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Posts tagged with "iPhone"

Apple’s ‘Shot on iPhone’ Campaign Continues

Josh Raab, reporting for Time:

Following last year’s Shot on iPhone 6 campaign, Apple is bringing back the concept for the iPhone 6s.

The new ad campaign features 53 images from 41 amateurs and professional photographers from around the world.

While the previous campaign included a variety of photographic subjects – from landscapes to extreme close-ups – this time, Apple has put the focus on portraits, most of them photographed in subtle, everyday moments.

Some great shots in this updated campaign for the iPhone 6s. Billboards have started going up around the world today – I assume a new World Gallery webpage is launching soon, too.

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Italy, America, and the iPhone

Fascinating analysis by Matt Richman on why the iPhone is less popular in Italy than in the United States:

From September 1st to December 19th of last year, I studied abroad in Rome, Italy. The experience changed my life for the better. Starting as a complete beginner in a foreign country and leaving it 110 days later able to read, write, and speak basic Italian was one of the hardest and most rewarding things I’ve ever done. Anyone with the chance to study abroad should do it.

One of the first things I noticed in Rome was that the iPhone is less popular there than I unconsciously assumed it would be. Coming from the US, where iPhones are extremely prevalent in rich and cosmopolitan areas, I was shocked and confused to see so few of them in Rome.

And I didn’t see too many of them elsewhere in Italy, either. In Florence I saw iPhones in the hands of tourists but rarely in the hands of Florentines, and in Todi, a small town in central Italy, I didn’t see a single resident with an iPhone.

As someone who's lived in Italy his whole life and writes about Apple for a living, the topic is close to me. I only partially agree with Matt's points on retail and the iPhone as a status symbol.

While we don't have chains with thousands of locations such as Walmart or Target in Italy, we do have chains with dozens of stores such as Unieuro and Media World – which often feature their own in-store mini Apple stores with iPhones, iPads, and Macs laid out on Apple Store-like wooden tables. And, it's easy enough to find iPhones at any electronics or carrier shops inside malls, not to mention smaller independent stores in towns like Viterbo, my hometown. I wouldn't say that Apple has a third-party retail penetration problem speaking from personal experience – if anything, I'd argue that Apple's own stores should have a wider presence. It's relatively easy to find an iPhone at a non-Apple location these days.

As for the status symbol discussion, Matt's points about fashion and prioritizing other purchases seem likely to me, but I don't have experience with other countries to compare what I see here. However, I don't completely buy the argument that iPhones aren't an important status symbol in Italy. Again, speaking from anecdotal experience, I know and I've met lots of people who buy the latest iPhone just because it's an iPhone – it doesn't matter which new features or improvements it offers. Having an iPhone is, for better or worse, a fashion statement (I also see that reflected in how many choose to customize their devices with branded cases or other blingy accessories).

I think Matt is absolutely spot-on about iPhone prices. In Italy, iPhones (and Apple devices in general) are expensive, and I wouldn't be surprised to hear that, statistically, fewer Italian households can afford an iPhone (or multiple ones) compared to American ones. The recession hit Italy hard, and the iPhone is as close to a luxury smartphone as you can get – especially if you choose to buy any iPhone above 16 GB unlocked with no contract.

This last aspect ties into a point Matt didn't cover: Samsung and Android smartphones (and, to a lesser extent, Windows smartphones). Based on what I've seen in Rome and traveling around Italy, Samsung has enjoyed great success with their Galaxy devices over the past few years. Samsung has been quite aggressive with ad campaigns and promotions (discounts) in partnership with the aforementioned chains. Galaxy smartphones aren't cheap, but there's usually a good chance you'll find pretty good deals around; also, there's a lot of choice in the Galaxy family, which you don't get with only two new iPhone models released every year.

What I've also noticed, particularly in the last two years, is that decent Android smartphones have gotten really cheap here – I have many friends who moved from an iPhone to Huawei phones (another company that's been running TV commercials aggressively) simply because they needed a new phone but didn't have the money for a new iPhone and Huawei had a good enough option for much less. If you apply this to hundreds of other Android devices sold in malls and electronic chains, it would explain why, anecdotally, I'm seeing more types of smartphones in the streets of Italy compared to a few years ago.

Matt has raised some interesting points in his article. The more I think about it, though, the more curious I am about stats for used iPhone sales in Italy. Every time I had to sell an iPhone – either to close friends or by posting it online – it took me less than 48 hours.


What Today’s Popular Websites Look Like on the Original iPhone

Fun experiment by Luc Luxton:

I received a 1st generation iPhone as birthday gift last year from a good friend of mine and I really haven’t done much with it. I started wondering if the phone could be used day to do if needed and if so, what the experience would be like today.

So, I thought it might be fun to have a look at what the most popular websites today look like on that incredibly revolutionary device.

If you think about it, the "winner" among websites that work well on an original iPhone today isn't a surprise. I wish more websites adopted that strategy as well.

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How the 6s Plus Is Reshaping My iPhone Experience

In April, I settled an argument with myself. After years of assuming that a small and compact phone was what I wanted, I realized that the iPhone 6 Plus was the pocket computer for me. The size, harder one-handed operations, software slowdowns caused by memory constraints and resolution downsampling – ultimately, none of those potential 6 Plus issues pushed me to reconsider my decision. I had adjusted to the hybrid nature of the iPhone 6 Plus, and I couldn't go back.

My physical traits and lifestyle habits meet the prerequisites necessary to use a 6 Plus on a daily basis. My hands are big enough for size not to be a deal breaker; I'm no longer constrained by obligatory one-handed operations; and generally, when I need to use my iPhone, I can use two hands for a better grip or faster interactions, and I don't mind it.

I say "hybrid" as a callback to how many refer to the 6 Plus, but I don't mean it in a pejorative light for the iPad. Since I switched to the 6 Plus in February, my use cases for the iPhone and iPad Air 2 have continued to be distinct and well-suited for the nature of each platform.

The iPad Air 2 is my primary computer, which I use to write and publish articles, manage MacStories, play games, read, and every other activity I used to perform on a Mac. The Air 2 has the unique advantage of being a truly portable computer, and it's my most used iOS device to date.

The iPhone is the pocket computer for everyday life. It's my camera. It's my home remote. It's Twitter and Slack. It's my health companion. I value my iPad immensely (I wouldn't be able to write this article without it), but the iPhone holds the key to my mobile lifestyle.

The iPhone is the hub around which everything revolves. Even the iPad – my computer – orbits the iPhone.

Based on lessons from the past few months, I knew getting an iPhone 6s Plus would be the best option for me. As I've witnessed, the Plus-sized iPhone and the iPad Air 2 don't compete with each other in my life: they complement each other's strengths. While I have sometimes traded one device for the capabilities of the other (such as reading on my iPhone instead of the iPad), I use each device for what it's best at, and I've never once doubted the role of the iPad in my daily workflow. I'm fine with a big iPhone, and I'm doing well with a big iPad. I like big screens. They're comfy.

As I outlined in my review, the most evident drawback of the iPhone 6 Plus was the inability to keep up with iOS 8. Whatever the reason – and no matter the performance improvements that Apple promised throughout the OS' update cycle – the iPhone 6 Plus always felt behind iOS 8, exhibiting stuttering animations, constantly purging recent apps from memory, and, generally, being sluggish.

It was reasonable, then, to wait for an S-class upgrade that would iron out the kinks and offer a more complete vision of the 5.5-inch iPhone. More RAM, an updated processor, an improved camera; faster multitasking, faster apps, faster everything. That's what I wanted. And knowing Apple – or, at least, knowing their penchant for a regular dose of small surprises – I assumed they'd throw in some seemingly minor but welcome new features for good measure as well.

The iPhone 6s Plus delivers on all these fronts, going beyond the "S stands for Speed" philosophy that is inexorably repeated every two years with changes I didn't expect.

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The Rise of (i)Phone Reading

Jennifer Maloney, writing for The Wall Street Journal last week on the rise of phone reading has some interesting stats regarding the iPhone 6:

Since the release of the bigger, sharper iPhone 6 and 6 Plus last September, Apple has seen an increase in the number of people downloading books onto iPhones through its iBooks app. Some 45% of iBooks purchases are now downloaded onto iPhones, an Apple spokeswoman said. Before that, only 28% were downloaded onto phones, with most of the remainder downloaded onto iPads and a small percentage onto computers.

This increase isn't limited to Apple's iBooks app:

Amazon has also noted the development. Among all new customers using Kindles or the Kindle app, phone readers are by far the fastest-growing segment, an Amazon spokeswoman said, declining to disclose figures. Among those who use the Kindle app, more people now read books on the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus than on any other Apple device, even the popular iPad Mini, she said.

Note how Apple said “downloaded onto iPhones” and not “entirely read on iPhones” – but still, it makes sense for people to read books (and I would assume, web articles) more continuously and ubiquitously on an iPhone than an iPad, especially thanks to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

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Visualizing Apple’s Historical iPhone Lineups, Guessing the Next One

We're rapidly approaching that time of the year when Apple introduces new iPhones, and BuzzFeed's John Paczkowski reported last week that the event will be take place on September 9. There will almost certainly be a lot to talk about after the event (Paczkowski says that the event will include a new Apple TV and iPads), but one thing that I've been thinking about is what the new iPhone lineup will look like. This was all precipitated by the discussion on last week's Talk Show with John Gruber and John Moltz.

Because my mind was a bit fuzzy on the historical iPhone lineups (particularly the early years), I decided to go back and make a graph to simply and clearly show what Apple has done in the past. The dates I used were based on when each iPhone was available in the US (not the announcement date). Tier 1 represents the newest and most advanced iPhone available at the time. Although there are slight differences between the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, they are largely identical (both have an A8 processor with 1 GB RAM, etc) and as a result I've characterised them both as Tier 1. Tier 2 represents the next best iPhone available (often the previous year's Tier 1 model) and Tier 3 is the next best again.

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Apple Posts New ‘Photos & Videos’ iPhone Ad

Apple aired a new commercial as part of their "If it's not an iPhone, it's not an iPhone" campaign, this time focusing on the device's camera for photos and videos.

The entire ad showcases full-screen photos and videos taken on the iPhone 6, noting that "every day, millions of amazing photos" are shot with iPhone. Unlike other ads in the campaign, there's no mention of third-party apps – just the iPhone's camera and animations generated by photos and videos. Previously, Apple had featured iPhone photography with the "Shot on iPhone 6" initiative, which was later expanded to ads, films, and billboards across the world.

You can watch Apple's latest iPhone commercial below.

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Making Music on iOS: Guitar Amps, Effects Apps & Hardware

BIAS custom amps

BIAS custom amps

Back in the 1980s I played guitar. Yes, I’m that old. I learned from books and by playing along with CDs, and I jacked my Charvel guitar (awesome) into a Session guitar amp (terrible), and I never really got any better.

Now, 30-odd years later, I’m at it again. And like most things, except mobile phones, everything is better than it was in the 80s. Mid-range and even low-end guitars are better-made and cheaper. Amps are cheap and no longer terrible. And we have iOS devices and apps which can replace whole suitcases full of effects pedals.

That’s what we’re looking at today – iPad (and iPhone) guitar amp simulations, along with virtual effects pedals. And along the way, we’ll look at hardware to connect up your guitar to the iPad, and at some speaker options so you can actually hear yourself play.

Spoiler alert – the guitar world has taken a big turn towards the awesome.

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