gadgets

Old time iPhone users, “I told you so.” If I got a dollar every time an iPhone enthusiast told me a 3.5-inch display is the perfect size, and then of course, a 4-inch display, I’d be beaching in the Maldives by now.

Pocket is seeing huge shifts in usage with the iPhone 6 and especially with the iPhone 6 Plus. iPhone users who had an iPhone 5 or 5S and then got an iPhone 6 Plus read an astonishing 65% more articles on the bigger (and better) phone.

Consuming on the iPhone 6 Plus is so good, iPhone users are using their iPads dramatically less. With the puny iPhone 5S, users consumed 55% of the time on the iPhone and 45% on the iPad. Then those users upgraded, and now they consume 80% of the time on the iPhone 6 Plus and only 20% on the iPad. With a phablet, there is much less need for a tablet.

iPhone 6 users also saw a similar usage bump, just in smaller amounts relative to its superior sibling.

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The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the FAA is proposing rules that would limit drone flying to daylight hours, within eyesight, below an altitude of 400 feet and flown only by certified pilots. There will be questions as to whether these measures are too draconian, but I do think some kind of regulation is required.

My friend recently purchased a DJI Phantom 2 Vision Plus and invited me to its virgin flight outside. Apparently, he tried to get the drone flying in his room, and after the blades sliced into his bed post and then crashed a couple feet from his 2 year old he decided it was probably safer to do it outside. Probably.

Outside, he got it up a few feet…and then proceeded to crash it immediately into a pillar. So far, every flight had ended in a crash. He invited me to give it a try. Foolishly, I grabbed the controls.

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I first prognosticated that the iPhone 6 Plus would outsell the iPhone 6. A week later, I wrote that the forecast was likely going to be wrong.

A report from Consumer Intelligence Partners suggests that for every one iPhone 6 Plus, Apple is selling three times the number of iPhone 6s. It’s unclear whether that’s due to demand, but it’s at least due to supply.

As I wrote before:

The Wall Street Journal reported an unnamed source as saying:

We have been churning out 140,000 iPhone 6 Plus and 400,000 iPhone 6 every day, the highest daily output ever, but the volume is still not enough to meet the preorders.

Foxconn is making nearly 3x many more iPhone 6s than iPhone 6 Pluses, everyday. Given that, it’ll be awfully hard for the iPhone 6 Plus to outsell the iPhone 6.

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Arguably, the main purpose of a smartwatch is to tell the time. While the watch faces the Moto 360 originally came with are all attractive, it was disappointing to see only seven. There are third party options but none — including the premium versions of Watchmaker and Facer — are great.

Motorola recently released an update that added another five that brings the total to 12, and all five new ones are fantastic. They are all customizable to a degree and best of all, seem designed specifically with ambient mode in mind. I.e., they look great on, and they still look great even when dimmed. Good job Motorola!

Companies often don’t get much coverage on product updates, so perversely don’t have much incentive to update. Let’s buck the trend: here are the five new watch faces for the Moto 360.

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Amazon surprised people with the Echo, a speaker you can talk to Siri-like and get information from.

It’s a cool, futuristic sounding idea, but I’m not sure it’ll work in the short-term. Siri and Cortana haven’t taken the public by storm yet and that doesn’t bode well for Echo. One key difference is that the Echo will always be present (in a given room), so you don’t have to pull out your phone and tap a button; you can just speak to it. Amazon hopes this lack of friction will be a game changer.

I’ll tell you why it’s not though, and that’s because I can do that already…with my Moto 360, which is always on me and has voice control, yet doesn’t work all that great.

Amazon might out-execute Google, but I have doubts. The $199 doesn’t help either. Still, I love fiddling with these kinds of gadgets, and will post a review if I ever get my hands on one. Video after the break.

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I’ve written before how the only meaningful advantage Chromebooks have over Windows laptops is price. Now that prices for Windows laptops have fallen, there is no compelling reason to get Chromebooks.

Make no mistake, I am a big believer in thin client computing and think Chromebooks are well positioned for that future. But that future is not here yet.

I can also see Chromebooks doing well in primary education, where you don’t want kids messing with system settings and who don’t have any expectations for legacy software. I’m not talking about specific markets though.

So it is interesting to see Chromebook World — yes, that’s a website dedicated to Chromebooks — pit a $200 Windows laptop from Acer to its Chromebook equivalent and conclude the two offer comparable experiences. Both have similar performance, battery life, and quick start-up times.

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I had the original Moto G as a secondary travel phone and loved it. So I was delighted when Motorola sent me a review unit for the 2014 version, which I’ve been using for the last week.

It’s fantastic. It’s the best example of how technology has advanced so much that, even for heavy users, it’s easy to see a future where it’ll no longer be necessary to buy flagship phones to get a great experience.

The Moto G is close but doesn’t quite get there. I can strongly recommend it to light users and to heavy users as a second phone; but for everyone else, it may not always make the best choice.

That said, pound-for-pound, there may be no better phone than the Moto G. It’s the best phone you can buy for $180.

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