Embed code not available

While I am not the biggest fan of iOS 10, WatchOS 3, along with improvements to the Watch itself, motivated me to pick up a Series 2 version last week. Watch Faces are actually fun to switch around throughout the week since they only require a swipe. I use Simple most of the time, but I like to use Activity Analog while doing a workout; Modular while working throughout the day; and various photos while out and about. Along with the watch face, it is nice to see that third-party developers will have access to custom complications, which are yet another element that takes advantage of the UX of the product. The stupid Fav-12 friend circle that had a dedicated button had functionality that is now buried in messages, which has other great capabilities to quickly respond to people on the go. Scribbling a reply proves to be quite useful and works well when characters are thoughtfully drawn out. I use scribble regularly along with Siri dictation, which as I mentioned in my last post has improved quite a bit. The dedicated hardware button now opens the app dock, which provides up to 10 shortcuts to popular apps. Notably, the app data is kept in memory so that the refresh time is much faster. In general speed and stability improvements have made the OS run well, especially with the new S-chip built into the Series 2 (and Series 1) hardware. I went with the Series 2 mainly for the resale value and brighter screen, which is indeed noticeably better while outdoors ("that's a lot of nits"). I am not much of a swimmer but I am glad to know the water-resistance has been improved in case I were to jump in a pool, swim in the ocean or accidentally keep it on in the shower. It used to be a no brainer to take the watch off in most situations, as the battery-life was scare in the first generation watch. Now, the battery life is so great that I don't even have the usage complication on any face I put on. I almost bought a second charger for my desk, but I'm glad I did not because I prefer never removing the device from my wrist. Overall, the Watch OS 3 and the new Watch finally make the device a great accessory to the iPhone. While I still don't think it is a must buy, Apple Watch will definitely sell nicely this holiday season due to these improvements and the lack of competition in the wearables space. In the big picture, Apple continues to accelerate their brand into the lifestyle, fashion space with the watch, and we should use this lens as we consider how they craft the rest of their products moving forward.

iOS 10 is a step backward. The UI is full of bloated, unnecessary decorations, and many of the iOS 9 actions have been replaced by useless clutter that make the experience more complicated then it has to be. Notifications have suffered the biggest blow: quick actions take over the entire screen and pull you out of what you are doing with a blurred background. The notification previews themselves take a few seconds to load, especially if they are an iMessage. The larger real-estate also makes each notification take up far more room than needed. Lastly, the notifications drawer requires each day's updates to be cleared; you cannot remove them all (similar to MacOS, providing a similar annoyance). Messages includes a lot of great, yet poorly executed ideas. Apps seem like repackaged iOS keyboards, rather than feeling like native experiences. One of my favorite apps, Giphy, performs terribly slow through the new framework, but worked perfectly fine as an iOS 9 keyboard. iMessage reactions (the glitzy fireworks or animations) are highly undiscoverable, and they are not supported for many devices that they seem pointless to use at this time. The quick action drawer (swipe from bottom) takes queues from the gratuitously large bubble style that has invaded the platform and has many unnecessary buttons and capabilities within there. There is no reason night shift needs a full row. Why did Apple move the music controls to another pane? Design is about constrained choices, not shoving everything in for the sake of a couple of power use cases. Siri still provides useless suggestions and often fails to truly understand queries, but the opened up integration to 3rd party applications will make this a useful feature of the iOS platform moving forward. It sounds great to order an Uber with a voice command, but the performance and usability of the future will prove out whether the interaction becomes a mainstay. Performance seems sluggish due to the animations and general increased memory use. I find myself using my Apple Watch to get information since the experience has proven to be far better than where it was, relative to the drop in performance iOS 10 has provided for my iPhone. It used to be fluid to move from a message to attaching a photo and then switching quickly from a Twitter notification to send a quite update. Now, that same sequence takes twice as long due to the labored transitions and memory strain my device has. It seems that iOS 10 is the first OS that absolutely requires the newest phone with a four-core processor. That's too bad since Apple has been known to support older devices quite well. There are a couple of notable positives: Photo search intelligence has proven more useful with improved image recognition algorithms, and music is much simpler and does not push Apple Music as an offering in your face. The former gives me hope that Apple's strategy for on device intelligence (as opposed to Google using the cloud to take action, which leads to privacy concerns) can work for most use cases. Related: dictation is quite good and something I don't mind relying on for most correspondence. The latter update to Apple Music is long overdue, and reminds me of how bad iTunes remains to be. It's only a .1 release, so perhaps they will do an iOS 8 style set of tweaks to dial back some of the bloat they have added. Overall, it is one sign of many that makes me sympathize with those who are confused about some of the company's recent design decisions.