Do I need an iPhone 5 if I have an iPhone 4S? September 12, 2012Posted by ronannarbor in Apple, Gizmos.
Tags: iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5 vs iPhone 4S, to upgrade or not to upgrade
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The answer is – no. Will you want one when you get your hands on one, yes. Is the LTE really that much faster? Well, depending on where you live.
Let’s start with the LTE question: If you have LTE in your neighborhood, its faster. I used LTE on my iPad in Orlando and it was faster than any of the local wireless systems via WiFi. Here in Michigan there IS NO LTE for ATT, and there won’t be for some time — and while there is LTE “sometime coming soon” according to ATT, it will be in Detroit and Grand Rapids only. So, depending on your wireless service provider and where you live, it may or may not be helpful to you — at least for another year or so.
The form factor is virtually identical to the iPhone 4S — a bit taller, so it has a true 4″ screen for wide-movie viewing (similar to the dimensions on your HD tv, only way way way smaller). If watching movies on your 4″ screen sounds like a must have, then go for it.
The phone does have a new charging cord. I don’t know about you, but I have a cord at home, one in my bag, one at work, and one in my car for charging. That means, with the one new cord included, I would need to buy 3 adapters (29.00 each!) to continue to use my system the way that I have been for years. So that means an additional 90.00. Third party accessories (stereos with built-in 30-pin connectors) will instantly become incompatible. Think about that if you use things like alarm clocks with built in docks.
Also — ATT, for the first time ever, is NOT allowing a lower-priced iPhone for those with current contracts. That means if you have an iPhone 4S with ATT, you will be shelling out the full price for the phone AND extending your contract by two years.
Here’s something that Apple has been VERY quiet about — on September 19th, they are releasing the latest OS software for the iPhone — that will be available to everyone with an iPhone 4 and higher…that means you will get the exact same features as the iPhone 5 for FREE.
How about the speed?…Well, changing from a dual A5 to an A6 chip will no doubt increase your speed a tiny bit. I have not handled the iPhone 5, but all accounts so far of those who have indicate that the increase in speed is not noticeable — until you have been using the unit for about a half hour, at which point you start to see that things open a bit more quickly. But ask yourself: is your current iPhone 4S too slow?…Have you ever thought to yourself, wow, this is slow? I have never noticed an increase in speed of processing from the iPhone 1 to 2 to 3 to 4 to 4S…I’m pretty sure that the normal schmoe will not notice any speed increase to the 5…
Finally — there is the form factor: yes, it looks great. Yes, Apple wants to always have the biggest and most beautiful. Yes, it looks gorgeous. But the reality is that only you and you alone would be aware that you have the newer version of the phone…it looks that similar.
So — as usual, my advice? If you want the latest and greatest, by all means update. If you already have the iPhone 4S, don’t waste the money on this current update — download the new iOS software on 9/19 for free and you will be good to go. If you have an iPhone 4 or older, absolutely update — you missed the major update from the 4 to the 4S, so now is the time to upgrade for sure….but if you have the 4S, not so much.
The view from Macworld iWorld 2012 January 29, 2012Posted by ronannarbor in Apple, Gizmos.
Tags: Macworld iWorld 2012
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It’s the ultimate Apple/Mac geek fest — the annual Macworld conference in San Francisco’s Moscone Center….this year re-named “Macworld iWorld” to emphasize the role that the internet now has. There was fear a few years back that Apple (who chose to stop attending the conference) would sound the death knell for Macworld — far from. There were more exhibits this year than ever. The emphasis on music, art, and writing increases yearly, and the even has become a “must attend” for Mac geeks like myself.
So, what did things look like this year? Well, there was a much larger emphasis on apps than in the past, for all versions of iOS (iPhone, iPad, and Lion). There was also a significant decrease in hardware presence, and much more on software. Xerox and HP, for example, while maintaining booths really had trouble attracting visitors — most flocked to the nearby scanner displays instead (Scansnap was doing swift business). Let’s face it — when was the last time you actually printed a photo instead of sharing it with friends by email, iPhone, or Facebook? There was also a heavy emphasis on social events — evening parties, concerts, jam sessions heavily geared toward tech support folks who know what phrases like “the grapefruit is pink” means…
There was also a de-emphasis on the servers/work stations hardware, and much more emphasis on iPad/iPhone accessories (the ubiquitous iPhone and iPad cases, bumpers, and hard shells were omnipresent, ranging from the superb to the deranged).
