Event season and worklife tech updates with new iPhone and Surface Laptop Studio

I am writing this article during Microsoft Finland Modern Work and Security Roadshow / Tour. It has been some time since something like this happened in Finland and I am honored to be part of event speakers during this tour, that took me around Finland in a train. The good thing about train travel is that I can use transit times between cities to work on my upcoming presentations, join briefing meetings and of course write blog posts. In this Modern Work and Security Tour I speak about the Microsoft Metaverse and the Future of Work. Why and how Metaverse is changing and shaping the future and how Microsoft Metaverse is making the difference in the Future. Personally it is also great to present this in Finnish – I know the audience is tough to please 😊😁 but lovely. You just need to know how we Finns are, otherwise you might feel odd if you see people smiling or don’t get applauded at the end of your session 😂 It doesn’t mean that the audience did not appreciate you and your session – instead it is rather rare to show it.

I had good time presenting my session “Microsoft Metaverse and Future of Work” Tuesday at the city of Kuopio in front of the live audience.

Photo by Juha Anttila

Yes, I started my session wearing HoloLenses. It was fun to tell about Mixed Reality, Microsoft Metaverse and their big role for the future at work. HoloLenses and Mixed Reality devices overall have a big role in that future. I also included in the second city a live HoloLens Dynamics 365 Guides demo to realize the effect how Metaverse is changing how we work and learn.

Dazzling Event Season

This autumn/fall is looking busy when it comes to speaking in various events. This time a lot of events are in person, which means quite a lot of traveling between locations. What is good is that I don’t have to travel just to deliver a one session in an event. In GITEX I do my session and also got honored to be a mentor in the Metaverse Masters Hackathlon. At South Coast Summit on top of doing a Metaverse for Business session with my good friend Chris Hoard and very likely helping out as SMEs (Subject Matter Experts). At ESPC22 on top of my session I will be also helping out as SME (Subject Matter Expert) on Teams and in the Microsoft 365 Conference I am doing two sessions together with my friend Adam Deltinger.

Photo by Juha Anttila

My experiences when I switched from Android to iOS

Early August I updated my mobile phone. Originally I thought I would keep on using OnePlus 8Pro for 6-9 months longer, but finally it was Airtags, Microsoft Teams and the promise of the better camera that made me take the leap. I knew Apple iPhone 14 wasn’t too far away, but despite its 48MPix camera I decided I will go for iPhone 13Pro instead of waiting for 1-2 months for the release and then potentially the same amount for actually getting the mobile. Now after almost two months of using it I have to say I am glad I did the jump to iOS.

Of course when switching to Apple it meant for me also the switch to Apple watch also. And buying some chargers and cables to meet my needs while at home or traveling. When purchasing all that and seeing now the price-difference between iPhone 14Pro now vs 13Pro early August I don’t have regrets for not waiting. The features that came out with 14Pro are not that huge to match the price difference, to be honest. Even the 48MPix main camera didn’t yet seem to get that much praise as I thought it would have.

The actual switch from Android to iOS was less pain than I thought. Apple has quite a well preforming software that you install to Android phone and you can get most of your data with you to the iPhone. All my photos and files that matter were in the cloud service, of course, so I didn’t have to even transfer them over. I was very pleased to see that I was able to transfer SMS-messages and especially WhatsApp, for the latter I was already thinking that “there goes the history” but it was a great surprise to see that come along. While most of the texts at WhatsApp only matter for the moment, we occasionally use that to dig into family history (what, when, who) so it was a good migration experience for me to see that happen. Of course I had to reauthenticate to all apps, including banking and tenants. What made that easy was the 1Password that I use for me and family to keep passwords stored. Just install the 1Password, get it running and most of authentication details are in.

What I knew, would be the pain of re-adding all tenants, I have access to, into Microsoft Authenticator. I use multi-factor authentication and some tenants even support passwordless authentication. Adding new authenticator means that all tenants needs to be added there one by one. While doing that I also made sure my phone number is there, as a backup for app authentication (in case mobile phone breaks, gets lost or anything).

