Tag Archives: iPhone

WWDC 2015: Key Takeaways from the Big Event!

WWDC-2015-invitation

Aside from Apple’s hardware unveiling events, the World Wide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) is the big event for Apple. Their pretty hardware can woo all the customers they want but if the software powering them is poor then those products lose the buzz normally attached to carrying an Apple product.

With that said, Apple certainly came into 2015 needing some good answers in response to hard hitting questions like iOS 8’s shoddiness, music streaming dominating the audio listening landscape and the Apple Watch. They did answer a few questions and this article will look at how effective those answers were, particularly for the three big topics of the day.

I Promise... to not suck like last time
I Promise… to not suck like last time

Apple’s iOS 8 was, from personal experience, the most buggy mobile OS Apple has ever released. From lazy native app resizing to apps closing to transitions taking ages (for an Apple software release), iOS 8 felt like the numerous additions were finally taking their toll on the hardware. In a world where most flagships have 2gb/3gb RAM, Apple has stuck with 1gb but it was okay because of how iOS ran. 2014 proved different so it was positive news for me to hear that iOS 9’s core mission to run smoother and faster than last year and to also run on older hardware exactly like it runs on new hardware (some feature being removed based on hardware limitations of course). Microsoft has aimed to do this and succeeded with Windows Phone for years, so it can be done. Microsoft also has experience in releasing a flop OS (Vista) but managed to win customers over with the follow up so here’s hoping Apple can do the same. Other features like Maps, News, Apple Pay and multi-tasking on the iPad are areas where Apple has managed to catch up to the competition or improve an experience which is usually neglected like News. Formally Newsstand, it has a special place in my ‘Apple Shite’ folder however Apple showed off an app which could streamline my news reading experience instead of having 4-5 apps doing the same job. Good on them for that. Maps gets Transit information that nearly every other platform has had for years (better late than never) but an update is an update. Great.

Regarding productivity over consumption, multi-tasking on the iPad is so overdue. Windows has shown how to do multistasking on tablet/hybrids with Windows 8 and for all its critics, has been the market leader in allowing users to properly multi-task on a computer. Apple’s multi-tasking is not that deep, probably due to the hardware constraints, and instead takes the approach that Samsung takes with its Android tablets and phablets by allowing two apps to be placed side by side and used at the same time. People will mock as usual but if it’s a useful feature, there’s no shame in ‘borrowing’ it to improve an experience on your own platform.

Hello... Rest of the World!

With Google unveiling their Android Pay service and promising to release it worldwide, this was something that had to be echoed by Apple. Already having a reputation for not providing certain services worldwide like iTunes Radio, Apple Pay coming to the UK is huge news (for us here at least) and some of the services being offered here are great too. Paying for transport in London via Apple Pay is a brilliant move and partnering up with multiple banks and thousands of outlets ensures that this won’t be another Ping. On top of that, syncing with the Passbook app on the iPhone means another bit of bloatware gets used which is a good thing because you can’t delete the damn thing!

Watch OS 2
Watch OS 2

The latest update for the Apple Watch brought a faster OS that is said to be less buggy and more feature packed. Bringing in customisable watchfaces, permissions to use the microphone and accelerometer for speech and more accurate health/fitness data and finally, proper app support for the Apple Watch rather than glorified app extensions taking its sweet time to stream on your Watch from your iPhone. Does this make me want to buy an Apple Watch? Nope. I would still recommend waiting for the next generation Apple Watch and also keep an eye out for Google’s inevitable ‘Android Wear on iOS’ bombshell which will open up a massive range of smartwatches to iOS. In fact, Android Wear has shown that it is worthwhile waiting a few months to allow a platform to mature, just look at the first Wear watches compared to the most recent… it is night and day folks.

Spoti-what?
Spoti-what?

And last but not least, Apple’s competitor to the various music streaming services on the market was unveiled. On the outset, it isn’t much different than its competition with its vast library and price (note… there is not a ad-supported option). Where it does differ is how the content is presented. Drake came out to showcase iTunes Connect, a Soundcloud competitor if you will, showcasing an insight to artists music creating process. I think this has potential to take off if it means Apple Music subscribers get bonus singles, acapella recordings, ideas that artists are coming up with when creating their new album and so on but time will tell. Most of the attention was given to Beats 1, Apple’s worldwide radio station where artists and radio personalities like Zane Lowe, The Weeknd and Drake will provide curated playlists, personally created by themselves. To be honest, it sounds a little gimmicky to me and also forced. Curated playlists like those created by Spotify where the songs liked by the users are used as data to smart engineer a playlist feel much more personal to me and constantly evolving too, in line with tastes in music. Fixed playlists seems a little counter intuitive when a user could easily just make a playlist themselves but time will tell. Overall, as a service it looks like a solid option and a 3 month trial is ample time to make a decision on a service. It could’ve been worse (looking at you Tidal).

What are your thoughts on WWDC 2015, mainly regarding these issues? Has Apple missed a trick somewhere? Feedback is appreciated through the usual channels.

 

BEST OF 2014

First of all… a very HAPPY NEW YEAR to all of you who will read this. We at TekTalk thank you for your support in reading our content, listening to our podcast and if you happen to share these blogs, it is very much appreciated. Personally, it was an incredible year for TekTalk as we grew into a full fledged site, delivering reviews and experiences of products and services we used. There were good, bad and some ugly things we had to check out so without further ado, lets summarise the best (and some of the worst) of 2014.

2014

BEST SMARTPHONE

Let's get down to business.
Let’s get down to business.

At TekTalk towers, we have had the pleasure of personally using some great phones this year. From the high-end monsters like the HTC One M8, iPhone 6, Nokia Lumia 1020 and LG G3 to mid-range excellence like the Moto G and then to the entry level awesomeness of the Nokia Lumia 520.

With that said, there was only one winner for me. I said it in my review of the device and I will repeat that here. The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact entered in the shadow of the Note 4, the iPhone 6 and even its own bigger brother, the Xperia Z3 and proceeded to blow me away in almost every catergory. Yes it lacks the QHD screen inane gimmicks associated with many flagships released this year but to me, that is a good thing. It is a smartphone that does what you expect from a smartphone and does so extremely well. It managed to ‘out-iPhone’ the iPhone as a device you just pick up and use. It took the crown from the big guns and didn’t even make a fuss.

BEST BUDGET/PREMIUM TABLET

Tesco-Hudl-2-10

It was a lean year for tablets. News of declining sales were consistent throughout the year as consumers realised that their iPads and Android tablets could run most applications comfortably for 2-3 years rather than the 1 year manfuacturers seemed to claim. With that said, we saw some beauties and my pick of the bunch was the Tesco Hudl 2 and Surface Pro 3.

The Hudl 2 from Tesco was bought as a companion for my Chromecast and also for some light gaming and is now such an important part of my life, I’ve recently bought 2 more to give out as gifts (God bless gift vouchers!). It’s exceptionally well built, runs apps so smooth that you’ll wonder why this is £250 rather than the bargain £130. It is the essense of what a tablet is in the modern household; a consumption device and a gateway to other devices.

427915-surface-pro-3-pen
On the flip side, the Pro 3 is the direct opposite. A tablet that can replace your laptop, says Microsoft. And boy are they right. I was initially reluctant to buy in but after many weeks thinking, I went against my advice of sticking to the Pro 2 and instead bought an i5 256gb Pro 3. I sold my iPad mini 2, MacBook Air and the Pro 2… That in itself shows how incredible this device was, being able to replace all of that. Sure, I ended up buying the Hudl 2 later anyway but to have one device replace 3 which total around £1500 in value is serious stuff. And then the device itself; a sleek, powerful and multitasking wonder that is a work of art when displayed on the desk. On its own, it is responsible for the excitement being generated as Microsoft enters 2015 with more buzz than any time in the last decade.

BEST ACCESSORIES

Battery packs. I went travelling this past September and these things saved my ass for the entire trip. Going to the subcontinent, if you want to be sure of two things and that is mosquitoes are everywhere and you will need consistent power because of frequent power cuts. For me, I took an Omaker 10000mAh pack, a 50,000 mAh ALLPOWERS battery pack and a couple of Citus 8800mAh battery packs. Serious power for a month’s trip, I know. Although the ALLPOWERS unit didn’t deliver the entire 50,000 mAh, the price (£14.99) meant I was crazy thinking I would expect that much anyway. All in all, it powered my One M8 for 12 charges which is  nearly 30,000mAh. Impressive. They would also be my surprises but something else beat them to it.

UNDERRATED GADGET OF THE YEAR

htc earbuds

This is going to be SUPER niche but I truly think they did not get the attention they deserve this year. So here is the shout-out for the most underrated gadget of the year! They are the bundled earbuds you get with an unlocked purchase of the HTC One M8. Incredibly random, right? Well, I seriously think these are my underrated gadget of the year, probably of the decade so far. You think of bundled ear-buds and you get images of crappy EarPods from Apple or the cheap crap that is bundled with Nokia (RIP) phones, not the ones that had excellent sound quality, perfectly even sounds across the board and good looks too. HTC might not sell as much as Samsung in the Android marketplace but their quality of product from smartphone right down to the ear-buds is superb. Long may it continue.

OVERRATED GADGET OF THE YEAR

Apples-OS-X-Yosemite

Mac OSX Yosemite. Good God was this shoved down the throats of every consumer by tech folks and Apple, and whilst it’s features were impressive in the demonstration, they’re nothing to ride home about. Dare I say, aside from 2-3 features, the rest is purely a gimmick that will be used the same amount of times anything ‘S’ related from Samsung will be used. Upgrading on my MacBook Air, I felt very disappointed that that was the result of all the hype. In fact, it just made me all-the-more curious as to what Microsoft has in store with Windows 10.

SURPRISE OF THE YEAR

Here to save the day from those eeeevil Windows Netbooks
Here to save the day from those eeeevil Windows Netbooks

Chromebooks. Now, I know the concept has been around for years but this was the year I tested a HP Chromebook 11 and was blown away by how useful a cloud only Laptop can be. As a productivity machine, I found myself doing pretty much all of my Podcast rundowns, reviews, blog posts, and social media responses on a Chromebook and doing that very very well. Ultimately, it didn’t replace my Surface Pro but that wasn’t the point. It opened my eyes to what will be the future in 5 years’ time. Microsoft knows that which is why their philosophy is mobile first, cloud first now.

A very close second in this category was the Amazon Fire TV. Considering the next category was Amazon at its low point, this was an excellent product from them with some cool features. The voice search is superb with the only downside is cross-app useability and the interface is smooth as you would like. In its first attempt, Amazon knocked it out of the park and with future updates it will only get better. Scary thought.

BIGGEST FLOP

LOL! LOSER
LOL! LOSER

The Amazon Fire Phone. Nothing more can be said… Just the Fire Phone. For shame.

Note that this is purely my own thoughts (Imtiaz Farooq) and they do not reflect the general consensus. If you have differing thoughts, please comment down below or hit us up on Twitter. I’m @Tweet_Imty… thank you for reading.

Peace.

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact Review: The Little Dog with a Big Bite

Let's get down to business.
Let’s get down to business.

With a title like that, you might be thinking ‘well that’s great… onto the next one’. And if you indeed do think that way, no problem. However, I encourage you to read further because this review is more than just a write up about a Sony smartphone but more importantly, a review about a Sony smartphone which has snuck under the radar of the Note 4, iPhone 6/6 Plus, Galaxy Alpha and even Sony Xperia Z3 press coverage and managed to deliver arguably the most compelling Android smartphone package ever. So without further ado, I give you the Z3 Compact Review.

As far as first impressions go, this is a beautiful looking bit of kit. The phone is a plastic slab sandwiched in-between two sheets of glass to give it the minimalist style we have come to associate with Sony. The rounded edges make it gorgeous to hold and use one handed, the main selling point of these ‘small’ devices nowadays.

HARDWARE

Its okay honey... I'm dust and waterproof. IP65 and IP68 if you must care for details.
Its okay honey… I’m dust and waterproof. IP65 and IP68 if you must care for details.

The screen is a 4.6″ 720p display, perfect for this size and given the best possible position to impress with minimal bezels flanking its sides. I won’t bore you with the fancy terms used by Sony to describe its display but simply put, it’s one of the finest displays I have ever seen on a smartphone. The colours are life-like, with visibility angles infinitely better than some 1080p displays.

The camera was the first place I started. We have a few times on TekTalk’s weekly podcast the frustration of using recent Sony smartphone cameras. They are not badly equipped but the difference between the camera processing on a Sony smartphone and an iPhone (Apple exclusively uses Sony lenses on their iPhones) is night and day, leading to tech people questioning why Sony would create such beautiful hardware and fall short spectacularly in a department in which they are a legendary name. Well, I can now confirm that those questions need to be put to bed once and for all. Also still lacking truly great night time photos, the Z3 Compact camera is a stunning bit of kit and in my opinion, the first real Android threat to an iPhone in the camera department. The photos aren’t ridiculously over saturated or excessively sharpened like on some high end flagships like the S5 or the One M8. Instead, we have photos showing an accurate representation of what was seen at that time. The shutter button also helps make the experience much quicker than unlocking a phone or doing gimmicky hand twists to start the camera. All in all, a camera worthy of the Sony branding.

 SOUND

Playing a song on the phone through the excellent Walkman app (more on this in the software part), I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of output. Now the quality on the front facing speakers is not even close to my experience with my previous smartphone, the One M8, but it is still much better than 99% of the phones available right now. My audio samples used to test the front speakers (DMX’s No Sunshine, Ariana Grande’s Problem and AC/DC’S Shoot to Thrill) allowed me to get an insight as to how the speakers sound across a broad spectrum of music (the songs have elements of many musical genres) which it passed with flying colours. I noticed low-mids being very clear, vocals not being drowned out by ramped up bass levels and each instrument clear defined and appreciated. The highs were a little flat but by tweaking some settings and turning on ClearAudio for example, those gripes were quickly remedied. If you are into audio quality but not at the level of audiophiles, you cannot go wrong with this phone.

 SOFTWARE

The Z3 Compact comes running 4.4.4 KitKat out of the gate with Sony UI layered over the top. Unlike their previous efforts with Jelly Bean, the UI has been decluttered with some Sony specific apps and services on show. Those apps, unlike most of the apps preinstalled on a Samsung device for example, are generally useful. The PS4 remote play feature is a decent second screen experience that will only get better over time. The Walkman app mentioned earlier is as good a default music app as any I have seen. I really like the interface used, the amount of information presented on artists and albums as well as the audio tweaking settings. Add to that, the Video and picture gallery app (Album) and you have a robust software feature set which Sony should be really proud of. You also get the Lifelog app preinstalled but I did not test it, essentially because I am locked into Endomondo and MyFitnesspal. The Sony UI skin is very light and the more I have used it during the last 6 weeks of testing, the more I have avoided keeping the Google Now launcher on the phone. After the first week, it has been Sony’s UI all the way and that is a high compliment. It isn’t all high praise though sadly. Sony, for some stupid reason has decided to  stick their ‘What’s New’ feature right where you would normally drag up for Google Now. What possessed them to do such a thing, only Sony knows but it is very frustrating when going into Google Now and accidently being put through to essentially an advert for Sony movie, app and music content. I would not mind it as much if it could be deactivated but that is not possible. I hope Lollipop fixes this.

 CONCLUSION

iPhone 6, Z3 Compact and the Galaxy Alpha... Three kings but only one is truly worthy (credit: GSMArena for the picture)
iPhone 6, Z3 Compact and the Galaxy Alpha… Three kings but only one is truly worthy (credit: GSMArena for the picture)

So… how can I sum this experience? In short, it has been a brilliant one. Sony has shown that you can make a ‘mini’ Android smartphone, pack it with the latest and greatest specs and most importantly, adds excellent value software for the most part to create a package which not only competes with the super high end flagships but in my opinion, blows them away. The One M8, Galaxy S5, Xperia Z2/Z3, Galaxy Alpha and even the iPhone 6 are no match for this little beauty. Some would debate the comparison with the iPhone 6 because it’s iOS v. Android but that is not what I am looking at. In terms of experience, the iPhone 6 has had a poor start software wise and with its uninspiring design, it looks like a cash-in sequel of a highly successful franchise. The Z3 Compact however, feels like Sony listened to those cries for a fully specced ‘mini’ Android phone and then the groans when the One Mini 2, Galaxy S5 Mini, LG G3 Mini/S/whatever else LG could think of and the Galaxy Alpha came out and decided to offer a compelling alternative. This is a truly stunning outcome and for me, a former One M8 owner who sold that and invested in a Z3 Compact, the switch was well worth making.

A smartphone which does everything an owner wants with very little in the way of gimmicks… The Sony Z3 Compact is my phone of the year.

Episode 38 – Either music in 2014 is poop or streaming is killing sales

No album sales of more than a million or to put it another way no platinum selling albums for the entire 2014 which is pretty big news, or is Spotify the devil of the music industry?

In other news a mahoosive phone was released and we ask the question of is this new Nexus too big and will the scale of phones finally stop going larger.

I also get a bit excited by SMS messages appearing on the Macbook via the Yosemite update and I kid you not its like magic.

Episode 37 – We are back

Apple_-_iPhone_6 2

So I got the iPhone 6 two hours before leaving for the airport for my honeymoon. Two hours was not enough to set up a new phone from the old backup from the 5. For two weeks limped through a Mexican beach resort with a phone desperately trying to update itsself over free hotel wi-fi.

Listen to the woeful tale and more as we return to the pod after a long break.

Apple and the disappointing new iPhones and Watch and Pay

IMG_2291

 

So Apple on the 9th September did the big reveal (well I say big reveal but more later) and I am writing this on the 14th September. Why the delay? Most bloggers and tech sites have already swamped your eyeballs with enough information to sway your opinions and impress your mates with an abundance of information relating to iPhone(s) 6 & 6 Plus, Apple Watch and Apple Pay but here I am only just about to start my write up.

Why? well Apple often is accused of having a distortion field around its products and to this I have regularly scoffed at these nay sayers and doubters, but this year from the off I was left frustrated and disappointed from the moment I tried to watch the stream on my Apple TV. To put this into context, I regularly watch the Apple events in gleeful excitement of delights to come and as I thought, as I raced home to be back in time for the 6pm (UK time) September 9th event which would not fail me either.

Failure to launch

But how wrong was I?, gone was the smooth start and professional polish of the event, I was faced with network issues and then when the picture did work  I was listening to both Tim Cook and what was quite possibly a lady speaking Cantonese over what Tim was saying. I logged out and back in, same thing, turned to the iPad and the stream and that would not work either. Seriously, what the flip was going on? Twitter was turned to as Twitter is always turned to in times of crisis and yes indeed the world too was melting down at the lack of usual Apple sheen and polish.

Patience of a saint was needed

30 minutes – NO: 40 minutes – NO: 45 minutes – NO: and then at 50 minutes the stream finally returned and wait, what! I had missed the entire iPhone launch and was now being treated to Apple Pay. But lets concentrate on the new iPhones first. As we had seen and heard for months we finally saw (officially) the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

Apple_-_iPhone_6

But here is the thing, there is a fine line between whetting an audience’s appetite with leaks of tidbits of information and what now appears to be purposely or blatantly piss poor management in allowing the audience to be so full of information before the event that at the time of the event they become merely bored at yet another rectangle of glass and metal is presented as if its the saviour of mankind.

Long for the days of accidentally left behind phones in bars

This year was by far the worst year we have had for leaks and by leaks Apple is in full flow of flood damage as we knew size and that there were would be two varieties of size too. As the launch date neared we heard even more about the NFC chip but granted the rumour of the sapphire glass screen was a total dud. The thing is a leak was not even required to guess that this year we would get the A8 chip. Hell, in our podcasts we even talked months ago what Metal would be like with the A8 powering it.

Distortion field down

Apple_-_iPhone_6 2

So what did we actually get, yes bigger screens at 4.7″ and 5.5″ for the 6 and 6 Plus respectively. Sharper screens too and now Retina HD but if the human eye cannot perceive more than what Apple claimed when it brought out the retina screens a few years back, what is the point of Retina HD apart from shutting Samsung and their faboys up. For the record I have over the past few years thought that Samsung have had beautiful screens so I am intrigued to see what Apple can do here. It also begs the question of do we now expect the next iPad and Mac lines to come with a higher price as we are led to believe that we need to update to these screens that rival the miracles of the universe.

The camera got a boost yet is no more than the 5s and the slow mo feature is now double that from the 5s too.  So you get the point straight away that Apple did not have a revolutionary device again this year but another evolutionary step. Apple too seems to be having trouble too in describing the phone as its succinctly described as being:

  • Bigger than bigger ( what the hell does this mean apart from marketing bollocks?)
  • At its largest and thinest
  • A better display
  • Hugely powerful. Enormously efficient
  • The camera is shit hot. Ok so it does not say this but instead the more palatable “The camera that changed photos now does the same for video”
  • Faster speeds. Yawn, heard it al before.
  • Security. Right at your fingertip. Er haven’t we been here before like 12 months ago.
  • Your wallet without the wallet. Unless of course you live outside of the USA. More later
  • IOS8

That’s it! That’s the whole fucking 9 yards. I raced home for this shit expecting the next big thing. THE phone to have and the one to be proud to own. What did we get apart from a bigger, yet thinner slab? Not much really and as Android fans have been eager and justified to point out they have welcomed Apple to 2012. Yes Apple you got told over this and deservedly so too. Apple you used to innovate but here it just seems like this year you actually are playing catchup.

What also makes no bloody sense is in Apple and design we have trusted and when they moved away from the curves of the iPhone 3Gs to the more blocky 4, 5, 5s and 5c (less so) we thought they must know what they are doing, curved lines were wrong on a phone and Jony Ive must know what he is doing. But now we get bloody curves back, so were the blocky lines wrong or are we now to assume that the lines of a phone are now slaves to fashion and whatever has the eye of Mr Ive?

At this rate get ready for the introduction of a skeuomorphic iOS in around 3 years. Still what goes around comes around I suppose.

Apple Pay – No way outside of the USA

And so we come to Apple Pay where a confused world watched as Apple went on to showcase the “revolutionary” wallet that is secured that you don’t need to carry a card around. Ok, the tech behind it is very very clever, the number crunching and generating that totally protects your bank details (well until the next hack) but this came at the time of iclouds largest ever security breach so timing was piss poor, yet not Apple faults that rudie nudie pics of the stupid famous people were leaked online.

But the rest of the world laughed as unlike the USA we have had chip and pin for years and the days of signing for your purchase and having to show ID are long behind us, so what Apple was showing us was not really all that new for us here in the UK (or quite a large proportion of the world)

USA launch and the rest of the world to follow

Sadly Apple we have heard this before and I genuinely don’t believe you that Apple Pay will make it to the rest of the world. If iTunes Radio cannot make it to the UK or Europe almost 2 years after you announced it then I am sorry it’s another part that has broken your distortion field. Ok so Apple is an American company and plays heavily on that feature but if sales were just limited to the USA it would not be the multi billion $ company that it is today . Global companies need to address this very quickly that if you operate at a global level then you have to treat everyone as the same consumer and not leave some of them feeling like second class citizens.  We are  expected to pay the same for a phone or device that does less than our American counterparts. Fairness or more likely  bullshit says I.

One more thing

Oh how we laughed at Tim for bringing us in on the in joke and how quickly did we wish that Steve Jobs was there to kick people up the arse/ass as Apple were not shining in this special event so far.

