Posts tagged Apple’s
When I held an iPhone 6 Plus for the first time, I laughed. It looked comically huge in my little grip. Now I can’t imagine life without that big screen.
If you’ve dismissed large phones due to their unwieldy size, here’s something to consider: Despite tiny hands and normal-size pockets, I’ve managed just fine with Apple’s “embiggened” new iPhone. No hand cramps. No finger spasms. Believe it or not, I can even use most features with one hand.
If you’re wondering what dark magic this is, let me fill you in on my secret: A couple of cheap add-ons have made all the difference, transforming the super-sized phone from ridiculous gizmo to one of the most useful, usable Apple mobile devices I’ve ever relied on.
The Add-On That Makes The 6 Plus Sing In My Hands
The iPhone ditched its squarish design, going for a super-slim profile with rounded sides that feel good, but make the iPhone 6 Plus a dicey proposition. Perhaps more than other huge smartphones, this potentially delicate device feels like it could slip easily out of my hands. Having butter fingers really doesn’t help.
I took the plunge anyway, and I’m glad I did. My own clumsiness and an upsetting phone-snatching incident this summer put me on the hunt for a phone case with finger loops. What I found was even better. Meet the Bunker Ring.
This is no cockamamie thumb extender. The Bunker Ring (available on Amazon for $16) is a simple metal loop that attaches to your phone. The add-on can rotate 360-degrees, double as a kickstand and be reused on different devices.
Initially, I doubted the grip of the tacky material that adheres it, but after several weeks now, I can attest that it hangs on for dear life. (It’s actually rated for 8 to 9 pounds of weight.) But if it ever starts to feel wiggly, just pull it off and rinse it under water. There’s no actual glue or adhesive, so water won’t ruin it, and it won’t damage your phone’s finish. Just let it dry, and it’s sticky again, ready to be reapplied.
Concerned about the holding power being too good—Would pulling it off bend my device?—I picked up an inexpensive phone case and tacked it to that instead.
Even less expensive options exist, of course, but for an item that holds up my very expensive phone, I didn’t want to go too cheap.
A Bunker Crop Of Goodness
With my gear complete, the 6 Plus has taken on new life for me. I can reach up to the top …
… down to the bottom …
… and all the way to the left.
No need for that weird workaround Apple calls “Reachability,” which lowers the screen so users can touch the tippy top. I kept setting it off accidentally, which had me rushing to shut it down. Now I don’t ever have to trifle with it again.
With the ring on the back, the phone feels more stable in my hand. My fingers can stretch to reach buttons or inputs without any phone-teetering now. I can hold the device above my head to snap photos, reach most controls on the opposite side of the screen, as well as do some basic texting.
“Basic” is the operative word, though. The shift key and numbers button on the lower, far left side still remains out of reach. So if I need to text more than “lol,” “ok,” “c u” or “be right there,” the effort may require my other hand.
This hasn’t been a huge problem. I use a smartphone with one hand much less often than I realized. And when my hands are full, I tend to dictate to Siri anyway. Your mileage may vary.
The iPhone 6 Plus: 6 Weeks Later
More than a month in, and I’ve noticed changes in my habits. I’ve barely touched my iPad mini (which may partially explain the downturn in Apple’s tablet business). I watch a lot more video on my phone now, and I tend to reach for the Plus for viewing photos, documents and websites.
Through all that usage, I have yet to drop my device. Apparel makers want to help too; they’re already redesigning pockets to fit large phones. But there’s one scenario I haven’t solved yet: taking it on a bike ride. Massive arm bands for the 6 Plus are nothing short of ridiculous.
The holster might be a bit pricey, and I could question the value of a smartphone that requires add-ons to make it functional. But then I remind myself of one thing: With the 6 Plus—or, for that matter, a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 or Nexus 6—I don’t need a tablet anymore. If the 6 Plus can save a bit of money, why not dedicate a fraction of those savings to accessories?
Product photos courtesy of related companies; all others by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite
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Shots Fired! Mark Zuckerberg Defends Against Anti-Ad Statements From Apple’s Tim Cook by @mattsouthern
If you follow Apple news you might remember a story back in September where CEO Tim Cook published an open letter expressing his criticism of free online services that make money through advertising. When an online service is free, you’re not the customer. You’re the product… Our business model is very straightforward: We sell great products. We don’t build a profile based on your email content or Web browsing habits to sell to advertisers. Cook’s comments weren’t lost on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whose company does a lot of what Cook was critical of. In an article published this week by Time […]
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Apple mobile software updates have been a dicey proposition lately, so you might be inclined to skip the minor follow-up to last month’s big iOS 8.1 release. Unless, that is, you have an older iPhone or iPad.
