Matthew Hinton

Just where I spout off on whatever I feel like

Tag: apple (page 1 of 2)

Missing the High Ground

There is a lot of “Functional High Ground” commentary going around about Apple recently and how their software has become buggier and less functional. I am so annoyed today that I had to add my 2 cents. Here are the top issues I have with Apple first party software.

iTunes which I use everyday is really crummy. The streaming radio stations screw up pretty much everytime I use them. I pay for Apple Music mainly to make music management easy and iTunes makes it not easy. I want to see Apple reimagine iTunes into a version that actually works and is focused on music. If iTunes doesn’t get better this year I will reconsidering my Apple Music subscription. By better I don’t mean anything like the new Photos application.

Photos sucks. Apple had consumer/pro photography programs in iPhoto and Aperture and they replaced both of them with Photos which has almost no functionality. Unless Apple greatly improves Photos I will be purchasing something else to do photo management/editing with. This is a real dissapointment. Apple seems to now believe that software that does almost nothing is “simple”. I think it’s terrible. I want to get work done with my computer and software that does nearly nothing doesn’t enable that.

Dealing with Apple’s multimedia focused applications really made me mad today. Doesn’t anyone at Apple use their software to try and get work done anymore? How can they be proud of this crap. I have enjoyed being in the Apple ecosystem much more than I was when I ran Windows machines. If Apple doesn’t show some love to Mac OS and their first party apps this year I am going to have to consider going with another service provider over Apple as my default position going forward.

What I would like to see from Apple in 2016

I am an Apple fan and I would like to see some very specific things from the company this year. I want Apple to continue to make great products and doing great things for the users of the products. Apple has made some questionable choices lately and it appears they may be about to do so again.

The number one thing I want from Apple is to improve the network services. They need to do something that Microsoft does when needed which is to see a need and retool the companies processes to address it. They need to have all the engineering groups collaborating on using the services they provide. iTunes should actually play songs from the radio stations instead of playing one and stopping which happens to me frequently. iCloud needs to actually work well and be invisible. Come on Apple I want it to just work. I created a two line note on my Mac the other day and iCloud synced only the first word of the note to my other devices. This made me pretty miffed that they couldn’t get that right.

Apple please continue fixing bugs in Mac OS X and iOS. I would rather see that than big new features. The Mac OS is in pretty good shape although I would like to see a developer or pro mode added that is less restrictive than the current El Capitan version. I use Mac’s for development work, Apple don’t make that more difficult. Once nice improvement though would be to rework the iOS launcher and make it something really nice. This probably the one new feature I really like to see.

I would like to update my iPad mini this year since the one I have only has 16GB of storage space which is not enough for any iPad. Apple bump the base storage to 32 or 64GB on all the iOS devices please. I would the like the iPads all brought up to date with 3D touch support. I would really a reason to buy a new iPad other than being tired of being constrained on storage space.

I presume there are new MacBook Pro’s coming once Intel can make enough of the Skylake revision of processors for them. It would be nice if they had OLED screens. I don’t know if I will be in the market for a new laptop this year but I want Apple’s hardware to continue to be the best.

Here’s one last issue I want to address and that is the fairly consistent rumor going around now that Apple is looking to remove the headphone jack from the iPhone. I use the headphone jack all the time and I bet most people do as well. If Apple drops it they better have a very compelling story about why it’s good for me as the user. Otherwise will probably just replace my iPhone 6 with last year’s 6S rather than the newest thing. It wouldn’t be enough to get me to switch to an Android device but it would get me thinking about whether or not I wanted to stay in the Apple ecosystem.

Tempted Fate With My iPhone For To Long

D’OH! Today I broke my streak of not dropping my phone on a hard surface by dropping my iPhone in a parking lot. The screen is ok but there are now two good sized dings in it. I am on my third iPhone as I have had the 3G/4/5 and I am hoping to pick up a 6 later this year. I have always treated my iPhones really well.

Before I got my first iPhone I had a Motorola flip phone that flipped out out my hand every other time I took it out of my pocket. The screen was busted on it and I was really happy to upgrade to a smartphone.  I made sure to keep my iPhone 3G and 4 in a case but I never really liked them. When I got the 5 I decided to forgo a case and for almost two years I had no problems and my phone was in like new condition.

The next time I get a new iPhone I will probably pick up a case of some sort for it if I can find a super slim one.

Nexus 7 (2013) Evaluation

My first generation WiFi Kindle Paperwhite recently decided to not connect to WiFi networks anymore. This unfortunately makes it a Paperweight.

So I needed a new ereader to replace the Kindle. I thought I would take the opportunity to reevaluate what I wanted from a mobile device. I wanted to be able to read Kindle books, programming books in PDF format, and it would be nice to be able to watch video.

The Google Nexus 7 isn’t that much more expensive than a new Paperwhite and as a long time fan of iOS I was interested in seeing what Android had to offer. At first I pretty happy with the Nexus 7. Then I started noticing things that irritated me. So I decided to make a list of the pros and cons of the device as I was using it.

Pros:

  • 7″ form factor is very nice
    • Light weight, easy to hold in one hand
  • Nice for reading Kindle books
    • I read an entire fiction book and the experience was pretty good
  • Nice for reading PDF files
    • The Acrobat Reader software wasn’t bad
  • Nice for watching videos
  • Keyboard with predictive text is very nice

Con’s:

  • Poor onboarding experience for new users
  • Needed os updates out of the box that caused reboots with no warnings and failed because of battery level
    • Updates worked after plugging into charger
  • App store sucks
    • Many apps have reviews complaining about crashes and bugs and these are the first reviews you see
    • So many apps look like junk and are filled with ads
  • Nexus 7 has a high res screen but fonts still look worse than on the iPad
  • Touch targets aren’t very accurate
    • Sometimes I have to touch several times to get it to register. Links are especially bad.
  • The auto brightness setting is always adjusting the brightness value on me
  • Charges slowly, it seems to charge very slowly
  • Android is very quirky

The pros all fit nicely with what I was looking for and if I had not used an Apple device before that would have been the end of the story. Because I have used Apple mobile devices since the iPhone 3G and I am very familiar with iOS and the Apple platform I just couldn’t be happy with an Android device.

I returned the Nexus 7 to Best Buy and bought a retina iPad Mini instead. The iPad Mini was $50 off when I bought it. Best Buy didn’t have the saled price marked anywhere so the sale was a surprise to me. If Best Buy marked the actual current price on their merchandise they might sell more of it.

The retina iPad Mini has almost all the same pros as the Nexus 7 and is better at video with the larger screen and none of the cons so for me it’s totally the right tablet computer.

Apple Gets My Money Again

I have been a bit ambivalent so far about the iPhone 5 since I was pretty happy with my iPhone 4. However my iPhone 4 had started to get a little flaky recently. The larger screen on the iPhone 5 as well as being able to use Siri is very enticing. I have been waiting patiently for the AT&T store to get some stock in.

I prefer to actually go to the AT&T store to make sure they don’t mess up my contract when I upgrade our phones. I called the store on Saturday and asked if they had any of the iPhone 5 in and they said they had just received a shipment.

I asked my wife if she would like to upgrade her phone and she said yes so I drove into town and there were only two people waiting in line ahead of me. AT&T now takes your name and puts you on a waiting list to be helped which is much better than having to stand in line.

I got to go around the store and play with the other phones that were on display while I waited. AT&T seems to carry at least twenty Android phones, a handful of Windows Phone 7/8, and the iPhone 4S and 5. I saw a couple of people getting the iPhone 5 but it seemed like most of the customers in the store were getting Android phones.

The Android devices have some interesting features and they do have the best maps app right now. However I can’t get past the fact that they look like Linux machines. I ran Linux at work and home for several years and then I ran Windows XP/7 and now I use a Mac. I like having a device that looks nice is well made, and works well without having to manage it. I see the Android devices as a suboptimal solution for the average smartphone user.

Another interesting thing I noticed was that no one else looked at the Windows Phone 7/8 devices in the entire time I was in the store. I have a lot more respect for the Windows Phone 8 devices because Microsoft didn’t try and copy Apple they came up with their own mobile computing experience. I just think it took them to long to respond to the iPhone.

I was able to pick up a white iPhone 5 for me and a black one for my wife. I setup the phones as new phones and synced with iCloud to get contacts, notes, photos setup. I then had to setup a bunch of applications I use manually which was a bit of a pain. It would be nice if all of that could go through iCloud.

So far I am really enjoying the iPhone 5. I really like the larger screen and better performance. The iPhone 5 is super slim and light which doesn’t sound like a huge benefit until you actually hold it in your hand or put it in your pocket and barely notice that it’s there. I am going to try and get by without putting a case on my phone which would make it thicker and heavier. I am going to have to be careful and not lose it in the couch because the stainless steel back is pretty slippery.

I have a grandfathered in unlimited data plan with AT&T so I am looking forward to the availability of LTE. I read that AT&T is supposed to roll out LTE service nationwide by the end of 2014 so I am hoping that living in one of the more populous parts of the state outside of the Chicago area will put us higher on the list of areas to roll out.

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