Apple iOS7: Truly An OS For The Sheeple

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you are no doubt very aware that Apple released their latest major OS update recently; iOS7.

iOS-7

This has been much anticipated and as always, the Apple marketing machine has been pimping this thing out for a while. 

In the hours since its release Twitter went mad with peoples thoughts.  Ignoring the major updating issues and “bricked phones”, social media got swamped with happy iUsers who took no time in sharing their joy at this latest update.

“I’m like a kid in a candy shop with iOS7! The flashlight in the control center is money. #love #apple #fangirl”@munnykhera

“I really like the control center, that’s helpful.”@Captain_Ron

The control center mentioned by these tweets is just one of the new features found on iOS7. 

I have to laugh however.  These “new” features on iOS7 aren’t actually new to Smart Phones at all.  My Samsung Galaxy S3 has had a similar Control Center interface since it came out, for example.

In fact, let’s break down the major changes in iOS7 that people are really liking and do a quick Android comparison.

1) Control Center

Ok the control center is good.  Swipe “up” from the bottom and you now have a screen where you can enable/disable core features etc.  You still need to swipe “down” for your notifications on iOS7.  Android has all this in a single screen.  But no flashlight?  You’re right, that’s not in the Android panel, but hey, you can add that as a widget on ANY screen.

2) Automatic App Updates

This is new to Apple?  Really?  Android have had this as a core feature for a long time. 

3) AirDrop

This is a secure, quick transfer system that allows you to “drop” files from one iOS7 device to another.  What a genius idea, but wait, Samsung Galaxy have had this feature for quite a while.

4) Dynamic Wallpapers

This is another example of Apple behind the times.  Dynamic wallpapers aren’t a new thing at all, so why has it taken Apple so long to get them?

5) Multi-Tasking “App Change” screen

Instead of icons, you now have screenshots of your open apps.  And to close them, just swipe.  A very nice looking interface, but i swear it’s almost a direct copy of the system Samsung have been using for a long time already.

iOS7 may look shiny, and it may sound trendy, but it has very little in way of features that are not already available on other Smartphones.  So why all the hype?  Why are people losing their minds over this OS that is still behind the curve compared to systems like Samsung’s Galaxy devices? 

Lynn La (CNET) reviewed iOS7 and the Control Center as it compares to the Android Quick Settings. She writes:

“Don’t get me wrong, Control Center is a notable addition to the iPhone, and it’s easily iOS 7’s best feature. And unlike some critics, I actually like the new, flat look. But when it comes to letting users have more “control” and more freedom on their handsets, Android remains miles ahead of iOS.”

If nothing else, this all goes to show that Apple iOS7 really is the OS for the Sheeple!

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Windows 8.1 Arriving To PC Makers In August

Love it or hate it, Windows 8 has been one of the most talked about Windows OS, and it’s getting its first update as soon as August.  Microsoft announced Monday that they will send the final version of Windows 8.1 to PC manufacturers later this year.

Windows 8.1 is the first major update to the Windows 8 Operating System and according to earlier reports, it will available as a free download to current Windows 8 customers.

With the update comes a host of new or improved features.  Click here to see what’s coming.

Windows 8.1 Screenshot:

win81

Windows 8 continues to be a popular with upgrades from earlier versions of Windows said to be at a good pace.

Are you a Windows 8 user?  Are you thinking about upgrading?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Samsung Galaxy S3: The Hype And My Thoughts

The Samsung Galaxy S3 (also known as the Galaxy SIII) is said to be the best and most powerful smartphone on the market.  Unless you’ve been under a rock, behind a tree or maybe somewhere in the back-woods of New Zealand you will be more than aware of the ongoing battle between Apple and Samsung.  The battle though isn’t limited to high paid lawyers and courtrooms, it’s alive and kicking amongst people like you and I; those who use the products.

The fight has gone through numerous evolutions.  iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy S2, Galaxy S3, Galaxy Tab… the only constant seems to be that Apple and Samsung both claim to have truly incredible products.  My experiences with the iPhone have left me with a frustrated taste in my mouth, so I have to ask myself…

Is the Samsung Galaxy S3 worthy of all the hype it gets?

My first smartphone was a Blackberry Bold 9000.  When we upgraded 18 months ago we got the Apple iPhone 4 and while the hardware and technology was a massive step forward from the Bold, the heavy limitations Apple put on their products was a constant thorn in my side.  iOS6 and its well publicised issues were the final straw.  The iPhone had to go, and what better to upgrade to than a shiny new “Pebble Blue” Galaxy S3.

First Thoughts:

blue-s301

Despite its large size, this is one of the most comfortable phones i’ve held.  The ergo edges are tireless on the hands and it’s such a light weight that you hardly feel like you’re holding a phone.  The screen is vibrant… and the colours “pop” better than anything else i’ve seen (and yes, that includes the iPhone 5).  But the biggest first thought.. it’s fast.  I mean, it’s real fast and has such a smooth fluid movement that everything is so effortless.  It’s driven by a Quad-core 1.4 GHz Cortex-A9 processor with 1GB of RAM meaning you’re not going to have any problems with speed on this handset.  The OS is Android 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich).

To top off the processor, the Galaxy S3 boasts a massive 4.8 inch Super AMOLED HD (high definition) screen that delivers incredible depth of colours.

Using It:

Taking into mind that i’ve come from an iPhone 4 to the S3, there is a massive upgrade in technology involved for a users point of view.  The S3 really has it all, and if it doesn’t there is probably an App that can make it happen.  Standard features such as S-Beam allowing you to instantly send files to other S3 users, FM Radio tuner, 8MP Camera and Google Maps (yes, Google… Apple users may remember those great maps) are just the start with the Galaxy S3. 

blue-s302

Everything seems so well connected on this phone.  With as little as a click you can take a photo and then send it / use it on almost any App on the phone.  I’ve not had that kind of flexibility with applications since my days on the Blackberry.  The notifications screen isn’t just there to tell you what’s new on your phone, it also contains instant access to common system settings such as Wifi, Blue Tooth, Audio, GPS, Power Saving and more.

And hey, if you want to stand around looking like a fool talking to your phone you can even play with S-Voice.  Apple users will surely love that feature.

Apps aside, it’s the customisation ability of the phone that really has me sold.  You control what your home screens display.  Whether you want widgets, app icons, or maybe just your full schedule you can do it, and then some.  You control the number of home screen (slides) you have on the phone, and what they contain.  Take a look at the image to the right to see what i mean about blending widgets, and icons.

What About Apps?

In case you’re wondering, there IS an place to get your apps – it’s called Google Play and much like the Apple App Store, its easy to use and contains apps that have been approved by Google.  Accessing it can be done by both phone or browser.

App availability is quite incredible and i’ve been blown away by the number of applications that you can install and more importantly, the number of developers who have started to really push Android app development.  Zynga are a prime example of a company who are making a push to ensure Android apps are available at the same time as other platforms.

Final Thoughts:

Has my experience with the iPhone made me a little biased?  Yes, absolutely and I make no apologies for that.  But mark my words, the Samsung Galaxy S3 is truly a smartphone worthy of the hype it receives.  Not only does it reach expectations, it surpasses them and leaves you with a smile on your face. 

Samsung have created a truly magnificent product here, and I would have no hesitation in recommending it to anybody looking to upgrade or replace their mobile phone.

Other great reviews of the S3:

Trusted Reviews: Galaxy S3 tops iPhone 5 as UKs prefered Smartphone
Tech Radar: Galaxy S3 Review

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After 18 Months Of iPhone Problems, Switching To Android

Around the middle of 2011 I published an article on this site about upgrading my (then) Blackberry Bold 9000 for the all-new Apple iPhone 4.  It was a bold move by me at the time as I had little love for Apple products.

18 months on, and my thoughts on Apple have not improved any, in fact, to the contrary they have very heavily deteriorated.

