Tag Archives: Apple Watch

Oh no! My wife’s Apple Watch fell apart.

My wife's Apple Watch fell apart
My wife’s Apple Watch fell apart

Yikes! Recently, I came down for breakfast and found my wife looking upset . The back cover (which contains the heart beat sensor) on her Apple Watch had popped off when she removed the watch from its magnetic charger.

With a hand-held magnifying glass I carefully checked out the thin band of glue that encircled the sensor. The incredibly thin, flat -ribbon cable was still attached to the sensor and the back of the watch. 

My next step was to search “sensor popped off Apple Watch” using Google and I immediately found that we were not alone with this problem. One of my search links led to the Apple Watch customer support site on the apple.com web site. Over 490 people had reported to Apple that they had had this problem.

Most of the support messages said that we ought to simply take the watch to an Apple Store, and a Genius Bar representative would make things right. Sure.

My wife’s Apple Watch was one of the first groups manufactured and is almost two years old. In other words, it’s definitely out of warranty. Even with an Apple Care warranty, it would be out of the coverage dates. The watch is a stainless steel model and retailed for around $500 when we purchased it. “This can’t be good” I fretted.

For our family the nearest Apple Store is located in East Lansing, Michigan – about an hour away from where we live. Upon arriving the Apple Genius looked at the watch and stated that this was a known problem and that Apple had a program to take care of it. 

It seems that using body lotion or sun tan lotion causes the seal to weaken. Within a few minutes he had collected all the important information from me and said that a replacement watch would arrive within 3-5 business days. Since the watch was out of warranty, the price for the replacement was $249 – half the price of the original watch. But wait! Glancing to the right side of the work order/invoice I read what the customer was expected to pay. Obviously I was expecting to pay $249, but the amount showing what the customer was to pay was $0.00: Fantastic.

Five days later we received the replacement watch via FedEx. It was a “Like new” factory re-manufactured watch that was scratch-free and contained a new battery. I simply “paired” the watch with my wife’s iPhone and restored her data from a previous backup. It took less than a half-hour and all went well.

This experience is yet another reason that I’m a solid Apple customer and shareholder. To use that overworked term, Apple “gets it”. They understand that so-called “early adapters” are important to the long- term success of a product and the company that made it and sold it.

Kudos Apple!

Apple’s IOS 10 Operating System: Mature and smooth – and it only took ten attempts.

IOS 10 Artwork
IOS 10 Artwork

Well, after ten versions Apple apparently has gotten it right with the IOS 10 operating system. An operating system (OS) – regardless if it’s Apple, Google, Microsoft, or others – is never really finished. It is always a work in progress; features are added, bugs are squashed, compatibility with third party applications (apps) is improved – the list goes on and on.

If the operating system developer had only one hardware device to write OS software for it might be easier to get it right. Writing OS code that works reliably on an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple Watch, and Apple TV for current devices, as well as for older devices, is quite a trick. There are thousands of permutations. Getting it right is very difficult, time consuming, and R&D expensive.

Apple is just about the only hardware manufacturer that also writes its own OS software. Samsung, Lenovo, Sharp, HTC, and dozens of others hardware manufacturers depend on OS software written by companies like Google (who makes Android OS software) and Microsoft (who makes Windows OS software) to develop their operating system software. Yes, I’m aware that Google also manufacturers the Google phone and the Chromebook, and that Microsoft manufacturers the Surface laptop. But these are “one-off” machines.

A few quick examples of improvements in IOS 10:

1. A completely redesigned Maps app that is simpler, bolder looking, and easier to use. A major improvement in day-to-day use. Location accuracy is also much better.

2. You can now read voicemail messages as well as listen to them. The voice transcription is pretty accurate and predictable.

3. The Photos app now includes the ability to organize by faces and map locations. Now you can easily find all the photos of your children and your friends. The map locations allows you to see all the photos you took in a specific location (as determined by GPS).

4. Siri is now open to developers so that you can directly tie into services such as Uber.

5. The music app tied to Apple Music is greatly improved in look and feel (see an expanded description below).

6. The Messages app has gone crazy! It has its own App Store. Add stickers, GIF’s, emojis and more.

7. iPhones now support a “raise to wake” feature that lets you see notifications without having to push a button.

