Tag Archives: Apple

iOS 8.0.2 update with support for HealthKit apps rolls out.

Well after a few days of embarrassment for Apple, finally the latest IOS 8 patch has been rolled out.

As you may recall, when iOS went live a week ago Apple had to disable support for HealthKit app integration due to various issues. The iOS 8.0.1 patch had supposed to resolve this and enable HealthKit apps, but this was subsequently recalled due to it causing issues with signal and Touch ID, amongst other issues.

Well today iOS 8.0.2 is finally being rolled out and we can confirm that this has now enabled support for HealthKit applications. These third part apps are designed to integrate with Apples Health Kit suite and offer simplified interfaces and extra features. According to 9to5Mac, the only one currently available is FitPort which acts as a cool interface for your health stats.

To be fair on Apple, it has only taken a few days to resolve the issue and fans will be pleased to get to grips with the new health apps.

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Apple withdraws latest iOS 8 update

It seems its not all been plain sailing with the rollout of Apples latest iOS 8 update.

After the HealthKit fiasco Apple have now had another embarrassment in the form of the iOS 8.0.1 update which only went live earlier today. The update was slated as bringing some major fixes to the platform, but this has now also been pulled from the app store due to some user reported bugs.

Apple will clearly be feeling a little red faced in light of this further hiccup.

For more information check our source 9to5Mac.

Apple likely to shut down Beats music.

News just in via TechCrunch suggests that Apple is seemingly shutting down its its Beats Music streaming service. According to TechCrunch Apple has recently moved many engineers off the Beats product and on to several other Apple projects. Apparently inside sources confirm that Beats Music really does look likely to be scrapped, but what Apple is planning is unknown.

Beats was acquired back in May by Apple but what was planned for the streaming service has been a bit of a mystery. One thing we do know is that Apple are paying more attention to the iTunes platform so perhaps this will include some sort of Beats integration.

Who knows what will happen to Beats Music but this latest news comes as a bit of a surprise.

iPhone 6 first impressions

The first thing that strikes me about the new iPhone 6 is just how cool it is. The build quality is excellent and the design just oozes class. What is particularly striking is how light the device is. At first I found it a little off putting but now I’m totally used to it and it feels great.The all metal frame of the iPhone 6 is immensely thin and I love what Apple have done with the power button. If you didn’t already know then this has been moved to the side. It makes it much easier to access, when you consider the new girth!

Build quality aside, the device is lightning fast. Apple tell us it is 25% faster than the 5S but only time will tell wether this is strictly true. What I can say is that I have experienced no lag whatsoever and iOS 8 feels buttery smooth. I love how a light double tap of the home button reduces the screen size for single handed use. It just works and its simple to initiate. The new speaker sounds much better than on the 5S and kicks out some really cool sounding beats. It also placed in such a way that landscape gaming does not result in your hand sitting over the speaker.

Speaking about the screen, this is really stunning. I have never been one for pixel counts and Apples less than full HD resolution is absolutely noting to worry about. The screen looks great and the curved edges just add to the slick experience. Light levels are very good and I have experienced no pixelation when zoomed in. Pixel resolution means little really if your a secure kind of guy and the iPhone 6 shows that its all about the motion of the ocean…if you know what I mean 😉

If your worried about the 6’s size then don’t. Its super thin and fits easily in the pocket. One slight pain is that the new camera lens protrudes from the chassis. This is a bit annoying but as soon as you get a case on it its irrelevant. The camera is amazing by the way and the new slow motion mode is really cool to play with. I don’t want to go into too much detail but the camera focuses really quick and picture quality is ace.

My fist impressions are really positive and there is no doubt the iPhone 6 is set to become one of the best handsets of all time. Stay tuned for a full review.

Please comment below and let me know how you are enjoying your you iPhone 6.

iPhone 6 and Samsung GS5 size up

GSMArena.com are leaking a brand new image of the iPhone 6, this time sized up against Samsung’s flagship – the Galaxy S5.

