↪ Apple’s missing “augmented” intelligence

Apple’s missing “augmented” intelligence:

As part of writing a review, I have been using Apple’s 2022 version of the 13-inch MacBook Air. I am not the first one to say it  — many others have said before — it is a great device. It is a great testimonial of Apple’s hardware excellence and knowledge crammed into this thin sliver of engineering marvel. The new M2 chip, the longer battery life, improved webcam, keyboard, and speakers — everything is of exceptional quality. Apple does know how to build good premium hardware at scale. 

Sadly, you can’t say the same when it comes to its software & services that rely on machine learning and augmented intelligence. The obvious deficiencies, whether on the Mac, the iPhone, or the iPad, are quite annoying

Om pretty much nails my experience and thoughts.

There’s also something to be said about power users needing to install additional tools like Apple’s Command Line Utilities and HomeBrew to fill in the gaps Apple chose to leave.

Remeninces of iPod

When I first went to Japan I had a Huawei-built Google Nexus 6P and a red iPod Touch 6th generation 256G. Other than the sometimes arbitrary requirement of iOS apps that one’s device have a cellular radio (active or not), they were a good pair of devices to cover my mobile needs.

Eventually the Nexus battery swelled and I moved fully into the Apple ecosystem. I keep looking for a good Android-based media player WITH A HEADPHONE JACK but they were either scarce on space or wildly expensive. I traded the iPod in.

Nowadays the iPad Mini 6th generation 256g fills the role the iPod did for me, and the red iPhone SE 2020 has that pocket friendly form factor the Touch had.

OG HomePod FTW?

Getting my pair when I did was a great move, but better now:

Why the HomePod? That’s a good question. It’s a piece of Apple history, perhaps; you need two of them for stereo or more for whole-home audio; and unlike its more affordable successor the HomePod Mini, it’s acoustically quite good. My colleague Jen Tuohy has also explained that the smart home is one of the few places where Siri actually excels. She thinks people are realizing it’s the only other option besides the worse-sounding HomePod Mini.

(Via Sean Hollister at The Verge)

Siri is.. not bad on the iPhone either? Or the Watch? Possibly this is because people do want a good-sounding speaker and are willing to spend a little more because they aren’t finding what they want. (Marco Arment complained about this on the most recent ATP podcast.) How ironic if the big HomePod finds its market only after being discontinued, like Sony’s AIBO robot dog.

( Via Charles Arthur at The Overspill)

While living in my sister’s guest room during the pandemic I decided to take a flyer on an OG HomePod. They dropped to a more reasonable $299 and I was tired of listening to things on tinny speakers. I knew from hard earned experience that Sonos was not the way to go. I was in the Apple ecosystem, so it seemed a better investment than another Sonos disappointment or the tin-can-on-a-string acoustics of an Amazon device.

Two key items, both unexpected, sold me on the platform: it sounded good and crisp at low volumes (important as my nieces’ rooms were on either side of mine) and the Siri integration proved more useful than expected. My Siri & HomePod journey has not been without frustration and doubt, however.

Today I have a stereo pair in my family room for home theater audio from my Apple TV. The lesser HomePod minis are in my living room and bedroom for low stakes audio. When I need real sound upstairs, I have my actual stereo setup with wired speakers that plays actual physical media. Before I got the second pair of Minis I looked on eBay for the OGs. They were already at what I’d consider a premium in January. I almost bought another pair when they went end-of-sale, but I had other priorities. I kind of wish I had now, but speculating on what tech becomes lamented and prized is a fool’s errand.

1 month with the 2021 iPad Mini

I received my iPad Mini about a month ago after an almost 8 week wait. My use case remains as I laid out in A mini upgrade?.

How is it?

Exactly what I was hoping it would be. It fits nicely into my workflow. It’s my primary consumption device. It’s also my mobile content creation device (I’m writing this post on it). I remain loyal to my eInk eReader for books, but otherwise I’m reaching for my iPad Mini.

Battery life is great. The screen is nice but I have yet to appreciate it fully beyond the additional real estate. I haven’t really used the Apple Pencil v2 yet, but I like how it’s magnetically attached if I need it. Connectivity using my Google fi data SIM works great.

About the Pencil and the magnets — they’re surprisingly strong. I was worried about the Pencil falling off but so far that hasn’t been an issue.

Fundamentally, the device is great. I’m disappointed that my Lightning connector add-ons are not viable with this, but I’m moving as all-in on USB-C as I can.

My issue still revolves around the fact that iOS/iPadOS needs refinement and bug fixes — as an OS they seem unfit for the task. I would love for Apple to take a tick and/or a rock off and just work on making the user experience better instead of releasing new features.