Order Placed: Zhiyun Smooth 3

My awareness of these products began with DJI OSMO Mobile, which I found during a visit to the Apple Store

The DJI OSMO Mobile has been on the market for some time, so I was able to explore reviews and found a slew of products by searching for more generic keywords (gimbal for smartphones)

My awareness grew to include Zhiyun products, and an exploration of Zhiyun website led to awareness of Zhiyun’s latest products catering to smartphone users seeking to stabilize their video captures: Smooth 3 (MSRP $299, Amazon.com) & Smooth-Q (MSRP $139, Amazon.com).

The Smooth 3 is their flagship product for smartphone videography, and it can stabilize devices weighing up to 260g. I looked at comparisons pitting the Smooth 3 vs. Smooth-Q, and decided to pull the trigger on my Zhiyun Smooth 3 purchase after locating a 10% off coupon.

The Zhiyun Smooth 3 uses a 26650 battery, which means that I’ll be able to source my own batteries if I need more. That single battery allows for an impressive 14-hour continuous runtime, which should outlast my iPhone 7 Plus.

One video review that I watched highlighted an issue: optical image stabilization on devices does not play nicely with stabilization from gimbal. This came as no surprise.

Order Placed: Ringke FUSION Case for iPhone 7 Plus

My iPhone 7 Plus finally arrived, almost a month after I ordered it through my wireless carrier. I relished the unboxing experience, as one does with Apple products, but held off on activating the phone for the time being.

I remember when I purchased my iPhone 4, I dropped it on the tiled floor in my bathroom that very same day. The unprotected phone suffered a series of scratches, one deep enough to be felt.

Not wanting to repeat the mistakes of the past, I began searching for a suitable case to protect my new phone against accidental drops.

I searched Amazon.com for iPhone 7 Plus cases, ultimately choosing a clear Ringke FUSION Case (MSRP $9.99, Amazon.com) over similar options like the Spigen Ultra Hybrid case (MSRP $24.99, Amazon.com), which leaves the iPhone 7 Plus camera lens unprotected.

The Ringke FUSION Case features a clean design with protection in all the right spots. The single cutout on the back face is amply sized for the iPhone 7 Plus’s camera system. I avoided cases with rear cutouts that were sized just right for the camera and quad-LED flash, fearing interference.

I’m looking forward to receiving the case and retiring my iPhone 6 Plus, which has been running dangerously low on storage space for far too long.

Want: Apple MacBook 2016 Refresh

Apple just announced the refreshed Apple MacBook with Retina display this morning (Apple Updates MacBook with Latest Processors, Longer Battery Life & New Rose Gold Finish, Apple Press Info).

The machines now feature Intel’s sixth-generation “Skylake” processors, Intel HD Graphics 515 (replacing Intel HD Graphics 5300), improved battery life (41.4 Wh [up from 39.7 Wh] rated for 10 hours of web browsing, 11 hours of iTunes movie playback), faster PCIe-based flash storage, and come standard with 8GB of 1866MHz LPDDR3. Cosmetically, Apple has added Rose Gold as a color option to existing Gold, Silver, and Space Gray.

The base model starts at $1,299 and comes with a 1.1GHz dual-core Intel Core m3 processor (Intel Core m3-6Y30, Turbo Boost up to 2.2GHz), and 256GB PCIe-based flash storage.

The high-end model starts at $1,599 and comes with a 1.2GHz dual-core Intel Core m5 processor (Intel Core m5-6Y54, Turbo Boost up to 2.7GHz), and 512GB PCIe-based flash storage.

Upgrading the processor to the 1.3GHz dual-core Intel Core m7 (Intel Core m7-6Y75, Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz) is a $250 option on the base model ($1,549 BTAX), and a $150 option on the high-end model ($1,749 BTAX).

A table outlining the differences between the original 2015 Apple MacBook and the 2016 refresh is available through AnandTech.com (Apple Refreshes MacBook with Skylake-based Core M and New Rose Gold Color, AnandTech.com)

Fixed: OS X iMessage & FaceTime Losing Track of iPhone

I recently updated my iPhone 6 to iOS v9.1, and found that iMessages being sent from my MacBook Air were no longer being sent from my phone number. Instead, they were coming from my iCloud email address.

I found the fix for this issue tonight. I had to re-associate my phone number with my Apple ID, following the steps given here (Apple Support > Link your iPhone number and Apple ID to use iMessage and FaceTime).

My phone number is once again showing up in iMessages and FaceTime on OS X.