Posts tagged with "iPhone4S"

Link Siri Drops The “That”

Am I the only one who thinks this deserves a “finally”?

Siri Drops The “That”:

I’m not sure how long Siri has been doing this, but I just noticed it the other day. I have a tendency to talk to Siri like she’s a real person, and I often say things like, tell my wife that I’ll be home in 10 minutes.

A request like that used to produce a text message like this: ‘That I’ll be home in 10 minutes’. But no longer.

Now I’m wondering how long it will be until a request like this:

‘tell my wife that I’ll be home in 10 minutes and ask her if there anywhere she needs me to stop’

get’s turned into:

‘I’ll be home in 10 minutes, is there anywhere you need me to stop?’

(Via Shawn Blanc.)

Some details, however incredibly small, can become so annoying with time…

Apple took the time to adjust the Camera button on the iPhone lock screen with iOS 5.1. But we’re still cursed with the most hideous set of audio controls. My improvements above represent but an incremental change. Ideally the damned controls would take up the entire effing screen. Why? Why not?

If I double tap the home button to bring up the audio controls, its quite obvious that I want to control the fucking audio. So why not use as much of the screen as possible for that very purpose? Why are we confined a one-line, 5-button layout, on a 2-inch screen, leaving buttons smaller than a half an inch? You have literally the entire screen save for the slide to unlock (which if the audio controls are up, should jump you to the Music app, don’t you think?) It would really be great to see the clock/date disappear and a nice, fluid set of audio controls to appear. They already go as far as to show album art on the lock screen. So why is this such a stretch?

While I’m in bitching mode… Another complaint still remains: Disable both skip buttons when playing a podcast or audiobook. At the very least, disable the “Previous won’t jump tracks, but will return you to the start of the playing track, losing your place in whatever 2 hour podcast you are currently playing. Good luck!”

And one more for good measure: If I don’t have a passcode set on my phone, and I take a picture after having launched the camera from the lock screen, let me send the damned picture. Don’t make me jump to the home screen, reopen the Camera app (or photos) and locate the damned picture again. If you have a passcode set, I get it. I understand the behavior at that point. But at that point I’d say let me unlock the phone from within the Camera, and enable those controls, but I can see where that might prove difficult.

re: Different Levels

I’ll stand by my previous statement that this is a huge bane for the iPhone. Elegance through simplicity works in some places, this isn’t one of them.


Basically, the iPhone has two different volume levels: your ringer volume, and your audio playback volume. When audio is playing, or when an audio-centric app is open, the hardware volume buttons change the volume of the audio. When at the home screen with no audio playing, the volume buttons change the ringer volume. The audio level can go to 0, but the ringer volume can only go to 1. The turn the ringer off, you have to use the hardware switch.

iPhone Mute Switch Dilemma…

So if you’ve been living under a rock, an iPhone alarm went off during a performance at the New York Philharmonic, and the conductor went as far as to stop the show and berate the guy.

Gruber notes that he thinks this is an edge case that can’t be easily addressed. I’d argue otherwise. The concept of a Sound Profile is non-existent on the iPhone, and with good reason since it can get excessive (most feature phones and all Blackberries ship with several), but it shouldn’t be.

I should be able to define a quiet profile, a loud profile, a vibrate-only profile, and hopefully an outright off profile as well as a bedside profile, or i should be able to stick with the default 2 (Noise, Vibrate). Profiles should control ALL sound output from the phone that is considered an Alert. Music, game sound, etc., would all be classified separately, but alarms, calendar and task list reminders, message/call alerts, and third party notifications would all fall under the concept of the profile.

Yes, this is like the system RIM has on the Blackberry.

Yes, they had a shitty UI on it that made it slightly painful to set up.

Yes, I understand it would add a layer of complexity to the average user.

No, I don’t give a damn.

