Amazon CloudDrive Now Offers Unlimited Photo Storage For Prime Members

One of the biggest complaints I hear from iPhone users is that they often run low on disk space due to the amount of photos that they have stored on their device. Amazon today announced that Amazon prime members will now have unlimited storage in the Amazon CloudDrive app for full resolution photos. The Amazon App offers automatic background upload of your photos from your iPhone or iPad. Once the photos are stored on CloudDrive, they can be accessed on any device that has Internet access.

The Amazon CloudDrive back up of photos is being offered to all members of Amazon prime at no additional cost. If you are not currently a member of Amazon prime, a free 5 GB storage limit is still being provided. If you have been unable to upgrade your iPhone or iPad to the latest version of iOS because you are out of disk space, the option to back up all of your photos to Amazon CloudDrive would allow you to delete photos on your device knowing that you have full resolution backup copies in the cloud. Once you have your photos stored in the drive, you can delete the photos from your device and apply any updates that are waiting for you.

Although Apple offers iCloud backup of your photos, free space is still limited, and Amazon provides another option for you. If you are a Microsoft office 365 subscriber, Microsoft OneDrive also provides you with unlimited backup of all of your photos. Google Drive, and Dropbox also provide options for backing up photos if you are already a subscriber of one of those services. It is nice to see that several of the cloud drive services are offering easy ways to back up and preserve all of the photos from your mobile devices.

You can download the Amazon CloudDrive Photo backup app from the app store now.IMG_5680.JPG

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.

Caution: iOS 8.1 is available for Download

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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:

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Apple Announces New iPad Air 2 and iOS 8.1

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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

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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

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.

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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.

Apple Releases iOS 8.0.2. The Version That Works?

After releasing iOS 8.0.1 yesterday and having to immediately pull it, Apple has now released iOS 8.0.2 as an over the air update, which is supposed to fix the new problems introduced with yesterday’s release along with the bug fixes included in 8.0.1. I recommend waiting to update until this release has been out long enough for any additional issues to surface. Once you decide to update, remember backing up your iPhone or iPad is still recommended before applying any update.

If safe, the newest release fixes issues with third party keyboards not appearing after device is locked, enables the use of the Health app, fixes issues some apps were having with accessing your photo library, and improves reachability functions of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus. See 9 to 5 Mac for more information.

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