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Review: iPad Pro 12.9” (third generation) -- the perfect iPad for attorneys

iPhone J.D. - Mon, 11/12/2018 - 01:22

The legal pad dates back to 1888 when Thomas Holley, a paper mill worker, had the idea of binding discarded paper scraps at the mill into inexpensive pads.  In the early 1900s, a Massachusetts judge asked Mr. Holley to add a line 1.25” from the left edge so that the judge had space to annotate his notes, and since that time, the legal pad has been used by countless lawyers.  (For more details, read Old Yeller:  The illustrious history of the yellow legal pad by Suzanne Snider, Legal Affairs, May/June 2005.)

I’ve always thought it obvious that the “pad” in the word “iPad” refers to the legal pad.  After all, the device is sort of like an electronic legal pad, although when the iPad was first introduced in 2010, it was smaller and thicker than a legal pad.  As the screen on the iPad has gotten larger, and as we have gone from an age of third-party styluses which were just so-so to the fantastic first generation Apple Pencil, the iPad has moved closer to a lawyer’s familiar legal pad.  

Apple’s newest iPad Pro, the 12.9” third generation iPad Pro, is the closest that Apple has ever come to an iPad Legal Pad.  The size is almost exactly 8.5” x 11” (letter size), the second generation Apple Pencil is even better than before, and the shape of the device with its flat edges almost feels like a brand new legal pad with crisp edges.  Moreover, the incredibly powerful processor inside combined with the latest iOS and powerful apps makes the latest version of the iPad an incredibly useful tool for lawyers.  Much like the legal pad is an essential tool for any lawyer, the third generation 12.9” iPad Pro is the perfect iPad for many attorneys.  This device is amazing.

The size of a legal pad

One of the reasons that I love using the new iPad Pro is that the screen size remains 12.9” diagonal, just like the first two generations of the iPad Pro, but overall size has reduced.  It’s almost like someone figured out a way to take all of the writing space you get with a legal-size legal pad but shrunk it down to a less awkward size of a letter-sized legal pad. 

Although Apple has reduced the bezels on all sides of the new iPad, and reduced the width a little bit, what you really notice is the decrease in length.  The width only decreased from 8.69” to 8.46” which is not very noticeable.  But on the longer sides, the length decreased from 12.04” to 11.04” and that one-inch reduction is noticeable every time I pick up this device.The depth decreased a little in size from .27” to .23”, and that is nice, but what you really notice is the difference in shape on the edge.  Instead of being curved and tapered on the edges, the edge is now flat, although the corners are rounded so that they don’t hurt your hand.  The end result is that the edge of the new iPad Pro has a feel that reminds me of the iPhone 4 introduced in 2010, although the iPhone 4 depth was larger at 0.37”.

Put it all together, and I love the size and shape of this device.  It feels better to hold, and the weight difference between the first generation iPad Pro and this iPad Pro seems more substantial than it really is.  (The weight decreased from 1.57 pounds to 1.39 pounds.)  Here is a new iPad Pro on top of an old iPad Pro:

Maybe it is something about the flat edge being easier to hold that tricks my mind into thinking that this device is even lighter than it was before.  Indeed, while writing this review I've gone back to my older 12.9" iPad Pro to compare the two, and even though I've been using the new iPad Pro less than a week, the older iPad Pro already feels so much bigger when I hold it.  Apple has gone from a 12.9" iPad Pro which was longer than a letter-size legal pad to a 12.9" iPad Pro which is shorter than a letter-size legal pad because it is now the same size as a letter-size piece of paper.

I worked on a project this past Saturday at a coffee house, using my iPad to do online legal research and to read and annotate cases I downloaded, and then also to draft a memo using a Bluetooth keyboard.  This new size was really nice to use, with a nice big 12.9" diagonal screen in a lighter and easier to hold device.  Don’t get me wrong, I’d prefer for the iPad Pro to be even thinner and lighter, like a legal pad.  And I’m sure that it will head that direction over time, although if it gets much thinner I’m not sure how there will be enough space for a port on the side to plug it in.  But given what is possible with modern technology, I consider this the perfect size for an iPad.

I realize that many folks prefer smaller iPads, and Apple also sells a new 11” iPad Pro, which weighs a half-pound less and is 9.74” x 7.02”.  I played with that model at an Apple Store a few days ago.  It is certainly more compact and lighter when carrying it around, but in my law practice, I am often using my iPad to display documents, and it makes far more sense to me to have something which can show a letter-size document at virtually full size in portrait mode, or in an even larger size in landscape mode. Whether I am writing or editing a document in Microsoft Word, reading an opinion, annotating a brief from my opponent, reviewing exhibits, or reading a transcript, the 12.9” size is fantastic and much better, in my opinion, than a smaller screen.  Carrying around a device which is slightly bigger and heavier is more than worth it for me to have the advantage of the large 12.9” screen.  Even if you previously have been a fan of smaller iPads versus the 12.9” iPad, you owe it to yourself to see if the smaller size of the third generation 12.9” iPad Pro will win you over, even if the first two generations did not. 

As I said in my preview of this new iPad Pro, much like the iPhone X with its edge-to-edge screen seems like the perfect design for the iPhone, the much smaller bezels and reduced size of this new iPad Pro seems like the perfect design for the iPad.  This is the iPad that was always meant to be.  Even if the only new feature of this iPad was the size, that would be enough for me to be a huge fan.

No. 2 Pencil

The second best feature of the new iPad Pro for attorneys is that it works with the new second generation Apple Pencil.  I already loved the tip on the old Apple Pencil, which worked infinitely better than prior third-party styluses thanks to the sharp tip and incredible responsiveness.  But there were a few shortcomings with that first generation Pencil, which led me to wish earlier this year that Apple would open the door to third-party styluses with the same tip, something that Apple did this year for Logitech and its new Crayon stylus, which only works with the 6th generation iPad.

But with the second generation Apple Pencil, Apple has addressed all of the minor complaints I had with the original model.  First, I love that you can now tap the side of the Pencil with your finger to change tools.  For example, last week, I was taking notes in the GoodNotes app while participating in a telephone conference with a judge, and taking notes on my iPad was so much better because if I wanted to change something that I previously wrote, I could just quickly double-tap the side to change to the eraser, erase the word, and then pause a second and GoodNotes automatically switched back to the pen tool.  (Here is more info on how GoodNotes works with the new Apple Pencil.)  Not having to stop what I was doing to find and then tap the eraser tool on the top of the screen may only save about a second or two in actual time, but it made a huge difference in reducing distractions so that my attention remained focused on taking notes of what the judge or the lawyer for the other side was saying.  This one change makes the Pencil vastly more useful for taking notes.  And as app developers come up with additional creative uses for the double-tap (although switching to an eraser is pretty awesome), I’m sure that this feature of the new Pencil will become even better.

One thing to keep in mind:  an app has to be updated to use the double-tap feature with the new Apple Pencil.  For example, GoodNotes works great, but when I double-tap the Pencil in GoodReader, the GoodReader app just ignores that because GoodReader has not been updated (much to my annoyance).

Second, I love that the new Pencil has a flat edge which connects with magnets to the side of the iPad Pro.  It means that I always have a perfect place to put the Pencil when I’m using the iPad but not using the Pencil, and I always know where to reach for the Pencil without hunting around my desk.  I used to keep my Pencil in a shirt pocket using a third-party clip, but that is unnecessary with the second generation Apple Pencil.  When I was doing that online legal research in a coffee shop on Saturday, I kept my Pencil attached to the side as I was searching for cases, and then after I downloaded a case in PDF format, my pencil was in easy reach so it was quick and convenient to highlight key language and add notes in the margins.

Because the Pencil charges while it is attached to the edge, my Pencil always has a sufficient charge.  With my first generation Pencil, if I hadn’t used it in many days, it would sometimes be almost dead when I went to use it.  The new Pencil is similar to the fantastic AirPods; when you take the Pencil from the side of your iPad or you take the AirPods out of their case, they are charged and ready to go.

The magnetic connection works well.  As I walk around my office with the Pencil attached to the side, it is incredibly secure and isn’t going to fall off unless I pull it off.  But when I’m ready to use the Pencil, it comes off easily.  I don’t trust keeping the Pencil attached to the side of the iPad Pro when it is in a briefcase or other bag; it seems like something could knock it off, so instead I just put it in a pencil/pen compartment.  But when the iPad Pro is being used, my Pencil is usually either attached to the side or in my hand.

Third, that flat edge on the new Pencil also feels really good in my hand, and combined with the new matte finish keeps the Pencil more secure in my hand when I am writing.  There is a reason that so many pencils and pens have one or more flat edges.  The new Pencil shape is also a little shorter than the prior Pencil.  For me, both lengths are fine, but some folks might prefer one size over the other.

Fourth, good riddance to the cap on the back of the original Pencil that you had to remove to charge the device (and risk losing), and good riddance to having the Pencil protrude like a flagpole from the edge of the iPad when it charged.  There are no removable parts on the new Pencil, and that is as it should be.

Finally, keep in mind that if your order an Apple Pencil from Apple, you can get it engraved for free.  I didn't do that because I was afraid that it would take to long to do, but I see other folks saying that it didn't add any delay, such as California attorney David Sparks.


The advances that Apple is making with its A-series processors are the best in the business, and for many years have been putting companies like Intel to shame.  Tests show that the new iPad Pro is now faster than all but the fastest laptop computers.

Let’s face it:  for most of the tasks that a lawyer will do with an iPad Pro, that speed is more than you need.  Folks running sophisticated games or working with huge images in a photo editor will get the most use of the new processor, whereas I’m going to notice it less frequently, such as when working with huge PDF files.  But the same can be said for most modern computers; they are capable of speeds that you probably don’t need for most tasks like word processing and reading emails.

But what I do notice whenever I use this new iPad Pro is how incredibly responsive it is.  When I am moving between apps, scrolling through screens, swiping through photos, moving my finger down from the top of the screen to see the notification center, etc., everything is as smooth as silk.  This makes a difference because it means that the interface does what I need when I need it, and doesn’t distract me from the task at hand.  I wrote this 3500+ word review using the new iPad Pro and an external keyboard, and I’ve been scrolling up and down this post as I edit it without even a hint of lag.

Finally, the fast A12X Bionic chip means that this iPad Pro is going to remain fast even as iOS is updated over the years and apps become even more power-hungry.


Apple has removed the Lightning port to replace it with industry-standard USB-C.  For now, I’m reserving judgment because I don’t yet have any USB-C devices to test (other than cables), but I have high hopes for this being a great change.

Right now, Apple is touting USB-C as an improvement over Lightning because it allows for faster data transfer and thus can support external 5K displays.  I’m sure that is true, but that is obviously only going to be useful for a small part of the iPad Pro market.  How many of us have a frequent need to use a 4K or 5K monitor with an iPad?  If that was the only advantage, I cannot believe that Apple would have made the change to USB-C.

I think the real reason that Apple made this change is that it has bigger plans for USB-C in the future.  For example, right now, the iPad cannot access files on an external storage device such as a thumb drive or a small hard drive (absent some workarounds using special apps).  My guess is that Apple will add this feature in the future, make it far easier to transfer large files to and from an iPad Pro and share those files with others.

I also suspect that Apple was keenly aware that USB-C is an industry standard, which vastly increases the potential for third parties to come up with accessories.  Just to take one example, I want the ability to connect via HDMI to a projector, something I do whenever I give a Keynote or PowerPoint presentation from my iPad.  In the past, my only option for doing so was Apple’s own $50 Lightning-to-HDMI connector.  But now, I see that there are tons of HDMI-to-USB-C options on the market.  Do I want something with just HDMI for $17, or something with HDMI and VGA for $33, or something with HDMI and an extra USB-C port (for keeping the iPad charged while also connecting to a monitor) such as this one with HDMI and extra USB-C and a USB port for $40 or maybe this big one with 10 connections including HDMI and VGA and Ethernet and more for $56?   All of those devices are already for sale on Amazon, and they were there before the new iPad Pro was even announced.  Companies are currently working to develop even more options designed especially for the iPad Pro, such as Satechi's upcoming Type-C Mobile Pro Hub (pictured below).  USB-C is going to result in far more accessories that can be used with your iPad.

