Review iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Part 2 ~ Battery & Camera


New cameras in both models of 6 have six lens elements and an infra-red filter
New cameras in both models of 6 have six lens elements and an infra-red filter (image: Apple Inc)

Probably the most obvious feature after the size changes in the new iPhone is the Camera. The new processors enable new features in photo and video and whereas other manufacturers put more and more pixels into the camera sensors, Apple has concentrated on processing power to get the best out of the usual 8 megapixel to achieve results that can only be described as outstanding.

CPU — Apple has a close eye on the development of these chips. The A8 in the iPhone 6 uses an advanced 20-nanometre process to make it very small and energy-efficient chip – it houses 2 billion transistors while scoring up to 50 per cent better energy efficiency compared to the A7 chip in the iPhone 5s.
I measured the CPU power in Geekbench 3.
Model                                                             score Single Core—Multi-Core
iPhone 5 16GB 1.3GHz A6, 1016MB RAM             717—1304
iPhone 5c 64GB 1.25GHz A7 1016MB RAM        692—1246
iPhone 5s 64GB 1.28GHz A7 1000MB RAM      1395—2497
iPhone 6 128GB 1.38GHz A8 988MB RAM         1631— 2925
iPhone 6 Plus 218GB 1.37GHz A8 976MB RAM 1618—2901

Interestingly, the dual-core scores of the iPhone 6 models are virtually equal to the quad-core processor of the Samsung Galaxy S5 recorded by Phones Review in the UK: 946 single core and 2923 multi. So if you want two more cores doing half as much, this is for you.

Battery — The energy efficiency of the A8 means that even though processor power and co-processing is more impressive than the A7s, you get more battery life. Apple states the iPhone 6 handles up to 50 hours audio, 11 hours HD video, 11 hours wifi browsing, 10 hours 3G browsing, 14 hours 3G talk and up to 250 hours (ten days) on standby before needing a recharge. iPhone 6 Plus has more space in its shell for a bigger battery, so that’s even more impressive: up to 80 hours audio only, 14 hours HD video, 12 hours wifi, 12 hours 3G browsing, 24 hours 3G talk and up to 384 hours (16 days) on standby. iPhone 5s, according to Apple, gave up to 10 hours talk time on 3G and a standby time up to 250 hours – same as iPhone 6 – but only 10 hours video playback, audio 40, 10 hours on 4G LTE cellular and same on wi-fi.
iPhone 6 Plus, full charge, video-only running, brightness on full, Bluetooth and wi-fi on, movie (Black Snake Moan) running. This 116 minute film took the iPhone 6 Plus from 100% charge to 81% charge, so it took 19% charge to play it. I could play that 5.2 times at this rate, which comes to about 10 hours …I suspect Apple’s test was with wifi and Bluetooth turned off and the screen turned down in brightness, so that stacks up.

I don’t think I’d get the Plus just for more battery life – the difference isn’t enough to justify trying to fit this big thing in my pocket. for me, other considerations would have to sway my decision (to answer Jamie Lunn’s question in the comments on the first part of this review).
(But while we’re thinking about battery life, check out Apple’s advice page on getting the most from your iDevices.)

The camera — Cameras in smartphones is a contentious issue. The easy route, not without merit, is simply to add more megapixels to the sensor on every new model release. Apple has decided, contrarily, that there’s a sweet spot of quality, lens and sensor size in a device it wants to keep trim and instead takes the route of working hard on the lens and sensor, sure, while adding processing features to make the camera and its functions really something else: slo-mo, 60-frames-per-second video (in other words, super-smooth video), time lapse, and even image stabilisation so that when you shoot shaky, the result is smooth.

And it all works tremendously well. The video is full 1080p HD even at 60 fps, and the Time Lapse (slo-mo) shoots at 240 frames per second (but resolution drops to 720p). This works better if something fairly dramatic is happening (clouds moving slowly really is pointless) and it takes a while to process anything longer than ten minutes before you can watch it, but it’s pretty neat.
The new cameras, while still 8MP (same as the fives) feature large 1.5-micron pixels and ƒ/2.2 aperture, a wide-enough aperture that lets in 81% more light so that low-light photography is better, clearer while making it less likely the flash will need to fire.
Other camera features include Focus Pixels (the new Apple-designed image-signal processor provides image info to the CPU for better and faster auto-focus – it works really).

Choose by ticking – Apple's choice is marked by a dot in the film strip.
Choose by ticking – Apple’s choice is marked by a dot in the film strip.

