Tag Archives: steve

Wrap-up thoughts on the TV web

I’m going to mostly let John Gruber have the last word on the Apple TV vs. the web debate, because I could write about this every day and my readers would run away before I run out of material. I’m glad John addressed the Mac vs. the command-line argument, though, because it didn’t seem quite right to me either. He says:

“The difference is that the command-line-less Mac was intended to replace command-line-based computers. The GUI relegated the command-line interface to a permanent tiny niche. Apple TV and Apple Watch aren’t like that at all — they’re not meant to replace any device you already use to access the open web.”

This is the most hopeful part of the Apple ecosystem as it relates to the web. Apple’s other platforms really do have a great web experience. Remember when web sites were faster and worked better on a PC than a Mac? If anything, the opposite is true now.

One of the themes I keep hearing is that a “web browser” on a TV will make for a poor user experience, so don’t bother. I tried to correct that misunderstanding in this post; it’s not about standalone Safari, it’s about web technologies that could be used in native apps. But ignoring that, I think everyone too easily forgets what the mobile web was like before the iPhone.

Steve Jobs, from the original iPhone introduction:

“We wanted the best web browser in the world on our phone. Not a baby web browser or a WAP browser — a real browser. […] It is the first fully usable HTML browser on a phone.”

That was a breakthrough. I believe the same evolution is possible on tvOS — to include parts of the open web and do it with a great user experience. You can start by weaving it together inside native apps. (I filed a bug with Apple yesterday with a suggestion. It was marked as a duplicate.)

The web is at a fascinating, pivotal time right now. It has been shaken up by centralized publishing, closed platforms, and now content blockers. Users no longer value the concepts that made Web 2.0 special. The web can still have a strong future, but we have to try something, and we have to try it on every platform we can.

No way to live

Two great blog posts yesterday from Brent Simmons that I think are related, though I read one early in the day and the other catching up on RSS feeds late at night. First, on quitting his job to work full-time on Vesper:

“A year ago I was a designer for an enterprise app I didn’t care about — or even like in the least tiny bit — and which you’ve never seen or heard of. That’s no way to live.”

It reminds me, of course, of the famous Steve Jobs quote:

“I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

And then, Brent says about Twitter:

“The 140-character stream is where things not worth saying, and not worth reading, thrive. It’s where things actually worth saying get over-simplified and then get lost, if they get said at all.”

In other words, do something you care about, write something lasting. The older I get, the more both of these resonate with me. And even though I haven’t posted to Twitter in over a year, I think I needed to read that post to focus back on this blog, where my writing should live.

Spoiled by iTunes, and the future of music

I have been “iTunes-free for four weeks now”:http://www.manton.org/2007/01/goodbye_itms.html, and I hate it. It must be like quitting smoking, except without the fear of dying always at your back. I stopped by a Best Buy the other day and couldn’t find any CDs to buy. How do you shop for music without listening to it first? How do you find new artists without “customers also bought…” sidebars? Years ago I might listen to the radio to discover new music, but that was before the dial was permanently stuck on NPR.

“Steve Jobs dropped the bomb”:http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughtsonmusic/ while I was at lunch yesterday, and I furiously read and re-read it and watched the fallout. Blog entries in NetNewsWire lit up like clockwork. As “I posted to Twitter”:http://twitter.com/manton, when the balance tips again to user control we’ll look back at this as a real shift in thinking. And the reason you know it’s true is because it sounds redundant to say the words.

But today… I browsed for music on iTunes and then ordered CDs from Amazon.