Note that there are some growing pains associated with any transition.  For example, I prefer to back up my iPad to the Mac at my house rather than iCloud, and as I was driving home from work the day that my new iPad Pro arrived, I realized that I had no way to connect the new iPad Pro to my Mac to restore from a backup of the old iPad Pro it was replacing.  I needed a USB-to-USB-C cable, which I didn’t own.  Fortunately, there is an office supply store on the way home and they had tons of those cables for under $10 (because many Android phones use USB-C) so it was cheap and easy to pick one up, but I’m glad that I realized that before I got home.  Similarly, I’ve long had a Lightning cord on my desk in my office which I have used to charge both my iPhone and iPad.  With this new iPad Pro, I now need two cables on my desk:  Lightning for the iPhone and USB-C for the iPad Pro.

As Apple updates iOS to better support USB-C, and as third party companies come out with even more products, I suspect that it won’t be long before USB-C becomes one of the best features for power users of the new iPad Pro.  Perhaps the only downside will be that there will be so many options out there that it will be tough to choose the best ones.

And the rest...

The size/shape, Pencil support, and speed are the main reasons that I have loved using this new iPad Pro since I first received mine last week, but there are lots of other nice features which will be nice but less important for most attorneys.  I listed the other new features in my preview of the new iPad Pro so look there for all of the details, but just to pick one of them, I really like the screen.  The Liquid Retina display is beautiful with vibrant colors, and it has the same ProMotion and TrueTone features that I discussed in my review of the second generation iPad Pro.  The screen on a regular iPad looks just fine, so I find it hard to believe that someone who is not a graphics professional, such as a lawyer, would choose a new iPad Pro just because of the display.  Nevertheless, it is a nice bonus to have this beautiful display along with all of the other more important new features. 


I’m not sure what Thomas Holley would think of the new iPad Pro.  Perhaps he would fear that it would put the company that he founded out of business.  That would have been a valid concern.  He founded American Pad & Paper in 1888 to sell legal pads, and the company eventually changed its name to Ampad and became one of the largest sellers of legal pads and thousands of other office products.  But about 20 years ago, the company was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange and went bankrupt, and what remains of the company is now owned by TOPS Products.  

But as for that judge who asked Mr. Holley to add the line on the left side so that he could annotate documents — I bet you that judge would love the new iPad Pro.  When I am working in my office, this new iPad Pro is a fantastic companion for my computer.  For example, I can review and annotate briefs and exhibits on the iPad while I am writing an appellate brief on my computer based on that brief/exhibit.  When I walk out of my office to go work elsewhere, I can just grab my iPad Pro (and sometimes also grab my external keyboard) and I have everything that I need for a meeting with other attorneys or clients.  The iPad Pro is powerful enough to do most of what I do on a computer, plus it is far better than a computer for so many other tasks like reading and annotating documents, so it often is all that I need.  And then when I return to the computer at my office or at home, I can pick right up with the work that is best done on a computer, with the iPad at my side.  This is all stuff that I’ve been doing for years with an iPad, and it all works better with the new iPad Pro.  Thanks to the iPad Pro. I have almost no need for paper or for legal pads.

For any attorney only planning to use an iPad occasionally, the 6th generation iPad introduced earlier this year might be sufficient for your needs and it is much cheaper.  But whenever you are next in the market for a new iPad (or your first iPad), if you want to have the best iPad experience and are willing to pay over $1,000 for an iPad and accessories that will significantly aid your law practice, this is the perfect iPad to get.  The new 12.9” iPad Pro with its larger screen is a great size and shape, it works with the amazing second generation Apple Pencil, and it is so fast and powerful that the iPad will let you do all that you want to do.  No prior iPad has ever deserved the word “pad” in its name as much as this one.

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

In the news

iPhone J.D. - Fri, 11/09/2018 - 00:55

The third-generation iPad Pro is now available, and most of the news of note this week relates to this new product.  I received mine on Wednesday, and this is a remarkable device.  I want to use it a little more before I write a review, but so far it is amazing.  And now, here is that news of note from the past week:

  • If you are starting to plan your CLE hours for 2019, ABA TECHSHOW will take place in Chicago February 27 to March 2, 2019 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, and registration is now open.  I plan to be there.
  • Attorney Nilay Patel reviews the new iPad Pro for The Verge.  Although he states that "Apple once again produced mobile hardware that puts the rest of the industry to shame when it comes to performance, battery life, and design," he doesn't like that the iPad Pro cannot replace a computer.  I think that misses the point — the iPad Pro is perfect for the tasks that are best suited for a tablet, whereas a computer is best suited for the tasks that are best suited for a computer, even though there are areas of overlap.
  • Raymond Wong of Mashable wrote an excellent review of the new iPad Pro.
  • John Gruber of Daring Fireball also wrote an excellent review of the new iPad Pro.
  • Matthew Panzarino of TechCrunch also wrote an excellent review of the new iPad Pro.
  • In an article for Macworld, Jason Snell discusses the extensive use of magnets in Apple's products, such as in the new iPad Pro.  Like Jason, I very much remember the old days of computing in which magnets were a big problem around computers, especially if one got close to a floppy disk.
  • Charlie Sorrel of Cult of Mac shows that there are enough magnets on the back of the new iPad Pro to stick it to a refrigerator.  I cannot emphasize enough that THIS IS A BAD IDEA but it is sort of funny.
  • In an interview with David Phelan of The Independent, Apple's Jony Ive discusses the design of the new iPad Pro.
  • Joe Rossignol of MacRumors reveals three lesser-known things about the second-generation Apple Pencil, including a description of the way that it updates its firmware.  And apparently there is already a released firmware update.
  • Samuel Axon of Ars Technica interviewed Apple's Anand Shimpi and Phil Schiller to discuss the incredibly fast processor in the new iPad Pro.
  • Benjamin Mayo of 9to5Mac wrote a useful article on some of the accessories that can connect to the USB-C port on the new iPad Pro.
  • Christine McKee of AppleInsider reports that the top selling item at Best Buy in October was Apple's AirPods.
  • And finally, Twelvesouth introduced an interesting new product this week called PowerPic.  It looks like a normal picture frame, and you can place any 5x7 photo behind the glass.  But if you set your iPhone in the frame, the built-in Qi charger will charge your iPhone.  It's an interesting way to put an iPhone charger in a room without it looking like an iPhone charger.  It costs $79.99 on Amazon.  Here is a 20-second video which shows how it works:

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

Challenging a parking ticket with the ParkMobile app

iPhone J.D. - Tue, 11/06/2018 - 22:44

I fought the law, and my app won.  Here is my story.

For many years now, there have been systems in place in many cities allowing you to pay for a parking spot using an iPhone app.  I live in New Orleans, and the system that we use here is called ParkMobile, which operates in 350 cities in the United States.  It is convenient that you can pay for a parking spot before you even leave your car, it is helpful to see how much time you have on the meter even when you are far away from your car, and perhaps best of all, you can add more time to the parking meter no matter where you are.  There have been multiple times when I have been in a deposition or a meeting which ran long and I was able to quickly add more time to the meter without having to go all the way back to my car.  The system works so well that it has almost seemed too easy, making me wonder if simply using the app really would protect me from getting a parking ticket.

On September 25, 2018, I met my wife for lunch at a great restaurant called The Rum House on Magazine Street (a street with tons of fantastic restaurants and shops) and I parked between Seventh and Eighth Streets, right in front of a place called Sucré — which, by the way, makes amazing chocolates, macarons, and other sweets which are available for mail order.  I used the ParkMobile app to pay for parking for 46 minutes ($1.55 plus a $0.35 transaction fee), knowing that if I needed more time than that I could add it from the restaurant.  When lunch was over, it was raining, but I got back to my car with about three minutes left on my parking.  I jumped in the car, turned on the windshield wipers, and then saw underneath a wiper an orange parking ticket envelope with a ticket inside.  Ugh!


I opened up the ParkMobile app, and I saw that I still had about a minute left before my parking would expire.  So I took a screenshot, just in case that might help down the road.

In retrospect, what I wish I had also done was get out of the car and take a picture of my car and the surroundings to show where I was parked (even though I would have gotten pretty wet doing so in the rain), but at the time I didn't realize that would become relevant.  I did, however, take a screenshot of the part of the ParkMobile app that shows that I paid to park in that zone during that time period.  (The black box is where I redacted my vehicle license for this post.)


After I returned to my office, I took a closer look at the ticket and I figured out what happened.  The ticket was issued at 12:50 p.m., which was during my parking time of 12:22 to 1:08 p.m., so that wasn't the problem.  However, the officer who issued me the ticket apparently checked to see whether I had paid using the ParkMobile app, but by mistake thought that I was parked in 2900 block of Magazine, which is parking zone 29216.  In fact, I was actually on the 3000 block of Magazine Street, which is zone 29217. 

New Orleans has a system which allows you to contest a ticket online rather than show up in court.  I had never used the system before, but it was pretty easy to use.  You just fill out a form, explain what happened, and upload any exhibits you want to submit.  I sent the above screenshot pictures, and I also took a screenshot of a part of the ParkMobile website further confirming that I paid.  Unfortunately, I didn't have proof that I was parked in the 3000 block — again, I wish I had taken a picture — but I figured that even if the judge didn't believe me on where I parked, it might help if the judge could see that I had indeed paid to park during the time period that I got the ticket.

After I contested my ticket online, I received an email saying that I would get a decision within five weeks.

Almost exactly five weeks later, I received a letter in the mail saying that I was successful in contesting the ticket.  The decision states:  "Citizen's written statement and citizen's and City's Park Mobile Meter Program information outweighed the prima facie case."

It's always satisfying to get a favorable decision for one of my clients, especially when a lot of money is at stake.  Here, the amount in controversy was only a $30 parking ticket, but it still felt pretty darn good to win.

If you ever get a parking ticket after you have used a parking app, perhaps you will remember my tremendous victory using evidence from the ParkMobile app and you will do some of the same things that I did.  But if you can, also try to take a picture of where your car was located.

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

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

iPhone J.D. - Sat, 11/03/2018 - 23:56

Late Thursday, Apple released the results for its 2018 fiscal fourth quarter (which ran from July 1, 2018 to September 29, 2018) and held a call with analysts to discuss the results.  I've been reporting on these quarterly calls for 10 years because even though the calls are aimed at financial analysts, the Apple executives would sometimes reveal something interesting about the iPhone and iPad, and also because Apple would reveal how many iPhones and iPads were sold in the last quarter.  However, that is now about to change.  Although Apple revealed iPhone and iPad sales numbers for last quarter, Apple announced that starting with the fiscal 2019 first quarter (which we are in now), Apple will no longer reveal iPhone and iPad unit sales.  I cannot say that I'm surprised; none of Apple's competitors release similar numbers, and while I am not a securities lawyer, I think that as a public company all that Apple is required to reveal is certain financial information such as profits.  Even so, it has been interesting to look at the data on iPhone and iPads sales over the last decade.

Apple's fiscal fourth quarter is typically a transitional quarter; it is Apple's fiscal first quarter which contains all of the holiday sales, so that is by far Apple's best quarter every year.  Even so, Apple announced that quarterly revenue for the past quarter was $62.9 billion, which is the best fiscal fourth quarter in Apple history.  $10 billion of that was revenue on services, and that is also an all-time high for Apple.  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 Jason Snell of Six Colors.  Apple's official press release is here.  Here are the items that stood out to me.


