The Designs-to-Come Edition Wednesday, December 6, 2017

iPhone X: The Rise Of Gestures, by Raluca Budiu, Nielsen Norman Group

Right now, the extra space may not seem that generous — if you compare the visible area on an iPhone 8 Plus and on an iPhone X, you can see at best one extra line of text. Yet using a gesture instead of a visible button has the potential to open up more user-experience improvements in the designs to come — from Apple and from others.

Apple is in a unique position to push this kind of gesture-based innovation and could even go beyond that to create a standard vocabulary of gestures that can be used by other apps or phone manufacturers, because the Apple brand is so strong that people will put up with the hurdles of learning a new system and unlearning what they know for the sake of using its products.

Pay Cash

watchOS 4.2 For Apple Watch Now Available With Apple Pay Cash Support, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

After setting up Apple Pay Cash on iPhone with iOS 11.2, Apple Pay Cash becomes an option in watchOS 4.2 in the Messages app and Wallet app on Apple Watch. Apple Pay Cash also works with Siri.

Apple Pay Cash Leverages Discover Network For New Virtual Debit Card, by Neil Hughes, AppleInsider

In order to bring the Apple Pay Cash debit card to life, Apple has partnered with credit card provider Discover, whose Discover Debit service powers the virtual tap-to-pay card for money transfers and in-store purchases.

Prime Video

Amazon Prime Video App Rolling Out To Apple TV App Store, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

At long last, Amazon’s Prime Video application will be available today for the tvOS-powered Apple TV, as expected based on hints from the App Store. Apple originally teased the release back at WWDC, but both companies had gone quiet on a specific launch date until now. Search ‘Amazon Prime Video’ in the Apple TV App Store to find it.


Apple Has Acquired Pop Up Archive, An Interesting Startup That Makes Podcasts More Searchable, by Nicholas Quah, Nieman Lab

I’ve learned that Apple has acquired Pop Up Archive, the Oakland-based online platform focused on building tools to transcribe, organize, and search audio files. Among its suite of tools was the podcast search engine, which wound down operations on November 28, presumably in the wake of closing the acquisition.

Tim In China

Apple CEO Tim Cook Talks Chinese Supply Chain, Censorship And More In Interview, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

It is a marriage of traditional craftsmanship and advanced technology that makes China's supply chain assets desirable, not pricing, according to Cook.

"There's a confusion about China," Cook said. "The popular conception is that companies come to China because of low labor costs. I'm not sure what part of China they go to, but the truth is China stopped being the low labor cost country years ago. That is not the reason to come to China from a supply point of view, the reason is because of the skill."


"The thing that's missing in our society is there's not enough people that want to listen and understand and participate," Cook said. "They have a litmus test of, 'Do I agree with every single thing that person believes, and if not I don't want to talk to them and they're a bad person.' I've never seen the world that way."

Apple's Cook Optimistic That Apps Pulled In China Will Be Back, by Sijia Jiang and Anne Marie Roantree, Reuters

“My hope over time is that some of the things, the couple of things that’s been pulled, come back. I have great hope on that and great optimism on that,” Cook said, adding that he always tries to find areas to work together and if he gets criticized for that, so be it.

For Some Reason Tim Cook Thinks China Will Allow VPNs To Return To The App Store, by Jon Russell, TechCrunch

While Cook is right that “nothing ever changes from the sidelines,” it is hard to imagine China relaxing its stance on web censorship given all that has happened.

The reality is that Apple had little choice but to follow Beijing’s line in order to continue to do business in the lucrative Chinese market, but statements like Cook’s today are dangerous because they massively underplay the severity of the situation.


A Top Indie Developer That Previously Won Apple's App Of The Year Is Taking On PowerPoint, by Kif Leswing, Business Insider

"These are modern teams that work with mobile, work with messaging," Petschingg told Business Insider. "They're out doing customer research, they've got their brand studio, they have their analytics team trying to optimize the software. Is that all going to go into PowerPoint?"

"It's a really interesting flip on making your workplace much more transparent, in a good way," he continued. "It's not like that situation where people who are doing the work also have to spend time pitching the work. That part sucks — just do the work, and make sure people can discover it. That's what Paste does."

MarsEdit 4 Update Adds Editor Enhancements, WordPress Improvements, And More, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Among the long list of updates to version 4 of MarsEdit are several modifications to the app’s editor. Common formatting options like bold, italics, and underlining are easily accessed from a formatting bar. A new typewriter view option keeps text centered in the middle of the editor as you type. If you edit in rich text mode, MarsEdit also lets users resize images by direct manipulation, and the app’s previewer has added MultiMarkdown support.

For WordPress users, MarsEdit has added support for featured images in posts, post formats, and author editing. Modern macOS features like versions for local drafts, auto-saving, and application sandboxing for security have been incorporated too. For link bloggers, MarsEdit has a Safari extension that sends highlighted text to the app as a block quote along with the article title and URL.

MindNode 5 For Mac Is A Compelling New Update To The Mind Mapping App Suite, by Mike Wuerthele and William Gallagher, AppleInsider

The new version will still feel familiar if you already know the app and all of the revisions and improvements maintain the software's core aim. Mind mapping in general is about getting the cacophony of ideas in your head down into a visual form where you can add to them, revise them, develop them.

MindNode in particular is about getting you to do that without having to think about the software, without having to study which tools do which jobs.

Review: PreSonus Notion 6 Music Notation Software, by Andy McDonough, American Songwriter

Before I talk about how easy this latest version of Notion was to use (some notation software is not), there is one standout feature I discovered quickly that will bring a smile to any arranger, music student, or songwriter’s face. That is the quality sampled sounds that come with the package. If you are doing your music or lots of scores for other writers, this will make your efforts much more enjoyable. If you are doing arrangements, you can actually hear the sounds of the instruments you are scoring for. From sounds of the London Symphony Orchestra to stellar Steinway piano samples to the sounds of virtuoso bassist, Victor Wooten, playback quality of Notion 6 alone makes this software worth the investment and a whole lot more.


Apple Introduces A New Pay-per-install Ad Product Called Search Ads Basic, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Apple today is introducing a new way for app developers to acquire users for their apps: it’s launching a pay-per-install advertising product called Search Ads Basic. The “basic” branding signals that this product is being aimed at smaller developers compared with the existing Search Ads product, which is now being renamed to Search Ads Advanced.


The Problem With Muzak, by Liz Pelly, The Baffler

Music writing serves a number of purposes: storytelling, criticism, discovery. Spotify has already established itself as a competitive force of “discovery,” and it soon plans to produce more of its own (surely branded) “storytelling” and original content. With this in mind, and when I worry over the publications, labels, and artists who have (reluctantly or otherwise) embraced Spotify, I can’t help but think of that airport restaurant server who teaches you how to use the iPad, thereby contributing to her own obsolescence. Why is the music press generating value for a platform that in every way plans to eliminate it? And what will become of music criticism in a world without records? Will publications review discovery feeds and write profiles of playlists? What good will criticism be when all of music has coalesced into algorithmically preordained Muzak?

Bottom of the Page

After I watch a movie, I typically will go read the corresponding entry on IMDB. And, if the movie is old enough, I will also go read what Mr Roger Ebert thought about the movie.

I will be delighted if I can also go to, say, Apple Podcast, search and listen to podcast episodes that discussed the movie.


I'm wondering if there is someone in Redmond, looking at the success of iPhone X, will now try to get rid of the Start button, again.


Thanks for reading.