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Apple Sept. 2019 announcements

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The issue re inherent conflict with content owners vs. distributors is what my fellow students and I debated back in 2001. We couldn’t see how Netflix would survive in the long term, once they proved the market; big content owners would surely attempt to disintermediate them. And so they did.
Maybe a lawsuit similar to the 1948 one that broke up the film distribution system at the time would be appropriate?


United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc., 334 U.S. 131 (1948), (also known as the Hollywood Antitrust Case of 1948, the Paramount Case, the Paramount Decision or the Paramount Decree) was a landmark United States Supreme Court antitrust case that decided the fate of movie studios owning their own theatres and holding exclusivity rights on which theatres would show their films. It would also change the way Hollywood movies were produced, distributed, and exhibited. The Supreme Court affirmed (a District Court's ruling) in this case that the existing distribution scheme was in violation of the antitrust laws of the United States, which prohibit certain exclusive dealing arrangements.
 


Just an anecdote from the weekend: I was at a party and (being bored, as I'm not a party person) started playing with my iPhone SE. I often turn WiFi off when I'm out, as I get fed up with pop-ups showing all the locked access points near me and blocking my screen.
Can't this be prevented by switching off "Ask to Join Networks" in the Wi-Fi settings? That is what I have done to avoid the annoyance that you describe.
 


I’m concerned about the large square camera mount on the back of the various iPhone 11’s. Cases will necessarily have a large hole to accommodate them, and damaging the glass or sapphire there seems to be considerably more probable than if the cameras had been aligned in a row or column. I don’t know if I’m overthinking this or not.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
While I would prefer a phone with a Qualcomm radio, my current phone may not last through the likely introductory date next year, now that Apple and Qualcomm seem to have made up.
I didn't see any reference to antennas or cell phone radios in coverage of the new iPhones. Have to wonder if some of those not-so-great Intel wireless modems are still being used?
Great question, and I haven't seen anything about this yet for the iPhone 11 models. The situations to date have been very confusing. Some related links...
... The iPhone X refurbs I'm currently seeing (Model A1865) apparently have Qualcomm modems. It looks like the iPhone 8 Plus refurbs (Model A1864) also have Qualcomm modems.
Here's an answer about iPhone 11 modems:
PC Magazine said:
Confirmed: iPhone 11 Series Phones Have Intel Modems
It looks like the US versions of the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max have LTE modems from Intel, according to the devices' field test screens.
This isn't a huge surprise, but it's interesting. We figured this out because the field test menus on Intel-based and Qualcomm-based iPhones have different menu items, and the menu items have stayed consistent through the generations. (I checked on models from the 6s generation up to the XR.)

According to Apple, there is one model of each of the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max sold in the US. With one of each device in hand, I went to the field test mode and found that it had an Intel layout.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
More details on the new iPhone 11 photo system:
Halide said:
iPhone 11 Pro Preview: The Camera Hardware Changes
Last year, before the iPhone XS hit the store shelves, we took a look at the changes in camera hardware on the iPhone XS compared to the iPhone X. We can do this thanks to Halide’s Technical Readout feature.

Much like last year, some kind individuals have shared a few technical readouts with us from iPhone 11 Pro (and iPhone 11) units in the wild....

... It’s 2019, and your camera isn’t just a module that takes a photo anymore. Cameras compose images from dozens of exposures, mixing and matching pixels from various frames, changing the output creatively and intelligently to ensure you get an image that looks, ironically, more faithful to what we see. All of this means that with fairly modest changes in hardware (except for the new ISO ranges), the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro appear to deliver one of the biggest leaps in camera quality in iPhones yet.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Lots more tests and details about iPhone 11 and 11 Pro cameras:
Nilay Patel/The Verge said:
Apple iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max review
... Early reports indicate that the iPhone 11 sensor has a higher ISO range and faster possible shutter speeds. But Apple told me that the real improvements are due to a bump from an 8-bit rendering pipeline to 10 bits, and something it calls “semantic rendering,” which is basically an update to Smart HDR that recognizes individual elements of an image and adjusts them appropriately.

