Apple Issues

I have several complaints about Apple technology that I want to address in this post. Some things will be iOS specific, while others will apply to Apple as a whole. Some of these things are similar to what existed in my previous post prior to the release of iOS 7.

1. In iOS 7 whenever you play a video in Safari it is not at all apparent which words are actionable buttons and what is simply a label. In the screenshot below the only thing that looks actionable is the slider for the time. The Done, Maximize, Back, Pause, Next and Airplay buttons are all grayed out. Normally that would mean you can’t use them. In this case however all of them work. A new user (or  advanced one) will not know what to press.

iOS 7 Video Player

2. The wish lists on the iOS/iTunes stores cannot be shared with anyone. (What good does it do to have a wish list if you can’t tell someone to buy stuff off of it?)

3. It is not possible to buy applications or media content from a website. It’s possible to buy Android apps from an iPad, why is it not possible to do the reverse?

4. It is not possible to view purchased content from anything other than iTunes or an iOS device. The web has evolved, it is time to make everything web centric. Google has done this from the start. It is time Apple followed suit. (They have proven they know how to make compelling web apps, they just did it with iWork)

5. Facetime should be opened as a standard. Give it to Google and Microsoft and allow them to make it the default on their devices as well. We’re well past the point of treating text, phone calls and video calls as anything other than what they truly are; more data.

6. iCloud needs to be fixed. The fix is actually very simple. Allow users to specify the iCloud account to use for each service. See below for an example

  • I may want to share notes across all of my devices, I may also want to share all of my photos on every device.
  • I do not need to share my iCloud Keychain across everything.

7. Magazines are almost dead. That doesn’t mean Newsstand needs to suck. Allow us to see our updated magazines. Don’t hide everything behind an icon.

8. Allow users to delete the default apps. Except for the app store. (Might also help with #7 above.)

9. Place the default apps on the app store so that I can re-download them after I accidentally delete them.

10. Fix the Photos app on iOS devices. It is actually more complicated to find photos now than it was on iOS6. Combine the photos app with iPhoto for iOS. There’s no good readon why both apps exists. They do the same thing.

Advertisements
Tagged , ,

Apple’s iPad Roadmap

This is Apple’s game to lose and it looks like they’re fucking up.

The iPhone 5C is too expensive, plain and simple. Apple doesn’t seem to realize that their target audience has shifted. They’re no longer looking at developed countries. They are looking at the emerging markets. Apple is currently about 300 million devices behind Google. They need to close that gap. iOS is currently on about 700 million devices. This post looks at how they can get to the next 700 million.

First let’s look at the iPad. This device is arguably doing better than the iPhone because it still has decent marketshare. I will admit that Apple priced the iPad Mini too high, but that’s water under the bridge. Going forward Apple needs to fill out their iPad line. Here’s what I envision as the ideal iPad lineup:

iPad (10 inch) $349 – $375
iPad Mini (8 inch) $299 – $325
iPad Nano (6 inch) $249 – $275
iPad Micro (4 inch) (formerly the iPod Touch) $199 – $225

You’ll notice that I’ve repositioned the iPod Touch. As time goes on we should expect to see Apple sell fewer and fewer iPods. The era of a dedicated music device is over. Unless you’re a gym rat you probably don’t own/need an iPod.

Additionally you’ll notice that I’ve changed the incremental pricing between products. Apple needs to move away from $100 for each upgrade and bring it down to $50 to $75. This should still leave room for profit while increasing the viable market.

What’s really interesting about those prices is that it shows that there is already a spot for what I call the iPad Nano. A six inch device that sits between the iPod Touch/iPad Micro and the existing iPad Mini.

What do you think? Does this make sense or is it completely off base?

-ED

Tagged , ,

Update on Gold iPhone

So it turns out the rumors were true. This thing is real. Whether or not this is the begining of the end only time will tell.

-ED

Tagged ,

Pixar’s Rules for Storytelling (How to write better)

I saw this on Reddit yesterday. This is too good not to share. Giving credit to where it’s due this originally appears on Aerogramme Writer’s Studio. Original Article.

Below are the 22 rules for writing better. These rules were originally tweeted by Emma Coats @lawnrocket who is a writer at Pixar.

  1. You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.
  2. You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be very different.
  3. Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.
  4. Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.
  5. Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.
  6. What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?
  7. Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.
  8. Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.
  9. When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.
  10. Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.
  11. Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.
  12. Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.
  13. Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.
  14. Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.
  15. If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.
  16. What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.
  17. No work is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on – it’ll come back around to be useful later.
  18. You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, not refining.
  19. Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.
  20. Exercise: take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How d’you rearrange them into what you DO like?
  21. You gotta identify with your situation/characters, can’t just write ‘cool’. What would make YOU act that way?
  22. What’s the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.

