Monthly Archives: October 2014

Tablets and Phablets – Know The Differences

Worldwide sales figures suggest that traditional tablet PCs are fast losing ground to the new-age phablets. The latter, in fact, can be used as a regular smartphone as well. We here highlight the main points of differences between phablets and tablets.

The total volume of tablet shipments worldwide rose by less than 5% last year, according to a Digitimes Report. While the sales of iPad has flattened out, Apple is not the only company to be facing the problem of dwindling popularity of tablets. It would be too early to project the demise of tablets altogether, but we can definitely state that phablets have emerged as more than worthy substitutes. While the war between the iPhone 6 Plus and the Google Nexus 6 is hotly debated by techies, let us do a roundup of the key differences between a tablet and a phablet:

 

  1. Screen size – The primary criteria on the basis of which a device is classified as a ‘tablet’ or a ‘phablet’. Gadgets in the former category are typically larger, with the screen size being 7.5” to 10”. The screens of phablets are, on average, between 5” to 7” in size. It is worth a mention in this regard that ‘smartphones’ traditionally have a screen size of 4” to 5”.
  2. Usability features – Contrary to general belief, phablets have not been introduced in the market to compete with tablets only. They combine the functionalities of both smartphones and tablets, so that users of either can switch over to a phablet – and enjoy the same communication features. Since phablets are smaller in size, holding them next to the ear is not much of a problem. Trying to do the same with a tablet is awkward – unless, of course, you are using a hands-free bluetooth headset.
  3. Battery consumption and performance – Let’s put it this way – tablets and smartphones have roughly the same battery backup period (around 10-12 hours on 2G), while phablets typically offer more than 15 hours of usage without having to be recharged. According to researchers on mobile devices and app development, the better battery performance of phablets is a direct result of the more powerful processors (in comparison with tablets) that they have. The higher RAM space is also a factor. What’s more – since tablets have larger screen spaces, they tend to consume more battery.
  4. Camera features – Ho-hum on most tablets, and usually excellent on tablets. When the latter hit the markets – taking photos was not considered to be one of its ‘core’ functions, so much so that the first-generation iPad did not have any camera app at all. Although things have changed, you will be hard-pressed to find a tablet that has a rear camera of more than 5MP. Now, compare that with the 8-13 MP cameras embedded in phablets. Yet another indication that phablets can serve as decent alternatives to smartphones.
  5. Thickness – Tablets are significantly thicker than phablets. As far as device weights are concerned, a tablet is heavier than a phablet too (consider devices from the same manufacturer, for an objective comparison). The thinner bezel of a phablet is the most noteworthy point of difference regarding the physical attributes of the two categories of gadgets. Phablets generally weigh around 200 grams, while the best-selling tablets are mostly over 300 grams in weight.
  6. Market entry – If tablets and phablets were humans, the former would have been around 8 years older than the latter. Microsoft officially announced the first range of tablet PCs in 2001 – and the gadgets were launched in 2002. The first-generation iPad arrived as late as in April 2010. That, incidentally, was also the year when Dell Streak – the world’s first phablet – was unveiled. Although not a huge success, it showed the way for more powerful phablet versions, which were launched over the next couple of years.
  7. Utility as an education technology tool – Nearly 40% of preschoolers across the world use tablets on a regular basis. There are several educational apps for kids that are optimized for contemporary tablets. Teachers recommend the usage of tablets too, for i) making children tech-savvy from an early age, and b) taking advantage of all digital learning resources. Phablets, however, are still considered as ‘big brothers’ of smartphones – and are rarely used by children below a certain age.
  8. Display quality – In addition to the screen size, phablets also ace it in terms of display quality. Among the models currently available, many offer full-HD 1080p display. Even mid-range phablets boast of 720p visual properties – higher than what most tablets offer. In terms of pixel density (ppi) as well, phablets are well ahead (240 ppi vs 210 ppi (average figures)). Once again, the lower pixel density of tablets can be attributed to their larger screen space.
  9. Way of use – Steve Jobs once compared large-sized mobile devices as ‘Hummers’, clearly indicating that they would find very few takers. With all due respect to the legendary entrepreneur, we can say that this was one of the poorest tech predictions of all time. The popularity of tablets proved that there were plenty of people interested in using both their hands to operate mobile gadgets. Phablets are, conversely, ‘one-hand devices’. Users can talk, text, browse, and perform other functions using a single hand with ease.
  10. Target audience – Not vastly different for the two. However, surveys conducted by leading tech gadget and mobile app development companies have revealed that tablets are mostly owned by people who need to perform work-related tasks and use multimedia resources on the go. On the other hand, phablets find more acceptance among the relatively younger generation – who use entertainment-based apps and use wi-fi services on a regular basis. Not surprisingly, phablets are now considered the ‘in’-thing.
  11. Average selling prices – From 2010, the prices of both tablets and phablets have been on a gradual downward trend. By the end of 2015, the average price tag on tablets is expected to drop below the $415 mark. The fall in the average price of phablets have been even more striking – from close to $570 in 2013, to less than $400 at present. With a surge in sales volumes, it can be expected that phablet prices might fall further.
  12. The biggest players – Apple recently announced the iPad Air 2 and the iPad Mini 3, indicating that the tablet market is far from being dead. Samsung, Amazon and LG also have their range of tablets – which are high on popularity. Ironically, Microsoft’s Surface tab did not do well at all. On the phablet front, all eyes are on the iPhone 6 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4 tussle. Sony Xperia and Nokia Lumia phablets have their own set of fans too.

