Apple Watch

Chirp — Twitter, back on Apple Watch by Adrian Galli

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There has been some publicity that a lot of app developers are pulling their Apple Watch app. This has lead to a lot of hyperbole about the Apple Watch being a failure. I’m not going to get pulled into all that but I think it in worth mentioning that my opinion is most developers are still trying to figure out what their role is in the Apple Watch development arena. Some apps try really hard to be a full replacement to their iOS counterpart and that isn’t really the point. Apple Watch is really designed for quick interactions—ten seconds not ten minutes.

Twitter pulled their app from watchOS some times ago. It was disappointing to lose the watchOS app version for me personally because before as I would get Twitter notifications, I then need to pull out my iPhone. When Twitter had a watchOS app, I could read, favorite, retweet right from my watch. It was pretty slick. It is really what Apple Watch is all about: quick, unobtrusive, yet powerful interactions.

Funny thing is, Twitter is really designed for Apple Watch. With a maximum of 280 characters per tweet, it is perfect for quick reads and quick interactions. If there is more to the tweet, a link for example, then Handoff with another Apple device leads one into the meatier content.

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Will Bishop brought Twitter back to Apple Watch with his Apple Watch-only app. Quick and simple, he built in much of what a Twitter app can do to watchOS. One can view their Timeline, Trending items, Mentions, Messages, List, Likes, one’s profile, and search, with a final menu item for Settings. A Force Touch will bring up the option to tweet and it supports Scribble so hashtags and mentions are easily input. (One can of course use Dictation but imagine some of the more complicated handles may not be recognized well.)

That list makes for an unexpectedly powerful app on one’s wrist. However, Mr. Bishop did a great job of making sure it didn’t get complicated.Clean and simple interface, powerful tools, intuitive and expected user experience, and to give it some polish, haptic feedback and sounds.

It is worth mentioning that it is a free app, however, there is a ‘pro’ version which unlocks some of the features above. His pricing method is based on the honor system so one can give a little as $2 for the pro upgrade or up to $5. He includes a ‘tip jar’ for additional support. I’m a big fan of this because it encourages me to give more when I can and give more to the best apps that really deserve it. It is also worth mentioning that Will Bishop is a sixteen year old in Australia and clearly on his way as a great developer. I encourage everyone who downloads Chirp to pay for the 'pro' version because I strongly feel talented, young developers should have the support they need to build an outstanding career.

After using it for a couple week, the only thing on my wishlist is interactive notification support. That may be easier said than done but this app is v1.1 currently (6.25.2018) so who knows what will be coming down the pipeline.

Download: Chirp

Price: Free, $[2, 3, 5]

Apple Watch — Watch Faces by Adrian Galli

Frequently, I get asked, “what do you use your Apple Watch for?” It is a hard question to answer because it is such a powerful device with so much capability but also because it is very personal and everyone will use it differently.

Wanting to answer this question better, I with something simple: Watch faces. It is the first thing you see when you raise your wrist and there are many different styles, designs, and functions. Some are very simple like Solar, showing time based on the position of the sun, or complex, like Modular, with many places for complications such as weather, calendar information, and fitness details.

Solar watch face with Date and Time

Solar watch face with Date and Time

Modular: Date, Time, Calendar, Wunderground, OTP Auth, Things

Modular: Date, Time, Calendar, Wunderground, OTP Auth, Things

Below are some of my favorite and most commonly used watch faces for Apple Watch.

Watch faces

Modular

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Modular is a simple design but powerful watch face. With five positions for complications, a lot of data can be viewed from one's wrist. It is a favorite for daily use and many colors available—Modular matches just about any watch band or outfit.

I typically will have this watch face active when on set or at Apple. I might replace Activity (bottom middle) with OTP Auth for two factor authentication and Deliveries (package tracking, bottom right), with a task manager app, Things. Color will depend on what band I have on that day.

Complications on this watch face:
Date
Time
Calendar
Wunderground (weather)
Activity
Deliveries

Activity Digital

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Activity Digital has likely spend the most time active on my Apple Watch. Three complications and a bold representation of Activity for the day, one of the most important features of Apple Watch, fitness, is promoted to the centerpiece of this watch face. Move (red) shows your progress toward your active calories goal. Exercise (green) gauges how many minutes one has achieved out of one's thirty minute daily goal. Stand (blue) counts the number of times one stands and moves toward a daily goal of twelve.