From my conversations with Apple, semantic rendering basically goes like this:
  1. The iPhone starts taking photos to a buffer the instant you open the camera app. So by the time you actually press the shutter button, it’s captured four underexposed frames and the photo you want. Then it grabs one overexposed frame. (This is all basically the same as the iPhone XS and the Pixel 3, except the Pixel doesn’t grab that overexposed frame.)
  2. Smart HDR looks for things in the photos it understands: the sky, faces, hair, facial hair, things like that.
  3. Then it uses the additional detail from the underexposed and overexposed frames to selectively process those areas of the image: hair gets sharpened, the sky gets de-noised but not sharpened, faces get relighted to make them look more even, and facial hair gets sharpened up.
  4. Smart HDR is also now less aggressive with highlights and shadows. Highlights on faces aren’t corrected as aggressively as before because those highlights make photos look more natural, but other highlights and shadows are corrected to regain detail.
  5. The whole image gets saved and shows up in your camera roll.
  6. This all happens instantly every time you take a photo.
 


The operation of the Camera app as described above suggests that it’s basically operating like a GoPro, in terms of constantly recording, and the user gets to decide when to take a picture. Presumably, Apple’s engineers came up with a very efficient hardware / software combination to make this somewhat energy-efficient.

As for the Intel 4G modem, as much as I would prefer a similar Qualcomm version, I expect the Intel version to be just fine for my purposes, as I come from a iPhone 6 (albeit with a Qualcomm modem in it). I’ve read rants from other commentators re how much I’m going to miss 5G in 5 years (at the expected end of my iPhone 11’s lifecycle), and I disagree.

Like many Americans, I live in a town where there are very limited high-speed Internet deployments. There is literally just one high-speed provider here, no municipal fiber, and so on. I have no expectation that the current US oligopoly of cell tower owners will come in and spend $$$ to put up lots of 5G pods. They will test, deploy, etc .incrementally from the areas with the highest payback first, just as they always have.

For the next decade, 5G will likely be found only in super-high-density deployments (think conference centers, downtown, etc.) and fixed assets (i.e. Internet gateways for home networks, potentially coupled with large external antennas to boost reception).

The required spending to bring 5G to wider areas is going to be high - certainly not as extreme as fixed fiber to the home, but the deployment costs are expected to be higher than traditional cell towers. As I understand it, 5G coverage requires a lot more nodes to be installed in order to cover the same area.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
And here is an in-depth look at the iPhone 11 camera system (pending an upcoming hands-on review of the shipping product):
DPReview said:
The iPhone 11 is more than just Apple catching up to Android
... Newer, faster processors often mean increased photo and video capability, and the iPhone 11 is no exception. Its image processing pipeline, which handles everything from auto white balance to auto exposure, autofocus, and image 'development', gets some new features: a 10-bit rendering pipeline upgraded from the previous 8-bit one, and the generation of a segmentation mask that isolates human subjects and faces, allowing for 'semantic rendering'.

10-bit rendering should help render high dynamic range images without banding, which could otherwise result from the extreme tone-mapping adjustments required. Semantic rendering allows faces to be processed differently from other portions of the scene, allowing for more intelligent tone mapping and local contrast operations in images with human subjects (for example, faces can look 'crunchy'in high contrast scenes if local contrast is uniformly preserved across the entire image). The end result? More pleasing photos of people....
 


So I bought a new iPhone (8 Plus), as I realized it was $200 less than the 6s Plus I've had for four years (Sept. 2015). But I have yet to open the box.

The visit to a NJ Apple Store (Quakerbridge Mall) was less than stellar. Dozen Apple store workers chatting with each other, and not many customers in the store at 8:30pm, and I'm looking around like "Hey, I want a phone. Ready to buy! Hello?" Finally make eye-contact with a fellow who then tells me, "someone will be right with you", and he approaches two younger fellows who look at me then go back to chatting. Then a fellow comes out (carrying the space gray iPhone 8 box), and we go over sale (no thank you, don't need AppleCare+... no, I know, no, no thank you). Hand credit card and I see it’s $449. Whoa! I stop him but too late: I asked for an iPhone 8 Plus 64GB space gray unlocked. He brought me an 8. Wait another few minutes for correct phone, he charges the $100 more, and I should be off.

