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Apple may introduce iPhone 9 this week

I was a little astonished to receive an email from a small iPhone case manufacturer sharing details today of its new case for the iPhone 9, and now it looks like this isn’t an exception, but a wave. Is Apple about to introduce the device?

Apple’s March announcement?

The Apple rumor websites are packed with reported iPhone 9 case sightings. 9to5Mac tells us cases for the device are arriving at retailers (including Best Buy) with “an April 5 merchandising date.”

Apple is thought to have ordered manufacturing of 30 million of the devices in January. It had been expected to introduce new iPad Pros, Macs and an iPhone 9 at a special event in March 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic meant a big public event didn’t happen.

Speculation claimed it could also delay introduction of the new iPhone. (Apple did introduce a new MacBook Air and iPad Pro last week.)

The presence of cases for the device in the supply chain makes it plausible to believe an iPhone 9 launch is imminent, possibly shipping as of April 5. This makes it likely we’ll hear more about the product during the week, most likely via an Apple press release published one morning from Cupertino.

What to expect in the iPhone 9?

The designs that are circulating seem to confirm specification the pundits (including me) have pondered since whispers of the product surfaced. These include the presence of a similar camera arrangement and body design to that of the 4.7-in. iPhone 8.

Apple’s iPhone 9 is expected to use an A13 chip, as used in the current iPhone and to use Touch ID rather than Face ID for biometric authentication. It is also expected to be more affordable, which should widen the market for Apple’s smartphones while enabling consumers, already battered by the personal and economic consequences of Coronavirus, to more easily upgrade their existing devices.

While it may seem a minor point given the ongoing pandemic, a lower-cost device could do well in the current very, very difficult environment.

To summarize expectations at this time:

  • 4.7-in. LCD display, 750-x-1,334 resolution.
  • Apple A13 Bionic chipset.
  • Touch ID home button.
  • Single lens camera.
  • A potential 3GB RAM (up from 2GB).
  • From 64GB storage.
  • $399 price.

There have been claims the company may introduce a larger model of the device, similar to the iPhone 8 Plus.

iOS 13.4.1 is coming

Despite the pandemic, Apple has put a great deal of effort into development of iOS 13.4, and is now thought to have put development of iOS 13.4.1, which implements important bug fixes, on the fast track. This follows the release of iOS 13.4 on March 24.

Apple traditionally pushes a relatively important iOS release in advance of a new product introduction. The recently introduced iPad Pro ships this week. It seems plausible to expect some iOS 13.4.1 components will also support the new iPhone 9 when it ships.

Apple may announce the product, but logistical challenges suggest supply may be constrained once it is revealed – and plans for iPhone 12 may be delayed. There is little doubt that most people won’t be as focused on Apple’s new release as they might usually be.

Globally, attention is on COVID-19, which has killed thousands, infected hundreds of thousands and is spreading rapidly across the U.S., and the world.

We may learn more concerning Apple’s iPhone 9 launch plans this week. In the meantime, I urge every reader to take good care of yourselves and your communities in these days.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.





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Apple may introduce iPhone 9 this week, reports

I was a little astonished to receive an email from a small iPhone case manufacturer sharing details of its new case for the iPhone 9 today, and now it looks like this isn’t an exception, but a wave – is Apple about to introduce the device?

Apple’s March announcement?

The Apple rumor websites are packed with reported iPhone 9 case sightings. 9to5Mac tells us cases for the device are arriving at retailers (including Best Buy) with “an April 5 merchandising date”.

Apple is thought to have ordered manufacturing of 30 million of the devices in January. It had been expected to introduce new iPad Pros, Macs and an iPhone 9 at a special event in March 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic meant a big public event didn’t happen.

Speculation claimed it may delay introduction of the new iPhone devices. Apple did introduce a new MacBook Air and iPad Pro last week.

The presence of cases for the device in the supply chain makes it plausible to believe the iPhone 9 launch is imminent, possibly shipping from April 5.

This makes it likely we’ll more about the product during the week, most likely via an Apple press release published one morning from Cupertino.

What to expect in iPhone 9?

The designs that are circulating seem to confirm specification’s pundits (including myself) have pondered over since whispers of the product surfaced.