The image shows The iPhone 6 and the GS5 side by side and further strengthens previous leaks surrounding the new iPhones design. The iPod-touch inspired design is tipped to have new curvier edges with the larger of the two rumoured models having a 4.7 inch display.

The image shows the iPhone 6 is almost as large as the GS5, with slightly smaller side bezels but larger ones to the top and bottom.

GSMArena suggest that the latest iPhone device will sport a new 960 x 1704 resolution display with a ppi or around 416. It is also tipped to include an updated 8MP camera and Apples new A8 mobile processor. The new device will also showcase iOS8.

gsmarena_001-2

Source: GSMArena.com

Iphone 6 leaks….again

Pictures of the up and coming iPhone 6 have been leaked by the Taiwanese celebrity Jimmy Lin.

One of the pictures shows Lin holding up what he confirms to be a 4.7 inch iPhone 6. Having previously accurately leaked pictures of the then unannounced iPhone 5 and 5c, this new leak brings with it a certain credibility.

Lin leaked two pictures on the Chinese site Weibo. Another picture shows a rear view of the device next to the iPhone 5s, and Lin confirms that it still maintains its external antennas and that due to its size the power button has moved to the right hand side. He also comments that the device has good grip in the hand.

gsmarena_002

Lin has a history of accurate leaks and there could be some credibility to this leak. The pictures could however be faked and we will have to wait and see what the iPhone 6 actually looks like.

 

Via GSMarena.com.

Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite preview

Apple’s new OS – OS X 10.10 Yosemite is the latest incarnation of the popular Mac Operating System. Announced at Apple’s 2014 Worldwide Developers Conference Keynote speech in June, the new OS brings with it plenty of visual enhancements and a new focus on what Apple is calling ‘continuity’. The OS is due to roll out later this year and like Mavericks will be completely free.

The new OS will include a host of new features:

Design Overhaul.

yosemite_macbook_air

Inspired very much by iOS 7, Yosemite has received a major visual overhaul. Like its mobile sister, Yosemite has gone for a much flatter design with simpler icons and a translucent theme giving toolbars and sidebars a transparent frosted glass effect, much similar to that of Microsoft’s ‘Aero’ as showcased by Windows Vista. This all makes for a much more refined and simple design. There has been a number of aesthetic improvements with improved fonts and tool bar optimisations.

Seamless experience.

Apple have been talking a lot about creating a seamless experience between Apple products. Apple emphasised this much at the Keynote Speech and Yosemite has been heavily optimised to sync seamlessly with you iOS devices. Apple have put a lot of effort into this ‘continuity’ and it really shows. Now all of your i-devices will automatically detect the presence of each other and enable some pretty powerful features. For example you will be notified on your iMac of incoming mobile phone calls and actually be able to answer them or cancel them from your computer. This feature also greatly enhances the messaging experience by allowing greater control over text messages and iMessages.You will now be able to manage all your messaging needs from you Mac.

Apple’s sharing service ‘iDrop’ has also seen an improvement which makes your Mac compatible with you i-device. Previously files could only be shared between i-devices.

Another new sync feature is the inclusion of a cool little ‘Handoff’ button. In essence this allows you, for example, to compile a spreadsheet on your iMac and by simply pressing the handoff button, have the whole project instantly transferred to you i-device so that you can continue working on it on the move. This works with many apps including Safari and Mail.

Much improved notification centre.

os-x-yosemite-notification-centre_0

Apple have put a lot of effort into overhauling the notification centre. Firstly, a brand new ‘today’ feature has been added which is almost identical to what you will seen on your with your i-device. This displays daily information such as appointments and reminders.

Secondly Apple have now included the use of widgets into the notification centre. This will link in with stock apps such as Calendar and weather, but apparently there is scope for supporting many third party apps as well.

Spotlight.

The spotlight search has been vastly improved and also benefits from the new transparency theme. Launch spotlight and you will be greeted with a large window will will pull together relevant search results from sources which now includes Wikipedia, Maps and others. This also links in with the iTunes store displaying relevant movies and books etc.

Another cool feature is the ability to search for contacts and be able to message or ring them through Spotlight. Highlighting the relevant contact number will give a number of options to contact said person.

Safari.

safari

Like many of the other visual improvements, Safari has also received a good amount of polish. The toolbar has been much improved with favourites being incorporated into the URL bar along with the search feature which includes spotlight. For those of us who have dozens of tabs open at once, multiple tab support is also much improved. There is now the ability to scroll over tabs and the new super cool ‘tab view’ gives you a snapshot of all the tabs you have open, over all of you i-devices and in one place.

Other improvements include an enhanced ability to share content via mail, the ability to open up a separate window for private browsing and optimisations which give improved power efficiency. Apparently this means you can get an extra 2 hours endurance when watching Netflix!

Better Mail.

The male app has also seen some pretty nifty improvements. Sending larger attachments up to 5GB is now a breeze with the new ‘Mail Drop’ feature. Basically large attachments are uploaded to iCloud, in essence freeing up the email client. There is also a feature to annotate mail attachments within the app through a feature called ‘Markup’. The Mail app is even intelligent enough to detect what it is your drawing and convert it into a nifty rendered drawing.

 

OS X Yosemite brings with it a host of new and exciting features making for a pretty impressive, and valid upgrade to your Mac. The OS is stated to be released in the summer but developers will be able to take part in the beta from June 2. For the rest of us Apple has promised to allow the first million subscribers access to the beta. You can sign up for this with your Apple ID via Appleseed.

I for one am dead excited by the new seamless functionality between Yosemite and iOS8 and cant wait to get my hands on another iPhone. Apple are certainly very good at getting consumers to buy into their products and it will certainly be beneficial owning several Apple devices.

Dam you Apple, why do you make me want to buy all your products!!!

Foxconn confirms 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone 6

According to Apples manufacturing partner Foxconn, rumours surrounding the next iPhone coming in two sizes are true.  Foxconn has announced that it is in fact manufacturing a 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone 6.

The 4.7-inch variant is due to start shipping in July this year, with the 5.5-inch variant set to enter production in August.

 

Original press statement:

 

Foxconn to Land 5.5-inch iPhone Orders

5.5 and 4.7 inch iPhone will be manufactured by Foxconn in 2014

MUMBAI, India – June 2, 2014

Foxconn, world’s leading manufacturer of computer components and systems, is going to manufacture both 5.5-inch and 4.7-inch iPhone in 2014.

According the sources, Foxconn will supply 70% of the 4.7-inch iPhone shipments for 2015. The 4- and 4.7-inch iPhones will be the main sales force of Apple for 2014. Foxconn’s plants in Zhengzhou, China are expected to start supplying the 4.7-inch model in July and start manufacturing the 5.5-inch one in August.

 

Source: http://www.bgr.in/news/foxconn-announces-it-is-manufacturing-apples-iphone-6-with-4-7-inch-and-5-5-inch-displays/

Apple in Beats takeover talks

According to recent reports Apple is currently in talks with Beats technologies in a deal that could result in a $3.2 billion dollar takeover. This would be the largest acquisition in Apple’s history.

Beats Technologies, which was founded by Jimmy Iovine and Dr Dre in 2008 is known for its funky headphones and popular music streaming service. According to the Financial Times the deal could be announced as soon next week.

What is very interesting is this change in strategy for Apples Tim Cook. Apple’s iTunes revolutionised the digital music industry when it was released in 2003 but in recent years has experienced a lot competition from the likes of  music streaming services such as Deezer and Beats. This latest acquisition likely shows Apples desire to offer its own music streaming service and maintain its current market dominion.

Personally I think this shows a big change in consumer habits. More people are streaming music than ever before and I think eventually music downloads will be a thing of the past. Streaming services offer a lot more versatility and enables people to consume as much media as they like but with minimal cost. Just like TV services are becoming more internet based, I think we will see a similar shift in the music industry. I don’t think people have a desire to own digital copies of movies and music albums anymore, and Apple’s acquisition of Beats could pave the way for a much less restrictive music experience.

