Features

What to expect from Apple’s WWDC 2019

Our best glimpse of what’s to come in Apple-land

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While Apple’s yearly iPhone announcement is without a doubt its most interesting event, its software specific WorldWide Developers Conference (WWDC) is its most important.

It is at WWDC that we find out about upcoming versions of the operating systems that power your iPhone, iPad, and Mac — our best glimpse of what’s to come in Apple-land.

McEnery Convention Center

WWDC takes place at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California | Photo by Michael Josh, GadgetMatch

This year, the WWDC keynote takes place on June 3rd and as we make our way to San Jose, here’s everything we expect will go down, with a bit of what we hope for thrown in for good measure.

iOS 13

The software that runs both iPhones and iPads is expected to get even faster this year — thanks to software tweaks and optimizations.

Dark Mode on iOS 13 / Leak by 9to5Mac

A much-requested feature “Dark Mode” will be coming to iOS too, just like it did the Mac last season. Leaked screenshots acquired by 9to5Mac show darker user interface elements like the dock apps that get black and gray elements and backgrounds. 

While aesthetic, the optional feature makes practical sense for iPhone X/XS and X/XS Max users because darker screens consume less battery on phones with OLED displays.   

Bloomberg is also reporting that iOS will get updated versions of the Reminders, Health, Books, Mail, and Maps apps. Find Friends and Find iPhone apps will be consolidated into a Find My app. But most interesting are updates to iMessage that gives it more features seen on other chat applications. I personally would love the ability to reply to a specific chat bubble, which is always great when your conversation is about two different topics at a time. 

iPad Pro

iPad Pro creeps closer to Mac-territory | Photo by Michael Josh, GadgetMatch

While Apple has always believed in keeping iOS and macOS separate, last year’s developments saw more and more of a crossover. The new iPad Pros, for example, encroach on laptop territory. I would not be surprised to see iPad-specific features take it even further in that direction. Better file management, better multitasking, and perhaps even mouse support. Apple is also rumored to be working on a built-in feature that allows the iPads to be used as a secondary display, something offered by third-party apps like Duet.

MacOS 10.15

Less has been leaked about the next Mac operating system, perhaps indicating that this next update will be more of an incremental one like when it moved from Sierra (10.13) to High Sierra (10.14).

I expect the conversation to circle around bringing the worlds of iOS and macOS closer.

News App and Dark Mode on MacOS Mojave

News App and Dark Mode on macOS Mojave | Photo by Apple

Last year, Apple spoke about an initiative that allows for building iOS apps that work on the Mac. What we’ve seen thus far are Apple’s own apps, Reminders, Maps, Books, and News. Perhaps at WWDC 2019, as Apple opens the program to developers, we might see the first third-party apps make an appearance. A desktop version of Instagram maybe?

iTunes might sing its swan song as its usefulness has been eaten up by other apps. Expect to see new Podcast, TV, and Music apps for the Mac, all of which should deliver the final blow to good ol’ iTunes.

Other recently introduced iPhone/iPad features like Siri shortcuts, Screen Time, and Family Sharing will most likely also come to macOS.

Mac Pro

WWDC is a software event, but that hasn’t stopped Apple from using it to announce hardware on occasion.

If new hardware is making a debut at this year’s show, it will most likely be the new Mac Pro — a computer meant for Mac users who need the utmost power and performance.

The Mac Pro was last updated in 2013 and Apple has promised a completely rethought model would come this year.

Accessories

Should you buy the Sony WF-1000XM4?

Here’s a quick guide

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Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony is back again with another top-of-the-line pair of true wireless (TWS) earbuds and it’s one that’s worthy of your consideration. Roughly a couple of years after the launch of the Sony WF-1000XM4, we now have the Sony WF-1000XM4. Should you spend your hard earned cash on it? That’s what we’ll try to answer.

We do have a pretty comprehensive review of the WF-1000XM4. But if that’s a little too long for you, consider this article the TLDR. Let’s dive right in.

It’s within your budget

It should go without saying but in hard times such as now, one shouldn’t mindlessly splurge on the shiniest new tech out there. That said, if you can shell out PhP 13,999 (US$ 280 / SG$ 379 / MYR 1099) then by all means, grab this pair. It’s easily one of the best devices in its category and is definitely worth every penny.

You’re an Android user

Sony WF-1000XM4

STAYC’s “Stereotype” is bop. Give it a listen.

Sony has this tech called LDAC. While it’s not exactly hi-res audio, it’s likely the closest thing to it. Here’s an entire explainer from the SoundGuys if you want a deep dive on it. And sadly, this format isn’t supported by any iPhone as of writing. To experience the absolute best audio quality that the WF-1000XM4 has to offer, you’re better off being on Android.

Now, that’s not to say it’s terrible on iPhones or any other device. In fact, we’ve used this on both an iPhone and a Mac and the audio quality is still a blessing to the ears. You’re not getting the ‘absolute best’ but it’s still better than most others.

