Thoughts: iPhone 6, 6 Plus & Apple Watch

On Tuesday 9th September 2014, Apple had their yearly Keynote to announce new products. This year was a pile of stuff.

iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 +

In an incredibly expected and well rumoured announcement, Apple has released not one, but two versions of the new iPhone. And both are bigger (but thinner) than before.
The iPhone 6 is the next iPhone from Apple. It features a new design and now comes in with a 4.7″ screen. The front glass now curves into the edges and the casing is very rounded off, coming in at just 6.9mm thick.
With the larger screen, the power button has been moved to the side for better access and the antenna bands look smoother and more flushed with the design of the casing. All in all, it’s a pretty sexy device. Incredibly pretty and should still be usable with one hand.
With the screen size being 4.7″, the resolution is also increased to 1334×750. Basically, it doesn’t fully reach 780p meaning video will probably have black bars and resize accordingly. It’s not the perfect device for video, but it’s not bad – and still better than the iPhone 5s offer.

The iPhone 6 Plus is the one that will get you thinking, though. It has a much bigger screen at 5.5″, but that isn’t all. It also features “Optical Image Stabilisation“. Essentially, this means the camera can cater better physically as well as in the software for your shakey hands during video and photo taking.
With the screen size at 5.5″, the resolution is 1080p (1920×1080). This should be perfect for watching video on the device at Full HD.

Both devices also feature a new tool called “Reachability“. This is intended for people who will struggle to reach the top of the device and tap navigation buttons. You can obviously swipe left from the edge to go back, so not entirely sure why this feature exists at all. It is also accessed by double tapping the Touch ID sensor (*not* pressing the Home Button). It brings the screen down to a level where you don’t have to strain to tap anything in the top bar. Again – navigating is easily done with swiping from the edge of the device and in my opinion, it’ll still be quicker to reach with your thumb to get to the top of the screen rather than using this feature – but we will see.

Both devices claim to be “Retina HD“. Not too sure really what that means. The iPhone 6 seems to still use the 2x resolution images that the iPhone 5 did. The iPhone 6 Plus, however, uses a new 3x resolution image. The iPhone 6 Plus renders images at 1242×2208 and scales down to the 1080p size. What this means is there is no 1:1 ratio of pixels. This could look a bit odd and may annoy some developers who may bump in to antialiasing issues on the iPhone 6 Plus.

On top of everything, both phones also gain bumps in CPU, Graphics and Motion sensory. The M8 Processor (for motion) has been given a Barometer which measures air pressure to help determine your relative elevation. Essentially, as you walk or run, your elevation is tracked to be reported on. It also can detect whether you are claiming stairs or hills and separate them out within the Health app. The Gyroscope has also been updated for better accuracy.

The iPhone 6 Plus also gets a few extra added software features.
Firstly, you can now view the device in landscape instead of portrait on the home screen. The dock moves to the right hand side and icons line up accordingly.
The Messages app also gets a refresh so that in landscape, you can now view your contacts on the left hand side and see the message on the right. The messages app also gets the ability to view Contact Images on the contacts list. This is a feature I’ve been crying out for as long as I can remember seen as I find things quicker by imagery than I do reading text. I can’t figure out why this hasn’t been implemented for the iPhone 6 nor the iPhone 5, seen as it doesn’t take up *that* much screen space and seems to look fine in 3rd party apps… (I’ve raised a bug…).
Other apps like Email and Calendar also get new views at Landscape on the iPhone 6 Plus. Again – I’d like this on the iPhone 6 too. But hey…

The Keyboard on the iPhone 6 Plus has also gained some extra buttons for quick ways to copy and paste as well as directions. So no more stretched out keyboard keys which is nice! Again – I hope this is on the iPhone 6 too but it doesn’t seem to be.

All in all, a great Keynote for the new iPhone. I’m shifting towards the iPhone 6 rather than the iPhone 6 Plus purely due to the screen size. The iPhone 6 Plus has some extra features that I’d love, but I can’t see myself enjoying the 5.5″ screen. It just isn’t for me.

iPhone 6 & 6 Plus pre-orders start 17th September, released on 19th September. iOS 8 is also available publicly on 17th September.

