IPhone

Monument Valley 2

During WWDC, the new Monument Valley was released. It’s the most splendid game ever. I’ve finished it, having made some screenshots:

Monument Valley 2

But the pictures show only a small part of the game’s beauty. In reality, everything is live and the sound is amazing. Go buy and play it.

Jun 11   design   iPhone

The revolution in the mobile user interface

It’s about time to flip the mobile user interface vertically.

The revolution in the mobile user interface
I have no idea what language this is

It was easy to tap “Back” or “Edit” with your thumb on the original iPhone. On iPhone 5, it became harder. Since the 6, it’s almost impossible.

Apple has added two features to make things less bad. The first was a gesture where you slide from the left edge of the screen to get back. The second was Reachability, where you double tap the Home button to make everything on the screen shift down so you could reach the top row of buttons. This already felt like a duck tape fix.

The question is: why put buttons on top and then add obscure gesture to reach them when you could just put the buttons on the bottom in the first place?

Windows Phone has the browser’s address bar on the bottom:

 The revolution in the mobile user interface
On some screenshots it’s actually on top, so I’m not sure. Anyway, it should be on the bottom

Apple, when will you do the same?

It’s interesting that the revolution has already happened in Maps. Before and after:

 The revolution in the mobile user interface

The search field and results have moved to the bottom. Why did this change only in one app?

We’ve designed Sayve, the smart voice recorder so that all the important controls are reachable. A couple of intermediary user interface layouts:

 The revolution in the mobile user interface

At first, the audio controls were on top (the left layout). Then it moved down (the right layout).

Finally, all the user interface changed to gravitate towards the bottom:

 The revolution in the mobile user interface

I’m hopeful that Apple will do something similar throughout iOS 11.

When you turn the things upside-down, you may not like the result aesthetically at first. But our idea of what’s beautiful is largely formed by the technology.

The rule: in the mobile user interface, put the controls on the bottom.

Jun 1   iPhone   user interface

iPhone passcode keyboard rendering bug

Years pass, but Apple just wouldn’t fix this bug in iOS. When the iPhone asks you for the passcode, it shows the keyboard where system keys’ borders aren’t semitransparent:

You may think that it is so by design, but no: if you touch the keyboard, all keys’ border re-render normally, with thin borders.

And sometimes the keyboard is rendered fine initially:

Does nobody in Apple use alphanumeric passcodes? The numeric ones you usually see others type from three-meters distance. Since there is Touch ID and the passcode is rarely asked for, there is no reason to use the numeric ones.

May 19   bugs   iPhone

The design of the iPhone 7

Somehow it’s become a common knowledge that the design of the iPhone 7 is almost the same as the design of the iPhone 6. This boggles my mind.

How can you not see that the iPhones 6 and 7 are the most different iPhones in the history of iPhones? The iPhone 6 is the ugliest iPhone ever created. The iPhone 7 is the most beautiful iPhone ever created.

This is the original iPhone:

Original iPhone

It was beautiful. Everything was perfectly aligned. It would be better without the black stripe on the bottom, but it had to be there for the antennas to work.

iPhones 3G and 3Gs were worse:

iPhones 3G and 3Gs

They looked fine in pictures, but were plastic, felt cheap and often cracked.

Then there were the iPhones 4 and 4s:

iPhone 4

These were special. They didn’t look nice in pictures, but were very attractive in person. The antenna lines bugged me a lot, but overall these were good ones. The glass back was really cool (I don’t break my phones).

Since then, things went downhill. The iPhones 5 and 5s were ugly:

iPhone 5

The black stripes, unlike on the original iPhone, were completely out of place. The camera was misaligned.

I wrote about it in The hope for a beautiful iPhone.

Then came the iPhones 6 and 6s, painfully ugly:

iPhone 6

The camera was not aligned with anything and sticked out. The rubber stripes were all over the back. How was this even possible? Imagine somebody showing it to you in 2008, after you’ve seen the first iPhones. You wouldn’t believe Apple would have shipped such a device.

Definitely, these were the ugliest iPhones ever built.

And then Apple showed the iPhone 7:

iPhone 7

Image from wylsa.com

How can you even compare it to the 6? This one is finally beautiful, after several years of ugliness. The camera is aligned with the phone’s corner, for the first time after the iPhone 4! It still sticks out, but this time the phone is designed with this in mind. It’s not slapped on top of an unexpecting phone; it’s there because it was meant to be there. The same for the antenna lines: they are part of the design, not some crap put on top because it had to be.

This is the first iPhone in years that you can enjoy just looking at. And unlike the iPhone 4, it looks great from every angle. It’s the opposite of the iPhones 6.

2017   design   iPhone

Reminders app is so buggy

Reminders is one of buggiest apps Apple has ever made. Sometimes it forgets to remind, sometimes it reminds twice. It cannot sync anything between Macs, iOS devices and the watch. And now, it decided to remind me of five things:

Reminders app

Thanks, I guess.

2016   bugs   iPhone   Mac   software

Create a new contact or add to an existing one?

Boy do I hate this question:

Create a new contact or add to an existing one?

Sometimes I tap “Create New Contact” and end up with two records for one person. One with an email, one with a phone number. Turns out, I had this contact already.

Sometimes I tap “Add to Existing Contact” and end up not finding the person in the contact list. Turns out, I was wrong to believe I had had this contact already.

When I don’t remember for sure, I have to flip a coin. But why should I occupy my brain with this? For a programmer INSERT and UPDATE are different database queries. This purely technological difference degrades the user interface. It should be hidden from the user.

In most cases a computer knows a name and can at least suggest adding to a contact if it exists. But even if the name is unknown, just show a searchable contact list and a “+” button together. When I press “+”, put my search query into the contact name field.

Previously in the stupid questions series:

2016   iPhone   user interface

Use without internet or use other network

Sometimes when you connect to a Wi-Fi network, a login window pops up, but it remains blank for a long time. So you give up and press Cancel. And you end up here:

Use without internet or use other network

This is the most frustrating menu in iOS. What am I supposed to do? First of all, I have just pressed Cancel and the system has ignored me. Instead of cancelling the process, it decided it should bother me with some additional questions.

As if it wasn’t bad enough already, the choice I am presented with makes no sense to me. There is no “Just Cancel” option. The Cancel button you see on the bottom will just Cancel the cancellation process I’ve initiated and get me back to the blank window. I don’t want to “Use Without Internet”: I need the Internet. I don’t want to “Use Other Network”: this is the only network available here. I just want to Cancel. Please? Just fucking leave me on 3G.

2016   iPhone   user interface

On iPhone sizes

In September, Apple introduced iPhones 6 and 6 Plus, both bigger than iPhones 5s and 5c. I’ve tried holding the new phones in my hand and found even the 6 to be way too big.

I would prefer an old-size phone but faster, with a better camera and with Apple Pay. I am not alone. But there are no new phones at the old size. If you don’t like the new size, you will have to get the last-year model.

Maybe Apple is saying goodbye to the 4-inch screens and we will have to accept this. But I am not sure that’s what Apple is doing. Look at this picture from the September event blog:

There is no clear separation between the last year models and the new models. This is simply “iPhone lineup” with the phones of three sizes: 4-inch, 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch. Showing three new devices at the same time could be just too much for one event. But Apple could update the 4-inch models next year.

A phone is a device where the size is a matter of preference, like a laptop or a TV. There is no “right” size: bigger screen shows more (good), but takes more space (bad). Apple has now accepted this truth. So maybe in the future when you buy a new iPhone, you will be asked not only “what color?”, but also “small, medium or large?”

2014   Apple   iPhone

John Gruber compares iPhone and Apple Watch introductions

John Gruber compares iPhone and Apple Watch introductions in Episode 14 of Electric Shadow podcast (starting at around 1h 24m mark):

I think that the best was the 2007 Macworld expo keynote introducing the iPhone. Let’s see where they go with the watch, but I think even in the most optimistic scenario the watch doesn’t change everything the way the iPhone did.

The iPhone was pulled out of thin air. I think to this day — now we are 7,5 years after that — it was absolutely five years ahead of its time, maybe more. I think maybe if Apple had never released it, the phones we would have been using in 2012, five years later still wouldn’t have been like that. It was impossible. It really is just what it seemed like.

I don’t think they needed a good event, I think they could have had a shitty event to announce it, and if they released the exact same phone seven months later, it would have been fine. It would eventually, with the years, work out.

The advantage of having a perfect event to announce it though was that for the people who opened their minds and just paid attention to it, it gave us a head start as to just what it was that we’ve seen. Half of the people who were paying attention came out that event understanding: Wow. This is amazing. The entire tech world has just changed. And then the other half were, like, this is ridiculous, the thing doesn’t even have a keyboard, no one’s gonna buy it. But if you paid attention, the fact that the event was so perfect, it gave you the context to understand something without ever actually even getting to use the device.

Agreed.

2014   Apple Watch   Gruber   iPhone   quotes

How Apple Pay could work on Apple Watch without Touch ID

When Apple revealed Apple Pay, they first showed it on an iPhone with Touch ID and later mentioned that it would also work with the Apple Watch. But how does Apple Watch know that you are you without Touch ID?

How Apple Pay could work on Apple Watch without Touch ID

Here is an idea.

Apple Watch requires the iPhone. It would make sense if Apple Pay on the Watch required the iPhone with Apple Pay support. The only such phones are the 6 and the 6 Plus. Both have Touch ID.

Apple Watch can tell if someone is wearing it using its heartbeat sensor. When no one is wearing the watch, it will not work with Apple Pay. When you put the watch on, it will still not work with Apple Pay, as it does not know who is wearing it. As soon as you use Touch ID for the first time to unlock your phone in a close proximity, the Watch will enter a “secure state”: now it knows that it is put on your hand. From that moment Apple Pay will work until you take the Watch off or the phone gets too far away from it.

The chance that you are trying to buy something before you’ve unlocked your phone for the first time during a day is almost zero. And in this rare case the Watch can just ask you politely to confirm the payment with Touch ID.

2014   Apple   Apple Watch   iPhone
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