eXtensions - Tuesday 19 September 2023

Tuesday Comment: Additional Notes on iPhone and Apple Watch; Device Problems; Apple Maps Content

By Graham K. Rogers


With the surprise arrival of the iPhone here, I was quick to order my choice and it should be with me in a day or so. Surprisingly, the Apple Watch is not yet available for order here. If a device is not charging, check the basic connections first. Mixed results reporting Maps problems to Apple.

One of the surprises for me with the announcement of the iPhone 15 models was that, for the first time, it was made available in the initial rollout, albeit of some 50 countries. This indicates a real advance in the way Apple's logistics have improved. Instead of waiting for orders then shipping from China in some cases, the phones appear to have been sent to more local distribution centers from which orders can be filled. I had noticed that, in the last couple of years, certain orders were being filled from Singapore, rather than China. This cut down the delivery time considerably.

iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max
iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max - Image courtesy of Apple

Although some users reported difficulties (up to 20 minutes or more) entering the ordering pages, I note that it took me less than 2 minutes once I had entered the Apple Store last Friday to place my order for the iPhone (I logged out at 7:04pm). My order was marked for a Friday delivery (22 Sep). By the next morning, some reports showed that deliveries were being pushed back to October. By Monday this had stretched to November. Some orders were reported to be showing "Shipping" over the weekend. I keep checking but the status of my order stayed the same through to Monday morning: processing. Mid-afternoon Monday I had a message: the credit card had approved the amount. A couple of hours later - early Monday evening - the status changed to "Preparing to ship". This has not changed since.

iPhone 15 order status
iPhone 15 Pro order status

The iPhone 15 is lighter and early reports suggest the 200g reduction is significantly noticeable. Dr Drang on LeanCrew has several comments on this, beginning with the useful,

The titanium alloy used in the phone was revealed by Isabel Yang about 57 minutes into the presentation. She called it Grade 5 titanium, which is an ASTM designation. It's also known as Ti-6Al-4V, because its major alloying elements are aluminum at 6% and vanadium at 4%.

The article then looks at how the new materials affect how it feels and why, with some interesting comments and calculations that would interest an engineer.

As anticipated, the updates to iOS, iPadOS, WatchOS and tvOS appeared on Monday, although here that was one minute after midnight (Tuesday morning) because of the different time zone. I installed all except tvOS early Tuesday without any major problem although a couple of the installations took a long time. watchOS was quite smooth.

An early look at the updates to iOS/iPadOS 17 did not hold any major upsets for me - I was working so could not look deeply - although I was slightly annoyed when commenting on student work with markup. Every time I looked at a new file the Apple Pencil defaulted to black, even though blue was selected. Each time I had to use Undo then try again.

Although iOS is being updated this week, some features will not be available right away. Chance Miller, writing on 9to5 Mac, reports on three specific features that are not expected until later this year.

A second surprise came later in the weekend when I accessed the Apple Store to see what changes had been made following the Apple Watch 9 announcement. Despite the iPhone being available, the Watch is still marked with, "Check back later for availability". As I currently have the Apple Watch 6, it feels as if replacement is overdue. I order a new iPhone every 2 years, and normally order the Watch every 2 years as well, but last year did not buy a new one, so this is overdue.

 Apple Watch Series 9
Apple Watch Series 9 - Image courtesy of Apple

Late last week I was out in Bangkok when I noticed that the charge on my current Apple Watch was showing 2%. I was sure I had charged it in the morning as usual, but the battery was low. I was impressed by how long the 2% lasted, although I tried to minimize use to save power. Eventually, of course, not long before I arrived back home, the Watch died. At home I put it on charge and waited. When I checked after lunch, there was a red lightning bolt icon along with the current time.

The icon should have been yellow or green if it was charging properly. I waited, thinking that this was due to the battery having been drained completely. I checked that the charger and watch were clean, but still nothing happened. I did look for another charger but only had the one, which connects via USB-A (the original type). I was surprised that I had no charger that connects via USB-C. Did I give these away?

Late in the afternoon, I tried another approach and connected the USB-A cable to a power strip. The Watch came to life immediately (green thunderbolt icon and all) and began to charge properly. When this was complete, I had a look at the power supply. The problem was in a weak connection. When I pushed the USB-A connector in fully, it worked. Start problem analysis with the basics.

Those who live and work in Thailand, but are not Thai will be aware of the need for regular visits to the Immigration Offices to renew visas, report change of address or (a holdover from long ago) the need to report to Immigration every 90 days. The last few times I did this I managed to crack the mysteries of the online registration so I do not even need to turn up in person which shows its value. If this report is needed, it would be better done at a local police station.

My visits to Immigration used to be to an office in the center of Bangkok. This usually wasted a day. The main Bangkok office was moved to the northern outskirts, but the office I had to visit was closer to where I work: reasonably convenient. Earlier this year, that office was moved again into what looked like the middle of nowhere. As this move would affect several people, I reported the new location to Apple Maps and within a month or two, the new site was marked on the Maps. The first visit took a circuitous route, but I noticed that the office for the Work Permit was right next door, which would save an extra journey.

New road in Nakhon Pathom New road in Nakhon Pathom

New road in Nakhon Pathom - Map and satellite views

The return trip took a different route and passed new court buildings and a relocated provincial office. What had been low grade agricultural land (swamp) was being repurposed as part of a plan to move more government buildings away from built up areas. Beside the courts was a new road which took us back to the main road in only a few minutes: a far easier trip home. We used the new road a few days later when collecting documents. However, this road is not on the maps, although it is clearly visible on the satellite view. I reported this - with suitable screen shots - to Apple as well. Fingers crossed that this finds its way onto the maps soon: no change so far.

I also reported a problem I had with the recent update to WatchOS and iOS. When I set up Focus at bed time, so I am not disturbed, it normally applies to all devices. However, with the last update, the iPhone and Watch did not cooperate. If I used the Mac or the iPads, Focus was set on the Watch. It was not when I used the iPhone. Similarly when I set this on the Watch, it did not work on the iPhone. I used the other devices to make sure I was not disturbed for a few days, but also reported this to Apple. A few days later, the problem had disappeared. I do not know if there had been a silent update, or if this was specific to my devices and changes I made fixed the problem, but all is now well.

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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