Apple Watch

The long rumoured watch that Apple has been creating has finally been announced, to be released in 2015. It’s very lovely!

The UI right away doesn’t seem right to me. Instead of Pinch-To-Zoom, which rightly wouldn’t make sense on a small watch screen, you have  the watch crown which is digital instead of analog. You use this for zooming in and out, or you can tap on items to bring them closer. Likewise, you can drag around with a finger to scroll view apps and views.
The UI just looks kind of clunky to me though. A bit on the big side and bubble side. I’m not sold at all on it yet, but I’ll have to check it out when it’s in an Apple Store.

What is nice though, is it has a few “animated emojis” to quickly get your emotion across to someone. You can also draw an image and send that which is quite nifty albeit not amazing. Weirdly, you can also send your current heartbeat. Yeah – sounds weird I know. The watch can read your pulse on your wrist using the sensors it has on the underside. This is mostly used for the health and fitness side of things but you can also send that heartbeat to someone so they know how you feel, I guess… Kind of weird but I guess it will turn in to a new romantic gesture, giving your loved one your heartbeat… hmm.

It also comes in three versions. A standard one. A more sport orientated one with a harder screen and sport bands. And a version which is in gold. I guess thats why people from the fashion industry were invited…

It’s a very pretty device, but I can’t say whether I think it’s useful or not as for me I don’t wear watches. I find them annoying and the time is on my phone which is never difficult to grab hold of. But hey, we will wait until it’s appeared in an Apple Store and decide!

All in all a pile of new tech to last us a year and to get competitors thinking.

I’ll probably post more in depth when I have the iPhone 6 in my hand!

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(Images of iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 Plus. Apple Watch)

New start! Again…

Ok. Time to start again with being more productive with this damn thing.

Firstly, I want to do more reviews. So – musicians! App developers! Other things of stuff! Email me. Though do bare in mind I will be completely open and honest as always. So if I don’t like something… Don’t hate me!

Secondly, topics! I’ve got a few things I’m thinking already. “How to‘s” on a number of subjects pretty much.

Thirdly, rants! I need a place to just dump my rants about stuff instead of spamming Twitter with tweets that are easily out of context due to the nature of Twitter. So expect anger. Yay.

Fourthly, “Music For The Week (MFTW)”! Essentially, what I’ve been listening to most in the past week, I share on a Sunday evening for you to adventure out and listen to. Some weeks will be lots some will be tiny amounts. Some will be happy and some will be sad.
Should be interesting that one. I’ll explore music and so will you. Plus, I’d like recommendations of what you’ve been listening to each week, too!

Fifthly, comments! I’m taking a gamble of putting comments on posts. I want feedback from people who read the reviews, the how to’s, the rants and the MFTWs! Hopefully I will stop the spam, too ….

So that’s a thing that’s happening. I hope I actually keep up with it now!

I’ve also redesigned a bit. Still probably changing things but hey. It’s responsive and its readable. Which always helps!

See you soon!

Meadowlark – Three Six Five [Debut EP]

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Well. This is a moment I’ve been waiting for, for a while!

Once solo artist, Kate McGill, has recently (well, a year ago) formed a band with two guys Dan and Carl.

A year later and much teasing on Soundcloud, this beautiful EP comes out. And you need it in your life.

It kicks off with ‘Family Tree’ which has the most wonderful strings, wonderful lyrics and emotional feeling to it. Mind you, it is a very personal song of Kate’s so that probably explains why.
It’s beautiful! It builds and builds it gives me shivers and it just makes me so happy. Yet a tiny bit sad if you listen properly.

Then the second track, ‘I’ve Got You’ comes in. And this is one of those tracks that you can’t help but to bop along to on your chair (if you’re sitting down) or slightly bop your head left to right.
Plus, it doesn’t half give you an incredible question to begin with… “What if love is just a word?”. Oh. My. What!? I never thought of that. (OK – that may be sarcasm. But still :P). It’s a brilliant track. Beautiful and clearly a great track for live gigs – you all must sing along at the end with claps involved! OR ELSE!

Third track – ‘Forlorn’. Again. Beautiful. Full of just smile and “awwwwhhhh” feels. Hmm. I’m rambling here. But again, builds and builds and certainly a brilliant song for everyone to sing along to!

