So far, so good.

I deliberately left the MacBook in sleep overnight and it woke up fine this morning.

I’d also been getting occasional issues with WiFi not reconnecting on wake but this has not happened so far.

I’m considering dropping hibernatemode back to 3 to see whether it’s that or the profile recreation that seems to be doing the trick.

Status

On the subject of the MacBook, you may recall I was having an issue with it crashing while in/waking from sleep.

I thought it was because of third party software running in the background and seemed to have narrowed it down to the Logitech mouse software.

Apparently not as I’ve had a couple more crashes.

A further search found a thread in the Apple Communities that gives an interesting possible explanation:

”It seems that the initial upgrade from Sierra to High Sierra 10.13 might lead to some corruption of the admin account from which the Mac was upgraded.”

And, while the errors seem to indicate a power management issue, corruption of the admin account can lead to wake/sleep errors.

The proposed solution is to create a new admin account, log in to it, delete the original account (leaving the home folder intact) and recreate it pointing back to the original home drive.

I also found a thread suggesting that changing the MacOS hibernatemode from 3 to 25 (safe sleep to proper hibernate) could also help.

So, I have recreated my admin account and changed the hibernate mode. We’ll see if they help.

Status

Just a beginning

In keeping with the season there have been a number of “best of” posts with folks outlining their favourite Mac software of the year which all leave me feeling like mine is horribly underused.

Maybe it’s because I’m still learning what I can do with it since moving from Windows but it’s also that I tend to keep things relatively simple.

Beyond Safari and Ulysses there’s very little I use on a regular basis.

I still run Magnet for docking windows, Filezilla as my FTP client, and have the likes of Slack, BBEdit and Visual Studio Code installed but nothing really gets that much use.

With two exceptions:
- the micro.blog app, and
- Pixelmator

I’ve written a lot about micro.blog recently so don’t need to go over the same ground here.

As I mentioned in October, I had previously used Gimp (still hate the name) as a free option but the updates to Pixelmator were very tempting. I thoroughly enjoyed using it during the free trial so snapped it up.

I can’t remember the last time I actually opened VS Code and removed it from the Dock, so that tells you something, while BBEdit is operating in its free, reduced functionality mode because I can’t justify the cost for the little that I use it.

I’ve looked at Alfred and LaunchBar again but still not yet found a compelling reason to use them. I was very much the same with Workflow on the phone - I originally couldn’t think of anything to use it for until it suddenly clicked. Now I couldn’t be without it and still fret over what happens if/when Apple finally pulls the plug - hopefully in favour of extensive native automation.

I think it’s a bit of a catch 22 situation: I can’t think of ways to automate what I do because I don’t do that much on the Mac but would probably do more if I had it automated.

Despite all this I’ve been really enjoying the MacBook as my laptop of choice (it’s still not my primary computer - that’s the phone) but still see this as just the beginning.

It’s been less than 6 months since making the switch so I feel like I’m still finding my feet. 2017 has been a good start but next year will be when I kick it up a notch.

Just a beginning

iPhone X first impressionsComments

I’ve had a couple of hours with the new phone (mainly setting it up as I started from scratch rather than a backup) and I think we’re going to be firm friends.

Feel

The phone feels lovely. It is so smooth and the glass back looks gorgeous (I’ve got the silver model) but I’ve stuck a case on (ultra thin so as not to add any extra bulk) straight away to keep it scratch free.

It is significantly smaller in the hand - and in the pocket - than a Plus but I don’t really notice because of the larger screen. The weight balance is also much better.

Notch

Let’s get it out of the way: the notch. I knew it wasn’t going to bother me and it doesn’t. It really doesn’t. I just don’t notice it as I’m not normally focusing on the very top of the screen.

Even when I do focus on the notch, because of where it is and how crisp the lines are, it almost looks like it’s a software feature rather than hardware. It’s strange.

Screen

The screen is great and I love True Tone. I used to like it when Nightshift kicked in on the 6S Plus as I much preferred the screen warmth but True Tone takes it to the next level.

The only downside is that the off-angle blue tint to the OLED screen is made more apparent by having True Tone turned on but, even then, it just looks like the normal blue/white of an LCD without any warmth correction.

Navigation

Although I made a point of learning about gestures and navigation on the X in advance I’m surprised at how quickly I’ve gotten used to not having a home button. I’ve not once accidentally gone to tap on the “home indicator” bar.

