Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Don’t ever buy a 16GB iPhone in 2014

I switched to the iPhone 4. Then the iPhone 5s. My logic was always to buy the smallest size available because I would probably change it up every year or two.

Let’s just say the attachment to the iPhone 4 “just working” made me afraid to change to anything new.

With the iPhone 5s, 16GB is just not enough space. Everyone I know whom has a small sized iPhone 5 or 5s complains. It’s truly surprising it’s still on the lineup for the iPhone 6/6+.

With retina apps, better quality photos & videos, media and just larger apps with bigger caches, 16GB is just too little to even enjoy a year of usage.

These devices should likely last 2 years in your pocket, and even with pushing media to the cloud (via Dropbox, etc) and deleting, to get the best experience get the 64GB unit to start with.

We are coming to an age when iPhones are like 1st gen MacBook Air’s. Storage size matters. Especially when you don’t have the option to expand via an SD card!

iPhone 6 Plus

I have been conflicted as to which iPhone to buy recently – the iPhone 6 or the iPhone 6 Plus.

I’m in Hong Kong with a bunch of friends as we prepare to attend a wedding of a friend. With many people, plans tend to change even with the weather :) I now find myself stuck in a mall, while Sara & the rest shop. I wished I brought my iPad mini (retina).

This pretty much seals the deal for me. I’m getting a 64GB iPhone 6 Plus. Why not 128GB? Because of rumored problems.

Sure with the iPhone 5s I can send emails, which I’ve been quite successful in doing. I can read the FT & WSJ. But I could do with a bigger screen that is always on my person – something the iPad mini is too big for. Presumably that will still be my primary reading device, but it’s clear a bigger phone that is always on me has advantages for those moments in life that take you by surprise.

Now all I have to do is wait for my whirlwind trip to end, so I can migrate phones with ease. I’m always weary of upgrading, software even, while on the road.

Taxi prefers Square over regular credit card terminal

As I was getting from the airport to my hotel in Columbus, Ohio, I took a taxi. Upon disembarking, it was time to pay and I noticed a credit card device hanging at the back of the passenger seat (this seems to be more common in the USA these days thankfully). 

However, the driver told me not to swipe it there. He’d prefer to use Square as he would save on fees. So he plugged the Square dongle into his phone, swiped my card, I gave him his tip via the app, signed virtually, and the receipt automatically arrived via email.

A much better workflow for me (since I don’t have to deal with a paper receipt). But it got me thinking. Square charges a 2.75% fee up-front. This is by no means cheap. However it does guarantee the money in your bank account within a day or two.

I’m willing to bet that the device tethered to his cab might charge less (or close to equivalent?), but pay-out over a longer period of time. For whomever installed that device, they’re going to presume that no one uses the credit card terminal. This is the bonus of competition — the consumer isn’t affected (arguably, the consumer experience improved — it wasn’t too long ago that all taxis were cash-only affairs) and the driver wins.

Market share

What is the market share of BMW? Maybe 1 or 1.5%. But when one drives by, you either have one, or you wish you had one. Build products that people lust after; if you can do that, you don’t have to worry about market share. 

Paraphrasing Steve Jobs, via an episode of This Week in Startups.

T-Mobile USA PAYG gets worse…

Back in August, I wrote about how T-Mobile USA changes their pay-as-you-go plans. It is even worse than it seems.

I’m back again this month, and find that if I want to change to the $3/day unlimited calls/text/data plan, I have to wait till the next month (i.e. the next billing cycle). Previously this would just work immediately, as long as I changed it online. 

My options to get data now? Pay $10 for a 1-week High Speed Data Pass with up to 1GB of traffic to utilise. There’s also a $5 day pass. 

T-Mobile reminds me of my experience with DiGi. Both were underdogs. Once they get more market-share (in T-Mobile’s case, maybe a better network/selling the iPhone; in DiGi’s case finally getting a 3G license back in the day), they just can’t handle the load, and graduate from their underdog status to being worse than the incumbents. I’m still a T-Mobile & DiGi customer, but the question is for how long more?

Time wasted on planes when you can’t use devices

I tend to travel on planes quite often, and I’ve always been annoyed by the fact that you have to turn off your electronic devices during take-off and landing. I thought life would be better when you could keep your tablets on in flight mode (thus not requiring me to carry physical newspapers on-board or even magazines). 

F1 airshowIn the USA and in the UK, this is no longer a problem (it hasn’t been at least since the end of last year), I was always hoping that the Asian carriers I tend to fly (Singapore Airlines & Cathay Pacific in particular) would modernise.

Sometimes I fly to Singapore from KL, and that’s about a 45-minute flight. One day I measured how much time I was wasting without using electronic devices:

  • 26 minutes 45 seconds upon takeoff – announcement, taxi, takeoff (KUL-SIN)
  • 14 minutes upon landing – here during taxi, you can use electronic devices 

41 minutes wasted, is almost as long as the flight ;-)

So it is with great pleasure that since the middle of the year (July 2014), Singapore Airlines allows you to use your devices (not laptops, but thats ok – tablets/phones are good enough for now) in flight-safe mode, and Cathay Pacific just allowed this as of mid-September 2014.

Now, when will Malaysia Airlines, and AirAsia wake up? Presumably this has a lot to do with the Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation.