Microsoft Joins the Fitness Race with Microsoft Band

Microsoft announced the release of Microsoft Health and Microsoft Band on Wednesday October 29, 2014. The Microsoft Band is a cross-platform smart fitness tracker that can also double as a watch. Appearance wise, the Microsoft Band is very similar to the Samsung Gear Fit, but unlike the Samsung device, the Band works with iPhone, Android and Microsoft Phone devices. The Band can display a clock, track steps, monitor sleep, continuously monitor heart rate and show notifications. Guided workouts are available from fitness partners, and all fitness data is compiled in Microsoft’s Health app. In addition to the heart rate sensor mentioned above, the Microsoft Band also includes 9 other sensors (including GPS) and can even monitor your sleep.

Microsoft Band Internals

The Microsoft Band is on sale at Microsoft Stores and online for $199.99 and comes in three different band sizes (all priced the same). The display can be personalized with different colors and backgrounds, but the Band itself is only available in black. Notifications, text messages and incoming call alerts can all be viewed on the Band, but you are not able to respond directly from the Band on iPhones. Microsoft has announced partnerships with MyFitnessPal, RunKeeper, mapmyfitness, and Starbucks to add additional functionality to the Band. The display is full-color touchscreen, and is expected to last 48 hours on a 90 minute charge.

This is an interesting product from Microsoft that offers some of the functionality of the upcoming Apple Watch at a much lower price, but a much less attractive appearance. The Band can perform most of the same tasks as a Pebble, but comes in a package that makes it look more comparable to a fitness bracelet. One of the odd things is that the display is horizontal across the widest part of your wrist (unlike a watch). This means that to read the display you must hold your arm straight out in front of you, instead of bent at the elbow like you normally do with a watch. To me this seems like a weird way to interact with notifications and comfortably view information.

I visited the Microsoft Store to view the watch, and it seems very big on the wrist. Unlike my Pebble, I was unable to pull my sleeve over the Microsoft Band. In order for the heart rate monitor to function, you must wear the Band with the face on the palm side of your wrist. This leaves a very ugly clasp on the top of your wrist. I also would be concerned that while using a computer, the Band would also be scratching against my desk.

Although I am happy that Microsoft is making products and applications that are cross-platform with Android and iOS, I am not sure if this specific product will appeal to a mass market. It is priced above the costs of most fitness bands (albeit with more features), but not attractive enough to be worn as a watch. It will be interesting to see if Microsoft expands its product range to include a more fashion-focused alternative in the future.

Microsoft OneDrive Goes Unlimited, Improved Encryption for Business Users

Microsoft OneDrive for iPhone

Microsoft announced on Monday October 27, 2014, that its cloud file service, OneDrive, has been updated to allow unlimited storage to subscribers of Microsoft Office 365. Microsoft OneDrive was just updated earlier this summer to provide Office 365 subscribers with 1TB of cloud storage. This means that for as low as $6.99 per month, a user can have a full version of Microsoft Office installed on a desktop computer, use Microsoft Office on the iPad, use Microsoft Office Online, and have unlimited cloud storage of Microsoft OneDrive.

Microsoft OneDrive for iPhone

The storage update is being rolled out in phases beginning with Office 365 Home, Personal and University customers. Microsoft promises that the roll-out will continue over the next few months, with OneDrive for Business customers seeing unlimited storage in 2015.

Additionally, Microsoft announced enhanced Mobile Device Management (MDM) for Office 365. IT administrators will be able to set more advanced mobile device policies for iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices running Office 365 beginning the first quarter of 2015. This will be done directly from the Office 365 administration portal, and will allow an Office 365 administrator to perform selective wipes of devices to remove only Office 365 corporate data (and leaving personal data intact), to set requirements of security (like pin access), and disable services if a Jailbreak or root is detected.

Microsoft also indicated that SharePoint and OneDrive for Business have been enhanced to provide advanced encryption of data at rest (while files are stored on Microsoft’s servers). Per-file encryption has been added, which means that every file stored on OneDrive for Business now has its own unique key, and any update to the file creates a new unique key. This means that even if an individual is somehow able to intercept the encryption key, it will only work for one file, and is only valid until that file is modified. Also if brute force is used to break the encryption of the protected file, each and every file has to have its encryption key broken separately.

These updates to OneDrive for Business and Office 365 further strengthen Microsoft’s offering in the cloud and office productivity areas. Microsoft is making it easier everyday to leave competing products from Google and DropBox behind.

iPlugDelaware.com Refreshed with New Look

If you are a frequent visitor to our website, you may have noticed some changes this week. Our blog has moved to a new server, and we decided to update the look. Our hope is that with the new server, we will be able to make changes to the site to make it even more helpful in the future. Although the site looks different, all the same content is here. We will continue to bring our readers up to date information about iPhones, iPads, and iOS accessories to help you be more productive when using your smartphones and tablets within your law practice.

Paint

Please contact us with any thoughts or suggestions about our recent changes. Everyone that originally subscribed to our blog should continue to see updates as they are posted. If you only receive the email subscription, please visit the site to let us know your thoughts on the redesign.

Caution: iOS 8.1 is available for Download

iOS-8.1-Update

Apple released iOS 8.1 today (Monday October 20, 2014). The download is available over-the-air for eligible phones and tablets, or you can use iTunes to download and install the update. iOS 8.1 can be installed on iPhone 4s, 5, 5c, 5s, 6 and 6 Plus. It can also be installed on iPad 2, iPad with Retina (3rd and 4th generation), iPad Mini, iPad Mini 2, iPad Mini 3, iPad Air and iPad Air 2. In addition to standard bug fixes, the newest release enables Apple Pay on iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, iCloud Photo Library Beta, and support for using your iPad to send SMS messages through your iPhone.

As always, make sure you have a backup of your device before installing any new update. I still recommend backing up with iTunes even if you have an iCloud Backup already. I would recommend waiting at least a day or two to install this update, as iOS 8.0.1 caused major problems (including disabling all cellular functionality on iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus).

If any major problems are discovered, I will update iPlug Delaware. Please let us know your experience with the update.

iOS 8.1 iPhone 6 Plus Change Log:

iOS-8.1-Change-Log

iPlug Delaware Wilmington iPad User Group Meeting Tuesday October 21st

Tomorrow, Tuesday October 21, 2014 is the third Tuesday of October, so that could only mean one thing, it is time for this month’s iPlug Delaware Wilmington Meeting. As always, the meeting will be start at 7:30 am and be held in the backroom of the Panera’s in Fairfax. These meetings are open to members of the Delaware Legal Community (including lawyers, judges, paralegals, and other law firm staff), and offer a friendly environment to discuss using the iPad and iPhone in your legal practice. The meeting generally last about 1 hour, and attendee interaction is strongly encouraged.

At this month’s meeting, we plan to discuss the release of the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, iPad Air 2, and iPad Mini 3. Topics will also include the release and new features found in iOS 8 and 8.1 and the use of TouchID in third party applications. Since this is a user group, any general questions or concerns of those attending will be addressed.

If you have not yet attended a Wilmington iPlug meeting, please stop by. No pre-registration is needed and there is no cost to attend. All you have to do is show up and look for the projector that is setup at the back of the restaurant. Panera in Fairfax is located at 2311 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE.

Unfortunately, the Dover iPlug meeting will not be held this month. If you have any suggestions for this meeting, or future meetings, please use our contact form.

Apple Announces New iPad Air 2 and iOS 8.1

iPad-Price-Matrix

On Thursday, October 16, 2014, Apple held a press briefing to announce additions to the iPad line of iOS tablets and the upcoming release of iOS 8.1. Most notably, Apple announced an update to the iPad Air. Dubbed the iPad Air 2, the new version of the iPad Air features reduced thinness, at only .24 inches, less than 1 pound total weight, improved display with antireflective coating, more powerful 8MP camera and advanced graphic and operating CPUs (featuring the new A8x chip). The iPad Air 2 also features TouchID to bring it to parity with the latest iPhones.

The iPad Mini with Retina saw a name change, but other than a new color of Gold and TouchID, not much more. The new iPad Mini with Retina is now called the iPad Mini 3. Last year’s model has now been renamed to the iPad Mini 2, and has seen a $100 price drop. Again the only addition you get for the iPad Mini 3 is TouchID, and a $100 price premium.

As with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, apple has eliminated the 32 GB storage option for both the new iPads. The storage options now run from 16 GB for the base model, to 64 GB for the step-up model, and 128 GB for the high end model. The iPad Air 2 starts at $499. Each step up in additional storage will cost $100 extra, and if you elect to add a cellular connection, it is $130 extra. This means that the iPad Air 2 is priced from $499 at the low end to $829 for the most expensive model with a cellular connection and 128 GB of storage (this is actually $100 cheaper than the original iPad Air for both the 64 GB and 128 GB models since the 32 GB option was eliminated).

The iPad Mini 3 starts at $399 for the 16 GB WiFi only version and runs to $729 for the 128 GB WiFi plus Cellular model. Last year’s iPad Air and iPad Mini 2 both received $100 price drops and will remain available. The storage options for the iPad Air and iPad Mini 2 have been reduced to only 16 GB or 32 GB, but there is now only a $50 premium to move to the 32 GB version. Pricing for the iPad Air now ranges from $399 for the 16 GB WiFi model, to $579 for the 32 GB WiFi plus Cellular model. The iPad Mini 2 now ranges from $299 for the 16 GB WiFi model to $479 for the 32 GB WiFi plus Cellular model.

With the changes to the iPad line of tablets, the recommended model of iPad for most attorneys is the 64 GB iPad Air 2 (and if you plan on adding a lot of content to your machine, it is even nicer to pick up the 128 GB model). Although I have always been a fan of the iPad Mini, with the iPad Mini 3 retaining all the same base technologies as last year’s iPad Mini 2, it is simply no longer worth the cost (a $100 premium for TouchID is simply ridiculous). As anyone running iOS 8 on the iPhone 4s or iPad 2 knows, without having new hardware, running operating system updates on older hardware can be painful. Although the iPad Mini 2 will currently run iOS 8 without problems, when spending this much on a technology purchase, having the advanced microprocessor found on the new iPad Air 2 should guarantee acceptable performance for at least the next 2 iOS releases. TouchID is also a game changer for the iPad. I always highly recommend secure passwords, and the addition of TouchID on the iPad Air 2 will allow you to more easily use longer passwords and also better secure selected apps. All users should stay away from the 16 GB model of any of the iPads as this will quickly have you struggling with space limitations.

Apple also announced that iOS 8.1 will be available later today (Monday October 20, 2014). Most notably, iOS 8.1 adds Apple Pay functionality to the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3. Apple Pay will be available as a payment option for in-app purchases on all the models mentioned, but you will only be able to use Apple Pay at retail locations if you are using iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 plus. The other notable addition with iOS 8.1 is the beta release of iCloud Photo Library (backing up of full resolution copies of every photo on your iOS device), and the return of the Camera Roll. iOS 8.1 also will include various bug fixes and performance improvements.

The iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 are both currently available for purchase and will ship as early as this week. They will also be available from retailers shortly. The prior models of the iPad Air and iPad Mini have also already received the promised price cut. If you are in the market for an iPad but not interested in the new models, you should expect to see great deals on the discontinued 64 GB and 128 GB models of the iPad Air and iPad Mini 2 as retailers attempt to eliminate old inventory. Apple also has great deals for Refurbished iPads in their online store. More to come once iOS 8.1 is released later today.

iPad 101: Getting to Know the iPad

Using the iPad 101: Getting to Know Your Device

ipad 101

I often give presentations on using the iPad in the legal community. Although the iPad is widely used, I find that many lawyers still do not know some of the basics. In order to help better understand the iPad, I put together a brief introduction to the iPad. This document mainly discusses the Notification Center, Control Center, Multi-tasking, Spotlight Search, and downloading the iPad User Guide.

Most of what I cover in iPad 101: Getting to Know the iPad is relevant to iPads running iOS 7 or 8. There are a few differences between the operating system versions, but you should be able to make it through this presentation regardless of the version you use.

I hope this is helpful! Let me know if you have any questions that you would still like us to cover on iPlugDelaware.com.

iPad 101 Download: Getting to Know Your iPad

1 2