Upgrading My Truck for CarPlay 

Last year, I bought a slightly-used Toyota Tacoma, fulfilling my destiny as a pickup owner in the southern United States. I instantly fell in love with it, but the Toyota-installed radio was garbage, so I started thinking about changing it out with something that would give me CarPlay.

My Tacoma is a 2015, so replacing the head unit wasn’t too bad. On most newer cars, the radio is so integrated into the dash and other controls, it’s just about impossible to swap it out. It, did, however, require quite a bit of wiring on my part:

If you feel dizzy looking at all of those wires, doing this yourself may not be for you, which I totally understand. This wasn’t my first rodeo.

Thanks to Crutchfield’s super helpful website, I knew everything I had ordered would be good to go. A lot of those wires go to the speakers, but there’s plenty of other stuff going on, too. The Tacoma’s backup camera shows on the display when I put the truck in reverse, the important steering wheel controls continue to work. I also wired in a microphone, placing at the top of the A-pillar near the top of the windshield. Thankfully, I was able to re-purpose the USB port already placed in the dashboard.

The head unit I ended up with is the Sony XAV-AX100, which has since been replaced with a newer model, as I did this install a year ago. I went with the Sony for its understated looks and its physical volume button, something many modern head units lack.

It’s been a year since I installed the Sony in my truck, and I’ve been really happy with it. CarPlay is great, especially after its iOS 13 update. Thanks to the microphone, my voice is clear and loud for both Siri and phone calls, and having Apple Music, iMessage and Overcast just a few taps away is a lot safer than reaching for my iPhone.

Connected #265: What Are You, a Dictionary? »

This week, on a very special episode of Connected:

Apple has revealed its new emoji set, so it is time for Federico to guess their names as Stephen and Myke listen and keep score. After that, Myke shares his thoughts about his Galaxy Fold.

This has become my favorite annual tradition on the show.

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Naming the ‘iPhone SE 2’ 

Rumors of the new iPhone coming in the spring keep getting warmer, as pointed out by MacRumors:

Apple is planning on releasing an iPhone SE 2 in the first quarter of 2020 and starting at a $399 price point, according to the latest research report from reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo goes into more detail about the expected specs of the so called ” iPhone SE 2″ in the latest research note obtained by MacRumors.

Here are the rumored specs:

  • A13 CPU (same as iPhone 11)
  • 64GB and 128GB options
  • Space Gray, Silver and Red colors
  • No 3D Touch

All of this will be crammed into the iPhone 8’s chassis. Kuo refers to this iPhone as the “SE 2,”1 but I think it could have another name: the iPhone 9.

Two years ago, Apple jumped over the iPhone 9 name, releasing the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, and last year, the XR, XS and XS Max. This year, everything has gone to 11. The 9 moniker has yet to grace an iPhone.

I think the name will depend on how Apple positions this iPhone.

If it really is $399, it would be $50 less expensive than the iPhone 8, but if it comes with the A13, it doesn’t make any sense that it would be below the iPhone 8 in the lineup.

I think it is safe to assume that this iPhone will replace the current iPhone 8, while also being cheaper. Without the iPhone 8 in the way, Apple won’t be stuck with “8” as the brand ceiling, forced into the “SE 2” corner.

One could look at all of this and assume the name would be the iPhone 8S, but I think 9 is a better choice.

When compared to the iPhone 11 family and the now-middle-of-the-lineup XR, it will be clear that this phone is the entry-level model, complete with its Touch ID sensor and single rear camera.

Using iPhone 9 will make it seem newer than a phone with an 8 in the name, putting it a little closer to its larger, newer siblings in terms of branding. I think Apple is making this to satisfy a pretty large percentage of its user base who may still be holding onto the 6S or 7, so using a new number — and not just tacking an “S” to the end of an old one — will help entice them to upgrade.

iPhone 9 seems like a stronger name to me than SE 2 or 8S. Count me as a member of Team iPhone 9.

  1. To the angst of iPhone SE lovers everywhere, or at least those who write for 9to5Mac. 

MPU #505: Chris Bailey and the Noah’s Ark of Dongles »

This week on Mac Power Users:

Stephen and David are joined by Chris Bailey, an author and presenter with an undying love for TextEdit and getting focused work done with the Mac and iPad.

I joked about his love for TextEdit in the show, but his use of the built-in macOS app is really interesting.

My thanks to our sponsors:

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Liftoff #109: An SLS in the Garage »

This time on Liftoff:

NASA works to get its InSight lander digging again, while the SLS program moves forward with training using a replica core stage and some have suggested Planet 9 may not be a planet at all. Oh, and Elon Musk and Jim Bridenstine have been feisty on Twitter.

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Review: macOS Catalina Cuts Ties With the Past While Ushering in the Future 

It’s fall again, so it is time to consider yet another new version of macOS. This year, it is macOS Catalina, named for a small island off the coast of California.

Apple has pretty much dropped version numbers from its marketing materials, but Catalina is macOS version 10.15, the 16th major release since Mac OS X 10.0 Cheetah shipped way back in March 2001.

Like Mojave before it, Catalina support both Light and Dark Modes, but Apple has added an “Auto” appearance that changes the desktop wallpaper, mode and Night Shift white balance as the day progresses. There are actually eight variants of the default wallpaper, which you can see here.

To see a lot more of macOS Catalina, be sure to check out its page in my Aqua Screenshot Library. Over on Mac Power Users, David and I have published a bonus episode all about Catalina, so be sure to check that out, too.

Catalina is an important version of macOS, both in what it adds, but also in what it leaves behind.

Continue reading “Review: macOS Catalina Cuts Ties With the Past While Ushering in the Future”

Mac Power Users #503: Fax the Updates, with Dave Hamilton »

This week on Mac Power Users:

David and Stephen are joined by Dave Hamilton to talk about his work at The Mac Observer and BackBeat Media, his approach to podcasting, how covering Apple has changed over the years and some software tools every Mac user should know about.

I enjoyed this conversation with Dave quite a bit, and I think you will, too.

My thanks to our sponsors this time:

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