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Some thoughts on Apple’s WWDC 2016 keynote

  1. I like the focus of watchOS 3. It’s a relief they’ve realized that the worst thing about Apple Watch is the ludicrous load times for apps and waiting for info to display or update; I find it surprisingly torturous even for a v1 product, and if it had been up to me I wouldn’t have launched with that experience. Now whether v1 watch hardware can really be as fast as the demo promises is another question, but at least they’re trying to do something to improve this for current watch owners. This is the first developer preview I’m going to install immediately.
  2. Siri on OS X (now rebranded to macOS) was a no-brainer, I really expected it to happen much earlier. It’ll be fascinating to see whether Amazon can maintain its lead with Alexa/Echo as everyone else tries to build out their own voice platforms.
  3. Continuity across devices continues to take small steps forward, now with things like Universal Clipboard and even the ApplePay on web integration. We’re slowly, slowly making it towards the killer app of flinging your display windows across devices like Tony Stark does in Iron Man 2.
  4. I’m more than a little horrified at how much of iOS 10’s demo time was devoted to emoji and other iMessage bubble features. Sigh. On one hand I admire Apple for being hip to where today’s hotness is. On the other I wish we as a society were focused on more substantial things. We wanted flying cars…

2011 in Review

You didn’t think I’d skip tradition, did you?

I’ll say this, 2011: you taught me a lot. And while the natural inclination is to shower you with nostalgic encomiums, the more truthful answer is that you were a fairly uneven year filled with highs and lows both visceral and numbing. There is, not for the first time, possibly too much to think about, but here are a few of my favorite things from the year that was 2011:

Anything written by David Foster Wallace, “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson, “Bossypants” by Tina Fey, “Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World” by Haruki Murakami, “100 Bullets”, “Batman: Year One”, the idea and spiritual philosophy behind Grantland, the first hour of Super 8, the cinematic styling and evocative soundtrack of Drive, Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids, Michael Fassbender in X-Men: First Class, Rose Byrne and Emma Stone in anything, the “Life’s a Happy Song” number from The Muppets, “Upular” by Pogo, “So Insane” by Discovery, “Brand New Shoes” by She & Him, the entire Foster the People album, my iPhone 4S, my work iPad 2, my 3rd generation Kindle, Apple TV, any coconut water I found anywhere, Philz coffee, the Blue Bottle bar at work, Mister Lew’s Win Win Bar, the bookshare at the gym of the Opera Plaza, the magazine rack at Books Inc., the super rolls at Them Ky, brunch at Brenda’s, any macaroon served by anyone anywhere, any Off the Grid or Underground Market I made it to, Derrick Rose’s Adidas commercial, the relentless Tom Thibodeau, the new and improved Jay Cutler, the ingenious storytelling mechanics of “How I Met Your Mother”, the midseason 2 finale of “The Walking Dead”, “Lie to Me”, “Archer”, the killer supporting cast of “Parks & Recreation”, season 4 of “The Wire”, Zooey Deschanel in “New Girl”, Melissa McCarthy on “Saturday Night Live”, “Game of Thrones” nights at the former house of Brad and Ben and Motts, all Netflix streaming apps, Time magazine for iPad, the redesigned UI of Path, Comic Zeal, Kindle for iPad and iPhone, Plants vs. Zombies, Jetpack Joyride, the gorgeous production values of Castleville, Final Fantasy VII on PSP, Dragonvale, the vastly improved controls for Mass Effect 2, Mark pushing the button to open the NASDAQ on the day of the IPO, the Frank Lloyd Wright tour in Chicago w/Mom and Dad, biking along the Embarcadero with Caryn, New Year’s dinner courtesy of Seeyew and Ashley, the Super Bowl party at the Potrero house with a stunning number of rabid Packers fans, Cubs vs. Giants at the company suite, Red Door Cafe w/Ben and Steven, the single trivia night I attended, the Gun Store in Las Vegas, the Asian party house at Sundance, conversations in the car with Emilio, conversations with Kishan in San Francisco, random startup parties with Anthony, watching plays written by or starring friends or friends of friends, shooting zombies and Smuggler’s Cove runs with Ben, pizzas with Caryn, drinks with Liz, comics talk with Chris and Stephen, anticipating the baked good every morning in the cafeteria at work, any time I went snowboarding, Mars Bar with the team at work, Rebecca’s Christmas party, Cathy’s birthday dinner, Thanksgiving II at Sallie and Danielle’s, Henry and Melissa’s first dance at their wedding, launching my first iOS game, reuniting with Curtis and Vee on the dance floor of the holiday party, the incredibly long summer-in-the-fall-in-San-Francisco, the mild winter in Chicago, falling asleep at night listening to Steve Jobs interviews and speeches, the brief and wondrous life of Steve Jobs.

新年快乐!

Well played, Sirs

All right, so I started off yesterday ready to pen a rant of Whazzmaster-like proportions against that entity known as AT&T.  What inspired my ire?  The downright strange policies surrounding current AT&T customers and the new iPhone 3G S, of course.  Primarily the steep upgrade pricing for current iPhone users, though as demonstrated by the reception at WWDC the lack of immediate MMS and tethering capability also reek of epic fail.  I even took the time to craft my post in the form of a “Really !?!” segment straight out of Weekend Update/Saturday Night Live.

So imagine my surprise when I go back to check the eligibility tool on Apple’s website last night to confirm the troubling details of the situation and discover that suddenly I AM eligible for the phone discount again.  I have no idea what happened between last night and last week, but before I knew what was happening I’d already reserved a 3G S for myself at the local Apple store.

I just want to be clear that AT&T has provided amazingly poor phone “service” (of all things) during my time with my v1 iPhone — the thing simply is not able to receive and make calls in seemingly normal areas of multiple cities I’ve been to — and yet the Apple experience is still enough to make me leap for the chance to sign another 2-year contract.  Isn’t that amazing?  Maybe it’s incredibly shrewd on AT&T’s part, milking that exclusivity and investing as little in infrastructure as possible during their time in the sun, but as soon as that exclusivity runs out (or the Pre/Android becomes available on Verizon) I can’t see anything but major hemorrhaging of AT&T’s customer base.  They’ve still got some time to correct this, and I do hope they actually follow through.

But yes, I can’t help hearing a voice whispering, “Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?” as I ponder renewing my contract.

The simple answer: yes, yes I have.  Dancing with the devil gets you the best consumer electronics product that money can buy.  Ocassionally this product makes phone calls.

Breadcrumbs 5/28/09 – mobile edition

  • I was pleasantly surprised (actually, quite dumbfounded) today to discover that my office building was already available as a check-in point in foursquare.  And triangulated from my first-gen iPhone’s EDGE signal, no less.
  • I also hadn’t realized that Blackberry App World already went live.  I used it to download the latest Facebook upgrade and found it a much better experience than I expected — the UI’s got that same space-age style introduced with the Bold and Storm.  Oh, and it looks like some companies are actually pricing apps way above App Store price points…wonder how that’s going over?
  • I also noticed the latest TwitterFon update finally introduced AdMob ads.  Sigh.  I’ve been enjoying desktop Tweetie so much I may just purchase the iPhone app.

Pre in 9 days.  v3 iPhone in 11.  Tablet Mac in…

The New (mobile) World

I’m probably not going to be getting a new iPhone anytime soon.  Frankly I was a little underwhelmed by the V2 design, primarily because my biggest gripes (poor battery life, an amazingly sub-par camera) weren’t addressed.  Plus that whole rate bump for 3G service makes me think my V1 iPhone might still be the better deal.

But the most interesting thing will be seeing what happens with the App Store.  If anyone can execute on this model it’s Apple; Facebook has proven (mostly through failure, unfortunately) that a certain level of regulation and editing is needed in order to make the app market for an open platform successful.  Otherwise, you’re just facing way too much noise from all the wannabes trying to cash in on the latest marketing channel.  To be clear, it’s not certain the App Store will pull it off — can they regulate enough to help users make sense of it all?  e.g. how many different location-based social networking apps do you expect to see? — but again, I wouldn’t want to bet against them.  With functioning Android handsets delayed even further, I think Apple’s in a great position: they’ve got true first-mover advantage and an ultra-early adopter rabid user base that creates exactly the right network for mobile apps to succeed.

I’ve just updated to 2.0 and successfully re-activated.  I can’t wait to see how all of this unfolds.