Archive for September 17, 2014

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 [Tweets] [Favorites]

iPhone 6 Review

Jason Snell:

I’ve been using the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus for the last week, since Apple’s big event on Sept. 9. You can read my full review on Macworld—it’s my final byline there. You can also listen to episode 1 of my new podcast, Upgrade, in which I discuss the new iPhones and my review with my co-host, Myke Hurley.

[…]

I suspect that Apple’s intent here is for Reachability to always go away once you’ve tapped on something. But I could make an argument that the alternate approach — let interactions keep happening until your finger is off the glass for a second — is the better one. Sometimes I do need to make two taps at the top of the screen, and with Apple’s approach I have to reactivate Reachability to make the second tap. And of course, tapping on the black void is always there to dismiss Reachability immediately if I really can’t wait a second.

[…]

If an app isn’t written specifically to take advantage of the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, the phone will scale the entire user interface up to fill the screen. (There’s no letterbox, because the iPhone 5 and 6 series all use the same 16:9 aspect ratio.)

[…]

Apple has added a feature to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus called Display Zoom, which lets you choose between using that extra screen space for more stuff, or for bigger stuff. If you turn on Display Zoom on the iPhone 6, the device will scale up the resolution of an iPhone 5 screen. If you turn it on on the iPhone 6 Plus, it’ll scale up the resolution of the iPhone 6.

John Gruber:

One week in and I’m still unsure about the size of the iPhone 6 relative to that of my iPhone 5S, but I’m very sure about the size of the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus: it’s too big for my taste.

[…]

Again, they’re more like two different device classes than two variations of the same device. My understanding, talking to people at the event last week, is that Apple’s industrial design team mocked up prototypes of every single size between 4.0 and 6.0 inches, in tenths-of-an-inch increments, and from those 20 sizes selected the two that best hit the sweet spots for “regular iPhone” and “ginormous iPhone”. We might never see new iPhone sizes again — or at least not bigger ones.

[…]

No doubt about it, one-handed usability suffers greatly on the iPhone 6 compared to the iPhone 5 series — and the 4.0-inch iPhone 5 displays are themselves less one-hand-able than the classic 3.5-inch iPhone displays. But there are advantages to the larger display of the iPhone 6. I find myself typing much faster and more accurately.

[…]

Reachability might make it possible to do everything you want while holding the 6 Plus one-handed, but it’s nothing at all like using a 3.5- or 4.0-inch iPhone in one hand.

[…]

Pocketability is going to vary based on your pants and pockets. (I’ve been wearing Levi’s jeans every day I’ve been using both phones.) With the regular iPhone 6, I haven’t had any problems. The fact that it’s so much thinner than the iPhone 5/5S, and now has curved sides, makes it easy to slide into a pocket. The overall volume of the device just doesn’t feel that much bigger in hand or pocket.

[…]

Text and fine lines appear sharper on the 6 Plus than on the regular 6 (or any other iPhone with a 326 PPI display, like the 5’s). 401 pixels per inch is high enough that things still look great even if they’re not pixel-perfect. I was deeply skeptical of this on-the-fly downsampling when I heard about it, but having used it for a week, I’m sold.

(When you take a screenshot on the iPhone 6 Plus, you get a 2208 × 1242 image — you get a screenshot of what the app thinks it is displaying, not a screenshot of the actual pixels on screen. If you really do care about pixel-level precision, I’m not sure how you can tell what is being rendered on screen other than to examine the actual iPhone display using an optical loupe.)

[…]

The iPhone 6 has a noticeably stronger vibrator to me, and with the iPhone 6 Plus, it’s so powerful it’s actually a bit noisy — the sound made by the 6 Plus vibrator is so strong, I wonder if there are going to be complaints that it’s not “silent” at all.

Bare Feats:

As you can see, the iPhone 6 is 11% to 17% faster than the iPhone 5S. The iPhone Plus is 23% to 24% faster than the iPhone 5S. The iPhone 6 Plus is 6% to 11% faster than the iPhone 6.

Update (2014-09-18): John Gruber:

But I don’t understand why the entry level storage tier remained at a meager 16 GB. That seems downright punitive given how big panoramic photos and slo-mo HD videos are, and it sticks out like a sore thumb when you look at the three storage tiers together: 32/64/128 looks natural; 16/64/128 looks like a mistake. The original iPhone, seven years and eight product generations ago, had an 8 GB storage tier. The entry-level iPhones 6 are 85 times faster than that original iPhone, but have only twice the storage capacity. That’s just wrong. This is the single-most disappointing aspect of the new phones.

Austin Mann tests the iPhone 6 camera in Iceland.

Update (2014-09-21): Nick Heer:

I wrote approximately 15,000 words to review iOS 8. Yet, I inexplicably forgot a couple of things that I wanted to talk about. I have had notes about these things since June, and I intended to include them. I’m just a bit of an idiot.

Update (2014-10-09): John Gruber:

I don’t think I have ever received so much reader feedback on a post in the history of Daring Fireball. Hundreds of emails. Dozens and dozens of replies on Twitter. All of them saying the exact same thing: 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.

Update (2014-10-10): Kirk McElhearn:

I used the iPhone 6 for a week; I went back to the iPhone 5s on Friday, to see if I really liked it better. And I did. This may be because of its familiarity; it’s a comfortable size. I can hold it comfortably in one hand, and do most of what I need with just one hand. The iPhone 6, however, felt alien, as though it was just not the right size for my hand.

