5 Galaxy S6 features that iPhone users will like

By Jeff Benjamin on Jun 22, 2015

I’ve been testing out the Samsung Galaxy S6 for some time now, and I’ve used it for long enough to be able to confidently compile some of my thoughts on what is Apple’s main iPhone competitor.

Obviously, the most stand-out feature with this device is the build quality. Samsung, after many Galaxy iterations, has finally stepped up its game when it comes to design materials. The Galaxy S6 is made out of metal instead of plastic, and it’s a huge improvement over the cheap-feeling Galaxy phones of yesteryear.

But not only is build quality vastly improved, this phone packs quite a punch with regard to features. In fact, there are even some features that I, as someone who unequivocally prefers the iPhone, can’t deny are pretty great. Inside, I’ll cover 5 features from the Galaxy S6 that many iPhone users will enjoy. Read More

 

iOS 9 reinvigorates iPad power users

By Jeff Benjamin on Jun 15, 2015

WWDC 2015 was filled with shock and awe, at least for me, a former iPad user. In the past, I’ve tried my best to use my iPad for productivity, namely writing blog posts and the like. While this can be achieved with relative success, the iPad as we currently know it still lacks from a productivity standpoint.

The iPad that we know today doesn’t have the ability to truly multitask—i.e. run two apps at the same exact time, and interface with those two apps at the same exact time. Although some prominent bloggers, most notably Mac Stories’ Frederico Viticci, are able to aptly make due with this limitation, it’s always been something that’s pushed me back to my MacBook.

No matter how hard I’ve tried, and trust me, I’ve tried dozens of times, I always end up abandoning my plans of creating an iPad workflow that genuinely works for me. With WWDC 2015, and the release of iOS 9, I finally feel like we’re on the precipice of something great.

The iPad Air 2, in particular, heavily benefits from iOS 9, but all iPads will benefit in a major way. Here are 6 outstanding new productivity features that promise to supercharge the workflow of those of you who use the iPad as a work machine. Read More

 

Review: the Nexus 9 from an iPad user’s perspective

By Jeff Benjamin on Jun 6, 2015

As someone who no longer personally owns an iPad, it was great to finally get back into the tablet game with the adoption of a Nexus 9 from Google. I know some of you probably think I’ve lost it as of late, or I’m simply pulling a classic Jeff move, but hear me out.

After adopting the iPhone 6 Plus, I felt that there was simply too much overlap between it and my 7.9” iPad mini. The difference in screen size between those two devices, while still technically large, just wasn’t enough for me to justify carrying both of them around. I was, and still am convinced that my next tablet will have to be larger than 7.9 inches.

With the recent release of Android M, I wanted a tablet that I could use to test out Google’s latest OS update. Unfortunately, due to the massive fragmentation present in the Android universe, the hardware options were quite limited. Basically, I needed to get a Nexus device, and since I already own enough Android phones, I decided to go with a tablet—enter the Nexus 9.

I’ve been using the Nexus 9 for about a week, and I’ve been using it a lot. In this post, I want to talk about five things I like about the Nexus 9, versus five things I don’t like. I shot this video a few days ago, and my opinion is still evolving about the hardware and the software experience, but this is a good starting point for this discussion. Watch the full video walkthrough and tell me what you think. Read More

 

Apple Watch battery life and how Apple successfully set low expectations

By Sébastien Page on Jun 5, 2015

Ask anyone who owns an Apple Watch what they think of the device’s battery life, and they will likely tell you it’s great. I think it’s great too, but I also think we’ve been conditioned into thinking that. Read More

 

Review: HTC One M9 from an iPhone user’s perspective

By Jeff Benjamin on May 30, 2015

The HTC One M9 is the latest flagship phone from HTC and it doesn’t divert from what has made the HTC One line stand out among other releases from Android OEMs. If the all metal Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge didn’t exist, then the HTC One would stand head and shoulders above the rest of the Android competition from a design standpoint. But even with Samsung’s recent change in design taste, the HTC One M9 is one of the, if not the best looking Android smartphone that money can buy.

As a full time iPhone user, I feel like I have a unique perspective to lend to those of you who may be interested in the M9, or those of you who just want to know how other flagship phones are doing outside of the Apple ecosystem. In this post, I’ll discuss 5 features that I love about the HTC One M9, and 5 features that aren’t so hot. Be sure to tune in to our full video review as well. Read More

 

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

 

iOS 9 security & jailbreaking: there’s no such thing as impossible

By Jeff Benjamin on May 22, 2015

Recent reports are claiming that Apple’s upcoming iOS update—iOS 9—will make it more difficult to jailbreak iPhones and iPads going forward. Some are even stating that it will be nearly impossible to jailbreak an iPhone running iOS 9.

