My Favourite Tech Purchases of 2015

With everyone looking ahead to try and figure out what 2016 might bring us, I wanted to share some of my favourite tech purchases from last year that have become a part of my daily life.

iPhone 6s Plus, Space Grey, 64GB

I usually replace my iPhone every two years, and since I purchased an iPhone 6 the year before, I wasn’t expecting to buy a new one in 2015. However, with features like like 3D Touch and my disappointment with the iPhone 6 battery, I decided to join the #mykewasright team and splurge on the 6s Plus1.

I’ve not had the 6s Plus long, so I’m still getting used to the new features and don’t make use of 3D Touch as nearly as much as I should, but it’s already been a fantastic companion and the battery life is such an improvement. I think I still prefer the smaller screen size of the 6/6s as one-handed use of the 6s Plus isn’t as easy2, but the benefits and features of the 6s Plus far outweigh any of the minute criticisms I have about its size.

I always pair my iPhone with a case3, which can make one-handed use even more difficult and, while many choose to use their iPhone unprotected, I’m just too nervous to do so.

iPad Air 2, Space Grey, 64GB

I had owned iPads before, specifically the iPad 2 and iPad mini with Retina display, but could never quite fit them into my life. When iOS 9 was announced, I was blown away with the innovation of features like Split View, and decided that it might soon be time to give the iPad another try.

After purchasing my iPad Air 2 in June, my 2012 13″ Retina MacBook Pro usage has plummeted. The most common task I need to use it for is whenever I make backend changes to the CMS that this site and Workflow Directory use, as I rely on PHP and features of git that just aren’t available on iOS.

I have the same MacBook Pro that has been provided by work, so my day job is spent on the Mac, but almost everything else that I need to do in my own time, I can get done on my iPad4.

I don’t use a case with my iPad but do have the Smart Cover in red.

Apple Watch, Sport Edition, 42mm

I can honestly say I haven’t been “blown away” by my Apple Watche^29561685 but I do enjoy using it. It’s worn every day and, thanks to apps like Workflow and CARROT Weather, it’s become a useful part of my life.

I appreciate my Apple Watch the most for notifications and activity tracking, though features like turn-by-turn walking directions, with different taps to silently notify you when to make a left or right turn, have been invaluable as I become accustomed to a new city like New York.

Due to limited stock, the only band option I could get at my local Apple Store at the time was the bright green one. I’ve since purchased the black band but I’ve been slowly drawn back to the green band.

Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard

I prefer to use a physical keyboard with my iPad whenever I’m writing more than a few paragraphs, so I was all set to purchase another Apple Bluetooth Keyboard until I happened to stumble across this roundup of iPad Air keyboards at The Verge. This portable keyboard from Microsoft can be had for about $50 and, while it isn’t a full-size keyboard (it’s the same width as the iPad), it’s comfortable enough to use for long periods of time.

Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard

It has plenty of shortcut keys and a removeable protective cover that’s held to the keyboard magnetically, which doubles as a stand for the iPad. Folding open the cover will raise the keyboard slightly to give a more comfortable typing position and has it has a set of grooves that will hold an iPad at two different angles, both of which will safely support the iPad in portrait.

JBL GO Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker

A fantastic little speaker and an absolute steal at $50. The sound quality alone is just as good, if not better, than speakers two or three times its price and gets loud enough for me to hear anywhere in my apartment. It’s very conservatively designed for a Bluetooth speaker, small enough that you can travel anywhere with it and the rubberised casing means it can take a beating and won’t slide around.

JBL GO Speaker

It has the usual features of built-in volume controls, 3.5mm aux-in, Micro USB port for charging, a call/play/pause button and built-in microphone so you can use Siri without needing to touch your iPhone.

I’ve been using this speaker every day for the past six months in the the bathroom, the bedroom, the car – in fact, pretty much all my podcast listening is done through this little speaker.

  1. I always buy the SIM free version of an iPhone, never on a contract or committment with a particular carrier. 

  2. I have quite small hands so I mostly use the iPhone 6s Plus two-handed. However, this does mean I’ve been far more careful with it and haven’t had any near-drops so far. 

  3. I was previously using the Apple Silicone Case with my iPhone 6 and have the same for my 6s Plus. I used to own the Apple Leather Case but found it just wasn’t durable enough and, after a few months of use with my iPhone 6, was battered, scuffed and worn so badly it looked terrible. 

  4. I think it’s safe to assume that I’ll upgrade to an iPad Pro sometime in 2016.