8. The ability to remove Apple default (stock) apps like Stock, Weather, and most others. They can be reloaded later if you wish.

One detailed example:

When Apple introduced the “Music” app two years ago it was a mess. Missing options (like sorting lists), difficult navigation going from one area to another, inconsistency of menus are just a few examples. For a company that had just introduced its new 30-million-track service, like Spotify, it was a lame first attempt.

Last year’s IOS 9 update was somewhat better – but still not truly Apple in look or feel.

This year’s IOS 10 update is much better; a simpler, more stark appearing interface is easier to understand and use, with black and white graphics and text, while color is employed sparingly for emphasis. Sorting by artist, album, release date, and more, is available throughout the application. Song lyrics are also available for most tracks. The star rating system has returned to the joy of many long time iTunes users.

On a different subject – creativity:

Apple has been criticized for a lack of creativity since the death of one of its founders – Steve Jobs. I’m not sure that criticism is deserved. Here are three examples of recent product innovations.

1. The Apple Watch (second edition), has met with success from the media, retail, and the user communities. It’s now water-resistant, has a faster processor, improved operating system (3rd generation), longer battery life, and a less expensive starting price.

2. The Apple “W1” Bluetooth audio chip was just released. It is used on the new Apple AirPod wireless headphones, and several of the new Beats (owned by Apple) brand of wireless headphones. The W1 chips offers:

  • a. Extreme battery life – 40 hours of playtime vs 2-4 hours of most other wireless headphones.
  • b. Extreme range (distance) – up to 300 feet vs 33 feet of most other Bluetooth devices.
  • c. Simple pairing (connecting) interface – works with any Apple IOS 10 device by simply connecting to your first device, and then the rest of your devices are auto connected (if you use the same Apple ID on all of your devices).

3. The recently introduced MacBook Pro laptops with a new OLED color touch-bar located above the keyboard that dynamically changes depending on the software app being used.

My bottom line:

Apple is not perfect; not even close. But in many ways, they have innovative design, solid manufacturing, and great (read: loyal) customer support. I admit to being an Apple “fan boy”. 2017 will see the tenth anniversary of the iPhone. It will be interesting to see what improvements and new features will be added to IOS 11. Stay tuned!

Do seniors really need to update to Apple’s newest software?

Apple OS updates
Apple OS updates

You don’t need to update, but it’s almost always a good idea. Updates provide us with a measure of comfort by contributing a number of things:

• Generally, a slightly faster, and more reliable device (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and Mac).

• Usually a number of new and improved features that make day-to-day use more enjoyable.

• Security updates that help protect our devices from nasty hackers.

• Bug fixes that repair problems discovered before the update.

A better question may be: Why wouldn’t you want to update your device? Here are a few reasons to update:

• It’s free (Apple never charges for updates).

• It’s easy to do (Follow the steps below).

• You will receive bug fixes and new features.

• Get a leg up on your kids and grand kids (beat them by updating first).

Here is how to get started…

1. On an IOS device (e.g. iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch)

a. Look at the connector at the bottom of your device – where you plug it in to recharge the battery. If it has the older wider 20 pin connector you cannot upgrade your device to IOS 10. Sorry. If you have the newer, small “Lightning Connector” you can update to IOS 10.

b. Make sure your device is attached to the charging cable and is at least 50% charged.

c. Now go into “Settings” (it looks like a gear). Next press on the word “General”. Finally press on the words “Software Update”. The software should now be downloading, verifying, installing and then restarting the device. Once the restart has begun, you’ll see a black screen, then a white Apple logo, and then a progress bar. This should happen twice and then the update will be complete.

2. On an Apple Watch (updating the Apple Watch from watchOS 2 to watchOS 3)

a. Make sure your iPhone has been updated to IOS 10 (this is required).

b. Connect your iPhone to its battery charger.

c. Connect your Apple Watch to its battery charger.

d. In the Watch app on your iPhone scroll down the screen until you see the “General” icon. Press on the word “General”. Next, press on the words “Software Update”. The software should now be downloading (to the Apple Watch), verifying, installing and then restarting the device. Once the restart has begun, you’ll see a black screen, then a white Apple logo, and then a progress circle. This should happen twice and then the update will be complete.

3. On an Apple TV (Hardware Version 4)

a. Start at the main menu of your Apple TV.

b. Go to the settings menu (the Gear icon).

c. Scroll down until you see the word “System” and then click on it.

d. Now look below and find the words “Software Updates” and then click on it.

e. Now click on the words “Update Software”.

f. If the system needs to be updated, the software download will begin. The Apple will automatically restart upon completion.

4. On a Mac computer (all newer models that use Mac OS 10 or newer)

a. Start at the top left of the screen. Click on the “Apple” icon.

b. The menu will drop down, and you need to click on the “App Store” menu item.

c. Make sure you click on the word “Featured”.

d. You should see the icon for “Mac OS 10 Sierra Update”. Click on this icon to begin downloading and installing the update. This is a large update and will take at least an hour to download and install. You can check on the progress by clicking on the words “Purchased” in the App Store.

Apple has made free user guides for all of the updates. If you have iBooks installed on your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or Mac you can go to the “Featured” menu and search for the books:

• iPhone Users Guide for IOS 10

• iPad Users Guide for IOS 10

• iPod Touch Users Guide for IOS 10

• Apple Watch Users Guide

• Apple TV Users Guide

• MacBook Essentials

• MacBook Pro Essentials

• MacBook Air Essentials

• iMac Essentials

These free digital books provided by Apple are a great way to learn about the new and improved features. They’re also excellent reference guides for the “How do I…” questions that often come up.

Happy updating!

Apple Watch watchOS 2, beta 4. First impressions…

Custom Apple Watch face
Custom Apple Watch face

By now everyone from Jeb Bush to 50 cent has told you and me what they liked or disliked about the new Apple wearable – the Apple Watch.  Half of those that reported say it is great, the other half say it is a failure.  Somewhere between those two extremes lies the truth.

If history is any indicator, and in MHO it is, in the case of Apple products sucess – then there is much hope for in the Apple Watch.  The first iPhone, iPod, Mac and iPad were all pretty rough in “Version 1.0” of the hardware and the software. A few years later each of these devices were polished, perfected and leaders in their respective class.

Apple announced at the recent World Wide Developers Conference a new “OS” – operating system for the Apple Watch – watch0S 2.  There are well over a dozen new features which are being added to the free software upgrade to be released sometime in September.  These changes add smoothness, stability, speed and usuable features to the Apple Watch.

As an Apple Developer I have first crack at the betas of the new watchOS 2.  Here are a few of my favorite features of the new OS (based on the beta 4 release):

  • New Watch Faces: There are several new watch faces. Cool animated sunrise to sunset videos of London, New York and other top world class cities.  My favorite is the new “photos” face which is comprised of my favorite family and vacation photos.  Each time you look at the face of the watch a different photo appears.  For the first time my wife, who was not originally an Apple Watch fan, felt that maybe this was a good reason to get one.
  • Time Travel: Scroll the crown forward and see what’s on your schedule for tommorow – including what the weather will be like during that event.  Scroll the crown backward and see what happened yesterday. Even news events in the past show up. Awesome!
  • Nightstand Mode: When you retire for the evening attach the charging pod and place your watch on the side.  Now you get a great little alarm clock that gently glows and then disappears until you touch it or your watch alarm goes off.  The Digital Crown and side button are used to “snooze” and turn off alarms.
  • “Native” Apps: Although I cannot test this new feature during the beta phase I have experience in what this feature will do.  The first Apple iPhone used “web apps” which were slow to load and clumsey in execution.  A year later Apple added the ability to the iPhone to use apps that were completely stored on the device allowing them to run much faster and take full advantage of the hardware.  This is what’s about to happen to the Apple Watch. Yea!
  • Reply to eMail:  This will add more usability to the watch.  The reply feature is already enabled in text messages of the current watch.  You can dictate a reply, send an emoji, or pick one of a dozen or more “stock” replies – or add your own.
  • Many more: Other new and imoproved features include the ability of Siri to understand and do more things, activation lock to secure your watch if it gets lost or stolen, more credit/debit cards and store cards (like Kohl’s) in Apple Pay.

