I’m writing this post from my new iPad using the WordPress App. Pretty impressive.
The more I get to know my iPad the more I come to expect it to have access to ALL my data, regardless of whether or not it has been synced from my home PC or not. I have instant access to content from all over the Internet as though it was local, and yet I have to sit in front of my desktop to plan what data I want to sync from my home Mac to have it available on the iPad.
So, how do we fix this?
I think Apple should make it seamless to be able to browse your own content from nominated Macs from your iPad as though it was an extension of the locally stored data in the iPad.
I imagine you would give permissions on your Mac for selected iPad and iPhone devices to be able to access selected libraries of content from you Mac. For example permissions to your:
- iPhoto library
- Document directory
- iTunes library
You would be able to grant permission to access on the same local network, or across the Internet (the later obviously being much more of a technical challenge to do securely, however nothing Apple couldn’t solve).
Once granted, the user should be able to natively see this content in local apps like Photos, iPod, Pages, Numbers, Keynote. The iDisk application could also browse your Mac’s local filesystem (from the directories you chose to share) from where you could open a file using any App that supported the doctype.
As an aside, I played with Keynote today and was amazed I couldn’t import a file from my iDisk within the App. It was easy enough to open the iDisk App and open the file, however this kind of “suggestive integration cross-selling” is something I have come to expect from Apple.
Now, once the content is browseable from my iPad without jumping any hoops or any new learning curve in the wonders of networking, there are some specific functions that I would love to be able to perform on my content from the comfort of my couch, bed, coffee shop.
Photos – basically the ability to manage and clean up my library from the iPad
- rating my photos
- adding face detection
- hiding or deleting photos
- creating an Album
- publishing photos to the Internet
Oh, and if I had an Apple TV (I do) I would like the exercise to be visible on my home TV so that the process can be a social experience.
iTunes – the ability to manage what it synced to my iPad from my iPad.
- tagging new songs, playlists, photo albums, videos, etc on my Mac to be synced to my iPad (and iPhone) while using my iPad on the couch or on the bus.
- ability to subscribe to new podcasts.
- ability to initiate a download of large content from iTunes from my iPad (e.g. perhaps if I’m using my iPad on 3G and I find a movie I want to buy, I should have to option to download it to my (nominated) home Mac rather than my iPad) for viewing when I’m next at home.
- Aside: in any of the local Apps where I can browse/stream content from my home Mac, I should also be able to tag that content to remain in sync and therefore flagged in iTunes as a permanent sync item (perhaps this is automatically assumed for simplicity).
I would love to implement something like this myself, however it’s only truly going to work as a deeply integrated experience that is core to the iOS, iTunes and OSX software, so I would prefer to see Apple do it right.
In summary, I see the iPad as a ultra portable window to my whole computing world. I don’t want to have to think about the barriers between where my content is stored, in particular my own content. Applications need to evolve to be available in different form factors around your content, not the current method where the content needs to follow your apps.
If anyone from Apple is reading this and would like more of these ideas, I’m always available to talk about jobs:)
Here is a suggestion I posted to the Apple TV feedback site today:
I suggest you develop an iTunes “favicon” that becomes common place to host on pages that reference topics related to content that is available in the iTunes store (e.g. like icons for Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Readit, etc). Clicking the icon would either:
a) take you to the related iTunes store content for that related topic (e.g. an article about U2 might take you to the iTunes Store home page for U2).
b) might add reference to that content in some kind of “inbox” or “playlist” or “favourites” within iTunes to refer to the next time you use iTunes (Mac/PC), your iPhone/iPad iTunes, or available in a “watch queue” on your Apple T
This link could apply to references across any web site to the iTunes Music, TV Shows, Movies, Apps, eBook, Podcasts content. The link could also apply to any such content that could be viewed through Apple products (e.g. Safari, iTunes streaming, Youtube on iPhone/iPad/AppleTV). The link would allow you to open that content directly (e.g. the movie, photo, music, online video), not surrounded by a web page. It provides a convenient way to add content to a “to-be-consumed playlist” in your devic
The act of adding items to playlist might cause a Push Notification to your iPhone/iPad, or display the “ready to watch/view” dialogue box on your AppleTV (i.e. like ready to watch rented movies) to allow the user to immediately start playback on their current device if desired. This is all from clicking a link in a third party website. Taking this to the extreme, you could immediately start playing music on your home stereo (via AppleTV or similar) by clicking links on any 3rd party web site that support the iTunes favicon lin
You may support combine this with an affiliate program to give a small percentage of any potential iTunes Store sale (if relevant) to the link source. This would encourage such links to be added to third party web sites as a potential revenue source. It would drive traffic for content consumption/purchase to the iTunes store for Apple. Take the affiliate program further, you might allow individuals to host the iTunes favicon to the iTunes Store in return for iTunes Store credit (e.g. to spend on Apps).
Example Use Cases:
1) A news article about a band might link to mentioned songs, album, band in the iTunes Store. Clicking the iTunes icon would not open iTunes (although this could be a secondary option), but instead queue it to to “to listen” playlist. The user would then see this from their iPod/iPhone/iPad/AppleTV in a format friendly to immediately listen to or purchase the musi
2) A site like TED might include an iTunes icon link beside each online video on their web site. Rather than watch online, the user may want to browse talks online, adding them to their “to watch” queue, to later watch from their couch via AppleTV.
3) A blog post about an iPhone/iPad App might link to an app on the iTunes Store via this iTunes icon. Like today connecting to the iTunes Preview web site, clicking the link would (indirectly) open the App Store to purchase the application. However this icon provides an “official” graphical link (i.e. not a text based URL) and, if applicable, may provide a commission to the affliate web sit
4) A tweet might include a shortened URL to the equivalent of the iTunes link to achieve the same result (i.e. just without the graphical iTunes favicon). The linker gets affiliate compensation. The user immediately adds content to the to-watch inbox. You may have a format of the link that would directly open the content in the local applicatio
5) If Apple ever enhanced Apple TV to be more of a web consumption device (e.g. to read blogs, RSS feeds, etc) the favicon icon could be supported in a “TV remote” style of browsing to easily allow adding related content in the article to your “to watch” queu
Quick predictions of where Apple is taking the Apple TV product having been reading reviews of the iPad…
Take a look at the interactivity of the MLB app. The combination of video with interactive data (field layout, scoreboard, player stats). Now imagine that experience was standard for your home TV? Is this not the future of television, to provide interactive mashup of video and data that the end user can control?
Of course not all programming would benefit from the combination of a video and data stream, however for that content that would benefit, the interactivity and personalisation offered would exceed anything that digitial free-to-air or cable TV can provide. I used to think that Apple should put a digital tuner in the Apple TV, however assuming they can win over all the networks to make their content available within iPad applications (either within iTunes or in their own native apps) then now I see no reason why that feed of TV shouldn’t been streaming using H.264. In other words, I could completely see the next version of Apple TV being another customised version of the iPhone OS customised for lounge room, big screen viewing.
Obviously I’m not proposing a Touch UI on your big LCD TV, but imagine the combination of the iPad or iPhone Remote App working together with your Apple TV to no only be able to select iTunes content but also able to fire up other native Apps like Hulu, Netflix, CBS, WSJ, etc designed for your big screen TV. Alternatively, a simple Apple Remote should be capable of driving the Touch UI interface of the iPad without adding too much complexity. An Apple TV variant of the iPhone OS would probably require another jump in resolution to do justice on HD TVs, however I’d expect a more tightly controlled group of Apps to be available on the app-centric Apple TV — such as content providers (video and “print”), games, interactive data like weather, etc.
Such a move for Apple would take the next step from revolutionising music (iPod), telecommunications (iPhone), print media (iPad) to also change the way broadcast television is published. For example, in conjunction with live or on-demand video (perhaps a selection of video angles or content for a given program), just as important would be broadcasting the live stream of data to support the content on display. For example:
- Stats — like live stats from a sports match (like MLB above)
- Geotags — for travel shows, news stories, etc
- Product details — for advertisements, product placements in movies/TV shows
- Social Media — for live discussion of content (like integrating Twitter comments around a story)
Just imagine the revolution of the advertising industry to allow all TV content to support links to more information for virtually anything on display (products, places, people, content, comments, opinions, ratings, etc)?
Apple doesn’t hit the market with half-baked products. It works in total secrecy on products and then on business partnerships until it has a compelling market of content. I see this the same with an Apple TV streaming live and on-demand TV. I think content partners need to come to grips with individual solutions for accessing their content via iPhone and iPad applications and users will, over time, demand more interactive and personalised viewing experience of adding data streams to their viewing. When there is more coverage from content providers familiar with this combination of video and data broadcasting, then I think Apple are in a position to lift that from the individual experience on the iPad and make it a big screen experience on the lounge room television in a more controlled but experienced broadcasting market.03.24.10
Some quick suggestions for iPhoto (submitted to Apple on 25/03/2010).
We have alternative navigation paths to photos by people (Faces) and location (Places) but nothing particularly visual for browsing by time. Sure the Events or Photos library can be sorted by date, however this doesn’t give you a good view of the distribution of your photos over time, or easily jump to photos at a particular time.
Why not leverage the same timeline UI as Time Machine where the distribution of photos is shown in a histogram style graph down the side. Show the library of Events or Photo libraries disappearing into the distance (i.e. bottom of stack is further back in time, like Time Machine).
As your mouse hovers across the timeline, the main display will show the Key Photo for the event(s) on that day (i.e. don’t go any deeper to try to show individual photos). The idea is to find an event quickly, like a Birthday, then click on the Event or Photo library to display it’s contents in the traditional grid view.
Basically, leverage this UI metaphor across numerous forms of content in the OS. For example:
- Documents, based on version of document or backup (done, in Time Machine)
- Photos, based on date taken (as proposed above)
- Music, to browse music by era (e.g. to sort your iTunes library to view music based on when it was released)
- Web History, to view history of browsing.
You could alternatively use the Cover Flow UI (scrolling horizontally, list History in Safari) however I think that the “fading into the distance” metaphor reflects something over time better, so long as it is combined with a UI widget to also view/skip to a specific period of time (like the histogram in Time Machine).
