Apple’s New iOS 7 – Big Success, Big Headaches

Plus, some tips to help EarthLink members make the transition to iOS 7

Apple iOS 7  new for iPhones and iPadsLast Wednesday Apple released a new version of its iOS operating system, iOS 7, that runs iPhones, iPads and iPods.

According to an article headline today on LATimes.com the launch of iOS 7 was “so massive it almost broke the Internet.” Hyperbole aside, it really was huge.

IT departments at many companies struggled to maintain the performance of their systems due to the significant spikes in Internet traffic going to Apple.com as employees rushed to update their iPhones and iPads.

Individual users struggled too.

If you tried to download iOS right away, you likely experienced some of the issues I did: conflicting reports about the download being available, then not available. Unexpected error messages. Verrrrrrrrrry long download times.

I guess that’s to be expected when 200 million devices download a single update, which is the number of downloads Apple confirmed on Monday.

So, was it worth it? If you’ve downloaded iOS 7, you can tell us by leaving a comment below.

I’m personally enjoying it on my iPad. Looks good. Works well. The only problem is now I have to work a little harder to pry my iPad out of the hands of my kids.

Here’s a helpful list of 15 tricks to help you transition to iOS 7 from Forbes.com.

And here are some links related to iPhones and iPads and EarthLink services:

We also offered perspectives on the recent Apple release news on our business-focused IT Insights blog:

Watching for the Smartwatches

As an ISP offering high-speed cable, DSL, satellite, and wireless 4G internet, along of course with basic dial-up access, EarthLink knows how important Internet access is to you.

We even know how much you want to stay connected on the go, based on the success of our new 4G Wireless Internet On-the-Go service.

But do you need it on your watch?

Smartwatches - Samsung Galaxy GearSome of the biggest names in technology seem to think so, which is why there’s been so much news about smartwatches lately. This new kind of watch pairs with a smartphone to provide on-the-go connectivity along with on-the-wrist convenience.

In June, Sony announced its SmartWatch 2, which has a 1.6-inch, 220 x 176 pixel display, Android compatibility, Bluetooth 3 and NFC for connectivity, a projected 3 to 4 day battery life, but no camera, microphone or speakers. The SmartWatch 2 should ship later this month with a price tag of around $260. Cnet has a review of the SmartWatch 2 here.

Just yesterday, smartphone leader Samsung announced that its Samsung Galaxy Gear (shown above) line of watches would be available on September 25.

The Galaxy Gear will have a 1.63-inch, 320×320 pixel AMOLED display, compatibility with new Galaxy smartphones (not older Galaxys or other Android phones), Bluetooth 4.0 LE connectivity, 1 day of expected battery life, 4G of online storage, a 1.9MP camera, 720p video recording, a speaker and two microphones. All for about $299. Engadget.com has a hands-on review with video here.

If you’re curious about either, TechCrunch.com offers a face-off of the Sony and Samsung smartwatches.

Other smartwatches in the works include the Toq from wireless chipmaker Qualcomm, which is expected in October. Cnet has a review of the Toq here.

Looking for a less expensive smartwatch? Or one that’s iPhone compatible? In both those cases, you may want to check out the Pebble, which is currently available for preorder. The $150 Pebble, which was an early Kickstarter success story, is compatible with both iPhones and Androids, has a 144×168 pixel e-paper display, Bluetooth 2.1+ EDR and 4.0 connectivity, customizable watchfaces, and an expected 7-day battery life.

The most intense and persistent, yet unconfirmed, rumors have been about an upcoming Apple iWatch. TechRadar.com has all the iWatch rumors here.

Think you’ll get a smartwatch? If so, let us know what you’ll be looking for. Not interested? Share your thoughts too. We always like to hear comments from our readers.

Apple News from the WWDC: What You Can Expect

Apple OS X Mavericks

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) – the conference of 6,000 that sold out in just 71 seconds – kicked off on Monday this week. From the keynote (click here for a live blog of the keynote on WSJ.com) that day we learned quite a few things about what’s coming from Apple (keep in mind, most things are not coming now and not everything is coming at the same time).

Here are some of the highlights from the first day at the WWDC:

Two new Apple Operating Systems:

  • iOS 7: iOS is Apple’s mobile operating system, the operating system for iPhones and iPads. The coming iOS7 is supposed to provide users with a cleaner, simpler design – and it looks to be a significant departure from previous releases. New iOS7 features include AirDrop, a peer-to-peer networking and file sharing feature that uses Wi-Fi and Bluetooth; iTunes Radio (details below); multitasking (to catch up and perhaps surpass Android’s capabilities); auto-updating of apps; new camera features, including Instagram-like filters; a Control Center that puts your most-used settings in one place; FaceTime audio; and more. You can’t get iOS 7 just yet; it will go immediately to developers. The rest of us will need to wait until the next iPhone comes out, which is expected to be the fall. USAToday.com has a nice summary of iOS7 features with comparisons to Android.
  • OS X Mavericks: OSX is Apple’s desktop and laptop computer operating system. Previously named after wild cats (Lion, Leopard, etc.), OS X is now switching to a “California” theme (Mavericks is a popular surfing destination). Mavericks is supposed to deliver faster ways to multitask with Finder tabs. It will also let you put full screen apps on multiple monitors. Mavericks should deliver superior performance with a compressed memory capability. There will be a new iCloud Keychain to store all your passwords (for all Apple devices) online for security and convenient access. The Calendar, Notifications, and Maps are also getting an overhaul. For more details about the new OS X, see Wired.com. Like iOS 7, Mavericks is being delivered to developers this week but won’t reach consumers until the fall.

