What I want in iOS 9, OS X 10.11, and a new Apple TV

In last year’s iOS wish list, I noted that Android had finally caught up to iOS. This year, for the first time, it really feels like Google has surpassed Apple. Most importantly, Apple’s recent breakneck pace of innovation has led to self-inflicted wounds—you can only keep adding new features at the expense of stability for so long before it all breaks down.

Thankfully, it seems like Apple realizes it’s time for a ‘Snow Leopard’ year. Both iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 are rumored to be focused on stability and optimizing existing features. Understanding that, I’ve tried to focus less on pie-in-the-sky features and more on basic system improvements and refinements.

Here we go!

iOS 9

Big picture stuff:

System-wide ‘Dark modeContinue reading   ▸

Tidal might succeed, but not for the reason artists want

Tidal, a music streaming service Jay-Z recently bought, relaunched today with 2 major differences compared to the competition:

  • It’s owned by artists. A lot of A-listers: Alicia Keys, Arcade Fire, Beyoncé, Calvin Harris, Coldplay, Daft Punk, Jack White, Jason Aldean, J. Cole, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Deadmau5, Madonna, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, and Usher.

  • It pays more in royalties to artists.

You can watch the star-studded launch event here (it starts at 29:42):

Here’s where the problems start. That bit about paying musicians more? It’s not exactly true:

Before today, that premium tier was the only one TIDAL offered. This morning it introduced a $9.99 service with standard definition audio, which will pay just the standard royalty rates. The double r

Continue reading   ▸

What I want in iOS 8 and OS X 10.10

We’ve hit a tipping point. Long-time Apple evangelist Paul Stamatiou now argues Android is better. Quite convincingly, too—even I’m thinking about switching this year. Apple can no longer coast on its past successes now that developers and consumers have arguably better options now.

The only things we got from last year’s wish list were a pedometer in the iPhone and iBooks on OS X.

Still missing: better inter-app communication, Safari extensions, improved App Store rankings, Wi-Fi phone calls, a Siri that can actually compete with Google Now, and storing iOS apps in the cloud instead of on our computers. (Oh, and Apple TV apps, which I’ve been going on about for 2 years now.)

Given that, here’s what I’d like to see in the next … Continue reading   ▸

What I want in iOS 7 + OS X 10.9

Tomorrow, Apple will kick off its Worldwide Developers Conference by showcasing iOS 7 and OS X 10.9. We already know some of what will be revealed: iOS will feature a design overhaul, native Flickr and Vimeo support, and better vehicle integration; OS X will improve Finder, Spaces, and multitasking for power users.

Last year, I discussed what I wanted in iOS 6. Before starting this year’s list, let’s take a look back. Did anything improve in the last year?

We got a Google-created YouTube app, background app downloads, and apps now have to ask before accessing your contacts and photos. But Safari is little-changed, App Store search and discovery is still fundamentally flawed, apps can’t truly share files, and Wi-Fi phone calls are still a pipe dream… Continue reading   ▸

What I want in iOS 6

The WWDC keynote is tomorrow. As expected, Apple will unveil a litany of new products and software.

Let’s get the leaked things out of the way: a revamped Maps app, Facebook integration, Siri for iPad, OS X Mountain Lion preview, more iCloud apps (notes, reminders), and new Mac hardware (Retina Display laptops, anyone?).

Got it? Good, now forget about them. Instead, let’s prognosticate on some bigger and bolder ideas. Things that haven’t been discussed to death already.

Here’s my wish list of features I’d love to see in iOS 6 or beyond:

1. Apple TV apps

The WWDC schedule has a lot of “To Be Announced” sessions, which has led people to suggest Apple’s introducing something big: possibly apps for the Apple TV set-top bContinue reading   ▸

How to use the Nook Simple Touch without registering

I really, really hate companies that don’t let you use their devices without registering them in some way. Even Apple isn’t that evil.1

But Barnes & Noble is.

I recently purchased a Nook Simple Touch as a gift for someone and wanted to set it up with some books for them. I’ve done this before with a Kindle without any problems.2

However, the Nook Simple Touch forces you to create a Barnes & Noble account and add a credit card on file before you can actually use the device you paid for.

Aside from being a bad out-of-box experience, it also makes things like selling the Nook down the line harder (assuming you like to reset your devices before selling them and the buyer wants to see them actually working before paying.)

Well, for anyone else in the same bo… Continue reading   ▸

Tastes like chicken

I once read an article about the things that taste most like chicken.1 First was chicken.

But second was Tofurky.

I don’t know if that’s true or not. What I do know is that Tofurky puts quotidian vegetarian fare to shame. And it keeps getting better every year.

Try one sometime. You might—nay, will—be pleasantly surprised.

PS. Some Black Friday advice from a battle-hardened veteran: skip the stores, shop online.

  1. I thought I saw it on AskMen.com, but I can’t find it there anymore.

Continue reading   ▸

The Most Underrated iOS 5 Features

I think it’s safe to say that iOS 5 is the greatest single-year leap in Apple’s mobile OS, not least of which is due to iCloud integration. That said, amongst the bevy of new features, I’ve come to appreciate a few that have more-or-less flown under the radar.

  • Group by Album Artist

    For far too long, the iPod app on the iPhone has actually been inferior to an actual separate iPod. Why? Because the artists list was cluttered with every artist from every song in your collection.

    On the contrary, iTunes on your computer will only show you album artists (as it should). For example, if you have a movie soundtrack – do you want it to show up once as “Various Artists” or “Soundtrack” in your artists, or do you want 15 different entrie

Continue reading   ▸

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs passed away today. He will be remembered for revolutionizing at least four industries: music (iPod, iTunes Music Store), movies (Pixar), mobile phones (iPhone) and, of course, computers (Macintosh, iPad).

His contributions to the world have made my life immeasurably better. He continually pushed the envelope and the technology industry is demonstrably better for it.

Most people will remember him tonight for the products he had a hand in creating. I’d like to take a step back and look at the consummate showman and prescient visionary.

Because he generally shunned interviews and public appearances, there is not much public footage available of Jobs. In fact, I only know of three places that he had publicly spoken: Apple keynotes, the D: All Things … Continue reading   ▸

Automatically Detect Displays in Mac OS X using AppleScript

If you’re anything like me, you need a large display to be productive (I used a 24-inch LCD when I lived at home and was later spoiled by using Dan Tran’s 30-inch monstrosity when I was in Seattle).

Fortunately, Mac OS X has great support for multiple displays. However, one weird quirk I am often frustrated by occurs when you initially connect the external display to a MacBook or other laptop.

If you do it the proper way, the MacBook should still be sleeping (or turned off) when you connect the Mini DisplayPort (or DVI, for older models) cable to your laptop. However, in Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) and 10.6 (Snow Leopard), my MacBook Pro would never automatically register that a new display has been connected and turn it on accordingly.

Hence, I would have to manually g… Continue reading   ▸