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So I Got An Apple Homepod

So I Got An Apple Homepod

I was really trying to avoid it, but I got an Apple Homepod today. I know that Siri is pretty much worthless, but some initial reviews are in and the Apple Homepod is said to have excellent audio quality. I love music devices and the Apple Homepod would look good on my desk.

I also flew my DJI Mavic Air around a bit this evening and tested out the follow mode as I rode around the neighborhood on my Boosted Board.

Apple Homepod Accessories:
DJI Mavic Air:
Boosted Board 2:


Hi Apple, I’m Back…

So here I am back on Apple after going back and forth for over a year now. Over the last year and a half I have been battling with trying to find the perfect Windows computer that would give me the experience I am used to having with Apple products. I am not necessarily talking about the aesthetics alone, as there are some pretty decent Windows computers out there these days. What I am talking mostly about here is the ecosystem that Apple has built around their products. I spoke about this in an Apple vs Windows video I published on YouTube a month or so ago. Since posting that video, I have dove even deeper back into Apple.

Since posting that video on YouTube, many have called me out as an Apple Fanboy knocking on Windows. That is far from the truth as many of you who read this blog know how hard I have tried to get away from Apple. As I will explain below, I just can’t, and it has nothing to do with anything other than the Apple ecosystem. Believe me when I say that I wish there was another way. I want nothing more to be on Windows and Android, it’s definitely the cool thing right now to switch from Apple to a PC. I will do my best to explain why that just can’t be for now.

New MacBook Pro 2016 in the bag

That new MacBook Pro swagger!

I started off this year now even owning an Apple product as part of any of my personal devices. We have an Apple TV at home, but only because we own over 200 movies and around 100 TV shows we have purchased on the platform. We are kind of locked in as far as the Apple TV goes. Other than that, my wife has an iPhone, and my kids play on an iPod Touch, but personally, I used no Apple products. I had a Windows laptop, and my phone and tablet were Android.

The discontent I was feeling mostly came from the broken connectivity between my devices. In 2017, I expect all of my devices to talk to each other and I should be able to use one device to connect to the other devices. You can accomplish this as a Windows and Android user, it’s just kind of broken.

Even when I was using a Mac laptop and an Android phone the process was kind of broken. I used Pushbullet so I could respond to text messages using my computer in a similar way you can use iMessage to reply to text messages on your Mac that came in through your iPhone. Pushbullet is pretty fantastic, but it doesn’t always work perfect. It’s not as clean of an interface to use as iMessage is on the Mac. I would have to really pay attention to assure I was responding to the right person. It runs as a Chrome browser extension and I would have to want for the text message to completely send before clicking away from that window or I might lose the message. There were also situations where the message would hang and never send. I would sit there for 30 seconds or more waiting for it to send only to have it fail. This most likely is not a Pushbullet issue, but it was still annoying.

I could also use Pushbullet to send photos between my laptop and my phone. This worked the same on a Mac as it did on a Windows PC using Pushbullet. I did miss how easy it was to use Airdrop between a Mac and an iPhone. So simple. I have owned a lot of Android phones and when I try to make them my main phone, I always use Pushbullet because there just isn’t anything else that makes it that easy to send and receive your text messages from your laptop or desktop computer. 

The closest I got to finding true love on Windows is with the Razer Blade laptop. It kind of looks like an Apple laptop with that premium aluminum build quality. It even came in black, which is a color I had wished for from Apple for years. The problem with the Razer Blade had nothing to do with the laptop itself, it had to do with not being able to find as good of a user experience when doing the work that I do.

There is a lot of software these days that is the exact same experience whether you are on a Mac or a PC. Take Adobe Photoshop and just about any Adobe applications for example. Besides Windows utilizing the “control” key on the keyboard where Apple has the “command” key, the software experience was the same. I saw drastic differences in performance in tasks such as rendering out video in Adobe Premiere Pro. The Razer Blade I own has very similar specs to the MacBook Pro I just purchased last month with the touch bar. Side note: I absolutely hate the touch bar and the fact that the only way I can differentiate my MacBook Pro from any other is to mention it is the one with the touch bar. I’m sorry, but a touch bar just sounds inappropriate… I digress.

MacBook Pro 2016 vs Razer Blade with Razer Core Video Rendering Battle

Video Rendering Battle between the MacBook Pro 2016 and the Razer Blade with Razer Core & GTX 1080 GPU

When it came to performance, there was not much of a difference between the Mac and the PC I currently used. Sure the Razer Blade would slaughter the MacBook Pro when it came to rendering out video, but other than that, there was no real difference. Both laptops have similar processors and both have 16 GB of RAM. Unfortunately you simply cannot get more than 16GB of RAM right now in most slimstyle laptops. Here are a few areas in which each laptop was in fact better than the other.

Razer Blade Windows Laptop

  • Huge advantage for video editing, specifically rendering out video. I have not seen any performance difference during the actual editing process. Performance boosts were in rendering and in playback, but only when playing back 4K video.
  • 4K display is kind of cool for viewing larger media such as zooming in on high resolution photos I took.
  • I will mention that this laptop is a clear winner if you are into gaming. I am not, which is why this is not a factor for me.
  • Ability to connect an external GPU was fantastic. Using the Razer Core and a GTX 1080 GPU, I was able to get blazing fast performance when rendering video projects. I have some videos showcasing the difference on the State of Tech YouTube channel.

MacBook Pro Late 2016 with Touch Bar

  • Native resolution is better for productivity. I had a hard time on the Razer finding a resolution that allowed me to easily multitask and have a couple of applications in view at a time.
  • Battery life is a clear winner on the MacBook Pro. Even when rendering video, though the Mac is slower, at least the Mac would have enough battery left to do more work after rendering a video project.
  • The Apple ecosystem is far superior to what Windows can offer, even if you are using a Windows phone. Windows 10 is leaps and bounds better than Windows has ever been before, but it still tries to be too many things to too many people, which ends up limiting it’s usefulness for people who want their laptop, phone, and tablet to be able to work well together.
  • Average software user experience: The majority of software developed for Mac OS has user experience in mind. There are a lot of good applications for Windows, but many of them have poor user experience. Most specifically, I use Coda from Panic, Inc. daily. When I switched to PC, it was hard to find software that was 1/2 as good as Coda is. One of the main reasons I came back to Apple was because of Coda from Panic, Inc.
  • AirDrop: I do a lot with photography and social media. It is so much easier to transfer images from an iPhone to a Mac than it is on other platforms using AirDrop. I have tried dozens of applications for Android on both Mac and PC. Nothing performs as well and is as simple to use as AirDrop.

If I wanted to go into extreme detail, I could mention a few other pros and cons about each platform, but I think most of you see where I am going with this.

