Category Archives: OS X

Mac OS X related

Cross Platform User Experience Inconsistencies: Apple’s Safari

For the past several years, working intimately with multi-platform content providers, like TMZ1 and The Daily2—and as a self-admitted gadget-holic owning a multitude of different devices—I’ve been extremely conscious of inconsistencies between all the cross-platform variants of the content and applications that I interface with daily.

As someone who is product-minded, several of these inconsistencies drive me absolutely mad. In the hopes of someone from one of these companies fixing these inconsistencies, I decided I should start writing these down as blog posts. I’ll be writing a series of these discussing Apple, Google, Twitter, and FlipBoard to name a few. To be clear: I’m a big fan and heavy user of all the products I plan on highlighting in these posts.

Apple’s Safari

I have an iPad and I use Safari on my MacBook Air. Apple very smartly stole took a cue from Google Chrome and made the address bar also be the search field for Safari on OS X; they call it the Unified Smart Search Field:

Safari’s Unified Smart Search Field: Search Google or enter an address

It’s great. I love it and use it daily.

Unfortunately, I also use Safari on my iPad daily. And on iOS, for some reason (even though iOS has been updated more recently than OS X), there is no Unified Smart Search Field:

On iOS, Address Bar & Search are two different and separate things.

Due to the conditioning that I have received from Safari Desktop, I inevitably end up clicking in the Address Bar when on my iPad and trying to type in a search query there. This, of course, doesn’t work and I find myself triply frustrated: frustrated by this inconsistency between these two different versions of Safari, frustrated by having to re-enter whatever I was attempting to type in the Address Bar (I normally don’t catch the mistake until I try to add a space in my search and find no space bar on the ever-changing, depending upon the task iOS keyboard), and frustrated by the fact that no matter how savvy a end user I may be, I still make this mistake. Frustrated. Every. Single. Day.

Fortunately, there’s a Google Chrome Browser app for iOS that I can use now to avoid this. But I don’t. Using Safari on my Desktop and Chrome on my iOS would mean that I’m not using either iCloud or Google Sync effectively. Does Apple want me to dump Safari completely and go all Google Chrome? This inconsistency sure makes it feel that way.

If I did that, I would have better Google Sync across all my iOS devices and my Android phone. Although if I really wanted seamless Google Sync, maybe I should consider ditching all my Apple devices and going Google Android…

Mistake: Features ahead of Frustration

This should be obvious: Frustration isn’t a good thing for end users. It makes them think about ways to leave you and your products behind so that they simply no longer feel frustration. Continued frustration will often eat away at and outweigh any sort of brand loyalty or affinity they have for your product(s).

Sadly, a consistent, non-frustrating but more limited user experience is better than a really nice and highly functional product with amazing new features that has frustrations that the user encounters every single day. While you’re ignoring the parts of your product that frustrate users, your competition, if they’re smart, will be adding features and polish to their less frustrating experience.

Apple shouldn’t have introduced the Unified Smart Search Field until they had it ready for all their platforms. Or they should have quickly added it to iOS. As it stands, they’re letting their size—the fact that they have multiple different teams working on different versions of their product—create inconsistencies between a product that based on engineering teams is most likely seen as very different, but which in our cross-platform multiple-device world is seen by the end user as something that should be as functionally identical as possible.


1website, mobile web, iOS apps, & Television (everyone always seems to forget that TV is a digital platform)

2iPad, iPhone, Android tablet, Android phone, Kindle Fire, Facebook app, and individual web-pages for iPad content that had been flagged as shareable.

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Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard available for pre-order from Amazon

As noted by AppleInsider and several others, Amazon now has Mac OS 10.6, code-named Snow Leopard, available for pre-order in a few different flavors:

Obsessable has the details on what’s new in Snow Leopard, and $29 to upgrade the OS is the lowest price I’ve ever seen from Apple. I’m thinking about getting one of the box sets myself.

If you use one of the links above to purchase your upgrade, some money goes my way, and is greatly appreciated.

Rumors of iTablets return

Macrumors has found a Mandarin language article that claims that Apple has a netbook/iTablet in the works with a 9.7-inch screen that will be priced at $800:

Because Apple will adopt touch screen technology on its netbooks, Apple will not target low-end consumers, avoiding direct competition with Acer, Asus, as well as their less-than-500-dollars netbooks. Apple’s netbook (or a “tablet” as many call it,) will probably be sold at around $800 USD each.

