Now that Siri is available on the latest iPad, as part of iOS 6, I’ve been experimenting with it. It works much better than in iOS 5, and can even tell me the temperature. However, it won’t tell me in centigrade.
If I ask on my iPhone, however, I get the temperature in centigrade:
A fried speculates that since there is a Weather app for the iPhone, and I have that set to centigrade, Siri spots that and gives me the temperature using that scale. But since there is no Weather app on the iPad (go figure…), it fails. Even though my time zone is set in France, where centigrade is standard.
There really should be a default unit setting somewhere. Another Siri oddity…
Update: The solution is this. On the iPad, open the Clock app, tap on Edit, and you have two buttons, F and C. Nice place to put that option.
Posted: 9/20/2012 by kirk | Filed under: iPad, iPhone, iPod & iTunes Tags: iOS, Siri | 8 Comments »
I’m a bit disgruntled by the iOS 6 Maps app, but checking in my neighborhood – the southern Alps – I was very impressed by the 3D views. Here’s a show of the Alpe d’Huez, one of the toughest climbs of the Tour de France. I’m sure I’m going to be using the Maps app when watching next years’ Tour. (Sorry, the image is a bit large, but it needs to be as big as possible to appreciate it.
Posted: 9/20/2012 by kirk | Filed under: Apple & Mac OS X, iPad, iPhone, iPod & iTunes Tags: iOS, maps | No Comments »
Up until yesterday, I would often use the Maps app on my iPhone to find my way, among some of the smaller streets in the town where I’ve only lived since the beginning of the year. But now, when I look at the Maps app, I can’t even see the smaller streets. This screen shot shows the area around my neighborhood:
While there is a bit of contrast here on a computer, on an iPhone, those smaller streets don’t show up at all. With the previous Maps app, I could see them all. (I’ve made all the screen shots in this article roughly the size of the iPhone display; if I took the actual screen shots, given their resolution, they would look much better than they do in reality. A retina display is nice when you’re looking at details, but the display is still small.)
And in the center of the town, again, the streets are visible on this screenshot, but on the iPhone, it’s nearly impossible to see them (and I’m not even outside, where daylight will make it harder):
To be fair, when I zoom in, I get information that wasn’t previously available in France. But with the small size of the iPhone screen, it’s hard to see the small streets unless you’re zoomed in a lot, and that makes it hard to find anything more than a few blocks away.
So this is a huge step backward, because of Apple’s choices for how to display their maps. I hope that Google releases an app of their own, allowing users to access their better-designed maps.
Posted: 9/20/2012 by kirk | Filed under: iPad, iPhone, iPod & iTunes Tags: iOS, maps | 9 Comments »
With Apple holding a media event later today, to announce a new iPhone, iOS 6, and other products, what can we expect from this event? It seems obvious that the iPhone 5 will be announced today. iOS 6 will certainly be presented in detail, as it will be optimized for the iPhone 5.
But beyond those products, what else can we expect? My guess is that we will see new iPods: a revamped iPod touch, perhaps a new iPod nano, and maybe, finally, the demise of the iPod classic. One thing I think we will finally see is an increase in capacity for the iPod touch, and, perhaps, for the iPhone. It’s about time that we get 128 GB in these portable devices. And if this capacity increases for the iPod touch and the iPhone, it is almost a given that the iPod classic will be retired.
It is also very likely that Apple will present some new iTunes features. It’s not clear that we can expect a radical change to iTunes, but there has been some discussion of a possible streaming music service.
All the rumors that suggest the release of an iPad mini point to a separate media event sometime in October. An iPad mini is a very different device from an iPhone, and an event dedicated to that, and highlighting the iPad’s capabilities, would make a lot of sense.
I don’t think we can expect any new Macs today, at least not in the presentation. But no matter what, any speculation that I or any pundit or analyst can make will certainly only be partly correct.
Posted: 9/12/2012 by kirk | Filed under: Apple & Mac OS X, iPad, iPhone, iPod & iTunes Tags: Apple, iPhone, iPod | 4 Comments »
A Macworld article yesterday pointed out how Tapbots pulled their alpha of Tweetbot for Mac, because of worries about Twitter’s new user caps. Twitter is now limiting the number of users a third-party app can have. As Lex Friedman said in the Macworld article:
For existing apps, the limit is either 100,000 users or double their user counts as of August 16, whichever is greater; for new apps, the limit is 100,000 users.