Now I know that there is no such thing as true multitasking. We like to think that we are multitasking but in reality we as simply task switching. I am a professional at task switching and have been for many years. I juggle a lot of plates and I want to be able to get between tasks quickly. Mac OS and the iPhone simply allow that to happen better than I have experienced on Windows and Android. Up until late last year, no Android phone has been able to hang with the frequency in which I task switch between apps. The Google Pixel XL is the first phone that did not start to lag after I swapped between a couple of tasks. The only thing that Android has going for it over the iPhone is the ability to share items. On Android, you can share just about anything between any app. You are more limited here on iOS. It’s not a deal breaker for me though. Some would also argue that Android is better at multitasking, and in some ways it has been. However, with Android 8.0 coming out, it looks like the Android operating system is not going to let apps just do as they wish in the background anymore. This is likely to help Android phones have longer battery life. I can easily get two days of battery life out of my iPhone 7 Plus, but can only get through about 24 hours with my Google Pixel XL. The majority of Android phones I have had over the years would not even last me until dinner time on a single charge. This is due to how much I use my phone throughout the day of course. Your mileage may vary from mine.

IPhone 7 Plus Product RED Edition

Sorry, but there just are not many (if any) Android phones that look better than this iPhone 7 Plus Product RED in a Black Leather iPhone Case.

Build quality is another issue that Apple just rarely has a problem with. Each product developed by Apple is beautiful. The design does not change much from year to year, but the build quality is second to none. Samsung’s flagship Galaxy line has a similar cost and the build quality just isn’t there. Sure they build in interesting features that some may consider gimmicks, but if you look at the build quality of their devices, it does not match the attention to detail that Apple has with their iPhone. Look at the average PC laptop, which is not built very well. There are some PC laptops that stand out and look fantastic, such as the Dell XPS and Razer Blade laptops. PC manufactures are learning slowly, but they can’t seem to get away from building budget products which requires them to cut corners.

Consistency is king!

At this chapter in my life, I just need things to work. Apple products just work, and without much customization. I love customizing my tech, but when it comes to what I need to get work done, I just want it to work and to stay out of my way. Mac OS and iOS does that in a way Windows simply does not. I can easily live on Android, but there are a few conveniences that make using an iPhone and a Mac together better than a Mac and an Android phone.

I am not a fan of how slowly Apple has been rolling out quality updates to their products. I still throw up in my mouth a bit when I realize how much money I spent on my laptop with older internals and a touch bar. I wanted Windows to be my new home, and in some ways, it could have been. If I was primarily editing photos and video in Adobe software, I would had stayed on Windows. The performance increases alone would make it worth it. I have even contemplated building another Windows PC for my office so I could use it for heavy lifting and then use my MacBook Pro for less process intensive work as I am using it for now.

My plan is to try and wait until later this year before making any other decisions. If Apple updates their Mac Pro, I may look at purchasing one of those, but only if they put a serious graphics card in it. I don’t want to be forced into using Final Cut Pro X by Apple. I prefer Adobe products, and Adobe software renders much better on Windows PCs that can take advantage of GPUs that are more powerful. I am also considering building a Hackintosh, which is essentially a PC that you install the Mac OS on. The list of available hardware that you can get to work with Mac OS is much bigger these days than it used to be. A Hackintosh could be the answer to my need for more horsepower when editing video.

There is no perfect computer or platform

Mac OS and Windows has to be a lot of things. It can’t just be a platform for developers and it can’t be the perfect platform for video editors. People do many things on these platforms and because of that, they can’t be all things. Phones can’t be perfect either. They can get close, but they can’t be perfect. The iPhone has many shortcomings as does many Android phones. What it really comes down to is choosing a platform that works best for you most of the time. What platform is going to help you get done what you spend most of your time doing? Since switching back to Apple, I have been less stressed because everything just works. It might not work as fast as some other available laptops and phones, but it makes up for it in consistency. The Apple ecosystem is not as much of a battle as attempting to make multiple platforms talk to each other. It is better than it ever has been, but not as simplified as Apple has made it for their own products. For a moment, Samsung attempted to build their own ecosystem, but they experienced a ton of pushback early on. Apple has just always been this way, and it’s why they can get away with it.

Call me an Apple Fanboy if it will make you feel better, but I’m able to be more productive on my MacBook Pro and an iPhone. That’s just the way it is. It’s less to worry about and less problematic. That is what I need in my life right now.

What’s your perfect setup?

What works, or has worked for you when it comes to keeping your technology connected? Share it with me in the comments below, or connect with me on Facebook or Twitter.


How To Keep Your Pokemon Go Playing Kids Safe

Pokemon Go Safety Tips

Pokemon Go is what most would call an overnight success. The game takes advantage of wireless technology to allow the user to capture Pokemon and battle other Pokemon in real life. The game has received praise while at the same time been seen as controversial due to it’s augmented reality aspects. The game itself takes place on your phone, but it uses real life elements to augment the gameplay. The idea is to go out and walk around in search for Pokemon. The game uses Google Maps with a Pokemon world overlay in which you walk the streets, park or local mall in search for Pokemon to capture. It’s quite fun and a bit addicting especially if you used to watch Pokemon on tv. Pokemon the show was a bit after my time as a kid, but the game has been a lot of fun to play.

Played responsibly, the game is harmless. There isn’t any real violence in the game and a Pokemon battle simply consists of using the power of your Pokemon against another. In the App Store, the game is rated 9+ for Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence. If you are considering allowing your young children to play the game, I would recommend watching a gameplay video on Youtube first. However, it is far less violent than a Power Ranger episode.

The game is very consuming. Like most games, you have to be looking at your phone to play the game. The difference with Pokemon Go is that you have to be walking around to play the game, and this is where things can get a bit dangerous. The game also promotes interaction with other players. To power up, refuel or battle, you must be near Pokespots or Gyms, which are the same for everybody throughout the game. My family and I walked down to the local Junior College and saw 40-50 others walking around playing Pokemon Go. Each player was walking around looking at their phone. Prior to this game, you would simply think everybody was texting. Now if you see someone walking around looking at their phone, there is a good chance they are playing Pokemon Go.

Businesses are also using Pokemon Go to lure in game playing customers. Many businesses are located near a Pokestop and use Pokemon Lures to make that Pokestop more attractive to Pokemon hunters.

There have also been a few news reports of people getting mugged or robbed while playing Pokemon. Savvy criminals can use a game like Pokemon to determine where others may be due to the landmarks in the game being the same. Pokespots and Gyms are located at actual landmarks throughout your town or city such as a church or statue. There are hundreds of Pokespots and Gyms throughout my town.

My kids are too young to be allowed to go off on their own let alone go off to play a game such as Pokemon Go on their own. I have allowed my six and four-year-old boys to play under my supervision. I only let them catch Pokemon and powerup at the Pokespots. I would not consider a Pokemon battle to be too violent for them, but they have not leveled up past level five yet so no battles for them anyway.

Regardless, there are several things to look out for and to do to help your kids stay safe while playing Pokemon Go. Let’s take a look at what those are.

Remain Annonymous

I recommend not allowing your children to use their real names in Pokemon Go. Nobody can see your children on their Pokemon map, but if your children start to battle other Pokemon at gyms, their name could show up at that gym. Time will tell whether or not people actually get upset enough about losing a Pokemon battle to seek them out in real life, however, the possibility is real. For most, they will have to sign in to Google in order to sign up for Pokemon Go.

