Reviewing Apple TV One Week Later
By William Kristoph
It’s been about a week since I picked up an Apple TV. I spent a day or two researching the advantages and disadvantages of it vs. a Roku box. I also chatted up some of my Twitter followers to see what they thought about the differences between to two. After that consideration, I ended up with the Apple TV. There are hundreds of articles out there already, but I thought I’d share my experience too.
I decided to purchase my Apple TV from Best Buy. There wasn’t enough savings buying it from Amazon or directly from Apple to warrant waiting an extra 3-4 days for the Apple TV to arrive. I wanted to be able to use it over the weekend. So I placed an online order at BestBuy.com and chose to have it ready for pickup at the local store. The experience was very good from start to finish. I received proper confirmation from BB that the order was ready for pickup. I was in line less that 5 minutes to complete the pickup of the unit. Apple should be pleased with the experience Best Buy provided for their product in this case.
The box is tiny. In fact, it’s strikingly tiny. The unboxing experience is like any other Apple product. It’s pretty, clean, simple and sort of fun. Pull tabs help get each component out of the box without a tear or crumple. Initial set up is super easy. I plugged in the power cord and plugged in the HDMI cable and the Apple TV sprung to life on my screen.
Set up was relatively easy. I had to temporarily turn off some security with my router to allow the Apple TV to complete its initial setup. After getting the hang of the super thin remote, I popped around to the settings so that I could properly set up the Apple TV with my router. I bounced back and forth between the PC and the Apple TV and was satisfied with the settings and locked my router down again. I chose to update the Apple TV to the latest version of the software. I was surprised by how long and sluggish the process seemed. So I moved the Apple TV around to see if my WiFi signal was the issue, but the Apple TV reported a strong signal of 4 bars out of 5.
By William Kristoph
Last week, I read some live blogs during the Apple iPad event. Along with everyone else, I was surprised to see the “4th generation” iPad introduced. Sure, we were all expecting the iPad mini, but a new full-size iPad with better specs? I didn’t see that coming, nor did I read any rumors about it. As soon as it was introduced, the rage on the internet message boards started from many of those that purchased the 3rd generation iPad 7 months earlier.
I’m one of those people that purchased it, but I don’t get the rage against the 4th generation or the rage against Apple for introducing it. Technology, especially gadgets like the iPad, is a never ending chase for the best. I distinctly remember dealing with similar technology chasing with graphics cards years ago. Back then I learned there are four major groups of people with tech:
- Bleeding Edgers – Those that will pay plenty of money to keep up with the technology (there are folks that will sell their iPad 3 to partially fund a new iPad 4).
- Complainers – Those that rage on the boards, but ultimately get over it in a few days and go back to enjoying what they have.
- Wait and Sees – Those that always wait to buy a piece of technology, because they want the best, but they end up paralyzed by the fear of something better coming out in a few week.
- Practicals – Those that budget and buy the device that satisfies their need at the time and don’t worry about trying to future proof.
I fall into the fourth category. Years ago I wanted a digital camera. I waited it out a bit, because I couldn’t find anything I liked in my price range. After a year or two, technology and prices collided and I purchased my first digital camera. Graphics cards were the same way, I bought the best bang for the buck and maybe upgraded it a few years later when a demanding game required it. With the iPad, I waited until that gorgeous retina display showed up with the iPad 3 and that sealed the deal. Next to the iPad 2, it was what I wanted.
So why would I be made about an iPad 4? It’s faster? Okay, great, but my 3 does everything I want it to do. HD Facetime camera? Again, that’s nice, but nothing that makes me regret buying an iPad a few months ago. Even better, the iPad 5 or 6 will probably do all kinds of things my 3 doesn’t. Will I upgrade? Nope! Not until my 3 is dead or no longer supported with iOS updates.
By William Kristoph
I’m sure there are tons of posts out there already about iPad keyboard shortcuts. Even them, I either forget about the shortcuts or stumble upon new one. Last night, while I was poking around on Tweetbot, I stumbled upon the fact that I can hold down the ! or ? keys to get a ‘ or “. Why I never thought to try this I don’t know, considering I knew I could get various other keys by double tapping or holding down letter keys. My Twitter typing just became a ton more efficient.
