• apple,  apple watch,  ios 9,  ipad air,  ipad mini,  iphone 6s,  iphone 6s plus,  watchos 2

    Apple Releases iOS 9.3, watchOS 2.2 Updates

    As part of yesterday’s media event to introduce the new iPhone SE and iPad Pro, Apple released iOS 9.3 and watchOS 2.2.

    iOS 9.3 Update

    iOS 9.3 add new features to your iOS device and is not just a run-of-the-mill maintenance update.  New in iOS 9.3 is the ability to password protect individual Notes and Night Shift.

    Password protection of the Notes app is nice feature especially if you often keep private thoughts mixed in with notes about buying eggs, milk, and bread at the grocery store.  Personally, I don’t often use the Notes app other than to jot down information quickly that I’ll come back to later on and organize.  Still, it is a nice feature to have available.

      
    Night Shift is a very nice enhancement because it can use either the schedule you set or the sun down and sun rise information based on where you are in the world, to adjust the colors of your screen.  Under normal conditions, your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch display emits a more harsh blue hue light.  During the day, this does not create any problems.  At night, however, exposing yourself to harsh blue light can make it harder for your to fall asleep if you use your iDevice just before bed.  Night Shift will shift the color tones from the “cold” blue light to “warmer” yellow/orange light that is less likely to disrupt your body’s natural processes for falling asleep.  As you can see below, I have configured my iPhone 6s Plus to activate Night Shift based on the time of day.  Night Shift, however, will only work on the iPhone 5s and later, iPad Pro, iPad Air and later, the iPad mini 2 and later, and the most recent iPod touch.
    iOS 9.3 is available now for any iOS device that is capable of running iOS 9, which is pretty much any iOS device that has been released since 2011.  The software and be installed from a Mac or Windows PC, or over the air using Settings > General > Software Update.
    For more information on the new features of iOS 9, including those added with the iOS 9.3 update, visit the iOS 9.3 update website.
    watchOS 2.2 Update
    watchOS 2.2 is primarily as maintenance release for Apple’s iPhone accessory.  I’m not sure who needs to be able to pair more than one Watch with an iPhone, aside from app developers maybe, so I’m having a hard time coming up with who else might need this feature.  (Are day and night watches really a thing?)  I’m all for updates to the Maps app.  The data behind Maps has gotten pretty good and any improvement that keeps from having to pull out my iPhone while trying to walk around Manhattan is a welcomed update for me.
    To update to watchOS 2.2, launch the Watch app on your iPhone and goto General > Software Update.  Before you can apply the update, your Apple Watch will need to be charged up to at least 50% and be in range of your iPhone, which, will wireless deploy the update to your Watch.
  • apple,  apple watch,  update,  watchos 2

    iOS 9.1 and watchOS 2.0.1 – Small But Important Updates

    [Editor’s Note: I don’t know why this article didn’t publish on the intended date and time, so we are publishing it now for completeness.]

    October turned out to be a much busier month than I had originally expected it to be as I was working a particularly tricky production email migration from one cloud based vendor to another.  (Upgrades to Exchange Server 2013/Office 365 and Outlook 2013 were thrown in for fun.)

    All that said, I didn’t want to let a pair of updates from Apple slip by without at least mentioning them.

    iOS 9.1

    iOS 9.1, available for all devices that are capable of running iOS 7.0 and later, is a minor update to iOS 9 that adds 150 new cartoony emoji images.  Anyone who has kids knows how important that is. (Ok, my wife and I send emojis – emojii? – to each other more often than we should.)  Let’s just get it out of the way now, the finger emoji is in this update.  It’s my wife’s favorite.  iOS 9.1 also has the “eye in a speech bubble” Ad Council anti-bullying campaign emoji.  At lease we got the taco emoji.

    The other iOS 9.1 update is for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus and the Live Photos feature.  With iOS 9.1 on board, your new iPhone and detect when you are raising or lowering your phone to take a Live Photo and not include those images in the Live Photo image.  It’s a nice feature to have.  When I was taking a few Live Photo shots, the early ones didn’t come out so great unless I was holding my iPhone 6s Plus perfectly still while shooting them.

    watchOS 2.0.1

    With watchOS 2.0.1 Apple rolled out some minor but necessary updates for the Apple Watch.  As you can see from the screen shot (above), all of the fixes address bugs that if not otherwise patched right way could leave to a poor customer experience.

    Both updates are available right now using the iOS Software Update feature for iOS devices and, for Apple Watch owners, via the Software Update feature in the iOS Watch app.  Both updates are recommended for iOS and Apple Watch owners.

  • apple,  apple store,  apple watch

    Apple Store Weekend Continues…I Bought the Apple Leather Loop Band

    I was suppose to be going to the Apple Store Trumbull with my father to see about getting him an upgrade to an Apple iPhone 6s Plus.

    Before leaving the house, I said I wasn’t going to buy anything.  Everyone laughed.  I guess they were right, because while my dad was talking to the Apple Store employees, I ended up buying a fancy new blue leather band for my Apple Watch Sport.

    The Leather Loop band is made from quilted Venezia leather and, like the Milanese Loop band, closes the strap magnetically.  The leather is very comfortable and I liked the way if feels on my wrist.  It’s a very nice upgrade from the two sport edition bands that I have.

