Review

A 3-post collection

iPhone 12 Pro

I’m a total Apple geek, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

As soon as I had a chance, I pre-ordered the iPhone 12 Pro with the goal of receiving it on launch day.

The unbelievable strength of Apple’s marketing prowess dawned on me – I didn’t make a rational decision, I didn’t think too much – I decided and I purchased.

My previous iPhone has been the iPhone X – and it’s been a fantastic companion for three years.

To Pro or not to Pro

This was the primary area where I was surprised at how little I thought about the purchase. The iPhone 12 and 12 Pro are both incredibly good devices. And there is hardly any trade off by choosing the 12 vs the 12 Pro. It’s primarily about cameras and “look and feel”.

There are some software features that Apple holds back for the Pro only – primarily, one could argue the reason for some software features only being availble on the Pro is the extra 2GB of RAM. But it feels like there’s increasingly a decision from Apple to use software to distinguish between models, rather than just hardware.

What I realised in this process of choosing the iPhone 12 Pro is that Apple has made me classify myself. I knew I wanted the Pro instinctively. I mentally tuned out of what the 12 could do and jumped straight to the Pro. Why? I don’t know – it feels like it’s hard wired into me.

This is crazy, because in many ways I love the look of the iPhone 12 – with aluminium band, and the fact it’s a little lighter.

Pre-order day came and I made my purchase. Launch day came, and I eagerly anticipated the delivery.

Packaging

iPhone 12 Pro unboxing
iPhone 12 Pro unboxing

There’s been some fuss around the new iPhones coming in a tiny box and Apple choosing to not include a power adaptor or headphones.

Initially my reaction was: “come on, Apple!” With regards to the lack of a charger – especially given the cable that ships in the box is a new USB-C cable rather than a traditional USB 2.0 cable. For those unaware, USB 2 ports are the kind that people started wiring into their wall sockets in the UK several years ago, somewhat shortsightedly.

In reality, the decision to remove these accessories makes a ton of sense – and I am finding it hard to complain. Smaller boxes (considerably smaller boxes – to the point where I thought the delivery driver had given me a SIM card and some O2 packaging, and not my iPhone) are good for the planet, and therefore everyone.

I have enough old Apple Lightning cables and adaptors around my house to keep me going for some time. In actual use, the lack of adaptor in the box is nowhere near as big of a deal as the now ancient switch from Dock Connector to Lightning. Everyone will be fine.

I am

NetNewsWire – Just the news you want, and nothing you don’t

NetNewWire icon
There’s never been a better time to get back into RSS. – John Gruber

I recently started using NetNewsWire on both my Mac and my iPhone to consume news via RSS feeds.

I made the change just before everything kicked off and the world got turned upside down, but it’s proved to be good timing.

I had previously been using Apple News to both keep up to date with the wider world, as well as follow specific sites.

But right now I can’t take it – the sensationalist headlines, the click bait, the fear mongering. I don’t need more of that in my life.

RSS isn’t a new technology, but it’s making yet another resurgence, and for me it’s because of one app – NetNewsWire.

NetNewsWire – the beautifully simple RSS reader for iOS and Mac

NetNewsWire for macOS
NetNewsWire shows you articles from your favourite blogs and news sites — and keeps track of what you’ve read.

It’s like podcasts, but for reading.

If you’ve been going from page to page in your browser looking for new articles to read, let NetNewsWire bring them to you instead.

NetNewsWire is free for both platforms, and it’s open source. Don’t be fooled by the term “open source” – it can often be misconstrued as synonymous for “designed by developers and decided by committee”, but that couldn't be further from the truth here.

NetNewsWire is an unbelievably great piece of software – opinionated , fast, light, accessible, and beautiful, and it’s unapologetically native. [1]

It’s apps like NetNewsWire that make me want to learn to code – to think that one day I could build something as great as this.

If you’re looking for some serenity in your news reading habits, and you’ve got an iPhone or a Mac, I implore you to go check it out.

Learn more about NetNewsWire


  1. Opinionated software tends to trump "please everyone" software – especially when you agree with the opinions of the decision maker. Brent Simmons, the creator of NetNewsWire has a fantastic blog where he shares his thought processes for many decisions he makes in bringing this wonderful app to life. ↩︎

iPhone X

I've spent about a week with iPhone X now.

While I doubt the world needs another review of Apple's latest device, every time people see it they have questions, so here's a few thoughts I've been keen to jot down.

When you work in the software world, it's easy to get so caught up in the latest gadgets, innovations, and ideas that you forget most people in the world don't live and breath tech every day.

Last weekend, I popped home to Kent to celebrate bonfire night, let off fireworks, burn an effigy of Harvey Weinstein, and talk iPhone X with my extended family.

A conversation with my uncle

So, how’s this one different to your old iPhone?

Well. It’s got no home button. It’s just all screen.

Oh right…

Yeah! So you used to use your fingerprint to unlock (like an animal) – you now use your face.

So does it actually work?

Yeah! It really does! Look let me show you!

Tries Face ID. Points it to my sister – nope. Points at me... – It works!

(This was a far more successful demo than at the Apple keynote)

Oh cool, so is that the difference then?

Well, no, that’s not all, you can now use the tech behind Face ID for loads of other cool camera stuff – like… erm… well it’s got Animoji.

Animoji?

...

Yeah, let me show you...

So this is what we've done with the world's most advanced technology? Talking poop?


To a lot of people, iPhone X is simply "this year's iPhone".

They haven't watched the keynote. They haven't studied the Apple site in detail for ridiculous amounts of time. They haven't been tuned in to MacRumors for months.

Thank God for that – most people are far more grounded and sensible with their time than me.

My last iPhone was an iPhone 6 – I was thrilled to get this device back in 2014. That iPhone introduced one of the biggest changes to the lineup – a highly anticipated larger device with a larger screen.

But in the three years since then, Apple's "lack of innovation" has seen a swathe of incremental improvements compounding to make switching from iPhone 6 to iPhone X a huge step up in experience.

Face ID

Touch ID is an action. Face ID is invisible.

We talked a lot about "courage" last year when Apple removed the headphone jack launching iPhone 7. Arguably it took even more courage to remove Touch ID in favour of a totally new, unproven technology as the primary way to authenticate iPhone X.

On day one, I'll be honest – I had a few hiccups with Face ID. I didn't realise how often I unlock my phone when it's very low compared to my face. I wear glasses too – and when I first set it up, I didn't have them on.

After a few hours of mild frustration, I set Face ID up again, and since then I haven't