Collecting from Barcelona
I thought I’d have a trip to Barcelona to collect the iPhone 7 although I normally have the new things from Apple sent to my house. The reason I did it this way is because it’s likely the couriers would not get the iPhone to me on the proper day. They always seem to have trouble finding our house. Also with me being at work there was going to be the chance that they might not arrive the next day or even until after the weekend. I just didn’t want to wait that long! Another reason for going to the Apple Store is because I thought it would be a trip out. I don’t get out very often and I thought the experience of collecting from the store on day one would be interesting.
I elected to collect my iPhone at the appointed time of between 9 o’clock and a quarter past nine. All I had to do was to brave the driving on the motorway from my house to Barcelona. As soon I got onto the main road I saw there was a guy not paying attention to his driving. He drove the least two or three km looking at his phone rather than looking at where he was going. Where the road branches to the left to go to Barcelona this same driver decided to overtake myself and the car in front and had to cut in front of us so he could continue on the road to Gerona. That was just the first possible accident due to bad driving I saw on the trip. Later a car decided to undertake rather than overtake. This was as I was about to overtake a lorry and the car just managed to squeeze in the closing gap. This same manoeuvre happened again later and at the same time there was a car overtaking me on the outside going to pull back into the middle lane. It’s a wonder these two cars didn’t bounce off each other in front of me. Just another example of crazy driving. I was glad to get to my destination, the Barcelona Apple Store at La Maquinista. At least this location was on my side of Barcelona and they didn’t have to drive through to get to the other side or to the centre. I was lucky to get there in one piece.
I arrived at the La Maquinista shopping centre right on time and most of the shops were still closed. Walked to the Apple Store and I saw there was a queue Of about 100 to 150 people waiting in a fairly long looking queue. On account of having pre-ordered the phone I went to the front of the queue and found one of the Apple store staff. He directed me to another much shorter queue right by the front door of the store. She asked me the time of my appointment and pointed me to a queue of five people.I was waiting for around about 15 minutes before it was my turn to have the barcode scanned and be assigned to a personal shopper assistant. It was all very friendly and chatty with all of the Apple store staff I’d connected with so far. I was escorted to the back of the store where there was a pile of iPhones of various types stacked upon the counter. My order barcode was scanned again, maybe twice. The whole process wasn’t terribly smooth but it was friendly and it didn’t take long before I had my iPhone in my sticky little paws. I got the impression my personal shopping helping assistant was new and the job because he was struggling with the scanning of the barcodes. I had been instructed I should take my passport with me or other identification so I could prove who I was to collect the phone. It was checked. It wasn’t sufficient to be able to show my iPhone and open it up with my own fingerprint to access my order and collect the iPhone. I’m grateful that there was security in place to make sure that there weren’t any mishaps. I wouldn’t like it if I gave my phone to somebody else.
Resisted the temptation to open the box
Before I left the Barcelona shopping centre I needed to have some refreshments to set me up for the journey back home again on the motorway. I didn’t even get the phone out of the box to have a look at it while having my cup of tea. I was more interested in polishing off a nice chunk of carrot cake. I could have swapped the Sim from the old phone to the new one. Trouble is, I would then have had to connect it up to the Apple Store Internet to download iCloud information and applications. I still needed to use the maps application to give me directions to get back home again. It was prudent to use the iPhone 6 that was already set up and raring to go rather than messing around with a new one. The momentous occasion of the unboxing of the iPhone 7 will have to wait until I got back home again.
The queue of people waiting for an iPhone
Setting up with iMazing
Using iTunes is one way of transferring everything from one phone to another. I’d heard good things about the application called iMazing. This would be a good opportunity to give it a proper try and see how it worked.
I was disappointed with the process. There has been an upgrade since using it to move stuff from the old iPhone to the new one and maybe I should have waited for that. Or maybe it should have been available soon as the iPhone 7 was out on the streets. I was expecting iMazing to bring in everything from the old iPhone and it only brought in some of the applications. I’ve had to spend time re-downloading many of the applications that were just sitting there with a note under the icon to say that they were waiting. They were like this for quite some time after the transfer from iPhone 6 to iPhone 7. I thought at some point in time they would just connect up to the Internet and download. I tried to reconnecting to the iMazing application to see if it was waiting for permission from the application to finish the job. I also connected to iTunes to see if I can bring the applications onto the device that way. It’s worked out best for me to bring them in using my mobile data which is much faster than my home Internet.
