New iPhones Are Coming

Here we are,  less than a month away from a new iPhone announcement. This past week, Apple sent out invitations to their annual fall event. It will be held at the Steve Jobs Theater on September 12th, at 10am Pacific Time. I cannot believe that we will have a new slew of iPhones to choose from. It seems like yesterday that I picked up my shiny-new iPhone X and that is saying a lot.

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Usually, by this time in the year, I am itching to get the latest and greatest from Apple. This year is a bit different. I was thinking it was just me. I have a wedding that has been going through my mind and my wallet. So maybe that is why? I don’t think so. Is Apple just downright boring now? I doubt that either. As many others have said, to put it simply, the iPhone X is my favorite iPhone.

2018 might be the first year that I don’t pick up the newest iteration of iPhone. I have been running the iOS 12 Public Beta over the last couple of months and have noticed no slow down on my iPhone X. My battery health is showing 96%, which means when my phone shows 100% its max capacity is really only 96%.

Rumors are saying that we will probably get a low-cost 6.1″ iPhone, an updated iPhone X and an iPhone X Plus. While I loved my Plus phones before, the iPhone X has hit the sweet spot for me, as far as size goes. I just don’t know what Apple could do to push me into a newer iPhone X or iPhone X Plus. Other than a Plus size, I have not heard of any crazy features that will make the upgrade worthwhile for me. Of course, the new iPhones will have an updated camera and updated processor but both of those are already fantastic on my iPhone X.

Anyone who knows me knows that I change my mind a thousand times when it comes to iPhones, so we will really have to wait until September to see what I do. I think I am more excited about a new Apple Watch, since mine is coming up on two years old. Also, my iPad Air 2 will be four years old this fall, which is making my mind wonder whether or not I need(want) a new one. We also cannot forget that Apple’s previously announced wireless charging mat, AirPower, has yet to be released.

This September will either be one of the most expensive or least expensive Apple launches for me. Either way, I am content with the iPhone X right now and I look forward to September 12th.

Are you planning on upgrading your iPhone this year? Let me know on twitter and Instagram.

Images courtesy of Apple.

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The Apple Store Experience

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For years, I lived in a state where there were zero Apple Stores. So going to an Apple Store was always a special trip when I could go. Now, I live an hour away from one and I get excited everytime I get to go. But what is the allure? Here are a couple of reasons why I love the experience of walking into an Apple Store:

They Have it All

This is the one place that you can go to that has nearly every product that Apple offers. Not all stores have every single item but this is the closest you can get. I think it is good that I still live an hour away from a store or I would probably have every color watch band and leather iPhone X case.

Not Pushy

Having worked in mobile sales before, I hate the entire concept of pushy salespeople. I can walk into an Apple Store and be only asked if I need help finding anything and that is it.  From my understanding, Apple employees’ primary goal is to help you. I think offering that type of experience gains the consumer’s trust and they will end up spending the money there even if they can get it cheaper online. This is a huge reason that Apple retail is still a success. I took my fiancé to an Apple Store to try on an Apple Watch with no intentions of buying one. I made it out that day without one but as I was leaving, I was thinking how nice of an experience it was. They weren’t shoving product down my throat and respected my decision that we weren’t ready to purchase that day.

Come and Go

This is kind of wild but you can actually go to the Apple Store, pick up what you want from one of their shelves and buy it through your iPhone’s Apple Store app without ever making contact with an employee. I have done it once and it felt bizarre. I felt like I was doing something wrong. Apple Stores are always so busy so if you are in a hurry and need a lightning cable or case, this is ideal.

Design

Nothing comes close to the design of an Apple Store. It is clean, white and very very bright.  The stores are very welcoming. When it is not packed full of people, which is rare, there is plenty of room to look around and play with all of the toys and gadgets.

Overall, if you are someone who doesn’t make it to an Apple Store often, its always a treat when you get to go.  With a lot of retail failing, I really hope that Apple continues doing what they are doing and continues to be a successful retail space.

