Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Apple’s Car Venture Begins with CarPlay And Will End With Innovation and Quality

The question though is when will Apple unveil its own car effort and what that will do to the market. We recently bought a Nissan Ariya and offered to give our Fisker Ocean reservation to a friend. I think we are are done with getting a new car for a while. Only Apple Car will get me trade in my current car sooner than I normally would. 

Prior to the Ariya, I was driving a 2014 Lexus RX330 - its transmission finally gave out. It did not have a lot of mileage (less than 180,000 miles) but it is what it is. The timing on the Ariya was fortuitious. I had made the reservation more than a year ago. The RX330 gave out and the Nissan dealership in Glendale, California called me a month later to let me know my Ariya is here. 

One of the reasons I held onto the RX330 longer than I would have like is because I was hoping to that Apple would have at least announce that they were getting into the market. But now, it does not look like an electric vehicle from Apple will be coming any time soon. And Apple does not have to rush given the state of the market right now.

I had been using CarPlay when I drive my wife’s car and I did not think much of it. It was like using an earlier version of iPhone OS when iOS was called that and it was limited in the early days. That’s what CarPlay feels like to me. As I use it more and more, I started to enjoy it and prefer it over the infotainment systems of the cars we have. And I have yet to hear other iPhone users I know who opt for the default manufacturer’s system when CarPlay is available. 

In fact, having CarPlay support in cars is one of the most sought after features and a major factor for buyers in deciding what cars to get. This is why it is perplexing that GM recently announced that they would do away with CarPlay support in new EV offerings. Telsa and Rivian both do not offer CarPlay but then again, GM is no Tesla or Rivian and, as far as I know, does not have anything close to the brand loyalty both if it’s competitors or Apple have. While I do not now if people will shy away from GM EV because of it, I would not be surprise if GM later reverses this foolish decision when people opt to by EV from its competitors.

For Apple, CarPlay is their foot in the auto industry regardless of when its own car will come out. More importantly, hundreds of thousands if not millions of iPhone users are using CarPlay will slide easily into Apple Car experience.

Furthermore, it looks like Apple is going full steam ahead with the whole auto experience - in 2023 (more likely 2024), some new vehicles will support the new CarPlay experience - think of it as iOS taking over your 2024 cars. That will give us a better experience of what it would be like to be driving an Apple car.

More than the whole driving experience with the current or new CarPlay, Apple will have to release its own car to give its Apple drivers the whole experience. Just like people who buy high end models from Mercedes or BMW, it is not simply one factor or another that makes the driver experience different for someone who buys a cheapy EV (that’s me) and someone who buys a $100,000 EV. 

It’s how quiet the cabin in, who smooth the ride feels, the comfort (and other first world amenities), and the sounds. It’s how it handles on the road, acceleration, turning, etc. For Apple, it will attempt to offer all those at a reasonable price, reasonably higher price but certainly not out of this world high. Apple will be paying particular attention to the design of every aspect of the car and even innovate where it see areas that benefit drivers in ways that we did not know we wanted before. New safety features will be paramount in addition to making sure the handling feels like you are in a premium EV - not just because you pay top dollars for the Apple car. I would not be surprised if it only offers AWD. 

Sure, Apple can get may of its fans to fork over more than $100,000 for the Apple car. I am sure once you add in all the options, it could be well north of $100K but Apple will be sure to offer a range for the average Apple consumer as well. This will be done in such a way that the whole range of Apple car drivers will get to experience its innovation and quality.

I would love to speculate as to when Apple will release just such an EV. That’s for another time. I do think it’s coming and there is no need for Apple to rush to the market just yet. 

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Bing Chat Told Me Why I Should Pick A MacBook Over An iPad for Coding and Content Development

I value portability in today's computing devices. It's why I have not owned a desktop since my college days. I'm pretty sure that most college bound students who need to get a computer probably went with a laptop. Maybe even a small number of them might have opt for an iPad. 

