eXtensions - Monday 19 September 2022


Monday Notes: Minor Update Problems; New Features Found; 48MP iPhone 4 Camera; Unbelievable Dark Horse

By Graham K. Rogers


The iPhone 14 arrived here last week. There were several undocumented features in the iOS 16 release and these are now coming to light. As with any large update, there are a few problems too. Merlin Mann looked at the iPhone 14 cameras. I enjoyed the Netflix series, Unbelievable, particularly the performance by Toni Colette who has appeared in many other productions.

As well as a number of useful features in the latest version of iOS (iOS 16), there are some interesting tricks in the new iPhones, which are just beginning to arrive with customers. Some of those ordering the iPhone early have been told that there could be delays of up to 3 weeks. Orders are now opening here - somewhat earlier than usual - and delivery (or pickup) is shown as 7 October, although local user, Richard Barrow reported on Twitter that he picked his up at the Apple Store, Central World this week. A reply mentioned availability elsewhere which Richard confirmed in his reply to me.

Richard's Tweet said it was a quick in and out, but the headline in the Bangkok Post the next day, insisted that "Fanatics swarm to stores for iPhone 14". The article showed a photo of the same store with an orderly, masked queue. My dictionary tells me that a fanatic is "a person filled with excessive and single-minded zeal, especially for an extreme religious or political cause", with an informal definition of "a person with an obsessive interest in and enthusiasm for a particular activity." A better choice could have been Fan: "a person who has a strong interest in or admiration for a particular person or thing", but headlines make hits.

Apple Store, Bangkok
Apple Store, Central World, Bangkok - Image from 2020

Looking at the iPhone 14 Pro (which is what I would want), the price for the 128GB version is shown as 41,900 baht. That has 7% VAT so the base price (by my calculations) is 39,159 baht. That is $1060 while the basic price in the USA is $999. Shipping and currency exchange differences (the baht like many other currencies has dropped significantly against the Dollar this year). $60 is a little over 2000 baht, so is not a massive increase.

I had a look at some of the iOS 16 features that interested me most on Wednesday and on Thursday this week; but there are more that are still being discovered. Christian Zibreg> (iDownloadBlog) has 21 new features. I covered some of these but I have yet to try the tricks possible with Messages. Zibreg does cover the new way to lift an image from a photo so it can be pasted in another app that I looked at on Wednesday. He writes, "This is one of the best new features of iOS 16, and it works like magic." I agree. There is a lot to try out here.

lift an image from a photo

I have had a regular newsletter from OWC since I bought their USB-C hub a while back. This has a lot of product news of course, but occasionally there is other news. This week there were articles on the updates including a good overview of the new Accessibility improvements, by Tara Purswani. There are just over a dozen listed and some of them will be useful not only for those with accessibility problems. Not these specifically, but I already have several of the Accessibility features always on. For example on the Mac there is Screen Zoom - Control + 2 fingers on trackpad, which I find incredibly useful in teaching: online and in class.

Later, David Price (MacWorld) told us about "10 Settings you need to change right away" on iOS 16. I already had the battery indicator on, so that was right, but the information about the Search button is not so urgent. Being able to search quickly is fine, but if you move the screen slightly sideways, those dots that show you have more home screens (not how many - I have 11 screens, but see only 4 dots). I mentioned the Haptic keyboard earlier in the week, but it may not suit everyone. The same may apply to the other suggestions. Some people may find them useful so have a look.

As with any update there are bound to be some things that go wrong. What I have found so far has been easy to fix. An early example was the Search screen. It has been revised (Apple cannot leave some things alone) with the search bar two-thirds down the page. At the top is Siri suggestions, and I do not want these displayed. Settings > Siri & Search > Show Suggestions. Off.

However, that was not all that annoyed me with search. A couple of times the screen appeared when I accidentally tapped it and although the Search bar was there, there was no keyboard. I could access previously used apps, but when quitting them I was returned to the inert search. I could only use apps that were already open, but I could not look at other screens. Turning the display off then switching to the Lockscreen and going back, just returned to the same dead search screen. The only way to fix this was a restart. It has not reappeared since.

The Control Panel reorganized itself during the iOS 16 update. Among others, I usually have Home plus controls for two Philips Hue lights: bedroom and living room. This was switched to AppleTV and either the Living room light or the Bedroom light. This depends on how or when I remove and add the Home control. I have not yet found a way to organize these as I want. Access to the unavailable light (whichever it is) can be made through the Home app, but then I do not have On/Off control, but the slider: zero to maximum. Perverse.

Having mentioned that I was pleased with the Watch update and the progress bar on the Hidrate app, I saw that this app on the iPhone was updated Wednesday afternoon. Later that evening I saw that the progress bar was at 66% when I knew (after my usual 2 cups of tea) I had almost reached the target. A look at the two figures showed the iPhone app was about to celebrate another target reached, while the Watch app was stuck in a mid-afternoon two-thirds. I looked again Thursday afternoon when I have usually consumed more than half my daily intake and the Watch showed zero. Something had broken after the update.

