In Southern IL not so much. One of the first places in my area was Panera, but the system at that particular store works sometimes and not at other times. Interestingly, I spent a month working in London last year and was able to use Apple Pay almost everywhere, even in the outlying areas of the city. And, in that city, the best exchange rate I could get was to use my Simple Bank card, with or without my iPhone, at most any ATM – even when including the service fee it beat anything I could get walking into a bank or exchange shop. Where I live won’t be much empowered with AP until/unless Sams, Walmart and Target get on the ball, which I’m guessing won’t be anytime soon.
I’m sure everyone’s dying to know what I think about Apple’s AirPods, so: 1) Amazing sales numbers considering how difficult it was to order a pair and get them delivered in some more normal time frame. (Checkout 9to5mac.com for the numbers); 2) They are the best sounding earbuds I’ve heard, wired or wireless. (“Best sounding” is very subjective so here’s my POV: I’m no audio guru, but I have raised a family and funded an IRA for 30+ years working in audio production); 3) In fact, these earbuds do produce an amazing amount of low end, but as with all earbuds, you’re not going to feel it. However, headphones are NOT required to get deep, emmersive low end. Many earphones that are designed to fit into the ear canal, and seal it, will provide amazing low frequency performance, perceptually. Of course, a good pair of isolating headphones will still beat them, but not as much as one might think.
AirPods are not designed to fit into the ear canal, but if they were, you’d get hammered with a lot of perceived low frequency performance. Find some music with a good bass track, or a cinematic action scene and press your AirPods straight into your ears while changing the angle to optimize the test, and hear for yourself – DON’T HURT YOURSELF THOUGH!. 4) For the money, the hype and considering who the developer is, I’m quite disappointed with the lack of on-board features of these earbuds, and it’s getting to be a typical quandary that Apple puts its fans into [I’m a huge Apple fanboy – no apologies] with their hardware – What it does it does well, but there’s so much more it should be doing for the time and expense that we end up waiting and paying for. Let’s see, what else – Nope, that’s it. Cheers.
Where’s the iPad MINI PRO?
Tsuro by @Thunderbox_ent has just released a major update to one of its games and it’s an all-time favorite of mine, Tsuro. It is a rare game, and in this case a board game, that is the perfect zen between intellectual engagement and zoning-out. When I come home and play a computer game – which is not often – I don’t like to be left staring at the wall with no registrable EEG when I’m finished playing it, I like to have some brain function left. Tsuro fllls that occasional and important niche for me.
Thunderbox’s significant upgrade to the game, in its basic format, plays just fine on both of my iOS devices. In this update Thunderbox has included access to @Apple AR technology, but alas, while the new features work just fine on my iPhone 8, the AR on my expensive 256GB, iPad Mini 4 is a no-go. Sans AR, the basic, non-AR game-play on my iPad Mini is just fine, but I want the same AR experience on my Mini without having to buy the smaller of the two current versions of the iPad Pro.
I’m very disappointed, as is more and more often the case with my Apple experiences. The fact that Apple continues to try and force my hand into buying exactly what they want me to buy rather than meeting my needs as they exist in the real world, is a growing frustration. I’m fairly certain that “my needs” are not so unique that they are completely isolated from the needs of a significant number of on-going Apple users. I have strong evidence of this because just about the time I think I’ve thought of a unique product recommendation or feature request, almost always I find that many others have beat me to the proverbial punch. This is even more poignant with regard to their professional products, hardware and software, but that’s for another post.
Suffice it to say that, if/when/ever, Apple decides to cough up an iPad Mini Pro, I will mortgage the farm to get it, but I will not be forced/coerced into buying a full-size iPad Pro under any circumstances. It’s almost like Apple realizes they’ve got us, and not unlike the phone company and cellular service providers in general, they believe they can get away with anything. Maybe they can, time will certainly tell, but there is a breaking point with me and those with similar experiences and expectations. I have invested a lot in Apple tech, up to and including, staking my professional reputation on its hardware and software technologies, over and over again, over the years. After the badly down-played XSAN fiasco I have backed way down from insisting on Apple products for professional application. On the consumer side of things I have also become much less vocal for pro-Apple evangelism. And for the record, I do not believe it has anything much to do with who’s at the helm. Even with Steve driving the company, it was headed in the same directions. But again, this is for another post.
Lack of AR on my recently purchased iPad Mini 4, and lack of talk of a Mini Pro, (which is why I bought the iPad Mini 4), leaves me wondering how much longer I can continue to invest in Apple, as a consumer and as a market investor. I guess one voice is, one voice – but, there is that voice, for whatever it’s worth.
