Apple

iPad 2017: A Few weeks In

You may have noticed I used to do a lot more Apple evangelist type stuff. Then again I used to blog more often too, for the Apple stuff though there has been a lot less to write home about as the computer tech world seems, to me anyway, to be stuck in a malaise of mediocrity. Nothing is particularly bad, Windows has caught up to MacOS again after deciding that desktops are different than tablets and phones. Thanks for playing guys.

iOS 10.3 is an excellent platform for all your mobile needs as is the latest version of Android. It is down to personal preference which you prefer, unless you go bargain basement both operating systems have similar features albeit in different places.

But I got myself a new iPad. Go figure.


My MacBook is wonderful, but very old being born as she was in 2009. So I thought the iPad would take the strain of my daily use prolonging the life of “old faithful” and with the £100 price cut and the introduction of a new faster chip (A9) it was a no brainer even for me.

As firmly ensconced in the Apple infrastructure as I am, this is my first iPad (not made by Fisher Price) set up was a breeze. I actually used my iPhone as wi-fi hotspot as I am a child and couldn’t wait to get it home to set up. Sign in with your Apple ID and you are good to go. As long as you have iCloud turned on everything from email to bookmarks and photos were available to me. My tinfoil hat has long been folded up in a drawer, if people want to find out about you they will whatever you do. Chances are they don’t so you may as well use cloud services for the ease of use they bring. Apple have been in court fighting for user privacy, so I don’t think they’ll want to see my iCloud pictures of my prize winning rooster or my Persian cat. Someone tells me there are enough pictures of cocks and pussys freely available on the internet.

More professional reviewers than I say that the Pro line of iPad’s are designed to replace computers. Well I couldn’t afford one of those and all I do these days is browse and write, sometimes at the same time thanks to the great split screen feature. So, so far the iPad (unprofessional) is doing a great job. Yes if I was a YouTuber I might be pushed to edit video on it, but as long as I didn’t run out of storage (I got the 32 gb version) iMovie could do a passable job 1080p editing.

I have got faster typing on the virtual keyboard. Although I feel in the coming months I will get some kind of stand/case/keyboard thing. Dunno which yet due to the wonderful naming convention system. This simple boy is confused.

So far, very pleased. It does everything I thought it would. Battery good, screen good, apps plentiful. For what it is, it’s a very good value device.

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My Week with Apple Watch: Day 5, He Hasn’t asked for it back yet!

When I started writing these i only ever envisaged doing a working week with them. Why? Because I’m lazy and no-one cares what I write!!

So day 5 has to be some kind of conclusion. Well here goes:

Apple Watch Sport

The Apple Watch is truly great at what it is, people have accused Apple of taking other peoples ideas and claiming them as their own. Well watches were around long before Steve Jobs looked like a geeky Ashton Kutcher. So yes they took this and improved on it.

As a smart watch, fitness tracker, style icon (for the “look what I got” people) and remote for the third gen Apple TV it is second to none. If you are far more active than I and already have an iPhone it’s a no brainer.

That said, I’m not that active and although notifications were nice to get, I’m not comfortable with dictating messages via Siri so I always reached for my phone to reply to messages and pretty much everything else. It is nice to be able to look at the time on my wrist. But a cheaper dumb watch will do that.

I think the cost is a factor for me. If someone got me a Apple Watch for Xmas or it was 50% off on Cyber Monday I would be grateful/tempted. Because I have enjoyed it, I can now put it on at the first time of asking, and it is a very nice object, I like the chunky design. However I would bulk at paying Apple Watch money for something I’m not going to utilise fully.

Of course.. unless my friend actually asks for it back…. no rush eh!

My Week with Apple Watch: Day 4, New Apple TV

I worked from home today. So my Apple watch sat unattended on its cradle. Unloved. If you aren’t going anywhere, why wear a watch, or trousers, or pants….

