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5 New Features of iOS 5 That Can Save Time and Boost Productivity

5 New Features of iOS 5 That Can Save Time and Boost Productivity

Well, today is iPhone 4S day and because of its immaculate pre-order sales, it’s a pretty safe bet that many consumers like the idea of a faster, better camera equipped, personal assistant toting iPhone. Not to mention all of the updates that come because of the newly upgraded iOS 5.

So, can the iPhone 4S and iOS 5 make one more productive? Can it help them save time with normal everyday things? Well, no tool can make you more productive, you make you more productive, but a tool can definitely save you time and augment your productivity.

Here are 5 things that iPhone 4S and iOS 5 will help you save time and boost your productivity.

    Reminders

    Reminders is a new app that comes with iOS 5. It allows users to create simple lists of tasks that can contain a due date, a reminder (either a date/time or location), a name, and a note. Pretty simple. But for the masses of people that are GTD fanboys and girls like you, the reminder app will be more than enough to support their productivity.

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    Reminders also syncs with iCloud, so if you have any other iDevices you can get access to your todos from anywhere.

      Fast Camera Access

      One of my favorite new features of iOS 5 is the quick access to the camera. I take a lot of pictures of things that I need to remember for later meetings or phone calls (not to mention awesome pictures of my puppies) and being able to get quick access is nice.

      To get fast access, double click your home button at the lock screen and a camera icon will appear. Touch the camera icon and you are in. I’ve also noticed that when you access the camera this way on the iPhone 4, you won’t get the dreaded “shutter of death”. The shutter opens quickly and you can start snapping away.

        Keyboard shortcuts

        Even though the iPhone’s keyboard is pretty darn easy to use, it can be a little annoying to type and re-type certain phrases over and over again. If you are a TextExpander nerd, then you have probably been using TextExpander Touch on your phone for some time. The only issue is that TE Touch can’t be used system-wide.

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        In iOS 5 under Settings > Keyboard you will notice a new ‘Shortcuts’ section that allows users to enter phrases and a shortcut to get to them. Once you’ve added a shortcut combo, you can type it anywhere on your iPhone and you will see the familiar auto-correct bar come up with your “expanded” shortcut. It isn’t as robust as TE Touch, but still will save you tons of time in the long run.

          iCloud

          iCloud is Apple’s new cloud storage / syncing service that now ships with iOS 5. Signing up for an iCloud account gives you web access to a new email client, calendar, contacts, Find My iPhone, and documents in the cloud. Basically, MobileMe done right. You can then use this account to keep your iPhone in sync with the server, not to mention with all of your iCloud friendly devices.

          This is one thing that the iPhone has been missing that other devices (I’m looking at you Android) have been giving users for a while now. The thing is, and this goes for almost all Apple products, iCloud tends to be more “polished” (not more feature rich, Android fanboys) than any other cloud/mobile service that I have encountered.

          What does iCloud mean for productivity? Ubiquitous email, calendar, and contacts with web access. Not to mention daily “cloud backups” of your iDevice. Enough said.

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          Siri (iPhone 4S only)

          Siri is the voice recognition/personal assistant that ships with the iPhone 4S. There is a really nice video that Jason Snell did from Macworld showing off the personal assistant. While it is still in “beta”, Siri seems to work pretty well and can definitely help out users who don’t have typing access to their phones.

          Siri allows the user to listen to and reply to text messages with voice, search for local businesses and map them, search Wolfram Alpha for statistics and things, give themselves reminders, set timers and alarms, and also manipulate their calendar and email. Yes, Android phones have had speech recognition for a while, but once again Apple seems to have polished this and made it accessible to mere mortals.

            One more thing: Notification Center

            Any productive iPhone user has had to have known that the notifications on iOS stink. They interrupt what you are currently doing and force your attention to them. You could turn them off, but that was really an all or nothing type of approach.

            Apple has added the new Notification Center to iOS 5 that allows user to use a drop-down shade from the top of the iPhone, much like the Android notification bar. In Notification Center you can set up notifications for any app that supports it as well as include snazzy weather and stock widgets. I can’t begin to describe how much time this has saved me from having to “hunt and peck” for app badge icons to see the notifications I have missed.

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            Users can set up their notifications in Settings > Notifications and can choose just how they want them to show up.

            This is just a taste of all of the new features of iOS 5 that can help boost your productivity and save you time. I’m sure we will find more of the small time-savers that Apple has included over the next several days and weeks, but for now these are the most obvious ones. So, if you are a lucky one getting your snazzy new iPhone 4S today, try these 5 (+1) features out to save some time.