But, here is the interesting part: the Apple clerk asks me who is my carrier? I tell him, and he informs me to wait, and he wants to get me a newer SIM card. Apparently, swapping in my older card will result in problems within a few weeks. He says this is a problem lately and said I will need to contact ATT with the new card ICCEI info, etc.

I've yet to open the box. I want to try the wireless migration feature of the latest iOS update but need to get the SIM ready. This isn't easy for me, as I need to backup images (I don't use Photos to sync; I use Preview) and several security apps are tied to the specific phone.

Wish me luck!
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
An interesting possibility:
Twitter said:
Steve Troughton-Smith
Several people have now suggested to me that there may just be an extra 2GB of RAM dedicated to the camera. All of this new photo stuff & Deep Fusion doesn’t come cheap, it seems. I have no way of verifying these details right now, and to the user it wouldn’t be visible anyway
 


So I bought a new iPhone (8 Plus), as I realized it was $200 less than the 6s Plus I've had for four years (Sept. 2015). But I have yet to open the box.
The visit to a NJ Apple Store (Quakerbridge Mall) was less than stellar. Dozen Apple store workers chatting with each other,, and not many customers in the store at 8:30pm, and I'm looking around like "Hey, I want a phone. Ready to buy! Hello?" Finally make eye-contact with a fellow who then tells me, "someone will be right with you", and he approaches two younger fellows who look at me then go back to chatting. Then a fellow comes out (carrying the space gray iPhone 8 box), and we go over sale (no thank you, don't need AppleCare+... no, I know, no, no thank you). Hand credit card and I see it’s $449. Whoa! I stop him but too late: I asked for an iPhone 8 Plus 64GB space gray unlocked. He brought me an 8. Wait another few minutes for correct phone, he charges the $100 more, and I should be off.

But, here is the interesting part: the Apple clerk asks me who is my carrier? I tell him, and he informs me to wait, and he wants to get me a newer SIM card. Apparently, swapping in my older card will result in problems within a few weeks. He says this is a problem lately and said I will need to contact ATT with the new card ICCEI info, etc.

I've yet to open the box. I want to try the wireless migration feature of the latest iOS update but need to get the SIM ready. This isn't easy for me, as I need to backup images (I don't use Photos to sync; I use Preview) and several security apps are tied to the specific phone.
Wish me luck!
After I upgraded my iPhone via a SIM swap, it was initially fine, but later it stopped receiving text (SMS) messages.

The problem turned out to be that the carrier's database still thought I had the older model phone. Once they updated it on their side, it worked again. This implies that how the carrier communicates with the phone is, in at least some respect, device-dependent.

Your Apple Store may be asking you to get a new SIM for this very problem. It isn't that there's anything wrong with the SIM itself; it is just that by getting a new ICCEI ID, you'd perforce be registering as a new device in the carrier's systems.

Or, you could just use the old SIM and then call the carrier and inform them that you have a new model iPhone. That's what I plan to do next time.

(FWIW, the carrier is T-Mobile via Consumer Cellular.)
 


The operation of the Camera app as described above suggests that it’s basically operating like a GoPro, in terms of constantly recording, and the user gets to decide when to take a picture. Presumably, Apple’s engineers came up with a very efficient hardware / software combination to make this somewhat energy-efficient.
Not necessarily. The Camera app is always capturing frames when it is running - that's how you can see the "viewfinder" image on the screen.

The big deal here is that they are capturing and retaining in memory several full-resolution frames, which means extra memory consumption. A 12MP frame is going to require 36MB (at 24-bit color) or 48MB (at 32-bit color). If it is retaining four frames prior to pressing the shutter, then that's up to about 200MB. And then two more frames (after pressing the shutter) to compose the HDR image, and we're looking at about 300MB of input data, plus the output data (another 50MB, perhaps) and however much memory the compositing software requires.

I can see this increasing the RAM requirements on the SoC (maybe main memory, maybe dedicated image-processing memory), but I don't think it should have a major impact on CPU or power consumption.

Well, the compositing hardware/software may draw more power, but the fact that the camera app is always retaining four frames shouldn't matter much.
The required spending to bring 5G to wider areas is going to be high - certainly not as extreme as fixed fiber to the home, but the deployment costs are expected to be higher than traditional cell towers. As I understand it, 5G coverage requires a lot more nodes to be installed in order to cover the same area.
Depends on who you ask and what they think "5G" actually is.

