Drafts 5 special subscription offer

I’m going to do a 1 year subscription to Drafts 5. Under normal circumstances, I would continue using the free version because that’s all I need. But today the developer posted a tweet with a special offer that I’m interested in.

Now through the end of the day tomorrow, Sept. 18, 2019, all proceeds from new Drafts Pro subscriptions will be donated to support the @_RelayFM St. Jude Fundraiser. Details:. I’ve been thinking about donating but as of yet I haven’t done so. This is a perfect way to do it. I get Drafts Pro for 12 months and the developer is donating the proceeds of my purchase to the RelayFM St. Jude Fundraiser. That sounds like a win-win to me.

Thanks to Greg Pierce for this great offer.

Some thoughts on Apple’s Event – September 10, 2019

This week Apple announced the new iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, Apple Watch Series 5, and iPad. With all the rumors floating around over the last few months the announcements weren’t surprising.

Here are my thoughts.

iPhone
I’ll be trading in my iPhone 7 Plus for a new iPhone 11. My 7 Plus is starting to show its age and I’m getting bored with it. I plan on getting the 64GB model for $499 after my 7 Plus trade-in. Colors? Now that’s a hard one. I’ll have to see the actual phones to decide on that one.

iPad
I might also consider the new iPad or iPad Air with a larger display, pencil, and keyboard to replace my 5th generation iPad. I’m finding myself using my iPad more these days so it would be nice to upgrade.

Watch
I just bought my series 4 Watch this last April so no new Watch for me this year.

Day One encryption

I have been using Day One for going on three years now. One concern I’ve had is that journals by default are encrypted but with Day One holding the encryption key. This means that someone at Day One might be able to access my journals. Journals with Standard encryption are also exposed to a data breach or security glitch. This has caused me to limit what I write in them.

Now, after reading Shawn Blanc’s ”Best Journaling App for iPhone, iPad, and Mac” on The Sweet Setup I’ve taken his advice and enabled End-to-end encryption for all my journals.

Shawn Blanc:

End-to-end encryption is not turned on by default for providing the best type of security for your journal entries, as users must maintain their encryption key at all times to unlock journals if necessary. As Day One’s FAQ puts it:

When using end-to-end encryption, it is essential you save your encryption key in a secure location. If you lose your key, you will not be able to decrypt the journal data stored in the Day One Cloud. You’ll need to restore your data from an unencrypted locally-stored backup.

We recommend turning on end-to-end encryption whenever you create a new journal to ensure your data is always kept safe and secure. Save your encryption key in an app like 1Password or a locked note inside Notes.app and never lose the key.

Now no one has access to my journals without the encryption key. I keep it in 1Password.

Gmail design update for iOS is rolling out soon in the App Store

I abandon Gmail a few years ago but I’m sure many of you who read my blog are using it. That said, Google has announced that its mobile apps for iOS and Android are being updated to bring them in line with the design changes and new features that are now available on the web. My last experience with Gmail on mobile was disappointing at best so I’m sure this is welcome news for you Gmail folks.

Nikolus Ray
Product Manager – Gmail

This update is part of a larger effort to make G Suite look and act like a family of products, designed in the Google Material Theme with ease-of-use in mind. We’ve already updated the web experiences for Gmail, Drive, Calendar, and most recently Google Docs and Sites. In the coming weeks, you’ll see the new mobile design in Gmail on Android and iOS, with more G Suite mobile apps to follow later this year.

Apple products are getting more expensive

I’ve been thinking about Apple’s pricing a lot lately. It’s reached a point where I’m not going to be able to afford to update my Apple hardware as often as I would like.

My Apple devices are getting dated but for now, I won’t be upgrading to any new devices. I’m going to have to use my existing hardware until it becomes unusable. Instead of having an iMac, MacBook, iPad, and iPhone as I do now I’ll be more selective in the future. For example, my iMac is a late 2013 non-retina. It’s getting dated. It’s stuck on Sierra. I love it but when it fails I won’t be replacing it. Instead, I’ll use my 2015 MacBook for all my computing needs. I just can’t justify the cost of owning two macs anymore.

I’ll also be sticking with my iPhone 7 Plus for now. It works great and does everything that I need for it to do. At a $1,000 plus a new iPhone Xs model isn’t in my budget.

I’ve got a feeling I’m not the only one feeling this way. Here’s a Washington Post article that does a nice job of laying Apple’s price hikes and what you should do if the price of Apple loyalty is getting hard for you to swallow.

Geoffrey A. Fowler and Andrew Van Dam, writing for the Washington Post

Apple has never made cheap stuff. But this fall many of its prices increased 20 percent or more. The MacBook Air went from $1,000 to $1,200. A Mac Mini leaped from $500 to $800. It felt as though the value proposition that has made Apple products no-brainers might unravel.

What we learned: Being loyal to Apple is getting expensive. Many Apple product prices are rising faster than inflation — faster, even, than the price of prescription drugs or going to college. Yet when Apple offers cheaper options for its most important product, the iPhone, Americans tend to take the more expensive choice. So while Apple isn’t charging all customers more, it’s definitely extracting more money from frequent upgraders.

What we see is a reflection of a new reality for consumer tech. Most Americans who want a smartphone, tablet or laptop already have one and aren’t interested in changing to a new system. Without big subsidies from phone carriers and as product innovation slows, we also don’t mind holding on to these products for three or more years. Apple, hoping to charge more every time we do buy, is changing how it gets money from us. So we need to change how we think about its value.

But the specs hardly matter. As any member of the Apple tribe will profess, it’s selling far more than sexy hardware. It’s an Apple-only operating system that works with all its other Apple-only stuff, like iMessage and iCloud — a (mostly) happy trap that’s hard to leave. You’re buying access to all those Apple Stores and customer service, not to mention Apple’s aggressive stance on privacy.

The paradox is that many Apple customers think they must have the latest, trained by Apple marketing to future-proof ourselves. So this year, instead of buying a year-old iPhone 8 at a discount or an iPhone XR (a much less expensive compromise to the top iPhone XS), many customers are skipping out on an upgrade altogether.

The question is: How far can Apple’s latest and greatest prices stretch? “Apple is becoming aggressive, perhaps overly so, in pricing the top- of-the-line models of its products,” says Rafi Mohammed, a pricing strategy consultant. And that is “putting its loyal relationship with its core customers at risk.”

In 2014, Americans waited about 24 months to upgrade their phones at national carriers, according to BayStreet. Now we’re waiting almost 36 months. People will ride their iPhone 6S until its wheels come off.

“I could see it going to four years” for phones, says industry analyst Ben Bajarin of Creative Strategies.

So what should you do if the price of Apple loyalty is getting hard to swallow?

Instead, you might ask: How many Apple products do you really need?

Beyond that, it’s about recalibrating our upgrade urge. Apple devices really do last a long time, all the more so with the inexpensive battery replacements Apple is offering through the end of the year. If your iPhone breaks, used ones available on eBay can still work great for far less money.

Or: Before buying the new thing following one of Apple’s launch events, wait a month until the buzz settles. If the product doesn’t still seem very revolutionary, it’s a safe bet to save your money by holding on for another year. Or four.

My 2019 Must-Have iOS Apps for iPhone and iPad

This article is an annual tradition: towards the end of December I summarize My Must-Have iOS Apps for iPhone and iPad that I will be using for the next year. This is always among my most popular posts. I’m sharing my 2019 must have apps in hopes you’ll discover a new app or two that will improve your workflow or make you more productive.

During 2018 I tried a lot of different apps. Some I liked and switched to, others I tried and didn’t like and stayed with what I’d been using. Having the right app for the right task on the right device is key to my productivity.

You can find My 2019 Must-Have Mac Apps here.

My iPhone and iPad setup:

My iPhone is a 32 GB Silver 7 Plus. My iPad is a 2017 9.7” with Retina display with 128 GB of storage.

Here’s my software and what I use it for:

Safari
Safari is my browser on iOS.

Mail.app
Fastmail IMAP works flawlessly with the stock mail.app.

Messages
Messages is for messaging with my friends and family.

Things 3
Things 3 is for task management and reminders. I love the simplicity of how it works. I wrote an article about it here.

Fantastical 2
Fantastical is my calendar app. It’s where I keep all my appointments and some reminders.

Bear
Bear is my notes and lists app. I’ve been a pro user since the inception of the app. It’s beautiful to work in, search is excellent and I’ve never had a sync issue.

Drafts
Drafts is my multi-purpose writing and note taking app. I use it as the first stop for most everything I write and use its extensibility to send it anywhere. It has a customizable keyboard, which allows me to add one button actions. Then there are an array of export actions once I finish creating. I’ve written about how I use Drafts here.

Ulysses
Ulysses is the app I use to write my stories. I’ve had a love-hate relationship with it since it went subscription. During the year I tried other writing apps but none compares with Ulysses. I do most all my writing on my Mac so it’s rarely used on my iPhone and iPad other than for a quick add to one of my stores or for the share sheet.

Copied
Copied is my cross-platform clipboard history manager. I’ve written about it here.

Day One Journal
Day one is for keeping a life log of things that go on in my life.

Reeder
Reeder is my newsreader for my Feedly RSS feeds.

Tweetbot
Tweetbot is for reading my Twitter feed.

Instapaper
Instapaper is my read it later service. I wrote an article about my Instapaper workflow here.

Overcast
Overcast is where I listen to podcasts.

1Password
1Password is my password manager.

Launch Center Pro
Launch Center Pro is for launching actions in a single tap.

PCalc
PCalc is my stock calculator replacement. I use it for its additional features and customization.

Scanner Pro
Scanner Pro allows me to scan paper documents into PDFs that look clean and professional.

TunnelBear VPN
TunnelBear is my VPN for security on public WiFi and web browsing privacy.

Garmin Connect
Connect is for recording and tracking my cycling and running activities.

Setting up an iPad for an elderly user before gifting

I saw this timely article on AppleToolBox today and thought it would be worth sharing. This article is specific to the iPad but it’s also good advice if you’re gifting an iPhone or Mac to an elderly user.

Sandy Writtenhouse, Writing for AppleToolBox How To Setup an iPad for Elderly User Before Gifting

If you’re purchasing an iPad for an elderly loved one, whether for the holidays or their birthday, one of the best things you can do is set it up before you give it to them. This makes the process of starting to use it much easier for them.