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Tag: Apple

19
May

Apple’s ‘One more thing’ culture

After months of giddy waiting the next iOS update is finally here. Yesterday I dutifully upgraded my iTunes, started the morning by setting up iCloud online, by lunch installed the significant upgrade to Lion. Waiting patiently for the end of the day when the iOS finally launched. Laugh if you want but I really don’t see myself as an Apple fanboy, I like to think of myself as a device junkie. I don’t care who makes the software or hardware, if it’s something I want to play with, I’m all in.

Over these months I read article after article about the amazing features of amazing gadgetry which will propel my current devices into fresh new toys to play with. I wasn’t concerned about compatibility as I was only about 6 months behind the tech curve for hardware. Hell, the oldest device I owned was an iPad 1 which was a Christmas acquisition. I complete my install of iOS on iPhone and iPad and away I go.

Why no camera in the first generation iPad? Why can’t I sync music to video with the Airport Express? Why can’t I play any type of video file on the AppleTV? Why can I not use multitouch gestures on my 8 month old iPad?

Well it’s officially 2 hours in to playtime when, what I like to call, ‘the Apple effect’ kicked in. This effect can be identified by the discovery that things are missing, that something is not right. Specifically the removal of multitouch functionality from the original iPad. You may not even know what I am referring to. Multitouch is a function that allows the user to use the swipe of fingers across the screen surface, called gestures, to move between apps, close screens , pinch and zoom into text or photos. It’s an extremely handy bit of interface interactivity that I assure you once you use it you will wonder what you did before.

This function was a planned addition in an earlier iOS that was never enabled, most likely held back for the next release. In fact if you do a little online scrounging and have an i-device still running ios4 you can enable it and use it freely. I was one of those folks that had to give it a try and with little effort and had it working in less than 30 minutes seamlessly.

This brings me to THIS version No gestures. After futzing with settings, searching online for answers, I finally found the answer. Apple disabled this functionality. But only on the iPad 1. For iPad 2 owners, no problem.

Why? My device is certainly powerful enough to use it, it’s not like a new feature like the voice control AI that would need the latest processor. It’s a simple interface control that has made my user experience even better. But it’s been disabled. Let me say that again. Disabled. Its actually there on my device right now, hidden from view because of a marketing decision to make me want to upgrade my device. I could enable it by jail breaking and hacking my iPad. But I don’t want to do that. Why should I be forced to void my warranty to let me use a function?

I know gestures work on my iPad 1. Period. Give me that feature. Don’t restrict me from its use because you are trying to force me to buy the next device. When this iPad wears out I’ll be there with card in hand to get the next iPad but don’t mess with me now when I literally have the one model previous.

Control. They want us to buy the next device. They want us to need it. Salivate for it.

This brings me to Apple’s ‘one more thing’ culture. Made famous by the man himself Steve Jobs. Always dazzling us with that one more feature, that one more device that we scramble for. But what Apple users don’t talk about is that one little thing we do not care to admit pops up. That, ‘I was expecting it to at least do this’ feature that is left out, that as lovers of this wonderful tech accept again and again, because we know what we are getting is so far ahead of the rest of what is out there we make exception. Why no camera in the iPad? Why can’t I sync music to video with the Airport Express? Why can’t I play any type of video file on the AppleTV? Why can I not use multitouch gestures on my 8 month old iPad?

I’ll tell you why. Control. They want us to buy the next device. They want us to need it. Salivate for it. Waiting, hoping the next one will have that ‘one more thing’ that feature we should have had but didn’t get. They spoil us with these wonderful devices, but hold back just enough to keep us coming back. Brilliant.

16
May

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Tablet

A student of mine recently approached me with some questions about using an iPad in my creative practice. Being an active user I accepted and this article reflects the responses I presented to her. I think it is important to understand that even though I am talking about a specific product, an Apple iPad, I believe that my answers would be similar about any tablet-like device that shares a similar form-factor and functionality.

So, how has the iPad changed my working environment? For me personally, the impact has been tremendous on several fronts.

