Apple’s October 2014 Event – A Summary


Starting with perhaps their most cult-like intro video ever, Apple kicked the keynote off with an ode to iPhone 6. Tim has “a few more things [to show] before we close out the year” – rather sounds like this could be the last event of the year then.

After some sales and pre-order figures for iPhone 6 making it the “biggest iPhone release ever”, Tim WatchKit SDK rolling out in November, Apple Watch still scheduled for an early 2015 release.

Craig on stage to talk about iOS and OS X. Stats such as 48% of iOS users running iOS, and a reminder of how great both operating systems are, reminding us of all the features announced earlier in the year, including how useful Continuity is for consumers who completely buy into the Apple ecosystem. Craig then demonstrates Continuity including a phone call on an iMac through an iPhone, and it really does work very well. Yosemite and iWork updates available today, iOS 8.1 available on Monday, all for free.

iPad Air 2it’s thinner than a laser-sliced pencil!

  • 6.1mm thin, thinnest iPad ever, also the “world’s thinnest tablet”
  • Display components are laminated together to minimize internal reflection
  • A8X chips specifically for iPad Air 2 – 64-bit, 3bn transistor. Also sports the M8 motion co-processor.
  • 10 hour battery life
  • 8MP iSight camera with 1080p HD video – not bad compared to other tablets, but nothing revolutionary. Dual microphones either side of the least different angles.
  • TouchID sensor
  • WiFi $499 16GB/$599 64GB / $699 128GB
  • WiFi + Cellular $629 16GB / $729 64GB / $829 128GB
  • Shipping by end of next week

iPad mini 3

  • I swear this was announced in less than 30 seconds. Specs are lesser such as 5MP camera, but still comes with TouchID
  • WiFi $399 16GB/$499 64GB / $599 128GB
  • WiFi + Cellular $529 16GB / $629 64GB / $729 128GB
  • Shipping by end of next week

 

iMac with Retina display

  • 27″ 5120×2880 “5K display”
  • 5mm thin tapered edges
  • 3.5GHz quad core i5 as the base 27″ option
  • AMD graphics, which Phil didn’t make a fuss about, but that’s a pretty big change
  • Starts at $2,499, shipping from today

 

New Mac mini

  • 4th gen Intel processors
  • Starts from $499, shipping from today

 

Sorry there’s not much detail in the specifications list – All the presenters apart from Craig were speeding through their presentation points like there was no tomorrow. Personally, I think this was a much more bountiful keynote than the iPhone 6 one, as we’ve seen four product refreshes and several major software releases. Does look like the MacBook Pro with Retina display will be waiting a while before it’s refreshed though, and nobody exactly mentioned any updated Apple standalone display to match the new 27″ iMac resolution.

WWDC 2014 Keynote Summary


The Keynote started with a video remind you how amazingly fantastic apps, specifically ones used on Apple platforms, are, with people thanking developers (specifically, those who develop for Apple platforms). After this, Tim Cook walked on stage, continuing to praise developers, and mentioned some facts and figures about WWDC, such as the youngest developer in the audience being thirteen. Segues into reminding the audience that today is not only about iOS, but Mac OS as well, and “the mother of all releases for developers” – which will get an entire section of the keynote devoted to it, which the public will undoubtedly care less about than the other two, but developers cheered.

The Mac OS announcements:

Mr Hair-to-rival-John-Slattery strolled on stage, to crack jokes… shapographic (is that a thing) video ensues, showing the new dock, toolbars, and windows

Translucent windows and dock

New icons of an iOS 7 flavor,  including a translucent trash can.

A dark mode for Mac OS. That’s it, I’m sold now on the design change.

New notification center with an improved Today view with widgets such as clocks, stocks, reminders, as well as 3rd party ones such as ESPN

Spotlight Search is now a big field in the middle of the display, with in-line previews for documents, and web search at the same time. Federighi continues to throw jokes left, right, and center, such as Jony Ive’s custom aluminium spoons with chamfered edges, at such a speed there’s no time for laughs. Maps, movies, and iTunes Store results all show in-line in Spotlight. I wonder if that includes

Calendar has a new Day View

iCloud Drive – access content from Mac OS, iOS, and Windows

Mail – New “Mail Drop” technology, that sends attachments via iCloud for large attachments up to 5GB in size. Markup to doodle over images.

