Apple

Control Center UI

I’m not going to say that Apple read this and agreed with me but if you watched Apple’s keynote from today you may have noticed something.

Thank you for agreeing with me Apple. Can’t wait to try it out this fall.


After using Night Shift since it came out a couple weeks ago, a great new feature by the way, I finally noticed something that is very frustrating. Here is a screenshot for reference:

IMG_0241

Nicely laid out interface. Easy to tap buttons. And it is organized very well. But not perfectly. What is different between the top row of icons and the bottom?

The top row holds toggles. Something is on or off.

The bottom row holds applications. Kind of. The second, fourth and fifth icons beam you right to a standalone app by unlocking your phone. I would argue that the flashlight is also an app, even though it doesn’t open an app. Either way it definitely isn’t a toggle for a setting, it’s a toggle for a feature which are two different things. So if you ask me, those four are OK to be grouped together.

The problem lies in the middle icon, night shift. That icon deserves to be in the top row as it is a toggle. Either the screen is shifted to warmer colors or not and no app is being opened or used. I understand that Apple didn’t really have a choice as the top row is full and adding another icon wouldn’t work.

iOS 10

With WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) being announced today and being held in June, it is assumed that the next version of iOS will be unveiled. Apple is known to use a tick-tock release schedule and this year is a tick, a larger update compared to iOS 9. Hopefully, among other things, Apple will make control center the reverse of notification center. By this I mean when notification center is brought down it covers the whole screen. In allowing control center to use the whole screen, the icons will be able to spread out as they are arguably too close together. Doing so will give Apple a chance to move the items around and let night shift be where it belongs, with the toggles.

-Adam

A Genuine Interview

I’ve never quite understood the interview. It’s fake.

We dress up in clothes we rarely wear and often don’t feel comfortable in. We put so much importance on a single block of time which results in tons of build up, stress and anxiety. Why are we creating this fake environment instead of showing our real selves?

When looking at a full time job, a third of our day, if not more, is going to be spent in the office working with these people who we are dressing up to impress. During all those hours we are portraying the true versions of ourselves since we are doing what we, hopefully, enjoy. While the interview feels gross and awkward.

Let me take a step back. There are examples where dressing up in our Sunday best makes sense, specifically when the interview outfit and work day outfit are one and the same.

However, I’m talking about jobs where in the interview we are dressing up and for the average work day we are putting a slight bit of thought into our outfit and that’s it. These unofficial uniforms then carry over to the overall culture.

The first time I met the CEO of National Galactic (formally Colupon) I wore a button down and jeans. My average outfit during the week? A button down or sweater with jeans (it gets cold in Connecticut). And during that first meeting at our local Starbucks, it was a relaxed conversation where we were getting to know each other and the opportunity at hand. I wasn’t trying to impress anyone, I was simply being myself.

On the other hand when I worked at Apple in retail, during every part of the interview process I felt obligated to dress up. Wearing those clothes made me feel uncomfortable and made the experience more formal than it was. When I started working there, dressing up was optional. Wearing shorts or jeans with our Apple shirt was the norm. Almost every day I worked there it was a fun and engaging experience, which is the exact opposite of the interview process.

Again, one size doesn’t fit all but I think there is room for us to rethink what an interview is and how it plays into the overall culture that the company is cultivating.

Review: Apple Watch

This device needs no introduction. If you don’t know what I’m wearing on my wrist in that picture, then skip this post. I recommend this one.

Apple Watch Sports 42mm Black
Apple Watch Sports 42mm Black

After having my watch for almost 2 months, here is what I think of it.

TL;DR – I think this is a great first step for Apple’s watch but there are some core improvements that will bring it into its own.

 

“What are those core improvements, Adam?”

Well dearest reader, let me expound.

