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iPhone 11 review: The best iPhone for most people Review

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A week after using the iPhone 11, I’ve concluded it is my ideal phone. It’s affordable in today’s market, where $1,000 phones reign supreme. It’s a perfect size. It’s fast. It has an ultra-wide-angle camera and another camera that can capture stunning photos at night. The iPhone 11 is, without a doubt, the best iPhone for most users. 

Now, before you head to the comments below, to remind me that I already described by dream phone, and the iPhone 11 isn’t it, I know. But various facets of what I laid out as my dream phone will never exist, and iPhone 11 is as close as we’re going to get to it right now. 

Arguably, the iPhone 11 isn’t the best iPhone that Apple makes. On paper, that title would have to go to the iPhone 11 Pro (read ZDNet’s review) or the iPhone 11 Pro Max. 

But the main pieces and parts that make up the iPhone 11 — Pro or not — are nearly identical. So much so that it feels as if buying the iPhone 11 is somehow pulling one over on Apple, or as if you’re cheating it out of a couple of hundred dollars of revenue. 

What is it about iPhone 11 that makes it so dreamy? Let’s take a look. 

It’s all about the camera

Looking at the iPhone 11 from the front, not a lot has changed compared to the iPhone XR. The notch is still there, centered on the 6.1-inch Liquid Retina LCD Display, with Apple’s TrueDepth camera system that enables Face ID to unlock the phone or complete Apple Pay purchases. 

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The TrueDepth camera on the front of the phone now features a wide-angle mode that’s triggered by rotating the phone sideways. Instead of a 70-degree field of view, as is the case when the phone is vertical, the FOV is increased to 85 degrees, making it easier to fit several people in your selfie without having to stretch your arm too far. Apple also improved the slow-motion capabilities of the front-facing camera and dubbed the end product “slofies.”

The side button, volume buttons, and mute switch are all in their normal spots. A headphone jack is still missing on the bottom, and Apple’s proprietary Lightning port didn’t get replaced with a USB-C port. Maybe next year. 

Apple says the glass used on the front and back of iPhone 11 is the toughest glass ever used in a phone, and that it should be able to withstand more of our accidental drops and overall abuse, and I’ll have to take its word for it. The iPhone 11 also has improved water resistance to 2m for up to 30 minutes. 

It’s not until you look at the back of iPhone 11 that you begin to see a difference. Specifically, the iPhone 11’s camera array is now square and features two lenses — instead of one like the iPhone XR had. 

Ultra-wide photo taken with iPhone 11. 


(Image: Jason Cipriani/ZDNet)

The second lens is an ultra-wide-angle camera with a 120-degree field of view. The added FOV means you can, essentially, zoom out on a subject, capturing more of the surroundings in the photo. This is a feature that many Android devices have added over the past few years, and it’s one of my favorite features of any camera. 

Another area that Apple caught up with camera features in competing against Android devices is with Night mode. Night mode is only possible with the wide camera on iPhone 11, so you shouldn’t take ultra-wide-angle shots at night with any phone expect the same results. But here’s how it works: You open the camera app, and it detects whether there’s enough light for a normal photo. If so, you tap the shutter button and take your picture. 

d38e274e-0ede-4e78-960d-e74050bf43d9.jpg

(Image: Jason Cipriani/ZDNet)

If your iPhone decides it needs more light, a small moon icon shows up with an amount of time. Sometimes it’s one second, nine seconds, or any number in between. When you see that is present, you press the shutter button and then hold still. How many ever seconds later, the iPhone 11 will capture a photo in a low-light environment, and more often than not, it looks as if it was well-lit room. 

Google’s Pixel phones were the first to have a similar feature, and in my test shots, the iPhone 11 has surpassed the Pixel 3 XL every single time. 

Performance

iphone-11-camera-bumps.jpg

iPhone 11 camera bump.


(Image: Jason Cipriani/ZDNet)

The iPhone 11 is powered by Apple’s A13 Bionic processor, has 4GB of memory (according to iFixit), and comes in configurations of 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB of storage. While 64GB is a decent amount of storage, it’s no longer enough. The starting point should be 128GB, if not 256GB, especially when you consider Apple’s latest services push with Apple Arcade and Apple TV Plus, both of which require storage space to play games or to view TV shows and movies offline. 

But I’ve yet to feel like the iPhone 11 is underpowered, or that it suffers from performance issues not due to buggy software. I’ve downloaded several Apple Arcade titles, some of which are basic, while others, like Oceanhorn 2, are full of complex graphics and quick movements, and the iPhone 11 stayed one step ahead of me at all times. 

Battery life on iPhone 11 has been superb. My days start around 6am, and I usually put my phone on the charger around 10pm. I’ve yet to see iPhone 11 have less than 34% charge left, and that’s after close to five hours of screen-on time. 

Software

The iPhone 11 runs iOS 13, which itself includes a ton of new features for the iOS platform as a whole. Apple Maps, Reminders, Mail, and Safari are just a few apps that have received significant upgrades with the update. 

In iOS 13.1, Apple also added a new feature called User Enrollment for BYOD scenarios. This allows the user to keep their Apple ID on the device, along with a corporate-managed Apple ID for things like configuring accounts, app-based VPN, passcode requirements, and remote wipe of corporate accounts and data. It’s a huge boost for BYOD users, right in time for an iPhone that’s priced under $700. 

Overall, iOS 13 (and its iOS 13.1 update) is promising, but it needs more refinement. I still have issues with the Mail app, and right now, I have three or four apps that keep removing and then reinstalling themselves from my Apple Watch, without any interaction on my part. 

We’ll surely continue to see frequent updates from Apple, ironing out the rest of the bugs and issues, as is often the case after a big update from the iPhone maker. 

To go Pro or not?

The differences between iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro are the display and a telephoto camera. The Pro line uses Apple’s Super Retina XDR OLED display. It’s a much brighter screen, capable of displaying more colors at a higher resolution. 

Comparing the two screens next to each other, the differences are fairly obvious. However, after using iPhone 11 for a week, I’ve fully adjusted to the screen and don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. I’d wager that most users would have the same experience. 

Then there’s the additional camera on the Pro. It’s a telephoto lens that boasts a 2x optical zoom. It’s another tool on your iPhone belt, so to speak, and for some, that’s an important factor. 

At the end of the day, most people don’t need the iPhone 11 Pro or even the iPhone Pro Max. The iPhone 11 is one of the best iPhones I’ve used, and it’s half the price of the iPhone 11 Pro Max that will arrive at my door via UPS any minute now.



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5 tips for brands that want to succeed in the new era of influencer marketing – TechCrunch

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If I told you a decade ago that a spin bike would be a social community, you’d have had a good laugh. But that’s precisely what Peloton is: A spin bike with a social community where the instructors are the influencers.

Peloton is just one example of how social is being integrated into every aspect of the customer experience in an increasingly digital world. Whether it’s considering a new restaurant to check out, a movie to see or a product to buy, most people look at reviews before making a final decision. They want social proof as an indicator of quality and relevance.

Influencers are a natural byproduct of this desire for social validation, and as social permeates the customer journey, creators have become an essential source of validation and trust.

Influencers are a natural byproduct of this desire for social validation, and as social permeates the customer journey, creators have become an essential source of validation and trust. Indeed, social validation is what social platforms are built on, so it’s a significant component of how we derive relevance online — and the deeper integration of social is changing the dynamic between brands and digital creators.

The shifting economy of creator monetization

Brand sponsorships are the holy grail for creators hoping to monetize their online influence. According to an eMarketer report, brand partnerships are still the No. 1 source of revenue for most digital creators.

However, digital creators have a lot more monetization options to choose from, thanks to Patreon, affiliate platforms, paid content platforms and platform revenue sharing, making it easier to earn a living without relying so heavily on brand sponsorships.


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As a result, creators are diversifying their revenue streams, which, for some creators, allows them to be more selective about the brands they work with. What’s more, creators aren’t reliant on just one channel or one form of revenue.

YouTube creators probably have the most diversified revenue, often combining brand sponsorships, subscription models, affiliate deals, tipping/donations, their line of branded products and revenue share. However, it’s important to note that not all monetization options apply to every creator. But with so many options to choose from, making a living as a digital creator is more accessible than ever.