You care about the environment

Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony moved away from the usual box you expect from devices of this caliber. Instead, they’re using recycled packaging for the WF-1000XM4. It’s plastic free and is made from a special blend of paper.

It’s a move to the more sustainable side of things and it’s one we’re totally down with. Besides, if you’re looking for that premier feeling, there’s no shortage of that on the device itself.

You’re not a fan of the AirPods design

Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony WF-1000XM4 with the Huawei Freebuds Pro. Don’t have AirPods on hand, sorry.

Pretty much every other manufacturer who jumped on the TWS market followed Apple’s cue. That means TWS earbuds that have a stem. While we’ve gotten used to the look over the years, the general perception is still that if it has a stem, it’s an AirPods copycat. This despite other brands giving their own spin on it.

The stem isn’t just for show though. For most of these earbuds, they serve as a mic. During our tests, they’ve generally performed better in call situations over ones that don’t have them.

The Sony WF-1000XM4 is still pretty decent for voice and video calls, so if you can live with that and want something that doesn’t stick out of your ear too much, then this is the choice for you.

You want something for multiple uses

Multiple uses in every kind of sense. The WF-1000XM4 promises up to eight hours of music playback with noise cancellation switched on, and the case can supply an additional 16 hours of battery life via charging. That’s pretty consistent with our usage.

Trust us, you’re not gonna have these on for eight hours straight anyway. With its IPX4 rating, it’s water resistant enough to take with you for workouts. After freshening up from exercise, you can use it for a few work meetings here and there. And then you can cap your day by listening to your favorite podcast or music — for us, it’s been a heavy dose of TWICE tracks, STAYC’s “Stereotype” and some Slow Jams to put us to bed.

That’s what regular daily use looks like. And we’ve only had to charge the device after two to three days. Of course, that’ll vary depending on your usage — which, no matter what that may be, the WF-1000XM4 can handle mightily.

SEE ALSO: Sony WF-1000XM4 review: Simply the best

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Features

This kid-friendly podcast is a cool way to teach Philippine history

It’s called ‘Habilin’ and is a 12-part podcast

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Habilin

There are a handful of key events and highlights throughout Philippine history that our kids should be mindful of as they grow up and begin to become more socially aware and involved.

Martial Law is one of them. It’s one of the most discussed historical topics until now, even just in a casual setting, 49 years after it was declared.

Nowadays, people still find themselves confused or have trouble talking about a keystone moment in Filipino history. It is no secret that the Marcos dictatorship, which spanned over a decade, affected millions of Filipinos.

It plunged the country into overwhelming debt, countless human rights violations, and consequences that are still being paid for today and will continue to be paid for by generations to come — as all verified and fact-checked by sources.

Yes, it’s a topic that’s serious, but we’d also want the next generation to be in the know and encourage them to take a stand as they look back at an important piece of collective history.

So one might ask: how do we begin to talk to kids about Martial Law?

Enter “Habilin,” a 12-part podcast and animated series about the heroes who fought for our freedom, produced by The Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines, Sandigan Para sa Mag-aaral at Sambayanan (SAMASA), and the Give a Hoot podcast.

The unsung heroes

Going with a unique approach with its production and story angles, the podcast project showcases the lives of ordinary Filipinos who stood up for their rights and empowered citizens, providing different point of views for its young audience.

Through thoughtful storytelling, eye-catching animation, and immersive sound design in its episodes available in both video and podcast forms, “Habilin” is able to cater to the more techy youth and share with them powerful stories they may have never heard of before.

Sister Mariani Dimaranan, Lazaro Silva, and Lumbaya Gayudan

Sister Mariani Dimaranan, Lazaro Silva, and Lumbaya Gayudan — these are all names kids might not be familiar with, but in just a few minutes, they will be hooked to their inspiring stories of heroism.

Habilin” has a feature on Elma Tangente, a “binukot”, or a young Visayan noblewoman chosen by her tribe to be sheltered from the public eye. But after they were forced out of their land by the military, she joined the guerilla movement and organized different communities, bringing them together to fight against the dictatorship.

She gave up her binukot status and went to a school run by student activists, where she learned to read and write and became interested in social issues. This is where she realized what being a “chosen one” truly means: to empower her community.

Nestor Principe

Another episode features Nestor Principe, a karate instructor and community organizer. Nestor and his brothers learned martial arts to defend their community against gangs and rogue policemen. After becoming a karate champion, he toured the world as a bodyguard for a Malaysian official until he learned about the First Quarter Storm.

When he went back to school, he absorbed more knowledge about national issues. Upon the declaration of Martial Law, he fled to Cordilleras. Despite not speaking the local language, he found ways to discuss the state of the nation and convinced more people to fight the dictatorship. Principe, who was martyred in 1973, exchanged fighting with fists to using his words to defend others.

Armando Palabay

Armando Palabay, meanwhile, tells the story of an Ilocano local living in a society that was devoted to the Marcoses. When Palabay and his brother saw that it was important to help people see the truth behind the propaganda, they told their classmates about the injustices, and staged protests as poems, plays, and songs.

Palabay’s story teaches kids the importance of standing for what is right, even if it’s difficult under the circumstances he was in.

Lights of hope

Habilin” features Filipinos from all walks of life: unsung heroes, which include a beauty queen and a nun. The courage of these unlikely heroes shows that no matter where they come from, anyone can carry a light of hope for a new future.

“I hope young Filipinos understand that they, too, can use their voice to stand up against injustice and oppression,” says Tricia Aquino, producer of Give A Hoot and chief content officer at PumaPodcast, the award-winning podcast production company behind the series’ sound design. “I hope ‘Habilin’ helps them learn our history, so that they can, in turn, tell the stories of those who fought for democracy.”

The “Habilin” series reminds us that everyone has the capacity to be a source of light in dark times, and that we have a responsibility to remember our history. Like them, you, too, can inspire the next generation to what’s right and what’s good for the rest of the country — in your own little ways.

There is no doubt that innovations in technology have made our lives easier and more comfortable in the modern times. But it’s also led to the age of disinformation and fake news.

The is why it’s all the more vital for kids to hear the real-life stories of everyday heroes that inspire and lead. Like the producers of “Habilin”, it’s only necessary for these history stories to be part of our regular conversations so we may #NeverForget and protect the freedom that we’ve gallantly fought for.


Give A Hoot is a podcast on communication for social change. Listen to the “Habilin” podcast series on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts. The animated version is also available on the Commission on Human Rights’ of the Philippines’ Facebook and Youtube pages.

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Accessories

5 grooming accessories that should be in every man’s arsenal

Present your best self!

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Grooming accessories

Most men forget that your best self is your greatest asset. It can help you reach your goals if you know how to present yourself well. You just need to groom yourself properly so you look put together.

Gone are the days of raunchy, rugged looks that every man of the previous centuries needs to sport. Men should be as invested in grooming themselves just as much as women religiously do their beauty regimens.

So if you want to level up your looks or if you just want to feel good about yourself, here are a few gadgets and accessories that every man must have in their arsenal.

Face and body hair trimmer

Ever dream of having stubbles that look sexy at glance? A facial styler is what you need and Philips has it. The Norelco OneBlade Face + Body trims, edges, and shaves any length of hair.

If you’re opting for a clean shave or you want to leave a few hairs, it has a set of combs in different lengths to aid you in your grooming sessions. Cut your facial and body hair precisely in the shower, without worrying about nicks and cuts. And oh, its replaceable blade is so durable it can last up to four months.

Buy here.

Trimmer for down under

The longer the hair in your pubic area, the easier for bacteria to cling up due to the build-up of sweat. If the idea of waxing your pubes and hair down under hurts, a trimmer designed for private parts might be the best solution.

Meridian’s The Trimmer is waterproof, rust-resistant, and comes with a replaceable ceramic blade that handles both coarse and curly hair — without the displeasing feeling of tugging and pulling. You can easily trim your hair and look good below the belt.

Buy here.

Facial cleansing brush

Take your skincare to the next level. When you apply your facial cleanser, opt for a cleansing brush like the Foreo Luna for Men. With its T-Sonic pulsations, it helps cleanse gently while removing dead skin cells and unclogs your pores of dirt and oil. It also prepares your skin before you go on a shave, preventing razor burns.

If you’re already addicted to skincare, investing in a facial cleansing brush will do your skin some wonders. Go get that youthful look and a complexion that appears clean, fresh, and energized.

Buy here.

Nose and ear hair trimmer

Wait, what? You never had excess, lengthy hair in your nose and ear? Lucky you. Some people find it annoying that there’s a strand that goes out of the hole. It’s unpleasant to look at, and it’s uncomfortable to have a strand of hair dangling around.

Fret not, MANSCAPED has a nose and ear hair trimmer called Weed Whacker — and it surely gets the job done. It’s designed to be comfortable and effective — equipped with a rotary dual-edge blade that carries the brand’s proprietary SkinSafe technology.

You can easily maneuver the steel cone tip — which is hypoallergenic by the way — to remove your nose and ear hair. Without worry about pulls, nicks, or cuts.

Buy here.

Self-haircut kit

When the quarantine started, a lot of men I know learned how to cut their hair. It took me a while to add cutting my own hair to my skillset, but it’s only possible when you have an exact tool that helps you with it.

Remington’s Shortcut Pro Self-Haircut Kit has everything you need. It has an ergonomic design, it precisely cut your hair and still feels comfortable as you do it, and it’s wider than the usual clippers which make cutting your hair quick. And it comes with different blades so you can personalize your haircut and style it the way you want it to.

Buy here.

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