On first glance, it looks just like the Samsung Galaxy S4 which was unveiled in March. The design is really nice and keeps in line with Samsung current design language. By in large, Samsung likes to keep its design scheme the same throughout the year, and it works great for them; as it does for Apple.
But if you think about it, 4 inches used to be pretty big. Now its the average size for a smart phone.
When you get to a 5 inch phone, the colloquial term for it is “phablet”. Thats when a device is large enough to be considered a tablet, but small enough to be a phone. Of course, they are not officially advertised as “phablets”!
Lets go back to 2007, where it all started. The Apple iPhone was the first phone to feature a “large” display. It set the standard for how a smart phone should look. 3.5 inches was a huge size and many considered it too big for a phone. It was like the 4 inches of today. When Steve Jobs announced it he said “..get rid of all these buttons and have a giant screen…a giant screen!”. He famously called that 3.5 inch display “giant”. Wowz.
My first phone had a 2 inch display and I thought it was big! I remember watching movies on this “large” screen! It was a slider phone too, which made it so compact. Few years later, I got a Samsung phone which had a 3 inch screen (I think). This made my previous phone look so small and made my wonder how I used it! Some more years later, and I used the iPhone 4S with it’s 3.5 inch Retina display – it beats my previous phones in all directions.
Samsung is taking the biggest risks right now by releasing devices with all screen sizes. With Samsung, you will surely find a screen size for you. As you get to 8 inches, only tablets are offered to you.
The funny thing is that the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, with its 5.5 inch display, is one of the top selling phones for Samsung right now. More consumers are choosing Samsung over Apple or BlackBerry for the screen size and customisation options in the OS.
I have been honoured to try out the Samsung Galaxy S3, Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and the iPhone 5. I’m going to sound like an Apple fan boy for saying this – but the iPhone 5 felt the best. Transitioning from an iPhone 4S to an iPhone 5 feels good. I have average sized hands and could reach the top of the screen with a bit of shuffling. The width of the phone is the same, so there is nothing more to get used to. On the other hand, the Samsung devices that I tried, required me to use both of my hands.
Different phones will appeal to different people. Thats why it’s best to just use what you love and love what you use.
iOS 6.1 doesn’t seem to feature any huge, noticeable changes for the end-user. iOS 6.1 features some more Mapping tools for developers to add the new Maps into their apps. This means that developers will be able to make better use of the new Mapping software which was introduced in June 2012.
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iOS 6.1 Beta 1 Features:
“REPORT A PROBLEM” (or two)
The “Report A Problem” button in Maps is now more prominent, taking up two buttons worth of space. Looks like Apple is really keen on knowing every thing they can do to fix the Maps app. The buttons are also much slimmer. Here is a comparison of the old and new style:
NEW LOCK SCREEN MUSIC CONTROLS
Apple has finally reflected the new Music app on the lock screen with these new look controls. They are essentially the same with more spacing and with that new silver look. The clock moves to the status bar. You can get to them by double-clicking the home button on the lock screen. And yes, the volume slider icon does reflect in the light when you tilt the device, just like in the Music app. A very similar interface has been added to the iPad, but it also has an option to scrub through the song – right from the lock screen.
“RESET ADVERTISING IDENTIFIER”
There is a new option in About >; Advertising, that allows you to “Reset Advertising Identifier”.
BOOK CINEMA TICKETS WITH SIRI VIA FANDANGO
Soon, you’ll be able to book movie tickets using Siri via the Fandango service. You can already book tables at restaurants, and the ability to book movies will be even better.
WI-FI NETWORKING TOGGLE
In System Services, a new toggle has been added which turns ‘WiFi networking’ on and off.
iOS 6.1 Beta 2 Features
PASSBOOK MAKES DEFINITIONS
When Apple introduced Passbook in June 2012, they didn’t really make clear what it actually was. They described it roughly as ”an app to hold your tickets and boarding passes”. It left end users confused. Apple has now added a sample card in Passbook describing what it does and how to use it. They even describe what the ‘App Store’ button was for.
POSITION OF LENGTH OF SONGS CHANGED
The minutes and seconds of a song are now listed beneath the song title. It was moved to make space for the iCloud icon for downloading music down from the cloud.
HEARING AID MODE RELOCATED
The hearing aid mode is no longer turn on with a simple toggle in Accessibility. You now have a new menu for it called ‘Hearing Aids’.