Peace of mind
While the ipad is an expensive piece of hardware, it is a fraction of the cost of a laptop and my stress level of loss / theft is greatly reduced. Data loss is not a concern as the very nature of the iPad is based on syncing. I am ensured of never losing anything as there are always copies of data at home base.

 So, How has the iPad changed my working environment? For me personally, the impact has been tremendous on several fronts.

Presentation
The device has completely replaced my need to carry a laptop with me at all times. This is huge. Whether showing live sites or static mockups, the iPad works well for client pitches. It plays well as a one on one intimate presentation or connects to projectors for a group. Love this.

Note taking
This is a big one. I am a note taker. In meetings, traditionally, I jotted down scratch notes and then transcribed them when I returned to my office. Now this all happens direct. Notes, and URLs are saved directly, electronically, without the need for transcribing. It has halved the time in which I spent writing and trying to translate my own notes. Also these notes are available on all my devices instantly. Meaning anywhere I have internet I have my notes without the need to sync, transfer, or remembering to copy over by USB stick.

Testing
I often use my iPad as a test device to check out page and mockup design. Something about the small screen and the ability to leave the office environment provides me with a way to objectively look at creative in a different window. It is also a great way to get fast feedback from another team member or client with the hassle of printing or directing individuals to an online space. It’s stress free to just hand someone a screen and say, ‘look at this’, than the tedious, ‘OK, open your browser, go to XYZ.com/mockup0983/~34.php’. I am a lover of collaboration and this device is made for it.

 

How the iPad has failed in my production environment

I think I’ve covered the positives but here are some negatives.

This past year 4 iPads were purchased for my studio, with the intention that they would be floated out for note taking, and client presentations. What has happened was a surprise to me. No one uses them.

Production
While the device does content collection, delivery, display and presentation perfectly, it fails miserably on content editing. I have apps that do allow minor edits to blogs, or a quick edit to a photo. But I have yet to find a way, beyond note taking to add my ipad to the production work flow.

Adoption
This past year 4 iPads were purchased for my office, with the intention that they would be floated out  for note taking, and client presentations. What has happened was a surprise to me. No one uses them. They sit collecting dust on their docks. There are only three people who use iPads daily in their workflows in the office, and I know why. Ownership. No one else owns an iPad. There is a direct correlation between use and ownership. I am unsure if the issue is the fear of breaking the device or the lack of adoption of new work flows. Either way the iPads are not being used.

 

The future of the iPad and it’s role in creative working environments

Future thoughts
I think the future is pretty bright. With each iOS update there seems to be a move in the right direction. Copy and paste, gesture control, increase format support, iMessage, vastly improved calendar and mail apps. These all make the iPad a more effective stand-alone device. For me, as long as they work toward making it easier to edit content than just display it, that the device will have a future.

 I want more screen, I use my device on a surface most of the time, so carrying is not an issue. A larger device would improve my user experience overall.

The market is so new no one truly knows the limits of what this new device will offer. There are hundreds of tablets being added everyday without an understanding of the user base. Right now manufacturers simply know they have to get a tablet of their own in the marketplace but are not sure why.

Save a tree
The dream of a paperless office is a nice one and a promise made as far back of when the Macintosh was invented. The tablet form factor is the first device that has a chance of making a dent towards a paperless environment.

Wants and needs
Specifically in creative terms there are two improvements in the technology I would adopt immediately.

Bigger is better. Right now the ipad is 9.7inches or something like that. I want a bigger device. The public, mostly consumer, is talking about smaller devices, 7 inches. A halfway point between the iPad and the iPhone/iTouch. This is useless to me. I want more screen, I use my device on a surface most of the time, so carrying is not an issue. A larger device would improve my user experience overall.

Somehow I want my iPad to double as a drawing tablet. I’ve purchased a few stylus and have not yet found it to be a sensitive enough screen to get a result I want. A larger screen would improve this. Apparently the third iPad will have a retina resolution screen that could improve the drawing experience.