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Initial Observations: iPhone 6s Plus

Up until a week ago, my main carry phone was an iPhone 6. I replaced it with an iPhone 6s Plus, which arrived on launch day, but, due to some work travel, I have only had it since Sunday, for five days. Here are some high level observations from those five days of using this new device.

Overall, I’m quite pleased with the new device itself, especially the obvious hardware improvements. Having said that, and I have had every iPhone to date, this was the least smooth transition from one phone to another on the software side. I am still working on getting my new phone to the place my old phone already was. This is not intended to be a comprehensive review, I don’t have the patience or time these days to do that.

This phone feels ridiculously fast, faster than my iPad Air 2 even.

The battery life seems a little worse than my couple of months old iPhone 6 Plus.

My initial observation was that this phone is heavier than the existing iPhone 6 Plus, but still comfortable to me for extended use and carry. I purchased an Apple silicone case, I have been very happy with the 2014 silicone case that my work iPhone 6 Plus is in. I am a little disappointed in the 2015 silicone case, it’s got a smoother finish, and feels less grippy in your hand. As a result, I feel the phone slipping in my hand a little when I am not expecting it. I may end up getting another case that has a better tactile feel to it.

I’m a huge fan of Touch ID, and it’s significantly faster with the new phone for both Apple Pay and unlocking the device. It’s so fast, in fact, that I am sometimes accidentally unlocking the device when I wanted to wake the phone up to see the time.

3D Touch seems to have a ton of potential. It turns out that I am a “hard presser” to begin with, and so my long touches are often being interpreted as a 3D Touch. Once I understood the pressure differential, mainly while I was re-organizing my home screen, things locked into place, and now I have the hang of it. It will take even longer for me to get into the routine of thinking to use it.

The camera is noticeably better, and was one of my main reasons for upgrading the phone. Focus is faster, and low light photos look better to me. I am not sure that I am that enchanted with Live Photos, but that may just be that I haven’t taken many yet. Since a lot of what I do with my pictures is sharing via Instagram and Facebook, I am not sure I will use Live Photos much until they are supported on those platforms.

So now a few words about the transition from my iPhone 6 to this new phone, which has not been a good experience. First, I was a part of the iOS 9 public beta this Summer. Not the developer releases, but the public beta. I did this because I thought it would mean a smoother landing when everything came out this fall. I was wrong. They rolled the people in the iOS 9 public beta right onto 9.1. Once you have backed up on 9.1, you can’t restore onto 9. So I had to start with my last good backup from earlier this Summer. I understand what running a beta means, that there may be sharp edges. I think someone at Apple should have thought through the customer experience before just rolling everyone on to 9.1.

The transition between phones for Watch is terrible. You have to un-pair your watch from the phone, deleting everything off the watch, then re-pair it with your new phone, finally restoring from whatever your last backup was, and losing some data pretty much no matter what you do. So much room for improvement here.

Finally, I have relied on the Health app and Activity app as my primary activity and fitness trackers for the last few months. Shame on me for not looking into this more, but that data does not get backed up via iCloud backup. You can back it up by doing an encrypted iTunes backup, which I will now be forced to switch to. There is a way to migrate this data using two third party apps, and I am going to spend the time to try and do that this weekend. Very disappointing from a user experience standpoint though, seems like they are making the customer do too much work. I wouldn’t expect to have to manually migrate this data myself.

Update: It seems that Health and Activity data is in the iCloud backup after all, but some folks, myself included, are having issues with getting it to the new devices.


My new Cube

My new Cube from @karaspenco and @clickypost

A photo posted by Robert Occhialini (@bump) on

Blue Mountain

The newest Word. Notebooks are really nice looking, both the blue colorway pictured above, but also the black color way.  I ordered a pack of each, but I am starting to struggle with my talent for acquiring cool notebooks compared to my velocity with filling them up. Maybe I should start giving more away?