Ignoring marketing nonsense (like AT&T rebranding LTE-Advanced as 5G), the 3GPP standards define a large grab-bag of technologies that all fall under the "5G" or "5G-NR" (New Radio) moniker, some of which (like more efficient data encoding on the radio signals) shouldn't cost any more to deploy than 4G. Others (like use of mmWave spectrum) will cost a lot more, because there will need to be a very large quantity of new cell sites and infrastructure to support them.

I highly doubt you're going to see mmWave deployments outside of dense populations, because it is for the most part a short-range protocol and would never be cost-effective in areas of sparse populations (like rural areas outside of town centers). But I fully expect to see other aspects of 5G deployed everywhere over the next few years, much like 4G-LTE was. And yes, the big population centers first - you need large numbers of paying customers to pay off the R&D costs before you can deploy to areas with fewer customers.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
The operation of the Camera app as described above suggests that it’s basically operating like a GoPro, in terms of constantly recording, and the user gets to decide when to take a picture. Presumably, Apple’s engineers came up with a very efficient hardware / software combination to make this somewhat energy-efficient.
It's only recording while the Camera app is running, so that probably doesn't impact overall battery drain too much.
 


It's only recording while the Camera app is running, so that probably doesn't impact overall battery drain too much.
As David points out above, the camera viewfinder requires some nominal sampling rate to function. My point was more to the number of camera sensors operating concurrently to provide all the pictures. Instead of taking 1 picture every 1/30th of a second or so to keep the viewfinder happy, the camera may be taking 9.

All those pics will have to be written to RAM until the magic moment that the user presses the record button, at which time the RAM contents are fused into one. That’s a lot more data to be pushed around than the 12MP sensor implies by itself.

Never mind the “mad science” of stitching those images together afterwards, dealing with issues such as parallax error and so on. This type of post-processing (esp. with a 10-bit vs. an 8-bit pipeline) is non-trivial, esp. in a small embedded application like this one, with a limited battery budget and the consumer expectation that lots of pics can be taken quickly.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Here are some notes about moving to a new iPhone (which would involve moving an Apple Watch, as well):
Apple Support said:
Transfer data from your previous iOS device to your new iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
Before you begin
Next, select one of these transfer methods.

Quick Start: Use your iPhone or iPad that's already running iOS 11 or later to automatically set up a new device.

iCloud: Transfer your data and purchased content to your new device from your previous device's iCloud backup.

iTunes: Transfer your data and purchased content to your new device from a backup you made with iTunes.
Apple Support said:
Back up your Apple Watch
Apple Watch content backs up automatically to your companion iPhone, so you can restore your Apple Watch from a backup. When you back up your iPhone to iCloud or iTunes, your iPhone backup will also include your Apple Watch data.

... When you unpair your Apple Watch from your iPhone, your iPhone automatically creates a backup of your Apple Watch. Unpairing will erase all data from your Apple Watch. If your Apple Watch is unpaired while out of range of your iPhone, the backup might not have the latest data. When you're ready, you can pair your Apple Watch again and set it up from a backup.
 


The folks at iFixit had a livestream video earlier today tearing down an iPhone 11 Pro. The video is now available for watching.
iFixit said:
iPhone 11 Pro Teardown Live [YouTube]
It’s our favorite day of the year: iPhone Teardown day! Today, we are live-streaming our first disassembly of the iPhone 11 Pro. Join Kay Kay Clapp, iFixit’s Director of Things, and Sam Goldheart, iFixit’s Lead Teardown Engineer, as they dig into Apple’s latest iPhone. What amazing things will they find? Hints of bilateral charging? A weird battery? What if there is some reverse-engineered alien technology? There’s only one way for you to find out and that’s to watch the stream.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Can I dispense with a case? That would be a nice, simplifying improvement.
You could... but it might not be so "simplifying" if you drop it on pavement...
Like Mark Spoonauer did...
Tom’s Guide said:
iPhone 11 Pro Drop Test: We Have Bad News
We have bad news. Apple claims that the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max have the "toughest glass ever in a smartphone," but our drop tests don't exactly back that up.

