Tag Archives: iPhone

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Tablet and iPad Market Is 100 Million Units Smaller Than Expected [Arik Hesseldahl – Recode]

What happened? Smartphones for one, in particular really big smartphones. Also, people buy new tablets at a slower pace than they do phones.

One category of tablets that’s likely to be successful: tablets with detachable keyboards, like the iPad Pro and Microsoft Surface.

As for me, I find myself using the iPad mini less and less, and growing more and more frustrated with its limitations as I do. And I’m still getting used to how portable my MacBook Air is. Light as a feather, with hours and hours of battery life. I use it plugged in to a 27″ display, keyboard, and trackball when I’m at my desk. When I want to take it somewhere, there are only three connections, easy to detach and reattach.

I see myself moving to a bigger phone in the next generation of iPhones later this year, and using the iPad mini even less. Unless, that is, Apple comes out with an iPad the size of the Kindle Paperwhite. I think that might be the ideal size for me.

Why TextExpander’s move to subscription pricing was a bad decision

The three-year cost of running TextExpander on the Mac has gone from $20 to $142.56. That puts TextExpander in the price range of Microsoft Office, Adobe Lightroom, and TurboTax.

And more.

As for me: Smile says it will continue to support the current version of TextExpander through the current and next versions of OS X. I’ll stay with it until I get a compelling reason to upgrade or switch.

Ironically timed, just this morning I saw a write-up of an intriguing alternative for large numbers of complex text snippets.

TextExpander 6 and TextExpander.com… [Michael Tsai]

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The free keyboard lets you access your clipboard history, contacts, OneDrive and SharePoint documents, and translates what you type into other languages.

The keyboard gets only 2.5 stars on the iTunes store, with 35 reviews in. People are saying it’s slow and buggy.

iOS has weak support for third-party keyboards. iOS is not good at letting you designate a third-party keyboard as your main keyboard; Apple apparently wants you to toggle to the third-party keyboard for some specific reason, then go back to using the main iOS keyboard most of the time.

Microsoft Launches Hub Keyboard for iOS [John Voorhees – MacStories]

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That’s a screenshot above.

A lot of people are going to be happy about this, but not as happy as when it actually ships.

From Alpha to Beta [KB – Literature and Latte: The Cellar Door]

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“Not as clumsy or random as a blaster. An elegant weapon, for a more civilized age.” —Obi-Wan Kenobi

The iPhone SE  [John Gruber – Daring Fireball]

I’m torn on this. I love a phone that I can use comfortably in one hand, which I can’t really do with the iPhone 6.

On the other hand, I want the latest greatest internal hardware, and the iPhone SE will be a generation behind in six months.

And I’m thinking about going up a size, rather than down, so I can comfortably use the phone instead of the iPad mini.

I have six months to decide. That’s when we can expect the year’s big iPhone announcement.

I’ll also be tempted by an Apple Watch when the next generation of those hits.

Or maybe I’ll just save our money and not buy any pricey Apple hardware this year. That works too.

 

How to use the predictive keyboard on iPhone and iPad

Call me a dope, but I never noticed the keyboard is trying to predict the next word as I type.

Also: How to get special characters, symbols, and diacritical marks when typing on the iOS keyboard. I’ve seen this instruction a few times before, and will probably forget it next time I need it.

How to use the QuickType keyboard on iPhone and iPad [Luke Filipowicz, Rene Ritchie, and Allyson Kazmucha – iMore]

FBI Drops iPhone Case Against Apple After Outside Hack Succeeds

The Justice Department asked a federal judge in California court to vacate its petition to force Apple to help it hack the phone. “The government has now successfully accessed the data stored on Farook’s iPhone and therefore no longer requires the assistance from Apple Inc. mandated by Court’s Order,” the filing reads.

The filing doesn’t elaborate on the method used, nor does it hint at any of the information revealed. What it means is that the FBI has achieved a method to access the data stored on the phone, circumventing its security features.

While this case is now moot, there “may well be similar conflicts down the road,” a Justice Department spokeswoman says.

FBI Drops iPhone Case Against Apple After Outside Hack Succeeds [Arik Hesseldahl – re/code]

This Is What Using The New Small iPhone Is Actually Like

Excellent review by Nicole Nguyen at BuzzFeed.

I’m tempted by the small size. I have small hands. For a man, at least.

