Tempted by this guy.
Tempted by this guy.
I’ve only had my iPhone 6 for about twenty four hours, but here’s some of my first impressions. I upgraded from an iPhone 5S. This is not intended to be a full review, nor do I intend to do one. It’s also not a review of iOS 8, you should read this one if you want that. I went for the iPhone 6 Space Gray, 128 Gb. My carrier is AT&T.
First, the software and data transition between phones was the easiest one I have ever done. I had upgraded my 5S to iOS 8 last week, and did a lot of purging beforehand to make sure my backup was as small as possible. Having said that, I was up and running pretty quickly, and most everything just works today. iCloud keychain, and iCloud backups, have taken this process lightyears ahead of the “old days.”
It’s a fistful of phone for me, but not too big by any means. I can reach all areas of the screen. Your mileage may vary based on your hand size and dexterity, but I am totally comfortable with the size of the phone.
That screen! Wow. The colors, the resolution, it looks amazing. Feels like a substantial upgrade from the 5S screen to me. Not just the size, but also the quality.
The Sleep/Wake button location change to the side of the device went against my muscle memory for the first few hours of use, but today it seems like I’m well on my way to getting used to this change.
It worked, without any obvious issues, with my car kit and other accessories, except for my Elevation Dock, which it doesn’t fit in. (Anyone want to buy an Elevation Dock for their 5S or 5C?)
I went for the Apple Leather Case (Black) because I used the same/similar case from Apple on my iPhone 5S. I’m not disappointed in any way, it feels great. I think that most people will want a case for this phone, it’s very smooth and rounded, and I think, easier to drop than the last four iPhones.
I haven’t taken many pictures yet, but the pictures I took to test looked markedly better than similar shots with my iPhone 5S.
I’m very enthusiastic about this device. It seems better in all the right ways. It’s not really worse in any way that I have found after a day.
This post on MacRumors, iPhone 6: Everything We Know is a great comprehensive wrap up of the current conjecture about the all but confirmed larger screen iPhone we expect to see in late 2014. I don’t really have much to add, but the image above, from the article, really did grab my attention. (The image is from MacRumors, not me.)
Instagram doesn’t have an official iPad client. Who knows why this is? I have used a bunch of different iPad apps, most recently Iris, which is also quite good, to use this service on my iPad. Recently Flow was released, and I really like it, I think it’s the best Instagram client for iPad.
There are a few different reasons why I like this over the other alternatives out there. First, it’s all about the pictures. As you can see from the image above, the app is designed to only be used in landscape orientation, and fits the maximum amount of pictures into the iPad viewport with a minimum of chrome. Second, the app is snappy, and the transition animations between screens are well thought out, pleasing, yet not over the top. Third, they’ve made it easy to navigate the sea of pictures, allowing you to move picture to picture while viewing in detail mode. Also of use, and well designed, are the abilities to search and bookmark specific tags, users and locations. I have a small list that I check on a regular basis, for example #vscocam, which yields a really nice set of pictures. All the expected Instagram functionality you’d expect is there, and well supported.
Flow is free to download, and does not currently contain any advertising, so I am not sure what their long term plan to make this app into a real business might be. I guess I always wonder about this whenever I download a new app these days. I’d just much rather pay for the app than wonder what could happen in the future. In this case, given that Instagram is still figuring out how to make money too, I think I would be a hypocrite to not use this free app when I am already using this free service. The app is not perfect. The lack of portrait support, while not a deal killer, seems like an oddity in an otherwise well thought out application. I’ve also had to fiddle with it to get the pictures to refresh at times, but I do think, in lieu of an official Instagram client for iPad, that this is a really nice replacement.
In no particular order, here are five products/sites/services that I really enjoyed having/using this year. I could have written about more, but I’m lazy.
I am an RSS apex consumer, subscribing to about 500 sites’ RSS feeds. I was in a complete panic earlier this year when Google Reader was going away. NetNewsWire and Reeder, synced with Google Reader, were mainstays of my way of staying informed. I used them every day, and rarely declared RSS bankruptcy. Feedbin saved my ass in 2013.
With Google Reader going away, there were a few choices out there, but most of them were free services. That’s not what I wanted to use though. I wanted something that I could pay an honest fee for, that probably wouldn’t be co-opted by other business motives, and I evaluated the options out there and picked Feedbin.
This service hasn’t disappointed me one bit. It’s been consistently improved throughout the year, and client support for it is fantastic. Best of all, their web app, through one of those updates, supports many of the keyboard commands from the legacy RSS reader I used for so long. I read my feeds on every device I carry using this service, using Reeder on iOS, Press on Android, and the Feedbin Web interface on desktop. (Press is awesome, and probably the best RSS Reader app on any platform in my opinion.)
Cool Hunting T-Tech by Tumi Backpack
I own a lot of gear bags because I carry a lot of gear on a daily basis, and I am always looking for the perfect system for carrying things. At work, we support a lot of devices, and I need to have a few with me wherever I am to make sure that I can cover the support from where I happen to be.
I should probably do a post about what’s in my bag when I head out to CES next week. On top of that, I usually carry a camera system of some kind, and then a myriad of chargers etc. Suffice it say, this bag is really really nice, well made, and can hold a lot of stuff. There are a lot of great bags out there, but this has been my mainstay since the day I got it in the first half of 2013. Since it’s made by Tumi, I know that I can count on it. I have had some Tumi luggage for as long as fifteen years under a lot of travel, and it’s held up remarkably well. If you need to carry a lot of stuff, and like the backpack form factor, I highly recommend this bag.
Unfortunately, it seems to be sold out at this point. I’ll be watching Cool Hunting for future product releases, they have great taste and attention to detail.
Not new to this year, but this small device has really become the center of our living room in 2013. It already had a strong lineup of content, and AirPlay from our various iOS devices (my wife and I both have iPhones and iPads) has become a stock way we listen to music. Having a device at the center of our living room that is synced with our ever growing library of content in iTunes helps a lot. Integration with Flickr means that there’s a scrolling slideshow of my most recent Flickr posts happening while we’re listening to music.
I think, however, that there was a major shift that occurred in our home over the summer. This shift was caused by two things. June 19th, 2013, HBO Go came to Apple TV. We have DirecTV, and this meant it was like someone had bought us the boxed set of every single HBO show. The second event was Orange is the New Black coming to Netflix in July. Long time fans of Weeds, we loved this show produced by the same team, and we binge watched until they were all gone. Can’t wait until there are more, but we’re currently binging through Breaking Bad. We’re not going to be canceling our DirecTV service any time soon, but more and more, we’re watching stuff via this device. When we’re not watching, this device is what’s powering other living room entertainment.
Evernote Smart Notebooks
As evidenced by my post a couple of days ago, Evernote Smart Notebooks, in the linked configuration, have been a staple of my productivity regimen in 2013. They come with a three month extension to your Evernote Pro service. At the rate I use them, this means I won’t be paying discretely for Evernote any time soon. It’s that simple. I don’t really use the stickers, but I do take a picture of every page. Just works. I was already hooked on Evernote long before these appeared.
It’s rare that I trust a site’s advice completely, but The Wirecutter has earned that trust. Their exhaustive work in specific product categories has led to well informed purchases time and again throughout 2013. They are relentless in keeping their site and reviews up to date. I read through their deals very carefully. Some notable example purchases are our WiFi Router, the pens I use, and the cards in my cameras. I highly recommend that you check at The Wirecutter before any consumer electronic or personal technology related purchase. Here’s their guide on how to use their site.