iPhone 7 worth the upgrade?

Discussion in 'Technical Corner' started by Ryanb, Oct 23, 2016.

  1. JGoodish

    JGoodish Cleared for Takeoff

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    I have a three-year-old iPhone 5s 16GB on which the home button recently quit working. Thankfully, that happened before I upgraded to iOS 10, where the slick and functional "swipe to unlock" changed into the brain-dead "press home to open." However, the phone is now bricked because I subsequently tried to do a restore from backup, which can't be completed in iOS 10 if the home button doesn't work. Apple's only solution is to have the phone repaired for $130 plus tax.

    The other problem is that 16GB is tight these days, so I took that and the broken home button as motivation to look at upgrades. I've been "test driving" an iPhone 7 and iPhone SE for a few days now.

    The 7 is nicer in many ways, but being used to the 5s, comfort is not one of them. Even though I possibly have Trump-sized hands, using the 4.7" iPhone 7 isn't comfortably a one-handed operation. The larger screen is nice, but only noticeable in certain applications (ForeFlight is one of them--it may actually be somewhat usable on the 4.7" screen). For what I do most, emails and web browsing, the larger screen doesn't seem to provide much benefit, probably because I end up zooming to read text anyway. The screen is slightly brighter, and appears to have better viewing angles and possibly better (though noticeably different) color rendition. If the phone is not in a case, the camera bump on the back is a major annoyance, because the phone won't sit flat on a desk or table. Similarly, the new non-mechanical home button and haptic feedback works well in the hand but not as well when the phone is resting on a table. Battery life in mixed use can range from 6 - 8.5 hours, which is better than the 5s but not nearly as good as the SE, which hits 9 - 11 hours in my testing. Note that my testing consists mainly of managing emails and web browsing, so the screen is nearly always active during those activities. The larger screen definitely consumes more power when it's active. No headphone jack means you can't charge the phone while using wired headphones. Dust and water resistance of the iPhone 7 is nice, but may not matter to some folks.

    As a road warrior, I must have a smartphone for work. I thought that perhaps the 4.7" screen would make some work-related tasks easier, and perhaps it does. The trade-off comes in the loss of quick one-handed operation for other tasks. On the road, battery life is king, but the SE easily bests the 7 in that regard. The SE is also much easier to use and manipulate with only one hand. And its roughly $300 cheaper.

    In short, if I had a 6 or 6s I probably wouldn't upgrade. I'm tempted with the 5s because I'd get more storage and increased battery life, but I can get both of those with the SE for under $500 out the door. I'm undecided as to whether the 4.7" iPhone 7 would be able to stand in for an iPad for some activities or not. The smaller SE certainly isn't as suitable in that regard.

    As for Apple under Tim Cook, I agree that he's not a visionary, and his reported management style is unlikely to drive serious innovation or inspire greatness. However, the quality of Apple's hardware, OS, and app ecosystem are still light-years ahead of the competition, and they have taken a clear and determined position on personal privacy and security. Until someone who cares enough really steps up their game, Apple's incremental changes are likely to keep them ahead.


    JKG
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2016
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  2. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    It's really not "light years ahead" anymore. MSFT beat them to whole disk encryption, beat them soundly on a workable tablet/add-a-keyboard laptop vs the iPad Pro, both desktop OSs have subjective differences but both are about as stable as the other, Apple takes longer from announcement of security issues ("zero day") to issue fixes, and quite a bit of what they release now appears to have shoddy QA and bricks things and/or creates new issues.

    I think the pendulum has swung back at least to the point where if you're not doing cross-platform development in mobile apps, you're about to see customers depart for the competitors who do, and on the desktop, the hardware isn't blowing the completion out of the water on a performance basis anymore. Once, if you bought an Apple desktop you were getting screaming good graphics and a lot of horsepower. That's gone away.

    The same is happening on the laptop side. If you need a workhorse laptop for serious horsepower you aren't shopping Apple anymore. HP is slowly taking back that space. Because frankly, hardly anyone cares what the base OS is anymore -- you're going to use it for email and running a hypervisor for all the VMs you need on your laptop for development.

    The lackluster interest in the MacBook announcement today pretty much seals it up. They're making laptops for hipsters these days. And they're spendy. Two big misses (iPhone 7 and MacBooks) going into the holiday season. Apple never did that under Jobs. He may have been a complete jerk to everyone but he got stuff done.

    The specs are slightly better on the new Surface over the MacBook Pro. That's just unheard of back when Jobs could negotiate better hardware on an exclusive deal. Cook apparently can't.

    https://www.google.com/amp/www.digi...nce-base-vs-macbook-pro-15/amp/?client=safari

    And then there's flat out cash, MSFT will throw at MacBook owners to switch...

    https://www.google.com/amp/ventureb...urface-pro-or-surface-book/amp/?client=safari

    Heavier, worse battery life, weaker display, weird new unnecessary OLED touch strip, changes to the keyboard mechanical stuff to make it cheaper and type worse, the constant messing with connectors like dropping MagSafe (stupid ... that's been a great feature forever), limited to 16GB RAM, the list is getting pretty long.

    At least for savvy buyers it is.

    For hipsters who want to be seen with a MacBook, they may still hit the goal. But their days of being my "go to workhorse hardware" look like they're over with. I can put my hypervisor on Win10. Don't much care. Classic Shell and Win10 ain't awful as a UI. And Apple killed off their really good video products and photo products to force use of their cloud which has storage costs pushing ten times the amount you pay at any other cloud service.

    Sorry, it's just not true that they're leading anymore. They're barely keeping up.
     
  3. JGoodish

    JGoodish Cleared for Takeoff

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    Nate,

    Don't know what to say other than some of your information just doesn't match reality. Apple still has higher-quality products, a more refined user experience, a better ecosystem, and far more revenue from a higher-quality App Store than the competition.

    With that said, I'm incredibly frustrated with them. In my opinion, they've been coasting since Jobs died and Tim Cook subsequently fired everyone who had a hope of stepping in as a visionary. Apple has been so far ahead of everyone else that it's taken a while for competition to catch them, but it's getting closer. When your "revolutionary" new features "that only Apple could do" are teenager iMessage gimmicks and keyboard emojis, something is seriously wrong. Apple's corporate discipline also seems to be in decline, with frequent and fairly accurate leaks which appear to go unchallenged. Unfortunately, as long as the numbers are reasonably good I doubt that much will change.

    I need to replace my 3 year old iPhone and 4 year old iPad, and I've looked at Android competitors. They've come a long way, but there's no cohesive ecosystem, the performance efficiency isn't that great, software updates are still fragmented, and the higher-quality Android devices aren't materially less expensive that iDevices. I'll probably end up forking out another $1k+ to Apple in this round, but it's a shame the direction they appear to be headed.


    JKG
     
  4. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Pffft. Higher quality products, no. Equal now maybe. Can get phones that keep up and even have more features, the new MacBook looks to be a total joke (hey, let's buy another $160 worth of adapters to coddle the morons who took MagSafe off the thing...), and there's plenty of competition building identical hardware for cheaper. OSX ain't exactly getting any less grey on the head either... a touch bar?? Seriously?

    Refined user experience? Like the multiple crashes of my iOS devices lately? Looks just like everyone else from here, now...

    App Store? Who cares? The same twenty apps everyone puts on every device always sit at the top of their "lists" and the vast majority of the apps hidden way down in the store when you try to search for something by a keyword are total garbage. Any App Store or load method can support that.

    Let's not even discuss the total abomination known as iTunes.

    It's a shame Samsung pushed the battery tech too far in the Note 7. It really was this year's iPhone killer.

    I'm in-between cycles and don't need to replace this year. The MacBook and Mac mini's are maxed out on upgrades (Including 1TB of SSD. God I love that prices dropped on those. Thanks again to... Samsung...) and the phones are 6+.

    By the time I need new, Apple will be behind. Whether by a little or a lot depends on whether or not they fire Cook. He's John Scully all over again. History repeats.

    They literally have nothing to generate excitement with in the consumer market for the holiday season. Lackluster hardware, nothing new except more bugs than ever in both OS'.

    Samsung saved their butts with the exploding phones. Cook should be thanking them.
     
  5. CC268

    CC268 Line Up and Wait

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    This is spot on and very well said. The cost of Apple's laptops and desktops are insane. That doesn't discount the fact that they are indeed nice products. But wow the hardware you get for the price they ask is almost absurd. I built this desktop last year and it will blow the doors off any Apple product: http://pcpartpicker.com/b/bcnnTW

    I could have built something half the cost of that and it still would have outperformed any Apple desktop.

    As for phones...I have an Apple iPhone 6S+. I do like it a lot. I used to be a total Android geek. I ran custom ROMs, kernels, themes, etc. It was fun, but it got old and stability was not always the best. I had a Samsung S6 edge and it was a major disappointment, Battery life was absolutely horrible. Other than that the hardware was just as good if not better than Apple. Apple's phones are so great because their software is so refined. I think Apple has the advantage of having to only develop software for one product (iPhone/iPad) essentially. Android has to work on so many different platforms. Although Google's vanilla Android (without the bloat of a launcher like HTC's Sense, Samsung's Touchwiz, etc) is quite good. A lot of times I do wish ForeFlight was available on Android.
     
  6. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    I think I mentioned I got a bid for $115 from Gazelle for our 32gb 5s, but my habit was to list on eBay to see if I can get more. I set a starting bid of $130 and it went for $161. Even after about $16 to eBay and $5 to PayPal I still came out way ahead.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2016
  7. JGoodish

    JGoodish Cleared for Takeoff

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    You guys are missing it. No one has the cohesive ecosystem and ease of use that Apple provides. Apple has rarely provided the "fastest" hardware or "most nerd knobs," and most consumers don't care about those things. I don't buy technology as a toy, I buy it as a tool. I expect them to work without having to invest a lot of work into it. Apple still does that better than anyone.

    Apple's commitment to privacy and security is really unmatched. Their App Store, which is a revenue machine for developers, contributes significantly to the security of the devices and the ecosystem. Apple has also been using full device encryption for a while now, long before it was offered as a standard feature on Android. Apple also doesn't mine my data, scan my emails, or sell the data that I do agree to provide to them. That is worth something to me.

    And finally, I can't stand bloatware and care not to have carriers controlling my OS upgrades. I was thankful that Apple finally broke that bad habit of carriers with the introduction of the iPhone, but it seems to be back now in the Android world (excepting Google hardware). That's a shame.


    JKG
     
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  8. Stewartb

    Stewartb En-Route

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    Pirep on my new iPhone 7plus which replaced my 6plus. Better camera. Better Siri interface. Better fingerprint reader. Faster. Twice the memory for the same price (128gig). Waterproof. A few other user interface changes are handy but not earth shaking. The lightning plug to headphone pin adaptor isn't a big fail like I've read in some articles. I use one set of headphones and the adaptor snaps on firmly enough that there's no chance it'll fall off. For everything else I use Bluetooth and that also seems improved on this phone. Apple will release their wireless earbuds soon. Cool but not something I'll line up to buy. Waterproof is a big deal for me. I'm a happy Apple customer.
     
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  9. rvator51

    rvator51 Filing Flight Plan

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    One thing that really irked me about android devices is that newer versionsof android are not automatically supported in a lot of cases. If it's a year or two old, I bought an 8" android tablet with AT&T cellular and they never supported newer versions of android for it. I haven't had that problem with my iPhone or iPad yet.
     
