iOS 12: Ahead of Time.

With the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR & Apple Watch Series 4 being announced last Wednesday, it was hardly surprising to see the rumours becoming reality.

After weeks of leaks, hype and anticipation, iOS 12, along with watchOS 5, were finally released after a few months of extensive beta testing.

The speed of the software has dramatically improved the iPhone 7 I’ve been using and I have noticed that a lot of the pre-installed apps have been given a UI (User Interface) overhaul, with some app icons changing completely.

The Photos app has seen some remarkable improvements, and photos, videos, selfies, bursts and screenshots have all been separated into their own designated categories to make organising photographs a lot easier.

Some apps have received complete UI overhauls, and the Voice Memos app has now gone universal by being added to the iPad for the first time since it was launched. Meanwhile, iBooks has officially been renamed to Apple Books.

Safari has received some updates, as icons for tabs have finally been added, though AutoFill for passwords has been improved, as you can now sign in to websites with your email address and password automatically filled in for you if you saved your account passwords to AutoFill.

FaceTime has finally received a much-needed upgrade, as you can now do a group FaceTime video call with up to 32 people at once.

For those of you with an iPhone X, the iPhone X will receive four new Animoji character heads, all of which come bundled with the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max & iPhone XR.

Screen Time is now a thing, as it will tell you how often you pick up your phone to open certain apps you may use frequently (i.e. Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat/Twitter), and you can now set a time limit for the apps you use on a regular basis, so if, for instance, you’re the power-hungry user who uses social media frequently or plays games on your iPhone, iPod touch & iPad, you can now limit how often you can use those apps every day.

Notification Centre received an upgrade, as all your text messages are now grouped together (i.e. WhatsApp & iMessage), social media apps will group notifications as they come in over every hour, and if your iPhone has 3D Touch, you can now clear all notifications with one long press and sweep away notifications that you don’t want to see or are not interested in.

iOS 12 is compatible with the following devices, as listed below:

iPhone

  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone 6
  • iPhone 6 Plus
  • iPhone SE
  • iPhone 5s

iPad

  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2nd generation
  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro 1st generation
  • 10.5-inch iPad Pro
  • 9.7-inch iPad Pro
  • iPad 6th generation
  • iPad 5th generation
  • iPad Air 2
  • iPad Air
  • iPad mini 4
  • iPad mini 3
  • iPad mini 2

iPod touch

  • iPod touch (6th Generation)

Below are the official release notes for iOS 12:

iOS 12 Release Notes
  • iOS 12 brings performance improvements and exciting new features to iPhone and iPad. Photos introduces new features to help you rediscover and share the photos in your library, Memoji — a new, more customisable Animoji — make Messages more expressive and fun, Screen Time helps you and your family understand and make the most of the time spent on devices, Siri Shortcuts deliver a faster way to get things done with the ability for any app to work with Siri, augmented reality becomes even more engaging with the ability for developers to create shared AR experiences, and new privacy features help protect you from being tracked on the web. This update introduces new features and improvements to:
Performance
  • iOS has been enhanced for a faster and more responsive experience across the system
  • All supported devices see improved performance, going back to iPhone 5s and iPad Air
  • Camera launches up to 70 per cent faster, the keyboard appears up to 50 per cent faster, and typing is more responsive*
  • Apps launch up to twice as fast when your device is under heavy workload*
Photos
  • New For You tab helps you discover great photos in your library with Featured Photos, Effect Suggestions and more
  • Sharing Suggestions proactively recommend sharing photos taken at events with the people who are in them
  • Search enhancements make it easier to find your photos with intelligent suggestions and multiple keyword support
  • Search for photos based on the place, business name or event where you were when you took them
  • Improved camera import with faster performance and a new large preview mode
  • RAW support for editing images
Camera
  • Portrait mode improvements preserve fine detail between subject and background when using Stage Light and Stage Light Mono effects
  • QR codes are highlighted in the camera frame, making them easier to scan
Messages
  • Memoji, a new, more customisable Animoji, make Messages more expressive with personalised characters that are diverse and fun
  • Animoji now also include T-Rex, ghost, koala and tiger
  • Make Memoji and Animoji wink and stick out their tongue
  • New camera effects bring Animoji, filters, text effects, iMessage sticker packs and shapes to the photos and videos you capture in Messages
  • Animoji recordings can now capture up to 30 seconds
Screen Time
  • Screen Time provides detailed information and tools to help you and your family find the right balance of time spent with apps and websites
  • See the time spent in apps, usage across categories of apps, how many notifications are received and how often devices are picked up
  • App limits help you set the amount of time you or your child can spend in apps and on websites
  • Screen Time for kids lets parents manage how their child uses iPhone and iPad from their own iOS devices
Do Not Disturb
  • Turn off Do Not Disturb after a set time, location or calendar event
  • Do Not Disturb During Bedtime hides all notifications from your Lock screen while you sleep
Notifications
  • Notifications from the same app are automatically grouped together to help you manage your notifications
  • Instant Tuning gives you control over your notification settings from the Lock screen
  • New Deliver Quietly option silently sends notifications directly to Notification Centre without interrupting you
Siri
  • Siri Shortcuts deliver a faster way to get things done with the ability for any app to work with Siri
  • Add shortcuts using the “Add to Siri” button in supported apps, or in Settings > Siri and Search
  • Siri suggests shortcuts on the Lock screen and in Search
  • Get motorsports results, schedules, stats and standings for Formula 1, Nascar, Indy 500 and MotoGP
  • Search for photos by time, location, people, topic or recent trips to find relevant photos and Memories in Photos
  • Translate phrases in more languages, with support for over 40 language pairs
  • Check facts about celebrities, such as when they were born, and ask questions about food, including calories and nutrient content
  • Turn the torch on or off
  • More natural and expressive voice now available in Irish English, South African English, Danish, Norwegian, Cantonese and Mandarin (Taiwan)
Augmented Reality
  • Shared experiences in ARKit 2 let developers create innovative AR apps you can experience together with friends
  • Persistence enables developers to save and reload experiences from where you left off
  • Object detection and image tracking gives developers new tools to recognise real-world objects and track images while they move through space
  • AR Quick Look extends AR throughout iOS, letting you view AR objects with built-in apps like News, Safari and Files, and share them with friends with iMessage and Mail
Measure
  • New augmented reality app to measure objects and spaces
  • Draw lines across surfaces or in free space to measure, and tap a line’s label to see more information
  • Automatically measure rectangular objects
  • Capture, share and mark up screenshots of your measurements
Privacy & Security
  • Enhanced Intelligent Tracking Prevention in Safari prevents embedded content and social media buttons from tracking cross-site browsing without your permission
  • Suppresses ad retargeting by reducing advertisers’ ability to identify iOS devices uniquely
  • Strong and unique passwords are suggested automatically when creating an account or changing a password in most apps and in Safari
  • Reused passwords are flagged in Settings > Passwords & Accounts
  • Security code AutoFill presents one-off security codes sent over SMS as suggestions in the QuickType bar
  • Sharing passwords with contacts is easier than ever using AirDrop from Passwords & Accounts in Settings
  • Siri supports quickly navigating to a password on an authenticated device
Apple Books
  • All-new design that makes discovering and enjoying books and audiobooks easy and fun
  • Reading Now makes it simple to get back to the book you’re currently reading or find great recommendations for what to read next
  • Add books to the new Want to Read collection to keep track of what you’d like to read next
  • The Book Store makes it easy to find your next favourite read with new and popular selections from our Apple Books editors and recommendations chosen just for you
  • The new Audiobooks store helps you find immersive stories and informative non-fiction books narrated by your favourite authors, actors and celebrities
Apple Music
  • Search now supports lyrics so you can use a few of the words to find a song
  • Artist pages have an easier-to-browse design with a personalised station of any artist’s music
  • The new Friends Mix is a playlist of songs you’ll love from everything your friends are listening to
  • New charts to show you the daily top 100 songs in countries around the world
Apple News
  • Apple News is redesigned to make it easier to discover new channels and topics
  • The new sidebar on iPad and Channels tab on iPhone make it easy to jump straight to your favourite publications and discover new ones
Stocks
  • All-new design lets you easily view stock quotes, interactive charts and top news on iPhone and iPad
  • Top Stories section includes articles selected by Apple News editors to highlight the latest news driving the market
  • Read Apple News stories directly in the app, formatted to look great on iPhone and iPad
  • Watchlist includes colour-coded sparklines that let you see daily performance at a glance
  • See an interactive chart for every ticker symbol, plus key details including after-hours price, trading volume and more
Voice Memos
  • All-new design with improved ease of use
  • iCloud keeps your recordings and edits in sync across all your devices
  • Available on iPad with support for both portrait and landscape orientation
TV
  • Get notified when films and TV programmes are available to watch in Up Next
  • Share your favourite films, TV programmes and sporting events with universal links
Apple Podcasts
  • Now supports chapters for shows that include them
  • Skip 30 seconds or to the next chapter with forward and back buttons in your car or on your headphones
  • Easily manage new episode notifications from the Listen Now screen
Accessibility
  • Live Listen now works with AirPods to help you hear more clearly
  • RTT phone calling now works with AT&T
  • Speak Selection now supports using the Siri voice to speak text that you have selected
Other features and improvements
  • Camera effects in FaceTime transform your look in real time
  • CarPlay adds support for third-party navigation apps
  • On supported campuses, use contactless student ID cards in Wallet to access buildings and pay with Apple Pay
  • Website icons can appear in tabs on iPad by enabling them in Settings > Safari
  • Weather includes air quality index in supported regions
  • Quickly swipe up from the bottom of the screen to go home on iPad
  • Swipe down from the top right to access Control Centre on iPad
  • Mark Up includes a palette of additional colours and options to change line width and opacity for each tool
  • Battery usage chart in Settings now shows your usage for the last 24 hours or 10 days, and you can tap a bar to see app use for that period of time
  • On devices without 3D Touch, touch and hold the keyboard Space bar to turn your keyboard into a trackpad
  • Maps adds support for indoor maps for airports and shopping centres with indoor positioning in China
  • New definition dictionary in Hebrew, and bilingual dictionaries in Arabic and English, and Hindi and English
  • New English thesaurus
  • Automatic software updates allow iOS updates to be installed automatically overnight
* Testing conducted by Apple in May 2018 using iPhone 6 Plus supporting normal peak performance, pre-release iOS 11.4 and pre-release iOS 12. Keyboard tested using Safari; Camera tested by swiping from the Lock screen. Performance varies based on specific configuration, content, battery health, usage, software versions and other factors.
Some features may not be available in all countries or all areas; for more information, visit: https://www.apple.com/uk/ios/feature-availability and https://www.apple.com/uk/ios/whats-new
For information on the security content of this update, please visit this website:

Continue reading “iOS 12: Ahead of Time.”

A Beautifully Baked Bank Holiday!

Whilst making the most of the Bank Holiday with this wonderful weather, I seized the opportunity whilst I was on my way to see Avengers: Infinity War to photograph some more plants and flowers, whilst experimenting with the exposure of the photographs I produced.

You can imagine because I decided to, again, walk rather than get onboard a bus, I did catch the sun, but it was worth it considering that it was a Bank Holiday worth seizing the opportunity and getting out and enjoying the sun for.

Below is the huge collection of photographs I produced that documented the wonderfully baked Bank Holiday weather.

I absolutely enjoyed this sunny weather and it was safe to say that I made the most of the Bank Holiday weather and with Summer on the way, it’s safe to say I will be making sure to ditch the coat more often if we are going to have more of this wonderful sunny weather over the next few weeks.

Did you enjoy this wonderful Bank Holiday weather? Please tell me as I would love to hear how you made the most of your Bank Holiday while the wonderful weather was here.

Alex Smithson

Device Used: iPhone 7

App Used: Camera & Camera+

Blushing Pink!

What a beautiful and wonderful day it was.

It was quiet again at work today and I’ve been enjoying the wonderful weather, and as it’s set to get warmer over the next few days, I’ll be off on Monday so I’ll be making the most of the free time while it’s available.

Here’s a photo of one of the plants that were blushing pink in this wonderful, sunny Spring weather.

 

Was mother nature blushing pink for you today?

Please tell me. I would love to hear your response.

Alex Smithson

Headshot #1 / Facial Expressionism / Final Major Project / Jonathan McCartney

Following on from the research I have done so far for the Final Major Project, I have started to develop my photography skills further, and the first subject I have photographed for my Final Major Project is my good friend, Jonathan McCartney.

As Fazal Sheikh and Irving Penn’s photography work has inspired me in the development of my Facial Expression Final Major Project, I have experimented with a white backdrop on the first set of photographs I have taken of my friend, Jonathan. Below are the headshot photographs I produced showing Jonathan doing different facial expressions. I acknowledge that some of the emotions might not connect to some of the photographs depending on the way these photographs are viewed, but I will be improving on this over the next few weeks.

Below are the headshot photographs I have produced so far.

I also experimented further by using the same photographs again, but this time, using the WordFoto app and I was able to use the WordFoto app to convert these photographs into words. The edited versions of these photographs can be found below.

