As Apple overtook Microsoft in market cap and as Steve Jobs reminisced about some recent history, I thought I’d reflect on some of the decisions that brought Apple to the pinnacle of technology companies. The criteria I used to select these is how improbable and hence courageous they were when taken and how much impact they have had on the industry. Since the impact of these decisions could not be felt for a long time, the courage required to act early is all the more remarkable.
At the time they were made, none of these decisions did anything to move the stock price or cause great rejoicing. In fact, in many cases the decisions were ridiculed by those who should know better. Yet each one became a massive pillar of the foundation of Apple as it is today. As you read through, think of the decisions that Apple competitors made or did not make in the same time frame.
Top 10 Apple technology decisions of the 2000 decade in reverse order:
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Daring Fireball Linked List: What Happens When You Upgrade an HTC Hero to Android 2.1?.
From the Hacker’s Dictionary:
[from the German `klug', clever; poss. related to Polish `klucza', a trick or hook] 1. /n./ A Rube Goldberg (or Heath Robinson) device, whether in hardware or software. 2. /n./ A clever programming trick intended to solve a particular nasty case in an expedient, if not clear, manner. Often used to repair bugs. Often involves ad-hockery and verges on being a crock.
The Progress of the Platform.
On why there is a ban on intermediate layers of software development on the iPhone OS.
But the reason isn’t technical. It’s partly business (Apple doesn’t want another company to control any important part of the iPhone platform), but it’s also in no small part grounded in aesthetics and the progress of the platform. Apple wants developers to do things the iPhone and iPad Way because they believe it will result in a better user experience and better designed apps. That’s an aesthetic, design-centered argument about how touch apps should be done. Apple has created tools customized to the iPhone and iPad; hell, they built a whole new touch-based operating system. They created a whole set of user interface metaphors that are supposed to be standard and system-wide, and they want developers to do things the new way not because Apple just loves power, but because they believe it’s necessary to force developers to think about the new world of touch-based computing correctly. All of this in service of giving users who are taking their first steps into touch-based computing a great experience.
Developers who want to write software for the iPhone have to write iPhone-like software. To do otherwise will hinder the progress of the platform.
At one point in time, J2ME (now Java ME) and WAP were the starting points for a discussion on mobile strategy and the web. Then, for a brief period of time, you talked about HTML/CSS. Now, for a growing majority of mobile strategies that don’t require a global presence on widely varying devices, the discussion begins with iPhone. Smart client is now iPhone app, and in many cases, the app is primary to the experience, not secondary to the browser. And iPad app may soon replace iPhone app as the starting point.
Frankly, as the adoption rate of iPhone increases and if iPad follows suit, it will become increasingly difficult to argue in favor of a starting point other than iPhone OS. The NPR iPad app, for one, provides a much more pleasant user experience than NPR.org.
via Cameron Moll: Designer, Speaker, Author The Mobile Web vs. the Objective-C Web.
Apple: When Will They Build Their Own Mobile Search Engine? – Tech Trader Daily – Barrons.com.
The opportunity here is not to do web search better than Google, but to find a way to index the information that lives on the iPhone ecosystem. With potential for millions of apps and hundreds of millions of iPhones generating usage patterns a separate mountain of information is emerging independent of the current cloud. The mobile cloud has different hooks and different relevance measures.
Mobile search will be as much about new algorithms as about getting a new way to spider the data.
It seems Apple is better positioned to leverage this emerging space than Google.
Todd Brix from Microsoft is saying the lack of copy/paste is by design
link: Windows Phone Thoughts: Windows phone 7 Will Lack Copy & Paste: Please Proceed With Your Screaming and Yelling
It’s amazing how precisely Microsoft copied the iPhone.
Charlie Kindel on Windows Phone Development : Different Means Better with the new Windows Phone Developer Experience
- There’s zero backwards compatibility with Windows Phone 6.5 applications.
- It’s still based on Windows CE underneath (version 6 in this case)
- Developers are going to need to re-code their apps.
- So what will they code it in? So far, we’ve been told Silverlight and XNA.
- Kindel’s post also mentions Web 2.0 Standards and Microsoft developer tools, along with .Net.
- Nothing about C++ or native code versus managed code, but expect managed code to be de rigeur.
Check out some of the comments in the link above.
A devastating exposé on the incompatibility of Flash content with touchscreens.
Many (if not most) current Flash games, menus, and even video players require a visible mouse pointer. They are coded to rely on the difference between hovering over something (mouseover) vs. actually clicking. This distinction is not rare. It’s pervasive, fundamental to interactive design, and vital to the basic use of Flash content. New Flash content designed just for touchscreens can be done, but people want existing Flash sites to work. All of them—not just some here and there—and in a usable manner. That’s impossible no matter what.
The author, a Flash developers, goes on to describe how none of the work-arounds will solve the problem.
The implication is that Flash has evolved around an obsolete input method and it can no longer adapt to what is rapidly becoming the de-facto interaction method of hundreds of millions of mobile computing users.
Alan Kay, regarding his reaction to the iPhone in January 2007:
When the Mac first came out, Newsweek asked me what I [thought] of it. I said: Well, it’s the first personal computer worth criticizing. So at the end of the presentation, Steve came up to me and said: Is the iPhone worth criticizing? And I said: Make the screen five inches by eight inches, and you’ll rule the world.
See also: Dynabook