1Password Park – Coming to St. Thomas!

I just found out that one of my favorite pieces of software of all time (1Password) is opening “1Password Park” in St. Thomas, Ontario! 1Password Park will be a 65 acre outdoor complex featuring soccer fields, an artificial turf football field, a playground with a splash pad and walking trails.

I’ve been a huge 1Password fan for a long time now, and think this is a great way for them to give back to the community. Looking forward to checking it out next summer with the fam!

See the official announcement of 1Password Park

Deleting apps from within the App Store

I wish you could delete apps right from the App Store Updates tab. When I see an update is pending for an app I never use, I just want to delete it right there.
- John Gruber

I’ve thought about this a hundred times over the years. This should absolutely be a thing. He then goes on to say the following, which is exactly how I handle the situation too.

The worst part is, what I actually do is Update All, wasting time and data updating an app I’d rather delete, because it’s easier.
- John Gruber

2018 iPad Pro (3rd Generation)

The new iPad Pro’s are here, and they are beautiful. The industrial design team at Apple is doing some amazing work these days – I’m just absolutely impressed at the quality of products they are putting out – the iPhone X/XS, the Apple Watch Series 4, the 2nd Gen Apple Pencil, and now the new iPad Pro’s. Apple has always excelled at this, and they are showing no signs of slowing down. The refresh of the iPad Pro’s is the first major design overhaul of the iPad lineup in 5 years, and it is incredible.

Speed Daemon

Geek Bench scores are out for the new iPad’s and the numbers are just off the charts. The new iPad Pro’s are nearly twice as fast as any other iOS device that Apple has ever made – including the iPhone XS Max that was just released about 45 days ago. On top of that, it’s even nearly as fast as Apple’s most current top-of-the-line 15” MacBook Pro – all in a fan-less device that’s about 5mm thin. Everything flies on this thing – including the initial setup. I restored from the backup of my previous 10.5” iPad Pro, and it was the fastest restore process I’ve ever seen. I am convinced that we are less than 24 months away from Apple launching a Mac OS based device that runs solely on their custom silicon – and when they do, I have no doubt that it will absolutely fly. Just think what they could do in a larger enclosure with a fan and 32GB or 64GB of RAM.

The Pencil is Waiting

The new magnetic resting and charging location for the Apple Pencil is brilliant. Not only will it keep it charged for whenever you need it, you also don’t have to worry about losing the cap, or breaking off the lightning connector like you did with the first edition Apple Pencil. Having the Apple Pencil always with the device is absolutely key to using it more often. So many times in the last year I wanted to use the Apple Pencil for something, but it was across the room in my laptop bag, zipped up in the pencil pocket, and contained in it’s leather sleeve. Unless I absolutely needed the Pencil for something specific (like photo editing) I would be unlikely to go and get it. But now, the Pencil is always there, just waiting to be used. And in fact, since it’s always there and in sight, I find myself reaching for it far more often for a whole selection of new tasks.

Easy-Fold Smart Keyboard

When I picked up the iPad Pro last year along with the Smart Keyboard, it completely transformed the way that I used the iPad. In the past, I would avoid anything that involved long-form text on the iPad because the on-screen keyboard took up half of the screen real-estate. With the Smart Keyboard, using the iPad became such a different experience. The new “easy-fold” Smart Keyboard is a great evolution of an already great product. My favorite aspect of the Smart Keyboard is not having to pair or charge them – they just work. The new 2018 Smart Keyboard has a much stronger and sturdy magnetic attachment, and I like that it now covers the front and back of the iPad. My only wish is that they add backlighting to the keys in the next iteration.

This is what comes next

Using the new iPad Pro feels like the future. Being able to switch to something that feels a bit like a laptop with the Smart Keyboard attached, to a perfectly weighted mix of aluminum and glass that you can carry around with you, or read with on the couch feels futuristic. I’m not saying the iPad will replace the desktop computer or traditional laptops anytime soon, but I do think this type of computing is what truly comes next. I don’t think my daughter will be asking for a laptop when she’s in high school, but instead will be asking for a device more similar to the iPad. And yes, I do believe that VR goggles are also in our future, but I think we’re a bit further out from them being mainstream. The next big push for home “computers” will be tablet-like, and the iPad is there at the forefront leading the way.

What I’d like to see next

  • Backlit keys on the Smart Keyboard
  • An ESC key on the Smart Keyboard 🙂
  • Color options for the Apple Pencil 1
  • Haptic feedback for the Apple Pencil 2

I honestly can’t think of much else that I’d like to see from a hardware perspective. What else is there? Even thinner bezels? Better cameras? Longer battery life? Those things would be nice of course, but more iterative in nature. My guess is that the hardware for iPad Pro’s won’t change much for another 5 years, and I think that might be just fine!


  1. Rene Ritchie also mentioned this in his Apple Pencil review ↩︎
  2. As heard on The Talk Show with John Gruber ↩︎

iPhone X

I decided to review the iPhone X in a slightly different manner than prior reviews. Rather than going through all the new features and specs of the phone, I’ll just be giving a few of my opinions on various aspects of the phone after using it for a little over 3 months. Enjoy!

