Tag Archive for ‘watchOS 5’

August Home Screens Update

iPad Home Screen

Notable Changes:

The primary focus for my home screen changes over the past month has been subtle refinements of my existing setup — small optimizations to app placement to give me easy access to the apps I use most. I actually referenced iOS 12’s Screen Time feature in the Settings app to help me determine what my most frequently used apps were and then made adjustments to my existing layout based on that information.

The results weren’t too drastic, it turns out I already had a pretty good handle on what I use my iPad for. But I demoted Terminology, 1Password, and Blink into my ⌥ folder. Those are three apps that I’m incredibly passionate about, but it turns out I don’t launch them very often. In the case of 1Password, I use it everyday, but almost exclusively through the app’s action extension.

The demotion of those three apps gave me the opportunity to surface Instagram, Screens, and Pages to the top level of my home screen. Instagram was an app that I was trying to hide from my home screen to limit my usage. But over the summer, everyone’s posting beautiful vacation photos and I’m finding myself launching the app more frequently. And I’m not sure if my time away from the app or the increased number of photos in my timeline had any influence on the service’s advertising algorithm, but I haven’t seen nearly as many annoying ads in my feed.

I also swapped the locations of Edit and Bear. I rarely make changes to my device’s dock, but I find myself tapping on Edit’s icon at times when I previously would have launched Bear. And my Screen Time statistics back that up. I’ve spent about an hour-and-a-half in Edit over the past week and less than half-an-hour in Bear. That’s a testament to Edit’s utility — despite its relatively small feature set, I still spend more time using it than the vast majority of the apps on my iPad.

iPhone Home Screen

Notable Changes:

The only adjustment I’ve made to my iPhone home screen is the addition of Vekt and Happy Scale on my second screen. I should be working on a piece relating to weight tracking apps soon and these two are on my short list of apps to consider.

Apple TV Home Screen

Notable Changes:

I moved some apps around based on usage, but the biggest change was deleting Infuse from our Apple TV. It’s a beautiful app with a lot of nice features, but the app didn’t do a great job of tracking our playback between devices. We’d frequently have to manually select the next episode because the app didn’t offer it to us. I also wasn’t happy with its Top Shelf extension, which put too much of a focus on recently added items instead of on shows we’ve been watching lately.

I’m not thrilled about going back to the Plex app — it’s still a bit clunky. But it’s much more reliable than the alternatives and that’s more important than aesthetics.

Apple Watch Faces

Notable Changes:

I installed the watchOS 5 beta late in the month and haven’t made any changes aside from adding the Siri watch face to test out all of its new capabilities. My initial impressions aren’t great, though. Maybe this will change when iOS 12 launches and more apps are built with the Siri face in mind, but in its current state, I haven’t found the Siri face to surface enough relevant information to supplant my other watch faces.

Browse the Home Screens Series.

watchOS 5

I watched this year’s WWDC keynote live from the comfort of my living room. My plan was to take notes during the event and share my thoughts on the various announcements throughout the week. I didn’t expect to be completely blown away by the iOS 12 segment, which I shared my thoughts on yesterday. From that point forward, my plan to take notes went out the window. I just sat back and enjoyed the show.

As a result of that, I’ve decided to rewatch the entire keynote and actually take notes this time around. The following is my miscellaneous thoughts and commentary on watchOS 5 — the second most important Apple platform in my life:

  • Competitions seems like a great new feature. I can see my wife and I using these to keep ourselves motivated to stay in shape. And I really like how the progress updates are displayed, with points based on your move ring progress and small charts comparing each person by day.
  • I’m glad they’re finally adding proper support for Yoga workouts. I don’t do yoga as much as I used to, but this might be the motivation I needed to get back into it.
  • The Hiking workout will be a welcomed addition to the workouts app, too. I’m not much of a hiker, but I could see myself using this if my wife and I went on vacation to a mountainous area.
  • My wife loves running, but due to some health concerns, she had to take a break from it over the past year. But now that her heart is functioning properly again, she’s slowly started reintroducing running into her life. And I expect she’ll appreciate the new Outdoor Run features coming in watchOS 5.
  • Automatic Workout Detection is going to be an incredible feature. After owning an Apple Watch for nearly three years, I usually make sure to start a workout on my watch. But about 10% of the time, I completely forget. This solves that problem entirely.
  • Walkie-Talkie demos well, but I don’t expect I’ll ever use it. How is this better than just sending an iMessage?
  • Great additions to the Siri Watch Face including Siri Shortcuts and third-party apps. I haven’t used the Siri Watch Face during my day-to-day use because all of my most important information is kept in third-party apps. But now that third-party apps can populate the Siri face, I think I’ll give it another try.
  • Dropping the need to say “Hey Siri” sounds like a neat idea, but I’m worried that there will be too many false positives. What if I’m just checking the time or glancing at a notification during a conversation and it picks up on something I say?
  • More interactive notifications looks like a great improvement to the watch experience. Especially considering that notifications is one of the killer apps for the device. Giving developers more control over what notifications look like and what users can do with those notifications is going to be great.
  • WebKit on Apple Watch. This is kind of insane and I never thought Apple would ever do this. But I have to say, it’s really lame when someone sends you a link in Messages and you have to pull out your phone to read it. Being able to do that on your Watch is going to be pretty neat.
  • I think Podcasts on Apple Watch is going to be the next killer feature. It’s something that users have been clamoring for since day one and I expect it’s going to sell a lot of watches.
  • Background audio for third-party apps is a huge deal and will give developers of podcast apps the ability to compete with Apple’s offering. I just hope Marco Arment has it ready in Overcast on watchOS 5 launch day.

The enhancements in watchOS 5 weren’t as impressive as iOS 12, but the update is filled with solid improvements that will go a long way toward improving the experience.