Apple is once again offering a desktop dock for the iPhone. Strangely, Apple did not provide a dock when the iPhone 5 was released but has relented and is now providing 2 different docks for both the 5/S (this review) and for the 5C. Obviously, the different thickness of both devices is why Apple is offering two separate docks. I am not sure why Apple could not offer a single dock that would accommodate both devices as they both have lightning ports. I suspect that Apple wanted each dock to fit exactly the proportions of each phone.
The iPhone 5s dock is a simple piece of high quality white plastic as most (if not all) of the previous docks have been. The dock does not come with anything except the built in Lightning connector built in to the base of the dock. Don't be fooled, however, a lightning cable is still required in order to run the electricity to the dock to charge the iPhone. Most third party docks require you to thread the lightning connector through the dock and prop it vertically to connect the phone. With the Apple dock, you plug your existing lightning cable to the back of the dock. The dock also has a line out jack in the back which can accommodate headphones for any outgoing sound.
The cutout on the base of the dock assists in propping up the phone vertically. The iPhone sits in the dock pretty much vertically with just a hint of tilt backward to provide a bit of viewing angle. I found the the angle at which the iPhone is situated a little too vertical and would have preferred a little more angle back similar to the 3rd party docks like the Belkin I have at work. The base cutout is very slim and can only accommodate a naked iPhone (i.e. without a case). The fit is very tight and requires a bit of effort to line up and push down the iPhone to get a charging connection. On my iPhone 5s, I have the very thin Ghost Armor skins on both the back and the sides and the phone is still able to fit properly. I am not sure why Apple didn't increase the size of the cutout to allow thin cases (including Apple's own 5s case) to work with the dock. The lightning connector itself allows for a pretty solid connection and is certainly strong enough to keep the phone in an upright position. Putting the iPhone in takes a bit of effort and pulling it from the dock certainly requires two hands, one to hold the dock down and the other to pull the phone from the dock. While there are some docks that are heavy enough to not require a two-hand extraction, I think the lightning connector is the primary culprit as to why two hands are needed.
Overall, my opinion of this dock is "meh". There are certainly nicer solutions on the market at various price levels. Unless you have to have official Apple accessories for your iPhone, do a little research before putting down the 30 bucks for this dock.
The desktop dock retails at Apple for $29.00.
I love using the iPhone without a case. Sure, it's taking a chance without any major drop protection on the phone but with Applecare+ and a minimal expense to replace a busted or damaged device, it's worth the risk. I usually go for the minimal scratch protection of the the Ghost Armor matte skins. Here are some pics:
Oh by the way, maybe #GoldIsBetter, but #SilverIsSleeker!
The iPhone 5s and iOS 7 is in the house so here goes the latest installment of the apps I am using on my home screens. There have been quite a few changes since I was using iOS 6.
I have said it for years every time I picked up an Android phone and used it for any length of time, the screens just aren't as responsive as the iPhone. According to a new benchmark devised by Agawai, a games and app streaming firm, what was evident by just using a device is now put to tangible performance metrics. The new benchmark is called TouchMarks and uses MART (Minimum App Response Time) as the measurement metric, which measures how immediately apps respond to touch on a given device. The iphone 4 and 5 where tested along with high-end and middle-tier Android phones and the results were pretty much lop-sided toward the iPhone family. Not only is the iPhone more responsive, but even the iPhone 4, released in April of 2011, is more responsive than the top-of-line Samsung Galaxy 4S.
The new benchmark is called TouchMarks, which measures measures a given devices touchscreen latency. The benchmark tests the lightest possible apps, measuring how immediately they respond on a given device.
Peter Relan, chairman of Agawi had this to say about the results of the testing:
“Apple trounced the competition,”
“Even a two-year old iPhone 4 beat out the other Android devices,” Relan said. “You expect this from Apple’s design team, while others may view their responsiveness as good enough. Now we know why the Android touch keyboard is not as snappy.”
“App responsiveness is judged by how quickly the app can respond to your inputs,” said Rohan Relan, cofounder and CEO of Agawi. “Smartphones with touchscreens that have lower MART scores feel snappier. This is probably why, to many users, the iPhone keyboard feels more responsive than an Android phone keyboard.”
So the next time you pick up Android device, pay attention to how the device responds to your touch. Then pick up the iPhone and see/feel the difference. Now the numbers back it up.
Read more about Agawi and the benchmark results at Venture Beat. Link
Contrast Software (formerly App Cubby), the company that brought iOS users Launch Center Pro, Trip Cubby, @Timer, and Mirror have released Perfect Weather - NOAA Radar and Forecast for the iPhone. Perfect Weather might not exactly be perfect, but it sure is one hell of an app for the iPhone and feels right at home on iOS 7.
The main screen of Perfect Weather displays locations that you add (including your current location) in tabs similar to Apple's Passbook application. Adding new locations is extremely easy, just press the Edit button and you are presented with a search screen that accepts both city or zip code. Once your city or location is selected, it is added as a colored tab in the location list. The tab colors seem to be random and there currently is no way to customize them. When a tab is selected, the information for that location is brought to the forefront and that's when the app magic begins.
Once the location tab is selected, a weather card is displayed which contains current conditions and tempurature, a 6 day forecast with high and low temperatures , percentage of precipitation for the day, and an interactive radar image of the surrounding area customizable to show clouds or rain patterns. However, what is first shown by default is not all the information offered by the app. A quick horizontal swipe on the forecast area reveals a temperature line graph and another swipe shows information such as sunrise/sunset, humidity, wind speed, and barometric pressure. It is amazing how much information is packed into a card. Kudos to the Perfect Weather design and development team for making the information readable and very accessible in a small amount of screen real estate. My only complaint, and one that might be prevalent in many iOS 7 apps, is the use of a light and thin font which against a white background can be a bit difficult to see at times. From my interaction with the Perfect Weather team, subsequent updates to the app might include changes to these fonts for better readability.
The information displayed on each card can also be customized by a press and hold on the tab "carat" which when dragged with your finger will collapse and expand the data sections accordion style to show as much information you care to see.
Overall, Perfect Weather is a slick weather application that deserves a look from those who appreciate finely crafted (and certainly accurate) applications. The application is certainly not perfect (is any app?), and I have only minor complaints. In addition to the font changes for readability, I would like to see the city name displayed in the current (Your Location) tab,
Also, as its full name suggests, Perfect Weather pulls weather data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). which means that it is only for use in the United States. Aside from these minor quibbless, the application is a wonderful balance of design and functionality.
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As an avid tech fan I look forward to sharing my tech experiences both personally and professionally with those that have similar interests and passion for technology.