Lifeproof Fre for the iPhone 6/6S

Lifeproof Fre 6S BlueI’ve given Lifeproof a lot of love over the years because I’ve always liked their products and this review will be no different. So if you just want to know if I like it or not then YES go buy your Fre case.

I’ve had the Lifeproof Fre for a month or 2 now and have really come to enjoy it. I usually do not put such a bulky case on my phones but as summer is coming I wanted to write about a waterproof case. AT&T was nice enough to furnish me with this and boy has it useful. I’m a semi outdoorsy kind of guy so since I got the case and put it on my phone I’ve taken it sailing (got it wet), kayaking (dropped it in sand and water) and to the beach (it was in my trunks and got wet and my hands were sandy using it). As you can see I like water related activities so I’m really looking forward to the summer.

This Fre case has come a long way since it’s predecessor for the iPhone 6 was released. That case was great except for 1 thing, it’s charging port was to small to fit anything besides Apple chargers. The new iPhone 6S case has solved that for the most part. All but 1 of my charging cables now fit through the port.

The Fre case feels great in the hand and isn’t slippery at all. I have no problem hearing people through the case and they can hear me back whether it’s on speaker phone or regular talking mode. I like the look of the case though that never changes from year to year.

My only wish is that they would include a spot to attach a leash, lanyard, string or whatever else you may call it.

All in all, go buy one for the summer, it’s $80 of insurance that your $700 phone won’t get ruined.

olloclip Studio iPhone Case/Accessories

IMG_1479
olloclip released their Studio product today, it is their take on an integrated mobile photography solution. On it’s simplest level it is a case with clip on accessories to allow it to mount on a tripod, clip on lights/flashes and one of its main add ons, the finger mount.

olloclip is no stranger to photography or specialized cases. They are most well known for their clip on lenses for smart phones which are considered the best available to the mass market. The Studio is taking this to the next level and giving it’s users the ability to take pictures and video with professional gear attached to their iPhones 6, 6S along with 6 Plus/Plus S.

The demonstration that was given during CES gives a lot of hope that the unit will change mobile videography. I’ve played with the case by itself and it feels good in the hand in landscape position utilizing the finger clip. The accessories are easy to attach and more importantly feel secure. They even added the littlest thing which you don’t see on LifeProof or OtterBox cases, a spot to loop on a wrist strap (that comes included in the box).

As more and more people start to use the Studio I expect to hear some positive reports and in all honesty I think we’re going to see a ton of skateboarding videos coming from Studio users. This isn’t for the casual photographer but someone who takes pictures and video as a hobby or professionally, especially in action situations using the finger clip. On a personal level this is great for anybody wanting to attach their iPhone to a tripod/monopod without having to change cases. This case could easily be someones daily user.

Will you be checking out the Studio by olloclip?

What Is The Right Age Or Circumstance To Give A Kid A Phone?

Young businessman talk on cell phone in a tie

What is the appropriate age to give a kid a phone? Or what circumstances make it ok to give a kid a phone? These are common questions I talk to parents and executives about on a regular basis. How young is too young is the magic question.

I know kids these days are getting iPod Touches or old hand-me-down iPhones at a young age but they are not hooked up to a cellular carrier. That is not what we are talking about today. How old should a kid be to get a hand-me-down iPhone connected to a cell phone carrier with their own phone number?

There is no exact age like Facebook that says kids need to be at least 13 years old to get an account. Parents don’t get any guidelines for this kind of thing. In many cases kids get phones because maybe they have a dance class or soccer practice that the parents don’t always attend so they could potentially be left alone and being 2015, should be able to call for a ride. In other cases kids get left home alone or go out with a friend or grandparent and the parents want to be able to reach the child. More and more people are giving up their land lines so there is not that static phone line always available at home or at a friends home they may be visiting.

What have you done with your kids or seen others do in these situations? With the gift giving season upon us this is going to be a topic of conversation with many parents.

Me personally… We let our kids play with our old iPhones but we’re considering putting an AT&T sim into one of them so our 8 year old will be reachable. We had an issue yesterday where we couldn’t reach my mother in law (who had the kids) because her phone was on silent. We weren’t worried but wanted to coordinate dinner plans. So we may just be “those” parents giving a 3rd grader a working cell phone.

