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We Review Two iPhone 6's

We Review Two iPhone 6's

We Review Two iPhone 6's

The Apple iPhone 6s (and 6s Plus) were released last week, along with the highly unexpected Apple Pencil and new Smart Keyboard for iPad Pro.

The initial response has been largely positive from both the tech industry and the ever-faithful iFollowers.

I invested in an iPhone 6 last year, so I thought I'd compare the pair to see what extra features and benefits I would now be enjoying if I had waited for the iPhone 6s.

To cut to the chase, in my opinion both models are more or less the same but for a handful of small improvements. So while I won't rushing out to replace my iPhone 6, there is a case to justify the investment. Jump to the bottom to see why.

According to the Apple website: the only thing that's changed in the new iPhone 6s is "everything".

At face value however, the iPhone 6s it looks strikingly similar (in fact identical) to it's predecessor, which you may recall "everything" was also the only thing was changed when the original iPhone 6 hit the streets!

Before we look at the new features of the iPhone 6s in more detail, let's start with a straight comparison to the iPhone 6.

Capacity: Both models are available with 16GB and 64GB of storage capacity. The iPhone 6s also has a 128GB option for those that can't fit enough Youtube on their current model.

Display: The original iPhone 6 has a 4.7" LED-backlit widescreen Multi-Touch display with IPS technology, 1334-by-750-pixel resolution at 326 ppi, 1400:1 contrast ratio (typical), 500 cd/m2 max brightness (typical), Full sRGB standard, Dual-domain pixels for wide viewing angles, Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating, Support for displaying multiple languages and characters simultaneously, Display Zoom aaaannnnddd Reachability...whatever that means!

The new iPhone 6s comes with all of that PLUS: next-generation Multi-Touch display with IPS technology and Taptic Engine!

What is a Taptic Engine? It's a new form of feedback from the screen in the form of subtle taps.

That's right, you don't tap iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s taps you! Cool.

Weight & Dimensions: A real let-down for the iPhone 6s is it's size and weight compared to the iPhone 6.

The iPhone 6s is 0.2mm taller, 0.1mm wider and 0.2mm thicker! And it's significantly heavier. A good 14g heavier than the iPhone 6.

Processor (Chip): As with most new model releases by Apple, the new iPhone model comes with the latest A chip - the A9 chip - Embedded with the M9 motion coprocessor, it's a step up from the A8 chip that only has the M8 motion coprocessor (and it isn't even embedded).

Cellular & Wireless: In this category, both models are almost exactly the same.

You have your usual UMTS/HSPA+, DC-HSDPA, CDMA EV-DO Rev. A, GPS and GLONASS, VoLTE and NFC.

The iPhone 6s takes a small step forward however, as it comes with 4G LTE Advanced (over iPhone 6's plain 4G LTE), Bluetooth 4.2 (over iPhone's Bluetooth 4.0) and 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi with MIMO (over iPhone's MIMO-less 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi).

Touch ID: The iPhone 6 brought a brand new feature to the table with it's Touch ID finger print sensor built right into the home button that allows users to spend minutes trying to get their thumbprint to match correctly so they could unlock their smartphone rather than the excruciating seconds it took before to tap in 4 digits.

The iPhone 6s ups the ante however, with it's Second-Generation fingerprint sensor, also built right into the home button.

iSight Camera: The camera is where the iPhone 6s starts to shine over it's former model. Again, we see only slight improvements in most of the camera's features, but the iPhone 6s is improved by a 12-megapixel iSight camera with 1.22µ pixels (formerly 8-megapixel iSight camera with 1.5µ pixels).

Video Recording: Video enthusiasts will be happy to find that the new iPhone 6s comes with 4K video recording (3840 by 2160) at 30 fps (something the old model doesn't have at all), as well as Slow-motion video support for 1080p at 120 fps, and 720p at 240 fps, and playback zoom! Everything else is the same.

FaceTime Camera: Apart from the higher megapixel photos and Retina Flash, the FaceTime Camera on both models are exactly the same.

Everything Else: Everything else that the iPhone has - Battery Life, Audio Playback, Video Playback, Siri even the headphones... they're all the same across both models.

The New Features

The new iPhone 6s does come with new features that the iPhone 6 does not have.

New Aluminium: The new iPhone 6s is made from a new aluminium alloy, the same grade used in the aerospace industry, so it's fit for re-entry into the atmosphere.

Fun Fact: Compare the Australian Apple website to the US website - it says aluminum on the US site, and aluminium on the Aussie version - now that's catering for your local audience!

New Colour: With this new aluminium alloys comes a new aluminium colour: Rose Gold, which I think looks more like sunset salmon copper, but that's just my opinion.

