Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone X Announced: Theotek Podcast #101

Apple announced all their new gear a couple of weeks ago. Our team talked about the new iPhone 8 and iPhone X. We’ll also talked about Apple TV and Apple Watch. Watch below or listen at the bottom of this post.

Apple Products Pricing and Availability

The new Apple products made it to store shelves and you can order most of these now or will be able to some time soon. Here’s a list of links to Apple’s site to get them.

 Should You Upgrade?

Should you upgrade? That’s the big question that people should answer. Here what our team recommends.

From LaRosa Johnson…

Upgrade only if you can afford to buy it outright and your current phone is no longer working.

From Wes Allen…

If your phone is still functioning and allowing your workflow without getting in the way then, there is no need to upgrade. If you want to push the limits and want to pass on an older phone to someone while it’s still useful, then an upgrade can be a good idea.

I have a 4K tv and am not getting the new unit. Also, I’m very happy with my 6s plus

From Rick Mansfield…

I can only speak for myself. I won’t upgrade to the new AppleTV because I don’t have a 4K television. If my current gen 1 Apple Watch ever gets lost or if the battery does not last the full day for multiple days in a week, I will get the new one with LTE. I’m getting the iPhone X because I’m in the Apple Upgrade program (so why not?), and I can legitimately write it off on my taxes because I use it for work extensively.

From Mark Allison (the new guy) …

I had an Apple Watch Series 1 and liked it a lot, but sold it to buy a Garmin Fenix 3, that was a more capable watch for the things I like to do – hiking, mountain biking and other outdoor activities. The new Apple Watch includes an altimeter, which means it can record elevation accurately. It’s also water-resistant, a feature added in the last version of the watch, which makes it a more compelling upgrade for outdoor enthusiasts. I’m not happy about paying $10/month for the LTE version. Paying $120 a year for a watch adds up. Still, it’s nice to be able to make a call without a phone, and the call quality is supposed to be excellent.

I have an iPhone 7, and I’m not planning on upgrading. iPhone 8 doesn’t have enough compelling features (in my mind). The iPhone X looks nice, but I’m more inclined to wait a year until they have all the kinks worked out. That’s saying a lot, because I typically get any new phone that Apple introduces. I guess I’m just happy with the iPhone 7 and don’t feel a strong compulsion to spend the money for features I’m not excited about.

I have the original AppleTV and the newer one too (not the 4K version). I don’t have a 4K television, so it wouldn’t make much sense for me. If I had a 4K TV (and when I purchase one, it will have HDR, which I’m more excited about than 4K) I’d certainly get the latest version of the AppleTV.

apple iphone x notch

Here’s my take. I love the latest greatest and am often upgrading faster than I ever need to, but the iPhone 8 is so boring an upgrade that I have no interest in it. I’ll stick with my iPhone 7 Plus. The iPhone X is a terrible design. I hate the “notch” and think it’s a ridiculous mistake. It’s a rip off of the Samsung Galaxy S8+ with the Apple logo and all the cachet that goes with that. For some, they want the latest greatest Apple phone and can afford it. That’s Rick’s stance above. For most of us we should probably not upgrade if we’re being frugal and good money managers. LaRosa said only get it if you can pay outright for it. At $1,000 for the X and $700 or higher for the 8, that’s few people.

As for the Apple Watch, only get one if you’re an iPhone user and want a smartwatch and don’t already own the earlier generations of Apple Watch. Same for the Apple TV.

Remember that if you have an old device, sell it yourself on eBay, Craigslist or Facebook. Don’t sell to the device trade-in services like Gazelle. Selling yourself is a pain, but you’ll get more money. You’ll often get enough to buy the new phone for half or even one-third the cost using the money from the sale of your old device.

ipad pro 10.5 from WWDC 2017

WWJD at Apple WWDC 2017: Theotek Podcast #100

Our team talked about the Apple WWDC 2017 in our 100th episode of the Theotek Podcast. WWDC stands for  World Wide Developer Conference and at this event Apple reveals their new plans for iOS and macOS as well as other interesting tidbits. It’s for developers, but a lot consumer-focused information often hits the newswire after the keynote event that opens the conference.

ios 11 on ipad and iphone

In this episode we talk about tvOS, which powers the Apple TV, as well as watchOS 4 for the Apple Watch. Then we discussed macOS High Sierra and MacBook Pros, iMacs and iMac Pros powered by the new updated operating system. Next, we discussed iOS 11, the new operating system that will run iPhones and iPads. Apple revealed a new iPad Pro with a 10.5-inch screen so we all discussed that as well. Finally, we covered the new HomePod Sierra speaker coming out this year just in time for Christmas.

ipad pro 10.5 from WWDC 2017

Watch the video from YouTube and of course, subscribe to your YouTube channel if that’s your preferred way to enjoy Theotek Podcast. You can also scroll to the bottom of this post to listen to the audio version or click on our link in the menu to find out how to subscribe to the audio version.

Also, if you want to watch the full Apple WWDC 2017 Keynote address, here it is.

Summer Hiatus

We’re taking a summer hiatus. We might do some Theotek Extra Podcasts, but there won’t be a regular Theotek Podcast with Wes, Rick, LaRosa, Antoine or Kevin until August. Our relaunch will likely take place in August or September.

Stop Killing Dead Trees: Theotek Podcast #091

The church uses a lot of paper to share its message, whether that message tells members and attendees what’s happening this week, the order of worship that day, or asks them to sign up for activities. In this episode of the Theotek Podcast we talk about using digital alternatives to paper bulletins, newsletters and even sign-up sheets.

Watch the podcast below from our YouTube Channel. The end includes a review of my Apple AirPods.

Digital Alternatives to Bulletins or Newsletters

In the episode above we talked about a few options for digital alternatives to paper communication tools. For example, if you want to text your entire congregation or even send up a voice mail over the Internet consider a service like CallEmAll.

callemall
Use a service like CallEmAll to send mass text messages.

I use CallEmAll at my church, High Peak Baptist Church. We only use it for emergencies, but it’s reliable and easy to use. You could send weekly reminders about events, activities or worship times. You can also categorize members into groups like your choir, youth group, parents, seniors, or Sunday school teachers. Only contact them. The service isn’t free, but it’s also not expensive. It costs 9 cents for credits and a text message is a single credit while voicemail counts as two credits.

Wes Allen said he used to create an eBook for his weekly church bulletin. People could download it from the website. They also put announcements on their WordPress Blog. Another alternative is SquareSpace, a web hosting and content management solution that a lot of people are using instead of WordPress.

Two other services that include digital bulletin alternatives are YouVersion’s Bible app and Logos/Proclaim from Faithlife. We’ve talked about this before on Theotek. You can put your bulletin, order or service, scriptures and more in these apps. If people install the mobile version, they can use open the bulletin on the phone. Some of the things these services handle include:

  • Bible readings in the service
  • Announcements
  • Images
  • Links to the website or other sites
  • YouTube videos
  • Giving
  • Surveys
  • Sign-ups
  • And more

YouVersion’s Bible app offers YouVersion events to the church. The church signs up and then someone from the church creates a weekly event for your worship service. The above video explains more about how it works.

The Faithlife Bulletins service works with Proclaim and Logos. Users can join an online social media group at Faithlife’s website where they’re receive the bulletins. Also, Proclaim offers live signals which get sent to the mobile Logos app on a phone or tablet. See my recent review of Proclaim 2.0 at Church Tech Today.

Don’t forget services like Mail Chimp for sending out email newsletters. Also, consider using a Facebook Group as your primary way of getting news out about your church.

Digital Sign-ups

As mentioned above people can sign up for events or to volunteer in the mobile apps from YouVersion and Faithlife. We also talked about using a kiosk system where people sign up at a computer or tablet in the church. Set up a Google Form to do this and it sends the list to you automatically in a spreadsheet.

WordPress and SquareSpace offer online forms for sign-ups. Search for a form plugin in WordPress or SquareSpace.

What About People Without Computers, Smartphones or Tablets?

The question arose in our discussion. What do you do for those in your congregation who don’t use or own a computer, a tablet or a smartphone? Maybe they do, but don’t feel comfortable using them for the above solutions. This is where community comes in.

Announce occasionally that such people should pair up with someone who does use these tools. Maybe a senior adult can have their son or daughter or a good friend print the digital email newsletter or bulletin. Those with these tools can look out for things their non-technical friends or family would find interesting. They can share it when appropriate.

Try to make a limited number of paper version available if possible. For example, you’ve already got the graphics and copy for a newsletter in email form or on a website. Why not just copy/paste to a document and print off just enough for this group?

