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I don't get the price. With my WD Live TV set-top box, I can already use a bunch of allegedly "social" media sites (YouTube, Pandora, Spotify, and others), and using a DLNA app, you can stream a bunch of stuff directly to the unit. A remote-control app lets you use your touch device for keyboard entry, etc. I'm sure this offers a little bit that's new ("better" social integration... not that I think anyone will use it), but for $99 either the WD or the Apple box will do pretty much everything most people need or want.
10 months, 3 weeks ago on Google Nexus Q Announced
"Sadly" is right. Kinda doubt Rogue Amoeba can do anything about Apple ripping off the functionality because once you recognize what's being done by the app, it's an "obvious" (like any great idea) extension of Apple's technology, not RA's. I wish Apple would just let the marketplace decide... if there's really too much overlap in functionality and the RA product becomes unecessary, people will just stop downloading it.
12 months ago on Rogue Amoeba's Airfoil App Yanked From The App Store By Apple
@lucascott Haven't seen anyone in this article saying "Because it's the done thing." 16:9 is the standard aspect ratio for widescreen video. You can fit more information on the screen. It doesn't look "weird" or anything, and at 4", it will result in a slightly taller screen which may not even affect the size of the chassis much (there's room to grow). You really need more reasons than these? I honestly don't see a drawback from moving to a larger screen that may not actually impact the overall size of the phone much at all.
12 months ago on The Bigger, Sexier, Magicerer iPhone 5 May Have A 16:9 Display, Maybe Kinda.
@AjayGanapathy @gregpettit Confused. Its aspect ratio is 3:2, which is roughly 16:10. If it were 16:8 (2:1) it would be even skinnier than 16:9. Turns out the article I had in mind is actually thinking of a 9:5 ratio, though: http://www.theverge.com/2012/4/9/2937265/the-4-inch-iphone-5
16:9 is a perfectly fine aspect ratio; an extra row of icons (for the already tired "grid of icons" that I complain about!) according to some people out there who have already figured this kinda thing out. They could do 16:10 and get a similar aspect ratio to what's already present, but I don't see a compelling reason to do that.
I can't see how this will make it to the App store. And the fact that we even have our doubts is a big part of what's wrong with Apple. It shouldn't even be a question mark, as long as Google meets the same requirements as every other developer. The question will boil down to whether or not Apple tries to use their "replicates core functionality" rules for something that it shouldn't.
1 year ago on Google Could Be Gearing Up To Release A Chrome Browser For iOS
Jeeziz, you scared me at first. I thought this was potentially a legit rumour until that paragraph about the source.
1 year ago on Next iPhone To Get Bigger, Skinnier, And An Ugly Ass Backplate
@Lolyoulose I don't buy *everything* in there, but he hit on some things that I mentioned and some I couldn't get to. The "back" button-- yes, it's more consistent in apps than he implies (usually upper left) but it's left to the developer to decide, and I've been in many apps with no back button at all... I have to hit the solitary button which dumps me to the home screen and start the app again. It's not "minimalist hotness" to just have one button on the iOS device, it's a limitation that they should resolve by enforcing consistent "soft button" UI.
To Ajay's point about satisfaction, I have to admit that there's some truth to it. As with many things, I think the fragmentation issue is possibly overstated (*almost* all apps just work in any device; it's a Virtual Machine running them after all, not a hardware spec) but it's not a myth. The fragmentation DOES cause developers more headaches and more need to fix device-specific bugs. That's just a fact. If anyone asked me what I thought the biggest weakness of Android was, that would be my pick.
But it's not UI that makes iOS superior in this regard, it's the hardware.. only one new device with each iteration, powered by one company who can work to make it (er... sometimes...) backwards-compatible. Android doesn't have a major problem with several different versions of its OS active out there, nor vendor-specific UI tweaks (and preinstalled crap), and neither do screen resolutions pose nearly as much of a problem as the new Retina displays have caused to web designers and developers (the 3rd-gen iPad? A shitstorm... and it's not just the web, but app developers who suddenly find themselves needing to do unexpected work). But Android hardware fragmentation, that's the real problem at least from a developer's point of view (and the developers in no small way make or break the platform).
1 year ago on Six Things Apple Needs To Steal From Android For iOS 6
@AjayGanapathy Excellent points. Only as a devil's advocate (because I agree with you), but in the Lion example the argument would be that you won't be using your family member's customizations, you'll be logged into your own account. But back to the real world: "Ajay, I don't know what I did wrong, can you look at this?" and you sit down to resolve the problem... and their customizations are in your way.
Back on the other hand, when some people come to my desk to do a code review and want to pilot the keyboard for a moment, they are thrown by the ergonomic (split, curved) keyboard, and to make matters worse my letter labels have been all worn off. ;-) But I'm not willing to stick to a "standard" keyboard when the ergonomic keyboard reduces my RSI and helps me type faster. As with everything, swings and roundabouts, right?
With a phone, I think you're a bit safer with customizations; after all, it's a personal item that is probably only shared when a friend or family member wants to borrow it for a quick game of something in the car or dentist lobby. I use a 3rd-party launcher, but I'm fairly confident that the iconography would still allow another Android user to get by. And if I hand it over to an iPhone user, I'll be sure to hit the "app drawer" button first. ;-)
All that aside, I do think you're absolutely right that a standard vocabulary is very important. So yes, the homescreen changes would have to be universal. It could be widgets, or it could be something better than widgets (likely widgets cleverly marketed as something else)... but it should be across the board. Definitely.
Thanks for the follow up comment!
@Tiby Regarding switching devices, it's a vast overstatement of the case. The conventions are the same between devices, even if some vendors put some (admittedly lame) customizations over top. If it's your own device and you're someone who happens to use a 3rd-party launcher (home screen replacement), when you register your new phone, all your apps are downloaded from the cloud including your launcher and you're in exactly the same environment. But that's me being easily derailed again: I assure you, even as an iOS user, you could pick up an Android phone and be on your way without a seminar on how to use it. ;-)
But you're right about how iOS is bigger than features! Which is why Apple can't rest on their laurels! Let's see something new and better. I'm under no illusions-- I don't have the definitive list in this article; it's more of a jumping-off point. I don't hate iOS, I just think it's showing its age and could be improved. I've heard a bit of murmuring from stalwart iOS users who are waiting for Apple to do something new, too. It's a quiet bit of murmuring, but it's out there....
@AjayGanapathy I don't know much about jailbreaking, as I understand it voids warranties and suchlike, so I've never ventured there. From what I understand, it could open up some possibilities, and I think filesystem access is one thing that is improved by jailbreaking. Certainly if I switch from Android to iOS for my own main mobile device, I will strongly consider jailbreaking. ;-)
I do think there's a false assumption, too, though... you buy an Android handset, and you are not exposed to any more complexity than you are on iOS. It's an out-of-the-box experience. For those who DO decide to dig around and customize a bit, you have the option... only you don't need a back door to go there.
Thanks for the comment! It's certainly a stretch to say I want iOS to "be" Android, but the takeaway is that there are things that can be improved!
Speaking of Apps not syncing, I've had that same trouble... and even more oddly, I've had times when after a successful sync all my icons are gray! My son uses the iOS device, and he can't read the label so he relies on the pictures in order to pick the app he wants to use. When it's a gray icon, it's a major bummer for him. :-(
Yup, I understand the security model. Believe me, I do! But in the balance between usefulness and "safe", I'm happy to manage my own safety for the tradeoff of usefulness.
Haha! But you underestimate how many of us actually DO enjoy the occasional tweak. It's not an obsession, it's recognizing that you can solve a problem if you need to. Apple devices simply don't expose those tools, period. If I never find a lock screen annoying, I might never look for an app that disables it based on cell tower proximity (ie. being at home). But there's an app for that.
