Saturday, February 27, 2021

A Day Of Apple Watch Without the iPhone

I spent a day without the iPhone but I was not completely cut off from my social life online and other connections.  I had my cellular Apple Watch 6 with me the whole time as my main driving device. I did have my WIFI only iPad mini with me as well but only for productive means (writing, drawing) if I had time.

I want to see if we can get to the point when we can rely only on our wearables and, if so, how far along are we.  And of course, we  far will get go with wearables and what forms they will take in the near future.  

It was the first time I am doing this so I have no idea how it'll work out. It was easy day.  A trip to the hospital to get my blood drawn and then lunch.  Afterwards, back home and then took a walk to do local errands.  In all that time, I received two calls.  I missed one while I was driving and another I ignored because it was a scam call.  

I texted a few times.  I asked Siri for updates on scores. And I was constantly checking to see where I am in closing the circles (calories, workout minutes, number of times I stood up).  My goal is average 11,000 steps for all of 2021.  

The battery life held up fine.  Rather, I did not worry about it because it was enough to last me through the day but I took it off twice for quick 15-20 minutes charges.  I also have a charger in the car that I leave in there on a permanent basis - I figure if I'm going to do this often, I ought to have an Apple Watch charger whenever I need it.  

Notes of interest:

  • My screen time was reduced obviously.  I felt a bit cut off but there are apps I could have downloaded for news and such but I decided I did not want or need to stay connected.  I have Twitter on my watch but like all watch apps now, they're limited in this use because of the screen.
  • I would not mind a bigger screen - a bigger case would accommodate a bigger screen as well as bigger battery.
  • I felt liberated at times - it was the weekends.  I did not have to worry about work.  And for emergencies, I could still be reached or reach out.
  • Anxious moments - I did not having any.  I felt something was amiss.  It was not having my iPhone with me.  Those moments passed.
  • Photos and videos - I take photos at time.  I did not need take any that day but my wife and I went to food fair that night.  She took pictures and videos.  I have an old iPhone without a sim card in the glove compartment to take photos for emergencies.  

That was last Saturday. We are going to Venice Beach today and job up to Santa Monica and then down to Marina Del Rey.  It'll be my Apple Watch only again.  I'm looking forward continuing the wearable only experience.  I think we as a society today are just spending too much time attached to our mobile devices.  Instead of using them as tools, they've become crutches.  With them, we are on worlds, through social media and other apps, that are not connected to the real world around us.  

I also recognize that I do need to stay connected a bit.  This is why I want to explore how wearables can be useful tools and how we can avoid having wearables (AR/VR glasses) take over our lives.

Monday, February 1, 2021

iPhone 12 Mini: As Productive As Ever But More Is Possible

There were times this past couple of weeks when I was out and about as I tried to juggle between work and immediately family matters and I was only able to steal a few minutes here and there to work on my side projects, jot down thoughts, and continue my slow but steady  march toward becoming a coder.  With the iPhone 12 mini, I'm able to do all that and come away feeling rather productive and had no issues getting what I needed done. 

Of course, it's not Mac or the iPad. Nor was it the 6.7" iPhone version. Here is a list of what I've been able to do:
  • With a stylus, I was able to come up with a couple of sketches for a project I am working on. 
  • Record a 20 min recording that i will edit later for a podcast. 
  • Average out about 400-600 words a day for blogs and other writing. 
  • Took some photos and edit them for uploading to a site that lets me sell photos. 
  • Practice come codes. Wasn't able to run them till later but
  • Mind-mapped and plotted out an online store I'm trying to start with my wife. 
And I am writing this post using the mini. Writing a few hundred words on the mini is easy. I have yet to writing anything close to, say, a chapter length article. It can be done. I once read that a woman write an entire book on a cellular phone using only the numeric pad. 

I am kinda scatter-brained but if I work at it, I think can become even more productive with just the iPhone mini. I think I am only scratching the surface of the potential of Apple's smallest Face ID era iPhone. And I am sure smarter and more creative people than I am have done much more with less. 

