iPhone 6 & iOS 8 First Impressions

imore poll showing 49.3% iPhone 6, 50.7% iPhone 6 PlusI’m sure by now each of you either has a new iPhone or are waiting for a new iPhone or are never getting the new iPhone and in any case are tired of the conversation around which one to buy, so I’m not going to add to it! iMore did a poll of their readers asking which phone people were intending to buy and after 17,315 votes…the answer was split almost EXACTLY 50/50. I thought that was simply fascinating! That means no one can tell you which you’re going to like so we don’t need to keep endlessly droning on about which one is better!

With that aside, I thought it might be fun to chat a bit about a few unusual things I’ve found with my iPhone 6 and iOS 8.

  • The iPhones have always come in distinctive boxes – now they come in a white label box that simply says iPhone. On the back they’ve then applied stickers to identify in teeny print which model it is, and in bigger print how much storage you have. in REALLY teeny print it says the color. This might not sound like an important deal but I like to sell my devices later all pretty-like with the original box – how am I going to tell them apart?
  • The new iPhones are rounded as we all expected, which is awesome, but I didn’t realize that the glass would be rounded on the very edge too. It makes swiping side to side really swell, but I think it also makes it a bit harder to hit the letters on the edges of the screen. I have one password with a lot of a’s in it, and I have to really concentrate and hold when I hit the a to be sure it recognizes it. Or maybe it’s just me being lame. Would be curious if anyone else has noticed this?
  • I love statistical data with large sample sets to prove a point, but that doesn’t keep me from drawing conclusions without a lot of data. In my very limited use of 3 days, I think the battery life rocks on this thing! I went for a walk with 35% left on the battery, listened to podcasts for my 53 minute walk…and I had 31% left when I got home! I know for a fact my iPhone 5 would have been below 10% after that length of time listening. Yesterday I went to bed with 33% left on the phone without having charged it all day. That was with well over an hour of podcast listening, an awful lot of games of 2048 and general having a blast with my phone all day.
  • I was really hoping to go skinless on this phone because it’s so pretty. Yesterday I was sitting down with the phone in the pocket of my tailored shorts. I stood up and it just flipped right out, face down on the concrete. Shockingly it was fine. I sent a note to my two kids (for whom I had also bought iPhone 6s) and they BOTH wrote back that they too had dropped theirs. Unfortunately my sons chipped. Very sad for him. After just getting it, I couldn’t bear the idea of him having a cracked iPhone, so this afternoon we went over to Apple to have a chat. There was a line of about 45 people out front, and no genius bar appointments till Tuesday but I spoke to the woman at the entrance and explained the situation. I explained that I’d just bought 3 devices at full price, and that all 3 of us had dropped them, but only 2 of us were lucky. Kyle showed her his phone. She asked if we had AppleCare, and I said no, but my plan was to buy it on all 3 phones today, after getting his fixed. She gave us a sly grin and said, “hang on”. She went away for just a minute or two, and came back with a genius and they explained that because it’s soooo early after getting it, they’re going to take pity on us and give him a new phone for free! Then he said that they won’t even use up 1 of the 2 repairs you get out of AppleCare. So Kyle and I bought leather cases for our phones too. They even let me buy AppleCare on Lindsay’s phone even though it was in San Diego because they reasoned that if it also were broken I certainly would have told them. Apple customer service wins one more time!
  • front_facing_smallI haven’t played with the camera too much yet (that seems odd for me, but it’s only been a couple of days) but I took a photo with the front facing camera, indoors but pretty well lit by sunlight from the windows – and it was AMAZING. So clear and sharp, I would definitely use this camera now where I used to shun it! I took another one in a dark room with the blinds pulled and while of course not nearly as good, but it was not nearly as grainy as the iPhone 5’s camera. That makes sense as they said they improved the light gathering of the front facing camera. Did a little Slo-Mo video with the 240fps camera of Tesla catching a frisbee but I haven’t gotten a chance to process it yet, but boy is that fun!
  • Do you realize that the 128GB iPhone 6 Plus is $50 MORE than the 128GB 11″ Macbook Air? Seriously, that bad boy is $950 full price while you can get the Macbook Air for $900! Something to think about. Maybe it’s like how bikini’s are more expensive than giant boy bathing suits?
  • I really really like the new iPhone.

I also love how Apple comes out with the new OS a few days before the new phones. I like it because everyone gets something new and shiny to play with that way. As much as the new hardware amazes and delights, I think half of my enjoyment might be because of iOS 8 itself. It’s not all happiness and joy for me though.

  • I’m digging the new keyboards, but before I get into them too far, I really love the predictive text popups on the regular iOS keyboard. I thought it would be distracting but I’m pretty sure it’s way faster for me than typing, at least on the tiny iPhone screen. The first phone I saw this on was actually one of the Blackberry’s but I’m delighted it’s come to iOS.
  • I added the Swype keyboard first, which is a dollar in the AppStore. I really wanted to try out this method of typing where you just swipe your finger around on the keyboard and it magically figures out what you meant to type. Swype works pretty well but it did one thing I didn’t like at all. When it got close to the right word, I couldn’t just back up a letter or two to fix it, it would delete the entire word when I hit one delete key. I DO like though that it offers to learn words which is pretty cool. I taught it NosillaCast first thing.
  • Later on I found out that SwiftKey is actually free, so I threw that one on there too. I like SwiftKey better because it lets me correct words more easily. If you want to have your unique words saved so they work on other devices, you’ll have to authorize SwiftKey to put them in the cloud, which you may or may not want to do depending on your privacy threshold. I said yes immediately. I thought I was going crazy later in the week though, because I was on my iPad and SwiftKey stopped working properly. I could still type by pecking but gone was the wonderful swiping. I uninstalled and reinstalled and still no joy. I went to their website only to discover that the swiping isn’t yet supported on iPad. At least I wasn’t going nuts!
  • Another thing I don’t like about the Swype keyboard on the iPhone is that it is a couple of keystrokes to get to the keyboard switcher. That’s kind of annoying.
  • Dictation ROCKS now. My friend Dan told me recently that he NEVER uses the keyboard, he only dictates to his phone. I’d had limited success with it before, but with iOS 8 it’s a lot better. On iOS 7, when you were talking to it, the typing field stayed empty till you hit done, and only then would it reveal what it thought you said. With iOS 8, it shows you real time what it thinks you’re saying, and you can even see it back up and correct things based on context! It’s accuracy appears to be way up too. Now we have cooler keyboards and maybe don’t even always NEED the keyboards to type so that’s just awesome. I think we’ve caught up to Android here, finally.
  • A non-obvious feature of Messages is that you can pop in videos and audio clips and photos right into the thread without much work. Tap the photo button, and slide up and the photo just jumps right into the stream. Many fewer taps, which could be dangerous! I think my favorite feature though is as a recipient. I had a 16GB iPhone so I’ve been struggling to save space, and my Messages is full of videos and photos that are hard to delete. With the new Messages, when you view a photo or video, you get red letters under it that says “Keep” or you can let it expire and it leaves your phone. Sort of a half Snapchat

Enough joy for now though, some things are feeling pretty buggy to me in iOS 8 – even beta-ish, so if you’re on the fence on whether it’s time to upgrade, listen up.

  • I might have overdone the keyboards, once I had five of them in there things started to get weird. I’ve had more than one occasion where no keyboard at all appears, and no option to flip one up. I had to quit the application and go back in to get the keyboard to come back.
  • Both my iPhone and iPad have awakened zoomed in so far I can’t see anything on screen (and took me a while to figure out why.
  • When use spotlight to search for an app if I misspell it, and then back up to correct, nothing is discovered at all
  • My iPad does not obey do not disturb – dinging away constantly. Even have the volume all the way and it still makes noise. If someone knows how to fix this one, I really want to hear about it!

Well that’s going to end my diatribe and discovery for now – in any case I’m having a blast with both the new iPhone 6 and especially iOS 8!

4 thoughts on “iPhone 6 & iOS 8 First Impressions

  1. Mark - September 22, 2014

    good hands on review. I’m seeing some of the same issues, so you’re not crazy. I’ve only added one keyboard (text expander) and have also seen all keyboards disappear requiring a restart. I’ve encountered the spotlight search bug too. Since I’m using an iphone 6 and iOS8 it’s sometimes hard to diagnose, but I think most of my issues are software related. I’m loving the phone though.

  2. Allison Sheridan - September 22, 2014

    That makes me feel better, Mark. I know it’s not TextExpander causing the problem, because I deleted it since I’ve had a beta version, and it still happening. Sounds like iOS 8 bugginess to me.

  3. Steve Davidson - September 23, 2014

    Regarding the problems with Do Not Disturb working, I noticed that with at least one feature (can’t recall what it was) I had to turn it off and then back on again, and that did the trick. Try it and see if it helps.

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