Monday, December 19, 2011

7.85" - Doing the Math

The iPad has bigger pixels than the iPhone.  Ignoring the 2x retina size, it is 163/inch on the iPhone vs 132 on the iPad.  The iPhone has pixels 81% the size as pixels on the iPad.

All the buttons, controls, and lists are the same size in pixels on the two devices, so on the iPad they are a little bigger. What if they sized down the iPad to the same pixels per inch as the iPhone.  Still a totally usable size as we prove every day by using iPhones (no finger-sanding required!)

Multiplying by 0.81, the rectangular screen dimensions on the iPad change from 7.76" x 5.82" to a smaller size of 6.28" x 4.71".

It's interesting that when you throw those numbers into the good old Pythagorean Theorem, you get a diagonal size of 7.85".  Exactly the size it's been reported that Apple has been buying.  It's possible the sources of the report can do math too, but if it is true about Apple buying screens that size, it exactly fits a smaller iPad with a pixel DPI that matches the iPhone.

Our Best Work

Vladimir Kush is my favorite artist, I've been a fan and collected his art for over 10 years.  Our house is like a mini gallery :)

I'd seen him at gallery shows and things over the years, and I've got a tattoo inspired by one of his pieces.

Nearly a year and a half ago, I heard he was going to be making a children's book.  I got in contact, wondering about converting it into an iPad app.  Vladimir had the idea to just skip making a book and go straight for an app!

We met and I showed a very rough demo app in September 2010, that sold the idea and direction for flowing painting for the app.  It took a lot of work since then to make it really work fast and smooth, but that first demo got the ball rolling.

After a very long time, him painting, us programming, it's in the App Store.  I think it's the most beautiful, amazing work we've done (and we've done a lot over the years).  We'd always worked with the thought, "Vladimir's art is going to be in museums some day, so this has to be that good too."
Aries the Sheep in the App Store

Vladimir Kush on the iPadVladimir Kush on the iPad

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"iPhone 5,1"

As has been widely reported over and over, there's two bits of text "iPhone 5,1" and "iPad 2,4" in the latest iPhone beta software.  And on those tiny bits of text, dozens and dozens of long articles, with all sorts of predictions of future devices have been written :)

If I worked at Apple, I might stick something like that in, even if I knew nothing about it, just to mess with all the rumor sites.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Hello, Siri

Wow, Siri is pretty awesome.  I've probably opened the alarm/timer app for the last time.  Just say "Set a timer for 15 minutes" and that's it.  There may be more and more apps I don't open too.

Apple was smart to give it a personality, and answer all the geeky questions.  That make it fun to play with, and I'm sure they use it all to help improve the voice recognition too.

I assume they're doing the next thing:  getting statistics about they types of things people ask about and where Siri doesn't have the answer.  Recipes?  Movies?  Travel?  Then partner with someone to provide the answer rather than having to send it as a search off to Google.

That's one less thing Google gets to show ads for, which has to be pretty huge for Apple.

And that's a very valuable customer recommendation, companies may pay huge money or give a commission for the privilege to being Siri's answer.  If all movie questions got sent to Fandango, or all travel requests went to Expedia, wouldn't they give Apple something for that?  If I were them I would give a LOT for that.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Screen sizes

Yeah, Apple was right.  Duh.

As pointed out here and here and other places, 3.5" screen is just the right size for a normal adult to comfortably hold and use the iPhone in one hand.  Thinking about it as I use it, I'm able to touch the farthest points just at the point before it would be uncomfortable.  Even another 1/4 inch away for the farthest corner gets pretty uncomfortable.

Before the first iPhone came out, there were zero points of reference, and they could have made the screen any size or shape they wanted.  I'm sure there were lots of prototypes.  At another company, you'd expect there were committee meetings and focus groups, but I'd bet at Apple, Steve Jobs just handled them all and picked the one because that's what fit his hands.  And the 3.5" size was THE size that was as big as possible while still being usable one handed.

And that's the one and only size the rest of the world ever saw.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Next Steve Jobs.

People have been wondering who might be the next Steve Jobs.

Looking backward, at who the last Steve Jobs' were, the common names I've seen include Disney, Ford, Einstein, Edison.  A few names spread out over a long period of history.  

A few industries are lucky to get one, but so far no industry getting two.  All at the beginning, bringing their industry forward further and faster than it would have come without them.

The next Steve is more likely a 10 year old boy or girl than someone working today.  And they'll bring us nanotechnology or something we can't even guess.

(What about Bill Gates?  Brilliant but different, more like Rockefeller where it was very smart business sense.  Apple has recently gotten far better at capitalizing on what they did first and not letting it be Microsoft that brings their ideas to the masses.  Though Apple getting better kinda coincides with Bill retiring from Microsoft.  Hmm.)

Thursday, October 6, 2011


My parents got one of the very first computers in our town, an Apple ][+ right around Christmas 1980.  That really set the path of my life and career.  (It wasn't an Apple, but I remember first seeing my first computer in middle school math class.  We were supposed to be doing homework, but I just stared and watched the teacher using the TRS-80.  I did the homework at home.)

