’The iPad and iOS Nowhere Near As Far Along As the Mac Was a Generation Ago’ →

November 20, 2018 · 08:35

John Gruber, on Daring Fireball:

But, I will object to one thing: the iPad feels like a young platform, yes, but it’s not young. It’s over 8 years old. Steve Jobs was still around to introduce it. When the Mac was 8 years old in 1992, System 7 had been launched and it was a very advanced platform, suitable for work of any kind. The new iPad Pro hardware might be the best consumer computer hardware ever made — the only rivals are the iPhone XS and XR. But software-wise, the iPad platform is nowhere near as far along after 8 years as the Mac was a generation ago. The iPhone is. But the iPad is not, and I don’t see how anyone can deny that.

Apple slowed down evolving iPadOS features in the beginning and then tried to speed them up as the hardware started to get better at a rapid pace, but the software team just can’t keep up. It’s still missing utterly basic functionality and I’m really hoping iOS 13 is a big one for the iPad. June is so far away though…


John Gruber Has Further Details On Project “Marzipan” →

May 1, 2018 · 09:25

John Gruber, for Daring Fireball:

This “Marzipan” rumor got a lot of people excited. But Gurman’s report is so light on technical details that the excitement is based mostly on what developers hope it could mean, not what’s actually been reported. The less specific the rumor, the easier it is to project your own wishes upon it. And, oddly perhaps, we haven’t seen any additional rumors or details about this project in the four months since Gurman’s original report.

I’ve heard a few things, from first- and second-hand sources. Mostly second-hand, to be honest, but they’re all consistent with each other.

Firstly, the details John posted shed more light on iOS and macOS in the coming years.

Secondly, since this is in regard to Gurman’s “Marzipan” leak, Mark isn’t as credible as he once was:

Gurman doesn’t mention that the meeting was leaked to Gurman himself — the person who leaked this story was caught and fired.


I Envy John Gruber’s Writing Style →

April 5, 2017 · 10:12

The bomb dropped yesterday — midday for me — that Apple was still working on the Mac Pro. Five people were invited for a unique briefing by four — Phil Schiller, Craig Federighi, John Ternus and Bill Evans. This was amazing news which I was not expecting. Quite frankly, I had assumed that the Mac Pro was dead, having gone so long without any updates. I was genuinely happy for most of the day because that meant that my favourite software platform — macOS — has a future. But as I write these words, I can’t help but go back to reading and re-reading John Gruber’s words:

We’re inside a nondescript single-story office building on Apple’s extended old campus, across De Anza Boulevard from One Infinite Loop. This is Apple’s “product realization lab” for Mac hardware, better known, internally, as “the machine lab”. This is where they make and refine prototypes for new Mac hardware. We don’t get to see anything cool. There is no moment where they lift a black cloth and show us prototypes of future hardware. The setting feels chosen simply to set the tone that innovative Mac hardware design — across the entire Mac lineup — is not a thing of the past.

There are only nine people at the table. Phil Schiller, Craig Federighi, and John Ternus (vice president, hardware engineering — in charge of Mac hardware) are there to speak for Apple. Bill Evans from Apple PR is there to set the ground rules and run the clock. (We had 90 minutes.) The other five are writers who were invited for what was billed as “a small roundtable discussion about the Mac”: Matthew Panzarino, Lance Ulanoff, Ina Fried, John Paczkowski, and yours truly.

The discussion is on the record.

I have been following John’s writing for many years now and these are the posts which always fascinate me most. Gruber has a knack for setting the mood for the reader, despite writing about a ‘normal’ meeting between technology executives and journalists — it reads as well as good thriller fiction.

While I did not appreaciate the other invitees articles as much, Matthew Panzarino’s piece was great too, although writting in his own style:

As representatives of the largest company on the planet, it’s not shocking that they need to consider how everything they say could be interpreted both by users and by the market. But it does highlight the difficulty of the balancing act they’re trying to pull off. Having a dialog with pro users (and other users) is healthy in the long run, and seeing Apple make an attempt at this is gratifying. On the other hand, I definitely get the impression that scaling from an audience of five to millions with that dialog is very much an experiment.

As we file out of the building, I can hear the whine of machines beginning to carve away on the next generation of Macs, now promised explicitly for the first time ever.

It’s John’s personal style and the way he describes the most mundane things that make me envious. I still remember his piece from 2012 about Mountain Lion:

“We’re starting to do some things differently,” Phil Schiller said to me.