There is a serious problem here, not only for the future of third-party apps, but also for users who purchase these apps. First, the fact that these “tokens” – when you allow an app to access your Twitter account, it uses a token – are limited means that users may come up against these limits in unexpected ways.
For example, imagine that I’ve bought a Twitter client – I have bought several, in fact, both for OS X and iOS. Today, I have one Twitter account, but I want to set up another. I may be able to do so on Twitter’s web site, but if my client no longer has any available tokens, then I won’t be able to add the account to that client.
Or imagine that a client is approaching the limit. I may be able to buy a copy of the client, but if I don’t set up my account with it quickly, there’s a chance that I won’t be able to use it. This leads to problems of refunds, and we know that refunds via the iTunes Store and Mac App Store are problematic.
Here’s another scenario. I’ve allowed several apps to access my Twitter account. Let’s assume that Twitter decides to revoke these accesses after a certain amount of time if they are not used. This could be a way to free up tokens for third-party apps. However, if my token is revoked, I may find that I can no longer use a specific app that I stopped using, if, after an update to the app, I decide to start using it again. (This assumes that the app in question has hit its limit.)
There actually is some logic to Twitter revoking access. Let’s say that you downloaded a demo of an app, granted it access, then decided you didn’t like it. If you didn’t revoke that access, then that’s a token that can’t be reclaimed. (By the way, it’s a good idea to revoke access to any apps that you don’t use; not just so the tokens are freed up, but for security reasons. Go to your Twitter Apps settings to do this.)
The reason for these caps is simply that Twitter wants to phase out third-party clients, yet it is likely that if they did so abruptly they would face legal action. This is a shame – and stupid – as third-party clients are part of what made Twitter as successful as it is. Creating these caps not only limits what developers can do, but also will limit what users can do with apps that they have paid for.
One final point. If I were a developer, I don’t think I would want to be working with a business plan that says, “If my app is really successful, I can no longer sell it.” In fact, this may be Twitter’s goal. By dissuading developers from creating third-party apps, they hope that these apps will simply disappear.
Posted: 8/28/2012 by kirk | Filed under: Apple & Mac OS X, iPad, iPhone, Tools & Techniques Tags: apps, Twitter | No Comments »
I’ve been an iPad owner from day one; well, month one. The first iPad wasn’t initially sold here in France, but I had a colleague in the US buy me one and ship it to me. From the beginning, I felt that the iPad was the computing device that I never had but had always needed. I had played around with a number of small computing devices over the years. I never owned a Newton, but for a couple of months, in the end of 1996, I used one when translating a manual for some Newton software. I owned a couple of Palm pilots in the late 1990s, but I found them too small. I wanted a device that I could use for applications, but also for reading books.
The iPad is certainly a revolutionary device, and was exactly what I wanted. It wasn’t the first tablet; there were a number of Windows–based tablets before it, but they were big and clunky. Just as Apple revolutionized the MP3 player when the company released the iPod in 2001, the release of the iPad did the same for tablet computing.
There are two things, however, that I dislike about the iPad. First, it is relatively heavy. At 651 grams, plus a bit more for a case, you notice it when you’re carrying it in your backpack. When you think about it, an iPad is roughly the weight of an average hardcover novel. Compare that to the smallest E Ink Kindle; at 168 grams – just 30 grams more than an iPhone – I don’t notice it when it’s in my backpack.
The other problem with the iPad is that it takes a long time to charge. Battery life is decent, but I find that if I play a few games, then read the news or a book for a while, my battery life can go down pretty quickly. Unlike the iPhone, which seems to charge extremely quickly, the iPad really needs to charge overnight to fill its tank.
As rumors circulate about a seven-inch iPad, I realized that this would be the perfect size for such a device. It would be smaller and lighter, and for most of the things that I use an iPad for, it would be sufficient. Not only would it be big enough to read and play games, but with the smaller display, it might have longer battery life (though the smaller size also means a smaller battery).
There are two uses for the iPad: creating and consuming. Many people use an iPad to create content: they write, draw, or edit documents that they or others may have made on a computer. If you’re fiddling with a spreadsheet, you want as much room as possible. If you’re writing an article, you may want a larger screen to see more of what you write. (Though in many cases, you could probably write just as well on a 7″ iPad.) However, if you are simply consuming – reading books, web sites and e-mail, or playing most games – the smaller display won’t be much of a problem. Sure, there are some games that wouldn’t work well on a 7″ iPad, and you may need to zoom a bit more to read web pages, but given the lighter weight, I think this is a fair compromise.
It’s no surprise that Amazon’s Kindle – both the E Ink version and the Android version, the Kindle Fire – are so popular. The people who buy these devices are media consumers, not creators. You don’t need a very big screen to read books. While I feel that the smaller Kindle is a bit cramped for reading, this is more because of the limited number of font sizes, and the poor pixel density. A 7″ iPad with a retina display would be far more practical for reading than an E Ink Kindle.
I think that if Apple releases a 7″ iPad, it will be a hit. It may cannibalize the larger iPad market a bit, but it may also attract owners of Kindle devices, who will see the better display and understand the disadvantages of the E Ink Kindles. I know I’ll buy one. There’s not much that I do on my iPad that I couldn’t do on a smaller model. Given the lighter weight, it would be much better for reading books, which is one of my main uses for the iPad.
What do you think? Would you buy a 7″ iPad? Vote in the poll in the sidebar to the right, and if you have any comments, feel free to add them to this post.
Posted: 7/9/2012 by kirk | Filed under: Apple & Mac OS X, iPad Tags: Apple, iPad, Kindle | 12 Comments »
I’ve posted an article saying why I wan a 7″ iPad, and I’ve put up a poll asking whether you would buy one or not. (Look in the sidebar to the right.) Feel free to post any comments you might have here. Is it a good idea? A bad one? Would you prefer a 7″ iPad, or do you want both?
Posted: 7/9/2012 by kirk | Filed under: Apple & Mac OS X, iPad Tags: Apple, iPad | 3 Comments »
I guess it had to happen. There should be a new rule: If content providers can collect analytic data about anything, then they will. Or, to put it more crudely, If they can watch you, they will. Welcome to the digital panopticon.
An article in the Wall Street Journal explains how Amazon, Apple and Barnes & Noble collect analytic data when you read ebooks. How far you get in a book, how fast you read it, whether you buy a sequel, and which search terms or highlights you use when reading a book.
Analytics is a technique that is used on the web, and with some software – notably that on mobile devices – to track what users do. You can see how long users stay on a web site, which links they click, where they come from and more. But for books? Do publishers really need to know how fast people read books? Or whether you read them straight through or flip back and forth between books?
Two things worry me here. First, that this data is collected without users being aware of it. It is said that this data is anonymous, but we know that this anonymity is not something we can take for granted. I checked on my iPad and my Kindle and saw no options to turn off this data collection. While I expect Amazon to follow my purchases in order to recommend other books or CDs, I find it annoying that they may be checking on how I read ebooks.
The second issue is more fundamental. Once you have analytic data, you want to do something with it. In order to justify the cost of crunching this data, and paying for people to analyze it, you need to have an objective. You need to be able to translate this data into actionable tasks. And what could the goals be? To go back to writers and tell them to write differently? Granted, for some mass-consumed books and genres, writers might be willing to adjust their styles, or the length of their books if they think they’ll sell more. But I think this is a red herring. Good books sell; bad books don’t. If a book is good, whether it is long or short, people will tell others about it. Gone With the Wind is a huge book, nearly 1,500 pages in the mass-market paperback edition. Should an author be prevented from telling the story they want because some metrics geek thinks it’s too long?
I think this is none of their business. The way I read should be private. I can’t see how this information will help me as a reader, or me as a writer. If this metrics collection is going to continue, readers should at least have an option to opt out.
Posted: 7/4/2012 by kirk | Filed under: books, iPad, Miscellanea Tags: books, ebooks, iPad, Kindle | 1 Comment »