Good Reads for November, 2015
Every month, we’ll be bringing you a handful of carefully-curated — if slightly late, and somewhat longer — reads about the wonderful world of Apple. Whether it’s about how Apple is changing the face of design, or how the largest iPad yet has the potential to make a big difference in the classroom, each’s months reads will bring something unique to the table that wasn’t necessarily covered in the preceding months’ news. Bring your own Instapaper account, because this is Good Reads.
- November 2015 saw the launch of Apple’s biggest iPad yet, in the form of the iPad Pro. Much has already been written about the larger-screened iPad Pro’s potential to replace your laptop, and there’s a good chance there’s plenty more that has yet to be written. Ben Brooks’ take on the idea of using your iPad Pro as a laptop replacement isn’t about whether you can use the iPad Pro as laptop replacement, and doesn’t discuss how the various usage scenarios fit into the iPad Pro workflow, but instead chooses to discuss how the iPad Pro has been as a laptop replacement for him.
Make fun of iOS for how locked down it is all you want, but at least I don’t have to worry about breaking it because I wanted to install a new free text editor, or I wanted to try and print from it.3 iOS is not only a stable computing platform, it is hard to break. In fact, I have yet to have a family member hand me an iPhone where it had such software issues that I could not fix it with a simple device restart, or removing an app sucking down the battery.
- Continuing the iPad Pro essays, Karan Varindani published a piece over at Medium about using the iPad Pro in the classroom. For someone who’s been all-digital since starting college and has been using a stylus with a previous iPad, the iPad Pro is an evolution of the system that has been working just fine. Of course, there’s always going to be some kind of trade-off in portability going from a smaller iPad to the iPad Pro, but what you gain is one of the first devices that could be a true digital notebook; your Apple Pencil doodles in class are going to look so much better now.
The iPad Pro is an odd device to think about. Compared to the new MacBook with Retina Display, it has both a larger, clearer display, a faster processor, better battery life, and it’s thinner and lighter to boot. Even as an iPad, it isn’t for everyone.
- An article from Fast Co Design says Apple is giving design a bad name. Although iOS has introduced brand new ways of interaction the likes of which we’ve never seen before — everything from taps, swipes, multi-touch gestures, and now even pressure-sensitive pushes — somewhere along the line, Apple stopped following user-centric design, deviating from the well-worn path of design principles that were originally based on common sense, as well as experimental science.
Apple is destroying design. Worse, it is revitalizing the old belief that design is only about making things look pretty. No, not so! […] Apple is reinforcing the old, discredited idea that the designer’s sole job is to make things beautiful, even at the expense of providing the right functions, aiding understandability, and ensuring ease of use.
- Technically, this piece from Quartz’s Dan Frommer was published on December 1st. But I’m going to let it slide, because Frommer writes about how the Apple Watch feels like a stalled platform, half a year later. The issue, he says, is that he’s still using the Apple Watch for the same things he was when it launched. Even with all the improvements to apps brought about with watchOS 2, apps are still so half-baked to the point where you might as well get out your iPhone, and the glances and complications that Apple does allow have been hobbled to the point where the brand-new Pocket Weather Australia can only display the expected high on your watch face, due to battery life concerns. Perhaps Elon Musk said it best when he said the functionality just isn’t there yet.
The watch was designed as a sibling to the iPhone. Its capability feels constrained, because it is. Everything has been optimized for power efficiency. It relies on the iPhone for configuration, intelligence, and internet access. This has been a known issue since the beginning.
But after months of use, it’s increasingly clear that this is what needs to change the most. The watch needs to be untethered from the iPhone for speed, independence, and direct access to the power of the cloud. Or it will never be more than a cute sidekick.