Here are a few of the ways online creators can monetize their content:

Ad revenue sharing: Advertising is the most traditional form of revenue for online creators. With this model, ads are injected into and around the creator’s content, and they make a certain percentage of revenue based on impressions. However, the revenue split can vary based on the platform, and some platforms have a specific threshold creators must hit before they can participate in ad revenue sharing.

Affiliate marketing: Similar to advertising or a brand sponsorship, affiliate marketing is an agreement for a share of revenue based on products sold. This kind of arrangement generally works best when the creator has a blog, website or YouTube account. Affiliate links allow the influencer to proactively choose the products they want to talk about and earn from, rather than having to wait for a brand deal to come their way.

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Instagram’s TikTok rival, Reels, rolls out ads worldwide – TechCrunch

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Instagram Reels are getting ads. The company announced today it’s launching ads in its short-form video platform and TikTok rival, Reels, to businesses and advertisers worldwide. The ads will be up to 30 seconds in length, like Reels themselves, and vertical in format, similar to ads found in Instagram Stories. Also like Reels, the new ads will loop, and people will be able to like, comment, and save them, the same as other Reels videos.

The company had previously tested Reels ads in select markets earlier this year, including India, Brazil, Germany, and Australia, then expanded those tests to Canada, France, the U.K. and the U.S. more recently. Early adopters of the new format have included brands like BMW, Nestlé (Nespresso), Louis Vuitton, Netflix, Uber, and others.

Instagram tells us the ads will appear in most places users view Reels content, including on the Reels tab, Reels in Stories, Reels in Explore, and Reels in your Instagram Feed, and will appear in between individual Reels posted by users. However, in order to be served a Reels ad, the user first needs to be in the immersive, full-screen Reels viewer.

Image Credits: Instagram

The company couldn’t say how often a user might see a Reels ad, noting that the number of ads a viewer may encounter will vary based on how they use Instagram. But the company is monitoring user sentiment around ads themselves, and the overall commercially of Reels, it says.

Like Instagram’s other advertising products, Reels ads will launch with an auction-based model. But so far, Instagram is declining to share any sort of performance metrics around how those ads are doing, based on tests. Nor is it yet offering advertisers any creator tools or templates that could help them get started with Reels ads. Instead, Instagram likey assumes advertisers already have creative assets on hand or know how to make them, because of Reels ads’ similarities to other vertical video ads found elsewhere, including on Instagram’s competitors.

While vertical video has already shown the potential for driving consumers to e-commerce shopping sites, Instagram hasn’t yet taken advantage of Reels ads to drive users to its built-in Instagram Shops, though that seems like a natural next step as it attempts to tie the different parts of its app together.

But perhaps ahead of that step, Instagram needs to make Reels a more compelling destination — something other TikTok rivals, which now include both Snap and YouTube — have done by funding creator content directly. Instagram, meanwhile, had made offers to select TikTok stars directly.

The launch of Instagram Reels ads follows news of TikTok’s climbing ad prices. Bloomberg reported this month that TikTok is now asking for more than $1.4 million for a home page takeover ad in the U.S., as of the third quarter, which will jump to $1.8 million by Q4 and more than $2 million on a holiday. Though the company is still building its ads team and advertisers haven’t yet allocated large portions of their video budget to the app, that tends to follow user growth — and TikTok now has over 100 million monthly active users in the U.S.

Both apps, Instagram and TikTok, now have over a billion monthly active users on a global basis, though Reels is only a part of the larger Instagram platform. For comparison, Instagram Stories is used by some 500 million users, which demonstrates Instagram’s ability to drive traffic to different areas of its app. Instagram declined to share how many users Reels has as of today.

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Twine raises $3.3M to add networking features to virtual events – TechCrunch

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Twine, a video chat startup that launched amid the pandemic as a sort of “Zoom for meeting new people,” shifted its focus to online events and, as a result, has now closed on $3.3 million in seed funding. To date, twine’s events customers have included names like Microsoft, Amazon, Forrester, and others, and the service is on track to do $1 million in bookings in 2021, the company says.