Considering the odd netbook/tablet, switcheroo, I’m skeptical of this rumor, although I’d be delighted to be wrong. Also, a somewhat reliable source of mine in the past swears that he’s had his hands on a prototype version of the iTablet with a 7-inch screen, because supposedly a friend of his works in Apple’s R&D department. So 9 inches sounds too big, because of this bit of unconfirmable leaked information that I’ve never mentioned here before because of how sketchy it is.

[via Gizmodo]

More discussion here…

iPhone OS 3.0 cut, copy, and paste feature’s point of failure

os3copypastefailI want more than anything else for my new iPhone 3G S to become my new portable blogging solution. I remarked a while back that my first generation iPhone approached my ideal of a perfect portable gadget, and I was really hoping that with the addition of copy and paste in iPhone OS 3.0 software, I’d finally have an iPhone that could be used to do everything on this blog that I normally do via my computer.

Unfortunately, I’ve discovered one huge flaw with copy and paste as it’s currrently implemented on the iPhone. You cannot copy and paste text from within a very popular field: the YouTube embed code field. It’s not as narrow a problem as that though. Basically, you can only copy and paste from fields that allow you to edit the contents of the field (this is the point where the YouTube embed code fails), and even then any small field that doesn’t display the entirety of its contents within the field won’t let you select long strings of content that run outside the currently visible parts of the field. This is a design flaw in copy and paste that I hope Apple addresses.

But the problem here doesn’t stop with the copy and paste. There’s an extra set of design problems on the iPhone 3G S; it’s a flaw in Apple’s thinking about how people would want to use video. Right now, I can shoot a video anywhere, anytime with my iPhone 3G S and upload that video immediately to YouTube or email it to someone. Once I’ve uploaded the video to YouTube, if I’m a content creator and blogger (I’m both and lots of people fall under this category), the next logical step is for me to want to grab the embed code for the video and embed it into a post. Unfortunately, all links to the video from the iPhone 3G S take you to the YouTube app on the iPhone, which notably lacks any way to grab the embed code. I can share the video by emailing it, and by emailing it to myself, I can grab the URL for linking to the video in a blog post, which is useful.

However, if you try to copy and paste that URL into Mobile Safari in order to get to the field where you should be able to grab the embed code (if you could), Mobile Safari redirects you immediately back to the YouTube application on the iPhone. In order to even attempt a copy and paste of the embed code, you have to go to http://www.youtube.com in Mobile Safari, scroll to the bottom of the screen and choose “View in Desktop Mode” and then go to your account / search for the video in question. Then once you’re on the video’s page, you can set the size of the embed and do all sorts of things except copy and paste the embed code.

If someone at Apple happens to read this, please either adjust copy and paste, or add a “Copy embed code for this video” to the YouTube application itself. Preferably do both, as they both lead to more flexibility and better workflow for all of us out here in internet land who are eager to use the little machines we bought from you to make really cool stuff while on the go. Thanks!

UPDATE: Copy and paste from Flickr works fine:

Darling

iPhone OS running on a Mac Pro and a 24-inch touchscreen

I‘d like to know how this was done and if it is real. If it is real then someone has installed a bootable version of iPhone / iPod touch OS onto a Mac Pro that is connected to a 24-inch touchscreen monitor and is able to navigate it as if it is a very large iPhone. The infrared remote control is used to replicate the Home button on the iPhone / iPod touch. If it is fake, then it’s a video of actions from an iPhone to which the guy has choreographed his movements:

@davezatz thinks it’s faked. I suspect it may be real. My one big no, it’s a fake thought is the screen. That’s a 24-inch Dell screen and unless its been hacked somehow, it’s not a touchscreen. A multi-touch capable touchscreen is even less likely.

This, on a hackintoshed netbook / tablet with a touchscreen would = a nice iTablet.

[Found via @ryancarson]

UPDATE: Since this originates from Dreamfield.se, a group that works on HD post-production (note their about section: “Dreamfield are working with any aspect of post production and the main body of our products are made in-house.”), I’m now 99% sure this is a fake. A cool fake, though, and something I’d like to see materialize someday as real.