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  10. CC268

    CC268 Line Up and Wait

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    I think you really misinterpreted my post. I agree with you on most of what you said. You are right. Apple is easy to use, no bloatware, etc. There is a reason why I have a mix of both Apple and non Apple devices.
     
  11. Ryanb

    Ryanb Pattern Altitude

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    Went ahead and bit the bullet and upgraded to the 7 Plus. Finally found one at BestBuy and they had the 128gb storage size that I wanted. Love the bigger size screen on the Plus than my 6 had, but still getting used to this new home button. So far, I'm happy with it.
     
  12. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    There's a setting to turn the swipe back on. Stupid to double up the home button like that on their part. The swipe was intuitive and not difficult.
     
  13. Ryanb

    Ryanb Pattern Altitude

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    I was referring to having a 'touch' home button, rather than a clicking home button on the 6. But I agree on that. Some things don't need to be changed.
     
  14. saha

    saha Filing Flight Plan

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    I switched from an iPhone 6 to a Google Pixel and quickly regretted it. Android, in my experience, has a lot of incredibly annoying bugs (can't copy and paste a photo in 2016? three texting apps that don't work together!?) I got the iPhone 7 and love it. Fantastic photos. Great upgrade, expecially if you want to use it for aviation photography.
     
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  15. pmanton

    pmanton Line Up and Wait

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    Anyone else find that the fingerprint unlock doesn't work right after you wash your hands? I guess I'll have to quit washing my hands when I go to the can.:eek:
     
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  16. Ryanb

    Ryanb Pattern Altitude

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    Never noticed, if they're dry it shouldn't matter. But the real question is...what do you have on your phone that requires you to use the fingerprint? o_O
     
  17. 172andyou

    172andyou Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I like it better now, but it is indeed a change and some people don't like change.
     
  18. Ryanb

    Ryanb Pattern Altitude

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    How? I haven't found anyway to bring the swipe back. The only iOS10 feature I dislike.
     
  19. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Change for change sake is stupid. Change to make a UI worse is even stupider. There's nobody left at Apple to tell the engineers "no, that's stupid".

    Samsung really had a market killer with the Note 7 if they'd have just done the battery engineering homework properly.

    Cook simply won't crack the whip. He's a style over substance guy.

    New MacBook is the best example yet. Overpriced mediocrity that looks nice.

    Top processor machine is $4K, RAM and drives SOLDERED to the board ($400 premium for an additional 512MB of SSD?!), 25% LESS battery in pursuit of "thinness", runs ridiculously hot (seeing processor temps from reviews over 100C when under heavy load to keep fans "quiet"), the retarded touchbar, no touchscreen, and removed all the useful I/O ports. (Hell, the competitors had USB3 for two years before they did, anyway...)

    You can buy a better machine for half the price. That's their really grave error. Anyone who values their money and time earning it, is not buying. Or taking the things back for a refund.

    Add in that iOS and OSX are getting horribly bloated and buggy, and they've got a recipe for a downhill trajectory. They're in drift-down mode like an overloaded light twin at high density altitude.

    I used to argue that Apple offered innovation and value, when people said I was just a fan boy, but the fact is, it simply isn't true anymore. They'll be caught up to and passed this year by nearly everyone. Already are in price, but that was always the case. They used to offer something for the extra dollars.
     
  20. Everskyward

    Everskyward Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    I haven't noticed the fingerprint issue after washing my hands, but I've noticed it after using lotion.

    The only "feature" I dislike about the new iOS is the raise-to-wake feature. I turned it off.
     
  21. Ryanb

    Ryanb Pattern Altitude

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    Same here
     
  22. 172andyou

    172andyou Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Wasn't change for the sake of change. Lots of people, myself included, like the new setup better. For example, unlike some of the other posters, I *love* raise-to-wake. No fumbling for buttons is a subtle, but fantastic in my opinion, feature.

