Dave’s new iPhone X

My friend, Dave, got a new iPhone X. I went over to help him set it up and move all the data over from his now “old” iPhone 6 Plus. Even at 98 years old, Dave is always excited about getting the next new iPhone.

To “sum up” he loves it. And I agree it is really quite nice, and beautiful to look at. Given that, there are some notes I have about the setup, and also the iPhone X itself. So bear with me here. I will be brief.

The unopened box!


Dave opening the box!


I was really excited to try this new feature that is supposed to let you transfer everything directly from your old iPhone to your new iPhone. But I found it only works in part. Many many things are missing in this process, including all your message addresses, your photos albums, and your music.


…So I hooked up the iPhone X to Dave’s iMac, setup as a new iPhone and then restored from a complete backup I made that day. That worked smoothly, recovering everything – over 1,600 photos, all of Dave’s CDs, etc.


The new iPhone X on the left, and his old iPhone 6 Plus on the right. An important note here! The iPhone X’s default display mode is their new “True Tone” setting, which is a bit “warmer” (yellower) than the old setting. I actually prefer the old setting and would turn True Tone off if I had one. But Dave looked back and forth between the two and said he thought the True Tone setting was easier on his eyes.


Dave checking out his neighborhood in Apple Maps.


Well, let’s see what happens if I touch this…


Dave also set up the new Face ID and “Hey, Siri!” and seemed to get used to the new “swipe up” gesture right away, which is what I was hoping for.

I did notice something strange about the new iPhone X though, considering that Apple is moving away from buttons.

When you download an app from the App Store using Face ID you need to double click the physical button on the side of the iPhone to confirm.

It seems ironic that they went out of their way to get rid of the home button, but require a double-click of the side button, which is more awkward, don’t you think?

I couldn’t figure out how to confirm the download at first because the message kept on saying to “double click to install” and I didn’t know what they were talking about, because you can’t double-click something on the screen. I had to do a Google search to figure out what they meant.

Now the side button performs three functions: sleep/power, activate Siri, and confirm Face ID for purchases. At lease for the purchase confirmation part, I think the non-mechanical haptic touch button on the iPhone 7 and 8 series is easier.

Otherwise the Face ID seems to work well, and Dave was able to phone me later. It’s quite a nice phone. And some lucky person at Hibikinokai in need of a smart phone will inherit Dave’s in-perfect-condition iPhone 6 Plus.






Comparing the iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus display

I’m not upgrading this year, but was curious.

Just before I went over to Yodobashi Camera and compared the iPhone X (on the left) to the iPhone 8 Plus (on the right), side-to-side. The main purpose was to see if the letters on the iPhone X were smaller than on the iPhone 8 Plus.

Here are my impressions, looking at a blog post I recently made:

1. First, the display of the iPhone X is clearly better. It’s obviously more beautiful.

2. I didn’t measure, but it’s my impression that the character size on the iPhone X is actually a bit larger, not smaller.

3. Since the iPhone X is narrower, naturally sentences word wrap sooner than with the iPhone 8 Plus. The amount of text is almost the same, but you can see just a bit more content on one screen on the iPhone 8 Plus than with the iPhone X.

I think the iPhone X is the winner in this test.

You can click on the photo to see it larger.



Thoughts on Office365 vs Google Apps (a followup)

Here is a followup, if you are interested in using Office365 more.

I confirmed that I can open and edit the same Excel file on two devices at the same time (my Mac and my iPad) if I just use the web (office.com) and close the file in the native Excel app on my Mac first.

If I have the file open in Excel on my Mac though it locks it and cannot be edited in the web or on my iPad, as reported in my original post.

So the secret of getting it to work “sort of like Google apps” is to completely stop using the native app it seems.

Synchronizing is much slower though. In Google apps you can literally see what cell the other user is in and get updates in real-time. In Excel via the web and the iPad, you can’t see what cell the other user is in, and while it does sync, it takes 30-60 seconds for the sync to come through.

I don’t know which is better as far as features or UI via the web at this point. Excel via the web does have some things that Google Sheets does not have. For example you can drag to select cells, and the file does open at the last row you were at. Those are pluses.

Also, with OneDrive and Office365 you have your actual files synced to your computer. With Google Apps you don’t.

Anyway, it does seem if you are careful not to leave your OneDrive documents open in the native app it does work. However if you leave it open in the native app you can only view on the other devices, not edit.

Thoughts on Office 365 vs Google Apps…

I have an Office 365 subscription. It’s inexpensive – like $70/year, since I can get by with a personal subscription.

It sounds very attractive because the subscription includes the latest Office apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) for my Mac, plus an hour of free world-wide calling on Skype, plus 1 TB of OneDrive space.

But in practice, except for a few personal spreedsheets, I find I prefer Google Apps instead.

What’s good about Office 365 vs Google Apps:

1. The native Office apps have some nice features which aren’t implemented in the browser-based Google Apps on my Mac. For example, even something as simple as dragging over a selection of cells to select them all doesn’t work in Google Sheets. You have to manually enter the cell range for something like summing up numbers. That sort of thing is easier in Excel in the native app. Also, with Google Sheets there is no easy way to get back to the end of a long spreadsheet other than scroll down. It doesn’t remember where you were last. In Excel I don’t have that problem.

2. And, of course, with Office you always have the actual files on your computer. Unless you download files from Google apps your files are just in the cloud. That sort of concerns me. I don’t mind syncing, but I’d also like to have the actual files themselves locally on my Mac.

Problems with Office 365 include syncing for one thing. I was on a customer call with a client last night and we were both editing the same spreadsheet in Google Sheets. It’s like magic – you can see where the other person is editing and things are updated in real-time. You simply cannot do that with Office 365. It’s not supported on the Mac.

In fact, I can’t edit a spreadsheet in Excel on my Mac, that is stored on OneDrive, and then go to my iPad and open it up and edit it. It’s locked until I close the spreadsheet on my Mac! Very inconvenient!

With Word it’s almost as bad. You can open up the same file on your Mac and iPad and edit, but in order to see the changes you have to close the file and open it up again.

Meanwhile with Google Docs you see the same magical updating in real-time across all the devices.

I’ve also been disappointed with my experiment with OneNote. I have 1,000+ notes in 23 notebooks with multiple sections and pages. Searching via multiple devices just doesn’t work well. Finally I gave up and stuck with Evernote for that. Searching through all the notes in Evernote – even when the notes are in the cloud – while quirky and not perfect – works much better than trying to do the same thing with OneNote.

So in the end, I find no real use for the OneDrive space. And there are so many limitations there as well – such as file size limits, and problems with folders with Japanese names.

I keep wondering what the benefits are of keeping my Office365 subscription. I probably will keep it just for the convenience of having the native apps.

But Office365 cloud features are nothing to write home about.