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I might be the only one who doesn’t think this is good for HP. It’s not that i’m against them licensing the OS, I’m all for that, and I’m a big fan of webOS, but I think they way they want to do it - wanting to have a strong relationship with a single manufacturer, rather than being “one of 5 or 6 OSs” - is short sighted and won’t pay off as they hope it will.

HP already have a huge amount of reach, and if they can’t make webOS succeed on their own, getting one other company distributing webOS with them won’t make a difference. They would be relinquishing control: for a deal like that of Microsoft and Nokia to be made in the first place they would have to hand over a lot, and although it sounds like HP actually want another company to shape webOS with them, too many cooks spoil the broth. Having two companies controlling the vision and progress of the OS I feel could really damage it.

It’s been proven by RIM that going it alone in this market now is a hard slog, Apple contradict the rule, but the reason for that is that they have an ecosystem, something which HP have in terms of hardware big time: they’ve got phones, tablets, with netbooks, printers on the way. They simply haven’t gained the traction (or the cool apps) to make people buy into that ecosystem though. For HP to maintain complete control of the OSs progress but hand it over to manufactures for the distribution side would be a great thing for consumers, manufactures would really have to compete on hardware.

If HP were to licence webOS though, i’d like to see them mimic what Microsoft did with Windows Phone 7 - finding a middle ground between Apple and iOS and Google with Android. Having several manufactures working with them to push the OS could do wonders to put traction and numbers behind it, so that webOS is something people want to own and developers want to build for. Of course, Windows Phone 7 hasn’t gained a huge amount of traction from doing this but webOS is a really phenomenal experience, people really do like it, it’s just that the scarce lack of hardware is hard to love. Because that’s where they’re hitting a brick wall. webOS is awesome, and once people use it they love it, getting it in the hands of those people is the hard part, and the only way to get past that is with multiple manufacturers.

My menu bar

Menu bar

Inspired by the cool stuff going on over at Mac Menu Bars I thought it wouldn’t hurt to share my menu bar setup. Although its relatively short and concise compared to other peoples, it works perfectly for me and it actually helps me to get stuff done.

Sparrow: Super simple email client, the closest (and best) thing you can get to native Gmail on the Mac. Its got a one up on Mail.app as well since it actually has a menu bar icon. A well designed one at that.

Adium: MSN is still my protocol of choice and since Microsoft Messenger is horrible on the Mac I use Adium, fitted out with a nice iChat style menu bar icon which you can find over at adiumxtras.com.

Tweetie: I’m still stuck on PowerPC, so Tweetie is my best option. Pity me. It may not be the best, but it’s still a solid choice even now. Every once and a while i’ll look up and see that little icon shining blue at me, to this day its still one of the most well implemented notification systems out there. Minimal genius.

Dropbox: Self explanatory super sync’y goodness, I only use the menu bar item to get an idea of the syncing status, my percentage usage and for quick links to the web interface. It’s more of an access portal than anything else.

Keyboard Maestro: A powerful macro program i’m playing with the trial for to see if my workflow can benefit from some automation. I use an amazing alternative menu bar icon made by Jono Hunt over at Iconaholic.

Pastebot Sync: More super sync’y goodness. Lets me get copied items to and from my iPod Touch and my Mac easily.

Built in stuff: LsSaAlerter (I have no idea how to get rid of it), Wi-fi1, Volume, Time and Spotlight (I can’t get rid of it either so it just sits there, Alfred is my launcher of launcher instead).


  1. Wi-fi in my house is actually rather temperamental, having a solid connection (like today) is like finding a sack of gold dust, so it’s good to stay aware of how its doing.

First thoughts on MeeGo and the N9

engadget:

The Clear Black AMOLED display is truly a sight to behold, with stunning viewing angles, a curved Gorilla Glass front, and some pretty excellent (for AMOLED) performance out in the sunlight. We compared it side by side with a Super LCD-equipped Incredible S and the N9 more than held its own. The screen is easily one of this new phone’s great strengths, though we’d argue the intuitive UI, responsiveness, and eye-catching industrial design are pretty high up on that list too.

I’m actually in love with the hardware design of the Nokia N9, although I think the colours devalue it the unibody polycarbonate and curved screen sound amazing, the polycarbonate is the same colour all the way down as well, I don’t know if this is a common feature of polycarbonate but it means scratches won’t be as noticeable which is interesting and thoughtful. I would have preferred if they had opted for an aluminium unibody but admittedly the design suits the more colourful OS which I’ll get to in a second.

From the demo the UI and animations in MeeGo look silky smooth. The OS looks really fresh, swipe to navigate is a proven concept with iOS, Android, although Ben Brooks has already raised concerns in his latest post:

Lastly they interface works in a way that a swipe from the left or right edge into the middle will put you into an app launcher or switcher — which is great, right up and until the point and iPhone/Android/WP7 user comes along and tries to “swipe” through their pictures only to find that it keeps kicking them to the homescreen.

What I got from the demo video was that if you swipe from the very top or side of the display, the multitasking or swipe function will be initiated, if you swipe within the interface you will be interacting with the app itself - be it the browser or Photos. I think it’s doubtful you’ll ever mix the two interactions either as it seems you use the top of the screen as a run up to initiate the multitasking swipe, we still don’t know if this changes in practice though if you were viewing photos in landscape orientation. I think there’s still a lot we don’t know about the functions of the OS and creases in the UX that Nokia need to clarify and/or iron out - such as multitasking and swiping and which function takes priority in normal use. All in all though the multitasking interface looks nice, very expose esque incorporating pinch to zoom and close all, it also seems better implemented even than Apple’s previous beta implementation. App switching by swiping vertically looks elegant and easy to pick up as well.

The main app that was actually demoed during the video was Camera, the UI for it looks great, I really like the ‘softness’ of the icon and UI design in general with curved edges to everything which they’ve gone with, it looks like its been inspired inspired by what Nokia have done with Symbian Anna, the look and feel of it looks like it goes perfectly with the poppy hardware. The camera itself looks solid as well as we can expect from Nokia, an 8MP 16:9 widescreen sensor producing some damn nice pixels. The only thing I was left wondering about the camera is does it have a shutter button though? It’d be wasteful if it didn’t and a missed opportunity.

The demonstration of how MeeGo works with NFC connectivity stuff is really great as well, seamless and user friendly and integrated into the Music app, again though I think Nokia need to clarify where they’re planning to go with this, obviously with NFC the phone has potential to be your eWallet which would make it a lot more compelling.

Obvious the gaping hole in MeeGo is apps, from the demo it looks like Facebook and Twitter will be available for it at launch, i’d like to see what they look like. Beyond that i’m worried that no-one but the huge players and really passionate dev’s are going to produce apps for MeeGo with the limited and cloudy roadmap which has already been pronounced dead, I think it could still be promising though - I don’t expect 4000000 apps, just a handful of good ones (such as Twitter and Facebook which we’ve already seen). Another reservation I have with MeeGo though is actually the iconography; all the icons look similar, which doesn’t make for a great user experience sometimes, yes so do iOS’ I guess, but I own a Nokia and I can vouch that the way the icons are designed makes them hard to distinguish at a glance. Even the guy appears to pause momentarily to locate the camera icon during the presentation.

The N9 does make you wonder why the company has opted against MeeGo for its primary platform, it’s a solid phone and a beautiful OS that still has a little to go. MeeGo still has a development roadmap but the MeeGo team have been put to work on the ‘next disruption’ in the mobile space. I think it would have been good for Nokia to actually have control over the direction of their primary OS, but they decided to go with Windows Phone 7, probably as a play by Elop, my feeling is that they’ll come to regret it in the long run but i’m sure getting millions from Microsoft sweetened the deal.