It has been projected by market analysts and app development experts that shipment volumes of phablets would become nearly double of that of tablets, by 2018. It would be a folly to completely rule out the chances of a turnaround in the fortunes of tablets though. User-preferences keep changing, phablets have more fans at present – but there can always be a swing in customer demands, right?

 

One thing’s for sure though, tablets are not going to disappear from the market anytime soon!

 

Should You Go For An iOS 8 Jailbreak Right Now?

All set to jailbreak your new iPhone 6 and/or any other device upgraded to iOS 8? Although it is a matter of days now before Pangu jailbreak options become available, you should not go for it immediately. Here is an overview of some of the reasons for that.

 

iOS 8.1 will be released today by Apple, and fans of third-party mobile applications are all excited about it. Since the day of release of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus (the devices on which iOS 8 made its debut), users have been looking for tools to jailbreak their devices – just like it was possible with the Cydia app store/evasi0n for iOS 7. However, the Pangu team had already announced that iOS 8 jailbreak software would be available only after the iOS 8.1 update had been officially launched. Well, that happens today – but you should not jump into the ‘I-have-to-jailbreak-my-iPhone’ bandwagon now due to the following reasons:

 

  1. Warranty on your iPhone would become void – The moment you jailbreak your iOS device, all Apple guarantee statements on it become null and void. If your new iPhone develops a technical glitch, you will not be able to get it sorted out from the service providers at Apple store. Of course, you can work around this by restoring your jailbroken handset to factory settings. However, there is always the chance that the mobile is not restorable through iTunes. That would land you in a big fix!
  2. iOS updates would get delayed and troublesome – Consider this: you jailbreak your iOS 8.1-powered handset, and download a host of external iPhone apps on it. If another update (say, iOS 8.2) comes along in a few months, you will have to install it, jailbreak your phone all over again, and re-install all those applications. What’s more, update notifications might not be available on a real-time basis on jailbroken devices either. That’s precisely why iPhone app developers generally advise people to not jailbreak their handsets, unless absolutely necessary. In any case, iOS 8 already supports third-party keyboards – so that’s one headache gone.
  3. Security layers will be weakened – Rooting your iOS device can make it more susceptible to serious hacker attacks. Once the built-in framework/firmware has been jailbroken, the default Apple security features would be lost. Professional hackers would have a field day introducing malicious spyware and virus remotely in your device. The confidentiality of your important phone documents might also get compromised. Apple Pay would become usable with iPhones upgraded to iOS 8.1 – and if your device is jailbroken, making digital payments would become risky too.
  4. Jailbroken apps are not always free – In fact, most of the good ones at the Cydia store are paid applications. Mobile app companies typically release pricey apps that can be installed on iDevices, only after the latter have been jailbroken. Now, iTunes has more than 1.3 million apps – some of the coolest ones (from mobile games, to external keypads and messaging and app switching tools) are free – and if you do not wish to spend unnecessarily on new apps, there is no point doing an iOS 8 jailbreak immediately.
  5. Battery performance would take a hit – Getting a jailbreak done would enable you to customize your phone in just the way you like. Fair enough, but have you considered what effect this high-end personalization has on your phone battery and processor? As you keep apps running in the background, activate and share GPS functions, and play around with other jailbroken software, battery consumption rates increase and the processor gets overloaded. It might not be long before you have to tag along your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad with its charger – wherever you go. Not particularly convenient, right?
