After another year when iPad sales declined (yup, it happened again) despite growth in every other area, Apple has released a new set of adverts focused on the iPad and how it is different, even better than a computer. I’m sure that you can relate as an iPad has several advantages over a standard laptop or desktop (and yes, it has disadvantages in some fields too.) Have a look.
Better than a computer
Don’t hunt for Wifi
Do more with word
No PC Viruses
These really hit the iPad’s selling points, its simple, it’s incredibly portable and you can use it with or without a keyboard. The Pencil adds options you don’t have with a PC and you can use a built in cellular connection. These are things that set the iPad apart and while you could add some of these features to a laptop, it wouldn’t do them as well as an iPad.
IPad Pro Ads made for Twitter
These are all twitter ads as well, rather than ads for TV, and make an interesting use of the medium. By using real users tweet (yes, you can find the original tweets and the creators were contacted by Apple before hand) they stand out on the platform. I’d be interested to see how Apple could adapt this to the TV.
It’s interesting to see Apple take a slightly different direction from it’s previous efforts of aiming a PC replacement or the device you make a film/music on. It makes me wonder if this will stick, or if this is an experimental direction. Personally, I think this type of direction is the right way to go as it focuses on its strengths. Still, it would be nice for Apple to address a couple of issues (like the split view app selector) to help the iPad be an even better computer. One that truly is outstanding and not with legacy ideas that aren’t that great.
It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of EarPods. I’ve written my own odd to EarPods where I praised a few of their core features. Even though they come in the box and I have bought other earphones, I keep returning to EarPods. Those features (and more) make me very excited for the future of AirPods and it probably should make you excited about AirPods too.
That’s not to say they are perfect. I know people who don’t find they fit well in their ears, They also seem to break pretty quickly. The audio quality isn’t amazing and having a wire means they get caught on doors, or it just dangles wildly. Yet, every replacement I’ve tried, so far, hasn’t replaced them.
The Four Main Problems with BlueTooth headphones
Bluetooth addresses the issue of wires getting in the way and there are headphones which have better sound quality, but after that things start to get a little more tricky. Bluetooth really suffers from three major issues, as well as a few minor ones.
Setting up headphones and more importantly, switching devices with the same headphones is tricky with bluetooth. The process involves going into a bluetooth setting area, turning on the bluetooth device and pressing a (usually) small button to start the process. Then you have to confirm that it is the correct option. When switching, you have to do the same process again and you usually have to tell your device to repair. Sometimes their is a security code you need to type as well.
This isn’t convenient but it isn’t a definitive reason not to use bluetooth headphones. It can be overcome and if you only use your headphones on one device, then it isn’t that big an issue really. In truth, I only use bluetooth headphones on one device (when I do use them) because of this reason. I might use them on more if it was more convenient.
This probably is the biggest argument against Bluetooth headphones. Battery technology is improving and the bluetooth chips have become more power efficient, yet getting decent battery life seems evasive. Some headphones are now claiming 30 hour battery lives which means you get over a day of constant use. That’s probably the right ballpark to aim for. More than that will only be useful if you really can’t get to a charging port (a rare event nowadays) and yet it also includes a buffer for the difference between lab conditions and real life use. Even still, to get battery life like this, you’re limited to over ear headphones which aren’t everyones style. Small in ear headphones? tough.
A side note, there is the possibility that too much battery life would also be bad as it would stop you from forming a consistent charging habit, leading to your headphones dropping dead suddenly.
3. Sound Quality
Obviously this varies. A good pair of bluetooth headphones will sound better than a bad pair of wired headphones and a good pair of wired headphones will sound better than a bad pair of bluetooth headphones. However, you can get better sound quality for much cheaper on wired headphones. Whats more, some people don’t like the more digital sound from wired headphones (even if they are getting music from a digital source).
4. Dropping connections
This is just an annoyance which is far too common with bluetooth. The connection might suddenly drop for no reason and then be very difficult to get back. Spoiling your work out, cutting off your call, and so on.
Apple AirPods address almost every Bluetooth complaint
AirPods take on the biggest issues straight on and lead to a much improved experience over traditional bluetooth headphones and they gain the benefits of not suddenly getting caught by the door with your wires.
AirPods use the W1 chip which will intelligently pair with your device when you hold it close. It then shares that data across iCloud so you can seamlessly switch between devices. This is the sort of magic you can do when you have control of hardware and software.
This connection also appears to be more reliable than traditional bluetooth connections, so you shouldn’t suddenly lose your phone call.
The battery life in the AirPods isn’t revolutionary. It’s only advertised as 5 hours. However, the battery case they come with help to change the game a bit. It will charge your AirPods when they aren’t in use supporting a full days charge. When you add in the ability to use one AirPod in Mono mode, you could charge the other for 15 minutes, then swap and you’ve got another several hours of playback.
This is something I can’t talk about yet until I have actually tried them. As far as I can tell, AirPods are supposed to have similar sound quality to EarPods. This means that if you like EarPods, you’ll probably like AirPods (a common theme). In my opinion, the sound quality is good enough. I’m sure it could be better and this may be an area where there are limits that can’t be overcome, but I feel EarPods will be good enough for me.
AirPods are due in late october (not long now) so we won’t have to wait long to see what they are like. Honestly, AirPods are the device that intrigued me the most from the Apple iPhone 7 event and I can’t wait to get my hands on a set.
For many this question was answered a long time ago when a previous iPhone (or even…Android phone) replaced their point and shoot camera. Yet, sales of more expensive cameras (DSLRs and Mirrorless systems) actually rose and then held stead for a long period of time after the release of the iPhone and similar smartphones. It was only as recent as 2014 when figures really started to drop, perhaps indicating that the greater availability of photography (thanks to the iPhone) had helped more people to take up the hobby and move on to DSLRs and other more premium cameras (that certainly happened to me). Well, in recent years that trend has certainly declined with more pros claiming that the iPhone is the only camera they need and “The best camera is the camera you have with you.” Those claims are sure to be helped by today’s iPhone 7 announcement.
Why the iPhone 7 (Plus) is huge for photography
Let’s cut to the chase, we are really talking about the iPhone 7 plus and not the 7. All the really exciting features are present here. That’s not to belittle the new improvements to the 7, the faster lens (f1.8), Optical image stabilization in the smaller size, improved flash and not to mention the new processor and sensor which is where a lot of the power of iPhone photography comes from all matter a lot (that sensor is probably going to be the most significant of all). The truth is that these are small steps. The really interesting changes all come in the Plus.
The plus adds a second, longer lens (at around 50mm) with digital bokeh in the new portrait mode. The tele lens is really going to help with taking better, less distorted portraits (a longer focal length helps to flatter someone’s appearance) as well as zoom in on the action. The artificial depth of field will help to draw greater attention to the person being photographed and replicate what previously you’d need a lot of expensive camera gear to create.
As someone who likes photography, I’ll be honest and say that shallow depth of field is overrated (and the image that Apple used to show off this new feature didn’t have the best “quality” bokeh I’ve ever seen). It can be a sign of a lazy photo. At the same time, for some reason I do really love blurry buttery backgrounds in photos caused by using a standalone camera. Previously I’d have to take extra gear with me, now I will be able to pull my phone out of my pocket and shoot away.
More genres of photography open up
One of the biggest changes about this feature is it appeals to a type of photography that was previously neglected on the iPhone. Portraits. That’s not to say you couldn’t take a good portrait on the iPhone, there are great examples out there, but often you had to use an attachable lens and make the most of your surroundings. This new dual lens system looks to be a significant step forward. Personally, the idea of using an attachable lens on top of the 56mm tele lens for a 112mm lens sounds amazing to me and I can’t wait to see what companies like Moment come out with.
The iPhone 7 Plus may well replace my camera
I have two wonderful cameras, a Fuji x100t that I use to shoot street photography with and an Olympus OM-D EM-1 that I use for more portraits and other styles. I still take photos with my iPhone 5s though as it is always with me and can be quickly taken out at situations where I couldn’t get my other camera out in time.
However, the benefits of being more discrete, always having it on me, instantly sharable images, and potentially a more adaptable camera all in my pocket make it look like a great alternative. When you throw in some of the amazing accessories that can help extend the power of the iPhone. The iPhone 7 may well be a suitable replacement camera for anyone.
Could it replace a professional photographers camera?
It really depends on what the photographer genre was and what they specifically needed. Street photography has been open ground for the iPhone for a long time as it favours small cameras and image quality isn’t the top priority. Similarly travel photography can benefit from having a small camera on the go as you’ll get places others wouldn’t. However, portraits, fashion and large scale images are areas the iPhone hasn’t gone into. While these changes make great strides towards some of these areas, it still won’t be able to fill the needs of some photographers work. The fashion photographer who needs to send at least a 20 megapixel image of a model will have to wait…but this list is getting smaller and smaller.
The iPhone hasn’t killed the camera market completely…but it’s getting closer.