Tag Archives: iphone

The new Apple iPhone 5 is announced!

The new Apple iPhone 5 has just been announced.

Have a look at the comparison page to get an at-a-glance idea of what’s different. I love the un-Apple like two tone colour scheme which looks more rugged and yet still chic and fashionable and I love the fact that, despite all the new features, it is taller, thinner and lighter and has greater batter life than all previous iPhones. And that I’m happy with. On a geeky note – I’m very glad to see that the iPhone 5 now supports both 2.4GHz *and* 5GHz band 802.11n access. I’ll explain why this matters.

The 2.4GHz band is a mainstream band and is used by a lot of household devices and is more prone to interference and speed cuts. The 5GHz band, however, is used only by a select few devices and is far less congested and therefore suffers far less interference and provides considerably faster speeds. It is also immune to interference from the 2.4GHz band. And devices supporting both will generally pick the better band. And this is why Apple are saying that the new iPhone 5 has ultra fast wireless.

Recently, I moved into a new flat and found that my wifi speeds dropped from 5m to <1m. I worked out that this was because my router only supported the 2.4GHz band. So I bought an Apple Airport Express to create a wifi hotspot off an ethernet cable from the original router and transmit on both bands simultaneously. I found that installing this new hotspot restored both my iPad and Macbook Air wifi speeds back up to 5m (my maximum). However my iPhone 4S supporting only 2.4GHz remained at <1m. And now the new iPhone 5 needn't! So the final piece of the jigsaw is in place! Until next time! Overall, I'm pretty happy with this release and will, most probably, be pre-ordering on Friday. Will you? Update: I used the Apple Store app on the iPhone 4S to order the new iPhone 5 in 32GB Black before the web based Apple Store came online! It’ll be delivered on the 21st. I have a 64GB handset right now but was only using around 16GB so I decided to compromise and save £100. However, in reality, the real cost of the iPhone 5 to me is actual almost nil. My mother lost her iPhone 4 recently and the insurance company is paying out £525 to her which she will pass on to me. I will give her my old iPhone 4S once the new one arrives. It’s all worked out perfectly.

How to prepare for the theft of your beloved iPhone

Yes – you guessed it. I’m writing this article because it happened to me. Well – not me exactly – my Mother but I was there not far ahead. It was a dark, cold and rainy night. We had just descended into the depths of Piccadilly Underground Station. Unusually, probably as a result of the onset of heavy rain, a massive backlog of people had gathered trying to get in through the electronic gates. We joined the one strand of the widest queue I’ve ever seen and waited patiently. I was a few people ahead of her at the time. A few minutes later, soon after we’d gone through the electronic gates and down the escalator, she noticed and revealed the loss of a small shoulder satchel containing her iPhone.

Somewhere between the end of the queue and the electronic gates someone or a group of perpetrators had not only stolen her iPhone but the bag containing it too. How did they do it? Well my guess would be – they probably snipped the strap using a knife or scissors and pulled the bag from underneath her shoulder. Given the amount of pushing and shoving that was going on at the time in such a large crowd it wouldn’t have been a difficult trick to pull off.

Then the panic, confusion and distress began. Logically, she retraced her steps all the way from where she was to where she came in to the station but found nothing. I, in the mean time, remained composed and tried to call the phone in a futile attempt to locate it which initially failed due to calls going straight to voicemail which meant it was still underground. I also repeatedly loaded ‘Find my iPhone’ but it failed to locate this device. I continued to repeatedly call the phone and to try to locate it but to no avail. Little did I know that Find my iPhone wasn’t working because I’d disabled iCloud (damn you Apple). After a while someone answered my call but didn’t speak – by this time I knew it was out but I couldn’t track it.

Having spoken to the underground staff, only to find out that certain suspicious characters who’d been seen there not moments ago were all too well known, we left for home that night not only in a state of shock at the financial and personal loss we’d incurred but also in disbelief that this had happened to us for the first time despite not being careless and provoking such a crime.