On the other hand, I’m also tempted by a larger phone, something I can use instead of my iPad mini.

On the negative side, I don’t want to buy a phone with the guts of the year-old iPhone 6s.

On the positive side: Two-day battery life! Holy mother of Steve Jobs!

Conclusion: I’m going to hold out until autumn, when we’ll probably see the next full refresh of the iPhone line. Or even next year, when rumor has it we’ll see a complete revamp.

[This Is What Using The New Small iPhone Is Actually Like / Nicole Nguyen / BuzzFeed Life]

Nothing in today’s Apple announcement makes me want to open my wallet 

Julie will be relieved to hear that Apple didn’t announce anything I want to buy today.

I do see an Apple Watch and new iPhone in my future in 2016. But I’ll hold out for the new models.

I might be tempted by a 4″ iPhone if the specs were top-performing. I haven’t done a side-by-side comparison, but I suspect the new phone is a low-end model.

And I think I’m going to go in the other direction this year – get a phone that’s bigger than the one I have now, rather than smaller – the 5.5″ 7 Plus (or whatever they decide to call it). I’ll see if that plus the MacBook Air and Kindle can replace the iPad for me.

Or I might just choose one or the other – Watch or phone. Buying both in one year seems like a lot of money to spend.

Or maybe I won’t buy anything.

Year’s still young yet, with at least two more Apple announcements ahead.

[Price Drops Were the Only Surprise at Apple Event / Dawn Chmielewski / Re/code]

Which is better: Google Maps or Waze?

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Lifehacker reviewer Thorin Klosowski tests Google Maps and Waze and determines they’re both great for different uses. Waze is good for getting from point A to Point B – it’s particularly good for shaving a few minutes off a commute, or a good chunk of time off a multi-hour drive. Maps is good for finding destinations along your route, and offers a variety of transportation options.

Turn-by-Turn Navigation Showdown: Google Maps vs. Waze / Thorin Klosowski / Lifehacker

That basically confirms my own impressions, obtained by talking to people, using Google Maps, but not trying Waze.

I don’t commute to work; I work from a home office. Which means I’m not taking the same route every day in varying traffic conditions. Nor do I regularly take multi-hour drives. Those are the two best use cases for Waze.

What I do use Maps for are occasional trips where I need a refresher how to get where I’m going. I also use Maps while driving around on business trips in rental cars – different routes every time. I use Maps for walking directions in urban downtowns. And of course I use Maps to get to places where I’ve never been before.  Google Maps is good for all those use cases.

I sometimes use Apple Maps. Directions have gotten good, not like the first days when Apple Maps was justifiably a joke. I like the user interface and integration with iOS and Mac OS X better than Google Maps. But Google Maps still gives better directions, which is the most important thing of course.

1Password debuts extension to make it easy to log into third-party apps and websites on iOS 8

I’m very much looking forward to this on iOS 8. Logins are an area where mobile falls down in comparison to desktop — it’s much easier for me to log in to things on my Mac than on my iPhone, iPad, or Nexus 7.

The video embedded here is only 34 seconds long and worth watching.

1Password debuts extension for third party apps on iOS.

Fixing (unrelated) annoying problems with Google Voice and the Mac App Store

The Google Voice problem was that incoming unanswered calls were going to an automated switchboard for some San Diego financial service that I have no relation to. If somebody called me and I picked up, that was fine, but if I didn’t pick up the call got forwarded to this financial service’s switchboard. Frankly, the financial service sounds shady. This was merely annoying rather than a big deal because people would just call back, or send an email or a text. But still it was a problem needing solving.

I’ve been unsuccessfully trying to fix this for months, when yesterday I thought to check which numbers were connected to that Google Voice number. Sure enough, one of the numbers Google Voice was set to ring was a landline number in my home office. But I disconnected that phone when I left my previous employer. Solution: Disconnect that number from Google Voice. And now incoming calls to my Google Voice number correctly go to my Google Voice voicemail. Yay!

For good measure, I configured Google Voice to no longer ring my iPhone when I get an incoming call and instead ring the iPhone Hangouts app. I tested it out and call quality is actually clearer through Hangouts than it is on the native iPhone app. And now I have two phone numbers on my iPhone, which could prove useful.

So I’ve gone from hating Google Voice and wishing I hadn’t signed up to … well, if not loving it then at least enjoying renewed hope for it.

