My most durable Apple product

Tech

Using my Apple Pencil today I realised its the most used and durable product I’ve ever owned from Apple. As you can see it’s been nibbled by our cat, it’s been dropped lots of times and just gets tossed into my bag. I still have the cap and I’ve fitted a pen clip so that I can attach it to my iPad cover.

I’ve broke or had warranty issues with my very other Apple product I’ve had but my Apple Pencil keeps going.

My hopes for WWDC 2019

Opinion, Tech

We are only a matter of weeks away from WWDC so I wanted to (as it traditional) jot down some thoughts on what I’d like to see from Apple.

IOS

As you know I use iOS as my operating system of choice and use it many times a day be it consuming or creating content. The hardware that I use the most is the iPad Pro 10.5” along with the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard cover. Using it day in day out I’ve got an appreciation of what it does and more importantly what I’d like to see improved.

Productivity

There are enough rumours to make me believe that we are indeed getting a new Reminders app and a small (most probably) update to Mail. I use the Apple Mail app for managing my iCloud and Gmail accounts and to be honest it does everything I want it to. I’m not a power user of mail, I hardly use it to be honest these days but seeing Apple put some effort into their own app would be a positive. I’m more intrigued by the reimagined Reminders app and it certainly stands out as an app that needs an update, something I don’t think it’s seen for 5 years since iOS 7. It’s full (in my use) of UI bugs and if you try to use it on the Mac it’s even worse. I’ll be so happy to see it finally getting some love. It’ll be interesting to see how much it’s changed and if it can finally be my go to productivity app of choice.

The TODAY view could do with a bit of a clean up and I still get UI glitches but I’m not sure if that’s Apple or the third party developer.

Dark all the things

Dark mode on iOS will be interesting, most of the apps I use are in dark mode so being able to see the system in this mode will be great. I constantly blow my eyeballs out when I’m in apps at night and open up Messages to reply to something.

Audio enhancements

When I did a podcast I was ok on my own but when I guested I always used my MAC, I’d like some audio enhancements to allow me to record my local audio plus talk to someone on SKYPE for example.

Apple to embrace external keyboards on iPad

It’s bad how little the keyboard is being used in some of the Apple apps, the main offender for me is Photos. Every time I use it I get annoyed that I can’t use the left and right arrow to scroll through images. I’ve raised a radar with Apple but to be honest I can’t see how anyone using the iPad for any length of time and an external keyboard wouldn’t get frustrated with this one.

Ability to shoot in RAW using the in built camera app

Yes third party apps are great but I’d like to at least see a little toggle in the camera app that allows me to toggle RAW. This can be hidden somewhere in the settings not to confuse but it would be a good addition to the app (for me anyways).

Apple Music knows what I’ve downloaded

Every time I set up a new device I have to manually (remember) and download each album that I’ve downloaded in the past. I’d love it to ask me on first start up ‘Do you want to re-download all of your music you did in the last backup’. The iPad interface also needs a bit of work to clear up some of the UI glitches that I still encounter.

WatchOS

Generally I’m happy with watchOS and it’s been improved at a good rate of pace but I’d like to see:

Native sleep tracking

I can’t believe we are on the 6th iteration of the OS and we don’t have native sleep tracking yet. It’s the one question I get from anyone looking to move from a Fitbit.

More options or Third Party Watch Faces

When series 4 launched we got two new ones but it broke some of the older ones, such as changing the bottom complication on Utility to be more rounded. I’m not sure where I stand on third party ones but I’d at least like Apple to put a bit more effort into their own ones.

Dynamic Complications

I try not to use too many complications but it would be nice to have dynamic ones, what I mean is if there isn’t a timer set for example it changes to a secondary one like the current weather.

Keeping my fingers crossed for a big one this year.

The iOS 13 Reminders app

apps

An interesting post over at Bloomberg about iOS 13 dropped today and I’m more interested in it from a productivity angle.

An updated Reminders app that better competes with the several to-do list programs available on the App Store. The new app has a main screen with four default sections laid out in a grid: tasks to be done today, all tasks, scheduled tasks, and flagged tasks. Each section has its own different-colored page that users can add items to.

An update to Reminders is about 5 years overdue and can’t come soon enough. When I read this I thought, great but when I read ‘scheduled tasks’ I started to get a little concerned about what we’ll see. I’m thinking it’s going to simply be a skin on top of what we already have. The current scheduled view is basic and full of bugs and at the moment I have zero confidence they’ll address these issues but simply put a new front end to the content.

This also means that there will be no way to have a list of tasks due today. What I mean is every task will need a due time as it is today. This is one of my main complaints with Reminders today.

I’m hoping I’m being my usual pessimistic self and Apple will truly put in some effort into their own apps.

A new Reminders app

apps, Tech

One of the more interesting points in the iOS 13 article by 9to5 was the mention of a new Reminders app. It’s interesting to me as someone that has tried and failed to use the existing app many times.

It’s a very basic app with bugs, some of which I’ve had open for 3+ years with Apple. It looks like from the outside there is literally no one working on it.

The thought of it having a refresh fills me with hope that I can do away with third party apps but I do have to be careful with my enthusiasm given their track record of looking after their own apps.

For me I’d love to see something along the lines of Things where we can have a scheduled reminder or an open Today list with no time commitments just a list of stuff you want to get done today. In fact I’d like Apple to either Sherlock or buy them outright and be done with it.

As Apple leans into services I think it’s important for them to put some effort into their core apps and not leave them in limbo only to be updated once or twice a year. I’d also like to see them stripped out of iOS and launched into the App Store like Numbers or Pages. That way we can get (hopefully) lots of updates throughout the year.

My MacBook keyboard is broken

Tech

I was waiting for this day, yes the dreaded keyboard failures on the new flatter Apple laptop keyboards has finally hit my 2016 12″ MacBook and I’m really glad I still have Apple Care+.

The key I’m having issue with is TAB, when I went to use it today it was stuck down and flat to the laptop. After a bit of tapping it came back to life but doesn’t feel like the rest of the keys.

Looks like I’ll be contacting Apple Care tomorrow to get this one sorted out.

Using Apple notes as a Journal

apps, How to, Tech

I’ve been slowly growing tired of trying third party apps on iOS. I’m not sure if it’s me getting older or trying to consolidate my data in one place but an area I needed to look at was journaling. This is something that I’ve been using DayOne for but not being a premium member It’s becoming a pain as I need to manually remember to backup and manage my entries.

That got me thinking about using Apple Notes as a journal. I use it for everything else so why not?

The first thing I needed to do was to figure out my folder structure. I had plans for an elaborate setup but in the end kept it simple.

I created a folder in Notes simply called Journal. Then within this folder I created a note called Journal 2019. I also pinned it and then added the notes widget to my today screen so that I can quickly get at it.

Every day I create a new entry with the date and just jot down my thoughts along with any images I want to add to the day. It’s pretty simple but will always be in the order of latest first. I can also add as many images as I want, something I can’t do in DayOne without paying and giving them my data.

There were two areas I wanted to address. The first was searching, well after testing I’m happy with what Notes gives me. Secondly images, I can add but if I want to look back I need to see all of the text too. DayOne is great for showing just images but I’ve decided I can just use the photos app for this.

That’s how I’ve initially setup but now I am looking at shortcuts to let me quickly jot down my thoughts rather than fire up Notes every time. I’m happy I don’t have to remember to manually export and backup but now I need to figure out how to get my DayOne into Notes.

A new Apple

Tech

Yesterday’s Apple keynote was certainly different and to be honest a little disappointing in places. I’m not breaking down everything but here are some of my initial thoughts.

News+

This seems like a good deal and if and when it does hit the UK I’ll be giving it a go. I used to subscribe to a few actual magazines, yes they used to come in the mail and I’ll be curious to see how they translate over to digital. I’m a little skeptical that publishers will put effort into Apple News long term but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see on this one.

Credit Card

Here’s where I start having problems with Apple. A credit card is useful and the benefits and rate that Apple are offering look good but it was the keynote presentation that felt wrong. Cheering and applause for a credit card seems wrong at an Apple event to me. This is especially bad for me when on the other hand they say they are very conscious of their environmental impact but are now encouraging us to buy more stuff. I’m not sure how to feel about this new Apple just yet.

Arcade

Based on the games shown and my general interest in games on iOS this isn’t very compelling to me. I think it’s a good idea but for me gaming is on consoles not iOS.

Apple TV+

This was pretty painful to watch and the point I dipped in and out whilst doing other things. I feel this should have been a trailer for each show not a presentation by each star. There was a highlight reel but didn’t give me much of anything. Not compelling me to subscribe based on what I saw. Don’t think Netflix are going to be too worried. Let’s see what happens over the next year on this and unless I missed it I didn’t see any pricing or dates.

What got missed?

I’d have liked to have seen a focus on service packages like an increase in iCloud storage and Apple Care+ as a package for one monthly fee.

All I can say to summarise it is I’m glad it’s over and roll on WWDC.