Archive: September, 2012

A letter from Tim Cook on Maps

Major credit to the Apple CEO here: this is a flat out apology. No wiggle room, no “we’re sorry you feel this way”. And then there’s this:

While we’re improving Maps, you can try alternatives by downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their web app.

Apple, naming five competitors as acceptable alternatives? Wow. I’m not a fan of revisionist history, but I doubt we’d see this candor during the Steve Jobs era.

Proposed new HTML tag: IMG

A great email from 1993 made the front page of Hacker News recently; Marc Andreessen proposes a new tag to be added to HTML…img. Cool to see how the effects of such a simple email helped set the foundation of the web we know today.

On the timing of Apple’s map switch

John Gruber:

If you think about it, it makes strategic sense that, if Apple were going to break out on its own for mapping data, they would do so while there was significant time remaining on the maps license with Google.

Develop its own mapping data before the end of the Google contract? So far, makes sense. If you’re Apple, regardless of the end, having an Apple produced Maps in your back pocket is sensible.

An all-new maps back-end is the sort of feature that Apple would only want to ship in a major new OS release…I think everybody can agree this has been a major change, for users and app developers alike — should be delivered only in major new OS updates.

Significantly weaker argument here. Apple is famously a company devoted to what’s best for its consumers, right? So you’re telling me a flat out PR and technical disaster when it comes to their in house maps functionality (Apple’s current direction) is favorable over keeping the Google contract for a few more months to work out internal Maps kinks and yes, worse case releasing the app “mid cycle”?

It’s this lack of delay that’s infuriating about Apple’s switch to an in-house Maps client. There was effective time on the clock; yet Apple rushed out a half baked client and tried to package it during WWDC as though it was a superior option.

Rogue Amoeba celebrates 10 years with a sale

I use Rogue Amoeba’s apps on a daily basis: Audio Hijack Pro for recording Skype calls and live podcasts, Airfoil for adding a simple graphical equalizer on top of Spotify’s output. I also put Fission through its paces a few times a month, an essential tool for quick audio edits and conversions between m4a audio and mp3.

Bottom line, great apps that have never let me down on sale for the next four days. Decent discounts as well – anywhere from 25%-67% off per application.

Full-frame goes mainstream: your next camera’s must-have feature

Really enjoyed this quick take over at The Verge on how full frame DSLRs are dropping their price considerably. Look to the comments as well for some healthy back and forth on what people are interested in picking up, from DSLRs to phones to pocketable mini point and shoots like the Canon S100.

Due on sale

I use Due – a simple reminder app – virtually every day on both my iPhone and Mac. There’s a lot of reminder options on iOS, but I haven’t found anything that comes close to the fluidity and speed of Due’s UI. The syncing also works slick between iPhone, iPad and Mac clients (via Dropbox or iCloud, your choice.)

The app rarely goes on sale, but they dropped the price this week from $5 to $3. If you’re in the market it’s well worth your time.

Why Sony, and the PlayStation brand, could be in more trouble than you think

Ben Kuchera, writing for The Penny Arcade Report:

Sony has lost this generation, and there is no reason to lower the price and lose more money than necessary. Sony’s focus is on next year, and its next generation console; they are aware that there’s little that can be done to fight off the competition this holiday season…

…The PlayStation 3 and Vita are going to be low sellers during the North American holiday season. Full stop. That lack of momentum going into 2013, mixed with Sony’s ongoing financial problems, puts Sony in a defensive position in 2013. We won’t be seeing many bold moves when it comes to hardware; Sony doesn’t have the power at the moment to take risks with the proprietary architecture and bleeding edge components that led to the PlayStation 3’s high launch price. This may make it hard to differentiate the console from its competitors, and create even more of a marketing challenge for Sony.

Ben has a good point. Vita will end up as a complete platform disaster for Sony, and what’s the big “hook” for prospective customers to pick up a Playstation 4?

Adobe announces Edge suite for cross-browser web development

I’m kind of fascinated to see what direction Adobe is going here by adding such HTML specific tools. As much as their UIs can be rubbish, their weight is undeniable in the web industry.

Five simple steps to better typography

I really enjoyed this extended design post by Mark Boulton. What’s awesome is the specificity here: detailed recommendations for characters per line to maximize readability, how to avoid hanging punctuation and much more.

Wii U is still missing the Wii’s trump card — universal appeal

The Verge‘s Andrew Webster:

In order for the Wii U to truly succeed, Nintendo needs to create experiences that could only be possible with the GamePad, and that are good enough to make people want to buy the console. Speaking to the New York Times, Fils-Aime said that the GamePad “allows us to create content that shows different ways to play together but have fundamentally different experiences.” Now Nintendo needs a game that exemplifies that philosophy.

Exactly. Mark my words: the idea of selling a cheaper version of the Wii U without pack in software is a huge, huge mistake.