using 12-character passcodes on my iPhone and iPad.  After about a week, I got used to the longer passcodes.  And while I am entering the passcode, I think to myself "take that you evil hackers!" which, if nothing else, helps to fill up some of that extra time that it takes to type 12 characters instead of 6 numbers.

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

Review: iPhone Field Guide by David Sparks -- great tips for getting the most out of your iPhone

iPhone J.D. - Sun, 04/15/2018 - 23:11

It's always nice when you have an opportunity to talk to someone who has great suggestions on a topic that you are interested in.  You are about to travel to Paris?  Here's someone who lived there for the past year and who has fabulous recommendations on all of the things that you should do and see.  You are looking for some great new TV shows to watch?  Here is someone who has excellent recommendations for binge-worthy shows on HBO, Showtime, Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc.  I have an interest in the iPhone (I know — big surprise to you, right?) so I always love talking to other folks about how they are using their iPhones.  With millions of apps in the App Store, and countless hardware accessories sold by Apple and third parties, I enjoy learning about the things that I haven't heard of before, or learning about how others are using apps or accessories in different ways. 

I first met California attorney David Sparks a number of years ago at an ABA TECHSHOW conference, but I have been following him for much longer than that through his MacSparky website and the Mac Power Users podcast he does with Florida attorney Katie Floyd.  David has deep knowledge of the iPhone and the iPad, and I always love talking to him about all things iOS for his perspective on how to get more out of these devices.  And because he often writes posts about these topics on his website, I find myself linking to an article on MacSparky almost every Friday when I write my In the news roundup.

Wouldn't it be great if you could ask that friend who knows about Paris, or TV shows, or the iPhone, to just write down everything that they know and share it with you?  That is the idea behind the latest electronic book by David Sparks called the iPhone Field Guide.  David has taken just about everything in his brain concerning how you can get more out of an iPhone and poured it into this book, which you can read on the iPad and the iPhone.  And because the iBooks system makes it possible to embed video into a page, this book also includes over two hours of videos in which David shows off how he uses his iPhone.  It's almost like David was sitting next to you and showing you his iPhone, saying "let me show you what this cool app can do."

David sent me a promotional code so that I could download a free copy to review it for iPhone J.D., and I enjoyed reading all 452 pages of it this past weekend.  This is a great book, and I highly recommend it to anyone who owns an iPhone and is interested in doing more with it — which should cover just about every person who reads iPhone J.D., except perhaps for the occasional Android owner who ends up here by accident.

The book contains 45 chapters and covers just about all of the topics that relate to using an iPhone.  (One notable exception — although David is an attorney, this book doesn't include recommendations of apps that are specific to lawyers or other types of professionals.)  Chapters include, just to pick a few examples, Photography, Calendar Apps, Security, Habit Trackers, Travel, Document Scanners, Mind Mapping, Outlining, Creating Video, and there is even a chapter on the Apple Watch because it is such a perfect iPhone companion.

For each topic, David gives you his recommendations.  This is not an in-depth guide on how to use every little part of every app, and thus there is no chapter that exhaustively goes through every sub-menu of the Settings app.  Instead, he picks a topic and tells you his top recommendations on that topic. 

As an example, here is a page from the chapter on Mind Mapping in which David recommends MindNode for folks just getting started.  As you can see, the page includes a description of the app, a two minute video in which David explains why this is his favorite app and shows off how the app works, and a link to download the app in the App Store.  This is page 308, but if you flip to page 309 where David finishes his discussion of the app, he includes a link to a series of videos he did for the developer of MindNode in which he spends about an hour explaining in detail how to use the app.

For another example, in the Creating Video chapter, David starts with a few pages giving you some general tips on shooting video with an iPhone.  Next, he discusses apps, limiting himself to his best recommendations.  He explains why the built-in Camera app is great for taking video because most features are automatic, but then explains why you should consider the FiLMic Pro app if you want manual controls for everything.  Then he discusses editing video, starting with an overview of Apple's free iMovie app, and then he recommends a single third-party app for more powerful editing called LumaFusion.  When describing that app, he states:  "I tried just about every video editing app available while doing research for this book, and LumaFusion stands about them all.  If you want more than the basic iPhone video editing tools, buy LumaFusion."

Those two sentences really sum up what this book is all about.  There are lots of websites that have posts with titles like "the best time management apps" but then when you read the article, it is just a list of ten apps in the category with virtually no explanation on why one is better than the other.  This book is the opposite of that.  If you were to bump into David and say that you were interested in topic X and what would he recommend for that, he would say something like what I quoted above — this first app is the one most folks would want to use for that task, and here is a second app which is the best one to get if you want something more powerful.

There is something in this book for everyone who uses an iPhone.  Even though I consider myself a power user and I know about a lot of different apps, I learned a bunch reading this book and I downloaded quite a few apps this past weekend while reading the book.  I also learned some new things.  For example, there is a chapter on Siri commands that is more comprehensive than anything that I have ever seen on the subject.  Many times as I was reading through that chapter, I stopped myself to say "can Siri really do that?" and then I tried the command and saw that it worked.

I think that the best way to read this book is on an iPad.  That's how the book is laid out.  But David also takes advantage of the way that iBooks works so that you can also enter a scrolling view on the iPhone, a view in which you can scroll through the text, pictures, and videos (much like you might scroll through a web page in Safari) and you can change the font size to whatever you prefer.  So if you want to start reading this book on the iPad, but then a read a chapter or two on your iPhone while you find yourself with a little down time, you can definitely do that.  Here is an example of how a page looks on my iPad Pro, and then how the same page looks on the iPhone both before and after I turn on scrolling view.

