Archives for : January2013

Bored Now

A thought occurred to me last year when Apple moved the new iPhone model to a late-year release, along with the new iPad mini, and a rev’ed iPad: what are they going to do in the first half of 2013?

Think back a bit: when the iPhone first came out, it was announced in January and went on sale in like July (months are approximate… I’m trying to avoid using seasons for fear of Northern Hemisphere bias. You’re welcome, Australia.) For a few years, iPhone was a mid-year product, with a corresponding iPod touch coming out later in the year. Then the iPad came out in early 2010 and was updated again in early 2011 and early 2012. But now, all of these products got late-2012 updates. So… what does that leave for the next six months?

Macs? The iMac got updated in late-2012 too, and the laptops have moved to a mid-year schedule (with an announcement at WWDC), better suited to back-to-school buying. Even if we do get the Mythical Modern Mac Pro in the next few months — and I am by no means optimistic about that — it’s a niche product.

And as developers, everything interesting is now a once-a-year update to iOS at WWDC. OS X is supposedly moving to an annual schedule, so that should be getting previewed soon (with an eye to mid-year release), but the simple fact is that very few of us can get Mac programming gigs, so it’s not worth the time of tracking an OS X beta and its new APIs very closely.

If Cocoa development is indeed a cargo cult — and it’s a pretty comfortable cult to be in if so — then the planes aren’t coming back with new stuff until July. Literally the only thing I can imagine happening before then is an Apple TV SDK, and there are few signs of that happening soon, or ever.

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About that 128 GB iPad

I never wanted this to be a product blog, but I do have a few thoughts about the just-announced 128 GB iPad:

  1. I totally want one.
  2. Apple isn’t stupid. They wouldn’t bring this out — mid-product cycle — unless they thought there was a specific demand for the product.
  3. A lot of the initial reaction goes along the lines of “Why would you spend this much, when you could just get a MacBook Air (i.e., a ‘real computer’) for that price?” Well, for starters:
    • The Ars article is a false comparison: the $1,000 iPad is the model with LTE. There is no MacBook Air with a cellular modem. The apples-to-apples (groan) comparison is the $799 iPad against the $999 MBA.
    • I have an iPad 2 and a 2012 MacBook Air. I like the iPad much more than the Air, and at conferences, you’ll usually see me with the iPad, not the MBA. The iPad has more and better apps, it’s more comfortable to use for read-only tasks like Twitter and web browsing, and I can easily tote along a Bluetooth keyboard if I plan on writing more than a few paragraphs.
    • Another comparison: $800 for a lightweight device with a battery that lasts 8-10 hours of typical use, or $1,000 for a slightly heavier device that’ll keep a charge for 2 1/2 – 3 hours?
    • For what it’s worth, I’m writing this post on my iPad.
  4. Apple’s news release cites use cases that include managing lots of audio files, and it seems like a number of mobile audio professionals (including DJs and journalists) are adopting iOS apps, well-served by its combination of small size, touch interface, immense battery life, and deep support for audio capture/mixing/export/playback. There’s a quiet revolution underway thanks to Michael Tyson’s Audiobus, which allows multiple iOS audio apps to collaborate in real-time, thanks to the ability of Core MIDI to ferry audio data between apps (the rare example of a back door Apple failed to close, and an argument that they shouldn’t be so eager to do so).

So, yeah, totally want one. Of course, I’d be happier if Apple would offer up a modern Mac Pro, but that’s a product blog for another time.

UPDATE: You know, I hadn’t even thought to plug this when originally writing this entry, but it’s worth mentioning that I’m doing all-day tutorials about writing iPad productivity apps (focusing on APIs like copy/paste, undo/redo, UIDocument for local files and iCloud, etc.) in March at CocoaConf Chicago and CocoaConf DC and it’s probably the productivity apps — where the user’s data is more important than the app’s — that’s driving interest in the high-capacity iPad.

Gaming, January 2013

Just a quick couple of notes about the gaming I’ve been doing on the iPad for the last couple months, given that it’s become my main game console.

Pinball Arcade

First, there’s Pinball Arcade, which some of you might remember I spent three hours live-streaming back in August. They’ve kept up with the new tables, most notably launching two tables based on expensive licenses, Twilight Zone and Star Trek: The Next Generation


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Conferences: CodeMash, Detroit Mobile City, CocoaConf


CodeMash 2013 just ended; in fact, I’m in the hotel room at the Kalahari, waiting for my family to arrive so we can turn this trip into a weekend of indoor waterpark fun. That’s the upside of CodeMash. The conference itself was pretty much the usual, although this time they finally had enough iOS talks to allow for a single all-iOS track running through the entire conference. It also featured Jeff Kelley of Detroit Labs open-sourcing his AmazeKit library for iOS image trickery as the final reveal of his presentation.

I did a half-day tutorial on iOS productivity APIs, and ended up with about 16 hours of material for a 4-hour session. Not a complete disaster, because the attendees (most of whom were first-timers) got to work through downloading JSON from a REST API and building a UITableView out of it, and that’s honest-to-goodness useful stuff… but I’ll still want to reconsider my scope and ambition before turning this stuff into the all-day iPad Productivity API’s tutorial for CocoaConfs Chicago and DC.

Oh, and can I also say… wrapping up CodeMash with a trivia show from the .NET Rocks! guys? Painful. I walked out when they got to the question “why do you have to program the iPhone with Objective-C”, and the answer was something something Steve Jobs something. Why do you have to use Obj-C? I don’t know… maybe because when Apple bought NeXT, that’s what they had built all their stuff with? And you know what? It’s worked out pretty well for them, hasn’t it? Heck they even tried to offer Java as an alternative and it flopped. Guys, sometimes when you joke about stuff you don’t understand, you just sound stupid, and you waste my time. So… .NET Rocks, as it turns out, kind of sucks.

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