Category Archives: Apple

iMediaShare: A must have free app if you own a Smart TV

The best part about owing a Smart TV is that you can play back locally stored content like photos, movies, home videos wirelessly on the large screen without moving a muscle. But sometimes the implementation isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Modern Smart TVs support technologies like DLNA and Miracast, and most newer phones can take advantage of these. All you need to do is install an app. While Android has a few more choices for DLNA apps that act as servers, the choice is slightly more limited on iOS. Most people just give in and buy an Apple TV. But you don’t necessarily need to do that if mirroring your iOS device isn’t the intention, but playing back photos, video and audio is.

IMG_5882.PNG IMG_5883.PNG

Enter iMediaShare, available both for Android and iOS as a free download.
Continue reading iMediaShare: A must have free app if you own a Smart TV

Fix iMessage: Here’s the first thing which you should do after switching away from the iPhone

A major annoyance when to move away from the iPhone is that you suddenly stop receiving messages. This happens because your friends’ iOS devices think that you still use an iPhone, so regular text messages are sent as iMessages, and thus never delivered.

IMG_5860.PNG

Fortunately there is now a fix for this. You can de-register from iMessage here. Apple’s been slow to sort this mess out, but better late than never. Continue reading Fix iMessage: Here’s the first thing which you should do after switching away from the iPhone

Uber’s Affordable Luxury Rental Car Service Hits Delhi

After starting operations in Bangalore a few weeks ago, San Francisco based affordable luxury car rental service Uber is ready to add New Delhi to its growing list of cities. Uber’s fleet in Delhi will include Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Mercedes E & S class, BMW 3 & 5  series and Audi Q3, A4 & A6 and using any of these cars as a taxi isn’t going to be as expensive as you might think. Uber charges Rs. 70 as the base fare, plus Rs. 20 per kilometer and Rs. 2 per minute from there on in. The minimum fare will be Rs. 200.

In comparison, Meru Cabs, a popular Delhi taxi company charges Rs. 23 per kilometer. The only time Uber can turn out to be considerably more expensive is when you get stuck in a jam, as irrespective of the distance travelled, you are being billed Rs. 2 per minute or Rs. 120 an hour. Uber will initially cover Central and South Delhi with parts of Gurgaon, but the company plans to cover all of NCR soon.

Uber's Affordable Luxury Rental Car Service Hits Delhi - Here's A Promo Code For Two Free Rides Uber's Affordable Luxury Rental Car Service Hits Delhi - Here's A Promo Code For Two Free Rides

Despite that Uber has tremendous potential to disrupt the rental car business, as in addition to pricing, the biggest pillar it stands on is the convenience its mobile apps offer. The app uses GPS to pin point your location and shows you the ETA of cabs around your location, and you can hail a cab with a single press of a button – no calls, no keying-in pickup addresses etc. Since the app is already tied to your credit card (something you need to do during sign up) paying for the ride at the end is also not a hassle, and everything is handled electronically.

Before you embark on a journey, you can also get a fare quote so that you have an idea of what you’ll be paying at the end of a journey. If you’re travelling with a friend, you can also choose to split the fare and get a portion billed to his/her Uber account.

Uber's Affordable Luxury Rental Car Service Hits Delhi - Here's A Promo Code For Two Free Rides Uber's Affordable Luxury Rental Car Service Hits Delhi - Here's A Promo Code For Two Free Rides

(For example, a ride from India Gate to Defence Colony will cost somewhere in the region of 200-250 Rupees depending on traffic)

Another feature that the company wishes to highlight is safety. The app features a share my ETA option that lets you share your ETA with friends and family once you’ve boarded the car. This results in your  friend/family member getting a text with a link that gives them information about the car’s precise location in real time, including the driver’s name and car details.

Uber's Affordable Luxury Rental Car Service Hits Delhi - Here's A Promo Code For Two Free Rides Uber's Affordable Luxury Rental Car Service Hits Delhi - Here's A Promo Code For Two Free Rides

I’ve used Uber while visiting the United States, and the overall experience was very pleasant. Therefore I recommend that you give Uber a go here in India as well, whether you’re in Delhi or Bangalore. To get you started, the good people at Uber are giving The Handheld Blog readers two free rides of upto Rs. 500 each. All you need to do is enter the promo code “THEHANDHELDBLOG” in the Promotions tab if you already have an Uber Account or while signing up.

Download the Uber app for iPhone or Android, or you can redeem the discount directly at uber.com/go Uber also has a BlackBerry app, but Windows Phone users will have to make do with the web version for now.

Uber is currently active in 45+ markets across 6 continents and is backed by industry heavy weights such as Google Ventures, TPG Capital, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Goldman Sachs, Benchmark Capital and Menlo Ventures among others.