These include the presence of a similar camera arrangement and body design to that of the 4.7-inch iPhone 8.

Apple’s iPhone 9 is expected to host an A13 chip, as used in the current iPhone and to use Touch ID rather than Face ID for biometric authentication.

It is predicted to be a more affordable device, which should widen the market for Apple’s smartphones while enabling consumers, already battered by the personal and economic consequences of Coronavirus, to more easily upgrade their existing devices if they find they need to do so.

While it may seem inappropriate to speculate on this, a lower cost device could do well in the current very, very difficult environment.

To summarize expectations at this time:

  • 7-inch LCD display, 750-x-1,334 resolution.
  • Apple A13 Bionic chipset.
  • Touch ID home button.
  • Single lens camera.
  • A potential 3GB RAM (up from 2GB).
  • From 64GB storage.
  • $399 price.

There have been claims the company may introduce a larger model of the device, similar to the iPhone 8 Plus.

iOS 13.4.1 is coming

Despite the pandemic, Apple has put a great deal of effort into development of iOS 13.4, and is now thought to have put development of iOS 13.4.1, which implements important bug fixes, on the fast track. This follows the release of iOS 13.4 on March 24.

Apple traditionally pushes a relatively important iOS release in advance of a new product introduction. The recently introduced iPad Pro ships this week. It seems plausible to expect some iOS 13.4.1 components will also support the new iPhone 9 when it ships.

Apple may announce the product, but logistical challenges suggest supply may be constrained once it is revealed – and plans for iPhone 12 may be delayed.

There is little doubt that most people won’t be as focused on Apple’s new release as they might usually be.

Globally, attention is certainly on COVID-19, which has killed thousands, infected hundreds of thousands and is spreading rapidly across the U.S., and the world.

We may learn more concerning Apple’s iPhone 9 launch plans this week. Signing off, I urge every reader to take good care of yourselves and your communities in these days.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.





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COVID-19 puts new demands on e-health record systems

As healthcare providers face unprecedented challenges fighting the COVID-19 outbreak worldwide, electronic health record (EHR) systems are having to adapt to shifting requirements for patient care.  

“We have never had an international crisis of this proportion in the lifetime of the current EHR,” said Dana Bensinger MSN, RN-BC, informatics nurse specialist and client solution executive at consulting firm CTG. “Once things settle down, there will be a lot of analysis of how well our systems performed, what our areas of vulnerability are, and how we fix them for the future.”

With a surge in demand for hospital capacity, one of the challenges facing hospital IT staffers is figuring out how to quickly deploy EHR systems to alternative care locations. 

EHRs are designed to allow medical information about patients to be readily available to doctors and healthcare workers across practices and wherever a person needs treatment. Because of the haphazard rules and regulations in place when EHRs were set up in the last decade, interoperability between systems has been an ongoing issue; some vendor-specific EHR systems don’t always work well with rival systems, hindering the flow of critical medical information.

“To effectively use the EHR in [alternate] locations, you need to build the department units in the software, extend Wi-Fi, deploy hardware, printers, and test that everything works as expected,” said Bensinger. “That takes an IT army to pull off.”  

These have, in some cases, been set up away from hospital premises. The list of locations ranges from tents erected in parking lots to university dormitories and even entire conference centers. “There is a challenge for the IT departments to get connectivity into there to deploy the EHR and other systems they need at the bedside,” said Mike Jones, a research director at Gartner.  

IT staffers are also required to update EHR systems as additional clinical workers are drafted for duty. “Some health providers have reported that they’re being kept very busy with setting up processes for quickly onboarding new staff and changing their role within the system,” said Jones. “That requires a change in configuration of the EHR in terms of their role-based access, and in some cases it is creating new user accounts.”

As workflows are updated to deal with the COVID-19 response, it is important that EHR systems don’t impede clinicians’ work, are straightforward and seamlessly integrate with existing care delivery processes. “The EHR workflow really needs to disappear into the background as providers ramp up to address COVID-19 capacity surges,” said Jones. 

“At a fundamental level, all EHRs need to be working as intended — now more than ever,” said Bensinger. “And not only clinical workflows and features. You want to be sure that the registration and billing components are also collecting accurate and complete information. 

