Google Home and Amazon Alexa beat Apple HomePod to the living room

According to survey results from Business Insider Intelligence, Apple’s HomePod was hotly anticipated but not hot off the starting line.

We ourselves dumbfounded once again with Apple’s late response to a consumer electronics boom. The difference between iPad and the Apple Newton was evident, and though Apple may be late to the party, this time we think it may be onto something.

“The HomePod got off to a rocky start after demonstrating strong early potential at its June 2017 unveiling,” stated Business Insider’s Peter Newman of the year-old Siri-enabled smart home speaker. “An early Business Insider Intelligence survey showed high consumer awareness of the product, as well as an excited audience.”

Multi-Room audio Apple HomePod white

The world’s most valuable company has joined the party on what we agree with other tech analysts may well be a wireless home audio revolution. We also think, however, that Apple will have to shape up to more realistic consumer demand if people are more willing to adopt HomePod over less expensive solutions.

Amazon and Google had their solutions out in time for last Christmas, but even after Apple’s fancy waste bin-sized meshed nest egg called HomePod was out of the bag, the tech giant’s device was not available in Canada.

For months it was a #fail for Apple north of the 49th parallel, but now that HomePod has hit stores in Canada, we are thrilled to be able to test it, and give Apple the benefit of the doubt, but not without acknowledging a couple road bumps along the way.

Siri worked well, but not quite as well as we thought it might. We had many people around with various levels of audible volume to their voices, and Siri picked up just my voice very well, but not once playing music. The usual Siri inquiries were answered effectively, and from a distance HomePod also did well on recognizing voice commands even when distanced far enough away that the user’s voice begins to blend in with their background.

According to Apple, here are a few other things you can do with HomePod, thanks to a recent software update:

  • Search by lyrics: In addition to asking Siri to play a particular song, artist or genre, now it’s easy to ask Siri to “play the song that goes like this…” or ask Siri to “play the song that goes ‘I’m a rebel just for kicks now.’”1
  • Set multiple timers: HomePod now supports multiple named timers. Set a timer for the cake, another one for lasagna and another one as a reminder to dim the lights — using just your voice.
  • Make and receive phone calls: Conveniently use HomePod to make and receive phone calls for crisp and clear audio quality. To make a call, simply ask Siri to call someone from Contacts or say the number to call. Incoming calls are automatically directed from iPhone to HomePod — just ask Siri to answer the phone — and for missed calls, it’s as easy as asking, “Hey Siri, who just called?” Using the audio picker on iPhone, calls can be moved from HomePod to iPhone at any time.
  • Find My iPhone: The popular Apple Watch feature comes to HomePod, so users can ping any of their nearby devices to find them.
  • Siri Shortcuts: Shortcuts opens up a world of apps to work on HomePod. As Siri learns routines and suggests ‘shortcuts’ on iPhone and iPad, these same shortcuts are now accessible on HomePod. Personalizing shortcuts for HomePod with a series of tasks is easy with a new Shortcuts app. For example, “Hey Siri, good morning” could run a morning routine and order coffee from a coffee shop’s app, turn on the kitchen lights from the Home app and share the first few calendar appointments for the day — all with one simple, customizable command.

“HomePod delivers an even more immersive listening experience when two HomePod speakers become stereo pairs, delivering high-fidelity sound with a wide soundstage,” states Apple. “Using spatial awareness to sense their location in the room, each HomePod automatically adjusts the audio to sound great wherever it is placed and sound great together.”

Apple HomePod Siri

Siri built into Apple’s HomePod smart speaker device appears whenever called upon with the usual activation command, “Hey, Siri.”

The wireless fidelity is also changing to allow more practical features for consumers. Apple states, “with AirPlay 2, it’s easy to create a wireless multi-room audio system to play music in any room from any room, move music from one room to another or play the same song everywhere using HomePod, an iOS device, Apple TV or by asking Siri.”

We didn’t get the opportunity to test the pairing capability between two HomePods, but this is a pretty awesome concept given the amount of rich sound emanating from just one HomePod. However, At over $1,000 for two after tax, we’re not sure this will be viable for most people, unless you’re a geek with a deep pocket.

 

 

 

Record your iPhone screen

Did you know you can record a video of everything you do on your iPhone’s screen? You do now.

If you have friends or relatives who just picture how to resolve an issue they may be facing, this may be just the solution you’re looking for, as illustrated by The Sun.

You’ll have to run through a few steps to enable the feature. Your iDevice will need to be on iOS 11. Once that’s verified:

  1. Go to Settings app > Control Centre > Customise Controls
  2. Tap the plus “+” icon next to Screen Recording.

Now you’re ready to record your screen!

  1. Open Control Center by swiping up from the bottom edge of the screen. (Swipe the screen down if you have an iPhone X.)
  2. Among the Control Center functions should now be a new circle icon. Tap this to be given a three-second countdown, after which recording will begin.
  3. To capture sound while you record, press deeply on the circle icon and tap Microphone Audio.
  4. To stop recording, either open Control Center and tap the red circle button, or tap the glowing red strip at the top of the screen, and tap “Stop.”

The video footage should then be saved to the Photos app! Let us know in the comments below what you think of this new feature of iOS, and how you have found it useful.

Here at illFixit Wireless, our number one priority is you. That’s why what we deeply believe in our 30-day customer satisfaction guarantee. If we repair your device and it is not to your liking within the 30 days following, we will strive to make it right.

Don’t forget to join the discussion by commenting below! We’re happy to answer any questions you may have (instructional support on written subject matter not supported).

Like us on Facebook, and join our growing social media community looking for a quick fix for their cellphone woes.

Cell phone charging sporadically? Here’s a potential quick fix

Many of us have found at one point in our cell phone’s life an inability to sustain a charge. At times, you may plug in your charging cable and find that it is disconnecting every few seconds, reconnecting, and you can’t figure out why. The answer may be simpler than you think, and require only a paperclip.

