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.
- Macbook and Macbook Pro now cover sizes 12”, 13”, 14”, 15”.
- “iMac” is now “Mac”, but with 3 sizes. Headless models at both ends of the spectrum.
- Streamlined Tablet Choices.
- Streamlined Phone Choices.
Do you agree? Do you think I am crazy? Did I nail it?
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!
I have been using iTunes (on the Mac) and Podcasts (on the iPhone and iPad) to play my podcasts now that it actually syncs correctly. Side Note: I don’t know what they finally did to make it work , but thank you! On the iOS app you are given a convenient 15 second forward and back button to use when you are listening to podcasts, and it’s a very nice feature that you find in most podcast players. The problem is that when listening to podcasts using iTunes on the Mac, you only have the skip buttons, and that takes you to the next track (or podcast). This is not ideal at all for listening to podcasts, so I needed a way to add the 15 second, or any length for that matter, skip forward and backward functionality. I figured that AppleScript was my best bet for solving this problem so I did some searching around before diving in and reinventing the wheel, and came out with a couple good starting points. I found a couple different AppleScripts that did what I needed for the most part, so it was time to figure out how best to implement them for me. Check out the scripts and modify as needed to suit your needs.
I first started down the path of simply assigning scripts to fire when certain keyboard shortcuts were pressed using Keyboard Maestro. This absolutely worked, but it didn’t quite seem as fast or elegant as I would like. Then it dawned on me, I should use mouse gestures! I switched over to using an Apple Magic Trackpad about a month or so back and LOVE IT! Using BetterTouchTool, you can pretty much make up whatever you want with almost any input device to fire off all kinds of actions. The setup I chose is pretty simple. I decided to go with a fairly simple four finger swipe to the left or to the right. With this gesture I can now skip forward or backward with a simple gesture and it’s great! Also because this gesture is global, it can be done regardless of what application I am using.
There you have it, if you have been looking for a convenient way to skip forward and backward a predefined amount of time in iTunes, this could be the answer for you!
With the announcement of new iCloud storage tiers this past Wednesday, it has got me thinking about an idea that worked in theory but not in practice until now. The idea of Apple creating a mechanism of cloud backup for the Mac. On the iOS side we have iCloud backup and it works great! Bringing this kind of simple and effective backup to the Mac would be a great benefit to Mac users, especially those users who tend to not backup their data. The current Time Machine is easy to use but still requires extra hardware and I think that could be a barrier to a lot of users, because of cost or perceived complexity. If iCloud Time Machine existed, your data would be backed up from the first time you turned on your computer, with no interaction, and automatically going forward. I use Backblaze and love it, but this kind of service still requires you to make the first move and that is an issue for some. If I could use the same 1TB iCloud storage bucket that I already have, I would definitely like that.
This kind of system is going to be somewhat more difficult on a Mac than it is on iOS due to third party data, but I think this problem is easily overcome. Much like the transition to using iCloud Drive for synching rather than other solutions like Dropbox or WebDAV.
I obviously have no idea if this would be an area that Apple would be interested in entering, but I think everything is in place to make it happen for sure. I look forward to seeing what is coming for us in the apple community as iCloud becomes more of a viable solution.
I have used a lot of VNC solutions over the years. I used them quite extensively when I was managing a lot of servers in a previous job. Nowadays I use them to access data on my own various machines and administer my one personal server.
Using primarily Macs, I have generally always stuck with Apple’s Remote Desktop. It is a really powerful management tool combined with a solid VNC client. If you have to go outside the network a lot though, this solution becomes cumbersome with port forwarding and so forth. After using the free solutions like the built in Screen Sharing in OS X, and other third party clients like Chicken of the VNC, RealVNC, and Screens, I finally settled on Remotix as the best solution for me.
Remotix built by http://nulana.comCross platform VNC/RDP client.- Apple iOS- Apple Mac OS X- Microsoft Windows- Android
Remotix Cloud– Facilitates peer-to-peer connections.- Some client management.- Easy client setup with Agent helper utility.
I use Remotix on the following machines- iMac- MacBook Air- iPhone- iPad
I use Remotix Agent on the following machines- iMac- Mac Mini Server- MacBook Air- Windows Surface
-=December 22, 2014=-