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Apple 2 go

Where ever I go Apple is with me

Apple and the digital key

Apple is omnipresent in my day.

Even when I think I am free from tech, in reality, Apple is with me, watching over my shoulder – but in a good way.,

I spend too long for my own good sometimes in my studio writing and editing videos – it’s the nature of the beast I guess. The life of a content creator dictates that you’ll be spending many hours every day…every week alone making said content! That’s all fine and good, it’s what I signed up for when I jumped head-first into this business, but, that’s not to say, then when I do break free from my studio I love it! It feels bloody lovely actually!

For instance, my fortnightly 75-mile drive each way to record Minus Sixteen with my co-host I relish. I know the 90 minutes there and back means I’m alone again but at least the world is rushing past me, I’m seeing different things and I do get to sit with Alex and record the show too – oh and we normally have a lush pub burger afterwards – you know, as a little treat for our efforts! It would be rude of me to turn it down, wouldn’t it?

Another part of the reason I love those recording days so much is I pretty much park my digital life…well, sort of!

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The truth is though

In honesty, it’s not quite the utopia I’m painting.

As you can see from this behind the scenes studio shot, there is a fair bit of the digital world in evidence, even on my ‘day off’!

What I was getting at though was more to do with the time spent at the desk looking at Macs and Studio Displays – that’s my meaning of a digital life. But just when I thought I’d broken free from the shackles I realised that Apple is very much part even of those away days.

For starters getting into and starting the car in the first place is all down to Apple.

When I had to change cars recently, there were a couple of things I ticked on the spec sheet and a digital key for Apple Wallet was one of them. I know not all manufacturers support this feature, but it’s a super handy little feature.

Not that I’m in the habit of losing keys (famous last words…) but it means on days away, not having a key with me in the first place, means there is one less thing to potentially lose. I’d go keyless on my front door too if they weren’t so damned expensive, but I’ve embraced the potential of a keyless life.

That said BMWs version of it isn’t that good. Yes you can lock and unlock the door with either your watch or iPhone and by placing it in the correct cubbyhole you can start the car too – but that’s it. I know you may be thinking well isn’t that all you need? I guess yes would be the answer, but the actual car key allows for remote boot opening, the wing mirrors to close and for courtesy lights to come on as you approach. I get the lights not working as the digital key is using NFC so it’s proximity based…but it would be great if at least the boot could open using Apple Wallet.

It may well differ from other cars, but with BMW it’s kind of a halfway house. That means I pick and choose when I use the key in Apple Wallet – if I’m away for the day I’ll go keyless, but if I’m doing the groceries for instance, then the kicky-flick thing to open the boot is a must!

Getting there

Anyhoos – once in the car either courtesy of Apple or not, they come in to play again this time with the other tick box I insisted on – Apple Carplay.

I’m a follower of the old belief ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. So I’ve never used Waze or Google Maps. I’ve seen the arguments on Twitter slamming Apple Maps, but it’s never let me down – so why switch?

With CarPlay it’s so easy, I can put the address in my phone while still indoors and then once in the car I use Handoff, hit go and it is all loaded up ready to get me from A to B.

The CarPlay in this car is wireless too so there aren’t even any cables floating about. Yeah, it does hammer the battery a bit, but boy it’s worth it the battery drain. The maps work in real time showing delays and offering alternate routes and you can even upload details of delays that you spot along the way to help others. How much better could Google Maps or Waze be? Apple Maps works just fine…

Laying down some beats

Apple CarPlay also gives me the option to listen to my entire library with Apple Music. The benefits here to me are massive – not being limited to the digital library and algorithms that Spotify wants to force on me, I can listen to any of the rare gems that I’ve collected over the past 35 years.

I’m a huge podcast listener too – I probably listen to more podcasts than music these days and oddly, never live radio. The if ‘it ain’t broke’ adage once again comes true with the Podcast app that is native to Apple CarPlay.

It does its job – I can start to listen to a podcast at home, or on the watch and pick it up in the car from where I’ve left off. On longer journeys, my library of podcasts that I follow are listed and the most recently uploaded ones as well – all wireless and all because of Apple and the apps they’ve built up.

With CarPlay you can of course use third-party apps like Overcast, Deezer or Spotify for music, but my argument is why bother? How many different ways are there to listen to a podcast?

No downtime

You see what I mean now – even when supposedly away from my screens and digital life, Apple is still there with me just doing its thing.

But the way they manage it when you’re in the car or even out for a walk is so much more subtle. None of it’s in your face – it just makes your day better. The way I discovered this week that I could listen to podcasts on my Apple Watch without the phone has been like a moment of divine intervention. Just a bit of time when I’m not answerable to anyone – just me and my thoughts – bliss (well, mostly).

And with Apple CarPlay and Apple Wallet, I know it technically means I’m not freed from all gizmos, but that’s fine by me. It’s not as if I’m staring at a screen or bound to them – but if I’m in the car anyway and need to find out how to get somewhere and listen to a podcast or two along the way, then why would I possiblyresent what Apple is doing for me?

Technology should be there to improve the quality of our day-to-day life – that should be at the very core of it, and you know what, Apple, the iPhone and CarPlay have proven that’s exactly what they’re doing for me.

The ecosystem is often depicted to be this entrapped garden that has been built to box you into a corner and force you to buy Apple.

But you know what, how about spinning that around and thinking maybe, just maybe, it’s there to help you and make your day easier and life better?

The ecosystem – a force for good after all – now who’d of thought that?

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