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Category Archives: Mobile

The talks of Apple upcoming Apple’s Tablet is everywhere and everyday. I enjoy their opinions. Here is a few good one:

Hours before, I like to have my part. One post interest me is that the fuse between multitouch mouse shell and iPhone. It suggested that the next iPhone’s back is a multitouch surface like that of a multitouch mouse. So some suggest the upcoming tablet should work like that. In fact, Apple patterned that back touching idea.

Here is my idea. the back area could act as the chording keyboard. That is, playing chords on the back of the tablet, you input text.

Great apps for mobile device should be operating on one page. What is the need for second page anyway? Use old and simple computer model – input and output – unlike common webpage/app – is done on one page.

The second page is for setting and help. No more – even help is unnecessary. If a user don’t get the app instantly, it is either the app is too complicate or too complex for a mobile platform. Extremely smaller percentage dump users? Should we spend hours write and design help – only very small number of people used? If many users need to read the help, your app is a failure – go back the drawing board and rethink!

Very impressive gesture applications. However, organization is too literal of everyday life lacks the metaphorical aspects. Yes, this is way we organize our desktop everyday. In the computer environment, do we really want to organize everything physically (with gestures)? Do not the computer do the tedious jobs for us, and show it to me when I want it.

148 Apps limit on the number of apps “displayable” is arbratry, I have seen no reason that must be so. May be, the nine dots between the dock and the apps look best, not 12 dots, not 7 dots, and with that spacing between and beside them. It gotta to Steve Jobs’ arsfectic – his strong sense of “middle balance”. The first ipod has the phone jack right in the middle. The 9 dots has the middle dot and 4 dots beside it; and nine dots just fill 2 icon column nicely. Anyway, to the marketing nine home screen page limit is —  Dear customer, “you have spent about $200 on apps, you should spend another $2oo something for an new iPod touch” if you like to house your additional investment.

Practically, nine pages of apps make search reasonably fast enough for human eyes. I have no scientific data to support that. However, one page home screen would be perfect. How can this be done?

A billion iPhone apps download is approaching. People definitely downloading the apps (I have some freebies) and soon page after pages added to the home screen. Until one day, I found out the app I have downloaded didn’t show up. Gee, there is a limit on the number of apps I can install in my iPhone! 9 home screen pages or 148 apps.

Why did Apple care about that and a limits needs to be set? Does Apple consider about how messy the home screen would become once the App Store opened (especially with so many free apps)? Is this a flaw in the home screen design? Alternative? Dose a solution exist but Apple solve it for later updates? Is there a way to solve this mess? Certainly, my answer is “stack”. In this series of posts, I will explore how stack is the answer to current mess in light with other methods, I didn’t think it will work.

Once the AppStore open, we can foresee the apps with capability to edit files, with current iPhone, the files only stored as mail attachment is unsatisfactory. In previous post, I speculate on an iDisk-Finder hybrid for how files could saved and accessed to different apps in iPhone.

A “place” is needed in the long run to store files to which apps have access. An iDisk-Finder solution will be the best. Let play devil’s advocate. We are absolutely fine without an open filesystem. To the solution of accessibility is very simple. Saving files is even easier.

Let the apps save their files like Safari saves its bookmark. Let apps assess other app’s space where “files” are “saved”. Afterall, App is the master, the data or if you prefer call them files is only the slave. Why should we let the user worry about their data. When people open the apps, they will see their data. We can’t never allow people lie their hand on the sacred data, and personified it with icons. Given people the false impression that data are free to share. Icons are just facade for format slaves.

There are much true in it. We do see it happening in Adobe CS which comes with a file browser (Adobe Bridge). Aperture and Lightroom are both the excellent example of apps that management and modified file in house. Obviously, the universal purposed Finder cannot fully meet today’s need. Specific method of managing is tailored for different file type. In iPhone’s case, a general purposed Finder is not definitely out of the question.

Then, let the app manage their own files/data. If data needs to be exchanged, let it export in a file format and place it into the cloud where the iDisk located. Such method is using by all the webapps. The wordpress here let you manage your posts or pages. They will be not called the post or page a file. The idea of a files is simply non-existing. All there is data; managed by the webapps/apps themselves.

iPhone is like that, should always like that. Info you create is data, not file. Let’s keep it that way. Once you need to share it – place it in the cloud – never forgotten – never needed to search. It makes life simple, doesn’t it.

