design

Let’s talk about the new, 12-inch MacBook Air. Typically, I don’t comment on speculation but 9to5mac seems confident about their information. Anyway, this isn’t about the MacBook Air per se and more on how Apple is still willing to take big risks — which is fantastic — and about their view on computing.

Here’s the quick rundown on those MacBook Air rumors:

  • 12-inch display in an extremely compact design
  • One USB Type-C port, one headphone port and…that’s it for ports
  • Smaller than standard keyboard
  • Trackpad has no mechanical key

The Type-C port, in addition to its typical USB functionality, is also capable of powering the laptop and driving displays. The thinking is that one port will be used for all those things and via hub when needed.

This is a risky design. The Type-C port will break easy compatibility with accessories, similar to the lightning port for iPhone and iPad, and will surely piss some people off. The smaller keyboard may annoy Apple lifers. Removing the mechanical key on the trackpad means the likelihood that a touch is misinterpreted as a tap is higher.

So why do it?

Read Full Article

This weekend was all about Destiny and its expansion, The Dark Below. It’s all I’ve been doing in my free time since its release earlier this week. Yesterday delved into what makes Destiny so good, yet there’s plenty about the game that’s painful.

There are three types of gameplay in Destiny: story, end game and competitive multiplayer. The story is over quickly and there’s little reason to replay them. The story itself is terrible too. I don’t play competitive multiplayer because I’m out-gunned and out-skilled by those who have more time to invest in the game. The end game is where I’ve been spending all my time. That’s when you’re theoretically done with the game, but you keep playing anyway because you want to level up your character and get specific weapons and gear.

This is where Destiny is simultaneously special and frustrating. Special because it does the end game so well for a shooting game; frustrating because you have to play a lot to get the best gear and there’s simply not enough content to keep things fresh.

Have you seen Edge of Tomorrow? Awesome movie. The protagonist is in a war with aliens and he repeats each day over and over again, to the point where he knows exactly where the bad guys are going to be. That’s what Destiny feels like. Grunts coming out here so rocket launcher. Sniper appearing there so get ready.

You repeat each mission so often, you pretty much know what’s going to happen. Despite that, to Destiny’s credit, strike missions are somehow still fun.

Dear Bungie (developers of Destiny), please, more strikes. There should be at least 20 to play from instead of a paltry eight. Focus the $500 million budget there.

Read Full Article

Old time iPhone users, “I told you so.” If I got a dollar every time an iPhone enthusiast told me a 3.5-inch display is the perfect size, and then of course, a 4-inch display, I’d be beaching in the Maldives by now.

Pocket is seeing huge shifts in usage with the iPhone 6 and especially with the iPhone 6 Plus. iPhone users who had an iPhone 5 or 5S and then got an iPhone 6 Plus read an astonishing 65% more articles on the bigger (and better) phone.

Consuming on the iPhone 6 Plus is so good, iPhone users are using their iPads dramatically less. With the puny iPhone 5S, people consumed 55% of the time on the iPhone and 45% on the iPad. Then those same people upgraded, and now they consume 80% of the time on the iPhone 6 Plus and only 20% on the iPad. With a phablet, there is much less need for a tablet.

iPhone 6 users also saw a similar usage bump, just in smaller amounts relative to its superior sibling.

Read Full Article

Arguably, the main purpose of a smartwatch is to tell the time. While the watch faces the Moto 360 originally came with are all attractive, it was disappointing to see only seven. There are third party options but none — including the premium versions of Watchmaker and Facer — are great.

Motorola recently released an update that added another five that brings the total to 12, and all five new ones are fantastic. They are all customizable to a degree and best of all, seem designed specifically with ambient mode in mind. I.e., they look great on, and they still look great even when dimmed. Good job Motorola!

Companies often don’t get much coverage on product updates, so perversely don’t have much incentive to update. Let’s buck the trend: here are the five new watch faces for the Moto 360.

Read Full Article

Along with the Nexus Player, which disappointed, Google’s Nexus 9 was also recently released and reviewed. It’s been described as having an OK display; good but not jaw dropping performance; above average speakers; nice feel but with small, noticeable flaws; and generally not something that beats the iPad given its $400 price. Lollipop is awesome as expected.

That’s all well and good, but there are two things about the Nexus 9 I was particularly interested in from an industry point of view:

  1. The Nexus 9’s size and weight
  2. Its dedicated keyboard cover

Is the 9-inch display the best of two worlds, or the worst? Is the Nexus 9 an appreciably good productivity device?

Read Full Article

Didn’t know what to write today, and then @nilanp came to save the day:

My answer to that is great design is everywhere. Lots of tech companies have great design. The problem is not everyone cares.

Read Full Article

I was reading on Mashable how most are happy with their iPhone 6 Plus, a few are undecided, and a few returned it for the 6 — usually after only a day of use. That’s interesting because many who are happy with the 6 Plus needed a week or two to get used to it. Once they did, they loved it. That too was my experience with the OnePlus One.

The biggest reason for not liking the 6 Plus is that it wasn’t ideal for one handed use. Which I find fascinating, because the reason for that is not hardware — i.e. size per se — but software.

Read Full Article