Monthly Archives: December 2017

My second viewing of The Last Jedi

I saw my second viewing of The Last Jedi yesterday, this time with my daughter. It felt even more like a Star Wars film to me this time.

I enjoyed it first time around but was conflicted about a few parts. Having had this second viewing, taking more in and seeing my daughters reaction I have to admit that it’s it up there with my favourites in the franchise.

I watched Return of the Jedi in the cinema when I was a kid and this feels a lot like that. Cool planets, space battles, creatures and a couple of good baddies.

I think some people are picking apart the mythology a little too much. I just sat back and enjoyed it for what it is – a Star Wars movie.

I should preface this to say I’m a massive geek for Star Wars but I do like what Rian Johnson has done with the storyline, breaking away from the Skywalker family.

I love this movie.

What I want to see from Apple in 2018

As we’ve already talked about 2017 was a mixed year for Apple. Moving into 2018 it’s a good opportunity to think about what I’d like to see in 2018.

iPhone lineup

Between iPhone 8 and X Apple have had mixed reactions from the public. The 8 isn’t different enough and the X is too expensive. Personally I’d love to see how many iPhone SE and 7 models have been sold since the 8 and X were released, it may surprise you. I feel that they have sold rather well. I know a new line up has been rumoured already but here goes what I’d like to see

  • A new 4.7″ LCD that goes edge to edge, which replaces the current SE
  • The current 8 gets replaced with an edge to edge 5.8″ LCD
  • Plus model dropped
  • The current iPhone X gets a price reduction with 128GB storage option
  • A new 6.5″ OLED iPhone X to satisfy the current Plus owners
  • All models except the SE have a dual lens camera
  • All models have FaceID
  • All models start at 64GB and offer 128GB

Thoughts?

iPad lineup

The current line up is solid, I don’t think we’ll see much on the iPad front aside internal bumps. No edge to edge design needed or FaceID this year I feel.

I’d like to see dual lens on the iPad Pro and FaceID but I don’t see it happening this year.

Mac

As someone that using a Mac maybe 20% of the time it’s a hard one.

I’d say improved keyboards on The MacBook and MacBook Pro.

Deliver on your promise of a new modular Mac Pro.

Wearables

I wear my Apple Watch everyday and love it, don’t see where the hardware can improve at this point.

I’d like to see improvements in software

  • Third party watch faces
  • Improved proactive health detection

Services

iCloud is pretty solid for me so mine is more around consolidation. Roll video into Apple Music or create a new video streaking app. Stop the bloat on iTunes and finally split it up.

Create a new Amazon Prime like service where you pay once and get all of the services in one package.

Software

Improvements to core Apple apps such as Reminders, Calendar and Mail. They are unusable for when you want to get things done and I often use a third party app such as Fantastical.

Consistency, this is something that should be top of Apple’s list when it comes to software improvements. I am a bit sick of Apple’s own apps all having their own personality rather than a consistent approach. For example Music has the new larger header style but Reminders has the older list view that is inconsistent. Please Apple chose one style and stick to it.

WordPress vs Squarespace (iOS)

If you have been following me you’ll know that this week I made the switch to WordPress from Squarespace. I wanted to start to share my experience of doing this, especially coming from an already established blog and platform.

One of the reasons I switched was Squarespace’s lack of commitment to iOS. The site editing didn’t work well in Safari and their iOS apps were slow to update.

The first thing I noticed switching over was the iOS app was supported on the latest hardware. So they look great on both my 10.5″ iPad Pro and iPhone X.

At the time of writing the Squarespace app still doesn’t support the new screen on the X.

Next thing I noticed was how well laid out the iPhone app was. It’s easy to see stats, separate drafts, scheduled and published and adding images works every time (unlike the Squarespace app).

So if like me you are an iOS first user then for me WordPress is the only choice.

Visiting Puzzlewood

It’s a not so well kept secret that Puzzlewood in the Forest of Dean here in the U.K. was used in The Force Awakens. At the time it was obviously hush hush but now it’s been out for a while it’s common knowledge that it was shot there.

It’s also rumoured to be one of the places Tolkien took inspiration from for middle earth.

Specifically Maz’s home planet of Takodana.

I live about an hour away and visit there a few times a year, it’s such a magical place to visit and like nowhere else you’ll visit.

It’ll take a few hours to get in there and wander around, remembering to take in the food at the cafe.

If you’re visiting the U.K. (and a Star Wars and Lord of the Rings) fan check it out.

Stop being so serious, Porgs are great

I have to admit, when I saw the second Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer I got worried. It was for one reason, The Porg.

