Archive for the Apple tag


iPhone Home Screen – October 2014

Uncategorized No Comment

I thought this was something I did more often, but it turns out, I’ve only shared my iPhone Home Screen once, and it was 3.5 years ago. Look how shiny all the icons used to be. I missed sharing the extra row with the iPhone 5, so now with the iPhone 6, I have 2 more rows than that last post.

Photo Oct 12, 7 26 28 PM

Most of these are pretty common. Some of the new additions to this screen thanks to the new row on the iPhone 6: Dropbox, Afterlight, Audible, and I’m not sure what the 4th choice was.

A rundown of the not completely common. (I think you are familiar with Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, etc.)

Screens – VNC to my Macs. Handy if I need to do something on a computer via the phone (it’s a bit easier on the iPad).

Afterlight – I just recently got this, seems like a great, easy to use photo editor that has a few more options than the Photos app. It comes in handy for photos that need a border to fit into Instagram.

Reeder – For RSS feeds. Looks like I was using Reader in the last post. Back then it had a different icon and it was still using Google Reader. The Reader app still exists, but now you have a choice of services. I pick Feedbin for my main service.

Tweetbot – I held onto Echofon as long as I could. It did such a solid job of syncing my last read tweet. However, they gave up on the Mac version, which made the phone version useless to me (they wound up releasing an update when the API changed, but it just wasn’t very good). I searched and searched for a new option but nothing worked all that well. Tweetbot was appealing, but the Mac version was $20. I finally decided all my searching was more painful than spending that much, so I went with Tweetbot across the board and it has been solid ever since. If only they would update the iPad app.

Hangouts – iMessage is so easy to use that it comes first. I used Hangouts for something nice I could use with my friends on Android, although many of those friends are moving to iPhone as it comes time for their 2nd smartphone.

Instacast – I always had a terrible time syncing podcasts between my computer and phone. Instacast was one of the first options that would let me do that outside of iTunes. It still seems flaky at times where I’ll listen on one device and it will still appear on another. Every time it seems to work well, an update is released with some new features that breaks the basic syncing. Overall it gets the job done. I’ve tried to see if the Apple Podcasts app has improved, but that app has just gotten confusing. I think this version of Instacast is free now with the next version coming out soon.

Folders – At some point there were too many things I wanted access to and I had no other choice than to add some folders. Apps includes common stuff that I need a lot (Contacts, Calendar, App Store, Settings, Clock, 1Password, Delivery Status, and some others). Sports should be obvious (league apps, SportsCenter, Yahoo! Fantasy). Videos are common as well (Netflix, Videos, HBO Go, YouTube).


New iPad

Uncategorized No Comment

Which iPad did I go with?

iPad Air 64gb T-Mobile, Silver/White

Each part of that product model was a decision, except for the Silver/White model, I’ve been going with the white model on all my iOS devices since they’ve been available.

This is mostly about how I use it. I’ve never found my regular sized iPad to be too large for my uses. That is usually on the couch or on my desk playing a video while I’m working on my iMac.

I have a Nexus 7 around the house, it is slightly smaller than the iPad Mini. I found it to be too small for what I want out of a tablet.

I can see why someone might want a Mini. It can much more easily fit in one hand, it’s lighter, and can be tossed in a bag more easily. It also has the same screen as the regular iPad, which must look really great.

When I got the iPad 1, I got the 32gb. I was always close to filing my 16gb iPhone whatever-version-i-had-at-the-time and I knew I’d want a few movies on the iPad. 32gb was just fine but recently as I’ve been buying movies on iTunes, the file sizes are in the 3-4gb range. Just a few were filling up the 32gb. Really, the question was if going 128gb was worth the extra $100. It actually probably would be worth it, $100 for another 64gb. However, when I realized that I only have 128gb in my MacBook Air and the price would be just below what I paid for the Air, it seemed like a bit much.

The argument against larger sizes that I’ve heard most is that everything is in the cloud. That’s true, but I tried that method a few weeks ago when traveling. When I went to load a movie from iCloud, the download time was about 10 hours, and it never survived for longer than 30 minutes, restarting each time. The cloud only works if you have a network that will let you grab a few gbs.

For the iPad 3, for some reason I decided to go with an AT&T version. It was the sort of thing that I’d rather have and not use than really wish I had later on. I never used it.