So Apple showed off OS X Lion again at WWDC, compared to the last time they talked about it, and the previews we’ve seen since then, they didn’t talk about anything much else - sticking to multi-touch, full screen app’s, mission control, launchpad etc. all of which is exciting to see and a nice refresh to OS X but nothing that we didn’t know already. Since then though they’ve uploaded a new page featuring all of the new features in Lion, here’s some of the small but notable features not addressed in the keynote the really stood out for me as being cool little improvements.

1. Picture-in-picture zoom - The screen zoom feature in Lion features a picture-in-picture view, allowing you to see the zoomed area in a separate window while keeping the rest of the screen at its native size. Choose to have the window follow the cursor, or keep the window in one place to show only areas you navigate.
Although this feature is categorized under Accessibility and is probably targeted at long sighted users, I could actually imagine it being really powerful and probably great for designers and others alike, it will allow you to zoom in on a certain portion of the screen - like you would with a magnifying glass. I could actually imagine myself using this to read when i’m feeling tired or for design, the fact that it will be system wide makes it even better. A feature that probably wasn’t intended to be awesome, but is.

2. Instant messaging availability - See your buddy’s availability while in Address Book.
As issue Joshua Topolsky has discussed about iOS regularly is that it doesn’t feel “alive”, in that app’s don’t interact with each other, by the looks of it though Apple are addressing this in certain areas in a really great way on the desktop. Where they can integrate services and do it in a valuable way for the user they are. I almost never use Address Book on my Mac, with the update to Lion I think it’s going to become a lot more compelling: now in Address Book if you have contacts associated with an IM account it will integrate with iChat and show you their availability. This kind of idea is actually on it’s way to fulfilling the vision from Chris Ziegler of the universal status indicator, once this is ported to iOS as well I think it will become a whole lot more exciting.

3. Social network profiles - Address Book lets you quickly access the social network profiles for your contacts, including Facebook. Press and hold an email address to select the appropriate profile.
Obviously Address Book is going through several changes with Lion to make it a far more compelling application, integrating with social networks like Facebook and from the look of the iOS preview probably Twitter as well. What’s really intriguing about this as they are really bringing Address Book into the modern age making it the hub to find the best way to contact your friends at any given time - be it via phone, email, IM, Facebook or Twitter, you’ll hopefully be able to find links to all of it in Address Book.

4. Group as folder - Instantly create a folder from selected files by choosing the “group as folder” item from the contextual menu.
In Lion it also seems like they’re taking steps to streamline certain processes to make them that little bit easier and quicker. In the past i’ve had to create a folder, highlight the files I want to put into it and drag them over there, now, i’ll simply have to highlight the files and right click select ‘Group as folder’. Little stuff like this shows true attention to detail.

5. Keep both files - When you attempt to add a file to a folder that contains a file of the same name, the Finder now offers to keep both files, appending the word “copy” to the name of the new file.
Another really well thought out little feature which streamlines a process, i’ll often be presented with the option to ‘Stop’ or ‘Replace’, I don’t want to do either. I think this will also be great for new users, not just new to the Mac, but computers in general, people who have been brought over from the halo effect of the iPad where they didn’t even have to deal with a file system and are now confronted with the option to ‘Stop’ or ‘Replace’. They wont have to deal with that anymore.

6. Service plug-ins - Service plug-ins from third-party developers let you add new chat services to iChat. Installing a plug-in is simple. Once it’s downloaded, double-click it. Plug-ins run in a separate process to help ensure that they won’t damage your system.
Although it will probably go unnoticed this is a fundamentally huge feature with so much potential allowing iChat to support protocols other than AIM, Jabber or Gtalk. As long as someone takes the time to create a plug-in. This not only opens up the gate to finally have MSN in iChat but also beyond that any other protocol someone is interested in making a plug-in for. Where I could imagine this would really come into it’s own is with plug-in’s for cross platform messaging services like LiveProfile or PingChat, maybe even iMessage is someone manages to reverse engineer the service so that even if Apple don’t choose to bring it to the Mac we would have access to it. A really exciting prospect.

7. Bind application to a space - You can now bind an application to a particular space or make it available in all spaces right from the Dock. Press and hold the icon in the Dock and make a selection from the contextual menu.
This feature really builds on classic Spaces and goes beyond its functionality to bring it in line with Mission Control, allowing you to pin certain applications to certain spaces. I really think this will be an immensely powerful feature alongside full screen app’s once people figure how to incorporate it into their workflow to make them even more productive and allow them to focus.

8. Capture a region of the screen - QuickTime Player lets you record part of the screen, such as a specific window. It’s perfect for creating a video tutorial of an application.
Although the ‘Apple way’ is typically to add a new feature and do the bare minimum to make it awesome and nothing more1, it’s refreshing to see them build on a small feature like screen recording QuickTime and make it so functional that it will do just fine for the vast majority of people. Saving them a decent amount of money so they don’t have to buy a devoted app.

9. Show clicks on capture - Screen capture in QuickTime lets you show mouse or trackpad clicks, highlighting the pointer each time you click an object on the screen.
Again, a great new feature in QuickTime screen recorder that will go above and beyond what most people need and save them a tonne of money.

10. Improved auto-correction - Auto-correction in Lion displays suggested spellings below the word. Press Return to accept the change or click the X to keep the current spelling.
Another great feature obviously lifted from iOS which i’m really going to appreciate. Listed under Text suggesting it will be a system wide function. I’m terrible at spelling so having the option to correct spelling mistakes in line without having to right click will be useful for me and save me a lot of time. It looks to have been implemented in a really unobtrusive way as well which wont get in your way if you’re just hammering at the keyboard and not paying attention to the screen: Press Return to accept the change or click the X to keep the current spelling.

They’re all tiny little features which probably shouldn’t have been mentioned at the keynote, they wouldn’t have got rounds of applause the way Versioning did. They do though show a precise amount of care that has gone into this OS update, and I highly advise anyone else to read through the other 240 features like I did, because this update is going to be a big one.

Since Google’s Inside Search event i’ve been trying to figure if the new Google search stuff is groundbreaking or just convenient. With five new additions to Google search on the desktop and on mobile it’s obviously a great improvement but it’s still left me feeling a little cold.

Without a doubt, image search seems insane - allowing you to perform a Google search with and image, I can’t figure how it would work in practice with a genuine use case though, typically when you have a photo, you took it, so you will know a decent amount about it, more than Google will. All I can entertain is the idea that it will help you identify “mysterious creatures” as the demo video suggests. It would be great for identifying animals, places, people you can’t remember the name of, however Google reports that it simply ‘compares pixels’ and works best with things well documented on the web1, personally I think it’s a bit of a gimmick with no really useful purpose, will it make people use Google over Bing? Hell yeah, like I said it’s a gimmick but it’s not particularly blowing my mind.

One thing that really made me smile was Google Instant for Mobile:

Google is launching Google Instant for Mobile, which is very similar to Google Places, but right on the Google Mobile homepage. The next time you’re out and about, simply launch Safari and visit the homepage to access location based shortcuts that’ll help you find food, drink, fuel, and more with simple tap based navigation. The results are integrated with Google Maps, so you can location based results closest that are ranked closest to you. On top that, you’ll have access to phone numbers, reviews, and directions from a pull down menu under each result.

This sounds and looks slick, to find locations around you, you don’t even have to type, it looks similar to what Microsoft is doing with Bing on Windows Phone 7 with local results, it allows you to get in, get out and things done quicker. I think thats really what we need in the mobile space and is awesome to see Google pushing it. As another addition to Google Mobile search they’ve also made it easier to “to build longer, more complicated searches” which basically allows you to build on your existing search with suggested phrases to refine it, again adding to the get in, get out and things done quicker style that Google Mobile search is going with it means you can simply tap to refine your search rather than spending time typing.

Everything else just feels like a convenience, Google also announced Voice Search on the desktop which seems strange to me, it obviously works well on Mobile devices because you’re mobile, but on a desktop when you’re going to be using the keyboard and mouse a second later anyway, it feels out of place. They also announced Instant Pages:

Instant Pages can get the top search result ready in the background while you’re choosing which link to click, saving you yet another two to five seconds on typical searches.