I bought my own Apple ][gs before leaving for college and that was the last Apple computer for a long time.  After nearly 20 years on the Windows side, I'm mostly back to the Apple side.

It's sad enough when someone who did so many amazing things passes away, but it's far sadder when it's way too soon, right in the middle of some of their best work ever.   There are few I can think of to compare, and they're all known as much as artists as CEOs too: Walt Disney, Jim Henson, John Lennon.  You might not be a fan of their particular work, but you can't deny they changed the world around them.

I wasn't the only one who left flowers outside the local Apple store.  The one close to my house at University Village was closed for some remodeling, leaving a flat black canvas where people wrote with chalk or left flowers.  My picture, taken with an iPhone of course, turned out pretty striking.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

iPhone 4S +

Well, I wasn't quite right, it was a mix of my guesses (and keeping around the 3GS).

It's odd the some "analysts" are disappointed.  It is everything people hoped for in the next iPhone, with the exception of a bigger screen, a different shape, and the number 5 in the name.

But looking back, nobody should be surprised.  Other than the very first iPhone, all the rest have been evolutionary steps, adding more and making it more powerful.  And it may be they always do the style change every 2 years rather than every year.  It's nice that I can re-use the case when I upgrade :)

Now I wonder if they go back to a Summer release for the iPhone, or if it's now going to be coming in the fall.  It makes sense to announce the newest iOS version at the big WWDC conference, then give the summer for developers to work and do stuff with it, and release the next iPhone that uses it in the fall.

Judging by the iPhone, I'd guess the iPad 3 that it will be shaped exactly the same as the current one.  Retina on the iPad will be the big (huge) selling point, so they won't need to update the styling to sell it.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

iPhone 4/5 prediction

So far, I'm batting 0%, but why not guess again.  I'm predicting Apple will introduce 2 new iPhones.

iPhone 5 is NEW.

  • Bigger screen; increasing the resolution to 1024x768 to keep it "Retina" with a bigger screen, existing apps running in an inner section.
  • Global phone for all networks (AT&T, Verizon, etc)
  • Shaped more like the newest iPad & iPod touch, curves on the back like those.
  • 8MB camera is one thing I'd be 100% about.
  • NOT increasing the memory choices, still 16 or 32GB.

iPhone 4S is newish.  It will replace the 3GS and 4 as the low end model.

  • Some updated things from the iPhone 4, mainly to be a global phone that works on all networks (AT&T, Verizon, etc.)  
  • The same camera.
  • The screen from the iPod touch to save some costs.  (They're both retina & the same resolution, but the iPod touch's screen is a bit different on the inside.  From straight ahead they look identical, but at an angle the iPhone's does better.  The iPod's is presumably cheaper.)  
  • 8GB as the only choice.  
  • Maybe a bit thinner, but looking pretty much like the iPhone 4.  
  • All that and it will be cheap.  $0 with a contract, and close to the iPod touch price without: $299.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Kindle Fire

The first Kindle came out ~3 years before the iPad.  In a parallel universe, the new Kindle Fire is still the Kindle tablet we'd be getting now if Apple hadn't ever made the iPad at all.  That's a huge difference compared to everybody else who are just making iPad copies.

It's interesting that Apple and Amazon both started with simple devices for specific types of media, books and music, and grew out to encompass the rest.

I almost feel sorry for all the other Android tablet companies, who's going to buy one now, knowing the Fire is coming?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Batteries Forever

Reading about how improvements in computers (twice as efficient every 18 months) have made batteries last longer & longer.  That just gets cooler.

Right now, with wireless off, my Kindle 3 works for at least a month between charges.  So in about 6 years if the pace continues, the Kindle might last a YEAR on one charge.  And at that point, they can put a little solar cell like the little solar calculators might never need to be plugged in at all.

Similar for the iPad or iPhone of the future, Apple could hide solar cells around the screen, or even just in the Apple shape on the back & you'd rarely if ever have to plug it in.  (Though an iPhone in a pocket gets less light, so might need to leave it on a desk :)

Friday, September 9, 2011

We told you so.

Another year, another bar, another iPhone prototype.  Apple, you shouldn't have rejected it:

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

iPhone 5 screens #2

Hmm, various rumors floating around about the next iPhone.

If it really does get a 4" screen, especially as rumors have said it's wider, maybe Apple will increase the resolution.  If my math is right you can do about a 3.8" screen at 640x960 and have it be above the 300dpi Retina number.

4" is bigger than that.  BUT if you increase the resolution to 1024x768 as well, it would work and have a high enough dpi at the bigger size.  A 640x960 inner section would run every iPhone app as-is, much like how the iPad runs them today.  If the pixels are the same size, apps would look just the same.  There would be a little more bezel area than on the current iPhone, but not bad.  As apps are updated they would use the full screen.