  • During the past quarter, Apple sold 46.9 million iPhones, just slightly more than the 46.7 million iPhones sold in Apple 2017 fiscal fourth quarter. The all-time record for iPhone sales in a fiscal Q3 was in 2015, when Apple sold 48 million iPhones.
  • While the increase in the number of iPhones sold versus 2017 Q3 was modest, the increase in revenue from iPhone sales was more impressive thanks to sales of the iPhone X and the first few weeks of sales of the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max.  iPhone revenue was $28.8 billion in 2017 Q4, and it rose to $37.2 billion in 2018 Q4, a 29% increase.  Considering that unit sales did not go up very much, that demonstrates that people are now buying more expensive iPhones.
  • By my count, Apple has sold 1.468 billion iPhones since they first went on sale in 2007.  And because Apple will no longer report these numbers every quarter, this is the last time I'll be able to report a precise number of all-time iPhone sales.



  • Apple sold 9.7 million iPads in the fiscal third quarter.  That's not as impressive as many other recent quarters, but the introduction of the new iPad Pro last week may start to change that.
  • By my count, Apple has sold almost 425 million iPads since they first went on sale in 2010.
  • If you add all of the iPhone and iPad sales over time, it comes to about 1.892 billion devices sold.  If you add in all of the sales of the iPod touch over time, another device that runs iOS, Tim Cook announced last week that Apple has sold over 2 billion devices that run iOS.


  • Tim Cook announced that Apple Pay use has tripled since this time last year.
  • Cook also noted that Consumer Reports named Apple Pay Cash the highest-rates mobile peer-to-peer service, based on exceptional payment authentication and data privacy.
  • Cook said that it was a record quarter for revenue from wearable products, including the Apple Watch, AirPods and Beats headphones.
  • Apple now has about 500 Apple Stores, and almost half of those are outside of the United States.
  • Cook noted that healthcare is an area in which Apple has a lot of interest.  "You can see from our past several years that we have intense interest in the space and are adding products and services — not monetized services, so far — to that, and I don’t want to talk about the future, it’s because I don’t want to give away what we’re doing. But this is an area of major interest to us."
Categories: iPhone Web Sites

In the news

iPhone J.D. - Fri, 11/02/2018 - 01:51

When I was younger, taking a photograph meant using film in a camera.  You only had so many pictures on a roll, and you had to pay to develop every picture (even the bad ones), so you were more circumspect about pressing that shutter button.  Nowadays, you can take virtually unlimited pictures for free with your iPhone.  That's great, but it also means that you end up with tons of pictures, only some of which are worth keeping.  This week, California attorney David Sparks of MacSparky reviews BestPhotos, an iPhone app that helps you to pick out the photos on your iPhone that are worth keeping.  The app even gives you options to quickly delete obvious errors.  For example, the app can quickly find all of the videos on your iPhone that last about one second because those are videos that you likely took by accident when you intended to take a photo but instead you were in video mode.  Just tap the mistakes and then tap one button to delete them all.  You can also quickly add missing location information to a bunch of photos at one time, view photos side-by-side to quickly select the one worth keeping, view all of the metadata associated with a picture, and much more.  I was thrilled to learn about the BestPhotos app (developer website) from David Sparks and I quickly paid the $3 to unlock all of the features.  And now, the news of note from the past week:

  • Illinois attorney John Voorhees of MacStories writes about some of the interesting details of Apple's October 30th announcements that you may have missed.
  • California attorney Jeffrey Allen recommends iPhone apps for road warriors in an article for the ABA GPSolo Magazine.
  • I've written before (1, 2) about how border patrol agents will sometimes demand the right to search your iPhone as you come into the United States, and if you decline to unlock your iPhone and let them do so, they may seize the device.  Two months ago this happened to an American Muslim woman, and she retained an attorney with the Council on American-Islamic Relations to represent her in a lawsuit against the government.  Cyrus Farivar of Ars Technica reported this week that the case settled and that the government returned her iPhone.
  • It sounds like a scene from a techno horror movie — a bunch of Apple Watches in a hospital shut down, and then a bunch of iPhones shut down, but other cellphones and electronic devices continue to work just fine.  What in the world could cause that?  Kyle Wiens of iFixIt reports that it turns out that there was a helium leak from an MRI machine which impacted the clocks on Apple devices, and when the clock stops working, the rest of the device cannot work so it shuts down.  It's an interesting story.
  • If you use the Microsoft Outlook app on your iPhone, Michael Potuck of 9to5Mac reports that a new update provides better support for the larger screens on an iPhone XS Max and and iPhone XR.
  • Jeremy Burge of Emojipedia shows off all of the new emoji and emoji changes introduced in iOS 12.1, which came out earlier this week.  He counts 158 new emojis.
  • In January of 2017, Apple introduced a new power management feature for the iPhone 7 and earlier models to help to prevent a device from unexpectedly shutting down when the battery in the device gets old.  Joe Rossignol of MacRumors reports that iOS 12.1 adds this feature to the iPhone 8 and iPhone X.
  • Rossignol also reports that initial tests show that the new iPad Pro is as fast as a new MacBook Pro.  Wow.
  • Charlie Sorrel of Cult of Mac discusses the USB-C port on the new iPad Pro.
  • M.G. Siegler reviews the Apple Watch Series 4 in a post on Medium.  He believes that this is the first truly great Apple Watch, and I agree.
  • Brent Dirks of AppAdvice reviews Name Skillz, a $5 app which helps you to remember peoples' names.
  • And finally, Apple released two videos this week which show off the new features in the iPad Pro.  A one minute video called Change focuses on what is different, like the larger screen.  The more informative one is a three-minute introduction video, and that is the one I have embedded below:

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

Why lawyers will love the new iPad Pro (2018 editions: 12.9" 3rd Generation and 11")

iPhone J.D. - Wed, 10/31/2018 - 02:14

Yesterday, Apple held an event in Brooklyn, NY to unveil the new 2018 version of the iPad Pro.  The iPad Pro was already incredibly useful for attorneys, and this new version is a major upgrade.  Apple has essentially taken everything that was good about the iPhone X / XS / XR and applied it to the iPad, and then on top of that greatly improved the Apple Pencil.  This looks to be a fantastic new device, and I ordered one immediately.

More screen, less bezel

The iPhone X with its edge-to-edge screen and no home button was an obvious design change from all prior iPhones, and the same can be said about the new iPad Pro.  For the first time ever on an iPad, Apple has removed the home button and Touch ID and replaced it with Face ID, and then greatly reduced the size of the bezel around the iPad.  As a result, the new iPad Pro looks like it is essentially all screen.  When introducing the new iPad Pro, here is what Apple VP of Engineering John Ternus said:  "It marks the biggest change since the original iPad, and we have made it better in every possible way.  In fact, this really is the iPad we dreamed about building from the very beginning.  We've always felt that the iPad should be all about the display.  And in this new iPad Pro, we have an LCD which stretches from edge to edge and top to bottom."  He could have just as easily been talking about the iPhone X being what Apple always wanted the iPhone to be.

Apple was very smart in making this change because the approach taken was different for the two iPad Pro sizes. Let's start with the smaller model.  The original iPad Pro came out in 2015 and it was 12.9".  In 2016, Apple introduced a smaller 9.7" with the familiar 9.4" x 6.67" size.  In 2017, Apple took the original 9.7" iPad Pro and made the bezels smaller (but kept the Home Button) to produce a 10.5" iPad Pro which had a larger screen but approximately the same overall size as the prior iPad Pro:  9.8" x 6.8".  This year, Apple has again kept the overall dimensions about the same (9.7" x 7") but reduced the bezels further and removed the Home Button, resulting in a new 11" diagonal screen.  Apple made the right choice here.  People have loved this size of iPad ever since the first iPad came out in 2010, but now there is more screen to use in essentially the same overall size.

For the larger model, Apple knows that folks love that larger screen.  You can look at letter-sized documents essentially full-size when you are in portrait mode, and whether I am annotating briefs, reviewing exhibits, or even just surfing the web, the larger 12.9" screen helps me to be incredibly productive in my law practice.  But the 12.9" iPad Pro has always been large and somewhat cumbersome.  After using one since 2015 I've gotten used to it, but I always wished that there was some way to get that fantastic, larger screen in a smaller device..  And that's exactly what Apple has done.  Apple has kept the screen size at 12.9", but reduced the bezels around it.  As a result, unlike the prior versions of the 12.9" iPad Pro which were around 12" x 8.9", the new 12.9" iPad pro is about 11" x 8.5".  In other words, unlike prior models where the screen size was about the size as a letter-sized sheet of paper, now the entire iPad is about the same size as a letter-sized sheet of paper.  Moreover, the depth decreases from .27" to .23" and Apple also rounded off the corners.  Overall, Apple says that the 2018 version of the 12.9" iPad Pro is 25% less volume than its predecessor, an incredibly impressive change.

Because there is no button on the new iPad Pro, you use the same gestures you use on an iPhone X, such as a swipe up to return to the home screen, and a swipe along the bottom to switch between apps.

If the only new feature of this iPad Pro had been this change in size, that would have been enough for me to be incredibly excited. Having the same large screen to get all of my work done in a device which is smaller and easier to carry around from office to office within my firm, and to court, is going to be fantastic.  I cannot wait to start using it when mine is delivered next week.

No. 2 Pencil

I've been using an Apple Pencil with my iPad Pro since 2015, and I use the Pencil almost every day.  When I am reviewing a brief from an opponent, I use the Pencil to circle arguments and scribble my responses in the margins.  When I am reviewing caselaw I downloaded from Westlaw or Lexis, I use my Pencil to highlight key passages and write the key holding on the first page of the case.  When I am reviewing an exhibit, I highlight and markup key parts.  I use the GoodNotes app to take handwritten notes in meetings and in court and to draft oral arguments.  The iPad Pro is an incredibly useful device, and the Apple Pencil brings it to the next level.

As much as I have loved the Pencil, I have yearned for new features.  Apple has now added all of the features I had been wishing for in the second generation Apple pencil.

Tap to change tools.  What I thought that I wanted was a button on the side of the Pencil that I could press to switch modes, such as between a pencil and an eraser.  But Apple had an even better idea, adding the ability to change modes by tapping on the side of the pencil, much like you can tap on an AirPod play/pause music or launch Siri.  It looks like app developers get to determine how this feature works.  In Apple's Notes app, you have a choice for a double-tap to switch between the pencil and eraser feature, or between the current tool and the previous tool, or bring up the color palette.  In Photoshop for iPad (coming out in 2019), you can choose to double-tap to switch between being zoomed in and zooming out to see the entire image.  This is going to be incredibly useful.

Indeed, it seems that a creative app designer could use this part of the Pencil even for an app that doesn't involve drawing.  Could a photography app take a picture every time you tap the Pencil, using it as a remote control?  Could a book-reader app use this to turn the page?  I'm not yet sure if Apple will allow this, but there seem to be a lot of possibilities. 

Attach to the side to charge.  For the original Apple Pencil, you would remove a cap and then put it in the Lightning port to charge, resulting in this awkward looking long stick coming out of the side of the iPad.  For the second generation Apple Pencil, the device attaches to the long side of the iPad using magnets and charges which it is attached.  This solves numerous problems.  First, it reduces the awkwardness.  Second, it eliminates the chance of using losing that cap while it is charging; there is no longer a cap, it is just a seamless design.  Third, the Pencil attaches to the side of the iPad because there is now a flat side to the Pencil — which I hope means that it solves the problem of the Pencil rolling off of a desk.  Fourth, you now always have a place to store your Pencil.  Just attach it to the iPad.

Since 2015, I have been using a cheap Fisher Chrome Clip to solve two of those problems:  give me a place to store the Pencil (in my shirt pocket) and stop the Pencil from rolling on a desk.  My hope is that with the second generation Pencil, I can retire that clip.

One other thing I like about this new design is that we now have a proper place to store the Pencil — on the side of the iPad — and the Pencil is constantly charged while it is there.  This means that whenever I pick up the Pencil, it is likely to have a full charge.  This reminds me of the AirPods; I store them in a case which charges them, so when I remove them they are likely to have a 100% charge.

Easier to hold.  The second generation Pencil has a matte finish, unlike the glossy finish of the original Pencil.  That, combined with the flat edge, should make the Pencil easier to hold.  I'll have to try it myself to confirm that this is true, but the initial reports from folks who got a chance to try it for a few minutes yesterday seem positive.

Tap to wake.  If the iPad display is off, you can tap the screen with the new Pencil to wake the device and launch the Notes app, ready for you to jot a note.

Free engraving.  Now that the Pencil has a flat side, there is a surface suitable for putting some words.  All new Pencils have the Apple logo with the word "Pencil" next to it, and you can add up to 15 letters in ALL CAPS next to that.

Old favorites.  And of course, the second generation Apple Pencil keeps what was wonderful about the original model.  Apple says that it is highly responsive with virtually no lag, perfectly precise, and pressure sensitive.  And you can rest your hand on the display without your the contact between your palm and the screen creating marks.

I've seen reports that the original Apple Pencil won't work with the new iPad Pro; it only works with the second generation Apple Pencil.  But given the new features, that's what I will want to use.  This new Pencil looks great.  I still wish that Apple would allow third-party hardware manufacturers to create their own styluses which have the same precision and responsiveness as an Apple Pencil, because that way we would see even more innovation.  Nevertheless, this second generation Pencil seems to address all of my current wishes and adds many other cool features which did not occur to me.

Face ID

As noted, the new iPad Pro does not have a Home Button or Touch ID.  Instead, just like the newest iPhones, it supports Face ID.  Unlike the iPhone, Face ID works no matter which way you have the new iPad turned.

Because it has a Face ID camera, the new iPad also supports portrait mode pictures (for the front-facing camera only) and Animoji and Memoji.

Flat edge

In addition to the reduced bezels, there is another design change:  flat edges around all four sides.  The edge reminds me of the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5, which were designs that I really liked; for an iPhone, the flat edge made it easier to grip the device.  I'll need to try it out myself to see if I like this better or not, but it is a noticeable difference.

Liquid Retina display

Apple says that the display is improved, using Liquid Retina technology, which Apple also uses in the new iPhone XR.  It features more accurate colors.  I believe that the brightness is the same as the prior iPad Pro.

More powerful

Every new iPad is faster than the model before it, and the new iPad Pro features the A12 Bionic chip.  Apple says that it is much faster than the previous generation and faster than 92% of all of the portable PCs sold in the last 12 months.  Apple also says graphics are about as fast as an Xbox One S, which isn't quite a powerful as the high-end Xbox One X, but the fact that an iPad is even in the same league as any currently shipping game console is just bonkers.  Apple showed off a demo yesterday of a basketball game (NBA 2K) and the graphics were stunning.

I don't know if I will ever take advantage of all of this power, but I look forward to trying, and it is always better when an iPad or iPhone is more responsive.


To the surprise of many, Apple has removed the Lightning port from the iPad, replacing it with an industry-standard USB-C port.  The new iPad Pro supports USB 3.1 Gen 2 high-bandwidth data transfers, which means much faster data transfer over USB-C than the previous models with a Lightning connector.  For example, this increased speed means that an iPad Pro can now support an external 5K display. 

USB-C, in theory, allows for faster charging because it supports more power, but I'm not yet sure if Apple supports this.  Apple did say that thanks to USB-C you can now send power out of an iPad, so you could use a USB-C to Lightning cable to use your iPad Pro to charge your iPhone.

Also, because USB-C is an industry standard, this means that there is a potential that we will see even more accessories.  At this point, I'm not sure that the software will support everything that is theoretically possible.  For example, there are USB-C external flash drives and even hard drives, and I don't think that iOS 12.1 support this, but it could in a future update.

The downside of any change like this is that you need to get new accessories.  I currently use a Lightning-to-SD card dongle so that I can take an SD card out of my SLR camera and load the pictures directly onto my iPad, something that I often do when I take a lot of pictures on vacation and I am away from my computer.  I'll have to purchase a USB-C-to-SD dongle to do the same thing.  I also currently use a Lightning-to-HDMI and Lightning-to-VGA dongle to connect a projector to my iPad Pro when I am giving presentations.  Apple isn't currently selling USB-C versions of these dongles, but it may be that I can just purchase an inexpensive one on Amazon.  (I'm not yet sure about that, though; it may be that a DisplayPort connector is required.)  Or perhaps the USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter which Apple currently sells for the Mac will work with the new iPad Pro too.  I look forward to hearing more about USB-C compatibility for video-out.

Suffice it to say that at this point, I have as many questions about USB-C as I do answers.  Nevertheless, Apple apparently saw some big advantages to justify giving up using its proprietary Lightning connector, so I'm very optimistic about this change.

Smart connector

Apple moved the Smart Connector, which used to be on the long edge to the back on the short edge.  Apple uses the new Smart Connector with the new Smart Keyboard Folio, which is a case covering the front and back of the iPad with a keyboard built-in.  You can double-press the space bar to unlock the iPad using Face ID, and you can adjust the tilt of the iPad to two orientations.

Color and capacity

The new iPad comes in two colors:  silver and space gray.

You can get models with 64GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB.  I ordered the 256GB model, which I think will be enough for my needs now and in the future even though I carry around a large number of documents and videos on my iPad.

No headphone port

The new iPad Pro doesn't have a headphone port.  You can either use Bluetooth headphones like the AirPods, or you can get a USB-C-to-3.5mm headphone dongle for $9.


These new iPads have lots of new features, but they come at a cost.  Earlier this year, Apple introduced the Sixth Generation iPad, a very nice device which supports the first generation Pencil.  Although I don't recommend the 32GB model which costs $329 to any attorneys because you are unlikely to have enough space for all of your documents, you can get the 128GB model for $429.

The new iPad Pro has a 64GB model ($799 for 11" or $999 for 12.9").  That's not enough space for my needs as a litigator with tons of documents from dozens of cases on my iPad, but for some attorneys that might be enough.  The better option is the 256GB model ($949 for 11" or $1149 for 12.9").

Thus, you are paying twice as much, or more, for the iPad Pro.  But you get a lot more:  larger screen, support for the second generation Apple Pencil, a much faster device, and a much nicer screen.  You also get Face ID and USB-C.  You also get a better camera, but I didn't even list that feature above because I don't consider the camera on the back of an iPad important for most attorneys.

Note also that the second generation Apple Pencil is slightly more expensive at $129 versus $99 for the first generation Pencil.


Apple loves to tout that the iPad Pro more powerful than many computers, and that is true.  Of course, it is also more expensive, so you pay for that power.  For me, the larger screen size of the iPad Pro easily makes it more than twice as useful as the Sixth Generation iPad.  Add the faster processor and the support for the second generation Apple Pencil, and the choice is clear.  If you want to get the most out of an iPad in your law practice, the iPad Pro is the way to go.

Having said that, if you believe that you have more modest needs, the Sixth Generation iPad introduced earlier this year is much cheaper, and it also supports the incredibly useful Apple Pencil, albeit just the first generation model.

The new iPad Pro will be available starting November 7, 2018.  I ordered the 12.9" space gray model with 256GB along with the new Apple Pencil.  After I have had a chance to use it for a while, I'll write a formal review.  But for now, I'm very excited because this new iPad Pro looks to be a major leap forward for the iPad.

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

Big day: new iPads announced, iOS 12.1 available, and more

iPhone J.D. - Mon, 10/29/2018 - 22:37

Today will be a big day for iPhone and iPad users.  First, Apple is holding its October special event at 10 Eastern in Brooklyn, NY.  Apple isn't saying what will be announced, but virtually everyone expects to see a new iPad Pro with smaller bezels, no home button, and Face ID — the iPad version of the iPhone X.  There are also rumors that Apple will unveil a second generation of the Apple Pencil with support for touch gestures on the Pencil.  I would love the ability to tap or do something else on the Pencil to switch between a pencil and an eraser.  And I'm sure that Apple has even more to unveil this morning.  You can watch the presentation live by visiting this page on Apple's website.

Second, Apple announced yesterday in a press release that Apple will release iOS 12.1 today.  This .1 update will include new features, including some which were previously announced but not quite ready when iOS 12 was released last month:  (1) Group FaceTime, which allows you to have private, encrypted FaceTime video conferences with up to 32 people at one time with automatic selection and focus on the person speaking; (2) the new emoji which Apple first previewed this past July; (3) for iPhone XS owners, the ability to control the bokeh effect in Portrait mode by adjusting the depth effect while you are taking the picture instead of just after the picture is taken; and (4) dual SIM support for the iPhone XS and iPhone XR.  Those are the major new features, but there are sure to be many other improvements in there as well.

Today should be an interesting day!

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

In the news

iPhone J.D. - Fri, 10/26/2018 - 01:26

Do you pay much attention to the News app on iOS?  In the beginning I ignored it, but then I saw that it was doing a pretty good job of telling me about the important headlines of the day, and I noticed that the articles it recommended were of pretty good quality.  Yesterday, Jack Nicas of the New York Times reported that there is a reason for that.  Unlike services like Facebook which use algorithms to select headlines, Apple uses a team of humans, led by Lauren Kern, an experienced journalist who was previously the executive editor of the New York Times Magazine.  The article explains how the team selects the top stories from reputable sources and finds articles which do a good job reporting on each issue.  By the way, if you have any interest in reading iPhone J.D. in the News app, you can search for the iPhone J.D. channel and make it one of your favorites.  And now, the news of note from the past week:

  • In a post on the LitSoftware Blog, Houston attorney Michael Beckelman of Wilson Elser explains how he uses TrialPad, TranscriptPad and DocReviewPad on his iPad at trial, in depositions, and in mediation.
  • The latest episode of the Mac Power Users podcast by attorneys David Sparks and Katie Floyd recommends 30 products under $30, many of which are for the iPhone.  It's a great episode.
  • Thomas Brewster of Forbes reports that the GrayKey device used by many government and law enforcement agencies to hack into a seized iPhone no longer works in iOS 12.
  • Rene Ritchie of iMore posted a comprehensive review of the iPhone XR, including a long video review.
  • Joanna Stern of the Wall Street Journal also wrote a good review, but I especially like the video she prepared at an Apple orchid.
  • Tony Romm of the Washington Post reports on a presentation that Apple CEO Tim Cook gave in Brussels about the importance of privacy among tech companies.
  • You can now get the 1Password password manager app for free if you are running for office, ensuring that elections run fairly, or are protecting people's rights, through the new 1Password for Democracy program.  That description would seem to apply to many public interest attorneys.
  • If you want to use AirPlay 2 to have music or other audio come out of multiple speakers in your house but you don't need Siri and the other features of the HomePod, Zac Hall of 9to5Mac posted a favorable review of the Libratone Zipp, a portable Bluetooth speaker that works with AirPlay 2.
  • In an article for TidBITS, Julio Ojeda-Zapata sings the praises of using Overcast and the Apple Podcasts app on an Apple Watch Series 4.  I'm a big fan too.  When I'm doing errands around the house, I like being able to listen to a podcast using Overcast no matter which room I'm in without having to carry around my iPhone.  When I'm walking outside, I will often have my iPhone in a shirt pocket, but sometimes it will think that I have touched the screen and it will pause the podcast as if I tapped the pause button; I have no such problems when I just connect my AirPods directly to my Apple Watch Series 4.  Thanks to the new Apple Watch, I spend some time listening to a podcast on my watch almost every day.
  • Ben Lovejoy of 9to5Mac reports on an interview of Apple's Jony Ive about the Apple Watch that was in the Financial Times.
  • It won't surprise you that I vastly prefer iPhones to Android phones.  But there is one part of Android that I think gives Apple a run for its money — the computational photography used in the camera.  Vlad Savov of The Verge shows off Google's upcoming Night Sight feature for Pixel phones, and it is astounding what Google is able to accomplish with very little light.  I'm sure that lots of smart folks at Apple are paying attention, and I look forward to seeing something like this on the iPhone in the future.
  • Last week, I ended my Friday post with some of the amazing art that Apple used on the invitations for its upcoming October 30, 2018 event in Brooklyn, NY.  Juli Clover of MacRumors posted a link to an Imgur album which contains all 350 of these unique takes on the Apple logo.  I really enjoyed browsing through all of them.
  • And finally, if you visit the Visitor Center at the new Apple Park campus in Cupertino, CA, you can buy Apple-branded T-shirts that are not sold anywhere else.  Michael Steeber of 9to5Mac reports that there are three new T-shirts being sold by Apple which hearken back to six-color Apple designs from the 1980s.  These hit me in a soft spot because that is when I started using Apple products; I used an Apple ][+ in the computer lab of my high school, and then I purchased a Mac SE as I started my sophomore year in college.  I'm glad that Apple brought back the classic logo, and I'm sure that means that Apple will soon bring back its Apple Gift Catalog with items like this:

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

iPhone XR initial reviews -- the best iPhone for most attorneys

iPhone J.D. - Wed, 10/24/2018 - 01:29

Starting this Friday, you can purchase an iPhone XR.  If you have an older iPhone and you are ready to upgrade to the edge-to-edge screen of the iPhone X-type devices, that means that you now have a choice.  Do you get the iPhone XS, the iPhone XS Max, or the iPhone XR?

