Owners of an iPhone XS: Is it worth upgrading to the iPhone 11 Pro? Apple just announced the first iPhone with a Pro name. But is it really that much better than the iPhone XS?
After nearly a month with the Apple iPhone 11 Pro, see the ZDNet full review, the phone is in perfect condition thanks to regular use of cases like the couple Gear4 options I’ve been testing from ZAGG. The Piccadilly and Crystal Palace offer 13 feet drop protection while still letting you show off the color and design of your iPhone 11 Pro.
ZAGG sent along the Gear4 Crystal Palace and Piccadilly cases for testing. They are both available for $39.99, with free shipping included. ZAGG has nine total Gear4 case options for the Apple iPhone 11 Pro.
Gear4 Crystal Palace
The Crystal Palace case has a clear design that lets you enjoy the design of your iPhone as it was intended from Apple. It is composed of the D30 material that is used for impact protection in a variety of industries, such as sports, defense, and industrial applications.
Through the use of the D30 material, Gear4 achieves a standard of 13 feet drop protection so you can trust it should survive a drop from your hand as long as it lands favorably. The edges have fairly substantial material to protect the corners and the edges from a drop.
The clear material is glossy and smooth, which makes it a bit slick if set down on a table. The back material has anti-yellowing elements in it so it won’t detiorate over time and keep looking good for years.
The bottom edge is a bit malleable so you can lock in your phone and then remove it by pulling back a bit in this area. There are raised buttons for volume and the right side with an opening for the ringer switch.
This 0.3 ounce case is available in Clear and Iridescent color options and I’ve been testing out the Clear model.
Also:iPhone 11 Pro review: Apple scores near perfect 10, thanks to battery life, cameras and phenomenal performance
The Piccadilly case is very similar to the Crystal Palace one with Black, Rose Gold, and Lavender color options. The color only appears in three bands contained within the top and two sides of the edges of the case. It’s a nice option to still show off the iPhone 11 Pro design with a splash of color.
The same level of drop protection, wireless charging and Apple Pay support, along with edges that rise just above the display a bit to provide screen protection are present on this case.
While both of these Gear4 cases let you enjoy your iPhone 11 Pro colors and design, they are just a bit too slick for me to use on a daily basis. I appreciate the solid protection and style with the price being fairly typical for cases of this type.
The Wallet Slayer Vol. 2 is priced $10 more than the Vol. 1 case with a retail price of $24.99. It offers the ability to carry up to three cards on the back of your iPhone while also being able to prop up your iPhone with one of those cards positioned into a slot above the card pocket.
There are four color options for the Wallet Slayer Vol. 2 case, including Black Tie Affair, Blues on the Green, Purple Reign, and Flavor of the Month.
There are raised buttons for the volume controls and right side button with an opening provided for the ringer switch.
There is very little surprise or mystery left when it comes to Apple’s iPad lineup. The tablets are a staple of Apple’s hardware range — an experience that’s similar to your iPhone, only bigger, and in many ways more versatile. When it first launched, the iPad was forced into a silo of being viewed as an entertainment device. You install Facebook, Netflix, YouTube, and a couple of games, and you have the ideal consumption device in your hands.
But for the past few years, Apple has tried to change the narrative around the iPad. The iPad Pro line, the upgraded iPad Air, and now the base iPad have all gained features and capabilities that make the iPad more laptop-like. Physical keyboard support, built into the iPad’s housing, and Apple Pencil support have all made the iPad a device you can use for work and play.
With the recent release of iPadOS, Apple is now tackling the software challenges the iPad has faced as consumers and business users alike try to do more with the tablet. Not only does iPadOS bring an improved browsing and multitasking experience, but Apple also added a handful of new features for BYOD enterprise users that makes the $329 iPad very attractive.
The new iPad looks just like the old iPad, but with a slightly bigger screen. The black rectangular frame wraps around a 10.2-inch display size, up from 9.7-inches, with a Touch ID-equipped home button at the bottom. A Lightning port is also on the bottom for charging and syncing the iPad, with a sleep/wake button and a 3.5mm headphone jack at the top of the housing. On the right side of the frame are the volume up and down keys.
On the left edge of the iPad are three round dots for Apple’s Smart Connector, used to connect and power Apple’s Smart Keyboard Cover. The keyboard isn’t included with the iPad. It’s priced at $159, and the Apple Pencil will set you back $99.
The seventh-generation iPad starts at $329 for 32GB of storage, or $429 for a 128GB model. Both of those prices are for the Wi-Fi-only model, with cellular connectivity costing $459 and $559, respectively. You can get it in gray, silver, or gold.
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There’s not a lot to say about the overall design of the iPad, because it’s very much the same design Apple has used for years now, save for the current-generation iPad Pro lineup. There’s nothing wrong with this design, although I would have loved to see Apple start to expand USB-C beyond the Pro offerings.
Software and performance
For the past year, I’ve used the latest generation iPad Pro as my main laptop. I’ve grown to love Face ID, the speed of Apple’s A12X Bionic processor, and its 12.9-inch display. Switching to this iPad was a bit of a shock at first, but after a few days, I acclimated to using Touch ID and the smaller 10.2-inch display powered by an older A10 Fusion processor. Battery life has been good enough to get through a full day of use, ranging from writing, triaging my inbox, watching YouTube videos, and scrolling mindlessly on Twitter.
As I stated nearly a year ago, despite hardware improvements, the entire iPad line has been held back by software. But that’s changing, with Apple giving the iPad its own operating system — iPadOS — paving the way for meaningful software upgrades to the iPad line, and moving the tablet out of the iPhone’s shadow.
This iPad is the first to ship with iPadOS installed out of the box. At its core, iPadOS is still iOS, with a lot of feature parity between the two platforms. You still get things like dark mode, improvements to Mail, the new Reminders app — you get the point.
Where iPadOS starts to differentiate itself from iOS is with Safari’s desktop-class browsing experience, making it possible to compose, edit, and review Google Docs directly in the browser (a much better experience than Google’s corresponding apps).
The multitasking approach in iPadOS has also expanded, with the ability to open multiple windows of the same app, just like you would on a PC or Mac. For example, you can have multiple instances of Apple Notes open in Split View, each one sharing the screen with Mail, Safari, or Reminders.
The new windows feature streamlines the way I work on the iPad. I no longer have to constantly move around and manage which apps are open and where.
You can now connect external storage to the iPad, ranging files and folders stored on an SSD or a thumb drive using the Files app.
In short, iPadOS is exactly what the iPad has needed in recent years. It’s a giant step in the right direction for the platform, and I’m hopeful that Apple aggressively adds more features to the entire iPad line in future updates. And the sooner, the better.
Apple iPad Pro (11-inch, Wi-Fi, 512GB, Space Gray) at Amazon
Apple iPad Pro (12.9-inch, Wi-Fi, 64GB, Silver) at Amazon
Apple iPad Air (10.5-inch, Wi-Fi, 64GB, Space Gray) at Amazon
Apple iPad (Wi-Fi, 32GB, Space Gray) at Amazon
Apple iPad Mini (Wi-Fi, 32GB, Gold) at Amazon
I touched on the enterprise additions in iOS in my iPhone 11 review, but let’s expand a bit.
As of iOS 13 and iPadOS 13, there are several new features baked into the operating systems that make BYOD with Apple devices easier. Apple Business Manager now has Managed Apple IDs and a new service called User Enrollment.
Managed Apple IDs integrate with Microsoft’s Azure Active directory, removing the need for IT departments to have to manage multiple IDs for a user across different platforms.
BYOD users can bring their iPad or iPhone to a company and add a managed Apple ID to their device, which will then allow for device management through User Enrollment. The setup process for the user requires installing an enrollment profile and signing in with the Managed Apple ID. The company can then install managed apps, configure work accounts, set password policies, and use app-based VPN connections.
When User Enrollment is used on a device, your personal and work data is kept separate at all times. Your company can’t see what apps have been installed using your Apple ID, nor can it see any of the information that’s stored outside of the managed account’s storage partition. That means information like your personal notes in the Notes app, which are displayed next to your corporate Notes account, can’t be read by your company.
In the event of a lost device, the company can only wipe data that is connected to the Managed Apple ID, leaving all of your personal information in place.
Apple also added a single sign-on extension that, when integrated into third-party apps, will automatically sign you into all corporate apps after you’ve signed in to one. You could, in theory, sign in to OneDrive, Outlook, and Teams by entering your user ID and password only once. Hopefully, developers will begin to adopt the new extension soon.
The new iPad is…
A lot of things. It’s an entertainment device at home. It’s a workhorse for churning out emails or editing a Google Slides presentation in Safari. It’s a portable gaming device. It’s a tablet. And, now, it’s a 2-in-1.
I’ve been spoiled by using an iPad Pro for nearly a year. I said a year ago it was the best tablet ever made, and I still feel the same way today. But with the slow trickle of Pro-like features having reached almost every iPad in Apple’s lineup, you can’t make a wrong choice when it comes to which iPad to get.
On second thought, you can. Don’t get the 32GB model. You’ll eventually run out of space and regret not spending the extra $100 for 128GB.
By expanding the capabilities of the iPad through hardware and software improvements, including enterprise additions, the standard iPad sitting on my desk right now, is just as capable as the iPad Pro and it’s a fraction of the price.
Indeed, it’s far more nuanced than that, but for the average user who wants a streamlined computing experience, at home or work, the new iPad is an affordable option that will surely get the job done.
Apple is rolling out a new opt-in notice for Siri audio sample review with the beta of iOS 13.2. This new opt-in feature was promised back in August after reports that audio from Siri requests were being reviewed by contractors and that the audio could contain sensitive or personal information.
Apple had previously halted the grading process entirely while it updated the process by which it used the audio clips to “improve Siri.”
The new process will include an explicit opt-in for those users who want to have clips of commands transmitted to Apple to help improve how well Siri understands commands.
The update is out in beta for iPadOS 13.2, iOS 13.2, Apple tvOS 13.2, WatchOS 6.1 and MacOS 10.15.1.
Some particulars of the new policy include:
An explicit opt-in.
Only Apple employees will be reviewing audio clips, not contractors.
Computer generated transcripts are continuing to be used for all Siri users. These are in text form with no audio. They have been disassociated from identifying information by use of a random identifier.
These text transcripts, which Apple says include a small subset of requests may be reviewed by employees or contractors.
Any user can opt-out at any time at Settings > Privacy > Analytics and Improvements, turn off “Improve Siri and Dictation.”
Apple is also launching a new Delete Siri and Dictation History feature. Users can go to Settings>Siri and Search>Siri History to delete all data Apple has on their Siri requests. If Siri data is deleted within 24 hours of making a request, the audio and transcripts will not be made available to grading.
The new policies can be found at Settings>Privacy>Analytics and Improvements>About Siri in the iOS 13.2 beta. A key section details how these segments are used:
If one of your Siri or Dictation interactions is selected for review, the request, as well as the response Siri provided, will be analyzed to determine accuracy and to generally improve Siri, Dictation, and natural language processing functionality in Apple products and services. Depending on the context of your request, Apple employees may review Siri Data directly relevant to the request, in order to grade the effectiveness of Siri’s response. Only Apple employees, subject to strict confidentiality obligations, are able to access audio interactions with Siri and Dictation.
There seems to be a solid set of updates here for Siri protections and user concerns. The continued use of text transcripts that may be reviewed by contractors is one sticky point — but the fact that they are text, anonymized and separated from any background audio may appease some critics.
These were logical and necessary steps to make this process more clear to users — and to get an explicit opt-in for people who are fine with it happening.
