Wednesday, November 12, 2014

the iPhone 6 Plus

The newest generation of iPhone - the iPhone 6 - is a game changer literally
Shortly after AT&T announced its iPhone 6 plans - or rather its NEW iPhone 6 plans, I made the decision that, despite my dedicated reluctance to be an early adopter of any sort of new tech, thanks in part to my responsibilities with work and my need to have access to the new iPhone in order to review games that are made specifically for it, I bit the bullet.  Sort of...

Now, I qualified that with a "sort of" largely because in spite of Tim Cook's excited announcement on that stage in California, and despite the contention that the iPhone 6 is perhaps the most polished NEW iPhone to ever launch at Apple - when I placed my order for an iPhone 6 Plus with 64GB of memory on AT&T's website, I understood that there was both a wait-list and that the model I was ordering was one of the more popular - hence an even longer wait-list.

What I mean is, I understood that I would have to get in line with everyone else and wait my turn.

And wait.  Today is 11 November, 2014.  This is the first day that I *might* be sent my new iPhone.

The new Apple Watch - oh, wait, that's the TV watch from The Jetsons...  But if we could watch The Flintstones on our Apple Watch this is what it will look like...  Really!
The official notice that I received from AT&T basically explained that my iPhone was ordered - and AT&T sent me the following message:

Your iPhone 6 has been ordered and is preparing to ship!  Your iPhone 6 Plus 64GB has been ordered and it will ship to you between 11/11/14 - 11/20/14. 

They made it clear that I will get another text message when the phone actually IS shipped, but while they did not come right out and say so, the feeling I got was that it would be preferred that I did not call to ask them when my phone would ship exactly.

First of all, they made it clear that they did not actually know what the exact shipment date would be - and second, I don't want to risk having them decide I am a wanker and slowing it down even more or pushing me to the bottom of the queue...

iPhone Tech

You know, when the iPhone came along I remember thinking to myself: "Self, this is exactly the sort of cutting-edge forward-leaping technology that the writer pool at Screen Gems and the folks at Hanna-Barbera promised us..."

And let me tell you something, when I was a kid Hanna-Barbera was the last word in both cartoons and the future!  They knew, they just knew I tell ya! 

In addition to The Jetsons, they also brought us Scooby Doo, The Banana Splits, The Ruff & Reddy Show, Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw, The Flintstones, Yogi Bear, Top Cat, Johnny Quest, and Josie & the Pussy Cats (well watched by boys aged 12 to 15 I can tell you), in fact if you were an animated character and you planned on going to Hollywood to make it on TV you had to make Hanna-Barbera your first stop!

Computer controlled dental hygiene - in the future homes will be automated with zoned climate control, automatic lighting, and the smart bathroom that includes computer controlled tooth care as well as health monitoring and how cool is that?

iPhone 6 Plus 64GB

One of the questions I get asked whenever the subject of the iPhone 6 comes up in convo with my mates is why did I order the 64GB model and not the larger model?  Hey that is a valid question and so I always answer it honestly: because I don't need more than the 64GB model.

Frank and sincere.  And almost always replied to with some variation of "How do you figure that??!"

My answer?  Simple math and personal experience.  That's how.

OK, here is the thing...  If you look at my past use pattern and habits you will discover that I don't use my phone for entertainment purposes.  I use it as a PHONE.  

The reason for that is simple - I discovered that way back in the day when I had my first iPhone, I would use up its battery playing music and audio books, or games, and end up with a nearly dead battery when I needed to make a call - or having to tell the people who called ME that I was running out of battery so make it quick.

That is NOT an ideal use of the device I soon realized, and it was also having a negative impression on the editors I work for and the people I was ringing to interview.  It wasn't a set of circumstances that I could maintain in other words.

If you are curious where I go to check out reviews of new tech, you may find me over at the website MobileTechReview where you can find entertaining reviews of tech like the iPhone 6 review embedded above...  Check out their NVIDIA Shield review and coverage - fascinating.

Once I grasped that basic dilemma I solved the problem in a most expedient manner: I purchased a Video iPod - which at the time was also known as iPod with Video - or Fifth Generation iPod - which was brand new and cutting edge at the time.

My new iPod could hold a massive 30GB of data, music, audio books, pictures, videos, and games.  Because inside was a little town in which elves who couldn't get work at Keebler were busy keeping track of and storing all my stuff, and sending it to the screen when I asked for it, and how freaking awsome was that?!

Problem Solved

Not only was my problem solved, that iPod ended up delivering services I hadn't known at the time I would need or want, and made my life - and job - all that much better and easier.  Let me list all the ways that it accomplished all of that for me:
When you are finished driving flying it, a simple push of a button causes this air-car to fold up into an easy to carry briefcase style that totally eliminates the need and expense of paying for parking.
  • Battery Savior - Where I was using the battery up on my iPhone, I now had a dedicated batter in this new iPod device thingy with which to play games and listen to media, and a dedicated battery in my iPhone thingy with which to take and make phone calls, record interviews, and keep and maintain both my Contacts book and notes.  So win-win.