The developers of Pokemon Go have recently updated the game to require very few permissions from your child’s Google account. Depending on your level of technical knowledge, I would recommend that many of you create a specific Google account for your child’s gameplay. Pokemon Go may only require a few permissions for game play but there are other games out there that ask for permission to all of your Google account data for some reason.

Pokemon Go does not display any of your child’s or your information publically. The closest public information it will display is the username of someone who holds stature at a Pokemon Gym. There is speculation that in the future Pokemon Go will allow users to trade Pokemon in a similar way that kids would trade Pokemon cards in real life. If that becomes the case, the account holders username will become much more public, which is why I recommend using made up names over real names. Like most other games, the username is game specific and will not allow others any access to your Google accounts. For me, using a made up name for my children on Pokemon Go is good enough and I do have Google accounts created for my children so their gameplay of Pokemon Go and other games can stay specific to their own accounts. My oldest is getting to that age where he does not want his younger siblings ruining the hard work he has put in on some games.

Set Boundaries

The first thing you need to do with your child before you allow them to play Pokemon Go is to set boundaries. Chances are that your kids already have boundaries you have set for them such as how far away from home they can travel on their own. My kids are young so their boundaries are our yard. That would not make for a very interesting Pokemon Go session so if you are going to let your kids play, you want to make sure they understand where they can go and where they should refrain from going.

The map on Pokemon Go shows all streets, parking lots, alleyways and more. If it appears on your Google Map, it will appear in Pokemon Go. In the game, all paths look the same. A perfectly lit street can appear the same on the map as a poorly lit alley. Dead ends look harmless on the game until you find yourself at the end of one. It is important that your children understand where they are allowed to go and where they are not. Being that my kids are so young, we stick to parks and make sure to keep away from busy roads.

If you take your kids somewhere to play and plan to allow them to wander around a bit, make sure they know where to meet or what to do should they get lost or find you out of their line of sight. Use one of the in-game Pokestops as a meeting spot. It’s most likely a noteable area or landmark which will make it easy to find.

Pay Attention

It is easy to get fully engrossed in this game. More active areas with a higher amount of Pokestops and Gyms are more exciting. It is not common to see someone mindlessly walk across a driveway or parking lot with their eyes glued to the phone. Many players have headphones on so they can listen to music while they play or more easily hear Pokemon alerts.

I recommend you disable the in-game music. Disabling the music takes nothing away from the game and will prolong battery life. You can leave sound effects and vibration turned on. To get to settings, tap on the Pokeball at the bottom center of the screen. At the top right of the screen on the next page, a small gear will appear for “settings.”

It’s one thing to let your kids wander the streets with headphones on when they are paying attention to where they are going but when they are playing Pokemon Go, they will often be looking down at their screen. It is hard to be aware of your surroundings when you have headphones on and are looking down at a screen. I suggest you have your kids leave their headphones at home. They can hear just fine with sound effects and vibration on.

Stay Aware

Playing the game often means being near roads. Make sure your children stay on alert. If you are constantly reminding them to look both ways for cars without a phone in their hand, they will be even less likely to remember while playing this game. Big parks are your friend as Pokemon can often be found at parks.

Don’t allow your kids to go out in the evening in dark clothes. Make sure it is easy to see them by making sure they are dressed in bright clothing. We just returned from camping and gave our kids bright glow sticks to use as they wandered the campground at night. I couldn’t imagine letting my children play Pokemon Go after dark, but if you are going to allow your children to do so, light them up.

Stay On Your Feet

I mentioned before just how easy it is to get caught up in the catch of Pokemon Go. Don’t let your kids play the game while they skateboard, bike, or scooter. It’s just dangerous. They need their full attention to skateboard, bike, or scooter, and if they are playing the game, they can’t focus on being safe.

I live in Central/Northern California where it is set to reach 112 degrees this week. Playing Pokemon outside means it’s even more important to keep hydrated and protected from the sun. If you let your kids play outside in the summer heat, make sure they stay hydrated and properly protected from the harsh sun

Beware of Strangers

Millions have signed up and are playing Pokemon Go and the game draws all of us to similar locations known as Pokestops and Gyms as I mentioned before. Because of that there will often be other people at those locations. Unless there is a Pokemon lure at a Pokestop, people often don’t hang out at a Pokestop for long before moving onto the next one. Gyms however, can keep people around longer as they battle other Pokemon. The other day apparently someone drove into the back of a parked cop car while playing Pokemon Go. Go America!

It might be common for a group of people to go in the same direction in search of Pokemon. Kids need to be taught not to follow strangers even if they say there are more Pokemon where they are going. Don’t let your children follow anyone without you there.

Safety in Numbers

Don’t send your child out alone. Make sure they are with siblings, friends, other parents, or yourself. The game can be a lot of fun when played together, so keep everybody close. If there are Pokemon nearby, they are typically nearby for everybody. My boys and I all caught the same Pokemon from the same spot at the park. There are a limited amount of Pokemon at any given location, but there seems to be the same amount for everybody.

My kids do not have iPhones so they play Pokemon Go on iPods which require them to be tethered to the internet on my phone. If they wander too far away from me, they lose their internet and the gameplay stops. This is also another good way to keep kids close to you.

Keeping Tabs

There are a couple of ways to track your children’s whereabouts while they are on their phones. If they are on iPhones, you can use the “Find Friends” app to track their location or if their devices are signed into your Apple ID, you can use “Find My iPhone” to track their location.

Android phones give you a bit more data. Make sure the Google Maps app is installed and signed into on their phones. You can go to the history page in Google Maps to see everywhere they have been. Google also has a device manager app that will allow you to track all devices signed into your account.

The Pokemon Go game also has a player journal which shows all of the Pokemon collected, Pokestops and Gyms visited. You can review the locations they visited that way as well and verify the times in which they were playing by looking at the timestamps listed in the journal.

Highly Addictive

The game is designed to promote play. It is easy to get engrossed in gameplay and find yourself miles away from home. Be aware that your children can become addicted to this game. The game has only been out for about three weeks and there already has been a few players who have captured all of the Pokemon that there are to be captured in the game thus far. That would require at least a few hours of gameplay every day. School is out for most, so spending a bit more time in a game than usually might be ok, but the next school year is right around the corner. It will be interesting to see how this game changes the way kids wonder around with their mobile devices while on School campus. Even if school is not currently in for your kids, I recommend setting limits on the amount of time they can play the game. When school starts again, I would suggest tightening up those limits.

If your child becomes combative over playing Pokemon Go, it’s time to take a break.

Does Pokemon Go Cost Money To Play?

The game is free to play but there are in-app purchases that can be made. In most towns and cities there are plenty of Pokestops that you can visit to replenish Pokeballs and other powerups. However, there is plenty of money to be spent inside of the game so I recommend you set restrictions accordingly if you think your child will attempt to purchase upgrades from within the app.

