I’m fortunate that I get to use great Macs and PCs for work. Usually, the longest I have to wait for a work upgrade is three years unless there is a compelling case to upgrade sooner. Also, companies like HP will often even send me a new laptop to show off the latest capabilities with our latest apps at work. That’s all fine and good for my work systems, but what about my “personal computer?”
My personal computer choice is a MacBook Air
I’ve always liked the MacBook Air for my personal needs, mainly because of its size and weight (or lack thereof). When I do personal travel, I want to take a computer that weighs next to nothing but still gets the job done. My last MacBook Air was the 2012 Core i7 model with 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. While this system still works nine years later, it’s starting to show its age when you put the latest operating system on it and the latest applications. I knew it was time to upgrade, and luckily Apple had just introduced Macs with Apple’s new chips. The M1 chip is Apple’s first microprocessor to power a Mac.
This is not the first time Apple has switched Mac processor suppliers.
I have been on a quest to find the ultimate wireless iPhone charger for my nightstand. After upgrading to the iPhone 12 Pro Max, I added MagSafe to my list of requirements:
Has to charge an iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods case simultaneously
It should come with the Apple Watch charger already built-in and not require me to use my existing Apple Watch charger.
It should have one cable and one power supply
While the Apple Watch is charging it should be easy to see at night in Nightstand Mode
MagSafe Charging (if you have an iPhone 12 series)
No annoying LED status lights
The Apple Watch charger has to accommodate bands that don’t open!
There are several wireless chargers out there. The problem is that most of them get the design wrong. I’ve gone through a few models and all but the last two I tried were complete disappointments. Again, this is mostly due to bad design. Also, it seems harder to find ones that will charge all 3 devices. Many will charge the iPhone and Apple Watch or the iPhone and AirPods case.
2020 has sucked for the most part. There’s no other way to say it. However, I feel that better days are on the horizon. With that said, people look to me for holiday gadget recommendations, and quite frankly I haven’t really been in the mood to flaunt gear with so many people out of work and struggling due to the pandemic. So this year, I’m going to keep the list short and relatively low cost.
Apple’s AirPower was supposed to be the only wireless charger you would need. One charging mat that lets you charge an iPhone (or Android), Apple Watch and AirPods. Apple decided to cancel the AirPower before it ever shipped. They sited quality/technical difficulties. I can only imagine that this was because you would have been able to put your phone, watch or AirPods anywhere on the mat. Since the Apple Watch doesn’t use a standard Qi charger I’m sure it was hard to make it work when placed anywhere on the mat.
There are lots of Qi wireless chargers on the market. Some are designed just to charge a phone while other bigger mats are designed to charge two to three devices. I originally went with the Nomad Wireless Charger as it was one of the first to have an integrated Apple Watch charger. The Nomad solution works fine, but what I didn’t like about it was that it was one configuration. You lay your phone on it either vertically or horizontally and you put your watch on the dedicated spot. If you want to charge a third device then you put the phone vertically in the middle. What I don’t like about this is that you have to put the phone on it just right (not to far forward and not too far towards the front) or it won’t be on one of the three charging coils and therefore it won’t charge. I have woke up on occasion only to realize that my phone didn’t charge because it wasn’t sitting on it just right.
SliceCharge Pro offers six high speed charging coils instead of three or four
It was just over a month ago that I applied for the NEW Apple Card. I got approved and documented the whole application process here:
What’s so special about Apple Card?
This was the first question that my friends and fans started asking me. After all, it is just a credit card right? On the surface, it is a credit card. You apply and if approved you’re assigned a limit and you receive a physical card in the mail. However, that’s where the similarities stop.
The first thing that makes Apple Card different is the way you apply. If you watched my video above, you’ll note that the entire process happened in the Wallet app on my iPhone. Yes, you can apply for other credit cards on your phone in a browser or a dedicated banking app, but once you’re approved you’re likely to still need to wait for a physical card to show up in the mail. Once approved for the Apple Card it’s immediately available in your Apple Wallet app. You get to use it with Apple Pay immediately. Even if you don’t use it with Apple Pay you can still look up your Credit Card Number, CCD and Expiration Date in the Wallet app so that you can start using it online with places that don’t yet accept Apple Pay.