As I did nothing with the watch I thought I’d talk about something I own. The “New” Apple TV (forth gen) I have to admit getting caught up in the hype with this one. I got it on release day to replace one of my previous Apple TV’s.

Lets play good/bad:

Good: Apple TV has apps
Bad: Too many aren’t too good

Good: Apple TV has App Store
Bad: Interface is very clunky (currently, they are improving)

Good: Apple TV has Netflix
Bad: It’s the Netflix that everyone has, the one that prompts you to watch the next thing before the thing you are watching is finished. Netflix, I love you, but I want to see who the dolly grip was on my favourite movies. Don’t move the titles into a small box.

Good: Has remote with motion sensors and Siri
Bad: Doesn’t work with iPhone remote App. Now ok, the remote app has never been great. But if you needed to enter a password it was so much easier to type on a keyboard than scroll sideways through the alphabet. And people wonder why 1234 is a popular pin! This is also stupid from infrastructure point of view. I am in apples ecosystem. I buy their products because they all talk to each other without me having to think.

Good: The screensaver (yes) these are stunning
Bad: They have my excited over a screensaver. Not since 1994 have I been so enthused about a device for stopping screen wear. I changed the marquee of all the screensavers in PC World to tell people to go to another shop. ACTIVIST!

In a nutshell. Currently, unless the app store gets better (and it will) and the remote app gets redone (it should) there is no compelling reason to recommend this gen over previous gen. The previous gen was very Apple. This gen seems very market share price led. Shame really.

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Clearly I like things with breasts in and the writing of Steven Moffat

My Week with Apple Watch: Day 3, Smashing through the boundary lunacy has found me..

If you’ve read the two previous blogs i’ve written this week (who hasn’t!) you’ll know I thought I’d give the battery of my loner Apple Watch a bit of an unscientific test. Now I love my iPhone. I’ve had jobs that made watching paint dry interesting, I still miss my colleagues at Dulux.

I have had jobs that have so much down time it’s lovely to be able to escape the tedium and play a game or email people. So over the years my iPhone’s battery has been known to be dead by the mid-morning.

Apparently I am “king of the notification” (this from a man who wants to live in a yurt) so Apple watch was gonna get a fair real world test.

It passed for two days use. It was down to 8 percent just before i got in my bath. So i put it on charge, it charges like magic with the things that take your heart readings doubling up as some power connectors. It’s witchcraft! There is a low power mode which you can activate to prolong things even further. (Like the teenage me trying to think of Bruce Forsyth squatting on a glass table…: sex joke)

Things of note. I reached one of my health targets. I was rewarded with a trophy that looks like an old 1980’s hob element. But yay trophy.

When you set a timer, (for my damn pizza) on the phone it vibrates the watch. Pretty cool if your phone is on silent and you’ve gone for a cheeky (insert vice here) No excuse for burnt anything anymore. Except crumpets… overdo those.. go-on.. then top with cheese.. try it.. go now..


 

My Week with Apple Watch: Day 2, Health and Efficiency

I said yesterday I didn’t set up the fitness elements of the Apple Watch right from the get go. Two reasons for this, I was short of time as I said and also I’m hardly “Mr Five-a-Day” healthy. I like to keep myself active, but I also like a full english breakfast from time to time. But its a feature and I thought it might be fun to actually see what gets my heart racing.

Like the set up of the watch in general the Activity monitor is easy to set up. Tell your watch how tall you are (short!), how heavy you are and how active you are (not very) and you are good to go. The watch then displays 3 worms. Red for Calories burned (actively) Green for exercise and blue for how long and how often you have stood up. The more you do the more achievements you unlock.

It did occur to me that wheelchair users may want to use this to track exercise and calories burned. To be told to stand up every hour would be a trifle annoying. Thankfully you can turn this off in the settings. Not that I have.

The daily goals are attainable and the watch will display words of encouragement to get you moving even a little more. Which has to be a good thing.

