apps

Apple shared a few more details about how the Apple Watch will work — see this excellent Verge article for a good summary. The most interesting part is Apple’s intention next year to enable fully native apps on the watch. This does not necessarily mean the Apple Watch will work without an iPhone, but it certainly makes that a possibility. The question though is…why?

The way Android Wear and Apple Watch (in year 1 at least) generally works is that the phone does most of the heavy lifting while the watch is merely a display that also receives inputs. It’s not unlike thin client computing, where the cloud does the work and the thin client handles output and input. This arrangement makes sense, because then the watch doesn’t need powerful chips or enormous batteries to get a good experience. This controls costs too.

The weakness in cloud computing is that a fast, consistent connection is required. Fortunately, because the phone is usually always with you alongside the watch, and because connectivity is via Bluetooth, smartwatches don’t have that issue.

So why would Apple move to a future where watch apps are standalone? Is technology progressing so rapidly that streamed computing is unnecessary? That can’t be right. Smartphones haven’t yet crossed a threshold where performance gains are unnecessary, and smartwatches are way behind smartphones.

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A couple days ago, we referenced a comScore study on mobile apps. Since then, more articles about its findings are surfacing. Quartz has an overview of the top 25 most used apps by US consumers. Highlights:

  • Facebook is unsurprisingly the #1 most used app
  • Pandora is surprisingly #5…no Spotify
  • Google is the top mobile app publisher
  • Facebook Messenger is the top messaging app, ahead of Snapchat, Skype and Kik…no Whatsapp, no Google Hangouts
  • No games made the overall top 25

The study also breaks down popularity by age segment, which The Atlantic graciously provided. Highlights:

  • Facebook, Youtube and Pandora are universally popular
  • The younger, the more popular is Instagram
  • Older folk use Facebook Messenger more than Snapchat or Kik
  • Email didn’t make the top 10 for 18-24 year olds

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I’ve got friends doing mobile app start-ups, and a couple of them rely on freelancers to develop their apps despite my advice not to. What I’m about to write is a generalization — not all freelancers are bad of course, but despite honest intentions, it’s usually not a good idea to hire freelancers to build your start-up’s app.

The reason is this: Incentives aren’t aligned. Entrepreneurs want a high quality product, one that will require many iterations. Freelance developers want to complete the project as quickly as possible. You will get a lot of unhappiness as a result of these two differences.

Prior to feecha, we built digital products for companies, so we understand the pressure freelancers face. The biggest cost is time: the more quickly a freelancer can complete a project, the sooner she can receive payment and move on to the next project. So it’s in her best interest to define the project brief as exactly as possible and deliver not much more. Every time the entrepreneur wants to change something, it comes at the direct expense of the freelancer; unless the freelancer can convince the entrepreneur to pay more. Not an easy conversation.

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Of all the announcements at WWDC, iOS8’s extensibility feature excites me most.

A quick introduction in case you don’t know it — Apple is finally allowing apps to communicate with one another.  For example, let’s say you’re on the Facebook app and you upload a photo; there might be a button to launch Instagram and use Instagram’s filters for that photo while still on the Facebook app.  Instagram’s interface appears like a pop-up over Facebook.

Android actually already has a version of this kind of extensibility, but on first impression I like Apple’s implementation more.

(Isn’t that Apple’s real magic?  Not actually being the first, but being the first to enthrall the press and technorati about something.)

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A quick refresher: in December 2012, Facebook created a clone of Snapchat which at the time was growing quickly but still relatively small. Some thought Facebook would crush the little start-up with its version, Poke.

Fast forward to yesterday with Facebook officially pulling Poke from the app store and all but declaring loss in the ephemeral messaging war to Snapchat.

So, this is proof giants can’t beat the little guys right? Innovator’s dilemma and all that?

Well, not quite. As we’ve seen, the product is easily copied. Facebook took just 12 days to develop Poke. But to beat Snapchat you need more than just a similar product.

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I have been thinking about starting a tech blog for a long time now. I neglected to do so in the past because I did not want to go through the pain of building an audience; now I realize I’m happy just writing for myself.

So when I saw an ad for Wix on Facebook — they advertise quite aggressively there — I decided to check out the service.

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