Tag Archive for ‘Apple Watch’

Apple Braided Solo Loop ➝

I was a huge fan of the Woven Nylon band and started hoarding them after they were discontinued a couple years ago — I have eight of them now. No other Watch band was nearly as comfortable. Every single one of them sat too tight on my wrist, wore a bit too warm, or had some other characteristic that irritated me.

The Braided Solo Loop is near perfect, though. There are enough sizes available to get just the right fit and the material seems to keep my wrist from feeling too warm and sweaty — either because of the texture or the nature of the material itself.

I wish they were available at a lower price, but at the very least, I’m glad Apple is making a Watch band that I enjoy wearing again. I just hope they continue to make them for longer than they made the Woven Nylon Band.

➝ Source: apple.com

iPhone Home Screen and Watch Faces

With iOS 14 bringing widgets to the home screen, I suspect my iPhone setup will go through a substantial transformation this fall. So this will likely be my last iPhone home screen update under the current iteration of Springboard. Although, to be fair, I thought similarly during the beta period in which iPadOS gained widgets on the home screen and that didn’t turn out as I initially thought.

The difference this time around, though, is that adding widgets to the iPhone home screen doesn’t force you to shrink the size of the rest of your app icons or push all of your app icons to one side for no good reason. Even considering how widgets on the iPad home screen played out, I’m far more hopeful that I’ll actually use widgets on my iPhone home screen.


iPhone Home Screen — August 2020

  • Fantastical: The best calendar app for iOS.
  • Instagram: a little shortcut I put together that launches the Instagram app on iPhone and opens the Instagram website on iPad.
  • Headspace: An excellent meditation app, highly recommended by The Sweet Setup, and something that I can expense at Automattic.
  • Ulysses: My favorite writing app — everything I publish on Initial Charge is written in Ulysses.
  • Define: A simple shortcut that asks for input and then searches for the definition of the given term in Terminology.
  • Simplenote: An application that I occasionally do support for at Automattic and all of my work-related notes and weekly updates I share with my team.
  • Things: The first and only to do list application that ever clicked for me. I’ve stuck with it for years and I have no interest in even attempting an alternative — at least not in their current iteration.
  • Reeder: My Instapaper client of choice. It gives me the ability to sort my saved links by domain and makes it much easier to load the original web page.
  • Day One: This has become more and more important in my life with Josh around. I do my best to journal all the most important moments and it has become my repository for all of the bests photos I take of family and friends.
  • Apollo: I probably spend more time on Reddit than I should, but Apollo makes it so darn enjoyable.
  • Edit: A simple scratchpad/note taking app. I use it for drafting email, composing tweets, and taking notes that I don’t intend to keep long-term.
  • Balance: a shortcut that displays a menu listing all of my finance-related applications and launches the chosen app. It’s a simple way to keep my home screen tidy while still giving me quick and easy access to these types of apps.
  • Bear: For all of my non-ephemeral, non-work-related note taking.
  • Calzy:My favorite calculator app for iOS.
  • Prism: I maintain a music library in Plex and this is my preferred method of playback. It’s more akin to the simple, straightforward Music app for iOS that existed before the introduction of their streaming music service.
  • Unread: A gorgeous RSS reading application with native support for sharing to read later services.
  • Tweetbot: The best Twitter app ever.
  • Overcast: I’ve tried just about every podcast client on the platform, Overcast is the best. It offers all of the most useful features — strip-silence, voice boost, the ability to subscribe to password protected feeds — and can has iPad support.
  • Pandora: With my Plus account, I can pick a station and listen to ad-free music that I’ve curated over the course of nearly fifteen years with their thumbs up/down system.
  • Dark Noise: I just recently switched to Dark Noise from Noisli when I discovered at the app had the ability to create custom mixes. I’ve been enjoying the custom icon options.
  • 1Password: My favorite password manager on any platform.
  • Screens: I use this to manage our home media server and help out when my mother-in-law runs into trouble on her iMac.
  • Wegmans: Given the state of things, we’ve been ordering groceries for delivery more frequently. Wegmans our favorite store in general and by far the best grocery store in our area.
  • last.fm: A shortcut that opens the last.fm website so I can check the services recommendations.
  • WordPress: Another app that I do support for at Automattic, but I also use this to manage a few websites alongside a few family members.
  • Google Photos: My wife and I use the service for backing up our photos to the cloud. We prefer it over iCloud because of its ability to automatically share our photos with one another.
  • Slack: For work-related communication.
  • YouTube: For watching videos on politics, board games, video games, comedy, and more.
  • Blink: The app is no longer available on the App Store, but it’s still the best way to quickly grab links to applications that I can share here on Initial Charge or on Twitter.