The reason? Rootless—the kernel-level security feature that was discussed earlier today. This new feature is said to prevent malware, increase the safety of extensions and preserve the security of sensitive data.

When it’s all said and done, Apple’s security efforts in iOS 9 appear to be its most prolific since iOS 5. It could make it more of a challenge for jailbreakers and hackers.

But impossible? There’s nothing that’s impossible when it comes to security. More difficult? Perhaps. More challenging? Maybe. But impossible? Read More

 

Hey Siri, will you please let me talk back to you?

By Sébastien Page on May 13, 2015

Siri has come a long way since it was first introduced along the iPhone 4s and iOS 5 back in 2011. The assistant has gotten smarter, wittier, and all around more helpful, at least on the iPhone, because in my experience,  it’s a completely different animal on Apple Watch.

To be fair, I’m not so much complaining about actual voice dictation on Apple Watch. Besides a few missteps that were most likely due to my strong French accent, dictation has been very reliable on Apple Watch. What hasn’t though, is to getting Siri to activate, whether it is hands-free or by using the Digital Crown. And when I do get it to work, not being able to interact with Siri with interactive voice commands is also a source of frustration. Allow me to explain. Read More

 

Why you should be using a passcode on your Apple Watch

By Jeff Benjamin on May 13, 2015

There seems to be a bit of misunderstanding when it comes to using a passcode on the Apple Watch. I’ve seen more than a few comments about how inconvenient it would be to have to “enter a passcode on that tiny screen every time I want to use the watch.” Indeed, it would be inconvenient if that were a true statement; thankfully it’s not. Read More

 

Apple Watch is delightfully liberating

By Sébastien Page on May 4, 2015

In a post I published before Apple Watch was even released, I noted that the most important features Apple hadn’t emphasized about the device were its convenience, and immediacy. Convenient because it is right there on your wrist, and immediate because everything is one raise of the wrist away.

I stand behind what I wrote at the time, especially now that I’ve had time to actually use Apple Watch and confirm my early beliefs. Something I hadn’t envisaged though is how liberating Apple Watch can be. Read More

 

The Apple Watch Home screen is a beautiful mess

By Sébastien Page on Apr 30, 2015

With the Apple Watch Home screen, Apple introduced a new layout and design that is a departure from what we have all been accustomed to with iPhone and iPad. Instead of favoring rows and columns of square-ish icons, Apple had to rethink the user interface and introduced us to an infinite and honeycomb-like fluid grid of apps devoid of pages, folders, or dock.

One could argue this design paradigm modernizes the Home screen as we know it, but beyond the new and refreshing look, I’ve had a hard time getting used to it and actually find it useful. As a matter of fact, I don’t find it useful at all. It is absolutely gorgeous to look at, but it is also a terrible mess to use. Organizing apps, looking for apps, and being able to accurately tap on their icons is something that I have had a difficult time with. 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

 

Twelve thoughts on Apple Watch

By Jeff Benjamin on Apr 28, 2015

I’ve had an Apple Watch for almost a full work week now, and I’ve formed a variety of opinions. What I can tell you up front is that I really like this device, and have no buyers remorse. The Apple Watch does a lot of things really well, and a few things not-so-well. Here are twelve personal observations about the Apple Watch that I’d like to share with you. Read More

 

Why I recommend the 42mm Apple Watch over the 38mm version

By Jeff Benjamin on Apr 27, 2015

Apple Watch Sport collection vs Apple Watch Sport, Milanese Loop vs Leather loop. There are lots and lots of choices when it comes to configuring an Apple Watch. There are even two sizes to choose from—38mm and 42mm.

Choice is good, and there’s certainly a lot of decisions to make when it comes to Apple Watch configuration. But when it comes to size, I would recommend the 42mm. Unless you have really small fingers, and a really small wrist, I think that you should at least try on the 42mm version to test it out.

Why am I so high on the 42mm Apple Watch? It’s because I’ve tried them both. At first I didn’t think that the difference would be that big of a deal, but after going hands on with both, I’m leaning more heavily towards recommending the larger version 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

 

The limits of Android Wear compatibility with iOS

By Sébastien Page on Mar 28, 2015

If you can’t beat them, join them. This could be the motto for Google, which is rumored to bring iOS compatibility to Android Wear. And if strings of code that were recently discovered are any indication, it seems the rumor actually holds a lot of truth to it.

Considering this probable move, there seems to be a lot of excitement about the potential possibilities, especially among people who don’t believe in Apple Watch, or want the convenience of a smartwatch without all the strings attached to the Apple ecosystem.

One thing people don’t seem to realize is that even with full iOS support, Android Wear will never be more than a shiny screen with a handful of limited features. 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

 
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