  6. App crashes and screen freezes will become more frequent – And, the time required to launch new apps would also increase. Surveys conducted by mobile testing experts and iPhone app development analysts have shown that the number of times a jailbroken iDevice freezes is, on average, way higher than a phone or tablet with original settings. Launching the phone camera or iMessages can also take significantly longer, after an iOS 8 jailbreak has been done. Every time the screen gets frozen, you will have to do a ‘soft reboot’. Over time, the phone might get damaged due to this.
  7. The problems of iOS 8.0.2 will return – Apple’s iOS 8.0.2 copped so much flak principally due to the increased number of call drops and connection disruptions on devices that had been upgraded. The first set of Pangu jailbreak tools are not likely to be really great – and there is every chance that those problems will remain, or even become more serious. The data speeds will become painfully low, connectivity issues might crop up, and Apple Maps (not particularly reliable in any case) can malfunction too. It would be advisable to wait for a couple of months before jailbreaking your new iPhone (if you deem it really necessary, that is).
  8. Chances of a jailbreak failure – Every vendor promises ‘instant jailbreak’. You need not believe such tall claims. There have been, and will be, cases when jailbreaking fails – and you would have to repeat the steps all over again. The other way out is restoring factory settings, but that would necessitate re-installing all your mobile apps, files and pictures. If you are indeed planning to perform a jailbreak, keep aside around 4-5 hours for the task. If the jailbreak is successful at the first go, consider yourself lucky!
  9. Possible anomaly in app behavior – Users of jailbroken phones as well as iOS developers have reported that many iPhone/iPad apps (including those downloaded from the Apple App Store) behave unpredictably on modified devices. For example, an error message might be flashed regarding the incompatibility of a pre-installed app, which was working absolutely fine earlier. On iOS 8, you have plenty of customization options – why take the risk of compromising the reliability of your favorite apps?
  10. Problems in data syncing and notifications generation – According to established iPhone app development companies, applications that require the Push Notification feature of Apple do not work well on jailbroken iDevices. Users often face problems while syncing their data on iCloud as well, after performing a jailbreak. Even regular features like Weather and Visual Voicemail might not work properly.
  11. A jailbroken iPhone is as unsafe as your computer – If you have jailbroken your brand new iPhone 6 and it gets stolen, you have every reason to be very worried (particularly if you have deactivated the ‘Find My iPhone’ feature). Any person who gets hold of your handset can simply plug it on to a computer, and get access to the entire file database stored in the phone. There are applications (e.g. DiskView) that can be used to change the filesystem as well. Your high-end smartphone will become just like any normal PC – with unauthorized data access being a definite possibility.
  12. Will you be able to install future updates at all? – We have touched upon the problem of installing updates and re-jailbreaking earlier. However, there are certain third-party applications that block all iOS updates (in other words, damage the iOS framework). As a result, when you try to install the new update – for instance, when iOS 8.2 comes along – the device might become inoperable/unresponsive. In case you do not change the root password after jailbreaking your device, there is no saying what type of apps you will come across. And you won’t be able to seek Apple’s help either!

All things said, there will be plenty of people doing iOS 8 jailbreak – as soon as the software tools become available. Remember, if you join the rush, you will have to bear the entire responsibility of any probable damage in your iPhone. Jailbreaking is not a legal offence or anything, but there are plenty of justifiable reasons why Apple as well as leading mobile app companies advise people to stay away from it!

22 Interesting Apps For iOS 8 Devices

The popularity of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have more than matched up to the initial expectation levels. Mobile app companies have released many iOS 8-optimized apps, while upgrades of existing applications have also hit the stores. Here’s a roundup of the coolest iOS 8 apps.

