How To Convert iCloud (iPhone, iOS, etc) Contacts to Google Sheets/Excel

Hey everyone! It’s been a while, I know. Life has been busy lately and I’ve been slammed with a lot of things to do, and unfortunately Handz Studioz has needed to become a back burner project. That said, I have some useful information for you all today, and this was just so good that I couldn’t keep it to myself.

Here’s a bit of back story: about a month and a half ago, my laptop (which I use for everything: photo/video, writing, school…the whole nine yards) died. We’re talking six feet under, bit the dust type of dead. Due to some issues (which I won’t get into) with the company which I purchased my new laptop from, I was without a PC for a total of about four weeks. Thus, I managed everything from my iPhone, which was very difficult, to say the least.

One of the main issues that I ran into when setting up my new PC was integrating my contacts, for two primary reasons:

  1. My old laptop is quite dead. It doesn’t like to boot :( That makes importing contacts from the old laptop fairly difficult, and I didn’t want to take apart the machine to get a separate HDD reader.
  2. I also gained new contacts in the month that I was without a computer. I attended multiple conferences during that time, and met some great people. So at this point, I’ve got old contacts on my old laptop, as well as new contacts on my phone that aren’t on the old laptop.

The saving grace of the whole issue was that all the contacts that were on my laptop were also stored on my phone and in iCloud, so I had access to all my contacts on my phone. Thus, I needed to transfer my contacts from iCloud onto my new PC. The best way to perform this operation was, in my mind, to convert those contacts into a spreadsheet. So how do we do this? I’m glad you asked. (Please note that, in order to maintain my contacts’ privacy, I have redacted portions of the following screenshots.)

Start by accessing your contacts in iCloud. Go to http://icloud.com/ and click on “Contacts”, or use this direct link: http://icloud.com/#contacts/ You may be prompted to log in if you haven’t visited the site recently. You can see the full size images by clicking on these thumbnails.
iCloud Contacts

Next, click on the Settings toggle in the bottom left corner, and click Select All.
Select All Contacts

Once all your contacts are selected, click Export vCard.
Export vCard File

This will create a .vcf document containing all your contacts; this is commonly referred to as a contact card. Think of .vcf like a compressed text document. Just save this file to your desktop.
Save VCF File

At this point, you’ve downloaded a .vcf file, AKA contact card, which is very useful in its own right. This .vcf file can be imported into your Windows Contacts natively on your PC, so that you’ll have them for use in your address book. This is a pretty straightforward process: just open the .vcf file and follow the prompts. However, I wanted to put all my contacts into a spreadsheet, and that’s what this tutorial is all about, so we aren’t quite done yet. vCard files cannot be read by Excel/Google Sheets, so we need to convert the file into a readable format. That format is .csv, or Comma Separated Values. We’ll use an online converter for this; a quick Google search will yield a wide selection of results, but this converter is the one I prefer to use: http://labs.brotherli.ch/vcfconvert/

It’s imperative that you input the correct settings before converting, so pay close attention here. Click “Choose File”, and once you’ve uploaded the .vcf file, set Format to “CSV”, change the dropdown menu beside Format to “Comma”, and make sure the “Add Header Line” box is ticked. Set Encoding to “Unicode (UTF-8)”, and leave Filter and Modifications alone. See the screenshot below for reference.
Convert VCF to CSV

Download the resulting .csv file to your PC. This file can be opened directly in Microsoft Excel, edited, and saved as a .xlxs spreadsheet file. In order to open this in Google Sheets, follow these instructions: upload the file to your Google Drive, and then open the file. A preview window will open, and you’ll be able to see all your contacts in the .csv file, formatted as a spreadsheet. However, this is not a Google Sheets file, and you can’t edit it. To remedy this, click on “Open with Google Sheets” at the top of the screen.
CSV File In Google Drive

This will open a new tab in your browser, with all your contacts in a Google Sheets document. You can edit this, export it, or do pretty much anything you like with it. Sometimes it’s helpful to be able to see all your contacts on a page, and that’s exactly what this allows you to do.
Contacts In Google Sheets File

If you found this tutorial helpful, let us know by dropping a comment down below! Please be sure to share this with your contacts (see what I did there :) ) who might find it helpful too. Thanks for reading! We look forward to hearing from you. If you so desire, you can sign up for email notifications every time we write a new post. Your contact info (see what I did there…again :) ) will not be published.

– The Editor

Is the iPhone 6s Really the Best Smartphone On the Market? Meet the OnePlus 3

Apple has for nearly 10 years, essentially since the first iPhone came out in 2007, dominated the smartphone industry. They’ve been launching new phones year after year, each getting more powerful. Recently, Apple launched its new flagship phone: the iPhone 6s. This thing is a beast. A powerful processor, great screen, aesthetic design, and phenomenal camera and video capabilities combine to make the ultimate smartphone. Or do they? Meet the OnePlus 3.

Image of OnePlus 3

In this post we’ll be systematically comparing the phones, through each category of capability and hardware features. So now, let’s jump right in and see if the big brand name really means the best product on the market.

Footprint and Appearance

In comparing these two phones, you’ll notice that they both have trim lines and are very appealing to the eye. Both sport aluminum backs and GorillaGlass screens. The OnePlus 3 comes in at 152mm x 74.7mm x 7.35mm, so it is comparable in size to the iPhone 6s Plus. Therefore, that is what this comparison will focus on: the 6s Plus vs the OnePlus 3. The 6s Plus comes in at 158mm x 77.9mm x 7.3mm. The OnePlus wins this battle, primarily for two reasons:

  1. Both phones sport 5.5″ screens (measured on the diagonal), but the OnePlus has nearly a 20-square-millimeter smaller footprint.
  2. The OnePlus weighs 34 grams less than the iPhone (that’s more than an ounce for you folks that aren’t into math), at 158g vs 192g for the iPhone 6s Plus. This, combined with the smaller footprint, results in a phone with the same screen size as the iPhone, but in a much more comfortable and ergonomic package.

