Thoughts on Apple’s WWDC Announcements
Apple’s annual software developer’s conference happened recently. Historically I’d be a little excited about their conference, but, since I switched teams roughly two years ago, this event has become very exciting. This year it did not disappoint - especially as someone who came from Android not too long ago, and would consider getting a Mac to replace my 6 year old desktop whenever it finally explodes.
Android and iOS are the Same
Most of the headline features of the forthcoming iOS 14 are straight out of the Android playbook.
- We’re getting home screen widgets.
- We’re getting the ability to hide apps we don’t use.
- We’re getting the ability to set a default mail client and browser.
Honestly, these were the only meaningful differences between the standard, day-to-day operations between running Android and iOS.
Android die-hards will argue with me that the lack of the “back” button is a meaningful difference, but I don’t miss it. Every case in which “back” was actually useful on Android you will find one on iOS - usually as a button in the top-left corner. The “back” button on Android existed as a crutch to try to “get out of” screens your phone got into that you weren’t really sure what else to do with. Sometimes pressing it would help, sometimes it would do nothing - which leads to a bad user experience. The other use for the “back” button was as a means to take out your frustration when the phone got slow and laggy - and that’s just not a thing that happens on iPhones. Again, this is coming from an Android enthusiast.
Things I’m Excited For
I’m extremely excited by the return-to-widgets. Hopefully this greater focus and emphasis on widgets will spur a more “first class” approach to widgets by developers. They have been a second-class citizen of the iOS ecosystem, and they never graduated past that on Android. Apple have the chance to correct some of the bad behaviors that crept into Android widgets (constant refreshing drains battery, and the refresh process usually was a visual distraction). I am 100% committed to figuring out a way to have a widget displaying my Data Journal events.
The Siri Shortcuts (a.k.a. just “Shortcuts”) app is getting new and expanded capabilities. Additional actions and, more importantly, additional automation triggers are going to revolutionize the ability to use your phone as a self-tracking, goal-killing modern human.
Where Apple Slam Dunks on the Competition
The biggest announcement of the day was Apple’s commitment to transitioning to their own silicon for MacOS. The iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch have been using Apple-built chips for years now. This is in large part why those devices get so much performance out of such a small package for such a long time. Apple tunes the hardware to meet the needs of the software - and it builds the software to intentionally exploit the capacities of the hardware. This means that future MacBooks will have literal all-day batteries - and much better performance. Also - the common architecture will lead to a better, more consistent ecosystem of apps.
What’s Stopping “All in on Apple”
- I still use Gmail. iCloud email is likely never going to supplant my Google email that’s 10+ years old.
- I still use Google calendar. It works fine for my calendary needs. Although the lack of integration into Shortcuts is annoying… it does integrate with IFTTT.
- I use Todoist for tasks. The Reminders app seems pretty legit… but I need easy access to my tasks from a Chrome window.
- I use Notion for notes. Notion is incredible. Apple Notes isn’t anywhere close to what Notion does.
- I primarily use Chrome for browsing, but honestly Safari doesn’t bother me any more.
- I use a Nintendo Switch for gaming. The App Store has a lot of great games, I’m sure - but I like Smash Bros.
- I use Windows for my most heavy-duty computing needs, which is basically just video editing and heavy multitasking.
Honestly, the thing that’s stopping me from going “all in on apple” is primarily the fact that I have no access to anything Apple for 40 hours a week.
Let’s set the record straight: Breakfast is the least important meal of the day. You can easily skip it without causing yourself major problems. As a matter of fact, the “standard” breakfast foods are usually high in carbs and low in nutritional value. They may give you a temporary boost of energy, but will leave you with less energy than if you’d just eaten nothing at all. “Intermittent fasting” is essentially just1 a fancy name skipping breakfast, by the way. I’m not saying I skip breakfasts and I’m not saying that you should. I’m saying it’s not important - it just has a good publicist.
My 30 Day Challenge this month was to institute Time Blocking. Supposedly, it’s one of the best, most useful productivity techniques that exist, according to a lot of sources I’ve read. The basic idea is that you block out a slot of time on your calendar to work on a given task. You do nothing other than work on that task during this time. You also are meant to have the task finished by the end of the block. This means that you’re not distracted, you’re working deeply, and you’re not able to let a task that should be done in 60 minutes take all day because you’re being a perfectionist.
It turns out I suck at it. I have not really had a single successful time block. I haven’t figured out how to make it work. I just… I still get distracted. Or I don’t start on time because I’m in the middle of something. Or the circumstance of the day supplant my ability to focus elsewhere. I want to try that again.
Top 5: Most Recent Books I’ve Read
- The Organized Mind - Daniel Levitin
- The Body - Bill Bryson
- The Practical Guide to Business Process Reengineering Using IDEF0 - Clarence Feldmann
- Homo Deus - Yoval Noah Harari
- (reading now) Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance - Robert Pirsig
The pork smells like old people farts and death.
Seems expensive and of minimal additional utility except ultrapreparedness… I’m in.
Jon put your butt back on, I have questions.
I will die believing the most important technologic advance in history is being able to order food from my phone.
Technically it also includes “no snacking” outside of the window between lunch and dinner… but yeah. “Intermittent Fasting” is an overly complicated name for an incredibly simple concept. ↩