Tuesday, 3 Jun 2014

WWDC Keynote - first impressions  

I finally managed to get round to watching the WWDC keynote, I thought it was generally pretty good as far as WWDC keynotes go.

Here are some first impressions:

  • I’ve never felt comfortable watching Tim Cook, he always strikes me as “trying” to look relaxed but never quite pulls it off. I like him, but I always feel as though he’s trying just a bit too hard.
  • Craig Federighi on the other hand just keeps getting better, he’s relaxed, speaks well and has a good sense of humour. I even laughed at the joke about Jonny Ive’s camping spoons.
  • OS X Yosemite looks gorgeous. It looks more than ever like the desktop compliment to its iOS cousin without looking like a mobile OS shoehorned onto a desktop. I’m sure Microsoft is watching closely (they should be).
  • Continuity will be a feature we’ll quickly wonder how we ever got by without.
  • There were a lot of comparisons to Android and Windows, I remember they first did this two years ago and it caused quite a stir. Now they’re doing it more than ever and openly enjoying it – I don’t know if this is just an increased feeling of confidence in what they’re doing, or a change in tactic and this is the new, more aggressive Apple.
  • You could make a keynote spinoff and call it “The Federighi Show” – he was the centre of attention today and as I said before, he did well.
  • Spotlight has become a hell of a lot more useful.
  • I commented before on Craig’s good sense of humour, about the halfway mark I started to feel it had gone overboard on the humour. I think it was the “Hair Crisis” that tipped the scale.
  • iCloud has been given a big boost, CloudDrive and the improved storage quotas is a big step in the right direction.
  • Apart from the predictable (boring?) iPhone 6 part leaks coming from various manufacturing countries, Apple seem to be managing leaks well. There was more than one occasion where the crowd appeared genuinely surprised at some of the announcements: widgets, third party keyboards, touchID and a huge surprise when Swift was announced. HealthKit and more recently HomeKit were a few of the things most of us knew about in advance but there were still plenty of surprises in the keynote.
  • CloudKit looks interesting, great to see iCloud looking more like a useful product.
  • Swift was totally unexpected. From what I’ve seen so far, it looks impressive. Will this be the beginning of the end for Objective-C? I wouldn’t be surprised. I would have loved to have had something like this when I first took on Objective-C six years ago.

As predicted no hardware was announced. To those that understand what WWDC is all about (a software developers conference) that comes as no surprise. Like John Gruber said yesterday, it’s going to be a busy second half of 2014 for Apple product announcements.

Monday, 2 Jun 2014

WWDC 2014 Prelude  

As usual, John Gruber at Daring Fireball has a good rundown of what to expect at tomorrow’s WWDC keynote.

I’d love to be proven wrong, but my gut feeling is that we might not see a single new hardware product tomorrow. It’s going to be a busy second half of 2014 for Apple on that front.

It all makes sense, however I can’t help feeling Apple might be keen to break this predictable cycle they’ve found themselves in over the last few years. I’m probably wrong but I wouldn’t be surprised if they pulled a rabbit out of the hat tomorrow, what a lot of fun that would be.

Pushing iOS - a great interface concept  

UX/UI and Branding Architect, Jay Machalani has come up with a great interface concept for iOS he calls the “block system” for displaying simple app data right on the home screen, similar to Windows Phone tiles or Android widgets.

On iOS you can’t do shit. You have to open and close every single application. Open mail, check your Mail, close Mail. Open Facebook, check Facebook, close Facebook. You might say that your notification center helps you on this –true- but what about news or just looking at the latest photo a friend posted, there’s no notification for that. You have to hunt for the content you want or might want. iOS basically gives you a static grid of everything you have on your phone and tablet and you need to go through all of them to get the content you want. You can change the backgrounds and move around your icons, but that’s basically it. No functionality, no features, no personalization… nada… zero… absolument rien… kedal.

It’s highly unlikely we’ll see anything like this in the upcoming iOS 8 but I sure hope Apple notices this, the current interface really could do with some improvements along this line.

A Decade’s Worth of WWDC Keynotes  

In less than 24 hours, Apple’s 2014 World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) kicks off. Here’s a great summary of the past ten years of WWDC keynotes by Harry McCracken:

Sure, consumers are watching, and Apple hopes that they’re dazzled. But WWDC keynotes are usually the least gadget-centric events which Apple holds, and even though people who covet new Apple products pay close attention, they’re not the primary audience.

One of the things I find most interesting about this article is seeing the almost exponential rise of Apple’s share price over those ten years. Starting at $16.25 in 2004 and peaking at $576.16 in 2012 (and currently $633 pre-WWDC 2014), it’s remarkable that the company continues to attract so much negative criticism from analysts.

Considering most Apple keynotes happen at around 2am here in Brisbane, I’ll be catching up on it a few hours later.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

How To Position Desktop Speakers  

A great piece on correctly positioning desktop speakers for the best sound. I realise now (ok, I already knew) how completely wrong my setup is.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Welcome  

Welcome to Screaming Jet.