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Every gadget has a story. A new publication from Medium about consumer technology.

iOS apps could update through the App Store, but Apple’s choosing not to

Apple’s next big update, iOS 15. Courtesy Apple.

For years, Apple has heavily touted the iPhone as the most secure, private smartphone on the market. Despite that claim, Israel’s NSO Group was able to compromise the iPhones of some of the most important people in the world remotely — raising questions about how secure the iPhone really is.

Apple is quick to update the iPhone’s software whenever one of these attacks is uncovered and supports its devices for far longer than any of its competitors, but these types of revelations reveal the cracks in how the company releases updates.

Unlike the apps on your phone, which update automatically…


But I’ve been burned by Valve before.

Valve

Today, Valve announced its upcoming portable gaming PC, the Steam Deck. Physically, it’s reminiscent of the Nintendo Switch, but inside it runs a new version of SteamOS, a Linux-based operating system Valve designed for its games. The idea is that gamers will be able to play their library anywhere.

I just wish I could believe it.

What Valve claims it’s doing is nothing short of herculean. The dedicated site for the device promises that “Steam Deck runs the latest AAA games” and, realizing how lofty that promise sounds, reassures, “and runs them really well.”

Right off the bat, this feels…


I welcome the iPhone 12 battery hump

Apple iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max (Credit: Lance Ulanoff)

I’m obsessed with battery life, and I don’t think I’m alone. “ABC” or Always Be Charging” is a universal mantra.

On my iPhone 12 Pro, I’ve started switching to battery-saving mode well before noon. Not because I’m almost out of battery life, but I can’t stand to see the rapid slide of that black battery bar down past the halfway point if I don’t. A half-charged battery sends chills down my smartphone-loving spine. Never mind that it means I still have probably 4-to-6 hours (or more) of battery life. I go into a panic.

I still think the battery life…


This epidemic of pseudo-scientific weight loss apps is dangerous.

Photo by Jill Burrow from Pexels

cw: discussed disordered eating, weight loss, and weight with numbers.

Let me start off with honest: I’ve struggled with disordered eating since I was about 13. I’ve monitored my caloric intake for so long that I can list the calorie count of nearly any food at a glance. I still get a weird sense of pride when I go to bed hungry.

As a result of my checkered history, I’m very susceptible to weight-loss ads. …


The ads are a nonstop slurry of surreal products, and I love it

If you flew during the 90s and 00s, you probably remember SkyMall. It was a catalogue of completely loony products — often high-tech gadgets of dubious promise, such as “a vacuum cleaner to catch flies, an alien butler drink tray, a helmet that promises to regrow your hair using lasers.” Here’s that head laser …


With its newest redesign of Windows, Microsoft wants to win back developers.

Windows 11, courtesy Microsoft

For the last few years, Microsoft has been on a comeback. The company has captured the developer audience by acquiring GitHub and reviving it, as well as building the world’s most popular code editor, VS Code, and bringing Linux to Windows 10.

Despite that success capturing the developer market, however, Microsoft struggled to find traction that got them to embrace building great new native apps for Windows. …


Apple released public betas for iPadOS 15 and iOS 15. Are you ready?

Hard to tell this is a beta (Credit: Lance Ulanoff)

There was a time when betas were for developers and daredevil tech journalists. No one in their right mind would run unfinished software on their primary hardware (A.K.A. “production systems”), let alone the smartphones we use to manage our lives.

As of this moment, Apple’s public betas for iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 are now available for anyone who wants them. …


Yes, there’s a lot in Windows 11 that will remind you of something from that Cupertino company

Windows 11 (Credit: Microsoft)

Change can be a disruptive force, especially in technology where new interfaces, features, and innovation can lead to chaos. However, sometimes change is about transmogrifying into something familiar or at least similar to what's around it. It’s like a chameleon’s skin taking on the characteristics of the branch it’s sitting on.

In the case of technology, change can be a move to the middle. Laptops and tablets all look quite similar, and, with each passing year, smartphones all look more and more like glossy glass and metal slabs. Software is not immune to this trend. …


Microsoft has delivered fantastic noise-cancelling Bluetooth headphones with great multi-device connectivity and rock-solid stability

Image courtesy Microsoft

For the last year, most of my work day has revolved around being on calls thanks to Pandemic-induced working from home–but I’ve spent far too much of that time fidgeting with Bluetooth, trying to get my headphones to connect. Microsoft’s new Surface Headphones 2+, which are specially designed for the new remote world, promise to solve pairing woes forever.

The Surface Headphones, which originally debuted in 2018, were Microsoft’s first foray into personal audio. They feature two giant dials on each cup; turn the left ear and you’ll ratchet up the noise cancelling, or turn the right dial to change…


Excellent in-ear audio doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg

Google Pixel Buds A-Series in their charging case (Credit: Lance Ulanoff)

After years of testing and wearing of different Bluetooth earbuds, I’ve come to the conclusion that the best ones are those that you forget about. You hear the sounds but the hardware that produces them fades into the background.

Apple’s well-crafted and snuggly fitting $249 AirPods Pro fit that description, as does the much more affordable Google Pixel Buds A-Series. Granted, Google’s in-ear earbuds are not entirely on the same innovation plane as Apple’s in-ear leaders. The case doesn’t offer wireless charging and the buds lack noise cancelling and spatial audio. …

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