An Apple a Day

ECG app and irregular heart rhythm notification available today on Apple Watch –

ECG app and irregular heart rhythm notification available today on Apple Watch – Apple (UK):

Starting today, the ECG app on Apple Watch Series 4 marks a direct-to-consumer product that enables customers to take an electrocardiogram right from their wrist, capturing heart rhythm in a moment when they experience symptoms like a rapid or skipped heart beat and helping to provide critical data to physicians.

Am off to do me some OS updates, if I’m not back soon then I’ve gone to the doctors 😬

Apple Card – Apple

Apple Card – Apple:

If you find a place that doesn’t take Apple Pay yet there’s this.

So the physical card is for when you find somewhere that doesn’t take Apple Pay, sorry, but if I have a card that looks this good I’m using it all the time, don’t care if I earn less cash back.

Luckily, unlikely to hit the UK any time soon that I can see, so I don’t need to make silly financial decisions!

Going Back to Evernote

Much like the quest for the holy grail (my hunt for the perfect Todo list app (OmniFocus winning out currently)) I’ve never found the perfect note taking app, but I’m back with Evernote (Premium, and getting a better feeling of value from it than I did before), and in fact am typing this up as a draft in Evernote, so thought I’d outline where I’ve been, and why.

Right now I’m all in on Mac and iOS and have been for the last 2 years, before that I preferred Mac but had a need for Windows on the day job and inter operated with more of a Windows shop, back before that I was all Mac – so times change, needs change, the people you need to work with change so that dictates my requirements.

Evernote – Round #1

Back when this reminisce started (Let’s call it 2010 and be wildly out, but close enough), certainly when Evernote was new, I was working off a Mac, Windows PC (pesky Visual Studio) and an iPhone, I was self employed in a team of 1. Evernote did a job that nothing else did at the time, cross platform, synchronised notes, it kept all my crap together. It was a long way from perfect, I could easily break the sync if I stored anything more than words and pics, but it was free for my needs and in a league of it’s own. I vaguely remember One Note coming out but not giving it much attention, as is often the way with the big boys offerings it had less features for a V1 and the updates were too slow and infrequent, and I was happy so want look away.

Enter One Note

Time moved on, tablets arrived, my career changed (more Windows, more team working) and I drifted over to One Note. From memory the drivers where that the Windows version of Evernote that I needed day to day now was pretty unstable, I was on the paid for service, and I was the only one of the team using it, so One Note won (even though there were two versions in parallel depending on whether your were using the Metro UI (tablet mode) or The Desktop app – v confusing.

Give Apple a go ….

That all worked, we put up with the weird One Drive / Sharepoint Storage requirements to share and collaborate and made the most. Then I left, and was back on my own again, and blessedly in a Mac / iOS only world. Apple Notes was getting better, so I spat everything out as PDF (only format that maintained pictures, highlighting and was searchable) and gave that ago. It was basic, frustrating, but basic – up until the big revamp, when iPad Pro’s came along, pencils, annotation all that Jazz, I was sold – I thought.

… then Bear ….

Except I’m a developer, I have code snippets, sql queries, scratchpads of stuff I’m debugging and it piles up, quickly. The Apple Notes search and organisation wasn’t great, and the presentation was poor, not enough fonts, syntax highlighting, it really was a digital scrapbook (credit where it’s due the pen support and the iOS / Mac share sheet support was great). So about 6 months ago I jumped in with Bear, heard lots of good things, markdown support seemed like something I should need (I didn’t) and the tag based filing system seemed massively flexible (it was, but still not for me).

I never really committed 100% to Bear, I was migrating from Apple Notes by hand (easier to do on iOS than Mac bizarrely, mostly down to the lack of export support – shame on you Apple, bad lock in ☹️), and still had a lot left behind. I think my biggest bugbear (no pun intended) was the copy and paste support, by default it was Markdown, which broke near everything I wanted to store (sql queries, code snippets, json etc) so I had to remember to right click and paste as code – just wish it could work that bit out for me! Lack of tables was also annoying, and no real Apple Pencil support on the iPad – but I can see for many how it would be perfect.

Evernote round #2

And then I remembered Evernote, and thought I’d give it a try again. I caught up with what had changed, the pricing model for one, seems expensive compared to Bear, but then I wasn’t fairly comparing like with like. Using a variety of Applescripts and a few other tools I got pretty much everything out of Bear (Saved all as RTF and manually dragged back any non image attachments) and Apple Notes (AppleScript to recreate all the text notes), not perfect but good enough – most of it is stuff I’ll never refer to again anyway. If it’s of use my Apple Notes to Evernote script is below (source credit within the links section at the end);

tell application "Notes"
set theMessages to every note
repeat with thisMessage in theMessages
set myTitle to the name of thisMessage
set myText to the body of thisMessage
set myCreateDate to the creation date of thisMessage
set myModDate to the modification date of thisMessage
tell application “Evernote”
set myNote to create note with text myTitle title myTitle notebook "Apple Notes" tags ["Apple Notes"]
set the HTML content of myNote to myText
set the creation date of myNote to myCreateDate
set the modification date of myNote to myModDate
end tell
end repeat
end tell

On the iPad the native pencil / scribbling support is mediocre, but through Notability or Penultimate I can get a better experience and the PDF / OCR / text searching makes up for a lot. Which leads me to the big win, I have a paperless home / office setup where all the paperwork, bills, statements etc get scanned, OCR’d, tagged and filed into Dropbox (Hazel and PDFPenPro if you were wondering), but I never had the perfect means to search and find whilst on the move (Spotlight search once OCR’d is perfect on the Mac), but with a little more AppleScript I’ve extended that process so a copy ends up in Evernote too (backups are always nice) so available and searchable on the iPad, Phone and Web, and imported the old archive. Suddenly here I saw the value in Evernote’s pricing, it gives me much more than just Notes.

