Copying design: Form and function

Posted by: on Sep 1, 2012 | No Comments

It seems a lot of people conflate form and function. This is happening with recent Apple designs being ripped off by Samsung and other manufacturers.

People typically cite prior art such as previous generation laptops or phones and say Apple copied those.

You will find however that in most (but likely not all) cases this is a class error. Often they think that the functional elements of a design (flip open screen, integral keyboard, touch screen, or home button) represent the total design aesthetic.

Trade dress disputes are about form. People who say Apple just built on phones or laptops of the past are often missing the nuance of design. Angles. Texture. Finish. Materials. Weight. Volume. Proportions. These add up together to create an end result – the design.

Let’s squash the stupid: “60% or more iOS apps don’t break even”

Posted by: on May 7, 2012 | One Comment

So it goes, apparently, that 60% plus of iOS apps barely break even.

I have been hearing for a while the “mobile app development is a lottery” proclamation and largely agreeing with it. People telling me that making money on the app store is like having a hit song.

I couldn’t disagree with it, it seemed to make sense… until I plugged in my sorry excuse for brain.

It’s time to hit this messed up, insanely brain-dead FUD with the stupid stick

Code generators all the way down: Why the Web sucks for Apps

Code generators all the way down: Why the Web sucks for Apps

Posted by: on Apr 16, 2012 | 8 Comments

You may have read my previous posts (here, here and here) on why, at a very fundamental level, I think the open web is a terrible way to make applications.

Retina display: more than meets the eye

Posted by: on Mar 11, 2012 | 4 Comments

With the new iPad announcement, there’s been an unsurprising amount of naysaying about the “uninspiring” new features and that Apple are going to cede the market now bla bla bla.

There’s only one way to say this: what a load of bollocks.

If you don’t agree with the statement “the retina display on the new iPad is a game changer” you need to consider this:

  1. When you cannot see the individual pixels, on a screen of this size, it will no longer seem like you are looking at a screen. This has a massive effect on the way the user feels and perceives the product and the software that runs on it. If you don’t believe this, throw away your laser printer and get a 100 dpi dot matrix from the 1980s. While you don’t normally think about it your brain and perception is aware of the tiny black grid separating the pixels and the “unnatural” jagged edges on things.
  2. Once the public see this screen, all other tablet screens (and in turn laptop screens) will be judged by this standard. Where can competitors go to compete with this? Brighter? More saturation? More battery life? All of those are possible, but they are not differentiators – and nobody can compete with iPad battery life. And they have to be retina as well. Effectively this new screen will be THE screen. THE future of displays. There is no point increasing resolution any further, and resolution of a device no longer becomes important at retina ppi – all that matters is the physical size of the screen. And if you’re thinking about 7″ tablets, in this new market all that means is less space to display stuff.
  3. This screen is by all accounts very challenging to manufacture and very expensive. Only Apple can achieve this right now, perhaps for a couple of years – they’re using their buying power and cash reserves to achieve the “impossible”. This probably puts all other tablet makers in the shitter with inferior screen resolution for the next couple of years.
  4. Still to this day nobody can compete with iPad on price for the same features and quality. Now the gap between Apple and those tablets has got a lot bigger. It may make it impossible for others to catch them now.
Still don’t get it? Then you likely never will.
UPDATE: Read this great post by Jeff Atwood (@codinghorror) on this including quotes from e.g. the creator of ClearType on the significance of the new iPad screen not that it is in the wild.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Apple report they have sold over 3 million of the new iPads in the first ~3 days.

The new 4OD web player is shit

Posted by: on Nov 23, 2011 | 21 Comments

Tonight my wife and I wanted to catch up with Misfits on 4OD. The result can only be described as being shafted by bad business choices, bad design and bad code.