The iPhone 5C Just Made The Dying iPhone 5 A Whole Lot More Attractive

If there is one thing Apple is good at, it is sticking to its prices. Each year a new iPhone is released and till the time a successor is announced, it continues to command its premium price. Post that one year, it is relegated to the second tier and is sold at a slightly lower price point. Infact, for a lot of time the common industry wisdom was this – Apple has a cheaper iPhone, its the last year’s model. Then the clamour for a new cheaper iPhone grew, and when details about a new plastic iPhone leaked, the world was convinced that a cheaper iPhone was indeed coming. As it turns out, Apple can still surprise.

The iPhone 5C is going to replace the iPhone 5. The iPhone 5 will no longer be sold, and instead you’ll be presented with the colourful new iPhone 5C. The 5C is essentially the iPhone 5 in a plastic case, with a slightly better battery and a slightly better front facing camera. These are minor improvements, and ones you’ll probably not even notice in day to day use. There is one aspect in which the 5C presents an advantage – it along with the 5S supports Indian LTE bands, making it one of the first smartphones to do so. That being said, both Reliance Jio and Airtel’s LTE rollout isn’t quite lighting up the country and it will be more than a few months before you can think of LTE as a viable option.

iPhone 5C India

The iPhone 5C is $549 unlocked for the 16 GB model. Further, because Apple doesn’t increase prices post launch, it pegs the Dollar rate at a much higher value that the current rate to protect its margins should the Rupee fall further. With this in mind, the cheapest price that one can expect for the iPhone 5C is around 40-42,000 INR. You can currently buy an iPhone 5 for about 42-43,000 INR.

While Jonny Ive might claim that the iPhone 5C is unapologetically plastic, it will never feel as premium as the iPhone 5 or the iPhone 5S. Infact, in my book the iPhone 5 is a better buy than the 5C, LTE support notwithstanding – and this purely down to looks. Since the 5 and the 5S are almost identical, Apple is using the 5C as another way to differentiate the 5S from yesteryear’s model.

The iPhone 5C was never destined to be a cheaper iPhone, it is perhaps a manifestation Ive’s desire for colour. A lot is being said about how colour matched wallpapers and iOS 7 transparencies on the 5C add to the experience of one colour permeating through, but I do not buy into that. Most people will change wallpapers the moment they get a new phone, and iOS 7 will then start reflecting that colour, not the colour of the phone. This isn’t a big deal – but the point I’m making is that why get a plastic iPhone when you can get a the same thing in beautiful aluminum.

Once the iPhone 5C and the 5S start selling in India, you won’t be able to buy the iPhone 5. The iPhone 5S will touch 50,000 INR easy, so if you want an iPhone closer to 40 than 50, get the iPhone 5 while you still can.

Stop Buying The iPhone 4. Save Yourself Money & Get A Lumia 520 Instead

Apple has all sorts of schemes running in India to promote the iPhone 4. You can trade old devices, get it on EMI, make zero down payments and so on. But there are two facts that you cannot get away from, it costs close to 25,000 INR and it will soon be 3 years old. Three years is an eternity in the world of technology, you certainly do not want to be paying that kind of money for a device that will soon be a relic. Yes, it will get iOS 7 but that’s where Apple is so smart. A bland iPhone 4 to get iOS 7 statement doesn’t tell you that a bunch of iOS 7 features will not make it to the iPhone 4. Just as a bunch of iOS 6 features previously hadn’t. E.g. Like it was with iOS 6, you still won’t be able to take panoramas, you’ll get no filters in the camera app, and the real biggie – no AirDrop support. Plus most of the fancy animations and visuals that iOS 7 brings is a no-go too.

Further having recently used an iPhone 4 running iOS 6, I can tell you that you can immediately notice that you’re playing with old hardware. There are lags, the scrolling in apps isn’t smooth, the app launch times are slow and there are random stutters – all in all, its doesn’t feel very Apple anymore. On the other hand it still has its positivities, the 3.5″ retina display, the premium construction and for a lot of people the Apple brand name. But does it make sense to pay something like 25,000 INR for the pleasure of owning an ‘iPhone’? No.

Stop Buying The iPhone 4. Save Yourself Money & Get A Lumia 520 Instead

Here’s what you should do. Save yourself 15,000 INR and get a Lumia 520 instead. It costs about 9400 INR, comes in a bunch of colours – red and yellow being my favourites, but there are the more traditional black, white and cyan options too. The colour is an obvious talking point, and not for one second does the device look cheap, if that’s what you’re worried about. Put a 3 year old iPhone 4 on the table and a red Lumia 520 along side it, and guess which is the device that will draw more attention.

Despite having 512 MB of RAM, it is actually smoother than the iPhone. The dual-core processor helps and Windows Phone is very smooth in itself. There may be the odd app that takes a second more to resume, but overall the experience will be much better. Don’t worry too much about the apps. The basics are all there now. Facebook has a good app, so does Twitter, Foursquare, PVR, HDFC, Book My Show and Zomato – all apps I use on an everyday basis. Whats App was recently overhauled too.