Complications
Wunderground (weather)
Date
Time
Activity
Calendar

Siri

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Siri is not only the best way to control Apple Watch, it also is a watch face that anticipates the one's needs and upcoming information such as weather, calendar, news, music, stocks, home automation, and more. Siri becomes one big complication what dynamically changes.

Using the Digital Crown, one can scroll through these items from various data sources, tapping on them for more control or information, and one can narrow the focus of this date from Watch, the app on iPhone that controls Apple Watch settings.

Complications
Siri (voice control)
Date
Time
Siri (date sources)

Simple

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Simple is simple. Like a classic wristwatch, the face has little to no information on it other than analog time. However, there are in fact five positions for complications (all corners and Date). However, being the minimalist I am, I keep this watch face strictly Time and Date. Especially on Apple Watch Space Black, it makes for a very sexy look as the OLED screen and black stainless steel case become one.

Complications
Date

Pride

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Every so often Apple will release something special and timely to Apple Watch. For example, Pride, a watch face to match the Pride Band 2018, was released with watchOS 4.3.1 to celebrate Pride month. Both a slick watch band and cool watch face, Pride has an animated rainbow background, two complications, and Time.

Complications
Date
Activity (numeric representation)

Design is one of the most important part of Apple Watch so it is worth noting that I will sometimes change my watch face just because one looks better with a different band. Solar and Simple both look really amazing on a Apple Watch Space Black with Black Sport Band while Modular in Flash (color) looks great with Flash Sport band.

There are so many more styles—millions of combinations and designs. Mix and match watch faces and bands with one mood or outfit and check out all the different watch faces in the Face Gallery found in the Watch app on iPhone.

Acorns by Adrian Galli

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Saving money can be challenging. There is so much cool stuff to buy, vacations to take... bills to pay. I have a 401k, a savings account, and a change jar. I feel pretty good about my savings overall but years ago I wanted to have something a little more automatic and silent.

Great thing about a 401k, you can’t really touch the money until you retire. Bad thing about savings, you can pull from it whenever. Funny thing about the change jar, I rarely use cash so if there is ten dollars in that jar, it is a lot.

When Apple Watch launches in 2015, a lot of developers were showcasing their skill and ideas in what they could do making apps for watchOS. One that caught my eye was a very stylish app named Acorns—a digital version of a change jar but also a lot more.

The Basics:

Opening an account with Acorns, you link any debit or credit card(s) you’d like. Ever purchase you make using the registered cards will rounded up to the next dollar and that money is then deposited into you Acorn account. They call them 'Round-Ups.'

Like a change jar or piggy bank, that change adds up pretty quickly. You need not do anything other than pay for things as you would normally.

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After you hit a threshold, five dollars is the default, that money comes out of your checking account and is deposited into the your Acorns market.

Additionally, you can setup automatic deposits every week or month. You can open up the app on iPhone or Apple Watch and deposit a specific amount anytime. The Apple Watch version is exactly that an watchOS app should be—quick, simple, at-a-glance, functions.

The best part is that you’ll have the opportunity to pull money anytime, should you need it, without any penalty. I’m not an investment advisor but I’d vote on keeping it in the account longer than shorter.

When setting up the account, it will ask you how to manager the investments. Since this is a secondary investment opportunity for me, I have it set to aggressively invest the money. I don’t have tens of thousands in Acorns so it doesn’t bother me to see it fluctuate but over all it has made gains.

There are some other functions that are fun and helpful. Found Money is a feature linked to some of the biggest online retailers and brands like eBay, New Balance, Nike, Walgreens, and Apple.

When you purchase things from those companies through the Acorns app, a specific value or percentage of your purchase is gifted to your Acorns account. If you buy some Nike shoes, for example, the investment is currently 5% of you purchase. Not bad.

Over the years I’ve used it, I’ve literally saved months of rent worth of money. Because it is not something I access frequently, I’m not tempted to spend the money. Being a beautiful app, fun, easy to use, and nicely designed, Acorns adds a little incentive to saving money.

It ranks in as one of my favorite apps simply because of how it works and its design but it also is a favorite service. I definitely recommend it. Make it your digital piggy bank and save for a vacation, your future, or just have some backup money for an emergency.

Download and everyone who signs up gets $5.

Download Acorns

Price: Free

 

https://acorns.com/invite/NXTWY6

Apple Watch, Sir Jonathan Ive by Adrian Galli

You can look at Apple Watch in terms of trade docs – what it does, etcetera – or you can look at what would be possible if you knew that you had this much technology with you at all times
— Sir Jonathan Ive

Apple Watch is one of my favorite devices Apple has ever made. Until you use it, it is hard to explain how valuable and powerful it is. The simple, sleek design belials is full power and function. From the man himself, Jony Ive shares a little history and philosophy surrounding Apple Watch  

An Interview with Sir Jonathan Ive: Apple, Influence, and Ive

WWDC 2016 by Adrian Galli

Apple's twenty-seventh year of the famous World Wide Developers Concerence and this years was no disappointment.

Not only have I worked for Apple for thirteen years, the technology that Apple innovates drives my business and personal life in ways I could not begin to communicate in a blog post. WWDC is always an exciting time of year for us in the technology industry and with Apple's four pillars of software development, iOS, macOS (formerly OS X [ten]), watchOS, and tvOS, there is more engagement than ever.

iOS 10 Today View

iOS 10 Today View

iOS 10 is the biggest advancement in the most advanced mobile operating system since the dawn of iOS. With rich notifications and widgets right from the lock screen, raise to wake, and more interactions using 3D Touch, iPhones and iPads are becoming even more powerful and this opens huge doors to developers.

The biggest announcement, I think, is the availability of Siri api. Third party applications can be designed to integrate with Siri like those built by Apple. Image: "Hey Siri, I need a Lyft to Midway Airport." Or: "Hey Siri, I'd like a flight on Delta to London, departing August 17th, in business class." With Apple Pay, one can then pay in moments after Siri find the appropriate response to the query. I can't wait to see what developers do with Siri.

macOS has been the core of the Mac for 15 years. It is an incredibly powerful, intuitive, and secure operating system that runs every Mac. Sierra, the name for macOS 10.12, has great power behind it. Siri, again, is no doubt my favorite feature with integration with the desktop operating system.

Siri, at its core function, powers a voice interface for all of Apple's major products now and can be access from all of these devices: Apple Watch, Mac, iPhone, iPad, AppleTV. If you don't use Siri, you're missing out on the power, ease of use, and fun.

With a longer list of great features like Picture in Picture, an upgraded Photos app, Apple Pay for web, Universal Clipboard (also part of iOS), Tabs for all [multi-window] applications, and advances in the integration with iCloud Drive, macOS will power the next generations of Macs.

Apple Watch was released a little over a year ago. It rarely leaves my wrist and has quickly become one of my favorite tools. Not to be relegated to "gadget status," I find I'm free from my iPhone. I used to drag my iPhone from room to room in anticipation of a message or a call or needing to know some piece of data like weather. But with Apple Watch, my iPhone rests nicely on the coffee table or night stand for hours while I'm at home and Apple Watch fills in while I'm free to move about and not taking my most valuable computer with me. 

watchOS 3 Dock, Breathe, Activity Watch Face

watchOS 3 Dock, Breathe, Activity Watch Face

watchOS 3 builds on a powerful and ever tiny computer for your wrist. The speed, up seven fold, the interface tweaked to allow quicker access to you most used apps, and new input methods for text that give freedom when Dictation isn't a viable option. Securely unlock your Mac while wearing your Apple Watch or use Apple Pay for the web to buy things quickly and securely online. Apple brings a whole new set of features to watchOS just for people who utilize wheelchairs and stress a relieving app to help lower said stress. The evolution of Apple Watch is just at the beginning. 

Lastly, Apple TV, the device that let me cut a major expense (cable) out of my life. Video on demand, iTunes purchases, Apple Music, Siri, games, and more, make the AppleTV a favorite TV and gaming console. Now supporting four controllers, developers have new opportunities for gaming and users have more opportunities for fun with friends and family. 

Check out all the new features in the online previews and be ready for the free upgrades in the fall. This is sure to be an awesome year for Apple technology.

www.apple.com

Images courtesy of Apple PR