P.S. If you like to share your data, you will have to pay for MobileMe. Hahahaha…

Apple never comments any future software release. I disclaim that I have any knowledge of future software release. Should any resemblance in my description of future update, it is purely coincidental. Maybe, Apple likes my idea…

The reasons that iPhone does not have a Finder:

iPhone is very close platform; so closed to an extent of file-phobic. iPhone platform is totalitarian. Files do not belong to an accessible file system and can exist only as Mail attachment. By contrast, Win and Mac computer platform is open and free, allowing the files and apps staying happily in the file system, viewable as icons.

iPhone apps are using app centric approach. The iPod app is so, the Photo app so. The music and jpg picture – all the files are under tight management by the apps themselves. Essentially, every single app in iPhone is the a specialized Finder to manage all the data. The days you drag the icons to form a circle or happy face are long over.

iPhone OS is a transparent read-only “Finder”. Attached files in Mail are displayed as such. A file is unreadable by the iPhone OS, staying as an attachment, displayed as an icon. If all files are well managed in their own way, what do we need a file manager (aka Finder) for ?!

Logically, as iPhone apps become available in AppStore for sale, apps that edit Word files may be come available. With the ability to change files, the changes has to be saved. It is rather silly to continue store them as attachment in Mail. Although I knew people use email program to store files, but the majority wants to save their files in a space that they know where to find.

Unless Apple like to rule with an iron fist that no editing tools or creativity apps like Photo editing softwere is allowed. They may not appear in the first wave, surely the iPhone Word or Photoshop version or alike will come. Word and Photoshop is not going to give up their way of doing things — saving files. The questions is how the files are managed. How to make a file available to more than one apps ? How to practically do it in a mobile platform, iPhone in particular ?

The logical consequence is a Finder. Apple will not call it that because:

iDisk is the new Finder!

The iDisk automatically syncs and updates the files anywhere, pushing it to the iPhone. This is the trend and fit with MobileMe strategy – If your data can be synced via MobileMe, why shouldn’t your files be so?

Here is my drawing for speculations:

iPhone\'s iDisk = Finder

Read More »

Now, iPhone 3G can read the iWork and MS office files. Therefore, we can infer that a universal files management such as Finder will be included in the next update. Or, may be not.

iPhone software is OS X Leopard line by line, as Scott Forstall has said. It does not mean it works like OS X. Apple locked down the files system on iPhone. Hackers since have accessed to the files system and detail here: “How to Escape Jail“. To a typical user, the OS X file system is non-existing.

But iPhone is an app-centric piece of device, the data we create is managing by the app itself. We have no need to worry where the data are, they’re simply there once the icon is pressed. Music is in the iPod app, My picture in the photo app. Life is simple.

Wrong! when you can send pdf and other files to your iPhone via email, files are conveniently staying in the mail — ad hoc solution to a closed file system. In a closed system, the users are restricted from direct access to the directory. Not to say, the beautiful app like Finder let you do so.

iPhone file system may be closed for good reasons. There is no need to manage the files, Afterall it is a phone. Look at the cluttered menus of ordinary screen or the many steps copying in today’s mobile phone, it turns you off. Phone viruses would not be a problem too. Apple people just do not have time to think through how to implement a Finder yet. Let’s update the feature in the 2.1, just like the mass email deletion. A Finder may come in software update 2.3, or may be not.

An important fact is that iPhone is capable of reading PDF or DOC. This capability is transparent to users. You don’t need an app installed to do that. Just like its counter part OS X Leopard, Finder can read many common files (format). Email is the app to read the PDF, DOC and so on. It was so convenient and matter of fact that external file must come via a channel – in Steve Jobs mind – it must be email. Therefore, it has no MMS, IRC cannot transfer file. No place for you to download and save a file linked to a webpage.

To the end, it is about control. Apple’s control over the device, not user’s control over his or her files.

The question remains to the people who is so used to the desktop computing metaphor – where is my file, I like to save it to a location I can remember. No doubt, the metaphor work so well. where is my folder ?

To be continue…

We had eWorld then all the “i” products and now we have “me”, what is the significance?

A good read: WhyMe.

I offer evidence only in my strictly unacademic impressions of the differences between ‘I’ and ‘me’.  For instance, ‘I’ implies activity, a doing and a being of something.  Ideologically, this meshes well with Apple’s provenance as the tool of the artist and its aim to imbue the user with the identity of Unique Creator of Digitial Artifact, of curator and distributor and master of his or her digital hub …. By contrast, ‘me’ implies passivity, an identity of self-evident existence without the burden of activity.  In the ‘me’ model, I exist by the token of my relation to my Contacts and Calendar.  In the ‘I’ model, I exist by the token of my photos, which I sync from my camera in iPhoto and upload to my iDisk.

Now, the iPhone 3G can read Windows and iWork documents, it is a matter of time that a general purpose file management app will appear. Will it be the type of universal files manager like Finder? Or no file manager at all ?!

Let’s state the answer now and I will give you the reasons in the future posts. iPhone has no need for a Finder. iPhone itself is the Finder. The apps in iPhone is the Finder. Put differently, the iPhone software takes care of the business of file management.

The only questions should be asked: where is my files? how to find it? I will answer it at the end.