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Steve Jobs demos the Mac in 1984

Watch this video. I am almost as excited about the stuff they show as the audience:

I think the 2007 iPhone demo will look impressive even in thirty years.

 24   2014   Apple   iPhone   Mac   video

Apple, please do not make a 4K display

In several hours Apple will unveil its new products, which are believed to be the new iPads, MacBooks and the new Mac Pro.

Some people have speculated that along with the new Mac Pro Apple will release a new 4K display. Or at least expressed an opinion that such a move would be welcome. Particularly, Marco Arment has said in the latest Talk Show, that he would buy one (or even two) immediately.

A new, better desktop display is what I want either, but 4K is not an answer to that at all.

I am currently using the Apple’s 30-inch Cinema Display from 2004 running at 2560×1600 resolution. Unfortunately, noone, including Apple, has since released a better display for me. Apple’s own newer displays, i.e. a 27-inch Thunderbolt display or a 27-inch iMac display, run just 2560×1440. And not only the resolution is lower, these displays are also glossy, whereas I prefer a mirror to be a separate device. If Apple announces a 4K display later today, I don’t see how it can be better than the 2004 one I already have.

There are different definitions as to what 4K resolution means. Let’s say Apple picks a 4096-pixels-wide option. So for a 16:10 display, the resolution would be 4096×2560. Now there are three options as to how to use these pixels.

The standard “retina” pixel-doubling approach will result in an effective 2048×1280 resolution. So I will end up with 36% less real estate than I have now. Also, on a 30-inch display such 2×2 “pixels” will be gigantic and all non-retina stuff will look ugly (and I don’t want to “upgrade” to a smaller display). So this does not work at all. Another option would be to use scaling (as available on the retina MacBook Pros). While scaling definitely looks OK on retina, I want to enjoy razor-sharp pixels on my new display, not some blurry crap (even if it is not that blurry). And the last option would be to use the actual 4096×2560 as is. With Mac’s very poor ability to scale UI fonts, I don’t think I will be able to see anything in such a mode. I doubt this option will even be available without some sort of a hack.

As you see, there’s no way a 4K display can be any better than the good old 2004 Cinema Display. So I hope Apple will not use 4K and will go straight to “5K” with a 5120×3200 30-inch matte Retina Cinema Display. Please?

 62   2013   Apple

Wait, you mean they print this every day?

John Gruber telling a story about two young women and a newspaper on a counter in Starbucks:

I’m gonna just say there are twentyish. And they had a New York Times on the counter in front of them. And one young woman was explaining to the other — and I know it sounds comical, and I don’t think she was stupid, but I think she grew up on the Internet. I wouldn’t be surprised if she was in fact a college student, I don’t think she was living in a cave or something.

But the one really had no idea what a newspaper was, and she said to the other one: “Wait, you mean they print this every day?”

And the other one says: “Yes, exactly”.

And the other one goes: “Why would they do that?”

And she was clearly impressed.

I am also twentyish (okay, I’m 28) and I am also impressed. I find it amazing that people still print stuff. I have no reasonable explanation as to why would anyone buy a newspaper, unless they are a designer liking the layout. I was profoundly surprised by Apple’s announcement of Airprint a couple of years ago: it felt like I was taken back to the 1990s — by Apple, that is. Printing, Apple, are you serious? Come on.

Apparently, printing is still a thing.

Anyway, I was thinking lately: what will look really weird when one watches a today’s movie five or ten years from now? A criminal taking a SIM card out of a phone and throwing it away probably will. What is that thing, right? Or taking an SD card out of a camera to secure the pictures. Why, aren’t the pictures online already?

Fast forward some more years, and we’ll hear questions like, why does he need to hold this thing next to his ear to talk to someone? Why is she holding this thing in front of her saying “cheese” to her children? Why is he holding that round thing in his hands when riding a car? Why does she look so old if she is just 80 years old?

The future is awesome.

 32   2013   Apple   future   life

iOS 7, flat transparent toolbars and clarity

Let’s talk about iOS 7 — it clearly has not been covered enough lately.

The new flat transparent toolbars have a curious quality: they create a problem which Apple specifically says they are made to solve.

Apple says nothing should distract you from your content. The user interface should not get in the way. In iOS 6, the website you are looking at or an email you are reading are squeezed between the heavy and overly decorated toolbars. They dominate the view, says Apple.

