iOS 12.0.1 is here, and the “.?123” key returns to its proper place

Apple has released the first point update to iOS 12.

iOS 12.0.1 includes bug fixes and improvements for your iPhone or iPad. This update:

  • Fixes an issue where some iPhone XS devices did not immediately charge when connected to a Lightning cable
  • Resolves an issue that could cause iPhone XS devices to rejoin a Wi-Fi network at 2.4GHz instead of 5GHz
  • Restores the original position of the “.?123″ key on the iPad keyboard
  • Fixes an issue where subtitles may not appear in some video apps
  • Addresses an issue where Bluetooth could become unavailable

For information on the security content of Apple software updates, please visit this website: https://support.apple.com/kb/HT201222

I’m glad I’m not the only one who kept mistakenly hitting the emoji key after iOS 12 arrived.

An iOS update that’s actually faster on older devices

Apple has pushed back against the notion of forced obsolescence with the latest version of iOS. Andrew Cunningham, reporting for Ars Technica:

…iOS 12 is a convincing counterargument to the theory that Apple intentionally hobbles its old devices to force people to buy new ones. In addition to running more like iOS 10 did, it supports devices going all the way back to 2013, which sets a new record for iOS’ software support window. Given their age, these phones and tablets feel reasonably good in everyday real-world use, including browsing, emailing, and using most apps.

I’m still rocking an iPhone 6 (I know, don’t judge- my kids get braces instead) and I can say the performance improvement is noticeable. Podcasts is my go-to app on my commute and I no longer have to wait 10-15 seconds after launch to actually play anything.

The death of the shared family computer

Computers, like telephones, originally entered U.S. homes in a single unit, tucked away just out of sight but usually accessible to all. Katie Reid at The Verge:

I can still see the Dell I grew up using as clear as day, like I just connected to NetZero yesterday. It sat in my eldest sister’s room, which was just off the kitchen. Depending on when you peeked into the room, you might have found my dad playing Solitaire, my sister downloading songs from Napster, or me playing Wheel of Fortune or writing my name in Microsoft Paint. The rules for using the family desktop were pretty simple: homework trumped games; Dad trumped all. Like the other shared equipment in our house, its usefulness was focused and direct: it was a tool that the whole family used, and it was our portal to the wild, weird, wonderful internet. As such, we adored it.

I remember the phenomenon of losing my dial up internet connection because someone picked up the phone, or patiently waiting my turn to check my email. The PowerMac 7200 (or the IIsi before it) was parked in a spare bedroom and required time and effort to log on. The thought of having unlimited personal access to the internet anywhere you went seemed crazy.

Today when I stand on the subway platform virtually everyone is staring down, their faces aglow in blue light. I’m just as guilty as anyone else- with Bluetooth earbuds plugged into my head I commute in a personal media bubble. As a perfect example of “do as I say and not as I do” we attempt to limit the kids’ access to devices as best we can, knowing that society will eventually force us to relinquish control. Katie Reid:

The advent of constant access has inevitably changed our relationship with tech. At one time, discovering the magical capabilities of our devices astonished and invigorated us. Now, we find them glomming on to our routines: joining us for dinner or family strolls, going on vacations or out on dates with us, waking us up in the morning and tucking us in at night. Though it was harder to come by, the computer time you ended up with on the shared family desktop was cherished and, maybe as a result, that much sweeter. Yet there was an untroubled ritual that, day after day, required us to step away.

The Apple Newton shipped 25 years ago today

On August 2, 1993 Apple Computer launched the Newton MessagePad. In development longer than it was on the market, the Newton was one of Apple’s flashier failures. Born with the Newton was the notion of a “personal digital assistant” and portable pen computing. You could manage a calendar, jot down notes (with Newton’s initially maligned handwriting recognition), store your contacts, and…send a fax or two.

It’s not hard, however, to see the Newton as the prototype of what virtually everyone carries around in their pocket today: a computer that you can take out into the world with you. Newton ran an early version of the ARM processor, the descendant of which lives inside the current iPhone. The space in time between the ’90s Newton and mid-2000s iPhone was occupied by a parade of short lived, pen-based PDAs from Palm, Handspring. Sony, Microsoft, and others.

And let’s not forget how the Newton put Doonesbury firmly on the map.

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Apple’s Newton, 20 years on

Wired’s Matt Honan takes an interesting look back at the first PDA:

Newton was conceived on an airplane. That’s where Michael Tchao pitched the idea to Apple’s CEO, John Sculley, in early 1991. The company would announce it the following year, and the first product in the Newton Line, the MessagePad went on sale twenty years ago this week in August of 1993. It was Apple’s handheld PDA–a term Apple coined to describe it. By modern standards, it was pretty basic. It could take notes, store contacts, and manage calendars. You could use it to send a fax. It had a stylus, and could even translate handwriting into text. Well, sort of. At the time, this was highly ambitious. Handheld computers were still largely the stuff of science fiction.

It’s fascinating that Apple (and later Palm) thought that handwriting recognition should be the default method of input instead of an onscreen keyboard, even though people had been using keyboards for decades to write words faster.  Palm’s Graffiti shorthand language went so far as to make you learn a whole new way to handwrite letters.  Crazy.

iPhone 5C cases appear on Amazon

Very interesting.  I’m currently using a case by the same manufacturer on my 4S.  It’s not unusual for speculative case makers to release products for iPhones that haven’t been announced yet- it’s a fairly low cost gamble if they have received credible specs on the new phone’s dimensions.

One rumor that continues to gain traction is that Apple will stop selling any previous generation phones once their new lineup ships this fall.  The iPhone 5, 4S, and 4 will be retired, and the iPhone 6 (or 5S) will sell alongside the less expensive 5C, which is said to be in a curved plastic case that comes in colors.  Apple will then be able to retire the 30 pin connector (iPod classic notwithstanding) and improve their profit margins with these all-new devices.