We didn’t contact the police as it certainly didn’t appear as though they could recover it and we didn’t really need them for anything else. We also felt somewhat amateur for not insuring the phone and vowed to insure our valuables in the future. In due time we were to realise that not calling the police would turn out to be a fatal mistake. We would discover that her iPhone was in fact covered by her personal possessions cover under her home insurance but that not calling the police within 24 hours of the crime would impede or even prevent the insurance company from processing the claim.

As I reinstated an old iPhone 3GS with a new sim for her I realised that I hadn’t backed up her stolen iPhone since the iOS 5.1.1 update came out on 8 May. It had been four months since then and all activity on her phone since that date was lost. Disappointed at myself for making such a novice mistake I restored that outdated backup and that’s when I learnt about itunes wifi-sync and automatic icloud backup.

Throughout this whole process I’ve learnt a heck of a lot about how to prepare for such an eventuality and what to do when it finally happens. Needless to say given that this is the first time anything like this had happened to us. We were ill-prepared and clueless and as a result we suffered needless distress and financial loss.

I’m writing this article to pass on my newly gained wisdom to you so that you can be better prepared for the theft of your beloved iPhone and know exactly what to do in what order if this ever happens to you. Share it with everyone. The thieves may be professionals and turn off the phone right away and remove the sim. Or, as was the case with this particular theft, they may be stupid and leave the phone on leaving you free to track its movements as well as the thieves themselves. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt always be prepared. Then, whatever happens happens.

This guide is divided conveniently into what to do before and after the theft of your iPhone. Although it’s fairly iPhone and UK focused it’ll apply to any smartphone equally I think these days as well as applying to the vast majority of people worldwide. Note: I haven’t included any paid apps in this account as I personally feel the free apps are sufficient.

What to do before the theft of your iPhone

Insure your iPhone

If you have home insurance your iPhone will already be insured away from home as long as you have personal possessions cover which you most likely do. So do not get separate mobile phone insurance. If you, however, do not have home or contents insurance the cheapest way I found of getting mobile phone and gadget cover was to get a private bank account.

The best one I found of all the private bank accounts (best value for money and abundance of features) was Cooperative Bank Privilege Current Account with the Gadget benefit pack. It also offers worldwide family annual travel insurance. Overall it turned out to be much cheaper than getting all this cover separately.

Carry your iPhone securely

Carry it somewhere where you’ll notice its loss. I carry it in my trouser pocket where I would feel its absence. My mother was carrying it in a small shoulder satchel which disappeared entirely. I’m guessing the thieves snipped the strap and pulled the whole thing. She didn’t notice until a few minutes later.

Enable itunes wifi sync and automatic icloud backup

Enabling these will ensure that, even if you forget to backup your phone manually, it will still be automatically backed up regularly to allow you to restore as recent a backup as possible. Backups matter.

  

Set a handset PIN and SIM PIN

Go to Settings > General > Passcode Lock > Turn Passcode On and set a handset pin. Disable Voice Dial to prevent misuse by thief and disable Erase Data because if your phone wipes itself you will not be able to track it. Go to Settings > Phone > SIM PIN and set a different SIM PIN. This is so that if your sim is reused in another handset it won’t work without the PIN.

  

Set up ‘Find my iPhone’

Install Find my iPhone (iTunes).

Enable it in Settings > Location Services > Find my iPhone. Enable it also in Settings > iCloud > Find my iPhone.

    

Install Prey

Install Prey (iTunes). Enable it in Settings > Location Services > Prey.

  

Open up Prey and log in.

  

Allow it to use your location and enable Camouflage mode. Camouflage mode makes the app look like a game when opened.

    

Hide both Find my iPhone and Prey icons

Hide both tracking apps in a folder labelled something entirely unrelated. The thief might still find it but you’re making it less likely. We enable Restrictions as an additional measure below to prevent the thief from deleting these apps or disabling tracking.

Enable Restrictions

Go to Settings > General > Restrictions and enable it. Enter a different pin to the handset and sim PINs above. This is critical. If the thief forces you to give him or her the handset pin they will still need an additional Restrictions pin to disable tracking or to delete tracking apps but by then you’ll be long gone.

Disable Deleting Apps. Then select Restrictions > Location Services > Don't Allow Changes.