Apple gave review units of the iPhone XR to select members of the press, and the initial reviews were published yesterday.  Interestingly, there is largely a consensus:  the iPhone XR is the right phone for most folks who are ready to upgrade.  Although I haven't tried to iPhone XR myself, based on what I am reading, I think that this conclusion will also hold true for most attorneys. 

Save $250 — make that $350 — with the iPhone XR

One of the most helpful reviews comes from John Gruber of Daring Fireball.  He points out that the price difference is even bigger than what you might expect.  I had been thinking of the iPhone XR as being a $250 discount over the iPhone XS (and $350 less than the iPhone XS Max) because that is the price difference for the entry-level 64 GB models.  However, while 64 GB will be enough for many folks, if you want the ability to carry around tons of documents, pictures, and videos, it is nice to have more than that.  In the iPhone XS line, the next step up is $150 more for the 256 GB model.  But for the iPhone XR, the next step up is only $50 more for the 128 GB model.  128 GB is a perfect size for almost any attorney today, and $50 is a small price increase for double the capacity.  As much as I use my iPhone, I only have about 140 GB (of my 256 GB model) used right now, so 128 GB seems like a very reasonable number for most attorneys.

Thus, for most attorneys, the real choice will be between the $1,150 iPhone XS 256 GB versus $800 for the iPhone XR 128 GB model.  That's a $350 difference.

More battery life with the iPhone XR

Another reason to go for the iPhone XR over the iPhone XS is battery life.  The iPhone XR seems to have the best battery life of any iPhone ever sold, with performance similar to plus-size iPhones like the iPhone XS Max.  Attorney Nilay Patel of The Verge got 13 hours of battery life under normal use conditions.  That's very impressive, and is around an hour more than the iPhone XS.


If you don't plan to use a case with your iPhone, or if you plan to use a clear case, then another advantage of the iPhone XR is that it can be more colorful, coming in blue, white, yellow, coral, and red.  If you want silver or gold, you need to go with the iPhone XS.  Both models come in black.

The tradeoffs

So you save $350 and get more battery life.  Why isn't the iPhone XR the best iPhone for everyone?  There are only a few downsides, and if these don't matter to you, then the iPhone XR is your best bet.

Screen size.  Most obviously, if you want the very largest iPhone screen, then you will want to go with the iPhone XS Max, which Apple says has a 6.5" screen, versus 6.1" for the iPhone XR and 5.8" for the iPhone XS.  John Gruber points out in his review that the actual measurements are 6.46", 6.06" and 5.85", so the iPhone XR is actually closer to the iPhone XS size than the iPhone XS Max size.

For the rest of these tradeoffs, I'll focus on the iPhone XR versus the iPhone XS.

Telephoto camera.  I think that this is the biggest thing you miss with the iPhone XR.  I didn't have an iPhone with two lenses, one of which is a telephoto lens, before I started using the iPhone X last year.  Now that I am used to this feature, I would never want to give it up.  I use the telephoto lens on a significant number of the photos and videos that I take, and it results in a much better picture when people or objects are farther away.  I get much better pictures of my kids and other family members thanks to the telephoto lens, and because I love taking pictures, this is important to me.  If you also like taking pictures, this is a major difference.

If you like taking portrait mode pictures, you also get better results with the iPhone XS, but most of the reviewers seemed to find that the difference was typically pretty minor.

While this is the #1 reason that I know that the iPhone XS is the best iPhone for me, it is just as true that if a telephoto lens doesn't matter to you, then the iPhone XR will almost certainly be the best phone for you.  The rest of the tradeoffs listed below just are not as important, in my mind.

Screen quality.  I love the colors and deep blacks on the OLED screen of the iPhone XS.  But to my surprise, the consensus among the reviewers seems to be that the LED screen of the iPhone XR is almost as good, and is close enough that it probably won't make a difference to most people.  Unless you are comparing them side-by-side, you are unlikely to notice the difference.  As Raymond Wang of Mashable says in his review:  "The bottom line is: The iPhone XR’s screen looks terrific and unless you’re comparing it to the iPhone XS, you’re not gonna find much to dislike.  Sure, you’re giving up deeper blacks for a very dark gray, and the XR’s screen isn’t HDR-ready like on the XS, but neither of these are deal breakers."  Similarly, Rene Ritchie of iMore says that while you will notice the nicer screen on the iPhone XS if you are using virtual reality apps, "[f]or everything else and everyone else, you probably won't notice a difference.  It looks terrific and is yet another example of the overall experience being far more important than any one spec read off any one sheet."

Larger bezels.  The iPhone XR also has larger bezels on the sides than the iPhone XS.  Because the edge-to-edge screen is such a key feature of an iPhone X-class device, I thought that the reviewers would be universally bothered by this.  And some were.  For example, Nilay Patel wrote:  "But the bezel... well, you’re going to notice that bezel every time you see an iPhone X or XS anywhere near an XR.  It’s very large, and it definitely makes the iPhone XR seem less premium than the iPhone XS."  On the other hand, Matthew Panzarino of TechCrunch said the larger bezels are just "slightly less elegant" and "not a big deal."  John Gruber says:  "People who use an iPhone case — which is to say the vast majority of iPhone owners — may not even notice the larger bezel.  And even without a case it’s not a problem, per se, and is really only evident when compared side-by-side."  And Raymond Wong said:  "They were larger than I remembered from my hands-on with them back in September, but they didn’t bother me at all. Almost all the time, you’re looking at the screen, not the bezels around it.  At the same time, some people are bound to find them downright distasteful."

3D Touch.  I really like 3D Touch on my iPhone XS.  For example, I like being able to push on the app icon for the Shortcuts app to see a menu of my top four shortcuts so that I can tap one to launch it.  But if I somehow lost that feature, it wouldn't be a major issue for me.  The iPhone XR doesn't have 3D Touch, although there are some circumstances in which you can hold your finger on the screen for a little bit and the iPhone will trigger a similar Haptic Touch feature.  The reviewers generally thought that it wasn't a big loss to not have 3D Touch, and that sounds about right to me.

Etc. There are some other smaller differences, but the reviewers seemed to indicate that they were less important, and I agree.  The iPhone XR is slightly less waterproof.  If you are in an area that supports Gigabit-class LTE, you can take advantage of those faster speeds on an iPhone XS but not on an iPhone XR.  And while the front glass is the same on the iPhone XR and the iPhone XS, the iPhone XR has a less durable glass on the back.


After reading the numerous hands-on reviews quoted above and many more, I'm still happy that I have the iPhone XS.  The telephoto lens alone makes that iPhone worth it to me, and then all of the other minor differences add up to make me happier with that model.

Having said that, I think that the iPhone XR with 128 GB is the best iPhone for most attorneys.  If you like a larger screen, get the iPhone XS Max.  If you like taking pictures with your device, you'll really appreciate the telephoto lens on the iPhone XS.  But if those two don't matter to you, I don't think that the additional differences are worth the $350 you can save and the extra battery life that you get by choosing the iPhone XR instead of the iPhone XS.

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

Using Apple GiveBack to trade in an Apple Watch or other old device

iPhone J.D. - Mon, 10/22/2018 - 01:05
I recently purchased an Apple Watch Series 4, which meant that I had an Apple Watch Series 2 that I was no longer using, and there is nobody in my family that would have a need for that device anytime... Jeff Richardson
Categories: iPhone Web Sites

In the news

iPhone J.D. - Fri, 10/19/2018 - 01:44
Apple announced yesterday that it will have a "Special Event" in Brooklyn, New York on Tuesday, October 30 at 10am EDT. Presumably, this is when Apple will announce new versions of the iPad Pro, as well as other products. The... Jeff Richardson
Categories: iPhone Web Sites

Recommendation: Hollywood Africans by Jon Batiste

iPhone J.D. - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 01:12

I don't talk about music very much on iPhone J.D., but if you are looking for something truly amazing to listen to on your iPhone and you enjoy the piano, I strongly recommend that you check out the newest album by Jon Batiste called Hollywood Africans.  Although Jon Batiste has been playing music his entire life — he comes from a big music family in New Orleans — I suspect that most folks simply know him as the bandleader on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.  But he is far from simply a TV personality; he is a seriously talented musician, and I often find my jaw dropping as I watch him play the piano. 

Before listening to the album, I recommend that you listen to the first 20 minutes of a great recent episode of NPR's Fresh Air podcast, in which Batiste sits down at a piano with Terry Gross, plays parts of some of the songs on the album, and explains what motivated him to create this album.  Click here to listen on the NPR website, or if you use the Overcast app to listen to podcasts, here is a direct link. Using just my Apple Watch Series 4 and my AirPods, I enjoyed listening to that episode last night during an outdoor walk.  As I used my Apple Watch to listen to Jon Batiste, I remembered that he was actually featured in a 15 second ad for the Apple Watch in early 2016; the link in my In the news post from back then no longer works, but you can still watch the video on YouTube at this link.

As for the album itself, every song is great, but I'll just mention the first two.  The first song is Kenner Boogie (Apple Music link), an original piano song that that will make you tap your toes and smile, all the while wondering how one person can play all of those piano keys so quickly with just two hands.  The second song is What a Wonderful World (Apple Music link), a song first recorded by Louis Armstrong in 1967.  That song has been performed and interpreted countless times, but I've never heard an arrangement anything like this.  Incredibly beautiful and moving.

I've seen Jon Batiste perform several times, and the first time I saw him was on May 1, 2005 at Jazz Fest in New Orleans, back when he was a teenager studying at Juilliard.  I only know the date because I was so impressed by his performance that I bought his first album, Times in New Orleans (Apple Music link), and my wife took the picture at the right of me doing so.  He was good back then; he is fantastic today.

