Google launches the Pixel 5

Link

I don’t have the disposable income to get this but if I did then I probably would. I love the colour, design and position of the finger print reader. I wish Apple brought some fun back into the design of the iPhone. It’s so stark and professional at a time when I want some colour and fun designs in my technology.

Will Apple embrace custom home screens?

I’m loving all of the creativity I’m seeing with people customising their iPhone’s now with iOS 14. Between widgets and icon customisation it’s inspiring to see the positivity that is around at the moment when you look for it. To be honest, it’s been a nice distraction from everything happening in the world and my personal life.

Two things stand out to me.

Custom icons/fonts

I’ve got a Samsung as an Android phone in work and it lets you change the system font everywhere, I feel this is a step too far for me but could see people loving it on iOS. The other place is app icons, yes you can do it now but it’s via shortcuts so the apps take longer to load. The fact people put up with this shows the interest. I’d love a way to be able to easily change your app icons on iOS. I’m not sure Apple will do it as part of iOS but could make shortcuts a bit friendlier with them.

The sad looking iPad Home Screen

When I go back to my iPad it just seems old and sad now. I’m looking at all of that space and wondering why Apple decided not to embrace the same customisation on it. Widgets are locked away in a little box on the left and seem less useful. I’m hoping Apple realises this and give us an iPadOS 14.3 with this option enabled but knowing Apple I don’t see the iPad getting these for a few years if ever.

Put sticky notes on your iPhone

I use sticky notes a lot on my work laptop and today I installed Sticky Widgets and added a little note to myself on my iPhone.

I use them for little to do lists on my laptop but just a little reminder to myself here on my iPhone.

If you’re into putting a reminder in your face then check it out.

EA Play coming to Xbox Games Pass Ultimate for the launch of next gen

Link

Getting an Xbox Series X over the PS5 is almost becoming a no brainer now, especially if you go for the monthly ultimate pass, which is adding EA Play on 10th November – the same day the console launches. This looks a great deal and for someone wanting to play games without spending a fortune on games (£70 each!) then this approach from Microsoft seems to be a winner to me.

Get Xbox Ultimate pass on Amazon.

What’s up with iPadOS 14?

I’m continuing to have issues with iPadOS 14, two of which I wanted to go through here and has me asking – does Apple test their own software on every device they ship?

I’ve restored my devices multiple times and for me these two keep coming back, it seems specific to the 11″ iPad Pro.

This is a bizarre issue that I have been experiencing on my iPad Pro (11″ 2020) for the last couple of beta’s and even now on the public release – see the image above. There are two issues here related to the same issue – inconsistency of element sizing.

You can see that the two widgets on the left are two different sizes and then looking at the apps you can see that they are also taking on different sizes. I’ve never seen this in a public release before and can’t believe I’m the only experiencing this issue.

The second issue relates to the use of the Apple Magic Keyboard, here I get keys and the trackpad being unresponsive. Like I’m using a remote app over an internet connection, I type keys and it can take up to 10 seconds for anything to appear on the screen. I’ve now completely stopped using the keyboard and just using my iPad undocked, I’ll give it iPadOS 14.2 but if that doesn’t work I’ll be looking at a warranty replacement.

Am I alone in my iPadOS UI issues?

The best minimal digital watch

After returning the series 6 Apple Watch I’ve been looking to simplify things a little and disengage with so much technology. I’m on so many screens between my phone and the day job I wanted to go back to a simpler time and not worry about tracking everything about what I’m doing throughout the day. My series 2 is a great step tracker but I don’t want to track steps anymore. I’ll still try to keep a habit of walking daily but I’m taking a break from fitness tracking.

This led me to looking at my little collection of digital and analogue watches and wondering what I should use.

I wanted something simple, an easy to read display, a timer and light. There was only one choice – Casio F-91w.

These watches are classic, based on the same ones I wore in the 80’s. It’s so light you forget you’re wearing it. The only area it gets let down is the terrible light but I can live with that. At less than £15 I can’t complain.

There are other Casio’s which I’d recommend like the AE1200, another favourite of mine and has a better light.

I just keep coming back to this watch, I love its design and simplicity.

Check out F-91w on Amazon

How I’m helping myself to stop using my phone before bed and early in the morning

I’ve picked up some bad habits in this uncertain period including using my phone right before bed and first thing in the morning. My sleep pattern has suffered really badly and sometimes even at 3am I’m awake and then shattered with fatigue throughout the day. This has a negative effect on my mood and those around me so I’m doing my best to break it.

This is where screen time on iOS comes in handy, I worked out what I wanted to improve about my routine and added downtime to my iPhone so that it was a reminder to not use my phone. You can enable this in settings as follows.

I’ve also removed my RSS reader, Reddit and Tweetbot from my iOS devices so that I can only check using my Mac, which is rare these days. I’m purposely trying to disconnect and give myself a little bit of a breather.

My iOS 14 home screen setup

After weeks of playing around with widgets I’m finally settled on a setup I’m happy with.

This is the main screen, I’ve got TODOIST and FANTASTICAL widgets there keeping me honest with what I have got on. The other apps are there for ones that I tend to like to use the most.

Here’s all of my screens

  1. Left of home: Siri shortcuts, Carrot weather, Apollo and Battery
  2. Home: As above, Fantastical and Todoist widgets
  3. Right of home: My health based one. Fitness, Streaks and Pedometer++ widgets. Then the apps that I like to use for my health.
  4. App library: I use this a lot but started to pull down to use the spotlight search to load apps

How are are getting on with iOS 14?