Size

I was really looking forward to the size of the iPhone X – having used the 7 Plus for the past year, while it was great having more screen real estate and longer battery life, it was quite unwieldy at times – specifically when using it one-handed while walking, and when carrying it in your pocket. So the fact that the iPhone X packed a larger screen size (technically) in a smaller form factor was really exciting to me. The first week or so of using it, it felt small – at times too small – mostly in screen width though. However, after getting used to it, and using it day-to-day, you realize that most of the things you do on your phone are vertically laid out – meaning top-to-bottom real estate is more important than side-to-side. I would almost always choose the larger size iPhone though – so if an iPhone X Plus comes out next year, that would be my choice.

Screen

Being the first iPhone to ship with an OLED screen, I was excited and slightly nervous at the same time. Excited for the benefits of OLED – deeper blacks, richer colours, longer battery life – and nervous for the unknowns – will the quality be as good? what about the rumoured “burn-in” that is associated with OLED panels, etc. I was confident though that Apple wouldn’t let it ship without addressing these issues. I have only noticed a deficiency in OLED in one instance – when scrolling images or white text on black backgrounds – when you do it quickly you can notice some ghosting. But it’s really only noticeable if you’re actively looking for it. Overall, the screen is phenomenal just like all of Apple’s screen technologies have been since the retina iPhone 4.

120hz Touch Input

This is something that has to be experienced to really appreciate. And to me, this is my absolute favourite feature of the iPhone X, next to Face ID. Not to be confused with 120Hz display refresh rate – the 120Hz touch input allows the iPhone X to register touch twice as fast as ever before. This leads to the interface feeling absolutely buttery-smooth – which is crucial for a device that relies so heavily on touch input – swiping to unlock, closing/exiting apps, swiping between apps, and more. I cannot say it enough – this truly is amazing!

Face ID

Face ID is a game-changer. After a while, using the iPhone X feels like using a first-gen iPhone without a passcode. It’s unbelievable how well it works under 99% of conditions. There are a few times when Touch ID would work a bit better, but let’s be honest – 99% of the time when you pull your phone out to use it, you intend on looking at the screen. Overall, I’m a huge fan of Face ID and I can’t wait until it’s ubiquitous on all (or most) of Apple’s devices – mainly the iPad and the MacBook lineup.

Wireless Charging

Another convenience factor that I love. Most people complain that wireless charging is too slow – and while they’re right that it’s slower – they’re thinking about it wrong. I use wireless charging at night when I go to bed – easy, just place it on the pad and away you go. I also use it throughout the day at my desk – so instead of placing it down on the desk and not charging, I simply place it on the charging pad, and it’s constantly getting a few extra percent battery life here and there throughout the day. However, If you’re at 5% battery before heading out for a few hours, don’t expect to get a significant boost in battery charge by placing it on your wireless charger for 15 minutes while you get ready. In this case, it’d be better to plug it in to charge to get the best bang for your buck. I believe in tactically recharging your battery when possible, rather than waiting until you get that “low battery” warning and then scrounging around for a charger – but that’s just me.

Other

TrueDepth Camera: The front-facing TrueDepth camera system is excellent and cutting edge for 2017. I rarely take selfies, but when I do it’s nice to have the best possible camera available to do so. It really is truly phenomenal how far we’ve come in mobile phone photography in just 10 years, but it’s also exciting see where we can take it over the next 10 years.

Augmented-Reality: We’re not really there yet – there are not really any breathtaking apps available that people see – and just need to have. It’s more a marketing buzzword at this point in time – but I do believe in the backbone that Apple is laying here – and look forward to what comes next here.

Build Quality: This is the nicest iPhone that Apple has made in terms of build quality. The runner-up in my opinion would be the iPhone 4/4S, followed by the iPhone 6/6S/7. Every detail is meticulously crafted with precision that is unmatched by any smartphone manufacturer in the world. They continue to pay attention to the things that most people don’t even notice – and this is one of my favourite things about Apple. The iPhone X proves they are continuing to push forward in this regard – which makes me extremely happy.

Lock Screen Shortcuts: This is another one of those touches that is so convenient for day-to-day use. Being able to switch on the flashlight or get to the camera from the Lock Screen with a virtual button (which feels just like the virtual home button of the iPhone 7/8) is such an awesome feature. The combination of seeing those icons there every day, combined with how convenient they are to access, makes using older iPhones seem older than they are.

Summary

It seems obvious that every new iPhone will be my new favourite iPhone – due to the fact that it will nearly always be better in every way than the iPhone before it. However, the iPhone X is a little different than each iteration over the years since the original iPhone. This is the first iPhone that really breaks the mould of what we know as the iPhone. No more top & bottom bezels and the biggest change of all, no more home button. So using the iPhone X for the first time truly felt different – and the fact that Apple pulled it off so seamlessly with Face ID and 120Hz touch input truly makes the iPhone X a delight to use. As always, I’m looking forward to seeing where the iPhone goes next year!