On an iPhone or iPod Touch you can enable restrictions from within the Settings app, check out this video on how to do that. Once enabled, you can turn off the ability for your children to make in-app purchases. One of my Youtube channels “State of Tech,” has some additional videos to help parents manage their children’s mobile devices. Here is a playlist of a few videos for parents of children with mobile devices. I plan to keep this playlist better updated:

Play Together

The game is quite fun. I enjoy playing it and really enjoy hunting for Pokemon with my kids. As parents, it is easy to prevent our kids from experiencing things simply because we do not understand them. Pokemon Go will be all that kids talk about once school starts back up so use this time to teach your kids how to play responsibly. Use this as a teaching moment with your children to help them better understand the world and how to be safe. Use Pokemon Go as an opportunity to get your kids out of the house and playing outside. Sure they are glued to a screen while playing, but at least they are outside getting accidental excersise.


After 18 Years I’m Taking A Break From Apple

Why I'm Taking A Break From Apple

My first computer was an Apple II. Prior to that, we had a PC in the house running DOS, but I was pretty much just played Load Runner on it. I remember toward the end of that computers life I dialed into a couple of BBS boards to post some questions. It was not long after that when I got an Apple IIGS for Christmas. That computer was awesome. It was color, had a CD-Rom, and an internal model. It was the future.  I used that computer for several years and upgraded it along the way. I was 8 years old when I upgraded the RAM on my own. (Watch my video and continue reading below.)

Fast forward several years, I purchased a PC computer from Dell with college savings money. I wanted more power than my IIGS had to offer and it was getting hard to code from a severely outdated Mac. Windows is where it was at. Windows 98 had just dropped and Apple was struggling to find it’s footing. For the next four years, I was a PC user. I upgraded to Windows XP, built a powerhouse of a computer as I had recently started editing video. In early 2001, I started hearing about how much better it was to do creative work on a Mac. Final Cut Pro had come out and I wanted it. I purchased a small Mac laptop called a Powerbook G4. It was a pretty powerful little laptop. My plan was to use it to edit video and keep my PC for my important work. Within a week, I had found software to write code in and my PC was shelved. From that moment forward, I was an Apple user.

Over the last few years, I have grown frustrated with the way many companies develop and deploy their products. Apple has not really innovated much in the last several years, yet they continue to release new variations of their products each year and charge a premium. Apple is not the only company to do this, it’s simply the state of the technology industry. We are in a valley right now where tech companies don’t have to release anything good. They had their major advancements several years ago and now they simply have to slowly release small updates and call them fancy names like “Retina” or “Edge.” I used to upgrade my Macbook Pro laptop almost every year because there would be a decent increase in performance due to a new type of hard drive or something like that. I would justify purchasing the latest iPhone each year because I ran a tech website and wanted to have the latest features from Apple. I have always been an early adopter of new features.

This last year especially, I have felt a lot of apathy toward technology in general. I spent so many years chasing and implementing new technologies into my life that when innovation kind of stopped, I felt empty. Apple has not done anything interesting in several years. People can say the Apple Watch was an innovation, but smartwatches are kind of a novelty. I think that the SmartWatch is simply something else for us to buy while companies try to leak more money out of us while they battle to figure out what will be next. I have had a dozen different smartwatches and all they are is an additional distraction. None of them work that well and do much more than notify us of things.

Apple is not the only one at fault. Samsung and other smartphone companies are not doing much innovation outside of adding gimmicky features that most of us don’t really need. I have used the word gimmick to explain smartwatches quite a bit.

I felt that Google was very close with Google GLASS, however, it was a little futuristic for people to accept and it never went anywhere. I still feel that our notifications will be displayed to us in some form of a heads-up display (HUD) in the near future through something like a smart contact lens. Technology just isn’t quite there yet and in my opinion, the tech companies know they have not squeezed every dollar out of us that they can with the current technology available.

My battle with technology has been quite public. In late January of this year, I announced that I was back on the iPhone after having taken almost an entire year off of the platform using nothing but Android devices. If you look through my Instagram or Twitter feed, you can see additional evidence of this ongoing battle. In late 2014, I purchased my first Sony camera because I was tired waiting for Canon to innovate again. What I am going through now with smartphones and computers is what I was going through toward the end of my time as a Canon Photographer. What really burned me with Canon was having spent almost $6,000 on a Cinema Camera only to have them cut the price almost in half and upgrade the camera in under a year after it’s original launch. Canon obviously did not care about their customer’s investments in their products. Sony does update most of their cameras every year, but at least you know what to expect from them.

Up until late last week, I had been using the same Macbook Pro for a little over two years. That is a long time for me as I usually upgrade my laptop every year. I had been contemplating the purchase of an upgraded iMac. I needed more power than my laptop was offering but I didn’t want to buy a new laptop because not much had changed in the past two years. I was not willing to give Apple another $3,500 just to get a small bump in performance. The upgraded iMac that I actual had on order was going to cost me just over $3,500. I was not that thrilled with what I was getting for the money because it still was not that much better than what my laptop currently offered me. That is when I started considering switching to PC.

Switching to Windows had been an ongoing joke at Hill Media Group. We joked around calling Windows 10 the superior platform. In all honesty, I kind of liked Windows 10. I had it running in Parallels on my Mac so I could test websites and code in Microsoft Edge browser. Microsoft seemed to have found a nice mix of what they were trying to do with Windows 8 and what was great about Windows 7. Though Windows 10 is still very much Windows, it is so much better than it has been for many years. The last good version of Windows, in my opinion, was Windows XP. That was a pretty solid OS, even though not a day went by without a new exploit having been discovered. It was solid, and you could trust it.

Up until now, I didn’t even consider Windows as a solid option because I had so much invested in Apple products. I felt that I was much more productive on a Mac than I could ever been on a PC. That was very true up until Window 10. I probably could have gotten by on Windows 7, but would have been devastated once Windows 8 came out. Some could argue, but the Mac is what has worked for me.

We all come to a crossroad where we have to decide if we can justify making decisions the same way as we have in the past. When it comes to my technology choices, I have been more open to change lately. That change is mostly connected to cost and features. There really has not been much as far as innovation from both sides of the computing fence in the past few years. Microsoft has tried with it’s updates to Windows, but hardware has not seen anything revolutionary. Apple has not done much either. So that leaves me with the question, “why continue buying expensive hardware?” I find myself spending the majority of my time in specific applications like Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, Premiere Pro, and code editors. These applications are exactly the same between both platforms. There are small useful features Apple’s OS X has such as AirDrop, Messages, and simplified system settings. The problem is that most of those features are only useful if all of your devices run Apple software. While using Android phones and tablets, I have found solutions that allow me to use some of these services. I also realized that I have completely neutralized my devices by using services that work on both platforms. On both iPhone and Android I use Google Photos, Google Drive, Slack, Trello, and a variety of other apps that are cross-platform. Whether I use an iPhone or an Android phone, it’s a similar experience, just on different devices.

