Are you ready to upgrade to iOS 8? iThink not.

iOS-8At some point tomorrow, September 17th, Apple will be releasing this year’s major update to your iPhone software, iOS 8. I believe there is a good chance you aren’t ready to update and should probably wait. If you know for a fact that you have at least one really good backup of everything on your phone and could survive without your phone for a while, you can skip this article. The rest of you, read on.

Backup, Backup, Backup

I cannot stress this enough – I talk to so many people who lose data because they do not back-up their iPhones consistently. There are many causes of data loss, including, but not limited to, theft, breakage, defective hardware, contact with water, and update errors. Apple does a pretty good job with their software update system, but is it worth the risk of losing your photo where it looks like you are holding up the Tower of Pisa?

My Suggestions:

  1. Hopefully you are using iCloud Backup to automagically backup to the cloud, no not Photo Stream, that only backs up your 1,000 most-recent photos, nothing else (the way this is done gets better in iOS 8, which is a plus).
  2. iTunes-backupI also highly recommend plugging your iPhone into a computer and backing up to iTunes on a regular basis.
    1. Plug it in, go to iTunes, and if your phone is not automatically syncing, click sync.
    2. When it finishes syncing, press the backup button at least one more time to make sure.
    3. While you have your iPhone connected, copy all of your photos and images to your computer as well. You can read Apple’s instructions on how to do this for Mac and PC here.
  3. Did I mention backing up your computer? It is really important.

Things Could Get Weird

Apple has experience with updates, but with nearly a billion iOS devices in the world and a good portion of their owners eager to update right away, there could be issues. Downloads can get extremely slow and timeout. If you aren’t confident in your tech skills, it is also a good idea to let a 100 million other people try it out first and see if there are any inital problems. I will most likely at least update my iPad tomorrow and will keep you informed on the general consensus.

Still Reading?

You are eager to update. I understand, I am the same way. As I have mentioned before, last year with iOS 7 we had the biggest change in appearance since the iPhone was originally released. This year with iOS 8, the functionality and back-end will be the major focus.

Here are a few articles from Mac Rumors, iOS 8 Features and iOS 8. Since a lot of the features are more back-end, it will take some time for all of your favorite apps to really take advantage of them. You will be able to use the phone like you’re used to, and I will let you know how to take it to the next level over time.

Go Time

After looking at your phone a thousand times, it is finally there – the red circle on the Settings app, letting you know the update is ready. Rob from TodayiniOS.com has his recommended steps just before updating (His in-depth PDF can be viewed in the free Tii App):

  1. Sync your photos (I told you to do this above)
  2. Update all your apps
  3. Force quit all your open apps
  4. Back-up/Sync/Back-up to Computer/iCloud (see above)
  5. Reset Network Settings/Reboot your iPhone
  6. Update to new version of iOS (I would add plugging it in to power, but I am pretty sure Apple reminds you as well.) See edit below.
  7. Hold your breath, cross your fingers and be patient (I added this one)

Edit: I forgot one tip that could save you a lot of headache. Are you having problems updating because you do not have enough free space? Update through iTunes. That way it downloads everything to your computer and just updates your iPhone. This can be a life saver and my preferred method, due to more stability.

Completely Lost?

Does this kind of stuff make your head hurt? Let me help you! I have started www.ConsistentTech.com to do just that. My goal is to help my clients utilize their technology better. Whatever level of help you need, let me know.

Good Luck with iOS 8!

Posted in iOS, iPhone Tips, Software | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

My iPhone 6 Dilemma

iPhone-6-and-6-PlusFor the first time since the iPhone introduction in 2007, I have a tough question to answer. Do I want to buy the ‘best’ iPhone Apple has available? Every year the answer has been simple – yes. I have bought a new iPhone each year since the 4, and each time I bought the top model with the most storage.

This year is different – iPhone has two sizes in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. I have been very clear about my thoughts on a 5.5″ phone. I am not a fan of the ‘Phablet’ trend. I have great eyes and value portability in my phone, and I would have been happy with a fully updated 4″ model. I had convinced myself that the two sizes of phones, if released at all, would have the same internals besides battery life. Well Apple, as usual, has switched things up. The two phone models are very close, but a few key differences might have me sold on a bigger phone.

