I have to disagree with John Gruber and MG Siegler: I thoroughly enjoy the wide tab style in Safari 5.2 for Mac and Mobile Safari on the iPad.
For starters, I’ve always hated seeing a big long empty space in Safari for Mac when you have only one or two tabs open. The rest of the tab bar becomes an empty, wasted gutter of space.
Using that space for wider tabs, even with just one or two open, means that you can actually see the entire name of the page in each tab. This is one of the interface issues that drives me nuts about Chrome: every tab is the same tiny, useless width, so you never can make out much a page’s name.
Plus, on the iPad, using that wasted tab bar gutter space for wider tabs makes them not only easier to read (which is especially hand since Safari for iPad doesn’t display favicons on its tabs), but much easier targets to hit with your finger. Space optimization + easy tapping = a big win in my book.
Please, Safari guys. Think of the children, and their children’s children. Keep them tabs nice ‘n wide.
Update: Gruber updated his post in response with a nice idea:
A clever compromise that perhaps would make us all happy: If there’s room, grow tabs to be wide enough to contain the page title, but no wider.
My friend and coworker Jamie Phelps posted a great interface observation on Finer Things in Mac that he caught the Messages beta. Apple seems to be testing a solution to the ‘where am I?’ problem that you run into with hidden scrollbars in iOS and now OS X. I like it, but it’s pretty subtle. Think non-nerds will notice?
He clarifies a couple of general details about how iOS UI rendering works as a response to a post by Andrew Munn, a Google engineering intern, about why Android is laggy.
Andrew Munn, an engineering intern at Google, responding to this post by Dianne Hackborn, an Android Framework Engineer:
It’s not GC pauses. It’s not because Android runs bytecode and iOS runs native code. It’s because on iOS all UI rendering occurs in a dedicated UI thread with real-time priority. On the other hand, Android follows the traditional PC model of rendering occurring on the main thread with normal priority.
This is a not an abstract or academic difference. You can see it for yourself. Grab your closest iPad or iPhone and open Safari. Start loading a complex web page like Facebook. Half way through loading, put your finger on the screen and move it around. All rendering instantly stops. The website will literally never load until you remove your finger. This is because the UI thread is intercepting all events and rendering the UI at real-time priority.
Munn goes on to list four other related reasons that help explain the lag that persists throughout Android. Some of the technical discussion in these two posts gets a little beyond my capacity, but they’re great reads if you want some insight into the issue from people who just might actually know what they’re talking about.
via Gina Trapani
“If things under the glass move as you move your finger, the illusion of direct manipulation of a digital interface is created. If you move your finger and, then, a split-second later something moves in response to your movement, that breaks the illusion. Apple has fully understood this from the beginning, and the iPhone has always responded to pinches and flicks with nearly 1:1 accuracy, especially in the browser, which is where iPhone users (myself included) seem to spend most of their time.”
AppleInsider was able to independently confirm on Friday that Peter Hajas has indeed landed a job with the iPhone maker. He is said to be working in Apple’s iOS Applications & Frameworks division, at the company’s corporate headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.
MobileNotifier is an application that was described in the jailbreak-only Cydia application store as “iOS notifications. Done Right.” The application had nearly a quarter-million downloads from jailbreak users, and had been upgraded numerous times to reach beta 4.
AppleInsider notes that Hajas only
announced teased getting hired by Apple a week ago, stating that it is unlikely he had a part in any sort of improved notification system that Steve Jobs may or may not demo in iOS 5 on Monday.
But Apple could very well have actually hired Hajas, or at least started incorporating his software into iOS 5, a long time ago. Let’s also not forget that in early 2010, Apple hired Rich Dellinger, a User Interface Design Architect from Palm who created webOS’ much-applauded notification system.
Just imagine what Microsoft will do to Skype’s UI on iOS and Mac.
“The difference between iOS and Android, design-wise, can be summed in a single word: magic. iOS aims for it. Android doesn’t want it.”
Daring Fireball: Magic, a piece pointing out that, while Tweetbot (my new primary iPhone client) might be divisive and off-the-beaten-path in terms of iOS behavior, it’s still a great example of what makes iOS wonderful.