‘iOS 8, Accessibility, and Third-Party Keyboards’

Steven Aquino for MacStories:

The second problem with Apple’s implementation of third-party keyboards is they don’t have all the bells and whistles that the system keyboard does. To wit: no access to dictation or autocorrect; neither do they have access to the tap-and-hold-the-globe-button gesture to switch between keyboards. As well, switching from a light to dark keyboard for day/night, and using the UIKit blur effect is also disallowed by Apple.

All in all, the limitations that Apple imposes on developers rolling their own keyboards make them less attractive to customers.

Fascinating article. I hope Apple loosens its grip on the keyboards. Till then, developers can’t make the experience users truly want.

The iPad Is in Trouble?

Khoi Vinh on Subtraction.com:

It’s now more than ten days after they went on sale, and yet there have been no sales figure announcements, no bragging about new record-breaking numbers of iPads pre-ordered, no new milestones in adoption reached. There’s just silence. In and of itself that might not be remarkable, but the lack of news around sales numbers seems especially suspicious given that iPad sales have declined now for three quarters in a row.

This goes to show how behind I am. I had no idea that the iPad was in decline. It wasn’t until after I read the article that I realized that not much has been done for the iPad in its most recent iterations.

The iPad has become a vital device for me, and many of my friends—not all in tech—feel the same. Yet for the iPad to thrive, it needs more of a commitment from Apple. Khoi says it best:

What will it take to get there? The short answer is a new commitment from Apple to this product line, and a willingness to reexamine the company’s entire approach to date.

I hope Apple does the right thing.

New York Magazine Interviews Jon Stewart

Jon Stewart:

It’s very difficult to say we want the legacy to be “It was the funniest show in television history,” but you want it to be appreciated for what I think it was: consistently funny, consistently smart over a long period of time. I felt like we never took the opportunity for granted.

What a great interview. Jon talks about his new film, the news, and the legacy of The Daily Show.

First Thoughts on Incipio NGP

As I said last week, I was going to order a Incipio NGP Case for my new iPhone 6. I’ve only had it three days, which isn’t enough time to write a thorough review, but just enough time for me to tell you that I love it.

I received the case on Friday. I put it on and almost immediately fell in love with it. It’s light, and is thin enough to look great on the phone, but not to the point where you feel like nothing is being protected. The material is a perfect balance of soft yet firm. The case gives you more grip on the phone without being a nuisance to put in or take out of pockets.

Again, I’ve said before that I hate cases, but this case came to change everything. My first impressions are very good, and I see myself using this case in the long term. If you have hesitated at all to buy this case and had some of the same issues I did, hesitate no more. Keep on the lookout for a more in-depth review in the coming months.

Woman Documents Sexual Harassment; Receives Rape Threats

Cory Doctorow reporting for Boing Boing:

Shoshana B Roberts spent 10 hours walking the streets of New York with a hidden camera crew, documenting over 100 catcalls (plus countless less-visible forms of harassment), as part of a campaign from Hollaback, who work to fight street harassment of women.

Within a day, she had over a million views – and a totally predictable passel of rape-threats from creeps.

This is sad. The ensuing rape threats are not only utterly disgusting, they further prove the necessity for awareness on street harassment. Cat calling is not a compliment. The never ending focus on the female appearance is a problem that transcends our industry, and each of us can do our part in being respectful.

The Wirecutter on The Best iPhone 6 Case

Yesterday, I went out and got myself an iPhone 6.1 I’ve had an iPhone since the iPhone 4, and at first I had a screen protector on it, and a bulky case.2 When I upgraded to an 5s last year, I decided that I wasn’t going to use a case anymore. I wanted it naked so as to not devalue the beauty and design of the phone.

My iPhone 5s on the front side. You’ll notice no huge scratches or dings.

It wasn’t that bad. The phone did pretty well on some minor drops. I made it a point to treat the phone as if it had a case, but still take care of it as much as possible. In my opinion, the phone still looks pretty great, but I’ve included some pictures3 for you to judge yourself.

The back side of my iPhone 5s. Again no scratches! I’ve had this phone for a year, and that it’s in such great condition without a case, is pretty surprising.

With that said, when I got the new iPhone, I decided to look into cases just for kicks. The Wirecutter did an amazing review of cases, and in fact they recommend one as “the best (so far)”. I’ve linked the full article and review above. If you’re also looking for a case, I think you’ll find their opinions interesting. I ordered one, and will write something on it once I’ve used it for a month or two.4

  1. This is the first impulse buy that I’ve made in a really long time. My girlfriend had to get a new phone, and she went with the iPhone 6. After seeing it, I just had to have it. 

  2. If you remember that phone, you’ll remember that the actual phone was bulky, so you’re basically carrying around a brick with a case on it. 

  3. Pictures taken with my new iPhone 6. 

  4. One review on Youtube said, “Some people complain about the wear on this case. I’ve had it for a couple of days, and I haven’t noticed any wear.” Really? Maybe it’s because you’ve only had the case for a couple of days?! 

Third ‘Avengers’ Split Into Two Films

Some awesome news on The Verge today:

Everyone expected a third Avengers film a few years from now, but Marvel has a surprise for you: you’ll be getting two of them. The third Avengers film is called Avengers: Infinity War, and it’s being broken into two parts: its first part is being released on May 4th, 2018, and its second part is being released on May 3rd, 2019.

Marvel has done such an amazing job with all these different films. I hope that DC gets their act together because they have great characters to work with too. Who knows? Maybe the Batman vs. Superman film will be a great start.

Pinging FeedPress with Rake

Using Jekyll instead of a CMS like WordPress, means that some things aren’t automated like before. With WordPress, when you publish a new post, the system automatically pings services around the web letting them know you’ve published new content.

We can use Rake to do this. If you use Jekyll together with FeedPress for your RSS Feed, this Gist helps you write a simple Rake task that interacts with the FeedPress API.

Easy peasy.

Khoi Vinh’s Thoughts on Yosemite

Spend just a bit of time with [Yosemite], and you can almost picture the iterations to come, when future releases will have fully worked out the visual language and the gestalt of the interface will have cohered to a more advanced state. OS X Balboa and OS X Palisades are going to look great.

In the meantime, though, I find Yosemite lacking in polish, full of awkward decisions and unresolved tensions.

Khoi’s opinions are spot on.

‘Retailers Are Disabling NFC to Block Apple Pay’

John Gruber on Daring Fireball:

Think about what they’re doing. They’re turning off NFC payment systems — the whole thing — only because people were actually using them with Apple Pay. Apple Pay works so well that it even works with non-partner systems. These things have been installed for years and so few people used them, apparently, that these retailers would rather block everyone than allow Apple Pay to continue working. I can’t imagine a better validation of Apple Pay’s appeal.

And the reason they don’t want to allow Apple Pay is because Apple Pay doesn’t give them any personal information about the customer. It’s not about security — Apple Pay is far more secure than any credit/debit card system in the U.S. It’s not about money — Apple’s tiny slice of the transaction comes from the banks, not the merchants. It’s about data.

This whole thing is very interesting. I wouldn’t go as far to conclude that Apple is the white knight in this situation—the one looking out for our best interest. The situation just happens to be in Apple’s favor. They seem to be getting everything they need to make payments easier, whereas retailers are not. And what is it that they want? Coming as no surprise: customer data.