Kaby Lake gleanings, external GPU, Mac speeder, Brexit raises UK Apple prices


haswell_die

2017 MacBook Pro to bring Intel Kaby Lake, 32GB of RAM — Apple will launch a new 15-inch MacBook Pro later this year powered by Intel’s next-generation Kaby Lake processors and 32GB of desktop-class RAM, according to a reliable analyst.
The latest models feature Skylake chips and up to 16GB of RAM, but many professionals have complained this just isn’t enough for a high-end notebook [even though these configurations are optimised for high-end video work and have really fast SSDs].
Apple is predicted to sell 17 million Mac laptops in 2017.

PowerColor’s Thunderbolt 3 Devil Box is the easiest way to get an external GPU on the MacBook Pro — New third-party hardware releases make the external GPU situation for macOS both less expensive, and slightly less ‘hacky’ to install. AppleInsider examines the US$379 PowerColor Devil Box — so far the best way to get your MacBook Pro to Mac Pro tower GPU speeds and even give older hardware a significant boost without doling out the cash for a new computer. It wasn’t until Thunderbolt 3 that the bandwidth of the protocol fully caught up with the idea. [You then install a GPU into the Box.]

Stellar Data Recovery’s SpeedUp Mac speeds up your Mac — This software scans your machine and helps you remove unwanted files safely that are responsible for sluggish performance of your Mac. Most Mac users experience sluggish system performance over a period of time. Stellar SpeedUp Mac has been developed specifically to address this and speed up slow systems.
A demo version of SpeedUp Mac is available. This version can remove unwanted applications, log files and system junk. To use all features, the full version can be purchased for US$39.

Brexit drives up UK App Store prices 25% — Apple’s App Store is about to get more expensive for UK shoppers. App prices are going up by 25% because the pound has been dropping in the wake of the Brexit vote.

Tuesday Talk ~ doom and undoom


(Image from Business Insider)
(Image from Business Insider 2012)

Peter Thiel, the venture capitalist, reckons ‘the age of Apple’ is over. But I don’t think there ever was an age of Apple, apart from for Apple fans. I mean, if you’re happy with Android, you will look back on the smartphone era as your Android era.
There were ages. There was the age of the PC, and that of the desktop publishing revolution, the time of the digital music player, and that of the smartphone then the tablet, sure. Apple was at the forefront of all of these, but never exclusively ruled any to greater and lesser extents. Apple at first didn’t have the marketing or financial muscle to rule its markets, and then only ever became an effective player in them, even when it was largely responsible for entire categories coming to public attention in the first place. Actually, the only category I can think of that Apple did almost exclusively dominate from beginning to end was the iPod, since no other music player came even close to surpassing it in use, sales or public perception.
As a man of experience, Thiel should know that making any kind of sweeping pronouncements is not worthy. But hey, Thiel works for that inconceivable blow-hard Donald Trump as his ‘Silicon Valley evangelist’. You really can’t expect much considered comment, or even intelligence (beyond finely-honed and single-minded opportunism) from such a figure. Unless you are a fan of the greedy, of course.

Apple has always been about making unapproachable technology approachable. Back in the day, what was holding up PC adoption was the amount of training and knowledge required to make a computer do … anything. Apple fundamentally changed that with the introduction of the Mac’s Graphic User Interface, or GUI, which made the interface and operation of personal computers conceivable for almost any user. This approach has been the real bedrock of Apple ever since, and remains so, which is why longer-term Apple users roll their eyes when people speculate about what the next major technological revolution from Apple will be.
They’re missing the point – better to focus on what’s difficult about technology that Apple decides to make usable.

Even so, Apple has been beavering away. Can you think of ten new Apple technologies Apple introduced in 2016? Nor can I, but there were at least ten significant ones. Ceramics, machine learning, differential privacy … all these things will come into play more and more as Apple evolves its personal computing platforms. Remember, Apple plays a long game, not a short one – Steve Jobs envisaged the iPhone 25 years before it was possible to create it. That’s the real reason Apple is still here, and still very powerful.

But this does all bring to mind Apple’s profit margins. They’re unacceptably high, in this day and age. iPhone sales have been static for a while, and iPad declining. Why? I really think price: once you can get something almost as good for a third the price, ‘almost as good’ becomes pretty compelling.
Most people will deal with a reboot, crash and slowness once in a while for an extra $700 in their back pockets.

