Island in the Net

A personal blog by Khürt Williams, full of imagery, and inchoate ramblings on coffee, and geekery.

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The Notch

Riccardo Mori on the little black notch in the iPhone X screen.

Well, of course Apple has to present a confident attitude towards the notch and the design statement it represents. Jonathan Ive would perhaps use the term ‘unapologetic’ to describe the presence of that notch. Embracing compromises can be bold all you want, but doesn’t change the fact that they’re compromises. All UI examples I’ve seen so far of apps in landscape mode on the iPhone X keep emphasising one thing: the notch is a quirk, and an annoying one at that. It is a design stopgap I believe Apple can’t wait to get rid of. I still think that in two iterations — maybe as soon as one — this class of iPhone will truly be ‘all screen’.

iTunes Preview

Last week, Apple removed the iOS App Store from iTunes. iTunes is now focused exclusively on music, movies, television, podcasts, and audiobooks. For me, it’s a loss. Craig Grannell thinks Apple could have learned something from Google’s approach.

Google has always been more comfortable with the internet than Apple, and in this area Apple now falls short. If I’m reading about great iOS apps or games on my PC or Mac, I can no longer quickly grab them in iTunes, and later download them to my iOS devices. There’s not even a wish-list option. I now have to send myself a link, or switch to an iOS device. (Also, some apps are device-specific, and I still can’t buy an iPad app from an iPhone, which is absurd.)

Apple should steal an idea from Google. It should be possible to buy apps directly from iTunes Preview, and choose where to send them. Better: iTunes Preview should grow to become the entire iOS App Store online, giving greater visibility to apps, and freeing browsing and buying them from the confines of iOS.

Convenient Biometric Authentication

Consider this in the context of convenient biometric authentication like TouchID and FaceID.

Imagine you travelled to the US with a locked briefcase that contained every text message, email, and private message you’d ever sent to a loved one. It also included every web search you’d ever conducted, and — through your bank account and PayPal records — every purchase you’d ever made and every organization you’d ever donated money to.

The customs agent not only wants to open your locked briefcase —he also wants to copy all of its contents and store them forever in a database, which will be shared with all manner of law enforcement agencies and tax agencies, and will eventually be available to anyone working in any capacity in the government without the need for a warrant.

All your data will be stored in a database built by the lowest bidder — the same kinds of government contractors who brought you Healthcare.gov and the aborted $208 million California DMV database. It will be so valuable that all manner of malicious hackers will materialize from out of the woodwork to try and steal it.
That is what makes your locked phone different from a briefcase with a few personal details locked inside it.