It was one of the biggest announcements Apple has ever made, not one, but two groundbreaking pieces of technology. A few days after the event itself, here are my thoughts of what was announced.
Well its been several months since mobile me was re-branded/relaunched as iCloud, and I thought I would give a little critique as to my current thoughts of Apple’s cloud/syncing solution. Firstly I do honestly believe that MobileMe/iCloud was a vital tool for anyone who owned either more than one mac, or an iPhone/iPad, as it allowed syncing of ‘mission critical’ information such as contacts, calendars and bookmarks across all platforms. For mission critical information MobileMe/iCloud didn’t throw up many problems for me, an event or contact created on one device was already waiting for me on my others when I came to it; however when Apple announced iCloud in 2011, its killer feature was going to be document syncing. Apple had yet to shake away the public perception of iDisk, one that was unreliable, and susceptible to poor data transfer speeds. They were so keen to insure they hit the ground running that they released the developer preview of iCloud several months prior to its general release to insure that developers had ample time to code their apps to insure that they moved away from the customary use of Dropbox sync to iCloud, however there have currently been very few apps released that take advantage of iCloud. The big names that still use DropBox include: 1Password and Text Expander as well as others, I wonder why they haven’t embraced iCloud syncing by Apple? On iOS documents in iWork sync across other devices, however this chain of convenience is broken by the very un-Apple like approach of not implementing document support in the mac versions of iWork. Syncing is possible however users must instead use the web interface, which to be honest is far too much effort. Apple have always got ‘mission critical’ information syncing spot on, and under the old model of MobileMe would have been something I would have paid for, however my 5GB of complementary online storage is currently un-utilised, whereas I am paying for extra storage from SugarSync. I do hope that Apple release iWork ’12 soon that has iCloud properly integrated, thereby encouraging developers to embrace this new technology and use it in conjunction with SugarSync/Dropbox.
Only those living in a plastic bubble over the past few weeks will have failed to notice the hype and excitement around the release of Apples new iPhone, the iPhone 4; and more importantly the fact that I got my hands on one on release day (24th June). As previously mentioned I awoke on pre-order day and pre-ordered the 32gb model sim free direct from Apple, and being the tech enthusiast I am that day took the release day off from work so that I would be able to great the UPS delivery man with a warm welcome, and of course play with my new phone un-interrupted. Arrival Process To say that the arrival process was a little nerve-racking is the understatement of the year. My mother also pre-ordered the same model, at the same time, to be delivered at the same address; so when she logged on to UPS the night before to see a change of status, whilst mine remained as ‘billing information received’ I started to get a little worried. However I went to bed knowing full well that these things don’t normally get updated as often as we would well like. I awoke far too early on launch day for my own good, jumped onto the internet and checked my status, no change. A quick phone call to UPS confirmed my worry, they didn’t know if had been collected from Apple, or if was on the delivery van. A shiver went down my spine, ive taken the day off work to play with my new phone and what for? UPS suggested I rung Apple, who all credit to them were very helpful indeed. I spoke to two Apple reps on two separate occasions, Justin and Michael who comforted and reassured me. They confirmed that it was highly unlikely for my iPhone to not be delivered and the cause of its location not being logged was simply a case of the box not being picked up by scanners. This reasoning sounded logical, so I made myself a cup of tea and took up a spot surveying the driveway to insure that I wouldn’t miss Mr UPS. At 12:07 a UPS van shot round the corner and parked outside my house, the driver emerged a few minutes later carrying one box in hand. I remained calm, and thought that it was possible (but highly unlikely) that mine would be on a separate van. Mr UPS scanned my mother’s iPhone with his delivery unit which duely beeped at him ferociously, as if to say “you have another one to deliver here”. Mr UPS then uttered six words that will stay with me forever. “I’ve got another one for you”. I was a happy bunny once more. Hardware Having calmly taken the boxes inside, opened mine, restored from backup (so that all apps and settings were transferred from my 3GS), it was time to investigate and take a look at the new hardware. The first thing one notices about the iPhone 4 is that it is incredibly well-built, feels solid in the hands, and has a decent weight about it. Personally I would rather have a phone with a bit of poundage as you feel as if you are getting something for your money and slightly less worried should the odd bump occur. Switching the unit on reveals the new retina display. There is no way of portraying how clear this display is either in picture form or graphical from, you have to see it to believe it. The only way I can describe it is an HD display on steroids. Text looks sharper than any print material I have read, movies emerge you into the action, and photographs look more lifelike than the people in them. I really hope that Apple not only use this display on future mobile platforms such as the iPad; but release a monitor which has such a dense pixel content. The second hardware improvement is of course the 5MP, 720p camera, which is a huge improvement from the 3MP contained on the 3GS. The improvement of camera hardware on the iPhone was the decision maker for me to upgrade my phone, and if the pictures/HD video are anything to go by I have made the right call. Pictures and video are crisp, and whilst are in no league to that of my professional SLR, they are more than adequate for the quick snap of that magical moment. Software Steve Jobs first demoed FaceTime at WWDC, and I was instantly sceptical of its use. I had in the past a Nokia N95 and a contract with free video minutes. Yes I used them at first, but the quality was blotchy, slow and unreliable; all adjectives that are not in Jobs’s dictionary. FaceTime is perfect, it connects quickly and the quality is fantastic, I have spoken to people in Manchester and London using FaceTime and it is exactly like speaking to them face to face. The critics will say that this is because it’s over wifi, however with HSDPA and HSUPA allowing lightning fast data transfer, I see no reason why a 3G call would be any different when supported by carriers. Will FaceTime take off where previous attempts of video calls have failed? My first thoughts are if anyone can make it work Apple is the company that will. They have got a winning combination of ease of use and good user experience. The fact that it only works on wifi at the moment is not an issue to me, as I would never video call whilst walking down the street regardless of whether it was free or not, and places such as work/home where I would want to video call family and friends are covered in wifi. Personally I believe that Apple may do to video calling, what they did to the iPod, success where other companies have simply failed. iOS 4 was released three days before the launch of the iPhone 4, however […]
Pressing Buy Yesterday was a mad day for all Apple fans with the pre-order of the new iPhone 4 taking place. As usual the online store went down shortly after midnight and reappeared around 9am BST; those events were predicted. What wasn’t predicted by Apple was the sheer amount of interest they had in their new product. No sooner had the store been launched was its stability called into question. By 9 o’clock I was at work, eager to place my pre-order, I placed the iPhone in my basket, went to complete the order, “oops an error has occurred”. I tried again, no joy. The third time I pressed F5 I was greeted with the “we will be back soon” graphic. Apple had stalled. The situation was very tense around my desk, as far as I knew the stock of iPhones available for pre-order was dropping one percentage point a minute, and I wasn’t able to order mine! Quickly looking to tech blogs and emailing other tech people in the office confirmed that the situation was world wide, and was to be resolved shortly. This was no good, how can one focus on anything when a new Apple product needs to be ordered? I set a countdown on my iPhone for 1 a minute interval, to which I would check the store. Fifteen minutes after it went down I uttered a squeal of delight as I was able to place my order. In my previous blog post I stated that I would order the 32gb black model, and this (unlike my iPad ordering) hadn’t changed, what was up for contemplation were the accessories that were going to join my new phone. The dock, was always going to be a purchase, as this enables easy charging, syncing and easy retrieval when at my desk, which is well over 50% of the time; this was placed in the basket. Apple had created their own case for the iPhone, something worth a try, so a black bumper was thrown into the virtual basket. The order button was pressed, and I held my breath as I awaited the confirmation screen. After what seemed like an eternity passed, my order confirmation was displayed, I was a happy boy. An hour later I was able to reflect on what I had just done. The dock wasn’t available until the beginning of July, meaning that my iPhone would be delayed until this item was in stock. Like I could wait till July to get my hands on my iPhone! So the dock was cancelled. I then thought about why I didn’t order the iPad dock, the reason being is that the Apple iPad case couldn’t be used in conjunction with the dock. This would also be the case with the iPhone and its bumper, therefore that was removed from the order. I will be ordering a dock when they become available as I will get us out of it, but I shan’t be ordering the bumper, as removing it each time I want to use the dock would be far from ideal. Current Phone My current phone is the 3GS and was the first iPhone that I purchased, replacing my Nokia N95 8gb. The reason for purchasing my first iPhone was that it would sync easily with my mac setup, and being just as easy to operate. Those who purchase an iPhone do so because they want to move away from a phone that crashes, doesn’t offer them the latest features and is hard to operate. The real difference between any other phone and the iPhone is the app store, apps on offer range from task managers, note applications to games. No other handset offers an app store with such diversity. When I had downloaded the apps that suited my needs, my iPhone truly felt like mine, it no longer felt as if it had just come off a factory line, it was personalized to my needs, and only had applications on it which I needed. The app store transforms any phone into your iPhone. Whats Improved A year has since passed since the iPhone 3GS was released, with technology advancing and improving. This is not to say that the iPhone 3GS is still not a fantastic phone, it simply means that the new iPhone has better specs for the more advance and demanding user. The most noticeable difference between the new iPhone 4 and the 3GS is the camera. The camera can now take 5 megapixel photos and 720p HD video. With the new model now being available for pre-order, the prices of the previous 3GS have fallen dramatically, making the iPhone now accessible to everyone. Apple being a company that believes in its product would not still offer the 3GS if it did not think its products were still suitable for its customers. Therefore if you are wanting an iPhone, but can’t afford the 4th gen, I strongly recommend that you pick up the 3GS. Why Do I Need A New Phone? Apart from being an Apple fan boy and therefore wanting to purchase virtually every new product they produce, why did I need to get the 4th gen iPhone if the current 3GS I own is suitable? This is a question which I found myself thinking about during Steve’s speech at WWDC. There were two reasons for me wanting go upgrade. The first of which was the camera. The 4th gen iPhone offers much better quality of video and photo capture than the 3GS. The 3GS offers 3 megapixel photos and low res video, perfectly watchable and perfect for Facebook. However with my increased blogging and online presence I would like the ability to capture HD video on the move, something this will allow me. The second reason was the new A4 chip Apple have placed in the iPhone. Current applications run like a dream on my 3GS, and I predict that the next generation of apps will run as well. Where the new […]
With WWDC underway, Apples keynote address is over. This year we saw a new iPhone with some new features, but is it worth it?
International iPad pre-order day has finally come, and I have placed an order for mine. If you are going to order yours take a look at this post as there are some things you may not have thought of.
With Apples ‘special’ event tomorrow, here is what I would like to see.