Why? Because our $999 iPhone 11 Pro cracked on the very first drop on a sidewalk from hip height....
 


The folks at iFixit have finally finished their teardown analysis of the iPhone 11 Pro Max and have made the findings available on their web site.
iFixit said:
iPhone 11 Pro Max Teardown
...
Final Thoughts

  • Critical display and battery repairs remain a priority in the iPhone's design.
  • The battery procedure has been simplified and many components are accessible independently.
  • Liberal use of screws is preferable to glue—but you'll have to bring your Apple-specific drivers (pentalobe, tri-point, and standoff) in addition to a standard Phillips.
  • Waterproofing measures complicate some repairs, but make difficult water damage repairs less likely.
  • Glass on front and back doubles the likelihood of drop damage—and if the back glass breaks, you'll be removing every component and replacing the entire chassis.
Repairability 6 out of 10
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
The folks at iFixit have finally finished their teardown analysis of the iPhone 11 Pro Max and have made the findings available on their web site....
I was looking especially for information about possible extra, dedicated camera memory – here's what they said:
iFixit said:
iPhone 11 Pro Max Teardown
  • A much bigger battery made possible by bumping the body .4 mm and winning .25 mm from 3D Touch.
  • Two battery cables that may have helped Apple's allegedly-scrapped bilateral charging out—but could just as easily help manage battery life.
  • A very non-definitive "4 GB confirmed" rating, given our inability to find dedicated camera RAM.
  • Plus, some RF antennas (we're pretty sure), all the better for the U1 to seek with.
 


... All those pics will have to be written to RAM until the magic moment that the user presses the record button ... Never mind the “mad science” of stitching those images together afterwards, dealing with issues such as parallax error and so on. This type of post-processing (esp. with a 10-bit vs. an 8-bit pipeline) is non-trivial, esp. in a small embedded application like this one, with a limited battery budget and the consumer expectation that lots of pics can be taken quickly.
Is it really "mad science"? The new Image Signal Processor (ISP) has a pretty good chance of being as large, [in terms of transitors], as the CPU + GPU cores (minus cache and other stuff) of the first three (maybe four) iPhones. If you throw 10's of millions of transistors at some fixed-function logic (does just one calculation), then specific things can go quite fast (e.g., disk controllers like the T2 encrypt and decrypt in real time with no read/write overhead).

[The ISP is] probably in the same range with the Neural Engine – about as big a budget as the CPU+GPU logic section nine years ago but only covering a smaller computation problem.

The faster CPU+GPU in the A13 makes the camera GUI run better, but the real issue is the millions of transistors that Apple throws at camera sensor processing that do absolutely nothing when you are not using the camera sensor(s). The total transistor budget is so large that there are billions more to go around, and they work hard at being able to put unused subsections of the system on a chip to sleep when not in use.

The A13 has probably at least all the specialized camera "digital horsepower" as higher-end DSLR or video cameras, as a 'sidecar' to the main section of the chip. I'm sure there is some processing portion that flows over to the CPU+GPU, but that would be in the 'additional effects' zone.

It is more about how to capture stills from a video camera at this point (even for higher-end "mirrorless" DSLRs.)

Selling tens of millions of A13's per years helps Apple be several generations ahead in process tech vs. the older stuff the camera makers sit on to save money (because they don't generate the revenues through volume), so Apple ends up doing more with more (more transistors, do more work, get more done).
 


I was looking especially for information about possible extra, dedicated camera memory – here's what they said:
The Image Sensor Processor (ISP) is on the same die as the rest of the computation engines. Why would there be other memory? Probably want to do all this in a shared memory space, so do not have to move the data to different specialized processors to do work on the data at different stages.

The other factor is that iOS is pretty close to a single-app-at-a-time operating system. So when the camera app is running, pragmatically there are no other apps running (in low-latency user interactive mode). So why shouldn't Apple use the main RAM and the interprocessor shared RAM cache to do this? Nothing else has pressing issues when the camera app has fully consumed the screen.

