Apple Watch Series 6

Having spent most of the year wearing a Fitbit Charge 3, I came to realise that I loved the fitness related features of the device but wanted more from it. What was particularly lacking for me was the lack of built in GPS, and lack of ability to listen to music/podcasts while running. I wanted a device that would provide all the fitness related features of the Fitbit but would also include features that I relied on my phone for.

Being within the Apple ecosystem for most of my devices, the obvious choice was the Apple Watch. I have previously wrote on this website that I wasn’t particularly interested in the Apple Watch as a device. I liked the idea of being able to leave my phone behind me, but didn’t like the idea of having another device to manage. Most of this is still true, but where the Apple Watch really excels for me is the combination of fitness and media features.

Apple Watch Series 6

The model I went for is a Space Grey Series 6 Nike Edition GPS, 40mm. I have narrow wrists, so the 40mm size is perfect for me. I decided to get the Nike Edition as I liked some of the exclusive watch faces, and really like the Nike bands. I chose the Obsidian Mist/Black colour for the band which I think suits the Space Grey in particular. There’s not a lot to say about the design of the watch. It hasn’t changed a whole lot since the Apple Watch was first released five years ago.

WatchOS is easy to use and can be almost completely managed from the Watch app for iPhone. There are only a handful of apps I use on the Watch on a regular basis, namely Workout, Dark Sky and Overcast for tracking exercise, checking weather and listening to podcasts. As expected, the Watch handles notifications from iPhone seamlessly by gently vibrating when you get notifications instead of waking up the phone. This interaction is nicer than I expected, as constant notifications was one of the reasons, I hadn’t been particularly enthusiastic about the watch.

Fitness app

My favourite use of the watch is for tracking runs while listening to podcasts. I can load podcasts (or music) onto the watch, connect my Airpods and go for a run without needing to bring my phone. The run is fully tracked with GPS, heart rate, pace and more. It makes a huge difference to have all of this managed without having to think about it. It’s also simple to set up. If I want to go for a 5km run, I set that as my target, click play on the podcast and away I go. Every kilometre ran will bring a light vibration from the watch, and at any point I can glance at the time, distance ran etc. It’s a much more freeing way of going for a run, allowing me to just enjoy a podcast without thinking “how many laps are left” or picking a specific route that I know is the exact 5km distance.

While the Apple Watch is much more capable than the Fitbit Charge 3 in most areas, as expected there are some drawbacks. The biggest drawback is of course battery life. My Series 6 lasts just about a full day with some walking/running and frequent use during the day. By contrast, I only had to plug in the Charge 3 about once a week. This is not surprising but something to be aware of if you are interested in a smartwatch versus a fitness band. It can also serve as a distraction from time to time. Notifications filter from the phone to the watch so you can quickly find yourself getting overwhelmed by this. The good news is this is all configurable, so you can limit what notifications you see.

Combining impressive health and fitness features 1 with phone-like media features, the Apple Watch is a powerful device that can be used in lots of different settings. It’s equally at home on your wrist while exercising as it is in more formal settings. After a difficult first few years of underpowered hardware and limited software, the Apple Watch is now an easy recommendation to make.

  1. I didn’t even mention all of the health related features built into the watch. There is a heart rate sensor, blood oxygen monitor, ECG app and much more. 


No Jedi

Brent Simmons:

Maybe there are senior developers who have both breadth and depth — they know everything and know it all well — but I suspect that’s the rare case.

Experience and wisdom count for more than vast technical knowledge. And, in fact, I don’t have that knowledge, except in the few places where I need it. (You couldn’t even call me a Mac power user. Outside the realm of Xcode and app development I use my Mac in the simplest of ways.)

I know how to get technical knowledge, though. I look things up. I learn. I ask questions. I ask for help. Same as you!

And I find some tools — such as Apple’s for setting up app IDs, certificates, and so on — to be as impenetrable and frustrating as everyone else does.

Nope. No Jedi here.



Apple TV app launching on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 next month

The Apple TV app is officially coming to games consoles, starting with an announcement from Sony. On the PlayStation blog, the company revealed that the Apple TV app will be available on November 12, that’s the same day as the PlayStation 5 release date.

The app will be made available for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. Just like the smart TV apps, users will be able to subscribe and enjoy Apple TV+ originals, and access their movie and TV show purchases from the iTunes Store.

🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉


PS5 Teardown

It’s getting close to November, and we are very excited for the launch of PlayStation 5 console. Today, we wanted to give you a sneak peek at the console’s interior, so you can take a look at all of the magic happening inside the PS5 that brings out the beautiful games you’ll experience this holiday season.

Whatever about the interior, the exterior of the PS5 is huge. I don’t usually prefer the slim versions of PlayStations, but that could be the case this time.


Widgetsmith

The latest episode of Under the Radar is worth a listen. David Smith talks about how his application ‘Widgetsmith’ blew up in popularity when iOS 14 was released. Widgetsmith takes advantage of the new Widget feature of iOS 14, enabling users to customise their home screens.

Within a few days it became the number one free app on the App Store worldwide, which is crazy when you consider it is developed by one guy. I’d like to hear more about the numbers behind it.


The Story of Dalton’s Third Bond Outing

By May, 1990, Michael G. Wilson and Alfonse Ruggiero had completed an outline treatment that contained a detailed story, descriptions of locations, key characters and major concepts — all of those ingredients that are essential to making a Bond movie special. Set to be released in the same year that James Cameron brought Terminator 2:Judgement Day to our screens, a ‘Bond 17’ treatment preface promised ‘robotic devices’ that were ‘complex and exotic machines designed for specific tasks’, devices that would be created ‘especially for the film for maximum dramatic and visual impact’. There was even a detailed opening sequence involving a malfunctioning robotics device at a chemical weapons factory in Scotland, one that resulted in a deadly explosion and a full investigation by the British Prime Minister.

From there, the movie would venture from Hong Kong to Japan to mainland China after a typical briefing from MI6’s HQ. According to the treatment, Bond’s nemesis would be ‘a brilliant and handsome thirty-year-old British-Chinese entrepreneur’, a new-age tech geek with a loose screw and a penchant for nuclear ‘accidents’, in this case a robotics device going doolally at a Chinese atomic plant in Nanking.

Interesing read about that might have been for Timothy Daltons third Bond film. I think Dalton was great in the role and would have been really hitting his stride by the time a third film rolled around.


iOS 14 Public Beta 3 Is A Buggy Look At Apple’s Best Operating System Yet

Anthony Karcz:

iOS 14 has been an eventful beta so far, but overall it’s surprisingly stable. Not everything works the way it should, yet, but that’s to be expected. Even though they’re a bit of a pain, I’ve really enjoyed the new widgets. In fact, I like them so much, I’ve completely blown away my carefully arranged Home screen and replaced it all with widgets! I’ll talk about that more next week.

I don’t recommend installing iOS 14 on your main device (and if you do read my guide first). If you do, expect instability and partial functionality from core apps until late in August. Even then, at least one of the keynote features will likely be delayed or disappear altogether. Early betas are notorious for culling weak-performing features.

As with all iOS betas, it’s a good idea to avoid them if you can.


Moonraker - Rio de Janeiro Locations

Last year, I visited Rio de Janeiro on the last leg of a trip to South America. One of the main sights to see in Rio is Sugarloaf Mountain which features in the 1979 Bond film “Moonraker”, so naturally I was keeping an eye out for any familiar spots along the way when I paid it a visit.

In the film, Bond takes the cable car up to the top of the mountain in order to get a better view of the airport where Drax is shipping out supplys from the Rio warehouse to the Moonraker launch site. The airport looked immediately familiar, and planes even take off in the same direction as they do in the film.

Rio Airport
The airport where Drax Air Freight shipped out

Next, Bond meets Dr Goodhead and they decide to take the cable car back down the mountain. The cable cars have naturally been upgraded since 1979, but I was glad to see that they still have old ones on display from decades gone by. I spotted one from the film straight away!

Original cable car (excuse the blurry photo)

While Bond and Dr Goodhead are on their way back down in the cable car we cut to Jaws, who has followed them to the mountain and devised another elaborate attempt on Bonds life. He uses his teeth to break the cable and stop the cable car from moving. There are a number of the orange cable wheels similar to the one in the film within the cable car station. Looks like the colour hasn’t changed over the past 40 years.

Cable Car Cog
Jaws stops the cable car

Another less notable Moonraker location that I visited was Avenida Atlântica (Portuguese for Atlantic Avenue) which is the road that runs alongside the famous Copacabana Beach. Bond is driven along this road when he arrives in Rio en route to his hotel.

Sugarloaf View
The view from Sugarloaf Mountain

I also drove past the grand stands that are used for the Rio Carnival which are briefly seen in the film when Bond and Manuela are investigating Drax’s warehouse.


The Value of Using Stock Apps

Matt Birchler:

I was chatting with Andy Nicolaides recently about task managers (as you do), and he was telling me how he tried using Things again after my recent article about how I use the app, and he said it didn’t work for him and he’d gone back to using Reminders. He also mentioned how he sometimes feels like his preference for using stock apps for as much as possible might be keeping him from enjoying some great third party apps. As someone who tends to prefer third party apps, Andy and I are approaching things from completely different angles.

That said, there are some definite advantages to using stock apps and I wanted to give those reasons a quick shout out here.

Matt basically covers all of the reasons for using stock apps on your devices over third party apps.

I never stray too far away from stock apps on my devices for a lot of these reasons. Apple have made significant improvements to most of the stock apps on iOS over the past few years (compare Notes on iOS 13 to Notes on anything pre-iOS 9), to a point where there are few third party apps that can match them.