Often this condition is due to lint trapped in your pocket invading the charging port. Shining a light into the port may reveal a grey shade of material packed near the back of the port, usually caused by the cable jamming the material farther into the port, leading to a misalignment of pins in the port.

Note: illFixit Wireless assumes no responsibility for any damage incurred as a result of the following procedure. Please treat your cellular devices with care.

  1. Fold out the end of a paper clip either 90 degrees or 180 degrees.
  2. Insert the paper clip into the charging port until you feel it hit the back of the port
  3. Gently scrape the paper clip to the left or right, and up one side, without lifting the end of the paperclip from the inside of the port.
  4. This ‘lifting’ motion may result in some debris emerging with the tip of the paperclip

Let us know if this helped you!

77 per cent of Canadians to Christmas shop at Amazon.ca

More than three quarters of Canadians say they will be doing at least some of their Christmas shopping on Amazon.ca this year, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC).

The London, UK-based multinational professional services network surveyed more than 1,000 Canadian consumers as the 2017 holiday season approaches and found that, though half anticipate rising prices over last year’s Christmas shop, 53 per cent say they will spend the same as last year.

Despite these figures, PWC found that 27 per cent will spent more than last year, and only 15 percent will spend less; 5 per cent are unsure whether they will spend more or less this year.

What we find amazing is how far Amazon has come since its inception as a website that sold books, since then branching into areas such as tablet readers, smart home technology, subscriptions to retail goods, cloud storage, and music and video streaming.

Tech giants pour millions into Trump lobbying

Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon have spent at least $10 million in the second and third quarter of this year lobbying the U.S. Government, as political climates heat up following Trump’s erratic foreign and domestic policy decisions.

Tech executives were invited to the White House in December, 2016, even before Trump’s presidential inauguration. In June, Cook, confronted Trump in person with concerns surrounding immigration policy. From left to right: U.S. President Donald Trump, Facebook board member Peter Thiel, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Oracle Co-CEO Safra A. Catz.

Tech website Recode points to record high numbers in lobbying investment for tech companies like Google, which during the second quarter of this year spent $5.4 million on “lobbying efforts on shaping self-driving car regulation, pushing for surveillance reforms and addressing potential competition concerns in the nation’s capital.”

Apple spent only $2.2 million in comparison from April 1 to June 30, but this was double over the same period in 2016.

Google, Apple Maps apps remembers so you don’t have to

Google Maps automatically geopins your parked car when you turn off your vehicle and bluetooth disconnects.

It happens to the best of us. Few things are more embarrassing or frustrating than losing your own car. With so many cars looking similar, and the lines comprising parking spaces looking identical, it’s no wonder it is so easy to lose our cars.

Luckily, Google Maps has us covered. We are still testing this feature’s effectiveness, but so far we are impressed. As soon as your mobile phone disconnects from your car’s Bluetooth, Google Maps will be triggered to perceive your car as parked. Moving away from the vehicle, you will receive a notification on your mobile phone that Google Maps has geotagged your parking spot.

Apple has a similar feature, and even allows you to snap a picture to connect your car to its surroundings.

Not only can you get directions back to where you misplaced your parked car, Apple Maps allows you to snap a picture so you recognize its surroundings.

What’s your favourite map app, and what would you swear by?Not only can you get directions back to where you misplaced your parked car, Apple Maps allows you to snap a picture so you recognize its surroundings.

 

illFixit Wireless Website Revamp

We are thrilled to announce the much anticipated launch, after months in the making, of our new website here at illfixitwireless.com.

For the past two years, we have shared our expert insight through articles shoehorned into our Facebook on current events in the ever growing world of technological innovation in the mobile technology industry. Today, we announce our blog initiative has a new home, here on our website.

Explore our new website and browse the various mobile devices listed throughout the site for a taste of what we do best – repair your hardware so you can stay connected.

As part of our new online initiative, we are launching this brand new blog to continue to provide you our expert insights into the growing world of mobile technology, and its profound impact on our everyday lives.

 

-The illFixit Wireless Team

Apple’s WWDC ’17 just around the corner

Apple’s 28th annual week-long Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) will commence June 5, 2017 at San Jose’s McEnery Convention Centre, announced the tech giant in a Feb. 16 press release.

This exciting conference will showcase the latest Apple technologies that “inspire developers to continue creating incredible experiences for every aspect of customers’ lives and improve the way they manage their smart homes, cars, health and more for over one billion Apple devices.”

U.S. border patrols watching for Canadian cell phone users

As newly-elected U.S. President Donald Trump vows to “make America great again” through measures ensuring an “America first” foreign policy, Canadian travelers have fallen under the watchful eye at the Canada-U.S. border because cell phones are perceived threats to U.S. national security.

According to a Global News report, one group of individuals was stopped and detained for two hours, forced to unlock and reveal the contents of their mobile phones for inspection, and eventually they were denied entry into the U.S. altogether.

Scott Bardsley, a spokesperson for Canada’s public safety minister Ralph Goodale, stated in an email statement to Global News that the United States, as with other foreign countries, is “sovereign and able to make its own rules to admit people and goods to manage its immigration framework, health and safety.” Therefore, “goods accompanying a traveler may be searched to verify admissibility,” stated Bardsley.

So what’s your take, illFixers? Does American foreign policy give you a fuzzy warm feeling inside as the national border enters into view through your windscreen on the highway? We think privacy penetrates all part of a person’s life, and our cellular devices are precious vaults into our personal lives and social networking that can’t be excluded. If traveling into a country equally democratic and free as our own Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms affords us as Canadian Citizens, shouldn’t our constitutional rights follow us across an allied country’s borders?