-ED

Moving On

Today is my last day at my current employer. I am moving on to hopefully bigger things. Having already transitioned all of my tasks onto others my biggest concern for today is what I will say in this, my farewell letter.

In retrospect I think I should have spent more time preparing. There are so many things that come to mind, so many things that I want to say. I know that others have been where I am now. They were dealing with the same problem as that one that currently stands in front of me. There are so many great quotes and speeches from the past from which to draw upon. The question I then have to ask myself is which one do I choose? Which past quote can apply to my current situation?

I struggled with that question for some time. There were so many others that have done it before me, and let’s be honest, they’ve done it better. I read the words of Washington, Lincoln, Reagan and countless others, but none seemed to fit my current predicament. Ultimately I fell upon this Irish Blessing.

May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back.  May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields.  And until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of his hand.

So with that let the screen fade to black, let the curtain fall.  It is time to prepare for the next act.

-ED

The Gold iPhone 5S

The story about a gold iPhone has been floating around for a couple of days now. Most recently I saw a post in 9to5Mac. You can read it here.

There are so many reasons I hope this is wrong. The biggest reason is that fake gold products are usually used to imply “expenisve” and “high-quality” but they never succeed.

If this is the path Apple’s going down then it’s in trouble. It’s products should speak for themselves and not have to be spray painted gold.

 

-ED

Tagged

WWDC Follow Up

Now that the dust has settled it makes sense to take a look back and see what Apple did actually announce at this year’s WWDC.

Here are the rumors that Justin (CarpeAqua) identified along with my predictions.

  1. A completely refreshed design language for iOS 7 that sheds the Forstall and oozes Ive.
    • What I guessed: Partially going to happen.
    • What actually happened: This one did happen. iOS7 is a radical redesign from iOS6. Some might say it’s too radical of a redesign. Only time will tell.

  2. Modernized and updated system apps for iOS that match the new Ivey design language.
    • What I guessed: Partially going to happen.
    • What actually happened: This one also happened. This goes hand in hand with the previous one.The complete redesign of the OS also meant that the green felt, leather stitching and photo realistic icons are a thing of the past.

  3. A services/sharing architecture on par with what is offered by Windows Phone and Android.
    • What I guessed: Not going to happen (yet… maybe next year).
    • What actually happened: I was right. We’re still going to have to wait a while longer for our apps to be able to talk to each other. With the improved multitasking it makes sense that this will be added sooner rather than later.

  4. An update to iMessage that makes it reliable.
    • What I guessed: Going to happen.
    • What actually happened: I think its too soon to tell on this one.

  5. An update to iMessage that allows people to leave group chats.
    • What I guessed: Might happen. (I give it a 50/50 chance.)Also too soon to tell.
    • What actually happened: This did not happen.

  6. Multiple people on FaceTime calls.
    • What I guessed: Might happen as well.
    • What actually happened: This did not happen.

  7. Xcode 5 with better refactoring tools, smarter smart sense and less crashes.
    • What I guessed: I don’t use XCode, so I can’t comment on this.
    • What actually happened: As far as I can tell, this did not happen.

  8. A separate documentation viewer from Xcode itself so that command-tabbing between code and documents is possible and I can remove that weird purple icon DashCode uses from my Dock.
    • What I guessed: See previous comment.
    • What actually happened: As far as I can tell, this did not happen.

  9. Transitioning the beta testing process from device limits and towards Apple ID’s so anyone with a targeted ID can install a beta product on any device they own.
    • What I guessed: Not going to happen.
    • What actually happened: This did not happen.

  10. The ability to distribute betas over the App Store.
    • What I guessed: Might happen. (I give it a 50/50 chance.)
    • What actually happened: This did not happen.

  11. Analytics tools for App Store developers so we can see where referrals and sales funnel in from.
    • What I guessed: Not going to happen.
    • What actually happened: This did not happen.

  12. Real-time sales analytics. It’s 2013. Next day sales charts just won’t do.
    • What I guessed: Not going to happen.
    • What actually happened: This did not happen.

  13. The ability to finally, once and for all delete old app IDs from the portal.
    • What I guessed: Not going to happen.
    • What actually happened: This did not happen.

  14. The death of the provisioning profile to make deploying to devices less of a headache.
    • What I guessed: Not going to happen.
    • What actually happened: This did not happen.

