iPhone XS Max Blog Posts

January 23, 2019

Bluetooth 5

Apple has been shipping all their hardware products with Bluetooth 5 since 2017. This includes iPhone X, MacBooks, and the HomePod.

What's New About Bluetooth5?

The Bluetooth 5 spec allows low-energy transmissions to sacrifice data rate for more range. A lot more range: up to four times the range of Bluetooth 4.2 LE. That’s a technical maximum, mind you. In the real world, you can expect much less, though it’s still going to be a huge improvement over older versions of Bluetooth.

Supporting a faster speed at the expense over a range makes it easier to connect multiple devices to a source. For example, Amazon Alexa Show show can appreciate having multiple devices connected to play music from different phones.

iPhone Bluetooth Logo

Best Range for Bluetooth Devices

The ideal range for Bluetooth 5 is 800 feet - as long as there are no obstructions. Which is more than 2 football fields in length.

The longest home run at Fenway Park is 502-feet - That's how far the Ted William's red seat is from home plate!

Keep in mind is both devices have to support BlueTooth 5 to get the long range. If the source only supports Bluetooth 4.1 you'll only get 330 feet.

Key Functionality of Bluetooth 5

Bluetooth 5 is igniting the "Internet of Things" products. These are small electronic devices that allow smart phones to interact with them.

Some Popular "Internet of Things" examples

  • Nest Learning Thermostat - Bluetooth is use during setup.
  • Amazon Alexa Show - Connect additional speakers or iPhone to play music
  • Apple TV - Connect Headphones, Keyboards and remotes
  • Samsung SmartTV - Connect Headphone, Bluetooth enabled Soundbars and Game Controllers
  • Toyota - Connect your phone to enable Internet and access your contacts.

Bluetooth 5 will help bring more exciting technology to the consumer living rooms.

iPhone XS Max Bluetooth

After Apple started shipping the iPhone XS Max some consumers were reporting issues with the iPhone dropping the Bluetooth connection. Apple has fixed some of the software issues in related iOS updates. The appears to have subsided and recently only a few users have reported issues.

January 16, 2019

GPS on the iPhone

Apple's iPhone used four different location functionalities: Assisted GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and QZSS.

These are used to identify your exact location and used by any application that uses the Location settings.

These are the exact same services that were on the iPhone 6s Plus. The iPhone XS Max doesn't add any new location services or functionality.

The location support hasn't changed much over the years. I thought it would be interesting to learn a bit more about each of the location services on the iPhone.

Blue Satellite

What is Assisted GPS?

Assisted GPS makes location tracking faster and uses other sources to correctly identify the location of the phone. For example, if you're in a shopping mall, you may not have a strong GPS signal. Assisted GPS will use Cell Tower distance as well as ISP information to pinpoint your exact location.

Assisted GPS functionality is actually a hidden cost that your cellular provider will charge you. On Verizon, this will appear as "Time & Location" under System Services. On other providers, they may show it as "data access." To cut down on the amount of "data access" simply disable location services to Apps where you don't need them.

Assisted GPS is a FCC requirement to make cell phone location data available for 911 operators.

There are 31 active GPS satellites in orbit.


GLONASS is an acronym for Globalnaya Navigatsionnaya Sputnikovaya Sistema which translates to Global Navigation Satellite System. It's a GPS system developed by the Russian Federation in the 1980s.

It's an alternative Global tracking system to help with precision location tracking. By itself, it's not a strong as the standard GPS system. However, combined with the standard GPS system, it helps the accuracy of the location coverage.

There are 24 active satellites in orbit.

What is Galileo

Galileo was created so that the European Union wouldn't have to depend on the United States GPS system. Initially, the civilian signal was stronger than the GPS. In 2000, that changed when President Clinton changed the GPS civilian access to be the same as the military access.

Galileo has 18 operational satellites available all around the world.

There are currently 18 satellites in orbit.

What is QZSS?

The Quasi-Zenith Satellite System is a project of the Japanese government for the development of a four-satellite regional time transfer system. Its primary focus area is in the Asia-Oceania region with a focus of Japan.

There are 4 active satellites in orbit.

January 9, 2019

Evutec Phone Case for iPhone Xs Max

After 3-months, I have settled with a new case for my iPhone XS Max. I now have the Evutec Phone Case for iPhone Xs Max 6.5 inch, [Northill Series] Premium Leather + TPU Shockproof Interior Slim Protective Case-Canvas/Black.

Evu Tech iPhone Max

Some of the things I like about the new case:

  • It covers the full back, so the Apple logo isn't showing. Nothing against Apple, but if I am going to get a case, I want it to cover the full back and not have a hole to show the Apple logo.
  • Easy grip on the sides and back. Very comfortable to hold - the phone won't slip out of your hands
  • Wireless charging still works.
  • The edge is slightly raised so that if you side the glass side of the phone the screen won't get scratched.

Screen Protector

This is the first iPhone that I have purchased where I am not going to get put on a front screen protector. The protector on my last phone came off about a year ago and I didn't encounter any scratch issues with the screen.

The iPhone XS Max is using Corning's Gorilla Glass 6. It's been shown to be the most scratch resistant and shatter resistant glass ever available on any smartphone.

January 2, 2019

Portrait Mode

Portrait Mode is the ability to take a picture of a person and have the background blurred out. This cool effect uses both cameras on the iPhone XS Max and figures out the foreground and background. Portrait Mode is available in the rear and front camera.

You have control of the background Depth using the built-in editor.

Gus O Dog
Using Portrait Mode on the iPhone XS Max, I was able to take a great picture of our dog.

Eight Things I learned about using Portrait Mode

  • When using the rear camera, It's best to stand 8-feet away from the subject to get the best focus.
  • The rear camera has better quality and you'll see more of the background.
  • For better effect, make sure the background has some depth. Don't just use a studio backdrop. A park setting or skyline would look very cool. Disney Castle from Main Street USA would be a good opportunity.
  • When using the front face camera, it's best to hold the camera three feet (about an arm's length)
  • You can't change the blur effect while taking a picture. Afterward, you can change the blurred background using the Edit Mode.
  • If you want more control over the background/foreground, use ProCam Editor. You can do cool things such as make the background black and white or even remove the background and make the photo transparent.
  • To make modifications to Portrait Mode pictures on MacOS you need macOS 10.13 with Photos 3.0.
  • Pictures taken using Portrait Mode are saved as JPEG and not the High-Efficiency Video Compression (HEIC) format.
  • If you back up to Google Photos you can change the Depth uploaded. Simply find a photo that was taken in Portrait Mode, Click Edit, the second icon on the bottom right, then click on the same icon, and you'll see the Depth adjustment on the bottom. (Apparently, this isn't available in the Web Version only in Google Photos iOS app)

Image Dimensions

Front Camera 3088x2316
Rear Camera 4032x3024
December 19, 2018

A12 Bionic chip

One of the main features that Apple announced with the new iPhone XS Max is the use of the A12 Bionic chip. The iPhone 6s Plus has the A9 chip with 64-bit architecture, so the iPhone XS Max chip is 3 generations newer.

Question is, what does the faster chip mean for the average iPhone user? Why difference does a fast chip mean, and what applications perform better using the A12 chip?

The biggest change will be in the applications that use Apple's Machine Learning framework. One of the applications that use Machine Learning a lot is the Homecourt app. Apple promoted at the iPhone XS Max kickoff. This application will watch you play basketball and analyzed the shots you make and miss.

A21 Bionici Phone

Machine Learning

The Facial Recognition technology that is used to unlock the iPhone XS Max is where people will see the biggest improvement with the A12 Bionic chip. The faster chip helps speed up the facial calculations so the phone opens almost immediately.

Machine Learning vs Artificial intelligence

Machine Learning is the ability to learn without being programmed - for example looking at hundreds of facial expressions and knowing which ones match.

Artificial intelligence is when machines/applications perform tasks that are similar to human intelligence.

Apps that Use Machine Learning

  • PlantSnap - Plant Identification. It's a great way to find out information on plants in your yard. You can find out how much water it takes to how much sun they need. It's an awesome way to learn about your yard. (It works great with houseplants!) The App is
  • Night Sky - AR Guide to the sky right now. You can find out what planets are in the sky and details about them. It's a great learning app about space.
December 12, 2018

Qi Charger

One of the nice things about the iPhone 8/X generation of phones is the wireless charging. You simply put the phone down on a Qi pad and it will start charging. It’s a very convenient way to charge your phone.

Qi Chargers

Seneo Wireless Charger

I have a Seneo Wireless Charger at my desk. It’s not only a great way to charge the phone, but it puts the phone in a position when I can watch videos while working - for example, Udemy training videos. The other thing that it’s good for is that I can just look at the phone and it unlocks. If I had it placed on the desk, I would have to pick up the phone in order for the facial recognition to work.

The nice thing is the Seneo Wireless Charger stand is cheaper than a standard Apple Cable - around $20. There are plenty of times that it’s offered at a discount.

Is Wireless Charging Better?

When Apple announced the iPhone XS Max, they said it would offer faster wireless charging. There's nothing in the technical specs on what makes the iPhone XS Max wireless charging faster.

Qi Charging Standards

There are three standards to Qi Charging:

  • Qi Low-power - Delivers power up to 5-Watts (Standard for Smart Phone Devices)
  • Qi Medium-power - Delivers power up to 120 Watts (Ideal for Laptops and Monitors)
  • Qi High-power - Deliver power up to 1 kW (Focus on Hair Dryer, Razors, Coffee Makers, Desktop Computers, and many more)

There's no supporting information that iPhone XS Max now supports the Qi Medium-power. So it's unclear how Apple is able to get a faster boost from the standard Qi format.

Best Charging Option for Vacation

If your doing any traveling with your iPhone XS Max, your best charger would be the Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD with 30W Power Delivery Charger, Portable Charger Bundle for iPhone XS/XS Max/XR/X/8, Nexus 5X 6P, LG G5 & USB Type-C Laptops. This device will help you charge your iPhone XS Max faster than a standard 5w charger.

Yes using the plug-in charger is the fastest option when you need to quickly charge the phone. But not any plug will do, make sure to get one that has 30W or 87W to charge your phone as quickly as possible.

The Anker one is nice because the portable charger is fast - perfect for when you need to charge up your device between shots or waiting in line in Disney World. It comes with the fast USB wall charger so you can charge your iPhone XS Max at night.

Unfortunately, the high speed has a high price tag - $129. It's a good option for those that do a lot of traveling and need to have their phone always available.

Qi Charging is Great for the Office

Qi Charging is great to have at the office so the phone is in standup position and charging. You don't have to worry about connecting cables, and when you need to step away, simply take the phone with you.

December 5, 2018

Weathershot Pro Premium subscription

If your looking for an application that overlays weather information WeatherShot is the application to do that. You can instantly show how hot or cold it is with the actual temperature.

Weather Shot Pro

If you really like the application you can upgrade to the Weathershot Pro Premium subscription version for only $19 more a year (There is a first-year plan for $9). This allows you to removed the application name when you apply the weather overlay. In addition, you get to access more skins.

There are some customers that are not happy to know that after purchasing $9 for the application, that they have to spend an additional $9 to remove the logo.

Seven Things I Learned about the Pro version

Once you upgrade you get full access to all 90 different skins.

I have found that there are 2-3 skins that I would use. Most of the time, I just want to show the location, temp and the feels like temp - on those really cold days. There's not a lot of skins that show the "feels like" temperature. I am surprised that only one of their winter skins has the "feels like" value.

In the Doodle-Art there is some animation - such as bike riders and runners. These graphics stay animated when you save the files as GIF format. I did find that the saved animated version looks a bit jumpy than the preview version within the app. Perhaps it's because the GIF isn't using the same frame rate as the preview.

You can adjust the size of the temperature number by using your fingers to expand or contract depending on what looks good for you.

The application works both in Portrait and Landscape modes. So if you take pictures in landscape mode - which most pictures should be - make sure to use the application in Landscape mode to get the best view.

WeatherShot was at one time called InstaWeather - it got changed on June 18, 2018. The app was targeted for people posting Instagram Photos, (Check out some past Twitter posting using the #InstaWeather). Also checkout my first review of the InstaWeather App.

Weathershot Pro Premium subscription users are supposed to get new content every month - but I haven't seen much in what's new. That is, there are no announcements on any new skins or functionality. Since October, the "What's New" talks about "we're preparing a special design pack, so please stay tuned!" (This sounds like another premium add-on.) The last time Premium subscribers got an update was in September.

There is nothing special about using this application on the iPhone XS Max.

Should You Go Premium subscription?

If you plan to focus your blog/Instagram/Facebook posting using weather data, then getting the Premium subscription might be a good option. At least the WeatherShot text doesn't distract users from your image.

As for the other skins, they are nice to have. I don't really think they are something that I would use on a regular bases.

November 28, 2018

Instagram Hyperlapse vs. iOS Camera

Have you played around with the Time-Lapse camera functionality? It's pretty cool to set the camera on a tripod and just record the sessions for a while and then watch it all unfold in a matter of minutes.

There are some limitations to the Apple's Time-Lapse camera:

  • No information on how often pictures are taken.
  • Only can do one type of Time-Lapse - no way to speed it up or slow it down.
  • No way to adjust the focus after the Time-Lapse has started.
  • No way to turn off the display to save battery life.

Instagram's Hyperlapse

Instagram's Hyperlapse is a good alternative solution to Apple's Time-lapse. While they don't fix all the limitations that Apple's Time-Lapse has, you do get a lot more flexibility. It's also free - so the price is right!

Six Things I learned using Instagram's Hyperlapse

  • Instagram's Hyperlapse tells you the duration while recording. This helps when you want to stop the recording at a certain time length.
  • Default speed is 6x - Which means that it's six times faster than the original recording. To make a 30-second Hyperlapse video, the camera will have to be on for 3-minutes.
  • If you're taking a 1/2 video of the sunrise, your better off using the 8x speed. That will give you a nice 3.5-minute video clip.
  • After a video capture session you have an option to have the final output be fast pace or a slow pace. Once you select it there's no way to "go back" and save a different speed.
  • The Instagram's Hyperlapse Dimensions is: 720 x 1280
    The Apple Time-Lapse Dimension is: 1920 x 1080
  • Instagram's Hyperlapse smaller dimension gives it more room to fix stability issues. If you're not going to be moving the camera around much then the Apple Time-Lapse might be the better solution.

One Final Word

If you want the most flexibility with Time-Lapse videos, take a video using the regular video option and then change the speed at post-production. I use 4k at 24 fps for all my videos. I can use iMovie or Wondershare Filmora to slow it down or speed it up. Just make sure to have plenty of disk space.

Oh, one more thing... Make sure to put the iPhone in Airplane mode! You don't want the video to get interrupted by a robocall.

November 21, 2018

802.11ac WiFi

The latest iPhone XS Max is using the 802.11ac WiFi speed. Which is pretty fast, it can download files at 1 Gbps compared to 600 Mbps using the old standards. It's the latest and greatest WiFi speed that has been available for a few years.

Wi Fi Chart
How WiFi Speeds has changed since 1999

Seven things I Learned about 802.11ac

  1. Available since June 2012 in some laptops, most popular adoption came in 2013 when Apple announced MacBook Pro would be using the 802.11ac band
  2. The IEEE naming convention has 802.11ac is now called Wi-Fi 5.
  3. Apple has been using the 802.11ac standard in iPhones since the iPhone 6.
  4. Google WiFi has support for 802.11a/b/g/n/ac. The iPhone automatically picks ups the higher WiFi standard.
  5. The 802.11ac range is only 140-feet
  6. You can test your Speed using Verizon or SpeedTest.Net iOS App.
  7. The latest Wi-Fi technology is 802.11ax, otherwise known as Wi-Fi 6. There is no router or hardware that is using this.
November 14, 2018

ProCam 6

ProCam is yet another popular third-party application on Apple's iOS. It offers a lot of features to expand the basic capabilities of taking photos and videos using your iPhone.

Pro Cam Photo Menu
ProCam Photo Menu give users a lot more control than the standard Apple Camera App.

Five things I like about ProCam

  1. Slow Shutter - You can control how long the shutter should stay open. It's a great way to get a lot more light when it's very dark. It's just as powerful as the Slow Shutter iOS app ($1.99). I would recommend skipping the Slow Shutter iOS and using ProCam as you have more functionality.
  2. Date/Time/Location Stamps - Useful when you need to let people know where/when you are. You can control the size of the stamp.
  3. Editing Effects - There are all sorts of cool photo effects that can be added such as Tilt-Shift, Tiny Planet, Social Colors, Scratches, Grain and Prospective Adjustment.
  4. Extracting Stills from Video - Very useful when you want to send a picture from a video. Much easier than watching the video and taking a screenshot. In addition, you get the full frame size, not the iPhone frame size.
  5. Over Exposure Warning - Don't get caught with a bad picture because parts of it are way out of focus. The Over Exposure Warning can let you know if you need to change your point of view to get a better photo. It's a great way to play it safe when you want a good photo.

4k Pro Cam Screen Shot
Actual video screen shot capture from a 4K 24 fps video. I used Pro Cam capture feature, it looks as good as if it was a regular picture!

3D Photos

One of the camera modes that are unique to ProCam is the ability to take 3D Photos. This is a creative way to use both cameras on the iPhone XS Max.

You take a picture in landscape mode. ProCam takes a photo with both lenses at the exact same moment. Then align one of the photos. When you click 'Done' you get a shifting photo. You can save the photo as a GIF, JPEG + GIF, Video + GIF.

This isn't something that I would use on a regular base but does add a cool effect to post on Facebook or Twitter.

Getting ProCam

ProCam 6 is not free as it cost $5.99 from the iOS store. I would recommend checking out the Tutorials on ProCamapp.com to see all the features of the application