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MacBook Pro Battery Life

MacBook Pro Battery Life

It appears that Apple’s estimates for battery life for the new MacBook Pros were overstated. Instead of the claimed 10-hour battery life, it appears that the true battery life is closer to 5 hours.

Many new MacBook Pro owners are now unhappy.

In an earlier post, I expressed how unimpressed I was with the TouchBar in terms of functionality and usefulness. It turns out that the TouchBar is also partially responsible for the reduced battery life in terms of power consumption and displaced space for a larger battery.

Apple must become more transparent about it’s shortcomings if they are to keep their customer-base. I think they must also better understand value. The $2,800 entry-point for the 15″ MacBook Pro is a pricey proposition for a laptop that will hold a charge for only 5 hours.

Let’s hope Apple can quickly relearn how to be more in sync with the fans.

New MacBook Pro: A Whole Lot of Finger Dragging

New MacBook Pro: A Whole Lot of Finger Dragging

Apple just introduced a new line of MacBook Pros with more power, a Touch Bar, and some hefty prices.

I am not impressed.

I’ve never much liked the whole concept of a touch pad. I’ve always found them unintuitive and inconvenient. If I want to use my fingers on a surface, I want that surface to be the display itself. Dragging my fingers across a metal plate is not a confidence-inspiring experience. And now, dragging my fingers across a narrow bar, awkwardly placed at the top of a keyboard, is even less desirable.

Since the introduction of the Apple Watch, I began to lose confidence in Apple’s design team. The dismal sales of the Apple Watch should’ve been a clue that their design team has lost it’s way. Has Jony Ive run out of good ideas?

Unfortunately, the Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pros looks to be another gimmick, much like the Apple Watch. There is some indication that Apple may subconsciously know this since they are offering one model without the Touch Bar.

I appreciate the smaller size and more powerful architecture, but that is about all I can appreciate about this new lineup of MacBook Pros.

The iPhone 6 After Four Months

The iPhone 6 After Four Months

I’ve now had my iPhone 6 four months and I’m ready to give a balanced review.

First, it should be noted that 4 months ago I upgraded from an iPhone 4s. My philosophy with Apple products in general has evolved from a “got to have the latest” mentality into a “I will upgrade when the improvements are significant” mentality. In the past 5-8 years, Apple has provoked me to upgrade it’s products on roughly a ever-other-generation schedule. And the trend seems to be towards an ever-widening gap between upgrades.

The Hardware

The jump from an iPhone 4s to the iPhone 6 was significant, and it felt that way in all respects. The sleek and refined hardware design was impressive in aesthetics and weight. The fingerprint authentication worked surprisingly well and after setting up authentication for both right and left thumbs and index fingers, I found it to be very efficient and natural.

One criticism I have of the iPhone, and indeed almost all smart phones, is that they are not really comfortable devices in our hands. There’s very little about a “slim-brick” design that fits well with our hands. The ergonomics are mostly wrong for the human hand. It’s no wonder that so many folks drop their phones while using them.

That said, the iPhone 6 is no worse than most. I found that Apple’s own slim leather iPhone cover offers a sleek and simple design that stays true to the iPhone design, providing a solid grip in the hand.

The Software

The transition from IOS6 to IOS7 (and then to IOS8) was significant. There were not only a number of interface shifts, but there were also some annoying bugs to be worked through. It has taken Apple longer than I expected to address these bugs. And, I am not convinced that all of these bugs (e.g., wifi, bluetooth, battery life, and others) are resolved yet. Once I became more comfortable with the new interface, I began to enjoy it. The speed increase was noticeable and appreciated.

I spent the extra money to get the 128GB model since I was impressed by the iPhone’s camera specs and results. It was a wise choice. The camera is impressive for both stills and video. Although I own a DSLR, I find myself using the iPhone more often as my primary camera when I’m out and about. The stock camera app is adequate for most folks. But, if you are a more serious photographer, there are a number a great apps that give you more control over shutter speed, aperture, and timing. (I’m planning a post devoted to iPhone apps for photography and video.)

With so much memory on my iPhone, I spent the first month downloading almost 9 pages of apps. Since then, the download frenzy has waned. I have settled on regularly using about a dozen apps which now live on the first page of apps.

iPhone As Business Tool

The most significant evolution for me since purchasing my iPhone 6 is one that I would not have predicted. I am now essentially running an arts & culture website entirely from my iPhone. This means I take and edit photos and video, write content, manage various social media, post and comment, all from my iPhone. I’m a one-man, mobile, content-generating, broadcast machine!

With my iPhone fully engaged in activity almost 16 hours a day, I am now looking into solar-powered battery chargers. Any recommendations out there?

