Tag Archives: watchOS

My Watch

I’ve worn my Apple Watch Sport (Darth Vader Style) every day since Father’s Day 2015 and I absolutely love the thing. I didn’t expect to own one quite so quickly, but my daughters and wife decided they’d gift me with one. It was a wonderful, unexpected, gift.

After a few weeks with the watch I decided it wasn’t worth owning if I didn’t wear it like any other watch I’ve ever owned. That means keeping it on when I’m working in rough environments, getting it wet, whatever. I have a few watches in my collection. Six in total. None of them are expensive watches. I’ve always bought watches with link bracelets and every one I’ve every one of them is broken where the band attaches. I broken them all while doing something a bit rough. Mechanically they’re all fine. They just need replacement pins for the bracelet.

As I was saying. When I got the new Apple Watch I eventually decided I shouldn’t baby the darned thing even though it’s terribly expensive, I should wear it like any other watch I’ve ever worn or why have darned thing?

To that end it’s been submerged in water a lot and banged around while working on bikes, cars, and my yard. I know, nothing terribly brutal, but it’s held up quite well.

A while back I wore it while cutting down a dead tree in our yard. I wish I had taken a picture of it before wiping off the face. It was covered in sawdust and dirt. Before I thought to grab the picture I wiped it off to check the time. This is how it looked.

Sawdust Watch
Sawdust Watch
A couple weeks back I was working in the yard. It’s time to turn the sprinklers back on and I was doing repairs in our front and back yard. When I got to the back yard I had a sprinkler that was busted off under ground, so I had to dig it up to repair it. As I was working on it I happened to completely submerge my watch in an icky, muddy, mess. This is what it looked like afterward.
Muddy Watch
Muddy Watch
When I showed this picture to my brother he was surprised it survived. I wasn’t, but I’ve been beating it up for quite some time and it’s bee terrific.

When I was finished with the sprinkler repair all I did was pull off my watch and rinse it off under the garden hose. When all was said and done it worked perfectly and looked as it did before caking it with mud.

Clean Watch
Clean Watch
Oh, and yes, I’m still using a green iPhone 5c as you can tell by the reflection in the watch face.

Overall I’m really pleased with the durability of my Apple Watch. Hey, is there a web site, or web sites, that feature Apple Watch action shots? If you know of any, drop me a line at rob.fahrni@gmail.com or leave a comment. Thanks!

What I want in watchOS 3.0

So, what would I like to see in watchOS 3.0? Simplification and performance improvements. I’ve written before that I use very few Watch Apps — two in fact; Dark Sky and Beer Timer. I’m not counting Apple’s apps in that. I really like glances and complications. I’d love to see apps embrace those two things in particular. I use the Dark Sky complication on my watch face, you can see it in lower left of the pictures above.

Performance, performance, performance. The one downside to launching an app is how long it takes to startup. When I tap on the Dark Sky complication it takes so long to load my watch face will often turn off. That’s clearly no good. I’d like to see that improved. At the very least keep the watch face on until it’s loaded up and give me time to view it.

Another annoying thing. When I bring the watch up to look at the time it’s off most of the time. That’s pretty frustrating. It means I have to tap the face with my other hand. If that could be sorted out it would make the watch that much better for daily use. I typically have 50% batter life when I go to charge it at night, so batter life is not an issue. Figure out a way to light the display more often.

What’s the one thing I want more than any other thing? Custom Watch Faces. I would be fine with Apple requiring a stringent review process for custom faces. I don’t want one that misbehaves and sucks batter. Come to think of it I’d be fine with that if it looked extremely cool! Let me decide which faces to use. I bet they would be the most popular item in the Watch App Store if you did it.

I’d love for someone to make a Dumbledore Watch Face! I’d have that thing day one! Yes, I have a pocket watch with this watch face. It’s a work of art.

Here’s hoping we get simplification, performance, and custom watch faces in watchOS 3.0.

Is the future macOS?

If, like me, you’re an Apple fan you know they announced a bunch of new products on Wednesday. It seems apparent to me the future is based on the iOS codebase, not OS X.

We now have iOS, watchOS, and tvOS. I may be wrong, but I suspect watchOS and tvOS are derivatives of iOS. It makes sense. When Apple created iOS they started at the bottom layer of the OS and worked their way up. They reused the Kernel and Core Foundation. On top of that they added UIKit and a touch layer to give us the unique experience we get with iOS today. The important thing to note is the OS was stripped down and made to fit the device it was built for, by fit I mean the feel as well as the size of the OS.

With iOS Apple took the opportunity to tighten up how applications could interact with the operating system. It’s still a very powerful OS, but Apple removed all the power user features. The ability to peek under the hood is gone. As a developer we’re no longer given access to all parts of the computer. We all get our own little sandbox to play in. This was all done so bad people couldn’t turn your phone into a virus factory. In other words, it was done in the name of securing the device, making sure it would always work. It is Apple’s most secure operating system, and that’s saying a lot given OS X’s reputation.

Yeah, AppleWhy all the talk about iOS? Well, I think it’s the future of the desktop. With the introduction of the iPad Pro Apple is beginning to blur the line between tablet and desktop. It’s the first hybrid device for Apple. We all know Microsoft created the Surface years before. Where Microsoft took the approach of bringing a full desktop operating system to the Surface, Apple decided to begin with iOS and work up. Folks will say this will make iPad Pro less powerful, I don’t think so. How much “power” do you need? It’s not as if people really care about technical specs when they buy computers, right? Well, if you do, iPad Pro is more than capable.

Bringing laptop class power to a tablet has fueled speculation that the Mac could move to ARM processors, or maybe it’s better to say OS X could run on ARM.

Rich Siegel via Twitter:

It’s not a stretch to believe OS X will be completely ported to ARM — remember iOS shares core code with OS X. In fact it may already run on ARM processors.

That brings me to the point of this post. I’m beginning to believe iOS, and Universal Apps, are the future of everything Apple ships. Not only will OS X be ported to ARM at some point, I believe we will see an Apple laptop based on ARM processors running iOS. It will be the familiar clamshell design we’re all familiar with but will have a touch screen, full keyboard, trackpad, and you’ll be able to pull the display part away from the base (keyboard.)

This is how I believe Apple unifies its story. We have iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and in the future macOS. With macOS being the version based on the iOS App ecosystem. OS X will continue to live as the power user option in the Apple lineup.

For many people it would eliminate any confusion over the difference between OS X and iOS based App Stores, as Daniel Jalkut pointed out in a recent Twitter post.

How long before we see the new macOS?

Why, oh why, would I believe that? Well, it seems like a natural evolution of iOS. When iOS first shipped it was a tiny OS, over time it has grown to add more and more rich features, but it remains quite tiny, very secure, and built to serve a new model, an easier model. Couple that with new features of iOS 9, like split views and picture in picture, and you can see the OS moving in a new direction. We’re at the crux of applications cooperating with each other to create unique experiences. This isn’t new, far from it, but it will be reimagined on iOS. It will give us the power we’ve been looking for and maintain all the security we’ve come to love. That’s why iOS is so valuable.

Think about “the average user” of a computer. I’m not talking about super-geeks, like my brother that need those super power user features a lot of developers enjoy, I’m talking about folks like my wife. She is a gamer and uses her home MacBook to play games, surf the web, answer and create email, and play games. On occasion she will compose a document using Pages. This type of use would be fine for an iOS based device.

The iPad can also be used for day-to-day use. Federico Viticci uses an iPad as his daily driver and swears by it. I have to believe the iPad Pro will be a welcome addition to his daily workflow.

We should also keep in mind the partnership Apple formed with IBM to create solutions for the enterprise. This is how Apple rounds out its offerings for businesses. Get a third party to make the iPad attractive to businesses.

Oh, yeah, and one more thing. Tim Cook loves his iPad!

In the end could you imagine how wonderful a Mac laptop would be running a form of iOS built just for the hardware? Something that is essentially an iPad with the addition of a keyboard and possibly a mouse? It feels like the Mac could evolve in that direction.