Thursday, June 24, 2021

Who Needs A Laptop When an iPad Is More Than Enough

A MacBook is be nice to have since it has a much longer battery life than anything that anyone can buy on the Apple side of the street including the iPhone Pro Max.  Still, lugging around a laptop is so 2010 and before that.  Now, there are tablets.  Okay, iPads, to be more specific, that can do the job of laptops and MacBooks and are better at specific tasks than regular computers.  And Apple suggests that users consider 

During the last 14 months of lockdown due to Covid, I've relied on my 2016 MacBook for work I do for my regular job.  I have my trusty iPad mini around when I need to use it as another screen or a distraction while I am working.  I came back to the office about a month ago and for the first week, I was bring my MacBook to and back from work.  Starting with the second week, I've been leaving it at work.  Now that I have a regular schedule, I only do what's necessarily for my job and I don't want to take my work home if I don't have to.

At home now, if I need a computer, I am 95% on the iPad mini (the other 5% is on the iPhone).  And I am comfortable doing because if how robust the iPad and iPadOS is now and goes to show that regular people who do not need a powerful device, a truck in the words of Steve Jobs, can comfortable stick with an iPad.  Or even an iPhone should one chooses.  

When I first decided that the iPad is all that I was going to rely on, I was a little nervous.  There is a possibility that I might need to some some work at home in the event of an emergency.  So far that has not happened yet and for some coworkers who are still on their desktop computers, they'll just have to deal with anything that comes up when they go to work the next day.  So, I adopted that attitude just as I adopted the attitude that work is for work hours only.  

With the iPad mini, I can do the everything else.  

  • Gaming
  • Social activities - messaging, video chats, email
  • Transactions - paying bills, banking, buy/sell stocks if I wanted to, e-commerce
  • Writing - just as I am doing now
  • Reading news or books
  • Streaming music or video
  • Surfing the web for suggestions on my gardens
  • Personal projects - these involve more writing as well as some spreadsheets that I use Pages and Numbers for.
  • Drawing
  • Taking photos - okay, I'm not an old folk who goes on vacation snapping away. But I really have to, the mini is not as bad as carrying around an iPad or iPad Air
I think these activities I've listed pretty much covers most of what everyone else do on their iPad or iPhone.  What has perplexed me somewhat was the skyrocketing sales of the iPad for enterprise.  I knew with schools going online, iPads were a great option.  

But for people working from home? With iPadOS 15 about to be released in less than three months, we already know a lot of what Apple has planned and we we can anticipate that Apple will do in the coming years.  And from the looks of things, we will see the iPad gains new features or see updates to existing features that make it a more powerful device that may eventually end up with mobile warriors selecting the iPad over a MacBook for work if they do not need the extra horsepower that the Mac offers.

For now, I'm happy that I do not need to carry my Mac around and can instead really go mobile and light with the iPad mini.  

Monday, June 14, 2021

Apple Watch: More Flexible Goals and Challenges For Fitness

 I've been an Apple Watch user stating with the 2nd generation.  It is Apple's first mobile device that I did not jump on right away - I was an enthusiastic user of the original iPhone and iPad.  For some reason, it just was not for me.  And the second generation was not for me but I got it as a gift.  Before that, I was a Fitbit user if not a happy Fitbit user.  But I decided to give Apple Watch 3 a go and I'm now a believer.  It is largely due to the more mature apps, especially the fitness app and features.  It has been a while since Apple has made changes to the rings of goals and I'm hoping Apple will do that soon.

I look at the Fitness app on the Watch every day that I have the watch on my wrist.  And probably a few dozen times a day to see where I am.  It's great.  I am comfortable setting my goals at 700 calories, 30 minutes of workout, and getting up 12 times a day.  It took a while for me to decide this is what works for me - it is achievable, it makes me work for it, and it also makes me struggle a bit especially at the end of the day when I am still coming up short.  But there are two additions I like Apple to add to this.

I like another ring to be added.  And this ring can be set by the user.  Certainly, there is enough room on the watch for Apple's developers to add another ring.  Even two.

See that middle of black space within the blue ring?  That nothingness?  Apple can certainly make the rings thinner for another ring and a features to fill out the middle.  Maybe like solid circle that fills up as the user gets closer to that goal.  

And what would users like to use these custom goals for?  I like a steps per day goal.  I'm sure by now, everyone knows about the arbitrary 10,000 steps per day goal.  My goal is around 11,000 steps a day (I'm around 11,500 days a day average so far this year).

Perhaps, the number of stairs per day is a worthy goal to pursue.  Hours of sleep, ounces of water intake, minutes of mediation, or workouts.  These are just some that I easily thought of that I think many users would be interested in. And smarter readers like yourself could certainly think of other things that I have not considered as goals that would be of interest to users should Apple ever allow users to determine goals for additional rings.

One other thing about the Apple Watch I like is the ability to challenge other users.  Here are some thoughts about this I would like to see Apple implement.  A couple of weeks ago, I was challenged by someone.  And what Apple used to determine the winner is the how many percentage points is earned by the user at the end of seven days.

I like to see more challenge features.  

  • Allow users to set the number of days.  The current seven-day challenge is prety good but that mgiht be too long for some users or some users might want more days to go up against another.
  • Ability to challenge yourself.  This might not be as much as a challenge as a need for Apple to help users track how their fitness and workout is progressing or lack there of.  Some of the data are in the Health app on the iPhone which makes it not easily accessible for any use other than for me to see how I did last week, last month, or the past year.  All that information should be made available for use like a self-challenge game.  I'm doing a lot of tracking on my Numbers sheet but it would be a nice feature use that info so can instantly know how I'm doing against myself.  
  • Having a friend who you can challenge is great.  So is the self-challenge above. I like to see challenges expanded to data collated by Apple against someone in my age group, sex, and similar physical activity.  Make this available on Game Center would be neat as well.
We are still in the infancy of the wearable revolution and Apple will likely evolve and update the Apple watch fitness app with more features with each passing year.  I think all the features I would like to see are really low hanging fruits that Apple can easily implement.  And perhaps, Apple has other features in store that will blow away any of these features I want. Either way, I would not want to miss this boat with each watch and WatchOS update.

When are the Macs Getting M4 Chips? Prediction: MacBook Pro With M4 At the WWDC

What are the new M4 chips? Presumably, Macs could get the M4 chip tomorrow if Apple decides to pull the trigger on them.  First, let's a...