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Do I Miss Touch ID?

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Since November, I have been living with the iPhone X. If you haven’t been following along, the iPhone X is the first iPhone without a home button. Since there is no longer a home button, Apple’s fingerprint unlock feature, Touch ID, is also gone.  Because of this, Apple built in facial recognition software to unlock your phone called Face ID.

I wasn’t sure how I was going to like solely relying on Face ID because Touch ID was so fast and accurate.  When I first got the iPhone X I also had the iPhone 8 Plus, which still had Touch ID. Comparing the two, there was an obvious speed and accuracy difference between them. The 8 Plus fingerprint reader was significantly faster and easier to use.

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There are times where Face ID is annoying and I wish I could have Touch ID back. For instance, when your phone is sitting on a desk or flat surface you cannot unlock your phone unless you hover your head over the top of your phone. I know this might sound insignificant, but it is one of those things you don’t realize you’re missing until it is gone.

If you were not aware, there were two versions of Touch ID. The second version was a great improvement and opened your phone almost too quickly. But after you got used to it, it was fantastic to use over the older generation. My iPad Air 2 still has that first generation Touch ID sensor. It is too slow. In this instance, Face ID has the upper hand. And this is really the comparison we should be doing. Two first-generation products. When you put it in that context, I believe Face ID is leap and bounds ahead of the first-generation Touch ID.

In addition to Face ID, losing the home button gave us some truly great gestures and a new way to use an iPhone, that was very much needed.

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To answer my question, yes I do kind of miss Touch ID. But I can only imagine, in two to three years, where Face ID will be. I think we will get to the point where we will look back at Touch ID and laugh.

This fall, from what the rumors are telling us, all the new iPhones may come without a home button. This is the future of the lineup and I look forward to going on this journey with Apple.

Let me know your thoughts on twitter and Instagram!

Thanks for coming by!

All images courtesy of Apple.com

Should You Buy an Apple Watch?

When I first started The Mealy Apple, one of my first posts was really downplaying the usefulness of the Apple Watch. I think it is safe to say, nearly a year and a half later, that my feelings about it has changed quite a bit.

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Fitness

Over the past year, the Apple Watch has become my fitness companion and has motivated me in ways that I never even thought about.

The Apple Watch challenges you to close three colored rings: Move-Red, Exercise-Green and Stand-Blue. The move goal is recommended by the Apple Watch when you set it up based on your body composition and how active you are day-to-day. The green exercise ring is set at 30 minutes and can be achieved by moving briskly for 30 minutes. Finally, the stand ring, colored in blue, is a way to make sure you get the blood moving every hour. If you haven’t stood up for the first 50 minutes of the hour, you will get a little tap on your write to get your butt up.

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It is oddly satisfying seeing those rings gradually move throughout the day. Or closing that exercise ring before 9am, is also a great way to start the day.

As of now, you can only see where friends are with their move goal and workouts they completed. This fall, in iOS 12, Apple is adding more competitive features to further challenge us and better ourselves.

Safety

In a tech obsessed world, distracted drivers are a constant fear. If staying off of your phone can be avoided, I am welcome to all ideas.

The Apple Watch does a great job at this. While driving, you can text back by voice. This is extremely convenient and safer than pulling out your phone and also risking being pulled over by the police.

Also, changing music or podcasts is a simple tap away. Again, a cop can cite you for distracted driving just by changing a music track if the phone is in your hand.

You may have heard in the news recently about multiple individuals giving credit to the Apple Watch for saving their lives. This is another great safety feature of the Apple Watch. It can detect irregular hearth rhythms and notify you. I have known people who have recently had heart complications to buy the Apple Watch simply for this reason. It is one of those features you hope to never see, but knowing it is there, gives me some peace of mind.

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Non-Intrusive

Going back to what I said about the tech-obsessed, we are constantly looking at our phones. I have really been trying to be more present when with my friends and family and when important conversations are going on. Also, I am trying to get better at not wasting time. How many times a day do you get a text or Facebook notification and end up scrolling through Facebook for the next 10 minutes? Unfortunately, this happens to me a lot and I know it happens to the majority of us, often.

You would think the Apple Watch would be more distracting; having that tap on the wrist every couple of minutes because you got a new notification. And yes, it can be. But, I have found that it keeps me off of my phone more. My wrist might buzz because I got a new email. So I glance and see that it is junk and there is no need to pull out my phone to further get distracted. I do notice a big difference when my watch is on and when it is not.

Conclusion

So, should you buy an Apple Watch? If you have the money and think it will motivate you to be more active, I say absolutely yes. If you are into technology and think you would love to have all of your notifications literally on your wrist, go for it. Or maybe you have a family member with a history of heart problems and you think this would be a good way to monitor their health. If you can justify it, do it.

I used to say that the Apple Watch isn’t anything you need and granted, most people are getting by just fine without one. But say you aren’t just fine. We are in the future. We have technology on our wrists that can help us. Why ignore that fact?

The only reason I would tell you to wait on buying one would be because there may be a new one coming this fall. Rumors suggest that the Apple Watch may stay in its current form but lose some of the unused black space (bezel) around the screen to make the screen bigger. As always, a new iteration will most likely include a faster processor and better battery. So keep that in mind.

Currently Apple offers the following configurations:

Apple Watch Series 1– $249 for the 38mm and $279 for the 42mm – The Series 1 has an older processor, does not have GPS or a Barometer. It is splash resistant but not water resistant.

Apple Watch Series 3– $329 for the 38mm and $359 for the 42mm.  Also, Apple offers the Series 3 in a cellular model so that you can use it as a standalone cellular device. The prices on those are $399 for the 38mm and $429 for the 42mm.  Keep in mind, to use the cellular service on the watch, you will need to pay a monthly fee through your cell phone service carrier. The Series 3 has GPS, a barometer, is water resistant up to 50 meters, Siri talks to you and is 2X brighter than the Series 1. Also, this will work on Apple’s yet-to-be-released AirPower mat wireless charger.

Let me know if you plan on buying a new Apple Watch or think you will wait until a new one comes out.

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Fitbit Versa Vs Apple Watch

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If you haven’t already, go check out my Fitbit Versa review.

I will probably be repeating myself with things I mentioned in my Fitbit Versa review, but it is important to explain the differences.

Just so everyone knows, I am comparing the Apple Watch Series 2. While there is a newer version, the Series 3, other than speed and a newer battery, I think this comparison will hold true to most Apple Watch generations.

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Size & Design

Lets face it, when trying to put a computer on your wrist, it is more than likely that the finished product will not be pretty. The Fitbit Versa and Apple Watch look very similar.  Both have somewhat square bodies that will definitely let everyone know that it is a smartwatch. If you have had Fitbit’s previously, this will be a totally different setup. It is not the small fitness band that it used to be. There is only one size for the Fitbit Versa. It is a 39mm watch which comes in just a little bigger than Apple’s smallest offering.

The Apple Watch has not changed sizes since its release in 2015. Apple offers a 38mm and 42mm watch size. It is nice having two options for different size wrists. I have used the 42mm size since its release and the Fitbit Versa has made me rethink that size.

You cant go wrong with either device as far as it comes to size, in my opinion. I am loving the size of the of the Versa and you have multiple options when it comes to the Apple Watch.

Battery

I will tell you up front, the winner is the Fitbit. This is also where my Series 2 starts to show its age, compared to its newest iteration, the Series 3. As mentioned in my Fitbit review, I got three full days and about halfway through a fourth, with the Versa. This blew my mind.

With the my nearly two year old Apple Watch, I get one full day. I have just gotten in the habit, since day one, to throw it on the charger overnight, just like my phone. I will take up for Apple here and say that a new Apple Watch does get better battery life. My fiancé recently got the Series 3 (38mm version–which has a small battery) and she can get two days easily.

