Apple Product Line (My Take)

Let’s pretend for a moment that for some weird reason someone asked me to layout the Apple product offering lineup and naming. Yep, not going to happen, but humor me. Below would be how I would do it in order to make the best possible user experience when it comes to choice.

  1. Macbook and Macbook Pro now cover sizes 12”, 13”, 14”, 15”.
  2. “iMac” is now “Mac”, but with 3 sizes. Headless models at both ends of the spectrum.
  3. Streamlined Tablet Choices.
  4. Streamlined Phone Choices.

Do you agree? Do you think I am crazy? Did I nail it?

Alt. Mobile Gaming

Generally, the term “Mobile Gaming” refers to playing video games on a mobile device such as a smartphone. For the purpose of this post however, I am referring to mobile gaming as the ability to move a game and its state from one device to another, seamlessly. The game that sparked this post and my modified definition of mobile gaming is Oceanhorn. Oceanhorn is a universal app for iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. This game and the platforms in which you can play it are pretty amazing.

First, the fact that a game of this quality and polish only costs a mere $8.99 blows my mind! But, follow that with the ability to play this game in the living room on a TV in 1080p, to an iPad, to an iPhone, migrating all play states seamlessly through iCloud, and now you have a true definition of ‘mobile gaming’. With the launch of the 4th generation Apple TV, gaming was made out to be a big push for the device. It was easy to be weary of this, mostly due to the fact that it could easily just be about phone games on the living room TV, and that didn’t sound compelling. Oceanhorn was the game that made the idea of gaming on the Apple TV make sense. This game represents the type of gaming platform I have always wanted: something that is versatile and changes to fit my surroundings. At home, a bluetooth controller in hand in front of the TV. In a hotel room traveling for work, on my iPad Pro with that same controller. Waiting for car service, on my iPhone 6s. The game is capable of adapting to all of these scenarios without losing any of my progress.

The Apple TV comes with the new Siri Remote, and that can be used as a controller for games. For a game like Oceanhorn, however, a traditional gaming controller is really the way to go. At the time of this writing, the best controller out there is available from the Apple Store and is called the Nimbus, by SteelSeries. It is very comfortable to operate and has all the buttons you could want for games like this. Because it is Bluetooth, you can connect it to all your iOS and Apple TV devices. It pairs really nicely with the iPad Pro for on-the-go gaming.

Gaming is an always evolving area when it comes to technology, and I hope ideas like this help to push gaming more towards bringing games to where we are instead of pushing us to be where the given platform is. Of course, this setup is still technically all one platform, but it still does a much better job of bringing my game to me than any of the major console makers who have had living room consoles and handhelds for years and failed to implement this tight integration.

3D Touching Into The Future

In the Apple world, our first introduction to a screen with multiple depths of interaction was Force Touch on the Apple Watch. From the first time I used it, I knew I wanted it on my iPhone as well. Flash forward to the launch of the iPhone 6s and my wish was granted, and then some. With the iPhone 6s, we got an advanced form of Force Touch called 3D Touch. With the Apple Watch we have two distinct levels of pressure. The iPhone with 3D Touch upped this to three levels. At first glance this could easily be mistaken for a gimmicky trick to mimic the ability of pressing in on the screen. The truth is however, an amazing amount of new technology has been built into seemingly the same screens we have been using for years.

As with all new technology additions like this, it will be some time before its potential is fully realized, but out of the gate it’s kicking ass already.

The ability to “peek” and “pop” within applications is a new way of accessing information more quickly. The ability to press in on application icons to access shortcut menus may be my favorite aspect of 3D Touch so far. This is the kind of feature that will become customizable over time I believe, and change how we navigate in and out of apps on our devices.

History has shown us with most new technologies in the Apple world, it starts with the iPhone and then trickles down from there. With the addition of the Apple Watch we are now seeing another level to this feature sharing. Now we will start to see new technology transition through the lineup as follows:

Watch ➤ iPhone ➤ iPad ➤ Mac

WatchOS ➤ iOS ➤ OS X

3D Touch is the type of feature that doesn’t seem as though much has changed, mostly because it is not immediately seen. Heck, if you didn’t know it was there, you could conceivably never find it. I definitely believe this feature will drive major fundamental changes in iOS and all users will greatly benefit.

Get to pressing!

Multiple iOS Simulator Instances

If you do any type of web development, more than likely you will need to check your code on various iOS devices. The iOS simulator is great for this, but generally you are trying to check your layouts against multiple screen sizes, and the standard simulator only gives you one device at a time, with no possibility of viewing two devices side-by-side.

I created a little script that runs as an application which will launch two instances of the iOS simulator so you can view two devices at once!

Prerequisites– OS X 10.9.4+- Xcode 6.0.0+

Using MultiOS Simulator.app1. Unzip the app and move it to your Applications folder (or wherever you want)2. Launch MultiOS Simulator.app. (You will see the error below. Simply click “ok” and move one of the simulator windows to the side to reveal the second instance.)

  1. *Important Select each simulator window and choose a device for each. Menu —> Hardware —> Device.
  2. *Important You must use 2 different devices. Running two identical devices will not work (this is what causes the initial error above).

That’s it, have fun! Hope this is helpful. Feel free to reach out with any questions / comments.

Note You may need to Right Click the application and choose open the first time you launch it.

Download MultiOS Simulator

Download Source on GitHub!

Honey, I shrunk the iPad! [iPad mini]

iPad, iPad 2, The New iPad, I’ve have them all. And, they have all been great devices. I have used many tablets, and always landed on the iPad in one form or another. They have always felt like the right device for me. Honestly, the only thing that has kept me looking into new Android tablets as they are realized, is when they are a smaller form factor. I have always secretly wanted a slightly smaller iPad. It’s not that the iPad is too big, it’s a fantastic computing device, but I have a slightly different problem. My tablet is an “in between device”. I want it to be right in between my phone and my laptop. Trouble is, when your laptop is an 11" MacBook Air, a 10" iPad is not really in between anymore…

Like any Apple product line, rumors are constant and never cease with their ability to be far fetched. So of course the rumors of a “smaller iPad” had to be taken with an entire salt mine rather than a grain. But, sure enough, it turned out to be the truth not too long ago. When the iPad mini was announced, I was in possession of the third generation iPad Retina w/4G. I was immediately on board and pre-ordered that Friday night at midnight.

One week later, I had it in my hands and I have not looked back since. Of course the biggest worry people have when switching is “the lack of retina display”. I have to say, it doesn’t bother me anywhere near to what I thought it would. Even when I use my wife’s Retina iPad, I don’t feel like I made a mistake switching. (Will I upgrade to next year’s iPad mini when it gets a retina display? of course I will! haha) It is an excellent size and shape. It also now fits perfectly in between my 11" MacBook Air and iPhone 4S.