Today I printed off templates of the new sizes to play around with, and the 6 Plus does seem awfully big. You can download the PDF from ArsTechnica here.

iPhone-Scale

Battery Life

It isn’t tough to figure out that with a larger device you can fit more battery. But, the battery life on the iPhone 6 Plus is a HUGE improvement, as noted in the chart below. I use my phone a LOT and extra battery life would be nice.

iPhone 6 Battery Comparison

iPhone 6 Battery Comparison

Camera

Both of the new phones will have drastic improvements in the camera over earlier models. The 6 Plus has one advantage though, Optical Image stabilization, which decreases blurry photos and helps with low light photography. I primarily use my iPhone camera for taking pictures, so this is important to me.

iPhone-6-Plus-OIS

From Apple’s site

Usability

The iPhone 6 Plus will also have several iPad-like features for use in landscape mode. This uses the bigger screen to give more functionality.

iPhone 6s landscape mode

iPhone 6s landscape mode

The Dilemma

Can I sacrifice my comfort and familiarity with a smaller size phone for a better device? The analogy that keeps coming to mind is vehicle size – do I want a ‘Smart Car’ or the ‘Huge SUV’? Of course they each have their advantages, which brings me to something that doesn’t come easily – blind decision. The iPhone 6 preorders start tomorrow night at midnight, long before the masses can get one in their hand for a test drive.

Probably the biggest reason of all for me to be resistant to the iPhone 6 Plus will be having to eat crow for all the ‘phablet’ hating I have done. I have laughed at, pointed at and shamed those with huge Android phones. I can only hope that Apple’s attention to detail and gorgeous design quiets the rebuttal.

My Preorder

12.12.14 at 12:01am I will be logging onto AT&T’s website to preorder an iPhone 6 Plus in Space Gray with 128 gigs of storage.

The first reason I will do this is that I believe the 5.5″ model will be in very short supply. If I got the 4.7″ and decided I wanted the 5.5″ I might have a long wait. I also want to just give it a good shot. I am sure I will fall in love with it. I have really been wanting to get back into wearing Hip Sacks (the correct term for fanny packs), so carrying it won’t be a problem.

Which iPhone are you interested in? Will you be preordering? Let us know on our Facebook Page.

Deeper reading: MacRumors.com put together a very thorough comparison of the two new iPhone models.

Posted in Apple Announcements, iPhone Features | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Apple Announcement 9/9/14 Wrap-up | iPhone6, Apple Pay, Apple Watch

Apple-iPhone6Yesterday Apple had their announcement and it did not disappoint (me, at least). They announced the new iPhones, their new payment system and the watch. I will do my best to give you a quick rundown of the information we were given. I wasn’t spot-on in my posts ahead of time, post 1 and post 2, but I was close. More on my opinion later.

I took a long, early lunch from my day job to come home and follow along. There were some issues with the streaming video from Apple, but between that, another live video analysis, Twitter and a written feed I was able to get a good image of what was going on. I then came home last night and watched the full announcement again and read several articles on the topic.

Ok, on to the good stuff:

  • iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

    • Two new models of the iPhone, the 6 being a 4.7″ screen and the 6 Plus being a 5.5″ screen.
    • Release date September 19th with preorders at 12:01am on September 12th.
    • They are both bigger in width and heighth over previous iPhones, but they are thinner.
    • The rear camera is still 8 megapixels but has better features. The 6 Plus has optical image stabilization, which takes better pictures. The camera also sticks out a bit from the back since they are so thin.
    • They have moved the power button from the top, and added a large-screen mode to help with one-handed operation on the larger screens.
    •  The 6 Plus has some special features similar to the iPad for horizontal use.
    • Internal storage is now 16gb, 64gb or 128gb. The 6 costs $199, $299 and $399 respectively. The 6 Plus is $100 more for each level. They both come in the same silver, space gray and gold from last year.
    • The processors and inside workings are all better and faster. The screen is ‘nicer.’
    • You can find a comparison of all current iPhone models on Apple’s site.
  • Apple Pay