 

For a limited time during the introductory period of this new book, David is offering this book for $20.  At some point in the future, the price will go up.  The book is packed with useful information and recommendations, and perhaps thanks to his long career as a lawyer, David is a very good writer and this book is enjoyable to read.  I enthusiastically recommend the iPhone Field Guide to all iPhone J.D. readers.

Click here to get the iPhone Field Guide by David Sparks ($19.99): 

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

In the news

iPhone J.D. - Thu, 04/12/2018 - 23:56

Federici Viticci of MacStories has a good list of tips for getting work done on an iPad.  The first tip, creating a launcher for a specific note, works on the iPhone too, and it is very useful if you use the Notes app because this tip gives you a way to open a specific note, which I prefer to opening up the Notes app and then finding the note and then opening that note.  For example, I have a note containing the file numbers for my most frequent matters, and it is nice to have a quick way to launch that specific note when I need a file number.  To accomplish this tip, you need to use a launcher app such as Launch Center Pro.  I see that I haven't reviewed that app since 2012, but it has been updated many times since then and it remains on my first iPhone home screen because I use it every day.  And indeed, after a recent update to Launch Center Pro, you can now hold down the app icon and the pop-up menu can give you six Quick Actions instead of four, a neat trick that I haven't seen any other app do yet.  Click here to get Launch Center Pro ($4.99):    I'll admit that apps like Launch Center Pro and Workflows which can be configured to accomplish complicated tasks are not for everyone.  The apps let you be more productive, but they come with a learning curve.  However, if you consider yourself a power user of the iPhone and iPad, these types of apps are great.  And now, the news of note from the past week:

  • California attorney David Sparks discusses the new 2018 version of the 9.7" iPad.  He says that for most users, it is a fine choice
  • In the latest episode of the Apps in Law podcast, Brett Burney interviews South Carolina attorney Michael Polk to discuss Focus Keeper and HabitBull apps which he uses to stay n task throughout the day using the Pomodoro Technique.
  • Jason Snell of Six Colors reviews the new iPad.
  • Ryan Christoffel of MacStories explains that after a recent update to the Microsoft Word app, it now works better with the built-in Files app.
  • Mark Sullivan of Fast Company wrote an interesting story explaining how Apple now runs on 100% green energy, such as solar. 
  • Jonny Evans of Computerworld has a good list of useful iPhone tips.  Here's one that I didn't know that you could do:  "Hey Siri, call [contact] on speakerphone.”
  • Leif Johnson of Macworld wrote a good article on his favorite note-taking apps for the iPad and Apple Pencil.  I really like GoodNotes 4, which is one of his picks.  Johnson points out that one advantage of Notability is that it can record audio as you take notes.  For my law practice I don't consider that an avantage; I virtually never take notes in an environment in which it would be wise to create an audio recording (and for the times that I take note in court, I'm quite sure that an audio recording would be prohibited).  But it is nice to have quite a few strong apps in this field.
  • Glenn Fleishmann of Macworld reviews Apple's latest version of the Numbers app for iOS.  It has a few new features, including a much improved interface for importing data.
  • Michael Potuck explains how to clean AirPods and the AirPods charging case in an article for 9to5Mac.
  • If you use an iPhone X, because of its OLED screen, it uses less battery life to display black instead of other colors.  AppleInsider did a test and found that YouTube's new dark theme can save you battery life on an iPhone X.  I think that this mode would look even better on the OLED screen if it were a pure black theme instead of a dark grey.
  • And finally, this week Apple came out with a (PRODUCT)RED version of the iPhone 8.  It is otherwise identical to the iPhone 7 released last year, but the new color does look nice, and a portion of the proceeds go to support HIV/AIDS programs.  You can see some nice pictures of the new red iPhone on Apple's website, where Apple notes that it has raised over $160 million for (RED) over the past 11 years.  If you want to see a short video of what the new red iPhone 8 looks like, Rene Ritchie of iMore prepared this video for his Vector podcast:

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

[Sponsor] iTimeKeep -- time entry built for attorneys

iPhone J.D. - Tue, 04/10/2018 - 21:47

Thank you to Bellefield Systems, the creator of iTimeKeep, for sponsoring iPhone J.D. this month.  iTimeKeep has been around for seven years, and I remember first seeing a demo of the app at ABA TECHSHOW many years ago.  The premise of the app is brilliant:  make time entry so simple and accessible that you can easily enter your time no matter when you are working, and thus you don't forget to record your time entries.  You may talk to a client over the weekend, spend time working on a brief at night after you put the kids to bed, or handle something in a courthouse because you happen to be there on another matter.  Forgetting to record a few 0.1 or 0.2 time entries may not seem like a big deal, but over weeks and months it can really add up.  This time that would have otherwise been lost is what Bellefield refers to as invisible time. With the iTimeKeep app on your iPhone — which is likely with you all the time — you can enter your time contemporaneously and before you forget about it.  As soon as you enter time, the app quickly talks to your firm's time management system so that the activity is officially recorded.  By using your iPhone to record your time entries at the time that you do the work, you don't have to worry about losing time that you forgot about as you try to reconstruct your activities at a later time.

iTimeKeep works with law firms of any size, integrating with several time and billing systems:  Aderant, Elite, Omega, PC Law, TimeMatters, and many, many more which are listed here.

I started using this app in my own law practice last year, and I posted a comprehensive review in August.  I have used this app on more occasions that I can remember to record my time when I am out of the office, time that I might have otherwise forgotten about.  Thus, the app has helped me to get paid for the work that I am actually doing, plus it ensures that my timesheets accurately reflect all of the work that I am doing for my clients.

