01 September 2015

What I hope to see from Apple (Fall 2015)

What I hope to see from Apple this fall:

A new 4-inch iPhone. While the iPhone 6 may have brought new customers to the iPhone (and brought some old customers back), it would be foolish to, at the same time, lose the customers that were happy with the smaller phones. So far, I have upgraded my phone every “s” year. I don’t want a bigger screen, but—depending on what else is on the table—I may still upgrade. I’m hoping, though, that I won’t have to weight a bigger screen against other factors.

Better colors. The iPhone 5c was a success by any sensible measure. Imagine how much better it could have been with decent colors. Even among the people I know who have and love their 5c, nobody seems to really love any of the colors.

I’m very curious about a bigger iPad should one finally appear. I tend to agree with John Siracusa that, in many ways, the iPad represents the future of personal computing. While conventional personal computers will always be around (and I’ll always have one), more and more of our personal computing should move towards appliances like the iPad.

There are so many creative endeavors that don’t require a keyboard. That said, using the on-screen keyboard isn’t so bad. A few weeks ago I wrote an actual, useful C++ program on my iPad using the on-screen keyboard, Textastic, and codepad while at my daughter’s martial arts class. I didn’t feel as if I was doing this in spite of the system. The only slightly frustrating part was the process of copying the code, switching over to Safari, and pasting it in codepad. (A fully solvable issue.) I, personally, would have been much more frustrated trying to balance a laptop on my lap and hunch over it. And I think we’ve only scratched the surface of the kind of code editing we could do on an iPad.

Of course, a real keyboard works beautifully with my iPad. For me, the ability to add a keyboard when I want it trumps having to deal with one when I don’t.

I’m not convinced there is ever any need for an iOS mouse. Even on my iMac I have (surprisingly) found I prefer Apple’s track pad over their mouse, and an iOS touch screen can do pretty much anything a track pad could. Tyype has long done a great job of this. I hope iOS 9’s “Easy text selection” brings that to most apps.

A bigger screen could be great for some games, music applications, and graphics applications. And iOS 9’s long-awaited Split View would be even better with a larger screen. But being bigger could be more awkward for a hand-held device. At what point does it make more sense as a drafting-table-like desktop device rather than a hand-held?

I don’t think a bigger iPad would replace my 9.7-inch iPad, which increases the chance of the data I want not being on the device I’m using. The “cloud” helps with that some, but it doesn’t make it go away.

While I’m excited for a new Apple TV, I also fear Apple going overboard with it. I often find the gesture-based Remote app more frustrating than the simple buttons of the physical remote... (although the app beats the remote for text entry) ...so I’m not excited about a touch-enabled remote. And as much as I like Siri on my phone and watch, I’m not so sure about it with my TV.

But I’m prepared to recant all of this once I see what they have to offer and get to play with it. ☺︎

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