The next logical update, in my opinion, would be a way for users to be able to see and hear the text and audio that Apple captures from their Siri requests. If you could see, say, your last 100 requests in text or by clip — the same information that may be reviewed by Apple employees or contractors, I think it would go a long way to dispelling the concerns that people have about this process.
This would fit with Apple’s stated policy of transparency when it comes to user privacy on their platforms. Being able to see the same things other people are seeing about your personal data — even if they are anonymized — just seems fair.
Not everyone has an unlimited data plan, and the combination of 4G networks, fast Wi-Fi, and modern smartphones can burn through data at quite an astounding rate. But iOS 13 has a feature to help reduce the amount of data you use.
If you can find it.
Must read: iOS 13: Security and privacy settings you need to tweak and check
The feature is called Low Data Mode, and similar to how Low Power Mode works for the battery, this is a tweak to get you out of a jam, as opposed to something you use all the time.
First, here’s where it is. For cellular data go to:
Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options and activate Low Data Mode
For Wi-Fi connections, this is a per-connection setting, and to activate this feature go to:
Settings > Wi-Fi > click on the “I” next to the connection you want to limit and flip the toggle on Low Data Mode
So, what are the implications of activating Low Data Mode?
When this setting is switched on, iOS will turn off Background App Refresh for apps (similar to Low Power Mode) and will no longer download apps and music in the background, FaceTime will lower the audio and video quality, and any media streamed using Apple apps will be degraded.
Third-party apps will be unaffected, except for Background App Refresh being disabled.
I’ve also found that this is a great way to slow down battery usage when I’m somewhere with poor signal strength.
On, and you have to remember to deactivate this when you no longer need it (so make a mental note of where the setting lives so you can find your way back to it).
Apple has added a number of awesome and much-needed privacy features to iOS 13, and one of the best is the way the operating system informs you about apps that are tracking your movements.
How does it do this? Via a popup, like this:
Must read: iOS 13: Security and privacy settings you need to tweak and check
This gives you the option of either allowing the tracking to continue in the background, or to only allow tracking when you are using the app.
This is a very handy privacy feature, and can float to the surface apps that you may have forgotten about, but that haven’t forgotten about you!
The only drawback of popups like this if that you have to deal with it there and then, and there’s no option to ask it to remind you again, which would be a nice feature.
Another new, and eye-opening privacy feature in iOS 13 is how the operating system informs you about apps that use Bluetooth for a variety of things that are separate to audio streaming to headphones or speakers. In particular, Bluetooth is being used to by companies to track users via Bluetooth beacons.
It’s worth noting that if you deny an app from having Bluetooth access, this will not prevent audio streaming, as this is a separate feature.
Google today announced that Grasshopper, its tool for teaching novices how to code, is now available on the desktop, too, in the form of a web-based app. Back in 2018, Grasshopper launched out of Area 120 as a mobile app for Android and iOS and since then, Google says, “millions” have downloaded it.
A larger screen and access to a keyboard makes learning to code on the desktop significantly easier than on mobile. In the desktop app, for example, Google is able to put columns for the instructions, the code editor and the results next to each other.
In case you are wondering why a “Using a Code Editor” class is useful, it’s worth noting that most of the coding experience in the first few courses is more about clicking short code snippets and putting them in the right order than typing out code by hand.
After completing all courses, users will be able to build a simple webpage and be ready to take on more complex courses on other platforms, like Codecademy, for example.
Unlike the transparent clear soft case, the matte series has less thickness around the edges. This includes having openings for the volume buttons rather than raised buttons for the ultimate in minimalist case design.
The matte solid black one covers the iPhone case color, but allows the color of the phone to show through the openings.
In addition to solid black, you can find this matte finish case in frosted clear, frosted black, navy blue, and red.
Caudabe cases are designed to provide scratch protection while improving your ability to hold onto your phone with barely any added size or weight to your iPhone. It recently released four models for the Apple iPhone 11 Pro
The Synthesis, Veil, Sheath, and Lucid Clear are all available now with some options for color from $19.95 to $29.95.