Saturday, December 4, 2021

Messaging Myself Helped A Lot With daily Tasks and Mindset

 Do you talk to yourself sometimes? I do. I talk to myself sometimes. Perhaps, I should talk to myself more often. The best way to do this in the mobile world is through texting yourself. That’s what I do on my iPhone with Messages. It could probably be done with any other app you choose to use. And it has been a great help in helping me keep track of some things while allow me to quickly post thoughts that I don’t want to forget the moment I walk into the house or out the the shower.

In essence, my messaging app has become my default personal and private (as much as I can keep it that way) feed for my daily life. 

I have included locations that I’ve been to that I want to revisit, where I parked my car, and where I want to visit for the first time.

I have also posted links to things that I want to check out later that day.

Other things that I have messaged myself includes quotes, ideas, things I want to consider more in-depth or research, and reminders. I get that there are already apps for that but is there anything out there that really pulls all these together. Your default messaging app is likely your most used app on your phone. It’s a no brainer that you would go to that app automatically because you’ve already got the muscle memory to do that.

In fact, this is not a new idea. There are a few other apps that I have used, Signal, Keybase, and GroupMe that allows self-messaging. Beyond that, they all work the same. So I imagine most other apps would allow self-messaging.  On the iPhone, Messages is my default messaging app on the iPhone so it’s what I use.

I’ll give you an example of how well this works for me. I was walking out of a supermarket with my wife when pointed to a sign about how shopping cart wheels lock up when take out of the parking lot. And I have tried it on the past and the wheels did lock up. In a hurry to get to our next stop, I did not have time to look it up right then and there. So I messaged myself to look up how this works when I get home.

Could I have done that using reminder? Yes. Will I look into it? There is a good chance I will do that but also a good chance that I’ll get distracted and this got pushed back. But since it was on messages, I saw it right away when I got home and looked it up later that evening.

One added bonus I like to share. It changed my mindset. It’s one of those “me, myself, and I” thing but I felt it has helped me sort of think things through and added some perspective and clarity to what’s mind in general and at that particular moment. 

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Apple Going All In On Autonomous Vehicles Is The Only Thing That Makes Sense

 Today, Bloomberg was leaked by someone at Apple that the iPhone maker is still trying to become an iCar maker (I am pretty sure Apple's car will not be called the iCar) by trying to leapfrog competitors in a 4-5 years time frame. The thing about this is that it seems more of a plausible leak of Apple's actual plan rather than those spread by "sources" who in the past really does not seem to know what Apple's plans really are.

While it is typical for Apple car rumors to surface a couple of of times a year to give the stock a jolt upward, it is also typical for rumors of trouble from Asian sources that Apple cut iPhone production in the January quarter to drive the Apple's stock price down, what makes this leak more news worthy is that it seems to be what I think about how Apple will engineer and release a car. 

Apple is going to where no car company has gone before - a fully autonomous vehicle that require no direct control from a driver. If true, it will achieve something Tesla is coming close to do but not close enough. It will truly be revolutionary. If you think about it, despite the advances in build material, engineering, and design, the automobile has not really changed much at all.

Now, Apple will not be interested in a Tesla killer. It will not try to muscle in on the car market with another "me, too" vehicle. Unless Apple can bring something to the market that has more to offer than what is already out there, Apple will not do it. This is why Apple's car project, aka Project Titan, has been around for years not without anything to show for it. 

Sure, Apple can design an awesome looking car and complete with Tesla, Mercedes, BMW, and probably Lucid, the car that Apple seemed to have been rumored to release did not seem to offer anything new. What made today's Bloomberg article about Apple's car more plausible is this - no steering wheels or pedals. Now, that just seem crazy, right? But for an intelligent car that can safely navigate Los Angeles traffic, it would have to be truly revolutionary and do something no other car is capable of.

I'm old school about my car so I cannot imagine ever buying a car that I do not have control over. But wait a minute. Steering wheels and gas/break pedals have been around since the Model T and nothing has changed. It's likely that if the Bloomberg article is true, it means that Apple has indeed come up with a way, maybe better or not, for passengers to navigate the Apple car on the road without the need for a steering wheel or pedals.

Impossible? Well, isn't SpaceX's Dragon capsule sending astronauts into space using iPads in space? Suppose Apple has found a way for iPhone or iPad to allow passengers in the Apple car to navigate traffic to get the intended destination.

There is a caveat here: Apple could be blow smoke screens with this leak to Bloomberg and make its competitors waste resources on something Apple itself is not working on or it not actually going to delivery in 2025 as the leak suggests. From a strategic sense, someone at Apple may believe this leak works for Apple. I would not want to venture a guess as to what that advantage is.

Why do I think that? Well, no steering wheels and pedals. Completely no human operators whatsoever. Perhaps Apple is rethinking the whole idea of transportation. What they are coming up with isn't a car at all but a whole new type of vehicle that is truly autonomous and controlled by an iPhone or iPad. Yes, such a car still need some kind of input from the passengers. And if there is more than one passenger and with multiple destinations, the Apple car will find a the best and safest way to get passengers to their destinations.

Apple will be completing with the EV companies as well as traditional car companies that are trying to evolve into EV companies. Apple is not going to compete against them. These companies are very good at what they do and are entrenched. Maybe Apple might succeed in a minor manner with a regular EV car running of version of iOS. But it means it will be competing on someone else's terms. That is not how Apple has competed in the smartphone market or the watch market. It will bring something truly revolutionary or it will not. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Re-Imagining the Original iPhone SE With Today’s Tech

I miss the original iPhone SE (it is the same as the iPhone 5) a lot as I am sure many other iPhone users do as well. While the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 mini are decent replacements as far as sizes go, there is nothing like the feather weight SE that easily slide into pockets and bags. So, I want to explore what the chances are that the 4” screen iPhone with its 4.87” x 2.31” size ever make a comeback? In my mind, it is complicated - I would not bet on it but I do believe that the chances of it happening are better than anyone realizes.

Until that happens, we can only imagine what such an iPhone SE would be like. Look-wise, an imaginary iPhone SE with the original form factor would look pretty much the same as far as the size is concerned. If Apple keeps the screen size the same at 4”, it means we will have a home button with Touch ID. To keep costs down, it will not have FaceID. 

If anything, Apple would likely increase the screen size to about 4.5” that would encompass the surface area like the current iPhone since the iPhone X. This new iPHone SE would have a notch as well but it is unavoidable at the time. Under the screen tech just is not quite there yet. Otherwise, Apple have would implemented years ago.

Now, imagine having such a small device with the power of equivalent to that of Apple’s M1 chip inside, that is just what the A15 chip is. And with the power efficiency of the modern chip, give this SE power and longevity.

So, let’s talk about the power and battery life of such a theoretical SE - with an efficient A15 chip, this small iPhone would fly. And it would be future proofed for many years. On top of that, given how small the SOC is now, Apple can conceivable fit additional battery. Combined with a more powerful chip that uses less power and a larger battery life, the 10-hour battery of the original SE could climb into the 12-13 hour range. I’m talking about a 20-30% increase in usage per charge. It may not seem like a lot compared to the 15 hours or more of the iPhone 13, Pro, and Max, as a daily driver, this small SE can hold its own. Plus, it does not have as big of a screen to power as the bigger iPhones so we might see an even bigger battery usage out of it. 

Next time, let’s talk about is screen, ability to handle new iOS features, and how such a small device could be a perfect computer as well.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

iPad Mini is the Best iPhone Pro Max (Except For Battery Life and Camera)

I know, the title here makes no sense to some. The iPad mini is tablet. The iPhone Pro Max is more of the Swiss army knife of the mobile world - it can do a lot. You can do a lot with it on the go. The Max can do it all. It is why is has garnered the most attention year after year during Apple events. The Max is the device that is evident from the billions of R&D Apple poured into it. While that is great, I think it is time to evaluate its use from consumption and productivity points of view. And in my mind, even my iPad mini 5 and the just released 2021 iPad mini has a lot to bring to the gaming, reading and viewing videos for content consumption while productivity is where is shines for a vast majority of users. 

I guess I'm suggesting that unless you need the latest and best of the Max features, the iPad mini brings a lot to the game and could be the option to go with if you're looking for a device with a bigger screen than the Max but not quite want to carry around the bigger 10 to 12.5 inches version. 

Before we continue about why the iPad mini might be a better option for consumption and productivity, let's address features that are missing form the mini that the Max boasts. The mini battery lasts up to 10 hours. Maybe 12 hours if you turn on the power saving mode. On my aging mini 5, the feature has been helped me a lot during gaming and switching between apps that run in the background. If there is one thing that would have me ordering the new mini would have been a longer battery life. I do not understand why Apple has not increased the battery life on the iPad line while the battery life of the iPhones and MacBooks has created by leaps and bounds over the years. The 10-hour limit on the iPads is so pre-2010 and it has fallen behind those of Android and Chrome tablets that range from 12-15 hours. It makes sense that Apple can increase the battery life on the iPads and will at some point but no one knows why it has not done so yet. I will not venture a guess as to why that is.

