Martin Hajek has drawn up some (quite impressive) 3D renders of the rumored MacBook with an OLED Touch panel where the function keys currently reside.
Our myriad of touch devices have proven there’s a high value to an interface that can adjust to meet new contexts. That was a key selling point in the original, all-screen, keyboard-less design of the iPhone.
A static keyboard isn’t without value. It allows the operator to build muscle memory. Familiarity breeds efficiency.
If this rumor is true (that’s a big if), I’ll be curious to see how Apple addresses those keys that many of us use daily—Spaces and Volume. Will they just cease to exist in some apps? Will apps be allowed to control the entire bar, or just a portion?
"Look, I know how hard this job can be," Obama said. "That’s why I know Hillary will be so good at it. In fact, I don’t think there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office. She’s got the courage, the compassion, and the heart to get the job done."
In a rare pre-WWDC sit-down interview with The Verge, Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said that Apple would soon alter its revenue-sharing model for apps. While the well-known 70 / 30 split will remain, developers who are able to maintain a subscription with a customer longer than a year will see Apple’s cut drop down to 15 percent. The option to sell subscriptions will also be available to all developers instead of just a few kinds of apps. "Now we’re going to open up to all categories," Schiller says, "and that includes games, which is a huge category."
The diminishing revenue split is a clear win-win. Developers get to keep more of their revenue while Apple has a new carrot to keep developers interested in continued—preferably innovative—development on the iOS platform.
I’m less hopeful about what this will do for the consumer.
I work for a company that makes a good chunk of its revenue by selling software. Yet, any time I recommend a new app to coworker, it’s the same response:
You have to pay for this?
My thought to this is always the same: "If you can’t sell software to people whose livelihood depends on selling software, how do indie developers survive?"
There’s a chance that the move to subscription software will spread the cost of an app over enough time that’ll seem less expensive, driving people hesitant to spend towards becoming a customer.
But…most apps are cheap. Ninety-nine cents, maybe a few bucks. Unless Apple is offering ten-cent subscription tiers, I find it hard to believe someone is going to subscribe to an app for 99¢ a year when that same person balked at the one-time purchase.
Will this actually do anything to entice users to "upgrade" from their free apps?
For those of us that don’t mind buying apps, we face a reality where, rather than buying an app one time for $10, we’ll be on the hook for 99¢ per month.
I for one am not looking forward to an on-going $40 monthly App Store bill.
Regardless, this is a really interesting model. Time will tell how it affects app quality and pricing.
It’s widely expected at this point that Apple will rebrand Mac OS X to simply ‘macOS’ next week at WWDC, but hidden in today’s announcements regarding the App Store was yet another hint at the change. In a FAQ from on the iTunes Connect website, Apple mistakenly refers to Mac OS X as ‘macOS,’ again prematurely hinting at the change.
The previous instance that leaked styled it “MacOS”, not “macOS”.
The writing on this rebrand has been on the wall ever since Phil Schiller spilled the beans on The Talk Show podcast. When it was leaked as capital-m MacOS it oddly irritated me. tvOS and watchOS are all lowercase. Why break that pattern?
Looks like the rest of web has already weighed in on their predictions, so let’s jump right in with the Official 2016 Late to the Party WWDC Wishlist!
Unified Queue for tvOS
Last year I wrote Building a Better TV Experience, detailing what I saw as the must haves for a good TV experience. Some of it was indulgent (I’m not sure we need or want notifications while vegging out) and some obvious-in-restrospect (of course Apps were the new channel).
Having used the AppleTV as my only television consumption device for the past ~9 months, I feel justified on one count: apps-as-channels only works if there’s a unified queue to keep it all organized.
Every DVR on the market has recordings, Netflix has My List, YouTube has Watch Later and Hulu has … well, whatever they’re using now (seriously, guys—find a model and stick with it for a few months).
The idea of a queue isn’t original, but with our content spread across multiple apps, it’s never been more important. I won’t speak for the rest of you, but it is the greatest pain in my privileged life to look in 15 different places to see if there’s anything to watch.
How would it work?
Finding and subscribing to content would work as it does today. Searching, browsing, and adding shows to My List would still happen within the confines of the Netflix app. When that new content is added, the Netflix app would push that addition to Queue.app along with a bit of metadata (cover art, episode title, number in series, etc).
It’d be similar for any other actions. Finished an episode? Hulu could ping Queue.app to mark it as watched. New season of Man in the High Castle posted? Amazon could automatically push those episodes into your queue.
From that point, Queue.app would only act as an aggregator and launcher. Selecting any piece of media would open in the sponsoring app. Just like today, that app would control the experience.
Continuity for tvOS
If I had to guess, I’d say Apple considers AirPlay to be the answer to continuity on the AppleTV, but that’s not a proper solution. There’s no good reason to dedicate two devices (the iOS device and the AppleTV) to watching a video when the YouTube app on the AppleTV is just as capable as the one on my iPad.
Complications come to iOS
I’m not generally too high on the Apple Watch (it’s just. so. slow), but I wear it every day for the complications—instant access to quick data.
I won’t pretend to know how it would work or where it would live (although I hate "widgets" on my Android device, so let’s steer clear of that), but a customized lock screen with the greater flexibility of a higher powered device is tantalizing.
As I sat down to write this, it was amazing to me just how far these devices have come and how little I need from them.
I’ve never made a public prediction before—and I’m fully prepared to be disappointed—but I look forward to reading about it all after the keynote!
Who’s up for an Arrested Development binge-watching party?
Yes, the stair car from Arrested Development is apparently in the movie, appearing (fittingly) in the background of its big airport fight scene. You can’t see the Bluth Company’s actual logo in the movie, but the paint job on the personal stairway vehicle is pretty clear. It’s just a shame it didn’t get used during the big fight, even if a vehicle that takes a full minute of standing on the gas pedal to get up to top speed (and another block or two of braking to slow back down) isn’t all that practical for a rapid, successful escape.
In a crowded market, how does an app attract new customers, gain loyalty, and deliver value? With great design for a delightful app experience. Here, Google’s UX Research Lead Jenny Gove will take you through 25 principles to build an app that helps users achieve what they’re looking to do.
I really enjoyed this booklet (PDF, Web) on driving conversions through better mobile app design, but I was struck by one thought as I was reading: Isn’t this applicable to nearly all design work?
Mobile–as championed by the slightly-old-fashioned-but-still-relevant Mobile First dogma–forces the designer to focus their efforts to just those bits the user needs. Slow connection speeds and constrained system resources force us to consider the cost / benefit of each interaction.
But, while mobile is a hot term (and certainly well-deserving of our attention), it’s not alone in benefitting from this care. As the lines between all of our devices continue to blur, we’ll have to put this same thought towards new form factors and functionality.
Three big takeaways universal to good interface design:
Guide users through task completion. I’m often struck by the number of calls for “simple” apps. Simple can rarely solve complex problems. Focus and guidance can make complex issues manageable.
Speak the language of your user. Buttons and calls to action need to be clear (not clever). Information architecture must value user-centered categories over business unit silos.
Frictionless environment. The article discusses this in terms of app-to-web interfaces, but we need to make sure the ability to move from device to device or different views on the same device remain clean and clear.
Ev Williams of Twitter and Medium fame thinks individual article-based sites are a thing of the past.
So, what does that mean in real terms? To Williams it means that brands and people will continue to be valuable, but they will need to hop on a platform that can surround their work with other high-quality content and give it greater social reach.