Sir Apfelot newsreel week 38, 2023

Once again it's Friday, once again there's a new Sir Apfelot newsreel. This time I'll show you which Apple and tech news caught my eye in calendar week 38 of 2023. In the wake of last week's September keynote and this week's operating system upgrades, there are several reports on these topics. But you can also find topics that have nothing to do with Apple and the new releases here. Among other things, there is the following: Smartphone telephony via satellite, Amazon presents the new Alexa with generative AI, Google's voice AI Bard now with new German functions, unnecessary digitization of shopping carts, criticism of Apple's FineWoven fabric, details about the iPhone 15 series, Apple TV, and more. 

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Included in the Sir Apfelot newsreel for calendar week 38 of 2023: satellite telephony with any smartphone, Alexa with generative AI, Bard with new functions, iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 with security key problems, FineWoven disappointment, Apple TV restoration from tvOS 17 with the iPhone, and more!
Included in the Sir Apfelot newsreel for calendar week 38 of 2023: satellite telephony with any smartphone, Alexa with generative AI, Bard with new functions, iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 with security key problems, FineWoven disappointment, Apple TV restoration from tvOS 17 with the iPhone, and more!

After emergency SOS: Normal smartphone telephony via satellite

With the iPhone 14 last year, Apple introduced a new option for making emergency calls: the Use of satellites. But the development of mobile phones should not stop there. In the future, regular phone calls, video calls and data downloads should also be possible via satellite - with conventional mobile phones. 

The company AST SpaceMobile carried out the first successful tests in this area, with 5G via satellite, up to 14 Mbit/s in the downstream and a telephone call from Maui, Hawaii (AT&T mobile phone) to Madrid, Spain via the “BlueWalker 3” test satellite (to a Vodafone employee). The advantage of the whole thing: mobile communications in remote regions and after disasters. The disadvantage: even more satellites and space junksystem. (Which)

This video shows the gradual development of the connections established, from the first successes in April 2023 over the following months to the telephone call in September 2023 described above: 

Amazon innovations: Echo Show 8 and Alexa with AI functions

Due to the many Apple topics, I am unable to write a substantial individual article about the new Amazon releases. Nevertheless, they should not go unmentioned. Because it was z. B. the new one Echo Show 8 (3rd Gen) presented. The smart speaker with display and camera should impress with 3D audio, smart home features, video telephony and, last but not least, the Alexa voice assistant.

For the latter there was also a major AI update, for which the command “Alexa, let's chat.” was introduced. Thanks to its own language model, dialogues and generative text AI functions should be possible. Developers should also be able to implement their own language models for other smart functions. The whole thing will initially start in the USA.

Bard – Google’s chatbot now also has more functions in German

Google announced this week that a new version of the chatbot and ChatGPT competitor “Bard” is available. “With the integration of Google Lens in Bard, you can now upload images and receive relevant information or suggestions“ says a company blog post, among other things. 

But the spread of Bard and the new functions was also discussed. Because these are now “to more than 40 new languages ​​and countries, including German" available. In English, Bard can also be linked to other Google services, such as Gmail, Docs, Drive, Maps, YouTube, Google Flights and Hotels. You'll find more about it here: Google Blog / Bard changelog.

Unlocking your shopping cart with your smartphone: good idea or rubbish?

This week I also found reports that not only are shopping carts with NFC unlocking currently being tested in two Netto branches, but that this technology will also be used at Edeka and Rewe in the future. There are already several data protection concerns because the respective supermarket app is used to unlock it, which also contains personal data about the users. 

In addition to concerns about information collection and evaluation (location and frequency of branches visited) and possible sanctions if carts are not properly returned, the question must be asked: Who needs something like that? Personally, I find replacing (or initially just expanding) the mechanics with chips or coins with digital technology absolutely unnecessary and a digitalization approach in completely the wrong area. More about this in the sources: 1, 2, 3

Problem in iOS 17 and iPadOS 17: Security keys no longer work

Apple was there too iOS 16.3 on the iPhone, iPadOS 16.3 on the iPad and macOS 13.2 on the Mac introduced the ability to use physical security keys for two-factor authentication. The small accessory devices are connected via Lightning, USB-C or NFC and serve as a replacement for a confirmation code. 

As is now being reported in some places, the upgrade to iOS 17 or iPadOS 17 seems to make use impossible. The security keys are still recognized, but the associated PIN entry is no longer possible. So if you are about to upgrade your system and at the same time rely on the use of security keys, it is better to wait for a patch. (Which)

Is FineWoven the next Apple flop?

In terms of Moving away from leather There has been a lot of hope in the recent past FineWoven fabric from Apple plugged in. The first iPhone cases made of FineWoven have already landed in the hands of some technology testers and normal buyers. And the feedback there is about the cases isn't exactly positive - words like "horrible" and "garbage" are mentioned. Not only is the feel supposed to be less high-quality than Apple promised (according to some, it's actually rather “cheap”). The durability is also questioned.

Even the first light scratches or regular use such as storing it in a bag or similar can leave a direct trace. In addition, Apple only seems to use a very thin layer of the material, underneath which padding is used, which some sources refer to as memory foam. In addition to the quickly worn out material, this can also lead to heat build-up during fast charging or under high computing loads. Overall, not a good start for Apple FineWoven. (Sources: 1, 2)

Exclusively from the iPhone 15: New 80% battery protection on the Apple smartphone

Under Settings -> Battery you can find some useful information and settings about the built-in battery on the Apple iPhone. These have now been expanded from the iPhone 15 onwards. This has nothing to do with the upgrade to iOS 17, but according to reports it will only affect the new and future iPhone generations.

In their battery settings there is now information about the date of manufacture, the time of first use and the charging cycles. In addition to optimized charging, a limit of 80% can also be set. However, you can still choose to ignore the charging delay and charging stop if 100% battery charge is explicitly required. (Sources: 1, 2)

USB-C on iPhone 15: Charging Lightning iPhones and Android devices

As a small side note, the iPhone 15 (Plus / Pro / Pro Max) cannot only be used to charge AirPods or the Apple Watch. As well-known Apple tester Marques Brownlee demonstrated, an iPhone 15 can also be used to charge another iPhone 15.

The two 15-series devices decide based on the battery level which serves as a power bank (higher battery level) and which is charged (lower battery level). But iPhones with a Lightning connector can also be charged using a USB-C to Lightning cable. Android devices must have USB-C Power Delivery (PD) for power exchange. You can help yourself out on the road if someone has a low battery. (Which)

Restore Apple TV with iPhone: Function requires tvOS 17 and iOS 17

With the upgrades to the iOS and tvOS operating systems, Apple not only released new individual functions for the iPhone and Apple TV on Monday. The cooperation between both devices is now better. In addition to using the iPhone as a camera and microphone for FaceTime on the television, there is, for example, the option of restoring an Apple TV HD or Apple TV 4K with an iPhone. Device failures can therefore be resolved more easily.


If an Apple TV shows an Apple TV device on the television in front of which an iPhone with a Bluetooth symbol is held, then you have to act accordingly. At least that's what the new Apple support document says HT213828. If you pick up the iPhone, unlock it, activate Bluetooth and hold it near the Apple TV, a message will appear to restore the Apple TV. You should follow the instructions in it, after which the Apple TV will be restored and restarted. Details can be found in the linked document.

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