While I know both batteries will degrade over time, the Versa is clearly the winner here. Knowing I don’t have to charge it every-night is a huge benefit when it comes to consumer electronics. Apple, take note here

Exercise

Fitbit’s entire business is based around fitness. So clearly this will fall under the pro category for the Versa. At a quick glance, you can see your steps, distance, heart rate, calories burned, floors climbed and how many active minutes you have moved. As far as workouts are concerned, you can choose from run, bike, swim, treadmill and weights.  An awesome feature, that I was surprised to see, was that Fitbit recognized when I started a run and also when I finished.

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The Apple Watch’s fitness functionality has grown quite a bit over the years.  Now, it is one of the primary reasons I love my watch. Currently, the Apple Watch can track runs, walks, elliptical workouts, a bike workout, rowing, a stair stepper workout, High Intensity Interval Training (life cross-fit) and swimming. Coming this fall, in iOS 12, the Apple Watch will be gaining hiking and yoga workouts.  As it stands today, Apple Watch cannot recognize when you start and stop a workout like the Versa does. It will be gaining this feature with iOS 12, as well.

When it comes to the exercise portion of these devices, I would have to say it is a draw and you are getting a top notch fitness device with either.

Function

Focusing on notifications, the Fitbit Versa can receive and display text messages and give you phone call alerts, and that is it. Those notifications are better than nothing but compared to the Apple Watch, it is lacking.

The Apple Watch will give you notification alerts for pretty much every application that you have installed on your phone.

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Another benefit the Apple Watch has over the Fitbit Versa, for me personally, is the on screen music/podcast/audio controls. When listening to my podcasts, if I want to skip a couple of seconds ahead, I can simply do that from my watch. Also, when listening to music, I can play/pause/skip track, all from my watch. You cannot do this with the Fitbit.

As far as functionality on these watches, the Apple Watch is, hands down, the winner.

Remember this paragraph when you get to the price part of this post. GPS. The Apple Watch (Series 2 and later) has GPS built in. The Fitbit Versa does not. If you want a Fitbit similar to the Versa with GPS, you have to opt for the Fitbit Ionic, which is an extra $100. The GPS is nice if you like to map your runs or walks. If you take your phone with you on these workouts, the Fitbit Versa will use connected GPS by using your phones GPS connection. For me this was not a big deal since I do take my phone with my on walks and runs.

Watch Faces

Apple…please read and re-read this part. Bring third-party Apple Watch options to the Apple Watch. This was probably one of my favorite features of the Fitbit Versa. There were thousands of different watch faces and ways to customize them.

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The Apple Watch is very limited in the watch face department. While there are options, in true Apple fashion, you are limited to what Apple wants you to have.

I have to give Fitbit a huge win here as it has proven that third party watch faces are cool and would be awesome on the Apple Watch.

Price

The Fitbit costs $199.95 and $229.95 for a special edition that adds the option for NFC payments and a special charcoal or lavender band.

The Apple Watch costs $329 for the smaller 38mm and $359 for the 42mm versions.

Conclusion

If you are a long-time Fitbit fan and have years of statistics logged through the Fitbit app, I cannot recommend their newest fitness device enough.

But the Versa is just that, in my opinion, a fitness device. The Apple Watch offers so much more if we are talking about smart watches. It is still difficult for me to call the Versa a smart watch in its current state.

So here is where I stand, if you want a smart watch, get the Apple Watch. If you are looking for a fitness device, save a few extra bucks and go with the Versa. You will not be disappointed with either.

Let me know which on you are planning on getting!

Images courtesy of Apple and Fitbit

Disclosure: Some links in this post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will make a commission if you decide to purchase after clicking the link.

