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?

Using iOS and macOS every day

As you most probably know I’m bigger iPad’less at the moment and have fallen back to macOS for a lot of my production stuff. My current setup hardware wise is as follows:

  • 2016 MacBook 12”
  • iPad Mini 5
  • iPhone 11 Pro

What I’ve realised is that with the current creative projects I have going on these devices are working a lot better than I expected and I’m less and less interested in spending the money to get a 2018/20 iPad Pro.

Here’s how I’m currently working.

Writing

This is something that is probably 50/50 between an iOS device and macOS device. This post I’ve written up using TOT (review coming soon…) i.e. I want to write something up a bit longer form so I went for my device with a keyboard attached. The posts that come from my iOS devices are shorter where I want to quickly get something off my chest or share some cool links.

Podcasting

I have to be honest and have completely given up trying to podcast from an iOS device. I can’t afford the additional hardware I need when I have a Mac in front of me that is better (for me) at this task. Even when I recorded the audio into my iPad or imported audio files then I still struggle to edit on the iPad Mini. I tried Ferrite but I just couldn’t make it work for me. I find that Garageband on the Mac just works better for me in terms of efficiencies as I literally edited one podcast in an hour compared to half a day on the iPad and I still wasn’t happy with the result. My other issue with using an iPad for podcasting is that my podcast requires guests, this is a nightmare on iOS and I find an already out of my comfort zone activity is made more stressful when using something I’m not completely happy with.

Photo Editing

I take a lot of images on my iPhone and DSLR and have found that my iPad Mini or iPhone is where the editing happens. My MacBook just isn’t up to running the Photos app well, I have 8GB ram and it can’t keep up with my 40,000+ photo library. I end up just flying through them on iOS.

Consumption

iOS is the hands down winner here, whilst I have watched Disney+ and YouTube on the Mac I much prefer the lay back form factor of the iPad here although I am missing a larger screen for video. I tend to listen to music evenly across the platforms with my Mac connected to the office HomePod in the day and then my iOS devices in the evening.

Guitar

I’ve recorded using an iPad and MacBook and there isn’t a lot between them but I prefer macOS simply for the reason that I prefer to use Logic Pro to edit. That way I’m not transferring any files around. I plug in my MIC, record and edit all in the same app.

Comfort

I quite like the keyboard on the MacBook now I’ve adjusted to it and for writing longer posts it’s the best experience for me in the current setup. I like also being within a fingers reach away from the trackpad, which helps my RSI. Having the iPad is a big win for my RSI also as I can simply take it with me and lie on the sofa or even pop outside in the garden and still get stuff done. If the monitor support was better on iPad I’d say it’s a winner overall but I can’t get over the black bars on the iPad when plugged into an external display.

Summary

So my overall setup here is something I’m really happy with right now. I have three devices that adjust to me, I prefer smaller devices and when I want the bigger display I plug my MacBook into a dock attached to a 32” widescreen monitor. The only thing I miss is a larger iPad display for watching video. I’m tempted to actually have a go at repairing my 10.5” iPad Pro somehow and have that as my larger iPad rather than spend £1000+ on a new setup that won’t fulfil all of my needs.

Home Screen – May 2020

Quite a few changes since I last posted and I’m wondering if I should do another episode about the changes?

Main takeaway is Fantastical (mainly because the widget is great), worry tree (for obvious reasons…), Tot, AirTable and Tally.

Apple Watch Series 5 and third party apps

Since using the series 5 somethings happened I wasn’t expecting – a much better experience with third party apps.

I’d tried to use third party apps on and off in the past but sync or performance always turned me off. Using the series 5 has me excited to use them on my wrist again as they perform really well. As you can see above my watch face (Meridian) is pretty simple and I’m using

  • Activity
  • Date
  • Things
  • Streaks

As I build a new system for myself I’m trying to keep a few apps core to the way I manage my goals and tasks.

I’m only at the beginning and I’ll be posting how I’m using them all soon once I’ve created a framework and it’s settled down.

Apple Watch Series 5 battery life

I’ve had a full day with a fully charged Apple Watch Series 5 with the following

  • Always on display
  • 3 workouts lasting a total of 35 minutes
  • Occasional check of task list or setting a timer

At the end of the day I’m on 34%, in comparison to my Series 2 where I’d be on about 50%. So we’re looking at 15-20% less with the always on display, which to me doesn’t seem too bad.

I’ll be charging overnight as I don’t go as far as sleep tracking. This means that as long as I end the day with 15-20% I’m good. Obviously haven’t tested a long day out somewhere yet but I’m hopeful it’ll get me through it ok.

What are your experiences?

Apple Watch Series 5 first impressions

I’ve decided to try to take control of my weight and thought I’d dig out my Apple Watch series 2 to give this whole rings things a good go. I’ve owned one since the original but in the last year I’ve all but stopped using it.

When put my series 2 back on a week ago I started to get on a run of walk and ring completion streaks and started to enjoy it but the series 2 was getting slow to use. The workout app was slow to start often missing the beginning of my walk and I’d get lag everywhere in the UI.

I decided to trade my series 2 back to Apple (£60) and use a little work discount to upgrade to the Nike Series 5 in silver. I paired it with my original black sports band, 5 years old and looks as good as new.

I love the black/silver looks and some of the new faces look great.

I’ve been using it for a day and I have to say that moving from a series 2 is a massive jump up. The hardware is more refined, that bigger screen is amazing and the speed improvement is huge. Having worn a mechanical watch or digital for a while I’m also appreciating the always on display. Something I’m still getting used to having and still find I’m raising my wrist like I still have the series 2.

I’m glad I went aluminium too, having briefly owned a stainless steel series 4 the lower weight makes it feel more like a sports watch.

I might write something up on my activity progress but first impressions are great so far.

iPad Mini Smart Cover (cactus)

Now I’m using the mini pretty much full time to complete the look for the journal I picked up a Smart Cover.

I really like the colour and these covers although expensive are great. I like the feel of the soft material on the inside when it’s folded back and you’re using it in book reading mode.

Using the iPad Mini as a journal replacement

I’ve really gotten into the iPad Mini recently and it’s become my go to daily iPad. One area that I’m only just experimenting with this but I’m seeing if it can replace my paper journal.

I started journaling again a month or so again and when running out of paper on my last one I thought why don’t I give the iPad Mini a go.

The notebook I was replacing was the same size as the iPad Mini but the space to write was smaller due to the bezels so I opted for apps rather than use the pencil.

My home screen isn’t much changed with this aside from a new Journal folder on my dock.

(See Matt’s amazing wallpapers here).

Apps

Tally

This app allows me to track times I’m doing something I want to stop or making sure I’m sticking to good habits. These are things like making sure I eat 3 bits of fruit a day or go out for 1 walk. It’s also stopping me from bad habits like tracking the number of times I’m picking my nails or fingers (mainly when I’m anxious!).

Worry Tree

This app is a new discovery and helps me deal with anxiety by using CBT methods. It’s something that has helped me review any worries I might have or deal with uncertainty.

Day One

Everyone’s favourite journaling app and aside from still saving off memories I use templates to log how I’m doing at the beginning and end of the day. I ask a series of questions like “Write down 3 positive things that happened today”.

Mood Notes

This is an app to track mood and commentary anytime you want to reflect on how you’re feeling.

This is going to be an interesting experiment I think so I’ll report back.