Apple took its time releasing a phablet and there were several reasons for that delay. Steve Jobs felt that larger phones were unusable, and that users would appreciate being able to operate the iPhone with one hand. Tim Cook is in charge now and Apple figured out how to control basic functions with one hand using Reachability. This mode is activated by double tapping (not double clicking) the home button, and it can be disabled or enabled in Settings > General > Accessibility. With this mode enabled, apps and menus can be made to display in the lower half or two thirds of the screen, so everything is in reach of your thumb even if you're holding the iPhone in one hand.
We love our iPhones, and soon, our Apple Watches, but the biggest complaint with such devices is battery life. As these gadgets get smarter, bigger, and faster, the battery life has remained fairly constant. That means battery technology is improving, but only at a pace that matches the power-hungry new features. That accomplishment is, and should be, considered remarkable. But it's not enough. The Apple Watch is rumored to get between 2.5 to 4 hours of heavy use or 19 hours of light use. Can't we do better?
Everyone knows that Samsung and Google "took" some features from iOS and the iPhone and Apple did the opposite as well. It happens all the time, in every industry. While Apple resorted to help from the courts at times, it appears that the company learned the real lesson. If you don't want your technology to end up in a competitor's product, buy the technology outright. That's what they did with their fingerprint sensor, which has been head and shoulders above the competition, so far.
Are you among the "Gold is Best" crowd? When Apple launched the gold iPhone 5s, did you scour the web and retailers in your area to find your own "golden ticket?" If you prefer gold but think the Apple version is too "champagne" for you and not gold enough, there is another option. As long as you don't mind spending $3,000 or more!
I think I'm Stan Lee's biggest fan, but my daughter might be beg to differ. Lee is responsible for so many of the superheroes I grew up with and that are in the movie theatres today! Without Stan Lee, there would be no Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, Avengers, and countless more.
I've been having fun with NHL Hockey Target Smash (free), and it's not all about smashing targets. With the hockey simulator game, you get to choose your team colors, enter your name, and customize your hockey stick and even your puck. That's something Tom Brady would love to do with his football! But that's another sport. Speaking of other sports, Concrete Software, the maker of NHL Hockey Target Smash, also makes PBA Bowling Challenge, another fun licensed app I've played and enjoyed.
This should be the year of home automation, as Apple's HomeKit specification starts to take root, and CES had a number of products in that arena. The Ring Video Doorbell is a novel product that can replace a doorbell, using the existing wiring. It lets you see who is at the door and communicate with them thanks to a microphone and speaker, all via the free companion app running on an iOS device. This means you can be thousands of miles away and see when a visitor, delivery person, or intruder approaches your door. It's a great idea and at $199, it's reasonably priced. The Ring can also be operated by battery, so you can add a video doorbell to a gate or just about anywhere, as long as it's within range of your home's Wi-Fi.
The Digital Harbor Foundation wants to give you a 3D printer. Thanks to their new Perpetual Innovation Fund, they have set aside funds to give 3D printers to worthy schools and teachers who can make a case for it. In addition to 3D printing, the foundation teachers technical skills like electronics, and web and app programming in their after-school and camp classes.
I'm a big fan of the MacTech Conferences, and iPhone Life Magazine is a media sponsor. The events bring together some of the brightest independent minds in the Mac and iOS universe, both as speakers and attendees. The once-a-year event in California has so many topics and speaker sessions worth attending that I wish I could clone myself to attend them all! An easier solution might be to attend a local MacTech Pro event. It costs less, especially if you live near one of the nine locations and is a single-track, hotel-based seminar, specifically geared to serve the needs of professional consultants, IT Pros and techs who support others on OS X and iOS. The first MacTech Pro will take place on March 4, 2015 in Seattle.
The iPad introduced a new way to interface with our computers. Before tablets, our computers could rest on a desk, table, or lap. As iPads became thinner and thinner, they still put a strain on your hands when held for prolonged periods. This has caused an array of accessory makers to develop innovate stands for tablets and smartphones. This year, at the Consumer Electronics Show, there were several notable stands on display.