24 January 2017

Technology is awesome. Sometimes we just design things in a stupid way that unnecessarily limits the use of an otherwise awesome product. Apple does that a lot lately.

iOS is amazing. It’s fast, it’s efficient, it has incredible user retention, it’s reasonably visually appealing (minus some obvious contrast issues), it’s secure… all good.

But what if you don’t want to use Safari? You can install Chrome, but it’s just a Safari WebView with Chrome’s sync. Same with Firefox. Up until recently, third-party apps couldn’t even use the full Safari engine, severely limiting JavaScript performance.

Maybe you want to download a file? That seems simple enough. Except you can’t. iOS doesn’t allow you to save anything other than images from websites without third-party applications that are limited in what files they support as well. Even if you do manage to download a file, good luck opening it.

My biggest issue with iOS is one most people will probably not have even noticed. Try unlocking your screen and seeing how long it takes before the device responds to any other user input. It’s about 2 seconds. You’re waiting for an animation that does nothing. Try pressing the Home button from an app. Notice that delay? That one’s more practical - it waits to see if you’re going to press it twice, to enter the multi-tasking view. Still, after using Android for a while, that second delay is annoyingly long. Android doesn’t need to wait when pressing the home button because button clicks are unambiguous. Rather than use one button for several actions, each does one specific thing.

Customizing iOS is basically impossible. Jailbreaking supposedly makes this easy, but that’s mostly a luck game. Apple patches jailbreak exploits like they’re the worst thing that could possibly happen to them, instead of just letting users choose to unlock their devices with a big warning like Android does. If you do get lucky enough to be running the right version of iOS when a jailbreak is released, you better not be interested in updating for the next year or so.

The new MacBook Pro is nice. It’s incredibly thin and lightweight. I’m mostly okay with removing USB type-A ports too. Type-C is the future and we may as well embrace it.

That Touch Bar though. It’s so pointless. 95% of it’s functionality is just a shortcut to functionality already available via a hotkey, only you can’t feel for it and it’s not in a consistent place between applications.

Weirdly, the Touch Bar feels cheaply implemented in person. On Apple’s renders, it looks beautifully designed and seems to sit flush with the keyboard. The actual LCD is visibly lower than the keys, and seems to be much lower quality than the main display, which makes it seem like an extra add-on rather than a well-integrated feature.

I also miss my SD card slot, and MagSafe, while proprietary, was really nice.