IPhone

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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.

 16   2014   Apple   Apple Watch   iPhone

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.

 10   2014   Apple   iPhone   Mac   video
 9   2014   iPhone   video

The hope for a beautiful iPhone

When I first saw the leaked pictures of iPhone 4, I thought, no way, this cannot be true, it is ugly as hell. Why do all these sites even publish the pictures? Clearly, they are fake.

Turned out, I was wrong: the pictures were real. Interestingly, when Apple announced it, Steve Jobs even had to vindicate the design explaining how the lines on the edges were actually part of an antenna, and so it was a brilliant design. I was disappointed.

Turned out, I was wrong to be disappointed: when I saw the phone in an Apple store, it made a good impression. It looked much, much better in person than in any photos, including Apple’s own official ones.

A couple of years later Apple has shown iPhone 5. To me it looked even uglier than the iPhone 4 on the pictures. But having learned my lesson I decided to not make any conclusions before I saw the device in person. I thought that it will look much better in real life.

Turned out, I was wrong, again: the iPhone 5 is ugly, even in person. I’m still using my old, slow iPhone 4 and I don’t want to switch.

Here is the iPhone 5:

The top is a pain to look at. The camera is positioned randomly in a stripe of plastic:

It wants more air around it, it doesn’t want to be squeezed there like this.

Also look how it’s misaligned relatively to the corner:

And the way this stupid piece of plastic is touching the antenna band gaps on the sides?

So sloppy.

Compare with the design of the iPhone 4:

Everything is balanced, everything is where it should be.

I was hoping that they would change the design for the next iPhone so I could finally have something to replace my old iPhone 4 with. But going by the latest rumors, the design will stay the same, so I am sad. By the way, the rumored “cheap” version (aka iPhone 5C) looks better:

Anyway after you’ve seen and held in hand the iPod touch (no-camera version) everything looks and feels wrong. I wonder, how many years should pass for us to see an iPhone that is well designed?

 8   2013   design   iPhone   rants

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.

 34   2013   Apple   iPhone   user interface

Splash screens

Splash screens are useless: they don’t solve any user’s problem, they shamelessly invade the user’s world, they draw additional attention to the fact that the user is waiting. There is no point in advertising your product to the person trying to actually use it.

In mobile apps splash screens are particularly out of place: they occupy the whole screen and the user has nothing else to look at. The phone is being slow, and a nice picture (which I’m undoubtedly looking at) tells me whom to blame. Isn’t it a huge marketing success?

iPhone’s standard app launch image is its screenshot. While the app is launching, the user has a couple of seconds to look at the interface and prepare for action. It appears that the app has launched instantly. According to iPhone’s Human Interface Guidelines all apps should behave like this, it’s even stated explicitly that you should not use splash screens. Unfortunately, this is the rule which Apple does not enforce, and so sometimes stupid apps with splash screens make it into the App Store.

If you find yourself drawing a splash screen, better do something useful, e. g. meet the programmer and discuss the potential design changes to make startup time shorter.

 11   2012   iPhone   user interface

Read The Magazine on the original iPad

Marco Arment’s brilliant The Magazine is only available on iOS 6. Unfortunately it’s doesn’t work on the original iPad which I still use, so I’ve subscribed to The Magazine on my iPhone 4. But I don’t like reading anything longer than an SMS from the phone’s screen. So how do I read The Magazine of the iPad?

I just open The Magazine on the iPhone and send articles I want to read to Instapaper (Instapaper works on iOS 5).

At first I thought that the “Send to Instapaper” button in The Magazine was dumb. Why would I want to save something for offline reading if I already have it available offline in a readable format? Well, now I know: because I want to read it on my iPad. And since The Magazine is about text and not some impossible UI and crazy animation effects which have plagued Newsstand publications, I don’t lose anything by reading it in Instapaper format.

By the way, I fully support Marco’s decision to drop support for earlier iOS versions in The Magazine. I think it will benefit the majority of his customers: by using advanced APIs and better hardware he’ll be able to spend less time optimizing and testing stuff, and more time on great features.

 13   2012   iPhone   reading   saying no

Insert a photo into a mail message before iOS 6

Some people are excited about the addition of this “Insert Photo or Video” thing in Mail app in the coming iOS 6:

Many think that today (in iOS 5 or earlier) you have to start by picking a picture or video, then select email from the action menu. Someone even complained that several times he found himself in a situation, where he had composed a message and was going to attach a picture and only then remembered that he had to start from the Photos app and do it all again.

Well, you don’t have to start from Photos app. To insert a photo or video to an email that you are composing, go to Photos app, find a photo you want to insert, press and hold, tap Copy, then go back to your mail, tap where you want to paste it, tap Paste.

Many will like the iOS 6 way better, but it’s not true that you cannot add a photo to an email in the earlier iOSes. But it was true before “Cut, Copy and Paste” was added in iOS 3.

 8   2012   iPhone

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:

 22   2012   Apple   iPhone
 8   2012   iPhone   music
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