Sunday, August 28, 2022 Thursday, November 17, 2022
What’s new in iOS 16 beta 7?
We’re obviously very close to the iOS 16 Release Candidate, which means we can expect fewer and fewer changes to iOS 16 with each subsequent beta release. We began seeing Apple pull back on new features and changes a few beta releases ago and the same applies with Beta 7.
Build number 20A5356a
American Express cards might need to be removed and re-added
Volume back on Lock Screen
Clocked moved up on landscape Notification Center
Tweaked date on landscape Notification Center
September 7th Apple event
The big news this week is that Apple’s upcoming iPhone 14 event will be on September 7th, which is less than two weeks away from today.
The tagline for the event is “Far out.” Some have speculated that this could indicate some relation to astrophotography with the new iPhone 14 Pro camera system? That would be cool, but it’s honestly probably something I’d never use if that turns out to be true.
At the event, which will be held in person, Apple will reveal new iPhone 14 models, including the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Max. Sadly, it appears as if the iPhone mini is toast, with the iPhone 14 mini being the last miniature iPhone release. The good news is that Apple will probably continue selling the iPhone 14 mini for a while, just like it sells the iPhone 12 mini today.
The iPhone 14 Max is likely Apple’s response to customers who would prefer a large phone, but don’t want to pay the “pro tax”. The iPhone 14 Pro Max will probably retail under $1000, and there should be a big enough price differential between it and its pro version that users on a budget1 will find it desirable.
But the biggest news rests with the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. This year, according to rumors, marks the first time that there will be a very noteworthy difference between the pro and baseline hardware. Rumors indicate that the pro models will be the only ones to receive new A16 Apple Silicon, which is a big departure from previous releases that featured silicon parity across the lineup. The Pro models are also said to include a new redesigned pill shape area to house the TrueDepth camera, while regular iPhone 14 models maintain the notch, along with additional changes.
Although no one can speak matter-of-factly on the event or the hardware currently, the baseline iPhone 14 sounds a bit underwhelming coming from the year-ago model. Granted, people like me who are entrenched in the tech space view these things through a lens that the average person does not. Most people aren’t buying new iPhone years over year, so an iPhone 11 or even iPhone 12 to an iPhone 14 might prove to be a compelling upgrade.
iPadOS officially pushed back to Fall
Conspicuously missing is iPadOS, and upcoming iPad refreshes. After speculation about the current state of Stage Manager for M1-enabled iPads, Apple officially delayed the release of iPadOS 16 to later this fall. Although fall technically begins just 15 days after the iPhone 14 event, the release will likely coincide with an October event where new iPad hardware will be shown. In the meantime, Apple is releasing iPad 16.1 betas for developers to test.
I’m somewhat optimistic about the event. I think the iPhone 14 Pro will be a big of enough year-over-year change that it will represent a compelling upgrade over this year’s model. For everything else? I’m in wait-and-see mode. Of course, there’s also the new watchOS 9 which will launch alongside the new Apple Watch Series 8, and a new Apple Watch Pro. I just really hope they don’t call it that.
Wednesday, August 17, 2022 Thursday, November 17, 2022
Apple released the sixth developer beta for iOS 16 two days ago, as we inch closer and closer to the final September release. As expected, iOS 16 beta 6 includes a few new changes, but they are mostly minor in nature. Watch my brief full hands-on video for the details, and be sure to subscribe to Cellular on YouTube for more.
Tuesday, August 16, 2022 Thursday, November 17, 2022
The Twelve South Curve Flex is a brand new stand for your MacBook that builds on the concept of the company’s original Curve stand. Whereas the original Curve provided a solid metal one-piece design, Curve Flex features two adjustable dual hinges that allow users to elevate their MacBook screen while simultaneously adjusting the angle of the keyboard.
I recently went hands-on with the Curve Flex, which launches today, and paired it with my silver M2 MacBook Air. If you’re a MacBook owner, Should you consider adding the Curve Flex to your desktop setup? Watch my hands-on video review for the details.
Twelve South marketed the original Curve stand as a beautifully curved one-piece design with no extra parts or moving pieces. While such a design has its advantages, it also brings forth some limitations. For example, the original Curve provides a single keyboard angle and features a static 6.5 inches of height off of the desktop.
The Charleston, South Carolina-based company introduced the Curve Flex to afford users more flexibility to dial in the ideal display height and keyboard angle for their desktop setup. The Curve Flex features the height-adjustability of Twelve South’s HiRise for MacBook, while also letting users configure the best angle for typing on the MacBook’s keyboard.