3D Touch: 3D Touch is a flash way of saying that the iPhone 6s screen, like it's little brother the iWatch, now has pressure sensors and behaves different according to "how deeply you press the display".

3D Touch now allows you to Peek and Pop - the next dimension in functionality - that also provides you with feedback so you can feel what you've done.

Here's a prediction: iHipsters will now rank and file based upon how many alerts they can "peek" at before tapping too hard and "popping" instead.

Live Photos: The stand out new feature on the iPhone 6s, without doubt, is Live Photos.

Touted as "An entirely new way to bring your still photos to life."

I won't try to explain it any better than Apple already have - "At the heart of a Live Photo is a beautiful 12-megapixel photo. But together with that photo are the moments just before and after it was taken, captured with movement and sound." - OK, maybe I can explain it better: it's a 3 second video...

The Final Review

The iPhone 6s is, without a doubt, exactly what the iPhone 6 should have been when it was released... There is still reason why I suggest you strongly consider the iPhone 6s however.

It's not because I'm a rabid iFollower that upgrades to every model the week it is released.

No, I suggest you buy this model so you can get into the 2-year s-model rotation instead of the regular model rotation.

Then, instead of waiting weeks for your new iPhone 7 to ship after it's predicted September 2016 release, 12 months later you'll breeze into your local Apple store and grab a new phone with all the features lacking in the previous model!

Genius or what?

The Shocking Truth: Are Tablets a "Mobile Device"?

The Shocking Truth: Are Tablets a "Mobile Device"?

The Shocking Truth: Are Tablets a Mobile Device?

As we addressed in our last blog article, there's confusion over what Google considers to be a "mobile-friendly" format (as we highlighted, it's not just limited to "responsive design", as some so called experts would have you believe). Likewise, we've discovered debate and confusion over what is considered to be a "mobile" device.

There are now so many gadgets that allow us to browse the Internet - not only personal computers, laptops and notebooks; but also tablets, phablets, smart-phones, e-Readers, Personal Digital Assistants (PDA's), gaming consoles, hand-held gaming devices, televisions, even fridges - but which of these devices fall under the category of a mobile device?

Wikipedia defines a mobile device as "a small computing device, typically small enough to be hand-held... having a display screen with touch input and/or miniature keyboard and weighing less than 1kg".

W3Schools, a trusted industry reference, simplifies the definition even further, stating: "A mobile device is a pocket-sized computing device."

Therefore we can agree that to be classified as "mobile" device, the device must be small and light. This clearly rules out personal computers, gaming consoles, televisions and fridges.

And it seems that being "portable" is not the same as being "mobile". Laptop / notebook computers are certainly portable, but not small enough to be pocket-sized, or light enough to fall into the mobile device category.

We can also conclude, that to be a true mobile device, it must be hand-held with a touch-screen (to use fingers or a tool such as a stylus) or mini-keyboard so the device can be used effectively while moving about.

So smart-phones, e-Readers and PDA's can confidently be added to the list of "mobile" devices (and let's be clear that we are only referring to the e-Readers and PDA's that allow you to connect to and browse the World Wide Web.

But what about tablets and phablets?.

On the one hand, tablets/phablets are small and light enough to be hand-held, they have a display screen with touch input, and a miniature keyboard.

On the other hand, they are used very differently to a smart-phone or an e-Reader.

In fact, research shows that the majority of tablet use is at home, workplace or other fixed location, which gives a clear distinction from a smart-phone or PDA, and also a clear distinction between "mobile" and "portable".

A "mobile" device is used while you are mobile, on the go, and needs to be convenient to use while you are moving about.

A tablet isn't convenient to use while on the go (as anyone who has tried would attest). A tablet is just a smaller, compact version of a laptop computer. So from an industry point of view, tablets in fact fall into the desktop category.

Phablets on the other hand - well they're just inconveniently big smart-phones. Too small to be useful as a laptop computer, and some would say too big to be useful as a phone. But, because of the way that they are used - on the go - these technological anomalies fall into the mobile category.

Wow! So the term "mobile" doesn't relate to the device being wireless, or being physically connected to anything, the term "mobile" refers to the mobility of the user when using the device - or to put it another way, the classification depends on user context.

This is an important distinction, because it now changes the way we should think about "mobile" device, and also the way we think about the term "mobile-friendly".

"Mobile-friendly" isn't just making a website display well on a mobile-device, it's about making the end-goal of the mobile user far simpler on a mobile device, taking into account the facts that mobile users are mobile - moving about, time-poor, often with distractions about and lacking the same tools that desktop devices available to use.

