SIM-free iPhone X now available for order on Apple.com

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Photo Credit/Source: Apple Website

If you’ve been waiting for the SIM-free version of Apple’s iPhone X, wait no longer! A SIM-free version is now available for order on Apple.com.

SIM-free iPhones are unlocked devices that allow users to buy the iPhone without a specific carrier and activate the devices with any compatibile carrier of choice. SIM-free versions work on both the GSM (ex: AT&T and T-Mobile) & CDMA networks (ex: Verizon & Sprint).

At launch, the iPhone X was only available for purchase and activation with a carrier like AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint & Verizon. The carrier specific devices work on either the GSM or CDMA networks and are not interchangeable (you cannot buy an AT&T carrier specific iPhone X and use it with Verizon). The iPhone 8/8 Plus did offer a SIM-free version at launch.

Over the past few weeks, production and availability of the iPhone X appears to have ramped up bringing shipping & delivery times down from approx. 5-6 weeks to about one week.

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Photo Credit/Source: Apple Website

If you place an order for an iPhone X today (carrier specific or SIM-free), the current estimated delivery time is about a week. In-store pick-up is currently unavailable.

Thinking about getting an iPhone X on or before Christmas? The odds are looking pretty good!

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Apple releases iOS 11.2 update

Apple released iOS 11.2 today which includes a series of bug fixes and improvements for iOS 11, support for Apple Pay Cash (US only) and faster wireless charging on iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X devices when used in conjunction with supported third-party accessories.

According to Apple’s iOS 11.2 software update release notes:

iOS 11.2 introduces Apple Pay Cash to send, request, and receive money from friends and family with Apple Pay. This update also includes bug fixes and improvements.

Apple Pay Cash (US Only)

  • Send, request, and receive money from friends and family with Apple Pay in Messages or by asking Siri

Other improvements and fixes

  • Adds support for faster wireless charging on iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X with compatible third-party accessories
  • Introduces three new Live wallpapers for iPhone X
  • Improves video camera stabilization
  • Adds support in Podcasts to automatically advance to the next episode from the same show
  • Adds support in HealthKit for downhill snow sports distance as a data type
  • Fixes an issue that could cause Mail to appear to be checking for new messages even when a download is complete
  • Fixes an issue that could cause cleared Mail notifications from Exchange accounts to reappear
  • Improves stability in Calendar
  • Resolves an issue where Settings could open to a blank screen
  • Fixes an issue that could prevent swiping to Today View or Camera from the Lock Screen
  • Addresses an issue that could prevent Music controls from displaying on the Lock Screen
  • Fixes an issue that could cause app icons to be arranged incorrectly on the Home Screen
  • Addresses an issue that could prevent users from deleting recent photos when iCloud storage is exceeded
  • Addresses an issue where Find My iPhone sometimes wouldn’t display a map
  • Fixes an issue in Messages where the keyboard could overlap the most recent message
  • Fixes an issue in Calculator where typing numbers rapidly could lead to incorrect results
  • Addressed an issue where the keyboard could respond slowly
  • Adds support for real-time text (RTT) phone calls for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Improves VoiceOver stability in Messages, Settings, App Store, and Music
  • Resolves an issue that prevented VoiceOver from announcing incoming Notifications

iOS users can update to iOS 11.2 wirelessly on their iOS devices by going to Settings | General | Software Update then clicking on “Download and Install” or by connecting their iOS devices to their computer and downloading and installing the update through iTunes.

As a best practice, you should always perform a current backup of your iOS devices before installing iOS updates.

Mozilla’s New Firefox: Firefox Quantum

Mozilla recently released a new version of their Firefox browser – Firefox Quantum. According to Mozilla, Firefox Quantum offers “A powerful, new engine that’s built for rapidfire performance” and “Better, faster page loading that uses less computer memory.” Mozilla also states Firefox Quantum is 2x faster, 30% lighter than Chrome (uses less memory) and offers smooth browsing with the new engine.

I’ve had the opportunity to test Firefox Quantum over the past few days and I’m pretty impressed with the improved performance and memory usage. While you should certainly see noticeable improvement over prior versions of Firefox, it’ll be quite noticeable if you’re running Firefox Quantum on older supported computers.

As a test, I streamed live radio using both Firefox and Firefox Quantum on a 7+ year old computer with an Intel Core i5 3.2GHz dual-core processor, 4GB RAM, SATA II hard drive, running Windows 7 Professional (32-bit). The computer streamed live radio over the course of a consecutive six-hour period (minimum) while other tasks were performed on the computer (ex: web browsing, sending/receiving e-mail, working in Word & Excel, etc.)

While streaming, I frequently noticed that Firefox would hang, crash, or become unresponsive after streaming for a period of time. After a crash, there would still be several Firefox processes running in the background consuming large amounts of memory. It was necessary to go into the Task Manager to end the processes. In addition, if I toggled to the Firefox page or tab that was running the streaming site, the page would frequently display a black page requiring several minutes to refresh. Sometimes the page would refresh and other times I might get a warning message that Firefox had become unresponsive, it would outright crash or I’d have to end the process in Task Manager. Launching another Firefox page or tab and going to a site with media content that would auto-play while simultaneously streaming would result in Firefox becoming unresponsive, crashing or require ending any Firefox processes running in Task Manager.

With Firefox Quantum under the same conditions, the performance was literally day and night. Firefox Quantum was speedier in terms of loading pages but it was also more memory efficient and the performance was quite impressive. I did not experience any Firefox Quantum crashes while streaming live radio. I was able to toggle to the page or tab running the streaming site and easily switch between different live stations. I was also able to close out of Firefox Quantum and confirm all Firefox background processes had ended in Task Manager. Opening other sites with media content that would auto-play while simultaneously streaming live radio worked flawlessly.

Now this does not mean that everyone who uses Firefox Quantum will necessarily experience similar results. Different hardware, software and operating conditions can impact the results. However, based on testing thus far, Firefox Quantum looks quite promising and shows noticeable improvement over its predecessor.

Firefox Quantum is currently available through Firefox Updates or can be downloaded from Mozilla’s website.

Create Windows 10 Installation Media using the Media Creation Tool

Microsoft provides an easy-to-use Media Creation Tool to create Windows 10 installation media on a USB Flash Drive, DVD or ISO file. You may need to create Windows 10 installation media if you need to:

  • Re-install Windows 10 or perform a clean install of Windows 10 on a compatible computer
  • Install or upgrade Windows 10 on a computer with a slow Internet connection
  • Install or upgrade Windows 10 on multiple licensed Windows computers without the need to re-download the Windows 10 installation files for each installation

We’re going to go through the process of creating Windows 10 installation media on a USB Flash Drive; however, the process is similar when creating installation media on DVD or as an ISO file using the Media Creation Tool.

To create a Windows 10 USB Installer using the Media Creation Tool:

  • Go to https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10
  • Under “Create Windows 10 Installation Media,” click “Download tool now” to download the Media Creation Tool
  • Save the “MediaCreationTool.exe” executable file to your Windows desktop
  • Locate the “MediaCreationTool.exe” executable file on your Windows desktop and double-click on it to run the executable file
  • A Windows 10 Setup window will appear. Review the “Applicable notices and license terms” then click “Accept” (Note: You must accept the license terms to proceed.)Windows 10 Setup License Terms
  • When prompted with the “What do you want to do?” screen, select “Create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD or ISO file) for another PC” then click “Next”Windows 10 Setup What Do You Want To Do
  • In the “Select language, architecture, and edition” screen, review the options listed, make any applicable changes then click “Next.” You’ll probably use the recommended settings; however, adjust the options according to your specific hardware requirements.Windows 10 Setup Select Language
  • In the “Choose which media to use” screen, select “USB flash drive.” You will need a USB Flash Drive with at least 8GB of storage available. Keep in mind the flash drive will be formatted (All data will be lost!) so make sure it does not contain anything you want to keep.Windows 10 Setup Choose Media
  • Connect the USB flash drive to a USB port on your computer then click “Next.”
  • In the “Select a USB flash drive” screen, select the appropriate drive letter for the USB Flash Drive that you connected in the previous step then click “Next.” If your USB Flash Drive does not appear under “Removable drives,” click “Refresh drive list”Windows 10 Setup Select USB Flash
  • The Media Creation Tool will download the latest version of Windows 10*, verify the download and then create the Windows 10 installation media on the USB Flash Drive. This process may take some time to complete depending on your computer and Internet connection speed.
  • The Media Creation Tool will prompt you once the installation media has been created. Click “Finish” to complete the creation of the installation media and close the Media Creation Tool.Windows 10 Setup Complete
  • Once the Windows 10 USB Installer has been created, test the USB Flash Drive to make sure it works properly. If you experience problems with your Windows 10 USB Installer, repeat the above steps to re-create your installation media and/or try using a different USB Flash Drive.

 

*At the time of this post, the current version of Windows 10 is the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (version 1709).

Apple releases iOS 11.1.2 update; addresses cold weather bug with iPhone X

If your iPhone X Super Retina screen has been unresponsive to touch or not registering your touch gestures while in cold weather, Apple provides a fix in their latest iOS software update – iOS 11.1.2.

Apple iOS 11.1.2 Update

According to the software update release notes, iOS 11.1.2:

  • Fixes an issue where the iPhone X screen becomes temporarily unresponsive to touch after a rapid temperature drop
  • Addresses an issue that could cause distortion in Live Photos and videos captured with iPhone X

iOS users can update to iOS 11.1.2 wirelessly on their iOS devices by going to Settings | General | Software Update then clicking on “Download and Install” or by connecting their iOS devices to their computer and downloading and installing the update through iTunes.

As a best practice, you should always perform a current backup of your iOS devices before installing iOS updates.