Although Instant Pages may be a technical feat, it just makes you get places quicker and users wont even pick up on it unless they’re told explicitly it’s Google doing it: they’ll just think its their internet connection.

I respect Google for innovating and releasing this stuff that will put them ahead of Bing, and I really want Google to be “the third half of my brain” but Instant Pages, image, and voice search aren’t doing that for me. I would love to see them keep innovating on mobile search and I think thats where Google can grow in terms of search intelligence, knowledge and logistics with them knowing where you are and what you’re doing, and I know they’ll get there in the end, but i’d prefer it now.


  1. For example, a famous building like the Eiffel Tower would bring up other photos of the Eiffel Tower.

Obviously, apps are going to be more popular than songs since many are free. And obviously songs are going to be more popular than books because many are much cheaper.

But painting this picture with price is only a rough sketch. The ways that these media are consumed (and consumable) fills in the details. The amount of energy needed to enjoy each varies greatly. The “digestibility” of the material is different. In a way, these are the same factors which are drawing consumption toward tweeting, blogging and browsing and away from paper based media.

I have to give it to Horace, the way he breaks down the data in graphs is nothing short of magical and he went over it further in the first episode of The Critical Path with Dan Benjamin. He is a genius.

The curve for application downloads is ludicrous and really mind boggling to me, not the numbers, but the rate at which its caught up with music. It’s astonishing.

I’m not an analyst of any sort but I think it’s also interesting what this suggests about the lifespan of content; books are more expensive but they also take longer to consume1, as with music you’ll tend to spend a lot of time listening to songs, but not as much time as you would spend reading a book2. For app’s, as Horace says many are free, and with the sheer influx of app’s since the launch of the App Store (recently reaching 400000) app’s are far easier to buy because they’re so cheap and far more disposable than music, their lifespan is short, they last until you find a better alternative at which point the former app gets deleted and you buy a new one. I can vouch for that, I’m writing this on my phone right now using Notesy, before that I used Note & Share! The accessibility and quality of app’s coming out every day in the App Store is making them ever more replaceable.


  1. I guess we also re-consume books as well. We do that same with music and app’s as well, probably more often, it’s also more accepted with music to listen over and over, but the investment of time with books makes it a lot more notable, the more time spent also justifies the monetary investment.

  2. Unless the song is a classic, you just have to love The Killers.

The grand screw

In my humble opinion, one of the best features announced for iOS 5 was Twitter integration: making it “easier to tweet from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch”. You sign in once in Settings, and can then tweet directly from Safari, Photos etc. as well as Twitter integrating with Contacts allowing for quick @ messaging. It’s also the most worrying feature as well though, I would bet good money Twitter approached Apple to incorporate the functionality, not the other way around - and i’m thankful that they’ve taught Apple to do social - but I also that it’s also intended to stifle to Twitter client community on iOS.

iOS has produced some of the best Twitter clients out there: Twitterrific, Tweetbot, Weet, Tweetie, I could go on, but Twitter obviously feel threatened for some reason I don’t understand by third parties and have told them they plan to own the client space and that it would be a better idea for developers to focus their resources on plug-in’s to Twitter rather than clients. Twitter baked in is a move which shows they’re serious about this.

Admittedly the Twitter integration is as separate from other clients as the official Twitter app is and the integration will never really be shoved in your face unless you’re looking for it, but I would guess a lot of new users new users (and a lot of average ones) will probably use the baked in Twitter functionality and not much beyond it to share content when they’re on the go, removing the need for any Twitter app at all. You don’t have to go into your Twitter client for anything, just double tap, select ‘Send to Twitter’ and your done. Rather than going into the client, imputing the photo or URL you want to link, tweeting, and going back to what you were doing. Although your not using Twitters client, you are using the Twitter experience. And that’s what they want.

