The design genius of Jonny Ive and his team is talked about often and while I appreciate the talent, I still believe that he is not unique.
The recent remake of the Jubilee Portuguese above is evidence of that. That is one of the most wonderful products I have ever seen.
A cyber attack on Sony Pictures that forced the cancellation of a major film release is being seen as a serious national security matter, the US says.
A White House spokesman said the US believed the hacking was the work of a "sophisticated actor" - but refused to confirm if North Korea was responsible.
Sony withdrew The Interview, a new comedy film about North Korea's leader, after threats from hackers.
Hackers have already released sensitive information stored on Sony computers.
They later issued a warning to members of the public planning to see The Interview... More at the BBC.
I can understand why the cinemas would not show it because of the threats and I can understand why Sony had to pull it because of the cinemas, but the whole thing leaves a bad taste. So sad...
I will put the survey results up at the weekend once I have collated all of the answers. The number of respondents was much higher than I expected and the results are startling in places.
Oh, and I am now using an iPhone 6 Plus instead of the iPhone 6. I still can't work out how it happened, but I will explain in the near future. I also can't work out why the phone on the left (above) was more than big enough for me 2 years ago- something changed...
Updates could be slow for a few days, possibly until after Christmas, as I have a lot of work to complete in the next few days.
If I don't update beforehand, have a great Christmas if you celebrate and I will get some new posts up as soon as time allows.
If you can spare a minute to complete the survey below, I would be very grateful. Results will be published in a couple of weeks.
The Hemingwrite is a minimalist digital typewriter for distraction free writing composition. It combines the simplicity of a typewriter with modern technology like an electronic paper screen and cloud backups to create the best possible writing experience. It is designed to do one thing only but do it exceptionally well. Since there is no email, Facebook, browser, or menus, you are able to stay in your creative groove and finally get your writing done! More here.
Sorry to say, but the 'hipster' word keeps popping into my mind again.
A simple Christmas ad from Apple. Quite like that.
It’s that time where I start to wonder if I should consider Android again, but this time it feels a little different.
Time was that I had a selection of apps that I simply must have installed to consider my phone worthy and there was an eco-system behind it that made it extremely difficult to move. iTunes and the content available was a hook that no-one else could compete with and the best apps were either only on iOS or the iOS versions were far superior. All of that has changed.
iTunes is no longer an attraction that stands above the rest. The films, music and TV shows are all available elsewhere and the pricing is no better than on Google Play. Backups are handled by iCloud for most people anyway and Google does a good job of keeping Android data intact no matter how often you change devices. iTunes has become an option for those who prefer physical methods and the fact that the software seems to be getting worse over time does not help.
My crucial apps have stayed the same on iOS, but there are now solutions available on Android that compete, or surpass, their iOS counterparts. PocketMoney has ceased development and is not even listed in the iTunes store anymore. anMoney is way better than PocketMoney and is only available on Android, and extensive searching in iTunes shows that there is nothing comparable on iOS. TomTom is still marginally better on iOS, but the gap has closed quite a lot and I have also been experimenting with Waze which is proving to be a worthy, and fun, solution.
I have spent some time looking at all of the apps I use and I can now cover them all. At a push I could argue that the Android app situation is potentially equal to iOS which some caveats that are not as important as they used to me.
It is easy for me to say all of this from the safety of iOS, and to theoretically say that Android looks more flexible, more economical and potentially better in the long run, but there remains the issue of having to use the system every day. Would I quickly start to get annoyed with the options available, the perceived lack of smoothness and a myriad of other unimportant things that should not matter?
Probably, but the gap feels less than before and I don’t perceive that Apple has an obvious advantage anymore, at least not any that the others have not come up with sporting comparative features that can easily replace them.
This is not one of those ‘I am moving mobile platforms, how interesting is that?’ articles, but more documenting the sense that iOS no longer feels like the default option to me because the alternatives are matching it in many key areas. Slim aluminium and a buttery smooth operating system are great, and I believe that iOS still has many advantages, but for my personal needs I sense that Android is more viable than ever before.
Telecoms giant BT is in exclusive talks to buy EE - Britain's largest mobile network group - for £12.5bn.
It said the period of exclusivity would last "several weeks" to enable it to carry out the necessary negotiations.
In late November, BT said it was in talks to buy either EE or O2, which is owned by Spanish firm Telefonica.
"The proposed acquisition would enable BT to accelerate its existing mobility strategy," BT said in a statement.
Under the terms of the proposed deal, EE's owners Germany's Deutsche Telekom and France's Orange would take a 12% and 4% stake in BT respectively.
Deutsche Telekom would also be entitled to appoint one member to the board, BT said... More at the BBC.
Most unexpected. I was sure BT would buy O2, but I guess it does not affect the ability to offer quad-play and a network over Wi-Fi as well as masts.
