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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
I haven’t worn my Apple Watch in about two weeks. There was no big decision when I stopped wearing it, but I’ve noticed that over the past month or so, I would just be less bothered about wearing it.
No music/podcasts are being controlled on the watch anymore, because I have AirPods that can do that. I don’t track workouts because they were never real workouts anyway. I don’t play Field Day or Pokémon GO anymore. And if I want to check anything like the weather, football scores, text messages, I just take my phone out of my pocket.
I’ve started to actually like not having my wrist being the interface between myself and the internet. And I’ve grown tired about being notified about things that I just don’t care about.
It’s interesting to see how people use the Watch in their day to day. Chris has worn a watch for a number of years and is beginning to find it less useful in recent times.
Since the Watch launched I was always a bit skeptical of some of the features, particularly ones related to notifications. I’m far too addicted to my phone as it is, so having a device physically attached to me that opens up more possibilities of staring into a screen never really appealed to me.
I recently picked up a Fitbit Charge 3 to help me track my fitness and heart rate 1. Having this information has renewed my interest in the Apple Watch, but I have to remind myself that there is a big difference between a fitness tracker and a smartwatch. Matt Gemmell wrote a piece a few years back on moving away from the Apple Watch and back to a Fitbit. Similarly, David Smith wrote this article on his hopes for a more fitness focused Apple Watch.
I’m going to see just how useful I find the Fitbit in the coming months and whether or not I like wearing a watch full time. If I find myself wanting a bit more from it I may look into the Apple Watch or more functional Fitbits.
So far I’m really liking it. Great iOS application and excellent battery life. ↩
In keeping with tradition, here are my must have iOS apps that match Federicos.
A daily podcast driver for me and an app that I rarely even notice I’m using with the advent of Siri Shortcuts. It’s been rock solid since I started using it, and I’ve no intention of switching from it any time soon.
I’m not a heavy user of Instagram, but I like the app and it’s one of far too few that has embraced dark mode. Still waiting on iPad support though..
Same as above. I’d imagine I’d have more complaints about it if I wrote more than one tweet a year.
Even if I was lost in Antarctica I’d still be confident that I’d be able to send and receive WhatsApp messages. It’s yet to let me down since I started using it.
I’m getting a strong sense of deja vu while writing these entries. The fact that 1Password is still on this list shows how good it is. If you aren’t using a password manager yet then look no further.
Netflix have gotten this app just right. The interface looks great and is easy to navigate. Progress syncs well between devices, and the ability to download makes it essential. Zero complaints.
Much like the Netflix app, the YouTube app is solid. Picture in picture is something I would love, but I’m guessing Apple isn’t too keen to give too much power to Google on that one..
This needs no introduction. Still the king of navigation.
I’ve had the iPhone 11 Pro for about three weeks now which I think is a reasonable amount of time to form a decent opinion on the phone. I upgraded from my two year old iPhone 8, which to be fair owes me nothing and is still a great phone for any reasonable person who doesn’t feel the need to upgrade on a regular basis.
The headline feature of the 11 Pro is the camera. All reviews I’ve read so far have had a lot of praise for it, and rightly so. It’s an excellent camera. The Ultra Wide lens allows you to take photos that you wouldn’t think were possible, capturing a full scene as opposed to just a frame. Night Mode is seriously impressive. Even in an almost pitch dark room it will find a way of lighting up a photo. Deep Fusion helps create incredible detail in close up photos. There is now also the ability to record 4K video, which takes up a lot of memory but looks excellent. So no surprises here, but the level of improvement over any iPhone before this is worth noting.
Coming from an iPhone 8, this is my first time using a phone with no home button or top and bottom bezels. The 11 Pro finds a nice balance in that it’s just small enough that it fits well in my hand, while offering a much larger screen than before. It’s noticeably smaller than last years XR and the standard 11 this year. The difference between the LCD screen of the 8 and the OLED screen of the 11 Pro can only really be appreciated when they are side by side. Black levels are pitch black on an OLED screen, so much so you could be forgiven for thinking the screen is actually off in low light.
So far the battery has been a good improvement on the iPhone 8, not an absolute night and day improvement, but a welcome one. Speaking of power, the USB-C 18W charger that’s included in the box can charge the phone seriously fast 1, and completely removes the need to charge the phone overnight (not that you should ever really do that).
The only regression with the 11 Pro I’m seeing is Face ID. The second generation Touch ID on the iPhone 8 worked instantly every time I used it. Going from that to Face ID, where you have to be facing the phone square to unlock just doesn’t feel as natural to me, especially when using Apple Pay. Ideally I’d like both, but that’s probably quite a bit away.
There are of course other less noticeable improvements across the board. The processor is more than capable of handling whatever you throw at it, the speakers are as loud and clear as ever and the phone is more water resistant than ever before.
It’s only when all these improvements add up over time that you can really see how good these phones have become. If you’re coming from an iPhone XS then you might be less impressed, but we’ve got to a point now where upgrades every year are really not necessary. The iPhone 11 Pro is a worthy upgrade for photography lovers and anyone still tapping that home button.
Apple claim 50% charge in 30 minutes. That matches what I’m seeing. ↩