Menu

Colin Devroe

Photographer. Podcaster. Blogger. Reverse Engineer.

Pretty remarkable seeing Apple Park in August 2015 and today.

Gurman’s scoops, like this one, are always so full of cruft in the style of writing. I wish they were just bulleted-lists of what’s to come.

This time of year is always good for developers with Microsoft’s Build, Google I/O and Apple’s WWDC happening within the span of a few months. This week is Microsoft Build and I’m looking forward to seeing some great announcements.

My questions for WWDC 2019

I am looking forward to this year’s WWDC more than I have in the last 4 or 5 years. There is so much riding on this conference for my personal productivity but also for the Mac and iPad platforms as a whole.

Here are a few reasons why and I’ll follow with a few questions that I have.

Steve Troughton-Smith asked on Twitter if any developers were willing to state publicly that they planned on bringing their iOS apps to the Mac via the upcoming UIKit release at WWDC.

(If you don’t know what the heck I’m talking about, I suggest looking at STS’s blog post on the subject.)

You can read the thread on Twitter but Michael Tsai has a collection of the responses from developers (of course). It is exciting to see so many developers that are willing to give this a try.

Then, of course, is Guilherme Rambo’s scoops on some of the things coming to macOS and iOS over on 9to5Mac. There isn’t one link I can provide to all of the posts so here are just a few.

Here are the WWDC questions that I’m most interested in getting an answer to:

  • Will Apple finally throw out the most unreliable piece of hardware they’ve “ever” made?
  • Will UIKit apps from iOS work on macOS well enough to satiate us long-time Mac users? Meaning, will they be good Mac citizens unlike the current Mojave offerings that stink?
  • Will the iPad’s version of iOS get enough productivity updates to make a meaningful impact on how I personally use my iPad currently? (I’m not convinced the leak re: the new undo gesture will make any difference whatsoever to that particular interaction. To me a three-finger swipe is just as discoverable as the absurd shaking you have to do now. No offense to Etch A Sketch.)
  • Will mobile Safari support Web Share Target API by the end of the year? Related. (I need this for Unmark big time)
  • Will iOS finally get an app drawer (or something like one)? Having the apps on pages and pages of home screens or nestled into folders has been showing its age for a few years already.
  • Could the biggest announcements at WWDC still be unleaked? Could Rambo’s scoops, whatever their source, be simply laying the groundwork for a much larger announcement? Personally I would mind seeing something re: automation, AR or VR.

We’ll know in about a month.

Apple needs to replace the keyboard on all MacBooks this year

John Gruber:

Even if they ship a truly new, reliable keyboard this summer (which I think they will, because if they don’t, it means they’re in deep denial of a huge problem), how long will it take for that new keyboard to roll out across the entire MacBook line? Even if Apple is on the case, hard at work on a new keyboard, there are likely to be brand-new MacBooks in the lineup with the unreliable butterfly keyboards for at least another year.

As I wrote, I want to switch back to the Mac but only after they produce a laptop with an entirely new, reliable keyboard. I’ve seen the current keyboard in action and I think I would have pitched my laptop into the sea out of frustration if I had owned one.

John is likely right, it will take the better part of a year to replace all keyboards across the MacBook lines… but I think they should take the hit and roll them all out at once. It will likely cost them a few billion in lost inventory but I think it would be worth it to show everyone how seriously they want to fix this issue.

They won’t. John will be right. And I’ll be on Windows 10 well into 2020.

My interpretations of announcements by Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter

Apple pre-announcing something: “We’re excited to get this in customer’s hands late next year”. My interpretation: “We never pre-announce things. Why are we doing this? We’re terrible at it. In fact, we make fun of other companies for doing it! Steve Jobs would never allow this! (mostly) We must be doing this because some group of people is really angry with us. Oh, and this product will likely never ship and we’ll tell you about it after the market closes on a Friday”

Apple reassuring their customer base of an upcoming update (read: late in whatever next year is) to a beloved product by a small set of people: “We love the Mac”. My interpretation: “Crickts.” (E key didn’t work)

Apple announcing something that is available today: “We think our customers will love it. Available today. $PremiumPrice”. My interpretation: “Yes, other companies have tried to build this. Yes, our’s is much better in nearly every way. We’ve perfected it. And it is made of diamond and leather and unobtainium. Hence the price. Enjoy.”

