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iPad Air 2: Slim, light and beautiful to behold

Posted on by Mike Evans

On Friday I picked up a space-grey 128GB cellular iPad Air 2 from the Apple Store in Covent Garden. It wasn't an impulse buy, I had been planning this ever since the iPhone 6 Plus appeared and I decided to sell of my iPad mini.

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Tim Cook: The Apple Watch will likely require daily charging

Posted on by Mike Evans

Shock, horror. Tim Cook says we might need to charge our Apple Watch every day? What is the world coming to? But just who, with anything but the most tenuous grasp of physics, expected that the Apple Watch would not require daily charging? All those naysayers haven't got a clue.  I will be happy if the Apple Watch lasts a day on a full charge, just like the iPhone and iPad.

Nightly charging is a good discipline and a good routine. I don't really like devices, such as the Kindle Paperwhite, that last days or even weeks between top-ups. At some stage you are going to be left high and dry without power unless you are meticulous in checking and breaking your routine to plug in the charger. Better to plug in nightly. Think of it like brushing your teeth.

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iPhone 6 Plus: Your store without iPhone in it is shit

Posted on by Mike Evans

Apple's new iPhone 6 Plus is proving far more popular than analysts foretold. Even Apple, by all accounts, has been astounded by the buoyancy of the bigger "phablet" in relation to the iPhone 6, which is itself larger than the 5S. Tim Cook has said that supply may not catch up with demand until 2015. 

In the USA, T-Mobile's John Legere said that the 6 Plus is generating unprecedented demand and at one point accounted for 55 percent of the company's smartphone sales. T-Mobile was expecting the smaller 4.7in phone to account for up to 80 percent of sales. Instead, demand for the 6 Plus was huge: "We got hammered by it," said Legere. He is also reported to have told his staff, "Get on your knees, crawl over there, do whatever the hell you have to do. Your store without the iPhone in it is shit."

Via Apple Insider

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iPad Air & iMac 5K: New toys, new decisions, more cash to spend

Posted on by Mike Evans

The Apple event last week had been widely trailered and it was no surprise to find new iPads and a new iMac. I was disappointed not to find the rumoured retina-screen MacBook Air making an appearance nor, for that matter, any upgrades to the laptop range in general. This rather puts on hold my strategy of replacing my 15in MacBook Pro retina in the near future. 

Seductive display

The new 27in iMac was a pleasant surprise. I was immediately seduced by that gorgeous 5K retina display. Having previously stated that I would never again buy an iMac (a great display to last five years trapped in a body that will be out of date in two) I felt my resolve weakening. I can just imagine this beast on my desk and I am sure I would love the resolution, especially for my photographic work. The problem is, this becomes a very expensive computer when tricked out to my satisfaction. Add the 4.0 GHz quad-core i7, 32GB of memory, a 1TB SSD drive and a few other fripperies and the bill comes to an eye-watering £3,500. This is very much in MacPro territory but, of course, you do get that wonderful 27in retina display thrown in. And if you follow Marco Arment's suggested specification you could shave off a few hundred pounds without serious compromise.

There is still a big snag. After two years the computing bits will be looking ancient but the magnificent screen will easily last another three or even five years. So, again, I have to ask myself if this is the right choice. Had Apple had introduced a retina-display Cinema Display at the same time I would have snapped one up in an instant. It is what I have been waiting for for several years. I understand, however, that a new 5K display would not play well with any other current Mac, including the latest MacBook Pros, so that is probably the principal reason the Cinema Display has again been neglected. It's a pity, though, because it would be the perfect answer for many users who prefer to keep their computing power up to date and don't want to have to lose a display every time there's an upgrade. On the contrary, it would be possible to use the new 27in iMac as a monitor in conjunction with a new generation of Macs a couple of years into the future. On that basis the iMac seems more justifiable.

Faced with these choices, my decision is to sit on the fence a few more months. If in doubt, do nothing is very wise advice.

iPad choice

The new iPads don't demand as much thought. Last year I chose to go with the retina-screen mini in preference to the iPad Air. In the meantime, along came the iPhone 6 Plus which, although not an iPad, is sufficiently large to be a daily carry-around device for casual productivity work. After a few weeks with the 6 Plus I no longer want to carry the iPad mini. And if I don't need to carry it, why not get an iPad Air 2? 