What stood out? Well, folio keyboards for the iPad were big — and had huge draws. Zagg had a strong presence, and they were selling their iPad 2 zagg folios at discount….myself, I went directly for the new clamcase for iPad 2 and am waiting for its delivery in a few days — see clamcase.com
Input devices were also big — there were two separate pen/paintbrush-type styli for the iPad and iPhone and both even won best in show 2012 – check out the Jot Touch pen, for example — these were selling like hotcakes right off the floor… http://adonit.net/product/jot-touch/ But it wasn’t just limited to physical input — microphones for the iPhone and iPad were also hot this year, and several won best in show honors.
Want to see possibly the most jaw-dropping new application ever?….and its free on iTunes — check out TourWrist for iPad….it’s seriously the most amazing photo software you could imagine, creating 360 degree panoramas that look drop dead gorgeous on the iPad.
Also a big breakthrough — Smile software has adapted it’s PDFpen software for Mac to the iPad — PDFpen will allow Mac users to finally say goodbye to Adobe forever — something that didn’t go unnoticed at Macworld/iWorld — there was no Adobe presence at the conference at all.
Finally — and this is always a big part of Macworld — there was the camaraderie — thousands and thousands of Apple Mac fans found a place to share all that tech geek knowledge; nobody thought twice about meeting new friends with a simple “what’s your favorite app?”; and Moscone Center came to life with the world of iPhones and iPads and Lions…and nobody blinked when a Mac geek from Ann Arbor got up on stage on the second floor concourse and helped jam to some Coldplay songs on a iPad-keyboard while others from Iowa, Berkeley, and San Jose jammed on their iPad “guitars”…although ultimately it did remind me of that classic “HIMYM” scene in which Barney eggs on Ted who is dancing a rain dance with a “still funny….still funny….and now it’s just sad.”
iPhone 4S vs iPhone 4 — should you upgrade? (UPDATE: Camera quality) October 10, 2011Posted by ronannarbor in Apple, Entertainment, Gizmos, Photography, Uncategorized.
Tags: iPhone 4s, iPhone 4S camera, iPhone 4s vs iPhone 4
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SEE UPDATE at the end of this article.
Many of my clients have asked me about the iPhone 4S, and should they upgrade….here is my take:
Second, if you have a 3G or older, absolutely upgrade. You will be amazed what the iPhone 4/4S range can do.
Specifically for owners of the current iPhone 4: This is an upgrade that Apple calls a “refresh” — that is, it doesn’t have a lot of major style upgrades, but it does have significant upgrades “under the hood”. The phone is physically virtually identical to the iPhone4. Here is what you should consider if you are looking to upgrade:
1. The processor is faster. The chip in the iPhone 4 is faster (the same as in the iPad) so that programs, web pages, and other applications will open faster. Ask yourself, though, is your iPhone 4 too slow?? Not a complaint I have heard from anyone.
2. The antenna is improved. If you live, or travel, to an area that the signals are strong, you won’t need the improvement. If you live in (say NYC, SF, etc) you will find that the antenna is much improved, and your signal will be stronger. Note for you AT&T University of Michigan fans — this will NOT mean you will be able to get a signal now inside Michigan Stadium during game day when 115,000 friends are all trying to use their phones at the same time. It will mean your signal will be stronger in general. (For my non-Ann Arbor friends, AT&T signals are pretty strong here in SE Michigan).
3. The camera has been improved to 8 megapixels. What does this mean? Well, your pictures will be much larger, and they will be much sharper with less pixelation (visible dots). For many users, it will mean being able to ditch your compact digital camera and use only the iPhone. For others, it would be a poor substitute. The zoom is digital, and marginal at best. There are no controls for speed, aperture, etc. Even basic compacts have that ability (not that most people use it). What it WILL do is give you sharp front-to-back in-focus shots. No artsy shots here (i.e. no blurred backgrounds in your portraits). Most casual camera users want everything to be sharp and clear so this is a great new feature in the iPhone 4S. I’ll try out my iPhone 4S camera as my sole camera on an upcoming trip and give you my verdict. Personally, I can already predict that it won’t have the quality and features that I usually want in a camera, but I’ll see what it’s like to use it for a few days and nothing else.
4. Siri, new to the iPhone 4s is ONLY available on the iPhone 4s and will not be available in the OS upgrade to older phones. In essence, it’s a much improved voice command system. If you use the current Voice Command on the iPhone, you will find that this does more (not only dial your contacts by voice control, but also set appointments and put them into your calendar). The jury is out on this one. People I know who have tested Siri state that it generally works fine. It can not spell and it makes many mistakes (i.e. it might get the date and time of your doctor appointment correct, but it sure won’t spell the name of the doctor correctly). I personally do not know a single friend of mine who uses the current Voice Command on the iPhone. I don’t know if this will change with the iPhone 4s and it’s Siri program, but I doubt it. Your mileage may vary.
5. The new OS software — this will be available as a free upgrade to all current iPhone users, so this really shouldn’t be a consideration for an upgrade.
6. Your contract — okay, let me warn you up front, the iPhone 4S is a “refresh” as I mentioned earlier. It will, however, come with a two-year contract. That’s not a big deal, and the carriers have allowed upgrades within the year at additional cost with extension of the contract. BUT, if Apple surprises people with an iPhone 5 next summer, say, you will not be able to upgrade as in the past. For many, this is not a consideration. For others it is. There will be a non-contractual universal iPhone 4S released in November for the contract-phobes….but it will come at a much higher unsubsidized cost.
In summary: your desire to upgrade might not be in line with the reality of what an upgrade will actually bring. If you are not in one of the categories listed above that would make an upgrade a sure fire “deal maker” I would say that those with a current iPhone 4 have little reason to upgrade at present, and wait for the next iPhone update.
Personally: I am upgrading to the iPhone 4S and should have mine on Friday. Why? Well, you know I want the latest and greatest, but no, seriously — I am interested in the new antenna and the improved signal. I travel a lot and any improvement in the antenna will be an overall improvement for me. Second? My current iPhone 4 is worn out: there are cracks in the back, and it’s seen better days (although it’s only a year old)…I can pay the 150.00 at an Apple Store to have the back replaced, or I can spend a bit more and just get a shiny new model. I opted for the latter. I have my iPhone in my pocket 16 hours a day, so its been well used, to say the least.
Hopefully, this will give you some guidance as you decide if you need the newest model. For the most part, I say no. But there are exceptions.
UPDATE: 10/25/11 CAMERA QUALITY
On a recent trip where I did not take my camera and relied solely on the iPhone 4S, I can unequivocally say that the phone alone, even with 8 Megapixels, is NOT a suitable substitute for a decent digital camera. Photos taken directly out of the camera without any zoom are clear and basically sharp. You can not crop these photos or blow them up or they instantly become pixilated. In general, straight out of the camera, shot is fine — don’t mess with it for size or crop.
Transfer of photos is what it is: I refuse to use iPhoto, being a creature of habit with Bridge and Photoshop. so I transfered the photos through eMail, one by one, to my home desktop. It took half hour and most of the camera battery to send the 15 shots to my desktop computer. This won’t be a problem if you transfer using iPhoto or through iTunes. I imagine it would be a problem if you turn on Photostream and rely on iCloud.
Other quirks: If you open the camera from the lock-screen and then try to use the + volume control as your camera shutter, it freezes up the iPhone. Don’t do this. Open your camera application as usual from the iPhone itself, not from the lockscreen. Apple is apparently aware that this can be a problem on cameras. Wait for a patch.
To zoom in, you need to pinch the screen (as if you are making the photo bigger) and it will bring up the zoom controls. These are quirky and it takes several attempts to zoom in. In general try NOT to zoom in. Zoom is 100% digital, and while it brings your subject closer, all it is really doing is zooming in digitally and pixilizing your shot.
So, to summarize: straight out of the camera, full size photos = usable and generally sharp, capture detail well. Zoom is worthless. And you can NOT use the iPhone 4S alone as your sole camera if you are in way at all interested in photography and not just simple snapshots of friends.
For comparison purposes:
Straight out of the camera, no zoom, interior, generally well-lit: result – pretty good
50 percent zoom, and then cropped for central 50%: result – unusable
Tags: Apple iPad, iPad 2, iPad 2 vs iPad, Original iPad, Upgrading iPad?
Ron’s expert advise on the iPad 2 vs iPad 1 dilemma….
Apple this week announced that, beginning March 11, their newest version of the iPad, named iPad 2 will be available at the same prices as the current iPads, in the same memory and wi-fi/3G configurations. What’s new? A faster processor; front and back facing cameras, and a thinner design.
What does it mean for most of us? Nothing. This is an incremental update with a redesigned chassis but otherwise the same screen size, same OS (the new iPad 2 OS will also be available for free download for current original iPad owners), and for all intents and purposes the same power.
Faster Processor: Seriously, have you heard any iPad owner complaining that their iPad was TOO SLOW? Unless you plan on using the new iMovie or some other high-graphics video game, then the increased speed will be meaningless to 99 percent of iPad users. Faster is always better — except for this case, where it’s the same.
Front Facing Camera: this is designed for video and FaceTime. It’s real-life resolution is .93 megapixels…..seriously, good only for FaceTime and other quick shots. If you plan on using FaceTime, then it might be a selling point for you. I have never, even once, used FaceTime on my iPhone 4. I would never use it on an iPad.
Back Facing Camera: this is 5 megapixels. The same as the iPhone 4. Are you going to use an iPad to take photos? Really, point and shoot with a magazine sized slab? I suppose I can think of a few applications: take a quick photo of the materials on the table in front of you when working on a project; take a photo of the Board in a classroom….all of which you can do with your cellphone as well. Camera on iPad does not mean Quality Camera on iPad.
A New Cover: yep – clips on magnetically, and is a thin cover for the front of the iPad 2. Does not protect from falls, only from screen scratches. Chances are great you will be investing in a new cover/sleeve for your iPad2. Some older folios might fit, none of the form-fitting clip-on covers will fit. Most sleeves probably will fit. Add a good cover to your investment, and you’ll find that new iPad 2 looking a bit more expensive again.
New Design: yeah, you got me there — it looks amazing. That’s always been Apple’s highpoint — make it look better, sleeker, thinner, more modern. If there was a single reason I might move to the new iPad 2 it would be the opportunity to hold the coolest, sleekest, most conversation-starting new technology in my hands every day.
So, what do I recommend?
If you are a new buyer: Get the iPad 2 — it’s the same price as the current iPad, and you’ll have the latest and greatest. If you want to save some money, get the older iPad right now this week: it is discounted substantially in Apple retail stores so that they can sell out their stock — this is your chance to get that fancier 3G model at the same prices as the old wi-fi version. But you have to buy now — the prices return to full price on the 11th and only the new iPad 2 will be available.
If you have an iPad — do not upgrade. Wait. There will be another refresh 6 – 12 months from now. In tech, especially in the world of Apple, there will be changes and upgrades galore in that time. Now is not the time to update your investment. If you must have the latest and greatest, then be aware that you will find that re-selling iPad prices will not return your investment as much as an iPhone (for example) on eBay — prices have already dropped — expect to lose about 150.00 – 200.00 on your original investment. It will still sell, but not for what you might expect.
Insider tip: There has been rumor for some years now that Apple is trying to change their update-cycles to occur in late Fall and coincide with holiday purchasing season. This hasn’t happened yet, but it might soon. Keep that in mind — your new iPad2 might already have a refresh in November.
What do I plan to do? I have been an Apple user for 11 years now, and live and breath by their latest-and-greatest. I have always been very happy to be an early adapter and get their new stuff the day it is available. That being said, I am NOT upgrading. I love my current iPad for what it is. I find I can not use it as a full laptop replacement, but I love it for reading, the internet, travel, maps, eMail, and some productivity. It’s great at work for fast note-taking, calendars, and the like. I also love the cover I found for it that makes it feel great in my hands. This cover will not work with the new iPad 2. And I have never, ever, not even once, thought “wow, this is just too slow, I wish it was faster.” I WILL upgrade with the next update which will probably bring new features that will be desirable. For now, there is not enough there other than the design factor. Because I always carry my iPad in a folio case, there will be no difference in the “coolness factor” to the outsider, since they can’t see my ipad anyway – it’s tucked inside it’s folio and you only see the screen.
I do continue to advocate that the iPad is a fine PDA for my Brain Injured patients — which model you choose it up to you. How much money you spend is also up to you. For most of my patients, the standard entry-level Original iPad is the way to go, and probably more power than most need. And now is the time to get it for a discounted price.
Blackberry Bold 9000 vs iPhone 3Gs…a Love Hate relationship September 25, 2009Posted by ronannarbor in Gizmos.
Tags: Apple, ATT, BB, Blackberry 9000, Blackberry Bold, iPhone, iPhone 3Gs vs Blackberry Bold, keyboard, RIM
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In the past month I have switched from my iPhone 3Gs to the Blackberry Bold and back again to the iPhone 3Gs….and frankly, I love them both and hate them both…but the iPhone won out…Here’s why, and what do you think?