I for one am pretty excited about what the future holds for Apple and the music industry.

Source: BBC

 

 

 

Why your iPhone isn’t automatically the best

What exactly is the best smartphone available today? This really is the million dollar question. A question which is intensely difficult to answer because the answer is totally subjective.

Not so long ago when purchasing a new phone we had to make a choice. We had to choose between high end optics and power. Smartphone vs camera phone. Fortunately all that ended with the introduction of modern day smartphones. All of a sudden you could buy a device which incorporated the latest internals with a half decent camera. There were still decisions to be made however and that is marginally still the case today.

The original iPhone was an excellent example of an all round device. It had some of the latest hardware under the hood, intuitive software and included a camera as a bonus. There were however other smartphones on the market with better optics and more power under the hood.

Today this isn’t such an issue however as the latest smartphones offer similar characteristics; the latest hardware, cutting edge optics, super displays and the latest and best in software. So what makes one device better than another? If there is no longer such a variation in hardware then what is it that makes us buy one device over another? What makes one device better than another?

This is going to sound controversial but all smartphones are the same. We have one simple choice, and that is one of Operating System (OS). Typically your either into iOS, Android or Windows mobile. All modern day device use the latest hardware from the likes of Qualcomm and Samsung etc. So really we are just buying into a brand. I have used both Android and iOS for years. They are ultimately the same and offer the same user experience. They are both very good in what they do. The newer OS, Windows mobile is also good at what it does in that it is fresh looking and relatively simple to use.

This all leads me to the conclusion that there are two underlying factors which dictate what our next device will be. The first as already mention is the OS. This is really the only ‘choice’ we make. The second is concerned with brand loyalty. brand loyalty however ultimately revolves around good marketing and this is what dictates what we think is the best device.It has little to do with anything else as ultimately we are all suckers to marketing.

So the question as to which smartphone is the best all comes down to brand and popularity. Lets be honest all those people who buy into brand Apple. Do you actually know what you are buying or are you just being told that your Apple purchase is automatically the best thing ever for no reason other than it being Apple? The same point stands with Samsung. People will buy into the Galaxy brand for example because Samsung is very good at telling the consumer that the Galaxy range of phones are awesome.

Fanyboyism is not a good thing. It prevents people from making balanced decisions and choosing the smartphone which is right for them. People who buy into brand Apple fanatically believe that the iPhone is the phone of Christ and that nothing else is as good as it. Not so long ago I glided into work with my new HTC One smartphone. It was an exceptional device and a very well rounded product. Upon showing it off to my colleagues somebody said “yeah but its not iPhone is it?” What does this even mean!? I don’t think she knew herself. She couldn’t tell me the difference between LCD and OLED technology, or tell me what processor was powering her iPhone. No of course she couldn’t. And this is the point, she just assumed that the iPhone was the best thing ever because that is what she is led to believe. So if you ask somebody like this what the best smartphone is, they would merely reply “obviously iPhone”.

So what is the best smartphone ever? My opinion is that this is an impossible question because the answer is entirely subjective. I think I got pretty close with the HTC One. It had brilliant build quality, a nice camera, cutting edge internals and a cracking screen. It worked really well and HTC Sense does a really nice job of bringing everything together. It was also a great size. I also love the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. For people who chew through video and media, and surf the net then its perfect. I currently have an iPhone 5S. I got it at release. Its a good smartphone. Build quality is second to none, its very powerful and it has a good screen. That said, the screen is way to small (I cant type on it with my sausage fingers), the finger print reader is temperamental and the prices of accessories are frankly extortionate. I also rather dislike Apple’s philosophy. Why shouldn’t I be able to use a third party car charger just because its not made by Apple!?

