With all this focus on the Pebble, the rumoured Apple Watch, and even the iPod + Lunatik setup - I’d love to see some actually useful applications like Strava ported across to work on this new medium.
I think where watch apps would actually add value, instead of simply being a gimmick, is by acting like a HUD for apps when you don’t want to risk your phone being out of your pocket or bag.
iOS 6, Mountain Lion and Beyond
Predicting development roadmaps is something best left to the professionals. Consider this list nothing more than a collection of rumours, leaks, patents and the musings of arm chair experts everywhere. Did I miss something? Think you know better? Sound off in the comments.
Siri, Siri, Everywhere
The question is not if Siri will make it on to the remaining devices, but when.
Server load and processing power were assumed to be the reason Siri was originally confined to the iPhone 4S. The recent release of the
iPad 3 new iPad only managed to bring Siri Dictation to the fold. So if the next major Apple TV release is expected to feature Siri-driven voice navigation, when can we expect to see Siri adoption across all Mac and iOS products? 2012? 2013? Later?
Siri on the Mac
Siri on the iPad
Commentators seem to question the use of Siri on the iPad. Some argue that it is something to be used “on the go”, not on your lap. Maybe you’re supposed to feel less odd talking to a phone than a tablet PC? Regardless, Apple is never going to achieve the original Knowledge Navigator concept by handicapping devices.
Retina Displays Galore
2012 has already brought about the retina iPad, so it’s not surprising that the rumour-mill continues to churn out “clues” and “leaks” regarding retina displays for the Mac. There’s a few reasons why this isn’t that unrealistic. Both the advent of Thunderbolt and the latest update to the Ivy Bridge processor allows for the greater through-put required to push that many pixels.
The missing piece of the puzzle is already being filled by developers, seemingly of their own accord. GitHub for Mac pushed an update with support for HiDPI mode, driven by people using AirDisplay to enable their retina iPad to act as an extra monitor. This is fantastic, and on par with iPad developers who pre-emptively created retina graphics before a retina iPad had been officially confirmed.
- HiDPI Retina Images in Mountain Lion Messages.app - but lets not forget the @2x iBooks graphics that leaked before the iPad 2, and guess what, no retina iPad 2.
- Using AirDisplay as a secondary (retina) Mac display.
Rethinking the Dock
Aside from the addition of “stacks”, the OSX dock remains relatively unchanged. Personally, I’m a big fan of using the Flurry icon set by IconFactory to achieve a more iOS look and feel. Lion brought about the circular icon and user avatar styling that made this redundant, but I’m looking forward to either visual convergence or a strong divergence. All rounded rectangles, or all circular icons.
The concept below includes a video showing a different take on spatial depth.
Near Field Communication
The original concept of Square’s credit card system, and in turn the development of Card Case, seem to fill a void caused by the omission of NFC. The use of geolocation to tie Card Case users to stores always seemed like a bit of a hack, albeit necessary. But with the granting of the iWallet patent in March, is Apple going to enter the mix in a very big way?
A hardware advantage is indisputable. But just because Apple sets its sights on an existing app (eg: Reader/Reading List vs. Instapaper/Readability), doesn’t mean the show is over. A designated application will always have the potential to beat out a vain attempt. Square is one of the most innovative and exciting startups I’ve ever come across. I don’t think they have much to worry about.
On the other hand, it’s not unheard of for Apple to release a product with neutered hardware. It’s my understanding that earlier iPhones and Apple TVs had bluetooth chips included, but disabled pending software updates. Recent reports state that the latest Apple TV model has a dual core processor, but is only using one at most. Perhaps the iPhone 5 will roll out with a dormant NFC chip, while Apple waits for vendors and the infrastructure to catch up.
Less Carrier Dependence
Before Apple announced it’s first dividend since 1995, people speculated what Apple would do with its billions. ”I hope they buy AT&T”, they said. ”I hope they become a carrier”, they said. But why would you want anything to do with a carrier in this day and age?
iMessage is doing a fantastic job of replacing SMS and MMS messages.
Facetime, currently and foreseeably restricted to WiFi, has video calling locked down.
The only remaining piece of the puzzle involves phone calls, and VOIP offers a lot. If Microsoft now owns Skype, will Apple roll their own solution?
For a while now, the only thing separating an iPod Touch from an iPhone has been the whole, you know, phone thing. I think it’s inevitable that the devices will merge as one ubiquitous internet-based method of communication. When entire cities like San Fran and Seattle are offering city-wide WiFi, where does the carrier fit in? Oh damn, that’s right, they’ve got the 4G LTE.
Likelihood: Theoretical only.
Mobile Safari Closing More Gaps
As a web dev, iOS 5 had me seriously fist pumping. It added missing features as well as fixing some critical user experience bugs that prevented web apps from behaving like native apps. Position fixed support was absolutely critical, and jQuery Mobile benefited hugely from that. I really hope iOS 6 continues to enable web devs to deliver a rich experience by extending more hardware and software APIs to mobile Safari.
Currently PhoneGap, Titanium and other app wrappers are the solutions to bridge the many gaps. They’re worth checking out if you absolutely must have access to the camera, vibration etc. immediately.
- Safari in Mountain Lion will allow websites to push notifications to Notification Center. Maybe mobile Safari will do the same? Until then, fake it till they make it.
- Expect Apple to eventually implement getUserMedia, although Opera is the only browser to have supported this outside of a nightly build.
- An exact replication of pull to refresh isn’t possible because of when Safari fires scroll events (hint: rarely). Until then, this is a viable alternative.
- Vibration API, photo stream access and whatever else is still missing.
It’s Time to Unplug the Antenna
There’s no doubt a complete shake up of the television industry is on its way. I’m really excited at the prospect of pulling the antenna out of the back of my TV and never looking back. All the innovative media startups like Netflix and Hulu never made it to Australia, at least in their true form.
I’ve tried writing this up as a separate blog post about 5 times now. It’s very difficult to articulate just how important this is, and how it will shake up the entire media industry. Apple has the cash to ensure the production quality is world class. They’ve got the diversity in TV shows and movies to build comedy or action “channels” and such a massive archive of music videos that replicating MTV, VH1 etc would be a cinch.
In terms of hardware, who knows if we’ll see a greater than 1080p resolution any time soon. Factors like viewing distance mean that most 1080p TVs are already retina-ish in quality. Digital TV here in Australia barely makes it above 720p, which is incredibly frustrating. On the other hand, Bluray or even true HD TV content always feels so unnatural, so I’m not sure of the appeal. But regardless, if anyone was going to push 4K quality film down the tubes, it would be Apple. They have their own distribution channels in the form of iTunes, working around TV bandwidth limitations - as well as a massive media library which would presumably include access to 4K film.
Likelihood: Long overdue, but we’ll believe it when we see it.
Apps on the TV
Who knows if we’ll see this before or after a major overhaul, but it’s coming regardless. Apps on the Apple TV are possible if you’re willing to Jailbreak, and the image below hints at a browser being available in the latest JB.
Likelihood: Inevitable, already possible on jail broken devices.
“Native” Facebook App
Facebook acquired the Mac software house Sofa back in 2011. They create beautiful UIs and were definitely a good pick up. So what will they be tasked with doing at Facebook? Pundits guessed native Facebook app, but we’re yet to see any information confirming this. The problem with this is that it flies in the face of Facebook’s current direction with Project Spartan. A native application would have to be a simple wrapper around a web view, as that’s what both the iOS apps currently are.
Likelihood: Unknown, counter-intuitive.
GitHub → Notification Center
There are already some scripts for automating Growl notifications when Git repositories are pushed, pulled or committed to. I can imagine GitHub taking advantage of the new Notification Center framework in Mountain Lion to deliver these messages. Whether this spells the death of Growl remains to be seen. While features such as “Reading List” in Safari were seen as a direct attack on independent app developers such as Instapaper, it is still a clear choice for the pro user.
Likelihood: Would be awesome.
Form Factor Changes
Budget 7” iPad?
Teardrop shaped iPhone 5?
Macbook Air sized Pros?
Can’t say I really care.
One More Thing - Calculator (and everything else) Facelift
Why not? Apple has demonstrated it is committed to bringing more useful iOS apps such as Reminders and Notes to the Mac with Mountain Lion. It would great to see the Braun-inspired look of the iOS calculator come over. And hey, Apple also loves to keep a little something up its sleeve for when media events look a bit thin. Just look at Cards.app.
Making OS X Look Like iOS - Quick & Easy
Before we get started I’ll answer the obvious question: why would you do such a heinous thing? Well, I like consistency - and so do others. Apple’s recent direction with the Lion UI has been to make things more like the iPad, so why should the overall skinning be any different. It’s also great for people who have never used a Mac before, or have trouble adapting from a Windows OS.
Changing Dock Icons
I thought I’d get the most obvious one out of the way quickly. Installing CandyBar (USD $29) is a great way to replace dock icons that contribute to an inconsistant experience. It helps to rectify debacles like the Twitter for Mac icon and present a unified dock. The next step is to install the Flurry icon set from Iconfactory. My experience with CandyBar so far has been a bit mixed. It simplifies the process of manually replacing the icons, but the fact that certain icons (like the Calendar) cannot be overridden, and the requirement to restart several times for icons to ‘take’ - kind of make the price of CandyBar seem a bit high.