My number one gripe about the iPhone has always been the touch keyboard. I just plain old hate it. I more than hate it, I abhor it with every ounce of my being. I’m not new to iPhones — I’ve used them since the first incarnation two years ago — I can get 50 wpm out of my blackberry keyboard — even after years of using the iPhone, I still get only 17 wpm at best, and that filled with typing errors and spelling problems.
During a recent trip to Paris, the iPhone 3GS battery didn’t even last the 8 hour flight — listening to 2 albums and playing Boggle for 15 minutes ran the battery down from 98% to 14%. Unacceptable. The problems started with the 3.1 update, and are driving me insane with how bad the battery life is. Apple is apparently aware of it, so let’s hope for a patch soon : http://www.theiphoneblog.com/2009/09/20/apple-seeking-info-iphone-31-users-reporting-poor-battery-li
I’ve always been a Blackberry lover, and the Bold is just so amazing…it’s like the Cadillac of phones…so after the iPhone problems, I had decided that was enough — it would be my iPod and game machine, and I would go back to a “real phone”…
OOH, that keyboard — instantly in love, and back to 50 wpm typing texts and e-mails…but then the problems just become glaring: limited applications; not enough memory on the Bold to store even a handful of those apps anyway; the lockups long familiar to BB users…
So there I was…back to the iPhone, despite the awful battery and touchscreen typing problems.
Blackberry Bold Pros and Cons:
- Far superior keyboard, real qwerty depress-the-keys, great feel and response
- Great size and “feel” in the hands — overall the best Blackberry ever made
- Good trackball and homepage layout
- Better phone features overall
- Easier texting and e-mail
- Built-in office features to read and edit word, excel, powerpoint
- Ability to store files natively on BB rather than web servers
- Better graphics/screen (no kidding — really — look at them side by side)
- Removable microSD card slot means you can have several of them and carry lots of data
- Removable battery so that you can have a spare
- Can stream Slingmedia tv from home over 3G or wireless
- Have to remove battery to reset
- Insufficient built-in memory — four downloads and you are scraping bottom
- Limited applications, and those are not as elegant as the iPhone’s
- Terrible sync with mac — there is a leaked version of the blackberry sync for mac if you search for it, but it’s still not up to snuff
- neither PocketMac nor Missing Sync works correctly for mac syncing
- crashes occasionally , especially when accessing files or programs on the memory card
- Unreliable overnight — sometimes freezes up and alarms don’t go off in the morning (this is an ongoing problem with all blackberries, not just the Bold)
- idiosyncratic menus and many clicks necessary to achieve simple features
iPhone Pros and Cons:
- Sleek build, built like a tank
- Myriad applications
- Excellent sync with Mac through iTunes
- Much better for media – movies, music, games
- Threaded texting
- Just added MMS
- The excellent ability to use Bento II databases and quickly share and edit on desktop or iPhone (no equivalent on BB)
- Visual voicemail
- Larger screen for watching movies or playing games
- That terrible touchscreen keyboard — hate it, hate it, hate it
- Much slower for texting, e-mailing
- Can not use SlingMedia without WiFi connection making it worthless — this is a huge bone of contention for me, since I want to be able to see the tv broadcast while at football or baseball games
- Apple/ATT have far too much control over what you can/can not do with the iPhone — lately, this looks to be more of an ATT problem than an Apple problem
- No ability to natively store word, excel files on the iPhone — although you can now access the to some degree using programs like QuickOffice — but it is a very poor substitute
- Terrible battery life — and I mean terrible — perhaps an update will fix this down the road, since Apple is aware of the problem following the 3.1 update — does not last the night on an overnight flight
- Battery can not be consumer replaced; i.e. can’t carry a spare in the messenger bag: add-on external chargers are very expensive ($299 plus)
- Multiple taps necessary to access texting and e-mail rather than BB’s easier interface for communications features
- MMS, though now activated, is already overloaded and basically doesn’t work
In general?….If you are looking for the best business/enterprise phone available, go for the Blackberry Bold. If you want any ability to use decent media and applications, get the iPhone….If you need a bit of both, you are really screwed since neither fully meets the needs…
I’m not the only one with the BB/iPhone dilemma — so thought I would post my frustrations and see what others have to say. For now I’m back to the iPhone 3GS, but I’m certainly not wedded to it. I do refuse to try anything but BB or Apple, so don’t comment on windows mobile phones, Android, or the rest….if you comment, keep this to the iPhone vs Blackberry debate only please. I won’t approve the others.