We’re experimenting because we do not believe that, ten years from now, advertisers will be happily paying for CPM banner ads on a site that people leave to read in some other app. And we don’t believe that publishers will support over the long term paid apps which generate no revenue for the publisher. The model we’re experimenting with definitely has its challenges, and we’re going to be careful about how we handle change because we made a public promise by way of our model.
This is a new space, and there’s a lot to explore. The company is responding well to feedback of all kinds, and Rich has told me they have some good ideas for changing how the publisher payment system works.
But this stuff takes time. Apple isn’t the only company that deserves a pass to sit back and consider options on the path to action.
The lightbulb went off. “Oh,” I said. “I get it. See, you are afraid, because for the first time in your life you have found yourself a victim of unwanted sexual advances by someone who has the physical ability to use force against you.” The boy nodded and shuddered visibly.
“But,” I continued. “As a woman, you learn to live with that from the time you are fourteen, and it never stops.
I’m a fan of Readability, but I’ve never liked how sharing an article from within its native or web app uses a self-hosted, Readability-ized version of that article. It doesn’t send your recipients to the original article on the original publisher’s site.
This is bad practice.
As a publisher, though, there are other practices I don’t like about any of these services or, more accurately, how they’re implemented in third-party apps. For example: in most Twitter clients, you can tap or right-click a link to send it to your reading service of choice without ever actually visiting the page and giving the publisher a visit and pageview.
Yes, it can be a pain in the ass to visit a page before saving it to read later if you’re on a crappy 3G connection, or you’re simply in a rush and don’t have time. But it still means an article is getting sucked off a publisher’s site without anything of value exchanged in return.
I started preferring my iPad and iPad 2 for doing everything I could, as its apps and abilities improved. Even though I own a gorgeous 27-inch iMac, that preference has only increased in the two weeks I’ve had my iPad 3. The display is just spectacular.
Kanye West just launched a WhoIs domain lookup tool and called it “the Facebook of websites.” This is not a drill.
A little context might be in order: back in January, West let loose on Twitter a rather tall plan to basically hire anyone who comes within a stone’s throw of doing something marginally creative to build a company that does… something, and I guess WhoDat.biz is its first something. From Stuart Dredge’s coverage at The Guardian, quoting West:
"I am assembling a team of architects, graphic designers, directors musicians, producers, AnRs, writers, publicist, social media experts, app guys, managers, car designers, clothing designers, DJs, video game designers, publishers, tech guys, lawyers, bankers, nutritionist, doctors, scientist,teachers…"
He continued: “DONDA will be comprised of over 22 divisions with a goal to make products and experiences that people want and can afford. I want to put creatives in a room together with like minds that are all waaaay doper than me. We want to help simplify and aesthetically improve everything we see hear, touch, taste and feel.”
Right now developers selling through the Mac App Store face a lose/lose choice: either provide all major upgrades to existing customers for free (thus losing a quarter of our revenue), or create a “new” product for each major version (creating customer confusion) and charge existing customers full price again (creating customer anger).
The Mac App Store is awesome. As a user, it’s my preferred place to buy new apps because it’s so convenient. But in my time speaking to developers as a writer and working for AgileBits, the upgrade issue is a significant problem for developers and sustainability. Maybe it’s something Apple has been working on, since the store is just over one year old, but time is getting short.
The Mac App Store can’t exist without developers stocking its shelves. But developers can’t continue to stock those shelves if they can’t find a way to justify doing so in the long term.
Wil Shipley explains in thorough but digestible detail the problem developers face with no upgrade pricing in the Mac App Store. I would argue this same problem exists for the App Store as well.
I hope Apple gets back to basics in iOS 6, or: A list of what's broken in Apple's most important OS
iOS has come quite a ways since its humble beginning in 2007, when it had very few background tasks, no folders, no Air-anything, no games, no Notification Center (or notifications), and of course, no (sanctioned) way to add new native apps. Apple has added quite a few welcome features over the years, but a number of them feel… incomplete.
Surely, you will be inundated with “new features I’d like to see in iOS 6” lists between now and when Apple finally relents and previews the next iteration of its most significant OS ever. I want to take a different approach and focus on the features that have felt broken, or at least unfinished, since their release.
In Lion, Apple went “Back to the Mac”—or as I called it in my Macworld analysis, “back to basics”. While we’re only five years into iOS, I think it could use some of the same attention in iOS 6:
Photos is broken
The Camera Roll is a mess and Photo Stream is its drunk, belligerent cousin that just came out of the woodwork. Yes, even after 5.1. We need a way to take iOS screenshots that don’t pollute our Apple TV screensavers. We need to be able to actually move photos to albums so they disappear from the Camera Roll.
