And now for some iOS

Posted on 2015-06-23 23:09 +0100 in Tech • 3 min read

I'm on a bit of a "explore other universes" trip at the moment, it would seem. The other weekend I finally cracked and purchased my first ever OS X device and, earlier today, I purchased my first ever iOS device.

Don't worry, I'm not abandoning the world of Android; far from it if my experiences of iOS so far are anything to go by. However, having started slowly working through a book that teaches Cocoa and Swift I thought it might be interesting to be in a position, at some point in the future, to be able to make and throw an app at an iOS device and it seemed the most affordable way of doing that was to grab an iPod.

So I did.

I now own an iPod

One of the first things I did, and I'm glad to find it was possible, was to load it up with apps that make it into a reasonable Google device (so, so far, I've got Gmail, Google+, Google Calendar and Google Music on there -- need to sort Google Drive too, at least). Next up was to get some music on it too -- might as well actually use it to listen to music, I guess.

That actually turned out to be more fun than I was expecting. See, I gave up on iTunes many years ago, back when it was pretty much the only legit method of buying music online. Since then I've tended to work with ripped copies of my CD collection or I've listened to music I've bought on Google Play (the latter bulked out with the former thanks to Google's music uploader).

And here's the fun part: if you use the recent Google Music Chrome app (which, it seems, allows unlimited downloads of your albums) to pull the music down, and drop them into iTune's import folder, magic happens and iTunes gets nearly populated with music. Even better, music that I'd originally ripped as WMAs comes back own as mp3s, so solving the problem of iTunes not doing WMAs.


So, anyway, that's the iPod set up as a generally useful device.

As for iOS itself.... Ugh. I'm far from impressed. Compared to Android it feels old and clunky and very constraining. For example, I can't really control what's on the home page. Sure, I can move things about, and I can even remove apps I've installed, but I can't remove/hide Apple's own apps at all. The best I've managed to do is drop all of them in a folder together and ignore that folder.

I'm finding the whole navigation thing kind of frustrating too. The lack of a standard back button -- as you have on Android -- means that different apps seem to do different things in terms of allowing back navigation. I'm also still unsure how you can easily task switch (if there is a way of doing that it's not obvious to me).

Another thing that's frustrating me is "AirDrop". I tried to use it to get the screenshot you see above onto my iMac but nothing I did would make it work. The iPod would see the iMac and the iMac would see the iPod but the filed didn't appear to want to move at all.

Yet another thing that seems rather unstable is the whole business of WiFi sync. That seems like a sensible idea -- let iTunes on the Mac know that the iPod lives on the same network and have them sync that way. Problem is that I'm finding that it drop out during a sync more often than not. The only reliable method of doing a sync that I've found is to use the USB cable.

I've yet to write the blog post about my experiences with the Mac so far but what I'm finding here fits in with what I've found with the Mac: some of the ideas are really rather clever but they just don't quite work as well as people would seem to want to have you believe. Apple gear has this reputation of "just working" and I'm finding that this really doesn't seem to be the case at all.

Still, it's all a learning process and I know far more about Apple gear now than I did a week or so back, and I'm learning more as I go.