Saturday, 28 September 2013

Apple iPhone 5s: My First Week

  I've spent a week using the Apple iPhone 5s as my primary device. In general, it is a solid effort on Apple's part, but it is not without its faults. Here are some of the strong points and weak points I've observed over the last seven days.
  iOS 7 is a bit buggy on the 5s. I've installed iOS 7 on an iPhone 5, an iPad 3, and an iPad Mini. It runs best on the iPhone 5 and iPad Mini. On the iPhone 5s, iOS 7 is prone to app crashes. Third-party app crashes aren't too awful, but when native apps such as the Settings Menu and Safari crash, you know something's not right.
  The hardware is fine, if unexciting. The 5s is a solid little device. Apple designed it with care and everything about it exudes quality and class. The display is great, even if it is smaller than I'd like, and the small form factor makes it easy to carry around and use.
  t's not the best voice phone. I've been testing an AT&T model of the iPhone 5s and am not impressed with its phone calls. I heard lots of interference and the earpiece speaker doesn't get quite loud enough. The speakerphone produces plenty of volume, but it also amplifies the interference. The iPhone is a better voice phone.
  The battery hasn't given me any trouble. The first few days were a bit iffy, but that's true of most smartphones. Once the battery cycled through a few charges, it settled into a good rhythm. I routinely got a full day out of it, despite heavy use. It's worth noting, though, that the battery cannot be removed or replaced, so you're stuck with what's sealed in the iPhone 5s.
  The camera is great. The new software, combined with the improved sensor, go a long way toward making the iPhone 5s one of the best camera phones available. The camera app is simpler to use and includes more features, such as burst mode and slow-motion video capture, and the results are on par with today's best devices. The improved gallery app is far more powerful when it comes to organizing photos, and some of the editing tools are a welcome addition.
  iOS 7 is still inflexible. Apple's simple smartphone/tablet user interface may win usability awards, but it is nowhere near as flexible or customizable as Android or even Windows Phone. The inability to control exactly where apps are positioned is frustrating, and the lack of resizable home screen widgets and apps leaves the OS looking too homogenous. I'd love to see some truly dynamic content on the home screen.
  Control Center is convenient. Apple's new dashboard for controlling some of the iPhone 5s's features is a big help. It makes simple tasks such as turning on and off the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth radios a breeze. I also like the fact that it includes controls for the music player as well as apps like the flashlight, calculator, timer, and camera. This is definitely a time saver, considering that it took several steps to reach many of these controls in previous versions of iOS.
  There's plenty to like about the 5s, but at the end of the day it offers only a slightly different experience than last year's iPhone 5. The Touch ID fingerprint sensor is the biggest difference. The camera and processor improvements in the 5s, though very real, aren't all that much better than the iPhone 5. We can only hope that Apple will make significant changes in next year's iPhone 6.

UI and UX paradigms as well as a big variety of hardware targets

  In an work to save each of its ailing platforms, Microsoft is arranging to combine each the Windows eight and Windows Telephone eight app retailers into a single, all-encompassing app shop. It isn’t entirely clear regardless of whether this can result in total cross-platform compatibility for each Windows eight and WP8 apps - like Apple’s iPhone and iPad App Store - or if it’s far more a case of designing a genuinely kick-ass app retailer that both platforms will then use independently of one another. In either case, the new combined app store will seek to rectify two enormous complaints: That Windows eight and Windows Telephone eight have poor app ecosystems, and, specifically inside the case of Windows eight, the utterly atrocious app store practical experience that generally leaves you asking yourself why on earth you decided to get a Windows tablet rather than an iPad.
  This news comes from the usual “sources acquainted with the company’s plans,” who spoke for the Verge. In line with the source, the head of Microsoft’s newly formed Operating Systems group, Terry Myerson, held a meeting exactly where he told a huge number of Microsoft personnel concerning the new strategy to combine the app shops. There didn’t seem to become substantially inside the way of facts, only that the new store - which we’ll bet excellent funds on it being called One particular Store - would include the “next release” of Windows and Windows Telephone. This need to imply Windows Phone eight.1 and an update for Windows eight.1, each of that are due in spring 2014.
  As for how the One Shop will truly work, we can only guess. In a perfect world, it would perform like the iOS App Shop: apps developed for Windows Phone 8 will be scaled up for use on Windows 8 tablets, and apps especially designed for tablet interfaces would show up if you’re browsing the shop on your Windows 8 tablet. Apple can get away with this because its smartphones and tablets run the identical operating technique, and therefore developers can target the precise very same APIs. Windows eight and Windows Telephone eight share a great deal of comparable characteristics, and in some cases some low-level code, but it is nowhere close to the same level of similarity as an iPhone and iPad.
  Microsoft, for its component, has previously taken towards the stage and promised a unified ecosystem - but the specifics on how such unification may well really take place haven’t been forthcoming. As it stands, when you develop a Metro app very carefully, porting it to Windows Phone 8 can be as easy as altering a handful of lines of code. In reality, although, as a result of wildly various screen sizes, UI and UX paradigms, and a massive variety of hardware targets (from Tegra 3 and integrated GPUs, by way of to Haswell and discrete GPUs), cross-platform compatibility has remained elusive.
  Unless Microsoft features a magic trick up its sleeve to enable developers to simply develop apps that run on both platforms - a compatibility layer (emulator) of some type, probably - then it’s a lot more most likely that the 1 Shop will just be a new app retailer design and style that is certainly utilized by both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. Windows eight sorely requirements a brand new app store, and if a really unified app ecosystem is coming for Windows 9 and Windows Telephone 9, then it wouldn’t hurt to have people today made use of to the new app store nowadays. (Study: The Windows eight Store is broken: Here’s ways to fix it.)
  One more possibility, as I’ve hinted at ahead of, is the fact that 1 of Microsoft’s OSes might basically consume the other. As not too long ago as last week, Microsoft’s Myerson told some analysts that we should really anticipate to determine Windows RT on larger phones - and it goes the other way, also, together with the Lumia 1520 phablet operating Windows Telephone. I'd not be shocked if Windows/RT ultimately consumes Windows Phone, which would extremely neatly solve the challenge of cross-platform compatibility by removing the pesky “cross” bit.