Last week I switched back to Android because I realized I had too much technology that I was not using and that was not optimized to fit my current needs. I have a Macbook Pro, an iPhone, an iPad Pro, an iPad Mini, an iPod Touch, and an Apple Watch. I found various reasons for justifying each purchase but what it really came down to is that I realized that Apple has built multiple technologies with just enough additional features to get people like me to buy each of them. I bought the iPad Mini because we needed an iPad at the office and it’s perfect to use with my camera drones. I bought the iPad Pro because it’s an excellent replacement for a laptop when I don’t need all of the features of a larger laptop. In fewer words, it’s more mobile. More mobile than a thin laptop? Come on! Obviously, I have been in a technology spiral for a while now.

The other day, I placed my first order from Dell since 1998. It was for a Dell XPS 15″ laptop, which is basically Dell’s version of a Macbook Pro. It has decent technology packed into a sleek looking package. It has a touch screen and I can put enough RAM in it to handle Adobe Lightroom a bit better. I get all of that, and it’s a few hundred dollars less than a new Macbook Pro. It doesn’t sound like much more, and it’s not. It’s just different and it’s a step in a direction away from premium priced hardware.

Please don’t take this as a dis on Apple. They are a company that is here to make money. They didn’t make it to the most profitable company in the Unites States on accident. Profit comes from placing as much space between cost to create and retail price as possible. Apple has become the leader in this practice and there is no way to achieve extreme profitability while at the same time releasing next level technology. Other companies have been trying to replicate their practice. It’s just the way it is.

So I am surrendering and going in a different direction. I have sold some of my Apple gear and plan to get rid of the rest. I don’t know how long that will last but I don’t see myself returning to Apple for a while. We will continue to have a few of them in our home as we have invested a lot of money in movie and tv show purchases. I need hardware that can keep up with the software I use without costing a fortune. The platform doesn’t really matter that much anymore. The gap has closed and all that is left is deciding what kind of hardware you are going to use. Some may try and argue with me over that fact but that is ok. It’s a matter of opinion.

Apple has produced some pretty amazing gadgets over the years, but for the time being, I need to take a break from the mediocrity of their current offerings.

I am definitely not losing out or sacrificing by switching to Android and Windows 10. I am currently using the Samsung GTalaxy S7 Edge as my phone. The screen on this phone is much more vibrant and clear than the iPhone screen. The camera is fantastic as well. The Edge features are a big gimmicky, but I have found using Edge for the quick launching of apps to be nice. It allows me to keep apps off of the home screen of the phone so I can see my background photo. I am currently using a Lenovo Yoga 900 series laptop. It is underpowered, but it has some cool features. While I wait for my Dell XPS 15 to get here, I am getting used to Windows 10 and finding that it is more customizable than Apple’s OS X operating system.

Yesterday I had a client call who was experiencing some major issues with their website. Though I had yet to do any developing on Windows 10, I did have a few applications installed I knew I would need. There were two short instances where I had to remember a few Windows-specific functions, but I was editing code in no time and I felt comfortable.

It will take some time to tell whether I will regret my decision to move away from Apple. I still have some learning to do in regards to Windows 10, but I am enjoying it so far. I still like Apple and their products, I just can’t continue on a path of spending so much money on them. If their products were truly providing value that I could not get anywhere else, like they used to, then I could justify the expense. However, these days Apple products do not provide any additional value. They may be good looking products, but they are also the more expensive choice.

What are your thoughts on this? I know that people can get very emotional when it comes to their technology products. Over the years, people have called me an Apple Fanboy among other things as I have always been fairly pro-Apple. I am still a fan of Apple, I just hope they can once again find their Steve Jobs roots and start innovating products that change the world again.


And I’m Back on iPhone

iphone 6s plus

To anyone who has received a blue chat bubble from me in the last 24 hours, I am back on iPhone. Last Summer, I wrote a post about how I won’t be buying the iPhone 6S or the iPhone 6S Plus. I went into detail about how Apple doesn’t innovate much anymore, blah blah blah. I was pretty adamant about my decision and did not see myself wavering. However, after some frustration I will elude to below, I decided it was time to go back to iOS for the time being.

When I sold my iPhone 6 Plus, I was using a Nexus 6 and was quite happy with it. My iPhone 6 Plus had become something I would leave behind for the Nexus. A few months later, I purchased the LG G4. The camera was nice on the G4 and the phone worked well. However, after a while, the phone became a bit slow and would lag on me. The camera would fail to open and I would have to restart the phone to get it working again. I purchased a Samsung Galaxy S6 and was plagued by the horrible battery life. I went for the Samsung Galaxy S6 Active which had a slightly larger battery but had lag issues as well. I moved on to the Samsung Galaxy Note 5, which was a great phone but had a lot of features I didn’t need that seemed to bog the phone down a bit. That led me to the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+, which was a beast of a phone, but I couldn’t justify having spent that much money on a Samsung phone. I also spent a few weeks with a Moto X Pure, but it would lag on me as well.

As of yesterday evening, I was using a Nexus 6P and had been since its release date last fall. I like the phone, but it has some minor lag issues that keep me from using certain features of the phone. I also notice that when I am using Android phones, I take fewer photos. I am not sure why as most Android flavors provide a more useful camera experience than the iPhone does. I guess the iPhone camera is just more accessible and there are less features in the way of using it as a camera.

My Nexus 6P was having major lag issues and I needed to make a change. I obviously had been through a lot of Android phones in the last year. Going through Android phones is a problem I have. I have lost count, but since Android launched in late 2008, I have owned over 60 Android phones. It’s pretty ridiculous. I should have kept a log.

I have found that Android is not a very consistent experience for me unless the device has 4 GB of RAM memory. There are very few Android phones that have this amount of memory. Most phones that do, lack something else. The only two phones that are a solid flagship phone that have 4 GB of RAM are Samsung devices. I don’t have anything against Samsung phones, I just don’t like all of the preinstalled software and lack of battery longevity.

The latest Nexus devices come with Android 6.0 installed. This is the latest version of Android which has some cool features. The problem I have with the latest versions of Android is that all of the other phones out there are still on a version of Android 5.0. Many App Developers have not even updated their apps to work on Android 6.0. It actually took my bank four months to support it. I use Sony Cameras and it took them six months to support Android 6.0. This simply doesn’t happen on Apple’s iOS platform. Even NFC does not work with my Sony cameras on Android 6.0 which defeats the purpose and was one of the reasons I complained about the iPhone last summer.

I also enjoy using a Smartwatch. I have had the Apple Watch in the past. I have also had a variety of Android Wear Smartwatches. I even spent a few weeks with the Samsung Gear S2 which is on Samsung’s own Tizen platform. Each watch lacked something. The only consistent Android Wear Smartwatch out there is the Sony Smartwatch 3 however, it lacks many features I have come to rely upon in a Smartwatch.

Last night, I put away my Nexus 6P and moved over to an iPhone 6S Plus. I know, the very 6S Plus I said I would not take part in. Having spent so much time this last year chasing an Android Smartphone that would not give me any problems, I decided it was time to throw in the towel and come walking back into the familiar arms of Tim Cook.

I also realize what I have done over the past year. I have not only wasted a lot of time on phones, I have wasted money as well. I just want current technology that works. Though the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus do not contain much over their previous versions, they work and they work well. The phone is fast and it does not lag. iOS has better memory management because it doesn’t allow apps to run when they are not doing anything. Android has become better at memory management over the years but it still takes twice as much memory for Android to provide an equal experience. The manufacturers producing Android phones are not putting enough memory in their phones to make for a seamless experience. There is enough memory for a basic experience but if you install a lot of apps and plan to use them, you will eventually run into issues.

I am not back on the Apple bandwagon and I don’t think I really ever was completely. Since Android came out, I have deeply desired for an Android experience that was as seamless as Apple’s iOS. Android 5.0 came very close to that as Android phones started coming packed with decent cameras around that time. One could even argue that Android cameras trump the iPhone’s camera in certain aspects of performance. For me, what it comes down to, is performance. I run two businesses, have three kids ages five and under. I don’t have time for a phone that has to be finagled into working. I am tired of having to delete apps from my phone that are known to use up more memory so that the rest of my phone operates better. All these years later, I still find myself sacrificing in one way or another to be on Android, and that simply shouldn’t be the case.

Sure the current iPhone is pretty basic, but it works. The Apple Watch is kind of ugly, but it works well and iOS developers support it. I am ready to start ignoring some of the Android phones that come out and just exist on iOS. I’m not ditching Android. That will never happen. I just won’t be on such a search for the perfect Android phone, which will result in less worry about whether or not my phone is going to work when I need it to.

Who knows how the next month or two will go. My iPhone could start to give me issues as well, but for now, I am back on iPhone and plan to stay there for a while. For now, it’s about saving time and probably some money. Though the iPhone is almost mid cycle before the iPhone 7 will become available, I will save hours of time and even some money by not fretting over the perfect Android experience. Only time will tell if I will end up eating my words again. All I am trying to do is share my experience with others and try to relate on some level.

What do you think about the current state of Smartphones?


How to fix your bent iPhone 6 Plus

Fix Bent iPhone 6 Plus

Fix Bent iPhone 6 Plus

One of my employees bent his iPhone 6 Plus. It wasn’t bent much but it was enough to notice. What started out as me being able to laugh about how much it was bent turned into me fixing his iPhone. Now it will be challenging to fix a badly bent iPhone like some of the phones you have seen in the #Bentgate videos and shared around the interwebs, but you can easily fix small bends and tweaks that most likely will happen due to how thin the phone is.

You can watch the video for a full tutorial but I was able to straighten an iPhone 6 Plus that was bent 0.02 of an inch (20 thousandths). It doesn’t sound like much but you can tell in the video just how bent the phone was. I actually bent my own iPhone 6 Plus just so I could show all of you how to straighten your iPhone 6. In theory, this should work on most of the previous versions of the iPhone as well.

Tool needed:
Grizzly G9849 Magnetic Base/Dial Indicator Combo


Fix Bent iPhone 6 Plus Fix Bent iPhone 6 Plus Fix Bent iPhone 6 Plus Fix Bent iPhone 6 Plus

My actual thoughts on the iPhone 6 Plus bending issue:

Something can only become so small before it has little integrity left. The iPhone 6 Plus is a large phone but it’s very thin. The phone is made out of aluminum, which is a soft metal. The majority of the inside of the phone is filled with technology, not more metal. Apple probably did as best they could to make sure the device is strong enough for daily use as they have done with other large thin devices such as iPads and the Macbook Air. If you happen to bend your iPhone, it’s your fault, not Apple’s. Apple sold you a straight phone and your phone was perfect until you bent it. If you put the phone in your pocket and move around a lot, it will probably bend. If you don’t add support to your phone by putting a decent case around it, it will probably bend, and get scratched.

I bought the very first iPhone. A couple of weeks into owning it, I dropped it. The first iPhone dented up easy, just like a soda can. Was I mad at Apple? No, I was mad at myself because I was so stupid as to not have a case on my phone when it dropped out of my hands and landed on asphalt. It was my fault. People who complain about their iPhone 6 bending, don’t deserve nice things. If your actions resulted in something less than desirable, own up to it. If you stub your toe, who’s fault is that? Yours! If you accidentally scrape your car on a parking lot divider, whose fault is that? Yours! Let this be a life lesson from me to you: If you are in a situation where something started out perfect and then all of the sudden it wasn’t, own up to it. If this is anybody’s fault, it’s your parents fault for raising you in such a way that you would pass blame for things like this onto someone else. End of rant.


Google Voice as a default

Google finally added full support for MMS into Google Voice which means that if you swap devices often as I do, instead of having to switch SIM cards back and forth, I can simply port my main cell phone number over to Google Voice and then point my number at any device I choose.

I tired this a few years ago but at the time, you could not send or receive text messages that included photos or videos. About a month ago, they added MMS support but images came through as a link that had to be clicked. That seemed spammy to me.

I think its time I give it another try. That means that I will transfer my cell phone number to Google Voice and have a random number assigned to my phone. Then if I want to switch between phones, I just log into Google Voice and point my number at another phone. Google Voice makes it easy to point your number at any phone. With Google Hangouts integration, I can get calls anywhere, even on a tablet or my laptop. This has been possible for a while now, I have just held off because I would not have been able to receive picture text messages.


Why I Currently Choose Android

Android-logoI have been an Android user since Android first launched, however I have never been able to use Android as more than a toy to tinker with until recently. I have also been an iPhone and iPad user since both devices launched. Android devices were always lacking in some area that frustrated me and sent me running back to my iPhone. For years I would carry an iPhone and Android phone with me and often times I would just leave my Android phone at home.

There are a couple of things that Android and the manufactures of Android devices have not been able to compete with until recently. Android devices have been able to catch up to Apple because Apple has not really released any new and innovating features in a while. Apple seems to know what people want and will use. Android device manufactures seem take a different approach which seems more like a hit or miss approach to creating features people will use.

The first Android device to come to the market that I was truly able to switch to and use without needing the safety and familiarity of my iPhone was the HTC One. One of the main issues I had with Android devices was the horrible cameras they came outfitted with. I am a Professional Photographer and even when I am taking smartphone photos, they need to look like they came from someone who knows what they are doing. Every Android camera before the HTC One was less than desirable. Sure it might take a 1/2 decent (only 1/2 decent) photo outdoors on a bright day, but I need something that does a good job all around. The iPhone has always delivered on my expectations.

The customizations that most manufacturers make to Android has also frustrated me. The iPhone has always been simple and for the most part, kept out of your way. I feel like stock Android does this well, but Samsung, HTC, LG and the other manufactures out there add in so much on top of the Android Experience that it makes it hard to use. The powerhouse phones that they create end up running slow because of all of the features. Because of that, I have found favor in the Google Edition Smartphones that are available directly from Google. These Google Edition phones are from manufactures such as HTC and Samsung but only run stock Android, which means you get the nice hardware these manufactures provide and the clean software that Google provides in Android. The only manufacture whose devices I like with their default software installed is Motorola, which is owned by Google anyway.

I would like to outline some of the Android specific features that keep me from switching back to the iPhone:

Sharing: Sharing content to pretty much anywhere is easier on the Android. If I come across a website I want to save, send or post to a social network, I can do this on Android. On the iPhone, you are stuck to Facebook and Twitter in most cases. There are not a lot of options for sharing on iPhone unless you copy what you want to share and then post it directly through that app. On Android, I can share from one app to another. This allows me to share more content and spend less time doing it. When I use my iPhone, I find myself sharing less. I can take a photo in one app, edit it in another, then share it using the social network of my choice all without ever having to save the image multiple times throughout the process.

Photography: At times I feel that the iPhone still has the advantage when it comes to photography. Though I like the camera in the HTC One and don’t mind the camera in the Google Nexus 5 (my current phone), there are more apps for photo editing available on the iPhone. With that said, I am trying to process my images less. If I do anything, I adjust exposure and that is about it. I don’t like to throw filters over my images and make them look dirty. I go for color and clarity.

Multitasking: Android has always been better at multitasking. Even though the iPhone now has an easier way of switching between apps, it is still limited compared to Android. I switch around between apps often and being able to do that quickly is huge for me. I also dislike when I leave an app to do a Google search and then come back to the app to find what I was doing gone. This rarely, if ever, happens on Android.

Google Now: I have never found Siri very useful on the iPhone or iPad. This is mainly due to the fact that I don’t always want to speak my commands. On the iPhone, you have to activate Siri for commands to be heard whereas with Google Now, you simply have to have the screen on. With the Moto X from Motorola, you don’t even have to have the screen on. The phone is always listening for the command “Ok Google Now.” As I mentioned before, I want devices that get out of my way and let me get tasks done quickly.

Charging: I currently use the Google Nexus 5 which allows for wireless charging. I simply plop my phone down on the small charging pad and it begins to charge. It’s amazing and simple. When I need my phone, I pick it up and walk away. No cords to unplug or worry about snagging. I have wireless charging docks on my desk, nightstand and in my truck.

Phone & SMS: There are some need features built into the latest version of Android that make it much easier to search for businesses to call. On the iPhone, you have to do some sort of external search and then launch a call. On the Nexus 5, I can simply start typing a name of a business and it comes up. One tap and I am calling that business. I can also have Google Now launch a call for me, however I have had mixed results with this. I have not done much testing with Siri to see how well it does at launching calls to places that are not in the address book.

With SMS, Apple has iMessages, which is really nice for texting with others who are on Apple devices. I currently use the Hangouts app for Android which is the stock messaging app on the Nexus 5. It does a great job and soon will be a bit better and more open than iMessages. What I truly want, is a SMS service that works regardless of the device and apps you have installed. Google Voice was almost this, but you can’t send photo or video text messages currently on the AT&T network. If this changes, I can use Google Voice with the Hangouts app. Then I can switch between my iPhone and Android devices without having to switch SIM cards or anything. I just choose which phone I want to carry and point my number at that device.

Quicker Technology Advances

I know that Apple has some cool stuff up their sleeves that nobody has even thought of yet, but I get bored quick. Apple has the iPhone but Android has many options. There is just about something for everybody with Android. Apple has enough of a following that they can ride the wave for a while and save leading edge advancements for later releases. It’s all strategy and Apple is definitely good at what they do.

I will most likely at one point switch back to iPhone and iPad because I am confident that Apple will drop some amazing features on us that will once again take other manufactures a few years to catch up to. To be honest, I am not even 100% sure that the new features in the iPhone will be Apple’s next big thing.

As other smart device manufacturers scramble to come up with technology that will trump the iPhone, I will continue to enjoy some of the advancements. Not everything that comes out is needed. I think that over 60% of what Samsung puts into their devices is worthless and companies like LG seem to even be copying some of these useless features. In the end it seems to be all about marketing and what they can make look neat. I don’t need a phone I can waive my hand over to scroll a web page. That sounds idiotic to me.

Wearable Technology

I truly believe that smartphones are living on borrowed time. Companies like Google are messing around with wearable tech and the future is near. Why do we all have to carry about devices that cause us to focus on something other than humanity? I hate how my phone disconnects me with my environment. I am not convinced that Google Glass is the answer to that, but it is a huge step closer. I have tried Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smart watch and I think it is stupid. If I am going to spend money on yet another device, it needs to make it possible for me to use my smartphone less. Google Glass has done this. I can do a lot of what I would normally do on average with my smartphone with Google Glass. It can’t yet however replace a smartphone.

Going All Data

I think we are getting closer to a day where we will no longer need a minutes plan. Most of my communication with people is through email and text message. For the most part, you can do all of this through a data connection. The carriers already know that they can’t make money charging for text messages or minutes anymore. It’s all about the data charges. You could even get away with using an iPod Touch as your phone so long as you had a consistent data connection. I have a couple of friends that did this. In the near future, I don’t think we will need a cellular phone plan and I can even see phone numbers going away as well. If you could buy a smartphone and only connect a data plan to it, I would. However, this is not yet an option. Tablets can have data only connections, but not smartphones. The carriers will hold onto it as long as they can.

Why Care At All?

I am always posting about the devices I am using and I am sure it makes most people’s heads spin. Why can’t I just stick with one device and be happy? The truth is that I feel that technology should help us do our lives better and I will move in the direction of whatever technology adds to my experiences while at the same time getting out of my way. This is why I like Google Glass. Even though most of the world things it’s ridiculous, wearable technology is coming and will take over quicker than the mobile phone did. Remember when people used to say, “I don’t want people to be able to reach me at all times.” Now it is weird for someone to say that they don’t have some sort of a cell phone.

It’s also the future. Technology has driven the economy for the last decade and will continue to in the future. As we become more connected, more services and technologies will come up to assist in that. I find it empowering and very interesting. Each time I purchase a new piece of technology I see it as an investment in my future because I am on trying my best to stay on the forefront of the way all of this integrates with out lives. Modern technology was and is still a hard transition for our parents and grandparents because they were not raised with it. I don’t want to allow technology to outrun me. Though it is impossible to stay on top of it all, I will do my best.

I know that this post turned into a post about technology more than it did about why I use Android but I think it’s important to talk about. Mobile technology is part of our lives and these are the companies producing products for us to use and integrate with the world around us.

Right now, Android is better integrated with my life and lifestyle, so that is the platform I am using for both Smartphone and Tablet. We will see where Google, Apple and other manufactures take us as they continue to innovate and try to find the next thing.


Everything You Need to Know About The iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C

Everything You Need to Know About The iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C

Apple just finished up announcing their next line of iPhone devices and it’s going to lead to a little confusion. The reason for the confusion will come from the fact that the device does not physically look much different than before. 2013 is the year of under the hood updates for the iPhone. The iPhone 5 released in 2012 was a pretty fantastic device as far as size and ergonomics. In 2013, the new iPhone takes on a new operating system version and a bunch of technology updates inside of the device. Though iOS 7 will appear quite different to most, it is something they can upgrade to on their current iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. Besides the new iOS 7 operating system, I wanted to break down the main features in Apple’s two new devices for 2013 and give you some reasons why you might switch or why you might want to wait until 2014.

iPhone 5CLets start with the iPhone 5C:

The iPhone 5C is a budget entry phone with very similar specs to the iPhone 5 released in 2012. The only under the hood difference that was expressed during the Apple Keynote was the slightly higher quality front facing camera that you can use to take selfies and do Facetime chats. The iPhone 5C has a plastic back and a glass front. This means that the plastic phone can crack and dent if you drop it just right. I am certain that it will be a solid enough phone to withstand the everyday stuff we put our phones through.

The iPhone 5C will be available in White, Red, Yellow, Blue and Green. Each color will also come in 16GB and 32GB versions. It is apparent that these colors were chosen because they look good with the new iOS 7 operating system. See a complete spec list here.

Who should upgrade to the iPhone 5C?

If you are using an iPhone 4S or older and want to get a new iPhone but not spend much, the iPhone 5C will be a good option. At launch, the iPhone 5C will be available for $99 with a 2 year contract agreement. This makes it a very affordable phone that will be a nice upgrade for those of you with older phones. Alternatively, the iPhone 4S is still available and will be offered free with a 2 year contract agreement.

Other than that, the iPhone 5C does not have much new going on. It will come with iOS 7 installed and you can get it in a variety of colors.

iPhone 5SNow for the iPhone 5S:

The iPhone 5S is the new phone for the year. Though it will not appear much different than the iPhone 5 released in 2012, it will come with a lot of upgrades under the hood. Apple beefed up the processing ability of the phone and the graphics engine. It is apparent that Apple is positioning the iPhone 5S to be a gaming powerhouse. With that said, the device supports 64 bit processing which brings the iPhone 5S closer to a modern day PC as far as performance ability. Because most apps require relatively low amounts of processing power, the new iPhone 5S will have a really good battery lifespan.

The iPhone 5S is coming with a new and improved 8 Megapixel camera. I have found that the iPhone 5 had a great camera. Considering it was released this time last year, it took over 6 months for other manufactures to catch up and produce phones with a camera at least comparable to the iPhone 5. Now that the iPhone 5S comes with an improved camera, I am eager to see how it performs up against the HTC One and Nokia Lumia 1020 smartphones. The iPhone 5S camera includes a sensor that is 15% larger than before and has an f-stop of 2.2. The lower the f-stop, the greater the amount of light that will be able to get through the lens to that sensor. The previous iPhone 5 model had a maximum aperture of 2.4. Apple has also developed a new lens that should increase clarity of the image. Burst mode is available in the camera and Apple says you can take 10 photos per second for as long as you can hold your finger down for. This will be interesting to test. For those of you who use flash on your smartphone, the new flash has the ability to adjust on the fly to produce a better quality of light so that your images don’t end up looking horrible. Up until now, smartphone flash has been horrible regardless of the phone you are using. I am not holding my breath that this new flash will be that great but I am sure it will be a drastic improvement over prior versions.

The iPhone 5S will also sport a Slow Motion mode that will shoot slow motion video at 120 Frames Per Second at 720p HD. This is a feature that is on the Moto X and I love it. If you think video of your kids is cute, video of your kids is even cuter in slow motion.

iPhone 5S will also have a fingerprint scanner that is used to unlock your phone and make purchasing content easier. I probably spend an hour per week entering my password so this is going to be a nice feature. Other phones use the front facing camera to recognize your face to unlock the phone but this does not work in the dark or weird lighting situations. The fingerprint scanner located around the home button on the iPhone 5S will allow you to unlock your phone instead of entering a passcode. It will also allow you to approve purchases in the app store, iTunes or in other apps for in-app-purchase content. I see this as a pretty cool feature though it does sound gimmicky.

The iPhone 5S will be available in Black, White and Gold Anodized. See a complete spec list here.

Who should upgrade to the iPhone 5S?

This will be an interesting question to answer. If you are like me, you just want the latest technology. If that is the case, you will get one regardless of what I say.

For me, it all comes down to the camera. I will go with whatever device has the best camera. Currently, that is the HTC One and the Moto X from Motorola. The Nokia Lumia 1020 has a good camera but it’s a Windows phone and all I have to say about that is, no.

For you, it will depend on your level of happiness with your current phone and whether or not you are willing to spend at least $199 for the next version of the iPhone. If you are on an older phone and have been holding out, perhaps now is the time. I am not sure how iOS 7 will perform on older devices like the iPhone 4 or earlier versions. On my iPod Touch, iOS 7 is a little slow compared to how it was on my iPhone 5.

The price points for the iPhone 5S are as follows:

  • iPhone 5S 16GB – $199 with 2 year contract
  • iPhone 5S 32GB – $299 with 2 year contract
  • iPhone 5S 64GB – $399 with 2 year contract

Which version of the iPhone 5S should you get?

That all depends on how much data you keep on your phone at once. Basic app usage on the iPhone does not take much storage space. If you store a lot of music and video on your device and take a lot of photos and video with it, you may want a larger capacity device. I have always purchased the 64GB device but since I started using Rdio and Spotify for music instead of downloading songs from iTunes I never end up needing more than a 32GB phone. I backup all of my photos and video that I take using Dropbox so I can easily go and delete older photos and video off of my iPhone to make more space.

When I look at the iPhones of other people I see tons of photos and videos using up most of their available space. If you are one of these people, you will want a larger capacity device. If you stay on top of your photos and videos clearing out old photos you don’t need and backing them up to your computer somehow, you can get away with a lower capacity device. In reality, it’s only a hundred bucks difference. Your iPhone is your lifeline and goto device for everything, so why not just get the larger model.

With that said, I am using the 16GB version of the Moto X by Motorola and have barely used half of my available storage space. This leads me to believe that I could get away with a 16GB iPhone if I really wanted to. My current iPhone is a 64GB version that is using 30GB of it’s storage space mostly being used up by photos, video and audio books.

Should I Wait Until Next Year for the iPhone 6?

If you are content with your current phone then you should wait until next year. There is no reason to buy the latest version of the iPhone if you have no problems with your current version. You may want to try upgrading to iOS 7 and see how that performs on your current iPhone. If it appears to slow your device, you may want to upgrade to the next version. You can upgrade to iOS 7 for free on Sept 18th of 2013. I will be posting a tutorial on how to upgrade to iOS 7 over at StateofTech.Net when it becomes available.

When Can You Buy Them?

The iPhone 5C is available for Pre-order on Sept 13th, 2013 and will arrive in your hands on Sept 20th. Both phones are available in-store and online on Sept 20th 2013.

Once I get my hands on both of these devices I will be posting my thoughts on the devices.

For those of you who want to learn how to use the new iOS 7 software that will come standard on these 2 devices, we will have a complete course available. Make sure to follow @StateofTech on Twitter or on Facebook for updates.

You can also follow me on Twitter or Facebook as well.

I will also be posting a video on how to transfer your content from your old phone to your new iPhone soon.

Let me know what you think about these two new phones.

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