Tag Archives: Apple

Apple iPhone X

iPhone X first impressions, conclusion first. Wow, what a great phone!
 
Screen is big and beautiful. The off-angle performance, which is where OLED gives a little ground to LCD is minimal – no issue at all for any viewing angle I can see using.
 
Face ID is amazing, quick and accurate. It’s like having no passcode set as far as convenience goes. The phone just unlocks.
 
I though it would take me *weeks* to get used to swiping up from the bottom of the screen to go “home”, since there is no button. It took about 10 minutes.
 
My only other concern was the “ears” at the top of the screen around the notch. Turns out they don’t bother me at all either.
 
The screen on my iPhone 6S now seems so small.
 
Worth every penny since it’s a device I use often and every day.
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Apple iPad Pro Review

I was really looking forward to Apple announcing an iPad update this Fall. My iPad 3 was due for replacement, being heavy and slow due to the GPU being underpowered for the Retina display. Since the iPad Air 2 had been out for a year, I was waiting for its refresh/replacement model.

When Apple did not announce any new full-sized iPads, I was greatly disappointed.Sure, they announced a new iPad Mini, but I’d had a mini at one point, and missed the larger screen.

As time passed I started to give more and more thought to the iPad Pro that had been announced. Awesome screen. Great sound. Fast CPU and GPU. Huh.

The more I though about it and the way I tend to use my iPad, the more I thought maybe the Pro would work. So when ordering became available, I ordered one, and picked it up the next day at a local Apple store!

Here are my early impressions.

Size

Yeah, it’s not small. But the large screen is terrific. In the same way the mini screen felt to cramped to me, the Pro screen feels better than the “normal” iPad screen. The device is a little heavy, but coming from an iPad 3, which is pretty heavy itself, it’s not bad at all. Admittedly not something you want to spend a lot of time holding up in mid-air, but resting own a lap or a table is more common in my experience anyway. If you are coming from an iPad Air or a mini, your opinion about the added weight may differ from mine!

Performance

Great. Very fast and fluid. Haven’t done much that really taxes it (e.g. gaming) yet, but for my normal everyday tasks performance is great.

Features

Having an iPad with a Touch ID sensor is wonderful. I know this isn’t the first iPad to offer that, but it’s a new iPad feature for me!

The audio is impressive. Amazing sound from an iPad.

Split-screen multitasking. So so good. It took me less than a day to begin being annoyed by the apps that don’t support this feature yet. Being able to have two apps on the screen and active at the same time is a fundamental improvement in usability. Even though the pre-existing app switching functionality is pretty fast, not having to do it at all is a vast improvement in usability. Evernote in one pane for reference or not-taking with a browser or some other app in another pane is very cool. And by cool I mean “incredibly useful”.

Travel

I expect it to be transformative for travel. When we fly somewhere, the iPad becomes our major device for entertainment. TV shows and movies one the airplane, as well as in the hotel room.

Really looking forward to the larger screen for this purpose. And no more need for a Bluetooth speaker in the hotel. The audio from the iPad itself is plenty for watching video. And, I expect, for background music in the room.

Since the iPad Pro is treated like an iPad for purposes of airplane restrictions, it means that even though the screen is in the laptop size range we can use it during takeoffs and landings. And it can stay in my backpack through security.
I also expect the game of protecting a laptop screen from the suddenly reclined seat on the airplane to be eliminated by the iPad Pro as well. (I’ll admit I need to obtain the new keyboard cover and test this to be sure, but it seems like a reasonable conjecture.)

Combined with a hardware keyboard it should be able to eliminate the need for a laptop when traveling. I never got as much time to program when traveling as I thought I would anyway, and that’s about the only thing the iPad can’t do that the laptop can. And if the rumors of Xcode for the iPad Pro are true…

Accessories

The Apple Pencil. The Smart Keyboard. Two things I don’t have. When I pre-ordered my iPad Pro, I foolishly thought it would be the hard-to-get item and the accessories would be readily available and I could grab them once I decided how the device itself was going to work for me. Oops. I have both on order, but by the time I decided to place those orders, the deliver time was 4-5 weeks out. Sigh.

I’ve heard nothing but good about the Pencil. So even though I’m in no way an artist, I want to take a look. I do like to sketch diagrams and such, so I’m hopeful it will be useful even for me.

I’m a little more uncertain about the keyboard/cover combo. If Xcode for the iPad ever does actually appear, then OMG yes yes yes. But since I’m not a writer, or even a rabid blogger, I don’t find myself typing that much on an iPad. I suspect that multitasking (and the larger screen) might change that equation a bit for me, but up until now I was much more of a “consumer” on my iPad than a creator.
But the laptop-replacement aspect of the device seems to be related to having a well integrated keyboard, so in for a penny, in for a pound.

Bottom line is I’m looking forward to trying them both!
And if the keyboard isn’t useful for me, it would be for my wife. Who does not have an iPad Pro. But if it is as useful for me as I think it’s going to be, it would be even more useful for her. So I’m expecting/fearing we might have to become a two iPad Pro family at some point. 🙂

Summary

Wonderful screen real estate, fast, enough space for multitasking to be comfortable. I love it so far.

iOS Apps – Letting Go

At this point I have three apps on the Apple App Store. Dose Tracker, an app that allows you to track how many doses have been taken and how many remain of perhaps an inhaler.
Grounded, a silly app that lets you keep track of the “grounded” status of your children. And GrieveIt, a serious tool for labor professionals.

All three are in various states of neglect, due to my iOS development focus having been my full-time job as an iOS developer at Mellmo for the past several years.

So for those several years, I’ve been feeling guilty about not maintaining or improving these apps. From a financial standpoint, it makes no sense whatsoever. For inexpensive non-games with no advertising budget, the revenue is minuscule.

After giving this a lot of thought, reading blogs and talking with other developers, I think the time has come to remove most of these apps from the store. The one app that I feel I need to at least maintain is GrieveIt, so that one stays. But the other ones are going to go.

I’ll still feel guilty, but not as guilty as I feel about having outdated apps still for sale. And from a “portfolio” standpoint, those don’t really represent the state of the art, so they probably aren’t fulfilling that function either.

I think that marks the point where I clearly segregate my programming into two groups. Things that I do primarily to make money (i.e. my day job), and things I do for fun (my own iOS apps, etc.).

Yes, I know, GrieveIt falls in the middle, sigh. I’m toying with the idea of making it free, since it does help people do things I believe in. And by free, I mean truly free – no in-app purchases, no advertising. Free.
I’m still thinking about this. If I decide to invest some time to update it and add features, I might keep it in the theoretically money-making state. Or I might not – the whole effort to maintain even a simple “business” is a drag on my time and energy as well. (And if I don’t invest the necessary time and energy, then I pay in guilt, so…)

In summary: time to streamline!

iPad mini – Retina musings

When the iPad mini was released, I bought one to see just how that size would work. I really liked it, to the point where I regretted getting just the 16G wifi- only model. I also missed the Retina display of my full-sized iPad. My plan was to grab a Retina mini when they release today, but since Apple made the full-sized iPad so much lighter and a bit smaller (but same screen size), my decision became a lot harder.

And then, to further complicate things, I happened to see the latest Nook e-reader at Barnes & Noble last night, and was impressed by both it’s extremely light weight, its small size, and the nice illuminated screen. (I’ve always been a fan of e-ink)

So now I’m contemplating just sticking with my full-sized 3rd gen iPad, perhaps getting rid of the iPad mini, and grabbing a new e-ink reader to fill the “just reading a book” niche.

(Yes, I still have my original Nook, but it’s about the size and weight of the iPad mini, so it hasn’t gotten much use lately.)

iPad Mini

The iPad mini is an experiment – wifi only and just 16G, so not planned to replace my “big” iPad.

May put the Nook into the museum though (or limited to use on the beach where sun makes LCDs a poor choice).

The mini is thinner and lighter than the Nook and just slightly larger width and height. And iBooks is way nicer than the somewhat limited Nook software.

The new Lightning connector is very slick – easy to connect and feels a little less fragile than the complicated 30-pin connector of yore. Yes, it’s a pain to have to (slowly) transition all of my cables and devices, but the 30-pin connector had a good run.

The display is certainly less crisp than the Retina display on my full-size iPad, but it’s not bad, just not as good. If you’ve never spent time using a Retina iPad, it will look great, as the dpi is actually better than that of the non-Retina iPads.

Fax Madness

As part of the start up of Stormgate Software, I’m migrating from a “personal” iOS developer account with Apple to a corporate one. This process has been pretty smooth so far, with Apple’s developer support team being both responsive and knowledgable.

To confirm that Stormgate Software actually exists, they of course want to see some paperwork. In this case, my Certificate of Organization from the state. And how do they want this paperwork submitted? Why FAX of course.

When you fax something, what actually happens is the piece of paper is scanned, turned into bits, and sent to a fax machine on the other end which prints it.

When sending to a company like Apple, it’s a really good bet that what’s on the other end of the phone isn’t a “fax machine”, but rather a computer. And that computer almost certainly just creates a PDF file of the “paperwork”.

Not only is this process (the scan-the-paper part) sort of primitive, but in this case it’s pretty crazy. Why? Because the document I’m sending is a PDF! That’s what the state sent me!

So here’s the process:

  1. State government’s computer generates a PDF (bits)
  2. PDF is sent to me via the internet
  3. I print the PDF onto dead trees
  4. I drive to the local U-Fax-It store (now we add dead dinosaurs into the process)
  5. The paper is scanned and sent via phone line to Apple
  6. Apple’s computer system turns it into a PDF (bits)

Sigh. If only I’d had some 8-Track tapes to listen to during step #4…

OSX Lion

Cannot believe that Apple releases OSX Lion on the day I’m headed to Florida! Guess I’ll just have to be satisfied reading John Siracusa’s review on Ars Technica.
It does tempt me to take my trusty old MacBook Air with me, but not sure I want to try downloading an OS over hotel WiFi.
And speaking of MacBook Airs, the upgraded models announced today look really sweet. I don’t need a new laptop, but I sure want one.

iPad Thoughts #3

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Have gotten Pages to crash when looking at inserting a shape, I think.  Document was ok.

The ability to use Pages in both landscape (better if you like a big keyboard) as well as portrait is nice.

I’m enjoying both GoodReader and InstaPaper Pro.

The on-screen keyboard should be prettier.  It’s clear and functional, but lacks the “ooh – pretty” factor that so much of the rest of the iPad has.
See an app like PCalc for an example of how nice keys can look.

After using the iPad on my flight to Italy, I have to say that it is excellent for that purpose.  No issues with trying to open a laptop screen in a crowded seat, or fears of the destruction that can be cause by the person in front of you leaning their seat back!

No cleaning cloth?  Apple seems to be cheaping out a bit here.

WiFi sensitivity does seem a bit less than other devices.

After several days in Italy with no Internet for my iPad I am thinking a bit harder about the whole wifi-only versus wifi-plus-3G question.  Not that that should have helped here – with the insane data rates I’d be paying in Europe, even my iPhone is not connected to the internet.
Now, this isn’t really a fair test since even without 3G, if I was a stateside I’d have regular Internet connections which would at least let me sort of “cache up” some data.  But still…  Thinking about it.

Seems like there is plenty of room to put more app icons on the screens.  Did Apple decide not to for aesthetic reasons?  Avoiding the too-crowded look?

iPad Thoughts #2

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The iBooks app is completely amazing.  Very good book reader, lots of eye candy.

It is weird that iTunes mixes both audio and print books in its “Books” section of the library.  With no way (from the grid view) to tell which are audiobooks and which are print e-books.

Zooming in and out (for example – in a web page) is so fast it amazes me.

Still trashing around looking for a good PDF reader app.  Tried ReaddleDocs (as in purchased it) due to the Dropbox integration, but that functionality goes through their servers, and I’m not certain I like that idea.
Trying GoodReader next.

GoodReader looks pretty good.  Unlike ReaddleDocs, it supports the new way of doc sync via iTues.

The Apple case is nice, and not only protects the screen (when closed), but makes the entire device much less slippery.  Only drawback so far is that you can’t place the iPad into the (optional) dock when it’s in the case.
Due to the slippery factor, I’d suggest that if you don’t plan to have it live in a case, buying a “skin” of some sort for the back might be a good idea.  Either the silicon type, or (my preference) a stick-on skin from GelaSkins.

Weatherbug is very cool.

Update on Charging: The 5W iPhone chargers will actually charge it, but more slowly.  And my MBA seems to charge it as well.  Also appears that even a computer that doesn’t provide enough charging current when the iPad is “awake” might charge it very slowly if the iPad is “asleep”.

I’m spending way more on apps for the iPad than I did for the iPhone.  Wonder if that’s due to it feeling like the apps are worth more since they run on a “bigger” platform?

iPad Thoughts #1

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Preliminary report – the iPad is fracking amazing!  Screen is beautiful, and some of the apps I’ve played with so far really use touch well.

The iBook app comes with one book apparently – Winnie-the-Pooh.  A great move on Apple’s part.  Why?  Because it has very nice watercolor illustration throughout.  They look wonderful on the iPad, and it’s a direct poke at all the monochrome e-book readers out there.

Saddest result so far of playing with iPad is I’m loving my iPhone just a little less.

One very obvious thing so far: all apps MUST be converted to run on iPad.

So, just had a bunch of movies denied for DL to iPad based on format.  Sort of a surprise, since they should all play on AppleTV, and I was expecting the iPad to support those same videos.  Need to investigate further…

I am a bit concerned that the iPad seems to need a 10W charger.  Hooking it directly to my Mac lets me sync, but not charge.
All the iPod and iPhone chargers seem to be 5W.

The “Picture Frame” mode changes images too quickly (as in, not shown for a long enough period).  Don’t see any way to adjust that.

Puzzlers:

  1. 1)MobilMe iDisk and MobileMe Gallery don’t appear to be iPad ready.

  2. 2)No “Clock” app

  3. 3)No “Stocks” app


Not Clear On The Concept:
ABC TV app, which looks cool otherwise is portrait orientation only.