Archive for May 20, 2015

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Mistake One

Marco Arment (tweet):

I hate typing on it, I hate the trackpad, it’s slower than I expected, the screen is noticeably blurry from non-native scaling to get reasonable screen space, and I don’t even find it very comfortable to use in my lap because it’s too small.

[…]

The 11-inch MacBook Air shows that the MacBook’s compromises have nothing to do with going Retina — the One has roughly the same GPU, less horsepower, less space, less weight, and a smaller battery, yet still drives a Retina screen perfectly well. Apple could have made a Retina MacBook Air instead of (or in addition to) this new MacBook, but chose not to.

[…]

This concerns me more than you probably think it should. Not only does it represent compromised standards in areas I believe are important, but it suggests that they don’t have many better ideas to advance the products beyond making them thinner, and they’re willing to sacrifice anything to keep that going.

He hates the new trackpad so much that he just bought a discontinued MacBook Pro with the old one. I think everyone else I’ve read has liked it, though. I remain happy with my new Air.

Update (2015-06-23): Matt Gemmell:

It did take a day to adjust, and maybe two days to learn to trust myself again without glancing over.

[…]

Otherwise, I was fluent and back up to speed with the new keyboard within an hour of switching over. It’s just not as different in use as it at first seems.

San Francisco as the Mac System Font

Mark Gurman (via Mike Rundle):

Apple is currently planning to use the new system font developed for the Apple Watch to refresh the looks of iPads, iPhones, and Macs running iOS 9 “Monarch” and OS X 10.11 “Gala,” according to sources with knowledge of the preparations. Current plans call for the Apple-designed San Francisco font to replace Helvetica Neue, which came to iOS 7 in 2013 and OS X Yosemite just last year, beginning with a June debut at WWDC.

[…]

Ever since switching to particularly thin weights of Helvetica Neue in iOS 7, Apple has been chastised for using a font that emphasizes clean lines over readability, and San Francisco is intended to solve this. According to the sources familiar with the decision to move to the San Francisco type face on iOS and OS X, Apple higher-ups also believe that the new look will serve to refresh its familiar operating systems, helping iOS and OS X to avoid becoming stale. However, some Apple engineers have told us that they are not fans of the new font, which may look particularly rough on non-Retina screens.

John Gruber:

Note too, that Apple is also using San Francisco for the keycaps on the new MacBook keyboard — Apple seems to moving toward using it for the “user interface” both in software and hardware.

Marco Arment:

If Mark Gurman is right, and he has a pretty good track record, I’m looking forward to seeing this. I don’t dislike Helvetica Neue, but it feels bland and overused, and it wasn’t designed for screen legibility.

The concern I have is that Helvetica Neue is bad on non-Retina displays, and it seems like San Francisco would be even worse there.

Update (2015-05-20): Nick Heer:

When it was released with WatchKit, I tried San Francisco as my OS X system font and found it even harder to read than Helvetica Neue. I suspect this is because the version I used was optimized for the Watch; I have hope that the version used on OS X will be optimized for that system, including for non-Retina displays. I’m very excited to see how this works.

Joe Cieplinski:

Helvetica Neue looks pretty crappy with its custom kerning in OS X, especially on non-Retina screens. (Which a majority of Mac users use and will use for years to come.) I don’t know how San Francisco will look on a non-Retina screen, but it would very likely be no worse.

New iPhone Lightning Dock

At first Apple had no Lightening dock. The next year it finally had two. Unlike with the 30-pin iPhones, I needed two hands to remove the iPhone 5s from the Lightning dock. And the dock itself stopped working after a short time. Since it never was that great, I decided not to replace it. I’ve since found that, if I’m going to use two hands anyway, I might as well keep the iPhone flat on my desk, underneath my MacBook Pro (which is on an iCurve). That gives me back some desk space.

John Gruber:

Truly curious about the timing on this — why not unveil it back when the iPhones 6 came out last year? I like using docks for my phone, and for years I used Apple’s. Ever since I switched to the iPhone 6 last year, though, I’ve used two third-party docks, both of which I like very much.

[…]

One thing both the HiRise and Spool Dock have in common with the new dock from Apple: they’re designed to work with iPhones of any width and thickness — past, current, or future.

Eric Slivka:

There are definitely some downsides, however, with the most obvious being stability. With the Lightning connector being the sole means of support for the iPhone, the device does tend to rock side to side if bumped.

[…]

For those who aren’t terribly concerned about the potential for accidental damage, the dock works well. It’s easy to mount the iPhone on the dock, and removal is also simple and possible to do one-handed by pressing down on the base with the side of your hand as you lift the iPhone off the dock.

That doesn’t sound as good as the old Dock Connector docks, which trivially worked one-handed.

The dock is officially compatible with all iPhone and iPod touch models with Lightning connectors, but yes, it will work with iPads as well. It might not be a great idea, however, as the much larger iPads are considerably less stable on the dock and the potential for damage to the Lightning connector or port is significantly higher with the possibility of greater torque on that single point of contact.

Update (2015-05-26): Iljitsch van Beijnum:

So the iPhone is only supported through its lightning port. As a result, it wobbles a bit side-to-side when touched. Fortunately, that doesn’t seem to affect the electronic connection between the phone and the dock. The iPhone sits fairly stable in the front/back direction. Still, I’m glad I get to use the dock with an iPhone 6 that’s still under warranty. The great thing about this design, apart from being both future- and past-proof (a rarity in Cupertino!), is that it lets the iPhone dock while it’s in Apple’s silicone case. There’s actually room for slightly bigger cases.

Update (2015-07-08): Julio Ojeda-Zapata:

In the end, though, Apple’s own iPhone Lightning Dock has the cleanest and simplest design, and that makes it my favorite of the bunch.