iphone comparisonBob has a kind of loose rule about high tech products: never buy anything with a low serial number. This would apply to the new iPhones and anything else that is guaranteed, they say, to improve your life.

Joy experienced an instant example when she downloaded the new, free, iOS 8 operating system to upgrade her iPad mini. Critics say this upgrade has more bugs than a New York apartment. Fortunately, she stopped after version 8 and didn’t install 8.0.1, which is an even buggier upgrade designed to fix the bugs in 8.0. The fix was so bad Apple pulled it immediately.

There is a long history of this sort of thing. Why do they do it – why do they ship stuff that still has flaws? Why? – because there is constant pressure in the world of high tech to “move it out the door,” as they say in the business, before somebody else does it ahead of you.  Eventually, they fix the problems and we move on to the next widget. And by the way, if you need tech support – and you will – Apple’s is probably the best around. That’s a big change from the early days, Bob recalls, when they were just about the worst.

Several useful apps come with the new Apple operating system:

— “Health” (iPhone only) lets a medical record appear on your screen, even without a pass code of four numbers. If you’re in an accident, an emergency worker can get your blood type and other vital information.

— Enable “Family Sharing” in the “settings” area under “iCloud.”  When one family member buys an app or song, the others get it automatically.

— Take time-lapse video, great for nature shots. (iPhone only.)

— Send text messages plus voice. Press and hold the record button in the “Messages” app. Unfortunately, this works for messaging between iPhone and iPad owners only. Joy couldn’t send a message to Bob because he’s not an Apple guy.

— Find the battery hogs. Some apps cause your battery to drain fast. Now you can tap “settings,” “usage” and “battery usage” on an iPhone to shut those off. On our Android phone, we use “Battery Doctor,” a free app, instead.

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