The big reveal…Oh its a watch and will it be better looking than the Moto 360? Expectedly we were treated to this gorgeous and well designed video:

http://www.apple.com/watch/films/#film-design

The video looked better than the watch

What the hell? its a piss poor rectangular thing that I have slated Samsung for with their bloody awful gear designs. Ooooh its got a crown but its all very well moving a crown on a watch when its not on your wrist but NO ONE has ever tried and succeeded in winding a watch up or changing the time/date when its on your wrist and none of the examples showed it being used on a wrist.

Did I mention they failed to talk about the battery life? No and neither did Apple until around 48 hours later when they announced almost apologetically that the battery may last a day but has to be charged overnight: SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT not impressed, disappointed by the design and when you are more impressed by the watch straps then you know a product has a problem. Still this is the first attempt and as we all know Apple is not the best at launching the product that demands to be bought. Apple Watch II may be more interesting. Think I am being too harsh then check out this video from CNET on the Top 5 reasons not to buy an Apple watch.

However, I do like the fact that the Apple Watch can be used with Apple pay except I live in the UK so I can’t but its something I like the idea of.

The iPod was a disruptive device that sadly the Apple Watch is not

What stunned me more about the Apple Watch was the quite simply failed opportunity that the threw away. Lets be clear, the iPod made Apple a big bag of cash that saved them from a whole world of hurt. The iPod was available to all and this was the genius about it. Got a mac?  it will work with that. Got a PC? it will work with that. Simply put the iPod was shit hot at dominating the market as it worked across all platforms. It’s sad then that at the time of the Apple event the iPod was put to rest and instead the Apple Watch was launched that is locked and needing an iPhone to actually work properly. If I was a an Apple shareholder I would be pissed off as this is a lost market and hinders the wider adoption of Apple Pay.

It’s amazing that in the ten years that Apple launched the iPod that worked across so many platforms and disrupted the entire music and video industry that Apple have sensationally dropped the ball when they could have disputed the financial industry and once again made another big bag of cash.

 Disappointing end of term report

Well you might have guessed that I am fed up and disappointed with Apple that this year at the “Special Event” they failed to deliver and the gremlins that affected the stream have got in and buggered up the people at Apple that are innovative and disruptive designers. They have delivered what was expected and no real OMG moments and maybe that’s what people want as at the time of writing this the iPhone 6 has broken records with 4 million pre-ordered on the first day.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/15/us-apple-iphone-idUSKBN0HA1A220140915

Was I going to be stupid enough and jump in and join the bandwagon and pre-order on the first day. Of course bloody not I’m not freaking mental! I waited and ordered the silver 64gb iPhone 6 on the following Sunday. Yes I may be pissed off but Apple is more than one event and Ive got a mac and an iPad and with the launch of Yosemite later this year moving to any other phone than an iPhone would be ridiculous and that’s why Apple is successful they make products that work and make your life easier.

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Episode 32 – What’s up with Nintendo?

First up, apologies this is so late in being written up. Netflix got a hold of me and you know what back to back viewing is like.

Oh Ninty, what’s going on?

Official Nintendo Seal in NTSC regions
Official Nintendo Seal in NTSC regions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I have stated on other pages on this blog, I am and always will be a firm Nintendo fan but blimey are these guys in serious distress of arrogance in not understanding what the market and consumers want.  In the week that both Sony, with the PS4 and Microsoft, with the Xbox One announced successful sales and huge growth in profits, Nintendo started to show that its about to post huge losses compared to last year and to be honest this hurts me.  Does it hurt enough for me to rush out to buy the Wii U or the 3DS XL? No! because like millions of other families around the world I have a largely unused Wii sitting underneath the TV. Have I bought a new Nintendo title in over a year? No!

Be Like SEGA please Nintendo

However, if Nintendo were to lose the arrogance and allow for their software titles to be made available on a platform that I want, such as an iPad or iPhone then dear Ninty I would happily spend pound after pound to have your beloved titles on the handset of my choice. Yes, the Nintendo approach may be similar to the Apple approach to business, but they are poles apart in current success. The rise of the 69p/99c game has revolutionised the gaming industry and SEGA have rushed into this world with successful ports of Sonic games. Hell, even Oceanhorn has proved that there are developers out there that can create Zelda type games and at the time of recording the pod Micromon, the 69p Pokemon clone was at number one in the Apple App store.

I rest my case

Innovate, don’t let the clones win

To me this is madness, these are Nintendo staple games and to not have that shiny official Nintendo seal on the app stores is allowing other developers to borrow great ideas and concepts. Moreso, with these developers borrowing their ideas from other sources and delivering a decent game then quite frankly there is little point in me currently buying a new Nintendo handset when there are so many developers out there with such a rich indie scene in the app world. And here is another problem, with Dan Adelman, the head of Nintendo of America’s indie program, leaving the company with not exactly the most subtle of tweets,

Happy to announce I reached an arrangement w/ @NintendoAmerica whereby I can tweet again. Arrangement includes my not working there anymore.

this does sort of suggest that Nintendo really don’t give two proverbial shits about the indie gaming scene and by this this you can squint and see the arrogance that I really really hope does not damage this much loved company in the long run.

