Life with the iPhone 11 Pro

iPhone 11 Midnight Green

I’ve had the iPhone 11 Pro for a couple of weeks and the one thing that I realize is that its an iPhone but with just a ton more speed and a much better camera.  I’ve been sporting an iPhone 7 for a couple of years and I thought it would be nice to upgrade.  I mainly did the upgrade because T-Mobile gave me a great deal on my trade in, $300 in credits, but I would have to pay off the phone over 2 years.  I have a tendency these days to keep my phone for about 2 years so paying my phone by installment isn’t such a big deal.  If anything it frees up capital for other more immediate needs.

The camera is pretty cool but I haven’t had an opportunity to use it much.  The new camera interface if pretty cool, especially for zooming in.  I also like how it can seamlessly switch between different lenses for zooming in and out.  I need to take a vacation to really test out the camera since thats when I tend to take the most pictures across different types of lighting situations.

The speed of the phone is definitely awesome, I can tell its faster than my iPhone 7 when I open different apps or switch between them.  The other thing that really sold me was the increased battery life.  I have been running the phone without charging it for most of the day and the battery indicator barely moves.  It’s definitely better than my iPhone 7 which was losing battery power just by looking at the screen for the weather.  The camera was definitely the biggest battery drain but the better battery life should preclude me from having to bring a spare battery with me.

Truth be told, the iPhone 11 is just another iPhone.  It’s faster with better cameras and has more battery life for once.  I’ll be living with this thing for 2 years but so far I’m impressed with what it has become.  I finally have the best phone in the family again!

Advertisements

I Pre-Ordered the iPhone 11 Pro

iPhone 11 Pro

Here’s something that I haven’t done in a good long time, actually pre-order an iPhone, or any apple device for that matter. I think the last time that I actually stayed up late to do a pre-order was for my iPhone 6. Since then I’ve only upgraded to the iPhone 7 and even then, that was originally my work phone and not my personal one so no staying up till the wee hours of the night for that one. So what made me do it this time? Well here we go with the rest of the post……

To my utter delight, I didn’t have to be up at 3am to do a pre-order for the phone. In years past when I would want to pre-order an Apple device right after the reveal, it normally went on sale at 12am PDT, thats 3am to me since I’m on the east coast. This time they pushed it back so the first orders could be done at 8am EDT. That means not being bleary eyed for the rest of the day due to lack of sleep and cursing at websites that won’t load because there are too many other people trying to order the same device that I am.

My iPhone 7 is frankly getting full, I have a lot of stuff on it from apps, movies, photos, and music and even though it has 128GB of space, I was always only 25GB away from running out of space. I have another iPhone 7 for work thats only 32GB so its basically stripped down to nothing with only the essentials for checking email and stuff. This time I bought the 256GB version so thats twice the amount of space. I figure I’ll need that space for all the extra videos that I can take at 4K with the new camera’s. I could have gone all in with a 512GB like my iPad Pro but I won’t be using the iPhone to import my GoPro videos to view and edit them on the go.

T-Mobile was offering a crazy trade in deal for my iPhone 7, they were going to give me $300 in statement credits if I financed the phone over a 24 month period. This is another first, I’m actually going to finance the phone, normally I pay for it outright but due to this great deal I decided financing was the best way to go. Apple was only offering me $150 for my trade in and they weren’t discounting the phone on their EPP website either. Even with the EPP discount and the trade in, the T-Mobile deal was way better. I have no intention of leaving T-Mobile in the next 2 years and I’m sure I’ll either be ready to get another phone after that or I’ll just keep it for an extra year like I did my iPhone 7. Besides, even with every vlogger on YouTube saying “wait till 2020 for the 5G iPhone”, I looked at the coverage map for 5G and its definitely going to be lacking for quite a while. There’s technically nothing wrong with LTE, the coverage is pretty good and the speeds are fine to stream video which generally hits all the use cases I have. The biggest thing for me is coverage since I travel for work, until thats there, I’m going to hold off till 2021 or 2022 for a 5G phone.

Oh I never said what I picked as a color! I decided on the Midnight Green this time. I’ve had black since the 3GS for my personal phone. I’ve used white for my work phones to differentiate it, and my daughter has a rose gold phone. I was originally just going to get black like always but my wife convinced me to try the new color. I’m excited to see what it looks like when I get it. That will likely be one of the last times I see it since I know the wallet case I’m going to use to cover it so I don’t have to actually carry a wallet. The ship time is Sept 21-24, thats beyond the actual release date of Sept 20, but I’ve waited this long so I can wait a little bit more. Only slightly more than a week to go!

No new tech to blog about…..

I’ve come to the point where I’m not acquiring tech in a regular interval (I used to get something new every few months) but I think I’ve stabilized on just a few different platforms rather than trying new things out. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that the entire family is locked into the Apple Eco system when it comes to mobile devices (iPhones and iPads) but we’re not upgrading as fast as I used to. The family has an iPhone 7,8, and 6S Plus as well as 2 iPad Pro’s from 2017 and a newer iPad mini 5. That keeps things pretty simple in terms of getting apps and support and also reducing the complexity for syncing phones with music and videos. I personally use a MacBook Pro at home (very little though since my iPad Pro pretty much can do a lot of the things that I normally used my MacBook for)

I am becoming a little less reliant on computers in general (the traditional kind) and have simplified the things that I install and try to keep things vanilla. I still buy my computers with massive hard drives (at least 1TB and on SSD for speed). Thats just my old school thoughts on storage for computers but a lot of my audio and video files have moved over to the NAS and the NAS runs 24×7 unless I shut it down. I’ve also embraced more cloud storage with my main cloud storage providers being Box and Google Drive. I have more than enough storage in both accounts that I don’t have to keep a lot of “stuff” on my laptop. My MacBook Pro is a 2017 and its maxed to the gills but I don’t use nearly all the power that I could since I was originally going to use it for videos for the family but I’ve been able to do that on my iPad.

I’ve also consolidated my camera platform to just using my iPhones and GoPro’s. I don’t know how long GoPro is going to be around but they are pretty solid and they do what I need when I go on vacation. I haven’t bought a GoPro since 2018 but it does what I need it to do and the image stabilization is wonderful. It’s not as fast as a point and shoot camera but its good enough for what I need for it to do. All other devices have kind of fallen away. I still watch lots of videos about different kinds of hardware that seem cool, especially about Android phones like the OnePlus stuff but when I consider the ecosystem I’m in, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me to switch over.

The last reason that I don’t have a lot of tech to talk about these days is that I’m just hanging on to my stuff a lot longer. I’m still sporting an iPhone 7, it still seems to work pretty well and it hasn’t slowed down. I’m not really missing any feature that I consider “must haves”. The only thing that I’m really waiting for is 5G capability but I think those will come with the 2020 iPhones so I’m going to skip this generation again. The GoPro Hero 7 Black is good enough the way it is, its just really there to take videos during my ski trips and for soccer games but I think I start using it as a point and shoot too which would be cool. I have lots of extra batteries for it too so I know its going to last a while during the day. iPads will last a while too as long as there are software updates, again nothing really earth shattering that I need. They all work with the first generation Apple Pencil and frankly it works great, I don’t see a need to get a whole new iPad just for the Apple Pencil 2.

Maybe in the next few months I’ll find something compelling enough to upgrade to but in the mean time, I’ll have to look for something else to blog about.

Music on the slopes

If there’s one thing that helps me ski better (at least in my crazy cranium) its having music while I go down the slope. When I was younger this wasn’t very practical because its hard to bring a Sony Discman in your ski jacket and not have the songs skip while you’re shredding down a mountain. More recently in the last 2 years I’ve taken to using my iPhone to listen to music. I find that listening to music while going down the slope makes it more enjoyable and since I ski alone a lot its better than just skiing in silence.

Sony Car Discman

I already have AirPods for my iPhone but I’ve found that they aren’t that great when you want to listen to music while skiing. I think the newer v2 AirPods would be better than my current ones since it has built in “Hey Siri” but you’ll get some crazy stares from people on the chairlift by yelling “Hey Siri!” to change the volume, playlist or song. I also have this fear that my AirPods will fall out of my ears and since they’re white, I’ll never find them again in the snow. I also wear a helmet so using my Bose QC35’s are also not an option. I need to hear the environment around me since there are definitely a lot better skiers and boarders out there passing me and I need to hear when they say they are coming up behind me. The solution that I’ve found the best is actually the EarPods that came with my iPhone in the box. Yes its archaic since its wired but it has a control on it so that I can change the music, pick up phone calls, and change the volume all without having to yell at Siri. I’m able to wear them ok with my helmet on, I still have the feeling that they’re going to pop out of my ears but at least I know its tethered to my iPhone that’s in my ski pants pocket so the probability of losing them is pretty low. They sound decently good and it lets me hear what’s going on around me so both of those requirements are met easily.

Apple EarPods

A few people at Vail used a different solution. They decided to use the UE Wonderboom to play their music. The problem with that is most people don’t want to hear my crazy music while they ski. They want to either listen to their own tunes or just ski in silence. Granted it was a bunch of teenagers that was blasting Post Malone on the lift up to the top but I could have done with out. I did see one woman on the slopes go all out on the expensive gear for having music and call capability for her ski helmet by using a Sena bluetooth system. I have one of those for my motorcycle helmet and they’re not cheap; around $200. The sound is pretty good and it gets loud but that might be a little too much for skiing. I have considered it though but its too much trouble to disconnect everything from my motorcycle helmet and then putting it in my ski helmet.

UE Wonderboom
Sena Bluetooth Receiver

Long Live Touch ID

I must be one of the last hold outs that still like having Touch ID. Granted I have never owned a Face ID enabled device but most of my devices use it. I have iPads and iPhones that all use the tech and its nice to be able to share an iPad or iPhone with my daughter. While I can go ahead and use a passcode, Touch ID is still more secure but not as restricting as using Face ID where its only your face or using the passcode.

The use case that I use for Touch ID is managing my daughters phone. She has 2 fingers enabled, and my wife and I have a finger each which leaves one finger left. This is good for us since the passcode is pretty long and I don’t always want to type it in. It gives us instant access to the phone and its content (there isn’t a lot on it but its helpful when I need to muck around with the settings and stuff.

Most of the newer Apple devices are going to Face ID. All the new iPhones and even the new iPads use Face ID. MacBook Pro’s still use Touch ID but I think the implementation of it could be better. When I first start up the computer it requires a password, but after that I can use Touch ID when waking up the computer from the screen saver or after I’ve opened the lid back up. It also lets me pay for stuff with credit cards that I’ve saved in Safari. I can see Face ID coming to a future MacBook Pro so it works similar to Windows Hello which I’ve heard is awesome but most corporate computers don’t allow it.

I still think that Touch ID has its uses in phones and computers. Better use of Touch ID would be great on the Mac. So many people cover up the cameras on their computers it would almost render Face ID useless. I’m surprised that Windows Hello is widely used based on this phenomenon. I’ve seen some of the Android Phones on YouTube lately that are incorporating the finger print reader right into the screen. That would be cool to give the user a choice to unlock with their face or their finger. I’m waiting for the 2020 iPhones personally to upgrade. Thats when apparently Apple will support 5G and it will also be an “S” year, so they would have had a full year to refine their phone design and maybe they’ll bring back a little bit of the Touch ID magic back.

Rediscovering Firefox

Back in the days of yore, I used a web browser called Netscape. Netscape eventually died off but out of its ashes came a browser called Firefox. For a long time this was the only alternative to Internet Explorer and before Chrome was even a thing. I recently saw on my news feed that Firefox had come out with a new browser that was faster and more secure than Chrome for iOS. Of course I had to try it out.

I’ve installed it on the iPad Pro and my personal iPhone and I can definitely say that I like it better than Chrome. I’m almost to the point where I want to delete Chrome from all my devices except for my MacBook Pro and my Windows computers. The speed of Firefox is definitely a plus for me and their private mode is also better. I also like the menu layout better in Firefox compared to Chrome. Where I think Chrome could have defeated Firefox was being able to use all the extensions that I have installed on the desktop version. Thats the only reason I keep them on my computers but frankly I still use Safari more on my MacBook Pro and only revert to Chrome when I have to.

What’s cool is that Firefox is its still free. It’s definitely a distant 3rd in terms of desktop browsers but it will become my #2 for my mobile devices. I think I’ll decide later this weekend if I’m going to delete Chrome from my mobile devices or not and install them elsewhere. Truth be told, I also installed Firefox on my work computer and unpinned Chrome from the tool bar. Since I can’t use the Chrome extensions that I have for home, the browser just became worthless to me. Most of my work stuff still needs Internet Explorer (no I can’t use Edge either) and without the extensions its just another browser.

There aren’t as many desktop extensions for Firefox but that’s not why I want to use the browser. I’m looking for speed and using less memory on my devices. That’s one of the complaints that I have about using Chrome on my older desktop, it just slows everything down by sucking up the memory. That machine might be a good candidate to install Firefox. I’ll keep checking up on the extensions offered by Firefox, who knows they might come out with the extensions that I like to use on a day to day basis and totally supplant Chrome. Now if they could only come out with a better email client than Outlook, then they could rule my windows desktop experience.

NAVIGON is no more!

Curious thing when I was checking my NAVIGON app last week, there was a message that I sort of just clicked through but it bothered me so I checked the website, to my surprise Garmin decided to kill all their iOS navigation apps. I have had NAVIGON on my phone since the days of the 3GS and it used to be my go to app for navigation in my car. Apparently I’m allowed to use it for another 2 years until there will be no more map updates. That’s kind of sad but it’s expected since in the age of unlimited data, you only need Apple Maps, Google Maps, or Waze.

I remember the software being a crazy price. I think I paid $79.00 for all of North America. Truthfully it was one of my better purchases due to all the travel I do for work. At the time maps kinda sucked on the iPhone and NAVIGON was more accurate. Over the years I got frustrated with the software due to its interface and lack of search capability. In recent years I’ve relied on 3 apps for navigation and with the final death of NAVIGON I’ll be able to reclaim about 100mb of space on my phone and a tile space.

I’ll admit that having an offline map is useful but Google has this and I have another app called Ulmon that does offline maps. It doesn’t really do turn by turn but I won’t get lost either which is the main point. For it’s time, NAVIGON was freaking awesome and prevented me from getting lost most of the time. Before I had unlimited data it was useful to have he map preloaded on the phone so I wouldn’t use up my data plan. I just might keep the software on my phone for the next two years mainly because I paid for it so I might as well use it if the need arises. By then I should be ready to upgrade my iPhone 7 to something else.