That's the logical plan. My mini is up for sale at Amazon and I will be buying one of the new iPad Air 2 models, primarly as a house device for reading magazines and browsing. It is also something I can pack when I know I am going to be doing lots of writing or editing while on the move.

The thinner, lighter and much faster iPad Air 2 offers a great excuse to upgrade. In addition, I am fascinated by Apple's new built-in SIM card and can't wait to try it out. I now see ultimate freedom from these annoying bits of plastic that are so easily lost. Federico Vittici has produced a masterful overview of the new iPads on Macstories and I recommend a browse if you are in the market for one of these svelte newcomers.

With the introduction of the Air 2 and the iPhone 6 Plus, the poor mini is squeezed. As far as I am concerned, it has almost lost its raison d'être.

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Apple's Cinderella Cinema Display: Will it ever be updated?

Posted on by Mike Evans

Lots of rumours about tomorrow's Apple event, mainly concerning the new iPad Air and the possibility of a retina-display 27in iMac. But there is one product that never seems to get the glass slipper treatment: Apple's ageing Thunderbolt Cinema Display. My 24in Cinema Display has done sterling work for over six years. I wanted to upgrade to the Thunderbolt version but have not done so because, for some unfathomable reason, it still supports only USB 2. 

 

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iPhone 6 Plus arriving in UK sooner than originally scheduled

Posted on by Mike Evans

When I ordered the iPhone 6 Plus last week I was quoted a delivery date between September 30 and October 3. Yesterday I got a revised delivery of this coming Monday, September 22. Today came another advice, threatening delivery tomorrow, September 20. This year Apple seem to have speeded things up considerably. 

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Phone is just an app which is not frequently used

Posted on by Mike Evans

I am fully with Horace Dediu on this:

Phone is just an app which, for me at least, is not frequently used. I communicate with my iPhone but the go-to app is iMessage or FaceTime or Skype or maybe Email or Twitter. Phone is something I use so rarely that the interface sometimes baffles me. And yes, it’s an Internet appliance. Browsing is something I do quite a bit but many of the browsing jobs-to-be-done are done better by apps. News, shopping Facebook and maps are “things which were once done in a browser."

He makes the point that when Steve Jobs launched the iPhone he described it as a combination of a wide-screen iPod, a phone and a breakthrough internet connector. These three things, says Dediu, are no longer the most used features.

Similarly, the Apple Watch was launched as a precise timepiece, a new, intimate way to communicate and a comprehensive health and fitness device. But it will develop over the coming years and who is to say what its most useful features will be seven years hence?

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iPhone 6 Plus selling out fast after an hour on sale

Posted on by Mike Evans

All models of the iPhone 6 Plus except the 16GB base (which, I suspect, is not favoured by those going for the larger screen) are now on 3-4 weeks' delivery. In contrast, the smaller iPhone 6 seems to be 7-10 days for all configurations. Despite reports that the 5.5-in model has been introduces solely to cater for the Asian market, I think Apple will be surprised at the amount of interest from the USA and Europe in particular. The reason phablets have not been more popular in these markets is that Apple has not had one until now. It will be fascinating to get the sales figures after the weekend. 

Postscript: By 11 am on launch day all colours and configurations of the iPhone Plus had sold out at all UK Apple Stores. No details on further availability. 

 

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iCloud Pricing: Legacy accounts to be upgraded

Posted on by Mike Evans

Two days ago I changed my £70-a-year 50GB iCloud plan to the new 200GB storage limit for £35.88 a year. Then I read several articles suggesting that the 50GB plan would be continued for legacy account holders with the implication that the price would be calculated pro rata with the new plans.

After a long chat with Apple Support I am assured that this is not so. All legacy plan holders will be automatically updated tomorrow or early next week. So anyone on the current 50GB tariff will migrate to the 200GB plan for around 50% less than they were paying before. There will be a pro-rata adjustment on the previously paid annual subscription.

This solves the conundrum and it is probably best to sit back and wait to see what happens. After the upgrade you can change the plan at any time.

At the moment, with three devices backing up, I am using under 30GB of iCloud storage. But this will change when iCloud Drive comes online in the next few weeks. iCloud will assume much of a versatility of Dropbox and I suspect most users will start to need more storage. 