    • There is a doodad built into the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus that will allow you to store your credit card and pay really easily in stores and online.
    • It will be available in October, so more on that later.
  • Apple Watch

    • The Apple Watch will be released in early 2015. It looks amazing and I am saving for one now. The prices start at $349. Much more on this later, but watch the Apple video below for a great glimpse at this masterpiece.
  • Other

    • iOS8 will be released on September 17th. Get your phones backed up and ready to update.
    • Apple has given every iTunes customer a free copy of U2’s new album. Here is how to get it.

Well, that gives you the essential details for what I think you need to know now. For more in-depth coverage the good people from iMore have a detailed breakdown of the event. If you want to watch the whole two-hour announcement, head over to www.Apple.com.

If you are thinking of getting one of the new models anywhere near the release date, I strongly suggest you call your cell phone company to make sure everything is setup, and get ready to wake up and be ready to order at midnight.

Posted in Apple Announcements, iOS, iPhone Features | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pre-9.9.14 Apple Announcement Final Thoughts (maybe)

Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 5.59.20 PMOkay, I know that I’ve already shared plenty of thoughts on tomorrow’s announcement, but with just over 16 hours to go, I have a few more notes. I will be watching/following the announcement live tomorrow, which I have done with every event for the last 14 years. As I have mentioned before, it is like Christmas morning for me, and as my family knows, I am pretty giddy on Christmas morning.

On to my further musings, in no particular order:

  • Tomorrow’s event will be big. The venue is much larger  than the ones they usually use, and they have also constructed some top-secret White House-looking structure out front. There will be more than double the press in attendance than usual, including many top people from the fashion industry, which lends credibility to the ‘wearable’ rumors.
    Aerial footage of mysterious white box at Apple’s ‘iPhone 6’ event site from AppleInsider on Vimeo.
  • One thing I completely forgot about on the last post was the AppleTV. We are long overdue for an update and there has been a lot of talk of Apple changing the television game with this device. I personally don’t think they will mass release an actual TV, but could make some generous improvements to the current add-on box.
  • I am sad to say that over the last few days there has been more and more info leaking about a 5.5″ iPhone. That being said, it is still a rumor, and I hope Apple doesn’t do it.
  • There have been a few people talking about ‘water-proofing‘ of the iPhone 6. I think this is a great idea and many other phones have it. It just makes sense.
  • The mobile payments rumors have been going crazy. It sounds as though Walgreens, CVS, Nordstroms and other major retailers might already be on board. Again, this could change how we pay for things forever.
  • There are many other rumors out there, but nothing is for sure until we see it on stage.

After years of watching these announcements, let me remind you of how the cycle works around these things:

  1. Rumors, Rumors, Rumors
  2. Announcement
  3. People are upset because they knew everything ahead of time
  4. The press says Apple is doomed because of x, y, or z
  5. Lines form for release day (there have already been people lined up for a week at Apple Stores as we speak)
  6. Apple sells more than they ever have before
  7. People love the product
  8. A few iPhones have some minor problem and every one says Apple is doomed
  9. The rumors begin for next year (someday I will create a chart or write a book on how this process is tied to the 5 stages of grief)

Expect to hear plenty more from me tomorrow, and make sure to like the Facebook page for updates. Get excited!

Posted in Apple Announcements, iPhone Features, iPhone Rumors | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

iPhone 6, what iThink

iPhone 6, What iThink.

How big will the iPhone get?

How big will the iPhone get?

The only thing we know at this point is that Apple has an event scheduled for September 9th, 2014. This date lines up with what they have done the past several years for the annual iPhone announcement. Now over the last 11 months (yes, the rumors for the next iPhone usually start the day the previous one is released), I have listened to, watched, and read hundreds of hours of speculation on what this next iPhone will be like. Having processed through all that data, and injecting my own thoughts, I wanted to share what I expect to see on the 9th.

