Tag Archives: iPhone

Big changes are always unpopular

John Gruber relates Apple’s decision to drop headphone jack to bigger issues:

“When we think of controversial decisions, we tend to think of both sides as creating controversy. Choose A and the B proponents will be angry; choose B and the A proponents will be angry. But when it comes to controversial change of the status quo, it’s not like that. Only the people who are opposed to the change get outraged. Leave things as they are and there is no controversy. The people who aren’t outraged by the potential change are generally ambivalent about it, not in a fervor for it. Strong feelings against change on one side, and widespread ambivalence on the other. That’s why the status quo is generally so slow to change, in fields ranging from politics to technology.”

I would not even describe myself as “ambivalent” about Apple’s decision to drop the headphone jack. Really, what it comes down to is I don’t give a darn. I switched to Bluetooth a couple of years ago. The only time I use that 3.5-mm jack is to connect the iPhone to the cassette adapter in my car. And a Bluetooth car adapter only costs $25-$40.

In politics, it takes a crisis to bring about big changes. When things are gradually declining — as they are now in the US — people want to just kick the problem down the road a little longer.

I fell down and broke my face

The next-door neighbors have two weimaraners, which are often out late in a dog run in their backyard. The dog run goes right up to the edge of our driveway, along the property line. When I walk Minnie before bedtime, the weimaraners are often in the yard, and there is much barking and excitement and lunging.

Last night I was walking Minnie and the dogs were at it. I remember Minnie lunged on the leash. I remember the driveway coming up and punching me in the face. That was not very nice of the driveway. I never did the driveway any harm.

Then I’m lying face down on the pavement.

Fortunately, nothing broke. Not my glasses, which were not riven into shards which plunged into my eyes. Not my back, which is what happened when Julie took a similar spill three years ago. Not my Pebble smartwatch or iPhone, which are far less important than eyes and a back but which would have been expensive to replace.

I’m not sure what I was doing when I fell. I remember I did not have a proper grip on the leash. I wasn’t doing something with my iPhone; it was in my pocket. I think I was setting the timer on the Pebble watch. I do that every night to be sure I walk Minnie for at least 20 minutes.

I got to my feet and retrieved the end of Minnie’s leash, before she could run away. She had no idea anything was odd, parked at the side of the dog run, barking vociferously.

Minnie was fine through all this. Indeed, she was completely unaware anything was wrong or unusual — happy, tail wagging, barking away at the weimeraners. You hear about dogs whose masters fall down and have a heart attack and the dog escapes from the house and summons the neighbors for help. Minnie is not that dog. Minnie is clueless.

I swore quite a bit, and loudly. I was very creative.

I went back inside to take inventory. “Look at what YOUR DOG did,” I told Julie.

I went back out. The weimeraners were nowhere to be seen or heard. I suspect the neighbors may have heard my editorializing. They’re very nice neighbors and the whole thing is really not their fault. They go to church regularly. I took the name of the Lord our God in vain when I was commenting on the incident. Additionally, I took the name of THEIR Lord their God in vain. I’m Jewish, but yelling the name of the Christian savior is so much more satisfying when in distress than any language we Jews have generated. Especially when you use His full name. His middle name starts with F.

I finished walking Minnie without further mishap, other than my frequently giving her dirty looks. That’ll show her.

When I got back to the house I took a look at my face. All I have to show for the accident is a small ding on the bridge of my nose. I had really hoped to have some properly ghastly wounds to show for my mishap but nope. I did scrape up both of my knees but that’s hardly the same as some nice facial wounds.

My knees were scraped up. Getting scraped knees as an adult feels foolish. What am I eight years old?

Julie ministered me with some care, wrapping my knees in bandages, and doing so without adhesive, which would be painfully getting off of my copiously hairy legs. The bandages came halfway off in my sleep, I tore the rest off in the morning. Sorry, Julie! Thanks anyway for the ministrations!

And how is your first week of unofficial autumn going?

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Google says Annette Hurst, who represents Oracle, was out of line disclosing that Google pays $1 billion to Apple to get Google search on the iPhone.

Hey, @Lyft, why so spammy all of a sudden?

I used Lyft one time a few years ago, and have kept the app on my iPhone in case I want to use it again.

A couple of days ago, I started getting ads from Lyft through iOS notifications.

This is annoying because I have the iPhone configured to only receive urgent notifications. I get notifications for phone calls, the Breaking News app, the Messages app, Facebook Messenger, and that’s about it. Not email, not Twitter, and certainly not ads from a company I used once a few years ago, but not since.

So now I’ve deleted the Lyft app from my iPhone, which is I’m sure what the Lyft marketing guys wanted me to do. Good job, Lyft marketing guys!

RIP slide to unlock

The classic ‘Slide to Unlock’ iPhone gesture is gone from iOS 10

Susie Ochs, Macworld: “I’ll really miss Slide to Unlock, which I stopped using 18 months ago anyway.”

It was “the first bit of iOS we ever saw.” It “got audible gasps of amazement at the original iPhone’s unveiling.”

The iPhone was the first real smartphone. Sure, there were predecessors — the Palm Treo, for example; I had one and loved it. But the iPhone was a vast advance and made smartphones mainstream. So that slide unlocked an era.

And that demo was Steve Jobs’s last great product introduction.

Apple sued Samsung claiming slide to unlock was proprietary; a judge threw the lawsuit out on its keister.

WWDC rumor roundup

What to Expect at WWDC 2016

I’d be very interested in a Siri SDK to allow developers to integrate Siri into their apps.

I might be interested in Siri on the Mac, though a keyboard and trackball work very well for me, so it’s hard to imagine switching. It would be more interesting if I could type queries to Siri – which, come to think of it, Apple has already been doing with Spotlight updates.

Proximity unlocking the Mac using the iPhone would be very nice. I’ve tried third-party utilities that did that, but they proved unreliable.

I like very much the idea of Apple implementing security features in iOS and iCloud that are so tough that even Apple can’t break them.

iMessage for Android? Sweet. Would love to bring my Android friends onto my iMessage network. On the other hand, would Android users use an Apple app? Probably not.

[Juli Clover – MacRumors]

Good news about the Apple App Stores

The New App Store: Subscription Pricing, Faster Approvals, and Search Ads [John Gruber – Daring Fireball]

Among the changes: Apple is throwing open the doors to allow developers to charge subscription pricing.

That’s a big step forward for two reasons: It will allow developers to implement a try-before-you-buy model with App Store apps, same as on downloadable Mac or Windows apps.

I’m a guy who likes to try new apps, and that can be an expensive habit when the apps are only available in the App Store. For example, last week I dropped $10 for the Mac version of the Airmail email app, as well as $5 for the iOS version, because you really need to try that app on every device to give it a fair workout. After a few days, I decided Airmail is not for me (performance too slow). $15 down the drain. Ouch. Be nice if I could try it for 30-90 days, then decide whether to pay to keep using it, as is typical for downloadable desktop apps.

Hell, it would be nice if I could try an app for an hour. Or a half-hour. Or 15 minutes. Long enough to give it a workout and decide whether it’s worth staying with.

The other reason to be encouraged by these changes is that it provides developers with a way to get off the creeping-featuritis treadmill. Because the way pricing works now, developers need to come out with a new version every now and then to get users to pay for an upgrade. So the developers start adding useless features to get people to upgrade. Now, developers will have the option to say, “This app is done. Nothing more I need to do with it,” and continue to offer support and minor upgrades for new versions of the OS. I guess developers could have done that before — charge for support and compatibility upgrades separately — but perhaps the market would not have stood for it.

And of course it’s a way for developers to make more money. That’s nice, but honestly I’m not all that concerned with how much money OTHER PEOPLE are making.

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Apple is said to be extending iPhone refreshes to once every three years – Martyn Williams, Macworld

Apple has previously been on a tick-tock cycle with the iPhone. Even-numbered years it makes big breakthroughs in design. Odd-numbered years it refines the previous year’s design, with phones that look identical to the previous year’s version but have faster guts.

In 2014, Apple came out with the iPhone 6, which was its big phone, and the 6 Plus, which was its REALLY big phone: Last year, faster versions of the same.

Now Apple is reportedly going from a two-year to three-year cycle, as phone hardware innovation gets harder to achieve.

I’m like many Apple enthusiasts, on a two-year upgrade cycle for my iPhone. And I’ve already been thinking about skipping this year, even without any hard information on what the 2016 iPhone will look like.

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iOS is keeping other keyboards from greatness – Katherine Boehret, The Verge

Boehret complains that third-party keyboards are unable to use dictation. But that's only one of the problems with third-party keyboards.

Support for third-party keyboards – and web browsers – is one area where Android is just plain better than iOS. iOS is always pushing you back to using the stock keyboard and browser. Android works more like a PC; if you change the default, you change it everywhere, throughout all applications and the operating system, which is as it should be.

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Apple is planning its “largest pivot yet,” according to Apple analyst Neil Cybart on Above Avalon. Just as Apple went from a PC/iPod company to a phone company starting in 2007, it’s now on the verge of transforming from a phone company to … something else. Apple is on track to spend more than $10 billion in R&D in 2016, up nearly 30% from 2015 and from a little over $3 billion just four years ago.

Cybart thinks Apple is going to become an electric car company.

