iPhone X Review

I’ve had it for a week now, the phone that was anticipated to be the greatest smartphone yet designed, and have to say that I am extremely impressed. It really does match the expectations. FaceID is wonderful, and works so much better than I ever thought it would. It just seamlessly unlocks, even at night time, where it uses the limited screen brightness to unlock the phone. (It really surprises anyone who sees you use it with Apple Pay), the screen is incredible and the overall build quality is outstanding.

The main highlights for me in terms of day-to-day use are definitely the camera, which is without doubt the best I have ever used, and gives others the impression that I am a much better photographer than I really am. Photo file sizes are extremely large (one portrait photo can be almost 100Mb).

A low-res version of a portrait photo of our cat taken with the iPhone X

I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by the battery life,  now I understand that it is still brand new, but it is so lovely to have a phone that I don’t have to charge every night! After moving from the iPhone 6S running iOS 11 where I was lucky to get to mid-afternoon with any battery left to now getting to the end of the day and still having 70+ % remaining is wonderful. I’ve been only charging it every other day. Finally not having to worry about if there is enough battery left to display boarding passes to get on flights at the end of a work day is fantastic.

Another favourite feature I’ve found so far – Bluetooth. I’m not sure how Apple has achieved it, or if it is just a side-effect of the faster processor in the new phone, but Bluetooth pairing seems to take a fraction of the time that it used to. The Bluetooth sound quality seems slightly improved too, the only minor down-side of the speed increase appears to be that the range is slightly decreased from the older devices.

As a test I tried going back to the iPhone 6S for a few hours, and having to have a physical button to press feels positively clunky, as does the iOS 11 experience after seeing how fluid and vivid it is on the new phone.

In summary, it is insanely expensive, but this is the Concorde, the CD in the world of cassettes, sliced bread, the revolutionary iPod, and like me, I suspect that once you have used one, you won’t ever be persuaded to go back to a lesser phone.

Live Photos – are we in the world of Harry Potter?

Apple’s New Live Photos have just arrived on the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus. (http://www.apple.com/ios/photos/)

Essentially, the camera captures a couple of seconds of video before and after each photo, meaning that photos can have movement. giphy

Remember those wonderful scenes in Harry Potter where the wizard newspaper photos move… expect that to start arriving in your Facebook news feed, desktop wallpapers and generally take over everywhere on the web within the next 6-12 months as everyone goes moving-photo mad. Will you look back in 2-3 years time at an old photo and wonder why it doesn’t move. Will our children find our static photos quirky, old-fashioned and boring?

No more static images, instead of a moment in time of a university graduate about to throw their hat up in the air, you will get to see them throwing it up, again…and again….and again! Essentially its a high-quality animated gif.

The problem with animated gif’s was always that they only had 256 colours, meaning that if you tried to use it with a colour image they ended up always looking grainy and un-natural. Once again Apple have come up with a completely new take on something that already existed and have improved it to make it fit in with the way people use their phones and devices.

Here it is explained in a great video by Mashable.

iOS 7 – the amazing hidden spirit level

iOS7

Its a brilliant new feature of iOS 7, yet you probably wont have heard about it virtually anywhere. There is a spirit level (a fantastically accurate one that works on multiple planes) built in to the compass app.

 

Open the compass app and then swipe left (thumb on right of screen and swipe across to the left) to go to the next screen

IMG_3954

 

What you get is this – in this mode the level checks if your phone is flat on its back. Set your phone on your desk and you can see if it is level! You may hope its not off by 9 degrees like the screen-shot below or no pen or pencil would ever stay still.

IMG_3955

If your desk is level – it goes green 🙂

IMG_3956

If you turn your phone on its edge, the display changes to allow you to check the level across the phone. You can make this even more accurate for longer distances by putting the phone on a plank of wood, and it is remarkably accurate.

IMG_3957

 

 

The same as with the phone flat, if you get it level, the screen goes green! No more paintings hung at an angle for iPhone users!

IMG_3958

 

 

Airplay receiver for Windows

Quite possibly one of the greatest pieces of Freeware I have every found. Shairport4w is a simple executable that runs and turns your PC in to an AirPlay receiver – allowing you to play music through your PC speakers directly from your iPad, iPhone, iPod or iTunes on another PC.

Shairport4w.zip

Download and save locally

Extract the .exe file and run! Its that simple!! (NB. the first time it runs it may ask to modify your firewall to allow the airplay content through to it).

If you want the program to run every time your PC starts, simply add it in to your startup folder in the Start Menu.

I have tested it on Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit. If you run this sucessfully on other set-ups please comment to let others know what it works on.

Apple’s AirPlay feature makes it easy to share and stream your iTunes library to iOS devices, but it lacks the option to stream media in the opposite direction. Shairport4w is a free application that makes it possible to transform your Windows based computer into an AirPort receiver so you can stream media from one machine to another.

The application can be used in conjunction with any computer or device that includes a version of iTunes or iOS that supports AirPlay, and the process of configuring your computer to be a media access point can be completed in just a moment.

Shairport4w is based on the recent Shairport app, but has been designed specifically with Windows users in mind. The program can be used in a variety of ways, but the most obvious benefit is that it makes it possible to have a single iTunes library that can be played anywhere in the home. As the app is portable, it can also be used in other ways.

If you have an extensive music library on your iOS device, you can pop a copy of Shairport44w on a USB drive and take it with you to parties or when visiting friends. Run the app under Windows and your music collection can be played back through computer speakers, and playback controlled from your iPhone or iPod while you sit on the sofa.

Mobile phones could run for months between charges

Apple iPhone
The iPhone - currently the major draw-back is the short battery life - could this all change?

I found a fantastic article about the future of mobile phone batteries! Hurry up and provide some major funding to these researchers Apple – how fantastic would it be to have an iPhone that can last more than 1 day without charge!

A team of electrical engineers at Illinois University in the US believe their   method will enable mobiles and laptops to run for up to 100 times longer   between charges.

It focuses on changing the way a device’s digital memory works, as this   consumes much of the charge.

At the moment mobile phone memories contain thin metal wires. Every time   information is accessed, electricity is passed through them to retrieve the  data.

The electrical engineers thought that if the size of the components used to   store and retrieve the information could be reduced, so could the amount of   electricity.

They have discovered a way of using carbon nanotubes – tiny tubes 10,000 times   thinner than a human hair – instead.

Feng Xiong, a graduate student on the team who was lead author on a paper, to   be published in the journal Science, explained: “The energy   consumption is essentially scaled with the volume of the memory bit.

“By using nanoscale contacts, we are able to achieve much smaller power   consumption.”

Prof Eric Pop, who led the project, said: “I think anyone who is dealing with   a lot of chargers and plugging things in every night can relate to wanting a   cell phone or laptop whose batteries can last for weeks or months.”

He thought that the method could improve a mobile phone’s efficiency so much   that they could be made to run simply by harvesting heat, kinetic energy or   solar energy.