Andrew Breese

Musings of a professional geek

Tag Archives: iphone

Thoughts about Apple’s recent batch of news

It is almost like Apple has a Deck of Many Things, and got all the bad cards at once.

They’ve had a seriously large wave of mixed and poor press, which can’t be helping their position in the marketplace. That said, it feels more like a series of unconnected issues which could have affected any tech-giant. I have to wonder though if they’re spread too thin. MS has had months like this too and folks still use their gear every day, and the laundry list of odd things by most tech-farms reads a similar way – although not as many issues compressed into such a short time frame. We’ve seen:

Apple’s new iphone 6, which people have gone crazy for…

  • I’d love a faster processor and more ram in my old iphone 4. I’ve seen the speed difference between the 4 and 5 and it is dramatic for the same apps, so I can only think that the v6 will be faster too. Add a little OS bloat and App bloat and perhaps the speed difference will fade over time, just like it does in our other computers.
  • I’m certain that IOS8 will be a better operating system than v7, just because it is where they will spend their dev budget. I don’t look forward to the end of life for IOS v7, but it is coming very soon now that the sales have been so good for the new toy.
  • There is a comparison between the Galaxy 5 and the iPhone6 variants which all but says the Galaxy is the same feature-set. I’m not sure that is true give the hardware specs, but the high level feature-set looks darn similar.
  • Larger phones do not appeal a lot to me, because I want a device which is a phone first, then a pda, or tablet, etc. I need to be able to carry it without it being obtrusive, and hold it in hand easily. It needs to fit easy in a pocket, and there is no way in hell the new huge iPhone will fit in the pockets of my wife’s jeans. If Apple made a smaller but faster iPhone that the v4 form factor, or even just slimmer I’d really consider buying that for both of us.
  • I’d also pay for significantly more battery life. Not just an extra few hours, I mean give me a week between charges like the bad old days in the 90s mobile phones.
  • My iphone v1 (which couldn’t be purchased here in Australia) still works fine. I now use it as a music player in the house for one of the bedrooms. Yes, it needs to be always on charge, and it only holds a small amount of music, but it is doing great.

Apple’s iPhones 6s can apparently easily bend in your pocket…

  • If true, sheesh. Smaller tougher phone anyone? Can somebody rush a titanium laced backbone phone cover for the damn thing and sell millions of units…

Apple release a new privacy statement, which might take a broadside at Google

  • It reads well if you don’t think they’re being smart-arses. But only when you consider that it might be snarky, it reads like they are being rude. To be frank I’m not convinced that this was rude at all.

Apple has the (perhaps hack) issues with icloud file security.

  • Blaming the end user is pointless and exploiting them is horrible.
  • Anything and everything can be hacked given enough time.
  • I do not use iCloud because I do not trust ANY of the cloud services (yet). If you want my data, then come to my home (or my offsite back-up server) and get it from my cold dead hands.
  • And they are addressing it.

Apple gift the U2 album to users as a purchase, creating a storm of negative press…

  • Giving away free music from U2 should have been a huge promotional boon, but the auto-purchase rather than opt-in shows that the strategy didn’t consider the negative response at all.
  • Ironically you need to have an iCloud account to get it, so I can’t grab the album. This is where I’m OK with the choice to not use iCould – yes I miss out on the features and offers they are making, but I also know that my data is still mine. That approach adds risk of loss from theft and hardware failure, but I manage that risk through my own back-up.
  • I would like to listen to the album, but not really fussed, and certainly not going to pay for it.
  • I am sure that it will be available on illegal sites straight away.

Apple IOS 8.x Update rolled back due to lost calls and a few other issues

  • New iPhones have an issue with the 8.x update, and rollback has been sent out. Youch.
  • “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. My advice is to never apply an update to your devices (laptops, pc, phone, etc) in the first weeks of it’s release. Let somebody else be the tester and suffer any angst. This has happened to so many devices that only people with issues that are directly affected by the patch should try it.

