A former engineer turned product guy working on things you touch. You can email me

@Apple is going to treat 2012 a little differently, and this is why.

I foresee a huge year for Apple product releases, new iPad aside. In fact, I think they’re going to change up their normal “hold this product till next quarter to milk the fan base and keep the launches consistent” theme and go all out.

Reasons:

  1. Tim Cook has something to prove - Despite having the highest CEO rating, and being rated even higher than Jobs by Apple employees, there is still that feeling of “is he just launching things Jobs had already lined up?” If he wants to nip these whispers in the bud, he needs to launch more products than even necessary this year. I think Apple will overkill the launch lineup.
  2. Apple’s stock is in momentum mode and they should keep this going - At the time of this post, AAPL is going for $605 a share. Ridiculous right? What’s crazier is that people are looking at this number unsatisfied, as if it were a game - “what if Apple were worth a Trillion dollars! *pinky to mouth*”. In the last 5 trading days, AAPL has gone down $25 a share, but this is fine; investors need to breathe for a sec - they’ll be back after the next product launches.
  3. The Apple Ecosystem is almost at full circuit - While iCloud is keeping your Apple devices synced up, AirPlay via Apple TV is keeping you engaged. When Mountain Lion comes out, you’ll find more people buying AirPlay simply for Mirroring. Why not launch a few products that can market how the new OS, Apple TV, and AirPlay products work in harmony?
  4. The iPhone and iPad are gateway drugs and with iOS UX being ported back into Apple Mac OS, PC users with iPhones around the world are going to think twice when buying their next computer.

I’m not an Apple fanboy by any means, but I hope all of the above takes place; it’s always a win-win for technologists when the big players up the ante with true innovation.

Best,

~R

All this talk about the iPad 3…What about a MacBook Touch?

When are we going to see touch based Apple computers? Clearly the OS is moving in that direction - especially with the Lion line.

I guess what I’m really eager to see is how Apple pulls off a traditionally wonky experience, to a slick one.

When do you use Path…and why?

If you haven’t noticed, Path v2 has been out for a few weeks and it’s causing some noise. I find myself using it daily - something I couldn’t say about v1.

In a nutshell, this is my view of what Path does. It allows you to…

  • Check into places automatically (not sure what the logic is…perhaps it’s based on how long you’re in the area)
  • Post photos and videos
  • Post thoughts that users can comment or “smiley” on
  • Post your sleep and wake times, along with local weather
  • Places all of the above in a feed that is, to be honest, kinda noisy

Sounds like everything you’d want right? In fact, I should add that the design (aside from the crazy list of things people are doing) is pretty slick.

But still, when I think…

  • "I want to post this picture", I think Instagram
  • "I want to check-in", I think foursquare (note: i’ve been informed you can foursquare check-in via Path, but to get to it requires a bunch of steps…)
  • "I want to post a thought", I think TwitterFacebook, or Tumblr.
  • "I want to tell people I’m awake or going to sleep", I think, no one needs to know…

And yet, I still visit Path every day…and I think I’ve figured out why.

  • Path’s Add Friend Flow - Path pretty much made finding people too easy. You know how people are starting to say things like “I have so many Facebook friends that it’s no longer intiment”? Well, Path got me into that situation after about 15 minutes of use.
  • You visited, so I visited, then you visited… - Path lets me know when someone visits my “Path”, letting me click a button that lets me visit the viewers Path. What you end up doing is going into an endless loop of checking each others’ Paths. And if you’re like me, you’re not doing it out of interest…you’re doing it to clear the dang count!
  • Or maybe simply, I can’t help but think maybe there’s something to it I haven’t unlocked.

That said, I have a few friends that are all about it, so kudos to them for figuring out what Path should be used for.

Do you have a pro-tip that’ll teach me how to make the most out of Path? If so, please share. :)

Best,

~R

UnFeatured App: Things

I wasn’t too sure what to call this post. “Things, you should have just dove into things without over thinking things.” “Things, I can’t believe people paid money for your apps given the free alternatives.” “Featured App: Wunderlist”

Well, the first two were too long and the latter may end up becoming a real post in the future.  “UnFeatured” shall be what I preface these types of Had-a-Chance-but-Choked products…for now.

First off, what is Things?

In a nutshell, it’s an app that lets you add items to a checklist and check them as you go. For those of us that are all about task management, this idea is basic, but huge. Come on, I’m sure you’ve all Googled around for a great app that could do this, but just couldn’t find any - at least I know I have.

But…here are some things that screamed “maybe I should wait…”

  • The Mac App costs $49.95 (I mean, Lion is an Operating System and will be cheaper than that)
  • The iOS Apps costs an additional $9.99
  • And here’s the kicker…no cloud syncing between the devices!!!

To be fair, Things did try to solve the syncing issue herehere and here leading to here. Sadly, it’s a bit too late.

Enter Wunderlist!

Wunderlist does most of what you’d probably use from Things…except that it’s free, works on more devices andddd it has sync!

It’s a shame really. The Things team had something going for them but they over engineered their sync logic just a tad. In fact, Wunderlist went out with some bugs in their syncing, but they weren’t bad enough to warrant 60 bucks and 8 months of thinking. Besides, they’ve fixed them since.

Long story short…sometimes it’s good to just take a risk and jump into things rather than spend months at a time thinking about the craziest of edge cases.

Oh, and download Wunderlist - you won’t regret it. ;)

Dear Apple, here’s a “folder” suggestion…

One thing that bothers me about organizing things on my iPhone is the folder limitations. For instance, I probably have about 30+ games on my phone…and stuffing them into folders named Games and Games and Games is 1) not intuitive 2) not intuitive.

Some folks don’t even like organizing their phone because it’s hard for them to recall which “box” the app they’re trying to find lives in. I’m one of them, but I’ve forced myself to use an incredible amount of brain power to remember where Facebook and Instagram are.

But…back go to my rant at hand.

Why can’t we just have folders that allow for any number of apps and are all accessible via swipe? I mean, the parent level already does that so doesn’t it just make sense? We could even keep the max for each page at 12 apps, I don’t mind, just let me swipe. Yea, I know, you can use “Search iPhone” or argue that “it takes more clicks than if you went to the correct folder.” But guess what…1) search is often slow and 2) it may take less clicks if I find the right folder, but I’ll probably brain fart before getting to that folder, by trying to remember what I named the folder. Sound confusing? Good, because it is.

I don’t want to categorize my games by “Games RPG”, “Games Puzzles”, “Games Action”, etc. That requires me to think, and that’s not good. Let me just drop it into Games and swipe through it myself.

Thanks for listening. :)

~R