Basically moving to Apple from Android was quicker and easier than I thought it would be. I have had iPad for over a year, so I had already set up the iCloud and UX was familiar. Setting up Apple Watch Series 7 was also very easy experience. I only had some issues with Watch Update, but eventually the old fashioned troubleshooting with reboot solved it.

So the setup was easy and I got my new mobile phone and watch running while on vacation. Things that took some time for me to adopt where finding out how to set up wake-up alarms (after vacation) and there were some other settings where searching the net was the best and fastest way to figure them out.

What matters to me big time, is that Microsoft Teams runs much better than it run on OnePlus 8Pro. I expected that from my experiences with iPad Air. Switching tenants is faster and wait times are much shorter. No, it isn’t all blue sky but there are less issues and crashes than I had with Android under my daily use. And that transfers directly to less stress on nerves. Teams made me do it and it was worth the switch for me.

I had a very good Teams usage experience with Surface Duo 2 as well, but when considering my mobile I put more emphasis for factors that Duo 2 couldn’t meet. One of those was family, because my wife has had iPhone for several years now. With us both using Apples we can share things and location to each other very easily. Other one was AirTags, as I mentioned earlier and third one was the camera.

The camera on iPhone 13Pro is excellent. Especially when combined with Apple’s image processing. Megapixel amount isn’t that huge, but it has been enough. However the quality of images (Live Photos Rock!) is something that keeps on surprising me. For example taking a photo free hand of the night sky and getting surprisingly good result of the constellation Orion. And of course taking photos generally of the family – the difference to OnePlus is huge to Apple’s advantage.

No, not perfect but very amazing considering this was taken on free hand with a mobile phone in very dark conditions.

More normal photos and selfies got also a jump up compared to my previous phone.

Then there are other things that I really like. The way how phone and watch work together (seamless) as well as with the iPad. Turning off DND (do-not-disturb) sets it on to all devices. While I have great experiences with Logitech Zone True Wireless and Jabra Elite 7-series buds, I can’t help myself to think would the new AirPods Pro 2’s be worth the ease of use, especially when switching between iPad and iPhone.

Battery lasts much longer with iPhone. I haven’t had a day so far where I would have run out of charge. The charging isn’t as fast as with OnePlus, but it balances out when I don’ t have to charge it so often. It is enough to charge it during the night to have full battery at the morning. Probably this will change over the time and depends on the day as well – if I need to use hotspot for longer periods of time, for example, I might opt in to make sure I can charge the phone during or afterwards as well. But while OnePlus was eating up juice quite fast (when it was at 50% I felt it was a charger time because 10% could disappear sometimes way faster) Apple seems to manage the battery better. This is sometimes visible when switching between apps – Apple is not multi-tasking apps the same way than Android does. I rarely have issues with that.

Usage time situation is quite reversed with Galaxy Watch and Apple Watch. While the Galaxy Watch could have lasted for 2-3 days with a single charge, Apple watch lasts a day + some hours. I usually have about 30-40% left on the watch when I wake up and charge it when I start working. And it is also good to note about Apple Watch that it is really lightweight compared to Galaxy Watch I had.

Of course there was some learning curve – especially on the keyboard. iPhone 13 Pro is slightly smaller than OnePlus 8 Pro was and that also affects how well I am getting used to the new layout. I am still learning that I need to check out different apps for swipe left or right functions that are hidden – for example Teams, Outlook and WhatsApp have menus there.

And finally – it is great to be able to use Face ID for things that required fingerprint before. It does improve the user experience.

Overall my verdict is after about two months: it was worth for me to switch to iPhone.

Microsoft Laptop Studio – my new stellar forge

During this summer I got also my work computer finally upgraded. Bye bye Surface Pro 7 and welcome Microsoft Laptop Studio 32GB. While a laptop is a laptop this is a very good package of tech that justifies its larger size and weight compared to Pro -series Surfaces. I especially like again that I have a solid keyboard over the lightweight one Pro had. While Pro worked on many situations, there are plenty of traveling conditions where typing with that was impossible or hard due to space. Since Laptop Studio is more normal in that sense, this one can be used as long I have support for laptop base, instead to screen (as with Pro-series).

What I like, is the power. No, Laptop Studio cannot compete with my mid-gaming rig (that I never used for games so far..) when it comes to power, but instead now I can use this one to daily work home and travel without issues. At home I use Surface Dock to connect to 43″ 4K external display along with Surface’s own display. I run lots of Edge profiles that have Teams running – sometimes even running multiple Teams meetings at the same time. I have several PowerPoints usually open (some are massive in size) and also other documents and apps. Laptop Studio manages that, but it does like to fan the heat out a lot – and you can feel the heat under left palm/wrist as well. However I don’t have to avoid heavy duty actions when using this laptop but for some video processing I boot up the gaming rig and use it for longer lasting power requiring tasks, just to give a break to fan.

The best part: screen that you can use in three different positions: standard laptop, presentation/reading or design/reading mode. I often keep the screen between presentation / design mode to have a better angle to view contents and using the pen. I have noticed I have been using the touch screen more than earlier – for example using fingers to zoom or scroll text, instead touchpad or arrows/page up/down keys. It just feels more natural.

The size works for work from anywhere – even in a train. This is the standard laptop mode.
This is what I call a “presentation mode”, where the screen docks into middle and hides the keyboard. Leaving room for the touchpad. I use this mode a lot for reading as well.
The design / reading / tablet mode is also very usable. This allows easy use of inking or focusing on consuming content.

Surface Silm Pen 2 is very good when used with Laptop Studio on OneNote, Whiteboard or annotating in Edge for notes. Where I use the pen very often is when I am presenting – in Teams or in the physical room.

The pen is stored and charged with Surface Laptop Studio, where it attach magnetically. The storage “bay” is under the edge – in the photo pen is just placed on top of that edge. The storing solution is excellen – I have not yet displaced the pen from there and it is always usable when using the Surface. I sometimes use this “mode” where the screen is not locking to either position, but this feels more natural to me.

I like how versatile Laptop Studio is and feels. The battery lasts lot longer than it did on Surface Pro 7 under my use. When I am embarking to my Dubai-UK tour during October I have more experience about the battery life. At home it is connected to the Dock most of the time – it is a good thing the device protects it’s battery by limiting the charge to 80% on those times. However already now I can tell I can trust it’s battery more than I did on earlier laptops I’ve had.

There are a few things I am not in sync yet. Touchpad is different and using it the old way is not the way. Learning how to use a gentle nod will make it a lot easier – and Touchpad settings are configurable in Microsoft Windows. Since the pad is large in area, for the right click you need to press a lot more right and down than you think first.  

I can tone and set touchpad to my liking in settings.
I don’t even have to use “hard to catch corners” with right settings. Just to remember two finger tap. High sensitivity seems to work a lot better for me than the medium one.
I mostly work with a single desktop (at least for now) but Surface Laptop Studio is missing next-track key. But I can configure that directly to touchpad by selecting Change audio and volume option for four finger gestures.

And if these settings are not enough, you can customize these even more

The travel charger (the default one that comes with the comp) isn’t as good as Surface Pro had. The power supply cable gets loose easily, so the best practice would be to take it off before putting the charger and cable to the bag. And of course I don’t do that. The magnet could be a tad or two stronger, it feels it is coming off easier than earlier.

Of course with the new computer, I “had to” upgrade my bag also, switching from rather rugged backpack to more business-like briefcase bag. There were some other reasons for this as well, but it felt like a good moment for that upgrade as well. Perhaps one day I even learn to travel lighter than I do today.

Overall I am very happy about Surface. And Surface Laptop Studio is the best one so far in the laptop-range. There are multiple qualities that rock really well (touchscreen, pen, versatility) and they also look good. I am sure this is the one powering my work for 2-3 years, and it should have the power to run VR headsets as well.

2 thoughts on “Event season and worklife tech updates with new iPhone and Surface Laptop Studio

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