Category Archives: Commentary

Competition Works

This year our city got Google Fiber. Admittedly most of the fiber had been laid by the city. Various ISPs and cable companies had been created that didn’t really successfully make use of the infrastructure.1 I’m not sure if Google approached Provo or the mayor approached Google (probably the latter) but Google came in and took over the city cable and fiber for ISP. Now Provo always had a lot of competition in the ISP space. Since we’re beside rather large mountains microwave based ISPs make a lot of sense here, for instance. Comcast was also always here and, to a lesser extent, the old phone company worked as an ISP. We have Verizon FIOS and a few others as well. So compared to most of the US we’ve always been served well.

Continue reading

  1. Successful in the sense of being successful in terms of profit. Not that their offerings were worse than Comcast.

Developers, the iOS Line and Reactive Design

The great Brent Simmons linked to me about my brief comments regarding universal apps and the new form factors of iOS devices. I always respect Brent’s views and enjoy reading them. I think he’s wrong here though. He thinks that while Apple may push Universal apps it won’t require them. I’d be shocked if, a year and a half from now, the separate iPad/iPhone categories don’t disappear. I suspect they’ll maintain some semblance of them for legacy apps but will start requiring all new apps be universal. Again it won’t happen quickly. Give it a year and a half. It’s coming.

Continue reading

Making It In the App Store

In my opinion, you make money on the App Store by selling small things — its very nature is a bitesize marketplace. This is how you maximise your effective hourly wage. This doesn’t mean you have to turn around crap. You can still output quality pieces of software.

Benjamin Mayo

This seems right. You have to be well organized and disciplined to do this. Willing to drop a project quickly if it starts taking too much time.

I had two projects I was working on but ended up ending development on both because I just wasn’t sure it was worth the investment in time and money. One of my projects had just ended up being far more involved than I expected. It’d have taken an other year at least. With very little guarantee of making much money, let alone enough to justify that time. It’s the sort of thing I may still work on in spare evenings but never full time unless things change. If I start working on something else my primary strategy will be a whole lot of small simple apps that are easy to support.

It’s honestly getting worse, not better out there. Apple appears to really want people to make reactive design so that one app will adjust for multiple screen sizes. Thus the loss of the extra income for a separate iPad app. I’m sure they’ll allow dual pricing for a while but I’d be shocked if that pricing will last for long. I bet by fall 2015 Apple will begin demanding a single app for all of iOS.

An other solution is to focus on some sort of service that entails a subscription. One of my most used apps is Appigo ToDo which has a cloud service for syncing. The cloud service costs $20/year and I don’t mind paying it at all. However it can be difficult to think of a service that fits that model. 

Against the Larger Phone

I’ve more or less reconciled myself to the 4” iPhone form factor going away. There’s not been a single rumor about an iPhone 6 version in the existing form factor. I wasn’t going to upgrade this year anyway since my 5s is more than adequate. I can’t help but imagine that disliking the bigger size is part of that as well. I completely get why many want the larger form factor. The line between tablet and phone is blurring. At times I think my ideal device would be a regular sized iPad with full phone capabilities and a bluetooth headset. Yet there are lots of times I just want the smaller size. I can’t imagine putting the 4.7” in my pocket when I’m bending a lot and working in a factory. Honestly every time I pick up my old iPhone 4s that I’m running iOS8 on I find myself wishing Apple would go back to that form factor as an option. I remain convinced that, except for the cracking back problem, that the iPhone 4 was the pinnacle of Apple design.

One problem I’ve noticed with even the slightly longer length of the 5/5s is how poorly many (including Apple) have made their designs for one handed use. I know some just think one handed use is bad because they imagine people using it while driving a car. However I frequently am doing things at work where one handed use would be great. (Holding a product, hand covered in grease, etc.) The work around once the 5 was introduced was the dreaded “hand shimmy” or the “stretch that thumb as far as you can.” I’ve had cramps from doing this and it’s very hard to hit buttons by position in this way. (That way you don’t even need look at the phone) Often with the 4/4s I could use the music app without even looking at the phone. No more.

Continue reading

The Aperture Kerfuffle

So Apple released news today that Aperture is no more.1 You’d think they’d have learned after the Final Cut Pro mess and the iWork mess how to make these announcements. John Gordon captures well what they should have done. I think users understand that Lightroom kicked Aperture’s butt and that sales were decreasing. I think they understand that sales have dropped to near nothing with nearly all pros having already left. What they can’t accept is Apple trying to hide the news by announcing it via Jim Dalrymple’s blog with nothing prepared. Again, you’d think they’d have learned by now.

All they had to do was have Tim Cook come out, announce that because of low sales they aren’t going to be major new releases but that Apple would continue maintenance releases. Further they announce this as they have a new version with the export features so people can move to Lightroom. Trying to get metadata not to mention projects and smart albums into Lightroom is a nightmare according to those who’ve tried. The issue isn’t Apple killing a dying product.2 Rather the issue fundamentally is why people should trust Apple with their data when they’ve pulled this three times in a row.

Continue reading

  1. It is interesting they announced his on a Friday, much like politicians announce bad news on a Friday hoping no one pay attention over the weekend.
  2. Although one could easily critique why Apple let it die — this was clearly a management choice where engineers were pulled from the product. Something Apple has done a lot rather than leave enough developers on the project to let it progress.

Brief Keynote Thoughts

Well that was all very unexpected. Apple did a ton of things I don’t think many expected. It sounds like they really are listening to developers. While it wasn’t everything developers wanted it was darn close. All that was missing was a new filesystem and 3rd party apps with full access to the computer ala Gatekeeper available for iOS and on both app stores. Oh and demos and updating pricing. But beyond those I think everything I had on my wish list was there.

Continue reading

Headed to SF

So I’m going to be in SF for WWDC. But oddly not for WWDC. I have an other business I’ve not been as involved in of late but I’m helping out with some meetings. So I’ll be there but probably won’t be doing anything computer-like. Rather I’ll be dealing with manufacturers and restaurants. Still in honor of WWDC I figured I’ll do my predictions before all the main podcasts do.

Honestly this year I’m not sure what’s going to happen. Last year we knew there was going to be a revamp of iOS and new it was going to be flat looking. But most of my other predictions were way off. This year we know Ive is going to redesign OSX the way he did iOS. We suspect it’ll probably adopt a lot of iOS style, the way the whole “back to the Mac” move of the last two years has done. It makes switching between a MacBook Air and an iPad Air more easy and natural. How much will come over isn’t clear. More interesting is the long predicted inter-application communication. I was sure that was going to make an appearance last year. I suspect the rumors of a two app view in iOS are more related to this than really running two apps together. But I could be completely wrong. 

In any case here are my predictions:

Continue reading