    Not wanting to wait until I got home to try on the new band, I had to unbox it right in the store.

    Apple Store Trumbull was packed on iPhone launch weekend
    Boy, that sure is a smart looking leather band
    The Apple Store app can be so dangerously easy to use

  • apple,  apple watch,  iphone,  watchos 2

    Apple Releases watchOS 2.0

    Earlier this week, on Wednesday, Apple-mainia continued with the release of watchOS 2.0, the first major software update for Apple Watch.

    With watchOS 2.0, Apple adds a number of software enhancements for customers and developers alike with new features like improvement to Siri for making FaceTime audio calls and replying to email, new watch faces, Time Travel, third-party complications, and apps that run natively on the watch.

    The new Apple filmed time lapse watch faces look fantastic. (Spoiler: New York is my favorite!)  The Music app now supports Apple Music and Beats 1 radio.  Passbook has been upgraded to Wallet with Apple Pay and you can now use a single photo or all of the photos from a selected photo album as the artwork for your watch face.

    The real magic of watchOS will shine through as developers begin releasing watch native applications that don’t require an iPhone to be within Bluetooth or Wi-Fi range to run.  And with third-party watch face complications, developers will be able to surface more options for providing you with personalized information at a glance.

    watchOS 2 is available now for all versions of Apple Watch.  To install it, you must first download the 512MB update with your iPhone, connect your Apple Watch to it’s charger, charge it up to at least 50% and keep your iPhone and Apple Watch within Wi-Fi range on the same wireless network.

    The watchOS 2 update should take less than 30 minutes to install.

    iOS 9.0 was release last week and watchOS 2.0 was suppose to launch along side it.  Apple chose to pull the watchOS 2 update after Apple confirmed they needed some extra time to correct a software bug, which has since been resolved.

  • apple,  apple watch,  appletv,  ios 9,  ipad mini,  iphone 6s,  iphone 6s plus,  pencil,  smart keyboard,  tvos,  watchos

    Apple “Hey, Siri” Special Event Wrap Up

    Apple has unleashed new Apple Watches, iPads, an all new Apple TV and, yes, even the new iPhones 6s and iPhone 6s Plus on the world.

    If you haven’t had time to sit through the two and a half hour presentation, here’s everything you need to know about Apple’s newest gear.

    Welcome and Opening Remarks from Tim Cook

    Tim started off by saying that we have “monster updates across multiple product lines” and he wasn’t kidding.  As with the last keynote, the usual “How are we doing?” state-of-the-state slides were cut.

    Apple Watch

    After stating that Apple Watch customer satisfaction was at 97%, Tim turned over the Apple Watch section to Jeff Williams, Apple’s SVP Operations.  I don’t recall seeing Jeff up on stage so I’m glad they are giving him time in the spotlight.

    • Time Transit and 3rd-part complications in watchOS 2.0
    • Transit information is coming to Apple Maps to help you find public transit
    • 10,000 watchOS apps in the App Store today
    • New gold and rose gold color options for Apple Watch Sport (available now)
    • New Apple Watch stainless with new band options
    • 16 fluoroelastomer Sport bands, including a new (Product) RED band 
    • Hermes bands and new signature watch faces, available at select stores

    I like the new watch bands, but was not blown away with the new colors.  I’ll likely buy one ore two more fluoroelastomer bands before I upgrade my Sport edition watch in the future.

    The AirStrip third-party demo seems like an amazing convergence of medical and digital technology. Apple is really showcasing their work with partners in the health and fitness fields.

    watchOS 2.0, a free upgrade, arrives Wednesday, September 16.

    iPad Pro

    Turns out the rumors about a larger iPad were true and that device is called the iPad Pro.  The iPad Pro is clearly targeted at business professionals and not the typical iPad owner.  According to Tim Cook, “iPad is the clearest expression of our vision of personal computing.”  “We’re partnering with the world’s leading enterprise companies, IBM and Cisco, to redefine and transform the way people work in the enterprise.”

    To introduce the new iPad Pro, Apple played a video with the solar system and the sun. Let’s just
    get to it already.  I don’t want to see a simulated product showing a simulated solar system.  My first impression of the iPad Pro (during the video): “It’s nice.  I don’t need it.”

    Then then video ended and Tim Cook came out holding the deice and things turned around quickly for me.  My second impression of the iPad Pro (while Cook was holding it): “I bet it’s close in size to a standard format US magazine – I read a lot of content on my iPad Air today.  EW, Time and others, please for the love of God…please…please use retina assets.”

    • 12.9″ diagonal screen more than enough for holding a “printed” magazine page
    • 2732 x 2048 (horizontal), 2x the resolution as the iPad Air/Air 2 standing tall
    • 5.6M pixels being pushed around the display
    • More pixels than a 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
    • Variable refresh rate display (dynamic power savings)
    • iPad Pro is powered by the third generation 64-bit A9X chip
    • 1.8x faster than the iPad Air 2 A8X chip, 2x flash storage performance
    • 2.0x fater GPU performance (great for games and pro media apps)
    • Still maintains the iPad’s 10-hour battery life target
    • 4x speaker audio system (one speaker at each corner of the device)
    • iPad Pro is 6.9mm thick compared to iPad Air 2 6.1mm
    • Smart Keyboard case with woven fabric key caps (no screen scratching)
    • Smart Connector carries power and data with a magnetic connection
    • Smart Connector does not rely on Bluetooth or peripheral batteries
    • iPad Pro will be available is white/sliver, white/gold, black/space grey
    • 32GB Wi-Fi $799, 128GB Wi-Fi $949, and 128GB Wi-Fi + Cellular $1,079
    • iPad Pro begins shipping this November

    I also really like the full size soft keyboard, especially with iOS 9 upper and lower case key caps.