Limited Edition Work/Play Confidant

Smart looking new Baron Fig Confidant Notebooks with Work/Play theme were released this morning. I’ve filled up two of their regular Confidant notebooks in the course of my Bullet Journaling. Aside from some annoying fraying of the bookmark, which I think they are working on mitigating, I’ve really like them from a paper, looks and durability perspective. I ordered three of the new ones.


Similar to the Arts and Sciences Field Notes, but reversed, each spread has a “Work” page, which is dot grid, and a “Play” page, which is blank. I’m actually currently about halfway through a Sciences Field Notes right now.


Update: Brad over at the Pen Addict has had access to these, and has posted a review that’s worth reading.

8 Things

I couldn’t agree more with 8 Things I Learned After a Month with the Apple WatchIf I were writing a similar article, I think I would have written about the same 8 items.  I need to get up and move around more.

Black Series Part II from Ugmonk

Really nice line of black gear and kit from Ugmonk. I hopped right on this and ordered myself the “Plus Minus” shirt pictured below. I was/am a fan of the band of the same name, who are not related to this in any way.  There are a lot of t-shirts out there, but these are among the nicest designs, tasteful, yet still fun.

Source: Black Series | Ugmonk

WWDC 2015 Debrief

On the whole, WWDC 2015 brought less news and less change than its two immediate predecessors. Apple is still on top of the world, but this year, it’s about refining and polishing, not wide-reaching changes. – WWDC 2015 Debrief — 512 Pixels

I didn’t get to attend as much WWDC as I would have liked, as I flew across the country for some meetings and an NBA Finals game in Cleveland part way into the week.  I would overall say that the atmosphere seemed a little more subdued in years past, yet didn’t lack the enthusiasm that comes with these Apple events either. It’s a recognition that things are evolving, they are the biggest company in the world, and there’s a need to go back and dot some i’s, albeit without admitting that they weren’t dotted in the first place.

I’m looking forward to the iPad enhancements, and to the watchOS (rhymes with nachos) with real apps etc.  I’m worried about the strain this puts on developers with limited resources at the same time.

Mini Review: Monowear Nylon Red Band for Apple Watch 

I definitely love my Apple Watch. I ordered the Stainless Steel Apple Watch with a black sport band at 12:01 am on the night they went on sale, received it the very first day they shipped, and haven’t really taken it off, except for charging, since. I really like the black sport band, but have wanted to pick up more bands as well.  I see the sport band as a good every day band, and only really liked the black color. I wanted some variety, but found the other Apple options to not really be for me when I tried them on in store.  A few weeks ago, when the Monowear bands went up for pre-order, I placed an order for Monowear red nylon band.

I received the band while I was away at WWDC, and was pretty excited to try it out when I got home. I liked the red color as a contrast to the black band I have been wearing. I have to say that I am not disappointed in this band in any way.  I like it so much that I may be ordering additional bands from Monowear in the near future. Given the current dearth of third party bands that are available, and the premium construction, I don’t think the $59.99 price tag is unreasonable.

The band installed flawlessly on my watch, as easily as any of the Apple bands. Removing and re-installing my Apple Sport Band also proved to be a breeze.  I was definitely concerned about this the most of the various aspects of this purchase, and this band passed with flying colors.

The band itself is well made, and its metal matches the Apple Watch hardware color perfectly. This includes the three band loops, as well as the small pieces that attach the band to the watch body. I can’t find any flaws there at all. The nylon is what I would expect from a premium nylon watch band. It came out of the packaging a little stiff, and so will be a little itchy/scratchy the first few days until it’s fully broken in, but I think that’s to be expected.

Overall, this band is a good option for those seeking a red band, something Apple does not offer. I’d really like to try out their leather bands next, but may have to wait for my next paycheck to make that purchase. Keep in mind that I have only had/worn this band for about 36 hours, and my opinion may change with wear, but, for now, it’s a definite go ahead and buy rating.

Image Source: Nylon – Red Band with Chrome Loops — Monowear