Being able to only switch between a vibrate profile and a “make noise” profile is one of the lamest fucking features about my iPhone, and I’ve ranted about it before, to anybody who will listen. Would a more flexible system have saved the poor chump at the Philharmonic? Reportedly he only had received the phone earlier in the day/week and wasn’t fully versed in its functions yet, so probably not. Does it have the potential to allow me to receive a critical phone call in the middle of the night? Yes. Right now, if I forget the mute switch before I go to bed, the phone could vibrate for hours and I wouldn’t hear it. Whereas my Bold’s Nightstand mode let me block out the pings of Emails (except critical ones), quiet the sounds of text messages, and blare the sound of a phone call.

Now i’m stuck getting a loud PING every time an email comes in, or hearing nothing at all until the morning.

iPhone 4S - Two Months…

So I just crossed the two month mark with my iPhone 4S. Having just poked some fun at Android, I decided to follow up my previous iPhone posts.

Battery Life

My battery issues are still issues, but only when compared to my Bold 9700; RIM may be faltering now, but you still can’t beat a Blackberry’s battery life.

iOS 5.0.1 made some serious improvements for me, I was able to get to Noon with > 50% of my battery life remaining, and there are often times where I can go for 16-18 hours, using the phone off-and-on all day, before it finally puts itself to sleep.

One of my biggest fears, an extended commute, was alleviated by the fact that the iPhone has replaced my iPod Touch in the car. Using a single Belkin cable, I feed the Mazda audio, and it feeds the iPhone power. Win-Win. I arrive at <my destination> and step out of the car with a fully charged phone. That capability, in and of itself, is perfect justification for spending the money and picking up the 64GB version, rather than skimping for the smaller variants. If you’re like me, and doing this, and you’re not using Music+, you really should be. Its a great App, and is being very actively developed and improved.


On the durability front, my phone rarely leaves a case, and usually only when changing cases. It took a few weeks for me to acquire the proper kid gloves to handle the iPhone. After almost 4 years, I was very much used to beating the dogshit out of my Berry and having it ask for more.

The only issue I’ve had since the Big Drop is that my Volume Up key recently became stuck/broken. It still works, but requires a significant amount more effort, any sort of tactile response is gone, and it just feels like a dead button. Its like the little plastic nub I know is inside there is shifted or destroyed. I’m not sure what could have caused it, and I’m not sure its really worth me suffering through the process of replacing the phone yet again, since undoubtedly they wouldn’t be able to just fix the button.

Case Dilemas

I have both a executive field case from Magpul and an Impact case from Otterbox. The Magpul case is terrific. Its not a shock-absorbing case, but it does offer scratch/scuff protection, and makes the phone MUCH easier to hold, offering both a decent texture and lugs. At the same time, its smooth enough to make pocket-carrying much easier, especially in slacks. The Impact case is equally terrific, but for different reasons. It offers much more impact protection, adds some size and grip to the phone, making it easier to hold and cradle, but at the same time is bulkier, and harder to get into most pockets given its rubber construction. Wishing slightly I’d sprung for the Commuter case, which has a plastic snap-on shell over a rubber wrapper, to ease pocket transitions and increase protection.

I still haven’t found a decent Blackberry-esque holster, everything seems to require tradeoffs. If the holster that came with my Bold 9700 was just 1/2-3/4” taller, the iPhone would fit PERFECTLY. The size difference is just so that the flap won’t close and secure the phone in place, otherwise I would use it anyway. As it is, I’m probably going to end up picking up an Otterbox Defender at some point, just to have something much more robust AND the clip-on belt holster, lame though I find the solid-plastic solutions to be.

Pocket-carrying is fine on most days, but there are plenty where I want to be able to access my phone when sitting without looking like an idiot and/or I want the phone to be out where it can be heard more easily, rather than being muffled in a pocket (the vibration is a fraction of what the 9700 was capable of, and often not enough to draw my attention, even in my pocket). There’s also the dilemma of carrying change, ink pens, pocket knives, keys, and/or any of the other dozen things that can screw up a glass screen quickly when lumped together in a pocket. I’m too much of a boy scout to walk around with nothing but my phone, wallet, and car key in my pockets.


