If you do only one thing on the internet today, please watch this video by James Rath. In a world where so often technology can make us feel disconnected and absent from those around us, it’s important to see things from the other end something. In the case of James Rath it’s incredible to see how much technology has influenced his life in such a positive way.
One of my favourite Mac utilities has just been updated to add some excellent functionality. Airfoil now supports Chromecast and it works very well.
I’ve never understood why AirPlay from an iOS device only allows you to send audio to one speaker at a time, Airfoil is the perfect way to fix that. My MacBook Pro is normally on and so I AirPlay to Airfoils sister app Airfoil Satellite and then using the iOS Satellite app send the audio to what ever speakers I want. Since I have a Chromecast in my little studio I can now easily send Apple Music to my speakers without faffing around with cables. I put it to good use this morning streaming to both my studio speakers and kitchen speakers while I moved between the two rooms.
News broke last night of some changes to the App Store. Chief among them was the availability of subscription pricing to all types of apps. Many people seem to see it as a positive for developers, and I agree to some extent, but it all depends how those subscriptions will be used.
This quote from The Verge’s coverage of the news is exactly what I’m concerned about.
Tsiddon says his company makes around $10 million a year from its premium apps, which are sold for a one-time purchase fee of $3.99 or $4.99. Lightricks has sold 8 million app downloads to date. Tsiddon hasn’t fully committed to a subscription model yet, only saying that he’s “excited to experiment with the business model,” but based on back-of-the-envelope math he believes if his company saw 4 million downloads while charging a $4 monthly subscription fee, he could make 10 times his current annual revenue.
If developers start to shift to pricing like this, I and many others, will stop using their apps. I simply can not afford, and even if I could I would not be able to justify, paying $4 a month to use an app. Especially when it’s multiplied by the 12 independent apps on my iPhone homescreen. That’s not sustainable.
This morning the CEO of the UK Driving License Authority posted a prototype on Twitter of a digital version of the UK driving license in Apple Wallet. It hadn’t even crossed my mind that this would be on their radar, but it’s certainly something I could get on board with. I really don’t like carrying my wallet around with me and Apple Pay is one of the big factors driving my desire to upgrade my iPhone (the fact it seems to be dying is the other) and having my driving license in the wallet would a great step to being able to leave my wallet at home.
Some great photos of Apple’s new campus as it’s construction starts to really show what it will look like. Really looking forward to seeing the final “product”. Maybe I’ll get to visit in person one day.
When I read this post from Khoi Vinh I found myself nodding along in agreement. This part in particular struck a chord,
When I think about where I’m most productive with OS X, it’s always at my desk, where I have a huge monitor (on my iMac, at home) or even two Cinema Displays (at work)
I upgraded my Mac nearly a year ago and had a long debate about whether to get an iMac or a MacBook Pro. The iMac was appealing for so many reasons, but I couldn’t quite bring myself to give up the flexibility my MacBook offers. However there’s no denying that I’m most productive at my desk with a larger screen, and since upgrading my iPad 2 to an iPad Air 2 I’m using that for more work leaving me more focused when I’m on my Mac as well.
In the future I can certainly see myself moving to an iMac over the MacBook Pro and maybe, if budget affords it, and iPad Pro. Especially as it’s capabilities grow and allow for more and more work to be accomplished on it.
After a brief break last week, I was on a mini-holiday, The Week in links is back with it’s 26th edition. This weeks take a look at how we work and think, how the design of the web is pushed a bit more. And then some furter thoughts on Apple Watch, headphones, cameras, and the often speculated Apple Car.
Whole Brain Creativity – Shawn Blanc with a really interesting take on how we think. Each of us has our own strengths in the work we do and it really is in our interests to seek to work with those who complement that with strengths in other areas.
Online Reading is Becoming More like Print — Why We Think That’s a Great Idea | AIGA Eye on Design – I really like the sentiment behind this piece. I’d love to see more considered article based design take place on the web. Coming from a print background but with a fascination of working on the web finding the right balance between the two mediums seems to be something we are constantly being challenged with. It’s interestingly timed given the recent comments about how the web is starting to look the same.