Apple R&D Reveals a Pivot is Coming– Neil Cybart, Above Avalon

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“A withered person with a scrambled mind [and] memories sealed away [is] the familiar face of Alzheimer’s. But there is also the waiting period, which Geri Taylor has been navigating with prudence, grace and hope.”

N.R. Kleinfield tells Taylor’s story, in depth, with respect and gentle dignity, at The New York Times:

Fraying at the Edges: Her Fight to Live With Alzheimer’s

During a ruminant moment, Geri Taylor sat and, as an exercise, wrote down how she had changed. She called it: “Things I Do Differently as a Result of Diminished Capacity.”

The bulletinlike inspection report clarified for her who she now was. She found it sobering, for it caused her to realize just how reliant on others the slow drip of betrayals had made her, and that wounded her hard pride.

The log was two full pages. There were the expected entries, like not driving, not traveling alone (except by subway, bus or Metro-North train), simplifying her book choices, planning very carefully for outside activities (“always carry the same ‘highway bag,’” “constantly checking my things when I am out — have lost my vest, boots, watch and glasses in past nine months — very unusual”).

The list also contained some upbeat aspects. For instance, she put down how she cherished friends and family more than ever: “Daily call, email and text family and friends at a rate of 2-3 daily.”

And she listed something unexpected: “Do take housework more seriously and spend more time.” She cited the elements of housework as “an escape to simpler things” and how they were “time away from people and restful.” The dust and laundry, after all, didn’t judge her limitations, her spotty memory. So she found delight and gratification, even intoxication, in her triumphs over specks of dust and blemished counters.

“I can’t manage the bills, and I can’t manage the schedule,” she said. “But this is something I can do, and I can do well. So I’ve embraced it more. It’s identity. It’s a role I can still assume.”

She pointed out, “And most of the time, you can sing!”

As she wiped down counters and vacuumed the floor and changed bedsheets, she liked to sing whatever drifted through her mind (“Sometimes it’s disturbing what goes through my mind”).

They were old hymns. Show tunes. “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.” “Amazing Grace.” A favorite was “Barbara Allen,” an English ballad about a man dying as he pined for the love of a woman. Grim, all right, but she liked it just fine for the tune, which suited her voice, a second soprano alto. So she cleaned with gusto and great pleasure. And she sang.

Taylor relies on her iPhone for reminders throughout the day. It helps her keep her independence.

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Word Flow is a “swiping” keyboard, where you don’t pick up your finger between letters, and it has an “arc mode” that curves the keyboard for easy typing on one corner of the screen. Nifty!

I haven’t had much luck with third-party keyboards on iOS. Apple wants you to use them for occasional, added capabilities. It doesn’t want you to set a third-party keyboard as your default. This is one area where Android beats Apple.

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Kyle Plattner’s beautiful home office

Says Kyle:

I work with a really great team in Central Illinois developing an iPad app that maps real-time field data for farmers called FieldView Cab for a company called The Climate Corporation.

My home office, pictured above, was a project taken on to make working from home easier. While the bulk of my time is spent at an office working with a team, I knew I needed time to work outside of the office environment to accomplish what Cal Newton calls “Deep Work.” My early attempts to work from home were quickly rendered ineffective by not having a clear separation between work and family. Trying to focus in the same space where my wife and daughters were going about their daily activities wasn’t working well for anyone. Work and family rarely can both be served effectively in the same time and place.

So, I put together an outdoor office by walling off a room in our garden shed. I added a heating and cooling unit to it so that it could be used throughout the year with Midwest weather. Wood from old palettes were nailed to the walls, a standing desk built right in, and I added some storage and bookshelves. Lastly, I spent effort personalizing the space to make it a place where I’d want to be.

More photos and information about how Plattner uses the Mac and iPhone: Kyle Plattner’s Mac and iPhone setup.

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Tablet and iPad Market Is 100 Million Units Smaller Than Expected [Arik Hesseldahl – Recode]

What happened? Smartphones for one, in particular really big smartphones. Also, people buy new tablets at a slower pace than they do phones.

One category of tablets that’s likely to be successful: tablets with detachable keyboards, like the iPad Pro and Microsoft Surface.

As for me, I find myself using the iPad mini less and less, and growing more and more frustrated with its limitations as I do. And I’m still getting used to how portable my MacBook Air is. Light as a feather, with hours and hours of battery life. I use it plugged in to a 27″ display, keyboard, and trackball when I’m at my desk. When I want to take it somewhere, there are only three connections, easy to detach and reattach.

I see myself moving to a bigger phone in the next generation of iPhones later this year, and using the iPad mini even less. Unless, that is, Apple comes out with an iPad the size of the Kindle Paperwhite. I think that might be the ideal size for me.