SoundByte 327 – May 2022


Mark Ellis

Welcome to SoundByte! In this issue:

May Meeting

Join LMUG on Monday, May 9 at 7pm for our May meeting. Now restrictions have been lifted, please join us in our new location, the Calthorpe Arms, which is just 10 minutes walk east from Russell Square tube station in Zone 1.

This month we are very lucky to be joined by the writer, YouTuber and Podcaster Mark Ellis of Mark Ellis reviews. We will be covering all the latest monthly Apple news before we take a deep dive into how to edit video, from iMovie up to Final Cut! As well as discussing our guesses for WWDC 2022… Please send any questions you might have on video editing or anything else Mac related to so we can answer them in the meeting.

We look forward to seeing you there… If you cannot come in person, please join us online! Please find the link to Zoom in the SoundByte email.

Don’t forget to follow LMUG on twitter and in our podcast Brew & Byte.

Apple Launches a DIY Repair Programme

Apple has launched a DIY repair programme in the US (for those skilled and brave enough to try to repair their own computers and phones or presumably repair shops on their behalf). It is expected to come to Europe later this year. No doubt it is a response to the Right to Repair campaigns in the US and around the world. Apple will provide repair manuals and genuine Apple parts and tools through the Apple Self Service Repair Store. Unfortunately, but perhaps unsurprisingly only recent Apple products are supported. Indeed, some have treated the news with scepticism although there are definitely some good parts to it. Have a look at some pros and cons in this video below:

PC guy switches to a Mac

On a lighter note, you might recall a few videos I posted in March, about the man from the FStoppers Photography website who wanted to see what the fuss around Apple Silicon was about. He had been using a Windows desktop for many years and we saw him struggle to switch over. He pointed out some of the flaws in the MacOS. But now, perhaps to nobodies’ surprise, he has seen the light and switched over full-time to the Mac! Look below to see what he is saying now…

Apple Watch Review

The Apple Watch was launched in April 2015, that’s seven years ago last month. It is the dominant smart watch in the market. Personally, I never saw the point of it, and it’s only this year I figured out a practical use and bought an Apple Watch Series 7. In this review I’ll explain what I use my Apple Watch for and what I think it does better than my phone.

Unlike the Mac, which is the computer for the rest of us, the Apple Watch is clearly targeted at luxury watches and the fashion crowd. I purchased a 45mm Nike Apple Watch 7 in midnight blue earlier this year. Although it is the cheapest aluminium model (£400), it is gorgeous on my wrist and all of the watch faces are extremely classy (you can have multiple watch faces and swap them around). The series 7 supports fast charging. I charge it when using the bathroom after I wake and before bedtime, very convenient! More importantly, I have large hands (my hands don’t fit normal sized gloves) and with the 7, the screen is now large enough that I don’t have any problems interacting with it with my fat fingers. I can also read it clearly without glasses.

Apple Watch screen
My current watch face. This one is called Count Up, it includes a stopwatch. I have weather, date, workout, timer and battery life complications on this screen.

The main thing that the Apple Watch does better than the phone is health and exercise. It tracks your heart rate all day long and through the night, It will alert you if something unusual happens. A few days ago I received a low heart rate alert. It fell below 40 bpm for 10 minutes while I was asleep. I already knew my heart rate was unusually slow, and you can see the potential for those of us not in the healthiest or youngest cohort. For me, I sometimes get a tight chest during hard exercise. Checking the watch the last time that happened, I could see I was near 170BPM, my max heart rate. This is something I want to monitor. The watch can also do an electrocardiogram and track your oxygen level. I only used these when I had COVID, but what I use every day is workouts. It tracks exercise and calories burned while I walk to and from my local shop (I live up a hill) and the exercise rings (daily goals) really encourage me to walk and cycle more. As you improve, the watch prompts you to make the goals harder. You can see how this might improve one’s fitness. Speaking of which, the watch tells me via my iPhone that my cardio fitness is below average. Thanks for that – much more to do I guess.

For things like cooking timers and weather, I ask Siri on the watch. It works really well there, as do phone calls (wrist up, Dick Tracy style) and text message responses if your iPhone isn’t near by. For travel, the watch lets me keep my phone securely in a pocket. It taps my wrist for walking directions and I can access City Mapper and Bus Checker directions from the Watch. My BA Boarding Pass was also there, the last time I flew (via the wallet/Apple Pay). The watch lets you create different watch faces for different scenarios, here is my travelling watch face:

An easy to read clock, weather, City Mapper directions, ‘Nearby public transport’, battery level and a controller for the Music playing on my iPhone

I also have a workout watchface, that in particular lets me start recording my cycle commutes in Strava while the iPhone is in my pannier. It can also store music, so when I start jogging properly, I’ll leave my iPhone behind and just take my door key. So, do I think this was worth £400? Most of the health features can be had in the Fitbit Sense at half the price. But its the design and wide selection of little apps on the Apple Watch that I guess makes the difference for me. For a more conventional take, have a look at the long-term review below:

Final Cut Pro updated for Mac Studio

There was some disappointment last month at the diminishing returns in performance some users of the high-end Mac studios were finding in Final Cut Pro. Well, Apple has released an update and it includes better performance and a number of new features including duplicate detention and voice isolation. Read up on the changes via 9to5Mac here.

Final Cut Pro

Picking a monitor for your Mac: redux

Why are Apple monitors the size they are and does it matter? It turns out, if you want the very best performance from macOS, it does matter. Macs are designed to look their best at around 110 and 220ppi (pixels per inch) and multiples of that. Very few montiors can achieve that at 4 or 5K, and instead scale the macOS to fit your screen. This requires some graphics processor jiggery-pokery that can affect peak performance and image quality, and professionals might notice the performance differences. Have a look at the video below to see the impact on one professional and the big decision he made as a result. I’m not sure this scaling will matter to most of us. I think my eyes would actually appreciate some screen elements appearing slightly bigger than Apple’s design team intended. What do you think?

The future of Windows on the Mac?

It’s only for business at the moment and was announced 8 months ago(!), but did you know Windows can now be run officially from your web browser? Have a look at what this is:

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