Got my 6S last week [upgrading from 5S] after doing a lot of reading, mostly from iMore. For me performance is everything with all computing devices, big or small, desktop or hand-held, and it became clear to me that the 6S(+) hardware was going to offer everything that is possible with the technology this year – and I am not dissapointed. This thing is fast and the 3D touch is absolutely a game changer for human interface with machines, and, almost all of the developers of the utility apps that I use and need are moving quickly to take advantage of the power and interface upgrades of the new hardware and iOS. This time I decided to get my phone from the Apple Store and I’m trying the new-every-two method. I’m a Verizon customer, (out of contract – yay!), and at the Apple sales person’s recommendation I called Verizon, and, long story short, they knocked $20/month off of my phone bill, per month – which offsets the $40/month iPhone payment by 50%. Wow! Who woulda thunk. Okay, enough fun, gotta get back to work. Thanks, iMore, for the 6S reviews!
Where @asymco, in writing about greatness, achieves it.
— Horace Dediu (@asymco) September 29, 2015
I’m pretty much with the sentiment here, have been since 1985 (no, not 1984). However, there’s one place Apple did cave – (apologies for my less eloquent verbage), a BIG phone. And, not just that they did big, but that they left small behind. One of the very few areas that Samsung got Apple to bend. I really do not believe that Apple would have stopped making a “small” phone if the pressure hadn’t been on from iPhone users who were getting slowly, but steadily, envious of the big phones. Even I finally buckled and traded my 5S in for a 6S, not becuase I wanted big, but I needed the power and functionality. Praise be to your Diety of choice it doesn’t feel as big as it seemed it would, but, it’s definitely bigger, and again, the thing that’s irkesome and disappointing is not that they did BIG, but that they abondon small. In almost every other way I have embraced the Apple mind-set for mobile computing and the long forgotten standard of shear quality that used to be a part of the fabric of American manufacturing, and that Apple, almost single handedly, carries on. Dear Apple, size matters, BIGGER is not always better, and I still love you.
Just want to share a little anecdote for those considering an upgrade to one of the current iPhones. I was in St. Louis this last Sunday on some other business and decided to stop by the Apple store and look at a new phone – long story short, I upgraded from 5S to 6S last, and after some wrangling, finally got everything up and going – and, it turns out to be a very important upgrade for me, especially from a performance standpoint
I do want to elaborate on the, “wrangling”, a bit: I was using Beta 9.1/2 on my 5S and the new 6S I brought home was running 9.0. So, I was, initially, not able to restore my 5S backup to the 6S because iTunes would not allow me to restore an image from a later iOS – it took me a little while to figure out what to do, (I admit I can be a bit slow sometimes), but, I finally decided I was okay with installing Beta 9.1 on the new phone, went back to my Apple beta program email and followed the instructions to get the new 6S upgraded to iOS 9.1 beta. Now I’m able to smoothly restore my 5S backup to my 6S. In the meantime there have been a few apps that don’t want to run at all or have acted irraticaly – simply deleting and reinstalling them has fixed these problems.
My wish is that Apple would take us beta testers into account when we want to upgrade our hardware. In retrospect it makes sense that Apple would provide safeguards for its users, but, I wish they would spell it out, up front, don’t just hit me with a screen that says I can’t restore because the new device has an older iOS version – be aware that I’m using a beta of the iOS that is beyond the current stable release and spell out this fact for me, then give me on-screen instructions on what to do. Would’ve saved me a couple of hours of frustration. Even so, the final outcome is, in a word – AWESOME!
If you’re a performance oriented user and you’re upgrading from 5S or a previous version of the hardware, I would suggest that, looking over the latest iPhone iterations is definitely worth your time.
If you get graphical corruption in your NLE, your web browser's hardware acceleration may be the culprit: https://t.co/gBPd6E36eC
— Digital Rebellion (@digitalreb) September 2, 2015
With regard to phones I’m pretty sure, along with many others, that Apple’s not going to release a small phone this year, and that’s too damn bad. But, if correct, that means I have another year to save up for Fall of 2016’s new releases. Unfortunately, I think that any future “small” iPhone gear will feel a lot like getting an iPod Touch – the hardware specs will intentionally be a step behind whatever their current-year, new releases will be – that always drove me nuts using an iPod Touch – but, in the end it worked, Apple got me to buy an iPhone 5S with their antics … I mean, strategy.
All of that is to say, I fear the age of small phones is gone and I will be compelled to get a monster phone by this time next year if I want to upgrade. I’m a performance-driven user of all things Apple. When I upgrade I’ve got to have the latest CPU, maximum RAM, best video components, screen technology and etc. Besides needing the performance in my reality, it dramatically helps downplay hardware obsolescence over time.
So, I’m going to spend the next thirteen months getting use to the idea of carrying around a monster-sized iPhone. When I pickup the phone and look at the big, beautiful screen, and luxuriate in the responsivness of the UI, I will have absolutely no issue, but, when it’s time to put it away and hit the road, in the pocket it will not go. That means, back on the belt, (which I came to really loathe), and, I just don’t do the back pocket – just don’t.
Life is tough – isn’t it?!