Banksy has published the above sketch on Twitter which is open to interpretation by each individual. To me, however, he is commenting on how modern phones are becoming a part of us and how so many are struggling to detach themselves.
He also published the above sketch which is presumably a dig at the likes of Microsoft, Disney, Apple and other giant corporations. Interesting stuff. Thanks to Jennifer for the links.
I raised a support request yesterday and had a conversation with Apple today concerning downgrading my iCloud allowance. Last month I raised the allowance to 15GB (the free 5GB + 10GB at £14/year) and a few days ago I raised it to 25GB for £28/year. This was done to back up all 4 iPhones in our house, but I soon realised that I did not need the second upgrade.
The problem started when I tried to downgrade. I chose the 15Gb option in Settings on my iPhone and not a lot happened. On my Mac and iPhone it still showed 25GB and after some digging I realised that I would have 25GB until the end of the year so I raised a support ticket. The process for obtaining a refund from Apple for an iCloud downgrade is to 'contact Apple' which seems quite vague and very un-Apple. Throughout there was no clarity and the simplicity of the online billing options for this service are too simple to make sense of.
Apple called at the allotted time, as always happens, and a very polite man asked what the issue was. I explained that all I needed was the 15GB option and that I would like a refund for the storage I had paid about that amount. Apple clearly states that a refund is applicable if cancelled within a certain time- "If you upgrade or renew your storage but no longer need it, you can cancel. If you cancel your storage plan within 15 days of an upgrade or within 45 days after a yearly payment, you can contact Apple for a full refund. After this period, you can downgrade your storage for the following year. "
He was more than happy to arrange this for me and then announced that I currently had 35GB of iCloud storage.
"Um, no I don't. I have 25GB- it says so on my iPhone and my iMac."
"No sir. You upgraded and added 10GB and then you added another 20GB."
"No I didn't. It clearly states that I have a 25GB allowance and so does the billing screen."
He then advised that he was going to speak to his supervisor. After 2 minutes he came back on the line and advised that I have 35GB of iCloud space, as was confirmed by his supervisor.
A 5 minute discussion ensued at which point he went to speak to his supervisor again. After some more time he came back on the line, apologised and explained that they had gotten confused by the options.
So, we were all set to downgrade my service. The problem was, however, that he had no way to downgrade it to 15GB. He had to completely cancel the extra 20GB and I then had to purchase the extra 10GB again to get it back to the point I started with. He explained that a refund would arrive in 3-5 days for the £15.53 I had recently paid and I fully expect that to happen.
What I don't understand is why the process is so half-backed. When you click the downgrade option on a device, it just puts a tick next to it and nothing changes. You then need to manually ask for a refund at which point I happened to speak to support people who were not really sure how the iCloud storage and pricing worked. And then they had to go through a convoluted process to arrange the refund.
Don't get me wrong. As ever, the support rep was very helpful, very polite and I still left the call feeling good, but I sort of felt sorry that he had to deal with a situation that is purely of Apple's making. The billing setup for iCloud is non-transparent and most unlike every other part of the Apple online services I have seen. It is a manual process to obtain a refund and not a lot of it makes sense. As it happens he also asked why I did't need the extra storage and I explained that iCloud is good for backing up my devices. but not for much else. I added two notes to the Notes app last week on my iMac and they appeared 2 days later on my iPhone. iMessages routinely get muddled up between the iMac, iPhone and iPad and I have also lost a handful of non-important files in the past month which I didn't have time to investigate.
I will gladly pay a premium for Apple hardware because the support alone offers peace of mind and the knowledge that I will be able to use said products every single day without any major interruptions. I will not, however, pay a premium (even though the pricing is soon to drop considerably) for a service which is not even competitive with the likes of Google and Dropbox in terms of speed and reliability.
iCloud is the one major product Apple offers which does not work as it should (in my experience) and to discover that the billing processes do not seem to have been thought through either was a shock. I just hope that Apple is putting a lot of people and effort into building a cloud service that works as it should because this feature is becoming more and more important every day and it feels as though Apple is being left behind.
I don't think this commercial quite works, but I do like the last comment from Siri.
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. and Swarovski, the global leader in cut crystal and fashion jewelry, today announced the release of the Samsung Gear S Strap, the latest addition to its “Swarovski for Samsung” collection. This exclusive collaboration represents a distinctive union of Swarovski craftsmanship and Samsung technological expertise. The stylish Gear S Strap adds a striking radiance to the Samsung Gear S, the most up-to-date smart wearable device enhancing the smart wearable experience.
“One of the key aspects in wearable devices is providing diverse options for consumers to freely express their own taste and style,” said Younghee Lee, Executive Vice President of Global Marketing, IT & Mobile Division at Samsung. “Our ongoing collaboration with Swarovski as demonstrated in the new Gear S Strap, allows us to stay ahead of trends and on the cutting-edge of design and style.”
he Samsung Gear S Strap is adorned with Swarovski cut crystals that perfectly complement the chic, curved design of the Gear S. It is made with a completely new Swarovski product, Crystal Fine Mesh, just launched in September 2014. This new innovative product integrates the crystals directly into the Strap’s metal mesh making it one of the most exclusive products in the Swarovski assortment. Swarovski’s Crystal Fine Mesh is already being used by top brands in the fashion industry. This unique accessory provides Samsung Gear S users with an exclusive opportunity to revel in fresh forms of self-expression through their wearable device... More at Samsung.