Airmail 1.5, iMessages lawsuit, Samsung confirms battery fault


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Hands on with Airmail 1.5, managing Apple Mail, Gmail, and Exchange on iOS — Users can connect a series of Airmail functions to speed up your work, and weed out important emails from the less-so. AppleInsider shows you how, and when, to use the app.
Airmail 1.5 requires iOS 9.0 or higher and costs NZ$7.49/US$4.99 on the App Store. There’s also the Mac version of Airmail (v3.2.1) that requires OS X 10.8 or higher and costs NZ$14.99/US$9.99 on the Mac App Store.

Lawsuit accuses Apple’s iMessages of violating 2002 point-of-sale patent — A new patent infringement lawsuit accuses Apple and its iMessage service of violating a 15-year-old patent — one related to the recording and playback of voice messages over a network.

Samsung testing confirms battery problems to blame for Galaxy Note 7 fires — Internally, Samsung has concluded that the battery — and not any faults in software, or other hardware — was reportedly to blame for the fires that led to the recall and ultimate cancellation of the Galaxy Note 7. [I smell an imminent lawsuit.]

Martin Luther King, US manufacturing, Iovine talks TV


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Apple commemorates Martin Luther King Jr. Day with quote on website — Acknowledging the birthday of Dr Martin Luther King Jr, Apple updated the front page of its website with a photo of and quote from the legendary civil rights leader, calling on people to fight for equality. [It looks like the exact opposite of anything Trump would tweet.]

Apple partner Pegatron could boost US manufacturing capacity by 3-5x, if pressed — The chairman of Apple supplier Pegatron has revealed that his company could expand its operations in the US by three to five times, should it be necessary — but even that won’t make much of a dent in Apple’s iPhone and Mac production needs.
Pegatron chairman TH Tung said at his company’s year-end banquet that its plants in California and Indiana could be expanded to meet the needs of purchasers. It would likely have little impact on the US workforce, as any increase would be accommodated by automation, and not by growing the employment rolls significantly.

Jimmy Iovine says Apple Music creating ‘pop cultural’ experience with new TV content — Responding to reports that Apple Music content will expand further into full-length movies and TV shows, a key executive with the service — Jimmy Iovine — said over the weekend that Apple is willing to do “whatever hits popular culture smack on the nose” in order to differentiate itself.

Snapchat better, Google Maps Uber, Steamworld Heist, we can sue Apple, vulnerabilities


Steamworld Heist may steal all your time
Steamworld Heist may steal all your time

Snapchat just got way easier to use thanks to a new search bar — Snapchat is confusing to use, which is part of what makes it fun, because it’s sort of like knowing a secret language not everyone can understand. But it can also be annoying, like when you’re looking for something specific and don’t want to tap or swipe a million times to find it. So Snapchat’s latest update, rolling out soon to both iOS and Android users, adds a universal search bar you can access from anywhere in the app.

Google updates Maps on iOS with better ridesharing UI, end-to-end Uber integration — Google has updated its Maps apps for iOS  with a new, more in-depth ridesharing interface, including deeper integration with Uber that lets people hail a car without switching apps.

SteamWorld Heist’s tactical action might steal all your free time — Starting life on the Nintendo 3DS before hitting Mac, PC, consoles, and most recently iOS, SteamWorld Heist is a meaty game squeezed into an approachable package. It’s a turn-based strategy and combat affair that’s similar in a lot of ways to XCOM, however the 2D, side-scrolling design simplifies the action and interface, and makes it seem like a perfect fit for an iPhone or iPad. It’s NZ$9.99/US$6.99).

Judge rules that iPhone users can sue Apple for anticompetitive practices — The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that iPhone app purchasers may sue Apple over allegations that the company monopolised the market for iPhone apps by not allowing users to purchase them outside the Apple App Store, leading to higher prices, reports Reuters.

Cellebrite hacked, reaffirming Apple’s iOS no-backdoor stance — A year ago the FBI was pushing to force Apple into making a hackable version of iOS for a terrorist investigation while claiming the code would stay secure. Now Cellebrite — the company the FBI reportedly hired to break through the iPhone’s encryption — has been hacked, validating Apple’s concerns the tools would eventually leak.