    So, how do you get a thinner MacBook or MacBook Air? Ditch the entire bottom half of the notebook.  That’s the iPad Pro.  I think “Road Warriors” (is that still a ‘thing’?) should really
    like this for it’s extreme portability.  There was no discussion about an Apple Smart Cover or Smart Case.  I would think that with a full size soft keyboard, you could get by without buying a keyboard accessory to save money.

    Can the iPad Pro be a compelling alternative to MacBook, MacBook Air?  Assuming you purchase the mid-tier iPad Pro, a Smart Keyboard and a Pencil, your out the door cost is $1,200 for the 128GB Wi-Fi iPad Pro.

    Apple Pencil

    Apple Pencil is the stylus that God did’t give you and is a much more refined writing experience over today’s stylus.  I’m guessing that the people at 53, who make that cool Paper app, are really pissed about the new stylus and it’s name.

    • When using Pencil, iPad Pro digitizer is scanning 2x as fast to collect more data
    • Can use both touch and Pencil input at the same time (ruler and pencil example
    • Tracks position, force and tilt of Pencil as you use it
    • Promises low latency to better replicate the feel of writing/drawing on paper.  This is a big one for me since I take notes on iPad Air with Jot stylus
    • Pencil charges off of iPad Pro Lighting port (first Holy $#!+ moment)
    • Pencil working with built in apps looks like Microsoft Surface stylus done right
    • Into video showed hand firmly resting on the display and not interfering with Pencil input.

    Improving the experience of note taking on the iPad looks to be greatly enhanced with the new iPad Pro only Pencil stylus.  Overall, it looks like a better experience of using my iPad Air and Bluetooth Jot stylus.

    Professional Productivity on iPad Pro

    Playing word association with the term “Professional Productivity” does not conjure up images of “Microsoft”.  Adobe is the first word that comes to mind.

    Admit it, Microsoft Office on iPad Pro with Pencil and Split Screen is incredibly cool!

    Adobe’s up next with their Com page layout software and Photoshop Fix apps.  Photoshop Fix offers real-time dynamic photo re-touching on an iPad.  This took forever on my 1992 Macintosh IIci desktop.  Now I can do that work from a tablet in real-time.

    I was glad to see Irene Walsh from 3D4Medical on stage to show off her company’s anatomy app.  That demo looked pretty impressive.

    iPad mini 4

    • iPad Air 2 hardware reconfigured into the mini’s format
    • Like iPad Air and iPad mini 3 both have A7
    • iPad mini 4 starts at $399

    The iPad mini 4 only received a passing mention during the event.  Aside from putting the iPad Air 2 guts into the iPad mini 3 case, there’t not much new there.

    I wonder what this means for iPad Air 9.7-inch line.  Seems like many people are opting for the iPad mini.  iPad Pro is clearly aimed at professionals. Is this a way to boost margins on iPad line? Is Apple just keeping the iPad Air around because people still buy it?  This feels a lot like the MacBook (One) being out, yet Apple still continues to sell the MacBook Air.

    Apple TV, Forth Generation, and tvOS

    Tim Cook started off the Apple TV potion of the keynote by stating that “The future of TV is apps,” and with the new Apple TV, there will be plenty of apps to go around.  The new Apple TV, as Apple likes to say, will be instantly familiar, but new.   The new Apple TV looks very similar to the second and third generation Apple TVs we have now.  With the new Apple TV, the box will be slightly taller than before.

    The software that drives Apple TV has been updated too.  tvOS, a variation on iOS – just like watchOS is also a variant of iOS – has gotten a new flat, clean ascetic.  With the integration of Siri, you are now able to use the new Siri remote for Apple TV to speak commands such has “So me movies with Robert Downey, jr”, “What was the score from last night’s Yankees game”, or “What is the weather forecast for later today?”.  That’s a pretty cool feature…if it works reliably.

    With the Siri Remote, better remote control navigation, Bluetooth communication, apps, a redesigned UI and Universal Search the new Apple TV is a worth while upgrade for existing Apple TV owners and people looking to add “smart” features to their TV.  My initial reaction to Apple TV was that Apple has caught up to where everyone else is.  But the story does quite end there. If you squint when you look at Apple TV, you can see where Apple plans to go in the future, so I’m holding out hope that Apple TV and tvOS will have a more compelling reason to buy one over it’s competitors in the future.

    To introduce the new Apple TV, Tim brought out Jen Folse from the Apple TV engineering team to demonstrate some of the new features.

    The new Apple TV, forth generation features:

    • Redesigned hardware, including the new Siri Remote
    • Redesigned UI/UX: GUI, glass touch interface on remote, Siri voice controls
    • Siri Universal Search for content across iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, HBO and Showtime
    • HD video screen savers that look so amazing that I want to have them running all the time
    • Apple TV now includes Apps, App Store, and full integration with Apple Music and Beats 1
    • A8, Bluetooth 4, 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO
    • 10mm taller than Apple TV 3rd gen
    • Siri Remote charges via Lightning Cable and is good for 3 mo on a single charge
    • TV volume control, on off TV/receiver control
    • Available in two models: 32GB $149, 64GB $199
    • Apple TV 3 lives on at the existing $69 price point
    • Apple TV 4 ships in late October

    tvOS

     Apple TV’s operating system received an official name this year, and it is “tvOS”.

    • New software that drives Apple TV and is based on iOS
    • Think of tvOS in the same way that watchOS is a “derivative” of iOS
    • tvOS uses all of the same foundations as iOS, easy to move iOS apps to tvOS
    • Multiplayer game support, mixing Apple TV remote and iPhone, iPad or iPod touch as extra controllers.
    • Apple TV remote also can interact with apps like a Wii Remote does
    • Support for three additional iOS controllers for a total of four players
    • Universal apps now span iOS for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and tvOS
    • Support for game progress saves, continue playing where you last left off
    • Developers have access to tvOS now – developer.apple.com/tvos

    iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus

    At about 83 minutes, gets to the part of the presentation we have all been waiting for: iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.

    With so much packed into this presentation, you will recall that Apple chose to cut out all of the status updates.  Still, Tim Cook still found the time to take a jab at all of the Apple naysayers by pointing out the iPhone has grown 35% year-over-year.  Boom!

    The new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus will have bodies constructed with Apple’s 7000 series aluminum and come in a new rose gold color in addition to silver, gold and space grey.  Being an “s: year, Apple has chosen to keep the same display sizes: 6s 4.7-inches and the 6s at 5.5-inches.  The bodies are slightly larger than the previous year, however, Apple’s website still shows that iPhone 6-series and iPhone 6s-series phone will be able to fit into existing cases.

    So of the new features about the new iPhone that I really like are:

    • iPhone 6S/Plus includes to Multi-Touch interface called 3D Touch
    • Peek and Pop Force Touch gestures for navigating and controlling iPhone
    • Tactile feedback is provided to the display via a Taptic engine
    • New 3D Force gestures for Peek and email are going to be a big time saver for me
    • iPhone 6S/Plus is powered by the new A9 processor
    • Desktop and console grade graphics – games look great on Metal for iOS
    • M9 motion coprocessor has now been moved directly into the A9 CPU
    • Apple gets points for a 12MP iSight camera; 5MP FaceTime camera (screen as flash!)
    • New Live Photos feature works across OS X El Capitan, iOS 9 on iPhone iPad and watchOS 2

    In addition to the specs, Apple has made some changes to the hardware line up.

    • iPhone 6S/Plus will keep the same price configurations
    • iPhone 5S is free on contract
    • iPhone 5C is out (say goodbye to the last non-TouchID device)
    • You can now purchase your iPhone directly from Apple on a payment plan called iPhone Upgrade Program, which includes AppleCare+

    The iPhone 6S/Plus go on sale Sept 25.  Pre-orders, the only humane way to order on iPhone, will be available with free shipping to your home or in store reservations.

    There’s a lot to digest with the Hey, Siri event and I’m looking forward to getting my hands on the new hardware and software as soon as possible.

  • apple,  apple watch,  ios,  iphone,  watchos

    The Apple Watch – Part Three: Day-to-Day Usage

    I’ve been struggling for a long time now to write a meaningful review of the Apple Watch. So many other well-respected writers, who are much better at their craft than I, have already written many pages about Apple’s new device. Yet here we are.

    Rather than trying to talk specifically about Watch and watchOS, I think I’d much rather just talk about how it has integrated into my life and how I use it day in and day out.

    The two most frequently asked questions I get about my Apple Watch Sport are: “Do you like it?” followed immediately by, “What can you do with it?”  So let’s get the answers to those questions out of the way first.

    The answer to those questions are: Yes, very much so. As an Apple fanboy, I woke up at 3:00am to place my order with the hopes of getting it on launch day, which I did. The second is a very personal answer and will vary from user to user. I use my Watch primarily for: getting important notifications for text messages and email. I have replaced my previous fitness trackers with Apple Watch (more on that later). And, lastly, quick view apps like Weather, Phone, Wunderlist and Twitterific.

    Setup and Configuration

    Configuring your Apple Watch is a journey.  As a technology enthusiast, it was a road of discovery that I was looking forward to traveling down.  It’s not every day, or even every year, that an Apple fan like myself gets to play with something completely new.

    As I showed in my last post about Watch, The Apple Watch – Part Two: Unboxing the Sport Edition, pairing and Apple Watch with an iPhone is a very simple process. It is the simplest process of pairing a device and a peripheral that I’ve ever had.  What came next can only be described as the excitement-fueled haze that came from eating too much candy at the summer fair as a boy.