So obviously this time around I went with T-Mobile. Crazy, right? I was all set for the WiFi version and saving a few bucks. I have tethering on AT&T, so I’d just use that. Then T-Mobile offered 200mb free every month for life. I’m not sure how far 200mb will go on an iPad, I almost never go over 250mb on my phone. I’ll just use it occasionally, and for times that I know I’ll be on for a little while, I can turn tethering on for my phone.


  • I can see how T-Mobile’s network is around town and maybe switch next year when my contract is up and the next iPhone comes out.
  • If I start using it and want more data, instead of tethering, I can buy pre-paid passes from T-Mobile, or add it to my AT&T share for a month for $10. iPads are unlocked and there is only one model, so you can toss in whatever type of SIM you like.

There was all sorts of discussion Friday morning about T-Mobile charging $10/month for the free data. Their web site is pretty poor on the clarity front. It seems to be even worse for account management. Their account page has been telling me it is down since I set up my account on Friday.

I had no trouble setting up and getting my free data. The most difficult part was having to choose a password with a symbol.

A Weekend In
That’s how I decided, in my few days with the device, I’m a huge fan. If I really thought about it, my iPad 3 was surviving just fine. iOS 7 didn’t make it unusable and I don’t even know which features didn’t make it to the iPad 3, so they can’t be that important. Still, there are a few reasons I’m really happy I made the upgrade.

  • Size and weight. As soon as I took it out of the box, I compared it to the previous design to see the obvious inch or so reduction in width. As for the weight, it reminds me of when I pick up an iPhone 4/4S compared to my iPhone 5. The old iPhones feel like bricks. What did they shove in there? The 5 is so light. When comparing the two the only conclusion can be that half the space inside the 5 is just left open and that it’s only that size because anything smaller would disappear.
  • Speed. I said the iPad 3 was running iOS 7 fine, that just means it’s tolerably slow. The iPad Air flies. I don’t game harder than Angry Birds on the device, so the speed should be able to keep up until the next re-design that hides behind a golf pencil.
  • Lightning! The only reason I considered the iPad 4 for a minute was the Lightning cable. The switch from the 30-pin was a long time coming but it was a pain to have to have both types of cables after I got my iPhone 5.
  • Battery. I haven’t noticed this yet, but the last design took a long time to charge, this should be a much more tolerable recharge time.

Apple Store
I ordered online at 3am for in-store pickup. I went over during lunch and was about 5th in the pre-order line. There were 2 or 3 people in the didn’t pre-order line. There were plenty available for everyone, but I wasn’t taking any chances, especially since I wasn’t sure how many T-Mobile versions they’d be stocking. Once I was up, I was taken to the first table, gave my order number, waited a minute for someone to bring the iPad up, signed, and left. Super simple.

Biggest Problem
The biggest problem is that the size bezel is so small that my iPad stand is a little too large.
iPad Air StandThe stand I use is the Twelve South BookArc, which I have two of because I like it so much.


My favorite iPad Accessory

Uncategorized No Comment

BookArc for iPad

I spent a lot of time looking for the right stand when I got my original iPad two years ago. I wanted something that I could use in landscape mode (Apple Dock, you’re out). There were a lot that were adjustable. There were a lot that were ridiculously expensive.

I eventually decided on a BookArc. It was a little pricey at $40 and was not adjustable. It wound up being exactly what I needed. It’s a solid piece, no worries that the iPad is going anywhere. I liked it so much that I wound up buying another some time later. A nice bonus: the price had dropped to $30.

The only problem I’ve had with the BookArc after two years was that one of the rubber feet came off. Not too surprising, I move them around a lot and even took one of them with me when I’d travel. Luckily I didn’t lose the foot and it glued back on just fine.

Like I said, I have two of them. I keep one next to my computer. It’s almost like a second monitor. It works a little better since Lion handles the second monitor in such an odd way. I usually use it to play videos while I’m on my computer. Here’s how it looks:

IMG 0458

The other is on my night stand. Again for videos, sometimes Netflix (not sure why, I have 8 different ways of watching Netflix on my TV), and recently the SlingPlayer app to watch my TiVo that is in my living room. I don’t have cable in my room, just XBox, a Blu-Ray player, and Google TV (which I’m not even sure is hooked up).

I now have an iPad 3 and the BookArcs sill work fine. I bought a Smart Cover with the iPad 3, but it is no where near as sturdy as the BookArc. I only use my Smart Cover when I need to put my iPad in a bag to take it somewhere.

I’d recommend getting as many BookArcs as you think you’ll need. They really should sell a 2-pack.

Get it on Amazon


I was excited for iMessage

Uncategorized 1 Comment

iMessage was one of the features that I was most excited about with iOS 5. Messaging has always been imperfect both on the computer with IM and on the phone. What I want is something that is seamless no matter which type of device I’m using. I had hopes that iMessage would be a step in the right direction. Allowing me to also message on my iPad, and if all went well, on the Mac too. But so far, no such luck.

iMessage already has the huge hurdle to get over since it only works for people on iOS. I have enough of those to at least utilize some of the benefits, unlike most other messaging options, which none of my friends use. Given this hurdle, I figured they would have gone out of their way to make iMessage as easy as possible. No such luck.

I don’t care about the avoiding Text Message part when it comes to fees. At this point you either have unlimited or nothing. I’m a long way from not needing any Text Messages, so I could care less about that benefit.

I expected that as soon as I was connected to someone with iMessage then all of our messages would start popping up on my iPad. Not the case. From what I’m reading, but haven’t tried out because it’s not worth the inconvenience of anyone who has iMessage, is that for it to show up on both my iPhone and iPad, the sender would have to send an iMessage to an email address I have registered on both. If the message is sent to my phone number like a normal Text Message, then it will only appear on my iPhone.

Text Message threads are already in place using phone numbers. Meaning a new message thread needs to be started using email addresses. What email address to use? For my school friends, I only have their .edu email, but I bet most of them don’t attach that to their iMessage, so I’ll have to go through the trouble of asking which email to use. Sure, it only has to be done once, and I’ll try it with a few people, but this could have been done without any effort on my part.

Here are the two situations and how they could easily work:
1) iMessage sent to phone number. iMessage system figures out all the connected devices, sends to all of those.
2) Text Message from non-iPhone. iPhone sends message up to iCloud. iPad receives message as well. Reply allows iMessage system to route message back. They can go back through the phone if they have to.

I don’t get Apple’s strategy. The have iChat, which for the most part you use to log in to third-party services. Then FaceTime, so you can do video chats between devices and computer. Now iMessage. Is there a reason there are three different platforms? I had always assumed iChat would have been on the iPhone early on, but it’s never happened.

Talking between someone on a phone and a desktop has potential to be less than ideal. The phone user won’t respond as quickly as you are used to on IM. Still, it would be useful. The software would obviously tell you the person was currently on a phone or whatever sort of device, so you’d know it might be slow. I’d rather be able to send or respond to a message on my computer, if I’m using it, than have to get my phone and type in a message.

Have you tried to navigate iMessage? I imagine I have a lot fewer conversations than the average user, and I have trouble scrolling around looking for the conversation I want. Why no favorites tab like the Phone App has?

Nice things to say …
Most of my complaints are comparing iMessage to what I think it should be. Comparing to the old Text Message only version, there are a few nice new features.

Quicker – For those that I am connected via iMessage, it is faster send over Wi-Fi than having to use a text.
Group Messaging – I used to send a message to a group of friends and then get messages back from them in separate threads and they wouldn’t see each others’ responses. I assumed this was some sort of technical limitation until last year when my sister got a Blackberry and I realized I was receiving replies when our mom was sending a message to both of us. Now I can reply to everyone on the original thread at once.
Text Tones – Some of this may have already been in. I think you could change the default sound, but I didn’t like any of the alternatives. Now I can assign a custom tone to anyone. I did realize that it isn’t as easy to find sound clips online as I remember. Simpsons, Seinfeld, whatever you wanted used to be easy to find. I asked a friend what sound he would want when he texted me and he picked a popular line from Friday Night Lights, Coach Taylor’s ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’ After much searching, no luck. I assume instead of posting sound clips, people just do YouTube clips now. I still couldn’t find it on there. I’m not sure I care enough to try and record it off a DVD.

WhatsApp is free now, or at least was yesterday when I downloaded it. I like that it works on a few different platforms. It is tied to a phone number so no luck on the iPad and certainly nothing on the desktop. It doesn’t seem worth trying to migrate people as it isn’t much better than what I can do with Text Messages. This seems the same as the other Apps I’ve downloaded: Ping, Kik, GroupMe, Beluga, Disco.

Is there something I’m missing? It’s possible Facebook might be the best alternative. However, most of my friends don’t sign in to Facebook chat, so that would take some effort. Right now, email is still the best way to go for my needs, I just want instant email. At least until ChatON gets rolling. ChatON is Samsung’s service that just launched on Android. It is attempting to be cross-platform along with a web app. I’d settle for a web app. Hopefully their iOS App comes out soon.

That’s where I’m at on iMessage. There are a lot of things I like about iOS 5, and I’ll try to get to them. There are also a few head scratchers. iWork Docs only sync between devices, not with the Mac!?!


Do I want the iPhone 4s?

Uncategorized No Comment

The only iPhone I haven’t owned is the original. I bought the iPhone 4 right before heading back to school as my last major purchase. So now I’m in school and actually have to think if the new phone is worth buying. Assuming of course current iPhone users can buy a little early (my AT&T discount is scheduled for early Dec.).

I’ll hit the new features that have caught my eye …

Faster download speeds – I haven’t had much issue with my connection being too slow but I’m not going to argue against a doubling in download speed.

Dual-core – Again, not a big issue on my phone with speed. On occasion it seems to get bogged down, but nothing that is driving me crazy. Nothing will be as bad as that awful iPhone 3G.

RAM – All the rumors had this being updated. It certainly needs to go to 1gb, it would be awful to constrict this processor with limited RAM.

Camera – I’m not going crazy over a new camera. I guess the few times I use my iPhone camera, I’d like the best quality I can get. Although at some point perhaps it will mean I leave my point-and-shoot at home more often. Although its the zooming that keeps me using a real camera. I’ll throw video in 1080p here too. I’ve never taken video with my phone. I should, but I haven’t.

Airplay Mirroring – Sounds promising, but not sure how often I’d use it. Most cases I see using it, such as sharing pictures on the TV, wouldn’t be at home making the presence of an AppleTV less likely and I’d have to have remembered my HDMI cable.

Siri – Well, Hello there Siri. I watched the videos and the computer-y voice makes it sound a little less cool than I imagined. Still, it’s pretty impressive, tech-wise. But would I use it? It looks to be very useful in the car to operate it. But I’m not in my car enough for that to be helpful. However, if it reads text messages, and the audio comes over Bluetooth Audio (I’ve been using that a lot in the car), I’d like that very much. The one example I did think I’d use a lot is setting the alarm via voice. I’ll be curious to see what other Apps can do with it over the next few releases.

Auto-Switching Antenna – Interesting. I don’t have a ton of coverage issues, but there are times when my connection stumbles.

Battery – The comparisons show an increase in battery life for 3G calls, with everything else being the same. Still, a little less drain when on the phone is handy. It won’t be a dramatic, noticeably improvement, but it will be there.

Things I do want:
32gb – I have 10gb of apps on my phone. Add in podcasts and music (Spotify at the moment) and I barely have any room for pictures. If the 32gb version would have been lowered to $199, I’d be buying without all these other considerations.
White – I would have bought the white iPhone 4 had it been out.

What I wanted:
Bigger Screen – Not crazy bigger, but a little more.
LTE – I wasn’t expecting it, but this will be needed, likely before the next iPhone comes out.

iOS 5
This might really be all I want. New notifications! iMessage! (Although, it should be on the Mac too.) Wi-Fi Syncing! Reminders. (No !, but has potential with the Siri examples.) It will be like a new phone.

Get back to me. As I’ve said before, I should already have these features but iOS is too locked down.

Do I buy it? I’ll let you know, I’m glad I have until Friday to decide.


iPhone Home Screen – April 2011

Uncategorized No Comment

викI’m a bit obsessive when it comes to my home screen. It takes quite a lot to make the jump and break on to page 1. I wanted to start to see how it evolves, and also ask for feedback as to what you have on your home screen. Also, soon, I’ve found that I need to share what some of these apps are. Read It Later is at the top of that list.

The top row is the only thing that I don’t think has changed since I got my first iPhone (a 3G). Although that row includes some of my least used apps, but when I do need to use them, I like them to be readily available.

Like I said, share which apps you have on your home screen.


Am I the only one excited for the Mac App Store?

Uncategorized No Comment

I acknowledge this isn’t the sort of thing regular people get excited for. I was even more excited the other night when I saw the first Sandy Bridge review went up.

The Mac App Store was just too easy and an obvious move after the iOS App Store. Thinking about it now, I can’t believe no one else attempted this. While iOS is setup to only allow Apple’s App Store, the Mac would not be so limited. You have other options to get software other than the App Store. Even Android is open enough to allow for multiple stores. Anyone could have likely pulled together all the smaller developers and would have probably offered a better deal than Apple will. If it became popular enough, it probably could have gotten some bigger name publishers before Apple showed up.

It will make it easier for any app to get acknowledged. Just like in the current App Store. Currently I will see an app on a blog and then have to dig around their web site to find out more and buy it. When I need something now, I’ll just be able to search the App Store. Then check out the charts to see what is selling best and read reviews.

I’m curious how any protection will work. Do I no longer have to worry about serial numbers? Did the developers have to modify their code to work with the App Store authorization? I could probably look in to this stuff, but I’ll just wait the two days until I can see it in action.

The real reason I’m excited is that it’s likely iWork 11 will be released on the same day. I skipped the last version of iWork, so I’ve been anxious to get my hands on the new version.


Additional iPad Points

Uncategorized No Comment

There were two things I didn’t hear yesterday that I expected to hear more chatter about relating to the iPad. I didn’t get around to posting them last night. I saw them mentioned today, but not too widely.

Multitasking – This was talked about a lot, but as something that was left out and people were disgusted by it. No one seemed to even mention that maybe it just won’t be ready in time for launch.

This thing is apparently running iPhone OS 3.2. An entire new product, with all new versions of apps, and it doesn’t jump to 4.0? This seems very strange to me. iTunes has seemed to jump full version numbers for no particular reason.

This is also the first version. The first iPhone had no apps! I never used one but when I got my 3G, I couldn’t imagine what you did without apps. Notifications and MMS took forever, even after being announced. Just about everything, except for MMS has been made available on previous versions of the phone.

Speaking of Notifications and MMS, perhaps they are hesitant to pre-announce software features after those.

All of that make me think that there are a lot more updates to come, just maybe not until the summer.

Boy Genius Report had a story about this today.

Subsidies – AT&T was nice enough to offer a data plan without a contract? No mention of $175 off if you did get a contract? I thought that was strange.

This Mashable post brings up that point as well as the possibility that content creators may give discounts with subscriptions. The post also makes a very good point about how the iPad is for consumption of content, rather than creation. One of the reasons I discounted it as something I would need is because of that lack of content creation capability.


iPad, for me?

Uncategorized No Comment

This is my obligatory iPad post. I decided to look at it by finding some reasons someone like me might want one.

If I read more books I would choose an iPad over a Kindle. I assume the iPad will have all the features of the Kindle. I assume they will be releasing an iBooks app for the iPhone that will allow syncing of purchases and where you are in the books. At least this announcement will keep me from making an impulse buy of a Kindle that I don’t really need.

If I didn’t have my MacBook I would consider this for surfing on the couch. However, I use my MacBook the same way I use a desktop. I do a lot of things that require a lot of typing. Editing code on the iPad doesn’t seem like it would be a whole lot of fun.

If I had a kitchen in a large house (and if I spent a lot of time in that kitchen) this would be handy for quick surfing, calendar, contacts, iTunes. Really, exactly the things they are marketing it to be best at.

If I didn’t live close to home. My favorite demo of the bunch was from Having the screen to show would be spectacular. Why would I have to move away? Because I’m in the blackout area, so I wouldn’t be able to watch Phillies games on it. I really would get this just for that purpose. Set it up on an end table with the game on every night. Sure, I’d use the other features, but they’d just be bonus features that came with my PhilliesPad. Imagine if it came in team colors.

If I traveled a lot this would be great for plane rides. Watching movies, having my tunes, surfing in the hotel. Especially if I had a work laptop with me this would be useful. Last time I traveled for work I really wanted my MacBook with me. Getting 2 laptops through security wasn’t an issue. It was that I was holding up the line having another awkward item to take out of and get back in a bag.

If I took the train to work I would not be debating whether to buy or not right now. I’d be debating how much storage I wanted on my 3G enabled iPad. There are iPhone apps that I have said I’d get if I took the train. The Crosswords app for one, which I did finally buy a few weeks ago.

I’m not getting one but $499 is a tempting price. Although I’d probably want to get a 3G one in the likely case that at some point I’d want the service. That bumps the price up and along with the monthly fee, it puts is out of ‘Hey, that looks like fun to play with’ range. I’m really hoping someone I know gets one so I can play with it. I feel like I can let myself play with one. I didn’t touch the 1st iPhone until a few months before the 3G came out. I knew I’d love the iPhone but it was stupid to get one without 3G.