Apple promises to boost performance for the earliest gadgets with the A5 processor and iOS 8—specifically the iPhone 4S and iPad 2. The fifth-generation iPod touch and the first iPad mini also use the A5 chip, though Apple didn’t call them out explicitly. But it’s possible they might see some improvements as well.
See also: Apple Really Needs To Get It Together
Developers have been working with an early beta version for a few weeks now, and by all accounts, the software appears to be pretty stable. So if you still have PTSD over the world of hurt iOS 8.0.1 wreaked, take heart—at the very least, this one shouldn’t cripple your phone.
The caveat, as with most iOS software updates, is for jailbreakers. If you hacked your iPhone using the Pangu tool to gain access to system-level resources or ability to install unauthorized software, or plan to some time soon, you may want to hold off on iOS 8.1.1 for now. The update will kill the Pangu jailbreak.
As for everyone else, the release notes for version 8.1.1 boast “bug fixes, increased stability and performance improvements for iPad 2 and iPhone 4S.”
The new update follows last month’s introduction of iOS 8.1, which launched Apple Pay and the iCloud Photo Library public beta.
You can download and install the software directly on your handset over Wi-Fi through Settings > General > Software Update, or perform the update by connecting to iTunes on your desktop.
Lead photo by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite
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As paid search moves toward mobile, search marketers need to hone their ad buying skills and diversify their spend.
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Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web. From Search Engine Land: App Extensions Coming To Bing Ads App extensions will be available to advertisers on Bing Ads starting next spring. Timed to coincide with the removal of explicit…
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
Apple’s first SIM just had its first arrow slung at it: AT&T has locked down the company’s new Apple-Made SIM cards in its newest line of iPads.
Typically SIMs, the teensy ID cards that allow a device to be used on a cellular network, come from the carriers. But Apple now makes its own, presumably so that the devices can be used on any network.
However, customers purchasing the iPad Air 2 or the iPad mini 3, the first to carry these SIM cards, won’t have that freedom if they buy from AT&T. The carrier has locked the Apple SIM down, effectively shackling them to its network. Macrumors was the first to report this news, and an Apple support document was recently updated, confirming it.
AT&T did not immediately respond to ReadWrite’s request for comment.
Photo by MIKI Yoshihito
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ReadWriteBody is an ongoing series where ReadWrite covers networked fitness and the quantified self.
Another week, another Apple Health glitch.
This time, it involves one of the most promising aspects of Apple’s push into health tracking: blood-glucose monitoring. For people with diabetes, that’s a crucial issue, and anything that promises to simplify the task could actually improve their health.
Apple has temporarily yanked the blood-glucose feature from its Health app, according to a post in its support pages (first noticed by MobiHealthNews). The issue has to do with how various countries measure blood glucose. Some do it in milligrams per deciliter, while others do it in millimoles per liter.
See also: Apple’s Health App Is An Embarrassment
Apple’s HealthKit, its system for building fitness apps that connect to Apple’s built-in Health app and each other, understood both measurement. But the Health app itself didn’t, which meant users in some countries couldn’t manually enter the correct numbers—or worse yet, entered the wrong numbers, not realizing the change in units.
This follows other glitches in Apple’s Health app—like instances where the app will fail to display any data, requiring you to restart your phone.
An Apple representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Third-party apps, like iHealth Labs’ recently launched Gluco-Smart, can still use HealthKit to feed data into the Health database on users’ phones. It just won’t display in the Health app until Apple fixes the bug.
This is not the first time Apple has botched blood-glucose measurements. In June, when it unveiled HealthKit, it published a slide showing glucose in “milliliters per deciliters”:
And it follows a very rocky launch for HealthKit, which was supposed to be ready when iOS 8 launched last month. Apple pulled it abruptly to fix bugs, leaving fitness- and health-app developers in the lurch.
All of this brings up a question I’ve raised before: What, precisely, are all the medical experts Apple has hired doing, if not paying attention to this kind of thing? Why are partners like the Mayo Clinic not scrutinizing HealthKit’s data model and Health’s user interface for these kinds of flaws?
Why aren’t we holding Apple to the same standards of perfection here that we expect from its hardware? For that matter, why aren’t we holding it to higher standards, considering the damage that can be done if someone’s medical data gets screwed up?
Photo of Wireless Smart Gluco-Monitoring System courtesy of iHealth
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If you’re an iPhone app developer looking to have a horde of testers check out your wares before you launch, then here’s some good news: Apple launched its TestFlight Beta testing service on Thursday, which may take some of the sting out of the feedback process.
