2015/02/20 8:31 pm

Apple car speculation, the upcoming Apple Watch launch, and the idea of overpaying by $10,000 for your next Apple gadget… Those topics and more on Core Intuition 173.

iPhone 6 Plus is still huge

Seth Clifford goes back to the iPhone 6 after a long time with the Plus:

“I was convinced that the unique size and abilities of the Plus would change the way I use my phone. In my mind, it was large enough to be a small tablet, and I would do so many more things on it, potentially obviating the need for an iPad. That didn’t happen for a variety of reasons.”

As for me, I’m still using the iPhone 5C and think the design is nearly perfect. I wish I had the iPhone 6’s camera, but I’m not upgrading phones until Apple ships a “6C” next year with a 4-inch screen.

Typed.com and the state of blogging

Typed.com from Realmac Software looks great. Set to launch later this year, crowdfunding for the project has already passed $67k.

Ben Thompson wrote recently about how blogging has changed:

“Twitter has replaced link-posts and comments, Instagram has replaced pictures, and Facebook has replaced albums and blogrolls; now Medium is seeking to replace the essay. None of this is a bad thing: literally billions more people now have a much simpler way to express themselves online thanks to the ease-of-use that is characteristic of any service that seeks to focus on one particularly aspect of communication, a big contrast to a blog’s ability to do anything and everything relatively poorly.”

It’s a good post, although I’d say that even if those changes aren’t “a bad thing”, they can have bad consequences. Medium is a beautifully designed site and there is some great writing published there. But if it discourages people from owning their own content and writing at their own domain name, then it is a step back for the web. The best use of Medium is to cross-post there, to expand your audience, but not as the primary location for your writing.

If you’ve read between the lines on my posts about microblogging and open APIs, you may have guessed that I’ve also been working on a blog platform, although (I think) of a much different kind than Realmac’s Typed.com. I believe we need more blog platforms, not fewer. Accepting that Twitter and Facebook are the only way to publish online is like collapsing all the publishing systems down to a couple centralized tools. That approach is convenient in the short term but ultimately bad for the web.

The best and most diverse writing on the web still happens on individually-owned blogs. It’s linked to from Twitter, but it originates on blogs. If you’re not blogging than your writing doesn’t have the reach, doesn’t have the permanence, doesn’t have the impact that it could have.

And 2015 is going to be great for blogging. I’m looking forward to trying Typed.com and also sharing some of what I’ve been working on. If you want an early heads-up, sign up on the announcement mailing list.

2015/02/08 3:57 pm

“I arrange all the app icons in my dock by color because that’s the only way I’ll remember where everything is.” — Faith Korpi on The Sweet Setup. (After reading this I started arranging my icons the same way. I like it.)

Minimal UXKit

Brent Simmons reacts to the news that the upcoming Photos app for Mac uses a private UXKit framework. Instead of being the full UIKit-based replacement for AppKit that many developers want, Brent suggests it could be a minimal framework just to make some things easier:

“I could imagine a minimal UXKit that isn’t meant to replace AppKit but that can be used with both AppKit and UIKit. It might have UXColor, which would wrap UIColor and NSColor. Same with UXFont and UXImage. UXTableView could present a simplified superset of UITableView and NSTableView/NSOutlineView.”

Like Brent and many other developers, I started this same kind of compatibility work when porting Tweet Library to the Mac. I ended up abandoning the project because it’s a slippery slope to basically reinventing Chameleon. (Also, back in 2006 I ported parts of Microsoft’s MFC C++ framework to Cocoa and it was a lot of work. I’m not eager to repeat that process.)

I agree with Brent that we don’t necessarily need a completely new AppKit. I’d love to see Apple standardize the foundational classes which are nearly identical already — colors, images, and fonts, as Brent mentioned — as well as UI elements that could be the same without a real cost — views, buttons, labels, table cells, and maybe split views. These UX-prefixed classes wouldn’t do everything their UI and NS versions could do, but they’d allow developers to move more code into cross-platform layers of their app by sticking to the common properties and methods.

As tempting as it would be to throw in iOS-only classes like UINavigationController, I think that would be outside the scope of a minimal UXKit. Candidates should already exist in similar forms on both platforms.

WWDC 2015 is going to be fun if Apple attempts to tackle even a little bit of this. A minimal UXKit would strike a good compromise between the usual iterative improvements to AppKit and a more revolutionary change to the frameworks.

Core Intuition 171

On this week’s Core Intuition:

“Daniel and Manton touch again on the subject of killing off apps, assess the effectiveness of protest movements against the App Store, catch up on the state of the art for appealing App Store rejections, and acknowledge the coming end of NSConference.”

In this episode we talked about how I was going to need to more formally appeal the Sunlit 1.3 rejection, not just comment in the Resolution Center. But shortly after we recorded, the app magically went live in the store anyway. I was very happy to avoid making further coding changes, though I expect I’ll have to revisit this if the app is ever rejected again.

Elon Musk

Just finished reading this great interview with Elon Musk in Wired, after somehow missing it when it was first published. Wired’s Chris Anderson:

“All entrepreneurs have an aptitude for risk, but more important than that is their capacity for self-delusion. Indeed, psychological investigations have found that entrepreneurs aren’t more risk-tolerant than non-entrepreneurs. They just have an extraordinary ability to believe in their own visions, so much so that they think what they’re embarking on isn’t really that risky. They’re wrong, of course, but without the ability to be so wrong—to willfully ignore all those naysayers and all that evidence to the contrary—no one would possess the necessary audacity to start something radically new.”

If my generation’s hero was Steve Jobs, my son’s will be Elon Musk. It’s difficult to overstate how profound an impact Elon has had already. My son plays Kerbal Space Program all the time. On the way to school, he counts electric cars. I can’t think of a better person to aspire to — someone with not just one big, ambitious idea, but several projects from cars to solar to space to transit, each with the scope to leave quite a dent in the universe.

2015/02/05 10:59 am

After a week hanging around in Apple’s Resolution Center, Sunlit 1.3 was approved and went live in the App Store last night. sunlit.io