Apple Watch

Apple Watch Face — August 2020

Pride Digital


My strategy for watch faces has changed since Josh was born. I use my Watch more as a status and information screen instead of using it to actually perform actions — like marking items off my to do list, logging my weight, or starting meditations. Josh has a tendency to play with the Watch’s screen while I hold him and this altered complication setup mitigates his ability to perform actions that I’d prefer he didn’t.

Introducing Watchsmith ➝

David Smith:

Watchsmith is an application that seeks to give you complete control over the appearance and utility of your Apple Watch.

First, it provides a wide array of complications. Each of these is completely customizable, with controls for things like font, color, hand type and location1. The initial set is just over 50 unique complications, with dozens more planned down the road. My goal is to provide a complication for just about every use and let you make it look just how you want. In the absence of 3rd-party watch faces, this is the closest I can get to making my own watch faces.

This is just a smidge too finicky for my taste and I’d, personally, rather manually switch Watch faces depending on the current context of my day. But I can’t tell you how happy I am to see someone pushing at the boundaries of how we think about Watch apps.

➝ Source: david-smith.org

Base Station Apple Watch Edition Wireless Charger by Nomad ➝

If I was buying a wireless charger for my bedside table, this is the one I would get. I have the standard Base Station, which is essentially this one minus the Apple Watch charging pad, and I absolutely love it.

This new model builds on Nomad’s previous Apple Watch Edition by adding a USB-A and USB-C charging port to the back. For the Apple product enthusiast, this single charger could be used to power an iPhone, AirPods, and Apple Watch wirelessly and still have two ports on the back that could be used to charge an iPad and whatever other random device that needs charging.

➝ Source: nomadgoods.com

Matt Birchler’s watchOS 7 Wishlist ➝

My buddy Matt Birchler doing his best work, sharing his ideas for what watchOS could be. Including some brilliant mockups showing many of his proposed features. It’s an excellent read, but I would add to this wishlist the ability to run shortcuts from the Watch without having to use Siri.

I want to be able to open the Shortcuts app on my Watch to trigger automations right from my wrist. But I’d also like the option to have individual shortcuts added as complications. In each shortcuts’ settings, a “Show as Complication” option could be added alongside the widget and Share Sheet toggles. Then I could display the shortcut’s glyph as a complication on my Watch face and tap on it to initiate the actions.

Shortcuts triggered from the Watch might be a bit limited, but anything that could be run fully from the app’s widget should be doable. And if there is an action that can only be run from within the app, it can be passed off to your iPhone to complete.

➝ Source: birchtree.me

Matt Birchler Reviews watchOS 6 ➝

A great review of watchOS 6 by my buddy Matt Birchler. I would disagree with his thoughts on the Calculator app, though:

Listen, this is a basic calculator and works…fine. It really only does addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, but really how often will you do this on your watch?

I can’t speak for the majority of users and maybe I’m in the minority with this, but I use a calculator app (Calzy) on my Watch every single week when my wife and I grocery shop. I find it much more comfortable to keep our running total on my Watch than to clumsily pull my iPhone out each time we throw something in the cart.

And this has become even more useful to me with Josh in our life. I usually carry him in our Ergobaby 360 carrier and I’m always a little worried he’ll wiggle at the wrong time and I’ll end up dropping my phone on the ground. But there are no worries on that front when using the Apple Watch.

➝ Source: birchtree.me

Matt Birchler’s watchOS 6 Concept ➝

There’s some incredible work in this piece by my buddy Matt Birchler, but I particularly like this idea for the watchOS dock:

My proposal is to convert the dock to a grid system, at least on the Series 4 and newer models. The 44mm model especially has more room than ever, and those pixels could more effectively be used to show full previews of your recently used apps and let you get into them with bigger touch targets.

In my mockups, I was able to get 4 apps on screen at a time and still easily make out the contents of the app and tap into it with ease. The list should still scroll, of course, and your last 8-12 apps should show here.

This sounds like a fantastic idea and I hope the folks at Apple have come up with something similar for the next iteration of watchOS.

Things Is the Best to Do List App for Apple Watch ➝

A great review of the best task management apps for the Apple Watch by my buddy Matt Birchler. And I couldn’t agree more with his pick. But I would add that, not only is Things the best task management app for Apple Watch, I believe it to be the best Apple Watch app, period.