Apple’s OSX might be affected by the Bash exploit

  • The exploit could affect a variety of Linux based operating systems, but the method of attack is very specific, so isn’t likely to affect most users; especially everyday end users. Don’t panic.
  • The potential for the exploit has been around for decades, and this is something to patch and not something to panic about. The sysadmins will know which systems are at risk and they’ll be stressed enough for everyone.
  • get the systems patched and buy yourself a coffee for being on the ball. Don’t buy into the hype.

Apple is still the device platform I use at home, and unless somebody releases a cost effective way to alter that and maintain the bread of easy in controlling the devices that won’t change soon. I’m locked in for now.

They need a weekend on a beach somewhere to chill, then return to work refreshed. Poor bastards.

Some iOS7 thoughts

I’ve recently taken the plunge to update from IOS6 to IOS 7, and then 7.0.2 (or whatever the patch version was to fix the security hole). The experience of doing the update was kids stuff, and worked without issue. That is not to say that my experience from that point forward has been wonderful.

Instead I’m bemused by some of the choices the designers and product managers made.

Overall – I’ll adapt and accept it. Meh.

I’d probably be happy any phone or tablet device at this stage, as long as it has the apps I regular use:

  • phone, contacts, calendar, notes, etc
  • books and pdfs without DRM lock-in
  • multiple email account support
  • browser, video/youtube, podcasts, music, camera
  • social media apps
  • maps
  • rss, weather,
  • wow auth app, and logs app
  • flashlight, calc, timers,

I think a few users will be frustrated by change, but those users are typically frustrated by most changes in tech gear. I can accept the changes as attempts to improve and move forward. By comparison I think this update is leaps ahead of most Windows OS updates in presentation and design.

As much as it makes me sound like an Apple apologist – I still like the overall features.

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Trouble syncing google calendar to an iphone

I had a bit of trouble syncing my Google calendars (yes there are a few) with the iphone, and now that its working I thought it better to share the knowledge.

The problem I had was that my Google Calendar contained three separate sub-calendars, and two of them would sync, but the third would not. This mean that I could see all my data when I viewed the calendar on whatever browser, but opening the calendar on the setup iPhone was missing one.

The (TLDR) solution is to tell Google which devices it syncs from are meant to show which calendars. You do this by going to the two URLs and authorising the calendars individually.

To make the process even more odd, but logical behind the scenes the second URL is for syncing of mobile devices, and you need to authorise each sub-calendar on each device which may connect to it. This was the key step I was missing – i.e. I had setup sync for the browser, but not in the specific device and then for the sub-calendar.

Once I did that it worked fine. For a more verbose explanation and some side-detail continue reading below.

Viola!

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an apple service experience

A few weeks ago I had to replace my iphone due to a hardware fault, and it gave me the opportunity to experience customer service from Apple.

The back-story to this post is the iphone camera unit’s shutter would not open anymore. When the camera app started the shutter would normally start closed, and then open the software iris to let the user know the camera is ready to be used. On my phone it just stayed closed. Searching the web for similar issues indicated that it is a known hardware fault with the iphones, and it is usually replaced.

My steps to get this resolved were:

  1. Check apple website, search for service/warranty area, and then use the online form to find a service centre near work.
  2. Ring the service centre to make sure they were open and available.
  3. Go to the service centre to check in the iphone.
  4. At service centre I was told that they can’t help as only a few stores in Melbourne are authorised to take iphones, but they do most other apple gear. They said the next step was to ring the Chadstone (a large shopping centre) store and book in.
  5. Rang the Chadstone store and was told that I book in via their apple specific web mini-site.
  6. Go to the mini-site and book a time a week or so away.
  7. Visit the store, get the phone looked at, and replaced on the spot.

This was frustrating. The basic apple site did not direct me to the service centre book in for Chadstone. Instead I went through calls, store visits, and store clerks to find that the service was online and could have been easy, but instead was a long process. A 7 step process should have actually been reduced to 2 steps: book in via web and then visit store to get replacement. Blaarg.

Replacing the iphone (or any item that is within warranty) should be easy and the experience should be tailored for the customer. What is odd is that Apple actually had the systems in place, but the staff had no idea what to recommend. They fell back on the “call them and ask, sorry I don’t know” as the default answer. This is the level of service I expect from a fast food vendor earning minimum wage, not a huge multi-national. I’m now better informed about the initial service process for iPhones in Melbourne than the kid working in a city Apple store.

Now I realise that this type of activity is significantly better than some other companies will offer, and it is a negligible problem in the grand scheme of things. A little angst in customer service is standard now, and I think a typical consumer expects to be disappointed by warranty and service.

The last gripe I have with the overall experience is that the “hardware warranty” is basically bullshit as it is offered. The unit had a flaw with the camera equipment which required the unit to be replaced. However instead of the new hardware getting a new warranty period starting from the date it was replaced, the original warranty time still applies.

This basically means that if the same issue occurs again (and it is the same hardware) when the original warranty time expires I will not be able to get the unit replaced. Instead Apple will probably just offer to sell me a new unit. So a known fault just gets flipped for the life of the warranty until you’re screwed. Terrific. I didn’t feel I could argue as the store clerk insisted that it was either this option, or they would not help me.

So what would I expect instead?

The hardware warranty should start again from the date the replacement handset is issued. That unit is meant to be “new” and as such should be fit for purpose. I would also expect that even if the store clerk did not know what the process was, he should have found out on the spot and told me. Or at worse found out and rang me to let me know. This would mean that I would have had a better experience overall, and also that clerk would know for next time.

All we have now is a status quo of poor service based around it being easier to just say sorry and defer the problem. Consider this and think why the support phone lines are so blocked…

So good outcome Apple, but no cigar.

At least the bloody camera works, for the next 210 days more at a maximum when I get to pay for a new one. Guess at that time I’ll be looking seriously at the extended warranty, and what it includes on all sorts of phones.

I bet you can’t get an iPhone 4 this week

GizMag blog has some amazing information for the Mac nuts out there, even if you’re an anti-Mac nut its impressive. The iPhone v4 USA sales are totally beyond reason, in the order of 1.7 million units in 3 days. Yup, that is iCrazy. Think about how many that will be in the first month alone. If the iPad sales are anything to go by, the demand will not seriously decline for at least a few weeks, probably months.

image of iphone 4

Like the monolith in 2001...monkey go nuts

OK, even if the figure is inflated it puts a solid end to any speculation of the sales being low, or that Apple’s product demand are anything less than on the increase. Android users might be, and all non-touch non-graphical interface phones are a thing of the past.

Despite a range of well publicized hardware problems, including yellow areas on screens, poor antenna design and an overly fragile shell, Apple moved a whopping 1.7 million units of the new iPhone 4 in just three days after its launch on June 24. – Quote and image from GizMag

Gadzooks, that is a lot of hardware, and an insane amount of people in lines waiting to get their hands on the newest of toys.

The v4 iphone looks different so is easy to differentiate from other devices, which is clever – as it will be the iconic geek-chic device for a few months. Lets face it though, these people are also the early adopters who will suffer through any production issues, software glitches, and every other aspect of getting the newest toys first, before they’re ready for consumption by the “non-geek” unwashed masses.

I want one (a lot), but will wait till they are shipping regularly to Australia, and I can get one without standing in the street.

Apple announce iPhone OS 4.0

The media, hardware, and development beast that Apple has become has released a promo for the iPhone OS 4.0. http://www.apple.com/iphone/preview-iphone-os/ The developer beta is also launched, so dev folks can start ripping the lid off the new OS and see what joy can be found from the new API calls.

It is exciting, and hopefully will contain some hidden toys that the dev community can blow our minds with.

Features include:

  • Better multitasking, especially for third party apps (hooray).
  • Better email (its not bad now, but needs a few fixes).
  • And all sorts of security improvements, with details to follow.
  • Book reader; meh.

What strikes me is that this is for second and third generation iPhones only, not the first generation of iphones. Apple – What the hell!

My phone is a 1st gen, jail-broken to work in Australia, and as a very early adopter and advocate of Apple’s iPhone I’m miffed. This is a dark cloud of rain on my poor battle worn iPhone, and basically makes the device’s retirement a certainty after this is released.

The silver lining is that I’ve been looking for a reason to buy a new iphone, and this might just be it. But still, I’d like to know why an OS update cold not be applied to the 1st generation iphones; as far a hardware they are not that dissimilar.

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