Pelican wants to protect your new iPhone 11

In case you missed it, there was a small press conference earlier this week from a little-known tech company out on the west coast. Apple, you heard of them? Of course you have. And their annual phone releases are something I think the whole world is aware of. Well, with new phones come new cases. We mentioned one earlier this week in leather; but what about non-leather options. Did you know Pelican has some ready for the new phones?

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The Apple Watch is still the company’s best product

We are Mac lovers at Knapsack but even if we weren’t, I’d still say that the Apple Watch is still Apple’s singular best product. I can say plenty about its other tools – the too-big iPad Pro, the horrible keyboard on the MacBooks, the locked-down iPhone – but the Apple Watch and now the new Apple Watch 5 still “just work.”

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Will the next iPhone go to 11?

On September 10 Apple will be holding its annual bacchanal/iPhone launch which will probably result in some update mobiles and a new iMac or two. Is it enough?

There are many tech pundits who are seeing the death of Apple’s innovation and, barring a few bright spots in the realm of privacy and security, they’re just about right. The iPhone has remained the same for nearly a decade, adding incremental improvements but little in the way of massive change. The laptops and desktops are stagnant and even falling backwards in terms of quality. Computers and mobile phones are full of features. Sure, Apple still leads when it comes to making features work well, but it is far from the first in adding new technologies to what amounts to an antiquated stack.

So the new iPhone will go to 11. That’s great. But what do we get for our upgrade fee?

I’m seeing an interesting twist in terms of technology these days. The idea that you can film an entire movie on your iPhone sounds like fun but filmmakers are still going back to mirrorless cameras and “antiquated” lenses. The future of streaming media has already been decided in the 2D and Apple is far behind on that front. What happens when VR comes to the fore? There are plenty of companies that will eat Apple’s lunch on that front come 2025 and beyond. Finally, Apple doesn’t own infrastructure. That part of the world, the part that is hidden behind security and future smart highways, belongs to the Asian giants, tariffs or no.

This stage of the game reminds me of the home computer revolution. For decades IBM and other giants ruled the basements of big corporations. An army of rich and faceless men sold big iron to governments and institutions. Then, ever so quietly, the home computer revolution upended the entire thing. Those faceless men died as something bigger took their place.

And I know it is unfair to compare flashy Apple with IBM. But remember: in the late 1970s an IBM 1401 was as futuristic as any MacBook and the language of computing – machine readable fonts, barcodes, and blinking lights – was part of our culture.

The question isn’t whether or not we’ll get three cameras on our iPhone. The real question is who will build the next 20 years of tech?

It’s not Apple.

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Apple offers more repair options, but not many more

If you’ve ever taken anything in to Apple for repair you’ll note that the process is surprisingly pleasant (when you’re under warranty) and quick. But what if you’re not close to an Apple store? The process sucks.

That’s why Apple is now working to build out a “a new repair program, offering customers additional options for the most common out-of-warranty iPhone repairs.” This means the guy down the street in the bodega with a heat gun and some iPhone screens won’t have to be repairing on the sly anymore.

The program will supply independent repair people “with the same genuine parts, tools, training, repair manuals and diagnostics as its Apple Authorized Service Providers (AASPs).” From the release:

“To better meet our customers’ needs, we’re making it easier for independent providers across the US to tap into the same resources as our Apple Authorized Service Provider network,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. “When a repair is needed, a customer should have confidence the repair is done right. We believe the safest and most reliable repair is one handled by a trained technician using genuine parts that have been properly engineered and rigorously tested.”

But, as many note, this program is only for a selected few repairers and all need a “Apple-certified technician” to repair Apple products. This is similar to the model used by watch companies in allowing only registered technicians open the back of certain watches.

That said this program will definitely slow down grey market part sales and repairs and could open doors for small businesses globally. That said, who knows how they’ll maintain quality over time and it would be great to have the ability to DIY a few of these repairs, something that is traditionally hard to impossible for Apple products. Time will tell.

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The Apple Watch is (still) the best sports watch

I’ve been musing on the Apple Watch for the past few days because it has become my single default sports watch. I wear it running, swimming, and at yoga and it has proven itself again and again, adding features and benefits long after I expected to pop it into a drawer and forget about it.

It is, in short, a survivor.

Why the sudden Apple encomium? Well the watch is over four years old by now and Samsung just launched an Apple Watch-esque piece that looks akin to Apple’s lozenge. But even after trying multiple smartwatches I still come back to the Apple Watch and, anecdotally, I’ve only seen it and many generic Android Wear devices in the wild these days. In fact I’ve seen far more Apple Watches than I’ve seen “traditional” watches, even in Europe. This switch – from fashion timepieces to smartwatches – has been sudden.

Why do I personally like it? It just works. You strap it on, swipe down, and you’re ready to go. Apps like FitBod work well and the notifications are unobtrusive and useful. The maps still work well and its a great tool for folks who need walking directions. Google, for its part, as added all of those features to its many compatible devices but none of them, including this tempting line of Fossil watches, can match what Apple offers.

I don’t wear my Apple Watch every day. Heck, I don’t even wear it once a week. But when I need a watch that can survive sweat, water, and jumping around it’s my go-to piece. While I wouldn’t wear it every day I do wear it far more than I’ve worn any other smart watch and far, far more than I’ve worn any other sports watch. And, in the end, that’s what defines best in my book.

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