Daniel Jalkut:

Since I got my new iPhone 6 (not plus), my biggest concern has been the increased size. There are certainly things to like about the larger screen, but I am one of those people who looks at the phone primarily as something that empowers me to do great things with a minimum of extra weight or bulk. I don’t wear skinny pants, per se, but I don’t wear cargo pants, either. I like to have the phone at easy reach but I also like to travel light, and to move through life with a certain bounce in my step that makes me feel vulnerable with a larger phone.

Hiding the iPhone 6 Camera Bump

Ben Brooks:

I looked through Apple’s site on the iPhone 6 and interestingly the bump isn’t hidden most of the time, but it is always hidden in profile. When you look at the iPhone in profile the honest way to show the phone is with the bump, but take a look (from Apple’s site)[…]

Via John Gruber:

I think this is a mistake on Apple’s part. If the iPhone 6 is going to have a camera bulge (and it does), they should wear it with pride.

iOS 8 Review

Nick Heer:

It is for this reason that I will be writing a review of iOS 8 in two parts. The first part, which is what you’re reading now, is a review of the first-party aspects of iOS. It is truly a review of iOS 8, not apps built for iOS 8. The second part, which will be released in weeks-to-months, is a review of what is possible when third-party developers get ahold of the thousands of new APIs available to them.

This is what I have gleaned from using iOS 8 every day since June 2 on my primary (and only) iPhone 5S and my Retina iPad Mini.

[…]

That’s not to say that there aren’t problems with it. I’ve pointed out a number already, and I’m sure we’ll hear more reports as users update. It’s not without its flaws and its bugs. But I think iOS 8 is the biggest iOS release for users and the most exciting opportunity for developers since iOS 2.0. It’s really that big of a deal.

Andrew Cunningham:

Apple still holds the keys to many aspects of the iPhone and iPad user experience, but compared to past versions of the software iOS 8 represents an opening of floodgates. Don’t like Apple’s software keyboard? Replace it. Want sports scores and updates on your eBay auctions in your Notification Center? Here’s a widget, throw ‘em in there. Want to use a social network or a cloud storage service that Apple hasn’t explicitly blessed and baked into the OS? Cool. Here are some APIs for that.

[…]

Still no public transit directions in Maps.

[…]

Not all of the features advertised at WWDC were actually done in time for release.

Andrew Cunningham:

The iPhone 4S was Apple’s last to use the original 3.5-inch iPhone screen size, which is now the smallest of four different phone screens that Apple supports. iOS 8’s new stuff is all about fitting more information on those larger screens, whether we’re talking about predictive typing, new Mail sorting options, Notification Center widgets, or Spotlight suggestions. The 4S’ screen has always been small, but iOS 8 can make it feel cramped.

[…]

The iPhone 4S made the jump to iOS 7 relatively gracefully, though, and it’s fine with rendering all of the fancy transparency and translucency effects. We were expecting speed to stay roughly the same in the jump from iOS 7 to iOS 8, more or less as it did when we moved from iOS 5 to iOS 6 on the 3GS. Testing some application launch times under both operating systems reset those expectations. […] Again, we’re not looking at an iPhone 4-level situation here, but iOS 8 can add as much as 50 percent more time to the same task compared to iOS 7.

Casey Johnston:

Generally [on an iPad 2], iOS 8 is noticeably slower and choppier than iOS 7, in everything from opening apps to typing. Back when we switched from iOS 6, we complained about how we could get 10 characters into typing something before the keyboard realized what was happening. This problem has returned with a force in iOS 8, especially on first opening an app. Screen rotation is stuttery, and any time some part of the OS needs to slide into place (text centering, apps minimizing), it can’t do it smoothly.

Rene Ritchie:

iOS 8 feels like Apple took every wish list item on the web and checked them off one-by-one. Interactive notifications? Done. Widgets? Done. Inter-app communication, custom keyboards, document picker? Done. Done. Done. […] In this case, believe the hype. iOS 8 is in every way the biggest functional release for iPhone and iPad since the App Store.

Update (2014-09-18): Graham Spencer:

Just like we have in the past few years, we like to find those little gems that come with every brand new version of iOS. So in this post, you’ll find dozens and dozens of tips, tricks, and details of iOS 8 that we’ve collected throughout the summer since the first beta release of iOS 8.

Brandon Chester:

Given that the iPad 3 I have for testing falls into both the Apple A5(X) camp and the iPad camp, I won’t be updating it to iOS 8. While the new features like SMS Relay will be nice, the missing features and issues like keyboard lag outweigh the benefits of updating.

Despite my concerns, iOS 8 makes me feel excited for the future more than anything else. Apple’s steps to open up more options for customization by developers and users on iOS marks a significant departure from their previous releases. It’s not Android but it isn’t meant to be. It brings new features and capabilities that are implemented in a very Apple-like manner, for better or for worse. I don’t think it’s going to do much to sway Android fans toward iOS, but it gives a lot of reason for current iOS users to stay with Apple.

Update (2014-11-07): Dan Frakes:

Here are some of my favorite iOS 8 features, in no particular order, with an emphasis on things that haven’t been exhaustively covered elsewhere. I hope you discover something new and useful.

iCloud Adds Support for App-Specific Passwords

Apple:

If you use iCloud with any third party apps, such as Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, or BusyCal, you can generate app-specific passwords that allow you to sign in securely, even if the app you’re using doesn’t support two-step verification. Using an app-specific password also ensures that your primary Apple ID password isn’t collected or stored by any third party apps you might use. Starting on October 1, 2014, app-specific passwords will be required to sign in to iCloud using any third party apps.

They’ve also added two-factor authentication for the iCloud.com Web apps and iCloud backup.