“This is where health systems can be proactive and test their system features, or have them tested, to be sure all are correctly working.” 

Integrating telehealth with EHRs gains importance

There is also demand for new EHR functions to address patient needs, particularly around remote healthcare. Telehealth has become a key way doctors can continue to work with and treat patients from a distance, especially as more communities call on residents to stay home. 

“The ‘digital front door’ is really key to how providers should be responding to COVID-19, in terms of access, triage, even treatment,” said Mutaz Shegewi, a research director at IDC.

For instance, screening capabilities in patient portals can be more efficient in identifying possible COVID-19 cases. 

“If you are a patient and you are worried that you have respiratory symptoms, you go to your patient portal and your screener tells you that you probably do need to talk to a doctor, they can manage that for you right there within that patient portal infrastructure,” said Jeff Becker, a senior analyst at Forrester.

Virtual consultations are playing a bigger role, too. Although some EHR providers have built video capabilities into their platforms, for the most part that means integrating with third-party platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Webex.  

“[Healthcare providers] are trying to use as much of their existing unified communications platforms to do that if the EHR isn’t up to it. So in reality, it is a combination of the EHR and other solutions that they can deploy more rapidly,” said Jones.

Interoperability remains a sore point

As providers attempt to incorporate data from different sources, existing challenges around EHR system interoperability could come to the fore. 

“It is becoming super important that these EHR vendors are able to share patient records in an increasingly fractured care delivery environment,” said Becker. “The question becomes how do you integrate all of these new peer delivery centers, employee wellness centers, virtual visits, with traditional EHRs?”

While there have been attempts to improve EHR interoperability in recent years, both from vendors and government authorities, there is still a ways to go to ensure data can be sent between different software platforms. 

“The fact of the matter is that interoperability is largely lacking and [for] a pandemic — a public health issue — data is central to any response,” said Shegewi.  

“We are not asking for a ‘magic wand’ approach to fixing all of nationwide health IT interoperability, but health providers’ organizations will be challenged in driving statewide, regional and even nationwide responses to this disease, without having the right interoperability measures in place,” said Shegewi. 

Resolving interoperability issues is not an “easy fix,” he said. But with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and EHR vendors offering guidelines around the documentation of patient data in relation to COVID-19, healthcare providers could see some improvements in their ability to exchange information.     

“With government intervention and with all these stakeholders working in unison, there could be quick developments that may facilitate better responses to this outbreak,” said Shegewi.  

Time to innovate

Shegewi noted that while healthcare providers and healthcare IT workers are under immense pressure in dealing with the ongoing pandemic, the demands to ramp up capabilities and introduce new capabilities could be a catalyst for improving EHR systems.

“This is a new challenge — and an opportunity, too,” he said. “It is allowing for providers to take the initiative on areas they may not have been considering scaling up before. Nationwide interoperability, telehealth, virtual visits: up until the outbreak situation, these were all in the status quo of being relatively slow and stagnant areas. 

“Now you are seeing this rapid scale-up and a shift in models to an extent. And perhaps there are lessons to be learned that will hold in place and drive the industry forward towards being more digitally transformed and virtualized in future.” 

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.



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Bublup: The Cloud Reimagined | Webdesigner Depot

Since mankind first crawled out of its cave, looked at a block of stone, and wondered if it wouldn’t roll better if it were round, human beings have been looking at technology and trying to make it better.

Almost every tech you can think of, from digital music players, to cryptocurrency, to search engines, may well be revolutionary in their first incarnation, but only go on to change the world once they’ve been reimagined with the kinks worked out.

however you want to store your stuff online, you can do it with Bublup

Now, Bublup (pronounced Bubble-up) is reimagining the cloud, one of the mainstays of modern computing, by reinventing not just the technology that powers the cloud, but how we use it in our daily lives.

One of the biggest problems with the cloud is that no matter who supplies it, it is structured and organized in a way that suits the cloud supplier; photos go in your photos folder, notes go in your documents folder or a notebook, links go in your bookmarks folder. Bublup is different, Bublup lets you organize your content however you want to. You can even mix and match media types in the same folder. So, unlike some cloud providers you can store links with photos, notes in with videos, PDFs in with MP3s; however you want to store your stuff online, you can do it with Bublup.

organize-lp-hero-3

It’s this flexibility that makes Bublup one of the most intuitive ways to save and share plans, memories, ideas, and projects. Imagine you’re planning a trip to your dream destination next year, instead of keeping all your research across a dozen different folders, with Bublup you can store everything in one place — your flight details, reservations, your itinerary, maps, places you want to eat, things you want to see, guidebooks – everything you’ll need for the trip of a lifetime. The same goes for work projects, sharing family photos, meal planning, and more.

You can even use Bublup for work collaboration

Bublup makes your folders private by default, so you don’t have to worry about anyone taking your files without your permission. But one of the best features of Bublup, and one we know you’re going to want to check out, is its collaboration options. You can invite anyone to join your folder, and work on it together by commenting and reacting on items or folders. It’s an awesome way to build up content from a whole group of people.

You can even use Bublup for work collaboration. Just create a folder for your project and invite your team to join you. Store emails, briefing notes, assets, contracts, everything for your current project in a single, secure location.

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One of the key benefits of Bublup is that everything is organized visually, with big thumbnails and titles, so you never have to hunt around for the file you’re looking for, it’s always right in front of you and easy to find.

Perhaps our favorite Bublup feature is “rolls”. Rolls are beautifully presented stories built from the contents of your folder in just a few clicks. Upload your vacation photos and videos to Bublup, and then in seconds create a story that captures the event perfectly. Best of all, rolls can be shared with anyone – they don’t even need a Bublup account – just build your roll and share it with a single link. It’s the perfect way of sharing vacation memories, or keeping in touch with family.

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cooking_roll

Something we know everyone will love is Bublup’s suggestion engine. This awesome tool seeks out fresh content for you, helping you discover ideas you didn’t even know were out there. It’s an incredibly useful option when you’re researching. Let’s say you’re planning that dream trip, wouldn’t it be great to get the best tips on places to eat, stay, and enjoy from locals and leading sites on the web? Bublup’s suggestion engine will search them all out for you, you can choose to add them to your folder, or ignore them, it’s completely up to you!

bublup_travel_hero

The best thing about Bublup is that it’s easy to use. You don’t need to be an expert to get the most out of this tool. It’s so easy to use even complete novices will be up to speed in minutes, and it’s the perfect solution for everything from staying in touch with family and friends, to collaborating with colleagues on professional projects.

Incredibly, Bublup’s standard plan is free, with 3 GB of storage for files and unlimited links, and all features except the most advanced roll features. If you discover that Bublup is the right tool for you then keep using the standard plan for free, or upgrade to a paid plan from just $2.99 per month. Head over to bublup.com now to start organizing your content the way it suits you.

 

[– This is a sponsored post on behalf of Bublup –]



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But water has always been our friend!

It’s many decades ago, and this pilot fish’s company gets a call from a customer, a small town’s municipal waterworks. A pipe has burst pipe at the pumping station, which also happens to be the site of the waterworks’ business offices.

Good news, though: The computer (yes, there is only one) is fine, having been located on a desk above the high-water mark. But all the floppy disks holding backups are ruined. Those had been stored in the “vault,” which is actually a pit in the concrete floor protected by a lockable manhole cover.

The reason for the call is that city hall requires the water department to keep the six most recent monthly backups.

What fish’s team finds are disks that got wet but that, being plastic, probably still are OK, and disk sleeves that are filled with gritty, dirty water. There’s no way to clean them up and be sure the cleanup will be good enough not to wreak havoc in a floppy drive. 

Fish’s boss has a simple solution for that: Take 12 good floppies to the customer site, cut open the dirty sleeves, extract the wet disks, carefully rinse and dry them, then cut open six of the good floppies and swap the disks. Finally, copy each rescued floppy to a fresh, unmolested floppy.

The last step? Sell the customer on the virtues of off-site storage for backups.

You can use almost anything to send Sharky your true tales of IT life. Send them to me at [email protected]. You can also subscribe to the Daily Shark Newsletter.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.



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