Apple Watch Series 4 Thoughts and Observations

I have owned every Apple Watch since the original. In the beginning, I was happy to overlook areas where the watch left a little to be desired because it was so good at certain tasks. As time progressed, there became a lot less that I had to overlook. By the time the Series 3 was released last year, the Apple Watch was my favorite tech product.

The Series 4 really cements the watch’s place in my tech hierarchy. The iPhone is the most important product I own, but I like my watch way more.

The watch getting so much better has actually led me to be a bit more critical of it than I used to be. The more that I am able to do with the watch, the more the limitations that is has left bother me. So while I am happier with the Apple Watch than I have even been, I see the potential to be even better.

A Quick Aside About Battery Life

Since the day I got the Series 4 watch, I have noticed that the battery life has been noticeably worse than my Series 3. For my previous watches, it was rare to finish the day under 40% battery, but I was constantly getting the 10% battery warnings on the Series 4. I tried restoring from backup, setting up as new, and removing all third party apps. Nothing fixed it.

I finally contacted Apple and sent it to them, but they could not find any problem with it.

It turns out the issue was with a different Apple Watch. The day that I got my Series 4, I connected my old Series 0 watch to my phone to use as a sleep tracker. When I disconnected it from my phone, my Series 4 battery lasted like it was supposed to.

Thoughts and Observations

So here are a few observations I have noticed (some good, some bad) in no particular order:

  • As I discussed earlier, It is really fast.
  • The water ejection sound is much nicer on the Series 4 than it was on the 2 and 3. It no longer sounds like a nuclear test.
  • I never realized how thick the Series 3 was until comparing it to the Series 4. It is still not as thin as the Series 0 was, but it is much nicer than the 3.
  • I really prefer the subtlety of the red ring on the crown on the Series 4 to the red dot on the 3, but I would still prefer nothing (or even better, something customizable).
  • It has always bugged my that the Now Playing screen did not have a progress indicator. This was not a huge problem with music, but now that the watch has a native Podcast app and a bigger screen it bugs me quite a bit more. It is really annoying that there is no way to get the time remaining of a podcast on the watch.
  • I think that Apple needs to go back to square one for analog style watch faces; they have a bunch of different version that all look similar but have different options for Complications and number style. I think that it would be better to just unify these with a single Analog watch face and let the placement of the Complications and the rings and numerals just be customizable. Or, they could let third party developers make faces…

I have found myself wanting to be able to use it for more because it is more enjoyable to do a quick task from my wrist than it is to pull out my phone to do something.

More exciting than wanting to use it more (for me at least), I also find myself wanting to develop for it more. I have a few app ideas that I am kicking around in my head (and one that I am actively working on), and all of them are centered around the watch.

None of these issues are enough to really diminish my feelings for the watch. It is my favorite tech product, but it is also the tech product that has the biggest room to grow.

That combination is pretty exciting.

Movies With Dad

One of the most consistent memories that I have from growing up with my dad is going to the movies. It is something that we did often and still do almost every time we see each other.

We would always show up just on time (or a little late), but regardless we would always stop to get Goobers. Every time.

The first movie that I remember seeing with him was Jurassic Park. I would have been just under four years old. I’m sure that it was not the first one I went to, but the memory stuck around because the T-Rex coming through the fence scared me enough that I was crying into his shoulder in the theater (I might have been a little young for that one). But even with how scared I was, I loved it.

I remember seeing Toy Story in the small theater in his home town. I remember seeing Star Wars for the first time and being completely blown away1. I remember the second Jurassic Park movie because it was the first time we could not get tickets and had to come back the next day.

There were times that I flew in to visit him and we went straight from the airport to the theater. We did this with Return of the King after getting in at 8 or 9 at night. In hindsight, it may have been better to wait until he next night for that one.

In the weeks leading up to us seeing each other, we aways tell the other other which movies they should not see so we have something to go watch. If we were going to spend any time together, you can bet a trip to the movie theater was going to be involved.

I say all of this because of how excited I am that Oliver is getting to the age that he can go to the movies.

Earlier this week, I picked him up a little early from school. Our first stop was Taco Bell (because there is no way Carissa would ever eat there). After that it was off to Warren Theater to watch Spider Man. We stopped to get Goobers and popcorn. He didn’t care about the popcorn, but the Goobers were a big success.

Since watching the movie, he has not stopped talking about it. He wants to listen to the soundtrack every time we are in the car and he points out the theater every time we drive past it.

I hope that when he is older, he will look back on his experiences in the movies with me in the same way that I do with my dad. If this week is any indication, we are on he right track.

  1. Alas, they were the special editions. But I did not know any better at the time. 

New 1966 Ford Broncos →

Zac Palmer at Autoblog:

For anyone who loves the original Ford Bronco, we have some fantastic news for you. Gateway Broncos and Ford have just reached a licensing agreement that allows Gateway to build limited numbers of 1966-77 Broncos. This isn’t just some cheesy take on the original Bronco either. Gateway is building these trucks with Ford’s blessing, and they come with up to a five-year bumper-to-bumper warranty.

The original Ford Bronco is probably my favorite vehicle ever made. I love my 1986, but the Bronco was better before it was an F-150 with a hardtop.

My next vehicle purchase will probably be one of the new Broncos, but buying a brand new 1966 Bronco would be way cooler than buying a brand new 2020 Bronco. Unfortunately the Gateway Broncos start at $120k, so I will just stick with the ones that don’t cost as much as a small house.

The best way to get an appreciation for new technology is to go back and use the old stuff for a bit. I am switching back to my Series 3 watch for about a week while my new one (hopefully) gets replaced. I do not like it.

Apple needs to do a better job with Apple Watch repair/replacement. The battery on mine has not been bad since the day I got it (constantly struggles to get through a day), but my only option is to mail it to them and hope that the problem is bad enough that they replace it.

Ugh. After two weeks of pain from a pinched nerve and tendonitis, I had just managed to get myself pain free for a few days. Until I popped my bad knee in the last minute of a workout 😣

My favorite Christmas gifts that I buy every year are definitely the ones for my dog. This year, he gets a soft frisbee and a tug-of-war rope.

Avoid being a New Years Resolution Statistic →

Over on The Focus Course blog, Issac Smith wrote a great piece about how to actually achieve your New Years Resolutions (and how most people don’t).

University of Scranton research found that 92% of new years resolutions fail.

I was in disbelief the first time I heard that. Sure 50%, I maybe would have even said 75%, but 92%? That’s crazy.

So if nine out of ten people are failing at their goals, how do you become the one that nails it?

The basic answer is to focus on just a couple of things and to integrate those things into your daily life. Simple, right?

Focusing on only a couple of goals is the easy part1. Interlacing them with everything else that it going on in your daily life is hard. This paragraph jumped off the screen at me because just about everything on here happened to me in the last year.

This doesn’t account for a child being sick, having car trouble, not sleeping well, processing the loss of a loved one, someone in your community asking for your help, fall clean-up and maintaining your property, overcoming depression, working on your passion project, paying bills and managing the budget, getting quality time with your spouse, last minute grocery store run, watching the show you love, getting a cold, FaceTiming family, fixing the broken thermostat, another child is teething, oh yeah, and finding time to exercise.

This year is the first time that I have made a resolution and have actually stuck with it for the entire year, and I did it by using Issac’s exact strategy. My two things I wanted to do was read the entire Bible and to workout every day.

Doing those required saying no to other things. On some days it was saying no to sleeping in, on other days it was saying no to watching TV in the evening.

Even though I was already practicing most of what he suggested, it was helpful to see those steps written out. Next year, my goals are going to change a bit, but I will still be using this strategy to help me hit them.

Related to this, my other favorite New Years Resolution tip is to start early. For my workout goal, I started about three weeks early. I missed a couple of days in my first week, but missing those days didn’t mean I missed for the year. It allowed me to get the hiccups out of the way early and hit the new year with momentum built up.

  1. Focusing on certain goals does not mean that you cannot make progress on others. It just means picking the important ones when you cannot do both.

    I have had a longstanding goal to work more on a side project. This year, if I only had time to work on the side project or work out, I worked out. 

Language Server Protocol for Swift →

Matt Thompson on NSHipster:

Last month, Apple announced on the forums that it was starting work to adopt the Language Server Protocol (LSP) for Swift and C languages.

At Apple we are making it a priority to support high-quality tooling for all Swift developers, including those working on non-Apple platforms. We want to collaborate with the open-source community and focus our efforts on building common infrastructure that can be shared by Xcode and other editors and platforms. To that end, [ … ] we’ve chosen to adopt LSP.
– Argyrios Kyrtzidis, October 15th, 2018

This is arguably the most important decision Apple has made for Swift since releasing the language as open source in 2014. It’s a big deal for app developers, and it’s an even bigger deal for Swift developers on other platforms.

I don’t see this having a big effect on what developer tools I use, but I am still really excited about it. Having Swift working well on editors other than Xcode is necessary for it to be used in places other than native apps on Apple platforms. I’m hoping that this (along with the stuff the Server Work Group is working on) can be a catalyst to make Swift on the server a more common and accepted thing.

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