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.

How I’m blogging short form posts from Bear

How to, Tech

I’m trying to stay off Social media a bit more limiting myself to about 20 minutes a day. The side effect of this is that I’m blogging more short form thoughts, which is good. This has meant that I’ve been using the WordPress app as a replacement for writing down quick thoughts.

With the most recent announcement from Bear and WordPress that they were more closely integrated I had to give it a go and it’s been working pretty great. After a little hiatus I’m back using Bear, with its tagging and theme options it’s working well with how my brain works. The only downside that I’ve found is that the post when put into the WordPress share sheet interface doesn’t remove tags so you’ll need to remember to do this yourself. It even works with images, like the screen shots I’m adding below.


I’ve found even just in the day using this method it’s going to be a lot smoother than using the WordPress app itself.

Moving back to iOS

Tech

I’m back on the iPhone XS after 4 days on Android and I’ve got a lot of thoughts. I’ll be posting up these in a series of posts in the coming weeks but in summary

  • I’m glad to be with my Apple Watch again (it’s Apple lock in at its best)
  • iMessage needs an independent app
  • I’m using more Third Party apps (I’m writing and posting this via Bear)
  • I miss the Pixel always on display
  • I miss Android Notifications
  • The iPhone XS naked is a slippery beast!

Falling back to iCloud

apps, Productivity, Tech

I’ve been playing with a lot of third party productivity apps and you know what I’ve discovered – it’s best to stick with the defaults, at least in terms of data storage. I’ve been missing things because I haven’t been seeing them, I forgot which app I’d put it in (I appreciate this is my problem).

On sitting back and thinking about what I have to manage going on and how I want my data to be stored, here are the apps I’m using with iCloud:

  • For my Calendar I remain stuck in the default app camp, whilst it isn’t the prettiest I like being able to see the date on my home screen with it’s app icon and it does the basics fine. I don’t micro manage everything on my personal Calendar so fits the bill quite nicely
  • For my Reminders I’ve switched over to GoodTask, it’s a much better interface to iCloud and I like both the Today widget and Apple Watch complications
  • For my Notes I use Apple Notes for everything. I write posts like this one in there, store images or receipts etc.. and food recipes. I like the simplicity of it and the fact I can do both handwritten and typed notes
  • For my Photos I use iCloud Photo Library
  • For my journal I back up DayOne to iCloud rather than sync with their service

These are the areas that are most important to me.

The only data in the cloud outside of iCloud that I rely on is Gmail and Blog posts.

For the first time in a while I’m content with this setup and for me even though the apps are pretty basic I find all the extra functionality in apps like OmniFocus adds unnecessary complication (for me) and I spend more time messing with my systems (and tags I don’t need) rather than actually doing stuff.

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.

Using Bear (again)

apps

I started and stopped using Bear about a month ago but after struggling to organise with Apple Notes I’ve gone back in.

The main reason I’ve gone back is tags. Folders in Apple Notes is ok but I’m finding that the ability to add a quick tag at the bottom of the page I’m writing on is clicking with my brain more. All the dividers such as ‘gifts’ and ‘shopping’ above are tags that Bear automatically uses to create this structure.

A look back at iOS 5 folders

ipad

I’m in the process of getting ready to reset my original iPad but thought it would be fun to look back at the older design a little bit. When using it I was struck with how much I prefer the pre iOS 7 folder look.

This is how it looked, I think the darker background and clear division of content looks a lot cleaner than what we have now.

I’m not a huge fan of the smaller semi transparent look of iOS 7. Yes I can swipe though multiple pages of apps within the folder but for me it’s a lot more user friendly in iOS 5.

This isn’t an old man yelling at the clouds but a look back at different elements of iOS in a nostalgic fashion.

Overall I love iOS these days but I’m looking forward to comparing old app versions and seeing how far (or not) we’ve come.