  15. The removal of the 100 device limit for iOS beta testing, or at a minimum deleting a device gives the slot back to you before your iOS developer program renewal date.
    • What I guessed: Not going to happen.
    • What actually happened: This did not happen.

  16. A faster, more reliable iCloud.
    • What I guessed: Going to happen.
    • What actually happened: This did not happen. (As far as I can tell.)

  17. An updated iCloud that obviates the need for services like Dropbox.
    • What I guessed: Going to happen.
    • What actually happened: This sort of happened. Apple added AirDrop support for iOS devices. For some reason though you cannot AirDrop from your Mac to your iOS devices. Additionally you cannot use AirDrop with non-Apple products.

  18. Syncing with Core Data and iCloud to actually work so that we can stop writing blog posts about it.
    • What I guessed: Going to happen.
    • What actually happened: Wishful thinking on this one….

  19. A backend service that ties to iCloud that enables Apple platform developers to deploy a web service to tie their apps together. Think Google App Engine, but with a flat UI designed by Jony Ive.
    • What I guessed: Might happen. (I give it a 50/50 chance.)
    • What actually happened: This did not happen.

  20. The ability to customize the lock screen on iOS.
    • What I guessed: Might happen. (I give it a 50/50 chance.)
    • What actually happened: This sort of happened. At least now we have notifications and live wallpapers for the lock screen.

  21. The ability to organize your springboard free-form.
    • What I guessed: Not going to happen.
    • What actually happened: This did not happen.

  22. The ability to add widgets to your home screen.
    • What I guessed: Might happen. (I give it a 50/50 chance.)
    • What actually happened: This did not happen.

  23. Quick access to key service toggles like Airplane Mode and Bluetooth.
    • What I guessed: Might happen. (I give it a 50/50 chance.)
    • What actually happened: This DID happen!

  24. A more reliable Game Center so Loren doesn’t break it again.
    • What I guessed: Not going to happen. In fact Game Center may go away.
    • What actually happened: No clue if it’s more reliable. At least they got rid of the green felt.

  25. The ability to Find My Friends without having to open up an app covered in leather. This will allow vegetarians to finally use the product.
    • What I guessed: Going to happen.
    • What actually happened: This DID happen!

  26. Updates to iTunes Match make it more like Rdio and less like an unreliable mess.
    • What I guessed: Going to happen.
    • What actually happened: They introduced iTunes radio. iTunes match is still a mess.

  27. An updated notification center that supports swiping away notifications.
    • What I guessed: Might happen. (I give it a 50/50 chance.)
    • What actually happened: This did not happen.

  28. An updated notification center that supports quick actions from a notification.
    • What I guessed: Might happen. (I give it a 50/50 chance.)
    • What actually happened: This sort of happened. There are more actions available from the notifications center.

  29. An updated notification center that offers Game Center achievements for successfully tapping the tiny “X” on the first try.
    • What I guessedL Not going to happen.
    • What actually happened: This did not happen.

  30. The ability to download Mac apps from your iPhone or iPad and have them show up on your Mac when you get home.
    • What I guessed: Not going to happen.
    • What actually happened: This did not happen. But it needs to!

  31. The ability to download iPad apps from your iPhone and have them show up on supported devices automatically.
    • What I guessed: Not going to happen.
    • What actually happened: This did not happen.

  32. A web-based front-end to iTunes that doesn’t involve ever launching iTunes again.
    • What I guessed: Not going to happen.
    • What actually happened: This did not happen. I still hope it does. The new iWork beta gives me hope that Apple will put more products on the web….

  33. Selective backup restoration from an iCloud backup.
    • What I guessed: Not going to happen.
    • What actually happened: I was right.

  34. Read and write access to Photo Streams.
    • What I guessed: Not going to happen.
    • What actually happened: This sort of happened. Now others can add to a shared photo stream.

  35. The ability to set new default apps for things like the camera, calendar and browser.
    • What I guessed: Might happen. (I give it a 50/50 chance.)
    • What actually happened: This did not happen.

  36. Deeper integration for third-party services beyond just Twitter and Facebook.
    • What I guessed: Going to happen.
    • What actually happened: This did not really happen, although there is now some LinkedIN integration.

  37. The return of Google Maps.
    • What I guessed: Not going to happen.
    • What actually happened: They are sticking with their own maps. (and they need to work faster at this. It’s bad.)

  38. A Q&A session with Tim Cook at the conclusion of the Keynote where he answers questions from anyone not named Robert Scoble.
    • What I guessed: Not going to happen.
    • What actually happened: Nope.

  39. The ability to update apps in the background without weird geofencing hacks to accomplish it.
    • What I guessed: Might happen. (I give it a 50/50 chance.)
    • What actually happened: This did not happen.

  40. A new App Store app that isn’t a complete turd.
    • What I guessed: Not going to happen.
    • What actually happened: Still the same old app store. (I don’t really have a problem with it. Other than the fact I can’t access it from the web.)

  41. An update to OS X that is not only stable and fast, but incorporates new features both pulled back from iOS and to further push it ahead of Windows 8.
    • What I guessed: Going to happen.
    • What actually happened: This DID happen.

  42. The ability to disable that god damned Mac App Store updates notification without having to actually update or open the Mac App Store.
    • What I guessed: Not going to happen.
    • What actually happened: They introduced automatic updates.

  43. Port UIKit back to OS X so that I can stop reading tweets from people bitching about how old and dated AppKit is.
    • What I guessed: Not going to happen.
    • What actually happened: This did not happen.

  44. Retina screens for every Mac.
    • What I guessed: Not going to happen.
    • What actually happened: This did not happen. We didn’t even get Retina on the Macbook Airs.

  45. A new Mac Pro. Finally.
    • What I guessed: Going to happen
    • What actually happened: It’s almost here….

  46. Air Drop support across the Internet and not just your local network.
    • What I guessed: Not going to happen.
    • What actually happened: As I mentioned earlier…. this isn’t fully baked. AirDrop between iOS devices, but that’s it.

  47. Pull all the Google-centric code from WebKit 2 and make the next version of Safari suck less. No more reloading all my tabs please.
    • What I guessed: Might happen. (I give it a 50/50 chance.)
    • What actually happened: Safari now has a unified address bar (welcome to 2009), but I don’t know what WebKit changes were made.

  48. The ability to read your iBooks on your Mac.
    • What I guessed: Might happen. (I give it a 50/50 chance.)
    • What actually happened: I really should have said 60/40 against on this one. I was pleasantly surprised. Too bad it doesn’t work on a PC yet.

  49. MapKit for OS X.
    • What I guessed: Not going to happen.
    • What actually happened: I can admit when I’m wrong….

  50. Siri support for the Mac.
    • What I guessed: Going to happen
    • What actually happened: This sort of happened. There is improved dication for the Mac.

Overall Apple made some much needed improvements, but as you can tell there are still many things they need to address.

Tagged

What Apple Will Introduce at WWDC 2013

I’m stealing an idea from Justin Williams over at CarpeAqua. He had a great post about all the things that Apple needs to introduce at WWDC 2013 in order to meet all of the rumors that are floating around out there. I’m going to look at those rumors and put myself on record with my predictions.

Here are the rumors that Justin identified along with my predictions.