Changing Growl Skins
Even if you’re a Windows convert like me, one of the first things you probably did was install Growl. The vast majority of applications can push notifications to Growl. It’s surprising that Apple hasn’t adopted Growl into it’s OS like a lot of their other innovations.
Theming it’s notifications to look like iOS is a bit cheesy, but extends the experience from the iPhone and iPad. You’ve got plenty of choice in terms of style.
More of a “Notification Centre” one:
More like what you’ll see in iOS5:
And That’s It
… only two steps. There are plenty more steps over on this page, good and bad. Simple things like changing the top bar to be black make sense, others such as hiding the hard drive to mimic the iOS file system are just a touch excessive. ■
I’m in a bind. See, there’s this brilliant iPad app called Flipboard. When it first launched I knew it was special. In the weeks leading up to buying an iPad 2, I watched this video nearly once a day. Then I actually had the iPad in hand, Flipboard on screen - and I came across a perplexing problem: it’s completely free.
I love Flipboard. It’s the best iPad app I’ve used so far, and probably the best iOS app I’ve ever used. It’s smart, it’s dynamic and it never crashes. It constantly leaves me satiated, grinning stupidly at it’s glowing screen. But it’s completely free.
Someone tweeted at me saying that they aim to make their money off content suppliers, and not end users. What I’m saying is I pretty much have a blank cheque here, and nowhere to send it. I’m so pleased with the app that I’ve done everything else I can think of: tweeting, blogging, water-cooler-ing… but I still feel like I haven’t shown my appreciation enough.
Flipboard, you’re swell.
The blogs seem to be really excited about Real Racing 2 running at 1080p on your TV, via the HDMI adapter. While it’s a step in the right direction for iOS as a gaming platform, there are still some glaring issues. It’s still pretty disappointing that you can’t do this completely wirelessly.
Having to pay Apple for an expensive adapter, that’s pretty Apple-like. Having to sit a couple of metres from your big screen TV holding a flat, unergonomic device with a bulky cable out the side; well that’s pretty un-Apple-like. If I had to guess I would say that more than 90% of HDMI cables sold so far have been under 2 metres in length. My TV and couch are (a slightly excessive) 3+ metres apart and I’m not a) moving my couch closer, or b) sitting on a kitchen chair in front of a 50” TV just to “game”.
Don’t get me wrong, this is really exciting - but it’s not ready until the Apple TV is even remotely useful.
My Apple Store Experience
I just got back from my Genius Bar appointment at the Chadstone Apple Store and boy am I stoked. My iPhone 3GS dock connection has been playing up for a fair while, and I was getting tired of not being able to fully utilise my phone. I went to the store with reservations; StreetWise told me they no longer repair iPhones and warned that Apple themselves don’t do repairs, only $200+ replacements.
When I checked in the bar, we got to talking and I’ll admit I played a bit coy: “Really? My phone is 154 days out of warranty? Is that bad?”. Regardless, the lady was so helpful and we worked something out. It probably helped that the entire time we were talking about upcoming products, and how much I’m going to be spending in the store this year… iPad 2 (when it comes), iPhone 5 (when it comes), a next gen Mac Book Pro (when they come)… I even talked about how my girlfriend wanted to get me an Apple TV for my birthday, but even the Apple lady agreed that they’re not that appealing until something like an App Store delivers that “killer functionality”.
All in all, it was a great experience. We both talked openly about which features were great, and which ones needed work. I walked away with a brand new iPhone 3GS. Apple walked away with a new loyal customer. I’ve been thinking pretty hard about making the jump from Windoze this year. I think tonight’s experience pretty much sealed the deal.
Steve Jobs introduces the Death Star.
Brilliant editing (I do love the *cough*bullshit*cough* call haha).
iPad Application UI & Design Roundup
Note: This post is no longer updated, as it was written to provide a pre-launch collection of designs and UIs for inspiration. I highly suggest you check out Landing Pad for a more up to date list of iPad UI designs.
Kobo iPad App Preview
Kobo continues the trend of hyper-realism in iPad UI design. To top it all off, it’s all customisable! Watch the video to see what I mean. Could Kobo potentially be better than the iPad’s own iBook?
iMockups iPad App Screenshot + Video
iMockups for iPad seems like a fun environment to work within. You would think it would be an application better suited to a PC workspace, but it seems to go alright. The drag and drop, resize/pinch etc seems to work really well in an iPad simulator.