The Curve Flex is ideal for those who wish to align their MacBooks next to an external display for a more ergonomic desktop workspace. Users can then user their MacBook to control input, or more ideally, pair a trackpad/mouse and keyboard for a more comfortable setup.
Curve Flex design and build quality
The original Curve, which Twelve South still sells, is comprised of a solid piece of aluminum in either matte black or matte white colors. Because of the one-piece design with no moving parts, its the more solid of the two when compared to the dual-hinge Curve Flex.
Despite the nature of the design, this adjustable stand feels very well built. Although it somewhat encroaches on the elegance of the original Curve design, Twelve South employed the use of a cross bar to assist with stability on the Curve Flex. And like its forebear, it features a non-slip surface on the bottom that ensures firm footing while on the desktop.
The Curve Flex is available in matte black or matte white colorways. I imagine most will opt for the matte black by default, but I went for the matte white. I think matte white looks nice on a white or natural wood desktop surface.
Strengths and weaknesses
This product’s main strength is in its name: Flex. Thanks to the hinge design, the unit can elevate your MacBook’s display anywhere between 2 and 22-inches and adjust the angle of the MacBook’s keyboard up to 45 degrees. Not only that, but the unit can fold flat when not in use, making it an ideal travel companion. Twelve South even includes a handy travel sleeve inside the box.
Unlike the Curve Flex, the original Curve featured no moving parts, so it provides a more surefooted desktop presence than the Uber-adjustable Flex. If stability and permanence are the most desirable qualities you’re looking for in a stand, then check out the original Curve instead.
I’m including this stand in my upcoming roundup of my favorite MacBook Air accessories. Be sure to Subscribe to Cellular on YouTube for more hands-on coverage with the M2 MacBook Air.
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Wednesday, August 10, 2022 Thursday, November 17, 2022
The fifth developer beta for iOS 16 is now available, and it includes the return of a long-abandoned feature that has caused quite a bit of chatter around Apple circles. Apple has given users the ability to add a battery percentage indicator to the iOS status bar, a feature that was removed with the launch of the iPhone X back in 2018.
Watch my hands-on video as I step through the pros and cons of the new battery percentage status bar indicator, along with other new changes and features. Be sure to subscribe to Cellular on YouTube for more videos like this.
In iOS 16 beta 4, the battery percentage returns as an option for the status bar. Ever since the iPhone X, the first phone with a so-called notch, Apple removed the ability to view the battery percentage from the status bar on the Home Screen and while within apps. The battery icon remained in the status bar while on the Home Screen, but only provided a visual representation of the approximate battery life remaining using size and color.
Users needed to invoke Control Center to view the exact battery percentage on iPhone X and above models up until now.
In iOS 16 developer beta 5, the option to add the battery percentage back to the status bar on a full time basis. To enable battery percentage on your iPhone, go to Settings → Battery, and enable the Battery Percentage switch.
The battery is now represented by a fully filled in battery glyph that remains full until the battery reaches 20% remaining. When the battery reaches 20%, the battery glyph’s interior turns red, and is significantly reduced to indicate the small amount of battery remaining. Up until then, even if you only had 21% life, the battery would appear completely full visually.
The battery glyph appears white when on a dark background, and white when on a light background. The battery percentage appears directly on top of the glyph as a numerical value, devoid of an actual percent sign.
Swiping down in the upper right-hand corner of the status bar reveals the same battery UI on previous versions of iOS, with the battery percentage (with percent sign), and a visual representation of the battery state of charge. It’s a pretty inconsistent UI at this point, but that is to be expected given that this is a beta.
If your iPhone enters Low Power Mode, you’ll notice that battery percentage is automatically enabled, and you don’t have a choice to turn it off.
As I noted on Twitter, I’m not a big fan of this UI, because the battery indicator on the status bar appears full until the battery drops to 20% or below:
Again, this is a work in progress. So we shouldn’t overreact about this. It’s nice that Apple is at least considering giving users a choice, and hopefully a refined version will appear in the shipping version of iOS 16 later this fall.
New Copy & Delete Option for screenshots
If you take a Screenshot, tap on the screenshot overlay, and tap Done in the upper left-hand corner, you’ll see a new option on the sheet that appears to Copy and Delete the Screenshot. This is handy if you only wish to paste said screenshot, and have no desire to keep it in your photo library. This is a welcomed new addition, and props to Apple for including more advanced features like this.
Lock Screen Now Playing UI
The Now Playing UI on the iOS 16 Lock Screen has gone through a whole slew of refinements and changes in iOS 16, and the trend continues in beta 5.
You’ll find a new waveform visualizer on the Now Playing interface when music is actually playing. This is handy for those times when you can’t actually hear the music at the moment — perhaps the volume is down, or your headphones are out of your ears — but want to still recognize that playback is occurring.
There are also brand new button animations for the transport controls on the Lock Screen Now Playing UI. You’ll notice that these updated animations also appear in the Control Center Now Playing UI, as well as the updated volume slider.
The currently-playing song title and artist name is now aligned with the minimized album artwork (which appears smaller than before) on the Lock Screen. You’ll also see a slight animation on the song title when skipping to the next track that we didn’t see before.
Lossless and Dolby Atmos metadata has been relocated to the same line as the genre and year details underneath the artist name. The Apple Digital Master logo and text is also moved to the area beneath the track list.
There’s a new Shared Library Badge option in Photos when you have a Shared Library enabled. This badge, which appears in the upper right-hand corner of photo thumbnails, makes it easier to tell if a particular photo appears within a shared library.
New splash screens
New Find My splash screen
New Home splash screen
New Photos splash screen
New tappable AirPods firmware version details
When venturing into AirPods settings, you’ll find that the Version pane is now tappable. Tapping Version reveals a new page that contains both the version and case firmware release numbers, along with a link (currently non-working) to the firmware details page on Apple’s website.
Updated text on 2-factor authentication pop-up
When receiving a 2FA pop-up for an Apple ID Verification code, new text on the pop-up notes the following security warning:
Don’t share this code with anyone. Apple will never call or text you for this code.
These codes are temporary and expire after a few minutes, so the security threat is only during the time that the code is active.
Updated sound when pinging from Apple Watch
A new sound occurs when pinging your iPhone via the Apple Watch Control Center. It’s the same overall tune, but occurs in a different key. I find it a little less abrasive than the previous tone.
Volume button slowness seems to have cleared up
By far, one of the most annoying problems with iOS 16 beta 4 was the unresponsive volume buttons bug. There seemed to be a long delay between button presses, and at times the volume controls were unresponsive and/or extremely laggy. Beta 5 seems to have hopefully resolved this issue, but I’ve only been using it for about a day.
iOS 16 beta 5 is packed with several new features, but the most outstanding (and controversial) new change is the reappearance of the battery percentage in the status bar. What are your thoughts? Sound off in the comments.
Wednesday, August 3, 2022 Thursday, November 17, 2022
In this hands-on video and step-by-step written walkthrough, I show you how to install Windows 11 via VMware Fusion on a Mac with Apple Silicon. With this tutorial, you’ll be able to run VMware Fusion on an M1 MacBook or M2 MacBook, or any other Mac that uses Apple Silicon, including the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, or Mac Studio.
Interestingly enough, the VMware Fusion Technical Preview also works on Intel Macs, but you’ll of course need to download the x86_64 version of Windows in order to do that. For this tutorial, however, it’s all about running Windows 11 on Apple Silicon, and that’s exactly what this hands-on guide will show you how to do. Without any further ado, let’s get started.
Important: Please keep in mind that this is a tech preview, and as such, there will undoubtedly be bugs. Additional caveats include no 3D hardware acceleration support, and no shared folders/drag and drop between host and guest. Unity mode is also unsupported, and auto-fit guest resolution and auto-scaling is not supported either. Of course, these items could change in the future as development progresses.
Download the Windows 11 Client ARM64 Insider Preview
In order to download the Windows 11 Client ARM64 Insider Preview, you’ll first need a Microsoft Account that’s a member of the Windows Insider program. You can register a Microsoft account for free and sign up for the Windows Insider program for free as well.
Step 2: If you already have a Microsoft account, sign in with your account. If you do not yet have a Microsoft account, click Create one and create a new account.
Step 3: Click the Register tab and click the Register now button.
Step 4: Click the checkbox next to I accept the terms of this agreement and click Register now.
Step 5: Visit the Windows 11 on ARM Insider Preview page and select the Windows 11 Client from the drop down box. I recommend selecting the build from the Beta Channel. Click Confirm.
Step 6: Select the product language from the drop down box and click Confirm.
Step 7: Click the Download Now button to initiate the Windows 11 Client ARM64 Insider Preview download. (Click Allow if you see a Safari pop-up to allow downloads).
Depending on your Internet connection, the Windows 11 ARM64 preview could take some time to download, as it’s around 10GB in size. Windows11_InsiderPreview_Client_ARM64.VHDX.
The VHDX extension stands for Virtual Hard Disk v2. VHDX is a disk image format that’s capable of storing the contents of a hard disk drive. VMware Fusion cannot natively read VHDX files so it will need to be converted to a Virtual Machine Disk, or VMDK. The good news is that converting a VHDX to VMDK can be done easily (and for free) using QEMU.
Thus, the next step is to install Homebrew on your Mac, which will then allow you to easily install QEMU.
If you’ve already installed Homebrew on your Mac, you can skip this step.
Step 1: Open Terminal.
Step 2: Paste the following command in Terminal and press Return on your keyboard:
Open Terminal and type/paste the following command and press the Return key.
brew install qemu
The QEMU installation may take a while depending on the speed of your Internet connection.
Convert Windows 11 VHDX to VMDK
Now we’ll use QEMU to convert the Windows 11 VHDX container to a VMDK container.
Open Terminal and type/paste the following (make sure ‘vmdk’ is in lower case):
qemu-img convert -O vmdk
Ensure that a single space is inserted after vmdk, and drag the Windows 11 VHDX container from the Downloads folder into the Terminal. The result should look similar to the following, but obviously your user name will most likely be different:
Press Return on your Keyboard. Once you do, you may see a pop-up stating that “VMware Fusion Tech Preview” would like to access files in your Desktop folder. Click OK to allow access.
QEMU will begin converting the VHDK container to VMDK, creating a separate file. The new file will be roughly the same size as the original VHDK, so you’ll want to ensure that you have enough space on your Mac to accommodate it. Conversion will take a few minutes. Once completed, you should see a new Windows11.vmdk file on your desktop.
Download and Install VMware Fusion Technology Preview
Before downloading the VMware Fusion Technology Preview, you’ll need to login with a VMware Customer Connect account.
Step 1: Visit VMware Customer Connect and click Login in the upper right-hand corner. If you do not have a VMware account yet, click Register in the upper right-hand corner to register.
Step 3: Double click the VMware-Fusion.dmg to mount the image, then double-click the VMware Fusion Tech Preview icon.
Step 4: Click the Open button on the pop-up that appears, enter your macOS administrator password, and click OK.
Step 5: Click Agree on the VMware Technology Preview License Agreement.
Step 6: On the license key screen, the license key for VMware Fusion Preview should already be populated with a valid license. Click Continue and then click Done to complete the installation.
Step 7: Click OK on the VMware Fusion Tech Preview System Events permission pop-up.
Step 8: Click Not Now on the Accessibility pop-up. You can always change this later via Security & Privacy Preferences if you desire.
Once the install and configuration is completed, you will be presented with the Select the Installation Method window. If you don’t see this window, you can always open it by clicking File → Open in the menu bar.
Install Windows 11 ARM Preview with VMware Fusion
Step 1: On the Installation Method window click Create a custom virtual machine and click Continue.
Step 2: Under Choose Operating System select Microsoft Windows > Windows 11 64-bit Arm and click Continue.
Step 3: Keep UEFI selected on the Firmware Type window and click Continue.
Step 4: On the Encryption Window, keep the default option — Only the files needed to support a TPM are encrypted — and click Auto Generate Password. Ensure that Remember Password and store it in Mac’s Keychain is selected and click Continue.
??? More details on TPM and writing down password ??
Step 5: On the Choose a Virtual Disk window, click the radio button next to Use an existing virtual disk and then click Choose virtual disk…
Navigate the pop-up Finder window to the desktop and select the Windows11.vmdk file created in the prior steps.
You may choose the default option Make a separate copy of the virtual disk. This will copy the contents of the Windows11.vmdk container to a new location in ~/Virtual Machines.
This option will take up more space, but will allow other virtual machines to use the original virtual hard disk. If you only plan on using a single virtual instance and wish to save space, you can select Share this virtual disk with the virtual machine that created it.
Personally, I usually stick to the default option, but the choice is yours. Once you’ve selected the desired option, click Choose, followed by Continue.
Step 6: On the Finish window, you’ll have the opportunity to customize settings. Click the Customize Settings button if you wish to configure how much memory is allocated to the virtual machine along with the number of CPU cores, etc. If you’re fine with the default settings presented, click Finish.
Whether or not you click Customize Settings or Continue, you’ll next be prompted to save the virtual machine to your Mac. The default location is ~/Virtual Machines and I recommend keeping the default setting. Click Save to confirm.