Apple Watch

Apple Watch

I’m excited about Apple’s new iPhone 6. I will probably upgrade my iPhone 4s in a few weeks when they become available. I’m not sure about the iPhone 6 Plus. I don’t think I want to be carrying around a small iPad mini in pocket.

I am especially excited about the new 8MP camera with an f/2.2 aperture and the ability to capture 1080p HD and 60-fps and 240-fps for slow motion video. (I wish the 240-fps worked at 1080p, but sadly it’s only at 720p.) I am also eager to see how well the video stabilization works.

The disappointment for me today was the Apple Watch.

I’m not sure that this is really a market that Apple will be able to revolutionize with this watch. I’ve become quite comfortable not wearing a watch and relying on my ever-present iPhone for time and everything else. The fact that you need an iPhone for the watch to be useful just strikes me as Apple just not thinking through the reality of how people will use the devices.

I think there is a market for wearable health monitoring devices, but I think something more like the $100 Fitbit is the way to go. I can’t think of even one of my friends or family that will spend $350 for a watch that needs an iPhone to be useful.

If Apple’s stock price is any indication, there are other people out there with similar reservations about this direction for Apple. I doubt that Steve Jobs would have released this Apple Watch on his watch.

Sharing Internet Connection With An iMac

Sharing Internet Connection With An iMac

This post is really an update of a post ( Using Your Mac As A Wireless Router ) I made back in 2007. I’ve had many emails from folks pointing out that the screenshots are not the same on their OSX. Since OSX has changed some since 2007, I will show how to do the same thing using Lion (OSX 10.7.4). (Since many of you will probably have a wireless modem/router, this may not be as useful.)

First, here’s the basic idea.

setup.png

To configure internet sharing on you iMac, go into System Preferences and click on Sharing.

 

In the Sharing window, click next to Internet Sharing on the left. Then select Wi-Fi on right. Be sure to click on the Wi-Fi Options to set a password for your wireless network. If you don’t do this, anyone within range will be able to use your wireless network.

 

Also, note that you will be prompted to turn on Wi-Fi on your iMac if it is not already turned on.

Your wireless network can be identified by the name used in the Computer Name field.

The iPad: A 24-Hour Review

Apple's iPad

After 24 hours with Apple’s new iPad, I’m convinced of two things.

First, the iPad is a game-changer. It will change our relationship to information and education technology. It will change game playing. And, it may possibly bring gaming and educational technologies closer together.

Second, it has some significant evolution ahead.

After a relatively short period of time experimenting and playing with the iPad, it’s clear that in positioning the iPad in the seemingly narrow niche between the laptop computer and the mobile phone device, Apple may have hit the sweet spot of where most folks use personal computer technology. That is, most folks use personal computer technology to: send/receive email, browse the web, engage in social networking (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube), acquire and listen to music, share photos/videos, and manage tasks and schedules. Most people mostly do these things, and most of them want a way to do it without hassling with file structures and device drivers and compatibility issues. The iPad mostly does this.

Whereas the more versatile and powerful laptop computer allows the user to be both a consumer and producer/publisher of web content, there’s no question that the iPad returns to the more TV-like approach of the user being primarily a consumer of multimedia web content. While the iPad certainly offers the ability to produce content, it is in a decidedly limited way. In as much as creating email, commenting to blog posts, and social networking interaction can be thought of as content-producing activities, the iPad has you covered. However, if you want to create, edit, and produce video or audio content, or even produce multimedia documents (e.g., PDFs or blog posts with graphics or audio or video content), you may find the iPad (in its present incarnation) quite limiting.

The iPad is a content delivery and presentation device more than a content producing device. And as such, I think Apple has identified a huge market.

Now for my gripes:

  • The iPad cannot be charged by many slightly older computer’s USB ports
  • Most of the iPhone/iTouch apps don’t translate well to the iPad
  • The industrial design of the iPad is alarmingly poor. It doesn’t feel comfortable in your hands. (Perhaps Apple was throwing a bone to third party skin designers?)
  • Seems that there needs to be some general interface guidelines agreed upon by all of the developers in order to make apps intuitive to users
  • Camera. Hello? Third party or built in, it needs to be there.
  • Apple, please reveal just exactly what kinds of input and output are possible with the USB/Power port and the Audio/Visual output port!

Overall, I am pleased with the iPad, and will continue to explore. I am pleased with battery life, impressive screen resolution, impressive sound quality from tiny speakers, and good processing speed. The screen rotation lock toggle is a good idea. I would like to see the Dragon speech-recognition technology integrated into all apps. And, Apple, please continue to explore and develop the eBook potential!

For more info about Apple’s iPad, go here: Apple’s iPad