Results tagged “iOS” from Bill's Words

Xserve is long dead.

Mac OS X Server is an app, not a standalone product anymore, and is a shadow of its former self.

So it would not surprise me if this announcement is the first step towards a partnership which could supply both iOS and Mac OS-friendly “big iron” server technologies for enterprise, an area which Apple clearly has no interest in pursuing.

Two iOS 7 Observations


I’m sort of surprised nobody has made these observations (that I can find, anyway).

First, did you notice that all of the so-called “flat” interface elements are ridiculously easy to draw with vector graphics? As I’ve stated before, the various flavors of Apple OS are going to be resolution independent someday. The departure from textures and bitmapped elements will make this transition much easier, and the sweeping hands on the iOS Clock app icon is a pretty good example of a traditionally-bitmapped element which has become all or nearly all vector graphics.

Second, when you’re composing an E-mail, Mail app on iOS 7 does a pretty good job at guessing which account the message should be sent from. Let’s say you have two E-mail accounts, “” and “” and that your default “from” address is “”. When you start writing a message, the “from” field will show “”, as it should. But then when you put in a recipient, such as “”, iOS 7 will change the “from” account to the “” address. This feature would have saved me and my co-workers much confusion as I have been known to send them E-mails from my personal account when I meant to send them from my work account.

That’s all for now.

The animation in the iOS 7 Clock app is gorgeous, and it addresses my long-standing gripe about the minute hand motion. Older versions of clocks would move the minute hand once per minute in a herky-jerky motion which didn’t match the beautifully designed motion of the second hand. All of them sweep in the live Clock icon, too!!

The iOS 7 version moves the minute and hour hands right along with the second hand in the smoothest, most incredibly-lickable animation I’ve longed for.

It’s the little things, and they got this one right… finally.

[Ironic—or coincidental—that it took a lessening of the realism of the clock face itself to get the realism of the clock mechanicals right, isn’t it?]

Ω A Reminder Bug in iOS 6.x...?


iOS 6 added a Reminders app, and I use it in spite of the awful interface. (The “on/off” switches for “Remind Me On a Day” and “Remind Me At a Place” are particularly awkward, and why doesn’t checking off a task make it go away?)

I have a daily reminder at 7:30pm to remind me about a task. Sometimes I do it early and check it off as being done. (Yay, me!) Strangely, reminders then reminds me at 7:30 that same night to do the task… and shows it as needing to be done at 7:30 tomorrow. It also shows up in the Reminders list as needing to be done at 7:30pm tomorrow, though it just reminded me about it at 7:30pm today.

Yes, a bug. An annoying bug.

Update: I can’t reproduce the bug. So I’ll delete my event and hopefully that’ll solve the problem.

Yes! My favorite clock face gets to stick around.

via arstechnica

Ω Ho. Lee. Crap, It's Fast...


Having used an iPhone 4 for the last two years and having just gotten an iPhone 5 today, I have been marveling at just how frickin’ fast this thing is. But when I launched “The Weather Channel” app, I had a “Ho, lee, crap!” moment.

I captured it with a Silver Nano for your viewing pleasure:

What you see is my force-qutting TWC app so you know there’s nothing fishy going on. Then I launch the app. And (poof!) the weather appears!

At some point, the ability to load remote images manually while viewing a message got removed. (iOS 4, maybe.)

It’s back with iOS 6, though not in the top of the message—it’s in the bottom where the “Load remaining…” message shows up. Like this:


This is a pretty big deal to me, and I’m glad it’s back.

This looks very familiar…

ios 6 clock apps-1.jpg

Oh, right:


So do I have to get a new watch because this one is too geeky?

Nah… there’s no such thing as “too geeky”. Especially if it’s such a classy watch.

Buy your Mondaine watch from World Lux. Tell ‘em I sent you.

Image source

via TUAW

*!#% That Siri Says is Siri-ously Funny


Language notwithstanding, this is some siri-ously funny @#%*.

Ever wonder what happens when Apple’s Siri is asked something… offbeat?

Here’s the answer.

Chart here.

It makes me wonder, though, if there’s a breakfast/lunch/dinner rush at the App Store, though.

From MacRumors we find out that Lodsys is indeed marching onward. Worse, they are not even honoring their 21-day offer to the developers. (Frankly, Lodsys are being assholes on that one.) As I said before, they have nothing to lose.

The developers, on the other hand…


Well, who saw this coming?

Oh. Right. I did.

Sorry, guys. Sometimes I hate to be right.

