Siri Accidentally Activates During White House Press Conference

This should make you think twice about enabling the Always On “Hey Siri” in the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus!  When I’m listening to Podcasts in the car and someone mentions Syria Siri wakes up half the time.  IOS9 has a training feature that will, hopefully, eliminate this.

6-hours With an iPhone 6…

…and so far I like it!

apple-iphone-6Quick review now & I’ll probably do a more in-depth one in a few weeks.

It’s larger than the 5s it’s replacing and about as big as I’m willing to go with a phone.  NO WAY was I going to even think about the 6 Plus.  The Apple leather case is a great addition that gives enough grip to keep me from dropping the phone every time I pick it up but not so much that you can’t easily slip it into your pocket.

119The release of iOS8 has caused just about every application I use to issue an update (or two) & that seems like all I’ve done is update apps this afternoon.   I still have a few that are crashing (like DropBox) & I’m hoping the next update will resolve that.

I’m fortunate that my employer pays for me to get the latest and greatest gadgets to help test before we deploy to 300+ engineers who have no patience for things that don’t work (the way they want them to).  If you have an iPhone 4/4s/5 it’s worth considering an upgrade.  If you’re already using a 5s you’re not going to see that much of a difference (yet).  I’m very excited to see how the mobile pay application works once it comes online in October.  And I’ll have to admit the watch look pretty damn interesting too.

First Impressions – iOS7

It’s been a few days since Apple released their latest mobile operating system and now that the dust has settled I thought I’d post some of my first impressions about iOS7.  This is not a complete review, of which you can find all over the web by better writers than myself, it’s just a summary of my initial thoughts after using it for a few days.

Dynamic-TypeiOS 7 was unveiled at last Septembers World Wide Developers Conference and has been eagerly anticipated ever since.  With this new OS Apple has introduced a new look and feel which gives new life to some of their older devices (iPhone 4 and above is supported).  Visually everything seems somewhat flat and less cartoonish.  The typography used throughout (mostly Helvetica Neue Ultra Light) is clean and easily legible, although I did need to bump up the font size a touch to help with my aging eyes.

We all have our likes/dislikes with various products.  I’m going to focus more on what I don’t like about iOS7 (it’s a pretty short list).

Dislikes:

  • Smaller folder screens
    • You can only have 9 icons on a screen vs 12 in iOS6 (but you CAN have more than one page!)
  • Takes up more storage
    • 3.1GB needed to upgrade and you only get 2.8GB back
  • Parallax Effect
    • Not very smooth on the iPhone 4S or iPad 4th Gen, I ended up turning it off
  • No AirDrop on pre iPhone 5 devices
    • I was really looking forward to this feature but DeskConnect provides an alternative
  • No weather app for iPad
    • Plenty of 3rd party options but it’s odd not to have it on the Notification Screen
  • Spotlight
    • Only searches local data, no more Web or Wikipedia searches

With the negatives out of the way there are PLENTY of things to like about iOS7.

Likes:ios-7

  • Fresh new look
  • Bug fixes
  • Control Center
  • iTunes Radio
  • Slide anywhere to unlock
  • Multi-page folders
  • Safari Improvements
  • Camera improvements
  • Photo Collections
  • App Switching
  • iMessage Timestamps
  • Siri Improvements

Overall iOS7 introduces a lot of new and updated features.  I’m not sure where Apple is going to go from here but I think we have a few years before we’re going to see anything truly unique and revolutionary.  I have an iPhone 5s on order & I’m looking forward to seeing how some of the restricted features work on it (AirDrop, new camera, etc.).  I’ll be sure to post an initial look at the 5s once I get it in my hands & have some time to put it through the paces.