A Design Guru’s Work Lair on The New York Times
B&O BeoPlay H8 on Minimally Minimal
Please Don’t Buy a Digital SLR on The Brooks Review
The Apple Watch at Work and Play by Fraser Speirs
Ways to think about cars by Benedict Evans
Building Better Defaults by Shawn Blanc
I’ve had this article from Federico Viticci in my Instapaper queue for along time and finally got a chance to read it over the weekend. Despite it’s age I wanted to share it just in case anyone else is like me and has had it saved to read for a long time.
First up, kudos to Frederico for making the changes to his life he has and not slipping back into old habits. Second, the idea of using my iPhone to track elements of my life has always connected with me (I like stats!). Several times I’ve tried it with MyFitnessPal and Sleep Cycle but they’ve never stuck for some reason, but seeing the motivation behind Frederico’s methods has struck a chord with me. I’m not recovering from a severe physical illness but I am recovering from a mental one and there’s definitely a connection between my mental well being and how I feel in my body. Positive attitudes in one area of my life filter through into other areas and it’s with this in mind that I’ve decided to have another go at putting that Health app to good use. My thanks to Frederico for highlighting some apps I’d never come across that are much more pleasant to use than ones I’ve tried previously.
Here’s to another attempt at tracking some stats about my life and to living more healthily.
First, let me tell you one of my big problems, or sources of confusion, with likes on streaming services. Let’s say I’m listening to a Metal station and a great song comes on, but I consider it to be Rock. Do I like it? I enjoy the song, but I’m afraid if I like it, more Rock songs will come on the Metal station, diluting it.
If, like me, you’ve been trying to suss out what the heart does in the new Apple Music, this piece from Jim Dalrymple might just help. Although I still can’t suss why the heart doesn’t change state when a new song comes on when listening to Beats1.
This weeks edition of The Week in Links covers a rande of topics. There’s the usual dose of Apple things, some thoughts from Shawn Blanc on focus and creativity, an obituary to one of the greatest type designers of all time, a moving video from Israel and a moving story from the Welsh valleys.
With the edition also falling on Father’s Day it would be remiss not to mention my Dad. So just a quick note to him to say thanks for being my Dad, you support me, you help me and you guide me and as well as being my Dad you’re also a great friend. Have a beer on me tonight!
- A Few Thoughts on iOS 9 by David Sparks
- Hypertext: On iOS badges and information density by Justin Blanton
- Step By Step: The Idiot’s Guide To Surviving A Machete Attack Kay Wilson for TEDxBGU
- Prefab for Two: A 290-Square-Foot House for $24,000 on Remodelista
- A remarkable tale of rugby redemption… told by the former wildman who was banned for life twice! on Wales Online
- To Apple, Love Taylor by Taylor Swift
- The Jolt by Shawn Blanc
- Hermann Zapf, font designer in The Telegraph
- Esplanade Riel and The Forks by Joshua Ginter
- Apple News And The Open Web on Bitsplitting.org
- You Have Ideas by Shawn Blanc
This weeks edition of The Week in Links is an eclectic mix. The history of Japanese business culture, workspaces, Ethiopia, Apple Watch and a look into designing a typeface to represent a nation to the world.
- These Japanese Companies Have Stayed in Business for Over 1,000 Years
- Multiple Workspaces and The Myth of the Sit/Stand Desk by Ben Brooks
- Just Smart Enough by Shawn Blanc
- Hope In Ethiopia by Phil Coffman
- Apple Watch and Continuous Computing by Ben Thompson
- Pure Pākati Design Information by Klim Type Foundry
Interesting look back at the last year for the Omni Group. What’s so mind blowing is the number of releases they’ve made as depicted on their timeline.
The iPad mini doesn’t add anything to the iOS experience feature-wise, but it does make using iPad apps out in the real world far more likely. I never felt comfortable using my iPad outside the office or house, but I think I’ll be taking this smaller, lighter iPad with me more often.
I had a brief play with an iPad mini at the weekend. Unlike with the iPhone or the original iPad, I didn’t get a big wow moment, instead a more relaxed and confirming this feels right. Seems to be the general theme from the reviews I’m reading online.
Interesting review of the iPad mini. I’m starting to think that it’s size and weight would be more beneficial to me than my iPad 2. Maybe when the 2nd generation comes out with a retina display I’ll think about upgrading.
Today, right now, we’re using the same mobile operating system with the same apps as the guys in Cupertino who dream this stuff up and make it happen.
And it seems to me that there are several things in iOS 6 which reveal just that. This version of iOS is not full of any one amazing new jaw-dropping feature that will have our minds spinning. Instead it’s filled with dozens of little things that will get used by real people ever day. And it will make our lives a little bit nicer and a little bit easier.
This is exactly how iOS 6 feels to me, a steady refinement, sanding off the rough edges and the bits of friction. It’s smoother, a little bit snappier on my iPhone 4 (except for the app store) and just a nice incremental progression.
iPhone 5 in my hand, this talk of micron-precision, fine watch craftsmanship, and the computerized selection of best-match inlays sounds not the least bit bullshitty or blustery. It simply sounds like an explanation of the level of obsession that it takes to create a mass-produced device that feels this, well, nice.
Of course it’s a disappointment the iPhone 5. Sure sounds like one.
Sir Jonathan, who for all the acclaim bestowed upon him rarely makes public appearances, collected Apple’s awards for best brand and best design studio at D&AD’s 50th anniversary celebration in Battersea Park.
But rather than let one man take the plaudits, Apple took the unusual step of flying its entire design team over from San Francisco to celebrate the achievement as a group – a notable event given that Apple has seemingly never attended an awards bash before.
A lovely touch from Apple to ensure everyone who played their part in Apple’s design success gets the recognition they deserve as part of the best design team in the world. Congratulations guys.
Up until a few weeks ago I’ve often found myself asking the question below:
Why won’t you admit that you can only use the iPad for real work because you’re a writer?
Perhaps one could be justified in asking it. A lot of the people demonstrating the iPad is good for working on tend to be writers, people who just require a text editor and a keyboard to produce something. Of course each time I come across answers similar to this:
I didn’t expect this self-interview to get so combative. But if you’re so sure that the iPad can’t be used for other creative expression, you might want to take it up with people like Cynthia Wick and Glen Mulcahy.
A couple of weeks ago I experienced this first hand. Each summer I do a beach mission in North Wales, every year we end up making things at the last minute to suit the needs which no amount of planning could foresee. This year what was the device I used to do the work? My iPad. My MacBook Pro sat upstairs in it’s case for pretty much the entire time. I wrote talks on my iPad, I made presentations and I planned sessions. My friend, he drew pictures to tell bible stories. Not once did we require a Mac or PC to do it. It was a real eye opener to the power of the iPad as a computer that can be used for work.
So will I leave my MacBook Pro at home next summer? As a freelance designer the only thing that stops me doing this, and perhaps my biggest disappointment with the iPad at the moment, is that there is no software akin to InDesign or Illustrator that would let me. Yet…
Of all the announcements Apple made at WWDC last week, iOS 6 is the one which excites me the most. Well, to be more accurate, Siri excites me the most. Chuck Skoda gives an interesting view of one week with iOS 6, further enticing me to upgrade (if I can) when the new iPhone arrives.
When Apple announced their reminders app, and a new API, that allows geofencing in iOS, I was pretty pumped. To be able to schedule a task to alert you the moment you enter or leave a location seemed pretty cool. But, as with many things, the demo proved to be much cooler than the actual real world use case.
Ben’s not alone with this feeling. I was excited when Geofencing was released, I always forget stuff at the supermarket so the notion of being reminded when I arrived to buy something sounded great. In practise not so much.
Since Instapaper with background update locations launched I’ve been putting it to use on my iPhone. It’s brilliant and I already want more developers to implement something similar (hint, hint Instacast). It feels like this is such an obvious thing to do that I’m baffled no one thought of it sooner. It feels like this kind of thing is what Apple created the Geofences for.