So thats the Health, what of the efficiency. Well I’ve decided not to charge the watch tonight and see how it does. It’s on 51% now so I’m not holding my breath.

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This woman is wearing an Apple Watch on her right wrist.

My Week with Apple Watch: Day 1, Strap On Issues

“Guess what I got (on loan)
Picture attached.

“Is that an Apple Watch? Why on loan?”
“Yes it is, (You were the first notification I got) My friend is going through an anti tech phase. Wants to live without it for a week see how he gets on. So he isn’t tempted I get it for a week to see if I like it.”

“Your friend is weird”

Who am I to argue with beautiful wisdom from across the pond. My friend is weird, but I knew that because he’s friends with me. I get a shiny watch to play with. So why haven’t I got one already? I’m a Apple guy.

Well, I’m not a watch guy, haven’t worn one for 17 years and my bank doesn’t offer Apple Pay a huge selling point of the watch. Also I haven’t had the money. So no pressing need. But I am an apple geek and it’s a nice thing. So why not try it out, remembering of course to take it off when I have a bath, for it isn’t water proof.

1st impressions. We’ll obviously no unboxing for me, but set up (off wrist) is so easy. Line your iPhone camera up with the pattern on the watch screen and boom you are paired. A few questions follow about transferring available Watch companion apps for the apps I have on my phone. And it’s set.

Strap on issues…I am cack-handed. My friend knows this and he showed me method for putting the watch on. I still couldn’t for a good 10 attempts. The strap on the sport model is a nicely made rubber affair with a stud for fastening (much like my gimp mask) but instead of a traditional strap the left over strap gets tucked in back towards your wrist. I kept fastening it only for it to come undone whilst tucking. Who hasn’t come undone whilst tucking…

I skipped the bit about health as I am running short on time. I will cover more about that in tomorrows piece. Now it’s on and I look forward to notifications, I’m off to work.

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Apple Watch: Modelled by a Sasquatch clearly

Apple Fitness

It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything techy… been a long time since I’ve written anything but hey. Today is iOS 9 release day, so prepare for the masses to bork Apple’s servers and/or complain that they have no space for the update on their devices and this is somehow Apples fault.

Last week they announced a new iPad pro that is the size of a house, comes with a stylus (Sorry Steve) and is clearly aimed at the business market. An example along side the 6/6s plus of Apple providing people with what the markets think they think they need, rather than just doing their own thing. Oh and there was a new iPhone, fetching in ringpiece pink. (I think that’s what they called it)

All that is not what excites me. If I was a app developer I wouldn’t be writing this, I’d be busy making a million dollars. Tim Cook’s barmy army announced a new Apple TV, with Apps. Now here’s the idea, you can have it for free. Apple TV Fitness.

The Apple TV coupled with the Apple Watch could, with a clever app on both devices, provide a home aerobic workout that is personalised, not only to you in general, but to you at that very instant. The apple watch monitors your heart rate and motion, so could influence the workout you see on screen. No more gym membership, no more putting up with the odours of farty Clarence whilst listening to the inane coaching stylings of Jenni “Woo yeah c’mon”

You are slowing, mid workout, Apple TV fitness coach encourages you. You do something well, there is praise. Want to workout with Homer Simpson or Ozzy Osbourne, it happened to Sat Nav why not workout? People will pay for different trainers/voices. If someone writes these apps I don’t have the skill to write there is money to be made. Hell throw in Apple Music in there as well and you could become an “iron man” led by Ozzy accompanied by “Iron Man”

I know you have Wii Fit and a few titles for Kinect and PS4. This however could change the game. Not for me, I have no time to keep fit, I’m off to sign up for the developer programme and to learn Swift.

Poem: iWish My Brain Was Like My iPod

iWish my brain was like my iPod,
Designed by Jonny Ive,
Everything stored in memory,
Keeping me alive,
iCould plug my brain in,
To sync with something new,
If it turned out not quite right,
I’d simply click Undo.
If my brain was like my iPod,
I could Pause and Play,
Skip to find the bits I like,
And let the rest just fade away.
If my brain was like my iPod,
All scuffed up and abused,
It surely is the off function,
That would be most often used.

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Happy Birthday Mac

30 years ago today the first Apple Macintosh was announced in the US. There was very little whooping and clapping and certainly no-one had been sleeping outside on the New York streets for 3 days to get their hands on one. But what an impact the Mac had. First time I used one I didn’t like it!! It had one mouse button and was being hogged by a friend who was showing me how to put flames round some writing in Photoshop.

No thanks. I thought, I’ll stick to my PC, it runs Championship Manager 2.

I was wrong.

Without the Mac we quite possibly wouldn’t have had The Mouse, Copy and Paste, MS Powerpoint, smartphones, iPods, Usable tablet devices, and digital music stores amongst other things. Sure all these things probably would have sprung up, but in very different forms than they are now. It’s always pointed out to me that Microsoft pioneered the tablet PC years before the iPad. Trouble is Microsoft always want their mobile devices to run the same software as desktops the devices are always doomed. They haven’t learnt from past mistakes.

Microsoft have of course played a huge role in the success of the Mac. Developing MS Office for the Mac and investing $150 million in 1997. At a time where Windows was king and the Mac was on dicey ground indeed.

Fast forward to the present day. Whereas in the UK the PC used to rein supreme the humble Mac has gained a significant market share in the home market. Even in the office where I work more Mac’s are thankfully appearing, I just wish the people who had them (not me) knew how to use them. Mind you it does give me a opportunity to be a Mac Geek at work, which is much better than trying to eat my Dell keyboard because I have tried to use a Mac keyboard shortcut.

Main question I see on Twitter is (computer wise, not about Justin Beiber) “Is the Mac worth the extra money?”

The question in itself is wrong. If you spec the a PC to the levels of the Mac Pro the home built PC will be more expensive. But MacBook Air is more expensive than £250 PC. If you want a machine that is not only usable but runs the same as the day you got it the MacBook Air will not disappoint.

I hope the Mac will continue to be around in some form for at least another 30 years and that Apple continue to Think Different.

(WMB4X) QuizUp

Something new for these fair pages an App Review. Or more likely as it turns out me saying “Look at this cool App” So look at this cool App.

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QuizUp is a pretty damn sweet quiz (clues in the name people) game from Plain Vanilla. It’s a very simple premise, download the App from the App Store (Android version on the way) create an Account, you can use Facebook, Twitter or email address for this then you are off and running. Choose from over 250 different topics anything from Family Guy to Myths and Legends or Logos to Harry Potter, you then get to answer 5 questions multiple choice questions for a maximum of 20 points followed by a sixth question for a maximum of 40 points.

The longer you take to answer the lower your score will be, getting the answer wrong will mean you get nothing. It may also mean you want to launch your iPhone or iPad across the room. Oh of course you are not playing against your phone. You are playing against your friends, if you link your Facebook, Twitter or Game Center, or if you are a loner like me random strangers from across the globe, so it does require an active internet connection. However if you want to challenge one of your friends who happens to be lets say hard at work or busy contemplating their navel you can set a score for them to try and beat later on. In addition you can also find players nearby to play.

I did think initially that it was going to be too Americanized (note the “z” in homage) for me. And yes some of the TV rounds will have people without the “right to bear arms” perplexed, as will some of the Logos. However I have noticed the very English (now owned by GM) Vauxhall (known as Opel elsewhere) pop up. This game will only get better as time passes because they allow the community to apply to submit their own questions. The key word here is “apply” implying that there is a vetting process so, “Whats the largest landmark in Sweden?” Answer “Yo Mamma.” quite disappointingly won’t occur.

My advice. It’s free, give it a bash. Then when you have finished that play QuizUp. You might even end up playing me. Be warned its addictive. (They aren’t paying me)

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