Bento iPad App Screenshot
Macrumours announced today that Bento will be making an appearance as a launch title for the iPad. The screenshot they broke the news with shows that the iPad design trend continues to favour hyper realism and textural approaches. LukeW discusses that more in iPad Apps: Physicality and Heightened Realism.
Yahoo iPad App Screenshots
This post on 9to5mac features a big collection of screenshots from the new Yahoo iPad UI. While some screenshots employ a sense of 3D space borrowed from “Classics”, “iBook” and others, the rest are just okay.
‘Tilt’ iPad Pinball Game
This looks like a bit of fun, and something to really test out the handling and usefulness of the iPad for the gaming market. High-res screenshots are typically underwhelming with jagged edges. One day the iRange will get better, one day.
Delivery Status iPad App Teaser
The guys at June Cloud posted this little teaser on their website. From what I can tell, Delivery Status on the iPad looks exciting!
iPad Magazine Cover Concept
This is probably the third iPad magazine concept I have come across, with the other two being VIV Mag and Wired Magazine, both of which are featured in this post. I think this raises a lot of questions about how we will consume our content on the iPad. Will the cheerleader effect turn people off digital magazines or keep their attention?
Digital Post iPad App Teaser
I wish I could tell you more about this Digital Post, but this was all that Louis Harboe (@spiralstairs) let slip.
Updated: 1Password iPad App Mocks
The guys at the Switcher’s Blog have released part two in their series of iPad UI related blog posts. While they remain tight-lipped about most things, it is possible to see the design evolution producing a really polished product. Clicking on an image will take you to the latest blog post, which explains the mocks better than I could ever attempt to.
“Mixr” iPad DJ App Mocks
The stunning looking Mixr iPad application was brought to my attention by user Pixil in the comments section. Careful attention has been paid to the beautifully realistic tactile environment, and the screenshots just crave to be touched.
See more @ Noe Ruiz’s portfolio
IM+ iPad App Screenshots
German blog Touch This was lucky to receive a series of screenshots from the developers of IM+. There are a total of four screenshots demonstrating how they intend to make use of the extra space. The omni-present level panel contains the contacts, and they even use some modals (to questionable effect). All in all they’re not the flashiest things you’ll see in this post.
See more screenshots @ Touch This.
Comic Zeal V4 (for iPad) Mockups
One of the most common uses of the iPad arising from these mockups appears to be as a comic book reader. Where companies like PanelFly succeed is through their reputable content selection and overall good UI/design. ComicZeal looks interesting, but appears to have nothing on PanelFly in terms of content selection or usability.
Instapaper iPad App Mockups
Instapaper is a “simple tool to save web pages for reading later”, and the simplicity of its functionality is also conveyed by its iPad application. The way in which you can choose your font and size in one of the mocks reminds me a lot of the Readibility bookmarklet. The post these images came from explains a lot of design/UI reasoning.
Viv Mag iPad Video Concept
All digital magazine Viv Mag have released a video demonstrating the conceptual interface for the iPad platform. It looks simply amazing, but my biggest concern comes from the completely linear progression of the “magazine”. Read more @ Mashable.
1Password iPad App Mockups
The blog post centred around these mockups is what initially got me interested in the iPad. Until I saw these images, and the effort taken to create them, I just couldn’t visualise what people were going to produce for the iPad. These mocks were published three weeks ago, and I think it’s sad that nothing of this calibre has since been posted anywhere. Excitingly, this is only part 1 of the iPad mock series, but when I contacted the people behind 1Password, they said not to expect part 2 any time soon. Read more.
Panelfly iPad App Mockups
Panelfly’s adventure into the iPad app market is one of the only other reputable attempts. Panelfly for the iPhone already has glowing reviews, and as you can see, their iPad experience continues to push the boundaries. Check out their iPad dedicated page to learn more.
Artist’s Touch iPad App Teaser
While there is just the one image to go on, the Artist’s Touch iPad app looks like it could be a bit of fun to play with. Check out their home page for a chance to win 2 FREE iPads.
A purely conceptual DJ application for the iPad. While not visually outstanding, it is another example of a potential use of the iPad as more than just an eBook reader. Check out more work by John Kumahara.
Wired Magazine’s Tablet App Video
The following application prepared solely for viewing Wired Magazine has been lauded as the future of print media. It is said that the print industry, supposedly on its death bed, should look to reinvent the way it delivers content.
IKEA iPad App Concept Video
A nice little conceptual demonstration of how an IKEA iPad application could look. The motion tracking (and more) highlight that this is an composited render, and not a working physical prototype.
So what are you waiting for, get designing!
iPad GUI PSD by Teehan+Lax
iPad UI Roundup by Cocoia
Are you currently working on something new and exciting, like an iPad App?