December 10, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Apple laid out a fresh vision for its path in the smartphone market last week by introducing two distinct iPhone models at different prices. But how do the new phones compare with the others already on the market? Here, we take a look at the iPhone 5C and the 5S and each phone's top competitor:
The iPhone 5C: Apple's iPhone 5C essentially fills the spot left by the now retired iPhone 5, and shares many of the same specifications. Now, instead of trying to save a bit by buying a year-old phone with last year's specs, price-conscious Apple fans can buy a new phone with slightly better specs than last year's. It's not a bad deal. The plastic casing on the iPhone, by most accounts, doesn't make the phone feel cheap, and the new color options allow users a chance to express their own Day-Glo personalities.
The iPhone 5C is likely to face its most competitive pressure from phones such as the Moto X -- Google's super-customizable smartphone, also originally conceived as a more budget-conscious phone. Both phones carry mass appeal, thanks to their customization options and light construction.
There are a few key differences, of course. First, the obvious: The Moto X runs Android, and the iPhone 5C runs iOS. That debate is its own whole kettle of fish, so we'll put that aside for now. Apart from that, the Moto X has a larger screen -- 4.7 inches vs. 4 inches on the iPhone 5C -- and a high-megapixel camera with 10 MP sensor vs. an 8 MP for the 5C. But Apple's cheaper iPhone has a smaller and better-resolution screen and is also a little lighter, slimmer and more compact.
The iPhone 5S: The top competitor here is most likely the Samsung Galaxy S4. Here again, Apple's four-inch screen gets dwarfed by the S4's five-inch display, which is bad for Web and video browsing, but good for portability. The iPhone 5S also is expected to have a more premium feel, with its glass and aluminum construction, compared with the plastic of the Samsung model. That matters to some people, especially when they're plunking down about $200 for a phone. Apple's new processing chip also holds a lot of promise, if the 64-bit processor is as fast as Apple claims. That potential power gives developers a lot of room to run.
Given what Apple has released about the 5S so far, it's hard to say which smartphone will win on screen quality. The Galaxy S4 has impressed with its big, bright screen, but Apple's retina display is also top-of-its-class. They're likely matched fairly evenly on the camera, too: The S4 has a 13MP camera, compared with the 5S's 8 MP. But Apple says it's improved it camera sensor and software and claims users will now be able to snap "SLR-quality" shots.
Each phone also has its own smaller features that may appeal to specific sets of users. Apple's fingerprint scanner will make for easier to buy applications; Samsung offers hands-free controls and automatic scrolling during reading among its features.
-- Washington Post
There are dozens of to-do-list apps out there, but Any.do stands out for hitting the delicate balance between clean and robust so it's easy to set up lists organized the way you want without too much clutter. The app lets you set up lists for "today," "tomorrow," "upcoming" and "someday" you can see at a glance and collapse or expand as you wish. You can also view your tasks by category -- personal, work, etc. Any.do syncs signed-in users' lists with an online account in the Chrome browser, or it can hook into a Facebook account. Free, for Android and iOS devices.
Managing classes can be tricky, particularly in high school and college when students are juggling the notes, schedules and projects for many advanced courses. StudyBlue works with schools to let students organize their notes and make study guides for specific classes and even share materials such as syllabi with classmates. The app also lets you make flashcards for any time you're on the go and need to get in a couple of study sessions. Plus, StudyBlue will keep a track record on your flashcard sessions, so you'll be able to see your progress over time. Materials can be public or available to classmates. Free, with in-app purchases, for Android and iOS devices.
Some errands require the weather to be just right, and no one likes to cancel plans because of rain, only to see sunshine an hour later. This app takes some of the pain out of planning activities by giving you a forecast set up just for hiking, biking or sipping pina coladas outside. When you set up an activity, you can tell the app your parameters, based on the time of day and three of the following: temperature, cloudiness, wind speed, humidity, precipitation or UV index. Then, it gives you an hour-by-hour forecast for the next several days and graphs how ideal conditions will be. You can see graphs for multiple cities using the same criteria.
Predictions aren't always perfect -- this is the weather, after all -- but it's a handy planning tool and lets you share plans with friends. A couple of features would make this app more worth its price -- namely the ability to add events to your calendar, or notifications so you don't miss your window. But if you find yourself on the wrong side of the weather a lot, it may be worth a try. $1.99, for iOS devices.
-- Hayley Tsukayama, Washington Post
This app by ALK Technologies is a GPS app that stores all map information directly on the user's device, allowing for navigation without network connection, making it useful when travelling through dead spots. It shows real-time traffic info and automatically reroutes around delays. Users can customize downloaded maps. The app also offers integration with Yelp, Google local search and Wikipedia so users know what is around their route and destination. It includes weather and gas-price information and the ability to navigate to a geotagged picture taken on a phone.
-- Kara Yorio, MCT Information Services
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 15, 2013 A15