So out of the blue, I asked Bing Chat whether I should get a MacBook or iPad that I can use to code. Not surprisingly, Bing told me to go with a MacBook. Essentially, Bing found MacBooks to be more versatile when it came to the number of tools available for coding and development. It does think that the iPad has potential.

The other issue it brought up is cost. I specifically asked if I should get an iPad Pro but it seems to suggest that there is no difference between a regular iPad and an iPad Pro given that the apps that are available for coding on the iPad run on all current iPads. So, if cost was an issue, the iPad would be the way to go. 

On both accounts, I agree here just as I agree with another question I asked Bing if I should upgrade my MacBook now and it suggested that I did not have to do that unless I absolutely need a new one.

Although this is only two questions that I have posed to an AI chat, we an expect such AI to straddle both sides of the fence and provide us with a balanced recommendation and at the end leave the decision to us. I'm not going to tell you what to get but I will tell you which is better for certain conditions but you will have to made the decision based on what you know best. I suppose, we can be grateful in this sense: we still have the freedom to make choices ourselves. 

Based on both questions, I will get a MacBook once my current one dies or is unable to let me do whatever it is that I need it to do. 

One note about coding. There are online tools that lets you code online through the browser. For beginners, I think it perfect. I'll take a look at these tools and make the appropriate recommends. Maybe I'll even get Bing to provide some input as well.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

The Case To Keep iPad Mini 6 On The Market When the iPad Mini 7 Goes On Sale

When Apple release the iPad mini 7, Apple should continue to keep the mini 6 on the market with a price drop. There are many reasons why Apple should make this move. I'll outline the reasons below. 

Before I get into that, I want to note that I am currently on the iPad mini 5 and my wife got the iPad mini 6. While I always like having new things, I can't say that I am jealous of my wife's iPad mini. My mini 5 has worked so well for me since 2019 when it was first launched. I'm coding a bit on it and with the Apple Pencil, I'm drawing much better.

I eagerly want to see what the iPad mini 7 has in store for us. Will it be enough of an upgrade for me to make the jump? We will have to see. Meanwhile, I hope that when it is finally released, Apple will consider keeping the iPad mini 6 around.

Why it would be advantageous for Apple to having iPad mini 6 on saleon the iPad mini 7 is released? Here is why:

  • Apple can lower the iPad mini 6 price by $100.
  • It will help APPLE cover a greater segment of the market. Users who want a lower price iPad will have more choices.
  • It is a good alternative as an iPad for school. The regular iPad is heavy. It means greater chance of the iPad being dropped and damaged by school children. The iPad mini may hold up better given how compact it is when it is also in a good case. Lighter to hold. I'm speaking from experience in this regard.
  • This will improve APPLE‘s profit margin because they will be using technology and parts that they likely have recovered in terms of R&D, and the rest is pure profit other than the material used to build the iPad Mini together line
  • The iPad mini 6 uses the first generation Apple Pencil. I don’t know what the cost to make an Apple Pencil. I only know that the cost of the first generation Apple Pencil is much lower to manufacture now than it has ever been. For anyone who wants a simple sketchpad, iPad mini 6 with the Apple Pencil is the perfect solution. I have tried various solutions to turn my iPhone Pro Max into a sketchpad, and let me tell you, nothing works. At least, nothing works, as well as the iPad and the Apple Pencil.
  • Back to pricing a little bit. With iPad mini 6 haven’t been on the market for about two years now, you can kick this count on them for $100 off. That would be the same exact entry point for the current iPad mini six on the market from time to time you see it on cell phone $500 down to $400. Imagine it going even lower to $350 on Black Friday. Picking up one of these for your child or for yourself as a entertainment device is a no-brainer. Heck, I’ll pick one up myself $350 if I didn’t already have one. 
  • Lower price iPads are the perfect entry into the Apple ecosystem for millions of potential lead new users. It will increase the number of people who would subscribe for Apple services like Apple TV and news.
  • From a content consumption standpoint, I cannot see much difference between my mini 5 and my wife's mini 6. We use our iPads to watch videos, reading books and comics, and play games. I don't see the iPad mini 7 to be that great of a leap in these regards. However, the iPad mini 6 does support Apple Pencil 2 and many artists would be able to benefit from the upgrade. And from the content creation standpoint, the mini 6 will still hold its own for years to come. Unless the iPad mini 7 can run Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro, the mini 6 would still be very powerful.
By the time Apple releases the iPad mini 7 next year, assuming it takes Apple about 30 months to date the mini like the last time so it likely will not happen in 2023, the iPad landscape will have change a lot. However, I believe this will be for the better from both the content consumption standpoint and being able to use the iPad mini 6 for work/productivity. The iPad mini 6 will continue to evolve with new features that allow it to continue to serve the needs of all users.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Bing Chat Told Me I Why I Should Not Upgrade My MacBook Just Yet

With an aging MacBook that still continue to serve me, I do long for a M-series MacBook. However, do I really need one right this moment or in the next month or two? The conclusion after much deliberation is no. And that deliberation took months. And during that time, I certainly managed to muddle long with the Macbook from 2016.

I will need one eventually. All good things come to an end and I think my MacBook is nearly that. 

  • The keyboard was subpar to begin with. 
  • The battery is about half what it was
  • It does not support the latest OS anymore.
However, I use Bing's ChatGPT powered search and ask whether I should be upgrading to a new MacBook now. The answer, depending on how you feeling about these AI-powered chat queries, I found was quite reasonable. 

If my MacBook continues to serve my needs, including learning to code, well then by all means, keep it until it stops to serve that need or breaks down.

Bing's AI chat suggested that if my MacBook is slowing or is struggling to keep up with my coding needs, then it would be time to upgrade. At the same time, what I did find interesting was the hedge - it suggested that if my needs are specific and require a more powerful MacBook now and have the means, then go ahead and consider upgrading now.

Personally, I'm going with the first part of the suggestion and upgrade after I have gained enough coding experience and have outgrown my 2016 MacBook.

I just find it very interesting what Bing suggested to me. My next query is going to be more about web-based coding solutions that I can do with my iPad. But first, let's see what Bing suggest I do - go with an iPad or MacBook when I do decide to upgrade.

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Something Really Pro for iPadOS 17

Most iPad Pro users appreciate Apple's effort to give us reasons to get the iPad Pro. For years, other than bigger screens, cameras (which I'll get to), keyboard and mouse support, and, in the past year, Stage Manager, there really is not a whole lot of other reasons why we need to get the iPad Pro.

Please note that this is not a complaint article. We have no idea how much resources Apple is pouring into making the iPadOS experience that much better year after year both on the hardware and software side. I do agree with many of this year's review of the iPad Pro and iPadOS that if you already have the iPad Pro with the M1 chip inside, you are not missing anything with the 2022 iPad Pro upgrade with the M2 chip. And it is not likely going to make a big difference when Apple eventually release the iPad Pro with the M3 chip as well.

So, what makes the "pro" in the iPad Pro then if we are not seeing a significant user experience? For me, it  has come down to Stage Manager.

As I use my iPad, the Pro portion of the iPadOS experience is the ability to duplicate some of the ability to create contents that I am currently doing on MacOS. I'm still learning to code on my 2016 MacBook with Xcode and other tools that I currently cannot do on the iPad. From what I know, coding on Playgrounds is not the same experience as coding on Xcode.

We know that Apple is going to continue to update iPadOS until the end of time. Not all are going to be here until the end of time. So, I would  like to see Apple really make the Pro part of the iPad Pro happen sooner rather than later.

  • Apple has not brought over many desktop apps to the iPads. If anything, Apple give iPhone and iPad users what I call "lite" versions - one of the first one is GarageBand. People have want to have Logic Pro on the iPad for as long as I can remember. I am not a Logic Pro user and I only use GarageBand sparingly. And even still, GarageBand band files (I don't know if it's all GarageBand files) are not compatible between the MacOS and iOS/iPadOS. At the version least, if I create a file using GarageBand on the Mac, it should be able to run seamlessly on the iPad as well.
  • Playgrounds. I think this is one of the best app Apple has ever created. I am able to learn programming on an iPad away with my Mac. It's one of the reasons why I have not find a need to get a new Mac because given my skill set at this time, I don't need a new Mac to code. However, tons of developers want a much more robust coding tool on the iPad. I think Apple should give it to them. 
  • Windows and desktop - Just let people have more freedom to move files, folders, and apps around. Stage Manager is cool first step but it needs to be opened up more. I envision features that will need to be turned on in Settings to let Stage Manager have a more open environment when Apple comes to the realization that its users are creative and they will be able to more wonderful things if you let them. 
    • At the very least, Files should be integrated into Stage Manger or allow users to access files and apps directly within Stage Manager.
    • Search feature should be readily accessible in Stage Manger. Not everyone will have a keyboard to type in command-space to get the search prompt.
The iPad Pro has the M2 chip inside. So far, there is nothing in the App Store that really comes close to making it sweat. Benchmarks do not count. And you know what? That's okay. the iPad is to an Mac after all and the MacBook Air is not the MacBook Pro. You want to make your machine work - pick the MacBook Pro or Mac Studio.

What most of us want is being able to do more with our iPad Pro. And that is something definitely Apple should be able to accommodate.

iPad - Make It More MacOS-Like Or Just Let It Run MacOS

Would you like Apple to be on the current trajectory of making iPadOS more like MacOS through efforts like Stage Manager or simply let the iPad Pro run macOS? I am sure deep someone at Apple in the R&D department has an iPad Pro running MacOS and is loving it and lament that it is not allowed to escape the confines of the laboratory. 

Okay, this is just me guessing really hard but I do not think it is out of the realm of possibility given that Apple has a history of doing this kind of thing. Even while Apple was selling Macs running on PowerPC, they had a parallel track of OS development on Intel's X86 chips that went on to do very well. And then of course, while Apple was selling Intel-based Macs, Apple was preparing to move the Macs over to chips developed in house.

And so far, Apple has decided to make iPadOS more, well, iOS-like rather an allow the M1 and M2 iPads run MacOS. All the while, Apple is trying to increase a segment of users who want to only use their iPad Pro as their main computer additional productivity options like Stage Manager. So far, Stage Manager has had a tepid reception at best. It's better we really hold judgement until the third or even fourth iteration before we decide of Apple has finally succeeded or failed in this attempt to give the iPads with M-series chips more parity in terms of productivity with the Macs. 

Failing that, Apple could conceivably open up MacOS to the iPad Pro. It would be similar to using a MacBook Air - with limited battery life of course. 

You might argue that perhaps Apple would never do that because it would cannibalize MacBook Air sales. It might but I doubt it. The iPad Pro is a very different machine than the MacBook Air when they are running their respective OS. Plus, the MacBook Air has distinct advantages over the iPads. At this point, the only thing good that the iPad Pro would have running MacOS is that, well, it can run iPadOS and MacOS. And even so, as an iPad user, I do not see myself having the need to run MacOS unless there are apps that I need to use that are not available for iPadOS. 

What will likely happen is that we will see Apple bring more features like Swift development over to iPadOS and eventually allow developers to code and release apps for the iOS and iPadOS more seamless than it already is available through Playgrounds. We will see select features that professional users needs become available on iPadOS, thereby, negating much of the needs for users to run MacOS on an iPad.

The question for those of us who would like to see more MacOS features or Mac apps ported over to iPadOS is what those features/apps are and when it happens.

Using Generative AI Has Given Me A New Appreciation For Siri and Excited For The Future of Apple Intelligence

I used generative AI this week to find the dimensions of a refrigerator based on the model number. I googled first because of muscle memory ...