Daring Fireball: Walter Isaacson’s ‘Steve Jobs’
It's a blog not just about Apple, but about excellence. Three new tabs with Twitter, Gmail, and Daring Fireball. "Except, well, he also posts about Stanley Kubrick. of the joy of reading great sequential writing than you'll regularly find: his weeks of posts after Steve Jobs's death were consistently great. In some ways, certainly, insofar as the only thing we don't know is what (And even then, we often have a pretty good idea what they're going to announce, too.) Nick Bilton, writing for the NYT Bits blog argues that they're getting stale, If you want a new Apple event, you're going to have to wait for a new. I just wanted to let you know how much we appreciate it, John. I didn't see anything on the Fake Steve blog about it.” She says, “Newsweek.
The new gold stainless steel option is intriguing. I would describe it as being a non-blingy gold. These improvements are most noticeable with the camera which has a new lens system and a significantly better sensor and AR. If you think Apple is blowing smoke about the Apple Neural Engine being 9 times faster than last year, try some ARKit apps side by side.
It has a bigger display, but the displays are otherwise identical. It has a bigger battery, and thus gets a bit more battery life Apple says about an hour. That was never true of the Plus-labeled phones — the Plus models had slightly better cameras and displays with higher pixel density. I figured it would be less than a X-class iPhone. Maybe the camera would be a bit worse than the wide angle camera on the XS. None of that is true. The differences between the XR and XS are very few, and mostly very obvious.
It only has one camera on the back, but that camera is exactly the same as the wide angle camera on the XS models. The 5C shipped alongside the 5S but it had the internals of a year-old iPhone 5. The XR is a new premium iPhone. In my very limited time with a XR after the event, it seems like a long press with a tap when it triggers.
They can use it for the flashlight and camera lock screen shortcuts because a long press has no meaning there. Same for Control Center. Those are the places where I use 3D Touch most, so I actually think this Haptic Touch fallback will turn out just fine for XR users and iPad, if they use the same thing there.
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Incredibly, the XR actually has one significant advantage over the XS models: For the first item — overall daily battery life — they no longer give a single number. The XR is compared to the iPhone 8 Plus up to 90 minutes more. But look at the specific numbers down the list. All three new iPhones get excellent battery life, but the iPhone XR — according to Apple — gets the best. I really find it hard not to say ex-arr and ex-ess. A Roman numeral is hard enough.
But to put two alphabetic characters next to each other and expect people to treat one as a Roman numeral and the other as a letter is too much. They look like ex-arr and ex-ess so people are naturally going to see them and say them as ex-arr and ex-ess. Some speculators thought the XR would be named the XC for the same reason — the rumor mill had suggested for months that the new 6.
I think Apple avoided that because when they use these letters, they use them in the same way. So they needed a new letter, and R was it. After the event, I tried asking several people who would know what the R stood for.
Even completely off the record, no dice. They just play music and show title cards. Everything I wrote last year regarding why I thought it would be pronounced ex, not tenstands up. Why choose names they know will be mispronounced by most customers? But a quick glance at the iPhone XR product page will make this clear — a small caps R looks nothing like a lowercase one.
Something about the multi-coil design getting too hot — way too hot. Last year Apple was apparently swayed by arguments that they could figure out a way to make it not get hot.
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They were, clearly, wrong. People are waiting for new AirPods, or at least the new AirPods case. But, as a thought experiment, which is more important to you? What phone would you rather carry? What computer would you rather use?
For me, the answers are easy. What do you think Steve Jobs would have chosen, facing the same choices? Truth is he probably would have smashed any of such hypothetical devices against the nearest wall in a fit of rage, but, if forced to choose, I believe Jobs would have gone with the software.
But I think Jobs ultimately thought software was more important. That was his whole explanation for the one-button design of the iPhone, on stage at Macworld Expo in Januarytalking about the inherent problems with the existing smartphones then on the market. They all have these keyboards that are there whether you need them or not to be there. And they all have these control buttons that are fixed in plastic and are the same for every application.
Well, every application wants a slightly different user interface, a slightly optimized set of buttons, just for it. And what happens if you think of a great idea six months from now? So what do you do? Well, how do you solve this? It turns out, we have solved it! We solved it in computers 20 years ago. We solved it with a bit-mapped screen that could display anything we want.
Put any user interface up. And a pointing device. We solved it with the mouse. We solved this problem. So how are we going take this to a mobile device? A few minutes later, Jobs said: Now, you know, one of the pioneers of our industry, Alan Kay, has had a lot of great quotes throughout the years. And I ran across one of them recently that explains how we look at this. Explains why we go about doing things the way we do, because we love software. This design — getting rid of all those buttons and just making a giant screen — is today not only the ubiquitous standard for smartphones industry-wide, but also exactly describes another device you may have heard of, called the iPad.
Isaacson makes it seem as though Jobs was almost solely interested in hardware, and even there, only in what the hardware looked like. But usually the distinctiveness of its designs — for the iMac, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad — would set Apple apart and lead to its triumphs in the years after Jobs returned.
Design is how it works. Instead, Isaacson includes an older quote: That was the fundamental principle Jobs and Ive shared. Design was not just about what a product looked like on the surface. Design is the fundamental soul of a man-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers.
Design and engineering are, indeed, often in opposition — engineering constraints affect design; design goals affect engineering tradeoffs.
But they are not separate endeavors.
The philosophical question is which one is a subset of the other. Post-Jobs, engineering became a component of the design process.
This shift made all the difference in the world. Isaacson does not understand this, and his telling of the Antennagate saga illustrates this perfectly.
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Again, the aforequoted bit from Chapter On occasion this could backfire, such as when Jobs and Ive insisted on using a solid piece of brushed aluminum for the edge of the iPhone 4 even when the engineers worried that it would compromise the antenna. The edge of the iPhone 4 and now 4S is the antenna. The trade-off was that moving the antennas to the outside left more room on the inside — room for a bigger battery and other components, and allowed for the device to be thinner.
Isaacson paints Jobs and Ive as being concerned only with how it looked and felt, with engineers left to worry about how it worked. The truth is that the design was how it worked. At Apple, where Jobs pushed both design and engineering to the edge, that tension was even greater.
Serious About Software Isaacson, it seems clear, mistrusted Jobs.