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That’s my old iPhone 5 on the left. The new gigantic iPhone 6 Plus on the right. For as 10 million other people have done over the past two weeks, I’ve upgraded to the new and very large iPhone 6 Plus. It’s massive 5.5-inch size was a big reason. I spend a lot of time online. Too much, in fact. And my eyes and my thumbs appreciate the extra real estate the new iPhone provides. The first thing I did after transferring all my apps and settings over to the new phone from iCloud (a process that took about 45 minutes on my home Wi-Fi network) was head out to the RV and see if the new phone fits in the Wilson Sleek cell phone booster I use for connectivity while boondocking in areas with weak cellular service. It does. The Sleek has adjustable arms that grip the 6 Plus just fine. The only time I use the Sleek with a cell phone is when I need to make a call in a marginal area. The rest of the time, my Verizon Mi-Fi data card provides the Internet connection for my various devices. But it’s nice to know that the new iPhone 6 Plus will fit. Besides the larger screen size, there are eight main reasons why I chose the iPhone 6 Plus. But before I list them … please … be nice. Like religion and politics, conversations about computers, mobile devices and brand loyalties can get real nasty. So if you don’t want or need these features, or if you use another platform or operating system, then good for you. This post is not aimed at you. This is for the many who do use the iPhone and are wondering what the new big one is like. Here are the eight things I like most about this new phone, compared to the iPhone 5 I had been using: The new camera on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus is the best Ive seen on any smartphone, especially with the new features on the iOS 8 operating system like slow motion and time lapse photography. I’ll do some demos for you later this week. Image stabilization is now available for the videos I shoot on the iPhone 6 Plus when my professional video camera is unavailable or I want to post a quick video on social media. The 6 Plus is faster and reputedly has a longer battery life. Since I just got it, I haven’t been able to put that to the test. But I will. The new Swype keyboard option (that’s the one thing I liked the most during my brief fling with the Android OS and Samsung some months back) lets me really input text fast, with fewer fat finger mistakes. The soon-to-be available Apple Pay, the new short-range wireless payments system for the 6 and 6 Plus, which integrates with Touch ID. It will soon be released as a software update. This is going to be huge. Lots of memory. For those like who take a lot of photos and videos, like to watch movies and load up on music, the new 128GB storage limit on the 6 is almost enough of a reason to upgrade. The iPhone 6 Plus has full HD, 1920 x 1080 display. That’s not yet available on other iPhone models, including the 6. The iPhone 6 offers absolutely fantastic health and fitness functionality. Well… maybe not just yet. They’re still working a couple of unexpected last minute glitches out of a couple apps. But those apps – I’ve seen a preview of them – are coming soon. As I am getting used to the iPhone 6 Plus, I was surprised that I have not been challenged in using it as a phone. It is big and I’ve seen others say it just feels weird held up to your ear.As I write this, I just finished a half hour radio interview using my new iPhone 6 Plus and it was very comfortable. Ironically, that interview (with Mitch Album on WJR Radio) was about two problems that have cropped up with Apple’s new phones. The first is, if you put in in your pocket and then sit on it without a case … it will bend. That doesn’t seem unusual to me. It is thin and super light. So thin it would have to bend when someone sat on it, especially without a protective case. I bought the leather case Apple sells with the iPhone. It does fit in my front pockets. It is too big for a breast pocket on some of my shirts. Not all, but some. But I would never think about sitting on it. So I don’t think this will be a issue for me. The second problem was on an update that Apple pushed through for the iOS 8 operating system. It was out just one hour when the company was swamped by reports that after updating the OS, iPhone 6 users lost cellular and data connectivity. Apple quickly pulled the update to see what the problem is.recent If you want to see some three of my favorite things the new iOS 8 system does, here’s one of my NBC-TV PC Mike segments: So, overall, my first impressions of the iPhone 6 Plus are very favorable. I have a large iPad that I seldom use, except to read books or watch movies. Sometimes, I just leave it at home rather than tote it along on an RV trip, only to wish I had brought it when we’re stuck inside because or rain. I think this new 5.5-inch iPhone will replace the tablet for books. I will try some movies and get back to you on that. But with 128 GB of storage, I’ll be able to download them to the device, besides streaming them on Netflix or Amazon. Lastly, another contributing factor to my decision to upgrade is the fact that I use my smartphone for so much more than just making or receiving telephone calls. I really use it more as a miniature computer than a phone. So this iPhone 6 Plus will come in very handy, I suspect. I’ll let you know more after a week or so. If you think you’d like to upgrade but wonder what you can do with your old phone, check out the video below. It’s another NBC-TV segment I did on places that offer trade-ins for old phones and other gadgets and gizmos.
