Apple Pencil Review

Great review of the new Apple Pencil by Myke Hurley over at Pen Addict:

When Apple released the Pencil, I couldn’t understand why they didn’t choose to call it the ‘Apple Pen’. The latter is a more elegant sounding name, and considering that there’s no way to use the end of the Apple Pencil as an eraser — there’s no extra button or sensor here, just the one at the tip — it felt like it fit more as a product name.

As soon as I took this product out of its box I knew why. The Pencil is long, slender and thin. It looks and feels a lot like a Pencil, and if the design came before the name, then ‘Pencil’ is the clear choice.

Interesting read.

iOS 10 wish list

Matt Birchler shares his wants and wishes for iOS 10 over on his great site, BirchTree:

The iPad gets a lot of grief for its home screen UI. It’s just a big grid of icons at its core, and that gets people upset. That simplicity is a feature that Apple should hold onto, but there are little things they could do to make that home screen a little richer.

First, they should really let you add more icons to the screen. There’s no reason the 8 inch iPad mini and the 13 inch iPad Pro have the exact same icon capacity and layout. There is an image going around the net showing that there are more pixels between each icon than there were on the entire width of the first iPhone. It’s a fun view that shows “how far we’ve come” but it’s also a little embarrassing that all that space is being wasted.

He mentions a lot of obvious low hanging (and some not so low hanging) improvements that will hopefully come with iOS 10. His point on the home screen is duly noted. iPad Pro (and iPad in general) is great – but it really seems like the space can be better utilized. A little birdie tells me we will see many of these changes come June, but we will see what makes the cut. I personally hope iOS 10 does end up delivering on the promise of iOS 9 and the hardware being released lately. It seems very much like iOS is limiting the potential of Apple’s hardware. 

Official Apple Watch Charging Dock Leaked

Update: Apple has officially released this dock with a $79 price tag. Not as bad, but still expensive compared to third party charging docks. 

9to5Mac has some photos of the “official” Apple charging dock for Apple Watch. It’s a clever design, but that price (nearly $100) is very steep. My personal charging dock is from Spigen and costs a fraction of the price.

Not on the Mac App Store

Dan Counsell:

The Mac App Store has been around for 6 years, but is still lacking some of the best software the Mac has to offer. You might be wondering why this is. Sandboxing certainly has a lot to answer for, but it’s not the only reason. There’s also paid upgrades, sustainability, quality of life, and the Mac App Store just generally being half-assed.

Oh, and then there’s that minor certificate issue that happened last week and cost developers and users millions of dollars in lost time and productivity. Not surprisingly, Apple didn’t even acknowledge the issue.

Some truly great apps listed in there. 

Apple is Open

Tim Cook’s full email response to the incident last week at an Apple Store in Melbourne:

Subject: Apple is open


I’m sure you are all aware of the unacceptable incident which took place at our store at the Highpoint shopping center in Melbourne, Australia, on Tuesday. Several young men, who are students at a nearby school, had been asked by a security guard to leave the store. In an attempt to address the situation, one of our store employees gave an answer which shocked many of us.

What people have seen and heard from watching the video on the web does not represent our values. It is not a message we would ever want to deliver to a customer or hear ourselves. Our employee immediately expressed his regret and apologized to the students.

None of us are happy with the way this was handled. But we can all be proud of Kate, one of the senior managers at the Highpoint store.

On Wednesday, she greeted the same group of students to express a heartfelt apology on behalf of our store and our company. She reassured these young men that they and their fellow classmates would always be welcome at our store. The school’s principal later told a reporter that she delivered her message “with good grace,” and one of the students said, “It feels like we have justice now.”

Her words that day echoed a message you’ve heard many times from me and from Angela. It’s a simple pledge we all make to our customers and to ourselves:

Apple is open.

Our stores and our hearts are open to people from all walks of life, regardless of race or religion, gender or sexual orientation, age, disability, income, language or point of view. All across our company, being inclusive and embracing our differences makes our products better and our stores stronger.

The Apple Store Highpoint is staffed by people who share these values and illustrate our commitment to diversity. The team is made up of coworkers from Australia, as well as Egypt, Italy, India and five other nations. Collectively they speak 15 languages, including Urdu, Portuguese, Arabic and Mandarin.

While I firmly believe that this was an isolated incident rather than a symptom of a broader problem in our stores, we will use this moment as an opportunity to learn and grow. Our store leadership teams around the world, starting in Australia, will be refreshing their training on inclusion and customer engagement. These are concepts and practices they know well, but can always stand to reinforce.

Respect for our customers is the foundation of everything we do at Apple. It’s the reason we put so much care into the design of our products. It’s the reason we make our stores beautiful and inviting, and extend their reach to benefit the communities around them. It’s the reason we commit ourselves to enriching people’s lives.

Thank you all for your dedication to Apple, to our values, and to the customers we are so very fortunate to serve.


The iPad Pro is 1984 all over again

Abdel Ibrahim on the iPad Pro and the similarities to 1984’s revolution in computing:

The iPad Pro is the beginning of what I believe will be Apple’s second chance at owning the personal computing market. When the first Macintosh arrived in 1984, the whole world thought it was incredible. Many of us who could afford one were mesmerized by its capabilities. From the graphical user interface (GUI) to the mouse, we couldn’t believe what we could do, and more importantly, create on such a device. Unfortunately, Apple’s ideas didn’t help them for long because the company failed to innovate and eventually saw Microsoft dominate the market by the mid-1990s.

Fast forward to today. I think with the iPad Pro, Apple is showing the world that portable computers no longer needs keyboards attached. As Benedict Evans from Andreessen Horowitz asks:

If I superglue a keyboard onto an iPad and install Office, have I made a laptop?

The entire point of the iPad Pro is to demonstrate that the future of computing has attachable components that you can use when you need it. Need to take notes? Grab your pencil. Need to type a long paper? Grab a keyboard. Need to just read an article? Pick up your iPad and turn it to portrait view. Want to play a game? Turn it landscape and peck away at the screen. One single, super-thin device performs each of these tasks.

Saving the iPad 

Tons of iPad related stories with the release of iPad Pro. Some interesting thoughts by Jared Sinclair on how Apple can “save” the iPad. 

The App Store Strangles Pro Apps at Birth

The App Store is designed, from what it features to what it permits, to promote cheap, shallow, candy apps. It discourages developers from ever starting ambitious apps, both passively and actively. Instead apps are trending towards ever cheaper prices. Serious damage is being done to customer expectations about the value of a piece of software.

The iPad is a Mystery

The iPad was marketed as a third category of device, neither a phone nor a PC, but Apple has never managed to articulate what that third category really is. Instead the iPad has drifted along in the sucking wind the iPhone leaves in its wake. Meanwhile the Mac, which was designed with rigorous intention since its earliest days in the 1980s, is selling at record levels. Let that sink in.

iOS Was Not Designed for Multi-Tasking

iOS user interface paradigms are not suited to using more than one app at a time. iOS was designed almost a decade ago for a phone whose screen is smaller than the gap between the iPad Pro’s app icons. Recent additions like iOS 8’s app extensions or iOS 9’s split-screen multi-tasking are essentially bolted-on, aftermarket parts.

It’s an interesting piece. Some points are certainly valid. I don’t know if the iPad needs to be “saved” or if addressing these points will achieve that, but there’s no doubt Apple does need to improve the experience to differentiate it. Sales are down – partly due to iPads being used for far longer than an iPhone and due to the slower cycle of big changes. I certainly think that iOS 10 and a rethought iPad experience could be a welcome change.