Amazon has refused to come to the aid of thousands of small family-owned businesses that have lost tens of thousands of pounds due to a technical glitch that caused their products to be sold for a penny.
The US technology giant, which raked in more than $74bn (£48bn) of sales worldwide last year, has ignored calls to offer compensation to its selling partners, some of whom have lost up to £100,000 in the week before Christmas.
The sellers, many of whom are operating from their garage or spare bedroom, have demanded that Amazon take some responsibility for the error caused by a third-party software glitch. Some have already instructed lawyers.
Amazon has accepted no liability for the loses suffered by its sellers, from whom it takes a slice of each sale helping it to make annual profits of $20bn... More at The Guardian.
As I said, don't you just love Amazon.
A useful round up (again).
Christmas is not far off and so a strange question seems timely. If you could give your phone a Christmas present what would it be?
Not surprisingly, I would give my iPhone 6 a bigger battery because after impressive performance in the first few weeks, it now seems to be falling back to its old limited ways.
I like the concept of Flow Home and the first few minutes with it suggest that the developer could be on to something with this approach.
Flowhome connects directly to everything that matters. It stylishly organizes system notifications and social network streams into one feed.
A couple of recent app downloads have highlighted to me how far we are moving forward in terms of design. The first was from DeviantArt which is absolutely stunning to look at and use. Much of the content is not to my tastes, but the design has caused me to spend some considerable time just scrolling through and enjoying the experience.
The next is Thoughtful Gift Finder which is a good example of how to present products in a small mobile screen. Some of the interface touches are subtle, but they all comes together to create a shopping experience which feels different to what I have seen before.
Hopefully these are examples of what is to follow because some developers are really pushing the boat out in terms of design which is not only great to look at, but lovely to use.
I just wanted to let you know that the NEW Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is now available and is exclusively connected to the Vodafone network up to and including 9th January 2015. You can pick up the device on a Vodafone Red XL plan for £58.50 per month with a £49 upfront cost which includes unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 10GB of data, as well as your choice of NOW TV, Sky Sports or Spotify for the duration of the contract. For a limited time, customers can also enjoy a 3-month NOW TV Sky Movies Pass when they purchase the device on a Red 4G plan as part of Vodafone’s Ultimate Entertainment Package.
I received the above email yesterday and was somewhat taken aback by the price. The unlimited texts and minutes + 10GB of monthly data is good, but that is still a very high price for any phone. The marketing, however, is interesting because it is available from £39.50 / month with a, wait for it, £249 upfront price and then you only get 600 minutes voice, unlimited texts and 500MB of data.
A further look shows the iPhone 6 (64GB) from Vodafone selling for very similar prices so maybe the whole tariff structure is creeping up for no good reason?
We went hiking a couple weeks ago and took two cars to get to the natural area we were to hike in. One of us used Google maps and the other Apple. It wasn't intended to be a contest, but one car got to the destination and the other was diverted onto a side road and ended up calling the other for directions. Yes, it was Apple maps that ended up on the side road. I never would have thought that would happen, but in this case the Apple map had a general pin for the area and the Google map had the specific visitor center for the natural area. It's just one instance, but it made the difference in getting to the destination. Tom.
Well there you go, but Tom did add that this is the first time he has had a problem with Apple Maps. Personally, it is terribly vague where I travel. Come on Apple- great hardware aligned with terrible cloud services and flaky maps is not good enough.
Matt says he's "extremely disappointed that Microsoft continues to ignore the high-end smartphone buyer with a focus on the affordable phone market." He argues that focusing on price is a losing strategy and that targeting "smartphone enthusiasts" who buy top-of-the-line phones is key to growth in the U.S. market.
I only wish he were right.
If the problems with Windows Phone as a platform were as simple as Microsoft getting their product strategy together, it would probably be easy to fix. But that focus ignores the real problem.
This isn't an equal partnership between Microsoft and U.S. mobile carriers, except perhaps in the most technical sense... More at ZDNet.
I remain confused by the lack of success coming to Windows Phone. The software is good and the hardware is at times fantastic, but it continues to gain no ground at all. Can it really just be the apps?
I've always been slightly frustrated at the lack of Windows Phone apps, but as the gaps have been gradually filled, a new frustration has emerged: dead apps. Developers might be creating more and more Windows Phone apps, but the top ones are often left untouched with few updates or new features. That's a big problem for apps like Twitter that are regularly updated on iOS and Android with features that never make it to Windows Phone. My frustration boiled over during the World Cup this year, as Twitter lit up with people talking about the matches. I felt left out using the official Windows Phone Twitter app because it didn't have a special World Cup section that curated great and entertaining tweets, or country flags for hashtags... More at The Verge.
Maybe it is the apps.