Julio Ojeda-Zapata is a technology reporter and blogger at the Pioneer Press in St. Paul, Minnesota. He has written books about Twitter, the iPad, and mobile productivity. Keep up with him at ojezap.com.
How smart are smart speakers, really? Julio Ojeda-Zapata put this to the test when temporarily sightless due to a medical condition.Leaning on his Amazon, Apple, and Google speakers more than usual proved an often-frustrating exercise because Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant are still pretty dumb.
For those who want more organization flexibility and efficiency than Apple’s Photos app provides, Houdah Software’s Photos Workbench provides a handful of targeted features that make the process faster and easier, all while working with your existing Photos library.
If you think the webcams built into the latest Macs and Apple’s Studio Display leave a bit to be desired, there’s an alternative: Continuity Camera. Harnessing an iPhone as a Mac webcam, Continuity Camera provides a high-quality virtual-camera system in the upcoming iOS 16 and macOS 13 Ventura.
Apple has turbocharged iPad multitasking in the upcoming iPadOS 16 with Stage Manager, a new feature that introduces Mac-style windowing. It also provides external display support that does more than mirror the iPad screen. A version of Stage Manager is coming in macOS 13 Ventura, as well. Julio Ojeda-Zapata tried Stage Manager on both platforms.
Apple’s unveiling of watchOS 9 at WWDC unsurprisingly emphasized health and fitness updates (along with four new watch faces) but offered a surprise or two, including a new medication-tracking app and a brilliant little Dock tweak.
If you have an old Mac gathering dust, Google may be able to return it to active use. Its free Chrome OS Flex replaces macOS and puts pep back in the Mac’s step. It’s a decent option for families who might want to set up workstations for kids or who just want a dedicated Web machine somewhere in the house.
T-Mobile and Verizon provide home Internet service via devices that use the wireless carriers’ 5G data signal as backhaul for local Wi-Fi. Julio Ojeda-Zapata has been testing both services and found them to be affordable, fast, and dependable.
At its Peek Performance event, Apple unveiled a fifth-generation iPad Air that swaps out the aging A14 Bionic processor for the M1 chip found in the iPad Pro and lower-cost Macs.
Peloton exercise bikes are expensive and lock users into the company’s exercise service. Julio Ojeda-Zapata tried a less expensive alternative, Bowflex’s C6 bike. It gives users the flexibility to use a range of fitness services with an iPhone or iPad, an Apple TV, or a Mac.
AT&T and Verizon have started using C-band wireless spectrum that will speed up their 5G cellular service and make it available to more customers. This important step in 5G’s overall evolution brings AT&T and Verizon more in line with T-Mobile, which has had an edge in available spectrum until now.
The new Apple Music Voice Plan is a bargain at $4.99 per month, but it mostly limits you to using Apple’s Siri voice assistant for searches and playback. The Voice Plan has been met with some skepticism, but Julio Ojeda-Zapata thinks it’s a good option for casual music listeners.
A week after the release of the third-generation AirPods, Apple subsidiary Beats By Dre unveiled Fit Pro earbuds that offer a compelling alternative thanks to a more secure fit, H1 chip, and active noise cancellation.
Josh Centers and Julio Ojeda-Zapata team up to give you their first impressions of Apple’s third-generation AirPods.
Apple used its “Unleashed” event partly to focus on music. It revealed third-generation AirPods with a host of improvements, unveiled new colors for its HomePod mini speaker, and announced a new Apple Music Voice Plan for access to the music service via Siri voice commands.
Apple recently unveiled an iPad camera feature called Center Stage that keeps one or more people within the frame during video chats even when they move around. Julio Ojeda-Zapata gave Center Stage a try and compared it to smart displays from Amazon, Facebook, and Google.