Last January when the announcement of the iPad was a few days away, I told my wife, “I really need to have one!” And, like most practical wives who love their husbands but find themselves in situations where it somehow becomes their responsibility to say “OK,” she replied, “Why?”. My reply was an incredulous, “Well… I don’t know yet, but don’t worry, Steve is going to tell me next week!”
This is NOT app related. I’ve been surprised by how insular the USA is. I read a lot of blogs, most from the USA and not a one even mentions the World Cup. Slovenia and USA will be starting momentarily but I fully expect normal American blogs to be on about baseball and what the mayor of Sarnia had for breakfast.
Americans, wake up. Your team in the only real international sport you play, will be fighting Group C’s current leader. DaringFireball, if you even mention a bloody childish baseball call, you have lost an RSS subscription. I’ll stop there rather than drag TMA into my foul mood.
Okay, back to our regular broadcast. You know, like World Cup apps ‘n stuff.
If you hopped onto Apple’s hayride because of the iPhone, you are as Apple-y as any wannabe slate manufacturer out there. I mean, Apple haven’t always been the good-natured corporate pounding-hammer that they are now. They used to give it to Mr. ATT; now, they take it from him. Before you react though, hear me out. Undoubtedly, you’re more than aware of the now-pedestrian story of Gray Powell, the lout who lost the iPhone 4G/HD prototype.
The App Store is fragmented by Moore’s Law, technological advancements, and good ol’ fashioned nonsense. Older iDevices lack Dr. Who’s assortment of GB’s, and new devices have added MHz’s, GHz’s, gyro thingies, and doohickies to Hell only knows where. Even the tamest of games and apps needs to run some sort of disclaimer, proving that it won’t destroy an iPhone 2G. But now, thanks to the iPad, we got something more to contend with: HD – whatever that is.
And that’s fine. Cory has a load of targets, corporate, and political, that he’ll chow on to further his ideology of bolts, screws, and wood instead of glue, metal and glass. While his books are preachy, at least they aren’t boring. In fact, Doctorow’s stuff got me back into Sci-Fi, and that’s a good thing.
His reasons for hating the iPad have everything to do with the fact that you need a spatula and a hairdryer to get inside. In a Doctorowian world, you should be able to tear apart an Elmo doll, hot wire a few circuits with your mum’s bathroom mirror and a stolen bin lid; voila! you’d have an iPad. Unfortunately, this world belongs to the corporate and the sleek.
Without a software platform to aim the silicon guns, there can be no platform war. And if TechCrunch’s lead is more than just rumour, HP may be sunning their Slate out of Microsoft’s musty Windows 7 cocoon. HP may even drop Intel’s Atom for a less power-hungry platform, in which case, Windows 7 is right out. WebOS, Android, and Chrome stand primed as candidates, but as I mentioned before, tablet computing needs tight integration of software and hardware.
Noise-isolating earphones are hitting mainstream, and that’s a good thing. Apple and nearly every other digital audio manufacturer in the world distribute their phones and digital devices with open earbuds that not only sound crap, but that ruin ears on short order. The volume of an earphone has to rise 8-9 decibels above ambient noise to be heard. To be enjoyed, however, music has to be punched much louder. Using open earphones on the bus, in the tube, or about town is the perfect recipe for destroying your hearing.
Last year, Etymotics introduced custom-fit ear pieces for their popular line of noise-isolating earphones and headsets, but other companies offer custom-fit ear pieces for a variety of earphones.
John Gruber attempts to tackle a very contentious App Store issue: Apple’s sly policy regarding App Store rejections. TMA has taken to a nicknaming Apple’s undisclosed rejection policy: Bad Apple – and I think it applies. Gruber points out that iPhone OS hardware stakes the middle ground between relative openness in personal computers, and the strict control seen in console computing. The platform is strong because of strict hardware and software integration; nothing can stand against it.
But the iPhone is still a new platform: it’s been tested and proved in demand, but in order to keep that demand relevant, Apple need to focus on their dearest customer: the developer. Who wants to create high-quality content for a platform only to see it rejected? The ball is in Apple’s court and rather than acing their developer base, it is time to sacrifice something for openness. Everyone stands to benefit from Apple’s responsibility.
Keeping the rules secret may make things easier for Apple, but it’s weakening the platform. Clarity is a sign of strength. If Apple’s leadership wants the tight control, they should accept the amount of hard work that would go along with managing it openly.
Thanks to anonymity and great spacial distances, the internet generally protects people from physical violence at the hands of totalitarian gestapos. Unfortunately it can’t stop tyranny from laying into people, companies, or other gestapos. Recently, Apple attacked the developer of two legit iPad apps for incorportating the word, ‘Pad’ into the app name. Evidently, if your app has ‘Pad’ in its name, you will suffer the ban hammer or have to change the app’s name. Apple are no strangers to sudden app removals and bans. Unfortunately for JournalPad and JournalPad: Bible Study Edition‘s developer, a lot of money was already funnelled into marketing the apps. Both apps have been trimmed to : journal.APP, and bibleStudy.APP respectively. Take a minute to read this ringer from Jobs Himself.
“Its just common sense to not use another company’s trademarks in your app name.”
My wager: Apple will never let a competitor’s web browser into the App Store, cost me a particularly good horse. I may be the only one not happy about the debut of Opera Mini Web Browser. Had you met Hillie, the pony-horse, you’d be equally upset.
It’s small consolation that in her place is the only current alternative to Apple’s one-horse webkit monopoly lead by iPhone Safari. Opera Mini is cute; it has all the pertinent functions in easy-to-reach places and better in-app settings than iPhone Safari. It also generally handles website formatting better than good ol’ WebKit and has a lovely implementation of tabbed browsing. Overall, it’s a ‘good’ experience which would bring in a TouchMyApps rating of Grab. In some cases, it loads slower than Safari and iPhone OS controls are substituted for blocky, oddly-placed alternatives _almost_ as if Opera Software ASA wanted nothing more than to spite Apple for its two-year boycott of NIMBY* software. But it is worthwhile, especially if you find yourself at the mercy of mobile browsers more often than not. Feel free to discuss Opera Mini Web browser VS Safari in our forums.
Piccies and more in-action deductions (whew!) after the gap: