I’ve been writing about Mac games on and off for 25 years, and I can’t think of a single announcement from Apple that has intrigued me as much as Apple Arcade. It could be a real game changer, or it could be a total disaster. Apple Arcade, announced before Apple’s introduction of Apple TV+, is coming this fall. The Mac is getting the new games alongside iPhones, iPads and Apple TV. What’s more, Apple is contributing to the development costs. This is the first time I can remember Apple footing the bill. That should tell you that Apple has some ambitions beyond just launching a new service.
Continue reading “Apple’s Ambitious Plans for Apple Arcade”
Some T-Mobile customers who upgraded their iPhones to iOS 10 this week have run into “No Carrier” problems following a botched Carrier Update setting. There’s a fix available that should help, and it’s easy to install.
Apple released iOS 10 earlier this week. T-Mobile customers also saw a Carrier Settings update when they installed the new operating system. Carrier Settings files give the iPhone key information about T-Mobile’s network.
This is where things went pear-shaped: Apparently something went wrong with the carrier settings updates for iPhone 6, 6 Plus and SE, according to Engadget. After upgrading, some of us noticed our phones were dropping offline. With the hinky carrier settings, once an iPhone loses a connection to T-Mobile’s network, nothing short of powering it down and turning it back on restores the cell service. That’s been my experience, and it’s maddening.
Late on Thursday, T-Mobile and Apple pushed another carrier update setting that should fix the problem. I haven’t experimented with it extensively to test it yet, but I do see that the update is live. Here’s how to apply it. Obviously this will only work once you’re connected to T-Mobile’s network or on a Wi-Fi connection, so if your phone is offline, make sure to restart it.
How to update your iPhone carrier settings
- Tap the Home button.
- Tap Settings.
- Tap General.
- Tap About.
- The phone should automatically find the updated carrier settings automatically..
Once you’re done, you should see “Carrier” changed from 25.1 to 25.2.
I’ve been frustrated because I’ve been wasting so many Pokéballs on monsters I knew I should have caught on the first throw. You too? That’s because Niantic broke it. They confirmed it in a Tweet on Thursday, and promise a fix:
I love Pokémon GO but the novelty of actually having to find my Pokémon by looking through my smartphone’s camera wears thin quickly. There are only so many times I stop, lift my smartphone and “look around” to find my Pokémon before it feels intrusive and, quite frankly, a bit rude to the people around me. Fortunately Pokémon GO has a setting that lets you turn this feature off, and still play the game.
The next time you’re trying to catch a wild Pokémon, take a look in the upper right corner of the screen. There’s a toggle switch labeled AR. That’s short for “Augmented Reality,” and that’s the camera feature. Slide that toggle off, and your Pokémon will be rendered in a 3D setting, but your camera will no longer be used.
The game renders a 3D scene and drops the wild Pokémon right in the center of it. That makes it a bit easier to locate the Pokémon and throw a Pokéball to catch it. It also means less jerking the camera around as you’re walking around.
All the other aspects to the game remain the same. This won’t affect your ability to visit Pokéstops or gyms, won’t change the frequency with which you encounter wild Pokémon, and doesn’t affect basic gameplay mechanics when it comes to tossing Pokéballs or walking to hatch lucky eggs and the like.
Apple makes its operating systems accessible to people with a wide variety of physical limitations, but its tendency to rely on visual trickery like faux 3D effects has caused problems for users with vestibular processing problems. Technology journalist Craig Grannell has been talking about this for a while, most recently in a new blog post.
Grannell talks about the hoops he has to jump through to get OS X working to his satisfaction now that El Capitan has incorporated System Integrity Protection (SIP), a new security feature.
Recently Kirk McElhearn took up the mantle on is own site.
I do not, thankfully, have the same problems Grannell does with motion effects in iOS actually causing physical discomfort, but I do find it utterly unnecessary and superfluous, and shut it off when I can.
McElhearn echoes some complaints I’ve had in recent years as my vision has begun to falter. I’m having more and more problems accessing content and devices not only because of stuff that Apple is doing but because of stuff that Apple developers are — and aren’t — doing.
The entire Apple/iOS developer community needs to pay more attention to these issues; we’re not all 25-year olds with excellent vision.
The Facebook app is a notorious battery hog, but that doesn’t stop millions of us from using it constantly to stay in touch with our social network.
I’ve given up on it for the most part. Instead, I use Facebook through Safari on the iPhone. Facebook looks and acts differently in a web browser than it does in the app, but Safari is much better behaved than the Facebook app.
Having said that, I understand why you might want to use the app instead. If you are using the app, I’d recommend turning off Background App Refresh to keep it from wasting too much juice.
To turn off Background App Refresh:
- Tap the Home button to return to the home screen.
- Tap Settings.
- Find Facebook’s settings. It’s grouped with other social media networks whose apps you may have installed, like Twitter, Flickr and Vimeo.
- Tap Settings.
- Set Background App Refresh to off.
- Tap the Home button to exit settings.
“I like the iPhone, but I wish it had a manual I could read.”
Years ago, Apple streamlined its product packaging to only include the bare essentials, and the company decided at that point that those bare essentials didn’t include a user’s manual. After all, Apple products are easy enough to use straight out of the box, right? Why bother with bulky documentation that very few customers ever use.
I’ve actually heard this complaint from a lot of the customers who come in to the retail store where I work. So I know that this is a recurring theme, at least among a certain type of my clientele: Often older customers who are simply more comfortable with printed matter.
Unfortunately, the days of big books that come with computers and accessories is waning. It’s wasteful, it adds a lot of weight and bulk to product packaging, and the fact is that few people use them.
The good news is that there are manuals available for most Apple products. If you already have a Mac, iPhone or iPad, you have everything you need to get started. The secret is Apple’s iBooks app.
iBooks is Apple’s electronic book reading software. It’s Apple’s alternative to Amazon’s Kindle, or Barnes & Noble’s Nook (apps that are also available on the App Store). It’s available for both iOS and for OS X. Here’s the link to Apple’s section on the iBook Store.
Apple periodically updates product documentation to reflect changes in new operating system releases, highlighting new features and newly exposed functionality.
The best part is that it’s all free, and you don’t even need to own the device to download the documentation. So if you’re curious about how Apple’s MacBook works, or you’d like to know a little bit more about the Apple Watch before you drop $350 this Christmas, you can visit the iBook Store and download Apple docs to your heart’s content.
The iPhone 6 — not the 6s, just the 6 — is plagued with a manufacturing or design problem with its front-facing (or in Apple’s confusing parlance, “FaceTime” camera). Over time the camera itself will shift position inside the phone. It causes a distinct crescent moon effect:
I stopped in the Apple Store “near” me last weekend and finally got it fixed. They replaced the screen – under warranty, so there was no cost to me. If you have this problem, get yourself to an Apple Store. Make a Genius Bar appointment to save yourself time.
iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 El Capitan debuted with transit maps for a variety of North American cities, but Boston was left off the list. It didn’t take Apple too long to fix that, though. The company has updated its maps data with transit information for Boston commuters. If you plan to use the MBTA or Commuter Rail to get in and out of Boston, you can now use Maps to plan your route.
There are, of course, third party apps that have filled the gap quite nicely, like Transit. Still, it’s convenient to use built-in apps, and Handoff integration makes it convenient for you to plot your route on your Mac then transfer it to your iPhone.
You shouldn’t need to do anything to see the new content — it’s all server-side on Apple’s end.
Almost since the iPad debuted, people have been trying to use keyboards with it. Third-party keyboard case makers have been only too happy to oblige. Over the years, there’s been a landslide of cases and other contraptions designed to make it easier to do keyboard input on the iPad.
With a few exceptions, almost all the keyboard peripherals for the iPad have involved Bluetooth. There’s no actual physical tether between the iPad and the keyboard, just wireless radio transmission.
In practice, this can create a few problems for the unsophisticated user. Bluetooth isn’t perfectly reliable — devices occasionally unsync and need to be resynced, and that’s a process that’s surprisingly difficult unless you’re familiar with the Settings app and how it works. Also, wireless devices need to be recharged, which means keeping yet another charging cable handy and remembering to do so when the battery runs low.
Ultimately, Bluetooth is a maintenance hassle and a pain point for the average user.
When the iPad Pro debuts in November, it’ll be the first iOS device to feature a new peripheral interface called the Smart Connector. The Smart Connector fixes these issues.
The Smart Connector gives Apple’s new Smart Keyboard, another iPad Pro-specific creation, a place to attach. It’s a three-conductor interface on one side of the iPad Pro. So the new Smart Keyboard doesn’t use Bluetooth to communicate with the iPad. What’s more, it doesn’t need a separate battery for power — it will draw off the power of the iPad Pro itself.
Bluetooth remains a ubiquitous and important technology for the iPad. The Smart Connector is only on one iOS device to start, but Apple will distribute it to work on other future iPads as well.