View of OnePlus 3 Dimensions

Battery

For most people, the battery on their phone is one of the most important pieces. Nearly everyone carries a charger around with them everywhere they go. For many of us, our phone is our lifeline to work, family, and contacts, so we need our phones to stay charged throughout the day. The OnePlus also wins this battle, carrying a 3000 mAh battery vs a 2750 mAh battery in the 6s Plus. In a recent review by GizMag, a battery test was conducted that shows that not only is the OnePlus’ battery larger, it’s also better-performing with the phone. A one hour video was streamed while the phones were on full brightness. The OnePlus drained 11% while the iPhone (one of the phones in the test) drained 13%. Although that might not sound like a huge difference, GizMag reports that after a day of normal use, the OnePlus has 20-30% battery left. Speaking from experience, the iPhone 6s models tend to chew through battery.

In addition to having a powerful battery, OnePlus has created a charging unit called the Dash Charging System, which can charge the OnePlus 3 to over 60% in just 30 minutes. The Lightning connector system is fast, but not nearly this fast. Score 2-0, in favor of OnePlus.

Processing Hardware and Performance

Once again, the OnePlus trumps the iPhone in this category as well (the iPhone does come out on top in some categories, I promise). In this section, we’ll be going through the processing components of both phones and comparing them step by step.

  1. Central Processing Unit (CPU): The iPhone 6s Plus carries its trendy A9 chipset (widely marketed due to its 64-bit nature), which includes a dual-core 1.84 GHz Twister CPU. Not bad, right? I mean that’s as good as some older laptops/low end laptops of today! Sorry Apple. OnePlus wins again. The OnePlus has a Snapdragon 820, a monster 64-bit chipset which pairs two 2.2 GHz cores with two 1.6 GHz cores. This is comparable to many laptops today. It’s an extremely powerful processor — I can guarantee you this phone will not lag.
  2. Graphics Processing Unit (GPU): The iPhone performs very well here, sporting six-core graphics thanks to a PowerVR GT7600. Games and other graphics-heavy activities perform flawlessly on the iPhone 6s Plus. The OnePlus is essentially comparable, carrying the Adreno 530, one of the latest superpower GPUs from Adreno. The image below shows how the Adreno 530 in the Snapdragon 820 increases performance while simultaneously decreasing power drain.
  3. In the final stage of the processing hardware comparison, the OnePlus 3 pulls ahead once again. RAM, or Random Access Memory, is essentially the cache for your phone or computer. It’s temporary storage that allows the device to run processes in the background and store information temporarily for lighting-fast access. The more RAM you have, the more information can be put into temporary storage for fast access, and the more information can be cached at once. Let’s just cut to the chase. The iPhone 6s has the industry standard 2 GB of RAM. The OnePlus has 6 GB. That’s more than a lot of laptops (4 is quite common for notebook laptops such as Chromebooks)! Bottom line, the OnePlus 3 is a processing beast which will never, ever lag, seamlessly transition and display graphics, and compute anything you could ever imagine.

Adreno 530 Performance

Ports

Since this is an in-depth review, let’s take a quick look at the ports on both phones before moving on. As usual, the iPhone 6s Plus does not have a microSD slot, so that Apple can charge ridiculous amounts of money for extra storage. Interestingly for an Android based phone, the OnePlus also lacks a slot. However, this is less of an issue because the OnePlus comes only in one size, 64 GB, which is plenty of space for most people. In addition, the price/storage ratio is much more appealing as we’ll discuss a little later. Both phones have their respective charging ports, and in the case of the OnePlus, the charging port is also a microUSB 2.0 port, as is common on Android phones. Both phones have a standard 3.5mm headphone jack as well. The OnePlus has a SIM card tray, as does the iPhone depending for which carrier you purchase it (Verizon does not use a SIM card because of their use of the CDMA networking system).

Buttons and Switches

The two phones are roughly comparable when it comes to this section. Both have round or rounded home buttons, each with an integrated fingerprint scanner. GizMag wrote in their review that the scanner in the OnePlus is “very fast.” Both phones have standard volume buttons. OnePlus did something a little out of the ordinary for an Android phone, taking a hint from Apple and including a physical notification mute switch next to the volume slider. All in all, the phones are about the same in this category; the speed of the fingerprint scanner is unlikely to make much of an impact. The iPhone scanner is already quite fast.

Screen

Here is where the iPhone really excels. Now obviously the Retina display has been one of the most marketed features of Apple products since it was created for the iPad 3. Apple has continued to refine the technology, and the iPhone 6s Plus does not disappoint. Now the main pro of the Retina display has less to do with the pixel density and more to do with dual domain pixels for better viewing across a wide range of angles. However, what might surprise you is that the OnePlus 3 matches Apple’s flagship phone and their widely marketed display. The 6s Plus has a full HD screen, at 1920 x 1080 pixels across a 5.5″ display. That comes to 401 ppi, which is pretty darn good. The OnePlus has a full HD screen, at 1920 x 1080 pixels across a 5.5″ display. That comes to 401 ppi. Sound familiar? So to wrap this section up, yes, the iPhone does win here. But it does so just barely.

Camera Function: Still Pictures

In its latest iPhone models, Apple made huge upgrades to the cameras. Unfortunately for Apple, however, 12 MP is not the industry standard anymore. As cameras have gotten smaller and smaller, phone cameras have gotten better and better. As a result, we’ve seen some windows phones with ridiculously high megapixel counts. That being said, let’s go over the cameras of these phones, with regard to still photography. The iPhone 6s Plus has a 12 MP rear camera (the main camera) which can also record video, as we’ll discuss momentarily. It can take a variety of photos, such as high dynamic range (HDR) photos, panoramas at up to a stunning 63 MP, or pictures with non-standard aspect ratios (such as square). The front, AKA “selfie” camera is 5 MP and can perform essentially basic pictures and video recording. The iPhone also has an integrated self timer and smile detection.