The other issue is the camera. The iPad mini camera is bad and the camera on the iPad mini 2021 is a better improvement but it lacks those of the Max. And it makes no sense that Apple would put the latest and greatest camera on the mini or even the iPad Pro. Probably like the battery issue I mentioned above, cost is an issue and differentiation between devices is essential for Apple. Speaking to the camera on the iPad mini 2021, let's just say that people appreciate Apple even improved it at all. Reading through about eight or so tech reviews on the mini, the camera was given a paragraph's mention while only a couple provide sample photos taken by the mini. That shows just how much expectation people has for the mini with respect to the camera.

With that out of the way, the iPad mini truly is outstanding as a mobile device. People generally think that smaller means less power and features omitted. With the iPad mini Apple just released, it is equipped with the latest A15 chip that also powers the iPhone 13 and benchmarks shows that it is one of the fastest chip out there - not just the fastest Apple chip but in the entire computing world. It will have staying power for years. Even now with my iPad mini 5, released in 2019, with the A12 chip that powered the iPhone XS and the popular XR that was only discontinued this fall, it feels every bit as speedy as it was running whatever iOS it came with. I read books on there, write articles, play games, make calls/FaceTime, and even began coding with it (learning to my way into some programming languages and hope to build my own AI one day).  

The only regret I have is that I did not get mine with cellular modem. At the time when I bought it, I thought I would only use it for reading books and comics and gaming. I had a cellular iPad Pro that I was using for productivity and work. Eventually, I came to like the mini size more. With the new iPad mini screen coming in at 8.3” and nearly the same size, it is only better.

Some might argue that the iPad mini screen is too small for productivity. I disagrees.  Perhaps some compromises might have to be made but I think with a little imagination and motivation, it would work perfectly. The same can be said of a device of any screen size but for me, the mini stands at the crossroad between smartphones and tablets. The mini was a phablet before there were phablets.

I would like Apple to make a few improvements but I will save that for another time - my own version of click-baiting if you will. I will likely hold onto to my green iPhone 12 mini for another year because it just that good. I am going to use my iPad mini a bit longer as well until I become more apt with coding and then I can reward myself with the iPad mini 6 later. But even if I do decide to use my iPad mini 5 until the iPad mini 7 comes out (Apple is not likely to released a new mini on an annual basis), it would still continue to do just about everything I expect it to do running iPadOS 16 and 17.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

iPad For the Week

 I figure I need a MacBook for coding.  As I continue my slow coding trek, I assumed that I need a Mac in order to do that. However, I’m still at the level where I can get away with a Mac while I use online sources and apps to beef up my coding muscles. This week is going to prove it.

I will be having a change of scenery as I am staying closer to work so we do not have to suffer the Los Angeles traffic. LA is flat and you have to drive pretty much everywhere you go. This morning, I packed my wife’s MacBook Air, I was about to put my 12” Macbook into my bag when I realized that I have been doing a lot of work on the iPad mini and the iPad Pro over the weekend. 

Over the weekend, I did the following in terms of productivity:

  • Research products
  • Sketched some artwork
  • Writing
  • Used Numbers (Apple’s spreadsheet) and Google Sheets (Google’s spreadsheet)
  • Worked on online store (Yup, starting a hobby to learn how e-commerce works.  What better way than to create an online store)
  • Coding lessons
  • Reading up on materials relating to AI, coding, and online sales
  • Edited photos and videos
  • Wrote a short story
Aside from those productive tasks, I also read a Batman comic, writing in my journal, and watched movies. All of this was on the iPad. 

In the coming week, I think I can continue to do all of the above without having to use the Macbook for any of this.  Some tasks couple be easier on the Mac but others like sketching with the Apple Pencil and reading on the go is definitely either the Macbook is not capable of or convenient. Despite the Macbook being light and mobile, I like have to use both hands while propping it up while I can hold the iPad in one hand while reading on the couch or bed.

And this is on a 2019 iPad mini. I imagine I can do pretty much the same thing if I decided to upgrade to the 2021 iPad mini or even the Pro at some point in the future. That’s another line of thought for another time, perhaps later this week. 

And with iPadOS 15, my iPad mini is even more amazing. I’ll be updating how things are with the mini.  By the way, speaking of coding, Apple is supposed to release a version of Playgrounds that lets users submit apps into the App Store.  I cannot wait to try it out. 

The question I’m faced with in the future is whether I need a Mac anymore. I am sure Apple is faced with that dilemma internally.