The Particle Debris article of the week comes from John Gruber at Daring Fireball.
The iPad, as we know, is a brilliant device, well conceived and generally well implemented. However, over the years, some human interface design issue have crept in. Author Gruber goes into some detail.
Consider the basic task of putting two apps on screen at the same time, the basic definition of “multitasking” in the UI sense…
So the way you launch an app in the Dock for split-screen mode is identical to the way you remove that app from the Dock. Oh, and apps that aren’t in the Dock can’t become the second app in split screen mode. What sense does that limitation make?
Comparison with the Mac is brutal.
On the Mac you can have as many apps on screen at the same time as you want, and you launch the second, third, or twentieth app exactly the same way that you launch the first. That is consistency. On iPad you can only have two apps on screen at the same time, and you must launch them in entirely different ways — one of them intuitive (tap any app icon), one of them inscrutable (drag one of the handful of apps you’ve placed in your Dock).
This is thoughtful analysis and is highly recommended reading.
The Week’s News Debris
• Here’s a second thoughtful analysis piece from Dan Moren at Macworld. “3 products that need extra attention from Apple in 2020.”
Item #2 is a reference to John Gruber’s analysis above. The first and third items speak to the HomePod and the seemingly neglected iMac. First, the HomePod:
What is the HomePod to Apple? In the almost two years since its release, the company still hasn’t quite landed upon an answer.
On to the iMac. Author Moren is blunt.
But what of the iMac? Apple’s consumer-level desktop was last refreshed in March of 2019, but after the better part of a decade without a significant redesign (and, frankly, longer than that, if you trace the through line back to the iMac G5), it’s going to take more than a processor bump to keep the all-in-one desktop feeling relevant in today’s world. Even the Mac mini has gotten more love and attention over the same period of time.
The feeling I have about these two articles is that Apple is stretched too thin. individual islands of users dwell in specific product categories and feel frequent pain. But when you look at Apple as a whole, the scope of what the company does is impressive. That second part can be deceptive. The disconnect between those two elements is something Apple management will need to address sooner rather than later.
• In science fiction TV, especially Star Trek lately, but in other shows we see computer displays as large, thin, transparent pieces of glorious glass. It’s always impressive. These displays must always be on the mind of Apple engineers. The result is this: “Apple patents iMac housed in single sheet of curved glass.”
Finally, here’s a rumor roundup of the 2020 iPad Pro from Laptop Magazine. “Apple 2020 iPad Pro rumor roundup: Everything you need to know.”
Another year, another iPad. Except this year marks the 10th anniversary of Apple’s tablet. And with slumping unit sales, there’s some speculation among industry experts that Apple will need to deliver something bigger and better to stem these declines and ultimately help the iPad regain its past glory.
Mentioned: Smart keyboard, triple-lens camera, better AR, mini-LED display, and, maybe, 5G. I’m drooling already.
Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro’s observations and opinions about a standout event or article(s) of the week followed by a discussion of articles that didn’t make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holiday weeks.