The OnePlus 3 matches all of this and does more. It carries a 16 MP rear camera, which takes very high quality photos, even in low light situations. Not only are the pictures themselves high quality, but the control is as well. The OnePlus has a lot of manual functions, giving it an SLR-esque feel. In addition, the OnePlus allows for RAW image exports in addition to JPEG, just like a high quality SLR camera. The selfie camera on the OnePlus is also high quality than that of the iPhone, at 8 MP with the same smile detection and other fancy features of the iPhone. Bottom line: the OnePlus 3 shares all of the same features of the iPhone, and then some. Plus, the cameras themselves are better quality.

Camera Function: Video Recording

Here’s where the iPhone actually pulls a bit ahead of the OnePlus. For the most part, the OnePlus has a better camera; however, the iPhone has slightly better video capabilities. The iPhone records several different sizes and frame rates of video out of its main camera. It will record 30, 60, and 120 fps in full 1080p HD, 30 fps in 4K(!!!), and 120 and 240 fps in 720p. The selfie camera will record 30 fps in 720p. In addition to these features, with the release of iOS 8 many Apple devices received time lapse recording capability, and this has been carried over into newer devices and more recent OS updates.

The video capabilities of the OnePlus are mostly the same. It records 30 fps in 1080p HD and 30 fps in 4K. The main difference is found in the slow motion capabilities. It does record slow motion, but it is 120 fps in 720p. It does not have a 240 fps feature. Personally, since the camera is on the whole much better (taking into account the still photo specs), this is a price I’m willing to pay.

The Final Comparison – Pricing

Up until now, it’s been easy to see we are comparing two very excellent phones. Granted, the OnePlus has amazing processing capabilities that are better than the iPhone 6s models. However, they are both excellent phones. So, here’s where the rubber really meets the road: how much these phones cost. Buying an unlocked iPhone 6s Plus, in its base 16 GB (not much storage, trust me) model will cost you a gut-wrenching $749. The next model up (and really the first one worth buying) will get you 64 GB for $849. So far we’ve seen that the OnePlus 3 is comparable to, and in several areas surpasses the iPhone 6s Plus. That probably leaves you wondering how the prices match up. As already mentioned, the OnePlus 3 comes in one size, of 64 GB. But it’s not $849. Try $399. Yup. A comparable, even arguably inferior iPhone will cost you 225% of what the OnePlus 3 costs. For me at least, that seals the deal. The phone itself is fantastic, but with the price OnePlus offers, they have truly created their own “flagship killer” at last.

Folks, we have a winner:

OnePlus Logo

Thanks so much for reading! If you enjoyed this in-depth comparison, be sure to hit that like button before you leave. Please share us with your friends, family, and others you believe would enjoy our content. Feel free to make use of our share buttons below.

– The Editor

Links for further reading:
https://oneplus.net/3/overview

http://www.apple.com/iphone-6s/specs/

http://wccftech.com/snapdragon-820-official-folks/

http://www.gizmag.com/oneplus-3-review/44306/?utm_source=Gizmag+Subscribers&utm_campaign=840e81bc8e-UA-2235360-4&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_65b67362bd-840e81bc8e-91209505

Reflections on the Apple Watch

Apple Watch

Last fall, after the announcement of the Apple Watch, we did a post with our speculations regarding the product. How the sales would go, the features, so on and so forth, were covered. Let’s be honest: the Galaxy Gear (Samsung) didn’t work out well; and really, who has any of the Android Wear lineup? But our conclusion was this: the Apple Watch isn’t going to be a flop — and that still holds true. However, there are some pros and some cons to this new device.

Apple announced the release of the three Watch models (Sport, Watch, Edition) on April 6th, and opened the store for pre-ordering on April 10th at 3:01 AM Eastern Time. Since then, as reported by the LA Times and USA Today, the Watch is back-ordered four months, putting shipping dates into the summer. Jeff Perkins, VP for PGi, a web conferencing company based in Atlanta, GA, counts himself one of the lucky few who were able to beat the rush by ordering at 7 AM. Despite this, his Watch doesn’t ship until some time in May.

Pros:

The features of the Apple Watch are, well, jaw-droppingly good. Heart rate monitoring, texting, fitness tracking, notifications, telecommunications, just to name a few. The usability of the Watch is also good. The “digital crown” (scroll wheel) is seamlessly integrated into the Watch’s interface. It serves as a home button, a scroll wheel, and more.

Another well-designed feature of the Watch is the display. Besides being a touch screen, it is also pressure sensitive, which allows for a much better level of user interaction with the device. Press firmly on the screen while inside of most apps for access to menus, such as the search and layers dialogue when in Google Maps. You can even send your heart rate to a friend if you like! (Although the usefulness of this feature is beyond me) Despite all the great things about the Watch, there are a few issues.

Cons:

The main problem with the Watch is obvious: the price. We all know that Apple products are expensive, but thankfully, iPhones can be subsidized with the purchase of a contract with the phone; not the case with the Watch. The Sport edition is the only one I would consider buying, at $349 for the 38mm case model and $399 for the 42mm model. Prices continue to go up from there: the Watch model ranges from $549 to $1,099, which is pretty expensive for a watch! But it doesn’t stop there. The Edition model ranges from $10,000 to $17,000; yes, that’s still less than a Breguet Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar, but that’s more than a pre-owned Rolex Men’s President Yellow Gold Fluted Custom Champagne Diamond Dial from Luxury of Watches!

Interestingly enough, this doesn’t seem to be a deterrent for most customers. LA Times reports that, “Pre-orders for Apple’s smartwatch began at 12:01 a.m. PDT Friday…By 12:40 a.m., the Apple Watch Edition — the most high-end of the three models — in rose gold showed a ship date of July. For the yellow-gold version, which ranges in price from $10,000 to $17,000 depending on the strap, it was even longer: August. By 8:30 a.m., the yellow-gold with a red strap and the rose-gold case with a matching strap no longer had an option to buy.”