The picture shows black "wasted" space for un-updated apps in the bigger screen.  If the black goes closer to the physical edge of the iPhone, it's only a little more space than the bezel around the current iPhone 4.  And might even be less than in the 3GS if you count to the outside of the curved edges.

In the short term, it's a bit of a pain for programmers.  But in the long term, and these are platforms that will be around for many more years or decades, iPhone and iPad then have the same base resolution going forward.  That would be a huge deal.  One set of graphics to cover both devices.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Tablet Idiots (except Apple.)

At Best Buy today, I checked out the various tablets.

All of them had a massive anti-theft device attached to the bottom.  Like a big plastic half a tennis ball glued to them.  Except Apple's iPads--those had an anti-theft thing like a little disc the size of 3 stacked pennies.

For a device you're supposed to HOLD, any weight advantage those other tablets have by being smaller & plastic is lost by their big attachments.

Friday, May 27, 2011

How iOS 5 Widgets Could Work

My thought is they would fit in among the springboard icons, and moving them would have the icons flow around the widget.  Hopefully several sizes are allowed. 2x1, 2x2, 4x2, etc.

In that space, the app runs and show its information.  This 2x2 one is 266x294 pixels on the iPhone 4 (or 133x147 on non-retina iPhones).  Purely shrinking down the weather app's screen to fit, it works.  Designed properly with a bigger font and such would look awesome.

A wider 4x1 size, perfect for showing the most recent email messages.

Two 4x2 sized ones would fill a screen--email on top, Facebook or Twitter below.

In edit mode (wiggling icons) those that allowed could be resized by dragging an indicator in the lower right corner.  Simply drag the widget's corner to be as tall or short as you want.  And a normal (X) in the upper left corner to delete.

Tap to activate (a glow effect around the border & fade the rest--like when you open a folder/group?), then allow scrolling and interacting with the widget-app.  Tap outside to return to normal.

Some would be interactive, tap the Music one (that shows the album artwork as it's default!) and there would be pause/play, next & previous buttons.

Some might just open the app--like Notes would show the most recent note's text, but tapping opens the Notes app.

We'll find out on the 6th how close this might be.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

iPhone 5

If Apple really does an edge-to-edge screen on the iPhone 5, which makes sense, I wonder which of the ways they will do it:

1) Keep the screen identical to what it is now, and shrink the rest of the phone around it.  Cool because it's a smaller overall iPhone, but doesn't give a bigger screen.

2) Keep the current 640x960 screen resolution and just stretch it a little to be a bigger screen.  Apps won't have to change at all, everything would be slightly bigger.  No changes to apps is a huge plus, and likely is a major reason to do it this way.  But this lowers the dots per inch.  If my math is right, you can do up to a 3.8 inch screen at 640x960 and that's just above the magical 300dpi "Retina" resolution.

3) Increase the resolution of the screen, so the center 640x960 part is the same size as before, but now more pixels around that.  Existing apps could run as-is in an inner area of the screen, really looking exactly as they do now with a black/white bevel around the edge of the screen.  Updated apps would use the bigger resolution and go edge-to-edge.

There are even a couple interesting new resolutions: 1024x768 is the iPad resolution and 1280x720 is one of the HD video resolutions.  Unfortunately, the HD one may be too tall.  Stretching the screen to fill the space on the current iPhone 4 looks like about 40 pixels on the left and right would do it.  That would be 720 wide--the nice HD video number, but adding the same on top and bottom is only 1040, quite a bit short of widescreen HD.

The iPad one is easier to reach, with a slightly wider iPhone screen.  But really the device would not be much wider than when it's in some of the cases now, or the width of earlier generation iPhones & iPod touches (taking into account the outer edge of the curved 3G/3GS ones)

I'm going to guess #2, because of the big advantage of keeping the resolution the same for developers.

Friday, March 25, 2011


My brother Pete is in the process of moving to London (the cool one in England, though I'm sure the London in Kentucky is lovely.)

He wants to be able to still watch videos via Hulu, we want to be able to watch shows from the BBC. But each of them block, Hulu only is available from the US and BBC only from the UK.

Thanks to the upgrades at we both now have VPN servers on our routers. So we'll connect across the Atlantic Ocean to watch TV through the other's local Internet connections :) Very cool--and I'll use it from free WiFi places too, encrypted and much more secure.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


UI Design matters more than before...but really has changed. I've read complaints about the Mac App Store, and how apps aren't conforming to the Mac interface guidelines. It still matters to have a great looking and intuitive UI, but the actual look & sticking to guidelines so every program is identical I think matters much less.

The web is the biggest thing that changed all that. People have grown accustomed to sites that all look unique and have navigation in slightly different places and in all sorts of styles. Menus, buttons, links, the all look different depending on the site. But as long as it looks good and is well designed, people figure it out. It's probably even a skill we keep improving: getting better at figuring out a new website.

And that's something the iPhone and Android continued. I've even bought a few apps (like Weightbot) purely because their well designed UI got some press and I wanted to check them out.