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

 

The best Apple Watch features Apple hasn’t told you about

By Sébastien Page on Mar 12, 2015

The purpose of Apple Watch is something that has been greatly discussed ever since the company first unveiled it last September, and as the release date nears, it seems to be the topic of even more arguments.

Admittedly, Apple isn’t doing a great job at highlighting the true selling points of Apple Watch. If you go to the Watch mini site on Apple.com, the first thing Apple tells you about it is that it is an incredibly precise timepiece. I don’t know about you, but I don’t recall ever wondering if the time I was looking at (be it on my iPhone, my Mac, or my microwave clock) was indeed precise, and I imagine most people feel the same.

To me, there are three features Apple should have made essential parts of its marketing materials. The company either didn’t feel the need to because they aren’t actual features per se, or maybe Apple didn’t realize their importance, something that can only be measured as you use the device day in day out for an extended period of time.

I will not pretend I know better than Apple when it comes to communicating. That’s clearly not the case, but as someone who’s been using a Pebble every day for over a year, I believe I have a very good sense of what makes a smartwatch so indispensable. Read More

 

My Cydia pet peeve: App Store redirects

By Jeff Benjamin on Mar 4, 2015

The situation in Cydia right now is one of sadness. I’m sad, because nearly every time I try to download or purchase a new tweak or app, I have to finagle and wrangle with the App Store redirects that seem to have multiplied as of late.

I kid you not, I get about 5 pop-ups every time I open a page on Cydia’s BigBoss repo, and sometimes I just give up after wrestling with trying to open a tweak’s page. At first this behavior was tolerable, but over the last few weeks, it seems to have reached a boiling point. It generally takes a lot of inconveniences for me to decide to write about one of my annoyances, but this situation is just flat out of control, and I need to vent.

Someone needs to fix this. The problem primarily seems to happen with tweaks hosted on the BigBoss repo. If this happened to any other repo, I’d simply uninstall that repo and go about my business. Sadly, I can’t do that, because the BigBoss repo is more or less Cydia. It hosts 99% of the tweaks that we report on, and it’s generally where all of the action is when it comes to tweaks. Themes are a different story, and sometimes you’ll find a really cool tweak on ModMyi, but it’s obvious that the BigBoss repo is where most of the activity resides in this community. 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

 

Six months with the Dell UP2414Q 4K display

By Jeff Benjamin on Feb 22, 2015

It’s been over 6 months since I purchased a 4K Dell monitor to pair with my 15″ Retina MacBook Pro. In my initial post, I talked above the setup, my hands-on experiences, problems I encountered, etc. Now that I’ve had some time to really use this monitor on a regular basis, I’m here to provide you with a little more commentary and insight on my purchase decision. If I could go back in time, would I do it all over again? 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

 

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

 

Apps like Pocket is why Handoff is my top new feature in iOS 8 and Yosemite

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 28, 2014

Pocket, a read-later service, with a recent Mac app update has completed its support for Apple’s refreshed mobile and desktop operating systems.

According to developers last week, Pocket for Mac now includes Handoff and can send stuff to other apps that use the Mac’s new multi-purpose Share menu. It’s Pocket’s largest Mac update in over a year.

The iOS edition of Pocket has had Handoff support in place for weeks. And with Handoff now live in the Mac edition of Pocket, I’m not sure how I’ve managed to do without such a useful feature. I’m a huge, huge Pocket fan and use it every day to bookmark and save dozens of articles that I find during the day for later reading.

With Handoff implemented in both Pocket editions, I now am able to seamlessly continue reading an article right where I left off on any of my Apple devices (Bluetooth must be enabled).

It’s awesome and I couldn’t imagine my daily computing without Handoff. It’s the one feature I use the most, all the time. As I constantly move between my mobile and desktop devices, Handoff removes the friction completely without the mental burden of having to remember where I left off.

Handoff is tremendously convenient. It’s fun, easy to use, a time-saver and bridges the gap between desktop and mobile like no other technology before it. And it’s only getting started.

Pocket for Mac is available free of charge in the Mac App Store. Read More

 

iOS 8 and the future of jailbreaking

By Sébastien Page on Jun 8, 2014

It seems to be a recurring topic every year when Apple unveils a new version of iOS: did iOS 5 just kill jailbreaking? Will jailbreaking survive iOS 6? What’s left to jailbreakers with iOS 7? Did iOS 8 just make jailbreaking irrelevant?

These are some legitimate questions to ask, especially in regards to the fact that Apple, as you would expect, always adds new features to iOS, making jailbreaking a little less appealing. At least that’s how it looks on paper, because in reality, it’s not so clear.