If using the same high-bandwidth read/write infrastructure as the ISP to keep the GPU or Neural subsystem fed, then don't have to build redundant infrastructure. And if the OS helps single-track those competing consumers, all the better.

iPadOS gets trickier where there is another shared-screen foreground app doing heavy computations concurrently. macOS even more so.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
The other factor is that iOS is pretty close to a single-app-at-a-time operating system. So when the camera app is running, pragmatically there are no other apps running (in low-latency user interactive mode). So why shouldn't Apple use the main RAM and the interprocessor shared RAM cache to do this? Nothing else has pressing issues when the camera app has fully consumed the screen.
I don't have the link handy now, but I read some comments this week about how iOS would dump currently running apps out of memory when using the Camera app, due to its large RAM requirements. (I don't have any more information or testing on that, however.)

Ars Technica notes that iOS 13 drops support for iPhones having only 1GB of RAM:
Samuel Axon said:
iOS 13: The Ars Technica review
You can essentially summarize iOS 13's cuts as Apple declining to support all iOS devices that had only 1GB of RAM.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
DisplayMate has a dense (and pooly formatted) report on the iPhone 11 Pro Max display, rating it very highly:
Dr. Raymond M. Soneira said:
iPhone 11 Pro Max OLED Display Technology Shoot-Out
... As we will show in detail below, the iPhone 11 Pro Max has a number of notable improvements over the iPhone XS Max including:
• 17% higher Peak Brightness of 821 nits for a typical Average Picture Level of 50%, which improves screen visibility in high Ambient Light. On its Home Screen the iPhone 11 Pro Max produced an impressively High Brightness of 902 nits.​
• An HDR Peak Brightness of 1,290 nits for the standard HDR 20% APL, and 1,090 nits for Full Screen White with 100% APL.​
• Display Power Efficiency that has increased by up to 15% compared to the iPhone XS Max.​
In this article we lab test, measure, analyze, and evaluate in depth the display on the iPhone 11 Pro Max.
Of particular interest to me were notes about color shift, which I personally find bothersome with OLED displays.
DisplayMate said:
Viewing Angles
Blue Primary Color Shift at a 30 degree Viewing Angle
Δ(u’v’) = 0.0188
4.7 JNCD

iPhone 11 Pro Max Absolute Color Accuracy Plots
Here we will use 3 JNCD for the threshold of a visually noticeable display color difference in images.
This looks better than the iPhone X OLED display color shift (while the testers apparently changed their criteria for "good" in the interim).
DisplayMate said:
iPhone X OLED Display Technology Shoot-Out
Primary Color Shifts at a 30 degree Viewing Angle
Δ(u’v’) = 0.0249 for Pure Blue
6.2 JNCD
 


I don't have the link handy now, but I read some comments this week about how iOS would dump currently running apps out of memory when using the Camera app, due to its large RAM requirements. (I don't have any more information or testing on that, however.)
iOS can compress memory, too, so apps could be squeezed down a bit, also. There are also four "low-power" cores with local cache. If they leave enough fragments of the currently running apps up in place, the "page in and get running" process will seem more fluid than if they had pushed everything out. (Run the low-power, smaller cores slower, and they'll ask for less memory, too. If you do less, you need less.)

But, yes, getting back to that third or fourth previous app you had running will be harder. The Camera app and another app that has a very high RAM consumption will page much more.

However, this is also why Apple has been ramping up the NAND storage speeds to leading-edge SSD zones. Paging back in off a top-end SSD is substantially less painful.

A 3GB buffer should work for the three cameras. If Apple can hold onto the swticher and home screen (how you transition out of Camera), then they could unweave some of the "freeze and page" while flushing the camera (don't need to save any of the completed camera buffer in RAM).
Ars Technica notes that iOS 13 drops support for iPhones having only 1GB of RAM:
That isn't just the camera, though. While there is just one primary foreground app on iOS, there is more stuff going on – more "picture in picture" contexts, more "smart" agents running around either doing more for the user or collecting more data on the user for someone else.

