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My impressions of the iPhone 7 Plus, Apple Watch Series 2 and more
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It's been several weeks since I last blogged and I wanted to share my impressions of several new devices I purchased:


Apple iPhone 7 Plus (black, 128GB, Verizon)
I had been using a 2 year old iPhone 6 that was due for an upgrade. While it took almost 2 months for my iPhone 7 Plus to arrive, it was worth the wait. I like the size, form factor, performance (3GB RAM), battery life, screen, haptic TouchID sensor, dual camera and new portrait mode with iOS 10.1. I'm not missing the headphone jack.

I splurged for the Apple iPhone 7 Plus black silicone case ($39) and I'm really glad I did. It looks, fits and feels amazing.

I also signed up for the Barclaycard Visa with Apple rewards to earn 3x points for purchases at Apple as well as special financing. I already earned my first $25 iTunes gift card.  Even the employee at the Apple store was impressed when I cashed out via ApplePay on my Apple Watch with the Apple credit card.


Apple Watch Series 2 (42mm with Silver Aluminum Case with Pearl Woven Nylon)
I had been using the original Apple Watch since it was first released last year and liked it. Earlier this year, IBM began offering a free Series 1 38mm Apple Watch to all US employees with a high deductible/HSA insurance plan to encourage fitness. The "Vitality Today" app even tracks your steps which you can redeem for prizes (e.g. iTunes gift cards). The only charge to IBMers is a $80 tax withholding. I decided to take advantage of the offer and purchase the Series 2 42mm for $135 additional. A little more than a month later, the watch arrived.

The Series 2 watch is slightly thicker than the original but offers much faster performance opening apps and is waterproof. Thankfully, the bands are interchangeable with the original. My favorite band remains the Penom Milenese Loop - a steal at only $10.99 on Amazon with free Prime shipping.


Amazon Echo Dot (second generation)
Another Amazon purchase and a steal at $49.99 with free Prime shipping. The Echo has found a home in my kitchen and is perfect when I'm cooking and have my hands full. The voice recognition is amazing.


Redesigned Apple MacBook Pro
Apple released new thinner, more powerful Apple MacBook Pro laptops with a new Touch Bar at an event last week. My current MacBook Pro, purchased last year, works just fine and I don't plan to upgrade. My all time favorite laptop, a 5 year old MacBook Air 11.6 inch remains my trusty backup laptop.


New TV app for Apple TV
At the same Apple MacBook Pro event last week, Apple announced an upgrade for the Apple TV due out in December. The upcoming TV app provides a portal through which you can browse movies and TV shows across content providers. Apple didn't specify which providers would be included but Netflix announced that they would opt out of the new TV app. Perhaps Netflix doesn't want to share their usage data with Apple. The standalone Netflix app will still be available. I always carry an AppleTV in my work backpack as it remains the best device to view Apple content or deliver a client presentation wirelessly.


Google Pixel
I'm a big fan of my Nexus 5X but I was a bit disappointed with the price of the new Pixel smartphones. While the Pixel is clearly a big step up from the Nexus, they lack key features like waterproofing and a removable SD card. I was also bummed that Nexus users won't be getting the new Pixel launcher and Google Assistant with Android 7.1. I wish Google had continued to make a lower cost Nexus/Pixel phone. I'm in no rush to upgrade the Nexus 5X I purchased earlier this year.

