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Why Apple is putting Dolby Vision cameras on the iPhone 12

When scuttlebutt started spreading about Apple working on a "Dolby Vision" camera for the iPhone 12, my mind immediately started racing.

See, several years ago, during Apple's World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC), I was invited to Dolby to see their then-new Vision system.

They showed us the trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi in both 4K and 1080p. The 4K was SDR or standard dynamic range. The 1080 was HDR or high dynamic range.

And it was no contest — the 1080p HDR just blew the 4K SDR out of the skies and straight back to Mos Eisley. And Dolby knew it. Their team had been smiling the whole time.

Read the rest in my weekly iMore column:

https://www.imore.com/why-apple-putting-dolby-vision-cameras-iphone-12

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iPhone 12 vs. mini vs. Pro vs. Max — Buy This One!

Apple just unleashed 4 new iPhones. Yes, 4 new iPhones, all at the same time. iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Now, the vast majority of people only upgrade their phones every 2, 3, even 4 years. Most of the rest are on an annual upgrade program, money is no object, or work in the tech industry.

Regardless, if you’re coming from an iPhone 7 or 8, or you just have to pick which iPhone 12 you’re gonna upgrade to, there’s more to choose from than ever.

Here's what you need to know!

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HomePod mini is Here — Apple’s New $99 Speaker!

I’m watching Apple’s October 2020 event live, and this is my real-time analysis of the HomePod mini, from design to computational audio features, pairing with other HomePods and Apple TV, intercom and personal data, Siri, and more!

Let’s do this!

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iPhone 12 Pro & iPhone 12 Pro Max — In-Depth Reaction!

I’m watching Apple’s October 2020 event live, and this is my real-time analysis of the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. XDR Display, wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto cameras — and better cameras on the Max! — LiDAR, 5G and mmWave, Dolby Vision at 4K 60fps, ceramic shield — MagSafe! — and everything else announced during the October 22 Apple Event!

It's on!

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iPhone 12 & iPhone 12 mini — Tech Reviewer Reacts!

I’m watching Apple’s October 2020 event live, and this is my real-time analysis of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini. XDR Display, wide and ultra-wide cameras, 5G and mmWave, Dolby Vision, ceramic shield — MagSafe! — and everything else announced during the October 22 Apple Event!

Let’s do this!

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iPhone Trailer — From Steve Jobs to iPhone 12

Teaser-trailer-style homage containing a brief history of the iPhone, from the original introduction by Steve Jobs in 2007 to the iconic iPhone 4 in 2010 to the big and bigger iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in 2014 to the modern iPhone X in 2017 and the iPhone 12 for 2020.

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iPhone 12 Massive New Rumor Rundown

Over night, the mother of all iPhone 12 Event rumor drops happened. We’re talking features, release dates, and accessories, including the return of MagSafe — yes, MagSafe! — but in a totally new way. Also, HomePod Mini, and what’s happening with AirPods Studio, the over-the-ear headset, and AirTags, the Find My for everything.

And I’m going to analyze all of it for you — and right now!

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Wrong About Apple October iPhone 12 Event

Apple has announced the October — yes, October! — iPhone 12 Event and, as always, there’s a lot of confusion and a lot of questions surrounding not just the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro, but AirTags, AirPods Studio, HomePod mini, and everything else that might or might not happen at the event.

So, let’s dig into it!

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Health Records on Your iPhone — Is it Safe?

Apple’s just announced that their Health Records feature, which has been scaling up rapidly in the U.S., is now coming to Canada and the U.K. as well.

I had the chance to chat briefly with Kevin Lynch, yes, that Kevin Lynch, Apple’s VP of software about it, and just had to interrupt my previously scheduled programming and make this quick video sharing some thoughts. Because I love tech and I especially love tech that connects us and makes our lives better. And that’s exactly what Health Records does.

Ok, so. Pause. Rewind. Play. Years ago, while working on the Apple Watch, even early on, Apple realized they’d be generating a tremendous amount of health data, so they created the Health app to store it and HealthKit as a way for it to work with other apps, accessories, and systems.

It’s all private and secure, encrypted on-device, and if you back it up, it’s encrypted in transit and at-rest, basically zero-knowledge and fail-secure in exactly the way you want your personal, private health data to be handled.

