Monthly Archives: September 2015

@FiftyThree’s Paper

Fast Company: “In the interest of simplicity, the team finally settled on two key gestures: Swipe left to turn a line of text into a bold subheading. Right to turn it into a bulleted list item. Reasoning that the most popular use case for text entry would be the creation of shopping lists and other to-do lists, they chose these two gestures to start with. Users can also hold their finger down on an item to “grab” it and change the order of the list, eliminating the need for traditional (and far more tedious on a touchscreen) copy-and-paste functionality. Other gestural formatting, they figured, could come in time, once people were used to the new gestural formatting paradigm. It is, after all, an admittedly ballsy move to tinker with how people have worked with text since the dawn of personal computing.”

This is one of the most useful and most beautifully designed iOS Apps you will ever use. Folks probably think of Paper as an application for illustrators and designers, but it’s so much more than that. If you’ve ever used Visio or Omni Graffle you can use Paper to create similar drawings. With Paper for iPhone they’ve added text to the mix to make it a world class citizen for taking notes of all kinds, think Evernote, Notes, or Vesper.

It’s definitely worth a download.

Six Colors Redesign

Six Colors 6C logoSix Colors: “Anyway, the goal of the design—other than, perhaps, to better reflect the site’s name—was to differentiate between the different kinds of posts we have on this site. There are regular posts, sure, but we found ourselves also posting off-site links, links to work we’ve written on other sites, links to podcasts, and posts from sponsors. Now those are all more clearly defined, and I think the site’s better for it.”

Absolutely beautiful. I love the treatment given to different post types.

The Genius of Daring Fireball

Daring Fireball: “But I see the fact that Daring Fireball’s revenue streams should remain unaffected by Safari content-blocking as affirmation that my choices over the last decade have been correct: that I should put my readers’ interests first, and only publish the sort of ads and sponsorships that I myself would want to be served, even if that means leaving (significant) amounts of money on the table along the way.”

Great content isn’t the only experience Mr. Gruber provides. He created a super brilliant, non-invasive, ad model to support his company. He has ads via The Deck and takes one week RSS feed sponsorships. The sponsor provides promotional content at the beginning of the week, which appears in a blog post, and he thanks the sponsor at the end of the week with a blog post. Nifty.

It took Mr. Gruber a while to figure this stuff out. It didn’t happen over night. Others have adopted this model; Six Colors and The Loop come to mind. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re a small indie publisher it can work quite well, if you have great content. That’s the key. Great content attracts people.

How well? Pretty darned well if you ask me. As of this writing Mr. Gruber’s Daring Fireball fetches $9,750.00 for a one week sponsorship (I believe it’s a progressive scale throughout the year.) That’s some serious cheddar.


Is the future macOS?

If, like me, you’re an Apple fan you know they announced a bunch of new products on Wednesday. It seems apparent to me the future is based on the iOS codebase, not OS X.

We now have iOS, watchOS, and tvOS. I may be wrong, but I suspect watchOS and tvOS are derivatives of iOS. It makes sense. When Apple created iOS they started at the bottom layer of the OS and worked their way up. They reused the Kernel and Core Foundation. On top of that they added UIKit and a touch layer to give us the unique experience we get with iOS today. The important thing to note is the OS was stripped down and made to fit the device it was built for, by fit I mean the feel as well as the size of the OS.

With iOS Apple took the opportunity to tighten up how applications could interact with the operating system. It’s still a very powerful OS, but Apple removed all the power user features. The ability to peek under the hood is gone. As a developer we’re no longer given access to all parts of the computer. We all get our own little sandbox to play in. This was all done so bad people couldn’t turn your phone into a virus factory. In other words, it was done in the name of securing the device, making sure it would always work. It is Apple’s most secure operating system, and that’s saying a lot given OS X’s reputation.

Yeah, AppleWhy all the talk about iOS? Well, I think it’s the future of the desktop. With the introduction of the iPad Pro Apple is beginning to blur the line between tablet and desktop. It’s the first hybrid device for Apple. We all know Microsoft created the Surface years before. Where Microsoft took the approach of bringing a full desktop operating system to the Surface, Apple decided to begin with iOS and work up. Folks will say this will make iPad Pro less powerful, I don’t think so. How much “power” do you need? It’s not as if people really care about technical specs when they buy computers, right? Well, if you do, iPad Pro is more than capable.

Bringing laptop class power to a tablet has fueled speculation that the Mac could move to ARM processors, or maybe it’s better to say OS X could run on ARM.

Rich Siegel via Twitter:

It’s not a stretch to believe OS X will be completely ported to ARM — remember iOS shares core code with OS X. In fact it may already run on ARM processors.

That brings me to the point of this post. I’m beginning to believe iOS, and Universal Apps, are the future of everything Apple ships. Not only will OS X be ported to ARM at some point, I believe we will see an Apple laptop based on ARM processors running iOS. It will be the familiar clamshell design we’re all familiar with but will have a touch screen, full keyboard, trackpad, and you’ll be able to pull the display part away from the base (keyboard.)

This is how I believe Apple unifies its story. We have iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and in the future macOS. With macOS being the version based on the iOS App ecosystem. OS X will continue to live as the power user option in the Apple lineup.

For many people it would eliminate any confusion over the difference between OS X and iOS based App Stores, as Daniel Jalkut pointed out in a recent Twitter post.

How long before we see the new macOS?

Why, oh why, would I believe that? Well, it seems like a natural evolution of iOS. When iOS first shipped it was a tiny OS, over time it has grown to add more and more rich features, but it remains quite tiny, very secure, and built to serve a new model, an easier model. Couple that with new features of iOS 9, like split views and picture in picture, and you can see the OS moving in a new direction. We’re at the crux of applications cooperating with each other to create unique experiences. This isn’t new, far from it, but it will be reimagined on iOS. It will give us the power we’ve been looking for and maintain all the security we’ve come to love. That’s why iOS is so valuable.

Think about “the average user” of a computer. I’m not talking about super-geeks, like my brother that need those super power user features a lot of developers enjoy, I’m talking about folks like my wife. She is a gamer and uses her home MacBook to play games, surf the web, answer and create email, and play games. On occasion she will compose a document using Pages. This type of use would be fine for an iOS based device.

The iPad can also be used for day-to-day use. Federico Viticci uses an iPad as his daily driver and swears by it. I have to believe the iPad Pro will be a welcome addition to his daily workflow.

We should also keep in mind the partnership Apple formed with IBM to create solutions for the enterprise. This is how Apple rounds out its offerings for businesses. Get a third party to make the iPad attractive to businesses.

Oh, yeah, and one more thing. Tim Cook loves his iPad!

In the end could you imagine how wonderful a Mac laptop would be running a form of iOS built just for the hardware? Something that is essentially an iPad with the addition of a keyboard and possibly a mouse? It feels like the Mac could evolve in that direction.