It’s Supposed to be Compatible

There’s always a chance that something that’s supposed to work, won’t…

So, many – well most of you, actually – don’t know; but I was in a motor vehicle accident just after Christmas 2017. Someone lost control of their vehicle and smashed into the rear driver’s side door of my car on a very, busy US interstate highway during the evening rush hour, commute home. I spun out over three lanes of oncoming traffic and hit the wall, going about fifty (50) MPH (80.5 KPH), It wasn’t pretty; and I’m mending as well as could be expected.

Unfortunately, my car was totaled; and I was forced to purchase a new vehicle.

I purchased a 2014 Toyota Highlander XLE. It’s a nice vehicle; and much bigger and much more modern than the 2003 Camry LE that I was driving. The vehicle however, has a couple of foibles that I wasn’t completely aware of when I bought it. Unfortunately, for me, they all evolve around the entertainment system and my new, iPhone 8 Plus.

So, here’s the problem, in a nut shell – the Entune radio hardware and software won’t consistently mount the device. Because it won’t consistently mount the device, the vehicle’s USB port won’t read data from the device consistently, and won’t charge the phone consistently. When the USB port mounts the phone, everything works like you would expect it to. The problem is, as I stated, the radio won’t do that consistently.

I purchased my vehicle from the CarMax in Naperville, IL. When I noticed that the vehicle and my iPhone 8 Plus weren’t getting along, I took the vehicle back to CarMax’s Service department.

After spending a day on the vehicle, CarMax told me that my car simply wasn’t compatible with my phone. According to the vehicle’s owner’s manual, everything should work. However, CarMax – who said they called the local Toyota dealership – said THEY were told by Toyota, that the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus weren’t compatible with the Entune Radio in ANY Toyota vehicle.

So, I did what any good QA testing guy would do. I grabbed every iPhone I had in the house, my 8 Plus, my wife’s 7 Plus, my son in law’s iPhone 6 and my son’s iPhone 5s. As a matter of fact, NONE of them worked with my new car’s radio correctly. I couldn’t get it to work with any of the four different iPhone versions I had, with any of the Lightning cables I had (both MFI and non-MFI certified cables).

At that point, I contacted my local Toyota dealership.

They told me that everything should work. It was all compatible. While the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus weren’t specifically listed as compatible, I was told without a doubt they should work.

Toyota asked to see the vehicle.

My office is closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I have an appointment with a local Toyota Dealer to examine the car. According to them, the car either needs to have its software updated, or will need to have its software reflated to insure that everything is working correctly. If that doesn’t work, then we’re looking at either a USB port replacement or a full radio replacement, or both.

As I am writing this prior to the actual appointment, I will update everyone on the outcome, but at this point, you have to wonder how motor vehicle entertainment systems that come with your car work or continue to work as needed when you upgrade your phone. I mean, most cars last at least 10 years or more. How do you keep everything working correctly as your car ages? You’re likely to upgrade your phone at least five (5) times during a ten year period. Your car needs to keep working with the devices you have (or probably, more appropriately…); your devices need to keep working with your car as it ages.

This, among other things, will be asked of my Toyota service technician when I see them early Monday morning.

I will keep everyone posted…

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iPhone 6 Day is Upon Us! Thoughts from Yesterday

Yesterday, Apple announced the iPhone 6…

iphone6-gold-early-release

My diary thoughts from yesterday at :

unnamed

“As I sit here, I’m watching the countdown at Apple’s Live Event page. There’s about an hour and a half left until the start of the event. Today, is supposed to be a very big day.

My wife asked me what all the hub-bub was about and how did I know that “something magical” was going to happen today. I told her because “all of this was fabulous.”

She didn’t buy it.

I then told her that today was the biggest Apple announcement day since 2007 (the announcement of the original iPhone) because the event is purported to launch not only two different iPhone 6 models, but the iWatch as well.

Also on tap are update to iPad, though these aren’t supposed to be as big a deal as the iPhone and iWatch announcements.

Of all the days in history, Apple Day is the biggest day, ever…well at least according to @zackwhittaker

I’ll have more on this in the days that follow the announcement.”

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Get a handle of what apps are on your company’s computers with WinAudit

Get a handle of what apps are on your company’s computers with this important Windows app.