    When the battery was used up on the iPod that was all she Wrote as far as games or media was concerned for the day - or at least until I could plug in the iPod.  Because I had made a deal with myself that I would NEVER use the iPhone like I had been - for entertainment.

  • Portable Media Safe - So here is the thing...  At the time (around 2006) the idea of a collection of thumb drives with which to carry around the data and programs that we need was not a naturally occurring idea for most people - myself included.

    It is fair to say that I did not see it or understand the value of it until, sitting on the bed of my hotel in Los Angeles after a grueling day covering the video game Disney World called E3, I put my brain in neutral and was entertained by a motion picture staring John Cusack that was called Runaway Jury.

    As I watched a bad guy - a really bad guy I just knew - had broken into John's apartment and was in the process of searching it.  What was he searching for?  He didn't know. But he knew he was searching for something - a file, a hard drive, something that John had stored data on...  Secrets that the bad guy needed to uncover.

    Now bearing in mind that the movie was already 3 years old when I saw it on TV in that nice hotel room in LA - and also bear in mind that in my daypack on the corner of the bed was a large collection - I remember counting them up on the plane on the way home and being shocked to discover that I had somehow managed to collect 43 thumb drives filled with press and PR packages for games - and I remember thinking that most of the writers that I worked with hated the things because they were just large enough to be tempting but too small to be useful...

    Now bear in mind that when they said that they were actually talking about the most common sizes of thumb drive that they were most familiar with and that they tended to be handed at events like trade shows and the like: basically 128MB to around 512MB with the most common memory size that my colleagues collected being 256MB thumb drives.

    Now on the one hand these were FREE - PRs gave them out to distribute the press kits that just a few years before that would have been large bulky and heavy printed media that, by the end of the day, caused you to be hauling around 20 pounds of paper.

    As I was the only one of my peers who happened to cover the video games beat, the following was of particular interest to them in that at first they could not believe what I was telling them.  And then when they did believe it - a feat I accomplished by handing them the cigar box that contained 43 thumb drives - most of them with silk-screened studio names and logos on one side, and the name and logo of the game whose press kit they contained on the other - and invited them to slot them into their computer and see for themselves.

    Of the 43 thumb drives from that E3 all but 6 were 4GB models. The 6 that were exceptions only contained 2GB each. 

    To put this in perspective for you - at that time a 4GB Thumb Drive could be purchased at your local area Best Buy - for something like $200 that is.  In my bag - handed to me like they were nothing more than the printed press kit - was over $7K in Thumb Drives.  Absolute madness.

    But wait!  The point of this was NOT that the game studios were giving away 4GB thumb drives - rather it was that in the movie John Cusack's character was using his iPod as a Thumb Drive (sort of) and storing lots of data on it as a portable media source.

    I distinctly recall thinking - how cool is that?  I started using my 30GB iPod like that - and as for the Thumb Drives?  I copied all of the press kits to the hard drive on my notebook and passed the drives out to anyone who wanted one - because 4GB was large enough to be useful!

  • Boredom Battled - The good times there are plenty, and thanks to some special apps when I am getting ready for a long trip I will select a handful of movies I will want to watch to keep myself entertained, and pop them, one after the other, into my PC.

    Each movie is then ripped from the DVD and imported to iTunes, and once I have the ones I want and I have selected the music I want to take along for the trip all I have to do is plug in my iPad and voila!  The entertainment is transferred over.

    Later while trapped inside a metal tube rocketing through the sky at nearly 600 miles per hour I am happily engrossed in Monuments Men, Fast & Furious 6, Saving Mr. Banks, and Frozen, while I know that Danny Carnahan and the complete works of AC/DC await my desires in the wings!

  • Actual Use History - I own a 64GB iPhone 4S on which (I just checked) there are 150 songs, 2053 photos, 0 videos, 32 applications, and something like 40GB of free space.  Now granted today I use my iPad in place of the iPod I used almost ten years ago to solve the whole phone battery issue, but still...  I am barely scratching the surface in terms of storage and memory use so what would justify spending the extra money to buy more than the 64GB I already don't fully use?!

    You know, when Sister Frank told me that math would be an important life skill I confess I did not believe her.  It turns out though that she was correct...

  • Replaces my Notebook - Thanks to the detachable keyboard on my iPad I no longer need to bring my notebook to events like E3.  Instead I leave it back at the hotel, and I bring my iPad and its accessories, which weigh far less and fit into a smaller space - my daypack - and use that to do any writing or posting I need to do.  And work gets done!
The prototype for the Roomba - a robot that keeps your carpet clean.  That's right the idea was conceived in 1963 but it took over fifty years for the R&D process and battery tech to reach the point where the tech was viable!

 Really Looking Forward to the iPhone 6

So, yeah, I am really looking forward to my new iPhone 6 Plus.  Really...  Can't wait till it arrives.  Well actually, truth?  I am terrified that it will arrive...