Where Next?

So that’s where I am for cross platform Notes, and more, my only concern right now is whether Evernote’s business model is sustainable as there seem to be questions around their future, and there have been layoffs, fingers crossed as they’ve been innovators in this space and competition is good.

Come back in 6 months and ask me where I am then 🤔😋

Links:

Netflix Confirms That It Won’t Be Part of Apple’s New Service

Netflix Confirms That It Won’t Be Part of Apple’s New Service – Bloomberg:

Netflix Inc. Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings confirmed that his company won’t be participating in Apple Inc.’s new streaming platform, reflecting new competition between the Silicon Valley giants.

This doesn’t surprise me, Netflix is the one the other content providers are aspiring to be right now, but I hope this isn’t the norm as I really like the idea of Apple aggregating other content providers into one place (especially as the Apple TV is now pretty much the primary input at home), even if I’m not too fussed about any original content from them.

What does worry me is the seemingly impending fractured online content market, I’ve ditched Sky here in the UK as it has no value with so much content elsewhere, but with Disney’s plans, Netflix losing the Marvel content and other providers thinking they can win out on their own I feat the future will be a mess before it thins out again 😕

Apple highlights best photos shot on iPhone around the world – Apple

Apple highlights best photos shot on iPhone around the world – Apple:

I’ve had some amazing results taking photos on an iPhone, or at least I thought I did, they look pretty inadequate compared to these. My efforts at iPhone Photography are over here

Merkins will sue for anything – Apple store at Florida Mall faces lawsuit over 2016 evacuation

Apple store at Florida Mall faces lawsuit over 2016 evacuation – Orlando Sentinel:

… the realistic drill was held as part of the inspection of a new restaurant opening that day. It included officials popping six balloons to mimic the sound of gunfire

I’m laughing at popping of balloons, but it was a ‘realistic drill’ who can they give them a warning !?!

Apple Plans to Use Its Own Chips in Macs

From: Apple Plans to Use Its Own Chips in Macs From 2020, Replacing Intel

Apple Inc. is planning to use its own chips in Mac computers beginning as early as 2020, replacing processors from Intel Corp., according to people familiar with the plans.

This doesn’t surprise me, and could work out well (hell Apple have done this before coming from PowerPC), I would expect the first models to be a low end / thin MacBook, mayhap the replacement for the MacBook Air which seems to be being strung out forever!

Wirelessly deploying to an iOS to tvOS device

Feel my pain, we have an Apple TV in the office which runs a dashboard app that we knocked up, however the physical device is in the roof space, behind the TV, and about 10m of cable run from my Mac, the motivators to ‘do a quick update’ are low.

One thing most developers consistently do during app development is deploy to a testing device. One main drawback during this process is the struggle to find a cable, connect it to a computer, plug it into a device, and then finally deploy the app.

Looking forward to trying this, see how it works in reality, ask again later!

Full Article At: Lose the Cables: Make Deploying to an iOS or tvOS Device Easier | Xamarin Blog

Apple to ban Xamarin and Phone Gap Apps? (Updated)

We knew that Apple was looking to improve the quality of the app store by rejecting templated apps (auto generated, change name, colour, logo – here’s your app type stuff) but this tweet (screen shotted below) seems to suggest that Apple are also going after the cross platform / alternative language app frameworks such as Xamarin (now a Microsoft company) and Phonegap

itunes connect screenshot

 

For those that don’t know or understand this sort of thing, iOS apps are written in Objective C or Swift, Phonegap allows you to use Javascript and Xamarin allows you to use C# (or F#) which basically means a whole load more developers can jump into mobile app development with a familiar language.  These frameworks also allow you to create Android and Windows Phone app versions from the same set of code (or near enough), so for a developer you get double the output – a good thing for productivity!  There is an argument that this reduces the quality of the app (which Apple don’t want), and certainly with Phonegap (not my thing) you lose out on Native user interface elements which is a problem for the user experience, but with Xamarin you get native look, feel, and API calls so a very high quality product is achievable – certainly not an easy win.

Do I think this will happen?  No, at time of posting this has come from one source only, and it seems very un-apple like to name names in an email without backing it up within their published guidelines and the developer community, and from memory the app factory clamp down was mentioned at WWDC last year.  Not sure why someone would want to fabricate this (are twitter retweets that valuable?), but watch this space, it’s creating some interesting conversation if nothing else.  Beyond all else, Unity uses mono (the engine beneath Xamarin), so Apple want to kick money making Unity games out?

Personally, making it easier to creative native feeling and native operating apps in an environment and with tooling I’m used to is a good thing, I don’t think Apple are that hard up that they need all iOS devs to be buying iMac Pros and living in Xcode – however if anyone wants to buy me one? 🙂 ……

 

Updated:

Being claimed as fake over at  9to5mac

A screenshot of an email being circulated around the internet in the last day supposedly revealed new strict app review policies. We have confirmed with sources that this email is not legitimate communication and does not reflect a real Apple policy decision.

You can read their diagnosis over at https://9to5mac.com/2017/…