Monthly Archives: March 2016

Core Intuition 225

Episode 225 of Core Intuition is out now. We talk about the new iPhone and iPad news from Monday’s Apple event, plus Swift. From the show notes:

Manton orders his dream phone, the iPhone SE. Daniel reflects on the growing allure of Swift, and the two discuss the risks of either adopting new technologies too soon, or holding on to the past for too long.

Also there’s this line from Daniel in the podcast that I like:

We have to be tuned into the future and tuned into the past to really do great work.

We pull in some history from Daniel’s time at Apple, and from our experience building Mac apps in the 1990s and early 2000s, and how it relates to the current Swift transition. Hope you enjoy it.

Time to rethink blog comments

Twitter has lost some of what made it special for communities 5 years ago. I’ve noticed a few trends:

  • Twitter’s 140-character limit and easy retweeting encourage and amplify negative tweets. Sincerity is less common. Everything is an opportunity for a joke.
  • Widely followed, long-time Twitter users don’t find the joy they used to when interacting with followers. Some have retreated to private Slack channels, at the cost of public discussion and approachability.
  • Developers have never completely forgiven Twitter for crippling the API. This doesn’t directly impact most users anymore, but it’s a backdrop that gives every new Twitter feature a tone of distrust. Progress is slow.

Meanwhile, blog comments have slowly been killed off over that same period. The rise of social networks, combined with the technical problems of fighting blog comment spam, pushed most bloggers to prefer answering questions on Twitter.

Becky Hansmeyer writes about the intersection of these problems — that some Twitter users avoid public discussion, but most blogs no longer have comments to fall back on — by pointing to a post from Belle Beth Cooper:

“Belle’s post really resonated with me because it reminded me of something I think about a lot: when an ever-increasing number of blogs and media outlets are disabling comment sections, where do decent, thoughtful people bring their discussions? I only offer readers one way to contact me on this site, and it’s via Twitter. But what if, like Belle, you no longer use Twitter (or never did in the first place)?”

We didn’t realized how much we lost when we turned our backs on blog comments years ago. Just look at one of Daniel Jalkut’s blog posts from 10 years ago, which he and I discuss on an upcoming episode of Core Intuition. 53 comments! And they’re all preserved along with the original content. That’s difficult to do when comments are spread across Twitter and easily lost.

It’s time to take what we’ve since learned from social networks and apply it the openness of cross-site replies. That’s why I want to support Webmention. As Becky mentions, Civil Comments look great too. I think we can encourage both in parallel: distributed comments like Webmention for sites that can support it and better centralized comments like Civil.

Love that the Howson Branch has electric car charging, powered by solar panels. It’s a fairly small library but nicely done, with tall chairs to work at near the front or a separate reading room.

→ 2016/03/24 11:05 am

Sticking with the big iPad Pro

I’ve been conflicted about which iPad Pro to use ever since the 10-inch rumors started. If both sizes had been available right away, I think I would have bought the smaller version. Small is convenient; I still really like and use even the iPad Mini. But there was only one iPad Pro when the Apple Pencil was introduced, so I bought that one.

Luckily the 13-inch iPad Pro still has some nice benefits. More room for split-view apps, of course, but also 4 GB of RAM compared to the new iPad Pro’s 2 GB. Federico Viticci is sticking with the big one:

2 GB of RAM was one of the first things I heard about the new device yesterday, and part of the reason why I’m going to stick with the 12.9-inch Pro. In addition to a more comfortable iOS experience, I like knowing that I’m using the most powerful iPad hardware currently available (I don’t count the camera as essential to what I need to do on an iPad).

I realized this week that I was wasting time wondering which iPad is the best for me. It’s the ol’ paradox of choice. So to cement the decision, I went by the Apple Store yesterday and picked up a Smart Keyboard for the 13-inch. I’ve been meaning to get one for months, and now that I have it, it makes even less sense to trade in my iPad for a different one. (The keyboard really does transform the iPad. It’s great.)

