The executive chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, has penned a length post telling mobile users how they can switch from iPhone to Android devices.
Fresh from offering tips on using cloud computing, Schmidt has now turned his attention to the mobile market, using his page on Google+ to show users how easy it is to move to Android, and all it can offer.
“Like the people who moved from PCs to Macs and never switched back, you will switch from iPhone to Android and never switch back, as everything will be in the cloud, backed up, and there are so many choices for you,” he wrote.
"The latest high-end phones from Samsung (Galaxy S4), Motorola and the Nexus 5 have better screens, are faster, and have a much more intuitive interface."
What follows is a lengthy, complicated and caveat-heavy list of the steps you’ll need to take for this switch to Android, which runs to just over 600 words. This includes how to get Gmail on your phone, back up photos and move your music to your new device.
While Schmidt attempts to paint the transition as painless – as anyone who has ever moved phone, even within the same ecosystem, will know – such a task is never easy, and is always fraught with frustrations.
This isn't an issue with Android, or Apple, or anyone else, it just seems that anything that requires moving data is complex and time-consuming. Still, at least industry leaders such as Schmidt are willing to take time out of their busy schedules to try and help the average user, which is nice.
By V3's Dan Worth, who's happy with his iPhone
Can anyone make a decent operating system? That’s the question tech lovers around the world appear to be asking as the biggest vendors appear unable to just make a decent platform that's easy to use and nice to look at.
Microsoft – the daddy of the operating system world – has been flailing for a while now to try and entice people to Windows 8. But so far it is failing. While Windows 8.1 is improving some areas, it is unlikely to prove a panacea for all its ills.
In fact, Microsoft could be said to have peaked as far back as 2001 when its beloved XP platform hit the market. Even now, 12 years later, there are those who see no reason to upgrade, even if support is set to end in six months.
Meanwhile Apple, the darling of the tech world, is facing unprecedented levels of criticism for numerous issues that users of its new iOS 7 operating system have found with the platform.
These range from functionality to design and many V3 readers have implored others not to move to the new platform if they haven't done so already. Such criticism of Apple, especially on a design and functionality level, would have been unthinkable a year or so ago.
So what is going on? In some ways it appears firms are trying to be too clever, to be too innovative. At the end of a day an operating system should be the base layer for everything else. It should be easy to use, simple to understand and allow you to run other applications over the top.
With too much focus now given to all-singing systems that can do everything and out-innovate rivals it almost seems as if the firms are forgetting to do any user feedback to find out if stuff just works.
One good example was raised by a V3 reader who noticed this bizarre iOS 7 issue. The phone automatically dims its display brightness when you open the new control panel menu. This means, though, if you’re trying to adjust screen brightness, you can’t accurately gauge the brightness of the screen. It’s almost comic in its failure to work at the most basic level.
Similarly, while one can understand Microsoft may have thought the bold and radical change of Windows 8 may have made them seem, well, bold and radical, someone really should have stepped in and said it was too much.
People never like change, even when it's good for them, so for Microsoft to develop Windows 8 was always going to prove an incredibly disruptive situation. And while the tech world loves the term disrupt for conjuring up the feeling they're changing the world, for most people disruption is a negative that can be done without.
The firm was probably so blinded by the need to innovate and impress that it overlooked the basic notion of KISS: Keep it simple, stupid. A motto that works well in a surprisingly large number of instances. Let's hope Apple has taken it on board for its Mac OS X Mavericks update, due to be unveiled next week.
By V3's Dan Worth, who loves a good operating system
Saturday marked two years since the tech industry came together to mourn the passing of Steve Jobs after his long-running battle with cancer.
His legacy has, if anything, only grown since, with films made to celebrate his life and every decision made at Apple in the last two years scrutinised with the question: “What would Steve have done?”.
Jobs still does – and probably always will – loom in the background of Apple, as shown by a message on Twitter from chief executive Tim Cook posted on the weekend.
