IOS 8 Wishes

Frederico Viticci has written a very thorough IOS 8 wish list on improvements needed in IOS. The new and improved Macstories (v4) is a quality Web site with a bit of a misnomer because it includes IOSstories too and is a valuable resource for authoritative knowledge on Apple and related third party software beyond just the Mac. I really like the approach of IOS 8 wishes proposing solutions instead of writing complaints. A similarly effective approach has been done well by David Smith on how the App store could be improved.

Two topics that I particularly liked from Frederico’s IOS 8 proposals are the need for better photo management and inter application communication. These would have a huge impact in dealing with current difficulties with photo management and also empowering third party developers to enrich the platform by simplifying work flows.

iPhone Twitter Usage in the Ottawa Area

Mapbox has produced an interesting graphic showing twitter usage from various types of mobile devices (Android, iPhone, Blackberry). Zooming into the Ottawa area I don’t have much company in the eastern part of the city. I am sure some analysis could be done to find some type of correlation between population, economic activity, and other measurements.

Your IOS Computer is not Authorized

I think there is a need for some crowdsourcing of Apple bug reports and tracking. I will track issues I find here while I also try to find a good place to report on Apple issues on one of the forums.

I have been quietly ignoring Apple ID computer authorization errors because there doesn’t appear to be an easy way to resolve them.

It seems easy enough as instructions are provided in the error message to just use the store menu in iTunes to authorize the computer which in this case is an iPhone 5. First you can’t do this while the error message is open. If you select authorize this computer from the store menu nothing happens. If you close the error message by choosing ok you can then try the prescribed remedy but then you are told that the computer is already authorized.

The remedy for authorizing the “computer” is not well designed because it not only doesn’t solve the problem – it also doesn’t make clear what computer is being authorized. Is it the laptop that is running iTunes or the IOS computer connected by USB? When you are told the computer is already authorized which one are they referring to? The spelling is also sloppy because in the error message and Store menu the command is to “authorize” but in the response the spelling is “authorised” (twice). Some consistency in spelling would leave a better impression on the attention to detail that Apple is normally famous for.

On the Apple support forum from 2011 there is what I have found to be a typical thread. It starts by blaming the person reporting the problem who is confused by the interface. There are some comments by people implying that the solution should be obvious which are the equivalent of suggesting that the person should read the (nonexistent) manual. Then there are some comments at the end that other people have the same problem. There is no resolution of the problem and no one from Apple provides any response that the problem is even acknowledged and might be worked on eventually. The forums are user to user which Apple hosts but doesn’t participate in.

Upon further investigation my particular instance of this issue is due to having an earlier Appleid that some songs were purchased with. Apple has no support of consolidating IDs or transferring purchases so the solution to removing the old Appleid is to repurchase the items with your new ID. It also appears that computer authorizations apply to the traditional computers only even though on the Appleid account list of authorized computers IOS devices are shown too.

The prescribed remedy and quality of prompts fail. The design fails by not being clear. Computer authorization doesn’t “just work”. How long has this bug been around? This is hard to say but it is definitely not recent (older than 2011) and there have been several updated versions of OSX (Snow Leopard, Lion, Mountain Lion) and iTunes (now up to version 11.0.2) that have failed to correct it.

I hope that the delays in OSX and IOS are putting emphasis on fixing longstanding bugs and much needed design fixes as Apple itself emphasizes that design is about making things work and not just a pretty interface.

Update:

It is possible to authorize a computer to 2 different Appleids so purchases from both IDs can be synced with IOS devices. This removes the error messages for my particular situation. Apple still needs to improve their iTunes Appleid authorization design and implementation.

iPhone+ Speculation

Potential new iPhone looks plausible to provide a range of sizes.

Marco Arment does the math for screen sizes that aren’t disruptive for IOS app developers.

iPhone+ Speculation

Which one would you prefer?

Seems to me that likely most popular combinations are:

1. current small iPhone with full size iPad ( I am quite happy with this combination of sizes)
2. current small iPhone with iPad mini ( a lot of people seem to be going for this)
3. iPhone plus with full size iPad (going with largest highest quality screen for each model)

May be less likely that people want the largest iPhone and smallest iPad together because they are close in size?

IOS 6 Transition to New Maps

By now some of you have already upgraded to IOS 6 which became available as a free upgrade on Wednesday September 19, 2012. One of the changes that is a bit controversial is that Google Maps has been replaced in the system with Apple’s own implementation which has some new features but isn’t as mature (e.g. map data not as accurate or complete). To retain the maps you are familiar with there is a way to bring Google maps as a (pseudo) app back on your IOS device. Don McAllister of screencastsonline fame has produced a YouTube video on how the Google web app can be added to the home screen to look like a regular IOS app. This tip is actually something you can do with any web app you want to access more easily.

MacStories has written articles, benefits, hands on with IOS6 maps, and it will get better, on Apple’s new mapping app that discuss both the new features and issues with replacing Google’s map information. At this time it is not public what specifically forced the replacement of Google Maps but it is likely part of the falling out of the two companies with IOS and Android competition and disagreements on the terms for renewing their collaboration on maps. It is clear that this change does cause some uncertainty and disruption regarding map functionality on IOS. It will take some time for Apple to build up trust in the new maps and make improvements as issues are uncovered. At least it is a mixed bag of new capabilities and items that have regressed (e.g. accuracy in some areas and transit information which Apple is deferring to third party suppliers).

It could be worse, for an example of a truly disastrous upgrade take a look at the feedback Evernote received when they upgraded the Skitch screen capture tool from version 1 to 2. In that case Evernote purchased Skitch and initiated changes to integrate it with the Evernote app that clearly did not consider existing user requirements.

iPhone and iPad from a Sharp Canadian Perspective