Safari – favorites now hidden in the search bar. Easy subscription to RSS feeds, easier sharing between people, birds eye view of tabs. Visually, Safari now looks exactly like an elongated version of Safari on iOS 7 does. Also features Markup in sharing.

Announcing “Continuity”. That’s right, picking nouns from a dictionary counts as naming a product. AirDrop now works across iOS and Mac OS, devices in proximity can pick up where you left off with documents, emails, and websites. Instant Hotspot lets you automatically turn your phone into a hotspot from your Mac.

Texts and calls can now work through your Mac. Yes, that means exactly what it sounds like.

Craig continues to perform his comedy act, including brushing off a call from his mother, opting instead to call Dr. Dre. Yosemite available to developers today, and a Fall release for the public at the price of nothing. In a turn of events, Apple will be offering a Public Beta of Yosemite this Summer.

On to iOS 8:

Interactive notifications, much like on Mac OS. Also works on the lockscreen.

Double tap now not only shows recent apps now, but people as well.

Safari has the same new tab view

Mail is now a more efficient experience with gestures and a floating compose window

Spotlight does iTunes, Apps, and Movies, and the search bar in Safari does the same Wikipedia trick as on Mac OS

QuickType – locally stored predictive typing for iOS, which stores different language usage with different contacts

iMessage – Message threads can now be left or set to do not disturb. Other new features include tap to talk (and video), people locations, and view all images shared in a thread in one place.

A demonstration happens, with an on-stage selfie and a hair crisis from Craig. Looks like the fun never ends at Apple.

Enterprise enhancements are mentioned, but I’m afraid I don’t understand much about it.

On to Health then. Now, after so many years, you can consolidate all your health information in one single place. Provided you use iOS, naturally. Surely you didn’t expect Apple would actually solve a problem rather than adding to it.

Family Sharing – “The easy way to share what’s important”. Create a family unit with iOS devices and share things with them. That’s right, you have to convert your entire family to iOS. You are free to use what your family dictates. On a positive note though, you can now access the iTunes purchases of up to six family members… providing you all share the same credit card. Enjoy cleaning that mess up.

Photos – search has been improved for albums, locations, times etc. New simplified photo effect editing has been added. Photos for Mac OS will be updated next year to work in similar ways, and work online as well.

App Store – app previews (videos) and app bundles with discounted pricing.

Notification Center gets interactive widgets

3rd party keyboards can now be used in iOS

 

I don’t think the word “Google” was mentioned a single time during this… Bing seemed to be getting a lot of shout-outs though. Your other bingo word to look out for was “Kit”.

Straight to the Facts – Apple’s September Event


September in the world of the sieve formerly known as Apple has usually been reserved for their big music event with iPod updates. However, the iPhone release schedule became rather unconventional in the past few years, resulting in today instead being the announcement of the next iPhone, or rather, iPhones. Here’s my traditional bullet-point rundown with some analysis:

The typical facts-and-figures updates:

  • the 5th annual iTunes festival – 30 nights of music live streamed to over 100 countries
  • Stanford is getting a new, bigger Apple store
  • October 2013 will mark the 700,000,000th iOS device being shipped
  • iWork is apparently the best selling mobile productivity app on any platform. Quite an impressive claim.
  • Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iMovie, and iPhoto free on all new iOS devices
  • iPhone 5 was the best-selling iPhone ever

iOS 7 (free to download from September 18th) features:

  • Siri enhancements and a male voice for Siri
  • New ringtones
  • Photos taken on vacation/holiday are put in groups
  • Available for iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, iPad 2, The New iPad, iPad 4th generation, iPad Mini, 5th generation iPod touch.

