Watch

Roughly two years ago, the ‘new category’ for Apple was the Watch. Until this point, Apple users were accustomed to interacting with iOS only on their iPhone or iPad, both of which have fairly large screens. With the introduction of the Watch, our interactions with iOS were about to get much smaller. The watch looked to break us free from our iPhone, if for even just a few small tasks, and I think it has been delivering steadily on that through the software and hardware updates. I got the first Watch on release day, and have not missed a day of wearing it since then, and I am sure that will continue with the release of the next generation hardware.

My first Watch
Watch
– Series: 0
– Case Size: 42mm
– Case Material: Stainless Steel

My second Watch
Watch Edition
– Series: 2
– Case Size: 42mm
– Case Material: Ceramic

BANDS

The bands are one of the best features of the Watch. This is the best way to customize your watch and make it yours. There were a lot of bands released when the first Watch came out, and there have been more released since on a fairly regular cycle. Changing the band is amazingly elegant, and the bands work across generations of watch and model. With the iPhone, cases are a way to personalize your phone, but once a case is on your iPhone, you lose much of the beauty and design of the phone (and whatever color you picked for that matter). With bands though, they enhance the design and color of the watch. All the more reason to add bands to your collection to match your mood, activity, clothing, etc. Be careful though, once you start adding bands, you may not be able to stop! 😉

My Band Collection
– Stainless Steel Link
– Sport (Green)
– Sport (Apricot)
– Sport (Orange)
– Sport (Cloud)
– Woven Nylon (Pink)
– Woven Nylon (Gold)
– Leather Loop (Blue)

CHARGING AND BATTERY

With a device this small, battery life was a concern. When announced, it was stated to have ‘all day battery life’. In my extensive use, I found this to be absolutely true. The battery life increased over time as well with software improvements. With my series 0 watch, I would generally have somewhere around 10-20% remaining after a full day of use. With the Series 2, I am finding that I have well over 50% of my battery remaining at the end of the day. Regardless of how much battery I have at the end of the day, I don’t find it to be a negative that you charge the watch every day. I charge my phone over night, so charing my watch overnight right next to it is a non issue. If anything, charing the watch is even easier than my phone, given the inductive charging that the watch uses. Pop it over the charger, it connects with a magnet and that’s it.

DURABILITY

Depending on the materials you choose, the Watch can have handle wear and tear differently. With my first one, the stainless steel, it has a sapphire crystal screen, so it never showed any wear and tear on the screen. This was even after direct contact with objects quite a few times over the time I used it daily. The stainless steel casing showed more wear, but nothing out of the ordinary for stainless steel.

My new one, made entirely of ceramic, is said to be even more scratch resistant than stainless steel. Time will tell how it holds up. Fingers crossed that is stays as beautiful as it is a couple of weeks in!

WHAT DO I DO WITH IT?

Remote Control – Aside from being a great standalone device, the Watch is a great remote control for other Apple products. From controlling music playback, to turning your home lights on, to using it as as a remote shutter for your iPhone camera, it does a ton of neat remote operations.

Hey, Siri! – Having the ability to use Siri with the simple raise of a wrist and without needing to physically press any buttons is pretty great. I have found that the speed increase of Series 2 has made Siri even more useful in day to day tasks, as it is able to process speech faster.

Time – It is a watch after all.. 😉

Fitness – This is one of those most compelling uses of the Watch. The ability to track many important aspects of your health passively is a big win for anyone looking to improve their health. You can gather a lot of great stats about yourself to help track trends over time.

Notifications – The Watch is awesome for handling notifications. You can setup exactly what you want to see, and check them more quickly and more effectively. With the addition of Scribble, you can now reply to messages directly without ever looking at your phone.

I will continue wearing my Watch every day for the foreseeable future and look forward to the further integration of wearables into our daily lives. I continue to be very happy with the Watch and can’t wait to see what features get added in the future.

Watch Series 0
Watch Series 0
Watch Series 2 Edition
Watch Series 2 Edition

Apple Product Line (My Take)

Let’s pretend for a moment that for some weird reason someone asked me to layout the Apple product offering lineup and naming. Yep, not going to happen, but humor me. Below would be how I would do it in order to make the best possible user experience when it comes to choice.

  1. Macbook and Macbook Pro now cover sizes 12”, 13”, 14”, 15”.
  2. “iMac” is now “Mac”, but with 3 sizes. Headless models at both ends of the spectrum.
  3. Streamlined Tablet Choices.
  4. Streamlined Phone Choices.

Do you agree? Do you think I am crazy? Did I nail it?

iPad Pro(ductivity)

Holy crap I get a lot done with my iPad Pro! To the casual observer, it definitely comes off as simply a larger version of something that already existed in the product line. Looking at the device aesthetically, aside from from some small but very cool hardware updates, this is mostly true. When you power it up, though, things take an exciting (and fast) turn.

This updated generation of Apple’s System on a Chip (SoC) is so quick, it’s easy to forget you are on a mobile device. Booting the device is quick and getting around within iOS feels like silk. iOS has added a lot of new features as we have progressed through iOS 9.x (some of which are iPad Pro only right now).For example, split screen is a nice way to view and edit information from two independent applications concurrently since each application can now be full iPad Air 2 size. In terms of viewing video, you can now put video into a floating window and position it to best fit what you are working on. Think of it like picture-in-picture! External keyboard shortcuts are a welcome addition as well. The ability to move around within apps and the OS using keyboard shortcuts brings traditional laptop feel into the iPad world. Touch is still the primary interaction method, but having the ability to use keyboard muscle memory aids in productivity when typing.

It doesn’t stop there, either. Two new accessories were released alongside this new iPad: Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard. Both of these accessories are only compatible with the iPad Pro as of this writing, but I can see them branching out to other size iPads over time. The Smart Keyboard is a mix between an external keyboard and a Smart Cover. Unlike most iPad keyboards that rely on Bluetooth to connect to the iPad, this new keyboard utilizes a new Smart Connector on the side of the iPad Pro. This means the keyboard doesn’t require an internal battery or wireless connectivity, making it very thin and light. It also doubles as a cover for the iPad screen, much the same as the traditional Smart Cover. I did also order the new BRYDGE Pro Keyboard, but won’t be able to comment on that until it ships in April of 2016.

Now, the Apple Pencil. We have seen various iterations of stylus going back to pre-iPad days. For the most part, they have all pretty much been the same in terms of how they interact with the screen. Because they were completely passive and had little to no communication with the iPad, they were very limited. The Apple Pencil is the first device of its kind that truly feels like pen and paper. The integration between the screen hardware of the iPad Pro and the Pencil are matched to a level of precision never before seen. Not only that, but the palm rejection is so good, you can rest your hand with no fear of stray lines or marks on the virtual page. This takes some getting used to, as we have collectively become trained in the past that you must not touch the screen with anything but the stylus tip. The Apple Pencil has set a new high bar in the area of handwriting on digital devices, and I would argue it being the official starting point of a true digital writing instrument.

Although I have replaced my laptop with an iPad in the past, the iPad Pro is really feeling like it is up to the challenge of taking over for a laptop in the majority of tasks. I am really happy with the device overall, and absolutely love having it as my main machine. I do have other computers (27" iMac / 13" MacBook Pro) and they will serve their purpose for some time to come, but the iPad Pro is definitely my first choice and the device I most enjoy using on a daily basis. I can’t wait to see where the device goes and how it helps morph the future of iOS.

//Jason

3D Touching Into The Future

In the Apple world, our first introduction to a screen with multiple depths of interaction was Force Touch on the Apple Watch. From the first time I used it, I knew I wanted it on my iPhone as well. Flash forward to the launch of the iPhone 6s and my wish was granted, and then some. With the iPhone 6s, we got an advanced form of Force Touch called 3D Touch. With the Apple Watch we have two distinct levels of pressure. The iPhone with 3D Touch upped this to three levels. At first glance this could easily be mistaken for a gimmicky trick to mimic the ability of pressing in on the screen. The truth is however, an amazing amount of new technology has been built into seemingly the same screens we have been using for years.

As with all new technology additions like this, it will be some time before its potential is fully realized, but out of the gate it’s kicking ass already.

