About Oliver Haslam

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

 

Apple is right to ditch marquee features for stability and fixes

by Oliver Haslam on Feb 11, 2015

We reported a couple of days ago that Apple was set to launch iOS 9 with few, if any marquee features, instead focusing on fixing bugs and adding stability to a platform that has seen such rapid iteration over the last few years that it is almost unrecognizable from iOS 1.0. It seems, if reports are to be believed, that Apple is doubling down on stability.

And about time too. Read More

 

Will you trust iCloud with your memories?

by Oliver Haslam on Feb 6, 2015

The big news around the Apple blogs right now is the arrival of the first beta of Apple’s new Photos application for the Mac. Coming as part of the OS X 10.10.3 beta of Yosemite, Photos is the long awaited replacement for the aging iPhoto and to some extent, Aperture. In a world where we create gigabytes of photos each and every year, in part thanks to our iPhones, having a way to keep those images organized is vitally important to many of us. Apple thinks Photos, in combination with iCloud, is how we’re going to do just that.

But is it right? Read More

 

The iPad is a real computer

by Oliver Haslam on Feb 6, 2015

If anyone has been following along over the last few months then you’ll probably know that I’ve been having a bit of a love-in with my iPad mini. After initially suffering the same fate as my other iPads and being all but discarded after the initial novelty wore off, the iPad mini with Retina – now renamed by Apple as the iPad mini 2 – has become my main computer.

And yes, I just called the iPad a computer.

So when I started reading Federico Viticci’s iPad Air 2 review, I was already interested to read how he found the switch from an iPad mini to the iPad Air form factor. Turns out he likes it, and I find myself wondering whether my next iPad should be of the larger variety, too. I’m still not convinced, but with the Airs getting thinner and lighter and with ever decreasing bezels, it’s something worthy of serious consideration after falling in love with the mini’s super portable size. Read More

 

Opinion: neither the iPad Pro nor 12-inch MacBook Air make much sense to me

by Oliver Haslam on Jan 30, 2015

There’s a lot going on at Apple right now. Record quarters aside, there is a lot to be hopeful for as 2015 gets into full swing, and not just because the fabled Apple Watch is finally on the horizon. If the rumors are to be believed we could see both the iPad Pro and 12-inch MacBook Air some time in the next eleven months, and both have plenty of people excited.

The iPad Pro story is one that has gone on for years now, and with photos of supposed parts for the new tablet starting to crop up, it’s looking more and more likely that not only is the thing real, but it’s not too far away either.

The same can be said about the 12-inch MacBook Air. Again, photographs of what it is claimed are parts for the unannounced product have started to circulate around the internet, and the noises that it might only have one USB Type-C connector rather than a MagSafe for power have meant that there have been plenty of column inches and podcast hours afforded to the subject.

But what is all the excitement really about, and more importantly, is it justified? Read More

 

iDB holiday gift guide: Oliver’s picks

by Oliver Haslam on Dec 18, 2014

Now I’m not sure if you folks have noticed, but we’re currently hurtling towards Christmas. It’s not so much crept up on us as jumped out from behind a pillar, pulled a funny face and shouted “oogabooga” at the top of its lungs. Christmas is just around the corner, and it’s time to get those gifts sorted out.

If you’re much more organized than my good self, then you’re probably reading this with a decidedly smug grin on your face sipping on some egg nog, but if like me you just can’t bring yourself to do Christmas shopping until the week in which the day actually occurs then you may just be sat panicking at the thought of coming up with some gift ideas.

And that’s where we come in. Read More

 

Moving into the post-PC era

by Oliver Haslam on Oct 27, 2014

Ever since the first iPad was introduced by Steve Jobs way back in 2010 there has been the argument about whether it is just there to be a media consumption device, or can actually be used for what PC users seem to be so determined to call ‘real work.’

Steve Jobs knew, or at least he hoped that iPads would eventually replace computers as we know them. When launching the first iPad he spoke of his new tablet as a car, and the computers that came before it as trucks.

I’m trying to think of a good analogy. When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks. But as people moved more towards urban centers, people started to get into cars. I think PCs are going to be like trucks. Less people will need them.

He knew the transition wouldn’t be easy, and he was right. Read More

 

Is the new iMac with Retina 5K display the best Mac you can get?

by Oliver Haslam on Oct 21, 2014

The Mac Pro’s days of being Apple’s biggest and baddest Mac may be numbered, even with that redesign that everyone either loves or hates. Whether it looks like a trash can or not, the Mac Pro has always been the most desirable Mac on the market.

Well, it was.

When Apple showed the new iMac with Retina 5K display to the world everything changed. Not only does the new iMac boast that gorgeous 5K screen, but while that would once be its only claim to fame, the new iMac is more than a one trick pony. The new iMac has plenty of bite to go with its bark.

Speaking of the event, did anyone notice the graphic Apple flashed a couple of times that showed its product line up from the Apple Watch up to the new iMac? Did you notice what was conspicuous by its absence? If the Apple Watch is the beginning of Apple’s new product lineup, you would expect the Mac Pro to be at the other end. But it wasn’t.

Telling? Read More

 
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