NEW LIVE LISTEN FEATURE
A new feature has been added in that new hearing aid menu. It’s called Live Listen and lets you use your iPhone as a remote microphone.
This is not a feature per se, but iOS 6.1 beta 3 seems like a bug fix release than anything else. It also feels a lot more stable and snappy. It is unclear if there is a signature feature missing from 6.1 that will debut at launch but you can expect a GM release soon.
ICLOUD SETTINGS UPDATE
Apple has updated it’s iCloud settings and in this beta of iOS 6.1 you are asked to confirm your Apple ID password for FaceTime and iMessages when starting your device for the first time after installation. It asks you to confirm how people can reach you and tells you that you can change these settings at any time. It is not clear if the end user will also see this screen when the software is finally released.
PASSBOOK SAMPLE CARD SLIGHTLY UPDATED
The small text on the sample Passbook card has been updated – the UK version at least. The updates to the card are very minor with some American English words written in British English – such as ‘movie tickets’ replaced with ‘cinema tickets’. Below, the UPDATED card is on the RIGHT.
IMPROVEMENTS TO RESET ADVERTISING IDENTIFIER
Previously, when you clicked ‘Reset Advertising Identifier’, nothing would happen. The button would just blink because it didn’t actually do anything. Now, you are given an option to confirm your choice and it is now working.
VOICE DIAL ONLY
With the advent of Siri on more and more devices, it seems weird that Apple would update something that is as old as the iPhone 3GS, but if you still use Voice Control, there is a new section in the settings for it that allow you to set it to ‘Voice Dial Only’. You can choose a language from the list to use Voice Dial with.
NEW MOBILE/CELLULAR DATA OPTION
There is a new toggle for mobile/cellular data for iTunes. It was removed in the previous betas. It’s made a come back and by default, it is turned off.
iOS 6.1 Beta 4 Features
GENERAL UPDATES WITH IOS 6.1 BETA 4
There doesn’t seem to be any huge or noticable changes in the latest build of iOS 6.1. Seems like yet another a bug fix release, with minor changes. This could all change with the GM release expected next, preceded by an Apple Keynote. Since there isn’t many new features in this beta, you should scroll down to the ‘Other Notable New Features in 6.1″ section of this post.
On Monday 17th December, Apple released the 4th beta build of iOS 6.1. This section is currently being updated with beta 4 content. Please check back soon for the most in-depth beta coverage on the internet!
APPLE MAPS – REPORT A PROBLEM
Despite the return of the superior Google Maps on iOS, Apple still wants to know to do with their Maps app. When you report a problem in Maps, you now have more options to choose from.
Unless Apple made a mistake, Beta 5 is not available OTA (Over The Air). It must be downloaded from the developer website and its just over a gigabyte large.
Since there isn’t many new features in this beta, you should scroll down to the ‘Other Notable New Features in 6.1″ section of this post.
SPLIT KEYBOARD TOGGLE
Apple has quietly added a toggle for turning the split keyboard on or off on the iPad. It can be found in General > Keyboard > Split Keyboard. Split Keyboard is a feature which was first introduced in iOS 5.
OTHER NOTABLE NEW FEATURES WITH iOS 6.1
Slightly revised music app with the ‘Artists’ tab more consistent.
Snappier experience with iPad 3rd Generation and iPhone 4S
Improved App Store experience
When checking for updates in the App Store, clicking the inverted triangle for an update is more accurate.
More cities in Maps are in 3D (this is expected with every release of iOS 6)
Maps is a bit more accurate in the sense that more countries are covered with better satellite imagery
Album art is better centered on the lock screen.
4G LTE on the “EE” network in the UK has been improved
4G LTE software support has been added to a network in Denmark
Improved Siri functionality over Wi-FI
Performance on iPhone 4, 4S and iPod touch 4G is greatly improved.
New lock screen Music controls on iPad
Download single tracks from iTunes Match, rather than whole albums
Improved battery life on iPhone 4S and iPhone 4.
iOS 6.1 Beta 3 is more stable than the previous beta versions of 6.1
New setup for users running the 3rd beta version of 6.1.
4G LTE enabled on the Portugese network; TMN
Ability to delete music from device while keeping a copy of the track in the cloud for download later
The YouTube icon in the share menu has been updated to match the downloadable YouTube app icon
Improve noise cancellation during calls on iPhone 5
Notification bug fixed with the release of beta 4
Removal of background audio playing from Safari
Safari improvements (seriously, its true!)