There is one final con: the compatibility of the Apple Watch. Apple notification emails had a small blurb at the bottom of the message to inform users of some sad news: “Apple Watch requires iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, 6, or 6 Plus and iOS 8.2 or later.” So if you were planning to use this with your iPad mini (whether with cellular or not), sorry. If you have an iPhone 4S, too bad. And if you’ve been resisting the update to iOS 8 but you want the Watch — well, you have a decision to make.


All in all, the Apple Watch doesn’t have the appearances of a flop. The Watch isn’t officially available for purchase until the 24th, but the volume of pre-orders has sent the delivery dates skyrocketing into August. Perhaps we’ll be able to get one to review; keep your fingers crossed!

Until then, be sure to subscribe to Handz Studioz via email so you can be notified about all of our new posts! Please share us with your community, and keep on the lookout for our next post, which will most likely be an in-depth review of the Fitbit Charge HR.

-The Editor

External Links:
http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/personal/2015/04/09/apple-watch-pre-orders/25522489/
http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-apple-watch-20150410-story.html
http://www.apple.com/watch/

Official Handz Studioz Review — The Best Apps of 2014

logos

You’re probably aware that there are a lot of apps out there. But do you know how many there really are? The facts are pretty stunning — Android users have access to 1.3 million apps via Google Play, and Apple users have access to 1.2 million via the App Store (data from July 2014)! That’s a lot of apps, so we thought we’d simplify things for you a bit. As the year draws to a close, Handz Studioz presents you with our list of the best apps of 2014. We’ve broken them down into the top three for each category (such as games, note taking, education, etc). Enjoy! (Please note that this is mainly geared towards Apple users, but most of these apps are available on the other platforms)

We all like to play, but sadly, work comes before play — so let’s get right into Category 1: Productivity.

First place: Pages, by Apple, Inc. It’s essentially Microsoft Word for Apple products, and despite many other word processors, Pages is still the cream of the crop when it comes to word processing.

Pages

Second place: iA Writer, by Information Architects Inc. This app replaces the default iOS 8 keyboard and adds a new row of keys that let you skip lines and individual letters, parenthesize and quote without switching keyboards, and more. All in all a very good application, although perhaps not quite as good a deal — it’s $4.99; Apple users with newer devices can get Pages for free.

iA Writer

Third place: Evernote, by Evernote. This app is great. It syncs with your Mac or PC, keeps checklists, notes, pictures (they have a neat feature that lets you search the text in an image), and can use your calendar to help you plan. As always, Evernote continues to impress, whether on the computer or the tablet.

Evernote

Now that we’ve done some work, let’s play a little in Category 2: Games. This category is a bit tricky since there are so many different genres of games to choose from, but we’ve decided to rank these based on aspects they all share, such as graphics, performance, etc. Plus fun factor — personally we find Trial Xtreme 3 more interesting and fun than Candy Crush Saga, but that’s open to debate I suppose…

First place: Temple Run 2, by Imangi Studios. The second installment in the Temple Run saga, Temple Run 2 is loads of fun — and that’s not all. Good graphics, high frame rates (we videoed gameplay with a slow motion camera [which we reviewed here], and found it to go up to 60 fps), and a nearly spotless performance record round this app out at #1 on our list. Users around the world enjoy these apps — the first version, Temple Run, is the ninth-most-downloaded app on the App Store!

Temole Run 2

Second place: any of the Angry Birds versions, by Rovio Entertainment, Ltd. Angry Birds comes very close to Temple Run 2 for first place. Ultimately the thing that decided it for us was the challenges that Temple Run 2 does, such as the Daily Challenge and the Weekly Challenges. Maybe we’re just goal-oriented or something, but that little bit of “zip” that a challenge provides tipped a nearly level scale. Either way, you’ll want to have both of these on your phone or tablet.

Third place: Deer Hunter 2014, by Glu Games Inc. Third on our list, Deer Hunter 2014 is king of the castle when it comes to graphics. Let’s back up a little and say that Glu Games is king of the castle when it comes to graphics — every game of theirs that we looked at has stunning visuals, and DH 2014 is no exception. Looking at performance, the app can be slightly frustrating. Occasionally there can be a timer error that means your energy (which you need to go hunting) doesn’t replenish itself over time like it is supposed to do. Luckily, this problem is easy to fix — just connect to a network and start the app. DH 2014 also can take a while to load, sometimes up to two or three minutes; it’s usually faster when connected to a network. As for fun factor, it depends on your taste. Our nearly all-male staff finds playing with guns and shooting animals in Africa to be quite enthralling, although this may not appeal to all audiences.

Deer Hunter 2014

Honorable mention: Clash of Clans, by Supercell. There are so many good games out there that we just had to do one more. Clash of Clans isn’t the most engaging game, and that’s one of the reasons it’s on our list — it’s still fun without requiring all of a user’s brain function in order to operate it. Graphics are good and performance is stable. The only problem we have had is server maintenance, which results in temporary inability to play…which brings us to another point: you have to be connected to the internet in order to play Clash of Clans.

Bonus! Hardest game: Geometry Dash, by RobTop Games AB. Download it (or the Lite version). Try it. Fail. Try again. ‘Nuff said.

Let’s move on to Category 3: Document Management. So much of our lives now revolves around our documents — resumes, essays, letters, and or just plain grocery lists all have to be stored and managed. Here are Handz Studioz’ top three picks for document management from 2014.

First place: Documents, by Readdle. This app handles everything — it’s pretty incredible! If you can name it, Documents can handle it. .pdf’s, .zip’s, pictures, audio, .doc’s — they all work with this app — you should definitely get this app going into 2015.

Documents

Second place: Google Drive, by Google, Inc. We’re talking about Google Drive here, folks. What can you expect other than seamless integration and performance? The app doesn’t dissappoint — it’s every bit as functional and useful as the online drive — we highly recommend it.