Here’s how I read Apple’s response to the Lodsys letters and, not being a lawyer, it might be wrong:

  1. Lodsys says that Apple is licensed to use the Lodsys patents in Apple-branded products. (And conversely, from Lodsys’s previous assertions, the developers are not licensed to use the Lodsys technologies in the developer-branded products.)
  2. Apple says that the app developers’ products use Apple-branded products. I.e., if the developer uses an API, it’s an Apple API. If the developer uses an iOS device, it’s an Apple iOS device. And if the developer relies on the iTunes store, it’s the Apple iTunes store, etc. Apple even cites the letters that Lodsys uses to show infringement as showing Apple-branded products throughout.
  3. Since the developers are using Apple-branded products to implement the technologies Lodsys claims to own, the Lodsys patent(s) are not being infringed upon, these Apple-branded and legally-licensed products having been legally sold to the App Makers (as Apple calls them). A Supreme Court reference is used to make it clear that that’s how Apple’s reading the claims, too.

Here’s a concrete example to help illustrate my reading: Let’s say you build FasterBikes bicycles and buy a Shimano drivetrain for your product. The Shimano drivetrain uses a gear technology licensed from another firm, Lodsys. By now, you would have received a letter from Lodsys telling you that you have to license their technology for use under the FasterBikes name. Shimano (Apple), however, having licensed the gear technology for use under the Shimano name, is essentially telling Lodsys in this letter that the Shimano-branded parts are still Shimano-branded parts and that they have no business trying to get FasterBikes to license the technology. If, on the other hand, you made your own drivetrain that used the Lodsys gear technology and put that on your bike, then Lodsys would have a leg to stand on and you’d be on your own.

And that brings me to this interesting thought: What about apps which are sold through Cydia, the jailbroken iOS device app store? I think Lodsys might have a leg to stand on there since those apps probably don’t use the Apple-branded APIs for certain activities and hence are not licensed to use the Lodsys technologies. And how about the apps sold through the Android Market? Though Google is a licensee of these patents, I don’t think the Android Market has in place any controls (read “curation like Apple does with the App Store”) which would prevent use of the Lodsys technologies through a non-Google-branded API.

In other words, maybe there is a good reason for Apple to collect its 30% for all purchases, and maybe there is a good reason for Apple to require the use of its APIs wherever possible: legal protection against the so-called “patent trolls.” For these developers, it seems to be worth the price so far.

Anywho… one commenter to Macworld put it pretty succinctly: “Wow that is the longest and most articulate bitch slap I have ever read.” It is not, however, a slam-dunk. I’m pretty certain that Lodsys won’t drop the notices and will try articulating their argument a different way—if they bother doing anything at all. After all, they have nothing to lose and everything to gain, and the only people who will lose in this are the individual developers. And in that case, for them the only hope is that Apple will file suit against Lodsys, since I don’t see anything criminal (i.e., the government won’t step in) in what Lodsys is doing.

At any rate, I think this one is going to get more interesting, so stay tuned!

But Flash isn’t on the iPhone!


(Article here.)

The quick rundown: A company called Lodsys is threatening a handful of small developers with legal action for their supposed infringement of a Lodsys-owned patent by the developers’ use of Apple’s in-app purchasing system. Some developers are trying to get Apple to step in and help by boycotting the in-app purchasing system. The full story is here on ars technica.

Others in the community have opined that the patent in question is overly broad and would likely be invalidated at trial, but getting to trial and conducting individual trials is well beyond the budgets of these small developers. And so what we have here is reasonably similar to a protection racket, only it’s entirely legal.

In this particular case, it would be entirely reasonable for Apple to step in and attempt to invalidate the patent on behalf of the developers because, after all, part of Apple’s revenue stream is at risk. If developers choose not to use the in-app purchasing system because of the threat of being sued, then Apple doesn’t gain the revenues from that purchasing stream.

But let’s assume for a moment that Apple can’t or won’t get involved for some reason. Perhaps Apple legal thinks it’s a slippery slope and they will only end up shelling out many more millions than they stand to make on this revenue stream. Or let’s assume that another patent troll and patent were involved and it didn’t directly affect Apple’s revenue stream somehow, though it does affect the individual developers.

What then?

There aren’t a whole lot of options to developers. Unfortunately, unlike a criminal trial where the government is required to provide a defense to the accused, civil defendants have no such protections afforded them—they’re left to defend themselves at their own costs. At best, they might find someone who is willing to take the case pro bono (literally, “for good,” i.e., not “for money”). The Electronic Frontier Foundation, for example, has a staff of lawyers who help out sometimes in cases like this. But while the EFF is certainly no friend of patent trolls, I’d guess it’s also not likely to defend the closed and proprietary Apple ecosystem, either. And it’s highly unlikely that any really good intellectual property (IP) firm would undertake the defense of one small developer. It’s still about the almighty buck, and there wouldn’t be enough publicity in that.