What changed my mind though was seeing my daughters reaction to it, she was laughing out loud. That made me sit back and enjoy it along with her. I have to not look at them from my older perspective but the joy I got from seeing characters at Jabba’s palace when I was the same age watching Return of the Jedi at the cinema.

That’s a major lesson I’ve taken from The Last Jedi, I really enjoyed it and it let me be a kid again like when I saw the originals.

There are some great scenes with the Porg, I’m especially fond of Chewbacca (my favourite character) having a BBQ outside of the Falcon. I won’t ruin the scene for you but it’s one of my favourites in the franchise.

I know the bulk of people will believe that Disney forced Rian Johnson’s hand in making something marketable but I read that he himself created them after seeing the puffin on the Island whilst shooting. I want to be optimistic and believe that this is in fact true.

So, some people are going to hate them and others love them. I love them and am glad that they were included in this movie.

How I feel about Apple slowing down older devices

It emerged yesterday that Apple have implemented methods in iOS to slow down devices with less than optimal batteries. When thinking about this more I had to ask myself if I was ok with this.

I honestly believe they have the right intention but have executed it in the wrong way.

It totally makes sense for them to help users get the most out of old devices but slowing down a device you paid for without a notification is wrong.

Apple needs to move quick and ship an update and revised statement. All I’m going to get asked and see reported in mainstream media is that Apple is slowing down devices to make you buy new ones.

Based on my use of older devices I think this is being done to iPad’s too. I have a second generation Mini that with latest updates had become almost unusable.

I want Apple to either ship a battery health app or integrate this into iOS.

All it needs is an indicator and notification to allow users to check on the health of their battery. When it needs to slow the device down it lets you know.

What disappoints me is that Apple, by not communicating this looks like it’s tried to get away with something.

They deserve all the negative press they get on this one.

Apple: end of year review (2017 edition)

It’s been a mixed year for Apple, some great new hardware intermingled with some embarrassing software cock ups, here’s my highs and lows following Apple this year.

iPad Pro 10.5”

My favourite Apple product I’ve been using all year. As you know if you’ve been following me I love using iOS, I prefer it to using my Mac these days. I really liked my 12.9” iPad Pro with it’s pencil support and professional apps. But it always felt too big, sometimes embarrassingly so. When using in client meetings I’d always get comments on it, “wow, what’s that??”.

So, when Apple announced the 10.5” I immediately jumped on it. I picked up a Smart Keyboard cover and it’s been my go to device for the last six months.

For me it really does balance portability with power perfectly.

iPhone X

I was sceptical about the X, with it’s higher price and strange screen design I wasn’t sold. I waited it out but some freelancing work came in that gave me the opportunity to try one so I did.

I’ve been using one for almost a month and am sold. As a 7 and 7 plus owner my dream was to get the bigger screen and better camera in a smaller body, the X gives me this. Having portrait and zoom mode available to me whenever I want it has been great and something I always wished I had when using my 7. I’d take my DSLR everywhere and whilst the X isn’t a match for my Canon it gets me almost there and it’s something I can pocket.

I’ve been using it naked as Jony Ive intended and along with the jet black 7 it’s the best feeling iPhone that I’ve used since the iPhone 3G (still my favourite design).

I won’t go too much into it here as I have other posts planned on my time with the X.

AirPods

A classic Apple product, does something much better than the competition. I’m constantly amazed by the range on them and the ease of pairing is unparalleled. It took me a while to get them in stock but since owning them I’ve used them everyday.

I still think they look a little strange but wouldn’t trade them to go back to wires.

They are also good value for money when compared to the rest of the market I feel, there’s nothing like them out there.

iOS 11

iOS 11 brought a lot of changes to iPad (for the better) but also a lot of bugs. In fact I’m still recommending unless you have an iPhone 8 or later don’t even upgrade.

It’s not until I got an iPhone X that I’ve been happy on iOS 11. On my 7 it lags, I run into random crashes on Apple apps and overall it just feels like it’s beta.

On the iPad it’s turned it into a much more productive product for me. Side by side apps and drag and drop have made things like putting email into my to do system a breeze.

I really wish Apple had forked the iPad version properly though and created an iPadOS. iOS 10 was solid and iOS 11 on iPhone introduces new bugs, such as the weather widget never updating correctly.

Overall iOS 11 has been a negative though for me this year.

Software quality

A major negative for me this year. Between allowing root access with no password on macOS and all of the little user interaction bugs (auto replace it with I.T.) on iOS Apple have had it all.

Apple need to go back to basics and either improve QA or rebuild it.

I’d also like to see more of a focus on looking after its radar bug reporting system. I don’t even raise bugs anymore as I feel they get ignored.

This is my main negative on Apple this year.

What are your thoughts on Apple in 2017?

Watch for my “What I want from Apple in 2018” post coming soon.