Google Drive

Third place: iBooks, by Apple, Inc. iBooks isn’t particularly impressive as document managers go, but it’s still our favorite for managing .pdf’s. The sleek new look introduced in iOS 7 and the bug fixes in iOS 8 make handling .pdf’s a pleasure in iBooks — it now comes standard when upgrading to iOS 8, so if you haven’t upgraded yet, it’s something to consider. We reviewed iOS 8 in two installments this summer. Check out the first one here.

iBooks

We’ve arrived at our last category. With all the new camera abilities on recent Apple products, we feel that we should mention Category 4: Photo Editing.

First place: Autodesk Pixlr, by Autodesk Inc. This app is pretty nice, especially for the price ($free). While it’s certainly not Photoshop or Gimp, it gets the job done quite nicely on your devices. The UI is simple to use and powerful, with a wide range of effects, overlays, text, collages, and more. We highly recommend this to just about anyone, and it certainly suffices for the needs of the average consumer.

Autodesk Pixlr

Second place: Sketchbook Pro, by Autodesk Inc. This app might not be on the App Store anymore, unless it has been replaced with another name. Regardless, it’s pretty powerful, and we highly recommend it. Why is it second place? The UI is not helpful at all…there are no labels with the buttons, so you kind of have to guess at what they do until you learn them all. Other than that, it’s great.

There is no third place for this category. If you have a suggestion, please comment below. One app that we have not looked at is Apple’s App of the Year, Pixelmator. It’s a highly rated photo editor that we may look into eventually. If anyone has looked at this in depth and has any feedback on it, please let us know in the comments.

That concludes Handz Studioz’ Best Apps of 2014 Review! We hope you enjoyed this post; please share Handz Studioz with others in your community (online or physical). Disagree with any of our choices? Let us know in the comments!

Thanks for visiting Handz Studioz! If you find our content interesting, consider following us and we’ll let you know via email every time we release a new post!

-The Editor

Apple Releases a Look at Their New 5K iMac

On Thursday the 16th, Apple released a look at its newest products: the iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3, and a new, 5K iMac.

5K iMac

Image from Apple.com

Today we’ll take an in-depth look at the new iMac, and you can expect a post on the new iPads soon.

The first thing to be mentioned here is that this computer is pretty big, with a 27″ display. However, Apple went a step further and added a Retina Display, which basically means the pixels are so small that they can’t be seen with the naked eye. But wait — that’s not all! Not only does the new iMac have Retina Display, it also has a screen resolution of 5120 x 2880 (which comes out to 218 ppi). That’s 5K — not 4K, 5K. In other words, this Apple machine has a higher resolution than a movie theater screen (which is typically 4K)!

Now that we’ve looked at the display, let’s look at the performance:
iMac Graphics

Image from Apple.com

Apple tells us that its new iMac will have stunning performance, with the latest AMD graphics processors, with up to 3.5 teraflops of graphics power. This will provide stunning images, games, and 3D. Apple claims that these will provide a 45 percent performance upgrade from the Nvidia GeForce GTX-powered Macs. The new iMac will be built around the 4th-Gen Intel Core i7 processor, boasting up to 4.0 GHz with the integrated Intel TurboBoost.

Apple’s new supercomputer will utilize the new Fusion Drive system, which combines the storage capabilities of a hard drive with the performance of an SSD. You can get up to 3TB of storage total in the system, with up to 1TB of that being SSD (flash storage). The Fusion Drive will provide outstanding performance because of the way it works: the OS boots from the SSD, and most of the data is stored on the hard drive. Essentially, it’s a tower-computer drive system rolled into one unit.

The new iMac will feature the new Thunderbolt 2.0 ports for the fastest data transfer possible, with speeds up to 20GBps, 4x faster than the USB 3.0 system.

Finally, Apple topped it off with the fastest internet speeds, up to 1.3 GBps of the latest three-stream 802.11 ac WiFi. The new iMac will feature channel bandwidth of a stunning 80MHz, for about twice the bandwidth of standard channel bandwidth.

So, there you have it: Apple’s new 5K iMac, in a nutshell. If you enjoyed this post, please like and follow! Please share Handz Studioz with others in your community (online or physical), and let others whom you think would enjoy our site know about us!

-The Editor

External Links:
http://www.apple.com/imac-with-retina/?cid=wwa-us-kwg-mac-com
http://www.apple.com/imac-with-retina/performance/
http://www.wired.com/2014/10/new-apple-5k-imacs/

iCloud Drive — Apple’s “Dropbox-Killer”

iCloud Drive

With iOS 8 came a huge update to iCloud. Before, iCloud was just this service up on the web where you could store files and then pull them down for use. In the update, Apple added iCloud Drive, commonly referred to as the “Dropbox-killer.” It’s basically Apple’s version of Google Drive. Apple currently has a version set up for all of its iDevices (obviously) running iOS 8, Windows machines (7 or later), and Macs (as long as they’re running OS X Yosemite).

Today we’re going to do an analysis of iCloud Drive; we’ll also compare it to Google Drive and Dropbox. Is it really a “Dropbox-killer” or will Dropbox survive?

iCloud Drive looks like a great service. I personally don’t use iCloud, but I may start now that Drive is out. There are a few problems with iCloud Drive, however. First, you only get 5 free GB of space. Google Drive gives you 15 GB of free space. Dropbox, however, only gives 2 GB — but there’s a catch. With Dropbox you can get up to 16 GB of free space by referring friends, something that Apple doesn’t offer. So Apple didn’t beat Google with the free space, and it sort of killed Dropbox. Yes, you can get more space in Dropbox eventually, but to start, iCloud wins here against Dropbox.

Now let’s look at pricing. The pricing options options for iCloud Drive aren’t awful, but they just can’t compare with Google. Look at the following comparison of pricing. Google wins here in terms of storage for the price.

  • iCloud: $0.99/month for 20 GB
  • Google: $1.99/month for 100 GB
  • iCloud: $3.99/month for 200 GB
  • Google: $9.99/month for 1 TB
  • iCloud: $9.99/month for 500 GB
  • Google: $99.99/month for 10 TB
  • iCloud: $19.99/month for 1 TB
  • Google: $299.99/month for 20 TB
  • Google: $399.99/month for 30 TB

We see here that Google wins in terms of storage for price, but Google’s storage plans aren’t quite as user friendly as Apple’s are. I would probably only need 20 GB, so I might go with Google’s free (15 GB) plan. Apple’s plan costs $0.99 for 20 GB, then Google charges a dollar more for 5x as much (100 GB) storage. Sorry Apple.

Then things start to lean in Apple’s favor. Whereas Google jumps straight to 1 TB for $9.99 (few users need this much), iCloud goes to 200 GB for $3.99, a much more affordable price per year. Then Google jumps to 10 TB for $99.99/month! The problem here is that Google’s prices are better up to 1 TB, but then it jumps so high that the user would be paying A LOT for their storage. Ultimately, I probably would go with Google simply because it’s the same price for 1 TB as it is for Apple’s 500 GB.

How does Dropbox compare? Not very well. You have to upgrade to a Pro plan and subscribe to monthly or yearly (depending on how you would like to pay) Pro 1 TB plan. The Pro plan costs $9.99/month or $99/year, so it’s comparable to Google Drive.

Apple has a big marketing slogan for iCloud Drive, “Edits you make on one device appear on all of them.” What do we have to say about this? Big deal. Not! (More tactful comments, right?) Apple says “all of your devices,” but what about accessibility on Android platforms? That’s where Dropbox and Google kind of kill Apple. You can get Dropbox and Google Drive on all devices, but iCloud is only available for Apple devices. That’s not very helpful. Dropbox and Google Drive win here.

So is iCloud Drive a Dropbox-killer? Not currently. Is it better than Google Drive? Not currently. As Apple updates iCloud Drive (as I’m sure they will), and more pricing and storage options become available, iCloud Drive could become real competition for Google. Is iCloud Drive competition now? Sort of. It provides some competition due to the sheer number of Apple users, but on a large scale it simply doesn’t compare right now.

If you enjoyed this post, please like and follow! Please share it with others in your community you think would find it interesting!

-The Editor

External Links:
https://www.apple.com/icloud/
https://www.apple.com/ios/whats-new/icloud-drive/
http://www.apple.com/icloud/icloud-drive/?cid=wwa-us-kwg-features-com
https://support.google.com/drive/answer/2375123?hl=en
https://www.dropbox.com/pro

#Bendgate — Fact or Fiction?

iPhone 6 Plus Bend
Ever since Apple released the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the internet has been riddled with the “Bendgate” phenomenon. Basically, the iPhone 6 models are quite thin (6.9 mm for the 6, 7.1 mm for the 6 Plus), and people have been saying that the 6 Plus has been bending in their pockets. Now let’s think about this. The iPhones are made of aluminum and glass; aluminum, unless it is a highly refined alloy, is fairly pliable. That’s why knives are made of steel, not copper or gold, or particularly aluminum. So we know that aluminum isn’t the strongest material, but is Bendgate really something to be worried about?

A lot of the complaints on the internet talked about the iPhone 6 Plus bending in their front pockets. We’re inclined to think that this is a little ridiculous (that was tactful, wasn’t it?). In all seriousness though, it’s silly to say that a phone made of metal (yes, it is aluminum, but it’s still metal) will bend in a front pocket. I mentioned earlier that the internet is full of these rumors; Apple finally came out and said something about this the other day. Apple says that (despite all the reports online) they have only received nine (9!) complaints. That’s nine complaints out of over 10 million combined sales of the 6 and 6 Plus.

TechRadar did a post on this recently, and did a “bend test” on the new iPhone 6 Plus.


As you saw in the video, it takes quite a bit of force to bend the 6 Plus. So will it bend? Yes, he says; but that depends on the tightness of your pants. Notice also that the iPhone had no case, yet it still took a lot of force.

So in conclusion, is Bendgate real? Well, sort of. It is real, but certainly not on the scale that it’s made up to be. Would I worry about it? No. The 6 Plus is in danger of bending, but certainly not in your front pocket, and probably not in the back pocket. You saw the force it took to bend the iPhone, and a case will certainly solve that problem. Remember, Apple only received nine complaints about this, and out of 10 million combined sales, that’s not awful.

Is this a show stopper for the 6 Plus? I don’t think so. Bendgate is something to be careful of, but a case will protect your iPhone 6 Plus, and it’s unlikely that you’ll have to deal with this problem.

If you enjoyed this post, please like and follow! Please share this post with others in your community (online or physical) you think would find it interesting!

-The Editor

The Smart Watch Industry: Will It Work for Apple?

The Samsung Galaxy Gear can be summarized with one word: flop. Let me repeat that: FLOP. The simple truth is that people just didn’t really want the Gear, and it was too expensive, etc. Personally I think that the Apple Watch will do quite well. Why? Because it’s an Apple product.

I once was in a class (long ago) where the teacher commented, “If Apple released an iToilet, people would line up outside the stores to buy it.” It’s amazing the truth in this statement, as silly as it sounds. Let’s look at the economy of the US (I’ll try not to make this boring): the US economy is a free market system, meaning that the government is involved as little as possible (thank God), and competition among businesses controls the prices and wages. Another part of the free market system is that the customers can go wherever they want to buy the products. Thus, a company that has a history of good products will have a loyal following of customers. Now I’m not saying that Samsung is a bad company, or that they make bad products; rather, they make great products. But Apple was the company that made the smartphone popular, and really everything after that is just another company’s take on the smartphone.

Another reason why the Apple Watch should do well is that there are supposed to be several models to choose from. Apple put the three models up on their website: the Apple Watch, the Watch Sport, and the Watch Edition.

Apple Watch
The Watch will have a stainless steel back, a sapphire crystal display, and choice of leather, fluoroelastomer, link bracelet, or Milanese loop for a band.

Watch Sport
The Watch Sport will have strengthened “Ion-X” glass, an aluminum back, and a fluoroelastomer (high-durability rubber) band, with five colors of bands to choose from.

