Apple, it is Time to Fix iOS 8 – iPhone 6 Plus Still too Buggy

IMG_20150306_125120As we are nearing another Apple product unveiling on Monday, March 9, 2015, it has me thinking a lot about how I feel about the last major product that was unveiled, the iPhone 6 Plus. I have used my iPhone 6 Plus almost exclusively since it was released in September, but in the last two weeks, I have found myself drawn back to an Android Phone. The main reasons have been the instability of my iPhone. Although extensions, widgets, and 3rd party keyboards were made available with the iPhone 6 Plus, none of them work quite the way they should.

What I like about the iPhone 6 Plus.

I will start with the positives of my iPhone 6 Plus. TouchID, the 5.5″ Screen, the battery life, and Apple Pay are wonderful. TouchID works almost every time for me, and sometimes unlocks my phone when I was just checking the time. It is fast, it is reliable, and I wish I had it on every device I use. I have not found any other unlocking feature of a smart device that I like better.

With the 5.5″ screen of the iPhone 6 Plus, Apple finally got things right. They added choice for those that want to be able to use their phone to do more. They ignored the resolution game, and didn’t go with quad HD like many Android devices have. Apple realized that almost no one can tell the difference in pixels once you get past retina display, and that by keeping a lower resolution, they could release a phone that feels faster and has an amazing battery life. Based on the 5.5″ screen, I am barely ever taking out my iPad, and when I do, it is simply because some App Developer has decided that I need to have a different experience on a phone than on a tablet. After using this screen size on my last 3 devices, I have to say that I can never see myself using a smaller screened device again.

Apple PayFinally, Apple Pay has lived up to the promise of simple contact-less payments. Whenever I find a retailer that accepts Apple Pay, it is my first choice. I love that I don’t need to take my credit card out of my wallet, and I like even more that I don’t have to trust merchants with my account information. Apple Pay works the way I would expect it to, and has never failed me. It even works when shopping online through my iPhone. I have used it to make purchases several times using the Staples app and the Target app, and it is just wonderful to not have to go upstairs to grab my wallet to complete a purchase on my phone.

What I don’t like about the iPhone 6 Plus.

On the negative side, I am astonished at how buggy the iPhone 6 Plus is. After several iterations of iOS 8, Apple has simply still not gotten the software to be reliable. I understand that iOS 8 represented a huge opening-up of the platform, but I still feel like I am running beta software. For the first time ever, I am finding that Android is more reliable of an operating system than iOS. Between problems with extensions, third-party keyboards, and Bluetooth functionality, I would have given up my iPhone 6 Plus long ago if it weren’t for TouchID and ApplePay. I no longer can recommend the iPhone to friends and family simply because “it works”.

1. Third-party Keyboards should be called a beta feature.

IMG_6375I understand that many issues are those of a power-user, and many of the experiences that I have are unique to the third-party software I use, but this is the same third-party software that I use on my Android devices with no problem. I have switched between using Swype and SwiftKey as my everyday keyboard on my iPhone 6 Plus since each have been released. I would say that on average, the keyboards work only about 50% of the time.

Frustratingly, I often have my keyboard disappear midway through a sentence, and iOS reverts back to the stock keyboard. I am only successful in running a spotlight search about 25% of the time, because the other 75% of the time no keyboard will show. When using text messaging, I find that after sending about two texts, I need to force close the Messages app because I cannot get my keyboard to appear.

I would love to be able to blame Swiftkey or Swype for these problems, but I have used each for about an equal time, and each time I switch between them, I delete the other one from my phone, and they both have the absolute same problems. I have also used both on Android without any problems. Where I would expect these keyboards to improve my efficiency, instead they slow me down by crashing midway through the task that I am doing. They also do not work in any password fields, cannot function properly in number fields, and do not work on the lock screen.

If Apple is going to offer the ability to use a 3rd party keyboard, they have to do it right. The crashing of these keyboards are a reflection on Apple, in addition to ruining the reputation and working relationship of the developer. If this was listed as a beta feature, as Siri was when it was released, I would be much more forgiving of the problems. But at this point, nearly 6 months since it has been on released software, the feature should work. Even more disappointing is that Apple has not made any statement about these problems.

2. Extensions and actions are not yet offering the promised functionality.

I am also frustrated with extensions. There was promise of the great things that you would be able to do without having to leave the app that you were working in. If you needed to edit a photo, you would be able to tap the share button and have an extension appear that would allow you to edit the photo and return directly to your app. You would be able to easily find a website and share it with other applications on your device, and you would never have to actually launch those applications directly.