The iPhone 5 will not be relegated to being the budget last-gen iPhone, instead, the new iPhone 5C fits that gap, available in white and rather neon green,  blue, pink, and yellow. On a table it’ll look like an iPhone 5 with a colorful bumper, and on the rear they’re rather reminiscent of the 5th generation iPod touch but constructed from seamless hard-coated polycarbonate (yes, plastic, but “feels dense”) instead. Features:

  • 4 inch Retina touch display
  • A6 chip
  • 8MP iSight camera and FaceTime HD camera with better low-light performance
  • many LTE bands supported, BlueTooth 4.0, and dual-band WiFi.
  • Available on a two year contract for $99 (16GB) and $199 (32GB). Pre-order from September 13th (yes, that’s a Friday). Available in stores on September 20th (US, UK, Aus., Can., Fr., Germany, Japan, China, and Singapore)

For a budget device, it’s got some really good specifications. I imagine the “$99 on contract for 16GB of storage” will result in a lot of sales. All the colors and case variations will be a hipster’s dream.

iPhone 5S – available in grey w/ black bars, gold w/ white bars, and silver w/ white bars. Derrick Avery will be pleased with that.

  • the new A7 chip, up to 2x faster than the iPhone 5, and 56 times faster than the 2008 iPhone. Here’s the best part – it’s 64-bit. All of Apple’s built-in apps have been re-engineered, and it’ll still run 32-bit iOS apps fine.
  • another chip – the M7. It measures motion data (accelerometer, gyroscope, compass) constantly.
  • Battery gives 10 hours for 3G talking , LTE browsing, WiFi browsing, or video playback,  40 hours of music playback, and 250 hours standby time.
  • The camera has a whole host of automatic new features to take great photos without you having to change settings. New ‘True Tone’ flash that has 1,000 unique variations for capturing color temperature. Burst mode (hold the shutter down) for up to 10 shots per second with the ‘best shot’ choice similar to on the HTC One series. Slo-Mo 720p video at 120fps (same resolution/fps as the GoPro). Seemingly no mention of the camera resolution.
  • Touch ID: Fingerprint sensor in the home button – rest your finger on it and it unlocks (no need to click). You can also use your finger for iTunes purchase authentication. For the paranoid out there, it doesn’t store your fingerprint data on iCloud
  • On a two year contract it’s $199 for 16GB, $299 for 32GB, and $399 for 64GB. $49 for a case. Available in stores September 20th (US, UK, Aus., Can., Fr., Germany, Japan, China, and Singapore)

The 8GB iPhone 4S is now free on contract.

The event closes with musical guest Elvis Costello, which I’m more than happy with.

Not really much of an event, to be honest. One musician and a brief mention of iTunes Radio, so clearly not a music event. Yes, the iPhone 5S was announced with arguably less improvement over the 5 than the 4S was over the 4 – depends on how developers take advantage of the A7. If you’re wondering why I called Apple a sieve, that’s because some technology journalists got their hands on the bodies of the 5S and 5C weeks ago, as well as the (still unconfirmed but now likely to be identical to leaks) iPad 5 and iPad mini 2. Overlooking the iPhone 4 prototype fiasco, leaks as concrete as these really didn’t happen in the past.

WWDC 2013 – keynote summary


(skim through and look for the bold/underlined headings for the products you’re interested in knowing about)

So, it opened with a slightly pretentious feeling video, although Apple can usually get away with that. Most of the time…

Anyway, Tim’s first large point is the typical sales update. “We made a video”. No surprise there. An Apple Store in Berlin with meander patterns and Ionic columns on the outside – a classical far cry from the glass buildings seen in other cities, although the interior is the usual bare stylishness. “Only Apple could do this”. Could or would? They’re certainly the only tech company who bother to put this much effort into physical outlets.

“More accounts with credit cards than any other store on the internet that we’re aware of.” That’s not the first time he’s said “that we’re aware of” today, and I’m sure Steve Jobs never threw doubts into people’s minds like that.

Quickly into a third party demo with Anki which looked cool although ran into a difficulty. I’d love to buy something like this, controlling real miniature vehicles with an iPhone – like Death Rally but in real life. This really doesn’t feel like a traditional Apple keynote.