When I posted Durability Followup, I left out one important thing that happened during that process. During my initial call to AppleCare, when I was truly frustrated, ready to give up on the phone completely, and about to retreat to my Blackberry, I lamented to the support lady that I hated the iPhone Dock I purchased along with my phone. It was just a terrible experience, and neither of the other two docks I had in the house offered very good experiences either. That was one key feature of my Blackberry over the last ~4 years, was the dock, combined with Nightstand Mode and BBOS’s Kick-Fucking-Ass sound profile system.

The iPhone dock:

  • Makes it nigh impossible to locate the dock and successfully insert a phone in the dark
  • Makes removing the phone (almost) a 3-handed nightmare
  • Has no integration with the iPhone, no separate sound profile, no display dimming (Radars filed)

RIM’s Dock:

  • Has a faint glowing LED
  • Cradles the phone gently, using simple spring-contacts to charge the device
  • Triggers events on the phone; Nightstand Mode could dim the display, display a full-screen clock, and change the sound profile to something that nullifies most Email and Text notifications, but still blasts phone calls and emergency messages at full volume.

All nostalgia aside, the poor girl was desperate to give me some respite I think, and offered to return the dock, at no cost to me. All I had to do was box it back up, apply the UPS label they emailed me, and drop it at a UPS location.

Then last week, this happened. I still won’t have different sound profiles, nor a glowing light, but the size and promise of this dock far surpass Apple’s offerings so far. I’m happy to see the project flourishing, but disappointed that Apple themselves didn’t make something like this (or better) first.


Not a day goes by I don’t wish for my Blackberry keyboard. I’m sorry, but fuck virtual keyboards. Very much. Predictive text and autocorrection? Bite me. Give me keys I can feel, and my thumbs will find the right fucking letters, thank you very much. That said, I have been suffering along, using Siri for assistance whenever possible, but often enough my twang-y speech causes her to misinterpret, causing me to become increasingly frustrated, especially for somebody who could do 40-50WPM on a Blackberry. I would be perfectly fine with an iPhone that was 1.5” longer, allowing room for a blackberry keyboard to be tacked on at the bottom. Then again there are days when I just wish the virtual keyboard had an alternate layout I could pick, that had arrow keys on it, so I didn’t have to endure the tap-and-hold stupidity that is cursor adjustment.

Another thing is the ability to manually add things to the custom dictionary, without resorting to adding specific words to a contact in my address book. I’m not the only one who feels this way.. The bullshit little X that i get when trying to tell AutoCorrection to piss up a rope is impossible for my sausage fingers to find.

At this point, the only thing that could really improve for me on the iPhone [Next] is making the damned thing out of carbon fiber and using some kind of shatter-proof glass, or some high-tech polymer plexi that will give a similar experience, without the weight and implications glass brings to the table. I really miss having a phone I wasn’t afraid to toss onto the bed, or go skidding across a city street.

Link But Android is Winning

The battery drained so fast our in-car charger couldn’t keep up, leaving us unsure of which exit to take off the 101.

This is really the best mobile Android device out there? Do they have a different definition of mobile than the rest of us? Sure, the iPhone 4S had battery issues at launch, but they have been improved via software already, and I expect that trend to continue.

In three months, the Nexus will be old news, Google and Verizon will both cease to give a shit, as they will have moved on to TheNextBigThing™ that promises them marketing hype and sales. I look forward to Apple supporting my iPhone with updates and improvements well through its expected lifecycle for me (~ Fall 2013). By this time next year, Google will have released a version of Android the Nexus won’t support.

Third Party Fun Time

There are a lot of third party apps on iOS that have really turned my head and made having a pocket computer so damned useful the geek in me can’t help but be excited. In no particular order (except alphabetical):

  • Dropbox
  • Elements
  • Evernote
  • GasCubby
  • Instapaper
  • LinkedIn
  • Linode
  • Music+
  • Plex
  • Prompt
  • Remote
  • Square
  • Tumblr
  • Twitterrific
  • USA Today

I’ve got everything I need in a pocket computer it seems, except a hardware keyboard…

    Durability; Followup & Aftermath


    My phone fell off the counter, shattering the back glass. Apple couldn’t replace the back, after telling me they could, due to a lack of parts. They wanted to burn an AppleCare+ accident to replace the entire phone. I complained, Executive Relations is sending me a replacement phone.


    Shattered back glass on my iPhone 4S So for those not aware, on Sunday my iPhone fell off the bathroom counter while I was brushing my teeth. The hows and whys of the situation I don’t have too many more details on; I had just woken up, and the moments leading up to the thwack sound that ruined my day are lost in the fog that is my typical morning.  The important thing is, despite owning not one, but two cases that might have at least offered some protection, neither case was applied at the time of the fall.  I was immediately relieved to discover that it was only the back glass, the screen remained intact, and the rest of the phone appears to have survived the fall remarkably well.


    So shortly thereafter, our story begins with me calling AppleCare, after giving myself sometime to calm down (pissed off isn’t really even in the ballpark of my mental state at that time).  After spending a fairly long amount of time on hold, I finally got to speak with an agent who was quick and helpful, and immediately put me on hold to deal with his supervisor, who had to deal with all replacements.  Great. So another 5-10 minutes on hold, then I spend 20 minutes talking with her about what my options were etc. I expressed my disappointment at having to waste an AppleCare+ accident (you only get two) for something that doesn’t seem to have damaged the phone, only the back cover piece. I purchased + for those “it fell off the roof of my car” or “took a tumble down a flight of stairs” moments, not for the bleary-eyed-early-morning-bathroom-counter falls, and certainly not for ones that didn’t compromise functionality. She told me she understood, but under the terms of the agreement, that was all she could do.  At this point I asked about taking it to the Apple Store and just having the back replaced; something I’d heard about, but had also heard that it was an un-sanctioned process. She said that it was most certainly an option, but that I should call the store to confirm they could/would do it.

    So I wrap up that call, leaving the case open, and call the Keystone Apple Store in Indy. I explain my situation, making it very clear that I was talking about the 4S and not the 4, and was told that they could replace the back glass, no problem.


    So Monday I set up a Genius Bar appointment for 6:30PM, and I left at 4:30pm bound for Indy. Just north of Columbus I hit a traffic backup and sit for a good 30 minutes, long enough where I began worrying about missing my appointment, so I use the Apple Store app to reschedule it from the traffic jam. I end up rolling into the mall at 6:40 (that’s two hours to go just over 75 miles).

    At 7:20 I check in and within a couple of minutes I am tended to by not one, but two Geniuses; they examine my phone, and say it won’t be a problem, its a $29 part and they’ll be happy to swap it. Then they realize its a 4S. They make a check to be sure, but it turns out the phone is so new they don’t have parts for it.  Which isn’t a big deal, but that’s why I called ahead before driving 150 miles and derailing my entire evening. So knowing it wasn’t either of these guys who answered the phone and misinformed me, I managed to keep a lid on my anger.  They told me they had heard of instances where Apple would send customers replacement backs in situations like there, where visiting a repair center was problematic or impossible, and that the part is super simple to replace (a fact I already knew from my research into the matter). So, after stopping to visit some friends, I trudged home.

    I ended up sending a not-so-nice email to a certain Apple executive, as the last time I did that during the preorder debacle, they handled it exceptionally well.


    On Wednesday I called AppleCare back, after having calmed down enough from Monday’s trip to not explode on the guy there. That was possibly the worst call or experience I’ve had with AppleCare. The guy was almost rude, unhelpful, unsympathetic, and incredibly defensive. No matter how irrational the customer may be (and I think I was being very rational, though my bias is obvious), none of those characteristics are what you want your Support person to be. It isn’t their job to defend the product or the policies, its their job to make the customer happy without giving away the farm. This guy didn’t offer to understand the problem, didn’t offer to hand me off to somebody else, didn’t care that I drove for 3.5 hours, wasting my time and gas, after being misinformed by another Apple employee, and called the Geniuses everything but outright liars for telling me that AppleCare could send me a new back. He was absolutely adamant that I was going to pay my $50, burn my accident incident, and get my new phone, or give up completely. It was a disaster. 

    So after that call, another email went out to the same unnamed executive.


    So Thursday I’m still incredibly pissed off. I am seriously contemplating returning the phone and switching back to my Bold 9700 until such a time when i could pick up a 9900. I was very close (I could throw a rock and hit the AT&T store from my house) and had it not been for a busy day at work, I may have. Then shortly before 6, after I’d given up on work for the day and was playing Reach, I get a call from an Austin, Texas number. It was Apple Executive Relations, calling in response to my email(s).

    Within 30 minutes of that call, all fences were mended. The representative was everything the asshole from Wednesday was not. He was understanding in that I didn’t want to replace a functional phone when the back was the only issue. He was apologetic for my being misinformed and driving so far for nothing, and for there not being a better avenue for me to get the matter resolved. Whether or not he actually was any of these things is irrelevant; the manner in which he presented himself is paramount.

    Going off of my notes, he said he’d been checking and calling for most of the afternoon (I would wonder if I wasn’t the only person with this problem) and there are no iPhone 4S backs to be had, and no word on when anybody will get them. Its understandable given the demand for the phone, loose parts would be in short supply. He also brought to light that they can’t use existing CDMA-iPhone 4 backs, even though they would fit, due to the FCC information on the back glass being different between the models.  In order to stay in compliance, all those numbers have to check out, so a iPhone 4 back on a 4S phone isn’t kosher.

    He said that since it was a supply problem on their end, and that I was willing to pay to replace the back, and in fact drove out of my way to do so, only to be rebuffed for the lack of parts, he would be replacing my phone under the warranty agreement, without burning an AppleCare+ accident claim. That was music to my ears; like I said earlier, I am counting on those incidents to be there when I need them, like dropping it off a balcony or running over it with a lawn mower.

    It looks like my replacement phone will be here on Monday; I’m still slightly annoyed that it took so much frustration on my part and expense on Apple’s to make this right. My goal was never to get a new phone, but in the end it appears it was the only viable option for either of us, so chalk the annoyance up to lingering anger from Wednesday’s asshole.  Overall I’m happy with the outcome, and this new phone will get ensconced in one case or another for its entire life.


    Durability was the one factor I didn’t truly factor into this iPhone equation.

    Both of the Blackberries I had took potentially-disastrous tumbles over the course of their life, usually walking away with a scuff on the frame, or a chip from the rubber bumpers on the 8310. They had fallen off of nightstands, bouncing on the way down. Dropped onto concrete from holster-height.

    Once, my 8310 went skidding across a busy street when my shoulder bag’s strap wrenched it from the holster as I was crossing hurriedly just before a light change. The driver sitting in the lead at the intersection just held up his Blackberry, chuckling as I picked up the back, battery, and finally the phone, all three of which had separated during the impact. I snapped the phone back together, it powered up, and I never thought more about it. Later that day I saw the only damage: a small scuff to the upper shoulder.

    The iPhone just fell barely 30” onto the bathroom floor and shattered the back glass.

    So mark one more thing in RIM’s favor; their phones are built to handle much more abuse than any iPhone 4 or 4S could ever hope to absorb. That will end up being a serious factor in my decision whether to not to keep this thing around. I rarely want to set it down on another hard surface like a counter top, for fear of scratching it. And keeping it in a case precludes me from using almost every docking accessory available. And I’m not really keen on buying a new case every month or two from the wear and tear imposed on them by constantly taking them on and off. The enhanced functionality isn’t worth much if I’m scared to take the god damned thing out of my pocket or out of the dock in the morning.

    She&#8217;s getting kinda snippy&#8230;

    She’s getting kinda snippy…