Archive for the ‘iPhone’ category

Apple Watch Upgrade Path?

June 3, 2015

I had the bright idea to stand in line to get the first gen iPhone. That device was magical (sort of) in an initial sort of way. Pull that phone out now and hold it up to an iPhone 6. The magic is gone pretty much upon startup.

But, I’ve since bought just about every version of the iPhone up to the 4S which is where I stopped being so eager to lap up everything. The pace of annual updates had picked up. I soured on spending so much on two year contracts and being bound to a specific carrier and their particular stupidity. So, I have a 4 and 4S on pay-as-you-go plans with a carrier that has really reliable service in my home town. I was content until last night.

The Apple Watch has me wanting to re-up. (And there’s the key for Apple.) It would be a pricey step up to say the least. I’d not only have to abandon my 4S, but I’d nearly have to commit to a 6 or 6+ (unlocked, off contract) and buy a Watch.

And for what?

Do I really want to send little drawings to anyone? No. My heartbeat? Nope. Are there any “can’t live without apps yet?” Um, no. Then why on earth would I want to just chuck all that dough out the window for a gen 1 product? Again!

I don’t have a good answer.

That’s about the most ridiculous thing I could have said. But, it’s precisely the answer. I’m not even interested in the Sports version. I’m more interested in the experience. I liken it to my going to the top of the World Trade Center in 1981. I was there. It was there. We hooked up and I had a great view for an afternoon.

Is this what Apple has become? Less a device maker. More of a desire maker? An experience.

The Swatch watch I have is about the size and heft of an Apple Watch. It has a good number of complications, a swanky faux leather wristband and a kick ass dial. I love that watch. Guess what? I don’t wear it except when I’m “going out”. I don’t wear it at work. I do wear it to work, though. I don’t wear it around the house. It’s a true accessory.

However, I can tell you I’m tired of my phone being such a large (physically and metaphorically) distraction. I do like the promise of being able to trim down the distractions of the day. Can a first gen product deliver on that?

Upgrades Concern Me

Like I said, I’ve bought a lot of Apple iPhones and iPads. AAPL likes that. AAPL thrives on precisely that.

But, I don’t want to buy a Watch 2s or a Watch 6s years down the line any more than I want to replace my Swatch.

So, what is the upgrade path? Is it like Tesla’s sedans and it’s going to be on the software updates for a good long period? The upgradeable car has a nice allure to it. That doesn’t jibe with the APPL year-over-year need for predictably innovative/lucrative product cycles, though.

How does this Apple Watch thing play out as a product line over the years? Because I don’t really want to buy this one and then find out next year they’ve added iSight and FaceTime hardware or Thuderbolt or some sort of wet neural networking that gen one can’t get. But, you know what? I don’t think most people think that way. It’s priced low enough (as Apple’s Items of Desire go) that things will turn out okay for Apple.

I suppose WWDC will be particularly interesting this year. Still, I wrestle with the whole first gen commitment and how long the danged thing will be relevant. What’s it’s lifespan? When does Apple stop supporting Gen One? These are the things blocking me… a (weary) early adopter.

REVIEW: My First 5 Minutes with OS X Yosemite

October 18, 2014

Holy Caw! This beast is… SLEEK.

I didn’t think I would like the non-skeumorphic icons. I’m not crazy about them on iOS. Yosemite will probably carry me over that hump.

Right off the bat I was concerned about app compatibility. We’ve all been stung by that with these updates. Yet, here it is 30 minutes in. I’ve launched all my go-to apps and I only have 8 requiring update via Software Update. Yet, they launch fine, docs open, save, reopen. Try THAT Windows!

I’ll run Yosemite for a while on this production machine before I take anything else past Maverick. But, there’s plenty of reason to appreciate the polish Apple has applied to this latest version of OS X.

First impression of the UI is the login screen after installation. That’s a really nice “Hello”. Very subtle. Very beautiful. Very elegant. Very… Jonny Ive (honestly).

Next, and particularly impressive, is Safari. I’ve nearly exclusively moved over to Chrome (and Firefox for one very specific site cpanel). Safari hasn’t factored for a long time in my daily use except on iOS. Th new OS X Safari *may* lure me back across the aisle. Realistically, I doubt that… I have too much configuration invested in Chrome at this point to really seriously a permanent move. Kudos to Apple for getting their browser tight and right though. (fwiw, I still miss RSS)

There are so many fresh new nooks and crannies to explore. I’m genuinely looking forward to this one. Those who know me well, know I just plunge into these updates with a reckless pursuit to see what’s waiting on the other side and know the price for that will (usually) be picking up the broken pieces of busted apps and such. And, usually, that’s apparent within the first thirty minutes. Judging by the stability, ease of migration and lack of core apps misbehaving I have to say right now, barely 10 minutes in this is going to be one of the easiest updates I’ve been through of all the OS X releases. It does make me wonder what Yosemite Server must be like. That hasn’t happened in a long time. Which also makes me wonder about ZFS implementation (or lack of) in Yosemite. More on that later if there’s anything to pass along. A boy can hope 🙂

Streaming Christmas Music (iTunes)

December 22, 2012

Apple could stand a better search interface for searching their “radio” streams in both iTunes and especially in AppleTV.

So, Merry Christmas from me to you… I’ve found a good number of the streams from within the various iTunes radio categories just for you conveniently linked below:

Snow FM Ireland (classic Christmas oldies, 128 kbps)
Classical 24/7 (classical instrumental Christmas muzak)
Big R Radio Christmas Classics (eclectic Christmas mix, 128 kbps)
Fresh Christmas (hodge podge of Christmas “hits”, 64 kbps)
Got Radio – Christmas Celebration (all-over-the-place XMas music, 64 kbps)
1.FM TM – Always Christmas (From around the world, 64 kbps)
Christmas – Sky.fm – (roll of the dice, ?? kbps)

These might work fine on iPhone and iPad (or not). I haven’t checked them yet. I have no clue how to get these “bookmarked” on AppleTV (don’t get me started on that line of griping). And, if I manage to get back to this post I may be able to add a few more before Santa’s big globe trotting spree.

Enjoy!

iOS 7 Better Have…

December 13, 2012

There are some things iOS7 had better have before I consider shelling out the bucks for the next new iPhone. Here’s my iOS bucket list:

  • I need a way to import a high quality greeting to my voicemail. Hardline dialing and recording a new greeting is NOT Apple-worthy. I don’t mind recoding to the Voice Memo app or on my Mac. I just ought to be able to import a sound file as my greeting dangit!
  • I expect a way to SEND my voicemails to my iCloud account as email attachments. Or create a rule that does it automatically.
  • I expect a way to FORWARD voicemails to other iOS devices as messages. I can send a picture/video via MMS… Why not a voicemail attachment?
  • I expect a heckuva LOT more out of Siri. It’s more useless than the Maps app right now.
  • Maps is borked. Now that Google Maps app is on the App Store… I’m going back to what works. Still love you Apple. Just need excellent Maps when I need a map.
  • Something’s still not quite right about Contact sync between iPhone, Mac laptop and iCloud. I have duplicates of many contacts in the order of 19 to upwards of 30 of the same person. There needs to be a super easy way to purge duplicates. Contact management shouldn’t be this nasty a chore.
  • Speaking of chores… Apple got the Notes app sync PERFECTLY across devices. It’s not broke. Don’t fix it. 😉 Replicate it’s success for the other devices.
  • Facetime is such a great idea. I’ve tried and tried and tried to Facetime on our local wireless LAN. Each time it rings once (so I know the call is coming through) and then indicates I’m busy to the other devices. Needs to be easier.
  • The new messaging works pretty swank too. Not sure how they’d improve it just now.
  • Can we PLEASE just sync up our phones to Time Machine? Pretty please?
  • Passbook is freakin awesome! A killer, kick ass kind of awesome. The world is ready (it just doesn’t know it yet).
  • Airplay = way awesome.
  • Safari “Reader Mode” is slick. Wish there was a way to make Siri read the content while I’m driving or otherwise occupied. That’s one thing I love about Alex on my Mac.
  • Photo streams to my AppleTV is not quite as straight forward an intuitive as I would expect from Apple. Needs Improvement.
  • Newsstand is a useless icon on my phone deck. Please, let me delete it or file it in another folder.
  • Faxing from my phone should be a no brainer easier than anything to do.
  • Finally, PRINTING. Guys. C’mon. Really? Printing is right up there with copy and paste. We’ve been doing this a long time. Why can’t we seem to get this right?

iOS is a super platform. So good in fact that in our household we’re getting device confused. I can’t tell you the number of times we’ve swiped our fingers across the screen of the laptop or the iMac. It’s silly really that we’ve become so accustomed to iOS that is’s bleeding over into how we interact with the other computers around us.

 

 

My APPfliction

March 27, 2012

I evaluate apps like a teenage girl tries on clothes. I’m voracious about it. More importantly, I have terribly harsh standards and I have a problem committing to an app: They’re all too easy to discard and replace with the new shiny. It’s unfair, I know. But, I’m finding the most inconsequential features can sometimes (not always) compensate for otherwise nominal shortcomings. And I mean PETTY stuff like an amazing icon or splash screen. Typography. Colors. Speed! There are little tricks some developers utilize that I find myself envious of. It’s a healthy respect and nod to the person who toiled over the app. As a fellow developer I have an appreciation for the effort of conceiving, authoring and marketing one’s work.

Now, when I say “app” I’m not drawing a distinction between iPhone, Android or Mac. I’m certainly not elevating one type of app over another either. If a web app rocks where a native app just didn’t cut it… Well, let’s call it what it is. I do genuinely like the idea of an App Store. With a few important (to me) exceptions.

App Stores as we understand them today are walled gardens for software that will only run on it’s particular flavor of device. That’s maybe not entirely necessary. It’s just the way it is. There are apps for other platforms I wish I had the ability to try out on my phone, tablet, tv. But the walled garden is impenetrable. I can’t get there from here. Meh. OK. Small gripe.

Discovery is a MUCH bigger problem though. If you’ve used iTunes much you’re probably familiar with it’s Ping function. It’s Apple’s recommendation engine. I don’t pretend to understand the logic or algorithms it uses to arrive at suggestions. Some are spot on. Others seem to come from left field. [I’m not that varied in my musical tastes Apple!] The genius behind Ping is it’s ability to summize my interests in content and hazard an intelligent guess at what else I might want to try out.

App Stores should do this. Now! I jettison more apps than I keep. Many of them are paid. But, they’re of no use to me and are easily discarded. I can’t thing of one I’ve plucked back from the grave. I would suggest to Apple… please, please, please… factor this into your next iteration of whatever Ping’ness you bring to the App Store. It should factor… they did NOT like THAT, but DID like THIS. Or more importantly did NOT keep THAT… Now, what apps have others installed (and kept) that are good candidates?

In this way your ratio of HITS v. misses is more appropriate.

Might I also suggest a better way of discovering WEB APPS! (Yes, Apple, I know there’s no 30% take for you in web apps…) But, helping to make my APPfliction complete I would hope you’d not turn a blind eye to the many non-native apps out there. Some are spectacularly good and rival the finer native apps on my devices. For whatever reason your staff stopped “picking” web apps in late 2010. Please, pick that ball back up and run with it!

REVIEW: Solio Charger (iPhone, iPad, iPod)

February 19, 2011

Solio was nice enough to send me a review unit. I have to admit, this one had me excited from the get go.

The Solio charger is pretty darned slick. I like the idea of having the ability to charge my phone in a pinch. Maybe I’m at a ball game. Maybe I’m on a picnic. Maybe I’m at the zoo. No, the REAL zoo… not my house. I can think of a hundred situations where having that extra little bit of juice could be handy. I’m constantly pushing the edge of my charge even though I routinely speed charge in the car. Adding the Solio to my backpack will make a ton of sense (once the sun returns to Oklahoma for a while).

This product is so super simple. Plug one end of the cable into the Solio and the other into your iDevice. Push the powerup button on the back of the Solio. Voila! You’re charging. Daylight required of course.

I, personally, wouldn’t use this everyday to charge my stuff up. It’s slower to charge than I’m accustomed to. And, it’s meant for good lighting conditions. No workie while I’m sleeping at night. But, there’s no denying it serves a great purpose and the green aspect is a definite feel good (even down to the packaging).

Disclosure: gWH!Z was supplied with a review unit only which was returned after evaluation. There was no compensation offered, paid or accepted for this review.

The Quandry: Web App or Native App?

February 19, 2011

I’ve been wrestling a lot lately trying to pick a path forward for my next big iterations of our mobile app strategy at Grocio.

The dilemma for us is a little unique. Most of what we produce (locally aggregated store circulars) are fed today to the iPad only through the NATIVE client over http. So, we can afford to be agnostic in our approach forward at this point. We’re actually in a great position to deliver a web app experience that for the most part is consistent across all devices. And, I’m excited about that truth be told. The nice thing about the web apps route… EVERYONE has the same point version release. No lengthy delays for approvals. As it turns out these are compelling cases for choosing the web app route. The dilemma comes down to one of monetization.

Shoppers are paying for the “Store Circulars” app today via the iTunes App Store. It’s important to continue making revenue from the app. So, do we hook a web app into this new Google subscription doohicky and charge that way? I’m adamant that we’re NOT going to rely solely on advertising/sponsorship. CPM and CPX is all fine and good. But, having made my living by the fickle ups and downs that way a few times before. It’s not something I’m excited about doing again.

Conversely… do we remain on the native path? Supporting multiple platforms (even within the same OS). The emerging App Stores give us some super distribution and reach. But, with it comes the expense of some % of revenues that are split with the hosting App Store. Not to mention the ugly need to actually develop distinctly different apps for each of those platforms. I don’t dispute the value of what the App Stores provide or the % of revenues for each sold app they take. They earn it. No argument there.

The problems are compounding for app developers though… More platforms means we face more choices which ones to develop for and which ones we’ll forego.

It’s the reason I like the idea of wrapper software frameworks like PhoneGap. I’m not savvy enough yet to build a universal app from the ground up. I still hire out some parts of the app that are beyond me. Anything that gives me a leg up on building once and deploying across multiple platforms AND app stores… I’m going to like a lot. Even to the point that’s a pure web app.

Are you other mobile developers facing similar issues? How did you solve for your situation? And, of particular interest, how did you manage to monetize your apps?