Burst Mode is on both 6 cameras (this continuously captures 10 photos per second). And it works on the front-facing camera, too, so shoot away at yourself and pick the best one. iPhone 6 works behind the scenes to analyse every shot in real time, comparing sharpness and clarity, and even detecting when someone’s eyes are closed. Your iPhone then suggests individual photos or a sequence of photos you might like best – to see the suggested best, open the Burst shot in Photos, tap Select at the bottom, and you’ll see a filmstrip of all the images along the bottom that you can scroll through. Apple’s suggestions have dots under them.

Timer is new for any iPhone running iOS 8 (do upgrade to 8.0.2, it’s very good – all the scary stuff was in the iOS 8..0.1 update that was summarily pulled within a very short time from release), letting you choose a 3-second or 10-second countdown before the shutter fires (good for selfies and groups shots you need to be in).
Face Detection is still there, but it has been improved (according to Apple) with better blink and smile detection, the handy on-viewfinder Exposure Control, Auto Stabilisation, Optical Image Stabilisation all work seamlessly in my tests, and the cameras in both sixes also support a new auto-HDR mode for wonderful dynamic range whenever the phone detects a big-enough range of contrast in the viewfinder that the image would be improved. High Dynamic Range runs separate exposures for the overexposed and underexposed parts of the image and combines them.
The Panorama feature we’ve had for a while, along with the Square option for Instagram-style images and the same filters you can take off afterwards if you change your mind.

Comparisons — I will post a page after this containing images and clips from an iPhone 5, 6 and a 6 Plus. I can’t compare the results to non-Apple smartphones, but if you’d like to read more on iPhone 6 compared to competitors, these sites might interest you, and I’m sure there’s plenty more you’ll find on a search like ‘iPhone 6 camera comparison smartphones’.

Forbes, Techcrunch, BGR and New York Times.

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Not bendy, iOS 7, Recording, Apple Watch, GoPro, keyboards, ProCamera 8


Consumer Reports' bending test subjects (image from Consumer Reports)
Consumer Reports’ bending test subjects (image from Consumer Reports)

iPhone 6 Plus not so bendy, says Consumer Reports — US Consumer Reports says not very, and that smartphones from Apple’s competitors are actually easier to bend. The independent product testing company pitted both new iPhone 6 models against smartphones from Samsung LG, and HTC and found the competition flexed and deformed more easily, in contrast to online videos claiming to show an iPhone 6 Plus bending in someone’s hands. [From ‘Bendgate’ to ‘Bendbulls__t’.]

No going back to iOS 7 — Apple has disabled downgrades from iOS 8 to iOS 7, so if you’ve upgraded to iOS 8 and now you’re having second thoughts? Well, you no longer have the option of downgrading your device back to iOS 7. [So learn about iOS 8 and learn to optimise your iDevice to take advantage of it.]

Recording Revolution app — If you like learning more about home audio recording, the Recording Revolution now has a free app. This gives you access to hundreds of video tutorials. You can pay USc$1.99 a month for the Ask Graham Q&A feature if you wish. [I learn from these videos.]

Apple & Colette plan Fashion Week event in Paris, may be Apple Watch-related — An invitation that appeared Monday morning on the website of famous Parisian concept store Colette suggests Apple may show off its new smart watch during Fashion Week in Paris at an event set to run between 11am and 7pm local time on Tuesday.

Apple Watch’s advanced AMOLED display far more costly than traditional screens — The flexible AMOLED display found in Apple’s new smart watch is believed to be among the most-costly mobile device displays available, according to a new report, with the 1.5-inch units thought to cost more than half as much as the 4.7-inch LCD in the new iPhone 6.

GoPro’s new iPhone-connected Hero4 wearable camera captures 4K video at 30fps — GoPro has announced its new 2014 lineup of wearable action cameras, including the flagship Hero4 Black, which is capable of recording not only 4K-resolution video at 30 frames per second, but also high-definition 1080p footage at 120 frames per second.

Meet the first crop of third-party keyboards for iOS 8 — Third-party keyboards have arrived.

ProCamera 8: A solid app with new features and manual adjustments — One of the nice things iOS 8 brought to camera apps is the ability to manually adjust photos before you shoot, meaning that photographers get the kind of control normally associated with a DSLR. Things like ISO, shutter speed and exposure can be adjusted to create just the right mood in a photo. ProCamera 8 (US$3.99) includes all these manual adjustments and quite a bit more.