Second anniversary of Steve's death. Going on a long hike today and reflecting on his friendship and all the dents he made in the universe.— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) October 5, 2013
Cook also sent an email to staff urging them to remember the legacy of Jobs and reflect on what his work meant to them, and the company as a whole.
"Tomorrow marks the second anniversary of Steve’s death. I hope everyone will reflect on what he meant to all of us and to the world. Steve was an amazing human being and left the world a better place. I think of him often and find enormous strength in memories of his friendship, vision and leadership," he wrote.
"He left behind a company that only he could have built and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple. We will continue to honor his memory by dedicating ourselves to the work he loved so much. There is no higher tribute to his memory. I know that he would be proud of all of you."
However, despite this remembrance and reverence for Jobs, there has been a clear move over the last two years by the firm, led by Cook, to move on and break old directives set by Jobs.
Nowhere is this more obvious than screen size. Jobs was always adamant that a 3.5in screen was more than enough for any smartphone, ignoring the craze for larger screens led by a raft of Android phones.
But since then Apple has brought out a trio of 4in devices – the iPhone 5, 5C and 5S – which everyone would now agree have improved the iPhone range.
In tablets, too, Jobs once decried the notion of a 7in iPad. “Seven-inch tablets are tweeners: too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with the iPad. Seven-inch tablets are dead on arrival,” he said.
Now the iPad Mini – just sneaking in at 7.9in – has arrived on the market and is a revelation, making the larger iPad devices look clunky and unwieldy.
In many ways Apple had to make these moves, and one could quite easily imagine Jobs applying his ‘Reality distortion field (RDF)‘ to his former statements as he unveiled the same devices anyway to ensure the firm remained at the top of the market.
Nevertheless, it is now an Apple that has changed since Jobs, with new designs and ideas coming to the fore. This can also be seen in the iOS 7 operating system, which, under the leadership of Sir Jony Ive, represents a new chapter in Apple's history in which Jobs has had no direct influence.
Elsewhere, the firm also appears ever so slightly mellower, with Cook able to swallow his pride and apologise for mistakes – such as the Apple Maps launch – in a way that Jobs seemed incapable of doing, as the 'antennagate' saga proved.
Despite these changes, Apple's success, as witnessed by the huge sales of the iPhone 5S, continues thanks to the decisions set down and seen through by Jobs that have seen tablets and smartphones radically alter both the business and consumer landscapes.
Among business users, the closest you can get to a discussion about the eco-friendliness of a smartphone is battery life. And even then, it's a purely pragmatic discussion that amounts to: "Will this phone make it through the day?"
Unlike appliances such as dishwashers and fridges, you won't normally come across clear eco-friendly ratings denoting how much energy a smartphone uses. What's more, there's been plenty of talk in the past about the materials used in smartphones: rare metals and harmful chemicals tend to make the smartphone industry a rather environmentally unfriendly business.
Aside from power consumption, conflict minerals are particularly problematic. As it stands, almost every tech company you can name produces hardware that contains minerals taken from regions of conflict in the Congo. While some firms are taking steps towards reducing this, the issue is still rife, and it's not as simple as just finding an alternative source.
It's not an issue that's regularly discussed by the general public, mostly because they probably aren't aware of the issues as there is no easy way to find out how eco-friendly your device is.
The lack of clarity for consumers should soon change, however. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU), an offshoot of the UN, is working alongside a group of smartphone makers including Apple, Samsung and Nokia to create a universally recognised rating system for smartphones. But who will benefit?
Bettina Tratz-Ryan, a Gartner research vice president, told V3 it isn't just a marketing exercise for the handset makers and mobile networks involved. "Initially, it will be more important for the manufacturers and the mobile service providers who want to show in their sustainability and environmental management reports that they look for eco standards and environmentally green technology."
She added that it will also help the bottom line, with better-designed phones reducing the costs of refurbishment and repairs.