Rumors, leaks, teaser videos, and even initial announcements have appeared over the last couple of weeks showing that this week will keep smartphone fans busy as many then look to the iPhone 6 announcement the following week.
Most announcements will be coming at IFA in Berlin with four other devices likely being revealed by Motorola in Chicago. Here is a rundown of what we can likely expect this week, in alphabetical order... More at ZDNet.
A huge number of mobile devices are incoming.
An ergonomic design of portable back-up battery pack for iPhone 6 (4.7 inch). It can be used as a protective cover, protects your iPhone 6 (4.7 inch) from strong momentum and provides excellent console protection... More at Brando.
I wonder how many of these 'early' devices end up either not working or fitting properly.
As a mobile operating system, we’re tailored for smartphones and tablets. Our main focus is not to add new devices as they appear on the market but instead to provide a stable, easy to use and easy to port software base. Porting OS pieces itself was never the real problem of our approach since we solved the most important bits by using libhybris. The actual problem we’re facing is to get applications software implemented and to add all the back-end functionalities to the system we love and need.
The main focus of LuneOS is to provide an operating system which is driven by the community and continues what we love(d) about webOS. We’re not trying to reach feature comparison with Android or iOS but rather building a system to satisfy basic needs in the mobile environment. Building a good quality mobile operating system from scratch is a hard job and is built in just the spare free time everyone involved in the project has. To get the best ratio between what we want and what we can do, we’re analyzing architectural decisions from both existing solutions we can base our work on and whether we have to write things from scratch... More at pivotCE.
Thanks to David for the link, who also says- 'I thought LG was just going to use it on televisions, but now it is appearing on Google Nexus devices, albeit in Alpha at this stage. But even if they get it going on contemporary devices, it will struggle against Android’s foothold. I doubt that it would have any impact on iOS though.'
Update yourself from calls, texts, and social media with vibrations from your finger. The MOTA SmartRing lets you live your busy schedule, but still be able to interact with your social life and what’s important to you.
Scroll from screen to screen of all the different notifications you have from your favorite applications. Whether it be Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, meeting notifications, or text messages.
MOTA SmartRing let’s you put your phone away and still allow you to stay connected... More at Mota.
Sort of lost for words even though I like the idea.
Excellent and informative as ever from Marques.
Apple Inc. plans to turn its next iPhone into a mobile wallet through a partnership with major payment networks, banks and retailers, according a person familiar with the situation.
The agreement includes Visa Inc., MasterCard Inc. and American Express Co. and will be unveiled on Sept. 9 along with the next iPhone, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.
The new iPhone will make mobile payment easier by including a near-field communication chip for the first time, the person said. That advancement along with Touch ID, a fingerprint recognition reader that debuted on the most recent iPhone, will allow consumers to securely pay for items in a store with the touch of a finger... More at Bloomberg.
This could be transformative.
No matter how much you dislike Apple or how much you believe that the company is hyped to an outrageous extent, next week's event is shaping up to be the biggest tech moment of the year. The rumours have been swirling for a long time and there is a sense that we have already seen the form of the 4.7" iPhone 6. There are still many unknowns, however, and the wearable is likely the biggest one.
Will Apple launch something that makes the current crop of wearables look backwards? Will the company create another 2007 iPhone moment? I don't know, but I sense that next Monday will be a big day because I believe the company needs one and that it has been too quiet for too long. Something has been happening in the background and we are about to see what it is.
So, what do you want to see announced? If you are an ardent Android fan or an ardent Apple hater, what could the company do to make you think twice? If you are satisfied with the current iPhone, what would make you even more satisfied? It's the battery for me, it really is just that.
Well that was worryingly easy...
Later, Moto X showed me that there's yet again, more innovation coming on the Android side of the fence (you can't talk to your iPhone without touching it first), but on Moto X it just listens for you to say "OK Google Now." Since it is illegal to touch a phone while driving, both Glass and Moto X are big deals for me since I drive 1.5 hours every day to the Rackspace Studio in San Francisco and back.
That all said, I still have an iPad and am watching the Apple ecosystem closely. Most users won't follow me, there aren't enough advantages -- yet. But with Paul's note, and my observations, there is something happening on the Android side of the fence and I think it'll become more obvious next year that Android has taken the innovation crown away from Apple (and everyone else)... More at Quora.
Robert Scoble has added some thoughts to Quora on why he moved from iOS to Android. He makes some valid points, but of course each person has different priorities. Thanks to Paul for the link.
I’m 32 now. The only things that’ve been more of a constant in my life than AnandTech are my parents. I’ve spent over half of my life learning about, testing, analyzing and covering technology. And I have to say, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.
But after 17.5 years of digging, testing, analyzing and writing about the most interesting stuff in tech, it’s time for a change. This will be the last thing I write on AnandTech as I am officially retiring from the tech publishing world. Ryan Smith (@RyanSmithAT) is taking over as Editor in Chief of AnandTech. Ryan has been working with us for nearly 10 years, he has a strong background in Computer Science and he’s been shadowing me quite closely for the past couple of years. I am fully confident in Ryan’s ability to carry the torch and pick up where I left off. We’ve grown the staff over the course of this year in anticipation of the move. With a bunch of new faces around AnandTech, all eager to uphold the high standards and unique approach to covering tech, I firmly believe the site can continue to thrive for years to come... More at AndandTech.
Anand is the best tech writer I know for a variety of reasons. Not only does he have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the devices he reviews, he never leaves any stone unturned. If I want to know what a product is really like, I have always looked for his reviews. Sad to see him move on, but he leaves some wonderful work behind.
The clamshell has proved as hard to push aside in the PC world as it's been hard to bring back in the mobile world. In the late '90s, operating systems such as Windows CE and Symbian powered palmtops such as the Philips Velo and the Psion Series 5; the latter showed that you could create a usable keyboard in a pocket-size clamshell device.
But the need for on-the-go productivity gadget hasn't disappeared. Thumb keyboards are handy for typing out a quick e-mail reply, but they can become tiring if used for more than a few minutes. Surely there's a significant enough base of people needing to type out accurate notes at impromptu meetings when there's no laptop or tablet around. And yet, for all the niche products that have sprung forth from the Kickstarter genie, no one's attempted to create a modern palmtop, perhaps one running Android... More at c|net.
I was reading the above article yesterday when Jah also sent it to me with the comment "I'd love to see a 5MX for factor running a modern OS."
Some people believe that those of us who still look back at the Psion range of palmtops are out of touch, but I swear blind that I could write full-length articles on a Psion 5MX keyboard now if the software were updated.
A few hours later I receive a call from Nokia Care, this time a man, but once again the call is from somewhere in the Philippines, not Nokia Care UK. The man listens patiently to me, I explain that I sent a 64gb phone in for repair, and received a 32gb in exchange and that it has a damaged sim tray. He say no problem, if the sim tray is damaged it can be replaced, then in roundabout way asks if it is possible that I had made a mistake about the capacity of the 1020 I sent for repair. I actually have the box sat in front of me on my desk, I offer to send him a picture, he tells me that they will be able to tell from the IMEI, I comment that had they checked that in the first place, this whole problem wouldn’t exist. I then mentioned the fact the 1020 I sent in repair was unlocked, and I would like the exchange phone to be unlocked as well as I am no longer an O2 customer, he tells me this won’t be possible, I ask why, explaining if O2 unlock an iPhone and it needs exchanging for any reason, then the replacement will be unlocked too, he tells me that is not Nokia’s policy and there is nothing that can be done about that and I will need to contact O2. I am not happy about that if I’m honest and tell him so, but agree to worry about that later, I just want my 64gb 1020 back.
Having provided all the details (again) I expected him to arrange collection and send my replacement, but alas no, he told me he would forward the details on to the relevant department for checking. Stupidly, I had thought that was him, but anyway, he told me to expect a call in a couple of hours.
The call never arrived... More at TechTalkUK.
A sobering tale from Nick and one that does not appear to be uncommon for Nokia customers and for many other phone users. It compares starkly to my latest Apple experience where my son's iPhone 5, which is 16 month's old, developed a wobbly charging port which could stop the charging process on occasion.
I made an appointment online, visited the local Apple store and within 10 minutes he had a replacement iPhone 5 which was processed in the most polite manner possible. While I was there, I asked why my mid-2011 iMac was continually using up all of the 12GB RAM I had installed and the advisor arranged for another appointment to have it inspected in the store. He said that it did not matter that the iMac was by now 3 years old- they would look at it and try to resolve the situation.
I have written about this before, but it remains the case that Apple's support is extremely important to people like me who rely on their computer and especially their phone. The peace of mind alone is worth a few extra pounds at the point of purchase.
The Samsung Galaxy Mega is now £240 including VAT, that is virtually half the price it was when it launched 12 months ago. That is quite a saving.
When it launched it was £455 and now at £240 that is £214 saving.
Whilst the Mega is not for everyone at £240 there is a lot it can offer is you have a specific requirement.
An almost tablet sized device the Samsung Galaxy mega has 6.3″ display, which is ideal for media on the move... More at Clove.
A curious and conflicted device in many ways. Mid-range specs married to a huge screen could make this a bargain for specific uses.
Paul mentioned the Neptune Pine Smartwatch in a great discussion we had on LIM about the battery life we should expect from smart watches which also touched on the size of these devices. The Neptune Pine Smartwatch is, however, crazily big in my view and I would feel somewhat strange wearing it.
It isn't just the size that bothers me, it is the design. I prefer oversize watches, such as my G Shock below, because they suit me better, but when it is a smart watch it all changes for me. Jah also made a good point about how we view these devices- "I keep switching between thinking of Smartwatch and wearable. If we think wearable, then the hassle has to be measured against utility while the expression "smartwatch" will always lead to comparison with traditional watches."