Letting my Apple Developer account expire

Tech

Today’s the day my Apple Developer account expires, something I’ve kept going for about 7 years. Every year I pay my £79 to essentially beta test iOS. I’ve had good intentions to get into development but I’m admitting to myself I’ll never get there. With the increased issues of this years beta track I’m out and if I want to test I’ll just jump on the public beta.

A great Apple Store experience

Tech

I’ve written a few times about negative experiences I’ve had at the Apple Store but after a trip yesterday I wanted to share a great experience.

As you can see I broke another iPhone (I won’t go into how) so I booked an appointment via the Apple Support app. For screen replacements the app makes a point of showing that they do it same day and also show a lot of third parties that I didn’t even know could do it. Luckily for me I have two Apple Stores within 45 minutes of where I live.

I made an appointment for the next day and for now just taped up my screen so I didn’t get any glass embedded in my fingers!

I arrived at the store and on being greeted was shown to a holding area. This is a great change, instead of just standing behind people waiting at the chairs having their appointments there was a separate table. I sat down and in front of me were a few wireless chargers and some iPhones that you could use. Yes it’s helping their sales to have them there but as someone that had a broken phone meant I could burn a few minutes whilst waiting. I also noticed they had Apple News+ enabled on them (not currently available in the UK) so I could try the service, maybe more on this in another post.

I waited for my appointment and on seeing my iPhone a diagnostic was run and I left my iPhone with them. I was told it would take an hour and was given a time slot.

I got some lunch and came back, I was only waiting 5 minutes before my iPhone came back out. In my case the screen was attempted but the adhesive to stop water getting in had run out. First off they gave me a replacement phone and only charged me the price of a screen replacement, putting the customer first for their mistake. This had to be approved by a more senior staff member so I waited another 5-10 minutes for this process to happen. I’m not sure if it was this extra waiting or to help me with their mistake but they also didn’t take this change of iPhone off one of my Apple Care + replacements.

I left the store feeling the best I had done for quite a while when using the store. Over the last few years I’ve really dreaded going in but the vibe of the store did feel different. There were more staff on the floor, they were greeting closer to the entrance directing people and had a definite split of Apple Today sessions and a table for people waiting for an appointment. The today at Apple sessions could happen without disturbing the queue of people waiting to get their devices sorted out. It was a much more pleasant experience and it looks like they are making moves in the right direction (in my store at least) of making sure you’re not left wondering where to go or feel awkward standing next to people having their appointment or getting a today at Apple session.

Nice work Apple.

I’ve had no contact from Apple on my data loss

Tech

So I raised a radar around my data loss in iCloud (activity) data. I’ve listened to a few podcasts and it would appear that engineers are reaching out but I’ve had nothing. Yes I installed a beta but given the importance of this type of data I’m disappointed that I’ve had no contact at all.

This isn’t a moan just another warning to not use iOS 13 without a backup.

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.