I am pleased with the end result that has come out of the headshot photographs I produced. I have taken into account the peer critique I received on Friday 21st March 2017, especially the peer critique a close friend of mine gave to me on how to improve, and for the next set of photographs I produce which will consist of a different subject I photograph, I will be making sure to use a black backdrop as this will give me the chance to get the subject I will photograph to stand out better. A black backdrop is what I will use next time as the subject’s facial expressions can stand out more with some depth behind it to back up the facial expressions that are made.

The Headshot #1 photographs I have taken of my friend, Jonathan McCartney, including the edited versions of these photographs that I produced in WordFoto can be found in my E-Folio.

I would love to get your feedback on these photographs and please let me know what improvements I can make for when I produce more Facial Expressionism photographs next time. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Alex Smithson

Welcome to March!

Welcome to March on Mother Nature! As you can see, I have decided to go retro with the article image and do it up in the inspired style of Sonic Mania, considering that Sonic Mania is set to be released within the next few months. There is news just around the corner surrounding Sonic Mania and Project Sonic 2017, which I am excited about and I honestly cannot wait to get my hands on Sonic Mania when it comes out. If Project Sonic 2017 gets an official title and if there’s all-new gameplay featuring both Classic Sonic & Modern Sonic, then I shall consider the possibility of buying the Project Sonic 2017 if it lives up to the hype. I know SEGA & Christian Whitehead both have one heck of a great year ahead so I am pretty sure they will exceed our expectations any which way.

The next few weeks are going to be much busier considering my Summative Assessment deadline for the Self-Directed Curiosity Project is right near the end of this month, so I will be making sure to work my socks off as I am so determined to pass and bump last year’s grade up to a Merit or Distinction at least. Also, I will be working harder than usual over the course of the next few weeks as I have a GCSE English Speaking & Listening Assessment coming up which I am currently preparing for, so I hope it goes well, so fingers crossed! Meanwhile, I will be making sure to put all of the hard work in with my GCSE Maths coursework as I seriously want to pass this time around.

Spring is ready to embrace its beautiful side and with the clocks going forward towards the end of the month, it is safe to say that Mother Nature will blossom with vibrant colours and displays. Not only that, but with the temperature of the weather slowly going back to normal, I cannot wait to enjoy the lovely Spring weather once again. The clocks are set to go forward as part of Daylight Saving Time on Sunday 26th March 2017 at 1:00 AM so I thought it would be wise to let you all know in advance so you know exactly when the clocks go forward.

I should warn you as I read something a short while back for when the clocks went back that if you have any devices with Airplane Mode switched on, such as an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple Watch and any Android devices and smartwatches, then it’s recommended that Airplane Mode must be switched off very briefly in order for every device’s clock to go back or forward an hour. I am prepared for the clocks to go forward so to speak, but even so, why waste time when you make the most of it by making the best out of it?

If I am able to find the free time over the next few weeks, I may consider doing some drawings that I can publish on here, or if I head out to certain places in and around London over the next few weeks to photograph anything nature-based for my coursework, then I will make sure to publish any photography work I produce on this website.

Until then, Welcome to March!

Alex Smithson

Monthly Roundup: May 2016

With this month being the least productive since the start of 2016, I will be making sure to take a look back at the articles that were published over the course of this month.

1.5.2016 – As the next couple of weeks were set to get warmer considering that Summer would be just a few weeks away, I welcomed you all back to Mother Nature for May. I also mentioned that I would be very busy with my college studies, which meant I would be publishing articles less frequently than the month before, considering that April was extremely productive. I did mention that I would be travelling up to London on Tuesday 10th May to the Barbican Gallery where Madonna was a few weeks before as I would be going to see an exhibition that would comprise of over 250 intuitive works produced by Martin Parr.

5.5.2016 – On the 20th April 2016, I ceased the opportunity to take some photographs for my Final Major Project, and I headed to the 96 George Street Building opposite Croydon College to snap a photograph from the viewpoint space that was free for use. I used the photograph for the featured image of this article, including showing it below in full colour, along with the details of the photograph. For instance, the dimensions of the photograph, including the make of the camera, not to forget to mention the F Number, Aperture Priority, including the ISO Speed etc.

6.5.2016 – As the weather on this day was absolutely peaceful, I was able to cease the opportunity to take some photographs of some of the blooming flowers that were in my garden. I did attempt for the first time with my Nikon D3300 with Aperture Priority, which delivered some fantastic results considering I never experimented with Aperture Priority on my own camera before.