Watch Edition
The Watch Edition will have an 18-carat gold back, a sapphire crystal display, and a leather band. On the Edition all of those are customizable, save for the display. You can choose what color of leather and gold you would like.

The Samsung Galaxy Gear didn’t really have any options to choose from; you just bought it or you didn’t. Apple is doing things the right way here.

To answer the question in the title: we think so. Apple is doing things the right way here, with customizable options; they’re not taking a “one-size-fits-all” approach. People like to have options, they like to be unique, even in things as small as the kind of watch they wear. If Apple can provide that to customers (and it looks like they’re going to), the Apple Watch will probably do very well.

If you enjoyed this post, please like and follow! Please share Handz Studioz with others who would enjoy our posts!

By the way, we’ve started to post daily, so you can look out for a new post each day!

-The Editor

External Links:
http://www.apple.com/watch/apple-watch/
http://www.apple.com/watch/apple-watch-sport/
http://www.apple.com/watch/apple-watch-edition/

iOS 8 Review — Handz Studioz Goes in Depth (Part 2)

In Part 1 of the iOS 8 review, we looked at the features added in iOS 8, and then we reviewed the Mail, Messages, Photos, and Camera apps. In Part 2 we’ll go over the remaining apps and features in iOS 8.

Safari
OK, so when Apple updated Safari I think they overlooked a few things. First of all, it seems that Apple set up Safari that when you open something in a new tab, it keeps the data in your cache until you move to the tab that it’s in; once you tap on the tab it then loads the page. I find this frustrating and slow. I personally thought that the iOS 7 Safari was just about perfect. You could open a practically unlimited number of tabs, with no problem. Now, if you open too many, the webpage sometimes doesn’t even load because there’s too much information in your cache. That’s definitely a con.

However, not all of the updates were bad. One that could go either way is the new clear history function. Whereas in iOS 7 you could only clear all of your history, now you can, “Clear Last Hour,” “Clear Today,” “Clear Today and Yesterday,” and “Clear All History.” Usually when I clear history I just clear it all anyway (You should consider doing this. If you have a lot of items in your history, after a while those can add up and eat storage space on your device), to save space on my iPad, but this could come in useful at some point. For instance, if you have a family iPad (or iPod, whatever), and you’re buying Christmas presents, you might not want to clear all of the history, but you certainly don’t want your family to know what you’re getting them.

Another update that isn’t really good or bad, necessarily, is that Apple redid it’s address bar to be more like Chrome. Now, just like Chrome, when you scroll down a page, the address bar is hidden. This might work well on iPhones since they have a smaller screen size, but on iPads screen size isn’t an issue. I personally found that hiding the address bar was a little annoying, because I constantly switch between tabs. Having to scroll up every time I wanted to switch tabs was a bit frustrating. We haven’t been able to get an iPhone 6 yet to review, but if we do, you can be sure this function will get tested on a smaller device! Another update to the address bar was just a reorganization of icons. So now, the history and bookmarks icon is on the left of the address box, instead of the right. That’s really the only major difference. Also, the blue bar that indicates how fast the page is loading is not in the tab anymore; it’s in the address box.

Conclusion: we like some of the features, but it needs some work. A combination of the iOS 7 browser and the new iOS 8 features would be good. I’ve found myself using Chrome for a lot more now than I used to because it’s faster and doesn’t cache your pages. It just loads them normally, like a web browser should.

Tips
Apple created a version of Tips for iOS now, but it’s not quite like the Mac application. Currently the Tips tell you almost nothing. Eight tips come preloaded when you install iOS 8, but mostly they just introduce you to the new Mail, Camera, and Notifications functions. Currently Tips isn’t very helpful now, but hopefully Apple will add more tips that are helpful. (By the way, Apple released a new tip this morning that has to do with .com shortcuts.) Tips is a pro for this review, because of its intended productivity in the long term. However, right now it isn’t very useful yet.

Settings
Apple changed things up in settings a bit in the iOS 8 update. Icons changed, and navigation through the app changed a little bit. Things like battery usage are now buried deep within settings. This is neither a pro nor a con, really. Basically nothing changed and the features are still the same.

iCloud Drive
In the update, iCloud got a bit of a makeover, and iCloud Drive was added. iCloud drive is supposed to work like DropBox and Google Drive. Unfortunately, you only get 5 GB of free space (whereas you get 15 with Google Drive); however pricing options are pretty good. A list from Paste Magazine tells us that it’s $0.99/month for 20 GB, $3.99/month for 200 GB, $9.99/ for 500 GB, and $19.99/month for 1 TB. So while only 5 free GB a month isn’t great, the pricing options are pretty good. If only used for documents, the 5 GB might work, and certainly the 20 GB option would. $12 a year isn’t bad for cloud storage. We’ll go in depth later in another post on iCloud and iCloud Drive, so be sure to follow to be notified when it is released!

Contro Panel
Control Panel was improved so much in this update. It’s funny that I say that, because basically nothing changed — except one important thing. Remember in iOS 7 how the Control Panel swipes up and is bright, but the rest of your screen gets darker? Well, it still does that, but now when you change the brightness, it brightens the rest of the screen so you can see how bright you’re actually making it (and then goes back to bright Control Panel and dim everything else). Before, it was kind of a guessing game as to how bright your screen really was. This alone made Control Panel ten times better. Control panel: Pro.

Notifications (which unfortunately doesn’t have a logo):
This got better. A lot better. One of the things that makes the Notifications in iOS 8 so good is the new “Swipe to Address” function, where basically you just swipe a notification to address it right there, without opening any apps. You can still tap on the notification if necessary, but for things like Messages this is really helpful. Now, instead of tapping on the notification to go to Messages to reply, you just swipe the notification down and it opens a little text box right there in the notification, and you type, send, and then swipe the Notifications bar up to dismiss. This is great for when you’re browsing the web or in a meeting or something, and you don’t want to close the app that you’re in; you just swipe, type, swipe. Done. Notifications is a huge Pro for this review.