            More by this author

            CM Smith

            A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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            Published on November 19, 2020

            15 Great Macbook Accessories To Improve Productivity

            15 Great Macbook Accessories To Improve Productivity

            When looking to improve your workflow, you need to have a proper computer. And one of the most appealing computers out there is macbooks. These sleek transportable computers allow you to work anywhere at any time and provide a lot of functionality to their users.

            But sometimes, that’s not enough. In so many cases, you’re looking for more.

            While you could go for some productivity apps, there are actually a lot of macbook accessories available that will make your life easier in many ways. These extra accessories will allow your macbook to charge faster, hold more data, or keep it safe and protected while you travel around.

            Beyond that, there is a wide variety of accessories to pick from as many companies have jumped onto the bandwagon of supply to macbook users. Below we’ve listed off some of the greatest macbook accessories that’ll benefit your computer.

            What Makes For Great Macbook Accessories?

            Before getting into the list, we wanted to go over the criteria for what makes for great macbook accessories. The items that we’ve picked from this list will have the following criteria:

            • Reasonably priced – Accessories themselves shouldn’t break the bank compared to the large initial investment of a macbook.
            • Usability – All these accessories are practical in various situations, however, they also have extra features that make them useful in a few situations beyond their obvious functions.
            • Compact – Workflow is also about space in most circumstances. As such, anything that’s too bulky doesn’t help much. These accessories are either large on purpose – for storage of other items – or are nice and compact so they won’t get in the way.

            A USB Drive To Store Files Quickly Without Accessing The Cloud

              While you can always access the Cloud at any time, sometimes accessibility can be cumbersome or it takes time. Instead of trying to access files that way, getting a USB flash drive can save you plenty of time. Especially if your work entails providing presentations.

              The SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive is great as it offers USB-C and USB-A connectors allowing you to plug into virtually any device and transfer files and more between computers. Also, USB drives boast several hundred gigabytes these days making them solid storage devices.

              Buy SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive here.

              Compact Charger That Does More Than Charge

                Your default charger that comes with your MacBook is a good option for a charger, but these days chargers can offer so much more. This can help you speed up your workflow as you can be charging other devices or using the charger for other uses beyond charging.

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                In the case of the Anker PowerPort charger, it is more compact than the default charger. It also offers another USB-C connector allowing you to rapidly charge another gadget with it.

                Buy Anker PowerPort charger here.

                Port Adapter For Those With Multiple Devices

                  One of the hard restrictions with a macbook is that it only has two USB-C ports. This is manageable for people with fewer gadgets but if you’re the kind who has several, it can interrupt your workflow if you need a particular device and you can’t charge it or access it.

                  In this situation, a port adapter from Satechi can help. It offers multiple USB-C ports allowing you to use multiple devices. This can also help in organizing cords which we know can disrupt work. If the USB-C ports aren’t enough, it also comes with an SD card reader and ethernet cable port too.

                  Buy Satechi Multi-Port Adapter here.

                  A USB Cable That Isn’t As Intrusive Or Cumbersome To Use

                  The USB-C cable that comes with Macbooks is small and is used to hook to an external monitor. By adding more length to them, you can have better cable management. One option that we found to be ideal was the Nomad Kevlar cable which offers enough length to do what you want while giving you more space to work with.

                  Buy Nomad Kevlar USB-C Cable here.

                  Screen Cleaning Your Laptop To See What You’re Doing

                  Dust, particles and splotches are to be expected on laptop screens after a while. While you can work around these, sometimes they can obscure your vision at times. The same can apply to all devices these days.

                  The only problem with many solutions on the market is that they can damage screens. Fortunately, we found a screen cleaning solution that doesn’t harm screens. ScreenDr Professional screen cleaning kit comes with a spray that’s safe for screens and an antimicrobial microfiber cloth to ensure you make the most of the spray.

                  Buy ScreenDr Professional Screen Cleaning Kit here.

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                  Card Reader That Speeds Up Photo Transfer Time

                    If you’re looking for a standalone card reader for your work, getting a device designed for photo transferring and reading is essential. One of the best macbook accessories in this category we found was the Vanja card reader.

                    This one is able to read SD and MicroSD cards while also transferring the pictures to a computer with ease thanks to its USB-C and USB 2.0 port options. It’s also small making it easy to carry around and is cheap to buy making it a great choice to pick up if you deal with plenty of pictures.