The iASP™ platform has been publishing simultaneously desktop "mobile" device friendly websites since 2006 and the majority of our clients will benefit from Google's changes as their non-mobile-friendly competition pay the price for their lack of foresight.

The good news is it's not too late to invest in a mobile friendly website so if you would like to know more please contact us for a confidential discussion.


Thinking of making your website more mobile-friendly? What do you think it involves? Let us know on the iASP Central Facebook Page, or Get in Touch.

Google to Penalise non-mobile websites from next week!

Google to Penalise non-mobile websites from next week!

Google to Penalise non-mobile websites from next week!

For as long as Google has been the dominant authority in on-line search, there's been an entire industry dedicated to improving Google rankings: Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) specialists.

The gold rush saw countless businesses and individuals stepping up to the task of getting websites to the top of Google search results, and for many website owners, the call of an SEO specialist was an attractive one, after all, who wants to be anything but #1 in Google search results?

Alas, the SEO industry never enjoyed the best of reputations, as some "specialists" relied on fear tactics, and resorted to black-hat techniques and strategies to deliver their results.

One popular strategy was link farming, where websites filled with nothing but links pointing to one another popped up all over the Internet. Keyword stuffing was another popular technique, resulting in web pages repeating the same word or phrase over and over again, but not really providing any useful information to the searcher.

The consequence of such tactics was of course to lower the quality of search results.

A search for "Accountant Melbourne" for example, could return a website for an Accountant in Sydney that had taken on the services of an SEO specialist that was targeting (hi-jacking) the search phrases "Accountant Sydney", "Accountant Melbourne", "Accountant Brisbane", etc. Not very useful for someone in Melbourne searching for a local accountant.

So the eternal struggle between Google and SEO specialists began and has raged ever since. Google continuously modify and update their search algorithms to ensure that their search results return the most meaningful or useful websites being searched for.

Google's efforts have made it increasingly difficult for SEO specialists to make a living so perhaps it isn't surprising to see that the use of misleading information is sometimes used by SEO practitioners in an attempt to scare website owners into paying for SEO services that they don't fully understand.

One of our many valued clients, a Sydney based professional service provider, asked our opinion of some e-Mail marketing material they had received from a Melbourne based Internet Marketing company.

The e-Mail informed our client that "Google is on the cusp of changing its algorithm to favour responsive sites!" and went on to state that "On April the 21st, Google will change its algorithm to focus on mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.".

The e-Mail then went as far to say "If your website is NOT responsive, you WILL get left behind." (bold and emphasis not added, it is exactly as it was in the original e-Mail).

The e-Mail then briefly explained what a responsive website is, and ended with "Get in touch with us before the algorithm changes on April 21st to find out how we can help you create a responsive site. The investment is worth considering if you want to be found online and generate optimum conversion rates!".

The e-Mail contained a link to back up it's claim that "Google will change its algorithm to focus on mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal", which pointed to Google's Webmaster Central Blog, an article titled "Finding more mobile-friendly search results".

The article does discuss how Google will be expanding their use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal which will affect mobile searches, making it easier for users to find mobile-friendly web pages. The article then offers steps what website owners can follow to make their website mobile-friendly.

Strangely though, the article does not once mention the word "responsive", or mention anything about the explicit need for a responsive website to meet their mobile-friendly requirements.

We tested several of our non-responsive websites in Google's Mobile-Friendly Test, and all passed with flying colours.

We contacted the Internet Marketing to query their statement that a website MUST be responsive to ensure that it is mobile-friendly, and their response was that it was only an opinion that a website does not need to be responsive to pass the mobile-friendly test, and they did not wish to discuss this opinion with us.

It was also recommended that we do some more research into the topic. So we did.

A Google search for "does google favour responsive websites?" returns many recent blog articles with titles stating that Google does indeed favour responsive websites. Upon reading such articles however, you find that the term "responsive" is quickly replaced with the term "mobile-friendly".

Not one article showed any evidence that a website that isn't using a responsive design would be affected, let alone penalised by Google's algorithm change.

To say that "Google favours responsive websites" gives the impression that having a responsive website will provide an SEO boost, and deliver you a higher ranking in their search results, which just isn't true.

The statement is misleading, unlike the statement "Google favours mobile-friendly websites", which is completely true.

While a responsive website design is Google's recommended design pattern (because it reduces the workload for their googlebots), it is important to note that, in regards to Google search results, there is zero gain in having a responsive design website over alternative types of mobile-friendly websites.

There are many different ways to have a mobile-friendly website, and a responsive design website is just one of those ways. You could also have an adaptive website, or a completely separate mobile website.