The point i’m trying to make is that there is no such thing as the perfect smartphone. It totally depends on what you want. People are fundamentally ignorant when it comes to purchasing their new smartphone. They are taken in by cleaver marketing and the occasional loyalty to a particular brand. Consequently this is not always helpful. When you look at the story of HTC you will see my point. HTC make some absolutely excellent smartphones and in fact have done for years. HTC Sense is easily the best OS skin available and the company have always been at the forefront of Innovation and design. The problem is however they just cannot compete with the popularity of Apple and Samsung, not to mention their marketing budgets. So you see most people don’t actually know what the ‘best’ smartphone is. They just get told. They follow like sheep.

Its drives me mad when I look on online forums and see people arguing over which operating system is best, which brand is best. Accusing each other of being ‘fanboys’. These people don’t actually know what they are talking about. These people are like brainwashed religious fundamentals. No amount of education and persuasion is going to change their mind. They will die for the cause. But there will never be any change because this is brand power at its best. Apple have been incredibly successful at creating the brand. Apple devices have gone far beyond the function for which they are designed and are now designer accessories. Sporting the latest iPhone is like showing off an Armani suit. Its the cool thing that everyone needs.

So again, and in conclusion there really isn’t a ‘best smartphone’, it all depends on what your opinions are. Personally I don’t care about brand and reputation. When I get a new smartphone I think really carefully about what I need and whats best for me. In hindsight the iPhone 5S was a bit of a mistake, I should have stuck with my head and got a Galaxy Note 3. I just get frustrated with the iPhone, its just not as good as what your led to believe. So please don’t accuse me of being a fanboy because I don’t have a favourite brand. I just buy the things which are most compatible with my lifestyle and my needs.

This is my opinion anyway. Sorry if this is a little controversial. If you disagree, or ever agree then please let me know.

Apple introduces 8GB iPhone 5c

In what will be considered a positive move for many potential iPhone owners, Apple have introduced an 8GB version of its colourful budget handset.

The iPhone 5c 8GB is now available to purchase in many markets including the UK and China. It will cost you £429 in the UK, £40 cheaper than the 16GB version. Strangely the device is not available in the US.

The 5c was released last year as a budget device aimed at competing with cheaper mid range phones from the likes of Samsung and others. It was also intended to crack the Chinese market as a more affordable offering.

Apple have been pretty quite regarding sales of the 5c and as such this drop in price may be a sign of troubling sales.

Macbook Pro 13 Retina vs Macbook Air 13: Which one should you get?

Apple Macbook Pro 13 Retina vs Macbook Air 13: Which one should you get?

Apple are renowned for producing beautiful quality products and the Macbook Pro Retina and Macbook Air are perfect examples of Apples obsessive attention to detail. The Macbook range presents some of the best laptops money can buy and in 2013 they got even better. Both the Pro retina (late 2013) and the Air (mid 2013) benefit from Intel’s latest processors and graphics, significant improvements in battery life and both have been subject to competitive price cuts. Whilst both of these machines cater to different needs, they are both exceptional products. I have had time using both so hopefully I can give you a better idea of which one is best for you.

Performance and battery life.

Both the Pro retina and the Air use Intel’s latest fourth generation Haswell processors, with integrated graphics. Both machines as standard run on Intel’s i5 CPU but that is where the similarities end. The i5 inside the Air is clocked at 1.3GHZ whereas the Pro is clocked at 2.4GHZ. With speed boost technology however both are capable of running at higher clock speeds when necessary.

Macbook Pro Retina
Macbook Pro Retina

With regards to graphics the Air uses Intel’s HD graphics 5000 and the Pro uses Intel’s upgraded Iris chip which is necessary to power the Pro’s retina display. Both are integrated however and if you want independent graphics you will have to fork out for the rather more expensive Pro retina 15. A few years ago integrated graphics meant poor performance but this isn’t the case today. The 5000 and Iris are both very capable and coupled with the fourth generation i5 they handle graphics with ease.

