Category: iOS

Upgrading From an iPhone SE to an XR

Michael Tsai (whose SpamSieve I used for a very long time) writes about his experience going from an iPhone SE to one of the newer iPhones. I currently use an SE, and this paragraph on the tradeoffs between physical size and screen space is particularly relevant:

I wasn’t sure whether I would like the size of the screen. With the iPhone SE, I could easily reach everything with one hand, and this wasn’t the case even with an iPhone 6s. The iPhone XR is quite a bit larger. In fact, I found that it’s so large that I hold and use it in a different—unapologetically two-handed—way, and the adjustment has been easy. Being able to see so much at once is an incredible advantage. I’ve long known this on the Mac, where I’ve always tried to get as much screen space as possible. But, in a way, it’s more true on the phone because it’s so cramped to begin with. Modern iOS and apps are less information dense than before, and they no longer seem to be optimized for 4-inch displays like when that was the flagship size. I miss those days, but at this point I don’t think even a new small phone would bring them back.

FWIW: I shifted from Android back to iOS to return to a smaller form factor, and that very same year Apple released the iPhone 6, inaugurating a new “standard” size for the iPhone. I am doubtful that we’ll see an update to the SE-class size.

But perhaps that isn’t something to mourn too deeply. As Om Malik notes while surveying the advent of foldable phones:

We have gone from voice to app-centric form factors. The next form factor will be multi-modal and very visual. A device that marries a wearable, a pocketable and a hearable could become the catalyst of the next shift. Let’s use Apple as an example. Imagine an Apple Watch, AirPods, and augmented reality (AR) glasses married to a phone serving as an edge server. That could be the next form factor, and who knows if we would even need the intermediate device.

Matt Gemmell on GoodNotes

Matt Gemmell with some, uh, notes on GoodNotes:

GoodNotes does an alarmingly capable job of recognising handwriting. It also does it in a very unfussy way: you don’t have to tell it to do anything; it just recognises handwriting all the time, and updates its recognised text whenever you edit pages. There’s no separate view or special interface. You just write stuff, and then you can search for it later, complete with on-page highlighting. When you export a PDF, you also get the recognised text embedded in it, so it’s searchable and highlightable there too.

I’ve written about the iPad and handwriting recognition before. I am very curious to see what iPad/Pencil announcements show up in March—I use my iPad Mini Retina daily and I wish it supported the Pencil just so I could properly evaluate some of these apps. (My current stylus is a Pencil by FiftyThree, which I find good for sketching but terrible for writing notes.)

(Via Ben Brooks.)

MacStories reviews Nebo

Over at MacStories, John Voorhees reviews the note-taking app Nebo. It looks like one of the first apps to finally bring one of my dreams to the iPad: handwriting recognition. Taking notes on the iPad has always been a source of frustration for me because it seems like converting handwriting to text should be one of the very first problems to solve. Nebo seems to be solving that problem, and more:

Converting handwriting to text is simple. Just double tap and the conversion is nearly instantaneous. The process is fast because Nebo is doing the recognition on the fly…The real-time recognition of your handwriting also means that you can perform searches of your handwritten notes without converting them to text.

Earlier this year Ben Brooks wrote about how the current crop of note-taking apps for iOS were missing some pretty big opportunities:

There are some promising apps, like Notability, Noteshelf, Notes Plus, Notepad+ — but they all have a fundamental flaw. For some reason each of these apps try harder to replicate what you would get from a paper notebook, than to take advantage that they are digital.

Brooks mostly focused his criticism on missing features like user customizable grids, shape identification, task lists, and detectable bookmarks/links. But I’d argue that handwriting recognition—which opens up handwritten notes to text search—is even bigger than all of those.

Clips iOS clipboard

A quick follow-up to yesterday’s post: I found Clips, which functions as a system-wide, multi-item clipboard system on iOS. It works pretty well once you activate it as an alternate keyboard. The only point of friction I’ve encountered is that there’s no keyboard shortcut to toggle from the regular keyboard to the Clips one when […]

Writing on the iPad

A few observations after writing every night on the iPad for the last week or so: The lack of multi-tasking is a blessing (even if it’s also a bit of a pain). I find that I pick a task, finish it, and move on to the next thing. Tonight I wrote two emails, then I […]

iOS Continuity

I’ve been doing a lot of daily writing in Day One, mostly as a form of exercise. Today I started a post on the iPad and realized that the photo I wanted to use was only on my iPhone (it hadn’t synced to Dropbox yet). So I picked up the phone and finished the post […]