Six reasons breaking up iTunes into highly focused, lightweight apps totally makes sense

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 24, 2015

Most people will agree that iTunes for Mac and Windows is a hot mess. Indeed, the app has long been ripe for a thorough change from top to bottom and inside out, if not a complete reboot.

The reasoning is simple: after more than fourteen years of adding one layer of code atop another and cramming every little feature it could possibly think of into iTunes, Apple has made the app bloated and painfully frustrating to use.

At some point during its development, iTunes has become inundated with various user interface inconsistencies. The most recent version with poorly implemented Apple Music has only made things worse.

Now, some have suggested that Apple break up this resource hog of an app into highly focused apps, each dedicated to managing and syncing their own media type. As someone who belongs to that camp, I’ve put together an opinion piece listing six solid arguments why breaking up iTunes into smaller apps might just make sense.
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Privacy is more dead than we think

By Timothy Reavis on Aug 24, 2015

The concept of privacy has shifted from the connoted right it once was to a fading dream. Where family discussions once never left the dinner table, what a person does and thinks are now plastered across social media in a way once deemed unthinkable because it simply “wasn’t anyone’s business” not that long ago. Now, everything is everyone’s business, and this change in culture has come about largely if not solely because of technology.

Sure, social media has played a large part in changing the way people share information, making what was once personal now more or less public domain. However, there are more subtle forces at work. One common instance many people overlook is the simple request of an app to access your phone’s contacts.

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My #1 next-gen iPhone feature request has nothing to do with Force Touch or better cameras

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 14, 2015

A bunch of short-sighted analysts are downgrading $AAPL on the basis that the rumored Force Touch screen on the ‘iPhone 6s’ and ‘iPhone 6s Plus’ won’t be enough of a hardware differentiator to motivate owners of the present-generation iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to upgrade.

To them, I say: you’d be hard-pressed to call Force Touch the defining feature of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. A convenience, yes. But a marquee new feature? No way.

But wait, what about “the biggest camera jump ever”? Surely a rumored 12-megapixel back shooter with 4K video capture and a five-megapixel upgrade to the iPhone’s paltry 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera would warrant an upgrade?

While perks like substantial camera upgrades, force-sensing screens, faster chips, two times faster LTE and a stronger body are much appreciated, these expected enhancements won’t convince me to upgrade my rusty old iPhone 6 Plus unless the forthcoming phones offer this one feature I have been craving for years now. Read More

 

Why Force Touch makes sense for iOS platform

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 11, 2015

Yesterday’s report by a credible outlet provided an interesting outline of how Force Touch works and feels under iOS and on Apple’s upcoming ‘iPhone 6s’ and ‘iPhone 6s Plus’ smartphones. The basic premise behind outfitting an iPhone with a force-sensing screen is making user interface interactions faster with focus on shortcuts.

But there are still plenty of doubters out there who don’t think Force Touch iPhones make much sense, arguing the technology is but a marketing gimmick which doesn’t provide any benefit versus long-tapping items on the screen.

While there’s some merits to those voices, I’m inclined to think they’re missing the big picture and here’s why. Read More

 

10 jailbreak myths debunked

By Jeff Benjamin on Jul 24, 2015

Over the years, there have been lots of misconceptions about jailbreaking, the type of people that jailbreak, and the overall purpose of jailbreaking. What’s true, and what’s not? Does jailbreaking void your warranty? Is it hard to do? Is it even necessary nowadays?

In this post, I’ll break down and debunk 10 jailbreaking myths. I’ll show you why I still jailbreak, and why jailbreaking may be quite different than you perceived it to be. Read More

 

5 things I like about the LG G4

By Jeff Benjamin on Jul 21, 2015

I’ve had the privilege of testing out an LG G4 for the last 3 weeks, and I’ve finally found the time to write down my impressions about the highly esteemed flagship phone. If you’ve been keeping up with all of the rumblings regarding the G4, then it probably won’t be the first time you’ve heard some of the things I have to say in this overview.

At iDB, we strive to stay in the know about competing devices, and freely acknowledge that some of them do things better than the Apple devices that we’re most intimately familiar with. In this post, I’ll share five features about the LG G4 that particularly stood out to me.

First and foremost, the camera is bonkers! Not only is the general quality of the camera really good, but it excels in low light situations, features a great 4K video camera, and has tons of manual controls to fool around with. Check out our video overview of the camera inside. Read More

 

Poll: Are you buying the new iPod touch 6th generation?

By Jeff Benjamin on Jul 17, 2015

The new iPod touch has arrived, and although its buzz is far below that of iPhone or even iPad levels, the excitement can still be felt throughout the community. As you know by now, this is the first new iPod touch since 2012, and it brings with it a much-needed and hefty specs update.

With this in mind, will you be purchasing a 6th generation iPod touch? Please participate in our poll and let us know. Read More

 

iPod touch 6th generation review

By Jeff Benjamin on Jul 16, 2015

I debated over it for a while, but I just couldn’t resist ordering a brand new 6th generation iPod touch after looking at the specs of the device. The new iPod touch, despite not changing much from a use-case standpoint, is quite the compelling device.

When you consider how underpowered the previous generation iPod touch was, this really is a major upgrade. You’re essentially getting an iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus level 64-bit A8 system on a chip (SoC) with its M8 motion coprocessor, along with double the RAM at 1GB.

The SoC and RAM alone would be enough to blow the previous iPod touch, which is downright painful to use on iOS 8, out of the water, but Apple has included significant improvements to the iSight Camera—bumped up from 5 megapixels to 8 megapixels—there’s faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi, an upgrade to Bluetooth 4.1, a 128GB storage capacity option, and more.

Make no mistake, the iPod touch 6th generation is more powerful than some of the lower tier phones hitting the market today. If you’re serious about gaming, photos, and video, but don’t need the capabilities of a phone, then the iPod touch 6th generation might be considered a bargain.

Watch our full video review for the unboxing, benchmarks, comparisons to the 5th-gen iPod touch and much more.
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Poll: Does a Mac version of TaiG even matter at this point?

By Jeff Benjamin on Jul 11, 2015

The TaiG jailbreak for either iOS 8.3 or iOS 8.4 has been out for over two and a half weeks. Many users have jailbroken their iPhone, iPads, and iPod touches as a result.

Even though the TaiG tool has been Windows-only this entire time, plenty of Mac-only jailbreakers have been able to use it by means of a Bootcamp partition, or a virtual machine—which is far and away the most popular way to jailbreak on a Mac.

So the question stands to be asked: do you even care about a Mac version of TaiG at this point? Rumors are swirling that a Mac tool is indeed in the works, but it’s been so long, I imagine most who were starving for a jailbreak either used a friend’s Windows computer, or took advantage of one of the above options.

Vote in our poll and let us know… Read More

 

How Apple could reinvigorate the iPod line

By Jeff Benjamin on Jul 10, 2015

It’s no secret that iPod sales continue to decline year after year. Many of the people who were once targets for the iPod now opt for iPhones or iPads.

This isn’t exactly a terrible problem for Apple to have. The company has never had qualms about cannibalizing its own products for the sake of the greater good.

But with Apple’s historic, and now renewed, love of music, it just wouldn’t seem right to let the iPod—at least its conceptual existence, and not so much the name—fade out into the sunset.

For that reason, I think that Apple should go back to the drawing board. Even if this year’s rumored across-the-board iPod update is nothing more than just a meager spec bump and minor changes—I think that ultimately, the line is due for a complete overhaul.

How could Apple reinvigorate its flagship music player? By doing the following five things… Read More

 

The perfect jailbroken iPhone: iOS 8 edition

By Jeff Benjamin on Jul 9, 2015

Now that the iOS 8.4 jailbreak is out, I thought I’d create a new “Perfect Jailbroken iPhone” post for you. If you can remember, I started this series a very long time ago, and it has remained popular until this day.

Lots of people want to know what makes a perfect jailbroken iPhone. Do you need the perfect jailbreak tweaks to make a perfect iPhone? Not necessarily.

And just because a tweak or app makes this list, doesn’t means it’s my absolute favorite, or that I even use it everyday. The perfect jailbroken iPhone does not equal my favorite jailbroken iPhone.

The name of the game here is practicality, usefulness, and improvement. With these tweaks + 1 theme for good measure, I put together an all star phone capable of doing very much.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Watch the video and judge for yourselves. Read More

 

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

 
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