The new iPad Pro is out. It has thin bezels, no home button, Face ID and it’s more powerful than any other tablet in the market. It’s so powerful that Apple is daring to compare it with laptops in terms of performance (and sales). And yet, many tech media sites rushed to publish their favorite headline when it comes to the iPad: “it still cannot replace your laptop”. Well, I’m here to refute that idea; I replaced my laptop with an iPad Pro months ago.
First, let’s briefly talk about the laptop I replaced. I bought a Surface Book in October of 2015 and I fell in love with it immediately. One feature in specific won me over: Windows Hello. Thanks to Windows Hello I was able to unlock the device using only my face. It was fast and reliable, and it showed me what the future should look like. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to use Windows Hello to log into my apps and websites, although this will hopefully change soon. On top of that, the Surface Book was too big and heavy for light traveling, so in December of 2017 I got an iPad.
I sold my 1st generation Apple Watch a few weeks ago. Since it was right before Apple’s event, I thought it would be fun to revive my Pebble watch and use it with my iPhone while I waited for the Series 4. The thing is, Pebble was acquired by Fitbit in 2016 and stopped giving support to these old devices earlier this year. After a bit of research, I discovered the light at the end of the tunnel; here’s how I brought a Pebble watch back to life in 2018.
In case you are not familiar, Pebble was a smartwatch launched with the biggest Kickstarter campaign in 2012, reaching $10.3 Million in a little over a month. The watch started shipping in early 2013 with a black and white memory LCD screen, which provided about a week of battery life.
Given the head start that Pebble enjoyed, a thriving ecosystem was created around the tiny device. In the 2 years before giants like the Apple Watch or the Samsung Gear started selling, more than 1000 apps and watch faces were available on the Pebble app store.
You might think that the Pebble had an odd design, but you could forget about charging it and there were a lot of cool apps: sleep tracker, fitness tracker, even a Domino’s Pizza tracker. Regardless, when Apple released their competitor in April 2015, the Pebble ended up stored in my closet, and it stayed there all these years… until now.
2017 is almost over, so I wanted talk about the apps that have taken the most important space on my phone during this year, and whether or not I think they’ll still be there next year.
Let’s start with a screenshot of my home screen:
I place apps in my home screen based on the frequency in which I use them. I try to minimize the amount of times I have to go to other pages of the home screen, so these are truly the apps that keep me going. But are all of these apps equally important for my daily tech routine? Will they stay in such a prominent position next year? Let’s break them into categories.
Connecting with friends & family
Messages, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Mail are absolutely critical to stay connected with family and friends, especially those in other countries. I’m convinced that I’ll keep these around since they are literally the first thing I check every morning.
Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat have been part of an interesting migration during 2017: most of my friends stopped posting on Facebook and became more active on apps where their posts have a 24 hour expiration date. So far, most of my friends are choosing Instagram, probably due to the fact that it has a classic profile of everlasting posts; Snapchat will have a hard time recovering after the aggressive takeover from Instagram, so I would not be surprised if Snapchat didn’t make it on my phone through the next year.
Apple will present the new iPhone this Tuesday and, as usual, most of the details have already been leaked.
What seems guaranteed is that we’ll see 3 models being introduced: the iPhone 7s, 7s Plus and a special edition to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the original iPhone. That special edition has been known until now as iPhone 8, iPhone Edition, or iPhone Pro, but the official name iPhone X has been confirmed (among other details) thanks to the final version of iOS 11 leaking.
These are the top 3 reasons why I’m excited about the iPhone X.
Scarcity is “the fundamental economic problem of having seemingly unlimited human wants in a world of limited resources“.
Many thought that Nintendo was the master of artificial scarcity because of how difficult it was to find in stock the Switch (and other Nintendo consoles). It increased the hype for all those fans who were anxious to get their new toy, and for those who got it, it created a feeling of exclusiveness.
However, reality is slightly different: even today, over 5 months after its worldwide release, many retail stores still have limited availability or are sold out. Nintendo is actually having supply issues, which I bet they are trying hard to resolve before the holiday season.
Now, does the console live up to its hype? After a few weeks playing with it, I have to say ‘absolutely‘. The Nintendo Switch surprised me with its versatility as a powerful docked console and as a portable gaming device that doesn’t compromise.
Today you can buy a pair online and get them delivered to your home in 1-2 weeks. Gone are those days when the Spectacles would sell on eBay for $3000.
Now, you might be thinking: “should I get them?” Let me help you.
Have you ever had a vacation to a sunny place, taking pictures here and there to immortalize the scenery? Having your phone with you all day might not be convenient, especially if you want to disconnect.
Have you ever been at a wedding where everyone is looking at their recording phones? Most of these people end up having just the memory of what their camera saw, not their eyes.
Can you think of a summer day when you hiked through a trail with breathtaking views? Getting your hands busy to take pictures might be uncomfortable and even dangerous.
I have been in these situations, and the weird-looking sunglasses truly allow me to be in the moment while capturing the memory.
Waiting for my delayed flight to take off, I came across Phoneys, an iMessage sticker pack with some controversy.
Phoneys allows users to cover friends’ messages with stickers that look like a real message. In less than a week, it became the #1 Top Paid and #1 Top Grossing iMessage app. Here’s how it works:
Of course, Apple noticed and asked Adam, the developer, to update it so that users don’t get confused or think that their iPhone has been hacked, otherwise the app would be taken down.
With iMessage on iOS 10, Apple tried to create a fun experience that can compete with Snapchat, the king of fun messaging.
A very clever way of doing this was… well, letting others actually do it and lure them into a new iMessage app store (following Facebook’s steps with Messenger).
I find fascinating how Apple simplified and streamlined the creation of stickers for iMessage. Anyone can create a fun experience (and sometimes a cash machine) with a good idea and a few nights of work.
Fun messaging apps are the next gold mine: emojis, stickers, GIFs… the best way of increasing the variety and quality of options is to let 3rd party developers do it. How long will it take for Snapchat to open its own app store?
Adam is now debating what to do with his “stupid little sticker pack”, as he calls it. To him, I’d say: enjoy the viral ride and start thinking of the next great idea, you sure know how to monetize it.
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