The Beard Blog Apple TV (2015) Review

For the last 3+ years, there as only been one Apple streaming device. The Apple TV (3rd Generation) has been around since 2012. It was a small upgrade over the 2nd generation device which debuted the previous year. Since 2012, there has been a plethora of new devices to compete against the widely-popular Apple TV. Amazon, Roku, Google, and almost every TV manufacturer have introduced a way to consume content over the internet. Most of them have been hit or miss, but by 2015 Amazon and Roku have cornered the market. This left a hole for consumers of the Apple ecosystem since the 3rd generation Apple TV was limited to Apple provided apps only. 

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The Apple TV is good… but here are six ways it could be even better

The Apple TV is good… but here are six ways it could be even better 

Serenity Caldwell from iMore lists 6 great improvements for the new Apple TV.

Hopefully Apple reads these and hears our cry for more…

Yeah, app developers can’t link to their tvOS apps right now. Nor can you share a link from tvOS to your device. Or share much of anything, really.

…rumor has it that Apple Music support is coming early next year; fingers crossed that Home Sharing support arrives along with it.

iMore

How to properly use your iPhone

One of this biggest annoyances I have are when people spread false “tech tips” and unsuspecting users actually follow them, religiously. Somewhere, someone thought it would be a good idea to tell everyone to quit all the running apps on their iPhone and/or iPad. This comes in many varieties like quitting all apps once in a while and the most ridiculous, quitting an app immediately after using it. I’m going to tell you why it’s not only a bad idea to quit your running apps, but you could actually be damaging your device.

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Real Photography on the iPhone 6s Plus

As a self-proclaimed photography enthusiast, I’m always trying to get the best shot as well as get my work seen by everyone. I normally do this by dragging my Nikon DSLR camera and several lenses around with me everywhere I go, just in case I see something that needs captured. My thought on great photography is 50% having the right eye to get the shot and 50% being in the right place at the right time. Both of those requirements don’t mention anything about having the best equipment.

A recent business trip took me to Las Vegas and during my free time, I ventured out to Valley of Fire State Park. This is one of the most unique places I’ve ever been. Because of my short trip and hassle of bring multiple bags, I opted not to bring my Nikon DSLR with me on this trip. I do have my new Apple iPhone 6s with me at all times, so I decided this would be a great place to test the newly upgraded camera.

The ability to climb around on rocks, hike down trails, and quickly snap great pictures without having to be mindful of my expensive camera equipment was great! Up until now I have never thought of a phone as a realistic replacement in hopes of capturing great photos. The new Apple iPhone didn’t let me down.

Here are some of the great shots I got on my short trip:

The new camera sensor as well as the optical image stabilization were key to getting great photos from such a compact device.

I’m going to continue to investigate this and might even try bringing both cameras on the next trip.

The Beard Blog iPhone 6s Review!

Such a Success

This year the new iPhone has been dubbed the iPhone 6s, much to my dismay (6s sounds like success and it’s annoying, not clever), and packs more than the usual punches. This review won’t be like some reviews where all new features are explained, I would like to share my candid opinion. If you wish to read A LOT of words about the new phones, check out Rene Ritchie’s review over at iMore.com.

I’ve had my iPhone 6s Plus since launch day and this year I’ve switched up the color. For the last two years I have opted with the stunning gold finish, but this year I’m going back to black! Even with my short time thus far, I have already come to like this year’s iPhone more than any in the past. It may look the same from a far, but if you get too close, this phone will change the way you think of smartphones.

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Shooting Photos on the new Apple iPhone 6s

Brad Magin swapped out his usual DSLR camera for the new Apple iPhone 6s plus on 9/19/2015 and shot some really amazing photographs in various lighting.

The upcoming iPhone 6s is the biggest camera bump Apple has included in a new iPhone. These photos give you a glimpse of what is possible in this next generation device.

Check out this link for the gallery:

http://www.si.com/mlb/photos/2015/09/21/iphone-6s-plus-sneak-preview-photos-si/1

What all is new in iOS 9

Here’s a good guide to what you can now do in iOS 9.

http://fieldguide.gizmodo.com/23-things-you-can-do-in-ios-9-that-you-couldnt-do-in-io-1731300214

Read it. Learn it. Love it.

Windows 10 – It’s better than you think

The Tenth Windows

Microsoft has released their newest operating system called Windows 10. If you’re keeping track, it’s their tenth windows version – NT, 95, 98, ME, 2000, XP, 7, 8, 8.1, and finally 10. Microsoft is at a turning point in their company’s history and they’re offering a Windows upgrade for free again. Windows 10 is a coat of polish on a somewhat stable Windows 8, but with many advantages. Below I’m going to tell you why you should upgrade and how much of an improvement it is over our beloved Windows 7.

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Logitech Type+ Keyboard for iPad Air 2 Review

I’ve always touted an iPad or any other tablet as a second device to your computer. If you need a computer for certain things (e.g. word processing, graphics, A/V, etc.) a tablet cannot replace this and you will be unhappy with just an iPad at home. The tablet market is for when you don’t feel like being on your smartphone, but also don’t want to be on a full-fledged computer. Adding a physical keyboard to a tablet a la Microsoft Surface begins to blur the lines between tablet and laptop. To preface this so-called review I want to state that I received no compensation for this nor did Logitech provide me anything for free. I purchased this keyboard with my own, hard-earned, money. Logitech Type+ for iPad Air 2

My current iPad is called the iPad Air 2 and it is my 5th iPad that I’ve owned to date. Starting with the original iPad shortly after it’s release I followed it up with an iPad 4 with lightning connector. I’ve also had the original iPad Air as well as the original iPad Mini. Being my 5th iPad, I’ve never used an external keyboard with it. In the early days they were really thick and became more of a hinderance than a helpful accessory.

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CurrentC May Not Launch Until 2016…

…according to this re/code article.

 “CurrentC — backed by several dozen big merchants including Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, Dunkin’ Donuts and Exxon — is designed to work on all types of smartphones and let shoppers pay with the app instead of a physical payment card or cash. But while Apple Pay and soon-to-launch services Android Pay and Samsung Pay let users pay using account information from traditional credit cards like Visa, MasterCard and Amex, CurrentC does not.”

Apple Pay is almost at the one-year mark and has been spreading like wildfire.

CurrentC’s option is less secure, harder to setup, and more complicated to use.

This keeps getting pushed back and back, when will they give up?

What is the next iPhone?

Success Is The 6s

It’s almost September and besides cool breezes, pumpkin-flavored everything, hockey & football, us Apple fanboys are gearing up for another iPhone announcement. This is what we in the business refer to as an ‘S’ year. Ever since 2009 when Apple debuted the upgraded iPhone 3GS, there has been a S year after a major redesign. The meaning of ‘S’ in the past varies year to year like Speed, Siri, and Security, but I have a feeling this year may be a little different. Ever since the launch of the iPhone 4S, I have speculated that eventually there will have to be an iPhone 6s which sounds a lot like ‘iPhone Success’. Not saying the iPhone is not a success, but it’s a very phonetic dumb-sounding name. I hope this is the year that they break out of their cycle and do something different. It could be called it the iPhone 7, or use a different letter like the iPhone 6L where L means LARGER. Regardless, for the sake of identification, I will be referring to the new iPhone as the iPhone 6s & iPhone 6s+.

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Which is better Apple Music or Spotify?

“HIStory”

My musical taste has always been under scrutiny by anyone who rides in the car with me. On any given day, my music library could play the likes of Nelly, followed by 2Pac, Michael Jackson, then John Mayer, and sprinkle in some country too. I call it eclectic, but others just call me confused. All that considered, I enjoy music very much and consider it vital to my existence, especially in the car. I used to be the guy who would be browsing through hundreds of CDs at the stoplight trying to find the right album. My history of music follows all the major trends as I was never afraid to adopt the latest craze. In high school it was all CDs and Napster.

The classic medium

It wasn’t until college that I got my first iPod, but I didn’t really jump in completely at first. I had an older car with an aftermarket stereo, so I was limited to options at the time. My favorite thing was the MP3 CD where you could load up a regular CD with 100-200 songs opposed to the traditional 15 or so songs.

“A Junkie’s Lament”

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My Apple Watch Review: 3 Months of Joy

From Fitbit to Apple Watch

As an avid Apple enthusiast, I’m always excited about their new products. I’ve been following the Apple Watch or ‘iWatch’ news since it was first reported on MacRumors years ago. Previously I’ve never worn a smartwatch, but I have been collecting traditional watches for some time. Just about every day I could have been spotted wearing a watch on my left hand, so you could say I was ready for the next generation of watches. I later grew tired of waiting for an Apple iWatch to emerge so I ventured in the wearables market by purchasing a Fitbit Flex. This was great, it could track my steps and only needed charged about once a week. As this point I’m wearing a traditional watch on my left wrist, and a Fibit fitness tracker on my right wrist. This is where Apple captured my interest, by combining both a watch and fitness tracker into one device, both my wrists no longer needed to be decorated with straps.

Expense over Excitement

When the Apple Watch was announced in the fall of 2014, I was immediately immersed in the hype, and by spring of 2015 I was over eager to meet my new wrist companion. The publicity since fall kind of dissipated so I didn’t know that many people taking the plunge on this first generation device. On pre-order day I settled on ordering two Apple Watches, one for me of course, and one for my wife to share the experience with me… and send my heartbeat to. For me it was the Apple Watch (Stainless Steel Case) with black sport band and the Apple Watch Sport with white sport band for my wife. After adding AppleCare+ this was a large purchase and immediately I started having buyer’s remorse. Would I actually use this thing? Will it be another great Apple product? Apple Watch

My wife’s Apple Watch Sport band arrived first, and to my surprise, my Apple Watch had yet to be shipped. This was a tiny dilemma because it was a surprise gift for her and I wanted to have both at the same time. I ruined the surprise and asked if I can wear it until mine was delivered, of course agreed as it was already adorning my wrist. Ten days later my Apple Watch arrived in glorious fashion, while I was out of town. This put my time with the Apple Watch Sport at about two weeks. I enjoyed the sport, but fell in love with the look and design of the stainless steel Apple Watch. I’m pretty rough on watches so I knew I would not only need AppleCare+, but a scratch-proof sapphire screen sold me.

Since then I’ve been wearing my Apple Watch everyday, and I have the activity history to prove it.

Three months later I’m as happy as ever, especially when people ask me if I still like it as much as the day I got it. My only answer can be, “why yes, it is essential to me everyday.”

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The Beard Blog Launch

beard

Today I launch the opinion editorial blog entitled “The Beard Blog”.

 

No, it’s not about beards, well kind of – my last name is Beard and I do in fact have a beard, so you be the judge.

 

I like to write about technology, photography, current events, and anything else that’s hip.