iPad Air or mini?

 

Daring Fireball: The iPad Air 2 (And a Few Cursory Words Regarding the iPad Mini 3):

Anecdotally, most iPad photographers I see in the real world are using 9.7-inch iPads, not the Mini.) And the sort of iPad users who are pushing the performance limits of the platform are the sort of people who’ve preferred the 9.7-inch models all along. In short, I think the Mini really is more of a pure consumption device, and the Air is more of an alternative to a MacBook.

I think that is a great point from John – Although you can use the mini as a laptop replacement, it really is the bigger sized iPad that is the true laptop alternative – bigger screen for photo and video editing, two handed typing etc. If you are on the fence on what size to get, consider that before purchasing.

iPad Air 2 60% Faster Than the iPhone 6

 

Secret hardware upgrades make the iPad Air 2 the fastest frickin’ tablet on the planet | Cult of Mac:

And what does that mean practically? It means the iPad Air 2 is not only the fastest tablet in the world, smoking even Nvidia’s Tegra K1 Shield Tablet. It’s also over 60% faster than even the iPhone 6.If you want a top-of-the-line iDevice with blistering fast speed, the iPad Air 2 is as good as it gets.

No Free Space Left to Upgrade to iOS 8?

 

Daring Fireball: Note to Self: It’s the Storage Space, Stupid

that either they themselves or people they know want to upgrade to iOS 8 but haven’t yet or can’t because the OTA software update won’t fit on their devices.

Jonathan Hoover puts it well:

iOS 8 OTA update requires about 5GB of free space on the device. Most people, especially those who wouldn’t update until they get the badge on the settings app, don’t have 5GB free on their iPhone. They have no idea they can plug their iPhone into their computer and iTunes will update it. They don’t know they can free up space by downloading their pictures and videos to their computer. 

iPhone makes it so easy for casual users to take gigabytes of photos and videos but nearly impossible for those users to know what to do with them.

This is a serious problem for Apple, because all those 16 GB devices (let alone the 8 GB ones) aren’t going to suddenly gain more free storage space on their own. A lot of these devices might never get updated to iOS 8, but would if the OTA software worked. Unless they can rejigger the OTA software update to require less free space, iOS 8’s adoption rate might lag permanently.

Apple need to either start selling larger storage-capacity devices and stop selling 8 and 16gb versions and/or they need to reduce the footprint of the over the air annual iOS update – either way, they need to address this matter soon as it is affecting their adoption growth which they proudly like to talk about at their keynotes.

[Link] Translator Keyboard For iOS Makes Writing Foreign Missives A Breeze

 

Translator Keyboard For iOS Makes Writing Foreign Missives A Breeze | TechCrunch

The Translator Keyboard for iOS 8 can translate what you’ve typed into one of 44 other languages — including French, Spanish and even Welsh. Beth annisgwyl!

The app, which is the work of UK developer Steven Barnegren, is using the Microsoft Translate API to do the grunt work of turning whatever you’ve typed into fair foreign phrasing.

So how does it work? Swiping left along the top of the keyboard brings in the language selection interface where you can specify your current language and the one you want to translate your words into.

Once back in keyboard view you type whatever it is you want to say — and this appears within a bar at the top of the keyboard (with support for autocorrect). Once you’re done typing you hit the translate button at the bottom corner of the keyboard and a translated version of your text appears on the screen. Et voila!

Extremely useful keyboard to add to the growing number of keyboards available in iOS 8.

Integrating Health App With MyFitnessPal & Jawbone

With the recent release of iOS 8, Apple has introduced a new app called Health and new developer API’s called HealthKit so that developers of fitness and health apps can integrate their data into the centralised Apple Health app. This sounds great in theory in having one home that collates all the data no matter if you are using a Jawbone wrist band, FitBit, Nike Fuelband or food diary apps like MyFitnessPal.

Since the delayed release of this integration capability in the latest iOS update 8.0.2, people are reporting issues in not being able to correctly set up the Health app to share the data with the 3rd party apps or complaining that it is not working or indeed how it is supposed to. I have played around with the settings of each app and seem to have got them working. As always, make sure you check and run any updates on your iPhone before following this advice;

Jawbone app

I have a Jawbone Up24 wristband that I use to record my steps and my sleep analysis. This information can be synced with the iOS 8 Health app as the Jawbone wristband is going to record more accurate step information than what the iPhone will record – after all, I don’t carry the iPhone with me when I am playing football but I do have my Jawbone wristband on so the wristband is the more accurate data source.

