Apple’s Emoji Search Is Bad

Emojipedia’s Jeremy Burge, following a series of tests with emoji search, a built-in macOS feature that still isn’t available on iOS:

Prior to macOS Sierra’s release in September 2016, emoji search for Mac was the opposite: general terms wouldn’t return any results – but if you knew the emoji name you could get it to appear 100% of the time. This is no longer the case.

I do wonder if an internal effort to make these types of search and prediction tools better in the longer term is making them worse for users in the short term.

It’s not just that it’s bad because the results are somewhat lackluster. It’s bad in the sense that typing Apple’s exact description for an emoji sometimes doesn’t bring up the character it belongs to. If someone is in charge of this feature for the Mac, I hope they can take a serious Continue reading “Apple’s Emoji Search Is Bad”

Illustration in the iOS 11 App Store

Khoi Vinh, writing about one of my favorite aspects of the iOS 11 App Store:

Apple’s dramatically redesigned App Store got a decent amount of attention when it debuted last year with iOS 11, but its unique success as a hybrid of product design and editorial design has gone little noticed since. That’s a shame, because it’s a huge breakthrough.

I myself paid it scant attention until one day this past winter when I realized that the company was commissioning original illustration to accompany its new format. If you check the App Store front page a few times a week, you’ll see a quietly remarkable display of unique art alongside unique stories about apps, games and “content” (movies, TV shows, comics, etc.). To be clear: this isn’t work lifted from the marketing materials created by app publishers. It’s drawings, paintings, photographs, collages and/or animations that have been created expressly Continue reading “Illustration in the iOS 11 App Store”

The Apple Watch Has Found a Surprisingly Useful Home With Everyone That Works on Their Feet

Speaking of the Apple Watch becoming an essential everyday device, Mike Murphy published a fascinating story at Quartz:

You might’ve noticed that the person who took your order at the bar, brought you the shoes you wanted to try on, or perhaps even patted you down at the airport security line, is sporting an Apple Watch, which starts at $329 for the newest Series 3 watch. And there’s a pretty simple explanation: Many service-industry jobs where employees have to be on their feet all day don’t allow workers to check their phones while they’re on the clock. But that rule doesn’t necessarily apply to a piece of unobtrusive jewelry that happens to let you text your friends and check the weather.

Quartz spoke with airline attendants, bartenders, waiters, baristas, shop owners, and (very politely) TSA employees who all said the same thing: The Apple Watch keeps them in touch Continue reading “The Apple Watch Has Found a Surprisingly Useful Home With Everyone That Works on Their Feet”

AppStories, Episode 56 – Controlling The Time Spent on Your iPhone

On this week’s episode of AppStories, we talk about managing time spent on smartphones, including what manufacturers like Apple and Google are doing to address the issue, what users can do, and how we deal with being on our iPhones too much.

Sponsored by:

  • Techmeme Ride Home – Search for Techmeme Ride Home on your podcast app now.
  • AutoWake – the world’s first haptic smart alarm for your Apple Watch.
    • The first 11 people to tweet at @AutoWakeApp with the code word ‘Espresso’ will receive a free promo code.

→ Source: appstories.net

Connected, Episode 193: They Belong to the World Now

The future of third-party Twitter apps looks grim, but is it the end of the road? What makes an upgrade worthy of a price tag? Do class action lawsuits even matter? Should you use AirPods on planes? Does anyone like show descriptions written as hypothetical questions?

On this week’s episode of Connected, we talk about changes coming to third-party Twitter clients, the economics of the App Store when it comes to selling new versions of apps as separate purchases, and why you really shouldn’t use AirPods on planes. You can listen here.

Sponsored by:

Apple Announces ‘Everyone Can Code’ Partnership with Schools for Blind and Deaf Students

In March, Apple lead a Swift Playgrounds course at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Today, which is Global Accessibility Awareness Day, Apple announced that is partnering with schools in California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, and Massachusetts:

Beginning this fall, schools supporting students with vision, hearing or other assistive needs will start teaching the Everyone Can Code curricula for Swift, Apple’s powerful and intuitive programming language.

Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, said:

“Apple’s mission is to make products as accessible as possible,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We created Everyone Can Code because we believe all students deserve an opportunity to learn the language of technology. We hope to bring Everyone Can Code to even more schools around the world serving students with disabilities.”

In addition to existing iOS accessibility features, Apple is augmenting the Everyone Can Code curricula with tools and resources targeted at Continue reading “Apple Announces ‘Everyone Can Code’ Partnership with Schools for Blind and Deaf Students”

Apollo 1.2 Is Packed With Redditors’ Feature Requests

Today a big update launched for Apollo, the Reddit client for iOS that I once said “may just be the best designed social feed app I’ve ever used.” Version 1.2 isn’t focused so much on major new features, but instead a huge wealth of small improvements based on feedback from the Reddit community that make for an even more delightful user experience.

Apollo’s new Jump Button is a quick way to jump between top-level comments and save yourself some scrolling. Progress bars for GIFs and video runtimes on thumbnails provide a better sense of context when browsing. There are new settings options to change which browser links open in, to view videos directly in the YouTube app, and more. And lots of under-the-hood tweaks simply make the app faster and more responsive than ever before.

For a visual peek at these changes and more, developer Christian Selig Continue reading “Apollo 1.2 Is Packed With Redditors’ Feature Requests”

Apple Cancels Data Center Project in Ireland

In 2015, Apple announced plans to build a data center in Athenry, Ireland. The facility was designed to run on renewable energy like other data centers Apple operates around the globe. However, the Irish project ran into problems from the start.

According to TechCrunch, concerns about the center’s environmental impact and effect on the electrical grid slowed the project down. Then, after Apple received the approval of the Galway County Council to begin building, individual objections were lodged and the disputes wound up in the Irish courts. With the prospect of appeals that would continue to prevent it from commencing construction, Apple decided to cancel the project.

In a statement to TechCrunch, Apple said:

“We’ve been operating in Ireland since 1980 and we’re proud of the many contributions we make to the economy and job creation.  In the last two years we’ve spent over €550 million with local companies and, Continue reading “Apple Cancels Data Center Project in Ireland”

The Fragmentation of iOS’s UI Design

Benjamin Mayo on the state of iconography in Apple’s built-in iOS apps:

My gripe is there is no consistency, no structure or logic to this. Apps introduced later sometimes use rounded icons, sometimes not, sometimes create all-new custom glyphs of their own. Incredulously, you could open flagship apps like Messages, Mail and Safari and have no idea Apple was even playing with bold icons as a conceptual change. These apps adopted the iOS 11 large bold navigation bar title formats, but their icons and glyphs have stagnated for more than four years at this point.

Mayo uses eight examples of Apple’s action icon to emphasize the design inconsistencies.

Since iOS 7, each revision of iOS has felt like a tentative design experiment, with icons in a handful of apps moving in different directions. The trouble is, Apple doesn’t seem to have settled on a clear winner among the several options Continue reading “The Fragmentation of iOS’s UI Design”

Pocket Casts Acquired

Pocket Casts, one of the most popular cross-platform podcast clients (and among the top ones listeners use to download episodes of AppStories), has been acquired by a consortium of public radio stations and podcast companies. Here’s Shifty Jelly’s Russel Ivanovic, writing on the company’s blog:

Today we’re excited to announce a partnership with some of the biggest producers of podcasts in the world to take Pocket Casts to the next level. We’ve had a lot of companies in the past contact us about acquiring us and or Pocket Casts and we’ve always had one simple answer for them: thanks, but no thanks. In talking to each of them it was obvious that they didn’t have the best interests of our customers or us at heart and as much as cashing out and walking off into the sunset is a nice ideal, it’s a crummy outcome for all Continue reading “Pocket Casts Acquired”

Apple Discontinues AirPort Routers

With a statement provided to iMore earlier today, Apple confirmed what Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman first reported in late 2016 (not a typo): the company is officially exiting the WiFi router business by discontinuing the AirPort line of products.

From Rene Ritchie’s story:

Routers are different. They’re infrastructure. They’re behind televisions, underneath desks, and in closets. For some people, especially people who appreciate Apple’s design and manufacturing, and its unequivocal stance on security and privacy, the loss of the AirPort line will still be a blow.

I’m one of those people.

But I’m also reminded of a comment Steve Jobs once said to one of his direct reports: Sure, Apple could do that and make some money at it, but was it really a business Apple had to be in?

As much as I’ve tried to understand the argument that Apple needs to focus on fewer products, I just can’t Continue reading “Apple Discontinues AirPort Routers”

Connected, Episode 190: The Robot Should Keep Its Mouth Shut

Federico is gone, but the show had to to go on, so Stephen and Myke talk about the death of Liam, whatever is happening with Flickr and Amazon’s future robotic army.

I wasn’t on Connected this week, but I really enjoyed the discussion on robots – both those that passed away and the ones who may become our home assistants in the future. You can listen here.

Sponsored by:

→ Source: relay.fm

Spotify Announces Improvements to Mobile App for Both Free and Paid Tiers

Today Spotify held an event in New York City where it announced several changes to its mobile app that impact users of both free and paid tiers of the service. Jordan Crook reports for TechCrunch:

Spotify’s…free tier has always limited users to shuffle. With the new version, users can listen on-demand to whatever song they want, as many times as they want, as long as those songs appear on one of the 15 personalized discovery playlists like Daily Mix, Discover Weekly, Release Radar or Today’s Top Hits.

Considering the breadth of Spotify’s discovery playlists, the ability to choose songs from those playlists on-demand is a significant change. Crook also mentions how machine learning is being used not just to impact the quality of those discovery playlists, but also, now, to help users make better playlists themselves. This new feature, called “assisted playlisting,” aids in playlist creation by recommending Continue reading “Spotify Announces Improvements to Mobile App for Both Free and Paid Tiers”

Tim Cook Doesn’t Believe Users Want Apple to Merge the Mac and iPad

Peter Wells has an interesting story in The Sydney Morning Herald about the much-rumored merger of Macs and iOS devices. Wells interviewed Apple CEO Tim Cook at the education event that was held late last month in Chicago. During the conversation, Wells asked Cook about Microsoft’s convertible Windows 10 strategy and how it compared to Apple’s approach to OSes. Cook responded:

“We don’t believe in sort of watering down one for the other. Both [The Mac and iPad] are incredible. One of the reasons that both of them are incredible is because we pushed them to do what they do well. And if you begin to merge the two … you begin to make trade offs and compromises.

”So maybe the company would be more efficient at the end of the day. But that’s not what it’s about. You know it’s about giving people things that they can then use Continue reading “Tim Cook Doesn’t Believe Users Want Apple to Merge the Mac and iPad”

Connected, Episode 189: Nah, Hummus!

Stephen and Myke are still recovering from a trip to Atlanta, and it shows in this discussion of the future of iOS and digital magazines. Federico thankfully saves the episode by sharing some about Drafts 5.

On this week’s episode of Connected, we try to understand the role of digital magazines in the modern web landscape and talk about Drafts 5. You can listen here.

Sponsored by:

  • Linode: High performance SSD Linux servers for all of your infrastructure needs. Get a $20 credit with promo code ‘connected2018’
  • Pingdom: Start monitoring your websites and servers today. Use offer code CONNECTED to get 30% off.
  • Hover: Show the world what you’re passionate about with 10% off your first purchase

→ Source: relay.fm

Rethinking iOS Notifications

Dieter Bohn at The Verge has some fantastic observations about notifications on Android and iOS, concluding that the iPhone’s notification system needs to be reworked. Bohn believes both OSes offer too many ways to tweak notifications, but he sees a broader issue with iOS in particular:

On both of those platforms, the question isn’t (or isn’t just) whether or not there are too many options. It’s whether or not the end state of those options are any good. The difference, I’ve found, is that Android has a way of doing things that make notifications more “humane” than what’s possible on the iPhone.

In his video and accompanying article, Bohn points to a handful of critical areas where Android does a better job with notifications than iOS:

Serenity Caldwell’s 2018 iPad Review

Serenity Caldwell, writing on iMore:

To me, the 2018 base-model 9.7-inch iPad is a special beast: It hits a line drive right through the company’s fabled intersection of technology and liberal arts — and at the right price point. The iPad Pro did it first, but at a cost unattainable for all but the tinkerers and serious artists, and without iOS 11’s crucial multitasking features. At $329, the iPad offers a low-end tablet experience unlike any other on the market. Add an extra $99 for Apple Pencil, and Apple has created the best device for all-purpose education, period.

But it’s easy to make that claim, and a whole other thing to explain why I believe it so whole-heartedly. As a result, I decided to try and prove it: Starting with a blank page in Procreate, I created an entire iPad review video by just using my 2018 Continue reading “Serenity Caldwell’s 2018 iPad Review”