OS 9, Manhattan Apple Store, Shellshocked, iMac Retina rumour


How would you like to go back 12 years in Mac OS?
How would you like to go back 12 years in Mac OS?

Andrew Cunningham uses OS 9 for a couple of days — So here I am on a battered PowerBook that will barely hold a charge, playing with classic Mac OS (version 9.2.2) and trying to appreciate the work of those who developed the software in the mid-to-late ’90s (and to amuse my co-workers). [It’s a long, three-page article.]

The pre-history of Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue Apple Store cube — Probably the most iconic Apple Store is the one in the plaza of the GM Building on Fifth Avenue in New York City. The store’s signature architectural feature, a 32-foot glass cube emblazoned with a glowing Apple logo, is immediately recognizable . NY Magazine’s Vicky Ward provided the back story to the origins of the cube in an article published yesterday.

Two scenarios that can make OS X vulnerable to the Shellshock Bash bug — Apple’s OS X is vulnerable to the Shellshock bug, but it’s not easy for attackers to take advantage of it, according to Intego, which specialises in security software for the operating system.

Apple rumoured to launch 27″ iMac with 5K Retina display at October media event — Apple’s big-screen iMac will get a doubled-resolution Retina display with a forthcoming update expected to be unveiled at the company’s anticipated October media event, a new report claims.

6 Appeal part 1 ~ Review iPhone 6 and 6 Plus


They're bigger all right! (left – ranges form Apple's iPhone online Store compare page)
They’re bigger all right! (left – images from Apple’s iPhone online Store comparo page)

I’ve had the luxury of some time with both iPhone 6 models, and they’re both very slick devices.

The first and most obvious consideration is size. Even the iPhone 6 is considerably bigger than the 5, but the fact it’s so light and thin means it slips into a pocket very easily and you quickly forget it’s a ‘bigger’ device. Thickness has been honed down: 6.9mm for iPhone 6 and 7.1mm for iPhone 6 Plus. The 5s were all 7.6mm thick, so even the Plus feels impressively slim in the hand.

Size matters

You can get a 6 Plus in your jeans pocket – but you probably shouldn't
You can get a 6 Plus in your jeans pocket – but you probably shouldn’t

But whereas the iPhone 6 quickly just feels like your new iPhone, the 6 Plus is just big. You can – just – put it in your jeans pocket, but then you can’t really sit down. You certainly can’t hurry anywhere with it there – running is not possible. For a bag or a lab-coat pocket, no problem, but I tend to put my iPhone in a jacket or jeans pocket, myself. Some jackets handle the big Plus, almost no denim pants will, safely, unless you’re a giant or you have different to normally-place big enough pockets.
BigI was sceptical the Plus would even be comfortable to hold like a telephone – to the side of your face, I mean (right) – and I started to understand why I see people these days walking along chatting at their phone held out in front of them. Actually, though, the 6 Plus is so light, it’s not a problem to hold it like a phone to your face, although if you have particularly small hands it might be. It’s certainly not heavy-feeling.
But bigger screens pose usability problems which Apple has tried to address. One is that the top-right Sleep button has been moved down onto the left side, near the top. You can still reach it with a digit while holding either phone in one hand. Another thing is that – for right-handed use, anyway – a double-tap (not click) on the Home button drops the screen into range of a right-thumb-sweep. Double-tap it again (or click the Home button once) to go back to full-screen. To further facilitate this thumb-sweep, the edges of the glass all around are fared into the case so there’s no hard edge. (This does add to the slightly slippery character of the iPhone 6s, though. They really need cases.) To suit the new slimmer designs, the volume and sleep buttons have been elongated.
I should reiterate that to the hand, both these new phones feel strong, beautifully engineered and very pleasing. (By the way, Apple sold ten million iPhone 6s in a few days, and there were nine complaints about bent phones. The odds are pretty steep that you’ll bend your iPhone, but seriously, if you put a Plus in your back pocket and sit on it, of course you can bend it.)

Pixel bonanza — What the new sizes means in terms of use is more pixels. Many more pixels – the iPhone 6 has over a million and the Plus, over 2 million. More specifically, the iPhone 6’s 4.7-inch display holds 1334×750 (total 1,000,500 pixels) and the considerably larger 6 Plus has the 5.5-inch display. That shows 1920×1080, or a staggering 2,073,600 pixels. The result is a 38% bigger iPhone 6 display, and 88% bigger (compared to the 5) for the Plus.

There has been a steady rise in iPhone screen sizes: 
iPhone 4 — 3.5-inch display — 960×640 — 614400 total pixels
iPhone 5 — 4-inch display — 1136×640 — 727040 total pixels
iPhone 6 —  4.7-inch display — 1334×750 — 1,000,500 total pixels
iPhone 6 Plus 5.5-inch display — 1920×1080 —  2,073,600 pixels
(Inch measurements are diagonal)

Better picture — A new display features in both, and the blacks are really black now. This makes everything look super crisp and clear, including games, movies and images. More impressive is the viewing angle – it’s extreme. Two people watching a movie on a 6 Plus, say on a plane, is now eminently doable, and besides, it’s dramatically superior to any display currently on commercial airliners.

Processing prowess — They almost need their own video cards, you’d think, with screens that are so much bigger. But these are 64-bit computing machines after all – I don’t believe any other smartphone has reached this processing plateau. The others are all still just 32-bit. This level of chip development has a processing payoff that Apple has cannily been benefitting from: the new A8 CPU in the 6s is the second generation of this architecture, and results in smooth action sequences since the CPU never has to step down to conserve battery power. There isn’t an actual GPU, of course, but the A8 includes an Apple-designed image signal processor component that enables advanced camera and video features.

What to do with all these pixels? It’s definitely a better viewing experience whichever way you look at it (ha ha), but if you just want ‘big’ due to eye problems of one sort or another – bigger icons, bigger text all round – you can use the new iPhones in Display Zoom mode. Although I need glasses myself these days, I would be hard pressed to use this option, simply because I perceive this as a waste of those excellent tiny high-definition pixels. For the same reason, I always run my Mac monitors on the maximum possible resolutions. But if you need it, it’s an excellent accessibility feature.

Another benefit of the larger screen is that the iPhone 6 Plus has a horizontal mode in some apps – for example, Mail gives you a more Mac-like two-column view, which would be a boon to those using this heavily as an email communications device, and Messages does the same.

Motion — The 6s also have the M8 motion co-processor is mostly beneficial to health apps, of which there aren’t many yet, but it’s a market that’s set to increase dramatically. The M8 continuously measures motion data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, compass and the new barometer, which senses air pressure, providing relative elevation. (I live at 24 metres above sea level – netter check that global warming chart but I think I’m pretty safe.)

If you add a bodily few parameters (height, weight, body mass etc) into the Health app, you will start to get the benefit of this, and more so when more apps using the HealthKit API come onto the market.

Short Takes
Pluses — Awesome, deep, crips and clear screens. More finer pixels. They’re bigger, but well-engineered. New 64-bit CPUs. Benefits to come with the Health tech.
Reservations — Slippery. The big Plus is too big for me, even though I think Apple did a terrific job of making this work.

This is part 1. Part 2 will concentrate on the cameras … and wow! 

More info — Apple Inc.

iPhones 6, HealthKit, around Bend, HealthKit, Notification widgets, Camera 6, FBI cranky


Apple's new new Health app
Apple’s new new Health app

Going big: a review of Apple’s Apple’s new 4.7″ iPhone 6 vs. the 5.5″ iPhone 6 Plus by Mikey Campbell — “For the most part, components for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus come from the same parts bin. Both handsets, for example, use a 1.4GHz A8 system-on-chip processor, advanced wireless communications suite, Touch ID, M8 motion coprocessor and Sony-sourced 8MP camera sensor. New capabilities like NFC for Apple Pay also comes standard.” And Mel Martin has spent four days with the iPhone 6.

Bend bulls__t Consumer Reports bend tests show iPhone 6 Plus is stronger than iPhone 6, Apple has only received 9 complaints about bent iPhone 6 Pluses (remember, Apple sold ten million iPhone 6s in the first three days) but if you’re one of them, there’s a replacement program, and Apple has opened its testing facility to show how serious it is about hardware strength.

iOS 8 HealthKit-compatible Apps Hit the App Store — Now that iOS 8.0.2 is [safely] out with support for the Health app enabled, third-party developers are starting to roll out their apps with HealthKit support. The list isn’t very long yet, but it is growing so we expect to see more apps showing up soon. First was FitPort, the first app with HealthKit support. It functions as an overall health dashboard, collecting information from Apple’s built-in health app to give users a broad overview of their health. (Image from Apple’s page on Health apps.)

Use slow-motion video to improve your game with Ubersense Coach — This slow motion video analysis free app requires iOS 7.0 or later and works with all your iOS devices with cameras.

Camera+ 6.0 introduces manual controls and more to remain the best iOS camera app — Camera+ 6.0 introduces manual controls and improved macro and white balance options to make the best iOS camera app even better. The stars of the update are the new manual controls which allow you to quickly adjust focus and exposure on the fly while you shoot.

Best iOS 8 Notification widgest so far — Not all third-party apps are compatible with Notification Center widgets, there are a bunch of outstanding apps that are. Here’s a look at apps you can install as widgets right now.

FBI cranky at Apple’s security — It’s too tough for them. Hah!

Shellshock Bash Bug, Apple’s snafus, Mac mini, Ello


Most Macs won't even remotely be touched by the Shellshocked 'bash bug', particularly if their Firewalls are on.
Most Macs won’t even remotely be touched by the Shellshocked ‘bash bug’, particularly if their Firewalls are on.

Apple says most Mac users are safe from the ‘Shellshock’ Bash bug, but promises quick fix — Recent versions of Mac OS X are vulnerable to the critical Shellshock Bash bug revealed earlier this week, including OS X Mavericks — but don’t sweat it unless you’re doing ninja-level Unix tricks with shell commands already.
Apple provided iMore with the following comment on the Shellshock bug:
“The vast majority of OS X users are not at risk to recently reported bash vulnerabilities… With OS X, systems are safe by default and not exposed to remote exploits of bash unless users configure advanced UNIX services. We are working to quickly provide a software update for our advanced UNIX users.”
Macworld has a ‘How to protect your Mac from shellshock‘.

Grading Apple’s Snafus: which ones are major, which minor? By some standards, Apple has had a rough two weeks. The media has pointed to these problems for several classic reasons: attention and money. But how bad is it really? Which problems are real and which ones will blow over?

Apple rumored to debut new Mac mini in October alongside iPad refresh — A report last Thursday cited inside sources saying Apple is preparing to launch a new Mac mini in the near future [but this is a rumour], possibly as soon as October to coincide with the usual iPad refresh cycle. [iPad is almost bound to get a refresh up to the new chip that’s in the new iPhone 6s.]

Hello Ello — This is a new ad-free social network that’s proudly pro-privacy (but with caveats). A new social network is generating buzz for its hard stance against paid advertising and data collection. But how the site really works, when it comes to privacy, is a little more nuanced.

Futurology 11 ~ Space water, Indian Mars, laser hair, Dystopian clothes and more


Laser your hair bike – perhaps while you cycle and listen to music!
Laser your hair back on – perhaps while you cycle and listen to music!

Water 120 light years away — Astronomers have detected water vapor in the atmosphere of a planet that orbits a star far beyond our solar system. Observations of the Neptune-sized planet, which lies 120 light years from Earth in the constellation of Cygnus, revealed its atmosphere was mostly hydrogen with around 25% made up from water vapour.
~ Astronauts, please fill your water bottles here. 

Indian snapshots from Mars — India’s Mangalyaan spacecraft is doing what anyone with that view outside of its window might do: posting a series of quick snapshots back for all its friends at home.
~ Instagram.

Leaf might let us colonise space — Royal College of Art graduate Julian Melchiorri has developed a ‘man-made biological leaf’ made from chloroplasts and a silk product. It produces oxygen the same way a real plant does. As Melchiorri explains in the video, that could be a boon for space exploration.
~ Mm, but teamed with what type of salad dressing?

Clearer, cheaper smartphone screens — The most advanced LED screens look amazing compared to what was on the market even a couple of years ago. But a Princeton engineer found a cheap new way of making LEDs not only brighter and more efficient but also five times as clear, and they’ll last longer. (Professor Stephen Chou is renowned for his 2012 nanotechnology breakthrough that increased solar cell efficiency by 175%.)
~ Once those patents go through … iPhone 7, 1% cheaper than 6.

Dystopian clothes that shield iPhones — British company The Affair has created a number of science fiction-themed fashion lines, but their latest is all modeled on what people wore in George Orwell’s 1984, and comes with a shielded phone pocket made from material that can effectively pull you off the grid. They block Cell, WiFi, GPS and RFID signals to ~100 dB, plus NFC signals. There are a few days left to contribute to The Affair’s Kickstarter, which will get you the outfits of your choice.
~ Now minus 20% more. The tagline is ‘Become Invisible to Big Brother’.

