About Oliver Haslam

I survived my first day without my Apple Watch

by Oliver Haslam on May 28, 2015

Yesterday I did something I haven’t done before. I forgot to put my Apple Watch on when I left the house for work. That meant being about 14 hours without my watch. over half a day with no wearable notifications, or fitness tracking, or quick replies to messages. For the first time since April 24th, I was Apple Watchless.

And I was kind of pleased. Read More


I don’t open apps on my Apple Watch

by Oliver Haslam on Apr 30, 2015

As I spend more time with my Apple Watch, I am finding that we are starting to settle into something of a routine. The watch tells me when someone or something wants my attention, and I triage that notification based on its importance and the level of attention I can give it. It might not sound exciting, but the process of quick notification triage is something that the Apple Watch is proving most adept at.

But the Apple Watch is more than a way to read notifications. It has apps, and glances, and sensors. Some apps, just like on the iPhone and iPad, are more useful than others, and it’s still very early days for the Apple Watch ecosystem as a whole. That said, after a week of using my Apple Watch, I have come to the conclusion that I don’t launch apps by tapping their icon on the watch’s Home screen. In fact, I don’t really use that many apps at all. Read More


24 hours with the Apple Watch

by Oliver Haslam on Apr 26, 2015

I told you last week that I had an Apple Watch on order and that to get to that point I had gone through a few different emotions before eventually landing on one that had me rather excited about Apple’s first wearable and the future that it could have. As I write this I have had my Apple Watch on my wrist for a little over a full day, and I thought someone somewhere might be interested in how I feel about the purchase. I also wanted to share one or two things I have noticed after spending my first day with the Apple Watch, too. Read More


The four stages of my Apple Watch purchase: elation, denial, buyer’s remorse and confidence

by Oliver Haslam on Apr 19, 2015

I have an Apple Watch on pre-order. Many of us do. How I got here hasn’t been as simple as most though, because I feel like I have been through the four stages of Apple Watch purchasing – elation, denial, buyer’s remorse and confidence. And not necessarily in that order and some more than once. Read More


Review: RHA T10i earphones

by Oliver Haslam on Apr 19, 2015

When I reviewed the RHA MA-750i earphones a couple of months ago, I wrote about how they made me enjoy music again, and I stand by that to this day. When I wrote that review in February the MA-750i earphones were the best I had ever used.

They’re not anymore. Read More


Apple Watch pre-orders: what we wanted vs. what we got

by Oliver Haslam on Apr 10, 2015

It’s been quite the day for Apple today with not just one new product in its stores, but two. Both the new MacBook and the Apple Watch have arrived in stores, though the former isn’t actually stocked for purchase and must be ordered online, and the latter is only available for pre-order at this time. Still, big day.

If you were one of the untold number who pre-ordered an Apple Watch today, then you probably had quite the experience. Pre-orders went live at the same time around the globe, whether that be anywhere between midnight and 3am in the States, to a much more reasonable 8am in the UK. As is always the case with these big online launches, things got messy, though it’s clear Apple’s servers held up considerably better than they have in the past.

The best course of action was to get all of your ducks in a row ready for go time, and if you used the iOS Apple Store app to do your ordering, then you probably got in and out before the website even went live again after its now customary downtime whenever a new product launches. If you got your order through in time, then you probably have an Apple Watch coming on day one. If not, well, it could be July. And that’s not a joke.

With the vast majority of the iDB team placing orders for a range of Apple Watches today, we thought it might be fun to have a little recap not just of what we ordered, but how we found the process, and more importantly, whether we managed to order the model of Apple Watch we set out for. With stocks fluctuating and demand high, that wasn’t always as simple as it may seem.

Let’s get started. Read More


Have negative reviews changed your Apple Watch buying decision?

by Oliver Haslam on Apr 9, 2015

Yesterday saw the internet’s top technology reviewers drop arguably their most important piece of the year. A day or two before the Apple Watch is made available for pre-order, the lid has been lifted on the reviews that the likes of John Gruber, Nilay Patel and Joshua Topolsky have been working on. The three I just mentioned, and more besides them, have been wearing an Apple Watch for over a week and have all published their reviews. Most have videos to go with them. They all have word counts running into the thousands.

If you were on the fence about ordering an iPhone come Friday’s pre-order date, then the reviews will make for interesting reading. If you had already decided that the Apple Watch is not for you, they probably won’t. Given the overall theme of the reviews I have read though, I can’t help but wonder whether those who had already set their hearts on an Apple Watch may now have some thinking to do. That’s because none of the reviews I have read have been glowing. In fact, some have been downright negative. Read More


iPhone 6 and 6 Plus: six months on, choice is king

by Oliver Haslam on Mar 29, 2015

We all knew it was coming following months of uncharacteristic leaks, but the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus double announcement of September 9th 2014 saw the biggest thing to happen to the iPhone since the handset was first brought to market. Apple launched two handsets, both with differing screen sizes but more importantly, both of those screen sizes were bigger than the iPhone 5s they were replacing.