Forth – ‘Sail Away’. Kind of starts off making you think One Direction are about to perform. “oh oooh ooooh”. But if you think about it, the oh’s are slightly better sounding and with a higher quality sound with less compression. So that’s always good.
Seriously though – This track again is just beautiful. Lyrics are beautiful, the music is beautiful.

There’s something about Kate’s voice that I’ve been hooked on to for many years now (christ – how long has it been?) and my only thought is, it’s unique. She doesn’t have a typical voice, but she doesn’t have a bad voice. It’s beautiful! It’s pleasurable and makes your little hairs on your neck all erect and happy when she sings with her heart in her chest tonsils.

For a first EP, this is amazing. I’m incredibly excited to hear what it to come from these three. A great team of musicians and a friendly bunch.

Go and buy their bloody EP on iTunes. Stalk their tails on Twitter and Like their faces on Facebook. And if you get a chance to see them live – Just do it! They’re playing at some great festivals and even if they clash with someone who has had a number one hit in 2003, ditch that person and see Meadowlark. You won’t regret it.

Deadmau5 – while(1<2) [New Album]

deadmau5_while(1<2)If you didn’t know, I am a big fan of Deadmau5. He’s one of those artists that on the outside, you either love or hate. But music wise – it’s spot on.

The production he creates, the crazy sounds the brilliant mix downs and that bloody kick that I love all just rolls in to a wonderful experience. And not just a rave experience, but a listening experience, too.

His new album, while(1<2), is very different from his past albums. And it’s actually the first album of Joel’s (that’s his real name) that he says is an actual album and not just a selection of tracks. And my oh my does it work!

Now if you’re one of these people who are still in the stage of “OMG IT’S EDM IT SHOULD BE BANGIN’ N EVERYTHING” or you only ever listen to one genre and think an artist should only do one genre, then this is not for you. Especially if you use the term EDM which is a term I relate to the devil.
This album is different.

During production, this album actually came from just one big project file. The whole album flows from start to finish with beauty and a mixture of beats, euphoricness and epical beautiful pianotastic melodies (I may have made up some words here). He started off in one key, then continued with that to create each individual track that flow and create just lovely listenable and palatable music.

The other noticeable thing during production of this album, is a handful of the tracks would’ve already been heard before in a different or similar state.
Deadmau5 used to be uploading just random stuff to his Soundcloud that he made. Keeping fans in the loop of what’s going on and making it blatently obvious that he’s making the music and not just coming out and slapping your face with a banger out of no where.
He has since removed his Soundcloud account and instead created his own portal, live.deadmau5.com, which is a subscription service where you get to hear exclusive music, works in progress, as well as chat with fellow Deadmau5 fans and watch his randomness on a live stream.

Now before someone shouts it to you, yes – this album is not all dance music. But it doesn’t need to be! Deadmau5 is not just a dance producer, he’s an artist. Many people nowadays stick to one genre and bash out hit after hit that end up just having the same structure. This, my friends, is music.

It’s difficult to describe why you should listen to the album, other than to say it’s beautiful. It has the dirty gritty beaty beats and it has wonderful peaceful moments that just constantly please your ears no end.

What’s also wonderful – it’s just over 2 hours worth! Split over two discs (or two sections, if you buy it on iTunes) and even though it’s a split, Disc one rolls nicely in to Disc 2. No sudden move or jump here, just seamless transition which almost makes you wish that CDs were’t limited to just 80 minutes of music!

If you have iTunes, I fully recommend you check this album out. Don’t bother listening to each individual track first though! Play the continues mixes one after another. Listen to it while you work, chill or get ready to go out. And take in each and every minute of it.

This, is an album. An actual album. Not just a collection of tracks.

I love it.

The down side is, to now wait another 2 years for the next! I do hope he continues this theme!

Buy the album on iTunes, now!

Fun fact: The album title, (while1<2), is a phrase used in many programming languages. It’s also the first thing Deadmau5 could think of when being told he needs to come up with an album title… He kind of regrets it. But not too much. And the geek in me loves it.


Lxcua1mh

Erika Kelly – Better I Try (Debut Single!)

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Meet Erika Kelly.

Erika Kelly is a brilliant 21 year old harpist from the Isle of Man. And I have waited far too long to harp* on about her.

She began learning the harp at 11 years old and in 2011, she then decided to start posting harp covers on YouTube, putting her own spin on some of the most popular artists.

With the occasional original compositions thrown in for good measure, Erika Kelly has gained more than 500,000 views and 4,000 followers. For a random girl from a small tiny island, that’s quite huge!

But that’s not the start of it just yet. After a few months of teasing, Erika Kelly has just released her debut single ‘Better I Try’ to the masses. And it’s awesome.

Erika is partially blind. She was diagnosed with a genetic eye disease at 14 years old, which has left her almost blind in her right eye. She has undergone corneal eye transplant surgery and refractive surgery, but sadly both have been unsuccessful. But that has not stopped Erika Kelly doing what she loves. In fact, the only thing it has done is set her back in her studies. But we all do that anyway, right?

Erika Kelly’s debut single is awesomeness. It has her own unique voice and style and is just a damn happy track. It also features her harp playing which is one of the most beautiful instruments in the world.
The only down side is it’s 2 minutes 44 seconds too bloody short! Though I do suppose it leave you wanting to hear more…

And more you will hear! As in the coming months, Erika Kelly is also set to release her debut EP!

The single, ‘Better I Try’ is out now on iTunes and I urge you to go give it a listen. And play it loudly. If you’re sitting down, you’ll find yourself bopping!

You can also check her out on Twitter and Facebook. You can also subscribe to her on YouTube, where you will find her past covers and see how *AWESOME* she is at playing the harp.

* Sorry…

The Nameless Girl – Love is a Word EP

tng_loveisawordIt’s valentines day and that only mean’s one thing. Every website, social media network and radio station will have something about love in it which will make all the singletons either get very cheesed off or just ban themselves from reading/listening to the world.

But when a new EP comes out, you just have to hear it. Even though it has the word “love” in the title…

I spoke about The Nameless Girl two years ago after seeing them perform at The Borderline which, if my memory is correct, they supported Alexa Goddard. Though I originally went there for Lauren Aquilina.
Their debut album Bipolar quickly became my new love and I fell in love with Jemma, the vocalist, ever since.

But those two years have been pretty quiet since. What’s the craic?! Well – after teasing us last week on Soundcloud with uploading ‘Paranoid Angel‘, they’re finally back (hey, that rhymed!) with a brand new EP and decided today is the day to release it to the masses.

The EP is titled after the title track ‘Love is a Word‘. Yes I know, it has the word ‘love’ in it, but it really isn’t a ‘lovey dovey’ EP at all. But what it is, is beautiful and enjoyable. As you’d expect from The Nameless Girl.

There’s always something about Jemma’s voice that immediately perks my ears up into delight and thrill. And the title track very quickly kicks them senses off by starting off with just a lovely piano riff, going into Jemma’s wonderful voice and then, in true The Nameless Girl style, building and building keeping you listening and wanting more!

Hopefully a new album later this year? Please?!

Go and buy the EP on iTunes, now! It’s only £2.37 for three tracks. Yes, £2.37! The most randomest oddest price I’ve ever seen I swear… But it’s worth it!

And if you’re still not convinced (srsly?) you can check out the tracks (and more) on their website, TheNamelessGirl.com.

Check out The Nameless Girl on Facebook and Twitter. And go and buy Bipolar while you’re at it!

Sidenote: Also check out ‘Bright Light (The Remixes)‘ on iTunes. You won’t be disappointed…!

Lauren Aquilina – Liars EP Announced (+ Pre-order & Lovers or Liars Video)!

LiarsEP

UPDATE: Pre-order is now available from February 10th on iTunes [source].

Lauren Aquilina, the sass queen of Windsor, has finally announced the final EP of her trilogy. ‘Fools’, ‘Sinners ‘and now ‘Liars’.

Announcing on Facebook, Lauren posted;

“AhhhhHHHH! I am so so delighted to finally reveal that the 3rd EP in my Fools/Sinners.. trilogy is called LIARS and will be released worldwide on iTunes on the 10th March 2014!

It has 4 songs on it, and the music video for the lead track ‘Lovers or Liars’ will go live at midnight next Sunday, along with the EP pre-order!

I feel SO lucky being able to make a THIRD EP, I know I’m massively cheesy but it really is all thanks to you lot  You are so wonderful and I am thankful for you every day. Can’t wait for you to hear it!

So much love, Lauren xxx”

The music video for the lead track ‘Lovers or Liars’ will be available to view on YouTube is below!, as well as the ability to pre-order the Liars EP on Sunday 9th Feb at Midnight! and you can pre-order on iTunes right NOW!!

Lauren is about to embark on a brand new UK Tour, with most of the dates either sold our or incredibly close to. You can buy tickets from here and she’s playing at the following dates:

14th – Manchester – Ruby Lounge
15th – Leeds – Wardrobe
16th – Glasgow – King Tut’s
18th Nottingham – Bodega
19th Brighton – Komedia
20th London – Islington Academy
22nd Oxford – Academy 2
23rd Bristol – Thekla

UPDATE: The track listing has been released!

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Hopefully We will hear some songs from the new EP during the tour, Lauren confirmed on Twitter!

Who’s excited?! I am. A tiny bit. Perhaps. Maybe too much.

Go check out the other EP’s on iTunes. And also follow Lauren on Twitter and like her Facebook page!

  • Check out Lovers or Liars video right now!

Meet: Jacqueline Govaert

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Every now and then you bump in to a band or an artist that make you go “How the hell have I not heard this before?!”. This happened a couple of years ago.

This band called Krezip appeared in my mind. Well no, they were real, but I can’t quite pin point where I actually heard of them. I believe it was during a visit to The Netherlands for New Years Eve in 2008-2009 … But I can’t actually find any evidence of this. But somehow, they appeared and I was hooked.

It actually turned out that one of their most famous songs over in The Netherlands was a song called ‘I Would Stay’. It’s also one of my favourite songs of theirs. And actually, I had heard it before. It turned out that it was the original track to UK Hardcore producer Scott Brown’s ‘Turn Up The Music‘ which is a track I had loved. It also ended up as an actual single with resung vocals called ‘I Would Stay’ – But it’s crap. So we pretend it didn’t happen. But I digress.

Basically, the time I found Krezip was the time they were thinking of disbanding. And in 2009 they closed out and were over. Gone. The band I had fallen in love with so late in their career had gone.

But thankfully, after an album in 2010 and 3 years break, the lead singer is back as a solo artist and ready to show The World Netherlands she still has it.

Her name is Jacqueline Govaert. She is an amazing Pianist, Singer and Songwriter. And whilst the band and the fame died down, Jacqueline hasn’t and is as good as ever.

She’s recently been doing a bit of teasing. Releasing a live EP in November 2013, teasing some new songs she has written and then sang for (probably) the first time at Songbird Festival 2013. It’s stripped back to just herself and the piano and it immediately brings back the reason people fell in love with Krezip. She has one beautiful voice and ain’t half bad on the piano either!

The Live EP consists of three new songs, including one which now, January 2014, Jacqueline has released a brand new single calledHear How My Heart Beats.
Studio produced. It just smells of what you’d expect after listening to Jacqueline Govaerts’ voice for a few years.  It’s brilliantly catchy and certainly a track to crank up and enjoy loudly with a massive smile and singylonging!
Seriously, try it out!

The song is from her brand new album called ‘Songs to Soothe‘ which Jacqueline will be taking things ‘Back to basics’ with just her, behind a piano, for 11 songs and classical compositions. Now that sounds rather good to me!

Go and buy ‘Hear How My Heart Beats’ and ‘Live at Songbird EP’ on iTunes now. You will not be disappointed. You can also catch her on Spotify.

The album is out March 21st 2014 and is available for pre-order in The Netherlands now as CD via Bol.com and download via iTunes.
The album will most likely be available in the UK on the release date. So keep an eye out! And here’s hoping she gets some UK success! I think she can do very well here!

You can also find Jacqueline on her website and follow Jacqueline on Facebook.

Listen to ‘Hear How My Heart Beats’ below: