New versions of Android and iOS have arrived—so have the ann


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Ars Orbital HQ
A stack of programming books

Here's a brief list of works that don't quite hit 10,000 words:

Yet just this week, Ars has published two 10,000+ word tech novellas for your consideration (and another is *hint hint* coming soon).

While we don't necessarily release 'em as standalone eBooks these days, our signature operating system reviews have eschewed general media trends like shorter online stories or multimedia-forward pieces. These remain almost user-manual-like in their utility and detail, yet observant and informed in outlining the big picture behind whatever changes Apple and Google roll out annually. 

Quite simply, you won't find anything else like this on the Internet. So sit back, grab your favorite mug of coffee, and prepare to know more than anyone you know (except perhaps this year's authors, Ron Amadeo and Samuel Axon) about what's coming to a majority of smartphones around us soon. 

Orbital Transmission 09.18.2018
iOS 12 on an iPhone

With iOS 12—start an update, get a faster iPhone

Can you really TL;DR a 10,000-word review? We'll try: iOS 12 won't drastically change most people's iPhone experience—same homescreen, same basic Siri, etc. But Apple's latest update makes subtle tweaks to both improve the present (hellloooo faster OS both for new and old devices) and lays the groundwork for future iPhones (that may or may not further embrace AR or improve the use of machine-learning).

Old iDevices running iOS 12

Srsly, even older iPhones will want to install iOS 12

"I’ve been testing iOS on old devices for six years, and I’ve never seen a release that has actually improved performance on old devices," says Ars Reviewer Emeritus Andrew Cunningham, introducing his latest round of performance testing a new iOS version on old gear. "[But] anyone using an older device can safely upgrade to iOS 12 without worrying about speed, and that’s a big deal. You’ll notice an improvement most of the time, even on newer devices (my iPad Air 2, which had started to feel its age running iOS 11, feels great with iOS 12)." 

The Android eating pie

Sorry, no Windows Phone review this year—but do you like Android?

If 10,000 words about iOS isn't your thing, chances are 19,000 words on Android may be. While the latest Apple mobile software update features subtle changes, Android 9 (aka Android Pie) has an entirely new design scheme spreading out among its core apps. Battery life is the big user-facing improvement (thanks, AI) and Google's quest to improve the scattered nature of third-party update support continues with further changes to app distribution and new Play Store requirements. Whenever you can get it, this looks like the most comprehensive version of Android yet.

Linus Torvalds flips of Nvidia.

#NotTheOnion: Linux's Linus Torvalds feels bad about bad behavior

OK, OK, the whole Linux phone thing has never quite worked out, but this news is shocking enough to break into this week's mobile-mania. Linux creator Linus Torvalds has apologized for years of rants, swearing, and general hostility directed at other Linux developers, saying he's going to take a temporary break from his role as maintainer of the open source kernel to learn how to behave better. Linux even flipped its infamous "code of conflict" into a true code of conduct accordingly. It's not clear what sparked the change of heart, but if one of tech's most famous curmudgeons can get a bit nicer, perhaps we all can.

If 10,000+ word technical reviews of software is your idea of tech journalism...

We know of a site you may want to subscribe to. We'll even throw in a YubiKey. Or, how about the option to read the Web like it's 1998 all over again?

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