The App Store problem was that I have iMovie installed on this Mac, and it’s due for an update through the App Store, but this is a company-issued Mac, and the iMovie update requires me to enter a password for another account, one that’s not mine. I don’t have a password to that account. This has been going on a couple of years now. Today I finally thought of a solution — I deleted iMovie. I haven’t edited a movie on the Mac in ages.

No big deal but that red 1 by the App Store was driving me crazy. And now it’s gone.

I’m still liking TaskPaper after a day

That’s already a breakthrough. Sometimes I spent a few hours on the weekend configuring a new productivity app and it fails to survive even an hour on a workday.

Here’s a big thing I like about TaskPaper: Because it’s plain text I can just arrange things however I want. Put tags at the beginning of a task. Arrange tasks into projects or not. Change the order however I want. Go crazy.

Two significant drawbacks: It doesn’t automatically support dated tasks. I mean, you can add a date to a task, but it won’t automatically stay hidden until the appointed day and then magically appear in your task list when it’s time. I knew that when I started trying it. There are workarounds, and I can live with it.

The second drawback is more significant: Because my task list is just a text file that syncs with Dropbox, if I walk away from my desk and make a change on my iPhone or iPad, that change will likely result in desktop conflicts. The only workaround is like the old joke: “Doc, it hurts when I do this.” “So don’t do that.” I need to remember to close Taskpaper when I leave my desk. That’s too easy to forget. I can think of a couple of workarounds: Keep a separate “errands and chores” list for things I need to remember to when I’m away from my desk, and keep a separate inbox exclusively as a place to add tasks as they occur to me when I’m out and about.

Day two with TaskPaper is Tuesday.

Customer-thievin’ varmints

Apple Launches Evil Plan to Steal Carriers' Customers

Apple’s upgrades to the Mac, iPhone, and iPad, announced Monday, are focused on tightening integration of those three products into a unified universe. That’s both an opportunity and a threat for carriers.

The more useful Apple makes its mobile products, the more customers use them. That makes money for carriers.

The threat is that customers are loyal to Apple, rather than the carriers. Customers think of themselves as Apple customers, and the carrier is just a provider of the dumb pipe that connects their Apple devices to each other and the world.

– Me on Light Reading.

Apple to unveil iPhone 6 in August, earlier than expected

4.7-inch version in August, 5.5-ish-inch model in September, according to the Economic News Daily of Taiwan.

A 5.5-ish-inch phone sounds good to me. Often my iPhone, which has a 4-inch screen, seems too small and the iPad, with a 10-inch seems too big. If we had Carlos-Slimian fortunes I’d get an iPad mini and full-size iPad. But we don’t have that kind of money, so a 5.5-inch phone seems just right.

And yeah I made fun of phablets when Samsung did them and now that Apple is rumored to be doing one I’m all shut up and take my money.

Apple to unveil iPhone 6 in August, earlier than expected -report | Reuters

AppStorm gives the Notebooks app a thumbs-up review

Notebooks: A Flexible and Powerful Note App in Beta

This is a review of the January 2013 beta, but it looks pretty similar to the final version. Notebooks seems to be developed by one guy, and it’s a complex app, so it’s reasonable for development to be slow. 

I tried the desktop version this morning. It’s nowhere near as sophisticated and polished as the iPad and iPhone version. It’s pretty basic. But basic is good for me for a writing app. Like John Scalzi said: I just want to type. Nearly all my writing is plain text with very light formatting; I don’t need layout tools or complex formatting. To this day I am uncertain how to use stylesheets. 

I get the idea that the desktop version is still in development and features from iOS will make it in there eventually. But my rule is never to commit to an app based on the developer intentions. I decide whether to commit to the app based on what it does now. And what it does now seems OK to me. I’m not in love yet, but I’ll stay with it. 

I’m fooling around with the Notebooks app.

It’s a writing app for the iPad, iPhone, and Mac. It has a Windows version too.

I think it might be the ideal app for me for nearly all my writing. That includes my professional journalism, personal blogging, creative writing, online comments, and random digital scribbles. It might replace a text editor, word processor, scratchpad app, Scrivener, and much of what I use Evernote for.

Or it might be a dog. I’ve only looked at the iPad version, and that for only a few minutes.

Still. Impressed.

www.notebooksapp

My 16 favorite iPhone apps of 2011

These are the apps I find most useful. I compiled the list just by reading the app icons off the first and second screen of my iPhone. The only apps on this list are ones that I’ve been using more than a month, to prevent infatuations from getting listed.