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Going With the iPhone Mini - Let’s See If It Is the Right Move After A Year Using It

I got the iPhone 12 Mini.  A few years ago, I would have gotten the iPhone 12 Pro Max without a second thought.  Things have changed.  I no longer want the best but only need enough to maximize my productivity in both my daily life and my work.  

Let me get some of the obvious shortcomings of the mini compared to the bigger iPHone 12s out of the way:  the Pro have better cameras including the 2x zoom camera which I miss but not as much as I expected, battery life is shorter than the other iPhones, and its smaller screen.  Other than that, it is still an iPhone 12 in a smaller body with the fastest Apple developed chip available for the iOS devices.  Not even the iPad Pro has the latest chip yet.  

Still, if the sale stats are correct, the mini is the worst seller of the iPhone 12s.  If Apple is disappointed, I would be surprised because they likely know the mini served a specific market, a niche segment of the iPhone market that remember the perfect iPhone 5, 5S, and original SE size that allow one to easily hold and operate with one hand and stow away in a pocket without having to give it an extra shove.  And over time, the iPhone SE could adopt the iPhone 12 min form factor with a lower price, opening up an even bigger market for Apple.

I am going to keep updating my personal uses of the iPhone 12 mini over the year, concluding whether I’m going to hold onto it, upgrade it to another mini in 12 months, or go back to the Pro version.  

Let me start with the intimacy of the iPhone 12 mini.  when I’m out and about using it in public, I enjoy being able to use it without a 6.7” screen for all the world to see.  And the smaller form factor also satiate the nostalgia of devices past - the Palm devices, the original iPhone, and, yes, even a couple of Windows Mobile devices.

I send messages back and forth between friends on various messaging apps, hardly something requires bigger iPhones.  And among other things that I use the mini for:  Twitter (no Facebook/Instagram or any other social apps - by choice and also no need to use anything else), consume news, writing, and, once in a while, play games.  And on occasion, I use the iPhone for work as well but only as needed.
And I do need any iPhone.  Today, I left the house without it on purpose.  I had my cellular Apple Watch 6.  And it was a Sunday after all.  And I’m not all that important that I could go without my iPhone for a few. Hours.  But when I needed to take a photo of something, that was when I realized there are still times when I had to carry around a smartphone.  I tried to remember the details of what I was trying to take a photo of.  But the time I got home, not only had I forgotten the information, I had completely forgotten what I was trying to photograph.  

That will be all for now.  And I definitely think I made the right move going with the iPhone 12 mini.  There will be times when I wish I have some feature like the better camera on the Pro or longer battery life but I think those times should be quite rare.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Hybrid iOS and Mac Device - It Would Need To Be Done Right

Source:  Google Search.

It is common knowledge that Apple's own chips used in the iOS devices for years and now on the just updated MacBook Air and MacBook Pro are very fast.  There is almost nothing on the market that comes close to the processing power and the amount of power it needs.  It's the main reason why Apple is moving away from Intel chips. Apple's chips are simply faster and runs cooler.  It is why Apple's iPhone blow competing Android devices out of the water.  It is why Apple can arm its devices with only a few GB of RAM and the Galaxy devices need 16 GB.  Given how fast Apple's new M1 chip is and the potential for even better upgrades in the future, it is time to revisit a subject hat has divided the Apple community:  a tablet that runs both the iOS and Mac OS.  

First let me say this, with iOS and Mac OS the way they are not, it would not work.  It would be a nightmare.  Mac OS would not work with the current touch interface that works so well on the iPhone or iPad.  I would not buy such a device even if it was available now.  And I'm sure there are other problems that goes along with this.  

However, make no mistake - such a device is something Apple either has thought about or is a bit further along. Think an engineer at Apple has not managed to get MacOS running on and iPad Pro?  Perhaps an iPad Pro with the yet to be released M2 chip running MacOS like hot knife on butter?  

It will require Apple to rethink how the touch interface would work.  It would require an intelligent interface that knows when touch interface works better and when traditional PC interface works better.  But there is another way that Apple will make this happen.