We were sitting in a comfortable hotel suite in Manhattan just over a week ago. I’d been summoned a few days earlier by Apple PR with the offer of a private “product briefing”. I had no idea heading into the meeting what it was about. I had no idea how it would be conducted. This was new territory for me, and I think, for Apple (…)

Handshakes, a few pleasantries, good hot coffee, and then, well, then I got an Apple press event for one. Keynote slides that would have looked perfect had they been projected on stage at Moscone West or the Yerba Buena Center, but instead were shown on a big iMac on a coffee table in front of us (…)

Schiller has no notes. He is every bit as articulate, precise, and rehearsed as he is for major on-stage events. He knows the slide deck stone cold. It strikes me that I have spoken in front of a thousand people but I’ve never been as well-prepared for a presentation as Schiller is for this one-on-one meeting. (Note to self: I should be that rehearsed.)

This is an awful lot of effort and attention in order to brief what I’m guessing is a list of a dozen or two writers and journalists. It’s Phil Schiller, spending an entire week on the East Coast, repeating this presentation over and over to a series of audiences of one. There was no less effort put into the preparation of this presentation than there would have been if it had been the WWDC keynote address.

What do I think so far, Schiller asks.

These two articles are probably my two favourites pieces from his full archive. They could have just as easily not mentioned any products or Apple news itself — just reading about the atmosphere, settings, and people is fascinating enough for me.

Keep writing John. And Phil, please keep inviting John into stranger and stranger surroundings and situations.


Sal Soghoian — A Rebel Fighting the Good Fight →

November 17, 2016 · 08:16

John Gruber:

I have the impression that Soghoian was a bit of a rebel within Apple, fighting the good fight to keep advancing the Mac’s automation tools. If they had simply fired him, that’d be one thing, but the fact that they’ve eliminated his position is another. This is shitty news. I find this to be a profoundly worrisome turn of events for the future of the Mac. I hope I’m wrong.


John Gruber’s ‘The iPhones 7’ →

September 13, 2016 · 13:26

John Gruber:

After just five days — more than half of which I’ve spent using the matte black iPhone 7 Plus — this jet black iPhone 7 has a few “micro abrasions”, to use Apple’s own term. I can only see them when I’m looking for them, and only when I reflect light off the surface at the perfect angle, but they’re there. This is after two days of careful use, and never putting it in a pocket that contains anything else. The back surface of this phone shows more wear after (effectively) two days of use than my space gray 6S does after nearly a year.

I don’t mind the scratches as much as constant finger and face prints on the black front.

There is a rumor, rampant on Twitter, that the wide angle camera sensor on the 7 Plus is smaller than that of the 7. I checked with Apple and they were adamant that there is no truth to this. Optically, the wide angle camera on the Plus is identical to that of the 7. The only differences between the cameras are their internal connectors. The sensors and lenses are the same.

Good to have confirmation from an official source.

The telephoto second camera has a few limitations. It does not have OIS, for one thing. Second, it has an f/2.8 aperture; the wide angle lens has an f/1.8. The smaller the f-stop number, the larger the aperture is. You know how the corneas of your eyes open wide when it’s dark, to let more light into your eyes? That’s exactly the purpose of the aperture on a camera. A smaller f-stop lets in more light. (The cameras on the iPhone 6S and 6S plus had apertures of f/2.2.)

Thus, in my opinion, the second camera on the 7 Plus is mostly useful with well-lit-room-or-better lighting. In low-light situations, you’re going to want to shoot at 1x with the wide angle lens. But when you do have good lightning, especially outdoors, the image quality from the telephoto lens is terrific.

Too bad about lack of OIS, but then again, I never really needed it, apart from days when I shoot video. Nice to hear that the quality is up there though.

Even with high-end DSLR cameras and lenses that produce a shallow depth of field naturally, the photographer doesn’t see it before they take the shot.

This part is wrong. On every camera with a TTL viewfinder1, the photographer sees exactly what the lens does, including the DoF. You can however stop down a DSLR lens to preview the set aperture, if it’s not set to wide open, to judge the DoF before taking the shot. The small viewfinder makes this harder to see than on a large LCD screen. DoF preview is not possible through the OVF of cameras such as a Fuji X100 or Leica rangefinder, unless you use the EVF.

Apart from that small error above, I urge you to read John’s insightful take on the new iPhones.

  1. Through-the-lens.

John Gruber Says Goodbye to Vesper →

August 24, 2016 · 08:28

John Gruber:

I really enjoyed working with Brent and Dave. When we were on a roll I could tell that we were doing good work, and it was fun. I’ve spent the better part of my career working solo. It was great to be on a team. I don’t remember who came up with the names “Q Branch” (I think that was Brent), or “Vesper” (I’m pretty sure that one was Dave), but in both cases, as soon as the name was proposed, the whole team said, Yes, that’s the name. That’s it.

With “Vesper” we were thinking things like beautiful, smart, clever, strong. In the end, the name was more apt than we knew, because it also carries heartbreak.

John also points out the mistakes they probably made while working on Vesper. Looking back on my years of using Vesper, he’s probably right. It’s a good example of how your love for your product can blind you from the seemingly obvious.

Even though I had absolutely nothing to do with Vesper, I am very sad that the app is now officially dead. It’s still on my home screen and though I haven’t been using it for a while, it did provide a very specific function in my workflow. One that I will miss greatly. There aren’t many apps out in the world with which I had developed something more than just a passing fancy. Truly, there are only two pieces of software that I can say that I loved. One of them is Tweetbot [iOS / Mac], which will keep me pinned to iOS for as long as it exists — I already dread the day when Tapbots call it quits — and the second is Vesper [iOS]. While Tweetbot completely replaced my need for the official Twitter app, I as hoping Vesper would do the same for Evernote and Notes. Unfortunately, it didn’t and seeing how sad this whole situation makes me, I can only imagine the pain that Brent, Dave, and John are going through.

Cheers, Vesper. We had a good run, you and I.


Vesper and Q Branch Are Shutting Down

August 22, 2016 · 09:53

It’s Monday morning and the first news of the day that I read is that Q Branch is shutting down and so is their app — Vesper. I have been using Vesper for a few specific tasks since it debuted back during the iOS 6 days. I still remember it was one of the first apps to look pretty damned good after Apple changed their design language in iOS 7. It was also one of the first apps to be ready for the 4.7″ and 5.5″ iPhone screens.

Continue reading →


Phil Schiller Calls John Gruber to Talk About the App Store →

June 9, 2016 · 15:36

John Gruber:

“We’re doing something a little different this year. We’ve got a bunch of App Store/developer-related announcements for WWDC next week, but frankly, we’ve got a busy enough keynote that we decided we’re not going to cover those in the keynote. And rather, just cover them in the afternoon and throughout the week. We’re talking to people today for news tomorrow about those things, in advance of WWDC, and then developers can come and be ready for sessions about these things, with knowledge about them before the conference. We haven’t done this before, but we figured, what the heck, let’s give it a try.”

So started my phone call with Phil Schiller yesterday.

More information from John. I love how the ‘new Apple’ communicates with people like Gruber and Dalrymple. And it surprises me every single time.


The Talk Show Tickets Sell Out in Seconds

June 7, 2016 · 08:09

John Gruber tweeted this, on the hour:

One minute later:

Taking into account that it took him a frantic few seconds to type out that second tweet, and that he probably first stared dumbfounded at his screen that it went so fast, 15-20 seconds seems like a fair estimation.

Lottery anyone?


The iPhone SE — an Elegant Smartphone, for a More Civilized Age →

April 2, 2016 · 08:21

John Gruber:

If you’ve already upgraded to an iPhone 6 or 6S and have made peace with the trade-offs of a larger, heavier, less-grippy-because-of-the-round-edges form factor, the appeal is less clear. Me, I talk the talk about preferring the smaller form factor, but ultimately I’m a sucker for top-of-the-line CPU/GPU performance and camera quality. For the next six months or so, the iPhone SE stands on the top tier. After that, it won’t — I think — and it’ll be back to the 4.7-inch display form factor for me. So why bother switching back for just a few months? I keep asking myself.
And then I pick up the iPhone SE, and hold it in my hand.

Sometimes, it’s what’s in your heart that’s important, despite your head telling you otherwise.

John also mentions how many errors he now makes while typing on the 4″ virtual keyboard — I remember I was great at typing on that screen until I moved to the iPhone 6 and later to the iPhone 6S Plus. When I tried to use the small keyboard a few months after making the switch to the 4.7″ screen, I found I was abysmal at typing on it.


John Gruber Talks to Guests Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi on The Talk Show →

February 14, 2016 · 14:15

John Gruber:

Drop what you’re doing and find a pair of headphones: my guests on this special episode of my podcast are Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi. It’s a wide-ranging discussion, and includes a bunch of interesting scoops: the weekly number of iTunes and App Store transactions, an updated Apple Music subscriber count, peak iMessage traffic per second, the number of iCloud account holders, and more.

I can’t wait to listen to this.


John Gruber Scores Amazing Guest Interview on the Talk Show →

December 15, 2015 · 08:58

John Gruber:

John Siracusa returns to the show to follow up on Federighi’s segment on Swift. Other topics include Apple’s new Smart Battery Case for the iPhone 6/6S, and our mutual (and perhaps futile) desire to head into this week’s premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens knowing as few spoilers as possible.

Also, some guy named Craig Federighi is on before Siracusa.