Opinion Stories June 17

AAPL: 95.33

-2.22
Stock Chart

The first true mobile phones back in the 1980s did exactly one thing: phone calls. It wasn’t until 1994 that carriers introduced what was then a revolutionary idea – using mobile phones to send text messages. I’m old enough to remember when only geeks did it, and it took several years before it really took off as a mass-market thing.

Fast-forward to today and, for many of us, the very least-frequent thing we do with our phones is use them to make phone calls. When I do make a voice call, I’m as likely to use a VoIP app like FaceTime or Skype as I am the actual phone app on my iPhone.

With iOS 10, Apple makes that behaviour likely for even more people. The VoIP API effectively allows apps like Skype, Viber, WhatsApp, Facebook calling and others to be integrated into the iPhone every bit as deeply as the phone app itself …

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Opinion Stories June 14

AAPL: 97.46

0.12
Stock Chart

Reactions to yesterday’s keynote have, as usual, been mixed – but there has been a distinctly disappointed note to much of it. In particular, those not following the rumors as closely as 9to5Mac readers have expressed frustration at the lack of hardware announcements. One Reddit thread along these lines was at 1550 comments and counting at the time of writing.

Who needs hardware when you get emojis?

RIP Mac Pro

What have we done to anger the apple hardware gods? Do we need to sacrifice an apple II ?

This is really really disappointing. Unbelievable that the rMBP hasn’t been updated in over a year and the prices have stayed the same.

Others weren’t happy about what they saw as the limited focus on Macs in general, one commenting that ‘they spent longer on iMessage than they did on macOS.’ But despite the lack of hardware, and of major surprises in general, my view is that yesterday’s announcements didn’t disappoint …

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Opinion Stories June 10

AAPL: 98.83

-0.82
Stock Chart

Novelists and app developers have a lot in common. An author puts a lot of work into writing a novel, but when it’s finally published it’s competing with millions of other books out there. Unless you’re a big-name writer, most people will never even get to know that yours exists.

You can try to be creative with your marketing. For example, I did a Kickstarter campaign for my first novel, 11/9, and included the opening scene of The Billion Dollar Heist at the end of it to drive sales through to that. But it’s impossible to compete with the big publishing houses.

The same is true of small-time app developers. Your app may be the greatest in the world, but it steps out into a world that already has around 1.5 million iOS apps and where nobody has ever heard of yours. And with Apple now allowing successful companies to buy even more App Store visibility through search result ads, it can only get tougher for the little guy.

Which is why I think Apple could usefully learn from a new model being used for books by Amazon …

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9to5toys 

Opinion Stories June 7

AAPL: 99.03

0.40
Stock Chart

Mac Podcasts app concept 

Yesterday in my WWDC wish list I included a request for pulling Apple’s podcast player out of iTunes and promoting it to a dedicated app on the Mac just like it is on iOS. iTunes in its current form can be a mess as a music player, but at least that tries to be its primary function; being a good podcast player is hardly the focus of iTunes. Aside from removing part of the bloat from iTunes, promoting podcast playback on the Mac to its own app would solve several existing problems.

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In an opinion piece a couple of weeks ago, I described the way I hope the rumored touch-panel will be used: dynamic content available to app developers to create one-touch shortcuts. Effectively you’d get similar benefits to a physical keyboard skin but for every app. Check out that piece first if you haven’t already read it so I don’t need to repeat the same points here.

Of course, there are potential downsides to that too. At present, I’m used to being able to adjust the volume or play/pause music, for example, just by pressing a key. My fingers know where those keys are, so it’s very easy to do. If the standard functions were overwritten by apps, it would become a fiddlier process to do things we currently take for granted.

So here are a few thoughts about how Apple might give us the best of both worlds – and the somewhat provocative view that the touch-panel might still be a good thing even if it turns out to be nothing more than a gimmick …

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Opinion Stories June 3

AAPL: 97.92

0.20
Stock Chart

It’s been a rough couple of days for Apple’s services. Apple Music took a lengthy hit on Wednesday with subscribers being signed out, then a widespread outage hit multiple services including iCloud on Thursday for several hours. All this during a quarter when Apple is selling itself to investors as a services company, not just the iPhone company, but these outages are way too common.

And it’s not just services. Apple had to re-release iOS 9.3.2 for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, a minor bug fix update that bricked the company’s latest tablet for a lot of customers. Mistakes happen but it’s Apple’s response after everything is resolved that bothers me…

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9to5google 

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