Apple’s Top Announcements from WWDC

This past Monday, Apple held their keynote for the opening of their annual developer conference, WWDC.  Apple announced iOS 12, watchOS 5, macOS Mojave and some minor updates to the Apple TV.

Overall, I was impressed with Apple’s offerings. iOS 12, according to rumors, was supposed to be a somewhat light release. I would say Apple exceeded my expectations.

I thought I would compile a list of my favorite announcements from the 2018 keynote.

Lets jump in!

CarPlay

I love Apple CarPlay. If you do not know what it is, it is basically a way to mirror what you have on your phone to your car’s in dash display, but in a safe way. You can summon Siri, listen and respond to texts by voice, listen to podcasts, music and audiobooks and my most utilized feature, use Apple Maps. This brings me to why I am excited for an updated version of CarPlay.

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Starting in iOS 12, third party map apps like Google Maps and Waze will be compatible with CarPlay. So for those who do not care for Apple Maps, here is your solution.

Faster

Apple said that iOS 12 will be compatible with all of the same devices that ran iOS 11. If your current device runs iOS 11, you are in luck, and will be able to update to iOS 12 when it releases in the fall. Below is a list of the devices iOS 12 is compatible with.

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Since they are keeping it compatible with so many older devices, Apple decided that they would focus on performance. iOS 12 will be 40% faster, the keyboard will load 50% faster and can slide over on the lock screen to take a picture 70% faster. This is awesome. It is all of these small actions that you really do not notice until they are the ones that slow down significantly. Even if it is a second faster, for how many times we unlock our phones and use them throughout the day, those seconds add up to minutes saved, very quickly.

Memoji and FaceTime

Memoji, yet another term Apple has created. Do you remember Animoji from the iPhone X? Well this is it but a more personal iteration. Memoji is a way to make a Animoji-like character and make it like YOU! I am not a fan of the Animojis but I do think I will use the Memoji’s quite a bit. You can use this character to make little video recordings talking or replace your real face with the Memoji face in pictures. This could end up being a flop but I truly believe this will push people to buy the iPhone X and whatever other phones, that incorporate Face ID, that come out later this year.

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Apple is finally allowing us to make group FaceTime calls! Not only that, but you will soon be able to FaceTime with up to 32 people! I wish I knew 32 people to FaceTime with to try this out. I have to say, this is going to be pretty impressive if Apple can pull it off smoothly.

Screen Time

Screen Time is a new feature coming to iOS 12 that will show us all how much we use our phones. This may be somewhat scary but I think it is needed. Most of us have an unhealthy relationship with our phone. I always have. I wouldn’t be where I am without it though. It has allowed me to keep in touch with family while overseas, manage my finances, do business and play plenty and plenty of games. While all of that is great, what’s not great is when you are wasting so much time scrolling through a Facebook or twitter feed that is getting you nowhere in life.

With Screen Time, Apple will give you stats on your mobile life from how many times you pick up your phone to how much time you spend on a certain app. This will also be a welcome feature for parents who want to limit their children’s usage.

Apple Watch Competitions and Workout features

One thing I missed about my Fitbit was the competitions. Not that it mattered, my mom always beat the rest of the family, but they were fun. And it was motivating. Apple is bringing weekly competitions to the Apple Watch. For how much the Apple Watch is growing, this is going to be an awesome addition.

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Still focusing on fitness, the Apple Watch is gaining workouts for yoga and hiking. I have been on a running kick since the weather has warmed up and the Apple Watch is expanding the features of the running workout. You can now set a target pace, have a rolling mile and have a cadence count to make sure you are hitting your goals. Another welcome feature on the Apple Watch is that it will detect when you start and stop a workout. I can’t tell you how many times my fiancé and I have forgot to end a workout and had logged a three hour run!

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Wrap Up

There are so many more features that I have not even touched on. But stay tuned as I will be breaking down some different pieces of iOS 12, watchOS 5 and macOS Mojave.

Thanks for stopping by!

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All photos are courtesy of Apple.com