But, more recently, Apple also realized that they could use that privacy and security to actually help with the convenience and experience of accessing health records as well.

That’s thanks to to the standardized APIs, application programing interfaces, called FHIR — F H I R or Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources, which supports data types like allergies, conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications, procedures, and vitals.

Just like in the U.S., it’s starting with a handful of early adopters, but in the U.S. they’ve already scaled to the hundreds and it’s not hard, like at all, to see the same happening in Canada and other places.

A healthcare center just has to go to Apple’s portal and sign up, and obviously their IT, their information technology department has to make sure their system is supplying the FHIR data, and just work everything out with Apple, but then it’s seamless.

Apple doesn’t intermediate any of the data. You go to the Health app, search for your provider, connect using OAuth 2.0, which is the web standard, it’s what you use to sign into Twitter and Insta and for Sign in with Apple, just everything, and that lets you sign in once and get a secure token that keeps you logged in, and then it’s entirely between you and your healthcare center. The data goes from their records to your iPhone, point final.

And once you’re connected, if any additional healthcare data about you gets added, new test results, anything, that goes securely to from the center to your Health app as well, and you get a local notification. Again, Apple’s just completely out of the loop.

That makes it easier for the healthcare center to get you your data and easier for you to access it. So it’s just a win/win for everyone. But even more for you…

Apple’s Health App also lets you connect to multiple healthcare data sets, so if you’ve got old data from where you used to live and the medical center you used to go to, or if you’re currently going to multiple places for general and speciality work, you can see all of it in a way that’s just not possible through the individual health portals. So, like… Super win.

Apple also put a lot of work into the interface. They don’t show medical imaging, so you won’t see your x-rays or anything like that, but they do take the raw FHIR data and parse it and presented it in a way that’s easy for someone like you and me, someone who doesn’t work in a medical lab, to understand. And that includes things like using more common, human-friendly labels for the data. Though, if you’re more medically minded, you can tap into results and see clinical terms, even the raw FHIR labels for everything.

And I love that, I just love interface complexity scaled by depth of engagement. It makes things super accessible to everyone but also keeps the deeper details available for the people who really want to dig into them.

Balancing privacy with convenience, security with functionality is always tricky, and Apple is definitely keeping more towards the privacy and security side with Health data.

For example, usually you can just consent to sharing Health data with an app or accessory, like your steps or whatever, and once that connection is made, it just persists.

With Health data, though, you can still make that connection, but you can also choose whether you want new data shared automatically or on a case-by-case basis if and when you choose to. So, for example, if a new lab result comes in, you can choose to have to authorize that being shared every time. Which is terrific, because inform and consent all the things.

Especially right now where, depending on where you live and what your current circumstances are, it might be difficult to go to public places, especially medical centers, especially if all you need is data, and being able to get that data, that information, at home, anywhere, without having to expose yourself when it’s not absolutely necessary, is just an incredible benefit if not outright relief.

And, I like to think, information is just always empowering. Especially health information, especially in conjunction with your health care professionals.

And that’s why it’s just so great to see this rolling out in Canada now with hopefully many more Canadian healthcare centers to come.

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Apple’s ‘Hi, Speed’ October 2020 Event — What to Expect

The invitations have gone out. The website is live. The YouTube stream is ready. And the 2020 iPhone event is on.

But… since it’s 2020, it can’t possibly be just a normal event, right?

Nope. Hard nope. It’s virtual, to be sure. And this is clearly October, not September like most year. No, this year, in September what we got was… Apple Watch and iPad.

So, now, October. Next week. What are we going to get?

Hi, Speed

Ok, so, here’s what the Apple Event invitation says:

Hi, speed. Please join us for a special Apple Event from Apple Park. Watch it online at apple.com

October 13, 2020, at 10 a.m. PDT.

And, I know what you’re thinking. If you tap the logo, does it open up in augmented reality on ARKit enabled devices?

You bet it does. In full-on 3D glory. From Apple Logo to date stamp in one hot twisted moment flat. Again.

Alas, this time there’s no Greg Joswiack, no Joz, no Senior VP of worldwide marketing wicked flex tweet to show off the animation like from the roof of Apple Park or anything.

No, Joz tweeted out an iOS 14 home screen photo instead. And… I have so many questions.

Yes, the notch is normal sized, same with the bezels. Stop it. Just stop it. Joz doesn’t self-leak. But News and Home… Gotta be the second home screen, right?

Any way, let’s turn our Zapruder-mode camera from Twitter to the invites…

Tea Leaves

Now, as usual, as soon as people saw the event logo, there was insta-speculation as to what it could all mean.

And you know we go through that every year. Just all the tea leaf reading.

The way it works is that Apple marketing communications, marcomms, hands off a spec to the graphic design team, GD, who then come up with the art.

In other words, the actual people making the art don’t have any inside info when making the actual design. It’s just based on what they’re told by the people who do. So, think big themes rather than specific Easter eggs.

Last time, it was a nice sky blue and lo and behold, one of the new iPad Air colors was sky blue. This time, we have a dark blue and orange, tinted by teal and yellow. Classic cinema grading colors, exactly like I use for these videos. But maybe also a nod to the rumored new dark blue iPhone 12 Pro and… perhaps something, maybe a regular iPhone orange?

I’d love both those options.

The circles, well… the circles… especially the circle with the Apple logo right in the center… A lot of people are already hoping they represent AirTags. Apple’s U1 ultra-broadband spatial positioning chip-enabled tokens that you can attach to anything, wallets, keys, bags, pets, kids, and use the Find My network to precisely locate them if and when you need to. That would be all those other circles. The other devices locating the AirTags. And the AR, a nod to the ARKit interface, coming soon.

Other theories include the circles representing the new quad-camera system. With telephoto, wide-angle, ultra-wide angle, and LiDAR, which works like the FaceID TrueDepth camera on the front, but on the back, less density but greater range, so you can scan the environment around you for everything from faster focus to better bokeh to full-on 3D ingestion and AR scene building. Yeah, more AR. It’s coming. And fast.

There were a lot of LiDAR and AR hopes and dreams back before the September event as well. But, obviously in hindsight, that’s just all they were.

This time, we’ll have to wait and see. But, certainly, if you have any other ideas, let me know in the comments below.

Next up is the tag line. The teaser.

Hi, Speed.

Get it? Hello speed as in welcoming new speed, and high speed, as in the speed is increasing. Clever marcomms.

And, yeah, there are a few things that could apply to. 5G, of course. Carriers are pushing that hot and heavy around the world. Building out the networks is costing them a fortune and the capacity is there now to withstand an iPhone scale deployment, so the faster they can start getting some ROI off of all of us, the better for them.

Of course, you may or may not have usable 5G, either FR1 low to mid band, or FR2 high band, in your area, but either way, even the LTE on the new Qualcomm modems should be an improvement, especially for people who’ve struggled with signal in the past.

A14 Bionic, Apple’s next-generation system-on-a-chip, or SoC, is also going to be fast. Like Barry Allen breaking the speed force fast. We’ve already seen some alleged benchmarks with legit impressive gains in single core, multi-core, and metal performance, and I’ve already done a whole video on what the new 5mm process and IP generation means for the iPhone 12, so hit up that link in the description. But, yeah, basically, Apple’s still leading the industry there.

Beyond FindMy, Apple’s U1 chip could also be a speed boost for things like AirDrop. I’m just… I mean… did they really think through that branding… because the minute they hit the next generation on that silicon, just what are they going to do… call it U2?

Topic for another video. Seriously, make sure you’re subscribed with the bell on so we can hangout and chat in the comments when new videos go live.

Then, of course, there’s the big hope we’ll get to see the first Apple Silicon Mac at the event.

And this one… I just don’t know yet. Apple could certainly do it. Have Tim Cook come out in 2020 holding the new ASi MacBook like he did the original 12-inch back in 2015. And then just dive into it like it’s One More Thing.

But they could also let the iPhone 12 own this event and come back in November for One More Event. Give the first Apple Silicon Mac and it’s macOS Big Sur variant some solo time to shine.

I know everyone wants everyone immediately, but with the iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, AirTags, AirPods Studio, yeah, the over-the-ears ones, maybe an updated AirPower, it’s just a lot already.

To fit into one event, sure, but also to fit into our budgets.