WhatsApp vulnerability could expose messages to prying eyes, report claims — A vulnerability in the popular messaging service could allow Facebook to intercept supposedly encrypted messages.

Consumer tick, Opera reinvention, 4 must-have adapters, Sonnet Thunderbolt, Pro USB-C, Apple 11th


(Image from Apple Inc)
(Image from Apple Inc)

Consumer Reports now recommends MacBook Pro after Apple software fix — In a bit of backpedaling, Consumer Reports on Thursday said it can now recommend Apple’s new MacBook Pro lineup after a software fix remedied battery life inconsistencies found in previous testing.

Opera Reinvents the Web Browser with Neon for Mac — Opera thinks the current state of web browsers kind of sucks, and is pretty much right. Instead of just complaining, however, Opera has developed a new browser concept where they can experiment with different interface ideas. They’re calling the browser Opera Neon, and it’s available for Mac (and Windows) users to try out. Neon does away with familiar elements like tabs in favor of bubbles that float at the edge of your display. Performance is a little slow right now, but it’s a concept platform and not a finished product. You can download Neon for free at the Opera website.

Jeff’s 4 must-have Touch Bar MacBook Pro Adapters — “After spending a month with Apple’s 15-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pro I’ve found there are only four must-have Thunderbolt 3 adapters I need to attach everything I use with my computer. I don’t need all of them all the time, but they’re my go-to set for all of my wired connection needs.”

Sonnet launches Thunderbolt 3-to-PCI Express Card expansion systems — Sonnet Technologies has launched its first Thunderbolt 3-to-PCIe card expansion systems, the Echo Express SEL — Thunderbolt 3 Edition and the Echo Express SE I — Thunderbolt 3 Edition.

Inexpensive USB-C PCI-E card in a Mac Pro for full USB 3.1 data transfer speeds — An inexpensive card available from Amazon allows users of Apple’s Mac Pro tower with PCI-E slots to get some of the benefits of the new USB-C connector — and faster USB 3.1 speeds. AppleInsider tells you what you need.

Sqoop lists most inventive companies of 2016 based on patent activity — Sqoop, a “news discovery network,” has released a list of the “most inventive companies of 2016 based on patent activity.” Apple places 11th on the list.

Futurology ~ Alien Megastructure, we are star dust, Milky Way thief, star collision, Saturn’s Death Star, mind-controlled zombie mice, 28¢ health care, Algorithm concert hall


elbphilharmonie

Another month, another Alien Megastructure theory — New research suggests that Tabby’s star (the celestial object voted most likely to host an alien megastructure) is acting weirdly because it recently annihilated an entire planet, and the shattered remains of that planet are now producing strange flickering effects. It’s probably the best theory we’ve heard so far.
~ I’d be acting a bit weirdly too-, with indigestion.

We’re made of sawdust — New research confirms what science popularisers like Carl Sagan have said all along: humans truly are made of ‘star stuff‘ – and there are maps to prove it.
In the largest undertaking of its kind, a group of astronomers at the Sloan Digital Sky Survey in New Mexico has used the APOGEE (Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment) spectrograph to analyze the composition of 150,000 stars across the Milky Way. The team has catalogued the amount of CHNOPS elements ( carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorous, and sulphur) in each of the stars, and mapped out the prevalence of these ‘building blocks of life’ across the galaxy.
Go ahead and check out the team’s maps on SDSS.
~ Baby, you’re  star.

Our galaxy has been stealing planets — New research from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) suggests some of the 11 farthest stars in our galaxy, approximately 300,000 lightyears from Earth, were probably snatched from the Sagittarius dwarf galaxy. It’s the second-closest galaxy to our own, making it the perfect victim for this celestial crime.
~ And not humans’ fault, for a change. 

Scientists predict that a pair of stars in the constellation Cygnus will collide in 2022 — The  explosion in the night sky should be so bright that it will be visible to the naked eye. From a report on NPR:
If it happens, it would be the first time such an event was predicted by scientists.
~ Better dust off that manger. 

mimasMimas, a moon of Saturn, looks like the Death Star — This is easily one of the best pictures ever captured of Mimas, revealing intricate surface features and shadows cast across its iconic impact crater.
The Cassini spacecraft captured this image on October 22, 2016 at a distance of 185,000 kms (115,000 miles). Each pixel represents one full kilometre (3,300 feet). Mimas is just barely 400kms (248 miles) across, and it’s notable in that it’s the smallest body in the solar system to have a rounded shape, the result of its own gravity. Smaller satellites in the solar system, like Hyperion and Phoebe, are irregular, potato-shaped objects.
~ Big deal: an old golf ball also looks like the Death Star.

Our moon is older than we thought — The Moon is much older than previously estimated—up to 140 million years older. After analysing uranium decay in minerals called zircons, which can be found in Moon rocks brought back from the Apollo 14 mission in 1971, researchers concluded the Moon probably formed about 60 million years after our solar system was born. So now researchers have concluded the Moon is at least 4.51 billion years old.
~ Well, it is quite wrinkly.

Scientists have created mind-controlled zombie mice — Flash one light, and the mouse goes on the prowl, zombielike, stalking any prey in its path. Flash another, and it delivers a killing blow with its teeth. The mouse doesn’t hunt out of hunger — scientists are in control.
~ So, anyone else think scientists might use their time a bit better?

28¢worth of paper could transform health care — A loose assemblage of paper and string that Manu Prakash pulls from his pocket doesn’t look like much. And in a way, it’s not — just US20 cents’ worth (NZ28¢) of materials you can buy at an art supply store. But in another way, the Stanford bioengineer’s tangle of stuff is a minor miracle.
Prakash calls it a Paperfuge, and like the piece of lab equipment it’s named for, the centrifuge, it can spin biological samples at thousands of revolutions per minute. That’s a critical step in the diagnosis of infections like malaria and HIV. But unlike a centrifuge, the Paperfuge doesn’t need electricity, complicated machinery, expensive replacement parts, or even much money to operate.
~ Pure genius.

Algorithms design concert all — The most interesting thing about Herzog and De Meuron’s newly opened concert hall in Hamburg, Germany, isn’t the the Elbphilharmonie’s wave-like facade, which rises above the city. It’s not the gently curved elevator at the base of the lobby that deposits you into the belly of the Swiss architects’ alien landscape, and it’s not the Escher-esque stairways that guide you from one floor to the next.
For the Elbphilharmonie, Herzog and De Meuron used algorithms to generate a unique shape for each of the 10,000 gypsum fibre acoustic panels that line the auditorium’s walls like the interlocking pieces of a giant, undulating puzzle (main picture, above).
~ Each panel helps shape sound thanks to their individually crafted ‘cells’. But hey, what does it actually sound like?

blood glucose kit, iOS revenue, game reappears, weather app alerts, iPad voice editing, drone crashes and dies, Watch activity


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One Drop launches Chrome Blood Glucose Monitoring with HealthKit on Apple’s online store — One Drop on Wednesday launched the Chrome Blood Glucose Monitoring Kit on Apple’s online store, offering a heavily iOS-based option for people suffering from diabetes. The centrepiece of the kit is its FDA-certified meter, which transmits data to the One Drop Mobile app via Bluetooth. On top of iPhone and iPod touch support, a companion Apple Watch app is available. Also bundled are a lancing device, 10 lancets, and 100 test strips.

Apple revenues from iOS ecosystem should exceed $1 trillion this year, according to analyst — According to independent analyst Horace Dediu, Apple’s iOS hardware ecosystem and related services is on schedule to generate a cumulative $1 trillion sometime in 2017, a milestone for a consumer product.

Rejected by Apple a year ago, ‘The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth’ accepted into App Store with no changes — Cult indie game The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is now available to download from the App Store, after previously being rejected by Apple over themes of violence towards children. What led to this was application of a 17+ rating.

The complete guide to weather alerts on the iPhone — If you’re in, or heading to, the Northern Hemisphere and the depths of winter, there are often severe thunderstorms and the possibility of tornadoes across the southern states or blizzards in the north. You can use your iPhone to gain advance warning and perhaps even life-saving information.

Adobe concept demonstrates editing images on iPad using just your voice — Photographs may be edited by voice commands alone in the future, creative software producer Adobe hopes, showcasing a new proof-of-concept video that shows a Siri-like digital assistant on an iPad being used to make changes to an image.