WA-01

Networking is the heart of computing today. Most everyone that has a computer has internet access and most everyone with internet access in their home has a home network of some type. Everyone with a home network has computers on it, most likely, a number of computers, depending on the number of people living in the home and what they are doing with those computers. Keeping your PC safe from dodgy programs that are potentially malware ridden is important, and its why I like apps like WinAudit. It’s a security app for Windows networks.

WinAudit identifies the hardware and software installed on Windows based computers. The app identifies every aspect of your computer is examined. After the app examines the computers on your network, it generates an inventory report. The report is displayed as a web page, which can be saved or printed in a number of standard formats.

You can e-mail the inventory report to your technical support staff or even post the report to a database for archiving. When used in conjunction with its command line functionality, you can automate inventory administration at the network level. WinAudit supports the remote desktop and pre-installation environments.

This app is great at what it does, but its not for everyone. Most home networks aren’t going to be as restricted and monitored as a corporate network is. This app would be perfect for small businesses looking to get a handle on what is connected to the network that all of their proprietary data is accessed and stored. The price is certainly right; and if you do decide to use it at home, it will certainly do a good job for you, though at this stage of consumer computing development and use, while EXTREMELY beneficial, its likely overkill.

Download WinAudit

 

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Hands on with early iOS 8 Beta Releases

It shows promise; but it’s REALLY buggy…

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I’ve been using iOS 8 Beta 1 for the past couple of weeks and I have to say that I like what I see, but it’s so buggy that it’s hard to really evaluate. Items that you thought would be solid – core apps like Mail and Music, for example – are just north of a train wreck. While this is to be expected in a beta release – especially in an early beta release – it does provide a bit of insight on what Apple is doing.

Based on every issue that I’ve bumped into so far, it’s clear to me that Apple is refining and optimizing code. iOS 7 introduced a lot of new interface options and changes to iOS; and it was the first real rearchitecting of Apple’s mobile OS since it was introduced in 2007. By that point, the OS was tired, long in the tooth and in need of a facelift, despite what everyone – me included – said about the redesign. Yes. It was difficult to get used to, but now that I’m used to it, it feels better than the old, skewmorphic look and feel of iOS 6 and earlier.

With iOS 8, Apple is following its old mantra – evolution, not revolution (again, they caused a revolution last time with iOS 7). Most of the changes will be under the hood, and users won’t see them. I can see evidence of this in the fact that apps that are core to what the iPhone does – like Mail, Music…Settings (yes, even Settings) – often force quit or hard reset the device.

I’ve encountered the following bugs in these programs throughout Beta 1. While this isn’t a complete or exhaustive list, these are the ones that keep me up at night…:
Mail won’t let you multi-delete more than three emails at a time. The app force quits.
Music won’t track back one song after it has moved to the next song in a playlist (so you can’t play the last song over again. Once is all you get.)
Songs often recycle quickly in large playlists when Shuffle is selected as the play method
Badge icon counts often do not reflect the correct number of alerts
The phone app ends the call if you try to take a screen shot of an active call
Settings often force quits when trying to work with Bluetooth settings (there are also multiple problems with the Bluetooth stack when it comes to pairing, playing Bluetooth audio and transferring data via BT-LE)

Because there are bugs in these core apps, it’s clear to me that Apple is optimizing core services as well as code in these core apps (to work with the optimized, core services), too. It’s the only explanation that makes sense. There are also a number of third party apps that just refuse to run or run correctly in iOS 8 Beta 1; but that’s also to be expected.

While preparing this article, Apple released iOS 8 Beta 2. I’ve downloaded the new OS, but haven’t had a chance to install it yet. While I’m certain that Apple is working on insuring that users can upgrade with settings and apps in place, it’s clear based on what I found in Beta 1 (I upgraded with apps and settings in place), that it might be a better idea to set up early beta releases of iOS 8 as a new iPhone rather than restoring the device from a backup. Bringing older settings and plist files into the device configuration may be the cause for some of the issues I am experiencing at this time. It’s likely a better idea for me to set it up as a new device between now and the release of Beta 4 (provided Apple drops a Beta 4 version before seeding the Gold Master to its developer partners).

The release documents for Beta 2 indicate that it provides some bug fixes as well as providing other small changes and enhancements, including the QuickType keyboard for iPad. This new release also has a major update to Apple’s Podcasts app. It’s now part of the base OS installation; and like iBooks, also can’t be removed. Apple also added a couple nice changes to Safari for iOS that prevents ads from automatically redirecting users to the App Store without any interaction; and users can now quickly add a site to Shared Links, or save a bookmark by tapping and holding on the Bookmarks button in the browser.

Other bug fixes of note include fixes to the screen brightness slider. It actually works now; and adding third party keyboards won’t force quit Settings like it did in Beta 1. As far as my Bluetooth issues… I’m going to have to wait and see how things go. There wasn’t a lot of information in the Beta 2 release notes related to anything specific that I was bumping into related to Bluetooth. However, Apple is still listing a number of known issues with core Bluetooth services, so I’m not holding my breath. Apple will likely tweak and make changes to the Bluetooth stack throughout the Beta Period. As Pebble and other fitness devices – including Apple’s (still) rumored iWatch – (will) make active use of BT-LE, I would expect fixes, improvements and changes to this key piece of core code throughout the development cycle.

iOS 8 Beta 2 also comes with a number of bug fixes. For example, the new beta release ensures that the screen brightness slider in Settings now actually works, and also prevents crashes when adding a third-party keyboard. I have no idea if Apple did anything to address the poor battery life performance that’s been reported with Beta 1.

However, I would expect Apple to address this – at least in part – in the next Beta release. Apple usually has a two week development cycle with its mobile OS Betas (it was 15 days between the releases of Beta 1 and Beta 2), so I would expect another release before the Independence Day Holiday here in the States on July 4th (but that’s based on past performance, so don’t shoot the messenger, if it doesn’t happen).

I’ll have other reports on iOS and Yosemite as Apple takes us through their Beta and development cycles prior to release of both. Look for updated information on these in the weeks to come. I’ll also have a more formal review of each after the GM version of both is released.

Do you have any questions about iOS 8 (or Yosemite)? Let me know in the discussion section, below and I’ll do my best to answer your questions either in-line or in a separate article.

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iOS 8 – What it Needs to Be

The iPhone 6 will more than likely accompany iOS 8. Here’s my annual list of requirements for the latest version of Apple’s mobile OS and its associated hardware.

ios8

As you all know, I’ve been involved in consumer computing since the dawn of the PC. As far as mobile computing is concerned, I feel I’ve been involved with it since the dawn of time as well. Heck, I owned every Compaq iPAQ from the 3100 to the 5000 series, including the 6300-6400 series Pocket PC phones.  Yes.  It’s true…

Hello, my name is Christopher and I’m a mobile device-aholic.

Truth be told, I’m simply a gadget and button junkie who likes to take it with him.  All the time. Everyday. Out loud.  Most of you also know that the iPhone holds a special place in my mobile kit. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about that lately, especially in light of the HTC One (M8) review that I wrote for Soft32.  There’s more that’s out there than just the same sized iPhone with relatively the same hardware specs and capabilities that have been in use since the iPhone 4/4S (with a few minor hardware upgrade bumps).

Now, truth be told – I’m very invested in the Apple’s iDevice ecosystem.  From a hardware perspective, I have an iPad, an iPhone and a MacBook Pro. I’ve purchased apps for all of them. More importantly, I have content that I’ve purchased from the iTunes Store in the form of movies and TV shows, music and apps that work with all of them.  I have some stuff in the Google Play and Amazon content stores, but in truth, they are eclipsed by the amount of content I’ve purchased in iTunes. As such, I’ve realized that I’m likely never leaving the Apple ecosystem. It doesn’t make sense to. I have too much content to move or convert; and then I have no idea how to remove DRM from iTunes-based video… I don’t think I even want to try… I’ve simply spent too much time and money on acquiring and organizing the content to worry about trying to get it into another ecosystem.  In the end, I realize that I’ve gotten tangled in the vines of Apple’s walled garden…

If you find yourself in the same boat, don’t despair.  It doesn’t mean that we must simply settle for anything and everything that Apple gives us. We don’t. As a member of Apple’s desktop AND mobile development programs, I file bugs on issues that I see in both iOS and OS X all the time.  Apple regularly looks at that information and at the topics in their support forums before they start planning any release or update to either operating system. In fact, there are several examples of Apple putting out both mobile and desktop releases to specifically address bugs or issues that have been identified in both types of forums.  Apple also (occasionally) looks to the tech press for suggestions and/or escalation of issues that they may have overlooked.