                    Buy Vanja Card Reader here.

                    Protective Sleeves To Protect Your Laptop From Harm

                    For those who are travelling the last thing that you want is your laptop to get damaged for whatever reason. Even though you’re not likely to drop it as frequently as your phone, having a sleeve for a laptop to be in can save you time.

                    One sleeve that we found interesting was the Native Union sleeves. They are made of tear-resistant material with genuine leather accents. Its interior is soft as well preventing scratches from your laptop. It also offers a pocket area where you can store cables and other macbook accessories easily.

                    Buy Native Union’s laptop sleeve here.

                    Car Charger For Charging On The Go

                      For the person always driving around, a car charger is always a helpful tool to have when you’re on the go. The one from Anker is particularly helpful in a number of ways. Not only can this charge your macbook, but it also has an additional port for you to charge your phone if needed.

                      It’s not the fastest charger out there when compared to the Macbook Pro adapter but it’s the highest in the market with an output power of 30 watts. For comparison, the second-fastest charging connector offers an output of 18 watts. Aside from that the charger has an illuminated LED ring for you to see it and the connectors late at night. It also has a function that ensures devices don’t experience surges or overheating from the charger itself.

                      Buy Anker PowerDrive car charger here.

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                      USB-C to USB-A Adapter Grants Access To Older Models

                      If your older macbook still works but has files you want that you didn’t back up that you want this makes it easier to access them. It also allows you to access devices that have USB-A slots only. This can save you a lot of time if you are moving between older and newer devices.

                      Buy Thunderbolt Adapter here.

                      A Hardshell Case For Added Protection

                      A sleeve is good for travel, but when you’re using it, having an extra layer of protection can be nice. Beyond that this hardshell case can also serve as additional protection from scratches and bumps too.

                      Buy Incase Textured Hardshell case here.

                      Alternative Sleeve For Those With Tighter Budgets But Want Protection

                        If you are looking for an appropriate laptop sleeve but aren’t looking to spend too much, AmazonBasics brands are a good alternative. Their sleeves are elegant and still offer good protection from scratches as well. It also has a few pockets for small essentials too.

                        Buy AmazonBasics laptop sleeve here.

                        A Hub That Accommodates Several Ports At Once

                        We’ve already mentioned a port before being a huge time saver thanks to it having various ports for different devices. This one is a great alternative as while it doesn’t offer as many USB-C ports, it offers more variety. Paired up with the design being the same color as the MacBook Air, it offers two USB-C connectors, two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port and SD and microSD card readers.

                        Buy Satechi Type C Pro Hub here.

                        Earbuds To Deal With Fewer Headphone Cords

                          Cords are a common problem when boosting productivity at the desk and one way to mitigate them is to go wireless. If you are thinking about that, one option to consider is the Soundcore earbuds. These are cheaper than the traditional AirPods from Apple which can save you money.

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                          Furthermore, they deliver great sound and are connected via Bluetooth. The beauty of these earbuds is they can also cancel sound despite them being so compact. They also offer touch control allowing you to pause, play, skip music and answer calls.

                          Buy Soundcore Wireless Earphones here.

                          Desktop Stand To Save Desk Space

                            Desk space is another crucial part of productivity as things can get in the way and obstruct your work. In cases where you don’t need your laptop at the moment, having a stand where you can set it aside can be helpful.

                            In those situations, we recommend the Twelve South Book Arc. This neat Macbook accessor can save a tonne of space since it requires you to close your laptop in order to insert it into the stand. It also keeps it elevated from the surface which can protect it from spills

                            Buy Twelve South BookArc desktop stand here.

                            A Comfortable And Easy To Use Mouse For Faster Working Speed

                            The last of the macbook accessories we’ll talk about is a proper mouse. Logitech offers fantastic mouses and their Logitech MX Master 3 is one of the greatest wireless mouses out there. It’s ergonomic design, customizable buttons and insanely precise movement is fantastic. It also comes with a scrolling wheel for precise scrolling.

                            The battery power can last for months between charges and like all Logitech devices, it comes with a USB-C connector for charging.

                            Buy Logitech MX Master 3 Wireless Mouse here.

                            Bottom Line

                            There are many macbook accessories out there to improve your workflow. Taking the time to do research and invest in some of the best ones though will save you plenty of time, money and energy in the long term. At the same time, all of these accessories can help you with specific needs for whatever you are doing.

                            Featured photo credit: Viktor Ritsvall via unsplash.com

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