Possible Future of the Connected Watch

On Tuesday of this week, Apple announced the Apple Watch Series 3 with the ability to connect to the LTE data network, allowing the watch to stay connected to the Internet without an accompanying iPhone. This greatly enhances its functionality and removes its original handicap and its requirement to always be tethered to the phone. You can now get notifications and listen to the plethora of songs on Apple Music while on the go without your phone. The future is here.

Ever since the Apple Watch was released in the spring of 2015, it has been thought of as a companion device to the phone. However, I always thought it should be the other way around. The phone and tablet should be the companion devices to the watch!

The watch should be the only device that has the mobile networking radios and should operate in an always on manner, while sharing a personal hotspot via its WiFi radios. The phone and tablets can then function as displays with WiFi connectivity to your watch. This will also simplify your cellular data plans. I just see this as a more convenient setup, and hopefully a cheaper way to go with your mobile carrier.

As memory capacity increases with the watch, personal identity, application data, and other confidential information can be stored on the watch akin to the secure enclave on the iPhone today. This way display centric devices slaved to the watch can restore your last working state from the watch. Imagine a world where display slates are near commodity devices sans your personal information. You can be working with a shared slate in the office. All the while, your data is being centralized and stored securely on the watch. When you travel offsite at the airport or in the hotel, you pickup another shared slate, and you continue to work where you left off.

It is also more difficult to lose your watch than your phone. When you do misplace your phone and cannot find it, then just pickup another, because your personal data is stored on your watch.

Power consumption is probably going to be a major challenge for the watch in this scenario. But if the power challenge can be solved, then imagine having only WiFi display slates of any size of your choosing, and your watch has the only mobile data radio you will need. Instead of the phone being your most personalized information device, it will be your watch. I hope Apple has this vision in mind. Do you believe this to be a better future?

iPhone 7 Manual Camera

Good morning! I woke up before the sun rise and was staring at my bedroom window when I suddenly became curious to how my phone’s camera will perform under these super low light condition.

I downloaded the Manual Camera app from the App Store, and adjusted the ISO, focus, white balance, and shutter speed, took the shot of my bedroom window. I wanted a balance of properly exposed picture but not too grainy. I then shot a picture with the standard camera app which is in full auto. 

Top is full auto and the bottom is with the Manual app

The auto version seemed over processed while the manual version looked more realistic in comparison to the real lighting condition at the time (prior to sunrise). The color of the sky in the manual version is also more true to reality. If you have a chance, play with the Manual app.

This is also the first post that I produced entirely on my iPhone while still in bed. Amazing what you can do with your smartphone these days!

New iPhone 7 with A Big Scare

I just received my new Black iPhone 7 today from the office. My first impression was that The Black (not Jet Black) is very nice. The black colour melds nicely with the antenna bands rendering them invisible. If the previous iPhone 6s had this colour scheme, I would have chosen it as well.

With every new iPhone, I do the ritual of backing up my old iPhone and restoring the backup on the new one. This time however, I ran into a glitch and nearly gave me a heart attack!

Right after choosing “Restore from iCloud”, the new iPhone 7 informed me that I should update to 10.0.1. I guessed it was shipped with 10.0.0. I did not think much of it, and of course proceed with the upgrade. The upgrade completed without any incidents. What really gave me a real unpleasant surprise, was that it did not perform the restore! Arghh!!!

I kept calmed and went to the iCloud settings and to my surprise I found that iCloud Backup was turned off. I said to myself, “No Big Deal”. I went ahead and turned on iCloud Backup. And then the dreaded words of “Last Backup: Never” came up. WHAT?!

These are the times when having more than one Apple devices really help. I went to my iMac through System Preferences I made sure that the backup that I just performed on my iPhone 6s was intact. Sure enough, it was there. Whew! I decided to erase the new iPhone 7 again, and restart from scratch. The second time around, it found the backup and is now restoring. Fingers crossed, let’s hope the restore goes well!

Another interesting thing is that I had two factor authentication turned on and my old iPhone 6s is the default secure device. While setting up the new iPhone 7, I had to use my iPad Air to authenticate. Yet another case for having multiple iDevices handy.

Okay, I am exaggerating the perils of the above situation. In the worst case, I still have my old iPhone 6s and I can plug it into iTunes and have it perform a backup. Any how, everything is restoring now. Awaiting my iPhone 7 to restore and start playing with my new toy!