I checked the Watch settings on the iPhone and despite the complication, this showed that the app was not installed. I tried that a couple of times and each time it failed. I restarted the Watch and saw that the Hidrate app and a couple of others tried to install, but failed. However I was then asked to enter the password for the account. First I had to find it on the Mac; then when I selected that option on the Watch (there is no keyboard of course) I had to wait for the iPhone to give me one. Once the password was entered, the app installed and the right figure was displayed. Annoying.

hidrate display on Watch hidrate display on Watch Watch controls

Apple Watch - Hidrate displays, and controls

The minor problem on the Watch was soon rectified, but I also noticed a couple of changes with the display. With the ongoing COVID-19 situation, I keep my devices clean. I wipe the iPhone down each morning and also wash the phone. It is waterproof after all. Before running it under the tap, I slide up the panel that accesses several functions, including water intake through the speaker. To turn that off after washing used to need the Crown to be pressed and turned. The latest watchOS update has changed that to a more sensible long press on the Crown. There is also a changed animation.

When checking the early morning newsfeeds, an item from Joe Wituschek (iMore) linked to Merlin Mann's review of the new iPhone 48mp camera. My image shows the iPhone 13 Pro. I have a 48mp sensor in my Nikon D850, although the one in the new iPhone is likely to be a little smaller than the Nikon-designed, Sony-made sensor in my iPhone and will require some software assistance in the processing. Merlin Mann's review is well worth looking at for anyone interested in photography or considering buying a new iPhone.

iPhone cameras He took the new iPhone 14 Pro to Scotland where the scenery (and the chickens) are worthy subjects. Particularly effective is the demonstration of how cropping still produces a good image, something I find on my Nikon. Enough detail is recorded that some sharpness is retained even with a crop.

He notes that Apple's software also uses the 12MP resolution and sometimes this is more effective. That sounds odd, but Mann explains that this may be better for fast moving objects as the camera is more responsive. The files are also smaller. Some of the examples he gives of 48MP images range from 45 - 80MB. I would be OK with that and have adjusted my space requirements with the Nikon.

An unedited RAW image (8256 x 5504) I took this week is 62.8MB, while a RAW image on the iPhone 13 (3042 x 4032) is 28.6MB. Mann gives figures of 8064 x 6048 which is quite something for a smartphone.

Despite its limitations (US and Canada), one feature that I found exciting was satellite communication, particularly with the additional antenna needed and the software solution with the restricted communication abilities due to distance (satellites in the Clarke Belt may be 35,000kms away). Joe Rossignol (MacRumors) writes that Apple intends to expand this to other countries over time, although there is no indication which countries might see this. Apple's information talks about how trees and leaves can affect signals.

Cellphone antenna
Upgrading equipment and antenna to 5G

One of my colleagues did some research about this with cellular signals and published a number of journal articles on the subject. He checked the levels using some sophisticated electronics in an area not far from here that has lots of trees. He expanded the research to multi-storey car parks and also checked signals within the Faculty building here. The car park and the Faculty have several layers of concrete, all of which attenuate (reduce) the signals - even from cell towers - just like the trees.

Super pumped Having read the story of Uber (Super Pumped by Mike Isaac) and the ethical problems there and She Said, a book by Jody Kantor and Megan Twohey about the investigation into Harvey Weinberg, I was in the right mood for the Netflix series, Unbelievable.

This is based on a true story (and a Pulitzer-winning book) about a rape victim (Marie) who confessed to lying to the police about the allegation, when the serial rapist was out and about assaulting more women. A surprise for me was Marie's counsellor played by Brooke Smith. I recognised the voice first, and thought the face was familiar. The actress played the part of victim Catherine Martin in The Silence of the Lambs (1991).

Two unalike detectives, Rasmussen and Duvall (Merritt Weaver) join forces and eventually bring the offender in. Toni Colette who plays Detective Rasmussen gives a gritty performance while Duval is more reserved and there are some great interactions between the two. Colette also played the mother of Cole (Haley Joel Osment) in The Sixth Sense, among several other roles.

I had a look on the internet for the career of Toni Colette and was surprised to see how long and successful it had been, with a range of movies and series, including a 2020 British movie about raising a race-winning horse in Wales: Dream Horse. This is a true story and I saw it earlier this year on Netflix. I would have sworn that Colette was a native of Cefn Fforest. She was born in New South Wales.

The movie which was based on the documentary, Dark Horse, also has Owen Teale, Damian Lewis, Joanna Page, Siân Phillips and a good collection of local talent. The Guardian (Peter Bradshaw describes Colette as "that perennially excellent actor who utterly inhabits every part, gives us a wonderfully approachable Jan [Vokes]: shy, yet tough and determined."

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. After 3 years writing a column in the Life supplement, he is now no longer associated with the Bangkok Post. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)



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