This week’s big news on the app side of things was the imminent closure of The Daily, an iPad-only newspaper. I can’t even type in all the links analyzing why this failed, just Google ‘The Daily Closes’, and you’ll see.
Craig Mod, one of the developers of Flipboard, had a very insightful analysis of why News Corp.’s The Daily failed. It all comes down to something he calls ‘subcompact publishing.’
The term has taken off to describe a very nimble approach to magazine publishing on tablets — content-forward, rather than trying to emulate the paper magazine experience. This follow-up article from him summarizes some of the discusssion he’s inspired.
My take on things:
- Stop trying to squeeze a magazine down into a tablet. Tablet software needs to be reductive, think of building the least-instrusive means of getting people to the content.
- There is a serious gap on the authoring side of things, especially if you want a truly cross-platform experience. Any workflow starting with Adobe’s professional publishing tools is going to end up with a heavy, slow, hard-to-use mess on mobile. There is definitely a need for something which makes ‘selling magazines for iPads as easy as blogging.’
I’m not the only one who was a bit put off by Brent Caswell’s iOS lockscreen redesign proposal, which started with the very arguable thesis that iOS is slow and boring, and therefore needed a whole new layer of UI added before you even unlock the phone. Jonathan Sutter also addresses the issue, with some intriguing alternatives. He points out that the purpose of the lock screen is not to display random information, but to avoid butt-dialing. Any information on the screen is gravy at best, but adding additional information from background apps would simply require some modification of the current Date/Time layout, not a whole new set of taps and gestures. Even the current up/down gesture of the camera grabber complicates the screen and undermines the consistency of the UI.
Asymco had a great article about the dangers of outsourcing too much of your manufacturing, with Asus and Dell’s relationship as a cautionary tale.
Apple is assembling some of their new iMacs in the U.S., and Tim Cook hinted that more Macs will be manufactured domestically. This would especially make sense for a new Mac Pro line, and help explain why a case redesign has taken so long. Remember long ago when Tim Cook talked about a pleasant surprise in the Mac Pro line in 2013? The Mac Pro line is the one that relies most on built-to-order manufacturing, so it would be a good fit.
Tim Cook’s interview with Brian Williams this week was very telling about his efforts to run Apple his own way.
T-Mobile, the one US carrier that actually gives you a plan discount for using an unsubsidized phone, is doing away with phone subsidies entirely. Just in time for them to introduce the iPhone on their network.
Square has just announced support for Apple’s Passbook feature, and for gift cards.