IMG_6376Unfortunately, in reality the extensions have not worked quite as well. First after 6 months, many developers have still not made actions and extensions available. Some work, and work well, but others crash in the background, and give you no reason why. I am not a developer, but it appears to me that there are issues with memory depending on the amount of data that is being worked with (since actions crash more often when I am using them with large amounts of data). It is also not always easy to know which apps will launch actions, and which links on the share sheet will simply launch you into another app.

This one I will blame some on developers, but overall Apple still takes some of the blame as they are responsible for the user experience (I covet the ability I have on my Android devices of sharing links directly with WordPress, Facebook Pages, or my Twitter App to quickly accomplish tasks like creating a new blog post or updating marketing materials).

3. Inline responses to notifications do not work!

Apple also promised a great ability to respond to notifications inline without having to leave the app that you are in. I looked forward to this as I believed it would be a great way to quickly respond to text messages, email and Facebook alerts. Unfortunately this does not function at all. If you are in the middle of replying to a pop-up notification, and another notification comes in, you lose any text that you already entered and the prior notification disappears. There is no way this should have been released when it is broken in the way it is intended to be used.

IMG_6378Apple should have a way to buffer notifications, and even switch between them in the pop-up alert. These notifications should be handled in the same manner as folders and pages, and there should be dots on the bottom of the notification to show if multiple notifications/alerts are waiting for your attention. Jailbroken SMS apps have been doing this for years, why can’t Apple figure out how to make it work? Notifications are so broken, that I have switched all of mine to Banners instead of alerts.

4. Many apps still haven’t been updated for iPhone 6 Plus resolution.

Even though iPhone 6 Plus has been out since September, several apps still have not been updated for the screen resolution of the iPhone 6 Plus. Again this is easy to blame on the developers instead of Apple, but when even top tier developers like Facebook and Google are just rolling out full-support for iPhone 6’s screen resolution in past couple weeks, Apple deserves the blame too.

Even though this issue normally just results in my keyboard looking like it is blown-up to the point a toddler could use it, it also has caused problems with usability of existing apps for me. I have had several problems where the predictive keyboard suggestions have blocked me from seeing an input field in an app. This inexcusable, and Apple should make sure that new features don’t break functionality of existing apps.

5. Bluetooth functionality is unreliable.

I routinely use a Fitbit One and a Pebble Smartwatch with my iPhone. I also sometimes stream podcast from my phone to my car using Bluetooth, and use Airplay and Bluetooth speakers around my home. I also use AirDrop to share photos, contacts and webpages with friends and family. Ever since iOS 8 was released, none of these features are reliable.

Again, it is hard for me to determine if these issues are with the other devices that I am using, with the iPhone 6 Plus, or with iOS 8, but I know that I do not experience these same problems with my Android devices or iOS 7. My Pebble seems to lose connectivity with my phone on an hourly basis, and sometimes my Fitbit has such a hard time connecting, I have to completely reboot my iPhone. Routinely my AirPlay speakers do not show up when I try to stream music, and AirDrop is just as unreliable as third-party keyboards.

IMG_6379I don’t understand what Apple is doing to cause features that worked fine in the past, to be worthless in the present, but I don’t hear them addressing the issues publicly, and although I install every update available (from both Apple and 3rd parties), the problems fail to go away. AirPlay and AirDrop are Apple features, so there is no excuse to advertise these, but not have them work properly. These are problems that I don’t have with Android devices (even when I am using work-arounds to stream to AirPlay speakers).

6. ApplePay is rolling out too slow!

Apple has indicated that 750 banks have signed up to support Apple Pay with even more requesting to partner with Apple. However, new banks are only added on a monthly basis with about 20 new banks supporting Apple Pay per month, and just over a 100 already supporting it. Why is Apple not rolling out Apple Pay quicker? If you have 750 banks that want it offered, please explain to the consumer why their bank is not yet included. I am sure there is an excuse for the slow roll-out, but for the most valuable company in the world, there is no reason that every bank that wants to offer Apple Pay functionality cannot do it immediately.

There is also problems with not all retailers accepting Apple Pay. I understand that some retailers do not have NFC terminals yet, but I am more concerned about those that have the functionality, but have disabled it so that Apple Pay cannot be used. I cannot tell you have many times I see the NFC symbol on a terminal to only find that I can’t use my iPhone for payment. This includes several Apple Partners like Target and Best Buy. Why doesn’t Apple use its retailing power to tell both of these retailers that if they continue to disable Apple Pay, they will not have the privilege of selling Apple Products? I have been embarrassed by my inability to use Apple Pay enough times now, that I do not even try unless it I know for a fact that a retailer offers it.

Why this scares me.

I am concerned about the problems that I have highlighted because I am afraid that Apple has lost its way. It used to be slow to offer new technologies until they worked. There are stories all over the internet of Steve Jobs scrapping features just days before a release of a product because they didn’t work properly. There have been plenty of hidden features in iOS Betas that were never activated for the public, or that were delayed until better hardware was introduced. I am concerned now that Apple management cares more about deadlines, than they do about quality.

Apple WatchWith the impeding release of Apple Watch, it makes me wonder what types of problems this device will have from the first day of release. The fact that initial reports are that the Apple Watch will only get one day of battery life per charge, causes questioning of how useful it will be as a fitness device. Maybe rather than trying to make this device the next iPhone or iPad, it should have been initially released with as limited features as the first iPhone and iPod, with more features being added in future iterations when hardware and battery technology catches up.

The Blog world has been reporting leaks that indicate iOS 9 will mainly be a bug fix release, but meanwhile iOS 8.2 is rumored to be released next week, and iOS 8.3 is rumored to be released in April with the Apple Watch (with iOS 8.4 already in testing too). My question is how Apple can wait until iOS 9 to fix problems with current functionality? To me this sends a message to consumers that the usability of our current devices does not matter, as Apple is more focused on adding to the already buggy software to release new products rather than fixing old ones. If you cannot do both things well, focus on current products first.

In the meantime, Android is finally catching up on finger-print authentication functionality, with the Samsung Galaxy S6 finger-print reader receiving rave reviews, and promises from Qualcomm of their new Ultrasound Finger-Print reader to be available on devices before the end of the year (which doesn’t even require a button to work). If Apple doesn’t fix the flaws with their current software, users like me that switched back to the iPhone when the larger screen was introduced, may head back to devices that work better when they catch up with Apple exclusive technologies like TouchID and Apple Pay.

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Apps that I am Currently Using

Apple released a new feature with iOS 8 that lets you see the battery usage of apps installed on your device. The great thing about this feature is that it lets the user determine what apps are actually being used on a frequent basis. It is a great trouble-shooting tool when you notice your battery charge is not lasting as long as it used to, or a productivity tool to help you understand where you are wasting too much time.

Here is a screen shot of my current iPhone 6 Plus App battery usage for the last 7 days:

iPhone 6 Battery Usage 2-26-15

You can see that currently Newsify is using almost a quarter of my battery life over the last 7 days. This seems accurate to me as I frequently use my phone to check the latest technology, Social Security, local, and national news. Outlook and Chrome follow with about 10% battery usage each, and my lock screen also takes about the same amount of my battery (mainly because of notifications throughout the day). Although PocketCasts is probably my most used app, since I use it mainly in my car and at home to listen to podcasts, I usually have my phone plugged in while this app is being used. (Battery usage does not provide any stats on energy being used by apps while your device is plugged in).

For me the main surprise when I review my battery usage is how few apps I am actually using on my phone over the course of a week. It does not appear that any of my apps are using a disproportional amount of my battery, and it appears that I use my iPhone mainly to stay up-to-date on current news, read email, surf the web, and listen to podcasts.

Once you get past my top 8 apps, it looks like the remainder of the apps barely have any impact on my battery usage. Here is the second screen showing my remaining battery usage (notice that basically every app on this screen only uses 1% of my battery life):

iPhone 6 Battery Usage 2-26-15 Page 2The surprising part for me is how efficiently most apps installed on my device use my battery. I use Fitbit everyday and have it set to sync with my Fitbit One throughout the day. Despite always running, this app uses only 1% of my battery over the course of a week. Wink and Kevo are mainly used for home automation, and although I open up Wink 5-10 times per day, it has no noticeable impact on my battery life (OnSwitch, Acme, and Kohl’s, all of which I rarely open, seem to use the same amount of battery or more). Even Facebook and Twitter, that send me background notifications throughout the day, have little to no impact on my iPhone battery life.

Beyond troubleshooting bad battery life on your device, the battery usage screen is a great tool to understanding what is happening on your device on a daily basis. Just reviewing these stats again today has made me question why OnSwitch, Acme and Kohl’s are using any of my battery life at all (I don’t think I have opened Kohl’s since I installed it). It also helps you determine which apps can be deleted from your phone if you notice you are low on space. Despite having 384 applications installed on my iPhone, I only have used 25 user-installed apps in the past week.

