Link: Proof That iOS Still Hasn’t Gotten Undo Right

Daring Fireball: Proof That iOS Still Hasn’t Gotten Undo Right

The whole story is only seven paragraphs long, and one of them is devoted to explaining how to invoke Undo and Redo. This is — inadvertently on the part of the App Store editorial team — a scathing indictment of the state of iOS’s user interface standards.

Before reading a word of it, how much would you wager that Apple’s story on Pixelmator Pro for Mac does not mention how to invoke Undo and Redo? I would’ve bet my house — because even if you’ve never even heard of Pixelmator, you of course know how to invoke Undo and Redo in any Mac app: Edit → Undo and Edit → Redo, with the shortcuts ⌘Z and ⇧⌘Z. In fact, even their placement in the Edit menu is always the same, in every Mac app: the first two items in the menu.

Undo has been in the same position in the same menu with the same keyboard shortcut since 1984. Undo and Redo are powerful, essential commands, and the ways to invoke them on the Mac have been universal conventions for almost 35 years. (Redo came a few years later, if I recall correctly.)

iOS does in fact have a standard convention for Undo, but it’s both awful and indiscoverable: Shake to Undo, which I wrote about a few months ago. As I mentioned in that piece, iOS does have support for the ⌘Z and ⇧⌘Z shortcuts when a hardware keyboard is connected, and the iPad’s on-screen keyboard has an Undo/Redo button. So for text editing, on the iPad, Undo/Redo is available through good system-wide conventions.

But on the Mac, Undo and Redo are invoked the same way for any action in any app — everything from editing text, making illustrations, to trashing or moving files or mail messages.

Undo on iOS seemed delightful when it was first revealed, but I’ve found it a hassle at best in real-world practice. Undo and redo are foundational pieces of functionality. That iOS still struggles with these makes it a shaky computing platform. There are several ways iOS holds back the hardware it runs on, and Undo is one of the most glaring.

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10 Years of the App Store

It’s weird to remember, but the App Store did not launch with the iPhone. It came a year later — a year of nothing but default apps and the occasional web app; a year where you couldn’t even change the iPhone’s background image. When the App Store launched, it would have been hard to predict the challenges it would face, the impact it would have on software development in general, and the positive and negative effects it would have on developers.

Apple: The App Store Turns 10

When Apple introduced the App Store on July 10, 2008 with 500 apps, it ignited a cultural, social and economic phenomenon that changed how people work, play, meet, travel and so much more. Over the past decade, the App Store has created a safe place for users of all ages to get the very best apps and a vibrant app economy for developers of all sizes, from all over the world, to thrive. Today, customers in 155 countries are visiting the App Store more often, staying longer and downloading and using more apps than ever before.

While there have been many notable moments since apps first came to iPhone and later iPad, the milestones and testimonials below reflect some of the most significant over the past 10 years — defining how the App Store democratized software distribution and transformed how we live every day.

Apple’s own retrospective is predictably upbeat, but it hits every major milestone and positive impact the App Store has had. The App Store still has a long way to go in some regards, but it’s also amazing just how far it has come.

9to5Mac: 10 Years of the App Store: The Design Evolution of the Earliest Apps

One of the most significant design opportunities in recent history was announced with a simple blog post on Apple’s website. “Let me just say it: We want native third-party applications on the iPhone, and we plan to have an SDK in developers’ hands in February,” Steve Jobs wrote. On a quiet Thursday morning less than a year later, the App Store opened to iPhone users with a selection of just over 500 apps.

Few contemporary innovations have changed how we live our lives and interact with the world around us more than iPhone apps. The creators of the first 500 available at launch had the unique opportunity of shaping the design direction and interaction methods of the millions of apps created since.

To celebrate the App Store’s 10th anniversary, let’s study the visual evolution of 10 original App Store apps.

I loved browsing though the iterations and redesigns of the apps and icons they featured.  A couple of these apps — like Twitterrific and Evernote — I’ve used for years and have been able to watch the apps as they evolved. Others are new to me. The only downside with the flatter aesthetic in later designs is that some of the apps lose a bit of personality. Case in point: the current version of OmniFocus looks so much like Fantastical, I had to look twice.

10 Years of App Store Controversies

Not everything has been smooth sailing for the App Store and developers, however. Even well-respected Apple-centric developers ran into App Store headaches from time to time, and some of those issues have never been fully resolved. Some of those frustrated developers left the App Store and have never returned.

Apple’s vision for the App Store has always been driven by privacy and security. Rather than sending users out to a host of unvetted websites to find software that may or may not be what it claims, the App Store was a single unified market for approved, malware-free software to live. As a user, you could download any app in the confidence that it wouldn’t be able to bring harm to your device – and you could do so without providing your credit card details to anyone but Apple.

