AppleCare+ gets a nice update

This change of two incidents per year instead of over the two years is a nice change to see with AppleCare+. I’ve only checked the Apple Watch version but imagine it’ll also be offered on the iPhone 12 series too next month.

The Apple services bundle

It’s rumoured we’ll see an Apple One bundle announced today, combining TV+, News, Arcade and Music. To me this makes complete sense as selling them all separately can’t be doing that well amongst the general public. As someone watching their outgoings I’m also realising how expensive their services are.

But I’d like to see another bundle, one similar to above but includes storage tiers.

I’m switching to Google Photos free at the moment as I can’t justify the £6.99 storage, especially when there is no 500GB for £3.99 plan. I’m using 300GB but have to move to the 2TB plan because there is no middle ground.

Google lets me store all of my photos and video in high resolution for free. Apple just can’t compete here.

Do you think they should? I do.

Offering a free photo tier (at a lower resolution) would be a big win, especially in these uncertain times. It would be a big win for its users and experience. I see a lot of people who don’t back up their photos on iPhone just because they don’t want to pay for storage so install Google Photos and move over. This means they are more likely to switch to Android in the future. Even me, as someone following Apple a lot is looking over at the Pixel line these days. Now my photos are going to be cross platform I’m tempted to move.

What do you think?

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.

My predictions for the September 2020 Apple Keynote

There’s not a lot to look forward to at the moment and seeing Apple announcement of a September keynote is a nice distraction to have.

Here’s what I’m hoping we see.

Apple Watch Series 6

I use my Apple Watch on and off and I’m definitely due an upgrade. I use a series 2 and with my usage it serves ok, but it is just ok. It’s slow to use but the battery is still good and it lets me track my steps. I’m not into overly tracking everything about yourself but I could see them adding the blood oxygen sensor as it’s in most other wearables. Having said that you can buy a sensor on its own for less than £20 so it shouldn’t be a reason to upgrade.

What I’d like to see more is a redesign but I can’t see that happening this year. I’ve loved watches from a young age and the Apple Watch just looks boring to me, there’s nothing there these days that shows off great design to me now. They won’t go circular but thinner and flatter or more colours maybe, who knows but I’d like to see a bit of a reinvention.

I’d guess it’ll be exactly the same form factor as the previous models but with an added blood oxygen sensor.

Series 3 stays but gets processor upgrade.

iPad

There are rumours of an update on the lower end of the line, this makes sense if that can do it. The base model will stay the same but the Air getting a more Pro design makes sense, along with the ability to use the new pencil and magic keyboard.

iPhone

No iPhone at this event is the rumour but who knows, I think it would be worth doing if they could even if it’s early. Apple won’t care if it slows current sales and might stop people looking over at Samsung or the Pixel. It’s off my radar this year due to my budget changes but a more iPad Pro design would be pretty great.

Apple tags?

Rumoured but I don’t see them coming this year.

Can the MacBook replace my iPad?

I’ve been using the MacBook as a replacement for my iPad now for two weeks and wanted to share my updated view on how it’s gone in that time, adjusting back to a laptop and macOS.

As far as the hardware goes I’ve been impressed with the 12” MacBook, even the keyboard has grown on me (no sticky keys yet). I’ve not babied it and used it inside and out in the garden and I’ve pushed the 8GB Ram and to be fair it’s held up well.  The only area that frustrates me is using Photos, it runs like a snail compared to how it runs on iOS, maybe I should have gone with 16GB Ram but for 80% of what I’m doing (including podcast editing) this base spec machine has been fine and worked well. I’ve appreciated the USB-C and now when I’m at the desk I go into a Dell hub connecting my MacBook to a keyboard, mouse and 34” monitor. All works really well and has been great to use when podcasting in particular where I can have a lot of windows open at the same time, something I can’t do on iOS.

Where I’m starting to struggle a little is with some RSI and shoulder strain from using a laptop for my day job and now in my spare time. I didn’t realise how much the iPad had helped my RSI over time. I can use it in many different ways and am able to change my position to make using it more comfortable and this is why the MacBook falls down for me as an iPad replacement. I don’t have any particular issues with macOS and in some of the ways I work (especially file management) the Mac beats the iPad but I’m just not using it as much and therefore creating, something my Apple devices have always enabled me to do.

I miss the flexibility of the hardware, the pencil and the apps on iOS, using the Mac feels like work to me and I’m just not wanting to sit down and use it to do something creative – it just isn’t as much fun as using my iPad.

I’m going to have to count my pennies and I think I’ve finally decided on my setup. An 11” 2020 iPad Pro (1TB), Apple Pencil 2 and the new magic keyboard. My reasoning for not going 12.9” is I had a 1st gen pro and ultimately sold it on as I use it in tablet mode most of the time and found it to be uncomfortable for me on the sofa etc… I also have this bigger setup that I can dock it with and use a bigger screen as and when I want to. As I said I still have to count my pennies so don’t be surprised if I end up with a 2018 12.9” if I end up being able to get a good deal used but my intention is to go 11.

It’s been a good experiment to go back to macOS but I’m ready to go back home to iOS.

Sticking with the 12″ MacBook

I’ve been figuring out what to do since destroying my iPad Pro and after initially recycling my MacBook with Apple I’ve decided to keep it after all. I was getting £175 for it as a gift card but on using it again today I’ve decided to keep it. Putting it into perspective that is less than it would cost to buy a new Smart Cover and much more than an Apple Pencil. This laptop is too good to take that little amount for and whilst I’m back on it as my portable device I think it makes more sense in this climate to stick with what I have available and reduce the load on others.

The keyboard is still too flat for my liking but I’m slowly adjusting and starting to get pretty quick on it, the trackpad is great and so is the screen. What still frustrates me is the speed compared to the iPad but that might get better as I use it, you never know…

I’m still dubious how long it’ll be without a keyboard failure now I’m using it every day but I’ll keep you updated on that one, which I think I’m covered on an extended warranty for (fingers crossed!).

I’m still going to use my iMac for any heavy lifting and podcasting mostly but the MacBook is going to be used for everything else.

I’ll report back on if the 2016 MacBook is worth buying cheap in 2020 once I’ve given it a good try.

Why is Apple support getting so bad?

I’ve noticed a downward trend in my recent dealings with Apple support, especially with anything data or iCloud related. I’ve also been in several situations where I’ve known more than the support person, most recently telling them there is no save button in iOS Notes.

I work in the software industry so I do have some insight into how difficult the job is but there’s no excuse for persistent laziness or unreliability.

My most recent issue that I’m 4 weeks in now with an iCloud Notes sync issue. When I originally raised this I ended up being helped by a senior advisor that took logs and promised to keep me updated.

I heard nothing for weeks until I called last week and again after explaining my issue was promised a new advisor was taking over and we scheduled a call at 10am last Friday to see how my Notes sync was going. I decided to delete all of my notes and start again, this call was to see if it was now fixed.

Well you guessed it, the call never came. The senior advisors seem to be either overworked, lazy or unreliable. I’m guessing overworked or not enough resource and making promises they are unable to keep.

As with a Reminders sync issue I had a few months ago I ended up fixing it myself by deleting all my iCloud data manually.

I’m not blaming iOS 13 but it seems the support structure currently struggles with anything software or iCloud related. As expected they would be triaging to engineering teams but it seems that Apple just don’t have the engineering teams to cope.

I’d like to think alongside their core iOS engineering team there’s another whole group of developers dedicated to dealing with support, if there isn’t then there should be.

I wouldn’t be complaining if iCloud was free but it’s not, I’m paying monthly for its use with my larger storage plan so I’m expecting at least some sort of basic communication commitment.

It’s strange to write about Apple support being it’s usually so great but when it comes to issues relating to software and cloud there’s a lot of work to do.

My top 3 Apple Arcade games (so far)

There a lot to go through in Apple Arcade but on setting up my new iPhone I’ve loaded up a few favourites and thought I’d share my top 3 so far. One note here is that if you’ve been testing iOS 13.1 and move to iOS 13 you’ll lose your game state.

  • What the golf – golfing turned on it’s head. It’s one of the laugh out loud games I’ve included on this list. A great game to play on iPhone with one hand whilst out and about.
  • Cricket through the ages – I don’t think we’ve laughed as much as when playing this game at home. It gets very weird but so much fun if you like rag doll mechanics and throwing stuff at each other. Best played two player on iPad.
  • Skate City – Great on iPhone or iPad with a controller. Side scrolling skateboard sim that’s amazingly addictive.

What are some of your favourites?

I enjoyed the iPhone 11 keynote

I’ve seen the usual boring comments on the iPhone 11 keynote this week but for me it was one of better ones I’d seen in a while. I thought Apple did a good job at lowering prices on their superseded products like the XR, introduced some good customer focused experiences like watch customisations and did a good job of explaining the new camera tech.

I was very impressed with the iPhone 11 camera specs, always on watch face and the new iPhone 11 Pro.

The only bits where I wandered off to do other things was during the game demos.

I was also surprised at how much I enjoyed the videos and See trailer.

I’ll have more thoughts in the next few days but overall I enjoyed it.