back to article Something useful from Cupertino?! Apple sees the light – finally

It may be true that Apple has moved from a genuinely innovative company to one that iterates its bestsellers, but one of those updates will leave many people happy. Speaking at the iPhone SE launch on Monday, two Apple executives outlined two different ways that the company has started to consider light in its products. The …

  1. Dr Potatohead

    Night shift not available for iPhones that are not 64 bit so no dice on my 5 or the other half's 5C. Why would you need a 64 bit processor to change the screen colour? (thats rhetorical btw)

    Pisstakers

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Aaaaaand here we go again.

      Night shift not available for iPhones that are not 64 bit so no dice on my 5 or the other half's 5C. Why would you need a 64 bit processor to change the screen colour? (thats rhetorical btw)

      Here is a handy form for you to save time. Multiple selections may apply.

      I am

      [ ] annoyed

      [ ] upset

      [ ] pissed off

      because this

      [ ] upgrade

      [ ] (new) feature

      [ ] security patch

      is not

      [ ] installing

      [ ] available

      on my

      [ ] ancient hardware

      [ ] current device

      [ ] new shiny

      [ ] competitor's device

      and I will thus

      [ ] sulk

      [ ] post messages (QED)

      [ ] vow to never buy from them again

      [ ] declare them spawn of Satan

      [ ] call the users who don't have this problem/issue losers

      [ ] all of the above.

      Please add "TEMPLATE" to the subject line as you post this so we can avoid reading it.

      Thank you.

      1. Dr Potatohead

        Re: Aaaaaand here we go again.

        Far from 'here we go again' with a redundant diatribe, there is no technological reason this headline feature was omitted from the A6-containing hardware (that I know of), but thanks for just assuming I was ranting rather than actually understanding the post.

        Now off you trot to scour the web for another forum you can hilariously paste that same joke in an attempt to stir the pot... Unless you forgot the password protecting the locked note that contains such priceless humour.

        EDIT thanks @DougS for potentially providing reasons for why not

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Because an arbitrary line between function and performance has to be drawn somewhere, and they arbitrarily drew it there?

      It's a new (free) feature - they're not obliged to give it to you.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Maybe the backlight isn't able to change color temperature on the older phones?

  2. Gio Ciampa

    Obviously a definition of "new" that I was previously unaware of

    "Night Shift" and "True Tone" - aka "Adaptive Brightness" and "LiveDisplay"

    They've been on certain other OSs for a year or so already...

    (Apologies, as always, to Douglas Adams)

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Obviously a definition of "new" that I was previously unaware of

      Or on some systems since 1990s! (laptops, desktops etc).

      Actually in 1982 I was selling nice Amber mono CRT monitors (some used on Apple II !)

    2. Malcolm 1

      Re: Obviously a definition of "new" that I was previously unaware of

      Except Adaptive Brightness != Night Shift. If you'd said f.lux or Twilight you'd have been a bit nearer to the mark.

      1. TechBearMike

        Re: Obviously a definition of "new" that I was previously unaware of

        When I first saw the Night Shift feature in the iOS Public Beta, I figured there was much moaning, gnashing of teeth and rending of garments at f.lux. Their idea is appropriated by Apple and it's doubtless going to be incorporated into OS X as well. Another small developer gets steamrolled by Apple. Is this type of thing patentable and who had the patent, anyway?

        1. VinceH
          Coffee/keyboard

          Re: Obviously a definition of "new" that I was previously unaware of

          "Another small developer gets steamrolled by Apple."

          Or, as Kieren put it:

          "and it's just going to show how wonderful Apple's App Store is at providing free research and market development for Cupertino."

          I was very close to spraying coffee over my keyboard when I read that sentence.

        2. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

          Re: Obviously a definition of "new" that I was previously unaware of

          Is this type of thing patentable and who had the patent, anyway?

          Probably the researchers who discovered the effect light has on us. f.lux and the rest were just ahead of the curve, but the original concept belongs with the researchers. However, there is no OSX implementation yet so I'll keep f.lux nicely where it is..

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. graeme leggett

    will anyone notice?

    After all average person probably doesn't find the clever bits of their phone.

    Case in point, I was looking on my phone settings to see if it could change lock screen to red at night.

    Didn't find it ( I think it must have been on previous phone) Did find how to change colour balance of display and a multitude of quiet hours settings.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: will anyone notice?

      If it's on by default you don't need to notice.

    2. cambsukguy

      Re: will anyone notice?

      If it the OS I use, it is under the glance settings.

  4. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Can it be turned off?

    I'm thinking for those on the night shift. Wouldn't want them getting all mellowed out and groggy because of their phone now would we?

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Can it be turned off?

      Sorry, must have dozed off there for a minute just now... You were saying?

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Can it be turned off?

        Your phone won't send you to sleep. It just won't stop you going to sleep any more. Like a book.

  5. Michael B.

    f.lux on PCs does the same

    I've been happily using f.lux for a few years now. The transition from day to night modes is so subtle that you only realise that it's occurred when you disable it and your retinas are suddenly burnt out. I really don't know how I managed before with it.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: f.lux on PCs does the same

      Likewise. It's possibly the one app I've spread the word about in real life.

      It's good that it's been baked into an OS. f.Lux have never charged for their software, and doesn't carry advertisments. I did notice this on their website, though:

      f.lux is patent pending. Do you make a cell phone, display, lighting system, or other cool sleep tech, and want to talk about collaboration? Email us:

      Reading behind the lines, it's as if they've always wanted Apple to make them a deal. I don't know that has happened. Of course granted patents only cover the 'how', not the 'what', and Apple could likely have found their way around any fLux patent.

  6. Mage Silver badge

    Meh

    Sigh

    I hope they don't think they can patent or copyright this?

    It MAY work for OLED screens, but LED lit LCD are violet/blue LEDs with yellow phosphor to provide the "white" backlight and this idea is poor on them compared to colour CRT, decent OLED, or eInk illuminated with a filament operated bedside lamp.

    Ditch LED and CFL lamps in bedrooms and use long life filament (Halogen not so good) (less blue than high efficiency types)

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Meh

      >I hope they don't think they can patent or copyright this?

      No, many similar products already exist. f.Lux say their product is patent pending, but I've heard of no great spats between them and makers of similar software. Nor can it copyrighted, naturally.

      >It MAY work for OLED screens, but LED lit LCD are violet/blue LEDs with yellow phosphor to provide the "white" backlight and this idea is poor on them

      You''ve misunderstood LCD screens. The resulting white light is filtered through LCDs. Hence the name. And I can confirm that f.Lux works very very well on my LED-backlit LCD screen.

    2. Anomalous Croissant

      Re: Meh

      I'll keep my adjustable RGBW and CW/WW LED bulbs, thank you very much! It's so nice being able to change tint and colour to suit my mood. The only thing filament bulbs have got going for them is higher CRI, but I'm sure LEDs will catch up soon enough.

    3. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

      Re: Meh

      I don't know about iLandfill, but Chinese landfill phones have red LEDs for tuning white balance without losing dynamic range in the LCD panel. Oddly, the feature is usually hidden in US ROMs.

    4. Sporkinum

      Re: Meh

      I myself prefer the clean burn of a whale oil lamp for reading.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Meh

        I myself prefer the clean burn of a whale oil lamp for reading.

        Beeswax candles or darkness, 'round these parts.

        Where's jake? I'm guessing sunlight transmitted from other timezones using a cunning system of prisms and mirrors.

  7. Mark Wilson

    Already baked into my phone

    My Zenfone 2 already has this and I am sure it wasn't the first so yet again we see Apple copying Android and claiming it as an original idea.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Already baked into my phone

      Apple didn't copy 'Android'. Apple copied f.Lux because it is a good idea... and available on Windows, OSX, Linux and iOS, but not Android. So what? Further more, Apple bake it into a popular OS and bring it to people's attention.

      f.Lux is great, but useless to you if you've never heard of it.

      1. Alumoi

        Re: Already baked into my phone

        @Dave, sorry to disappoint you, but f.lux IS available for Android.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Already baked into my phone

          >@Dave, sorry to disappoint you, but f.lux IS available for Android.

          Ah, so it is. That's new. Last I went looking for it (I'm an Android user) it wasn't available. The retrieval date for the Wikipedia article suggests the same:

          The developer announced that an Android version is in development. [9] [ "F.A.Q.". f.lux. Retrieved January 15, 2016 ]

          My point stands that the Android was the last mainstream OS that f.Lux came to (after OSX, Linux, Windows and jailbroken iOS), though of course searching the Google Play Store for f.Lux has resulted in similar products for some time.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Already baked into my phone

        f.Lux is great, but useless to you if you've never heard of it.

        Why? People now HAVE heard of it, and it's still worth installing on OSX, Windows and Android.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Already baked into my phone

      so yet again we see Apple copying Android

      First of all, it would Apple copying Google, but I hope you're aware of the fact that there was really no *usable* smartphone market until Apple came up with the iPhone?

      I have been s smartphone user since the Nokia 9000, and the last one I had before the iPhone was a Sony Ericsson P1i, but the iPhone really was that much better. I am not sure Google would have even bothered with Android if Apple had not opened up that market first.

      Features go back and forth. Selectively disabling access to phone resources for reasons of security and privacy, for instance, has long been a mainstay of iOS. Android picked that up a lot later, probably because Google first had to work out if that didn't affect their ability to steal your data anyway...

  8. Argh

    Seem to recall that the night mode was in the Android Marshmallow beta (removed for release), and it's also in the current Android N beta.

    1. TheProf Silver badge

      LiveDisplay

      I think it's living inside my OnePlus One under the name LiveDisplay.

      I just know that the display looks warm during the night and cool during the day.

      (Android 5.1.1.Cyanogen 12.1.1)

    2. phuzz Silver badge
      Gimp

      It's definitely been part of cyanogenmod for a while now, but that's the fun of custom ROMs.

  9. JDX Gold badge

    For now, it will be the preserve of professionals with too much money.

    Or rather, professionals who are good at their jobs. Journalists would be excused for not knowing the difference ;)

  10. Jo_seph_B

    Yea all Apples idea

    Jeez. Just another thing Apple claim as their own, despite the fact it's been possible on jailbroken devices for years and generally used on PCs well before that. Oh and they blocked development from the app store so they could 'bake' it as their own.

    Gets on my tits.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Memory is hardly an issue. Just add an SSD card to increase storage. A solution that's been around for many years. Right?

    I wish I was right because I just bought my first apple product, an iPad pro 64Gb for my wife. Very expensive...and no useable slot. The iPad, I mean.

  12. cambsukguy

    Having an OS with a black background makes it less important

    The foreground is minimally invasive anyway.

    Just avoid the internet, still has a white background for some reason, mail too, for the actual messages.

    I set my ereader software to have a black background and subdued text anyway. The automatic brightness means I can read it in daylight anyway.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Having an OS with a black background makes it less important

      Yes, I've seen this feature in specific apps before (notably Google Books).

      No, it is not realistic to expect people not to use their phones to access the internet.

  13. DiViDeD Silver badge

    First World problems anyone?

    Wasn't sure whether to post, but I don't really see the point of this, unless it happens for all lighting, everywhere. LED house lights are bluer than the old filament jobbies (now no longer available in Australia because.. global warming or wotever, but available in trendy 'Edison bulbs', which apparently don't use extra power or kill the planet because trendy), most TVs have little or no adaptive output capabilities or are, like ours, switched off because the variation is too jarring.

    Unless most people spend hours every night in darkened rooms staring at their mobiles, I don't see one very small adaptive device overcoming the Blue Meanies of all the other light sources.

    Although I have to admit to never having had the problem. Since I was little, the act of lying in bed causes my body to say 'OK, sleepytime (although, with the awakening of interest is those of an opposite gender persuasion, it has been prepared to modify that to 'Oh all right then, but then straight to sleep, OK?'

    I've never been able to read or watch TV in bed, because the bod takes over every time and dispatches me to Nod.

    Reading the article, perhaps I should be grateful.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: First World problems anyone?

      What eases you (plural) into sleep is interesting.

      For me, it used to be watching Newsnight, but fortunately my TV had a countdown timer.

      Now I find podcasts do it. If go to bed but if I can't sleep I put a podcast on to take my mind off the insomnia. Some nights I don't think I get through the introduction before I'm out.

    2. JDX Gold badge

      Re: First World problems anyone?

      >>I don't really see the point of this, unless it happens for all lighting, everywhere

      >>Unless most people spend hours every night in darkened rooms staring at their mobiles

      Um, that's rather the point - lots and lots of people do spend their time playing on their phone or watching Netflix, or reading a book on their tablet, in bed with the lights off. Plus it's closer to your eyes. And I think even modern lighting is quite yellow unless you deliberately put bright white bulbs in your bedroom.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  14. Mattjimf

    Might want to have a look at the Kindle Fire OS 5 and blue shade, released in December.

  15. wolfetone

    Night Shift Left Me Cold

    I've had this on my phone for the last few weeks as I have the beta version. I also use redshift (open source version of f.lux) on my PC and laptop, so this isn't my first foray in to this whole shindig.

    Redshift/f.lux on the PC works. My eyes feel less strained, and I generally have a better sleep. Although if I'm working late at night I've noticed I'm more likely to nod off while using the computer with redshift/f.lux on than I do without.

    However, I've found night shift to be fairly useless on my phone. It turns on at more or less the right time but there is no gradual change from what I can see. Basically it's off or it's on. No in between (unlike Redshift/f.lux). Plus I think there's only a benefit from this is you stare at the screen for a prolonged period of time. If you're checking your phone or iPad while watching TV with energy saving bulbs it's not going to benefit you.

    Suppose it's a mileage may vary, but I think it's fairly useless for the iPhone/iPad.

  16. Rob Daglish

    It's not adaptive brightness...

    ...it's a change in the colour temperature (brightness makes no odds in this case), reducing the amount of blue light in the colours. I have a pair of glasses that do this all day, and a pair of Zeiss digital lenses for when I'm not at a computer, it's suprising what a difference it makes using them. But I have a proper optician...

  17. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Joke

    Blue affecting sleep?

    That must be why the sky is a deep blue at twilight and thereafter until the next dawn.

  18. Anonymous Blowhard

    "But this is, we believe, the first time it has been written into a product's main software"

    I'm sure this has been a feature of most dedicated sat-nav systems for some time; not necessarily for the same reason, but I'm sure that both Garmin and Tom Tom have changed screen colours to make the screen better for driving in the dark.

  19. Pseudonymous Diehard

    Wont someone

    Think of the Kryptonians?

    If they use this at night the increased red light might stop them being able to open pickle jars for their late night snacks.

    Luckily for Apple there probably arent enough Kryptonians to start a class action lawsuit.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rubbish

    It may be true that Apple has moved from a genuinely innovative company to one that iterates its bestsellers,

    Apple has *never* been genuinely innovative - they've always just improved on other people's products.

    And at some point they also started buying technologies (I'm talking to you, Siri).

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Rubbish

      In terms of design and UX they have been innovative. Taking some proof-of-concept R&D and turning it into a polished mass-market product which changes the world of IT IS innovation - it's just not R&D. Innovation and invention are quite different things.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Blue light

    For this to make a difference for me, I probably need to switch out the blue OLED panel nightlight in my bathroom :)

  22. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    If only there were some other way to avoid staring at a phone all night long...

    ... though, personally, I found just turning off the plasma globes and Jacob's Ladder in the bedroom helped tremendously. Also that machine that just goes "Ping!" every few minutes.

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