A dozen shades of Macintosh and iOS rants (Part 1)

A dozen shades of Macintosh and iOS rants (Part 1)

Summary: My desktop and inbox are littered with items from across 2012. Here is a 3-dot list, my Dozen Shades of Mac and iOs rants that I hope you may find interesting here at year's end. (First of two parts)


My desktop and inbox are littered with items from across 2012. Here is a 3-dot list, my Dozen Shades of Mac and iOS rants that I hope you may find interesting here at year's end.

Check Out Part Two of A dozen shades of Macintosh and iOS rants


PC owners aren’t crazy for wanting to buy a Mac

In the 1990s there arrived a powerful trope from Microsoft and Intel: That the only explanation for continuing Mac use was that Mac users were, in fact, crazy. Why couldn’t they see the advantages of a dominant computing platform (Wintel) with its commodity pricing and greater base of software applications? They just weren’t getting with the plan.

How things have changed. As a longtime Mac watcher, I continue to find it amazing to read Windows market surveys that show that a sizable number of PC owners want Macs. Now, I like other Macphiles have always proclaimed the Mac platform as the best choice, much to the annoyance of my PC-using friends and colleagues. And Apple keeps reporting at its quarterly conference calls that a majority of the Mac sales in retail are to Windows users.

But the October survey on Windows 8 adoption by Avast Software was a new high (or low, depending upon one’s outlook). More than 25 percent of the 350K respondents were considering an Apple replacement.

Despite such high belief in its higher security value over Windows 7 and older OS, at least 78 percent answered that they do not intend to purchase a new computer sooner just to have Windows 8. More than a quarter of respondents in fact do not plan to buy a Windows-based PC at all, instead intending to go with an iPad or Mac.

Maybe not so crazy, after all.


Something very old, and the same thing very new

The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) recently posted a story on how video game designer Jordan Mechner, the designer of Prince of Persia, had recently ported an early game of his to iOS. The game is called Karateka, which was originally sold by Broderbund Software for the Apple II platform back in 1984.  In a video on the TUAW page, Mechner discusses differences between then and now in the software industry, thoughts about the App Store and of course, the game itself. Very interesting viewing.


Thunderbolt isn’t just the new FireWire, it’s FireWire’s rescuer

Apple at times can be very aggressive at revving it’s connector technology. Look at all the complaints this fall with the new Lightning adapter that replaced the classic 30-pin adapter. For users it’s all about the investment in the technology, while for Apple, it’s about the continuing enhancement of usability and performance in its products. Those don’t have to be the same things at the same time.

Many longtime Mac users have a great investment in FireWire technology, which is now confronting professional Macs without FireWire. However, in a post on EE Times, Dave Thompson of LSI reminds us that Thunderbolt is the bridge technology that will let FireWire products keep working into the future.

The advantage for system providers is that the hardware for that 1394 connection can be moved "outside-the-box" to increase flexibility while reducing cost.  This is true of any hardware that sits on the PCI-Express bus inside the box. The advantage for consumers is that their investment in 1394 products has been extended indefinitely through Thunderbolt technology.


Yes, iCloud document syncing isn’t perfect, or really, even very good

There are many things to be happy about iCloud but syncing documents isn’t necessarily one of them. Developer Gus Mueller, founder of was interviewed recently at MacStories and mentioned the problem, for users and developers.

I’d also like to see syncing improved. I think they way Apple implemented iCloud document syncing was a big mistake – each app lives in its own silo and it’s pretty difficult to share documents between applications. Something along the lines of Dropbox would have been much better, and it’d be great if they did something like that in the future.


Making your physical wall be a virtual desktop

Susan Kare's original Mac arrow icon

Susan Kare was the designer of many icons used in the original Mac 128K Finder interface. Those with a nostalgic bent, or an appreciation of Mac pioneers, can purchase limited edition prints of some of these icons or plastic posters from Walls360 that come in a range of sizes.

These “wall graphics” can be easily repositioned, the company says.

For example, there’s a version of the Mac’s pointer arrow that is available in sizes from 7.5x12 inches ($9) to 45.5x72 inches ($125). A lot of fun.


Apple’s daring positioning of the iPad mini.

We’re so used to companies protecting their existing product lines, it’s difficult to comprehend when a company with so much to protect — talking about Apple here — doesn’t do the obvious. This excellent blog post by David Chartier analyses the positioning of the major 7-inch tablets. Of course, Google and Amazon have positioned these compact tablets devices for media consumption. Not Apple.

Apple’s core message around the iPad mini is what might really set it apart from the competition—if consumers buy it. In his opening pitch, Johnny Ive lays it all out: “Our goal was to take all the amazing things you can do with the full-size iPad but pack them into a product that is so much smaller.”

For me, a significant difference between the larger iPad line and the mini line is how easy it is to collaborate with the device. If you want to work with someone on an iPad then you will need the bigger size. Customers appear to be buying both sizes.

Check Out Part Two of A dozen shades of Macintosh and iOS rants

Topics: Apple, Apps, iPhone, iPad, Operating Systems, Windows

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  • Not for me

    Almost was to buy MBA for the hardware, but after using Win8 for some time find OSX quite outdated in every sense. Same with iOS, WP8 is much much better.

    I just love my Ultrabook, Surface and Nokia 920. Simply the best trio of products in 2012 and am not looking back. Microsoft has nailed this, the tech bloggers are clueless to this achievement
    • So how

      long have you worked for Microsoft?

      OS X + iOS >>>>>>>>>>>>> Metro across everything.

      Apple has the correct approach. Keep a computer OS a computer OS. Add what works to if from a mobile OS....dont replace a computer OS with a mobile OS. Less than 5% want a touch OS on a laptop/desktop computer.
      • You forget about developers

        A developer is going to be able to code a program once and with little to no effort it will run on Windows8 desktop, tablets, phone and most likely xbox720.

        That is why developers are choosing to develop for iOS first right now, because it is easier to code for iOS than it is for Android. Even though there are far more Android devices.

        Also I think you are dead wrong about Apples approach to keeping desktop and mobile operating systems separate. Signs of convergence can already been seen in each update and everything Apple is pointing to iOS being the directing force of which operating system bend to the other.

        Of course when Apple does announce the convergence of their mobile/desktop operating systems, Apple fans will cheer about how innovative and perfect it is.
        • Yeah well

          the time is not right for convergence. Not technically anyway. Leave it to Microsoft to push it before it is possible to do a good job of it.
          • Why not?

            What makes the time not right or somehow impossible to achieve?

            Will investing more time into mobile operating systems for more years make the job of convergeance easier?

            Or is this one of those arguements that end in something only being good if it is done by one specific company and any other company produces junk?
          • Metro is now being pushed heavily in media and even within TV programs.

            But, based on conversations with college students, it still appears very infrequently in the wild. Apple and Android have a solid user base. I just saw a Samsung Galaxy S II last night and it is extremely impressive and very, very fast. I could easily see the big, bright screen from about a 30 degree angle. We compared it to an Apple 4S and I like the Android much better.

            Microsoft may have a working product but part of the sales pitch for all MS products is "What anti-virus" product would you like to purchase? No one even thinks about Anti-Virus with Apple or Android.

            The discussion came up about the possibility of jail-breaking the Samsung and I advised against it due to trojans in untrusted apps.

            With Android activations running 1.3 Million per day, Microsoft has a lot of inertia to overcome and so far the V-Tech interface hasn't done much.
        • Nope

          "Also I think you are dead wrong about Apples approach to keeping desktop and mobile operating systems separate. "

          Oh how wrong you are. Apple has used single operating system from day one with OS X and iOS (iPhone OS before re-branding). The software systems as well share not just same operating system, but same core software platforms and libraries.

          With OS X and iOS, you can write a single application and then port it to another platform just by designing a new GUI for it to another device class to make the application work perfectly on that.

          Microsoft used before Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 two different operating systems and now they are trying to force every user to use same GUI in four totally different class of devices (workstation, laptop, tablet and smartphone) where single GUI is huge compromise and being "Jack of All Trades, Master of None" and it is clearly bad UX (User eXperience) because you don't do anything with touch features on workstation and laptop and you don't do anything with keyboard+mouse functions on tablet and smartphone and you don't need at all same information between all devices but you should have filtered information only for those devices where it matters and only then when it matters.

          Modern UI fails in all situations and is just a huge compromise.

          But only a developer without any kind demand for great user usability and experience will promote Microsoft strategy because they only see "I need to push a single button to compile my code to every device". Have you ever heard Java? "Write once, run everywhere"? Oh how perfectly it worked... right? A single GUI everywhere etc.

          It is just sad that every deep user usability testing is just against everything what Microsoft has developed with Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.
          And it is even more sad that some developers are so stupid and blind to promote Microsoft ideas again to get people vendor locked and stop development, maybe for next 25 years if you really want so!
        • Not true

          "A developer is going to be able to code a program once and with little to no effort it will run on Windows8 desktop, tablets, phone and most likely xbox720."

          This isn't true at all. Not even close.
    • I agree

      A year from now people are going to wonder why they ever bought into the iPad / iPhone.
      • Because...

        iOS is a widely supported platform with a superior user interface?

        Nah, couldn't be that.
        • Superior interface?

          UIs are always a matter of taste. I find it old fashioned and too restrictive...
          • Nope

            Nope, UI isn't matter of taste. It is about testing and testing and testing and making it work seamlessly with user without doing compromise and forcing odd functionality when situation change.

            You clearly have no idea what good usability means. You are just a person who gets bored and wants to tweak and play around with GUI and soon it starts feeling again "boring" so you search some new fancy toy to play around to feel "how modern and great it is".

            The truth is, a good UI is such that you don't even think about it. And Modern UI isn't such, while the "old fashioned and too restrictive" is such one. You really don't think it, you just do.
      • So why are you predicting widespread customer remorse?

        People who buy (lease?) iOS devices usually know what they're doing. I'm not keen on Apple's retention of ultimate control over the device, but MS seems intent on doing exactly the same thing and apparently, a lot of people are willing to sacrifice control over their own property for the sake of a better experience.
        John L. Ries
        • But it's not a better experience

          I would give anything for my phone to act just like my desktop. But not, the other way around. MS is oblivious, that's all I can conclude. When in a small store the other day, I saw the owner demonstrate his iPhone or iPad or whatever to the customer before me, and I asked him about it. He showed me how he'd tap then WAIT TWO SECONDS while the screen moved to the next six tiles (maybe nine tiles). I thought, 'SLOW!' and 'JUST LIKE WINDOWS 8!' as I'd seen the latter in Youtube videos favoring that OS.

          Tablet form factor is an accident waiting to happen, not to mention the $40 he had to pay for the rubberized backing. Give me a $200 netbook any day.

          I'm not the only one who finds the form factor and slow-moving screen, boring and useless, whether Apple or Windows.
      • Because

        They want something that doesnt need virus protection across all platforms?
    • Do not believe you for a second

      "Almost was to buy MBA for the hardware, but after using Win8 for some time find OSX quite outdated in every sense."

  • Don't use my iMac

    I switched from Linux to Mac in late 2006, but, to be honest, in the last year to 18 months, I've probably spent around 5% of my computing time on my iMac, the other 95% on my Windows 7 / 8 laptop.

    When I got the iMac, it several steps ahead of Windows XP. With Vista, Microsoft drew level and with Windows 7 and 8, they have stormed past OS X.

    The same with iOS. I bought an iPhone 3GS, because it was the best smartphone on the market at the time. Now, I have Android and Windows Phone phones, both have a better experience than iOS.

    I don't know what it is, but Apple seem to have sat back on their laurels and let the competition come steaming past them and take up Apple's traditional "think different" mantle.

    I am very platform agnostic. At work, I use Windows and Linux, at home Windows, Linux and OS X. I shunned XP for Linux for several years as my main desktop OS, then got a 24" iMac, when they were released - the lecturer discount made the price back then competitive, only 10% more than an equivalent "normal" PC, the problem is, the component prices have tumbled, as have PC prices, but the Macs have maintained a steady price.

    At the moment, Apple seem to be investing their R&D money not in new and innovative technology and keeping the iOS and OS X interfaces fresh and at the front of the pack, but instead they seem to be spending it on new and innovative legal tricks to try and keep competition off of the market.

    If they spent as much time, effort and money on iOS and OS X R&D as they do on their lawyers, maybe I'd be more inclined to keep using their products.
    • Same old, same old...

      The same "innovate don't litigate" rants. If only Apple could stop spending money on lawyers and more on updating their technologies.
      Well, for that to be true, you'd show us figures on how much they spend on litigation and how much they do on R&D.
      As for the lack of innovation coming out of Cupertino, you'd have to show me another company that has redefined 3 markets in a decade.
      1) The way we listen to music
      2) The way we think of smartphones
      3) The direction tablets have taken

      As for the better experience on Android/WP or Windows 7/8 storming past OSX, that's just your opinion.
      • yes same old rant

        it happened to proud Apple long time ago when they stop reinventing and Microsoft came along and storm past them and that trend is seemingly reliving itself, now in the mobile space.
        • You have your facts/history and even players wrong.

          Back in the day MS dis pass Apple but not because of "innovation" but because of IBM whom at hat time was the number one name in BUSINESS. IBM could at that time do no wrong so when it went with MS as the provider for it's PC business just about everyone fell into line and MS was made. It had very little to do with the "innovation" of the then MS Dos for lets be honest it was basically just a re-write of CPM. That being said I don't see Windows 8 having anything close to the impact that the original IBM/MS deal had for MS 's benefit this time around and I don't see OEM's tripping over themselves to drop say Android in favor of WIndows 8. Granted yes OEM"s are adding Windows devices to their products lines but so far the response from the buying public has not been nearly as grat as it had been back in the IBM day nor are the OEM's dropping again Android in favor of MS's product just adding another line of products to their lines is not the same as dropping all development on another product (Android) in favor of MS.. Like what did happen back in the day when IBM choose MS.

          Pagan jim
          James Quinn