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A bit of a mess.
The other thing that iMazing managed to mess up was the arrangement of the applications on the screens. I had many of the applications into various folders to organise them. And while some of the apps were put in the proper places, some were not. I’ll continue using this iMazing application to do the backups although I’m not going to know how well it’s going to work unless I do a restore from backup at some point in time.
So who’s fault was it?
Since writing the first two paragraphs of this section I listened to a podcast where the people had a similar problem not using the application iMazing. The problem has come about due to something called “app thinning”. With this app thinning thing the downloads of the application within iTunes are not exactly the same as the ones downloaded being used on your device. This somehow saves megabytes in terms of downloads per app. I’m not sure exactly how it works, but it was this that caused the problem. Maybe I’ll give iMazing a pass on this one. These people reported the same problems of applications not being in the organised folders as previously set up by the user. Also many of the applications were showing as “waiting” when you would have expected these just to have been moved directly onto the new device.
What I was expecting was to have the software do a complete clone of what was on one phone and put it onto the new phone. This didn’t happen but I got past the problem eventually. I think Apple are going to have to do some sorting out of this little difficulty so that we don’t have this problem every time we upgrade our phones.
iPhone 7 Plus first impressions
It’s big, it’s bold and it’s beautiful! I went for the gold version with 128 GB. It was the sensible choice considering the 64 GB is not available with this model. 32 GB would have been too few and the 256 GB would have been nice but too expensive. With the size I’ve gone for, it will be okay for the space. More storage is needed due to having the ability to take live photos. A whole day went by before I was able to do much with the iPhone. This was partly due to the debacle using the iMazing software and partly because I had to go to work. When I did find the time I was impressed with the Live Photos and I’m looking forward to taking more of these and sharing them. It’ll be interesting to see how easy it is going to be to share them with other people who don’t have devices that support the live photos natively. I think it’s possible for me to send a live photo in a message and the person at the other end will be able to tap on it within their messaging app to see the movement.
Pretend home button
It’s going to take some time to get used to the pretend home button. Rather than feeling a click from movement within the press of the button, the thing that comes from the tactic engine. It manifests itself across the whole of the device it seems. The feedback doesn’t have the pinpoint accuracy directly into the thumb from the button. It’s really did seem weird at first but I am getting used to it. I don’t think it’s going to take too long before it seems absolutely normal. TheyTaptic engine gets used for other things such as in Messages when you have fancy effects such as the laser or the fireworks.
The look and the feel
I’m having to use this phone without a case for the moment. I’m being extra careful with it due to its smooth edges and it’s filling a little bit like a slippery bar of soap in my hand. I’m scared to death of dropping it and breaking it in this first week of using it. It’ll be another few days before I get the cases ordered via Amazon. I was shocked, amazed and a little bit disgusted at the price of the bumper cases in the Apple Store. €45 is an horrendous price for a tiny bit of silicon. There are times when I think Apple are completely greedy even though I’m quite happy to pay the price for the iPhone. It may well be that you could buy an Android phone for a quarter of the price, but you wouldn’t have the quality, either in the device or with the applications to use. I know what I’m talking about after spending 18 months using a Samsung Galaxy 3. It’s a good job we don’t have to wait too long before the third party vendor’s come up with iPhone 7 cases at reasonable prices.
I went for the gold coloured iPhone and at first I wasn’t quite sure if I liked it or not. At least it’s not the horrible pink rose gold! Now I’ve got used to the gold colour I have to say I’m in love with the device and how it looks. It’s a gorgeous and I’m quite protective over my iPhone 7.
Picking it up and the lock screen appears
This is a feature which comes in conjunction with iOS 10. When you pick the device up off the table the screen comes alive straightaway showing the lock screen. You can then swipe across to the right to get to the Today Screen or you can swipe across to the left and get to the camera. When you get to the camera you can’t swipe back again, you need to touch the home button. There is a little message at the bottom of the screen which tells you to press the home button to unlock the device. Considering the useful things you can now do with the lock screen today widgets this is quite a good way of going about using the device.
