Apple, Windows

Apple iOS Beta versus Microsoft GA

It’s been really interesting lately in my tech life. I’m still an avowed user of Apple products. particularly iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. All of these products make up my day to day in terms of running my life.

In order to stay up to date on the latest from Microsoft and Google, I invested in a Surface Book 2 and also a Galaxy S10 5g. For about two weeks, I basically replaced my iPad with the surface. On the smartphone side, I carried both my iPhone and the Galaxy.

Working with the Surface was mostly okay, but it was full of daily annoyances. The time it takes to start up…all the way until applications are actually useful. It seems like an eternity ¬†compared to my iPad Pro 12.9. The apps on the iPad are instantly available for use and interaction the moment I open the tablet. Not the Surface, particularly with Outlook which can sometimes take about 3 minutes to do whatever it needs to do in the background. Granted, it’s the more “complete” Outlook for Windows 10, but that hardly seems a proper excuse. And besides, for what I do, I actually prefer the iOS interface to all the Microsoft Office apps.

The real issue has to do with the Microsoft update process…or a lack thereof. The last update basically bricked my Surface, making the CPU throttle to about Pentium speeds and basically unusable. The GPU in the base also “disappeared”. These are actions from official Microsoft General Availability releases of Windows 10 and Surface firmware. One only wonders if they have active QA.

Contrast this to the beta of iPad OS. It’s rock solid, my apps all work, and I have picked up all sorts of features, like USB Drive support that make this machine a joy to work on. So, I’ve gotten my full of the Windows “experience” for a while until they fix my machine with new updates.

As for the Galaxy, I was more impressed with that…again except for several things I was immediately missing. Integrated messaging like iMessage is basically non-existent and forget about anything like iCloud. The Apple ecosystem really means something to active iPhone users. The smartphone experience is about all the software and services, not just your camera resolution. I found the Samsung phone to be very well made. ¬†I simply didnt care for Android, finding it a bit complex to do ordinary things. Also, the privacy aspects are concerning. Apps that ask for camera and microphone access…when this access is clearly not required happen frequently and are disconcerting. Still, if you started on Android and have never experienced the Apple ecosystem, then I suppose you don’t yet know what you are missing.

It’s a lot!


A Shout Out to Apple Music

I’ve been using Apple Music every day since the launch and I am totally hooked. What has grabbed me are the recommend playlists that show up every day in the For You section of the app.

It never fails that there are several playlists offered up every single day in which I am really interested. Some of the playlists are based primarily on what I have in my music library, which I would expect. For instance, I am a big ELO fan, so I just had a Deep Cuts for ELO playlist show up yesterday. Like most of Apple’s suggestions, it was spot on for me.

What’s even more impressive is when the playlist is based on an artist or a theme not explicitly present in my library. Great examples are ones based on the artists that might have influenced the acts that are in my library, allowing me to dig even deeper into music I may never have heard.

And that’s really my favorite thing about Apple Music. It has me listening again…a lot. And to things I either haven’t heard in ages or even better, things I’ve never heard before and most likely never would have sought out. So, I suppose you could say my love for music has really been rekindled by this awesome new service.

One other quick note is about affordability. I have been a heavy subscriber to XM Radio for years now, running it in multiple cars. With that service, you have to pay the subscription fee for every single radio. Now, with Apple Music, and blue tooth streaming, I only have to pay for *one* subscription and it works for me wherever I am. I am looking at substantial cost savings by converting from XM Radio to Apple Music. Not to mention the service is so much better and more tailored to my listening needs.

If your an iPhone or iTunes user, Apple Music is completely free for 90 days. It’s definitely worth checking out.


Apple Watch Battery Usage Update

It’s been a good two weeks and I have learned quite a bit about my usage patterns for the Apple Watch.

For the first few days, I was using it constantly and often getting low on battery by the night time. Then, as time as passed, I have learned to reduce things like notifications to only those I really need. And I only run apps on the Watch when it’s not convenient to use my iPhone.

By reducing my usage level to a more “normal” level of activity, I am able to end the day with upwards of 35% or more battery left on the Watch. So, I am now able to wear it to bed, and it keeps track of my heart rate all night long. I am getting a sleep quality app next to try as well.

Then, when I wake, I charge the watch for about two hours and it’s normally at 97% by then and ready for a full day.

Oh, and battery usage on the iPhone has stabilized as well. There is definitely usage, but it does not drain the battery to the point where the phone needs charging out of your normal cycle, i.e. at night.

Bottom line: Once you adopt a pattern of Apple Watch usage that doesn’t involve touching it every single minute the battery life is more than sufficient for a day and even for use at night.

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Apple Watch and iPhone Battery

I was noticing a real drain on my iPhone 6 Plus battery after pairing my Apple Watch. My iPhone used to make it two days between charges, but after the Watch I was looking at barely a day!

Turns out the main culprit is the Apple Watch Companion app that runs on the phone. That app can be quit and the Watch will continue to function as normal. And, suddenly, much less battery usage. Clearly, Apple has some programming to do!

So, if you are seeing a drain on your iPhone battery, try quitting that Companion App.

Back to playing!

p.s. The Watch battery is holding up great. It’s at 57% at 6pm and I attached it to my wrist at about 7am. Much better than I expected.

Update: Started at 100% on both devices at 7am. At 2:45 pm, Watch is at 74% and iPhone Plus is at 61%. I was using the iPhone Plus camera for a bit which used some battery. But, this is more battery use than normal for me, so it looks like there is still some drain on the iPhone Plus while it is connected to the Watch. Basically, I’ll have to go back to charging the iPhone Plus every night if/until this changes.

This is interesting because everyone was concerned about the Watch battery life; no one was talking about what it would do with the iPhone battery. Turns out we may have been looking in the wrong place. All that said we are at 1.0 here and I am sure things will develop rapidly.

Really gotten into using the watch and iPhone to track my activity. It works really, really well, and there is a ton of data collected. Looking forward to adding more health related apps.


Apple Watch!

All I can say is….. I’M IN LOVE!!!!!!! All these years of waiting and the day has finally arrived.

This is such an amazing piece of style and technology. It just feels right. It looks great. And it is going to be infinitely useful.

And my company, Playscreen, has a game for it! Black Jack Anywhere which you can download from the App Store. Here’s a pic of the game playing on my wrist!


Off to play with some more of the cool apps!