Shinkin’ Arctic ice in one simple graphic — NASA’s Greg Shirah made a great grid graphic using images of the north pole sea ice extent from the National Snow and Ice Data Center. From left to right you go from 1979 to 2014. From top to bottom you can see the months. You can see how the spots are smaller every year. Zoom in and scroll.
~ Someone seriously once told me that global warming was a ;left wing conspiracy’. He failed to elucidate what the left would possibly gain from such a conspiracy.

Recyclable cardboard furniture — If you’re not going to be living too long in a place, decking out your temporary abode in recyclable cardboard furniture makes sense. It’s cheaper than real furniture, you don’t have to bring it next time you move, and with modular TapeFlips sets you can actually build exactly the pieces you need.

2000x the sun — IBM Research and Swiss company Airlight Energy announced a parabolic dish that increases the sun’s radiation by 2,000 times while also producing fresh water and air conditioning. It can generate 12 kilowatts of electrical power and 20 kilowatts of heat on a sunny day — enough to power several average homes.
~ Build your own sunspot.

Hair-growing laser helmet — Apira Science’s iGrow Hair Growth system is now available over-the-counter. The funky looking device (main picture, above) uses lasers and LEDs to illuminate the scalp with red light, which according to the manufacturer is supposed to work.
~ Seems an unproven and light-headed idea to me.

3D printing to restore a Frank Lloyd Wright building — The largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in the world is at Florida Southern University. Depending on how you count, there are 7 to 12 buildings, the most distinctive of which is Annie Pfeiffer Chapel. Time has taken its toll on the chapel’s one-of-a-kind concrete blocks, but it’s the 21st century, and we now have a modern solution to fix them: 3D printing.
Mesick Cohen Wilson Baker Architects (MCWB) was brought on to restore the buildings, and funded by the Florida Division of Historical Resources and $the National Park Service’s Save America’s Treasures Program, rather than print concrete blocks, the architects printed plastic moulds to cast the concrete.
~ New for old. 

How much a European city has changed in 100 years — A video shows the 100 year difference at Alkmaar in the Netherlands.
~ Interesting video, but all I can think of is ‘mmm, cheese’.

Five Tip Friday ~ iOS 8 Mail has some new tricks


You can slide new emails down to hunt for material before sending
You can slide new emails down to hunt for material before sending

1/ Minimise the compose box — When composing a message in Mail for iOS 8, you can slide the compose box to the bottom of the screen and navigate around the rest of your email. This allows you to find content from another message that you might need before hitting Send. If you have several drafts, they fan out (top right).
Slide the draft down to the bottom of your Mail window (shown above left in an image from Macworld where these tips came from – and check that link for a couple more, more complicated, tips). Then slide the top one back up to edit it some more (or tap New Message at the bottom of the screen, or swipe up from the bottom, although if you aim too low on the screen you can accidentally pull up Control Center).

2/ Set alerts for email threads — You may not want a notification for every message, but sometimes there’s a particularly important thread you want to follow. So set an alert for this – if anyone responds to the set of messages you get a push notification.
There are a few different ways to turn on the thread alert: touch the flag icon at the top of the message or swipe to the left and touch More, then Notify Me.

Mail has new Swipe options in iOS 8
Mail has new Swipe options in iOS 8 – above left is swipe-to-left, and right is what you get when you swipe to the right.

3/ New swipes — archive, flag, or perform several other options to a message by swiping to the left — You can now swipe to the left trash a message, flag it or to see more options (tap to choose). If you choose Notify Me, the thread is followed on your nNotifications screen. BE CAREFUL because if you swipe completely to the left, you just instantly trash the email. Practice on one that doesn’t matter so much, and just stop swiping before your finger reaches the left of the screen.
Swipe once to the right to quickly mark a message as unread. (In iOS 7 you had to choose from a little icon at lower left, which you can still do when you open the message completely by tapping on it.)

4/ Customise your Mail swipes — Open Settings and choose Mail, Contacts, Calendars. Now choose Swipe Options. This gives you a tad more flexibility in setting up which direction you want to flick.

5/ Add information directly to contacts — If you get a message from someone that you want added to your contacts, Mail can now smartly find contact information and add it to your address book with one tap (like your Mac can).Just tap contact information in the message – for example, someone might be in your Contacts as an email address, but they may include a phone number in an email that you can add.

iOS 8, iPhone 6 Plus full review, Balmer bans Clipper iPads


Image from Apple NZ Ltd iOS 8 page (http://www.apple.com/nz/ios/)
Image from Apple NZ Ltd iOS 8 page (http://www.apple.com/nz/ios/)

Apple: iOS 8.0.1 fix coming in the next few days — Following Wednesday’s release and subsequent retraction of iOS 8.0.1 for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, Apple has said iOS 8.0.2 is coming “in the next few days.”
The 8.0.1 update added Health app support, but also killed cell service and Touch ID support on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
If anyone did manage to install the short-lived update (this all happened in New Zealand’s night time) Apple posted a support document for affected users outlining a list of steps to safely restore devices back to iOS 8. Apple has separate fixes for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, so follow the instructions that cover your device. [Unlikely to include NZers because the iPhone 6 only went on sale here today and the 8.0.1 mess happened two days ago.]
“We apologize for the great inconvenience experienced by users, and are working around the clock to prepare iOS 8.0.2 with a fix for the issue,” an Apple spokesperson told Re/code.

In-depth review: Apple’s 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus running iOS 8 — Years after the likes of Samsung popularised the smartphone/tablet hybrid device, Apple last week launched its first take on a huge-screened device with the iPhone 6 Plus, and AppleInsider now has its full review posted, while DxOMark writes “Apple sets gold standard for smartphone image quality“.

Steve Ballmer’s loyalty to Microsoft will force LA Clippers to ditch Apple iPads — Steve Ballmer is no longer CEO of Microsoft or even on its board of directors, he’s still fiercely loyal to the company he led, which is why he will have his basketball team, Los Angeles Clippers, ditch their Apple iPads. [The Clippers seem continually afflicted by bigots.]

Instagram’s Hyperlapse hurriedly adds time-lapse selfies to keep up with iOS 8 — Apple’s new iPhones and upgraded iOS have had a rocky launch, but there’s zero cause for complaint with the photography features in iOS 8 and the cameras on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. One of the coolest iOS 8 camera tricks is Time-lapse mode, which directly competes with Instagram’s new iOS app Hyperlapse. Clearly, Instagram has to step it up.

Security flaw could effect Macs, iCloud, Adobe Photoshop and Premier Elements


You can check if your system is vulnerable with a Terminal command
You can check if your system is vulnerable with a Terminal command

Shellshock flaw poses big security threat for Mac, other Unix systems — This security threat has the potential to be even bigger than Heartbleed because of the way it lets attackers remotely access victims computers through the Bash command line shell for Unix and Linux – so this potentially affects Mac OS X and the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
Shellshock is about a 25-year-old security flaw in the Bash shell that lets code held in certain variables to be executed immediately and without the victim’s knowledge. That code could give attackers deep level access to the system as well as to any data they want to harvest.
The flaw is a serious threat for Mac users even if they don’t typically use the Terminal app to access their computer’s Unix underpinnings because many of the apps they use may be tapping into Bash on some level.

You can check to see if your Mac is vulnerable to the threat by launching Terminal and entering this command (copy that command below, paste it into Terminal and press Enter):

env x='() { :;}; echo vulnerable’ bash -c ‘echo hello’

If you see “vulnerable” as part of the response to the command (above), your Mac is susceptible to the Shellshock threat. For Mac users who’re comfortable compiling their own code, Stack Exchange details how to apply your own Bash patch.
In the meantime, if you’re using Apple wifi routers you’re less vulnerable, and,make sure your firewalls are on (System Preferences>Security) Apple should shortly have an update out to address Shellshock.

Researcher accuses Apple of ignoring iCloud brute-force attack for 6 months — A security researcher who discovered a brute-force attack against Apple’s iCloud service in March — similar to the “iBrute” vulnerability that surfaced in conjunction with the celebrity photo hacking scandal earlier this month — says the company refused to address the flaw for months after he reported it. [Apple’s profile is now so big, it can noafford to take security threats lightly.]

Adobe updates Photoshop Elements and Premier Elements with great results — Adobe’s consumer photo and video apps, Photoshop Elements and Premier Elements., are now both at version 13 in this new release. Significant changes include Retina display support on Macs and very cool Guided Editing features.

Apple Watch 490 ~ Updating Angst


Dragon

Whenever Apple releases anything, lots of Apple fans rejoice, but simultaneously reports emerge of doom and gloom, dismay and dragons.
(Maybe not dragons.)

And this is fine, because it’s the usual run of events and we’ve become used to it, but some people seem to only read the negative reports and, in their minds, these become overwhelming reasons not to upgrade. But almost always, the negative reports come from a tiny proportion of unfortunates.