Nokia’s Services = More value for money

Then, you get the Nokia goodies. Mix Radio for streaming curated playlists that are usually excellent, unlimited song downloads from a huge catalogue of songs (DRM free so you can send them via bluetooth, email them or listen to them on a PC), and finally you can even create your own stream based on artists you like. This is a big deal once you start using it, I have virtually stopped downloading music because of this.

Next there is Nokia’s mapping suit – HERE Drive, Maps, Public Transport, and City Lens. Owing to things like offline maps and great coverage, this is the best navigation solution on the phone – for most tasks it beats Google Maps as they are reliant on a data connection for everything. The Lumia 520 also has a decent camera, and comes with things like Smart Shoot and Cinemagram out of the box. With the Lumia 520 you also get a 4″ 800 x 480 screen, its no retina display (3.5″ 960×640 on the iPhone 4) but a lot of people seem to be willing to live with slightly lower pixel density in return for a bigger screen.

Thus, in the process you not only save a considerable amount of money, but you also get a device that’s pretty solid and packs a lot for its price. A friend of mine recently sold an old iPhone 4 and picked up the Lumia 520 instead; and this post is also partly a result of his experience.

My advice is this, if you don’t want to save money and get the Lumia 520, don’t. But under no circumstances should you buy the iPhone 4.

Camera Shoot Out: iPhone 5 v. Lumia 928 v. Lumia 720

I have had the distinct pleasure of carrying three extremely capable camera phones with me, the iPhone 5, Nokia’s Verizon exclusive Lumia 928 and the Lumia 720. While the iPhone 5 and the Lumia 928 are flagship devices, the Lumia 720 is the surprise that keeps on delivering. For a mid range device, it has an exceptional camera capable of some amazing low light performance.

But before we get into the nitty grittiness of which camera is better, or what advantages or disadvantages each brings, lets look at a few photos shot in varying lighting conditions. The first photo will be the iPhone 5, follow by the Lumia 720 and the Lumia 928 in the end. Clicking on each photo will get you the full resolution image.

iPhone 5

Lumia 720

iPhone 5

iPhone 5 Sample - 02

Lumia 720

iPhone 5

iPhone 5 Sample - 03

Lumia 720

iPhone 5

iPhone 5 Sample - 04

Lumia 720

Lumia 928

iPhone 5

iPhone 5 Sample - 05

Lumia 720

Lumia 928

iPhone 5

iPhone 5 Sample - 06

Lumia 720

Lumia 928

iPhone 5

iPhone 5 Sample - 07

Lumia 720

Lumia 928

iPhone 5

iPhone 5 Sample - 08

Lumia 720

Lumia 928

iPhone 5

iPhone 5 Sample - 09

Lumia 720

Lumia 928

iPhone 5

iPhone 5 Sample - 10

Lumia 720

Lumia 928

iPhone 5

iPhone 5 Sample - 11

Lumia 720

Lumia 928

iPhone 5

iPhone 5 Sample - 12

Lumia 720

iPhone 5

iPhone 5 Sample - 07

Lumia 720

Lumia 928

iPhone 5

iPhone 5 Sample - 07

Lumia 720

Lumia 928

iPhone 5

iPhone 5 Sample - 07

Lumia 720

Lumia 928

iPhone 5

iPhone 5 Sample - 07

Lumia 720

Lumia 928

The iPhone 5, just like the iPhone 4S before it have long been hailed as some of the best camera phones on the planet, and it is for good reason. The iPhone rarely lets you down, and the ability to tap to adjust the exposure is a boon, like none other. That really comes in handy when the picture you’re trying to take has a bright light in the background. The pictures produced are generally sharp, but when it comes to low light photos despite the 808 PureView like compression that the iPhone 5 employs, there does tend to be a lot of noise. Leaving HDR on also helps as you get two photos, and get effectively choose between the better looking one in the end.

The Lumias on the other hand both work their magic in the low light. The Lumia 720 with its industry leading f1.9 aperture lets a lot of light in, while the Lumia 928 with its Xenon flash and Optical Image Stabilisation takes a slightly different approach. The OIS means that the shutter can stay open longer and let more light in, minus the camera shake. You cannot unfortunately force the Xenon to fire, it will only be used if the phone determines that there isn’t enough light. So you cannot use it like a fill-in flash when shooting against the sun for example. Fortunately there is a ‘Backlight’ mode in the Lumias that takes care of this problem, but you have to choose it everytime from the camera settings.

While I tried to keep the settings as default most of the time, due to the Lumia 928’s OIS some night pictures would turn up too bright. That means that you must play with the exposure to get that perfect shot.

So based on my experience with these three devices, here is what I think. The iPhone 5 is a great dependable camera that does most things well, the Lumia 720 despite the much cheaper price does an excellent job in keeping up, and at times even manages to beat the iPhone. The first two photos are a prime example of that. The Lumia 928 is the most capable camera of the 3, but not if you only use it in the default mode. However once you start playing around with the settings, it really comes into its own. Expect a much bigger gallery of Lumia 928 images soon.

Any questions, let me know!