Processor

This aspect is two fold, the first being the processor residing inside of the 42mm device, which plainly put, is simply not powerful enough. Basic functions such as opening the Activity app, displaying the glances view, or even loading the settings app take twice the amount of time they should. The apps by nature are lightweight but still not enough so for the weak processor Apple put inside. Apple knows this and will show us a lovely graph over the coming years

The second factor being how painfully slow apps that primarily use my iPhone take to load. Even on the glances view, the screen will shut off before the glance view will finish loading. And while app logic will soon run on the device rather than the paired iPhone, with the processor being the way it is, I’m doubtful we will see much of an improvement.

Not all actions take more time than they should, some are rather snappy such as going between menus. But this device is meant for interactions that consist of seconds which is currently being used for only loading.

Taptic Engine

This is my most loved feature of the Watch. With my iPhone, 90% of the time it remains on silent as to not disturb those around me but this has resulted in many missed calls because I haven’t felt the vibration. With the haptic feedback being applied directly to the forehead to my wrist I know when a notification has come in without bothering anyone else in the process. With that said, there are times when I am on a walk, driving, or when I have my arm such that gravity isn’t pushing the watch against my wrist that the vibration isn’t enough to get my attention. This creates a similar phenomena to when my phone is in my pocket and I swear it vibrated but hasn’t. Although sensitivity is at the highest setting, a more powerful engine needs to be in the future versions.

Battery Life

I was pleasantly surprised with the length of the battery. Most times I am getting two full days out of it, given I have it off while I am sleeping. As someone who charges their phone every night and since I don’t plan on wearing it while I sleep, taking it off at night to charge isn’t a problem. Battery life in any device could be improved but for Apple Watch it’s not necessary to increase its lifespan.

Everything Else

At first I thought the phone feature was useless but there have been times where I walked away from my phone or it was hard to get to and answering a call on my watch was the easier and better option. The speaker needs to be improved if Apple sees it as a real feature (which they should).

The sounds are perfect. None of them are annoying, they are quite nice actually, and I know exactly what each means. Light sleepers won’t be woken up by the alarm sound which is why we should be able to choose which sounds play.

Predictive text is very helpful when all you need to respond to a text with is yes, no, ok, an option (e.g. “Should we get pizza or tacos?”), and similar short, simple replies. Replying to messages with my voice works but when it doesn’t or it takes to long for Siri to figure out what I said (due to my distance from my phone or the network connection) it ends up making the interaction frustrating and thus, I have stopping using it.

“It’s our most connected device ever” that statement is true but after the novelty factor, I have forgotten I can tap people’s wrist. And to be honest, I don’t know why I would. And drawing a picture on the tiny screen is hopeless.

I have played two free games, Four Letters and BoxPop. Both are great games for the Watch. They are quick, fun games that are perfect for filling a 3-5 minute gap of time. They run surprisingly well but a faster processor could definitely improve the experience.

Why did I get one?

The answer also satisfied why I still use it. While it is a good notification manager, with great exception to the fact that if an email notification is “dismissed” that also means that I have “read” the email. Since Apple Watch can’t handle most dynamic content that is in today’s newsletters, I haven’t read a thing except for code.

Why I got it and still use it is for the activity tracking. Consumer Reports showed that it is the most accurate out of the leading watches. The process of tracking an activity and monitoring it during the exercise is straightforward and comprehensive. And the awards are a great surprise after an exhausting workout. Even though my watch isn’t the best at tracking when I have stood up or not, once you tell it you are working out it is a very diligent tracker.

Should you get one?

Wait for the second or third version to come out and then submit your order. The model I got plus AppleCare (I’ve had some close calls since I forget it is there when reaching my hand into a tight space) came to $230*, $460 for non-Apple employees. Currently is the Watch worth $460? No. $230? Yes, but only because it is integrated into the Apple ecosystem and is a good activity tracker.

Once the Watch finds its niche and its true purpose (I’m looking at you third party developers) and gets the improvements noted above, then this will be the number one watch on the market, hands down.

 

*I worked for Apple Retail starting in October 2014 and left shortly after being able to order my watch for a discount. The timing was a lucky coincidence.