Apple created and has maintained the safety of its closed platform thanks to its thorough review procedures and guidelines. Every app on the App Store must follow Apple’s rules, which for the most part is widely accepted as a good thing. If an app’s aims are nefarious, it should be rejected by Apple and, hence, not allowed in public view. However, throughout the App Store’s life, there have regularly been controversial app rejections that stirred up the Apple community. Here are a few of those controversies.

Apple has been steadily improving their guidelines and expectations, but the truth is that developers could still be served better. Though software demos are coming to a future App Store update, it could be better communicated in the store interface that a user is getting a demo instead of a free app. Also, upgrade pricing and more lenient content purchasing guidelines would go a long way.

Made on an iPad Pro

Paul Stamatiou: Made on an iPad Pro

I have never been into tablets. I’ve had numerous ones over the years from iPads and iPad Minis to Android tablets. I always found their utility to be too constrained to find a permanent space between my daily phone and laptop usage.

Against my better judgement, I decided to give tablets one more chance. On the last day of a vacation that started in Rwanda and ended in the UK, I walked into the Regent Street Apple Store in London and purchased a 12.9″ iPad Pro and Smart Keyboard.

That was a few months ago. A few months in which my 13″ MacBook Pro has not even been powered up once. Any new gadget novelty has long since worn off and I’m still loving and using this iPad Pro daily.

What changed this time around?

This is a fascinating read. Right now, I’m trying to get everything in order to upgrade my 2011 MacBook Air to a 2018 MacBook Pro; but this piece gives me pause. The iPad is certainly more capable than it was just a year or two ago, but I’m not sure it’s where I need it to be — especially for eLearning design and video editing.

A Guide to Facebook’s New Privacy Terms

TechCrunch: A Flaw-By-Flaw Guide to Facebook’s New GDPR Privacy Settings

Facebook is about to start pushing European users to speed through giving consent for its new GDPR privacy law compliance changes. It will ask people to review how Facebook applies data from the web to target them with ads, and surface the sensitive profile info they share. Facebook will also allow European and Canadian users to turn on facial recognition after six years of the feature being blocked there. But with a design that encourages rapidly hitting the “Agree” button, a lack of granular controls, a laughably cheatable parental consent request for teens and an aesthetic overhaul of Download Your Information that doesn’t make it any easier to switch social networks, Facebook shows it’s still hungry for your data.

There are a ton of small changes, so we’ll lay out each with our criticisms.

Facebook’s consent flow starts well enough with the screen above offering a solid overview of why it’s making changes for GDPR and what you’ll be reviewing. But with just an “X” up top to back out, it’s already training users to speed through by hitting that big blue button at the bottom.

These changes will eventually be rolling out worldwide, so it’s worth keeping this article if you aren’t seeing these changes outside the EU right now. If you care about your online privacy, this is a great guide to understanding what settings will be available and how to get the most out of the options Facebook will provide.

MacBook Keyboard Failure Rates

AppleInsider: 2016 MacBook Pro Butterfly Keyboards Failing Twice as Frequently as Older Models

All data has been collected from assorted Apple Genius Bars in the U.S. that we have been working with for several years, as well as Apple-authorized third-party repair shops.

The 2014 MacBook Pro model year saw 2120 service events in the first year, with 118 related to keyboard issues necessitating an upper case replacement —5.6 percent of all MacBook Pros serviced in the first year. The 2015 has 1904 service tickets, with 114 relating to the keyboard, making 6.0 percent.

The two numbers are very similar, which is to be expected. The keyboards were essentially unchanged since the 2012 Retina MacBook Pro, and should have failure rates similar to each other.

Apple released the new keyboard with the MacBook, and moved the design to the 2016 MacBook Pro. In the first year of the 2016 MacBook Pro, our data gathered 1402 warranty events, with 165 related to only the keyboard and not including the Touch Bar —11.8 percent.

We don’t have a full year of data for the 2017 MacBook Pro yet. But, since release in June 2017, our data set has 1161 captured service events with 94 related to keyboard issues also not including any Touch Bar issues —8.1 percent.

Failure rates across all four models are relatively static, with no appreciable increase or decrease in events reported at any time after release. Percentages of failures were comparable between the third-party authorized shops, and the Genius Bar data.

The title is a little misleading, but that data is still troubling. To add to the frustrations of this issue, repairing a MacBook Pro keyboard will set you back around $700. When you pay north of $1,000 for a computer, it should be reliable. Apple should be doing better than this.

Android’s Trust Problem

The Verge: Android’s Trust Problem Isn’t Getting Better

Coming at the end of a week dominated by Mark Zuckerberg’s congressional hearings and an ongoing Facebook privacy probe, this news might seem of lesser importance, but it goes to the same issue that has drawn lawmakers’ scrutiny to Facebook: the matter of trust. Facebook is the least-trusted big US tech company, and Android might just be the operating system equivalent of it: used by 2 billion people around the world, tolerated more than loved, and susceptible to major lapses in user privacy and security.

The gap between Android and its nemesis, Apple’s iOS, has always boiled down to trust. Unlike Google, Apple doesn’t make its money by tracking the behavior of its users, and unlike the vast and varied Android ecosystem, there are only ever a couple of iPhone models, each of which is updated with regularity and over a long period of time. Owning an iPhone, you can be confident that you’re among Apple’s priority users (even if Apple faces its own cohort of critics accusing it of planned obsolescence), whereas with an Android device, as evidenced today, you can’t even be sure that the security bulletins and updates you’re getting are truthful.

 

 

Goodbye, Good QuickTime

Six Colors: A Tale of Two QuickTimes

Among the casualties of the impending transition to 64-bit apps is one long-lasting oddity: QuickTime 7 Pro.

What makes this app so unusual are a few factors. For one thing, it’s one of Apple’s own apps. For another, it was first released in 2005, making it almost 13 years old, though it hasn’t seen an update in about 8 years.

But despite its age and the fact that the writing was on the wall for QuickTime 7, news that it wouldn’t see an update when macOS makes the jump to all-64-bit-all-the-time sparked some cries of frustration from users, including both myself and Jason, who have carved out a place in their workflows—and their hearts—for this little anachronism.

I did my very first video editing in QuickTime Pro. QuickTime X has never really filled those shoes, but that makes some sense. Many of QuickTime Pro’s features are now in iMovie, and that’s been my go-to for quick editing the past several years. But QuickTime Pro was such a simple and fast tool when you needed a video editing utility more than a comprehensive application.

iPhone X and Industry Profits

iPhone X Alone Generated 35% of the Total Handset Industry Profits in Q4 2017

Apple remained the most profitable brand, capturing 86% of the total handset market profits.

Further splitting profits by model, the top 10 models captured 90% of the total handset profits.

Apple and Samsung flagship models, lead in terms of profits as compared to other OEMs.

iPhone X alone generated 35% of the total handset industry profits. This is a significant landmark, as the model was available in the market for only two months during Q4 2017.

iPhone X generated 5X more profit than the combined profit of 600+ Android OEMs during Q4 2017.

Apple’s older generation iPhones, iPhone 7 and iPhone 6 still generate more profit than some of the more recent Android flagships from key Chinese OEMs.

It kind of blows my mind that stats like these could be true and yet analysts also believe iPhone X is a failure. But I guess Apple has been doomed since the 1990s, so why change the tune?

That said, I do agree with reports that iPhone X will disappear this year — less because of performance and more to streamline branding.

New iPad with Pencil Support

Apple: Apple Introduces New 9.7-inch iPad with Apple Pencil Support

Chicago — Apple today updated its most popular iPad with support for Apple Pencil plus even greater performance, starting at $329. The new 9.7-inch iPad and Apple Pencil give users the ability to be even more creative and productive, from sketching ideas and jotting down handwritten notes to marking up screenshots. The new iPad is more versatile and capable than ever, features a large Retina display, the A10 Fusion chip and advanced sensors that help deliver immersive augmented reality, and provides unmatched portability, ease of use and all-day battery life.

“iPad is our vision for the future of computing and hundreds of millions of people around the world use it every day at work, in school and for play. This new 9.7-inch iPad takes everything people love about our most popular iPad and makes it even better for inspiring creativity and learning,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of Product Marketing. “Our most popular and affordable iPad now includes support for Apple Pencil, bringing the advanced capabilities of one of our most creative tools to even more users. This iPad also has the power of the A10 Fusion chip, combined with the big, beautiful Retina display, advanced cameras and sensors that enable incredible AR experiences simply not possible on other devices.”

These are good updates to the iPad, but they still fall short of creating a truly compelling computing device. I can’t help but think that a Smart Connector for a first-party keyboard and support for legacy input devices (like a trackpad) would go farther into getting more iPads into classrooms and homes.

The iWork updates are nice too, and I think it makes a lot of sense to roll iBooks Author into Pages. But I’m still waiting on a couple of my wish-list items — user-defined templates and fonts. The Mac versions of the iWork apps have pretty much always supported these because of the nature of macOS. iOS sandboxing creates barriers to this, but I’m sure it’s not impossible to overcome while retaining system security.