In conclusion for this iOS 8 review, the update is great(ish). The new Notifications functions are great, Messages is pretty cool with its new functions; the integration with Notifications is amazing. iCloud Drive? We haven’t looked into this much, but we’re going to go more in depth on iCloud Drive soon, so be sure to follow! Camera and Photos are better (that’s the goal in an update), and Control Panel is much improved. Safari and Mail could use a little work, since Mail has a couple of bugs and Safari uses the cache in an unhelpful way, but the new features are good. They just need to fix the old ones that they messed up!

Ultimately, should you upgrade to iOS 8? Yes, you should; the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

If you enjoyed this post, please follow Handz Studioz using the toolbar on the right. Please share this post with others in your community (online or physical). We do reach a decent number of people currently, but we’re looking to reach more, and to get more followers. Let’s see if we can get 5 new followers from this iOS 8 review, shall we?

-The Editor
External Links:
http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2014/09/what-is-icloud-drive-and-how-does-it-work.html

iOS 8 Review — Handz Studioz Goes in Depth (Part 1)

Update Screen
My first reaction to iOS 8: “Holy *beep*” OK, not really, but speaking of sound effects, one of the updates added the ability to send short audio messages through iMessage. That’s just one of many added updates, so in order to save time and keep posts shorter, the iOS 8 review will be split into two parts. In Part 1, we’ll look at all the features that were added in iOS 8, and then I’ll review the Messages (iMessage), Camera, Photos, and Mail apps, which were, of course, part of the update. In Part 2, I’ll review the remaining features and apps in iOS 8.

What’s new in iOS 8? A LOT:

  • The ability to edit .rtf (Rich Text Format) files in Notes
  • Tips App
  • Time lapse in camera, burst mode patches for front facing camera in iPhone 5s, panorama mode for iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina Display
  • A “Recently Deleted” folder in Photos (it’s like the Recycle Bin on Windows machines)
  • Safari updates such as different tab layouts
  • A much improved Control Center
  • A new keyboard, QuickType, which is basically just the Android keyboard, because now they added suggestions to a bar above the keys.
  • iCloud Drive
  • Believe it or not, improved battery life!
  • And more

So as you can see, iOS 8 was a big update, but you’re now probably wondering, “Can I get this on my iDevice?” Here’s a complete list of compatible devices from Evad3rs:

  • People had said the iPhone 4s would be dropped, but it is supported.
  • iPhone 5
  • iPhone 5c
  • iPhone 5s
  • iPhone 6
  • iPhone 6 Plus
  • iPad 2
  • iPad 3
  • iPad 4
  • iPad Air
  • iPad Mini
  • iPad Mini 2 (w/Retina Display)
  • iPod 5th Generation

Before you go to update, double check how much space left you have on your iDevice (Settings>>General>>Usage) because this is a big update. The download is 1.1 GB, and with the way Apple has it set up, it took me about 15 minutes to download at fairly good internet speed. The unpacking of it takes about another 30-45 minutes, and then the install takes about 45 minutes as well; this update takes a long time. I wouldn’t recommend starting it before bed, however, because you have to manually start the install after the downloading and unpacking is complete.

Now let’s get on with the review!
Messages
I really like the new iMessage App. The biggest hype about this has been the ability to send audio messages through iMessage. Personally, this isn’t the biggest deal to me, but it is pretty cool. Now the part that I really like is the integration with notifications. Now, when a notification of a message pops up at the top of the screen, you can just swipe down on the message to reply right there! This makes things SO much faster, and is definitely a pro from this update.

Mail
The Mail app didn’t change much, other than to add more features when you swipe a message to the left or right in your inbox. Swiping from right to left brings this up:
Swipe Right
and swiping from left to right brings this up:
Swipe Left
A bug that I’ve noticed in the app is with displaying unread messages. You know how it will say at the top, “Inbox (X number of messages),” right? Let’s say that you got two new messages. It would say “Inbox (2),” and then it would change to “Inbox (1)” after you read one message. However, in the iOS 8 Mail app, the number does not change until you open a different email. For instance, it would not say “Inbox (1)” until you open the second message. Likewise, it won’t just say “Inbox” until you open a message that you’ve already read. It’s not really a big deal, but it is annoying, at least to me.

Camera
The changes to the Camera app were diverse, depending on which model of iDevice they were applied to. The whole Apple lineup received a time lapse function that allows you to take those cool videos of clouds moving and things like that; they also received a self timer (3 and 10 secs) so that you can take family photos and the like. Beyond that, things are different for different devices. The iPad Air and iPad Mini w/Retina Display got the panorama feature added to their cameras, and the iPhone 5s apparently had a glitch that disabled burst mode for the front facing camera, which was fixed (I don’t have a 5s so I don’t know much about this glitch).

Photos
On to the last part of the review today: the Photos app. Photos got a major overhaul in the iOS update. Two new albums were automatically added the the Photos app: Recently Added and Recently Deleted. Recently Added holds all of your photos that were, well, added recently (imagine that!). Recently Deleted holds all of the photos that you recently deleted (that’s a deep thought!). It’s basically like the Recycle bin on Windows machines, except that it only holds pictures. The photos are kept for 30 days or until you delete them permanently. I think the same applies to the Recently Added album, but I’m not completely sure because I didn’t take any pictures from August 30 to September 5. iOS 8 also added better editing features to Photos, like light retouching, color balance, and degree of saturation (color VS black and whiteness of the photo).

So there’s Part 1 of the Handz Studioz iOS 8 review! If you enjoyed this post and/or found it helpful, leave a like, and please share this post! If you enjoyed this post, please follow Handz Studioz; it’s free and your information will never be shared.

Be looking for Part 2, coming out soon!

-The Editor

External links:
https://www.apple.com/ios/whats-new/
http://www.evad3rs.net/2014/04/ios-8-supported-devices-complete-list.html