Click here to listen to Hollywood Africans on Apple Music

Click here to get Hollywood Africans on Amazon

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

In the news

iPhone J.D. - Fri, 10/12/2018 - 00:50

I was talking to an attorney this week about buying a new iPad, and I'll tell you the same thing I told him:  don't.  At least, not right now.  All signs are that Apple will introduce two new models of the iPad Pro in the next few weeks, and perhaps a second generation version of the Apple Pencil — which part of me hopes Apple will call the "No. 2 Pencil."  The speculation is that it will support Face ID, have smaller bezels, and perhaps even use USB-C instead of Lightning.  We'll see.  And now, the news of note from the past week:

  • Virginia attorney Sharon Nelson discusses a recent incident in which the FBI compelled an iPhone owner (via a warrant) to unlock his iPhone using Face ID.
  • Nelson also discusses an incident in which police arrested someone for murder based on data from the victim's Fitbit — and it could have just as easily been an Apple Watch.  Her heart rate spiked, and then ceased to register at all, during the time that video surveillance showed that her stepfather was in her house.
  • California attorney David Sparks discusses Apple's announcement yesterday that 53% of users of iOS devices sold in the last four years have already updated to iOS 12.  Once iOS 12.1 comes out with the new Emoji I discussed earlier this year, I'm sure even more folks will rush to upgrade.
  • Speak of Sparks, yesterday I recommended his video field guide on using the Shortcuts app, and I also see that this week he experimented with replacing all of the icons on his iPhone's home screen with Siri shortcuts.  Interesting.
  • If you are looking for a place to find and download some interesting iPhone shortcuts, check out Sharecuts.app.
  • Don't be like Kanye West.  There are probably many ways one could apply that rule, but right now I'm referring to his Oval Office meeting with President Trump yesterday morning in which Kanye entered his iPhone passcode while a camera was filming him from behind — his first no-no — and then the entire world saw that Kanye's password is 000000, i.e. just six zeros.  Chance Miller of 9to5Mac has the details including a video clip.  Seriously, don't do that.
  • Speaking of iPhone security, Glenn Fleishman of TidBITS explains how two-factor authentication is improved in iOS 12, and also explains why you should try not to use SMS (text messaging) as a second factor.
  • As I noted above, the next version of the iPad Pro might have USB-C.  In an article for Macworld, Jason Snell analyzes what that could mean for users.
  • Zac Hall of 9to5Mac wrote a great overview of the types of HomeKit accessories that you can use to control your home with Siri, and he even recommends some of the best specific brands.  I continue to be a huge fan of the Lutron switches in my house, which I reviewed in 2015
  • Bryan Wolfe of the iDownloadBlog explains how to use the Live Listen feature of iOS 12.  Place your iPhone close to a source of sound, put on your AirPods, and then your iPhone will act as a remote microphone for your AirPods.  Useful if you need to hear something or someone but you are too far away to do so.
  • One of my favorite features of Apple Music is the ability to request a song by part of a lyric — Hey Siri, play the song that goes [say a few words in the lyrics].  Benjamin Mayo of 9to5Mac reports that this function will improve because Apple is now incorporating more lyrics from a company called Genius.
  • There was a horrible story in the news this week about a reporter who wrote for the Washington Post being killed while in the Saudi consulate in Turkey.  Reuters reports that information gained from the Apple Watch he was wearing might help the investigators to figure out what happened.
  • Here is a useful page on the Apple website which describes each of the status icons and symbols on the Apple Watch.
  • Security expert Rich Mogull happens to also be a paramedic, and in an article for TidBITS, he describes how the Apple Watch Series 4 may (and may not) help to save lives.
  • Matthew Cassinelli of The Sweet Setup explains why the 1Password app is so useful on an Apple Watch.  I agree.
  • Jesse Hollington of iLounge reports that today Apple is debuting Season 2 of Carpool Karaoke, including one episode featuring the Muppets.  It's time to play the music, it's time to light the lights...
  • And finally, here is a video from Apple showing off some of the new features of the iPhone XS and XR.  That's one reason to watch the video, but another reason is that it does a great job of showing off Apple's new Apple Park campus:

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

Review: Siri Shortcuts Field Guide by David Sparks -- learn how to create useful shortcuts

iPhone J.D. - Thu, 10/11/2018 - 01:12

One of my favorite features in iOS 12 is the new Shortcuts app and its deep integration with iOS, allowing you to create all sorts of useful automations to be more productive on your iPhone and iPad.  There is a learning curve, and thus I'm sure that lots of iPhone users won't even bother to pay much attention to shortcuts.  But if you are smart enough to have made it through Con Law I and the Rule Against Perpetuities part of your 1L Property class, you are more than smart enough to use the Shortcuts app.  Even so, it helps to have a guide hold your hand while you get started.

California attorney David Sparks created what he calls a video field guide — a series of short video lessons, a total of 3 hours and 15 minutes — to walk you through the Shortcuts app.  The course is called the Siri Shortcuts Field Guide and costs $29, although it is currently discounted to $24 during the introductory period.  David gave me a free pass to the course so that I could check it out, and I'm super impressed.  Whether you are starting from square 1 or you have a general sense of how shortcuts work but want to learn more (which describes me), this is a fantastic resource.

You access the course in any web browser.  It was perfect to watch it on my iPad Pro, but you could also watch it on an iPhone or a computer if you prefer.

On the iPad, there is a list of chapters on the left.  I'm sure that David designed the course to go through each one in order, but instead I jumped around, skipping the chapters devoted to topics that I thought I already knew.  Sometimes I went back to watch that chapter anyway because I realized that I didn't know as much as I thought I knew.

The course does a great job of walking you through the Shortcuts app itself, and then it shows you how to do things with the app, including working with different types of information.  In each lesson, you see David's iPad screen as he is describing to you what he is doing.  There is a great interface for the videos; you can scroll your finger across the bottom to jump ahead or go back.

I particularly enjoyed the lesson in the Advanced Siri Shortcuts Tools section on creating and using variables.  Before this course, I had no idea what a Magic Variable was, but after watching David describe what they do and actually create a shortcut using Magic Variables, now it all makes perfect sense to me.

I think that the best part of the course is the last main section called Useful Shorcuts.  David walks you through 12 shortcuts that you might actually use, explaining how he created each one why he did what he did.  You can create the shortcuts on your own by following along with David, or you can just download the complete shortcut.

One such shortcut useful to lawyers is a date calculator.  The shortcut David created lets you count a certain number of days after a date or before a date, or even the number of days between dates.  For me, this is so useful that I even added a Siri command to it so that I can just say "Hey Siri, date calculator" to bring it up.  And now that I understand how the shortcut works, I can modify it to meet my particular needs.  Here is a very short video showing me using the date calculator shortcut that David describes and provides in the lesson:


If you have any interest in creating shortcuts to increase your efficiency and accomplish tasks, I highly recommend this video course.  And I especially recommend getting into this now.  What Apple has already done with the Shortcuts app is amazing, but I know that it will get more useful in future updates.  By getting your arms around this stuff now, you will be well-positioned to take advantage of the improvements to the Shortcuts app over the coming months and years.

Click here to get more information and to sign up for the Siri Shortcuts Field Guide.

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

Apple Watch tip: switch from grid view to list view

iPhone J.D. - Mon, 10/08/2018 - 23:49

The Apple Watch has supported third party apps since it was first went on sale on April 24, 2015.  Unfortunately, however, because of the limitations of the hardware and the software, usability has been limited.  Graham Bower of Cult of Mac wasn't very far off the mark when he wrote an article in 2016 titled "Apple Watch apps kinda suck, but Cupertino hopes you won’t notice." 

Fortunately, with the new Apple Watch Series 4 and watchOS 5, I think those days are over.  Third party apps which have complications on my watch face or which are stored in my dock now launch pretty much instantly.  And just as impressively, even third party apps which I use less often and need to access by pressing the Digital Crown to see all of my apps now launch almost instantly, often under a second.  Moreover, with the speed of the Apple Watch Series 4, performance is high enough that apps are much more responsive.  As a result, Apple Watch apps no longer "suck," and I'm sure that Cupertino is happy for you to notice that.

All of this means that I'm starting to download more apps for my Apple Watch.  Some are more useful than others, but at least now all third party apps have the ability to be really good. Just to name one example, PCalc is a great calculator on the iPhone, but it is also a very usable calculator on the Apple Watch — much better than the Casio Calculator Watch I wore back in the 1980s.

As I have downloaded more apps to my Apple Watch, there are more apps to choose from when I press the Digital Crown on the side of my watch.  To make it easier to find the app that I want, I'm now taking advantage of a feature that was introduced in watchOS 4 last year:  the ability to switch from grid view to list view.  Grid view with its honeycomb layout is pretty, but unless you remember exactly where you placed an app, you will waste time searching around the screen to find it.  In list view, everything is alphabetical, and it is quick and easy to spin the Digital Crown to scroll to the name of the app that you want — something which is made even easier with the haptic feedback added to the Digital Crown in the Apple Watch Series 4.  You can now feel it as you scroll past every app in the list.

To switch from one view to another, simply press the Digital Crown, and then regardless of whether you are currently in grid view or list view, force press on the center of the screen.  This brings up a screen with the option to select either grid or list view.

If you own an Apple Watch Series 4, I encourage you to enable the list view so that it is easier for you take advantage of third party apps, even if you don't use them very often.

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

In the news

iPhone J.D. - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 00:15

I posted my review of the Apple Watch Series 4 earlier this week, and so did many others.  I particularly enjoyed the reviews by Jason Snell of Six Colors and Zac Hall of 9to5Mac.  Michael Steeber of 9to5Mac writes about the new-and-improved Digital Crown on the Apple Watch Series 4.  Also notable was the review by Joann Stern of the Wall Street Journal because of the video which accompanies that review; she hired a stunt woman to test the fall detection feature.  Even if you don't read the review, you should watch the fun video so that you can see how fall detection works without having to fall down yourself.  And now, the news of note from the past week:

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

Presidential Alert coming tomorrow, October 3.

iPhone J.D. - Tue, 10/02/2018 - 01:41

A few years ago, I wrote about wireless emergency alerts on the iPhone, and I explained that there are three kinds:  (1) emergency alerts issued because of an imminent threat to public safety or life, such as evacuation orders or shelter in place orders due to severe weather, a terrorist threat, or a chemical spill; (2) AMBER alerts for when a child is abducted, and (3) Presidential Alerts.  All three alerts arise out of the Warning Alert and Response Network Act, sometimes called the WARN Act, 47 U.S.C. § 1201, and more specifically the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) program which was created pursuant to the WARN Act by the FCC working with FEMA.

When I wrote that post in 2013, I noted that no president had ever issued a Presidential Alert under WEA or similar prior systems.  And I also noted that while the WARN Act provides in 47 U.S.C. § 1201(b)(2)(E) that cell phone users may opt-out of emergency alerts and AMBER Alerts, a user may not opt-out of Presidential Alerts.  Thus, if you open the Settings app on your iPhone and tap Notifications and then scroll to the bottom, you will see that you only have on/off switches for the first two types of alerts:

Tomorrow, October 3, 2018 at 2:18 p.m. Eastern / 1:18 p.m. Central / 12:18 p.m. Mountain / 11:18 a.m. Pacific, FEMA and the FCC will conduct the first-ever test of a Presidential Alert.  Note that while the test will start at 2:18 p.m. Eastern, it will continue for 30 minutes, so if your iPhone doesn't get the alert right away, it may come at some other time during that 30 minute window.  (This test was originally planned for September 20, but it was delayed because of Hurricane Florence.)  The message will have a header that reads "Presidential Alert" and the body of the message will say:  "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System.  No action is needed."

If you will be in court or somewhere else where it would be inappropriate for your iPhone to make a loud noise, TURN OFF YOUR IPHONE BEFORE THAT TIME.  And if you are around other cellphones that make a loud noise tomorrow, now you know what is going on.

Hopefully the test will be deemed a success and we won't have to go through this again for a long time.  And also, my understanding is that the rumors are false, and President Trump will not begin using the Presidential Alert system to send all of his tweets to each of us.  At least, I hope those rumors are false.

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

Review: Apple Watch Series 4 -- see more, do more

iPhone J.D. - Mon, 10/01/2018 - 00:47

When I reviewed the new 2018 versions of the iPhone, I noted that this is just an "s" year.  There are definitely some nice new features in all of the new iPhones, especially for taking pictures, and if you want a larger screen or a cheaper iPhone X, it is great that Apple has three new models.  Nevertheless, this is not as big of an iPhone upgrade as we saw a year ago.

The opposite is true with the Apple Watch.  The Apple Watch Series 4 is the first significant upgrade to the Apple Watch hardware since the Apple Watch was first previewed in 2014 and started selling in early 2015.  Unlike 2014, when Apple wasn't really sure how the Apple Watch would be used, Apple now has years of experience and knows what people like most about an Apple Watch.  And those are precisely the parts of the Apple Watch that Apple improved.  I've been using the Apple Watch Series 4 for a week, and I am blown away at how amazing this device is.  I use it daily in my law practice, outside of the office for messages and entertainment purposes, when exercising, and pretty much all day long no matter what I'm doing from when I wake up until I go to sleep.  This is an incredibly useful device that I recommend highly to any attorney who uses an iPhone.