The other issue is that the older camera sensors are being left behind, also, by the new, deeper algorithms. The more tightly they tune the processing to the specific balance and fixed-function logic of their newer system on a chip (SoC), the less likely it backports. If the OS scheduler is coupled to the the hardware scheduler, there's a very similar impact over the long term.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Apple's new ultra-wide iPhone 11 camera has limitations I didn't anticipate:
DPReview said:
The ultra-wide camera in the iPhone 11 models is fixed-focus, doesn't support Raw capture
Revealed by Halide developer Ben Sandofsky, the ultra-wide camera has a fixed-focus lens and doesn’t offer any Raw photo output. The reasoning isn’t yet known, but as noted by a number of responses to Sandofsky’s tweet, it’s possible the reason for not offering Raw output from the ultra-wide camera is due to the barrel distortion present in the uncorrected images from the ultra-wide camera. If not corrected, the distortion would be dramatic considering the 13mm (35mm equivalent) focal length, and without having iOS apps with that correction built-in it would result in rather distorted images.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Here's a detailed review from Ars Technica:
Samuel Axon said:
iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max review: High quality for high prices
...
The good
  • You’ll get greatly improved battery life over your current iPhone
  • Its camera system is among the best in the smartphone marketplace, and a big step up over prior iPhones
  • The best display on any smartphone today
  • Unrivaled, likely multi-year future-proof performance across the board
  • A greater emphasis on user privacy and security than most competing phones
  • iOS is more powerful and useful than ever with iOS 13 (provided a few bugs get worked out)
The bad
  • Even with improvements to the glass, it’s still awfully fragile for something so expensive
  • LTE speeds still lag behind some of the competition
  • 3D Touch is no more
  • No modern, smaller, one-handed phone option exists in the iPhone lineup
  • Low user serviceability means many consumers will have to consider dropping even more money on AppleCare+
The ugly
  • Very, very expensive; most people would be better off picking up the iPhone 11 or iPhone 8 for substantially less money
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Here's a report on the internals of the updated entry-level iPad:
iFixit said:
iPad 7 Teardown
Apple’s 7th-generation iPad has arrived on the scene with some new bells and whistles! Along with the new 10.2” display, there’s … hmm. As the most basic tablet in Apple’s lineup, this iPad mostly inherits hand-me-down features from its more prestigious kin. What else has Apple re-purposed?
...
  • Well there you have it, the 10.2" iPad 6 iPad 7 laid out after facing the business end of a teardown.
  • This turned out to be a pretty light refresh! Just a size increase, the addition of a Smart Connector, and an extra GB of RAM.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Apple is now previewing its upcoming iPhone 11 "Deep Fusion" photo system, but users apparently have no control over it.
The Verge said:
The iPhone 11’s Deep Fusion camera is now in the iOS 13 developer beta
Apple’s Deep Fusion photography system has arrived in the latest developer betas of iOS 13, hopefully hinting that it will ship for the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro soon.

To refresh your memory, Deep Fusion is a new image processing pipeline for medium-light images, which Apple senior VP Phil Schiller called “computational photography mad science” when he introduced it onstage. But like much of iOS 13, Deep Fusion wasn’t ready when the phones arrived two weeks ago. And although the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro have extremely impressive cameras, Deep Fusion’s is meant to offer a massive step forward in indoor and medium-lighting situations. And since so many photos are taken indoors and in medium light, we’re looking forward to testing it.

... Unlike Night mode, which has an indicator on-screen and can be turned off, Deep Fusion is totally invisible to the user. There’s no indicator in the camera app or in the photo roll, and it doesn’t show up in the EXIF data. Apple tells me that is very much intentional, as it doesn’t want people to think about how to get the best photo. The idea is that the camera will just sort it out for you.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Here's a quite detailed review of the new iPhones:
Andrei Frumusanu/AnandTech said:
The Apple iPhone 11, 11 Pro & 11 Pro Max Review: Performance, Battery, & Camera Elevated

... At the end of the day, are the iPhone 11s worth it? For me, it depends on the model.

I wasn’t too impressed by the regular iPhone 11. It does bring the same performance upgrades of the rest of the line-up, and it does have the new cameras minus the telephoto module, but it lacks the other large generational improvements that the Pro models received such as the new display or the vastly improved battery life. And personally, I’m still put off by the prospect of buying a device with such a low resolution screen at the end of 2019.