We need to tell the Health app to use the step data recorded from the Jawbone wristband rather than the iPhone’s own step analysis. Here is how I did it;

First of all, in your Jawbone app settings make sure you have the integration options set to on:

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Then, switch to the Health app, tap on the ‘Sources’ tab and should see a list of your current apps that have integration with the Health app;

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In this case, tap on ‘Up’ and make sure you turn on the options ‘Allow Up to write data’, in my case for steps and for sleep analysis.

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Then tap on the ‘Health Data’ tab, search for and tap on ‘Steps’ and then tap ‘Share Data’

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Now the important part here is to make sure that in the data sources list, you choose ‘UP’ as your main data source by tapping edit in the top right hand corner and then dragging the order of your data sources by putting ‘UP’ as the top source. Tap done and now the Health app will show the steps data recorded from your Jawbone wristband instead of the iPhone.

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MyFitnessPal app

I use MyFitnessPal as the app to record everything that I eat and drink. With its massive database of Worldwide foods and using that scanner to read bar codes, you can get the exact information from nearly every food including exact sugars, salt, nutrients and calories.

With their latest version of the app, MyFitnessPal can now share its data with the Apple Health app. Because MyFitnessPal can in itself integrate data with services like Withings who specialise in weight analysis recording, you can have MyFitnessPal record not only your food and drink intake but your weight data as well which in turn can then share with the Apple Health app.

As with the Jawbone app, you need to go into the settings in MyFitnessPal and turn on the sharing of data with the Apple Health app. Once you have done this, go back into the Health app and make sure under the ‘Sources’ tab that MyFitnessPal is there and that you have all the categories of data switched to on including the weight option at the bottom.

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The problem I have found with the integration of MyFitnessPal and the Health app is that although MyFitnessPal shares all the nutrients and ingredient data from your foods, it doesn’t appear to share actual calorie data with the Health app so you can’t get a true picture within the Health app of your steps and activity against your food intake and weight to be able have a clear picture of your outlook. I have emailed MyFitnessPal to ask this very question to see if it will be included in a future app update or whether it’s API drawback on Apple’s side of development.

Until then at least I have a platform to build on and a centralised place of storing all my weight, sleep and step data in the Health app. With all the different options out there for recording health and fitness activity, it shows that the centralised place of the Apple Health app can successfully sync its data with your other applications and hardware. This is just the start and I am looking forward to seeing more integrations and data being introduced from other companies and of course the  Watch.

[Link] A Rare Look at Apple’s Design Genius Jony Ive

 

A Rare Look at Apple’s Design Genius Jony Ive — Vogue

As you watch Ive walk off, politely thanking people, you recall that he closed up his private presentation by asking you to listen closely to a watchband as it is pulled off and then reconnected. “You just press this button and it slides off, and that is just gorgeous,” he was saying. He encouraged you to pause. “But listen as it closes,” he said. “It makes this fantastic k-chit.” He was nearly whispering. And when he said the word fantastic, he said it softly and slowly—“fan-tas-tic!”—as if he never wanted it to end. This is perhaps Ive’s greatest achievement: not that we can get our email more readily, but that we can stop to notice a small, quiet connection.

The attention to detail from Apple and lack of in Samsung’s recent news shows, is what sets Apple apart and with Ive leading the creative side, the quality and detail will continue to be a success for a company where consumers follow the brand because they want the quality – it’s that simple.

iTunes vs Streaming Services

Using iTunes has always evolved with us to make sure that if we had legacy music on compact discs but we were entering the iPod era, we could still keep our music collection whilst embracing new technologies that the iTunes Store brought – namely digital music.

As the pace of technology increases ever still, digital music has now evolved to the extent where there are competitions for Apple and their dominant iTunes Store who firmly believe people should own their music. Competitors like Spotify, Rdio to name but two believe that the future of music available to the consumer should be subscription.

iTunes

With iTunes, your music is yours, it’s purchased whether that is digital songs and albums you have purchased via the iTunes Store or whether it’s CD’s that you have ripped to your computer and made available to merge with your iTunes purchases in the service they call iTunes Match. The advantage to owning your music means that is will always be available to you. You can have your music backed up and stored on cloud and local drives – no music company can, in theory, ever take away your music where as if you subscribe to a music subscription company like Spotify, there is a risk – a small risk that in future a music company can remove the rights for their artists with Spotify and therefore you wouldn’t be able to have access to that music as Jason Snell alludes to recently when talking about the video streaming industry;

Streaming-music service libraries are, for the time being, stable. Chances are good that I won’t ever turn on Beats and discover that every Death Cab for Cutie album has vanished from the service’s library.

The same, however, is not true with online video-streaming services. I was reminded of this when I discovered today that the reimagined “Battlestar Galactica” series expires from Netflix on Tuesday. Someone, somewhere, will be in the middle of watching or re-watching that series next week, only to see it disappear. And it’s just one of dozens of items that will drop off of Netflix at the end of the month.

It’s not as if “Battlestar Galactica” is going out of print; you’ll be able to buy it at Amazon in digital and physical varieties, and download it from iTunes, too. Its disappearance from Netflix may coincide closely with its appearance on another streaming service. Who knows?

The point is, if you’re a Netflix subscriber—or an Amazon Prime customer, for that matter—you are binge-watching in a Barcalounger in a rumpus room built on shifting sands. If your service and the owner of the content can’t come to an agreement, if some competitor swoops in offering more money for exclusive rights, you’re out of luck. The rug can, and will, be pulled out from under you.

I love video streaming services. I subscribe to more of them than I probably should, considering that I am now technically a gentleman of leisure. But the constant disappearing of content sours the entire experience.

Subscription Music

If the stability of the subscription model continues to work, then there certainly is scope for switching to the subscription model and moving away from iTunes. Spotify for example offers a paid subscription of around £9.99 per month but this gives you access to the majority of music available in digital format including access to the latest albums and tracks when they are released. This is a very clean way to enjoy your music – apart from the option of downloading your music offline, you don’t need local or cloud storage to keep all this music. This means you can perhaps lean on the streaming way of listening to music therefore requiring smaller storage devices such as 16mb versions of your favourite device instead of the more expensive alternatives.

A subscription company like Spotify is also cross-platform meaning you can access your music on most any computer or mobile device with all your playlists synced across for convenience. If you are the type who likes to purchase music on a regular basis, then the subscription model might be the smart choice. Instead of paying the full price of an album each time, you would just be paying the monthly fee of £9.99 but you can listen to as much music as you like. This would also be beneficial due to the listen-before-you-buy-way that iTunes can’t really offer. If you bought a whole album of iTunes, listened to it and didn’t like it, you might feel aggrieved that you purchased an album you didn’t like. A subscription service like Spotify – this wouldn’t be a problem, you could you delete the album and listen to another with no added expense.

My own use case

I have a large iTunes library of music built up over the years, mostly from ripping my entire CD collection into iTunes then enabling iTunes Match to give me a merged digital library. I also like to purchase the occasional music video from iTunes where I feel sometimes a music video can add even more to a track. This enables me to build up a sort of jukebox of my favourite music videos over the years which I can enjoy on my Apple TV at home.

Although I love music, I am not one of these people who likes to listen to 2-3 albums per week/month – the music that I do buy off iTunes is normally where I have heard a track being played on TV or a friends house or at the mall – it could be anywhere and I obviously utilise Shazam to tag now with iOS 8 buy the songs I hear straight from Siri. The point is, there is maybe only ever around half a dozen tracks per month that I hear and want to own to put in my carefully crafted playlists. I don’t buy albums anymore – I buy singles and make my own playlists to replace listening to an album.

If you utilise podcasts properly, you can also do what I do and collate and listen to great new music, whatever your genre of choice for free that way. The way I looked at it was that for the majority of the year, I pay less than £9.99 per month for new music. I own it, it’s curated by me and there is no realistic chance of it going away.

Owning your music or subscribing to music is down to how much music you actually buy. If you spend more than say £9.99 per month on music, then a subscription service might be the smarter choice. For the generation like me who is from the CD and iPod era, owning your music was the only viable choice. For the new generation, buying music will seem alien to them and subscription is definitely the way of the future.

I am of the CD and iPod era in that I invested a lot of time and money in it back then to readily leave it behind. Maybe I’ll switch in the future. Maybe Beats new owners will have a say on that but for now it’s personal choice – there’s not a lot in it. For me, for the moment – I’ll stick to owning my music.