How the Apple iTV will work

Most journalists now believe Apple will be releasing a TV this year. Speculating over Apple’s plans is close to impossible, but if we look closely at what Apple have been releasing over the last few years I think we can predict what an Apple iTV would be like. There are a lot of problems. All of which would be solved by taking the problems out of the TV set and instead making it a much more connected device.
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Path 2.0 UX review

Path was a weird app when it launched about a year ago. It was a photo sharing app with checkins, directly competing with Instagram and Foursquare but without the simplicity. It also had the really weird USP that you could “only share with 50 of your closest friends!”… Now, most people don’t have more close friends than that. Hell, most people don’t come close to that. But the early adopter crowd that usually takes these new apps for a spin were appalled. But Path was beautiful.

Path 1.0

It didn’t work.

But Path is back! Path 2.0 is better, faster, turbo, everything you could possibly want. But is it good enough?

Path first impressions

Path is incredibly beautiful. No other mobile experience comes close. Seriously, it’s not just pretty graphics, all the animations and interactions, the structure of information, the loading bars and even the damned typing experience is just plain better than in other apps. It’s amazing.

Path 2.0

So what is Path?

Path is a digital diary for your life. Everyone on Path has a feed. And at any time you can add stuff to your own: where you are, a piture, who you’re with, music you’re listening to or when you go to sleep.

Using Path

Is lonely. Sure it launched today but that’s not the main issue. Path is clearly going for the same feature set as Facebook Timeline (which is tied up in court and has yet to launch) but there’s no way you’ll get all your friends to come over. I’m an early adopter. I talk to a lot of other early adopters. And I’m still lonely on Path.

Still, it’s an amazing experience. Enough to make me want to use it. Maybe that’s enought? I’ll update in a few days and let you know.

A new iOS notification design

Something I don’t get about most current design is that designers adding features always add layers of complexity.
Never add things unnecessarily.

This is my design for a new Notification system. The notification counter on top will ping in color and sound/vibration when new notifications drop in. The user can set which service does what in settings.

The entire notification list is under the spotlight window. If you use spotlight, it’ll disappear until you remove your search.

 

UPDATE:

iOS5 has been unveiled and while I’m not shocked to find I wasn’t spot on, I am a bit shocked by their adding another menu just for notifications. If you have no idea what I’m talking about check em out here.

iPad 3 without buttons

The iPad three will probably have a button, but you’ll never use it. Before the iPad 2 was announced there were rumors that Apple were preparing an iPad without a home button. There was much debate and the rumor seemed drastic. But the rumors are actually true.

New interface gestures for iOS 4.3 which shipped on the iPad2 lets you multitask without using the home button. Pinch to homescreen let’s you close apps without the button and swipe up to reveal the multitasking bar let’s you exit apps that are running in the background. Effectively making the home button a relic of the past.

So from the release of iOS5 (probably with the iPhone 5 this june) you might never need to use a button on an iOS device again. Some of you might think that’s a great thing, I for one would love it since I rarely double click fast enough, and others might think it’s useless.

The tail end of this effect is that you could, theoretically, controll all the interactions with apps running on an Apple TV with a Magic Trackpad…

Let the rumor mills run wild! 😉

New iOS notification system

Notifications on the iPhone and the iPad are broken. They distract us and get us away from our work flow or Angry Birds and if you, like me, get a lot of them they stack most annoyingly.
Push notification on an iPhone

So why haven’t Apple already solved this?
We can’t know that for sure, secretive as Apple is. But I’ll bet it has something to do with the new iteration of OS X.

Lion
In Lion Apple is bringing iOS features back to the Mac. Specifically, for notifications, applications are now encouraged to be full screen. Full screen apps can’t use badges or jumping icons in the dock to notify users of what’s going on.

Lion has to redesign notifications.
And Lion has to make notifications work with full screen apps, exactly the same problem that Apple faces on the iPhone and iPad.

Unified notification system
I believe the new notification system will be the same, or very similar, across all Apple platforms. It just makes to much sense not to, all their devices need new notifications and they face the same constraints… Except input. iOS handles touch,  OS X has a mouse/keyboard. Both of them handle gestures however.

Universal Gestures?
In the new beta of iOS, 4.3, Apple has released a set of gestures to do multitasking making the feature a lot more powerful and easy to use.

These gestures don’t translate all that well to the iPhone (five fingers on a 3″ screen?) but I dare say Apple can solve that.
But I also notice there’s one gesture missing: down.
Right and left swipes change app, swipe up to show active apps, why not swipe down to show a notification app/menu?

Notification app/menu/dock
Gathers all notifications, only needs to make a sound or visual cue for new notifications and users can come back to it at will.
It would work on all Apple devices and could be accessed by gesture or from the icon.

Sounds pretty Apple-y to me. What are your thoughts?

AirPlay review: flawed feature

AirPlay, the amazing feature released by Apple in iOS4.2, allows you to stream audio and video to AirPlay enabled devices.
While such devices are severely limited right now (only for iDevices and not even Macs) the feature works like magic and is a revolution we’ve been waiting for in sharing media in the real world.

So why flawed? Coming home today I switched my podcast over to my stereo as I entered my apartment. While making dinner I was smirking at some droll statement when I received a text. The sound was played on my stereo. Not my iPhone.

If AirPlay simply tranfers all audio (or video) from the system to another system the practicality evaporates quickly. With the decrepid notification system still on iOS will we be doomed to listen to beeps and pings until iOS5?!

Steve, please, don’t let this continue.

The New Twitter interface reeks of WebOS

Twitter.com has released a new interface based on two panes; one for the real time stream for tweets and one for the selected tweet, it’s options and dialogue.

This design is really closely related to the official Twitter iPad app:

But what gets me most is that both these designs are so very closely related to the Palm HP WebOS:

Jump into the video and really check out the WebOS cards interface model. How different is it from Twitter panes model?

Apple eases up on iOS developers

Apple logo carved into red Apples
Apple has just released a statement that they are easing up restrictions for developers of the iOS platform. More specifically in sections 3.3.1, 3.3.2 and 3.3.9. Exact information is scarce so far but Gizmodo is digging hard right now and Engadget has found out that this means Apple will allow “any and all” third party development apps including Flash CS5!

Apple also says they’ll the App Store Review Guidelines to “help developers understand how we review submitted apps”.

Great day for iOS developers!

Apple Airplay

With the upcoming release of iOS 4.2 Apple has revealed a new feature, or an upgrade to the old Airtunes feature, called Airplay. Airplay will let us stream media content between our iOS devices.

Just think about it, coming home from a shopping spree just aching to tell your spouse about the hideous dress/jacket/guy you saw. Whipping out your iPhone and displaying the picture on your Apple TV or iPad. Sounds like the future to me!

There are only two questions that come to mind I’m really interested in:

  1. Will Airplay allow us to send content to a Mac as well as from one?
  2. We know third party devices will be able to receive media but can third party apps also send media through Airplay? Since it’s a part of iOS it should be an open API… right?

Check out the CNET write up for more thoughts on Airplay.

Whats does Apple’s new iOS 4 mean?

Apple has just gotten off stage at the World Wide Developers Conference, announcing the iPhone 4.
But more importantly they’re highlighted the iPhone OS 4, and renamed it iOS 4. Why rename it?

Well first the iOS is also on the iPad. But I don’t believe that is enough of a reason for the change. The more interesting implication is that the iOS will become a wider device OS that Apple will keep developing hardware for.

Apple TV? Maybe. But be sure that Apple will release information late and that hype will build up.