Partly because Apple’s profile is so high, the small instance of problems related to anything gets seized upon with the utmost glee and is then promoted – and reiterated – out of all proportion to the problems. I’ve had a very highly respected video editor recently tell me he’d never touch Final Cut Pro X, for example. Had he ever tried it? Not on your life! He’d heard …
But he’s not alone. However, in the interim, Apple has improved almost every facet of Final Cut Pro X and added in the features people missed. It’s really good.

The latest crop of ‘sky is falling’ includes that iCloud Drive in iOS 8 is not much good to you until you get OS 10.10 Yosemite. I know this, because Apple told developers, and they, presumably, told everyone else. Well, they tried to. It’s all over the net. It doesn’t ruin iOS 8, and many people don’t sync apps via iCloud so far, although of course some people do so they need to proceed with caution.
iCloud Drive requires iOS 8 on all your devices, and it requires the next Mac operating system, OS X Yosemite, to be on your Mac – but Yosemite won’t be available until (at least) October. So don’t be surprised at the iCloud Drive warnings you see on your iDevice if you did.
And if you’re about to upgrade to iOS 8, please make sure you pay close attention to the iCloud Drive screen shown soon after you update to iOS 8: you just need to ensure that you choose the right iCloud Drive option to ensure that Clear for iOS continues to sync with your apps (and any older devices that may use iCloud Documents and Data). It’s worth checking out exactly what iCloud Drive is, too.

If you do upgrade to iCloud Drive, you will only be able to sync with devices running iOS 8 or OS X Yosemite. OS X Yosemite is still pre-release (it’s not yet available) so upgrading your iOS device to iCloud Drive will prevent you from syncing with apps that support syncing until both OS X Yosemite is released and you upgrade to OS X Yosemite. Here’s a handy FAQ explaining it all, by RealMac.

For the rest, iOS 8 is pretty good, although Apple released an update to it last night and almost immediately disappeared it. This was supposed to deal to bugs related to new iOS 8 features including HealthKit, Photos, third-party keyboards, Reachability and more. But the update was quickly pulled after iPhone 6 users began experiencing serious bugs. (We were a bit lucky in New Zealand, because most of us were still asleep when all this happened.) The good news is it means Apple will fix whatever was wrong with it and we should get that shortly.

How about the bendy iPhone 6 thing? Yes, apparently it’s true. If you stick your new iPhone 6 Plus (the bigger of the two iPhones) in your back pocket, and then sit down on it, you can bend it. Now this is supposed to be a problem – that a big new iPhone that’s thinner and bigger than any iPhone before can be bent if you sit on it.
Actually, the problem is sitting on your iPhone: I can tell you quite categorically that when I splash more than $1000 on a device, I sure as hell won’t be sitting on it. But some people, well, they also want an expensive device they can sit on. Go figure.
Whenever there’s something new out, of course there’s plenty of online noise about it. I do recommend reading it. I try and link it all up from this site every morning for you, so you don’t even need to go looking.
Is it prudent to wait a month or two before updating your iDevice or Mac to the latest? Of course it is. Have I ever done that?
Never.

In-depth iPhone 6 review, iOS 8 update appears, pulled, battery life & LAPD on microwave hoax


Apple’s 4.7-inch iPhone 6 running iOS 8 reviewed by Daniel Eran Dilger — After establishing iPhone 5s as a “forward thinking” high-end luxury device a year ago, Apple is now enhancing its eighth generation of iPhone with a broad range of new and improved hardware components inside a slimmer new case design with a much larger, higher-resolution display. Andy Ihnatko humorously unboxes the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus here, and see how its camera compares to seven other iPhone cameras.
MacObserver reviews ’em too. [And it’s on sale in New Zealand from tomorrow, 26th September.]
But Macworld’s Kirk McElhearn is thinking of sending his back – it’s too big!

iOS 8 update appears, disappears — A week after the debut of iOS 8, Apple provided an update for its newly upgraded mobile operating system, addressing a number of bugs related to HealthKit, Photos, third-party keyboards, Reachability, and much more. But the update was quickly pulled after iPhone 6 users began experiencing serious bugs. Here’s how to boost your iOS 8 iPhone battery life, and some iPhone 4s owners might like to downgrade their iPhone or iPad from iOS 8 to iOS 7.

LAPD warning iPhone owners not to microwave their handsets — A hoax viral marketing scam advising iPhone owners to microwave their phones is being taken seriously enough by some people that the communications department of the Los Angeles Police Department has decided to publicly debunk the advertisement. As reported by the LA Times, the department tweeted the ad with the word “Hoax” written across the front in giant red letters. [Duh!]