apple

A Fresh Start

It’s telling that of all the watch faces Apple has shipped since, only the Explorer is anywhere near the same quality of that original batch. All the others are either derivatives of the originals (e.g. Toy Story, Minnie Mouse, Timelapse), obvious examples of engineering over design (Siri, Activity), or complete WTF? (Kaleidoscope). (Me, back in April of this year.) I’m happy to see renewed interest in Apple’s watch face design lately. Awesome as everything else in watchOS 5 is, this year’s face additions didn’t…

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Surfacing Shortcuts

When I came up with the original concept of RECaf, shortcuts hadn’t been announced yet. I knew the key to any data-logging app is making the act of adding new entries as simple as possible, so I focused all my efforts on reducing log friction. If it takes too much work, you won't get into the habit of logging daily. I put a ton of effort into designing the simplest logging process possible. RECaf only needs three pieces of information to make a log entry: a source, an amount,…

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Good vs. Better at Bad

There’s a particular point I’ve been trying to articulate about HomePod vs Amazon Echo and all the others that I haven’t quite figured out how to express succinctly in a tweet. So I’m going to resort to charts. If we wanted to compare HomePod and Echo as “Smart” devices, digital assistants—whatever term you want to use—I think most people will agree that Echo has an advantage. How much of an advantage is up for debate, but let’s be extremely generous to the Amazon…

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Using iPad for Long-Form Writing

I fought the notion of a mechanical keyboard for my iPad for years. Part of the reason was every keyboard designed for a tablet I’ve tried (including Apple’s own Smart Keyboard) is just not good. Small keys. Crappy feel. I’ve never been able to type a sentence on any of them without immediately concluding that they were terrible compared to the on-screen keyboard, let alone my MacBook Pro keyboard. But the bigger reason I’ve always been opposed to external iPad keyboards is I just fundamentally believe…

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On HomePod

Let’s do a quick thought experiment. You’re Apple. You want to launch a smart speaker product, but you haven’t gotten one into the market yet. Years have passed, and some of the competitors (Amazon and Google) are making some headway, though their products are far from mainstream. Those products are both backed by what has become pretty refined voice recognition systems, however, ones that surpass your own Siri in some respects, at least. And the people who do have these devices are pretty tied to the functionality…

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