After years of mocking users of Android phones that seemed to know no limits when it came to packing ever larger, ever more pocket-busting screens into smartphones it was time for Apple fans to embrace the idea of a 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch device in their midst. Read More


Filters app for iPhone succeeds where many have failed before

by Oliver Haslam on Mar 25, 2015

Filter apps are a dime a dozen on the App Store, but few are as well polished as Filters. Newly released today and available to download for just $0.99 with no in-app purchases to worry about, the new app from developer Mike Rundle is quite the breath of fresh air. Read More


Using pre-release software? You beta be sure

by Oliver Haslam on Mar 25, 2015

So there I was, two days into my carrier’s billing cycle looking at a text message saying I had used 80% of my 2GB data allowance. I’d used 1.6GB of 4G data in a couple of days, and I have Wi-Fi at home and at work. In fact, the only place I don’t have Wi-Fi in my day-to-day life is my car.

I’d used 1.6GB of 4G data in my car. How?

The answer came after much toggling of iOS option switches, browsing of websites and general trial and error. It turned out the ‘Documents and Sync’ portion of the inner workings of iOS was eating data like there was no tomorrow, which, once it reached that 2GB cap, wasn’t far from the truth. I had to buy more data just to give me wiggle room to do some more testing and once I knew where in iOS I could specifically track the usage that was causing me problems, I had somewhere to start.

Now believe it or not this post isn’t about hunting for strange iOS bugs and squashing them with the contempt that they deserve. It’s not even to point out that the culprit, after it was first thought to be iCloud Drive and in particular my favorite text editor, was actually iCloud Photo Library. It’s to remind everyone that betas aren’t as fun as you may think. Read More


Not everyone understands Apple Watch, and that’s just fine

by Oliver Haslam on Mar 19, 2015

When Apple announced the Apple Watch, I knew I wanted one. In fact, when Motorola announced the Moto 360, I wanted one of those too. If it had been compatible with iOS without any tricks or hacks, then I might have even bought one. It’s probably safe to say that the idea of a smartwatch appeals to me greatly.

But since the announcement of pricing for the Apple Watch I have found myself in conversation with more than a few people who just don’t seem to get why the Apple Watch is so exciting to some of us. It’s expensive, they say. It doesn’t do anything that your iPhone doesn’t do, they point out. You just don’t need it. Read More


Apple Watch: what the iDB team is buying

by Oliver Haslam on Mar 16, 2015

It’s been a long time coming, but now that we know just what the Apple Watch will cost, how much we will need to pay for additional bands and when pre-orders will be open, the only thing left to do is choose which Apple Watch will order.

At least, that’s how it seems to us here at iDB. After months of waiting for concrete information on availability and pricing, the decision on whether to actually pick up an Apple Watch was one that didn’t need much thinking about. The argument over whether to plump for the Apple Watch Edition was taken out of our hands by its price, too, so really all it comes down to is whether the Apple Watch or Apple Watch Sport is the watch for you.

The iDB team got to discussing this very subject recently and we thought that discussion might be an interesting one to share with everyone. After all, if you guys are struggling to make a decision as much as we were, then every little bit of help is no doubt appreciated.

So, with that elongated preamble of the way, let’s see what the iDB team will be ordering come April 10th. Read More


Popular mail app TL;DR to make the jump to the Apple Watch

by Oliver Haslam on Mar 13, 2015

We recently told you about a fun email app for the iPhone that aims to keep emails short and your inbox as clean as possible. The aptly called TL;DR app, free on the App Store, is an email app with a twist in a market where every other email solution seems to be rather, well, boring. Our very own Sébastien was rather taken by it, and that’s no mean feat!

So when we heard from the app’s makers that they were going to have an Apple Watch app ready on day one, our interest was peeked. Read More


These are some of the Apple Watch apps you will be able to download on launch day

by Oliver Haslam on Mar 10, 2015

Now that the cat is truly out of the bag in regards to the Apple Watch, attention can finally turn to what we will be doing with the thing once we get it onto our wrist. Apple has updated its website to showcase its own in-house apps such as Messages, Maps and Mail. Beyond the Apple apps that we will be using day in, day out, it’s the apps that third-party developers create that will really decide whether the Apple Watch is a hit or a miss.

Apple knows this as much as anybody, which is why it has also pushed a new web page to its site that covers some of the biggest apps that we will probably be downloading come April 24th.

The number of apps that Apple has given some exposure to is quite large, so instead of going through them all here we’re going to highlight some of the apps that we are particularly looking forward to or just simply think look awesome. There are more on the way too, with developers working hard to be on the App Store come day one. Read More


The stock Apple Watch apps you will be able to use out of the box

by Oliver Haslam on Mar 10, 2015

Apple’s big Watch event saw the arrival of a whole new MacBook as well as some Apple TV stuff and an entry into the world of medical research, but it’s clear which of these everyone was the most interested in. Having announced the Apple Watch during the iPhone event late last year, yesterday was when we got our best look yet at what the Apple Watch will be able to do as well as how much it will cost. We also now know when we will be able to get our hands on one – it ships April 24th.

