20150223 AppleWatch iPhone iPad

The Apple Watch is the New iPhone—and the iPhone is the New iPad

Apple had a plan when they introduced the iPhone. The iPhone was going to be your new pocket computer—easily at hand all the time. No bigger than a handful (and at the time, even a 3.5” screen was considered huge for a phone). It probably would’ve gotten thinner and thinner, until it became like the iPod touch 5th generation. (Have you held one of those recently? Pretty amazing.) iPhone app developers were given tools to carefully craft apps at a fixed screen size.

It’s been said that the iPad was in development even before the iPhone, but the phone was going to be the generate more money because everyone had a phone. So the tablet form factor (the iPad) was going to be an accessory. After being wowed by an iPhone, users would eventually want something that wasn’t so pocketable, but still booted up instantly, was thin & light & touchable, very secure, and ran the same apps as their phone.

That was the plan.

But a funny thing happened along the way:  Continue reading

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iWork runs identically on everything from iPhones to Mac Pro's. So what, exactly, is an "iPad app"?

There’s no such thing as an iPad app

After the reviews of the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 trickled out yesterday, the meme on Twitter seemed to be “Apple needs to create better iPad apps.” Nilay Patel of The Verge said it, @Lessian said it, and earlier @Monkbent said it.

While I agree with their intent—that iOS, now running on 64-bit processors, is fully capable of much more than apps do today—phrasing it in terms only of the iPad does a disservice to Apple, to UX designers, to developers, and to businesses.

I’m here to warn you today that there is no such thing as an iPad app. And if you think about it that way (thinking that iPhone and iPad—and even Mac OS X—apps are different things), then you haven’t fully grasped where Apple is moving to in the future.

It’s funny: in the past six months, the argument has completely inverted. Earlier this year, at a mobility conference, I gave a presentation called “You Can’t Ignore the Tablet”. Now, six months later, here I am warning people not to create iPad-only apps.

There are both technical and non-technical reasons why iPad-only apps don’t make sense. Here’s a list of 4 reasons why you don’t want to create an iPad-only app.

Continue reading

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Why the iPhone 6’s will be Probably be This Screen Size

In my previous post (2 Reasons Why the iPhone 6 Won’t Need to be 1.5x Retina Resolution), I explained why Apple isn’t so constrained about the rumored iPhone 6 screen sizes. That blog post was long enough, so I thought I’d break out into a new post exactly what size(s) I’m expecting in the iPhone 6 4.7″ and 5.5″ phones (assuming the rumors are real).

I’m thinking Apple will make both phones at 1920×1080. Then they will be able to contain letter-boxed 1.5x-sized existing apps (fitting inside a 1704×960 rectangle). Each phone will have 1.5x-sized tap targets (66 points tall instead of 44 points tall) but will still have an extra 10% or so extra space vertically (1920 vs 1704) and horizontally (1080 vs 960), so there’s a little more room for app content.

The benefit to users: Continue reading

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iOS 6 vs iOS 7

2 Reasons Why the iPhone 6 Won’t Need to be 1.5x Retina Resolution

When Apple moved to iPhone 4 and iPhone 5, there were tremendous constraints that Apple wisely overcame to determine exactly how it made its phones with higher resolution and then larger (taller). How?

With the iPhone 4, Apple exactly doubled the resolution, leading to a 2x “Retina” resolution. And with the iPhone 5, Apple kept the pixel density (pixels per inch) the same, but just extended the screen size vertically, to create a 16:9 screen ratio.

This resulted in a great user experience, as well as minimizing the efforts for developers and UI designers.

Now Apple is coming out with two much larger iPhone 6 models, reportedly 4.7” and 5.5”. Many pundits are saying these phones will need to be 1.x Retina resolution or the phones need to have the same pixels-per-inch as the iPhone 5S. But Apple isn’t constrained by the same circumstances as before. There are two things that have changed in the past 5 years that mean that Apple can make these new iPhone 6’s any resolution they want: Continue reading

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A new iPad UI tab+toolbar for iOS 8?

Is Apple preparing us for a new UI control specific to iPads (and a larger iPhone 6?) in iOS 8? Apple just released (finally!) a new iPad-only version of their Apple Store app. Just in time for the holidays.

The really interesting thing about this app is that it sports a unique toolbar at the top of the app that combines features of a navigation bar, a tab bar, and a toolbar.

Up until now,

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Rumor: 4x Retina iPhone 6. Would this enable the holy grail of vector images?

Many rumors turn out to be false, and this one is a good candidate for being false. Devs already have to have 2 image densities (normal and “@2x” for Retina screens), so adding an “@4x” would be a pain. But let’s pretend this is true for a second. What might this be the harbinger of?

Designers and people like Jony Ive and Steve Jobs were never totally satisfied with vector images on low-resolution screens because they could never been drawn accurately/precisely enough to match a high-quality, hand-tuned bitmapped image.

But this is how fonts started, right? Back in the 80’s and 90’s, one had to use Adobe Type Manager or similar app from Bitstream to generate point-size-specific bitmapped fonts. Screens were too low resolution, and hinting wasn’t good enough yet, to have scalable fonts. But eventually the hardware and software got to the point where scalable TrueType and Type 1 fonts became good-looking.

Well, what if the same happened for graphics as happend for fonts? What if screens become so high resolution (and mobile graphics processors fast enough yet low-energy enough) that vector images (for buttons, backgrounds, etc.) looked great when displayed on a mobile device? Then, regardless of device size, buttons and other graphics would look superb on any device. Of course they’d look best on a quad-retina screen, encouraging everyone to upgrade. 🙂

Designers would only have to create one version of each image (since it’d be vector), and developers wouldn’t have to worry about naming or placing the various resolution images in different directories. How sweet would that be?

This is all pie in the sky based on a doubtful rumor, but it was interesting to think about.

unwiredview.com Retina rumor

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