Two New Apple Computers:

  • MacBook Air: The laptop that ushered in the ultrabook craze (ultra-think, ultra-light, ultra-portable), is getting updated with faster chips and significantly longer battery life (reportedly 9 hours for the 11-inch model and 12 hours for the 13-inch). Graphics are also supposed to render faster, which is a big plus for gamers. Some were hoping for a new Retina display, which was not one of the upgrades. You can read a comparison of the Air and Retina Macbook Pro here on PCMag.com.
  • Mac Pro: The black, cylindrical, futuristic design of the new Mac Pro (not to be confused with the Macbook Pro laptop) is sure to draw a lot of attention. But as a “professional” desktop/workstation computer, it’s a more of a niche product than most of the other new Apple products announced. So we won’t to a spec-by-spec review here. But Roger Scoble of the Pursuitist website wrote that it was “possibly the most amazing workstation ever. And the stunning design of the new Mac Pro had Gizmodo gushing about Apple’s “Brilliant Insanity.” Read the review here.

Two New Apple Services

  • iTunes Radio: As we predicted on the EarthLink Blog last week, Apple did indeed announce a customizable, free streaming music service, called iTunes Radio. The new ad-supported service, which will be included as a feature of iOS7 and iTunes for Windows and Mac desktops, gives users access to 35 million songs (compared to Spotify’s approximately 20 million) with unlimited free streaming on multiple devices (Spotify Free is limited after 6 months and doesn’t include mobile devices). Another cool feature: you can control iTunes Radio with your voice, via Siri on your mobile devices. On the downside, iTunes Radio doesn’t let you chose exactly which tracks or artists will play; you can only specify music similar to a specified artist, listen to one of the more than 200 genre-based stations, or listen to what’s trending on Twitter. Read a review of iTunes Radio on Lifhacker.com here.
  • Siri: The famous voice control feature of iOS, called Siri, is getting a makeover in iOS7. One of the most noticed changes is likely to be the voice of Siri: not only is it going to be more natural sounding, but you’ll get to choose a male or female voice in multiple languages. The new Siri will also be more helpful, searching the Web (via Bing) and your photos for you, reading you content from Wikipedia and Twitter, adjusting controls on your device, and allowing you to hear voicemails. Here’s what Apple has to say about Siri.

There were quite a few other announcements that we won’t go into detail about here. You can click to read more about updates to the Safari Web browser, iCloud, iWork for iCloud, and more. To catch up on everything, CNET has a great roundup of articles related to the Apple WWDC.

New Computer Products from Microsoft and Apple

This past week was indeed a big one for tech news, since two of the most iconic companies of the PC-era, Microsoft and Apple, both had major announcements about multiple products.

MICROSOFT

Microsoft Windows 8 operating system - Windows 8 start screenWindows 8
Microsoft is making one of their biggest operating system changes in the move to Windows 8, which will be officially available tomorrow (October 26). The new OS is a radical departure that some people really love and others… not so much.

CNET’s review of Windows 8 praised its fast boot time, gorgeous apps, Sync feature, security improvements, and affordable $40 upgrade price (only $15 if you bought your PC after June 2 this year). They did warn users about a steep learning curve. Read the full Windows 8 review here. 

Or check out this CNET Windows 8 buying guide for the pros and cons of various product configurations.

Surface
The other big Microsoft news is the Surface, the first ever computer (a tablet) made by Microsoft. Most reviewers praised Microsoft for its bold new ideas for a tablet. Th most common critique was the disappointingly small number of available apps (no Facebook, Instagram, Angry Birds, Spotify, etc.). Surface prices range from $499 – $699 depending on configuration. It will be available in Microsoft Stores tomorrow but you can pre-order the Surface from Microsoft now.  Read a round-up of Microsoft Surface reviews on the Wall Street Journal website or this in-depth review from Wired.com.

 APPLE

Apple’s press event on Tuesday was anticipated as an announcement of a smaller version of the iPad. It was that. But Apple also announced an upgraded version of its full sized iPad, a new all-in-one iMac, a new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display, and a new Mac Mini. You can read the New York Times’ live updates from the Apple product event here. Mashable also has a good round-up of all the new Apple products here.

New Apple iPad MiniiPad Mini
The mini is, not surprisingly, a mini version of the regular iPad. More specifically, it’s 7.87 in. x 5.3 in., and .68 pounds. If you held off getting an iPad because it was just too big, the mini may be perfect for you. It costs less, too. Though at a starting price of $329, the expense of the mini has generated the most negative comments. Read a review of the iPad mini on techradar.com.

iPad 4
The previous version of the iPad came out just last spring, so some recent buyers are miffed that Apple decided to release the new iPad 4. That said, it’s not that much different than the last one. The processor is faster, the Wi-Fi connectivity is more reliable, and there’s a new Lightning connector. But then again, the IPad 3 was already considered a pretty great tablet, so a few additional improvements make it that much better. Read a review of the iPad 4 on techradar.com.

iMac
Apple’s all-in-one desktop is getting a major refresh. Most notably, the new iMacs are now a lot thinner. Inside, they’re faster. There are some new hard drive options, including a hybrid SSD/traditional hard drive called Fusion Drive. And the displays are better than ever. They’re still available in 21.5-inch (from $1299) and 27-inch (from $1799). See a video demo of the new iMac on theVerge.com.

13-Inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display
The new 13-inch is thinner and lighter than the current 13-inch model. But the headline feature is the stunning Retina display, with a resolution of 2,560 x 1,600, which Apple introduced on the 15-inch MacBook last spring. DigitalTrends.com compares the Retina MacBook Pro with Sony’s Vaio Z and the old MacBook Pro.

Mac Mini
Mini is Apple’s only PC without a display. The new one is faster, has more memory, new hard drive options, and other upgrades. See CNET’s video review of the new Mac Mini.