As many as 1,000 people can see if your apps are up to snuff. Registered developers just email testers through the iTunes Connect portal, and the recipients follow the included link to download the official app from the App Store. The system also sends testers notifications when it’s time to check out new updates.
The iPhone maker bought TestFlight earlier this year, and although the service remained in operation, Apple introduced complications. Handsets for testing had to be identified and “whitelisted,” which involved a process that included “provisioning,” or installing specific profiles on select devices, and collecting UDID device identification numbers.
Even now, that process isn’t entirely easy peasy. To qualify for Apple’s new thousand-tester march, developers must submit their app for a Beta App Review similar to finished apps undergoing a standard App Store review process. Otherwise, they can keep the testing internal, which doesn’t require this review. For details on TestFlight procedures and policies, visit Apple’s TestFlight page in its developer portal.
Photo by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite
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Everything is better when it’s handcrafted—apparently even music. Google is unleashing digital DJs and playlists based on moods and circumstances on its Google Play Music app as part of its integration of Songza, which Google acquired earlier this year.
On Tuesday, the company announced that Google Play Music subscribers can now choose music playlists keyed to a particular time of day, certain feelings, or a specific activity. These “radio stations” are put together individually by Google’s “team of music experts”—a group that apparently includes ethnomusicologists as well as DJs, musicians and music critics, because everything is better when ethnomusicologists are involved.
If that approach sounds familiar, that might be Beats Music, the streaming service created by music industry legends Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine. (Apple acquired that service and the related headphone maker Beats Electronics for $3 billion in May.) When Beats Music launched back in January, my then-colleague Taylor Hatmaker thought its features blew away algorithm-based rivals like Pandora and Spotify.
Google’s now betting on the human touch, too. When subscribers boot up the Google Play Music app, they’ll be prompted to tell Google a mood or a moment, which could be something like “at the gym,” or “summer BBQ.” Each station can be downloaded for offline listening. The company also revamped the “Listen Now” page, which includes suggestions for stations based on an individual’s music history. Previously, Google would let people create stations from a song or playlist, similar to other services.
The hand-selected, mood-based playlists will be available for subscribers in the U.S. and Canada today. The “Listen Now” page is available everywhere on Android, iOS, and the Web.
Google Play Music may face additional hurdles if it’s looking to keep up with its rival. Apple is reportedly planning to relaunch Beats Music at just $5 per month, about half of the $9.99 Google Play Music costs (roughly the industry standard).
Lead photo by Michael Dorausch; other images courtesy of Google
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As expected, Apple has refreshed its iPad line with a new iPad Air 2, the company’s thinnest and fastest tablet to date.
The super-skinny iPad Air 2 measures 6.1 mm thick and offers, among other things, TouchID. The new hardware component will help secure certain apps and the tablet itself with fingerprint recognition security. It also makes the iPad ripe for Apple Pay, which will also come to the tablet.
In addition, Apple executive Phil Schiller emphasized that the new tablet will offer extremely low reflectivity to kill typical touchscreen glare. Then he boasted about a few more things. The iPad Air 2 features a new A8X, next-generation processor designed specifically for the tablet. Schiller claims the new iPad and its 64-bit architecture offers the fastest performance yet.
Other additions: Motion co-processor, new barometer, 802.11 ac/MiMo support for faster WiFi, new HD selfie camera with larger 2.2 aperture, and 8MP iSight camera, 1080p HD capture, with burst-mode, time-lapse, and slow motion—just like the new iPhones can do.
Pricing starts at $499 for 16GB; cellular versions cost $130 more.
Schiller slipped in an iPad mini announcement: The new generation of the company’s compact tablet will also get TouchID. The iPad mini 3 will sell for a starting price of $399 (up to $599, depending on storage capacity). Budget shoppers will love that the company’s hanging onto the older tablet models, but cutting those prices by $100, to offer cheaper options. Last year’s iPad mini will start at just $299.
All tablets will be available silver, space grey and a new gold color. Pre-orders begin tomorrow, with shipping starting at the end of next week.
Many people suspected many of these announcements were coming. And if they didn’t, Apple’s accidental leak of its own iPad product info yesterday basically sealed the deal.
iPad sales have been slowing quite a bit recently, though you wouldn’t know that from Apple’s event. According to CEO Tim Cook, Apple sold more iPads in the first four years than any other product in its history. It sold “225 million iPads around the world,” and 675,000 apps designed especially for it now exist.
Photo by Apple
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