I’m still digesting everything from reading the live blogs during the event, reading the coverage afterward and then watching this. This will be one keynote to remember. Apple has redefined computing with what they announced today.
In less than 24 hours, we’ll know what iCloud is, what Tiger entails and how iOS 5 will change the way we use our iPhones and iPads.
For my money, I’m hoping to hear how Apple has introduced a better file sharing system than what they have in iDisk. I love Dropbox, and it does about 75 percent of what I want. That last 25 percent, however, is killer.
That last 25 percent is seamlessly moving files between my MacBook and my iPad. It’s keeping every machine I have in perfect sync. That’s what I want.
John Gruber at Daring Fireball predicts this in his WWDC 2011 Prelude:
Syncing data between devices tends to work best when there’s a canonical store. I.e. with Dropbox, you might have three, four, five devices syncing data on the same account. The canonical central store, however, is Dropbox’s cloud-based server. With iPhones, iPods, and iPads, the central store for almost all data stored on the devices is iTunes running on your Mac or PC.
With iCloud, that should shift to the cloud. iTunes, the desktop app, currently syncs the following things with iOS devices: audio, movies and TV shows, iBooks e-books, App Store apps, contacts, calendars, bookmarks, notes, and any sort of files shared between iOS apps. All of these things would be better served syncing over-the-air via the so-called cloud.
As it was put to him, “think of iCloud as the new iTunes”. That would be a good start. I’d prefer it be an ingenious combination of iTune and Dropbox. That would be the perfect announcement for me.
Streaming music will be nice, but it’s a far secondary concern for my workflow.
It’s been a little while since I’ve written here, and even longer since I’ve done so consistently. But I’m hoping to change that.
In the past few weeks, I’ve missed writing. I’ve missed blogging. Particularly I’ve missed writing here, sharing my tech discoveries and what I’m doing with my Mac and what I’m exploring.
That said, I figured now was as good of a time as any to start back. My hope is to post regularly — both links and full-fledged articles. What regularly means I don’t know, but certainly something a few times a week.
I’ve pledged to do this, but the pledge is not to the readers but to myself. This is something I want to do, regardless of who reads it. My hope, though, is that what I write has an impact on others. I hope it starts conversations, informs a few folks on what I’ve learned and gives me the chance to learn from a few folks who share with me.
It’s been a while since I used the Audible app on my iPhone, but I’m quite pleased with it. I remember being disappointed when it first launched. Now, I have no complaints.
Audible remains one of my favorite services. I’ve been a member since 2004. It’s one of the best subscriptions I have.
(Note: Based on some of the reviews, it might be best to do a clean install if you have the app already but like me were not using it for whatever reason. I downloaded it anew and have not experienced the reported crashing problems.)
Ask, and you will receive. NPR has updated its iPad app to include background audio streaming.
The more the iPad becomes a part of my workflow, the more a distinct pattern of use-cases for my MacBook, iPhone and iPad have emerged.
- iPad: Reading (books, RSS, news, everything), blogging (links), initial research on projects and first drafts of long-form compositions.
- iPhone: In addition to the obvious mobile aspects, this is my main email device. It’s also my go-to device for Twitter, Facebook and iTunes.
- MacBook: Longer blog posts, data analysis using spreadsheets, more in-depth research projects, design projects, final drafts of projects and presentations.
What I now realize is that, on the whole, I’m more fond of using my iPad than my Macbook. While the iPad has several limitations, those limitations rarely hinder me from working but more often than not forces me to focus. Also encouraging additional focus is the intimacy of using the iPad — both with its touch-screen interface and its portability.
The iPhone becoming my default email device grew from my complete disdain for Mail.app on the MacBook and the iPad not having a unified inbox until recently. Even now that the iPad has a unified inbox, I still find myself instinctively reaching for my iPhone to tear through email.
Not only am I just as quick with email on my iPhone, I find myself being more succinct. I don’t write long, rambling email messages when I’m depending on my thumbs to do the typing. In fact, the only time I turn to Mail.app is when I need to handle files — either to download for archiving or to attach for sending.
All that said, my MacBook still holds an important — and special — place in my workflow. Several tasks require its power, and there is still the enjoyment of using a Mac.
Reading John Gruber’s piece in Macworld about why the Mac OS is not in danger of disappearing anytime soon, I couldn’t help but nod in agreement (emphasis mine):
The bigger reason, though, is that the existence and continuing growth of the Mac allows iOS to get away with doing less. The central conceit of the iPad is that it’s a portable computer that does less—and because it does less, what it does do, it does better, more simply, and more elegantly. Apple can only begin phasing out the Mac if and when iOS expands to allow us to do everything we can do on the Mac. It’s the heaviness of the Mac that allows iOS to remain light.
When I say that iOS has no baggage, that’s not because there is no baggage. It’s because the Mac is there to carry it. Long term—say, ten years out—well, all good things must come to an end. But in the short term, Mac OS X has an essential role in an iOS world: serving as the platform for complex, resource-intensive tasks.
It’s hard to imagine a day when the Mac OS will not be integral to my workflow, if for design projects alone. Certainly, though, the iPad is becoming more integral to what I do each day, more so than the Macbook is becoming less integral.
It’s the natural evolution that Gruber described. It’s not that my Macbook is any less capable but that the iPad — and even the iPhone — is so much more capable of meeting my needs in a more enjoyable (and, truthfully, better) way.
I downloaded Reeder for Mac (Beta) this evening and have put it through the paces for an hour or so. While this far from enough time to really get a feel for a new app, here are my initial thoughts.
What I Like
- Design. It’s a beautiful design that stays true to its iPhone and iPad counterparts.
- Interface. Reeder takes the same basic interface principles from its touch apps and aptly adapts them to the desktop using keyboard shortcuts.
- Keyboard shortcuts. If you use Google Reader with keyboard shortcuts, using Reeder for Mac will be instinctive. They use many of the same shortcuts, so the learning curve is low.
- Sharing. Having many of the same sharing outlets as the iPad/iPhone version is especially nice. No more bookmarklets in Safari while using Google Reader. Facebook sharing is not available, but I can live without that. Having Instapaper and Twitter is enough, not to mention the ability to copy links and email articles.
- Subscription icons. If you want to maximize your horizontal screen space, you can shrink your subscription list into square blocks populated with favicons from some of the subscriptions within that folder. (Pictured above.) If you drag that column wider, it turns into a list of the folders.
What Needs Work
- Keyboard shortcuts for sharing. The only way I can find to send something to Instapaper or Twitter is using the mouse. So far, I’ve not been able to find a way to map keyboard shortcuts as the sharing items do not appear under one of the Menu Bar menus.
- Closing/Reopening main window. If you close the main window, the only way to reopen it is to quit the app and relaunch.
That’s really about it. So far, there is little I don’t like about Reeder for Mac.
Mind you, this is a beta version. A bit of the planned functionality is not yet available, such as adding and managing subscriptions.
Overall, I’m duly impressed with the offering. I’ll continue to use it throughout the beta period. If I find myself reading more RSS feeds on my MacBook because of Reeder for Mac — as I once did with NetNewsWire — then I’ll gladly be a paying customer.
After years of being a NetNewsWire devotee across all platforms, I switched to Reeder for iPhone, which led me to Reeder for iPad. The latter is without a doubt my favorite RSS reader. In fact, I rarely read RSS feeds on my MacBook.
Until now, if I read RSS feeds on my MacBook, I used the Google Reader interface. No more.
Welcome the Reeder for Mac (Beta). It’s a stunning piece of work. Still a very early Beta, but so far impressive.