Tim now moves on to Mac, looking at figures for MacBooks. Craig Federighi comes on stage making jokes about running out of cat names and then a joke about the next iteration of Mac OS being called OS X Sea Lion. The name turns out to be OS X Mavericks, named after this place. It’ll be released to consumers in Autumn, but now on to the features:

  • Finder tabs – perfect, much easier than using multiple windows
  • Tagging – adding tags to documents that can appear in the finder sidebar
  • Multiple Displays – it works the way multiple displays should do, works really well. You can even turn your Apple TV into a third monitor and still use your computer as normal.
  • Lots of OS performance changes to improve battery life, faster performance under load, and quicker wake from standby. App Nap balances how system resources are shared so that your battery doesn’t pay for what you aren’t currently using.
  • Improved notifications, even enabling push notifications from iOS to come through. Shows on lockscreen. On a related note,
  • Apps update in the background.

Now Safari, they’re making it “even better”. Well, that’s better than making it worse. Anyway:

  • continuously scroll through articles saved to your Reading List
  • browse shared links seamlessly from Twitter
  • Safari wins on SunSpider and JSBench comparisons
  • iCloud Keychain not only remembers your website logins across devices, but also your WiFi passwords. Also saves your credit card information, excluding the security code.

The Calendar:

  • Aware of location, travel time, weather. Flatter visuals and bland colours – he made a joke about skeuomorphics going
  • Continuous scrolling
  • Tells you travel information right in the calendar – notifies you when you need to leave to get to your appointment on time

Maps:

  • Flyover and other iOS style features
  • You can send directions from desktop maps instantly to your iPhone

iBooks:

  • On the Mac at long last – does everything the iOS iBooks does, including the night mode.
  • Textbooks work fantastically – pity hardly any educational outfits adopted it.

Phil Schiller now takes the stage to talk about the MacBook Air, with an entire new line, shipping from today:

  • New 4th generation Intel Haswell processors – 40% faster graphics and much better battery life. For example, 11 inch going from previous 5 hours battery to up to 9. 13 inch from 7 hours to 12 hours – “all day battery life”
  • 802.11ac WiFi (yes, that’s better than Wireless N) – on a related note, there’s a new AirPort Extreme Base Station that has a HDD inside so it can also act as a Time Capsule (hence the incredibly tall form-factor)
  • More storage for the same price as the last generation.

At long last, after only a slight silent improvement last year, the Mac Pro is finally getting a big update. This time round it even comes with a new design (it’s had the same basic design of the 2003 PowerMac G5). Unfortunately,It looks like a shiny black trash can. Same 12-core maximum, but newer Xeons. 1866MHz DDR3 RAM, Thunderbolt 2, PCIe Flash storage, dual AMD FirePro GPUs as default that can output to up to three 4K (that’s a lot better than 1080p HD) displays. The ports light up, it is tiny compared to the original Mac Pro, and assembled in the USA. Awkward but impressive form. This was only a sneak peek though – released later this year.

On to iCloud services:

  • Some facts and figures
  • iWork for iCloud – looks like it works in a web browser. Nothing new in comparison to Microsoft, but it works just as well.

Time for iOS 7 – it’ll run on iPhone 4+, iPad 2nd gen, iPad mini, 5th gen iPod touch, but some features run on only the current lineup. Consumer release in Autumn.

  • Figures such as 600 million iOS devices sold and 82 percent tablet market share for the iPad. Apple also claim to have the most very satisfied users – Windows Phone comes in second place.
  • “The biggest change to iOS since the introduction of the iPhone” – much like the iPhone 5 was the biggest change to iPhone since the original iPhone. “Amazing new features” and a “stunning new user interface”.
  • It looks extremely psychedelic and INCREDIBLY different. I’m hoping that it’s not quite as extreme as it looks due to pressure for Apple to change it as much as possible.
  • Pastel colours, WebOS style multi-tasking, wallpaper moves around, new icons, slide to the side to unlock lockscreen, round lockscreen numbers, multiple pages in folders, new notification center (also accessible on lock screen), slide up to get instant access to some settings, playback controls, and flashlight etc. shortcuts…. there’s really too much for me to list. Imagine everything you see on your iOS device at the moment. Now it’s ALL different. Well, App icons are in the same grid. But everything else is new.
  • I’ll just list some adjectives as the changes – flat. pastel Google-esque colours. transparency. fluid. more of a fullscreen sense. Blackberry OS 10 style sliding in mail, slower looking transitions, ghostly keyboard.
  • Craig says it’s like getting a new phone – I agree, as what you see is a major part of a phone’s user experience. I think this is going to take a lot of getting used to for people.