The iPhone 4 was fun at first.  Sleek, fast and a major upgrade from the Blackberry, the iPhone was a novelty with many apps to get my geeky fingers into.  However, like many who switch to Apple products, it was not without problems.  The inability to really modify or customise the phone was a big setback for me, and though Apple addressed this with their iOS5 update it was not enough.  Then there was the home button that begun to stick about 3 months ago.  Apple support were useless, suggesting there was no hardware issue, yet over time the problem became much more prevalent.  Still, Apple refuse to admit there is an issue with the button / hardware.  Hitting google you will find many reports of iPhone 4 users with this exact same problem, yet still, Apple refuse to admit there is an issue.  As it stands right now, I have to have assisted touch enabled, as the home button doesn’t work 80%+ of the time. Then of course came iOS6.  Maps etc aside, iOS6 biggest problem is that it has my phone running so hot it reboots itself at least once every day.

I’m done with Apple and the iPhone experiment.  It was never really destined to succeed as unlike many Apple users appear to be, I wont just blindly follow.

so, Samsung Galaxy SIII here I come.  A phone that is super fast, has a great size screen, loads of incredible apps and most importantly, it doesn’t have that Apple logo on it! 

Samsung Galaxy s3

In the coming week I will post a detailed review of how I find the new phone.

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Pass or Fail: Apple Releases Disappointing IOS6 Update

There has been anticipation of Apples realease of IOS6 for some times, and yesterday the world got their chance to grab the latest update. Sadly, the update was not worth the hype it was given.

applemapsThe biggest changes were the exclusion of a native YouTube app (owned by Google) and the replacement of Google Maps with an Apple owned native App.  We are all aware of the “war” going on between Apple and Google over the operating systems, but to drop the worlds #1 and most used Maps and Video Sharing systems is downright stupid on Apples part.

This topic has been hot in the blogosphere over the last day or so, as can be read about on “the verve“, “NY Times” and “Marketwatch“.

Those who updated their devices and tested the maps have found it lacking in every aspect.  There are entire streets missing in some areas and the “fancy” improvements (as Apple would refer to them) such as fly overs and turn by turn navigation are only good if you have a 4S or 5 product, so they have once again left the 3 and 4 users out in the cold.  Those users with the TomTom app on their earlier devices would argue that it has nothing to do with the devices not being fast enough either, it’s simply Apple’s business plan – upgrade your device or be screwed over left behind.

Those users of YouTube will be very pleased with the App that Google created recently that in my opinion is better than the native app that came on the earlier IOS releases.  There is also talk that Google have created a Google Maps app and are awaiting approval from Apple, so the question is whether Apple will do right by their users and approve it, or risk upsetting them en mass.

Then again, history shows that Apple don’t need to go out of their way to satisfy users, as the vast majority will blindly follow them regardless of how good or bad a product they release.

Pass or Fail?

An absolute fail!  The update may be an improvement in the eyes of Apple execs, but to this iPhone user it is a massive step backwards.  Personally as soon as I can i’ll be dropping my iPhone and replacing it with an Android system.

Other stories about the IOS6 Update:

BBC News – New Apple maps app under fire from users
PC Mag – 6 Ways Google Maps beats Apple Maps

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5 Must Have iPhone Apps For The 2012 Olympic Games

With the 2012 Olympics well underway in London, I thought it would be good to look up what apps I could install on my iPhone.   As expected there are quite a number of apps, so needed to look into which ones were the best.

Luckily for me, the folks at Maypalo had already done the work for me.  Their article on the Top 5 Must-Have Free iPhone Apps for the 2012 Olympics is a great starting point for anybody looking to get a few Olympic Games apps for their iPhone or iPad.

They list their top 5 as:

5. London 2012: Official Join In App for the Olympic and Paralympic Games
4. Buddy TV Guide iPhone App
3. NBC Olympics Live Extra
2. Reuters Olympics London 2012

And the #1 recommended App for iPhone or iPad?

London 2012: Official Results App for iPhoneLondon 2012: Official Results App for the Olympics and Paralympics Games

See screenshot to the right.

The universal app provides all the latest news, schedules and results to keep up-to-date with the latest action live over the next two weeks (25 July to 12 August 2012). It also provides calendar schedule, details of sports, medal tables and athlete profiles. ou can view day-by-day which sporting events are taking place in the Olympic schedule and set favourites or reminders to create a personalised selection tailored for you.

View the full Maypalo story by clicking here.

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