iOS Geo API?
- With apps like Find my Friends & Reminders, what's the bet on Apple opening a Geo API in March? Makes no sense for everyone to be making calls to satellites.
Style Sheets verus the Native App
After having some time to play with Untappd’s new service it was greatly refreshing to see this service going completely free of the Apple approval process, app store, etc, and instead using HTML5 and Style Sheets for it to look like a full blown iPhone app, just via the web. I’ve struggled with these conversations in the office about when, and when it is not, appropriate to bake a full blown mobile app. Everyone is App happy for no apparent reason, they see that it is a hot trend and only know to get on board. What they don’t seem to realize is the costs associated with a dedicated mobile app, working with the app’s marketplaces and the single OS they support. Untappd’s service automagically supports iOS, Android, BlackBerry, WebOS, Symbian (Meego, whatev), Windows 7 and the next TBD OS to come to market - No marketplace, no app approval process and no hand in on your profit.
The next bonus to this build is scalability, Apple is showing consumers that no longer will it be only on an iPhone screen. The conversation is shifting to what size piece of glass you are interacting with (e.g. phone, tablet, laptop, TV). When looking from this perspective, it becomes challenging as a designer to build an iPhone, iPad, iTV scaling app… but think about when you look at Android and all the iterations of screen sizes and vendors that it runs on = UI/UX nightmare. Granted this will challenge web based apps as well, but that is where Style Sheets offer the ability to find out what browser dimensions are and offer the best applicable fit for the interface. One build + All platforms.
So there is a drawback to only being in the cloud: no internet = no app… but open any of your native apps on a plane and you will quickly realize the reliance that most any app has on the internet. And granted, web versions is not the answer for every application in the App Store, Marketplaces, etc., but some time should be spent looking at the service to determine if the resources you need are only available by via a native solution.
I hope to see this trend influence some of the decision makers in companies as they start having talks about how to deliver their product to the end user.
Safari, MobileMe and Dropbox can all run as background audio on an iPhone?
So today I had closed out of a YouTube.com video on the iPhone only to go into running apps and see the Safari icon where typically is the iPod icon, or Pandora (top view)… hit the play button and the audio started playing from the YouTube clip in the background = interesting. Test 2: Upload song to MobileMe, and it streams via cellular to the iPhone even with the iDisk logo (bottom view). May just start pushing more playlists into my MobileMe account. Dropbox worked too.
VoIP for the Massies… or, Masses
Cisco should purchase Skype, if only just for a hardware component: SkypeTV - a small TV top unit w/vcamera, internet connection (Wi-Fi & CAT5) on top of a TV with video in/out. Mainly as a simple non-tech/elderly friendly set-up to connect families, but also to connect people where they socialize, not huddled around a laptop, but in the living room.
For that matter, a camera peripheral for the next Apple’s iTV to FaceTime, or GoogleTV to Google Voice would all help connect us with our loved ones in the place where we keep company - not in the office.
Charity on @Square (photo via Flickr)
I’ve seen more and more posts and pics of people using Square to fundraise for charity, which is fantastic. My wife recently hosted a Twestival event that help donate to places like Charity:Water. She had to handle all the money coming in, and then use her personal credit to pay to Twestival. This solution works, but there is definite room for improvement.
Helping further advance that opportunity for people to raise money would be for Square to offer optional profiles, allowing people who already have Squares to flip from taking money for themselves, or their business, to helping take donations. I have a square device and would have loved to have had the ability to add a Twestival, or Charity:Water profile to my Square app, and then any card swiped donations that I took would automatically be credited to the charities account directly.
The year Steve returned to Apple, this aired. I think it is safe say he has solidified a spot in his own commercial.
Apple needs to bring the “Today Screen” to the iOS - Here’s How:
The one place that I think that Palm OS (The Original version) had hit the nail on the head was the Today screen. It was designed to be a quick glance notifier to pertinent information, like the time, to-do items, and upcoming calendar events all on the main screen. Windows Mobile added this functionality and HTC later took it even further adding more relevant information, like weather. Because of the undeniable usefulness I propose that the next iOS version bring that functionality to the iPhone.
One place Apple could add this screen is the Search Screen (swipe right): The Search Screen is easy, cause the page is relatively empty with a search field on top and keyboard on the bottom. Sliding the keyboard up from the bottom of the screen when tapping in the search window opens up 85% of the rest of the screen for data like the items listed above. Another option is the Lock Screen, quickly allowing the user to tap the physical button and glancing at the data without going into the phone. One additional alternative would be to dedicate the home screen to this, forcing the user to swipe left for search (or include it on the top of this page), but then swiping right to get to apps.
I like the idea of it being in the Lock Screen (shown above) because I feel that I would reference it like I do to check the time - Click the button glance and back into the pocket.
The recent release of Pulse for the iPad seems to best what was to be Nik and my next product, which was code named Oatmeal. Code named Oatmeal cause it was to be, “the only thing you need in the morning”. So sad, but glad to have a great option out there… now we just need a better Twitter app for the iPad. Above is a mock-up of the app and it’s interactions.