A few major online publications have already chimed in about how iOS 8 is making jailbreaking pointless, usually with no real understanding of what jailbreaking truly is about. So I thought it’d be a good idea to lay down some balanced thoughts about iOS 8 and the future of jailbreaking… Read More

 

15 jailbreak tweaks that iOS 8 made obsolete

By Joe Rossignol on Jun 3, 2014

Whenever a new iOS version is released, it is always interesting to reflect on which features Apple added to the software that were already possible by jailbreaking your device. iOS 8 took a lot of people by surprise, with several new major features as opposed to minor refinements. As a result, the software update rendered a lot of jailbreak tweaks obsolete going forward. But it also isn’t all bad news for the jailbreak scene. Read ahead for a list of jailbreak tweaks on the chopping block and more…  Read More

 

What did you think of the WWDC keynote?

By Joe Rossignol on Jun 2, 2014

Today was the seventh consecutive WWDC keynote that I have watched, and it easily ranks as one of my personal favorites. It might seem surprising that I feel that way, especially considering that there were no new shiny iPhones or Macs announced like there once was, but the nearly two-hour episode captured my attention for so many other reasons.

It started with the charismatic Craig Federighi, the humorous Apple executive that seemingly came out of nowhere and has become an instant hit over the past few presentations. It was not only his humor that was refreshing, but also his confidence. In fact, the entire team of Apple executives that appeared on stage this afternoon were equally confident…  Read More

 

With iOS 7, are we seeing a less confident, more malleable Apple?

By Oliver Haslam on Jan 25, 2014

Time was once when Apple was infamous for not giving its users choice. Steve Jobs himself famously said that consumers didn’t know what they wanted, and that it was Apple’s job to tell them, and he was often right. It was this confidence, some may say arrogance, that made Apple so sure of its designs. So absolutely convinced that it was on the right path. And arguably, it’s why it has been so successful over the last ten or so years.

But things are changing inside Apple. Since Steve Jobs’ death and the handing over of the reigns to the unflappable Tim Cook, Apple has been going through something of a metamorphosis, and everyone has seen how the company has changed. Countless people have written about how Apple isn’t the same company since its co-founder and visionary left it to somewhat more pragmatic minds, and the evidence that they’re right simply keeps on mounting. Read More

 

Why I love the 11-inch MacBook Air

By Jeff Benjamin on Nov 30, 2013

If you follow my rants on Let’s Talk iOS then you know that there’s a running joke about how many times I change my mind. In the last 2 years, I’ve switched from an iMac, MacBook Pro, another iMac, a MacBook Air, a Retina MacBook Pro and another MacBook Air. I don’t have to tell you that that’s insane, and probably not a healthy way to go about living your life.

But I’ve settled. I’ve settled on the machine for me. That machine is the 11″ MacBook Air. It’s the MacBook with the exceptionally long battery life due to its Haswell processor. This — and trust me I would know — is the perfect computer for me. It’s probably the perfect computer for you as well; you just don’t realize it yet. Read More

 

Why isn’t Apple allowing pre-orders for the iPhone 5s?

By Cody Lee on Sep 12, 2013

In just about 4 hours, retailers around the globe will begin taking online pre-orders for the new iPhone 5c. And from then until Monday afternoon, tech watchers will be holding vigilant for any kind of word from Apple confirming the handset’s success.

At least the company will have a clear picture of its performance this weekend, because as most of you know, it’s decided not to make its flagship iPhone 5s available for pre-order. Folks will have to wait until next week to purchase the device online or in-store.

Of course, Apple hasn’t offered any reason for why it’s decided to go this route. But as you can imagine, there are a number of theories floating around the web. And on the eve of the 5c pre-order launch, we thought it’d be fun to take a look at some of them… Read More

 

The misunderstood iPhone 5c

By Sébastien Page on Sep 11, 2013

There weren’t many surprises left yesterday during Apple’s iPhone event where not one, but two devices were unveiled. There was of course the iPhone 5s, the new flagship device, and also the iPhone 5c, the rumored inexpensive iPhone aimed at emerging markets and first time smartphone buyers. At least that’s what we all believed.

If we all knew early on what the iPhone 5c was going to look like, there was something we were not certain about: the pricing. With an estimated unsubsidized price tag of $450, the iPhone 5c was supposed to hit the sweet spot. It was not Samsung-cheap, but it was not iPhone-expensive either, making it the defacto budget iPhone Wall Street had been pushing for.

Wall Street had actually brainwashed us to believe that a cheaper iPhone was what Apple needed in markets where the company isn’t doing as well as it should, such as China, and other parts of Asia, Russia, etc.

Whether Wall Street is right or not doesn’t matter because, as always, Apple didn’t let the money men dictate the company what to do. As always, Apple went Apple’s way and unveiled a device that is everything but affordable. It sure is $100 less than the top of the line iPhone 5s, but starting at $549 off contract, the iPhone 5c is still $100 more expensive than our wildest expectations.

So what happened? Read More

 
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