  1. A completely refreshed design language for iOS 7 that sheds the Forstall and oozes Ive. – Partially going to happen.
  2. Modernized and updated system apps for iOS that match the new Ivey design language. – Partially going to happen.
  3. A services/sharing architecture on par with what is offered by Windows Phone and Android. – Not going to happen (yet… maybe next year).
  4. An update to iMessage that makes it reliable. – Going to happen.
  5. An update to iMessage that allows people to leave group chats. – Might happen. (I give it a 50/50 chance.)
  6. Multiple people on FaceTime calls. – Might happen as well.
  7. Xcode 5 with better refactoring tools, smarter smart sense and less crashes.  – I don’t use XCode, so I can’t comment on this.
  8. A separate documentation viewer from Xcode itself so that command-tabbing between code and documents is possible and I can remove that weird purple icon DashCode uses from my Dock. – See previous comment.
  9. Transitioning the beta testing process from device limits and towards Apple ID’s so anyone with a targeted ID can install a beta product on any device they own. – Not going to happen.
  10. The ability to distribute betas over the App Store. – Might happen. (I give it a 50/50 chance.)
  11. Analytics tools for App Store developers so we can see where referrals and sales funnel in from. – Not going to happen.
  12. Real-time sales analytics. It’s 2013. Next day sales charts just won’t do.  – Not going to happen.
  13. The ability to finally, once and for all delete old app IDs from the portal.   – Not going to happen.
  14. The death of the provisioning profile to make deploying to devices less of a headache.   – Not going to happen.
  15. The removal of the 100 device limit for iOS beta testing, or at a minimum deleting a device gives the slot back to you before your iOS developer program renewal date.   – Not going to happen.
  16. A faster, more reliable iCloud. – Going to happen.
  17. An updated iCloud that obviates the need for services like Dropbox. – Going to happen.
  18. Syncing with Core Data and iCloud to actually work so that we can stop writing blog posts about it. – Going to happen.
  19. A backend service that ties to iCloud that enables Apple platform developers to deploy a web service to tie their apps together. Think Google App Engine, but with a flat UI designed by Jony Ive. – Might happen. (I give it a 50/50 chance.)
  20. The ability to customize the lock screen on iOS. – Might happen. (I give it a 50/50 chance.)
  21. The ability to organize your springboard free-form. – Not going to happen.
  22. The ability to add widgets to your home screen. – Might happen. (I give it a 50/50 chance.)
  23. Quick access to key service toggles like Airplane Mode and Bluetooth. – Might happen. (I give it a 50/50 chance.)
  24. A more reliable Game Center so Loren doesn’t break it again. – Not going to happen. In fact Game Center may go away.
  25. The ability to Find My Friends without having to open up an app covered in leather. This will allow vegetarians to finally use the product. – Going to happen.
  26. Updates to iTunes Match make it more like Rdio and less like an unreliable mess. – Going to happen.
  27. An updated notification center that supports swiping away notifications – Might happen. (I give it a 50/50 chance.)
  28. An updated notification center that supports quick actions from a notification – Might happen. (I give it a 50/50 chance.)
  29. An updated notification center that offers Game Center achievements for successfully tapping the tiny “X” on the first try. – Not going to happen.
  30. The ability to download Mac apps from your iPhone or iPad and have them show up on your Mac when you get home. – Not going to happen.
  31. The ability to download iPad apps from your iPhone and have them show up on supported devices automatically. – Not going to happen.
  32. A web-based front-end to iTunes that doesn’t involve ever launching iTunes again. – Not going to happen.
  33. Selective backup restoration from an iCloud backup. – Not going to happen.
  34. Read and write access to Photo Streams. – Not going to happen.
  35. The ability to set new default apps for things like the camera, calendar and browser. – Might happen. (I give it a 50/50 chance.)
  36. Deeper integration for third-party services beyond just Twitter and Facebook. – Going to happen.
  37. The return of Google Maps. – Not going to happen.
  38. A Q&A session with Tim Cook at the conclusion of the Keynote where he answers questions from anyone not named Robert Scoble. – Not going to happen.
  39. The ability to update apps in the background without weird geofencing hacks to accomplish it. – Might happen. (I give it a 50/50 chance.)
  40. A new App Store app that isn’t a complete turd. – Not going to happen.
  41. An update to OS X that is not only stable and fast, but incorporates new features both pulled back from iOS and to further push it ahead of Windows 8.  – Going to happen.
  42. The ability to disable that god damned Mac App Store updates notification without having to actually update or open the Mac App Store. – Not going to happen.
  43. Port UIKit back to OS X so that I can stop reading tweets from people bitching about how old and dated AppKit is. – Not going to happen.
  44. Retina screens for every Mac. – Not going to happen.
  45. A new Mac Pro. Finally. – Going to happen
  46. Air Drop support across the Internet and not just your local network. – Not going to happen.
  47. Pull all the Google-centric code from WebKit 2 and make the next version of Safari suck less. No more reloading all my tabs please. – Might happen. (I give it a 50/50 chance.)
  48. The ability to read your iBooks on your Mac. – Might happen. (I give it a 50/50 chance.)
  49. MapKit for OS X. – Not going to happen.
  50. Siri support for the Mac. – Going to happen

iTunes Everywhere

There has been a lot of ink spilled over the last 6 months about the fact that Apple has lost its luster. Both Wall Street analyst and technology bloggers agree that Apple cannot continue its unrelenting upward trajectory.

In many ways I agree. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am an Apple fan, but I’m also willing to call the kettle black. Apple’s greatest strength is its ability to look within and develop innovative products. The question on everyone’s mind now is whether or not they can continue to do that now that Steve is gone. Only time will tell.

Apple’s greatest strength is also a weakness. They are unwilling (or unable) to acquire assets that will give them a leading market position. They have a lead in downloadable music, but seem uninterested in the market shift to streaming content. They’re either uninterested or they do not believe that streaming content will ever overtake downloads. One potential solution to this problem would be to open up iTunes to the web. Apple could spin it as an improved experience over other competitors. They could allow you to ditch iTunes completely and use just Safari or Firefox to access your content. Doing this would open up iTunes to other platforms that Apple currently doesn’t want to play in, and would allow them to further expand their dominance in the digital entertainment arena.

What do you think? Should Apple open up iTunes to the web?

Tagged , , , , , , ,