The disastrous iOS 8.0.1 update is now behind us. The developers at Apple have ironed out many of the issues in the 8.0.2 update – and a full-blown iOS 8.1 update is also scheduled to be released soon (beta version already available for app developers). With the sales of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus sustaining at amazingly high levels, professional iPhone app companies are scurrying to come up with applications that are optimized for the new mobile OS. We conducted a survey a week back, and these iOS 8 apps seemed the most interesting:

 

  1. Fleksy – iOS 8 (finally) allows installation of third-party keyboards, and Fleksy is a cool application to take advantage of this feature. Right from the color and size of the keyboard, to its layout structure – everything can be modified with this easy-to-use iPhone app. Keyboard customization at its best – that’s what Fleksy is about.
  2. Box – If you frequently use the iWork app suite, you will find the Box application really useful. You can access and open any file, picture or other documents stored in your new/upgraded iOS device via this app – and then edit the same on any other application. You can even store music files in Box. 10 GB cloud storage space is available for free – and you can subscribe to the Personal Pro scheme ($79.99 annually) for a storage space of 100 GB.
  3. iTranslate – iPhone app development experts feel that widget support in the notifications center is a major highlight of iOS 8. iTranslate is a widget application that helps you make the most of this. You can set any language as the default, and the app would instantaneously translate text in any other language written/copied on the phone clipboard. Much like our Stopover app, iTranslate comes in really handy for regular travelers.
  4. Opak – Feel that Instagram has become just a bit passe? Not a problem! On your iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, you can check out the all-new Opak app. It would allow you to make your pictures livelier than ever before – through customizable colors, shades, stickers and photo filters. As many as 30 filters are available in the application, making it an absolute delight for creativity-lovers.
  5. Post-It-Plus – A free app that literally turns your zillions of post-it notes into convenient virtual files. All you have to do is take a snap of your paper note, and it will be instantly converted and stored in a compatible file format in your device. The virtual post-its can be shared directly from the app as well. A maximum of 50 post-its can be stored at a time in this iOS 8 application.
  6. Pocket – Yes, the popular Pocket app now has a Safari browser extension – but that’s not all there’s new about it. Mobile app development experts have confirmed that Pocket can now use the ‘Handoff’ feature of iOS 8 – to continue reading across devices. The utility of this ‘read later’ app will get a further lift when the Mac OS X Yosemite (10.10) becomes available.
  7. Hours – If you have multiple timers running on your iPhone, this is a widget app that would definitely come in handy. After installation, Hours displays the status of all the timers in the Notifications center. Since tasks can be color-coded, you will also be able to track how much time is being spent on different activities. Time-management will become a whole lot easier!
  8. Wunderlist – Contemporary iOS app development companies have launched several task-management applications for iOS 8 – and Wunderlist has got to be one of the best among them. On the app, tasks can be categorized under grocery-shopping, household chores, work-related tasks, and even the television shows you plan to watch. The cool mobile app designing theme implemented in Wunderlist adds to its charms.
  9. Swype – Android had it for years, and iOS now has it too. The Swype keyboard app is now available at the iTunes store, and it offers a whole new typing/text input experience for users. Once you install Swype, you will no longer have to tap to type. Swiping gestures will be required – and you can become comfortable using it in a matter of minutes.
  10. Mint – Of course, the official Mint.com app was available for earlier iOS versions. However, for iOS 8, Mint comes with additional security provisions – thanks to the TouchID feature of iPhone 6/6 Plus. Along with the default 128-bit encryption, TouchID support makes Mint one of the most secure finance-based mobile apps.
  11. App In The Air – Another widget app that is fast gaining in popularity among frequent travelers. As its name suggests, App In The Air provides accurate, real-time information on the arrival and departure times of flights (domestic and international). Users have the option to save their entire travel itinerary in the app, since the latter comes with Triplt support. Check in timings, flight duration estimates, and flight numbers can also be viewed on App In The Air.