AT&T WiFi Calling Is A Miracle For More Than One Reason

FullSizeRenderSo I’ve been waiting for wifi calling for years and AT&T recently finally released it. For those of you who may not know it means that your texts and voice calls can now travel over wifi versus the cellular network it has had to traditionally. It’s a big deal… Right? Right.

Now you can get your SMS while you’re at 30,000 feet if you have airplane wifi like Gogo. You can make a call from your cousins basement where cell phone coverage is spotty at best. You can even fly to Europe and make a call on your hotel wifi… Err, no you can’t not yet but hopefully soon.

Back to why this is so great. I’m really excited because when I visit friends and family with bad reception my phone battery used to plummet because the phone was always looking for a stronger signal. At my parents house where we have to use the Cel-Fi Pro signal booster my battery would potentially not last the day. It was awful going in the afternoon after a long day of calls, I’d have to charge my phone at their house or my phone would die.

Wifi calling has actually made a difference in my life. No more checking to make sure my phone isn’t dying. No more having to go outside to make and receive phone calls (always fun in the rain). I think this is a big step for AT&T and I hope they continue taking these steps. Ralph, would you please allow your customers to use their phones over wifi in foreign countries as if they were in the US? While we’re at it and if it makes any difference, give us some MUCH better roaming options. I’m loyal to big blue but I hate having to get a local sim in a foreign country because your roaming options are so expensive.

Back to the good stuff. For now wifi calling is only available on iOS 9 phones from the 6 on. I can’t promise you though, I’ve heard mixed reports. The good thing is I assume AT&T will release it for other platforms soon.

Last thing I’ll say about this, I have a hard time receiving calls over wifi since the iOS 9.1 update. It hangs up and then rings again then hangs up and rings again. Making calls is fine though. It’s very strange and I’ve only found one or two other people with a similar issue.

Have you been using AT&T wifi calling? What do you think? I haven’t been able to use it much because it only kicks in when there’s bad reception and what Ralph says is true, most places have great signal and as a result I haven’t been able to test it extensively.

FCC Finally OK’s AT&T WiFi Calling

ATT-WiFi-Calling-for-some-iOS-9-usersHappy day happy day. AT&T finally got the OK to light up their WiFi calling feature. iPhone 5S and later users on iOS 9 can now make regular calls over WiFi.

This is great news for anybody who has bad cellular reception but great WiFi. So you might now be able to make calls from your basement or deep inside your cement high rise. My parents house is a black hole for all 4 major carriers but they do have WiFi so now I can make calls from their living room.

On a side note, now my phone battery doesn’t drain nearly as fast because it’s not struggling to grab a cellular signal, it’s happy with just the WiFi.

Hopefully AT&T will soon allow callers to make free calls from other countries when they’re on WiFi.

iPhone 6S, My Only Real Complaint Is How Fast It Is

iPhone-6-processor-performanceSo how are you liking your new iPhone 6S or 6S Plus? I’m loving mine for the most part. I got an AT&T iPhone 6S 64GB and it is pretty amazing, it’s a nice software update and the hardware is great. I’ve heard a few complaints about the weight but I personally like having a little more heft to the phone.

Let me cover my only real complaint and what’s funny is is that it’s a huge upgrade from the previous iteration. I am having a hard time with how fast my new iPhone unlocks itself when I use my fingerprint. This phone is so much faster and it is NICE. The problem is, I used to light up my phone to see what messages have come in since I last looked but now that my fingerprint unlocks the phone in mere moments, I am missing what is on the screen and have to go look it up in Notifications.

I know this is a ridiculous complaint but it actually effecting the way I use my phone.

Let me tell you, I am in love with my new AT&T iPhone 6S and the speed of the phone and the network are pretty amazing.

Do Non Techies Have To Get The iPhone 6S? NOPE.

MervynsI get asked all the time, “Should I get the new iPhone?”. My knee jerk reaction is of course get the new iPhone. This may be the right answer for me but it is not for everybody.

Yes I’m going to go to the AT&T store next Friday morning and get myself a brand new iPhone 6S. Yes I am a total technology whore. But not everybody is like me. I won’t name names but a few friends now have asked me what to do and to be perfectly honest I want them to future proof them selves for an extra year and get the 6S or 6S Plus but they don’t really need to. They won’t be jumping on the new phone band wagon. I submitted to their actual needs and they’re going to visit the AT&T store after the new iPhone comes out and pick up the year old iPhone 6. Why? Because not everybody needs to have the newest. Not everybody cares about future proofing. I did convince them to get the 6 at least and not the 5S (we’re not savages) but they’ll have mobile payment and a few other niceties that the 6S just builds upon.

So does everybody need to pick up a new iPhone 6S, NOPE, they really don’t. Will I be tapping at the AT&T store window Friday morning like in that old Merveyns commercial

Will We See Apple Give Us More Free iCloud Backup Space Next Week?

  I feel like I am being nickle and dimed by Apple but I kind of get it. Apple refuses to give it’s iOS users unlimited picture and video backup like Google is doing now and I think it is a mistake. For years the 5GB we get for free from Apple to back up our iOS devices it hasn’t been enough. For many years now I’ve been getting asked how to recoup space in peoples iCloud so they can backup their phones. This is ridiculous ESPECIALLY in terms of pictures and video. Apple is supposedly going to be giving us a higher megapixel camera if you believe the rumors. If this is the case then we’re going to run out of space on our iPhones much quicker. 

I understand that Apple wants to sell more expensive higher GB phones but this is moot if we can’t back them up. It’s great to have a 128 GB capacity iPhone but if I can’t back up all those photos to iCloud where do you think I’m going to go??? Google Photos. Yup, it’s free and it works well, plus it makes those cute gif’s. 

I am of the belief that Apple should give all it’s iCloud users a minimum of 1TB of space. I doubt they make much money selling cloud space so why don’t they spend a billion dollars or so and give all it’s users more iCloud space. 

What do you think should we get a free terabyte? 

AT&T Is Slowly Rolling Out WiFi Calling On iPhones with iOS 9

IMG_4492I am over the moon that we’re finally getting voice calls over WiFi on AT&T. Everyone knows I’m a big fan of AT&T but I’ve been bummed out lately that the first half of 2015 came and went, Summer has come and now we’re in the home stretch and until today I haven’t heard about WiFi calling. But today is the day. Today I got excited about AT&T for the first time all Summer.

WiFi calling allows at this moment iPhone iOS 9 users to make voice calls over wireless internet. So next time I visit my cousin in Utah and stay in her basement where I get great WiFi but zero AT&T reception I’ll be able to make and receive calls. This is exciting news because as good as AT&T’s coverage may be they aren’t everywhere, like in basements and middle of big buildings.

I’m hoping that AT&T makes the right choice and chooses not to bill customers for making WiFi calls from outside the US while they’re roaming. T-Mobile is killing AT&T on the roaming front and it is not looking good. I know dozens of international business travelers that were staunch AT&T and Verizon customers that have dropped their carrier of choice for the free data roaming when they travel abroad.  This will really make a difference but I don’t think it will be enough.

Either way I’m very excited and now that I have the settings and get most of the way through the set up I’m sure my account will be enabled soon to make calls over WiFi networks in hotel rooms with bad reception and AirBNB homes in foreign countries.

IMG_4491One last thing Ralph, this is a great move that we’ve been waiting a long time for, I really hope though that you don’t consider this a final destination, it is just a stepping stone to a flat planet with no roaming. If I may give you my 2 cents I don’t think AT&T needs to give away free international data but should at the very least offer highly reduced roaming plans. Like 500min/texts and 1GB of data for $10-$20 while roaming. T-Mobile still has a better offer but you don’t have to beat their offer you’re beating them with coverage.

Good job AT&T, keep up the change.

 

Two Points To Consider When Buying A Tablet

IMG_6178My buddy just bought his first tablet, he got an iPad mini. His main purpose is to be able to FaceTime with his family now that he has a new kid. I wanted to drop 2 tips here about buying an iPad or any tablet for that matter.

1. If you can afford it get a 4G enabled iPad. I have had both a wifi only and a wifi and 4G enabled (mine is from AT&T and their LTE is FAST), there’s no question, if you can afford the 4G enabled you should go for it if you plan to take your iPad out of the house.

2. Get a keyboard if you plan on working on it or even just doing email. I prefer the Zagg keyboards and that’s what my buddy got. I’ve had 2 of them over the years and they’re both solid. One thing to consider is if you want it to protect the back of the tablet and also I highly suggest getting one with a hinge. You want it to open and close like a laptop so you can set the screen at any angle.

These are just a few suggestions that I shared the other day with a friend and wanted to impart to you. What do you think?