 

iTimeKeep validates your time against client billing guidelines, so you don't have to worry about forgetting to add a needed issue or task code for a file, or entering time in 0.1 increments when the client requires 0.25 entries.  And you can use built-in timers to keep track of precisely how long you spend working on a task.

What surprised me about iTimeKeep is that it isn't just a tool for avoiding missed time entries.  It is also a fantastic tool for recording all of your time.  The time entry software that we use at my law firm has a web-based interface, and after using it for many years, I consider myself fairly efficient in entering my time.  But the iTimeKeep interface is so incredibly well-designed and fast to use that I often prefer using iTimeKeep over my time entry software.  And fortunately, it doesn't matter which one I use — time that I enter in iTimeKeep shows up on my firm system, and time that I enter in my firm's system shows up in iTimeKeep if I have to go back and edit an entry.

I cannot type on an iPhone as fast as I can type on a computer keyboard.  However, I can often enter time just as quickly using iTimeKeep on my iPhone.  Sometimes I use Siri dictation to speak a time entry, which is fast and easy.  Other times I use the iPhone's keyboard shortcut feature to speed up time entry.  (In the Settings app, go to General -> Keyboard -> Text Replacement.)  For example, if I type "tcw" on my iPhone, it automatically changes that to "Telephone conference with " so I just need to type the name and the "re" information.

But iTimeKeep is not just a product for your iPhone (and iPad and Apple Watch, and even Android).  You can also use iTimeKeep on your computer via a secure website interface.  Whether I am entering time in the office on my PC or at home on my Mac, I frequently use the desktop version of iTimeKeep to type my time entries in the clean and efficient interface.

No attorney enjoys time entry, but it is a necessary part of the practice of law for most of us.  With iTimeKeep, you significantly reduce the friction associated with entering your time, especially when you record it contemporaneous with performing the work for your client.  Thank you to Bellefield for sponsoring iPhone J.D. this month, and thank you for creating this perfect example of an iPhone app that greatly improves the practice of law for attorneys.

Don't waste anymore time.  Try iTimeKeep today.

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

Review: CARROT Weather -- excellent weather app, with attitude

iPhone J.D. - Sun, 04/08/2018 - 23:57

There are a large number of weather apps available for the iPhone, so it takes a lot for a weather app to distinguish itself.  One way to do so is to provide detailed forecasts.  Another way to do so is to have a great interface for the same information that other apps provide (and for a long time, Weather Line was my favorite weather app because of the interface).  CARROT Weather does both, and adds a new way to distinguish itself:  a personality.  In fact, I started using the app because it sounded interesting to use an app with a snarky disposition, although I figured that would be a gimmick which would get old quickly.  I stayed with the app for because it is a fantastic weather app, more useful than any other I have ever used on the iPhone.  After using the app for six months, this is my favorite weather app, and the one that I recommend.

Personality

Let's start by discussing what got me to try to this app in the first place:  the personality.  In addition to telling you the weather, the app provides a line of dialogue relating to what the weather is.  For example, if the weather is cloudy, the app may say things like:  "The sun is playing hooky today" or "Worst.  Clouds.  Ever."  Sometimes the dialogue is an attempt by the app to insult you, such as:  "You've wasted your life.  Also, it's cloudy right now" or "Your weather is bad and you should feel bad."  Sometimes the app tries to be funny, such as:  "It's fifty shades of grey out" or "Every cloud has a silver lining.  Except for mushroom-shaped ones.  They have a lining of Iridium and Strontium 90."  Often the app says something bizarre, such as "That cloud looks like a toddler drowning a rubber ducky" or "What's the point of being able to control the weather if I can't make everyone miserable with cloudy weather from time to time?"  Sometimes the dialogue reflects current events, including occasionally a reference to something that happened that same day (often involving President Trump).  And sometimes the app lies to you, such as insisting that it is sunny when it is actually raining.

 

You can adjust the personality in settings, selecting from Professional, Friendly, Snarky, Homicidal and Overkill.  You can also adjust the political leaning:  Centrist, Liberal, Conservative or No Politics.  You can also tap the dialogue on the main page to swap between a generic, professional description of the weather and the more humorous message.

Why does a weather app need to have a personality?  It doesn't, but it sure does make the app more fun to use.  Sometimes the dialogue falls flat, but it has often made me chuckle.  And there must be lots of phrases in there because I don't remember ever seeing it repeat.  This app reminds me of other technology with an attitude:  Siri, HAL 9000 from the movie 2001, GLaDOS from the Portal video game, etc.  When you add personality to an item of technology, it can become more interesting.

Weather data

As I noted, the personality made me want to check out CARROT Weather in the first place, but this is my favorite weather app because of the quality and presentation of the data.

By default you get weather data for your current location.  In the settings you can make the default the last place for which you checked the weather.  And you can always tap the current location at the top of the screen to change to another city.  The app remembers cities that you selected previously and presents them in a list so that you can select them again more easily.  (Or swipe to the left or right with two fingers to switch between cites.)  You can even adjust the pinpoint location for a city — down to a street address — and you can change the name.  So instead of getting the general weather for Chicago, you can opt to see the specific weather at your grandma's house.

The main screen of CARROT Weather shows you the weather.  The top of the screen has a large number telling you the current temperature.  Next to that number, you see the "feels like" temperature, the precipitation, and the wind.  But those are just defaults; you can put whatever you want next to the temperature such as UV Index, Celsius (if your normal weather is in Fahrenheit), cloud cover, visibility, pressure, humidity, sunrise / sunset, moon phase, etc.)  And while three items are displayed next to the number, you can also set a 4th, 5th and 6th item that displays when you tap the number.

