Can you believe that it's October already? The nights are drawing in, and the leaves are dying on the trees, but it's not all doom and gloom, at least when it comes to a good old iPhone homescreen post.
Last month saw a bit of a blast from the past, with me back on an old iPhone 4S. This month, however, things are bigger and better, literally.
I had to take a 2.5 hour train journey to Brighton for work, so at the time of the pre-orders going live, I was sitting in Victoria Train Station waiting for my train. As is always the way with an iPhone launch, the moment the pre-orders opened all hell broke loose and Apple.com/uk/store was down for the count. After about 1.5 hours of constantly hitting the Apple Store site, the mobile app and the reservation page, I managed to snag myself two preorders, and an actual order. The panic of finally getthing through threw me off, and all orders were for devices I didn't actually want, but I stupidly wanted to get something for my efforts.
Before I go any further, let me roll back a little. This time around, unlike normal iPhone release days, we all had more than colour to decide upon. We now had the difficult choice of size as well. We had the option of the big 4.7" iPhone 6, or the really big 5.5" iPhone 6 Plus. Awful naming decision aside, the Plus instantly appealed to me. This device was not just a spec bump like most years, it was pretty much a new category item. We have the phone, we have the tablet, now we have something else. The Plus features a huge new battery, a gorgeous new screen and a slightly improved camera over the 6. The better camera on the Plus sure is a very minor improvement over the standard 6, but I'm a sucker for any camera improvements.
The only down side I could see was the size. This was, however, quite literally a very big downside. Shortly after the announcement, various sites were offering paper cutout versions of the Plus so you could, in a way, road test the device in your hands and trousers. While I felt like a bit of a moron doing it, I gave it a try.
The effort, and slight embarrassment, was worth it however, and I'm convinced I made the right decision.
I have probably waffled enough at this point, this is a Homescreen post after all. I might share some thoughts on the device itself in a separate post. Without further ado, however, here is my current screen. You must excuse the dull presentation of the screen this month. To be perfectly honest I could not find a new 6 Plus mockup to use, and I don't have the Photoshop skills to create one myself, so you'll have to make do with a basic screenshot I'm afraid. Get in touch if you do have a nice mockup I can use for the next year, however!
The first thing you'll probably notice with this months homescreen is that there is now a lot of room. The bottom row must, of course, remain clear, but I now have two empty rows. The phone itself is still pretty empty, to be honest, for a very good reason, namely optimization, or more accurately, lack thereof.
For one reason or another, many developers, even big name players like Facebook and Instagram, have yet to update their apps to optimize them for the larger display of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. I don't think it's harsh to say that the apps that are not yet updated look absolutely terrible. The fonts are huge and the apps themselves are blurry messes. I know this will be sorted out very soon, and it's less offensive to the eyes than the non-Retina optimized apps were a few years ago.
The apps I am using this month are fairly lackluster in terms of stepping too far away from the stock apps, or anything hugely different from last month. I am still finding my feet with the phone and want to wait and see how apps are updated, if at all, before getting too invested in them.
Overcast - Listening to podcasts has overtaken taking photos as the biggest use case for my iPhone, so a good podcast app is a must have the moment I set up a new phone. As with last month, I am still in love with Overcast. I reported last month that the apps Smart Speed feature saved me a total of 12 hours so far. Over the last month, this is now nearing 20 hours! That, alone, is pretty damn impressive.
Marvel Unlimited - I have been a subscriber to Marvel Unlimited a few months now, having treated myself to a years subscription. Until now it was reserved for my iPad. The screen on the 5s was far too small for viewing comics comfortably. The iPhone 6 Plus changes this, however. I can now easily view comics on the go during my commute or in bed. A full sized iPad will probably give you a far better reading experience, but the iPhone does make this far more convenient, and I'm getting a lot more use out of my subscription now. That can only be a good thing.
Carousel - I have found this photo management app from Dropbox getting quite a lot of use recently as well. I was very excited for iCloud Photo Library when it was first announced, but it now appears that it's release has been pushed back. While this is very disappointing, hopefully it will mean it will come back bigger and better than before. Until it does rear its head again, Carousel is a nice alternative. It's appeal was fairly limited before, given the cost of Dropbox storage, but this is now far more competitive. That being said, it's still £7.99 a month, so I will stick to my free 17GB's for now. Once that is full, Apple will hopefully have something to offer me to take advantage of that 200GB of storage I have with them.
With that I will close off this months homescreen update. Next month should, hopefully, see a far more interesting update, as apps, both big and small, will see updates to take advantage of the many features iOS 8 has to offer, along with the larger real estate of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Check back here next month to see how things go.