NSDrinking is on for this Thursday, back at the Ginger Man at 8pm. Come have a beer and chat about iOS development and the latest Apple event. I’ll have a leaked prototype of the iPhone SE with me (uhm, my iPhone 5S).

→ 2016/03/22 7:39 pm

iPhone SE sales potential

John Gruber runs down the list of yesterday’s Apple announcements. On the iPhone SE, he recognizes that it’s a great device especially in the short term, before the iPhone 7 is released:

If you listen to my podcast, you know how ambivalent I remain about the physical size of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and 6S. I was really hoping that the iPhone SE would effectively have iPhone 6S specs — CPU and GPU performance, and similar camera quality. That seems to be exactly what Apple delivered. I honestly think this is the phone I’m going to use for the next six months.

Jason Snell follows up on the Dan Moren post I linked to by also covering the new products. Highlighting the sales potential for the iPhone SE, Jason writes:

In the past year, Apple has sold 30 million 4” iPhones, out of around 230 million total. That’s only 13 percent of the total, but it’s still a very large number of phones—and this, during a year when the most modern four-inch iPhone Apple sells was introduced in the fall of 2013. Is there room for the iPhone SE to be 20 percent of Apple’s total iPhone sales? I think so.

I keep thinking about the iPhone SE price: $399 for essentially the power of a 6S, which is $649. That’s just a great value. I’ve said on Core Intuition recently that while the 6S and upcoming 7 will always remain the most popular phone, I think the SE could hold its own with the 6S Plus in units sold. Now I wonder if it could even surpass it.

According to David Smith’s stats, the Plus versions represent about 15% of active devices 4-inch or bigger. That share goes up to about 20% if you exclude older devices no longer for sale, like the 5 and 5C. That seems about right to me. If you sat around an Apple Store and watched 10 people buy iPhones, I’d be surprised if more than a couple were the Plus. Starting next week, a couple of those iPhones could be the SE, too.

After the Brussels attack, reminded that our community is very international. Feel grateful that we have readers, listeners, developers, and bloggers all over the world. My thoughts are with folks in Europe today.

→ 2016/03/22 10:23 am

Every since I started my blog, I’ve been using <blockquote> but also adding quotes around the text (which also means updating inline quotes). No one else does this. I’m retiring the habit today, and updating the CSS to better format quoted text.

→ 2016/03/22 9:41 am

Apple event non-product focus

Dan Moren writes for Six Colors about the structure for the 1-hour Apple event today, of which only about half the time was spent on new products:

“If the Apple-FBI fight isn’t yet about public opinion, it probably will be if the matter ends up going to Congress. So it’s no surprise that Tim Cook is going to use his bully pulpit to push Apple’s track record on the welfare of its customers and the world at large, rather than how many products it’s sold and how much money it’s made.”

I’d like to see this continue at future events. Leave the record sales numbers for the finance call, and instead focus on what good Apple is doing because they are big, not just how they are big. Even though I own some Apple stock, I do not personally care that much about the precise magnitude of iPhone shipments this quarter.

As for the new products, nothing to complain about. Since the $10,000 Apple Watch Edition didn’t get a $50-dollar price drop like the Apple Watch Sport did, guess I’ll skip that purchase and get an iPhone SE instead.

There wasn’t any doubt, but of course I’ll be pre-ordering the iPhone SE later this week. Probably will wait on the iPad Pro downsize until I try the smaller smart keyboard in the store.

→ 2016/03/21 12:59 pm

Can’t decide if I’m more surprised by the Newton joke or how much time Tim Cook spent talking about the government case. Gives the event a very different tone than most of these start with.

→ 2016/03/21 12:12 pm

Difficult to focus on work in the couple hours leading up to an Apple event. Need to find something very simple to finish.

→ 2016/03/21 9:33 am

While my daughters are at a meeting, checking out Wells Branch Community Library. Again just working on my iPad to revise an upcoming blog post.

→ 2016/03/20 4:32 pm