After $34M in preorders, iOS-connected self-flying drone project Lily crashes, will issue refunds — Citing production issues, the makers of Lily, an autonomous, iOS-connected drone that aimed to simplify aerial photography, has announced their project has been completely cancelled, and refunds will be issued to customers over the next 60 days.

Apple Watch and iPhone: filtering your Activity Data — If you’re using an Apple Watch and the iPhone’s Activity app to track your workouts, then you should go in and check out all of the ways you can view and sort your data. One of the most interesting things you can do, I think, is to filter your workouts by type, so you can get a good idea of how you’re progressing over time. So to do this, first open the Activity app, and then tap the “Workouts” tab.

Mac and PC sales, Jackson to DOT, 5K LG UltraFine


(Image: Apple Inc)
(Image: Apple Inc)

Mac sales stabilise in Q4 amid worldwide PC shipment decline — After a steep slide last quarter, Apple’s Mac saw a 2.4% sales increase over the three-month period ending in December as the wider PC market continued to suffer a now five year drought. According to the latest estimates from Gartner, Apple shipped 5.4 million Macs to capture 7.5% of the worldwide PC market in the fourth calendar quarter of 2016, up 2.4% from 5.3 million units shipped and a 7% share of the market during the same period a year ago.
Apple’s new MacBook Pro stopped the decline, although it may not have added the sales boost Apple was hoping for.

Apple’s Lisa Jackson named to U.S. DOT advisory committee — Lisa Jackson, Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives, has been named to a new advisory committee of the US Department of Transportation to unify and regulate the introduction of automated vehicles to US highways. According to the Department of Transportation, the main focus of the group is the “development and deployment of automated vehicles, and determining the needs of the Department as it continues with its relevant research, policy, and regulations.”

LG UltraFine 5K is a great display for new MacBook Pros (and looks aren’t everything) — In a previous review, I mentioned that I wasn’t overly impressed with the LG UltraFine 4K, one of the monitors LG co-developed with Apple for use with the 2016 MacBook Pros. Thankfully, the UltraFine 5K addresses some of its smaller siblings’ shortcomings (as it should, since it’s more expensive).
The 27-inch display on the LG UltraFine 5K — which is 18.3 inches high, 24.6 inches wide, 9.4 inches deep, and weighs 18.7 pounds — is gorgeous. It boasts a 5120-by-2880 resolution, 14.7 million pixels, P3 wide color gamut, and 500 cd/m² of brightness.

iPhone prices, iOS gains, Samsung bribes, HomeKit releases at CES, CareKit, Schiller on iPhone


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Average iPhone price higher in US than many other countries, survey finds — Americans are paying more for their iPhones than citizens of 38 other countries, according to a study into the average cost of electronics around the world, with a difference between the US and the cheapest country’s prices found to be more than $220.
According to research from Latin America retailer Linio, the US has the 39th cheapest average iPhone cost, $625.88, out of the 71 countries studied. By comparison, Canada is in 14th place with $555.25, the United Kingdom is ranked in 12th with $542.29, New Zealand at 52nd ($623.36)and Australia is in 20th place with $574.50.

iOS makes gains in most regions in the past three months as Android declines — The latest smartphone OS sales data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech shows Android sales declined in the US, Great Britain and France, as iOS continued to make gains across most regions in the three months ending November 2016. But iPhone is ceding ground in the crucial Chinese market.

Samsung vice chairman a suspect in South Korean bribery probe — A South Korean prosecutor’s office is set to interrogate the head of the Samsung Group, Jay Y Lee, as part of a wider influence scandal involving the country’s President Park Geun-hye and her close friend, Choi Soon-sil.

Every Apple HomeKit product announced at CES 2017 coming later this year — Apple itself may not show up to CES, but about a dozen companies came to this year’s show with a range of HomeKit-capable products from smart lighting products to home security. Here’s a complete guide to everything HomeKit unveiled at CES 2017.

Apple beefing up privacy options on its CareKit platform — Apple has partnered with security firm Tresorit to offer developers using Apple’s CareKit platform increased privacy options, helping reach HIPAA compliance, reports Mashable.
CareKit is a tool for assisting people in taking an active role in their care. iPhone apps using the kit make it easier for individuals to keep track of care plans and monitor symptoms and medication; providing insights that help people better understand their own health. With the ability to share information with doctors, nurses or family members, CareKit apps help people take a more active role in their health.

Key Takeaways from Phil Schiller’s iPhone Anniversary Interview
Andrew Orr Andrew Orr — On the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, Steven Levy posted an exclusive interview with Phil Schiller on his blog, BackChannel. Here are some of the key takeaways from the anniversary, including anecdotes from the original launch, thoughts on apps, and whether Phil could have known how popular Apple’s device would become.

LG UltraFine, Luminar, secure VPN, leaving Apple, VPN deal, Adobe flaws


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LG UltraFine 5K Thunderbolt 3 display ship times drop to one week, in-store pickup [in the US] on January. 23 — Shipping times for the LG UltraFine 5K Display have dropped precipitously in the US, with outstanding orders being updated, and new order shipping estimates falling from 2-4 weeks, to just one week.
The New Zealand prices are $823.95 and $1528.95, but no shipping times are stated.

Dr Mac loves Luminar — When Bob LeVitus first saw the web page for Macphun’s new Luminar photo editor, he was skeptical of its claims. “But, having used Luminar for several months now, I’m no longer skeptical. Luminar does indeed make image editing easier and more enjoyable; its interface does indeed adapt easily to different styles and skill levels; and, while this part is strictly subjective, I find it both responsive and beautiful.”

Get a VPNSecure Lifetime Subscription for just US$39 — If  you spend a lot of time on public Wi-Fi networks? Perhaps you do a lot of traveling and want to have access to streaming services at home that are blocked from the country you’re visiting.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) provides an encrypted secure tunnel that keeps your data safe, and through a network of VPN servers around the world, your streaming requests can look like they’re coming from a local address. Apple world Today has a great deal on VPNSecure, with a lifetime subscription for $39 (about NZ$55) – this is normally US$450, about NZ$640.

More important people leaving Apple — Apple employee Chris Lattner, the senior director of Apple’s Developer Tools Department and the the leading figure behind Swift, has shared that he’s leaving the company after more than a decade. And Matt Casebolt, a “high profile” Senior Director of Design for Apple’s Mac lineup left the company in December for a role at Tesla as Senior Director Engineering, Closures & Mechanisms.

Effect Stack is an effective, non-destructive image editor for macOS — Sinisa Drpa’s Effect Stack is a useful non-destructive image editor for macOS 10.9 or higher. With it you can easily chain multiple image filters. Effect Stack costs US$9.99 (NZ$14.99) and is available at the Mac App Store.

Adobe patches critical flaws in Flash Player, Reader, and Acrobat — Adobe Systems released security updates for its Flash Player, Adobe Reader, and Acrobat products fixing critical vulnerabilities that could allow attackers to install malware on computers.

Review ~ iKlip Grip Pro


grippro5

Most of us have either used a ‘selfie stick’ or laughed at them. However, with cameras getting so good on iPhones, they really have their uses: you can raise your smartphone above a crowd or over a barrier to take a picture, and collapsed down, they form a useful handle for steadier video shooting.

grippro1klamp

IK Multimedia has seen the potential and produced a solid product  that works as a selfie stick, should you wish, while offering other features for even more utility. The Pro has a padded clamp that can expand out to quite firmly hold up to an iPhone 6-6s-7 Plus, and the grip-head swivels 360° and in an arc of left to right across 180°. It holds a smartphone at the angle you choose with the turn of a wing-nut so you can get your viewing aspect just right. Collapsed down and in hand, the iKlip Grip Pro extends about 2cms below and 5cms above your fingers, giving you a very solid grip for video shooting, for example – the Pro is larger and more solid than the slimmer, less rugged iKlip Grip (unlike many of IK’s products, the Grip Pro is actually manufactured in Italy).