Performance wise both machines run buttery smooth and both can handle video editing and moderate gaming. I was playing Civilisation 5 on both machines and both handled it with ease. The Pro was a bit smoother however with the extra processing power and upgraded graphics. Internet browsing is also great on both and multi tasking is a breeze. Both the Pro and the Air come as standard with with 4GB RAM. Both also have super speedy SSD’s (solid state drive) and come with a 128Gbps drive as standard. These are soldered directly onto the motherboard meaning faster speeds. This does however mean its non user expandable so make sure you upgrade if you think you will need more storage. Remember however you can also use cloud storage or an external hard drive.

Macbook Air
Macbook Air

With the latest power efficient CPU’s, both unsurprisingly have excellent and much improved battery life. The Air is quoted as having a massive 12 hour endurance and the Pro 9 hours. This is a real achievement although the Air clearly has the edge if battery life is your thing.

Display.

Macbook Air
Macbook Air

There are big differences in the display department and this may be the reason why you buy one over the other. The Pro comes with Apples gorgeous retina display with a resolution of 2560 x 1600  pixels. This works out as 227 PPI (pixels per inch). The Air on the other hand uses a standard 1440 x 900 display. The PPI is a much lower 128.

Retina close-up
Retina close-up

The retina display on the Pro is simply stunning with a remarkable clarity. It is breathtakingly sharp and has brilliant viewing angles. This extra resolution does however mean a slightly worse battery life. This is not to say that the Air’s display is not good however. In fact its really great. It still looks like a premium display and actually still represents a relatively good resolution. Viewing angles however are not as good as on the retina.

Design and portability.

Both MacBooks are sublimely designed. Clad in slick aluminium and incorporating contemporary design, both the Air and the Pro are a joy to look at and caress. There is a difference however in portability with the Pro weighing in at 3.46 lbs and the Air 2.96 lbs. The Air is also considerably narrower at the front. It is worth noting however that at its thickest end, the Air is actually slightly fatter than the Pro. It also has a slightly larger footprint with the Pro just fitting inside it.

Compact Pro
Compact Pro

The Air does however feel much lighter and and more portable than the Pro and is really well designed. If I’m being honest, the Air does seem a little cooler than its big brother the Pro. The Pro is still incredibly compact however and is nearly as narrow as the intel sponsored Ultrabooks. Either way though both machines are excellent to use and both are very portable. This is a real achievement.

Slimline Air
Slimline Air

Connectivity.

The Macbook Air comes with 1 x Thunderbolt port, 2 x USB 3.0 ports and an SDXC card slot. It also  supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi networking and Bluetooth 4.0.

The Macbook Pro has 2 x upgraded Thunderbolt 2 ports, 2 x USB 3.0 ports, 1 x HDMI port, SDXC card slot and supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi networking and Bluetooth 4.0.

Both machines are well equipped in the connectivity department but the Macbook Pro clearly has an edge here. Where the Thunderbolt port included in the Air supports speeds of up to 10 Gbps, the Pro sports 2 x Thunderbolt 2 ports with speeds of up to 20 Gbps. The Pro also has the HDMI port giving it more flexibility. In the wireless department both support the latest Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies.

Conclusion.

Wether you opt for the Macbook Air or Pro, you will be getting a super high quality and powerful laptop computer. The considerations you should be making are wether you desire ultra portability or power. Both are decently powered but the Pro clearly has the edge with the higher CPU clock speed and better graphics. The brilliant better than HD display may also sway your decision. If you are somebody who does a lot of video editing or design work then the Pro will be the one for you. From a connectivity point of view the Pro also has more flexibility and will likely be the better option for accessories.

The Air however is an exceptional machine with superb portably and excellent battery life. If you don’t need a retina display and that extra power, then the Air is a very desirable option. As I mentioned earlier, the Air also has that coolness about it which makes it very desirable. This is why it made my list of best tech: http://livelystate.com/2013/12/25/livelystates-best-tech-of-2013/. Another consideration will be price. In the Uk the Macbook Pro with retina display starts at £1099, but the Air comes in nearly £150 cheaper at £950. The Pro is definitely the more powerful choice but its a question of wether you can justify that extra money.

iPhone 5S review

The iPhone 5s has been one one the most hotly anticipated smartphones of the year, setting new sales records for Apple and causing the usual controversy. If you were lucky enough to have gotten one at release then changes are you stood outside a shop for hours or just got incredibly lucky. I ordered my 32GB gold 5s at midnight on release and I still had to wait about 2 weeks for delivery. What follows is my hands on user review. This is an honest owner review and contains my own impressions and opinions. I am not an Apple fan boy and what follows is an impartial account of how I have found the device. I hope you find it useful.