It was a surprise low-key announcement by Apple. An upgrade to the MacBook Pro line. I wasn’t expecting it as everyone was telling me not to expect a MacBook Pro capable of supporting 32GB of RAM until 2019. Perhaps when Apple starts using their own processors instead of Intel. I was just as surprised as the rest of the world. I was also happy that the wait was over. I had been holding out going to a new MacBook Pro for years. I was still using my work Mid-2014 MacBook Pro 15″. At work we are allowed to upgrade computers every 3 years and unfortunately for me that was in 2017. Instead of going with a 2017 MacBook Pro (which wasn’t much better than the 2016 MacBook Pro), I opted to go with a 27″ iMac instead. Most of my day-to-day work and live streaming is done from my home office these days. I don’t do roadshows and tours like I used to. Therefore a nice fast desktop Mac was the way to go.
The reason I skipped the 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pros
In 2016 Apple made the radical decision to redesign the MacBook Pro. In the process they did away with all the traditional ports and instead went with 4 Thunderbolt 3/USB C type ports. At the time this was painful for most users because it meant buying an adapter for every single peripheral that you wanted to connect. I was still intrigued until I talked with others that had the new one. The feedback was pretty consistent. I didn’t find a single friend/colleague that raved about the new 2016 MacBook Pro. Everyone I asked “so how is it?” the response was pretty much the same “it’s OK. It’s not really any faster than my previous model.” This coupled with having to buy a bunch of dongles and adapters AND still being limited to 16GB of RAM meant a pass from me. Apple upgraded the MacBook Pro again in 2017 moving to a faster Kaby Lake processor, but that was about it. It was still limited to 16GB of RAM and no significant speed benefit. There was also the problem with the design of the keyboard. I remember the day one of my colleagues sat down next to me and started working/typing on his 2016 MacBook Pro and the clicking/clacking was so loud that I wanted to scream. This coupled with the high number of people reporting keyboard failures meant another pass in 2017 and going with the 27″ iMac instead as I didn’t want to be stuck for another 3 years on 16GB of RAM.
Often when you choose a case for for your smartphone you usually choose between a nice thick case that offers more protection for drops and other mishaps or you choose a case that is thin and protects against scratches. I tend to go for thinner cases as I rarely drop my iPhone. I would go without a case at all if they were scratch proof or less slippery. The thin iPhone X case by totallee is hands down the thinnest case I’ve ever used.
Now that I have an iPhone that supports wireless charging I wanted that same convenience in my car. Putting my favorite wireless charger in my house is a piece of cake. I really like the Anker Wireless Charging Pad for my desk and nightstand. However, in the car i had been using a magnetic vent mount that I really like. Here’s one that I like and used with my iPhone 7 Plus from Arkon and here’s one that I like from Kenu. The only problem with either of these two mounts is that while they securely hold my iPhone in place, in order to power it I need to also plug in a cable. I want a solution that is just as convenient as the Anker Wireless Charging Pad, but for my car vent.
It’s that time a year again and I know I’m late to the iPhone X (pronounced 10 as in Roman Numeral X) review party. This is the first iPhone in 10 years that I didn’t receive on release day. I did place my iPhone X 256GB Black order just after midnight Pacific Time on Friday October 27th, but my ship date was immediately given as November 17th – November 24th (2 weeks after the first shipment). I did receive it a few days early last week on November 14th. With that out of the way let’s get on to the review.
Wow! Hard to believe it’s been 10 years since the first iPhone. I have done a review every year and it’s fun to go back through the years and see how much has changed. If you’re feeling nostalgic, you can see my first iPhone review here. A lot has changed since 2007 and while many iPhone versions (like the “s” models) have been evolutionary, the iPhone X does feel like a brand new iPhone. It’s the first iPhone in 10 years to ditch the home button and this may surprise you, but…
I’m usually very good at keeping up with my gear. To date I’ve never lost a phone, iPod, camera or other portable electronic piece of gear. However, last week I had a couple of close calls and both were quickly solved with the free Find my iPhone app by Apple. Don’t let the name fool you. “Find my iPhone” isn’t just limited to finding lost/stolen iPhones. It can find just about any piece of Apple gear that’s equipped with WiFi, Bluetooth or Cellular.
I almost lost an AirPod
I remember when I got my AirPods at the beginning of the year, the number one question/concern people asked me was “aren’t you afraid of losing them?” I wasn’t afraid of losing them at all. They fit snuggly enough in my ears not to fall out on their own and whenever I’m not using them I return them to the charging case. However, I almost lost one last week in a weird way: