Thursday, October 10, 2019

Sherlocked by Sidecar

Savannah Reising:

A big misconception is that your main competitors are the other companies creating similar products to yours. In our case, we viewed Astropad and Luna Display’s biggest competitors as other second display and graphics tablet creators.

But all along, we really should have been worried about our platform provider, Apple. There will always be infinite ways to differentiate yourself against other competitor companies via price, features, and target markets. But if your platform provider decides to step into your domain, it’s a tough battle to position your product against a free, native feature.


We always knew that we wanted to go cross-platform. For quite awhile, we’ve heard from creative professionals about an exodus from Mac to Windows. For these creatives, it all comes down to getting more bang for your buck — super powerful PCs at a lower price than Apple products. In fact, we’d often hear from people begging us to come to Windows. But even though we knew the market was waiting for us, we pushed off the Windows effort because it created a catch-22 situation of really tough engineering problems.


In other words, while Sidecar will be good enough for the average user, we’ve carved out a niche space for the pro users that need a more powerful tool.

Adam Bell:

I spent an absurd amount of time trying to get Sidecar working on my hackintosh, and I really wish I didn’t :P

@LunaDisplayHQ has much better image quality and a higher frame rate ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Update (2019-10-13): Dan Counsell:

Oh my god, Sidecar on Catalina is incredible, it’s so responsive. My iPad Pro just got a lot more useful!

Michael Luís Brown:

TIL that Sidecar (iPad as external monitor) in macOS Catalina only works if you have an Apple Pencil. I mean, it works without one, but you can't “click” (ie tap) on any control with your finger, it has to be the pencil 🤦‍♀️

Colin Cornaby:

The more annoying thing to me is that Apple didn’t make public the feature to create a new display without physical hardware present (as far as I saw.) A lot of things the rely on creating a second display without hardware could use that.

There’s a legacy kernel extension based interface for that sort of thing. But it doesn’t support Metal acceleration, or easily support Retina output.

Also it requires a kernel extension.

If you use USB display hardware (like DisplayLink) it works by creating a virtual second display and streaming the contents. That experience could be made dramatically better with the private features Apple added for Sidecar.

See also: Hacker News.

3 Comments RSS · Twitter

I wonder why Apple don't just buy developers when they are about to 'Sherlock' them. A good use of the cash pile, surely?

Apple would gain a team with lot of knowledge, add to their number of talented devs and be doing the right thing into the bargain.

With all the problems with bugs and betas, it's not like they couldn't do with with some new, genuinely talented people.

(OK it wouldn't even dent the cash pile as it would be tax deductible ;)

... PS. that was not a dig at Apple's current talented devs - just that it seems there may be some overloading going on.

Sören Nils Kuklau

I wonder why Apple don’t just buy developers when they are about to ‘Sherlock’ them. A good use of the cash pile, surely?

Well, they do sometimes.

iTunes was originally SoundJam MP (and barely may have been Audion-based instead)
Siri was its own company
Shortcuts / Siri Shortcuts used to be an app called Workflow

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