There’s always been a lot of discussion about what Apple’s play for the living room would look like. Some people think they’ll build an actual TV while others think it will be some form of set-top box.
Personally, I think it is neither. I believe their TV solution is already here, and it is called, funnily enough, the Apple TV. You can pick one up for £99 and it will instantly let you rent movies and stream music and video from your iOS devices.
But this is just the start. One of the lesser-publicised announcements at WWDC, as part of the iOS 7 feature list, is support for 3rd party game controllers, by allowing them to be certified for use under the existing “MFi” (Made for iPhone) program.
This means that soon, you can use a console-like controller with an iOS device, and you can bet your bottom dollar that this will be rolled out to the Apple TV. All that is required is an app store for Apple TV and you’re set.
So, we have a £99 box that streams all your content and can play games. That to me sounds like a pretty compelling proposition.
The only bit I haven’t figured out is the hardware. Apple have spent the last few years slimming down the Apple TV, removing built-in storage in favour of streaming. However, to run apps, it will need storage, and to play decent games it will need beefier hardware, which will bump the price. There’s still a big gap up to the next level, so there’s room to increase the price, but it does change the dynamic somewhat.
Anyway, can’t wait to see what they come up with.
Some more great commentary on this by Austin Sweeney on his blog
Last week, I went to a Microsoft Store and bought a Nokia Lumia 920. I frequently say that Nokia has some of the best looking phones in the market today and have also publicly shown my admiration for Windows Phone. However, these things have never convinced me to switch perviously. So the question is, why now?
Well, it’s iOS 7.
Andrew elaborates briefly on what he dislikes with iOS7:
To me, iOS 7 is sailing in a completely wrong direction. What needed to happen was a significant rethinking of iPhone but all we received was a facelift.
Feel free to gush about or criticize Apple’s new “design language” in iOS 7. For some people, that’s important. But for most iPhone users, once they get used to the new look — which is, obviously, a work in progress — their phone is going to work pretty much the same way it did before: Screens of squarish icons for apps that don’t really talk to each other very much.
My thoughts exactly.
A lot of prominent Apple bloggers and designers seem to be reading a huge amount into the ‘layered’ and ‘dynamic’ design of iOS7, citing things like transparent menus and parallax wallpapers as means to engage the user in an interface full of depth (as opposed to the “misconception” that it is actually “flat”).
Either I just don’t understand design at the same level they do, or I don’t need to, because to me, while these elements may be true, they are an excuse for the authors to focus too much on one discipline and ignore the bigger picture.
iOS7 does indeed herald a more modern era for iOS, but to try to imply that the visual overhaul somehow means iOS works better is a real stretch. As Dan says, there is no better app-to-app integration and no ‘opening up’ as hinted by Tim Cook recently.
Yesterday was the first day of Apple’s Wordwide Developer Conference (WWDC), in which Apple announced the next iteration of their mobile operating system iOS, version 7. You can find a summary of what was announced all over the web, e.g. The Verge, but for now here are my initial unordered thoughts:
So I’m very much enjoying my iPad mini – I went with the 3G-enabled 64GB version – i.e. fully tricked out and cost £529.
I was looking forward to using it everywhere, as it is small enough to fit in my coat pocket. Where I used to use a phone or briefly a Nexus 7 I owned, I would now be able to use the iPad mini and take advantage of all the iOS apps I’ve already invested in.
What I noticed was something unexpected. I started to feel self-conscious/worried about using it in some scenarios. There was something unsettling about getting out a £540 tablet on a bus in London. Us Londoners are accustomed to being on our guard and not generating attention while out and about on public transport, but this thing makes that quite difficult!
I didn’t mind so much when it was a £180 Nexus 7, which I didn’t feel was that attractive to others anyway (owning Android doesn’t exactly shout “I’m likely to have expensive things on me”), but a £540 device suddenly requires an extra element of foresight before use in public.
Maybe I just need to get used to it. Or move to Silicon Valley.
The iPhone 5 has been released, and has been the trend since the original iPhone unveiling, there’s been plenty of vocality about how it lacks the wow factor we’ve come to expect from Apple product announcements. People have mainly been unimpressed by the fact that the only major change seems to be a taller screen, or that it lacks some of the new technologies that people expect in a cutting-edge phone, such as NFC or wireless charging.
Here are a few thoughts that I think should be considered before leaping to these conclusions.
I’ve always wanted to write this post. I’ve spent years evolving my technology-based home media setup, and for some reason, instead of writing a long blog post about it I ended up posting it on The Verge forums, and you can find it here:
It provides a brief overview of the various components of my setup, and what it can do, from acting as a central iTunes hub, to allowing for remote streaming of movies and TV shows, to hosting a VPN server for secure web browsing anywhere in the world. Since this blog is really the spiritual home of a piece of content like this, you can find the post in its entirety below.
So the iPhone 5 has been announced and if you are reading this you probably know the deal. Taller screen, better display and camera, lighter, thinner, faster, bettery battery – you get the idea. All in all a very solid upgrade on the 4S. I’m not one for ‘reviews’ so instead I thought I’d do a post on the specific things that I think stand out, both positive and negative, from a hardware and software perspective.
This is an old draft I never got around to publishing but here goes…
I spotted Zeebox a couple of weeks ago and having thought about its implications I was surprised that it was the only prominent app on the iOS store doing what it is doing.
I think most people would agree that social TV is the inevitable next step; it just hasn’t been implemented properly yet (e.g. the disastrous performance of Google TV). Zeebox provides real-time twitter and cast/crew etc information about TV shows. You pick the show that you are watching, and it will show you what people are tweeting about it, and will promote tweets from cast and crew.
So, they’ve now sold 10% to BSkyB, announced on both the Sky and Zeebox blogs. This is a pretty big deal as this is a public demonstration of the sort of technology that we will see in Sky’s satellite TV service (they’ve admitted as much in the announcement). You don’t usually get such an advanced preview of a company’s plans.