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/

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