    Apple Watch runs watchOS, is believed to be a variant of iOS 8.2. Much like the original Apple TV runs a variant of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, watchOS and iOS are not exactly the same thing. Knowing how to use one does not mean you automatically know how to effectively use he other. And so, as a new Watch owner I was forced to do the one thing that any wife or girlfriend will tell you that men had to do: read the directions. (Stopping to ask for directions was the number one answer until we all started carrying iPhones with us everywhere; but I digress.)

    The fold out instruction sheet gives you all of the basics about how to use the Watch, but I didn’t quite feel that I fully understood how to use it.  Only the basic of settings can be controlled on from Watch. For the heavy lifting to configure Apple Watch, you really need to use the Apple Watch app on your iPhone. From there, you can do the real configuration work for settings up Notifications, Glances, your synchronized Music playlists, synchronized Photos albums, Apple Pay and third-party applications. That can seem a bit overwhelming, event to a seasoned Apple fan. To really understand how all of these things work you need to spend time playing with Watch and it’ companion iOS app.

    I chose to tackle Notifications first since it was one of the two main reasons why I chose to get Apple Watch. (The Workout and Activity apps are the second.). I found that the out of the box option of ”Mirror my iPhone” was too broad and that I was getting notifications on my wrist for things that I really didn’t find all that important. My time, as yours, is too important for just any app to interrupt you. So as I started using Apple Watch over the initial two-week period, I found myself constantly adjusting the notifications until I found a balanced that worked for me. What’s important to me and important to you are probably vastly different, so I won’t list out my configurations here.  What I will say is that key take away for me is what that only the most important information make it from the phone in my pocket to the watch on my wrist.

    The Workout and Activity Apps

    As I said earlier, the Workout and Activity apps, together, made up the second reason why I wanted and Apple Watch. You see, before getting Apple Watch, I was using a Nike+ FuelBand and the Jawbone UP. Both are good devices in their own ways.  Nike has undeniable consumer brand recognition just like other iconic brands like the Walt Disney Company and the Coca-Cola Company.  But they never quite pulled off the illusion of complete integration with my iPhone and iOS. With Apple Watch, everything is seamless and just works.

    I would say that I’m not a fan of exercises nor do I enjoy going to the gym. I’m more like that guy on TV who goes around from greasy spoon to greasy spoon trying to stuff his face with the largest what-ever-it-is for this week. But I do want to try to be healthy and keep as much weight off as I can and so I do like to go out for walks when the weather permits.

    When getting started with the Workout app, Apple advises you to bring your iPhone with you. That way, Watch can calibrate how you walk or run more accurately and track how far you’ve gone.  From my very unscientific comparison of the data collected by my Jawbone UP as compared with the data collected by the Workout app and reported in the Activity app, I can say things are ‘close enough.’  Some people have reported that stand-alone devices that have their own integrated GPS receivers do a better job of tracking activity and distance while exercising outside. That criticism may have been true. When Apple released watchOS 1.0.1 back on May 19, distance and pace of outdoor activities was one of the featured enhancements.

    Overall, I’m pretty happy with the Workout and Activity apps. I have added Activity “complication”, that the watch world’s fancy name for the computing world’s “widget”, to the bottom center slot of the Modular watch face that I use. It helps me “gamify” my daily activity to reach my goal of filling in all three activity rings daily.

    Third-Party Apps

    Apple Watch had a large selection of apps available on April 24 then it officially launched.  The trick, however, is finding good apps.

    watchOS 1.0, now updated to watchOS 1.0.1, runs all of the third-party apps as “projections” from the iPhone it is paired with.  Apple Watch doesn’t have it’s own app store.  iPhone apps that support the Watch install small applications – like Mac OS X Dashboard widgets – on to the iPhone.  When you run an app on the Watch, it connects to the iPhone over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and displays the information from the iPhone on the Watch.  I won’t call it a “cheat” necessarily, but what you will see is the “I’m busy” spinner on the Watch while information is being retried from the iPhone.  This back and forth can be a bit laggy at times and frustrating.  Just the other day I got tired of waiting for the Weather app to launch on Apple Watch and I pulled out my iPhone and checked the forecast before the Watch was able to update.  While these kinds of problems can be annoying or inconvenient at times, many of us who are using the Watch today are early adopters.  Apple will surely work to improve performance over time.  Look for the first signs of improvement later this year for the release of watchOS 2.0.  In that update, Apple will be giving software developers more access to the hardware resources and the ability to run apps natively on Watch.

    My best advice to you is to try out the Apple Watch apps that are extensions of the apps you use on your iPhone.  My rule of thumb is to limit the number of apps that I have installed to a bare minimum.

    For example, I like to read the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times on my iPhone or my iPad.  But I don’t want notifications for breaking stories on my wrist, nor do I care to even try to read a news summary on a 42mm screen.  Those kinds of apps, for me, are just impractical.  Your needs will vary from mine.  For me, I’ve chosen to use just a handful of apps, including: Overcast, Twitterific, Wunderlist, and Starbucks.  That’s it.  Of the four, I use Overcast and Wunderlist the most.  Wunderlist, which has my list of things to buy at the grocery store, just works so well for me when I’m shopping.  The iPhone stays securely in my pocket and I have fast access to my shopping list simply by raising my wrist.  Nothing gets dropped, scratched or forgotten.