Apple AirPods Review

airpods

At the end of the show, I reviewed my Apple AirPods. Here’s my bullet list review:

  • They sound great.
  • Pairing with an iPhone is awesome and easy; just open the lid and a dialog box offers to pair.
  • Once you pair with one Apple device iCloud syncs the pairing with others so you don’t have to pair again to an iPad or Mac.
  • They fit my ears better than the Apple earbuds in the iPhone box.
  • The battery life is good.
  • You can use one AirPod at a time to double your battery life if you don’t mind forgoing stereo sound.
  • Open the lid on the AirPods and a window pops up showing battery life.
  • They’re way too expensive at $159, but I’m sure glad I bought them.

Is Apple Ruining Bible Software: Theotek Podcast #087

It seems that Apple is moving away from macOS towards an iOS-centric future. If the iPhone and iPad replaces the Mac, what does that mean for the church, Bible software and companies that make tools and software to help the church and believers make disciples? That’s our discussion as we focused on the question, “Is Apple moving in that direction? If they are does that affect Windows, Mobile devices, and other platforms? What is the future of church software and technology in light of this possibility?”

The conversation began, however, with our Christmas tech toys. The gifts we got for Christmas included some fun things like the following:

  • Michael Purcell – my son joined us for this episode and got the Surface Pro 4, Type cover and Surface Pen. He explains why he loves his.
  • Wes AllenThinkGeek toys like the BB8 Waffle Maker and the R2D2 Coffee Press. He also got an Apple Pencil.
  • LaRosa Johnson – one of LaRosa’s co-workers sold him the Blue Yeti mic.
  • Antoine Wright – one of Antoine’s Kickstarter campaign investments actually came through in a positive way. He got the Lumos Bike Helmet.
  • Kevin Purcell – I got myself a Kindle Fire with the gift card for Amazon that my wife bought me.

You can always listen to the Theotek Podcast using the built-in player below or subsribe to us in iTunes and leave comments if you like us. We’re also on other podcasting apps thanks to Stitcher Radio.

MacBook Pro vs Surface: Theotek Podcast 084

Last week Apple and Microsoft unveiled new computers. Apple showed off a newly designed MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and Touch ID while Microsoft refreshed their Surface Book and introduced a professional creativity focused all-in-one system called the Surface Studio. It will run the new Windows Creative Edition coming out next year. We talk about the two companies and their vision for what customers want in hardware. Watch the podcast below or listen at the bottom of this page.

Microsoft Surface Studio and Windows Creative Edition

We took the two announcements events in the order they came, starting with Microsoft’s unveiling of Windows Creative Edition. Most of what they covered focused on creating content using Windows. They were enamored with 3D since Paint gets an update to include 3D. My colleague Travis Pope of GottaBeMobile tells you all about the new version.

microsoft-surface-book-2

The SurfaceBook gets an update to the SurfaceBook 2 (starts at $2,399). It’s a two-in-one mobile device that’s mostly a laptop, but with a detachable screen. Microsoft first released it last year, but it was extremely buggy. They fixed the bugs and now they put in new processors and upped the video graphics chip for better overall performance and great battery life.

microsoft-surface-studio

The biggest news of their event centered around the new desktop all-in-one. It’s called the Surface Studio (starts at $2,999) and comes with a huge 28-inch touchscreen that the user can adjust to use upright like a traditional desktop system or fold it down to work on it like a drafting table. Again, check out the GottaBeMobile post about it.

2016 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

macbook-pro-touch-bar

The biggest controversy in our discussion centered around the gimmicky nature of the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. Apple unveiled this updated MacBook. I don’t like that it comes with only USB-C ports. They’re great ports and I love them, hoping that in a few years that’s what everyone uses to sync and charge and connect peripherals, including the iPhone. However, we’re not there yet and we need things like an HDMI port or SD card slots. The other guys disagreed with me because they’re mostly Apple Fanboys (just kidding, sort of). Read more about it in my post for Notebooks.com.

macbook-pro-usb-c-ports

Our Favorite Things

We ended with Our Favorite Things!

ALIWELL Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter

My favorite thing was an adapter for the iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus that lets users both charge and listen to their phone at the same time. The ALIWELL Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter ($18) has a Lightning connector on one end and on the other there’s a place to plug both a Lightning charging or syncing cable in and 3.5mm headphone jack. It also has volume keys and a button for answering the phone or play/pause.

ALIWELL Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter in black

It’s not perfect since it slows down fast charging adapters. I plugged my iPad charger that usually boosts the iPhone battery 10% in about 5 minutes. With this it takes longer.

poetic-quarterback-case-for-apple-ipad-pro-12-9

Rick picked a nice iPad Pro case that comes with a sturdy secure Apple Pencil holder. The Poetic QuarterBack Case for iPad Pro 12.9 with Apple Pencil Holder ($15) covers the back of the iPad and holds your Apple Pencil in place. He loves it and convinced me to get one too. I ordered the Green and Gold version so I can run around with Green Bay Packer colors on my iPad.

poetic-case

It’s compatible with the Apple Smart Keyboard Cover. It also includes all the other button and port cutouts or access.

LaRosa ordered an Apple Watch 2 (starts at $369 for 38mm Series 2), so we’ll hear more about that when he gets it.

 

 

Sia Later iPhone 7 Headphone Jack: Theotek Podcast #079

Apple announced the new iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2 on September 7. We talked about it because we can’t help ourselves when it comes to Apple News.

We also debated the value of removing the headphone jack in the iPhone 7. I’m certain Apple did it for one reason, profit. The others seem a little more favorable of the idea, and that’s okay. What do you think? Post a comment below, on the video at YouTube or hit us up on Twitter.

Some of the highlights of Apple’s accounement include…

  • Updates to iWork suite for collaboration
  • A new camera on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus with a 2nd lens on the 7 Plus that does zoom and adds narrow depth of field like a DSLR
  • No more headphone jack
  • Faster processor
  • Higher storage levels for the same prices starting at 32 instead of 16GB and now a 256GB offering

The Theotek Podcast covers technology for the church and Christians. We do it normally every Tuesday night at 9pm Eastern. Follow us @TheotekPodcast for more information and please subscribe on Youtube.

ipad pro apple pencil

Apple iPad Pro 9 Months Later: Theotek Podcast #075

Our crew talked about our experiences in the last 9 months using the iPad Pro for our Bible study, preaching, and general work/play. Then we looked at Our Favorite Things. We planned to talk about Scrivener, a great writing tool that a few of our team members use. However, we went long talking about the iPad, so we’ll save that discussion for next week.

ipad pro apple pencil

In the meantime, watch or listen below to our thoughts on using the iPad Pro.

  • What’s it great for?
  • How could Apple improve it?
  • How does it compare to Surface Pro 4?
  • How are we using ours?
  • What does Wes think just hours into owning one?

For Our Favorite Things this week, I talked quickly about SideClick, a little remote attachment for streaming set-top boxes, like Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Roku. Check it out at their website.

ipad pro apple pencil

Apple iPad Pro and More: Theotek Podcast #061

Apple introduced the new iPad Pro 9.7-inch model, which is basically and iPad Air 2 with an update and the iPad Pro display. It uses the Apple Pencil and comes with an optional Smart Keyboard that fits the smaller iPad. They also announced a new iPhone SE.

We talked about the new Apple news and shared Our Favorite Things! We had some fun with this one as Rick shared his excitement of the new Batman v. Superman movie that released that week. I talked again about my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. Wes mentioned his new WD NAS backup storage device.

Apple v. the FBI: Theotek Podcast #057

The court order received by Apple compelling them to help the FBI in gaining access to an iPhone 5c used by one of the terrorists in the San Bernardino attack that happened last year might become the most important tech story in a long time. We did our best to unpack the details and come up with some security suggestions for users.

The debate over Apple v. the FBI is an incredibly complex issue that has potentially drastic repercussions going forward for our security, privacy and our government’s ability to fight terrorism.

apple v fbi iphone

No matter which side support in this debate, you should take care while going online with a phone, tablet or your computer. Watch the video above or listen to the podcast below to get some suggestions for encrypting your data and using virtual private networks.

In the Our Favorite Things section of the show, we recommended a few things. Related to the security debate, we looked at a couple of VPN solutions:

  • Private Internet Access – $6.95 monthly, $35.95 for 6 months or $39.99 for one year.
  • VPN Unlimited – lots of price points with best options including $2.99 for 10 days, $3.99 monthly, $8.99 for 4 months, $24.99 for one year and $129.99 for lifetime access