Social

Tweetbot ($3). My favorite Twitter client. Mac bloggers can get rhapsodic and precious in their Tweetbot reviews. I just like Tweetbot. It’s fun and easy to use.

Instagram (free). My love for this free social photo-sharing app snuck up on me. I thought I was just trying it out, and then I tried posting a couple of photos, and a few months later I was hooked. Whereas Flickr seems to have gotten crustier over time with useless features, while failing to keep up on essential capabilities, Instagram does everything a photo-sharing site should and very little that’s unnecessary. Using Instagram, you can post photos, write captions, share with other people, view photos from other people, Like photos, leave comments, share on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other social networks, and that’s about it. It’s like Twitter for photos. Oh, crap, now I’m the one sounding precious, aren’t I?

I can do without the filters on Instagram, but everybody else seems to like them.

Foursquare (free). I check in regularly. I don’t know why. I never get any offers. Rarely, someone I know has checked in at the same location, but if they’re there I almost always know it already. And yet I still keep tapping that button.

Facebook (free).

Fitness

Lose It! (free). Keeping a food and exercise journal is key to losing weight and getting fit; you need to write down every bite you eat, and every time you work out. That’s important for two reasons: For controlling the amount of food you eat, of course, but also to become conscious and mindful of what and when you’re eating.

Most fat people aren’t mindful; they just eat compulsively and automatically. Keeping a food journal requires you to be aware of what you’re putting in your mouth.

I weigh and measure every meal and snack. I take precise measurements with a scale when I’m home, often down to the gram. When I’m out, I estimate. Lose It tracks the calories of those foods, and also the calories burned exercising, and does so with an easy-to-use and attractive interface.

This year, Lose It added a bar code scanner, which has proven very useful; when I’m eating packaged food like a frozen dinner, I just scan the barcode with the iPhone camera and Lose It automatically tallies the calories.

Lose It’s database and calorie calculations aren’t the greatest. I find that most of the foods I eat aren’t in the database; I have to add them manually. Fortunately, I only have to do that once for each food; after that, Lose It remembers. Likewise, I’ve had to adjust my daily calorie budget; Lose It’s recommendations are way off. But Lose It makes it easy to do those things.

I use Google to find the calories of any foods that aren’t in the database. For example, Google grilled turkey and brie sandwich and you’ll get several entries; I just pick the median amount and enter it in to Lose It.

RunKeeper (free). I use it to track the duration and distance of my daily walks.

Both Lose It and RunKeeper have social features and badges that I don’t pay any attention to, with the exception of posting my RunKeeper results each day to Facebook.

Weightbot ($1.99). Lose It lacks a good diary for keeping track of your weight over time; it’ll tell you what you weighed last time you weighed yourself, but not what you weighed six months ago. That’s what Weighbot is for. It’s less important now that I’ve hit my goal weight, but I keep it up anyway.

Media

Podcaster ($2). I listen to hours of podcasts every week, and Podcaster does a better job managing them for me than the native iPod app. Podcaster does automatic, over-the-air updates of new podcast episodes, and lets me create a playlist and listen to one podcast after another without having to manually start each one.

Audible (free). Audiobooks.

Productivity

OmniFocus ($20). The iPhone version of the ultimate to-do-list management app. I also use the iPad and Mac versions. Mainly, I use the Mac version, and use the iPhone version to add new items.

Due ($5). Reminders and timers. I use it instead of the built-in iPhone timer for a couple of reasons. One is because it supports pre-set alarms. For example, I have a pre-set configured at 5 minutes to time steeping tea, and another at 32.5 minutes for the turnaround point on my walk.

The other reason I prefer Due to the built-in timer is you don’t have to press a button to turn off; it rings for a second or two and then shuts off on its own.

Since this fall, iOS 5 has its own reminders app; I haven’t compared Due with that.

Due has many other capabilities, but I don’t use most of them.

Other

GV Mobile+ ($3). My preferred Google Voice client for the iPhone. I bought it before Google had its own, official client. It’s not so much better than the official client that I’d recommend others pay for it.

Soulver ($4). Better than the iPhone’s built-in calculator; it displays results adding-machine-tape style. You can also include words in your calculations.

TomTom USA ($40). GPS and turn-by-turn directions.