The only thing I have to think about is the control center now being triggered by a swipe down from the top right.

Cameras

The rear cameras are so much nicer than the one on the 6S Plus, and how I’ve been waiting for a dual camera setup having missed the 7 Plus last year.

Portrait lighting looks like it could be fun but I was first mucking about with it in reasonably poor light so couldn’t get the best results.

Face ID has worked very reliably so far but seems quite over zealous and quick to drop back to passcode when someone else is looking at the phone. I shall have to experiment further.

In summary

The X is a lovely device that, at first glance, hits that sweet spot between size and comfort.

As I spend more time with it I’ll be able to refine my opinion but, for now, colour me impressed.

iPhone X first impressions

Blogging from the MacComments

My phone is really my PC - that’s Primary Computer - and, as I’ve written numerous times, that’s where I do just about everything including 99.9% of my blogging, image manipulations and even coding.

While I have an iPad I almost never use it; the phone is just far more convenient and easier to hold and use in so many more circumstances. People talk about a mobile mindset but, just because I use iOS on a phone it doesn’t automatically mean the same behaviour will occur when using an iPad.

Or a laptop for that matter.

I find that I use the MacBook far more than I ever did my Windows laptops but it still feels ridiculously underused. Perhaps that’s about to change.

I’m writing this in Ulysses, having subscribed to the app and pretty certain I’m going to stick with it, but Manton Reece has just launched a beta Mac client for micro.blog which may well encourage me to use the MacBook more than I ever have.

I was lucky enough to have an extra day to play with it before launch; I’d expressed an interest in testing and the fact that I’m using WordPress instead of a hosted blog was probably a good opportunity for early feedback.

Manton has repeatedly said that this is just a version 1.0 app but, I have to say, it’s been rock solid. Browsing, replying and posting to the blog have all been a breeze and I’ve not had a single issue or error.

It will be nice when some of the additional functionality from the iOS version gets included (such as automatically converting from status to standard post and prompting for a title when you go over 280 characters) but, other than, this is a fully usable and (so far) reliable app which is great to have sat open while doing other things.

Good job Manton. 👍

Blogging from the Mac

The MacBook woke successfully after preventing the following utilities from starting and running in the background:

  • Clipy
  • Faviconographer
  • iCanHazShortcut

That leaves me with Magnet and Scroll Reverser (just for the mouse) still running.

We’re making progress!

Status

A quick update on the MacBook.

I was prompted to submit the issue and looked at the error report details which including this:

Root disk errors: "Could not recover SATA HDD after 5 attempts. Terminating.”

A quick search doesn’t reveal anything too enlightening as, although it would appear to relate to the drive (and maybe APFS) this kind of issue can also occur due to software compatibility issues causing a kernel panic.

More testing required.

Status

Since updating the MacBook to High Sierra I’ve been having issues with it getting stuck on waking from sleep necessitating a hard shut down. I’ll try resetting the SMC and maybe the NVRAM to see if that helps.

Status

The rumour that Apple is working on a 6.5 inch variant of the iPhone X (possibly for next year) makes a lot of sense.

When you consider that this year’s 5.8 inch screen device is similar in size to the iPhone 6/7/8 then it follows that a larger version would be roughly equivalent in overall dimensions to the current Plus models.

Sure enough, the overall unit size of the current Plus phones are roughly 6.5 inches. A larger X should, therefore, be a little larger.

This would also tie in with the suggestion that the X is the future of the iPhone implying that the existing models will be phased out.

This year was an anomaly with Apple releasing three main devices. I would fully expect them to get back to releasing two with an updated X and a new X Plus.

And this is without touching on the obvious angle of competition.

Status

I'm trying not to go all Gollum on the iPhone X but "me wants it" - it's a shame it's not available until 3rd November but I suppose that will give my carrier time to get their act together.

The 'X' will, no doubt, take a bit of getting used to having no home button but it's not so much a learning curve (it all looks pretty logical) as re-training the muscle memory.

Still, now the announcement has happened and the GM build of iOS 11 has been properly released I've decided it's time to put it on my 6S Plus.

Status

Useful utilitiesComments

As I am still really getting to grips with the Mac I look for ways to personalise it and make it for the way I want to work.