2) Age of People
Not so great for adults, but for viewing photos of kids growing up this feature would be great. In conjunction with tagging photos with names (Faces), allow the user to configure the Data of Birth of that person. They, when you hover your mouse over a person in a photo, you could also calculate how old they were in that photo (e.g. “David (18 months)”). This feature would also allow you to search photos of a person based on their age in the photo.
3) Don’t Freeze
Hopefully this is just me, but iPhoto almost always freezes my entire iMac when I rotate photos too quickly using keyboard shortcuts (e.g. command R).02.9.10
A feature request for Apple or anyone else that cares that might also be in the business of mobile phone OS software…
When will someone realise what a pain in the a** it is to join a phone conference on a mobile phone. Here’s the usually process when dialling in from the road:
1) Reminder goes off;
2) You typically need to open the invite and copy the phone number;
3) Switch to phone app to dial (or, maybe if you lucky the number what highlighted for direct dial – depends on where number was stored)
4) Switch back from call to invite.
5) At this point you probably need to write the CEC down on paper as most phones won’t play the DTMF tones when you paste into the call app (separate idea there).
6) Switch back to phone app, manually enter CEC into phone app, hopefully in one go. At some point you probably need to actually listen to the IVR to learn what other numbers you need to press around the CEC that the meeting invite didn’t contain.
Sounds a little too hard for a basic task of joining a phone conference, right (please enlighten me if this problem has already been solved).
Here’s my feature list for modern day telepolygamy…
a) Make storing a Contact Record about phone conference number simpler
I save common Conference Entry Codes (CECs) as a contact with all the appropriate pauses (p’s) and hashes for one touch dialling. Please make it so I don’t need to do a Google Search and test dial 3 times before I get this cryptic magic number right.
b) Make booking a CEC simpler
When I’ve made my booking, email me back a vCard or similar with the contact record (point a). Include this vCard in the meeting invite.
c) Allow me to save the CEC with the appointment as another field like, but not instead of, Location
I usually have a room booked (or multiple) and then want to save / send the CEC for the call. Attaching a Contact record and sending as a vCard in a field designated by all PIMs should do the trick.
d) Allow me to dial the CEC from the appointment in one touch
(hmm, just realised I how now automatically refer to it as a touch instead of click)
When the appointment reminder pops up, allow me to dial straight into the call with one touch from the reminder window (e.g. buttons for “View”, “Close” or “Dial-in”).
e) Allow me to send the CEC to a nearby physical phone (e.g. polycom, speaker phone)
This might be low-tech, using DTMF tones, or high-tech using something like Wifi or Bluetooth. The point it in this day and age I don’t think it’s necessary to retype numbers between devices. The later, high tech, solution probably requires some standards between software and (conference) phone devices.
Let me know what you think…09.14.09
Here is a suggesting I posted to iTunes Feedback tonight…
Could you add a “Now Playing” page to iTunes that only displayed details of the current track, much like on the iPhone’s iPod. With so much music, it is often hard to find exactly what track is playing (e.g. in shuffle mode) and the “Go to Current Song” sometimes only highlights the Genre Folder of the current song.
The “Now Playing” screen would be an alternative view to watch while listening to music and may show options like:
- Song, Artist, Album (clicking on any while just to browse mode for that Artist or Album”
- Ability to rate the current song
- Display artwork (click to maximise artwork to full view (or full screen if already in full screen mode)). Maybe show Cover Art in a Coverflow style (I think helping you visually see your albums like a real collection is important to extending the metaphor to digital music).
- Perhaps have a link to jump to a Genius Playlist based on current song
- Perhaps a “Add to Playlist” dropdown (or similar)
- Go ahead and add a link to the iTunes store to buy more from the current artist
- Potentially show the track names of the previous and next, say 5 tracks so you can look up and see what you have just heard and potentially change what is coming next (i.e. like a Jukebox).
- On the topic of the Jukebox, I think iTunes DJ does this, but I think you should make queuing tracks a more typical / accessible way to select music. For example, perhaps Option + Click would add a track to queue without interupting current song – but you wouldn’t need to be playing the iTunes DJ “playlist” before trying this. The idea is you might select 10 songs in a row inspired by the current song, but not interupt finishing the current song.
This “Now Playing” page could potentially be accessed:
- similar to the iPhone (e.g. Right Arrow from current browse view)
- by clicking the current Album Art in bottom left
- double clicking a song when you select to play may automatically start in “Now Playing” page (with back button in top left to return to music library, like iPhone).
- View | Now Playing
You may also want to jazz up the Now Playing page with some subtle animations to make it an interesting but not distracting animations. For example:
- Subtle visualisation (e.g. background may be bouncing bars of a graphic equaliser – very subtle though)
- Maybe stream additional content from iTunes store (e.g. additional images, lyrics, related news or suggested songs). Perhaps this is a feature only of iTunes purchased content as a “value add” against privacy (but does not require the LP version)?
One of the key requirements here is that as you listen to music, you get the opportunity to immediately improve on your library such as rating, managing playlists, maybe send to a friend, etc.