Sticking with what works

Sticking with what works is something that I need to constantly remind myself. This applies to everything from my watch, my tech and even my apps.

Learning new apps or playing with a new device is fun but takes me down a path of distraction.

The most recent example with gear was picking up a discounted Casio G-Shock but finding I couldn’t read the time as it was faint. I sent it back for a refund. In reality there wasn’t anything wrong with my Casio F-91w that’s light and comfortable.

I’ve also been playing with new to do apps but spending time moving between them is less time being productive.

Thinking about setup time on a new machine has me now sticking with my MacBook, there’s nothing wrong with what I’m already using.

I think it’s important before making that new purchase or productivity change to take a step back, give it an hour then think again why you are actually making the change?

A new type of Apple hardware keynote and what to expect

It’s a new keynote for Apple today, just like WWDC 2020 it’ll be pre-recorded and not live. Personally I enjoyed the way the WWDC one went and I’m hoping for the same.

It’s also the first one in a while where I’m not sure what’s actually going to be announced.

Lots of rumours but at 90 minutes I don’t see this just being a watch and iPad event. The tags that are rumoured but I don’t see happening especially in this age where we aren’t going out that much.

I see iPad, Apple Watch and whilst the rumours aren’t saying iPhone I’m thinking we might see them but I don’t have any sources so not sure. It makes sense even if they aren’t out until next month to just get it all out there, especially if this years isn’t a big change from the 11.

One area I’m thinking replaces iPhone section is services. If there is indeed a bundle coming then it makes sense to get it out there.

Let’s see what happens.

Should Apple release the workouts app on the iPhone?

As someone that wrestles daily with wearable tech it got me thinking about how good the Apple Watch workouts app is and wondered if there’s a case to put it on the iPhone without the need to own an Apple Watch. Apps like Strava can track your runs without a watch but I’m not comfortable giving them my data. If Apple could give us a privacy focussed Strava then I’d be into using it.

What do you think?

Finally seeing the benefit of USB-C (and thoughts on my setup)

I’ve had the MacBook for a few years but not really seen the benefit of USB-C until now, it’s a strange thing to write but it’s finally clicked for me. My day job is home based and for a while I’ve had a DELL hub that I haven’t really tried for long periods, I simply plugged my work issued DELL laptop into my DELL 34” widescreen monitor. On thinking about my setup now I have the MacBook I decided to give it another go.

I took the DELL hub and plugged in my screen, a mouse, keyboard and power into it. Coming out was a single USB-C cable, ok here we go. I took this single input cable and plugged it into the work laptop, it all worked – stage 1. I then took my single port MacBook and woohoo it worked too all in the best resolution on my large screen. This single cable connects all my inputs, powers and has USB ports to spare for plugging in drives etc… 

I’m really happy that this one hub has enabled me to use one setup on my desk.

What I’m wondering now is if I get myself a Magic Trackpad 2 and the 11” iPad Pro with USB-C how great this setup could be to cover everything. I have no experience of using an external display with the iPad but given I’m in the market and general prefer the smaller form factor (coming from a 10.5” iPad Pro) I’m thinking I might skip the new magic keyboard completely and just put the money into the trackpad 2 and the iPad itself. This way I have portability of using the iPad in tablet mode when I want, if I want a bigger display I can just dock it into this hub and go for it. The enhanced mouse support with my trackpad should make it a great setup. Now I’m using my MacBook then I also have the option of taking it from the desk and using it with trackpad etc… The thing I haven’t enjoyed about using my MacBook is the fact that I can’t use it comfortably on the sofa and of course I miss using the pencil. I can get the trackpad and pencil for the less than the cost of the new Smart Keyboard cover so I’m very tempted to go this way.

Anyone used the iPad with a large external display by any chance?

(Having a spare USB-C power cable is also handy for plugging into the Nintendo Switch I have on the desk!).

Attempting to leave Google (part 1)

I’ve been wrestling with the idea of living Google free for a while but I’ve decided I’m going to at least give it a go. I’m not sure how it’s going to go but here goes.

My first step is to remove both the YouTube app off my iPhone and delete my Google account from the accounts and settings on iOS. This now means that my Apple mail app isn’t going to be bringing me in my gmail. I’ve switched anything important over to my iCloud account so I’ll just make a point of checking gmail in Safari (on my Mac rather than my main iOS devices) periodically to make sure that I’ve not missed anything.

Over time this should let me know if I actually need my Gmail or not.

Baby steps but a start.

Should you buy Apple Care + for the HomePod?

With any Apple purchase I have to have that internal dialogue of “Do I really need Apple Care +?”. On something like an iPad Pro or iPhone X the answer is an obvious YES but on a device that lives at home what should you do?

I chose YES and I feel that if like me you fit this criteria then it’ll be a yes also

  • Do you intend to move it around your home?, I’ll be moving it between my office and kitchen
  • Do you have kids?
  • Do you have pets?

If you answer yes to any of these then I feel that Apple Care + is a must buy. Especially when Apple are charging over £250 for a replacement.

Is SIRI any good on the HomePod?

I’m in a love hate relationship with SIRI. Up until I got the HomePod I’d all but stopped using it on my iPhone, frustrated at the limitations and lack of seemingly being able to understand me. It was another story in the car though, with CarPlay I was using it all the time to get traffic, play music and deal with my messages. It was like it had a split personality.

Roll onto February 2018 and with the release of HomePod I’ve been pretty impressed with how well it’s been working for me.

First off the microphones in the HomePod are crazy good. I can pretty much talk as quietly as possible (like talking to someone next to me) and I’m picked up. I can even be in another room and I’ll be listened to perfectly.

My uses so far

  • What’s the weather like?
  • How’s the weather looking tomorrow?
  • Set a timer for X minutes
  • Play me some music
  • Remind me to…

Where I’m limited so far

  • What’s on my calendar tomorrow?
  • What’s my next appointment?

So, it has some limitations but the good news is these can be fixed in software. The hardware is solid and I’m totally happy with it.

So, in a nutshell

  • Microphones are amazing
  • SIRI has me covered for the basics
  • I’m hoping for more abilities via software, expecting this to be in September with the release of iOS 12