I’ve been Apple-ized!

Travel and technology go hand-in-hand, so while it’s perhaps slightly unrelated to the direct focus of the blog, I did want to mention my recent Apple-ization. As I’ve mentioned a million times over the past month or so I just completed a move, the most exciting part of which must be the new 27″ iMac I picked up.

At the beginning of this year I wasn’t at all a fan of Apple. Then I bought a 13″ Macbook Air in March, which I wrote a review of here. I feel bad talking this positively about a for-profit company, but the computer really has changed my life for the better. It’s so easy to be productive while on the road with such a compact computer that has amazing battery life yet is still powerful.

Then I picked up the iPhone 4S a few weeks ago, and it has been awesome too. I love how good the camera is, which really means I don’t have to take my Canon S95 on quick weekend trips anymore (though I really do love it as well).

But just last week I got a 27″ iMac. This is hands down the coolest of my three Apple gadgets. I was scared of getting a 27″ computer screen, given that I figured I’d go blind, since it’s not like the text is double the size as on a normal computer. But that couldn’t be further from the case. The picture quality is so amazing that I have a big grin every morning that I step into my “office.” It literally makes an otherwise boring day in front of the computer downright exciting (second only to interacting with you guys, of course).

I have exactly two complaints about my Apple products. The first (minor) complaint is about my Macbook Air. It doesn’t have a backspace key. As minor as it sounds, it’s incredibly frustrating given how fast I type and how many typos I make. My second (more major) complaint is about the iPhone 4S. How can you have such a great phone with such crappy battery life? I guess that’s what all the amazing features will do to a phone…


  1. @lucky who uses the traditional “backspace” key? the one that erases from left to right, that is. well, left handed folks it appears.

    hold down the fn key and press delete to get your backwards erasing functionality.

  2. @ purplnurpl — I’m a lefty and that’s too complicated!

    @ Papa Smurf — So far no one has been able to convince me to get one. I don’t see the use. I got a Macbook Air so I could travel lighter, and the Macbook Air isn’t really all that much smaller. I don’t see myself leaving my Macbook Air at home in lieu of the iPad, so it wouldn’t only increase the weight of my bags. Am I wrong?

  3. Lucky, about the minor complaints …

    1: Macbooks have a “delete” key where a normal PC has the backspace key, so it does indeed have a backspace key. The key it’s missing is the delete key, which on a PC laptop is near the spacebar.

    If you want to delete going backwards, use the Mac’s delete key.
    If you want to delete going forwards, use function(fn) + delete.

    2: As for the iPhone 4S, I have the iPhone 4, and I’m able to get through a full day even after 15 months. However, some ways I’ve kept my battery going strongly is to keep the brightness at a reasonable level. It may seem dark at first, but you soon realize you don’t need the screen at max brightness, your battery life will be much extended. As for when I travel, I have a cheap $10 Kensington battery pack that plugs into my dock port and raises the battery by about 30%.

    I agree, both of these are kind of annoying, but I’ve had my Macbook Pro for over 4 years and it’s still running strongly as if I bought it yesterday. And I absolutely love my iPhone 4.

  4. How’ve you been deleting things so far? Delete works like traditional backspace – it’s just a naming thing. If you’re looking for forward-delete, that’s fn-delete. I see you have a full keyboard on the iMac so you won’t need to bother on that.

    FYI, “home” in the PC sense is CMD-left, end is cmd-right. Page up is fn-up and down is fn-down. Non-obvious I know, but there they are.

  5. You could use a hack to reconfigure one of the keys on the left side of the keyboard to be whatever function you want.

  6. I have the iPhone 4S and the battery life is not the best yet, but ensure you have the latest iOS version and it will help a bit with the battery (supposedly contains a fix for the battery life). I think Apple is working on a second fix soon.

  7. What ever product you do, don’t buy the 3G juice. I bought one and it lasted a year before the battery could hold a charge.

    I sent it back after they told me they would replace it, still nothing after months. I just gave up.

    The only thing that’s missing from the picture is an Apple time capsule. If you don’t have one, I highly recommend it as an easy but highly reliable way to back up data for both your computers.

  8. I’m about to make the same purchase from the Apple Store. Any tips/suggestions on which shopping program I should use? Thanks.

  9. Get a Mophie Plus battery case for your iphone … mine gives an extra 6 hours of life a day. Haven’t had to recharge except for overnight since I got it. (Make sure to get the Plus version … it’s a way better)

  10. Why do you feel bad talking this positively about a for-profit company? What are you? I talk posiively about you and don’t feel bad about it. 🙂

  11. Apple: Not a fan of the company. Fan of some of the products, however I loathe the price. And being an IT geek, I prefer Android phones for the pure hackability – but I find that fun, many don’t.

    I will say Apple put their money in the right place: interface design. I suspect they have some people with strong fine arts skills who create things so simple and so desirable of the mainstream. The stuff just works, no techie know-how required. If the competition spent as much time on usability, Apple’s market share (at least in the mobile world) might not be so huge.

  12. @ArizonaGuy iPhone are totally hackable. It used to be sooo much fun to hack an iPod Touch 2G or iPhone 3G*S* (those were nearly impossible to hack & unlock reliably). Always had fun.
    Now the features I enjoyed on the jailbreak are implemented as “new features” on the 4, so I don’t jailbreak anymore. Bought my iPhone 4 unlocked in Canada, and so don’t need that either.

  13. iPhone hackability != Android hackability. I get it’s possible but the fun of loading various ROM’s plus the few HTC Android devices that had Windows Phone bootability were awesome. Not that anyone should want Windows Phone but that’s not the point. 🙂

    Now if only I could get a decent Android pentaband HSPA phone that also worked on Verizon’s 4G LTE (I’d even settle for CDMA/EVDO), I’d be set.

  14. how can you compare pictures ons95 and iphone4?
    It’s totally not good as s95. It may appear to be great because of the small screen with the IPS panel. But load the iphone pic on a computer and it’s not that good.. especially in low lighting. come on now!

  15. Lucky,

    +1 on getting the Mophie Juice Pak. It adds a bit of bulk, but also gives me almost 1 1/2 days of decent use. Unless I am using the MyWi router heavily (which draws massive power but also saves a fortune in WiFi charges in hotels), I never run out of power in 1 day. Charged overnite and you’re set again.

  16. If you use Firefox, install the “KeyFixer” add-on (.5 is the latest release IIRC).

    That’ll take care of your home and end keys (makes them work like Windows – huge improvement)

  17. @ Maxim — I don’t feel bad talking about for-profit companies, but rather feel bad praising them as if they’re performing some amazing public service. Apple is out there to maximize shareholder value, as with all (good) for-profit companies, so I feel bad talking as if they’re performing some great public service.

  18. @lucky – Just kidding on the iPad. Regardless of the need, it would fit perfectly in your Apple fanboy setup 🙂

    Seriously though, I wouldn’t recommend traveling with both iMac and the iPad. The question would be, could you get away with just the iPad (at least for some of the trips)? It might not be much of a difference, but those ounces quickly add up when you have to run around the airports.

    Personally, I always used to travel with an ultra portable laptop. When I first got a tablet I carried them both with me, but I quickly realized that I use the tablet more and lately I just end up leaving the laptop at home. The only drawback of the tablet is that if you need to do a lot of typing then it’s a pain. For my needs (web access, media, light email) the tablet is much better choice and if I need to do email I just use my BlackBerry.

  19. @Papa Smurf – I wouldn’t recommend traveling with the iMac either…I imagine it’d be tough fitting that 27 inch screen in your carry-on. 😉

  20. monoprice.com is great for a spare battery pack and cables. They’ve got a nice travel sized power surge protector, too.

    Try turning off the GPS on the phone unless you need it.

    Did you get this on UR Cyber Monday for Apple?

  21. I think several others have mentioned it, but delete works like “backspace” in windows. an alternative to fn + delete (which honestly works on the full sized mac keyboards, but not on a laptop one because the buttons are so far away) is ctrl+d…it works like delete in most programs on the mac (but not all, as I recently discovered again in Eclipse 🙂 ).

    Also, while the iPhone 4S has had some known battery problems (iOS 5.0.1 was supposed to fix battery issues, but for some people it hasn’t helped much), you likely won’t do any better with any of the Android phones.

  22. The lack of Windows “delete” functionality was frustrating when I got my Macbook Pro but I found a little program called Double Command (http://doublecommand.sourceforge.net/) allows you to quickly configure via check boxes a couple of non-utilized buttons to act as different commands (i.e. forward delete). Saves having to remember to push Fn and can be configured through System Preferences.

  23. As I did, you will also get used to delete and fn + Delete. 🙂

    I can’t believe you got the mouse and not the trackpad. I bought both, tried the mouse for 1 minute and never used it again. The trackpad is great, but make sure you buy eneloops and a battery charger, it eats batteries pretty quickly.

    Now, when I go to my last remaining PC and try the two finger scroll, I have to remember why it doesn’t work there.


  24. Two things: First, I have (and love) my 27″ iMac, second delete deletes the letter before the blinking thing or whatever it’s called, fn (bottom left key) + delete will delete the letter after the blinking thing.

  25. Congrats on the switch. It took me many years to give Apple a try, but after I did, I wouldn’t consider going back to Windows. Whether it’s being able to crop or label a picture in preview in seconds, or being able to set rules for incoming mail so my inboxes aren’t cluttered with non urgent mail, or the added functionality provided by Quicksilver. Macs are great.

    I’ll also second the Time Machine purchase if you don’t already have one, and then of course Dropbox if you don’t already have it so you can sync files between your two computers (place an alias folder on both your computers and then any file you stick in that folder on the one computer will automagically appear in the folder on the other computer as well as in the main folder in the dropbox cloud).

  26. A huge battery saving tip for the iPhone is to switch to EDGE instead of 3G. I don’t usually do I when in the States as I like the faster data connection, but when traveling internationally where I never use data due to the price it makes no difference in usability and significantly increases battery life.

  27. Gotta disagree completely with your view of for-profit businesses. People like Sam Walton, Steve Jobs, John Rockefeller, and Ray Kroc have done more good for mankind, especially middle- to lower-income folks, than all the politicians who ever lived put together. By 100-fold, at least.

    Capitalistic businesses are in general immensely more honest that governments, bureaucracies, and politicians. They must be, over the long term, because they cannot force you to patronize them.

  28. As others pointed, the battery issue has been around since 4S came out. iOS 5.0.1 was supposed to fix it and it did for some people. Apple is getting ready to release 5.1 which should fix it completely. Good tips above for improving battery life include lowering screen brightness (and make sure auto-dim is on), turn off Bluetooth if you don’t use it, turn off push email unless you need it, turn off location services for the apps that don’t really need to know where you are.

    Love the new setup!

  29. @lucky: I don’t see why you should not praise a for-profit company that delivers an excellent product. You praise good service when you travel. Airlines, hotels – they are very much for-profit.

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