Tweaks and twiddles exist and are installed by hundreds of thousands. We're out there! And some of us want to use Apple hardware. ;-)
Nobody buys a phone because of widgets for sure. But people who end up with an Android phone and become aware of them will find them useful and... dare I say... fun!
As to the original point, Mounting is something I would definitely use. It's a real pain point for me and others. I don't care if it's "passe". I don't need it because it's cool, and I don't glorify iCloud because they feel like the way forward. I just need it. For real.
Cheers, I'll have a look!
Thanks for the comment, Obsidian. I couldn't agree more with your final point. However, there are people who use Android devices without making ANY choices, and they get along just fine.
It's a cop-out to say "If you don't want to use a feature, don't use it!" though, so I'll take it a step further: you aren't even forced to jump through hoops and acknowledge those choices and push them out of the way. They're there only if you look for them.
As for Siri... it's compelling. When it's more polished, the servers are stable and available, and everyone has internet available 24/7 (or if it changes such that you don't need the connection) then I'm on board with you!
Mountable Storage - the two things aren't exclusive; if you buy entirely into the iCloud model, you should be free to use it! Me, I don't buy into it for reasons too boring to itemize here, and I want a better option.
Widgets - None of the widgets I use (toggles for various system functions, media player, weather) drain any more battery than simply using those services. It's a bit of a myth that widgets are by default battery hogs. On the other hand, iPhones aren't known as being frugal battery wise, with or without widgets.
Auto Update - We're talking about auto update of apps, which shouldn't be able to crush your phone. And when you see an update for an app, who doesn't just go for it? :-)
You do finish with an excellent point, though: if someone wants and Android, they'll get one. But there's something to be said for Apple moving forward as well. Maybe they think of something ingenious to do with the homescreen instead of the tired old list of icons. Awesome! That's what I want to see-- not an Android clone, but Apple moving forward and learning. After all, they already did that with notifications, why not in other areas?
You can bet your life they've noticed the remarkable success of Beats... perfectly fine but honestly overpriced headphones that are coasting on some sort of weird marketing success that I don't quite understand. "We can get a piece of that Beats pie. And eat it!"
1 year, 1 month ago on Rumor: Too Many Parts In Headphones, Apple Experimenting With Unibody Design
@Synthetic_Human @gregpettit Well, a big one for me is moving content between the phone and the computer as though it were a mounted drive. No forced iTunes interface which I loathe. Plug in the phone, Picasa identifies it as a drive, and the normal Picasa interface just lets me import (and delete) my photos. MP3s, same deal. I know there are "backdoor" ways to do this on iOS (or so I'm told) but I don't want to have to take the back door. I just want to mount a drive.
A double-edged sword, this one: I actually DO like the ability to change my own battery. I keep a spare battery so that I don't have to religiously follow a "plug it in at my desk and again before bed" routine. Also, I was able to upgrade from the stock 1550 to an 1850mAh. But double-edged because the case of my Galaxy S is ... awful. My old Legend was a dream, but the modern Android phones (exception: HTC One series) are primarily crap. So if I drop the phone, the back can pop off. That kinda sucks (though the phone doesn't shatter at least). Hard to beat the chassis quality of the iPhone, though HTC unibody cases are awesome.
Some of the rest of this is out of date: the iOS devices I use are not using the latest version; also my own Android version is not the latest (a pain point I think is more against Android, but honestly my wife's old iPhone shouldn't be given the option to upgrade... it won't handle it!) Anyhow, disclaimer aside:
Sync of apps takes place through iTunes (in fact, everything takes place through iTunes. It's so alien to me). Wife has an iPhone, son has an iPod Touch. It's ridiculous the process you have to take so that both are in sync, but honestly, that's not the real problem because I'm thankful the two devices can legitimately share apps... it's annoying little quirks. Son can't read, so he needs to identify his apps by the icons... except after our last sync, his icons are just grey boxes. Everything doesn't seem to "just work".