With the iPhone 6 and iOS 8 anticipated to be introduced in about a month at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, nearly everyone is all abuzz about what the changes or improvements are or should be.  As I’ve had this on my mind lately, I thought I’d chime in and give everyone MY two cents worth…

1. iCloud – More at a Lower Price
A few weeks ago, Google made drastic changes to its Google Drive pricing and storage plans.  Previously, I was paying $20/month for 400GB of space. It was more than I needed.  Google grandfathered that storage and pricing plan and upgraded me. Now, for literally half the price ($10/month), Google is providing 1.0TB of space. The only reason why I haven’t put most of my digital photos into Drive is because my internet provider has a monthly bandwidth watchdog; and even though I have the highest tiered data plan they offer (I have Internet only, as you may remember) Cox still sends hate mail when that cap is exceeded every month, suggesting I purchase a larger plan. I would if I could, but I can’t.

Anyway, iCloud… Apple’s free plan only provides 5GB of space.  If you have a full, 8GB iDevice, you won’t be able to back it up to iCloud without purchasing additional space.  Apple still only provides 50GB max space in iCloud, and for that, they want $100 a year (roughly $8.33/ month).  However, for about that much, Google provides 20 times more space.  The time has come for Apple to provide more space at a comparable price, and WWDC would be a decent time to announce that. While they could do it at any time – because you shouldn’t need an OS update to take advantage of the additional space – if they do make a comparable change, they will likely wait until June to announce it.

2. At the end of the day, though, Apple could jump ahead of the curve.  While Google’s storage and plan offerings are insanely large for insanely little, both Amazon and Microsoft are way more expensive.  Microsoft currently doesn’t offer 1TB of space, though they are planning on providing it to their business customers only at $2.50 per user, per month.  Amazon provides 1TB of space for $500/ year, or about $42/ month.  Dropbox Pro provides 100GB for $10/ month (or 1/10th of what Google provides, at the same price).

3. Better Data Management – iCloud/iDevice File Management
Currently, the only way to get non-media related content (documents and such) into iCloud is to save them in an iCloud enabled app.  You can’t copy content directly into iCloud. There’s no synchronized folder like there is with Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive.  Apple needs to get it together and provide this kind of file synchronization.

It would also be nice if Apple gave us some control over the data in the file store on an iOS device. I don’t think we need access to the entire file system, but for those files that you have synchronized to accessible on a device, it would be nice if you could organize them within that folder structure with the device. That’s just me…but I’m pretty certain many users would also appreciate having some level of file management capabilities for iCloud on the device.

4. Change Default Apps
Some people prefer Google Maps to Apple Maps (even though the latter is getting much better with each iOS iteration and release). Some people use 3rd party calendar or contact apps.  Some people use Chrome instead of Safari on their iDevice. It would be nice if Apple gave us a way to change which apps handled which data types so we could use the apps we prefer instead of Apple’s default apps. While Apple’s apps aren’t bad, there are better apps available in the App Store, and it would be nice to be able to use those instead of Apple’s standard apps.

Next Page

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Apple to Release Larger iPhone, Discontinue iPhone 5c

There are lots of rumors hitting the airwaves about Apple’s new iPhone plans…

iphone-6-concept-render

I watched the Ashton Kutcher “Jobs” movie last night, and while I won’t go into a review of that film here, even with its disappointments, it DID do one thing pretty well – it gave many an insight on what Steve Jobs may have been like at the office…what kind of person he may have been to work with…sorta. The movie, unfortunately, left you wanting a great more than it was willing to deliver.