To determine which of your apps are using your battery life, open up the “Settings” app, select “General”, then “Usage”, and finally “Battery Usage”. Battery Usage stats were introduced in iOS 8, so if you are using an earlier version of iOS, you will not have the option of reviewing your battery usage.

Steven Butler EsquireThis post was written by Steven Butler. Steven is a full-time Delaware attorney that limits his practice to Social Security Disability. Along with being a contributor for iPlugDelaware, he is a partner at Linarducci & Butler, PA.

“Hey Siri” Brings Hands-Free Operation to iPhone/iPad

When iOS 8 was released, one of the most useful features it added was “Hey Siri”. This new command allows you to complete functions hands-free while your iPhone or iPad is being charged. This works on any device with Siri capabilities, and is enabled within the Siri settings by selecting “Allow ‘Hey Siri'” (open the Settings app, then go to General, and then Siri). Once enabled, you can activate Siri on your device by simply speaking the command “Hey Siri” followed by the action that you would like performed.

Hey Siri iPhone 6I have been using this functionality on a daily basis since updating to iOS 8. While I am in the car, I always have my iPhone docked so that I can listen to music or podcasts on my iPhone. While it is plugged into my car dock, I simply say “Hey Siri, text my Wife”, and I am immediately prompted to speak my message. After I speak the message, Siri repeats it back to me and asks me if I am ready to send my message. I simply answer yes, and my message is sent. After I am done with Siri, I simply say, “Hey Siri, go away” and I am returned to my music.

Hey Siri Text MessageOnce you have Siri on screen, you can also continue to give commands without pressing any buttons. This is again accomplished by starting your command with “Hey Siri”. So for example, after sending the text message above, I could ask Siri to read my text messages to me by saying “Hey Siri, read text messages”. Siri would tell me how many unread text messages I have and then would proceed to read the messages. After each message is read, I would also be prompted whether to send a reply.

Hey Siri Read Text MessagesAlthough I find this functionality most useful while in my vehicle, I also use “Hey Siri” at home. After I wake up in the morning, I can find out the time by asking “Hey Siri, what time is it?”. I can check the weather by saying “Hey Siri, what’s the weather today?”, and I can check my schedule by asking “Hey Siri, what’s my schedule like?”. If I wake up before my alarm is set to go off, I can even say, “Hey Siri, turn off my alarm.”

If you want to use the “Hey Siri” command when your phone is not being charged, you first have to manually start Siri by holding down on your Home button. After Siri is on the screen, additional commands can be done hands-free by saying “Hey Siri” followed by your command.

Of course “Hey Siri” is only useful if Siri can understand you. I have found that Siri does a much better job of understanding my commands in iOS 8, but your mileage may vary. See our previous post for a list of commands that can be used with Siri.

 

New to iOS 8, Learn What You Can Do!

If you have recently updated your iPhone or iPad to iOS 8 or iOS 8.1, you may not immediately notice some of the changes. iMore.com recently had a great article explaining some of the new features of iOS 8 (including Widgets, Extensions, and 3rd Party Keyboards). If you are new to iOS 8, check out iMore’s summary.

http://www.imore.com/best-apps-ios-8-keyboards-widgets-photo-extensions-and-more

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

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.

A few weeks with the iPhone 6 Plus… How big is bigger than big?

iPhone-6-Plus

After a few weeks with the iPhone 6 Plus, I thought that it was time to update my thoughts on it. First, it is a big phone. I was previously using an LG G3, which also has a 5.5 inch screen, but thanks to the G3’s much smaller bezel, the LG is much easier to handle and carry than the iPhone 6 Plus. I have noticed several times in the weeks that I have had the iPhone 6 that it will stab me in the pelvis when I sit down with it in my pocket. (And if the pocket is not quite as deep, it will also protrude out). Despite the large size, I have found that the iPhone has easily replaced my Android phone.

2014-10-08-16.34.39

Although the iPhone 6 Plus is larger than most large screened Android competitors, it just seems to work much better with my work flow. TouchID is definitely something that I missed when I last switched to Android. Since the iPhone 5s, TouchID has gotten even better. About 95% of the time, my phone instantly unlocks by just using my thumb. It works so well, that I have often found that my phone unlocks when I was just pressing the home button to check the time or a lock screen notification. I am not sure if the refinements of TouchID are unique to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, or if the 5s has also received the performance boost, but I can tell you that in iOS 7, my iPhone 5s never was as responsive as the iPhone 6 Plus has been.