The ability to “peek” and “pop” within applications is a new way of accessing information more quickly. The ability to press in on application icons to access shortcut menus may be my favorite aspect of 3D Touch so far. This is the kind of feature that will become customizable over time I believe, and change how we navigate in and out of apps on our devices.

History has shown us with most new technologies in the Apple world, it starts with the iPhone and then trickles down from there. With the addition of the Apple Watch we are now seeing another level to this feature sharing. Now we will start to see new technology transition through the lineup as follows:

Watch ➤ iPhone ➤ iPad ➤ Mac

WatchOS ➤ iOS ➤ OS X

3D Touch is the type of feature that doesn’t seem as though much has changed, mostly because it is not immediately seen. Heck, if you didn’t know it was there, you could conceivably never find it. I definitely believe this feature will drive major fundamental changes in iOS and all users will greatly benefit.

Get to pressing!

Moving From Evernote To Apple Notes

I am a big fan of what Apple’s Notes has transformed into with the latest release of OS X 10.11 and iOS 9.0! I say transformed because it has truly become a new product with these latest releases. Prior to these updates, the app was barely worth mentioning, and certainly not reliable enough to be used for storing important note based data. I had been a long time Evernote user prior to using Notes.app and I have to say that although Evernote has some great features, the downsides outweighed the benefits. Overall Apple Notes fits me a lot better.

One of the biggest hurdles to making the jump from Evernote to Notes is also one of my biggest annoyances with Evernote; available export formats. You have two options for exporting notes out of Evernote: 1. “.ENEX” 2. “.HTML”. If you are simply making a backup, these may be ok, but if you need this data to move somewhere else, they are close to worthless. Even if your notes are simply text, you have no option to export as plain/rich text.

After a good bit of trial and error, I finally came up with a way to get my data mostly migrated from Evernote to Notes.app several months back. The method was not super streamlined, and did leave some text needing to be tweaked, but for the most part it got me most of the way there.

The only caveat to this method was that I used the beta version of the software that I used as the intermediary between Evernote and Notes, and this version has since been removed now that the software has launched for $9.99. The Write app is nice, but of course my end goal is to have everything in Notes. I am more than willing to spend $9.99 to save the time and hassle of manually getting all my notes moved over, but since I do not have the paid version, I am uncertain if my method will still work with the paid version of the app.


UPDATES TO POST

UPDATE 2015-10-18: It seems as though step 4 below is not possible if you updates Notes.app on your mac to the new El Capitan version. I will be looking for an alternate method for this step and update when found. If you find a way to import with the new version of Notes, please let me know! Thanks! See Below!

UPDATE 2015-10-19: I tried using the release version of Write over the weekend and it does not support the importing of Evernote archives. This whole process has really fallen apart! 😦

I found two scripts for importing .txt files into Notes.app. One is for single text files, and one if for a folder of notes. The scripts are working for me on El Cap.

Single File: http://d.pr/f/yjhj
Folder Import: http://d.pr/f/1aBrG (folder must contain at least 2 notes)

Update 2015-12-26: A new post by Larry Salibra with another script to aid in migration!


What was needed?

  • My Mac
  • Evernote installed and fully synced
  • A Mac app by the name “Write

These steps outlined below is what it took to get my Evernote data migrated over to Apple Notes.

  1. Export all your Evernote notes to an Evernote .ENEX export file.
  2. Open the Write App and import your .ENEX data into Write.
  3. Once all your notes are in Write, you can now export them all as individual plain text notes.
  4. Now take your plain text notes and drag them all into Apple Notes.
  5. This will import all the text files into Notes and you can begin organizing and fixing as necessary.

Like I said, this is not the most straightforward approach, but it did work for me. It was much better than manually copying over hundreds of notes.

As a side note, you can also get a great app from Write for free than can be used to keep a running backup of your Notes.app notes. It’s called “Notes Exporter” and is a quick way to export all your Notes.app notes into individual text files for a backup.


*It is important to say that Although Evernote’s format is very much a “Lock in”, it is fair to say that Notes.app is as well since it has no native Import/Export options built in. You will reply on third party tools at this point to get plain text in/out of Notes.app.