Swipe to Over Sleep

20130108-220254.jpgAfter using the iPhone for a while I’ve become quite fond of it but with any device there tends to be a few quirks. Case in point; the iPhone alarm clock…

The Apple iOS starts just about all phone interactions with a swipe of the finger. That swipe becomes second nature to a lot of us because we’re unconsciously swiping to unlock our phones all day long.

iphone_alarm_settings_380px

So guess what happens when your alarm is going off at 6 am and you grab your phone to silence it (in my case hit snooze a few times)? That instinctive swipe motion turns the alarm OFF! You have to press a small red button titled “Snooze” to silence he phone for nine minutes. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve accidentally disabled my iPhone alarm in the morning. I think I’m finally getting the hang of it though…

Who came up with the nine minute snooze threshold anyway? Three of the four alarm clocks I’ve ever owned all had the nine minute snooze. The fourth one had a seven min snooze. I want a 10 minute snooze so I can easily calculate how many times I can hit it before I REALY need to get out of bed…

Keeping the Web in Your Pocket

As much as I read online you would think I’d already be using an online clipboard but the usefulness was lost on me until about three weeks ago.  Pocket (formerly Read-it-Later) is changing the way I collect and process online content.

Adding a simple bookmark to your browser allows you to take the article you’re reading on the screen and transform it into a very readable (i.e. NO ADS!) format you can take with you anywhere.  Just launch the app on your phone and once downloaded you can get access to the information without any kind of network connection.

Tired of reading on the small screen?  Visit the Pocket website and read on your computer.  Pocket is cross-platform and integrated into a lot of applications (like Twitter for iPhone) where it will grab a link and process it for later reading.  Finally you can email any link to add@getpocket.com and have it processed that way.

Definitely a great way to grab content for later consumption.  The only drawback I’ve found so far is I have a LOT more to read and it’s getting hard to keep caught up!

iPhone – Did I Make the Switch?

It’s been just shy of 3 weeks since I turned off the Blackberry and started testing the iPhone as a potential replacement.  In that time I’ve had the opportunity to install/uninstall software, test accessories, and perform an operating system update (all without issue or lost data).

Yesterday I wiped the Blackberry and turned it in (along with some ribbing from the guys at work).  I really didn’t think it would come to this but I’m going to admit it, I like the iPhone.

The iPhone is not perfect my any means (what piece of technology is?) but it’s preformed quite well during my testing phase.

While testing I made some mental notes along the way:

Pros:

  • Application Availability – If you can think of it there’s probably “an app for that”.
  • Build Quality – Solid with tight tolerances and attention to detail.
  • Screen Resolution – I can actually read PDF files now!
  • Overall Responsiveness – Very little delay between user input and system output.
  • Camera – Forget the Mega Pixel count, the optics are very impressive for a phone.
  • Audio Output – Loud and clear.
  • Messaging – iMessage, FaceTime & just about every Social App available.
  • Productivity – Full Exchange Compatibility (with the addition of a 3rd party application*)
  • Location Based Reminders – Arrive/leave a location and get reminded of something you need to do at that time (Example – Set the trash out every Wed when you get home from work).

Cons:

  • Battery Life – If you use the phone at all you’re going to have a hard time getting through the day on a single charge (I found a solution I’ll discuss below**).
  • On-screen Keyboard – I’m slowly getting used to it and the auto correct has not burned me (yet).
  • Data Network – I seem to lose 3G coverage more than I did with the Blackberry.
  • Software Limitations – Some Apps I could use (like a Wi-Fi scanner) are not approved for use by Apple Corp.  This is resolved by Jail Breaking, so I hear…
  • Siri – This has SO MUCH potential if it would just do more than basic functions.

* TaskTask a $4.99 app fixed the issue with Outlook Tasks not syncing with the iPhone.  This would have been a deal breaker for me if the app did not exist.  I live and die by my task list (Insert GTD fanboy laugh here).

** As discussed in a previous post the PhoneSuite Elite solved by battery issues.  I can use the iPhone all day without any worry of falling offline due to a low battery.

Some applications worth mentioning:

  • Remote Controls – I can now control Roku, iTunes, Media PC and the U-Verse DVR from the iPhone.
  • Games – Words with Friends is pretty addictive as are any of the EA Games titles.
  • Dragon Dictation – This app is built in and does an incredible job of turning spoken words into text.

So there you have it, yet another move to a new platform.  Let’s see, in the last 20+ years it’s been:

  • Pen & Paper
  • Casio Address Book
  • HP Palmtop
  • Motorola Pager
  • Motorola 2-Way Pager
  • Motorola Star-Tac
  • Palm (several models)
  • Windows Mobile (several models)
  • Blackberry (several models)
  • iPhone 4s

Who knows what the future will hold but it the past is any indication it’s going to keep getting better and better.