  12. Epic Zen Garden – Months before the September 9 iPhone 6/6 Plus launch event, Apple had given a preview of the iOS 8 graphics with Epic Zen Garden. It was a masterstroke, for this app indeed highlights all that’s good about the graphic interface and interactive UI features of the new mobile platform. There are butterflies, flowers, blossoms and a host of other fun elements in the tranquil virtual environment of Epic Zen Garden. You’ll enjoy the visual delight!
  13. MyScript Stack – This one is for all those who love sending personalized messages (instead of regular keyboard-created text) to their contacts. MyScript Stack lets you trace out letters with your fingers (the touch features of iOS 8 are excellent). The personalized script can be attached with images and sent. Why bother tapping on a keyboard?
  14. Asphalt 8 – Hardcore gaming addicts will be familiar with this game – and they will be delighted with its iOS 8 update. Those in charge of creating Asphalt 8 have made this racing game more competitive and exciting than ever before – with nearly three times the number of virtual fellow-racers. The visual elements of the game have also become richer, detailed and more vibrant.
  15. 1Password – The app that has already received the thumbs-up from iPhone/iPad app developers from the world over has its iOS 8 update ready as well. Now, you can store your login credentials from other installed iPhone applications, as well as from the Safari browser. 1Password is a free app – but if you wish to make secure in-app purchases, you will need to go for the premium/paid version. AgileBits has definitely done a great job.
  16. Sky Guide – Interested in celestial movements? This iOS 8 application is just the thing you need. Sky Guide makes use of the iPhone camera viewfinder – to help you get crystal-clear views stars, constellations, galaxies, planets, etc. Notifications about eclipses, cosmic showers and other such events are sent by the app, while you can also get sunrise/sunset information, planetary cycles, and other interesting trivia.
  17. PCalc – Yes, the app costs $9.99, but it is also the most comprehensive and multi-featured phone calculator currently at stores. Practically all types of complex mathematical functions can be performed with this virtual calculator – making it a must-have for finance and statistical analysts (in particular). The layout is simple and user-friendly, and till date, there have been no reports of any bugs in it.
  18. Mr. Crab – As far as mobile apps for kids on iOS 8 devices are concerned, Mr. Crab is one of the finest. Players have to jump along to the top area of the screen, and rescue as many of the little crabs as possible. The controls are simple, ensuring that children can operate the app on their own. Mr. Crab is extremely engaging, and it can keep kids hooked on for hours!
  19. Yahoo Weather – The iOS 7-optimized version of Yahoo Weather became pretty popular – thanks to the option of importing images from your Flickr photostream. The update for iOS 8 has even better animations and illustrations to depict weather conditions (for instance, fog). However, the standout feature of the new Yahoo Weather app is its ‘Today’ view – which has an animated widget in the notification center. The option of pinning local weather conditions is also worth a mention.
  20. Wdgts – Instead of downloading and installing separate currency converter, calendar, and calculator apps – you can go for the Wdgts application. It comes with a wide array of built-in widget tools – right from time zone information and currency conversions, to calculator and picture frames. Wdgts stays unobtrusively in the notification center of iPhones (that’s right, it is itself a widget app), and is a classic example of how smart mobile application development techniques have currently become.
  21. PopKey – Yet another app that makes full use of the third-party compatibility feature of iOS 8. Popkey offers users a fantastic range of animated GIFs to choose from, and include, in their messages (directly in iMessage). The ‘trending’ GIFs can be viewed, and there is also the option of searching for GIFs by using keywords.
  22. Paper Camera – This iOS 8 app is meant for adding hand-painted sketch effects and cartoons to the photos stored in your device. Extra lines can be added to pictures, brightness/contrast levels can be adjusted, and there is an additional ‘Sketch Up’ option as well. The overall layout of Paper Camera offers an interesting blend of elegance and playfulness. It can become really popular as an iPhone app for kids too.