    

What to do after the theft of your iPhone

Report to Police

Report the theft to the Police right away to get your crime reference number which you require to make an insurance claim. Do not waste time. Do it within minutes and at the very latest within 24 hours. Otherwise the insurance company may not process your claim.

Report to Lost Property

The Police may refuse to complete filing your report until you’ve contacted Lost Property wherever you lost it. So contact them. File a report online at the Lost Property website if need be. And then call the Police back to complete the remainder of the process.

Change all your passwords

Change all your passwords – particularly email (gmail) and apple id passwords.

Track using Find my iPhone

Track the thief using Find my iPhone and iCloud.

Track using Prey

Log in to Prey, mark as missing and track the thief.

Notify network operator

If you have failed to track and reclaim your phone notify your network operator. They will bar the sim and bar the handset from all networks. Once you’ve done this you will not be able to track your phone anymore!

File an insurance claim

In order to file an insurance claim you need to fulfil the following prerequisites.

  • Provide proof of purchase (receipt) or proof that you previously owned this product.
  • Acquire a crime reference number from the Police.
  • Get proof from your network operator that the sim has been barred.

Once you’ve got all the above file an insurance claim as soon as possible. Don’t give them the satisfaction of turning you down because you came too late.

Have you been a victim? Did you do the above? How did it work out in the end? Did the above help you? Let me know in the comments.

iPhone 4S

I took receipt of a new 64GB white iPhone4S this morning. It arrived yesterday but I wasn’t around to receive it so I had to go and pick it up from the depot this morning. Here are mandatory unboxing photos. First impressions – the white colour looks stunning and definitely outshines the black.

Siri is nice but definitely hit and miss. There is a learning curve for both the user and Siri. I would class Siri as alpha or beta right now due to bugs and a degree of misinterpretation but even then it is very useful. Imagine what it will be able to do with refinement. So far I’ve used it to compose some texts, book lunch and reschedule the lunch appointment and it mostly worked fine. Here’s an interesting article about how siri works and the quora equivalent.

The camera, which was the primary reason to get the phone along with the white colour, definitely seems like a radical improvement to the old one letting in more light resulting in better photos.

Capcom release Street Fighter IV Volt for iPhone

Capcom have released a new game for iPhone called, Street Fighter IV Volt,, to follow in the footsteps of Street Fighter IV – the most recent instalment in my favourite game series of all time. I haven’t tried it yet but I can’t wait to.

All games in the Street Fighter series hold nostalgic value for me because as a wonder-eyed kid (which I still am) in Wolverhampton, after school, I used to sneak down to the local arcade to try and better my skills at these games and to watch the best of the best complete these games in one sitting. Of course this would usually get me into a lot of trouble with my Dad as I’d arrive home late and he’d be worried sick.

Now London Trocadero offers the equivalent and got Street Fighter IV in when it was released (albeit one machine only) though I no longer frequent such places. Maybe I’m too old now as are all my friends. But I still keep Capcom close to me on my iPhone wherever I go. Keep up the good work Capcom. Your veteran fans appreciate it.

Oh yes. If you have any interest in purchasing Street Fighter IV Volt on the iPhone do so today because it’s at the lowest special offer price which goes up every day until 6th July when it gets fixed. See here for details.

WWDC June 2011 expectations

Bloomberg has quite tastefully summarised our expectations of what Steve Jobs is likely to announce at this year’s WWDC conference on 6th June. We’ve all become so accustomed to hardware revolutions every 12 months that it comes as a massive heartfelt let down that no such hardware announcements are expected this time around. A new iPad was released earlier this year and a new iPhone is not expected to be announced until Winter this year.

So what can we expect this month? A new iCloud service is probably the most intriguing of rumors due to novelty factor whereby Apple will allow storage of music on the cloud as opposed to the local hard drive. It sounds interesting and certainly has the advantage of removing the need for the tedious backup process. However it also increases reliance on the internet which is generally very poorly featured in the UK in both mobile and terrestrial forms and non-existent on the London tubes. Though Apple pushing forward the performance boundaries of telecommunication networks has and can only continue to be a good thing.

However any investment in cloud technology must at this point be innovative and compelling in ways that currently are inconceivable simply due to the sheer abundance of cloud technology that has come to be over the years and the shameless exploitation of cloud terminology strewn across the internet. Microsoft’s blatant billboards and posters about cloud computing in London tube stations certainly didn’t help as it simply wasn’t clear what they were selling. Yes I know your stuff is on the cloud but so is mine. So is everyone and everything out there. It’s called the internet. At this point I’m so overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of cloud news in the last few years that I’m almost not receptive to anything further in this domain.

The next most exciting piece of news is expected to be about the next version of iOS and Mac OS X (codenamed Lion). Given how long we go between software updates from certain vendors examples being Microsoft and Sun – Apple customers are spoilt in this sense. iOS 5 is rumored to have a new widget mechanism and a new notifications feature and documentation on Lion has been available for quite some time now.

It’ll be interesting to see how Apple approaches the threat of increased competition from upcoming Mango and increasing market share acquisition by Android through both its cloud services and iOS upgrades. Regarding the new handset in September my wishlist would be to make the sim card even smaller, incorporate hardware NFC for mobile payments, increase battery life by making the battery even bigger in capacity and through support of 4G place even greater strain on the UK networks. That’s my rant over. Thank you for listening.

Augmented reality real time text translation

I normally don’t post about iphone applications but this turned out to be revolutionary – a symphony amidst the noise. Point your phone camera at a picture and it not only translates the text in the view of the camera but superimposes it onto the camera image itself transforming in real time what you see. And all without an internet connection or network costs. Simply phenomenal. Just when you think the community has done all it can with the iOS SDK once in a while something like this happens. Check it out. Quoted from MacRumors:

Word Lens Offers Real Time Language Translation. QuestVisual has released an eye-catching iOS app called Word Lens. Word Lens is an augmented reality app for the iPhone and iPod Touch (with video camera) which offers real time translation of text. You simply point your device’s video camera at a sign and the program translates and superimposes the translated text onto the video in real time. The demo video shows it in action.

Augmented Reality Apps with iPhone 3.1 Update

Augmented reality applications is one way in which the iPhone is currently behind Android since, as far as I could tell from the Android for Java Developers talk I went to, this functionality already exists in Android.  I wonder why this API is currently not public.

“The L.A. Times reports that Apple will begin allowing developers access to the tools they need to produce augmented reality applications starting with upcoming iPhone OS 3.1. While there have been many impressive demos floating around showing the possibilities, these applications have used unpublished APIs which prevent them from being allowed on the App Store. Apple, however, told one developer that the tools necessary would become available with iPhone 3.1.”

via Augmented Reality Apps to Arrive with iPhone 3.1 Update – Mac Rumors.

Update: Another interesting example of augmented reality.

HTC Hero & Android – What’s the value add?

I just watched the official video on HTC Hero and I can’t help wondering what is the value add? Let me say at the outset that I admire the Android platform and handsets adopting it and that what I’m about to say is in no way a criticism. However I would like to ask the question: how will Android and adopting handsets distinguish themselves in the shadow of the iPhone? The fundamental problem that Android and adopting handsets are facing is that it’s all been done before by Apple who have had the added advantage of refining and maturing their product over time. The typical characteristics of the OS and the handset marketed in that video, touchscreen, seamless integration with the internet and catering for all possible needs of the user, have all been done before and replicating that unfortunately gives the impression of lack of originality.

Android attempts to add more animation and eye candy but it’s all too easy to overdo it. The only real unique value add I can see is that they allow you to fully customise your desktop and that in my opinion is one of the annoyances of the iPhone and a real plus point of Android. Some might say that the Android platform being open and supporting multiple languages including Java is a major win. However this cannot be the defining value add as if you have no consumer who will you develop for? For the common consumer there has to be a very real tangible value over alternative platforms and sadly having come much later than the iPhone and being relatively new still Android is in my opinion at a serious disadvantage. It nevertheless shows more promise than Symbian and other non-Apple platforms and in due time I’m sure it will have overcome this difficulty to an extent and established its place on the market. I look forward to its progress in the future. If I can get my hands on an Android handset cheaply maybe I’ll even try my hands on some development.