So here’s my suggestion: Crowdsource the defense and gang up on Lodsys.

Step 1: Start a Kickstarter project to fund the evaluation of the validity of Lodsys’s claims. This has to be done quickly as the developers have only a few weeks to respond to Lodsys. It would certainly help if an intellectual property (IP) attorney with a superior track record in defense of IP claims were willing to do the work pro bono, but there will still be costs involved.

I, for one, would throw in $100 on principle alone.

Step 2: If indeed the patent looks unlikely to hold water, then continue with the Kickstarter project to consolidate the certain-to-occur litigation and see it through trial.

It’s a risky proposition, sure, because nothing’s certain in the Eastern District Court of Texas—the developers could still lose the case. But what message would it send to the patent trolls?

For one, it says that the little developer is no longer helpless. Sue enough of them, and you’ve kicked the hornets’ nest, so to speak. Second, it says that the patent in question had damned-well better hold water, and hold it well. (As much as I hate software patents, it’s the law, and if your product really does infringe, then you’re on the hook to license it. Sorry.) Third, it sets a precedent, and it’s all about setting precedent in law.

So… what about it? Anybody able to start a Kickstarter for this one? Any IP attorneys out there willing to give it a go?

John Gruber and I have briefly conversed about what the resolution of an upgraded-resolution iPad will be. He firmly believes it will be 2x the current resolution because it’s just easier. (True, it is.) But I believe that some future revision of the iPad will have a higher-resolution display which is not a fixed integer multiple of the current resolution for reasons I’ve outlined previously. Two more things make me think I’m right.

First, Apple itself. With 10.4 and 10.5, resolution independence was introduced in phases and was “developer only.” (Via 10.6 was supposed to be more resolution-independent than the previous two releases, but… alas, not so much. That’s bad.

Or… is it? Wouldn’t it be a convenient alignment of things if iOS 5 and Mac OS X 10.7 introduced resolution independence about the same time? They share the same rendering engines, after all, and many other parts of their architecture. If both OSs introduced the last bits of making their interfaces resolution independent, it would make good use of resources in the company. Not that Apple has to think frugally, but if they’re trying to converge the two platforms somehow…

I’m just sayin’.

Second, WebOS Enyo apparently does some resolution independent jiggery-pokery according to this Engadget note. Not that I understand exactly what this means, because I am not about to plunge into the WebOS SDK documentation, but they are making a concerted effort to attract developers by allowing devs to write once for multiple target resolutions. That’s powerful stuff.

Now, Apple does not promote that devs should write once for iPad and iPhone/iPod (because the interfaces themselves should really be tailored to the different screen sizes), though it does work. Instead, Apple would likely try the same approach as HP and promote resolution independence as the bridge between future higher-resolution devices and the past’s lower-resolution devices. WebOS is ahead of both Mac OS and iOS here—there’s some real competition, finally.

So that’s it. I further stick my neck out on the subject of the iPad X’s resolution.

I sure hope I’m right…

Until recently, I didn’t fit into the former category but landed squarely in the latter. As an avid Mac user, I do have a fear of losing my sight. But this article by Matt Gemmell gave me a new perspective.

The bit that did it for me:

When you first enable VoiceOver on a Mac, you’re asked if you’d like to take a brief tutorial; I did. After the first couple of minutes, I closed my eyes, and really used it. I wept.

Yes, it will be different. But all is not lost.

And now, as an iOS developer (or at least a student developer, anyway), this article provided a significant insight into the realities of the assistive technologies of Mac OS and iOS.

I will read and heed.

Go read it, no matter which category you’re in.

[Via I swear, it must be incredible to be paid to surf the web and produce the occasional highly-insightful article as John Gruber is.]

This article tells you how to download the software for your iOS devices directly in Safari and then tells you that you can tell iTunes which update to install manually.

However, there’s also a great use for these directly-downloaded files if you have multiple iOS devices to update. Use the referenced links to download multiple iOS updates simultaneously—the total for downloading all of your updates is as long it takes for iTunes to download just one update. Then put the files into the appropriate ~/Library/iTunes/(iPod/iPhone/iPad Software Updates) folder.

Then, when you plug in your iOS device for updating, the download process is skipped, the update is verified, and you’ve saved yourself waiting for sequential downloads to occur.

Is this a big deal? Could be. I plug in multiple iOS devices and update as many as I can simultaneously and once you click “Update” for one of them, all operations are halted for the others. (You did know iTunes will do more than one device simultaneously, didn’t you?) Last night, I had to update two iPads, iPhones 3G, 3GS, and 4, and iPod Touch G2. That’s five firmware files and would have been about 1.5 hours of downloading via iTunes vs. 15 minutes with Safari.