One night on my way home from calling Mexican bingo at Flip Flopz, the community building in our park, my cell phone fell out of my pocket. I got home, noticed it missing and retraced my route. Turning a corner I saw something in the middle of the street and it was my phone. Unfortunately, someone had run over it with a golf cart. It wasn't destroyed but was damaged. I tested it and it worked. Within a week it became apparent that it was not fully functioning. I was getting static during calls and missing a word here or there. So it was time to replace the phone. This was a dumb phone, just basic functions, call, talk, voice mail, With the standard numeric keypad you could text if you were really patient, I wasn't. I started searching for replacement phones and found few as simple as my old one. A trip to the phone store and I'm looking at one that has a slide cover that functions as a keyboard for texting for about $80. On the other hand there is an iPhone 4 that is offered for the grand sum of $0.99! Yes, the iPhone 4 was yesterdays nifty gadget but I like old stuff so I jumped in. Now I have a smart phone. For a whlie the phone was smarter than I was. I still don't use it like the kids do but it is growing on me. We left our winter retreat in extreme southern Texas in mid-March to head north to Missouri. We do a stint every spring taking care of grandchildren while their mother, our daughter, is working as a tax preparer. Who decided that tax season would be a good time for spring break anyway? As we traveled north I found the iPhone handy for checking on weather. I had installed the Weather Bug app soon after getting the phone. With the iPhone, I can open the Weather Bug and it knows where I am located and gives me the weather for my present location! Tap the radar icon and there is the radar for my location. You can do this with the computer but you have to tell the Weather Bug where you are located, name a city or put in a zip code. With the iPhone the phone tells the Weather Bug where it is and you get instant (under a minute) local weather information. Cool I said, I could learn to like this phone. Now it is late on the first day, we have been rolling nearly constantly and we are north of Dallas, heading into Oklahoma. It is getting dark and we should be finding a place to stop. The Next Exit does no good on US 75/69 so I tell Louise to pick up my phone and lets see if we can use it to find Wal-Mart! She knows zip about my iPhone so I'm driving and talking her through the App Store. She has searched and found something on Wal-Mart when we spot one! So the search stops there and so do we. Next morning we're heading for I-44 east of Tulsa when our son-in-law calls and says that snow is expected in Springfield, Missouri after noon. With constant driving we'll make Springfield by noon so it looks like a horse race between us and the weather. Check the iPhone to see where the storm is now. We're ahead of it but not by much. As we clear Springfield we see blowing snow but are quickly clear of that flurry. By nightfall we are at our daughters home near St. Louis. It's great to see the grandkids and we're on duty the next morning. During our stay we sit through a monster snow storm, about a foot of snow accumulates on our roof and all around us. It was Sunday so we just sat inside and enjoyed watching the storm. We went through 70% of our full propane tank in a 12 day trip. Boy were we glad to be headed back to Texas! We left Friday afternoon as soon as our son-in-law got home and made it to Joplin shortly after dark. By this time I had downloaded the iPhone app which allowed us to look for Wal-Mart stores near our current location. Louise Identified the exit and guided me into the Wal-Mart where we spent the night. The Weather Bug indicated a big storm complex coming in on us, likely in the early morning. I slept too long. By the time I got outside to check tires and the toad it was already raining lightly. I put the get-away in high gear and we were on the road in a steady rain. As we hit the Will Rogers Turnpike the rain started coming down in earnest. Pretty soon it became a regular frog strangler. Then the wind hit, fierce winds blowing across the road in a driving rain. That lasted for about five minutes before giving way to the standard thunderstorm. We departed the turnpike at Big Cabin and headed south on US 69, retracing our steps south. Louise was keeping me posted on the storm using the iPhone. We stopped at Wal-Mart to have breakfast and then continued on our way, trying to outrun the storm. We finally broke into clear weather about 50 miles north of the Texas border. My goal was to clear Dallas late on Saturday afternoon and be well south for the start of the final day of driving. We made that easily and then consulted the iPhone again. I had updated the Wal-Mart app to a full-featured app, Allstays Camp and RV. This is the greatest thing since the Swiss Army Knife, sliced bread and/or peanut butter! The Wal-Mart app is just the beginning. The full Camp and RV app has rest stops, it will display them on a map, not just any map, the map moves as you drive. Zoom in and you can watch yourself zipping down the road. Of course I never looked at it while driving! You can choose what you want to see on the map, rest stops, Wal-Mart, Cabellas, truck stops, gas stations, pick what you want. If you are headed south, indicate you want the southbound rest stops and that is what it shows. I knew there was a Cabellas south of Dallas so Louise looked for that, Louise took me to the correct exit and we were able to pull in to spend the night. Looking for a place to stop and eat? Name it and it will find the nearest one for you. I've got a GPS, new last year, can't find a fraction of what the iPhone does and the GPS is really old technology when you try to find something. It turns out it was my lucky day when someone ran over my old phone! I love my new iPhone. This is going to be great for traveling in the motor home.