A fad I tell you!

Apple's at odds with itself, though. On one end, it's trying to push people up to the iPad Air 2, and on the other, it's trying to compete with low cost Android tablets. This plan leaves nerdy consumers in the middle; people who would happily have upgraded to a new iPad mini now won't, making the update cycle problem worse.
While the iPad Air 2 looks like a great upgrade from the iPad 3 or 4, upgrading is not tempting, speaking as iPad Air owner. With TouchID being the only feature separating the iPad mini 2 and iPad mini 3, I don't see why any iPad mini 2 owners would upgrade this year, either... More at 512 Pixels.

I still maintain that tablets will not be commonplace within 5 years, but nobody agrees. Just maybe the recent trend is starting to back this up.

All of your music for $5 / month

If the jungle drums are to believed, Apple is about to go bargain basement with its Beats streaming service and drop the price (in the US at least) to $5 a month - undercutting every other music service out there.
It's so unlike Apple to compete on price that it's worth reviewing what potential benefits Apple could realise from such a land grab... More at Random Dumber Generator.

There is something about the current £9.99 / month music offerings that feels too expensive to me. I would pay that for Netflix, but not for music. However, £5 / month and I am all in.

iOS sharing to one email address?

I have a question which is not exactly important and which I believe is not currently possible. I often send web links to my email address to catch up on later, usually links that I will use on Lost In Mobile, but would like to avoid having to input my email address every single time. I do use a shortcut which helps a little, but it would be nice to find a sharing mechanism that allows me to simply click an icon in the sharing feature and have it send automatically.

I have tried Pinboard and various other services, but it is only in email that I am alerted to what I have sent to myself. I always forget about the other services I use. So, it what I want possible?

Not holding my breath for Apple Pay

Apple Pay has of course been launched in the US and this makes sense given the crazy payment situation over there. I remember well swiping my credit card this time last year and the bewilderment at not having to type in a PIN number. Nothing at all, just swipe the card and walk off. Anyone's card, it doesn't matter. So, a US launch makes sense.

My reason for doubting a quick European release is not because of payment methods, however, but because of iTunes Radio. It has been more than a year since the original launch and still nothing in so many countries? It could be down to licensing, but it can enhance the sense that Apple is truly an American company to outsiders.

Choose your hardware wisely

If you are thinking of buying an Apple computer, choose your hardware wisely. You won’t be able to upgrade at a later date.2 All of your computer’s repairs will be performed by an Apple Certified Macintosh Technician. Your computer will be either be glued shut, or screwed up tight. None of the hardware will be user serviceable anyway... More at Egg Freckles.

I really do not like that Apple is still selling the original iPad mini, a Mac mini with fixed RAM and 16GB iPhones. These devices lessen the overall experience and appear to be designed to increase the average selling price at the expense of user satisfaction. It just isn't the Apple way.

The Dark Side of App Stores

Again and again, Apple rejects apps not on the basis of malicious activity, but on the basis of pure capital gain.
We are willingly giving Apple and Google full control over our digital lives
The app stores are fun, endless, constantly updating and truly quite amazing. I love discovering new apps every Thursday when the Featured list is updated. The best part about it is the ease with which the app store works in enabling users to discover, purchase and install new apps. Just place your thumb on the screen and it’s already on its way... More at Medium.

Some good points raised in the above article.

Jean-Claude Biver and the smart watch

LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SAMC.FR +1.17% said on Friday it is considering teaming with a technology company to launch a smartwatch launch for one of its brands.  
“There are some talks taking place about a partnership,” said Jean-Claude Biver, president of LVMH’s watch division. “Maybe in nine months, we will have a smartwatch.”
Apple Inc.AAPL +1.46%’s recently launched iWatch, which enables mobile payments among other functions, has shaken the traditional watch industry. Even the most elite of watchmakers feel pressure to respond... More at WSJ.

I am very surprised by this potential move because it surely goes against everything the likes of Jean-Claude Biver have worked towards their whole lives. If you don't know who he is, check out the video below.

Don't tell me a Mac is expensive

I own a mid-2011 21" iMac and have done so since November 2011. In that time I have used it almost every day, some days for many hours at a time, and I have restarted it twice outside of OS updates. It is always on and it is always working.

There was a blip with RAM usage which turned out to be the quite awful LogMeIn software which was close to impossible to remove, but now it is gone I am back to using my Mac without any problems every day. That surely is a problem for Apple.

Or is it?

I paid £1,000 for my iMac and could reasonably expect to be using it in 2017 which gives me roughly 6 years of use. That is £166 per year. To be fair I have added 8GB of RAM, a Microsoft mouse and the Apple extended keyboard, but asides from those, that is it.

A friend of mine recently stopped using his MacBook because it had become too slow even for his children to use to browse the internet. He has been more than impressed with the longevity and decided to buy a new MacBook which he intends to get as much use out of.

Oh sorry, my mistake, it was an 'iBook' that he has just replaced. It was used every day for 8 years and despite him not being a power user, that kind of longevity is wonderful. The only purchase during that time was a new battery half way through, and that was it.

My daughter uses an iPhone 3GS every day and it is working fine, my wife's iPhone 4 is working well and she uses it a lot. I am also sure that if I wasn't so obsessed with having the latest iPhone, my 6 would last for a good few years as well.

My point is that there is a lot of criticism levelled at Apple for the cost of new products, but for 95% of people these products represent long term investments which they can use for many years. When I compare the iMac to my recent Windows laptop experience, where HP takes little income on the product and has to fill it with crapware to make a measly profit, the difference is stark. That laptop will likely be unusable in 2 years time and the iMac will almost certainly continue to run as it does today.

This longevity means that I will replace my iMac with a new iMac one day and I will replace my iPhone with a new iPhone, and so on. In the long run I am saving money, doing productive things and Apple is also reaping the rewards. Apple isn't perfect, no company is, but my word the products are built incredibly well.

The new iTunes: first impressions

Initial gripes - Home videos are now separate, but also have a different layout that lags excessively when browsing it.  Home video “List view” is not like the old list view or movie list view.  When you add a home video which is a TV program, you used to select it, tick TV program, and fill in the details (show, series number, etc).  Now you have to set TV program, accept, go to TV programs, reselect it, and then fill in details as the fields don’t exist until TV program type is set.
 
Not liking the way it’s all going with Apple at the moment, it seems to be a lot of style for the sake of style, and not much consideration to ergonomics and ease of use. 
Abstractly, the changes make sense (why show TV program fields unnecessarily), but they’re not thinking of existing user impact.  It’s like them suddenly shipping macs with a Dvorak keyboard rather than qwerty.
 
Maybe it’s just me, I’m not convinced by Yosemite either.  Reminds me more of Windows now. Peter.

I rarely disagree with Peter.

Kindle Voyage review

On the whole, Amazon accomplished its goal: it built a better platypus. This is the best E Ink e-reader I’ve used, and it’s unquestionably the best that Amazon has ever made. The thing is, it’s only marginally better than the fantastic Paperwhite in several ways, and significantly better in none. Amazon is also asking a lot of money for the Voyage — it starts at $199, while a 3G model without special offers runs $289. Not since the final days of the doomed Kindle DX has an Amazon e-reader brushed up against the $300 mark... More at The Verge.

It looks stunning, but the Paperwhite is also brilliant so I for one won't be upgrading. The Kindle e-readers are so good, however, that I am still tempted.

A 98 year old and the internet

The internet, so often hailed as a place for the young and endlessly distracted, actually turns out to be a pretty good place for older people. For one, there’s access to unlimited information (which pairs well with ample free time). And then there’s the ability to keep up with the outside world as it gets harder to go out and see it, and the chance to keep exercising one’s brain. But most importantly, it allows one to connect: in my grandfather’s case, with schoolkids in Germany and old friends in Mexico and the eighth-grader from down the block whom he pays for computer lessons every few weeks. And of course, his six grandchildren, at least half of whom work in thoroughly internet-era careers. How many nearly 98-year-olds do you know who are aware of the mobile advertising industry? More at BuzzFeedNews.

Nice article.

An amazing slide

Isn’t it an amazing slide?
There are 50,000 ways to represent Apple products. But, there is perhaps only one incredible way to do it. It is above.
I love the stark simplicity of the slide.
I love the shapes, circle to an almost triangle.
I love the evolution theme (though more like almost reverse evolution with the oldest on the right and the newest on the right).
The Mechanical Engineer in me loves the fact that if you draw a line along the angle of the iMac display, it will intersect almost perfect the bottom of the base... More at Linked In.

I agree with Avinash. That slide is amazing and it highlights the products on display perfectly. It shows just how incredibly well designed most of the Apple products are and why so many can't wait to get their hands on the latest and greatest.

It can be hard to understand why a piece of technology feels so good at times, but that slide offers a clue.

The Samsung Gear S network plan

Whether you’re surprised that the Samsung Gear S, a standalone smart watch, would require a separate line of service depends on what you thought Samsung was promising. Trusted sources close to the matter have revealed to Phandroid that the Samsung Gear S will have a special plan on Sprint, and likely any other carrier it heads to once it launches.
As such, you’ll need a plan to tie it to and you have one of two options for achieving that:
    a special $10 per month “connected device” plan that gives you 1,000 minutes, 1,000 messages and 100MB of data
    a $10 add-on to a Family Share Pack plan that shares data, minutes and messages with all other devices
More at Phandroid.

It should not be surprising at all, but the realisation that another contract is required for a wearable may hit some hard. That alone would put me off even if it does make perfect sense.

Don't need a tablet

It’s difficult to say anything bad about this tablet because it’s been nothing but awesome at everything NVIDIA suggests it’s made to do. But outside of entertainment, I can’t imagine a reason why a tablet would be necessary in my life.
I have a smartphone - right now I’m using a Moto X from Verizon. I have a notebook, and I have a TV. I also have a desktop PC that I use when I play AAA games. Where does a tablet fit in? More at Slash Gear.

I am like the writer of the above article, a tablet does not fit in between my desktop and phone and likely never will. I know many people who own tablets and the vast majority never take them outside of the house, but I recognise that some do. I sort of get why people would want to use a tablet at home in place of a PC for most tasks, but still wonder how many are left largely unused.

John's OS X 10.10 Yosemite review

When the book is finally closed on the product line known as OS X, last year’s release of OS X 10.9 Mavericks may end up getting short shrift. Sure, it brought tangible energy saving benefits to Mac laptop owners, but such gains are quickly taken for granted; internal changes and new frameworks are not as memorable to customers as they may be to developers and technophiles. And while Mavericks included many new user-visible features, and even new bundled applications, the cumulative effect was that of a pleasant upgrade, not a blockbuster.
But for all its timidity and awkwardness, Mavericks marked a turning point for OS X—and in more than just naming scheme. It was the first OS X release from the newly unified, post-Forstall Apple. If iOS 7 was the explosive release of Jony Ive’s pent-up software design ethos, then Mavericks was the embodiment of Craig Federighi’s patient engineering discipline. Or maybe Mavericks was just a victim of time constraints and priorities. Either way, in last year’s OS X release, Apple tore down the old. This year, finally, Apple is ready with the new... More at ars technica.

You don't need me to tell you that John's reviews are always wonderful. No one does it like him