The simple fact is, you DO NOT NEED a responsive design website to have a mobile-friendly website, but YOU DO need a mobile-friendly website to ensure that your website will be included in Google search results on mobile devices. Desktop search results will remain unaffected.

Google does not care what type of mobile-friendly website you have. As long as your website is mobile-friendly, you do not need to rush out and upgrade to a responsive design website before the April 21st deadline.

The iASP™ system has been providing single-solution, mobile-friendly websites to our clients since 2006 that don't require content to be duplicated or for two separate websites to be managed.

So before rushing off to pay top dollar rebuilding your website unnecessarily, why not get an honest opinion from an honest company about the best web solution for your business needs.

Not sure if your website is mobile-friendly? Try Google's own Mobile-Friendly Test or Get in Touch.

Further Reading:

Note: * denotes source of misleading information.

Got your own opinion about responsive vs. mobile-friendly? Do both terms mean the same thing? Let us know on the iASP Central Facebook Page, or Get in Touch.

6 Good Reasons Why You Should Be Thinking "Mobile First"

6 Good Reasons Why You Should Be Thinking "Mobile First"

6 Good Reasons Why You Should Be Thinking Mobile First

Almost everyone would agree that mobile is the current focus for the Web, even Google holds a "mobile first" mantra for their products and services. Even still, the websites of numerous large companies are not taking advantage of rapidly growing mobile consumer market.

The team at Voucher Cloud have put together a Portrait of a Mobile Consumer; an infographic that highlights the current status of the mobile consumer market, and, once again, it gave some compelling statistics that took even us by surprise.

If your website isn't mobile friendly, here are 6 good reasons why you should be thinking "mobile first":

  1. It is estimated that there will be 8.2 billion hand-held mobile devices by 2018. The estimate for the global population in 2018 is only 7.4 billion.
  2. Within the next 3 years, m-Commerce sales are predicted to hit $626 billion, which is just shy of the 2013 e-Commerce sales total of $638 billion.
  3. 90% of consumers are already using their smart-phones for pre-shopping activities, such as to find directions to and the opening hours of a business.
  4. More than 50% of Amazon customers completed a purchase on a mobile device in the last fiscal quarter of 2013.
  5. Near Field Communication ready point-of-sale checkout terminals are expected to increase to 44.6 million within the next 2 years. I.E. Check-out/Pay via your smart-phone.
  6. Retailers are starting to use mobile-devices to create interactive in-store experiences, pairing the smart-phones with contact-less technologies such as Near Field Communication (BlueTooth for example) or QR Codes. So far, real-world examples are offering vouchers or membership benefits, but the possibilities are endless.

If you need to move your business on-line, or you want to make your website mobile friendly, Get in Touch for a FREE demonstration.

View the Infographic: Portrait of a Mobile Consumer

More Information: Portrait of a Mobile Consumer - An infographic by the team at vouchercloud.

Got an opinion? What was your reaction to the statistics put forward in the infographic? Share on the iASP Central Facebook Page, or Get in Touch.

The Apple, the Watch and the Wardrobe

The Apple, the Watch and the Wardrobe

The Apple, the Watch and the Wardrobe

Earlier this month, Apple launched the latest version of the iPhone. Alongside the new iPhone, Apple also launched the newest of their products, the highly anticipated Apple Watch.

Will the latest Apple gadget follow in the footsteps of it's world-changing ancestors: break the competition and dominate the market? A week after the launch (but months before it actually hits the streets) and the Jury is still out.

Forgetting and dismissing all of the rumours of what the Apple Watch would come with, lets look at the base specs, and then find the nearest competitor to compare against.

To begin with, the Apple Watch comes in 3 versions - The Apple Watch, the Apple Watch Sport, and the Apple Watch Edition.

The difference between the 3 models is: The material of the casing, the material protecting the display, and the band (which is interchangeable on the Apple Watch and Apple Watch Edition).

The Apple Watch is cased in polished stainless steel or space black stainless steel, with sapphire crystal over the display.
The Apple Watch Sport case is made from anodized aluminium in silver and space grey (think Mac Book look), making this model much lighter than the other two, and has Ion-X glass over the display.
The Apple Watch Edition case is crafted from 18-carat gold (available in yellow or rose gold), and the display is protected by sapphire crystal as well.
While the Apple Watch Sport lucks out with choice of bands (only the sports bands is available, but in a range of colours), the other two models have a selection of different bands to choose from that will suit most everyone.

Apart from this, the 3 models are identical in features and technology.

The Apple Watch will allow you to receive notifications, as well as send and receive messages, phone calls and e-mail all through the device's User Interface. A new level of communication is added through the new Digital Touch feature, which allows you to share a sketch, a tap, or a heart-beat with another Apple Watch user - which they can view or feel (as is the case for a tap or heart-beat). The Apple Watch also features an integrated fitness tracker to monitor your movements and activity (or lack thereof), and can help you to set and achieve your fitness goals.

The Apple Watch, as we've come to expect from Apple, has been designed to be intuitive and easy to use. The face of the watch is touch-screen that functions just like touch-navigation on other Apple devices, but also has new ways to get around. On the side is the "Digital Crown", which allows you to control the zoom of the display and doubles as the home button. On the bottom of the watch is the recharge contact point, as well as sensors that can detect your pulse, and a vibration unit that allows the watch to let you know when something needs your attention...and you can use Apple's voice command platform: Siri.

From our perspective one of the most exciting features of the Apple Watch is Apple Pay, a new generation of tap-and-go payment technology. Apple Pay is part of iOS 8, and is also on the iPhone 6, but having an Apple Watch will not only save you the need to carry credit cards, it will also save you having to even get your phone out! The system launches in the US first and we expect it here in Australia some time later in 2015 - as one of Australia's leading providers of e-commerce and m-commerce systems, here at Hub Com Digital we can't wait for it!

Perhaps what lets the Apple Watch down however is that the device must apparently be tethered to an iPhone 5 or 6. Everything the Apple Watch requires from GPS or Internet is provided by the iPhone, which apparently improves the battery life. This might seem trivial now, since every smart watch available at the moment has this same requirement; but the Samsung Gear S, which was unveiled in Berlin recently and is set for release shortly after Apple Watch, will come with its own SIM Card to remove this dependence. When you take into account everything that both devices offer and had to sacrifice, only time will tell how damaging this exclusion will be.

The Apple Watch also drew criticism from some who claimed it could not be used by Left Handers. As has since been found however, the watch does have a left-handed mode, and the crown does flip the User Interface around; so "Mollydookers" need not despair!

The only competitor that is markedly comparable to the Apple Watch at present seems to be the Samsung Gear 2, however Samsung will be releasing the latest version of the Gear - the Gear S - very soon. For the sake of the argument, we'll only compare the latest from Apple with the latest from Samsung, keeping in mind that both will become available to buy around about the same time, and both are keeping very mum about the finer details.

The Samsung Galaxy S has a 2" (51mm) curved AMOLED screen, a dual core 1.0GHz processor with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal memory, and comes with WiFi, BlueTooth and USB 2.0 connectivity. Compared to the Apple Watch, with a screen that is 42mm or 38mm (give or take a millimetre) and an industry first computer-on-a-chip. Processor speed, RAM and internal memory are not mentioned anywhere yet, but the S1 chip in the Apple Watch is said to be comparable to the new A8 chip in the iPhone 6.

Both smart watches come with a heart-rate sensor, and accelerometer. The Samsung Gear S kicks it up a notch by also coming with a gyroscope, a compass, light and UV sensors and a barometer (for when you're outside and want to know if a storm is coming).

Both smart watches go at lengths to show how customisable their device is, allowing you to change this part and that part to suit your style. On both, you can change the band of the watch, the clock face, probably even more. So no real notable differences on that front.

The only notable exclusion with the Samsung Gear S is an Apple Pay equivalent, but it is safe to assume that there'll be an app for that soon enough.

It seems that what the Apple Watch lacks, the Samsung Gear S makes up for; and what the Samsung Gear S lacks, the Apple Watch makes up for. The final decision is really going to come down to what smart phone you already use (or are willing to change to). Despite being able to use the Samsung Gear S on the go without needing to be within cooee of your phone, chances are that you're going to have your phone with you most times anyway to cover the gap between what the phone provides and what the watch doesn't (games, apps, video, etc). But it would be nice to duck out for a walk or a run without needing to have your phone strapped to you somewhere.

If you have an iPhone, you'll love the Apple Watch and won't miss the features that the Samsung range will offer. If you have a Samsung Galaxy, you'll love the Samsung Gear S, and will be willing to overlook the clunkiness that Apple seems to remove from their products.

Having said all of this, rumour has it that Microsoft are working on their own smart watch, that will be compatible with Windows, Android and Apple devices, just to make the choice even more difficult.

What are your thoughts? Watch the (very impressive) films of the Apple Watch. Let me know if you found it just as difficult to not be swept up in the awe. What is your first impression of the Apple Watch? Does it compare to the Samsung Gear? Let us know on the iASP Central Facebook Page, or Get in Touch.