Apple (March 2021)

Tim Cook started by announcing weekly baseball Apple TV+ content. Baseball, a game that is a child’s version of cricket. Cricket, a game that is not a sport. It’s just standing around waiting for something to happen. So, as a Brit the first scoop kind of bypassed me;)

Next up, iPhone 13/Pro in 2 new colours. Nice I suppose, but 99% of iPhones are cased 99% of the time so…. moving on.

A new iPhone SE with a better chip, the A15 bionic. Better photography, battery etc. It’s good to see this smaller phone getting an update in so many different areas.

A new iPad Air which I was not excited for because my Air (2 years old) is working well for everything I need it for. There are changes to connectivity (5G), an M1 processor, the cameras and certain apps which are useful plus the expected ‘green’ marketing stuff. And that was it… I am far from an iPad power user so I am not the target market for this, but all of the powerful hardware in the world will not push the form forward without some major changes to iPadOS.

The M1 Ultra chip was up next. Very very impressive and some will want/need this- it just seems to push Apple even further ahead which must unnerve the competition massively.

Mac Studio (a Mac mini Pro?) is an interesting product and one which I am still considering in my mind. Very powerful, great design and it appears to be a winner at first glance. And while I am again not the target market, this level of power puts even more professional tasks in the hands of individuals in any location. This level of ‘freedom’ should not be overlooked.

The Studio Display is also brilliant and so typically Apple. It does complete the Mac Studio solution as it should, but the price is, well, typically Apple. $1599…

This event was as expected thanks to all of the leaks that came before. It was somewhat muted which makes sense in a time when people are being slaughtered in Ukraine and when we are still in the Covid-19 era (we are not post-Covid yet), but what was shown highlighted that Apple can progress at a speed that many will feel is not innovative and still win. The fact is that it is all impressive and it does not need to wow us. In 2022 we just need to get on with our lives and these products seem to fit the moment.

OpoLua: the return of Psion!

View MBM image files, OPL scripts, and AIF resources, listen to sound files, and run OPL scripts and programs from Psion and Psion-compatible computers on iOS and iPadOS… More here.

It’s not perfect and it takes some time to understand how to install files, but this is a welcome development for those of us who have never forgotten the magnificence of the Psion system.

Glass for iPad

Glass has come to the iPad! Nothing feels quite like it — it’s so easy to get lost in your feed or a Category. Total immersion in the photography. iPad has immediately become our favorite way to experience Glass. We have more we want to talk about, but go download it right now and then come back… More here.

I don’t use my iPad Air for many tasks, mainly YouTube and LBC, but this could be an entertaining time-filler.

Why the iPad mini 6 is (not) the perfect e-reader

There are always books that sound interesting to me, both fiction and non-fiction, and I buy a few per year, but I rarely get a chance to immerse myself in them. The iPad mini 6 has changed that, though, and I’ve read more since owning one than I had for a long time prior. It’s clearly the best iPad to use as an e-reader, and it might just be the best e-reader period… More here.

A curiosity of an article and one that seems to be reaching. There is no part of the iPad that makes it a better e-reader than a Kindle. From the screen to battery life to price to the singular focus on one task, every Kindle kills every iPad for reading (in my humble opinion).

The Twelve South Hoverbar Duo

In hindsight, you really can’t call the HoverBar Duo an iPad ‘stand’. The multi-hinged, incredibly versatile, height/direction adjustable arm is capable of doing much more than your conventional stand is. In fact, think of it as a mechanical butler who just holds your iPad for you at any angle you want, for any length of time. More versatile than a stand or a tripod, the HoverBar Duo for the iPad and iPhone is better described by the things that it’s capable of… and it’s capable of quite a lot! More here.

One of very few accessories I have seen that could transform how a device is used. Not cheap, but still good value.

iPad mini + iPhone 13 Pro > Galaxy Fold

The above is an excellent overview of the new iPad mini and it covered what the benefits are in the real world.

When Michael talked about the Galaxy Fold and the potential of 2 Apple devices fulfilling what it does this made a lot of sense to me. iPhone 13 Pro (£1,049) + iPad mini (£479) = less than the £1,599 Galaxy Z Fold3 5G.

I have never seen a use case that would suggest that a folding phone makes it worth the extra cost and when I compare it to those 2 devices it seems like a no-brainer to me.

The iPhone 13 and new iPad mini

It was a strange September Apple keynote this year and it felt to me as if it was somewhat light on content. From the Apple TV+ filler segment at the start to the focus on certain new features that would have been stuck on the final crowded slides in years past, something didn’t feel quite right to me.

I do not know why the atmosphere or depth was lacking, but at no point did I sit up and marvel at what was in front of me. It is easy to feel this way in a time when phones do everything they need to do well and when the same applies to iPads (not all tablets), and the hankering for exciting new features needs to be put to bed in deference to better performance and upgrades that will make our lives a little easier.

I wrote about the new Apple Watch yesterday and how it appeared to be the result of a rushed effort to recover from problems in the production cycle, and this was confirmed further by the new that it has exactly the same processor as the series 6 model. With no sensors either it really does feel like a catchup product just to get something out there. The expectation of a flat sided Apple Watch was everywhere, but just maybe Apple thought twice about this because of the harsh aesthetic it would provide.

The iPad mini does not fall into the above complaints. With a new screen, new chip, 5G support, Apple Pencil support and a selection of new colours it really does feel like a decent upgrade. The new design, which is old of course, works very well and if I were an iPad mini person I would jump on it. I admit that the iPad as a device leaves me cold even though I use my iPad Air for many hours every day. 95% of its usage is YouTube and streaming while working with the occasional note taking and some freelance thrown in with the Kindle killing it for reading. Aside from that it is just a tablet that remains exceptional yet boring to me. No matter, the new iPad mini looks excellent.

If any device is worthy of tempering the desire for new hardware features it is the iPhone. It literally does everything very well and as expected the camera is the main focus here. Some nice software tweaks, improvements in almost every area and a lovely blue colour ensure that it will sell in huge numbers as it always does. The iPhone 13 delivered exactly what I expected- improved competence.

I cannot criticise Apple for the new iPads or the new iPhones. They are exactly in line with expectations that have been driven home over the past decade and that is not a bad thing. We don’t need fancy new features that only look good in marketing literature, we need practicality, reliability and supreme competence for capturing the moment we want to treasure. We got all of that. If Apple had done something with the Apple Watch battery I would have been much happier.

If it’s broke, fix it. If it needs to be better, upgrade it.

My upgrade cycle, like many other’s, has changed a lot in recent times and I find myself upgrading much less these days. I will take each of my products in turn-

iPhone 11 Pro

The battery is still very good, the speed is still instant and the camera is more than good enough for my needs. It is an expensive device and I cannot fathom Apple bring anything to it that would make me spend the amount required for the iPhone 13. It ain’t broke and I will be keeping it.

Apple Watch series 6

It is very fast, it does everything I need and it works very well. However. The battery performance is not good enough for me and the cellular could be better with the occasional hiccup when I move from my home Wi-Fi to the outside mobile world. It ain’t broke, but it could be better and if the deficiencies are addressed I will get the series 7.

iPad Air

This one is still new to me and I admit that 98% of its usage is streaming TV and YouTube during the work day. It isn’t broke, I don’t need it to be any better and so no other iPad will be coming to me anytime soon.

MacBook Air (M1)

Quick, brilliant battery, does everything I need well. It is far from broke and there is, like the iPad, nothing else I need it to do. It is staying.

Apple is the victim of its own success at times because for people like me, who have long lost the excitement of tech for techs sake, it comes down to deficiencies that need to be addressed or older kit that has simply gotten too old to perform how I need it to. In terms of Apple products the gap between purchased models appears to be getting longer and longer for me.

California Streaming

Thanks to Sami for alerting me to something I should have already been aware of. Personally all I am waiting for is the Apple Watch series 7. I don’t believe the iPhone 13 will offer enough to make me want to jump and my 11 Pro battery health is still on 92%.

Joanne will go for the Apple Watch and switch back from Garmin if battery life is much improved, but she is happy with her iPhone X currently. Seems the iPhone for us is more than capable of doing 3-4 years at a minimum.

And here are some selected comments from the McGST WhatsApp group on the matter-

Oh goodie. More toys I can’t afford. Seriously though, I’m waiting to see a new iPad Mini. Ours are getting very long in the tooth.

after the premature drowning of my 11 and replacement w/ a 12 I wasn’t planning on I am sort of looking forward to the vibe of like a 3 year phone. It’s always almost always just the camera that sells me, but 12 pro max camera is hard to argue with

I’m waiting for the periscopic lens. Not ready for the watch.

My 1G iPad Pro is getting long in the tooth, at least battery wise… my iPad Mini… eh, it still does everything I ask it to, so unless I’m looking for an excuse to give it to someone so upgrade.

That’s always been the thing w/ iPads. though just don’t experience the wear and tear of phones or laptops.