The iPhone 6 Plus Is Not an iPad nano

Jason Snell, writing at his new website, Six Colors:

When Apple announced the iPhone 6 Plus on Sept. 9, I entertained the idea that it might be a replacement for my iPad mini. At last, the promise of a single device small enough to fit in my pocket, but big enough to satisfy my productivity needs.

Then I used the iPhone 6 Plus. And while it will have its fans—in fact, I’ll wager that the iPhone 6 Plus will have rabid fans—it’s just not for me, because I wasn’t seeking a bigger iPhone. I was seeking an iPad nano, and that’s not something the iPhone 6 Plus is willing to be.

I saw a lot of iPhone 6 Plus reviews suggest that the device can be an iPad mini replacement, and I'm glad that Jason pointed out actual issues with that idea.

I do wonder why iPads aren't getting that special 6 Plus keyboard, though. I would love to be able to customize the keys that show up on my iPad's keyboard (sort of like the latest PCalc for iOS).

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On Location in Iceland with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

This is an incredible collection of photos by Austin Mann for The Verge. Make sure to check out the Focus Pixels and Slo-Mo videos – the difference is stunning.

I loved this bit about the iPhone as a camera:

I really enjoy the challenge and spontaneity of capturing powerful images without directing them. I love to explore, see a moment coming, line up the shot and capture it as it passes. The great thing about carrying the iPhone as my primary shooting device is it’s simple yet so powerful: it's ready to capture virtually any scenario I encounter. It enables images like this in a way no other camera ever could, no matter the cost.

For a comparison, check out Mann's trip to Patagonia with an iPhone 5s from last year.

Update: More at Austin Mann's website.

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iOS 8 Shows Love for HTML5

Ross Gerbasi has an overview of great changes for web developers in iOS 8.

He notes that WKWebView, a new technology to have faster web views in third-party apps, currently has a major bug:

Remember that amazing new WebView I was just telling you all about? The one with the super fast Nitro JS engine and shiny new everything. Well, its broken… The bug here is a security issue which does not allow “WKWebView” to load files from the local filesystem. So what this means is that your embedded index.html is not accessible to the “WKWebView”. This is a blocker for PhoneGap and Cordova applications that are using offline/local files to serve up an application. So currently, if you would like to use “WKWebView” in your application, you must load your files from a remote server. For example, loading “index.html” will not work, but loading “http://www.google.com” will work just fine.

Several developers of apps I was testing told me they needed to disable WKWebView for this reason. I can't wait for a fix.

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Essence Icons @3x

Icons & Coffee (the side-project that I run with my girlfriend Silvia) released version 1.2 of the Essence icon set today. Essence is used in thousands of apps and it includes 350 unique icon designs in multiple versions. Today's update adds support for the iPhone 6 Plus with @3x sizes.

From the blog post:

Following Apple’s announcements, we’ve added new PNG files for the iPhone 6 Plus (@3x); as always, PNGs are available in three colors (blue, gray, and white). We’ve also included a PNG reference so you can easily find the icon file you’re looking for in the download.

You can check out Essence 1.2 here.

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Xcode 6: Live Rendering, Visual View Debugging, and Swift

Xcode is the development environment that Apple supplies to the community for creating Mac and iOS apps. Those familiar with the tool will likely agree that working with previous versions have been nothing short of a love/hate relationship. After any update, Xcode’s quirks and crashes are never far behind, however it is one utility that Mac and iOS developers simply could not live without.

Xcode 6 brings exciting new features and enhancements including support for an entirely new programming language, improved view debugging, live view rendering, extensions, playgrounds, and more.

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Learning and Relearning iOS

In the school where I teach, we are now into our fifth school year using iPad in the classroom. We have students from 5-18 using the device and using it very differently according to their age and educational needs. We have found it to be a substantial addition to the life and work of our school and a major enhancement to the educational process.

Unlike many schools, we don’t focus on “delivering content” with the iPad. We don’t use electronic textbooks and we don’t buy a lot of curriculum materials in the form of apps. Instead, we view the iPad as a tool for creativity in the classroom. We think of apps not as replacements for books but as a new kind of pen, pencil, ruler, paintbrush, camera, music studio, art material, scientific log book, homework diary, writing pad and movie editing suite.

We have used every version of iOS since iOS 3.2 on the original iPad. Many releases have brought substantial improvements in our daily use of the iPad – for example multitasking in iOS 4 or AirPlay Mirroring in iOS 5 on the iPad 2. I think we are on course for the most substantial change to iOS since it shipped on the iPad this year.

iOS 8 brings many deep changes and improvements to the platform that we know and love to use in our school. I want to highlight a few of them, but it’s important to remember that sometimes the biggest wins are in the fixes to the small daily annoyances.

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