Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Apple's Own Fragmentation...

Dear Apple.

You used to make fun of Android for its fragmentation... Now, I think you have lost the moral high ground on the topic... It would have been an easier transition if you included an adapter inside the box of the new MacBook Pros like what you did with the iPhone 7/7+.

From Gizmodo...

"It’s not easy to figure out exactly what cord you need, (either). There’s a lot of vague technobabble around most cords: male to female, micro vs mini. It can get confusing! That’s is why this guide to the dongles you’ll need to prepare for the mono-port future."

The fact that a guide is needed speaks volume...

Keep the conversation going! Contact me on my Twitter or Facebook account. You may also email me here!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Apple Watch Buyers... Take Note...

So, I went to some Apple Authorized Resellers and Apple Premium Resellers in my neck of the woods looking for an Apple Watch Series 2.

Long story short, some sellers don’t know the difference between the Series 1 Apple Watches to the original Apple Watch.

The conversation goes like this:
  • Me: Do you have an Apple Watch Series 2? 
  • Seller: We only have the Series 1.
  • Me (looking at the box): This is the original Apple Watch.
  • Seller: Yes, that is the Series 1.
  • Me: No, the Series 1 is the original Apple Watch but has the newer processor.
  • Seller: No, the one with the newer processor is the Series 2.
  • Me (seeing the futility…): Ah… Do you have the Stainless Steel Series 2?
  • Seller: Yes. (Went to the back to get the box…) It only comes with the red sport band.
  • Me (confused): I didn’t know Apple offers this in the new Series 2 watches…
  • Seller: That’s the Series 1 Stainless Steel.
  • Me (again, seeing the futility…): Ah, I see. Do you have Nike+ Apple Watches?
  • Seller: Right now, we don’t have Series 2, we only have Series 1.
  • Me (out of my wits…): Ah, ok, I’ll wait for the Series 2…

And I don’t think this is exclusive to the Philippines…

My sister-in-law who lives and works in a different country asked about the stainless steel Apple Watch. She was shown the aluminum watch. The sis-in-law insisted that they are not the same, as is obvious in the photos. The seller said photos can be altered!!! What?!?

So, if you are gonna buy, first, only buy from authorized Apple re-sellers! Then, even if you do buy from an authorized re-seller, make sure you read the label on the box!!! Or else you might get something that you didn’t want to in the first place…

(Screen grab from 9to5mac.com)

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Regarding the iPhone 7+ Portrait Mode

So, a friend and I were having dinner and she said she would have gotten an iPhone 7+. However, when she tried to sample the “Portrait Mode” of the iPhone 7+ inside a store, she was greatly disappointed that there really isn’t much “effect”. So, she ended up buying a mirrorless camera instead…

Which, I believe, is still the best way to get those creamy bokeh…

But, I told her that the iPhone 7+ in the store might have an older OS version… If the phone came directly from the factory, then, I guessed, that phone might only have iOS 10 installed in it. If you want the bokeh effect on the iPhone 7+, the iOS version must be 10.1.

So, after knowing this, I asked the friend is she will still consider getting the iPhone 7+. And she said yes. Since she’s up for contract renewal anyway, then the phone will be free.

So, happy to help a friend. :)

I don’t have an iPhone 7+. But if you want to see how the portrait mode works, check out the video made by Macworld here:

The Gear4 Bank iPhone 7 Case

So you just got your iPhone 7. The next thing you should do is get a case.

Yeah, I know, sad…

I would have wanted to use a case-less iPhone but the damn thing is so slippery on its own, so, as most of the iPhones I’ve owned this will also be in a case.

The iPhone 7 isn’t any different. I wanted to use it without a case, but, yeah, I don’t want my phone to suddenly slip from my hand and straight to the welcoming arms of the ground. I want something that should increase the grip-ability of my iPhone. And yes, having drop protection also wouldn’t be so bad.

So this time, I got a Gear4 Bank case. It’s nice-looking and has a 9-feet drop protection. The back is slippery, yes, but the bumper around the sides is grippy. :) The lightning port opening is wide enough even for third-party cables. The silence rocker is easily accessed also and the buttons are responsive even under the bumper.

The back is translucent and you can actually see the Apple logo at the back though you really have to squint real hard to see it.

The Gear4 is a nice case that is capable of protecting your phone.

Highly Recommended.

Photos shot with an iPhone 6+ using the iOS app Hipstamatic

Friday, November 4, 2016

My Thoughts on the New iPhone 7

This is my first review as the AppleLogist!!!!!!!! And I am so happy that it is about the iPhone! Very excited! :)


This isn't a review of the iPhone 7. Well, not exactly... The thing with living in the Philippines is, we rarely get products on their release dates. As in the case of Apple products, we are part of the third wave of the release cycle. So, there are already a lot of reviews out there.

So, my review will just be one of many and people might not be interested in another one, especially from an individual blogger.

Anyway, this post will contain my thoughts on Apple's new, smaller phone.

I originally didn't plan on buying an iPhone this year. However, my iPhone 5s, the last phone I bought from an actual Apple Store, the one in Michigan Avenue in Chicago, recently died. Well, its battery did. About a year or so ago, I noticed that its battery was already waning. So, I bought a third party battery case for it. I loved the iPhone 5s and it's actually my most favorite iPhone phone factor, so I thought that I would be able to extend its life span with the use of the battery case. However, now, even the battery case is dying. The phone battery goes from 70% to nothing in a matter of seconds and the battery case cannot hold a charge anymore. So I thought it's about time I retire the phone and make it an heirloom of my house...

Oh, I should also mention that the iPhone 5s is my secondary phone. My primary phone is the iPhone 6s+.

So, it was decision time... What should I get to replace my favorite iPhone 5s?

There were a lot of things to consider...

There was the iPhone 7, the iPhone 7+, the previous Apple flagships, the 6s and the 6s+, and the iPhone SE, which is exactly the same as the iPhone 5s externally. And, at the time, I was also reviewing a couple of Android phones and, I will be honest, I even considered them.

So why did I end up with the iPhone 7?

Let's look at the reasons...

The iPhone 7 is now water resistant. No, you cannot take it swimming (though there are people on the interwebs that actually took the new iPhones swimming...) but the phone will survive being dunked in a meter of water for thirty minutes. I've actually been caught in a moderate rain shower with my iPhone 6s+ and it actually survived the ordeal. With the iPhone 7, I will be more confident and I won't have to worry about being caught in really strong rain, something that we here in the Philippines experience from August to November (our typhoon season). And yes, even if I dropped my phone in the toilet (god-forbid) or in the sink, I am fairly confident that the phone will survive the dunking.

Another reason is the color. I absolutely love the matte black color! Yes, I didn't get the jet black because I am an absolutely O.C. person and I cannot stand scratches! But, I am not O.C. enough that I can use my iPhones without a case. I am fine with things getting worn over time (and I actually adhere to the philosophy called wabisabi) but I am not fine with things getting scratched without me actually doing anything to merit such scratching (if that makes sense). Like, I don't like the fact that the jet black can be scratched by your shirt when you want to wipe your fingerprints on the surface. And yes, the jet black color is a fingerprint magnet and the act of wiping said fingerprints can scratch the surface. Apple said that if you don't want scratches, then you should use a case. But what's the point then of getting the jet black color if you are gonna hide it anyway?!? So, I got the matte black and, so far, I have not used a case on it. However, I do plan to get a screen protector for it...

The camera is another reason why I got the iPhone 7. So, you may ask, why not the 7+ with its dual camera? Well... I don't like getting the first gen of anything and iPhone 7+ is the first gen which has a dual camera...

First, the iPhone 7 camera is better than the one in the iPhone 6s+. Yes, the 6s+! Why am I comparing the two? Well, it's simply because the iPhone 7 camera now has a better sensor *and* optical image stabilization. Before, image stabilization in the lens only existed for the "+" version iPhones. So, that means even with the 7, you will be able to get better low-light photos. The new "7"s also have a wider maximum aperture, so you really will be able to get better photos with them. So, all-in-all, I got the 7 versus the older phones because the camera in the 7 has better sensor, image stabilization and bigger maximum aperture.

So why not the 7+ with the 2x zoom? Well, the zoom lens is a welcome addition but it turns out the iPhone will not let you use it all the time, especially in low-light situations... For example, if you are in a dimly-lit room, instead of the phone letting you use the 2x zoom, the phone will force you, without you knowing it, to use the wide angle lens at 2x *digital zoom*! You may ask why you are being forced to use the wide zoom and this is my theory about it: the 2x zoom lens *does not* have image stabilization. So, at low light situations, this lens will produce blurry photos! (This is because the camera should open longer to get more light into the sensor...) With the image-stabilized lens, you will get less “shake” on your photos.

If you are using an actual camera and if it doesn't have image stabilization, your best bet is to use a tripod. However, the iPhone 7+ will not give you an option to force it to use the 2x lens even if you want to, so even if you put your iPhone on a tripod, the phone will still use the wide-angle lens at 2x digital zoom.

Another thing, the wide-angle lens has a maximum aperture of f/1.8 while that of the 2x zoom-lens is f/2.8. (If you are not familiar, the smaller number is better at low-light situations.) So this means you get more light when you use the wide-angle lens than when you use the 2x zoom lens. So, I think, this is the reason why the iPhone 7+ forces you to use the wide-angel lens in dimly-lit situations.

And for me, the advantage presented by the second lens in the 7+ is not enough for me to justify getting it.

And finally, the size... No, I love the bigger size of the iPhone 6s+. But, I want to differentiate between the two phones that I am using without actually looking at them. Say, both phones are in my bag, I want to be able to tell right away that I am getting the right phone! (If you wanna know why I have two phones, you can just ask me on twitter or FB.)

Speaking of size, I actually missed being able to use a phone one-handed… For me, the best size for one-handed operations is the size of the iPhone 5s/SE. But using the iPhone 7 is much better than the iPhone 7+ - with that phone, two-handed operations are almost always a must…

Speaking of the display - well, all I can say is it's nice. Much better than the 6s. Actually, the “wider color gamut” is very nice, nicer than the one on the 6s, but it still pales in comparison to some high end Android phones…

But I was wondering, how come the new iPhone 7/7+ doesn't have the True Tone display that is now only present in the 9.7-inch iPad Pro?

Oh, and there is the controversial topic that is the headphone jack... Or the lack thereof... Well, I cannot say that I am not disappointed by the removal of the headphone jack, but I didn't exactly shed a tear when Apple announced it. You see, I have been using Bluetooth headphones for some time now and it wasn't much of a migration for me. Also, for those times when I need to charge the phone, I just don't use the phone at all for my music...

I am happy either way; headphone jack or no headphone jack.

The introduction of the iPhone 7/7+ also meant the introduction of the new home button. Well, it is not actually a button anymore… If you have used a retina MacBook Pro, then you would know what it feels like to use the new button: it is now an electronic one and it can now sense different levels of pressure. So, this means that if the phone is turned off, you really will not feel any movement of the “button”. Instead, when the phone is switched on, what you will feel is what Apple calls a Taptic Engine - it is a mechanism inside the phone that vibrates every time you “press” the home… circle… It is fooling your hand, and your brain, into thinking that the “button” moves. This non-moving, non-button is actually a good thing for it is one less thing you would have to worry about. Since it is not moving anymore, then there is, theoretically, no wear-and-tear there anymore. Well, theoretically… Time will tell. Oh, and this also improves the water proofing of the phone.

A con about using the new button? If you wear gloves, then it’s a no-go… The new home button requires skin contact for you to activate it. So, if you are wearing gloves, then the home button won’t activate… Too bad for those people who are already experiencing cold weather…

But what I miss the most about the "+" version of the phones is the battery... When I use the iPhone regularly (if I am using solely it and I am not deferring to my iPad, say, for reading tweets, facebook, and surfing), by noon time, the phone's battery is already at 60% or so. So, if I want the phone to last me whole day, I would have to top off the battery in the middle of the day. With the 6s+, by 8pm at night, I still am at 10% or so...

Speaking of battery.... The iPhone 7 gets really warm when it charges. And with recent events, I get a little nervous when the new phone gets warm. Well, I get a lot nervous… So, when I hear people deriding the iPhone 7 for not having quick charging, the first thought that comes to my mind is: are you guys insane!?! And I am happy to note (pun not intended) that, so far, my iPhone 7 still has not, ahem, burned up…

Fingers crossed…

Ok, if the iPhone 5s is my most favorite form factor, why didn't I get the iPhone SE? Well... Not all relationships last and the only one that I want to last a lifetime is the one I have with the wife. With technology, it is easier for me to move on. And I actually love the 6/6+/6s/6s+/7/7+ form factors, though they are not my favorite. I actually don't want to put my 6s+ nor my 7 in a case if only they weren't so slippery... But that is for another story...

But all-in-all, you really cannot go with the iPhone 7/7+. It really is up to you on what you want to get, the small(ish) one or the big one. The iPhone 7+ camera, despite the things that I wrote above, is, for now, one of the best camera on any camera phone. The phones are faster, water resistant, and will make you change your philosophy in life (ok, make you adapt to wireless headphones). If you are coming from an iPhone 6s/6s+, it is not a really compelling reason to upgrade. But if you are coming from an older phone, like 6/6+ or older, then, yes, get the iPhone 7/7+. If you are coming from an Android ecosystem and you want to check out the other side, then the iPhone 7/7+ is a great entry point.

Highly Recommended!

Oh, I got the new iPhone 7 way before the official Philippine release date from ShopLite.com. Check it out if you wanna get an unlocked iPhone or other gadgets that strike your fancy!

The video was made with the Canon G7x Mark II. You can find my review of that camera here!

Most photos shot with an iPhone 6+ using the iOS app Hipstamatic. Other photos came straight out of the camera with no processing done whatsoever.