15.5.2016 – On Tuesday 10th May 2016, I travelled with my Film & Photography class up to London on a trip to the Barbican Gallery. As it was the first time I had ever visited the Barbican Gallery, I was shocked to find just how massive it was inside the Gallery. There was so much information available at hand and whilst I was there, I was able to take photographs around certain parts of the Barbican Gallery where I was allowed, and I must say I was surprised. The damp and dismal weather that day didn’t stop me from getting a collection of photos together.

17.5.2016 – Over the years, I’ve known some people who can be thoughtless and heartless, no matter how hard you try to put yourselves out there for them, especially where your respect to them concerns. I’ve had my fair share of that experience and I’m not ashamed to say this, but I will not put myself out there for those who feel it’s okay to take others for granted, have a go at those who are trying to respect and help them and I will most certainly not put my neck on the line for some people who think it’s okay to treat me like I’m something they’ve trodden in.

I wrote this article based on how I felt not just over the few stressful and eventful weeks I had with my work, but also because I felt I needed to get everything off my chest about what I really thought about those who take others, including myself for granted, including the lack of equality, diversity and respect that goes amiss nowadays.

23.5.2016 – A hilarious Facebook Live video broke the internet within a few days after Candace Payne, who purchased a Chewbacca Star Wars mask for her birthday left herself in stitches due to the mask making a funny noise, which also left the internet amused and in stitches of laughter.

I thought it would be nice to write an article on Candace Payne’s hilariously infectious video because it made me smile and laugh for all the right reasons, given that the video put a smile on my face despite the amount of stressful and eventful weeks I had with my coursework. I also thought it would be nice to share this funny moment with all of you as Candace Payne brought me and everyone around the whole world 4 minutes and 4 seconds of happiness, joy and humour. Again to Candace Payne, thank you :-).

26.5.2016 – I published a note of sincere apology for all of you to see, as I wanted to apologise for not being as productive over the course of this month, considering I had a lot of personal things going on, including not being able to have the energy to publish as many articles as I hoped. I mentioned that the past few weeks hadn’t been easy for me as I had so much going on personal-based, but also a lot going on with my Final Major Project, which I’m ready to start wrapping up and finalising before the public show goes on at Croydon College from the 13th – 17th June.

28.5.2016 – Let’s face it. We’ve all been there. We have all worried that we might not be able to succeed in life and we have the dreaded existential crisis that may affect what we want to do in the future. We often worry about certain things that we shouldn’t worry ourselves over. For example, we may feel petrified of the thought of dying, including what happens to all of us when we are no longer here.

I wrote this article because I did, at certain stages, feel like that, where I wanted to give up, but I also thought at those stages in my life that my future was at stake and I couldn’t afford to give up now. I also know it’s not an easy ride where an existential crisis concerned, given that I have been there, but this article was about asking you whether an existential crisis had affected you, despite my experiences of going through an existential crisis of my own at certain stages of my own life.

31.5.2016 – As Apple released their first ever Apple Watch last year, I thought it would be nice to review the Apple Watch Sport considering I brought it a short time ago. With Apple’s first iteration becoming a part of the watch industry, the Apple Watch has been able to help those who own the Apple Watch Sport, the standard Apple Watch, the Apple Watch Edition and the Hermés version of the Apple Watch have the ability to track the person’s Activity in terms of exercise, steps taken, not to forget the amount of calories it tracks that you burn off over the course of 24 hours.

I decided to publish my review of the Apple Watch Sport 38MM 7000 Series Edition considering that I’ve loved and enjoyed using the Apple Watch Sport ever since I brought it, but I also wanted to publish my review of the Apple Watch Sport in case you are someone who has been looking to purchase an Apple Watch for a while. I wholeheartedly recommend the Apple Watch to every single one of you, as it’s absolutely useful for productivity and it has most certainly helped me to be more productive at what I do.

Thank you all for a good month. I sincerely apologise for not being as productive as much as I hoped but I will try my best to make sure I can get more articles published over the course of next month. Again, thank you all for a very good month and I’ll see you all in June.

Alex Smithson

Life Experience | My First Ever Ear Infection | Have You Ever Had an Ear Infection Before?

As you might recall, I took the rest of last week off from blogging and from college as I was off sick due to a diagnosed ear infection in my right ear, which left me in nothing but untold pain. To talk further in detail about my life experience, I will give a run-down as to what I experienced over the course of last week when I had the ear infection.

On Monday 30th November, my ear started to ache after using the cotton buds, which I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to use to clean your ears with, and it started to feel more painful during my English lesson, and by the time I got home, my ear was in pain, and I couldn’t hear pretty much almost anything.