    Not my experience at all. The OS is stable enough that my only reboots are when I upgrade OS. Current uptime on my laptop is 35 days. Not sure why you are having such bad luck. Meanwhile, our help desk is still like 4:1 calls for Windows v Mac on a per capita basis (we don't support phones, so I have no on-the-ground metric for those). So even on a cost of ownership standpoint, the initial purchase premium quickly gets wiped out by stuff that just works.
     
  23. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I've not had any problems with OS/X and as a developer I beat on it pretty hard. iOS on the other hand is indeed pretty bad. If it were not, it would be pushing updates to the OS every few days.

    To answer the original question. I don't find the 7 a big win over the 6. It has a little better battery life but I'm not having issues with that now. Mine normally goes a couple of days with my usage as it is. The lack of a headphone jack is a PITA.
     
  24. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    The OSX problems are specifically on the brand new hardware. Wait until you have some of those and then see what you think. They'd better hurry and fix it or it'll be no better than Windows.

    Personally the only thing that constantly kills OSX in my stuff is iTunes and it's a god-awful mess and has been forever. They need to fix it.

    Our desktop support of Windows plummeted when we bit the bullet and upped the servers to Windows Server 2008 R2, and the desktops to amazingly, Win 10.

    Again, the insinuation people are getting from my "Apple is going bad" statements are forgetting I'm coming at it from a price to value standpoint. We're slapping Win10 machines that do it all on desks for $400. Laptops are not bumping the underside of $1000 anymore, and users are very very happy. We are a mixed environment and Mac users abound in Marketing and Development and they're happy also, but the ones who lean toward BYOD and high end Mac are all looking at the new MacBooks with a hairy eyeball at their silly price points. They know they're up against a wall now -- get another Mac at really high cost, or get a screaming PC and Win10 (which they see working great all around them in the office) for half the coin.

    Right now the company will still buy either one (which was a two year fight to prove the Macs would pay for themselves) but there's going to be pressure to keep the price point the same per user, and we can't maintain that with the new MacBook and not have the Win10 users smoking their Mac counterparts on ability to run massive numbers of VMs or heavy hitter software dev tools.

    It'll be a decision of "If you want a year old processor model and less RAM and less SSD, we will happily buy you a Mac. If you want this year's screaming laptop, it's this Win10 one... you can spend the same on either one..." I can get a smoking fast Win10 laptop that'll outclass the Mac laptops for around $2000. Heck the local computer warehouse store has refurb Lenovo Carbons of the older generation with quad core i5 in them refurbed right now for lower end PC laptops for people who travel, that'll last forever, at $499.

    That's just going to be the hard economic reality of it. Soldered on RAM and SSD is a problem in the enterprise space. We can usually get two cycles out of any machine with a replaceable disk and upgradable RAM as a "hand me down" to non-power users.

    Mac decided once again, to kill that. Dumb dumb dumb.

    Oh and one of our Apple fan boys came into the office today STEAMED. He just realized that Apple screwed him on iPhone 7 again. iPhone 6S they stopped doing carrier-specific phones. He bought the GSM only iPhone 7 and now wants to go to Verizon. Screwed.

    He thought they'd stopped the madness in that regard at 6S and he didn't check. He was eyeballing Samsung phones this afternoon. They made him VERY angry. He ordered online and didn't see a "Buy an unlocked phone" option and didn't realize they took the chipset out of the non-Verizon/Sprint phone again to save a few bucks.

    I got to type on that new keyboard on the new MacBook Pro today. It's crap for a $3000 laptop. It's fine for a $1000 laptop. Fingerprint reader was great. Touchbar was a toy/distraction.

    But then again, I have a Kensington keyboard with real key movement plugged into both of my Mac Minis and huge Kensington mice that are ergonomic for big hands. I type. Fast. Those keys suuuuuuck.

    My comments are all RELATIVE to price point. I've been a happy Apple customer and user for their BETTER hardware at higher cost for a long long time now -- even have an Apple sticker on the Yukon and I despise advertising for companies with stickers... but they're tossing their Pro level edge for "thinness" and consumer goals.

    MacBook *Pro* used to mean something. Now it means significantly less battery life, soldered components so no field repairs, and the same crappy graphics cards oh board with an easy to obtain better screen, and a really awful keyboard.

    It's a mistake and they'll pay for it. Out of some 20 Apple fanatics at work, only one has the new MacBook (the one we all played with today) and even he is skeptical of the keyboard.

    None of the other 19 or so, have rushed out after seeing it and said they must go buy one. Half of those 19 can't afford it in the processor horsepower they need. The other half are quite comfortable with all their non-USB3 accessories and hookups for taking the machines back and forth to work and home. The second biggest Apple fan said the only reason he'd buy the new laptop is because it might "bother Nate". LOL. He wa kidding and knows I wouldn't really care, it's his money to blow.

    Out of those 20, there's only the one iPhone 7 in the office and you see above how mad Apple made that guy. They lost him. I suspect one exec who has to have the "new shiny" of everything will have another before the holidays are over.
     
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  25. Stewartb

    Stewartb En-Route

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    Holy diatribe, Batman. Why do Apple haters find a way into any simple iPhone question? 17 painful paragraphs when a simple "no" would suffice!
     
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  26. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Obviously you're one of those who thinks reading is hard -- on an online text based communications forum. I know the world prefers sound bites and dumb/short opinions these days along with nifty little slogans, but we can do better.

    (Then later when the same question comes up, you can link back to it and it becomes a real reference with real information and not the typical dumbed down marketing fodder.)

    Not an Apple hater at all, and far from it -- but you'd have to actually read it to comprehend that.

    A "hater" would do EXACTLY what you just asked for. Give an opinion that's only one sentence long, with NO backing information.

    And a "fan boy" would post what you did. "Why do the haters hate?" to a message with a lot of honest real information about the state of things.

    If you don't want to read it, just scroll on past. The "fan boy" response isn't necessary or helpful.
     
  27. gkainz

    gkainz Final Approach

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    bwahahahaha! Nate - for the win. :)
    typed on last year's MacBook pro because I had to suffer Winders from Apple O/S system 7 until Mac OS/X 10 ... and Winders h8 pushed me over the edge. But on the other hand, most of what i do, I do thru terminal to *nix, anyway.
     
  28. Escher

    Escher Filing Flight Plan

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    iPhone 7...

    Everything I hated about my iPhone 6, but with NEW stuff to **** me off.
     
  29. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Line Up and Wait

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    I bought my wife a new mac book. I was waiting for the updated pro and holy bat **** what a pile of crap. Apple has gone off the deep end with the thin and light weight push. They even eliminated the MagSafe power cord. WTF. She still got a mac but it's not that stupid pro. When I filled out the purchase survey I gave an explanation in the comments box that they lost a MacBook Pro transaction because of their stupidity.
     
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  30. Salty

    Salty Pre-Flight

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    Hard soldered ram and ssds, no headphone jack, OS X being hobbled to nothing more than iOS with a keyboard more and more every release. I haven't bought anything but apple devices in over ten years, but these things are leading me to give up on them. Seems like apple has Cook'ed its goose.
     
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  31. propizza@gmail.co m

    propizza@gmail.co m Filing Flight Plan

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    Punta Gorda
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    Display name:
    Mike Roselli
    I switched to the 7 plus and I am enjoying the larger screen
     
  32. orange

    orange Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2014
    Messages:
    578
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Orange
    Where? The only thing that you can do is disable to the double home button press and it becomes "rest your finger" on the home button to bring up the unlock number pad.

    The only way that I could find to bring back swipe to unlock is to download some third party app and then start f'ing around with your phone's system files.
     
  33. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2009
    Messages:
    35,285
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    DenverPilot
    Hmm maybe that was all it was.