Siri's version of Live Photos

Live Photos is one of the more interesting and discussed features of the iPhone 6s. It makes me wonder if it’s only a matter of time before all photos are automatically sandwiched with high definition video. If the processing power is there to do it for photos, why not with audio and Siri?

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Microsoft Office and OneDrive are a really good deal, it's time to give them another look

If you are in the market for productivity software, cloud storage, or both it's time to give Microsoft another look. Microsoft's OneDrive offers 1TB of storage for $7/month, while competitors Dropbox, Google Drive, and Apple's iCloud all cost $10. However, Microsoft's 1TB plan also includes access to Office 365. This is a great deal for great productivity software and cloud storage that the competition simply cannot match.

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Is Apple's iPhone Upgrade Plan a Good Deal? Sort of

At yesterday's unveiling of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, Apple also announced an iPhone Upgrade Plan. The pitch is simple: pay for your phone in monthly installments with $0 down and get a new iPhone every year. Most of the big carriers have moved away from contracts and subsidized phones, so this upgrade plan is a natural fit. But is it a good deal and should you do it? Well, that depends.

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My experience using the iPhone in China

Earlier this summer I spent a few weeks in mainland China on a business trip. I used my iPhone 6 to communicate with local colleagues and people back home. In China, the iPhone has several advantages over an Android phone (at least the version of Android with Google Play that we're used to in the US). Here are a few of my quick thoughts and observations on the iPhone in China.

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Now is a great time to try a prepaid cell phone plan

All of the major US carriers are deemphasizing or doing away with two-year contracts and phone subsidies. This makes the true monthly cost of cellular service more transparent, and it is much higher than prepaid carriers. With the new iPhone a few weeks away and several great Android phones launching recently, it's a great time to try a prepaid plan and save a bunch of money.

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Hulu announces ad-free subscription for $12/month

Hulu has launched a commercial-free subscription for $12 per month, $4 more than the previous paid plan. Although cable TV has always included ads and a subscription fee, Hulu with ads always felt odd to me in a world of Netflix. I use Hulu occasionally and am not a fan of the repetitive ads and issues with skipping ahead in programs.

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TV - too much choice the cause of ratings declines?

The New York Times discussing comments from FX CEO John Landgraf and HBO head of programming Michael Lombardo:

Mr. Lombardo and other executives say it is harder than ever to build an audience for a show when viewers are confronted with so many choices and might click away at any moment. As a result, executives say, it’s hard to make money off that show.
The success of scripted shows like “Modern Family,” “The Walking Dead” and others has set off something like a land grab. The number of scripted shows produced by networks, cable networks and online services ballooned to 371 last year, according to statistics compiled by FX. Mr. Landgraf believes that figure will pass 400 this year, which would nearly double the 211 shows made in 2009.
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Download Amazon Prime videos to iPhone, iPad, & Android

Kindle Fire users have been able to download select Amazon Prime titles to their tablet for offline viewing for some time, and now the feature is coming to iPhone, iPad, and Android users. From Recode:

The feature isn’t available for every video Amazon streams, since Amazon needs to work out deals with individual content owners (that is, pay them more money). Amazon says it has “thousands” of titles available for download; in most cases, subscribers will have 15 to 30 days to watch them.

And it looks like those titles include a pretty diverse lineup: There are Amazon’s own home-grown shows, like “Transparent,” of course. But there are also offerings from CBS (“The Good Wife”), Fox (“Sons of Anarchy”), MGM (“The Hunger Games”) and Paramount (“Star Trek Into Darkness”).

One particularly noteworthy get: Amazon says Prime members can download the old HBO shows that Amazon landed last year, including “Girls,” “Entourage” and “The Wire.” That’s something even HBO and HBO Now subscribers can’t do.

This is a really nice feature for frequent travelers and road tripping families. I've contemplated getting a Kindle Fire tablet in the past just to use this feature while on long flights. With yet another useful feature included in a $99/year Prime subscription, I may have to consider getting it. Get the Amazon Prime Video app for iPhone, iPad, or Android (Android setup is a little complicated) and try a free one month trial of Amazon Prime.