How exactly would Apple do this?   I'm going to come back with a couple of thoughts on this later.  For now, I think it is worth bring up this discussion again.  

Thursday, January 7, 2021

iOS Devices - Upgrade Or Change The Battery?

Yesterday, my brother decided to change the battery on his iPhone X and iPad Pro that would enable him to continue to use his iOS devices for another 2-3 years.  I had debated advising him whether it was time to upgrade his devices.  But for his current situation and needs, I think spending nearly $200 on was the the choice.  Whether that is the right choice depends on your needs and the timing of upgrades from Apple.

The iPhone X was released in 2017 and his iPad Pro in 2016.  Going into 2021, it would be about 4-5 years and he'll be keeping these devices for at least another two years. For today's mobile needs and annual releases from tech companies, this is eons ago.  However, Apple really build these devices to last whether it intended it to last this long.  Both of his devices still run the latest iOS and has no discernible performance issues that he could tell.  The only shortcoming is that his iPad Pro storage could not be upgraded. 

Paying $200 at a local shop might be a bit high.  At any other time, he would have taken it to an Apple store but we live in times of a potentially deadly and unpredictable pandemic so there was not a lot of options and Apple stores were all closed.  Why did he decide to upgrade the battery now?  The health of his battery was down to around 80% and losing that extra 2-3 hours changed his mobile activity to a certain extent.  Put it another way, adding back 2-3 hours is a relief and it did made his iPhone X feel like a new device.  

As for his iPad Pro, his children use it from time to time for viewing videos, doing school work, and playing games.  He is also using it for his personal work as well.  I had suggested that he get them another iPad back during the Holidays when various retailers had iPads on sale.  I did not push too hard on it.  

As for you or me, it really depends on our mobile needs whether upgrading the battery or getting whole new devices make sense.  As someone who is learning to code, blogging, and possibly podcasting in the future, the current lineup of iOS devices works but there are hoops I would have to jump through and going with a MacBook would make more sense.  Right now, the iPad Pro, regardless of which version, simply is not as versatile as a Mac.  Perhaps, future iOS will gain some OS X features and apps like Xcode that will allow coders and content producers to run apps that have feature parity as Mac apps.  I know there are video producers looking (hoping) for Apple's Final Cut to finally run on an iPad.

But if the Mac is not necessary for your needs, the iPad or iPad Pro is the way to go.  And if you already have one, albeit an older one with the battery running down, that is working for you, replacing the aging battery that would allow you to go another 2-3 years is like more cost effective.  For a low end iPad Pro like what my brother has, the cost of the battery ran about 10% of a brand new iPad Pro.  For the next few years, it does not look like he needs any features on the new iPad Pro, like the new LiDAR Scanner, for his mobile and computing needs.  So it might make sense for him to go this route.

Timing is also an issue.  If you are waiting for the next new iPad Pro, there is no telling when Apple will release a new one.  Perhaps it is this spring.  And even if Apple would like to release it in February or March, circumstances can happen (again, we live in uncertain and uncharted times with the Covid virus) that could delay it.  If the battery life on your iPad is not long enough for you to limp through for the next few months, perhaps, upgrading the battery will allow you to work through until the upgrade is released.  And if you're using for work, perhaps you can expensive it.  

Personally, I cannot get enough battery life.  I have the new iPhone 12 mini and I am less inclined to upgrade my iPhone as much as I did before.  I really like the mini despite it having less battery life than the rest of the bigger iPhone 12 lineup.  So, once the battery drops to about 85% in a year or so, I'm changing out the battery if I am still using it and decide against the iPhone 13 mini.  My iPad mini is a couple of years old now.  The battery life suffice but I am waiting to see when the next iPad mini will be released and what new features it will have.  If I'm not impressed or find that it has no added value to my mobile needs, I will weigh the cost of a new battery against the new mini.

For the most part, if your iPhone or iPad meets your needs and you're satisfied with it, then it would be more economical to swap out the old battery for a new one.  If you decide your iOS device is dated, slow, and crave the new features on the newer iOS devices, then your choice is clear.  Of course, it also depends on your pocketbook as well.