The iOS 8 extension of iMovie, Evernote and Tumblr have enhanced the usability of these apps by several notches. For those who love to take pictures with their iPhones, Camera Plus would be a lovely application. 2Do performs well as a task-management app. By the time Apple has completely ironed out the flaws of iOS 8, there will be many, many more upgraded mobile applications at iTunes – that’s for sure!

iPhone 6 Plus Bendgate – Pure Hogwash?

Everyone (except for Apple, of course) seems to be having a quiet chuckle at the ongoing ‘bendgate’ controversy that has shrouded the iPhone 6 Plus. In here, we explain why ‘bendgate’ is not at an issue worth so much of discussion.

Since the launch of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the internet has been flooded with troll pictures, memes and jokes about the ‘bendgate’ controversy that riddled the latter. The major competitors of Apple jumped on the bandwagon and mocked the new iPhones – on the basis of complaints raised by a handful of early buyers. The so-called problem has not been able to stump Apple fans, however – and the combined sales figures of the two phones is nearing 45 million already. So many people cannot be simultaneously naive enough to spend big bucks on a ‘defective’ device. We here present some points which prove that the iPhone 6 Plus bendgate is not a defect at all:

 

  1. Bendgate isn’t statistically significant – Over 10 million units of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were bought over the first weekend. The total number of bendgate complaints registered? A paltry NINE! Even if we assume that a few other buyers did experience glitches in iPhone 6 Plus, the total number of such problematic handsets is a very tiny fraction of the overall number of units sold. You cannot mount a proper allegation based on what only nine people have said.
  2. iPhone 6 Plus is not meant to be stuffed into small trouser back pockets – A member of MacRumors reportedly kept his new iPhone 6 Plus in his back pocket, sat down for close to 18 hours (in essence, he was sitting ON the device), found out later that the device has become bent – and registered a complaint. Let’s just say that putting such pressure for so long would be enough to crack even the good ol’ Nokia 3310/3315 phones. If you are buying an expensive, high-end phone, you can surely take better care of it.
  3. The viral YouTube video has added to the buzz – When Lewis Hilsenteger uploaded an iPhone 6 Plus Bendgate Test video on YouTube, he was probably not aware a controversy of this scale will spin off from it. People who have seen the video have started to test their newly purchased iPhones, and the extra pressure has resulted in the devices actually getting damaged. No professional mobile analyst or iPhone app developer has approved the video – and the video has only served as a negative fad. Nothing more.
  4. It’s made of softer aluminum – It’s high time people realized that the iPhone 6 (unlike its predecessors) is made of aluminum – a metal which is rather highly malleable and ductile. Titanium and stainless steel is present for support only at the port connector points. Aluminium is much more difficult to break, but is way more easily bendable than the glass cases of iPhone 4S/5.
  5. Flexural test has proved iPhone 6’s toughness – Empirical proofs have also started coming in, highlighting the body strength (‘non-bendability’) of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. A 3-point flexural test was recently conducted by Consumer Reports, where the strength of iPhone 6 Plus was compared with that of LG G3, HTC One and Samsung Galaxy Note 3. It was proved beyond doubt that the iPhone 6 Plus does not bend under ‘typical use’.
  6. Memories of iPhone 4 Antennagate are back – The late Steve Jobs might still be the face of Apple Inc., but he has had an indirect role to play in the ‘bendgate’ furore. When the iPhone 4 was launched, there were widespread connectivity problems. Jobs made the folly of telling users ‘not to hold the phone in a particular way’. It dented the image of Apple considerably, and with nine people actually registering complaints about iPhone 6 – many felt a problem similar to Antennagate was cropping up. It’s nothing of the sort – if you do not willingly put too much pressure on iPhone 6/6 Plus, the handset would remain (physically) fine.
  7. The super-slimness is a factor – Experts from mobile software and iPhone app development companies feel that the ultra-thinness of the new iPhones enhances their ‘bendability’. The width of iPhone 6 Plus is only 7.1”, and while it is sturdy enough (as shown by the Consumer Reports tests) – it is NOT an indestructible device. Under normal circumstances, it can get bent and return to its original shape. However, if too much pressure is put on it for hours on end, it can become permanently broken. It will be the user’s fault, and not that of the developers at Apple.
  8. The ‘Hairgate’ is a sham – You might even come across a so-called ‘iPhone 6 Beardgate’ problem. The allegations that user’s facial hair is getting stuck in the gap between the aluminum and the front glass panel cannot be true – simply because the gap is significantly narrower than the breadth of a human hair. The bevel cannot cause the hair/beard of users getting ripped out. The glass and aluminum are actually fused, in both the phone and the phablet. ‘Hairgate’ is in the news simply because it is now a ‘cool thing’ to criticise Apple.
  9. What has the Bendgate test video got to do with actual usage anyway? – The Youtube video uploaded by Unbox Therapy shows considerable force being put on the sides of the iPhone 6 Plus, to bend it. The #Bendgate controversy is about how the handset supposedly bends automatically within people’s pockets. The two instances are not even remotely related – and the second allegation is mostly untrue.
  10. There’s a difference between ‘pressure’ and ‘too much pressure’ – Arguments and counter-arguments would rage on among mobile app developers regarding whether Tim Cook and his team was correct in emphasizing on slimness in the new iPhones (instead of, say, trying to improve battery performance). However, the phone and the phablet can withstand 70 pounds and 90 pounds of pressure respectively, without any permanent damage. Why would anyone try to put more pressure on a pricey new smartphone?
  11. Many people do not yet use protective cases for iPhone 6 – And it’s pretty much unfathomable why they don’t. There are several protective cases in the price range of $30-$50, which offer a fine combination of sturdiness and stylish appearances. It’s rather foolhardy to splurge on the latest iPhone, and then expose it to ‘bendgate’ risks by not using a proper protective case for it.
  12. Bashing up expensive products has always been deemed ‘cool’ – Consider this: Person A (from India) has reported a defect in his cheap Android One phone, while Person B has reported that his iPhone 6 Plus is getting bent. Which one do you think is going to make more news? That’s precisely what has happened here. A handful of people have been careless in their handling of the new iPhones and damaged the devices, and every Apple-hater has joined in to clamor about how the Cupertino company is nearing its demise!