WANKER OF THE WEEK

Well, OK not so much a person but F@£K Me sideways! Microsoft!!! Are you freaking kidding me? Is this arrogance worth of Nintendo or another case of you really not knowing what the hell you doing in terms of sensitivity if the rumour is correct and you are offering the staff you are making redundant a windows phone as part of the redundancy. I sincerely hope this is not the case, but if it is it really is sadly worthy of the Wanker of the Week title.

All this discussed in this weeks pod

EPISODE 32

 

 

Episode 31 – What’s up with Samsung?

No this is not deja vu or a question of me being lazy but seriously, what is up with Samsung as their enormous profits have been hit by slow smartphone sales.

Oh Boo Hoo!

Still it is very hard to weep tears for a company that is still able to post profits of £4.48 Billion which as every normal person knows is still a massive sum money even though the reality that the profits are down 20.7% on the same period last year, so that’s got to be making their finance director weep into his porridge or whatever South Koreans have for breakfast (answers in the comment section please)

However, here in TekTalk Towers, we have been saying for months that the world mobile market is heading for saturation and this is not a device that people need or want more than one, unless you are a scumbag cheater and need a second phone for affairs. Oops, that would be the ex wife, but this is not the place for therapy so I’ll quickly move on.

Victim of own success

Samsung, bless them are suffering from their own hands, they have launched onto the world wave after wave of new, latest iterations to the last phone and in some cases have not even wasted a full year before making the previous handset obsolete. This was always going to be a strategy that could continue. For most parts networks offer 2 year lock in contracts and most people wait these days for the best handset they can get. At least with Apple you are fairly guaranteed to go a year with the latest handset and even then the one the year after is the eveloved one and not the revolution.

New materials

Samsung has promised new phones and moving away from the plastic build of old. New materials ? so metal and glass then or have they discovered mithril to not only win over us earth inhabitants but all of middle earth too?

Dancing to the Beat(s)

Beats, as of 1st August finally joined the Apple family and promptly 200 or so employees were laid off. Not quite the welcome to the family they were expecting but then again why did Beats need around 700 employees in the first place. Actually if you want to see a question of why does any company needs many staff check this video out from the Net A Porter boss on his final day. Seriously, now here is a company that could shed some of the fat and as all proper bosses are bound in law to say he did tell his numerous staff to get back to work.

 

 

And we wrap this weeks show with a quick discussion of the slow progress to driverless cars and we ponder how the likes of Phil Hobden will cope with this new world of road rage incidents as not only may we swear at our fellow commuters but possibly at the car driving and controlling our pace.

Finally, if it were  not for the T3 magazine, we would not be here so its time for the T3 awards again, so ladies and gents from around the globe. Have a look at the nominations here and have a vote or two.

http://awards.t3.com

Thank you to all of you that visit the blog, please feel free to let us now your thoughts and if you want just say hello, particularly those of you from Switzerland as your visits to the blog entice us and make us happy.

Episode 31

 

Episode 30 – What’s up with Microsoft?

Microsoft that giant of the tech world appears to be having a case of the wobbles which has not been seen by any of the big players in the tech arena.

First up is the job cuts, the huge ranging slice across the bow of employment with around 18,000 jobs going. Not fully unexpected as with the takeover of Nokia, some jobs were bound to go but this amount was something of a shock particularly as it was the largest amount of job cuts in the history of the company.

Secondly was the closure of the Xbox Entertainment studios, which rumour had prevailed that the studios was disorganised and had no real structure. Coupled with a supposed lack of strategy that could not compete with Netflix as it wanted it’s originals series to push the hardware side of the business.

Change, change and more change

Ok!so fairly straightforward business decisions you may think. But lets look closer at what we, as a consumer driven tech blog see. The Xbox One launched to major derision and immediately Microsoft back peddled away from the negativity and rapidly changed its mind over the price and the always online requirement. Almost a year later they strip off the paywall feature that had Skype locked behind it to name but one point. Change, change and more change to decisions that a tech giant has put in place is something quite shocking and not really seen before. The Entertainment studios get canned before they have really had a chance to produce anything is more of example of panic almost being written into the DNA of the Microsoft.

Its is genuinely hard to think of Apple, Google, Samsung or even Amazon (make a profit quick, please) rushing to market without being really sure of themselves or even panicking at the launch and then changing their minds and products to satisfy the market. And here is the thing that I firmly believe. Consumers, like wild animals sniff out and support the strongest company/pride member and similarly no wild animal or human would support the weaker part of the pride or a company.

