Siri - Who's Phone is This?

Dave Mark from The Loop Insight posted a link to a tip that was posted on OSXDaily Found iPhone See Owner Contact Info

And then followed up with a post pointing out that this "feature" is actually a security risk.

Siri responds to your query by displaying the owner’s contact info, even on a locked home screen...

When scrolling through Twitter today I came across this tweet from Mark Gurman of 9to5:

That moment when an iPhone security flaw is spun into being a tool for good samaritans. Absolutely insane. Tweet Link

This is a security concern no doubt, as Siri offers up your whole contact card on a silver platter to anyone who asks for it. If done correctly this could be used, as the original tip posted by OSXDaily suggested, in returning a lost phone to it's rightful owner.

While the phone is locked it could just display the name that is on the "me card" and display a message stating to contact the phone's owner using an alternative number than that of the cell phone if one has been entered in the contact. If the owner has any 'Related Names' entered into the phone these could also be listed in a generic format such as Spouse, Mother and so on.

iOS 8 Feature Highlight: Medical ID

With iOS 8 and the Health app, Apple has allowed you to create a Medical ID card that you can enter vital information into, and if you so chose you can allow this information to be displayed on the lock-screen of your device. (Click here see how to set up a Medical ID.)

The purpose of this information being accessible from the lock screen is that if something were to happen to you, a medical responder could know who you are and any pertinent information that they would need to know if you were in a state that would prevent you from being able to communicate it to them.

Medical ID Information Displayed

  • Birthdate
  • Medical Conditions
  • Medical Notes
  • Allergies & Reactions
  • Medications
  • Emergency Contacts
  • Blood type
  • Organ Donor
  • Weight
  • Height

Barrier to Entry

Medical ID is a great addition to iOS, however I have some issues with its execution.

Information is Hidden

The main problem that I have with it is that in order to access the information you have to know it is there. Your phone has to be locked with a passcode so when the person slides to unlock the screen the passcode screen must appear. They then have to know to click on the Emergency button at the bottom left corner, and then click on Medical ID. There is no need to have that information buried and require that someone have the "training" to know how to get to it. Granted if a stranger finds you and decides to use your phone to call 911 they may stumble across it, but there is a greater chance they may be using their own phone.

There are just too many variables and assumptions that make me wonder why it is even there. As more and more medical professionals become aware of it they may know to look there, or the 911 operator may say can you go to the Health app and get me the following information? Until then I guess the best way to get it out there is to tell people to set it up and make them aware that it is a feature.

Not All Devices Created Equal

The second issue I have with it is in regard to Apple's continuing desire to keep all of their iOS devices segmented by choosing to not include an application on one device or to run a different version of the application on another device.

Health is yet another application that the iPad mysteriously does not get, it was the first thing I noticed when my iPad rebooted after upgrading because the Tips application was the only additional app that my home screen had. When I upgraded my iPhone it had Health and Tips. I am aware that you won't be taking your iPad out for a jog to collect health data, but Health on the iPad just makes sense from a standpoint of syncing your dashboard stats, and using Medical ID.

Over the weekend I help some family members upgrade their devices and I noticed on the iPod Touch that I upgraded that the Health app was included. This furthered my confusion, because if not the iPad why they iPod?

When I went to show the person how to set up a Medical ID for her son I was dumbfounded to discover that Medical ID was absent from the application. It is unfortunate because it would be the perfect scenario for Medical ID. My thought was this a great way for kids to carry around an identity; if they got lost an adult could get the required information to get ahold of parents. In this case he is an 8 year old child who has allergies which could be listed out in detail in this Medical ID and could very well be used to save his life. I did some research and saw that there were a lot of people who were disappointed that this was not included on the iPad as they carry their iPad with them everywhere as their only device.