 

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are not flawless devices, by any stretch of the imagination. The battery life remains rather unsatisfactory, the underlying iOS 8 platform has been causing sporadic cases of call-drops, the 8.0.1 update was a disaster, and installing third-party keyboards has not been particularly easy. Apple definitely needs to iron out these defects soon. What it does not need to do is lose sleep over the ‘bendgate’ controversy. After all, all smartphones get bent (but spring back to their original shapes) under extreme pressure – so why single out iPhone 6 Plus for all the negativity?

 

Oh, and by the way, if you try to bend your iPhone 6 Plus just as an experiment – remember one thing. If you are successful in causing any lasting damage, you will lose nearly 90% of the device’s resale value. iPhones are not above criticism – but they have always been positioned as ‘premium’ products. You are not supposed to check out its toughness just for kicks!

 

Windows 10: 15 Cool Features You Would Love

People expected a new Windows operating system to be unveiled last Tuesday at a Microsoft event, and they were not disappointed. The new platform has been named Windows 10, and shipments will start in the second half of 2015.

When Microsoft announced a ‘Windows Event’ at San Francisco on September 30, everyone started looking forward to a ‘Windows 9’ platform – which would be much better than the mess called Windows 8. Joe Belfiore and Terry Myerson sprung a mild surprise at the event, by announcing that the new version of the PC operating system would be named ‘Windows 10’ (that’s right, no 9 here!). Without getting into the pointless discussion on why 10 came directly after 8, let us directly dive into some of the best features of the operating system:

 

  1. Return of the ‘Start’ Menu – Yes – not the Start screen or the Start button – but the good ol’ Start Menu is making a return on Windows 10. It would be much in line with the menu on Windows 7 (with the Windows symbol, and not the actual letters). The live tiles feature on Windows 8.1 found appreciation among web and mobile app developers – and it is continued in the new platform.
  2. Enhanced multitasking – Microsoft has clearly taken a cue from Mac Systems, for designing the all-new multiple desktop system/Task View feature. You can now set one particular layout as your home screen – and create/simultaneously work on several other screens, which would remain open. Toggling across screens is easy (if you are a Mac-user, you would know all about it). No longer do you have to pile one browser window upon another.
  3. Continuum – This is probably the most user-friendly feature on Microsoft’s new computer OS. Via Continum, a PC can automatically change modes – depending on the hardware accessories attached to it and/or the precise requirements or users. For instance, if the keyboard is detached, buttons would appear on the screen for seamless navigation. It’s not exactly clear how the Continuum feature would work on non-touch based systems though.
  4. Purchasing apps in bulk – App development experts are raving about the volume-based app purchase option that Windows 10 offers. Virtual organizational app stores can be created, and it’s easy to manage the licenses of purchased applications as well. Deployment of the apps in diverse scenarios is not difficult either. Like Windows 8, this OS version is optimized for tablet-users too.
  5. Split screens – Windows 8.1 did provide glimpses of the Snap View, but Windows 10 takes this method of multitasking to a whole new level. You will now be able to view as many as four different screens at the same time (arranged at the four corners of your computer screen). The quality of the split screens would depend, of course, on the resolution level set on your machine.
  6. Arrival of Universal Apps – What used to be Metro Apps in Windows 8 has been renamed and re-arranged as Universal Apps in Windows 10. The highlight about this new app model is that – it will be compatible with all other, older applications in the Windows store. Mobile app development experts have also confirmed that Universal apps can be installed and used on Windows Phone. Not quite a challenger to iOS or Android apps yet – but certainly a step in the right direction by Microsoft.
  7. Azure Active Directory arrives – Do not have a Microsoft account, and are worried about security threats? With Windows 10 (technical previews now available), you can bid adieu to such apprehensions. On the new OS, users will be able to log in to their systems with their Azure AD credentials. The login information can also be securely stored in the cloud network. It sure seems like system hackers will have a tough time to break into updated Windows 10 PCs!
  8. Web results in Universal Search – The search box below the Start menu has also been tweaked about – in a bid to enhance its functionality. In addition to looking up files and folders stored in your computer, you can also look up web results related to any particular query (for example, the Wikipedia page for anything) directly from the search box. A nice option for users to start availing internet services without having to launch a browser separately every time.
  9. High-end enterprise features – Windows 10 is by far the most enterprise-user-oriented operating system launched by Microsoft. As software analysts and app developers have been saying for months, Windows 8 never became popular – and people wanted an alternative to Windows 7 (support to Windows XP has, of course, already been withdrawn). The new platform will keep personal and business data separate, and would come with extra provisions for secure mobile device management.
  10. Apps would now ‘float’ – Web applications on Windows 10 is not only about the presence of Universal Apps. The apps would now ‘float’ on their respective desktops – lending the user-interface (UI) a modernized, sophisticated appearance. People would also have the option to check out more options with these ‘floating’ apps (with the ‘…’ icon). The right-side of the screen no longer has those slightly irritating Commands (under Charms).
  11. Computing security like never before – Web and mobile app analysts place key emphasis on the issue of data security. Microsoft has done a great job in this regard, by incorporating Server Side Includes authentication in the new PC platform. All forms of user credentials will be auto-checked thoroughly (including password alternatives, if any) – before the requested data is made available from the database. There are pre-tested options for both general consumer authentication and enterprise authentication.
  12. A facelift for the Command Prompt – If you are one of the few who needs to use the command prompt regularly – here’s a bit of good news for you. The developers at Microsoft have created convenient keyboard shortcuts for the command prompt – including pasting the commands. This might not be a groundbreaking feature, but is definitely a welcome addition.
  13. Per-application VPN framework – Yet another state-of-the-art virtual security feature that Windows 10 users will be able to avail of. The built-in Virtual Private Network (VPN) would help in screening every application separately, which means that only a select collection of apps would be allowed on the platform. Apps and ports can be remotely accessed as well. Chances of an app with malware being present on your system would be minimal.
  14. A better Windows Explorer – The default view of the Windows Explorer has been changed to a Home location. This can potentially take up the utility of the Explorer by a couple of notches. The taskbar will also have a dedicated ‘Share’ button. Once again, we will have to wait and see whether a similar button is present in the Context menu as well.
  15. More frequent updates – Windows 10 will stay a step ahead of its last successful predecessor, Windows 7, in terms of business updates. IT admins will get the option to either lock the Windows environments of workers at office, or opt for the more open consumer-level updates. The critical security updates and patches will be automatically installed – so no worries there.

For those who are still wondering about the no-show of ‘Windows 9’, there are two alternative explanations. The first (and most logical) one is that Windows 10 is actually version 6.4 of the OS platform – the successor of version 6.3, which was…you guessed it…Windows 8.1. The other one might also have some grains of truth in it – Microsoft wishes to quickly put the debacle of Windows 8 behind it, hence the gap. Of course, there never had been a hard and fast numerical pattern to the PC operating systems from Windows (remember XP, NT, Vista, and the older 95 and 98?).

 

The first-look and preliminary screenshots suggest that Microsoft has done a good job with the new platform. It becomes available next year – and that will be when the public verdict on it will be out.

 

At least, it shouldn’t be an unmitigated disaster like Windows 8!