I first started wearing watches during my grade school years. While I really wanted one of those nerdy, calculator watches, I settled for the “regular” kind that simply, you know, told time. Now that I’m an adult, I can pretty much choose any kind of watch I want, so that means I want my watch to be smart.
It has taken me a long time, but last year I had an oppurtuity jump on the smart watch bandwagon. Nate purchased an Apple watch and sold me his Pebble Classic for cheap.
Overall, I’ve been very happy with the Pebble Classic. It has a long battery life and is able to perform the same tasks of other smart watches costing hundreds of dollars more. It allows me to see notifications from my phone, skip to the next track of my music, and, of course, tell time.
Would I recommend the Pebble Classic for others? The answer is “maybe.” The Pebble Classic isn’t amazing, but it is still very useful. If you can get one for cheap, then why not? But, if you’ll be paying full price for one, I’d recommend saving up for one of Pebble’s other models. Both the Pebble Time and Pebble Time Round have color displays and offer additional health tracking features.
Receives notifications from phone
Has hundreds of apps and watch faces to choose from
I have had my Apple Watch for about 3 weeks now and have a lot of people asking how I like it. I figured it was time to type out some thoughts and observations so far (No I am not able to type blog posts from the watch).
A few disclaimers before I get started:
I have worn a watch as long as I can remember. The Apple Watch would be a lot more of a transition for a non watch wearer.
I’m a huge Apple nerd. I have purchased almost every iPhone on the day it comes out, since the first one in 2007.
I had a Pebble Watch. For the last 8 months I wore a Pebble Smart Watch. It has limited functionality compared to the Apple Watch, but it helped the transition from ‘dumb’ watches.
Last fall when Tim Cook introduced the watch he said it was their most personal device yet. I have to agree with him, when people ask to see it there is an awkward wrist twist and not much to show. While I do believe that it is a revolutionary product, it isn’t as ‘demonstratable’ as many other gadgets.
I have tried to thinking of a good analogy for what I think the watch is. There was a time when TVs did not come with a remote, they worked, but it is hard to imagine life without them now. After just 3 weeks, that is how I feel about the Apple Watch. The watch requires an iPhone to function which I have no problem with. At this time I don’t think I would want something the size of a watch to replace my phone (but we said the same thing about smartphones and computers not too long ago.
Here are some various things that I think are important:
It is not just another screen to stare at endlessly. It is made for quick interactions, you know, like a watch. I can quickly look at my watch to see a notification and decide if I need to do anything with it. I have found myself pulling out my phone a lot less and getting sucked into all the distractions found there.
It doesn’t have real apps, at least right now. What it does have is extensions for apps on your phone, most of which aren’t real useful. Third party iPhone apps are very limited in what they can do on the watch, Apple says they will allow real apps later.
The Activity Monitor is a great way to get moving. Those of you that know me, know I don’t move much. With the watch it is really easy to set and track daily goals. It will also give you a gentle reminder if you haven’t moved in an hour to stand up and get the blood flowing. That has been huge for me, there are a lot of times when I spend a long time in my recliner. I just have to work on less trips to the kitchen when I do get up.
Battery life is better than expected. When Apple said that battery life would last about a day every one freaked out. I understand, this is a big change from the 5 years a standard watch battery will last. But people have an iPhone mentality on charging, it takes less than 2 hours to fully charge. So I sleep with mine on and then just charge it some point during the day when I don’t need it.
Square is the best shape. Again we think a watch should be round, but you know what doesn’t work well on round objects? Text. Try to write a letter on a round piece of paper, it is not efficient.
Is it waterproof? I have not tested the ‘waterproofness’ too much yet. Apple says to be very careful but the certification they got says you can put it in 3 feet of water for 30 minutes. This Guy took it for a long swim and off the high dive without issue. I just figure I don’t need to risk it yet.
It’s the best Siri yet. Apparently Apple made some changes to Siri to put it on the watch and most people think it is much more accurate. I dictated a text while at a loud concert last night and it came through perfectly.
So what do I do with the watch?
Look at the time. It is a little weird that the screen is off when you aren’t looking at it but it’s not a deal breaker.
Look at notifications. Not having to pull my iPhone out every time there is a notification is great. I can take a quick look and decide if I need to respond and whether I can do it on the watch or need to take my phone out.