The Pro models, on the other hand, I feel are proper and worthwhile generational upgrades. Users coming from an iPhone 8 (Plus) or earlier models can now upgrade to the new Pro models without having to worry about taking a hit to battery life. Meanwhile performance is self-explanatory, and the camera upgrades are very solid, albeit the wide-angle has some definite weaknesses. Still, the phones feel like very strong devices which notably improve upon the fundamentals, showing that even 12 years after the first iPhone, Apple is still capable of delivering meaningful upgrades to their high-end smartphones.
 


I'm curious. I'm about to upgrade an old iPhone. My daughter recently had her iPhone 6 crash and burn and bought a new iPhone 11. Today she reported troubles typing and swiping and took it to an Apple store where they swapped for a new one, because hers had "a display controller issue." There was a comment made that they had seen this before, and since she had it for only thirty days, it was better just to swap. While I appreciate the good service, especially since her job is phone-dependent, I am curious if others are seeing this issue. Frankly, for myself, I am inclined more toward an iPhone 8. Thoughts on either issue?
My wife upgraded her iPhone 8 to an iPhone 11 Pro. She is really glad she did. It may be that the difference between the iPhone 11 and the iPhone 8 is not as large, due to the iPhone 11's LCD screen. The iPhone 11 Pro is the size of her iPhone 8, but the screen [display area] is much larger.

In the iPhone 11 Pro, the battery life is so much longerm she goes to sleep with 40% left instead of having to recharge during the day. The camera is much better, and the screen is way ahead of what she had on the iPhone 8 in terms of visibility in bright light, color rendition, and contrast. Face ID is far ahead of Touch ID, based on two years of having used Touch ID. The phone is much smoother and faster. Little things just work better, such as the touchscreen responsiveness and how quickly apps open, and the gestures work more smoothly.

The upgrade went quickly and smoothly, and there were no issues as all. The only difficulty was learning some new gestures, due to not having a home button. Now, it seems all the gestures are more natural. But for the first day, it did take effort to remember how to do anything.

Our decision to buy the iPhone 11 Pro was made a lot easier for us because our carrier gave her $350 for her old iPhone 8, way above market value. So that made the net price a lot lower. If you're considering an iPhone 11, then it might be better to think of the iPhone 8. But if you're thinking of the iPhone 11 Pro, there's really no comparison.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I've been waiting for an in-depth iPhone 11 review from these folks, and this just showed up...
DXOMark said:
Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max camera review
...
Conclusion
Previous Apple iPhone generations have always been among the best smartphones for imaging, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max is no different. It matches our top score for Video, recording video clips with good detail, a very wide dynamic range, and smooth stabilization in most circumstances. Its still image results also put it among the best, thanks to consistently good results from the primary camera, which is now accompanied by a very capable ultra-wide lens with one of the widest fields of view we have seen. Bokeh simulation mode and zoom performance at long range are not quite up with the very best, but if those areas are not top priorities, the new iPhone is an easy recommendation for any mobile image creator, especially those who are already invested in the iOS ecosystem.

Photo

Pros
  • Good levels of detail in most test conditions
  • Accurate target exposure and wide dynamic range in most situations
  • Fast, accurate, and repeatable autofocus
  • Vivid and pleasant colors
  • Very wide ultra-wide lens, with good detail and dynamic range, and well-controlled chromatic aberrations
  • Good zoom performance at close and medium range
Cons
  • Noise visible in all light conditions
  • Loss of detail in long-range zoom shots
  • Ringing in outdoor images
  • Lack of detail in flash images
  • Strong yellow cast under low warm light
  • Lack of detail and noise in ultra-wide images
Video

Pros
  • Wide dynamic range
  • Good detail and well-controlled noise in outdoor and indoor footage
  • Vivid and pleasant color
  • Effective stabilization
Cons
  • Jello effect when recording while walking
  • White balance instabilities indoors
  • Noticeable autofocus stepping when tracking
  • Aliasing is occasionally visible
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
A pro photographer I know just bought an iPhone 11 Pro and noticed some anomalies in the images, blue flare-like effects with "very specular" lighting (e.g. birthday candles).

I remembered that the DXOMark review noted something similar (see the Artifacts section).

I was eventually able to recreate the issue with an iPhone X (iphonexflare.jpg), so it doesn't appear to be specific to the iPhone 11 Pro or its software, and it affects photos (with wide angle or portrait lenses on the iPhone X) and video both.

#flare #photography #iPhone
 


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