Apple Watch apps don’t really matter

This new list of the most useful Apple Watch apps seems familiar somehow. And so does this one. And indeed so does any other list of the ‘best’ Apple Watch apps.

The fact is that there are very few Apple Watch apps that are genuinely useful and which work in a way that makes them not feel clunky. Just look at the apps listings in the Watch app, it never changes. The iOS App Store changes daily, but on the watch side it stays the same.

Strangely, it doesn’t matter because the fact is that watch apps are not needed and for most people there are already enough built in to the Apple Watch, and this gives a lie to the notion that smartwatches will one day replace phones.

I can now understand what the Apple Watch offers and have been impressed by its ability to cover fitness, keep me notified and to obviously tell the time. I have, however, found a small group of third-party apps that work well for me including Streaks, SleepWatch and Better Day. I don’t need any more and probably won’t in the future unless a developer comes out with something special.

So. the lack of apps is on the surface a huge disadvantage for the Apple Watch, but is to those who own one completely inconsequential. 

Quick Transfer Revolution

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to quickly copy any kind of media, document or file from any Mac or PC to iPhone and iPad in exactly 2 clicks? No iTunes syncs, without iCloud, and for free?

Well, today we’re announcing just that. It’s called Quick Transfer and it’s now available with no restrictions in the free version of iMazing… More here.

The promise is great. I do hope it works as good as it sounds.

Now this is how you do support

I emailed the developer of Step It Up to ask a couple of questions regarding how it works on the Apple Watch Series 4. It is the first app I have found that feels as if it could replace the Fitbit system for me and at an extremely competitive price. Anyway, I waited a couple of days and received the following which is personal, information and enthusiastic. How often do you see that?

Hi Shaun,

I’m sorry for my late response to your email you sent over the weekend, I’m a graduate student studying clinical psychology and still getting adjusted to the new semester.

Thank you for the kind words regarding Step It Up, I’m glad to hear that you like it. I’ve heard from a number of users that Step It Up really helped them transition from the Fitbit to the Apple Watch. Step It Up does have support for most of the complications supported by the old Apple Watches, I’m putting the finishing touches on the complications for the Series 4. Please keep an eye out for an update around the end of this week or over the weekend. If you use any of the other faces besides the infograph faces you’ll see Step It Up in the complication menu.

In regards to the kg – pounds bug, I am aware of a bug causing them to switch from time to time. I just implemented a new way where the kg/pounds would be set automatically for the user based on their region, but it seems to be causing a lot of issues for users who use kilograms.

Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you.

Best wishes,
Casey

The app is available here and trust me, it is well worth a download and a subsequent purchase.

Use Instapaper in Europe today

The ongoing debacle that is Instapaper’s handling of the new GDPR rules doesn’t look likely to be resolved soon.

It has been made worse by the complete lack of information from the developers and the late notice in pulling the service which could be for one of many reasons-

They were somehow caught unawares

They don’t know what they are doing

Or they are doing things with personal data that makes it harder for them to comply with the new rules? That is purely supposition of course, but there are concerns out there as to what the reasons could be.

Anyway, many users have tried Pocket and other services while the outage continues for us Europeans, but for me personally far too many articles do not render correctly and many either end us using the default web view or they are cut half-way through. So that leaves Instapaper as the best solution for long-form reading in my opinion.

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The simple solution is to download TunnelBear for free, create an account and turn it on after you have chosen Canada or the US as your location. Now save an article to Instapaper and when you go back to the app you can automatically add it to your reading list and it will be downloaded for whenever you have some time to do some reading.

Instapaper is ideal for an app like TunnelBear because it only uses the data for each article once and the free allowance should be enough for most people. Instapaper still works as an app, even in Europe, but you cannot add new articles to your list. With a solution like TunnelBear that problem is resolved, for the time being at least.

ip

react’ing to the need for a todo program

It is ironic that toy todo apps are a favorite way for programmers to learn a new toolkit, but I can’t find the perfect real app, and may end up building it myself. I’ve been daydreaming on the ideal app ever all the way back in 2005 (then I would have wanted it for the PalmPilot) and then 3 years ago I was taking a deep look at Apple Reminders as a possible substitute for AppiGo Todo, which I’ve been using pretty much since iPhones had apps. (I remember a big wall poster in the apple store showing the built-in notes app being used for a todo list, back before there was an app store or the default Reminders app – an odd reminder that the 2007 iPhone was a serious step down from the 1996 Palm in terms of being a PDA until Apple got its Appstore going.) More at Kirk’s UI Blog.

Excellent stuff as always from Kirk. My recommendation is 2Do on iOS and macOS. Does everything I need with just the right balance between efficiency and understandable visuals.

Another major app leaves the Apple Watch

Instagram joins a growing list to abandon the Apple Watch platform. To date, Amazon, Google, Slack, and Twitter have also pulled their Apple Watch versions. After people noticed Google abandoned its Maps app last May, a Google representative said that it planned to add support again in the future. Other apps haven’t made their intentions clear. Amazon and TripAdvisor explained their apps’ disappearance from the Apple Watch by saying that it wasn’t the right solution for their customers at that point in time. “[Instagram’s] death is a strong sign that the social network doesn’t consider the Apple Watch a useful standalone app platform,“ the Verge wrote. The slow but steady exodus seems like it could be a bad sign for the future of the Apple Watch. That isn’t necessarily the case… More at Slate.

I have said this before and will keep saying it. Almost every app for the Apple Watch, and other smart watches, offer little in the way of a positive experience. The manufacturers need to concentrate on making the very best smart watch experience and with the essentials covered, there is little need for third party apps.

Sat nav rip off…

An investigation by Auto Express magazine found that the cost of updating the in-built sat nav system varies by hundreds of pounds, depending on the make, model and age of your car, even though most get the mapping software from the same provider.

Owners of older Jaguar XFs pay up to £316 for sat nav updates, while those for Ford cars vary from £81.90 to £159, depending on model and age, the research found, with those driving earlier editions paying most… More at The Telegraph.

For a long time now I have struggled with the notion of built in car sat nav. Has never made financial or practical sense to me compared to phone apps.

app: the human story

App: The Human Story is about my people. It’s a loving portrait of a culture that I adore and the people who make it go. The film deftly threads together stories and ideas from the communities and craftspeople who dedicate their lives to the common goal of empowering humanity through software. And by the end, the viewer senses a rich tapestry of tension and triumph that make up the universe of this new cultural unit of progress—the app—and the reasons why it will propel us into a better future.

Can see this appealing to a few of you.

What Women Look Like Without Makeup

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Please look closely at the photo on the left. That, reader, is me, the writer, wearing a full face of makeup. Clearly, my gelled brows and tinted lips were intended to con some schmuck of the opposite sex into thinking I am extremely good-looking and then make him buy me six iPhone X’s. Fortunately for said schmuck, there’s a new app that takes photos of people wearing makeup and then filters them to show what they (theoretically) look like without it. Called MakeApp, the app lets you un-makeup five photos for free before asking you to pay $0.99 to continue editing images and videos. Now look at the photo on the right. That’s me after MakeApp edited my face to let everybody know how grotesque I look when you digitally peel off the highlighter and mascara. Horrifying, I know… More at NYMAG.

Not so sure it’s horrifying, but it certainly isn’t the best idea.