The following day (Tuesday 1st December), I felt a lot worse than I did, as the pain didn’t go for a while, and just continued to get worse, and whilst I was in college, I had been in so much pain that I couldn’t concentrate on one of the things I needed to do with my group, so I took a 15-minute break at 10:45 AM, which is our first break, and that kind of helped me to forget the pain, but after the first break finished, the pain got a lot worse and was too much to handle, and as a result, I was advised to go home, to take some paracetamol or ibuprofen, and to have a lie-down even if it meant using Olive Oil in my ear. I left college early as advised, and I got home, but as the pain got too much for me, I ended up falling asleep on the sofa, and I didn’t wake up for the best part of two hours because the pain just got to me. My parents had to nudge me to wake me up as I was in so much pain.

As a result of the amount of pain I was in, I had to go for an emergency appointment down at my local doctors, and my doctor looked in my right ear to see if I had an ear infection, and the inside of my ear was inflamed, to which my doctor diagnosed me with an ear infection, and I was prescribed an antibiotic Otomize Ear Spray, which I would have to use up until yesterday.

Because I was home for the rest of the week as a result of the ear infection, I did find that having this ear infection put a drain on my energy, as I wasn’t able to concentrate on most things properly, and the ear infection felt like as if someone stuck up to 5-10 warm pins in my eardrum, to cause me so much pain.

For the rest of last week, into this week, I continued to use the Otomize Ear Spray and the Olive Oil, and although my ear infection was completely gone before this Monday, I continued to use the spray and olive oil until early Friday morning just to be on the safe side, to make myself absolutely sure that it would never come back again.

I feel 100% better now, as my ear infection is gone, and I don’t have any pain, which is the result I wanted, and I must admit, I can hear a lot clearer now after almost two weeks.

The only tip I can give to those of you who might use cotton buds on a regular basis, don’t use cotton buds, because it will push whatever you’re trying to get rid of further into your ear, and is not the advisable method to use. Always use Olive Oil or Otex, whichever one you think is more preferrable. Also, and this was a contributory factor to the ear infection I recently got rid of, don’t have your music on too loud as it will cause more of a buildup that can, if your ear is left untreated for a certain period of time, cause an ear infection. I’m only relaying this as this is what my local doctors advised me.

Before I conclude, I will leave you with three questions:

  1. Have you ever had an ear infection before?
  2. Is this the first time you have ever experienced having an ear infection?
  3. How long did your ear infection last for?

Alex Smithson

© Full Credit: Ear Emoji Created & Designed by The Unicode Consortium, who specialise in designing Emojis for all major companies, such as Apple, Google, Microsoft and Ubuntu).

Monthly Roundup: September 2015

To round off what has been an energetic and hard-working month overall, I will now take a look back on the articles that have been published over the course of September.

1.9.2015 – I welcomed you all back to Mother Nature for a hard-working & energetic month. I also mentioned that September would become the month where it would start to get a little bit chilly, considering the fact that August had experienced a Summer washout. I also mentioned that I may have to post less frequently considering the fact that I have my course to think about, as well as my GCSEs which I would be re-taking, considering the fact that I expressed my joy of wanting to go back to college. I also mentioned that I would be starting on Book #4 soon, to which I mentioned that I wasn’t exactly sure as to whether I would release it this year or at the start of next year.

16.9.2015 – As this day marked the release of iOS 9, I published an article focusing around this release, and in this article, I went through a complete rundown of the new features and changes that iOS 9 had brought with it, and also with iOS 9, this was the first update that became available at just a storage-friendly 1.3 GB, which was a lot lower in download size than iOS 8, as iOS 8 weighed in at 4.58 GB in download size. Also in this release, iOS 9 had finally brought about the ability of expanding the regular 4-digit passcode limit to 6-digits, which is much more beneficial as this will help to up the security of iOS, as well as the security of personal photos, videos and also apps, that’s including the ability to further protect the user’s iPhone, iPod touch or iPad.

25.9.2015 – My first few weeks back at Croydon College were absolutely perfect, and after going back to college on the 8th September, college felt like a welcome of open arms, as I couldn’t wait to go back, and I wasn’t nervous at all, but I was actually excited to be back. The 8th September had also marked a milestone of its own, as that day was exactly one year to the day that I had started my first ever day at college. A huge amount has changed in that time, everyone has matured, the respect of the students and the lecturers in the college are much better, and everyone gets on really well.

26.9.2015 – As it was coming up to ten weeks since Windows 10 was released, I published an article on Microsoft’s all-new browser, which was Microsoft Edge. As stated in the tagline, the tagline defined the browser to be: “Your no-fuss online browser for doing.” In the short space of the time that Windows 10 and Microsoft Edge have been out, Windows 10 was installed on almost 100 million devices across the world.

30.9.2015 – Exactly 10 weeks ago today, Microsoft Corporation released the last version of Windows to the entire world, and that last version of Windows was Windows 10. Windows 10, in the 10 weeks since it was released, has been installed on up to almost 100 million Laptops and PCs across the world. Windows 10 has also revolutionised the way we use computers, and with the recent release of Office 2016, both tie in effortlessly and work perfectly with no problems at all. Altogether, I gave Windows 10 an overall rating of 10/10, considering just how perfect it has been on me, given just how speedy it has been since I installed it.

Thanks so much for a fantastic month on Mother Nature, I’m sorry if I haven’t been able to publish as many articles as I had hoped, but I will try my best to publish more articles as and when I can find the free time that becomes available.

Until then, thanks so much for a fantastic month on Mother Nature, and I’ll see you all in October.

Alex Smithson

iOS 9: A Redefined User Interface. A Software Update for Doing.

As iOS 9 is finally available now to download via Software Update in Settings, I am delighted to give you all a run-down of all of the features that iOS 9 brings to the table. Gone are the days where you would need to free up countless amounts of space in order to download an all-important software update in order to get the full experience of a new operating system. Well, now those days are over, as iOS 9 weighs in at a small 1.3 GB, while the installation of iOS 8 was 4.58 GB.

For the first time, the ability of having a 4-digit passcode now expands to 6-digits, as it was felt by Apple that four just wasn’t enough to keep your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad secure, and it is much better this time around as you are given more of a chance to give your iDevice just that extra bit of security.

iCloud Drive, which allows you to store files that you may have been working on in applications, such as Keynote, Pages & Numbers, now has officially got its own standalone iCloud Drive app, which can be enabled by going to Settings –> iCloud –> iCloud Drive –> Show on Home Screen. This is beneficial for those of you who may be looking to reorganise or delete files that you feel you may no longer need or may possibly want to move.

For those of you who may be power-hungry users of the iPhone product line, a new feature is included that will allow you to extend your battery life by more than a few hours if your battery is running low on energy. Low Power Mode is a new feature for the iPhone, which, if you have it turned on, will turn the battery indicator yellow, indicating that the battery’s usage will be extended a few hours beyond the usage time, meaning that you will get to use your iPhone for a few hours longer, without the need of having to worry about charging your iPhone for longer.

iOS 9 also sees the introduction of the all-new News app, which was the most-talked about app shortly after it was introduced back in June during Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference on the 8th June 2015. This news app is very useful for if you want to keep up-to-date on the news whilst on the go and even if you’re at home, all of the news articles you want will be right at your fingertips.

Throughout the whole of iOS 9, the font has been changed after a very long while from the Helvetica font to the newly-used San Francisco font, which is also a pre-installed system font for the Apple Watch.

A major change has been made in iOS 9, as Passbook has officially been renamed as “Wallet“, along with an all-new application icon.

Also, the Notes app has officially been redesigned, and is bundled with some new features as well that will make note-taking a whole lot easier.

The Photos application finally gets what we’ve all been waiting for. If you are familiar with taking selfies with your friends, they will automatically be sorted into a “Selfie” photo album, and if you’re screenshotting any apps, they will also automatically be sorted into a “Screenshots” photo album of their own. This is useful for if you don’t want to have to scroll through your whole photo album just for that one particular photo you want to set as your wallpaper, or if needs be, to share with your friends, your family, and even your relatives. This is a welcoming new feature for iOS 9 and is also a useful photo & video organiser.

For the first time in Apple history, Apple have given those who are not developers the opportunity to test a Public Beta of iOS 9, after announcing the developer and public betas back in June, and since the first public beta of iOS 9 went live in July, this was a massive opportunity, as this would give you all, including myself, the chance to test out a public version of the software while it’s in development, in order to make the future releases of iOS better than ever. iOS 9.1 was recently released to developers, shortly after the Apple Special Media Event that took place on Wednesday 9th September 2015, and was also released to Public Beta testing. If you want to take iOS 9.1 for a test drive, click here and then click on sign in, and enrol your device or devices for public beta deployment, then follow the instructions listed and download the profile they’ll provide you.

Below are some photos of iOS 9 in action, with notable new features, such as the all-new News app.

iOS 9 and iOS 9.1 are both compatible with the following devices:

  • iPhone 4S
  • iPhone 5
  • iPhone 5S
  • iPhone 5C
  • iPhone 6
  • iPhone 6 Plus
  • iPhone 6S
  • iPhone 6S Plus
  • iPod touch (5th Generation)
  • iPod touch (6th Generation)
  • iPad 2
  • iPad (3rd Generation)
  • iPad (4th Generation)
  • iPad Air
  • iPad Air 2
  • iPad mini (1st Generation)
  • iPad mini (2nd Generation)
  • iPad mini (3rd Generation)
  • iPad mini (4th Generation)
  • iPad Pro

My final thoughts on iOS 9 and iOS 9.1? I must say, Apple have most certainly pulled out all of the stops on this update, the battery life has improved, and not only that, but the all-new News app works effortlessly without a problem, and I absolutely love it. It’s a lot quicker now to get around iOS than how it was before, and iOS 9 is working at full speed even though I own the iPod touch (5th Generation). I am absolutely pleased to say that I am 100% not at all disappointed with this new update, in fact, iOS 9 is perfect.

If you have already downloaded and installed iOS 9 or iOS 9.1, please feel free to comment below your thoughts on the update, and what you think about this update, and how you feel about iOS 9 overall.

Alex Smithson

© iOS Logo Copyright of Apple & Cisco. No Copyright Infringement Intended.

© Font used for iOS Logo in Featured Image: Segoe UI Light

© Applications visible in the Image also Copyright of Apple

© The photos above were taken on the Nikon D3300 DSLR.

This article is dedicated to Tim Cook, and also the late Steve Jobs.

© Apple 2015

Monthly Roundup: June 2015

As I round June off on a high note, I will now take a look back on this month as it unfolded, and I will go through a quick roundup of the articles I have published on Mother Nature over the course of this month.

1.6.2015 – I welcomed you all back to Mother Nature for what would be a relaxing and peaceful month that would lie ahead. I also did a very short look back as I mentioned in this article that it would be one year ago this month that I had left school for good, given that I had also mentioned that I took a near-enough 5-month hiatus from February 2014 to June 2014, as I had my final exams to worry about.

6.6.2015 – Mother Nature marked a very important milestone on this day, as this day saw Mother Nature officially mark it’s 2nd birthday on WordPress. In the space of two years, I have gone on to publish two books online, one of which I have a physical copy of, and with my third book being close to being ready for its final release, I have felt absolutely proud to have come this far in the space of 2 years.

29.6.2015 – After a month-long wait and a lot of research, I was finally able to publish Case Study #6, which focused on the Former President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. This Case Study is the first case study to have more than 10,000+ words containing dozens of research about a Former President.

30.6.2015 – Following just weeks after Apple held their Worldwide Developers Conference, iOS 8.4 was officially released to the masses. Along with this update brought the newly-announced music service, Apple Music. After 2 very long years, the United Kingdom, for the first time ever, gets access to iTunes Radio, including the new Radio Station, Beats 1 Radio (a.k.a. B1), and with this update came an entirely redesigned Music app, which was given not just a massive overhaul in design, but it also brought back with it the ability to play music videos in the Music application, but in Landscape Mode, which was a commonly used feature that was often seen quite frequently in iOS 6.

Also on this day, I published a Special Music Feature article on the Queen of Pop, Madonna’s high-octane music video: “Bitch I’m Madonna (feat. Nicki Minaj)”. This music video had featured a numerous amount of cameo appearances. These cameo appearances featured the likes of Katy Perry, Rita Ora, Chris Rock, Diplo, Kanye West, Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, Alexander Wang, Rocco Ritchie & David. This video, as mentioned by some, if not a lot of people, would wipe Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” music video to the floor. This video was directed by Jonas Åkerlund, who had previously directed Madonna’s previous video, Ghosttown, taken from Madonna’s 13th Studio Album, Rebel Heart.

Thanks so much to all of you, that’s including my friends, my family, my two main role models and also all of you for such a fantastic, relaxing and peaceful month, and I’ll see you all in July. Also, before I conclude this monthly roundup on a high note, I am delighted to let you know I will be publishing more articles over the course of July and August, now that I have got a huge amount of time on my hands until September. Again, thanks so much to all of you for a fantastic, relaxing and peaceful month, and I’ll see you all in July!!!

Alex Smithson

[Note: Please make sure to keep a close eye out for my third book: “My Journey Through a Lens”, as it will be out very soon, and I will also be announcing the release date for this third book on Mother Nature :-).]