Build and design

As usual the IPhone 5s is a beauty to look at and hold. Apple have been making the best quality smartphones for years and the 5s does not disappoint. The device is basically built around a top quality aluminium and glass chassis and comes in 2 new colours: champaign gold and space grey. Aesthetically the 5s is exactly the same as the 5. The device is also incredibly light weighing in at only 112g. What I like about the 5s is the way it feels and the way it fits in the hand. There is no finer quality smartphone on the market, although the HTC One comes incredibly close! Like the iPhone 5, the 5s features two speakers on the bottom edge with the lightning connector wedged between them. The headphone jack is situated just to the left. The volume rockers are situated on the left side edge with the vibrate switch above it and on the top edge is the power/lock button. The setup of the buttons and switches is pretty good with everything accessible through one handed use. My only gripe is that if you use the device in the landscape aspect your hand covers up the speakers. This is particularly irritating when playing games. I would suggest using headphones to overcome this. Another issue is with the device chipping and scratching, particularly around the edges. I have not experienced this myself due to using a case but I understand other people are experiencing this issue. All in all however the iPhone 5s has a stunning design and the new colours are a nice addition.

Hardware and performance

The iphone 5s is built around Apple’s new A7 processor. This is the worlds first smartphone processor to feature a 64bit architecture. Don’t get too excited though as the 5s only has 1GB of RAM meaning it cannot fully utilise this technology. More on this here: http://techtimemachine.co.uk/2013/09/17/apple-a7-and-64bit/. That’s not to say that the A7 isn’t lightning fast. It is. It absolutely blazes through tasks and applications like nothing else and IOS 7 is buttery smooth. Benchmark results seem to suggest that the A7 is one of the fastest mobile processors out there (if not the fastest) and gives Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 a run for its money. Although the A7 processor cannot fully utilise the 64BIT architecture it certainly brings with it a performance boost. The A7 is clocked at 1.3ghz with a PowerVR G6430 GPU in tow and 1ghz of RAM in support. This makes for a very smooth user experience and yet again Apple shows that a gig or RAM is plenty.

I have been playing Dead Trigger 2 recently and this looks stunning on the 5s. Shadow and lighting effects look amazing and reflective water effects can be overwhelmingly good for a pocket device. I have experienced no lag in gaming and the iPhone 5s is a real powerhouse in this department. IOS 7 is also incredibly smooth and looks great on the 5s. I’m a massive fan of this update and couldn’t imagine going back to IOS 6. The sooner people get used to IOS 7 the better. It’s the best update yet. One of the things that really attracts me to i-devices is the way things look. Apps and icons always look great and this is where IOS possibly has an edge on Android. Everything always works smoothly and it is simple to use. IOS 7 just enhances this experience and cleans everything up.

The main hardware difference between the 5 and the 5s is the introduction of Touch ID. This is Apple’s home brewed finger print scanner and is capable of remembering up to 5 prints. My experience with this has been mixed. When it works its spot on. Its dead quick and hassle free. However I tend to suffer with pretty dry skin on my fingers and as such Touch ID often can’t read my prints. This can be a bit frustrating when I have to revert to using the password. It is however often a great experience and really comes into its own when purchasing apps.

Screen

Apple have always been at the forefront of screen technology. Who remembers the first time they laid their eyes on retina display? Of course when I say apple I actually mean LG and subsequently Sharp. Apple moved away from LG with the 5 and 5s and partnered up with Sharp. Clearly Apple thought the screen was good enough to incorporate it in the 5s and as such it has not been changed. The experience is still one which is top notch, however this is no longer the best display out there. The display supports a resolution of 640 x 1136 which works out at 326 pixels per inch (ppi). This isn’t bad by any means but for a 4 inch display it could be better. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 for example sports a huge 5.7 inch Super AMOLED HD display which manages a ppi of 386! So not only is it much bigger but it has a sharper resolution. The Note 3 is probably the best screen on the market right now and it really does overshadow the one found in the iPhone 5s. That’s not to say that the iPhones display is bad. It is still really sharp and I haven’t noticed any pixelation, even when zoomed in. It also produces great colours, sunlight legibility is great and and viewing angles are also very good. A similar display can be found in the HTC One but I feel the iPhone does it better justice. One thing I do dislike is the size. 4 inches is just not not good enough by today’s standards. I feel that this strains my eyes and just isn’t big enough for an immersive gaming/multimedia experience. Granted this display keeps the size down but I feel it could be made bigger without effecting the size of the device too much, if at all. There is plenty of unused space on the front of the device and I reckon the iPhone 6 will utilise this and make for at true edge to edge viewing experience. I also find it very difficult to type on the keyboard and accuracy could be improved. Sometimes it just does register me touching it.

Camera

Apple have opted to stick with an 8MP snapper but this is by no means the same as the one found on the iPhone 5. Like HTC, Apple have decided to increase the size of the sensor. This is now 15 % larger and the aperture has also been enlarged and said to allow an extra 25 % light in. Again like the HTC One this allows in more light and makes for better low light performance. The camera interface has been given a make over with IOS 7 and whilst basic it is functional. I’m not going to bog you down with science but my experience wight the camera so far has been pretty positive. The 5s takes some great pics and certainly performs better than the HTC One. Low light performance is good but I find the sensor becomes a little overloaded in strong light. Video quality is also very good and the slow motion feature has been very fun to use. My experience of the camera and video has been very positive and performance is very good. It’s exactly what you would expect on a high end device. I would like to see a 13MP snapper on the next iPhone however.

Conclusion

Over all I have been very impressed with my iPhone 5s. It is very powerful and everything comes together fantastically on IOS 7. One thing I have been a little disappointed with is the battery life. On standby this is pretty good but when you start using the device for multimedia and web browsing etc it really starts to eat through the battery. I often struggle to make it to the end of the day. I have noticed a bit of an improvement after the latest update but it is still not fantastic. Another issue for me, and perhaps my main gripe, is the size. It does feel to small for me. I know for some people this will be a positive thing but for me I just feel as though I need something larger. It feels a bit like the iPhone 5s is strapped into a straight jacket. It’s capable of so much but with that tiny display it just can’t reach its potential. The iPad Air is where we will really see what the hardware is capable but with the iPhone 5s it all just feels a bit restricted. It’s like using a nuclear reactor to power your garden shed. It’s capable of much much more but but not in its current setup. That’s not to say that the 5s isn’t a great device because it really is. It’s amongst the best you can get. It’s just not THE best. Android is easily as good as IOS nowadays and Apple no longer offer the most intuitive and revolutionary hardware innovations. There is plenty of competition to Apple and if they are not careful they will lose that edge that they have had for so long. In this age bigger is better. As such let’s hope the next iPhone takes notice and does something about that tiny screen!

If you have any experience with the 5s please let me know how you have got on.

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Apple announces IPad Air and mini 2

Apple have officially announced the new iPad mini 2 and iPad Air. The flagship Air will feature Apples new A7 processor coupled with the M7 motion processor. The screen is the same as the one found on the iPad 4 but the design has been upgraded to incorporate a more streamlined iPad mini style chassis. Apple claim this brings the weight down to an amazing 1 pound. The iPad Air will be available in 16, 32, 64 and 128GB versions. The announcement of the Mini 2 is pretty much as expected with the addition of a retina display. RAM has been doubled to 1GB and the device now also sports the A7 processor and an improved GPU. Both devices will feature a new 5 MP camera but contrary to previous rumours the iPad Air and mini 2 will not feature Apples Touch ID finger print scanner.

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