Even though the Apple Watch had been outed before though, the most interesting thing beyond the price as far as we are concerned was always going to be what the watch was actually capable of and whether there would be any cool apps to play with. Apple has shared a collection of the Apple Watch’s built-in apps as well as some third-party offerings, and they look rather scrumptious.

Here’s a rundown of what included first-party apps you can expect to be tapping away at come the end of April. We’ll be covering third-party apps in a separate post. Read More


iCloud Photo Sharing: one of Apple’s best kept secrets

by Oliver Haslam on Mar 2, 2015

If you’re a frequent reader then you may remember my thoughts on Apple’s iCloud Photo Library beta and my lack of faith in Apple and its ability to keep my photos safe. Nobody wants to lose photographs of their kids or loved ones because Apple’s cloud solution had a meltdown one day.

And I just don’t have any expectation of that not happening at some point.

During my time spent testing iCloud Photo Library I rediscovered one feature that I had actually forgotten about since the days of the iOS 7 betas. It was as feature that I never made great use of at the time because some key members of my family didn’t have iPhones, but now that they do, I decided to revisit it.

The feature I am talking about is iCloud Photo Sharing, and it’s really rather good. Read More


Tim Cook: there is no reason why you would have to choose between privacy and security

by Oliver Haslam on Feb 28, 2015

Apple CEO Tim Cook is on the final leg of his tour of Isreal and Europe and has been speaking to UK publication The Telegraph about a range of things including Apple customers’ privacy and of all things, terrorism.

Known for his unusual stance on privacy – one which doesn’t jive with other high profile tech executives who are happy to share everything about you – Cook told the publication during an interview that he feels people’s information is being “trafficked around” in ways that they just don’t yet understand. Read More


The case for user accounts on iOS: my two-year-old

by Oliver Haslam on Feb 25, 2015

Google just this week released iOS and Android versions of its YouTube apps that are specifically tailored for kids. On the face of it, and especially to those not in possession of a little bundle of joy or two, the move may seem a bit superfluous. If you do happen to have a two-year-old that’s obsessed with watching Thomas the Tank Engine videos though, it’ll make absolutely perfect sense.

In fact, mine loves using the iPad in general, not just for catching up on what latest shenanigans Thomas and his band of merry locomotives have managed to get themselves into. He has games that revolve around Thomas, or Peppa Pig for that matter. He likes to use the app that lets him tap parts of an image and paint it. Sort of like those felt-lined things we used to color in with markers when we were kids. Or at least we did in the UK.

Regardless of whether you had the pleasure of not having to worry about staying between the lines or not, there’s little argument that kids enjoy an iPad, and mine certainly enjoys the iPad 2. I didn’t buy it specifically for him by the way, I’m not that bad. It was handed down for his enjoyment and no doubt subsequent destruction at the hands of a cup of juice. He almost enjoys it too much, but that’s a discussion for another time.

What I want to discuss right now is the lack of user accounts on iOS devices. Read More


Review: RHA MA750i earphones

by Oliver Haslam on Feb 23, 2015

Music can be a very personal choice, and the same goes for the hardware that we use to enjoy it.

Just take a look at the sheer number of options on the table when looking to buy a new set of earphones. Taking price out of the equation for now, it’s clear that everyone has different tastes based on what they are looking for from earphones. Do they want the best sound quality that money can buy, or do they want something with a logo on the side that is going to make them look cool in front of their mates? What about design – do they want bright colors and patterns or do they want something understated?

Since choosing earphones isn’t simply a case of picking the best sounding option at a price you can afford, just browsing the myriad of earphones on Amazon can be daunting to say the least, with many simply resorting to choosing something with a name they know or the best looking specifications. What they need is a good, solid recommendation.

So before we go any further, here it is. Buy the RHA MA750i. Read More


You need to enable two-factor authentication everywhere right now

by Oliver Haslam on Feb 13, 2015

You just can’t take security too seriously these days, because even if you don’t think your personal information is all that interesting to others, you’re probably wrong. Whether it’s people selling your banking data or trawling your emails for ways to get into all of your social media accounts, you really don’t want anyone having access to your data when they don’t have your permission.

Recent high profile so-called hacks have highlighted the need for improved personal online security, with numerous celebrities having their personal photographs stolen and then leaked online. It transpired that the photos had been acquired via compromised iCloud accounts, and with the move to iCloud Photo Library and the soon to be released Photos app for the Mac, we’re likely to have more and more of our digital lives sat on Apple’s servers.

Throw the data Google has into the mix, especially if you use Gmail, and things can get scary, fast.

Strong passwords are obviously the way to go here, but that isn’t always going to be enough to stop bad people from doing bad things, especially if they manage to get that password via another compromised service. But you’re OK, because you don’t re-use passwords, right? Right. Read More

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