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.

OS X Mavericks behaving badly (like a maverick!)


OS X Mavericks is a Stupid Name

OS X Mavericks is a Stupid Name (Photo credit: swanksalot)

Since I bought my new Mac Pro (old version – 2009 4.1) I have had a mixed experience. Soon after its arrival I upgraded to Os X Mavericks and right away started having various problems, mainly with iWork apps not starting up, or at least taking 3 or more minutes to start up. Very frustrating. After a support call to Apple, and after deleting start-up apps things improved a little. An update to Mavericks via Software Update also seemed to help. However, I had other issues with misbehaving my Magic Mouse and frequent Finder crashes. Although things have improved further after an upgrade to a brand-new SSD things aren’t entirely going smoothly as I would like.

Ironically, I have Parallels installed and am running the latest evaluation version of Windows 8.1 (the free version – at least for 30 days). I have to say that although the interface leaves me stone cold unimpressed, I am running WoT very effectively with no issues to speak of. Shame that my Mac apps don’t run as smoothly at times!

So, for now I am somewhat dissatisfied with Mavericks and hope Apple get on top of the issues. I am not alone in having problems and the issue over Google Drive is another example of how things can go so easily wrong with an update to the OS. Maybe next time I will a little bit longer before diving in and updating to the latest version.

CES 2013 – the implications for Apple


Samsung Introduces World’s First Curved OLED T...

Samsung Introduces World’s First Curved OLED TV at CES 2013 (Photo credit: samsungtomorrow)

 

CES 2013 has generated a lot of press, as always and as usual Apple has not been there, at least officially. However, there have been rumours that Apple has its spies at the giant technology show and if they didn’t, quite frankly they’d be incompetent!

 

My bet is that there are several things that caught the eyes of their spies and here are my top three:

 

1. Curved TV  – both Samsung and LG showed off what each of them claimed was a world’s first, a TV with a curved screen. However, there was  mixed reception of this idea as, if you think about it for a moment, there is only one sweet spot to be sitting when you are watching anything on a curved screen. Everyone else will have a less than ideal viewpoint. So, why will Apple be interested in this development, you might well ask? Well, it’s a perfect example of what to avoid, namely trying to be too clever by half. Someone (well an awful lot of folk really) must have thought it was worth investing an awful lot of money in research and development to get these prototypes to CES. Trouble is a bit of basic science would have shown that it was a bad idea. So Apple needs to remember that when they get around to (if ever) releasing their own Smart TV, they are better off sticking to what they know best (great design, solid build and fantastic GUI) rather than come up with something that is so far out there that its just a bad idea and will never catch on.

 

2. Panasonic 56” OLED TVnow here is a TV that has a future! Panasonic make great TVs and their OLED TV is a real beauty by all accounts (sadly I can’t afford to actually go to Las Vegas for a holiday even, never mind a jolly to CES). If Apple do indeed intend on releasing a Smart TV then my money is on it being an OLED version and maybe, just maybe, they will get Panasonic to build the screens for them. Certainly, if they want my advice they will avoid altogether LG’s and Samsung’s crazy curved screen idea and go with Panansonic on this one.

 

3. Sony Xperia Z – Now Apple make great smartphones and I am sure the next iteration (iPhone 5S or iPhone 6) will be an object of desire and full of great features and of fantastic build quality. However, they need to be constantly looking over their shoulders at the opposition and rather than Samsung, my advice is keep a close eye on Sony. The Xperia Z is a great-looking smartphone and by all accounts it  has a great chance of helping Sony to compete with Samsung and therefore with Apple. It is water resistant and can survive submerged for up to half an hour. Its also dustproof and also has a screen that’s beautiful and a 13 megapixel fast-capture camera.

 

You may be wondering why I didn’t highlight 4K TVs – well I believe that as there doesn’t exist the programming yet to provide material to watch on these gorgeous screens that it will be another 2 or 3 years before these become mainstream. Think of 3D and how that has basically flopped and you will begin to see that it takes more than great technology to make a success of this sort of stuff.

 

So, event though Apple didn’t exhibit I am guessing that some of the stuff that was revealed at CES 2013 will inform what we see coming from Apple in the next 12 – 18 months.

 

 

Mountain Lion Roars!


Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8)

Apple has announced details of Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8), with Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing saying that “The Mac is on a roll, growing faster than the PC for 23 straight quarters, and with Mountain Lion things get even better.”

The developer preview of Mountain Lion has just been released to developers and has over 100 new features, including many brought from the iPad and iOS mobile operating system, according to Apple.

These features include:

  1. iCloud – In OS X Mountain Lion, sign in once with your Apple ID and iCloud is automatically set up across your Mac.
  2. Messages – Messages does everything iChat does, and so much more. For starters, it comes with iMessage. And just like iMessage in iOS, it lets you send unlimited messages to anyone on a Mac or an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 5.
  3. Reminders – Make as many lists as you need and easily add to them. Set due dates and you’ll get alerts as deadlines approach. Check items off your lists as you go and keep track of what you’ve completed. And to be sure you don’t forget anything, iCloud keeps your reminders up to date on your Mac, iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.
  4. Notes – Notes in OS X Mountain Lion is designed for whatever’s on your mind. Think it up. Jot it down. Make it even more noteworthy with photos, images, and attachments. You can add, delete, and flip through your notes or do a quick search. Use the Share button to send your notes to friends or colleagues with Mail or Messages. Pin important notes to your desktop so they’re easy to get to. And take them with you everywhere. Notes works with iCloud, so when you create or edit a note on your Mac, it automatically updates on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
  5. Notification Center  – Notification banners appear on your desktop and disappear quickly so they don’t interrupt what you’re doing. Swipe to the left, and you’ll see all your notifications in a simple, ordered list. So you’ll always know what’s up as soon as it comes up.
  6. Share Sheets – You’ll find the Share button in many OS X Mountain Lion apps. It’s the new, easy way to spread the word — links, photos, and videos, too. Send links from Safari. Send your notes via Mail and Messages. Post photos to Flickr. Send videos to Vimeo. And tweet just about anything.
  7. Twitter – Tweet links and photos directly from Safari, iPhoto, or Photo Booth with the new Tweet Sheet. Tweet comments and add locations. And when someone mentions you in a tweet or sends you a direct message, you’ll get a Twitter notification right then and there.
  8. Game Center – Friends will find you fast, and you’ll track them down easily. Get a multiplayer game started or go up against people you don’t know. Check out leader-boards and see how your high score ranks against opponents’ scores around the world. And discover new games based on the ones you and your friends already play.
  9. AirPlay Mirroring – With AirPlay Mirroring, you can stream what’s on your Mac to your HDTV via Apple TV. Show web pages and videos to friends on the couch. Share lessons with a classroom. Present to a conference room. It’s a big deal for your Mac. And for everyone around it.
  10. Gatekeeper – Gatekeeper in OS X Mountain Lion makes the Mac safer than ever. It helps prevent you from unknowingly downloading and installing malicious software. And it gives you control over which applications to download and run on your Mac.

There is a Beta of Messages available for download from the Apple site but when I tried there was a message stating that due to some issues with the application that downloads were suspended for the time being. No information was given as to the actual problem so I guess we will have to wait and see what happens.

As to when we can expect to get our hands on Mountain Lion, we are looking at late summer this year. Price TBC.

Apple looking at fuel cells for future devices


Fuel CellsApple has registered patents that indicate it is looking at powering future devices by fuel cells. Fuel cells are devices which convert chemical energy from a fuel into electricity through a chemical reaction with oxygen or another oxidising agent. They offer the potential of longer battery life, greener energy and less weight. It was the Welsh Physicist William Grove who first developed the earliest and somewhat crude  fuel cells in 1839. However, it took until the days of the US Space Programme for them to become a practical reality when NASA used them to generate power for it’s space probes, satellites and capsules.

Although they offer great potential for the future, currently the technology is still at an early stage. Although its approaching a billion dollar industry, as yet, no company has made a profit from the manufacture and sale of them. Most analysts accept that it will be another 3 – 5 years before they become commercially viable and economic for end-users, such as Apple, so don’t be expecting your iPad to be powered by them anytime soon.

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Steve Jobs Day in California

Steve Jobs

Image representing Steve Jobs as depicted in C...

Image via CrunchBase

Today is “Steve Jobs Day” in the State of California, USA. It is also the day that Apple is holding a private memorial service for its co-fonder, who sadly died of complications after years of battling pancreatic cancer.

Apparently, California Governor Jerry Brown tweeted Friday night that this would happen.There have been numerous calls for an official “Steve Jobs Day” to be instituted across the USA, so whether this move by California will make that more likely is anyone’s guess. It would be unusual though for someone is known more for his business achievements to be honoured in this way. After all, everything Steve Jobs did cannot measure up to the likes of Martin Luther King for example. That’s not to say that Steve didn’t have a huge impact on the lives of many people, not just Americans but also around the world. He did, but in a different sort of way. He made our lives better in terms of technology and how we use it but he didn’t improve human rights directly or discover a cure for cancer.

As much as I appreciate Steve and all he achieved, I personally don’t think that a national day of celebration is what he deserves, nor, to his credit, do I think Steve would want there to be one.

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.