One thing I missed from Windows is the ability to snap applications to the side of the screen letting you display two or more side-by-side.

I had found a freeware utility but it was a bit buggy so bought Magnet from the App Store. At only 99p it is an absolute bargain letting you snap windows in position with the mouse/track pad like Windows but also define hot keys as well.

I had heard about Caffeine, a little tool to stop your Mac going to sleep but it doesn't look to be available in the UK App Store.

A free alternative available here is the unfortunately named Amphetamine which lets you specify a length of time that your device will ignore power saving rules. A quick keyboard shortcut to toggle it on and off and you don't have to keep tapping the trackpad.

I had previously looked at clipboard managers on my phone but it found a solution I really liked. For the Mac, however, I have found Clipy which is really lightweight tool for copying multiple items and easily selecting which one to paste with a handy keyboard shortcut.

I had, of course, heard about Alfred but I'm in a similar position to where I was with Workflow on the phone: I don't yet know how I would use it.

All the good stuff is in the Powerpack but £19 is a lot for something you don't even know you're going to use. Without the Powerpack you just have a Spotlight alternative without the integration into various apps. It looks better but doesn't do as much.

LaunchBar is another interesting alternative but, again, I don't know how much I'd use it.

I'm getting there.

Useful utilities

Mail appsComments

Ever since Mailbox was shuttered by Dropbox I've been trying to find the "perfect" email client.

I spent some time alternating between Airmail and Polymail on my phone, via the likes of Spark and Newton, but settled on Email by Easilydo (now Edison Mail) as it was close to the standard iOS mail app but with proper support for the vagaries of Gmail.

Now that I have the MacBook I am looking at a more cross-platform solution so have reinstalled Polymail across my iOS devices and Mac.

I was using the native OSX mail app, and it is perfectly functional, but there's just something about it that doesn't quite sit right with me.

Then again, Polymail is an illustration of the inconsistency across Mac apps that I wrote about before. It has a distinct iOS look and feel to it which clashes with other apps, especially native ones.

Perhaps I'm just being too fussy.

This quest for the perfect mail client, however, has lead me to question a few things I currently do and expect:

  • Do I really need push notifications for my mail?
  • Should I finally move away from Gmail? (The email from my domains currently all forwards there.)
  • Can I get by with just the native apps?
  • Do I use any features (beyond push) that warrant a third party app?

So, I'm running an experiment: I have removed all mail forwarding and configured each of my addresses separately in both the native mail app and Polymail on both phone and Mac.

I never used to like checking multiple accounts, forwarding everything to Gmail was always a bit of a hangover from years ago but unified inboxes are a standard feature these days so it's no longer an issue - just a psychological hurdle.

I'm going to run the two configurations in parallel for a few days and see how they compare, and also which one I tend to reach for.

It will also help me better understand the flow of mail to each account and make decisions about what I want going to each one.

Mail apps

Moving to MacComments

I've been a Windows user ever since the days of 3.11 and my first PC at home had Windows 95.

I've some basic experience with Macs but only in a work context, usually on a Mac Mini, so never had to do too much with them beyond changing a few settings and reinstalling Java.

While I have often wondered what it would be like to switch the cost has always been prohibitive.

I need wonder no more as I have now been able to get my hands on a MacBook Pro (it's not the most recent - mid 2015) and have spent the last few days using it as my primary machine, even for playing World of Warcraft.

There are a few things you don't appreciate until you get to use a device properly. So often comments are made and you think they are just hyperbole.

Not always.

The build quality of the MacBook is everything it's made out to be. The device just exudes it from the main body to screen assembly.

The benefits of ecosystem are immediately apparent when you sign in with your iCloud account and the MacBook automatically connects to your home WiFi network.

Nice!

Having all of your iCloud data instantly to hand without having to install anything extra is obviously a bonus.

But the one thing I have heard said again and again is how amazing the trackpads are on MacBooks and that Windows OEMs just can't make a good one.

You know what? It's true!

After spending a couple of days with the MacBook I had to revert to my Windows laptop for work and realised just how big the gulf is between the two. Some of the more premium Windows devices may be better but the ones I have at home just don't compare.

Now I just need some stickers.

Moving to Mac

Falling out of love with the Apple WatchComments

It didn't take much.

I used to wear the Apple Watch every day and used it for activity tracking, notifications and driving directions but I have fallen out of love with it.

