“Hey Siri, give us a hint.”


“Hey Siri, give us a hint.” So Apple has decided to tease us all again with a hint about the announcements to come on September 9 at 10 a.m. PDT.

Apple Event Sept 9th 2015

Speculation, as always, has been rife about exactly what is to come. Most commentators agree that it will be a new iPhone though no-one can agree if it’s effectively an iPhone 7 or an iPhone 6s. However, the reference to Siri may mean that Siri is going to get an update (none to soon either for some of us). Microsoft’s Cortana is impressive and Apple needs to pull something special out of the bag if it’s to regain its crown.

Other mooted announcements will an option to have the new iPhone in Rose Gold, along with Force Touch, brought over from the new MacBook. There are rumours too of an improved camera. Another expected announcement is an update to the Apple TV, which is also in need of an update. However, no-one really expects an actual Apple Television. Finally, the next big thing that is a possibility is an iPad Pro, with a larger screen, somewhere around 12″.

However, we don’t have long to wait and I for one will be watching the Keynote live.

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Update on iPhone 6 Plus


Well, I was really enjoying my supersized iPhone 6 Plus, that is until the screen started playing up! The bottom third of the screen developed a fault and started displaying a striped pattern (similar to a barcode on acid!) that made if difficult to see the icons etc below. Straight away I was onto EE (whom I bought the handset from). After some discussion it was decided that as it was still under warranty and because Apple provide such good customer service (in my experience that is true), I range them. After going through some hoops (backing up, resetting the phone etc) they agreed to replace it and in a few days I had my shiny new replacement. A few days later UPS picked up the broken one.

So, now I am once again enjoying my iPhone 6 Plus. Lessons to be learned – make sure you regularly backup your phone (if its an iPhone then this easily done via iTunes).

iPhone 6 Plus User Review

iPhones

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.

iLove – my love affair with the iPhone 4S!


Apple's new iPhone 4S

Since I got my iPhone 4S it has been never far from my side. My previous phone, a Nokia C3, was ok as a phone but it was hopeless for social media. Facebook and Twitter either took forever to load or refused to load at all. On the iPhone 4S both Facebook and Twitter, the default apps work beautifully and its been a dream to use them on a regular basis. They both look beautiful too, whereas on my Nokia the interfaces where clunky and awful looking. To be honest, I abandoned the default apps on my Nokia and downloaded another free app that provided not just Twitter and Facebook but several other useful apps. This worked most of the time but was still clunky looking compared to the iPhone.

Its not just Twitter and Facebook that I find myself using daily (sometimes several times a day due to having notifications switched on). I also use the camera (using several different camera apps apart from the default one). My favourite app is Camera+, which has some awesome features.

Camera+ app

I especially love the Stabiliser feature that makes for great shots in terms of being sharp and in focus. I have yet to explore the Burst Mode and the Photo Flashlight option which uses your  iPhone 4 LED flash as a continuous fill light to improve photo quality, especially for portrait and macro shots.

The images produced using the app look gorgeous and I am very impressed by what is a low-cost app (currently available for just $0.99/£0.69).

Other features that enhance the functionality include Scene Modes, Cropping and Borders.

There are lots of Photography apps available for the iPhone and I currently have a total of  21 photo/image editing apps on my iPhone. Those of note which I have managed to dabble with include WoW Camera, Color Effects and BeFunky.

Since getting my iPhone 4S I have stopped using my FujiFilm 602z (bridge camera) for taking photographs. in fact  i have passed it onto my son! The images produced using the iPhone 4S are every bit as good (if not better), at least for everyday usage.

For comparison, the FujiFilm 602z produces images with a resolution of 2832 x 2128, with a file size of @ 18.1MB (TIFF). The iPhone 4S produces images with a resolution of 3264 x 2448 and a file size of around 3MB (JPEG).

As for video, the quality of the video on the iPhone 4S is superb and is 1080p HD, with 30 fps and stabilisation. This is so much better than what my old FujiFilm 602z can manage: 640 x 480 at 30 fps.

So, in summary, my love affair with my new iPhone 4S is in full flow and I am still learning about it and how to get the most out of it. As well as the photo/image apps and social apps (Twitter/Facebook) I am only just getting to grips with the Sat Nav, Radio and Video apps. I will post about some of these other apps in future.

iPhone 4S – personal review


I have just acquired my very first iPhone and yes, its an iPhone 4S! I managed to upgrade my handset for £168 and my monthly contract, but pay less per month than I was previously. I guess being a loyal customer does have its rewards eventually.

I have been playing around with various apps and the camera too. At the weekend we visited Dunwich, on the Suffolk coast, where we used to holiday every year when the children were very young. It was a very blustery day with bright sunshine so not ideal conditions it would seem for shooting a video or two and taking lots of photos. despite this I managed to end up with some great shots. The in-built stabilisation definitely does work.

Fishing boat, Dunwich beach, Suffolk.

In this image you can see that the default settings have produced a well-balanced shot with good exposure and sharpness; this despite me having to lean against another boat to steady myself as I was being really buffeted by the strong winds.

In the video above there is a lot of wind noise, not surprisingly but considering once again I was being buffeted by the strong winds, the video is a good first effort and I am really impressed with the quality.

So, overall my first impressions are that the iPhone 4S is a very capable device for taking photographs and video. I won’t be buying a compact camera any time soon, that’s for sure!

iPhone 4S announcement a mixed bag

Apple's new iPhone 4S

Apple's new iPhone 4S So finally we can lay to rest all those myriad of rumours about the new iPhone. The new iPhone 4S was for some a huge disappointment and when you compare it against the Samsung Galaxy SII, even more so for some. Indeed, the whole event was something of a disappointment and the markets reacted with drops in Apple’s share price.

However, we shouldn’t be too ungrateful, as we have a new model with enhanced specification and some interesting features, in particular the new Siri voice control, something that could revolutionise the way we use our iPhones.

In addition we have a better camera and not forgetting, the much faster dual-core processor.

Today’s the day!


Image representing Tim Cook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Today is the day that most, if not all, of Apple fans have been waiting for. What will it bring and what impact will announcements have on the mobile industry? One certainty today is that everyone’s eyes will be on Tim Cook, as he takes centre stage in place of Steve Jobs. It seems somewhat weird to be thinking of an event like this not being led centre-stage by Steve Jobs. As Apple’s new CEO, the role now falls to Tim Cook to amaze the audience and wow us with the new iPhone and its features. Is he up to the job (no pun intended there)? Well, its safe to say that if Steve didn’t think he was then he wouldn’t be doing it.

We often focus on the performance of executives like Steve Jobs and Tim Cook in terms of their stage performance, delivering new product to the public but in fact what has made Apple so successful has been Steve Jobs performance behind the scenes, in making Apple successful at not just design but marketing, logistics and economies of scale. What’s important for Tim Cook and ultimately Apple is not so much what happens today on stage but what has been happening in the months leading up to today’s event and what will happen in the months to come. Apple has made mistakes in the past in meeting demand for its products and what it needs to do in the run-up to the all-important Christmas season is to make sure that it gets iPhones into the hands of eager consumers.

It would be good too to avoid any repeat of the so-called ‘Antennagate‘ issue over the iPhone’s poor reception when held in a certain way, the so-called ‘grip of death’. If the new iPhone(s) perform well and Apple can ship sufficient quantities then however well (or not) Tim Cook does on stage won’t matter so much. Apple will continue to buck the market and continue to dominate the mobile device market. Yes, we will miss Steve (and no, I don’t expect hm to appear in person on stage) but Apple has out-grown personalities (well, the personality of one man) and we are all grateful to him for him rescuing our beloved Apple.

Whatever we know at the end of today in terms of how many iPhones there are to be, what their specifications are and what we will have to pay to get our hands on one, one thing is sure, there is a new kid in town and he is his own man.