Size

This has been probably the biggest discussion for this year’s announcement. The rumor has been that there will be bigger iPhones. A lot of people seem to think that they will be 4.7″ and 5.5″ screens. I understand the 4.7″ but I highly doubt the 5.5″ will be here this year. People need to remember that the  #1, #2, and I believe, #3 phone models in the world are all 4″ iPhones. I really hope they have an updated 4″ along the 4.7″ model that we have seen leaked photos of. Please see my diatribe* at the end of the article on the possible 5.5″ model. In the leaked photos of the 4.7″ it looks a lot like the iPod Air design, very sleek. You can expect the insides of the phone to improve, including the camera.

Software

From what we know, iOS 8 should be the biggest change since Apple introduced the App Store. Last year the look changed quite a bit, this year the functionality will improve tremendously. Most of the new features were discussed back in June, but Apple tends to keep a few surprises for the iPhone announcement. This Boy Genius Report article lists 5 top features, in his opinion. I also think the features they are building in for home automation and health tracking will be revolutionary.
The rumors are also flying about a mobile payments system that could be pretty game-changing for the way we pay for things. Heck, they already have your credit card on file, now you could use it to pay for real candy, not just the crushing kind. It should also be expected that the new iPhone will have some awesome features that no one knows about yet.

Release

If Apple follows the pattern from the last 2 or 3 years, the iPhone will be released on 9/19, and there is a good chance iOS 8 would be released on 9/16.

iWatch

iPod Nano with watch band.

iPod Nano with watch band.

The very long-rumored ‘iWatch’ or more properly called ‘Apple Wearable’ is also looking like it will be announced, but probably not available until later. There are many other companies producing watch-like devices that have all been reviewed pretty poorly. Samsung has released about a dozen models in their usual ‘throwing spaghetti at a wall’ strategy. In my mind, Apple’s device will be similar to the iPod Nano from a few years ago that people started making a watch band for. I envision a small squarish (not ruling out round, but it isn’t very functional in a non-analog watch interface) device that will have a watch band available, but also clips, chains and other ways to attach it to your body. As far as functionality, this is Apple’s speciality, taking something that exists and making it into something that actually works in a way you need it to. It will probably connect to Apple devices in some way, giving you some control and notifications. Again, I know Apple well, but I also know that they think in ways others don’t, or else they wouldn’t be so successful. Whatever they announce, put me down for one!

Other

The invite

The invite

You can see why people are saying this has the potential to be one of the most historic Apple announcements. Besides the iPhone and possibly the iWatch, there probably won’t be time to discuss much else. Expect another event in October with discussion on iPads, computers and likely some other cool stuff. I would also wager that we won’t hear much about the update to the Mac OS, Yosemite, until a later date.

I could have kept writing for hours, but I will spare you. This post covers what I consider the top points. What do you think? Let me know on the Facebook Page. If you will be following along with the announcement on the 9th, you can look for Today in iOS to release their iPhone bingo card soon.
UPDATE: Today in iOS has released their 9.9.2014 Apple Event Rumor Bingo card.

*5.5″ iPhone – The current consensus is that Apple would release the 5.5″ iPhone 6 later than the 4.7″ and either announce it on the 9th or surprise people a few months down the road. I highly doubt that they would do either due to two major factors:
  1. The lines outside the Apple Store and first-week sales are probably the most important data point for Apple each year; a later release would split those numbers.
  2. Especially in the United States, the majority of all phone contracts are two years long. A later phone or a surprise phone would throw all of this off and not only anger customers, but carriers as well.

Some people think that Apple needs to play catch-up on a bigger phone to compete with Samsung and others. I personally don’t think the other companies are selling that many, they are just such eyesores that we always notice them. It is actually easier to make a huge phone because you have lots of room to jam more stuff in there, like a larger battery. Others are also saying that the 5.5″ would have better specs than any of the other phones. I could see it perhaps haveing a better battery life with the added space, but a better processor, etc. would again just anger the tiny-handed, well-visioned iPhoners.

Posted in Apple Announcements, iOS, iPhone Features | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments