Documenting past home screen arrangements

Matt Birchler had an interesting blog post this week about a screenshot of his 2013 iPhone home screen. There are a few interesting things to note. In 2013, it was the arrival of the controversial iOS 7 redesign. It’s interesting to look at the Camera+ icon design which was still not updated for the new style. The dock design style was pretty basic and felt out of place. A few apps are not longer among us these days: Path (which was really a great design example) but most of the third-party apps are still available today.

I wish I had kept screen shots of previous home screen arrangements in the past. Something that I have kept is many screen shots of my password manager user interface dating back pre-iOS 7 era. Here is an example below. When I saw iOS 7, I didn’t have the courage to rework my design. The development of my app stopped right there. I made five thousands dollars with this adventure, between 2009 and 2013. Now I’m using a combinaison of 1Password and Apple’s passwords vault.

On Safari 15 in iPadOS 15 Beta 4

Apple is slowly but surely getting there with this release of beta 4 of iPadOS 15 and Safari 15. I like what I’m seeing, on the iPad. Yet, “_when you don’t know what is best, just add an option to Settings so the user can decide_” strategy seems to be the way to go this time. You know what’s my choice, don’t you?

I’ve been invited to test Safari 15 Preview on Big Sur

I’m going to jump in because on macOS, I don’t see the change as controversial as on iOS 15. I find it surprising that Apple seeks feedback on the new design. It’s a good thing but also surprising has they tend to do their thing alone. Now, they look a bit in distress while searching for a solution.

Four days week day? We can only dream it seems

Again, Matt Birchler: > technology and improved general productivity always had the promise of letting us work less, and yet today we work more than ever and have less than before Source: A Four Day Work Week? Yes, Please!

I sure wish we had this four days work week. I cannot see the day it will become reality. The problem in IT where I work, there is a worsening trend of a lack of qualified people for many IT fields. This trend puts pressure on those who are qualified to do more working hours.

Do you remember when you switched to Apple’s ecosystem?

Matt Birchler writing about Apple ecosystem stickiness:

“As I buy more and more Apple products, all of those Apple products get better. My iPhone is more valuable because of the HomePod Mini I AirPlay my podcast to while I’m working. My iPad gets more valuable because it has seamless file sync with my Mac. Reminders is better because it works with Siri in a way no other app is allowed. The list goes on. But this is of course also a bit of a trap. I can’t really get an Android phone, even if I think I would enjoy it more than my iPhone, because then my HomePods become worse, my Mac gets worse, my iPad gets worse, and my Apple services get worse. Because each additional Apple product makes all my other Apple products better, likewise removing something from that mix brings down everything else.”

You cannot use an Apple Watch with an Android smartphone. In Apple’s garden, every product has an extension that takes the form of a service or another physical product from Apple. Did we forget that once upon a time we made a switch from platforms like Windows or OS/2? When a new offering is really making a difference, we tend to switch. Back in the days, a Windows PC was an island, leaving it for the Mac meant that you had to re-buy new software, a few accessories. All things equal, the switch wasn’t necessarily funny. Today’s digital world is quite different, for sure, but pose a similar kind of challenge when switching.

Photo by Miguel Tomás on Unsplash

On iPadOS 15 Photos improvements

I’ve been using Photos in iPadOS 15 since beta 2 and I must say that Apple is in fact offering a major update to their photos application. Beyong the updated Stories automatic creation and management improvements, face recognition has become quite impressive. According to a published article by Apple, people faces should be more detectable and recognizable in more extreme conditions. I can confirm this is actually the case. A large number of new photos were surfaced by Photos’ improved algorithms which brings more potential content for new stories creation. Managing tagged faces is easier too and provides a refined experience overvall. Photos enhancements in iPadOS 15 is a big reason to upgrade.

Moving Adobe Lightroom from one machine to another

I’m finally done moving Adobe Lightroom Classic from my iMac to my M1 Mac mini. A few takeaways: it’s a tricky process involving many folders to copy (presets, settings, photos, catalog, etc.). Lightroom is bad at managing digital assets when things need to be reorganized. The Apple Silicon optimized version is faster but not as much as I thought it would be. My Mac mini never stop to impress me, it’s such a fast device. I’m close to being able to put my 2017 iMac for sale.

iPhone 13 Pro Max or iPhone 13 Pro — That is the question

I’m planning to go big screen this fall with the iPhone 13 Pro (12s?) Max (I currently own an iPhone 11 Pro). I never owned the biggest iPhone (Plus or Max). There is one thing that makes me pause: information density of the Max seems about the same if not a bit higher compared to the non-Max model. There are six row of icons on the home screen on both models (Max and non-Max), which is kind of lame. Am I getting this wrong?

When a 2013 MacBook Air is > than a two-years old Chromebook

I’ll be getting a old 2013 MacBook Air for one of my son to replace an aging Chromebook that I bought about two years ago. Think about it. This eight years old MacBook Air is faster, much better design, much better screen quality, more memory and will be able to run macOS Big Sur and all other apps like iWorks et al. I find this incredible that we can read and hear people saying Apple gear is expansive and that is under Apple’s obsolescence progamming. I call this bullshit.

Moving from Castro to Pocket Cast: 100% completed. 👨🏻‍💻⌛️👍🏻😁

I waited for close to a year for Castro to bring its podcasts app to the iPad. Today, with the announcement of Automattic buying Pocket Cast, it came back on my radar. It didn’t take too long to make the switch. Pocket Cast is a real multi-platform player, feature rich and has an as good design as the other players. After Tumblr, DayOne, now Pocket Cast, I want to give it a try and see how Automattic will build on it. Meanwhile, I’m really enjoying it.

On PC in the cloud

Microsoft announced their PC in the cloud offerings this week. While it is probably based on their previous offering, Windows Virtual Desktop service, it does look like a milestone to me. I’ve been in IT for more than 25 years. I saw the migration from the mainframe to the client-server applications architecture. After that, it was about virtualization taking over with the popular VMware hypervisor. In the last five years, I saw the cloud taking over the IT world. The latter has a much more profound impact than any trend I witnessed or was part of in my career.

PC in the cloud is only offered to business customers, for now. I can see Microsoft offering the service to the general public in a not too distant future. I’ll probably subscribe to an instance for my personal needs. Being able to run the PC in a browser means being able to use it on any of my current Apple devices, from the M1 Mac mini to my iPad Pro. This is something Apple will never enable itself, certainly not within Safari. The future looks interesting.

User Interface design dark age era

We are in the dark age (not dark mode!) of user interface design for sure. We get excited for new animated UI elements (example here), but overall, delight has been lost in translation a long time ago. As Mike Rockwell is a link post say: >“I can’t really identify anything that I’ll be nostalgic for in ten or twenty years.”

I wouldn’t go back to pre-iOS 7 days but there has to be some delightful in-between degree of crafted user interface that had some real joyful elements in them. Apple is not the only one at fault here. It looks like it is a design trend spanning many mediums (print, TV, web, etc.). >Has the industry decided that our devices have reached a level of maturity that warrants making everything minimal, sterile, and utilitarian to help “do work” and “get stuff done”?

Excellent question, Tyler Hall.

Google’s openness isn’t enough apparently (#antitrust #security #cybersecurity)

Wow, that one is close to being hilarious. Big tech companies are the target of hate these days. Google was hit by another antitrust lawsuit by no less than 36 states about their handling of applications side loading on Android. In summary, it is so cumbersome to side load an app on Android, thanks to security measures, that it makes it hard for competing App Store to compete.

Google makes the sideloading process unnecessarily cumbersome and impractical by adding superfluous, misleading, and discouraging security warnings and by deterring users by requiring them to grant permission multiple times for a single app installation (discussed in more detail in Sections I.C. and I.D. below). The effect of Google’s conduct is to practically eliminate competition in Android app distribution.

Android is supposedly more permissive than Apple’s App Store and yet, it looks like it’s not enough. This lawsuit is a prime example on why I don’t like the current trend. People want more open platforms but it’s never enough. If Apple is ever forced to make profound changes to their App Store business, it will be the beginning of a worrisome trend that I prefer wouldn’t happen. I recently wrote about not wanting another Android platform. Now, I should say that I don’t want another Windows platform disguised in a mobile device. To me, it is scary and close in nature to the same problem of who should own encryption keys. Raging ransomeware cyberattacks are signs of what is coming on mobile devices if we open them up too much, just like Windows.

Bye Bye Skylum - I barely knew you

In preparing to move off my 2017 Intel iMac (and put if for sale), I must make sure to re-install remaining applications on my M1 Mac mini. Photography-related apps were the last to be updated for the M1 chip. Lightroom CC is now fully optimized, but none of the Skylum apps I was (rarely) using: Luminar 4 and Aurora 2019 HDR. After spending some time on their support forums, I found out that none of their apps are optimized for the M1 chip. I had to make the call: bye bye Skylum. I barely knew you.

If a software vendor like Skylum is unable to update their apps in a timely matter, more than a year after the M1 chip has been announced, I give up. It is sad because these are the kind of applications that would take advantage of the power of the M1 chip. Too bad. My photography workflow will focus on Adobe applications, for good or for worse.

What comes before the right to repair? (#apple #righttorepair)

The next step for Apple is to design for repairability which goes beyond recycling. AirPods are the worst example of this. When the battery life on these is reached, there is no practical way to replace them without throwing it to the trash and buying a new one. So for me, the right to repair goes way beyond having a choice of where I’m going to take a device for repair. It is about buying a device that was designed for and built to use recycled materials, but also it is about buying a device that can be repaired for basic things like battery replacement.

Going to space… to watch a burning planet.

So Richard Branson went to space. Next, Jeff Bezos. And then, what? Is there any scientific purposes in these flights to space? Nope, not directly at least. Is this a publicity stunt? Yes and no. I’m not at ease seeing billionnaires spending their pretty money on something that don’t bring value to a community except for themselve. Oh, they want to start a new commercial flight in space business apparently, for billionaires:

Branson’s flight — which came just nine days before Amazon bilionaire Jeff Bezos is slated to rocket into suborbital space aboard his own company’s spacecraft — is a landmark moment for the commercial space industry. The up-and-coming sector has for years been seeking to make suborbital space tourism (a relatively simple straight-up-and-down flight, as opposed to orbiting the Earth for longer periods) a viable business with the aim of allowing thousands of people to experience the adrenaline rush and sweeping views of our home planet that such flights can offer.

Is there a better way to spend our resources to see the burning planet from space? Gosh.

A few thoughts on cleaning up my Twitter accounts following list

Since last year, I’ve been making a major cleanup of my Twitter account. I came from following more than 2000 people down to less than 300… and my goal is to drop below 100. I’m slowly getting there. Here are a few take outs from this major cleanup of my accounts following list.

First, there are a lot of stale accounts on Twitter, which tends to artificially increase “followship”. It looks like people stopped tweeting a while ago — they left the building. Second, a bunch of accounts were iPhone developers that I started following during my indie developer era, back in 2009-2013. My interests have since then shifted to writing and blogging. I no longer need to get in touch with the developers community. Third, and this coud be the most troubling take out: Twitter has become less and less useful in my numeric life. Articles readings happens more and more though RSS feeds and Mailbrew. So, what’s left for me from Twitter? Getting reactions from people during specials events, related to Apple’s announcements. That’s pretty much it.

The return of the Touch ID?

A recent poll ran by 9To5Mac gives surprising results about what people would like to see if Touch Id is to return to the iPhone. Touch ID under the screen wins popular favour… personally, I would prefer Touch ID to go on the power button, just like the iPad Air because it is easily accessible while holding the phone.

Here is some relief for Safari 15 users who hate the new design… (#ios15beta2 #apple)

For those like me who despise Safari redesign in iPadOS 15 & iOS 15: here is simple trick to better cope with Safari redesign: keep the number of open tab to ONE. Why do you think Apple thought it was a good idea to include a “Close Other Tabs” in the popup menu while pressing the address bar? With on,y one tab open, this is close to what we had before.

Apple in a weakness position…

I keep thinking of this phrase from Phil Schiller who once said: > “whenever we make a change we do it from a position of strength rather than weakness.”.

The window has closed a long time ago for Apple and they find themselves in a weakness position. I thought Mr. Schiller was still partly involved in the App Store related decisions.

Let’s pretend there is side-loading of apps on the iPhone, then what?

InitialCharge: > The only one that stands to lose anything in this scenario is Apple and that’s why they’re doing everything they can to convince us that side-loading is inherently bad. But they’re wrong.Source: Apple’s Head of Privacy Doubles Down on Anti-Sideloading Stance - Initial Charge

I’m a bit late on this one but, let say Apple does go ahead and allow for side loading of apps. Besides the proliferation of App Stores, what will we get in this scenario that we don’t get today? Proponents of applications sideloading are always shy on providing the real long term benefits of such opening. Let me guess: lower prices for apps? Faster install? Better layout App Stores? Apps that use private APIs? What examples of previsouly missed innovations that we get with side-loading? Apps that can trick differently users in thinking they are safe? Or is this choices for the sake of choice?

Please… stop… using… ellipsis… for gods sake (#apple #ux #design #iosdev)

In the following screenshot taken this morning on my iPad screen, how many ellipsis signs to you catch? I highlighted them for you to make it easier. To all developers, to all designers, to Apple: please, stop this shit NOW and find a better way, use your imagination, stop being lazy at design. Thank you.

I’m starting a new trend: open writing.

If you’ve been paying attention in recent months, did you know that you can have a peek at my upcoming blog posts that I’m working on? Thanks to Craft, You can peak at a selection of drafts, ideas, reference lists, etc. I give a name to this: open writing. Think of this as being this observer looking at a painter while he or she is painting a new artwork.👨🏻‍💻

What would be super cool is if someone interacted with this by posting comments… which is something Craft makes possible.

On Apple’s Hybrid work model — Apple’s employees to become targets?

Dave Mark for LoopInsight: > Did the pandemic make a foundational change to the way we think about where we do our jobs? Or was this a blip, with a slow slide back to the old ways?

I certainly hope that we won’t return massively to the old days. For Apple, it looks like the pandemic was a blip and employees will need to be back at the office at least three days a week. It’s a corporate culture thing, which doesn’t get amended easily. Now, for employees not wanted to return to the previous model, even partially, they could become poaching targets by other companies where remote work is fundamental to them. This is where Apple could have to open up more.

What if nobody really knows what is going on? (#google #privacy #surveillance)

What if nobody at Google knows exactly what their data hungry engine is all about? I mean, what if nobody has a global picture, so nobody can say “oh my god, it’s terrible, we must stop it!”. This makes me think of the nazis in second world war: very few had a global picture of what was really going on. It was devised this way so it was easier to “manage” and keep the machine humming.