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http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/chrispepin/rss/~3/H7-kTDQgn7w/my-impressions-of-iphone-7-apple-watch.html
Nov 02, 2016
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Recent Blog Posts
14
Automatic IoT connected car kit - thumbs up!
Thu, Apr 6th 2017 4:00p   Christopher Pepin
I recently purchased an Automatic V2 connected car kit through Amazon for a great discount - $47. Automatic has two newer models, the Lite and the Pro, that are significantly more expensive and have features I don't need (Pro: cellular connectivity, Lite: missing features). I'm very happy with my Automatic V2 and recommend it. Included in the box is the Automatic connected car adaptor that plugs into the OBDII port under the dash of most cars. Once installed, the adaptor pairs with an app on
7
Circle with Disney parental controls and Internet filtering - thumbs up!
Fri, Mar 3rd 2017 8:27p   Christopher Pepin
Circle with Disney parental controls and Internet filtering receives my enthusiastic thumbs up after one week of use at my home with two adults and three kids. Previous solutions we tried (OurPact, taking devices away, scolding, etc.) had mixed success. My kids would play on their mobile devices and game consoles all day long if I let them. My need was for an automated solution with the following requirements: 1. The ability to set time usage limits for each child and their associated devices
7
iHealth digital wi-fi scale review - thumbs up!
Mon, Feb 6th 2017 6:55p   Christopher Pepin
My employer, IBM provided me a free iHealth Vista HS5 digital scale as part of my company-sponsored health insurance plan. In 2016, IBM provided a free Apple Watch as part of the Apple Watch for Corporate Wellness Program. I'm thrilled with IBM's efforts to promote healthier, happier employees through the use of technology. The iHealth Vista digital scale setup was very easy. Insert the batteries, install the iHealth mobile app on my iPhone which connected the scale to my home wi-fi network
8
Apple AirPods wireless headphones - thumbs up!
Wed, Jan 11th 2017 12:26p   Christopher Pepin
I've been using the new Apple AirPods headphones for a week now and I'm a fan. I ordered the Apple AirPods online on December 13, the first day of preorders. The delivery date was January 12 but the AirPods arrived at my home early on January 4. The AirPods fit my ears perfectly like the similar wired Apple EarPods. I've used the AirPods at the gym and in my home office on conference calls and find them comfortable to wear. Sound and microphone quality is a step above the stock Apple EarPods
17
2016 Technology Year in Review
Sat, Dec 31st 2016 9:38p   Christopher Pepin
In no particular order, the following are my top technology hits and misses for 2016. Mobile was hot in 2016 led by the exploding Samsung Note 7. The iPhone 7 offered incremental improvements and Google double-downed on smartphones with their new premium Pixel smartphones. My most used apps include Messages, Snapchat, Pokemon Go, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Super Mario Run, YouTube, Netflix and Waze. From a business perspective, my favorite apps of 2016 included IBM Connections, Box
7
Star Wars Rogue 1, Super Mario Run, Man in the High Castle season 2 and Apple AirPods
Fri, Dec 16th 2016 6:16p   Christopher Pepin
This was a big week with four major milestones of interest to me: Super Mario Run app for iPhone and iPad was releasedThe premier of Star Wars Rogue OneSeason 2 of The Man in the High Castle was released on Amazon PrimeApple AirPods wireless headphones were releasedSuper Mario Run is now available for free for iPhone and iPad. The game includes 3 free levels and all the additional levels can be unlocked with a $9.99 in app purchase. I'm not very good at it, but it's a fun game the can be playe
11
My impressions of the iPhone 7 Plus, Apple Watch Series 2 and more
Wed, Nov 2nd 2016 10:50p   Christopher Pepin
It's been several weeks since I last blogged and I wanted to share my impressions of several new devices I purchased: Apple iPhone 7 Plus (black, 128GB, Verizon) I had been using a 2 year old iPhone 6 that was due for an upgrade. While it took almost 2 months for my iPhone 7 Plus to arrive, it was worth the wait. I like the size, form factor, performance (3GB RAM), battery life, screen, haptic TouchID sensor, dual camera and new portrait mode with iOS 10.1. I'm not missing the headphone jack
7
My visit to the US Open Tennis 2016
Wed, Aug 31st 2016 7:02p   Christopher Pepin
Earlier this week, I attended the US Open tennis tournament in Queens, NY with my son. IBM is a sponsor of the event and I also volunteered at the IBM Cognitive Court, an interactive event showcasing Watson technology. I attended the Monday evening opening ceremonies in Arthur Ashe stadium with its new high-tech retractable roof . Phil Collins performed "In the Air Tonight" and Leslie Odom Jr performed the national anthem to a capacity crowd filled with celebrities. Novak Djokovic, the rein
5
Apple schedules September 7 event; expected to launch new iPhone 7
Mon, Aug 29th 2016 3:30p   Christopher Pepin
Apple sent out invites to members of the press of its September 7 event earlier today. While Apple didn't specify on what would be announced, its widely expected that the new iPhone 7 and iOS 10 are likely to take center stage along with macOS "Sierra" Not attending the event in person? The event can be streamed online at Apple.com the Events app on and Apple TV
4
Tap to speak time on Apple watchOS 3.0 beta
Tue, Aug 2nd 2016 6:23p   Christopher Pepin
Apple watchOS 3.0 beta offers a number of new features including improved app performance (faster app launches), a new app launcher, activity sharing, new Breathe app, new watch faces and Face Gallery, scribble feature feature to reply to text messages. Additional, watchOS offers a new "Tap to speak time" feature for both the Mickey and Minnie Mouse watch faces as shown in the video below Enable this feature by opening the Apple Watch app on an iPhone running iOS 10 beta and enabling "Tap t




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