When off sick for almost a month a while back (yes, four weeks all but a day) I had no real reason to wear it.

I was largely sedentary due to constant coughing and difficulty breathing so obviously wasn't tracking any activity. My phone and laptop were always on hand so I also didn't need to worry about notifications.

I just stopped putting it on in the mornings and have never gone back.

No doubt, much of the reason I wore it every day was habit - it was just part of my routine. Likewise, not wearing it became the new habit, the new norm.

I don't jog or go to the gym and tend to follow a similar pattern with regards to the number of steps I take so probably don't really need the watch to monitor this.

Having significantly reduced the number of apps installed on my phone, especially social apps, and consequently the number of notifications I receive the watch feels a bit redundant in this regard.

I know that if I made a point of wearing it again I would redevelop the habit, yet I can't think of a compelling reason to do so. There's no real killer app or function for me.

As such, it would be an empty habit with no real purpose and I'm not sure that's worth pursuing.

Falling out of love with the Apple Watch

iPhone 7 – the morning after the night before

With Apple events usually starting at 6pm in U.K. It means we get a few hours of hype but can then sleep on it relatively soon after and re-examine things in the cold light of day.

Here's a few initial thoughts:

Does having a similar design for the third year in a row bother me? Absolutely not. As long as it is streamlined and feels decent in the hand it doesn't matter - it's what it does that counts.

While a faster processor probably won't make much of a noticeable difference in normal use (when do we really max it out?) the fact that it will have two extra, energy efficient cores will provide a nice bump in battery life - this will be noticeable.

Apple took the sting out of removing the headphone jack by including both lightning ear pods and an adapter in the box. Saying that, the move never really concerned me.

What does concern me is that Apple persists with the terrible design and quality of their Ear Pods. They don't sound particularly great and leak sound. I can only hope that the lightning variant has a better dynamic range, but I doubt it.

As for the new wireless Air Pods, I'm sure they are a great technological achievement but they are still the same core design as the Ear Pods but with a massive price tag attached.

As others have already mentioned, they may usher in a mobile experience akin to the film "Her" but I think we're probably another year or two away from anything like this.

I won't be buying them.

I'm also still not completely sold on all aspects of iOS 10 as I think the handling of font sizes is too inconsistent across different apps. This is a relatively minor complaint but annoying nonetheless.

Leaks

The iPhone 7 leaks over the past few months gave us an incredibly good idea of what to expect, from the body and its revised antenna lines to the new home button and cameras. Even knowing almost exactly what the hardware was going to be like there were still a few surprises.

The A10 Fusion trademark had been uncovered but it was suspected that it might be a combined A10 CPU and M10 motion processor. Having those two low power cores to handle non-intensive tasks and thus extend battery life was a very welcome addition.

Some lament the loss of a physical home button but the way in which the solid state version ties in to the new Taptic engine is a nice touch and the extent was not predicted.

We knew the iPhone 7 Plus was getting a dual camera arrangement, and leaks within the last week even revealed that one would of them would have a telephoto lens, but seeing exactly how they work in tandem is another thing entirely.

Point and shoot

I love taking pictures on my phone and will snap all sorts of weird shots. I had a bridge camera a few years ago (there's no way we could afford a decent DSLR) but, even though it was relatively compact, it was still awkward to carry around.

The saying goes that "the best camera is the one you have with you" so, when the one you always have with you is mostly "good enough" and is far quicker and easier to use, there seems little point carrying an extra bit of kit - at least for the casual photographer.

iPhones already have excellent cameras but trying to do everything with a wide angle lens can be infuriating; smartphones have been crying out for a telephoto lens for years.

Having 2X optical zoom will be a revelation and if the digital zoom is even half as good in real world use as it seemed on stage then the experience will finally match the convenience. Add in the new depth of field functionality and there is almost no reason for most people to ever need another camera.

I can only imagine how pictures like the one below, shot on the iPhone 6S Plus, will come out.

Will I upgrade?

I am on a contract that allows me to trade in my current 6S Plus and upgrade for free so I was always going to move to the 7 Plus. I'm paying a bit extra per month for the privilege so it would be silly not to.

Saying that, the new camera excites me more than any previous hardware feature on any phone, even the move to a large screen with the Nexus 5 a few years ago.

