Going Big on Apple

After today’s Apple announcement I feel the need to go big. Not metaphorically. Physically.

First, I think I’m going to go for the iPhone 6s Plus. It just seems like a bigger shift from my once-large iPhone 5s. I’m a little concerned how this will impact the use of my iPad Mini (which I love) but I guess we’ll see. I will do a quick “pocket test” first but outside that failing I will be carrying around my first phablet in a months time.

In addition to the phone I really want to experience the iPad Pro. Sucks that we need to wait until November but that size and processing power really puts it into a category that isn’t occupied yet in the shrinking tablet-to-laptop space (certainly not in the Apple camp). Count me as likely-leaning-towards-definite future owner.

Apple Watch – Update 1

New Plus:
Just discovered today that you can control the AppleTV with the Apple Watch and it actually works pretty well. Pretty cool.

New Minus:
When you do have to choose an app from the “app cloud” menu it is easy to misfire and click on the wrong app even in the “zoomed in” scale. Good news is that 95% of the time I don’t need this navigational technique to get to what I want.

One Day into the Apple Watch

To set the stage I must admit that I’m a real lover of gadgets. Typically when a device like the Apple Watch comes around I’m just dying to try it but for some reason this time I wasn’t all that excited. I’d describe myself as interested but not more. Hopefully this makes me a less biased reviewer but I fear that with my lowered set of expectations it might actually be making less critical. With that said … my overall impression of the Watch after a little less than 24 hours is very positive.

Pro’s

  • Beautiful packaging – this is no surprise of course … Apple set a new bar when it came to packing years ago and they seem to just keep raising it. It definitely felt like a luxery product when openning.
  • Nice Display – I don’t think I had any real preconceptions about the screen but having now seen it I’d say … it’s nice. Crisp and clear. Yeah I’d have to say “thumbs up”.
  • Well Thought Out. I had about 5 minutes of complete confusion on how to use it but once I got the basics down the rest all seemed to largely make sense. For a new form factor I think you couldn’t expect any more out of Apple and I am left feeling impressed.
  • Voice to Text. The voice to text processing is really impressive. It makes “texting” a complete breeze in a quiet environment. I have used it with iMessage, Slack, and Skype and it just works.
  • Speakerphone. The ability to use the watch directly as a phone (aka, speakerphone) is something I have only done once so far but I came away feeling the sound quality was good and that it might be a useful feature. 
  • Sizing. I got the smaller unit … the 38mm version … and I have heard some people felt that was too small but not for me. In most cases small is better for me WRT to wrist real estate and I’d choose the 38mm over the 42mm 10 out of 10 times (based on my experience so far). That said if you have very big fingers it might be a little small but I’m just trying to give some rationalle to these other views. The only thing I find remotely challanging from a size stand point is clicking an app from the circular icon menu but I suspect the glances interface will make this view something I don’t use all that often anyway.
  • Apps. The apps I like immediately are iMessage, calendar, weather, and … wait for it … the clock. That’s a good core. I think I may also end up liking Evernote for quick annotations (I love Evernote everywhere else). I may also get some mileage out of Slack (which is growing on me) and possibly Skype messaging (although I use it less and less). There are a lot more apps that are ready for the wrist than I expected and for most of them they’ll have to go into the “wait and see” category. For instance, will reading the NYTimes on my wrist be useful? I’m dubious but not closed to it.

Con’s

  • Daylight. As you’d expect from a backlit device its display is more impressive indoors than outdoors. It’s not a huge con because overall it is still functional outdoors. I would say its slightly better in visibility compared to my iPhone but it’s no e-ink.
  • Phone Dependency. Admittedly we spend most of our lives with our phones nearby these days so this is probably not a big deal but its weird to not know if you’re “within range” of your phone. There’s no clear indication. If you’re not I assume there’s not a lot you can do but I haven’t operated outside of range enough yet to talk about it in depth. My gripe right now is just that there’s no clear indication whether you are or are not in range.

Wait-and-See:

  • Fitness Alerts – typically being interrupted to be told to “stand up for a minute” would be annoying but this reminder along with various other fitness reminders actually seem pleasant at the moment. I’ve even been taking the suggestions by and large. My guess though is that in a month though I’ll have turned off all of these distractions.
  • Battery Life. This needs more testing before I have an opinion on it. On the plus side the conductive charging surface make it easy to engage and disengage the charging process but still to me its a pretty big fail if it can’t make it through a normal day without a recharge. It’s 4pm on day 2 on what I guess is a “normal day” and I’ve got 57% charge left. I’d consider that encouraging except that I probably haven’t hit it too hard in the battery department today. Like I said, I’ll keep an eye on this one … it’s an important aspect.
  • Big Ass Emoticons. There is a convenient menu of emoticons available to iMessage on the wrist but unlike the normal IOS variety which are well designed but a little small, these ones are ginormous and animated. Is that good? I’m really not sure. Will have to see how I feel in a week. Don’t worry … you’ll know how I feel because I’ll send you a big ass emoticon. 

I’m sure I’ll get back on this soapbox but that’s all for now. Hope it was helpful.

A New Apple TV?

I’m really excited to jump from the iPad 1 to the iPad 3 but I’m also getting more and more excited to find out what the next gen Apple TV has up its sleeve. As you may already know … I’m a HUGE fan of AppleTV and am shocked that more people don’t use it. Everyone I know who has one is very happy with it and it costs very little to own. We have two of the first gen models but if this 3rd gen ATV does the right things I think we’ll have a third one for the house (one more than the number of televisions we have). Continue reading “A New Apple TV?”