Will the changes make a difference in the sale of Apple Watches? Definitely.  Is this the final solution to sluggish sales? Absolutely not.  But looking at a 8 year history for iPhones, a 15 year history for iPods and a 4 year history of iPad’s I would not hesitate to “bet the ranch” on the future of Apple, and the Apple Watch.

Apple Pay – Is it good for seniors?

  

The day of cashless payment is pretty much here.  Gone are the days of a billfold stuffed with bills and credit cards or debit cards.  Is this a good idea?  Is it safe and secure? Is it easy to use?  Here are my observations after six months of using Apple’s new Apple Pay system.

What is Apple Pay?

Apple Pay is Apple, Inc.’s new payment system that lets you use your Visa, MasterCard, and American Express as a way of paying for goods and services without actually using a physical credit card or debit card.

Most larger banks and regional bands are now providing credit and debit cards that work with Apple Pay. Hundreds of thousands of stores and service providers (both physical locations and on-line services) accept Apple Pay in the United States and soon in foreign countries.

What does it cost, and how easy is it to use?

It does not cost the consumer anything.  The merchant gets the sale, and pays the bank a small percentage for the transaction.  The bank gives Apple an even smaller percentage of the transaction.  If the store has the proper POS (point-of-sale) machine – where you usually swipe your card or “tap” your card to complete the transaction they will most likely accept Apple Pay now or in the near future.

I’ve used it at Panera Bread, McDonalds, Subway, Wesco, Meijer (regional supermarkets and gas stations) and many other locations.  It even works with newer vending machines for pop, snacks or sandwiches.

You use it with either an iPhone 6 or 6 plus smartphone, or with the new Apple Watch.  To use it with the iPhone touch the home button/finger print scanner to approve the transaction and then “touch” the phone to the POS machine.  To use with the Apple Watch simply touch the side button twice and then “touch” your watch to the POS machine.  Some POS machines still require a signature (credit card) or a PIN number (debit card) to finish the transaction.

Think of it… no more fishing in your pocket, bag, or purse for your wallet, then finding the debit card or credit card you want to use and then handing that card over to a perfect stranger who may or may not use it improperly.

But, is it safe to use?

The Apple Pay system is tied to the hardware and software on your iPhone or Apple Watch.  Apple has cleverly set up a secure system that does not actually use your credit card or debit card number.  The system kind of goes like this:  Tom’s MasterCard is issued by Chase Bank and has the card number of XXX (and so on).  The iPhone and Apple Watch convert that card number to a on-device chip that generates a number that Chase Bank knows belongs to Tom.  If the phone or watch are stolen they can’t be used to make purchase because…

  • The iPhone requires the users finger print and body warmth to activate the approval system.
  • The Apple Watch requires the iPhone to pair the two devices, and if the watch is taken off the users arm it won’t activate the approval system without entering a PIN associated with the watch.
  • Neither the iPhone nor the Apple Watch use the card holders actual account number, nor is that information sent to Apple. 

The bottom line

Apple Pay is the payment system of the future.  A system that has bank and credit union support by hundreds of banks from coast to coast and hundreds of thousands of retail and service providers.  It is easy to use, safe, and convenient.

If you want to find out more about Apple Pay click here: Apple Pay Web Site.  If you want to find out if your bank or credit union supports it click here: Apple Pay Bank List   If you want to find out the current retail and service providers who support it click here:  Apple Pay Retail and Service List

Apple Watch: Real Pirates Ship! 

  

In late 1983 Steve Jobs told his Macintosh team that “Real Pirates Ship,” as the launch date for the new Apple Macintosh got closer and closer.  In fact the pirate flag shown above flew over the Apple “skunk works” building as Steve and his crew worked day and night to introduce the first Mac.  Steve’s point was that it’s great to imagine, design, and produce great computer hardware and software.  But it doesn’t really “count” if you never ship the final product to the end consumer.

I’m sure that Tim Cook and his Apple Watch team basically felt the same way as they pushed development, manufacturing, and testing of the first personal wearable computing device from Apple.

I’ve now had an Apple Watch strapped to my wrist for one month and two days.  What do I think?  Well to be honest (and I always am) it is a “good” device – one that can only get better with software updates and future hardware versions.  Am I glad that I bought a first edition Apple Watch.  You bet I am.  Are there problems with it? Yes.   Do I believe Apple will address those problems and “make it right?”  Absolutely.

I did not own the VERY first Apple iPhone in 2007.  I owned the second generation that was released in 2008 (and pretty much every generation since then.)  Even the second edition was pretty “rough” around the edges.  Apple has a solid record in improving the hardware and software of each of their devices on a once a year (or more often in the case of software) basis.

The current version of the Apple Watch is, IMHO, very usable and will get better over the next few months as Apple and developers release updates to their core software and “App’s.”  Apple WILL get it right.  I’m confident that there WILL be a second, third and other versions/editions in the futue.

It will be faster, thinner, lighter and have additional senors and hardware that we have not even “imagined” yet.  I can see the possibilities that the Apple Watch holds.

As the old sage saying goes… “Every journey begins with the first step…”  My thanks go out to Tim Cook, Jony Ives and all the Apple engineers who brought us the first – of many – Apple Watches to come.

Well done Pirates of Apple!

Is The Apple Watch Really For Seniors?

  
As a “senior” who specifically loves technology I have been struggling with this question for the past few months.  It has come to the forefront this week when I received my new Apple Watch.

My wife (who is ten years younger than I am) likes technology also, but from a practical “need” basis, rather than a more passionate “want” basis like I do.

First of all let’s cut out all the marketing hype and say that for seniors a smartwatch is really a want more than a need. I “need” a smartphone to make and receive phone calls, text messages, email, check my bank account, and more.  If it were not for the phone aspect of a smart phone I could live with a tablet that does all the same things on a larger screen. The tablet also allows me to read books, surf the web, watch videos and read magazines with much more ease because of the additional screen real estate.  If I still need a computer device that is more powerful, has more storage space and can do everything a smartphone, smartwatch or tablet does I could buy a lightweight laptop computer.  There are dozens of really good choices in mobile computing devices.

If I were still working (I’ve been retired for two years) I could understand and appreciate the “need” for a smartwatch.  Imagine sitting in a meeting and getting an important phone call or text message from a client or family member. It might be embarrassing to pick up your cell phone to answer/read/reply to that call or text.  With an Apple Watch (or similiar device) you can unobtrusively glance at your wrist, and touch it to simply, and automatically answer with a stock message (pre-programmed) that might say something simple like “I’m in a meeting and will get back to you in the next few minutes.”  Very cool, and the right way to handle things.

Other things like checking the ball game scores, your stock portfolio, bank balances, current and upcoming weather, your heart rate, and much much more are all just a touch and glance away on the Apple Watch.  Remember that this is a first generation device – and like all Apple devices future versions will be smarter, faster, thinner, lighter and more powerful. Sure, you can wait for the Apple Watch 2 or Apple Watch Air or whatever.  But if people didn’t buy the first generation there probably wouldn’t be a second or later generation (duh!)

Let me wrap this up and say – as a senior – you DON’T have to HAVE one.  If you love technology and gotta have the latest and greatest digital gadget (and I fall into this classification) than by all means goto The Apple Watch web site find out more, and order one.  You may have to wait a few weeks or a month or two to get the one you desire – they are pretty back ordered right now.

In just a few words I’ll say to you that my new “Apple Watch” (that’s one of three different categories) is Stainless Steel, with a black traditional leather band.  The fit and finish are perfect.  It is extremely comfortable to wear, and the software is 95% smooth and bug free.  I can answer and make phone calls from my wrist (it has a speaker and microphone), read notifications from news sources like CNN, USA Today and others on the bright, colorful and easy to read screen, get and reply to text messages, ask Siri just about anything – and she gives me the answer on the screen (she does not, however, speak (audio) to me at least in this version).

Is the Apple Watch a “looker” and conversation starter? Absolutely!  Is it interesting, useful and fun? Yup! Is it a “need” or a “want”? Definitely a “want” at this point.

And the last two things… the Apple Watch is not inexpensive $349.00 to $17,500.  And you MUST own an Apple iPhone 5 or 6 series.  Everything is set up and controlled from the Apple Watch.

If you are a senior or as I am – a senior iTechGeezer, and get an Apple Watch let me know what you think.