Fri 2018-10-05 06:22:36 -0400
THIS IS MY THIRD IPHONE. The first was the 5C which I was extremely
fond of. Many people dismiss the 5C as a failed and useless model but
I liked the hefty, plastic-covered, steel frame. The size was
perfect and the feel of the plastic was comfortable and was just
right. The price wasn’t bad either. I dropped that 5C onto asphalt
from eye-level one time, taking a picture. It hit the corner but
nothing broke or cracked. There were only the slightest scars on the
plastic. In just the past couple of months, one of our family members
had to use that same 5C as a backup phone temporarily and it still
The second was the 6S with it’s amazing camera and image processing,
beautiful retina display, and speed. My favorite story that’s only
sort of related to the 6S is about an iPhone 6 that another family
member had. It was dropped into the ocean! It wasn’t put into rice
or anything like that. Over a period of days and weeks, I’m sure
as it dried out, the device slowly came back to life until it would
boot back up and seemed to work just fine. Having been replaced, it
was given to another family member and used for a couple of years!
And, it was bought by us as a used phone. Of course Apple never
promoted the 6 model as waterproof but there were internal seals and
they worked great on that day.
There are enough reviews and articles discussing the new XS and XR
models. John Gruber’s are probably the best. I’ll add more comments
after I’ve been using it for a while when I can focus on the
highlights of my own experience, negative and positive. For now, I’ll
discuss briefly the changes on my home screen. I linked to the
previous screen article below.
I still prefer the 4×3 layout and I’m not sure why. I think
it’s because I don’t want the background wall paper to be completely
obscured. There’s certainly plenty of room for another row of buttons
on this new, taller screen.
THE SECOND ROW has the most changes. The top row is unchanged
with the essential clock, calendar, weather, and camera.
I’m still using Gmail but have switched to using the IOS Mail app in
spite of my aversion toward the IMAP protocol. I have great respect
for the work that IMAP4 represents but I am intimately familiar with
it’s pitfalls and downfalls from my earlier work in email
administration, particularly as the Internet boomed in the 90s. I’ve
always said you should never trust or use the “add on” IMAP
implementations that are tacked onto other email systems. Gmail is an
amazing email application both on the user interface side, though
one of Google’s major downfalls will always be not leaving success
alone, and on the actual back end. Due to my concern about
the email attack vector and my own digital safety, I trust Apple’s
client more. Google is still a little too eager to render, run and
execute message content, though you can turn images off, than Apple
is. Their motivations are different. So I user the Apple app for
reading and sending, and I use the regular Gmail app for searching (I
don’t trust IMAP for that!) and other operations like label
THE SOCIAL MEDIA ARE GONE. Twitter and Facebook are in group
folders on the second screen. My Facebook use is less than once per
week on average now. I’ve been using Feedly for news reading for
maybe more than a year at this point so I moved it to the foreground.
I use a lot more for news reading but that’s another article.
I had another slot on that row so I thought I’d try PCalc which I’ve
recently started using. I love the retro RLM-11CX HP-11 calculator
emulator greatly, but I’ve been trying out PCalc which everyone seems
to love. I’ve fully turned on the RPN and other HP-like features. I
use it enough that it seemed to warrant a front page spot.
For writing and rendering writing I’m still fully invested in Markdown
and Byword is one of the best apps on IOS I’ve found for rendering and
MAPS IS THE ONLY GOOGLE APP that’s hanging on to the front
screen. We’ll see how long that lasts but I still primarily use it
and depend on it every time I’m in the car and driving. I trust it
more than Apple Maps still in spite of the improvement of the latter.
I started out with Gmail, Maps, and Chrome on my home screen. Google
has been doing all of the work to take them off, making things less
usable, more intrusive, and always tone deaf. I’m sure they’ll double
their efforts on Maps now that it’s the only one there. It’s been at
least a couple of years since I moved to Safari. It works great,
performs extremely well, and of course it’s kind to the iPhone
This trend by Google to make their apps less useful and less usable is
disturbing to me since Gmail and Google documents, the whole office
suite, have no equal in my opinion. There’s nowhere else to go,
especially in the case of Gmail. Even though I’m using the Apple Mail
app on the front side mostly, I still use Gmail on the back end and I
still use the desktop web-based version of Gmail when I’m doing
serious email work. On top of the usability are the noticeable
failures and butter bars on the web version of server not reachable,
inability to complete operations and such. There’s an air of neglect
and lack of maintenance which is odd for the size and history of
Google, but I always wondered how the company’s quality would survive
as it evolved and grew. The cracks are showing.
ON THE BOTTOM ROW I’ve switched from Downcast to Marco Arment’s
Overcast and I’ve been very pleased with it.
Drafts is upgraded from version four to version five. I use Drafts
for note taking constantly. It feeds into my GTD lists of actions,
but it’s also the record of almost everything. I’m also working to
move even more of my input life to Drafts and using it for blog posts,
email messages, and other such writing. I’m not using it now for
this. I’m currently typing into Emacs in a Terminal window on desktop
THE DOCK IS UNCHANGED. The Amazon Music icon is different. I’m
in a weird middle place now between Amazon Music and Apple Music.
Since we have the HomePod and have the Apple Music subscription, I use
it a lot. But I also have a lot of music on Amazon so that app is
still there for now. Often my phone Apple Music interface is Siri
We use Siri on the HomePod constantly at home and with the changes in
IOS 12 and the new driving laws (which I have mixed feelings about) I
think Siri is poised to become a much bigger part of my phone UI so it
may lead to interesting changes in what icons are on the home screen
in the near future.