Here’s a few key iOS features in a formal style of listing:

  • Apps update intelligently and automatically
  • Card style interface for Safari tabs like on Chrome mobile but more of a rolodex swirl – also, the 8 tab limit is gone.
  • All apps can multitask and run typically used apps ready to go before you tap on them
  • Control Center works from within any app (for example, you can turn the flashlight on instantly)
  • live filters in the redesigned Camera app
  • Images in Photos are organized into ‘moments’
  • Siri has more human-like voice, can control parts of the system (such as change the brightness), and fills the whole screen in a cleaner interface.
  • Deals with 16 vehicle manufacturers such as Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Chevrolet, Hyundai, Volvo, and Jaguar  to have iOS-linked displays in the car
  • App Store can show apps popular near you.
  • Music app has artist images, album grid instead of the now non-existent coverflow
  • iTunes Radio (starting in the US only) – free with ads, no ads if you have an iTunes Match account (at last, now I get more than consistent iTunes crashes for my £21.99 a year). Doesn’t seem as good as the Xbox Music Pass to be honest, but the ecosystem is wider-spread
  • Dismissing a notification on iOS dismisses it across all your devices

And that’s ‘it’ – new MacBook Air available now, OS X and iOS available in Autumn, Mac Pro available “later this year”.

UPDATE – if you want to see how iOS 7 looks like, you can visit Apple’s gallery here.

128GB iPad is a reality


A couple days back there were rumours of an upcoming iDevice having 128GB storage capabilities from info in a developer release of iOS 6.1. Today Apple confirmed that they will be producing a 128GB iDevice, and while it isn’t an iPhone as many were dreaming, it’s the retina iPad 4. Available for sale from the 5th February at $799 for WiFi and $929 for WiFi/cellular.

Also in recent Apple news was the release of iOS 6.1, most importantly broadening LTE compatability. I know iOS X.X releases aren’t accompanied with an Apple keynote, but with this iPad announcement Apple feels publicly more like Microsoft than Job’s Apple…

2012, the year of the new Apple


So, the first complete year of Apple without Steve Jobs at the helm in the 2000s has drawn to a close, though who knows when his legacy of influence will end behind the scenes. It’s been quite a revolutionary year, though there haven’t been any brand new product lines.

The most notable and widest spread product update is certainly the iPhone, I say widest spread because it is unbelievably popular and even those who aren’t Mac users own them – it’s a fully featured Apple product that the masses are interested in and can afford. For example, I could spend a day without seeing a single Mac, but I’d be hard pressed to walk one block without seeing an iPhone. Anyway, this year’s iPhone update was certainly the biggest physical update we’ve ever seen – it now has a 4″ screen, and it’s ever steadily getting faster, but on the whole it’s the normal amount of new features Apple brings out yearly.

One feature to spread across Apple’s portable range has been the inevitably controversial lightning connector. Another first since 2007, Apple made a change to the connector port on the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and iPod nano, said by Apple themselves to be “a bold move”. Smaller, reversible, and hopefully a lot less prone to connections issues with fraying cables, it threw the accessory industry up in arms as their 30-pin connector products were nearly made redundant. Apple released a 30-pin connector to lightning port adapter, but really, the height of the new iPhone and iPod touch combined with that adapter just won’t fit in those speaker systems with an enclosed iPhone space. It also seems there are more cases available for the iPhone 4/4S than for the iPhone 5, but I’m hoping that situation will improve over the coming months.

iTunes was updated with a massive visual overhaul, covered in slightly more detail here. My opinions on it are still mixed, as queuing music is fantastic but I do miss the control I had over the way I viewed my music collection.

In the Mac corner, we saw the majority of devices getting thinner and faster, with the new iMac and retina MacBook Pro. We’re still awaiting a retina MacBook Air, but is there really a need? The Mac Pro has been largely overlooked yet again, I can’t remember when I last saw it get an update in a keynote rather than a subtle enhancement. Year by year it does look as if Apple is trying to drop the Mac Pro, but as impressive as the iMac gets each year, you just can’t beat 12 cores and 64GB of RAM, which many media professionals use daily.

Elsewhere there was an update to the Apple TV introducing 1080p output for the same price of $99. Not to forget the iPad mini, a product anticipated almost since the day the original iPad was released. And then there’s the iPad… when Apple announced a fourth generation, I fit into the category of people who asked themselves “but didn’t they just release the third generation?”. Yes, in a move uncharacteristically like Apple, they updated a product within their usual 12 month rotation – perhaps compensating for the iPhone 4 not being updated for nearly a year and a half.

And finally, there’s iOS 6. Making the headlines for all the wrong reasons, Apple released their first version of iOS without Google’s products being an out-of-the-box component because their deal expired. Google released a YouTube app on the App Store fairly promptly, but only recently updated it to support the iPhone 5’s screen size. I’m sure you won’t forget the Maps fiasco, with Apple’s maps being ridiculed and sneered at. Google left Apple users without an alternative until only earlier this month with Google Maps finally making it onto the App Store. I can’t imagine what took them so long to produce it, maybe they chose the path of letting Apple embarrass themselves rather than play the role of the instant hero. Nevertheless, I feel Jobs’ declaration of thermonuclear war on Apple will prevail posthumously.

Oh, one last thing in the Apple headlines – Scott Forstall was forced to leave Apple. With Steve out of the picture, Tim and Jony saw a chance to remove Forstall and his skeuomorphic design tendencies. While the appearance of iOS is getting stale, I personally don’t dislike Notes looking like a legal pad and folders having a cloth background, but clearly others want it gone. It would be interesting if 2013 brings a completely re-designed iOS.

In the ever-busy Apple ‘rumor mill’ we exit the year with a potentially Intel-powered Apple watch, interesting since the latest iPod nano did away with the form factor that made it wearable on the wrist, and the never-faltering suggestion of an actual Apple TV; a screen, not just a box.

When I started this back in 2010, I had no idea what the coming years would hold. This year I’ve only had 1,800 views, but considering there were only 11 posts excluding this one, that’s not too bad. I will try to get back into reporting every bit of Apple news there is in 2013 rather than just the key pieces, so please stick around for more to come and have a Happy New Year! I won’t be going any time soon, as despite the ever-present lack of a large and loyal reader-base, running this has at least contributed to my writing improving, something which will hopefully be beneficial in a career.

A disappointing Apple event?


I, like many, have been anticipating this event for a while – wondering if Apple was going to make foolish moves with timing, what they were going to release in their traditional Music month, and whether or not the various leaks and rumors were true.

However, I feel a bit dissapointed with the results. I’ll run through the products in order:

iPhone 5:

  • Thinner than my current phone the HTC One S (HTC’s thinnest device), but not as thin as the upcoming Huawei Ascend P1s. Maybe Apple wanted to rush out the iPhone 5 with the ‘thinnest smartphone’ title while it was merely a dubious claim rather than untrue.
  • At long last a wider screen, up from 3.5″ to 4″. However, they didn’t appear to do the smart thing of keeping the aspect ratio the same so as to not annoy developers again (as they had done in the past with the iPad screen size and then retina display). From what it looks, normal iPhone/iPod apps will sit in the centre of the screen. Which, speaking from the point of view of someone with a 4.3″ phone display, which suffers from the lack of a physical menu button, I have to have a significant amount of my screen space wasted for a virtual menu. At least that space is used for something though rather than Apple’s empty space
  • A better camera. Yeah, yeah, another incrementally better camera. Still 8MP, but better low light performance and noise reduction, with some impressive demonstration shots. I challenge anyone with the phone to take photos that looks that good.
  • The design has been updated in that it’s got those previously seen matt bars across it on the back
  • A new power connector – ‘lightning’ (don’t worry, they make a 30-pin to lightning adapter, though I don’t see the practicality of the adapter when it comes to accessories such as speaker systems with an enclosed iPhone area that now won’t be tall enough due to a) the adapter and b) the new height of the iPhone.

iTunes:

  • Rather a Zune-style re-design. I doubt it’ll become more usable or bloated, probably less usable and more bloated
  • The mobile iTunes and App Store apps have been updated to have the currently popular matt black style and a slightly clearer yet bulkier App description page view

iPod Nano:

  • Now looks suspiciously like the Zunes of yesteryear, seems more like a childish micro-iPod touch, with a plethora of gaudy colours to choose from
  • Has a bigger touchscreen and iDevice style home button (but is a circle in a circle instead of a square in a circle)
  • Same lightning connector
  • Defeats the whole point of ‘nano’, a word synonymous with very small. This is no longer very small. Admittedly some past generations of Nano weren’t that small either, but they do enjoy fluctuating between form factor with the Nano… perhaps we’ll see a nano Nano next year…

iPod touch:

  • Thinner than before. What a surprise, I thought they’d make it thicker. Oh, wait, no I didn’t, because that would be un-innovative and unappealing.
  • Has a 5MP camera and looks like it has a flash
  • As usual, not comparable to the current iPhone. Or even the 4S for that matter. Still, an improvement.
  • Aren’t you lucky, they just made the iPod touch as childish as the Nano – you can pick cyan or banana yellow if you really want to!

Earphones:

  • Eventually a new earphone design. Personally, I’ve never had any shape issues with the previous earbuds, but now you can have EarPods. And we all thought iPad was a ridiculous name back in 2010
  • Hopefully the sound quality won’t be as weedy as before and perhaps the cable will last a little longer.

So I don’t know what I was expecting, but I haven’t been particularly excited by this product announcement. Maybe it’s because iOS is not much different to how it was in 2007. After all, I wouldn’t be impressed by a supercomputer if I had to run Windows 98 on it rather than something a bit more up-to-date. An iPhone was inevitable and given that it’s September, new iPods were inevitable along with iTunes. So nothing really exciting, just timely updates. All in all, this video rather sums up the iPhone 5.

iOS 5 – first impressions


Strangely, the iCloud side of things seem to be my favorite features. I’m sure I would be a huge fan of the previous purchases IF us unfortunate people in the UK could actually access our past TV shows (will we ever be able to??).

So, 5GB of free iCloud space, a free me.com email address and awesome synchronising. It would be nice if all my calendar events now didn’t occur three times for every occurrence, but iCloud seems to have been to keen to merge all my already-linked calendars.

Anyway, being able to download one app update at the same time as another app update is installing is an awesome timesaver and the notifications area is fairly cool. It does feel a lot more slick, but guess what? Not a fan of newsstand. I though I would be, but all it seems to be is a homescreen folder that just has bookshelves instead, specifically for magazine/newspaper apps.  Overall, not as impressed as I though I would be, but my first impressions could have been tinted by the nine hours of hell needing to be justified by something that would need to be little short of 100%-awesome, which did not happen. Instead, it was something 100%-meh,-it’s-got-some-cool-features-but-I-could-probably-live-without-this.-Though-iCloud-is-pretty-neat.

iOS 5 updating hell


(UPDATED as of 9:23AM GMT with ‘conclusion’)

yes, it’s that time of year again. I’ll write this from the present perspective.

so, it’s 10:44PM GMT. I, like many others, had been expecting iOS 5 to be released around 6PM GMT. It was released (aprox.) 6:10GMT. I instantly tried to update, first running into a similar issue as I had done late last night with the iTunes 10.5 update, but it quickly sorted itself (unlike iTunes). 200MB into the download, the internet connection died. So, I tried again. Just under an hour ago it had finally finished downloading (it took ages).

The first thing I saw was along the lines of “iTunes failed to backup this iPod, will wipe now”. I thought “fine, I wiped it two or so weeks ago anyway, so I won’t lose anything important”. However, it wanted to ‘restore’ (to be honest Apple, what you class a ‘restoring’ is FAR from the real definition) it. And, just as had happened when I was un-jailbreaking it trying to update to 4.3.5, it failed to ‘restore’ it.

I had actually encountered this “failed to backup” message twice before in the last few days, but thought nothing of it as it worked the next time. Who knows, maybe if it had been a successful backup rather than third time unlucky, there’d be no issue.

So, what am I doing now? Waiting ages for the 32-bit version of the standalone iTunes setup to finish downloading. Why? Well, the tower PC failed to work, so I had to switch to a second rather unused computer. Which a) doesn’t have the latest version of iTunes and b) is unbearable to use. But why the standalone installer? Apple Software Update is only showing quicktime and safari. and despite iTunes saying 10.5 is available, it seems to be a repeat of last night’s non-existent update.