We need control over default apps
Safari, Mail, Calendars, Contacts, and Twitter are great, but so are plenty of other apps. It was time for Apple to let us pick our own default apps when it launched the App Store in 2008, and it’s still time in 2012.
I’m old ‘nuff paw, promise
Warnings about an app’s content need to stop, and I’m plenty old enough to stop them. I couldn’t care less if a big bad app is going to expose me to the big, bad internet. I’m 31, not 13, and I don’t and won’t have kids—give me a mechanism to prove it and turn off those godforsaken warnings in iTunes and on my devices.
Something, something, homescreen, folders
Besides the arrival of folders in 2010 with iOS 4, homescreen management hasn’t really changed since iPhone OS 1.0. I have 172 apps on my iPhone, and while I’m sure that’s on the high end, I’m also sure I’m not the only one who feels that iOS’s options for managing all this could use… something. Whether it’s a new perk or two or a complete rewrite from byte one, I just hope Apple’s engineers are way ahead of me here.
Sometimes you just gotta turn stuff like WiFi, Bluetooth, Personal Hotspot, and your VPN off. Or on. And it’s always been a pain in the ass in iOS. Maybe they can become buttons at the top or bottom of Notification Center, maybe they can show up as homescreen widgets. They just need to show up.
Restore from iCloud
Backing up to iCloud is awesome. Restoring from it sucks, primarily because you can only do it after a full restore, and then, only for your entire device. If apps actually work with iCloud for storage, they’ll just pull down all your documents the next time you delete and restore those apps (or, at worst, they’ll prompt you to do so). But we need a way to restore files from our iCloud backups for apps that aren’t (and, for whatever reason, may never be) actually using iCloud file storage without having to lobotomize our devices.
AirDrop for iOS
There’s no easy way to send a document or photo from one iOS (or, really, any) device to another without signing up with some service, some ToS, some middle man that uses the internet (and no, Bluetooth file transfer doesn’t quite cut it). Apple applied an arguably post-PC solution to this problem in OS X by introducing AirDrop with Lion. AirDrop sure would make a good bullet item for iOS 6, and perhaps a great addition next to the “Open In” action arrow option.
“In our review of the new iPad, Cody wrote “you won’t believe it until you see it”. I agree. The device is fantastic. But I ’ll add this: the greatest thing about Apple isn’t the product line itself. It’s the community. It’s the users and the developers and the journalists. It is you, reading this on an Apple device. It’s the Apple community using Apple products. And you won’t believe it until you experience it.”—The Apple Community, Part II - Federico Viticci, MacStories
The situation with the Nexus S is not unusual, sadly, and drives home how hard major updates must be to produce for Android devices. Google produces updates directly for flagship phones, and as the platform developer they are obviously the experts. If anybody can produce a quick update it is Google.
Google rolled out an ICS update for the Nexus S last December, but immediately pulled it when upgraders ran into problems. It was clear the update had problems, so down it came. Google stated it would get the update process kicked off again when the update was ready to go.
That was almost four months ago.
Updates are definitely a huge investment, which is why Apple gives a crap about doing them.
Google can’t update its own flagship device, released in December 2010, to its own OS, released less than a year later in October 2011. Apple, by contrast, still updates (and sells) the 3GS, released in 2009, to the latest version of iOS, released this month. And all owners of every compatible iPhone get access to the update, whether wired through iTunes or OTA thanks to iOS 5, on day one.
Theory: the rise of Retina could amplify the app-ification of everything
I’m just thinking out loud here, but I’m starting to wonder if the Retina displays that Apple is pioneering in the iPhone and iPad (and soon, surely, its Macs) could encourage publishers to turn to the App Store for even more of their distribution needs.
Arnold Kim has been thinking out loud about the ramifications that Retina-ifying MacRumors’s image resources. Bottom line: an extra 1-2MB per page sounds like it would amount to a pretty significant bump in resources, including disk space, time, and monthly bandwidth.
What if these resource demands turn into an incentive for creators, publishers, and just about anyone with an internet business to turn to the App Store for distribution? While it is true that you have to host your own post-purchase, in-app content, the 30 percent Apple takes from every transaction goes towards hosting the initial app and any content included with it.
Unless bandwidth costs and wireless internet connections make significant strides in the next few months or year, the fact that Apple hosts apps and their included content could become an even more appealing advantage of the App Store. We’ve already seen iPhone-only photo sharing networks and big-name, iPad-only magazines debut. Perhaps the proliferation of Retina displays and the constraints they create for internet businesses will boost that trend.
Facebook says that it will take action to “protect the privacy and security” of its users and will engage policymakers “by initiating legal action, including by shutting down applications that abuse their privileges.”
In effect, the company is willing to go to bat for users that feel they have been wronged by an employer, which could go as far as filing lawsuits against the companies involved.
Tom Royal, a tech journalist and developer working on the British Journal of Photography iPad app, argues that “it’s just a big JPG” iPad magazines (like the garbage you get from Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite) are less about copy protection, and more about getting the right layout:
I very much doubt the people who make The New Yorker have ever considered rasterising text as a method to prevent copying-and-sharing. Preventing the copying and sharing of magazine content is depressingly difficult once you’ve printed it. I’d put money on them having chosen it for the same reason that many others have: because they’re working on a magazine.
I salute publishers for wanting to nail the right layout (i.e., get something right) when dragging their magazines into the digital realm. But this goal requires sacrificing far too much else in the end user experience. All the typical complaints still stand or get even worse in light of the iPad 3: these “giant JPG” magazines run poorly on the iPad 2, and are even worse on the iPad 3. They’re utterly inflexible, especially for readers with special needs. Download sizes are an absolute joke, and Adobe’s suite in particular seems to produce apps that can’t even download these massive files in the background; if you switch from the app, the download pauses or sometimes, at least in my experience, stops altogether and needs to be restarted on the next attempt.
In the digital realm, publishers need to get out of their comfort zone and let go of some core assumptions if they want to truly do right by their readers. Stop thinking about magazines in terms of perfect columns. Don’t give us massive images, give us gorgeous text that flows for our needs. Throw out the concept of “pages” or, at least, update it for a device that can scroll, flip, and turn in any direction. Web designers did it decades ago. Publishers can too.
Next up: a Google Toilet to analyze our dietary habits and serve targeted ads for everything from new restaurants to just the right pill for that problem you’re having! You know, the private one. Just between you and Google. And its advertisers.
A buddy of mine a few states away just got his first iPad and we’re looking for games we can play asynchronously. I asked Twitter and Touch Arcade for ideas, so here’s a Storify collecting the recommendations I got.
Thanks to everyone who chimed in. We’ll check them out soon, but enough people started asking and thanking me for popping the question that I figured the list was worth sharing.
Yes, perhaps the iPad would have to be slightly thicker if it were held shut with clips rather than glue. But how many people do you know who wouldn’t buy an iPad if it were two millimeters thicker? I’m sure you know many more people who have dropped a smartphone or tablet on the unforgiving concrete. And you probably know more people who have retired an iPod because the battery died right after the warranty expired. All these people have been infantilized out of a relationship with their hardware.
Apple’s trend towards removing user-serviceability from most of its products was disappointing to watch. I loved my wife’s white 17-inch iMac and my old Mac Pro—both were incredible examples of Apple’s ability to make machines that were beautiful both in- and outside, and almost fully serviceable. Remember the 15-inch PowerBook and how you could flip those two switches to pop off the keyboard and upgrade RAM? I lost count of how many Macs I single-handedly sold just by showing that feature to people at Starbucks.
Would the iPad (or iPhone, for that matter) sales take a large dive if Apple added 2mm of thickness to make them user-serviceable? I have a hard time buying that.
There’s a magic to Apple’s products, and I appreciate and admire it. But this isn’t the silver screen, and consumers need stuff to keep working—now, and years from now when we don’t feel like or can’t afford to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on Apple’s latest and greatest.
Between my work for AgileBits and freelance writing, I spend a of time in coffee shops. I mix it up between small neighborhood shops and Starbucks, partly because I like the small places and there are plenty of them in Chicago, partly out of convenience. Yesterday morning I took a break from a family trip in southwest Waukesha, WI to finish a review for Macworld at a local Starbucks, and was surprised by the devices people were—or, I should say: weren’t— using there.
I spent around three hours at Starbucks Sunday morning, the typical time in this neighborhood when you see a little bit of everyone. In that time I spotted six iPads, and all types had them too—retirees, students, a soccer mom who asked me how to get on the WiFi, and a businessman enjoying a free weekend moment. For the first time I have experienced since the iPad’s introduction, there wasn’t a single laptop.
Granted, a few hours in a single Starbucks is the statistical sample base of zero, but it is at least interesting anecdotally. Southeast Waukesha isn’t exactly your typical beacon of tech adoption, though it’s a good gage for the middle-of-the-road.
Over the last ten years, we’ve seen the coffee shop Mac-to-PC ratio slowly shift in Apple’s favor. More and more now, the iPad-to-laptop ratio is heralding another shift towards Apple’s products, and it’s not just the early adopters and nerds anymore. The iPad is still new, but its growth is off the charts, and it’s coming from everyone.
“This deeply American terror of not always having the absolutely hugest dick in the room is what put us in the inescapable box called Too Big to Fail. When the bailouts were dreamed up to save Bank of America, the government was essentially committing public resources to preserve this lunatic spending spree – which means two successive presidential administrations have now spent nearly half a decade and hundreds of billions of tax dollars defending the premise that Hugh McColl should always be allowed to have the “taller one.”—Matt Taibbi, Bank of America: Too Crooked to Fail on rollingstone.com
The changes to search are among the biggest in the company’s history and could affect millions of websites that rely on Google’s current page-ranking results. At the same time, they could give Google more ways to serve up advertisements.
Google isn’t replacing its current keyword-search system, which determines the importance of a website based on the words it contains, how often other sites link to it, and dozens of other measures. Rather, the company is aiming to provide more relevant results by incorporating technology called “semantic search,” which refers to the process of understanding the actual meaning of words.
Semantic search has been a holy grail of the search industry for years. I remember writing about it quite a bit in my days at Ars Technica. Competitors like Ask.com took their swing at semantic search with limited success, but if any company has a chance at knocking it out of the park, it’s Google.
Producers of the public radio program “This American Life” said today that they were retracting an earlier report critical of working conditions in the Chinese plants of Apple supplier Foxconn because it contained “significant fabrications” by narrator Mike Daisey.
There’s much more from Rob Schmitz, who tracked down and interviewed Cathy Lee, the translator Daisey hired for his trip to Foxconn. Now that Daisey’s been caught, he claims that what he does is not journalism, but theater. What a joke.
Stepping back from this discovery, though: after all the media coverage and bandwagon-hopping from protest groups, have we had a single accompanying audit from any of Foxconn’s numerous other clients?
Enough folks are asking me why I picked 64GB, or Verizon LTE, or black for my iPad 3 that it’s worth wrapping up my answers here:
I’m doing more and more of both my work and personal stuff on my iPad, so I want as much space as possible. I have a 32GB AT&T iPad 2 right now and I constantly have to juggle which playlists or movies I want to bring today, or this week, or for my next trip. Heck, 11GB of that space is just for all the apps I have installed, and I wish I could keep even more of those around. If Apple had released a 128GB model, FedEx would be delivering me one of those tomorrow instead. Maybe next year.
I want to move my entire photo library to my iPad once the right app can do it (I had higher hopes for iPhoto for iOS in this regard. I might still try it, but I’m not optimistic since it doesn’t sync over iCloud—yet). I write more and more on my iPad thanks to apps like Writing Kit and Evernote, and I don’t think you’ve truly worked unless you’ve laid on your back in the middle of Millennium Park on a nice day, answering emails or outlining a screencast with your iPad.
I’ve been with AT&T for every iPhone since the original in 2007, and every iPad since the first generation. So has my wife with her iPhone 3G, iPhone 4, and original iPad. For my iPhone, I’ve always appreciated AT&T’s perk of using data while making a a call, but an all-AT&T setup has come in handy in general since we can roll our iPhones and iPads into one single monthly bill. For the iPad 3, though, I figured trying a change of pace couldn’t hurt.
I haven’t been on Verizon since my employee plan way back in the day from selling mobile phones at Circuit City. Since it’s an iPad, I don’t have to care about using voice and data at the same time. Plus, AT&T’s network is still having a hard time keeping up with demand in Chicago (though to be fair, it works well for most of the day outside of rush hour), and from the tests I’ve seen, Verizon has quite the head start on 4G here in Chicago.
Lastly: I’ve been thinking more about getting some kind of a backup internet line for the (rare) times when my home Comcast broadband goes down. But mobile broadband modems can be expensive, and I don’t want yet another contract. Since Verizon supports the iPad 3’s newfound hotspot ability and will even toss the option in for free, I’m hitting at least two birds with one stone. I can change (or even suspend) my iPad’s data plan whenever I want, and I’ll bet the iPad 3’s battery can outlast most mobile broadband modems.
I’ve gone black for most of my mobile Apple gadgets. I had a white iPhone 3GS when white didn’t really mean much for your actual experience (only the back was white, not the front bezel around the display). I now have a white iPhone 4S and, to be honest, I regret it a little.
The white feels cool in some ways, probably due to simply being a change of pace, but the design actually accentuates the amount of space there is between the top of the glass you touch as a user and the display sitting underneath. After Apple made all that ruckus for the iPhone 4 about the new display manufacturing process it used to get the display that much closer to the glass, I suspect this drawback of the white design was part of the reason Apple delayed it for so long.
The “it feels like I’m touching pixels” experience doesn’t feel quite as real on the white iPhone, so I’m sticking with black on my iPad.
That about sums it up; any others, considering I haven’t received mine yet? iPad 3 reviews are already out if you want to start reading, but I’ll post some thoughts of my own after I’ve spent some time with mine.
Long story short: the display is unparalleled. The CPU isn’t any faster, though, so if you were hoping looking for a big performance boost over the iPad 2, this is not the iPad you were looking for. The battery nearly quadrupled in capacity, but that’s just to maintain 10 hours of battery in the face of the demanding new display, 4G LTE networking, and the beefier GPU to push all those pixels.
Instead of making a large performance leap like the iPad 2 did over the original, the iPad 3 is about making an incredible improvement to the thing that matters most on a buttonless tablet, and polishing the rest of the experience. If that’s interesting to you, give it a gander. My 64GB 4G Verizon model arrives tomorrow, and I’ll post my thoughts after spending some time with it.
To cut straight to the disappointment, not much has changed. Of all the new visual elements in Google’s latest OS, only the multitasking menu has been included. Everything else – aside from a new lock screen – has been made to look as similar to the Android 2.3 TouchWiz interface as possible. Widgets can’t be resized, there’s no unified app and widget drawer, and no Roboto. Samsung has taken a colossal update and turned it into an iterative one, with barely a hint of Google’s Holo theme retained.
Good decision, especially since the MPEG LA (the group in charge of H.264 patents) announced in 2011 to extend its royalty-free H.264 policy for the life of the patent portfolio. Creators of H.264-encoded videos that are made free to watch on the web will never have to pay an H.264 licensing fee, while for-pay products and services like iTunes and Blu-ray still have to license the tech. Fair ‘nuff.
Google never bothered to drop H.264 support from Chrome like it threatened to, so Mozilla and Opera have been the only holdouts. Now is as good a time as ever to end this silly standoff so the web can finally standardize on a video technology.
Huge update to a good camera app, including the ability to share to multiple accounts (even on the same service) at once, import multiple photos from Camera Roll, focus and exposure locks, APIs for third-party developers, a better lightbox (my favorite feature), an easier way to copy web links for sharing, and, of course, volume snap is on by default.
Another great new option is Workflows, a new preference that lets you choose between going straight to editing after shooting each photo, or stay in the camera to keep shooting. Just 99¢ in the App Store.
Posterous Spaces will remain up and running without disruption. We’ll give users ample notice if we make any changes to the service. For users who would like to back up their content or move to another service, we’ll share clear instructions for doing so in the coming weeks.
As usual with these kinds of announcements, there’s no word on exactly what Twitter plans to do with Posterous. Some of it may be a tech acquisition, but it’s probably mostly about talent. In other words: if you have any marginally important sites on Posterous, you should probably start planning your transition now. “Ample notice” is quite the subjective term in the tech field.
Fun fact: Sachin Agarwal used to work at Apple on the Final Cut Pro team. He left the company to start Posterous and launched it about four years ago. Not a bad turnaround. Congrats to Agarwal and his team.
Archaic, consumer-hostile exclusivity agreements are at least adopting some semblance of rationality in the age of cloud-hosted media libraries. Previously, the agreements between studios and networks like HBO would prevent you from streaming an iTunes Store film you purchased to your iPhone or iPad.
Ever wonder why films appear in the store, then disappear for a while, only to return later? Agreements like these are (partly) why, and before you ask: yes, downloading that same film from the store and syncing it via iTunes over USB is different, so the agreements don’t apply.
If Twitter, for example, offered exclusive access to NYT stories, if you had to go to twitter.com to read a NYT story, that would really screw with Facebook and Google. There aren’t two NYT’s to buy, just one. The first to realize the enormous value of the NYT flow will have a serious leg-up on the others.
Further, do you think the Times could grow with a few billion cash injected, and a mission to screw profit and grow-grow-grow.
It’s an invigorating idea, but one that runs counteractive to the mission of news like Wolverine’s nails on a chalkboard. Sure, news publications score exclusives. But their core purpose is to disseminate the news and inform as many citizens as possible, not lock up their wares in the “corporate blogging silos” that Winer has so frequently railed against.
“The core experience of the iPad, and every tablet for that matter, is the screen. It’s so fundamental that it’s forgettable. Post-PC devices have absolutely nothing to hide behind — specs, form-factors, all that stuff melts away in favor of something intangible. When the software provides the metaphor for the device, every tablet lives and dies by the display and what’s on it.”—Why the new iPad’s Retina Display matters - Ryan Block, gdgt