It's interesting to note that Apple is involved with the scheme. The Cupertino firm always seems to do their own thing, ignoring the unofficial rule that smartphones should all make use of a standard micro-USB port to save on the disposal of thousands of tonnes of useless chargers, and instead choosing to adopt yet another proprietary connector for their most recent generations of iPads and iPhones.
Last year, Apple chose to opt out of EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) in order to take its own direction with its manufacturing methods only to opt back in again two days later. But nonetheless, here they are, seemingly taking an active part in the development of this new, customer-facing environmental scheme and working alongside other manufacturers.
Tratz-Ryan said the new scheme will take some time to filter down to consumers, especially as it may see the spread of smart technologies, which could tell devices when to turn off automatically, among other things. She likened this to technology that switches off the engines of some vehicles when they are stationary.
"Many drivers of new cars with automatic turn off during wait time at traffic lights were uncomfortable at first, but now this is a normality. We will see the same thing with eco-certified technology. The positioning will come through social media, portals, service domains as well as conventional marketing material."
It'll be very interesting to not only see what form this new scheme takes, but how manufacturers respond.
By V3's Michael Passingham, who wants a green iPhone 5C
The Apple iPhone 5S and 5C launched in London on Friday morning, leading to the same fanboy frenzy at the Apple store in Regent Street as usual. When the doors opened at around 8am the horde of Apple fans was around 200-strong and featured several of the usual suspects who show up at the front of the pack every year.
As always the queue held a mix of actual Apple fans who were just plain obsessed with the product, such as one particularly affluent 17-year-old who triumphantly told V3: "I'm going to get two gold iPhone 5S [handsets], one 64GB one 32GB. I'm going to keep both."
Other less eager members of the queue were there for financial reasons. One particularly entrepreneurial individual boasted – while holding a Galaxy S4 – "I'm already putting them on eBay."
Interestingly none of the people leaving the store had an iPhone 5C, an early indication that Apple may have swung a miss with its first ever plastic, colourful, smartphone. However, those coming out with iPhone 5S handsets seemed happy enough, meaning Apple's still likely keeping its core fanbase happy.
The iPhone 5S and 5C were unveiled in California earlier this month. The iPhone 5S is Apple's latest top-end smartphone and boasts a host of tech and software upgrades. These include a new A7 chip, which Apple claims is radically faster than its previous A6 chip, and a new Touch ID scanner that lets users unlock their phones using a fingerprint scanner. The 5C by comparison is a more timid affair, featuring close to identical internal specifications to the iPhone 5.
The two phones both come with Apple's latest iOS 7 operating system preinstalled. The OS was released two days before the iPhone 5S and 5C launch as a software update for the iPhone 4, 4S and 5 and iPad 2 and above. Apple lists iOS 7 as having 200 new features, including 41 security upgrades.
By V3's Alastair Stevenson
Despite the foul September weather lashing the capital on Thursday afternoon, hardy Apple fans were still queuing outside the shop as they prepared to get their mitts on the iPhone 5S the moment it goes on sale tomorrow.
V3 put on a nice waterproof coat, opened a large umbrella and set off to see how these intrepid fans were getting on. We were pleased to find them well set up for the rain that is falling steadily; clearly they’ve done this before.
A humble traffic cone marks the start of the maddest queue in London
While it’s no doubt madness to subject yourself to this kind of suffering it shows something about the sheer levels of brand loyalty Apple can inspire in its most devoted of users. Let's just hope they have already tried iOS 7 and know what they're letting themselves in for with the new operating system.
The Apple flag flies against a grey London sky as well-kempt Londoners stare at the shapeless forms of those queing for the iPhone 5S
However, it is probably fair to note that, so far, the queues are a long way short of some previous launches of the firm's new iPhone devices, such as the iPhone 4S, which came out two years ago.
Then again, with the rain falling, perhaps some people have been discouraged to attend. We’ll be at the Apple store tomorrow morning to see if the crowds have grown, and the diehards at the front have dried out, so check back then.
Yahoo chief executive and generally smart person Marissa Mayer has made a rare slip-up, publicly admitting she doesn't have a passcode on her smartphone due to being too busy.
Mayer made the revelation during an interview at the TechCrunch Dispute conference, gleefully admitting her security no-no when asked for her thoughts on the new Apple iPhone 5S fingerprint scanner.
"It's funny because you mocked me once at TechCrunch, maybe it was at LeWeb, because Mike was making fun of me because I don't have a passcode on my phone," she said.
"And Mike was like ‘Are you crazy?', and I was like 'Look, I just can't do this passcode thing, like 15 times a day,' and then when I saw the fingerprint thing I thought now I don't have to. I was excited about that and think building some of these smart sensors into the phone is really exciting."
Following the admission the security community is up in arms, with many bemoaning the ex-Google vice president's apparent ignorance about even the most basic smartphone security. Independent security expert Graham Cluley went so far as to call the Yahoo chief a "twerp".
"Colour me unimpressed. There's really not any excuse for having even the weakest four-digit passcode on your iPhone (longer, more complex passwords are better and surprisingly easy to remember), and yet lots of people have none in place," he wrote.
"What's alarming is that Mayer is the CEO of a major internet company, who have a responsibility for protecting the privacy of hundreds of millions of net users. What kind of example is she setting by not having any form of login security on her smartphone? What a twerp."
However, the accusation may be slightly over the top. As Tim Cook noted during the iPhone launch event on Tuesday, many iPhone users follow Mayer's example in not bothering to turn on the passcode, hence Apple adding the fingerprint scanner.
F-Secure's security advisor Sean Sullivan also took a more lenient approach to Mayer's admission. "It seems to me that the 'blame the user' tech crowd is a bit too eager to pile on the abuse for her habits. Perhaps they just don’t want to admit their advice is a failure, which doesn’t really meet everybody’s real-world needs," he said.
"Context matters. Regular people are careless with their phones, so regular people should really consider using a password. Internet company CEOs who live in the penthouse of the Four Seasons aren’t regular folks, so the same advice just doesn’t apply."
We think if polled, most chief executives around the world would give the exact same – albeit slightly less gleeful – answer. As such, while it's fair to bemoan Mayer's security mishap, we should avoid reverting to finger pointing and instead take it as a sign we need to do more to educate people about the importance of robust cyber security, as the UK government is doing with its ongoing Cyber Strategy.
You can watch the whole interview with Mayer in the YouTube video below.
By V3's Alastair Stevenson
The highly anticipated Steve Jobs biopic has had a somewhat disastrous week, failing to achieve the box office success it expected, taking just $6.7m after being played in 2,381 locations.
The figure was revealed by Cinema news website Box Office Mojo, which also gave the movie a middling B-rating for its "deification of Steve Jobs".
The sentiment was mirrored by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who made a similar criticism, arguing that Ashton Kutcher was overly kind in his portrayal of Jobs, in a public review he posted on Gizmodo.
"I saw the movie tonight. I thought the acting throughout was good. I was attentive and entertained but not greatly enough to recommend the movie. One friend who is in the movie said he didn't want to watch fiction so he wasn't interested in seeing it. I suspect a lot of what was wrong with the film came from Ashton's own image of Jobs," he said.
"I felt bad for many people I know well who were portrayed wrongly in their interactions with Jobs and the company. The movie ends pretty much where the great Jobs finally found product success (the iPod) and changed so many of our lives. I'm grateful to Steve for his excellence in the i-era, and his contribution to my own life of enjoying great products, but this movie portrays him having had those skills in earlier times."
With this in mind, it's unsurprising that the film failed to meet its $8m to $9m opening week sales projections and did not match the performance of Jobs' creations such as the iPhone 5, which broke the five-million sales mark in its opening weekend. Still, considering how interesting Jobs was and what great insights the original 2011 biography book by Walter Isaacson gave into his life, this still feels like a missed opportunity for cinema gold.
Here's hoping we get a better look at Jobs the second time round when the Wozniak-approved biopic comes out later this year.
Written by V3's Alastair Stevenson