HOWEVER, if there’s one thing that I do know – did know – even before watching that movie, it’s to understand that regardless of what it did or didn’t show us about Steve Jobs as a person, the iPhone 5c would never have seen the light of day if he was still here.  It’s a shadow of what the iPhone 5s is, and it just wouldn’t have made the cut.

green-iphone5cAccording to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Apple is planning on discontinuing the iPhone 5c this year, due in no small part to its dismal sales and demand for the device.  That, and save its colored, plastic backing and lack of Touch Sensor (and a couple other key, internal components) the device is nearly identical to the iPhone 5s. I say good riddance.  From a technical perspective, the device was about 1/2 of the iPhone 5s. Technically, buying an iPhone 5 would have been a better deal. From a product perspective, in my opinion, the device did nothing but cannibalize sales of the iPhone 5s. The 5c may have had a subsidized price of about $100 bucks, but older iPhones – the iPhone 4, the iPhone 4s – I think would have been a better consumer choice if you were looking for an entry into the iOS ecosystem but didn’t have a large budget. Either way, the device is rumored to be discontinued with the release of the iPhone 6…

The iPhone 6 is currently rumored to be announced as early as June of this year.  The big feature for it is thinner and wider. Current rumors include an iPhone 6 (and for lack of a better name) iPhone 6c with a 5+ inch screen and 4.5 inch screen, respectively.  Both devices are rumored to also contain 802.11ac Wi-Fi.

As far as the implementation or desire of these features in the actual device, I know that Apple is going to be very picky about screen size. They have a firm belief that a smartphone should be easily operated with one hand, so the screen can’t be too wide.  I happen to agree.  While most people use two hands to operate their phones, being able to do that with one hand is an important distinction.  The device likely won’t get too much wider than it currently is.  However, the screen could get a little wider, and it wouldn’t hurt too much. Any more than say, another 1/4 to 1/2 inch wider, though and you’re going to risk a sprained thumb…

As with all Apple rumors, this is pure speculation; and while fun to ponder, these rumors are really nothing more than fodder to make your garden grow. Predicting what Apple will actually release is an art, and one that many, if not most to all, don’t excel in, including investor analysts.  Sometimes, they can be the worst of the prognosticating lot, as they have to deliver for the investors they try to prognosticate for. Dollah-dollah bills, y’all…

As far as what else the device may contain, or what else it may do, I have no idea. Apple released the original innovation for the device between 2001 and 2007 (iPod to iPod Touch to iPhone).  Everything that’s happened to the device since then has been evolutionary instead of revolutionary.  Where they can or will go with the device going forward probably won’t come with such a giant step from device model to device model.

Even after almost 2 years with an iPhone 5, there’s nothing really WRONG with my iDevice. I have no real reason to upgrade it other than AT&T says I can, and I may want <this new, incremental feature> or <that new, incremental feature>.  If you want the big, “I gotta have <this new feature>” experience from an upgrade, then you may want to wait more than 2 years.  Based on what’s going on with the iPhone, it may be that I wait until the iPhone 6s (or whatever THAT’S called) before I think about upgrading.

Now that Q1 2014 is firmly out of the gate, you can expect to see more iDevice rumors as well as iOS 7.x or iOS 8 rumors beginning to churn prior to the annual iDevice event everyone is expecting later this year.  What future versions of iOS will do, along with the implementation of any new hardware components, remains to be seen.  So far, iOS 7 is working pretty well. Aside from the security based, lock screen bugs that have come up with the last 2 major releases of iOS, I don’t hear many people clamoring for the implementation of this, that or the other feature.  I also haven’t heard anything definitive coming out of the iOS development community on what Apple will or should implement in future releases of iOS 7.x, let alone, iOS 8.

Now, depending on what Apple decides to do with the iWatch – if and when it releases that piece of highly anticipated wearable technology – I can see a number of different hardware and software based tweaks that might or will be implemented with both the iPhone as well as the iPad.  If it could do most of what the Pebble Steel will do, most of what the Galaxy Gear does,  as well as incorporating what the Fitbit Force, and Nike Fuel Band SE and others do NATIVELY, that device could work with a new, updated and REVOLUTIONARY iPhone very well; and that’s something that I’d like to see and would likely buy as soon as it was released.

What about you?  Do you want a wide(er) screened iPhone?  Are you glad to see the iPhone 5c be set out to pasture?  Are you interested in the iWatch or any other wearable tech?  Why don’t you join us in the discussion area below and tell us what you think.

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Upgrade Fever – Smartphones and Tablets and Laptops

Oh my..?   Yeah, I’ve noticed you only catch it if you want it…

Ever since the release of the first iPhone in 2007, there seems to be an annual hullaballoo that’s expected to take the world by storm. Every August or September, we’re expected to sit in front of our computers, drooling on our F5 keys as we wait for the guy at the other end of the keynote to update his live blog so we can see the latest version of Widgets on Parade.

Apple does it every year, and it’s become the gateway into the Holiday buying season.   Every major electronics manufacturer from Apple to Samsung has some sort of great product whose-whats-it that’s designed to create upgrade fever with that manufacturer’s fans. They also hope to win over nearly everyone else, too.

There’s one thing that I’ve noticed over the past few years, especially with Apple and the iPad.   It’s important to note too – especially right now – just 8 or so calendar days from Black  Friday  (or the day where most retailers sell enough stuff to take them and their balance sheets into the black for the year) because it may really dictate where you put your dollars:

You don’t have to catch upgrade fever.

I’ll say it again – You don’t have to upgrade your iPhone if you don’t want to. There are a few reasons why.   Most of them are common sense, but they may get lost in all of the excitement surrounding the new hardware release.   Let’s take a quick look, though.

The hardware is less than a year old

I think it’s actually amazing. I really do. Apple is a great example here, because they’ve been able to not only do this successfully, but do it consistently as well, to the point where their stock price will fluctuate if the iDevice announcement is delayed or doesn’t happen when the press expects it to.

But let’s take a quick look at not only the iPad Air, but the iPhone 5S/5C.   The iPad 4 and the iPhone 5 are just now out of factory warranty, if you got one on or near launch/release day 2012. I got my iPhone 5 on 2012-10-22. That means that as of this writing, my iPhone 5 is not quite 13 months old…and there’s not a bloody thing wrong with it.

Let’s leave aside the fact that I treat my gadgets very well and all of them are in pristine condition.   I’m likely the exception, there. However, unless you’re drop kicking your phone or tablet across the room at any and every opportunity, there’s very little chance that you’ve worn out the hardware. While this isn’t 1950 blah-blah-blah, things don’t wear out THAT quickly. Unless your very hard on your device, then it likely hasn’t gotten enough wear on it to justify the purchase of a new device to replace it based on use.

In fact, a whole new industry based on certified used devices or device resale has been created based on Apple’s annual product cycle.   Businesses like Gazelle, Amazon’s Used Device Purchase Service came about because of Apple’s rapid hardware update cycle.   Even Apple and the wireless carriers got into the game.   However, you need to understand that you’re going to take a bit of a hit on is resale value. The “depreciation” after only a year is a lot more with these companies than you might experience if you sold the device privately.

However, simply based on your device’s age and its condition, it’s still very usable. Getting rid of it just because the new version is now available isn’t always the smartest financial decision either.   Which brings me to my next point…

Only the guy on the uninsured motorcycle is actually made of money

Let’s face it – iDevices are expensive. The high-end cellular iPad costs nearly as much as an entry level MacBook Air.   An entry level iPad costs as much as a mid-range notebook or desktop. These things aren’t cheap.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford a new iPad every year. I’m not even certain I would want to buy a new one that often. Given the (potential) high cost of entry, keeping up with an annual, hardware refresh cycle isn’t realistic…unless of course you’re “financially independent.”   At the end of the day, I know I’m not that uninsured guy riding a motor cycle, littering the highway with $20’s.   Whether I wanted to or not, the point is moot. Buying a new iPad every year isn’t in the cards for me; or most people, for that matter.

Your Use Case probably hasn’t changed

When I bought my iPad, I bought it for a few specific reasons – I want to watch movies. I want to watch TV shows and I want to read eBooks.   These are “lean back” activities that I will likely do for quite some time with that device. In short, my needs haven’t changed and likely won’t for quite some time.

As the needs haven’t changed, I haven’t found the need or justification to upgrade my device.

Conclusion

I purchased an iPad 1 in December of 2010, and it’s been working very well since I put it into service. That device is perfect for what I want to do with it, and I likely won’t need to replace it unless and until it breaks or my use case changes.   The iPad 2 is still available for purchase at $399 USD.   It’s got almost twice the processing power as the original iPad, and is also thinner and lighter. If you have a similar use case in mind and want to buy “new,” an iPad 2 is likely your best iDevice of choice. If you’re going to do more with it – perhaps light computing or image editing – then an iPad Air or iPad 4 might be a better choice.

However, just because its older, doesn’t mean that it can’t do exactly what you need it to do.   This is true for nearly any and every electronic device available for purchase in any market today. Figure out what you want to do, and then find the best device to meet that need.   If your needs are like mine, then you may not have to have the newest device out there. In many cases, the original one you purchased can still meet the needs.

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How Bright is Apple’s Future?

New iDevices and a new version of iOS hit the streets beginning 2013-09-18. What does this mean for Apple? I have a couple of thoughts…

I’ve been in the biz for a while. I started using computers when Compaq was still COMPAQ, giving IBM a very serious run for its money back in 1980-blah, blah, blah. The first real portable computer, in my mind was the Apple IIC, though, honestly, while it was smaller than Compaq’s 20lbs+ portable, it still required a heck of a lot to take with you. Its monitor was small and movable, but it was still a CRT that required special care…nothing like the notebooks and ultra-books of today.

Beginning 2013-09-18, Apple has new versions of its mobile device OS – iOS 7 – hitting the streets. The new mobile OS will begin hitting compatible devices soon. I’ve already had 1-2 people ping me, asking me where it is, and why it hasn’t hit their iPhone yet.

Patience my minions…patience. You’ll get it soon enough.

The iPhone 5C is also available for pre-order as of this writing and will ship beginning on 2013-09-20, with the iPhone 5S available for pre-order beginning 2013-09-20. The devices are in the hands of many reviewers now, and many of them like what they see… as far as the hardware is concerned. The devices are solid, well built, with both the polycarbonate backing and its varying colors being well received. Many reviewers are saying the 5C is a much better feeling device than other, newer, high end Android devices. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to put my hands on one yet.

Reviews of the iPhone 5S are equally positive. The most pleasing and, I think, surprising feature is its Touch-ID Home Button. Fingerprint readers have been around for a while. The Compaq iPAQ 51/5400 series devices had one back in the 2004 time frame that was OK, but required a swipe instead of a press, and half the time, the reader didn’t read the biometric data correctly. I’m not sure if it was a hardware issue, a software issue or both. In general, the technology stunk; and I think many were expecting that the same level of performance from Apple’s latest feature and flagship phone. To most everyone’s delight and surprise, that doesn’t appear to be the case. I think the New York Times put it the best:

The best part is that [the fingerprint reader] actually works — every single time… It’s nothing like the balky, infuriating fingerprint-reader efforts of earlier cellphones. It’s genuinely awesome; the haters can go jump off a pier.”

5s-5c

The biggest concern, I think, will come from iOS 7, and it will mostly come from iPhone 5, 4S, and iPhone 4 users who are used to iOS 6 and will upgrade. I’ve said this before. The glitz, polish and 3D look of iOS 6 and earlier is gone. The flat, stark white look of iOS 7 is prevalent throughout the new OS and provides a very different look and feel. Many users will upgrade and, in my opinion, immediately regret it.

To those users, I have one thing to say – Wait.

You’ll notice that iOS 7 is faster than previous versions of iOS 6 and iOS 5. Yes, they’ve changed things, added some new system functionality here and there, moved some options around, but give yourself a month or two before you throw your iPhone across the room. While you’re sure to get used it, you may find that you like it.

However, you may not.

A lot of the exclusivity of Apple’s iDevices used to come from the finish of iOS 6’s 3D enabled UI. With it gone, replaced by the flat look and feel of iOS 7, I think many people are going to be unhappy. It’s a radical change over the past 5 years; and I’m not sure it’s the type or kind of change that people were hoping for.

My daughter just got an upgrade notification on her iPhone 5 for iOS 7, and as you can see from the attached screenshot, not only is it going to be a large upgrade, it’s going to take quite a long time to download, and I have a very fast cable connection.

iOS 7 update

So does this dim Apple’s future? That’s a great question. I think the answer is mixed. Wall Street hasn’t been too pleased with Apple since the announcement of both the iPhone 5S and 5C. Apple’s stock price dipped quite a bit after the announcement. The Tech World’s reaction was also tepid, but has improved over the past week or so.

I’ll have more user feedback as I receive it, as well as the write-up I promised on some of the newer, final features of iOS 7 in the next few days. Please watch Soft32 for these articles.

 

In the meantime, why don’t you join us in the discussion, below, and let us know what you think of the iPhone 5C and 5S.

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