Split Keyboard toggle for iPad 2, 3rd gen, 4th gen and iPad mini
KNOWN ISSUES WITH iOS 6.1 OVERALL
The Panorama mode on iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 is broken and crashes. FIXED
iOS 6.1 is not working too well on iPad 2. Seems laggy.FIXED
Using Siri on 3G networks is slower (A confirmed bug, that Apple is said to be improving over the next few days) FIXED
Exchange doesn’t seem to be fixed properly
Bluetooth MAP doesn’t seem fixed properly
Weak WiFi on some devices.
Poor sound quality from A5 processor and later devices FIXED
App Store says there are updates pending, when there isn’t.
Even if you are using Wi-Fi, iPhone indicates that you are using 3G. Going to the Wi-Fi settings will temporarily fix it.
iPhone 5 loudspeaker problems – although some users are reporting that this has been fixed
Lag on iPhone 3GS with beta 3 – REDUCED
Problems accepting the iTunes terms and conditions. Can be done if you try again though. FIXED
A bug in the Mail.app causes it to freeze (hang) FIXED
With beta 4, some updates appear in the app store again, even though the app may already have been updated.
WWDC or the World Wide Developer Conference, is Apple’s week to shine in the world of everything software and hardware.
I’m not going to talk about iCloud, the Mac line, OS X Mountain Lion or about the new iPhone in the post because I think that’s been covered about 1000 times each week. We will see the new iPhone in October just the iPhone 4S! Let forget about it until then? 😆
If you asked me yesterday or a week ago wheather or not Apple would unveil iOS 6, I would have said “Maybe..”.
If you ask me today, I would say “Yes!” because there is now solid evidence of one of Apple’s topics.
Apple has put up some posters for iOS 6 around their campus and this kind of thing gets me excited! :). Note the new logo for iOS 6. Its a change from the bubbly ones 😉
iOS, if you didn’t know, is Apple’s platform for their mobile operating system. It’s found on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. There have been 5 major iterations of iOS and the next one gets unveiled on Monday.
I don’t know what iOS 6 will bring but this is what I’m hoping to see.
3D Maps – No More Google
This has been rumoured for a while before the leaked photographs began to show up. Google announced their version before Apple did which kinda confirms that Apple will certainly unveil their own. I’m hoping we get new 3D Mapping software to compete with Google’s new 3D maps on Android.
I also want to see some sort of widgets on the iPhone/iPod/iPad. iOS 5 brought out notification centre. A whole new way to see your notifications. It’s far from perfect, but its a great addition.
It would be great to see notification centre being used for more than just notifications. Turning Wi-Fi on and off (and more) from there would be a good addition.
Sure, I can jailbreak my phone to get these features but I shouldn’t have to.
Siri is an amazing start for what it is right now. Its a personal digital assistant that talks and listens to you. CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, said that ”users should stay tuned” when asked about improvments to Siri.
I really hope they open up the Siri API. Opening the API means that developers can have access to Siri when they want. For example, you could ask Siri to post a tweet, update a status, open an app or take a picture – without pressing any buttons. I thought they deeply intergrated twitter in to the OS in iOS 5, so why I can’t I tweet with Siri?
It would be cool if they added more commands to Siri such as ‘reduce brightness’, ‘bluetooth on/off’ and more.
Finally, it would be amazing if they took that beta tag off Siri, but something tells me that they will launch a full blown Siri app for the next iPhone before they do that. There is also speculation that Siri will be brought to the 3rd generation iPad. It would further improve the selling points for the new iPad. That would amazing too.
These are my top features for iOS 6. I’m also expecting some clean-up around the OS itself, just as iOS 5 did which should make the overall experience smoother than ever! Don’t forget, you will be able to download iOS 6 over-the-air from your current iOS 5 devices.
I am uber excited for iOS 6 and can’t wait to see what features lay in wait! The event takes place at 10AM PST thats 6PM GMT.
iOS 6 is expected to debut a release with the new iPhone in October. That sounds about right because it’s what happen last year.
But lets take a moment to think about what we wont see at the conference. Steve Jobs. He surely was a genious beyond anything in the world and after his passing away, he still lives on in the form of these gadgets we can’t live without.
It will be the first major Apple event where he will not be present. May he rest in peace.
What’s on your wishlist? If you have an Android device, what are you favourite features for it?
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