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Apple Watch: Achilles' heel battery life will be its downfall — or will it?

Posted on by Mike Evans

Given the Watch's diminutive size and multi-talented capabilities, once-a-day charging is actually an impressive feat. Unless Apple has surreptitiously managed an overnight revolution in battery technology, I cannot imagine how anyone could have imagined the watch lasting more than one day on a charge.

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iCloud: Apple storage costs slashed in UK

Posted on by Mike Evans

Apple has now posted the new, cheaper iCloud storage costs and you can upgrade or downgrade at any time. I was on the old 50GB package (55GB including the free initial 5GB awarded to all iCloud users) and paid £70 for the year, equivalent to £5.84 a month. The new rates are:

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John Gruber on the big-ass iPhone and the wrist wearable thingie

Posted on by Mike Evans

John Gruber of Daring Fireball has a clearish view on the new iPhone 6 and the wrist wearable thing:

I don’t know if it’s a watch. But as we get closer, everyone is saying it’s a watch. So for the sake of clarity I’ll call it a watch here, but I want my Being Right Points if it winds up being something that goes on your wrist but isn’t a watch.

If it has a screen, I’ll bet it’s square. And if it’s square, 320 × 320 pixels sounds about right to me. But here’s the thing I don’t understand: LCD screens are power-hungry. Watch batteries are necessarily tiny. I don’t see how a watch with a 320 × 320 display could get acceptable battery life, unless the screen is almost never on. And if the screen is almost never on, how is it a watch?

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iPhone 6 Plus: Huge phones are no longer ridiculous

Posted on by Mike Evans

Marco Arment today:

People holding Galaxy Notes up to their faces to make phone calls looked ridiculous in 2011. Today, making a phone call in public on a huge phone is commonplace, and how often do you make phone calls in public anymore? We also thought it was ridiculous to hold up an iPad to take a picture — a brand new phenomenon in late 2011, as the first iPad with a camera was released only six months earlier — but that has also since become ubiquitous and unremarkable.

Read the full story here

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iWatch: The next big thing is coming

Posted on by Mike Evans

A few hours from now we will be introduced to the iWatch and I do not expect to be disappointed. Apple has put so much into this project. It has recruited experts from the luxury watch and luxury good markets and already knows more about what is necessary to succeed than any other manufacture.

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A sort of complete guide to the iPhone 6 and other new toys

Posted on by Mike Evans

September has arrived and in the world of Apple that can only mean one thing, the new iPhone is due to turn up. Not to mention a plethora of other devices and software updates; as we lead up to the holiday season September is undoubtedly Apple’s action packed month. This is by no means a detailed run down of iPhone 6 rumours, but it is aimed at giving a picture of what to expect.

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Apple to enter the lucrative mobile payments field on Tuesday

Posted on by Mike Evans

Tuesday's Apple conference in Cupertino is expected to be the platform for the launch of a new mobile payments system that could be another huge success for the company. Bloomberg reports that Apple has teamed up with Visa, MasterCard and American Express for the new iPhone Wallet system. The new iPhone 6 will incude an NFC (near-field communication) chip for the first time and this will open the floodgates for a major leap in popularity of paying by phone. Along with Touch ID, which already unlocks a phone in seconds and will be extended to many apps under iOS 8, the iPhone will become the most convenient way to pay for a wide range of goods and services. 

Ben Barjarin of Creative Strategies in San Jose is quoted:

Love it or hate, Apple drives a lot of standards in the industry,” Bajarin said in an interview. “They are the mover in these markets. When they do something, the industry seems to follow.

Apple already holds credit card details for over 800 million iTunes accounts and this puts the company in pole position to develop a mobile payments system with immense potential.

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Swizerland in deep doodoo as Sir Jony polishes his designer iWatch

Posted on by Mike Evans

Apple design supremo, Jony Ive, is reported to have suggested that Switzerland and its watch industry could be in deep mire when Apple finally announces the iWatch (or whatever it is to be called). Hyperbole? Probably. But even if he was jesting there's a grain of truth in the statement. I am a typical customer for Swiss watches: I love the mechanical perfection and the hewn-from-solid appearance of my IWC Fliegerchronograph. I would be reluctant to swap it for a jony-come-lately from Cupertino. But....

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