I am hoping that in the future they will realize that all devices should get the same functionality and to make Medical ID more accessible to someone who isn't tech savvy. It could help save someones life by allowing for a more intuitive discover of the feature.

iBooks Fix: Syncing ePub data between Mac and iOS devices

My excitement for iBooks being released on the Mac died when I finally got my hands on it when Mavericks first came out. The fact that it ripped my books out of iTunes and didn’t carryover the metadata that I had added to them, and giving all of the books non descriptive titles within the Finder was my first issue. The second being the fact that I was not able to sync any data (position, bookmarks, notes etc) between the ePubs I currently had on my iOS devices with the Mac version of iBooks.[1] I was confused because this task worked great between my iPhone and my iPad. I spent countless amounts of time opening the book on one device, waiting a minute or two for it to sync, then opening it on my Mac and the book would open to the cover, instead of to the page that it was supposed to be on.

Eventually I gave up trying to get it to work until I was recently using PhoneView to download various items from my iPad one day when it dawned on me that there is a section in PhoneView to access the books that are on the device that you have connected to it.

So I copied an ePub from my iPad I purchased form O’rielly Media about web design to my desktop, that I had been highlighting and taking notes in. My thought process was that this book has some type of data associated with it, and the syncing works between my iPhone and iPad so if I were to use the same file on my Mac then the sync should be fixed. I then wondered what would happen if I put the book in a place that I could get at it from all of my devices. I moved it to my local Dropbox folder waited for it to upload and then I opened the file in iBooks on my Macbook, and sure enough the highlights and my current position synced perfectly. I open the book on my iMac and verified that all of the same data was accessible on that machine.

The next step was to make sure that this worked with other books so I uploaded a couple of ePubs that I didn’t have loaded on any of my devices to Dropbox and loaded them into iBooks on each of my devices, highlighted some sections, took some notes and once again it worked perfectly.

Syncing ePubs with iBooks on all devices:

  • Put the ePub in a central location that you can load it into iBooks from such as Dropbox
  • Do not change the name of the book if you have already loaded the book on one of your devices. The book needs to have the same attributes on all of your devices in order for it to recognize that there is data available for it to be syncing.
  • Load the book into iBooks on all of your devices. For iOS if you are using DropBox you will need to have the Dropbox app installed you can select the book and then hit the share icon, and tap on the Open In… button.
  • Happy Syncing

  1. Even the iCloud reset article that I wrote didn’t fix the sync issues  ↩

A Bigger iPhone

I will never understand why people will want to have a phone that is the size of an iPad Mini. Understandably most people do not use their phones to make many phone calls these days, but when you do need to make a call it looks absolutely ridiculous to have something that big next to your face. With that being said I want a bigger iPhone…

Apple has spent the last half of a decade making it’s devices thinner and lighter. This is for the most part a good thing, and I have enjoyed the benefits of these advances.[1] The weight difference after only a week of using the iPhone 5 and picking up the iPhone 4 was incredible; I couldn’t believe the difference.

So why then would I want a bigger iPhone, and what do I mean by that? I have already stated that I am not one that is on the side of the phablet revolution, but I wouldn’t mind having possibly one more column of icons on the home screen, as far as screen size is concerned. [2] The only other area that can be changed to increase the size of the phone is the thickness. I would be willing to have a thicker iPhone if it would help improve three areas:

Camera

The iPhone camera is amazing, but I still rely on my DSLR to take the important pictures that matter most like the ones that I take of my children. I don’t want to have to do that anymore. I want the camera that is always with me to be really, really good and not just alright. A thicker bodied phone would allow Apple to improve upon the technology that they have been packing into the iPhone year after year. I think that they could close the gap or come very close to closing the gap between the high level consumer cameras and professional cameras.

Storage

16GB, 32GB, & 64GB are the storage capacities available for the iPhone right now. It is time to let the 16GB phone go. Even though I have all of my music in iTunes Match and store non of it on the device; I still have a huge issue with storage. On my phone I am down to 1GB of space on a 32GB phone that I am constantly micro managing the pictures and videos that I take, or any new applications that I want to try. I am assuming that a thicker phone would allow for bigger storage capacities.

Battery Life

I have had the iPhone 3G, 3GS, the 4 and the 5. Out of all of these phones the 5 has held a charge the longest for me. I have read multiple comments from disgruntled users stating the opposite, but I can’t complain. A thicker phone means that there is that much more room to pack a battery into. I would love to get to the point where I don’t have to charge my phone for 24 hours.

I am interested to see what Apple does with their next revision of the iPhone, mostly because I will be due for an upgrade when it comes out. Whatever they decide to do with their bigger phone the one criteria that I would like most of all is that it still fits in my pants pocket, and not look like I am carrying an 11" MacBook Air.


  1. I have even been envious of my wife’s MacBook Air since she got it, every time I lift my bag that has my 13" MacBook Pro I wish I had hers, which is half the weight.  ↩

  2. All of the mockups of the larger screened iPhones that I have seen do not show any more icons, which to me doesn’t make much sense. Going from the iPhone 4 to the 5 there was an additional row added, so if there is another screen size increase I don’t see why there wouldn’t be more icons added.  ↩

Rumor: iPhone 6 Camera

Sources from Taiwan’s industrial chain claim the iPhone 6 will have at least a 10-megapixel camera with an aperture of f/1.8, reports Chinese website IT168 [Google Translate, via GforGames]. This would be an improvement over the current iPhone 5s, which has an 8-megapixel camera with a narrower f/2.2 aperture.

This sounds promising, even though it is speculative.

I would like to get to the point that the camera that I always have with me is as good if not better than the DSLR that I use to take really good pictures of my family with. The camera in the iPhone is always evolving and pushing boundaries, so I am excted for the next evolution.

Even though patenets do not always mean that a product will see the light of day.[1] This rumor combined with the recent discovery of an Apple patent for iPhone camera lens addons is definitely cause for excitment.


  1. The same goes for rumors, as is the link that the post title takes you to.  ↩

Quick access to turn off iPhone Flashlight

Nice tip.

After I upgraded to iOS 7 and used the flashlight from Control Center, and my screen went to sleep I realized that the only way to turn the flashlight off was to wake your phone up; reopen Control Center and hit the flashlight icon again. Even with this way you still have to wake the phone but you could easily train yourself to hit the area where the camera icon is without looking.

Ryan Seacrest Invests in Typo

I don't understand why anyone would want this.

I had the (un)opportunity to type on a Blackberry for the first time back in September while on a buisness trip; as the owner was driving at the time. I wanted to throw the thing the window.

I will keep my opinions about the interface to myself, but trying to type with those tiny keys is infuriating to say the least.

iOS Screenshots Settings

The iPhone needs to have a dedicated camera roll for screenshots. I am always taking screenshots with my iPhone when I see an album in iTunes that I want to remember to download later, capture a section of an iMessage conversation, need a receipt of a purchase that I made, and countless other situations. These screenshots I want to have available for quick access later but they get buried amongst the million pictures that I take of my daughter[1], and are soon forgotten. Then when I want to import my camera roll into iPhoto I have to sort out these screenshots by not selecting them in the import window, and then processing them from the phone by deleting the ones I have already taken action on or saving them somewhere else to process later.

Admittedly this problem is probably not one that the average user has to deal with. Honestly I would bet that there are more people who don’t know that you can take a screenshot with your iPhone than people who know that you can. So all that I am asking is if in the Photos & Camera section in Settings that there be a toggle switch to send screenshots to a separate camera roll.[2]


  1. That seems almost like a literal figure at times.  ↩

  2. These need to be in their own camera roll, not their own album. Albums only reference pictures that live in the Camera Roll.  ↩

iCons!!!!

I wrote in a post on the eve of WWDC, that linked to a supposed mock up of the actual icons used in iOS 7, that hopefully the new icons do not look like the "mockups" that 9to5mac leaked. Prior to that post i had written a piece expressing my concerns about the rumors that I had heard about Apple's move towards a flat windows 8 like design.

Unfortunatley the 9to5mac leak turned out to be true, and I think that it was an actual leak. The author tried to pass it of that they had their graphics department mock the icons up in photoshop. I was hopeful that they had a new graphic designer who hadn't had much experience creating icons, coupled with the fact that this person was creating them based on how they were described to him, or her. However these horrible icons are a reality of the next operating system. I just don't understand how anyone could think that these icons are passable for Apple's standards, but there they are.

The rest of the operating system, for the most part looks amazing; save for the akward translucency in certain places. The OS certainly is not flat. It has a depth to it, and I can't wait to have a copy of it to see how it works in person.

For a comparison of what the icons use to look like and what they will look like in iOS7 I have linked to a picture from an article on mashable.com

iOS icons

I would have prefered that the icons looked like these that appleinsider.com had posted before WWDC.

iOS flat icons

Is iOS 7 Laying the Path Towards a Larger iPhone?

During the WWDC Keynote Monday, Apple pulled the curtain off of their redesign of iOS. I have my thoughts on certain aspects of the design, such as iconography, but will use this post to speculate on some observations I made while watching the iOS 7 demos.

The operating system has seen a radical change, and one of the most prominent aspects of the design is the use of layered sheets for things like Notification Center, Spotlight, Control Center, and the updated Share Sheets. Apple states that "Technology should never get in the way of humanity.", however while watching the videos I noticed that with these new overlays it almost seems that the current iPhone seems a little small for this new design.

My wife who loves to watch the keynotes with me actually said out loud, about the same time I had the thought, "It almost seems that the phone needs to be bigger now." I couldn't agree more; I think that Apple may be setting itself up to introduce another device size into the iOS world. Certainly this isn't the first post to proclaim that, but watching the Keynote and seeing iOS 7 in action I thought it looked like it was designed to be on a device that has more screen real estate to afford to it.

I love the size and weight of the iPhone 5, and have often wondered how cumbersome a wider phone might be. Even though I laugh at the oversized Samsung phones out there; I think I wouldn't mind seeing a bigger iPhone introduced this fall. I don't mind that is, as long as I don't see people walking around with iPad Mini sized devices strapped to the side of their faces talking on them.

What iOS Looks Like (Hopefully Not)

After I posted my thoughts on flat design I checked a couple of my regular sites and saw that 9to5mac.com has a new post up called What iOS 7 looks like. They had someone in their graphics department mock up what the new icons look like. Say it isn't so...Here is an except from the post regarding the icons.

Yes, they are flat. Our in-house Photoshop guru Michael Steeber has mocked up (Above) the icons based on descriptions which closely match what I believe we’ll see tomorrow.

iOS Dictionary App?

dictionary.png

iOS ships with a handful of generic utility apps such as Calculator, Stocks, Weather and Voices Memos to name a few. These are not the only apps that come pre-installed; but they usually fall under scrutiny from a number of posts recommending that you quickly tuck them in a folder, and replace them with any number of apps from the App Store. 

One app that I realized that is not on iOS is a Dictionary app. You can select a word;  click Define and a style sheet displaying the definition appears. However there is not a full blown Dictionary app such as the one that ships with Mac OS X that you can search. Another feature of the OS X dictionary is that it has a built in Thesaurus. 

I know that a dictionary app isn't going to change the world or anything, but it is interesting to me to see what Apple choses to add or not add to iOS. With that said I am trying real hard to not launch into a long drawn out post about the fact that the iPad doesn't ship with the Calculator, or Voice Memos apps.

If Apple is boring then why are you writing about them?

The title of Henry Blodget's article just kills me.

I find his claims that Apple needs to make an iPhone with a better battery, laughable. I have an iPhone 5 and out of the 3, 3G, and 4 it has the best battery life I have seen in an iPhone. Apple is the leader in developing better technology when it comes to batteries.

Moron.