    Siri, Dictation and Making Calls

    The Apple Watch doesn’t have a keyboard.  When you need to reply to a text message, my primary use case, I do with Siri dictation.  Yes, you kinda look like the cartoon character Dick Tracy, but hey, that’s cool, right?  I’ve used Siri dictation all over the place.  For the most part, Siri gets the job done, but just like on the iPhone and iPad sometimes Siri just can’t pick up the works I’m dictating correctly.  On those occasions, I’ve had to pull out my iPhone…or I’ve used Siri to place a call from Watch.

    Making calls from your Watch makes you look and feel like the aforementioned Dick Tracy.  I usually only use this feature in my office, from the car, or when I’m not in a crowded location.  Social etiquette aside, when in a noisy environment, I’ve found it hard to hear what the other person is saying and find myself holding the Watch closer to my ear, and well, that starts to sound a lot like a use case for the iPhone or better yet, to call the person back later.

    Battery Life and Durability

    I had two major concerns when making the decision about buying the Apple Watch without ever having played with one.  How long will the battery last and will I need multiple charge cables at home and at the office?  And, how long would it be before I scratched the hell out of the screen.

    I’m happy to report that both concerns now look silly two months into my daily use of Apple Watch.  Yes, using the Workout app causes the battery to drain more quickly when the heart rate sensor is sampling data more frequently and the Watch is checking distance and speed by poling the iPhone’s GPS.

    If I’m being really lazy, and I don’t do my 30 minutes of exercise, at the end of the day, my 42mm Sport has around 50-60% battery life left.  If I do get out and get my 30 minutes of exercising in, my battery will get down to about 20-30%.  Recently, while on vacation with the family, we went on a 14-mile bike ride along the Cape Code Rail Trail.  We were out on the ride for about an hour and forty minutes.  The whole time the Workout app was going full tilt tracking my heart rate, speed and distance.  In other words, the Watch was in constant contact with my iPhone for the whole time.  At the end of the ride, my battery was down to about 10%.  It was in the low 90’s when I started.  To save power until I got back to the house, I put the Watch into Power Reserve mode.

    I’m also happy to report that my Watch is still 100% scratch, ding and knick free.  I’m not saying that the Watch can “Take a licking and keep on ticking” as the old ad slogan goes.  What I will say, is by all rights, my Apple Watch Sport should be in really bad shape.  I’ve smacked it into three large office file cabinets, metal storage and server racks, metal lawn chairs…the list goes on and on…and nadda.  No scratches.  No pits. Nothing.  Mileage will vary, but if you are careful of your surroundings, you should be fine.

    Early on, I purchased a screen protector for the Ion-X display.  Don’t waist your time and money on them.  The fit was horrible and I only left it on for about 45 minutes.

    Parting Thoughts

    All-in-all, I really like my Apple Watch and it has integrated into my day-to-day Apple centric lifestyle and workflow.  The Watch is a more personal type of device than your iPhone, Mac or iPad is and so how it gets used will vary from person to person.  I don’t expect the Apple Watch to be replacing an iPhone any time soon.  There are still plenty of uses that demand a larger screen – the iPhone 6 Plus is proof of that.  But the Watch really does let me quickly check the incoming notification and make a decision to take action now or later.  The watchOS 2.0 update, due out later this year, will add a fresh batch of features and functionality.

    While not every iPhone owner needs an Apple Watch, the Apple Watch will only work with an iPhone so take that into consideration before placing your order.

    If you are considering buy and Apple Watch, I encourage you to go to the Apple Store.  Play with the demo units.  Try on the bands to see which one you like the best.  When you are ready, place your order via the online Apple Store.

    For more information, visit the Apple Watch website.

  • apple,  apple watch,  ios 6,  iphone 6

    The Apple Watch – Part Two: Unboxing the Sport Edition

    After going through all of the pre-Watch hoopla of waking up early in the morning to order and then try on a Watch at a local Apple Store, and a seemingly unbearable two week period of waiting, my Apple Watch Sport Edition finally arrived.

    This is the second part of my Apple Watch coverage.  If you haven’t already done so, you can read The Apple Watch – Part One: Announcement, Pre-Order and Try Ons.

    Here are my unboxing photos of my Apple Watch.

    Detail of the box top
    Description of the contents
    Unpacking the exterior box
    Unpacking the Apple Watch Sport Edition
    Apple Watch Sport Edition on interior felt lined box case top

    Unpacking the information and resize band sleeve
    Booting up the Apple Watch
    Language selection screen
    Beginning the iPhone paring process
    Pairing is done by “scanning” the pattern with the iPhone Watch app
    iPhone and Watch Paring process is complete
    All synced up and ready to go
    Now that my Apple Watch Sport Edition has been paired with my iPhone 6, it’s time to start using it day-to-day.
  • apple,  apple store,  apple watch

    The Apple Watch – Part One: Announcement, Pre-Order and Try Ons

    The Apple Watch is unlike any other device you’ve used from Apple.  When you look at the hardware and software that makes up the Apple Watch, you can clearly see the family resemblance, but there is something wonderful, yet mysterious about it.  And so begins my journey with the Apple Watch.

