iPhone 6 Plus User Review


For a few years now I have been using the iPhone 4S as my smartphone. After my business contract with Orange came to an end I managed to negotiate a cut in my monthly bill by more than half for a better package. Instead of £35 pcm (plus VAT) I managed to get unlimited everything for just £15 pcm (plus VAT) for a 12 months contract. This was because I was keeping my old phone (2 years old by then) and had threatened to move networks for a better deal.

This was a pretty good deal but when the opportunity came round to switch I started looking around for a better deal. Truth is, I really wanted a new iPhone and the question was, ‘which one?’ Did I get an iPhone 5 or did I get the new iPhone 6, and if so, did I go for the Plus or not? Decisions, decisions, decisions! After checking all the various websites for the best deals around, inputting all the info into a spreadsheet (a must in my book) and checking was it better to buy the phone outright or get another deal where I paid something up front (but not the full price) but paid more per month. After several days of shopping around, talking to EE (Orange and T-Mobile are now part of EE – Everything Everywhere), I worked out I would be better off buying the phone outright and getting a 12 month SIM-only deal.

So, off I went to the Apple Store online and tried to order my new iPhone 6 Plus. However, there was a 3-4 weeks delay for delivery. I even rang them up and asked was that really the case but they assured me it was – no explanation given – so that was it. Do I order now and put up with the delay, or do I find somewhere to buy it in person. I decided to call into my local EE store and ask. Turns out I could get it that day (as long it was the 64GB Gold version) but it was £10 cheaper than on the Apple Store! However, I had to buy it with a SIM and £10 of credit! Even if I got a 12-month contract with unlimited texts and messages, along with 2GB Data (so-called double-data even) I still had to buy the other SIM with the £10 credit – crazy or what!

So, in the end I bought it with the 12-month SIM-only deal (and have kept the £10 SIM for an emergency) and walked out the same day with my shiny new iPhone 6 Plus. I still had to arrange to carry across my existing number (too much hassle to notify everyone of a different number), as well as order a nice protective case and screen protector (from ZAGG) – more of that in another post. However, I was happy and couldn’t wait to get home and set up my new brick of an iPhone.

How am I finding it? Well, its certainly big – very big! But, you know what, I like the fact that it is big. I am a middle aged bloke who has fat fingers (from playing guitar and arthritis!) and in comparison the iPhone 4S screen is tiny. This always gave me problems especially when trying to type notes on the darn thing. Now its so much easier with all the room on the larger screen – many fewer mishits it has to be said. Also, the new model is really light and I love the longer battery life – very noticeable in my personal experience. I also love the extra storage and I think, personally, the price is not too expensive considering I am getting 64GB compared to the 16GB of my old iPhone 4S, as well as a 4G capable smartphone

Well, in the couple of weeks or so I have had it I am very happy with my iPhone 6 Plus. It may be too big for most folk but I am not interested in my iPhone as a fashion accessory so size isn’t so much an issue as it might be for some folks.  In fact, I was thinking of getting an iPad Mini and an iPhone 5S but in the end I am happy with just the iPhone 6 Plus – I can do most things on it that I would have done on an iPad and this way I only carry around 1 device instead of 2.

I will post about my experience of using it long-term at a future date but I can’t honestly see me regretting my decision. Before then I will post about my experience of buying a case for the phone and a screen protector.


Kindle Fire owners not a happy bunch?

Kinde Fire deviceThe Kindle Fire was announced to a fanfare of publicity a little while ago so how is it selling? Well, estimates are that Amazon has sold something like 3.9 million this quarter, so not too badly. However, reports are coming out that all is not well with the tablet device. Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports for Fortune that the device has received low ratings from many owners on Amazon’s site.

Checking for myself I can report that it has an average rating of 4 stars so that’s good, isn’t it? Well, he reports that there are a lot of 1 start ratings (513 our of  when I checked). In addition there are a lot of  2 star ratings (330) and 3 star ratings (455). He makes the point that Amazon (unlike Apple) doesn’t report actual sales to investors, so its difficult to know exactly how many it has sold. As mentioned above, estimates of around 3.9 million have been made, against 18.6 million iPads in the same period. The key number is how many are returned by unhappy purchasers. Truth is only Amazon know and they aren’t saying, unsurprisingly. However, he estimates that around half a million of those 3.9 million will eventually be returned, on the basis of those 1 star ratings.

Cup of tea anyone? Would you like chips with that madam?

In case you think I have just lost my marbles and gone stark raving mad, let me explain. Back in the 1950’s there was a British catering company called J Lyons and Co, who not only ran a chain of tea shops, but sold biscuits and started a chain of fast food restaurants known as ‘Wimpeys’. Now, before you go away wondering what on earth I am going on about, let me tell you that this company kick-started the whole Business IT industry. That’s right, they were ahead of the rest of the world in creating a business computer that was the first one in the world. Called LEO, this computer was introduced to the world 60 years ago.

You can read all about this sadly neglected innovation on the Telegraph’s website. There is also a video below:

iPad may finally have a worthy rival?

Sony Tablets

Sony has announced its answer to the iPad with its S1 and S2 tablets. The designations are interim, no word yet as what names each model will actually have when it hits the stores.

The first thing one notices about them is that the two models are quite different. The S1 model is the most iPad-like in that it is a single screen with a black surround. The S2 model has two screens (hence ‘S2’ I suppose).

Sony says that the S1 model is “optimized for rich media entertainment”, whilst the S2 is “ideal for mobile communication and entertainment.” My first thought on this is that by having two separate devices Sony is already dividing its market. Apple has stuck with one basic device with just the memory and Wi-Fi/3G capability to distinguish the models from one another in the range. I can see this approach being a problem for Sony if it really does want to be No. 2 in the Tablet market.

Looking at the features of each device, we find that both models will be based upon Android 3.0, will come with WiFI and WAN (3G/4G) capability and  will be able to play PlayStation® titles.

As far as the differences between the devices go, obviously the screens are the main difference. The S1 has a 9.4-inch compared to the S2’s dual 5.5-inch screens. The S2 folds in the middle as it is hinged between the screens, in a clamshell design. It has been described as looking like a “squashed burrito” when closed! The S1 has a wedge-shaped design, which Sony claims makes it more comfortable to hold for extended periods.

More detailed specifications have yet to be confirmed. indeed, Sony says on its site (see image above) that the design is “subject to change”.

Whether we are truly looking at a worthy competitor to the iPad remains to be seen. Sony has certainly got a worthy track-record when it comes to designing cool looking laptops but it remains to be seen whether it can bring the same design capability to bear on the tablet market.

Enterprise adopting iPhones and iPads

Chart showing device activationsIt seems that enterprises are  adopting the iPhone and iPad in increasing numbers. What’s good news for Apple is that Android is comparatively nowhere. A report by Good Technology shows that the Motorola Droid lags far behind the iPad in terms of activations by Good Technology’s customers. The release of the Verzion iPhone has also significantly boosted the adoption of the iPhone too.

Their full report gives further details of the success of the iPhone and the iPad in the enterprise  market. It makes interesting reading and can only be seen as further good news for Apple in its battle against the Android platform.

Apple and Virgin to merge?

Sir Richard BransonSteve Jobs is famous for his ‘reality distortion field’ but it seems he is not alone in sometimes seeming as he is living in an alternative reality. Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin, is reported as saying that he greatly admires Steve Jobs and “Everything he does is real class. If he wanted to rename his company Virgin Apple, we sure would be happy to merge! A great brand, a great company,”

His comments come in a short interview on the T3 website. The likelihood of this ever happening is so remote that only in an alternative universe could it be even remotely possible. Not to say that Sir Richard is totally mad, just that his company is not in the same class as Apple, both in terms of size and profitability. Apple is currently trading at over $350 a share, Virgin Media Inc. at just over $27! Apple is worth around $324.28b, Virgin Media Inc. is worth just $8.75b. The two men are worth similar amounts, with Steve Jobs worth around £3.2b and Sir Richard about £3b.

Putting on our reality distortion field hat for a moment, is there any scenario in which the two companies would indeed merge? Well,  leaving aside the fact that it would like a whale swallowing a tadpole, there is little synergy between the two companies (we are talking here of Virgin media Inc., not Virgin Atlantic Airways or any of Sir Richard’s other ventures). Unless Apple were to buy Virgin media Inc. for its cable and media business in the UK in amove to branch out into distribution of TV programmes (perhaps replacing the Virgin set-top box with the Apple TV?) I can see no reason for the two companies to come together.

So, coming back down to earth, I think we have to just see this as a case of Sir Richard just engaging in  some light-hearted banter and expressing his admiration for a fellow entrepreneur.

Apple share price looks to rise well above $400

Apple share prceApple’s share price is predicted to rise beyond the $400 level on the back of the success of the iPad, buoyant sales of the Mac and the continued popularity of the iPhone.

UBS Securities’ Maynard Um became the latest analyst to up Apple’s target share price ahead of next week’s report for the first quarter of fiscal year 2011.

Seems like Apple can’t do much wrong as far as the financial analysts are concerned. However, the big question long-term remains what will happen if Steve Jobs retires? His health has been a concern ever since his enforced sabbatical following his liver transplant a while back. How would his departure affect the company and who would become the driving force behind it’s creative output? For the time being though, it looks like he is going to be around for a while yet and so it’s almost certain that’s it’s share price will continue to rise. Shame I can’t afford to buy any!

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