The Apple of my eye(s) (and ears)

An Apple a day may keep the doctor away, but the wallet needs ER...

It's not even WWDC 2022 yet and I've committed to several of improvements within my Apple ecosystem. The first is a HomePod mini which replaces an aging Google Nest mini (a product formally known as Google Home mini). One reason is that my house is almost entirely HomeKit based now, and Google's integration of consumer and business technology is very much hit and miss - mainly miss. As an Apple Music subscriber it also makes sense to be using a HomePod mini given it is its natural environment. My only wish is that inTune supported the BBC radio channels, otherwise to get BBC radio I need to Airplay from the BBC Sounds app manually.

I can control every element of the house through Siri - including the lights, temperature, and TV. The HomePod mini is also the only device that I allow Siri to be used on. Previous incidents from a few years back lead Siri to being very confused as to which device it should be respond to - so now I just allow Siri to be used from one device in the home. This may change if I add additional HomePod minis (bedroom and kitchen), but for now, Siri lives in space I use for an office.

I must say that the HomePod mini is a wonderful device. It's small, but the bass (to my ears at least) is pretty punchy for a device this size. It's just a pity that it does not yet support Dolby Atmos or Spatial Audio like its discontinued big brother (which I did have for a while, but this was when they first came out and Apple didn't seem interested in developing its features further, hence it was sold). But like its big brother, two HomePod minis can be paired together for stereo - and this can also work in conjunction with an Apple TV device.

And speaking of the Apple TV, I've also bought the 2021 Apple TV 4K, which seems insane given I had the previous generation which also supports 4K. But now I have a TV which supports HDR, and this device can now support higher frame rates up to 60 FPS. This model also has 64Gb of internal storage vs the previous model's 32Gb. Then there's a new remote control which is chunkier, easier to use, and less likely to be lost down the sides of the sofa. There's also Wi-Fi 6 and HDMI 2.1 support, both that weren't available on the previous generation. Plus, I get to renew the AppleCare warranty for it.

Still trying to decide what to do with the previous Apple TV. Might either sell it or even give it away at work (it has no warranty and has been in service since 2017) in exchange for a donation to charity.

And one more thing...

Joining its big brother, the 2021 M1 iPad Pro, is the iPad mini 6 - an 8 inch version which fits in the hand is an absolute pleasure to use when consuming content such as news articles, books and/or TV/film. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro can be rather cumbersome to carry around all the time - especially with the Magic Keyboard, so having something smaller for commuting and such seemed like a good idea. It complements the Kindle for reading content - especially if the book has photos or drawings which, unfortunately, e-ink isn't quite there yet. And for when planning travel trips, Google Maps and Apple Maps look terrific on this thing.

The iPad mini 6 also has support for the Apple Pencil 2 (which I have for the 12.9" machine) which makes note-taking and doodling a breeze. I really like iPadOS' ability to transform freeform handwriting into text. The front facing camera supports Centre Stage, so Facetime and other video calls will look good whenever one is travelling light.

Some of the text can be quite small, but there are always options within iPadOS itself to increase the text size as well as in individual applications. The same can be said for the app icons. But once you've got that set-up, the whole thing is incredible to look at and it's a really lovely companion to its big brothers as well as the Mac (as it can also be used for Universal Control and Sidecar).