If these people did feel the need for a true client though, I’d assume the large majority of these average users would get the free official app and not pay for one of the other offerings. People will trust the interface (and the branding) and go straight to it before any other. Twitter have managed to work their way into the default system and will earn the users trust. Third part clients will now have to do really phenomenal stuff in UI and features (Tweetmarks maybe?) to stand out above the default.

I’m ever the optimist though, I am hopeful it will benefit the third parties somehow, the new integration could cause something similar to the Starbucks effect1 and actually make people aware or Twitter for the first time and cause people to look further for a better client once they outgrow the functionality of the baked in services. I’m also hopeful that authorizing Twitter when you first set up the phone might rid the OAuth woes third parties are having to go through at the moment, if clients could access the date in the Twitter settings you could conceivably authorize once and never have to again, making it a better experience for users and developers.

Update: There’s a silver lining for developers, and it’s rock solid.


  1. See Marco Arment’s post about what Safari Reading List means for Instapaper, the ‘Starbucks effect’ is why he’s so confident Instapaper wont be effected by the new feature Reading List and that sales might actually improve for him.

Brief speculation on Voice Recognition

Although iOS 5 looks to be a truly huge update, the one thing we didnt see in iOS 5 which was rumored was voice recognition. Now either the feature was just complete speculation from people and was never planned for iOS 5, or, as I think, it was true - someone had seen a version of iOS with voice recognition running on a device internally, but the version wasn’t destined to be iOS 5.01. I speculate that voice control will probably arrive in 5.1 or 5.2 as the flagship feature for the version in the same way AirPlay, AirPrint, Nitro JavaScript, Personal Hotspot etc. were the badass features in the iOS 4 version updates. They wouldn’t hold back a feature like voice recognition until iOS 6. It’s too much of a compelling feature. The only way they would wait until version 6 to release it would be if it took that long to perfect it, and as the rumor was already floating around, I would assume its mostly done.


  1. Similar to when Joshua Topolsky and Engadget reported on the rumor of an iPad with an SD slot from a source, I think the source was correct, but it was probably a next generation iPad, not the iPad 2.

Managing Twitter Via Lists

A little while ago Shawn Blanc published a post on how he manages Twitter with lists, I thought it would be interesting to share my setup for using lists with Twitter. Although it’s probably the most common setup I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, there is a reason why things are common, they’re awesome, and this lists setup works great for me removing a lot of the noise from my actual Twitter feed. So, for the grand reveal, I have two lists which I created which I follow regularly:

So let’s talk the software list first, I get great value out of following app’s and software companies on Twitter. The information found in the Twitter feed is often more interesting than on the app’ website or application blog because it’s a lot of responses to user questions about upcoming features/bugs (which is always nice to see developers respond to) and announcements, which brings me onto reason number two for why following app’s on Twitter is awesome: the instancy of an app’s Twitter account is great as you find out straight away when a new update is available, something which is always pretty thrilling for me as i’m an app addict and love to play with new features. So, thats why following app’s on Twitter is a good idea, admittedly though, as interesting as it can be, it also creates a lot of noise which you don’t actually want to see if you subscribe to an app account in your actual feed. Thats where the software list comes in, although I still follow app’s I show a keen interest forA, all other app’s i’m slightly interested in get thrown into the software list. This way I get all the value of following app Twitter feed’s but only when I want to, I can dip in as and when instead of it flooding my actual feed 24/7.

As for the people list, the use case is quite similar, I follow writers, podcasters etc. on Twitter, anyone who I show interest for in their true line of work, I also try to follow on Twitter, it’s like a little extra - because Twitter is a live feed. You hear from these people more frequently throughout the week on Twitter rather than just when they are live on a podcast of have published a new article. With the people list, I haven’t stopped following those people though, I’ve added them to the people list as well. The people list allows me to read what those people are saying without the noise from other people I follow on Twitter, this has been pretty effective for meB: it acts like a filter, but rather than filtering select things, it just filers everything that isn’t in the list. I think the reason using lists works so well for me is because i’ve got a short attention span - I could be reading what someone is saying and notice a tweet with a link above it and switch my attention to that instead, this method cuts a lot of the crap out.

One issue Shawn acknowledged with using lists is that if you aren’t following the person but you have got them in a list, then you are unable to DM them:

The disadvantage (if you could call it that) is that you cannot exchange DMs with people or brands whom you follow only through a Twitter list. But right now the brands and bots I follow through lists are not real people. They’re impersonal and the exist almost exclusively to give one-way updates news.

I haven’t really encountered this issue at all, namely because I almost never use direct messages on TwitterC. Also, like Shawn says, some of the app accounts I follow in my software list are not real people, although not that many (like I said, one of my main motives for following app accounts is the responses to user questions) and any app accounts I really care about i’m following as well.

Shifting to use lists more has slimmed down my actual news feed a lot, which I’m very thankful for since I always felt guilty like I was reading too much and wasting my time, but also when I didn’t read at all as I was worried I was missing out. Now rather than systematically reading through everything so i’m up to date, I just dip into my software and people lists every once and a while and get roughly the same gist I would if I was to read everything because all the distracting stuff in-between has been removed.


  1. Such as Sparrow and Tweetbot. These also tend to be app’s which are updated on a frequent basis.

  2. I’ve been thinking of taking this idea further to create a ‘friends’ list as well so that I can focus on what they are saying as well without all the other noise.

  3. I can recall two times in the past year when I have had to use it, and both of those could have been done with email easily.

With Apple wrapping up its software announcements for the WWDC set to kick off in San Francisco on June 6, a new rumor suggests the two-year old iPhone 3GS won’t get the iOS 5 upgrade when Apple releases the first betas this summer and the final version of the OS likely this Fall. According to Russian analyst and Mobile Review editor Eldar Murtazin, the 2009 iPhone 3GS will stay on iOS 4, thus leaving the iPhone 4 and next-generation device Apple is scheduled to announce later this year as the only iPhone models capable of running iOS 5.

I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Apple dropped support for the 3GS with iOS 5, if I’m honest. Since iOS 4, older devices have been dropped at a fast rate from version-to-version as Apple add better chips and more RAM, a prime example would obviously be multitasking which requires more power on the back end and so the iPod Touch 2G and the iPhone 3G never saw support for it. Mobile processors are advancing fast as well, a prime example is the dual-core A5 we’ve seen in the iPad 2 which allows for 9-times faster graphics, this awesome update gave Apple the hardware horsepower to include real time displays of multiple graphic effects in the new PhotoBooth for iPad.

The real question is, how outlandish are Apples feature plans for iOS 5? Let’s talk notifications, theoretically, having a better notifications system running on the back end 24/7 might be too much for the processor and 258B of RAM to bare compared to the capable 512 in the iPhone 4. However if the killer feature is integration with the rumoured iTunes cloud music service, I would guess an iPhone 3GS would be completely capable of accessing it, it would actually put more strain on the 3G network than the phones processor I bet! Google do it regularly, pushing updates to the systems default app’s, the 3GS wouldn’t struggle struggle to run a new feature in an app as it’s not running constantly.

iOS 5 is going to be a huge leap forward, and if the iPhone 3GS can’t run a decent majority of the new features well, I don’t think they’d ship it to the device. They have to maintain standards.

Weather App by DESIGN.INFRANGIBLE

In the endless search for a really compelling weather app everyone seems to be going through the motions of, this would be the most exciting thing for me.

I really thought I’d found it with Shine - a nice new weather app people have been singing praises for, but the geolocation and weather readings are wonky with slow feedback and the interface feels clunky; it’s really hard to flick through pre-saved locations, it might be completely perceptive though and i’m sure it’s mostly an issue with the weather engine and hopefully will improve with time. That and I really don’t like the icon.

This concept by Khoi Uong got me interested though, weather is purely visual, you look outside and it’s sunny, the way I use a weather app is to simply eliminate the looking outside. To have an app which gives instant graphical feedback without looking too tacky just feels like the most natural way to do it. I also like the idea that weather is rendered along a time axis, which again just seems like the most natural way to find how weather will be throughout the day. To replicate the human experience but in a new tangible way just seems like the most obvious (but probably the hardest) way to do it.

Before you get your hopes up though like I did, this idea is purely conceptual from what I understand, please feel free to join me pestering the designer to make it happen though.

This sounds really rather crass to me. The obvious thing people are picking up on is the fact that Lodsys (the current owners of the patent) are suing independent developers for using Apple’s in-app purchase system rather than suing Apple directly, which is a pretty large issue in itself as the developers have no responsibility over what the in-app purchase system consists of. Lodsys are praying on the weak who can’t afford to defend themselves rather than treating this like an actual case and going straight to Apple, which gives me a real feeling they’re just doing this to inflict damage on the indie dev’s, rather than doing it to protect their IP.

Looking at the patent Lodsys claim these developers are infringing on though really adds another level of obscurity to the whole debacle. I’m not going to pretend to be a lawyer of any sort but even I can see some flaws in this infringement claim1.

In an exemplary system, information is received at a central location from different units of a commodity. The information is generated from two-way local interactions between users of the different units of the commodity and a user interface in the different units of the commodity. The interactions elicit from respective users their perceptions of the commodity.

This is the abstract overview of the patent in question, titled ‘Methods and systems for gathering information from units of a commodity across a network’ which already doesn’t sound like the kind of thing developers would be infringing on by implementing in-app purchase, secondly what really got under my skin was the examples used in this patent were the figures used, this stuff is seriously archaic, making references to fax machines and connections via a phone line. Furthermore though it appears the focus of the patent is to collect user feedback using these ‘methods and systems for gathering information’ so that the service using the technology can be improved via an update, and i’m not talking anonymous user data, the kind of thing lots of apps do, which you could contort to fit this patent. It uses examples of a straight up user surveys asking ‘How much did you like or dislike the method that you just used to program the fax machines user settings?’ the kind of thing you see every day.

FIG.2 The patent takes advantage of the idea that with user feedback, the service the consumer is using will get improved service in return via updates2 - give and get back - and Lodsys are claiming this is the same as a user paying money to make an in-app purchase and getting an update or extra content in return. I don’t understand this asinine move by Lodsys or their motive for doing this, as the patent isn’t outlining a purchase system, it’s describing a feedback system, I would be surprised if they won this battle, but the indie dev’s will lose regardless as they just don’t have the money to put up a defense.

‘Patent attorneys are not cheap. This is costing me everything I have.’ - Jonathan Freeman


  1. Please let me know if i’m wrong, like I said, i’m not a laywer so I might be missing the mark on some of these points.

  2. See FIG. 1.

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Polishing a Rubix Cube

After the announcement of Samsung’s Series 5 Chromebook and Acer’s unnamed Chromebook as well today, I felt a little guilty for thinking they didn’t look half bad, so I thought i’d talk over why I really like the idea of the Chromebook. As a disclaimer though, the sound quality is horrid and this recording was more for my benefit than for yours to try and run through what’s in my head, so listen with caution, but try to enjoy!

The Cod and the Catfish

Just watched Catfish. Great film which highlights a dark side to social media. Even now i’m still not sure if it’s real or fake, if it’s fake its phenomenal writing, but their are some little loops that don’t make sense to me, I don’t want to get into that though. If you’re stuck for something to do go and find it online and it’ll keep you entertained for an hour or two.

First off, if you don’t already subscribe to The Pipeline, you should, hosted by Dan Benjamin of the 5by5 network they’ve had some amazing guests including Craig Hockenberry and Joshua Topolsky, and the interview with Horace Dediu was no exception. Horace has worked at Nokia and is a genius writer at his site asymco and I love reading all of his pieces, his piece on 'The Billion Dollar Smart Cover' made math interesting.

On The Pipeline he gives an amazing insight into his opinions on the term ‘Post-PC’. If you don’t listen to the whole thing, at least listen to that part from 23:50 to 27:00 though the whole interview is really riveting and great to listen to.