21 Sep 2014, 10:39pm
apple iPhone reviews

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iPhone 6 on Softbank in Japan

Well worth the 3.5 year wait


iPhone 6

Well, after all the good intentions of keeping my iPhone 4S for one more iteration, I cracked on Friday. It didn’t help that the phone was really struggling to run iOS 8 (if you have a 4S, I don’t recommend upgrading to the new OS). On the way to work I stopped at a quiet, out of the way Softbank shop and had a look at the new iPhones.

I was originally inclined to get the 6 plus, as I liked the idea of having a bigger screen to read ebooks and surf the web. Then I saw the actual size of the thing…

The iPhone 6 plus is basically too big for me to use one-handed, which kind of negates the point of having a mobile phone. I also had trouble holding it comfortably. This thing really is big.

I asked what they had in stock, and ended up getting the 128GB space grey model. My thoughts so far:

The good

  • light, smooth, and beautiful
  • great display
  • very fast and capable
  • the fingerprint thing is amazing. Never going back
  • battery life much better than old iPhone 4S
  • tethering
  • Softbank subsidizes the phone considerably, and they have a campaign to buy your old phone back too (I got 24,000 yen for my old iPhone 4S)
  • camera/photos are amazing
  • Softbank reset my contract, so it will expire around the same time I pay the phone off (instead of eight months beforehand)

The bad

  • it’s bigger than I am used to, so still getting used to that
  • pretty slippery without a case
  • the camera lens sticks out
  • Softbank has this obnoxious policy where they automatically sign you up for free trials of various services that will auto-renew and charge you, and won’t let you cancel them until the next day (call 157 to do this quickly and easily)


I love this phone. I’m impressed at how little it is costing me to buy it. It is a huge improvement over the iPhone 4S in every way. Right now I am really happy I upgraded.

I don’t know if it would be worth if for iPhone 5 or 5S users, but if you still have a 4 or 4S I would recommend checking the new models out.

Google Maps App for iPhone

google maps

Another tangent, I’m afraid. If you don’t have an iPhone you can probably stop reading now. If you have an iPhone that is running iOS 5 or less, this may be of interest. But if you have an iPhone running iOS 6 and you haven’t downloaded the Google Maps App yet, keep reading.

I’ve been playing with the new Google Maps App on my iPhone 4S for a couple of weeks now. The short version is that it is amazing.

(it’s not just me that thinks so, either: here’s the Wall Street Journal version)

The long version:

  • all the accurate data from before
  • better interface
  • amazing driving instructions (it’s better than any dedicated satnav I have used)
  • sharpened up graphics

I’ve used it a few times while driving, and the app is amazingly user-friendly. Clear voice directions, simple screen, very user-friendly (I particularly like the way you can scroll around the map then get back to your route with a simple ‘resume’ button).

The local transport functionality is there too: this is probably the thing I use my phone for the most. When in an unfamiliar city, the app gives accurate local train and bus times and connections -so much so that I use it instead of the official websites to find times.

No negatives I have found at this time. If you don’t have it get it now -it’s free.


*this review is only talking about the Google Maps App in Japan. I haven’t had the chance to test it abroad yet 🙂


Apple Education

Reading about the new Apple educational push, I was pretty impressed. It seems like they ‘get’ the core issues:

1. textbooks need to be interactive and appealing, and take advantage of pictures, video, and audio
2. textbooks need to be affordable
3. teachers want to make these next-generation textbooks

Their iBook author app looks extremely interesting. Interesting enough to make me look up the price of new Apple laptops…


Perhaps that was the secret agenda ^-^

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