The new round was led by Moment Ventures, and included participation from Coelius Capital, AltaIR Capital, Mentors Fund, Rosecliff Ventures, AltaClub, and Bloom Venture Partners. Clint Chao, founding Partner at Moment, will join twine’s board of directors with the round’s close.

The shift into the online events space makes sense, given twine’s co-founders —  Lawrence Coburn, Diana Rau, and Taylor McLoughlin — hail from DoubleDutch, the mobile events technology provider acquired by Cvent in 2019.

Coburn, previously CEO of DoubleDutch, had been under a non-compete with its acquirer until December 2020, which is one reason why he didn’t first attempt a return to the events space.

The team’s original idea was to help people who were missing out on social connections under Covid lockdowns find a way to meet others and chat online. This early version of twine saw some small amount of traction, as 10% of its users were even willing to pay. But many more were nervous about being connected to random online strangers, twine found.

So the company shifted its focus to the familiar events space, with a specific focus on online events which grew in popularity due to the pandemic. While setting up live streams, text chats and Q&A has been possible, what’s been missing from many online events was the casual and unexpected networking that used to happen in-person.

“The hardest thing to bring to virtual events was the networking and the serendipity — like the conversations that used to happen in an elevator, in the bar, the lobby — these kinds of things,” explains Coburn. “So we began testing a group space version of twine — bringing twine to existing communities as opposed to trying to build our own, new community. And that showed a lot more legs,” he says.

By January 2021, the new events-focused version of twine was up-and-running, offering a set of professional networking tools for event owners. Unlike one-to-many or few-to-many video broadcasts, twine connects a small number of people for more intimate conversations.

“We did a lot of research with our customers and users, and beyond five [people in a chat], it turns into a webinar,” notes Coburn, of the limitations on twine’s video chat. In twine, a small handful of people are dropped into a video chat experience– and now, they’re not random online strangers. They’re fellow event attendees. That generally keeps user behavior professional and the conversations productive.

Event owners can use the product for free on twine’s website for small events with up to 30 users, but to scale up any further requires a license. Twine charges on a per attendee basis, where customers buy packs of attendees on a software-as-a-service model.

The company’s customers can then embed twine directly in their own website or add a link that pops open the twine website in a separate browser tab.

Coburn says twine has found a sweet spot with big corporate event programs. The company has around 25 customers, but some of those have already used twine for 10 or 15 events after first testing out the product for something smaller.

“We’re working with five or six of the biggest companies in the world right now,” noted Coburn.

Image Credits: twine

Because the matches are digital, twine can offer other tools like digital “business card” exchanges and analytics and reports for the event hosts and attendees alike.

Despite the cautious return to normal in the U.S., which may see in-person events return in the year ahead, twine believes there’s still a future in online events. Due to the pandemic’s lasting impacts, organizations are likely to adopt a hybrid approach to their events going forward.

“I don’t think there’s ever been an industry that has gone through a 15 months like the events industry just went through,” Coburn says. “These companies went to zero, their revenue went to zero and some of them were coming from hundreds of millions of dollars. So what happened was a digital transformation like the world has never seen,” he adds.

Now, there are tens of thousands of event planners who have gotten really good at tech and online events. And they saw the potential in online, which would sometimes deliver 4x or 5x the attendance of virtual, Coburn points out.

“This is why you see LinkedIn drop $50 million on Hopin,” he says, referring to the recent fundraise for the virtual conference technology business. (The deal was reportedly for less than $50 million). “This is why you see the rounds of funding that are going into Hoppin and Bizzabo and Hubilo and all the others. This is the taxi market, pre-Uber.”

Of course, virtual events may end up less concerned with social features when they can offer an in-person experience. And those who want to host online events may be looking for a broader solution than Zoom + twine, for example.

But twine has ideas about what it wants to do next, including asynchronous matchmaking, which could end up being more valuable as it could lead to better matches since it wouldn’t be limited to only who’s online now.

With the funding, twine is hiring in sales and customer success, working on accessibility improvements, and expanding its platform. To date, twine has raised $4.7 million.

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