Software back buttons are weak UX in my opinion compared to hardware back button, and more importantly the app designer has to remember to put one there. But apparently in Android 4.0 there are soft buttons anyhow, so I'll have to save some of that disappointment for the Google camp, too.
Customizations, widgets... once upon a time notifications, though Apple is getting this right lately. I use a custom launcher that I enjoy and has great community support for themes; my home screen isn't just an endless series of icons, it's something useful to me. I can set a custom lock screen that allows me to expose any app from the lock screen, place homescreen widgets, or change the type of behaviour (swipe gesture, etc) I want on the lock screen. Things like "camera from lock screen" are so old hat for Android that it's amusing to see discussions about it for the iOS lock screen.
With iOS I feel that far too often I'm getting dumped out to the home screen. Install a new app, home screen for you! Press the only available button (the home button) and hope that it will take you to an application menu, home screen for you (typically Android lets you press a menu button and voila). Part of this is on the app designers, but some of it is native or at least core. Queued instead of simultaneous app installs? Really iOS?
Every time I use the iPhone or iPod touch, I find new head-scratchers. And honestly, a big chunk of it is just impossible to measure with any sort of logic. Just as iPhone fans say, "it just feels right to me," that's how I feel about Android. On the other hand, iOS shocks me with how... boring... it feels to me. There's no sense of discovery or creativity (though I respect the creativity of its designers!).
The main thing that would make Android better for me is a silly but important one: I wish they had done UI responsiveness "right" the way iOS has. With iOS there is no layer other than the graphics and touch detection. The rest seems to be piped right into making the screen respond (and I'm talking basic swipes here!). WIth Android there's a "Java" layer, and though CPUs should be fast enough to still produce an instantaneous feel, either the devs simply don't understand algorithms for responsive feel, or that layer is causing unecessary sluggishness.( Back the other way, though.. I love how on Android a huge fast swipe will jet you through a huge block of content, while on iOS you laboriously swipe through little chunk at a time).
Anyhow, as you can see I could go on and on. Some aspects are truly technical (mounting as a drive) and the others are just the same sort of general "I just like it better" feelings that iPhone fans feel entitled to but somehow don't believe are present in Android users. Hope all of this wasn't terribly boring; wasn't intending to troll... I read Macgasm because I'm genuinely interested in technology in general and this is the best place for Apple-related stuff!!
1 year, 1 month ago on First-hand Proof That Android Has A Fragmentation Problem
I use Android quite happily, but I've seen this "fragmentation", too. The platforms are just two different beasts, and I'm not sure why anyone really expects otherwise. Almost every game in the market will list supported or at least "known supported" devices because there may or may not be a hardware acceleration requirement (or minimum CPU requirement to make up for no GPU support). That might seem like a drag to someone firmly in the Apple camp, but it doesn't interfere in my enjoyment of my handset. I can't imagine being "angry" that a game I was interested in wasn't supported for my handset any more than Mac mini owners should be pissed that the latest FPS doesn't work in their machine.
I know of these Android users you speak of who say "I like it because it's open," but there are also those of us who just like it because it is what it is. I have fun with it, and the important things (ie. not games) have always "just worked", which is all that should matter, no? I don't enjoy iOS devices the same way. I don't like the interface despite LOVING the superior responsiveness of the UI in iOS devices. On the other hand, I LOVE having something like Llama on Android taking care of automatic Wi-Fi enable/disable, lock screen disable, etc based on cell tower locations... or there are other automation tools that are even deeper. I'm not sure iOS exposes that sort of functionality to developers. Not that I've seen.
All that to say: the fragmentation is real. I've felt it and seen it almost every time I've looked for a game (and sometimes other apps, like Netflix!) in the Market (Store?). But it's nothing more than a shrug for me as I continue to enjoy everything else the platform offers that iOS can't and/or doesn't touch.