    The Announcement
    My Watch was delivered late on Friday evening, much later than most UPS deliveries.  I started using it this weekend, but a family event kept me from diving head first into the wrist worn personal computer.  Rather than racing to try and write a traditional review of Apple Watch as quickly as I can, I would rather spend the necessary time getting to know the new device and then write about it.  The rest of this post will be devoted to the journey from placing my order to my first, raw impressions of Apple Watch.
    We all learned about the Apple Watch on September 9, 2014 during the iPhone 6 event.  At about half way through the event, Apple CEO Tim Cook, borrowing a line from the late Steve Jobs dropped a now famous “One more thing…” slide.  I was wearing a Nike+ FuelBand at the time.  I was super excited about the Apple Watch.  It was not only light years a head of what was on my wrist at the time, but what I guessed it might be.
    Six months later, on March 9, 2015, that we learned of the final details about the Watch during a special Apple keynote event.  My Jawbone UP, which had more features packed into it than the FuelBand, suddenly felt old and outdated.

    Despite the initial positive reaction to Apple Watch, it wouldn’t be until April 10, that we could pre-order and try on the Watch.  Early adopters, willing to stay up late at night to pre-order, would have to wait at least another two weeks before they can slip theirs on for the first time.
    To me, this seamed like an unbelievably long lead up to Apple Watch: seven months from announcement to pre-order and another two weeks for Watches to start shipping.  Not event the original iPhone had as long a lead time from announcement to shipping to customers.
    Placing My Pre-order

    Fast forward to April 10 – the day that Apple would begin taking pre-orders for the Watch at 12:00am PDT (3:00am EDT for me) and welcoming customers into Apple Stores to try on Apple Watch before placing their online order.

    Apple had been warning that supplies of the Watch would be constrained at launch.  Anyone who has ordered an iPhone in the last seven years knows that Apple always says that the latest new shiny toy (or business tool) would be in short supply during the first few weeks of availability.  But this time was different.  For whatever reason, this time, supplies of the new wrist-worn computers really where in tight supply.  So much so, Apple tried to get out ahead of the public’s expectations encouraging customers to place their orders online.

    I woke up at 2:50am that Friday morning.  Not to head out to the Apple Store to stand in line.  Apple made it clear that there would be no long lines wrapped around the block for the Apple Watch.  This time, I was up to make sure that I was going to be in the first wave of the people would have Apple Watch.

    After suffering long delays trying to buy the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5S and iPhone 6 from Apple’s website, which gets completely overwhelmed on pre-order day, I chose to use the Apple Store iOS app to order my Watch.  Heading Apple’s recommendation, I chose to “favorite” the Apple Watch I wanted to buy.

    At 3:00am I started refreshing the App Store waiting from the online store to go live again.  (Apple routinely takes their online store down when a new product is about to go live to update the CND servers around the world.) 3:01am…refresh…3:02am…refresh…3:03am…the page loads!

    I purchase my Apple Watch in two minutes without issue.  My friends and family who also tried to order Apple Watch via the Apple Store at Apple.com tell me that the web servers where overloaded and not serving up pages properly.  Let this be a lesson to you…if you want to get in and out quickly on pre-order day, use the iOS Apple Store app with Apple Pay.

    A few minutes later, I received my order confirmation email.  Just for fun, at 3:18am, I went back into the Apple Store iOS app to see what the lead time for the Apple Watch Sport edition watch with a blue fluoroelastomer band. 

    I was surprised to see that in just 15 minutes, the watch I just ordered was back ordered 4-6 weeks!  It looks like the Apple Watch Sport Edition will be popular and that supplies really are constrained.

    The Try On

    With my pre-order placed, it was time to schedule an appointment at the Apple Store Trumbull for a try on to make sure that the 42mm Watch wasn’t going to be too big for my wrist or the band too loose or otherwise uncomfortable.

    I stopped wearing watches a long time ago, because I started to think that I have a weird wrist size.  The watches I wore as a kit fit fine with their plastic or leather straps.  When I started buying adult watches in my mid-twenties, the metal bands just didn’t seem to fit right.  With that in mind, I was a little bit hesitant to go back to wearing a watch, even one made by Apple, daily again.

    Since Apple had already indicated that all orders for Watch would be done online and that there would be no in store pickups on launch day the try on date was going to be the trip to the Apple Store that my father and I would take together.  (You might recall my father and I stood in long lines together for both the iPhone 6 launch and the grand opening of the Apple Store Trumbull.)

    On Friday afternoon, I used the iOS Apple Store app, the one I had used hours before to place my Watch order, to book two appointments for my father and I to go try on my Apple Watch Sport Edition and his Apple Watch Edition.  We also decided that we would wear the Apple shirts that we got from the Trumbull store’s grand opening – just for added effect, because, really, where else are you going to wear your Apple t-shirt?

    Upon arriving to the Apple Store, you quickly notice that the front tables have been changed out and now there are new tables specifically designed for showing off and having customers try on the new Apple Watch.

    When we arrived, we were quickly checked in by the Apple Store staff who also noticed our Apple shirts can called out “Original members are in the house!”  It was a nice touch can throw back to that crazy Saturday morning when the store opened and pictures where taken for us by the staff.  A few of them snapped a few pictures too – presumably for some internal use.