Once that finishes, what will I have to do? I have no idea. I guess I should wiipe the iPod beforehand, as there’s nowhere near enough space on the second computer’s HDD to back it up. Then, I’ll have to wait another 3 1/2 hours for the iOS 5 update to download again. With Apple, the fun never ends…

As a side note, do you know how easy it was to update to Windows Phone 7.5, even when my phone wasn’t yet ‘cleared’ for the update yet? Incredibly simple. No wiping, no restoring, just trick it into thinking my phone can have it right then, download it, wait a bit, done.

UPDATE:

So, I waited another three and a half hours for the update to download again. Then, it gets halfway through the restore progress (it really shouldn’t be restoring anyway) and says no more disk space on C: to restore the iPod. Not specifically Apple’s fault (this time), but it would have been nice if it could have told me BEFORE I wasted 3 1/2 hours.

I have never been a ‘fan’ of the shift-click on update or restore to select an ipsw file, solely because it had never worked for me (always said it was invalid, even when downloaded from Apple). So, I faced a few options. Re-partition the hard drive (would take hours as would have to shift 30GB+ to the left) and try again (re-downloading the file a third time in total, so yet more time taken), boot into XP (larger partition size with more free space) (tried this, but internet wouldn’t work in XP) or, shift-click.

I decided to go for shift-click. So, I located the ipsw in the AppData>Roaming etc. folder and copied it to the desktop. Then, I removed all large files from the iPod. eventually, I was ready. I held shift and left clicked on ‘update’, then selected the ipsw. It went smoothly at first, but then came up with an error (I think it was 3002? I definitely saw 3002 last night and I think this was the occasion). I really couldn’t be asked to try again, so I just did shift-click restore (already had a backup of the iPod on the computer that refuses to do iOS updates for some obscure reason). At last. After NINE hours of constant issues, I had finally managed to update to iOS 5. I waited for it to update, and once it came to the ‘Set up new iPod’ screen in iTunes, I unplugged it and plugged it back into the syncing computer, managing to restore the backup onto it. So, thanks a bunch Apple for a ‘fun filled’ evening, night and early morning. Unbelievable.

post-Apple iPhone 5 Event


Firstly, it’s not the iPhone 5, it’s the ‘4S’ 😛

 

The keynote was presented by Tim Cook (amongst the usual Apple folk such as Scott Forstall) completely without Steve Jobs. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen how Tim did with presenting it, but from some videos of him and phone carriers answering questions, he seemed to be the usual “seem as if you’re answering the question, but really completely avoiding it” sort of person.

At long last, iOS has been given a specific release date. Before they announced it, I tweeted:

I’m hoping that they release iOS 5, or at least give us a launch date that’s soon.

Lo and behold, they announced a release data that isn’t too far away. Next Wednesday (the 12th October) to be specific.

After recapping everything that the majority of people following the keynote already knew, they got round to announcing the next iPhone, the iPhone 4S (released on October 14th in Apple’s usual launch countries.).

At last, an iPhone with 64GB of storage. Some people say this is a bit silly given that iOS 5 is rather heavily cloud based, but I personally like having my data physically with me (for various reasons, such as current internet connection speeds are not fast enough for the cloud to be as on-demand as a physical copy is). So, three tiers of iPhone 4S, being:

  • 16GB for $199
  • 32GB for $299
  • 64GB for $399
On the specs side, it has a dual core A5 processor, a dual core graphics chip, an 8MP camera (that can shoot 1080p HD video), has two antennas and is a ‘world phone’.
There’s also this improved voice command integration with Siri (which seems to be exclusive to the 4S). Not many real people seem to be too impressed withthis. Nor should they be, other phones have had usable voice command capabilities for ages. Even my Qtek 9100 from 2006 allowed me to record a voice command that it could then later match to complete a task. Sure, Siri is more modern than that, but it’s not really too impressive.
Also announced was the next iPod Touch, which seems to be pretty much the same, there’s just a white version as well (and apparently a lower price, but I don’t remember the previous $ price).
That’s pretty much all the main stuff… There was some greeting card stuff, but very few people seemed to be excited by the prospect 😛