An example of Lock Screen usage
The good example of this is the Drafts application which has four icons. There is a + symbol, a new note icon, a microphone icon and icon that looks like a chopping block. Press any of these icons and you can use the touch ID, enter your pass code to start using whichever function you decided on. I do like to use dictation for creating text on whatever device. And I’m very pleased to see this microphone icon giving access to note creation by dictation. Drafts is an excellent application for throwing in whatever piece of text onto the device and deciding afterwards whatever it is you want to do with it. The dictation works very well in a dedicated dictation window. It is continually listening to you and there’s no time limit on how long you can speak for. When you’ve got enough text within your note you can click on the button create and hey presto.
In the lock screen today view you can edit your list of widgets. I have mine set up with Launch Centre Pro, Fantastical, Weather, Maps destinations, Reminders, Drafts, OmniFocus and Authy.
How I like my front page of apps
So I had a problem where all of my applications were scattered across the various screens of the device. The way I resolve this problem was to manually do the organising to get it back somewhere near right again. On the Maccast Adam Christianson had the same problem, but what he did was to run a restore from backup again. By doing that he was able to save himself a lot of time putting applications back in the places where there was supposed to be. It’s definitely worth while listening to some of the Mac podcasts and in particular I always recommend the Maccast. I first started listening to this podcast before I was even a Mac user. Then I bought my Mac Mini and I learned a lot from Adam while being a new user. I continue to keep on learning new stuff because he doesn’t concentrate on the spreading of the daft rumours about Apple. He also has a section where he will give hints and tips on how to do things with your Apple devices.
All sorted out
After spending time moving things around from place to place everything is where it should be. More or less! I made sure I had the most important, most used and most useful habitations ready to go first. It would have been better if the transfer of the old phone to the new phone had gone smoother. Having to fiddle about with stuff takes some of the shine of the getting a new iPhone 7.
Getting on with a new operating system
I put iOS 10 onto my iPhone 6 and so I had a couple of days of experiencing the new operating system. The first thing you notice is the new way of logging in to your device. Apple brought this new way of logging in so that you could start making better use of the today widgets on the lock screen. A good many applications have created widgets giving you extra functionality as soon as you pick up your iPhone. You get to these widgets by sliding your finger from the left to the right which is available as soon as you pick the phone up. You don’t have to press any buttons to see the screen it becomes enabled by the motion sensors within the phone. If you swipe from the right to the left takes you directly into the camera which is pretty useful. You can still get to the camera by sliding up from the bottom of the screen to get panel to toggle things like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, do not disturb, aeroplane mode and portrait orientation.
iOS 10 Weirdness
From the same panel you get the flashlight switch, timers, calculator and a couple of other controls. If you slide from the right to left to get to the second panel you’ll see the now playing panel. This isn’t what I tend to make use of as I prefer to control the sound Now Playing from my iPhone using the Apple Watch. The controls in these two panels have been rearranged and better spaced out in iOS 10.
The look of the notifications
It’s possible to see the notifications on your phone from the lock screen. You just have to slide your finger down from the top of the screen. Those notifications will cover over the Today Widgets or the camera. You can’t slide back from the camera to the opening lock screen. You have to press the home button if you want to go back. The notifications are now as rounded rectangles and you can use 3D touch on them. For example, with an Instagram notification and 3D touch you can Like, Quick Reply Or View Post. Sometimes when you do the 3D touch what you get is the option to view post and nothing else. Maybe it depends upon what sort of notification is as to what options you get. From the notification screen you can also slide from the left to the right to see the Today Widgets.
The Today Widgets
This area is a highly configurable view of your favourite applications almost useful applications. I have set mine up with Launch Centre at the top followed by Fantastical, Weather, Batteries, Workflow, Reminders, Drafts, OmniFocus, Copied, Authy and there’s an option to edit. There’s a huge number of applications with these widgets available giving you quick access to doing specific favourite actions with your iOS applications.
I do like that Drafts App
I particularly like the recent update to the Drafts application. The initial view gives you four icons. The + to start a new draft, the clipboard symbol which opens up drafts for you ready to type, a microphone symbol which opens up a view into the application where you can dictate your new note. Then there is the icon which looks like a chopping block with an arrow pointing into the cut. This icon will take you to the list of notes you already have in the application. My favourite of these icons is the dictation and it’s a fantastic way to get text into your device. It’s a much better way of using Siri to take notes and it just keeps on listening. None of this stopping and starting that you get when using the Siri from the keyboard. There is a pause button and then when you finished creating your notes you just tap on the word create. Every now and then it puts in three equal signs and in markdown this gives you a horizontal line. So maybe there is a limit to how much you can dictate into this dictation window in Drafts. What makes Drafts so amazing is the huge number of actions. You can take the text and post into social networks such as Google+, Facebook and Twitter. You could send it off to a reminder or to your Day One journalling application. Use text to create a new to-do in OmniFocus. It’s also possible to save it off to other notetaking applications such as to Evernote. Send it off to Dropbox or append to a text file in iCloud Drive. You can make your own actions or you can visit the action directory to download actions created by other Drafts users. That’s talking about just one of the today widgets and there’s lots more you can do.
Getting your stuff done
The today widgets area is all about getting quick access to your most used and most useful applications. Some of these you don’t even have to open the application from the widget to get the information you need. IOS 10 has made changes in the basic operation of how these widgets are shown on the lock screen making it more likely that you’ll use the functionality offered.
My most personal computer
I can tell you for sure that with the combination of the iPhone 7 and iOS 10, the way I use use my most personal computer has changed. Drafts is getting a lot of use and I’m making use of 3D Touch to quickly get into the most useful aspects of a number of applications. It’s becoming more about actions and getting things done with my iOS device than it has been about what applications are able to offer. Love it when I use the Swype keyboard in Drafts for quick text entry and still I have fast access to dictation from a keyboard action. Got that from the Action Directory.
Setting up the Apple Watch with the iPhone
As part of the setup process for the new phone I had to pair the watch from the old phone. It was kind of like having to set up the Apple Watch from new. When I paired it with the new iPhone all of the health data was still there. So all of the data I’d been collecting all the time I’ve been using the watch wasn’t lost. There was a sigh of relief considering some of the other movement of data from the old phone to the new phone hasn’t gone quite as well as I thought.
Apple Watch OS 3
This upgrade I did before I got the new iPhone 7. I didn’t really have a lot of time to get into it, but it is a huge change. One of the things I do an awful lot with the Apple Watch is to control what I’m listening to in my podcast listening app of choice. I was previously using Overcast and I recently changed to Pocket Casts. It doesn’t really matter which podcast app I’m using but with Apple Watch the now playing control has moved into the Apple Watch Dock. Because of this change I now have one extra tap to do to set pause or play on the now playing setting. I had the muscle memory of swapping from the bottom of the Apple Watch screen to get to the glances. This got me straight into the Now Playing control. Now I have to press the button on the side of the watch, and then have to tap on whichever application I want to use. The one I want is usually at the front but I still have to do one extra tap in order to do what I want to do. In practice it doesn’t really take much extra time, but it has taken some getting used to. Still loving my Apple Watch.
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Getting the old iPhone ready to sell
When you’re getting an old iPhone ready to sell you have to do the job properly. Half of the job is partly done already with having to unpair the watch from the phone. You also have to turn off the find my friends or find my phone – One of the two things. All that is left to do to finish the process is to go into General in the iPhone preferences and tell it to do a full reset. This makes the phone completely free to use by some other person.
It only took me a couple of days to have the old phone sold to a work colleague. The had taken about a week to decide whether it was going to buy it or not and there was much haggling over the price. I chose a price which was reasonable as in it was cheaper than you would find on a site like eBay. The advantage for me was that I wasn’t going to have the hassle of having to deal with somebody I didn’t know. I didn’t have the hassle of having to spend the time setting up the eBay sales process. There was none of the bother to package the old phone into a box and take it to the post office and send it to someplace. I also didn’t have to pay the fees for the sale of the device on eBay or whatever other online store. It worked out that I was able to sell it for an amount which covered 1/3 of the price of my new device. I still had the box the iPhone 6 came in and I put in the charger which came from the new iPhone 7. I couldn’t find the original which was of the same type. It’s the small one which has the advantage of being easy to carry around but is not one that I tended to use anyway, so no worries!