Control audio on my phone. With a quick swipe I can play, pause, rewind or fast-forward whatever I am listening too.
Final Thoughts: I really like the Apple Watch, it has smoothly integrated into my life. Yeah, $400 is pretty expensive for a watch, and I have to admit it isn’t something I need. But I do have to say that it has me spending a lot less time on my iPhone, something I think we could all use. I am excited to see what Apple does with the watch as well, remember that we didn’t even get apps on the iPhone for a year…
Questions? Concerns? Answers? Head on over to the Facebook page and let me know.
Further Reading: The team over at iMore has a ridiculously in-depth review over on their site.
Disclaimer: This was originally posted on layPhone.com and was migrated to this site when Nate and David started Notnerd.com.
As I said way back in September, sight unseen, I preordered an iPhone 6 Plus. It was the ‘best’ phone that Apple announced and I knew it would be in short supply. I was right on the short supply, as of today Apple still says it will be 7-10 days before you can get the 128gb model. I received mine, finally, on Sept. 25th, I spent 3 weeks with it and had to say goodbye.
Getting back to the iPhone 6 Plus being the ‘best’ phone Apple released this year, well that’s a little complicated. The 6 Plus did have a few better features that I mentioned in that earlier post, but as I also mentioned, it is a really big phone. I decided after a few weeks of heavy use that it was just too big for me.
Don’t get me wrong, it is a really great phone and if you don’t mind the size I would recommend it to you. But since at this point you can get your hands on both models to get a feel, I would strongly suggest doing so. I had seen a few 6s, and had played with Dave’s, who wrote this post about his 6.
Also, if battery is very important to you, the 6 Plus battery is a huge improvement. I just decided that in my life that I am never more than 5 feet from power, I could make that sacrifice. I also have several external batteries, like this one, that are great in a pinch.
Since I was outside of the 14-day return policy with AT&T, I had to get creative on making the switch. In mid October the phones were hard to get so I turned to Craigslist. I posted an ad saying that I wanted to trade my 6 Plus for a 6. I had several people who had all kinds of ‘great trades’ for me but only a few that had the 6 I wanted. I talked with one and then we met up at the AT&T store to make the trade. It worked out really well, we switched SIM cards, made sure everything was working, and headed on our way. Since my 6 Plus was worth more we negotiated a fair trade, though there was a small issue I might bring up another day.
(Note: It’s always a good idea to meet somewhere safe and public when using Craigslist, I have heard some stories of people running off with iPhones.)
Once I had the 6, I instantly knew that was the better phone for me. It is a lot bigger than the 5s is but I think it is a very nice size. Besides the size, I am trying to think of any really compelling features of the phone over the 5s. I have used Apple Pay a few times and it is really amazing, but it isn’t everywhere yet. The camera is better, but the 5s is good too.
It will be really interesting to see how phone size plays out over the next few years. I know a lot of people who say they never want a phone bigger than the 5s and some that would use a full size iPad as their phone. But we do have options right now from Apple, just make sure you find the phone that works best for you.
If you would like to get a lot more in-depth with the iPhone 6, iMore.com has some serious coverage on their iPhone 6 page.
As you know, which iPhone 6 to buy was a tough decision for me. I ended up preordering the 128 gig Space Gray iPhone 6 Plus. After having to wait a week after the initial release, I received my new phone.
Before I get to my thoughts and my final decision, I had asked my friend Dave, who runs the site ificionado, to share his thoughts on his new iPhone 6. He has a great perspective on the new phone that I wanted to share: (More from me soon!)
I was apprehensive at first when I heard that iPhone 6 would be larger than previous models. I loved the design of the iPhone 4 and thought it was the perfect size for me. When the iPhone 5 came along, I actually didn’t like the increase in vertical size and would have preferred Apple to keep the same design and concentrate on improving only the internal components.
But, now that I have had the iPhone 6 for a few weeks, I have learned to appreciate its larger screen size. The small bezel combined with its light weight and rounded sides make the device seem smaller than it really is. All of that, combined with the fact that its only 6.9 mm thin, make holding and using the device a joy. Oh, and let’s not forget the curved glass screen which offers users a very satisfying “swiping” experience.