In the middle of the screen there is a pixelated person on a landscape, for no real reason other than to show something interesting.  But when there is a chance of rain or snow in the next hour (using the excellent Dark Sky data that many other iPhone apps use), you instead get a graph showing you precisely when the precipitation will start and stop in your location.  These forecasts are incredibly accurate.  If the app says that it will start raining in two minutes, I would start opening up your umbrella in about 90 seconds. 

Most of the bottom portion of the screen contains columns showing the weather each hour.  Much like the Weather Line app, your eye can quickly see — based upon the relative height of the forecast icon in each column — whether it is getting hotter or colder over time.  The icon for each hour also gives you a sense of what the weather will be that hour — sunny, rainy, overcast, etc.  The bottom of each column shows you the percentage chance of precipitation during that hour, but I often find it accurate enough to just look at the icon associated with each hour; if there is a raindrop in the icon it will rain, otherwise it will not.  Tap any column and the top of the app will show you more detailed weather information for that particular hour.

You can scroll to the right to see hourly forecasts for the next 48 hours.  When you reach the end, you can also tap to see extended (although often less accurate) hourly data for a full seven days.

 
At the very bottom of the app, there are larger icons with the daily forecasts for the next seven days.  Tap any day to jump directly to the hourly forecasts for that day.

Radar

Tap the radar icon at the top of the main screen of this app to see a map with the radar.  At the bottom right of the screen you can change the overlay from the radar to something else, like temperature or wind.  You can tap a Play button at the bottom left to animate the radar over the past two hours.

Time Travel

The app includes a Time Travel feature to show you the weather for a specific day in the past 70 years. Was it raining on the night of the car accident that is the subject of your litigation?  This app can tell you.

 
You can also select any upcoming date for the next 10 years to get a prediction of what the weather will be like on some future date.  I haven't tested this much, but I imagine that it is a guess based on prior conditions for the same date.

Apple Watch

There are not many third party Apple Watch apps which are just as useful as Apple's built-in apps, but CARROT Weather is one of them.  You can add a complication to your watch screen, and you can customize it to present exactly what you want.  What I have been using is a line of text at the bottom of my Activity watch face with an icon to show current conditions, followed by the current temperature, followed by the high and low for the day.  That tells me most of what I need to know. 

Tap the complication to open the CARROT Weather app on the Apple Watch.  On the iPhone, you customize many different aspects of the Apple Watch interface, so you just see what you want to see.

 

Notifications

You can configure the app to send you notifications.  For example, the app can send you an alert when rain or snow is expected in the next hour (in the U.S. or U.K.).  You can get government-issued severe weather alerts.  You can get a morning report and an evening report. 

And more...

The app is a universal app so it also works on the iPad.  You can also get the app for the Mac or for the Apple TV. 

The app has a Secret Locations feature, which gives you an in-app map game in which you need to find places on a map, but I haven't spent much time with that. There are also achievement badges, much like what you can get with the Apple Watch, but they are much more silly, such as the "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow" badge for experiencing your first snowfall.

In the settings for the app located in the iPhone's main Settings app, you can flip a switch to change whether CARROT Weather uses a voice to speak out loud to you when you start the app.

If you want to really annoy the CARROT Weather app, swipe down from the top of the screen to bring up the in-app settings, and poke the "eye" of the app on the left side of the screen.  (Or go into AR Mode and poke the app's eye.)  The more you do it, the more annoyed the app will get.

Price

The app itself costs $4.99.  To access some of the more advanced features, such as customizing the iPhone and Apple Watch interface and receiving notifications, you need to pay for a subscription, either $0.49 a month or $3.99 a year.

If you have a custom weather station that you want to use as the source of your weather information (such as weather monitoring hardware in your own backyard), CARROT Weather can work with that as well, but you need a more expensive subscription of $9.99 a year.

Conclusion

It is fun using an app with some attitude, and I like that you can adjust how much personality the app exhibits.  But what really makes this app shine is that it provides you with all of the weather data that you want, in an easy-to-read interface for the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch that you can customize to your heart's content.  Even if you don't want an app with attitude, just set the app to Professional mode; you'll still love the app for all of the information that it contains.  Additionally, this is probably my favorite third party app on the Apple Watch. 

I see that I am not the only one who considers CARROT Weather to be the best weather app.  Bradley Chambers of The Sweet Setup picked CARROT Weather as the best weather app, as did Josh Centers in an article for TidBITS.  It takes a lot to shine above all of the other weather apps on the App Store, but CARROT Weather manages to do it.  This is a great app.

Click here to get CARROT Weather ($4.99): 

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

In the news

iPhone J.D. - Fri, 04/06/2018 - 01:03

If you wear an Apple Watch, you have probably noticed that if you walk at a brisk pace with your arms moving for at least two to three minutes, the Apple Watch will start to give you credit towards the green activity circle.  That kind of walking isn't a strenuous workout, so does it really help?  Gretchen Reynolds of the New York Times reports that, based on a new study of physical activity, short walks reduce your risk of dying prematurely just as well as longer walks do, so it doesn't matter if you reach 30 minutes of walking by taking a bunch of short walks or just a few long walks.  Of course, you'll need to do more than that to lose weight, but the Apple Watch is correct to give you credit because even those short walks are still doing your body some good.  And now, the recent news of note:

  • Lit Software (a sponsor of iPhone J.D. this month) profiled on its blog Atlanta attorney Lloyd Bell, who used TrialPad on his iPad to present medical records and other evidence to a jury in a medical malpractice case, resulting in a $26 million verdict.
  • In an article for Slaw, Virginia attorney Sharon Nelson and her husband, security expert John Simek, write a good overview of the risks of cloud computing for attorneys.  While they think that attorneys should be cautious, they also believe that "the cloud will generally protect a law firm’s data better than the law firm would itself."
  • In an article for Venture Beat, attorney Jeremy Horwitz reviews the new sixth generation iPad, finding that it is a great alternative for many iPad users.
  • Rene Ritchie of iMore wrote a comprehensive review of the new sixth generation iPad.  The title sums it up well:  "Half the [iPad] Pro for half the price."
  • In an article for Macworld, Michael Simon compares the 9.7" sixth generation iPad to the 10.5" iPad Pro.  Serenity Caldwell of iMore also compared the two.  Keep in mind that this is the iPad Pro that was released a year ago; I expect Apple to release a 2018 version of the 10.5" iPad Pro this Summer or Fall.
  • I am a huge proponent of attorneys (and others) using password managers, and my personal favorite is 1Password.  This week the company unveiled 1Password Business, designed for larger teams.  It includes features like Active Directory integration so that companies can automate provisioning.
  • Scanner Pro by Readdle (my review) is my favorite app for turning paper documents into PDFs, and I use it frequently.  But Scanbot is also an excellent scanner app, and I see that this week it was updated to version 7, adding lots of new features.
  • AirPods are one of my all-time favorite Apple products.  Vlad Sarov, who reviews high-end audio equipment for The Verge, posted a review and finds them to be the best in class.  But what is just as interesting is that Sarov originally panned the AirPods before he had a chance to really try them, and Jonathan Kim provides an interesting perspective on this 180° change.
  • Michael Steeber of 9to5Mac interviewed Rob Janoff, the man who designed the Apple logo back in 1977, a version of which is still being used today.
  • iOS 11.3 came out last week.  Rene Ritchie of iMore explains what is new.
  • I've seen very favorable reviews of the Nest Hello, its version of a video doorbell, including this one by Martyn Williams of TechHive and this one by Phil Nickinson of iMore.  It may well be the best choice if you use a Google Home device.  I would be interested to see a reviewer select the best video doorbell for folks who use an iPhone and Apple's HomeKit technology.
  • Zac Hall of 9to5Mac explains how to use HomeKit to automatically turn on outdoor lights based on sunset and sunrise.  I have two different sets of lights in the front of my house — a downstairs front porch and an upstairs front porch — being controlled by HomeKit to do just this.
  • This item is for my 10 year old daughter, and any of you out there who have kids who are similarly engrossed by Harry Potter.  Bryan Chaffin of the Mac Observer reports that on April 25th, there will be a new iOS game based on the Harry Potter franchise.  This one takes place before Harry Potter was born, and it is set at Hogwarts and reunites many of the voice actors from the movie such as Maggie Smith and Warwick Davis.  I have no doubt that my daughter is going to spend many hours on this one.
  • And finally, Apple released a one minute video this week showing how easy it is to take a picture of whatever is on your iPad screen and annotate it using an Apple Pencil:

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

[Sponsor] Lit Software -- TrialPad, TranscriptPad and DocReviewPad apps for the iPad

iPhone J.D. - Wed, 04/04/2018 - 21:44

Thank you to Lit Software for sponsoring iPhone J.D. this month.  Lit Software has a long history of helping attorneys use iPads in a law practice.  Shortly after the iPad was first released in 2010, the company released TrialPad, an app that attorneys can use to present evidence to a jury, judge, or other audience.  It was one of the first professional apps for any profession, and countless attorneys have successfully used this app over the years.  Here is my review.

The second app for attorneys created by Lit Software was TranscriptPad (my review).  I know of no better way to manage, annotate, and work with transcripts in a law practice.  It easily beats working with paper or any other software solution out there.  The complex litigation and other cases that I work on don't go to trial very often, but I do work with depositions all the time, so TranscriptPad is the Lit Software app that gets the most use on my iPad.

More recently, Lit Software released DocReviewApp (my review).  This is an app that you can use to review and annotate documents on your iPad, so this app is especially useful during the request for production of documents process.

I got a chance to catch up with the folks at Lit Software when I was at ABA TECHSHOW in Chicago last month, and I was excited to hear about TimelinePad, an app that the company is currently working on which will let you create timelines to explain to a jury and others how certain facts, documents, etc. work together chronologically. 

In addition to coming up with new apps for attorneys, the company is constantly working on improvements to its existing apps.  One improvement that the company added to TranscriptPad last year is the ability to quickly create impeachment reports.  At a trial or subsequent deposition, attorneys often impeach a witness based on inconsistent prior testimony, or perhaps the testimony of another witness.  It is nice to present the quote of the witness on a big slide so that everyone — including the jury and the witness — can see the testimony.  TranscriptPad can now create these slides in just seconds.

Here's how it works.  After you have reviewed and annotated a deposition in TranscriptPad, all of the key testimony will be assigned to the issue codes that you selected for your case.  Tap the Reports button and then in the list of PDF Report types, select the second option, Impeachment.  Decide if you want a white or a black background, and select the annotations that you want to be turned into slides.  For example, you might want to just create slides for one issue code. 

Tap Create Report and you are done.  The app then presents you with a multi-page PDF file in which each page is a different slide.  The quote is large and easy to read on the slide, and the margins show the page and line number, deposition date, etc. to provide the textual context for everyone to see that this is taken directly from the deposition.

Do whatever you want with the PDF file — send it to TrialPad, email it, or open it with another app that you are using to present your evidence. 

What is nice about this feature is that it works so quickly that you can even create slides just seconds before you need to present them.  As soon as the witness says something that is inconsistent, you don't need to worry about whether you remembered last week to create an impeachment slide just in case this happened.  The TranscriptPad app allows you to create the impression that you were prepared for this very testimony — even if you were just as surprised by everyone else at what the witness is now saying.

While the Impeachment Report feature is one of the newer features of a Lit Software app, it is just one the countless features that you can use to be a better attorney with these apps on your iPad.  Thanks to Lit Software for sponsoring iPhone J.D. this month, and a big thank you to Lit Software for giving attorneys these powerful tools. 

Click here to get TrialPad ($129.99): 

Click here to get TranscriptPad ($89.99): 

Click here for DocReviewPad ($89.99): 

Click here for the Ultimate Litigation Package (all three apps) ($299.99): 

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

Apple announces a new iPad, and potentially opens the door to Apple Pencil improvements

iPhone J.D. - Wed, 03/28/2018 - 02:01

Yesterday, Apple had a special event at a high school in Chicago to announce new hardware and software that can be used in schools.  You can watch Apple's one hour presentation and learn more information from Apple about it announced on this page of the Apple website.  It looked like these were interesting announcements for folks in the education field who want to help students be even more creative and productive with iPads.  I'm not a teacher, so I'm not really qualified to comment on that.

But I did see quite a few things yesterday that have the potential to be really useful for attorneys, although in some cases you have to read a few tea leaves.  Here's what jumped out at me.

An inexpensive iPad that works with the Apple Pencil

I'll start with the one announcement that attorneys can start using this week:  the new sixth generation iPad.  Before yesterday, when an attorney would ask me which iPad to buy, I always said the iPad Pro.  You need to decide whether to get the more traditional 10.5" size or the larger 12.9" size, but I always considered the iPad Pro far superior to the standard iPad for attorneys and other professional users.  A big reason for that was that only the iPad Pro line supported the Apple Pencil, which is fantastic for annotating documents — highlighting the cases that you download from Westlaw, adding notes in the margins of a brief filed by your opponent, circling key provisions in a contract or exhibit, taking handwritten notes in a meeting, etc.  But it also helped that the iPad Pro is a much more powerful device, so it keeps up with you and doesn't get in the way of you getting your work done.

Yesterday Apple updated its entry-level non-Pro tablet, which is simply called the iPad.  This sixth generation iPad features the 9.7" screen that has been a part of the iPad since 2010, so you don't get the reduced bezels that result in more usable screen space on the 10.5" iPad Pro.  And in many other respects, the new sixth generation iPad contains old technology.  For example, it has the first generation version of Touch ID, an older camera that lacks optical image stabilization and can't record 4K video, lacks True Tone (so the screen doesn't adjust based upon the ambient light in the room so that white always looks white), lacks ProMotion technology (so the screen doesn't refresh as often), and doesn't have a four-speaker audio system.

But for the first time, the entry-level iPad now supports the Apple Pencil, which I've always considered the major advantage of the iPad Pro for attorneys.  Because it lacks the ProMotion technology, the Apple Pencil won't be quite as fast and smooth on the screen of an iPad as compared to an iPad Pro, but if you have never used an iPad Pro then you won't notice the difference.  Instead of spending $649 for the cheapest version of the 10.5" iPad Pro (with 64GB), you can now spend $329 for the cheapest version of the iPad (with 32GB), a significant savings of $320.  Use some of that to buy an Apple Pencil (which costs $99) and you are still spending far less than you would on just the iPad Pro itself without the Pencil.

The sixth generation iPad also features the A10 processor (first used in the iPhone 7 in 2016), which is an improvement over the A9 processor used in the fifth generation iPad which came out one year ago, but still slower than the A10X chip used in the currently-shipping version of the iPad Pro (introduced in mid-2017) and the A11 chip in the iPhone 8 and iPhone X.

If you are in the market for a new iPad and are thinking of saving yourself some money by purchasing this sixth generation iPad instead of an iPad Pro, here are two more things that you should keep in mind as you compare the features.  First, remember that the iPad Pro being sold today was introduced in June of 2017.  The 2018 iPad may compare somewhat favorably to the 2017 iPad Pro, but when the 2018 version of the iPad Pro is released (maybe this June?), I'm sure that there will even more of a gap between the non-Pro and the Pro models.

Second, keep in mind that if you are like most people, you will hang on to whatever iPad you buy today for several years.  While many people upgrade to a new iPhone every one or two years, people tend to wait even longer before upgrading to a new tablet.  In a few years, the 2017 (or 2018) version of the iPad Pro will probably still work really well with the latest apps, but the sixth generation iPad may seem even more dated.

But for many attorneys, this won't matter.  If you just want a basic iPad to get your work done and it is more important to you to pay essentially half as much money, even if it means that you won't have all of the bells and whistles associated with the high-end iPad Pro, the 2018 version of the iPad is a very good option.  The least expensive $329 version only has 32GB of space, which might not be enough if you plan to keep a lot of documents, photos, etc., but there is also a 128GB version for $429. 

I think it is great that there is now a lower cost, entry-level iPad that I can finally recommend to attorneys and other professionals looking to get work done without paying a premium for the latest and greatest features.

