In the table below, I’m comparing the features of the three alert types on iOS: Timers, Alarms, and Reminders. Included in the comparison is how certain features work (or don’t work) on the iPhone, iPad, Watch, Mac, and HomePod.
Here’s what crossed my eyeballs this past week:
What I Read This Week
- My favorite behind-the-scenes iOS utilities
- Playboy Interview: Steve Jobs
- My App Story
- Perspective | I wanted to understand why racists hated me. So I befriended Klansmen.
- Women Aren’t Nags—We’re Just Fed Up
- How to Make Videos People Actually Want to Watch – Levi Allen at Craft + Commerce 2017
What I Watched This Week
- Incredible Doom – The First Time I Got Online – Awesome new web comic starting up about growing up with the internet in the 90s.
In Facebook’s Messenger app for iOS, you can choose to allow the app to use iOS’ notification system to let you know when you have a new message. Simple enough.
Personally I prefer to not have most apps send banners/alerts 1 and just badge the app icon with a number when there’s something to see. So this is how I have Facebook Messenger set up in iOS’ notifications settings:
So my settings are as follows:
- Show in Notification Center is off
- Sounds are off
- Badge App Icon is on
- Show on Lock Screen is off
- And nothing is allowed to show when my iPhone is locked
But if I look at Facebook Messenger’s settings screen for app specific notifications, it shows me this:
There’s a red exclamation mark indicating something is wrong with my Notification Settings. The copy below it implies that Facebook Messenger isn’t allowed to use iOS’ notification system.
Turn on notifications to get messages faster – even when you’re not in the app
But the iOS notifications setting screen, shown above, show that Facebook Messenger does have access to the iOS notifications system – I just don’t have it set up the way Facebook wants me to. I initially thought I had done something wrong with how I had it configured.
It’s worth mentioning: in the list of devious things Facebook does to try and get you to use their apps more, this is pretty low on the list in terms of evil rating.
But it demonstrates to me how “confusing the user to get them to do what we want” is very much on the table at Facebook when it comes to how they design their apps.
iMessage/Messages and certain emails being the notable exception to my rule.↩
Boomerang looks interesting in the same way Hyperlapse and Layouts are great apps – a single purpose, focused app that does one thing well but doesn’t clutter up the main Instagram app:
…today it’s launching Boomerang on iOS and Android. It’s a dead-simple app where you shoot a one-second burst of five photos that are turned into a silent video that plays forwards and then reverses over and over in a loop.
You can download Boomerang for free in the App Store.
Apple’s WWDC keynote was on Monday morning – I watched it Monday night on the Apple TV – and here’s a few of my comments.
New versions of iOS and Mac OS X coming.
“El Capitan.” Should make for some fun podcasting discussions this year.
Both will be free updates and both will apparently run on all the same computers/iOS devices that the current versions run on. This is good for developers selling apps that will continue to run on all the devices out there and good for users who won’t get left behind and feel the push to upgrade.
The main marketing reason given for it is the increased performance and optimization of the operating systems but it does make me wonder whether this is really all that much of an upgrade without any huge features to promote – shaking your mouse to find the cursor is hardly a big new feature – but I’m personally fine with Apple slowing down on the feature bullet points in favour of getting the current features working better.
- Leopard > Snow Leopard
- Lion > Mountain Lion
- Yosemite > El Capitan
Female Executives on Stage Presenting
Aside from a few minor roles or third-party companies’ reps, there hasn’t been any women presenting on stage at an Apple keynote. It wasn’t so clear1 when Steve Jobs was alive because he pretty much did all the presenting – but in the Tim Cook era where he has VP’s present their area of responsibility, it’s been a completely male. Monday saw a shift with two women presenting. Jennifer Bailey, vice president of Apple Pay, and Susan Prescott, vice president of product marketing, presented on Apple Pay and the new News app respectively. Read more at The Verge.
It was a great start to what will hopefully be a continuing trend of including more non-white, non-dude people in important positions at the world’s leading tech company.
OS X El Capitan
To be honest, I’m really curious to see how Spotlight has been improved. I like the direction Apple is heading with trying to make Spotlight something you turn to instead of Google.
iOS 9’s best new features seem designed to strengthen the iPad – the News app and multitasking for example – and I could see myself moving to a iMac on my desk at home for podcast/media production with the current iPad model as my mobile device instead of a MacBook Air.2 Federico Viticci has been iPad only (mainly?) for a while now and posted a great look at iOS 9’s Multitasking on the iPad. If he can run a massively successful website/company from an iPad now, I think the future is bright for iPad in the office.3
Proactive Assistant looks neat but I’m guessing doesn’t get a lot of use outside of power users – at least in this year’s version.
The new keyboard, with trackpad like support on iPad, looks great. Especially that the shift key UI has been fixed.4
The battery life improvements and space-saving enhancements should be a welcome improvement – especially for anyone on older iOS devices or 16GB storage based devices.
Exciting if you’re excited about the Apple Watch.
Begun, the Privacy Wars Has
Apple’s bet on not needing personalized data on you – as opposed to Google who’s taking everything it can from and about you – is going to be an interesting decision to look back on in a few years. Will Google’s approach of better services because of knowing everything about you win over Apple’s attempts to keep your private stuff private.
I don’t think this part of the keynote was as bad as the internet thinks it was. When I watched it Monday night I had prepared myself for a gong show but the only part I found painful was Drake’s part where he rambled about nothing. If he had gotten up and shown how he was able to publish with Connect through Apple Music, that would’ve been interesting and relevant at WWDC. But everyone could see he was just “insert_celebrity_first_name_here”. The segment went long, certainly. In 2015 nobody is amazed that you can stream any song on the internet anymore. That was neat back when the iTunes Music Store was announced in 2003.
Beats Radio should have just been a press release announcement when Apple Music debuts. I think 24/7 live radio on your iOS device is neat – but I don’t think it’s worth taking up time at a developer conference.
The pricing is where Apple really nailed it I think. $9.99/month for one person or $14.99/month for up to six people in a “family” plan. Adding in a 3 month free trial makes it simple for people to try it and get hooked and then not really want to turn it off.
I’m a bit unsure of how iTunes Match – $25/year – fits in alongside Apple Music. I don’t have a problem with Apple charging for services but with iTunes Match, iCloud and now Apple Music all potentially taking their cut it adds up each month.
Apple TV: MIA
My reaction to almost everything else is probably coloured by the fact that there was nothing announced about the Apple TV. I was excited about the various rumours I’d read about what Apple could be doing with their little black box of a hobby but when nothing was even mentioned about it I was disappointed. If Apple was going to announce an SDK so developers could write apps for a new Apple TV, the Worldwide Developers Conference seems like a great place to do that. Which could mean that since nothing was announced, we’re not going to see anything for a year besides a possible incremental update to the Apple TV.
As we saw with Apple Music, Apple doesn’t hold too rigidly to the idea that WWDC is only for developer focused announcements or that developer focused announcements can only happen at WWDC. Apple will change the script and schedule if it’s in their best interests or serves the product they’re announcing more.
My bet is that a new Apple TV will be released this year – but they’ll likely wait until the fall/pre-Christmas buying season to get it out.
The Talk Show Live with Phil Schiller
In a nice surprise, John Gruber had Apple’s VP of Marketing on a special live edition of The Talk Show Tuesday night. It hasn’t been released yet but it was a great follow-up to the keynote. While there’s only so much Schiller is going to be able to talk about, Gruber job of pressing him on some developer and user issues with Apple.
— Chris Enns (@iChris) June 10, 2015
Obviously one guy doing all the presenting is still 100% male.↩
It’s close. But not quite there yet. Web/development work on an iPad is still not where it needs to be for me but that’s only going to get easier in the future.↩
…or coffee shop… or beach… or whatever you call an office these days.↩
Our long niGHtmarE is ovEr.↩
Apple’s running a “everything is at least 50% off” promotion for photo and video apps for both iOS and the Mac App Store. I’m not a big user of iOS apps for photography beyond the usual suspects – Apple’s Camera and Photos app, Instagram and Flickr occasionally – the better deals are on the Mac apps:
- Pixelmator is a great Photoshop alternative at a fraction of the price.
- Flare 2 and Analog are kind of like Instagram filters for your Mac.
- ScreenFlow 5 is the best deal. A great app for editing video. It’s designed primarily for recording your Mac’s display to demo software but it works great as a video editor if iMovie isn’t your cup of tea.