The iPhone X version of the Apple Watch

Last year, the iPhone X was a huge leap forward in the iPhone world because Apple figured out a way to make the screen go virtually edge-to-edge.  Thus, the physical size of the iPhone remained familiar, but the usable screen was larger.  You saw much more in the same amount of space.  Apple has applied the same design magic to the Series 4 Apple Watch. There are some changes to the physical size of the watch.  First, the new watch is slightly thinner.  It's not a big change, but it is welcome nevertheless.  In these pictures, my Series 2 is on the left and my Series 4 is on the right:

Another physical change is that the face is slightly larger, with 40 mm and 44 mm sizes instead of the former 42 mm and 38 mm sizes.  This increase is so minor that you probably won't ever notice it unless you put the new Apple Watch next to an old one.  In this picture, my old Apple Watch Series 2 is on the left, and the new Apple Watch Series 4 is on the right:

I've heard some people wonder if the increase from 42 to 44 mm means that a person who previously used a 42 mm should instead get the smaller 40 mm model.  Maybe for some folks this makes sense, but I suspect that most folks who have previously used a 42 mm will be perfectly happy with the 44 mm.  It's really not a big difference in physical size.

The real change to the size of the Apple Watch is that, much like the iPhone X, Apple has brought the usable screen closer to the edges of the watch.  As a result of the improvements, the new screen is now 30% larger.

This is a huge, noticeable improvement.  The additional information that you can see is fantastic.  For example, I've always been able to look at an email on my Apple Watch, but the size of the watch face severely limits how many words you can see at one time.  With the larger screen on the Series 4, I typically see one additional sentence on the screen as compared to the older models.  For longer emails, I'll have to use the scroll wheel to scroll down on either watch, but less scrolling is necessary on the Series 4.  The same is true for text messages and any other app which puts lots of information on the screen.  You see more, and thus you can obtain, and can act upon, the information more quickly.

Other apps simply expand to fill the larger screen so you get a larger watch face, larger controls for music and podcasts, etc.  For these tasks, the larger face makes the Apple Watch much easier and more enjoyable to use.  Here's a s simple example, but one which matters because I do it every day:  typing in my passcode to unlock my Apple Watch is far easier with the larger screen on the Series 4 with the larger buttons.

The larger screen also makes it possible to have new watch faces with many more complications.  The following picture uses the new Infograph watch face that Apple keeps showing off in its press pictures.  It has eight complications in addition to the time:

I am not sure if I am going to use the Infograph as it seems a little too busy to me, plus I prefer digital time over hands on a watch face, but I love that this is an option.

Note that even with the different screen and sizes, you can still use your old Apple Watch bands with the new Series 4.  That's good news for me because I love my Milanese Loop watch band, but it is $150 so I'm glad that I didn't have to buy a new one.


Early models of the Apple Watch were rather slow, which had a negative impact on usability.  But with each new generation, the Apple Watch gets faster.  The Series 4 is the first Apple Watch to feature a 64-bit processor, which Apple says is twice as fast as the Series 3 — which was 70% faster than the Series 2, and the Series 2 was 50% faster than the original Apple Watch.  Thus, if you are upgrading from an earlier version of the Apple Watch, this speed increase should be quite noticeable — especially if you are using something older than a Series 3.

At this point, you may be thinking "ho hum, it's faster, but every new model is faster."  Fair enough, but this time, the speed increase has real consequences.  With the Series 4, the Apple Watch has crossed over from being a device that operates so slowly that sometimes I just don't bother to use it into a device which operates so quickly that I have no hesitation to use the device to perform tasks.

Let's go back to that email example.  On my Series 2, working with emails works fine, but it is somewhat slow.  On the Series 4, working with email is lightning fast, just as fast as working with emails on my iPhone.  Because of this speed increase, along with the larger screen, I am working with emails on my Apple Watch far more than I ever have before.  I can very quickly triage my inbox by deleting the junk mail and mail that doesn't really interest me.  I can quickly read emails that do matter to me and then act upon them.  Responding to emails is still easier on an iPhone or iPad if I need to type something of substance, but if I just want to send a quick reply, the watch works fine.  And of course I can dictate or scribble out the words of a longer reply if I need to do so.

If your law practice is anything like mine, this is huge.  I get tons of email every day.  When new emails come in, with the Series 4 I can often deal with them faster on my Apple Watch than on my iPhone, in large part because the watch is right their on my wrist whereas I need to dig out the iPhone and then put it away when I'm finished.  Plus, when I pick up my iPhone, there is a greater risk that I will be distracted by some other app on the iPhone.  When working with emails on my Apple Watch, I get in and out more quickly and then get back to my work.  I had no idea before using the Series 4 a week ago that working with emails would be so dramatically improved thanks to the larger screen and the faster watch.

Here's another example where the speed has a direct effect on usability.  I have lots of lights in my house which are controlled by HomeKit,  It is handy to use my Apple Watch to turn lights on and off, sometimes by speaking to Siri, other times by tapping a button in the Home app on the watch.  On my Series 2, sometimes this feature worked OK, and other times it was so slow that it was painful.  With my Series 4 watch, HomeKit devices respond to my Apple Watch commands right away — as quickly as commands coming from an iPhone.  The speed increase means that I no longer hesitate to use my Apple Watch with HomeKit devices, and thus it is almost like HomeKit performance is an additional feature of the Series 4.


Apple added cellular support to the Apple Watch Series 3, but I never owned a Series 3 so I've been using cellular on my Apple Watch for the first time this week.  Thanks to a new ceramic back, which reduces interference with radio waves, Apple says that cellular activity is works even better on the Series 4.

Before last week, I didn't think that this would be that significant for me.  After all, don't I carry my iPhone pretty much all the time?  But it has been been a nicer feature than I expected, especially when I've walked or jogged in a park to try to close my activity circles.  There often isn't really a good place to put an iPhone in exercise clothes, and with the Series 4, I don't have to.  I pair my AirPods with my Apple Watch, and then I'm off.  I've tested receiving and sending emails, receiving and sending text messages, and placing and picking up phone calls when my Apple Watch is using cellular.  It all just works.  It is so nice to know that I'm connected to the outside world in case someone needs me or I need to contact someone else – even though I'm not carrying around a heavy iPhone.  Indeed, I don't even feel the weight of an Apple Watch on my arm or AirPods in my ears, so I get all of this without feeling ANY extra weight at all.

Digital Crown

As part of the redesign, Apple made the Digital Crown on the side smaller.  I don't notice the difference in normal usage.  Apple also added haptic feedback when spinning the Digital Crown, and the clicks make a big difference.  It makes spinning the crown feel far more precise because you feel a click as each item is passed on the scrolling list.  If you haven't tried a Series 4 yet this might not sound like a very big deal, but in normal usage it is really nice. 


In addition to monitoring your heart beats, the Series 4 adds the ability to check your heart activity by running a simple EKG test (sometimes called an ECG).  Just put your finger on the digital crown, start the test, and you'll get results in 30 seconds.  I'm a lawyer not a doctor, but from what I've been reading for the last few days, this feature can help to save lives.

For example, here is a post on Reddit by a doctor explaining that the new Apple Watch can help to detect Atrial Fibrillation, which is the most common cardiac arrhythmia, and something that is experienced by up to 25% of people over 40 years old.

Note that this EKG feature requires a special app, which Apple says it will release later this year.  And for many folks, this feature will be unimportant.  But for some folks, especially those working with a heart doctor, this feature could be literally life changing.


The new speaker in the Apple Watch is 50% louder.  And the microphone was moved to the right side of the Apple Watch (the opposite side as the speaker) to reduce interference.  If you are using your Apple Watch to make phone calls or to use the new Walkie-Talkie feature, the improved speaker should help.  I usually keep sounds turned off on my Apple Watch, so this feature doesn't matter so much to me.

Fall detection

The Series 4 Apple Watch includes a more advanced accelerometer and gyroscope which can detect if you fall.  And if you fall down and then don't move for 60 seconds, the Apple Watch can even call 911 and your emergency contacts.  For folks above a certain age — or for anyone who can be clumsy — this looks like a feature that you hope to never use, but that you will very much appreciate if you need it.


There is a lot more that is packed into the Apple Watch Series 4, including new watch faces, Bluetooth 5.0 (which I hope will improve communications between the Apple Watch and the iPhone), increased battery life for outdoor workouts when you are using GPS, and more.


This is the first version of the Apple Watch that does not come in a more expensive Special Edition version made of high-end materials (gold in the first Apple Watch, ceramic in later models).  However, there is now a new gold stainless steel version of the watch.  You can also select the Nike+ version or the Hermès versions, which include different watch bands and a special watch face.

Apple no longer calls the aluminum version of the Apple Watch the "sport" model.  You just get an Apple Watch, and you choose whether you want aluminum and stainless steel, with stainless steel costing $300 more.  I prefer the look and feel of the stainless steel over aluminum, and I also like that the stainless steel version has a more durable screen — a sapphire crystal face, instead of Ion-X glass.  Even though I have hit the face of my Series 2 Apple Watch on countless objects over the yaars, I have never gotten a scratch.  My wife is far more poised and less clumsy than me, but her Series 2 aluminum Apple Watch does have some small scratches.


I was really excited about the iPhone X when it came out a year ago, and I absolutely loved using it for the past year.  I feel the same way about the Apple Watch Series 4.  The larger screen and the increase in speed make everything better.  Indeed, some features are so much better than I am using them far more than ever before.  The Apple Watch Series 4 is a huge leap forward.  If you have been thinking about getting an Apple Watch but were waiting for the right time, that time is now.  If you have an older Apple Watch and you already know that it is a useful device for you, upgrading to a Series 4 will be a huge improvement to what you already love.

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

In the news

iPhone J.D. - Fri, 09/28/2018 - 00:27

This is the best time of the year for the iPhone.  We have new devices, and the iPhone XS has been a real champ for me this week during a crazy busy week for me both at work and after work.  We are also seeing more apps being updated to work with iOS 12 and watchOS 5.  And CarPlay has been seeing some nice improvements thanks to more third party apps.  Here is the news of note from the past week:

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

Review: iPhone XS -- amazing screen, fantastic pictures, and more

iPhone J.D. - Mon, 09/24/2018 - 01:16

Last year's iPhone X was, in my opinion, the most significant year-to-year advance in iPhone technology.  Apple found a way to almost defy physics, fitting a larger, beautiful OLED screen into a device that remained the same size in your hand.  Apple also added a second camera lens — a telephoto lens — which Apple previously only found space for on the larger Plus models.  Toss in the speed improvements and various other new features, and it was a major upgrade.  The 2017 iPhone X seemed like it was a 2018 iPhone X that we were somehow seeing a year early.  (And as if to emphasize that point, last year Apple introduced an iPhone 8, and then skipped number 9 to also introduce the iPhone X.)

How do you follow up on an act like that?  Apple actually has some experience in this area.  It adds nice but incremental improvements to the prior year model, and then to indicate that it is a less significant upgrade, Apple adds an "s" to the name.  Hence, Apple has introduced the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5s, and iPhone 6s.  An "s" year iPhone doesn't mean that there are no big new features.  For example, the iPhone 4S added Siri and the iPhone 5S added a way to authenticate without typing a password (Touch ID), and both of those features remain critical parts of the iPhone.  But in an "s" year, hardware changes are typically less noticeable.

That last sentence holds true this year in one way, but doesn't hold true in two other ways.  The iPhone XS, which I purchased, fits the mold of prior "s" year upgrades.  The hardware on the outside looks almost exactly the same, so the real improvements are under the hood.  But in addition, Apple made the iPhone larger in the iPhone XS Max, and Apple made the iPhone less expensive with the iPhone XR.  If you purchase either the iPhone XS Max or the iPhone XR, then you are getting a phone with obvious physical differences from the 2017 iPhone X.  This review focuses on the iPhone XS, but I at the end I also have some comments about the other two new iPhones.