If you opted to make a separate copy of the virtual disk, VMware will copy the virtual hard disk to the new location, and then automatically boot into Windows setup.
If you see a permission dialogue requesting Screen Recording access, you may click Deny. You can always provide permissions later via the Security & Privacy section of System Preferences if needed.
Because the necessary VMXNet3 virtual network driver isn’t included with Windows Home or Pro for Windows on ARM, you’ll need to bypass the network enrollment during Windows setup.
Step 1: On your Mac’s keyboard, press Shift+F10. If you have your keyboard set up as default, and you’re using a MacBook or Magic Keyboard, you’ll need to press Fn+Shift+F10 instead. This will invoke the Windows Command Prompt.
Step 2: Enter the following on the Command Prompt:
Press Return on your keyboard. This command lets you bypass network enrollment, but first it will restart Windows Setup.
Step 3: Select your country/region and click Yes.
Step 4: Choose your desired input method and click Yes.
Step 5: On the second keyboard layout page, click Skip.
Step 6: On the network page, click I don’t have Internet and click continue with limited setup.
Step 7: Click Accept on the License Agreement page.
Step 8: Enter your name and click Next.
Step 9: Enter a password (optional) and click Next.
Step 10: Disable all of the privacy settings and click Accept.
Windows will continue with the final configuration steps, and eventually the Windows desktop will appear.
Installing VMware Tools
Prior to installing VMware Tools, you will be unable to configure your network connection or adjust display resolution settings. In other words, instilling VMware Tools is a must.
Step 1: Click the Windows Start menu and type PowerShell in the search box. Click Run as Administrator, and click Yes on the User Access Control prompt. (If you don’t see Run as Administrator, right click on PowerShell and select Run as Administrator).
Step 2: Type the following inside the PowerShell prompt:
Press Return on your keyboard to execute the command, and then type ‘Y’ and press Return to confirm the change to the execution policy. Type Exit and press Return to close the PowerShell.
Step 3: In the menu bar click Virtual Machine → Reinstall VMware Tools and click the Install button on the prompt that appears.
Step 4: Open Windows Explorer, navigate to the DVD drive, and ensure that VMware Tools setup is mounted. You should see a Setup.ps1 PowerShell script in the root of the DVD drive.
Step 5: Right click on the Setup PowerShell Script and click Run with PowerShell. Click Yes on the User Account Control pop-up.
VMware Tools will now install, along with the necessary VMXNet3 network drivers and SVGA display driver. After a short countdown, the PowerShell window will automatically close.
Network functionality should now be operational, and you will also be able to configure display settings via Start → Settings → Display. There should be no need to restart in order to enable this functionality.
Although this tutorial may seem like a lot of steps, it’s a fairly easy procedure to navigate through once you have the needed Windows 11 image and the VMware Fusion Technical Preview downloaded.
For general computing with apps with no Mac alternative, VMware Fusion Technical Preview has been a solid experience so far, and will only get better.
If you appreciated this tutorial, you can help out by subscribing to my YouTube channel, and liking the video. Stay tuned, because I have many more Mac-centric tutorials and walkthroughs in the pipeline.
Nomad, one of my favorite companies producing Apple-centric accessories, has launched a new version of its Base One and Base One Max MagSafe chargers in a beautiful gold colorway. These high quality official MagSafe chargers were initially available in both carbide and silver color options.
The Base One is a solo MagSafe charger that provides charging speeds up to 15W (you’ll need to provide your own 30W or higher USB-C power adapter). Of course, it’s also Qi-enabled, so it will work with any Qi-device, not just iPhones. The unit features a beautiful weighted metal & elevated glass design, and is a definite step up from Apple’s standard MagSafe charger, or even the Apple MagSafe Duo, which is prone to yellowing over time.
If you’re interested in charging both your Apple Watch and your iPhone simultaneously, the Base One Max features the same MagSafe charger with weighted metal body and elevated glass panel alongside a soft-touch Apple Watch charging base.
Base One is available for $99.95 and Base One Max is available for $149.95. The prices are higher than some third-party MagSafe options, but the build quality and design of Nomad’s options are second-to-none.
As I noted at the outset, I’ve been a fan of Nomad gear since it was primarily known for its Horween leather cases. Even though it has expanded its portfolio to other areas, design has remained a top priority. I’ll try to get a hands-on video of the Base One or Base One Max if I get the opportunity.