Exploring iOS 12: Screen Time

Screentime: A Wake Up to Tech Addiction

For quite some time now we have all been commenting on the increase in technology addiction and how people using social media and phone apps engage less and less with the “Real” world and those around them. Screen time is out to change that.

Apple have put together the Screen Time app that easily and clearly shows us how much time we are spending on each and activity. Prepare to be shocked by your own habits! It goes one step further than just showing us, it allows us to actually set an allowance of how much time you want to spend in each app each day.

So if your an instagram addict or a facebook fanatic and you want to get some control over how much of your life you invest in these apps you can set your own limits an get warned when you are approaching them.

When you hit your limit you’ll be met with a blank screen with a warning and a button to let you extend your time in the app -which means that any extension of time is an affirmative action by you - so you only have yourself to blame!

We think its a really positive step that, despite at first appearance seems to fly in the face of what a tech company’s normal motivations are, could end up improving Apple’s reputation and bringing back some Humanity to the technology we use.


So what's a HEIF anyway?

HEIF or High Efficiency Image Format is the new format that Apple is going all in on for their devices and products from the release of iOS 11 onwards (any day now). It will replace JPEGS as the standard format for iPhones (which happen to be the most used cameras in the world).

Of course any changes like this tend to cause panic amongst those used to doing things a certain way so we will take a moment to explain what HEIF is and how it will (or won't) affect you.

What is it?

HEIF is actually the still image form of the H.265 video format that is now a go to standard. The biggest advantage to you and me is that a HEIF file will take up roughly half the space of an ordinary JPEG but will actually be higher quality in terms of clarity and colour reproduction. This will mean you will free up a huge amount of space on your iPhone, as it is generally photographs that take up the majority of space on our devices these days, this is particularly useful for those who opted for a 16gb iPhone (I couldn't cope!).

JPEG (Joint Photographic Expert Group) has been around a very long time and significant advances have been made in imaging technology so it seems only right that it should now be replaced with a superior and more efficient format.

So other than space what else can this new format do?

The efficiency of HEIF means that it should also be less taxing on your devices processor and ultimately the battery too. Encoding of the format is hardware accelerated on Apple devices.

The other point is rather than being just a filetype, a HEIF is actually a container. What this means is that it can be more than just a simple image. It can be a collection of images and include sound. If that sounds familiar it should, Apple's Live Photo feature has these elements and this is partly why Apple are choosing this format as it allows them to experiment with photography on their phones with greater flexibility. It can also handle transparency like a GIF file.

The only way is up! Right?

There are no downsides I can think of in using HEIF over JPEG. Currently JPEG is king in the world of photography. Apple has made it clear that when using HEIF in iOS 11 - you won't notice any difference in what you do. The images are taken in HEIF but when you need to send them to someone or upload them somewhere they are dynamically converted to JPEG to ensure complete compatibility.

So you don't need to worry about converting anything or incompatibility. Basically until the rest of the world catches up and switches over, you will benefit from extra space and speed. When the world (and indeed the web) switches over to this format browsing websites will be much faster and that can only a good thing.


The Siri Enigma

Siri was perhaps the biggest and most "new feature" of an Apple device for quite some time. How many of us actually use it in day to day life? - I for one haven't been taking advantages of some of the cool things Siri can do and as of iOS 7 Siri has had a bit of an upgrade.

The trouble is, Siri's repertoire is growing and its sometimes hard to even recall what you can ask Him/Her/It to get stuff done.

Heres a great video that reminds us of some of the handy and cool things that the helper with 'tude can do!


Sapphire to make your tech sparkle!

So according to reports it looks like Apple may be looking to replace the Gorilla Glass on its devices with Sapphire. At the moment Sapphire glass is 10-30 times more expensive than Gorilla Glass from Corning, however, it appears that Apple has invested heavily in the development of the production process of Sapphire glass (which is already used for the home button on the iPhone 5s).

Apple has made a deal with the manufacturer, GT Advanced Technologies, and together with a Solar Panel Company Apple acquired to access its Ion Particle Accelerator technology, it will be able to manufacture the thin slices of sapphire at a much lower price. This may mean that before long the entire screens of our devices will be super hard waring.

Personally, I look forward to the day that I don't have to apply one of those awful bubble blighted screen protectors.


Color Expert - Colour library in your pocket!

This one is a pretty contentious issue. Can one truly work with colour on an uncalibrated screen.

Well despite my initial misgivings, yes you can and quite succesfully. Its never going to be perfect but if your a designer, work with textiles or simply want to re-decorate your kitchen you cant really go wrong for £5.99. This web app works like a charm and despite being used on a typically saturated screen, the colour matching actually isnt that bad, and goes a long way to helping choose those oh so inmportant hues.

I love that you can email the swatched you create to yourself or others as it generates a lovely image of the colours to include in the mail as well as the colour details.

CLICK HERE