New Pencil feature:  Smart Annotation

Although I often use my Apple Pencil to annotate a Microsoft Word document, adding comments or additions in the margins, circling paragraphs, etc., when I am done annotating I always convert the document to PDF and send that version to the person who is making the changes.  Converting to PDF is necessary because if I just send the document in Word format, it is too easy for the annotations — which are just pictures on top of the document — to get out of sync with the document itself.  For example, If I circle a few words in a paragraph, And then another person starts to type something to the beginning of the paragraph, then the circle stays in the same place while the words that you were supposed to be circled move down the page.  And even if you are not sharing a document with another person, if you try to use both redline edits to text and also annotations from an Apple Pencil in the same document, it can quickly become a big mess.

Realizing that this is a problem, Apple added a new feature to Pages, Apple's word processing app that comes for free with the iPad, called Smart Annotation.  This feature makes your edits stay with the text that you were annotating, even if the words move around. 

Here are two pictures that show you how this works.  In the first image, I circled a word in the last sentence of the first paragraph and wrote some notes:

Now I hit return to move that last sentence so that it becomes the second paragraph.  If you try this in Microsoft Word, the annotations end up in the wrong place.  But in the new version of Pages, the annotation correctly moves as the text moves.

Apple says that this new Smart Annotation feature is currently still in beta, but in my tests last night it seemed to work really well. 

Does this one new feature mean that I'm now going to start using Pages instead of Microsoft Word on my iPad?  No, it doesn't.  There are too many other features of the Word app that I prefer.  And whenever I translate a document from Microsoft Word to Apple Pages format and then back again, there is a high risk of messing up the formatting of the document.

But even if I won't use Pages, I'm still excited about this Smart Annotation feature because I hope that it is the start of more intelligent Pencil integration into apps and documents.  I especially hope that Microsoft copies this feature and perhaps even extends it, making annotations work even better.  Smart Annotations is one of those features that once you see it, you cannot imagine why it wasn't always there.

A second Renaissance Age for the stylus?

Next, I want to talk about a single sentence of Apple's hour-long presentation.  Just before the 34 minute mark, Greg Joswiak, Apple's vice president of product marketing, introduced a new durable keyboard-and-case for the iPad from Logitech.  After that, he says this:  "And Logitech is also offering Crayon, a new low-cost option for Education that works great with iWork and other Pencil-enabled apps."

I've been using a stylus with my iPad pretty much since I first got an iPad.  For many years, companies came out with better and better styluses, adding new features to make them work even more like a real pen or pencil or to add some other improvement.  The different styluses came in different shapes, experimented with different tips, some included buttons that an app could interpret to change from a pen to an eraser or other function, and there were lots of other differences.  As I look back at the iPhone J.D. Index, I see that I reviewed 28 different styluses between 2011 and 2016.

And then I stopped.  Shortly after the Apple Pencil came out in 2015, I no longer saw any point in reviewing a stylus made by any other company.  No other stylus had that fine tip, the extremely low latency, and the perfect palm rejection.  It wasn't even a fair fight; Apple designed the iPad to work with the Apple Pencil, so you could finally have a fine tip stylus that was as responsive as writing with a pen or pencil on paper — especially when using apps designed to work with the Apple Pencil.  No other company could match that.  I'm sure that Apple will release a second generation Apple Pencil at some point, and hopefully we will see it this year.  But before yesterday, I didn't expect to ever use any stylus with my iPad other than an Apple Pencil.

But now, there is a second stylus that uses Apple Pencil technology.  And it doesn't even come from Apple; it comes from Logitech.  The Logitech Crayon is half the cost of an Apple Pencil ($49).  It lacks a few features in the Apple Pencil — for example, it isn't pressure-sensitive so you cannot get a thicker line by pressing harder.  (As a workaround in some apps, you can tilt the Crayon at an angle to change the thickness.)  And you cannot charge the Crayon directly from an iPad; you need to use a Lightning cord, much like you would charge an iPad or iPhone.  But the Crayon also has some advantages over the Apple Pencil besides price.  For example, it is more durable, and it has a flat edge so it won't roll off of your desk.  (My workaround on my Apple Pencil is to add a clip.)

At this point, the Crayon only works with the sixth generation iPad.  It uses a new method of communicating with the iPad, so it will not work with any of the iPad Pro versions that have been released to date (although maybe that will change when the 2018 versions of the iPad Pro are released).  And at this point, it looks like you need to be a student or teacher to use the Logitech Crayon; according to Lory Gill of iMore, the Crayon will go on sale this Summer to schools, which will have to buy at least 10 units at a time.

If these restrictions remain, I myself may never use a Crayon.  However, what excites me is not the Crayon itself, but instead the possibility that the Crayon is the first of many new styluses to come.  Sure, it is possible that the Crayon is a one-off device, a way for Apple to get a cheaper and more rugged iPad stylus into the hands of schools without Apple having to make the product itself.  But my hope is that Apple is finally opening up the market so that third parties will be able to use Apple Pencil technology to create products that match the low latency and palm rejection of the Apple Pencil, but come in different shapes or sizes or have other differentiating features.  I would love to see professional styluses from Logitech, Adonit, Griffin, Kensington, Wacom, and the many other companies who in the past created some of the most innovative styluses for the iPad.

Will this happen?  Am I reading too much into that one sentence from Joswiak's presentation yesterday?  We'll see, but my fingers are crossed that when Apple opened the door to the Logitech Crayon, it opened the door for other third party styluses as well. 

iCloud Storage

Currently, every Apple account comes with 5GB of free iCloud storage, which you can use to store your photos, videos, and other files.  But that space gets used up very quickly, so Apple currently sells 50GB, 200GB, or 2TB plans.  In the U.S., the current monthly costs are $0.99 for 50GB, $2.99 for 200GB and $9.99 for 2TB, and with the two larger plans you can share that space with an entire family.  (I currently use the 2TB plan for me and my family.)