But that’s only the start — Holding the head and twisting the body one stage anti-clockwise releases one section of the telescoping boom (pull and get an extension of about 10cm) and another turn unlocks those three hand-grips, which then flare out to be extended into a table-top tripod, which you can use at full extension (although it won’t be as stable as a dedicated tripod, it can fulfil a useful function in good light when a slight unsteadiness is unlikely to matter).
There are four telescoping sections in total, giving you a total reach, with all fully extended and locked, of over half-a-metre. The full extension is 62cm/24.4 inches. You soon get fast at this, twisting, pulling a section out, twisting clockwise to lock and so on, and in the reverse order to collapse.
It’s a little unintuitive to unlock the three tripod legs, by the way. With all the sections telescoped in, it feels like the tripod legs can’t extend. You have to twist-unlock and extend the sections and then legs can be flared out. With all the sections collapsed and locked, the grip/tripod legs lock closed as a stable handgrip.
The Grip Pro clamp will hold any smartphone, and also digital cameras including DSLRs up to 1kg in weight, since the clip unscrews to reveal a typical tripod mount. The included cradle can also be mounted on a standard tripod, by the way, thanks to its 1/4-inch thread mount.

grippro21Remote — One of the best features is the little button control that comes with the Grip Pro. This is black with two red buttons, and can be stored on the handgrip for thumb control while you’re holding it, for one-handed operation, or taken off and kept in the pocket. It’s cleverly hinged so it can swing up when the legs come out without detaching. Detached, you can remote-click your shutter with, say, your iPhone mounted on the tripod a few paces away. The remote has a little switch on the side to turn it one with, and press both buttons together to put the Bluetooth device into Discovery Mode so you can pair it (it appears on your iPhone as ‘Shutter’). Once paired, the larger, lower button triggers the iPhone’s shutter. While this is Bluetooth and thus prone to the connectivity and other vicissitudes of Bluetooth (different iterations/devices can have different experiences) I found this fast and effective with an iPhone 7.
As for triggering the shutter (or start, then stop recording if your iPhone is in video mode), I even managed it 14 paces away and through two walls (the stated range is 10 metres).
Thanks to the remote shutter, the Grip Pro is great for shooting video, even if you have wet-weather/cold weather clothing and gloves on, which are typically tricky situations to try and shoot in, as it’s so easy to lose purchase and control your iPhone in these situations.

grippro33

Conclusion — If you’re keen to shoot great images and videos with your iPhone, this is a very handy thing to have in your selection of handy tools, and it’s well built and well designed. Packed down, it’s very light for travelling, yet feels sturdy in use.

What’s great — Sturdy feeling, good solid hand grip, possible to use with gloves etc thanks to the Remote.

What’s not — Bit fiddly working out how to flare out the tripod legs.

Needs — Those serious about their iPhone photography and videography.

iKlip Grip Pro, €59.99 (should be available soon from NZ retailers; NZ$119.95 in the NZ Apple Store online with 2-3 week ship time)

More Info — IK Multimedia

iPhone ten years on, Apple pulls AirPods app, Zeiss VR


The original iPhone of 2007 looks rather cute and cuddle by today's standards (image from the Verge)
The original iPhone of 2007 looks rather cute and cuddle by today’s standards (image from The Verge)

How did people react to the new iPhone ten years ago? It’s ‘High-Tech Bling’ you might not need. It’s a cell phone, it’s a music player, it’s a camera, it’s a Web-enabled device, and much more. Ask yourself if you really need all that high-tech bling. And some, of course, predicted it would ‘bomb’. Yet Tim Cook reckons the best has yet to come for the iconic device, and there’s lots of other speculations out there too, of course.

Apple pulls app for finding lost AirPods from App Store — Finder for AirPods, an app designed to assist owners of Apple’s AirPods in finding their audio accessory if it has been misplaced, was taken down from the App Store just a few days after it launched. The app worked by monitoring the strength of the Bluetooth signal transmitted by the lost AirPods. After selecting which AirPod is missing and docking the other in its case, users are then given an arc-shaped progress bar to show how strong the signal is, with the bar progressing to the right the closer the iPhone gets.
Apple has yet to publicly give a reason for why the app was removed from the App Store.

Rumour: Apple may be working with Carl Zeiss on AR glasses to debut in 2018 — Rumours of Apple’s intent to enter the augmented reality hardware space gained traction on Monday, as a report from AR/VR evangelist Robert Scoble claims the company is partnering with optics manufacturer Carl Zeiss on a pair of lightweight glasses. [2018?! The words ‘boat’ and ‘missing’ spring to mind.]