The iPhone X

Before talking about the iPhone XS, I want to say a few words about the iPhone X, because I am sure that most of you who are considering a new iPhone this year are upgrading from a model that is at least a few years old.  Crossing over from an iPhone with a home button to an iPhone with an edge-to-edge screen is a major change.  And at least initially, perhaps not a welcome change.  Many attorneys (including my wife) have told me that they like having a home button; something that you can always press to exit from an app and go back to the main screen.  Additionally, there are real advantages to using Touch ID over Face ID.  For example, your face has to be in front of the camera, so you cannot just reach over to touch your iPhone to unlock it; you need to move the iPhone (or move your face) to the right position.  And while you can discretely unlock an iPhone using Touch ID while you are talking to someone else, the other person will notice if you stop looking at them and start looking at your iPhone.

Nevertheless, I think that the advantage of a larger screen is more than worth it.  I'm reminded of ten years ago, when I heard from countless attorneys who loved the small keyboards on their BlackBerries and Palm Treos, folks who said that they couldn't imagine typing on a flat glass screen.  I would always say that the space used up by a physical keyboard is wasted when you are not typing, resulting in a tiny screen that could be twice as large, allowing you to see more emails and other information.  The same is true today.  When you give up the space dedicated to the home button and the bezels around the edges, you have so much more screen real estate without increasing the size of the device.  I used this picture with my review of the iPhone X, and it sums up why I love, love the larger iPhone X, and now iPhone XS, screen — you get Line 8 and Line 9:

Learning to swipe up from the bottom of the screen instead of pressing a button involves a learning curve, and you do give up something when you move from Touch ID to Face ID.  But I think it is worth it, and I encourage you to keep an open mind about the change.  The large and beautiful screen on the iPhone X and now the iPhone XS is a delight to use, and my enthusiasm hasn't waned one bit even after almost a year of using it.  You can use a device that feels the same size in your hand, but you can see so much more on the screen, and the screen technology itself is so much nicer to look at.  The iPhone has always been about the touchscreen, and for the past year that touchscreen has been amazing.

Better photography

If you skipped over the iPhone X and are now thinking about getting the iPhone XS, one of the big reasons to do so is that you can take much better pictures with the iPhone XS.  Last year's iPhone X already did a great job of taking pictures, but there were circumstances in which it struggled, such as when you had lots of contrast in a picture with both bright and dark areas.

The iPhone XS is really impressive in these circumstances because of technology which Apple calls Smart HDR.  When you are talking about photography, a picture really is worth a thousand words, so here are some examples.  I took some pictures this weekend using both my iPhone X and my iPhone XS, and I think that the differences are pretty remarkable.  If you are using an iPhone even older than the iPhone X, the differences will be even more noticeable.  I did not do anything to correct the color, exposure, etc. in any of these pictures.  I did crop them a little.  In every picture below, the first picture was taken with the iPhone X, and the second picture was taken with the iPhone XS, in both cases using the normal 1x wide angle lens, not the telephoto lens.  You can click on any picture to see a larger version.

In this first example, I'm taking a picture of brick walls with a bright sky in the background.  The sky was bright enough that the contrast overwhelmed the iPhone X.  It is not until you look at the second picture taken with the iPhone XS that you realize that you are supposed to be seeing a roof of a house just over the brick wall.  And the color of the bricks in the iPhone XS picture better matches what my eyes actually saw.

Now let's go to St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans to look at a passing streetcar.  On a bright day, many pictures taken with the iPhone X are hazy, which causes the colors to be more drab.  The iPhone XS does a better job of showing the true colors of the green streetcar with its crimson accents.  You also see more color, and more detail, in the shadow on the grass created by the streetcar.  The text on the side of the streetcar is crisper.  The skin tones on the people are more accurate.  It is just a better picture.

As the streetcar passed me, I took another set of pictures.  Once again, the iPhone X picture is far more hazy, so the colors look worse.  I will admit that there is one small advantage to the haze in the iPhone X picture:  You see rays of light, which is an interesting artistic effect.  But the rest of the picture looks worse.  One noticeable difference:  the sky.  Over and over again in my pictures, I noticed that on a bright day you are far more likely to see the blue in the sky with the iPhone XS.  If you like a blue sky, get an iPhone XS.  (Note to Apple:  feel free to use that marketing line in your advertising.)

I even tried to save the iPhone X picture by using the edit feature in the Photos app to restore some of the green and crimson on the streetcar and the green of the grass that is washed out in the original iPhone X picture.  That helped, but it still didn't look as good as the iPhone XS picture; for example, I still couldn't see the blue of the sky.

As the streetcar started to head away from me and towards the French Quarter, I took one last set of pictures.  With the streetcar taking up less of the screen, I was finally able to see some of the blue sky even in the iPhone X picture.  But the shadow on the side of the streetcar and on the ground next to the streetcar was too much of a challenge for the iPhone X, resulting in a darker picture with fewer details.  But the iPhone XS handled this with aplomb. 

I think that these streetcar picture examples are informative because they reflect many of the pictures that I take with an iPhone in real life.  The times when I think to myself something like: "Oh cool, there is a streetcar, let me take a quick picture as it passes."  Because your iPhone is with you so often, the convenience makes it the perfect camera for those quick, unplanned moments in life in which you want to quickly snap a picture of friends or family or the world around you. 

Professional photographers use equipment and techniques to get the right amount of light for a photograph.  But in real life, you don't have all that fancy stuff, and often you want to take a picture when the light isn't that great.  As iPhone low light photography has improved every year, you are more likely to get a great picture to remember that special moment.  It comes as no surprise that the iPhone XS also does a better job with low-light photography, and thanks to the advanced processor, it is a big leap forward.  John Gruber of Daring Fireball has some excellent examples of both photos and videos in low light in this set on Flickr.  The video examples near the bottom are particularly impressive.

One thing that you notice in low light photos in which there is a source of light is that the source of light itself looks much better.  In the following pictures, notice how you can actually see the shape of the flame in the iPhone XS picture.  It is all just a blob in the iPhone X picture:

The iPhone XS also does a great job with videos.  I took some videos of my daughter playing soccer on Saturday, and they came out great.  The grass is green, the sky is blue, and the images are crisp.  Jason Snell of Six Colors may have figured out the reason that the video looked so good when he tweeted the following on Friday:  "Maybe the most bananas thing I've learned about iPhone XS is that if you shoot 4K 30fps video, it actually shoots 60fps with every other frame stepped up/down, and then stitches the frame pairs together on the fly to create extended dynamic range."  By the way, if you enjoy using your iPhone to take videos, I strongly encourage you to consider getting the Glif + Hand Grip by Studio Neat, which I reviewed last year.

Portrait mode photographs are pretty neat on the iPhone XS.  You can adjust the amount of blur in the background, an effect called bokeh, commonly seen in pictures taken with high-end SLR cameras.  I tried this with some pictures of my daughter, and it was nice to have this level of control.  As you blur the background more, you place more emphasis on the subject of the photo, and then you get to decide how much blur is too much.  Apple did a nice job with this.

Every year, there is new iPhone that takes better pictures, but this year Apple did an especially good job with the improvements.  What is most fascinating to me is that while the iPhone XS does feature a slightly better wide angle lens (the zoom lens is the same as the iPhone X), the picture quality is often substantially better simply because the processor inside of the iPhone is so much faster and more sophisticated.  The iPhone X was already a good camera, but the iPhone XS is much better.  If you take pictures with your iPhone, this is the iPhone for you.


Speaking of the processor improvements, the new CPU is faster and more energy efficient, and it includes a neural engine which allows the iPhone to handle even more sophisticated tasks.  Updating from an iPhone that is two or more years old to the iPhone XS result in a noticeable speed increase, with everything seeming much more responsive.  And even as compared to last year's iPhone X, the iPhone XS does a much better with complicated operations.  For example, the free augmented reality LightSpace app is much more fluid on an iPhone XS than on an iPhone X.  I rarely play games with sophisticated 3D graphics, but I have no doubt that those perform even better on the iPhone XS.

I haven't yet able to test Gigabit-class LTE, a faster version of 4G as 5G is still being developed, which the iPhone XS supports.  My carrier, AT&T, is bringing this service to New Orleans this year, but apparently, it isn't live yet.  In cities where it is available, Gigabit-class LTE should be about twice as fast as current LTE.

The iPhone XS Max and the iPhone XR

I stopped in my local Apple Store this weekend to see what the new Apple Watch Series 4 looks like.  (It looks awesome, and the one I ordered should be delivered soon.).  I also checked out the iPhone XS Max.  It looks just like an iPhone XS, only bigger, which makes everything easier to see.  However, it felt ridiculously large in my hand.  For me, the advantage of a larger screen isn't worth the tradeoff of the device being so much harder to hold, not is it worth losing the ability to use the iPhone with just one hand.  Having said that, soon after I tried out the iPhone XS Max, I ran into someone telling me how much he likes his iPhone 8 Plus, which is about the same size, so I know that there are people who like this form factor.  If that describes you, then the iPhone XS Max is a major leap forward because you get a crazy large screen in a device size that you are already used to holding.

If you want to spend less money but get most of the features of the iPhone XS, then the iPhone XR might be perfect for you.  In my September 13, 2018 post, I listed everything that you give up with the iPhone XR.  The feature that I would most miss is the telephoto lens, but if that isn't important to you, the iPhone XR looks like a very compelling device.  You can order an iPhone XR starting October 19, and devices ship and are available in stores a week later.


There are a few other things worth knowing about the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max.  First, they come in a new color:  gold.  It is sort of a mocha/copper type of gold.  It doesn't appeal to me, but I'm sure that it will appeal to many folks.

Second, Apple says that the screen is even more durable.  Vanessa Hand Orellana of CNet did some drop tests, and the results were promising:  "I've done my fair share of drop tests in my time at CNET, and I've never come out of one without a broken phone.  Until now.  The iPhone XS didn't crack."  Hopefully none of us need to "test" this ourselves.

Third, the iPhone has dual-SIM support using a second eSIM.  If you travel intentionally, this could be very useful.

Fourth, Face ID is a little better on the iPhone XS versus the iPhone X.  In my side-by-side tests, sometimes it worked just as well, but other times Face ID worked better on the iPhone XS.  Every little bit helps, but so far this has not been a major improvement.  One important caveat — Face ID is a technology that is supposed to improve over time.  Is it possible that I'm really comparing an iPhone X with a year of learning my face against an iPhone XS which has only had a weekend, and will get even better over time?  I'm not sure, but perhaps.

Fifth, the sound is improved.  The speakers are much better than the iPhone X, with wider sound, so much so that the first time I played a video I was actually startled that this sound was coming from my iPhone.  And when you record video, the iPhone XS now records in stereo, so it sounds better.  Check out those John Gruber videos I linked above to see what I mean.

Sixth, the iPhone XS is more water resistant.  I didn't test this with my expensive new phone, but as I described in more detail in my September 13, 2018 post, Apple has increased the IP Code rating from IP67 to IP68.  And that's better.


Unless you are an early adopter who loves using the latest and greatest technology, I don't recommend upgrading from an iPhone X to an iPhone XS unless you want the larger size of the Max or if photography is really important to you.  But for everyone else, the iPhone XS is amazing, combining everything I loved about the iPhone X with even more nice features. 

With the large and beautiful screen of the iPhone XS, you can see more information on the screen at one time.  Whether you are reading emails, looking at a document, doing some quick legal research, or looking at a PDF file, you can be more productive than ever with the iPhone XS.  Sure, there will still be times when you want to instead reach for an iPad or a computer, but I have been able to do more with my iPhone X for the last year and the same will be true with the iPhone XS.  When you are done with your work, the iPhone XS is the perfect device for the rest of your life, especially if that involves taking pictures.

It is also nice that you get more choice this year.  If you want a crazy large screen, get the iPhone XS Max.  If you want to shave off some of the features that you can live without and save some money, get the iPhone XR next month.  But for the best all-around phone, I think that the iPhone XS hits the sweet spot.

My past year of using an iPhone X was my favorite year ever of using an iPhone.  I can already see that the iPhone XS is going to be even better.  If you are ready for an upgrade, you are in for a treat. 

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