Archive for September 30, 2019

Monday, September 30, 2019

From iOS to Android and Back Again

Greg Morris:

Indeed Android is the more useful operating system, it makes it much easier to interact with notifications and find things you need instantly.


I am always fascinated by Android handsets, a huge selling point for Android is that it is far more exciting from a hardware perspective. You are guaranteed to find an handset that is suited to you use case however niche it might be.


In exchange for giving up control you get the best source of high quality, diverse and sometimes expensive software in existence. Apples App Store still trumps Google Play for quality of apps by a long chalk, although the standard on Android is much better than even a couple of years ago.


Decreasing iOS Information Density

Kyle Howells:

iOS 13 and the iPhone 11’s continue the trend of making phones bigger while making the UI even bigger, to get less information density than the small devices used to have.

iOS 13 Photos app for example has gone 3 photos wide, instead of 4.

So now the photos are giant, the app feels like Duplo, and I can see hardly any photos at once.


The original music app on the 3.5" iPhone had more information density than Apple Music does today, and it did so while also having a persistent tool/navigation bar.

Marco Barrios:

This is so true. I have the iPhone XR that is uncomfortable to hold because it is too large but I can only see 3 messages at a time.

Kyle Howells:

The worst thing iOS 7’s redesign did was kill information density.

When you remove all visual affordances except white space and color UI’s balloon and bloat massively.

Kyle Howells:

This is an anti pattern I’d really like to see the industry outgrow.

It became fashionable with Metro & iOS 7 to get rid of borders and all UI affordances in favour of just adding more white space, but it’s less usable, balloons UI sizes and massively reduces information density

Again, the bottom one looks more fashionable but is much harder to use.

Keep the new colors but reintroduce the borders, tighten the spacing slightly (now you can as you have borders) and it’s much nicer to use.


Update (2019-10-11): Tanner Bennett:

I made this a while back. The red is empty space.

Visual Voicemail Implemented via IMAP

Michael McNeela:

Visual Voicemail on iPhone is …an IMAP email account behind the scenes, with each voicemail message being an email message with an attached audio file

When someone leaves a message, your mobile network sends a silent SMS to iOS; so it knows to download it.

Mauricio Freitas:

This is how the old Exchange 2003 Activesync protocol used to work... SMS to mobile device, which in turn would fetch emails from server. All different after always-on connections... But very old idea

Justin Santamaria:

Many years ago, I was responsible for writing the VVM spec at Apple to distribute to carriers - it was pretty clear that an off-the-shelf solution would allow adoption faster than anything custom and there was no need to reinvent the wheel (and the chase bugs involved therein).

So IIRC we provided the spec, carriers to implement, but there is an industry of 3rd party software for carriers, so I think a lot has to do with whether your carrier’s solutions supplier supported it and agreed to license it.

Also some had their own separate VVM implementations and were resistant to have another one.

Here’s the specification.

Sergej Schmidt:

The first thing we recognized was the format of the account name (as already seen in network traffic) as well as the password, which is stored in cleartext. Knowing the server IP address, we already reach the critical amount of sensitive information becoming available through sniffing the network traffic. As the IMAP protocol on port 143 is used for communication, we were able to test the retrieved connection data and credentials by using a standard email client. Unsurprisingly it worked out well. The screenshots show how we used thunderbird to read the folder structure of the mailbox itself. Voice calls are basically implemented as emails with an .amr audio file attached.


Software as Business

Oluseyi Sonaiya:

Web applications have certain advantages, such as every user being updated to the latest version whenever you want, but also come with certain expectations such as user-created data being stored remotely and needing to be exported/downloaded to a local device. This expectation allows web app publishers a measure of leverage, in that they can charge a fee to grant users access to the data they create using the app.


The demand for performance at scale drives them to something they can install locally, and use local file assets against, simply periodically syncing to remote (“cloud”) storage. This is the Adobe Creative Cloud model, charging for continued access to the programs[…] These petitions were unsuccessful, but I firmly believe that the response to this change by Adobe spawned dozens of new design and creative applications, almost all of which opted for the “traditional” pay to purchase/license in perpetuity model: Pixelmator, Procreate, Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer, Sketch, LumaFusion, etc.


Overlapping all of this were changes in user expectations around the price of downloaded and installed application software, driven primarily by Apple’s App Store. While early apps had price points comparable to desktop software of the early and mid-2000s, the competition for audience and the willingness of publishers of substitutes to undercut each other on pricing created a “race to zero,” such that today the average app’s price is barely $1.

Update (2019-10-11): Isaiah Carew:

i think many assume the app store price pressure is the new normal. that user expectations simply changed for all software one day.

but outside of mobile app store the $1 app expectation never took root. there is pressure to reduce prices sure, but nothing like the app store.

Isaiah Carew:

I believe (and base my business strategy - what there is of it anyway) that there is still a very active market for pro-sumer productivity software priced under $100.

the market is much smaller than mobile, but the user-base is willing to pay reasonable prices for useful tools.