You see when it does arrive, I will be faced with the nightmare of juggling two phones with the same phone number for the several days it will take me to transfer and install eventything that needs to be transferred and installed...

They were supposed to make that part of the process painless and easy - but last time it was anything but painless or easy...

In theory I should be able to use the cloud for this, right?  I mean it should be relatively easy to simply back up the data files to the cloud, and then make a list of the apps I use the most (and take this opportunity NOT to install the ones that I never use) restore the data files and be done with it.  Right?

Here is the question - or rather one of them: When you pause to consider that the iPhone is supposed to be an integrated member of your Apple devices community, it stands to reason that once I enter my Apple ID and other pertinent infos into the phone and save them, how come my iTunes does not automagically KNOW what should be there and adds it on its own?

A powered chair network combined with a pneumatic chair lift system that permits you to strap your kid into a chair, hand them a bag lunch, then tell the system "Get this rugrat to school!" and it will!  That's tech we could really use today, let me tell ya...
After all that seems like a task that shouldn't br all that difficult OR outside of the reach of iTunes.  Right?  Right!  Heck in this day and age the ENTIRE PROCESS should be automated.  I should not even have to think about it!  And other than asking me to approve the list of data to be copied and apps installed, it should be able to handle all that on its own!

And while we are on that subject, just where are the personal aircars that fold into a lightweight and easy to carry briefcase??

It was over fifty-years-ago that The Jetsons first appeared on the TV - first entered our homes and promised us that in 2012 (that's right, the year that the show takes place in was 2012 - you knew that, right?) would be a fantastic future.

Colonies on Mars, a fully settled Moon, personal air cars, robot maids, automatic ovens, polite children, computer managed closets, grocery delivery, and wait, what about interactive movies and games?!

Man we were so robbed.  And considering that we were in fact robbed of that rosey future, can't we at least have painless iPhone upgrades?

I just know I am going to love my iPhone 6!  Some day soon...

1 comment:

phobet said...

I have to say that I really do love the iPhone. My first journey into the Apple universe was with an iPod. I bought the 160G version of it, as I could plug it into my car stereo, and get great sounding music without a lot of fuss. And boy was it durable! The interior of a car can get as hot as 150 degrees in the summer, and as cold as -8 degrees in the winter. (At least in my neighborhood.) And it functioned every time. The only time I unplugged it was when I wanted to add a new song to it. The "It Just Works" philosophy was greatly demonstrated here. My next step was with an iPad. I had an android tablet at the time (Motorola Xoom), but I wasn't really happy with it. While it was adequate, it seemed kinda..."wonky", for lack of a better word. And then I checked out the iPad at the Apple store in Boston. I instantly fell in love with it, and resolved to have one. A couple of months later, I bought one and have never been disappointed with it. And I still have it. My next step into the Apple universe was with an iPhone. Now before that, I owned a Blackberry. I owned the 9800, and eventually switched to the Torch. I was generally happy with the Torch until I ran into problems with it. Since any electronic gear is not individual, and are all manufactured the same way, I was rather perplexed that I could not get any support for it. I didn't believe that my problem as a unique one because, as I said, they're all manufactured the same way. I resolved to replace it, so I called my carrier and generally complained up the ladder until they agreed to replace the phone with a different one. I ended up paying some kind of early termination fee (Thanks, AT&T), and the phone was replaced with an HTC Inspire. Generally, I was happy with it, but the more I used it and the more apps I installed, the more the phone was stomping on my last nerve. The tipping point came when I was going into Best Buy, and I needed to look something up that I was interested in buying. So I parked my car, picked up my phone, and started doing a little research. As the phone sat in my hand, it rebooted 3 times in a row. By itself, with no help from me. So now I have a phone that I can't even use as a phone, as it was in some kind of reboot loop. Eventually, a battery pull fixed the reboot issue, but the phone was never a stable platform for me. I knew once my contract was up, this phone was being replaced. Then the iPhone 5 came out. I instantly fell in love. (Seems to be the relevant theme, here.) It was well made, and was the right size. It was like holding an electronic candy bar. I still have the phone, and it's running fine. No loose parts, weird reboot actions, or anything falling off. And when I replace it, it won't be because it's ticking me off. Now that's a first for any cell phone that I've had. My last step into the Apple universe was with a Mac. Now I've never been an Apple "Fan Boy". I always found their stuff to be expensive. I've used Linux and Windows systems for as long as I remember, and prefer Windows as my gaming platform. (I don't like consoles, and never have. But then, that's just me.) I purchased a MacBook Pro in 2013, and man was I blown away with it. I was amazed at the quality of the build, and the general stability of the platform. The system had all the features I needed (with the exception of gaming, I still do that on a Windows system). It doesn't need an update every week, and drivers really don't need to be patched all the time. It integrates well with my iPad and iPhone, and because of DropBox, I am able to share files between it and my Windows systems. I am very impressed with the platform.