1Password ($8.99). Password management. One version runs on the iPhone and iPad, and it syncs with a version for the Mac. Essential for generating secure passwords, and remembering my hundreds of passwords for Web sites and networks.

Chipotle (free). Very nice mobile commerce app; it remembers our weekly order, and, with a couple of buttons, we order, pre-pay,then I drive over, cut to the front of the line (without making eye contact with anyone in the line — that’s important), pick up and go. I’ve been trying to get an interview with Chipotle about this app for The CMO Site for months; if you have any connections over there please let me know.

First impressions of iOS 5

I upgraded my iPhone 4 and first-generation iPad Wednesday morning as soon as iOS 5 became available. I like it a lot. Here are some random first impressions:

I like the tabbed Mobile Safari browser on the iPad. I hadn’t read anything about that feature on the previews. Tabs reduce the hassle of changing between open browser windows by many taps. I’ve switched back to Mobile Safari as my main browser; previously I’d been using the Atomic Web Browser, mainly because it has tabs.

Speaking of the browser, I like the new Reading List. I hadn’t thought I’d use it, because I’m a devoted Instapaper user. But I’m using the Reading List for a completely different purpose. When I visit a site like Techmeme, which has a lot of links, I queue up links in the Reading List, and then read each of them one by one. Because of the iPad’s limited memory, that’s better than just opening all the links in separate tabs, which is what I would do on the desktop.

I like the split keyboard on the iPad. It makes it much easier to thumb-type while holding the iPad in portrait mode between my palms, which is how I often enter text into the iPad. I wish the keys were a little bigger, though.

On the iPhone, I love that the Personal Hotspot feature is now surfaced in Settings. I wish they’d also surface Bluetooth, because I frequently have to fiddle with Bluetooth settings to keep my Bluetooth earpiece working. Bluetooth earpieces are a cruel joke by the electronics industry.

I like that I can now flag messages in mail. For years, I used Gmail as my primary email account. When I was mobile, I’d access Gmail with my mobile browser, mark everything as read, and star messages requiring attention at my desk. Now, my primary email is a corporate Exchange account, which I need to access using the iPhone and iPad’s Mail client. I didn’t realize how much I missed being able to flag messages.

I had a bit of trouble migrating to iCloud. When I entered my MobileMe credentials, I got an error message saying, “Move your MobileMe Account to iCloud: Go to me.com… on your computer to move your information to iCloud.”

Turns out that’s not quite right — you need to go to iCloud.com… first, log in with your MobileMe credentials, and then you’re directed to Me.com… to complete the job. And I couldn’t access Me.com… from Chrome; I had to use Safari to get in.

Steve Jobs is going to come back from the dead to kick some ass over this.

I can’t access iCloud from my Mac, because my Mac is still on Snow Leopard.

Altogether unsatisfactory — but I hope the problem will be quickly resolved.

I like the new Notification Center a lot. I gather it’s unpopular among the respected Mac blogs; I haven’t had a chance to read up to find out why.

On the other hand, Settings for Notification Center are a mess. To configure Notification Center for any individual app, you need to look in three places: The Notifications area of the Settings app, the app’s own area in the Settings app, and the settings area of the app itself. I know that sentence is confusing to read; it’s equally confusing to do. Apple needs to crack the whip on developers and enforce a consistent way to manage settings. I don’t care if settings are inside the app or in the Settings app, but they all need to be in one place.

I wish that apps like OmniFocus and Podcaster could sync in the background. Every day when it’s time to check my to-do list, I have to walk across the house to get my iPad and sync OmniFocus manually, then sync it on my iPhone, and sync on the Mac. It’s like living in primitive conditions.

Because I have an older iPhone, I don’t have Siri. I’m looking forward to getting it with my next upgrade, which I expect will be spring or summer when the next generation of iPads or iPhones come out. I had hoped that the iPhone 4 and iPad would support dictation at least, if not full-blown Siri support, but that’s not the case. Oh, well.

I like shortcuts. I can now type “mmw” to spell out my whole name, and “cmosig” for my work email signature. I’m sure I’ll come up with more.

Here’s an annoying bug: When I went out walking yesterday, far away from a Wi-Fi connection, I found I had to redownload all my podcasts. Same thing with Instapaper articles. Instapaper developer Marco Arment explains the problem.

All in all, a solid upgrade to the iOS line. Nothing I can think of that’s magic, but many improvements.