It could be worth an upgrade all on its own.

iPhone 7 – the morning after the night before

Apple Music dancing to a different beat

Apple Music

As has been reported, Apple Music is in line for an overhaul both visually and functionally and the feeling is that this is in response to an initial Luke warm reception and ongoing criticism. The application and service has been widely lambasted with calls to almost scrap it and start again.

Apple Music certainly isn’t perfect but there is no way it’s as bad as the doom mongers are saying. It is normally a sturdy streaming service which more than adequately does its job, but it has its flaws which can lead to bad experiences.

Maybe some are unforgiving and expect the “it just works” mantra to hold true – failures just aren’t what people expect from Apple as they hold the company to higher standards; this is what they’ve come to expect after all.

I’ve had my own share of problems such as the phone randomly removing all downloaded music and the occasional issue with it asking me to re-subscribe or the app becoming unresponsive when being opened whilst connectivity is unreliable. But these aren’t the end of the world. Frustrating, yes. Downright inconvenient at times, absolutely. But not a deal breaker.

Separate

The likes of John Gruber are asking for Apple Music to be removed to a standalone application:

“All your music in one app” sounds like a great idea in theory, but in practice, I believe that is what has led to the confusing UI

While I agree that it is currently a bit messy handling both a legacy library and the streaming catalogue, the last thing I would want is to have two separate music apps I have to switch between depending on what I want to listen to.

Rather than insisting on an overhaul, my personal wish list is as follows:

  • A simpler interface - although I don’t believe it’s as bad as it’s made out to be
  • Larger controls – some of them are ridiculously small even on a 6S Plus
  • A concerted effort to extend the catalogue in the UK by licensing the same music as in the US. Improvements to the app will not remove the frustration of being unable to stream certain music
  • The ability to copy straight from iTunes to the phone even when Apple Music is enabled rather than having to upload to the iCloud Music Library. Upload it if you have to but do so in the background after it is copied to the device

Music is music

Irrespective of where it came from, all music should be treated the same; there is no need to distinguish between our legacy library and the iCloud Music Library – at least not up front.

Apple hides the iOS file system to make things simple and easy so do the same for the music library: just give us a list of all our music, regardless of source, and handle all the logistics invisibly in the background.

It should be relatively simple to elegantly handle music from multiple sources within the same app by applying the same principles used elsewhere on the device. If the tech pundits are calling for simplicity I'd argue that this is definitely the way to go, not by creating yet another app.

Iterate

Ongoing development is essential to ensure that a product meets expectations, moves with the times, and keeps pace with competitors. However, perhaps it is better to iterate little and often as an overhaul may end up as one step forward, two steps back.

Apple Music dancing to a different beat

Waiting for iOS7.Comments

iOS7 bannerWe are just hours away from the WWDC keynote during which we expect the big iOS7 reveal and the rumour mill continues to turn about a possible Jony Ive inspired redesign.

I think we can all agree that iOS needs a new coat of paint, or at least a bit of a touch up, but that should not be the primary focus of the new version and we will be doing ourselves a disservice if we become blinded by the emperor's new clothes.

Apple needs to deliver

It looks as though we will have the launch of iRadio to show that Apple is still able to match Google but we don't want Apple to match anyone, we want Apple to surpass them!

We want better tools, we want a more robust but flexible system, we want better services and a new look can't paper over the obvious cracks forming in an ageing ethos. iOS has come a long way but Google and OEMs are really pushing the envelope with Android, its ecosystem and connected systems.

Apple needs to excite us in new ways. We no longer have Jobs' reality distortion field and Cook can't wow an audience in the same way so for us to be impressed things need to be genuinely awesome.

I wrote last year:

I have no doubt that iOS7 will be a tipping point where we will see the culmination of what has been started with Maps and Siri, the iPhone will become:

  • location sensitive
  • contextually aware
  • intelligent

I still believe that Apple must take the integrated services route to keep the pace. I have also said recently that offline dictation and better social integration are a must but Google has the advantage of its own social network to draw from so Apple has to rely on its partnership with Facebook.

We have also seen rumours of deep integration of both flickr and Vimeo which, if true, would be designed to tackle the threat posed by Google especially now that the search giant is said to be buying Waze - one of Apple's suppliers for mapping data.

Enhanced social integration will help to solve the disconnect between device and service but Apple must also integrate its own services into a more cohesive offering to fully take advantage of the benefits.

Special

Whatever Apple does with iOS7 it has to be special.

We've heard the talk of opening certain system APIs to third-parties (maybe even allowing alternative keyboards) and this will be a key factor in determining the direction for iOS. Opening up in this way need not compromise system security or stability if the APIs are designed correctly and there is sufficient oversight of the development process - Apple can always reserve the right to refuse an application entry to the App Store until it is confident that there will be no repercussions.

I'm really looking forward to trying iOS7, I just hope I won't be disappointed.

Image from iMore.

Waiting for iOS7.

Facebook, Waze and Apple – a new dynamic.

WazeThe news that Facebook is considering a $1 billion acquisition of Waze seems like an obvious move but it also brings me back to a few ideas I had previously considered.

Location is becoming increasingly important with "local" being vital for marketing, advertising and targeting as separate from the global, social conversation. Facebook changed the importance of location in social by killing the check-in and making location integral to everything we do so having access to crowd-sourced data from Waze will take this to another level.

Apple and Facebook

As Waze is one of the suppliers of data for Apple's Maps application any acquisition would add a new dynamic to the relationship between Apple and Facebook; it also makes me wonder about deeper integration between the two companies.

We now have a collective of apps and services which could complement each other rather well:

  • iOS,
  • Facebook,
  • Messaging,
  • Apple Maps,
  • Waze, and
  • Instagram

Putting it togetherBringing it all together

The recent launch of Facebook Home with its ever-present "chat heads" highlighted the more closed nature of iOS but made me ponder how Apple could introduce a similar native UI (a radical departure, admittedly) and integrate Facebook messaging along with iMessage and SMS. A native solution could mean Chat Head like functionality but without the need to change third-party app permissions within the operating system.

While we're thinking a little radically what about integrating Facebook's Graph Search with Spotlight to add a social element to iOS search?

But, seriously...

Maps

In a previous post I suggested how Apple Maps could use shared photostreams to boost their Maps application with crowd sourced images of locations as a way of combating Google Street View in a social way. With Facebook buying Waze the potential exists for Apple and Facebook to really jump in bed together so that a range of Facebook data could be used within Apple Maps.

Forget the added layer of complexity and permissions required to enable shared public photostreams when people are already sharing pictures socially.

Apple MapsBy combining location information and sharing permissions, geo-tagged photos from either Facebook or Instagram (or those specifically tied to a location such as a landmark) could be displayed within the Maps application. Additional context specific data from Waze could be used to display different images or information based on current circumstances using the type of crowd-sourced data already obtained by the service.

How far is too far?

It is obvious that Apple sees Facebook as a leader in the social sphere and integration of the latter into iOS has evolved over time. Apple does not do services as well as the likes of Google - hence the need to rely on the likes of Waze and Tom Tom - but how far will the company go in allowing itself to be reliant on third-party data?

iOS may never get Facebook Home but a deeper underlying integration with the social giant may be of much greater value.

Image by .reid.

Facebook, Waze and Apple – a new dynamic.

Online maps need standardised addressing.Comments

Another iPhone launch, another scandal - if it's not antenna-gate then it's scratch-gate or map-gate.

Apple Maps has its problems, even the most ardent of Apple apologetics can admit, but is it all Apple's fault?

As I have said before, iOS is in a period of transition:

"Dropping Google Maps and going for an in-house solution is brave and an illustration of things to come but there was too little time to realistically do anything with it."

Fingers have been pointed and Apple's data suppliers have been quick to say that it's not their fault and that their data is good - it's how Apple are using it.

Each individual data set from each supplier is, most likely, very good quality but the problem Apple faces is combining these data sets from disparate sources when there appears to be no reliable addressing standard for online mapping.

It's bigger than Apple

Google may have had years to hone its data but the search giant is not unaffected by some of the exact issues that currently plague Apple.

It appears that businesses, at least, are added purely by address - where's the problem with that you ask until you realise that there are problems with long addresses.

Take my village as an example; I live in a village just outside a main town where the address is in the format:

Whatever Street
Village Name
Town Name
County
Post Code

Unfortunately, online mapping solutions tend to ignore the Village Name line so generate issues with shops and businesses being placed in the wrong town or village, especially if the street name is the same.

High Street, Milton Regis, Sittingbourne, Kent effectively becomes equivalent to High Street, Sittingbourne, Kent.

Apple Maps
When viewing Milton Regis High Street on Apple Maps you are presented with a number of business that are in Sittingbourne and not Milton Regis. It even lists a couple that are in nearby Sheerness.

Google Maps

A comparison view using Google Maps shows a number of businesses in their correct locations but there are still a couple (circled) that are being shown on the wrong High Street.

To the point

Turn by turn navigation in Apple Maps is among the best I have used on a phone when driving point to point between known, and accurate, locations. Finding a specific location via its post code (rather than address) is always reliable so it is surprising that businesses etc. are not initially positioned via these known fixed points and then fine tuned using the address details.

Once data providers can agree on a standard format for their data and mapping applications can find the best way to interpret that data then the online mapping experience for all will be greatly improved regardless of the platform.

Online maps need standardised addressing.

Did the iPhone 5 need one more thing?

ThingsThe initial reaction to the iPhone 5 may have been one of disappointment but, now that the cameras have stopped rolling, the crowds have dispersed and people quietly gone their separate ways, a new appreciation for what Apple presented has bubbled to the surface.

I originally wrote that the latest incarnation would need one more thing in order to position itself ahead of the competition, otherwise Apple would only be seen as playing catchup.

Now that we've had 24 hours to digest what has been announced is this really the case?

Well, it depends on who you talk to.

Certainly the Android faithful are very much of the opinion that devices such as the Samsung Galaxy SIII are superior due to their larger screens and quad-core processors.

As we have seen with earlier iPhone models, however, specs do not necessarily account for speed - more, the close harmony between hardware and software can have just as significant an impact. Previous iPhones have shown that they can outperform supposedly "superior" devices due to this tight integration.

Windows Phone 7 & 7.5 has also proven that a well written operating system can be extremely fast on only single core devices which, if you believe what some will tell you, should feel like wading through treacle.

Is bigger better?

Apple has finally made the move to a 4 inch screen as it probably couldn't be held off and still be taken seriously any longer. The taller device allows for a longer battery which in turn can support the power needs of the LTE chip; Apple are well-known for not including connectivity options until it can be done without sacrificing battery life.

It has been suggested, however, that the only reason Apple made the move to a larger screen was so that the device could include a bigger battery and, therefore LTE, giving the illusion of improved up-time due to technological advancement. A pretty cynical view in my opinion.

The screen may be bigger but other measurements have shrunk - the iPhone 5 is thinner and lighter. Apple has been criticised for placing too much emphasis on the minor thing such as they new Lightening connector and smaller speaker assembly but each one of these seemingly minor items has allowed the device to be thinner, lighter and sleeker and Apple should get the credit it deserves for each innovation no matter how small.

One small step

I have mentioned before that iOS6 didn't include much to set it apart from the previous version and, post launch, that is still the case. Saying that, however, the improvements it does offer mean that I would not wish to return to iOS5. Perhaps this, in itself, means that iOS6 is a significant enough upgrade after all as you don't want to be without it once it has been experienced.

There is virtually nothing that iOS6 on the iPhone 5 gives us that we can't get on the 4S, unlike Siri in the previous update, so many will be perfectly happy to stick with their existing device. The iPhone 5 hardware is certainly an upgrade but it is doubtful if many 4S owners could actually justify shelling out for the new model - I know I couldn't even if I could afford to do so. Saying that it will still sell in the many millions.

It is widely recognised that the incremental updates suit a two-year upgrade cycle; one iPhone to the next is not a big leap but it is hard to resist the upgrade at the end of your two-year plan. It is with this in mind that I said the iPhone 5 is a stop-gap between the 4S and the next big leap which will probably come in software rather than hardware.

If Apple wanted to convince 4S users to part with their hard-earned cash then, indeed, one more thing was a must but sufficient numbers will upgrade so as not to require this. Any significant software upgrade in iOS7 would, no doubt, be available for the iPhone 5 so owners need not be alienated over the course of their mobile agreement.

Setting the trend

Where devices like the Samsung Galaxy SIII seek to redefine the mobile industry with size and raw power, Apple seeks to define it with style, with engineering and quality; by the reckoning of many, the iPhone 5 is not a class defining device. This would have required further advances but there is more than one way to be a success and Apple has been pretty good at it so far.

Image by Joe Shlabotnik

Did the iPhone 5 need one more thing?