Facebook, calling a mea culpa: “We didn’t intend for this to happen. And it happened only to # of users.” My interpretation: “We totally intended for this to happen. We just didn’t intend to get caught. But I don’t know why because we ALWAYS get caught. Oh, and it actually happened to many multiples of # of users. You’ll find that out in a few days.”

Facebook announcing something: “We are connecting people all over the world.” My interpretation: “Our massive drones are really to collect even more information about people than we already collect and sell to that information to people we say we won’t sell information to. Oh, and to misinform people about just about every topic possible.”

Google announcing something: “Here is our brand new cloud-based service that is free to use” My interpretation: “Here is our thing. We consider it beta but it is actually pretty good. Go ahead and use it. Fall in love with it. The moment you come to depend on it we’ll shut it down because we only make money on Google Ads. But you knew that and you fell for it anyway!”

Bonus: Microsoft, announcing a new cloud-based service. “Containers! Buzzword acronym, buzzword seamless integration acronym, buzzword, Kubernetes Docker.” My interpretation: “There are organizations in the world that pay Microsoft incredible amounts of money to license Windows on sub-par hardware, to use Windows Server to manage web applications and services that use far too much RAM, and to use Azure (which is actually quite amazing) to do literally anything they ask it to do.”

Bonus: Twitter announcing a much needed feature. Wait, Twitter hasn’t built any much needed features since 2008.

Thoughts on Apple’s March 2019 Media Event

I’m writing this for posterity’s sake. For my own recollection. So please feel free to skip the reading of this post.

  • Apple News+ : Given that Apple News is serving enormous amounts of traffic I have little doubt that News+ will be a big enough hit to boost Apple’s Services revenue. I doubt it will be for me personally.
  • Apple TV+ : I’m eager to see what the pricing for this will be. TV is still a mess. Eliza and I would love to get rid of cable altogether and just get our shows via streaming online but it still isn’t easy (or affordable) to do that. I still think we’re many iterations away from TV no longer being a mess. I was also sort of hoping that this service from Apple would allow me to cancel Netflix but it appears I would need this in addition to it and I simply can’t afford to pay for more subscription services. I’ll give them a few years to iron out the details.
  • Apple Arcade : This looks great for gamers. I’m not one but I can imagine households with adults and children who are would love this. Unlike John Gruber, I think Google’s Stadia is a far more momentous offering. Yes, you need good Internet. But Google’s entire business model is built around people having good Internet. So I’d say Stadia is in line with their worldview. I also hope this works out financially well for the game developers that want to create amazing game experiences without ads and in-app purchases.
  • Apple Card : By far the thing I’m looking forward to most from their announcements. That is, until I saw the interest rates. I think this new card service is definitely superior to nearly every other card. But if they can’t offer much better interest rates I wonder if it will be a nonstarter for many. I’ll wait for the official launch.
  • Oprah : Who doesn’t like Oprah?

I can’t imagine the amount of money or resources Apple has invested to get to the point where they were able to announce all of those services in a single day.

Spotify takes Apple to court in the EU

Daniel Ek, CEO of Spotify:

It’s why, after careful consideration, Spotify has filed a complaint against Apple with the European Commission (EC), the regulatory body responsible for keeping competition fair and nondiscriminatory.

Good. After reading through his post and their website – especially if it all is true – they have quite a good case. I’ve been complaining, for years, about iOS’s anti-competitive policies. I am glad someone is finally going to try to get Apple to loosen its grip.

While Spotify’s main objection is the tax Apple puts on apps and services in the Store my main objection would be not allowing me, the customer, to choose my own browser, mail client, music player, etc. I really hope this is the last straw and many more complaints somehow make their way to Apple’s legal department.

See also: Manton Reece’s thoughts.

/via Eugene Rochko on Mastodon.

So I didn’t win Apple’s #ShotOniPhone challenge. But, man, the photos that did win are incredible.

The Sony of the PC industry

Jessica Williams (presumably no relation to whom this post is about) writing for Times News regarding Jeff Williams, COO of Apple, speaking to students and faculty at Elon University , regarding Steve Jobs’ new plan for Apple in the late-90s:

Apple would become “the Sony of the PC industry.” It would make computers fashionable, and it would go after individual consumers rather than big business.

See my post from last week: The Mac is turning less Pro. This isn’t anything new. This plan has been going on for 20 years.