Posts tagged ‘iPhone’

News Flash: Apple to acquire Dickies’s

new iPhone 6 Plus pants
new iPhone 6 Plus pants

An unidentified source reports that Apple is concerned with the backlash from the size of the new iPhone 6 Plus. Reminiscent of “antenna gate” Apple has quietly proposed a solution.

Apple is in negotiations to acquire the clothing company Dickie’s. Apple will announce a new clothing line which accommodates the larger size of the iPhone 6 Plus. People who already ordered an iPhone 6 Plus will be given a free pair of pants.

AutoStitch iPhone app vs iPhone’s camera panorama

180 degree panorama 7704x1822
180 degree panorama 7704×1822

I take more photos with my iPhone than my two ‘real’ cameras combined. While the iPhone isn’t great for action photos or any telephoto work, it does very well as landscapes. With it’s built in compute power it is perfectly suited to panoramas.

While I’ve played with the panorama feature built into the iOS camera app, I always use the AutoStitch app when I want good results.

With the built in feature of iOS, the panorama is photographed in one continuous image. With AutoStitch, it is a series of overlapping images computationally combined. It’s more work – why is this better? I like it for two reasons: First, when taking individual photographs, each one can adjust for brightness. When combined with the iOS subtle HDR capability, each picture is very well balanced. Most panoramas will pass through both bright and shaded areas. By taking photos with a lot of overlap, AutoStitch does a great job of seamlessly blending these images. The result is the best possible balance for any point in the panorama. (In the photo, the sun is directly behind the tree.) The second advantage for AutoStitch is it can handle a huge mosaic – combining pictures in stripes and combining stripes into the final image. Imagine a big matrix of 10×4 pictures. AutoStitch can combine all of them into one very large image.

I don’t expect AutoStitch to compete with a desktop computer and a DSLR but then again, that solution doesn’t let me capture the moment, create the panorama, write this blog post, and load it to the internet – all while taking a walk with my dog. Smile!

The iPhone 6 Plus isn’t too big … for me

side by side comparison of 5 and 6 plus

side by side comparison of 5 and 6 plus


I watched the news pour in on the Apple announcement this week. While the watch was interesting, I don’t wear a watch so I quickly lost interest … other than the funny “lefty usability” discussions on social media.

The real question I was watching for was, “is the iPhone 6 Plus too big?”

Everything I could find – from specifications to videos to mockups – suggested it might just be too big. Then I decided to make a mockup of my own. The picture is an accurate sized fake iPhone 6 Plus and a real iPhone 5. It depicts reaching for the home button, reaching for the far edge, and holding for reading.

Without shifting the phone up in my hand or rolling the phone in my hand, I didn’t reach the home button. But those limitations were unnatural, since I was attempting to keep the phone in one position for each photo. When I didn’t think about it, I naturally slid my little finger under the bottom and nudged the home button the last bit toward my reaching thumb. It didn’t feel awkward or unstable. I wasn’t sensing the phone would fall out of my hand.

My iPhone 5 is with me whenever I leave the house – for a walk, in the truck, doing errands, etc. It’s in a front pants pocked when I wear jeans or it’s in a side pocket when I wear painter paints. When I’m in business dress, it’s in an inside jacket pocket.

The iPhone 6 Plus will easily fit the same. The exception is sitting down with it in a front pants pocket. It does pinch a little. I’d likely move it to a shirt pocket.

If you’re thinking, “it’s still to big for a phone, it’s gonna look funny next to your ear” then it may help to understand how I use an iPhone today.

I place one or two calls each day. They are nearly always when I walk the dog around the farm in the early morning and early evening. Occasionally I’ll place a call while driving. My truck has integrated Bluetooth so it’s hands free.

When driving, I often use the iPhone for Pandora music or TomTom driving directions. For all of these reasons, the truck has a mount for the phone and a USB cable.

I use my iPhone like a micro-Mac. I do email, blogging, social media, web forums, lots of photos and photo editing, banking, shopping, research, and more. I also use it as a backup to navigational data when flying.

Recently I tested a Nexus 7 tablet. It wasn’t as fast or refined as my iPad Air but I found I was using it more the the iPad – which had a lot to do with it’s smaller size.

For me, the iPhone 6 Plus won’t be a phone. I don’t make enough calls to focus on that capability. It will be a compact tablet with a good camera, data service, storage, and significant compute power … that can place my daily call to mom.

Slow motion video to evaluation form

Most coaches evaluate an athlete’s form to determine is there is wasted motion and ways to improve performance, speed, and efficiency. It’s no different when the athlete is an animal. This is definitely true for canine agility.

While I do not compete with my dog, Nick, I’m no less fascinated by his motion and performance.

It’s difficult to evaluate gate, stride, jump style, height, etc. when you are the athlete or running along with the athlete. Video can help. Slow motion video can help even more.

Today, high definition slow motion video is as close as some smartphones. The iPhone 5s in a good example. The Panasonic Lumix SZ40 is another good example. Both can shoot 120 frames per second. That gives perfectly smooth video as 1/4 speed and usable video at 1/8 speed. The Lumix can even shoot SD quality video as 240 frames per second.

I use a simple tripod and a modified car mount for the iPhone.

Evaluating the Jump

The results show that Nick jumps higher than he needs to. It also shows, his hind end is higher well past the jump. He is wasting energy.

Of course, given how much energy Nick has, I’m happy to have him waste a bit of it as often as he likes !

Stunning late-Spring morning panoramas

A big surprise this morning with cool temperatures, lots of dew, and a bold sunrise – all making the barley and clouds that much more dramatic!

the barley field looking north

the barley field looking east

the runway looking north northeast

the moon over the farmhouse

an Android vs iPhone debate – which really isn’t about Android or iPhone

The following is an exchange that, at first, appears to be an Apple-fanboy being egged on by a Google-fanboy. It starts out as most of these type of conversations do. However, once it gets going, it’s transitions to the perceived economic "gouging" of telecom echo systems. Even then, it doesn’t seem completely balanced. The reality is "things cost money" and markets vary around the globe for a large number of reasons and its nearly impossible to boil it down to a single factor.


Android-er: I got a beautiful Android phone that I use as a mini-tablet. 5" full-HD1080p resolution with Gorilla Glass, quad 1.5 GHz processors. So far I have not used it with SIMs aside from testing it. Unlocked; vendor-neutral hardware and software interfaces throughout.

$260 is as good or better than most phones on the market costing 2-3x, and it is totally unlocked. I’m not an Apple fan, so I cannot give an unbiased comparison, but I’d take this over an iPhone any day.

One downside for some: 3G only, not 4G+. But I am unwilling to pay outrageous monthly data plan costs, and I mostly need a data plan when I travel internationally, and local data plans are generally cheap compared to USA’s, especially roaming.

iPhone-er: I’ve come to realize that "Android vs iPhone" is a lot like "Chevy vs Ford" for truck owners.

Android-er: Except that neither Chevy nor Ford lock you into vendor-specific and high-priced parts and accessories.

iPhone-er: My iPhone integrates seamlessly with my truck. I’m sure your phone would too. No additional accessories needed. My open source media player supports AirPlay. My Sonos integrates freely with my iPhone. So, I’m not seeing the high priced vendor-specific accessories.

Android-er: Did that seamless integration involve a proprietary hardware connector? If so, you paid Apple for that, too. Do you have your choice of wireless plans? Apple gets a cut of that. Do you get to install apps from anywhere you want, or are they only the ones that Apple approves via their store? Can you load music and videos onto the device using anything besides iTunes?

iPhone-er: No costly connections required for my truck. The apps I use on my iPhone have a similar cost of Google play. I can get an iPhone from all the major carriers around the works. As a consumer, I don’t see (or pay) a difference.

iPhone-er: My point is that we both win. Consumers get a choice.

Android-er: And my point is that with Apple, you pay extra at every bend and turn, and do not get freedom of choice. Sounds like you’re happy with your decision despite price, so good on you!

iPhone-er: I don’t see the price difference you are implying. Vendor data plans are for the data and not specific to the device. So I’d pay the same for my plan on an iOS Device or android. The app prices are the same too.

Android-er: What did you pay for your iPhone? Did buying one involve being locked into a data plan that has a high fee for early termination to pay off the phone? What do you figure is the effective price for your phone given that?

iPhone-er: If I need a data plan, then I’m going to pay for a data plan. My point is the cost of the plan is the same, regardless of which phone. In the end, we both pay the same for the device and we would pay the same for the plan.

Android-er: So what did you pay for your phone? Is it locked to a plan?

Android-er: If you don’t want a data plan, what does the phone cost?

iPhone-er: I want (and use) a voice and data plan. And my devices hold there value so well that I sell each, two (or three) years later, for what I paid. It’s like being loaned the device for free. They are all unlocked – either on day-one or when I’m done with them.

Android-er: But you pay for it every month.

iPhone-er: It’s no different than my home internet, home phone, etc. I use all of these, to the maximum value. I buy the services I need.

Android-er: But one reason your services are so expensive is you are paying installments on your phone. And you don’t get that money back when you sell it.

iPhone-er: I think you are missing the point I was trying relay. If I want a particular voice and data plan, there is not one price for an iPhone and a different price for some other phone.

Android-er: I think there are data+voice plans that are less expensive if you bring your own device. Therefore, one that includes an iPhone means you are making a monthly payment by way of the difference in price. And getting an iPhone means using only a few carriers that support it, by agreement with Apple. Am I wrong?

iPhone-er: Lots of carriers support iPhone. I count 36 just for US+Canada.
If you want to BYOD you can bring whatever you want (as long as the carrier allows) – iPhones included.

As for a BYOD price vs not, it comes down to the cost of the service you buy. As a reference, I just looked at T-mobile’s BYOD price of $60 for talk, text, and 2.5GB vs ATT $50 for talk, text, and 2GB. And ATT is "subsidizing" the phone.

Android-er: Thanks for the data point. Personally, I think these are outrageously expensive plans, especially since they don’t even roam internationally – which is furiously more expensive. And I suppose you also have a home data plan, which costs more yet, even though one typically only uses one at a time. In total, that’s a lot of money for being connected.

I’d love to have a mobile connection, but not at these prices. I’m amazed that American consumers are willing to pay them. It’s nowhere near that expensive overseas, and overseas, you can get pay as you go.

iPhone-er: There are pay-as-you-go in the USA but they tend to only favor very small usage.
A quick check shows 2GB in Germany on O2 is $50. Singapore seems to be better at about $32. Hong Kong is $48. But these are data only so the total goes up when you add in voice.

Android-er: I can get 2GB for one month in Thailand for $18. That’s more than I need, and there are smaller plans too.

Android-er: Could you give me a pointer to pay-as-you-go data plans in US? I have searched and not found them.

iPhone-er: If I compare an engineer’s pay in Thailand vs USA then that $18 is a significantly higher percentage of income than the $50-$60 in the USA.

A quick Google search of "pay as you go" finds many USA options.

Android-er: The point is not engineer’s pay in two countries – it is that if they can be profitable at $18 in Thailand, then surely Americans are being gouged when they pay $50-60/month.

iPhone-er: My guess is they can be profitable at a given price point because their costs are lower and costs are likely lower in large part because incomes are lower.

I suspect most things cost a lot less in Thailand than in the USA.

iPhone-er: This has been interesting and has promoted me to do a bit of global economics research. Thanks for the discussion.