This has been a real head-scratcher for me over the past week as apps have been updating in advance of tomorrow's iOS 7 launch—why would TextExpander need permission to access my Reminders? Smile's blog explains that there's a very good reason:
When you update to iOS 7, you may find that TextExpander doesn't work in some apps which did work on iOS 6. Due to a change in iOS 7, those apps no longer have access to shared snippets. We have communicated with developers whose apps support TextExpander, and we've provided them an updated SDK with a new way to share snippet data.
In short, Apple has decided to break the way your snippets used to be shared between apps. Smile's solution is to store the data in your Reminders—because they're accessible even in the highly sandboxed environment of iOS. In a way, it's sad that developers have to figure out inelegant hacks like this one in order to provide basic functionality, but at the same time it does demonstrate the ingenuity of the developer community.
I wonder how many users will be refusing to give the app Reminders permissions and then writing support emails to Smile, complaining that the app doesn't work. What an (unavoidable) support nightmare.
Based on the resolution rumor along with the newly revealed pillars of iOS 7, I think the next frontier that Apple might be venturing into with iOS hardware is fully realized 3D Retina Displays.
Umm, no. I wouldn’t buy this idea with someone else’s dollar. 3D is stupid–it’s stupid in a movie, and it’s stupid on a phone. But let’s set aside my opinion for a minute, just for the sake of argument: there’s no evidence anywhere which would support Jeff Rock’s theory, other than a bunch of rumors which seem to misapprehend what “doubling resolution” means.
Last week, when the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display was unveiled, the old debate over whether users want “hackable” hardware or not was reignited. I’ve previously added my initial comments to the discussion, but the talk continues–and some fairly dumb things are being said by otherwise smart people. I think the dumbness could stand to be pointed out, because it only diminishes whatever valid arguments they make.
It all started when Kyle Wiens of iFixit published an opinion piece on Wired.com in which he lamented the steady progression away from easily-upgradable Apple hardware. His primary points of contention: this new MacBook Pro follows the MacBook Air’s lead with soldered-in RAM chips, features a battery which is glued to the aluminum case, and is sold with a display which is fused directly to the front glass. These design decisions make for a smaller enclosure, but they also make it very difficult to replace any of the computer’s components. One’s only choice is to have the machine serviced by Apple itself–and if you end up wanting more RAM, for example, you have no options at all. You’d better pay for the extra RAM when you buy the laptop, because even Apple won’t add it for you later.
Clearly many consumers are happy with the tradeoff, which makes for easier use from a wider swath of people who don’t want to be concerned with the myriad fussy intricacies of computer use. It’s not Apple’s fault that the vast majority of consumers who want iPads don’t give a damn about hacking it. Apple’s simply responding to a market need.
He’s right that people don’t want to have to tweak and twiddle with their computer all of the time, of course, and if he’d simply leave his argument right there, I’d be hard-pressed to disagree. However, when he claims that making things user-replaceable makes life hard for the non-geeks, he loses me. Take an iMac, for example. It’s possible that there has never been a computer with more easily upgraded RAM. There is a little door held in place with three standard Phillips screws. Beneath it are the RAM slots. That’s it. How, Peter, is that accessibility negatively affecting an average user’s experience with an iMac? How many iMac users even know that door is there? OK, you might (or might not) be able to argue that this sort of concession to the nerds drives up the price–but you can’t claim that it makes the computer worse for anyone. This same principle can applied to the MacBook Pro: if you don’t want to crack it open, don’t crack it open.
Don’t get me started on batteries. No market has ever cried out for non-replaceable batteries. Can you imagine Joe Consumer complaining that it’s too easy to buy a new battery? It’s absurd. And perversely, maybe no one has benefited from the glued-in battery trend more than iFixit!
The real point to be made here is that the industry is moving this way whether the geeks like it or not. It would be foolish to believe anything to the contrary. But is making that point such a big deal that we’re willing to claim that nobody would ever want to change a battery? Isn’t this sort of blindness just giving the Apple-haters a little ammunition? Won’t they just (rightfully!) point out how flawed your logic is?
Any device which is A) personal and B) computes is a PC, to my mind. The argument that phones and tablets aren’t PC’s because they’re less capable than desktops is more than a little specious. Our phones and tablets are arguably more powerful and capable than our desktops and laptops were ten years ago–with a few exceptions given for things like video editing, but even that task was pretty primitive back then compared to now. If tablets aren’t PC’s because they’re less capable than a full-blown modern Mac Pro, should we also retroactively decide that 1995’s computers aren’t PC’s?
The idea of “what a computer is” isn’t changing, per se, it’s just that we have this arbitrary distinction between mobile and not-so-mobile. That distinction will continue to erode. I have no doubt about it. We’re talking about form factor here less than we’re talking about essential functionality.
Back to the oft-repeated notion that one “can’t get anything done” on these mobile devices: I personally own a Windows desktop, a Windows netbook, a CR-48 (chromebook), an iPad and an iPhone. Any computing task I undertake–anything, except for video editing–can be done on any of these devices (nota bene: I’m a professional filmmaker, so the editing I do is of a different sort than that which Joe Blow is going to do…and that can be done on an iPad, pretty much). The idea that “real work” can only be done on a desktop or a laptop is incredibly fallacious, and I think the people who say that sort of thing are probably most often people who don’t (yet) own tablets.