Beyond TouchID, battery life is just incredible on my iPhone 6 Plus. Despite loading it with 350 apps, many of which have background processes running constantly, I leave work at the end of most days and still have an 80% charge on my phone. The only time I have gone below 20% of a charge was last Sunday when I actually had the screen powered on for over 7 hours of the day. I just have not had this great of battery life on a cell phone since I was using a Motorola flip phone 15 years ago.

I have found that since having the iPhone 6 Plus, I reach for my iPad much less. I used to use my iPad Mini multiple times per day to catch up on news stories, edit webpages, or doing anything screen intensive. Even when I was using my last Android phone, there were things like reading RSS feeds and setting video recordings that I simply could do faster on my iPad than on my G3. What I have found with the iPhone 6 Plus, is that I get almost everything I loved about the iPad Mini, with a device that is much easier to use with one hand (yes the majority of the time I am still using even the huge iPhone 6 Plus with just one hand).

Speaking of one-handed use, I can say that I very rarely use a second hand with this device. Now I will warn that with the aluminum back, both the new models of iPhones are very slippery. Initially I noticed that when I was using my phone to read, it would easily slip down my hand. I solved this problem by purchasing a very slim plastic case that provides much more friction when holding my iPhone 6 Plus in one hand. As soon as I added the case, all problems with one-handed use ended for me. The only time I find my self using two hands now, is when I am walking with the phone over concrete or asphalt (still can’t be too cautious!). I do not even use the reachability mode that was introduced, but if you have difficulty reaching all parts of the screen with your hand, this mode is a life-saver (double-touching the home button, without pressing, pulls the screen down so it can be reached easier with one hand).

The negative things that I have found with the iPhone 6 Plus have mostly been related more to the buggy iOS software release than to the phone. I have still been encountering numerous problems with iOS 8, even after the recent iOS 8.0.2 update. Most notably, my WiFi will simply stop working sometimes until I reboot my phone, and third-party keyboards still will randomly just not appear (and leave me with a blank screen when trying to perform a spotlight search). These are not issues with the iPhone 6, though, and seem to simply be bugs that Apple still needs to fix with iOS 8.

So the big question is whether the iPhone 6 Plus has brought me back to the iPhone world. After less than a month, my immediate answer is yes. The iPhone 6 Plus still is somewhat limited in some of the things that I could do with my Android phone, but overall the simplicity is just great. I love that my iPhone just works with all my docks, and that even in my car I can simply use a dock connector to charge my phone and listen to music at the same time. I use “Hey Siri” constantly in my car. This allows me to send text messages, check notifications, and start my GPS without ever touching my phone (to use “Hey Siri” your device must be charging, and if it is, you simply speak “Hey Siri” followed by any command that Siri recognizes).

The areas that are still lacking with the iPhone 6 Plus (and iOS in general) is the ability to assign default apps (use Chrome as my default browser for example), use text messaging on my Windows PC with my phone, and having a good full-featured smartwatch (which hopefully will be fixed when the Apple Watch is finally released next year). I loved that with my Android phone I could use an app called Mighty Text to relay text messages to my phone from my work computer, and I really miss my LG G Watch. I use a Pebble with my iPhone, but with the G watch I was able to interact with the watch using my voice and touch. Unfortunately Pebble does not have a microphone and despite numerous apps, it is still best at just displaying alerts.

If you are currently using an older iPhone, you do not care about your phone being large in your pocket, you crave a large screen, and battery life is important to you, I give the iPhone 6 Plus the must-buy stamp of approval. Bend-gate and the way-to-large bezel aside, I cannot complain about the design of this device in any way. The iPhone 6 Plus is the iPhone that I have been waiting for since the iPhone 5 was released. Even though it has the same screen size as my LG G3 had, it just feels like I can view more on the screen. If battery life has not been as big of a concern for you with past iPhones, and you just want a nice new phone, the iPhone 6 is also a worthy upgrade over any of the past iPhones.

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus should continue to improve with future releases of iOS 8. iOS 8.1 is expected by October 16th, and hopefully the already announced continuity features and Apple Pay accompany that release. Apple Pay will allow you to use either new device to make purchases, and continuity will allow SMS texting using your iPad and Mac (but not PC). I will update my thoughts on the iPhone 6 Plus as new features arrive.

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