Bill’s 5 Favorite iPad Keyboard Tips
- Be sloppy – The iPhone and iPad (and probably every other smartphone out there) has a wonderful ability to figure out what you were TRYING to type. Let the software work its magic and forget about the backspace key until a word is entirely wrong.
- Be comfortable – I love the Apple Smartcover because it gives the iPad just enough angle to make typing on the glass comfortable. Am I as fast on an iPad as I am on a keyboard? Not yet, but I get better at it each day.
- Learn your shortcuts! – OSX Daily has 8 great typing tips for your iPhone or iPad keyboard.
- Try splitting the keyboard – The iPad keyboard can split in two if you’d rather type with just your thumbs. This mode is very useful when doing a lot of quick typing like on Twitter or iMessage.
- Forget about typing! – If you have an iPad 3 (or better) or an iPhone 4S (or better) why not skip the keyboard entirely and use dictation or Siri to do the hard work for you? I’ve found the dictation feature is very accurate on the iPad 3.
By William Kristoph
Longtime eBook / eReader Hater
Much like Twitter, I didn’t understand eBooks usefulness at first. I thought it was a silly idea to potentially pay slightly more for an electronic copy of a book than for the real thing, as is the case in paperbacks. Sure, hard covers are more expensive than their eBook counterparts, but there’s rarely a book that I’m so interested in that I must have it now, before it’s available in paperback. Plus, I’ve never been impressed with the reading experience on a Kindle or Nook. I tried them out on different occasions, and I felt like they were slow, cheaply made and didn’t provide a good user experience. The eBooks were always a great idea in theory, but in practice, they were terrible.
My First iBook Experience
Honestly, I played with a couple of free iBooks here and there, but I didn’t thoroughly test out the iBooks app until I wanted a copy of R.A. Dickey’s, “Wherever I Wind Up.” Since I had Apple App Store credit, I gave iBooks a chance. It turned out that I really enjoy reading a book in iBook format and I’ll probably never go back to dealing with paper versions.
Five Things I Love About Reading an iBook: Continue reading
I admit it. Apple has slowly moved me away from Windows and Google. When I tell people I’m moving more towards Apple products, it surprises them that I’m considering I’m the type of guy that likes to build his own PC. I’ve heard, “How can you not go with Android if you love Gmail?” and “Why are you fine with being in a closed system with Apple?”
They’re valid questions, but regarding phones and tablets it’s an easy answer. I don’t want to tinker with those devices. PCs, yes. Tablets and phones, no. I just want them to work, and I want them to work well together. Apple has it covered with the iPhone and iPad. Which leads me to my final (technically we could talk about Macs, but I’m not there yet) problem with leaving the world of Google and PCs behind: Gmail vs iCloud Mail.
Apple still misses an opportunity to fully pull me in. Here’s a plan for them to get me to switch to iCloud and a me.com email address permanently:
- Make the web interface better – The iCloud email web site is too simplistic. What works great on the iPad and iPhone is clunky with a mouse. Isn’t there a better way to use the screen real estate and present me with a better layout?
- Tags, Tags, Tags - I hate dealing with the Folder concept with email. Gmail is superior with its Tags. Multiple Tags for one email helps me sort and it’s a necessary feature now.
- Better search results than Gmail - Gmail’s search is powerful. In fact, it’s too powerful for me usually and the results page seems cluttered and too brief. Apple could win me over with a better “guess” about what I’m searching and showing a better content preview.
- Better priority system - Gmail took a step in the right direction with the Priority Inbox. I like it, but I don’t love it. All too often Priority Inbox thinks that something isn’t important over time, when it actually is important. For example, if I get too many advertisements from one company, I might mark that as unimportant. The problem is that Gmail many times decides that a copy of an order and a receipt from the same company is not important. To me that’s important, and I mark it in Priority Inbox. It’s a constant fight to teach the system. Someone (Apple) needs to figure out a better way.
Does Apple actually want to deal with that much email traffic? Probably not. Is email a dying form of communication? Maybe. Either way, Apple is missing a golden opportunity to further integrate me into their ecosystem. Get me turned on to the email and they might put the final dagger in my PCs heart; I might buy a Mac.