Of course, there are things about the design of iPhone 6 that I do not particularly like. As with most Apple’s devices, iPhone 6 is somewhat slippery and can easily slide right out of your hand. Maybe it’s time for Apple to work on creating a material that has a bit more texture so that your fingers have something to hang on to.
Then there’s the camera. While I appreciate the improved performance and quality of the new camera, I’m not a fan of the protruding lens element. Sure, I could always purchase a case to take care of the problem, but I prefer my phone to be “au naturel.” This causes a problem when I set the phone down on my desk. I’m concerned that the camera will become worn or even damaged.
One thing that the iPhone 4 and 5 series phones had going for them, was their flat sides and smooth edges. That design choice gave these devices the ability to set upright, perpendicular to a flat surface. This allowed photographers to use nearly any flat surface as a makeshift tripod.
In contrast, the engineers at Apple have moved the sleep/wake button from the top of the device to the side. That, coupled with the rounded sides” makes it very difficult to place the device perfectly level. So much for hanging pictures with the built-in level now.
Do I wish there were an updated option in smaller size format? Yes I do. But, at the end of the day, the iPhone 6 is an engineering marvel that makes owning one a luxury that anyone can afford.
At some point tomorrow, September 17th, Apple will be releasing this year’s major update to your iPhone software, iOS 8. I believe there is a good chance you aren’t ready to update and should probably wait. If you know for a fact that you have at least one really good backup of everything on your phone and could survive without your phone for a while, you can skip this article. The rest of you, read on.
Backup, Backup, Backup
I cannot stress this enough – I talk to so many people who lose data because they do not back-up their iPhones consistently. There are many causes of data loss, including, but not limited to, theft, breakage, defective hardware, contact with water, and update errors. Apple does a pretty good job with their software update system, but is it worth the risk of losing your photo where it looks like you are holding up the Tower of Pisa?
Hopefully you are using iCloud Backup to automagically backup to the cloud, no not Photo Stream, that only backs up your 1,000 most-recent photos, nothing else (the way this is done gets better in iOS 8, which is a plus).
I also highly recommend plugging your iPhone into a computer and backing up to iTunes on a regular basis.
Plug it in, go to iTunes, and if your phone is not automatically syncing, click sync.
When it finishes syncing, press the backup button at least one more time to make sure.
While you have your iPhone connected, copy all of your photos and images to your computer as well. You can read Apple’s instructions on how to do this for Mac and PC here.
Did I mention backing up your computer? It is really important.
Things Could Get Weird
Apple has experience with updates, but with nearly a billion iOS devices in the world and a good portion of their owners eager to update right away, there could be issues. Downloads can get extremely slow and timeout. If you aren’t confident in your tech skills, it is also a good idea to let a 100 million other people try it out first and see if there are any inital problems. I will most likely at least update my iPad tomorrow and will keep you informed on the general consensus.
You are eager to update. I understand, I am the same way. As I have mentioned before, last year with iOS 7 we had the biggest change in appearance since the iPhone was originally released. This year with iOS 8, the functionality and back-end will be the major focus.
Here are a few articles from Mac Rumors, iOS 8 Features and iOS 8. Since a lot of the features are more back-end, it will take some time for all of your favorite apps to really take advantage of them. You will be able to use the phone like you’re used to, and I will let you know how to take it to the next level over time.
After looking at your phone a thousand times, it is finally there – the red circle on the Settings app, letting you know the update is ready. Rob from TodayiniOS.com has his recommended steps just before updating (His in-depth PDF can be viewed in the free Tii App):
Sync your photos (I told you to do this above)
Update all your apps
Force quit all your open apps
Back-up/Sync/Back-up to Computer/iCloud (see above)
Reset Network Settings/Reboot your iPhone
Update to new version of iOS (I would add plugging it in to power, but I am pretty sure Apple reminds you as well.) See edit below.
Hold your breath, cross your fingers and be patient (I added this one)
Edit: I forgot one tip that could save you a lot of headache. Are you having problems updating because you do not have enough free space? Update through iTunes. That way it downloads everything to your computer and just updates your iPhone. This can be a life saver and my preferred method, due to more stability.
Does this kind of stuff make your head hurt? Let me help you! I have started www.ConsistentTech.com to do just that. My goal is to help my clients utilize their technology better. Whatever level of help you need, let me know.