Yesterday, Apple announced that the free iCloud storage for school accounts is increasing from 5GB to 200GB.

Apple did not make any announcement of for folks outside of Education, but my hope is that Apple is finally recognizing that 5GB is way too small given current technology and that everyone needs a huge increase in free storage space.

Conclusion

I know many attorneys who are using an older iPad and are overdue for an upgrade.  Now that there is a relatively inexpensive entry-level iPad that supports the Apple Pencil, hopefully the sixth generation iPad will be an incentive for these folks to get a new more powerful and more useful device.  Advanced users will still want the iPad Pro, and after using a larger 12.9" screen for so many years now I'd never want to return to a smaller screen, which would force me to squint when reading documents.  But for many attorneys and other professional users, the sixth general iPad will be the sweet spot.

The new iPad is available this week, but everything else that excited me about yesterday's presentation will take a while to become a reality — if they come to fruition at all.  Maybe no other apps will add a Smart Annotation feature, maybe the Logitech Crayon will be the only third party stylus that works as well as the Apple Pencil, and maybe only schools will get increased iCloud storage space.  If that's the way it works out, I'll be disappointed.  For now, I prefer to be optimistic, and I hope that it won't be long before we can choose between a variety of different styluses for the iPad and iPad Pro, and use those products with iPad apps that offer all sorts of advanced stylus features such as Smart Annotations.

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

In the news

iPhone J.D. - Fri, 03/23/2018 - 00:39

Apple technology, especially iPhones and laptops, shows up in TV shows all the time.  I often hear folks speculate about how much Apple must have paid for product placement.  In an article for Variety, Brian Steinberg reports that there are some rare instances in which Apple does so, but most of the time that Apple's products appear in a show, it is just because the folks creating the show feel that it makes sense for an Apple product to appear in the scene.  But that doesn't mean that Apple has nothing to do with it.  Steinberg reports that Apple has a team that works with TV shows to provide Apple products to be used by the actors.  There is, of course, some cost to Apple to provide all of those products for free, but as Steinberg reports, that cost pales compared to the cost of a 30-second commercial, even though the exposure can be just as valuable.  And now, the news of note from the past week:

  • On his Apps in Law website, legal technology consultant Brett Burney discusses in two articles (part one, part two) and two associated videos how the TranscriptPad app works.  This is a great resource if you have TranscriptPad but you are not quite sure how to use all of the features, and is also useful if you don't have the app and you want to see exactly how you could use it.
  • California attorney David Sparks writes about an update to the Trello iOS app, an app that can be used by teams to manage a project.  I haven't used this myself, but I do hear about other attorneys incorporating project management software into their law practice.
  • The LitSoftware blog explains how Texas attorney Ron Clark used TrialPad to win three defense verdicts in criminal cases.
  • Next week, Apple will hold an education event in Chicago.  In an article for Macworld, Jason Snell predicts what Apple is most likely to announce, including a new low-cost iPad.
  • Jared Newman of Fast Company describes 25 top productivity apps.  There are some good ones in this list, along with quite a few that I've never heard of.
  • About a year ago, I tried out and reviewed Sleep++, and Apple Watch app that can measure and track your sleep.  The app didn't seem useful for my life, but I continue to hear from others who see value in using an app like this.  Federico Viticci of MacStories reports that the Sleep++ app was updated this week to add automatic sleep tracking, which I imagine would reduce the awkwardness of using the app.  Viticci's article also compares Sleep++ to AutoSleep, a similar app which Viticci prefers.
  • If you do sleep with your Apple Watch on, Christian Aibreg of iDownloadBlog recommends disabling Auto Call in your Emergency SOS settings so that you don't accidentally call 911 at night if you sleep on your watch the wrong way.  This reminds me of an incident back when I was a teenager using a Commodore 64 computer and a modem to dial a local BBS.  The phone number of the BBS was 391-19xx.  I could tell as the modem was dialing that it made a mistake and didn't dial the "3" and thus instead it dialed "911."  Through my modem speaker, I could hear emergency services pick up, while my end was making the sounds of a modem in the 1980s.  I immediately hung up in panic, but then a few minutes later the police showed up at my house to check that everything was OK — meaning I had to explain to my parents how my computer had called 911 by mistake, something that they didn't really understand.  We may no longer use modems to dial a BBS, but I guess that accidentally calling 911 is still a thing.
  • Apple updated its Apple Watch band collection for Spring 2018.  Rene Ritchie of iMore discusses the new bands.
  • Michael Steeber of 9to5Mac discusses some "obscure" Apple accessories of the past which you might have forgotten about.  I enjoyed the article, but some of these "obscure" accessories are items that I used quite a bit, so I'm not sure that they are obscure.  Indeed, I posted reviews of the Apple Universal Dock and the iPad Camera Connection Kit.
  • And finally, two weeks ago, I ended the In the news post with an Apple video for the HomePod called "Welcome Home" created by Spike Jonze.  It's a great video, and the choreography and effects are really impressive.  This week, Tim Nudd of AdWeek posted a fascinating behind-the-scenes article and video on how the Apple commercial was made.  You need to go to the AdWeek article to watch the video, and I recommend that you do so because it does a great job of showing you how complicated this was to create.  It reminds me of Apple technology itself, which is often so easy and fun to use that you can forget how much effort went into making the product.  After you watch that article, you'll want to watch the Apple video again, so here it is:

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

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