In the Stupid Apple Tricks department, iMore’s Serenity Caldwell has discovered that it is possible to pair a cellular-capable Apple Watch Series 3 with an Android phone, although she admits that it’s a terrible idea. The process involves tricking the Apple Watch by inserting the SIM from an Android phone into an iPhone, pairing the Apple Watch, and then moving the SIM back to the Android phone. It works, but your Apple Watch will lose many features and have awful battery life. In other words: don’t try this at home.
Want to see how well Siri works when it’s backed up by a full team of video production editors? Apple has produced an amusing “film” with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in which he manages to use Siri repeatedly while doing everyday made-up movie star stuff. We believe all the actual Siri commands he issues could work, although many would require that the iPhone be unlocked. And when we tried to duplicate his commands, Siri failed to understand our words much of the time. Happily, when Siri misheard “read my last email” as “delete my email,” we learned that Siri isn’t allowed to delete emails. Which is a good thing.
Apple provides some fantastic images for use as Desktop backgrounds and screensavers, but if you like seeing pretty pictures regularly, you’ll get bored with Apple’s tiny collection. Happily, Mac developers have tapped massive Internet photo sites to give you an inexhaustible set of beautiful photos to dress up your Desktop, screensaver, and browser windows.
The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern vowed to live with an original iPhone for a week, but she lasted only 12 hours, as summarized in this amusing video. The original iPhone lacks a front-facing camera, video capture, and Siri, and both performance and battery life were underwhelming. Worst of all, most apps and Web sites don’t work with it anymore. There was a headphone jack, but even then you needed a dongle to use non-Apple headphones. It’s easy to say that technology has advanced considerably since 2007, but it’s also clear that many problems stemmed from a lack of emphasis on backward compatibility. Be sure to watch until the end to see Stern’s helmet cam setup! The article is limited to subscribers, but the video is free for everyone.
Hankering to play Crystal Quest or Lode Runner again, in their original 9-inch black-and-white glory? Thanks to the Internet Archive, you can run dozens of apps for the original Macintosh in your Web browser.
With the W3 Stand for the Apple Watch, Elago has tapped into Apple nostalgia while solving a practical problem: a charging stand that looks like the classic 128K Mac. With a watch positioned sideways within the accessory in Nightstand Mode, users get a geeky bedside clock.
Looking for a simple solution for amplifying your iPhone’s speaker? The Mangobeat is an all-natural amplifier made by an independent craftsman.
Microsoft has created a new experimental chatbot, called Project Murphy, that you converse with via Facebook Messenger, Skype, or Telegram. The image-morphing technology underlying Project Murphy is impressive, but the results can be wonderfully silly since the bot merges the faces in two images to create hypotheticals of personal scenes you describe. For instance, try “What if Oprah were Miss Piggy,” “What if Tim Cook were Superman,” or “What if Steve Jobs were very old?” You can even upload your photo to use in “What if” questions for 10 minutes. Project Murphy is a lot of fun, especially if (like us) you’re not good at image manipulation apps like Photoshop.
Pokémon Go is the phenomenon of the summer, but what the heck is it? Josh Centers explains how the game works and why it’s causing some weird behavior.
Maps are but representations of reality, and how Apple and Google have interpreted that reality has led to surprisingly different representations of it. Former Apple cartographer Justin O’Beirne has started a detailed comparison of the two mapping systems, looking at how each shows cities, roads, and places (points of interest, if you will). O’Beirne is careful not to anoint a winner, but a summary of his findings shows that Apple labels more cities and Google labels more roads. Plus, while the two show a similar number of places, they have only 10 percent of their places in common, thanks to Apple focusing on landmarks and Google prioritizing transit.
If you’ve noticed the ever-growing collection of emoji characters available on your Apple devices, the people to thank are the members of the venerable Unicode Consortium, a non-profit group that has been working to standardize the character sets for all the world’s languages and writing systems since 1991. The recent work on emojis is not without cost, however: a number of Unicode Consortium members think that the emoji characters are distracting the group from more important work. The chronicles of “Emojigeddon” make for fascinating reading, even if you don’t know a PUNCTUS FLEXUS MARK from a CAT FACE WITH TEARS OF JOY.
To commemorate its fortieth anniversary, Apple is reportedly working on a successor to the Twentieth Anniversary Mac that will showcase the company’s vision for the future of computing. And it’s coming up rose gold.
Writer Craig Grannell points out how Game Center has been broken since the release of iOS 9. That might seem minor, since Game Center isn’t an especially popular app, but many multiplayer turn-based games depend on Game Center to function, so many of them now work inconsistently. Unfortunately, this is more evidence of the decline in Apple’s software quality.
Tired of listening to music? Looking for some simple background sounds to help you focus or even go to sleep? Take the Noizio app for a spin on either a Mac or an iOS device.
Over the years, we’ve shared numerous lamentations about the myriad problems with iTunes. The latest person to lend his voice — literally — to the cause is well-known author and musician Bob “Dr. Mac” LeVitus, who has recorded the song “iTunes Must Die” in conjunction with an “iTunes Must Die” petition. You can preview it for free on CD Baby, and if you want your own copy, it’s available for $0.99 from Amazon, CD Baby, and Google Play, though not yet from the iTunes Store. Hmm…