So in iOS 7 they make the content and the chrome indistinguishable. Before, though the chrome was indeed heavy, I was able to filter it out, because it was so different than the content. But now everything looks the same. It is so much harder to focus on my content.

The new user interface gets in the way.

 14   2013   Apple   design   iOS 7   user interface

The Home button problem of iOS

When presenting the first iPhone, Steve Jobs said that the Home button “takes you home from wherever you are”. The button was a genius invention of Apple designers.

Unfortunately, in iOS 3.0 Apple has ruined it. Since then it takes you home from wherever you were — unless you are on the Home screen already, in which case it opens the Spotlight screen. Before that, the Home screen was the base of the user interface, it felt comfortable and stable, and the Home button got you there, no matter what. Now that the Home button switches you between Home and Spotlight, it no longer feels predictable and reliable.

My iPhone 4 is more than two years old. It runs iOS 6 quite slowly and the Home button is not registering clicks sometimes. So when I press Home and nothing happens, I press it again. Now, there are three possible outcomes: nothing happens again (the button failed twice); the Home screen appears (the button failed only the first time, lucky me); the Spotlight screen appears (the button has worked both times, but the phone was being too slow to react on time). There’s also a contact bounce problem: sometimes a single click is registered as a double click, and the app switcher gets displayed. This is such a pain in the ass! As you may have guessed, when I want to make a real double click, the outcome is completely random.

I want back the power and simplicity of Home button. I even suggest removing the double-click app switcher. First of all, there’s no reason for it to even exist. I can switch to any app by going to the Home screen and tapping its icon. But even if the switcher has to exist, let me go to it by dragging from the bottom, the way I open the Notification Center by dragging from top. Oh, and by the way, kill the freaking Notification Center. Well, this is a different story.

 68   2013   Apple   iPhone   user interface

Rename AltWWDC

It’s cool that people have came up with an idea of AltWWDC. But it’s about Mac, so obviously it should have been called OptWWDC.

 5   2013   Apple

Forstall: Now what?

While everyone discusses the forstallless (is that a word?) future of Apple, I’m curious about Forstall’s own future. According to “sources”, Scott Forstall is a pain in the ass and many people at Apple didn’t want to even talk to him. Will someone hire him or will he start his own thing? Tony Fadell looks happy making thermostats, what will Scott’s thing be?

 19   2012   Apple

A Samsung iPhone has been found

This is great, especially today (from Idioteka):

The text says:

Attention! A Samsung iPhone has been found in the school. Refer to the educational director U. V. Kuznetsova.

Should Apple use this as an extra evidence?

 20   2012   Apple   fun

Gruber and Siegler in The Talk Show #4

In The Talk Show #4 John Gruber is joined by MG Siegler. What a company! It was recorded before WWDC, and they were discussing all sorts of rumors, it was quite entertaining.

Then there was an interesting take on why one should care even about the small details which “regular” people won’t notice. Gruber (48:46...):

Maybe people don’t buy Newsweek and think, my god this thing is very finely printed. You may not think it, but you notice it. And that’s just like the way Apple stuff is all the way. Where people don’t buy, well, normal people don’t buy the iPhone and think about how nice the seams are between the steel antenna and the glass in front. You may not think about it, but you appreciate it.

But the most amusing part was on Google. Staring with Apple’s move to in-house maps and a pathetic Google’s pre-WWDC event (56:54...) and ending with an analogy with Microsoft (1:21:20...). Gruber:

Google is to me the new Microsoft, where they are the ones sticking their fingers in everybody else’s pies, and not making any friends, and spoiling the friends that they had... How far this industry can go in five years: when the iPhone was introduced there’s Eric Smidt invited up on stage backslapping with Steve Jobs talking about what great almost sibling companies Google and Apple are... And now look where they are. The way I see it is, Google’s really made enemies of everybody...


And it’s one of those things like we were talking about earlier, where, you know, you talk to them, and they don’t seem to be aware of this. Even though it’s not like a big secret, and anyone can see it...


It does seem like they are oblivious about it, and that’s to me is a difference from when Microsoft was the enemy of everybody in the Walley, is that Microsoft seemed very self-aware of their role... But Google seems to think that they are still everybody’s friend and everybody else kind of hates them.

 36   2012   Apple   Gruber   quotes

My iOS 6 predictishlist

Next iOS must be coming soon. What is going to be in it? I’m not sure where to draw the line between “predictions” and a “wishlist”, so here are my thoughts on things that either were speculated, or I just want to be there, in no particular order.

Maps. Everyone has written about Apple planning to switch to its own mapping backend instead of Google’s. And presumably there will be some cool 3D views. I’m curious whether Apple was able to come up with their own navigation, traffic and local transport services. I also wonder if all these awesome things will work in Russia.

Better Notification Center. Notification Center sucks. Not only is it ugly, it’s unusable. It’s particularly bad on the iPad. It should show more text for each notification. The settings for it is a nightmare, it’s impossible to configure it.

Don’t Disturb. There were screenshots of a “Don’t Disturb” feature in Mountain Lion. I guess it temporarily disables all notifications. This would be great to have in iOS, too.

Widgets. Some people want custom Notification Center widgets and even predict an API for that. Given how bad Notification Center is, adding even more crap to it won’t make it better. I’m for Live icons instead.

Live icons. It’s great that the weather is always +23 ˚C (+73 ˚F if you are from U. S.), except that it’s not. Currently only the calendar icon shows the real date, every other icon is meaningless. The most useful would be making the Weather icon show the real weather, but also Clock could show the real time, Maps, your current location, Notes, the text of the latest note etc.

Better Siri. I don’t know much about Siri since I’m on iPhone 4. But there’s no doubt it can be made better (and Tim Cook has hinted it in his interview). The obvious thing to do is to add some integration with third-party apps. Also, what about Siri for iPad?

Default Apps. If Siri supports third-party apps, it should know which apps I use for what. E.g. if I prefered Opera for web browsing I wouldn’t want to always say “Siri, search web for X with Opera”. I’d just want Siri to know it. The most natural way will be for it to just “figure it out” without some messy settings like the Notification Center has. But even without Siri, default apps will be welcome (some people prefer Sparrow for mail!).

Apps interaction. Something like Windows Phone’s Contracts should be added to iOS. If I have selected a piece of text, I want to be able to translate it without going to the Google Translate app. And the “share sheets” should be extendable. Currently in Twitter app I can send a link to Instapaper or Read it Later, but not to Readability — because Twitter doesn’t know Readability. But Twitter shouldn’t even care, the system should know it. Apps interaction (or lack thereof) is one of the weaknesses of iOS.

Airdrop or wireless sharing. Easier sharing between devices and friends will be great. Currently sending a picture or a piece of text over the air to someone nearby is almost impossible. Or, Imagine that you are looking at a web page on your iPhone and want you friend to open it on her iPad. What would you do? This should be easy.

Work together. All my devices should work together and know when they are close to each other. Don’t display same alert everywhere. If I postpone an alert, postpone it everywhere. Sync open browser tabs, clipboards and everything else.

Airplay target. Open a movie on a Mac and send it to play on an iPad. This should be doable, at least after Mountain Lion (with Airplay) is released.

Better multitasking. I don’t know what exactly has to be done, but I want switching between apps to feel fast and harmless. Currently I think twice before leaving an app.

Facebook integration. I don’t care about it at all, but I’m listing it because it was rumored.

Safari Omnibar. In Safari 5.2 Apple has added what people call an “omnibar”: an addressbar combined with search. Invented by Opera in the 18th century or so and popularized by Google Chrome, this thing was conspicuously missing from Safari for so long. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve entered a search request into address field on my iPhone to get nothing. Modes suck.

Offline Reading List. There were some screenshots of this in desktop Safari, but in mobile one it will make even more sense.

iCloud Tabs. This is included in the latest builds of Mountain Lion, so I guess we’ll see it in iOS 6.

Sync iTunes Match over Wi-Fi. I like iTunes Match (even given how unbelievably buggy it is), but I prefer to use old good iTunes sync, because it works much faster. iTunes Match should detect that my library is available in the local network and download tracks from it (instead of from iCloud).

Sync track positions with iCloud. Want this for podcasts, tired of syncing by hand 5 times a day.

Visual refresh. Aren’t you tired of the standard controls? The transition to the rounded on/off switch (in iOS 5) is not enough. I want something of a Leopard-to-Lion scale at least.

Related links:

 34   2012   Apple   iPhone
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