iOS 8 Not Ready for Prime Time?

2014-09-22 14.46.13

On September 17, 2014, Apple released iOS 8 for existing iPhones and iPads. This software was in beta from June 2014 until its’ release. Although from a user interface perspective, this was a small update, from an architecture perspective, iOS 8 added many new features under the hood. Unfortunately, after using the the release version of the software for nearly a week, it looks like Apple may have released the software before it was actually ready. Overall I am happy with some of the new features, but I cannot help but think that iOS 8 needed at least 2-4 weeks of additional refinement before being released.

The biggest problem that I see was that developers were not able to release versions of their software that took advantage of new iOS 8 features, until iOS 8 was released to the general public. This meant that although a beta of iOS 8 had been available to other developers since June, features like Health Kit integration, notification center widgets, iCloud Drive, and extensions could not be enabled for apps released to the App store until iOS was released on September 17, 2014. Although developers had a method to enlist beta users to test their apps, limited beta test cannot reveal problems as much as a public beta can. The result was that even major developers like DropBox did not have a functioning app available initially, and they had to release multiple fixes within several days of the release of iOS 8.

From my perspective, it appears that Apple knew that it wanted to release new iPhones on a certain day (September 19, 2014), and although the software was not quite ready, it was decided that the launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus was too important, so unfinished software was released to the general public.

Within hours of iOS 8 being released, Apple disabled all Health Kit functionality. App developers that had prepared new versions of their software taking advantage of Health Kit were forced to remove their apps, and return to prior functionality. Apple Pay cannot yet be used to make purchases with the new phones, and there has been no mention of Home kit by Apple or any of the partners that were supposed to be able to offer better home automation integration using iOS 8 devices.

I love having Swiftkey and Swype keyboards installed on my iPhone and iPad, but I have found that both keyboards frequently stop functioning. Although there is no mention of a need for a cellular connection or WiFi to use the third-party keyboards, there seems to be an issue when there is not a reliable connection. Even when there is a reliable connection, I frequently find that both Swiftkey and Swype keyboards disappear and I am switched back to the native iOS keyboard without the ability to even manually switch back to Swiftkey or Swype. I also have had multiple occasions when I should have a keyboard available, like when doing a spotlight search or drafting a text message, where I have no keyboard available at all (I simply have a blank screen staring back at me).

With extensions, again my experience has been hit or miss. For example, PDF Converter adds a handy extension to convert photos, webpages, or certain documents to a PDF, but it works some times and other times does absolutely nothing. There also is no way to know exactly which App is an extension and which one is simply an “Open In” option when you are looking at the “Open In” dialog box. Since extensions do something on top of your current app without necessarily making you leave the app you are in, and Open In sends your current document to another app and leaves the app you are using, this is an important area that needs improvement.

Apple’s introduction of iCloud Drive also made no sense. Although users are prompted to update to iCloud Drive when installing iOS 8, it breaks compatibility with iOS 7 devices and applications, and is not compatible with Mac OS X currently. If you don’t update to iCloud Drive, you are unable to use some of Apple’s apps (like Pages and Keynote), and if you do update, some of your third party applications may or may not function properly. Once you update, there is no going back, so if you find an application that currently doesn’t work, you are just out of luck. Although this was promised as a centralized file system all your apps have access to, developers must enable the support, and even after they do, my experience has been that not all apps are seeing all documents saved to iCloud drive.

For some reason, Apple also decided that the Camera roll no longer should be used, and completely changed the Photos App. In the Photos App, you used to have an option in albums called “Camera Roll”. In iOS 8, you no longer have Camera Roll, but instead have something called “Recently Added”. However there is nothing to let you know what “Recently Added” means. From what I can tell, it only includes photos that have been taken within the last 30 days. To see older photos, you have switch over the “Photos” button within the Photos app. The problem with the “Photos” section is that it only allows you to view your photos in “Moments” view. This means that you do not have the option just to see the grid of all your photos any longer. If you are going to change this, why not include “All Photos” in the “Album” section?

Additionally, I have found many quirks that simply make no sense. The Camera app on my iPhone 6 Plus has simply froze on several occasions without allowing me to take a picture. To fix this problem, I have had to force close my Camera app. Actionable notifications are not well thought out. If you have your notifications setup as pop-ups (as I always have done in the past for text messages, phone calls, and voice mail messages so that I don’t miss the notification), if you are in the middle of replying to a text message (using the actionable notification feature), and another notification comes in, your text message reply is lost and you must manually enter the Messages app and restart your reply.

Even as I was preparing this article, I had Dropbox crash on my iPad twice, and my keyboard stop working once. Now my guess is that some of these problems are related to the third party apps as opposed to Apple, other things like Health Kit, Home Kit, iCloud Drive, Photos and the text message reply issue are definitely problems with Apple’s software.

For me, I am a software user that likes to live on the edge, so these problems have not caused me to stop using iOS 8, but I am also the same person that has been using iOS 8 since beta 1. For the every day lawyer using this software in practice, these could be major issues.

To be generous to Apple, the initial release of iOS 8 can only be described as a mess. At best this software in its current form should only be considered a late beta, and not even a release candidate. This is a major blunder for Apple, and I am surprised that it has not resulted in more user complaints. This shows me that Apple has to restructure its beta releases better, and should have actually allowed developers to begin to release apps with iOS 8 functionality before it came out of beta. This would have allowed both the developers and Apple to have fixed problems before the software was made available to all users. Apple should have also released the current version of iOS 8 as a public beta, and allowed anyone willing to freely test the software before releasing the finished version.

My recommendation right now is that the legal community stay away from iOS 8 for the time being. It appears that several of iOS 8’s current issues will be resolved once Apple releases the next version of Mac OS X, which is expected next month. Problems with iCloud Drive and third party apps should also improve with App updates in the intervening period. If you are a new purchaser of an iPhone, you have no choice but to use iOS 8. In that situation, please report your problems to both Apple and developers so that fixes can be issued. I see a lot of potential in iOS 8, and I cannot wait until a stable version is finally available.

iOS 8, Using Third-Party Keyboards, Swiftkey and Swype

iOS 8 was recently released for the iPad and the iPhone. Among the exciting new features of this operating system update is the ability to use a third-party keyboard in place of Apple’s stock keyboard. This allows users of the iPhone and iPad to now install a keyboard that can use new methods of inputting text to increase productivity. Busy legal professionals can now use keyboards from Swiftkey and Swype to quickly add or edit text by sliding their fingers across the screen.

I created a video that explains how to download, install, and activate both Swiftkey and Swype on your device. There are currently a number of free and paid keyboard apps available in the app store, but Swiftkey and Swype have been around for years on Android, and have had a head start in the field of creating alternative keyboards. Once you figure out how to install the keyboards, they are simple to use, and you always have the option of quickly switching back to Apple’s native keyboard.

My only complaint with the third-party keyboards thus far, is that you lose the ability to dictate when a third-party keyboard is selected. The little microphone that is usually present on the bottom of the screen goes away, and the only way you can get it back is to switch back to the native keyboard.

If you have updated your device to iOS 8, don’t delay, download a new keyboard and see how you like it!

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.

iOS 8 Released for iPhone 4s, 5, 5c, 5s and iPad 2, iPad with Retina and iPad Air

iOS 8 Now Available

If you currently have an iPad 2 or newer, or an iPhone 4s or newer, you can update your device to iOS 8. The update went live at about 1:00 pm EST on Wednesday September 17, 2014. iOS 8 is available through an over-the-air update or by connecting your iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPad 2, iPad with Retina (3rd or 4th generation), iPad Mini, iPad Mini with Retina, or iPad Air to iTunes on your computer. iOS was first previewed for developers at WWDC in June 2014, and has had a number of beta releases before its release on September 17, 2014.

Although this update adds many new features to iOS, it looks very similar to iOS 7 once installed on your iPad or iPhone. The biggest changes occur under the hood. Most notable, for the first time users can now download and install customized keyboards that can be used throughout the device. Additionally, Apple has introduced extensions, widgets, in-line notification responses and a cloud drive service that can be accessed across all applications (iCloud Drive). Extensions and widgets can both be used by developers to extend your app experience.

iOS 8 Widgets

Widgets are added to the notification center to provide you with updated information without having to launch an app (think sports scores, weather, shipping notifications, etc.). Extensions are added to the “Open In” dialog box within apps, and allows you to launch actions associated with another app installed on your device. For example, you could be viewing a preview of a document in Dropbox, and a PDF app could have an extension that lets you add annotations without having to fully open the app. The extension runs on top of the app that you currently have opened, and once you complete an action, it returns you back to the app you were using with any changes you made. (Universal password apps and Social Networking sites are also expected to take advantage of extensions).

With the ability to add customized keyboards, iPhone and iPad users will finally be able to choose apps with advanced features like swiping on your keyboard instead of typing. Swiftkey and Swype should both have keyboards released for the iPhone sometime on September 17, 2014. There are also picture keyboards in the works, and even keyboards that do nothing more than show you whether you are currently using upper or lower case letters when inputting text.

iCloud drive promises to be a central storage solution where all apps can have access to. This will allow you to start working on a document in Pages, save to iCloud Drive, and then access in a different word processor like Microsoft Word. With inline notification responses, you will be able to reply to text messages or tweets without actually opening a separate app. You can simply hit reply, respond inline and go back to what you were doing. (You can even enable the ability to respond from the lock screen).

iPad iOS 8 Update CompleteAlthough I safely updated an iPhone 5s and iPad Mini with Retina, it is always best to be cautious before completing a significant update on your device. I recommend that you have a backup of your device using iTunes before completing the update, and set aside at least 3 hours in case there are problems. Although iCloud backups allow you to do a restore if you run into problems, if you have more than 20 apps, and are using a good portion of your device storage, it is not recommended that you rely on this method. Before updating or backing up your device on iTunes, make sure that you check to that iTunes is updated to version 11.4. (In iTunes go to the Help menu, and select “Check for Updates”).

Depending on your device you need about 1 GB of space available to download the update. I would recommend that you have at least 3 GB of space available before attempting the update over-the-air. Normally small flaws are discovered after a major release of iOS. It is usually safest to wait at least 2 weeks before installing the update if you use your iPhone or iPad for any mission critical purposes.

What is Still Missing from iOS 8 and the iPhone 6

iOS 8On September 17, 2014, Apple will roll out iOS 8 to the iPhone 4s and above, and the iPad 2 and above. Although iOS 8 promises great improvements in your experience using an iPad and iPhone, it is still not perfect. If you are looking for some detailed thoughts on things that Apple could add to iOS 8 to improve it, check out my article on Mobile4Law.com. I still love iOS, and think that an iPhone and iPad are the best options for most attorneys (especially with the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus), but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things that could be improved.

See ‘What’s Still Missing from iPhone/iPad after iOS 8’ for more thoughts: http://mobile4law.com/whats-still-missing-from-iphoneipad-after-ios-8/

Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus Announced, Available September 19, 2014

New iphone 6Today Apple CEO Tim introduced two new models of the iPhone, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. According to Cook this is the “biggest advancement in history of the iPhone”. These are both Retina Display with 1334 x 750 resolution in the 4.7” iPhone 6, and 1920 x 1080 on the 5.5” iPhone 6 Plus. These are the thinnest iPhone’s yet, with the iPhone 6 coming in at 6.9mm and the iPhone 6 Plus at 7.1 mm (these compares to 7.6 mm of the iPhone 5s). The display promises a broader angle of view with improved polarizer so it is easier to view.

Apple is using the additional resolution of the iPhone 6 plus to add an expanded view in apps like eMail, Messages, and Calendar. For example, the additional size of the plus allows you to see your list of messages in your email inbox while also reading the message (similar to the iPad). In Messages, Apple has used the additional space to show pictures of your contacts next to the messages.

Even the home screen of the iPhone 6 Plus has a horizontal mode. Unlike the iPad, your persistent launcher stays on the side of the screen, but changes the orientation of the App icons. If you cannot reach the top of the display, you can double-click the home button and the display slides down to half-height so you can reach the top buttons. The power button has been moved to the side of the device so that it can also still be reached in one hand use.

Although both new models of the iPhone use different resolutions, existing apps will simply scale up to fill your screen. Apple promises that the new A8 processor is 25% faster than last year’s A7 for computing and 50% faster for graphics. The updated graphics processing allows users to play game-console like games on their mobile device.

In addition to being a bigger and faster device, both iPhone 6 models promise improved battery life. The iPhone 6 will give you 14 hours of talk time, 10 days of stand-by, or 11 hours of video. The iPhone 6 Plus gives you 14 hours of video, 24 hours of talk-time, and 16 days of standby. Definitely, this device should last well over a day in normal use.

The M8 co-processer now does an even better job of measuring your motion. In addition to running, it can now tell if you are cycling, and calculate your distance and elevation. Air pressure is measured with a built-in barometer, and these advances can even be used in third-party apps.

LTE now supports more bands, and Voice over LTE has been added. WiFi has been updated to 802.11ac and WiFi calling is supported. The camera has been updated, but the resolution remains at 8MP. Although the resolution has not increased, Apple has made improvements to all aspects of the camera that promises to give even better images, and to focus and allow taking pictures faster than before. The front-facing camera has also been updated and promises better facial recognition and “killer selfies”.

The iPhone 6 will be available for $199 for the 16 GB model, $299 for the 64 GB and $399 for the 128 GB. The iPhone 6 Plus will be $299 for the base model with 16 GB storage, and $399 for the 64 GB and $499 for the 128 GB version. The iPhone 5s will remain available for $99 with 8 GB storage and the 8 GB 5c will be available free. These are all 2 year contract prices. Pre-orders will begin on Friday September 12, 2014 and the both iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will be available on September 19, 2014.

More to come…

wpid-Photo-20140705215142.jpgThis 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.

Last Minute Apple iPhone/iWatch Event Predictions

image

In just a few hours Apple will announce this year’s iteration of the iPhone. Whether it will be iPhone 6, just the New iPhone, or some other name, it is still not known, but it is looking very likely we will see a 5.5 inch and 4.7 inch screen model for the first time. It is also expected that we will at least see a preview of Apple’s new wearable device, the predicted iWatch, even though it probably won’t go on sale until next year. Beyond that, I would not be surprised to see new iPods and maybe even the next generation of the iPad. Unfortunately, new Macs are not expected at this event, but could possibly come next month.

Perhaps more important than the new devices will be the release of iOS 8. Although I have been running a beta of iOS 8 for some time, the true power of this update will not be seen until 3rd parties begin to release iOS 8 apps. iOS 8 introduces new features like app extensions that will allow app creators to offer exciting new opportunities to enhance other apps on your iPhone or iPad. So far Apple has talked about the ability to use image editing when viewing photos, and password manager apps that will be able to interact with other apps to offer more security, but I’m more excited about apps that will dream up unique new ways to interact with one another and enhance your experience. The way Apple has introduced the ability to customize your experience with new keyboards and app extensions is probably the most exciting change in the operating system since the app store was introduced.

I will update the site with the new announcements later today and with my initial thoughts, but for any Apple fanboy, this afternoon should be a very exciting time. Luckily the event will be steamed live from Apple at 1:00 pm EST, so you can follow along by visiting http://www.apple.com/live/.

UPDATE (September 9, 2014 at 5:00 pm): Please see the iPlugDelaware Coverage of today’s Apple Announcements: Apple Announces iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus; Apple Announces Apple Pay; Apple Announces Apple Watch.

iPlugDelaware Wilmington Meeting on August 19, 2014 – Prepare your iPad for iOS 8

iPlug Delaware Wilmington Meeting will be held August 19, 2014 at 7:30 am

The Wilmington meeting for iPlug Delaware will be held on Tuesday August 19, 2014 at the Panera in Fairfax at 7:30 am. This month’s meeting will focus on preparing your iPad and iPhone for the upcoming release of iOS 8. We will discuss the models of iPhone and iPad that will receive the new version of the operating system when it is released next month, and how to determine if you have enough space on your device for the upgrade installation. If the space on your iPhone or iPad is limited, we will discuss services and methods to manage your space and backup your device.

iPad Usage

As always, our meetings are open to anyone in the legal community in Delaware (this includes lawyers, paralegals, judges, law students and other legal staff). Our meetings are held in the back room of the Panera at 2311 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE 19803. The meetings usually last about 1 hour. Any experience level is welcome, including those that are just iPad curious and have not yet started using an iPad or iPhone. The meetings are informal, there is no cost or registration needed, and we encourage questions, comments, and suggestions from those in attendance. 

Dover iPlug will not meet this month, but if you are from Kent and Sussex County, please use the contact form to let us know if you would be interested in attending a virtual meeting online later this month. We have been experimenting with using Google Hangouts more with the site, and if there is sufficient interest, an online meeting will be scheduled. 

Wilmington iPlug meetings are held on the third Tuesday of each month. If you cannot make it to this month’s meeting, please set a reminder to join us next month. New faces are always welcome, as are suggestions for future meeting topics. 

1 2 3