September 21, 2015

Link: Ad Blocking and the Future of the Web ☍

Jeffrey Zeldman:

Your site may soon be collateral damage in a war between Silicon Valley superpowers. By including ad blocking in iOS9, Apple isn’t trying to take down your site or mine—just like the drone program doesn’t deliberately target civilians and children. Apple is trying to hurt arch-rival Google while providing a more elegant (i.e. more Apple-like) web experience than user-hostile ad networks have previously allowed. This is a great example of acting in your own self-interest, yet smelling like a rose. Will independent sites that depend on advertising be hurt along with Google?

I’ve been playing with some content blockers and really enjoy the aspect of blocking trackers or ads that make the experience terrible on iOS (excessive data usage, full-screen and hard to dismiss), but it is a shame that many are an all-or-nothing sort of thing. Granted, tasteful ad networks like the Deck and Carbon, which SchwarzTech uses, are more the exception than the rule. It’s a shame that, like iOS apps themselves, advertising online has been a race-to-the-bottom and tacky affair. Maybe forcing a big shift is what we really need.

September 17, 2015

Link: iOS 9: The MacStories Review, Created on iPad ☍

Federico Viticci wrote a lengthy review of iOS 9 in the most appropriate way possible, on an iPad. It’s explains everything you need to know in an entertaining, in-depth article. As someone that has mostly been using iOS 9 on an iPhone, it’s refreshing to hear things from an iPad-using perspective:

This year, the iPad is getting the first version of iOS truly made for it. After too many unimaginative releases, Apple has understood the capabilities of the iPad’s display and its nature of modern portable computer. Free of dogmas and preconceptions of what an iPad ought to be, iOS 9 fundamentally reinvents what an iPad can become going forward.

September 16, 2015

Link: Clock or Bomb? ☍

Avi Selk for The Dallas Morning News shares an awful variation of Robot or Not?:

Ahmed Mohamed — who makes his own radios and repairs his own go-kart — hoped to impress his teachers when he brought a homemade clock to MacArthur High on Monday.

Instead, the school phoned police about Ahmed’s circuit-stuffed pencil case.

So the 14-year-old missed the student council meeting and took a trip in handcuffs to juvenile detention. His clock now sits in an evidence room. Police say they may yet charge him with making a hoax bomb — though they acknowledge he told everyone who would listen that it’s a clock.

After reading this, I had a few thoughts. There is an obvious discrimination aspect to this. While that itself is infuriating and may actually draw the most attention to this situation, I saw some similarities to stories I’ve heard at some other high schools—any time a student does something outside of the norm for that particular school, especially be it being ingenious or curious or appearing different, they’re immediately labelled as a threat. Some of this is overzealous administrators and the post-Columbine thought that anything that is different is a threat to the safety of other students.

I’m more bothered by the fact that nobody seemed to look at the context that Ahmed Mohamed appears to be a good student that is very involved, and that his engineering teacher couldn’t or didn’t vouch for him. Besides that, what message is that sending a student? Don’t try to get creative outside of school and make things, especially if, meshed with your ethnicity, could cause morons to assume the worst. I hope this doesn’t discourage him and he continues to try to learn more on his own, especially since it sounds like he’s not getting it at MacArthur High.

Link: Regarding the iPad mini 4’s Performance ☍

Although not as powerful as the iPad Air 2, Ars Technica’s Andrew Cunningham finds it performs quite well, especially when pitted against prior iPad minis:

To shed some light on the subject, we fired up Geekbench 3 and ran some tests. We can confirm that the tablet uses a 1.5GHz Apple A8 with 2GB of RAM, which is faster than both the 1.4GHz A8 in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and the 1.3GHz A7 in the iPad Mini 2 and Mini 3.

Having a whole extra CPU core makes the 1.5GHz A8X in the iPad Air 2 about 50% faster than the Mini 4, but we’re still looking at a 20-or-so percent improvement over the old Mini 2 and Mini 3. That extra RAM will be good for more than just Split View multitasking, too—2GB iDevices need to eject things from memory less often, cutting down on the amount of tab reloading that Safari does and generally reducing wait times when switching between different tabs and apps.

September 15, 2015

“Compared to all these other first-gen efforts [original MacBook Air, original iPad, current MacBook], the iPad Pro looks much more buttoned-up—if not also incredibly niche.”

Special: On Apple’s iPad Pro, Apple TV, & iPhone 6s Special Event

Although Apple’s event took place almost a week ago and much of the Internet has spilled plenty of digital ink over the iPad Pro, new Apple TV, and iPhone 6s, I wanted to take my time and mull over the the big and small points of the event. I think some of these will be more apparent once devices start shipping, but the overall trend seemed to be incremental updates to keep Apple competitive…

September 14, 2015

Link: Thoughts on Annual iPhone Upgrades ☍

Shawn Blanc did a bit of math, too:

And so, while Apple’s Upgrade Program is $60 more expensive at best, it also comes with Apple Care, and you don’t have to worry about keeping your device in pristine condition in order to get maximum resale value from it at the end of the annual upgrade cycle.

Link: The iPad Pro’s Biggest Challenge ☍

John Gruber linked to and commented on a post on Designer News from users asking about if Sketch would make its way over to the iPad:

We don’t have plans for an iPad pro version at the moment. Yes, it has a beautiful screen, but there’s more to consider, such as how to adapt the UI for touch without compromising the experience.

But the biggest problem is the platform. Apps on iOS sell for unsustainably low prices due to the lack of trials. We cannot port Sketch to the iPad if we have no reasonable expectation of earning back on our investment.

This, I think, is the single biggest problem holding back the iPad. Apple sees the App Store as a success because there are so many apps, and so many downloads. But the Mac has an established ecosystem that allows for sustainable pricing — including upgrade pricing — for professional tools. (Sketch for Mac costs $100.)

I have to agree that Apple has created an environment where many developers will pass on iOS if they have to devote all their resources to one OS or another. The expectation of free or cheap apps and the recoil if anything costs over $2.99 seem to be the biggest pain point, despite the iPad Pro’s (and iPad Air 2’s) power.