Microsoft is showing weakness

Microsoft by showing its weakness to make good decisions or even adhere to the ones they have made is not good for the company and they really do need to buck their ideas up fast. The days of there being no alternative to them are long gone and they cannot simply rely on the existing behaviour of the market to allow them to continue. Consumers will remember that it was Microsoft that brought Vista and Windows 8 to the table and that the bad experience was their fault.

Microsoft too seem to have forgotten that we are part of a consumer society now and its not all business and enterprise. Their new ads in the UK centre around the windows phone and its function within a business for the man that set up own company.

Meanwhile, in the rest of the world IBM has got the hint and the scent of weakness and has rocked up to the Apple camp to make enterprise apps for iOS. No mention of the Mac in this deal? no of course not, Apple does not need to worry about this as the plan to work with IBM is genius and a very shrewd one and shows that Tim Cook knows how to run a business.

Tim Cook knows how to run a business

Let me explain my thought. Here I am writing this up on a Macbook Air the latest Apple purchase of a journey that started with the iPod, to the iPod touch and 3 generations of iPhone and 2 iPads led me to the Air. Why? Simple, its the ease with which they all operate together and with Yosemite later in the year it will get even easier and it’s this which I am thinking Apple are banking on. In enterprise, directors and managers are the consumers of the IT department. Supply these people and the rest of the staff with iPhones and iPads and assist with enterprise apps that have the IBM and Apple seal of goodness then it makes very little sense for these people to return to a Windows PC. Microsoft had better wake up soon as its crazy panic laden decisions are not helping it to react to genuine threats like this. Office is the tool which drives business but with Microsoft writing Office for the Mac and iOS are they really writing their own swangsong?

Would Gates and Ballmer have allowed this?

This is not what I would have expected from the Gates and Ballmer era of Microsoft and the speed with which Microsoft seems to be unravelling is quite shocking. Businesses grow by making a decision and running with it. Look at the speed with which Netflix has grown and to an extent the way Apple has made itself one of the largest profitable companies ever when prior to the iPod it was close to bankruptcy.  Google is now synonymous with search and the term Bing is not likely to soon replace it. Companies are made strong by the decisions they make and stick to. Evolve a product but don’t publicly panic to negative social media. Microsoft, we need you as a player for competition sake, but come on get out of this funk you clearly are in at the moment.

Hear our debate on the latest pod

Episode 30

 

 

Debate is what we would love to hear from you so please feel free to drop your own comments here.

Episode 29 – The one in which I may go a bit ranty over the BBC iplayer

Ok so one thing we do not have in the UK is much of a competitive market when it comes to TV suppliers and the cord argument does not really apply here. Hell,one of our major suppliers is Sky, the satellite broadcaster so I’m not even sure if that counts as even being able to cut the cord.

However, there is a growing global trend of traditional media delivery systems as coming under threat and the term cord cutting has crossed the Atlantic from the states, but to many has little relevance. Certainly what we are watching with interest is the updated argument of which came first, the chicken or the egg? Netflix is blamed by Verizon for hogging the bandwidth, yet Netflix

counter argues that its the networks that are shit and they are the ones to blame for the awful connection quality. Clearly I paraphrase, although it would be great to hear major companies bandy the odd swear around an argument now and again.

http://www.theverge.com/2014/7/17/5913291/level-3-verizon-congestion-netflix

So in this week we debate the issue and what goes on around the world and what happens here in the UK. It was here that I stumbled and hit the rant button as the argument the BBC has over why the iplayer cannot go on the Apple TV is an argument that you could steer the largest American aircraft carrier through.

Let me explain: The argument cited by the BBC’s Chris Yanda as to why they went Chromecast, and not Apple TV goes like this

One of the reasons we decided to support Chromecast was that Apple TV currently works only with Apple devices. Chromecast has SDKs available for a number of different platforms including iOS, Android, and the Chrome browser for laptop and desktop computers.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!! Of FFS Chris, your logic to this argument would go like this in the boardroom. “Er! Sorry folks we cannot have the iplayer app running on iOS as that system only works on iPhones and iPads” You total dick Chris! Any child would look at the iplayer app and then correctly attest that you are wrong and clearly the wrong man for the job if you can place an ill judged argument into the media like that.

Oh and for those outside of the UK let me share some info for you. The BBC within the last year, in a bid to become more youth friendly decided to cancel an entire channel. Yes thats right you heard me, an entire channel and not just a show. BBC3 to be canned and moved to the internet. The decision to do with moving this entire channel and its shows to the iplayer where people can watch what they want,when they want and not be concerned when a show is on.  Thus but leaving it off the Apple TV, the lovely Beeb has managed to snaffoo a section of the potential audience. Honestly, I could run the place better than these over payed prats.

Anynoo, this resulted in an off kilter rant which you can all listen to here:

Episode 29:

We hope you enjoy the podcast and blog and love seeing how many people around the worldview the blog. And, because we are rather happy with you all you get the pod tonight whereas the rest of the world will be getting it tomorrow morning.

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