    And no trip to the Apple Store for a major product launch just wouldn’t be complete without an Apple Store selfie!
    The Apple Watch has a really nice fit on my wrist and I’m no longer worried about a poor fit like I had on my $80-120 dollar “big boy” watches that I used to wear.  The Sport band fit well and didn’t feel cheap.  Far and away, my favorite watch has to be the Apple Watch, the stainless steel version, with the Milanese loop band.  Having looked at my traditional watches, I was a little concerned about the scratches, so I chose to buy the less expensive aluminum Sport Edition.  My dad did order the Apple Watch Stainless Steel with the classic leather band.
     Before out try on session was over, I did try on the Stainless Steel version with the Milanese loop band.  The Stainless Steel version looks great and, as you would expect, the Milanese loop fits prety comfortably too.
    Like a few of the other bands, the Milanese loop band uses a special magnet to clasp close. The magnet holds pretty firmly and does not easily nudge or slide off, but it is still easy to open when you are ready to take it off.  That should make a lot of people who are a little worried about the band coming unfastened during the day at ease.
    Even without a big splashy, lines around the block launch for Apple Watch, my dad and I still managed to get our new toys Apple Store tip in and even got to show off our Apple fan boy stripes too boot!
    Now, it’s time to get down to saving pennies for the September iPhone launch!
  • apple,  apple watch,  appletv,  ios 8,  ipad air,  ipad mini,  iphone

    Apple Releases iOS 8.2, Support for Apple Watch

    Today, after Apple’s Spring Forward event, the leading smartphone maker release iOS 8.2; which includes Apple Watch support.

    The Apple Watch app in iOS 8.2 is waiting for an Apple Watch to pair with

    iOS 8.2 is available now as an OTA update for current model iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches that are running or can run iOS 8.x. Here’s a list of what’s new and improved in iOS 8.2.

    In addition to today’s iOS 8.2 update, Apple also rolled out an update for Apple TV.

  • apple,  apple tv,  apple watch,  ios 8,  macbook

    Apple Spring Forward Notes and First Impressions

    Apple held their Spring Forward event to showcase HBO Now, the all-new MacBook, and Apple Watch.  If you haven’t yet watched today’s event, you can stream it from Apple’s website or watch it on Apple TV.

    The following are my notes and first impressions from today’s event.

    Apple TV + HBO Now

    Apple TV gets a price cut to $69.  This says to me that the hardware refresh I’ve been waiting for is either late or under resourced.

    HBO Now will be available by April 12 for $14.99/mo.  This will get cord cutters excited and I think will help drive Apple TV sales.  I’ve never been an HBO subscriber but with a month-to-month subscription, I’d jump on to watch shows that I’ve not been able to watch before and jump out while the show is on break.

    Apple Pay

    Apple Pay now accepted at 49,000 Coca-Cola vending machines.  I can totally get behind that!

    iPhone + Heath Apps

    Health + iPhone & Research Kit look really intriguing and can become a powerful diagnostic tool for doctors and patients.

    Apple is backing up their commitments to privacy by putting data sharing controls into the hands of patients. Apple does not see the data. Ever.

    Google and Android are going to have a difficult time of tying to copy or buy their way into this segment.

    Apple MacBook

    Holy crap! This redesigned MacBook is beyond thin!

    Can you name one company that spends R&D dollars on new keyboard technology?

    Force Click will make the right-click obsolete on the Mac.

    Next up on Apple’s hit list: vents and fans. Gone!

    The new MacBook is powered by the new Intel Core M processor. It runs silently.

    New battery technology will give you all-day battery life on a single charge.

    802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.

    USB-C connector replaces all of the “old” cables and connectors. Plus it’s reversible.

    Will ship in silver, space grey and gold.

    Prices start at $1299 and $1599

    Minor spec bumps for the MacBook Air and the 13” MacBook Pro

    Apple Watch

    Tim shows off my Apple Watch…sorta

    Digital Touch is cool if not a bit gimmicky. I’d love to use the tap-tap feature with my wife. Alas, she couldn’t care less about Apple Watch.

    The Activity tracking feature is all of the same stuff that other fitness bands can do, but done in a way that’s light years ahead of my Nike+ FuelBand or Jawbone UP.

    I also like the “you’ve been sitting still too long” prompt.

    The new feature in most excited about for the Apple Watch? Maximizing my couch potato time controlling Apple TV without having to use the IR remote.

    iOS notifications coming into iPhone can be sent to Apple Watch. Looking for granular control here.  Don’t want my wrist buzzing all day with spam email.

    Sports teams, Facebook, and news updates. Twitter. Instagram. American Airlines.

    Apple Pay with Apple Watch looks like a killer feature.

    Phone calls go between iPhone and Apple Watch over Bluetooth when you’re out or on Wi-Fi when you’re at home.

    Watch works with iPhone.  Only.   Apple Watch iPhone app is where you go to browse, buy and download apps for Apple Watch.

    iOS 8.2 features the iPhone Apple Watch app. Available for download today. (3/9/15)

    Apple Watch will have all-day battery life. 18 hours of varying uses

    Watch Sport starts at $349

    Watch Stainless Steel starts at $549

    Watch Edition starts at $10,000

    Pre-orders and in-store try outs start 4/10; Apple Watch goes on sale 4/24

    Launches in US, UK, China, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hing Kong, Japan